John J. Tkacik
Former Researcher of Heritage Foundation;
Former Chief of China Analysis in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research
East Asia and the Western Pacific are now in a geopolitical “power transition” with the United States as the dominant status quo power and China as the challenging power.
The United States has adopted a “pivot” posture to address the challenge: that is, rather than increase its defense budgets and manpower, the U.S. will “pivot” existing budgets and manpower away from Iraq and Afghanistan and toward the Pacific. Additionally, a new “concept” of “AirSea Battle” will guide the Pentagon’s allocation of money and men away from the ground-force heavy Middle East and toward the air/sea-heavy (and technology-intensive) maritime Pacific theater. In any case, Washington still faces severe financial limitations from a stagnant economy and a “war-fatigued” electorate that appears more concerned about the economy than global crises.
Indeed, the capacity of the United States, Japan, Australia and the other Asian democracies to manage this “power transition” will hinge on their combined military, economic, industrial strength to balance China’s rise. It is apparent to me that key to the success or failure of the “pivot” will be the ability of the United States and its allies and partners in the region to agree upon a consistent balancing strategy and coordinate its implementation.[i] In this, Taiwan’s role will not be trivial. Whether Taiwan joins the democracies — or joins China — will likely determine the outcome.
This morning, I hope to examine the “hegemonic” nature of China’s quest for Asia, the “balancing” characteristics of the American “pivot” response, and Taiwan’s likely role as either a “balancer” with the Asian democracies or a “band-wagoner” with China.
Power Transition Theory and China
According to “power transition theory,” historically, when a dissatisfied rising power achieves 80 percent of the “comprehensive power” of the dominant power, it begins to contemplate the use of force to satisfy its demands.[ii] Usually (but not always), the challenger power seeks hegemony and preeminence in the international system. It seems to me that in its quest for hegemony, the challenging power devises a strategy that encompasses economic, industrial, trade, finance as well as social (including demographic), informational/media, cultural and propaganda building-blocks that will undergird the strength of its hegemonic military power. The status quo power generally reacts to the challenge by forming and consolidating its own alliances in an effort to “balance” the rising power before the challenge erupts into armed conflict.
America’s Pacific hegemony in the last century, which climaxed in the so-called “unipolar moment” of the 1990s,[iii] was thrust upon it in the post-World War II era. But in the American “strategy” (if one could call it that) was a “balancing” strategy of “containment” as opposed to a conscious striving for global hegemony. Through the Cold War, America’s was a “balancing” strategy that centered on parrying Soviet military hegemony in Eurasia and countering its ideological influence globally.[iv]
A “balancing” game is at a fatal disadvantage against a “hegemonic” game whenever the balancing power(s) is/are unaware or incredulous that the adversary has hegemonic aspirations. China’s modern leadership, I believe, understands this instinctively. America’s leadership has never been comfortable with anything but a “balancing” strategy, hence the existing international system is at a crisis point. The rising challenging power, China, has achieved the putative “80-percent” threshold of combined economic and military power and continues to expand without any reliance on either military alliances or commitment to the existing structure of international relations.
In China, strategies for hegemony are almost as old as the culture itself. As far back as China’s “Warring States” era, the various Chinese kingdoms vied with each other in the ancient “vertical” 合縱and “horizontal” 連橫 alliances. The status quo kingdoms “balancing” against more powerful rivals in “vertical” pacts, while the rising kingdom of Qin (秦) consolidated its internal economic and military strength, and made use of “horizontal” alignments with minor states in a single-minded, multi-decade “power transition” quest for hegemony in throughout China proper. It doesn’t seem to me that, in the Warring States period, there was much historical memory of the Zhou (周) and pre-Zhou dynastic hegemonic state system, the strategic objective of the “vertical alliance” realms was simply to balance their neighbors. The Qin, on the other hand, sought a universal empire. Professor Victoria Hui (許田波) of Notre Dame university demonstrates that the Qin’s quest for hegemony gave its strategy a consistent direction while the opposing “vertical alliance” states were merely reactive.[v]
Given that the Kingdom of Qin sought hegemony instead of balance, it had no intention of relying on its alliances to prevail or of sharing power within the international system of “central states” (中國) of China Proper. Instead, the Qin “focused on its internal strength” (內量力[vi]) in a strategy called “enrich the state, strengthen the army” (富國強兵). There was a certain “sequential” aspect to this strategy in the sense that the northwestern frontier kingdom of Qin must “first enrich the state” from its poverty stricken condition, and then “strengthen the army.” Likewise, for the past decade or so, the People’s Republic of China has revived “enrich the state, strengthen the army” as the organizing principle for its own expansion.[vii]
In the People’s Republic era, Zhou Enlai (周恩来) and Deng Xiaoping (邓小平) were committed to the “Four Modernizations” (四个现代化): agriculture, industry, science and technology and ultimately the modernization of the military; also reflecting a sequential strategy. That is: China first had to modernize agriculture, and then it could move to modernizing the industrial sector, then on to modernizing science and technology. China has now reached the capstone – the final modernization – of its armed forces.[viii]
Many foreign policy analysts in the United States and Europe have convinced themselves that China does not seek hegemon status but rather mere non-military “great power” status that might enhance its influence in global affairs.[ix]
While Chinese military theorists had outlined comprehensive hegemonic strategies since 1999,[xii] China’s international relations scholars writing for foreign publication generally argue that China’s goals are inchoate and limited.[xiii]
I, of course, argue that China does have a “strategy” and, to paraphrase that great American philosopher T. Boone Pickens, “a fool with a strategy can beat a genius with no strategy.”[xiv] And a player with a “strategy” – as Sunzi pointed out (故上兵伐謀) – would be well-advised not to let his adversary know what it is, lest the adversary “stymie” it.
In modern times, “power transition” dynamics historically have almost always resulted in major warfare. Heretofore, in the European nation-state system, the dominant “balancing” powers together with their allies have generally prevailed, albeit at great economic and social costs, over the aspiring “hegemonic” ones. The Congress of Vienna powers prevailed over Napoleonic France, the Allied powers against Wilhelmine Germany, the Allied powers against Nazi Germany and the United States against Japan.[xv] Japan’s defeat of China in 1895 and Russia in 1905 made Japan the preeminent power in Asia for nearly a half-century, but Japan’s power was generally constrained by the major world powers until the beginnings of the Pacific War in 1937 as Japan sought regional hegemony, itself a “power transition” event.
In the 21st Century, China is the rising power, and the United States is the status quo power. The Chinese leadership hopes to consolidate both the domestic and international legitimacy of the Chinese Communist regime by supplanting the United States as the dominant power in the Asia-Pacific region (if not globally). China’s leaders must believe this will demonstrate the superiority of “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics” (中国特色地社会主义).
This morning, I will suggest that China’s leadership has adopted Sunzi’s Art of War as its primary blueprint. “The uppermost stratagem in warfare is to stymie the enemy’s plans, the next is to stymie his alliances.” (故上兵伐謀，其次伐交).[xvi] The traditional rendering of this passage is that the first is better than the second, but here again I see a sequential dimension. It seems to me that Sunzi may also have meant “once the enemy’s plans are stymied, then one undermines his alliances.” China has had no trouble in “stymieing” America’s “plans” because America doesn’t have any plans. But America does have alliances and security partnerships in East Asia. China’s obvious strategy now is to undermine America’s alliances across Asia – and Taiwan is one of America’s security partners.
China at the “80 percent” threshold
I don’t believe there is any serious disagreement that China already has achieved the “80-percent” threshold vis-à-vis the United States.
*China is today the world’s largest industrial power, the world’s largest consumer of resources (and in some cases, such as steel production, controls the majority of global output).[xvii]
*It is the world’s leading trading nation, and in purchasing power parity (ppp) terms will surpass the United States in gross domestic product this year.[xviii]
*In “ppp” terms, China’s annual military spending has been in the same order of magnitude as America’s for several years, and indeed if China’s expenditures on internal security forces under the command of the Central Military Commission are included, China’s military spending could even be greater than America’s.[xix]
*In the naval arena, China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is building a fleet that already outnumbers the US Navy assets deployed in the Western Pacific.[xx]
*Chinese advances in space and cyber warfare place it on a par with the United States.[xxi]
*Its land army is the largest in the world, and one of the best equipped.
*China’s nuclear arsenal is more modern than that of the United States and it continues to grow while America’s has shrunk.[xxii]
Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, the US Pacific commander, noted in January that “Our historic dominance that most of us in this room have enjoyed is diminishing, no question.”[xxiii]
Of course, as the Chinese might say, “comprehensive power” (综合国力) is as “comprehensive power” does. Japan and the European Union have considerable comprehensive power measured in economic output, trade and demographic size, global investments, diplomatic influence and military capabilities. Yet they don’t exercise that power in nationalistic aggrandizement. Until this century, Taiwan has been the only major target of China’s irredentism. Of course, there were sporadic military clashes with Vietnam (in 1974, 1979 and 1988) and occasional forays into India and areas of the South China Sea claimed by the Philippines.
Since the beginning of this century, however, China has leveraged its “comprehensive power” in an unsettlingly aggressive way against its neighbors with the clear purpose of intimidating them into territorial concessions and acquiring regional hegemony.
Since the April 1, 2001, mid-air collision (65 miles from Hainan island) of a Chinese air force fighter jet and an American surveillance aircraft, China increasingly has asserted its military and naval power against the United States, Japan, India.
Generally, the United States had been wary of the expansion of Chinese military power during a time when the U.S. itself was preoccupied with Iraq, Afghanistan, and to a lesser extent containing North Korean and Iranian nuclear weapons development. In all these exigencies, Washington had labored under, in hindsight, the misapprehension that Beijing appeared willing to cooperate in managing these crises – if only the United States would cooperate on Taiwan. Washington adopted a stance of “constructive engagement” (Bill Clinton) and later “candid, constructive and cooperative relations” (George W. Bush) with Beijing apparently believing that making concessions in Taiwan Policy would incline Beijing toward substantive assistance with the “Global War on Terror” and nuclear proliferation.
