Great Chinese Emperor’s Way to Conquer Turkic Khanate

When the US challenged China with a trade war, Chinese President Xi Jinping made concessions to the US while Chinese media and other officials expressed their firm determination to fight. The following story about Emperor Taizong’s way to deal with enemy’s challenge will perhaps help readers understand Xi’s way.

When Emperor Taizong of Tang succeeded to the throne in 622, Tujue (the Turkic Khanate) was very strong. For decades China’s northern states when China was divided into a few states and China’s central government when China had been reunified into one empire had to enter into peace treaties with Tujue on humiliating terms of sending a princess to marry Tujue’s king and giving him lots of gold and silk. Emperor Taizong of Tang, one of the greatest emperors in Chinese history, drew up and carried out a plan to finally conquer Tujue. The following is my translation of the description of Taizong’s wise way to deal with Tujue invasion of China in 622 in Volume 191 of the Comprehensive Mirror to Aid in Government, a history book specially compiled for emperors to refer to in governing their empires:

Sili (Tujue King Jieli’s envoy) said with exaggeration, “Kings Jieli and Tuli have brought one million troops here.”

The emperor scolded him, saying, “We have concluded a peace treaty with your king, sent our princess to marry your king and given you countless amount of gold and silk once and again. Is your king not ashamed in unilaterally breaching the treaty and bringing your troops deep into our territories! You are barbarians but you still shall have human conscience. How can you entirely forget our great favor and boast your strength! I now will kill you first.” The envoy was scared and begged for mercy. Xiao Yu and Feng Deyi asked the emperor to be courteous to the envoy and release him. The emperor said, “If I release him now, the enemy would think that I am afraid of them and would rely on their strength to act more wantonly.” He then detained the envoy at the Edict Examination Bureau.

Then Emperor Taizong and five of his officials rode out of his palace on horseback directly to the bank of the Weishui River. He talked with Jieli (King of Tujue) across the river. He condemned Jieli for breach of the peace treaty between Tang and Tujue. The troops of Tujue were panic-stricken and all got down their horses and fell on their knees to salute the emperor. Soon various Tang troops came and the field was covered by flags, helmets and armors. Jieli looked scared when he found that his envoy did not come back but the emperor came with few entourages and that the Tang troops looked well organized. Emperor Taizong told the messengers from various troops to go back to deploy the troops while he alone stayed to talk with Jieli.

Xiao Yu thought that the emperor took the enemy lightly. He stopped the emperor’s horse and insisted on remonstrating with the emperor. The emperor said, “I have drawn up a plan through careful consideration that you are ignorant of. The reason why Tujue dared to come all out directly to the suburbs of our capital was because there was trouble in our country. They thought that as I had just succeeded to the throne, I was not able to resist them. If I had shown them that we were weak and closed our city gates to resist them, then they would have told their troops to loot at will and we would not have been able to stop them. That is why I come alone to show them that I take them lightly. On the other hand, I give a show of the strength of our troops to tell them we would certainly fight against them. This has surprised them and they are at a loss what to do. As the enemy has come deep in our territories, there is certainly fear in their hearts; therefore, we will surely win if we fight against them and the peace will be a stable one if we enter into a peace treaty with them. We depend on what I do now to subdue Tujue. You just wait and see.”

That very day, Jieli came to ask for peace. The emperor gave the order to accept his request. The emperor then returned to his palace. Two days later, he went to the west of the city, killed a white horse and entered into a peace treaty with Jieli on a temporary bridge. Tujue then withdrew its troops.

Xiao Yu asked the emperor, “Before entering a peace treaty with Tujue, the various generals vied with one another in asking for a battle against it, but your Majesty did not allow them to fight. We the officials also wondered what your Majesty would do. Soon the enemy retreated. What was your strategy in achieving that?”

The emperor replied, “I observed and found that Tujue troops were not well organized though they were large in number. What their king and officials wanted was only gifts of gold. When their king asked for peace, only he alone stayed at the west bank of the Weishui River while all his high officials came to have an audience with me. If I had made them drunk and arrested them and then attacked their troops, I could have defeated them like smashing rotten woods. I could have ordered Changsun Wuji and Li Jing to ambush the enemy in Youzhou (the border area with Tujue). When the enemy ran away, there would have been the troops in ambush before them and our major troops in their back. It would have been very easy to defeat them. I did not fight because I just succeeded to the throne, the situation in our county was not stable, our people had not become rich and we should let our people rest and foster them.  If we had fought against the enemy, we would have suffered quite a few losses and incurred deep hatred of the enemy. Then they would be afraid of us and be on their guard so that it would be difficult for us to achieve our goal to conquer them later. Therefore, we did not fight but gave them gold and silk. They naturally would retreat since they got what they wanted. They will become conceited and be unprepared. When we have build up our strength and found an opportune timing, we will annihilate them at one stroke. ‘To take it from someone, surely one must first give it to him’ (a quotation from Chapter 36 of Laozi’s Daodejing). (This blogger’s underline) That was my strategy. Do you understand now?”

Xiao Yu saluted the emperor again and said, “That is beyond my wisdom.”

Three years later Emperor Taizong conquered Tujue.

