Monday, March 14, 2005

Chinese Belligerence

The Guardian reports, China Law Authorizes Force Against Taiwan;
BEIJING (AP) - China's parliament enacted a law Monday authorizing force to stop rival Taiwan from pursuing formal independence, sparking outrage on the self-governing island and warnings that the measure would fuel regional tensions.

The law does not specify what might trigger an attack and does not add new threats or conditions. Instead, it codifies the measures for authorizing Chinese military action.

The ceremonial National People's Congress passed the law despite U.S. appeals for restraint. It came a day after President Hu Jintao called on China's military to be ready for war and followed a 12.6 percent increase in the country's defense budget for 2005.
This situation is becoming ever more dangerous. Should there be war it will likely involve not only China and Taiwan, but the United States and Japan. The Japanese Ryukyu Islands form a line all of the way to Taiwan, separating the East China Sea from the rest of the Pacific Ocean.

The Proximity of Japan, the Koreas, Russia, and China

Reuters also reports, Chinese Parliament Passes Law to Warn Taiwan;
Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council quickly called the law a "serious provocation" unhelpful to the development of relations.

"It also brought emotional pain to the Taiwanese people," said chairman Joseph Wu. "At this point, the most important matter is that the Chinese government should sincerely apologize to the Taiwanese people for their grave mistake."

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao offered soothing words. "This is a law to strengthen and promote cross-Strait relations, for peaceful reunification, not targeted at the people of Taiwan, nor is it a law of war," he told a news conference.
The United States is bound to assist in the defense of Taiwan. The Chinese justify the anti-secession law by comparing it to the U. S. anti-secession legislation written prior to the American Civil War;
Saber-rattling in the Taiwan Strait by China's fast-growing military forces has in recent years drawn in forces of the United States, legally bound to help Taiwan defend itself.

Chinese President Hu Jintao Sunday urged the People's Liberation Army to "step up preparations for possible military struggle" and "prevent wars and win the wars if any."

China hopes the legislation will deter Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian from pushing for independence. Analysts say the PLA has no immediate plans to attack Taiwan, over which Beijing has claimed sovereignty since Nationalist troops fled there in 1949 as the Communists conquered the mainland.

Wen defended the legislation by comparing it to U.S. anti-secession legislation at the start of the 1861-65 American civil war, fought to prevent southern states from seceding.

"In the United States, the civil war broke out, but we here do not wish to see such a situation," he added.
This bears close watching. It is not a good situation and Chinese belligerence is making it worse.

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