Chinas Foreign Policy

Following the death of Mao Zedong in 1976 and the purge of the "gang of four", the year 1978 marked a turning point in post-Mao China. It symbolized an end as well as a beginning. At the Third Plemnum of the Eleventh Chinese Communist Party Central Committee held in December 1978, Deng Xiaoping emerged as the top leader of China, and gained acceptance far his plan to make economic development the highest goal for his country. A program 3/4 "Four Modernization" 3/4 is designed to achieve this goal, and the aim of the program is to overtake the Western industrialized countries by the year of 2000. To implement the program, a huge amount of Capital and a stable international environment is need, it's necessary for China to strengthen relations with U.S. as a constraint on USSR and as a source of technology and Capital. Thus, by 70's the foreign policy of the PRC had under gone apparently changes and a new Chinese foreign policy had emerged. The main purpose of this paper is to give a brief description of China foreign policy in the 70's and 80's including the principles and the factors that shape these policies. Moreover, a large part of this paper will concern the Sino-U.S. relation, especially on the problem of Taiwan and the trade relations. Because U.S. plays the most important role in China's foreign policy, and the Taiwan and the trade relations issues are the most critical conflict in the political and economic aspect between two countries. II. Principle of China's foreign policy: from "United Front against Hegemonism" to "Independent Foreign Policy" A. United Front against Soviet in the 70's In 70's, China's foreign policy was aimed at forming a united front against Soviet with United States and her allies. However, the Sino-Soviet relation in the early 50's and during Korean war were characterized by Mao's "lean to one side", and the United States was the principle enemy. The change in China's policy towards Soviet from "lean to one side" to against started from the late 50's. In a series of issues, Soviet again and again disappointed and annoyed Chinese, and finally made China turned against Soviet. i. Sino-Soviet conflict a. Different in background Although both China and Soviet are communist countries, the historical background of these two communist party is totally different. The first difference is that the Chinese Communists always felt themselves as the party of national liberation of a nation long kept in colonial or semi-colonial condition, so they seen their revolution as a national and anti-imperialist one, and as a model for other revolutions in the colonial world. However, Soviet saw itself as an imperialist power, and never felt that their struggle for revolution in Russian was a struggle for national liberation from foreign imperialist rule.1 The second difference is that the role of military force in revolutionary struggle. To Soviet, violent is not necessary in the process of revolution, it can be done in a more peaceful way. The use of violent in October Revolution justify in that situation. But to Chinese, the Communist Party was formed after decades of wars, including civil war and wars against foreign imperialist. So, in Chinese's view, armed force and violet is definitely necessary in the process of revolution, and can be characterized by Mao's "political power grows out of the gun".2 b. Conflict of interest The difference of historical background is not the main reason of the conflict between China and Soviet, the real reason is the conflict of interest started from late 50's. In the early 50's, China was heavily depended on Soviet's arms (as in the Korean War), economic and technical aids, and diplomatic support. But after Stalin's death, Soviet began to reduce the dependency. Moreover, during late 50's and early 60's, a number of disagreement developed among the two countries:3 1. Moscow's double-faced attitude during the Quemoy crisis, when it gave propaganda support to Beijing's demand but refused to supply it with air-to air missiles comparable to those supplied by U.S. to Taiwan. 2. Soviet refusal of the Chinese request for a sample atomic bomb and blueprints for its production despite the general pledges contained in the 1957 agreement for technological aid. 3. Moscow's neutral stand in the Sino-Indian border dispute of 1959. 4. Khrushcher's readiness to try to improve Soviet-American relations by his visit to president Eisenhower at Camp David in 1959. 