Reach Out to Your Neighbors

From the December 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

As China rises, it is cementing relations with the rest of the region.

Warming relations with Myanmar were underlined on September 8 when Myanmar’s junta leader, Than Shwe, visited Beijing, marking the 60th anniversary of cooperation between the two nations. Official Chinese data says the two countries did $2.9 billion in business last year, but analysts believe the actual figures are higher.

Beijing’s investment in Myanmar, which is centered on the country’s energy resources, sharply outweighs trade between the two countries, but China’s interest in Myanmar goes beyond resources. Beijing is developing numerous ports along the Myanmar coast in the Bay of Bengal, which affords Chinese access to the Indian Ocean and extends its naval capability.

Warming ties with Russia were highlighted when, on September 26 to 28, Beijing hosted President Dmitry Medvedev. Speaking to Russian and Chinese war veterans on the trip, Medvedev said Moscow’s friendship with Beijing “was sealed by blood years ago,” and that the “friendship between Russian and Chinese peoples cemented by the military events will be indestructible and do good for our future generations.”

The nations issued a joint statement in which Moscow supported China’s sovereignty over Tibet, Taiwan and Xinjiang, and Beijing supported Russia’s “efforts to promote peace and stability throughout the Caucasian region and the Commonwealth of Independent States.”

In September, China and Russia also joined forces with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in joint military exercises. A major 16-day affair in Kazakhstan, “Peace Mission 2010” was officially labeled a counterterrorism drill, but its scale—it involved around 5,000 troops, 1,600 armed vehicles, 100 cannons and mortars, and 50 combat aircraft—suggested an exercise in conventional warfare. The exercise was the seventh joint drill conducted by Shanghai Cooperation Organization member nations, and was the largest of its kind ever held.

And in a sign of China’s expanding power and influence over the island nation of Taiwan, the two launched maritime search-and-rescue drills in the Taiwan Strait on September 16. The exercise tested the capacity of maritime personnel on both sides of the Strait to safeguard transport within it. The drill was the first of its kind jointly undertaken by China and Taiwan since the end of 2008.

As China’s global clout grows, it will keep building its regional hegemony as it joins forces with Russia to form a military alliance as foretold in end-time prophecy.

China is positioned to sign a $2 billion agreement to construct a railway line in Iran as the first step of a broader plan to connect Beijing to Central Asia and the Middle East. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad raised the idea earlier this year, and China’s railways minister visited Tehran on September 12 to finalize the contract. The new line—the first step in an entire rail system for Central Asia—will run from Tehran to the town of Khosravi on the Iran-Iraq border. Bible prophecy describes a time when great masses of soldiers from Asia will sweep into the Middle East, and the proposed rail system could help facilitate such an event.