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December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘China’

Netanyahu Views Chinese Wall ‘Security Fence’

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara visited the Great Wall of China on Thursday, allowing him to make the obvious comparison with Israel’s security fence, dubbed by leftists as the “Apartheid Wall.

Unlike the Chinese Great Wall, the “wall” in Israel extends less than 10 percent of the total length of the fortification, the rest of which is a fence.

“Just as the Chinese defended themselves by barricading themselves behind the Great Wall, so to will we [Israel] fortify ourselves along the southern border, the Golan Heights and all fronts,” the Prime Minister said during a brief stop and photo opportunity during his five-day trip in China.

He said the Great Wall inspired him as Israel built the security fence along the southern border with Egypt.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has concentrated on trade and economics with China during his visit. Chinese leaders and the Prime Minister have signed a series of trade and cultural agreements since he landed on Sunday.

China’s Peace Plan: Outrageously One-Sided

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

I’ve heard suggestions that Israel should be looking east for allies, rather than toward the U.S. and Europe. Judging by the four point “peace plan” proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping while both PM Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas were in China, maybe that wouldn’t be such a good idea. Do we really need another plan that doesn’t mention recognition of Israel as a Jewish state?

Here are the four points, with a few comments interspersed. You can decide for yourself if this represents a positive breakthrough.

First, the right direction to follow should be an independent Palestinian State and peaceful co-existence of Palestine and Israel. To establish an independent state enjoying full sovereignty on the basis of the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital is an inalienable right of the Palestinian people and the key to the settlement of the Palestinian question. At the same time, Israel’s right to exist and its legitimate security concerns should also be fully respected.

Just in case we have any question about whether the Chinese are taking sides, the “Palestinian people” have “inalienable rights” to specific territory while Israel has only a “right to exist.” The word “legitimate” is ambiguous, too — does it mean that Israel’s concerns are legitimate, or does it mean that only “legitimate” concerns should be ‘respected’?

As we know, there are no “1967 borders,” only 1949 armistice lines which neither side accepted as having any permanent significance, and which were understood by the drafters of UNSC resolution 242 as needing to be replaced by “secure and recognized” boundaries. And if “full sovereignty” includes militarization and control of airspace, then that is simply inconsistent with Israel’s security.

Second, negotiation should be taken as the only way to peace between Palestine and Israel. The two sides should follow the trend of the times, pursue peace talks, show mutual understanding and accommodation, and meet each other half way. The immediate priority is to take credible steps to stop settlement activities, end violence against innocent civilians, lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip and properly handle the issue of Palestinian prisoners in order to create the necessary conditions for the resumption of peace talks. Comprehensive internal reconciliation on the part of Palestine will help restart and advance the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.

Ending violence against innocent civilians, if this means stopping Arab terrorism, would be great. But keep in mind that the PLO promised — when it signed the Oslo accords, and received weapons, money and training for its “police force” — to do just that. PLO-supported terrorism continued, before, during and after the murderous Second Intifada, under Arafat and Abbas, on both sides of the Green Line, and is even increasing today, giving rise to fears of a third intifada. So any agreement must include a way to ensure that the PLO would honor it, as well as a way to restrain Hamas and the other extremist factions.

I recall the ill-fated “Road Map,” whose full name was, “A Performance-Based Road Map to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.” It called for “ending terror and violence” and stopping incitement as part of Phase I. Supposedly there would not be a Phase II if this didn’t happen. Of course it didn’t. Along the way, the idea of conditioning Israeli concessions on Palestinian performance seems to have been given up.

Regarding “settlement activities”: the argument has been that even if a “settler” adds a bedroom onto his house within an existing settlement, then he is somehow creating facts on the ground which prejudice a future agreement with the Palestinians. This is illogical, considering that (a) the settlement blocs where most Jews live are expected to remain part of Israel under any reasonable agreement, and (b) there is established precedent for Israel withdrawing from inhabited settlements.

