U.S. position on China's military buildup
U.S. intelligence projects that the size of the Chinese fleet could surpass that of the United States Navy within a decade. Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld on February 16 told the House Armed Services Committee that "they're growing rapidly and they're making significant investments in defense capabilities, military capabilities." "Beijing's military modernization and military buildup could tilt the balance of power in the Taiwan Strait. Improved Chinese capabilities threaten U.S. forces in the region," said Peter J. Goss, the central intelligence director at the Senate Armed Services Committee on February 17. He also warned of concern about the expansion of China's Navy. (The New York Times, Feb. 16, 2005).
President Bush in his visit to Europe urged EU not to lift military embargo. He said that "there is deep concern in our country that the transfer of weapons would be a transfer of technology to China which would change the balance of relations between China and Taiwan and that's of concern." He also warned that Europeans would need to convince the U.S. Congress that such fears were unfounded. Washington fears that the lifting would enable China to acquire sensitive military technology.
On February 18, Senator Richard G. Lugar (R-Indiana), chairman of the Senate Foreign relations committee, said in an interview in The Financial Times that he would support restrictions on American sales of advance military technology to Europe unless there were strong assurances from Europe that such technology would not be diverted to China when the embargo was lifted . (Elizabeth Bumiller, "Bush Says Europe Should Not Lift Its China Arms Embargo," The New York Times, Feb. 23, 2005).
After a White House meeting March 1, Senator Richard G. Lugar said that if the ban is lifted, congress could react with "a prohibition on a great number of technical skills and materials, or products, being available on Europeans. Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-Delaware) called a lifting of the ban "a nonstarter with congress." According to the new intelligence reports, China has raced ahead with one of the most ambitious military buildups in the world, including building of 23 new amphibious assault ships qhich alone equals the entire U.S. Navy shipbuilding since 2002. (Thom Shanker and David E. Sanger," U.S. Lawmakers Warn Europe on Arms Sales to China," The New York Times, Mar. 2, 2005).
It must be noted that the ban on military sale was placed because of the suppression of students' protests in Tiananmen Square in Beijing 16 years ago. Now, President Bush argued that lifting the ban will create military inbalance between Taiwan and China in latter's favor.
The U.S.- Japan military security
The 2+2 U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee met on Saturday, February 19, 2005 in Washington, D.C. Its joint statement is attentive to the new and emerging threats in the Asia-Pacific region and the modernization of military capabilities in the region which refers obviously to China The common strategical objectives of the committee meeting include "encourage the peaceful resolution of issues concerning the Taiwan Strait through dialogue" and "encourage China to improve transparency of its military affairs."
The joint statement mentioning Taiwan is an obvious departure from the U.S.-Japan security alliance first concluded in 1996. For the first time, Japan allies with U.S. on security in the area around Taiwan as common strategic objective. In fact, Japan adopted new defense guidelines in December 2004 regarding China's growing military as a threat. Of course, the joint statement angers China, whereas Taiwan welcomes it. Taiwan's premier Frank Hsieh said in a statement on February 21: "I welcome the international community's concern and interest in peace in the Taiwan Strait."(Reuters, Feb. 21, 2005) China on February 20 issued a stiff protest over the U.S.-Japanese statement, stating its reference to Taiwan violates China's national sovereignty and its criticism of China's military buildup is "untenable." (Reuters and Washington Post, Feb. 21, 2005).
Japan's expansion of sphere of influence
Japan has expanded her influence in the East China Sea. In February Japan officially took ownership of a 15-foot lighthouse built on the island known as Diaoyutao in Chinese and Senkaku in Japanese.
According to Ignatius Y. Ding, Diaoyutai has been Chinese territory since 1403. Chinese sovereignty over the islands is evidenced by documents published by the Japanese government as pointed out by History Professor Kiyoshi Inoue of Kyoto University. Mr. Ding also cited a maritime chart published for the military in 1785 by an eminent Japanese scholar, Hayashi Shihei (1738-1793), known as the Sangoku setsujozu (A Map of Three Adjoining Countries) attached to the Sanggoki tsuran zusetsu (An Illustrated General Survey of Three Countries) which clearly indicates the Chinese ownership of these islands.
Japan-China's trade is robust, but they are cool in politics. As pointed out by Howard H. Baker, Jr., U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Japan is a superpower; China is on its wya to being a superpower. They are both rich, they both have a history and tradition in this region, and they don't much like each other, I think."(Anthony Faiola, "Japan to Join U.S. Policy on Taiwan," Washington Post, Feb. 18, 2005)
China's anti-secession law
China drafted a new anti-secession law expected to be passed by the National People's Congress in March. The law mandates a military invasion if Taiwan declares independence. The Bush Administration does not like it. Richard Boucher, State Department Spokesman said on February 15, 2005 that "certainly the U.S. government has been quite clear that we don't think either side should take unilateral steps that try to define the situation further or push it in one direction or another. And we've made that clear, I think, right from the beginning when this law was discussed." The Bush administration also warned Beijing that America will have to step up its support for Taiwan if the law goes through.
U.S. ties with Taiwan suggested
On February 16, 2005, Representative Thomas G. Tancredo introduced Bipartisan Resolution that would call for the United States to resume normal diplomatic relations with Taiwan (also known as the Republic of China or 'ROC'). The U.S. cut ties with Taiwan in 1979 when former U.S. President Jimmy Carter shifted recognition from the island nation to communist China. "Our current 'One China' policy is a fiction," said Tancredo, "Taiwan is a free, sovereign and independent country that elects its own leaders. It is not, nor has it ever been a local government of communist China - and everyone knows that."
It's time to scrap this intellectually dishonest and antiquated policy in favor of a little consistency and honesty," said Tancredo, "There is absolutely no good reason that the United States cannot maintain the same kind of normal relationship with the democratically elected government in Taiwan that it maintains with the autocratic regime in Beijing. . . Mainland China and Taiwan are two independent and separate political entities - that is a simple and undeniable fact," said Tancredo, "the sooner the world recognizes that, the sooner the two sides will be able to engage in a serious, peaceful and meaningful dialogue about how best resolve their differences."
Other sponsors of the resolution include International Relations Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida), Rep. Mark Souder (R-Indiana), Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-New York), and Rep. John Shimkus (R-Illinois).
All new developments and messages indicate that one China remains in principle only. There are many hurdles for the unification of China. Tacitly, the Bush administration is pursuing the status quo policy, i.e., one China and one Taiwan as they are today.Press conference and forum on de-Chinese
A press conference and forum on Taiwan's de-Chinese was held at the Chicago Chinatown Public Library on December 11. Participants who include Prof. In-lan Wang, Mr. Zhong-yin, Mr. David Hou, Dr. Peter Shih-lung Chu, Mr. Jian Wang, Mr. P.M. Chang, Mr. Jack Hsiao, Mr. Wenbin Zhang, Mr. Tao Lou, and many others all denounced Taiwan government's de-Chinese activities, including distortion of Chinese geography and history, replacement of mandarin, reduction to the minimum of studies on Chinese classics, and discrimination against mainland Chinese in Taiwan. Prof. Yu-hau Wei made concluding remarks and called for issuing a statement denouncing Taiwan government's de-Chinese attempt. Tze-chung Li considered Taiwan's de-Chinese activities tantamount to racial, cultural, and linguistic genocide, an international crime. The statement was published in local Chinese newspapers.
The press conference and forum was sponsored by the One China Committee, Mid-West Association for Preserving the History of WWII in Asia, and the Mid-West American Chinese Academic Organizations