A military honor guard salutes the flag of China.(Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images)
A military honor guard salutes the flag of China.
(Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images)

Rise of the Hawks

China’s ascendency is making the neighbors nervous—and spawning a resurgence of nationalism throughout Northeast Asia. 

Beijing’s multiplying power and intensifying belligerency are driving a surge of nationalism in Northeast Asia. Concerns among China’s neighbor nations range from the commercial—over issues like Beijing’s rapacious drive for resources—to the geopolitical—including matters like China’s aggressive offshore territorial claims and the unveiling of its first aircraft carrier.

“The sense of unhappiness with China among ordinary people in some countries has been getting more acute by the day,” said Guo Jiguang, an expert on Southeast Asian politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. As this unhappiness spreads over the continent, it is opening the way for new leaders to rise to power—leaders acutely aware of the dangers China’s rise presents, and who appear prepared to take measures to counter it.

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