Beijing Vows To Beat
Back NATO In Major
Foreign Policy Shift
By Willy Wo-Lap Lam
South China Morning Post
Beijing is to abandon Deng Xiaoping's low-profile foreign policy to beat back the challenges of a fast-expanding Washington-led Nato.
The rethink came about since the bombing of the Belgrade Embassy, when leading Politburo members and their advisers discussed how to counter what they regarded as a deliberate trampling of Chinese sovereignty.
"The Politburo Standing Committee has decided that if the Washington-led Nato has its way in Europe, it will next target China," a diplomatic source in Beijing said.
"The elite body has endorsed a number of measures to seize the initiative through asserting itself in foreign policy."
Among the recommendations given preliminary approval are:
Playing a more aggressive role in the United Nations. Sensing that President Bill Clinton is considering using a UN-backed peace plan as a face-saving measure to retreat partially from Yugoslavia, Beijing has insisted Nato ends air strikes before endorsing the scheme.
But should a UN peace-keeping force that meets Beijing's approval be formed, the Jiang leadership has signalled its willingness to dispatch PLA officers.
Analysts said this was a rare gesture of commitment given Beijing's traditional reluctance to join international peace-keeping efforts.
Developing a world-class arsenal, particularly missiles, to counter the "Nato military machine". Beijing has served notice on the US that unless Nato reins in its aggressive tendencies, it will delay ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Diplomats said Chinese strategists had engaged in vague talk about the resumption of an active nuclear development programme.
Forming a potential anti-Nato alliance. Beijing is working with Moscow to ensure the "multi-polar nature" of the new world order. Further "anti-hegemonistic" plans are to be worked out in a November summit between President Jiang Zemin and President Boris Yeltsin.
A Western diplomat said Beijing had made veiled threats about resuming or upgrading "nuclear co-operation" with Iran and Pakistan.
Serving warning on America's Asian allies not to abet a Nato-initiated anti-China containment policy. It is understood Beijing recently warned Japan not to provide a launch pad for US or Nato weaponry should the alliance target China.
A Chinese source said Mr Jiang, who is de facto diplomat-in-chief, had, in effect, jettisoned Deng's well-known dictum.
In the wake of the post-Tiananmen Square embargoes, the late patriarch said that in foreign policy: "China will keep a low profile, maintain a cool head, and never take the lead."
The source said the outburst of anti-Nato feelings since the embassy bombing had put pressure on Beijing.
"National People's Congress deputies and students have written to the leadership asking why China always abstains in the UN Security Council," the source said.
"In internal talks, Politburo members expressed the fear that the students would next stage protests against a 'weak central Government' unless Beijing counters threats to national security."