U.S. - China Relations of Politics & Diplomatic Aspect
During the last decade of the 20th Century, the entire world had been encountered
the transitional period, and the Major Powers during the Cold War as the Soviet
Union and the People‟ s Republic of China had experienced the great conversion in
the boundaries. The United States of America, the only Major Power who remained
powerful in the international arena, had no one to challenge her influence which
expanded all over the world. The Pax Americana had become the main stream,
which overwhelmed the world in that period.
Nonetheless, American‟ s status in the international arena has become instable as
the sleeping giant like China has opened its door and risen to be the Great Power
again. China‟ s transformation has boosted its economic which is the important
factor for its reemergence in the global village and it leads to American anxiety of its
lose of power. The center of bipolar world has transferred from the U.S. and the
Soviet Union into the U.S. and the PRC.
The current atmosphere of international politics heated by the power struggle
between the Major Powers, the United Stated and the People Republic of China.
The rise of China causes the paranoia of Washington of losing its status quo and its
interests both in political and economic aspects. As the two countries have the great
influence on the global community, in understanding the world circumstances, it is
necessity to consider at the U.S.- China ties.
In the diplomatic and political aspect, China and U.S. have mainly played political
games on the following issues:
National Missile Defense: NMD : treat : national security of the
Taiwan‟ s independence : Strategic geographical locations
Spy plane crisis
Considering at between both countries on the above mentioned issues, the United
States and the People‟ s Republic of China has implied the objectives and the
expectation of the bilateral relations by the following moves and remarks
6 March Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan stated that the Taiwan question is a
very important question in China-US relations. In frankness, what the
United states have done on this question is adequate to show that now
the U.S. factor is an important outside factor in the way of the peaceful
reunification of the Chinese motherland. If the U.S. side continues to
insist on selling advanced weapons to Taiwan including particularly the
Aegis missile destroyer and the Pac-III anti-missile systems, that
would send a very wrong signal to the Taiwan authorities. It will
encourage a very small number of people, the Taiwan independence
elements continue to engage in separatist activities. It would only feed
their arrogance. Furthermore, the move by the U.S. will endanger
China-US relations and aggravate the tension across the Taiwan Strait
and it will not work in any interest of the U.S. itself. The U.S. side
should come to the recognition serious dangers involved. It should rein
in its wild horse right on the side of the precipice.
1 April Spy Plan Collision
Zhu Bangzao, Foreign Ministry Spokesman, blamed the U.S. Plane of
bumping the Chinese fighter and demanded that U.S. should bear on
responsibility on the incident.
2 April The Foreign Ministry of China asked for responsibility , explanation
and prevention of such incident from the US.
3 April Jiang Zemin has also expressed China‟s standpoint that it need U.S.
responsibility on this issue
U.S. by Bush called for the return of U.S. crews and plane.
3 April President Jiang said “U.S. must stop its reconnaissance fights in the
airspace over China‟s coastal areas.
4 April Jiang called for the apology from the U.S.
Zhu Bangzao stated that U.S. Plane approached Chinese airspace,
bumped Chinese plane and entered Chinese airspace without
approval. He has pointed out that the US. Should bear full
responsibility for the incident, and demanded that the US. Government
makes an explanation to the Chinese government and people on the
U.S. Plane‟s action.
11 April U.S. Ambassador Joseph Prueher handed a letter to Chinese Foreign
Ministry in which Bush & Powell have expressed their sincere regret
over your missing pilot and aircraft, and sorry the entering of China‟s
11 April Spokesperson declared of the letter from the U.S. Government that
they “very Sorry” to the Chinese People.
12 April Spy plane crew returned to U.S. soil.
12 April After China received the letter, Jiang‟ s statement on return U.S. crew
was that “ out of humanitarian considerations decided to allow the 24
American crews to leave after completion of the necessary
arrangement. But the Chinese government has not fully concluded.
The two sides will continue with their negotiation on this incident and
other related issues from 18 April.”
15 April Chinese article blamed that “US. Seriously violates International Law”
18 April Lu Zumin mentioned that U.S. should bear full responsibility for
- Makes clear and responsible explanations to the Chinese
- Stops reconnaissance flights in the space adjacent to
Chinese coastal areas.
- Takes effective measures to prevent the recurrence of the
PRC FM Spokeswoman on China‟s Victory over U.S. Anti-China
Motion on Human Rights: “Once again the U.S. fells into a
predicament of self-isolation and its failure has long been expected.
Once more facts have shown that the attempt to expert political
pressure on other countries under the pretext of the human right
issue, pursue hegemonism and power polities government has always
maintained that all countries should conduct dialogue and exchanges
on the basis of equality and mutual respect so as to enhance common
understanding reduce differences and expand consensus.
We are ready to work with other members of the international
community to continue to make positive contributions to the sound
development of the human rights cause in the world. We would advise
the U.S. side to change its practice, realize its errors and mend its
way, and return to the right track of dialogue as soon as possible”
18 April White House by Press Secretary “U.S.-PRC meeting is “Not
productive” – Chinese had not offered to return the U.S. aircraft.
19 April Flescher, White House Press Secretary, emphasized that US.
Airplane should come back.
From the second U.S.-China surveillance Plane meeting: Beijing has
made no commitment to return the plane.
20 April The Chinese has refused to discuss returning the damages US.
Plane, which is still on the Southern Island of Hainan.
20 April Sino – US negotiation on the Air – Collision Incident
22 April U.S. declared its decision to sell arms to Taiwan.
4 Older Kidd-class destroyers
8 Diesel powered submarines
12 anti-submarine planes
Dozen P-3 “Orion” sub-hunting aircraft.
Advanced torpedoes and missiles.
Mine – sweeping helicopters.
23 April Thomas said that Chinese Officials have boarded the aircraft and
have apparently removed portions of the equipment from it.
International law recognizes both the right of the crew of an aircraft in
distress to land safely on foreign soil and the inviolable sovereignty of
an aircraft in distress that has landed on foreign soil as well as the
right of nation which has had an aircraft land in distress on foreign soil
to have its citizens and aircraft returned safely and without undue
delay. Chinese government needs to realize that this issue is more
important than just this crew and this plane. This is about trust about
whether PRC can be trusted to live up to its words, to live up to
international agreements which it has signed and whether it can be
trusted to fulfill its obligations as a member of the WTO.
