Tags: Analysis: | Month | Geopolitical | Catastrophes

Analysis: A Month of Geopolitical Catastrophes

Thursday, 03 May 2001 12:00 AM

Particularly, suspension of U.S. surveillance flights over the northern part of the South China Sea means that China has established de facto complete control over several hundred thousand square miles of airspace and water areas between Hainan and the Spratly Islands, in exact accordance with the China-Vietnam agreements signed in early March 2001.

The Kremlin remained "in the shadows" during the Sino-American showdown. However, the Russian media – of both "communist" and "democratic" colors – did not hide their position, namely: "China is right! America should pay! It's time to show the Americans their place!"

After all, who is this monster daring to argue with the U.S.? China? No. It is the proper time to understand that the adversary superpower is not one country but a composition of several countries. It includes China, Russia – or, more correctly, the Sino-Russian alliance – and some satellites or associates of these two, including all Central Asian countries (except, probably, Turkmenistan), Belarus and Ukraine, as well as North Korea, Iran and some other "rough countries." Yet the heart of this monster is not in Beijing, but in Moscow.

Some details are necessary here:

Already in July 2000, after the Shanghai Group of Five top leaders' summit in Dushanbe, it became clear that the Central Asian members of this group – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, as well as the newly joined "member-observer" Uzbekistan – have entered the Sino-Russian alliance. This means their hydrocarbon reserves, other raw-materials resources, and military-industrial facilities are at the disposal of China.

During the second half of 2000 and the first months of 2001, China and Russia strengthened their control over these four countries. Finally, in late April, at the foreign ministers' meeting of the "Shanghai Five Forum" (upgraded Shanghai Group of Five), a joint communiqué was issued. In this document, the Central Asian republics (a) demonstrate their desire to upgrade the "Shanghai Five" structure and to give it more force in the international arena, and (b) support China and Russia in their struggle with the U.S. in regard to National Missile Defense and all other important issues.

In practice, Central Asia is transforming – or already has transformed – into an "associated part" of the Sino-Russian strategic-military alliance and a strategic rear of China. Even Kazakhstan, which attracted huge investment from the West in oil and gas industry development, is bravely going along this road and pays no attention to warnings from Washington.

The Uzbekistani foreign minister did not participate in the last Moscow conference, but Uzbekistan goes the same way. Pressure from Moscow and prospects for PLA orders for the huge IL-76 military transport aircraft are the decisive factors here.

Until 1999, Ukraine and Uzbekistan were considered the major pro-Western and anti-Russian strongholds among the post-Soviet Union nations. By spring 2001, however, Uzbekistan had "changed the frontline."

In 1999-2000, Ukraine supplied China with engines for tanks and armored vehicles, for fighter-trainers and for destroyers. Ukraine got a large share of PLA orders for aircraft carrier-related technology and military transport aircraft. As confirmed during Chinese Parliament Chairman Li Peng's visit to Ukraine in September 2000, China had become the second-largest foreign-trade partner of Ukraine – next only to Russia.

On April 18-22, 2001, a PLA delegation led by PRC Defense Minister Chi Haotian and PLA General Armaments Department Chief Lt. Gen. Cao Gangchuan visited Kiev and Dnepropetrovsk. The delegation members had talks with Ukrainian President Kuchma, Ukrainian Defense Minister Kuzmuk, National Security and Defense Secretary Marchuk, and Ukrainian defense industry leaders. The sizes of Sino-Ukrainian weapons supply contracts were expanded, and new contracts were concluded. As expected, the scale of Sino-Ukrainian military-technological cooperation will expand drastically after the visit of Jiang Zemin to Kiev later this year.

The Russian and Belarusian defense industry actively participates in most parts of the Sino-Ukrainian weapons supply contracts. It is possible to claim a "revival of the Russian-Belarusian-Ukrainian defense industry" (comprising at least 90 percent of the former Soviet defense industry) for the purpose of PLA modernization.

Pro-Western Prime Minister Yushchenko, resigning in late April 2001, in practice finalized the establishment of Sino-Russian control over Ukraine. By the way, does the U.S. have ANY ally now among the former Soviet states, except probably for Georgia and Azerbaijan?

On April 26, President Bush announced that Taiwan will get a defense weapon package to aid the latter's resistance against growing Chinese military might. The package included eight modern diesel-electric submarines. It was supposed that Germany and Netherlands will manufacture them, but what a surprise! Those two countries are doing their best to avoid a profitable order.

It is no surprise, if one takes into account the important agreements reached in Moscow and St. Petersburg by President Putin and Chancellor Shroeder in early April. The Sino-Russian alliance step by step is expanding its influence to Western Europe also.

In March, Iranian President Khatami visited Russia – in the first exchange of such rank between the two countries over several decades – and concluded a series of large-scale economic and weaponry-supply agreements. Russian-Iranian ties skyrocketed.

And on April 12, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, during a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, called for more cooperation among Iran, India, Russia and China. He said "colonialist countries" – primarily the U.S. – were opposed to such cooperation, making it imperative for Eastern countries to strengthen their ties.

In July 2000, the "Shanghai Group of Five" sent an invitation to Iranian and Indian leaders for their countries to join the group. Definitely, the "Sino-Russian cause" succeeds in this zone also. Moreover, the plans of some Washington politicos to "engage India as a counterbalance against China and Russia" should be considered merely as an illusion.

On April 26-28, DPRK Armed Forces Minister Kim Il-Chol in Moscow concluded several economic and weaponry supply agreements. As a result U.S. and Japan should prepare for new "pleasant surprises" in the nuclear-missile area!

It became known that on Feb. 12-16, Russian strategic forces carried out "mock nuclear strikes" on U.S. troops in Japan, South Korea and possibly even Alaska. The Russian troops were training in strategic support of a Chinese attack on Taiwan.

This attack would take place in the second half of 2002, and China has already arranged a perfect set of allies for this action:

Indeed, April 2001 was a month of geopolitical catastrophes. It is hoped that some measures will be taken to prevent an escalation of such catastrophes into a military catastrophe at the end of 2002.

In this context, the following deserves especial attention:

Dr. Thomas J. Torda has been a Chinese linguist specializing in science and technology with FBIS, and a Chinese/Russian defense technology consultant with the Office of Naval Intelligence.

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Particularly, suspension of U.S. surveillance flights over the northern part of the South China Sea means that China has established de facto complete control over several hundred thousand square miles of airspace and water areas between Hainan and the Spratly...
Thursday, 03 May 2001 12:00 AM
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