5. In spite of Beijing's repeated protest, Moscow decided to sign the limited nuclear- test ban treaty with U.S. in 1963. Moreover, the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, the Brezhnev Doctrine the justified Soviet intervention in socialist countries, and 1969 Sino-Soviet border clashes along the Ussuri River had greatly strong Chinese fears that Soviet would take major military actions against China. China then began trying to establish political contact with United States,4 in order to counterbalance the threat of soviet, and this is the beginning of the united front against Soviet. ii. Sino-American rapprochement a. Motivation Although the Soviet threat was a major motive of Sino-American rapprochement, it's not the sole motive, there was still other reasons that made China decide to improve relation with United States First, Chinese leader believed that the United States was losing its struggle in Vietnam and its position in the world was in decline, thus no longer posed a direct threat to China.5 That means United States had become the secondary enemy in the struggle, and China should ally itself with the secondary enemy 3/4 the United States 3/4 in order to oppose the primary enemy 3/4 the Soviet Union. Secondly, the normalization with United States world clear away obstacles for the PRC's foreign relations created by United States and strengthen its diplomacy in Asia and globally. A major breakthrough was its admission to the United Nations in 1971 with the support of the United States.6 Thirdly, its the problem of Taiwan, Chinese believe that Taiwan's continued refusal to come to terms with mainland China was principally the result of American support of the island. And, an improved relation with United States would yield dividends in the question of Taiwan. Finally, there was a desire for technological contact with United States. After Years of political campaign, including 50's Great Lap Forward, 60's - 70's Cultural Revolution, China's economic situation was seriously hurt. Deng Xiao-ping adopted a positive attitude toward China's economy, he knew that the western financial support was very important to China, and rapprochement with the United States would give China the access to the scientific and technical knowledge and equipment necessary for national development. Moreover, a better relation with the United States will give confidence to other western countries, thus increase their investment and support to China. b. Normalization of relations In February 1972, President Nixon made his historical trip to China. During the trip, Nixon met Mao and Shou and signed the Shanghai Communiqué, this symbolized the establishing of diplomatic relations between China and the United States. In the communiqué, the United States made some concession on the Taiwan issue,7 and a commitment to normalize Sino-American relations. In addition, China's effort to build a World-wide United Front against Soviet threat was included in the Communiqué, which stated that neither states should "seek hegemony in the Asia Pacific region and each is opposed to efforts by any other country or groups of countries to establish hegemony."8 This provision was clearly aimed at the Soviet Union. iii. The theory of three worlds China's rapprochement with the United States in the early 70's aroused harsh criticism from elements of the extreme international left.9 In order to disguise the fact that China had been tilting toward United States, Beijing developed a new ideological rationale know as the theory of the Three Worlds. This theory was first advocated by Mao in February 1974: In my view, the United States and the Soviet Union form the first world. Japan, Europe and Canada, the middle section, belong to the second world. We are the third world. The third world has a huge population. With the exception of Japan, Asia belongs to the third world. The whole of Africa belongs to the third world, and Latin America too.10 According to the theory, since early 60's, the Soviet had degenerated into "social-imperialism", as a result, the socialist camp was no longer in existence. Moreover, decolonization had produced a large number of new nation in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Due to the change in international situation, the world divided into three parts, that are both interconnected and in contradiction to one another. The resistance of both the third and second world against the hegemonism of the two superpowers had become the major feature of world politics.11 This new theory was clearly different from Mao's previous classification of the world into the socialist and imperialist countries, and suggested that the relation between the two camp was no longer the principal contradiction. Moreover, the theory suggested that all Third World countries, regardless of social system, could be a part of the same united front against hegemonism. Finally, the theory advocated that the Second World, despite it contradiction with the Third World, could also be an important ally of China in opposing the Soviet Union. To this point, China's united front against Soviet formed by its new foreign policy in the 60's and early 70's was already established. And China could then concentrated on its modernization program. B. Independent Foreign Policy In early 80's, the approach of China to international relations was changed. This started from Beijing abandoned its previous appeal for an anti-Soviet united front and began to stress the "independence" of its foreign policy. The main