Une Chine forte ou faible ?

IRVINE, CALIFORNIE – Ces derniers temps, le gouvernement chinois a employé un langage musclé, inhabituel, pour affirmer sa souveraineté sur des zones maritimes à la territorialité contestée au large de la Chine. Ceci a provoqué une escalade des tensions à effet cliquet, notamment entre la Chine et les Etats-Unis. La secrétaire d’état Hillary Clinton a souligné que l’administration Obama était désormais prête à intervenir pour garantir une adjudication équitable des conflits relatifs à la Mer de Chine méridionale. Les porte-parole du gouvernement chinois ont dénoncé cette proposition, qui reviendrait selon eux à revenir au temps où l’Amérique pensait qu’elle pouvait et se devait d’« endiguer » la République populaire.

Il est possible d’interpréter la surenchère rhétorique de la Chine – et sa sévère riposte aux manouvres militaires Etats-Unis/Corée du Sud – comme une indication que les dirigeants chinois ont une confiance absolue en eux-mêmes et qu’ils ont hâte de faire les importants. En fait, la réalité est plus complexe. En y regardant bien, on se rend compte que les mots et les actions du président Hu Jintao sont souvent le résultat d’un mélange d’insécurité et d’impudence et que les officiels chinois tantôt exagèrent tantôt minimisent l’ascension du pays.

Ainsi, il y a des jours où les dirigeants chinois ont l’air conscients de leur réussite et veulent que le monde entier l’admette. Même avant l’éruption de cette crise diplomatique, les dirigeants chinois faisaient remarquer non sans joie que leur plan de relance avait été oh combien plus efficace que celui d’Obama pour contrer les effets négatifs de la crise financière.

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