China’s Border Conflict Not Limited To India; Japan, ASEAN Also Facing Hostilities

China’s border conflict with India has been making headlines for over a month now, however, India does not stand alone as other nations including Japan are facing similar border hostilities from China.

China-India Border Conflict

India’s brawl with China in Ladakh’s Galwan valley began as a military standoff in early May which was perceived by many experts as “a regular occurrence at un-demarcated borders’ which would be resolved as per the protocol.

Galwan Valley Fight: Beijing Gives Step By Step Account Of India-China Border Clash At Galwan Valley

The Galwan region’s Patroling point-14 witnessed the deaths of numerous Indian and Chinese soldiers as the border spat in the Himalayas turned violent.

An Indian controlled area, the Galwan region is claimed by Beijing. As the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian had said in a statement on Friday that “The Galwan Valley is located on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control in the west section of the China-India boundary. For many years, the Chinese border troops have been patrolling and on duty in this region.”

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The Chinese Communist Party’s mouth-piece, Global Times had previously stated that “the Galwan Valley is not like Doklam because it is in the Aksai Chin region in southern Xinjiang of China, where the Chinese military has an advantage with advance infrastructure. So, if Delhi escalates the conflict, the Indian military could pay a heavy price.”

China-Bhutan Border Conflict

In 2017, ties between Bhutan and China flared up when Beijing tried to construct a road in Doklam, to which India (a strategic ally of Bhutan) objected. Doklam, with an area of over less than a 100 sq km comprises of a plateau and a valley and falls at the trijunction between India, Bhutan and China.

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This resulted in a military standoff between two nuclear-armed nations that lasted for about 2 months. Defence analysts acknowledge the strategic importance of the place and could understand China’s deep interest in the Doklam region due to the commanding view and easy access to both the Chumbi Valley of Bhutan and the Siliguri Corridor of India.

Post the standoff, it was reported that China continues to make similar encroachments as many cases have emerged where Chinese patrols have hindered Bhutanese graziers from accessing pasture lands that fall within Bhutan’s territory.  

China-Nepal Border Conflict

In May this year, China’s state-run China Global Television Network claimed Mount Everest as part of China and not Nepal in a tweet. The tweet resulted in a massive outrage from Nepalis due to which it was deleted later.

Chinese telecom giant Huawei is also working with Mobile World to install two 5G towers on the Tibetan side of Mount Everest. Beijing claims that the towers allow internet access to climbers and scientists. Such a technological advantage would not only give China the ability to attract more travellers and scientific expeditions but also kill Nepal’s tourism sector.

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Previously, in 2019, Kathmandu had accused Beijing of encroaching Nepali territory in northern districts of Humla, Rasuwa, Sindhupalchowk and Sankhuwasabha.

China’s Maritime Conflict with Taiwan, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam and Japan

The South China Sea is one of the most important maritime trade routes with annual trade worth of $ 3.5 trillion. Due to the deep resources, China has been claiming the waters based on “historic rights”.

However, China has been repeatedly adding naval presence to the waters surrounding the area which includes islands, reefs, banks and other features in the South China Sea including Spratly Islands (with Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Taiwan), Paracel Islands (Vietnam), Scarborough Shoal (Philippines), and Gulf of Tonkin (Vietnam).

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The dispute between China and Japan is over a group of uninhabited islands that fall in the Eastern China Sea and are named as the Senkaku Islands by Japan and the Diaoyu Islands by China.

It is reported that the Islands have been under Japan’s control from the 1890s however later in the 1970s when evidence of oil reserves on the islands started to make news, China expressed its claim over the islands making them disputed.