STRATEGIC VISION Volume 2, Issue 9
for Taiwan Security w
European Democracy Still a Work in Progress
Norica Nicolai Chinese President Visits Moscow Mikhail Karpov US Rebalancing to Asia Policy Edward Chen Chinaâ€™s Defense White Paper Max Yu Bird Flu and Securitization Julian Rothkopf
for Taiwan Security
Volume 2, Issue 9
Contents European democracy a work in progress......................................................4
Xi Jinpingâ€™s state visit to Moscow.......................................................................11
Obamaâ€™s Asia policy seen strong in second term.......................................15
PRC white paper reveals defense thinking.................................................20
Bird-flu outbreak and securitizing pandemics........................................26
Submissions: Essays submitted for publication are not to exceed 2,000 words in length, and should conform to the following basic format for each 1200-1600 word essay: 1. Synopsis, 100-200 words; 2. Background description, 100-200 words; 3. Analysis, 800-1,000 words; 4. Policy Recommendations, 200-300 words. Book reviews should not exceed 1,200 words in length. Notes should be formatted as endnotes and should be kept to a minimum. Authors are encouraged to submit essays and reviews as attachments to emails; Microsoft Word documents are preferred. For questions of style and usage, writers should consult the Chicago Manual of Style. Authors of unsolicited manuscripts are encouraged to consult with the executive editor at firstname.lastname@example.org before formal submission via email. Manuscripts are subject to copyediting, both mechanical and substantive, as required and according to editorial guidelines. No major alterations may be made by an author once the type has been set. Arrangements for reprints should be made with the editor. Cover photograph of the statues outside the European Parliament is courtesy of Hrag Vartanian.
Editor Fu-Kuo Liu Executive Editor Dean Karalekas Editorial Board Tiehlin Yen Raviprasad Narayanan Richard Hu Felix Wang Lipin Tien Laurence Lin STRATEGIC VISION For Taiwan Security (ISSN 2227-3646) Volume 2, Number 9, June, 2013, published under the auspices of the Center for Security Studies and National Defense University. All editorial correspondence should be mailed to the editor at STRATEGIC VISION, Center for Security Studies in Taiwan. No. 64, Wan Shou Road, Taipei City 11666, Taiwan, ROC. The editors are responsible for the selection and acceptance of articles; responsibility for opinions expressed and accuracy of facts in articles published rests solely with individual authors. The editors are not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts; unaccepted manuscripts will be returned if accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed return envelope. Photographs used in this publication are used courtesy of the photographers, or through a creative commons licence. All are attributed appropriately. Any inquiries please contact the Executive Editor directly via email at: email@example.com.Online issues and archives can be viewed at our website: www.mcsstw.org. © Copyright 2013 by the Center for Security Studies. Articles in this periodical do not necessarily represent the views of either the MCSS, NDU, or the editors.
From The Editor
s we move into summer, we here at Strategic Vision are very pleased to bring you our latest issue, which covers a range of topics from tense standoffs over tiny land masses in the Asia-Pacific littoral, to economic and energy ties that increasingly define our globalized world. We are especially proud to present our cover story, by MEP Norica Nicolai, whose work as a Member of the European Parliament includes serving as vice-chair of the Subcommittee for Security and Defence and working on the committees for Foreign Affairs and Gender Equality. In her article, she examines the level of true democratization in the European Union—a project that is often touted as a roadmap for Asian regionalism. We are also pleased to have a contribution by Dr. Mikhail Karpov of the Department of Oriental Studies at the Russian Higher School of Economics. He examines Xi Jinping’s choice of Moscow as his first state visit as new Chinese leader, and why it served the interests of both countries. Dr. Edward Chen offers an insightful analysis of the US policy of rebalancing to Asia and concludes that it is likely to continue as the second term of the Obama administration in Washington gets underway. National Defense University’s Colonel Max Yu provides an analysis of the recently released white paper on Chinese defense, pointing out that what is not stated in the paper is often as instructive as what is. Finally, MCSS Research Assistant Julian Rothkopf looks at the securitization of pandemics and how the recent bird-flu outbreak in China illustrates how far that country has come in dealing with such issues since the days of SARS a decade ago. We hope you enjoy this latest issue, and wish you a pleasant summer season. Dr. Fu-Kuo Liu Editor Strategic Vision
Strategic Vision vol. 2, no. 9 (June, 2013)
Under Construction The project of democracy in Europe remains very much a work in progress Norica Nicolai
photo: Andrew Griffith Building cranes surround the Parthenon in Athens, Greece: the cradle of democracy. European democracy is likewise currently under construction.
emocracy is a term so entrenched in our common culture, in our daily lives and mental discourses, that by now its original meaning is long lost in the minds of the many. At the same time, the European Union is seen as a project where this term has flourished like nowhere else in the world—especially in the nations of the Asia-Pacific region. For decades, scholars, activists and leaders in Taiwan and throughout the region have sought to embrace the process of democratization, and to join hands in a form of regionalism. To
a pinnacle of human development on Earth, but it is doubtful it was begun as a democratic project. More than this, we can easily argue that even now it lacks some of the defining characteristics of a democracy. At best, the EU is a democracy in development; One more developing democracy in a world of such transitioning human constructions.
that end, they have long looked to Europe as an example of how these goals can be achieved. The EU might well be home to the cradle of democracy and
cal definition which says that democracy means this standard state model; that is to say, a constitutional state offering guarantees for the rule of law and po-
Democratic Europe, undemocratic union For the purpose of this article, we can use the classi-
Norica Nicolai, MEP, is the head of the Romanian National Liberal Party Delegation to the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in the European Parliament. There she sits as vice-chair of the Subcommittee for Security and Defence and works in the committees for Foreign Affairs and Gender Equality.
