And in its honor, a primer to understanding China’s international relations:
Let’s say I’m China, and I have this delicious cake. It’s fluffy and moist, covered in all the flair with like chocolate flakes and candied rose petals and stuff. Written on top in pretty floral icing are the words “China’s Territorial Integrity.”
Along comes Britain who says “give me some of that cake.”
I ask why, and he says that it’s for free trade. I am reticent, and he wants to compromise. I ask what I get out of this compromise, and he says that I get to keep the part of the cake that I already own.
I do not think this is a good deal. He pulls a gun on me and cuts himself a slice anyway.
We will call this the Treaty of Nanjing.
Emboldened by Britain’s example, others – France, Russia, Portugal, Japan, the US, etc – do the same thing. Tientsin, Whampoa, Peking, Shimonoseki, Boxer Protocol, Twenty-One Demands, etc, etc, etc.
At one point, the US decides that, as one of the “compromises”, everyone gets to share equally in the cake. Everyone, that is, except me, who actually owned the cake in the first place.
We will call this the Open Door Policy.
Finally, when I’m left holding a tiny slice of what was originally left of my cake, I decide I’m done.
I buy a gun, I take some tactical classes, and the others are weakened due to fighting amongst themselves.
I start reclaiming my cake. It’s not a perfect process, and the icing got smudged or had bites taken out of it, but by and large it’s starting to look like the way it did before.
And then, the thieves that stole my cake in the first place have the gall to set themselves up as the arbitrators of whether this is correct and proper.
They’re standing there, wringing their hands that formerly held pieces of my cake that they took, making anime eyes at me and whining about my “saber-rattling” and my “territorial ambitions” that threaten to “destabilize the region”, asking why won’t I find a “peaceful way to reach compromise.”
And I’m just standing here, going “you have got to be kidding me.”
I’ve seen what your idea of compromise looks like.
There’s two definitions to that word, one is to actually meet in the middle, and the other is to concede, and it’s real obvious which one is meant whenever they say China needs to “compromise”.
(Original credit for the cake analogy goes to LawDog, whose original version I also agree very strongly with)