July 30, 2004
EAST ASIA'S 'LARGE-SCALE WAR GAMES' SPUR
WARNINGS OF 'ESCALATION'
** Dailies term parallel
military drills by the U.S., Taiwan and China "unprecedented."
** Asian outlets see the
"rapid development" of closer U.S.-Japan military ties.
** Mainland papers assail
the "hypocrisy" of Washington's China policy.
** China's "peaceful
ascendancy" is contributing to a regional "sense of crisis."
Taiwan is Asia's 'most dangerous flashpoint'-- China, Taiwan and the U.S.' "military
muscle-flexing" is creating what the centrist Winnipeg Free Press
called a "dangerous international game of bluff." China's "massive display of force"
led Taiwanese dailies to see an "increasing possibility of military
action" against Taiwan. The
pro-independence Taipei Times accused Beijing of trying to "force
Taiwan into submission through military intimidation." Hong Kong's independent South China
Morning Post discerned in the U.S. exercises the "overt purpose of
countering a growing Chinese military threat." PRC dailies countered that the U.S. drills
aim to "improve its strategy for Asian hegemony."
Japan's 'strategy of containing China'-- PRC papers opined that Tokyo seeks to capitalize
on the "accelerated integration" of U.S. forces with Japan's military
to "realize maritime hegemony."
Official Global Times blasted Japan's "strategic
scheming," especially with regard to the "China-Japan battle for East
China Sea resources." Liberal
Japanese papers expressed concern over plans to "expand the scope and role
of the U.S. military in Japan"; Asahi urged a "cool and
objective look at whether U.S. military realignment" is in Tokyo's
interests. But conservative writers said
"Japan must cooperate" for the U.S.-Japan alliance "to function
effectively." Sankei urged a
"lackadaisical" Tokyo to better protect its own maritime interests.
Taiwan is the 'bone of contention' in Sino-U.S. relations-- Chinese dailies expressed "strong
dissatisfaction and indignation" towards "provocative" U.S.
policies. Referring to U.S. arms sales
to Taiwan, they cautioned that if Taiwanese "play with fire, the fire will
burn the U.S. as well." The
congressional resolution backing Taiwan also drew ire; pro-PRC Macau Daily
News warned that "countries should not interfere in other's internal
affairs." One Chinese writer held
that the "Taiwan Relations Act is the root of all troubles between the
U.S. and China." Taiwanese outlets
advised the U.S. to avoid "contradiction and compromise"; centrist China
Times urged the U.S. to "draw its line more clearly" in order to
maintain "strategic clarity."
'China seems anxious to annex democratic Taiwan'-- Several Asian papers saw Taiwan as part of China's
quest "toward building its hegemony."
Pro-PRC outlets countered that China just seeks to "safeguard its
national sovereignty." Many Chinese
papers assailed Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's "totally
mistaken" visit to Taiwan. Official
International Herald Leader concluded Singapore "has lost China's
trust" and "dared to say no to China" due to U.S. support. Singapore's pro-government Lianhe Zaobao
responded that "such over-reaction by China is counter-productive."
Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press
sentiment. Posts select commentary to
provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion. This report summarizes and interprets foreign
editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S.
Government. This analysis was based on
55 reports from 9 political entities over 15 - 30 July 2004. Editorial excerpts from each country are
listed from the most recent date.
EDITOR: Ben Goldberg
Tries A Different Tack On Taiwan"
Rowan Callick wrote in the business-oriented Australian
Financial Review (7/25):
"Taiwan, with a population of more than 1 million, is increasingly
enmeshed with China. Most Taiwanese don't see themselves strictly as Chinese,
since Taiwan has not been effectively ruled by China since 1895. They don't
want to end up under a one-country, two-systems format like the people of Hong
Kong, where more than 500,000 people demonstrated for a second year on July 1
against being locked out of their own government. The Taiwanese are feisty, but
they consistently reject formal independence for fear of the
CHINA: "Where Will The
U.S. Military's Next Chessman Be?"
Ni Wenxin maintained in official China Radio
International-sponsored World News Journal (Shijie Xinwenbao)
(7/30): "The U.S. Defense
Dept...has suggested that it should change its traditional manner of simply
increasing deployments and expanding bases...rather expand potential military
partners by establishing agreements and reaching alliances. Therefore, on the one hand, the U.S.
continuously increases its 'military bases' in the Philippines, Singapore,
Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Pakistan etc. and on the other hand conducts
measures called 'no-obstacle entry'....
This means it sets up ad-hoc cooperative military relationships with
certain countries.... In this way, the
U.S. military can use its military bases freely at any time based on the
specific situation.... Looking at the
above facts, the U.S. force posture in the whole western Pacific Ocean will not
simply be an increase of one aircraft carrier combat group."
"Japan Flexing Military Muscle"
Yao Wenli stated in the official English-language China Daily
(7/30): "This year marks the 50th
anniversary of the formation of Japan's Self-Defense Forces (SDF).... These forces have evolved into one of the
world's best-equipped militaries.... The
future direction of the SDF was foreshadowed in the 2004 Defense White
Paper.... The White Paper provides a
telling clue about Japan's future defense policy.... By this logic, more participation in U.S.-led
coalition activities...is imperative....
The deployment of a missile defense system by Japan is intended to
contain China and the DPRK...and lay the foundation for sharing Northeast Asia
dominance with the U.S.... The White
Paper gives special attention to China.
In its assessment of the international military situation, China is at
the top of the list of countries to watch....
Japan is again trying to justify its own unconstitutional military
buildup through exaggerating the military threats posed by neighboring
countries. This is not in the least
wise, and will not achieve its desired object."
"Taiwan’s 'Front Line Of Defense' Progresses Toward The
Li Xuanliang commented in official international
International Herald Leader (Guoji Xianqu Daobao) (7/29): "Taiwan’s military is building missile
and radar bases on Penghu and Mazu Islands [near the Mainland], trying to
construct an ‘island chain’ defense project.
But actually they just have increased the number of attack targets for
the Mainland’s cannons at wartime and these definitely will not have any
‘deterrent effect'.... Can the Taiwan
authorities’ deployment...really contain the Mainland’s attack and form a
threat to the Mainland’s coastal areas?
Experts think that Taiwan is just emboldening itself. ...What’s fatal
is, either Jinmen or Mazu islands are too close to the Mainland and far from
Taiwan’s home island, and so once there is a war, Taiwan’s military will not be
able to reinforce them.... The Taiwan
authorities know this fatal weakness, but they pretend to be deaf and
dumb.... Earlier the U.S.
suggested...that the Taiwanese military withdraw troops from the Maqiu
Islands. To embolden the ‘Taiwan
independence’ forces, the Chen Shuibian authorities not only did not withdraw,
but instead has deployed more offensive weapons."
"Seventy Percent Of Japanese Military
Expenditures Go To Offensive Weapons"
Li Sijun commented in official international International
Herald Leader (Guoji Xianqu Daobao) (7/29): "To fulfill the transformation into an
'oversea offensive type' military strategy, the Japanese Self Defense Forces
have placed an emphasis on the development of distance strike forces at sea and
in the air, and have invested more than seventy percent of its military
expenditures to exhaust its efforts to bring its weaponry to a larger scale and
to have longer-range capabilities. More
importantly, to train in order to deal with ‘neighboring incidents’ and to
realize maritime hegemony, Japan’s Self Defense Forces frequently hold drills
with the U.S. army, especially that deployed in Southeast Asian waters. The military area of Japan’s Self Defense
Forces has extended from its homeland to neighboring areas, and even from
neighboring areas to international waters and other country’s territories. Meanwhile, Japanese officials frankly declare
that they will launch 'a pre-emptive strike' against Japan's 'enemies.'"
"What Did Fargo Have Up His Sleeve? U.S. Commander Visits China At A Critical
Qiu Yongzheng commented in China Youth
League-affiliated official Elite Reference (Qingnian Cankao)
(7/28): "Fargo’s trip was more
‘technical,’ and it won’t exert much influence on the complicated relationships
involved in the Taiwan issue.... The
four goals of Fargo’s trip to Beijing: first, the trip tried to emphasize the
U.S.’ current Taiwan policy, that is that the U.S. will maintain the status
quo.... Second, it tried to eliminate
the recent, increasing distrust between the U.S. and Chinese military.... Third, there is the possibility that the U.S.
military intended to detect details from China [regarding the Taiwan
issue].... Fourth, it intended to
increase contacts with China on many fronts....
The U.S. needs China’s cooperation."
"China Policy Volatile In U.S.
By Yuan Peng held in the official
English-language China Daily (7/28):
"With the lead up to the US presidential election hitting fever
pitch, Chinese are becoming increasingly concerned about whether Washington's China
policy will be used for political gain or whether some conservative
forces.... Since the establishment of
diplomatic relations between China and the United States in 1979, it has become
common practice for the Republican or Democratic presidential candidate to
severely criticize the China policies of the incumbent government when the two
parties are struggling for power.... In
fact, the 'China symptom' has developed into an incurable ailment for the
United States during its presidential elections.... However, that does not mean that no major
friction exists between the two countries, or that the Bush administration's
policy towards China is accepted by its domestic opposition. With the presidential struggle drawing
nearer, Sino-US disputes in the following fields may be highlighted. The U.S. trade imbalance with China will
possibly be utilized by the Democrats to lash out at the Bush
administration.... The Taiwan question
still remains as the bone of contention between the two nations. ...China's military
modernization is likely to become a topic for mutual attack during the
election. ...In addition, the United States' reaction to China's rising
influence in the international community and how the two nations can maintain a
beneficial strategy in the Asia-Pacific region have also become hotly debated
over the past year.... Different from
Bush, Democratic candidate John Kerry has been friendly towards China. He can
comprehend China's increased influence in Asia and globally.... But that does not mean the U.S. will
automatically change its Chinese policies and improve its relations with
Beijing if Kerry becomes president....