Through the first decade of the 21st Century, policy-makers in Washington also persuaded themselves that “constructive engagement” would yield Chinese cooperation in such non-security challenges as climate change and other environmental crises, transnational organized crime, and the global financial crisis of 2008. Again, in hindsight, it is clear that Beijing’s strategic goals in these areas were diametrically the opposite of Washington’s.
Pentagon assessments of China’s aims were not as sanguine as those of the diplomats or the White House aides.
For example, on July 16, 2008, Admiral Timothy Keating, then the US commander in the Pacific, recounted for a Washington think-tank audience a conversation he had had in Honolulu a few months earlier with a visiting Chinese “two-star” admiral. The Chinese admiral . . .
made the following proposition: “We, China, when we build our aircraft carriers … you take from Hawaii east, we, China with our aircraft carriers will take Hawaii west. You stay over here; we’ll stay over there. We’ll share information with you back and forth, and we’ll save you the trouble of coming to the western Pacific.”[xxiv]
I was there, and I remember that nervous laughter tittered through the audience. It was not so surprising that a Chinese admiral would think that, only that he would say it. The Chinese admiral’s jocular proffer made an impression on his American host, however. Admiral Keating repeated the story at least three times for the record that year, including once in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.[xxv] At the beginning of 2009, the Chinese Navy harassed a US Navy vessel some 125 miles away from Hainan, and in June, a Chinese submarine cut the sonar array towed by a US destroyer.
At the end of 2009, it seems to me, the scales began to fall from US diplomats’ eyes and the real tensions with China in global affairs came into sharp focus. On November 17, U.S. President Barack Obama visited Beijing and succumbed to a “Joint Statement”[xxvi] with his Chinese Counterpart Hu Jintao in which the United States submitted to all China’s demands: “respecting each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” in the paragraph following Chinese assertions on Taiwan; “the two sides agreed that respecting each other’s core interests is extremely important”; as was “respecting each other’s jurisdiction and interests” in “maritime issues.” President Obama’s advisors no doubt thought this would ease Chinese “suspicions” of U.S. intentions. Instead, less than one month later, the Chinese delegation humiliated President Obama at the Climate Change conference in Denmark.[xxvii] This behavior clearly sparked a radical reassessment by President Obama himself of the US-China strategic dynamic.
“AirSea Battle” and the “Pivot” to Asia
Then, in 2010 came aggressive cashes with Japan in the East China Sea which included China’s temporary embargo on rare earths exports. China’s obvious adoption of “anti-access, area denial” strategies in East Asia and the Pacific spurred a reaction from the Defense Department into the formulation of counterstrategies known collectively as “AirSea Battle,”[xxviii] followed in 2011 by an overall American rediscovery of the fact that Asia was, in broad historical terms, far more important to America’s global interests than Afghanistan and Iraq, and that China had emerged as the preeminent challenge to those interests. The “AirSea Battle concept” was not a “strategy” but merely an organizing principle that the Defense Department offered up in a post-Afghanistan budget environment in which funding for U.S. ground forces were to be cut drastically. AirSea Battle posited that U.S. military superiority in the Pacific did not require ground forces because U.S. allies and security partners in the region would presumably defend their own interests with their own ground forces. Instead, the United States would leverage its air- and sea-borne technological and weaponry advantages to support regional allies’ ground forces in the mostly maritime and island domains of the Western Pacific and East Asia.[xxix]
This “rediscovery” of Asia’s importance to U.S. interest was variously given the names “Pivot to Asia” and “Pivot to the Pacific”[xxx] or simply the “Rebalancing,” with the “pivot” image, coined by Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton, being the one that best captured the imagination.[xxxi] The “pivot” became the State Department’s bumper-sticker moniker for a foreign policy “strategy” that complemented the Pentagon’s “AirSea Battle concept.”
So, at least Washington had come to “Step One” of the proverbial “Twelve Step Program” in its addiction to things Chinese: Admit you have a problem.[xxxii]
Neither “AirSea Battle” nor the vaunted “pivot” is anything that anyone could call a “strategy,” however. And no one in Washington’s foreign policy or defense community, or in Congress, for that matter, has any idea about how either concept might be implemented in the real world of “China’s Rise.”
One way to start thinking about managing China’s quest for hegemony, is to consider how it can be done without Taiwan. It doesn’t take a lot of sophisticated analysis to conclude that, if Taiwan is not part of the “pivot,” then the “pivot” will not work.
Taiwan’s Position in the “Pivot”
Other presenters at this conference have described Taiwan’s economic importance in East Asia. So I would like also to stress one aspect of Taiwan’s geostrategic position in East Asia and the Western Pacific, a geography that is absolutely essential in any counterbalancing strategy that the United States (and the Asian democracies, and Vietnam, too, for that matter), might implement.
Taiwan is in the middle of that East Asian “island chain” once famously declared by General Douglas MacArthur “a protective shield for all of the Americas and all free lands of the Pacific Ocean area.” MacArthur explained “from this island chain we can dominate with sea and air power every Asiatic port from Vladivostok to Singapore … and prevent any hostile movement into the Pacific.”[xxxiii]
MacArthur further observed at the onset of the 1950-53 Korean War that, within the “island chain”,
in the hands of [a]hostile power [Taiwan] could be compared to an unsinkable aircraft carrier and submarine tender ideally located to accomplish offensive strategy and at the same time checkmate defensive or counter-offensive operations by friendly forces based on Okinawa and the Philippines.[xxxiv]
Moreover, MacArthur warned, “this unsinkable carrier-tender” would “threaten completely sea traffic from the south and interdict all sea lanes in the western Pacific.” In fact, the aged General of the Army reiterated this point in the sharpest terms in his farewell address to Congress in May1951:
“I have strongly recommended in the past, as a matter of military urgency, that under no circumstances must Formosa [Taiwan] fall under Communist control.”
During the succeeding Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson administrations, Taiwan was indeed integrated into America’s maritime defenses in the Western Pacific, primarily because the island sat astride aviation and merchant marine traffic on and above the Taiwan Strait.
But the Taiwan Strait is not the only vital sea lane within Taiwan’s geopolitical ambit. In the equally vital South China Sea, Taiwan also has significant garrisons on two distal islands, Pratas in the north and Itu Aba/Taiping in the south.
Now, in the second decade of the twenty-first century, the United States and its primary Pacific ally Japan are awakening to the realization that Taiwan is being absorbed inexorably into China’s security sphere.
Taipei and Beijing no longer challenge each other either in the South China Sea or the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou’s doctoral dissertation points out:
. . . the Taiwan Strait requires no international delimitation since the ROC and the PRC are not foreign states inter se. There is presumably no room for applying international law.[xxxv]
Taiwan’s maritime role in the twenty-first century Western Pacific hinges on China’s geopolitical intentions. By historical accident, Taiwan’s maritime claims at bottom are China’s claims, not those of historical “Taiwan.”
Troublingly, in the four-decade chronology of Chinese territorial assertions in the South China Sea, Taipei’s role seems actually to been supportive of Beijing.
Chinese media claimed in 2006 that as early as 1974, Taiwan’s “Republic of China” government opened up the Taiwan Strait to the transit of People’s Liberation Army Naval (PLAN) warships in support a Chinese attack on South Vietnamese forces in the Paracel (西沙) islands.[xxxvi] Again, fourteen years later in March 1988 (also according to Chinese media), PLA Navy warships supposedly anchored for a week near Taiwan’s Itu Aba/Taiping in the Spratlys to take on food supplies during their battle with communist Vietnamese forces on Johnson South Reef. And Taiwan’s then-defense minister Cheng Wei-yuan (鄭為元) supposedly “openly declared that if there is another war [in the Spratly chain]the National Army (國軍)would assist the Liberation Army in a battle of resistance.”[xxxvii] And again, supposedly as late as 1993, ROC military officers would not rule out cooperation with China in the “development and management” of the Spratlys.[xxxviii]
With this imagined background, Chinese media in 2006 blasted Taiwan’s former President Chen Shui-bian for “junking the tacit understanding” that preserved “Chinese” sovereignty over the Spratlys (南沙).[xxxix] Chen Shui-bian’s sin was to build a modern airstrip on Itu Aba/Taiping without consulting Beijing.
Vietnam, too, complained about Taiwan’s new airstrip on Itu Aba. Hanoi claims the islands, and Manila has laid claim to others located to Itu Aba’s north and east.
Both Hanoi and Manila have failed to calculate whether it was better either a) to acquiesce in Taipei’s future cession of jurisdiction over Itu Aba to Beijing or b) to start encouraging Taiwan to persist as an international actor in the South China Sea in the hope that they might more reasonably deal with Taipei separately rather than with Beijing and Taipei combined. They are paying the price now.
China swiftly is tightening its strategic presence in the South China Sea. By 2008, the deputy commander of the Chinese navy’s East Fleet, Admiral Zhang Huachen (张华臣), explained that “with the expansion of the country’s economic interests, the navy wants to better protect the country’s transportation routes and the safety of our major sea lanes.” A retired PLA general was a bit more candid: “We kept silent about territory disputes with our neighbors in the past because our navy was incapable of defending our economic zones, but now the navy is able to carry out its task.”[xl]
In all these territorial matters, the United States has professed not to have a view on the validity of China’s (and Taiwan’s) maritime claims in the South and East China Seas. (This despite the fact that the United States had legitimately occupied the Senkaku Islands under the terms of the Japanese surrender in 1945 and administered them in accordance with the San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1951, and had returned the islands legitimately to Japan under the terms of the Okinawa Reversion Treaty in 1972.[xli]) The sole American requirement had been that China’s maritime claims be “resolved peacefully” and that “freedom of navigation” in the South China Sea, the Taiwan Strait, and the East China Sea be respected.[xlii]
Nonetheless, by the April 1, 2001, “Hainan Incident” China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) had begun regular harassment of U.S. Navy operations in those waterways. The United States responded to most of these confrontations with low-key protests. The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, and America’s ensuing “global war on terror,” and its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, left Washington disinclined to publicize the deep strategic cleavages between the United States and China. The administration of President George W. Bush, instead, papered-over problems with China to give an impression of friendliness and cooperation.
