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Foreign Media Reaction

Commentary from ...
Middle East
East Asia
South Asia
Western Hemisphere
July 30, 2004

July 30, 2004



** Dailies term parallel military drills by the U.S., Taiwan and China "unprecedented."

** Asian outlets see the "rapid development" of closer U.S.-Japan military ties.

** Mainland papers assail the "hypocrisy" of Washington's China policy.

** China's "peaceful ascendancy" is contributing to a regional "sense of crisis."


Taiwan is Asia's 'most dangerous flashpoint'-- China, Taiwan and the U.S.' "military muscle-flexing" is creating what the centrist Winnipeg Free Press called a "dangerous international game of bluff." China's "massive display of force" led Taiwanese dailies to see an "increasing possibility of military action" against Taiwan. The pro-independence Taipei Times accused Beijing of trying to "force Taiwan into submission through military intimidation." Hong Kong's independent South China Morning Post discerned in the U.S. exercises the "overt purpose of countering a growing Chinese military threat." PRC dailies countered that the U.S. drills aim to "improve its strategy for Asian hegemony."

Japan's 'strategy of containing China'-- PRC papers opined that Tokyo seeks to capitalize on the "accelerated integration" of U.S. forces with Japan's military to "realize maritime hegemony." Official Global Times blasted Japan's "strategic scheming," especially with regard to the "China-Japan battle for East China Sea resources." Liberal Japanese papers expressed concern over plans to "expand the scope and role of the U.S. military in Japan"; Asahi urged a "cool and objective look at whether U.S. military realignment" is in Tokyo's interests. But conservative writers said "Japan must cooperate" for the U.S.-Japan alliance "to function effectively." Sankei urged a "lackadaisical" Tokyo to better protect its own maritime interests.

Taiwan is the 'bone of contention' in Sino-U.S. relations-- Chinese dailies expressed "strong dissatisfaction and indignation" towards "provocative" U.S. policies. Referring to U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, they cautioned that if Taiwanese "play with fire, the fire will burn the U.S. as well." The congressional resolution backing Taiwan also drew ire; pro-PRC Macau Daily News warned that "countries should not interfere in other's internal affairs." One Chinese writer held that the "Taiwan Relations Act is the root of all troubles between the U.S. and China." Taiwanese outlets advised the U.S. to avoid "contradiction and compromise"; centrist China Times urged the U.S. to "draw its line more clearly" in order to maintain "strategic clarity."

'China seems anxious to annex democratic Taiwan'-- Several Asian papers saw Taiwan as part of China's quest "toward building its hegemony." Pro-PRC outlets countered that China just seeks to "safeguard its national sovereignty." Many Chinese papers assailed Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's "totally mistaken" visit to Taiwan. Official International Herald Leader concluded Singapore "has lost China's trust" and "dared to say no to China" due to U.S. support. Singapore's pro-government Lianhe Zaobao responded that "such over-reaction by China is counter-productive."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment. Posts select commentary to provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion. This report summarizes and interprets foreign editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government. This analysis was based on 55 reports from 9 political entities over 15 - 30 July 2004. Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.

EDITOR: Ben Goldberg


AUSTRALIA: "China Tries A Different Tack On Taiwan"

Rowan Callick wrote in the business-oriented Australian Financial Review (7/25): "Taiwan, with a population of more than 1 million, is increasingly enmeshed with China. Most Taiwanese don't see themselves strictly as Chinese, since Taiwan has not been effectively ruled by China since 1895. They don't want to end up under a one-country, two-systems format like the people of Hong Kong, where more than 500,000 people demonstrated for a second year on July 1 against being locked out of their own government. The Taiwanese are feisty, but they consistently reject formal independence for fear of the consequences."

CHINA: "Where Will The U.S. Military's Next Chessman Be?"

Ni Wenxin maintained in official China Radio International-sponsored World News Journal (Shijie Xinwenbao) (7/30): "The U.S. Defense Dept...has suggested that it should change its traditional manner of simply increasing deployments and expanding bases...rather expand potential military partners by establishing agreements and reaching alliances. Therefore, on the one hand, the U.S. continuously increases its 'military bases' in the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Pakistan etc. and on the other hand conducts measures called 'no-obstacle entry'.... This means it sets up ad-hoc cooperative military relationships with certain countries.... In this way, the U.S. military can use its military bases freely at any time based on the specific situation.... Looking at the above facts, the U.S. force posture in the whole western Pacific Ocean will not simply be an increase of one aircraft carrier combat group."

"Japan Flexing Military Muscle"

Yao Wenli stated in the official English-language China Daily (7/30): "This year marks the 50th anniversary of the formation of Japan's Self-Defense Forces (SDF).... These forces have evolved into one of the world's best-equipped militaries.... The future direction of the SDF was foreshadowed in the 2004 Defense White Paper.... The White Paper provides a telling clue about Japan's future defense policy.... By this logic, more participation in U.S.-led coalition activities...is imperative.... The deployment of a missile defense system by Japan is intended to contain China and the DPRK...and lay the foundation for sharing Northeast Asia dominance with the U.S.... The White Paper gives special attention to China. In its assessment of the international military situation, China is at the top of the list of countries to watch.... Japan is again trying to justify its own unconstitutional military buildup through exaggerating the military threats posed by neighboring countries. This is not in the least wise, and will not achieve its desired object."

"Taiwan's 'Front Line Of Defense' Progresses Toward The Mainland"

Li Xuanliang commented in official international International Herald Leader (Guoji Xianqu Daobao) (7/29): "Taiwan's military is building missile and radar bases on Penghu and Mazu Islands [near the Mainland], trying to construct an 'island chain' defense project. But actually they just have increased the number of attack targets for the Mainland's cannons at wartime and these definitely will not have any 'deterrent effect'.... Can the Taiwan authorities' deployment...really contain the Mainland's attack and form a threat to the Mainland's coastal areas? Experts think that Taiwan is just emboldening itself. ...What's fatal is, either Jinmen or Mazu islands are too close to the Mainland and far from Taiwan's home island, and so once there is a war, Taiwan's military will not be able to reinforce them.... The Taiwan authorities know this fatal weakness, but they pretend to be deaf and dumb.... Earlier the U.S. suggested...that the Taiwanese military withdraw troops from the Maqiu Islands. To embolden the 'Taiwan independence' forces, the Chen Shuibian authorities not only did not withdraw, but instead has deployed more offensive weapons."

"Seventy Percent Of Japanese Military Expenditures Go To Offensive Weapons"

Li Sijun commented in official international International Herald Leader (Guoji Xianqu Daobao) (7/29): "To fulfill the transformation into an 'oversea offensive type' military strategy, the Japanese Self Defense Forces have placed an emphasis on the development of distance strike forces at sea and in the air, and have invested more than seventy percent of its military expenditures to exhaust its efforts to bring its weaponry to a larger scale and to have longer-range capabilities. More importantly, to train in order to deal with 'neighboring incidents' and to realize maritime hegemony, Japan's Self Defense Forces frequently hold drills with the U.S. army, especially that deployed in Southeast Asian waters. The military area of Japan's Self Defense Forces has extended from its homeland to neighboring areas, and even from neighboring areas to international waters and other country's territories. Meanwhile, Japanese officials frankly declare that they will launch 'a pre-emptive strike' against Japan's 'enemies.'"

"What Did Fargo Have Up His Sleeve? U.S. Commander Visits China At A Critical Time"

Qiu Yongzheng commented in China Youth League-affiliated official Elite Reference (Qingnian Cankao) (7/28): "Fargo's trip was more 'technical,' and it won't exert much influence on the complicated relationships involved in the Taiwan issue.... The four goals of Fargo's trip to Beijing: first, the trip tried to emphasize the U.S.' current Taiwan policy, that is that the U.S. will maintain the status quo.... Second, it tried to eliminate the recent, increasing distrust between the U.S. and Chinese military.... Third, there is the possibility that the U.S. military intended to detect details from China [regarding the Taiwan issue].... Fourth, it intended to increase contacts with China on many fronts.... The U.S. needs China's cooperation."

"China Policy Volatile In U.S. Election"

By Yuan Peng held in the official English-language China Daily (7/28): "With the lead up to the US presidential election hitting fever pitch, Chinese are becoming increasingly concerned about whether Washington's China policy will be used for political gain or whether some conservative forces.... Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States in 1979, it has become common practice for the Republican or Democratic presidential candidate to severely criticize the China policies of the incumbent government when the two parties are struggling for power.... In fact, the 'China symptom' has developed into an incurable ailment for the United States during its presidential elections.... However, that does not mean that no major friction exists between the two countries, or that the Bush administration's policy towards China is accepted by its domestic opposition. With the presidential struggle drawing nearer, Sino-US disputes in the following fields may be highlighted. The U.S. trade imbalance with China will possibly be utilized by the Democrats to lash out at the Bush administration.... The Taiwan question still remains as the bone of contention between the two nations. ...China's military modernization is likely to become a topic for mutual attack during the election. ...In addition, the United States' reaction to China's rising influence in the international community and how the two nations can maintain a beneficial strategy in the Asia-Pacific region have also become hotly debated over the past year.... Different from Bush, Democratic candidate John Kerry has been friendly towards China. He can comprehend China's increased influence in Asia and globally.... But that does not mean the U.S. will automatically change its Chinese policies and improve its relations with Beijing if Kerry becomes president.... It is expected that the Republican-controlled Congress will force the Democratic administration into concession on the one-China policy and the U.S.' arming of Taiwan, thus creating a bigger obstacle to the Chinese mainland's settlement of the question. Despite its negative policy towards China, the Bush administration has put Sino-US relations on a track of normal development through four years of engagement. In the long run, a US pursuing international co-operation and multilateralism will be more beneficial to world peace and Sino-US relations."

