Friday, May 25, 2012

Qualifying China’s military posture

Officers hoist the PRC flag at a military parade
When China’s regional claims encompass pretty much the entire South China Sea, countries with interests in the area can be forgiven for having doubts about what Beijing means by ‘defensive’  

As expected, the Chinese Ministry of National Defense earlier this week reacted with indignation at the contents of the Pentagon’s latest report on the Chinese military, released last week. 

Like in previous years, Chinese officials deplored what they saw as a misrepresentation and unfair depiction of China’s military development, adding that US officials were “deliberately playing up the imbalance” of military power in the Taiwan Strait to justify arms sales to Taiwan. 

At a press conference on Monday, Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng (耿雁生) assured the world that, contrary to what the Pentagon report suggested, the Chinese military is developing “for the exclusive purpose of safeguarding the country’s sovereignty, security and developmental interests,” and that Beijing has “firmly adhered to a peaceful development path and adopted a defense policy that is wholly defensive in nature.” 

There is no denying that China is a rising power and that it should be allowed to develop a military that is commensurate with its economic might and growing role internationally. But what undercuts Geng’s reassurances is the fact that this development is showing signs that it is going well beyond a purely defensive posture, as well as confusion over what China actually means by defensive. 

My unsigned editorial, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And the U.S.'s main interest in South Asia is to spread its seeds of freedom and democracy.

Nah, joking. The U.S. if bolder than that, it's in the u.s. NATIONAL interest for them to be present in the area, halfway around the world.

Now that we have our perspective....

Seriously, it's all just grand political posturing. For the real stuff, read wikileaked documents