China and America’s “Core Interests”
Even so, there is a growing realization in Washington that Beijing intends to build China into the preeminent seapower in Asia and the Pacific,[xliii] and concern that Beijing sees the United States as an interloper in its historical sphere of influence.[xliv]
As if to rationalize its new belligerence, China also set about declaiming that it had “core interests” in the South China Sea. In March, 2010, according to The Washington Post, Chinese assistant foreign minister Cui Tiankai (崔天凯) explained to two senior U.S. officials that his country viewed its claims to the South China Sea on a par with its claims to Tibet and Taiwan.[xlv] This was reportedly the first time China had defined the South China Sea to be as central to China’s security as Taiwan.[xlvi] Thereafter, Chinese diplomats proclaimed a “core interest” in the South China Sea to progressively more senior Americans—and Southeast Asians as well.[xlvii] In tandem, Chinese security scholars declared in the official media that “by adding the South China Sea to its core interests, China has shown its determination to secure its maritime resources and strategic waters.”[xlviii]
These incidents, and several others, were emblematic of China’s proprietary posture in the South China Sea, a posture that had become unbearable not just for the major South China Sea states, but for the United States as well.
Taiwan was certainly at the center of America’s concerns if not its strategic planning. Addressing the annual Asian Security Summit in Singapore (also known as the “Shangri-La Dialogue”) on June 5, 2010, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates countered China’s “core interest” rhetoric with his own declaration of “the longstanding belief of the U.S. government that a peaceful and non-coerced resolution to the Taiwan issue is an abiding national interest—and vital for the overall security of Asia.”[xlix]
Other senior American officials also began explicating America’s “national interests” in the South China Sea. Speaking at the Asian Regional Forum (ARF) in Hanoi on July 23, 2010, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for a binding international code of conduct for the states claiming disputed islands in the South China Sea, including China, as well as a formal international process for resolving those claims. “The United States has a national interest in freedom of navigation, open access to Asia’s maritime commons and respect for international law in the South China Sea,” Clinton asserted.[l] China’s foreign minister immediately characterized the U.S. stance as an “attack” on China, adding disingenuously “nobody believes there’s anything that is threatening the region’s peace and stability.”
It came as a shock in Washington, therefore, that throughout these frictions, the Taipei government repeatedly supported Beijing. In June 2012, China’s State Council formally incorporated the entire South China Sea as “Sansha Municipality” (三沙) under the Hainan Provincial Government covering the “three sand” island groups of the Paracels (“West Sand”西沙), Spratly Islands (“South Sand” 南沙) and Macclesfield Bank (“Middle Sand” 中沙) with jurisdiction over 2 million square kilometers of the South China Sea.[lii] In November 2013, the Hainan provincial government issued formal “measures” requiring all “foreign vessels entering sea areas administered by Hainan and engaged in fishery production or fishery resource surveys should be approved by the relevant State Council department in charge.”[liii] Rather than stay out of the fight, Taipei’s position was clear: “The Paracels are Chinese.”[liv]
Similarly in the East China Sea, Taipei lent firm support for Beijing’s territorial claims on Japanese maritime space. Taipei buttressed China’s behavior which proclaimed to Southeast Asia’s powers that China was confident of its strength, so confident that China could challenge the rival Japanese giant to the northeast while it simultaneously menaced its Southeast Asian neighbors. As Beijing stepped up its belligerence in the Senkaku Islands in 2012, Taipei’s supporting role against Japan much chagrined Washington.[lv]
A year ago, in September 2013, Japan’s air self defense force was scrambling record numbers of interceptors to monitor airspace incursions by Chinese aircraft, including at least two PLA Air Force H-6 long-range bombers. By late October 2013, Chinese bombers had transited the Japan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) between Okinawa and Miyako islands for several days in a row.[lvi] “Scrambles” frequency had risen from 15 times in June to over 69 times by mid-September.[lvii] On August 30, 2013, Japan’s defense minister Itsunori Onodera announced that his ministry was seeking the biggest increase in defense spending in 22 years in an effort to counter a more assertive Chinese military posture.[lviii] In 2014, Japan’s response to alarming numbers of Chinese incursions has been to match the escalation[lix] and there is as yet no indication of where it might climax.[lx]
In all this, America’s “pivot to Asia” seemed to be a rational reaction to China’s muscle-flexing. America’s “pivot” presupposed solid encouragement and military/naval coordination with its partners in Asia. But Taiwan was missing from the “pivot” – and from “AirSea Battle – a conspicuous absence.[lxi] This, in spite of the fact that there is little in America’s calculus that suggests Washington can afford to disregard the contributions of any of its security partners in Asia, much less one as significant as Taiwan.
Taiwan’s potential South China Sea EEZ
Washington’s failure to include Taiwan in its “pivot” deliberations is puzzling, not least because Pratas Reef and Taiwan-administered Itu Aba (unlike most others in the Spratly Chain) are true “islands” under international law. Article 121 of the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the “Regime of islands” article, grants the same “exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf” to an island that are “applicable to other land territory” except that “rocks which cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own shall have no exclusive economic zone or continental shelf.” Both Itu Aba/Taiping and Pratas have natural fresh water sources. Indeed, Itu Aba apparently is the only island in the Spratlys that does.[lxii] Both islands, therefore, generate hypothetical 200-mile exclusive economic zones (EEZs) encompassing total sea-surface areas of nearly 125,000 nm2 each[lxiii] which overlap with EEZs claimed by other littoral states and China, the delimitations of which must eventually be negotiated or resolved by non-peaceful means.
Case Study: the Pratas Island EEZ
Normally, China acquiesces in Taiwan’s administration of its EEZ, content so long as Taipei considers “Taiwan” – and the islands – to be “part of China.” But in an unprecedentedly cheeky gesture in April 2009, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs formally complained to the U.S. Embassy about U.S. scientific research near Taiwan’s Pratas Island (located almost equidistant from Taiwan, Luzon and Hong Kong).
The US- flagged National Science Foundation research vessel R/V Marcus Langseth (operated by Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory) was conducting tsunami soundings near Pratas Reef, with the full license of the Taipei government.
Regardless, the Beijing MFA charged that the Langseth was in “PRC waters” without the formal permission of China’s State Oceanic Administration (SOA). An SOA ship hailed the Langseth and ordered it to depart “Chinese” waters. While the U.S. Embassy in Beijing (under instructions from the Department of State) asserted that the Langseth was not “in what we understand to be China’s EEZ,” the Chinese foreign ministry nonetheless “sincerely hoped that the area the United States ‘believed to be within China’s EEZ’ was consistent with the area China regarded as its EEZ.” Beijing, no doubt, calculates that the United States must secretly recognize “Chinese sovereignty” over Pratas, because the only claimants are Beijing and Taipei, and because the only other possible claimant is the United States itself.[lxiv]
According to the Department of State, “In response to the PRC actions, the Langseth changed course and headed east toward the Philippines.” The State Department even informed its embassy in Beijing that “the NSF plans to direct the Langseth to avoid conducting research in the areas claimed by Beijing in its recent demarche (EEZ generated by Pratas Islands).” Washington seemed to hope the whole affair would just go away.
The Chinese MFA had made several complaints about the Langseth in the run-up to an April 1, 2009, London meeting between President Obama and General Secretary Hu Jintao, apparently in a Chinese attempt to pressure the US government into restricting survey activity in the Western Pacific. There is no indication that the U.S. State Department forcefully asserted the right of U.S. vessels to be in Taiwan-administered waters without PRC permission.[lxv]
Four years earlier, in 2005, Taiwan had sought U.S. support in dealing with Chinese fishery and environmental despoliation in Pratas, but the U.S. State Department pointedly demurred. Taiwan’s coast guard chief ruefully noted that without moral support from the United States, “PRC exploration in the disputed [South] China Sea has effectively marginalized Taiwan’s ability to enforce its EEZ claims there.” Tellingly, the State Department’s office in Taipei (the American Institute in Taiwan) blamed the Taiwan Coast Guard’s confrontations with “PRC survey ships” near Pratas on inadequate inter-agency coordination and personality clashes within the Taipei government rather than on Chinese new aggressive claims of authority over Taiwan’s EEZ.[lxvi]
In hindsight, Washington’s non-action seems a case of “avoidance-avoidance anxiety”; rather than address China’s behavior, the State Department instead sought to minimize Taiwan’s concerns. It is quite likely that Washington’s scant regard for Taiwan’s agitation over the 2005 Pratas encounters and its dismissal of them as Taiwan’s problem alone led Beijing to calculate that the U.S. would get into the habit of avoiding future, more aggressive Chinese behavior in the South China Sea.
Taiwan’s EEZ enforcement capabilities
Nevertheless, Taiwan’s potential offshore EEZ is a significant South China Sea jurisdiction that, in the geopolitics of the region, Washington ignores to its peril.
