Archive for October 7th, 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011

South China Sea: an Introduction (by Huanqiu, Wu Jianmin, Long Tao)

Huanqiu: "To Strike or not to Strike"

Huanqiu: To Strike or not to Strike

The following is a translation of an article by Wu Jianmin (吴建民, a former Chinese diplomat – further details at the end of this post), with a prior introduction to a whole set of opinions, by the publishing paper, Huanqiu Shibao. I’ll confine myself to translating the Introduction, and Wu’s opinion.

Wu’s article was the first in the Huanqiu series, dated June 22, and subscribes to the idea that “striking” at China’s neighbors in the South China Sea dispute is no option. This article belongs to the first section and also contains an interview with Wu, of September 13. The China Media Project (CMP), Hong Kong, translated portions of it into English. (They refer to a QQ re-publication of September 14, but it is the same interview.) The third article within that first – comparatively “dovish”  – section is by Sun Peisong (孙培松), an academic from Wu Jianmin’s native Jiangsu Province.

The second section contains two opinions which subscribe to a position where “action” would be an option if the occasion arose, but keeping to the traditional “principles” (坚持原则,伺机行事) otherwise. One of those opinions was written by Long Tao (龙韬, further details at the end of this post), on June 27, as an answer to Wu Jianmin’s opinion.

The third section contains three opinions, and belongs to the category “Now is the best time for striking” (现在是动武的最好时机). Interestingly, it contains another article by Long Tao, of September 27, three months after his previous one.

Huanqiu arranged the topical collection some time after publishing the initial, or all of the opinions.

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Huanqiu’s Introduction

Introduction: The South China Sea issue isn’t complicated at all. Before the United Nations announced that the South China Sea was rich with oil, it was calm and tranquil. Bordering countries recognized China’s sovereignty over it. But afterwards, neighboring countries claimed sovereignty in droves. According to a “China Youth Daily” report in July, Vietnam has occupied 29 of the islands and reefs, basically controlling the western Nansha waters; the Philippines occupied ten islands or reefs; Malaysia occupied three, and Indonesia announced that it had “sovereignty” over more than 80,000 square kilometers of traditional Chinese coastal and territorial waters. Only nine are controlled by our country: nine by the mainland, and one by Taiwan.

导语:南海问题并不复杂。早在1968年联合国宣称南海拥有丰富石油资源之前,南海一直“风平浪静”,周边各国承认南 海主权属于中国。但在此之后,南海周边国家纷纷提出对南海岛屿的主权要求。据《中国青年报》7月份报道,从上世纪70年代至今,越南占领了南沙29个岛 礁,基本上控制了南沙西部海域;菲律宾侵占了10个岛礁;马来西亚占领了3个岛礁;印度尼西亚宣布对8万多平方公里的中国传统海疆享有“主权”。而我国目 前实际控制岛礁仅9个:大陆8个,台湾1个。

As for the South China Sea disputes, Deng Xiaoping, in the 1980s, put forward the principle of  “sovereignty being ours, putting disputes aside, common exploitation, and China maintaining its peaceful rise”. But Vietnam, the Philippines and others time and again attacked China’s base line. Especially since this year, Vietnam, the Philippines and other neighboring countries kept taking a mile for being given an inch, India, Japan etc. also huddled into the act, made explorations, military exercises with growing arrogance. The situation is growing ever more serious.

对于南海争端,邓小平在上世纪80年代提出“主权在我,搁置争议,共同开发”的原则,中国坚持“和平崛起”。但越南、菲律宾等国则不肯罢休,一再冲击中国的底线。尤其今年以来,越南、菲律宾等南海周边国家在美国的支持下得寸进尺,印度、日本等国也“抱团”横插一脚,搞探测、搞军演,气焰日盛。南海局势日益严峻。

Various voices have emerged in our country, concerning this issue. There are scholars who advocate a continuation of the “peaceful rise”, determined not to strike. But other scholars advocate a resort to armed force, determined to strike back. To strike or not to strike? Let’s see what the scholars say.

