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July 8, 2003

July 8, 2003





**  The redeployment is a chance for the U.S. to "extend its strategic reach."   


**  The military shift in South Korea may "provoke miscalculations" by Pyongyang. 


**  Official Chinese dailies accuse the U.S. of seeking an "Asian NATO" to deter Beijing.


**  Local issues such as SOFA and military aid dominated Japanese and Indian papers.




The U.S. 'deserves the name of American Empire'--  Asians cited the redeployment plan to criticize the U.S.' "unilateralism."  China's intellectual Guangming Daily called the redeployment an effort to "ensure U.S. hegemony forever," while Beijing's official People's Daily alleged the U.S. will maintain its "Cold War strategic posture," while disingenuously claiming to seek an "overall reduction" of its regional military presence.  Another Chinese writer concluded the U.S. is "eager to implement its ambition of changing the global setup completely with its power."  Jakarta's independent Suara Pembaruan criticized Americans' focus on "military might," adding they "seem to be captivated by their military capabilities."      


The DPRK 'might mistake' the U.S. shift as preparation for a 'pre-emptive strike'--  ROK dailies counseled the U.S. "to be more cautious in realigning its troops" because it could "complicate efforts to resolve the nuclear issue" with the North.  Government-owned Daehan Maeil asked the U.S. to "delay the realignment."  Conservative Chosun Ilbo urged the U.S. to make clear the troop shift is solely "designed for defensive purposes."  Dailies outside Korea were "nervous at the current consolidation" because it "indeed makes it easier for the U.S. to attack" the North.  China's official World News Journal warned the shift could signal a U.S. "military strike against the DPRK's nuclear facilities."   


'China should be on high alert' due to intensified U.S. 'surveillance'--  The U.S. redeployment is just the start of a "potential and virtual" siege of China according to official International Herald Leader, and stems from a desire to contain China.  India's right-of-center Pioneer agreed that "China is the only country with the potential" to challenge "the American juggernaut," so the U.S. seeks to "sustain the China bogey" to gain cooperation from India and Japan, which both "share a history of bitterness" with China.


Japanese focus on SOFA revision, while Indians oppose U.S. 'diktats'--  In Japan and India, dailies sought a "truly equal partnership" with the U.S.  Moderate Tokyo Shimbun and regional Hokkaido Shimbun both assailed Japan's "subservience" to the U.S., while all Japanese dailies surveyed demanded a revision of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).  Indian dailies urged New Delhi not to "kowtow" to "big boss America," though centrist Navbharat Times did praise the U.S. decision to "increase bilateral cooperation."


EDITOR:  Ben Goldberg


EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 22 reports from 6 countries over June 9 - July 2 2003.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




CHINA:  “The U.S. Intelligence Reconnaissance Center Is Getting Closer To China”


Gao Xiao commented in the official English-language newspaper China Daily (6/26):  “In fact, the U.S. Pacific Fleet has never stopped reconnoitering the countries nearby.  Stirred by the U.S. intelligence redeployment, the Pacific Ocean is no longer ‘peaceful’, and any minor movements can’t escape from the U.S. Navy’s surveillance.  Analysts indicate that China should be on high alert in reaction to the U.S. intelligence center’s closely approaching Northeast Asia.”


“What Does ‘Asian NATO’ Re-emergence Mean?”


Li Zhiqiang maintained in official intellectual publication Guangming Daily (Guangming Ribao) (6/23):  “Many international strategy analysts admit the U.S. is ‘the most powerful empire on the globe.’  It is the U.S. hegemonist position that stimulated some powers of the U.S. to seek a way to ensure U.S. hegemony forever....  Recently U.S. foreign policy carried elements of ‘cold war psychology’ and ‘a new empire tone.’”  If it handles international relations and order with those principles, it would act with much staleness.  So one can imagine the result of re-mentioning setting up an ‘Asian NATO’ now.”


“The U.S. Is Aiming At An Indian Base:  Connecting 4 Large Bases And Building Up A Defense Line 10,000 KM Long”


Qian Feng and Li Xuanliang wrote in official Communist Party international news publication Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (6/16):  “Military experts think, once the U.S. gains an Indian base, it will connect the Atlantic chain-bases with the Indian Ocean chain-bases, building up a super long defense line about 10,000 km long from the Aleutian Islands in the east to the Persian Gulf in the west....  Evidently the policy has potential risks and dangers since so many military bases could easily become targets of terrorists....  Military strategists think the potential dangers of excessive expansion should not be underestimated.”


