‘Aggressive’ China losing friends: India

Envoys of India, Japan, EU and other states complained to US about China`s “aggressive” posture.

Beijing: China is “losing friends worldwide” because of its “aggressive” posture, India’s envoy to Beijing along with those from Japan, EU and some African States, complained to the US, according to a secret cable from the US embassy here released by WikiLeaks.

A new set of leaked cables published by London’s Observer newspaper Sunday showed that US Ambassador to Beijing, Jon Huntsman, in a secret despatch on China’s ‘newly pugnacious’ foreign policy, said Beijing is “losing friends worldwide”.

The European diplomats were “most vocal” about China’s aggressive posture in recent years, while Indian and Japanese envoys voiced similar “complaints,” Huntsman’s cable said. “Numerous third-country diplomats have complained to us that dealing with China has become more difficult in the past year,” the US envoy said in his February report, quoting among others Indian Ambassador to China, S Jaishankar.

In his cable entitled “Stomp around and carry a small stick: China’s new ‘global assertiveness’ raises hackles, but has more form than substance”, Huntsman accused Beijing of “muscle-flexing, triumphalism and assertiveness”.

He said a British diplomat complained saying that Chinese officials’ behaviour at the Copenhagen climate change summit last year was “shocking” and so rude and arrogant that the UK and French complained formally.

Jaishankar requested closer cooperation with the US because of “China’s more aggressive approach,” Huntsman’s cable said, adding Japanese diplomats complained that Chinese officials were “aggressive and difficult” during climate summit preparations.

Reacting to references to Jaishankar’s remarks in Huntsman’s cable, the Indian embassy here declined to comment.

A Japanese official described rising tensions in the East China Sea, saying that “the increased aggressiveness of Chinese ‘coastguard’ and naval units... had provoked ‘many dangerous encounters’”. The cable referred to another dispute between Norway and China over Oslo`s allegation of human rights violations in China. The ties between the two countries worsened following the awarding of Nobel peace prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo recently.

In several cables, US diplomats noted China’s growing influence in Latin America and Africa. Juliu Ole Sunkuli, the Kenyan envoy, “claimed that Africa was better off thanks to China’s practical, bilateral approach to development assistance and was concerned that this would be changed by ‘western’ interference.” But other cables suggested some African diplomats felt “a degree of suspicion and resentment” about China’s role. A Nigerian official suggested poorer countries were “coerced” into aid-for-resources deals.