But more important: Arabs, too, are building “settlements,” especially in Area C, the part of Judea/Samaria that is supposed to be under full Israeli control. Will they agree to stop their “activities” as well? Because they are the ones creating facts on the ground today.

Chinese Media Ho-Hum on Netanyahu’s Visit

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Chinese media have reported Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s current visit as secondary news, reflecting China’s distance from the Israeli-Palestinian Authority issue.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is also in China, and his visit has gained slightly more attention than Netanyahu’s.

The Prime Minister’s main mission is economic, and Israel’s trump card in any political dealings between Beijing and Ramallah is Israel’s capacity for helping China in the fields of agriculture and high technology.

The Chinese news agency Xinhua reported a seven-paragraph blurb on Netanyahu’s first day in the country, with most of the report referring to his scheduled tour of the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum. The site illustrates Shanghai’s providing a safe heaven for approximately 30,000 Jewish refugees from the Nazi Holocaust.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has not brought up the matter of Syria in his visit and is not likely to talk about considering China’s objections to foreign intervention and its condemnation Sunday of Israel’s bombing of Iranian missiles in Syria that were headed for Hezbollah.

Abbas is trying to convince China to be more vocal in his bid for declaring the Palestinian Authority an independent country based on his own definitions while ditching a negotiated agreement with Israel.

However, China has little to gain from joining Abbas’ worldwide campaign for support and has a lot more to gain from Israel’s technology.

China Central television gave Abbas more coverage than Netanyahu, and Chinese President Xi Jinping presented a four-point proposal for Palestinian Authority.

The People’s Daily featured a photo of Abbas and the Chinese president shaking hands, and the caption read, “China firmly supports the just cause of the Palestinian people.”

However, experts in China doubt that Abbas will receive much more than headlines.

Prof Yin Gang, associated with a Chinese Academy of Social Sciences state-run think-tank, said Beijing is “very unlikely” to playa significant part in the deadlock between Jerusalem and Ramallah, according to the South China Morning Post.

Li Shaoxian, a Middle East expert at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, a state security ministry-affiliated think-tank, told China Daily that China can “hardly match” Washington’s role in the Middle East.

Netanyahu Promoting Israeli High-Tech in China

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu landed in Shanghai Monday and immediately traveled from the airport to an exhibition at a high-tech industrial park and promoted Israel’s high-tech industry.

Next to a wall on which were the logos of the companies operating in the high-tech park, the Prime Minister said, “We see here the logos of many of the world’s leading companies. I hope that we will soon see on this wall the logos of many Israeli companies; this is the goal – to expand bilateral economic cooperation and significantly increase Israeli exports to China.”

He viewed a series of innovative technological developments in the fields of alternative energy, urban development, the environment, aviation and space, computer networks, medicine and entertainment technology by leading companies active in China.

(Not) Only Netanyahu Can Go to China

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

Prime Minister Netanyahu is on his way to China on Sunday evening, but he won’t be the only one. PA President Mahmoud Abbas is also on his way. The two are not expected to meet – it is a big country after all.

Netanyahu will be in China for 5 days to discuss economic agreements between China and Israel. He will be meeting with the Chinese president and prime minister, as well as other senior officials.

It’s almost certain that Netanyahu will talk to Beijing about Iran. Less than two weeks ago, head of Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, secretly met in China with his counterpart to reportedly discuss Syria and Iran.

As China has stood with Russia opposing Western intervention in the Syrian civil war, this trip could be very interesting considering the reports of multiple Israeli air strikes against Syrian chemical weapons.

The Rise of China’s Militant Nationalism

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

In April 2012, China’s ships surrounded Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. By July, the Chinese had erected a barrier to the reef’s entrance, denying access to all but their own vessels. The swift action was taken despite mutual promises by Beijing and Manila to leave the area, which up until then had been controlled by the Philippines. Chinese state media gloated over the deception.

