Gregory R. Copley

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Gregory Copley at Delphi, Greece. Copley lectures regularly on strategic topics at the European Cultural Centre at Delphi.

The PRC — and the Global Strategic Framework — Begins to Feel the Strategic Impact of Beijing’s Failure to Control the DPRK’s Kim Jong-Il

By Gregory R. Copley.

An article in Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis, January 5, 2007

It is now clear that the strategic framework in north-eastern Asia has been substantially shifted by the North Korean nuclear weapons demonstration of late 2006, the product in part of the North Korea-Iran strategic alliance.

It has been widely appreciated that the region is, arguably, the most delicate lynchpin of strategic change moving into the 21st Century, and changes there, for better or worse, will impact the economic condition — and therefore the relative strategic power — of the US and all other states over the coming decades.

However, it is now clear that the leadership of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is facing a strategic watershed — or series of unfortunate byproducts — created by its inability to control the leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK: North Korea). This is the downside of the DPRK-Iran strategic alliance which Beijing had fostered for many years, in part to buy its way into the Iranian and Middle Eastern energy markets and to ensure a proxy through which it could reduce US/Western influence in the Middle East and Central Asia.

In essence, although some major PRC strategic objectives were advanced, the Iran-DPRK alliance — which also gave Pyongyang independent access to major funds and energy — gave DPRK leader Kim Jong-Il far more freedom of action than Beijing could control. Now, arguably, the PRC has more at stake in sustaining harmony in the energy markets and among its major markets in North America and Europe than it did when it began its quiet encouragement of Iran’s revolutionary leadership and Iran’s close military ties with the DPRK some two decades ago.

DPRK leader Kim Jong-Il’s demonstration detonation of a nuclear weapon on October 9, 2006, forced a series of changes in attitudes toward defense and regional security by Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK: South Korea), the US, the Republic of China (ROC: Taiwan), and Russia, which have already begun to have ramifications for PRC strategic planning.

Moreover, the assertion of military nuclear capabilities may ultimately not benefit Kim Jong-Il. But because the Asian economies are now driving global affluence, the regional strategic changes ultimately affect those markets with major trading relations into and from the region, such as the European Union, Australia, the Americas, Africa, and so on, and may well impact how Central Asian states cooperate with the PRC, Japan, and the ROK in the evolution — or abandonment — of the “new Silk Route” trading system.

The DPRK’s moves in 2006 to demonstrate a range of strategic systems ended a careful period of growth PRC strategic and military dominance in the region, particularly causing Japan — under a new Prime Minister — to accelerate plans for a more capable, independent, defense force while at the same time revitalizing the Japan-US military alliance.1 The DPRK move also caused the ROK Government — which had been gradually relegating its military relationship with the US to a lower level of significance — to re-think and, de facto, revive its military reliance on the US.

Russia, too, has begun, as a result, to look at other regional modalities, including diplomatic moves toward a strategic rapprochement with Japan, possibly bringing to a formal end the differences which have existed between Moscow and Japan since 1945 over ownership of the Kurile Islands.

Despite Washington’s clear failure and self-deception in handling the North Korean development, deployment, and ultimate demonstration of its military nuclear capabilities — and other strategic systems — for some two decades, the DPRK’s most recent actions brought the US, militarily, back into the Western Pacific in some respects, although it seems clear that the US has not yet formulated a clear idea of its new strategic posture or requirements.

But it equally seems that the new paradigm has caused the PRC leadership to once again openly address the security framework of the region, at a time when it clearly wished not to do so in a public sense. Beijing had hoped that, in the relative calm of growing trade, the US would gradually depart the area, militarily, and PRC dominance would be achieved de facto. That can no longer be taken for granted by Beijing.

