- The Washington Times - Monday, March 20, 2000

LONDON.

Today, Americans believe that their country is the most powerful on Earth. This view has solid basis, because America has the most advanced nuclear and conventional weapons.

Today, the Chinese communists, especially the elements within the hard-line faction and the military, believe they can resist any American attack. More important, they believe that they can win a limited conventional war. This view is not without basis, because America, being a democracy, will be constrained in using nuclear weapons for preventive strikes, and therefore, its military power is curtailed by half.

In regional wars with conventional weapons, America does not have substantial advantage, because America being a world leader, its military has to be stationed at other strategic flash-points, and therefore, could not use more than perhaps one-third of its forces to face China. Moreover, the American military, which had never been defeated before, has had two substantial challenges and setbacks in Asia. One was in Korea, and the other in Vietnam, which both had ample communist Chinese involvement. Given this background, we have no reason to believe that Communist China lacks the experience or resolve to face down the greatest power on earth.

Another reason, which is not taken into consideration, is that the United States has already formally recognized Taiwan as part of China. When communist China sends its carriers and fighter planes to the Taiwan Straits, can the United States legitimately force them out of "recognized Chinese territory"? While the United States is still dithering over what is the right response to an incursion, Taiwan could have been forced to give up much in a very short span of time, including the possibility of total defeat.

This setback would be extremely detrimental to those countries that have become newly democratic, and even more so for those that are still fighting for democracy, for it would drastically curtail the force of democracy, and enlarge the domain of tyranny. The United States, for its own sake, and for the sake of others, has the responsibility to protect democracy.

Yet, how is the American military to fight this kind of conflict? The point is, we must eliminate the possibility of war before it happens. Currently, the Chinese communist government and military are still uncertain about what to do. This window of "opportunity" exists during the year after Taiwanese and U.S. presidential elections, when the transfer of power to the new administrations is still being completed.

To be ready for war, the Chinese communist government must have five areas prepared, of which they have already completed two: 1) Fan up the flames of extreme nationalism. 2) Build alliance with Russia, to guarantee supplies if coastal routes are blockaded.

The Chinese communist government believes that it will realize two more areas very soon: 3) Annihilate all organized oppositions, especially the overseas democracy movement, and eradicate or suppress all social resistance, especially the religious movements along the line of Falun Gong and house churches. With the help of the "Pro-Chinese communist" forces in the West, the Chinese communist government is coming very close to realizing this goal. 4) Divide and destroy the Western alliance to isolate the United States and secure alternate military supplies from Europe. The Chinese communist government has already achieved diplomatic and foreign policy successes against the West that the USSR never attained.

This is a critical time to pour cold water on the Chinese communist leadership. To deny the Chinese communist government World Trade Organization (WTO) membership and permanent normal trade relations (NTR) now is an opportunity to do so, especially when it is tied to the fifth and most crucial area of the Chinese government's preparedness for war.

The most difficult for the Chinese communist leadership to prepare is this: 5) Accumulate enough capital to ensure the continual production of advance military equipment. In the past 50 years, the Chinese communist government has built a complete military industry, which has the capability of design and development, as well as production. In addition, the Chinese have successfully filched many advanced military technologies. Even if their current military productions are not better than those of the West, they are not so far behind, especially in stealth technology for fighter planes.

The problem is quantity. The Chinese communist leaders have severely damaged China's economy. Simply put, it lacks sufficient capital to support full production. In fact, the military industry works only at about half its capacity. However, the Chinese communist leaders believe that the United States will give them the capital. Massive investments and loans from abroad will enable the Chinese communist leaders to redirect many of China's own investments from other areas to the military industry.

Moreover, they believe that joining the WTO and securing permanent NTR will give legitimacy and increase the credibility of China's state-owned enterprises, which will enable China to make public offerings of stocks and bonds through America's financial markets, thus creating the most direct flow of capital to China.

Premier Zhu Rongji is waiting impatiently for this capital infusion to prevent the collapse of many state-owned enterprises. Of course, most state-owned enterprises are military in nature. Without production, these military enterprises cannot survive. Without a war or a war-like environment, there is no justification for increasing military production.

The plain fact is, this is not a simple matter of trade, or isolation over openness, because war is the link with WTO and permanent NTR. This is the time to make a stand. The time to give China WTO membership and permanent NTR is not now, but when China has built democracy and its economy can be developed normally. If WTO and NTR privileges were given now, only the Chinese communists would benefit, which would bring only more suffering and war to the people of China and America in the not too distant future.

Wei Jingsheng spent 19 years in a Chinese forced labor camp as a political prisoner.

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