|Office of Research||Issue Focus||Foreign Media Reaction|
August 23, 2005
CHINA AND RUSSIA CONDUCT PEACE MISSION 2005: AN 'EXERCISE OF POWER'
** Sino-Russian maneuvers are directed at Taiwan, possibly North Korea, but not terrorism.
** Predicting a "new" Cold War: papers contemplate the global "distribution of power."
** Various outlets insist U.S. political and economic policies threaten regional stability.
** Media see war games as a signal of competition for power in Central as well as East Asia.
'Exercise of Power'-- Only Russian papers asserted that recent joint Sino-Russian military exercises were directed at "world terrorism" and Central Asian "color revolutions." Peace Mission 2005, said Britain's independent Financial Times, is not the "innocent peacekeeping drill" its name suggests. Other writers agreed with Japan and Taiwan media that the use of "amphibious equipment" and a "shore assault landing" was to make a "show of force" to the Japan-U.S. alliance and to "daunt" Taiwan independence. The pro-independence Taiwan Daily added that the "situation" on the Korean Peninsula is "worth observation," but papers generally disagreed on the significance of holding the maneuvers in Korea's West Sea.
Ending a 'temporary defrost'-- Amid numerous predictions of a "new" cold war, Russia's financial Kommersant assessed the Sino-Russian goal of a "multi-polar world," terming it a "strategic task." A German editorial countered Russian "insistence" on a new "global order," judging that Moscow and Beijing are not the "right candidates" to establish a "well-balanced" world. One Malaysian writer argued the "four big powers" in Asia might become "two big camps counter-balancing" each other. Some center-right editorials emphasized the role of the nascent U.S.-India "axis" in "re-igniting" tensions and resurrecting the "issue of alignment."
Washington's 'waning' political influence-- Singapore's pro-government Business Times contended that a "major cost" of a "growing" U.S. preoccupation with the Middle East has been the "neglect" of a "coherent strategy" in Asia. One Taiwanese writer alleged the U.S. has put Taiwan in "strategic suspension" because it has not "figured out" the "best strategy." Canada's conservative Ottawa Sun assailed the Bush administration for designating China as the "new enemy of choice" and thereby not "promoting" stability. Chinese editorials were particularly critical of U.S. economic policies, demanding the U.S. "act in a generous manner" toward China. The official Global Times declared the U.S. should return to "international order" and cease acting as a "disobedient cowboy hero."
U.S.' Central Asian 'incursion'-- Italy's centrist La Stampa alleged that the U.S. fears its influence will be "progressively reduced" in a region of great importance in the war on terror. According to Kazakhstan's pro-government Liter, China and Russia do not "hide their joint interest" in "pushing" the U.S. out of Central Asia. Some editorials agreed the maneuvers will have an impact on future development of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, possibly as a "counter" to NATO. But Germany's right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin reminded readers that Russia is "not interested" in "too strong a China."
Prepared by Media Reaction Branch (202) 203-7888, firstname.lastname@example.org
EDITOR: Erin Carroll
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. Some commentary is taken directly from the Internet. 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 23 countries over 8 August - 22 August, 2005. Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.
BRITAIN: "Exercise Of Power"
The independent Financial Times editorialized (8/19): "'Peace Mission 2005', the first joint military exercise launched yesterday by China and Russia, is not the innocent peacekeeping drill its name suggests. It represents a significant deepening of the military relationship between a former superpower and an emerging one, and therefore will be closely watched by the only current superpower, the U.S.... If these war games were really about peacekeeping, they would not require the mock amphibious assaults, attack submarines and Russian long-range strategic bombers that military analysts say are involved.... The signal sent by the joint exercise is not about military technology or training. This week's unprecedented collaboration between the armies of China and Russia is another sign of Washington's waning political influence on the western shores of the Pacific."
GERMANY: "Putin Flexing His Muscles"
Daniel Brössler penned the following editorial for center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (8/22): "It is the first Russian-Chinese maneuver and even though the two dutifully emphasized that the maneuvers were not directed against anyone, the threatening message has reached its addressees: Taiwan and mainly the United States.... The demonstrations of strength do not mean that Russia is also strong. It may do the Russian leadership good to frighten the Americans a bit with the maneuver 'Peaceful Mission.' There seems to be a joint community of interest with Beijing against U.S. influence in Central Asia, but competitors will not become friends so easily. Russia continues to fear a strengthened China and it knows that it will be unable to draw even despite money from Siberian oil fields.... Despite Putin's flexing of muscles, the Russian army is in a bad shape and mainly dangerous for its own soldiers.... Russia will be unable to resolve its problems with military means, but without a real professional military, many problems will even intensify. Years ago, Putin announced that he wanted to create a smaller professional army. But little has happened since then. It is right that Russia's armed forces must be modernized but money alone will not help."
"The Emerging Power And The Superpower"
Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger judged in a front-page editorial in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (8/20): "The agreement between the United States and China to agree on the status quo in the UN Security Council in New York…is remarkable and the question must be raised whether this indicates an arrangement that could be a future style in international politics.... But first of all, one thing should be kept in mind: The United States is still the dominating global power. It leads in all sectors of power, but it is also right that global potentials are shifted in Asia.... This new distribution of power has taken on a degree that reminds us of earlier periods in which parvenus restructured the international system.... When China's president visits the United States, then he will appear as a strategic competitor who would like to see a weakened U.S. position and influence in Asia but he will also appear as strategic partner. This ambivalence is nowhere so obvious as in North Korea. If Beijing were able to prompt the regime in Pyongyang to give in the nuclear conflict, then this would be in the interest of the Bush administration. And the strategic situation would have completely changed. What would be the price Bush would have to pay? For instance, Japan's UN candidacy? And Bush may probably need Beijing in the conflict with Iran. That is why America is no longer alone in the theater of global politics. The question, however, is on which side the new player plays."
Peter Sturm said in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (8/19): "Global history has now got another interesting facet. Soldiers from Russia and China have been training together since Thursday. From a power policy point of view this is of limited significance. That is why both sides describe the exercise as symbolic. The addressee is primarily the U.S., which both sides like to counter more than they currently do. Beijing and Moscow's efforts concretely aim at limiting if not eliminating the U.S. presence in Central Asia. They can rely on the support of the majority of local potentates. But the question remains whether the peoples are willing to be subject for much more time to these potentates. Russia and China should better wonder whether they do not back the wrong horse. But neither Beijing nor Moscow are well known for such far-reaching policy. When taking a closer look at the new Russian-Chinese friendship it is striking that only negative interests link it. Positive, joint goals are not visible."
Kirstin Wenk remarked in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (8/19): "The world, mainly the Asian part, is in motion. Hardly a month passes without a strategic meeting taking place and without landmark statements being made.... China is now conducting the first joint military maneuvers with the former socialist brother state. The 'Peace Mission 2005' is the symbolic culmination of a number of rapprochement steps between Beijing and Moscow.... Russia is by far China's most important arms supplier and is now using the joint military exercise as an advertisement action. China needs Russian oil; both countries have a problem with separatist Islamic movements, and both reject any international interference. Both China and Russia want to contain U.S. influence in Central Asia in the region action…and the historic military exercise should also be seen as a signal in the direction of Washington. Look, a new axis is forming. Nevertheless, we cannot speak of a 'reprint' of the old East-West conflict in Asia, for the interests differ widely. Japan, too, wants Russian oil, and Moscow is not disinclined. In addition, Russia is not interested in too strong a China, and there are still many bones of contention between both countries. India is also trying to play a more important role, and all sides want to have friendly relations with it."
