[Marxism] Washington, Tokyo: Keeping Taiwan out of China is 'common objective'
ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Fri Mar 4 09:43:24 MST 2005
This is a good summary article on some important developments in
imperialist relations with China. I'm all for keeping on top of the
latest statistics on the Chinese economy, and even more for staying on
top of the developing class struggles there. But I do get concerned
about losing the thread about the continuing and in some ways even
deepening conflict between the imperialist powers -- the US above all --
and the Chinese revolution and its continuing consequences. From the
standpoint of fighters in the imperialist countries, there is no
justification at all for any slippage toward treating China, because of
the enormous economic growth and the changes in the economic structure,
as some kind of fearsome enemy power.
Vol. 69/No. 9March 7, 2005
Washington, Tokyo: defense
of Taiwan 'common objective'
U.S. gov't warns of Beijing's military strength,
presses EU powers on China arms embargo
Aegis destroyer USS Lake Erie docks in Japan's Nigata port October 11.
The ship is part of Washington's "anti-ballistic missile defense shield"
aimed at giving the U.S. military nuclear first-strike capability
against China and north Korea.
BY SAM MANUEL
Washington and Tokyo have revised a 1996 security pact that now
describes the Straits of Taiwan as a "common strategic objective"
according to a joint statement released by the two governments. The move
is part of an escalation in the aggressive posture of the two
imperialist powers toward the Chinese workers state. Beijing has
condemned the move as meddling in the internal affairs of China.
In a number of recent statements, U.S. officials have expressed alarm
that the growing military and economic might of Beijing may weaken the
military balance between the U.S.-backed regime in Taipei and Beijing.
During a visit to Belgium, U.S. president George Bush expressed "deep
concern" at the prospect of European Union (EU) governments lifting a
15-year-old arms embargo against China, saying access to strategic
weapons would "change the balance of relations between China and
The move by Tokyo to forge a closer military relationship with U.S.
imperialism in relation to Taiwan registers another step in the drive by
the Japanese ruling class to increase the use of its military to defend
its imperialist interests around the world.
China responds to threat
"The Chinese government and Chinese people firmly oppose the U.S.-Japan
statement on the Taiwan issue, which concerns China's sovereignty,
territorial integrity, and national security," said Kong Quan, a
spokesman for China's foreign ministry.
An article in China Daily said the revision of the U.S.-Japan security
pact is "nothing short of blatant meddling in China's internal affairs,
and amounts to a direct challenge to our sovereignty, territorial
integrity, and State security."
The article noted that this was the first time the issue of Taiwan had
been mentioned "explicitly" in the military pact between Washington and
Tokyo. The 1998 U.S.-Japan security pact reportedly included the more
indirect phrase, "areas surrounding Japan that have an important
influence on Japan's peace and security."
With the victory of the Chinese revolution in 1949, the defeated forces
of the capitalist government headed by Chiang Kai shek, which had the
full backing of U.S. imperialism, fled to the island of Formosa, also
known as Taiwan. Washington dispatched the U.S. 7th Fleet to prevent
Chiang's forces from being overrun. In 1955 Washington signed a "mutual"
security treaty with Chiang's regime, arming the capitalist government
in the breakaway Chinese province to the teeth.
Washington has used Taiwan as a dagger aimed at the Chinese workers
state. In 1958, the regime in Taiwan moved troops onto the coastal
islands of Quemoy and Matsu, blocking key mainland Chinese ports.
Washington threatened nuclear war when China defended itself.
Expansion of Chinese Navy
Washington has expressed growing fears that China may pose a challenge
to U.S. imperialism's interests in the region. U.S. officials are
particularly alarmed that Washington's massive Navy may soon be
challenged by the growing size and sophistication of Beijing's.
In a meeting of the Senate Armed Services Committee February 17,
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was asked if he was "concerned
about projections that the Chinese fleet may well surpass the American
fleet in terms of numbers in just a decade's time." Rumsfeld responded
that it is an issue the Defense Department is "concerned about and is
attentive to." He said Beijing's defense budget has been growing
"sometimes in double digits."
