Wed, Feb 16, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Beat the giant through wise action

By Lin Chong-pin林中斌

Beijing's new grand strategy is to dominate East Asia without fighting. This strategy incorporates diplomatic, defense, cross-strait and domestic policies. As these policies become increasingly integrated, the total effects are multiplied (one plus one equals more than two). Although it may never openly admit it, one of Beijing's ultimate goals is to gradually replace US dominance in East Asia through economic and cultural means.

Beijing is rapidly building up its advanced military capability to strengthen its use of non-military instruments such as diplomacy. It prefers to keep military force prepared, but not used.

The seven important elements of this new grand strategy are:

One, defusing the domestic "time bombs," such as intensifying protest movements.

Two, emphasizing cooperation over contradictions with the US: while being frank on differences, Beijing strives to expand bilateral communications.

Three, actively implementing its policy on neighboring countries, to make them feel rich, secure and friendly toward Beijing, and to replace East Asia's "China fear" with "China fever."

Four, elevating relations with the EU as a counterweight against the US: EU trade with China has exceeded that with the US since 2003; therefore, the EU will likely lift its arms embargo against China.

Five, rapid and quiet development of "acupuncture warfare" capabilities and a nuclear deterrent: if you hold a big stick and speak softly, who does not listen?

Six, prioritizing a peaceful cross-strait resolution and being prepared to wait: five days after Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) took over the chairmanship of China's Central Military Commission (CMC), he approved a new guideline on Taiwan policy: "Strive for negotiation, prepare for war, and have no fear of Taiwan's procrastination."

Seven, using Latin America against the US and entering Africa to drive out the US: Last year about half of China's foreign investment was in Latin America; it has also used oil diplomacy in Africa to quickly fill up the vacuum left by the US.

Only one link in this grand strategy chain is related to Taiwan. Hu's tactics will be more creative and varied.

Being prepared to wait includes three strategies. One, Beijing believes that the US' strategic expansion will slow down, so there is no need to be hasty over the cross-strait issue. This is the greatest difference between Hu's and Jiang Zemin's (江澤民) approaches.

Two, emphasizing a non-military strategy: apart from launching psychological warfare, legal warfare and media warfare on Taiwan, Hu has also engaged Taiwan on the diplomatic, economic, cultural and even religious fronts.

Three, be harder on the Taiwan government but softer on the Taiwanese people: Beijing avoids allowing the Taipei government that clearly rejects the "one China" principle to gain any credit. Beijing seeks to exert pressure on Taipei through other capitals, especially Washington, to prevent Taipei from declaring de jure independence.

Beijing will be agile and proactive in trying to win the hearts and minds of the Taiwanese people. Its favored plan is to annex Taiwan without war. Its second option is "coercion to the brink" to threaten Taiwan without bloodshed or destruction.

It's lowest option is to use military force to deter the US and seize Taiwan -- and by no means will it directly attack the US and destroy Taiwan. Ultimately, its aim is to pull Taiwan into its embrace as a "stolen bride" or a "golden egg-laying goose," with the minimum killing and damage.

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