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litical rights and individual freedoms, governed by authorities which must include representative assemblies elected by universal suffrage. This is all done in free and fair elections, held at regular intervals between competing candidates or organizations (parties or civic movements). As both a concept and a construct, the European Communities stemming from various treaties and transforming eventually into a union, had a clear democratic nature in mind. The project relied on the consultation of member states—all democracies—and was advanced through several stages of democratic votes, in the form of national ratification referenda, elections of pro-European integration politicians, and eventually, direct elections of European parliamentarians. However, that is the extent to which the EU could
be described as being democratic. It was first controlled remotely, by heads of governments and an agency (later to become the European Commission) that even today has methods of recruitment, appointing into function, and advancement so obscure and complicated that people can study it for years just to be able to understand a part of its structure. Until 1979, the European Parliament, the only body directly elected, did not even exist. Until 1992 and the Maastricht Treaty, there were no “European citizens” and no “European ombudsman” to protect their rights. Was there a democracy at the European level without even the basic principle of members belonging to it? Until 1994, there was no Committee of the Regions to represent local and regional collectivities, and until 1999, the Council of Ministers meetings were en-
photo: Steve Cadman A statue, depicting Europa carried by a mass of people while also being part of them, stands outside the parliament’s Paul-Henri Spaak Building in Brussels.
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tirely private. Most are far removed from the public even today—at least the ones at which real decisions are made. The fact remains: the European Union, even after the European Communities became a union, lacked most of the principles of a functioning democracy. It was removed, non-transparent, and only partially elected democratically. Moreover, the European Parliament had very limited powers until recent years. With such a past, what can we expect for the future?
cause in some countries voting is mandatory. Others saw figures as low as 19 percent in Slovakia, and most of the newly entered Eastern Bloc of EU members saw similar figures.
Persistent problems, weak solutions
The commission has remained, despite some good attempts at communication, as well as others more unfortunate (using arcane and wooden language) being completely misunderstood in the member states. Often this is because of commissioners acting in the interests of their own political family, or of one bigger country, being subjective. Other times, it is because of an obvious difference between the theory of their policies and the practice on the ground, inside member states. As for the council, where the real decision-making power remains on the major problems facing Europe: it is a club of the leaders of states, who change permanently due to elections, and therefore it is unsta-
Nowadays, the EU is essentially a horse with many heads. True, there have been significant improvements over the past 30 years. Every new treaty has brought change, most of it giving more powers from the nation states to the union, but at the same time giving it new ways to be more representative, more transparent, more—dare we say—democratic. The parliament is a body that is directly elected; a huge House of 736 parliamentarians. But European elections are second-hand elections at best. If 1979 saw 63 percent of European voters take part, 2009 saw that number drop to 43 percent, and that is only be-
“Meetings are secret, communication is bad, and there are no concrete plans for improved transparency in the near future for the council.”
photo: Vetustense Photorogue The Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, who would later characterize democracy as “overrated,” visits the European Parliament on July16, 2009.
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photo: William Murphy Thousands of people gather outside Dublin Castle during a meeting of EU Finance Ministers to protest unjust austerity measures and property tax.
ble and prone to be decisive and bold only in times of very great crisis. The way these people meet, the transparency of their agendas and negotiating positions, is a subject of great curiosity in the member states, and the fact remains that citizens are incredibly remote from this institution. Meetings are secret, communication is bad, and there are no concrete plans for improved transparency in the near future for the council. The Council of Ministers is a group of permanent and almost-permanent representatives, as well as national ministers on topical subjects who generally mirror the policies of their particular governments. If a citizen wanted to, first, understand and, second, affect the way they take decisions, he or she would have a tough time doing so. They would have to both vote in national legislative elections—an arena where EU topics rarely come into play—and then try to scrutinize both national ministries and their communication, as well as the council communication services. Agendas, minutes and meetings are all hard
to obtain, and are sometimes completely secret, while many of the real decisions are made between two or three officials meeting for a coffee in the lobby of a Brussels hotel. Maybe the process developed like this over time, but it is anything but democratic. All these institutions are both flawed and misunderstood. Nowadays they are led more by the whims of personalities than by permanent policies, while the technocrats and experts implementing their decisions, at the level of the European Commission, are themselves remote from the realities of member states: unwilling to jeopardize their careers by doing anything else but the bare minimum of implementing the decisions of the council and parliament. Who, then, has the time to communicate or even listen to citizens? Even though the EU spends billions of Euros annually on its communication strategy, the problem remains that the people doing the communicating are never the people doing the work, or making the decisions. Whatever we may call the European Union, it is
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not a true liberal democracy. It is more a “muddlingthrough democracy.” A “wannabe democracy.”
The European Parliament, a House of Doors In truth, the European Parliament is the only visible democratic limb of the European Union as it stands today. Its members are directly elected on EU-related platforms, and most of them are afterward forced, by virtue of their European activities, to communicate to their voter base facts and info on European topics, as well as to listen to the suggestions of these citizens on the same issues. At least, this is the theory. The practice is that, while indeed a significant, evergrowing number of Members of European Parliament (MEPs) get elected and re-elected by campaigning on truly EU-related platforms and activities, the majority do not. The majority of MEPs, especially if they aim to run for office again, campaign on purely national issues to which they give a European sheen. Citizens can vote for them, but it allows little true democratic scrutiny over the ensuing legislative process the MEPs will take part in. The fact remains that a vast majority of members vote according to the political group
they belong to in the parliament, so then the only real dynamic of control for voters is understanding the political families. We can complicate this even further by mentioning that the families themselves are loose collections of sometimes very different national parties—sometimes several parties from the same European country. Confusing? It gets worse. MEPs only ever cover a limited number of topics during their mandates—it would be impossible otherwise. For a voter interested, for example, in fiscal policy, this means that choices from lists or party seats in their home country are always very limited. Often there are no candidates who can ever cover in the European Parliament what a voter might need from his or her party—little wonder, then, that people turn to national elections as being more important, even if they were to try and understand all the above. There is also hope. For every door closing, there is one that opens. There are many energetic and deeply pro-European MEPs from different countries who, either from personal belief or a need to secure their seats for upcoming elections, manage more and more to bring EU issues to national agendas. The parlia-
photo: screenpunk Most MEPs vote according to the political group to which they belong, with the only control for voters lying in understanding these political alliances.