Moreover, despite the fact that — unless the DPRK further acts unilaterally to de-stabilize the region — no major hot conflicts were envisaged in the region for the coming decade, the apparent resurgence of US and Japanese military capabilities in the region diminishes the prestige and military leadership in the region of the PRC at a time when Beijing clearly wishes also to avoid such an impression being conveyed to the PRC population. It is possible that the emergence of the perception of strategic competition in the region could be used by Beijing to stir Chinese nationalism, but, in reality, the PRC leadership is not anxious to use this card. Chinese nationalism is, in many respects, already strong.

Indeed, the “foreign threat card” would likely only be played if severe internal problems caused Beijing to seek a galvanizing distraction to unite the domestic population. And that “threat” would — absent the (unlikely) development of a real military threat — be portrayed as the Republic of China (ROC): Taiwan.

And yet, in real terms, the ROC military “threat” to the PRC has now totally evaporated. The old mantra of the Nationalist Chinese — “back to the mainland” — is no longer heard in Taiwan, even though there is still widespread acceptance of the “one China” philosophy in the ROC. Now, the “one China” principle is largely perceived to be a recognition of ultimate blurring between “mainland China” and the islands which comprise the ROC, including Taiwan.

Significantly, the PRC Government on December 29, 2006, published its formal strategic document, “China’s National Defense in 2006”,2 in which it highlighted the strengthened relations between mainland China and Taiwan, but continued to emphasize the “grave threat to China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as to peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits and in the Asia-Pacific region as a whole” posed by Pres. Chen Shui-bian’s Min-chu Chin-pu Tang (Democratic Progressive Party: DPP) ROC Government and its supposed “independence” policy for Taiwan.

The PRC document, in continuing to sustain the option of declaring the ROC a “grave threat” to Chinese sovereignty, also noted:

The United States has reiterated many times that it will adhere to the “one China” policy and honor the three joint communiqués between China and the United States. But, it continues to sell advanced weapons to Taiwan, and has strengthened its military ties with Taiwan. A small number of countries have stirred up a racket about a “China threat”, and intensified their preventive strategy against China and strove to hold its progress in check. Complex and sensitive historical and current issues in China’s surrounding areas still affect its security environment.

The reality is that the PRC has continued, as its primary strategic thrust, to attempt to remove all strategic options from the ROC. The “one China” policy espoused by the Nationalists in the ROC — ie: the former ruling party, the Kuomintang (KMT) — was regarded by Beijing as a threat because it was framed in terms of “one China” under the ROC Government. Now, in opposition in Taiwan, the Kuomintang has essentially recognized that it has lost the battle with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for control of the Chinese mainland. So now the concern in Beijing is that the DPP Government in the ROC will merely move for Taiwanese independence.

So, indeed, “complex and sensitive historical and current issues in China’s surrounding areas” still drive Beijing’s security environment. But within this framework, several other realities apply: firstly, the Chinese Communist Party, while it retains physical control of mainland China, has achieved success and growth for China by abandoning communist principles and embracing, almost in toto, the Kuomintang ideology. The PRC leadership talks today about adopting “democracy” on the lines of the Singapore model. That model differs little (if at all) in philosophical terms from the Nationalist (KMT) model.

Arguably, then, the CCP has won the territory, but the KMT has won the ideological war. Resolution of the issue of China as a single territorial entity, then, becomes one of rationalizing this reality. [And while many in Beijing recognize that the matter has become one of style rather than substance, they also recognize that a Taiwan-oriented ROC Government could well destabilize the gradual convergence by attempting to assert Taiwanese independence from China.]

But in the meantime, the second major “reality” which was challenged by the December 29, 2006, PRC strategic paper was the statement that the US had “strengthened its military ties with Taiwan”. This is patently unsubstantiated by the facts, despite the clear wish of US Pres. George W. Bush, when he assumed office in 2001, to reassert the longstanding treaty relationships which the US and the ROC had begun developing since before World War II, when the KMT was still the Government of all of China.

