Archive for the ‘Taiwan’ Category

Pentagon: China Weapons Development Threatens Taiwan

March 25, 2009

The Pentagon says China needs to be more open about its military modernization or risk creating uncertainty and miscalculations by other nations.

Associated Press

The U.S. Defense Department is questioning how China intends to use its rapidly expanding military power, including what it calls some “disruptive military technologies.”
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A new Pentagon report also says Beijing continues to develop weapons that threaten Taiwan, even though tensions between the two have been reduced significantly.

The assessment comes in the latest in a series of annual assessments for Congress of China’s military power.

The Associated Press obtained a summary of the report, due to be released later Wednesday.

It says China needs to be more open about its military modernization; otherwise it risks creating uncertainty and the potential for misunderstandings and miscalculations by other nations.

….

China’s Premier Wen Jiabao said early this month that Beijing is ready to hold talks with Taiwan on political and military issues in the pursuit of ending hostility between the longtime rivals. But Taiwan’s defense minister later noted publicly that China has made repeated threats to attack Taiwan if it moves to make its de facto independence permanent and that Taiwan remains concerned about the estimated 1,300 missiles Beijing has readied against the island.

Read it all:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/200
90325/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_china

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US admiral condemns China’s ‘aggressive’ actions

March 19, 2009

A top U.S. commander says China’s “aggressive and troublesome” run-in with an unarmed American ship shows that Beijing won’t behave acceptably.

Adm. Timothy Keating told senators that Beijing’s suspension of military contact last year because of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and the South China Sea confrontation are “vivid reminders” that it has yet to become a “responsible stakeholder.”

Associated Press
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The U.S. has pushed for more frequent and intense communications with China to avoid military confrontations that could upset a relationship crucial to solving global crises. But Keating, who heads the Pacific Command, said the bilateral military relationship “certainly isn’t where we want it to be.”

The United States says its Navy survey vessel was harassed and threatened by Chinese-flagged trawlers in international waters; China claims the U.S. ship was conducting surveillance within its exclusive economic zone.

Keating said the Chinese behaved in an “aggressive and troublesome manner” and are “not willing to abide by acceptable standards of behavior.” In his written testimony he said the actions were “unlawful and dangerous.”

President Barack Obama last week signaled a need for more frequent and intense communications with China to avoid military confrontations that could upset a relationship crucial to solving global crises.

The United States has also pushed for China to allow port visits and more contact between the countries’ officers and for China to provide more information about its huge military spending.

Said Keating: “A mature, constructive, military to military relationship is hardly a reality today.” He added that military contacts with the People’s Liberation Army “fell short of expectations in 2008.”

Keating also said that a slight warming of relations between Taiwan and China is a good sign and shows the region is “somewhat stable.”

Philippines Enacts Law Claiming Islands also Claimed by China, Others

March 11, 2009

The Philippine president has signed a law affirming sovereignty over islands also claimed by China and Vietnam, an official said Wednesday, sparking protests over the control of strategic South China Sea islands.

Associated Press

The legislation, signed Tuesday by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, reaffirms Philippine sovereignty over the more than 7,100 islands in its archipelago, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said. It also claims outlying islands in the Spratly chain and Scarborough Shoal – two regions in the South China Sea.

China claims sovereignty over both chains. Vietnam and others have long laid claim to the Spratlys.

“We are sending the message to the whole world that we are affirming our national sovereignty … our national interest,” Ermita told a news conference.

The Chinese Embassy issued a statement expressing its “strong opposition and solemn protest” over the signing of the law, and insisted China “has indisputable sovereignty over these islands and their adjacent waters.”

Earlier, China’s Foreign Ministry summoned a Philippine Embassy official to protest the passage of the bill in the Philippine Congress.

Vietnam also urged the Philippines to refrain from taking action that might complicate the dispute.

Foreign Affairs official Henry Bensurto said the Philippines passed the law not to reiterate its claims over the Spratlys and Scarborough Shoal but to define the baseline used to determine its extended continental shelf.

The U.N. has asked the Philippines and other countries that signed the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea to submit the dimensions of their claimed continental shelf by May 13. The convention, which came into force in 1994, defines the maritime limits of its signatories.

The Spratlys, believed to be rich in oil, gas and fish, consist of about 100 barren islets, reefs and atolls dotting the world’s busiest shipping lanes in the South China Sea.

Vietnam, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei each claim all or part of the low-lying islands.

