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China strebt asiatischen Sicherheitsmechanismus an / Beijing backs initiative for Asia security

Peking hofft außerdem auf Ende des US-Rüstungsembargos - Obamas Trostpflaster für chinesische Nobelpreisniederlage? / US may lift Chinese arms embargo

Zwei Spitzenmeldungen warfen der offiziösen Internetzeitung China Daily am 11. Oktober 2010 zu entnehmen: Die erste bezog sich auf eine gemeinsame Tagung der ASEAN-Staaten mit acht weiteren regionalen Mächten, die am 12. Oktober in Hanoi stattfinden soll. In der zweiten Meldung wird die Hoffnung geäußert, dass die Obama-Administration das 21-jährige Waffenembargo gegen China möglicherweise aufzuheben oder zumindest zu lockern bereit ist.

Zur ASEAN gehören die folgenden Staaten:
Brunei, Kambodscha, Indonesien, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Birma), Philippinen, Singapur, Thailand und Vietnam.
ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), der Verband Südostasiatischer Nationen, versteht sich als südostasiatische intergouvernementale Organisation, deren ursprüngliches Ziel die Verbesserung der wirtschaftlichen, politischen und sozialen Zusammenarbeit darstellte. Später kamen Sicherheits-, Kultur- und Umweltfragen hinzu. 2009 beschlossen die Staats- und Regierungschefs der ASEAN-Mitglieder, einen gemeinsamen Wirtschaftsraum nach europäischem Vorbild zu gründen. Mit Sicherheitsfragen befasst sich bisher das ASEAN-Regionalforum (ARF).

In dem nachfolgenden Artikel wird der chinesische Standpunkt vertreten, wonach eine gemeinsame asiatische Sicherheitszone unter Einschluss Russlands und der USA zur Stabilisierung der Region beitragen solle. Der chinesische Verteidigungsminister Liang Guanglie besuchte am Sonntag (10. Okt. Hanoi, wo er mit seinem vietnamesischen Amtskollegen über die Sicherheitsprobleme sprach. Der Besuch diente auch der Festigung der militärischen zusammenarbeit zwischen beiden Staaten. Liang Guanglie ließ aber auch keinen Zweifel daran, dass die Interessenkonflikte im Südchinesischen Meer (etwa zwischen China, Vietnam, Malaysia, den Philippinen und Brunei) jeweils bilateral zu lösen seien.

Ein Treffen des chinesischen Verteidigungsministers mit seinem japanischen Kollegen am Montag (11. Okt.) sollte unterstreichen, dass der chinesisch-japanische Konflikt wegen der Festnahme des Kapitäns eines chinesischen Fischkutters durch die japanische Küstenwache vor wenigen Wochen nun endgültig beigelegt sei.

Dass US-Präsident Obama just am 8. Oktober 2010, dem Tag, an dem der chinesische Dissident Liu Xiaobo den Friedensnobelpreis zugesprochen bekam, einen Brief an den Kongress sandte, worin er um die begrenzte Aufhebung des 21-jährigen Waffenembargos gegen China bittet, mag man für einen Zufall halten - oder auch nicht. Jedenfalls könnte der Antrag Obamas die schlechte Laune der chinesischen Führung wieder etwas aufgehellt haben. Geht es doch immerhin um die mögliche Lieferung von US-Militärtransportern vom Typ Lockheed C-130 Hercules, die schon lange auf der Wunschliste Pekings stehen. Der US-Lufttransporter wurde schonm in 50 Staaten der welt geliefert und dient unter anderem der Nachschubversorgung der NATO-Truppen in Afghanistan. Mit der Genehmigung des Flugzeug-Deals verbindet China die Hoffnung, dass auch weitere Restriktionen im chinesisch-amerikanischen Rüstungshandel fallen könnten. - Pst

Beijing backs initiative for Asia security

By Li Xiaokun (China Daily) *

HANOI - China is willing to help establish a regional "security mechanism" which defense ministers from 10 Southeast Asian nations and regional powers including China, India and Japan will discuss on Tuesday, China's defense chief said on Sunday.

"China would like to actively get involved in the building of a relevant security mechanism ... to contribute to regional peace and stability," Defense Minister Liang Guanglie told Nong Duc Manh, general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee.

The meeting in Hanoi is the first security session of all ASEAN members and eight other countries: China, Australia, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the US.

A maritime-safety plan could be one area of cooperation, Japanese media, citing a draft statement, said.

Ma Zhengang, director of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, said a peaceful region is one of China's aims, and the country is willing to discuss how to achieve this with neighboring countries.

"So far there is no settled framework for security cooperation in the region due to the complicated situation here with so many countries and so many interests and concerns," Ma said.

"But China welcomes a fair security mechanism," he said. "That goes in line with China's demand for a peaceful environment to enable continuous prosperity."

Liang also told Manh during their talks that the Chinese military wants deeper mutual trust and more substantial cooperation with the armed forces of Vietnam, which has disputed Chinese territory in the South China Sea in recent months.

Vietnam's Deputy Defense Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh said the meeting would try to identify common interests and avoid becoming "a place for a war of words".

China, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei all have competing claims in the South China Sea.