changes of policy was on the Moscow-Washington-Beijing relations, China abandoned the united front formed in 70's and intended to form a equal relations between Soviet Union and United States. Thus, the Theory of Three World not longer serve as the basis of China's foreign policy, a new principle 3/4 The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence 3/4 was the applied. i. The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence (FPPC) 1. mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity 2. mutual nonaggression 3. mutual noninterference in internal affairs 4. equality and mutual benefit 5. peaceful coexistence12 Those principles, first initiated in 1954, had later became the basic line of China's foreign policy in the whole 1980's and was still applied in the 90's. ii. Motivation of Policy change The developments in China's foreign policy in early 80's seemed to confirm the Chinese "independent" foreign policy, but why had the Chinese foreign policy changed? The new Chinese tendency to balance between the two superpowers reflects both past tradition and current political assessments. Historically, China has always tried to have an independent policy. However, China was defeated by the Western powers and became a semi-colonized country in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. So, the new Chinese are especially sensitive to issues concerning China's sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity. In 1981, as Sino-American relations were deteriorating because of the Taiwan issue, China understood that it couldn't depend to much on the United States since its still a "imperialism" power, and China's foreign policy should become more independent and self-reliance.13 In addition, due to rapprochement of Sino-Soviet relation and domestic politics situations, the changes took place. a. Deterioration of Sino-American relation When Ronald Reagan, a long-time supporter of Taiwan, was elected President of the United States in 1980, Beijing felt suspicious of the intentions of the new U.S. Government. Reagan took a tougher stand toward the Soviet Union than previous administration, which was urged by China in the past.14 However, Chinese leaders were no longer concern about the Soviet threat, due to Sino-Soviet renomalization of relation. On the other hand, during the 1980 U.S. presidential campaign, Beijing was highly disturbed by Reign's promise to restore official relations with the ROC on Taiwan.15 Moreover, the Taiwan arms sales issue, the Chinese conviction that the U.S. was reluctant to transfer advanced technology to China, and the dispute over Chinese textile exports to the United States further reduced Beijing's confidence in the U.S. after Reagan became president of the United States.16 b. Sino-Soviet renormalisation In April, 1979, Beijing gave notice termination of its 1950 treaty of alliance with the Soviet Union, at the earliest time permissible under the terms of the treaty. At the same time, however, China proposed talks with the Soviet Union aimed at easing Sino-Soviet tension.17 And this was the first time since the 1969 border clash that the Chinese made such a gesture. In the first round of the talks, there wasn't any significant progress, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan later had made the talks even more difficult, to continue. Although these normalization talks were not resumed until 1982, however, both sides carefully maintained some momentum in their relationship during the interval. The major force that moved China towards rapprochement with the Soviet Union was the economic consideration. China's most urgent priority in the 80's and beyond is to modernize its economy. In order to ensure the success of modernization, China has to reduce its defense spending so that resources can be concentrated on economic reform. This requires a reduction of foreign tension and peaceful environment, for which détente with the Soviet Union is an essential component.18 Another major reason was the change in Beijing's perceptions of the international environment. In the early 1980's, Beijing reappraised the Soviet threat and came the conclusion that Soviet were less dangerous than before.19 The Chinese leaders believe that the Soviet Union was bogged down in Afghanistan, Poland, and growing economic difficulties. c. Domestic Politics China's domestic development during 1979-1981 also contributed to Beijing's decision to Change its international posture and harden it stance toward the United States on the Taiwan issue. While the reform program adopted in 1978 brought great expectation to Chinese people, serious problem arose during the follow two years. The Four Modernization program was so ambitious that the Chinese leadership feared a loss of control. Economically, serious imbalances and inflation appeared for the first time in many years. Politically, the Chinese leadership worried very much about becoming too dependent on the West and experiencing the negative effects of Western