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China and the US war on terror

Ong, Russell (2006) China and the US war on terror. Korean Journal of Defense Analysis, 18 (2). pp. 95-116. ISSN 1016-3271

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America's war on terror and its concomitant unilateralist tendencies in international politics have presented new foreign policy challenges for China. On one hand, the war has given China a chance to highlight its role as a responsible great power through a common undertaking to combat terrorism. It also serves as an excuse for China to crack down more forcefully on separatists in Xinjiang. On the other hand, from China's perspective, the United States uses the war on terror as a pretext to strengthen its global hegemony in the post—Cold War era. Moreover, the ongoing hunt for terrorists has enabled the United States to enhance its presence in the key geopolitical region of Central Asia. It is argued that ultimately, for China, negative implications of the U.S. war on terror outweigh the positive ones. China also sees the United States using the war on terror to establish its military and economic presence in Central Asia, a region of geostrategic significance. China needs vast energy resources to fuel its growing economy and has invested heavily in procuring oil supplies from the region. In the quest for comprehensive national strength, China allocates high importance to economic security, which stresses having access to key mineral resources. In this sense, the U.S. presence in oil-rich Central Asia is seen in a negative light because China now faces a strong economic competitor there.