Amber Countries> China

China is a great enigma in the world machinations currently taking place. There are some that speculate that China’s booming economy is driving the current cycle of warfare. In the face of their massive populations huge thirst for the worlds oil resources, some argue that the Neo-Cons felt threatened and thus wished to invade certain areas of the world, in order to capitalise control of those resources before China was able to. Thus as they have made each of their moves the Chinese have been quietly matching them with their own.

Overtly however the Chinese have been viewed as somewhat ‘friendly’ and an ally in the “War On Terror”. This was a swift turn around though from the opening months of the Bush regime when the Chinese brought down a US spy plane over their territory. This created somewhat of a diplomatic storm between the two traditional enemies. Despite them now being both totally dependent on each other for their economies it seemed that the bad old days of Communist versus Capitalist tension was back on the table. The airmen were held for 11 days by the Chinese before being released. And it was a further three months before the complete plane had been returned, in pieces, to the Americans. These tensions however generally melted away later in the year when the 9/11 attacks occurred. The Chinese were quick to offer at least verbal support to the Americans and did not stand in the way of the Afghan invasion. However as the rest of the Bush foreign policy plan has been unfolded the relationship has grown decidedly icier.

The Chinese are more than likely going to play out any global war in a very cool and reserved manner. Having said that, there are a number of flash points now that could draw them into a military confrontation. If the Korean peninsula were to erupt into war again they may eventually have to get involved. Their old enmity with neighbouring Japan seemed to have been steadily building of late, so if Japan is dragged into a new Korean war then the chances of a new Sino Japanese war are there. Those tensions, however, have been somewhat lessened in the past month, since the election of the new Japanese prime minister, who has been frantically trying to heal rifts between the two nations.

However in the face of a nuclear arms race in the region or other hostilities this work may collapse again. It is far more likely though, that they will just arm North Korea to do this dirty work for them. At any rate the Chinese military has had its leave cancelled and is in a state of preparedness for trouble following the North Korean nuclear test. Publicly the Chinese are stating that this is to deal with any potential floods of refuges that may come streaming across their borders in the event of war on the peninsula. But it could also be ensuring their preparedness for the much larger conflict that is looming.

Far more probable a flash-point for China is with Taiwan. If the Chinese sense that the US is now hopelessly bogged down on numerous fronts across the world they may take the opportunity to finally make good on their age old threat to invade Taiwan. The Chinese see Taiwan as their territory and for many years have been planning to invade it and take it back. The only thing preventing them has been the military deterrent of the US forces in the area. Indeed, the Chinese ambassador to the UN made it clear back in August 2006, following the Lebanon crisis, that China was ready to sacrifice its own people's lives if any nation supported a declaration of independence by Taiwan. He stated that China was prepared to “… do the business through whatever means available to my government. Nobody should have any illusions on that. We will do the business at any cost.” He also said the US needed to “shut up” in that interview. So it is highly likely that this will become a flash-point of the world war.

And of course, the attack on Iran will have a more immediate effect on China, as Iran is one of their major sources of oil. Therefore, they will be extremely unsettled by any attacks on this nation that may interrupt their oil supply. They may find themselves in a situation where they have to defend their oil interests in the region. Indeed, they have set up a defence organisation with neighbouring countries in the region called the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation that may be used for just this purpose.

Map of China