Because Hong Kong is strategic for China

Because Hong Kong is strategic for China

The real geopolitical and financial reasons that divide the US and China over Hong Kong. The in-depth analysis of Alberto Negri, already sent from abroad to the Sole 24 Ore, taken from his Facebook profile

Not only the destinies of Hong Kong are at stake: the game is strategic, it involves Taiwan, the southern seas of China, the power and economic balances of the East and West, entire systems of alliance that lasted decades.

Other than the China-US cold war: Hong Kong is a geopolitical powder keg where the formula that has held up the former British colony "one state two systems" is crumbling.

The announcement by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Washington no longer considers Hong Kong to be an autonomous territory from Beijing foreshadows the possible cancellation of the special status that allowed the former British colony to have privileged trade relations with the United States with respect to the rest of China.

Not only the destinies of Hong Kong are at stake: the game is strategic, it involves Taiwan, the southern seas of China, the power and economic balances of the East and West, entire systems of alliance that lasted decades.

The "one country, two systems" principle which since 1997 has guaranteed Hong Kong a kind of autonomy from Beijing is showing clear signs of failure. The inhabitants of the Perfumed Port – this means Hong Kong – at the beginning of the protests that began in 2019 asked for the withdrawal of the extradition law, now they want much more: the guarantees for a true democracy. And above all they oppose the process of integration or absorption of the region wanted by Chinese President Xi Jinping. The goal of the Chinese regime, still formally at the top of the communist leadership, is to dampen all the democratic demands of the former colony but at the same time maintain Hong Kong's role as a global economic platform.

The stakes for Beijing go far beyond the fate of the former British colony. China's goal is that the "Hong Kong model" can in future apply to unification between mainland China and Taiwan: Beijing would like to gain control of the island of Formosa in 2049, the centenary year of the People's Republic of China.

A goal opposed by the President of Taiwan, Tasi Ing-wen, re-elected in January, but which is also opposed by the United States. While Taipei brought the Covid-19 pandemic under control, Trump on March 26 promulgated the Taiwan Protection Act, a law to strengthen ties with Taiwan and which aims to integrate the island into various international forums. Taiwan's first arms supplier and second trading partner, Washington has greatly strengthened its relationship with the administration of President Tasi, detested by Beijing. A few days ago Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Li warned the US "not to challenge China on Taiwan's" red line ".

Not only that: Chinese control of the southern seas is at stake with Hong Kong and Taiwan, from Taiwan to Singapore. From a strategic point of view, it is the highest post that puts China on a collision course with Japan, the United States, Russia, South Korea. A third of world maritime trade passes through this route which is also vital for supplies. of gas and oil.

For some years, China has decided to extend its sovereignty over 80% of the area by building bases on the smaller islands, regulating the passage of navigation based on its "historical rights".

In the midst of a coronavirus crisis, Beijing has deployed its scientific and military ships by creating administrative units on the Paracelsus and Spratley islands, also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam. Here too it is a strategic game because, in support of regional allies, the American fleet does not want to give up cruising in this waters.

In the midst of these dossiers there is obviously the trade war opened by Trump with China in 2018 to reduce the abysmal trade deficit with Beijing: $ 350 billion only in 2019.

From here began the battle over tariffs which in January led to the US-China agreement with which Beijing undertakes to purchase 200 billion dollars of American goods in the next two years. But the agreement remains pending while the controversy between WHO and Covid-19 exploded between the parties, accompanied by the dispute over the technology sector, Huawei's 5-G, considered by Washington to be the Trojan horse with which Beijing is slipping into Europe and among the American allies with his projects on the Silk Roads.

A controversy that is affecting even relations between the United States and Israel, the closest US ally, due to the strong presence of Chinese investments in the Jewish state. And this is just when the new Tel Aviv government announces yet another theft against the Arabs with the annexation of a substantial part of the Palestinian territory of the West Bank.

Of course, Hong Kong alone is fundamental today, a strategic node along Asia's trade routes, with a political and economic status that has allowed it to become a global financial center over time.

But it is even more important for the geopolitical reflexes, because strategic interests of enormous importance run between East and West around the former British colony. That is why the events in the Perfumed Port cannot be ignored.

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL on Tue, 02 Jun 2020 05:00:37 +0000.