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photo: greensefa Green MEPs protest against shale gas outside the European Parliament before two important votes on fracking, urging tougher regulation.
ment has been in a long-term war with the council, ever since it was first created in 1979, for more powers and more weight. So far, it has won more battles than it has lost. On numerous topics—from the environment to industrial regulations, from arms exports to international aid—it has seen its weight increase from the standpoint of observer, to consenter, to active negotiator, and actual decision maker. The more the parliament fights, the more we can hope for a European Union that in the future will become more democratic.
curity. Even foreign affairs. And yet, somehow and almost incredibly so, given the odds and the skepticism, the construction of the European Union has progressed even further. It would therefore be unsafe to assume that the European Union will never be democratic. But it does need to take some concrete steps in that direction.
“More and more citizens are concerned with the decisions of the European Union.”
The EU and its democratic manifest destiny There are numerous bad decisions in the EU’s past
One million citizens from seven different EU states can now force the European Commission to initiate
and yet, so far, it has not failed in over 60 years of existence. A phrase we can find in both newspaper articles and academic journals starting from the 1950s is that “we will never see the creation of a unified European structure in the field of …” and here you can insert the field of your choice. Coal and steel. Freedom of movement. Free borders. Justice and se-
a legal act that would afterward come into the hands of council and parliament. Through this tool of direct democracy, citizens have now put on the agenda of the European Union debates on the right to water, on the provision of high-quality education for all, on media pluralism, on single roaming fees, and even on creating “Earth rights” for the environment.
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We have a first real step toward direct democracy, even though the reality is that most of these proposals will die on the tables of the council, in parliament, or be forgotten in some corner of the commission. More and more citizens, however, are concerned with the decisions of the European Union. They address, first and foremost, us: the European Members of Parliament. They spammed the parliament when they feared we would adopt the controversial AntiCounterfeiting Trade Agreement. They spam it on shale gas, on animal rights, on environment issues, and digital freedom. Listening more and more to these citizens—and especially instituting a direct channel for them to collectively express their interests on concrete policy fields of European competence—is a must if we are serious about improving democracy. There are other ideas that might be implemented. Some have suggested transnational lists, for example, but the European Union is perhaps not ready for that yet, even though it would mean having some candidates stand for election in all member states. More interestingly, the president of the European Commission or of the council (although that position is virtually unknown in the member states) might be
subjected to direct, EU-wide elections. Of course, that would tip the balance nationally, to candidates from larger countries, simply because of the population weight—Germany would be favored, while a
“One thing is clear: The European Union needs to be more democratic, because it needs the support of its citizens if it is to survive.” Maltese candidate would never stand a chance. It would, however, bring the EU closer to the citizens, and to the spirit of democracy. One thing is clear: The European Union needs to be more democratic, because it needs the support of its citizens if it is to survive. The wave of growing anti-EU sentiment in many countries, of blaming and scapegoating the European commissioners, as well as the mixing of national politics with European policies, are severely damaging what trust the citizens have in this European construct. So for the European Union, the answer is simple: If it wants to survive, it will have to eventually become a democracy. n
photo: European Parliament Entertainers and revelers celebrate the 2009 Open Day, when the European Parliament opens its doors to visits by members of the European citizenry.
Strategic Vision vol. 2, no. 9 (June, 2013)
The Bear and the Dragon Xi Jinping’s first state visit to Moscow speaks volumes about Sino-Russian ties Mikhail Karpov
he fact that the first foreign visit of the new Chinese leader took place to the Russian Federation underscores the so-called strategic partnership between the two countries and was interpreted by many Russian, Chinese, and foreign analysts as a sign that Moscow and Beijing will try to raise bilateral cooperation to a new level. While there is a good deal of data that supports this interpretation, there remain in place considerable uncer-
photo:Angélica Rivera de Peña Xi Jinping assumed the reins of power in China in late 2012.
tainties in structure, content, and the dynamics of Russo-Chinese relations. The visit took place at a time when both Chinese and especially Russian relations with the West (particularly with the United States and the European Union) are in dynamic decline. China is facing the revival of American strategic interest in the Asia-Pacific region, which is being perceived in Beijing as something that has the potential to be aimed against China. Likewise, Russia recently became involved in a number of controversial events in its dealings with the United States, especially in regard to the so-called anti-adoption law, which went into effect at the beginning of the year and bans Americans from adopting Russian orphans, ostensibly in response to the death due to negligence of one such adoptee in Virginia. The law is believed to be retaliation for US legislation which imposes sanctions on Russian officials allegedly responsible for the torture and murder of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky after he exposed their complicity in a tax scandal. Less dramatic examples of the Russian-American cooling of relations include a determined lack of progress in anti-missile defense talks, as well as US dissatisfaction in how Russian leadership deals with issues surrounding democracy and human rights in the wake of Vladimir Putin once again assuming the Russian presidency. The prospects for what was
Dr. Mikhail Karpov is an associate professor in the Department of Oriental Studies at the Russian Higher School of Economics. He can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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photo: Sergei Ozerov Oil is being transported by train in Siberia. Without an efficient pipeline infrastructure, much of the oil and coal transported in Siberia is done so by rail.
once called the Russian-American reset button look today very dim. Russian relations with the European Union are also at a considerably low point due to a lack of progress on granting visa-free entry, the gasoline-price issue, and—in more general terms—the current Russian disillusionment with bilateral cooperation because of the EU financial crisis and the uncertainty of future European economic developments and political arrangements.
Ideal destination Most Russian analysts express the view that, for the new Chinese leader, if his first foreign visit were to have been paid to some place within the Asia-Pacific region, there would presumably have been a loss of face, while going to a country in the West would have lacked substance. Hence, Moscow was chosen as the ideal destination. Face, as well as substance, was quite up to the mark. For the Russian side, such a choice by the Chinese leader seems also to be, perhaps, most relevant and welcome.
Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow was declared an official summit. It was staged and orchestrated as a procedure of receiving a most welcome guest from a friendly neighboring country aimed at paving the way for a new breakthrough in the strategic partnership. Besides the effect of presenting mutual political understanding to the outside world, the main focus
“Both sides have so far been unable to agree on a price for natural gas.”
of the meetings and talks that took place during the visit was arguably cooperation in the energy sector. The same might be also said about dealings in the sphere of military-technical interaction, although here considerable details remain unknown. As regards cooperation in the energy sector, the biggest Russian crude oil producer, the state-owned Rosneft corporation, signed an agreement with the biggest Chinese oil producer, the state-owned China
Xi Visits Moscow b 13
National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), according to which Russian oil exports to China will increase by 34 million tons in the coming three years, and to around 50 million tons by 2018.