China is now moving its labor-intensive industries to Silk Road economic belt to avoid US tariff increase on Chinese products of those industries, making efforts to produce import substitutes to reduce its imports from the US. It will win its trade war with the US without tariff increases. That is what China is doing to subdue the enemy without fighting according to China’s gifted strategist Sun Tzu’s teaching.

Article by Chan Kai Yee


Import Substitutes, the Way to Kill in Trade War

Sun Tsu says, “Fighting and winning each and every battle is not the best of the best; subduing the enemy without fighting is the best of the best.”

What about that teaching in a trade war. Imposing tariffs on lots of imports is not the best of best, producing import substitutes is the best way to kill.

For example, China’s retaliation at US tariff increases by imposing high tariff on its import of US soybean. It certainly is not a good way, let alone the best of the best ways.

American experts are not worried as China cannot find alternative source for soybean to satisfy its huge demand for it. As a result, Chinese consumers either have to pay higher prices or suffer soybean shortage.

If China has no import substitute for American soybean, in terms of soybean it is defeated by the US.

However, if it can find alternative sources of supply and put an end to US export of soybean to China, there is no need for tariff increase. China will completely win without fighting.

Chinese leaders are wise to see that inability to supply enough food to satisfy China’s hugh population’s needs is dangerous, especially in wartime. As a result, China has been improving its agricultural technology and greatly increased its food output, but there is a limit to that. There are lots of mountains and deserts but limited arable land in China.

What shall China do? Utilization of other countries’ redundant land is a way out. China is now conduct agricultural win-win cooperation with Ukraine. It can either grow soybean there or transfer its wheat or other food production there and use the land freed for soybean production. Xinhua’s report on the cooperation will be reblogged at the end of this article.

China can also rent Russian land near its northeast border for soybean production. In fact Northwest China was a major exporter of soybean in the past. The import substitute strategy will enable China to subdue the US without fighting.

China’s “made in China 2015” will enable China to produce import substitutes for lots of high-tech products, especially airliners. China has already been conducting test flights of its 130-seat airliner C919 and is developing jumbo airliners in cooperation with Russia. When China and Russia use its own airliners and other high-tech products and even export them in competition with the US. The US will be in real trouble.

We can foresee the grievous defeat the US will suffer in its trade war with China.

The following is the full text of Xinhua’s report about China’s win-win agricultural cooperation with Ukraine:

Chinese investors breathe new life to Ukraine’s rural

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-04-19 14:30

KIEV — Newly sown fields, well-kept houses and modern farms — the rural area surrounding Koryukovka settlement shines like a pearl among the string of abandoned villages in a remote corner of Ukraine’s northern Chernigov region.

After experiencing labour force outflow for decades, Koryukovka gained new life in 2013, when it attracted the interest of investors from central China’s Henan province.

The Chinese State-owned Huangfanqu Farm entered into a joint venture called Fanda with a Ukrainian partner and has already invested more than $10 million in the development of farming in Koryukovka district, changing the lives of locals.

Reanimation of livestock farm

“Since the Chinese company started to finance us, we have significantly increased the number of livestock and boosted the productivity of our cattle,” Olga Ruchko, a technician at the Koryukovka livestock farm, told Xinhua.

Standing proudly in front of the modern farm, Ruchko was not trying to hide her pleasure with the Chinese investors.

In 2013, the farm in Koryukovka faced a threat of closure because the previous owners failed to provide enough funds even for buying protein-rich feeds for cows to help the animals produce enough milk and gain weight.

“Previously, we could not afford good feeds and our livestock has not got enough nutrition. But now, with Chinese financing, we buy everything we need — oil cakes and concentrated feeding stuff for cows and mixed cattle feed for calves,” Ruchko said.

Due to better feeding and improved animal welfare after the renovation of the farm, the daily milk output per cow has increased from 10 to 22 liters.

Chinese investment has helped double the livestock at the farm to 2,000 cows and calves and provided jobs to about 100 residents of Koryukovka.

The farmers sell about 9 metric tons of fresh milk to local cheese producing plants per day. They also provide free milk to a local kindergarten.

“Currently, we supply milk as a raw material, but the company plans to build its own processing plant to produce finished products,” Viktor Yushchenko, chairman of Gorky enterprise, which runs the Koryukovka farm, told Xinhua.

Decent life for villagers

The farm at Koryukovka, nearly 300 kilometers north of the Ukrainian capital, is one of the two agricultural enterprises managed by Fanda. The other is located in Naumovka, a suburb of Koryukovka, just 15 minutes’ drive away.

Once a flourishing village during the Soviet times, Naumovka lost most of its younger generation, who left in search of better life in the city.

Now, young people stopped moving out from Naumovka as the village offers them new employment opportunities. Chinese investment revived about 3,000 hectares of arable farmland in Naumovka, providing jobs to more than 130 villagers.

In 2013, Volodymyr Metla, a 40-year-old resident of Naumovka, was considering moving to Kiev to take a job as a construction worker so that he could support his family.

Metla’s life has changed since Chinese investors came to his village and gave him a job as a tractor driver, while employing his wife as a junior accountant.

