Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tsai Ing-wen's Speech at Taiwan Brain Trust/Project 2049 Conf

Speech by DPP Chair Dr. Tsai Ing-wen....cogent, intelligent. I'll be rounding up more China stuff later.

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A Rising Chinese Hegemony:
Regional Challenges and Responses

Speech to the Taiwan Brain Trust & Project 2049 Conference
July 19, 2010
Dr. Tsai Ing-wen

Chairman Koo and President Lo of the Taiwan Brain Trust, Mr. Schriver of Project 2049, Distinguished Guests from abroad, ladies and gentlemen, good morning.

It is indeed a privilege for me to attend the “International Conference on A Rising Chinese Hegemony: Challenges to the Region,” held by the Taiwan Brain Trust and co-sponsored by Project 2049.

This gathering is a timely reminder not only to Taiwan’s politicians who have been engaging in serious debate on how to live and deal with China but also to the international community that a serious analysis of a rising China is vitally necessary.

China’s rise is a complex phenomenon that folds together its economic growth, military modernization and power projection with the political influence these elements bring. Will the rise continue? If so, will it mean Chinese hegemony in Asia, if not more widely?

The PRC’s grand strategy in the region is clear in the consolidation of its geo-political and geo-strategic positions:

1. Tightening of control over Xinjiang and Tibet;
2. Deepened relations with Central Asian nations;
3. Building of ports and bases in Burma;
4. Exclusive Economic Zone claims in the ocean arc reaching from the Yellow Sea through the Sea of Japan to the South China Sea and increased naval presence throughout this ocean space;
5. Protection of North Korea as a buffer state;
6. Increased tension with India over border issues and nuclear cooperation with Pakistan;

If we add China’s political intentions toward Taiwan, the regional picture gets more alarming. China views US relationships with its friends and allies in the region, described by US analysts as a hedging policy, as, in fact containment of the PRC. China is trying to get out of this box by building up its blue water navy, along with its cruise and ballistic missile forces. Strategically speaking, Taiwan is key to China’s naval breakout. Controlling Taiwan would allow China to project power beyond the “First Island chain.” If Taiwan starts political talks with China, the future of Taiwan’s role in any regional strategy becomes uncertain.

China’s ambitious grand strategy has been sugarcoated by the slogan “peace and development.” The fact remains that there is no way for peace to be reached by military expansionism and increasing military threats against a democratic Taiwan. This stands in sharp contrast to what the CCP and KMT governments claim, namely that cross-Strait relations have significantly improved.

On the Taiwan issue alone, the Chinese leadership has failed to show the world that a rising China would be accompanied by the rise of the prospect for peace, nor has Beijing demonstrated that it is a “responsible stakeholder.” The Chinese defend development of a blue water navy and the capacity to project military power beyond its shores as necessary for ensuring China’s growing global economic interests. Nevertheless, as a preamble to justifying its use of force offshore, irrelevant to the safety of sea-lanes for Chinese ships, China passed a so-called “anti-secession law” in 2005 to legitimize the use of force against Taiwan.

Beijing’s recent moves to extend the definition of its “core interests,” as stipulated in the Obama/Hu Joint Statement, to the South China Sea was clearly a manifestation of its attempt to broaden the application of the above grand strategy.

China’s economic growth has been the engine driving China’s growing military and political might. However, questions have arisen about the continuation of this growth. The issue is not simply the value of the renminbi. It involves broader questions about China’s mercantilist policies and the CCP’s inability to change these policies without jeopardizing its hold on power.

As other nations strive for a re-balancing of the global economy, China continues

1. its subsidies to state-owned enterprises through manipulated interest rates;
2. its depression of consumers’ spending through this same gaming of interest rates;
3. its drive for “indigenous innovation” which effectively steals other nations’ intellectual property rights; and
4. its other surplus building practices.

The hopes expressed at the G-8 and G-20 meetings for rebalancing of the global economy will not be met if such Chinese economic policies continue. It seems clear to me that the CCP must face the “dilemmas” that Wen Jiabao hinted at recently and this would surely brake China’s rise. I doubt that the CCP is willing to walk this path, however.

In Copenhagen, China also showed that it was not willing to be a ‘responsible stakeholder’ but rather wishes to free ride as a “developing nation.’

