Sunday, August 30, 2009

China Expresses Ire to Manage US

Our good cooperation partner, the Peaceful Riser© is starting to put pressure on the US in all sorts of ways. Kathrin Hille, the former longtime Financial Times correspondent here in Taiwan, reports now from China:
China has called on the US to phase out its military surveillance missions close to the Chinese coast, in Beijing’s clearest indication so far that it will not tolerate American dominance indefinitely in an area it views as its strategic sphere of influence.

The remarks came after two days of negotiations on maritime safety between military officials from both sides following a series of confrontations between US and Chinese ships in waters off the Chinese coast earlier this year.

“The way to resolve China-US maritime incidents is for the US to change its surveillance and survey operations policies against China, decrease and eventually stop such operations,” Xinhua, the official news agency, quoted the Ministry of National Defence as saying.
Hille further observes:
Chinese military officials have also in the past steered clear of confronting the US over its influence in Asia. They have sometimes even suggested that the two could coexist.

Yesterday’s declaration, however, suggests that China is moving closer to scenarios long painted by defence experts under which it becomes more assertive and starts drawing lines for the US military.
It's easy to see down which road we're heading here. The right-wing Washington Times discusses China's attempt to browbeat US military officials over Taiwan arms sales. To wit:
On Aug. 20 in Beijing, Gen. Ge Zhenfeng, deputy chief of the general staff of the People's Liberation Army, accused the United States of failing to respect China's interests, triggering an argument and rebuttal from the Army four-star, according to defense officials familiar with the exchange.

Then during a second meeting the same day, Gen. Chen Bingde, the PLA chief of staff, took the unusual step of allowing foreign news reporters to listen in during a photo session before the meeting when he told Gen. Casey that the United States was "challenging and violating our core national interests, and we have to react."

Such coverage of U.S.-China meetings normally is limited to a few minutes of photographs before reporters are shuffled out of the meeting room and doors are closed.

Gen. Chen then told Gen. Casey that the U.S. had undermined trust by selling arms to Taiwan and that Washington is only friendly when it seeks Beijing's cooperation on terrorism and piracy, but then does "anything they want, even to offend the Chinese people." He said, "I don't think that kind of cooperation can continue."

Gen. Casey stated that "it's difficult to build a lasting relationship when we start from a point that 'we have a problem and it is you.' "
It's a good example of the way China uses "worsening relations" to browbeat its opponents and to manage relationships in its favor. Gen. Ge was quoted in Xinhua saying that the United States needed to "remove obstacles" to better ties, like U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. In other words, when you serve Beijing relations will be "warm" -- at least until Beijing decides on its next demand, at which point the cycle of browbeating, warming relations, and worsening relations, will begin anew.

One irony is that the US military, especially the Navy, has consistently attempted to maintain good relations with China. As I've observed many times, once "good relations" are a priority, that simply makes you vulnerable to increased pressure from the the Peaceful Riser©.

The arms sales cannot really be that serious of an issue, since the current government of Taiwan is basically allied to the CCP. Rather, China is simply not missing the opportunity to engage in pro forma displays of its consistent foreign policy of browbeating others to get what it wants, and, as China specialist John Tkacik described:
"The Chinese also want to make excuses for not pressuring either North Korea or Iran on their nuclear ambitions, so they point to U.S. support for democratic Taiwan and say, 'See here, if you Americans would only cut loose of Taiwan, we could help more with these other rogues.'"

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Anonymous said...

The US is getting to the point where Ma brought Taiwan; conducting policy negotiation predicated on placating China's presumed anger.

Anonymous said...

Sir, or whoever rights this blog: re: "The right-wing Washington Times discusses China's attempt to browbeat US military officials over Taiwan arms sales.."

The Washington Times is rightwinged and conservative. Yes. It is run by the Moonie organization of Rev. Moon of the Korean Unification Church, aka the Moonies. It supposedly has editorial independence from the church, but your guess is as good as mine. BUT sire, you should note that because the Washington Times Moonie Paper is right wing, it also is anti-Chicom and anti-coummnist and therefore completely supports Taiwan in its struggles against Red China. So don't diss the Washington Times. It's more pro-Taiwan than the liberal Washington Post.

Tim Maddog said...

Shorter China: "Just stop pushing up against us bullies, wave a white flag, and everything will be easier (for us and our hegemonic ambitions)."

Tim Maddog

Anonymous said...

I agree with the editorialist in the Taipei Times today (8/30). China is increasingly operating from a position of weakness. If we consider all the pieces, Beijing is cornered - economically, militarily, politically. It's only real recourse is to lash out and make outrageous demands, like some Hollywood gangster caught at the end of an alley with the police pointing guns at him.

Robert R. said...

Sir Anonymous, the fellow who wrote this post did not diss the Post, per se. It has been well established (and oft covered here) that the right wing of the US has generally been more of a friend of Taiwan than the left. Alas, it is one of the many problems with a 2-party system.

I'm sure I speak for many other Democratic-leaning folks in Taiwan that this is a sore point.

les said...

You can't really blame the Chinese for trying these tactics when they almost always work. They must be amazed that this actually works.

Anonymous said...

Approximately 50 supporters of Taiwanese unification with China hurled insults at the Dalai Lama as he arrived at a suburban Taipei train station Sunday at the beginning of a five day visit to console victims of Typhoon Morakot.

The demonstrators, waving Chinese flags and banners supporting unification with China, shouted "Go home Dalai Lama, don't come here" as he boarded a train bound for the south.

Many favor his visit to console storm victims but a vocal minority oppose it.

China has vilified the Dalai Lama for what it says are his attempts to fight for independence in Tibet. Beijing has said it "resolutely opposes" the Taiwan visit.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Nancy Pelosi, Democrat and current speaker of House pretty pro-Taiwan? I thought I remember her doing some very public needling of China's lack of respect for human rights ("sneaking" out of a hotel while on tour there or something "really evil" like that).

Robert R. said...

Eh, they all bash China to some extent, but when it actually comes down to doing something, it ends up being not much. Recall Hillary Clinton's statement on her first trip to China as SoS, saying that human rights are less important than the state of the economy.

However, looking at the list of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus, there are exactly 66 Dems & 66 Repubs in the House. On the Senate side, it's 9Ds, 14Rs, and Joe Liebermann (who I won't try to classify).

Readin said...

The mountains of debt the current U.S. administration is planning to pile up will give China lots of leverage. (It was really bad under Bush, but it seems Obama plans to make it much much worse).

Expect China to be telling us what to do in regard to a lot more than just Taiwan.

Readin said...

Isn't Nancy Pelosi, Democrat and current speaker of House pretty pro-Taiwan? I thought I remember her doing some very public needling of China's lack of respect for human rights

I'm not sure what Pelosi's stance is on Taiwan, but I've noticed that being pro human rights for Chinese is unfortunately no guarantee that a person will be pro human rights for Taiwanese.