According to a BBC interview with Sha Zu Kang, Chinese Ambassador to United Nations (Geneva) in 2006, Beijing’s policy toward Taiwan, and the priority of that policy among Beijing’s other objectives, is as unmistakable as it is severe.
Here are some selections from Sha Zu Kang’s comments…
…Taiwan is the most important issue, that is to say, the issue on which we don’t have any room for compromise.
…I think for any sovereign country in the world today no country in the world will tolerate division of the country forever… Sovereignty territory integrity it the most important thing… We treat that sovereignty more important than our lives…
…No force on the world can shake Chinese nation’s determination to achieve the unification of my great motherland.
…The moment it declares independence, by Taiwan, supported by whomever, China will have no choice. We will do the business through whatever means available to my government. Nobody should have illusion on that.
…Economic development, we want it, because without economic development you can’t do anything else… if we go to war… If we have to choose between sovereignty territory integrity and economic development, we will choose the mightiness of State sovereignty and territory integrity. This is of the core interest. But once we have achieved this integrity, we still have time to build our economy. But, if China is forced to choose, I told you, we will choose that territory integrity… at any cost.
…It’s not a matter of how big Taiwan is, how useful the territory is. But, for China, one inch of territory is more valuable than the life of our people.
[Interviewer asks why China is giving priority to military, with references to some statements by US Defense Secretary, Rumsfeld, rather than pouring money into the much needed economic development in China, especially when China faces no threat from other countries.]
…We don’t need anyone to preach [to] and teach us. And no one in the world is qualified to teach and preach [to] China…
[The ambassador presents his logic that, since the US has the largest military budget and most advanced technology, the US is therefore not qualified to instruct China about military matters.]
…It’s better for the US to shut up! Keep quiet! It’s much, much better. China, the military buildup is not threatening anyone! It’s for legitimate defense. If you don’t have any ambitions, you should not be afraid of [us]… Read our history… We are not killing the innocent people anywhere in the world today. But look what they [US] are doing today!
…Why blame China? No. Forget it. It’s high time to shutp! Don’t preach [to] and teach China. I’m sorry. I’m being not diplomatic. But I feel very strongly about it… We are not killing anyone, not like they are doing in the world today…
…Who knows China better? China itself knows it better… Don’t tell us what is good for China! Thank you very much. Our military capability is exclusively for the self defense, to make sure, to deter those who dare to harm China.
The concern I have with these statements is the apparent contradiction in the definition of “sovereignty”. The government of Taiwan, in it’s capital, Taipei, is the original government of China, which the current Chinese Communists rebelled against in 1949. If “sovereignty” and “territory integrity” truly is the Chinese priority, more important than life, then I would think that the Communists would surrender the mainland to Taipei, the original government.
However, doing “the business by whatever means available to [China’s] government” in response to Taiwan declaring it’s independence—this doesn’t sound like “unification” is Beijing’s objective. Rather, it seems like Beijing is using “unity” and “sovereignty” as a means to take away and seize the original sovereignty from the previous government of China—to justify their own rebellion against the government they have not been able to defeat, even after more than 60 years.
Also, I’m disturbed by the line of reasoning that having the most advanced technology makes one unqualified to give advice to others. Usually we seek the advice of those with more experience, who have made more advances than we have, not those with less experience. The “logic” of Beijing, here, eludes me. It sounds more like “rationalizing”.
Moreover, the ambassador makes it clear that China is building it’s economy for the purpose of building their military, and that they plan to sacrifice their economy once that military is strong enough to use “whatever means available” to achieve “unification” of China… “Unification” seems to have been recently been defined by their new map of China in the new Chinese passport.
From what I gather, this public information, released by the Chinese ambassador, suggests the following planned phases:
1. Trade with the world to make lots of money,
2. use that money only to build a big military,
3. invade several other countries with whom they have enjoyed peace for six decades, claiming “self-defense”, which these newer Communists claim was originally in their possession, even though that time occurred before the Communists existed.
4. sacrifice international trade, their economy, and their reputation, without regret, and then
5. reconvene international trade with the West, rebuild their economy, after they fly their Chinese Communist flag over these other nations.
…though I’m not sure how Beijing plans to find any countries that are willing to trade with them after the Chinese flag flies over parts of India, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Japan, etc. Perhaps Beijing hasn’t thought that far into the future. Or perhaps they have a plan for re-establishing peaceful relations with the world, they’re just keeping it secret, for a pleasant surprise, later on down the road.
In other words, public declarations from Beijing officials told us, seven years ago: China isn’t building it’s military for parades. Every customer, every company, every store, every retailer, every wholesaler, every investor who pours money into China is funding China’s publicly acknowledged “most important issue” of invading Taiwan, along with the rest of the region, possibly the world.
So, it seems that China’s definition of “self defense” is the same as how “invasion” is defined by Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, India, Vietnam, and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It’s unfortunate that China was not capable enough to identify and explain this difference of definitions, since they seem to be above the need for teachers and preachers in regard to international matters. Perhaps they knew about this difference of opinion and chose to keep it from us.
Perhaps China thinks that invading other countries isn’t really “invading” them. Perhaps China thinks they already own the world, so, those military operations would be “within their own borders”. Though, usually it helps the reputation of a government when the people of that government acknowledge that government’s sovereignty. But China doesn’t need any advice. Perhaps China isn’t thinking at all, and they are merely acting on instinct.
Regardless of what China may or may not be thinking, the message is clear to the world. They don’t want to be lectured, so the rest of the world should respect that. Don’t lecture them. ASEAN and the West must respect China’s request and move into the next phase, the phase that comes when talking fails. Diplomacy ended in 2006 when the Chinese ambassador himself said, “I’m being not diplomatic.”
Here is a link to an audio selection from YouTube: http://youtu.be/nly67CQW-3A
- China’s coercive economic diplomacy (chinadailymail.com)
- New official China map includes contested islands (globalnation.inquirer.net)
- You: China shrugs off ‘unsigned’ 1950 document undermining claim to Senkakus (japantimes.co.jp)