Skip to comments.Risky kowtow to China
Posted on 11/03/2004 2:35:18 PM PST by neverdem
Published November 3, 2004
Secretary of State Colin Powell astonished observers in both East Asia and the United States Oct. 25 with extraordinarily candid comments on the Taiwan issue. His statements moved U.S. policy closer than ever before to Beijing's position that Taiwan must reunify with the mainland -- an especially surprising step from a conservative Republican administration.
(Excerpt) Read more at washtimes.com ...
So special rules apply to the Chinese Communists where the perma-leadership of both parties is concerned.
You got a problem with that?
"So special rules apply to the Chinese Communists where the perma-leadership of both parties is concerned...You got a problem with that?"
You're right. I almost forgot! All conservative principles must be thrown out the window so long as we can secure cheap slave labor to crank out inexpensive consumer goods.
It sounds like you missed the point of my links. Sending an unprecedented naval presence to the Taiwan Straits is not emboldening Red China. "One China" is State Department rhetoric; seven carrier groups speak louder than words.
I'm not sure, but I don't think you are allowed to post that in this forum.
Thanks for the links.
"It sounds like you missed the point of my links. Sending an unprecedented naval presence to the Taiwan Straits is not emboldening Red China. "One China" is State Department rhetoric; seven carrier groups speak louder than words."
I think the show of force had a lot less to do with Taiwan and a lot more to do with the dispute brewing over the massive oil deposit in the South China Sea.
The South China Sea Dispute
Prospects for Preventive Diplomacy
The disputed territorial claims in the South China Sea remain a dangerous source of potential conflict in the absence of preventive measures to forestall a military or political crisis. Three periods of heightened tension over the Spratly Islands within the past ten years offer a clear warning sign of the risk of future confrontation if the core issues remain unresolved. It is in the interest of all the claimants to actively seek solutions to the disputes through political negotiations to avoid future military conflict. All the claimants have an interest in participating in a preventive diplomatic approach to the South China Sea--one that takes into account the interests of all claimants--to minimize the risk of future crises, rather than resorting to a more costly approach of military action.
It may still be possible to find a political, "win-win" settlement. If the political will can be generated to reach a negotiated settlement, there is a window of opportunity to pursue progress. Military conflict would threaten the interests of all parties to the dispute, since the political costs of military escalation would be higher than any single party is currently willing to bear. No country in the region currently possesses the military capabilities needed to assert and maintain its claims, relations in the region are generally cooperative, and no claimant has yet discovered commercially viable quantities of oil or natural gas. In time, however, all these factors are subject to change, especially as China, and perhaps other claimants, acquire the military strength to impose their claims by threat or use of military force.
Given the nature and complexity of the various legal claims to the islands and concerns about the regional balance of power, no purely legal process is likely to be sufficient to achieve a settlement, although the establishment and acceptance of international legal precedents, such as those contained in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, may provide a necessary foundation for the negotiation of key issues. For instance, Beijing's ratification of the Law of the Sea Convention can be seen as a major step toward achieving a negotiated settlement in the Spratly Islands dispute, although the National People's Congress simultaneously promulgated baselines surrounding the Paracel Islands that defy conventional international legal interpretations. In the final analysis, a political settlement is the only realistic means of resolving these complex issues.
The level of attention to the conflicting claims in the South China Sea has increased in proportion to estimates of the area's resource development potential. Little attention had been given to sovereignty in the South China Sea until the 1960s and 1970s, when international oil companies began prospecting in the region. As speculation about possible hydrocarbon resources has grown, the claimants have scrambled to reinforce their claims, leading to heightened tensions and periodic conflict. Although hydrocarbon potential has been the main focus of the disputants until now, fisheries and other marine resources, navigational safety, and strategic and environmental concerns may become equally critical issues in the future.