On the security front, there has also been developing discomfort with Chinese practice. The Cheonan Incident is one key example. Chinese refusal to fully acknowledge North Korea’s involvement and join in a full-throated condemnation through the UN has raised the ire of South Koreans. Chinese warnings against US and South Korean joint exercises off the Korean coast has raised red flags in Washington. Whether the US and South Korea will call the Chinese bluff and send the nuclear carrier George Washington into the Yellow Sea remains a question, but one senses at least a chill in the Chinese relationship with both countries. Whether the move of operational control over forces in South Korea back to 2015 is a result of Chinese and North Korean actions is not clear, but the symbolism of the move cannot be ignored.

China’s claims in the South China Sea have strengthened significantly and cast a chill over its relations with other countries with claims in this area.

Chinese military maneuvers in and around the territorial waters of Japan are another instance where whatever economic leverage and draw China might have for sectors of the Japanese economy have been overshadowed by a perceived growing security threat.

Finally, the severe reaction of the Chinese to the Obama Administration’s notification to the US Congress of an arms sales package for Taiwan has drawn a sharp rebuke from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

Other examples could be raised but these will stand for now.

Globalization’s economic interdependence and electronic connections have bound us together. Chinese actions are those of an outlier and our response must be a united one that insures that those values that might make for a globalization that positively touches the lives of all sectors of our societies are reinforced:

respect for the rights of all peoples,
democratic participation in decision making,
fair and respectful trade relations.

The Democratic Progressive Party, destined to come back to power, supports these values. We are in the process of producing a 10-year policy platform, ranging from economic development to international policies, for Taiwan to be a better place and a more responsible regional player. The most important element of our international policy will be to adhere to the value of democracy to build up our international relations.

Instead of turning to China as “the future,” the way President Ma and the KMT are inclined to do, we wish to turn to democratic friends around the world and invite China to join us in building a world where justice for all is the norm.

I trust you all have witnessed the development of debate on the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, or ECFA, in Taiwanese society over the past few months. It is all too obvious that the Ma Administration is attempting to shove such an economic pact through the Legislative Yuan without regard for legislative oversight and democratic procedures. Recent remarks by senior officials in the US State Department that cross-Strait negotiations and agreements need to be consistent with Taiwan’s democracy, yet I’m sure you would agree that the recent actions by the Ma Administration are out of line with these policy statements.

So, instead of going first to China and then to the world, as the Ma Administration is currently doing, we wish to join hands with partners around the world first and invite China to participate. The Trans Pacific Partnership is an interesting example of how this might be done. Instead of China’s attempt to co-opt the ASEAN plus one as well as ASEAN plus three formulas as ways to marginalize US, and Taiwan’s, participation in the dynamic economic interaction of the region, TPP will, hopefully, emerge as an economic organization that is inclusive and keeps China’s economic practice in line with the rule of law, protection for IPR, proper currency evaluation and fair domestic policies practiced by other TPP members.

There have been several formulations for an Asian security organization. We believe that here, as with any economic organization, engagement of all democracies first is vital. After democratic partners agree on the basic structure for such an organization, then others, like China, are welcome to join if they support the fundamental principles of the organization.

We are encouraged by the Obama Administration increased attention to Asia, whether evidenced in President Obama’s serious set of bilateral meetings with Asian leaders at the G-20, Secretary Clinton’s planned participation in the Asian Regional Forum meeting, the repositioning of US forces, shifting of operational control of forces in South Korea back by several years, or Secretary Gates strong rejection of Chinese exclusive claims to the South China Sea and support for US arms sales to Taiwan.

We trust the US will adhere to the Taiwan Relations Act not only to provide necessary defensive weapons to Taiwan but also to maintain a significant presence in the region to deter China from initiating any military adventures. Such an obligation is consistent with US security interests in East Asia. The US allies in the region are watching carefully to see how the US will respond to a crisis in the region, for we all see a growing need for Washington to seek Beijing’s cooperation on many international issues.

For the people of Taiwan to be sure that the US remains deeply committed to Taiwan, arms sales are the key barometer. Taiwan needs F-16 c/ds for its air defense and also needs other defensive articles. The DPP, whether in power or not, will continue to urge the United States to make these articles available to Taiwan, the sooner the better. We need sufficient security deterrence capability to have no fear in our future negotiations with China.

Let me conclude by saying that international society faces the challenge of a rising China with a clear motivation to become a regional hegemon. We don’t necessarily need to look at the situation as the rise of an enemy. But we do need to be vigilant, and together encourage China to rise up to be a “responsible stakeholder” – for the sake of its own people, those of the region and of the whole world. Encouraging China is not enough. We must build the economic and security structures that insure China does not become that regional hegemon.