Monopolies ink pacts The Russian EN+ Group signed an agreement with China’s Shenhua Group on developing coal-related infrastructure in Siberia and the Russian Far East with the ultimate goal of increasing the export of Russian coal to China. Moreover, the Russian stateowned natural gas monopoly Gazprom signed a memorandum of understanding with CNPC on the issue of increasing the supply of natural gas to China by 38 billion cubic meters, with another possible hike to around 60 bcm within 30 years, starting in 2018.
However, these agreements—at least so far—appear more like protocols of intentions rather than clearcut and enforceable contracts. First, Russia still lacks the pipeline or infrastructure to handle such increases. This means that the main logistics route to carry these supposedly rising oil supplies in the next few years is still the railways. The same applies to the export of coal. Clearly, the current Russian Siberian and Far Eastern railways lack the capacity to carry such volume, and infrastructural build-up in these regions of the Russian Federation will take years. One can foresee, however, that this construction could increase its pace somewhat with Chinese credit, possibly through the China Development Bank. Second, both sides have so far been unable to agree on a price for natural gas. Talks on this issue have
graphic courtesy MATEUS_27:24&25
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been in progress for a number of years, but no results have yet been achieved. More strange things have happened in the field of military-technical interaction. A few days after Xi’s visit to Moscow, the Chinese side stated that during his stay, an agreement was signed according to which Russia would sell China 24 Sukhoi Su-35 fighter planes and four non-nuclear Amur-class submarines. Officially, the Russian side initially denied that such a deal existed, stating that while the new Chinese leader was in Moscow, the topic of military cooperation never came up. Russian watchers in the field later admitted that such a framework agreement had indeed been prepared and signed—before Xi’s official arrival—with the Russian state arms seller Rosoboronexport. It has also been reported that the Russian side was suspicious of China buying such a small number of platforms, suspecting that they intended to reverse-engineer the technology and copy them. For this reason, the deal reportedly includes stipulations forbidding the Chinese from copying the Russian technology. These facts may be interpreted as Russia being wary of the international repercussions of its military cooperation with China. Certainly, there is still considerable distrust between the two countries in the field of security.
derdeveloped Russian Siberia and Far East infrastructure and lack of trust in international security issues. Despite the seemingly warm political climate of the meetings in Moscow, the Russian side has not altered its position of neutrality on Chinese territorial claims in the Asia-Pacific region. As far as is known, the issue of Taiwan was not touched upon nor even mentioned at all during Xi’s stay in Moscow. Nor was anything concrete said about the exact framework of cooperation within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), or Central Asia where both countries are facing increasing economic, political and security challenges. Also unclear is how the SCO, in which China is an influential player, will coexist with the planned Eurasian Union of post-Soviet states, which threatens to overshadow the SCO. Russian-Chinese state relations will undoubtedly continue to be amenable under the banner of strategic partnership and with interaction in the fields of energy and military technology, but the exact road map is far from clear and the foundation of this partnership is still riddled with visible and invisible pitfalls. n
A show of unity Xi’s recent visit to the Russian Federation can be interpreted as a sign that both countries are trying to present a show of unity and stage a close and thorough bilateral cooperative relationship, with both currently facing either difficulties or fears and disillusionments in their relations with the West. This trip seems to have been one driven by self-interest, on the part of both parties. Plans for a substantial increase in energy interaction and arms deals, however, are still hampered by the un-
photo: Sonya China’s offshore oil corp. sits just opposite the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Strategic Vision vol. 2, no. 9 (June, 2013)
Rebalancing Act US policy of rebalancing toward Asia seen continuing in Obama’s second term Edward Chen
photo: Tricia Wang US President Barack Obama joins the pantheon of Chinese gods for sale in puppet form in a souvenir shop in the Houhai neighborhood in Beijing.
S President Barack Obama will likely continue to press ahead with his policy of rebalancing toward Asia. The United States, as a resident Pacific power, resilient and indispensable, will continue and even strengthen its rebalancing policy in the Asia-Pacific. The president will continue to regard the Asian-Pacific region as a strategic priority and to take US Pacific partnerships seriously. In pursuit of its rebalancing toward Asia
ciples: (1) strong growth; (2) fair growth; (3) smart growth; and (4) just growth. Moreover, in order to sustain a stable security environment and a regional order rooted in economic openness, peaceful resolution of disputes, and respect for universal rights and freedoms, outgoing National Security Adviser Tom Donilon pointed out that the Obama administration is implementing a comprehensive, multidimensional strategy in accordance
policy, as US Secretary of State John Kerry asserted, the United States will lead its allies and partners to organize themselves around the following four prin-
with the following five pillars: (1) strengthening alliances; (2) deepening partnerships with emerging powers; (3) building a stable, productive, and con-
Dr. Edward Chen served as a member of the Legislative Yuan from 1996 to 1999. He is a professor at Tamkang University’s Graduate Institute of the Americas specializing in international relations theory, globalization and international political economy. He can be reached for comment at email@example.com.
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photo: US Department of State US Secretary of State John Kerry asserted that the United States would lead its allies and partners in Asia to organize themselves around four principles.
structive relationship with China; (4) empowering regional institutions; and (5) helping to build a regional economic architecture that can sustain shared prosperity. The United States appears determined to build on its active and enduring presence in the Asian Pacific region in Obama’s second term, with both Kerry and Donilon—and presumably Donilon’s designated successor, Susan Rice—preferring to see a powerful and responsible China.