A range of preventive diplomatic mechanisms and approaches might be used to dampen tensions, forestall the outbreak of conflict in the South China Sea, and provide the basis for a political settlement. The Indonesian-hosted Workshops on Managing Potential Conflicts in the South China Sea have provided important opportunities for cooperative action on technical issues, but it has thus far not been possible to generate any meaningful discussion in these meetings on the critical sovereignty issue. Nevertheless, an effort might be made to upgrade these informal meetings to address such questions as sovereignty or mechanisms for joint exploration of resources.
A variety of supplementary approaches to the Indonesian workshops could be considered. For example, creation of an Eminent Persons Group, possibly composed of high-level representatives from the nonclaimant members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), has been suggested to jump-start political talks and create new political channels for negotiation. Another possibility is mediation by an ad hoc tribunal or nonofficial third party if the claimants themselves are willing to accept such a negotiation process to facilitate resolution of territorial claims. If the parties can agree to an equitable approach by which to shelve sovereignty issues, it may be possible to create joint multilateral development authority to exploit resources in the disputed area. Alternatively, recent developments suggest that itmight be possible to settle bilateral claims in the South China Sea area before tackling areas in which multiple claims overlap. The critical question, however, is whether the disputants can find the political will to come to a lasting negotiated settlement.
It is in the U.S. interest to maintain a neutral position on the legal merits of the various territorial claims, insisting that the claimants peacefully resolve conflicting territorial claims in the South China Sea consistent with international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Without becoming a party to the dispute, Washington might be able to quietly encourage diplomatic efforts among the claimants themselves to find a lasting, peaceful resolution to the outstanding South China Sea issues.
Given the troubled nature of U.S.-Chinese relations at present, a leading and public U.S. role in trying to resolve the dispute over the Spratly Islands is likely to be counterproductive because China may have less incentive to be forthcoming if the issue seems to become "Americanized." Nevertheless, the United States has vital interests at stake in this dispute, including maintaining freedom of navigation, encouraging the consolidation of the rule of law in the management of international maritime disputes, and protecting the credibility of U.S. forces as a balancing and stabilizing presence in the Asia-Pacific region.
While maintaining neutrality on the merits of the sovereignty claims, the United States has an interest in retaining the capacity and willingness to dissuade any single claimant from imposing a solution to the dispute through force, since overt conflict or successful intimidation would have serious implications for regional security. Quiet diplomacy by the United States in support of a negotiated settlement may help the claimants generate the necessary political will to resolve the disputes through a negotiation process without drawing the United States directly into the dispute.
Link to Full Report:
From time to time, Ill post or ping on noteworthy articles about politics, foreign and military affairs. FReepmail me if you want on or off my list.
If you never read it, check the link in comment# 7 for the article, "THE CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS" by Samuel P. Huntington in Foreign Affairs, Summer 1993, v72, n3, p22(28).
Chinas New Challenge to the U.S.-Japan Alliance
by John J. Tkacik, Jr.
July 13, 2004 | printer-friendly format |
As Chinese warships and naval survey vessels ply Japanese waters hoping to stake their claim to potentially gas-rich seabeds, the United States is sending mixed signals to Japan on the U.S.-Japan alliance. Ambiguity in Washington may undermine Japanese confidence in the alliancein itself, a major strategic goal for Beijing. Washington must now publicly support Japan, our most important ally in Asia, if it hopes to deter China from further adventurism in Japans Exclusive Economic Zone.
On Tuesday, July 6, Japanese antisubmarine aircraft spotted a Chinese naval survey vessel, the Nandiao 411, well within Japans Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The Chinese foreign ministry declined to comment on the incursion, saying it had not received any report of naval survey activities.
On July 13, Japanese coast guard cutters discovered a Chinese civilian research vessel, the Xiangyanghong 9, within the EEZ and engaged in survey operations for which it had not sought, much less obtained, Japanese government permissiona possible violation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Japanese aircraft ordered the vessel to leave the area, but the Chinese ship refused to respond.
Even more ominously, on July 14, a Chinese naval vessel overtook a Japanese resource exploration ship inside the EEZ, forcing it to alter its route to avoid a collision.