Read the rest:
http://apnews.myway.com/article
/20090311/D96RQ50G0.html

China uses naval showdown with U.S. to flex muscle

March 10, 2009

By confronting a U.S. surveillance ship off its coast this week, China appears to have sought to enforce ambitious maritime territorial claims and to have tested the mettle of the new U.S. administration.

China lashed out at Washington on Tuesday over the weekend incident, in which five Chinese ships confronted the Impeccable, a 281-foot U.S. submarine surveillance vessel, in what the Pentagon described as reckless and unprofessional behavior.

By Tim Johnson, McClatchy Newspapers

USNS IMPECCABLE
USNS Impeccable

“The U.S. claim is totally inaccurate, confuses right and wrong and is absolutely unacceptable to China ,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said.

Ma said U.S. naval ships must ask China’s permission anytime they sailed within its exclusive economic zone, a 200-nautical-mile zone off its shores. The claim amounted to an assertive attempt to bar U.S. Navy vessels from approaching China’s shores, even affecting transit of the sensitive Taiwan Strait .

Ma said the USNS Impeccable “broke relevant international law, and Chinese laws and regulations, and engaged in activities in China’s exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea without China’s permission.”

He urged Washington to “take active measures to avoid similar incidents in the future.”

Some legal experts say that international law provides exclusive use only within the 12-mile territorial waters off countries’ shores, and that foreign ships have free passage through the broader exclusive economic zones.

“So long as the ships in this instance were transiting the EEZ outside the territorial waters, it would not appear that China’s position has legal foundation,” said Lester Ross , a lawyer with experience in international law at the Beijing office of the law firm WilmerHale. “I think it’s a substantial stretch for China to maintain this position.”

The Pentagon said the “harassment” of the Impeccable, a towering twin-hulled vessel, occurred Sunday 75 nautical miles south of Hainan Island . It identified the Chinese boats as a naval intelligence-gathering ship, a Bureau of Maritime Fisheries Patrol vessel, an oceanographic patrol vessel and two small trawlers, and added that one vessel had maneuvered dangerously close to the U.S. ship.

China is expanding a naval base for attack and ballistic missile submarines, which reportedly includes underwater tunnels for protection, on Hainan Island’s southeast side.

The conflict has a parallel with an incident in the early days of the administration of aianHainformer President George W. Bush , which led to heightened Sino-U.S. frictions.

On April 1, 2001 , two Chinese J-8 fighter jets intercepted a U.S. Navy EP-3 surveillance aircraft that was 70 miles off Hainan Island , resulting in a collision with one of them, forcing it into the sea. The EP-3 made an emergency landing on Hainan , where China kept it captive for three months, long after the 24 crew members were released.

As in that incident, this week’s scrap triggered heated reactions among ordinary Chinese who were incensed by the U.S. surveillance of its shores and proud of China’s forceful action.

“What happened proves that whoever has stronger fists, his word is truth,” an Internet user from Zhengzhou in Henan province posted on the Web site163.com.

Ross said that such military confrontations could stoke nationalism in both countries.

“There is a risk that doing something like this can inflame public opinion in the United States as well as China ,” he said.

The Pentagon said the incident was only one of a half-dozen “increasingly aggressive” acts against the Impeccable and a sister ship, the Victorious — which included flybys by Chinese surveillance planes — since last Wednesday.

U.S. naval ships and China’s sizable submarine fleet sometimes play cat and mouse as they take each other’s measure. In October 2006 , a Chinese submarine stalked the USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier near Hawaii and surfaced within firing range of its torpedoes before being detected.

In November 2007 , China canceled a port call by the Kitty Hawk and several escort ships in Hong Kong . In response, the Pentagon ordered the carrier group to sail through the choppy, shallow Taiwan Strait , the first time that an American carrier group had made the transit since 2002.

China voiced “grave concern” about the passage but didn’t claim at that time that U.S. naval ships had to stay outside the 200-mile limit.

The Taiwan Strait , which is barely 100 miles wide at one point, is a potential military flash point. Mainland China claims Taiwan as a renegade province, and says it has the right to seize control of the independently governed island.

Related:
China Wants U.S. Out of International Waters It Consides a “China Lake”

China Wants U.S. Out of Asia’s International Waters

March 10, 2009

The incident at sea between China and the U.S. Navy this last weekend indicates a growing truth among Chinese military officers: the seas adjacent to China wherever they extend are de facto Chinese terrirtory and the U.S. needs to leave.

