Major General Luo Yuan, deputy secretary general with the PLA Academy of Military Sciences, explained the reasons why China is opposed to the U.S.-South Korean military exercises in the Yellow Sea in a recent online discussion with netizens on People’s Daily Online.
Luo pointed out five reasons behind China’s opposition to the joint military exercises:
First, in terms of security, Chairman Mao Zedong once said, “We will never allow others to keep snoring beside our beds.” If the United States were in China’s shoes, would it allow China to stage military exercises near its western and eastern coasts? Just like an old Chinese saying goes, “Do not do unto others what you do not want others to do unto you,” if the United States does not wish to be treated in a specific way, it should not forcefully sell the way to others.
Second, in terms of strategic thinking, China should take into account the worst possibility and strive to seek the best results. The bottom line of strategic thinking is to nip the evil in the bud. The ultimate level of strategic thinking is to subdue the enemy without fighting. Preventing crisis is the best way to resolve and overcome the crisis. China’s current tough stance is part of preventive diplomacy.
Third, in terms of geopolitical strategy, the Yellow Sea is the gateway to China’s capital region and a vital passage to the heartland of Beijing and Tianjin. In history, foreign invaders repeatedly took the Yellow Sea as an entrance to enter the heartland of Beijing and Tianjin. The drill area selected by the United States and South Korea is only 500 kilometers away from Beijing. China will be aware of the security pressure from military exercises conducted by any country in an area that is so close to China’s heartland.
The aircraft carrier U.S.S. George Washington dispatched to the Yellow Sea has a combat radius of 600 kilometers and its aircraft has a combat radius as long as 1,000 kilometers. Therefore, the military exercise in the area has posed a direct security threat to China’s heartland and the Bohai Rim Economic Circle.
Fourth, in a bid to safeguard security on the Korean Peninsula, the U. N. Security Council has just issued a presidential statement, requiring all parties to remain calm and restrained to the so-called “Cheonan” naval ship incident, which had caused a major crisis on the Korean Peninsula.
On the other hand, the joint military exercise by the United States and South Korea on the Yellow Sea has created a new crisis. This is another reason why China strongly opposes the military exercise on the Yellow Sea. In order to safeguard security on the Korea Peninsula, no country should create a new crisis instead they should control and deal with the existing one.
Fifth, in terms of maintaining China-U.S. relations, especially the two parties’ military relations, China must declare its solemn stance. China has been working to promote the healthy development of China-U.S. military relations. Therefore, China has clearly declared that it is willing to promote the development of the two parties’ relations. Deputy Director of the General Staff Gen. Ma Xiaotian has also expressed his welcome to U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates to visit China at a proper time.
Ma had made it clear at the meeting in Singapore that three key problems greatly impeded China-U.S. exchanges. First, the Unites States’ arms sales to Taiwan. Second, the frequently detected American military aircraft and ships over and on the East and South China seas at close range. Third, the 2000 U.S. National Defense Authorization Act and the Delay Amendment restricted military exchanges with China in 12 fields.
The current barriers have not been eliminated, while the United States has created another obstacle. This time, they not only sent military ships, nuclear submarines and Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers, but also aircraft carriers.
Luo added that a U.S. aircraft carrier had once been in the Yellow Sea in 1994, also known as the “Kitty Hawk issue,” which caused strong reactions from China at that time. After that, aircraft carriers have never appeared in the Yellow Sea area.
The United States and South Korea said that the joint military exercise aims at putting pressure on North Korea and deterring North Korea’s submarines. However, as the Yellow Sea is a marine outlet, the joint military exercises actually include the task of military surveillance. Any aircraft carrier has strong reconnaissance and early warning capacities therefore it can also monitor and detect on the circumjacent hydrologic geology, meaning that it can detect Chinese marine outlets over and over again.
As the Yellow Sea is a high sea, the aircraft carrier can also detect the hydro-geological conditions of China’s submarines’ channels out to sea. Therefore, the two purposes of the joint military exercise, strategic reconnaissance and testing initial combat plans, will pose a threat to China. The United States has always talked about the China military as a threat, but this joint military exercise by the United States and South Korea proved that it is not China but the U.S. military that is the threat.