ideas and values on their society.20 In the cause of these development, the Chinese leadership convened a central work conference in 1980 to make significant changes on both domestic and foreign policy. This meeting adopted a proposal from Chen Yun for a period of retrenchment and readjustment to correct the economic imbalance. The meeting also adopted measures to check the spread of foreign ideas and foreign influence.21 Under all these reason, China then adopted its new "independent" foreign policy in 1980's, it's clearly that China didn't want to depend too much on any countries, however, no one can deny that China's modernization program needed other countries support, especially the United States. So, Sino-American and Sino-Soviet relations was again normalized after 1982, however, it's no longer a relation of ally. III. Sino-American Interaction A. The Taiwan Issue Beijing bas constantly asserted that the Taiwan issue is of great significance to the sovereignty of the PRC, and to the prospect for continued development of Sino-American relations. For the PRC, it's a question left over from the Chinese civil war and a political by-product of U.S. interference.22 Ever since its rapprochement with the United States in the early 1970's, China has maintained that the Taiwan issue is the major obstacle between the two nations. However, due to dynamics of the Washington-Moscow-Beijing triangle as well as the Chinese domestic polities, China has not always placed equal emphasis on the Taiwan issue in its policy toward the United States. During the 1970's, when Sino-American relations began to improve and finally reached formal diplomatic relation, Chinese leaders decided to set aside the Taiwan issue and to concentrate their effort on uniting with United States in a "united front" against Soviet. After Ronald Reagan because president, U.S. built up its military strength and resumed a hard-line policy toward Moscow. Consequently, China was no longer so concerned about the Soviet threat, thus giving Beijing the opportunity to press the U.S. on the Taiwan issue. Dispute the establishment of formal diplomatic relation between the PRC and the United States in 1979, the Taiwan issue remains unsolved. The Taiwan problem has been a major point of contention between Beijing and Washington since 1950, when President Harry Truman ordered the U.S. Seventh Fleet to neutralize the Taiwan strait following outbreak of the Korean War.23 In the early 1950, when the Nationalist Chinese were defeated by the Communist forces and moved to Taiwan, Washington decided to abandon it former wartime ally. However, with the direct confrontation between China and the United States in the Korean War later that year, the containment of China become a firm policy in Washington. As part of the containment policy, Washington continued to provide the ROC on Taiwan with political, military, and economy assistance. In 1954, Washington signed a defense treaty with Taipei.24 As a result of these development, United States continued for almost three decades to recognize the ROC as the legal government of China, and to deny recognition to the PRC and to pursue a policy of "Two China". In Beijing's view, the major reason for the existence of the Taiwan issue is the continuing U.S. intervention. If the United States not intervened to the ROC, the PRC argues, Communist forces would have complete the sacred mission of returning Taiwan to the motherland.25 Although Beijing has always maintained the China's reunification is the fundamental national goal, the actual priority that Beijing has given to the Taiwan issue in its policy toward the United States has changed several times as the international situation has changed. i. From the 1972 Shanghai Communiqué to the establishment of diplomatic Relations in 1979. Dispute the disagreement on the Taiwan question, the PRC decided to make strategic concession on it during Nixon's visit to China in 1972 and to focus on common U.S.-China Strategic interests and normalization of relations. When Nixon concluded his visit, a joint communiqué was issued in Shanghai which was know as the Shanghai Communiqué. Concerning the status of Taiwan, the PRC says in the communiqué: The Chinese side reaffirmed it position: the Government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government of China; Taiwan is a province of China which has long been returned to the motherland; the liberation of Taiwan is China's internal affair in which no other country has the right to interfere; and all U.S. force and military installation must be withdraw from Taiwan. The Chinese Government firmly opposes any activities which aimed at the creation "one China, one Taiwan,", "one China, two government" or advocate that "the states of Taiwan remains to be determined."26 In a careful piece of warding, the United states declared its position on Taiwan in the communiqué by saying it "acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of Taiwan is a part of China. The United States does not challenge that position."27 From Washington's perspective, therefore, the status of Taiwan is still undetermined because the U.S. only "acknowledged", but not "recognize", that Taiwan was part of China. But this statement would virtually rule out U.S. support for an independent Taiwan. When China and the United States established formal diplomatic relations in 1979, Beijing was successful in winning Washington's acceptance of its three conditions for normalization of relations: (1) derecognition of the Republic of China; (2) termination of the 1954 U.S.