People forget that before the 9/11 attacks, China was supporting the Taliban, and now, with the United States and NATO pulling their troops out of Afghanistan, China has an incentive to stretch into the country, but it won't succeed in its efforts, China expert Gordon Chang said Monday on Newsmax.
"China believes that first of all, it can extend its Belt and Road Initiative through Afghanistan," Chang said on Newsmax's "National Report." "The primary project is in Pakistan, the China-Pakistan economic corridor. They want to extend it up to Kabul. There's a copper mine that China really wants, and they just believe that they can develop relations with the Taliban."
Over the years, he added, there have been "many disturbing links between Beijing and terrorist groups."
With the troops leaving Afghanistan, Beijing can reestablish those links, and "they believe that one way they can do that is to just buy everybody off," said Chang, adding that he doesn't think China will succeed.
"Afghanistan is the 'graveyard of empires' and China is definitely an empire, especially in the western part of the country, where you have the Tibetans and the Uyghurs and the Kazaks," Chang said. "That's where Afghanistan is on China's western border, so this is a grand project that is going to bog China down.''
China, however, believes that it will get some stability on its western front by making a move, as it will then have more control, he said.
"The Afghan-China border is very, very short, but nonetheless, it is a corridor and so Beijing has been working very hard, not only with Afghanistan but other countries on the western border, so I guess they feel that they can sort of stabilize things there," he said.
Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping, the head of the Chinese Communist Party, warned last week that anyone that tries to bully the country will meet up with a China that will "crack their heads and spill [their] blood on the Great Wall of steel built from the flesh and blood of 1.4 billion Chinese people," The New York Times reported.
Chang said that that message is particularly targeted to the United States and that it shows how China believes that it should be bigger than it is now.
"They want territory in an arc from India in the south to South Korea in the north," he said. "What Xi Jinping was talking about was to say 'look, if you stand in our way of plans of territorial aggression, we will kill you.'"
But something that was even more ominous that hasn't gotten as much attention was when Xi said the Chinese are "good at taking down the old world and building a new one," Chang said. "What he really was referring to is China's notion during two millennia of imperial rule that China was the world's only sovereign state. That's what Chinese emperors believed. That's what Xi Jinping believes, so really what he was saying to Washington is, you believe you're a sovereign state? We'll forget about July Fourth because you should consider yourselves to be subservient and a colony of China."
Meanwhile, Chang acknowledged that in his 2001 book "The Coming Collapse of China," he predicted the Communist Party would fall within a decade and that hasn't happened.
But he said he thinks China is particularly dangerous now because it sees that the "long-term trends" are not in its favor.
"China's never been more dangerous than it is right now, especially with that story that we saw, that China's building 119 missile silos in the Gansu desert," Chang said. "So this is a real indication that China intends to use nuclear weapons as a warfighting tool rather than as a deterrent."
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