Karl Grobe noted in an editorial in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (8/18): "Vladimir Putin was at the controls of a Russian supersonic fighter plane and a picture was taken. We may wonder what was the reason for this move, but an answer is easy: to demonstrate that Russia is still able to flex its military muscles; he also wanted to show in a discretionary way, who is in control of power. At the same time, Russia succeeded in firing an intercontinental missile and conducted joint maneuvers with China in the Yellow Sea. It also included maneuvers with amphibious equipment and both countries hardly simulated an invasion of North Korea but rather on Taiwan.... With it Beijing wants to signal to the United States what it will be willing to do if Washington supports Taiwan in case Taipei declares its independence. We cannot insinuate that Putin is following in the wake of China, but he rather wants to emphasize his claim to be a major power with its own capability to act and to act without the support of an alliance, if necessary against the United States."
Business daily Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf (8/18) argued: "The first joint Russian-Chinese maneuver is a demonstration of power. Officially, it has been declared as an exercise for peace missions, but the saber rattling of both countries in times of highest nervousness because of Iran and North Korea's nuclear programs is a clear signal mainly to the United States. A new military cooperation is developing which must clearly be seen a counter model to NATO. With this cooperation, China and Russia are emphasizing their insistence on an order they describe as a multipolar world. Both nuclear powers do not want to be subject to Washington's diktat like with the U.S. unilateral move in Iraq. This is understandable and a well-balanced global order must be welcome, but Moscow and Beijing are not the right candidates to establish it. They should rather support the UN in its peacekeeping missions according their own strength.... Both countries must finally also exert greater pressure on their friends in Pyongyang and Tehran to prompt them to give up their nuclear plans. This would really give Moscow and Beijing a more important role in the world.... And Russia must finally make up its mind about whether it considers its Asian partner a threat or a partner. To do both things at the same time--to stir up fears and to supply weapons--this does not work."
Right-of-center Straubinger Tageblatt/Landshuter Zeitung (8/18) opined: "While the Berlin government criticizes Washington's consideration to develop mini nukes, it remains silent when it comes to Russia and China developing and testing nuclear super weapons. After the Bundestag elections, the new government (led either by Schröder or Merkel) has the task to eliminate these imbalances and to re-balance foreign and security policies. Irrespective of whether the new dangers develop or not, Berlin is well-advised to turn more to its traditional allies. The Russian and Chinese power policy activities will have far-reaching consequences when they are continued."
ITALY: "Washington Has A Problem In Asia"
Maurizio Molinari stated in centrist, influential La Stampa (8/19): “Washington observes Chinese-Russian maneuvers and decides to maintain a low-profile but makes it known that it has its eyes wide open in fear that the basis of a strategic regional pact aims at reducing the U.S. presence in Asia.... On one hand, Washington softened its tone and said it ‘was informed by both capitals of what is about to happen,’ but on the other hand, emphasized the hope that ‘the maneuvers be conducted in a way that sustains an objective of regional stability that the U.S. shares with China and Russia’.... The fear that transpires from State Department circles concerns the possibility of the birth of a regional alliance inclined to progressively reduce U.S. influence in an area considered of great importance for conducting operations in the war on terrorism. It was no coincidence that yesterday, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld reiterated the importance of bases in central Asia for sustaining ‘the continuation of operations in Afghanistan.’ ”
RUSSIA: "No Carpet Bombings"
Ivan Safronov, columnist wrote in reformist business-oriented Kommersant (8/18): "Right away there is a question: who are we going to fight against? According to Vladimir Moltensky, Deputy Commander of Land Forces of Russia and commander of Russian side in the maneuvers, this military exercise has clear anti-terrorist and anti-extremism character. Earlier, Moscow and Beijing had one common adversary--world imperialism. Now the main enemy is world terrorism. Compare with previous one, the current opponent is tricky and dangerous, but it is more amorphous. However, this fact does not confuse the generals. They are using their previous strategic and tactical plans changing only the name of the adversary. This approach untied the military hands. If the military stopped liking somebody, this somebody automatically is put on the terrorist list. Washington has put on this list Afghanistan, Iraq and also Iran with North Korea. It took some time for Moscow to realize the danger coming from 'color' revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia. And when the revolutionary wave reached Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, it started to bother Beijing as well. One also cannot discount the fact that Bishkek and Tashkent are members of Shanghai Organization of Cooperation, which was founded by Russia and China.... Both countries clearly show their intentions to create not only powerful military alliance, but also to demonstrate to entire world their desire to unite Moscow and Beijing military potentials. Russian general staff is sure that these military potentials can successfully complement each other. It is important to note that Moscow makes this move while it is fulfilling the agreement with the United States about the reduction of strategic attack potentials. And this fact should not prevent Russia to achieve its goal together with China--a creation of multi-polar world. Beside this global strategic task, Russia also tries to resolve a tactical goal--to increase its weapons sales to China. So far, nobody can guess for how long Moscow and Beijing military-political ambitions would follow a one course."
China combats export of Western democracy, Andrei Odinets writes in reformist, business Kommersant (8/18): "The Chinese government is seriously concerned about the threat of a color revolution. Beijing has drawn up a range of measures to toughen party control of society and limit Western influence in China. Particular attention has been paid to journalists, the military and youth. President Hu Jintao has established a special commission to analyze color revolutions in the CIS. This actually means that Beijing is interested in the post-Soviet space in the long run.... Zoellick's visit to Vietnam caused a stir in Beijing. The Central Committee gathered for an emergency meeting and spent the whole afternoon discussing the Vietnam issue. The ghost of a color revolution has emerged in the region seen by China as the main area for its political and economic expansion. It is there that Beijing is building a bridgehead for the creation of a 'bigger China,' while relying on Chinese communities in Southeast Asian countries, where Chinese immigrants hold important positions in business."
AUSTRIA: "Diplomatic Ping-Pong"
Gunter Lehofer, editor for mass-circulation provincial Kleine Zeitung, maintained (8/19): "China and Russia have some common interests--primarily their antagonism towards the American superpower. Otherwise they remain rivals rather than allies. China looks towards Siberia, which has few people and many resources. Eastern Siberia is closer to Beijing than it is to Moscow and would fit in well as a Chinese province. In Central Asia, Russians, Chinese and Americans, together with radical Islamists, are squabbling over the future of the region from the Caspian Sea to Tibet. Everywhere, Russia and China encounter each other. Putin is not the man to voluntarily give up anything. Just take a look at his Chechnya policy! The fact remains, though, that China is the rising power while Russia is stagnating. The foreign policy of the two countries is like any other foreign policy. The two states are playing Ping-Pong on many courts at the same time and every once in a while they get together and play a double.”
"Message To Washington"
Christoph Winder held in independent Der Standard (8/19): “In a more symbolic sense, the Russian-Chinese military maneuvers are designed to send a message to a third party, and that is--not surprisingly--Washington. The maneuvers are an indirect way of protesting against a unipolar world order and a reminder of the fact that--in a worst-case scenario--Russia and China could act in unison against the U.S. There is a broad range of potential conflicts that could emerge between Russia and the U.S., respectively China and the U.S.: From the Taiwan issue to the American presence in Central Asia, with its ample oil reserves and strategic importance. This presence is a thorn in the side of both Beijing and Moscow.”
