WHO WILL HOLD THE POWER IN ASIA
As the region prospers, chances for conflict may become greater
By Todd Crowell , August 27, 1999 Asia Week
WAR OR PEACE? THAT is the fundamental question. Extrapolating from existing power relations, one can predict several things with confidence: The current Asian hot spots will remain hot. The intractable conflicts will become more tractable. Ideologically-motivated conflicts still remaining, such as the rebellion being fought by the Communist New People's Army in the Philippines, will sputter out, replaced by newer ethnic conflicts. Competition for scarcer resources will begin to loom larger in the Asian security equation.
The Korean peninsula will remain the most dangerous place in Asia. But it is not North Korea's large but decrepit conventional army that causes the most concern. It will be North Korea's stubborn obsession with weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them. The missile program is already subtly altering power relationships in Northeast Asia. Japan already defines its most immediate threat as coming not from Russia but from North Korea. Successive annual defense white papers have painted the danger in starker terms. As the millennium opens, the self-styled Japanese defense forces will acquire more means of projecting offensive power. Intelligence gathering satellites are sure to be placed in orbit. The air force will obtain air-refueling capabilities, the navy will launch several midget aircraft carriers.
Over the coming years. Japan will gradually look more like a "normal" nation. The Constitution will be revised, altering or dropping the war-renouncing Article 9. Expect to see the Japanese navy sink its first ship since 1945 in a skirmish with North Korean intelligence ships in the Sea of Japan. An extreme scenario: the U.S. launches a pre-emptive air strike at a North Korean missile base, if only to prevent the Japanese from doing it themselves. The Americans know that such action would roil Asia, including South Korea.
The Taiwan Strait will remain a constant threat to peace. The late Deng Xiaoping once laid down five conditions that would prompt China to attack: A Taiwan-Russia entente; the outbreak of extreme civil disorder; a Taiwan atomic bomb; a formal declaration of independence and rejection of unification for a long time. The latter two, and possibly even a Taiwan bomb, remain realistic causes of potential conflict. Most analysts rule out a classic marines-hitting-the-beaches invasion. China lacks the capability, and it would take a long time to get it. But other options short of a direct attack remain plausible for many years. Sometime during the next two decades, Beijing's armed forces might try to snatch one of the smaller islands off China's coast held by Taiwan. Or, it might try a naval blockade or a repeat of the dummy missile exercises of 1996. China's military modernization will proceed steadily, though slowly. The much-anticipated Chinese aircraft carrier may finally put to sea. But more likely Beijing will invest its limited funds where it can get the biggest bang - ballistic missiles. Such a move, plus North Korea's ambitions, will increase pressure to deploy theater missile defenses. Fear of provoking China may prevent deployment in Taiwan, but a battery anti-missile missiles on Japan's southernmost Yonaguni island, ostensibly to defend Japanese air space, would effectively cover most of Taiwan too.
In the South China Sea, the maritime heartland of Southeast Asia, the potential for armed conflict remains acute because six countries claim all or part of the tiny islets, because they and the sister islets the Paracels, sit astride critical sea passages and because they are thought to harbor important resources, especially petroleum. As the Asian Crisis eases, expect to see the countries surrounding those islands spending on more modern armaments. After the last flyable Philippine Air Force F-5 jet falls out of the sky of sheer old age, Manila may finally begin modernizing is military by acquiring a couple of squadrons of advanced fighters and several new naval frigates. That would give the Philippines better capability to defend its interests in the Spratlys and protect maritime resources.
But some of region's problems that seem so intractable may subside as sources of future conflict as time passes. The independent Republic of Timor will gradually fade out of the world's headlines. Sri Lanka's decades-old civil war will peter put too. The death or capture of Velupillai Prabhakaran, chief of the Tamil Tigers, plus a generous offer of local autonomy for Tamil regions to the east and north of the country will help to end the civil war. As it has been for 50 years, Kashmir will be the most resistant to solutions. India and Pakistan may come to the brink several times, but will back away. They will be restrained, in part, by both possessing nuclear weapons. Brahma Chellaney, professor of security studies at the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi, thinks that Kashmir will quiet down over the next decade. The matter may not be fully resolved, but will become "a dispute in cold storage," he says.
While old conflicts fade, new tensions will arise, from ethnic conflicts and competition for scarcer resources. China's western Xinjiang province will be a constant worry as the Uighur inhabitants have nearby a ready source of weapons and other assistance in the independent Muslim Central Asian states. Well into the next century, Tibet will be less a problem for the Chinese as the death of the Dalai Lama will remove the rallying point for independence. Tibetans have many sympathizers globally, but unlike the Muslim rebels, few are ready to go to war for them.