Taiwan’s Coast Guard Administration (海岸巡防署) ranks as one of Asia’s most professional and sophisticated. Although the powerful legislative caucus of Taiwan’s pro-China “Nationalist party” (國民黨－KMT) opposed defense spending during eight years when Taiwan’s executive branch was controlled by the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (民進黨 – DPP), under constituent pressure from Taiwan’s fisheries and merchant marine industries, the KMT lavishly funded non-defense civilian maritime capacity-building. Taiwan’s Coast Guard Administration was organized in 2000 to combine the ministry of defense coast guard, the national marine police, and customs. The CGA fleet now includes eight large cutters, and about 150 patrol vessels.[lxvii]
That the “white hulls” of Taiwan’s Coast Guard Administration have the capacity to operate in blue waters far from Taiwan’s coastline was amply demonstrated in February 2008, when literally half of Taiwan’s naval and CGA assets, including two Kidd-Class destroyers and two submarines were deployed to Itu Aba/Taiping island to provide security for the visit of then-president Chen Shui-bian to the island. Taiwan’s CGA also has a 200-man contingent on Pratas reef where they perform essential environmental protection and fisheries administration missions.[lxviii]
The CGA’s effectiveness, together with the determination of President Ma Ying-jeou’s government to reduce the chance of naval confrontations with China, has persuaded Taiwan’s legislature to move formerly Navy responsibilities to the Coast Guard Administration. Ma’s government is appropriating an additional US$767 million between 2009 and 2017 to acquire larger vessels for the CGA. In explaining this move, President Ma said:
. . . the traditional wisdom has been “on the sea we count on the Navy”, but in protecting security on the seas, one can’t rely only on the Navy, we must also rely on the policing strength of the Coast Guard.[lxix]
The shift of focus of Taiwan’s government toward Coast Guard capacity building and away from naval strength suggests that this will become an increasingly important policy initiative in Taiwan’s ongoing rapprochement with the People’s Republic on the other side of the Strait.
Considering the sizes of its merchant fleet and coast guard, shipbuilding capacity, seaport cargo tonnage, international transit of sealanes within national jurisdiction, Taiwan clearly ranks among the world’s major maritime nations. Taiwan’s is the 11th largest merchant fleet,[lxx] the fourth largest builder of bulk carriers by tonnage, and one of the larger Coast Guard operations in East Asia.[lxxi] Taiwan’s Coast Guard Administration operates in about 50,000 km2 territorial and adjacent waters immediately surrounding Taiwan; 6800 km2 around Pratas Atoll (some 400 km from Taiwan), and a theoretical 5240 km2 territorial sea and contiguous zone around Itu Aba/Taiping in the Spratly chain (1200 km from Taiwan) although coast guard operations in Itu Aba and Pratas are limited by Chinese maritime activities that virtually surround it.[lxxii]
Important or promising seabed hydrocarbon and mineral deposits[lxxiii] are also within Taiwan’s maritime jurisdiction – or claimed jurisdiction. Like China, Taiwan’s “Republic of China” government persists in a broad territorial sea claim in the South China Sea which includes several potential undersea gas fields within an EEZ surrounding Itu Aba/Taiping island and surrounding Chinese-occupied islets.
Itu Aba is the biggest of the southern South China Sea islands with a fresh water supply and a modern airstrip – a 1,150-meter concrete pad suited for military operations. In September 2013, Taiwan announced plans for a $100 million infrastructure program on the island to include deepwater pier extending 320 meters from shore, and airfield lengthening for the island.[lxxiv]
U.S. defense commitment to Taiwan
There is a common misapprehension among casual observers of Washington’s policy toward Taiwan that the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act (TRA)[lxxv] is a statement of America’s defense commitment to the island. Indeed, the Act states
“It is the policy of the United States … to maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force of other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, of the social or economic system, of the people of Taiwan”[lxxvi]
“the United States will make available to Taiwan such defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.”[lxxvii]
The TRA, however, limits this defense commitment to “the islands of Taiwan and the Pescadores,”[lxxviii] not to the offshore islands on China’s coast or to Pratas and Itu Aba. As such, the TRA explicitly excludes any U.S. responsibility for the security of Taiwan-administered offshore jurisdictions. However, Washington must consider that, if its current policies of denying Taiwan weapons necessary “to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability,” then the sole burden of defending Taiwan must, under the TRA, fall upon America’s armed forces instead.
Any U.S. policy that hopes to “maintain the status quo” in the South China Sea must ensure that Taiwan’s garrison on those islands are capable of deterring any PRC attack. I presume that because the United States does not want responsibility for defending those small atolls and islets itself, Washington might want to rethink what defense articles and services it could provide Taipei that would help Taipei do the job. This would also involve coordinating with the other interested parties, Vietnam and the Philippines in particular, on how best to integrate Taiwan’s position into their own planning.
Regardless of how one juggles the data, then, Taiwan is a jurisdiction of significant importance in international maritime operations and a future confederation with China will enormously enhance China’s comprehensive maritime power.
It seems likely that Taiwan will continue to transfer maritime defense responsibilities away from its navy and to the coast guard over the coming years. Given the current state of Taiwan’s military and naval defenses, Taiwan is already hopelessly outgunned.[lxxix] Evidence from the past decade suggests that long-term KMT sentiments see little need for Taiwan’s defenses if Taiwan did not intend to become independent.[lxxx]
Is there a question of that?
A Potential Beijing-Taipei Maritime Axis?
Taiwan’s independence, it seems to me, is the last thing on the KMT’s collective mind. It is now less a question of “if” Taiwan and China will ever reach a peace accord that will finally resolve Taiwan’s status within the Chinese political state, than of “when.” And the “when” could easily come sooner – within a few years – rather than later. Over the next two years, East Asian littoral states will have to come to terms with China’s preeminence in their maritime space.
Nonetheless, within the context of the “pivot,” Washington may yet have an opportunity to shape – while it still can – a post- China/Taiwan “peace accord” maritime environment by integrating Taiwan into cooperative regional maritime arrangements that will preserve the status quo by addressing Taiwan’s maritime jurisdiction issues before a “peace accord” forecloses all options.
Beijing and Taipei are on the verge of a geopolitically momentous tectonic shift in the Western Pacific. Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou has implemented an “Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement” and a “Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) that promise to integrate inextricably Taiwan’s entire economy with China’s.
By the end of his tenure in 2016, or even sooner, President Ma hopes to have signed a “peace agreement” with his Chinese Communist Party counterpart.[lxxxi] Beijing has no doubt that Ma’s status as the “Nationalist Party” party chairman will allow him to negotiate “on an equal footing” with his “Communist Party” counterpart to bring a conclusion to the 1949 Chinese civil war.[lxxxii] Whether Ma will have the necessary popular backing for such a move is problematic, but his closest political partners evidently see him inclined toward “political negotiations” if the opportunity presents itself. Unlike all his predecessors, he doesn’t rule it out.[lxxxiii]
Given the current correlation of forces in Asia: China’s determination to absorb Taiwan; American and Japanese unwillingness to interpose any objections to Taiwan’s ultimate integration with China; and the fact that there are no national level elections in Taiwan until 2016 that might potentially alter its trajectory into China’s orbit, it seems unlikely that Taiwan can persist long as a truly independent political actor in the region.
This presents Washington and virtually all other East Asian and Southeast Asian littoral states with a thorny conundrum: How to deal with a Beijing-Taipei axis that has expanded territorial and exclusive economic zone claims in the Western Pacific and the South China Sea. Will the Taiwan Strait become a Chinese “inland waterway”? Will a “China-Taiwan” EEZ and territorial seas encircling Pratas Reef govern shipping and fisheries in the Bashi Channel and collide with the interests of the Philippines? Will Taiwan’s substantial infrastructure on Itu Aba Island in the southernmost South China Sea become a Chinese baseline from which to enforce Beijing’s peculiar territorial and EEZ demarcations in conflict with Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and possibly Indonesia? Finally, how will a new China/Taiwan entity address ongoing fisheries and seabed delimitations with Japan in the East China Sea?
An unsettling Beijing-Taipei harassment of Japan in the Senkaku Islands area prompted U.S. military and naval commanders in the region to rethink naval and air arrangements with Taiwan. Part of that rethink involved pushing back their Korean War era boundaries of Taiwan’s “air defense identification zone” (ADIZ) jurisdiction away from Japan’s westernmost island of Yonaguni.[lxxxiv]
A China/Taiwan accommodation will leave all coastal East Asian states from Indonesia to Japan – as well as other global actors including the United States and India – facing an entirely new geopolitical context that will impact core national interests from fisheries, sea and air transportation routes, seabed resource exploitation, security and piracy cooperation, and environmental protection to naval power balances.
In the course of negotiating any “peace agreement” with China, it is unlikely that Taiwan’s President Ma would have any leverage with Beijing that would permit him to secure Taiwan’s independence of action in maritime affairs. Conversely, Taiwan’s continued maritime independence from China is obviously in the interests of Taiwan’s neighbors in East and Southeast Asia – if only to keep the maritime real estate presently administered by Taiwan out of China’s hands.
Future History and Power Transition
East Asia is on the cusp of a power transition as China, now reaching the hypothetical 80 percent of the comprehensive power of the United States, views itself as a competitor for geopolitical preeminence in the region. Washington, wary of Beijing’s territorial aggressiveness against neighbors from India, through the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, to Japan, unsettled by Beijing’s support and succor for illiberal powers in Asia from North Korea to Iran and Syria, and alarmed at Beijing’s ruthless mercantilism, maneuvers to counterbalance China with a “pivot” to the Pacific.
Alas, current trends suggest future historians of America’s “Pacific Pivot” will adjudge it to have been doomed from the start because, unlike American island-chain strategy of the last century, there is no place in the “pivot” for Taiwan. Future historians will deem the substance of Washington’s response to the power transition in Asia to have been incapable of preserving America’s geopolitical and economic interests in a pivotal Western Pacific maritime power or of sustaining American leadership in the region.
Conversely, future historians will judge China’s twenty-first century “Pacific Presence” to have been assured by Beijing’s well-planned, deft and relentless diplomatic isolation of Taiwan and its steady alienation of Taiwan from America’s security network over the preceding half-century.
A truly historic power transition is taking place in Asia, one in which the rising power prevails over the dominant power. Taiwan’s role in that transition, for better or worse, will be pivotal.
[i] Henry A. Kissinger, “The Assembly of a New World Order – The concept that has underpinned the modern geopolitical era is in crisis,” The Wall Street Journal, August 30, 2014, page C-03, at http://online.wsj.com/articles/the-assembly-of-a-new-world-order-1409328075.