"Which Side Would Singapore Choose In A U.S.-China Confrontation"

Gu Chen maintained in China Youth League-affiliated official Elite Reference (Qingnian Cankao) (7/28): "Singapore's government...gradually has discovered that it can't necessarily gain any benefit from China's opening up.... What's more, both Singapore and Taiwan depend on U.S. orders...but Singapore isn't economically dependent on the Mainland, as is Taiwan. So in a future U.S.-China confrontation, there is a significant possibility that it will choose to be a U.S. dependency.... The 'Island Chain' is one of the most important links of the U.S.' measures to improve its strategy for Asian hegemony. The U.S. more and more emphasizes its military relations with Southeast Asia's nations.... For a small Southeast Asian country like Singapore, the U.S. 'Asia first' policy has an important strategic meaning. Singapore's government's construction of naval bases and guaranteeing the presence of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, from a long term perspective, intends to contain China's development."

"U.S. Military Commander Comes To Communicate And Pacify The Tense Relations"

Tang Yong contended in official international Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (7/26): "Analysts think Fargo's trip is actually an 'out-of-the-ordinary military and diplomatic activity during a sensitive time'.... They believe that his trip had two goals: 'putting out the fire' and 'explaining.' Putting out the fire was, the U.S. recent passage of an arms sales bill to Taiwan for a large sum of money, which made U.S.-China relations tense.... As for the explaining, analysts think that Fargo also carried a secret mission--to clarify the rumor of 'seven aircraft carriers besieging China'.... China and the U.S. always engage in high-level official contacts during crises and sensitive times, and this is helpful for removing misunderstandings and incorrect judgments between the two countries and for avoiding escalations in the crises. Fargo's Chinese trip was aimed at these objectives. Experts think that the effect of Fargo's trip won't be such a big deal.... Fargo's promise to the Mainland on the Taiwan issue is the same as the U.S.' behavior on the issue: he says this in front and behaves that way behind. If he doesn't change such a position, then the results of his trip to China won't be too good."

"Taiwan Trip Tightens Tension"

Wang Jiamin maintained in the official English-language China Daily (7/23): "Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's visit to China's Taiwan Province earlier this month drew great attention and earned a rebuke from China.... Against this background, Lee's offer to provide the communication channel for both sides across the Taiwan Straits obviously came at the wrong time. To some extent this reflects his failure to recognize the core interest of China and its sensitivity over the Taiwan question. It should be pointed out that Lee's visit to Taiwan was a continuation of special relations between the island province and Singapore.... As for Lee Hsien Loong's reasons for traveling to Taiwan less than two month after his trip to the Chinese mainland, there is much speculation among cross-Straits ties observers. As I see it, economic considerations play a very important role in pushing Lee Hsien Loong to rush to Taiwan despite Beijing's admonishment.... What is more, Lee Hsien Loong scored political points through this low-key but high-profile visit. The trip was intended to highlight Singaporean independence in making decisions regarding regional affairs and enhance the status of Singapore and enlarge its influence in ASEAN. From that perspective the political profits of the visit perhaps outweigh the temporary negative impact on the Sino-Singapore relations.... Since the May 20 election Chen Shui-bian has started to adjust his strategy toward the mainland and he is sparing no efforts to further internationalize the Taiwan question. Lee Hsien Loong's visit to Taiwan, considered as a new breakthrough in Taiwan's diplomacy, is no more than an important move designed by the Taiwan authorities in the chessboard of the Straits. Tension between China and Singapore due to the controversial visit is precisely what the Taiwan authorities expected.... Volatile cross-Straits relations, coupled with the complicated international situation leave open the possibility that similar troubled events will happen again. However, because of China's rise and its considerable influence in Southeast Asia, the domino effect triggered by Lee Hsien Loong's Taiwan visit will not come about. Internationally, to break out of the political framework built on the one-China stance held by most of the countries in the world would not be an easy task for Taiwan."

"U.S. Sets Up 'Asian Pentagon' In Japan"

Li Xuanliang remarked in official international International Herald Leader (Guoji Xianqu Daobao) (7/22): "The command center of the U.S. First Division has moved from Washington State to Japan, and a second aircraft carrier is to be deployed in the Western Pacific...the U.S. is stepping up the deployment of its military in the Western Pacific, trying to make Japan the Pacific regional command office of the U.S. military.... Establishing a 'Pentagon' in Japan is an important symbol of the accelerated 'integration' of the U.S. military in Japan with the Japanese Self Defense Forces.... For the U.S., 'the unsinkable aircraft carrier', Japan, has become the U.S.' strategic core in Asia.... The U.S. ...is trying to set up a 'Northeast Asia command center' based in Japan, and once it is realized, the U.S. military bases in Japan and ROK would complement each other and besiege Northeast Asia. If a military conflict were to occur on the Korean Peninsula or in Japan, the U.S. could quickly intervene. The U.S. is deploying a second aircraft carrier in the Western Pacific mainly because ...if there is an emergency on the Korean Peninsula or in the Taiwan Straits, the U.S. could instantly take measures."

"U.S. Interferes Into The China-Japan Eastern Sea Resource Battle"

Qiu Zhenhai contended in official international International Herald Leader (Guoji Xianqu Daobao) (7/22): "To a certain extent containing and also participating in China's resource exploration are two sides of the U.S. resource strategy vis-à-vis China. Although Japan has said that the U.S. 'would not interfere,' the U.S. attitude on East China Sea is unusual. The U.S. resource strategy vis-à-vis China may be conducted through several channels: first, consistently focusing on China's oil consumption and overseas oil sources, evaluating all possible influences on the U.S. and establishing certain countermeasures, including blocking China's overseas sources; second, American private oil companies join in China's oil exploration work.... For the time being, the U.S. will not interfere greatly into the China-Japan battle for East China Sea resources.... But there is the possibility that the U.S. in the future may exert an influence behind the scenes, and its basic slant would be toward Japan."

"Unification Schedule Is 'The Palm Of The Buddha'"

Xu Bodong declared in official international International Herald Leader (Guoji Xianqu Daobao) (7/22): "At this moment, the Mainland is taking the initiative and launching a measure of attack in issuing its 'unification schedule,' proving indirectly that the current Taiwan Straits situation is very grave and that the Mainland has adjusted its policy toward Taiwan. This adjustment is obviously timely and logical.... We should be clear that we should fight for 'strategic opportunity', and not wait for somebody to 'bestow' it upon us. The Mainland's 'unification schedule' issuance is equal to drawing a circle for 'Taiwan independence' followers--it is like the hand of the Buddha, and the Mainland wants to see 'whether or not you [Taiwan independence followers] dare or are able to jump out of the hand. [An episode from 'Journey To The West', in which the Monkey could not escape from the open palm of the Buddha.]"

"Lee's Visit To Taiwan Irritates The Mainland; A Mistaken Step"

Li Ying and Yang Meng said in official international Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (7/21): "Lee's visit to Taiwan had a severe impact on China-Singapore relations. It is said that all senior-level official contacts between the two countries have ceased. Moreover, mutual exchanges in the military, trade, tourism and cultural fields also have been influenced. They are not restricted to 'government activities,' but also include 'people-to-people' activities. Such a bad influence is due to the seriousness of Lee's visit. Currently the Chen Shuibian authorities are stepping out for 'Taiwan independence,' and the Taiwan Straits situation is even more sensitive and complex.... Lee's visit at this moment was exaggeratedly reported and taken advantage of by the Taiwan authorities. Taiwanese media have said that Lee's visit 'has made Chen Shuibian rip an opening in Southeast Asia.' Thus we can see that Lee's visit poses a serious challenge to China's fundamental interests. Singapore has a special relationship with Taiwan: in the military sphere, they have the 'starlight plan.' In the economic sphere, they currently are conducting free trade negotiations; on security, they are both under U.S. protection. Therefore, in the future, there is still the danger that Singapore may make certain 'breakthrough moves.'"

