[Oversea's View]The U.S. should stop bullying ChinaThe United States seems to be obsessed with China’s military modernization. On May 25, the U.S. Defense Department made public its annual report on China’s military.
To tell the truth, I tend to feel inertia not to respond. I have been invited to comment on such reports many times and this report doesn’t look much different from the previous ones.
It is a scrutiny, if not a trial,by a powerful America directed at a less-powerful China. But it follows rather mistaken logic: While the United States has
been riding roughshod over others for years (for example, it initiated a war against a sovereign Iraq), in Washington’s view, there is little justification
for China to enhance its defensive capabilities. The new Pentagon report says the “analysis of China’s military acquisitions and strategic thinking suggests Beijing is also generating the capability for other regional contingencies,
such as conflicts over resources or territory.” The claim implies that China’s security strategy no longer considers Taiwan to be its only concern. Given this, I am still motivated to comment. Let us start with the military budget. Beijing’s claim of $45 billion in military spending does not convince Washington.
The Pentagon report insists that China’s “actual” spending is $90-110 billion. But their definitions of military spending diverge. For example, the U.S. Defense Department includes the cost for the relocation of demobilized soldiers. But in China, the government of civil affairs at all levels pays for that. The same bill, in the United States, is part of military spending but not in China. On the other hand, the expenditures on space research are calculated into military
spending in China, but the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, strictly speaking,is not a military department in the United States. Also, in the U.S. system, the market economy requires competition even in the development of weapons. Usually there are more than two bidders, meaning the government has to
allocate more resources to support them. But China is not rich enough to be able to afford that. In China, the government usually appoints one unit to carry
out a military research and development task. In the U.S.
mindset, it is impossible to spend so little while trying to attain so much.
Even if there were no divergence in the definitions of military
spending, China can’t pose any concrete military threat to the United States because of the huge budget gap between the two sides: China’s military
spending accounts for only 9 percent of that of the United States.
Taking the expenditures against terrorism into consideration, it
accounts for a mere 6 percent.
With only less than twice the size of U.S. armed forces and 1/16th of the U.S. military budget, China carries out the difficult mission of safeguarding a population more than four times the size of the United States and protecting a country with very long borders with others.
China should be encouraged,rather than censored, by the United States. But instead, the United States, which has habitually interfered with others, is the one that needs to be watched. Hence, it is China’s right to build up a moderate military capability to avoid bullying and to thwart threats of interference.
The Pentagon report also says, “The expanding military capabilities of China’s armed forces are a major factor in changing East Asian military balances; improvements in China’s strategic capabilities have ramifications far beyond
the Asia Pacific region.”
No problem if the comment comes out of an objective context. But the United States clearly projects an attitude that it can’t tolerate the rise of a China
with a worldwide defense capability, long-range missile and blue-water navy capability, in particular.
One can understand the U.S. concern, but not Washington’s moves to exclude others. All countries are endowed with the right to develop their own defense system, provided that no harm is done to others, in accordance with international law. The United States strives to enhance its already ultra-powerful military forces. China won’t interfere. But the United States can’t thus harm the legitimate interests of China by selling weapons to Taiwan, taking
advantage of its much stronger military capability.
China might be interested in developing its blue-water navy and owning an aircraft carrier. It certainly is strengthening efforts for achieving reunification with Taiwan. Is there anything wrong with that?
China should continue to build up its military capability, to an extent that makes rivals realize that losses will outweigh gains if they continue to interfere.
I believe that when China’s military capability is powerful enough to deter interference, Washington will be less interested in producing such reports. What China wants is simple: Develop its own capability to make other countries lose interest in interfering with China’s legitimate right.