U.S. naval chief tours defense facilities in China
By David Lague
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
BEIJING: Amid repeated calls from the Bush administration for China to be more transparent about its military buildup, a visiting senior U.S. naval commander praised his Chinese counterpart here Tuesday for allowing a revealing tour of defense facilities and exercises.The U.S. chief of naval operations, Admiral Mike Mullen, said he had organized a comprehensive visit to the United States in April for the Chinese naval chief, Admiral Wu Shengli.
“What I asked in return was for him to do the same thing,” Mullen said. “He has done that. What I have seen is actions, not just words, which have met that standard, and I consider that to be very positive.”
Mullen, who will become the top U.S. uniformed military commander when he becomes chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Oct. 1, said that communication and exchanges between the two militaries needed to improve further but that he had reached a better understanding of China’s goals during his six-day visit, which ends Wednesday.
He said his Chinese hosts had told him that he had been granted access never before given to others. He held talks with senior Chinese officers, went to sea to observe air and sea exercises and met students at the Dalian Naval Academy, a naval officer training school.
The United States has repeatedly called on China to be more open about its defense spending and military plans as a step toward reducing tension in Asia as the People’s Liberation Army continues a rapid and sustained modernization.
Double-digit increases in annual defense outlays over most of the last 15 years have allowed the 2.3 million-strong army to increase its firepower sharply. It has trimmed manpower from what remains the world’s biggest standing force while continuing to deploy a wide range of modern weapons, including warships, strike aircraft, missiles, tanks and artillery.
U.S. and other foreign military analysts say that a top priority for the Chinese military is to prepare for the possibility of conflict over Taiwan. The ruling Communist Party regards Taiwan as a renegade province and has threatened to use force against the self-governing island in response to a number of possible contingencies, including any move toward formal independence.
Most foreign military analysts say that the PLA is attempting to build a force that could defeat Taiwan while at the same time deterring or slowing any U.S. intervention. Chinese naval forces would be expected to play an important role in this type of conflict, and Washington has been closely monitoring the efforts Beijing is making to deploy ships, submarines, missiles and aircraft that could challenge U.S. forces in Asia, particularly aircraft carrier battle groups.
Naval experts say that stealthy, Chinese-built Song-class submarines, along with Kilo-class conventional submarines purchased from Russia, could pose a potent threat to U.S. forces coming to Taiwan’s assistance.
Mullen said he had seen an exercise involving a Song-class conventional submarine.
“That submarine in particular was a very capable submarine,” he said. “Certainly I have a better understanding of that having seen it on the trip.”
The U.S. commander said the Taiwan issue had been raised in most of his discussions with Chinese military leaders. He said he had reaffirmed that the Bush administration would not support Taiwan if it made any unilateral move toward independence. But he added that it was encouraging the island to bolster its military forces as a deterrent to China.
So there you go: the Americans will not support Taiwan Province’s bid for independence but are more than happy to sell them obsolete arms to make some money on the side for their defence companies. One the other hand, China’s military buildup is largely implemented to deter Taiwan Province’s attempt atindependence with the Americans supplying Taiwan with arms to maintain the status quo and for their own benefit.
The Taiwan Relations Act claims the US of A will sacrifice American lives to defend Taiwan Province should it ever secede. However, the Americans will not support Taiwan if it is the one who provokes war but only if China magically invades out of nowhere, which is unlikely given the procedures outlined in the Anti-Secession Law. I don’t think Americans would be too keen on throwing away lives to help a backwater island fight a war it provoked in the first place, especially since the Americans are gearing up to invade Iran.
Some will keep talking about how Taiwan Province is filled with freedom and human rights, but it’s just a double-standard. China’s current reforms at this time resemble those made in Taiwan Province during the 1970s to transform itself into an economic powerhouse. The only reason why major news organisations and publications classify Taiwan Province as a country is largely because of it’s economic relevance, which is gradually diminished by the “Democratic Progressive Party”‘s mismanagement (please don’t let the party’s name mislead you).
In regards to freedom and human rights, Taiwan Province still has problems dealing with the indigenous Aborigine population (not the ethnic Chinese who hijacked their identity and call themselves Taiwanese in public), the current power structure is out to legislate reprisals at the so-called Mainlander population for 50 years of dictatorial rule under the KMT, and it uses legal mechanisms to indict anyone that is seen opposing the government as seen by Shih Ming-teh’s recent indictment for protesting Chen Shuibian’s corruption. It doesn’t help that most of these people who praise Taiwan’s freedom have never been to China, never traveled to other real countries that have better human rights/freedoms, or believe whatever their anti-Chinese Taiwanese friends tell them.