Bush would revisits the Aegis issue in a year or two and would be
inclined to approve such a sale if China continues to add to a 300-
strong arsenal of ballistic missiles pointed toward Taiwan.
House of Representatives Minority Leader Dick Gephardt stated that
“serious questions regarding the Bush Administration‟s decision not to
provide destroyers equipped with advanced command and control
systems to Taiwan.”
“China‟s military buildup and other provocative acts demonstrate that
U.S. must have a comprehensive, focused and consistent policy
toward that nation.”
“Part of such a policy is clearly assisting Taiwan”
The United States has not secured an agreement from the Chinese
government for the return of the U.S. Navy surveillance aircraft that
was involved in a collision with a Chinese jet April 1 and forced to
make an emergency landing
He said he was “concerned” that the U.S. has not yet resumed
surveillance flight in the region, and urged the Bush Administration to
press forcefully for the release of U.S. citizens and residents who has
been detained recently by Chinese authorities
24 April Bush remarks on ABC “The U.S. will order whatever it took to help
Taiwan defend itself and it will review Taiwan‟s defense needs
whenever need instead of holding annual arms sale meeting.
“The Bush administration has approved the most robust package of
defensive weapons approved for Taiwan in over the decade.” Majority
Whip Delay Statement.
25 April Vice FM, Li Zhoxing, urgently summoned U.S. Ambassador Joseph
W. Prucher and lodged solemn representations and strong protests as
instructed by the Chinese government.
26 April Chinese FM Spokesperson on Bush‟s remarks on U.S. arms sale to
Taiwan – “There is only one China in the world and Taiwan is a part of
China instead of protectorate foreign country. This is a fact known to
all the international community”
“The question of Taiwan has always been the most important
and sensitive issue at the core of the China-U.S relations. The
Chinese Government and people are resolute in their determination to
safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity and no are should
30 April China allows U.S. Inspection of its plane
U.S. side has agreed to consider making a payment to Chinese side.
The two sides have also agreed to discuss ways of avoiding similar
incidents in the future through enhanced consultation mechanism on
military maritime safety.
3 May Pentagon stands by Retraction; and extends Inspection.
Bush remarked on religious freedom in China that “The Chinese
government continues to display an unreasonable and unworthy
suspicion of freedom of conscience. The Chinese government restricts
independent religious expression.”
4 May US. Technicians who inspected a damaged Navy spy plane on
China‟s Hainan Island reported that it could be repaired and flown off
the island, officials said today. The Pentagon, however, has not
decided how to proceed.
Bush‟s claimed that religious followers in Tibet are as “The target of
especially harsh and unjust persecution”; Washington has “special
concern the intensifying attacks an religious freedom” in the
“China adheres to national strength and greatness, but these
acts of persecution are acts of fear and therefore of weakness.
This persecution is unworthy of all that China should become
open society that respects the spiritual dignity of its people.
The Chinese government continues to display an unreasonable
and unworthy suspicion of freedom of conscience.”
5 May FM Spokesman, Zhu Bangzao, remarked that “ The destruction of the
1072 Anti-ballistic Missile Treaty would spark a new round of arms
race, which will be unfavorable to world peace, development, and
We believe that the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty is the cornerstone for
safeguarding global strategic balance and stability.
“ If the treaty is destroyed, global strategic balance and stability will be
broken, and the international arms control process and non-
proliferation efforts will be impeded.”
“ We hope the United States to act with great care and continue to
adhere to the Anti- Ballistic Missile treaty and other present treaties on
disarmament and arms control.”
7 May U.S. Officials says the crew manages to destroy significant amounts of
equipment and information, many experts believe the Chinese have
had access to important military information inside the EP-3. U.S. Has
demanded the return of the spy plane though it is still unclear if the
badly damaged aircraft can fly off the air base in Hainan or if it would
have to be dismantled and shipped back to the US.
8 May China opposes US. Sending its aircrafts to conduct reconnaissance
flights off Chinese coast this position is consistent and clear. The
American side must draw a lesson and correct such an erroneous act.
Chinese side has repeatedly stated in the China – US. Negotiations
that it is impossible for the US. Plane to fly back to US. from Hainan
Island. The American side should take a pragmatic and constructive
9 May US wants surveillance plane to fly home
15 May Chinese and American officials discussed on U.S. support for a missile
defense system and it is the first U.S.- China high ranking official
meeting in the Bush Administration.
U.S. envoy is the Assistant Secretary of Sales for Asian and Pacific
Affairs, James Kelly, who stressed that “Our plans for a missile
defense system would not be a threat to china.”
China FM Spokesman, Sun Yuxi, remarked that “ U.S. missile defense
would harm others without benefiting the United States itself.”
“ China is opposed to the U.S. building such a system because it
destroys the global balance and upsets international stability.”
“ When you invent a new shield, you will invent new types of sphere. It
always goes like that…China will not sit by and watch its national
interests suffer harm."
China Spokesmen “China firmly opposes any country, including the
U.S., permitting the leader of Taiwan authorities to conduct a transit
visit under any excuses.” “The Chinese government has expressed
through diplomatic channels its strong resentment and opposition to
the U.S. Government permitting such a transit visit by the Taiwan
authority leader. China hopes that the U.S. will act in accordance with
the principles enshrined in concerned bilateral documents, and will not
interface in China‟s internal affairs regarding the Taiwan issue.”
18 May Bush‟s remarks with EP-3 crew “We‟re working to get the plane home.
We‟re making progress about getting the plane home. But today we
get to celebrate the fact that the crew is home. And that‟s the most
21 –23 May Chen‟ s had taken the two-night stopover in the U.S. and met 22
members of the U.S. Congress as well as New York City Mayer
Rudolph Giuliani (who refused to met Jiang Zemin during his visited to
NY in 1997).
22 May Zhu Bangzao, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry,
condemned Bush‟ s decision to meet the Dalai Lama.
U.S. side has taken some hard line attitudes and practice it has
constantly taken some actions interfering in China‟ s internal affairs
and damaging China‟ s interest and China - U.S. Relations.