The PRC has successfully engaged the US diplomatic, defense, and political structures to the point where the US has actually constrained and contained the strategic freedom of action of the ROC in a way which the PRC had not been able to achieve through direct pressure. In essence, the US State Dept. had acted as the principal PRC support mechanism in forcing the ROC to move to a position where it could not destabilize the growing US-PRC rapprochement. The US Defense Department —particularly the US Navy — had, for different reasons, moved to ensure that the ROC could not be the cause of any treaty-oriented requirement for the US Navy to provide strong fleet support for the defense of Taiwan.

In essence, the US Navy (USN) has maneuvered to avoid the insertion of any carrier battle groups into the Straits of Taiwan, separating Taiwan from the mainland, since the March 1996 projection of the USS Independence and USS Nimitz carrier battle groups to the region in the run-up to the ROC elections which had been accompanied by PRC military threats. Subsequently, as well, the acquisition by the People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLAN) of Russian-built Sovremennyy-class (Project 956 and 956A) destroyers which were equipped in 2000, with SS-N-22 Moskit/Sunburn supersonic, nuclear-capable anti-ship cruise missiles, meant that the USN has always argued against deployment into the straits of any carrier battle group. The USN will never willingly place a carrier battle group in harm’s way except in times of committed warfare.

But the USN caution in dealing with the ROC runs more deeply than that. US Pres. George W.  Bush’s promise at the beginning of is first term of office to sell the ROC Navy, among other things, conventional submarines has been consistently subverted by the US Navy at a working level within the USN bureaucracy. Despite consistent denials from the USN leadership, the pro-nuclear lobby within the USN has made it clear to GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs sources that it would “never ever” allow the USN to become involved in the construction and/or sale of conventional submarines, for fear that US political leaders would think that perhaps the USN itself should also acquire some conventional submarines.3

This would be the thin end of the wedge of reducing — or so the pro-nuclear lobby created by the late Adm. Hyman Rickover believes — the budget for, and focus on, nuclear propulsion for the USN.

Moreover, the promise of the sale by the USN of four Arleigh Burke-class Aegis cruisers to the ROCN and the current request by the ROC Air Force to acquire a tranche of additional Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters (this time Block 52) are all being stymied or delayed by US officials at bureaucratic levels. The United States agreed on January 8, 2000, to sell four Arleigh Burke-class Aegis cruisers to the ROC for $4.8-billion after it had been discovered that the PRC was in the process of increasing its ballistic missile capabilities.

Not only has the US been attempting to constrain ROC defense modernization while at the same time extracting the maximum amount of the ROC defense budget, it has continued — particularly for the past three or four years — to obfuscate on the matter to ROC officials. US officials have consistently kept telling ROC defense officials that the promised sales of defense systems would eventuate only after the ROC jumped through one hoop after another.

There are signs now, however, that the ROC leadership has recognized that the US bureaucracy — quite apart from current the pro-Taiwan US leadership in the White House — will continue to suppress or slow any ROC defense modernization. Indeed, the US defense establishment is divided on the matter: it does not want to destabilize the growing calm and balance between the US and the PRC militarily, but nor does it want to abandon a strong military lever which the ROC gives it in maintaining a strategic advantage over the PRC.

Furthermore, the prospect of eventual unification of the “two Chinas” means that it would be possible, at some stage, for a unified China to pose an even greater strategic challenge to US influence in Asia. US military support for the ROC in the build-up to such a unification could, then, mean that the US had unwittingly contributed to the strength of a unified China.

But in all this, however, the ROC leadership on Taiwan recognizes the fact that — for the foreseeable future — it must maintain strategic credibility vis-à-vis the PRC. The ROC military, until the past decade, had little difficulty in sustaining a strong qualitative advantage over PLA forces. The qualitative advantage has now, essentially, been lost as the PRC economy moves continually forward, helped, significantly (and ironically), by massive investment from the ROC and with the strong contributing presence of some one-million ROC citizens in the PRC as bilateral trade and investment restrictions have been removed.