-ROC Mutual Defense Treaty; and (3) withdrawal of all American troops and military installation from the ROC on Taiwan.28 Concerning the legal status of Taiwan, the United States stated in the normalization communiqué in December 1978 that it "recognizes" the government of the PRC as the sole legal government of China, but "acknowledges" the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China. However, in Chinese text, the word "chengren" is used is both clauses,29 which means "recognize" in English. It's impossible that the United States did not know the exact meaning of these critical world, therefore, it's possible that both countries were still disagree about the status of Taiwan. ii. The Taiwan Relation ACT (TRA) As promised in his announcement of the establishment of Sino-American diplomatic relations, President Carter submitted to Congress draft legislation to regulate future unofficial relations with the ROC on Taiwan. Most members of the Congress were dissatisfied with the President's proposal because of its ambiguity in the question of Taiwan's security.30 After holding extensive hearing on the question of future U.S. relations with the ROC on Taiwan, the Congress passed the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) in March 1979,31 which was much more explicit than President Carter's plan in the U.S. Commitment to Taiwan's security. On 10 April, 1979, President Carter signed the act into public, and it has served as the basic document for unofficial U.S.-ROC relations since then.32 With regard to protecting Taiwan, the Act stated that it's the policy of United Stated: 1) to make clear that the United States decision to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China rests upon the exception that the future of Taiwan will be determined by peaceful means; 2) to consider any effort to determined the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means, including by boycotts or embargoes, a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of grave concern to the United States; 3) to provided Taiwan with arms of a defensive character; 4) to maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people of the people of Taiwan.33 On the critical question of arms sales to Taiwan, the TRA stated that "the United States will make available to Taiwan such defense articles and defense service in such quality as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capacity."34 China's reaction to the Act at the time was quite moderate, it didn't protest during the period between the passage of the bill on March 29 and its signature into law by President Carter on April 10. The main reason for China's low profile on the TRA was apparently its desire to avoid endanger the relationship just established.35 Another reason was probably that President Carter had imposed a one-year moratorium on arms sales to Taiwan.36 iii. Period after TRA to Joint Communiqué in 1982 Despite the passage of TRA, the Taiwan issue was relatively quiescent in 1979, during which time the United States sold no military equipment to Taiwan, the Chinese press contained few harsh statements about U.S. interference in Taiwan.37 However, when Ronald Reagan, a long-time supporter of the ROC, became the Republican presidential candidate in 1980, the confrontation between PRC and the United States over the Taiwan began to intensify. The major point of contention was Reign's campaign call for the restoration of official relations with the ROC on Taiwan. a. Reign's Campaign Statement The polemics over the Taiwan issue came to a head on 25 August 1980. On that day, Reagan held a news conference in Los Angeles, at which he set forth the fundamental principles for his China policy. In it he proposed that the United States would carry on its relations with the ROC on Taiwan "in accordance with the law, the Taiwan Relations Act." Criticizing Carter's decision to accept "China's three conditions for normalization" as "not necessary and not in our national interest," Reagan reiterated that he had favored the "retention of a liaison office on Taiwan of equivalent status to the one which we had earlier established in Beijing." He went on to say that Congress provided in the TRA "the official basis for our relation with our long-time friend and ally...... And, most important, it spells our policy of providing defensive weapons to Taiwan."38 Beijing reacted strongly to Reign's remark on future