It is expected that the Republican-controlled Congress will force the
Democratic administration into concession on the one-China policy and the U.S.'
arming of Taiwan, thus creating a bigger obstacle to the Chinese mainland's
settlement of the question. Despite its
negative policy towards China, the Bush administration has put Sino-US relations
on a track of normal development through four years of engagement. In the long run, a US pursuing international
co-operation and multilateralism will be more beneficial to world peace and
"Which Side Would Singapore Choose In A
Gu Chen maintained in China Youth
League-affiliated official Elite Reference (Qingnian Cankao)
government...gradually has discovered that it can’t necessarily gain any
benefit from China’s opening up....
What’s more, both Singapore and Taiwan depend on U.S. orders...but
Singapore isn’t economically dependent on the Mainland, as is Taiwan. So in a future U.S.-China confrontation,
there is a significant possibility that it will choose to be a U.S. dependency.... The ‘Island Chain’ is one of the most
important links of the U.S.’ measures to improve its strategy for Asian
hegemony. The U.S. more and more
emphasizes its military relations with Southeast Asia’s nations.... For a small Southeast Asian country like
Singapore, the U.S. ‘Asia first’ policy has an important strategic
meaning. Singapore’s government’s
construction of naval bases and guaranteeing the presence of the U.S. Seventh
Fleet, from a long term perspective, intends to contain China’s development.”
"U.S. Military Commander Comes To Communicate And Pacify The
Tang Yong contended in official international Global
Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (7/26):
"Analysts think Fargo’s trip is actually an ‘out-of-the-ordinary
military and diplomatic activity during a sensitive time'.... They believe that his trip had two goals:
‘putting out the fire’ and ‘explaining.’
Putting out the fire was, the U.S. recent passage of an arms sales bill
to Taiwan for a large sum of money, which made U.S.-China relations
tense.... As for the explaining,
analysts think that Fargo also carried a secret mission--to clarify the rumor
of ‘seven aircraft carriers besieging China'.... China and the U.S. always engage in
high-level official contacts during crises and sensitive times, and this is
helpful for removing misunderstandings and incorrect judgments between the two
countries and for avoiding escalations in the crises. Fargo’s Chinese trip was aimed at these
objectives. Experts think that the
effect of Fargo’s trip won’t be such a big deal.... Fargo’s promise to the Mainland on the Taiwan
issue is the same as the U.S.’ behavior on the issue: he says this in front and
behaves that way behind. If he doesn’t
change such a position, then the results of his trip to China won’t be too
"Taiwan Trip Tightens Tension"
Wang Jiamin maintained in the official
English-language China Daily (7/23):
"Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's visit to
China's Taiwan Province earlier this month drew great attention and earned a
rebuke from China.... Against this
background, Lee's offer to provide the communication channel for both sides
across the Taiwan Straits obviously came at the wrong time. To some extent this
reflects his failure to recognize the core interest of China and its
sensitivity over the Taiwan question. It
should be pointed out that Lee's visit to Taiwan was a continuation of special
relations between the island province and Singapore.... As for Lee Hsien Loong's reasons for
traveling to Taiwan less than two month after his trip to the Chinese mainland,
there is much speculation among cross-Straits ties observers. As I see it, economic considerations play a
very important role in pushing Lee Hsien Loong to rush to Taiwan despite
Beijing's admonishment.... What is more,
Lee Hsien Loong scored political points through this low-key but high-profile
visit. The trip was intended to
highlight Singaporean independence in making decisions regarding regional
affairs and enhance the status of Singapore and enlarge its influence in ASEAN.
From that perspective the political profits of the visit perhaps outweigh the
temporary negative impact on the Sino-Singapore relations.... Since the May 20 election Chen Shui-bian has
started to adjust his strategy toward the mainland and he is sparing no efforts
to further internationalize the Taiwan question. Lee Hsien Loong's visit to
Taiwan, considered as a new breakthrough in Taiwan's diplomacy, is no more than
an important move designed by the Taiwan authorities in the chessboard of the
Straits. Tension between China and
Singapore due to the controversial visit is precisely what the Taiwan
authorities expected.... Volatile
cross-Straits relations, coupled with the complicated international situation
leave open the possibility that similar troubled events will happen again. However, because of China's rise and its
considerable influence in Southeast Asia, the domino effect triggered by Lee
Hsien Loong's Taiwan visit will not come about.
Internationally, to break out of the political framework built on the
one-China stance held by most of the countries in the world would not be an
easy task for Taiwan."
"U.S. Sets Up 'Asian Pentagon' In
Li Xuanliang remarked in official international International
Herald Leader (Guoji Xianqu Daobao) (7/22): "The command center of the U.S. First
Division has moved from Washington State to Japan, and a second aircraft
carrier is to be deployed in the Western Pacific...the U.S. is stepping up the
deployment of its military in the Western Pacific, trying to make Japan the
Pacific regional command office of the U.S. military.... Establishing a ‘Pentagon’ in Japan is an
important symbol of the accelerated ‘integration’ of the U.S. military in Japan
with the Japanese Self Defense Forces....
For the U.S., ‘the unsinkable aircraft carrier’, Japan, has become the
U.S.’ strategic core in Asia.... The
U.S. ...is trying to set up a ‘Northeast Asia command center’ based in Japan,
and once it is realized, the U.S. military bases in Japan and ROK would
complement each other and besiege Northeast Asia. If a military conflict were to occur on the
Korean Peninsula or in Japan, the U.S. could quickly intervene. The U.S. is deploying a second aircraft
carrier in the Western Pacific mainly because ...if there is an emergency on
the Korean Peninsula or in the Taiwan Straits, the U.S. could instantly take
"U.S. Interferes Into The China-Japan
Eastern Sea Resource Battle"
Qiu Zhenhai contended in official international International
Herald Leader (Guoji Xianqu Daobao) (7/22): "To a certain extent containing and also
participating in China’s resource exploration are two sides of the U.S.
resource strategy vis-à-vis China.
Although Japan has said that the U.S. ‘would not interfere,’ the U.S.
attitude on East China Sea is unusual.
The U.S. resource strategy vis-à-vis China may be conducted through
several channels: first, consistently focusing on China’s oil consumption and
overseas oil sources, evaluating all possible influences on the U.S. and
establishing certain countermeasures, including blocking China’s overseas
sources; second, American private oil companies join in China’s oil exploration
work.... For the time being, the U.S.
will not interfere greatly into the China-Japan battle for East China Sea
resources.... But there is the
possibility that the U.S. in the future may exert an influence behind the
scenes, and its basic slant would be toward Japan."
"Unification Schedule Is 'The Palm Of The
Xu Bodong declared in official international International
Herald Leader (Guoji Xianqu Daobao) (7/22): "At this moment, the Mainland is taking
the initiative and launching a measure of attack in issuing its ‘unification
schedule,’ proving indirectly that the current Taiwan Straits situation is very
grave and that the Mainland has adjusted its policy toward Taiwan. This adjustment is obviously timely and
logical.... We should be clear that we
should fight for ‘strategic opportunity’, and not wait for somebody to ‘bestow’
it upon us. The Mainland’s ‘unification
schedule’ issuance is equal to drawing a circle for ‘Taiwan independence’
followers--it is like the hand of the Buddha, and the Mainland wants to see
‘whether or not you [Taiwan independence followers] dare or are able to jump
out of the hand. [An episode from 'Journey To The West', in which the Monkey
could not escape from the open palm of the Buddha.]"
"Lee’s Visit To Taiwan Irritates The
Mainland; A Mistaken Step"
Li Ying and Yang Meng said in official
international Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (7/21): "Lee’s visit to Taiwan had a severe
impact on China-Singapore relations. It
is said that all senior-level official contacts between the two countries have
ceased. Moreover, mutual exchanges in
the military, trade, tourism and cultural fields also have been
influenced. They are not restricted to
'government activities,' but also include 'people-to-people' activities. Such a bad influence is due to the seriousness
of Lee’s visit. Currently the Chen
Shuibian authorities are stepping out for 'Taiwan independence,' and the Taiwan
Straits situation is even more sensitive and complex.... Lee's visit at this moment was exaggeratedly
reported and taken advantage of by the Taiwan authorities. Taiwanese media have said that Lee’s visit
'has made Chen Shuibian rip an opening in Southeast Asia.' Thus we can see that Lee's visit poses a
serious challenge to China’s fundamental interests. Singapore has a special relationship with
Taiwan: in the military sphere, they
have the 'starlight plan.' In the
economic sphere, they currently are conducting free trade negotiations; on
security, they are both under U.S. protection.
Therefore, in the future, there is still the danger that Singapore may
make certain 'breakthrough moves.'"
Li Runtian noted in official international Global
Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (7/19):
"The resolution...is obviously a crude interference into China’s
internal affairs. It will certainly
arouse the Chinese people’s strong dissatisfaction and indignation.... The three communiqués form the political
basis of the two countries’ relations.