23 May Bush met the Dalai Lama on the 50 th Anniversary of Peaceful
Liberation, 50 Years of Progress.
Tibetan Communists Party Official, Raidi, stated that “ Peaceful
Liberation has enabled Tibet to move from darkness to light and from
backwardness to progress.”
Chinese FM Spokesman, Zhu Bangzao, said “ the U.S. must
recognize Tibetan Chinese territory, stoop supporting Tibetan
independence and stop using the Tibet issue to interfere in China‟s
Zhu said that we call on the US government to recognize Tibet as
Chinese territory, stop supporting Tibetan independence and stop
using the Tibet issue to interfere in China‟ s internal affairs.”
Tibetan in India protested the “ 17- Point Agreement that it “was forced
upon an unwilling that helpless Tibetan government.”
The U.S. reiterated the strong commitment of the U.S. to support the
preservation of Tibet‟s unique religious, cultural, and linguistic identity
and the protection of the human rights of all Tibetans.”
Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Zhou Wenzhong “Washington had
“grossly interfered “in China „s domestic affairs. The U.S. had “Stirred
the arrogance of the split‟s force who sought Taiwan‟s independence.
Zhu: The U.S. had violated the three U.S.-China Joint Communiqué.
Zhu: The Dalai Lama is by no means a religious figure and rather
someone in political exile who is engaged in separatist activities.”
24 May China agrees to return US spy plane in pieces
Chinese FM Spokesman, Zhu Bangzao, “China firmly opposes the
U.S. permitting the Dalai Lama‟s visit to the U.S. and the U.S. leader‟s
meet with him.
Zhu “Tibet is a part of China and Tibet issue is part of Chinese internal
affairs, which no other countries have the right to interface in The Dalai
Lama is not simply a religious figure, but are exiled political figure who
has been for long conducting separatist activities.”
“The Chinese government has scored marked achievements in
promoting the development of Tibet in economic, social, and cultural
undertaking … So long as the Dalai Lama sincerely abandons the
stance of “independence of Tibet,” stops his separatist activities and
openly declares that Tibet is an inseparable part of China and Taiwan
is a province of China, the door will remain open for him to hold
negotiations with the central government.”
Dalai Lama met with the secretary of state, Colin Powell
Zhu said that ”this act violates the commitments that the U.S. side has
made. This act will inevitably harm China-U.S. relations, and the harm
done is not something that we would like to see. It is something done
by the U.S. side.
25 May Bush “America would come to Taiwan‟s defense if it were attacked by
mainland China…whatever it took to help Taiwan defend herself”
29 May US , China agree in principle to airlift spy plane
30 May US to take apart damaged spy plane in China.
1 June China gears up for its biggest military exercises.
4-5 June U.S. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, has announced that he
is now cautiously re-instituting military-to-military ties between the U.S.
7 June China and US agree on shipping home of spy plane.
15 June Bushmet Putin to discuss missile defense and the 1972 Anti-Ballaistic
Missile Treaty, as well as cooperation on regional conflicts, Russian‟ s
acceptance into the World Trade Organization, Russian nuclear
technology transfers and weapons sales to Iran, NATO expansion,
and may be even the war in Chechnya.
4 July US Pieces of the disassemble US spy plane have arrived in Hawaii.
15 July Beijing won the bid for 2000 Olympic Games. Beijing‟ s Mayor, Liu Qi,
stated that “More than 90% of the Chinese people supported Beijing‟ s
bid because they believe it will help improve their quality of life.”
“It will help promote our economic and social policies and will further
help develop our human rights cause.”
26 July A senior U.S. State Department official said The George W. Bush
administration would be willing to consider the feasibility of President
Chen Shui-bian‟s recent suggestion that the U.S.,Taiwan and Japan
jointly develop a missile defense system.
The defense of Taiwan is something we regard as very important and
[such a joint missile defense could be an element of it, said John R.
6 August Chen expressed hope that the leaders of both Taiwan and the
Mainland will “shale hands and embrace each other someday to jointly
make the greatest sacrifice and contribution for the common welfare of
the people of both sides.”
8 August Jiang‟ s remarks: “China is not in favor of the U.S. test of the anti-
“We share the worries of many other countries that this move many
cause a series of negative effects and thus impair world strategic
“China stands for working out, through dialogues, solutions that would
not harm security interests of any side. China‟s possession of the very
limited nuclear weapons is solely for self-defense and poses no threat
to any country”
“In order to safeguard our national security interests, we need to
ensure the effectiveness of our nuclear force.”
8 August Jiang said that China and the United States share common
responsibilities in safeguarding peace and stability in Asia-Pacific and
the world at large.
China and the U.S. shared common responsibilities in promoting
national and global economic development and prosperity and
managing global issues.
So long as the two sides abide by the three China-U.S. Joint
Communiqués and basic norms governed international relations and
properly handle the bilateral issues, China-U.S. relations will improve
further and grow stronger.
Jiang remarks Chinese, like all other peoples in the world, would not
like to see any recurrence of a hot war, cold war or turmoil anywhere
in the world. We long for a lasting world peace and common
development and prosperity. China has made it its central task to
develop the economy and improve people‟ life. China does not pursue
expansion. China poses no threat to any country and has no intention
to seek confrontation with any country.” China instead wishes to live
with all other countries as equals and conduct friendly exchanges and
mutually beneficial cooperation with them on the basis on the Five
Principles of Peaceful Co-existence.
As each nation has its own objectives, goals, and values, moves acted by both
sides are based upon national interests which might be different from its counterpart
or the contacted nation. Moves, which had been expressed on the international
stage, had already determined by the policy makers that such moves would lead to
national objective as much as possible.
Games between the United States and the People‟ s Republic of China have also
based upon national interests. In order to achieve the goals, each nation has tries to
raise the following issues as its political tools or cards to put the pressure on the
The main issue which overwhelm trend of relations between the two Major Powers
at the moment is the National Missile Defense System (NMD) which was seriously
promoted by the Bush‟ s Administration. Washington and Beijing have the different
standpoint in this issue and it affects other related issues as Beijing and Washington
get advantageous from the pressure they put on one another.
