Statements in the evolving US rhetoric on the Chinese ADIZ

This post contains raw text of policy-relevant statements by the U.S. government about the Chinese air defense identification zone announcement in late November. The statements are edited excerpted by me and have been compiled from numerous sources.

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Key documents on Biden's trip to Asia (in progress)

This is a collection of U.S. government releases and other key documents on Vice President Biden’s trip to Japan, China, and South Korea this week. I will try to update it as more documents emerge. These are in close to chronological order, though I don’t guarantee I got all the timezone conversions right. Please e-mail or comment if I’m missing anything big.

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Quoted by AFP on Biden visit, and a pic of his motorcade

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's motorcade drives west for his meetings with President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Dec. 4, 2013. (Photo: Graham Webster)

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s motorcade drives west for his meetings with President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Dec. 4, 2013. (Photo: Graham Webster)

[Cross-posted from]

As U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visits East Asia, a lot of the media focus has centered around the recent Chinese announcement of an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea, a move apparently directed at Japan and the two countries’ territorial dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. In an AFP story yesterday by Carol Huang, I am quoted cautioning that this long-planned Biden visit is not just about the most recent flare up.

Biden and Chinese leaders — he is also expected to meet Xi and Premier Li Keqiang — were unlikely to let ADIZ friction derail broader efforts to strengthen relations, said Graham Webster, a Beijing-based fellow at the Yale Law School China Centre specialising in US-Chinese ties.

“I don’t think it will be the main topic of conversation on this trip despite the recent news,” he said.

The overarching goal from such senior meetings was “about continuing the spirit of high-level cooperation and bilateral work in the common interest”, he added. [Full Story]

I was also an attendee at the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP) conference in Beijing this week (where Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said alliances in the Asia-Pacific—implying the U.S. hub-and-spoke relationships with Japan, South Korea, the Philippines,  Australia, etc.—are “an outdated concept in international relations”).

On the way out of the conference, I noticed a police presence that was, it turned out, preparing for Biden himself to cruise by (above).

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Required reading on U.S.–China relations – Week of 2013-11-11

  • A U.S. military strategy more limited than ‘Air-Sea Battle’ would be cheaper and sufficient to face potential conflict with China, argues William Yale at The Diplomat.
    Patterns of analysis, namely game theory and the Net Assessment process, have led to unhelpful assumptions, Yale writes. Running under the surface of this argument is the power of military interests to drive strategy when broad-stroke decisions go un-examined by civilian leaders.
    “In planning for the China scenario, the U.S. should be focusing on acquiring weapon systems that have low-visibility, low-escalation potential, high-survivability, and high-deterrence value, which would allow the U.S. military to conduct a blockade (lower-end surface combatants sitting outside of China’s reach) and deny the PLA Navy the ability to sail in their neighborhood (Virginia-class submarines).”
  • The United States and China might be at greater risk of military conflict now compared to if they were Cold War-style adversaries, argues Avery Goldstein in Foreign Affairs.
    The risk of conflict is low, but in a conflict, the risk of escalation is currently high, Goldstein argues, recommending use of the U.S.–China hotline as intended and increased mil-mil exchanges.
    “It is true that China and the United States are not currently adversaries — certainly not in the way that the Soviet Union and the United States were during the Cold War. But the risk of a U.S.-Chinese crisis might actually be greater than it would be if Beijing and Washington were locked in a zero-sum, life-and-death struggle. As armed adversaries on hair-trigger alert, the Soviet Union and the United States understood that their fundamentally opposed interests might bring about a war. After going through several nerve-racking confrontations over Berlin and Cuba, they gained an understanding of each other’s vital interests — not to be challenged without risking a crisis — and developed mechanisms to avoid escalation. China and the United States have yet to reach a similar shared understanding about vital interests or to develop reliable means for crisis management.”
  • A translation of the purported full text of the Communist Party internal “Document 9″ from April on managing the ideological sphere was published by the Asia Society’s ChinaFile.
    This document targets incorrect views supposedly promoted by those abroad and those who question Communist Party rule, including the virtue of constitutional governance, free press, civil society, and on the other hand anti-reform voices. The full text fits many recent reports of “crackdowns” on diverse viewpoints.
    “These mistaken views and ideas exist in great numbers in overseas media and reactionary publications. They penetrate China through the Internet and underground channels and they are disseminated on domestic Internet forums, blogs, and microblogs, They also appear in public lectures, seminars, university classrooms, class discussion forums, civilian study groups, and individual publications. If we allow any of these ideas to spread, they will disturb people’s existing consensus on important issues like which flag to raise, which road to take, which goals to pursue, etc., and this will disrupt our nation’s stable progress on reform and development.”
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Full text: Speech by Minister Cai Mingzhao at #cybersummit2013, Nov. 5, 2013

The EastWest Institute released the full text of State Council Information Office Minister Cai Mingzhao’s speech this morning at Stanford. The following text was produced by optical character recognition based on the English-language PDF original. The Chinese version is available in PDF here.

