During the months of November and December 1999, the Washington Times published several reports, all based on US intelligence sources, that China is building two new missiles based, designed for missiles aimed at Taiwan.
James Soong: "China has done its very best to express some goodwill, but we simply haven't noticed it yet ..."
On 23 November 1999, Washington Times' writer Bill Gertz reported that US spy-satellites had detected construction of a major new missile base at the town of Yongan, which was reportedly intended for the deployment of a brigade of advanced CSS-7 Mod 2 missiles. The new missile was shown for the first time at the October 1st military parade in Beijing on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the PRC.
According to Pentagon officials, the new missile will be armed with conventional high-explosive warheads, but can also be outfitted with advanced high-tech payloads, such as deep-penetrating warheads for use against concrete facilities, exotic electromagnetic-pulse warheads that disrupt electronic devises, or even small nuclear warheads.
The Washington Times report quoted US Admiral Dennis Blair as saying that the Chinese missile buildup forces the United States to help Taiwan develop advanced missile defense systems. "We're talking about a balance here, and a count of 500 or 600 [missiles] to very few defenses [on the Taiwan side] doesn't seem like a very good balance," the admiral is quoted as saying.
Another US government official, who is an expert on the Chinese military, is quoted as saying that the Clinton Administration has tried to ignore Beijing's missile buildup. "Both Beijing and the State Department are in agreement that Taiwan doesn't deserve adequate missile defenses while both are also in agreement that the U.S. and Taiwan should ignore Beijing's blossoming ballistic missiles", he said.
In a second article, dated 8 December 1999, the Washington Times reported the construction of another missile base at Xianyou, only 135 miles from Taiwan. This base is reportedly also intended for the deployment of a brigade with 16 truck launchers and 96 CSS-7 Mod 2 missiles. The layout of the base was reportedly similar to a base at Leping, from where China launched its missiles during the missile crisis in February-March 1996, preceding the first Taiwanese direct presidential elections.
In a further article, dated 6 December 1999, the Washington Times reported that China was starting construction of a new type of strategic submarine, that would be able to carry 12 to 16 long-range missiles which could be aimed at "any place in the United States."
The submarine, titled Type 094, is expected to be deployed around 2005 or 2006, and would carry the JL-2 missile, a smaller version of the new DF-31 intercontinental ballistic missile, which has a range of 7,400 miles. According to Pentagon sources, the JL-2 and the DF-31 are the first Chinese missiles which will contain guidance and warhead technology stolen from the United States.
Officially, the Clinton Administration has maintained that there is no evidence that China is using technology of U.S. origin in its strategic weapon systems. That view is now contradicted by these new reports.
While the above reports on missile deployment and submarine construction are worrying enough, the attitude of the Clinton Administration is even more worrying: when asked about this Chinese missile buildup on 8 December 1999, Mr. Clinton responded by saying: "China is modernizing its military in a lot of ways" as if he was condoning the missile buildup.
It is peculiar that Mr. Clinton didn't say that he considered the missiles to be totally unacceptable!! If only half a dozen of these missiles were aimed at the United States, all hell would break loose and the US would provoke a major crisis to get China to dismantle them (remember Cuba 1962). However, having some 200 (two hundred) of them aimed at a small island-nation that is trying to become a free and democratic member of the international community seems to evoke only whitewashing-talk from Mr. Clinton.
To make matters even more confusing, Mr. Clinton added: "But our policy on China is crystal clear. We believe there is one China. We think it has to be resolved through a cross-strait dialogue."
Taiwan Communiqué comment: The main thing that has been clear, is that since Mr. Clinton's infamous "Three No" statement in Shanghai, the US policy has had all the appearance of acceptance of the position of the communists dictators in Beijing, while "not supporting" the views of the free and democratic people of Taiwan.
Should Taiwan remain a free, democratic and independent country, or should it negotiate its future with a belligerent, communist China ? We believe it would be right, rational and reasonable if the United States and other Western nations expressed their clear support for a free and democratic Taiwan and stop kowtowing to Beijing.
In mid-November 1999, the Democratic progressive Party started issuing a series of White Papers, outlining the policies it would initiate if its candidate in the March 2000 Presidential elections, Mr. Chen Shui-bian, would be elected. Below is a brief summary of each of the three initial White Papers:
In a White Paper on China Policy, the DPP outlined its proposed policies towards its giant neighbor. The policy is based on promoting the normalization of cross-strait relations. However, the paper states, " the hostility from China toward Taiwan is a reality that influences national security. How to cope with the challenge from China should be a major concern for various political parties in Taiwan."
