1. The Ostensible Problem

Charles W. Freeman, Jr.,* writing in the July/August 1998 issue of Foreign Affairs, states:

China=s leaders have always said they would go to war to prevent the permanent

division of China. They now believe that they are likely to have to do so. China=s

armed forces have begun a decade-long effort to acquire the capabilities and do the

planning required to have a serious chance of overwhelming Taiwan=s formidable

defenses. If a demonstrated ability to do this proves insufficient to dissuade Taiwan

from separation, China=s armed forces expect to receive an order to invade the

island, notwithstanding the risk of conflict with the United States. (1)

On August 5, 1999, the independent Sing Tao Daily, reported

...Taiwan and the U.S. government are secretly colluding to create step-by-step

in the Taiwan Strait a political reality of Taiwan independence, and force China

to accept it. China=s top-level leaders have demanded the Peoples Liberation

Army to prepare for partial war, and for a total war, including fighting the

United States. (2) **

These views seem to concur with Patrick Tyler.*** He writes in the prolog to his 1999 book A Great Wall:

Taiwanese and American technicians are erecting the foundations for a future war

C a war with mainland China. It is no longer alarmist to say so...it is surprising

how the relentless military buildup has engendered little debate in the United States,

despite the certainty that any war between China and Taiwan would draw the

United States into a defense of the island. (3)


* Mr. Freeman Ais Co-chair of the United States-China Policy Foundation. A former diplomat, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission at Beijing from 1981 to 1984 and Assistant Secretary of Defense from 1993 to 1994.@

** See also the 1997-1998 Situational Analysis Report of the China Strategy and Administration Research Society. (4)

*** Mr. Tyler was The New York Times bureau chief in Beijing until he transferred to Moscow in 1999.

Prognosis for China, Page 2, The Ostensible Problem (Continued), Rev. 4

In the general context of this military build up on both sides of the Taiwan Strait a new element was introduced by the explicit enunciation of the Atwo states theory@ by Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui in July, 1999. The Economist reports A...if some Chinese leaders are to be believed, the latest language used by Lee...could lead to a war.@ (5) On August 10, 1999 the PRC mobilized a significant part of its militia for the first time in a decade. On the same day the South China Morning Post reported that Zhu Wenquan, an expert in amphibious warfare, has been appointed chief of staff of the Nanjing Military Region. (6) These moves came only one day after it was reported that Chinese submarines and warships were on patrol near the Taiwan Strait and that People=s Liberation Army forces had mobilized in the Nanjing Military Region. (7) On August 11 Tass reported Chinese leaders at a meeting in Beidaihe discussed capturing Taiwanese controlled Aoffshore islands.@ (8)

On August 12, The South China Morning Post reported a general mobilization of reservists and militiamen in Fujian province opposite Taiwan. The report quoted an unnamed source hinting at A...the possibility of a large-scale military engagement.@ (8 again) The next day the Washington Post quoted Clinton administration officials to the effect that AChinese Embassy officials and visiting army officers and scholars have told U.S. analysts and experts in Washington that China is considering a new show of military force...@ The paper further reported: Although the warnings could be psychological warfare...@ U.S. analysts and Clinton Administration officials expressed belief that China is genuinely weighing military options.@ (9, see also 10 & 11) A week later, on August 18, China=s People Liberation Army Daily cited the Chief of the General Staff, Gen. Fu Quanyou, using the terminology ALanzhou War Zone,@ a dramatic change in terminology from peacetime usage (which would be ALanzhou Military District@). (12) On August 19 The South China Morning Post reported A...Beijing would only re-engage Taipei if the latter rescinded the >two states= theory put forward by Taiwan President lee Teng-hui.@ (13) On August 20 China warned, in a Global Times article titled USA, Do Not Mix In: AIf the Taiwan authorities think the mainland can only launch a propaganda or psychological war, they are mistaken.@ One analyst concludes AChina is now clearly signaling to the United States that it intends to act over Taiwan President Lee Teng-Hui=s state-to-state comments. More importantly, China is also informing Washington that, if the U.S. interferes, China will not hold back as it did in 1996.@ (14)