We countries in the region have an opportunity to build a brighter hope for the future for all our people. The challenges for the coming decades will require collective action and coordinated response. I look forward to the discussions during this timely international conference and look to be enlightened by our distinguished experts as together we face the reality of a rising China.

I wish the conference every success.
Thank you very much.
_________
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23 comments:

Thomas said...

Tsai's TPP approach is in line with US interests and, if followed, would give the Americans moral high ground on which to approach China regarding relations with Taiwan. A TPP could also pull in many SE Asian nations that want an economic and security counterweight to China.

She hit all the right buttons. But I fear that nobody in the US will take the DPP seriously unless it wins the next election. It is folly to allow China to gain advantages through bilateral negotiations with countries in Asia and between China and Taiwan. alone.

Michael Turton said...

The Americans keep refusing to see the DPP as an opportunity. The DPP doesnt help with its senseless populist anti-Americanism.

Henry said...

The new strategy of DPP needs to communicate with common American people that "One China Policy" is wrong both ethically and national interest is concerned.

Michael Turton said...

henry, the US "One China" Policy does not include Taiwan. ;)

D said...

Sounds good. But something's not right -- what is it?

Since US policy appears to be "keep Taiwan de facto independent, but avoid conflict with PRC", I hardly think they will welcome a ruling party in Taiwan that openly expresses these views. And let's face it, Taiwan is independent because of a historical contingency (the Korean War) and because it fits into the US-backed East Asian system, not because it is a democracy or because it has its own history.

The views may be true, but the US and European approach seems to be to handle things "diplomatically", keeping talk of China's threats off the front page except in strategically chosen moments (like the recent South China Seas thing).

So it sounds good, but is it good, or is it another something the DPP will have to walk back if they're going to deal constructively with China, given all the latter's famous "sensitivities". Yes, I know, f--- the Chinese sensitivities. But just like in real life, sometimes you have to use kid gloves with people who tend to overreact ridiculously, coming up with tactful ways to change their behavior instead of always confronting them openly and in public. (I can already hear this approach being labeled "appeasement", with a ratty train of Nazi Germany parallels rolling out of the station. Choo choo.)

On the other hand, maybe it is good for the chair of the DPP to put some of these sentiments on official record. That way if/when the DPP makes it back to power China will be used to hearing it and perhaps not so "sensitive".

The above in my humble opinion. Taiwan is in a tough spot, where ideals and practicalities really have to be negotiated.

Anonymous said...

I was not aware that the US ever had a foreign policy of supporting political regimes that were good for people, but instead favoring regimes that maintained destabilization so the military-industrial complex can sell more bombs and planes. To that end, I would think the ideological KMT suits the US's vested interests much better than the more rational DPP.

Henry said...

Only the addition of two words to the US foreign policy; “one Taiwan” to be added..

Yes, "One China and one Taiwan" how ethical is to the evolution of American independence! How a new creative ambiguity!

To right granted to Taiwan is universally inherent in the founding principle of this nation; we, timid Taiwanese is asking no more and no less than African black people. Indeed, our proposal is helping America to restore her sanity and sainthood. : )

Anonymous said...

Interesting, Michael, how you claim Taiwan has little to do with the US' "One China" policy when it appears that the US State Department itself has stated that difference between the two "sides" should be solved via the consensus of "people on both sides of the Strait". Now, I wonder, why on Earth the US would suggest that the Chinese have a say in the final status of Taiwan when Taiwan, as you claim, is not part of the US' "One China" policy.

The mind boggles.

Anonymous said...

In other news, I hereby invite Obama and Ahmadinejad to my backyard power summit, where we will peacefully resolve all sources of conflict within the Middle East. We should also have time for iced tea and sandwiches shortly following.

Tsai and the DPP will never be relevant as long as they deny their total impotence and irrelevance. Same for you, Michael.

Michael Turton said...

Anon, the State Department's One China policy is quite clear and well worth understanding. Saying that two sides have to work something out does not mean that one side owns the other.

Michael Turton said...

(d), the term "appeasement" was last used by me three years ago, and then with approval.

But just like in real life, sometimes you have to use kid gloves with people who tend to overreact ridiculously, coming up with tactful ways to change their behavior instead of always confronting them openly and in public.

That fundamentally mistakes the nature of Chinese "sensitivity." It is a policy choice designed to create exactly the response you advocate, and to deter future firm responses.

