July 06, 2005

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The latest China Brief is up at the Jamestown Foundation and as usual it contains four excellent articles, especially the first.

1. Interpreting China's Grand Strategy. An absolute must read. It covers the differences between Deng and Mao's international strategy - whereas Mao was about international revolution, Deng and his successors are for peace and development. China recognises the need to avoid confrontation with the US, even in a post Cold War world:

After considerable debate within the CCP, China eventually decided to continue the strategy of embracing cooperation with the United States. Chinese analysts advanced what might be called the “law of avoidance” to explain and justify this approach. Based on historical analyses of the rise and fall of states over the last five centuries, this law postulates that rising nations that come into direct confrontation with reigning hegemonic powers fail in their drive for national eminence: for example, France in the early 19th century, or Germany, Japan, and the Soviet Union in the 20th century. Rising nations that avoid confrontation with, or even band-wagon onto, the reigning hegemon have enjoyed greater ultimate success (e.g., Britain in the 17th century and the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries). China’s leadership concluded it would be better to cooperate with the United States in order to accomplish its drive for national greatness. 9/11 greatly broadened the opportunities for such strategic cooperation.
The price of this strategy is China is vulnerable to US moves that are contrary to China's interests. But the most interesting part of this piece is in its analysis of China's desire to re-unite with Taiwan:
Beijing's strategy for incorporation of Taiwan is to grow Chinese power until it over-awes both Taiwan and the United States. As China's power approximates that of the United States, and as China demonstrates its willingness to use that power to incorporate Taiwan, Washington will be forced to disengage from Taiwan...In the meantime, China will use its influence to prevent injury to its de jure claim to Taiwan. In the fullness of time, if Taipei and Washington dispute Beijing’s "one country, two systems" terms, then a trial of strength with the United States may be necessary.
If you only read one China-related article today, make it this one.

2. Reforms in the PLA air force.

3. Hu's Central Asian gamble to counter the US "containment strategy".

4. Zimbabwe: China's African ally.

* CAT = China, America and Taiwan

posted by Simon on 07.06.05 at 09:47 AM in the


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