China’s Global Ambitions and its strategy of territorial reclamation

Observing the rapid escalation of China’s assertiveness towards the South China Sea and its adjacent nations, it becomes unequivocally evident that China is adhering to its longstanding strategy. This strategy entails a premeditated plan for China to attempt to reclaim its purportedly lost territories by engaging in warfare with these nations over the forthcoming four to five decades. Nevertheless, despite China’s formidable power, specialists concur that it is not in a position to provoke hostility with the United States, Western powers, and other global nations.

China harbours intentions to engage in conflict with six nations globally, commencing with its intricate involvement with Taiwan, a contention that is also echoed by Chinese media. Discourses surrounding prospective Chinese military manoeuvres predominantly revolve around Taiwan. Nevertheless, in 2013, China’s official news agency, the China News Service, disclosed in an exposé that China is anticipated to confront six wars in the ensuing half-century. The China News Service was alluding to the reclamation of territories that were forfeited during the Opium War spanning from 1840 to 42, an event that inflicted considerable disgrace upon China.   

Indeed, China, which is contemplating six wars, is poised to engage in these conflicts with countries such as Taiwan, Japan, India, the Philippines, Russia, and Mongolia, which constitute its proximate and remote neighbors. The initiation of these wars has been subtly orchestrated by China, with Taiwan being the primary target. China harbors ambitions to annex Taiwan by 2025, and is currently fostering a tense atmosphere by strategically encircling Taiwan. Recently, China commenced a punitive military exercise aimed at Taiwan, ostensibly to demonstrate its intent to assimilate Taiwan into its national boundaries eventually. However, this endeavor is unlikely to be straightforward, as Taiwan has resolved to respond robustly to China’s aggressive overtures.

Taiwan has already issued a war alert, with directives for all three military branches to maintain a state of combat readiness. The unfolding of future events, however, remains shrouded in uncertainty. Concurrently, China’s secondary objective is the acquisition of the South China Sea. As per the China News Service, post the annexation of Taiwan, China aspires to consolidate its stronghold on the South China Sea between the years 2025 and 2030. Nevertheless, China’s presence in the region is already notably active. Vietnam and the Philippines have long been in China’s crosshairs. It is a common sight to witness China embroiled in disputes with the Philippines in that territory. Chinese belligerence is markedly high in the region, yet it is noteworthy that the Philippines has consistently reciprocated China’s overtures in kind.

China’s tertiary objective is the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, referred to as Southern Tibet or Zhang-Nan by China. Recently, it has assigned Chinese nomenclature to several of its regions, eliciting a stern reprimand from India. An ongoing territorial dispute with India persists, with a severe clash witnessed between the two nations a few years prior. China frequently issues statements concerning Arunachal, yet it has hitherto been unsuccessful in exerting influence in this region. Concurrently, China’s quaternary aim is to seize islands contested by Japan. As per the Chinese news agency, China harbors ambitions to annex the Senkaku and Ryukyu Islands, currently under Japanese jurisdiction, within the timeframe of 2040 to 2045. Furthermore, a discernible contention with Japan is also evident on China’s part.

China asserts that Japan has historically claimed it as its territory, yet it has been associated with China for centuries. Nevertheless, Japan has also fortified its preparations in this region. Subsequently, China’s fifth ambition is to launch an offensive on Mongolia and seize control. As per the Chinese media article, following Japan, China harbors intentions to annex Mongolia. Mongolia, too, shares borders with China, and it has been frequently observed that China proclaims Mongolia to be an inseparable part of its territory and designates it as a self-governing province. However, Mongolia gained independence from China’s Qing dynasty as early as 1911, and by 1924, it had established itself as a sovereign nation. China still retains a substantial portion of Mongolia, referred to as Inner Mongolia. As per Chinese media reports, the Chinese administration could potentially engage in warfare with Russia in the timeframe between 2055 and 2060. Nonetheless, this scenario seems rather fanciful for China, given that Russia is among those nations that remain impervious to any detrimental actions from China. Chinese analysts contend that Russia has seized control over an area spanning 1.6 million square kilometers that belongs to China. China envisages that by 2045, its analysts have even proposed the execution of a formidable nuclear assault. However, these assertions are largely speculative, as while China may launch an offensive against Taiwan and could potentially find itself embroiled with the Philippines, it is implausible for it to instigate disputes with nations such as Russia and India, nor does it possess the requisite power to do so.