This is in violation of international law which grants free passage to all who operate in international waters.

China is complaining saying the U.S. ship, while not in their territorial waters was in their “economic zone,” a claim that also pits the Chinese directly at odds with 5 countries (Taiwan, Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam and Malaysia) who would like to have their own territorial waters.

But China now has repeatedly expressed and demonstrated distain for international law — a a certain ability to push people around.

“They seem to be more militarily aggressive,” National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“I think the debate is still on in China whether as their military power increases they will be used for good or for pushing people around.”

But the Chinese say all the fault for this weekend’s incident belongs to the U.S. 

“Go and ask the Americans, ask their embassy,” China’s Vice Admiral Jin Mao, former PLA Navy vice commander in chief, told Reuters on the sidelines of parliament when asked about the incident. “Ask their officials what their ship was doing in Chinese waters.”

The fact is, the American ship operating in international waters is protected by international law — even if it is searching for submarines.

Related:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/2009031
0/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_china_incident

Beijing will take a tougher stand against other nations as its naval ambitions grow, said analyst Shi Yinhong.

“The United States is present everywhere on the world’s seas, but these kinds of incidents may grow as China’s naval activities expand,” Shi, an expert on regional security at Renmin University in Beijing, said.

Analyst Shi said the seas off Hainan were important to China’s projection of its influence with a modern naval fleet.

“The change is in China’s attitude. This reflects the hardening line in Chinese foreign policy and the importance we attach to the strategic value of the South China Sea.”

See a report from Reuters:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20
090310/pl_nm/us_usa_china

See also:
http://wok3.wordpress.com/2009/03/10/chin
a-the-dragon-stirs-and-strips-down-to-its-underwear/

Chong-pin Lin, Professor at the Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies at Tamkang University in Taiwan says, “I think the objective of the grand strategy of China is to squeeze out, very slowly and very gradually, the influence of the United States in East Asia, without war.”

A budget analyst at the U.S. Navy in the Pentagon told Peace and Freedom, “Our futue problem is this: with our current and projected budget deficits and debt, the U.S. will not be able to afford the navy it has now — while China will grow and improve its navy and take whatever it wants in the world.  That is the trend we see.”

Related:
 Era of Obama, American Weakness Emboldens Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Terrorists
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 Pentagon: Chinese Ships Harassed Unarmed U.S. Navy Craft in International Waters

What’s China’s Long Term Global Strategy?

China uses naval showdown with U.S. to flex muscle

China Says U.S. Ship Was Breaking Law

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORL
D/asiapcf/03/10/us.navy.china/ind
ex.html

China Says U.S. Ship Was Breaking Law

What’s China’s Long Term Global Strategy?

January 30, 2009

Since the United States is now discussing an economic “stimulus” of almost $1 Trillion, we  have been trying to figure who benefits most from this deal?  The answer is China, if they decide to underwrite the U.S. loan, and buy the U.S. Treasurys that will fund the stimulus.  Just by doing that, China will get more than $300 Billion in payments of interest from the U.S.

So, why does China like this deal, in addition to the money?  China wants power and the ability to call the shots.  “Buying” the American debt is a lot faster and potentially less expensive than fighting the U.S. with some future Chinese military — which is not culturally in China’s psyche or style anyway…..

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“I think the objective of the grand strategy is to squeeze out, very slowly and very gradually, the influence of the United States in East Asia, without war, with economy and culture,” said Chong-pin Lin, Professor at the Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies at Tamkang University in Taiwan at Princeton.

Chong-pin engaged Princeton University students and professors in a lively discussion Nov. 18 that focused on China’s relationship with Taiwan and China’s growing importance in world affairs.

A professor at the Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies at Tamkang University in Taiwan, Chong-pin was brought to Princeton by the East Asian Studies department. His lecture was titled, “More carrot than stick: Beijing’s adjusted Taiwan policy.”

Chong-pin mentioned beauty pageants and high-visibility sporting events as examples of China’s emerging emphasis on culture.

“Now I think it’s generally agreed that Beijing is using economic and cultural influence to establish its international status,” he said. “The idea is to make the rest of the world look to Beijing unconsciously or subconsciously as the future mecca of the world.”

By Megan DeMarco
The Times (Trenton, NJ)

Read about China’s “Grand Strategy” to ease the U.S. out of East Asia:
http://www.nj.com/news/times/regional/index.ssf?/base/
news-15/12280215089560.xml&coll=5

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Biggest Beneficiary of U.S. Economic Stimulus?