"Dangerous Moves"

Li Runtian noted in official international Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (7/19): "The resolution...is obviously a crude interference into China's internal affairs. It will certainly arouse the Chinese people's strong dissatisfaction and indignation.... The three communiqués form the political basis of the two countries' relations. The U.S. has an obligation to carefully act upon the principles of the communiqué, and any behavior in violation of the communiqués will destroy U.S.-China relations. People have seen that the U.S.' deeds do not match its words: on the one hand, the U.S. orally reiterates the 'one-China' policy and its stance of 'opposing Taiwan independence;' but on the other hand, the U.S. conducts fraud, conniving with 'Taiwan independence' forces, and especially recently, the U.S. has conducted a series of provocative affairs.... All of this U.S. behavior and words have exposed the hypocrisy of its China policy. 'Sticking to the one-China policy and the three communiqués' is being voided by certain people in Washington. China has lodged a sincere statement: the Taiwan issue concerns China's national sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Chinese government and people will definitely not bear ambiguity, compromise or concede on this issue. We will not abide, tolerate or sit by and watch the behavior of any force trying to separate Taiwan, no matter from within or outside the island."

"Japan Indicates Regional Aims"

Liu Jiangyong opined in the official English-language China Daily (7/19): "Last December Japan for the first time hosted a summit of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The meeting released a declaration in which the Japan-backed concept of 'East Asia Community' was included.... It demonstrates that Japan is seeking to adjust its security strategy towards East Asia in the wake of the September 11 event, considering not only boosting regional co-operation in the field of non-traditional security, but containing China strategically in the security aspect.... Obviously, the two reports cannot both represent the Japanese Government's overall strategic concept and steps of 'East Asia Community'.... But they do demonstrate Japan has made some important adjustments to its East Asia strategy, with different emphasis on security and economy. With regard to how to deal with China, the core views of the two reports appear at odds.... Such a difference in the tone of the two reports submitted by the same institution is to some extent attributable to the formation of the examiners of the reports.... Following the 'pre-emptive strategy' of the US in the wake of September 11, 2001, Japan has indicated it would adopt a similar strategy to deal with any missile threat. It even dispatched its self-defense forces to Iraq.... Economic globalization and regionalization prompted Japan's change in its stance. China and ASEAN reached agreement on establishing a China-ASEAN Free Trade Area by 2010. To avoid being isolated and marginalized and to maintain its leading position in Asia, Japan had to adjust its policy which attached more importance strategically to strengthening economic integration with East Asia. Though there exists ample room for further economic co-operation between China and Japan, Japan has not deviated from its strategy of containing China. In fact, large-scale reduction of its governmental development aid to China indicates any future economic co-operation with Tokyo will to some extent hinge on Japan's well-entrenched security strategy."

"New U.S. Resolution Destroys U.S.-China Relations"

Liu Aicheng concluded in official international Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (7/19): "The Taiwan Relations Act unilaterally established by the U.S. always has been a protective umbrella for Taiwan. Based on this, the U.S. has been selling arms to Taiwan throughout time immemorial and without any end in sight in order to enhance U.S.-Taiwan military cooperation and further embolden 'Taiwan independence' followers. This has created disturbances in the Taiwan Straits and caused repeated tensions in U.S.-China relations. In this sense, the 'Taiwan Relations Act' is the root of all troubles between the U.S. and China.... The U.S. now intends to increase arms sales to Taiwan and enhance U.S.-Taiwan military cooperation and exchanges.... It is the U.S. itself and the so-called Taiwan Relations Act...that have caused the Taiwan authorities to move further and further on the issue of 'Taiwan independence' and have caused tensions across the Taiwan Straits. The newly passed resolution obviously throws a shadow over U.S.-China relations and has taken a further step toward destroying relations.... We request that the U.S. government converts the above promises into actions, clearly opposing these resolutions and adopting real actions to eliminate negative impact, taking real actions to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits and in U.S.-China relations."

"U.S. Stubbornly Insists On Arms Sales To Taiwan"

He Hongze commented in official international Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (7/16): "Recently a worrisome thing has happened in U.S.-China relations: ignoring China's repeated attempts to negotiate and clear opposition, the U.S. is insisting on selling a large number of advanced weapons, including submarines, to Taiwan. The danger exists that U.S.-China friction in regard to this issue will escalate.... If the U.S. wants to improve bilateral relations, it must cease arms sales to and military relations with Taiwan.... The U.S. will not heed China's warning and will continue to sell advanced weapons to Taiwan.... At present the situation...is different from three years ago...it has changed from 'Taiwan is in a rush to buy weapons' to 'the U.S. is in a rush to sell weapons'.... The U.S. government will not stop arms sales since arms sales are its fixed policy, and this will not change because of China's opposition. It is determined by a structural contradiction in U.S.-China relations. But arms sales to Taiwan will also bring harm to the U.S. U.S. decision-makers have not recognized that Taiwan independence followers have gone too far and that Taiwan's creeping independence supporters are approaching very near to China's bottom line.... The U.S. government underestimates the danger and has no idea that its arms sales actually have escalated the danger. But when 'Taiwan independence' followers play with fire, the fire will burn the U.S. as well."

"U.S. Spying On The Chinese Military's Attack Capability"

Tang Yong and Zuo Jianxiao asserted in official international Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (7/16): "Why has the U.S. military wantonly stolen PLA intelligence but meanwhile still intends to conduct military drills related to China? Analysts believe that the reasons are: first, Bush wants to create influence and prestige. Bush intends to prove to the American people that the U.S.' basic interests have been 'threatened' and that the White House is taking action. Second, the U.S. aims to create conditions favorable to its arms sales to Taiwan.... It wants to force the Taiwan authorities to purchase weapons from the U.S. as soon as possible. Experts on the Taiwan issue believe that these 'little moves' of the U.S. military were taken right at the time of Chen Shuibian's 'reelection,' and undoubtedly this fermented the influence of 'Taiwan independence' followers.... Experts indicate that the U.S. is still using an old trick: using 'the Mainland threat theory' to frighten Taiwan and forcing Taiwan to purchase U.S. arms. Furthermore, from a strategic point of view, the U.S. is not willing to engage in a fierce confrontation with the Mainland.... After the U.S. detected the real facts of the PLA drills, it became more unwilling to become involved in a direct confrontation with the PLA."

"How Far Will Koizumi's Regime Go?"

Ling Xingguang, Feng Zhaokui and Liu Jiangyong wrote in official international Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (7/16): "The character of Japanese politics in which the parties in office have a bigger influence than opposition parties hasn't changed. After the elections, Japan will develop toward a two-conservative-party system. Koizumi's prestige has fallen and the difficulties facing its rule have increased. Restraints from inside and outside the party have increased and political disturbances have increased.... The process of developing contingency bills is the process in which Japan is gradually trying to improve its alliance with the U.S. ...Koizumi's cabinet advocates a greater pro-U.S. policy than any other cabinet in history.... Whether or not Japan can stick to its peaceful constitution is also greatly determined by how China treats Japan. We should improve communication with Japan and prevent Japan from strategic scheming against China.... Historically whenever China is more powerful than Japan, the two countries' relations are good, but whenever Japan is more powerful than China, problems will emerge in relations. With respect to our work on the Japanese issue, the key point is to make China even more powerful. Only then can the China-Japan friendship be realized."

"The Taiwan Authorities: Gambling Without A Sober View Of Their Strength"

Cao Yongsheng said in China Radio International-sponsored official World News Journal (Shijie Xinwenbao) (7/15): "After the U.S. initiated the Afghanistan war and the Iraq war, 'the preemptive strike' has become a 'popular international phrase.' Some Taiwan lunatic politicians are also chasing after popularity, crying out to launch a 'pre-emptive strike' against the Mainland. But these are just the Taiwan authorities' measures to embolden themselves.... 'Taiwan independence' forces have spent great efforts to call for the 'pre-emptive strike' because they have clear goals: first, to create the fairy tale that Taiwan is capable initiating an attack against the Mainland; second, to plot to escalate 'Taiwan independence' measures to trigger a war; third, to take their Taiwan compatriots 'hostage'; fourth, to drag Taiwan's military into a mire. Taiwan doesn't have the capability to become independent. There is no consensus supporting 'Taiwan independence' on the island, the military doesn't have the capability to fight the Mainland, and its wish that 'the U.S. would interfere strongly into a Taiwan Straits conflict' is a just one-sided wish. 'Taiwan independence' has no future besides encountering attacks from both inside and outside. ...If Taiwan indeed launches a 'pre-emptive strike' against the Mainland, then the Taiwan authorities will lose everything."

"Taiwan Issue Should Be Wary Of 'Polarization'"

Qiao Xinsheng noted in official international International Herald Leader (Guoji Xianqu Daobao) (7/15): "Chen Shuibian has exerted all of his efforts to play the part of Israel in his managing relations with the U.S. In managing [Taiwan's] relations with the Mainland, it tries hard to be Singapore. Under the influence of foreign forces, Taiwan's intentions have been realized step by step.... From refusing the U.S. as a mediator for cross-Straits relations to proactively claiming the Taiwan issue as the pivotal issue between the U.S. and China, the Chinese government has gradually grasped the substance of the Taiwan issue. But if it harbors illusions about the Americans, hoping that they will not support Taiwan's independence, then this is another extreme. The U.S. is just playing a two-sided trick, hoping to reap the biggest rewards. Two possible major changes to Taiwan are both related to the U.S.: when Taiwan tries to be Israel, the U.S. is a protector; when Taiwan tries to be Singapore, the U.S. is a disturbance to the Mainland. We must prevent the Taiwan issue from becoming Israelized or Singaporized, and prevent any foreign force's interference to cause China's unification issue to deteriorate."