BELGIUM: "Giants Show Muscles"
Mia Doornaert asserted in independent Christian-Democrat De Standaard (8/19): "Yesterday Russia and China embarked on their first joint military maneuvers ever. The objective of the display of power is less military than political. Both Asian superpowers want to express their ambition to establish regional leadership and send a warning to domestic opponents.... But, the maneuvers also send a signal to a common target: the U.S. Both powers are eager to reduce America’s influence in Asia.... Russia still has not digested the fact that it is no longer superpower number 2 after the demise of the Soviet Union. It wants to demonstrate that it is still playing a key role and is eager to maintain its influence in the Central Asia republics that were members of the Soviet Union in the past.... As the only major Communist regime left China fears that its power may be undermined. Specifically it is worried by the ‘soft power’ generated by American contacts with academics, businessmen, journalists, the internet and the ideas that Chinese students bring home from the U.S. and Europe. At the same time, it prefers not to have American troops in its vicinity.... Although the Southeast Asian countries feel often vexed by the U.S. they do not want to be trapped in a tête-à-tête with the rising Chinese superpower. There was a lot of criticism and disappointment when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice did not attend the ASEAN minister conference at the end of July. Although many of the ASEAN countries do not have much sympathy for America’s emphasis on human rights some U.S. presence is a welcome counterweight against the Chinese giant who is showing its military muscles.”
HUNGARY: “The Lion Is Jumping”
Columnist Pál Bokos asserted in left-of-center Népszava (8/17): “Behind the Chinese and Russian rapprochement lays short-term and long-term interests: weapons and oil. We are talking about goods which are essential for the further prospering of the adult big lion among the Asian little lions.... And then there is this military exercise with the name of 'Peaceful Mission', whose name is not even that misleading since the advancing of the Russia-Chinese fleet on the Pacific-Ocean has to do with everything but the war against terrorism and the ethnic disturbances [in Russia].... It remains to be seen who the real competitor of America will be in the new century, Europe or the lion of the Far East which is not about to jump but is already jumping.”
KAZAKHSTAN: "Huge Chinese Warning"
Nataliya Pulina opined in pro-government Russian-language Liter (8/8): “Today, American experts speak with one voice that ‘once suspicious of each other’ Russia and China conduct exercises to demonstrate their readiness for cooperation ‘in the face of U.S. military presence in Central Asia.’ Another proposed rationale is that having enlisted the support of Moscow, Beijing hints at the U.S. not to interfere in the conflict of the PRC with Taiwan.... Today the U.S. sees China as a main point of confrontation and is interested as never before in weakening the Celestial Kingdom. Russia has to maneuver between two powers. From one side China can threaten Russia as a rival claiming its territories and from the other, Washington, which is strenuously trying to gain influence in Central Asia and the Caucasus. At the same time, after the participants of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization demanded the withdrawal of U.S. bases from the territory of Uzbekistan, the position of the U.S. has weakened. Some analysts believe that 'Peaceful Mission-2005' is a step on the way to creating a military structure for the SCO, which will become an alternative to NATO. Indeed, Russia and China invited the militaries of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to observe the maneuvers. Moscow and Beijing do not hide their joint interest in pushing the U.S. out of the territories of Central Asia. However, it is clear that it will not be very easy to do so.”
ROMANIA: “The U.S. Supports India As A Counterbalance Against China’s Accession”
In the independent centrist Ziua, Vladimir Alexe commented (8/18): "The deep objective for which the U.S. wants to turn India into a world power is, in fact, the creation of an ‘Indian bastion’, opposed to the Chinese one. Thus, the creation of a Washington-New Delhi axis could efficiently counterattack the Moscow-Beijing axis, which is much more advanced (as they have already started joint Russian-Chinese military exercises).... The danger is that the confrontation of the two axes, Moscow-Beijing and Washington-New Delhi, might lead to a new cold war in Central Asia. The creation of the two axes, at the beginning of the 21st century, will have important consequences for a long time, globally speaking, and will also impose on other states the issue of the alignment on one side or the other.”
SWEDEN: "A New Cold War"
Per T. Ohlsson commented in conservative Sydsvenska Dagbladet (8/13): "The United States and China. Is the world big enough for both?.... It will take a very long time before China can catch up militarily with the United States, which has an overwhelming lead. For example: 24 of the world's 34 aircraft carriers are U.S.; China has none. And the United States' technological lead is not shrinking, it is growing. This underdog status, and fear of U.S. incursions in Central Asia, have made China expand its cooperation with Russia. Next week Russian and Chinese forces will hold joint exercises in the Yellow Sea. But Russian-Chinese relations, marked by territorial and political rivalry, are not without complications.... Sure, the Chinese statistics are impressive. But behind the figures is a more fragile reality. China has 55 officially recognized population groups. Ethnic and religious protests have taken violent expressions, primarily among Muslims in Xinjiang and Buddhists in Tibet. The environmental problems are enormous--several of the world's most polluted cities are in China--and the AIDS epidemic is far more serious than what the regime wants to admit. Social gaps are widening: the richest fifth is responsible for 50 percent of consumption, while the poorest fifth consumes less than 5 percent. China has its hands full at home. This ought to reassure the rest of the world in general and the United States in particular. But China is also a paranoid communist dictatorship.... Nevertheless, it is possible to handle a new Cold War. Just as the previous one. Purely economically, the preconditions are better than during the era of the Soviet Union. But there will be conflicts. Thus the need for U.S. watchfulness. So while we are worrying about the situation in the Middle East and Islamic terror, there is every reason to keep our eyes on the radar in the Pacific Ocean. This summer. And for the next approximately 100 summers to come.
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
AUSTRALIA: “Handling China Delicately”
Lowy Institute fellow, Hugh White, writes for the liberal Age (8/18): “There are important differences in the way our two countries (Australia and the U.S.) think about values, especially about the linkage between values and power. That difference is central to our thinking about the future of Asia.... China and Australia have different values, but (John Howard) does not see those differences as a barrier to the growth of a bilateral relationship.... He does not agree with Bush that China’s social and political values undermine its claims to regional power.... For Bush, and for most Americans...they believe that only countries that share America’s values can legitimately exercise such power.... The implication of Canberra’s support for Chinese regional leadership is that the U.S. will need to concede some power and influence to China.... Australia, by its support for China’s growing regional influence, is promoting a profound transformation in the strategic architecture of Asia, with immense implications for Australia's future security, including our alliance with the U.S.... Australia's interests would be best served if the U.S. would allow China a somewhat bigger role.... The first essential step is to start a very frank discussion with Washington, in which the big questions of power and values are put squarely on the table.”
“Give This Democracy A Hearing”
Foreign editor and columnist, Greg Sheridan, observes in the national conservative Australian (8/18): “The Howard Government has denied both requests (from Chen Shui-bian).... This is a cowardly stance.... These positions are important because China is systematically trying to strangle Taiwan diplomatically, to cut off Taiwan's remaining international space.... Now that everyone is joining up to the China boom it has been dismal to watch the way dollars trump democracy or human rights, and governments of Left and Right are happy to connive in the strangulation of Taiwan...while we roar like lions about democracy in the Middle East we are apparently indifferent to the only Chinese democracy in Northeast Asia. Worse, we are in some ways actively complicit in China’s attempt to diplomatically strangle Taiwan,...sending a minister a year to Taiwan (embodies) a recognition of the shared values of democracy and human rights between Australia and Taiwan, a statement of political values that the Chinese also won't like.... International space for a thriving democracy accords with both our interests and our values.”
