Monday 23 October 2017

China flexes its muscles

ONCE China became a major economic power, it was inevitable that similar developments in the diplomatic and military fields would follow. But the rapidity of these developments has unsettled her neighbours, and bids fair to unsettle the West as well.

Direct competition between the West and China centres largely on Africa. There, the Chinese evidently want to monopolise control of rare and essential minerals. Westerners who think of the Far East at all probably confine themselves to wishing that Beijing would force North Korea to behave more rationally. But when Beijing's defence minister, Liang Guanglie, talks of war in specific terms, he must know that he will create alarm in the world's major capitals.

"We may be living in peaceful times," he says, "but we can never forget war, never put the bayonets and guns away." That sounds dismayingly like something Kaiser Wilhelm II might have said 100 years ago.

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