Should China Just “Shut Up” About Its Territorial Ambitions?

WSJ.com, April 22, 2014

–Commentary by Ying Ma

As territorial tensions continue to hover over the Asia-Pacific, Beijing has grown increasingly agitated at what it sees as Western efforts to portray it as a bully in the region. China’s territorial conflicts have indeed prompted negative coverage in the foreign press, but how much of that is due to anti-China bias and how much falls on the shoulders of Beijing itself?

According to one veteran strategist, Beijing itself is largely to blame.

In picking fights with so many of its neighbors, China is practicing “bad strategy,” Edward Luttwak, a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, recently told me.

With Barack Obama about to arrive in Asia for a week-long visit, Mr. Luttwak argued that it would make much more strategic sense if Beijing were to “for example, focus on the Japanese,” emphasize their reluctance to fully own up to their sins from World War II, and “shut up about everybody else.”

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