The U.S. has an obligation to carefully act upon the principles of the
communiqué, and any behavior in violation of the communiqués will destroy
U.S.-China relations. People have seen
that the U.S.’ deeds do not match its words: on the one hand, the U.S. orally
reiterates the ‘one-China’ policy and its stance of ‘opposing Taiwan
independence;’ but on the other hand, the U.S. conducts fraud, conniving with
‘Taiwan independence’ forces, and especially recently, the U.S. has conducted a
series of provocative affairs.... All of
this U.S. behavior and words have exposed the hypocrisy of its China
policy. ‘Sticking to the one-China
policy and the three communiqués’ is being voided by certain people in
Washington. China has lodged a sincere
statement: the Taiwan issue concerns China’s national sovereignty and
territorial integrity. The Chinese
government and people will definitely not bear ambiguity, compromise or concede
on this issue. We will not abide,
tolerate or sit by and watch the behavior of any force trying to separate
Taiwan, no matter from within or outside the island."
"Japan Indicates Regional Aims"
Liu Jiangyong opined in the official English-language China
Daily (7/19): "Last December
Japan for the first time hosted a summit of the 10-member Association of
Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The
meeting released a declaration in which the Japan-backed concept of 'East Asia
Community' was included.... It
demonstrates that Japan is seeking to adjust its security strategy towards East
Asia in the wake of the September 11 event, considering not only boosting
regional co-operation in the field of non-traditional security, but containing
China strategically in the security aspect....
Obviously, the two reports cannot both represent the Japanese
Government's overall strategic concept and steps of ‘East Asia
Community'.... But they do demonstrate Japan
has made some important adjustments to its East Asia strategy, with different
emphasis on security and economy. With
regard to how to deal with China, the core views of the two reports appear at
odds.... Such a difference in the tone
of the two reports submitted by the same institution is to some extent
attributable to the formation of the examiners of the reports.... Following the 'pre-emptive strategy' of the
US in the wake of September 11, 2001, Japan has indicated it would adopt a
similar strategy to deal with any missile threat. It even dispatched its
self-defense forces to Iraq.... Economic
globalization and regionalization prompted Japan's change in its stance. China
and ASEAN reached agreement on establishing a China-ASEAN Free Trade Area by
2010. To avoid being isolated and marginalized and to maintain its leading position
in Asia, Japan had to adjust its policy which attached more importance
strategically to strengthening economic integration with East Asia. Though there exists ample room for further
economic co-operation between China and Japan, Japan has not deviated from its
strategy of containing China. In fact, large-scale reduction of its
governmental development aid to China indicates any future economic
co-operation with Tokyo will to some extent hinge on Japan's well-entrenched
"New U.S. Resolution Destroys U.S.-China Relations"
Liu Aicheng concluded in official international Global Times
(Huanqiu Shibao) (7/19):
"The Taiwan Relations Act unilaterally established by the U.S.
always has been a protective umbrella for Taiwan. Based on this, the U.S. has been selling arms
to Taiwan throughout time immemorial and without any end in sight in order to
enhance U.S.-Taiwan military cooperation and further embolden ‘Taiwan
independence’ followers. This has
created disturbances in the Taiwan Straits and caused repeated tensions in
U.S.-China relations. In this sense, the
‘Taiwan Relations Act’ is the root of all troubles between the U.S. and
China.... The U.S. now intends to
increase arms sales to Taiwan and enhance U.S.-Taiwan military cooperation and
exchanges.... It is the U.S. itself and
the so-called Taiwan Relations Act...that have caused the Taiwan authorities to
move further and further on the issue of ‘Taiwan independence’ and have caused
tensions across the Taiwan Straits. The
newly passed resolution obviously throws a shadow over U.S.-China relations and
has taken a further step toward destroying relations.... We request that the U.S. government converts
the above promises into actions, clearly opposing these resolutions and adopting
real actions to eliminate negative impact, taking real actions to maintain
peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits and in U.S.-China relations."
"U.S. Stubbornly Insists On Arms Sales To
He Hongze commented in official international Global
Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (7/16):
"Recently a worrisome thing has happened in U.S.-China relations:
ignoring China’s repeated attempts to negotiate and clear opposition, the U.S.
is insisting on selling a large number of advanced weapons, including submarines,
to Taiwan. The danger exists that
U.S.-China friction in regard to this issue will escalate.... If the U.S. wants to improve bilateral
relations, it must cease arms sales to and military relations with
Taiwan.... The U.S. will not heed
China’s warning and will continue to sell advanced weapons to Taiwan.... At present the situation...is different from
three years ago...it has changed from ‘Taiwan is in a rush to buy weapons’ to
‘the U.S. is in a rush to sell weapons'....
The U.S. government will not stop arms sales since arms sales are its
fixed policy, and this will not change because of China’s opposition. It is determined by a structural
contradiction in U.S.-China relations.
But arms sales to Taiwan will also bring harm to the U.S. U.S. decision-makers have not recognized
that Taiwan independence followers have gone too far and that Taiwan’s creeping
independence supporters are approaching very near to China’s bottom
line.... The U.S. government underestimates
the danger and has no idea that its arms sales actually have escalated the
danger. But when ‘Taiwan independence’
followers play with fire, the fire will burn the U.S. as well."
"U.S. Spying On The Chinese Military's
Tang Yong and Zuo Jianxiao asserted in official
international Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (7/16): "Why has the U.S. military wantonly
stolen PLA intelligence but meanwhile still intends to conduct military drills
related to China? Analysts believe that
the reasons are: first, Bush wants to create influence and prestige. Bush intends to prove to the American people
that the U.S.’ basic interests have been ‘threatened’ and that the White House
is taking action. Second, the U.S. aims
to create conditions favorable to its arms sales to Taiwan.... It wants to force the Taiwan authorities to
purchase weapons from the U.S. as soon as possible. Experts on the Taiwan issue believe that
these ‘little moves’ of the U.S. military were taken right at the time of Chen
Shuibian’s ‘reelection,’ and undoubtedly this fermented the influence of
‘Taiwan independence’ followers....
Experts indicate that the U.S. is still using an old trick: using ‘the
Mainland threat theory’ to frighten Taiwan and forcing Taiwan to purchase U.S.
arms. Furthermore, from a strategic
point of view, the U.S. is not willing to engage in a fierce confrontation with
the Mainland.... After the U.S. detected
the real facts of the PLA drills, it became more unwilling to become involved
in a direct confrontation with the PLA."
"How Far Will Koizumi's Regime Go?"
Ling Xingguang, Feng Zhaokui and Liu Jiangyong
wrote in official international Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao)
(7/16): "The character of Japanese
politics in which the parties in office have a bigger influence than opposition
parties hasn’t changed. After the
elections, Japan will develop toward a two-conservative-party system. Koizumi’s prestige has fallen and the
difficulties facing its rule have increased. Restraints from inside and outside
the party have increased and political disturbances have increased.... The process of developing contingency bills
is the process in which Japan is gradually trying to improve its alliance with
the U.S. ...Koizumi’s cabinet advocates a greater pro-U.S. policy than any
other cabinet in history.... Whether or
not Japan can stick to its peaceful constitution is also greatly determined by
how China treats Japan. We should
improve communication with Japan and prevent Japan from strategic scheming
against China.... Historically whenever
China is more powerful than Japan, the two countries’ relations are good, but
whenever Japan is more powerful than China, problems will emerge in
relations. With respect to our work on
the Japanese issue, the key point is to make China even more powerful. Only then can the China-Japan friendship be
"The Taiwan Authorities: Gambling Without A Sober View Of Their
Cao Yongsheng said in China Radio
International-sponsored official World News Journal (Shijie Xinwenbao)
(7/15): "After the U.S. initiated
the Afghanistan war and the Iraq war, ‘the preemptive strike’ has become a
‘popular international phrase.’ Some
Taiwan lunatic politicians are also chasing after popularity, crying out to
launch a ‘pre-emptive strike’ against the Mainland. But these are just the Taiwan authorities’
measures to embolden themselves....
'Taiwan independence’ forces have spent great efforts to call for the
‘pre-emptive strike’ because they have clear goals: first, to create the fairy
tale that Taiwan is capable initiating an attack against the Mainland; second,
to plot to escalate ‘Taiwan independence’ measures to trigger a war; third, to
take their Taiwan compatriots ‘hostage’; fourth, to drag Taiwan’s military into
a mire. Taiwan doesn’t have the
capability to become independent. There
is no consensus supporting ‘Taiwan independence’ on the island, the military
doesn’t have the capability to fight the Mainland, and its wish that ‘the U.S.
would interfere strongly into a Taiwan Straits conflict’ is a just one-sided
wish. ‘Taiwan independence’ has no
future besides encountering attacks from both inside and outside. ...If Taiwan
indeed launches a ‘pre-emptive strike’ against the Mainland, then the Taiwan
authorities will lose everything."
"Taiwan Issue Should Be Wary Of
Qiao Xinsheng noted in official international International
Herald Leader (Guoji Xianqu Daobao) (7/15): "Chen Shuibian has exerted all of his
efforts to play the part of Israel in his managing relations with the U.S. In managing [Taiwan’s] relations with the
Mainland, it tries hard to be Singapore.
Under the influence of foreign forces, Taiwan’s intentions have been
realized step by step.... From refusing
the U.S. as a mediator for cross-Straits relations to proactively claiming the
Taiwan issue as the pivotal issue between the U.S. and China, the Chinese
government has gradually grasped the substance of the Taiwan issue. But if it harbors illusions about the
Americans, hoping that they will not support Taiwan’s independence, then this
is another extreme. The U.S. is just playing
a two-sided trick, hoping to reap the biggest rewards. Two possible major changes to Taiwan are both
related to the U.S.: when Taiwan tries to be Israel, the U.S. is a protector;
when Taiwan tries to be Singapore, the U.S. is a disturbance to the Mainland. We must prevent the Taiwan issue from
becoming Israelized or Singaporized, and prevent any foreign force’s
interference to cause China’s unification issue to deteriorate."