Four principles In reference to the aforementioned four principles enumerated by Kerry: the first, “strong growth,” refers to a peaceful environment in which US partners must be stable, peaceful, and contributors to global security. The presence of the United States in the Asia Pacific and its network of alliances with Japan, South Korea, Australia, the Philippines, and Thailand form a fundamental platform, but many challenges remain, the most immediate of which is
North Korea. Other than the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula, there are also challenges from long-festering territorial disputes in the East China Sea and South China Sea. Unilateral action and the failure of diplomacy would carry too great a cost, so Asia-Pacific countries have to work together to find creative and innovative methods to resolve these differences. Kerry’s second, “fair growth,” refers to the development of Pacific economies, meaning that when those economies create prosperity in marketplaces, they must proceed in an accountable, fair, open, transparent way. The means to this end is the US-led TransPacific Partnership (TPP). The third, “smart growth,” means that Pacific nations, as the world’s biggest consumers of energy and the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, have an enormous responsibility to lead a “green transformation” that can save lives, create jobs, and not endanger the environment. Finally, “just growth” suggests that the United States will make good use of its partnerships to build a region in which people can enjoy the benefits of de-
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mocracy, freedom, human rights, and an open society. Nations showing respect to these rights are more likely to be more peaceful and more prosperous, more capable of being innovative, and of moving quickly in the marketplace. On the other hand, nations paying no heed to these rights are more likely to be aggressive and bellicose. Obviously, Kerry is suggesting that if China is determined to become a long-term partner of the United States, it must transform itself into a responsible stakeholder.
China as a stakeholder When Secretary Kerry met Chinese President Xi Jinping on April 13, 2013, he told Xi that the United States and the world benefit from a stable and prosperous China that assumes the responsibilities of a great power; a China that respects the will of its people; a China that plays a key role in global affairs; and a China plays by the rules. All Asia-Pacific states have a stake in China’s success, just as China
has a stake in theirs. It is not surprising that Secretary Kerry’s Asia policy echoes, by and large, the Asia-Pacific architecture designed by Donilon. After all, while Kerry is a newcomer in the administration, Donilon has dominated the decision-making process and the implementation of the rebalancing toward Asia policy in both the president’s first and second terms. In his speech to the Asia Society in New York on March 11, 2012, titled “The United States and The Asia-Pacific in 2013,” Donilon stressed that President Obama would continue to press ahead with his policy of rebalancing toward Asia in his second term. In addition, he delivered a similar speech at the White House prior to the president’s trip to Asia on November 15, 2012. Donilon helped to explain what rebalancing is by referring to Obama’s address to the Australian Parliament in Canberra on November 17, 2011. He pointed out that the president’s address was a definitive statement of the US rebalancing policy in the Asian-Pacific region; a clarion call for freedom
photo: Pete Souza National Security Advisor Tom Donilon (seated) confers with (from left) Bill Daley, Ben Rhodes, and President Obama in Brasilia, Brazil, March 19, 2011.
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and democracy; and a clarification of how, when it comes to the Asia-Pacific, the United States is “all in.” More importantly, what does rebalancing not mean? First, it does not mean undermining ties to important partners in any other region. Second, it does not mean containing China or seeking to dictate terms to Asia. Third, it is not just a matter of US military presence. Instead, it is an effort that harnesses all elements of US power—military, political, trade and investment, development, and US values.
First of all, “strengthening alliances” refers to the US military presence in the Asia-Pacific by enhancing its alliances with Japan, Australia, South Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines. The challenges the United States faces are proliferation in North Korea and the budding democratization of Burma and other authoritarian regimes. Second, “deepening partnerships with emerging powers” clearly refers to India and Indonesia; two defining partnership of the 21st century for the United States. Third, “building a stable, productive, and constructive relationship with China” refers to establishing a new model of relations between an existing power and an emerging power, a concept endorsed by both presidents Obama and Xi. Donilon lists a number of issues such as building a sustainable consumer-oriented growth model, opening the Chinese market, working together to promote international financial stability through the G20, and addressing global chal-
Pacific. The reasons behind this are clear enough, as an effective regional architecture will lower the barriers to collective action on shared challenges and shared values. The United States has grown tired of the ineffectiveness and inefficiency of Asia-Pacific regional institutions. An effective regional architecture will create dialogues and structures that in turn encourage cooperation, maintain stability, resolve disputes through diplomacy, and help ensure that nations rise peacefully. Fifth, “helping to build a regional economic architecture” suggests that the United States will continue to pursue the goal of building a free-trade oriented economic architecture to sustain shared prosperity and allow the people of the Asia-Pacific to benefit. According to Donilon, the centerpiece of the US pivot is the TPP, a high-standard agreement of economic and trade liberalization. The creation of the TPP is established on its member states’ shared commitment, helping to eliminate market-access barriers to goods and services, and addressing 21st-century trade issues under a rules-based economic framework. The TPP, as an open platform, welcomes additional nations to join if they are willing to meet the TPP’s high standards. There are at least four major similarities between Obama’s first term and his second term as regards Asia policy. First, the president has pressed ahead with his rebalancing toward Asia policy in both his first and second terms. Second, Obama continues to emphasize diplomatic, political, and military implications in this second term. No matter whether
lenges such as climate change, energy security, and cyber security. Fourth, “empowering regional institutions” means that the United States will help strengthen bodies such as the East Asian Summit (EAS) with the goal of elevating the EAS to become the premier forum for dealing with political and security issues in the Asia-
the United States stations more soldiers in Asia in the future, the Obama administration will rebalance a militarily rising China by strengthening its relations with its alliances and partnerships. When the United States presses ahead with a policy of resolving disputes through the establishment of regional multilateral architecture or institutions, it aims at
Donilon’s five pillars
Beijing and Moscow b 19
deterring China from solving disputes through the use of force. Washington will continue to promote human rights, freedom, and democracy in the nations neighboring China. Third, Kerry’s four principles of the rebalancing toward Asia policy in Obama’s second term indicates what the secretary proposes do not move far beyond the Asia-Pacific architecture designed by Donilon in the president’s two terms. Clearly, both Kerry and Donilon would prefer to see a powerful and responsible China. Finally, Donilon seemed to be strong and powerful in pressing ahead with the US rebalancing toward Asia policy in the last three years of the president’s first term, and it seems that he will continue to dominate the decision-making process and the implementation of the policy in the president’s second term. On the other hand, there are several major differences between Obama’s first and second terms. First, the president appeared to put more stress on the mili-
tary dimension in his first term, whereas he seems to emphasize more the economic dimension in his second term. Second, to describe the pivot to Asia, Donilon continues to use the term “strategy” in his speeches, notably on November 15, 2012, and March 11, 2013, whereas Kerry tends to use the term “policy,” such as in his speech on April 15, 2013. Nonetheless, the term “strategy” is gradually being replaced by the term “policy” among US officials, as the former is more politically sensitive to China than the latter. It seems likely that President Obama will continue to press ahead with his rebalancing toward Asia policy in what remains of his second term. The policy will likely be more dynamic and vigorous than ever, particularly when the TPP and Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership become the centerpieces of the policy, few other nations can escape from the influence of these two agenda-setting and rule-setting agreements dominated by the United States, Japan and Europe. n
photo: Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is greeted upon arrival in Singapore for the 2012 Shangri-La Dialogue, a meeting of defense chiefs from across Asia.
photo: Lily General Mao Zedong is honored at the Imperial War Museum in Beijing. Mao’s concept of “active defense” is a persistent theme in China’s new white paper.