[ii] I am indebted to Professor Edward Friedman for his research into power transition theory. See Edward Friedman, “Power Transition Theory: A Challenge to the Peaceful Rise of World Power China,” unpublished manuscript, for a chapter in Herbert S. Yee, ed., China’s Rise: Threat Or Opportunity?, Routledge, Chapman & Hall, 2011. Friedman cites Jack Levy (2008), “Power Transition Theory and the Rise of China,” in Robert Ross and Zhu Feng, eds., China’s Ascent, Ithaca, Cornell University Press, pp. 11-33, and John Mearsheimer (2008), “Rivalry in the Offing,” China Security, 4.2 (Spring) in identifying China as a rising power. Friedman suggests that a dissatisfied rising power becomes “a contender for hegemonic power when it has achieved 80 percent of the power of the dominant state.” Friedman points out that the emergence of such a power parity between major powers “is when war initiation becomes more conceivable for the rising power.”
[iv] Even President Ronald Reagan’s National Security Decision Memorandum (NSDD-75) of January 17, 1983, “U.S. Relations with the USSR” did not contemplate a hegemonic defeat of the Soviet Union, but a balancing of its power an influence.
[v] Victoria Tin-bor Hui, War and State Formation in Ancient China and Early Modern Europe,” Cambridge University Press, 2005, pp. 67-79.
[vi] “Hence I say: To take no account of internal strength but rely solely upon you allies abroad will place the state in grave danger of dismemberment.” (故曰：內不量力，外恃諸侯者，則國削之患也.) From Han Fei Zi’s “Ten Faults” (韓非子 <十過>) cited in Burton Watson, Basic Writings of Mo Tzu, Hsün Tzu, and Han Fei Tzu, Columbia University Press, New York, 1967, pp. 68-70.
[vii] I am indebted to a colleague who pointed out that “富國強兵” is accurately translated as “enrich the state and strengthen the military”. In this phrase from classical Chinese, fu and qiang are to be understood as factitive verbs, not adjectives. “A Chinese-English Dictionary” (Beijing: Shangwu, 1979), p. 214, renders it as “make one’s country rich and build up its military power”. It was a core doctrine of the Legalist school of statecraft pursued by the Qin. The phrase, first coined by Guan Zhong 管仲of Qi 齊 during the Spring and Autumn age, became the centerpiece of the 19th Century fukoku kyohei doctrine invoked by the Samurai Faction which overthrew the Shogunate and brought forth the Meiji modernization in Japan in the name of “restoring king (emperor), and expelling the barbarians” (尊王攘夷). In the late Qing and early Republican era in China, reformers of various persuasions often invoked the same “enrich the state, strengthen the army” strategy. The doctrine has become internalized by the People’s Liberation Army, at least. See John J. Tkacik, “China: Wealthy State, Strong Army — and a Powerful Party,” Heritage Foundation Webmemo #2073, September 23, 2008 at http://www.chinabusinessintelligence.com/content/china-wealthy-state-strong-army-and-powerful-party. Primary sources include Ma Yugang, Zhao Liang, Ren He, “富国强军与盛世兴衰” (Wealthy State, Strong Army and the Rise and Fall of Great Dynasties), Zhongguo Junwang (China Military Net), November 16, 2007, at http://www.chinamil.com.cn/site1/2007ztpdd/2007-11/16/content_1021284.htm; Li Haitao, “用科学发展观统领富国和强军” (Using The Scientific Development Concept to lead a Strong Army with a Wealthy State), 解放军报, August, 1, 2010, at http://www.pladaily.com.cn/site1/zbxl/2008-01/10/content_1083437.htm; Du Renhuai, “关键是要把强军融入富国之中” (The Key Link is Melding a Strong Army with a Wealthy State), Jiefangjun Bao, January 10, 2008, p. 6, at http://www.pladaily.com.cn/site1/zbxl/2008-01/10/content_1083447.htm.; Meng Xiangqing, “Chinese Dream includes strong PLA,” China Daily, October 8, 2013 at http://www.china.org.cn/opinion/2013-10/08/content_30223195.htm.
[viii] I accept that this is an idiosyncratic interpretation, but would point out that Deng Xiaoping explained in “Some Comments on Industrial Development” delivered on August 18, 1975 that “If our workers do not have enough meat and vegetables to eat, how can industry do well? Industry should support agriculture which, in its turn, should support industry . . . With the growth of industry, the number of scientific and technical workers in enterprises should rise.” See (http://archive.org/stream/SelectedWorksOfDengXiaopingVol.1/Deng02_djvu.txt)
[ix] For recent examples, see Jonathan Fenby, “Does China have a Foreign Policy? Domestic Pressures and China’s Strategy,” in China’s Geoeconomic Strategy: Special Report SR012, London School of Economics, June 2012, pp. 12-19; Thomas J. Christensen, “The Advantages of an Assertive China; Responding to Beijing’s Abrasive Diplomacy,” Foreign Affairs, March/April 2011.
[x] Then- US deputy secretary of state, Robert Zoellick, remarked in September 2005 that “China is acting as if it can somehow ‘lock up’ energy supplies around the world. This is not a sensible path to achieving energy security. Moreover, a mercantilist strategy leads to partnerships with regimes that hurt China’s reputation and lead others to question its intentions. But Zoellick counseled only that America needs “to encourage China to become a responsible stakeholder in the international system.” Robert B. Zoellick, “Whither China – From Membership to Responsibility?” Remarks of Deputy Secretary of State to National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, September 21, 2005, at http://www.state.gov/s/d/former/zoellick/rem/53682.htm. In that short speech, Mr. Zoellick used the term “mercantilist” six times to describe China’s apparent economic strategy. The term “responsible stakeholder” was clear to everyone who heard it, although Zoellick’s Chinese counterparts professed to be “baffled” by it.Neil King and Jason Dean, “Untranslatable Word In U.S. Aide’s Speech Leaves Beijing Baffled, Zoellick Challenges ChinaTo Become ‘Stakeholder’; What Does That Mean?,” The Wall Street Journal, December 7, 2005, p. A1, at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113391933493415775.html
[xi] For example, see Aaron L. Friedberg, A Contest for Supremacy, China, America, and the Struggle for Mastery in Asia, W.W. Norton, New York, 2011.
[xii] The most infamous being Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui, Unrestricted Warfare, PLA Literature and Arts Publishing House, Beijing, February 1999. See also Michael Pillsbury, China Debates the Future Security Environment, National University Press, Washington D.C. 2000.
[xiii] For example, Wang Jisi, “ESSAY: China’s Search for a Grand Strategy; A Rising Great Power Finds Its Way,” Foreign Affairs, March/April 2011.
[xiv] “Oilman T. Boone Pickens: ‘A fool with a Plan’,” Huffington Post, first posted August 4, 2008 at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/08/04/oilman-t-boone-pickens-a_n_116790.html.
[xv] The “80 percent” rule seems to me more a matter of perception. In 1941, the United States economy alone was roughly twice the size of the combined economies of Japan and Germany. See Harrison, Mark, ed., The Economics of World War II: Six Great Powers in International Comparison, Cambridge University Press (1998), p. 11.
[xvi] I am drawing from Victor Mair (trans.), The Art of War, Sunzi’s Military Methods, Columbia University Press, New York 2007, p. 85.
[xvii] China’s industrial sector is about 30% greater than Amercia’s. The CIA “World Factbook” [ https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ch.html ] calculates that China’s industrial sector accounts for 43% of its $9.33 trillion GDP – about $4 trillion at current exchange rates. It calculates that the U.S. industrial sector contributes about 19.5% of its $16.2 trillion GDP – about $3.16 trillion.
[xviii] For news reports of the U.N.’s “international comparison program” (ICP) 2014 assessment of China’s economy see Chris Giles, “China poised to pass US as world’s leading economic power this year,” Financial Times, April 30, 2014 at http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d79ffff8-cfb7-11e3-9b2b-00144feabdc0.html; Tom Wright, “China’s Economy Surpassing U.S.? Well, Yes and No,” The Wall Street Journal, April 30, 2014 at http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2014/04/30/chinas-economy-surpassing-u-s-well-yes-and-no/; Michael Forsythe and Neil Gough, “By One Measure, China Set to Become Largest Economy,” The New York Times, April 30, 2014, at http://sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/30/by-one-measure-china-set-to-become-largest-economy/; “New data suggest the Chinese economy is bigger than previously thought,” The Economist, May 3rd 2014 at http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21601568-new-data-suggest-chinese-economy-bigger-previously-thought-dragon
[xix] John J. Tkacik, Jr., “China’s Quest for a Superpower Military,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder, No. 2036 May 17, 2007,
[xx] Seth Cropsey, “The Rebalance to Asia: What Are Its Security Aims and What Is Required of U.S. Policy?,” The Hudson Institute Briefing Paper, June 2014 at http://www.hudson.org/research/10361-the-rebalance-to-asia-what-are-its-security-aims-and-what-is-required-of-u-s-policy.
[xxi] For example, Taiwan’s National Defense University professor Ma Chen-kun (馬振坤) believes “cyberspace is the first area in which China has truly asserted itself as the dominant superpower.” See Tsao Po-yan and Sean Lin, “China leads in cyberwarfare: forum,” Taipei Times, July 9, 2014, p. 4 at http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2014/07/09/2003594707.