The ROC Armed Forces have a limited number of areas in which they must excel to preclude the prospect of a credible PRC military threat to Taiwan. These include:

  1. Increased quantity and improved quality of ROCN submarine forces to the point where submarines become the principal tool in countering PLAN submarines, cross-Strait assault craft, and now-foreseeable PLAN aircraft carrier capabilities. It is clear that, for the most part, the ROCN surface combatant fleet cannot expect to match the threat from the PLAN, particularly the threat from PLAN submarines. The ROCN already faces the growing quantity and quality of PLAN submarines, and a ROCN capability must include, among other things, advanced, supersonic anti-shipping missiles. The ROCN as of 2006 began deploying the ramjet-powered, low-level Hsiung Feng III supersonic anti-ship missile to parallel the capability of the Russian-supplied SS-N-22 Moskit in the PLAN.

  2. Increased quantity and coverage of an ROC Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system to negate the effectiveness of the massive quantity of PRC short-/medium-range ballistic missiles targeting Taiwan. For this, the acquisition of the Aegis cruisers would have been of key importance. The ROC has for many years been heavily committed to expanding its BMD capability using indigenous and imported technology and systems. Significantly, although such missiles as the Hsiung Feng series have benefited from Israeli technology, the ROC-Israel defense relationship has now been lost, and an Israeli-PRC defense relationship has developed. In conjunction with a strong commitment to a BMD shield, the ROC Armed Forces must strengthen anti-air capabilities to cope with the greatly enhanced numbers and quality of the PLA Air Force (PLAAF) aircraft.

  3. The development of asymmetric warfare doctrines which undermine the growing conventional capabilities of the PLA. The PLA itself saw its ability to cope with the qualitative and capabilities differences posed by a vastly superior US military from the end of the Cold War was to develop asymmetrical doctrines of warfare. Indeed, the PLA has, since its inception, created doctrines to best use its unique characteristics (historically, mass numbers against technologically superior threats). Now, the PLA has become the wealthier, more powerful force, moving with all of the structure and doctrine of a major conventional military, and it is the ROC Armed Forces which are developing asymmetric doctrines to use against it.4

  4. Consideration of strategic counterstrike capabilities. The US has historically used all its efforts to ensure that the ROC did not obtain either nuclear weapons or longer-range ballistic missile delivery systems as part of its deterrence of PRC strategic power. The weakening US leverage over the ROC — as Washington is seen more as a friend of Beijing than of Taipei — means that Taipei, over the longer term, must consider whether it should develop the ability to ensure a sound deterrence of any PRC military adventurism. It is likely that the cost-effectiveness of an offensive strategic weapons program, however, may be less than the development of sound defenses which could ensure that a PLA offensive is blunted.

It is significant that neither Beijing nor Taipei anticipate that the PRC would, under normal circumstances, find a military solution to the “two China” situation desirable or practicable. What is of concern to both, however, is the prospect of unrest in the PRC over the coming one or two decades if major internal challenges cannot be contained within the PRC. These potential internal challenges include:

(a)     Unmanageable unrest5 in the cities due to a possible economic downturn which could be triggered, for example, by an international economic slump, or by resource, water, or food shortages, or even because of the inability of cities to adequately soak up incoming internal migration from rural areas;

(b)     Regional polarization within the PRC which could lead, effectively, to the breakdown of central control and the creation of a de facto federation or even a more loose confederation of Chinese societies. Unless carefully handled, competing regional aspirations within China could lead to political consequences.

In some respects, the situation in the PRC’s cities in 2007 resembles some of the dynamic of, say, 1907: a few years before growing political activism and rising expectations — created by the impact of globalized political and social trends on a transforming urban set of societies in China — unleashed the 1911 Revolution of Dr Sun Yat-sen, overthrowing the Imperial rule of the Middle Kingdom. The PRC’s leadership is highly aware of the potential for unrest if rising expectations cannot be met, or if the national balance is disturbed to any great degree by the curtailment of the inflow of investment, energy, or raw materials, or by the inability of the hinterland to provide sufficient water or food to sustain the cities.

