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Russia and China an Approaching Conflict?

Russia and China an Approaching Conflict?

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Published by K R Bolton
Russia and China: an Approaching Conflict? was written as an illustrated, self-published booklet, and an edited and revised version was accepted for publication by the peer reviewed scholarly journal, The Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies, which is the version printed here. The original version was published on the website of Ductch political scientist Alfred Vierling, himself an academic expert on these countries. The essay deals with approaching crises and possible conflict between the two present supposed allies, Russia and China, against the background of Chinese conflict with India and Vietnam and the determination of China to establish its hegemony from India, to Central Asia to the South Pacific islands. The 1960s Sino-Soviet border dispute is put into context, as are relations between China and the USA .
Russia and China: an Approaching Conflict? was written as an illustrated, self-published booklet, and an edited and revised version was accepted for publication by the peer reviewed scholarly journal, The Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies, which is the version printed here. The original version was published on the website of Ductch political scientist Alfred Vierling, himself an academic expert on these countries. The essay deals with approaching crises and possible conflict between the two present supposed allies, Russia and China, against the background of Chinese conflict with India and Vietnam and the determination of China to establish its hegemony from India, to Central Asia to the South Pacific islands. The 1960s Sino-Soviet border dispute is put into context, as are relations between China and the USA .

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Published by: K R Bolton on Nov 23, 2009
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154
The Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies
Russia and China An Approaching Conflict?
K. R. Bolton
*
 
 Paraparaumu Beach, New Zealand
The seeming rapport in recent years between Russia and China isone of the foundations of the post-Cold War world. Yet Russo-Chinafriendship is an aberration of history. This article examines whether theSino-Russian accord is based on secure and enduring foundations, or whether it is a very temporary alliance of convenience that will eruptsooner rather than later into conflict and expanding conflagrationthroughout Asia. China’s past inclination to resort to invasionbackgrounds the current suspicion between the two newfound “friends”amidst China’s growing incursions into traditional Russian spheres of influences and even into the Russian Far East. Scenarios for futureconflict are examined, particularly possible contentions over waterresources. Reference is also made to recent relations between Chinaand the USA.
Key Words:
Russia, China, Russo-China relationship, China-USA relationship,Russian Far East, Asian water resources, Sino-Soviet discord, 1950 Sino-SovietTreaty of Friendship, China’s territorial ambitions, 1979 Chinese invasion of Vietnam, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Primorsky Krai, Mongolia
One of the primary geo-political shifts in recent years has been therapport that has
 seemingly
developed between two historic enemies, Russiaand China. Discord between the two powers goes back to the centuries-longduration of the Mongol occupation of Russian territory, and subsequentannexation of Chinese territory by Imperial Russia. This historic conflict wasnot mitigated by the triumph of Communism in China, despite theproclaimed aim of world proletarian solidarity.However, in recent years Russia and China have developed trade anddiplomatic relations. Most significantly, Russia has been China’s main supplierof arms (followed by Israel). Chinese and Russian leaders have sought accordin the face of what they consider US global hegemony following the collapseof the Soviet bloc.It is the thesis of this paper that the accord between Russia and China will not hold, any more than the “fraternal relations” between the two whenboth were nominally “Communist”. The author believes there will eventuallybe conflict between Russia and China over land and resources. As shown in
* Address for communication: P.O. Box 1627 Paraparaumu Beach, New Zealand, 5252.
 