“The Story Behind The U.S.’ Planned Redeployment In The Asia-Pacific Region”


Li Zhiqiang declared in official intellectual publication Guangming Daily (6/13):  “Some Asia-Pacific media indicated that, the redeployment of the U.S. troops in the Asia-Pacific is the inevitable practice of 'neo-conservative’ theory that has guided the Bush administration all along.  It is also the intensified reflection of the U.S. government’s unilateralism....  Its military redeployment in the Asia-Pacific is based on its long-existing psychology of sole and super hegemony, not just anti-terrorism.”


“The U.S. Is Rebuilding The ‘Asian Crescent’”


Xue Ying stated in official Xinhua News Agency-run international news publication International Herald Leader (Guoji Xianqu Daobao) (6/13):  “9/11 provided the U.S. a chance to return to Southeastern Asia to build up new bases.  The planned redeployment of the U.S. troops in the Asia-Pacific is an important measure to deter its opponents.  ‘Asian Crescent’ (military circle of the U.S.) will pose a potential and virtual besiegement of China and add new instability factors to Taiwan issue.”


“The U.S. Redeployment Irritates DPRK”


Zhang Zhe commented in China Radio International-sponsored World News Journal (Shijie Xinwenbao) (6/12):  “It is an important step of the U.S. global redeployment this time to withdraw its troops out of the range of DPRK’s fire.  Public opinion indicates that this is also foreshadowing that the U.S. may start a military strike against DPRK’s nuclear facilities.  As for this major redeployment of the U.S. troops in South Korea, DPRK has given a severe condemnation, indicating the U.S.’ increasing its fighting capacity in South Korea is a prelude of launching a war against DPRK.”


“The U.S. Conducts Its Global Military Redeployment”


Lin Bo and Kou Liyan observed in official Communist Party-run People’s Daily (Renmin Ribao) (6/12):  “After the cold war, the main adjustment of the U.S. overseas military force is an overall reduction of its military existence.  Yet, it still maintained the Cold War strategic posture and situation in its global distribution.  However the U.S. mainly adjusted the distribution this time, which is an important strategic adjustment of the U.S. to meet the ‘post-Cold War’ challenge in the 21st century and will have a profound influence on the international situation and the regional security.”


“If It is Not ‘Empire’, What is It?”


Gao Zugui commented in China Radio International-sponsored World News Journal (Shijie Xinwenbao) (6/9):  “‘The sole superpower of the world’ can no longer fully describe the current America....  After the Gulf war in 1991, the Kosovo war and the Iraq war, the U.S.’ strength has been enhanced.  It is more likely to adopt ‘unilateralism’ on issues concerning its own interests and more eager to implement its ambition of changing the global setup completely with its power.  What is most important is that although there are some countries capable of containing the U.S. to some extent, the U.S., at least so far, has done everything it wants.  The U.S. deserves the name of ‘American Empire.’”


CHINA (MACAU SAR):  "Thailand Wants To Use The U.S. To Raise Its Status"


Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News commented (6/15):  "On June 9, Thai Prime Minister Thaksin began a five-day visit to the U.S.  The trip was originally 'unofficial,' becoming 'official' given the attention paid to it by U.S. President Bush and the joint declaration issued by both governments.  This shows that U.S.-Thai relations are gradually improving....  The U.S. stated that it hoped to discuss with Thailand setting up a 'frontline foothold' inside the country to give logistics support to U.S. troops fighting terrorism in Southeast Asia....  Thai troops and the security department have already been looking for an appropriate site along the east coast.  Thailand hopes that by lending this site to the U.S., it can earn a considerable amount of money.  What will be the effect, however, on the regional situation?  Will the U.S. use its Thai base to pressure the Burmese military government or Muslim power in Malaysia?  Will the U.S. and Thailand further enhance their military cooperation?  All these questions should be heeded....  Following the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam and the shift in focus to Europe and Japan, U.S.-Thai relations have cooled.  Thailand did not support the U.S. in the Afghan or Iraq wars.  Thaksin's trip was intended to restore bilateral relations.  By enhancing cooperation with the U.S., Thailand can raise its status in Southeast Asia or even in the world."