“I have been working for the Chinese company for about four years and I like my job. Chinese managers pay the wages timely, they have good agriculture equipment and they are good people. We made friends with some of them,” Metla told Xinhua.

Farmers from nearby villages also came to work in Naumovka.

“I am from Kholmy, it is 30 km away from here. I used to work for a local enterprise, but it had collapsed. Here I work as a driver of a combine harvester, a sowing machine and a truck,” Sergey Onopchenko told Xinhua.

Win-win cooperation

Apart from managing livestock farm in Koryukovka and fields of corn, oats and lupine in Naumovka, Fanda rents a forest of 2,700 hectares, where it plans to raise wild animals, such as deer and hunting birds.

Zhang Zhenhua, the director of Fanda, said that the agricultural cooperation between Chinese and Ukrainian enterprises is a win-win for both sides due to the complementary advantages of the two economies.

China has experience and knowledge of modern farming technologies, its investors have financial resources, while Ukraine has fertile land and good farming infrastructure.

“Before coming to Ukraine, we have visited many countries in Africa and Southeast Asia. Then we found out that agriculture is very well developed in Ukraine and decided to invest in this country,” Zhang told Xinhua.

The intention of the Ukrainian authorities to join the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative has reassured the Chinese farmers of prospects in Ukraine.

Speaking of his dream, Zhang said it is simple: to further develop his enterprise to bring benefits for his employees and local people.

To bring his dream to life, Zhang is seeking fresh investment for reconstructing a pig breeding complex, building a greenhouse for vegetables and fruits, and constructing a milk processing plant.

“Throughout the world, agriculture works on the same principles: the cultivation of land and breeding of cattle does not make a big profit. To get more income, you need to process the products,” Zhang said.

Fanda is expected to invest more than $50 million in total. The projected capital injection will allow the company to create up to 1,500 new jobs in the Koryukovka district.

Article by Chan Kai Yee

China Moves Abroad Labor-intensive Industries through One Belt One Road

Hambantota deep water port

Sri Lanka’s Hambantota deep water port for China’s One Belt, One Road

Hambantota airport for China's One Belt, One Road

Hambantota airport for China’s One Belt, One Road

There will be quite a few advantages for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Silk Road economic belt and 21-century maritime Silk Road (One Belt, One Road) initiative.

The most important is trade security by establishment of land trade route to Europe through Russia and Central Asia and safer maritime route through Indian Ocean with ports in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

The other also very important advantages include:
Finding an outlet for China’s overcapacity in its industries of construction, construction material, energy, transport, etc.;

Exploiting investment opportunities for China’s surplus capital; and

Moving China’s labor-intensive industries through development of infrastructures in the belt to the countries in the Belt where labor and other resources are much cheaper.

Reuters says in its report “Sri Lanka launches China-led investment zone amid protests” that the zone will create 100,000 jobs, which undoubtedly will mostly be jobs in labor-intensive enterprises moved from China.

According to Reuters, China’s port, airport and investment zone make “some countries, including India and the United States, nervous with Sri Lanka’s proximity to shipping lanes through which much of the world’s trade passes en route to China and Japan.

Those are trade passes to China and Japan not US or India, why shall they be nervous?

Anyway, we see from the developments Xi’s wisdom and vision. US president-elect Trump’s threat of a trade war may create difficulties for the export of China’s labor-intensive industrial goods, but Xi has taken a step earlier in building infrastructures abroad for China to move such industries to poor countries for export to the US. Xi has been subduing the US with his wise One Belt One Road strategy before the US starts the trade war.

The best way in military conflict is to subdue the enemy with strategy, the next, with diplomacy, the next, with fighting…                                                                                                                      Sun Tzu

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be found at

Philippines Frustrated in Dealing with Its Dispute with China

Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III Credit Seth Wenig/Associated Press

Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III Credit Seth Wenig/Associated Press

I really pity the Philippines as it is in trouble this time due to its blind faith in US pivot to Asia. Its president Benigno S. Aquino III felt sorry that his mother failed to keep US military bases in the Philippines in spite of her hard efforts, but he now has to seek US assistance in its dispute with China.

He believes that he has to make some contributions in facilitating US pivot to Asia that is aimed at containing China. Therefore, he took the lead to confront China by sending his navy to round up eight Chinese fishing boats at Scarborough Shoal. He wanted to drive away Chinese fishermen so as to have exclusive fishing right at and administration of the Shoal and in the sea area around it.

However, he did not expect that in spite of the threat of powerful US navy, China sent its overwhelming navy and coast guard fleet to drive away Philippine warships and coast guard and fishing boats and take exclusive control of the Shoal.

He is especially disappointed that when China sent an oil rig to drill at the sea area claimed by both Vietnam and China, US Senate adopted a resolution to tell China to withdraw its oil rig, but neither the Obama administration nor US Congress has given the Philippines any such strong support in his standoff with China.

I really feel sorry for him as he is in fact the victim of US failed policy of pivot to Asia. Therefore, on September 12, I pointed out in my post China’s strategy of putting itself in an invincible position and not missing any of enemy’s errors that may enable it to defeat its enemy and Philippines’ blunders in dealing with China’s strategy.

