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星期一, 七月 18, 2005



Top Chinese general warns US over attack

By Alexandra Harney in Beijing and Demetri Sevastopulo and Edward Alden in Washington
Published: July 14 2005 21:59 | Last updated: July 15 2005 00:03

China is prepared to use nuclear weapons against the US if it is attacked by Washington during a confrontation over Taiwan, a Chinese general said on Thursday.

“If the Americans draw their missiles and position-guided ammunition on to the target zone on China's territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons,” said General Zhu Chenghu.

Gen Zhu was speaking at a function for foreign journalists organised, in part, by the Chinese government. He added that China's definition of its territory included warships and aircraft.

“If the Americans are determined to interfere [then] we will be determined to respond,” said Gen Zhu, who is also a professor at China's National Defence University.

“We . . . will prepare ourselves for the destruction of all of the cities east of Xian. Of course the Americans will have to be prepared that hundreds . . . of cities will be destroyed by the Chinese.”

Gen Zhu is a self-acknowledged “hawk” who has warned that China could strike the US with long-range missiles. But his threat to use nuclear weapons in a conflict over Taiwan is the most specific by a senior Chinese official in nearly a decade.

However, some US-based China experts cautioned that Gen Zhu probably did not represent the mainstream People's Liberation Army view.

“He is running way beyond his brief on what China might do in relation to the US if push comes to shove,” said one expert with knowledge of Gen Zhu. “Nobody who is cleared for information on Chinese war scenarios is going to talk like this,” he added.

Gen Zhu's comments come as the Pentagon prepares to brief Congress next Monday on its annual report on the Chinese military, which is expected to take a harder line than previous years. They are also likely to fuel the mounting anti-China sentiment on Capitol Hill.

In recent months, a string of US officials, including Donald Rumsfeld, defence secretary, have raised concerns about China's military rise. The Pentagon on Thursday declined to comment on “hypothetical scenarios”.

Rick Fisher, a former senior US congressional official and an authority on the Chinese military, said the specific nature of the threat “is a new addition to China's public discourse”. China's official doctrine has called for no first use of nuclear weapons since its first atomic test in 1964. But Gen Zhu is not the first Chinese official to refer to the possibility of using such weapons first in a conflict over Taiwan.

Chas Freeman, a former US assistant secretary of defence, said in 1996 that a PLA official had told him China could respond in kind to a nuclear strike by the US in the event of a conflict with Taiwan. The official is believed to have been Xiong Guangkai, now the PLA's deputy chief of general staff.

Gen Zhu said his views did not represent official Chinese policy and he did not anticipate war with the US.

Additional reporting by Richard McGregor in Beijing


Chinese General Threatens Use of A-Bombs if U.S. Intrudes

Published: July 15, 2005

BEIJING, Friday, July 15 - China should use nuclear weapons against the United States if the American military intervenes in any conflict over Taiwan, a senior Chinese military official said Thursday.

"If the Americans draw their missiles and position-guided ammunition on to the target zone on China's territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons," the official, Maj. Gen. Zhu Chenghu, said at an official briefing.

General Zhu, considered a hawk, stressed that his comments reflected his personal views and not official policy. Beijing has long insisted that it will not initiate the use of nuclear weapons in any conflict.

But in extensive comments to a visiting delegation of correspondents based in Hong Kong, General Zhu said he believed that the Chinese government was under internal pressure to change its "no first use" policy and to make clear that it would employ the most powerful weapons at its disposal to defend its claim over Taiwan.

"War logic" dictates that a weaker power needs to use maximum efforts to defeat a stronger rival, he said, speaking in fluent English. "We have no capability to fight a conventional war against the United States," General Zhu said. "We can't win this kind of war."

Whether or not the comments signal a shift in Chinese policy, they come at a sensitive time in relations between China and the United States.

The Pentagon is preparing the release of a long-delayed report on the Chinese military that some experts say will warn that China could emerge as a strategic rival to the United States. National security concerns have also been a major issue in the $18.5 billion bid by Cnooc Ltd., a major Chinese oil and gas company, to purchase the Unocal Corporation, the American energy concern.

China has had atomic bombs since 1964 and currently has a small arsenal of land- and sea-based nuclear-tipped missiles that can reach the United States, according to most Western intelligence estimates. Some Pentagon officials have argued that China has been expanding the size and sophistication of its nuclear bombs and delivery systems, while others argue that Beijing has done little more than maintain a minimal but credible deterrent against a nuclear attack.

Beijing has said repeatedly that it would use military force to prevent Taiwan from becoming a formally independent country. President Bush has made clear that the United States would defend Taiwan.

Many military analysts have assumed that any battle over Taiwan would be localized, with both China and the United States taking care to ensure that it would not expand into a general war between the two powers.

