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Daniel Twining: Is the "Chinese Dream" Asia's nightmare?

"We don't think China wants to rule the world. China just wants to rule us," remarked an anxious Southeast Asian official on the sidelines of the recent Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, the largest annual gathering of Asian security experts and officials. Over two days, that observation was echoed again and again as representatives from nearly every Asian and Western nation asked the same question in different forms: "Whatever happened to China's 'peaceful rise'?"

     Beijing's increasingly aggressive revisionism threatens the peace of Asia and the core interests of nearly every state in it. Recently, China has used gunboat diplomacy to assert a unilateral claim to vast swathes of the South China Sea; unilaterally declared an air defense zone over the Senkaku Islands administered by Japan; seized control of Philippine territories in the South China Sea; placed an oil rig in Vietnam's territorial waters, causing the sinking of a Vietnamese ship that challenged it; intercepted American and Japanese military aircraft in skies far from China's; and harassed the American, Japanese, Indian, Philippine, and Vietnamese navies in international waters and even, in some instances, in their home seas.

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