In my post on September 14, I tell the Philippines the strategy that may bring it victory in its disputes with China. It is in fact a win-win strategy, by which the Philippines will get the maximum benefit it can get while by sharing the resources in the disputed waters with the Philippines, China can rest at better ease in its peaceful rise.

In the post, I quote Chinese great strategist Sun Tzu’s teaching: “Know oneself and one’s enemy, one will never be in peril in war; know oneself but not one’s enemy, one has fifty-fifty chance to win; know neither oneself nor one’s enemy one is always in peril in war.”

The Philippines has to find a wise strategy through careful study of both China and itself. Judging by China’s large-scale construction of artificial islands on disputed islands and reefs, it is very clear that China will ignore the arbitration award if it is not in its favor. The arbitration shall only be exploited to get better terms in Philippines’ negotiation with China because China does not want to give a bad impression in world community by ignoring the arbitration award.

On the other hand, an analysis of the Philippines itself will find that in confronting China, the Philippines does not have the strength or real support from the US and ASEAN; therefore, negotiation with China is the only way out or it will get little share of the resources in the disputed waters. It has already lost the best opportunity of asking for the best terms when China offered it concessions.

Now, it is high time for it to use withdrawing its application for arbitration as condition for obtaining concessions from China. It will in the worst position when the arbitration award has come out.

Judging by what Aquino said in his interview with The New York Times, he wants multilateral negotiation with China. He is ignorant that no one wants to join his multilateral negotiation. Vietnam has conducted bilateral negotiations with China. Malaysia Prime Minister said Malaysia wanted bilateral negotiation during his recent visit to China. Brunei just keeps silence. Ownership over the disputed islands and waters is not an issue between China and Taiwan, both of which are seeking better relations between them.

Moreover, the Philippines is in a better position than other countries. It can withdraw its application for arbitration to get concessions from China. That is not the case with other countries. Aquino’s preference of multilateral negotiation gives me the impression that he lacks the confidence in his competence in dealing with China on the negotiation table.

There is one correction I shall make. China’s strategy as described in my post on September 12 was a defensive one. Judging by what Aquino said about China’s recent acts that perplex him, China has switched to an offensive strategy.

In the interview, Aquino said, China “goes from hot to cold, sometimes they’re very conciliatory, sometimes they make very provocative statements”. That is a common Chinese trick that China is now playing. It is called “A slap in face and then rub where it hit three times to show goodwill.”

That shows China’s enmity towards the Philippines in spite of its desire for a peaceful resolution of the dispute. The Philippines may encounter humiliation or contempt during the negotiation but shall ignore it. What counts is not China’s attitude but what it can get in the negotiation.

The following is the full text of The New York Times’ report on the interview with President Aquino:

Philippines Concerned About China, Leader Says

The president of the Philippines expressed concern on Tuesday about what he called the “hot to cold” messages from China in the protracted territorial disputes with his country — and others in the region — over areas of the South China Sea.

In an interview, the president, Benigno S. Aquino III, who was visiting to attend a United Nations summit meeting on climate change, made it clear that the territorial disputes had created a tense backdrop to the relationship between the Philippines and China and a geopolitical point of contention that also has entangled the United States, an ally of the Philippines.

China and the Philippines have been locked in a standoff over an area of the South China Sea near the Philippines coast called Scarborough Shoal for more than two years. In May, they became embroiled in another dispute over part of the Spratly Islands known as Johnson South Reef. The Philippines has filed a case against China with a United Nations tribunal, demanding arbitration of territorial disagreements.

Increasingly assertive about these claims, China has also engaged in maritime disputes with Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam in different parts of the South China Sea, and with Japan over islands in the East China Sea.

The Chinese have sought one-on-one talks with the Philippines to resolve the dispute, but Mr. Aquino has rejected that approach — there are at least four countries with overlapping claims in the Spratlys alone, he said, so it makes no sense for two of the countries to negotiate with each other.

“We cannot agree to bilateral talks to solve the problem, because we think the problem is multilateral,” he said. “A multilateral problem has to be settled multilaterally.”

He described the relationship with China as confusing at times. While trade between the two nations continues to grow, he said, a travel advisory is in force in China discouraging visits to the Philippines. Other mixed messages recur as well. “There was a time when they were stopping our exports of bananas,” Mr. Aquino said.

“At the end of the day, it goes from hot to cold, sometimes they’re very conciliatory, sometimes they make very provocative statements,” he said. “We will confess we don’t understand some of the messages sometimes. We’re not sure.”

China has contended that ancient maritime maps from dynasties past support its claim on the Scarborough Shoal.

This month, the Philippines sought to rebut that claim by producing its own maps, some dating to the 12th century, showing that China had no ownership claim on islands below its southernmost region, Hainan, Philippine newspapers reported.