The editorial for national conservative newspaper, The Australian (8/15), opined: “Playing air-traffic controller to two jumbos the size of China and the U.S. is a difficult game, and what makes it so is Taiwan.... Taiwan is now calling in some favors.... Mr. Chen has requested Australia's good offices to help him attend the APEC leaders’ summit in November and has also asked us to loosen up travel restrictions that prevent his visiting Australia.... Taiwanese people reasserted their sovereignty over their own affairs, but rejected any upping of the ante with Beijing. It was a highly nuanced and cautious outcome that should also guide Australia's dealings with China and Taiwan.”
“China’s Careful Diplomacy”
An editorial in liberal newspaper, The Age (8/15), observed: “Australia is banking on a benign Chinese future.... The decision by Australia to sell uranium to China and to accept assurances over its peaceful use takes Beijing's diplomatic charm offensive at face value. But the reality is far less clear, as China flexes its muscles well beyond its borders. Is the new China a globally responsible power...or is it a rising threat to the West.... Recent developments point unhelpfully both ways.... China has accumulated a vast amount of influence based on its potential, not its actual military or economic strength.... But with every step China takes towards realizing this power its conciliatory rhetoric will be tested. With uranium sales, however, there is no room for misjudgment.”
CHINA: “The U.S. Runs Outside The Orbit Of International Order”
Yu Yongsheng commented in the official Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (8/12): "The U.S. always considers integrating the nations of the world as an important part of diplomacy. This means the U.S. always wants to integrate into the international order countries that, based on the U.S. perspective, operate outside the international system. Though the original goal of such behavior is in the U.S. own interests, it is objectively beneficial to the harmony of international society. However, U.S. actions in recent years show the U.S. itself always operates outside the orbit of the international order, taking the lead to destroy the order it has established. This is reflected especially in matters linked to U.S.-China relations. In U.S.-China economic relations, the U.S. violates WTO rules, politicizes economic issues, and makes use of economic issues to contain China's development. The principle of free trade has played a critical role in the U.S. leading the world in wealth. But this principle is in fact beneficial for U.S. products exported to other countries. While the U.S. is making plentiful benefits by exporting high-tech products around the world, it still wants to protect the low-end markets of garments and toys. This does not fit the U.S. image as a large country, and also violates international order. The U.S. should return to international order and no longer act as a disobedient cowboy hero.”
“Why Is The U.S. So Stingy In Its Relationship With China?”
Yu Yongsheng commented in the China Radio International sponsored newspaper World News Journal (Shijie Xinwenbao) (8/12): "Using the lens of the different naming schemes, China and the United States have for the ‘U.S.-China Strategic Dialogue,’ one could explore the differing psychologies of the two on the bilateral relationship. China has great initiative and enthusiasm for improving relations. Comparatively, the U.S. attitude is rather complicated. The reason is that some American politicians think that good U.S.-China relations will bring more benefits to China than they will bring to the U.S. China has higher expectations for the relationship than the U.S. does. The U.S. thinks that developing the relationship is simply a benefit for China. If the relationship become too good, it seems China has gained an advantage. A prominent example of proof is that the U.S. government does not make positive references to the relationship when determining the relationship's nature from a strategic point of view. If the U.S. always acts as the world leader, then it should act in a generous manner toward China.”
CHINA (HONG KONG AND MACAU SARS): "Sino-Russian Military Exercise Rich In Connotations For The 'Great Triangle' Relationship"
Senior commentator Liu Szu-lu wroted for pro-PRC Chinese-language Wen Wei Po (Internet Version) (8/19): "Military exercises are actually another arena in world diplomacy and a special kind of diplomatic language. And the most important significance of the Sino-Russian exercise is at the strategic level, highlighting the enhancement of the degree of trust between the two countries; this will have an impact on the east Asia pattern, with new connotations appearing in the 'great triangle' relationship between China, Russia, and the United States. The United States formerly practiced divide and rule toward China and Russia, but this has now evolved into China and Russia joining hands to constrain the United States; this is of far-reaching significance for the shaping of a multipolar world.... This 'Peace Mission 2005' exercise shows that the strategic cooperative Sino-Russian relationship has risen to a new level; China and Russia were hostile for several decades, but now they allow each other's armed forces to come in and carry out exercises; such a sense of trust cannot be expressed in words. And the potential opponents of China and Russia are bound to get the message from the exercise.... It cannot be denied that the elevation of this relationship has a subtle effect on the six-party talks and will also have an impact on the east Asia pattern division. It cannot be denied that when the United States practiced unilateralism after 9.11, there was no extremely close cooperation between China and Russia to counter this, and the U.S. posture of being alone great became prominent. In the future, the joining of hands between Russia and China plus Europe standing on its own feet will give new impetus to the development of a multipolar world. "
"A Time For Sensitivity, Not Military Posturing"
The independent English-language South China Morning Post opined (8/19): "Whatever China and Russia may say, the week-long joint military exercises they launched in Vladivostok yesterday will have a negative impact on stability in East Asia. There can be only one reaction from the U.S. and its allies Japan, South Korea and Taiwan--a military buildup to counter a perceived greater threat.... Peace Mission 2005, as the war games between China and Russia are called, will drive the U.S. towards seeking a greater balance of power in East Asia. That response will involve strengthening military ties with Japan, Taiwan and South Korea--making for an arms race and the associated instability. Such moves do not serve the interests of the region. The nations involved should be working together through dialogue to increase understanding and lessen tensions, not heighten them. While the U.S. must come to terms with China's growing influence, Beijing must also realize its decision can cause friction. The military exercises, by their very nature and location, are a perfect example of a matter that should have been treated with greater sensitivity."
"The Rattling Of Sabres"
Peter Kammerer concluded in the independent English-language South China Morning Post (8/19): "China and Russia yesterday launched their first-ever war games in a bid, they claim, 'to strengthen the capability of the two armed forces in jointly striking international terrorism, extremism and separatism.' That is East Asian military jargon for shouting 'yaboo sucks' in the general direction of the U.S. Such gestures do not pass lightly in Washington, where memories of cold-war Moscow still make Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's surgical truss tremble. Add China to the equation and it is guaranteed to make him go, to coin a term, ballistic.... The games...will cheekily make their way south in the general direction of Taiwan. This is akin to making rude hand gestures at Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian, who is known to be not terribly keen about 10,000 heavily-armed soldiers from opposing military powers playing a version of 'Let's Pretend - Maybe' in his backyard.... But that is only part of the objective of Chinese and Russian generals. They have a much wider remit: to confirm to U.S. President George W. Bush's administration that the cold war never really went away--it just went into temporary defrost."
"Sino-Russian Military Exercise Has A Special Meaning"
Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked (8/19): "Peace Mission 2005 is the largest scale Sino-Russian military exercise ever. It signals that China and Russia have moved a step further in establishing a strategic partnership. The cooperation of the two countries is heading toward a multi-faceted and profound development.... China and Russia hold the joint military exercise right after the U.S. shifted its strategic focus from Europe to Asia. If it is said that China is facing the 'Taiwan independence' separatist forces and the challenge of the possible military intervention of the U.S. in the Taiwan Strait, then Russia is also facing the threat of the U.S. intervening in the 'colored revolution' among its neighboring countries and the threat of the U.S. stationing troops in Central Asia. China and Russia are both under the military encirclement of the U.S. It is impossible for them to be unaware of the situation. The large-scale joint military exercise this time has already given people some hints. Sharing similar situations has encouraged China and Russia to join hands together to deal with the threats. Because of this reason, it is normal for the U.S., as well as Japan, to be highly concerned about this Sino-Russian military exercise. In recent years, Russia has not held joint military exercises with countries like the U.S. However, the Sino-Russian joint military exercise this time clearly has a different meaning."