1. National Missile Defense
Ballistic missile defense has drawn heated debate in the international community in
the recent years. On the one hand, the U.S. has made it a national policy to develop
a limited ballistic missile defense program, with a deployment decision to be made
by the new administration of President George W. Bush. On the other hand, the
U.S. missile defense build-up has been much criticized by other countries. It is often
argued that missile defense would, if unchecked, tilt the balance of power and
therefore affect the international political and security order.
To be honest, there may be indeed a genuine concern over the proliferation of
ballistic missiles and other types of delivery means. Coupled with the proliferation of
weapons of mass destruction, ballistic missile proliferation presents a major
challenge to international security and stability. This was manifested during the
second Gulf War of 1991, when Scuds fired against Saudi Arabia and Israel took on
great psychological importance. Ever since then, more and longer-range missile
flight tests, in South Asia and Northeast Asia, have been reported. While the
countries concerned may have quite reasonable grounds to acquire missiles for
defensive purposes, such a trend of proliferation does not bode well for global as
well as regional stability.
Ballistic missile proliferation has thus raised concern among states. There have
been three kinds of responses. First, denying the intention of those who would seek
such delivery vehicles. This would require the creation of a more secure
environment in order to reduce the incentive to acquire them. Second, denying the
missile-related technology available through transfer, if denial of intention fails to
work. Third, establishing a certain level of ballistic missile defense as a protection
against accidental and/or unauthorized attack, or a limited intentional attack with
In this context, it is not impossible to understand the need for a limited missile
defense, if it is truly limited, especially for a global power as the United States,
which has vast overseas presence and interests, often in turn a reason to invite
In fact, the U.S. has never given up its attempt to build various missile defense
systems. The U.S. set out to build a sentinel antiballistic-missile program in 1967
against China's nascent nuclear deterrent when it first came into being. 3 For the last
two decades, the U.S. government has persistently pursued missile defense. The
Reagan Administration launched its Strategic Defense Initiative, a land- and space-
based multi-layer missile defense system that was never successfully developed.
The Bush Administration converted the Star Wars dream into Global Protection
Against Limited Strikes (GPALS). The Clinton Administration decided to continue
ballistic missile defense, with components of both National Missile Defense (NMD)
and Theatre Missile Defense (TMD). Now George W. Bush's new administration
has committed to furthering NMD development.
This addresses China's position on missile non-proliferation regime and its concern
about National Missile Defense. It suggests that China and the U.S. address their
respective security concerns and seek a co-operative solution in missile non-
proliferation and missile defense issues.
NMD Affecting Russia's and China's Security
On March 17 and 18, 1999 respectively, the U.S. Senate and House of
Representatives overwhelmingly approved National Missile Defense System
legislation, stating, "It is the policy of the United States to deploy a national missile
defense". This has evoked tremendous repercussions around the world, drawing
negative responses from all other nuclear weapons states and even U.S. allies in
According to the Clinton NMD plan, the U.S. will deploy 100 interceptors in Alaska
in its first configuration. Assuming a 1 in 4 rate of interception, the U.S. could at
most hit 25 incoming missiles, a more than sufficient capability to take care of the
alleged threat from those "rogue" states, which are considered to be developing
long-range ballistic missiles to target America. At later stages, the U.S. would
deploy further kinetic kill vehicles in North Dakota in order to provide nation-wide
The U.S. has stated clearly that China has not been figured in its NMD calculations.
However, China views the situation differently and remains strongly suspicious of
the U.S. intentions in terms of NMD development. From China's perspective, it is
untenable that the U.S. would spend 60-100 billion dollars on a system that has only
"rogue" states in mind.
Such capability of an intercontinental strike by ballistic missiles owned by "rogue"
states does not yet exist. Excluding the P5, only Israel, Saudi Arabia, India,
Pakistan, DPRK and Iran are currently believed to have medium-range missiles with
ranges above 1,000km. Only four of these states, India, Pakistan, DPRK and Iran,
may have active programs to develop intermediate-range missiles with ranges of
over 3,000 km. It is highly unlikely that any of them will acquire an ICBM capability
within a decade or so. The CIA's classified 1998 Annual Report to Congress on
Foreign Missile Development recognized that the ICBM threat to the United States
from so-called rogue states is unlikely to materialize before 2010, with the possible
exception of DPRK.
Only Russia and China currently have the capability to hit the United States with
nuclear warheads on intercontinental ballistic missiles. However, this is not a new
phenomenon. Both the U.S. and Russia have maintained their nuclear arsenals of
thousands of deployed nuclear weapons. Their nuclear arsenals are at basically
comparable levels in terms of quality and quantity. It is the ABM Treaty signed in
1972 that has prevented the U.S. and the former Soviet Union from embarking on
unlimited strategic arms race.
From China's perspective, the U.S. national missile defense would cause even
worse strategic relations between Beijing and Washington. Though China has not
publicly made its nuclear capability transparent, its CSS-4 ICBM force, capable of
reaching the U.S. with a range of 13,000 kilometers, as reported by Western
publications, is largely believed by the Western strategic analysts to number around
China's concern over the U.S. national missile defense in violation of ABM has been
expressed through various channels many times. Primarily China is concerned
about two issues. One is that the NMD will destabilize the world order and harm
international relations. The other is that NMD's advertised technical capability will
undermine China's strategic deterrence, weakening China's confidence in its
strategic retaliatory capability.
A limited anti-ballistic missile capability, as allowed by the existing ABM Treaty,
would be enough to defend the strategic assets of the U.S. against potential missile
threats from outside the P5. Indeed, the one-site base of anti-ballistic missile
deployment under ABM framework cannot immunize the whole U.S. from being hit.
It is exactly this reason that has given Russia (as well as other nuclear weapons
states) a confidence that they retain a credible nuclear deterrence vis-à-vis the U.S.
Theoretically, part of the U.S. would thus be exposed to some missile threat from
"rogue" states. However, either that threat has been too remote, or the
overwhelming strength of the U.S. in both nuclear and conventional weapons will be
powerful enough to deter potential adversaries from initiating hostilities.