"Lee's Visit To Taiwan: Is This The First Domino Falling?"

Shi Chun observed in official international International Herald Leader (Guoji Xianqu Daobao) (7/15): "When the state of cross-Strait relations 'slack outside but tense inside,' the Vice Premier of Singapore paid a sudden visit to Taiwan.... This aroused a severe protest from China, and also an alarm for the Chinese government that, if the Mainland doesn't react strongly, other ASEAN countries will possibly follow his steps, and then the Taiwan authorities would have ripped an open wound in ASEAN.... During this sensitive time, Lee made a totally mistaken judgment about the situation.... Since Singapore is a U.S. ally in the Asia-Pacific region, Lee's risky move is also suspected of catering to the U.S.' new deployments in the Asia-Pacific region.... In the wake of these high-level visits to Taiwan by Lee and its Defense Minister...the result is possibly that Singapore now has lost China's trust.... The reason that Singapore dared to say no to China is that the U.S. is behind its back. Were it not the ally of the U.S., Lee's moves would not take on such a high key. His visit is no different than huge and good news for Chen Shuibian."

"China Grasps Tight The 'Sea Supremacy Of 500 Sea Miles'"

Zhang Jinfang averred in official international International Herald Leader (Guoji Xianqu Daobao) (7/15): "While the China-Japan struggle for oil and gas in the East China Sea is still in stalemate, the ROK's drillers have begun drilling into the Yellow Sea's continental shelf. Some Southeast Asian nations have begun more frequent provocative behavior including joint drills pertinent to China. The situation of China's coastal sea territory has become serious. Nowadays when marine strategy is essential for China's economic rise, China should maintain a calm feeling and adopt new thinking to break through the 'Straits dilemma.' China's adopting great wisdom to promote a great marine strategy is the general trend. ...Recently the North China Sea fleet...has stepped up implementation of the strategic task for the next decade: to dominate with absolute sea supremacy to an area over 500 sea miles and to manifest the determination to guard its coastal economic zone."

CHINA (HONG KONG AND MACAU SARS): "Taiwan Military Exercises Make The Public Feel Anxious"

Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked (7/28): "Taiwan's military will hold the 'Han Kuang exercise' every year. This year, in order to look for an excuse to purchase weapons, the Chen Shui-bian authority has made an effort to stress the threat posed by Chinese military. They created a story about Chinese military actions. They attempt to use military exercises to play a 'tragic show' to deceive the public and the opinions in Taiwan. They try to boost cross-strait hostility so as to pave the way for buying weapons. The media in Taiwan points out that 'Han Kuang exercise' has become a show by Chen Shui-bian to push for weapons purchase from the U.S., to destroy the cross-strait peace and to promote 'Taiwan independence.' Chen Shui-bian does not hesitate to spend $600 billion Taiwan dollars to buy weapons from the U.S. because he wants to use money to entice the U.S. to strengthen U.S.-Taiwan military relations so that the U.S. will continue to provide military protection to Taiwan under the 'Taiwan Relations Act.' If Chen Shui-bian triggers a war in the Taiwan Strait due to advocating 'Taiwan independence,' can the U.S. really protect Taiwan? It is questionable. Beijing has already told the U.S. that the Chinese government and its people are determined to safeguard its national sovereignty and territorial integrity.... It is believed that the U.S. and the Taiwan authorities will be clear about China's warning. It is hoped that Chen Shui-bian will not underestimate China's determination."

"Building Up For A Taiwan Showdown"

Frank Ching wrote in the independent English-language South China Morning Post (7/28): "As if to underline the sense of urgency, Jiang Zemin, the commander-in-chief of China's armed forces, has for the first time set what amounts to a deadline for the reunification of Taiwan and the mainland, by force if necessary. On July 16, he told a meeting of the Central Military Commission, the country's most powerful military body, that 'before or after 2020 is the time to resolve the Taiwan issue.' While his words are somewhat vague, they do appear to constitute a veiled ultimatum. And while 2020 may seem a long way off, one should remember that Beijing provided a 15-year transition period for Hong Kong by announcing in 1982 that it would take back the British colony in 1997.... The existence of a Chinese ultimatum, however vague, may well create a new sense of urgency on the part of the U.S. and Taiwan.... While the U.S. denied that Summer Pulse was specifically aimed at China, the Pentagon did release news that a military exercise, called Dragon's Thunder, has been held at the National Defense University with the overt purpose of countering a growing Chinese military threat to Taiwan. Clearly, Beijing does not want war, which would set back its plans for economic development. However, the Chinese do appear to be gearing up for a showdown with Taiwan and, if necessary, America."

"U.S. Heightens Its Taiwan Strategy To Hold China Up"

Independent Chinese-language Ming Pao Daily News editorialized (7/26): "U.S. State Department's spokesperson has called on both parties in the strait several times to not to let the military exercises heighten the situation. However, all these are just pretentious calls. The U.S. is going to sell advanced weapons to Taiwan and its military cooperation with Taiwan will emerge from underground to semi-overt. Usually, when the situation in the Taiwan Strait is facing the most critical moments, the U.S. supports Taiwan. Thus, the U.S. has become the biggest stumbling block for settling the Taiwan issue peacefully.... The U.S. has made use of Taiwan to hold back China for more than half a century. The recent developments that trouble people include the Taiwan Presidential election in March. It was obvious that the U.S. was inclined to support Taiwan in its China policy. The mentality behind this policy is that the peaceful ascendancy of China will pose a threat to U.S. interests. Thus, the most effective way to check China's peaceful ascendancy is to make use of the Democratic Progressive Party's leverage as a ruling party to advocate Taiwan independence or even to drag China into an undesirable war.... Beijing should adopt an appropriate countermeasure to deal with the changing U.S. cross-strait policy. It should even take the risk of letting Sino-U.S. relations fall back. If China lets the U.S. take whatever it wants in the Taiwan issue, especially allowing the development of U.S.-Taiwan military cooperation without scruple, it is obvious that the Chen Shui-bian government, which is inclined to support Taiwan independence, will give the wrong signal. It may then wrongly estimate the situation and make a reckless move. By that time, the Chinese nation will be badly harmed."

"War In The Taiwan Strait Is Not Impossible"

Independent Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Journal declared (7/23): "Recently, there have been many military exercises near the Taiwan Straits. In early July, the People's Liberation Army held a summer landing drill at Dongshan Island in Fujian. Subsequently, Taiwan also launched the 'Han Kuang military exercise' by conducting a landing drill using the highway. In the meantime, USS Kitty Hawk is heading to the Philippines. It will soon pass through the eastern coast of Taiwan. It is obvious that these military exercises are a review of the military strength of all sides. Beijing is gradually moving toward to using force to settle cross-strait unification. And Taiwan is planning how to counter attack in the 'time of emergency.' Taiwan's media reported that Taiwan's military is coming up with a plan to evacuate the head of state. If a cross-strait war really breaks out, 800 missiles will continuously attack Taiwan for ten hours. In order to ensure the safety of the President, Taiwan's military must send the 'head of state' to the safest place, possibly the U.S. warship.... China and the U.S. have no longer evaded the topic that a war may break out at the Taiwan Strait. After the reelection of Chen Shui-bian, China and the U.S. began to include military clashes in their agenda. In the 'Annual Report on Military Power of China' issued by the U.S. this year, it indicated that in 2005 or 2006, military clashes may erupt in the Taiwan Strait."

"Improve Sino-U.S. Relations By Removing The Stumbling Block"

Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News editorialized (7/22): "Everyone knows that the political foundation of Sino-U.S. relations is based on the Sino-U.S. three joint communiqués.... For what reason and of what rights do the Americans have to promote the so-called 'the Taiwan Relations Act?'.... Such a policy is wrong. It should be abolished. Rather than abolishing the policy, the U.S. Congress reviewed the Act and 'reaffirmed their pledge.' The U.S. continues to challenge China. They do not allow China to settle its sovereignty and the issue of its territory by itself. They are pushing China too hard.... Recently, the U.S. has been adopting a challenging posture. Some people say it is just an election strategy of the conservatives during the election. Elections are each country's individual business. Other countries should not interfere in other's internal affairs. Also, they should not let their rifles go off accidentally. Otherwise, it will be like picking up a stone to drop it on one's own feet. A responsible government should not be manipulated by politicians."

"U.S. Should Give Up Its Cold-war Mentality"

Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News opined (7/17): "The U.S. government has always reiterated that it does not support Taiwan independence when it talks about Taiwan issues. Sometimes, the U.S. will stress its stance a little bit. It is usually because it wants to defend its words and deeds, despite their truthfulness. Recently, the U.S. pushed Taiwan to close a weapons sale deal worth $600 billion Taiwan dollars. Due to the weapons sale, Sino-U.S. relations as well as cross-strait relations turned tense. Hence, the U.S. administration sent Rice to visit China and the White House and the State Department all came out to reiterate their statements.... If the U.S. needs to keep its promise on the Taiwan issues, it must take action. The action is very simple: it should no longer sell advanced weapons to Taiwan, it should cut off all military connections with Taiwan and it should stop conveying misleading signals to Taiwan. Giving up Cold-War mentality and becoming a trustworthy friend of China are the only ways to turn Sino-U.S. conflicts into normal and healthy relations. A cordial cooperation between China and the U.S. will contribute to the peace of the Asia-Pacific area and the world."