"Sino-Russian Military Exercise Warns United States And Japan"
ZTS reporter Yu Song in PRC-owned Zhongguo Tongxun She in Chinese (8/18) opined: "Although China and Russia have emphasized that the military exercise is not intentionally directed at a third country, the main act in the exercise is a shore assault landing, and in addition the Russian military is sending its trump card Tu-160 strategic long-range bombers, so the scale far exceeds antiterrorism warfare, and is seen as warning the United States and Japan not to intervene in a Taiwan Strait conflict; the United States, Japan, and Taiwan are paying very great attention to this. The U.S. military has not only expressed extremely great concern regarding the Sino-Russian joint exercise but is also monitoring it.... Ni Lexiong, a military expert in Shanghai Normal University, candidly says: 'Part of the exercise consists of a shore assault landing and naval and air operations, which have nothing whatever to do with combating terrorism. Carrying out the exercise is in response to the U.S. provocations against China over a long period'.... The outside world is making considerable associations with regard to the exercise subject of a Chinese landing on an island under Russian cover, and even conjecturing that Russia may help defend the mainland if a Taiwan Strait war breaks out."
"The U.S. And India Joined Hands To Contend With China"
The independent Chinese-language Ming Pao Daily News commented in an editorial (8/15): "Following the economic emergence of China and the establishment of U.S. super power status, disagreements between China and the U.S. become inevitable. A match of containment and anti-containment has subtly taken place. When the international community is still focused on the Middle East and Europe, the biggest strategic change occurred in South Asia 60 years after WW II--the U.S. and India have become allies and they announced that the two countries would fully cooperate in economics, politics, and technology. It is worth noticing that the two countries will cooperate on the development of nuclear technology. Just this cooperation has shown that their bilateral relations are closer and are abnormal.... U.S. financial magazine Barron's has an article quoting an assistant researcher of Washington International Strategic Study Center that only India can rival with China economically and politically in Asia. There is no doubt that this is what the U.S. and India believe. When China is watching the formation of a U.S.-Indian alliance, China's next step will certainly influence the whole setup in South Asia."
"Difficult For Chinese Enterprises To Be Listed In The U.S."
The independent Chinese-language Ming Pao Daily News had an editorial (8/14): "The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission was set up in 2001. When U.S. President Bush first took up the office, he treated China as a 'strategic rival.' Therefore, the U.S. Congress set up such a Commission to study and advise on China policy and legislation. After the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. administration put it focus on countering terrorism and it wanted to rope China into countering terrorism, the Commission had, therefore, been marginalized. When countering terrorism came to an end, the awareness of the 'China threat' propped up again. The Commission immediately banged the drum for anti-China forces in the U.S. Congress. Recently, when Chinese national enterprises CNOOC and Lenovo carried out their acquisitions in the U.S., the Commission used 'national security' as a reason to disallow the acquisitions.... The U.S. Congress recently wears political glasses to deal with Sino-U.S. economic affairs. It always thinks that China's emergence will threaten U.S. security. Such a bias will not only be bad for China, but it will also be bad for the U.S."
"The U.S. Should Deal With China's Peaceful Development Properly"
The pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked in an editorial (8/13): "A Newsweek article on August 15 criticized the U.S. for handling China's emergence improperly.... Maybe this article wants to warn the U.S. that its improper handling of the acquisition of the oil company will make people think that the U.S. is intentionally containing China's development. The incident itself did not lead to misunderstanding, but the U.S. administration, the U.S. Congress and anti-China right-wingers did actually carry out a planned joint action to strangle and contain China.... The U.S. is really hypocritical. On the one hand, it promotes fair trade and open markets. It also encourages countries around the world to open up their energy markets for foreign investment. However, when other countries acquire U.S. companies according to market and economic rules, it immediately uses 'national security' as an excuse to close its door. But if other countries do the same, the U.S. will cry out loud. No one can put up with such an overbearing attitude."
TAIWAN: “Joint Sino-Russia Military Exercises Appear United Outwardly But Divided At Heart”
Lai I-chung, Taiwan Think Tank’s Director for Foreign Policy Studies, noted in the pro-independence Taiwan Daily (8/21): "If one wants to analyze why China and Russia want to jointly start such military drills, a relatively more reasonable answer will be that China wants to use this military exercise to make a show of its force to the ‘U.S.-Japan security alliance.’ Russia, on the other hand, is attempting to use this drill to release the strategic pressure it encounters in East Europe and Central Asia.... The ‘Shanghai Cooperation Organization’ (SCO) is the first that will be impacted by the China-Russia military exercise because both nations are the two main leaders of this organization. After the two nations have started to conduct joint military exercises, the size of the drills may expand to include other member countries of the organization, and it will put pressure on other pro-U.S. member countries (such as Tadzhikistan and Kyrgyzatan) and observer (such as India), forcing them to keep a distance with the United States. Once SCO has successfully driven out the U.S. force, Russia may likely expand the organization to include the Caucasus in an attempt to restrain Georgia, Chechnya, and Armenia from getting rid of Russia’s influence.... As a result, the future development of SCO following the joint Sino-Russia military drill is thus worth observation. The situation on the Korean peninsula will be the next [that is worth observation]. Since both China and Russia are participants of the Six Party Talks as well as standing members of the UN Security Council, the joint Sino-Russia military drill will not only attempt to place pressure on the ‘U.S.-Japan alliance’ but will also seek to form a new alliance among the participants of the Six Party Talks. China has already [succeeded in] maintaining a close relationship with South Korea. If it could create a new cooperative relationship with Russia following the joint military exercise and apply it on the Korean peninsula, it will be able to form a confrontational situation between the 'China-Russia-Seoul-Pyongyang’ [force] and the ‘U.S.-Japan alliance’ once the fourth round of Six Party Talks is resumed.”
“The Bizarreness Of Historical Cycles As Viewed From The China-Russia Joint Military Exercises”
The conservative, pro-unification United Daily News editorialized (8/20): "The joint Sino-Russian military exercises are also based on the thinking [as employed in China’s modern history] of ‘playing off one foreign power against another,’ and the price that China has paid to Russia is no less than what it did during the Ching Dynasty. Based on Beijing’s agreements…with Russia, the land that China has agreed to let go and give to Russia is about 30 times as large as the land of Taiwan. If China just wants to join hands with Russia to restrain the United States and Japan in order to daunt Taiwan independence, it has indeed paid a great price."
“How Will Joint War Games Affect Security?”
Hung Mao-hsiung, a standing committee member of the Taiwan International Studies Association, commented in the pro-independence, English-language Taipei Times (8/20): "Above all else, this [i.e. the China-Russia military exercise] is a breakthrough in the policies of both nations, who are cooperating for the first time with the military forces of a non-allied nation. The significance of this action is threefold. First, both China and Russia are gradually shedding their mutual suspicions. Extensive negotiations have finally resolved disputes over the thousands of kilometers of land border between the two nations, and they are now moving toward building mutual trust and becoming continental allies. Second, from the selection of the location for the exercise and the insistence by both sides that it is not directed at any third nation, it is clear that the political significance of the exercises outweighs the military values. Third, the atmosphere of a new Cold War in the Asia-Pacific has been heightened. Following the regular U.S.-Japanese and U.S.-South Korean military drills, China has held several joint anti-terrorism and sea rescue exercises with the UK, Indonesia and France. It is now embarking on large-scale military exercises with Russia. This new Cold War is sometimes obvious and sometimes hidden.... What impact will the exercises have on Asia-Pacific security? China’s ‘hegemonic’ rising has become a key threat to security in the Asia-Pacific region. The decision on the location of the exercises came after a disagreement with Russia over Beijing’s initial desire for the exercises to take place further south, opposite Taiwan--over which it hopes to gain control, by force if necessary."