"Lee’s Visit To Taiwan: Is This The First Domino Falling?"
Shi Chun observed in official international International
Herald Leader (Guoji Xianqu Daobao) (7/15): "When the state of cross-Strait
relations ‘slack outside but tense inside,’ the Vice Premier of Singapore paid
a sudden visit to Taiwan.... This
aroused a severe protest from China, and also an alarm for the Chinese
government that, if the Mainland doesn’t react strongly, other ASEAN countries
will possibly follow his steps, and then the Taiwan authorities would have
ripped an open wound in ASEAN.... During
this sensitive time, Lee made a totally mistaken judgment about the
situation.... Since Singapore is a U.S.
ally in the Asia-Pacific region, Lee’s risky move is also suspected of catering
to the U.S.’ new deployments in the Asia-Pacific region.... In the wake of these high-level visits to
Taiwan by Lee and its Defense Minister...the result is possibly that Singapore
now has lost China’s trust.... The
reason that Singapore dared to say no to China is that the U.S. is behind its
back. Were it not the ally of the U.S.,
Lee's moves would not take on such a high key.
His visit is no different than huge and good news for Chen
"China Grasps Tight The 'Sea Supremacy Of
500 Sea Miles'"
Zhang Jinfang averred in official international International
Herald Leader (Guoji Xianqu Daobao) (7/15): "While the China-Japan struggle for oil
and gas in the East China Sea is still in stalemate, the ROK’s drillers have
begun drilling into the Yellow Sea’s continental shelf. Some Southeast Asian nations have begun more
frequent provocative behavior including joint drills pertinent to China. The situation of China’s coastal sea
territory has become serious. Nowadays
when marine strategy is essential for China’s economic rise, China should
maintain a calm feeling and adopt new thinking to break through the ‘Straits
dilemma.’ China’s adopting great wisdom
to promote a great marine strategy is the general trend. ...Recently the North
China Sea fleet...has stepped up implementation of the strategic task for the
next decade: to dominate with absolute sea supremacy to an area over 500 sea
miles and to manifest the determination to guard its coastal economic
CHINA (HONG KONG AND MACAU SARS):
"Taiwan Military Exercises Make The Public Feel Anxious"
Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked
(7/28): "Taiwan's military will
hold the 'Han Kuang exercise' every year.
This year, in order to look for an excuse to purchase weapons, the Chen
Shui-bian authority has made an effort to stress the threat posed by Chinese military. They created a story about Chinese military
actions. They attempt to use military
exercises to play a 'tragic show' to deceive the public and the opinions in
Taiwan. They try to boost cross-strait
hostility so as to pave the way for buying weapons. The media in Taiwan points out that 'Han
Kuang exercise' has become a show by Chen Shui-bian to push for weapons
purchase from the U.S., to destroy the cross-strait peace and to promote
'Taiwan independence.' Chen Shui-bian
does not hesitate to spend $600 billion Taiwan dollars to buy weapons from the
U.S. because he wants to use money to entice the U.S. to strengthen U.S.-Taiwan
military relations so that the U.S. will continue to provide military
protection to Taiwan under the 'Taiwan Relations Act.' If Chen Shui-bian triggers a war in the
Taiwan Strait due to advocating 'Taiwan independence,' can the U.S. really
protect Taiwan? It is questionable. Beijing has already told the U.S. that the
Chinese government and its people are determined to safeguard its national
sovereignty and territorial integrity....
It is believed that the U.S. and the Taiwan authorities will be clear
about China's warning. It is hoped that
Chen Shui-bian will not underestimate China's determination."
"Building Up For A Taiwan Showdown"
Frank Ching wrote in the independent English-language South
China Morning Post (7/28): "As
if to underline the sense of urgency, Jiang Zemin, the commander-in-chief of
China's armed forces, has for the first time set what amounts to a deadline for
the reunification of Taiwan and the mainland, by force if necessary. On July 16, he told a meeting of the Central
Military Commission, the country's most powerful military body, that 'before or
after 2020 is the time to resolve the Taiwan issue.' While his words are somewhat vague, they do
appear to constitute a veiled ultimatum.
And while 2020 may seem a long way off, one should remember that Beijing
provided a 15-year transition period for Hong Kong by announcing in 1982 that
it would take back the British colony in 1997.... The existence of a Chinese ultimatum, however
vague, may well create a new sense of urgency on the part of the U.S. and
Taiwan.... While the U.S. denied that
Summer Pulse was specifically aimed at China, the Pentagon did release news
that a military exercise, called Dragon's Thunder, has been held at the
National Defense University with the overt purpose of countering a growing
Chinese military threat to Taiwan.
Clearly, Beijing does not want war, which would set back its plans for
economic development. However, the
Chinese do appear to be gearing up for a showdown with Taiwan and, if
"U.S. Heightens Its Taiwan Strategy To Hold China Up"
Independent Chinese-language Ming Pao Daily News
editorialized (7/26): "U.S. State
Department's spokesperson has called on both parties in the strait several
times to not to let the military exercises heighten the situation. However, all these are just pretentious
calls. The U.S. is going to sell
advanced weapons to Taiwan and its military cooperation with Taiwan will emerge
from underground to semi-overt. Usually,
when the situation in the Taiwan Strait is facing the most critical moments,
the U.S. supports Taiwan. Thus, the U.S.
has become the biggest stumbling block for settling the Taiwan issue
peacefully.... The U.S. has made use of
Taiwan to hold back China for more than half a century. The recent developments that trouble people
include the Taiwan Presidential election in March. It was obvious that the U.S. was inclined to
support Taiwan in its China policy. The
mentality behind this policy is that the peaceful ascendancy of China will pose
a threat to U.S. interests. Thus, the
most effective way to check China's peaceful ascendancy is to make use of the
Democratic Progressive Party's leverage as a ruling party to advocate Taiwan
independence or even to drag China into an undesirable war.... Beijing should adopt an appropriate
countermeasure to deal with the changing U.S. cross-strait policy. It should even take the risk of letting
Sino-U.S. relations fall back. If China
lets the U.S. take whatever it wants in the Taiwan issue, especially allowing
the development of U.S.-Taiwan military cooperation without scruple, it is
obvious that the Chen Shui-bian government, which is inclined to support Taiwan
independence, will give the wrong signal.
It may then wrongly estimate the situation and make a reckless
move. By that time, the Chinese nation
will be badly harmed."
"War In The Taiwan Strait Is Not Impossible"
Independent Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Journal
declared (7/23): "Recently, there
have been many military exercises near the Taiwan Straits. In early July, the People's Liberation Army
held a summer landing drill at Dongshan Island in Fujian. Subsequently, Taiwan also launched the 'Han
Kuang military exercise' by conducting a landing drill using the highway. In the meantime, USS Kitty Hawk is heading to
the Philippines. It will soon pass
through the eastern coast of Taiwan. It
is obvious that these military exercises are a review of the military strength
of all sides. Beijing is gradually
moving toward to using force to settle cross-strait unification. And Taiwan is planning how to counter attack
in the 'time of emergency.' Taiwan's
media reported that Taiwan's military is coming up with a plan to evacuate the
head of state. If a cross-strait war
really breaks out, 800 missiles will continuously attack Taiwan for ten
hours. In order to ensure the safety of
the President, Taiwan's military must send the 'head of state' to the safest
place, possibly the U.S. warship....
China and the U.S. have no longer evaded the topic that a war may break
out at the Taiwan Strait. After the
reelection of Chen Shui-bian, China and the U.S. began to include military
clashes in their agenda. In the 'Annual
Report on Military Power of China' issued by the U.S. this year, it indicated
that in 2005 or 2006, military clashes may erupt in the Taiwan Strait."
"Improve Sino-U.S. Relations By Removing The Stumbling
Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News editorialized
(7/22): "Everyone knows that the
political foundation of Sino-U.S. relations is based on the Sino-U.S. three
joint communiqués.... For what reason
and of what rights do the Americans have to promote the so-called 'the Taiwan
Relations Act?'.... Such a policy is
wrong. It should be abolished. Rather than abolishing the policy, the U.S.
Congress reviewed the Act and 'reaffirmed their pledge.' The U.S. continues to challenge China. They do not allow China to settle its
sovereignty and the issue of its territory by itself. They are pushing China too hard.... Recently, the U.S. has been adopting a
challenging posture. Some people say it
is just an election strategy of the conservatives during the election. Elections are each country's individual
business. Other countries should not
interfere in other's internal affairs.
Also, they should not let their rifles go off accidentally. Otherwise, it will be like picking up a stone
to drop it on one's own feet. A
responsible government should not be manipulated by politicians."
"U.S. Should Give Up Its Cold-war Mentality"
Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News opined
(7/17): "The U.S. government has
always reiterated that it does not support Taiwan independence when it talks
about Taiwan issues. Sometimes, the U.S.
will stress its stance a little bit. It
is usually because it wants to defend its words and deeds, despite their
truthfulness. Recently, the U.S. pushed
Taiwan to close a weapons sale deal worth $600 billion Taiwan dollars. Due to the weapons sale, Sino-U.S. relations
as well as cross-strait relations turned tense.