TAIWAN: "Prevent China From Invading Taiwan And Being A Regional Hegemony"

An editorial in pro-independence Liberty Times read (7/29): "Without Taiwan as a steppingstone, it would be difficult for communist China to take the most important stride toward building its hegemony. Seen from this macro view, the presumption by some that China will not use military force against Taiwan because it is busy developing its economy and organizing for the 2008 Olympic Games, is obviously wishful thinking. They fail to see the very nature of communist China. It is precisely because China is targeting all its efforts at developing its economy and playing a significant role in the international community that it is imperative for China to have Taiwan, and so its threat to Taiwan becomes greater and greater.... The fact that the United States has been actively strengthening its Asia-Pacific military presence is an indication that Washington totally understands Beijing's hegemonic thoughts and it is determined to prevent any Chinese military adventure. In contrast, although Taiwan is in a dangerous situation, it is still caught in disputes over whether to purchase advanced defensive weapons or not. Under these circumstances, how can we not worry about Taiwan's peace and security?"

"The New Strategic Thinking Revealed By Beijing's Military Drills"

The centrist, pro-status quo China Times said (7/29): "The recent military exercises held by the U.S., China, and Taiwan have placed East Asia under an atmosphere of heavy gun smoke. China's...new patterns of warfare not only indicate new thinking but also may change China's military strategic deployment against Taiwan in the future. This trend is no less than a sharp warning for Taiwan, which has been [roiled] in disputes over a NT$600 billion-plus arms purchase budget. The new political work regulations issued by the Chinese military in early December 2003 established the 'three wars' [i.e. engaging in public opinion, psychological, and legal warfare] as a requirement for winning the information war and provided new implications for military political work.... From the military operations point-of-view, the Dongshan Island war games are all in the hard-kill category and their effectiveness will mainly be demonstrated during actual combat. However, the 'three wars' are different. They are to be fought before, during, and after the actual battle. For example, the U.S.-Iraqi war ended long ago. But the 'three wars' continue. Especially after the exposure by the media of the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. troops, the justification for the U.S. military role in this war as a 'liberator' has been questioned by the whole world. Thus far, the resulting damage to the United States is still hard to estimate. It is not unlikely that the Chinese military may encounter more complicated problems than this when invading Taiwan."

"U.S. Should Take Clear Stand in Strait"

Andrew Yang wrote in in the pro-independence Taipei Times (7/29): "As the two sides of the Strait become increasingly suspicious of each other, they have both lobbied the United States with accusations of wrong-doing on the other side. At the same time, military threats and the manipulation of public opinion have deepened the mistrust. This causes problems for U.S. policymakers. Not only must they listen to the complaints from both sides, but on the domestic front they also have to mediate between the hawks and doves who are pulling in opposite directions on this issue. Because the U.S. position is full of contradiction and compromise, their principles and policies for maintaining the status quo have gradually lost credibility. It is quite clear that the U.S. can do little to resolve the cross-strait crisis. In response to Taipei's complaints, it can only recommend calm, and advise the country to bide its time to win greater space to maneuver. But the government does not see time as being on its side. Already there is a sense of anxiety among politicians and the public over the nation's political ambitions, which indicate that Taipei is in a hurry. The same can be said of Beijing. It is anxious to resolve the question of Taiwan. But in the face of U.S. prevarication and the strong emotional response that their ultimate goal triggers in Taiwan, there is little they can do but deal with the issue sternly. History has taught us that when two great powers face off over a flashpoint, the only way of easing the pressure is for both parties to show their hand. In its recent military exercise, Beijing has revealed how it may handle the issue.... The ball is in the U.S. court. Clearly, its version of the 'status quo' is increasingly untenable. It is time for the United States to show its hand. Both sides of the Strait wait for this with bated breath."

"Summer Crisis at the Taiwan Strait--Part II"

An editorial in pro-independence Taiwan Daily read (7/23): "[T]he third factor that may contribute to a crisis and a race [at the Taiwan Strait] is that the military balance between Taiwan and China is now gradually tilting toward a direction that is favorable for China. Even though Taiwan is ready to spend 18 billion U.S. dollars in buying weapons that may help to prevent or at least slow down the military imbalance between China and Taiwan, still it would take years for Taiwan to obtain such weapons. All these three factors put together has constituted a picture that is worth people's attention: In terms of its capability, China is able to launch a limited war across the Taiwan Strait now. As for its eagerness, the Chinese leaders, at least for Jiang Zemin, who is in control of China's military power, will be very interested in watching a (manageable) summer crisis break out at the Taiwan Strait. But for the United States, the last thing it wants now is a cross-Strait crisis that will drag it into conflicts with China. In short, the Chinese know that they have an excellent opportunity to create a cross-Strait crisis in the Taiwan Strait this summer. They believe that if a war breaks out now, the Americans would choose to talk rather than to go to war [with China]. They also believe that they could take advantage of this summer, which seems unfavorable for the United States [to go to war], to teach Taiwan a lesson, and in the same time take over whatever military achievement that is resulted from the inner power struggles inside China.... The Chinese leaders (at least Jiang's team) know that the U.S. is tightly bound up politically and militarily at the current stage. If a military crisis breaks out across the Taiwan Strait this summer or early fall, Washington's bottom line would be to end this crisis as quickly as it can. If that be the case, all China will have to do is just to stick to its position, and the only way that could end the crisis would be for Washington to force Taiwan to make concessions to China.... As a result, the Bush administration, which already foresaw that China is interested in creating a crisis, decided to take a preemptive foreign strategy by showing a tough attitude [to Beijing]--namely, it had [National Security Adviser Condoleezza] Rice go to Beijing to argue rather than to mediate [with China]. In the meantime, the Pentagon also deliberately released the news that the U.S. military was conducting a simulation drill at the Taiwan Strait, an attempt to convince Beijing that it would be a big mistake if China wants to take advantage of this summer to create a crisis and that the United States is ready to face any challenges, including direct confrontations between China and Taiwan."

"Summer Crisis At The Taiwan Strait--Part I"

An editorial in pro-independence Taiwan Daily read (7/22): "The U.S., Taiwan and China have each been staging military exercises lately in Taiwan, the Taiwan Strait, and areas near the Taiwan Strait, respectively. These drills may not necessarily be as routine as claimed by officials. Instead, they may be viewed as a barometer for a Taiwan Strait summer crisis--the first round of a crisis and a race.... On the surface, [National Security Adviser Condoleezza] Rice seemed to have visited Beijing to discuss the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula. But in reality, she was there to ease the tension between the United States and China over Taiwan. According to the story put out by the U.S. government following Rice's trip, the conversations she had with the Chinese leaders were not very smooth, and both sides argued over many issues. Beijing even warned [Rice] that Washington's Taiwan policy is increasing the possibility of conflict between Washington and Beijing. [Former Chinese President and] incumbent Chinese Communist Party Central Military Commission Chairman Jiang Zemin even showed his anger right in front of Rice about the Taiwan issue. The point is that Rice did not yield to the Chinese Communist leaders, nor did she waver in her position. All this, to be viewed from the outside, may give people the impression that she went to Beijing not to 'put out the fire,' but to 'set fire to' a potential crisis between the United States and China. Given such a development and the following three factors, [we can say] that the 'routine' [military drills] this summer are not really routine and they deserve the greatest attention. First, the U.S.' military decision-making, power, and prestige have entered the Bush administration's only 'period of comparative weakness' for the past three years. With the war in Iraq in bad shape, crisis in the Persian Gulf, and the U.S. presidential election looming, the last thing the Bush administration wants is a military crisis with any regional superpower. ... Politically, such a crisis would only result in a more negative judgment by the American voters on the Bush administration's ability to manage its foreign policy.... Second, China's economy is facing serious trouble and its politics has entered a period of change. On one hand, the Beijing authorities headed by Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao know very clearly that the rule of the Chinese Communist Party can only be justified by its performance regarding economic development. The Communist regime will face a crisis if there is an economic crisis in China.... On the other hand, Jiang [Zemin] and his Shanghai gang know their position, too.... They know that the 16th Party Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, to be held in October or November, will be a critical battlefield for inner party conflicts. They also know that they are holding a patriotism trump card in their hands that can restrain or even destroy the Hu-Wen authorities. The trump card is the 'Taiwan issue;' namely, they can create a crisis in the Taiwan Strait and manage and manipulate it carefully."

