Opinion: Kill the chicken to warn the monkey

Haoran Li is a junior communication studies major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. He can be reached at [email protected].

Haoran Li

In China, there is a common phrase: Kill the chicken to warn the monkey. It means in order to deter someone, punish another who connects to him or her. This seems to be applicable to the issue of China’s use of military pressure toward territories in eastern Asian seas. Lawmakers claimed that “the United States must not tolerate China’s use of military coercion in pursuit of its territorial claims in seas of East Asia,” according to the AP on Jan. 14, following an announcement from China regarding its air defense zone in November 2013 and the country’s new regulations about requiring foreign fishermen to obtain Beijing’s consent before operating in the disputed South China Sea on Jan. 1. These policies are directed against Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam. 

Historically, China has had several military disputes with these countries, including from 1937 to 1945 with Japan and another in 1979 with Vietnam. Throughout human history, most disputed territorial issues could not be solved by international laws unless one country was victorious in war. However, does that mean China will have to skirmish with one of these nations? It’s hard to predict, but it is not difficult to analyze the relations among China, America, and southeastern Asian countries. 

China’s most significant goal after the 3rd Plenum of the 18th Communist Party of China’s Congress is to advance the reform on economics and to start the political reform. This means China’s government focuses more on China’s reform and development instead of expanding its influence around the world. However, China set up a new department, known as the National Security Committee, in its central government. Its responsibilities cover all aspects of China’s domestic and international security policies, from the police force to the foreign ministry. It shows that although China’s central government focuses more on China’s reform, its international affairs will be treated as a higher priority than before. 

In other words, China will manage international affairs more actively in order to make a peaceful environment for domestic reform and development through a series of policies. This means China and Japan will not have an issue in the near future because China and Japan need each other in economic respects. According to Foreign Affairs, “Local sales by Japanese affiliates in China, to both firms and consumers, are rebounding. The biggest example is car sales, which halved during the boycotts but are now above pre-boycott levels. ”

However, some small countries have no such economic relationship with China, such as the Philippines and Vietnam, and are therefore at risk for conflict with China’s impending presence in the South Pacific. It is not certain when China will act, but it can be assumed that they will have prior negotiations with the White House, as the relations between China and America continue to be important in the future.