Dr. Thomas Lairson China’s Global Strategic Realignment

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Dr. Thomas Lairson

China’s Global Strategic Realignment

Ming Dynasty – 1368 – 1644 (Han; replaced Mongols-based Yuan Dynasty)
Qing Dynasty 1644 – 1912 Manchus invade from the north
1839 – 1912 Western imperialism in China - challenge to Qing
1912 – 1949
Civil War; Revolution; Japanese invasion
1949 – 1976
Mao Zedong era of communism

Cultural Revolution

1976 – present
Reform Era led by Deng Xiaoping (1978 – 1997)
Reform era of Jiang Zemin (1989 – 2004)
Reform Era of Hu Jintao/ Wen Jiabao (2003 – present)
Chinese leaders after DengXiaoping
Li Peng Premier 1987-1998
Zhu Rongji Premier 1998-2003
Jiang Zemin Gen sec – 1989 – 2002; President 1993-2003; Chair of CMC 1989-2004
Hu Jintao President 2003 - 2013; Chair CMC 2004-
Wen Jiabao Premier 2003-2013
Xi Jinping – new president 2013
Le Keqiang – new premier 2013

The realignment of China’s international position has its roots in the conflict between the Soviet Union and China

Share a long and somewhat disputed border
Mao’s strategy for revolution in China conflicted with Stalin’s ideas
Rural based versus urban based

Stalin sees China under GMD as barrier to Japan

Sino-Soviet Treaty in 1950
Stalin rebuffs Mao, whose ideas about revolution challenge his

Soviets have little to give

Soviets want to avoid war with US; limited commitments to China

Korean War: Soviets bid to outflank China

Leads to US-China War

Do Soviets want China to fight their war with the US?

Chinese adopt Soviet economic strategy – command economy

Soviets provide considerable technical assistance

Chinese seem to adopt a subservient role in Communist World

Khrushchev’s Secret Speech – October 1956

No warning to China

Challenges the idea of a single powerful leader (Mao)

Khrushchev: Peaceful Coexistence with capitalists

Mao: Increased effort to challenge the US (Taiwan)

October 1957

Mao visits Moscow – sign nuclear weapons agreement

Soviets provide China with technical experts to help construct a bomb
This was the high water mark in Sino-Soviet relations
1958 - Chinese engage in military operations against Taiwan, test US resolve

Tibet and India conflicts lead Russians to doubt Chinese prudence

Khrushchev visit to the US – Chinese doubt that Soviets will back them militarily against the US

1960 rhetorical conflict intensifies

Soviets withdraw atomic bomb technicians – clearly fear a nuclear China

China adopts a very insular, xenophobic attitude toward the world

1964 – China explodes atomic bomb; Khrushchev is ousted
China-US relations mix together with relations of each with Soviet Union
Very high hostility

China is rhetorically very supportive of revolution in 3rd world

Conflict over Taiwan; no recognition of China

1961 Kennedy Administration focus is on stopping Communism in 3rd World: Vietnam

US acts to escalate position in Vietnam 1961-1965; much is directed at China

US supports Indonesian government in 1965 attacks on Chinese; 500,000 die

US is aware of Chinese conflict with Soviets but is unable to act on it

Escalation in Vietnam; China backs Vietnam; US conducts limited war based on fear of Chinese and Soviet direct involvement and atomic weapons

Escalation in Vietnam coincides with Cultural Revolution

1967-1969 US comes to see Soviets as greater enemy

1969 – Chinese-Soviet fighting
Nixon Administration
US deters Soviet attack on Chinese nuclear facilities

Nixon and Kissinger were very interested in using the Sino-Soviet conflict against the Soviets and against the Chinese

Mao and others are very concerned about Soviet buildup against China

Soviets contact US about preemptive nuclear strike against China – 1969

November 1969 – US begins to withdraw troops from Vietnam

January 1970 to July 1971, US and China dance around the idea of improving relations

Creates a political crisis in China Jiang Qing and Lin Biao

1971 PRC replaces Taiwan in UN

February 1972 – Nixon goes to China

May 1972 – Nixon goes to Moscow

1972 – 1980
US-China relations lead to triangular diplomacy – détente with the Soviets

New relations with the US serve as a deterrent to Soviet hostility to China

US – China connection creates significant political conflict in the US – Reagan vs. Ford

Political conflict in China intensifies as Mao’s death approaches

Carter Administration recognition of PRC in 1979 coincides with clarification of Chinese political directions

China’s Global Strategic and Economic Realignment
“Only Nixon Could Go to China”
What does this mean?
Nixon began to signal new thinking about China in a Foreign Affairs article in 1967
Why there? What does this say about politics, elitism and foreign policy?
Did Mao and the Chinese want the US to retreat from Asia as Nixon seemed to be promising?
US and Chinese strategic calculations change in 1969
Near barbarians and far barbarians? Explain strategic thinking on this.
China’s reassessment in 1969, Zhou Enlai and Chinese generals – China should reestablish contact with the US – Lin Biao and Jiang Qing objected
What were US goals in developing a relationship with China?
November 1969- March 1971 – various barriers to improving relations; but then Nixon refers to China as the PRC, not just as Communist China plus ping-pong leads to invitation to Kissinger who secretly goes to China
US offers China strategic reassurance; Nixon and Kissinger were ready to drop Taiwan in favor of relations with China

Invitation to Nixon

Nixon sees China as an anti-Japanese strategy; China does show it will push NVN to compromise with US
Shanghai Communique – what does this say?
Kissinger sees China leaders having same global strategic vision
Nixon resigns and opens the door to the Republican right to attack his policies on détente with Soviets and Chinese

Some Democrats also critical

Ford is short interlude, nut normalization with China is held hostage to Reagan
Carter assumes office – wants to end ass kissing China
But increasing conflict with Soviets increases importance of China; US moves to recognition in December 1978

What are the terms for US recognition?

US, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Iran 1978-1980

Summer 1979 – US extends Most Favored nation to China

Reagan’s critique of US China policy

Taiwan loves freedom

Two China policy

Secret backchannel to China – don’t pay any attention to what we say

Conflict in Reagan Adm over China policy

1982 – US agrees someday to cut off arms sales to Taiwan

Schultz view of China – not vital, not a big enough power – like Acheson in 1949
George Bush and Tiananmen Square
Human rights versus investment and profits
Post Tiananmen rapid increase in Western investment in China

Rapid rise in US deficit with China; adds to deficit with Japan and other Asian nations

Regional production network centered on China – US deficit is with China; really with much of Asia

China begins to loan US money

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