Mon, Apr 18, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Taiwan must answer China's threat

All over the globe, the discussion of China's rise is nothing new. Unsatisfied with the status of a regional hegemon, China is now seeking to expand into every corner of the world. In the 21st century, the US is facing something akin to the former Soviet Union, but its opponent this time, namely China, is a much tougher rival. Although in the past China was militarily inferior to the Soviet Union, it is now superior to Russia on the diplomatic front and the Chinese have fared much better than the Russians economically.

Recently the US government has fretted over the actions of Beijing, such as the adoption of the "Anti-Secession" Law, which have obviously escalated cross-strait tensions. And now there are the anti-Japanese demonstrations sparked by the approval of new Japanese history textbooks. On the heels of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's visit to China, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) made a visit to Pakistan and India and signed a pact under which China has started building a deep-sea port in Pakistan, which has been described by the foreign media as Beijing's attempt to once again project force into the Indian Ocean in pursuit of expansionist ambitions, in the manner of the fleets sent out under the command of Zheng He (鄭和) nearly 600 years ago.

China also sought to mend fences with India by resolving border disputes and proposing projects to boost bilateral economic cooperation.

To vie for oil resources, China ignored the US policy of isolating Iran and has placed an order for oil valued at US$100 billion. Other than seeking oil sources in Central Asia, the Middle East, Siberia and Southeast Asia, China is also expanding into the US' front yard, Canada, and its back yard, Venezuela. On April 14, Beijing signed a contract with the Canadian province of Alberta to facilitate the transport of Canadian oil to China. Not long ago, China also purchased a large quantity of oil from Latin America, including Venezuela. All these actions have threatened the US' oil supplies and ignited potential diplomatic disputes.

What the US must find most unbearable is the fact that China's "rising" power has persuaded US allies not to align themselves so closely with its interests. Despite US protests, the EU considered lifting the ban on arms sales to China. Australia has already clearly stated that it would not stand with the US against China on the cross-strait issue, and even South Korea has refused to allow its military bases to be used to deploy US troops in the event of a cross-strait conflict.

Although China's military power is still insufficient to challenge US hegemony, it has used its economic and diplomatic clout to advance itself in various arenas of international competition, proving to the world that it is a major power that will not willingly constrain itself within self-imposed limits.

US President George W. Bush seems to have realized this problem, and on April 15 described Sino-US relations as a "very complex and good relationship." China's close neighbor Japan has recently released the 2005 Diplomatic Blue Book, chastising China, saying that its development of gas fields in the East China Sea and incursions of nuclear submarines into its territorial waters, are a serious threat to Japanese national security and sovereignty.

The enactment of the Anti-Secession Law has made China's insistence on its "peaceful rising" an empty slogan. In the face of China's rising through non-peaceful means, the countries that form the two Pacific Ocean island chains have become nervous. Taiwan should sound the alarm and develop a grand strategy, similar to that employed in the 20th century, to outflank the communist threat and respond effectively to the new challenge posed by China.

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