[xxii] Defense Department Principal Director for Strategic Capabilities Rich Davison revealed to Chinese counterparts at a June 2008 US-China Security Dialogue working lunch that “the United States has not built any nuclear weapons since the early 1990s and therefore has the oldest arsenal in the world.” He “underscored that the United States is the only P5 country without the capability to produce a nuclear weapon.” See U.S. State Department telegram 07 BEIJING 002322, “Subject: U.S.-China Security Dialogue Working Lunch: Strategic Security, Missile Defense, Space, Nonpro, Iran,” dated June 13, 2008, at http://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/06/08BEIJING2322.html. In September 2009, British FCO director general for defense and intelligence Mariot Leslie “flagged the ‘inconvenient truth’ that ‘China is building its nuclear arsenal.’” See U.S. State Department telegram 09 LONDON 002198, “Subject: U/S Tauscher’s Meetings With FS Miliband and Other HMG Officials,” dated September 22, 2009 at http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/09/09LONDON2198.html. See also Ridzwan Rahmat, “PACOM chief says China will deploy long-range nuclear missiles on subs this year,” IHS Jane’s Navy International, March 25, 2014, at www.janes.com/article/35965/pacom-chief-says-china-will-deploy-long-range-nuclear-missiles-on-subs-this-year; Hans M. Kristensen, “China SSBN Fleet Getting Ready – But For What?” Federation of American Scientists Strategic Security Blog April 25, http://blogs.fas.org/security/2014/04/chinassbnfleet/; Zbigniew Mazurak, “How large is the Chinese nuclear arsenal? Obama’s Berlin Vision a Year Later: How Did That Turn Out?,” SLDForum, June 17, 2014 at http://www.sldforum.com/2014/06/obamas-berlin-vision-year-later-turn/.
[xxiii] Andrew Tilghman, “PACOM Chief: Uncontested US Control Of Pacific Is Ending,” DefenseNews, January 15, 2014, at http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140115/DEFREG02/301150033/PACOM-Chief-Uncontested-US-Control-Pacific-Ending; James R. Holmes US Surrenders Naval Logistics Supremacy,” The Diplomat, July 14, 2014 at http://thediplomat.com/2014/07/us-surrenders-naval-logistics-supremacy/; Rebecca Grant, “The dangerous decline in America’s maritime might -Threats on the open seas require more and better ships,” The Washington Times, July 11, 2014 at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jul/11/grant-the-dangerous-decline-in-americas-maritime-m/.
[xxiv] “Adm. Keating (USN) Delivers Remarks at the Heritage Foundation,” Admiral Timothy Keating (USN), Commander, US Pacific Command, CQ Newsmaker Transcripts, Special Events (July 16, 2008).
[xxv] Keating mentioned the Chinese admiral’s comment at least once prior to his Heritage Foundation remarks at “PACOM Admiral Thomas Keating’s appearance before the Sen. Armed Services Com. Tuesday (March 11, 2008),” at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=49260, accessed February 7, 2014; and once afterward at “Foreign Press Center Briefing with Admiral Tim Keating, Commander, U.S. Pacific Command; Subject: Asia-Pacific Military Overview,” US Department of State Foreign Press Center, Washington, DC (December 18, 2008).
[xxvi] See, “The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, U.S.-China Joint Statement, Beijing,” November 17, 2009, at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/us-china-joint-statement, accessed August 1, 2014.
[xxvii] ‘The truth is this: China wrecked the talks, intentionally humiliated Barack Obama, and insisted on an awful “deal” so western leaders would walk away carrying the blame. How do I know this? Because I was in the room and saw it happen.’ See Mark Lynas, “How do I know China wrecked the Copenhagen deal? I was in the room,” The Guardian, December 22, 2009, at http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/dec/22/copenhagen-climate-change-mark-lynas. ‘Xie Zhenhua, the top Chinese climate official, yelled and wagged his finger at Mr. Obama, say conference attendees.’ See Edward Wong and Jonathan Ansfield, “China Insists That Its Steps on Climate Be Voluntary,” The New York Times, January 30, 2010 at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/30/world/asia/30china.html. Several American analysts normally supportive of US-China “engagement” were shocked by China’s behavior at Copenhagen. ‘This triumphalism was on display during the recently concluded climate talks in Copenhagen. China only sent a deputy foreign minister to meetings set for the level of heads of state; its representatives publicly clashed with their American counterparts. And during the climax of the conference, China’s security team tried to block Obama and the rest of his entourage from entering a meeting chaired by China’s prime minister, Wen Jiabao. . . “If they really believe the United States is in decline and that China will soon emerge as a superpower, they may seek to take on the U.S. in ways that will cause real problems,” said Bonnie S. Glaser, an expert on China with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. . . “Somehow the administration signaled to the Chinese that we need them more than they need us,” Lampton said. “We’re in the role of the supplicant.”’ See John Pomfret, U.S.-China relations to face strains, experts say,” The Washington Post, January 3, 2010, p. A03 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/02/AR2010010201751.html.
[xxviii] A comprehensive analysis of “AirSea Battle” can be accessed at Jan van Tol, et al., AirSea Battle; A Point-of-Departure Operational Concept, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, Washington, D.C., May 2010. p. 4; at http://www.csbaonline.org/publications/2010/05/airsea-battle-concept/.
[xxix] We can see the utility of AirSea Battle in the present confrontation in Iraq with ISIS where Kurdish ground forces do the fighting with significant air and intelligence support from the United States.
[xxx] Mark E. Manyin, Stephen Daggett, Ben Dolven, Susan V. Lawrence, Michael F. Martin, Ronald O’Rourke, and Bruce Vaughn, “Pivot to the Pacific? The Obama Administration’s ‘Rebalancing’ Toward Asia,” Congressional Research Service, March 28, 2012, at http://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R42448.pdf.
[xxxi] Hillary Rodham Clinton, “America’s Pacific Century,” Foreign Policy, October 11, 2011, at http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2011/10/175215.htm.
[xxxii] With apologies to Alcoholics Anonymous at http://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/twelve-steps-and-twelve-traditions.
[xxxiv] “Text of Gen. M’Arthur’s Statement on Formosa” to the National Encampment of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Chicago, The Washington Post, August 29, 1950; p. 6.
[xxxv] Ying-jeou Ma, “Legal Problems of Seabed Boundary Delimitation of the East China Sea,” Occasional Papers/Reprint Series in Contemporary Asian Studies, Number 3 – 1984 (62), University of Maryland School of Law, Baltimore, 1984, p. 42. This is an edited version of Ma Ying-jeou’s doctoral dissertation at Harvard University School of Law.
[xxxvi] These assertions were made in the Chinese media in 2006, assertions of which the author was initially skeptical. However, a review of contemporary Taiwan media coverage in Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) transcripts indicates that there was more than a little truth in them. The article which caught the author’s attention was “Dalu Meiti zha Tai tiaozhan gongshou nanhai chenji, Taiwan fangmian zhunbei zai Taiping Dao jian jichang” (大陸媒體轟台 挑戰共守南海默契, 台灣方面準備在太平島建機場) [PRC Media blasts Taiwan – Challenge to Tacit Understanding re Spratly Islands, Taiwan plans Airstrip on Itu Aba]. Shijie Ribao, [世界日報 World Journal]January 7, 2006, citing a report in Xinhua’s International Herald Leader http://www.xinhuanet.com/herald).
[xxxvii] “Dalu Meiti” above. The text reads: “如果再發生戰爭，國軍將助解放軍抗戰”. It’s difficult to discern just what Taiwan’s leadership thought of the March 14 Chinese battle on Chigua Reef. In the weeks prior to the clash, Taiwan’s garrison reported some 40 PRC warships had been deployed in the Spratlys (FBIS-CHI-88, March 16, 1988, p. 55), and Taiwan’s defense ministry indicated the garrison was on high alert against a “Chinese Communist” incursion (FBIS-CHI-88-040, March 1, 1988, p. 39). Taipei International Service issued a commentary in English on March 4, 1988 averring “one thing is for sure, though, that Chinese, whatever side of the Chinese civil conflict they may be on, are not going to give up national territory for anything” (FBIS-CHI-88-046, March 9, 1988, p. 81). On March 25, the defense minister told a Legislative Yuan interpellation that there was no need for Taiwan to aid China in case of an escalation of tensions with Vietnam in the Spratlys (FBIS-CHI-88-059, p. 56). On April 1, 1988, the PRC-controlled Hong Kong newspaper Xinwan Bao published a commentary urging Taiwan to allow China to take over supplying Taiwan’s garrison on Itu Aba/Taiping. (FBIS-CHI-88-065, p. 51).
[xxxviii] Ibid. The text reads: “台灣國防部官員也曾表示，「不排除與大陸合作開發與管理南沙」”. Taiwan’s press, however, reflected continued Taiwan anxiety about China’s military buildup on the Paracel Islands (for example, FBIS-CHI-93-151, August 9, 1993).
[xxxix] “Dalu Meiti” above. The text reads: “李登輝上台後，才拋棄在維護南海諸島主權上與大陸協調一致的立場”.
[xl] Peh Shing Huei, “The rise of the sea dragon; China builds up its maritime might,” Straits Times, May 22, 2010.
[xli] John J. Tkacik, “Clear signal needed on islands dispute,” Heritage Foundation Webmemo, June 27, 2008, at http://www.heritage.org/research/commentary/2008/06/clear-signal-needed-on-disputed-isles (accessed 2/7/14).
[xlii] Senate Resolution 167–Reaffirming the Strong Support of the United States For the Peaceful Resolution of Territorial, Sovereignty, and Jurisdictional Disputes in the Asia-Pacific Maritime Domains, June 10, 2013, at http://beta.congress.gov/congressional-record/2013/06/10/senate-section/article/s4062-2/ (accessed 2/7/14) .
[xliii] “习近平在中共中央政治局第八次集体学习时强调进一步关心海洋认识海洋经略海洋推动海洋强国建设不断取得成就”[Xi Jinping at Eighth Collective Study Session of the Chinese Communist Party Central Politburo emphasizes achieving new strides in concern for the sea, maritime knowledge, managing maritime strategy, and promoting the establishment of a powerful maritime nation], People’s Daily (人民日报), August 1, 2013, page 1, at http://paper.people.com.cn/rmrb/html/2013-08/01/nbs.D110000renmrb_01.htm.
[xliv] For example, the U.S. government translated the Youth Reference (青年参考) essay cited in endnote 2 on January 13, 2013, as “PRC Article Says PLA May Use Diaoyu Dispute To Break Through ‘Island Chain’,” reference CPP20121102787010.