The Chinese navy has made a habit of traversing Japanese waters for the past two years, and Chinese ships and submarines have been particularly assertive in the past year. In January, the Japanese government declassified a report that Chinese naval vessels had entered the EEZ six times during 2003 to survey subsea routes for Chinese submarines to enter the Pacific. These incursions include two violations of Japans territorial waters by Ming class submarines in the vicinity of Kagoshima at the southern tip of Kyushu. So far this year, Japans Self Defense Forces have documented at least twelve violations of the EEZ, including three separate incursions northwest of the Senkaku Islands in May alone.
Alarmed by Chinas presence in Japanese waters, Tokyo will soon dispatch a civilian survey vessellooking for natural gasto the area near the Senkaku Islands (which China calls Diaoyutai) to assert its own EEZ rights. Beijings foreign ministry protested this news, claiming that the EEZ is disputed. It warned Tokyo not to take "any action that may imperil China's interest and complicate the current situation."
The Chinese navys sudden assertivenessindeed aggressivenessin Japanese waters is a test of the U.S.-Japan alliance. Washington must be careful not to confront this challenge with its traditional studied ambiguity. Ambiguous support for an ally against Chinas increasingly provocative territorial encroachments will encourage China to become more aggressive not just in Japanese waters, but also in the South China Sea and, of course, the Taiwan Strait.
China Has No Claim
The status of the Senkakus is clear. Japan first claimed the uninhabited and unclaimed islets in question in 1895 to use their rocky outcroppings for maritime navigation aids. From that time through the end of World War II, they were administered as part of Japans Okinawa prefecture. Upon the Japanese surrender, the United States administered the islets under a military occupation authority. In 1972, when the United States returned Okinawa to Japanese administration, the Senkakus were included in the reversion. There is, accordingly, no doubt that the United States has always regarded the islands as Japanese.
China and Taiwan have expressed interest in the islands since only 1968, when a United Nations Economic Commission for Asia report suggested there may be petroleum deposits in the seabed near the islets. (No petroleum or gas deposits have since been detected in the area.) On June 11, 1971, the Republic of China on Taiwan formally claimed the islands. After the United States returned the islands to Japan in the 1972 Okinawa Reversion Agreement, China lodged a formal protest with the U.S. government. Eager not to alienate Beijing just as President Nixon was beginning his opening to China, the U.S. State Department announced that the Reversion Agreement did not affect the sovereignty over disputed islands.
As recently as March 2004, the State Department accepted Chinas claims over the Senkakus as being equally valid as Japans title. Still, in a stance known affectionately in Japan as the Armitage Doctrine, U.S. officials have said that the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty covers all territories under the administration of Japan and there is no question that, as a matter of lawunder the Reversion Agreement, the alliance treaty, and the terms of the U.S. military occupation of the Ryukyu island chainthat the Senkakus are indeed under the administration of Japan. As such, any hostile activities against the islands would trigger the treaty.
In this context, China's forays into the Senkakus seem designed to probe where the bedrock of the U.S.-Japan alliance beginsor if it is there at all. Of course, Chinese survey vessels are also mapping the ocean bottom for the benefit of the countrys rapidly expanding submarine fleet.
Steps for the Administration
State clearly that the Senkakus are covered by the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty.
The United States cannot expect to avoid a showdown with China and Japan over the islands by continuing to tell China that it takes no position on the matter of sovereignty over the Senkakus. This only encourages China to force a confrontation with Japan over the islets, which will either draw the United States into the fray on Japans side or risk the collapse of the U.S.-Japan alliancean event China devoutly hopes to see.
The Administration must state firmly and publicly not only that the Senkakus are covered under the alliance and that the United States will support Japans claim as a matter of law, but also that the United States sees a prima facie case supporting Japans claims to sovereignty over the islands. While this would irritate Beijing, it would also be a clear message that the United States plans to remain a Pacific power and that Beijings aggressive territorial claims are counterproductive. Any continued confrontations in the area would be ample evidence of Beijings broader ambitions in Asia. Better to know now, than later. Either way, the United States must stand firmly and unequivocally with Japan.