D said...

@Michael: "That fundamentally mistakes the nature of Chinese "sensitivity.""

Again, you're simplifying China. "The feelings of the Chinese people" is part policy choice, and as such yes it should be contested, but the policy isn't built out of thin air. Like other kinds of nationalism, it's an exploitation of pre-existing and often deeply held sentiments. Whether or not the sensitivities have been played up by the CCP, they are real and necessitate a constructive approach, like a person's neuroses will be better handled through slow therapy than through confrontation. I know it's hard to feel any sympathy or empathy when you have 2000 missiles pointed at you, but China's unreasonable approach to Taiwan is wrapped up with China's impotence over the last 200 years and its struggle to integrate itself into the order of nation-states. They're in a tough spot too. (On the plus side, I think China knows a conflict with Taiwan would mean Opium War Part II.)

On another note, it seems to me that the DPP's China approach is really a weak point for them. I could be wrong, but my sense is that fights in the legislature aside Taiwanese people are pretty non-confrontational. Even if Tsai is just speaking the truth about the threat China poses to the region, it's still antagonistic to China, and do most people want that confrontational an approach? The DPP strengths seem to be more in a) standing up against KMT corruption and vested interests; and b) identifying itself as the standard-bearer of Taiwan's democracy, and hence of its future.

Anonymous said...

@ Michael: I don't get how the DPP is "senseless populist anti-American.....?"

Michael Turton said...

...like on the beef issue, for example. The whole thing is just silly.

Michael Turton said...

On another note, it seems to me that the DPP's China approach is really a weak point for them. I could be wrong, but my sense is that fights in the legislature aside Taiwanese people are pretty non-confrontational.

The Taiwanese dislike open confrontation, which is one of the KMT advantages since the mainlanders seek it. The Taiwanese also tend to suffer in silence, whereas mainlander culture tends to encourage talking. Taiwanese often feel that mainlanders out-talk them....

I don't think the DPP's China policy is a domestic weakness. ECFA shows that, as does the 2008 election. Hsieh did not lose to Ma over Chen's China policy (except in the imaginations of certain US commentators); Ma's promises to guard Taiwan and not to negotiate with China politically are important indicators of that. Basically Ma had to co-opt the DPP line.

Taiwanese can be very confrontational -- witness the violence that Shih Ming-te's faux protests met with outside of Taipei. But they are like the militia in the American revolution: you count on them at your peril, and you count them out at your peril.

One of the consequences of buying into China's "nationalism" about the Qing era is that you reify Chinese claims to Qing territories and then further re-construct opposition to that expansion as "confrontation." Ma is not "conciliatory", he is a Chinese working for that same nationalism you deplore in your post, (D). The DPP is not "confrontational" but resisting. To bow to Chinese rhetoric is simply to dance to the tune Beijing is creating. Do you think India is "confrontational" over Arunachal Pradesh? What about Tibetans?

We live in this rhetorical universe because the post-1911 Chinese leadership decided to inflate China out to the Qing colonial boundaries, much as if Attaturk's successors had worked to expand Turkey back out to the Ottoman holdings and claimed Egypt and Iraq. And westerners need to reconstruct their own thinking so that it recognizes the essential illegitimacy of Chinese expansionism.

I'd be curious though, what specific acts of DPP "confrontation" can you point to?

Stefano said...

@Michael

You suggest that Chinese expansionism to re-create the perceived or actual frontiers of the Qing state is illegitimate. I would query whether you also believe that, for instance, the current integration of Scotland and Northern Ireland (both remnants of the British Empire) into the United Kingdom or, indeed, the continued US presence in Hawaii and Alaska (acquired during the Manifest Destiny phase of American colonialism) are likewise illegitimate and thereby up for review.

Surely what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

On a more legal level, I was also wondering how you, personally, distinguish the "legitimate" establishment of state frontiers with "illegitimate" ones. There is no large state in existence today which has not come about as a result of some kind of expansionism.

D said...

@Michael

Argh, where to start. Look, I do agree with you that someone, preferably everyone, should stand up to China's little hissy-fits. So this speech and most everything you say here gets my vote on that end. But you have to find ways of doing it constructively. You say Ma "coopted" the DPP line. OK, but he changed the content of it by changing its form, putting it into amenable frameworks like the "Three No's" and soft talk about peace treaties being "premature".

