As the notion of the so-called "China threat" gradually gave way to the mainstream approach of "engagement with China" over the last couple of years, a new strategic thinking regarding US-China relations has also emerged.
\nAs the Bush administration got ready for business, his foreign policy team introduced a somewhat different approach to the Asia Pacific region. In reaction to the Chinese government's recent display of training achievements shows, the new US government has also reiterated its intention to review its Asia policy by emphasizing the need to strengthen relations with its allies. For the Bush administration to understand the transformation of Chinese military capability, however, it must pay attention to the reasons behind such strategic thinking.
\nFor decades, China's security strategy has been heavily conditioned by four fundamental features of its security environment. First, China has long had a long and, in many places, geographically vulnerable border. Second, the presence of many potential threats, both nearby and distant, constitute major security concerns for the Chinese leaders. Third, a domestic political system marked by high levels of conflict at the apex and weak institutions or processes for mediating and resolving such conflicts further undermine the improvement of the Chinese military. Finally, a great and powerful self-image, which has been at the center of Chinese military thinking, drives the leadership to strive to emerge from the shadow of the what they consider a"century of national humiliation."
\nThese five basic features of Chinese security strategy and behavior, however, underwent systemic changes following the initiation of Deng Hsiao-ping's(
For the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), China’s “century of humiliation” is the gift that keeps on giving. Beijing returns again and again to the theme of Western imperialism, oppression and exploitation to keep stoking the embers of grievance and resentment against the West, and especially the US. However, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) that in 1949 announced it had “stood up” soon made clear what that would mean for Chinese and the world — and it was not an agenda that would engender pride among ordinary Chinese, or peace of mind in the international community. At home, Mao Zedong (毛澤東) launched
With a new White House document in May — the “Strategic Approach to the People’s Republic of China” — the administration of US President Donald Trump has firmly set its hyper-competitive line to tackle geoeconomic and geostrategic rivalry, followed by several reinforcing speeches by Trump and other Cabinet-level officials. By identifying China as a near-equal rival, the strategy resonates well with the bipartisan consensus on China in today’s severely divided US. In the face of China’s rapidly growing aggression, the move is long overdue, yet relevant for the maintenance of the international “status quo.” The strategy seems to herald a new
To say that this year has been eventful for China and the rest of the world would be something of an understatement. First, the US-China trade dispute, already simmering for two years, reached a boiling point as Washington tightened the noose around China’s economy. Second, China unleashed the COVID-19 pandemic on the world, wreaking havoc on an unimaginable scale and turning the People’s Republic of China into a common target of international scorn. Faced with a mounting crisis at home, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) rashly decided to ratchet up military tensions with neighboring countries in a misguided attempt to divert the
Toward the end of former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) final term in office, there was much talk about his legacy. Ma himself would likely prefer history books to enshrine his achievements in reducing cross-strait tensions. He might see his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in Singapore in 2015 as the high point. However, given his statements in the past few months, he might be remembered more for contributing to the breakup of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). We are still talking about Ma and his legacy because it is inextricably tied to the so-called “1992 consensus” as the bedrock of his