Sixteen years ago, Pingtan Island, just north west of Taiwan, was the center of Chinese military energies to intimidate Taiwanese voters against electing a pro-independence president. Major amphibious operations were staged, some with catastrophic loss of life by military personnel because of bad weather. This also was the first time China attempted to maintain continuous air operations over the Taiwan Strait. That also proved beyond Chinese capabilities.
These complemented the dramatic and sensational Chinese short range ballistic missile shots into Taiwan’s two main ports. The missile launches might be compared to the US launching missiles into Pearl Harbor to prevent Hawaii from seceding from the US.
A key difference was that the Chinese missiles were so inaccurate, that no one knew whether they would launch much less whether they would stay on target. The danger was that a ballistic missile might veer off course and strike Taiwan, rather than the ocean. The missiles were so unreliable that the risk of a stray missile was very real. With only luck, they did not hit land or ships in the harbor which would have sparked general war in 1996.
The US sent two aircraft carrier task groups to defend Taiwan in 1996, forcing the Chinese to back down and inflicting a humiliating political defeat on the communist mandarins in Beijing. At one point, during turnover, three carriers were present to defend Taiwan. The Chinese intimidation effort failed on every level. Even the weather was hostile to the Chinese.
This week China published details of its plans for the Pingtan Comprehensive Economic Zone (CEZ) through the approval and promulgation of the General Development Plan for the Pingtan CEZ. Mainland China officials have emphasized the “importance” of the plan and the CEZ.
The Chinese military fiasco during the 1996 Taiwan Strait crisis ensured that the communist party leaders would never again allow the People’s Liberation Army leaders to have their way in solving any national security problems.
The conversion of Pingtan Island into a tourist attraction is the ultimate sign that the military will not get their way again, as long as the Party officials are in charge.
Phi Beta Iota: US politicians and policymakers do not read broadly and are very loosely educated. Most have not, to take one small example, read Will and Ariel Durant’s The Lessons of History, [current reprint]which states very clearly, as Minister-Mentor Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore has also state, that demography writes history — or in other terms, demography trumps democracy (and especially faux democracy). While the US politicians (from two parties that shut out the other six small parties and all Independents) and policymakers pander to the military, homeland “security,” health, energy, and other domestic crime families, China is busy building bridges and using non-violent commercial and cultural means to penetrate the rest of the world. With girls in short supply, and the export of unmarried men a major strategic means for eventually conquering Argentina and other countries in the southern hemisphere, one can only watch in shocked awe as the USA self-destructs. Nothing the US federal government is doing is relevant to the public interest going into the future.