Also, the envisaged NMD cannot stop an all-out Russian nuclear attack, considering
the thousands of strategic weapons at Russia's disposal. Therefore, Beijing can
only take the view that U.S. NMD has been designed to effectively neutralize
China's strategic deterrence.
Given the reported level of China's full-range ICBM force (CSS-4), the NMD plans
requiring ABM revision would, if successfully implemented as advertised,
compromise China's strategic capability in two respects. Geographically, it will
protect the whole U.S. from being deterred. Numerically, even interceptors deployed
on a single site may be enough to knock out all Chinese CSS-4s. Hence China's
national security interest is in jeopardy.
To hold the U.S. credibly deterred is just to reciprocate, to a much lower extent,
what the U.S. has long done against China during the nuclear age. In fact, it was
the U.S. nuclear threats to PRC on a number of occasions that prompted Beijing to
start its nuclear weapons program.
Though the U.S. has the most formidable nuclear arsenal and most powerful and
sophisticated conventional arsenal, it retains the option of a first-strike with nuclear
weapons as its deterrence policy. Now the U.S. would even revise or abolish the
ABM that assures nuclear weapons states of their mutual security.
The PRC has one of the smallest nuclear arsenals and least advanced conventional
weaponry among all the nuclear weapons states. However, it still adopts a nuclear
no-first-use policy, and a nuclear no-use policy against non-nuclear weapons states
sor nuclear weapons free zones.
The PRC's national security thus rests with what ABM provides. The U.S. indeed
can develop and deploy anti-strategic weapons capability, as permitted by the ABM,
in order to gain certain sense of security against incidental and/or unauthorised
attack by nuclear weapons. Nevertheless, it ought to take into account the common
security of all nuclear weapons states. When the U.S. improves its own security at a
time of ballistic missile proliferation, it should mind not to undermine the national
security of others. There is an internationally acceptable limit that the U.S. can
pursue, i.e. developing its strategic missile defense capability in compliance with the
Addressing China's Concern
The U.S. can argue that it is its sovereign right to develop and deploy NMD beyond
the ABM Treaty, as the new administration is advocating. However, if the U.S. were
to go ahead regardless of others, it certainly would not create a win-win situation. It
would rather be counterproductive in facilitating an international missile non-
proliferation co-operation. Apparently this is in the adverse interest of the U.S.
Some in the U.S. have been indifferent to the negative security impact that the
revision of the ABM would bring upon other states. In this theory, the U.S. shall care
to some extent about Russia's concern. As the ABM involves the business between
U.S. and Russia, there seems no need to address China's concern.
The U.S. shall understand the ABM is both a balancer of power between U.S. and
Russia, and, more fundamentally, a cornerstone of global security. In the latter
context, China's security is affected by the standing of ABM. The PRC has
expressed its interest in multilateralizing ABM, in the hope of expanding ABM
membership. This reflects Beijing's interest in maintaining ABM by raising the stake
of altering a multilateral treaty. Being a member of the ABM, Beijing would be
situated in a better strategic position to enhance world stability.
There have thus far been three interception tests of NMD systems. The first was
carried out on October 2, 1999 and was found to have flaws. The second test on
January 18, 2000 was a complete failure due to a "plumbing leak." On July 8, 2000
the third test failed because no separation occurred between the boost rocket and
Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle. President Clinton announced on September 1, 2000
that he would not proceed with deployment of the planned limited NMD. More
interception tests have been scheduled for May/June of 2001. Even though future
tests could be more or less "successful," it would be still quite questionable as to the
true effectiveness of the system under real situation. It will be in neither America's
ultimate interest, nor the interest of the rest of the world, to have such a system
installed by breaking ABM.
If the U.S. insists on hurting the national interests of Russia and medium nuclear
weapons states, it would be difficult to gather international support for non-
proliferation initiatives in other fronts. The Fissile Materials Cut-Off Treaty (FissBan),
for instance, is an obvious example. Were the U.S. to break the ABM Treaty,
medium nuclear weapons states would be reluctant to give up their option of re-
opening the production of fissile materials for weapons purposes, when they feel
their deterrence is eroded.
It should also be pointed out that there are ample means to defeat a missile
defense. Various means such as submunitions, high as well as low altitude
countermeasures, balloon decoys, chaff and missile fragment decoys can all be
considered. MIRVing and ASAT approaches might also be tempting. It goes without
saying that if a state is able to independently develop a strategic missile capability, it
should also be able to develop a capability to cost-effectively defeat missile
Some argue that there is a growing threat from China as it is modernizing its
strategic forces. Looking at the CSS-4 force developed and China's sea-based
deterrence, one can hardly reach this conclusion. A land-based strategic force of
about two dozens of intercontinental ballistic missiles, and a very small submarine-
based missile force, is hardly any match for those of the United States.
As China adopts a no-first-use strategy, it serves China's interest to keep a
moderate force. However, China has a need to modernize its force as its defensive
policy requires doing so, and as all other countries are doing the same. This is
especially true at an age of precision-guided weaponry. An ICBM force of some two
dozens missiles does not justify the U.S. to revise or abolish ABM Treaty. Quite to
the opposite, China's moderate strategic force and moderate modernization play a
key role in assuring the U.S. adequate security, which serves a stabilizing role in
terms of China-U.S. relations, and world security.
In sum, the United States may have legitimate concern over missile proliferation.
That concern requires understanding but shall not be exaggerated. Major powers of
the world, along with other countries, should work together to address such
international problems, and to find solutions, which serve both international stability
and their respective national interests. Moving along the lines provided for by the
ABM Treaty provides such a way forward. On the contrary, going ahead with
damaging ABM and other countries' interests can only be counterproductive.
With only a couple dozen ICBMs, China recognizes that even a limited American
NMD system with 100 interceptors could significantly reduce or negate China‟s
minimal nuclear deterrent. China‟s military planners have been contemplating a
worst-case scenario in which the U.S. could launch a first-strike destroying most of
the Chinese ICBMs on the ground because these missiles require several hours to
fuel, arm, and launch. Then the U.S. NMD system could shoot down the remnants
of China‟s second-strike missile force.