Hence, the U.S. administration sent Rice to visit China and the White
House and the State Department all came out to reiterate their
statements.... If the U.S. needs to keep
its promise on the Taiwan issues, it must take action. The action is very simple: it should no
longer sell advanced weapons to Taiwan, it should cut off all military
connections with Taiwan and it should stop conveying misleading signals to
Taiwan. Giving up Cold-War mentality and
becoming a trustworthy friend of China are the only ways to turn Sino-U.S.
conflicts into normal and healthy relations.
A cordial cooperation between China and the U.S. will contribute to the
peace of the Asia-Pacific area and the world."
TAIWAN: "Prevent China
From Invading Taiwan And Being A Regional Hegemony"
An editorial in pro-independence Liberty Times read
(7/29): "Without Taiwan as a
steppingstone, it would be difficult for communist China to take the most
important stride toward building its hegemony. Seen from this macro view, the
presumption by some that China will not use military force against Taiwan
because it is busy developing its economy and organizing for the 2008 Olympic
Games, is obviously wishful thinking. They fail to see the very nature of
communist China. It is precisely because China is targeting all its efforts at
developing its economy and playing a significant role in the international
community that it is imperative for China to have Taiwan, and so its threat to
Taiwan becomes greater and greater....
The fact that the United States has been actively strengthening its
Asia-Pacific military presence is an indication that Washington totally
understands Beijing’s hegemonic thoughts and it is determined to prevent any
Chinese military adventure. In contrast, although Taiwan is in a dangerous
situation, it is still caught in disputes over whether to purchase advanced
defensive weapons or not. Under these circumstances, how can we not worry about
Taiwan’s peace and security?"
"The New Strategic Thinking Revealed By Beijing’s Military
The centrist, pro-status quo China Times said (7/29): "The recent military exercises held by
the U.S., China, and Taiwan have placed East Asia under an atmosphere of heavy
gun smoke. China’s...new patterns of warfare not only indicate new thinking but
also may change China’s military strategic deployment against Taiwan in the
future. This trend is no less than a sharp warning for Taiwan, which has been
[roiled] in disputes over a NT$600 billion-plus arms purchase budget. The new political work regulations issued by
the Chinese military in early December 2003 established the ‘three wars’ [i.e.
engaging in public opinion, psychological, and legal warfare] as a requirement
for winning the information war and provided new implications for military
political work.... From the military
operations point-of-view, the Dongshan Island war games are all in the
hard-kill category and their effectiveness will mainly be demonstrated during
actual combat. However, the ‘three wars’ are different. They are to be fought
before, during, and after the actual battle. For example, the U.S.-Iraqi war
ended long ago. But the ‘three wars’ continue. Especially after the exposure by
the media of the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. troops, the justification for
the U.S. military role in this war as a ‘liberator’ has been questioned by the
whole world. Thus far, the resulting damage to the United States is still hard
to estimate. It is not unlikely that the Chinese military may encounter more
complicated problems than this when invading Taiwan."
"U.S. Should Take Clear Stand in Strait"
Andrew Yang wrote in in the pro-independence Taipei Times
(7/29): "As the two sides of the
Strait become increasingly suspicious of each other, they have both lobbied the
United States with accusations of wrong-doing on the other side. At the same
time, military threats and the manipulation of public opinion have deepened the
mistrust. This causes problems for U.S.
policymakers. Not only must they listen to the complaints from both sides, but
on the domestic front they also have to mediate between the hawks and doves who
are pulling in opposite directions on this issue. Because the U.S. position is full of
contradiction and compromise, their principles and policies for maintaining the
status quo have gradually lost credibility.
It is quite clear that the U.S. can do little to resolve the
cross-strait crisis. In response to Taipei’s complaints, it can only recommend
calm, and advise the country to bide its time to win greater space to maneuver.
But the government does not see time as being on its side. Already there is a
sense of anxiety among politicians and the public over the nation’s political
ambitions, which indicate that Taipei is in a hurry. The same can be said of Beijing. It is
anxious to resolve the question of Taiwan. But in the face of U.S. prevarication
and the strong emotional response that their ultimate goal triggers in Taiwan,
there is little they can do but deal with the issue sternly. History has taught
us that when two great powers face off over a flashpoint, the only way of
easing the pressure is for both parties to show their hand. In its recent
military exercise, Beijing has revealed how it may handle the issue.... The ball is in the U.S. court. Clearly, its
version of the ‘status quo’ is increasingly untenable. It is time for the United
States to show its hand. Both sides of the Strait wait for this with bated
"Summer Crisis at the Taiwan Strait--Part II"
An editorial in pro-independence Taiwan Daily
read (7/23): "[T]he third factor
that may contribute to a crisis and a race [at the Taiwan Strait] is that the
military balance between Taiwan and China is now gradually tilting toward a
direction that is favorable for China.
Even though Taiwan is ready to spend 18 billion U.S. dollars in buying
weapons that may help to prevent or at least slow down the military imbalance
between China and Taiwan, still it would take years for Taiwan to obtain such
weapons. All these three factors put
together has constituted a picture that is worth people's attention: In terms of its capability, China is able to
launch a limited war across the Taiwan Strait now. As for its eagerness, the Chinese leaders, at
least for Jiang Zemin, who is in control of China's military power, will be
very interested in watching a (manageable) summer crisis break out at the
Taiwan Strait. But for the United
States, the last thing it wants now is a cross-Strait crisis that will drag it
into conflicts with China. In short, the
Chinese know that they have an excellent opportunity to create a cross-Strait
crisis in the Taiwan Strait this summer.
They believe that if a war breaks out now, the Americans would choose to
talk rather than to go to war [with China].
They also believe that they could take advantage of this summer, which
seems unfavorable for the United States [to go to war], to teach Taiwan a
lesson, and in the same time take over whatever military achievement that is
resulted from the inner power struggles inside China.... The Chinese leaders (at least Jiang's team)
know that the U.S. is tightly bound up politically and militarily at the
current stage. If a military crisis
breaks out across the Taiwan Strait this summer or early fall, Washington's
bottom line would be to end this crisis as quickly as it can. If that be the case, all China will have to
do is just to stick to its position, and the only way that could end the crisis
would be for Washington to force Taiwan to make concessions to China.... As a result, the Bush administration, which
already foresaw that China is interested in creating a crisis, decided to take
a preemptive foreign strategy by showing a tough attitude [to Beijing]--namely,
it had [National Security Adviser Condoleezza] Rice go to Beijing to argue
rather than to mediate [with China]. In
the meantime, the Pentagon also deliberately released the news that the U.S.
military was conducting a simulation drill at the Taiwan Strait, an attempt to
convince Beijing that it would be a big mistake if China wants to take
advantage of this summer to create a crisis and that the United States is ready
to face any challenges, including direct confrontations between China and
"Summer Crisis At The Taiwan Strait--Part
An editorial in pro-independence Taiwan Daily
read (7/22): "The U.S., Taiwan and
China have each been staging military exercises lately in Taiwan, the Taiwan
Strait, and areas near the Taiwan Strait, respectively. These drills may not necessarily be as
routine as claimed by officials. Instead,
they may be viewed as a barometer for a Taiwan Strait summer crisis--the first
round of a crisis and a race.... On the
surface, [National Security Adviser Condoleezza] Rice seemed to have visited
Beijing to discuss the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula. But in reality, she was there to ease the
tension between the United States and China over Taiwan. According to the story put out by the U.S.
government following Rice's trip, the conversations she had with the Chinese
leaders were not very smooth, and both sides argued over many issues. Beijing even warned [Rice] that Washington's
Taiwan policy is increasing the possibility of conflict between Washington and
Beijing. [Former Chinese President and]
incumbent Chinese Communist Party Central Military Commission Chairman Jiang
Zemin even showed his anger right in front of Rice about the Taiwan issue. The point is that Rice did not yield to the
Chinese Communist leaders, nor did she waver in her position. All this, to be viewed from the outside, may
give people the impression that she went to Beijing not to 'put out the fire,'
but to 'set fire to' a potential crisis between the United States and
China. Given such a development and the
following three factors, [we can say] that the 'routine' [military drills] this
summer are not really routine and they deserve the greatest attention. First, the U.S.' military decision-making,
power, and prestige have entered the Bush administration's only 'period of
comparative weakness' for the past three years.
With the war in Iraq in bad shape, crisis in the Persian Gulf, and the
U.S. presidential election looming, the last thing the Bush administration
wants is a military crisis with any regional superpower. ... Politically, such a crisis would only result
in a more negative judgment by the American voters on the Bush administration's
ability to manage its foreign policy....
Second, China's economy is facing serious trouble and its politics has
entered a period of change. On one hand,
the Beijing authorities headed by Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao know very clearly
that the rule of the Chinese Communist Party can only be justified by its
performance regarding economic development.
The Communist regime will face a crisis if there is an economic crisis
in China.... On the other hand, Jiang
[Zemin] and his Shanghai gang know their position, too.... They know that the 16th Party Congress of the
Chinese Communist Party, to be held in October or November, will be a critical
battlefield for inner party conflicts.