 
Russia and China: An Approaching Conflict?
155
Volume 34, Number 2, Summer 2009
other articles, Asia is replete with potential crises over land and resources,many of which could erupt into regional conflagration
1
.In the 1960s, when Chinese “Communists” dissolved their “fraternalrelations” with the USSR and resorted to the old ethnic rivalries, American journalist Harrison Salisbury wrote a prophetic book on geopolitics
TheComing War Between Russia & China
.
2
Salisbury’s predictions seem to havebeen proven wrong in recent years with the new Sino-Russian accord, yetdevelopments now indicate that his predictions are unfolding, and precisely atthe time he foretold they would – the 21
st
Century. Now another book,although not subscribing to the expectation of a war, is being published thatnonetheless shows the rising tensions. It is
 Russia and China; Axis of Convenience: Moscow, Beijing and the New Geopolitics
, by diplomat BoboLo.
3
 
Salisbury’s Thesis
The present writer has long held that a Russo-Chinese accord would nothold, but rather there would be conflict with the possibility of war. I wrote in1983:
The split between Russia and China over Communist ideology is a merefaçade, and practically irrelevant. The real split is historically and raciallybased. We can trace the Russo-Chinese split back to 1229 when theMongol ‘Golden Horde’ of Genghis Khan invaded Russia. The Mongolsruled Russia for 250 years. Even as late as the 18
th
C. Mongols still ruledthe Lower Volga and the Crimea. This centuries- long Mongol rule hasresulted in an ingrained… fear of Eastern conquest.
4
 
Harrison Salisbury says that Russians don’t differentiate among Asians,considering the Mongol invaders of six centuries ago the same as thehundreds of millions of Chinese whom the Russian sees as poised to strikeagain. Hatred for the Chinese is ubiquitous among the Russians. The phrase
1
Appendix: I The Coming War in Asia..
 
2
Salisbury Harrison E., The Coming War Between Russia & China, Pan Books,London, 1969. Salisbury was assistant managing editor of The New York Times, and a veteran journalist in Russia and Asia. He was the first American journalist to visit Hanoiduring the Vietnam War.
 
3
Bobo Lo was second-in-charge at the Australian embassy in Moscow in the late 1990sand is now director of the China and Russia programs at London's Centre for EuropeanReform.
 
4
Bolton K. R., The Washington-Peking-Tokyo Axis: Threat to NZ’s Survival, RealistPublications, NZ, 1983.
 
 
156
K.R. Bolton
The Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies
‘little yellow bastards’ is used unapologetically.
Sino-Soviet Discord
Stalin backed Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalists. The primary Soviet goal was a united front between Chiang and Mao to fight the Japanese, whilerecognising Chiang as the leader of China. Mao put up a pretence of fightingthe Japanese and claiming to be able to work with Chiang. Salisbury remarksthat Stalin always preferred Chiang to Mao, whom he regarded as a“Trotskyite”. During World War II Chiang was the focus of Soviet support,not the Reds under Mao. In 1945 the Russians prepared to evacuateManchuria, but stayed until 1946 at the request of Chiang in order to thwarta Maoist takeover. The Soviet ambassador was only withdrawn from Chiang’sentourage on Oct. 2, 1949, the day after Mao announced his government inPeking. Russia’s continuing support for Chiang at the ambassadorial level,right up until the formation of the Communist regime, created a grudge thatMao forever carried.Even under the Sino-Soviet alliance of 1950, the military equipmentfrom the USSR was second-rate and expensive. In 1957 Mao took adelegation to Moscow and asked for nuclear warheads, but was rebuffed.
1950 Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance and Mutual Assistance
Mao’s dreams of establishing China as a superpower rested on theassumption that it would be built up with Russian largesse. This was not thecase. Rather, the 1950
Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance, and Mutual Assistance
, which served as the basis of Russo-Chinese relations forthirty years, was humiliating and debilitating. It was one, moreover, which wasthe primary cause for China’s invasion of Vietnam in 1979, as will beexplained below.Mao could have cultivated friendship with the USA, which wasfavourable towards a Maoist takeover. Gen. George Marshall, for example, was antagonistic towards Chiang and did not view the Chinese Communists ashaving Soviet support. Marshall told Chiang that US assistance would halt if Nationalist forces continued pursuing the Red Army into northernManchuria. This was in 1946, at a time when such an offensive could havefinished Mao. This gave Mao a strong base from which to gather his strengthand finally defeat Chiang. As Chang and Halliday point out in their definitive biography of Mao,

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