JAPAN:  "SOFA Must Be Revised"


An editorial in moderate Tokyo Shimbun read (6/24):  "We wonder whether many Okinawans attended memorial services marking the 58th anniversary of the end of the ground battle with the U.S. during World War II, with the feeling that the GOJ always complies with USG calls but never listens to Okinawa's voices... Now is the time to revise the SOFA that we believe stands in the way of investigating crimes committed by U.S. service members. There were reported concerns among those in attendance at the ceremony over Japan's "subservience" to the U.S. in security and Iraq issues.  The U.S. military handed over Marine Lance Cpl. Jose Torres, a suspect in the alleged May 25 sexual assault case, to Japanese investigators three days after the court's issuance of an arrest warrant. GI-related crimes cannot be dealt with swiftly and effectively under the present SOFA. Although the Koizumi government attaches greater importance to the U.S.-Japan alliance, it appears to be indifferent to the voices of Okinawa, an island saddled with the heavy security burden. PM Koizumi's political apathy toward Okinawa must be changed."


"SOFA Must Be Revised"


Liberal Asahi editorialized (6/20):  "The U.S. handover to Japanese authorities of a Marine accused of beating and raping a Okinawa woman, three days after the local court's issuance of an arrest warrant, has brought the case to a 'temporary rest' as a result of the GOJ's call for the early transfer of the suspect's custody and Ambassador Baker's 'mediation' between the GOJ, DOS and DOD.  But this is far from a thorough settlement of a criminal case involving a U.S. service member stationed in Japan. The question is that (under SOFA) Japanese police cannot freely investigate GI-related crimes.  The GOJ is still trying to 'settle' GI-related offenses through 'improved application' of the SOFA, while showing no intention to revise the accord that governs the operation of the U.S. military in Japan. MOFA officials say that if Japan's calls for SOFA revision get out of hand, there will be a rise in U.S. calls for Japan to increase its share of the defense burden. Okinawa continues to bear the heaviest burden of the U.S.-Japan security alliance.  Isn't the prime minister's responsibility to put SOFA revision on the table?"    


"GOJ Should Revise SOFA And Build Equal Ties With U.S."


An editorial in regional Hokkaido Shimbun observed (6/20): "As long as the SOFA remains as is, U.S. service members stationed in Japan continue to feel privileged, leaving unabated concerns among residents near U.S. bases over GI-related crimes and continuing their humiliating sense of defeat more than 50 years ago. In the eye of the law, both the Japanese and U.S. service members must be treated equally. Without the rule of law, a democratic nation cannot function. Unlike Germany and South Korea, the GOJ has never reflected the voices of ordinary people in discussing problems related to U.S. military bases and related issues.  Recently the GOJ expressed displeasure over the Okinawa prefectural government's inquiry to the DOD about a media report on a cutback of Marines stationed in the island prefecture. The central government's reaction was indicative of the GOJ's total disregard of Okinawa's call for base reduction and closing. Japan has been subservient to the U.S. since 9/11. But subservience alone will not strengthen an alliance. It is now time for revise the SOFA and create a truly equal partnership with the U.S." 


INDONESIA:  “Will The U.S. Really Attack North Korea?”


A. Kardiyat Wiharyanto commented in independent Suara Pembaruan (7/2):  "The stance North Korea has shown thus far indeed irritates the world.  Many parties are nervous at the current consolidation of U.S. forces in the peninsula.  This...indeed makes it easier for the U.S. to attack so that North Korea now feels threatened. This situation can upset South Korea.  However, if the U.S. really abides by the defense pact between the two countries, it is not likely that the superpower will really attack North Korea.”


“Paul Wolfowitz At Shangri-la”


Sabam Siagian wrote in independent Suara Pembaruan (6/10):  “Following Paul Wolfowitz’s impressive speech [in Singapore in May], I wonder if the U.S. is only able to show its military might to the world?   Hundreds of millions of people in Asia and Pacific live below the poverty line. The issues on low-price housing, electricity, clean water, health center, telecommunication network for common people, digital-oriented education to prevent the Asian future generations from lagging behind in global competition, comprise a huge agenda that requires thinking concepts, operational funds and organizational capability. The U.S…is able to play its role to initiate the agenda. However, under the leadership of George Bush and his brilliant aides such as Paul Wolfowitz, the U.S. seems to be captivated by their military capabilities and its effective use. Is Washington not aware that poverty, feeling of injustice and desperation are the source of hatred that may develop into international conflicts?”