"The Difference Between Strategic Ambiguity And Clarity"

Deputy Editor-in-Chief Kuo Chen-lung said in centrist, pro-status quo China Times (7/21): "It requires more effort to be strategically clear than strategically ambiguous because [Washington] needs to draw a line and prevent Taiwan or Beijing from crossing that line all the time. On the other hand, however, both sides [of the Taiwan Strait] will constantly attempt to step on the line and move and switch its position. The United States, therefore, needs to draw its line more clearly by standing out and defining itself what 'Taiwan independence' is, what a 'new constitution' is, and what the significance is when Beijing increases its missile deployment [aimed at Taiwan]. This is a thankless task, but it is nonetheless a prerequisite for maintaining strategic clarity. Now that strategic ambiguity is history...problems for strategic clarity still remain. The Bush administration has yet to achieve full strategic clarity that is balanced between the two sides. Washington is standing in a more or less middle position while still tilting toward Taiwan. This has created suspicion in Beijing, and tension across the Taiwan Strait still remains."

"Taiwan's Security Concerns Deserve More Public Debate"

The conservative, pro-unification, English-language China Post editorialized (7/21): "The military tension in the Taiwan Strait has been intensifying since Chen's re-election in March. The strait has now been widely seen as the most dangerous flashpoint in the Asia-Pacific region. This is not exaggerating, just noting the large-scale war games being played out by mainland China, Taiwan and the United States.... The military moves by the U.S. are more indicative of the gravity of the tensions in this region. The Pentagon early last week held a top-level crisis simulation drill, specifically examining responses to the increasing possibility of military action by China against Taiwan. At the same time, the U.S. Navy has announced that from mid-July through August it would hold drills dubbed Operation Summer Pulse 2004 in waters off the China coast near Taiwan. The war games would involve the deployment of as many as seven aircraft carrier battle groups.... It would not be realistic for the government and the people to expect that Taiwan could effectively address its military threats from China by the promotion of greater defense cooperation with the U.S.... In some senses Taiwan and the U.S. have entered into a strong military alliance. Yet such an alliance would not help Taiwan attend to its security concerns in a fundamental way. This is because it won't tackle the root of tensions with the mainland. Beijing would not change its hard-line policy and drop its objections to the independence movement in Taiwan just because this island has entered into stronger military cooperation with the U.S. The difficulty is that Washington, while being willing to render defense support for Taiwan, wants to do so only for the purpose of preventing the existing political status quo in the strait from being unilaterally changed by either side. It does not want to go further to use its clout to help work out some mutually acceptable arrangements that would help resolve their differences, even only in a non-permanent way."

"The 'U.S.-Japan Alliance' Is Shaping A New Cross-Strait Strategic Framework"

Lai Yi-chung noted in pro-independence Taiwan Daily (7/20): "Compared with the later negative development of [U.S. National Security Advisor Concoleezza] Rice's visit to China, the most significant remarks Rice made during her trip to Asia were her two calls in Tokyo that both the United States and Japan should foster a dialogue between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. Rice's remarks were closely related to the Bush administration's strategic views about Asia and the development of the East Asian security environment over the past four years. For the Bush administration, China's future movements and the development of Washington-Beijing ties are the core concerns in its strategic views about Asia, but the pillar of its Asia-Pacific strategy lies in the 'U.S.-Japan alliance.' In other words, only on the strong basis of the 'U.S.-Japan alliance' can there be a clearer framework for the interaction between Washington and Beijing.... Thus, substantive changes have occurred regarding the strategic environment of the Taiwan Strait. In the past, security in the Taiwan Strait is of a 'double ambiguity' status, namely, the 'strategic ambiguity' about whether the United States would help defend Taiwan, and the 'support ambiguity' about whether Japan could support the U.S. military mission in the Taiwan Strait based on the 'U.S.-Japan alliance'.... But the 'double ambiguity,' which still existed before 1996, had actually been 'vaporized,' given Washington's public announcement at the end of last year that it would adopt a 'strategic clarity' policy and the rapid development of the 'U.S.-Japan alliance' over the past three years.... The current cross-Strait situation has, as a result, changed from the triangular interaction between Washington, Beijing and Taipei to a triangular relationship between the U.S.-Japan alliance, China and Taiwan. ... Moreover, the development of the new 'U.S.-Japan-China-Taiwan' strategic framework will also change the context of Taipei-Tokyo relations and will bring a new focus in Taiwan's relations with the United States. In short, the emergence of the strategic framework between the U.S.-Japan alliance, China and Taiwan will place more strategic restraints on the leaders in Beijing due to the competitive relationship between the U.S.-Japan alliance and China. Also, it will bring new changes and challenges for Taiwan's strategic management. ... As a result, looking into the impact of the 'U.S.-Japan alliance' on cross-Strait relation and the role it will play in the Asia-Pacific region will be a major topic for Taiwan's strategic security."

"PRC Fears Regime Change"

The conservative, pro-unification, English-language China Post editorialized (7/20): "China has vented its anger at the U.S. for persistently sending 'wrong signals' to Taiwan's separatists and Hong Kong's democrats. But it is also out of fear of U.S. policies on human rights and democracy. Together, they are believed to be a grand scheme 'aimed at regime change in Beijing'.... Having swiftly toppled regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, President Bush is suspected of planning to bring down another regime, after his November re-election, in Iran or North Korea, depending on circumstances. Regime change in China was a goal of the free world during the Cold War. It has re-surfaced as communist China seems anxious to annex democratic Taiwan. Beijing wants to perpetuate its 'regime' and can't tolerate talk of its change."

"Words Guide Actions. Taiwan Must Avoid Being Caught In A Cross-fire."

Centrist, pro-status quo China Times declared (7/17): "Taiwan and the U.S., besides pursuing their own national interests, also share many common interests which form the basis of the friendly ties between the two. While standing at a strategically critical position at the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan offers major leverage with which the United States restrains Beijing. Washington's political, economic and military support [for the island] is, on the other hand, a bargaining chip that is essential for Taiwan's existence while the island seeks to compete and cooperate with Beijing at the same time. Facing such a big gap [with regard to its own strength relative to that of Beijing's], Taiwan must make good use of U.S. support and have the U.S. exert its influence effectively so as to get the greatest protection for the island's existence and development. But the triangular relationship between Washington, Beijing and Taipei remains constantly dynamic rather than static. Even though long-term conflicts exist between the hegemonic powers of the U.S. and China, Beijing still owns many bargaining chips that have an influence on Washington's Asia-Pacific policy, and its economic power also plays a decisive role. Washington's cross-Strait policy may vary in the attitude or way in which it is sometimes carried out, depending on different officials or political parties or even people who have different interpretations [of the policy] -- though its direction is more or less fixed. When Washington tilts toward Beijing, Taiwan's interests may be affected. As a result, Taiwan must try its best to strengthen and [and] communicate broadly with Americans in various fields in order to seek full U.S. support."

Beijing Sending A Red Alert Signal To The U.S."

Wang Chou-chung held in centrist, pro-status quo China Times (7/17): "Chen Shui-bian's re-election has not resulted in a deteriorating Washington-Taipei relationship following the March 20 [presidential election]. Instead, the tension between the two sides that accumulated prior to the election has actually been alleviated because the DPP government has demonstrated a great willingness to cooperate with Washington regarding cross-Strait issues and arms deals. Beijing has come to realize that it has to adjust its passive strategy that relies too heavily on the United States to restrain Taiwan. In the future, it will tend to take the initiative more and will further ratchet up confrontation across the Taiwan Strait just to make Washington realize the seriousness of the [Taiwan] issue so that it can 'rein in the horse at the edge of a precipice'.... Over the past decades, Beijing has not acted too quickly to push for 'unification' [with Taiwan] because it wants to develop its economy first. That's why in its foreign relations, Beijing has just tried to...apply all its strength to developing the economy. It has been adopting a policy of 'concealing its ability and biding its time' when facing the superpower U.S., in the hope that it can seek and expand their common ground of mutual interests regarding the Taiwan issue. Before it decides to face a showdown with Washington, Beijing has [decided to] make some tough remarks lately, announcing that it will work out a timetable for unification [with Taiwan]. This move is actually a warning signal to Washington, [wherein Beijing] hopes that the United States will not tilt too much toward Taiwan in its cross-Strait policy."

"Peace Must Be The Bottom Line"

The pro-independence, English-language Taipei Times editorialized (7/17): "The bottom line for the US with regard to the cross-strait issue is clear: to maintain the status quo. The US will not allow the status quo to be defined unilaterally by either Beijing or Taipei. It will retain its own standard for interpretation, which is to say that it wants a continuation of a situation in which Taiwan does not declare independence and China does not use military force to bring the nation under its control. Any change to this situation needs to be decided through cross-strait dialogue. But the Communist regime not only refuses to acknowledge Taiwan's offer to negotiate on technological or political issues, it also said it is eager to force Taiwan into submission through military intimidation. Taiwan's government finds this unacceptable and believes the US will also find this unacceptable. As the US presidential campaign gets into full swing, China has used this sensitive time to threaten Taiwan militarily and diplomatically, going so far as to test long range ballistic missiles and conduct amphibious landing exercises, in addition to its usual barrage of rhetoric. With such constant mid-level alerts, neither Taiwan nor the international community can let down their guard. This country needs to maintain the necessary military protection while the US needs to be vigilant against China's two-pronged policy of readying for attack on one hand and protesting Washington's weapons sale to Taiwan on the other. Taipei and the international community should make it clear to Beijing that the bottom line for the cross-strait issue is peace, and that any attempt to use military force is totally unacceptable."

