U.S. officials have told China to discourage using force to pursue territorial claims in Asia the way Russia has in Crimea. Russia's annexation of Crimea has heightened concern among U.S. allies in the region about the possibility of China using force to gain control over the disputed Senkaku Islands.
In an interview with Fox News National Security Analyst KT McFarland, Steve Orlins downplayed those fears. Orlins serves as president of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and just returned from a meeting with top Chinese officials.
“The situation in Crimea and Ukraine is not one which has emboldened China,” Orlins said. “Their reaction [was] very cautious and concerned.”
Beijing has closely watched Kiev since the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych by opposition protestors.
“The annexation of Crimea is deeply concerning to the Chinese because they worry tremendously about … Tibet and Taiwan,” Orlins said. “Would they vote to be a part of China? Maybe not. Would they vote to be a part of another state? Possibly.”
Orlins sees China’s relationship with Japan as problematic. “[It] was the Japanese that started down this road,” Orlins said in regards to the disputed islands.
“Now the Chinese have overreacted. Plenty of blame to go around, but the initial change of the status-quo we often lose sight of was by the Japanese,” said Orlins.
Watch the full interview with Steve Orlins above.
Chris Snyder is a producer for Fox News based in New York. Follow him on twitter: @ChrisSnyderFox.