Trying to prevent potential missile defense systems from being deployed against it,
China, along with Russia and Belarus, sponsored in October a draft resolution in the
United Nations First committee on Disarmament and International Security, calling
for “continued efforts to strengthen the [ABM] Treaty and to preserve its integrity
and validity so that it remained cornerstone of global strategic stability and world
peace and in promoting further strategic nuclear arms reductions.” Moreover, the
States Parties should renew efforts “to preserve and strengthen [the treaty] through
full and strict compliance.” Further, each Party should “limit the deployment of anti-
ballistic missile systems” and “refrain from the deployment of anti-ballistic missile
systems for a defense of the territory of its country. “On November 5, the First
Committee, with the U.S. voting against, approved the draft resolution, which then
moved to the General Assembly.
Presaging this action, President Jiang Zemin expressed concern before the
Conference on Disarmament last March about the “research, development,
deployment, and proliferation of sophisticated anti-missile system[s].” He said that
“global strategic equilibrium hinges” on adherence to the ABM Treaty.
In addition to diplomatic pressure, China could accelerate its ICBM modernization.
For instance, last August it tested the DF-31, an 8,000 km range (capable of
reaching the west coast of the U.S.), solid-fueled (quick launch capability), road-
mobile missile and is developing a longer range version called the DF-41. These
modern missiles could carry multiple warheads. According to a U.S. Air Force
National Air Intelligence Center report, the DF-31 flight test employed decoys, which
could help warheads penetrate missile defenses.
NMD Views from China
The attitudes of Asian governments toward the national missile defense (NMD)
program vary in direct relation to their ties with the United States. The closer the
relations, the greater the support for missile defense. America's friends-Taiwan,
South Korea, and Japan-see NMD linked to their own theater missile defense
(TMD) systems against potential adversaries, adversaries they believe also concern
the United States. Their TMDs could be integrated into NMD's early-warning and
command and control satellites. Those countries identified as potential adversaries,
principally North Korea and China, oppose U.S.-sponsored missile defense,
whether labeled theater or national-and they see the connection between the TMDs
of America's friends and NMD. In the middle are India and Pakistan. Both see some
positive, but mostly negative, effects of NMD on their security.
The following review of views from Asia on U.S. NMD proceeds from the most
hostile to the most supportive. Each country's national interests are first outlined
and then the country's foreign policy concerning missile defense is presented.
Most American analysts agree that China's priority is economic development.
According to the Pentagon's June 2000 report to Congress on Chinese military
power, "Beijing places top priority on efforts to promote rapid and sustained
economic growth, to raise technological levels in sciences and industry, to explore
and develop China's land- and sea-based national resources, and to secure China's
access to global resources." Beijing couldn't have expressed it better. In the global
age, the economy is seen by Chinese leadership as the main ingredient in what
they call "comprehensive national power." The lack of economic strength, Beijing
believes, only leads to bad consequences: the ruling party loses legitimacy, society
suffers instability, military weakness increases, and, most importantly, foreign
powers can intimidate, blackmail, and thus humiliate China. Close behind in second
place and supported by China's prime national interest is sovereignty and territorial
integrity. China believes, for economic, historic, and nationalistic reasons, that it
must be united. Nationalism has replaced communism as the glue connecting the
regime with society. Regaining Hong Kong in 1997 and Macao in 1999 left only
Taiwan, the main prize, to be reunited with the mainland. Independence for Taiwan
will not be tolerated. Third among the top national interests is the yearning for China
to be a major power, not in the sense of classic imperialism, but in the sense of an
autonomous world player secure on what it calls its periphery. Globally, China
favors a "multipolar" system not dominated by a single power such as the United
States, with the UN Security Council-where China has a veto-acting as the
clearinghouse for international disputes.
Reaction to NMD.
NMD would negatively affect China's first and third national interests; economic
development and status as a world power in a multipolar system. A U.S. TMD
system supplied to Taiwan would crush China's second national interest-
reunification with Taiwan-and compel Chinese leadership to elevate this national
priority to first place, albeit with great reluctance.
China would feel compelled to counter the deployment of a NMD system by
expanding and accelerating development of sophisticated intercontinental ballistic
missiles (ICBMs), thus retarding the country's economic development. A chorus of
Chinese officials speak of "a spiraling arms race." The Chinese would have to
increase their military budget, sapping their investments in education, technology,
and infrastructure-the prime domestic movers of economic modernization. They
would have to take a more confrontational stance against what they perceive to be
a growing American security threat, risking the imposition of U.S. economic
sanctions that would diminish American technology transfers, direct investment, and
market access-the prime international movers of economic modernization. Given its
pending integration into the global economy via the World Trade Organization
(WTO), China would prefer not to take these actions.
NMD would also upset China's desire to be a major autonomous player secure on
its periphery in a multipolar world. NMD would increase American military power
enormously. In interviews and official statements, Chinese leaders categorically
state that "U.S. missile defense would upset the world's strategic balance" and, with
the abrogation of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, would "shatter the
basis of nuclear non-proliferation." They have joined with Russian leaders in
repeating this position, most recently in the communique‚ after Presidents Jiang
Zemin's and Vladimir Putin's July 2000 summit in Beijing. In their joint statement,
the two leaders charged the United States with "seeking unilateral military and
security advantages." Even a limited NMD with 100 interceptors would neutralize
China's twenty or so old, liquid-fueled DF-5 ICBMs, negating China's minimal
deterrent capability. Its mobile, solid-fueled, 6,500 nautical mile DF-41 ICBM is still
in development and it may be five or more years before it can be deployed in any
numbers. NMD and DF-41 could be in a race to be operational first.
Although U.S. officials universally declare that NMD would be directed at threats
from North Korea and Iran, most if not all Chinese analysts believe the U.S. missile
defense program is directed at China. "Even if the United States says the system is
not aimed at China," said Shen Dingli, an arms control expert at Shanghai's Fudan
University, "the capability is aimed at China." America is seen as trying to maintain
world hegemony and dominate East Asia by containing a rising China.
What few Chinese mention-because it is not to their liking-is that an America that
could intimidate and employ nuclear blackmail against China (as happened in order
to end the Korean War and the two Quemoy and Matsu off-shore island crises in
the 1950s) could force China into a de facto alliance with Russia. China wants to be
autonomous for numerous reasons: cultural singularity, latent xenophobia, and as a
go-it-alone expression of the world's most populated, historic Middle Kingdom.
