A Chinese Civil War

When China recently unveiled a radar-evading stealth fighter jet and an anti-ship ballistic missile that could hit US aircraft carriers, a century of U.S. military dominance in the Pacific ended.

The Barack Obama-Hu Jin Tao summit did not even attempt to define the terms of an accommodation reflecting the new power realities between Washington and Beijing. Indeed, it did not address even indirectly the two Sino-US issues of greatest concern to Beijing. Instead of seeking to ease Chinese tensions with Japan by steering a middle course between Beijing and Tokyo, the White House has signaled in recent weeks that it would seek tighter military ties with Tokyo to counter Beijing, including the sale of F-35 stealth fighters to counter the new Chinese stealth capability. More important, the United States has left open the possibility of renewed arms sales to Taiwan.

The Taiwan issue has been boiling up since January 2010, when the Obama administration, over Chinese protests, sold $6.4 billion in arms to Taipei. To appease Beijing, the administration excluded a pending $5 billion package of 66 F-16 fighter jets that Taipei has been seeking for the past decade. Indeed, Chinese sources have revealed that Hu agreed to attend the nuclear security summit in June, 2010, only after the White House promised that it would not make the F-16 sale for the remainder of 2010.

Why does China care so much about arms sales to Taiwan?

It is not because Beijing is plotting to conquer the island militarily, as supporters of arms sales argue. Rather, Beijing blames Washington for delaying a peaceful transition to “One China,” which has been gaining support in both China and Taiwan through burgeoning economic interchange. “Vested interests in both China and Taiwan will resist the unification so long as they have support provided by your arms sales,” Li Shenzhi of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said.

Complete article via The National Interest



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