The Democratic Progressive Party advocates four pillars for the security of Taiwan:
It states that these four pillars are all essential to Taiwan. A clear national status defines our national interest and enables the formation of our defense and diplomatic strategy.
The strength of national defense relies on economic power, and economic development requires the protection of national defense. Taiwan's economy is significantly affected by cross-strait trade, yet the trade relationship depends on a harmonious environment.
The Democratic Progressive Party believes that a proper China policy should consider these four pillars and the cause-and-effect relationship therein. Only though a comprehensive, diversified strategy can the security of Taiwan be ensured, only then will Taiwan be able to fulfill its obligations as a member of the global community in the 21st century.
Also in November 1999, the DPP issued a White Paper on its Defense Policy. It stated that the fundamental principle of the policy of the DPP and its Presidential candidate Chen Shui-bian is aimed at deterring the outbreak of war and maintaining the peace and security in the region.
The military strategy focuses on defending Taiwan's territory and population against coercive threats and invasion from China. The primary objectives of Taiwan's armed forces are to safeguard the country's democracy and prosperity, and to preserve the regional stability.
Facing the challenges in the twenty-first century, Taiwan needs to establish a comprehensive security strategy, which may include, but not limited to, engaging China with dignity and enhancing overall national military capabilities persistently.
The defense policy then goes on to develop a set of twelve specific proposals, which can be found on our website at http://www.taiwandc.org/dpp-pol2.htm
In a third White Paper, the DPP outlined its foreign policy for the 21st Century. It stated that Taiwan's leader of the next century should have the courage to reform, to get rid of the conservative, short-sighted, tradition in Taiwan's mainlander-dominated diplomatic culture, and to reconfigure new diplomatic strategies.
Taiwan's leader of the new century should build a more energetic and visionary government in order to deal with global affairs by pragmatic and long-range operations.
It stated that "We are not satisfied with the existing government that embraces "the contest of the number of countries with diplomatic relationships" or "leadership diplomacy" as the key strategies to breakthrough Taiwan's diplomatic space. The main reason why Taiwan's foreign policy has been in regress is that the leaders and the decision-makers embrace a very biased and narrow perspective. The design of foreign policy should consider long-term effectiveness and sustainability."
The leader of the new century is obliged to give an open and responsible explanation to the people about the importance of reforming foreign policy. The DPP's alternative is a new Middle Way based on new internationalism and premised on the balance between "sovereign independence", and the advancement of interests. The implementation of "democratic diplomacy", "economic and trade diplomacy," "citizen's diplomacy," "humanitarian diplomacy" and "environmental diplomacy" will be key.
The conflicts and contradictions in the world system constitute challenges for the development of the international society in the new century. Through patience and hard work, the DPP strives to transform these challenges into opportunities for Taiwan's pursuit of broader international space.
Until very recently, Taiwan did not have a history: under the Kuomintang authorities _ most of whom came from China after World War II and had little affinity with Taiwan itself Taiwan's students had to memorize quaint facts about China's geography and history, while they learned very little about Taiwan, its geography or history.
Also, internationally, there was very little academic attention for Taiwan. Most sinologists focused on China. This is now changing with the recent publication of Taiwan, A New History edited by Murray A. Rubinstein of the Baruch College of the City University of New York.
Prof. Rubinstein pulled together an excellent team of scholars to present a new and diverse view of the many aspects of the colorful history of the island, from its beginnings as an outpost inhabited by Malayo-Polynesian aborigines, through its "discovery" as Ilha Formosa ("The Beautiful Island") by the Portuguese, the Dutch period of agricultural cultivation and influx of Chinese laborers, and on through the Koxinga period to the time of Japanese rule, and the island's occupation by Chiang Kai-shek's troops following World War II.
The book also gives a solid and balanced description of recent history: from the dark days of the February 28th 1947 massacre of some 30,000 Taiwanese by the Chinese Nationalist troops, to the recent transition from a repressive one-party dictatorship to a blossoming diverse democracy. In particular, the book focuses on the key roles played by the tangwai democratic opposition (the fore-runner of the present-day DPP) and the Presbyterian Church in initiating and pushing forward the process of democratization.
The book thus disproves other recent books about the democratic transition, which looked at the process through rosy-colored KMT glasses, and presented it as a process initiated by "benevolent" leaders, such as former President Chiang Ching-kuo -- who started his career as head of the KMT's dreaded secret police. This book shows that Chiang may have stood at the beginning of the road towards democratization, but that he only reluctantly set the first steps because of the strong pressure from the democratic opposition.
In short, Taiwan, A New History is a very valuable addition to the increasing valuable trove of knowledge about Taiwan, the beautiful island. It is published in the East Gate series by M.E. Sharpe Publishers, Armonk, NY.
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