And the matter of resources, energy, pollution, urbanization, food and water self-sufficiency, and the like, are indeed all moving toward either a complex framework of solutions or to crisis over the coming decade or two. The PRC’s attempts to create enough energy — through coal and nuclear power, primarily — could well resolve the matter of water resources for the cities and for the agricultural regions, although the revival of essentially ravaged agricultural land may take longer to address.

Within this framework, however, a not unsympathetic Chinese population in the ROC — Taiwan — must ask whether they want to throw in their lot with the mainland while the crisis of transformation there remains, as it now is, unresolved. In that sense, then, the advantage lies with the ROC, but the longer the ROC lies outside the control of the PRC it provides an example of resistance to Beijing. Clearly, while “Taiwanese independence” could be seen as a demonstration of Beijing’s strategic impotence, even sustained refusal to embrace the convergence of the “two China’s” within a reasonable timeframe is, given the prospect for unrest from other quarters (as noted above), not viewed favorably in Beijing.

The PRC’s defense budget in 2006 was declared at 283.8-billion yuan ($36.3-billion), up from a declared $8.4-billion in 1996 (then dollars). And while the official PRC figures for defense spending almost certainly considerably understate the real level of defense spending, these figures, three decades apart, do indicate the magnitude of the growth — some 450 percent — of PRC defense spending. In the same period, the ROC defense budget almost doubled, from some $10.24-billion in 1995-96 to around $20-billion in 2006 (with ROC defense spending figures fairly transparent, reflecting actual budgetary commitments to defense).6

So a state of dynamic tension exists between the “two Chinas” as they await either the break-up of the PRC, or an eventual modus vivendi (which could appear very much like reunification), or for a PRC war against the ROC. In the meantime, the PRC has moved as rapidly, and as discreetly, as possible to curtail all of the ROC’s options for an independent strategic life, and in this it has been relatively successful.

It has worked assiduously to overturn the diplomatic recognition of the ROC by those states which had continued to maintain formal relations with Taipei. A string of political actions by Beijing in Pacific Island states in recent years succeeded in wooing away a number of micro-states which had continued to recognize Taipei, even if those actions meant helping to effect changes of government.

In Africa, the sudden switch by Senegal in 2006 from recognition of Taipei to recognition of Beijing was highly significant, and it can be assumed that further actions are underway to take the few remaining diplomatic partners of Taipei in Africa. In Central and South America, too, Beijing has been equally assiduous, and it is now working — in close cooperation with Venezuelan Pres. Hugo Chávez Frias — to support an armed insurgency which would destabilize the Panamanian Government of Pres. Martin Torrijos Espino, which recognizes Taipei, despite the fact that the Panama Canal is itself commercially controlled by a PRC-registered company.7

The ROC has responded by developing flexible modalities for dealing strategically and economically with its allies, even when those allies maintain diplomatic relations with the PRC. Significantly, the ROC has been able to strike a chord with some regional states in the matter of developing ballistic missile defenses and in helping to ensure sea lanes which could withstand PRC naval interdiction. The regular ROC SLOC (Sea Lanes of Communications) conferences in Taipei have ensured that the ROC has maintained open lines of communications with other regional states concerned about the growing ability of the PLA Navy to influence vital sea lanes.

Much of the growing regional concern about BMD, however, has been given a new impetus because of the DPRK nuclear and missile demonstrations of 2006. This, then, works directly against PRC strategic interests. As well, the recognition by regional states that total control of the critical sea lanes by the PLA restricts their options has meant that more states are now interested in whether the ROC Navy is able to upgrade its conventional submarine capabilities.

The recognition that the US will never supply the promised conventional submarines to the ROCN has meant that Taipei has begun considering how best to acquire the necessary fleet enhancements. Part of the problem, however, has been the fact that the ROC has followed US pressure to become a model democracy, something which has brought a new transparency to government dealings.

Taiwan’s major transition to open, pluralistic government was taking place just as major defense acquisition programs from French suppliers was occurring. The deals for 60 AMD Mirage 2000-5Di/Ei fighters and six poorly-equipped (for French political reasons, to assuage the PRC) La Fayette-class frigates, with deliveries in 1998, were through private agents and French dealers, and involved a web of pay-offs by the French suppliers. The political ramifications in Taiwan were considerable, as a result of the increased transparency of governments, party political rivalries, and a more open media.