Alliances have never sat well with China, whether it was with the United States
during World War II or with Russia in the early years of the Cold War. Nevertheless,
China has indicated more than once that NMD would push it into a strategic
partnership with Russia, thereby threatening the revival of the Cold War.
But NMD is not potentially the most threatening missile defense system to China.
Instead, it is a U.S.-supplied TMD system for Taiwan that could be linked to NMD's
early-warning satellites and communication links. The Jiang-Putin joint communique
explicitly warned against this TMD-NMD link: "The incorporation of Taiwan into any
foreign missile defense system is unacceptable and will seriously undermine
regional stability." U.S. arms control advisor John Holum dismayed Chinese officials
during his July 2000 talks in Beijing by stating: "We don't rule out the possibility that
some time in the future Taiwan may have TMD capabilities." If supplied and linked
to U.S. missile defenses, China's number two national interest would become
number one. As one Chinese diplomat explained, giving TMD to Taiwan "would be
a direct interference with Chinese sovereignty and would have the most severe
effects."Chinese officials quite rationally believe that providing TMD to Taiwan
would "forge a de facto military alliance with Taiwan," thereby committing
Washington to defend Taiwan. As China's foreign minister Tang Jiaxuan told
Secretary Albright during her June visit to Beijing, this would violate "the principles
enshrined in the three Sino-U.S. communiques," fail to "respect [China's]
sovereignty and territorial integrity," and make "the Taiwan issue. . . the most
important and sensitive issue in the Sino-U.S. relations."
What Chinese leaders fear most is U.S. backing for Taiwan's independence. "TMD
in Taiwan," will give the pro-independence forces in Taiwan a sense of security,
which may incite them to reckless moves [such as declaring independence]."
Beijing's February 2000 White Paper reiterated that formal U.S. military ties with
Taiwan might result in Beijing's use of armed force. In effect, if push came to shove,
Beijing would be obliged to downgrade economic modernization as it upgraded the
sanctity of the one-China principle. As the recent Pentagon report on Chinese
military power stated: "Some in China are aware that a war with Taiwan could be
economically and politically devastating." Yet, the sacrifice would more than likely
Privately, Chinese diplomats and military officials concede that U.S.-sponsored
TMD for Japan and South Korea, although certainly not welcomed in Beijing, would
be different from supplying the same system to Taiwan. "Japan and South Korea,
unlike Taiwan, are sovereign," one Chinese official noted, "and so we would have
serious but less concern with such a situation."
What Chinese officials of all stripes cannot understand is why the United States is
willing to jeopardize secure relations with China not only by deploying NMD but
even by considering supplying TMD to Taiwan. They have great difficulty believing
that Washington sincerely believes that North Korea endangers American security
and that it cannot be deterred. "A huge superpower and you say you're afraid of tiny
little North Korea?" exclaimed Sha Zukang in a recent interview. "We think that's
ridiculous." Still, Beijing, along with Moscow, continues to urge Pyongyang to drop
its ICBM program entirely in order to undercut U.S. voices favoring NMD. In July
2000, Russia-with Chinese approval-secured a pledge from North Korea not to
continue its missile program if it could receive foreign assistance with its satellite
launches for "peaceful space research." In the meantime, Chinese officials skillfully
propagandize to a largely sympathetic world against U.S. missile defense systems
by pointing out the dire consequences if they are deployed. China and Belarus co-
sponsored a Russian resolution in the UN General Assembly calling "on the states
parties to preserve and strengthen the ABM Treaty" and condemning NMD as
destabilizing and spurring an arms race; on November 5, 1999 it passed 54 to 4
with 73 abstentions.
During the exchange of the U.S.- China‟ s point of view on NMD, another crisis had
taken place and caused more severe crisis between the two Great Powers. On April
1, 2001, the U.S. surveillance plane and the Chinese Jet Fighter had crashed in the
air and the state of the great tension has appeared in relations between Beijing and
2. Surveillance Plane Crisis
The EP – 3 surveillance plane has been on Hainan Island since April 1 when it
made an emergency landing after a midair collision with a Chinese fighter jet. The
incident led to a tense stand– off between the Bush administration and the Beijing
government over the fate of the plane and its 21 American crews. The crew was
released after 11 days, China received Washington letter, stating that it was “very
sorry” for intruding into Chinese airspace.
And on April 18, China emphasized that the US side should bear the full
responsibility for the incident, make clear and responsibility for the incident, make
clear and responsible explanation to the Chinese people, stop reconnaissance
flights in the space adjacent to Chinese coastal areas.
On 24 May, the US wanted to fly the plane home but the Chinese want to take apart
piece at a time. Finally, the U.S. has agreed to this and has even offered to pay for
all the shipping and handling charges.
3. Taiwan Question
Taiwan Question has been the sensitive issue and the important card for both U.S.
and China for the power struggle above the strait. Taiwan becomes the key card
Washington to push its policy on China and determine the trends of Washington‟ s
relations with Beijing.
Even though, Taiwan de facto can be called a state, for almost five decades, she
has longed for her independence over the island and called for the support from the
international community on its rights to have the equal status with the mainland. As
its strategic geography is beneficial to the U.S. to maintain its balance of power with
China and its regime suitably matches with the U.S. ideology and values, Taipei
was considered as the U.S. Protectorate State.
Meanwhile, China has never given up her intention to officially integrate the island
and declare Taiwan status as one of the province as it will be the honorable
supports for PRC status and dignity in the international arena. In addition, as
Taiwan has shown its rapid development and economic stability, Taiwan could be
the profitable source for the PRC to boost its national economy and the important
port and tunnel to connect to the external world.
The important factor is that to lessen the U.S. influence in the Formosa Island will
also decrease or (at least) delayed the expansion of liberal stream, American
culture, and Globalization in the mainland, and this factor caused China hold
Taiwan tightly as its own province (or even as the betrayal province) and yearn for
its legal rights over Taiwan in the global village.
