August 17, 2006

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China's role in Lebanon

This edition of Jamestown Foundation's China Brief has an article discussing how China was involved in the Lebanon crisis on several levels. Amongst the other interesting observations is this:

As the crisis persisted, a basic contradiction in Beijing’s attitude toward the United States became exposed, reflecting the complicated relations between the two countries. On the one hand, China has blamed the United States for using the conflict to pressure Iran and Syria, to “export democracy” and to promote its “Greater Middle East” Project (People’s Daily Online, July 28). At the same time, Beijing points out, the conflict further demonstrates and underscores the limits of U.S. power....Yet on the other hand, during the conflict, China called on the United States to abandon its “apathy” and “indifference,” occasionally almost begging Washington to step in and “make any move or take any mediatory actions” to stop the war (Xinhua, July 21). Beijing’s recognition of U.S. global influence also reveals the limited sway that China has over the Middle East region. Expectations that the PRC will become a “responsible stakeholder” are premature. For the time being, China is a “silent partner,” talking much but doing little.
There's other gems in the article. Well worth a read.

posted by Simon on 08.17.06 at 11:25 AM in the China brief category.


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perhaps highlight this paragraph as well

"China’s behavior toward regional conflicts far from its frontiers has typically followed the same pattern. In an attempt to dissociate itself from the crisis, especially when the protagonists are its associates, Beijing advocates an early and peaceful settlement of the conflict by the parties concerned, preferably without external intervention. When possible, Beijing would exclude even the United Nations from intervening, not only because it offers what it believes is a stage for ulterior motives and interests but also, perhaps mainly, because it compels the Chinese to take a stand and thereby take sides. Above all, Beijing has always promoted the quickest restoration of stability so that its economic interests would not be seriously harmed. This conflict is no exception. From almost the beginning of the Israeli-Lebanon war, Beijing has interpreted the conflict on two levels: the local-particularistic micro-level, and the global-universalistic macro-level."

IMHO the quotes from newspaper (Wen Hui or Ta Kung, or even People's Daily) do not accurately reflect China's diplomatic position. the papers are for PR purpose (with domestic and international) audiences.
the diplomatic position did not sway from the general principle in that introductory paragraph.

posted by: sun bin on 08.17.06 at 01:55 PM [permalink]

while i think the report provides a fairly accurate and insightful account on China's reaction in the conflict. i disagree with the 'stakeholder' statement

1) being a stakeholder does not means agree with US in every issue. especially on this very controversial one, where even France and (over) half of UK are against the US position.
2) choosing to stay out, but support a compromise could also be constructive stakeholder action.

china will be a silent (but cooperative) stakeholder in many issues outside east asia. china may actually not be a stakeholder in some situations, but in this particular case what china did was no different from that of Germany's.

posted by: sun bin on 08.17.06 at 02:27 PM [permalink]

But Chinas was more involved than Germany both through the use of its missiles and through the deaths of its peacekeepers. Indeed China probably has a chance to weigh in as an 'honest broker' and help steer some kind of solution here, but as you and the article point out, China's natural inclination is to avoid getting involved.

posted by: Simon on 08.17.06 at 02:40 PM [permalink]

I would like to know why the Chinese were bombed?

Was it similarly to do with the action in the Kosovo campaign, where it was evidenced that the chinese had a survelliance post in the building?

posted by: doug on 08.17.06 at 07:28 PM [permalink]


wan't the chinese officer in the same bunker as 3 other UNIFIL officers (Aussie, Finnish, Canadian)? if there is surveilance, the other UNIFIL staff who share the bunker must have observed something.

btw, do you have anything more concrete about the 'surveillance' in belgrade? i know there is such theory, but would be interesting to read your source, since you seem to be quite adamant about it.

posted by: sun bin on 08.18.06 at 12:23 PM [permalink]

yes, there is an opportunity for china to act as an honest broker. but it chose not to, because
1) wary of feeding the "china threat" camp
2) adhere to it "hide low, bide time" strategy for economic growth.
3) didn't want to offend Israel or 'lebanon/rest of the world', didn't want to atagonize US in diplomacy -- perhaps this is how the interpret as what 'stakeholder' means
4) happy to let france take the lead, and be a follower