The reports and statements cited above are not exhaustive. Rather they are samples of a very large number of similar statements being made by Chinese officials, both on and off the record. (15) The sheer number of statements, and their intensity, has some analysts convinced AGiven the public threats it has made, China must take some action. Beijing=s credibility is now on the line.@ (16) At the same time AThe United States says that it will intervene, while simultaneously claiming that China will not take action...The U.S. is now committed to defending Taiwan, having said on the record that the Chinese are bluffing...@ (16 again) A Heritage Foundation report late in September asserted: AThe risk of an accidental or deliberate military clash between the People=s Republic of China and the Republic of China on Taiwan is higher than at any time since March 1996, when China attempted to intimidate Taiwan with ballistic missile tests.@ (17)

Prognosis for China, Page 3, The Ostensible Problem (Continued), Rev. 4

Prof. Arthur Waldron of the University of Pennsylvania, writing in the Wall Street Journal, reports that on September 27th A...President Jiang Zemin disconcerted the crowd of foreigners, including 58 CEOs of Fortune 500 firms...as he entered a Shanghai hall for a Time-Werner-sponsored anniversary forum. They were expecting good news about their potential profits in China...What they heard was a defense of China=s indefensible human-rights record and more threats of force against Taiwan...@ (18) On September 30 AChinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji addressing a meeting of international business delegates in Beijing...unexpectedly warning that U.S. policy on Taiwan would inevitably lead to an armed resolution of the Taiwan question.@ (19, See also 20) On October 1st, Chinese President Jiang Zemin A...pledged to reunify Taiwan with the motherland...@ before the vast parade held in Beijing on that day. (21) This was echoed by Singapore=s Senior Minister Le Kuan Yew the same day. He indicated AThe critical factor in cross-strait relations is wether Taiwanese leaders would make a surreptitious or open bid for independence for the island in the belief that they had or could secure American support for such a move.@ (22) On October 4, Dr. Tien Hung-mao, at a public lecture organized by the East Asian Institute, indicated that, because 70 per cent of the people in Taiwan support the Atwo states@ theory, it is highly unlikely that Taiwan would retract the controversial theory soon. (23) On the same day an article described the ARe-writing the history of Taiwan,@ a change in curriculum Ato be implemented in 2001.@ In it AChina is either to be left out or treated only as part of Asia.@ (24 & 25) This was followed on October 15 by a new verbal attack by PRC President Jiang Zemin: AThe essence of the >two states= statement is to separate the island of Taiwan from the motherland and to stir up tension across the strait...We are determined to safeguard China=s territorial and sovereign integrity.@ (26) The next day AThe chairman of the Chinese parliament=s foreign-affairs committee...warned the United States against extending further military aid to Taiwan...He reiterated Beijing=s opposition to any anti-missile system in South-east Asia that would include Taiwan.@ (27)

There is a school of thought that President Lee=s statement A...seems uncontentious@ because it is Ano more...than a >clarification= of the status quo.@ (5 again) President Lee dashed any hope there may have been China would buy this interpretation when the November/December issue of Foreign Affairs published his article Understanding Taiwan.

...to this day the authorities in Beijing continue to...isolate my country diplomatically

in hopes of turning fiction into reality. It is fiction to claim the Chinese nation is not

divided C and pernicious fiction to assert that the People=s Republic of China (P.R.

C.) has any right or imperative to claim sovereignty over Taiwan...the R.O.C has

been sovereign and independent since its founding in 1912. (28)

According to the People=s daily, AChina=s official news agency Xinhua published a commentary November 3 condemning Lee Teng-hui=s >two China= remarks in an essay in...Foreign Affairs...@

(29, see also 30). This was followed by a major military exercise in Shandong Province starting November 7. These combined testing of Aadvanced combat equipment@ and Aseizing control of, and holding, an airport@ with a warning from Gen. Zhang Wannian, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission against A...any bid to split the country.@ (31)

Prognosis for China, Page 4, Rev. 4