Energy shortages, flowing from the region's increasing prosperity may give birth to dangerous new tensions. Japan, of course, already imports almost all of its oil through the Strait of Malacca, and it is highly dependent on nuclear power. To stretch its resources Tokyo is mixing uranium with plutonium recovered from spent fuel. That means Japan could possess close to a hundred tons of plutonium over the next couple of decades, in theory giving it the material to make more bombs than are contained in the arsenals of Russia and America.
Indonesia and China, two energy exporting countries, are fast becoming net importers as their economies grow. That will put increasing pressure on strategic choke points, such as the South China Sea. The problem for Asian stability, growing with each barrel of Chinese oil imported, will be China's attempts to safeguard its oil supply lanes in adjacent areas through growing naval power. That may lead to other nations enlarging their own navies. Thus the potential for future arms races flows paradoxically from the same economic growth that makes Asia's prospects seem so bright.
--With reporting by Bina Jang
TOYS FOR THE GENERALS
The U.S.'s F-22 stealth fighter-bomber, known as the "Raptor," looks set to define a first generation of fighter aircraft of the millennium - if Congressional funding cuts don't stop it from taking to the skies as scheduled in 2004. Its chief rival will be the Russian MiG MFI, a multi-role tactical aircraft unveiled earlier this year. The Russians claim the MFI is faster than Raptor and has better aerodynamics.
THE MAINSTAY of China's air force will be the domestically produced F-10 multi-role combat aircraft. Comparable to the American F-16, the fourth-generation fighter made its maiden flight in March 1998 and could go into serial production by 2000 and into service around the middle of the coming decade.
CHINA WILL be marketing its latest Type-97 assault rifle, an upgrade of the Type-87 first seen in service with the PLA contingent that entered Hong Kong in July 1997. Firing a 5.56mm round, the Type-97 is a bullpup design (with its 30-round magazine behind the trigger) and can carry a telescopic sight.
U.S.-ALLIED special forces in the region may be using the CV-22 Osprey fixed-wing hybrid helicopter before 2010. Its tilt-rotor technology, long range and high speed makes it ideal for covert missions such as dropping and picking up commandos. A high priority item for U.S. Special Operations Command, it is scheduled to begin deliveries in 2003 for full operations the following year.
RUSSIA'S NEW KA-50/52 Black Shark attack helicopter - or a Chinese facsimile - should enhance air support for ground troops. It has two counter-rotating co-axial main rotors and, thus, does not need a tail rotor. That allows its frame to be simpler and more compact. The KA-52 derivative is a two-seater. In 1995, China covertly acquired detailed plans for the Black Shark.
BY THE mid-2000s the UUV - unmanned underwater vehicle - will have revolutionized naval warfare. The U.S. Naval Undersea Warfare Center's UUV concept, known as Manta, is an autonomous, reusable vehicle for intelligence, surveillance and anti-submarine warfare. Mantas would be linked to a wider battle group, above and below the water's surface, by acoustic, radio and satellite communications.
Japan Defense Agency Raising Budget
By Ginny Parker Associated Press Writer Friday, August 27,
1999; 12:44 p.m. EDT
TOKYO (AP) -- Amid rising tensions with North Korea, Japan's Defense Agency said Friday it will ask the government to increase its funding for the first time in three years.
Its budget request for fiscal 2000 will total $45 billion, up 1.6 percent from this year, the Defense Agency said.
The request comes amid fears that North Korea is preparing to test-fire another long-range ballistic missile. The isolated communist country test-fired a missile a year ago that sailed over Japan and into the Pacific, rattling nerves across Asia. North Korea said it was launching a satellite.
The agency said the budget hike is necessary to improve Japan's ability to protect itself from intruders like the suspected North Korean spy ships that entered Japanese waters in March.
Japanese coast guard patrol boats and navy vessels fired warning shots after the ships ignored orders to stop. The spy ships raced out of Japanese waters.
Among other items, the Defense Agency wants to buy high-speed military boats to send into the Sea of Japan between Japan and the Korean Peninsula. The boats will be fitted with missiles.
The agency also wants a bigger and faster combat support ship that would provide fuel and other supplies to the U.S. fleet in Japan under a joint defense agreement.
The agency said it will also widen the scope of anti-terrorist
and anti-guerrilla training.
Missiles From China
Syria Circumvents U.S. Attempts to Restrict Spread of Weapons Technology
Syria is believed to be acquiring Chinese missile technology through a circuitous route.
By Sue Lackey Special to ABCNEWS.com
W A S H I N G T O N, Aug. 23 Syria is circumventing U.S. restrictions to obtain missile technology that could make it a much wider threat throughout the Middle East, according to high-placed government and intelligence sources.
The missiles Syria is trying to build could strike targets throughout Israel and as far away as Ankara, Turkey, with chemical and perhaps even nuclear warheads.
Syrias efforts could prove especially sensitive now, as Israel under the new leadership of Prime Minister Ehud Barak makes overtures to Syrian leader Hafez Assad toward restarting long-stalled peace talks.