对此,国内出现了不同的呼声。有学者主张继续“和平崛起”,坚决不能打。但有的学者则主张应该诉诸武力,坚决反击。打还是不打?看看学者们的说法。

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Wu Jianmin: Chinese Self-Restraint is a Kind of Self-Confidence
吴建民:南海争端,中国克制是种自信

[...]

The Chinese government has shown restraint, and some people are dissatisfied with that. They find this too soft, unfulfilled, and believe that a harder stance should be adopted. Some people even think that [military] strikes were in order. In my opinion, the self-restraint the Chinese government has shown is a kind of self-confidence.

中国政府所表现的克制,国内有些人不大满意。认为太软,不过瘾,应当采取强硬态度,有的人甚至认为应当打。在我看来,中国政府所表现出的克制,是一种自信。

This self-confidence stems from the way the world is changing, above all. The changing times have led to a new situation in international relations. The function of force in solving international disputes has declined. The three wars that began this century – in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, America leading the two former two, [are wars in which] America and western countries have absolute military superiority, and the countries they strike are poor and small countries. The result of these strikes is that America and other countries have gotten into predicaments never seen before. The current Libya war will also confirm this. The South China Sea is an issue inherited from history, and to talk war easily is not advisable. China’s leaders have emphasized that our country upholds the banner of peace, development and cooperation in international relations. This is very reasonable.

这种自信首先源于世界的变化。随着时代的变化,国际关系中出现了一些新的情况。战争在解决国际争端中的作用下降。本世纪所爆发的三场战争———阿富汗战争、伊拉克战争和利比亚战争,前两场战争都是美国带头打,美国和西方国家拥有绝对上的军事优势,打的是穷国、小国。打的结果是使美国等国家陷入前所未有的困境。正在进行的利比亚战争,也必将证明这一点。南海问题是历史遗留下来的问题,轻易言战是不可取的。中国领导人强调,我们中国人在国际关系中要高举和平、发展、合作的旗帜。这是很有道理的。

China’s self-confidence is also based on having held clear policies and guidelines on the South China Sea issue early on. In the 1980s, the guideline Comrade Deng Xiaoping gave us was “putting disputes aside, common exploitation”. The establishment of this guideline took the changing times into account, and was in accordance with the tidal current. It also took into account our fundamental common interests with our bordering neighbors. Despite the difficulties which have emerged in its implementation, history will prove this guideline to be the most sensible one.

中国的自信还来自于我们关于南海问题早就有明确的政策和方针。上世纪80年代,邓小平同志关于南海问题,给我们确立的方针是“搁置争议,共同开发”。这个方针的制定,考虑到时代的变化,符合时代的潮流。同时,也考虑到了我们同周边国家双方的根本利益。虽然执行起来有难度,但历史终将证明,这个方针是最明智的方针。

Our self-confidence also stems from the bigger picture. There are big and small truths in world affairs, and the small ones need to obey to the big ones. These so-called big truths set out from mankind’s overall interests, and the long-term and fundamental interests of the people in the region. The East Asian region is the world’s fastest-growing and most dynamic one. While the developed countries’ economies see a weak recovery, East Asian economic growth maintains vigorous momentum. This doesn’t only matter to the region, but to the world, as well. Also, even as we have these and those kinds of differences between the East Asian countries, the fact that we have common interests which are far greater than our differences must not be overlooked. Our relations with Vietnam, the Philippines, and other countries are just like that. In 2010, trade between China and Vietnam amounted to 26 billion US dollars, there were more than 600 Chinese direct investment projects in Vietnam, investment amounts agreed to reached more than two billion US dollars, and more than 2.5 million people crossed the border, either way. In 2010, China’s bilateral trade with the Philippines amounted to 27.7 billion US dollars, financial investment from Chinese companies in the Philippines was at 86 million US dollars. Behind these numbers stand the enormous common interests of  both sides, and these interests continue to grow.