Last week in these pages, "mike the libertarian" was hounded out of town for espousing an extreme idealism at odds with "history". From my perspective, you're doing something similar. I'm not "reifying" anything -- I'm dealing with what's already been "reified" and looking for a way forward. The post-1911 Chinese claims you refer don't exist in isolation. They're part of the world system in which claims to territory always have a bit of "might-makes-right" blended in -- thank goodness for Taiwan! We can work to change the system, but we can't just say "it's wrong, therefore it shouldn't exist", which is basically what you do when you completely dismiss China's point of view. (And by the way, the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire isn't an example of anything. Go ask the Kurds about that.)

I still haven't come to accept the excessively negative portrait of Ma that you espouse. But I don't know enough to say that you're wrong. It just seems unlikely: do you think he'd rather see China hold sway over the Taiwan straits, instead of the US? If he's really a Chinese nationalist, I guess he would.

Of course it's impossible for me to point to any DPP instances of "confrontation", because anything I'd label so you would call "resistance". A lot of it depends on context. If a US Dept of Defense report referred to "a rising China with a clear motivation to become a regional hegemon" (Tsai's words here), it would be a normal part of the strategic game. If Obama used that in a public speech, it would violate the norms of diplomacy, like old W's "Axis of Evil" speech a few years back. So can the chair of the DPP say it? I don't know. I'm actually glad she did. I'm just trying to say that this way of speaking won't work when the DPP comes to power and they'd best clue themselves, and their supporters, into that fact. Then it will be "confrontational". If you don't want to dance to China's tune, at least consider being coquettish about it. "Well, I don't know. I have a boyfriend. Let's give it some time."

You say: "And westerners need to reconstruct their own thinking so that it recognizes the essential illegitimacy of Chinese expansionism." Forgive me, but this sounds so much like "mike the libertarian" from last week. Are you sure he's not your alter-ego?

Michael Turton said...

You suggest that Chinese expansionism to re-create the perceived or actual frontiers of the Qing state is illegitimate. I would query whether you also believe that, for instance, the current integration of Scotland and Northern Ireland (both remnants of the British Empire) into the United Kingdom or, indeed, the continued US presence in Hawaii and Alaska (acquired during the Manifest Destiny phase of American colonialism) are likewise illegitimate and thereby up for review.

Of course they would be. And? Is there strong local sentiment to be disabused of their American citizenship? Like Puerto Rico, their perfectly legal independence movement gets periodic referendums. Can't recall any for Tibet or East Turkestan.

. There is no large state in existence today which has not come about as a result of some kind of expansionism.

Bingo. So now is a good time to stop, doncha think?

D said...

"So now is a good time to stop, doncha think?"

The Penguins in Antarctica will be very happy to hear this.

Michael Turton said...

I'm just trying to say that this way of speaking won't work when the DPP comes to power and they'd best clue themselves, and their supporters, into that fact. Then it will be "confrontational". If you don't want to dance to China's tune, at least consider being coquettish about it. "Well, I don't know. I have a boyfriend. Let's give it some time."

I think Tsai knows this.

Michael Turton said...

"So now is a good time to stop, doncha think?"

The Penguins in Antarctica will be very happy to hear this.


LOL. When people play silly "You're a hypocrite!" games serious responses are not necessary.

Henry said...

Please note that my comment for DPP is to combine the program to communicate with American people who I've rated much credible than the politicians in White House. Barack Obama was a successful case by generating effective internet connections with the young generation. It seems that Michael is the first one to work with- to save one is to save America entire. : -)

Perhaps Michael is too old to convince? Please take a break and listen the music of Sarah Bright man’s “The Music of the Night” forget the stereotype politics which has brought America down for several decades! Moral bailout- number one job; Taiwan can help. Because Taiwan has suffered as chosen people long enough. Sigh…

For for Ching Dynasty’ matter; why just tell the guy to bandage women’s feet again, therefore chauvinistic Chinese would enjoy the frail pose of their women- the most “vibrant” civilization they will bring to 21st century. LOL.

Henry said...

The beef thing, Michael; to love America is to set the decent standard for both parties. It is a legitimate way to rectify the problem.

I am a food scientist; look at the next generation of baby boom's meal plan; early diabetes, high blood pressure, short longivity of American new generation- Michell Obama has to be busy for a while.

I tell you; Taiwan can help America a lot- you don't believe?

DPP need to have new vocie to American people; we don't need to be patronized by you- we like to creat a better common future with you. Help us this way, and we will help you also.