I will see the missile sales more like an action of "mercantilism" -- i.e. seizing every opportunity for economic profit -- and most likely, an act of the decentralized military enterprises. you know china sold weapon to both iran and iraq in the 1980s.

posted by: sun bin on 08.18.06 at 12:33 PM [permalink]

sun bin: adamant? I was simply saying it was evidenced--and my sources are none, other than what was reported on television news at the time, and some articles I read for China Foriegn Policy class in Hong Kong some time ago.

Not sure where you get the idea I am adamant about it.

But I would like to know if there was any felt connection in regards to the Belgrade embassy.

posted by: doug on 08.18.06 at 04:34 PM [permalink]

what "evidence" did you read? all i saw is far fetched conspiracy theory.

having said that, i think it is not impossible. as we know, many countries (including US, Russia, Japan, France) routinely use emabassies for surveillance function. i am not surprised if china did that as well.
but again, embassy is the soveriegn territory of the country. you do not bomb US surveillance facilities in Hawaii, or Chinese surveillance in Heilongjiang. US spy plane even flies to 12 miles from China coast and all China could do was an airplane crash 'accident'.
therefore, i do not think a sane US government would have bombed the Belgrade embassy even if they are doing some sort of surveillance.

it is probably a result of incompetence...

posted by: sun bin on 08.19.06 at 11:54 AM [permalink]

yes, it probably is, but like i said, i read it in news reports. i am not saying i totally believe it without any questioning.

i am not a conspiracy theorist.

i was just asking, i wonder if there is any commentary on whether some people thought the same thing happened in lebanon.

i am not a blogger. i am not a pundit. i am not trying to sling mud or start up some kind of ad hoc flame war.

just wondering...

posted by: doug on 08.19.06 at 06:03 PM [permalink]

so far i haven't heard of any serious report pointing in that direction. perhaps the reason is as i said earlier, it is incredulous if people from 4 different countries were sheltered in the same tiny bunker.

however, i suppose there might be such theories out there. e.g. from Far Long Gone related media/blogs or things like that.

posted by: sun bin on 08.21.06 at 11:46 AM [permalink]

I can't post it here (because of Simon's weird spam screener), but google bombing of chinese embassy kosovo. you will find several articles about it.

some point to it being an accident.
some point to it being deliberate, as an attempt to bomb the embassy being used as a safehouse by milosevic.
there are still others, including a ''nato confirmed'' report that it was bombed because it was a listening post.

sun bin, i have in no way tried to garnish my comments with an angle or a ideology. i think if you want to you can look yourself. this is not me against you. it's not meant to prove a point.

you can go toss your salad for all i care.

posted by: doug on 08.21.06 at 05:09 PM [permalink]

@ Sun Bin

...but again, embassy is the soveriegn territory of the country. you do not bomb US surveillance facilities in Hawaii, or Chinese surveillance in Heilongjiang.

Precisely. As we have learned from China, it's best to fan the flames of nationalism so as to instigate the masses to attack a foreign embassy.

posted by: THM on 08.25.06 at 06:30 AM [permalink]


what salad? i was just answering your question "i wonder if there is any commentary on whether some people thought the same thing happened in lebanon.".

are we talking about lebanon or yugoslavia. you got me all confused


china did not fan the protest. it sent police to separae the crowd from the embassy and paid for the repair.
the last thing the CCP govt wanted to see is a crowd out of control.
some western observers just have no clue on what happens in china. when angry crowd protest against CCP corruption, it is democracy. when they protest against foreign, then it is CCP planned.
Just put the situation on your own country, would you also see similar outrage?

posted by: sun bin on 08.25.06 at 07:21 AM [permalink]

Exciting website.

posted by: Kaylee on 09.11.06 at 09:13 AM [permalink]

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