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Hostage diplomacy: China's key tool to pressure rivals escalates war risk

News Agencies | Updated on: 15 August 2021, 9:41 IST

China has been exercising hostage diplomacy for a long time to pressure its rivals and superpowers in an attempt to get some leverages for Beijing's benefits but now these communist attempts escalate chances of war, a media report said on Saturday.

Last week, Beijing announced an 11-year sentence for Canadian Michael Spavor and upheld the death sentence of Canadian Robert Schellenberg. Beijing's step was criticised worldwide as the move and its timing was purported to pressure Ottawa to release the Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou who is awaiting a Canadian court ruling on her extradition to the US, Nikkei Asia reported.

She faces charges of misleading HSBC over the nature of Huawei's ties to its Iranian subsidiary Skycom, causing the bank to unwittingly violate US sanctions on Iran.

China's attempt to interfere in the legal proceedings of other countries through hostage diplomacy is counterproductive for Beijing's long-term security interests as it increases the chance of accidental conflict with China, writer Stephen Nagy said in Nikkei Asia's opinion piece.

Now, even the close allies of the US believe that they are vulnerable to China's arbitrary detainment and coercion.

Beijing has been bullying its immediate neighbors from Japan to Singapore, South Korea to Taiwan and Australia through its power and financial strength and China coerce them as they pursue their national interests, Nagy added.

Beijing's recent hostage diplomacy actions have threatened the scholars and researchers to visit the country for their research purpose as they fear arbitrary detainment by China due to country-based rivalry. Now, China is facing the wrong effects of its hostage diplomacy as those experts who can contribute to developing China are staying away from the country and giving their precious work to other nations.

Beijing is following Italian diplomat Niccolo Machiavelli's notion that it's is better to be feared than loved.

Nagy said that this approach to foreign policy, exemplified by the detention of Canadians Kovrig, Spavor and Shellenberg, and the bullying of Australia, South Korea and Japan during their spats with Beijing, has not won China friends or allayed the concerns of its neighbors. Quite the opposite in fact, with a recent Pew Research Center survey showing China's favorability ratings falling to record lows.


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First published: 15 August 2021, 9:41 IST