"We don't have a great deal of visibility into that, but their budgets
are growing significantly in defense things," Rumsfeld said. "They're
purchasing a great deal of relatively modern equipment from Russia. And
as you pointed out, they have been expanding their navy and expanding
the distances from the People's Republic of China that their navy
Rumsfeld added that "we hope and pray [China] enters the civilized world
in an orderly way." Defense department spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said
later that Rumsfeld "did not mean to suggest China was not a civilized
nation," the New York Times reported.
"In 2004, China increased its ballistic missile forces deployed across
from Taiwan and rolled out several new submarines," CIA director Porter
Goss told the Senate Intelligence Committee a day earlier. "China
continues to develop more robust, survivable nuclear-armed missiles, as
well as conventional capabilities for use in regional conflict.
Goss added that "China is increasingly confident and active on the
international stage, trying to ensure it has a voice on major
international issues, to secure access to natural resources, and to
counter what it sees as United States efforts to contain or encircle
EU arms embargo against China
The U.S. government is seeking to convince its rivals in Europe that
they should extend a 15-year-old arms embargo against China. "There is a
deep concern in our country that a transfer of weapons would be a
transfer of technology to China," Bush said, responding to a question
about the arms embargo during a February 22 press conference in Belgium.
The transfer of such technology "would change the balance of relations
between China and Taiwan," he said.
A team of European officials will attempt to convince the White House
that the EU decision to lift the arms trade ban will not ease Beijing's
access to high-tech weapons, reported the February 21 Wall Street
Journal. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution in
February condemning the EU's plan to end the embargo by a vote of 411 to
During Bush's visit to Europe, French president Jacques Chirac said the
embargo, imposed in 1989 allegedly in response to Beijing's crackdown on
demonstrators in Tiananmen Square, was no longer justified, reported
Reuters. Chirac also noted that Canada and Australia have no
restrictions on arms sales to China. Despite the embargo, reported the
Journal, some of the EU's larger arms producers-France, Britain and
Italy-sell military goods to China. In 2001 for example arms sales from
EU countries to China amounted to 62 million euros, or about $81 million
dollars. By 2003 that had climbed to $565 million.
Japanese remilitarization drive
"It would be wrong for us to send a signal to China that the United
States and Japan will watch and tolerate China's military invasion of
Taiwan," said Shinzo Abe, the acting secretary general of Japan's ruling
Liberal Democratic Party, according to the Washington Post. "If the
situation surrounding Japan threatens our security, Japan can provide
U.S. forces with support."
Abe's comments about Tokyo aiding Washington militarily in a conflict
with China reflect the efforts by the Japanese rulers to extend the use
and capabilities of their military forces, and get the Japanese public
used to the idea. The constitution imposed on Japan by the U.S.
occupation following Tokyo's defeat in the Second World War prohibit the
use of Japanese troops abroad. Prime Minister Koizumi has said that his
party will push to revise the constitution.
Last December Tokyo issued new national security guidelines that singled
out China as a threat. The guidelines also described the military
cooperation of Tokyo with Washington in a number of fields. One example
the document points to is the close collaboration between the two
governments in working to deploy a ballistic missile defense system
aimed at China and north Korea.
Last September the U.S. Navy deployed state-of-the-art Aegis destroyers
in the Sea of Japan off the waters of north Korea laying the foundation
for a U.S. "missile shield" that includes Japan.
The two imperialist powers have also been working closely as part of the
Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). Under the initiative,
Washington and its imperialist allies assert the right to stop, board,
and confiscate the cargo of any ship they claim to suspect of carrying
"weapons of mass destruction."
In 2004 Tokyo deployed its first troops abroad since 1945, sending a
detachment of hundreds of soldiers to join in the U.S.-led occupation of
As part of the militarization drive the Japanese rulers have begun to
take steps aimed at reviving Japanese nationalism and painting over the
crimes of Japanese imperialism's past military exploits. Four times
since he became prime minister in 2001, Koizumi has visited the Yasukuni
Shrine where Japanese war dead are buried.
Japan's minister of education, Nariaki Nakayama, slammed Japanese
history textbooks for "self laceration," reported the Korean daily
Chosun Ilbo. He said there should be fewer references to "comfort women"
in the texts, referring to the widespread practice of the Japanese
troops of abducting women to be used as sexual slaves during Japan's
imperialist expansion from 1910-1945.
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