The result today is that the ROC Government has subsequently favored only government-to-government defense acquisition programs, working through the very expensive US Foreign Military Sales process, and deals with private companies have been rigorously avoided. This has meant that the ROC has avoided developing a local submarine construction capability, something its advanced maritime industry would clearly be able to do.

There are suggestions that, with the clarity of the US refusal to provide submarines now emerging and hesitations in the US supply of other weapons, the ROC will begin to find modalities to work once again with private ROC and foreign industry on vital defense programs. Significantly, ROC industry and the ROCN has significant technical expertise to apply to a submarine construction program, more, in fact, than the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) had when it embarked on the build of the Type 471 Collins-class submarines.

The rapid progress which the PRC has made in the domestic construction of submarines, too, has made other regional players — such as Japan — concerned about the security of sea lanes, particularly in light of the reality that the PLAN has been able to demonstrate success in penetrating USN anti-submarine defenses in late 2006. It is highly possible that Japan, which has perhaps the most silent conventional submarines in the world, could discreetly assist the ROC in a domestic submarine construction program.

The DPRK-Iran strategic pact, which pulled North Korea away from the control or guidance of Beijing and Moscow, led to the incidents in late 2006 which re-invigorated the military competition in north-east Asia. Quite apart from the longer-term problems which confront Beijing — such as the resource shortages, population problems, energy demands, and the like — the reality is that a real regional debate, and a debate with the US, about the military balance is the last thing which the PRC needs at this time.


Footnotes:

1. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, confirmed into office on September 25, 2006, began moves to upgrade the Japan Self-Defense Agency to Ministerial status. Fumio Kyuma was, on September 26, 2006, named to return as Director-General of the Japan Defense Agency (JDA), and immediately called for the Agency to be upgraded to full Ministry status on December 15, 2006. The re-appointment to the Defense portfolio of Fumio Kyuma, who served as JDA Director-General in the 1990s under Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto and who was Chairman of the General Council of the LDP, was seen as part of incoming Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s moves to make Japan more self-reliant from the US in security matters. And while it now seems clear that the Japanese defense strategy will move toward a greater emphasis on independent offensive capabilities as well as continuing to strengthen ballistic missile defenses (BMD), it is also true that, unless Prime Minister Abe and Defense Minister Kyuma can persuade the Diet to the contrary, the defense budget will be reduced for the fifth year in a row. On December 24, 2006, the Cabinet passed a $41.75-billion spending plan for FY2006-07, down $106.96-million, some 0.3 percent, from 2005-06. The budget, expected to pass the Diet, would take effect with the new fiscal year in April. BMD spending share, however, would rise to $1.54-billion, up $360-million or 30.5 percent from 2005-06. While the Japanese (and other regional states’) expenditure on BMD directly addresses the threat from the DPRK, it also helps nullify the strategic impact and leverage of the PRC’s own ballistic missile capability.

2. China's National Defense in 2006, released on December 29, 2006, by the Information Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, December 2006, Beijing, PRC.

3. See also:

Defense & Foreign Affairs Daily, July 9, 2004: ROC, Sensing US Failure to Supply SSKs, Looks to Local Production.

Defense & Foreign Affairs Daily, September 23, 2004: US Navy Nuclear Advocates Sabotage Presidential Move to Aid Taiwan on Submarines.

Defense & Foreign Affairs Daily, October 12, 2004: US Navy Rejection of Bush Commitment to Taiwan Hardens, Reportedly Reinforced by SecNav. 