Source: The New York Times “Philippines Concerned About China, Leader Says”

Related posts:

The Strategy May Bring Philippines Victory in Disputes with China dated September 14, 2014

Philippines’ Map Attack at China on Maritime Dispute dated September 12, 2014

China Exploited Philippine Error to Expand Area of Its Patrol dated August 16, 2014

Philippines Gives Hefty Jail Terms to 12 Chinese Fishermen dated August 6, 2014

South China Sea Dispute: Lucky China; Unlucky the Philippines dated June 21, 2013

The Strategy May Bring Philippines Victory in Dispute with China

I am disappointed again by the quite some comments on my post “Philippines’ Map Attack at China on Maritime Dispute” the day before yesterday.

It is an analysis of Chinese and Philippine strategies in dealing with the dispute. I point out six Philippine blunders caused by its poor strategy, but no comments touch the strategies.

In fact, I have written quite a few posts on strategy and received quite a few comments, but not even one of the comments concerns strategy. It seems that people are not interested in strategy. No wonder, there have been so many mistakes and even blunders in the world cause by poor strategies.

Most comments focus on who are right and who are wrong. For example, the comments on the above-mentioned post are mostly on the Philippine side holding that the Philippines has the right grounds to claim the disputed islands and waters.

My post does not concern whose claim is right or wrong. I said that the Philippines is stupid in first holding that the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) must be based on and then switched to a debate about the historical grounds of the two sides’ claims. The switch will make the arbitration award it has been seeking futile.

Not long ago, the Philippines resolved its maritime border dispute with Indonesia and made quite loud propaganda that they had set an example on resolving such disputes on the basis of international law instead of historical grounds.

In resolving the dispute by international law, there is a court of arbitration. The arbitration award, though not enforceable, enables the winning party to win support and sympathy in the world.

There is no international mechanism for resolving the dispute on the basis of historical grounds. In almost all cases, neither party is able to convince the other. War is the only way to resolve the dispute.

In fact, I have expertise in neither international law nor history about sovereignty over sea areas. I would rather leave the issue to the decision of experts in the areas.

However, I point out in the post that China has an official map dated 1947 and the map has not been challenged for decades after its publication. I believe the mere existence of such a map enable China to regard its claim as justified. As a result, the Philippines will find itself helpless even if it wins the arbitration.

By switching to historical grounds, the Philippines is undermining its arbitration efforts. It proves that the Philippines has no strategy at all.

The Philippines has to first formulate a sound wise strategy after careful study of both itself and its adversary.

Know oneself and one’s enemy, one will never be in peril in war; know oneself but not one’s enemy, one has fifty fifty chance to win; know neither oneself nor one’s enemy one is always in peril in war.

The Art of War by Sun Tzu

Due to lack of careful study, it does not know that for China, there is no room of concession over sovereignty. China has been making preparations to fight the US to safeguard its sovereignty. That is why it has developed DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile, lots of anti-ship cruise missiles and flotillas of more than 80 stealth fast missile boats regarded by US naval experts as aircraft carrier killers.

To counter Chinese military superiority near its coast, a recent article in US National Interest magazine advocates development of bombers and submarines to attack Chinese land targets with long-range cruise missiles. The missiles cannot attack Chinese anti-ship ballistic and cruise missiles which are mostly mobile ones. It means the US is unable to use its existing aircraft carrier battle groups to fight China.

The bombers, long-range cruise missiles and submarines are not available now. It takes time to develop and build; therefore, when the US is defeated near Chinese coast in the near future, it has to retaliate with nuclear weapons.

To deter that, China has developed advanced strategic nuclear submarines.

In addition, American people are fed up with a decade of war. They certainly are not willing to fight a war for some small islands of a small ally.

If the Philippines had made such a careful study, it would have been able to know China’s bottom line that it is impossible for the Philippines to have exclusive ownership of the disputed islands and waters. What it shall strive to obtain is the best possible benefit from the islands and waters.

To force China to allow it to get the optimal benefits, it shall use US and ASEAN support as bargaining chips instead of starting Scarborough standoff to make China realize that the US will not fight a war with China for the Philippines so that China can adopt as hardline attitude as possible as long as it does not affect its relations with the US and ASEAN. The Philippines has thus wasted its two bargaining Chips.

International arbitration is the best bargaining chip. If the arbitration award is in favor of the Philippines, China, though will ignore it, will be embarrassed in international community for that. That is why China offered concession before the Philippines submitted its formal document for the arbitration. That will be the best chance for the Philippines to get as much as possible. It is a pity that the Philippines failed to grasp the opportunity for negotiation to obtain the best concessions from China.

A strategy is a well premeditated overall plan to achieve a goal. Usually, there is no or merely minor amendments of the strategy before the goal is achieved.

With wise strategy, a very weak country may defeat a very strong enemy. The best example is China’s victory at the beginning of the Korea War. China achieved something impossible. A worst equipped army defeats the best armed troops that had air and sea superiority.

China has quite a few talented strategists in its thousands of years of history. When Chinese intellectuals have studied hard to become masters of strategy, they are almost invincible.

In my previous posts, I quoted China’s classic Sun Tzu’s The Art of War to explain China’s wise strategy in dealing with South China Sea Issue:

Therefore, a person well skilled in warfare puts himself in an invincible position and does not miss any of enemy’s error that may enable him to defeat his enemy.

