Defense secretary Bob Gates was visiting China this week for the first time in SIX YEARS, and he is surprised that the Chinese are rolling out a fighter jet that wasn’t expected until 2020??? If you are clueless about something as important as this, Bob, what ELSE don’t you know?
Amateur video of the J-20 Stealth Fighter “just happened” to go wildly-viral all over the internet just as Gates was arriving in China. The idea that Gates or anyone from the administration is trying to position this choreographed leak as “just a coincidence” is fooling no one (but Barack?)
This kind of breast-beating is what the Chinese DO. And it was stunning to see a jet fighter flying around that our government didn’t acknowledge until this week.
For the record, President Hu Jintao professed “not to know” about the leaked video. He was either lying, which we will never know for sure, or he was telling the truth, in which case, are we witnessing a temperamental rogue Chinese military wanting to flex for the cameras?
The American mainstream media are preoccupied with slinging buckets of slosh at conservatives, so there was scant attention paid to Gates getting his public relations/intel spanking.
There was some truth-telling from the Canadian media about the Gates visit and it’s not complimentary:
Quite apart from the provocative first test flight of the J-20, Gates got little other return for his efforts. The Chinese only agreed to establish a working group to talk about future talks.
Among observers and analysts in Asia, there is a growing view that Beijing suspects that Obama is a one-term president — unless he benefits from any gift of his Republican opponents’ folly — and there is little point in investing too much good will with this administration until its prospects become more clear.
Huang Jing, an expert on China’s military and professor at Singapore’s National University, was reported on Monday as saying “the Chinese are playing tai chi [the martial art of self-defence] with the Americans. They want to wait until the dust settles down in Washington.”
Ding Xueliang, professor of foreign affairs at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, said he has “no confidence at all” that Gates will get the military openness he wants.
“I don’t think he can get the real substantial things from the Chinese military.”
And Paule Haenle, director of the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing and a former national security adviser to president George W. Bush, said “I don’t think the Chinese have made any strategic decision that they are going to now work closer with the U.S.”
Putting some candy sprinkles on top of his “cupcake” treatment of the Chinese, Gates has just announced he is putting the F-35 development on “waivers” for 2 years because of concerns about its test results. Just what we need, fewer maneuverables to replace our 25 -year-old models.
Let’s also not forget just a few months ago, that there was a Chinese missile brazenly launched off the coast of California, just as the president was landing in China. This was officially “denied” of course.
President Hu will now come to the United States for meetings. As D. Cheng of Heritage says, this will be a time to full-court PRESS Hu, not to celebrate:
1. President Obama Should Push for a Renewed Chinese Commitment to Market-Oriented Reform, Featuring a Reduced Role for State-Owned Enterprises in the Economy. Heading toward the dual transition in 2012, the most politically dangerous elements of the Sino–American relationship are economic. It is perceived in the U.S. that Chinese policies are causing serious harm to our economy, yet American economic retaliation could devastate the PRC’s economy.
At the core of the problem is the role of the Chinese state. On the American side, the federal budget deficit has added considerably to the bilateral trade deficit, among other harms. Chinese state intervention is more extensive and intractable, incorporating the pegged exchange rate, the set of policies aimed at encouraging “indigenous innovation,” and the compulsory purchasing of American bonds. Nearly all the factors that cause economic tension between the two countries stem from state action.
The best place for the U.S. to begin discussions is the extent of support given to state-owned enterprises in China. Centrally and provincially controlled enterprises receive overwhelming regulatory protection from competition, huge subsidized loans, free land, cut-price energy, and other forms of assistance.
2. President Obama Should Make It Clear That the United States Will Defend Freedom of Navigation Throughout the Waters of the Western Pacific. Another area of growing tension between the U.S. and the PRC is their fundamentally different views regarding freedom of the seas, especially in waters beyond the territorial limit of 12 nautical miles in the East China and South China Seas and in the Yellow Sea.
The U.S. defines maritime rights in these waters as qualitatively and quantitatively the same as those rights and freedoms applicable on the high seas. The Chinese claims are a mix of idiosyncratic readings of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea and direct assertions of sovereignty over islands, rocks, and waters far from its shores. Beijing holds the view that, although foreign naval forces may transit these waters, China has the right to restrict their activities while doing so—a perspective that is wholly antithetical to traditional concepts of freedom of navigation and the way an overwhelming number of nations interpret international law.
President Obama should make clear to President Hu that there is no principle more deeply engrained in American history and foreign policy than freedom of the seas. It is an absolutely non-negotiable “core” interest.
3. President Obama Should Press the Chinese on Nuclear Proliferation Concerns, Especially Regarding Iran and North Korea. With the exception of the perennial issue of Taiwan, there may be no greater divergence on national security concerns between Washington and Beijing than the question of nuclear proliferation by nations such as Iran and North Korea. The development of an Iranian nuclear capability is of concern to the United States and many of its allies and friends in the Middle East.
Of even greater concern is North Korea, which in recent months has assumed an increasingly aggressive stance, first by sinking a South Korean frigate and later in the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island by North Korean artillery batteries. The leadership in Pyongyang may feel that it has approval, or at least acquiescence, from the Chinese leadership because Beijing has done little to constrain them. Indeed, the Chinese protests regarding the George Washington carrier group are likely to have been interpreted by North Korea as supporting their actions, even if that was not the Chinese intent. It is essential that Beijing understand that further North Korean actions will trigger a firm U.S. and South Korean reaction and that it is in China’s interests to discourage North Korea from pursuing this dangerous path.”
I would add to that list the need for a very frank discussion about China’s recent moves to cut back on export of “rare earth” minerals. China has approximately 96% of the world’s rare earth mineral production. We need those minerals for nearly every product we make: batteries, cell phones, guidance systems, the high-tech and auto industries. The fact that China is demanding access to even more of our technology in return for the rare earths is a conversation that needs to be had sooner rather than later.
Gates’ recent announcement to cut $150 billion in military spending is the exact WRONG thing to be doing in the face of this extreme, schizophrenic-stealth Chinese threat and its shadowy alliances with every rogue nation in the world.
See previously on UNCOVERAGE.net: