Thu, Oct 23, 2003 - Page 8 News List

US must check China's militarism

By Paul Lin 林保華

Before China launched the Shenzhou V spacecraft, a struggle developed between former president and military commission chairman Jiang Zemin (江澤民) and President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) regarding who should attend the launch. In the end, it was Hu who appeared at the launch site, and Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) who declared the return a success. Jiang was merely the third person to deliver his congratulatory speech.

Everything progressed according to the "rules" in order to prove that the party and the nation carry more weight than the army. Jiang is at a disadvantage in these intra-party struggles. Looking at the bigger picture, however, the party does not want to leave the outside world with the impression China is a military state.

However, regardless of whether we look at this issue from the point of view of the military's involvement in the Shenzhou project, or from the point of view of consistent Chinese Communist Party (CCP) thinking, it is a continuation of the approach formulated by former foreign minister Chen Yi (陳毅), who said, "At the risk of losing our pants, we are determined to go ahead and build our own atomic bomb."

Military goals of course remain the main concern. The Washington Times has revealed that Shenzhou V placed a military spy satellite in space during its 14 revolutions around Earth.

According to Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 1995-2002, a report from the US Congressional Research Service, China bought arms worth US$17.8 billion during this period, and it was the world's largest arms buyer last year. Why is China in such a rush to expand its military might? Given its huge population and current military strength, no one would dare think about invading it. The only explanation is its ambition to realize the dream of becoming a dominant power.

Following the launch of Shenzhou V, the Internet crowd could not help but shout a few slogans -- attack Japan, destroy the US, unify the world -- which are echoes of the Chinese education system. China's diplomatic strategy has traditionally been to attack neighbors and maintain friendly relations with distant nations.

In contemporary warfare, however, distance is not a big problem. What's more, the greatest restraint on Chinese expansion is the US. China has therefore changed strategies, and now looks for a friendly relationship with its neighbors so it can build a united front with which to attack the US, the leader of the democratic world.

Since Japan and Taiwan are protected by the US' nuclear umbrella, they may be the first to be attacked. To realize this goal, it would rely on trickery to placate the US in order to divide, undermine and attack its allies one by one.

Russia is the key to realizing China's dream of domination, and China has therefore been willing to give up territory in exchange for Sino-Russian military cooperation. Just after the CCP's 16th National Congress last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Beijing, where he and Jiang issued a joint statement. According to the statement, "The two heads of state reiterate that regardless of changes in the international situation and regardless of domestic changes in Russia or China, the two sides are determined to abide by the guidelines and principles stated in the treaty."

In other words, China has no regrets whatsoever about giving up its territory in order to win the hearts of the Russian people. In this way, China does not have to fear that an attack will be launched from the rear.

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