I pointed out in the posts: “We see that China has adopted the strategy of exploiting and disallowing other claimants to exploit the resources in the areas claimed by it. By so doing, China gets all the benefit from the areas while other claimants cannot get any. China is thus benefited as the full owner of the waters and islands in the areas without fighting wars to get back the islands claimed by it but occupied by other claimants.

“In this manner China has put itself in an invincible position.”

The Philippines could also have put itself in an invincible position if it had used the above-mentioned bargaining chips to conduct negotiations with the US and grasp the opportunity when China offered concessions to conclude an agreement with China quickly without giving China time for careful consideration.

Now, the Philippines has wasted almost all its bargaining chips due to its poor strategy. Its case seems hopeless.

Related posts at
•Philippines’ Map Attack at China on Maritime Dispute dated September 12, 2014
•China Intensifying Patrol of Its Disputed Sea Areas with the Philippines dated August 21, 2014
•China Exploited Philippine Error to Expand Area of Its Patrol dated August 16, 2014
•Philippines Gives Hefty Jail Terms to 12 Chinese Fishermen dated August 6, 2014
•Satellites and seafood: China keeps fishing fleet connected in disputed waters dated July 29, 2014
•South China Sea Disputes: US Pivot to Asia Has Zero Effect dated February 19, 2014
•South China Sea Dispute: Lucky China; Unlucky the Philippines dated June 21, 2013

Philippines’ Map Attack at China on Maritime Dispute

 Philippines' Supreme Court associate justice Antonio Carpio (L) gestures to an ancient map on display while Philippines' Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario (2nd L), Justice Secretary Leila De Lima  Credit: REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

Philippines’ Supreme Court associate justice Antonio Carpio (L) gestures to an ancient map on display while Philippines’ Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario (2nd L), Justice Secretary Leila De Lima
Credit: REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

In my previous posts, I quoted China’s classic Sun Tzu’s The Art of War to explain China’s wise strategy in dealing with South China Sea Issue:

Therefore, a person well skilled in warfare puts himself in an invincible position and does not miss any of enemy’s error that may enable him to defeat his enemy.

I pointed out in the posts: “We see that China has adopted the strategy of exploiting and disallowing other claimants to exploit the resources in the areas claimed by it. By so doing, China gets all the benefit from the areas while other claimants cannot get any. China is thus benefited as the full owner of the waters and islands in the areas without fighting wars to get back the islands claimed by it but occupied by other claimants.

“In this manner China has put itself in an invincible position.

When its enemy has committed an error, it does not miss the opportunity to defeat its enemy, for example the Scarborough Shoal standoff.

The Philippines and China are friends before the Scarborough standoff. There had been disputes that could be resolved through bilateral friendly discussion. However, when the US wanted to encircle China by its pivot to Asia, the Philippines exploited the pivot to resolve the dispute by force, believing that it had US military support in doing so.

It first sent its navy to round up 8 Chinese fishing vessels on April 8, 2012 in order to have exclusive fishing right at Scarborough Shoal. China responded with its much stronger coast guard fleet and navy to exercise instead its exclusive fishing right and administration of the shoal. The US did not come out to support the Philippines.

Second blunder: Philippines shot at a Taiwanese fishing boat and killed its captain on the ground that the fishing boat entered its territorial waters.

Consequence: The Philippines had to apologize and pay compensation. China gradually intensified its patrol due to the incident as it regards Taiwan as a part of it.

Third blunder: It arrested the crew of a Chinese fishing boat for entry into its waters and catching endangered sea tortoises. China claimed that they were within Chinese waters. In fact, they were in disputed waters claimed by both China and the Philippines. In the past, the fishermen were treated leniently and released after some light punishment. This time, to display its hardline attitude, the Philippines punished the fishermen harshly.

The consequence: China has intensified its patrol in the disputed waters and scared Philippine fishermen.

Fourth blunder: When the Philippines found China is building artificial islands on some islands and reefs claimed by it. It responded not by warning China that what China has built on its islands will be confiscated by it. On the contrary, it made joint efforts with the US to force China to stop the construction. However, instead of demanding China ceasing construction on the islands claimed by it. It wants cessation of construction on all islands and reefs no matter whether the construction is conducted on the islands by legitimate owner or not.

Consequence: It gives the impression that the Philippines does not think that its claim is strongly founded; therefore, it has to tell China to stop construction even if China believes China is the legitimate owner of the islands.

Fifth blunder: Philippines’ claim is based on United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea while China’s is based on history. Now, the Philippines tries to prove that China has no historical ground for its claim. Does the Philippines hold that historical ground prevails over the ground of UN Convention. If so, China has at least an official map dated as early as 1947 to prove its claim. What earlier official map does the Philippines have to prove its claim?

Consequence: The Philippines gives the impression that China’s historical ground on its claim is better than Philippines’ on UN Convention. That is contradictory to its efforts to obtain UN arbitration award in favor of its claim.

Personally, I believe both history and UN Convention are good grounds so that China and the Philippines shall share the natural resources in the disputed waters. It seems China is willing to share the resources to avoid conflict and war so that it has recently eased the tension with Vietnam.

However, as out of selfish interests, the Philippines wants to pit the US against China at the risk of a war between the two superpowers that may lead to a nuclear world war, I hope that China will punish the Philippines by allowing it to have no share at all.