They also know that they are holding a patriotism trump card in their
hands that can restrain or even destroy the Hu-Wen authorities. The trump card is the 'Taiwan issue;' namely,
they can create a crisis in the Taiwan Strait and manage and manipulate it
"The Difference Between Strategic Ambiguity
Deputy Editor-in-Chief Kuo Chen-lung said in
centrist, pro-status quo China Times (7/21): "It requires more effort to be
strategically clear than strategically ambiguous because [Washington] needs to
draw a line and prevent Taiwan or Beijing from crossing that line all the time. On the other hand, however, both sides [of
the Taiwan Strait] will constantly attempt to step on the line and move and
switch its position. The United States,
therefore, needs to draw its line more clearly by standing out and defining
itself what 'Taiwan independence' is, what a 'new constitution' is, and what
the significance is when Beijing increases its missile deployment [aimed at
Taiwan]. This is a thankless task, but
it is nonetheless a prerequisite for maintaining strategic clarity. Now that strategic ambiguity is
history...problems for strategic clarity still remain. The Bush administration has yet to achieve
full strategic clarity that is balanced between the two sides. Washington is standing in a more or less
middle position while still tilting toward Taiwan. This has created suspicion in Beijing, and
tension across the Taiwan Strait still remains."
"Taiwan's Security Concerns Deserve More
The conservative, pro-unification,
English-language China Post editorialized (7/21): "The military tension in the Taiwan
Strait has been intensifying since Chen's re-election in March. The strait has now been widely seen as the
most dangerous flashpoint in the Asia-Pacific region. This is not exaggerating, just noting the
large-scale war games being played out by mainland China, Taiwan and the United
States.... The military moves by the
U.S. are more indicative of the gravity of the tensions in this region. The Pentagon early last week held a top-level
crisis simulation drill, specifically examining responses to the increasing
possibility of military action by China against Taiwan. At the same time, the U.S. Navy has announced
that from mid-July through August it would hold drills dubbed Operation Summer
Pulse 2004 in waters off the China coast near Taiwan. The war games would involve the deployment of
as many as seven aircraft carrier battle groups.... It would not be realistic for the government
and the people to expect that Taiwan could effectively address its military
threats from China by the promotion of greater defense cooperation with the
U.S.... In some senses Taiwan and the
U.S. have entered into a strong military alliance. Yet such an alliance would not help Taiwan
attend to its security concerns in a fundamental way. This is because it won't tackle the root of
tensions with the mainland. Beijing
would not change its hard-line policy and drop its objections to the
independence movement in Taiwan just because this island has entered into
stronger military cooperation with the U.S.
The difficulty is that Washington, while being willing to render defense
support for Taiwan, wants to do so only for the purpose of preventing the
existing political status quo in the strait from being unilaterally changed by
either side. It does not want to go further
to use its clout to help work out some mutually acceptable arrangements that
would help resolve their differences, even only in a non-permanent
"The 'U.S.-Japan Alliance' Is Shaping A New
Cross-Strait Strategic Framework"
Lai Yi-chung noted in pro-independence Taiwan
Daily (7/20): "Compared with
the later negative development of [U.S. National Security Advisor Concoleezza]
Rice's visit to China, the most significant remarks Rice made during her trip
to Asia were her two calls in Tokyo that both the United States and Japan
should foster a dialogue between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. Rice's remarks were closely related to the
Bush administration's strategic views about Asia and the development of the
East Asian security environment over the past four years. For the Bush administration, China's future
movements and the development of Washington-Beijing ties are the core concerns
in its strategic views about Asia, but the pillar of its Asia-Pacific strategy
lies in the 'U.S.-Japan alliance.' In
other words, only on the strong basis of the 'U.S.-Japan alliance' can there be
a clearer framework for the interaction between Washington and Beijing.... Thus, substantive changes have occurred
regarding the strategic environment of the Taiwan Strait. In the past, security in the Taiwan Strait is
of a 'double ambiguity' status, namely, the 'strategic ambiguity' about whether
the United States would help defend Taiwan, and the 'support ambiguity' about
whether Japan could support the U.S. military mission in the Taiwan Strait
based on the 'U.S.-Japan alliance'....
But the 'double ambiguity,' which still existed before 1996, had
actually been 'vaporized,' given Washington's public announcement at the end of
last year that it would adopt a 'strategic clarity' policy and the rapid development
of the 'U.S.-Japan alliance' over the past three years.... The current cross-Strait situation has, as a
result, changed from the triangular interaction between Washington, Beijing and
Taipei to a triangular relationship between the U.S.-Japan alliance, China and
Taiwan. ... Moreover, the development of the new 'U.S.-Japan-China-Taiwan'
strategic framework will also change the context of Taipei-Tokyo relations and
will bring a new focus in Taiwan's relations with the United States. In short, the emergence of the strategic
framework between the U.S.-Japan alliance, China and Taiwan will place more
strategic restraints on the leaders in Beijing due to the competitive
relationship between the U.S.-Japan alliance and China. Also, it will bring new changes and
challenges for Taiwan's strategic management. ... As a result, looking into the
impact of the 'U.S.-Japan alliance' on cross-Strait relation and the role it
will play in the Asia-Pacific region will be a major topic for Taiwan's
"PRC Fears Regime Change"
The conservative, pro-unification,
English-language China Post editorialized (7/20): "China has vented its anger at the U.S.
for persistently sending 'wrong signals' to Taiwan's separatists and Hong
Kong's democrats. But it is also out of
fear of U.S. policies on human rights and democracy. Together, they are believed to be a grand
scheme 'aimed at regime change in Beijing'....
Having swiftly toppled regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, President Bush
is suspected of planning to bring down another regime, after his November re-election,
in Iran or North Korea, depending on circumstances. Regime change in China was a goal of the free
world during the Cold War. It has
re-surfaced as communist China seems anxious to annex democratic Taiwan. Beijing wants to perpetuate its 'regime' and
can't tolerate talk of its change."
"Words Guide Actions. Taiwan Must Avoid Being Caught In A
Centrist, pro-status quo China Times
declared (7/17): "Taiwan and the
U.S., besides pursuing their own national interests, also share many common
interests which form the basis of the friendly ties between the two. While standing at a strategically critical
position at the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan offers major leverage with which the
United States restrains Beijing.
Washington's political, economic and military support [for the island]
is, on the other hand, a bargaining chip that is essential for Taiwan's
existence while the island seeks to compete and cooperate with Beijing at the
same time. Facing such a big gap [with
regard to its own strength relative to that of Beijing's], Taiwan must make
good use of U.S. support and have the U.S. exert its influence effectively so
as to get the greatest protection for the island's existence and
development. But the triangular
relationship between Washington, Beijing and Taipei remains constantly dynamic
rather than static. Even though
long-term conflicts exist between the hegemonic powers of the U.S. and China,
Beijing still owns many bargaining chips that have an influence on Washington's
Asia-Pacific policy, and its economic power also plays a decisive role. Washington's cross-Strait policy may vary in
the attitude or way in which it is sometimes carried out, depending on
different officials or political parties or even people who have different interpretations
[of the policy] -- though its direction is more or less fixed. When Washington tilts toward Beijing,
Taiwan's interests may be affected. As a
result, Taiwan must try its best to strengthen and [and] communicate broadly
with Americans in various fields in order to seek full U.S. support."
Beijing Sending A Red Alert Signal To The
Wang Chou-chung held in centrist, pro-status quo
China Times (7/17): "Chen
Shui-bian's re-election has not resulted in a deteriorating Washington-Taipei
relationship following the March 20 [presidential election]. Instead, the tension between the two sides
that accumulated prior to the election has actually been alleviated because the
DPP government has demonstrated a great willingness to cooperate with Washington
regarding cross-Strait issues and arms deals.
Beijing has come to realize that it has to adjust its passive strategy
that relies too heavily on the United States to restrain Taiwan. In the future, it will tend to take the
initiative more and will further ratchet up confrontation across the Taiwan
Strait just to make Washington realize the seriousness of the [Taiwan] issue so
that it can 'rein in the horse at the edge of a precipice'.... Over the past decades, Beijing has not acted
too quickly to push for 'unification' [with Taiwan] because it wants to develop
its economy first. That's why in its
foreign relations, Beijing has just tried to...apply all its strength to
developing the economy. It has been
adopting a policy of 'concealing its ability and biding its time' when facing
the superpower U.S., in the hope that it can seek and expand their common
ground of mutual interests regarding the Taiwan issue. Before it decides to face a showdown with
Washington, Beijing has [decided to] make some tough remarks lately, announcing
that it will work out a timetable for unification [with Taiwan]. This move is actually a warning signal to
Washington, [wherein Beijing] hopes that the United States will not tilt too
much toward Taiwan in its cross-Strait policy."
"Peace Must Be The Bottom Line"
The pro-independence, English-language Taipei
Times editorialized (7/17):
"The bottom line for the US with regard to the cross-strait issue
is clear: to maintain the status quo.
The US will not allow the status quo to be defined unilaterally by
either Beijing or Taipei. It will retain
its own standard for interpretation, which is to say that it wants a
continuation of a situation in which Taiwan does not declare independence and
China does not use military force to bring the nation under its control. Any change to this situation needs to be
decided through cross-strait dialogue.
