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Living Target

Posted July. 07, 2010 11:19,   


Chinese Maj. Gen. Luo Yuan, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Military Sciences, told a Hong Kong TV station Monday, “If a U.S. aircraft carrier enters the Yellow Sea, it will become a living target.” Unleashing hard-line comments, he said, “Just as we’d block a snoring person from approaching one’s bed, can we allow other people to perform a sword dance right in front of our door?,” adding, “China is not fish but a tiger lion.” The official Chinese daily Global Times also said that if the U.S. aircraft carrier USS George Washington enters the Yellow Sea to participate in a South Korea-U.S. anti-submarine drill, China must take "decisive action."

Beijing defines Uighur and Tibet, two autonomous districts fighting for independence, as “core interest areas” and has made no concessions to them. Taiwan is a de facto independent nation but China also considers it a core interest area. Beijing’s policy is to shun diplomatic ties with countries that do not recognize Taiwan as Chinese territory. The Nahai Islands in the South China Sea have ignited an intense territorial dispute among China, Vietnam and the Philippines. While visiting Beijing in March, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg was reportedly informed by Chinese officials that Beijing considers the South China Sea as a core area of interest vis-a-vis Chinese sovereignty and territorial protection.

China has shown no restraint in its greed for territory. Jin Canrong, a professor at Renmin University in Beijing and a Korea expert, said, “The Yellow Sea is a region that China seeks to designate as a core interest area along with Taiwan, Tibet and Uighur, just like the South China Sea.” China seeks to block a U.S. advance by using the concept of an island chain to cover Sakhalin, the Japanese archipelago, Okinawa, Taiwan and the Philippines. Since Beijing considers the western water section of the chain as a core interest area, it seeks to block the U.S. Navy from entering.

China believes that it cannot afford to allow the South Korea-U.S. joint drill since it entails the U.S. Navy’s entry into its island chain. The “aircraft carrier killer” missile Beijing is developing cannot accurately strike American vessels, and China has yet to develop a long-range missile. The Chinese, however, can attack an aircraft carrier fleet by remodeling its Dongfeng intercontinental ballistic missile, a nuclear warhead which has massive destructive capability. Washington can counter with its maritime missile defense system. The two global superpowers are engaged in a fierce battle to take over hegemony behind the scenes of the sinking of the South Korean naval vessel Cheonan by a North Korean torpedo.

Editorial Writer Lee Jeong-hoon (hoon@donga.com)