MALAYSIA:  “Why The Terrorists Seem To Have The Edge”


Government-influenced English-language New Straits Times had the following commentary by Mohamed Jawhar Hussein (6/14):  “Terrorism is far from over, for U.S. interests and continue to be threatened.  Washington is beginning to address some of the primary motivations of international terrorism, although it is loath to discuss root causes or admit that it is doing so openly.  The U.S. has been able to easily bear the costs (of fighting terrorism)...but the economic and financial costs have nevertheless been high, and would have brought many a lesser economy to its knees.  But the U.S. campaign against terror is also about political costs.  Washington is skillfully using the opportunity to extend its strategic reach in Central, South and Southeast Asia, but the United States has been seriously weakened and the U.S. is at odds with key NATO members and traditional allies.  The fight against terrorism is essentially a battle for the hearts and minds of the people, and this is where America has essentially lost, more from its own doing than the ‘terrorists’.  When the American effort alienated even the Pope and the Nelson Mandelas of the world, the U.S. has, to put it mildly, a serious problem.”


SOUTH KOREA: “Relocation Of USFK This Year Is Too Early”


Government-owned Daehan Maeil editorialized (6/30):  “Even though the relocation of the Second Infantry Division is being pursued as part of a U.S. global strategy to transform its overseas forces into mobility-enhanced units, we cannot help worrying about a possible weakening of our deterrent capability against North Korea.  In particular, given the current, heightening tensions on the peninsula caused by the North’s nuclear programs, USFK realignment could complicate efforts to resolve the nuclear issue and provoke miscalculations from Pyongyang....  We urge Washington to be more cautious in realigning its troops here and, hopefully, to delay the realignment until after the nuclear issue is resolved.”


"Tomorrow's Candlelight Vigil Should Be The Last Of Its Kind"


Independent Joong-Ang Ilbo opined (6/12):  "Tomorrow's nation-wide candlelight vigils for the two girls [killed by a USFK armored vehicle last year] should be a pure memorial service, not a distorted event with a hidden political agenda.  We still vividly remember the high price the ROK paid when last year's vigils turned into anti-American rallies. Anti-American sentiment in the ROK triggered anti-Korean sentiment in the U.S., eventually damaging the U.S.-ROK alliance....  According to a recent opinion poll, Koreans' negative views toward the U.S. have significantly softened compared to last year.  This is a sign that Koreans are seeing U.S.-ROK relations rationally, rather than emotionally.  Tomorrow's candlelight vigils, which should be the last of their kind, should be a pure memorial service of reconciliation and forgiveness."


"How To Capitalize On USFK Realignment"


Han Yong-sup observed in conservative Chosun Ilbo (6/11):  "Even though the U.S. plan to relocate USFK bases and to enhance its military capabilities is being pursued mainly for the purpose of defense, there is a possibility that Pyongyang might mistake the U.S. move as preparation for a preemptive strike against it. Accordingly, the U.S. and the ROK need to make clear to the North via military dialogue channels that USFK realignment is designed for defensive purposes only.  At the same time, both countries, capitalizing on the 'impact of the American victory in the Iraq war' on the North, should induce Pyongyang to dismantle its nuclear programs through negotiations.... Furthermore, the U.S. and the ROK, during Korean peninsula arms control talks, need to link relocation of the U.S. Second Infantry Division to rear areas to North Korean forces forward-deployed [at the DMZ]."




INDIA:   "Asian Security And The U.S."


V. R. Raghavan wrote in the June 14 centrist Hindu (6/14):  "The cat was firmly set amongst the Asian pigeons when Mr. Wolfowitz announced that the U.S. was re-examining its Asian military deployments, in the light of the success in Iraq war. Precision attack technology, long-range fighting and strike capabilities, the dispensability of foreign military bases as against facilities that can be obtained to stage forces for future wars, were put forth as the rationale for redeployment of the U.S. forces from Asia....  It is clear that serious doubts have arisen between the U.S. and the Asian states on ways to deal with the threat posed by North Korea. Mr. Wolfowitz, when asked how the Bush doctrine of pre-emption might operate in the North Korean situation, came up with an astounding interpretation. He claimed that the pre-emption idea had been overstated. Apparently, the Bush doctrine has many interpretations of convenience. This inevitably raises questions of credibility not only of U.S.' assertions on policy but also on security assurances, on which its alliances are predicated. The growing concerns in America's Asian allies are therefore not ill-founded....  The paramount misgiving was of the superpower, after having built an alliance network in the region, considering diluting its military presence when security in the region is being imperilled. Its preoccupation with terrorism as applicable to its homeland is viewed as a negative and serious portent. The U.S.' unwillingness to act firmly and decisively with North Korea is seen as evidence of its shifting commitment to its allies' security interests."


