China intent on taking over Taiwan: US expert

By William Lowther  /  Staff Reporter in WASHINGTON

Wed, Apr 13, 2011 - Page 1

A new analysis of China’s latest defense white paper concludes that it is part and parcel of Beijing’s “political warfare against Taiwan.”

The analysis by Richard Fisher, a senior fellow on Asian military affairs at the Washington-based International Assessment and Strategy Center, said the white paper “provides a disturbing insight into the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) strategy of coercive envelopment of Taiwan.”

Fisher said the paper was “a stark reminder of the PRC’s [People’s Republic of China] ongoing strategy of economic and political ‘united front’ warfare combined with military intimidation, which the PRC could decide to change into a direct military campaign at any point in the future.”

The white paper, released on March 31, should be seen as a weapon to convey the CCP’s “divide and conquer” strategy against Taiwan, he said.

Fisher said passages in the white paper that are ostensibly addressed to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) are “calm and straightforward,” but make clear it is time to begin political negotiations that could ultimately end Taiwan’s era of freedom.

Pro-PRC factions within the KMT are “quite willing” to push the CCP’s goals, Fisher wrote.

Meanwhile, passages seemingly targeted at the Democratic Progressive Party are “harsh and likely presage how the CCP will treat the Taiwanese once they gain control,” Fisher wrote.

Carefully going through the white paper point by point, Fisher said it amounts to an “emphatic rejection” of the current “status quo” and that the PRC makes it clear the growth in economic relations and personal contacts with Taiwan that it has allowed since 2008 “are not for the benefit of the people of Taiwan but to assist the PRC’s ultimate goal of conquest.”

“The CCP wants the KMT to start political negotiations regarding Taiwan’s future now,” he wrote.

The PRC’s defense white paper is another “douse of cold water” for Washington from Beijing, Fisher wrote.

“The agenda that it reveals should diminish further hopes that the PRC will eventually become a partner that shares US and Western global interests,” he wrote.

“The white paper’s direct intervention into Taiwan’s political debate about its future is coercive in nature and affirms that despite its many recent actions to alleviate tensions with Taiwan, it is doing so to advance its consistent goal of taking over Taiwan,” he said.

Fisher said that given the growing military imbalance against Taiwan, it is imperative that the US Department of State review its longstanding restrictive interpretation of the Taiwan Relations Act’s requirement that the US sell only “defensive weapons” to Taiwan.

“State Department restrictive interpretations serve to deny Taiwan access to modern weapons such as the Lockheed Martin ATACMS (deep strike precision surface to surface missiles) that could effectively deter a PLA [People’s Liberation Army] invasion, and thus a PRC decision to attack Taiwan,” Fisher wrote.