Assist the Japanese Self Defense Forces in monitoring Chinese incursions.
While Chinas naval forays into Japans EEZ are perfectly legal under international law, Chinese oil and natural gas surveys are not. U.S. Naval forces should join Japanese forces in actively monitoring Chinese maritime operations in Japanese waters, as a demonstration of alliance strength and to dissuade China from believing testing the EEZ boundaries is cost-free.
The United States should view with alarm Chinas increasing aggressiveness in the Western Pacific and its continuing challenges to long-established maritime boundaries. The seabeds that China now claims have been under Japanese sovereignty for over a century. The United States has, over past years, reportedly reassured Japan that the territorial waters China now claimsand the islands they encompassfall within the ambit of Japanese administration and the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty. The United States should make this point firmly and thereby confront Chinas provocations with clarity instead of ambiguity.
John Tkacik, Jr., is Research Fellow in China Policy in the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation.
See post #27 and #29
Thanks for the posts and links.
"I think the show of force had a lot less to do with Taiwan and a lot more to do with the dispute brewing over the massive oil deposit in the South China Sea."
That's interesting information; thanks. I'm not sure I see how it implies that was the purpose of the show of force, though. It seems more likely to me it was to deter China and North Korea from getting any funny ideas while we were occupied in Iraq.
I have no doubt it's partly about China and Japan, but there's more to that conflict than China's designs on an oil deposit. I see no evidence that we're throwing Taiwan to the wolves. On the contrary, Bush has been defying China since he came into office--on missile defense of Taiwan, on Iraq, on North Korea. China didn't want the 6-way talks on North Korea; Bush forced them into that.
"China and North Korea from getting any funny ideas while we were occupied in Iraq."
That too...but the question is, what don't we want them to get any funny ideas about? I'd say Taiwan is pretty far down the list, especially considering Powell's perfidious comments endorsing the morally bankrupt "One China" policy.
"On the contrary, Bush has been defying China since he came into office"
I don't consider a resurrection of the evil "One China" policy as defying Red China. I consider it an appeasement policy of the highest (lowest) order.
The One China policy as the US has defined it has never meant appeasement; China would like to define it differently, but the US has never defined it the way China would like it. As Nixon defined it, it has always included an explicit commitment to Taiwan's defense, which Bush has reiterated and more importantly implemented by a military build-up to protect Taiwan. If Bush reduced our military commitment to Taiwan, I would be more concerned. But when the press reports a statement like this from Colin Powell out of context on the eve of an election, it's pretty obviously nothing more than an attempt to split Bush's base, so I don't see it as indicative of any shift towards appeasement.
Its time to replace Powell with..hmm.... Mayor Rudy..
Powell has made these statements twice, and in no uncertain terms (that's why the Taiwanese were so spooked by it). And the second statement was made after being chastized by conservative leaders and Taiwanese for making the statement in the first instance. In other words, now he is making a point of it. Morever, the second statement was made in Hong Kong. What does that tell the world and Taiwan (given the fact that Hong Kong has already been handed over to the Communists)???
I've never been particularly happy with the way Powell words things or his timing--I'm more of a Rumsfeld fan--but in context I don't think it's indicative of any shift in policy. As I read it the context is that the Taiwanese were practically calling China out a few months ago and most likely Powell's trying to counteract the diplomatic fallout from that and undo the escalation in the China-Taiwan conflict Clinton fueled with his reckless China policies. The US supports Taiwan's defense but doesn't want to pick a fight with China right now, either; Bush's MO is a combination of a strong containment deterrent coupled with covert ops, IMO. Relating that to the issue of Hong Kong you mention, I think we, Taiwan, and our other allies with espionage apparatuses there (UK, Australia, Japan, the Vatican, etc.) have been using Hong Kong as a base to stir up dissent against the Chicoms from within through the Fulan Gong and similar groups. "One China" cuts both ways: we can use it to push the Mainland in the direction of capitalism and democracy, too.
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