something i wrote in may. this is published, copyrighted material, not under the creative commons license.
Chanakya said it best: your neighbor is likely to be your enemy; therefore ally with its neighbors and rivals. Until the swallowing of the buffer state of Tibet, China wasn't India's neighbor, although it was always India's rival for influence in Asia. Today, China is reverting to its ugliest imperialist mode and wants to be the absolute hegemon in Asia.
This is the sentiment behind the encirclement of India that China has been doing purposefully, the latest examples being the Chinese-built Pakistani port of Gwadar and the Myanmarese-owned Cocos islands where Chinese listening posts eavesdrop on India's naval activities in the Andaman Sea.
The same is behind the orchestrated attacks on Japanese interests in China in April, under the pretext that "Japan hasn't apologized enough for its WWII atrocities." This, when China has extorted $34 billion from Japan (according to Farid Zakaria of Newsweek) as "reparations."
In both cases, China is asserting that it will keep other Asian powers down through a variety of means, one of which is preventing India or Japan from getting the veto power in the UN Security Council. Nehru gave up the seat offered to India and insisted China get it (Selected Works of J. Nehru, Series II, Vol. 29, pp. 231), but China won't help India.
China is a major strategic problem for India, Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, and ASEAN: the 800-pound Chinese gorilla is throwing its weight around. China has territorial disputes galore. As historian R.C. Majumdar wrote perceptively, China is prone to bring up the most laughable "historical" claims to demand territory: the latest fairytale is that Korea's founding imperial dynasty was Chinese. They will be demanding (energy-rich) Russian Siberia similarly any day now.
The United States cannot afford to simply leave Asia: China is looking to displace America and deny Taiwan and Japan the United States' security umbrella. But America has been generally benign, Cambodia, Nixon-Kissinger, and Vietnam notwithstanding. China, with 200 million unemployable peasants driven off the land, will simply suck jobs out of its neighbors and export poverty if it becomes the major power in Asia.
From a military perspective, China is rapidly building up its blue-water navy, which it will use to bully neighbors in littoral waters, as it has been doing to Vietnam and the Philippines as well as to Japan, and most egregiously, Taiwan. Eventually, it will be eyeing vast, empty Australia as lebensraum for its teeming millions as it continues down a ruinous path of degrading land and water in headlong industrialization.
There is no alternative but a cordon sanitaire around China to encourage good behavior. This can only come about as the result of an alliance between the United States, Japan, and India, along with Taiwan, Vietnam, and Australia.