From North Korea to Pakistan to
Over the last decade, the Syrian government has attempted to upgrade its strategic defense system by acquiring the advanced M-9 medium-range ballistic missile directly from China. But under pressure from the Pentagon, the Chinese two years ago backed out of a deal to sell them the technology.
Now, say U.S. and Israeli intelligence sources, Syria is obtaining Chinese medium-range, mobile-launch missile technology through a circuitous route that involves Iran, Pakistan and North Korea.
Some of the transfers have gone through Hong Kong, have gone through third-party ports like Kuala Lumpur, other places where the stuff can be moved, but not directly traced, says Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., a member of the House Armed Services Committee. Weldon participated in the Cox committee, which issued a report earlier this year that accused China of stealing U.S. nuclear and other secrets.
Anyone who monitors our intelligence intercepts can see the daily reports of items that are about to be transferred to rogue states, and many of those transfers involve Syria. That means they now have tremendous leverage in any negotiation with Israel, he adds.
The trail starts with Pakistan. China in 1992 sold 34 M-11 short-range ballistic missiles to Pakistan.
The Clinton administration imposed sanctions on China in August 1993, and lifted them in October 1994 after the State Department received assurances from China that it would no longer sell missiles.
China Keeps at it
But in December of 1994, intelligence intercepts from the National Security Agency the main U.S. international monitoring arm indicated a division of the government-owned China National Nuclear Corp. had completed a deal to provide 5,000 custom-made ring magnets, a key component in producing nuclear fuel, to Pakistan in violation of the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Act.
We didnt actually sanction [the Chinese] in that case, says a proliferation expert with President Clintons National Security Council, although we did suspend the activities of the Export-Import Bank in China, a much broader sanction than one particular Chinese entity. (The Export-Import Bank deferred loan approvals for American businessmen operating in China for 30 days in 1996).
We decided that the activity that took place, which involved providing ring magnets to Pakistan, was something the company did but the Chinese government had not approved, the expert said. The Chinese have made certain commitments about what their policies are with respect to missile transfers, and we remain concerned that the Chinese export control system is not adequate to fulfill those commitments.
Pakistan continued to acquire sophisticated M-9 missile components from China and the Nodong missile from North Korea, which utilizes Chinese-based technology, say U.S. and Israeli sources.
Iran, facing potential nuclear and chemical threats from both Iraq and Israel, also acquired Nodong missile technology from North Korea and M-9 technology from Pakistan, using it to develop its indigenous Shahab-class missiles, the most sophisticated of which may be able to reach Europe within a decade.
Final Link in Chain
Pakistan, which tested its first nuclear device in 1998, is capable of buying the missiles needed for delivery of nuclear payloads, but lacks the ability to produce them. With China under close watch since the U.S. espionage scandal broke, Pakistan turned to a loose alliance with Iran, and continued to purchase Chinese and North Korean technology supplied through third-party transfers, say senior U.S. intelligence sources.
Pakistan has essentially no indigenous production capability; says John Pike of the Federation of American Scientists. North Korea has developed the [missile] program, Iran is attempting to finish it, and Pakistan is helping them pay for it.
The Syrians, say the sources, then turned to Iran, which supplied its with assistance in developing its medium-range strategic missile system in an effort to contain Israel and its neighbor Turkey.
Syrian officials in Washington did not return repeated requests for comment.
Softly, Greenpeace Delivers Its Message In China
Updated 4:53 AM ET August 27, 1999, By Paul Eckert
BEIJING (Reuters) - China's breakneck economic growth is threatening a national and global ecological disaster, Greenpeace said in its first ever report on the country Friday.
Greenpeace China, in a landmark news conference in Beijing, said China faced "environmental meltdown" if it waited to get rich before tackling its numerous grave environmental ills.
Most of the problems set out in the 32-page Greenpeace report, which drew heavily on Chinese government statistics and reports from state-controlled media, are well documented.
But if the message was not new -- last year Chinese media reported with unprecedented candor on the role of deforestation in deadly summer floods -- the messenger was novel in a country that takes a dim view of Greenpeace-style, in-your-face activism.
Executive director of the Hong Kong-based group Ho Wai Chi issued a report cataloging the environmental price China has paid for rapid economic growth in the last two decades -- recurring and worsening floods, acid rain and foul urban water and air.
"China is paying a very huge price in its development and the environment is being sacrificed," he said.
The costly environmental damage threatened not only China's 1.23 billion people but the planet as well, the group said in a statement.
But Ho said Greenpeace China was "testing the waters" on the mainland and would eschew the dramatic and confrontational protests it has used to press its point in other countries.
"In different countries we have different styles of actions," he said in response to questions on whether Greenpeace activists in China would be chaining themselves to trees or surrounding toxic waste boats in protest.
In China, he said: "The idea of an independent report from an NGO (non-governmental organization) is not very usual."
Greenpeace's first action in China -- a protest against nuclear testing in August 1995 -- was promptly snuffed out by police and jeered by Chinese onlookers.
