Future Strategic Intentions Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1642 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Military

China's Future Strategic Intentions

On December 22, 2007, the Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, issued an unusually sharp rebuke to the Taiwanese government, and the senior Bush administration officials criticized both China and Taiwan for "unnecessarily inflaming tensions between each other and with the United States." They were addressing the Chinese cancellation and refusal of port visits by American warships, supposedly because Defense Secretary Robert Gates had not told officials in Beijing of arm sales to Taiwan. The result of this clash is higher tensions and a very closely watched Taiwan referendum issue, which could lead to further bad feelings between the United States and China.

According to Hon. Floyd D. Spence, the Representative from South Carolina and the Chairman of the Committee on Armed Services in the U.S., who spoke before the Committee in June of 2000, China looks as it is becoming the dominant power in Asia. Spence believes the political policies and goals of China may not be as benign as they may appear. As a result of a failure to communicate American interests in the Asia-Pacific, and because of America's meaning to defend those interests, a rising assertion of Chinese policy has occurred, along with an undermining of America's partnership with China, creating a risk of confrontation.

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According to the Defense Intelligence Journal, in China the military branches are: The People's Liberation Army (PLA), including ground forces, navy marines and naval aviation, Air Force and Second Artillery Corps (strategic missile force). The People's Armed Police (PAP); and the Reserve and Militia Forces (2006). In China, at the age of 18-22 years of age, a boy is eligible for selective compulsory military service, in which he serves for 24 months. There is no minimum age to join the voluntary services (all officers are volunteers); at 18-19 years of age, women high school graduates are drafted for specific military jobs. There are slightly more men than women in the military, and they number males: 342,340,272, females: 324,701,244, (estimated in 2005)

TOPIC: Term Paper on Future Strategic Intentions Assignment

China drafted principles in 2005 to continue discussions on all boundary disputes, along with security and foreign policy, and to consolidate boundary s. China asserts its domination of the Spratley Islands, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam and possibly Brunei. The South China Sea is a source of tension between China and neighboring countries as well as foreign nations. Thus the dispute over whether the U.S. has access to these ports.

Twenty-five years ago China had a centrally-planned economic system that was closed to international trade. Since China's economy has boomed into a market-oriented global economy, it has become a major player in world economics. There has been a "more than tenfold increase in GDP since 1978" and it now stands as almost the largest economy, falling just behind the United States, in the world. However, since there is a tremendous gap between the internal poor and the costal wealthy provinces, there is a great disparity in per capita income. As a result, China faces large labor problems, corruption and economic crimes and struggles to contain environmental pollution and social strife related to increasing industrialization.

China's energy program has the potential to affect the world environmentally. Construction of many dams to increase power sources has almost been completed. The Five-Year Program begun in 2006 called for a 20% reduction in consumption of energy per unit of GDP by 2010 and an estimated 45% increase of GDP by 2010. Conserving energy and resources and protecting the environment is the goal, but how the government plans to do this is still unclear.

The one-child policy China adopted in 1979 has not had all beneficial consequences, and has had dire economic and social consequences. It has not reduced the 100-150 million unemployed who roam the country, as it is limited to the ethnic Han population living in urban areas. China also has found itself one of the most rapidly aging countries in the world and the propensity to having males has increased disdain for girl children, who are abandoned, placed in orphanages or otherwise done away with, while creating a major increase in trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation, not only from China, but from North Korea, Vietnam and other neighboring countries. Yet some fear one of the major consequences of the one-child policies has yet to be seen. With more than 68% of the population being males, China stands to create a male-oriented military and culture with a leaning toward aggression.

China's one-child policy will also result in China's eventual inability to make domestic programs work, particularly in funding their social security. Older citizens will soon outnumber workers; by 2030, at that time only 2.3 workers per 1 retired person will be contributing. Market-based solutions can help, solutions that allow foreign investment to handle retirement accounts, that is if China wishes to retain its communist policies. Another solution is for the birth rate to increase.

At one time, China took America's side against Russia in the Cold War, supported the fight for freedom in Afghanistan and kept Soviet power from its borders, but recently things have changed. China has threatened war with America over Taiwan, is polishing up its forces for the officially stated purpose of challenging the U.S. In the China Sea, where the U.S. wishes to maintain its forces to keep peace with Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. China has also been actively developing nuclear weapons while it is strengthening its ties with Russia, a move which isolates and limits the U.S. influence in Asia.

Because of this, Spence is troubled concerning the administrative policy toward Taiwan. Bush does not want to arm Taiwan, a nation which is friendly to the U.S., or to create sanctions against China for pursuing ties with Russia, moves which Spence believes sends a message to Beijing and represents the miscommunication which he feels is dangerous.

Phillip Saunders states there are four aspects of military modernization which deserve attention: the power expansion in projection capabilities, denying the U.S. The ability to operate ships and planes near Taiwan, the modernization of its missile and ballistic capabilities, and the modernization of nuclear forces. Any one of these four recent moves on the part of China appears threatening.

The Chinese say that they are only making restrained efforts to modernize and the purpose of this is purely defensive. Years of increasing defense budgets, the PLA's loss of business and China's backwardness in the military technology is explained as making up for lost time. However, Saunders believes that the defense of Chinese territory, the prevention of Taiwan's independence, the reinforcing of China's territorial claims, the maintaining of nuclear deterrence, helping the Chinese Communist Party to stay in power and ensuring a stable regional security environment for development are all national security objectives.

Fei-Ling Wang, who spoke on China's Self-Image and Strategic Intentions to the Conference of "War and Peace in the Taiwan Strait," believes China is suffering from increased self-confidence, yet senses an insecure Chinese Communist Party. Its recent economic boom and ability to outbid the West in any monetary contest, combined with a conservative leadership dedicated to a unified course leads him to believe that China will continue to maintain a conservative and pragmatic foreign policy.

Matthew Clark, writing in the Christian Science Monitor, noted that the prospect of China buying up oil companies, such as Unocal Corp, has raised the specter of these deals threatening U.S. national security. The problem of China owning American suppliers of oil could mean that "China would keep the company's vast Asian oil reserves for its own use, not putting the oil on the open market and giving itself an economic boost. Economists see China as trying to loosen the U.S. grip on world energy resources and as trying to secure and retain resources for its own oil-needy economy.


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