"Other Nations"


The centrist Times of India commented (6/13):  "The euphoric sound effects surrounding the "new, visible" bonding between India and big boss America are unsurprising, given the growing band of opinion-makers who will obsessively watch the status of Indo-US friendship....  One-to-one between Atalji and Dubya. There was more excitement on the weekend after Donald Rumsfeld decided to spend his off day visiting Lal Krishna Advani in his hotel room in Washington....  Yet, it happens only too often that in the atmospherics created by stately engagements, valuable interactions at other levels get overshadowed...with nation-states preoccupied more and more with extravagant ceremonies that rarely touch the lives of the common people, the time may have come for other forms of 'nations' to do that job....  Globalization is not about MNCs setting up bases or heads of state holding conclaves. It is about people reaching out to each other in a borderless world."


"Indo-U.S. Partnership"


Centrist Hindi-language Navbharat Times opined (6/13):  "India and the US are both victims of international terrorism. International incidents have brought them at a point where their interests converge. The US today sees India as a natural and long term ally....  Washington has decided to increase bilateral cooperation with India on sensitive areas like aviation, nuclear energy and high technology and trade. Also, diplomatic support and the exchange of intelligence also continues. These are signs that half a century of distrust both the two countries is fast fading. We hope that Deputy Prime Minister Advani's US visit will play an important role in cementing the partnership."


"India, According To Pentagon"


Wilson John contended in the pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer (6/11):  "The Pentagon, the nerve center of US strategic policy, selectively leaked a 176-page classified document, Indo-US Military Relationship: Expectations and Perceptions, early this year. It was a clever leak. The purpose was not to create a sensation....  Prepared for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the document is a fairly exhaustive analysis of the India-US military relationship, a key factor in the bilateral engagement of the two most prominent democracies in the world....  One clear sign of the American establishment taking the Pentagon study seriously is the way in which top US leaders make it a point to drop in or come up with those 'endearing' gestures that make headlines in the Indian newspapers at least. The latest instance was Rumsfeld dropping in to see Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani in his hotel room....  The US Defense following the doctrine enunciated in the Pentagon document. According to it, the Indians are obsessed with 'protocol', with symbolic gestures....  They believe we can be taken in by gestures.  China is the only country with the potential of becoming a stumbling block in the way of the American juggernaut. So the American plan is to sustain the China bogey especially in Asia where at least two countries, India and Japan, share a history of bitterness with it. It is, therefore, not surprising that in India there has been a sustained campaign against China, both subtle and overt.... 


The Americans have their own agenda and views. We too should have an agenda....  China is a neighboring country, and it is time we formulate a strategy that works to our benefit rather than some talking head in Washington....  The US strategy becomes clear once we look at the second pointer: The Pentagon document complains that the Indian establishment, both civilian and military, are suspicious of US intentions and are not willing to think strategically. The document goes to considerable length to explain the timidity of the Indian establishment. The aim is to belittle the intellectual and moral courage of the Indian leadership that refuses to kowtow to the diktats of Washington like the General-next-door. We are suspicious of American intentions, and there are quite strong reasons....  The Indian military leadership is certainly one of the best in the world for the simple reason that it has been engaged in military confrontations for more than half a century. We do believe in a regimented protocol but so does the American military, perhaps not as regimented as the one handed down to us by the British. What actually irks the Americans is the Indian military leaders' refusal to jump whenever Washington fires a blank in the air. The Americans have always found it difficult to persuade the Indian military leadership to follow their line and hence the disparaging remarks. Once we accept their plans for opening military bases in India and running their aircraft from our air bases, I am sure the next Pentagon document would find the Indians quite strategically savvy." ##

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