Seconds after five Greenpeace executives unfurled a huge banner in central Beijing's Tiananmen Square that said "Stop all nuclear testing -- Greenpeace," police seized it and hauled them away as onlookers shouted "arrest them, arrest them."
Ho said two-year-old Greenpeace China had a "working relationship" with the Beijing government and would share its expertise with the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), a cabinet-level body whose profile is rising as China has come to recognize the extent of its ecological degradation.
Ho said the Chinese government had recognized the seriousness of its pollution problems.
"We acknowledge they have made a lot of effort, but we want to speed up the process," he said.
China, which uses seven times more energy to produce one dollar of gross domestic product (GDP) than developed countries, must promote cleaner and more efficient energy use and not wait until it gets rich to clean up its skies and waters, Ho said.
"If we have to pollute first and clean up later, that means we are paying twice."
Direct economic losses from pollution averaged three to five percent of GDP in the 1990s, Greenpeace said, quoting SEPA data.
So China Has the Latest Technology? So What?
Spying scandal: There's nothing to say Beijing could use the allegedly stolen nuclear data.
By SAM COHEN, August 24, 1999 Los Angeles Times
Despite all the speculation about possible Chinese nuclear espionage at Los Alamos, we still don't know what actually happened or how serious any breach might be to U.S. national security. My assessment is: not all that much. Nuclear weapons expert Edward Teller once said, "The most difficult thing about making a nuclear weapon is to make one that doesn't work." In his own quaint way, he was fundamentally right.
After World War II, nuclear warhead requirements were put in terms of performance and reliability that never were related to military reality. (I'm ashamed to admit that I once was part of this process.) The military, in all its profundity, decided that it understood strategic nuclear operations sufficiently to give very precise requirements to the laboratories working on weaponry, when the truth was that it hadn't the wildest understanding of nuclear strategy--never has and never will. But this didn't prevent the Defense Department from formulating requirements that sometimes the labs could meet and sometimes not--all based on exploiting physical and mathematical (including computer) science to the hilt.
Despite the very considerable technical progress we have made in the strategic nuclear warhead area, we have yet to come up with a credible strategy for waging nuclear war that allows our nation to fight and win a purely military war adhering to "just war" principles intended to limit the war to the warriors, without what is euphemistically called "collateral damage." Our profound weakness in military nuclear intelligence has denied us the ability to understand the overall nature of the enemy's strategic nuclear forces, particularly its intercontinental ballistic missiles. (For President Clinton, supposedly quoting CIA estimates, to proclaim that the Chinese have perhaps 20 or 30 ICBMs has to be preposterous. What numbers of missiles they have and where they are, we simply don't know; they could be 10 times the U.S. "official" estimate.) This fundamental ignorance has denied us the ability to fight and "win," whatever that means, such a conflict with China.
Half a century into the Nuclear Age, we are left with our original immoral strategy of deterrence based on mutual assured destruction, or MAD, involving the decimation of the enemy's urban-industrial complex. In this context, knowing the precise performance and reliability of our thermonuclear warheads has little, if any, meaning.
All we can do is pray that the next half-century will provide the same deterrent results, assuming a measure of sanity exists in nuclear-capable countries. It is hoped that this will be the case, but don't hold your breath.
If China has acquired the vaunted W-88 thermonuclear technology from Los Alamos computer files, there is no U.S. intelligence to indicate it could not have developed very acceptable warhead technology on its own; it has been at this business for four decades and has not been living in the nuclear Stone Age. Every little bit helps, it can be argued; but whatever China may have gained through such espionage will have no meaningful quantifiable effect on America's MAD (insane) nuclear doctrine. Even if it has acquired the W-88 technology, which still is debatable, by no means does this imply that it has acquired a meaningful advantage in its ability to wage nuclear war against us.
However, this will not prevent the Defense Department and Congress from giving doomsday warnings about the dire consequences of such Chinese perfidy; but that's the way the nuclear game has been played in the U.S.: demagogically. So be it, but one should not be taken in by such political rhetoric. - - -
Sam Cohen Is a Retired Nuclear Weapons Analyst Who Invented the Neutron Bomb Concept
Resignation Of U.S. Spy Probe Leader Is A Victory, China Says
BEIJING, Aug 26, 1999 -- (Agence France Presse)
China Wednesday said its position had been vindicated after the U.S. Energy Department security official who led the initial probe into its alleged theft of U.S. nuclear secrets at the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory resigned.
"Certain people in the United States ... accuse China of having stolen U.S. military technology. The facts have proved that their defamatory strategies have been blocked," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Notra Trulock's allegations led to the dismissal from Los Alamos of Taiwan-born U.S. nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee for security violations. The incident also led to a deterioration in relations between the United States and China.
China has consistently denied stealing any U.S. nuclear design information, and Lee, who has not been charged, has insisted he did nothing wrong.