When China has developed enough satisfactory anti-ship ballistic and cruise missiles for saturate attack of US aircraft carrier battle groups not far from its coast, it realized that the US may retaliate with nuclear weapons if it sinks even one US aircraft carrier. China showcased its second-strike strategic nuclear submarines as deterrence.

The US was suddenly aware that it has been unable to detect China’s third-generation nuclear submarines while China is now testing its fourth-generation super quiet and fast strategic nuclear submarine. That was why the US sent its best anti-submarine reconnaissance aircraft close to China’s submarine base in Hainan Province to monitor China’s submarines. China sent its fighter jet to intercept the aircraft with dangerous maneuvers to prevent the US from detecting its secret.

Philippines’ provision of its military base to the US is useless for the resolution of the maritime territorial dispute in the South China Sea, but the presence of US military has caused or provided China with the excuse to build military bases on the reefs there.

Both Australia and the Philippines are within the range of the intermediate ballistic missiles deployed on the military bases China is building there. The US is restricted by a treaty with Russia not to make or deploy intermediate ballistic missiles while missile defense systems are much more expensive than the missiles. The Philippines has thus exposed itself to the attack of China’s intermediate ballistic missiles.

China may not deploy such missiles there now, but due to China’s Beidou global positioning guidance system, China can set the coordinates of the missiles’ targets beforehand. It then takes only hours for China to send the missiles there by ground effect vehicles like the Caspian Monster.

China has lots of such missiles, which may paralyze the Philippines overnight with conventional warheads if they hit airports, power and railway stations, bridges, docks, ships, ferries, etc.

That is the Philippines’ another blunder.

By the way, there are a small number of Australian politicians who join the Philippines in opposing China though Australia is not a party to the dispute. They seem happy to see the tension but do not have the vision that the tension may cause China to build military bases in the South China Sea that may threaten Australia’s security.

Unlike this blogger who wants tension to be eased by sharing benefits and peace and the status quo maintained, there are stupid politicians who are happy to see tension and even war between China and the US.

The following is the full text of Reuters report on Philippines’ stupid efforts to use history to support its claim:

Philippines displays ancient maps to debunk China’s sea claims

By Manuel Mogato
MANILA Thu Sep 11, 2014 7:56am EDT

(Reuters) – The Philippines on Thursday put on display dozens of ancient maps which officials said showed that China’s territorial claims over the South China Sea did not include a disputed shoal at the centre of an acrimonious standoff.

The Philippines is in dispute with China over parts of the South China Sea, including the Scarborough Shoal, an area believed to be rich in oil and natural gas as well as fisheries resources.

China seized control of the shoal in June 2012 and has prevented Philippine fishermen from getting close to the rocky outcrop, a rich fishing ground.

Philippine officials said the exhibition of old maps at a university showed that for almost 1,000 years, from the Song Dynasty in the year 960 until the end of the Qing Dynasty early in the 20th century, China’s southernmost territory was always Hainan island, just off the Chinese coast.

“We should respect historical facts, not historical lies,” said Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, who has done extensive research on the territorial disputes.

The facts were graphically illustrated on the ancient maps, both official and unofficial, he said.

Carpio said the exhibition could be viewed online and it would help everyone in all claimant states understand the facts, “either to restrain extreme nationalism fuelled by historical lies or give hope to a just and durable settlement of disputes”.

China claims nearly the entire South China Sea.

But Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan also have claims in the sea, which is traversed each year by ship-borne trade worth about $5 trillion.

Exhibition organisers said the Scarborough Shoal never appeared in any old Chinese maps. But on numerous ancient maps made by foreigners and Filipinos, from as early as 1636, the rocky outcrop was consistently shown to be Philippine territory.

Carpio, in an earlier lecture, said the shoal was also used as a naval gunnery range by U.S. and Philippine armed forces from the 1960s to the 1980s, and neither China nor any other country protested against the bombing practice.

In June, China unveiled a new official map of the country, giving greater play to its claims on the South China Sea.

The Philippines, a close U.S. ally, has brought a case to the U.N. arbitral court in The Hague, seeking clarification on its entitlements under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.

China has refused to take part in the arbitration. A ruling is expected late next year.

(Editing by Robert Birsel)

Source: Reuters “Philippines displays ancient maps to debunk China’s sea claims”

Related posts at

  • China Intensifying Patrol of Its Disputed Sea Areas with the Philippines dated August 21, 2014
  • China Exploited Philippine Error to Expand Area of Its Patrol dated August 16, 2014
  • Philippines Gives Hefty Jail Terms to 12 Chinese Fishermen dated August 6, 2014
  • Satellites and seafood: China keeps fishing fleet connected in disputed waters dated July 29, 2014
  • South China Sea Disputes: US Pivot to Asia Has Zero Effect dated February 19, 2014
  • South China Sea Dispute: Lucky China; Unlucky the Philippines dated June 21, 2013

China Will Beat the US due to Obama’s Poor Strategy and Diplomacy

In my post “China the Biggest Winner in US-Russian Confrontation” yesterday, I viewed Obama’s poor and China’s successful diplomacies mainly from a Chinese perspective.