Chinese government is trying to assimilate Tibet to be one of its own provinces by
arguing the statement of Tibet that Tibetans are distinct from China in terms of
language, religion, culture, history and geography that there are numerous Asiatic
tribes in China among the " Han " majority as well as Jew in Europe and America
due to incomplete assimilation.
According to the government's attempt, improving religious, educational and
economic condition in Tibet; China has built roads and many facilities into Tibet.
However, this intention can be interpreted into the government's will for easier
controlling Tibetans and preventing them from gathering for freedom. People from
the government and the soldiers can be sent to control the situation before it gets
worse. These are the tactics that every government use to spread its own radial
power to the place around the center.
The government claims that it has improving Tibetans' children by building schools
and pouring money into Tibet from selling mineral resources of Tibet. The only
reason is the government wants to spread the way of Chinese thinking to Tibetans'
children in order to plant the root of nationalism to Tibetans and they will surrender
with no condition when it comes to the time of their children.
Tibet's personal Objective
Tibet does not want to be a part of China because it has its own spiritual leader,
Dalai Lama, who intends to use peace as the method to govern Tibet which is
opposite to the way Chinese government exercise its power. Therefore, Tibet claims
that they view themselves as distinct from China due to their spiritual national
They claim that the government usually fails to make clear how Tibetan natural
resources are exploited. They think the government snatches most of the money
from the selling and deserts Tibet as the poorest region in China. Tibet has shown
many evidences that the government exploits its region such as the growing of the
prostitution and so on.
It seems like Tibet wants to be separated because it does not get enough benefits
from China. Talking in another way, it means the Chinese government does not
treat Tibet as much as it expects. Tibetans do not seem to be treated the same way
as other regions because they have more credit that they live in the land of Buddhist
religion and should have something distinct.
USA's personal objective
USA always uses the topic of human rights for getting involved into many countries
internal affair and the conflict between China and Tibet is in this assumption. In fact,
USA might not very interested in the issue of human rights in Tibet but in any way to
make the unity of China break as China is the only country that seems to compete
with USA in many ways at this moment.
The Chinese government also says that the way British and America support Tibet
for Independent Movement is not really for freedom or human right but it is a
Compare the objective & Future
It seems like USA and China will never really get angry to each other as they are
big countries in the world and it will lead to the nuclear war at the end if they let the
conflict getting worse. The issue of Tibet is not a big deal for them if it compares to
the cold war between the two countries. The future will not be very different from
present, as China and USA are the dispensable enemies.
5. Falun Gong
The Chinese government characterized Falun Gong as evil cult that harms Chinese
society and its people as well as China‟s internal affairs. Chinese government also
accused it of “spreading fallacies to deceive people and creating disturbances and
jeopardizing social stability, so Falun Gong was banned and the government also
refused them permission to join any other association. Thus they have remained
with legal protection or status in China. As we can see police according to Chinese
government‟s policy arrested that many practitioners. From Xinhua news agency,
said “ the sect has received strong support from certain anti-Chinese forces in
the West, as well as enemy forces such as the Taiwan independence
movement and the pro-democracy’ movement”. So it can be said that Chinese
government perceived sect as part of global anti-China movement. Then they want
to prevent any possibly harms that might be occurred. Moreover, they also severely
limit size of Falun Gong and its range of activities.
For the US side, the US house and senate passed the resolutions, which criticized
China for its crackdown of Falun Gong. The resolutions urge Chinese government
to honor the universal declaration of human rights that it has signed to stop
arresting, detaining and persecuting Falun Gong practitioners, to release all
detained dissident, and to respect the basic human rights such as freedom of belief
and freedom of speech.
The Chinese government responded by stated that “the US commission on
international religious freedom groundlessly attacked China’s policy on
religion and Chinese government’s banning of Falun Gong cult in accordance
with law”. So Chinese citizens with religious must abide by the law. In the eyes of
Chinese government, Falun Gong is not an organization that promotes health, nor a
religious group, but an evil cult that has seriously harmed the Chinese society and
people. Chinese demanded the US to set store by the overall interests of China-US
relations and stop interfering China‟s internal affairs.
From Chinese perceptions, Falun Gong is able to mobilize its supporters and its
alternative claims to a higher truth and legitimacy, so it is not surprising that
Chinese government perceives of Falun Gong as a threat. Furthermore, they would
probably interpret Falun Gong as a socio-religious movement which can inspire
rebellions, which the communist regime has always depicted as potentially
revolutionary on one hand. So these would constitutes a sufficient reason from the
government‟s perspective for its persecution of the movement.
For the US side, it uses human rights as political games. According to the US
commission stated that “ if proposed that the US support any bid by China to
host Olympic games or grant China Permanent Normal Trade Relations
(PNTR) status only after China makes substantial improvement in regard to
religious freedom and human rights”
Consequently, as it appeared in the last move from Beijing and Washington, what is
at the highest level of the U.S.-China relations is the economic interest of the two
countries that bring them together. China still needs to boost its economic growth
and to support its transformation and its return of power in the international arena as
well as the United States notices its great profit in this big market (both trading
market and cultural market). The two indispensable enemies can not severely
confront on one another, and still keep playing political games to balance their
power in the international arena.
http :// www.china-embassy.org
U.S. – China Relations in the Aspect
of Diplomacy and Politics
Master’s Degree Program in
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS (International Program)
Faculty of Political Science
Introduction …………………………………………………………. 1
Chronology …………………………………………………………. 1
National Missile Defense ………………………………………….. 12
Chinese Perspectives ………………………………………. 12
NMD Affecting Russia's and China's Security …………… 13
Addressing China's Concern ………………………………. 15
China‟s Response …………………………………………… 17
NMD Views from China ……………………………………… 17
National Interests …………………………………………….. 18
Reaction to NMD …………………………………………….. 18
Surveillance Plane Crisis ………………………………………….. 21
Taiwan Question …………………………………………………… 21
Tibet …………………………………………………………………. 22
Tibet's personal Objective ………………………………….. 23
USA's personal objective …………………………………… 23
Compare the objective & Future …………………………… 24
Falun Gong ………………………………………………………….. 24
Compare ……………………………………………………… 25
Sources ……………………………………………………………… 26