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Monday, November 15, 2004


Updates on military, energy and political posts

Mick Hartley picked up our posting last week on the "brewing cold war between Japan and China", in which the former editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review, Michael Vatikiotis, warned of a future military conflict between the Peoples Republic of China and Japan -- and added breaking news on a PRC submarine that had just penetrated Japan's territorial waters.

The vessel spent about two hours near the southern island of Okinawa, the site of major US military bases, that lies near islands and gas resources eyed by Japan, China and Taiwan. Japan sent two destroyers along with a P-3C surveillance plane that tracked the submarine until it left Japanese waters.

Two days earlier, Kyodo News agency reported that Japan has charted out scenarios for a Chinese attack against Japan which could be triggered by disputes over Taiwan or energy resources. It said the outline for potential Chinese attacks was part of a confidential defense strategy study drawn up by military planners in September.
In the case of a clash between the Peoples Republic of China and Taiwan, the PRC could attack parts of Japan to prevent aid from US forces based in the country, the study said.

Under a second scenario, Beijing would try to take over disputed islands between Taiwan and Japan -- called Senkaku by Japan and Diaoyu by China -- to rally support if public criticism challenged the communist leadership.

The study listed a third scenario in which the Defense Agency believes the PRC could take military action to secure its interests in the East China Sea where Tokyo and Beijing dispute the development of gas fields near their maritime boundary.
A spokesman for the Defense Agency declined comment on the Kyodo report, but confirmed the agency filed a report in September on Japan's defense capability. According to Kyodo, the defense planners called for diplomatic efforts to avoid conflicts with China.

Beijing reacted strongly to the report on 9 November. "The parties concerned should give up their Cold War mentality and work to promote peace and development in Asia, and the world as whole," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said. Beijing accused Tokyo of trying to meddle in the Taiwan issue, and said such comments and actions are an affront to its territorial integrity and sovereignty.

The two countries are already in dispute over energy resources in the East China Sea and PRC research and naval ships have repeatedly entered Japan's exclusive economic waters without prior notice.

Adam Crouch of The Raw Prawn posted an extensive review of our article "PRC a tough new competitor for global oil resources" with useful references to a Congressional Commission that concluded that China has been giving nuclear technology to Iran in exchange for oil and evidence that China has provided information about nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia and Libya.

"China's leaders seem to be so blinded by their desire to keep natural resources flowing in and to keep the economy growing at lightning speed, that they've treated some real long-term problems for both themselves and the rest of the world," he commented.

Also noticed was Logan Wright’s posting at his Survived SARS blog on the PRC's new energy deals with Iran and the call by Foreign Minister, Li Zhaoxing, for the issue of Iran's nuclear power program to stay out of the UN.

"I [told] colleagues that, to my knowledge, Iran is having a pretty good cooperation with the IAEA," he said. "And I also opened my mind to them that according to my reading of the pictures, according to my analysis, to bring the matter to the Security Council will only make the issue more complicated and more complex than necessary and more difficult to work out," Li said.

"This is vaguely similar to China's position on Darfur--self-interested but procedurally sound--in which they sort of dodged a bullet as the crisis alleviated somewhat," Wright commented.

And for those interested in further back-grounding of Zhao Ziyang, the former premier of the Peoples Republic of China and former Communist Party of China general secretary, who recently celebrated his 85th birthday under house arrest, visit Foreign Affair’s website where the entire text of The Tiananmen papers are available online.

Here is a sample - an exchange between Zhao and the true master of the Communist Party of China, Deng Xiaoping, on 13 May 1989, discussing the continuing pro-democracy demonstrations in Beijing in the days leading up to the visit by Soviet Union leader and ‘glasnost’ promoter, Mikhael Gorbachev:

Deng Xiaoping: As I've said before, the origins of this incident are not so simple. The opposition is not just some students but a bunch of rebels and a lot of riffraff, and a tiny minority who are utterly against opposing bourgeois liberalization. ... This is not just between the students and the government.

Zhao Ziyang: The consensus in the Politburo has been to use the policies of guiding and dividing, winning over the great majority of students and intellectuals while isolating the tiny minority of anticommunist troublemakers, thereby stilling the movement through democratic and legal means.

Deng Xiaoping: What do the ordinary people in society think?

Zhao Ziyang: The protests are widespread but limited to cities that have universities. The rural areas aren't affected, and the farmers are docile. So are urban workers, basically. The workers are unhappy about certain social conditions and like to let off steam from time to time, so they sympathize with the protesters. But they go to work as usual and they aren't striking, demonstrating, or traveling around like the students.

Deng Xiaoping: ... We must not give an inch on the basic principle of upholding Communist Party rule and rejecting a Western multiparty system. At the same time, the Party must resolve the issue of democracy and address the problems that arise when corruption pops up in the Party or government.

Zhao Ziyang: ... When we allow some democracy, things might look "chaotic" on the surface; but these little "troubles" are normal inside a democratic and legal framework. They prevent major upheavals and actually make for stability and peace in the long run.

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