U.S. relations with the ROC. Renmin Ribao first accused Reagan of "playing a little trick," and talked about the required counterattack against his word and action."39 Then, in a major article, the paper criticized Reagan, saying that his idea of establishing "official relations" with Taiwan "runs counter to the fundamental principle of the Communiqué on the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States."40 Although the commentary emphasized the importance of continued friendly Sino-American relations, it also made a threat that any attempt to restore "official relations" with Taiwan "would inevitable lead to grave retrogression in Sino-American relations" and would " have serious adverse effect on the struggle against hegemonism and for safeguarding world peace."41 b. U.S. Arms Sales to Taiwan U.S. arms sales to Taiwan have been the central issue in Sino-American relations since the two countries exchanged diplomatic recognition in 1979. From Beijing's perspective, U.S. arms sales to Taiwan represent a strident example of insensitively to China's feelings and basic concerns. Moreover, Chinese leaders feel that U.S. arms sales to an integral part of their territory clearly constitute interference in China's internal affairs. They strongly believe that there is a linkage between U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and the reunification of China. c. Haig's visit to China Different from his attitude during the presidential campaign, after taken the office, Reagan was gradual to recognize the important of China-U.S. relation. In May 1981, as a major move in it China policy, the Administration announced that Secretary of State Alexander Haig would visit China in mid-June.42 During his visit to China, Secretary Hag emphasized the "strategic imperative" for closer Sino-American ties as a means of coping with the global Soviet threat. At the end of his trip, Secretary Hag announced at a press conference that the United States would consider selling weapons to China on a case-by-case basis. However, the Taiwan issue still dominated the talks between Hag and Chinese leaders. While discussing the issue with Secretary Hag in Beijing, Foreign Minister Hung Hue seriously pointed out that since U.S.-China normalization of relations the United States had not taken any positive steps toward solving the problem of its arms sales to Taiwan.43 d. The FX decision During the Carter Administration, the ROC wanted to purchases advance U.S. fighters such as the F-16 or the F-15 to replace its aging planes. Washington refused to sell such modern aircraft to the ROC because it did not wish to jeopardize its relationship with the PRC. Instead, the U.S. Government asked both Northrop and General Dynamics to design a new fighter, designated FX by the Pentagon, with limited range and ground attack capability for export to the ROC and similar countries.44 However, after lengthy expert study of the matter, decided in November 1981 not to sell the FX fighters to the ROC, but to continue co-producing the F-5E with them.45 To lessen Taipei's disappointment, Washington decided to sell $97 million worth spare part to Taiwan. In Washington's consideration, the decision on VEX fighters is a considerable concession to Beijing, however, the Chinese lodged a continue co-production of F-5E with the ROC.46 In addition, the Chinese reiterated their demand that the United States specify quantitative, qualitative, and time limits on arms sales to Taiwan. iv. Communiqué of August 17, 1982 Early in April 1982, in order to reverse the decline in Sino-American relations, President Reagan wrote to Zhao Ziyang and Deng Xiaoping. In these letter, Reagan outlined three basic principles of American policy towards China: (1) There was only "one China", and the unofficial relations with Taiwan would not weaken this basic commitment; (2) the U.S. appreciated the Chinese proposal on the peaceful reunification of China; and (3) the need to sell arms to Taiwan would decrease as conditions for the peaceful reunification of China improved.47 In addition, Reagan proposed a visit by Vice President Bush to China to discuss the Taiwan issue. Clearly, Bush's mission was to bring the Chinese back to the negotiating table and to try to restore China's confidence in the U.S. intention to strengthen Sino-American relation. In his meeting with Deng Xiaoping, Bush pointed out specifically that the U.S. refusal to specify a cutoff data for it arms sales to Taiwan did not represent an assertion of an indefinite right to carry on such sales. Although Bush's visit didn't gain any agreement upon the arms sales problem, it did gain a breakthrough in the arms sales negotiations.48 After several months of negotiation, the PRC and the United States finally reached on agreement on arms sales issue on August 17, 1982. The United States reaffirmed its position on the issue of sovereignty over Taiwan as indicated in the 1979 normalization agreement.

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