After gobbling up Scarborough, Chinese vessels and aircraft stepped up their intrusion into Japanese territorial waters and airspace around the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, in an effort to wrest them from Tokyo. In a display of massive force, eight Chinese ships entered the waters around the uninhabited outcroppings on the 23 of this month. On Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry said the islands were a “core interest,” meaning that Beijing will not stop until it has taken control of them. Some analysts think China will try to land forces on the Senkakus soon.

Beijing’s aggression on the seas is being matched by its aggression on land. During the night of April 15, a Chinese platoon-strength force advanced 10 kilometers south of the Line of Actual Control, the de facto border between China and India in the Himalayas, and established a tented camp in the Daulat Beg Oldi sector of eastern Ladakh. In recent days, Chinese troops advanced another 10 kilometers into India, one more bold attempt to take ground from a neighboring country.

China is a belligerent state that seeks to seize territory from an arc of nations: from India in the south, to South Korea in the north. At the same time, we are hearing war talk from the Chinese capital—from civilians, such as new leader Xi Jinping, to China’s senior military officers. Washington has yet to understand the fundamental challenge China’s militant nationalism poses to America and to the international community.

At one time, it seemed that Beijing, for its own reasons, wanted to work with the U.S. Washington, in turn responded to Chinese overtures. Since Nixon’s trip to Beijing in 1972, the U.S. “engaged” the Chinese to bring them into the international community. The concept was that our generous policies would avoid the devastation that Germany and Japan precipitated last century. The American approach proved durable, despite tumultuous change over the course of four decades, precisely because it was consistent with our conception of our global role as the ultimate guarantor of peace and stability. The policy of engagement of China was enlightened, far-sighted, and generous.

It was also a mistake.

Beijing prospered because of America’s engagement, and while the Chinese required help, they seemed to accept the world as it was. Now, however, they believe they no longer need others and are therefore trying to change the world for the worse. China is not only claiming territories of others but also trying to close off international waters and airspace; proliferating nuclear weapons technology to Iran; supplying equipment to North Korea’s ballistic missile program; supporting rogue elements around the globe; launching cyber attacks on free societies; undermining human rights norms, and engaging in predatory trade tactics that helped tip the global economy over the edge in 2008.

Beijing has gone on a bender. Soon after President Obama’s troubled summit in the Chinese capital in November 2009, China dropped all pretense and started openly to challenge the American-led international system. Chinese diplomats, officials, and officers spent less time explaining, persuading, and cajoling and more time complaining, pressuring, and threatening. In early 2010, China’s flag officers and senior colonels made a point of publicly talking about fighting a war — a “hand-to-hand fight with the U.S.,” as one put it — in the near future. China, as Robert Sutter of George Washington University points out, is the only major power actively planning to kill Americans, and, judging from public comments, China’s senior officers are relishing the prospect of doing so.

IT IS NOT HARD to understand how China became a militant state. First, Chinese leaders became arrogant, evidently believing they were leading the world’s next great power. They saw economic turmoil elsewhere and told us through their media that the United States and the rest of the West were in terminal decline.

Second, the ruling Communist Party was going through a tumultuous leadership transition that, despite appearances, is still not completed. As the so-called Fourth Generation, led by Hu Jintao, gave way to the Fifth, under the command of Xi Jinping, feuding civilians sought support for their personal political ambitions from the flag officers of the People’s Liberation Army. Consequently, the generals and admirals effectively became arbiters in the Party’s increasingly rough game of politics. And in a time of political transition, almost no civilian leader was in a position — or willing to take a risk — to tell the top brass what to do. As a result, the military gained substantial influence, perhaps becoming the most powerful faction in the Communist Party.