Strategic Vision vol. 2, no. 9 (June, 2013)
China’s most recent white paper lifts the veil on defense thinking in Beijing Max Yu
ith the conclusion of the 18th Party Congress last November, and the 12th National People’s Congress in March, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) successfully completed an important transfer of power to its fifthgeneration leadership led by Xi Jinping, who is now wearing the three hats traditionally worn by leaders of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), making
Paper—the eighth of its kind—has a new title this year: “The Diversified Employment of China’s Armed Forces.” The paper makes clear that the term “diversified employment” refers to the ability of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to execute both war and unconventional military operations other than war (MOOTW) in support of the nation’s development. For the first time since 1998, this year’s paper de-
him simultaneously chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), CCP general secretary, and Chinese president. Released in April, China’s annual Defense White
tails not only the coded numbers of the 18 combined corps of the PLA mobile operational units with their specific deployments, but also key PLA tasks ranging from combat readiness and warfighting-oriented
Colonel Max Yu is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council of the United States and a professor at Fu Hsing Kang College, National Defense University.
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preparations to MOOTW, which if carefully read between the lines can shed some light on China’s new defense thinking under Xi’s leadership. In terms of China’s threat perceptions and key tasks for the PLA, the white paper first describes the overall regional situation as stable, indicating that “the balance of international forces is shifting in favor of maintaining world peace.” It does, however, warn of “emerging threats and signs of increasing hegemonism, power politics and neo-interventionism” directly pointing out that the “The US is adjusting its Asia-Pacific security strategy, and the regional landscape is undergoing profound changes.”
Anti-China alliances Indirectly indicting the United States, the paper goes on to warn that “some country has strengthened its Asia-Pacific military alliances, expanded its military presence in the region, and frequently makes
the situation there tenser.” The tone of this implied reference to the United States, however, is considerably less confrontational than that found in previous editions of the white paper. As far as China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests are concerned, the paper indicates that “some neighboring countries are taking actions that complicate or exacerbate the situation,” singling out Japan for “making trouble over the issue of the Diaoyu Islands.” Proponents of Taiwan independence get a special mention, described as “separatist forces” whose actions remain the “biggest threat to the peaceful development” of cross-strait relations. These and other security risks to China’s overseas interests, it concludes, are on the increase. The paper highlights key tasks for the PLA, including consolidating national defense, resisting foreign aggression and defending the motherland; winning local wars under informationized conditions; making active planning for the use of armed forces in
photo: Al Jazeera A retouched photograph of a Japanese Coast Guard patrol vessel passing by Uotsuri, the largest island in the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu island chain.
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peacetime and fulfilling international obligations; and dealing effectively with various security threats and accomplishing diversified tasks. Interestingly, the paper points out that all tasks are to be achieved by strictly abiding by “laws, regulations and policies as well as disciplines” so as to ensure the legitimacy of their operations involving foreign countries or military activities—essential as China aims to become a major player in the international arena. This serves as a reminder of the Chinese emphasis on three-pronged warfare. That is, in terms of the PLA, war is not only a military struggle, but also a comprehensive contest on the multiple fronts of media, psychology, and the law.
Increasing demands The paper clearly identifies that the goal of China’s armed forces is “to build a strong national defense and powerful armed forces which are commensurate with China’s international standing, enabling it to address the country’s security challenges which continuously grow in proportion to the country’s increasing domestic demands and emerging stature
in international affairs.” Thus the paper discloses that the total strength of China’s armed forces, including the 850,000-strong PLA Army with 18 combined corps, respectively fall
“China’s deliberate underreporting of the figure for its armed forces shows that the PRC is being anything but transparent.” under seven military regions; 235,000 PLA Navy in the Beihai (North Sea), Donghai (East Sea) and Nanhai (South Sea) fleets; and 398,000 PLA Air Force in each of its military region air force commands. Through this gesture, it seemed to some that the Chinese Government has embarked (at least symbolically) on a new era of military transparency, while others questioned the completeness of the information provided. The figure of 1.48 million registered in the paper is interesting in that it does not include the PLA’s Second Artillery Force (PLASAF), the People’s Armed Police Force (PAPF), the militia, or the
photo: Martin Trolle Mikkelsen A close-up of a Dong Feng 1 missile at a military museum in Beijing. China’s no-first-use policy on nuclear weapons was absent from this year’s white paper.
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photo: Chad McNeeley Soldiers of the PLA 1st Amphibious Mechanized Infantry Division stand at attention. The white paper has been criticised for underreporting troop numbers.
Public Security Force. If all these units were to have been counted, estimates assessing total PLA strength would reach about 3.36 million. Some China specialists have opined that China’s deliberate underreporting of the figure for its armed forces shows that the PRC is being anything but transparent. Moreover, a number of important questions about assessments of PLA capabilities remain unanswered in a reading of this year’s defense white paper. Unlike its predecessors, the defense expenditures section that provides information about the PLA military budget has been deleted. Also, China’s long-held “no first-use” nuclear weapons policy and its stance on non-proliferation were left out this year, without any justification for the omission. In addition, the PLA’s three alert levels for combat readiness as described in the paper did not provide a detailed elaboration of what these alert levels mean in terms of preparations and readiness. Conspicuous by its absence is any mention of whether Xi and his new cadre of CMC leaders will redefine China’s mili-
tary doctrine, strategy, and PLA role in safeguarding national and territorial interests. Strikingly, the paper places a discernible emphasis on the maritime roles of the PLA Navy and MOOTW, particularly in discussing the defense of maritime rights and interests, China’s overseas interests, and the security of international sea lines of communication (SLOCs). The authors of this document appear to have conflated the safeguarding of China’s maritime
“If China comes under a nuclear threat, the nuclear missile force will act upon the orders of the CMC, go into a higher level of readiness, and get ready for a nuclear counterattack.”