As a Chinese, I certainly am happy to see China grow rich and strong and have the prospects to be the strongest in the world. However, as I have personally experienced Mao’s tyranny, I am profoundly worried about the disasters a tyranny like Mao’s may bring to the world if a tyrant like Mao rules the world when China becomes a dominant superpower in the world.

Turning China into a democracy is the best way out, but due to China’s long tradition of autocracy, China’s democratization will perhaps take several decades. Before China becomes a democracy, my only hope lies in a strong United States as a balance to China’s rising power. Therefore, the United States must not be defeated by China.

However, I am worried to see that US President Obama is adopting erroneous military strategy and diplomacy now to enable China to beat it. That is why I have written and am reviewing my new book Space Era Strategy; The Way China Beats the US. I hope that being aware of Obama’s failure, American people will elect a better president competent to meet the challenge of a rising China.

As a Chinese, I certainly follow China’s greatest strategist Sun Tzu’s teaching in his The Art of War:

Subduing the enemy by strategy is the best;
by diplomacy, next best;
by fighting in the field, third alternative;
by attacking cities, last resort.

U.S. Will Be Beaten First by Its Own Outdated Air-Sea Battle Strategy
There is nothing new in Air-Sea Battle. It was the strategy the US adopted in defeating Japan in the 1940s. Such an outdated strategy is certainly much inferior to China’s Strategy of Integrated Space & Air Capabilities in our space era. A hypersonic aerospace aircraft can destroy an entire aircraft carrier battle group within minutes with hypersonic missiles.

US space shuttles are aerospace aircrafts. With further development, the US is able to be the leader in that kind of weapon and make it much more difficult for China to catch up. However, the US is using most of its resources in maintaining air-sea superiority to control the air and sea and leave the space to China.

Spacecrafts require much higher speed and accuracy. Mastery of such speed and accuracy will enable China to develop aerospace aircrafts and missiles at the speed of Mach 22 and higher. There is no defense against such missiles in weapons of Air-Sea Battle.

China Beats the US by Diplomacy in Establishing an Alliance with Russia
US talented politician and diplomat Henry Kissinger wants US-Chinese and US-Russian relations to be better than Sino-Russian relations. By improving US relations with China, Kissinger made the Soviet Union seek improvement of its relations with the West in earnest. As a result, the US gained advantages on both Soviet and Chinese sides.

Obama has got the contrary. His efforts to contain China by his pivot to Asia have driven China to Russia’s side.

Judging by U.S. tapping of German Chancellor Merkel’s mobile phone and U.S. espionage in Germany, Obama wants no allies. The US is the strongest in the world, but that does not mean it needs no allies.

When the State of Qin had become the strongest in China’s Warring States period (476 BC to 221 BC), it had the ambition to conquer all the six other major states and unify China. Its diplomacy was to ally with each of the six states and exploit their conflicts to select a weak one to attack jointly with other allies. That is referred to as Qin’s horizontal alliances in Chinese history.

Seeing that, the other six formed an alliance of six referred to as vertical alliance in Chinese history. They were able to jointly attack Qin but as each had its own different interests and as they lacked mutual trust, their alliance was broken by the tricks of Qin’s talented Prime Minister Zhang Yi.

Obama could have done just the same. When there was far from enough trust between Russia and China at the beginning of their alliance, Obama could refrain from putting pressure on China to ally with China to resolve the Syria issue. By so doing, he would have broken the alliance as it would have given Russian the impression that China was not trustworthy.

If Obama had resolved the Syria issue, he should have foreseen that Ukraine would have been the next major issue related to Russia as the pro-Russian and pro-West factions had been fighting against each other for quite a long time in Ukraine. Obama should have been aware he could have won China over to his side as China had lots of interests there. Ukraine had been China’s major source of military technologies including those related to aircraft carrier, aircraft engine, large transport aircraft, Zubr-class LCAC, etc.

Obama should have played the role as a mediator to take care of the interests of all the parties including EU, Russia and China, stressing that while he support Ukrainian people’s desire to have closer relations with the EU, he did not want the change to affect any third party.

Obama should have known that the US is unable to resolve all problems at once. When he deals with Russia, he needs China’s assistance while when he deals with China, he shall have Russia’s assistance.

It is possible for the US to do so as China is afraid of Russia due to its memory of the threat of Russia’s predecessor the Soviet Union while Russia worries about China’s rise as it is uncertain whether China will become a threat to Russia’s security.

In fact when China has build up enough military strength to constitute a threat to its neighbors, all its neighbors will worry about China’s rise. There is no need for US pivot to Asia. The US needs only to establish horizontal alliance with each of China’s neighbors, including Russia, Japan, India, South Korea and ASEAN.

The lack of trust among them and the conflict of Japan respectively with Russia, China and South Korea are precisely what the US can exploit to make US relations with each of them closer than the relations between each pair of them. That is Kissinger’s strategy Obama should have learned.

Relates posts:

  • China the Biggest Winner in US-Russian Confrontation dated August 7, 2014
  • Obama Strengthening Russian-Chinese Ties dated August 4, 2014