"Beijing Not to Go Through Washington Any More Regarding Its Strategy Toward Taiwan"

Sun Yang-ming maintained in conservative, pro-unification United Daily News (7/16): "[Beijing's] strategy to resolve the Taiwan issue through Washington has received strong criticism after Chen Shui-bian got re-elected. When Beijing issued the strong-worded May 17 statement, it has basically settled on its policy direction for at least the next two years. The 'new guideline' is actually not very new, because it has returned to the original route of 'attacking [Taiwan] in equally sharp language, making no concession, and an eye for an eye.' Beijing modified its Taiwan policy because it believes that some of the United States' behaviors over the past few months in deterring Taiwan independence have been ambiguous and limited in their effect. In Beijing's views, all of these 'external behaviors' by Washington--such as its early recognition of Chen's re-election, harsh criticism against Beijing recently, and its request that both sides of the Taiwan Strait resume dialogue as early as possible without any precondition--have indicated that it cannot rely on the U.S. to stop Taiwan independence. In other words, Beijing has realized that it needs to change its direction and rely more on its own power and judgment to determine its approach to resolve the Taiwan issue.... This 'new awareness' will certainly reduce significantly the United States' influence on the cross-Strait issues and will thus increase the risks for a more unstable cross-Strait situation."

"PRC Unhappiness With U.S. Is Reaching Boiling Point"

The conservative, pro-unification, English-language China Post contended (7/16): "The Chinese move was a clear reflection that Rice's meetings in Beijing have failed to reassure its leaders. Yet by holding a special press conference in Washington to reiterate its complaints, Beijing wanted to directly draw the attention of the American public to the tensions in the Taiwan Strait less than four months ahead of the U.S. presidential election, hoping that this would help step up pressure on the Bush administration. PRC-U.S. relations have turned tense over Taiwan ever since President Chen Shui-bian took office on May 20 to begin his second term. Such a development has not taken anyone by surprise, however. This has been so because the two countries have sharply different interests in Taiwan, and moreover are not judging the Taiwan issue by the same logic.... The differing PRC and U.S. positions on Taiwan are escalating the tensions in the strait.... As things now stand, Washington is apparently gaining the upper hand in the latest round of political confrontations over Taiwan and will likely continue to play a dominant role in the addressing of cross-strait issues. But Beijing, as Jiang Zemin warned last week, would not 'sit idle' seeing 'foreign forces' supporting Taiwan independence. Nor would it cease to exert military pressure on Taiwan because of an increased naval deployment in the region. The risk is that an escalation of the military standoff between the two big powers could eventually lead to a conflict in the Taiwan Strait."

JAPAN: "Worrisome Muscle Flexing"

The left-leaning English-language Japan Times maintained (7/27): "Relations across the Taiwan Strait continue to deteriorate. The re-election of Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian has alarmed the mainland government, which is convinced Mr. Chen seeks Taiwan's independence. China has been sending signals that it is prepared to take military action if Taipei takes that fateful step. That does not mean war is imminent. But the military muscle-flexing does create opportunities for mischief, miscalculation and mistakes.... Despite U.S. reassurances that it wants neither side to unilaterally change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, and the recent visit by national security adviser Condeleezza Rice...Beijing has not been mollified. Its rhetoric continues to escalate and China has begun military exercises that are designed to send an unambiguous signal that China is prepared to take military action if needed. The Dongshan military exercises...look a lot like an invasion of Taiwan.... The Chinese exercises occur at the same time as the U.S. 'Summer Pulse 2004' military exercises...designed to test U.S. preparedness for a global conflict. It involves 50 warships from over seven aircraft carrier strike groups, 600 aircraft and over 150,000 troops. While it is tempting to see the two exercises as related--and much of the reporting has linked the two--they are not. The U.S. exercise was planned long before the Taiwanese election, the seven aircraft carriers are not in Chinese waters, or even in the Western Pacific. Contrary to reports, Taiwan is not participating in the exercise, although the island has been holding some interesting drills of its own--including emergency landings of military aircraft on highways, as might occur during a conflict. In other words, tensions are high.... China's increasing belligerence and its military muscle flexing are proof that its Taiwan policy is failing. The criticism of the U.S. and Singapore--for a recent unofficial visit by Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to Taiwan--sounds desperate and shrill. It also reminds regional governments that Beijing can be intransigent and stubborn when it wants something and those ambitions are thwarted. That threatens to erase many of the gains made by China's 'smile diplomacy' over the last few years. China must find a new way to deal with Taipei. The talk of military options and 'acceptable' costs is no substitute for a realistic policy that engages Taiwan.... Beijing must recognize that Mr. Chen is the duly elected Taiwanese president, and even if it does not like him, pretending he does not exist is not a viable strategy. The alternative is continuing bluster and the growing likelihood of a miscalculation that could end in conflict."

"China-Taiwan Military Exercises: Avoid Intensifying Tensions In The Taiwan Strait"

Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri concluded (7/26): "Splitting apart the Taiwan Strait, both China and Taiwan are engaging in large-scale military exercises. In addition, although they are portraying them as 'usual scheduled exercises,' the impression that they are a battle of nerves over the issue of Taiwan independence is growing. China's joint land, sea and air exercises are taking place on the islands in Fujian province that face Taiwan. Since 1996, when China-Taiwan relations became tense, every year China undertakes amphibious assault exercises on these islands. According to the Chinese media, in addition to improving its strategic capabilities and professionalism, this exercise for the first time has as its main goal the achievement of air superiority in the strait. The exercise's scale is also the largest ever. The exercise aims at displaying China's offensive ability, and seeks to display again China's posture of refusing to rule out military action to prevent Taiwan's independence. Taiwan, which is also engaged in a long-term military exercise, has for the first time in 26 years engaged in exercises under which jet fighters practice landings and takeoffs on highways-turned-runways, under a scenario where air bases were suddenly destroyed. After President Chen Shui-bian's victory in March, China has continually shown Taiwan a very tough posture.... Inside China's internal leadership, the feeling of stalemate is dissippating, with those who support a tougher policy rapidly gaining ground. Perhaps under that influence, China is inclining towards a 'foreign policy of strength.' China's military budget has, since 1989, increased by more than 10 percent every year. Using the U.S. attack against Iraq as a lesson, Beijing is seeking to accelerate at a high pitch its response to high-tech and information warfare, and this year alone increased the number of short-range ballistic missile launch sites aimed at Taiwan by 50, reaching some 500 sites total. It is certain that additional deployment will continue in the future. Last month, Beijing announced that it would under no cirumstances permit Taiwanese businessmen who support Taiwanese independence to make economic profits on the mainland. The ripples from this unprecedented act of using the booming Chinese economy as a means of pressure continue to spread. Taiwan plans to buy arms, such as ground-to-air guided missiles, from the U.S. The Chen administration also refuses to abandon its plan of holding a referendum on a new constitution that would further strengthen the 'independence banner.' Both China and Taiwan are contributing to the rise in tensions. China's Hu Jintao administration, ever since it began, has called for diplomacy that boosts regional cooperation, and has achieved successes. The 'power diplomacy' that does not mesh with this path can only have a great negative effect on economic activity and regional security in all of East Asia. Chinese actions with regards to armed exploration of sea bottom areas and natural resource surveys in seas around Japan are also, for Tokyo, an issue of great concern. We urge a response of self-control."

"Thorough Debate Needed On How to Revise Constitution"

Liberal Mainichi stated (7/23): "Japan's ongoing debate over the revision of Article 9 is not occurring for the purpose of helping the nation join the UNSC. Any revisions should be made based on whether the supreme law suits the times. Any debate on constitutional revision should also start with through discussions over what Japan ought to be. The U.S. cannot dictate constitutional debate in Japan."

"Tension Must Be Avoided"

Liberal Tokyo Shimbun opined (7/23): "Both China and Taiwan are stepping up military exercises.... However, tension in the Taiwan Straits must be avoided at all costs. The military balance between China and Taiwan is expected to shift in favor for the former in and around 2005, and for this very reason, Taiwan is experiencing a sense of crisis. East Asia is set to deepen regional integration, as China, Japan and South Korea have decided to hold foreign ministerials on a regular basis. The three nations have also separately strengthened their economic ties with ASEAN members through free trade agreements. Against such circumstances, the escalating tension between Taiwan and China is detrimental to peace and stability in East Asia."


"Diet Debate Imperative On U.S. Force Realignment"

Liberal Asahi declared (7/22): "The proposed integration and transfer of some U.S. military commands to U.S. bases in Japan signal that U.S. forces in Japan are about to assume a different and more significant role. One of the purposes of the suggested realignment must be to transform the U.S. military into one that is more mobile in order to better deal with regional disputes, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and international terrorism; enabling it to monitor moves on the Korean Peninsula, India, Pakistan and the Middle East with commands in Japan playing a central role. However, the original purpose of the U.S. military in Japan, according to the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, is to 'guarantee the peace and security in Japan and the Far East.' The integration, if implemented as proposed, would expand the scope and role of the U.S. military in Japan far beyond the stated boundaries. The Japanese Government must take a cool and objective look at whether U.S. military realignment is in its national interests. Prime Minister Koizumi bears the responsibility of explaining to the public the purpose of the suggested realignment and ensuring that the issue is properly debated in the Diet."