Deciphering the Chinese and American Korea Strategy

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Is there any piece of received wisdom more universally invoked than the inane piety that China wants to calm North Korea down, and gets annoyed when the Kims act up?  It’s hard to think of many.  This hoary premise gets trotted out every time.  And every time, it comes up short on explanatory or operational value.  It’s never relevant to why the Kim went crazy.  Nor is China coming down on a Kim ever the key to settling the Kim’s hash.  If the snarling Kim stops yelping for a while, it’s always because the U.S. was induced to do something – intensify some negotiating stance, make some offer, fork over some “aid,” make a concession to China; or maybe just look alert enough to make it the wrong time for a showdown.

You’d think someone would figure this out.  When the Kims start throwing food on the floor, somebody’s got an eye on Uncle Sam.

China’s Basic Posture

While it’s quite true that China sets boundaries on a given Kim’s latitude for geopolitical tantrums, it is wrong to suppose that China wants the same thing the U.S., South Korea, or Japan wants.  China is only interested in pacifying North Korea if events are not proceeding to China’s advantage.  If it is advantageous to China for the Kims to provoke responses out of the U.S., China will let the drama run its course.  (As discussed below, that is the case today.)

Conversely, it is equally wrong to imagine that China instigates what the Kims do.  The Chinese don’t have to make a Kim’s nonsense up for him; the average Kim is an indefatigable nonsense factory.  His natural intransigence and self-cultivated geopolitical alienation are useful for China – a convenience to be prized and guarded.

The Kim psychosis keeps the Korean peninsula divided, with one half of it joined at the hip to China.  For China, that is better than any other option – perhaps even better than the most unlikely one:  a united Korea joined at the hip to China.

The Chinese want to prevent, at all costs, the opposite situation: a united Korea allied with the United States and friendly with Japan.  But a united Korea would tend to be a pain in China’s neck in any case.  For the Chinese, keeping Korea divided is a pretty good option, especially when it’s the United States paying to guarantee that the division remains peaceful.  China couldn’t afford 60 years of guarding the DMZ.

The Obama Enigma

The underlying geopolitical structure for that assumption is starting to change, however, in part because of the deliberate, announced policy change toward the Pacific Rim on the part of the U.S.  But it’s also because, in the context of that new policy, no one is sure what Obama will do.  In visibly and enthusiastically rattling the saber at North Korea, he is not doing what previous presidents have done.  There is one exception – John F. Kennedy, abetted by Robert McNamara – and their pattern of behavior in foreign policy did not turn out well.

Obama’s pattern (Honduras, Iran, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria; the missile defense pull-out from Poland; the Obama nuclear policy and New START) is as confused as JFK’s, if not as bombastic.  Predicting what Obama means by the rather humorous “airplane escalation” in Korea – first the B-52s, then the B-2s, then, oh, no, not them, the F-22s – is something of a puzzler.  Is he trying to deter something?  If so, what?  Clearly, he’s not deterring Kim Jong-Un’s saber rattling or missile-launcher moving.

I was amused (yet again) to hear on the TV news yesterday that the U.S. Navy is moving one of its “mightiest warships,” USS John F McCain (DDG-56), to the waters off North Korea.  McCain is an Arleigh Burke-class Aegis destroyer, and as such is certainly mightier than the global-average destroyer.  But there are 61 other Arleigh Burkes, in total, and 15 others have the ballistic missile defense (BMD) upgrade that McCain has, including four other Arleigh Burkes homeported, like McCain, in Japan.  I’m a big fan of the Arleigh Burke, but I do wonder where the hyperventilating copy billing McCain as one of our “mightiest warships” came from.  I really hope it wasn’t a government office.

The question remains:  What is Obama hoping to achieve with these moves?  It’s like he’s doing an imitation of what he and other academic leftists perceive to be going on when nations come into conflict over something.  These leftists tend to characterize events in terms of nations “posturing” and “rattling the saber” at each other, with the implication that it’s all stupid, regrettable, and untethered to meaningful policy issues – and that it could be prevented with a little grown-up intervention.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/j-e-dyer/deciphering-the-chinese-and-american-korea-strategy/2013/04/09/

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