Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Growing pains

Deng Xiaoping when he was in power instructed his successors to focus on development and not take a lead in global affairs. This was sound advice at the time, as China was not nearly as developed as it is now. Deng was no doubt influenced by the foreign policy carried out by Mao during the 1960s, where Mao was making a grab for leading the global socialist movement and not making many friends because of it.

Since Deng's passing in 1997, the PRC leadership has followed Deng's advice amazingly well, hardly straying from it. However, it has led to the growing disenfranchisement within the international community, particularly in Europe and the United States. The problem is that those two powers want the PRC to play a larger role in international affairs, as seen at Copenhagen, Iran, and North Korea. However, with the exception of North Korea, the PRC has shown little interest in doing anything that would go against Deng's sage advice.

The CCP is still narrowly focused on developing China, which is not totally unreasonable. However, the PRC's rise will be greeted with continued less enthusiasm the longer it takes the CCP to develop a foreign policy that is conducive to both development and active foreign diplomacy. Will it be difficult? Absolutely, we're seeing it right now. Can the CCP pull it off? No doubt about it. It'll just take some time.

Monday, March 1, 2010

China's claims

The Economist has an excellent three minute video on China's territorial claims. It covers the expansion of China's dynasties over the centuries and delves into the modern claims. If any one dispute is of interest, let me know and I'll write something up about it.

One step closer

Reuters India is reporting that the KMT has successfully prevented the potential free trade agreement with the PRC from being put to a public vote. The Taiwan opposition party (known as the Democratic Progressive Party, DPP for short), was trying to get the Taiwan public to vote on it in hopes of getting it killed. Based from what I've said on the importance on such an agreement, why would the DPP want that?

The DPP is increasingly becoming the party associated with Taiwan independence. Consequently, any agreement with the mainland is viewed by the party as surrendering Taiwanese sovereignty. From my perspective this is an instance of where blind ideology could lead to disaster. If the DPP were able to get the agreement put to a public vote and it was voted down, then Taiwan would suffer severely on the economic front. Such an event would have dramatic consequences for the island, as its economic prosperity is what partly allows it to maintain its current status (read not under Beijing's control). The KMT recognizes the basic fact that Taiwan's economic prosperity is key to its national security. As such, signing an FTA with the PRC not jeopardize Taiwan's status, it will protect it.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Overview of the PLA

Foreign Policy has an article on the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and addresses several concerns people may have about it. I think it is an excellent article and that everyone should read it.