[xlv] John Pomfret, “U.S. Takes a Tougher Tone with China,” The Washington Post, July 30, 2010, p. A01.
[xlvi] A review of U.S. diplomatic cables prior to February 2010 from the Wikileaks cache shows no mention by Chinese interlocutors of the term “core interest” in any context other than Taiwan. See http://cablegatesearch.net.
[xlvii] Chinese State Councilor for foreign affairs Dai Bingguo told U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that China saw the South China Sea as a “core interest” at the May 25, 2010, “US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.” John Pomfret, “Beijing claims ‘indisputable sovereignty’ over South China Sea,” The Washington Post, July 31, 2010, p. A-07. Secretary Clinton later confirmed Dai’s stance; see “Interview with Greg Sheridan of The Australian, Melbourne, Australia, November 8, 2010: “And when China first told us at a meeting of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue that they viewed the South China Sea as a core interest, I immediately responded and said we don’t agree with that. So they were on notice that if they were . . .” to which Mr. Sheridan interjected, “Was that Dai Bingguo that said that to you?” Secretary Clinton confirmed, “Yes, yeah. So if they were in the process of extending their efforts to claim and control to the detriment of international law, freedom of navigation, maritime security, the claims by their neighbors, that was a concerning matter.” Transcript at http://www.state.gov/secretary/20092013clinton/rm/2010/11/150671.htm (accessed 2/7/14).
[xlviii] See commentary in English “Modernizing Navy for Self-Defense,” Xinhua, July 13, 2010. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/indepth/2010-07/13/c_13397060.htm (accessed 2/7/14). Chinese use the term “core interest” (核心利益) as a diplomatic euphemism for an interest over which China will go to war. In the November 17, 2009, U.S.-China “Joint Statement” issued by Presidents Barack Obama and Hu Jintao, China insisted on including the statement that “The two sides agreed that respecting each other’s core interests is extremely important to ensure steady progress in U.S.-China relations.” By early 2010, The New York Times reported that Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo had repeatedly insisted to Secretary Clinton that the South China Sea was China’s “core interest.” See Edward Wong, “China Hedges over Whether South China Sea Is a ‘Core Interest’ Worth War,” The New York Times, March 30, 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/31/world/asia/31beijing.html (accessed 2/7/14).
[xlix] For the full text, see U.S. Department of Defense press release “Remarks as Delivered by Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates to the International Institute For Strategic Studies (Shangri-La–Asia Security), Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore, June 05, 2010,” at http://www.defense.gov/speeches/speech.aspx?speechid=1483 (accessed 2/7/14).
[l] Jay Solomon, “U.S. Takes On Maritime Spats, Clinton Plan Would Set Up Legal Process for Asian Nations to Resolve Claims in the South China Sea,” The Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2010, at
[lii] Hu Yongqi et al, “Upgrade Set to Boost Island Chains, China Daily, July 2, 2012, at http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2012-07/02/content_15541039.htm (accessed 2/7/14). Alexa Olesen, “China builds newest city on disputed island,” The Associated Press, July 29, 2012, at http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2012/07/29/2003538892 (accessed 2/7/14).
[liii] “South China Sea fishing rules are ‘normal practice’,” China Daily, January 10, 2014, at http://www.china.org.cn/china/2014-01/10/content_31147137.htm (accessed 2/7/14).
[liv] Staff reporter, “Taiwan reiterates Paracel Islands sovereignty claim,” Taipei Times, May 11, 2014, p. 3 at http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2014/05/11/2003590086; Shih Hsiu-chuan MOFA clarifies Republic of China territory claims, Taipei Times, January 16, 2013, p. 3; Shih Hsiu-chuan, “Official asserts Taiwanese sovereignty over Paracels” Taipei Times, April 6, 2012, p.3 at http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2012/04/06/2003529647.
[lv] Nadia Tsao and Stacy Hsu, “Experts split on US defense ‘snub’,” Taipei Times, October 3, 2012, p. 3 at http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2012/10/03/2003544260;
Nadia Tsao and Jake Chung, “Senior US officials skip defense meet,” Taipei Times, October 2, 2012, p. 3 at http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2012/10/02/2003544176; Mo Yan-chih, “Diaoyutais spat hasn’t hurt US ties: Ma,” Taipei Times, October 3, 2012, p. 3 at http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2012/10/03/2003544259. For a survey of China’s confrontation with Japan in the Senkakus prior to 2012 see John J. Tkacik, “Removing the Taiwan Stone from Asia’s Great “Gō” Game: Thoughts on Taiwan’s geographic and demographic role in Asia-Pacific security,” in Peter C. Y. Chow, ed. National Identity and Economic Interest, Taiwan’s Competing Options and Their Implications for Regional Security, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2012, pp. 266-69.
[lvi] “H-6G conducts mining exercise over Western Pacific: report,” China Times internet edition in English, October 16, 2013, accessed October 16, 2013. That report said “Two F-15J from the 83rd Air Wing of Japan Air Defense Force were dispatched to intercept the Chinese bombers on Sept. 8, however it remained unknown why the H-6G strategic bombers flew so close to the Japanese territorial waters. Nine days later, a group of H-6G bombers successfully conducted mining exercise over the unknown waters located in the Western Pacific. After dropping 11 mines in the target areas, all H-6G returned to base in eastern China, the paper said.” See also “Japan scrambles fighter planes as 4 Chinese planes fly near Okinawa,” Kyodo News International, October 25, 2013, at http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/kyodo-news-international/131025/japan-scrambles-fighter-planes-4-chinese-planes-fly-ne (accessed 2/7/14); “NHK – Japan to strengthen patrols against Chinese planes,” NHK, October 29, 2013, at http://archive.org/details/tv?time=201310&q=southern%20japan (accessed 2/7/14).
[lvii] “Angry Skies: Japanese Jets Scramble as Tensions with China Escalate,” Time magazine online, September 18, 2013, at http://world.time.com/2013/09/18/angry-skies-japanese-jets-scramble-as-tensions-with-china-escalate/ (accessed 2/7/14). “Crossing the first island chain, Chinese bombers’ maximum radius of operation tested,” People’s Daily Online, September 22, 2013.
[lviii] Kiyoshi Takenaka, “Japan seeks biggest defense budget rise in 22 years,” Reuters, August 30, 2013, at http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/30/us-japan-defence-idUSBRE97T08920130830 (accessed 2/7/14); “Defense minister says Japan needs military boost to counter China, North Korea concerns,” The Associated Press, September 3, 2013.
[lix] Mike Yeo, “Recent fast jet missions suggest growing Chinese confidence,” IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, May 29, 2014; Yuka Hayashi, “Japan Scrambles More Jets as Regional Tensions Rise,” The Wall Street Journal, April 10, 2014, at http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2014/04/10/japan-scrambles-more-jets-as-regional-tensions-rise/.
[lx] A sanguine but informative analysis is available at Eric Heginbotham, “The Foreign Policy Essay: China’s ADIZ in the East China Sea,” The Lawfare Institute, August 24, 2014, at http://www.lawfareblog.com/2014/08/the-foreign-policy-essay-chinas-adiz-in-the-east-china-sea/.
[lxi] For a survey of the “pivot” and Taiwan’s general absence see Robert G. Sutter, et al, Balancing Acts: The U.S. Rebalance and Asia-Pacific Stability, The Elliott School of International Relations, George Washington University, August 2013, at http://www2.gwu.edu/~sigur/assets/docs/BalancingActs_Compiled1.pdf (accessed 2/7/14). The authors concede that “Taiwan has not strongly associated with the rebalance” at page 21.
[lxii] Daniel J. Dzurek, “Boundary and Resources Disputes in the SCS,” Ocean Yearbook, Vol 5, edited by Elizabeth Mann Borgese and Norton Ginsburg, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1985, p.257, cited in Yann-huei Song, United States and Territorial Disputes in the South China Sea: A Study of Ocean Law and Politics, University of Maryland School of Law, Contemporary Asian Studies Series, Number 1 – 2002 (168), p. 18. Dzurek does not mention water sources in The Spratly Islands Dispute: Who’s on First?, International Boundaries Research Unit Maritime Briefing, Volume 2, Number 1, University of Durham, Durham, 1996.
[lxiii] My math may be off : (π (2002))
[lxiv] “Enclosure C: Report of Raid on Pratas Island, 20o-42’n; 116o-43’E, May 29, 1945.” On May 29, 1945, the crew of the USS Bluegill, an American submarine, landed on Pratas island “PURPOSE: (a) To capture the island.” The “Narrative” (enclosure D) of the landing states: “we assembled around the flag pole, and at 1022 on May 29, 1945 a handful of soldiers and sailors stood at solemn attention while the Stars and Stripes slowly ascended the flag pole and two captured Jap bugles blared forth. The land they now stood on was US territory! [ sic: exclamation in original] A plaque was then affixed to the base of the pole certifying the capture of the island by the crew of the USS BLUEGILL.” On July 8, 1945, The Commander Submarine Force, Pacific Fleet awarded the Submarine Combat Insignia to the Bluegill for the Pratas action. Copies of the Bluegill’s war files have been posted anonymously at http://issuu.com/hnsa/docs/ss-242_bluegill_part2?e=1149954/2667339. The Pratas documentation are the last pages of the file.
[lxv] See U.S. Department of State telegram, 09State036339 of April 13, 2009, “Subject: U.S. response to April 12 Chinese demarche on Langseth operations near Pratas Island.” See also AmEmbassy Beijing telegram 09 Beijing 0822 of March 27, 2009. At the time, misleading press reports from Taiwan indicated that the Langseth “continued its mission” while the PRC coast guard merely watched from a distance.
[lxvi] AIT Taipei telegram 05 Taipei 02433 of June 3, 2005, “Subject: Coast Guard Asks For USG Intervention Over South China Sea Dispute”; AIT Taipei telegram 05 Taipei 02655 of June 16, 2005, “Subject: Pratas Island: Taiwan’s Strategic Weakest Link?” See Tkacik, “Removing the Taiwan Stone,” for a description of the environmental destruction of Pratas Reef by Chinese fishing.
