- China wants the U.S. out of Asia, and
will continue to upgrade and enhance its military capability to accomplish
that goal, according to a senior congressional policy analyst.
- Al Santoli, a foreign policy adviser
to <http://www.house.gov/rohrabacher/bio.htm U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher,
R-CA, and an analyst at the <http://www.afpc.org American Foreign
Policy Council, believes current administration policies toward China
of so-called "constructive engagement" are "worse than appeasement,"
and will further jeopardize U.S. national security in the long run.
- Santoli made his remarks in a telephone
interview with WorldNetDaily, and was adamant that all indications point
to the Chinese continuing their decade-long effort to obtain more sensitive
U.S. technology before their "window of opportunity closes" at
the end of the Clinton administration.
- The latest attempt by China to obtain
more U.S. technology occurred earlier this month, when Chinese businessman
Collin Shu was arrested in Massachusetts trying to buy gyroscopes from
U.S. undercover agents. The gyroscopes are precision tools used to guide
everything from missiles to smart bombs, and officials said that Shu was
attempting to ship them to China through Canada via a front company he
- What is equally important, however, are
the uses China has found for all the new knowledge. Both Rohrabacher and
Santoli are worried that Chinese military buildups in key areas surrounding
mainland China will not only threaten the stability of the region but make
any eventual U.S. intervention costly and difficult.
- Santoli told WorldNetDaily that while
he believes the issue of Taiwan is currently the most contentious between
the U.S. and China, he also indicated that a threat is emerging in the
South China Sea because of China's claim of sovereignty over a small collection
of islands. For years China has continued a <http://www.usajournal.com/C-Pages/china_lays_claims_to_spratleys.htmmilitary
b uildup in the <http://www.usajournal.com/S-Pages/spratly_map.htmSpratly
Islands, adding a three-story structure and completing work on multiple
helicopter pads and communications facilities all within the past 60 days.
- Critics have denounced the opinions of
Rohrabacher and Santoli as alarmist, but both men say their concerns are
based on first-hand observations. Santoli is an expert in the area of Asian
foreign policy and the California congressman has personally visited the
Spratly Islands twice in the past several weeks.
- Not only are new structures complete
on portions of the island chain, but they added that more projects are
already underway that will be completed over the next several months. The
additional capabilities will put China in the best position to make good
on their claim over the islands -- reportedly rich in natural gas and oil
-- which will result in a likely foreign policy nightmare for the United
States. Other U.S. allies in the region also claim some or all of the Spratly
Islands, but attempts to soften the Chinese position on the sovereignty
issue have met with resistance. As a result, the Clinton administration's
policies favoring the Chinese appear to legitimize their claim over the
Spratlys which may have emboldened their efforts to beef up existing garrisons.
- Because of the State Department's willingness
to ignore technology sales and transfers, and because of the Clinton administration's
continued ambivalence toward China, Santoli believes "we're actually
helping to facilitate the Chinese military buildup, especially with all
this military-to-military cooperation."
- Last week Rohrabacher addressed these
concerns in a letter he sent to Defense Secretary William Cohen. The Pentagon
has just announced increased military ties with China in 1999, including
high-level contacts that may end up providing the Chinese military with
insights into improving logistics, battlefield tactics and technological
efforts. In his letter, the congressman said continuing to provide the
Chinese with access to sensitive U.S. technology, military tactics and
logistical expertise was "insanity." Rohrabacher wrote, "There
is no country in the world that we are more likely to be at war with 10
years from now than Communist China, and here we are modernizing their
military. It's insanity."
- Santoli addressed a gambit of concerns
he has with current U.S.-China policies. He spoke to issues of trade and
appeasement, and summarized the current status of several Chinese military
projects. Most importantly, he pointed out that while it is not prudent
to abandon all contact with the Chinese, it is foolish to believe they
are the benevolent behemoth the administration says they are.
- Santoli said the Chinese have been able
to upgrade weapons systems so rapidly because of huge trade imbalances.
He said, "We've got a $60 billion per year trade deficit with China,
mostly because of the imbalance within import and export duties."
That imbalance, he explained, has enabled China to accumulate huge sums
of disposable cash to purchase weapons, technology and expand their own
domestic production capability.
