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Posted by: | Posted on: August 16, 2012

Beijing considers stronger foreign ties by Financial Times

“The rebalancing [of the US in Asia] means certain Asean members can rely on the new US posture to hedge and leverage vis-a-vis China . . . In short, current internal Asean rifts are attributable not just to China’s assertive rise but also the US’ vigorous re-engagement.”
China’s relationship with Russia is also undergoing a major change. Chinese diplomats say the escalating crisis in Syria has pushed the countries much closer. Beijing and Moscow have jointly voted down three UN Security Council resolutions on Syria against a closed front of other countries.
“In the past, we happened to take the same position in the UN Security Council in some cases, but that was just because our national interests just happened to overlap, and there were other countries sharing our views, like in the Iraq case,” said one diplomat. “Now we have been pushed into a quasi-alliance.”

August 15, 2012

By Kathrin Hille in Beijing
Financial Times

When the Association of Southeast Asian Nations last month failed to agree a joint position on the South China Sea, the disputed waters contested by several of its members and China, many observers lamented the organisation’s weakness.
But in Beijing, the outcome was quietly celebrated as a success for its new foreign policy strategy as China seeks to use key allies to push through its own interests in the region.
Cambodia, which this year chairs the 10-nation Asean group, blocked an attempt by the Philippines and Vietnam to include a reference in the summit communiqué to a recent stand-off with China in the South China Sea.
“We co-ordinated very well with Cambodia in that case and . . . prevented an incident which would have been detrimental to China,” says Chen Xiangyang, a foreign policy expert at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.
Analysts say Cambodia’s move to do China’s bidding is a glimpse of things to come as Beijing seeks to build foreign policy alliances it long eschewed. Deterred from such alliances by the collapse of its pact with the Soviet Union in 1961, China decided in 1982, when it started opening up after more than a decade of self-imposed isolation during the cultural revolution, that it should follow a strict policy of non-alignment.
But following the 2008 financial crisis, the Arab Spring and the growing US push to reassert its presence in Asia, this strategy is increasingly being challenged at home.
“The situation in China’s backyard has become more complicated, and there is a feeling that things are running out of control,” says Mr Chen. “Following the increase in Chinese power, we will need more friends. Otherwise we run the risk of isolation.”
Some Chinese scholars believe Beijing has already started watering down its traditional non-alignment dogma.