Over the past several weeks, several leading investigators have recommended dropping the case, claiming it was mishandled. ((c) 1999 Agence France Presse)
China's nuclear threat to US
Date: 20/08/99 By DAVID LAGUE, Herald Correspondent in Beijing
China warned yesterday that it was ready to fight over Taiwan and that its nuclear weapons could "deal with" aircraft carriers if the United States dared to interfere.
A hard-hitting editorial in the official Global Times newspaper, a subsidiary of the Communist Party mouthpiece, the People's Daily, said the US and other Western countries were mistaken if they believed China lacked the ability or will to use force in a dispute over Taiwan.
"If the US makes the wrong calculation on its abacus and goes on interfering in China's domestic affairs, it will eventually draw fire against itself," it said.
China has launched a furious propaganda barrage and a campaign of psychological warfare since Taiwan's President Lee Teng-hui called on July 9 for the two sides to deal with each other on a "state-to-state" basis, a move Beijing interpreted as a step toward independence.
The ruling Communist Party in Beijing regards Taiwan as a renegade province and has threatened to use force if it declares independence.
Despite increasingly bellicose threats from the mainland, some analysts believe the People's Liberation Army lacks the means to make any serious challenge to Taiwan, particularly if the US was drawn into any conflict.
They also argue that the economic and diplomatic costs to China of aggression across the Taiwan Strait would dramatically outweigh any gains.
But the Global Times editorial said this reasoning was dangerously flawed and it reminded the US that it had failed to subdue China in the Korean and Vietnam wars.
"We will not choose to use force until the last moment but China will not retreat because of external forces interference," the paper said.
"Theoretically, military power includes hardware and software. As to hardware, China's neutron bomb can deal with aircraft carriers easily and medium- and short-range missiles will be useful too."
The paper also said the US would be disadvantaged by long supply lines.
In a move likely to further infuriate Beijing, Mr Lee has added his voice to calls for Taiwan to be included under a proposed anti-missile defence shield that the US and Tokyo this week agreed to begin developing.
Mr Lee said the system "not only responds to current needs but, even more, it fulfils the nation's long-term development interests", according to a statement released in Taipei on Wednesday after a senior officials' meeting.
Senior Chinese leaders have already condemned suggestions that Taiwan be included in any anti-missile defence system as interference in China's internal affairs.
Experts believe it could take 10 years to develop and field the defence system but it would be symbolically important for Taiwan and reinforce fears in Beijing that peaceful reunification remains a long-term prospect if it happens at all.
Senior US officials have said that Taiwan has yet to make a formal request to be included in the system.
PLA missiles based in southern China opposite Taiwan could be one of the major threats facing the island if Beijing did decide that a military strike was needed to rein in Taipei.
China May Resume WTO Talks
By Michael Laris Washington Post Foreign Service Friday, August
27, 1999; Page E03
BEIJING, Aug. 26Chinese and U.S. trade negotiators may resume talks on China's entry into the World Trade Organization before a presidential summit next month in New Zealand, according to a senior U.S. diplomat and a Chinese expert.
Both sides are also holding out faint hope that a deal on China's entry into the Geneva-based body could be signed when President Clinton and his Chinese counterpart, Jiang Zemin, meet on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting, to be held Sept. 7 to 13 in Auckland.
Stanley Roth, U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, said in a speech in Australia today that the United States and China have communicated a "real desire" to make the September meeting a success.
"Obviously we hope that this meeting can be the occasion for significant progress on WTO--the ideal outcome to reach an agreement at that time or before, but at a minimum to use the meeting to get the negotiations restarted on an urgent basis."
China and the United States nearly reached an agreement in April after Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji offered sharp reductions in China's trade barriers during a summit in Washington. Fearing that the Chinese package might not be good enough to gain congressional approval, the Clinton administration balked at the deal.
China then suspended the talks after NATO's bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade on May 7. The Chinese government has publicly rejected the United States explanation that the bombing was an accident caused by a string of intelligence errors and said that the United States must take further "concrete" steps before WTO talks could resume.
But a series of recent signals by Beijing suggest that the WTO talks could be restarted without those outstanding issues being fully resolved.
A Chinese government foreign policy adviser said today that China's leaders want to see movement on WTO and that they may push aside their post-bombing demands to get it.
He added that soon after the embassy bombing, Chinese leaders decided that they still wanted to enter the WTO, despite their anti-American rhetoric. They hope the organization's requirements for liberalized trade will help reform China's monopoly industries, make China's sluggish economy more efficient in the long run and undermine corrupt government tariff collectors and smugglers.
"What they waited for was the timing. I think at the moment, it's a suitable time to resume the negotiations," he said. "The Chinese side will try to get the conclusion during the summit."
