One's personality is both a composition and reflection, but if I have to choose one of them, I will choose reflection as the "self" is more important to me than "me". One's composition may change, walking across the cultural landscapes and climbing the social ladder but one's self is tied to one's reflections. The fun part is that reflections are not bound to "Time-Space" barriers ( it is not time-space) and respective mental constructs, which have grown so thick over ages, that they had reduced the image of humans to Sisyphus, rolling different sizes of boulders on hills of different heights.… As the name of this Blog indicates, knols are my perspectives on topics of interests, sweet/bitter experiences or just doodling :)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

China’s geographical location: challenges and opportunities

Almost all ancient civilizations died one way or another except Chinese civilization. Archeologists search ancient Egypt civilization in pyramids, Babylon in ruins of Babylon, Indus civilization in ruins of Mohenjo-Daro, Mehrgarh, Harappa, Lothal, ancient Persian Empire in Persepolis, and ancient Rome in ruins of Colosseum (Coliseum) and so on. Archeologists search them in ruins to reveal more details about them. These ancient civilizations have died. On the other hand Chinese civilization is a living fossil. Chinese dynasties come and go, form of governments changed but Chinese civilization remained intact. How was it possible? It is the miracle of Chinese geographical location.

Image source:http://www.chinapage.com/map/map.html

China’s geographical location was always attracted geographers, political and economical scientists (and also paleontologists to hunt Dinosaurs). If until modern times the Southern China Sea, the Western Mountain chains of Himalayas and North western Altai Mountain Chains and Northern Gobi deserts were protecting this civilization from foreign invaders, in modern times, each one of this geographical barrier turned into a new door of wealth and opportunities.
It is a historical agreement that China has a very favorable geography which makes it both sea power (South China Sea, Pacific Ocean, and Indian Ocean) and Land power, (Central Asia and Middle East (Through Pakistan, its key friend). China has 18000 Km long and temperate coastline, which stretches from South China Sea to Yellow Sea, Korea Bay and East China Sea. South China Sea is the largest manufacturing hub of world. China itself along with Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Singapore are manufacturing giants of world. Indian Ocean is the home and main route of fossil. Indian Ocean is called the arc of fossil fuel and Muslim world stretching from North Africa, Middle East to Central Asia. Being in centre of manufacturing and energy homes and routes has turned the coastal areas of China as a source of commerce for the China. The challenge in South China Sea is that of frequent straits. You can easily find some of these
straits like,

- Korea Strait
- Taiwan Strait
- Malacca Strait
- Makassar Strait

China’s Southwest neighbors are home of most populous but poor areas of world including Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar (Burma), Laos and Vietnam. These neighbors are also turning into great asset for China’s commerce and over time the value of this asset is increasing. As China’s economy is improving so is the labor cost. China is successfully competing in free market because of cheap labor. Currently Chinese factories are shifting more towards villages in search of cheap labor. However there is a limit for cheap labor. As there is pressure on relating the value of Yuan with global economy, so these poor and populous neighbors will provide cheap labor to China and make her able to compete and dominate the global economy.

Mekong River is connecting China a very cheap transport to not only cheap labor but also vast markets. We can say that Mekong River has a strategic economic importance and will play a vital role in rise of Chinese economic empire. Mekong River is 4,350 Km long and connect six countries starts from China, Myanmar (Burma), Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Changing weathers and water falls make navigation difficult in this river however, these constraints are not things that could not overcome once the labor value become key in economic competitions.
Map of Mekong River
Image Source:
http://sebrinaandjustin.andalib.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/06/Mekong%20(Medium).jpg

When it comes to neighbors on land, China faces both challenges and opportunities. Western neighbors are Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. All these western neighbors are the source of security problems for China. The instability in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan making Chinese concerned as these instabilities may spread to China especially to Muslim Province of Xinjiang. India is also the source of big trouble for China. There are territorial disputes between India and China. India is also expanding its military might especially in Indian Ocean which is a source of fossil fuel supply to China.

Image Source: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/images/pipemap161209.gif

Though, Western neighbors are sources of concern from security perspective, however they are great sources of economical development for China. Pakistan as main ally of China is connecting China by land to Iran and Middle East. China is building the strategic, Gwadar port in Southern Province of Baluchistan to secure fossil fuel supply, in case of trouble in Indian Ocean or South China Sea. The same is true for Afghanistan and Tajikistan. Though, India is used and projected by West to balance Chinese influence in region however, the large population of India is a promising large market for Chinese goods, so China try to have a good economic relations with India.

The most important Northwestern neighbors are two Central Asian nations of Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan. Kazakhstan is fossil fuel giant of Central Asia and Kirgizstan is connecting China to the vast gas and Oil fields of another fossil fuel giant, Turkmenistan. China is really hungry for mineral and fossil fuel and its expanding economy demands for more fossil and minerals. Central Asian nations vast reserves of minerals and fossil fuel make sure continue supply of these resources. The Kazakhstan-China oil pipeline and Turkmenistan-China gas pipeline is example of fossil fuel supply lines.

On the north China is bordered with Mongolia and Russia. Vast Plains of Mongolia and Russia with their harsh weathers are devoid of population however, vast plains of Mongolia are promising for massive cultivation and agricultural products. It just needed investment in times, demands become high to invest in vast but harsh plains. Russia is a world power that has vast energy reserves but do not enjoy the temperate coast that China possesses. These two powers rely and will rely heavily in future. Russia need access to South China Sea’s economic growths and China needs fossil fuels that Russia has.

Over time, China has taught the world some lessons including but not limiting to,

- China taught new and emerging nations that initial closer to outside world in order to build and strengthen institutions and local technologies, skills and knowledge and businesses is a success key once opened to ruthless competition of globalization.
- Both China and Russia left socialist economy to adopt a free market economy. China slow and careful transformations while keeping nation intact under central government proved more successful and fruitful. On contrast Russia’s sudden transformation along with freeing, nations part of Soviet Union proved disastrous economically, socially and in terms of security as a whole.
- There were two kinds of amphi-powers; those were ocean empires and holding posts on lands like, Pheonicia, Venice, Portuguese and Dutch and those who were land empires with controlled Sea lanes like, Athens, Rome, Muslim, Spanish, British and US empires. China’s favorable location makes it both.
- Usually the concept of globalization is of westernization. This is true for a short period of time, however on long run it is the countries with large populations like China, India, South Asian, South China Sea and South American nations that will develop the global culture and will influence global life style and standards.
- Usually people look to globalization as a world of Post Soviet period. To some extent it is true; however, it is the digitization of technologies, businesses, education and cultural exchanges that have shifted the world to a global world. It is an inevitable process.
Conclusion: China’s geographical location parallels in importance to that of her economic gains and its impacts on world.

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