rights and interests with the imperatives of overall national development. The need to maintain combat readiness is exemplified by intensifying blue-water
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photo: Chad McNeeley The conning tower of a Chinese People’s Liberation Army-Navy Type-041 (Yuan class) diesel-electric submarine at the East Sea Fleet’s Zhoushan Naval Base.
training, confirming that planning is underway for increasing the PLAN’s operational range and reach. Based on Mao’s dictum of “active defense” being used to counterattack and go on the offensive, the paper reiterates the PRC’s determination to defend itself by implementing this military strategy of active defense, stating “we will not attack unless we are attacked; but we will surely counterattack if attacked.” It goes on to state that “China’s armed forces unswervingly implement the military strategy of active defense, guard against and resist aggression, contain separatist forces, safeguard border, coastal and territorial air security, and protect national maritime rights and interests and national security interests in outer space and cyber space.” These “sovereignty” and
further details that if China comes under a nuclear threat, the nuclear missile force will act upon the orders of the CMC, go into a higher level of readiness, and gear up for a nuclear counterattack in order to deter the enemy from using nuclear weapons against the Chinese homeland.
“security” foci are described as China’s “core national interests,” and they are too sacrosanct to be offended. The document then indicates that the PLASAF, which presents the primary missile threat facing Taiwan, will maintain constant vigilance and get ready to fight, so that it “can ensure rapid and effective responses to war threats and emergencies.” It
to launch a resolute counterattack, either independently or together with the nuclear forces of other services,” the white paper states. The essence of China’s defense strategy is the employment of strategic deterrence to defeat an enemy without combat through presenting military capabilities and determined intentions, so such is the top
“China’s defense white paper is clearly aimed at getting a message across to these targeted countries which it hopes to deter.” “If China comes under a nuclear attack, the nuclear missile force of the PLASAF will use nuclear missiles
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priority of the PLA’s military strategies. In order to achieve such deterrence, however, the armed forces need more than the PLASAF’s nuclear and conventional missile forces, but also the determination to use these capabilities. Only then will the parties that China hopes to deter understand they will pay an unbearable price once war begins. China’s defense white paper is clearly aimed at getting a message across to these targeted countries which it hopes to deter, with implied reference to Japan and the United States in particular. This is especially true given the delicate timing, as tensions with Japan over the Diaoyu-Senkaku islands being exacerbated by increased confrontation in the surrounding waters. With the introduction of a discussion of China’s “core interests,” the white paper retains the necessary transparency to appear to be in line with international conventions, so that the international community can understand the strategic intentions and goals of China’s active defense strategy.
The authors of this document clearly hope that its release will help enhance strategic mutual trust among China’s neighboring countries: that it can reduce misunderstandings, misjudgments, and deception, and deter those with “ulterior motives” so as to maintain world peace and stability. In contrast, many China hands see past this rosy interpretation and offer a different reading. Timothy Heath, an analyst with US Pacific Command, wrote in the Jamestown Foundation’s China Brief that “this approach shrewdly allows China to quietly consolidate its claims in a manner that minimizes alarm, while throwing the onus on its neighboring powers to risk dramatic action to halt Chinese encroachments, knowing full well that China will exploit any misstep to consolidate its gains even further.” In other words, it raises the risk of miscalculation by China’s regional adversaries. This counter-intimidation approach is in fact integral to enhanced psychological warfare aiming to subdue an enemy without even fighting. n
photo: Chad McNeeley Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen thanks Professor Ji Baocheng after addressing students and faculty at Renmin University.
photo:Padmanaba01 Chickens at a market in China. Analyses of H7N9 collected from live poultry markets showed that these bird viruses were responsible for human infections.
Strategic Vision vol. 2, no. 9 (June, 2013)
Securitization of pandemics and the H7N9 avian influenza outbreak in China Julian Rothkopf
rotection against diseases and pandemics is a matter in which governments and international organizations are both entrusted with a high degree of authority, but they are also expected to respond to crises quickly and effectively. A number of academic studies have been conducted on the securitization of pandemics, and they generally highlight two key aspects of the securitization
and the other is a desecuritization, or a delegation of the issue to ill-equipped health authorities. These approaches, frequently chosen by governments, are state-centric and tend to neglect both preventive measures and a consideration of the international context in which today’s pandemics occur. Critics have charged that many Western countries and the World Health Organization (WHO) have
paradigm that have been critiqued by authors such as Junio Valerio Palomba, Colin McInnes and Kelley Lee: one is the prevalence of a “garrison mentality,” marked by a perceived “invasion” by the disease,
collaborated in framing pandemics as an existential security threat, thereby stigmatizing patients and instilling fear among the general public. In contrast, many developing nations have been accused of dese-
Julian Rothkopf is a research assistant at the Center for Security Studies at National Chengchi University, Taipei. He can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Securitizing Pandemics b 27
curitizing diseases as long as they do not incur major disruptions to stability and order. The sudden appearance and rapid spread of H5N1 in 2005 and H1N1 in 2009 have made it unmistakably clear that better coordination and joint, cross-border efforts are becoming essential. The current emergence of the H7N9 avian influenza in China can provide significant insights into how the People’s Republic of China (PRC)—as well as the United States, Canada, Japan, the European Union, Russia, and the WHO— have so far chosen to respond to the challenge.
only after the WHO and a local whistleblower called attention to the disease. Once the PRC leadership finally acknowledged the outbreak, it responded by launching massive campaigns to isolate the infected and to achieve complete surveillance. These efforts later earned praise from WHO officials and marked
“As the situation unfolded, there was some criticism of the initial alarmism over the lethality and impact of H1N1 that turned out to be unfounded.”
SARS cover-up During and after the initial 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), the PRC reacted with a cover-up that unnecessarily delayed and complicated the international response effort and exacerbated public concerns. Securitization of SARS began
photo: Philip McMaster
Beijing’s shift toward securitization. Looking back at the SARS crisis, it is clear that the PRC has invested more resources into its health care system, surveillance mechanisms, and testing facilities that make it better prepared at this point for a breakout of H7N9.