"U.S. Forces' Realignment Must Match Japan's Needs"

Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri held (7/21): "The realignment of U.S. forces stationed in Japan is an important move, not just from the viewpoint of the balance of the Japan-U.S. alliance, but also with an eye toward maintaining security in the Asia-Pacific region. The U.S. presented the outline of its plans for realignment during deputy minister-level bilateral talks held in San Francisco from Thursday to Saturday. The realignment is one part of the U.S. military's overall transformation of its overseas forces. The U.S. proposals are mainly aimed at enhancing the functionability of the U.S. military command.... The U.S. military forces stationed in Japan are deployed to cope with contingencies that occur in the area called the Arc of Instability, which stretches from the Korean Peninsula through South Asia to the Middle East. The deployment is based on the U.S. strategy of responding quickly to new types of threats, such as terrorist attacks and missile launches. The planned enhancement of command function means that Japan will become the site of a strategic U.S. base. The United States is important because it helps maintain the stability of the international community through its military might. Japan's prosperity depends upon stability in the international community. As a close ally of the United States, Japan must cooperate as it realigns its military. Japan-U.S. cooperation entered a new phase when the government decided to introduce the missile defense system promoted by Washington. Already strong ties will need to be deeper if the two countries are to deal with international terrorism. The realignment of the U.S. forces in Japan will no doubt have a major effect on security in the Asia-Pacific region and Japan-U.S. defense cooperation. For the Japan-U.S. alliance to function effectively in the region, Japan has to pull its weight. The future of the Self-Defense Forces--including organizational structure, positioning of bases, armaments and equipment--cannot be discussed without taking the realignment of the U.S. forces into consideration. Some related items, such as how Japan and the United States will share defense tasks and duties after the realignment, will of course be included in the new National Defense Program Outline that is scheduled to be compiled this year.... If the U.S. bases in Japan lose some of their functions, Japan-U.S. joint operations cannot be carried out smoothly. The government must work to convince concerned local governments and residents of the importance of the U.S. bases in Japan. The government will soon establish a task force at the Prime Minister's Office to study the U.S. proposals and coordinate with local governments. The team will comprise officials from related government bodies, such as the Foreign Ministry and the Defense Agency. It will not be an easy task to mediate between the United States and concerned local governments. But it is important that Japan's national security strategies be in balance with the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan."

"The Issue Of Chinese Vessels: Protect Our Maritime Interets Whole-heartedly"

Conservative Sankei declared (7/19): "As a maritime nation, Japan continually faces strict tests. Why? Because with regard to Japan's maritime interests, China is still trying to damage them.... The government has been exploring areas on the Japanese side of the Sino-Japanese maritime border in the East China Sea for possible natural resource deposits.... It is clear that the search activities were sparked by concern that the natural gas and oil deposits could be unilaterally exploited by the Chinese side. However, on the 9th of this month Chinese survey vessels entered Japan's maritime areas and ordered survey boats chartered by the Japanese side to leave what they called Chian's exclusive economic zone (EEZ).... Tokyo must resolutely continue its surveys and not be lackadasical in dealing with these Chinese actions. The problem is that as long as maritime boundaries in the East China Sea are not demarcated, the Chinese side will continue to engage in surveys and activities to build upon and create facts on the ground. Although problems such as these arise every year in diplomatic relations between Tokyo and Beijing, China is increasingly moving past the EEZ line, into Japanese seas...and claiming these areas for its own EEZ. These claims are completely lacking in scientific proof. China is doing nothing more than stalling through its ignoring the current border line, which draws borders equidistant from each side. According to UN maritime treaties, when borders are not established, countries should make efforts not to block agreements. As China is making efforts to block any agreement, Japan must clearly take countermeasures to protect its own maritime interests. Tokyo's vague posture to stop damage to its sovereign interests only invite a deeper dilemma. The problem is the indecisive posture of Japan, which won't even undertake surveys of the sea floor in its own sea areas.... Tokyo should wholeheartedly work to change the chaotic attitude of its government agencies and grapple with this problem."

SINGAPORE: "Rebuke China Criticism, Reactions On Lee's Visit To Taiwan"

Yean Meng-tat held in pro-government Chinese-language Lianhe Zaobao (7/22): "Many Chinese official and unofficial criticism on Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's private visit to Taiwan have become unreasonable. A senior and authoritative scholar from China has even termed Singapore as 'a small country that once loaded with few extra cents and will seek to act like a big country.' Such remarks that comes from a senior academic scholar and websites can hurt the Singaporeans' feelings. There is no doubt Singapore is a very small country blessed with some extra cents. However, Singapore has a long-standing reputation that it is a country that will stand on its own rules and principles. Singapore will not yield to foreign pressure if the country feels it is within the government's right to do so. Whatever the circumstances, the Singaporeans will always understand the government's stands and would always support the government's international affairs dealings. We believe Lee has his own valid reason why he wants to visit Taiwan, and we support him.... Singapore has not changed its firm stand on pressure from any country yet.... While we understand China's concern over its sovereignty issue, the Chinese leaders should also understand that as a core ASEAN member, Singapore is naturally concerned with the security issue in the region and will want to see friendship and goodwill growing in the region."

"China's Over-Reaction To Lee's Taiwan Visit Counter Productive To Image"

Soon Wai-yit wrote in Chinese-language pro-government Lianhe Zaobao (7/17): "It is clear that Chinese leaders want to blow up Lee's visit to Taiwan by taking 'revenge' on a small country like Singapore. Apparently, the many follow-up stern moves taken by China on Singapore are consistent with China's foreign policy. Chinese leaders want to warn the region against seeking partnership of any sort with Taiwan and to protect its 'self-centered national interest' policy.... Such over-reaction by China is counter-productive to Beijing's image. China has damaged its emerging image as a trustworthy, credible and peace-loving partner in the region by over-reacting to Singapore."

THAILAND: "Needless Crisis Made In Taiwan"

The lead editorial in top-circulation, moderately-conservative, English-language Bangkok Post read (7/20): "The incoming prime minister of Singapore made a brief visit to Taiwan last week, and touched off one of the strongest tirades from Beijing in several years.... Beijing is concerned about Taiwan these days, and Mr. Lee's trip shows how China views even the most honest and aboveboard events.... As the Chinese begin their exercise on Dongshan island, the United States will be involved in the biggest foreign military exercise ever--almost within view.... A few pessimists see the potential for immediate tension between superpower America and rapidly expanding military power China. But the real danger is a possible error by Taiwan. U.S.-China relations have been unusually smooth since the Sept 11, 2001 attacks on America.... An invasion of Taiwan by China to crush a suspected separatist policy may seem unthinkable but is a real threat. Washington must continue to urge Taiwan to avoid such confrontation with Beijing. Indeed, in the American government and around the world, there is agreement that Taiwan would gain little support if it pulls the Chinese tiger's tail and invites retaliation. In a world that increasingly cooperates on fighting terrorism, a Taiwan campaign for independence is unlikely to find much sympathy."


CANADA: "U.S., China Flex Their Muscles"

The centrist Winnipeg Free Press observed (7/25): "Last week in Asia, both China and the U.S. were conducting large-scale war games of an unprecedented nature. China made no bones about the fact that its exercises were a rehearsal for a possible invasion of Taiwan, one of America's greatest nightmares.... Both China and America claim that the timing of the mutual muscle-flexing is entirely coincidental. That is likely true--these things take too much planning to be mounted as a quick response. China's Communist leaders make it clear that they are practising to invade Taiwan, but they also make it clear that they do not want to have to do that. The U.S. denies that this massive display of force is an attempt to intimidate China, or to remind Beijing of President George Bush's promise that, despite the fact that the Mutual Defence Treaty with Taiwan was terminated in 1979, Washington would do 'whatever it took' to ensure Taiwan's defence.... China remains suspicious.... Coincidence or not, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that strong messages are being sent.... The Americans, in fact, may be just strutting their stuff, showing that they could defend Taiwan against anyone if they so chose because they know that they never would. Even Mr. Bush only ever promised to give Taiwan the means to defend itself. The Chinese, on the other hand, if they thought they had to, almost certainly would invade. It might be a better thing if these simultaneous war games were not coincidence, if they were a deliberate feint, a feeling out and a testing of each other. This would benefit no one, neither China nor the U.S., and certainly not Taiwan, however contentious an issue the island may be. But it would at least indicate a conscious policy and conscious policies can be consciously reversed. Taiwan aside, the two countries have much more to gain by co-operating with each other, not just in trade and finance as China grows into an economic giant, but also politically and militarily in ensuring stability and prosperity in Asia. Unfortunately, the two countries also have a long history of mutual distrust and hostility that could lead them into a dangerous international game of bluff. They would do better to chart a course to co-operation rather than run the risk of drifting into conflict."


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