"China's War Games Place Arms Bill In Perspective"
Chang Yan-ting, colonel in the ROC air force, associate professor at the Air Force Institute of Technology, and strategy instructor at the Military College of the National Defense University opined in Taipei Pro-independence English-language Taipei Times (Internet Version) (8/19): "It is not difficult to see what the real target of such an exercise is.... Although Russia's overall military power still lags behind that of the U.S., it is still more powerful than that of China.... This is an indirect indication of an improvement in Chinese-Russian relations, as both nations share the aim of increasing their influence in the Asia-Pacific region. The Russian government has attached considerable importance to these exercises.... The U.S. has shown interest in both the scope and format of the drills, as well as the effectiveness of the weapons that are employed. Washington is even more interested to learn about their methods of communication, the command and control mechanism, the application of electronic parameters and the exchange of intelligence between the two nations. The exercises are expected to have a significant impact on the balance of power in Asia and are also an opportunity for China and Russia to make the U.S. take note of their growing military strength.... In the face of closer Chinese-Russian military cooperation, the U.S. must strengthen its ties with Japan, South Korea and other key nations around Asia if it is to consolidate regional security. As for Taiwan, if the arms-procurement bill can be passed, it will serve as a further safeguarding of the security of the Taiwan Strait. It will also indirectly strengthen U.S.-Taiwan relations through military cooperation--and counter the disruption in regional power that has been created by the Chinese-Russian exercise."
"[With] The United States Hesitating [About What To Do With China’s Rise], Taiwan Is Hanging In The Air"
Professor Chu Yun-han of National Taiwan University’s Department of Political Science commented in the “Weekly Commentary” column of the centrist, pro-status quo China Times (8/15): "The United States can only put Taiwan in a state of strategic suspension for the time being. It is because the United States itself has not figured out the best strategy to respond to China’s fast rising. It still cannot make a decisive conclusion on the strategic implications of China’s rise. As a result, its China policy will continue to swing back and forth between an emphasis on engagement and an emphasis on containment. In the past few years, Washington has been actively making necessary strategic deployments to contain China: from strengthening the strategic combat capabilities of U.S. troops deployed in the West Pacific to upgrading its military alliance with Japan; from actively resolving the old grudges with India to extending its forward military deployment into Central Asia. However, all these strategic ‘safety moves’ can only have the passive intimidation effect and cannot effectively prevent China’s economic rise or restrain Beijing’s fast-growing influence in East Asia. The U.S. report on China’s military power released last month said China is facing a ‘crossroad of strategic choice.’ Such a description is, in fact, a projection of its status of mind about its own strategic situation. Whenever China’s comprehensive national strength and international influence move up one new step, the United States has had to evaluate once again the opportunities, challenges, and threat posed by China’s rise. And Washington finds itself facing another new ‘crossroad of strategic choice.’ But it is still very difficult for the United States to make a definite strategic choice. This U.S. hesitation has transferred into Taiwan’s strategic suspension. How long will Taiwan be able to sustain such a suspension status?”
JAPAN: "Sino-Russian Joint Exercise - Concerns Over Countering Japan-U.S. Alliance"
Tokyo's conservative Sankei Shimbun (8/19) (internet version): "The first joint-military exercise between China and Russia, 'Peace Mission 2005,' has begun. Both countries say that the exercise 'is not targeted against a third country.' However, it appears that it [exercise] is targeting the 'common strategic goal' of the Japanese-U.S. alliance, as it includes training based on the supposition of 'landing in Taiwan,' among other things. China is definitely accelerating the modernization of its military, and we cannot help but have concerns over it.... Such moves reflect the joint interests of China and Russia of opposing U.S. rule by reinforcing military cooperation. Russia has been affected by North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)'s expansion to [include] East [European countries] and the 'democratic revolution' in central Asia. For China, the Japanese-U.S. alliance is an obstacle to 'annexing' Taiwan and for China to branch into marine [development], such as development of natural resources in the East China Sea. The primary purpose of the plan for the joint-exercise, which China proposed one year ago, was to 'train for anti-terrorism.' However, on the exercise plan this time, it appears that Russia's intention is to urge the Chinese side to conduct exercises in which the Russia side will mobilize the latest equipment.... Along with its economic development, China has modernized its weapons and equipment. However, in recent years, it is placing emphasis on reinforcing its air and naval power. It [the reinforcement] is on the supposition of a contingency over Taiwan, and it is believed that it is based on a strategy to prevent U.S. military intervention.... The U.S. side is concerned, since the military cooperation between China and Russia could affect security in East Asia. The reinforcement of China's military might is also a threat to Japan. Japan is being pressed to further reinforce its alliance with the United States."
"Keep A Close Watch On First China-Russia Military Exercises"
The business-oriented Nihon Keizai editorialized (8/18): "China and Russia will conduct their first-ever joint military exercises in Vladivostok and areas around China's Shantung Peninsula beginning Thursday. Both nations say the exercises are intended to prepare for joint responses to global terrorism and 'separatism' and are not directed against any particular country. But judging from the timing and nature of the planned exercises, China is clearly showing its intention to check both the U.S.-Japan alliance and Taiwan by taking the lead in initiating joint training. Both China and Russia have been strengthening cooperation to cope with what they call unipolar U.S. domination. The impact on Japan of increased China-Russia military cooperation would be far from negligible. Tokyo needs to keep a close watch on these joint exercises. Increased military cooperation between Beijing and Moscow is not desirable at a time when Sino-Japanese relations remain turbulent because of disputes over such issues as territorial waters in the East China Sea, Taiwan, and history textbooks. Japan needs to restructure its diplomacy toward China and Russia so as to prevent the Far East from being split between rival U.S.-Japan and China-Russia camps."
MALAYSIA: "China, Russia Joint Military Exercise Aims To Break Containment Policy Of Washington"
Government-influenced, Chinese language daily Nanyang Siang Pau editorialized (8/20): "Both the United States and Japan are paying close attention to this military exercise because the drill would signify that the East Asian and Pacific regions can no longer be dominated by joint U.S.-Japan military presence. While both Russian and Chinese leaders have said that the drill is not targeted at any third country, it is not difficult for Taiwan, Japan and the United States to get the message that China is willing to pay whatever price it takes to prevent Taiwan from seeking its independence. In addition, in the case that war along the cross-straits becomes unavoidable, Russia would, to a certain degree, support China's action and policy.... The recent geopolitical development in East Asia Pacific has shown that both China and Russia have the intention to balance the unilateral military presence of the United States in the region. The Russia-Sino Strategic Partnership Declaration signed by Putin and Hu Jintao in July has further strengthened these two Asian giants' desire to break the containment policy of the United States in East Asia, Central Asia and East Europe, where the U.S. presence close to their borders is perceived as an intruder to their backyards. This timely joint military exercise between Russia and China would certainly further strengthen military and political cooperation between the two countries
"Hopes Massive Russia, China Military Exercise Can Really Lead To Peace, Not War"
Independent Chinese language daily Kwong Wah Jit Poh editorialized (8/20): "China and Russia has begun their first-ever joint military exercises aimed at boosting cooperation between the two countries. While the official statement from China has claimed the purpose of the drill is to help strengthen the capability of the two armed forces in jointly striking international terrorism, extremism and separatism, we cannot rule out the fact that these exercises are conducted by the Chinese authority to warn Taiwan about trying to seek its independence. If the separation of Taiwan is not an issue and a threat to the Chinese leaders, China would not have to invest so heavily on its military expenditure. The massive deployment of troops and weaponries staged by China in this joint army, navy and air force exercise with Russia seems to accomplish more than its original peace mission. It has sent out a clear warning to the Taiwanese government not to seek independence. We have to accept the fact that behind the peace banner of any military exercise, these countries will always try to compete with one another militarily. Nevertheless, we do hope that the joint Russia-China military exercise can really lead to peace, not war."
