Tag Archives: pla

Further Toward Chinese-Taiwanese Military Cooperation

Early this month I mentioned that Taiwan and China are creating a body to coordinate military cooperation between the Republic’s Republic of China and the Republic of China (Taiwan). More good signs comes in news that the People’s Liberation Army and the Army of the Republic of China (Taiwan) will meet in Hawaii.

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From the article:

Senior Chinese and Taiwanese military officers will meet for the first time since the end of a civil war in 1949 at a forum in Hawaii this summer, state media said on Tuesday, in a further sign of improving ties between the political rivals.

Officials from both sides will attend August’s Transnational Security Cooperation forum organized by the U.S. Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, an institute under the U.S. Department of Defense, the official China Daily said.

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A skeptical interpretation of this is available from The View from Taiwan. This is bad news for both the Taiwanese independence movement and politicans on both sides of the Pacific whose careers depend on purchasing for a major war in the Taiwan Straight. However, this is a major forward to lasting peace in the Western Pacific, and also for the United States. China and the United States are the two most critical nations in the world today, and moves like these, by making conflict less likely, make cooperation more likely.

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Hawaii, besides being the headquarter of U.S. Pacific Command, is also pronounced birthplace of Chinese President Sun Yatsen and American President Barack Obama.

Update: The View from Taiwan links to a DefenseLink clarification. This is the first meeting of the Transnational Security Cooperation Course provided by the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS) attended by both Taiwan and China. In previous years, they have alternated attendance.

The People’s Liberation Army and the Wenchuan Quake

The New York Times has a great “memo from Beijing” — “Quake Revealed Deficiencies of China’s Military’s” that does a great job at outlining the good intentions of the Chinese government, combined with the poor performance of the military itslef. Everyone’s heart was in the right place…

Some Western analysts say that Beijing’s willingness to accept aid and rescue teams from several foreign militaries reflects a new openness in a military that has historically operated behind a heavy cloak of secrecy. The military’s top commanders held news briefings in Beijing to discuss the work of the troops in the quake’s aftermath, and many analysts said they thought it was the military’s first such event.

Beijing asked the Pentagon’s National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which operates spy satellites, for high-resolution images of regions affected by the earthquake. China also used 15 of its own satellites to gather information, according to Eric Hagt, director of the China program for the World Security Institute in Washington. It may have asked for satellite images expressly to demonstrate its willingness to work with the international community, Mr. Hagt said.

It all stands in sharp contrast to the military’s performance after the last major earthquake, in Tangshan in 1976, when it refused all foreign aid in an effort to keep the scale of the disaster secret.

… though performance was often suboptimal. When I was in China, CCTV constantly showed video of paratroopers jumping to the scene. Apparently, those were the only paratroops who got through:

Shen Dingli, a leading security expert at Fudan University in Shanghai, said the military’s response did not reflect well on the military’s preparedness for a potential war with, say, Taiwan, the independently governed island that China claims as its sovereign territory. China’s air force deployed 6,500 paratroopers to Sichuan, but only 15 ended up dropping into the disaster zone, military officials said, because of bad weather and forbidding mountain terrain. Mr. Shen called the effort too little and too late.

“The air force should have been able to get troops into Wenchuan in two hours,” he said, referring to a county near the quake’s epicenter. “It took 44 hours. If it took them 10 hours, that’s understandable. But 44 hours is shameful.”

Like the American response to 9/11, the Chinese response to the Wenchuan Earthquake revealed both what the country does right and wrong. Now for that information to be used positively by improving China’s ability to respond to disaster… and save lives

Cruisin’ with the People’s Liberation Army Navy

The Soviet Aircraft Carrier Kiev, first of the Kiev Class and former mistress of the Black Sea Fleet, is now an amusement park in Tianjin.

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Let the cruise begin!


The Kiev in the not-so-far distance. The choking, lethal haze of Tianjin gives the illusion of distance to everything.


Part of the amusement-park/museum was a “war is bad” exhibit, which nevertheless contained examples of heroism, including…


… American exploits in the Second World War.


The Map room showed the continent of Africa and her lesser-known twin continent, Africa 2.


A portion of a world map, with Greenland mysteriously unlabeled.


The Kiev in more fearsome days


English translations were mostly good, some with errors…


… that were occasionally fixed.


The deck of the helicarrier.


“Happy Everyday” wishes the sign, as one gazes up the hellish ruins of what was once a coast.


Can you see Tianjin? Of course not. Even though you are in Tianjin.


The broken beech, closer-up.


“Happy Everyday” and a murdered ocean.


A fearsome ship threatens to spread…


… Nestle chocolate ice-cream and Coca-Cola throughout the world. Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!


A once formidable ship…


… gazes blindly into the absent sky.


I was too hard on Al Gore. Because of Global Warming, the Pacific Ocean now extents to Tiananmen Square. Sorry, Al.


Tianjin, a tdaxp series.