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What are the difficulties in China’s peripheral diplomacy?

(People's Daily Online)

08:52, November 26, 2012

The Philippines raised the disputes over the South China Sea again at the 2012 East Asia Summit and U.S. President Barack Obama paid a high-profile visit to Myanmar and Thailand, openly displaying the close relationship with Aung San Suu Kyi and Yingluck Shinawatra. They indicate that China faces many difficulties in achieving the goal of better developing itself and benefiting the neighboring countries.

Complex environment

Among major countries, China faces the most complex surrounding environment. More neighbors means more problems, including disputes over boundary territories and maritime rights and interests, conflicts between countries, challenges from extreme forces and smuggling and drug trafficking criminal groups, as well as clashes in regions and interference of external forces. The complicated environment increases difficulties for China in formulating and implementing peripheral strategies.

Ambivalent mentality

Most neighbors want to take the United States as a protective umbrella and benefit from China’s rapid economic development. Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan hope to seize China’s core interests by promoting cooperation with the United States in terms of security and defense, and contain China on maritime interests with the help of the United States.

The ambivalent mentality will not be changed in the next five to 10 years, which poses a series of harsh questions to China in its peripheral policies. Should China continue to strengthen cooperation with these countries in spite of knowing their intention? Will bilateral economic and trade cooperation intensify their ability of countering China in security? The ambivalent mentality of neighboring countries will inevitably affect the implementation of China’s good-neighborly and friendly policies.

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