CHINA’S DEFENSE WHITE PAPER REFLECTS BEIJING’S RESOLVE TO TRIUMPH OVER AMERICA
On July 24, China published a defense white paper for the first time since 2015. Entitled China’s National Defense in the New Era, the paper laid bare its intense rivalry with the US, taking up the gauntlet the US threw down in its 2017 National Security Strategy and 2018 National Defense Strategy.
The white paper reflects China’s resolve to grapple squarely with the Trump administration, which has defined China and Russia as serious international threats undermining America’s prosperity and security. The administration condemns a group of nations spearheaded by China as forces who seek to change by force the existing world order, declaring America’s resolve to maintain its global leadership.
Throughout its 67 pages, the white paper frequently emphasizes that China’s national defense in the new era must be achieved by faithfully following Xi Jinping’s “thinking on strengthening the military.”
In order to build a military force “which wins any battle at any time,” the white paper upholds the goal of China implementing a major “revolution in military affairs” through the use of sophisticated technological innovation and data analysis.
The paper expounds the strategic goals of China’s national defense and military as: 1) achieving an enforced strategic planning capability by 2020; 2) comprehensively advancing the modernization of military theory, organizational structure, military personnel, and weaponry and equipment by 2030; and 3) fully transforming their military into a world-class force by the mid-21st century.
Why does Xi Jinping so bluntly stress his desire to enhance China’s military buildup? One reason experts point out is that Xi’s domestic political underpinning is not solid enough, which forces him to pursue buoyant policies in order to strengthen his leadership.
This bullish posture has prompted him to singularly blame the US for the global arms race in the white paper, which claims:
“The US has…provoked and intensified competition among major countries, significantly increased its defense expenditure, pushed for additional capacity in nuclear, outer space, cyber and missile defense, and undermined global strategic stability.”
China is as wrong as can be here. After all, there is no trace of any humble realization on its part that the military tension in the global community after all is attributable to the gigantic military buildup China has engaged in the past three decades unmatched by any other nation.
“Dirtiest Tasks in the World”
As regards the Taiwan situation, China accuses Taiwan of adamantly longing for independence by “borrowing the strength” of the US, declaring: “The fight against separatists is becoming more acute. The Taiwan authorities…stubbornly stick to ‘Taiwan independence’ and refuse to recognize the 1992 Consensus which embodies the one-China principle. They have gone further down the path of separatism by stepping up efforts to sever the connection with the mainland in favor of gradual independence…The ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces and their actions remain the gravest immediate threat to the peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the biggest barrier hindering the peaceful reunification of the country. External separatist forces for ‘Tibet independence’ and the creation of ‘East Turkistan’ launch frequent actions, posing threats to China’s national security and social stability.”
In stark contrast to fiercely charging the US with undermining China’s order and stability, China unabashedly maintains that its military power serves the sole purpose of defending its land and people and maintaining regional peace and stability.
For example, the white paper paints a rosy picture of the Asia-Pacific region, noting: “Asia-Pacific countries are increasingly aware that they are members of a community with a shared destiny…
“The situation of the South China Sea is generally stable and improving as regional countries are properly managing risks and differences…Addressing differences and disputes through dialogue and consultation has become a preferred policy option for regional countries, making the region a stable part of the global landscape… A balanced, stable, open and inclusive Asian security architecture continues to develop.”
No other country in the Asia-Pacific, except for China, would consider the situation in the South China Sea “generally stable”—not to mention smaller and weaker countries, such as Vietnam and the Philippines, which are unable to protest, as they are intimidated by China.
Here, I wish to share with the readers a statement Professor Yang hai-ying made in the latest issue of the conservative Seiron monthly magazine that I find particularly compelling: “China always performs the dirtiest tasks in the world while using the most flowery words.”
Born in Inner Mongolia in 1964, Professor Yang has spent many years researching in great detail the incredible suppression Mongolians have been subjected to by the Chinese Communist Party. This background makes his observations of Chinese rule all the more convincing. As Yang pointed out, the defense white paper is indeed studded with flowery expressions that obscure what really has taken place amid the deep darkness of communist rule.
Let us take a fresh look at the South China Sea here. Japanese tankers with full loads of crude oil regularly sail east to the Indian Ocean through the Strait of Hormuz, then enter the southern edge of the South China Sea through the Strait of Malacca, and finally reach Japan via the Strait of Taiwan or the Bashi Channel of the Philippines.
The white paper described the South China Sea, which is part of Japan’s vital life line, as an open sea characterized by balance and stability. However, about a month ago, on July 2 to be exact, China fired two anti-ship ballistic missiles—one a DF-21D and the other a DF-26—into these waters. Anti-ship ballistic missiles are special weapons that only China currently deploys.
The DF-21D missile was launched from the Chinese mainland. The PLA deploys one DF-21D division each in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, and Shanguan, Guandong Province. With a relatively short range of 1,500 kilometers (900 miles), the DF-21D cannot cover the whole of the South China Sea, but is nevertheless so powerful it is menacingly called a “carrier killer.”
China Will Target Senkakus and Okinawa after Taiwan
Why is the DF-21D called the “carrier killer”? Although it can be intercepted by SM3 ballistic interceptors loaded on Aegis ships, only a limited number of the interceptors can be carried aboard at once time. Should China launch a number of the DF-21Ds simultaneously, defending against them would be extremely difficult.
The DF-26 is another threat to US forces. With a range of 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles), it can cover the entire South China Sea. Japan of course comes within its range. Capable of mounting nuclear and conventional warheads, the DF-26 is referred to as the “Guam killer.”
Preparing their troops to launch DF missiles with accuracy in real combat, the Chinese army is said to have created a mammoth target shaped like a carrier in the middle of the Gobi Desert in order to conduct drills daily.
Viewed in this light, one cannot but conclude that the South China Sea is steadily coming under Chinese control despite the claim in the white paper that it is “generally stable and improving.” Japanese tankers obviously would not be spared the negative effects, should China take ultimate control of the waters.
What about Taiwan, located at the northeastern entrance to the South China Sea? The white paper repeated exactly what Xi had said in his New Year address on Taiwan—that, like Hong Kong, it must accept the “one state, two systems” formula, and that China “makes no promise to renounce the use of force” and “reserves the option of taking all necessary means” to reunite with Taiwan.
Xi delivered a scathing message obviously aimed at none other than President Tsai Ing-wei of Taiwan: “If anyone attempts to achieve Taiwan’s separation and independence, China will safeguard its national unification at all costs.” If Taiwan should fall into China’s hands, we Japanese must be prepared to expect that China will naturally target the Senkaku Islands, Okinawa, and the Goto Islands in Nagasaki Prefecture.
China’s latest defense white paper sends out a number of stern warnings against Japan. China is expected to continue contending for supremacy with the US at full force. The odds are clearly against China for now, but should it achieve hegemony in the medium to long term, the world it would control would be the depth of misery for all Asian nations,including Japan. In Hong Kong, the world has already seen the trickery of the “one state, two systems” formula, and how deceptive China’s sweet promise of democracy can be.
That is why we must seek closer cooperation with the US while further enhancing our own overall national power, including the military, as soon as possible. (The End)
(Translated from “Renaissance Japan” column no. 863 in the combined August 8-15 issue of The Weekly Shincho)