WORLD IN BRIEF - ASIA
Detained American Allowed to Leave China
Compiled from news services Friday, August 27, 1999; Page A20
BEIJING -- An American researcher seriously injured after he jumped from a third-floor window while in detention was flown to Hong Kong for medical treatment today, 11 days after police seized him near the site of a proposed World Bank project in China.
Daja Meston, 29, was taken from an intensive care unit at a hospital in Xining, capital of Qinghai province, and put on a chartered plane to Hong Kong, U.S. Embassy officials said.
Meston, an Australian researcher and a Chinese citizen hired as their translator were detained on Aug. 15.
Meston suffered serious spinal injuries, broken bones and other internal injuries when he jumped from a third-floor window of a hotel in Xining where he was being held. Meston reportedly told embassy officials that he was attempting to escape.
Members of Private Army Arrested in China
BEIJING -- Authorities say they have broken up a secret private army set up by farmers in southwestern China, arresting as many as 20 members and charging 10 with subversion.
Dozens had joined the unauthorized militia in the two years since Yang Jiahua, a farmer, began recruiting in the hilly countryside near Chongqing city, according to an account in a state-run newspaper, Yangcheng Evening News.
The report did not say whether the group had illegally gathered any weapons, although many farmers own hunting rifles. But the group's existence underscores Chinese leaders' fears about restiveness among farmers angry over high taxes, stagnating incomes and corruption....
Christian leaders held in Beijing crackdown
By Toni Marshall THE WASHINGTON TIMES, August 27, 1999
Forty leaders of Protestant religious groups have been reported detained by police in China.
The Hong Kong-based Information Center of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China said police arrested the Christian leaders, not otherwise identified, in the home of Niu Jianhua in Henan province's Tanghe county.
These reports could not be independently confirmed.
Reports of the arrests follow closely the crackdown on members of the Falun Gong, a sect that practices deep breathing and meditation and whose practices, the Chinese government insists, "have inflicted great harm to the people." Falun Gong, which claims 100 million adherents worldwide, was officially banned in China on July 22.
A Chinese Embassy official in Washington said he had no information about detention of Protestants. "Nobody would be arrested unless that person has committed a crime or violated the law," Yu Shuning, a spokesman for the embassy said.
"We have five religions in China -- Protestant, Catholic, Buddhist, Muslim and Tao. If you engage in these religions at home it is better to register if you don't do anything wrong."
State Department officials said they were looking into the matter.
Religious groups in China are required to register with the government, and government-approved churches must submit to the control of the Religious Affairs Bureau.
The Patriotic Catholic Church, for example, disassociates itself from the Vatican and chooses its own clergy. Its services are subject to monitoring and government control. Worshipers who refuse to submit must worship secretly, and if discovered they are often sent to camps called "laogai" -- the Chinese word for thought reform -- to perform forced labor for the government. The government then attempts to renounce their beliefs.
The embassy spokesman said more than 900 persons had died practicing the Falun Gong's style of tai-chi, which combines breathing exercises and deprivations while forbidding the use of modern medicines to heal ailments. He said the followers illegally seized the government's central compound and disrupted public order.
Western analysts say China's arrest of the Protestants and the crackdown on the Falun Gong is a clear indication of Beijing's growing intolerance to religious expression. Some analysts say the arrest of the Falun Gong may have been planned as a "cover" for the harassment of millions of underground Christians.
One analyst speculates that the Beijing government, because it has no clear understanding of the West, regards the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe as the work of an underground religious movement.
China celebrates 50 years under Communist rule on Oct. 1, a period many Christians call "50 years of religious persecution." The Clinton administration has been severely rebuked by its critics, including Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer, for ignoring Chinese abuses of human and religious rights.
Joseph Kung, president of the Cardinal Kung Foundation, a Roman Catholic lay group, said no country "should be complimented for this kind of persecution by awarding them the opportunity to join the World Trade Organization."
"You cannot de-link human rights and trade. That sends a wrong message," he said. The Connecticut-based foundation was established by an exiled cardinal.
There are more than 9 million members of Roman Catholic underground churches in China, which grew from 3 million when Beijing organized the Patriotic Catholic Church in 1957.
A senior congressional aide said Thursday night that Rep. Christopher H. Smith, New Jersey Republican, and 180 members of Congress have urged the Clinton administration to withhold trade benefits from China as punishment.
"We have felt for a long time the administration is not doing enough," he said. "They are in favor of the view of turning a blind eye to human rights abuses and to keep extending economic benefits."
A State Department official said U.S. concerns are growing over China's human rights abuses, which will be documented in a report to Congress Sept. 7. This report will be the first annual report on religious freedom -- a product of the International Religious Freedom Act signed by President Clinton last fall.
Under the act, the U.S. government is instructed to condemn or punish continued violations of religious freedom.
"The report will have a specific chapter on China. We are deeply concerned about the continued pattern of arrest in China," the State Department officer said.