But the comments by General Zhu suggest that at least some elements of the military are prepared to widen the conflict, perhaps to persuade the United States that it could no more successfully fight a limited war against China than it could against the former Soviet Union.

"If the Americans are determined to interfere, then we will be determined to respond," he said. "We Chinese will prepare ourselves for the destruction of all the cities east of Xian. Of course the Americans will have to be prepared that hundreds of cities will be destroyed by the Chinese."

General Zhu's threat is not the first of its kind from a senior Chinese military official. In 1995, Xiong Guangkai, who is now the deputy chief of the general staff of the People's Liberation Army, told Chas W. Freeman, a former Pentagon official, that China would consider using nuclear weapons in a Taiwan conflict. Mr. Freeman quoted Mr. Xiong as saying that Americans should worry more about Los Angeles than Taipei.

Foreign Ministry officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment about General Zhu's remarks.

General Zhu said he had recently expressed his views to former American officials, including Mr. Freeman and Adm. Dennis C. Blair, the former commander in chief of the United States Pacific Command.

David Lague of The International Herald Tribune contributed reporting for this article.


Beijing plays down general's threats

By Richard McGregor in Beijing and Demetri Sevastopulo in Washington
Published: July 15 2005 19:50 | Last updated: July 15 2005 19:50

Beijing on Friday distanced itself from comments by a senior Chinese general that China could use nuclear weapons against the US in the event of any military conflict with America over Taiwan. “What he talked about were just his personal views,” said Shen Guofang, an assistant minister of foreign affairs.

In an interview with foreign reporters in Beijing on Thursday, Major General Zhu Chenghu, who is also a dean at China’s National Defence University, said Beijing should respond with nuclear weapons if the US targeted Chinese territory. “We Chinese will prepare ourselves for the destruction of all cities east of Xian [in central China], he said. Of course the Americans will have to be prepared that hundreds of cities will be destroyed by the Chinese.”

Taiwan on Friday criticised his remarks but steered clear of blaming the Chinese government. Michael You, vice-chairman of the mainland affairs council, Taipei's cabinet-level China policy body, said: “The statement reveals the ferocious face of the hawks in China. It should be condemned and the person making it should apologise.”

Chinese government officials emphasised that Gen Zhu's remarks were seen as a minority opinion and being the first to use nuclear weapons would contradict Beijing's military strategy.

Gen Zhu, who is understood to have made similar comments in the past, said his remarks were his personal opinion and not government policy. But his comments come at a sensitive time for US-China military relations.

The Pentagon is next week expected to release its annual report on the Chinese military, which is likely to take a more hardline stance than previous years. A string of US officials have raised concerns about the rise of the Chinese military recently. Gen Zhu's comments are also likely to further inflame anti-China sentiment in Washington. Lawmakers have complained of unfair trade practices, allegations of currency manipulation, and opposition to a bid by CNOOC, a state-owned Chinese oil company, for US-owned Unocal.

“This one sentence from a PRC general has probably nuked any remaining possibility that CNOOC will succeed in its bid for Unocal,” said Andy Rothman, a China strategist with CLSA, a brokerage, in Shanghai.

Some Washington analysts caution that Gen Zhu's comments should not be read as official Chinese policy. But Michael O'Hanlon, defence analyst at the Brookings Institution, said Gen Zhu stated a reality that cannot be ignored. “He was right on the merits, but as a policy statement it was a stupid thing to say.” Mr Shen played down any conflict with the US emerging over Taiwan, saying Washington had consistently recognised Beijing's claim to sovereignty over the island.

“We don't wish to see any dispute or disagreement between the US and China, or any scenario of conflict with the US,” he said.

China has long vowed to retake Taiwan by force, should its government declare formal independence from Beijing, a scenario under which the US may use its military to defend the island from attacks.

Mr Zhu's claim that China might destroy hundreds of US cities might be beyond the capability of the country's nuclear forces at the moment, according to a paper published last month by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Quoting “the intelligence community”, the paper said China would increase its strategic nuclear warheads from “18 to 75-100” over the next 15 years, primarily targeted against the US.

Additional reporting by Kathrin Hille in Taipei



朱成虎 1952.01-,安徽当涂人, 国防大学教授。  1969年入伍,先后毕业于中国人民解放军国际关系学院和国防大学。曾作为高级访问学者在美、英等国从事客座研究,曾任国防大学战略研 究所副所长,国防大学外训系主任。研究生导师,台湾问题研究中心领导小组成员,国际战略问题专家。曾多次主持或参加军内外重大研究课题,著有《中美关系的 发展变化及其趋势》、《当代美国军事》等多部学术专著。

15:10 发表在 中土 | 查看全文 | 评论 (1)


Do you know where I can find the full text of his speech?

发表人: 今日评论员 | 星期四, 七月 21, 2005