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U.S. to broaden dialogue with China

January 28, 2009

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday signaled a shift in U.S. dealings with China, with the State Department poised to take charge after the Treasury Department’s leading role during the Bush administration’s final years.

By
The Washington Times

Mrs. Clinton said the economy-focused approach to China that was spearheaded by Bush administration Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. must give way to a “broader agenda.”

“We need a comprehensive dialogue with China. The strategic dialogue that was begun in the Bush administration turned into an economic dialogue,” she told reporters in her first briefing at the State Department since taking office last week. “That’s a very important aspect of our relationship with China, but it’s not the only aspect of our relationship.”

She avoided specifics, but issues affecting Sino-U.S. relations traditionally have included human rights, technology transfers, Taiwan, military exchanges and efforts to slow nuclear proliferation and halt fighting in Sudan’s Darfur region.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/ja
n/28/clinton-signals-china-policy-shift-bey
ond-treasury/

In The White House, Protocol Not Just For Computers

January 25, 2009

When Vice President-elect Joe Biden returned from a trip to Pakistan and other points just before the inauguration, a press conference was hurridly planned to allow the President-elect to thank his number two before the media and America.  After Barack Obama’s gushing praise, the number two closed the event with words of his own.  He got the last word.

When President Obama asked Vice President Joe Biden to administer the oath of office to  members of the White House staff, the VEEP said, “Am I doing this again? Oh! For the senior staff. My memory’s not as good as Justice Roberts’ … Chief Justice Roberts.”

It was a joke or a senior moment or the combination of the two.

But the president was not amused.

Protocol and dacorum are the opposite of awkward and foolish rolled into disrespectful and inappropriate.

US Vice President Joe Biden gestures while US President Barack ... 
US Vice President Joe Biden gestures while US President Barack Obama signs an Executive Order in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building January 21 in Washington, DC.(AFP/Getty Images/Brendan Smialowski)

There have been awkward moments before at the White House and in presidential administrations and sometimes they cause pain and embarrassment to visiting dignitaries.  Sometimes they detract from years of great diplomacy.

Just ask Hu Jintao, President of China, after he was introduced at the White House during a Bush hosted ceremony as the President of the “Republic of China,” which most of us know as Taiwan.  President Bush added to the lack of protocol and decorum that day by manhandling President Hu toward the exit to the stage, a “touching” just not allowed  — except maybe for children.

So there are a lot of opportunities for success when one stands in the ever present spotlight.  And there are plenty of opportunities for embarrassment….

Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gestures prior ... 
Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gestures prior to the inauguration ceremony of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, in Washington, January 20, 2009.(Jim Young – UNITED STATES/Reuters)
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From The New York Times

By Mark Leibovich

Early this month, Barack Obama was meeting with the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and other lawmakers when Rahm Emanuel, his chief of staff, began nervously cracking a knuckle.

At which point, Mr. Emanuel held the offending knuckle up to Mr. Obama’s left ear and, like an annoying little brother, snapped off a few special cracks.

The episode, confirmed by Mr. Emanuel’s office, underscores some essential truths about Mr. Emanuel: He is brash, has a deep comfort level with his new boss, and has been ever-present at Mr. Obama’s side of late, in meetings, on podiums and in photographs.

There he was, standing at President Obama’s desk in one of the first Oval Office pictures; and again, playfully thumbing his nose at his former House colleagues during the inauguration; there he was, accompanying the president to a meeting with Congressional leaders on Friday.

Mr. Emanuel is arguably the second most powerful man in the country and….

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/25/us/pol
itics/25emanuel.html?_r=2&hp

On Biden:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28789980/

China issues nervous welcome to Obama

January 21, 2009

China offered a nervous welcome on Wednesday to US President Barack Obama, expressing concern over the direction he may take bilateral ties while paying tribute to the efforts of George W. Bush.

The English-language China Daily, a vehicle for the government to air views to a foreign audience, published an editorial calling for Obama to follow the lead of his predecessor.

“Given the popular American eagerness for a break from the Bush years, many wonder, or worry to be precise, whether the new president would ignore the hard-earned progress in bilateral ties,” the editorial said.

“After decades of dramatic ups and downs, the once volatile relations are just beginning to show signs of stabilising.”

By  Karl Malakunas, AFP

The most important legacy of Bush’s eight years in power were the improved Sino-US relations, according to the editorial.