"Strategic Significance Of Sino-Russian Military Exercises"
Government-influenced Chinese-language daily Nanyang Siang Pau commented (8/18): "China and Russia are launching a nine day-long military exercise from today [Peace Mission 2005, from 18-25 August], these are the first joint military exercises between China and Russia historically, and have major significance.... Since the U.S. poses a strategic geo-political threat to China and Russia, the response by both countries, including these unprecedented military exercises, is to a certain degree, understandable."
"Sino-Russian Military Exercises Influence Asia-Pacific Security Set-Up"
Petaling Jaya's leading government-influenced Sin Chew Daily editorialized (8/18): "From a long-term angle, if China and Russia continue to promote bilateral strategic relations, the U.S.' influence could even be weakened. Therefore, the hawkish government of [U.S. President] Bush may adopt stronger diplomatic means to maintain the U.S.' influence and interests, indirectly intensifying unstable factors in the Asia-Pacific region. In addition, the Sino-Russian military exercises will definitely also increase Japan's sense of insecurity.... It can be foreseen that Japan will definitely strengthen relations with the U.S., and even promote its military strength for the sake of its security, and the U.S. will also continue to pull Japan to its side to resist China and Russia. Perhaps a situation will evolve where the four big powers of the Asia-Pacific region will turn into two big camps counter-balancing each other, which will make a new framework and order appear in the security situation of the Asia-Pacific region."
"Military Exercises And Cherishing Peace"
Penang's independent Kwong Wah Yit Poh (8/18) in Chinese editorialized: "If the descendants of China on both sides of the Taiwan Strait could be comrades, as closely linked as flesh and bone, the arms spending of both sides would also not need to keep rising, and fill the pockets of Russian and U.S. arms dealers.... There are the Sino-Russian military exercises, and on the other side, there is also no show of weakness, and the Taiwan army is also carrying out the 'Lienhsing No 94' amphibious landing drill.... No matter how many fine excuses there are, military exercises all run counter to the aims of peaceful development."
"Early Formation Of Hawkish, Dove Camps In China Of Concern To Sino Observers "
Government-influenced Chinese language daily Nanyang Siang Pau ran the following commentary (8/17): "The emergence of China in economic and national development has enabled it to play a more concrete role in international affairs now. Yet amid such positive development, China's regional affairs with its neighbors could have the tendency of deteriorating if such acute awareness cannot be maintained by the Chinese authorities. For a well-developed country like the United States, it is perfectly workable for its government to have a war camp of hawkish politicians and a peace-loving dove camp co-existing in the formation of its national and foreign policy. But for a newly emerging country like China, it is a concern to Sino observers to notice that an early forms of its hawkish and dove camps are now slowly emerging not only in its academic circle but also the media, government and non-government bodies.... While it is still too early to gauge the impact of these two schools of thought, the China threat theory already formed by Washington would have an impact on China's national and economic development in the future. It is important for Chinese leaders to study these two schools of thought carefully before making a decision on whether they should make second effort to acquire some foreign oil companies, and to consider when to acquire them and how they could acquire them to the best advantage of its long term national development."
SINGAPORE: "U.S. Should Not Neglect Asia Pacific"
The pro-government Business Times opined (8/19): "It's not difficult to understand why much of the time and the energy of U.S. foreign policy makers is being spent these days on dealing with the Middle East. The attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001, and the ensuing U.S.-led campaign against international terrorism focused Washington's attention on the need to deal with the source of terrorism.... But the growing American preoccupation with the Middle East has come with a major cost. Since 9/11 and against the backdrop of the mess in Iraq, the United States has been less engaged in dealing with the core geo-political and geo-economic problems of East Asia. If anything, American approach towards East Asia has been dominated by reactive and ad-hoc policies centered mostly on security issues, and in particular, the North Korean nuclear crisis and Taiwan. Even more troubling has been the failure of the Bush administration to develop a coherent strategy towards China. Instead, U.S. policy towards Beijing is looking more and more like a set of confused responses to the pressures coming from a coalition of protectionists, neoconservative ideologues and China bashers. It's not surprising, therefore, that the United States is finding itself more and more marginalized in the political and economic changes that are taking place in East Asia as it faces a more diplomatically engaged and energetic China. It would be in everyone's interests if the United States developed a more coherent strategy towards East Asia as it continues to promote its agenda in the Middle East."
SOUTH KOREA: “China-Russia Joint Military Exercises And Peace In Northeast Asia”
The nationalist, left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun editorialized (8/20): “China and Russia have begun joint military exercises called ‘Peace Mission 2005’ that will continue into next week.... The exercises have several goals. One goal is to restrain independence movements by Taiwan, Xinjiang, and Tibet. Another appears to be preparing for an emergency situation on the Korean Peninsula. Furthermore, the exercises seem intended to establish a military alliance between the two countries that can stand up to that of the U.S. and Japan, and by doing so, gain the ability to compete for supremacy over the entire Asian region. There is no saying that China and Russia cannot conduct joint military exercises when the U.S. and Japan have long done the same. In fact, America’s aggressive foreign policy has strengthened military cooperation between China and Russia in some ways. In addition, there is no shortage of cases in history where the right kind of military balance has supported peace. However, having competition over military supremacy in Northeast Asia cannot be beneficial to anyone, because countries would go about wastefully flexing their muscles without anyone ever achieving overwhelming superiority. Moreover, the region remains the world’s last Cold War frontier and most overpopulated area in military terms with close to five million troops. What the nations of Northeast Asia need to do at the moment is not enter into an arms race but engage in good-will competition in all non-military areas and establish a regime of peaceful co-existence. In this regard, the ROK needs to take a leading role not only in resolving the North Korean nuclear issue, but in this matter as well.”
"China-Russia Joint Military Exercises Worrisome"
Pro-government Seoul Shinmun declared (8/19): “Even though China and Russia are claiming that their ongoing joint military exercises are designed to prepare for terrorism, the exercises should be seen as their efforts to hold in check the military alliances between the ROK and the U.S., between the U.S. and Japan, and between the U.S. and Taiwan.... Both China and Russia are countries that have diplomatic relations with us. However, by conducting military exercises of their own in a region geographically close to the Korean Peninsula in a bid to build up their military coalition, it will clearly heighten tensions on the Peninsula, a development that is directly related to our security and welfare, and furthermore, peace in Northeast Asia as a whole. In this regard, we need to voice our concerns more boldly and squarely against moves to create unnecessary tensions in our neighborhood, although there is no need to react too sensitively to a competition for hegemony among superpowers.”