But the Communist regime not only refuses to acknowledge Taiwan's offer
to negotiate on technological or political issues, it also said it is eager to
force Taiwan into submission through military intimidation. Taiwan's government finds this unacceptable
and believes the US will also find this unacceptable. As the US presidential campaign gets into full
swing, China has used this sensitive time to threaten Taiwan militarily and
diplomatically, going so far as to test long range ballistic missiles and
conduct amphibious landing exercises, in addition to its usual barrage of
rhetoric. With such constant mid-level
alerts, neither Taiwan nor the international community can let down their
guard. This country needs to maintain
the necessary military protection while the US needs to be vigilant against
China's two-pronged policy of readying for attack on one hand and protesting
Washington's weapons sale to Taiwan on the other. Taipei and the international community should
make it clear to Beijing that the bottom line for the cross-strait issue is
peace, and that any attempt to use military force is totally
"Beijing Not to Go Through Washington Any
More Regarding Its Strategy Toward Taiwan"
Sun Yang-ming maintained in conservative,
pro-unification United Daily News (7/16): "[Beijing's] strategy to resolve the
Taiwan issue through Washington has received strong criticism after Chen
Shui-bian got re-elected. When Beijing
issued the strong-worded May 17 statement, it has basically settled on its
policy direction for at least the next two years. The 'new guideline' is actually not very new,
because it has returned to the original route of 'attacking [Taiwan] in equally
sharp language, making no concession, and an eye for an eye.' Beijing modified its Taiwan policy because it
believes that some of the United States' behaviors over the past few months in
deterring Taiwan independence have been ambiguous and limited in their
effect. In Beijing's views, all of these
'external behaviors' by Washington--such as its early recognition of Chen's
re-election, harsh criticism against Beijing recently, and its request that
both sides of the Taiwan Strait resume dialogue as early as possible without
any precondition--have indicated that it cannot rely on the U.S. to stop Taiwan
independence. In other words, Beijing
has realized that it needs to change its direction and rely more on its own
power and judgment to determine its approach to resolve the Taiwan
issue.... This 'new awareness' will
certainly reduce significantly the United States' influence on the cross-Strait
issues and will thus increase the risks for a more unstable cross-Strait situation."
"PRC Unhappiness With U.S. Is Reaching
The conservative, pro-unification,
English-language China Post contended (7/16): "The Chinese move was a clear reflection
that Rice's meetings in Beijing have failed to reassure its leaders. Yet by holding a special press conference in
Washington to reiterate its complaints, Beijing wanted to directly draw the
attention of the American public to the tensions in the Taiwan Strait less than
four months ahead of the U.S. presidential election, hoping that this would
help step up pressure on the Bush administration. PRC-U.S. relations have turned tense over
Taiwan ever since President Chen Shui-bian took office on May 20 to begin his
second term. Such a development has not
taken anyone by surprise, however. This
has been so because the two countries have sharply different interests in
Taiwan, and moreover are not judging the Taiwan issue by the same
logic.... The differing PRC and U.S.
positions on Taiwan are escalating the tensions in the strait.... As things now stand, Washington is apparently
gaining the upper hand in the latest round of political confrontations over
Taiwan and will likely continue to play a dominant role in the addressing of
cross-strait issues. But Beijing, as
Jiang Zemin warned last week, would not 'sit idle' seeing 'foreign forces'
supporting Taiwan independence. Nor
would it cease to exert military pressure on Taiwan because of an increased
naval deployment in the region. The risk
is that an escalation of the military standoff between the two big powers could
eventually lead to a conflict in the Taiwan Strait."
The left-leaning English-language Japan Times
maintained (7/27): "Relations
across the Taiwan Strait continue to deteriorate. The re-election of Taiwanese
President Chen Shui-bian has alarmed the mainland government, which is
convinced Mr. Chen seeks Taiwan's independence. China has been sending signals
that it is prepared to take military action if Taipei takes that fateful step.
That does not mean war is imminent. But the military muscle-flexing does create
opportunities for mischief, miscalculation and mistakes.... Despite U.S. reassurances that it wants
neither side to unilaterally change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, and
the recent visit by national security adviser Condeleezza Rice...Beijing has
not been mollified. Its rhetoric continues to escalate and China has begun
military exercises that are designed to send an unambiguous signal that China
is prepared to take military action if needed.
The Dongshan military exercises...look a lot like an invasion of
Taiwan.... The Chinese exercises occur
at the same time as the U.S. 'Summer Pulse 2004' military exercises...designed
to test U.S. preparedness for a global conflict. It involves 50 warships from
over seven aircraft carrier strike groups, 600 aircraft and over 150,000
troops. While it is tempting to see the
two exercises as related--and much of the reporting has linked the two--they
are not. The U.S. exercise was planned long before the Taiwanese election, the
seven aircraft carriers are not in Chinese waters, or even in the Western
Pacific. Contrary to reports, Taiwan is
not participating in the exercise, although the island has been holding some
interesting drills of its own--including emergency landings of military
aircraft on highways, as might occur during a conflict. In other words, tensions are high.... China's increasing belligerence and its
military muscle flexing are proof that its Taiwan policy is failing. The
criticism of the U.S. and Singapore--for a recent unofficial visit by Deputy
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to Taiwan--sounds desperate and shrill. It also
reminds regional governments that Beijing can be intransigent and stubborn when
it wants something and those ambitions are thwarted. That threatens to erase
many of the gains made by China's 'smile diplomacy' over the last few
years. China must find a new way to deal
with Taipei. The talk of military options and 'acceptable' costs is no
substitute for a realistic policy that engages Taiwan.... Beijing must recognize that Mr. Chen is the
duly elected Taiwanese president, and even if it does not like him, pretending
he does not exist is not a viable strategy. The alternative is continuing
bluster and the growing likelihood of a miscalculation that could end in
"China-Taiwan Military Exercises: Avoid Intensifying Tensions In The Taiwan
Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri
concluded (7/26): "Splitting apart
the Taiwan Strait, both China and Taiwan are engaging in large-scale military
exercises. In addition, although they
are portraying them as 'usual scheduled exercises,' the impression that they
are a battle of nerves over the issue of Taiwan independence is growing. China's joint land, sea and air exercises are
taking place on the islands in Fujian province that face Taiwan. Since 1996, when China-Taiwan relations
became tense, every year China undertakes amphibious assault exercises on these
islands. According to the Chinese media,
in addition to improving its strategic capabilities and professionalism, this
exercise for the first time has as its main goal the achievement of air
superiority in the strait. The
exercise's scale is also the largest ever.
The exercise aims at displaying China's offensive ability, and seeks to
display again China's posture of refusing to rule out military action to
prevent Taiwan's independence. Taiwan,
which is also engaged in a long-term military exercise, has for the first time
in 26 years engaged in exercises under which jet fighters practice landings and
takeoffs on highways-turned-runways, under a scenario where air bases were
suddenly destroyed. After President Chen
Shui-bian's victory in March, China has continually shown Taiwan a very tough
posture.... Inside China's internal
leadership, the feeling of stalemate is dissippating, with those who support a
tougher policy rapidly gaining ground.
Perhaps under that influence, China is inclining towards a 'foreign
policy of strength.' China's military
budget has, since 1989, increased by more than 10 percent every year. Using the U.S. attack against Iraq as a
lesson, Beijing is seeking to accelerate at a high pitch its response to
high-tech and information warfare, and this year alone increased the number of
short-range ballistic missile launch sites aimed at Taiwan by 50, reaching some
500 sites total. It is certain that
additional deployment will continue in the future. Last month, Beijing announced that it would
under no cirumstances permit Taiwanese businessmen who support Taiwanese
independence to make economic profits on the mainland. The ripples from this unprecedented act of
using the booming Chinese economy as a means of pressure continue to
spread. Taiwan plans to buy arms, such
as ground-to-air guided missiles, from the U.S.
The Chen administration also refuses to abandon its plan of holding a
referendum on a new constitution that would further strengthen the
'independence banner.' Both China and
Taiwan are contributing to the rise in tensions. China's Hu Jintao administration, ever since
it began, has called for diplomacy that boosts regional cooperation, and has
achieved successes. The 'power diplomacy'
that does not mesh with this path can only have a great negative effect on
economic activity and regional security in all of East Asia. Chinese actions with regards to armed
exploration of sea bottom areas and natural resource surveys in seas around
Japan are also, for Tokyo, an issue of great concern. We urge a response of
"Thorough Debate Needed On How to Revise Constitution"
Liberal Mainichi stated (7/23): "Japan's ongoing debate over the
revision of Article 9 is not occurring for the purpose of helping the nation
join the UNSC. Any revisions should be
made based on whether the supreme law suits the times. Any debate on constitutional revision should
also start with through discussions over what Japan ought to be. The U.S. cannot dictate constitutional debate
"Tension Must Be Avoided"
Liberal Tokyo Shimbun opined (7/23): "Both China and Taiwan are stepping up
military exercises.... However, tension
in the Taiwan Straits must be avoided at all costs. The military balance between China and Taiwan
is expected to shift in favor for the former in and around 2005, and for this
very reason, Taiwan is experiencing a sense of crisis. East Asia is set to deepen regional integration,
as China, Japan and South Korea have decided to hold foreign ministerials on a
regular basis. The three nations have
also separately strengthened their economic ties with ASEAN members through
free trade agreements. Against such
circumstances, the escalating tension between Taiwan and China is detrimental
to peace and stability in East Asia."
"Diet Debate Imperative On U.S. Force Realignment"
Liberal Asahi declared (7/22): "The proposed integration and transfer
of some U.S. military commands to U.S. bases in Japan signal that U.S. forces
in Japan are about to assume a different and more significant role. One of the purposes of the suggested
realignment must be to transform the U.S. military into one that is more mobile
in order to better deal with regional disputes, the proliferation of weapons of
mass destruction and international terrorism; enabling it to monitor moves on
the Korean Peninsula, India, Pakistan and the Middle East with commands in
Japan playing a central role. However,
the original purpose of the U.S. military in Japan, according to the U.S.-Japan
Security Treaty, is to 'guarantee the peace and security in Japan and the Far
East.' The integration, if implemented
as proposed, would expand the scope and role of the U.S. military in Japan far
beyond the stated boundaries. The
Japanese Government must take a cool and objective look at whether U.S.
military realignment is in its national interests. Prime Minister Koizumi bears the responsibility
of explaining to the public the purpose of the suggested realignment and
ensuring that the issue is properly debated in the Diet."