我们的自信还来源于我们的大局观。世界上的事情有大道理和小道理,小道理服从大道理。所谓大道理是从人类的总体利益、本地区人民长远和根本利益出发的。东亚地区是全球经济中增长速度最快,最有活力的地区。今天在发达国家经济复苏乏力的时候,东亚地区经济仍然保持旺盛的增长势头。这不仅对本地区,而且对世界有重要意义。另一方面,我们同东亚地区各国之间,尽管有这样那样的分歧,但一个不容忽视的事实是,我们的共同利益,远远大于我们的分歧。我们与越南、菲律宾等国的关系也正是这样。2010年,中国和越南的贸易额近260亿美元;中国在越南的直接投资项目有600余个,协议投资金额达20多亿美元;双方每年人员往来256万人次。2010年,中国和菲律宾的双边贸易额为277亿美元,中国企业对菲律宾金融类投资达8600万美元。这些数字的后面是双方有着巨大的共同利益,这些共同利益还在继续增长。

With China’s rise, we will see all kinds of problems and challenges arise. This is inevitable and was to be expected. Facing these challenges, we must observe them calmly, and consider them comprehensively. Our feelings must not sway us, or make us act rashly. We must not deal with today’s issues by using the old days’ ideas of war and revolution. By doing so, we would commit an epochal mistake.

随着中国的崛起,我们面临的各种问题和挑战会多起来。这是必然的,也是预料之中的事情。面临这些挑战我们一定要冷静观察,通盘考虑。切忌意气用事,切忌用战争与革命时代的旧思想来处理今天的问题,那样会犯时代错误。

China must maintain the momentum of its development; this is what we have accumulated in a struggle of more than one-hundred years. It will take another thirty or fifty years for China to rise to her feet. This is the Chinese people’s greatest interest in the twenty-first century. To maintain the momentum of development requires us to maintain external cooperation.

中国要保持自己的发展势头,这是我们经过100多年的奋斗所积累和创造的。保持这个势头,中国再有30年、50年就起来了。这是中国人在21世纪最大的利益。保持发展势头必须保持对外合作。

In short, we must include the momentum of cooperation with neighboring countries. The self-restraint shown by the Chinese government is in line with the fundamental interests of the Chinese people and the people in the region, with the global tidal currents, and absolutely tenable.

综上所述,包括同周边国家合作的势头。中国政府在南海问题上表现出的克制,是符合中国和本地区各国人们根本利益的,也是符合世界潮流的,是完全站得住脚的。

(The author is a member of the European Academy of Sciences, the European and Asian Academy of Science, and chairman of the Shanghai Center for International Studies.)
(作者是欧洲科学院院士、欧亚科学院院士、上海国际问题研究中心主席。)

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Wu Jianmin also served as China’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva,  and to France. At least one Huanqiu reader remembers the station in his career as the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman: Ma opposes, Wu, too. In September, Huanqiu Shibao published an interview with Wu, which engendered no friendly reception from Huanqiu’s (frequently nationalist) commenters. Portions of the interview were translated into English by the China Media Project (CMP), Hong Kong, as mentioned above.

Wu’s article had been published by Huanqiu on June 22. On June 27, Long Tao (龙韬), a strategist with the China Energy Fund Committee (中华能源基金委员会战略分析师), wrote a reply to the contrary. I’m not going to translate it, but there is an article in English by Long Tao on the Global Times which is to some extent a re-hash of his earlier answer to Wu Jianmin, titled “Time to Teach those around China Sea a Lesson” (September 29).

If someone else translates Long Tao’s reply to Wu Jianmin (or any other of the opinions in the collection), drop me  a line, and I will link to your translations.

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Related

» Strategic Partnership with Vietnam (soundfile), All India Radio, September 19, 2011
» In Tune with the Current Era, June 8, 2011
» 35,000 Yuan for an Obedient Wife, January 30, 2010

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