Extreme long-shot GOP presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy has vowed if elected; he’d allow Russia to hold the land it currently controls in Ukraine and make a hard commitment that NATO will not admit Ukraine into the international military alliance in exchange for Moscow abandoning its burgeoning alliance with China.
However, the Indian-American entrepreneur may want to rethink whether that will be necessary.
There is already a sentiment that Russia won’t like playing second fiddle – or be seen as China’s “little brother” – in any alliance between the two nations, even as their trade ties are boosting Moscow’s war efforts. The two nations have a long and complex history.
China’s New Map Will Make Russia Angry
This week, Beijing may have taken a step backward as it released a new map of its national borders that has it claiming territories of several of its neighbors – including a chunk of Russia. It was only in 2005, after centuries of border disputes, that both nations ratified the existing border. China sees territory – including two river islands that have been legally shared between the two nations – as within its easternmost borders
Moscow hasn’t commented on the map, but it isn’t likely to sit well as it would see Russia having to accept the borders drawn up in Beijing.
Unhappy Neighborhood of Nations – the “10 Dash Line”
Though Russia is still silent, the Philippines became the latest nation to object to the new Chinese international map – joining Malaysia and India in releasing strongly worded statements that accuse Beijing of making claims on their respective territory.
China’s Ministry of Natural Resources published the new map on Monday, and Beijing quickly said it was meant to fix “problematic maps” that misrepresented its territorial borders.
If China thought the map would be universally accepted, it was quite mistaken!
Manila announced on Thursday that it rejected the map due to China’s inclusion of the so-called “10 dash line,” which forms a “U shape” that puts the entire South China Sea as part of China’s territory. That overlaps with the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, and Indonesia.
In the case of the Philippines, a 2016 Arbitral Award invalidated China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea. The arbitral tribunal largely ruled in favor of Manila in areas of its EEZ and continental shelf that are being claimed by Beijing, CNN Philippines reported.
The map also includes Taiwan as Chinese sovereign territory.
More Trouble Between China and India
The release of the map came days after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese leader Xi Jinping met at a BRICS summit in South Africa and agreed to “intensify efforts” to reduce tensions along the border as the two nations have been embroiled in a three-year military standoff along their shared border.
The two will meet again – if Xi actually attends – in just over a week at the G20 Summit in India, and if that happens, it is likely the border will again be a point of discussion. However, India has already protested the release of the map.
“We have today lodged a strong protest through diplomatic channels with the China side on the so-called 2023 ‘standard map’ of China that lays claim to India’s territory,” India’s foreign secretary, Arindam Bagchi, said in a statement on Tuesday. “We reject these claims as they have no basis. Such steps by the Chinese side only complicate the resolution of the boundary question.”
Beijing has already responded to the protest and said that its neighbors should refrain from over-interpreting the issue. Yet, at the same time, it isn’t actually budging from what it sees as its territory.
“It is a routine practice in China’s exercise of sovereignty in accordance with the law,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said. “We hope relevant sides can stay objective and calm, and refrain from over-interpreting the issue.”
As a result of the release of the map, Xi may opt to bow out of the G20.
Good for the USA
It would seem that the U.S. won’t have any trouble courting potential allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific. Beijing is doing a good enough job on its own of making everyone wary of its claims. Earlier this year, the Philippines forged closer ties with the U.S., and President Joe Biden is slated to visit Vietnam after he attends the G20.
As a result of the new map, even Russia may be suspicious of China.
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.
From the Vault