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Walks Past an Honor Guard; Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan Shares a Chuckle
With His Guest.
—AP VIDEO NEWS: Rumsfeld Tells China that it Should Be More Open About its Military Plans, October 19, 00:01:04
—SLIDE SHOW: Rumsfeld in Beijing
Rumsfeld Visits the 'Inevitable Enemy'
On his first trip to Beijing since becoming Defense Secretary five years ago, Donald Rumsfeld wants to enhance the lines of communication between the two militaries. But given his repeated pronouncements about the ‘China Threat,’ according to this op-ed article from France’s Liberation, he’s unlikely to glean more than lots of wide-toothed smiles.
By Correspondent in Beijing Pierre Haski
October 19, 2005
- Original Article (French)
Sitting in the Big Visitor Chairs With Chinese President
It has taken more than five years for
Donald Rumsfeld to make an official visit to China. The American defense chief, who has a solid reputation
of being a partisan for a new Cold War with communist China, arrived Monday in Beijing to attempt an improbable
dialogue. From the start, the Chinese have kept him at arm’s length: his
request to visit Beijing’s “Pentagon” was rejected. He has to settle for
a strategic missile site near the capital that has never been opened to
Americans. Aside from his meetings, he has also been offered a platform
to express his point of view, with speeches at the communist party’s main
school, and before the military academy.
Rummykins in China
Falling a month before a visit to China by Bush, Rumsfeld’s first
visit is deemed important for defining the Sino-American relationship,
which constantly oscillates between cooperation and confrontation. The
Defense Secretary is working to establish closer contacts between military
leaders in the two countries, who don’t really know each other and are
Rumsfeld, however, will have a hard time overcoming the deep
reticence that he inspires in Beijing, especially after his speech in Singapore last June. Speaking during a meeting on defense
in Asia, he criticized the increase in Chinese military
expenditures “while no country is threatening China,” as well as its lack of freedoms. And he made it
known that he wanted to harden the language of the Pentagon report on Chinese
defense. The following month, this report characterized China as a potential threat to American interests in Asia.
The Pentagon is crawling with “hawks,” who see China as the State enemy that disappeared with the USSR. The Wall Street Journal last month ran a portrait
of one of these defense “gurus,” Michael Pillsbury, who believes that Beijing sees Washington as an “inevitable enemy,” and that it is thus necessary
to be prepared. This consultant, who has access to Rumsfeld, believes that every other branch of the government
is populated by “panda lovers,” that is to say people who will “sell out” to
Beijing, and that only the Defense Department is still “healthy”…
Settling in for a Nice Warm Exchange With Chinese Vice
Chairman of the Central Military Commission, Guo Boxiong
This would not be so serious if the two
countries weren’t at risk of one day finding themselves in an armed conflict over the fate of Taiwan. In both Washington and Beijing, it is believed that the lack of contact between
military officials increases this risk. It is not certain that Rumsfeld is the right man to talk to, but the Chinese have
no interest in souring their relationship with him. They will greet him
with smiles, without giving up anything of value.
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