Tags: China | Eyes | War | vs. | No. | Enemy

China Eyes War vs. No. 1 Enemy

Wednesday, 15 November 2000 12:00 AM

According to a front-page story in the Wednesday issue of the Washington Post:

Writing recently in the China Military Science, the military's pre-eminent open-source publication, one of the People's Liberation Army strategists, Liu Jiangjia, stated bluntly:

"War is not far from us now. A new arms race has started to develop."

That is typical of the latest line appearing in government pronouncements, stories in the state-run press, books and interviews.

They all routinely portray the United States as Enemy No. 1.

Strategists spend their time grappling publicly with the possibility that the United States and China will go to war, specifically over Taiwan.

At the basis of this is an obsession that the United States will not allow China to become strong and powerful.

It is a fear that seems to have unified Chinese officials of varying political persuasions. They are talking openly about the two nations heading for a military showdown in Asia in the next decade.

Beijing now regards the United States as actively, even belligerently, standing in the way of its two main goals in the region – recapturing Taiwan and controlling strategic shipping lanes in the South China Sea, through which most of Asia's oil must transit.

This wasn't the talk as recently as two years ago, when nearly all references to the United States were favorable, sometimes admiring.

The came the summit meeting between President Clinton and President Jiang Zemin.

Shen Dingli, a noted arms-control expert at Fudan University in Shanghai, put the Chinese perspective on that event this way:

"Jiang staked a lot of his credibility on improving ties with the United States. But after the summit in 1998 he had no successes, so he was weakened.

"The leadership tried their best, and their face was slapped by America. They must listen to the military now.

"China's public view of the United States has changed quite seriously since 1998. The United States has been painted as a threat to Asian-Pacific security. We've never said it so bluntly before.

"China is more clearly preparing for a major clash with the United States."

That is borne out by recent developments within the Chinese military capability and orientation:

• The military modernization program is concentrating on upgrading and expanding its missiles, nuclear-warhead delivery systems and their accuracy.

• China has already launched its first homemade navigation-positioning satellite, a cornerstone in its nuclear-warfare strategy.

• The air force and navy are being upgraded by the acquisition of Russian-made Su-27 and Su-30 fighter jets, three Sovremenny-class destroyers armed with supersonic anti-ship missiles and at least two Kilo-class submarines.

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According to a front-page story in the Wednesday issue of the Washington Post: Writing recently in the China Military Science, the military's pre-eminent open-source publication, one of the People's Liberation Army strategists, Liu Jiangjia, stated bluntly: War is not...
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2000-00-15
Wednesday, 15 November 2000 12:00 AM
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