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Xinhua Special Topic: On the U.S. Defense Review

Articles from China’s state-run media that reflect the Chinese communist government’s views on the U.S. Defense Review.

U.S. Defense Review Promotes “China Military Threat Theory”

[Editor’s note: The two articles below are excerpts translated from the Chinese communist regime’s official news agency, Xinhua. They are posted on its website Xinhuanet under the special topic "U.S. Defense Review Promotes ‘China Military Threat’ Theory."]

Rear Admiral Yang Yi Interprets American Defense Review: Taking China as a Hypothetical Rival Object

Xinhuanet, February 9, 2006

At the beginning of this month, the United States released the "Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR)." The QDR contains extensive coverage of "China’s military expansion." It declared that China will develop the high-tech, non-asymmetrical military capability, including strategic nuclear weapons, tactical unmanned aerial vehicles, and so on. In an exclusive interview, Rear Admiral Yang Yi, Deputy Director of the Strategic Research Department and Director of the Strategic Research Institute, National Defense University, provided detailed interpretations of the report.

The Change in Quantity Draws America’s Suspicion

Reporter: Compared to previous reports, what are the features of America’s 2006 QDR as important indicators for American defense development?

Yang Yi: Compared to the QDR of 2001 or even earlier reports, the prominent characteristic of this year’s report is that the United States explicitly shows worry about China issues. The content of the "China threat theory" was also mentioned in the 2001 QDR, but in a relatively vague way. For instance, when it talked about the issue of "the precise attack of the theater," it actually referred to China.

The main reason is that, after the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, the United States needs assistance from China in counter-terrorism affairs. Thus, it did not go public with the "China threat theory." However, China went through rapid development over the last four years. China’s developing model has been recognized by the international society, and its international position has been upgraded. Under the guidance of the scientific development concept, China has implemented a new military reform. On the other hand, after the Iraq War, the United States has been lacking the ability to do what it would like. This change in the balance of power draws the argument within the United States about "who overlooked China."

The United States wanted to maintain its absolute superiority from the ideology of pragmatism. Military strength is the important tool for maintaining its "absolute power." Therefore, under these conditions, the United States openly brought out the "China threat theory."{mospagebreak}

U.S. "Fever" in Taking China as a Hypothetical Target

Reporter: What is the purpose for the United States to openly bring up the "China threat theory?"

Yang Yi: America’s military strategic adjustment and development needs a target. During the Cold War, it focused on competing with the former Soviet Union for dominance. After that age, it targeted some regional big countries and in the post-9/11 period, it turned to the anti-terrorism. Now its strategic adjustment could be described as "one eye on counter-terrorism with the other on the challenge."

In the domain of strategy, "it is difficult to formulate a high-level policy without an enemy." As a result of the fast growth of its national power, China became America’s "hypothetical challenger."

Reporter: In the report, the United States includes Russia and India in the "Strategic Crossroad" countries.

Yang Yi: Yes. But we should notice that the United States gave India more positive comments than negative ones. Russia was "degraded" as a regional big country. The overall power of Russia will not have much increase in a short period. Therefore, taking China as a rival is easier to stir up America’s "fervor."

Don’t Make a Fuss Over It

Reporter: At this time, the United States is very concerned about the development of China’s navy.

Yang Yi:When we communicated with American military personnel, we found what they were concerned most about was the "uncertainty" of China’s military development. They thought that the "strategic border" between China and the United States should be on the sea. If China’s goal of development is to be a regional big country, it should not develop ocean naval forces. Therefore, the United States is always worried that China’s naval development is targeting the United States. It pays particular attention to this aspect.


What’s Changed and Unchanged in the U.S. Quadrennial Defense Review

Xinhuanet, February 6, 2006, Source: People’s Daily Overseas Edition{mospagebreak}

On February 6, 2006, the U.S. Defense Department submitted to the U.S. Congress the new "Quadrennial Defense Review." Generally speaking, this report stays within the framework of the new national security strategy of the United States after the "9/11" incident. However, compared to the previous report four years ago, the new one adjusts the focal points for future defense. From the unchanged framework and the small adjustments, we can better understand the direction of America’s China policy.

In the new report, there are mainly two things unchanged. The first one is that the United States is still engaged in a long-lasting counter-terrorism war; that is to say, America’s No. 1 enemy is still terrorism. The second one is that the United States still sees China as a potential "military competitor." As early as four years ago, American strategy expert Cohen explicitly stated that those who formulated the national defense strategy had no doubt about two things: one, the United States would face longer and tougher threats from terrorists; and two, the rising China would become the rival of this region.

What are other changes in the new report that we should be concerned about? First, the new report for the first time uses the word "China." The previous report four years ago stated that in the East Asia region the United States would face the challenge of "a military competitor with a formidable resource base." But the new one explicitly mentions that, "as a major and newly emerging big power, China has the most potentials to engage in a military competition with the United States." Second, the new report proposes specific measures to strengthen the U.S. military’s operational capability in the Pacific region. At the same time, it also set the goal of increasing the long-range offensive capability as soon as possible.

These two changes show that the United States will increase the tracking and research of Chinese military development and will take this as the key goal for the future defense strategy. It is particularly worth mentioning that the United States will enhance its long-range offensive capability out of the consideration of the potential change in the political situation in the East Asia region. Once the United States encounters problems for its military bases in Japan, Korea, and so on to control East Asia, the only way is to increase its long-range offensive capability. Otherwise, it cannot effectively control this region. In the meantime, the increase of its long-range offensive capability would also enhance the deterrence impact of the United States against terrorists and so-called "rascal countries."

With respect to strategic focal points, the new report is different from President Bush’s State of the Union that emphasized more on China’s competition with the United State in the economic arena. But the report is closely connected with Bush’s speech. The latter emphasizes politics and diplomacy while the former concerns military preparation, which naturally would consider the China policy from the military preparation and prevention. From the U.S. strategy of "putting stakes on both sides," the United States is putting the "stake" of defense on the unpredictable side.

Translated by CHINASCOPE from