China is shifting its largely neutral foreign policy framework to favoring certain countries with a long-term view to forging security alliances with them. According to Hong Kong's Sing Tao daily, that could make South Korea an ally and Japan an enemy.
The daily interpreted a birthday message from Chinese President Xi Jinping to President Park Geun-hye as a signal that Beijing wants to join hands with Seoul to rein in Japan.
The Sing Tao said the Xi Jinping administration's diplomatic strategy is "casting off" the doctrine dating back to Deng Xiaoping in the 1980s, when Beijing focused on economic growth without taking sides on international political issues.
Over the past two decades, China has worked hard not to make enemies and sought to develop its economic power under a global status quo led by the U.S. But under Xi it has begun to distinguish between friends and foes, the daily said.
China has joined hands with Russia to deal with the U.S. government's "pivot to Asia" strategy of diplomatic and military outreach to a growing region considered vital to America's future. The daily said Xi "places importance not only in relations with major powers, but also with regional neighbors."
It is focusing on three diplomatic strategies: a "new Silk Road" involving Central Asian states, a "maritime Silk Road" in Southeast Asia and the creation of an "economic corridor" linking Burma, Bangladesh and India.