China Leadership Monitor

Old Problems Trump New Thinking: China's Security Relations with Taiwan, North Korea, and Japan

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Recent months have hardly been proud ones for People's Republic of China (PRC) security policy. On diplomatic policies toward Taiwan, Japan, and North Korea, respectively, Beijing has appeared bullying, emotional, and ineffective. Given the widely negative reaction to the passage of an antisecession law, it remains to be seen whether recent trips by Taiwan's opposition party leaders to the mainland in April and May will improve relations across the Strait or will polarize Taiwan politics and destabilize cross-Strait relations. With respect to Japan, government inactivity in the face of acts of vandalism and racist sloganeering on the streets of its major cities seemingly contradicts the PRC's effort to put a smiling face on a rising China. On North Korea policy, Beijing either has decided to live with a nuclear Pyongyang or, more likely, has simply been ineffective in trying to lure the Democratic People's Republic of Korea back to the six-party talks. These outcomes do not match the Chinese Communist Party's self-styled image as a peaceful, responsible, and constructive rising power.