The timing of the release of the report to Congress comes just before Mr. Clinton's meeting with Chinese President Jiang Zemin next month during the annual summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in New Zealand.
Free China Movement leader Lian Shengde Thursday called for the United States to implement the International Freedom Act, saying, "[B]efore Oct. 1 the government is going to prosecute and sentence to life the leaders of the Falun Gong detained in China. They are trying to scare Chinese citizens."
Political storm brews over Taiwan
Kevin Platt (firstname.lastname@example.org) The Christian Science Monitor,
AUGUST 24, 1999 WORLD
TAIPEI, TAIWAN -- The brinkmanship between Taiwan and China is now taking place in the air, on the airwaves, and in cyberspace.
But so far, the jet fighters playing "chicken" over the Taiwan Strait and the defacing of government Web sites are essentially an escalation of the political feints that have been going on for most of the past half-century. Still, there's an uneasiness here. Is this merely campaign posturing ahead of next spring's presidential elections - or something more? Everyone from ordinary citizens to defense analysts wonders whether the mock battles could lead to a regional arms race, and even trigger another Chinese civil war. Would the US intervene to protect tiny, democratic Taiwan from the world's last Communist giant?
"I don't fear war as much as I do life under Communist rule," says a young arts company manager in Taiwan's capital, who asked not to be identified. "Of course I don't want to see a new civil war erupt, but if it does, I will not be afraid to fight," she adds.
Many here say they hope the threat of renewed conflict with Beijing will mirror the course of typhoon Sam this past weekend: it swerved and narrowly missed Taiwan.
The political hurricane that now threatens Taipei appeared when Taiwan's President Lee Teng-hui said July 9 that Beijing should treat Taiwan as a "state" in negotiations over the future of cross-strait ties.
Before Mr. Lee's bombshell announcement, both sides of the Taiwan Strait agreed they were part of a single China, but each claimed to be the country's legitimate rulers following the informal close of the war in 1949.
Andrew Yang, a defense analyst who heads a think tank affiliated with Taiwan's Defense Ministry, says Lee's new two-state formula is being perceived by Beijing "as a serious step toward independence." Beijing, in turn, "is going to speed up its defense preparations to formulate a military response." Taiwan has lived under the threat of attack since China's Nationalist leaders fled to Taiwan after their defeat by Chairman Mao Zedong's Red Army.
While the mainland's defense forces far surpass the island's in terms of numbers - China's Army has more than 2.5 million soldiers, for example, compared with fewer than 400,000 for Taiwan - some of China's weapons are decades old. Beijing boasts 10,000 tanks compared with Taipei's 1,500; 3,000 defense aircraft against Taiwan's 500; and more than 60 submarines, in contrast with the four subs that protect the island. China is believed to have about 400 nuclear weapons, while the head of Taiwan's small but radical Independence Party on Sunday called for the island to develop its own nuclear forces.
Taiwan has acquired some of the West's most advanced military equipment, including 60 French Mirage jet fighters, 150 US-made F-16 aircraft, and batteries of American Patriot missiles.
Analyst Yang says despite the recent grounding of Taiwan's fleet of F-16s following four crashes, its Air Force still patrols the middle line of the Taiwan Strait around the clock. "We are still capable of defending ourselves against a conventional attack from the mainland. But in terms of China's unconventional weapons like ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons," Taiwan could not protect itself.
Taiwan was shielded from a threatened Chinese invasion by a defense pact with the US until 1979, when Washington switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing. In a series of agreements governing official ties with China, Beijing pressured the US to limit the quantity and technological sophistication of arms sold to Taiwan. Beijing pledged to use peaceful means in pursuing reunification, and the US indicated it would supply Taipei only with enough defensive weapons to ward off a forcible annexation by the mainland.
That agreement is in danger of unraveling as tensions heat up between Taiwan and the mainland, and as the US is being dragged into the conflict, says Chas Freeman, a former assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs.
Despite its loose security ties with Taiwan, Washington has vowed not to support independence for the island. Beijing has threatened to invade if Taiwan attempts to formally secede, and the US maintains a policy of "strategic ambiguity" over whether it would defend Taipei if the mainland launched an unprovoked attack. The Clinton administration is urging both sides to open peace talks and avoid warplane sorties across the Taiwan Strait.
Wang Chien-shien, former chairman of Taiwan's pro-reunification New Party, says "I don't believe the US will support us by sending troops here, following the lessons of the Vietnam War." He and other politicians here say that Lee may be trying to provoke China into a confrontation in order to persuade the US and Japan to join a tripartite alliance with Taiwan. Yang says Lee's recent call for Taiwan to be included under an anti-missile defense umbrella being researched by Tokyo and Washington is part of a hope "to create a military alliance with the US and Japan."
