China: December 18, 2000

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: China has issued its third "White Paper" report on its security, and this one has a serious change of tone from the previous such paper. The Chinese are increasingly concerned over threats to their security, and point to US policy as the chief concern. The 1998 report mentioned the US positively 10 times, while the 2000 White Paper includes eight negative mentions of the US, one neutral mention, and one positive mention. The primary cause of this change is the Kosovo War, which the Chinese viewed as the US using military power illegally to enforce its own ideas of how a country should handle its internal affairs. The report denounces this as "the rise of neo-interventionism, neo-gunboat diplomacy, and neo-economic colonialism." Other items that have annoyed China include: 


@ The government of Taiwan has espoused the "two China theory", which is a serious step toward declaring independence.

@ Japan has taken rather too keen an interest in ballistic missile defense, has refused to clearly state it would not assist the US in defending Taiwan, and its vessels have engaged in gun duels with North Korean ships.

@ The US decision to proceed with a National Missile Defense is regarded as a direct threat to China, as China lacks enough missiles to pound through such a defense. Given a relatively secure assumption that Chinese missiles cannot hit US cities, the US (China fears) would threaten Chinese cities with its own missiles in any crisis.

@ The rise of "anti-China voices" in the US has ended the period when Chinese policy moves went unnoticed in the US.

The Chinese have decided on a policy of improving their armed forces by developing and buying new technology. No one really knows how much China is spending on defense, since the reported figures do not include weapons imports or research programs, and the manpower costs for China are a fraction of what would be expected in a Western Army. The official figures, however, show a 20% increase from 1999 to 2000, and a 14% increase from 1998 to 1999. The official figure, $14.6 billion, is one-third of Japan's defense budget and 1/20 of the US spending. --Stephen V Cole

 

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