“China-Russia Joint Military Exercise Being Held In The West Sea Of Korea”
The independent Joong-Ang Ilbo editorialized (8/17): “China and Russia are conducting a full-scale joint military drill, the first of its kind, in conjunction with their armies, navies, and air forces participating. Starting on August 13, at the onset of the exercise, Russia dispatched warships such as cutting-edge destroyers and landing ships to the West Sea of Korea for the first time since the 1905 Russo-Japanese War. China and Russia, two major continental players bordering Korea are expected to flaunt their close ties through this joint operation featuring missile firings and other military activities. Both countries emphasize that the exercise is a peaceful one aimed at emergency situations like terrorist attacks as is indicated by its name, ‘Peace Mission-2005.’ However, Korea which has suffered wars and even its loss of sovereignty at the mercy of surrounding powers in the past has every reason to be wary of the latest strengthening of the Sino-Russia military alliance and the response of the relevant countries, the U.S., Japan, and Taiwan, to this trend. Of course, the exercise is not all completely negative. Joint exercises between two bordering countries designed to prevent accidental clashes and further prepare for region-wide emergencies such as terror attacks and natural disasters are common in Europe and beneficial to boosting regional cooperation. However, for all the positive aspects of the drill, this exercise between China and Russia shows signs of transcending the scope of operations characterized as being defensive and anti-terror. The concern leads us to hope that the Sino-Russian strategic alliance does not have negative repercussions, for example, undermining economic (relations), human exchanges and interdependence that are flourishing in Northeast Asia, and raising military tension in the region. At the same time, we also need to brace for heightened tensions generated by the U.S. and Japan which, provoked by this latest joint exercise, might move to strengthen their ties. To this end, first and foremost is (the task) of further strengthening the Korea-U.S. alliance which is the backbone of the stability on the Korean Peninsula, while building up self-reliant military capabilities on our own and making utmost diplomatic efforts all for the purpose of preventing conflicts from occurring on this land against our will.”
THAILAND: “Peace Mission 2005”
Pornchai Veeranarong commented in the conservative, Thai language Siam Rath (8/20): “There are speculations that these (China-Russia) military exercises will pave the way for China to buy weaponry from Russia to strengthen its army after its attempt to buy arms from European countries has been blocked by the U.S.... One thing both China and Russia have on their mind is a concern over the U.S. becoming the world’s sole superpower and its preemptive attack policy.... Their cooperation is therefore a necessity. No one can tell now, however, how far this cooperation will go.”
CENTRAL AND SOUTH ASIA
INDIA: "The Importance Of Being China And India"
P.S. Suryanarayana wrote the centrist Hindu (8/18): "China has dramatically raised its profile as a global player, despite the international outcry, orchestrated by the U.S. itself, over the Chinese leaders' action against the 'pro-democracy activists' who massed themselves at the Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989. Not surprisingly, the 'rise of China' is a phenomenon that each of the major powers has been either welcoming or coming to terms with, depending on its 'comfort level' in dealing with Beijing at any given time.... To date, there is no dimming of the international community's focus on 'the rise of China.' U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in Beijing over a month ago that 'our goal is to see the rise of a China that is a positive force in international politics.' However, Ms. Rice did cast doubts over how far China's rise was 'positive,' from a U.S. standpoint, as of now. Moreover, she portrayed the U.S. as an enduring 'force for stability and peace in this [East Asian] region' and questioned the legitimacy of China's military profile. She voiced 'concerns' over Beijing's 'significant military build-up' which, in the U.S.' unilateralist view, was not warranted by objective factors. On a different but related plane, several East Asian leaders have in recent months begun to speak positively about the 'rise of India' as a parallel, not neutralizing, reality in global politics. Some tend to see 'the rise of [both] China and India' as a robust new development."
"Enter, The Dragon"
Kanti Bajpai analyzed in the centrist Indian Express (8/16): "China's extraordinary rise has been documented in many ways. Its economy has been the primary focus of attention, with the astonishing run of growth that we have witnessed over the past two decades. From a strategic point of view, there is the fact of its increasing military power, both quantitatively and qualitatively.... In intellectual life, too, we should expect that China will have an impact, sooner or later.... We in India are not paying enough attention to the steady accrual of Chinese soft power. There is a complacent view that this is an area where India is stronger and will continue to be so for a long time. India is banking on its open society, its lead in higher education, and its relative advantage in English. We are profoundly mistaken if we think that this will keep us ahead of China. Already, in an intellectual field that we thought we had a comfortable lead in, namely International Relations, we have fallen behind.... Its emerging international role, its geopolitical situation, the interest of its political leadership in fostering higher education and policy institutes, its massive program of translating the major works in the field of study--are just some of the reasons. It is to record that in this intellectual domain, we are falling behind by the day. Advances in Japan, Korea, and Singapore suggest that we will fall even further behind in a field that we clearly led for 50 years. It is not a question of catching up for its own sake: that would be jejune and foolish. It’s a question of whether or not the rather sorry state of International Relations in India is something we as a society can afford in a fast-globalizing world in which our country will sooner or later have to play a bigger international role."
PAKISTAN: "War Gaming"
Air Marshal (retd) Ayaz Ahmed Khan in center-right, national English-language The Nation (Internet Version) (8/19) commented: "India and the U.S. are war gaming in pursuit of strategic alliance and defence accord, to further U.S. security interests and contain China, Russia and 'Islamic terrorism.' The U.S. has closest trade relations with China, yet Taiwan has launched naval operations in the Taiwan Straits, to destroy an imaginary major naval attack form main land China. The plans for joint security strategy between New Delhi and Washington, and holding of joint air and naval exercises do not make sense, because all Asian countries, especially China, and Pakistan are following long-term policies for regional and global peace. Both want peace with neighbours, and friendship with the superpower. China and India have solved their border problems, and have become friends. It is therefore astonishing that India has signed defence agreement with the U.S., and is engaged in holding joint air exercises and war games along Pakistan's and China's borders. U.S.-India-Israel strategic alliance threatens regional peace, especially Pakistan' security.... These joint exercises can be a part of the "Cold Start" operational military doctrine, to evolve a pre-emptive strategy to destroy Pakistan's strategic assets. The 'Cold Start' doctrine is Pakistan-specific, and entails pre-emptive attacks by eight rapidly deployable integrated battle groups, fully supported by the IAF and Indian Navy."
CANADA: "It's Rockets Away In The East"
Foreign affairs analyst Eric Margolis observed in the conservative tabloid Ottawa Sun (8/14): "The Indians were thrilled to be granted major U.S. ally status and have their much-criticized nuclear program accepted. What many Indians failed to see was that their entente with Washington risked driving them into confrontation with neighbouring China. The Bush administration's neocons have designated China as America's new enemy of choice--after Iran. India could be used as a weapon against China. Beijing must view the new U.S.-India alliance as a major threat. Far from promoting 'stability,' as U.S. President George W. Bush claims, the U.S.-India axis threatens to destabilize Asia by re-igniting tensions between India and China that led their Himalayan border war in 1962. While the White House encourages India's nuclear power, it is moving closer to attacking Iran's nuclear infrastructure.... Iran has no nukes, but is suspected of wanting to develop them behind the cover of a civilian power program. After resuming uranium enrichment last week, Tehran now faces sanctions or even war over what it might do in the future."
VENEZUELA: "The Unperceived Threat"
Political analyst Henry Gomez Samper commented in leading conservative daily El Universal (8/16): “American legislators would seem to suffer from shortsightedness. Facts such as the legislators’ staunch opposition to the possibility that China succeeded in its bid for American energy firm Unocal, as well as the legislators’ reservations to the free trade agreement with Central America, suggest that the United States does not have a Congress that could match its status as a world power. Which of the two threats is bigger? China’s growing economic power or the increasingly economic, political and social turbulence in its backyard? President Bush’s great efforts to pass the deal with Central America were worthwhile. What the U.S. should be concerned about is Latin America’s uncertain economic and political future. That China has not achieved its bid for Unocal will not be able to stop its accelerated pace to turning into a world power. It is time American legislators faced reality.”
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