"U.S. Forces' Realignment Must Match
Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri held
(7/21): "The realignment of U.S.
forces stationed in Japan is an important move, not just from the viewpoint of
the balance of the Japan-U.S. alliance, but also with an eye toward maintaining
security in the Asia-Pacific region. The
U.S. presented the outline of its plans for realignment during deputy
minister-level bilateral talks held in San Francisco from Thursday to Saturday.
The realignment is one part of the U.S. military's overall transformation of
its overseas forces. The U.S. proposals
are mainly aimed at enhancing the functionability of the U.S. military
command.... The U.S. military forces
stationed in Japan are deployed to cope with contingencies that occur in the
area called the Arc of Instability, which stretches from the Korean Peninsula
through South Asia to the Middle East.
The deployment is based on the U.S. strategy of responding quickly to
new types of threats, such as terrorist attacks and missile launches. The
planned enhancement of command function means that Japan will become the site
of a strategic U.S. base. The United
States is important because it helps maintain the stability of the
international community through its military might. Japan's prosperity depends
upon stability in the international community.
As a close ally of the United States, Japan must cooperate as it
realigns its military. Japan-U.S.
cooperation entered a new phase when the government decided to introduce the
missile defense system promoted by Washington. Already strong ties will need to
be deeper if the two countries are to deal with international terrorism. The realignment of the U.S. forces in Japan
will no doubt have a major effect on security in the Asia-Pacific region and
Japan-U.S. defense cooperation. For the
Japan-U.S. alliance to function effectively in the region, Japan has to pull
its weight. The future of the
Self-Defense Forces--including organizational structure, positioning of bases,
armaments and equipment--cannot be discussed without taking the realignment of
the U.S. forces into consideration. Some
related items, such as how Japan and the United States will share defense tasks
and duties after the realignment, will of course be included in the new
National Defense Program Outline that is scheduled to be compiled this
year.... If the U.S. bases in Japan lose
some of their functions, Japan-U.S. joint operations cannot be carried out smoothly.
The government must work to convince concerned local governments and residents
of the importance of the U.S. bases in Japan.
The government will soon establish a task force at the Prime Minister's
Office to study the U.S. proposals and coordinate with local governments. The
team will comprise officials from related government bodies, such as the
Foreign Ministry and the Defense Agency. It will not be an easy task to mediate
between the United States and concerned local governments. But it is important that Japan's national
security strategies be in balance with the realignment of U.S. forces in
"The Issue Of Chinese Vessels: Protect Our Maritime Interets
Conservative Sankei declared (7/19): "As a maritime nation, Japan continually
faces strict tests. Why? Because with regard to Japan's maritime
interests, China is still trying to damage them.... The government has been exploring areas on
the Japanese side of the Sino-Japanese maritime border in the East China Sea
for possible natural resource deposits....
It is clear that the search activities were sparked by concern that the
natural gas and oil deposits could be unilaterally exploited by the Chinese
side. However, on the 9th of this month
Chinese survey vessels entered Japan's maritime areas and ordered survey boats
chartered by the Japanese side to leave what they called Chian's exclusive
economic zone (EEZ).... Tokyo must resolutely
continue its surveys and not be lackadasical in dealing with these Chinese
actions. The problem is that as long as
maritime boundaries in the East China Sea are not demarcated, the Chinese side
will continue to engage in surveys and activities to build upon and create
facts on the ground. Although problems
such as these arise every year in diplomatic relations between Tokyo and
Beijing, China is increasingly moving past the EEZ line, into Japanese
seas...and claiming these areas for its own EEZ. These claims are completely lacking in scientific
proof. China is doing nothing more than
stalling through its ignoring the current border line, which draws borders
equidistant from each side. According to
UN maritime treaties, when borders are not established, countries should make
efforts not to block agreements. As
China is making efforts to block any agreement, Japan must clearly take
countermeasures to protect its own maritime interests. Tokyo's vague posture to stop damage to its
sovereign interests only invite a deeper dilemma. The problem is the indecisive posture of
Japan, which won't even undertake surveys of the sea floor in its own sea
areas.... Tokyo should wholeheartedly
work to change the chaotic attitude of its government agencies and grapple with
"Rebuke China Criticism, Reactions On Lee's Visit To Taiwan"
Yean Meng-tat held in pro-government
Chinese-language Lianhe Zaobao (7/22):
"Many Chinese official and unofficial criticism on Deputy Prime
Minister Lee Hsien Loong's private visit to Taiwan have become
unreasonable. A senior and
authoritative scholar from China has even termed Singapore as 'a small country
that once loaded with few extra cents and will seek to act like a big country.' Such remarks that comes from a senior
academic scholar and websites can hurt the Singaporeans' feelings. There is no doubt Singapore is a very small
country blessed with some extra cents.
However, Singapore has a long-standing reputation that it is a country
that will stand on its own rules and principles. Singapore will not yield to foreign pressure
if the country feels it is within the government's right to do so. Whatever the circumstances, the Singaporeans
will always understand the government's stands and would always support the
government's international affairs dealings.
We believe Lee has his own valid reason why he wants to visit Taiwan,
and we support him.... Singapore has not
changed its firm stand on pressure from any country yet.... While we understand China's concern over its
sovereignty issue, the Chinese leaders should also understand that as a core
ASEAN member, Singapore is naturally concerned with the security issue in the
region and will want to see friendship and goodwill growing in the
"China's Over-Reaction To Lee's Taiwan
Visit Counter Productive To Image"
Soon Wai-yit wrote in Chinese-language
pro-government Lianhe Zaobao (7/17):
"It is clear that Chinese leaders want to blow up Lee's visit to
Taiwan by taking 'revenge' on a small country like Singapore. Apparently, the many follow-up stern moves
taken by China on Singapore are consistent with China's foreign policy. Chinese leaders want to warn the region
against seeking partnership of any sort with Taiwan and to protect its 'self-centered
national interest' policy.... Such
over-reaction by China is counter-productive to Beijing's image. China has damaged its emerging image as a
trustworthy, credible and peace-loving partner in the region by over-reacting
"Needless Crisis Made In Taiwan"
The lead editorial in top-circulation, moderately-conservative,
English-language Bangkok Post read (7/20): “The incoming prime minister of Singapore
made a brief visit to Taiwan last week, and touched off one of the strongest
tirades from Beijing in several years....
Beijing is concerned about Taiwan these days, and Mr. Lee's trip shows
how China views even the most honest and aboveboard events.... As the Chinese begin their exercise on
Dongshan island, the United States will be involved in the biggest foreign
military exercise ever--almost within view....
A few pessimists see the potential for immediate tension between
superpower America and rapidly expanding military power China. But the real danger is a possible error by
Taiwan. U.S.-China relations have been
unusually smooth since the Sept 11, 2001 attacks on America.... An invasion of Taiwan by China to crush a
suspected separatist policy may seem unthinkable but is a real threat. Washington must continue to urge Taiwan to
avoid such confrontation with Beijing.
Indeed, in the American government and around the world, there is
agreement that Taiwan would gain little support if it pulls the Chinese tiger's
tail and invites retaliation. In a world
that increasingly cooperates on fighting terrorism, a Taiwan campaign for
independence is unlikely to find much sympathy.”
CANADA: "U.S., China
Flex Their Muscles"
The centrist Winnipeg Free Press observed (7/25): "Last week in Asia, both China and the
U.S. were conducting large-scale war games of an unprecedented nature. China
made no bones about the fact that its exercises were a rehearsal for a possible
invasion of Taiwan, one of America's greatest nightmares.... Both China and America claim that the timing
of the mutual muscle-flexing is entirely coincidental. That is likely
true--these things take too much planning to be mounted as a quick response.
China's Communist leaders make it clear that they are practising to invade
Taiwan, but they also make it clear that they do not want to have to do that.
The U.S. denies that this massive display of force is an attempt to intimidate
China, or to remind Beijing of President George Bush's promise that, despite
the fact that the Mutual Defence Treaty with Taiwan was terminated in 1979, Washington
would do 'whatever it took' to ensure Taiwan's defence.... China remains suspicious.... Coincidence or not, it is difficult to escape
the conclusion that strong messages are being sent.... The Americans, in fact, may be just strutting
their stuff, showing that they could defend Taiwan against anyone if they so
chose because they know that they never would. Even Mr. Bush only ever promised
to give Taiwan the means to defend itself. The Chinese, on the other hand, if
they thought they had to, almost certainly would invade. It might be a better
thing if these simultaneous war games were not coincidence, if they were a
deliberate feint, a feeling out and a testing of each other. This would benefit
no one, neither China nor the U.S., and certainly not Taiwan, however
contentious an issue the island may be. But it would at least indicate a
conscious policy and conscious policies can be consciously reversed. Taiwan
aside, the two countries have much more to gain by co-operating with each
other, not just in trade and finance as China grows into an economic giant, but
also politically and militarily in ensuring stability and prosperity in Asia.
Unfortunately, the two countries also have a long history of mutual distrust
and hostility that could lead them into a dangerous international game of
bluff. They would do better to chart a course to co-operation rather than run
the risk of drifting into conflict."