MILITARY DISPLAY: The Taiwanese army demonstrates upgraded tanks at a base in central Taiwan. The event comes during tense relations with China. SIMON KWONG/REUTERS
Independence Party Candidate Wants A-Bombs To Fight Mainland
TAIPEI, Aug 23, 1999 -- (Reuters, Inside China Today)
The presidential candidate for a small pro-independence party said on Sunday Taiwan should develop nuclear weapons to counter China.
The Taiwan Independence Party, which wants to declare a formal break from the mainland and form an independent Republic of Taiwan, nominated its chairman Cheng Pang-cheng to run for the March 2000 presidential election.
"Aside from strengthening people's readiness for war, Taiwan has no other option but to develop nuclear weapons in order to ensure national independence and security," Cheng said in his acceptance speech.
Taiwan's government has repeatedly said it would not develop nuclear weapons.
Under Taiwan law, all candidates must have 250,000 signatures of support before they can stand in presidential elections. Analysts said it was not certain whether Cheng's small party could garner these endorsements.
To get attention in Taiwan, put nukes in your election campaign
A fringe-party presidential candidate proposes nuclear weapons development and sparks public debate.
Kevin Platt (email@example.com) AUGUST 27, 1999 Headlines,
The Christian Science Monitor
TAIPEI, TAIWAN - Even the smallest voices can be heard in the cacophony of Taiwan's politics today - all it takes is the embracing of a hot-button topic.
Last week, the head of the small but radical Taiwan Independence Party said that Taiwan should become the world's eighth declared nuclear power.
Cheng Pang-chen, who just joined Taiwan's March 2000 presidential race, says "Taiwan has always been a force for peace, but for the last decades it has faced a constant barrage of verbal attacks and military threats from a nuclear-armed Communist China," says Cheng. "Why can't we develop our own nuclear bombs?" The answer, though, from the Chinese mainland is simple.
If Taiwan ever made a move toward acquiring nuclear weapons, "We would bomb all of their suspected nuclear facilities," says Yan Xuetong, a scholar at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, a government-backed think tank in Beijing.
Taiwan and China have been locked in a battle of nerves since an unwritten and unsteady truce rather than a formal peace treaty ended the Chinese civil war in 1949. At that time, defeated Nationalist Party leaders and its army retreated to Taiwan.
The Nationalists' US-protected island sanctuary has since lost the diplomatic recognition of the United Nations and all but about two dozen countries, but the Independence Party's Cheng has a plan to reverse Taiwan's fading role on the world political stage.
"We should change our name to the Republic of Taiwan and reapply for admission to the UN," he says.
China has repeatedly stated that a declaration of independence or the development of a nuclear capability by Taiwan would be considered an act of war.
Taiwan originally launched a nuclear bomb research program in the 1970s, but Washington pressured the Nationalists to abandon it, taking its nuclear blueprints and documents. Andrew Yang, a defense analyst at the Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies in Taipei, says the US confiscated "all of Taiwan's weapons-grade uranium and parts of a research reactor."
It is unclear whether any remnants of the original nuclear program survive, but the Taiwan official says "It is not official government policy to research or develop nuclear weapons."
Yet the fact that Taiwan has not actually revived its nuclear research has not stopped Cheng's proposal from sparking an island-wide debate on the issue.
Radio and TV talk shows, newspapers, and Internet chat groups in Taiwan have all been flooded with discussions of the pros and cons of a secret nuclear program.
"No one wants to see a war with China or see Taiwan sanctioned as a rogue state by the world for developing weapons of mass destruction," says a young advertising executive in Taipei. "But everyone in Taiwan is wondering how we are going to prevent being absorbed by force into China," she adds.
Instead, the time required to develop atomic warheads and missiles would be seen by China as its last "window of opportunity" for a preemptive attack, a Taipei Times editorial said Monday.
Wang Chien-shien, former chairman of Taiwan's pro-reunification New Party, says, "Of course we dislike mainland China's using nuclear weapons to threaten us." But "If the Taiwan government adopted the Independence Party's plan to develop nuclear weapons, that would trigger an attack by the Chinese army."
Just days after Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui made his July 9 announcement that the island would engage in talks with the mainland only if it was recognized as a state rather than a renegade province, Beijing publicly said it had the technology to build neutron bombs.
Although Beijing's surprise revelation was not openly aimed at Taiwan, many residents here say the news was timed to intimidate the island. China has stepped up warnings that it could respond with force to any moves toward independence by Taiwan in recent weeks, but Western defense analysts say they have not detected any troop build ups on China's east coast, across the strait from Taiwan.
Ironically, the Taiwan Independence Party's latest attempt to throw down the gauntlet with Beijing could improve ties between China, Taiwan's long-standing enemy, and the US, the island's top arms supplier. "The US and China have moved closer and closer in cooperating on nuclear nonproliferation in the international arena," says Chinese scholar Yan.
Neither side wants to see a cross-strait nuclear arms race, he says. "China and the US are likely to take joint steps to pressure Taiwan not to restart its nuclear weapons program," he adds.