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Coordination between national authorities and the WHO has since been greatly improved. The mid-2000s outbreak of H5N1 deeply affected Asian countries, while European and other developed nations effectively prevented further spreading of the disease. It became clear at the time that the wealthier, industrialized nations would need to increase their financial and technical assistance to developing countries where agriculture is less consolidated and many vulnerable backyard farms exist with little effective regulation in place. With the experience of SARS still fresh, the PRC initiated mass culling as soon as the first human victims were reported and organized an international conference to raise US$1.9 billion to support preventive efforts among ASEAN members. Finally, the H1N1 swine flu crisis of 2009 had led the WHO to raise its warning level to six and worldwide measures were implemented to stop the global spread of the disease. At the same time, national influenza pandemic plans were being executed with WHO assistance and adapted to local circumstances. As the situation unfolded, there was some criticism of the initial alarmism over the lethality and impact of H1N1 that turned out to be unfounded. Thus, the last 10 years have shown that desecuritization has ultimately been rejected when facing SARS and influenza outbreaks, although loss of prestige and protection of the local poultry industry in the PRC have been major incentives for desecuritization. Securitization’s critics demand more preventive thinking (risk management) and the involvement of non-state actors and less overreacting (such as quickly distributing ineffective medication).
Plans in place Since the 1999 release of official (albeit non-binding) guidelines for pandemic planning by the WHO, a majority of states on almost all continents have laid out their own influenza pandemic preparedness plans.
Governments realize the danger of some pandemics more widely nowadays, since globalization facilitates the emergence and spread of new diseases, opening the gates to potentially massive economic losses and even biological terrorism. Securitization of avian influenza is therefore to be expected. Confronting H7N9 since the first three cases were reported on March 31, 2013, the PRC has already shown more openness than before and promptly informed the World Organization for Animal Health
“The WHO continues to provide a constant stream of H7N9 updates on its website and through social media.”
of the suspected dead pigeons that had possibly carried the virus. Despite high-ranking health officials’ unilateral pronouncements of full confidence in the country’s ability to control H7N9, a group of American, European, and WHO experts have been invited to consult with government authorities about the situation. Such visits have the added benefit of increasing China’s ties with other nations through a process that has been called “Fluplomacy.” Furthermore, the PRC’s Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention has published a summary of the known facts about H7N9. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has commended both the timely reporting of human infections and the publishing of relevant and practical documentation. To the surprise of some foreign media organizations, Chinese officials even acknowledged a degree of scientific uncertainty about the exact transmission and evolution of this new strain of avian influenza. Samples of the virus were sent to WHO officials within a week after its isolation, and fears of another Chinese cover-up have so far been unfounded. After
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photo: Graham Webster With fear over the disease already abating in society, an H7N9 poster is already being overtaken by other ads on the neighborhood bulletin board.
the SARS experience, the PRC established the world’s largest disease surveillance network which also makes use of Internet-based reporting across the country. The central government has ordered a ban on wild bird sales, while the sale of processed chicken remains unaffected and no mass culling of poultry has yet begun. At the time of writing, the disease has claimed 39 lives, with 141 confirmed cases, and local emergency measures are already being scaled back as the disease has been declared to be under control. The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—the world’s foremost authority in handling disease outbreaks—activated its Emergency Operations Center at level two (the last such action was taken after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami). This allows for further staff and resources to be committed to the Centers’ work. The CDC listed a concise guide for travelers to China about which precautions to take during their stay. On April 18, 2013, the CDC advised hospital staff countrywide to preventively isolate travelers returning from China who were showing influenza symptoms that could not be positively attributed to seasonal influenza. In expectation of Chinese authorities sharing H7N9 samples with other countries, the Public Health
Agency of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a biosafety advisory to assist researchers in their handling of these samples. A travel advisory and infection prevention and control measures for health care personnel, largely based on already existing and updated guidelines, were also issued online. In its rapid risk assessment on the disease, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control listed several recommendations for preparing for human H7N9 infection. Among these, all future infection incidents should be reported to the national authorities through the Early Warning and Response System and close collaboration with the WHO’s London-based Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza should be exercised.
Anti-viral coverage In case of a substantial outbreak in the country, the Japanese government could rely on a new law that allows authorities to appropriate medical and food supplies from companies in emergencies. Approximately 45 percent of the entire Japanese population can presently be provided with anti-viral medication. The Russian government has so far only signaled a po-
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tential increase in sanitary control with regard to poultry and has asked authorities in Beijing for a sample of the new strain. The Russian consumerrights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor advised Russian citizens to refrain from travel to China in mid-May. The WHO’s Global Alert and Response website has published extensive material on treating novel, and possibly pandemic, respiratory diseases for health care professionals. The WHO continues to provide a constant stream of H7N9 updates on its website and through social media. Meanwhile in Taiwan, the Republic of China (ROC) authorities have designated 22 hospitals nationwide as so-called emergency response centers for H7N9, with further facilities approved as possible quarantine locations should the situation escalate. Hygiene and health precautions for travelers to China were announced by the ROC Department of Health. A day after the first case of H7N9 in Taiwan was confirmed on April 24, 2013, Premier Jiang Yihuah met with officials from the Central Epidemic Command Center where it was decided to strengthen
existing surveillance and other preventive measures. One of the main political priorities should be to support vaccine research. In an interesting development in cross-strait relations, China is also sharing the H7N9 strain with Taiwanese authorities for further research. On April 6, 2013, two Taiwanese medical experts visited Shanghai and were able to observe precautions being taken and treatment of patients in local hospitals. The exchange was made possible by the bilateral signing of a 2010 cross-strait medical cooperation agreement, and ROC President Ma Ying-jeou has called for joint cooperation on the development of a vaccine. ROC officials should heed the advice of scholars such as Dr. Mely Caballero-Anthony, who noted that countries and regional organizations worldwide should begin to regard public health as a global public good that requires intensive international cooperation. Governments in Southeast Asia, as well as that of Taiwan, should be encouraged to make health care a budgetary priority. n
photo: Brett Weinstein The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention facility in Atlanta, Georgia. The CDC is the world’s leading body dealing with bird flu and other outbreaks.
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