“The good news for Obama is that his predecessor, through eight years in office, has laid a decent foundation for one of the world’s most influential relationships. That is a fine bequest he should generously embrace.”

While China’s foreign ministry has been more neutral in recent days, there were other signs of trepidation within the Chinese leadership about where Obama may take Sino-US ties.

Sections of the state-run press on Wednesday censored Obama’s inauguration speech to delete his praise for people who opposed communism and his warning that regimes who silenced dissent were on the wrong side of history.

The defence ministry on Tuesday also warned Obama against continuing US military support to Taiwan, a long-standing point of tension between the two world powers.

The China Daily editorial acknowledged that Bush’s foreign policy efforts were full of disappointments, and described the “yet-to-be-justified” war on Iraq as a discredit to both the former president and the United States.

But it said there were merits, namely his handling of US-China ties.

“Anchoring (the) relationship between the world’s single superpower and the largest developing country is no easy job. But the Bush administration managed it,” it said.

The editorial said the twice-yearly Strategic Economic Dialogue, which grouped cabinet-level ministers from the two countries and began under Bush, was an “invaluable platform for meaningful high-level communication.”

However Obama has yet to say whether he will continue with it.

“Now, people wonder if its fifth session in Beijing early last month was its last,” the editorial said.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090121/w
l_asia_afp/uspoliticsobamachina_200901
21065805

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China calls for better military ties under Obama

January 20, 2009

China on Tuesday urged President-elect Barack Obama to work with Beijing to improve its occasionally tense military relationship with the United States, calling on the Pentagon to “remove obstacles.”

By TINI TRAN, Associated Press Writer

Sr. Col. Hu Changming, spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense, said China — with one of the world’s fastest-growing armed forces — looked forward to smoother relations with Washington and its military, the world’s largest.

“At present, when China-U.S. military-to-military relations are faced with difficulties, we call on the U.S. Department of Defense to remove obstacles … and create favorable conditions for the healthy growth of military relations,” Hu said during a news conference held to present a major military policy paper.

China remains opposed to U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, and blocking formal independence for self-governing Taiwan remains the military’s chief concern, the paper said. China also views separatist movements in Tibet and the far western region of Xinjiang as the biggest threats to the country’s national security.

“On these matters, we will not compromise,” Hu said.

Defense sales to and relations with Taiwan have been an issue for every U.S. president since Beijing and Washington established diplomatic ties 30 years ago. China considers the self-ruled island a part of its territory and supports reunification.

U.S. arms sales to the island remain a major point of contention. Last fall, China’s defense minister demanded that the U.S. cancel a $6.5 billion arms sale to Taiwan, including Patriot III missiles and Apache helicopters, and then suspended some senior-level visits and other exchanges in retaliation.

However, years of tension between the sides gave way to rapprochement following last year’s election of Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, who favors a less confrontational approach to China.

Hu said there had been major improvements in cross-strait relations, saying “the situation across the Taiwan Strait has taken a significant and positive turn.”

China also said it considered the global economic crisis a threat to development and was concerned about possible competition among nations for energy and food.

The paper, which covered 2008, did not give any new spending figures for China’s 2.3 million-strong armed forces for 2009. China had announced a military budget of $59 billion for 2008, up nearly 18 percent over the previous year. It was the 18th year of double digit growth of military spending in the past 19 years.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090120/a
p_on_re_as/as_china_defense_2

File photo shows Chinese amphibious tanks and marines storming ...
China proving here it is a superpower and master of Taiwan.  File photo shows Chinese amphibious tanks and marines storming a beachhead in an amphibious assault drill in China’s Shandong Peninsula. (AFP/Xinhua/File)

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The U.S. has been trying to get China into closer military cooperation for some time….

China  suspended military contacts with Washington in October.

China took the action to protest a $6.5 billion U.S. arms sale to Taiwan.

“It is a fact that the Chinese suspended ‘mil-to-mil’ dialogue with the Department of Defense in general and U.S. Pacific Command,” said Navy Adm. Timothy Keating, who commands all U.S. forces in Asia and the Pacific.

Timothy Keating
Admiral Keating

A defense official said the suspension occurred after the United States announced the arms package including 30 Apache attack helicopters and 330 Patriot missiles.

The sale angered Beijing, which has vowed in the past to bring Taiwan under its rule, by force if necessary. The United States switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979 but Washington remains Taiwan’s strongest ally and biggest arms supplier.

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China’s “Grand Strategy”: U.S. Out Of Asia?