China has long insisted that the South China Sea issue should be dealt with on a bilateral level as it is not a problem between China and the ASEAN.

Liang on Sunday also met his Vietnamese counterpart Phung Quang Thanh. No details of the meeting were available.

The high-level military delegation accompanying Liang included the commander of the Guangzhou Military Area Command and political commissar of the South China Sea Fleet, two military divisions that guard Chinese land and maritime territory bordering Vietnam.

Zhai Dequan, a colleague of the disarmament association's Ma, said the meeting is a good chance for China and Vietnam to discuss partnership in areas of mutual interest.

The two countries have more things in common than differences, Zhai said.

Liang is also scheduled to meet US Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Monday, the first meeting since military ties between the two countries cooled at the beginning of the year after the US unveiled a $6.4-billion arms sale to Taiwan.

Liang's agenda on Tuesday includes talks with counterparts from the Republic of Korea, Australia and Laos.

Japan's Kyodo News Agency said the defense ministers of China and Japan will meet on Monday, the first time since China cut high-level exchanges after Japan illegally detained a Chinese boat captain and members of his crew near the Diaoyu Islands last month. China Daily has been told that the meeting has yet to be confirmed.

Ma Liyao contributed to this story.

* Source: China Daily, Oct 11. 2010; www.chinadaily.com

US may lift Chinese arms embargo

BEIJING - The United States appears ready to lift its 21-year-old arms embargo against China in the wake of President Obama's request on Saturday to ease restrictions on the sale of cargo aircraft to Beijing.

In an Oct 8 letter, Obama called on the House and Senate to lift the ban on C-130 cargo aircraft sales to China, emphasizing "the national interest of the United States" to terminate the suspensions.

Should the proposal pass in both Houses of Congress, this will signal the first time since 1989 that the US has exported arms to China.

Obama stressed in his letter that C-130 cargo aircraft are to be deployed in response to oil spills at sea. However, he did not specify a date or financial cost for an imminent export.

License requirements shall remain in place for these exports, and will require review and approval on an ongoing, case-by-case basis by US government officials.

The C-130 cargo aircraft - also known as the Lockheed C-130 Hercules - is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built in the 1950s. Capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation and cargo transport aircraft.

The aircraft have been widely used by NATO and coalition troops on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq. The C-130 has so far been exported to more than 50 countries worldwide.

Washington has exported to China Black Hawk helicopters and other advanced armaments in the 1980s, but has also led Western countries in its restriction of high-tech weapons sales to Beijing since 1989.

It has also threatened to cease cooperation with the European Union, if the latter were to lift its arms sales ban, according to Zhao Xiaozhuo, senior colonel and expert on US military affairs at Beijing-based Academy of Military Science.

"Israel, for example, under the pressure of the US, even had to quit from a contract of selling early warning aircraft to China," said Zhao.

The US, he added, is reluctant to export arms to China out of fears that Beijing's growing military expenditures are making it a fast-evolving threat.

There is also an underlying fear in Washington, Zhao added, that China would simply use the core technologies to its advantage.

Zhai Dequan, the vice-secretary-general of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, said that though the C-130 has been put in use for decades of years, it still has been of vast use in various military actions and exercises.

"As a tactical transport, C-130 cargo aircraft serve for middle-ranged deliveries - that is, the distance is within the (battlefield) theater," said Zhao.

"Unlike fighters, a cargo aircraft requires less updated technology and depends more on durability, and the C-130 has been performing quite well in the past decades," said Zhao. "Therefore it is still of operational value in the US."

Analysts said the White House's motives have been fueled by the Obama administration's plan to balance trade with China while testing the waters to further restore strained military-to-military relations.

The US is particularly worried about its trade deficit with Beijing. Moreover, while Washington has been accusing China of using its surplus to create an imbalance in bilateral trade, Beijing has countered that the US government has been banning high-tech American exports to China - and, thus, partly fueling the trade imbalance.

Zhai noted, however, that arms sales are beneficial in boosting related industries and, in doing so, creating job growth.

Beyond that, he added, China has other - and at times more important - reasons to have such hardware at its disposal.

"During the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008, the US ignored China's urgent need for aircraft engines used for rescuing victims," said Zhen. "If it is free trade, then what is the rationale of the US not selling China such conventional and not-so-high-end weapons?"

The other concern is to cast a light on the resumption of stalled military exchanges between the two countries.

Most notably, Beijing had suspended military exchanges altogether in January after the Obama administration unveiled plans to officially sanction the sale of a $6.4 billion military package to Taiwan - an inalienable part of China.

More recently, China has voiced objections to US military exercises with Republic of Korea (ROK) in the Yellow Sea, part of renewed cooperation between Washington and Seoul.

"The US wanted very much to bring the Sino-US military exchange on track - the scheduled meeting between the two countries' defense ministers in Vietnam is clearly a sign of dtente," said Zhai. "Therefore, Obama's proposal can be seen as yet another friendly signal to China."

However "there is more that the US can do," he added. "Apart from the C-130, the US should export more advanced weaponry to China, to fully realize the normalization and transparency of military exchanges."

He Wei contributed to this story.

** Source: China Daily, Oct 11. 2010; www.chinadaily.com

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