[lxvii] Defense and Security Report, Second Quarter 2013, US-Taiwan Business Council, Arlington, July 1, 2013, p. 53.
[lxviii] Peter Enav, “Taiwan demilitarizes picturesque offshore islet,” Associated Press, July 24, 2008, at http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/world/2008-07-24-405996438_x.htm (accessed 2/7/14); also author’s notes from visit to Pratas, September 2006.
[lxix] “拿起望遠鏡看反恐制伏演練但要先改變 傳統的「海洋需靠海軍」的思維，也就是維護海上的安全，不能只靠海軍，而必須靠海巡署這樣的警力.” Chen Jinsheng 陳金聲, “馬總統：要設海洋部” [President Ma: We will Establish an Oceans Ministry], Lianhe Bao [聯合晚報 — United Daily News]internet edition, June 7, 2009, at http://www.udn.com/2009/6/7/NEWS/NATIONAL/NAT1/4948585.shtml (accessed June 12, 2009.
[lxx] At least as of 2007; see “Taiwan ships form world’s 11th largest merchant fleet in 2006: UNCTAD,” Central News Agency, Taipei, December 16, 2007.
[lxxi] Different nations organize their maritime enforcement in different ways, with customs often separate from maritime navigation missions. Rather than compare apples and oranges, one may simply note that Taiwan’s Coast Guard Administration employed over 15,000 officers, ranks and civilian officials including compulsory national service conscripts in 2003. Japan’s coast guard, which is organized somewhat differently, claims about 12,000 employees. Indonesia’s coast guard is part of its navy. And coast guard missions in some East Asian nations are simply under-resourced. According to the November 27, 2008, Manila Times, “The current force and capabilities of the 5,000-strong Philippine Coast Guard is grossly inadequate, considering we have one of the most world’s most extensive coastlines spread over 7,107 islands” (at http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2008/nov/27/yehey/opinion/20081127opi5.html accessed September 20, 2013).
[lxxii] While the Taiwan Coast Guard Administration shows the Senkaku/Diaoyutai islands on maps of its area of operations, it does not list the Senkakus among the islands within its “mission areas.” Schematic Maps are available at the Taiwan Coast Guard Administration website at http://www.cga.gov.tw/ (“areas of mission” at site tab).
[lxxiii] Xinhua published an intriguing report of the discovery of a large deposit of ferro-manganese nodules on the South China Sea seabed at the “Jiaolong Seamount” (蛟龍海山) named for a scientific exploration vessel, but gave no details nor the location of the seamount. A separate report in Chinese indicated that the Jiaolong submersible had discovered several new species of invertebrate sealife on the seamount at a depth of 3800 meters. See Zhang Xudong, ““蛟龙”号在南海“蛟龙海山”采集到巨大海参” [“Jiaolong” in the South Sea collects giant seaslug on ‘Jiaolong Seamount’], Xinhua, July 7, 2013 at http://www.gov.cn/jrzg/2013-07/07/content_2442144.htm (accessed September 21,2013); “Jiaolong discovers iron-manganese deposits,” July 4, 2013, at http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2013-07/04/c_132511920.htm (accessed 2/7/14).
[lxxiv] (no author), “Itu Aba pier construction ahead of schedule: source,” Taipei Times, July 14, 2014, p. 3 at http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2014/07/14/2003595079; Michael Gold and Greg Torode, “Itu Aba upgrades raise no Chinese concern: experts” Reuters, Taipei Times, May 27, 2014 – p. 3 at http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2014/05/27/2003591345; Ted Chen, “Assessment hurdle passed for Taiping Island Airport upgrade,” The China Post, September 20, 2013, at http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/national/national-news/2013/09/20/389353/Assessment-hurdle.htm (accessed 2/7/14); J. Michael Cole, “Taiwan’s Power Grab in the South China Sea,” The Diplomat, September 4, 2013, at http://thediplomat.com/flashpoints-blog/2013/09/04/taiwans-power-grab-in-the-south-china-sea/ (accessed 2/7/14); “Itu Aba Island wharf to bolster nation’s defense,” Taipei Times, August 31, 2013, p. 4 at http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2013/08/31/2003571024 (accessed 2/7/14); “Defense Ministry to assess Taiping frigate terminal,” Taipei Times, April 24, 2013. Shih Hsiu-chuan, Hsu Shao-hsuan and Jimmy Chuang, “President visits disputed islands,” Taipei Times, February 3, 2008, p. 1, at http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2008/02/03/2003400014 (accessed 2/7/14).
[lxxv] United States Code Title 22 Chapter 48 Sections 3301 – 3316. Hereafter “TRA”
[lxxvi] TRA, s. 3301(b)(6).
[lxxvii] TRA, s. 3302(a).
[lxxviii] TRA, s. 3314. Definitions
[lxxix] The Pentagon’s 2009 public assessment (likely somewhat rosier than its real assessment) of the balance across the Taiwan Strait reads, inter alia: “In the 2002 report, the Department of Defense assessed that Taiwan ‘has enjoyed dominance of the airspace over the Taiwan Strait for many years.’ This conclusion no longer holds true. With this reversal, China has been able to develop a range of limited military options to attempt to coerce Taipei.” See Annual Report to Congress, the Military Power of the People’s Republic of China, 2009, Office of the Secretary of Defense, March 26, 2009, p. VIII at http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/pdfs/China_Military_Power_Report_2009.pdf.
The current and all previous reports are available at http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/china.html.
[lxxx] On May 12, 2005, Chinese Communist Party leader Hu Jintao and senior Taiwan opposition party leader, James Soong, (very nearly elected Taiwan’s president in 2000 and its vice-president in 2004), issued a “joint news communiqué” in Beijing declaring that “Military conflicts shall be effectively avoided so long as there is no possibility that Taiwan moves toward ‘Taiwan independence’.” “胡錦濤與宋楚瑜會談達成六項共識” [Hu Jintao and Song Chuyu reach a six-item consensus], Renmin Wang [People’s Daily Net], Beijing, May, 12, 2005. See also “No ‘Taiwan independence’, no military conflicts: communiqué”, Xinhua news agency, Beijing, May 12, 2005, at http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2005-05/12/content_2951496.htm (accessed 2/7/14). See also “宋楚瑜：兩岸不必提軍事互信機制在兩岸菁英論壇倡議「建立經濟互信機制」 賈慶林提四點合作建議”, [James Soong: Two sides do not need military mutual confidence mechanism, Calls for ‘establishment of economic mutual confidence mechanism,’ Jia Qinglin proposes four point cooperation agreement], New York Shijie Ribao (in Chinese), September 16, 2005; see also “台商促宋贊成軍購換直航當著國台辦官員的面 提問尖銳”, [Taiwan Businessmen Urge James Soong to trade Arms Budget for Direct Links, Slap in Face to Taiwan Affairs Officials, Questions Sharp], New York Shijie Ribao (In Chinese), September 16, 2005. P.2.
[lxxxi] Ko Shu-ling, “Ma would consider peace talks in 2012,” Taipei Times, May 12, 2009, Page 1 http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2009/05/12/2003443382 (accessed 2/7/14). See also Tang Xiaomin, “馬：任內絕不協商統一” [Ma: Absolutely no Unification Consultations in his Term], Shijie Ribao, May 11, 2009, where Ma confirms that during his tenure he “doesn’t rule out political consultations, that is, a peace agreement” which would last 50 or so years.
[lxxxii] China’s doctrinal stance since 1981 has been that “talks be held on an equal footing between the ruling parties on each side of the straits, namely, the Chinese Communist Party and the Kuomintang” (emphasis added). See “’White Paper’ on Taiwan, Reunification Issued,” Xinhua News Agency, Beijing, August 31, 1993, translated from the Chinese by FBIS at FBIS-CHI-93-168, and “Text: The Principle of One China and the Taiwan Question,” Xinhua News Agency, February 21, 2000.
Cui Xiaohuo, “Ma’s move paves way to meet Hu,” China Daily, June 11, 2009, http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2009-06/11/content_8270182.htm (accessed 2/7/14); Mo Yan-chih, “Pressure builds for Ma-Hu meet,” Taipei Times, June 12, 2009, p. 1 at http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2009/06/12/2003445963 (accessed 2/7/14).
[lxxxiii] In June 2009, Ma Ying-jeou’s vice president Vincent Siew, told the U.S. representative in Taipei that after Ma’s presumed re-election in January 2012, “These ‘highly political’ issues [of political negotiations]will be controversial in Taiwan, said Siew, but should be able to build on four years of cooperative engagement on economic issues.” [AIT Taipei telegram 09 Taipei 0795 of June 30, 2009] See also “Taiwan’s Ma Ying-jeou says time not ripe for Beijing political talks,” – The South China Morning Post, April 21, 2013. See also Chou Peifen, Wang Zheng Ning and Chan Hou Chi, “兩岸政治對話 馬：何必急” [Cross-strait political Dialogue Ma: why the urgency], Taipei China Times, April 21, 2013 at http://news.chinatimes.com/politics/11050202/112013042100083.html (accessed 2/7/14).
[lxxxiv] The anachronistic East China Sea ADIZ lines had been drawn by the American military government in Okinawa in the 1950s to help coordinate military and civilian aircraft operations and identification with Nationalist Chinese and American forces in U.S.-administered Okinawa. 50 year later, Taiwan’s eastern ADIZ (at 123 degrees east longitude) bisected Yonaguni island, leaving the Japanese air base there incongruously within Taiwan’s ADIZ. Press reports indicate that Tokyo’s decision to push the ADIZ westward toward Taiwan was prompted by the Americans, but it was not discussed at all with Taiwan’s military which reacted negatively. “Taiwan rejects Japan’s plan to change air defense identity zone,” Kyodo News Agency, May 29, 2010.