- Not only that, Santoli said, loopholes
in U.S. trade policy with China "have made it very easy to continue
to get access to U.S. technology, even today," despite congressional
reports that national security has been already been harmed due to the
sale of sensitive technology. "Many PLA (People's Liberation Army)
businesses are fronts in Hong Kong, and the importation/exportation rules
into Hong Kong from America are much less restrictive," he said.
- And he pointed some of the blame for
lax trade policies on members of the White House advisory staff. For example,
he said, before joining the Clinton White House as the president's National
Security Adviser, Sandy Berger had substantial business contacts in which
have been enhanced since Clinton relaxed the technology export rules.
- "The Commerce Department has definitely
improved Mr. Berger's business relationships," Santoli said. And it
is precisely these kinds of relationships throughout the Clinton administration
that have led to a series of foreign policy gaffes and missteps.
- Regarding the current status of Chinese
weapons systems, Santoli said the PLA is making progress in a number of
areas. Besides building their first supersonic bomber, the Hong-7, China
has developed the first stages of an anti-satellite capability, are building
anti-ship missiles that can be fired from helicopters, are expanding into
a blue water navy, and have "an aggressive military aircraft production
capability, which includes in-flight refueling capacity purchased from
- Santoli said China's regional goal is
simple. They "want the U.S. out of the Pacific and they want to dominate
the region." Admiral Joseph Prueher, outgoing commander of U.S. forces
in the Pacific and Asia agrees, telling reporters last week, "At some
point in the future they (the Chinese) would like to have everyone in the
region have to have China's approval for whatever they might want to do."
- Their military strategy for gaining influence
is time-tested, Santoli explained. "Basically, they are island-hopping,"
he said, referencing a military strategy widely used by the Japanese in
the years leading up to World War II. He said that since the Chinese do
not currently possess the logistical capacity of the United States, they
are acquiring existing land masses in the region and turning them "into
floating military bases instead."
- For instance, China recently acquired
of Tarawa -- the site of a bloody World War II battle -- from the island
nation of Kiribati, where they have built a major satellite listening and
observation post. Tarawa is strategically located between the U.S. and
the Chinese mainland, and is only about 1,500 miles from Hawaii. "It
gives China the ability to monitor all U.S. anti-missile systems and missile
tests," Santoli said.
- The Asian foreign policy expert said
he also sees China simultaneously developing other military technologies
that are designed to attack U.S. information systems. He explained that
China is "very interested" in exploiting "asymmetrical warfare"
-- a concept that involves attacking an enemy's satellites, computer systems,
and information infrastructure.
- He was also blunt about Chinese intentions
towards Taiwan. "They want to take Taiwan over, pure and simple. Even
last week they were talking about it," he said, referring to China's
anger over U.S. intentions to construct an ad hoc missile defense system
for Taiwan and Japan as a result of ongoing ballistic missile threats from
both China and North Korea.
- Santoli appeared skeptical about the
U.S. decision, saying, "Any missile defense system in the short term
would be inadequate" because "there really isn't one that would
go against the number of missiles China could deploy -- at this time."
- Santoli also questioned China's budding
new relationship with Russia, calling it "a danger for us, but one
that will end up being a mistake for Russia." He predicted that "they
(the Chinese) will turn on Russia after they get what they want from them
and after they deal with us," and he dismissed recent attempts by
Russia to include India in any future coalition with China as unworkable.
"India just doesn't trust the Chinese, and they aren't enemies of
ours -- nor do they want to be."
- Finally, Santoli said he was not "quite
as worried about Chinese aggression" during the final years of the
Clinton administration as he is in the years immediately following the
expiration of Clinton's term. He believes the Chinese know the window of
opportunity to access U.S. technology will close soon, but he believes
"they'll have already perfected several new weapons systems and will
be much more enhanced strategically by then," he said.
- "Some kind of confrontation with
China could happen before then, but they're really not ready yet,"
he explained. "They want to build more missiles, improve their blue
water navy, enhance their air forces, and perfect their high-tech anti-satellite
- See Jon E. Dougherty's daily <http://www.usajournal.com/page20.htm
column. He may be reached through <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org E-mail.
- © 1999 Western Journalism Center