4. The extremely important ROC document, the 2006 National Defense Report of the Republic of China, issued by the ROC Ministry of Defense in August 2006, highlights the changing nature of the PRC threat to the ROC, and the ROC’s transforming approach to meeting the threat. The report highlighted the “Offensive Posture” of the ROC from 1949 to 1969; the “Unity of Offensive and Defensive” from 1969 to 1979; the “Defensive Posture” from 1979 to 2002; and the “Active Defense Posture” from 2002 to the present. The current “Active Defense Posture” is clearly maturing significantly, judging from the National Defense Report and from comments made by all ROC Armed Forces commanders to this writer in late December 2006 during discussions in Taipei. Even the basic statement of the Report that “warfare in the future will no longer be limited to military operations between defense forces” highlights the move, particularly of the Army, toward a smaller, professional force which would almost entirely be built around a “special warfare” doctrine and capability. In keeping with its more creative approach to defense, the ROC Armed Forces are also paying far greater attention to political and psychological warfare.

5. According to Phillip C. Saunders, in China’s Global Activism: Strategy, Drives, and Tools, published as Occasional Paper 4, by the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University, Washington, DC, in October 2006, “A senior [PRC] public security official recently admitted that there were more than 74,000 mass protests involving 3.7-million people in 2004” in the People’s Republic of China. Saunders cited “The Cauldron Boils”, in The Economist, September 29, 2005; and Murray Scot Tanner, “China Rethinks Unrest”, in Washington Quarterly 27, No. 3 (Summer 2004), 137-156.

6. Source: Defense & Foreign Affairs Handbook, 16th Edition, published 2006 by the International Strategic Studies Association, Alexandria, Virginia.

7. See Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis, June 30, 2006: Venezuelan Pres. Hugo Chávez Builds Regional, “Deniable” Militia Intervention Force. The report noted that:

“Pres. Hugo Chávez Frias was now well advanced in building a 1,200-man militia force for armed intervention in neighboring states, and hoped to deploy the force — supposedly deniable — by the second quarter of 2007. … The first major operation of the new militia was reportedly to be Panama, and the militia units would be infiltrated into the country as workers for Chinese-owned companies there, ostensibly to lead uprisings against the Panamanian Government of President Martin Torrijos Espino. Despite the fact that many PRC companies operate in Panama — including the operating company for the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) — the Republic of Panama maintains diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (ROC: Taiwan), rather than the PRC.” The report continued: “Significantly, the PRC has been making major moves in 2005 and 2006, in particular, in the Caribbean, African, and Pacific Islands states which had maintained ties to the ROC, essentially working to overthrow those governments which could not be persuaded to switch recognition from the PRC to the ROC. The April 2006 riots in the Solomon Islands, for example, which forced the resignation of newly-elected Prime Minister Snyder Rini, was part of a campaign involving active participation of PRC intelligence to break up a Solomon Islands government committed to continuing diplomatic ties with the ROC. Other Pacific Islands states with ROC ties had been similarly targeted by the PRC in recent years, such as Vanuatu, the Government of which was essentially reshaped to force a reversal of diplomatic recognition of the ROC.”

“Similarly, The Government of Senegal, under strong pressure from Beijing, abandoned its long-standing diplomatic relationship with the Republic of China (ROC: Taiwan) in October 2005, and recognized the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The move followed intense diplomatic efforts by the PRC to make strong trade and diplomatic inroads throughout Africa, which was becoming increasingly significant as a resource supplier for mainland China. The Senegalese Government decision came as a shock to Taiwan, as it had given no prior warning that it would resume diplomatic ties with Beijing. As a result, the ROC Ambassador to Senegal, Huang Yun-cheh, was dismissed on his return to Taipei for having failed to forecast the event.”

“As a result of the indications, it now appeared that the interests of the PRC, Cuba, and Venezuela would coincide in an upsurge of violence and guerilla warfare against the Panamanian Government during the second quarter of 2007. Equally, the PRC is, globally, moving rapidly to remove any remaining vestiges of diplomatic support for the ROC, as a prelude to the resumption of direct strategic pressure on the ROC to move toward accepting PRC sovereignty over Taiwan.”

 


 

     



 
Copyright © 2007, Gregory R. Copley. All rights reserved.
     
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