Making Joint Efforts to Maintain Cyber Security

Keynote speech at the Fourth World Cyberspace Cooperation Summit
Cai Mingzhao
Minister of the State Council Information Office of China
November 5, 2013, Stanford University

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

First of all, I would like to thank the EastWest Institute for inviting me to this summit, and giving me the opportunity to visit the beautiful campus of Stanford University. Today, I would like to share two of my aspirations with you. The first is that the Chinese people should have a safe and reliable cyberspace that provides them with positive energy as they strive to achieve their dreams. The second is that participants to this summit can reach a consensus on how to deal with the many challenges to cyber security and, through our joint efforts, make new progress in promoting international cooperation on this vital issue.

China first accessed the Internet on April 20, 1994 via facilities based in the United States. Ever since then, the Chinese people have derived enormous. benefit from the Internet. There are more than 600 million Internet users in China today and the Internet has becorne indispensable in people’s work, study and everyday life. Popular access to the Internet has played a significant role in China’s reform and opening up efforts and helped to build and strengthen the connections between China and the rest of the world.

The Chinese government has been working hard to enhance Internet development by devising appropriate policies and providing a favorable market environment and a sound legal framework. We see the Internet as a major driving force that is helping to transform our development pattern and adjust our economic structure. Just recently, the government issued a policy designating information consumption as a major focus of the campaign to boost domestic demand. We will further improve the Internet infrastructure, pursue the “Broadband China” project, and try to achieve an annual 30-percent increase in new-type information consumption.

The development of the Internet in China is very encouraging. Internet-based IT businesses have become a pillar of the economy, contributing 10 percent of China’s GDP. In 2012, the value of e-business transactions carried out in China reached US$1.4 trillion. New web applications are being launched all the time. More than 80 percent of Chinese Internet users use social networking services. Chinese citizens have opened nearly 1.3 billion micro-blog accounts. The mobile Internet, cloud computing, big data, the Internet of Things and other cutting-edge ideas are encouraging innovation and providing huge business opportunities.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

The Chinese government has always placed great emphasis on cyber security. Maintaining cyber security is an important part of China’s national strategy and is high on the government agenda. We always believe that while development is the ultimate goal, security is the guarantee of achieving that goal. Without a secure environment, development will be weak and transient.

China faces serious cyber threats. Between January and August this year, more than 20,000 websites based in China were modified by hackers and more than 8 million servers, 14 percent more than during the same period last year, were compromised and controlled by overseas computers via zombie and Trojan programs. These activities have caused severe damage to our economy and the everyday life of the people. More than 80 percent of Chinese Internet users have fallen victim to cyber attacks at some time or other. The annual economic losses run to tens of billions of US .dollars a year. Cyber crimes, especially Internet fraud, are on the rise year by year and the Internet is increasingly associated with illegal and criminal behaviors. Illegal and harmful materials such as online pornography are affecting young people and have become an issue of great concern to the public.

China supports various efforts to maintain cyber security. Like many other developing countries, China faces greater cyber security challenges than developed countries. As a result, we are very keen to continue working together with other countries to maintain cyber security. We are ready to expand our cooperation with other countries and relevant international organizations on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.

To maintain cyber security, we need to show respect for national sovereignty over cyberspace. The Internet is global, but at the same time it belongs to different countries. Sovereign states have primary responsibility for maintaining order in cyberspace. It thus follows that respect for national sovereignty over cyberspace is an important prerequisite for maintaining international cyber security. Given the differences in levels of economic development, cultural traditions, laws and regulations, each country naturally has its own concerns regarding cyber security. We should respect each country’s public policies on order and security in cyberspace.

To maintain cyber security, we need to build a robust legal system. Just as in the real world, activities in cyberspace need to be governed by law. Every country has a duty to contribute to the creation of a legal framework that will maintain cyber security, punish criminal activity, protect basic rights such as the right to privacy, and promote technological innovation and fair competition in the marketplace. All countries should protect their citizens’ rights to use the Internet in accordance with the law, and citizens should make use of the Internet according to law, because only on this basis can the international community establish order in cyberspace. If each country governs its cyberspace well, incidents that harm overall cyber security can be minimized. Although China has made positive efforts to improve its laws governing cyberspace, we recognize that we still have a long way to go. We want to enhance communication with other countries and learn from them how to build a legal system for cyberspace more scientific and more effective.

To maintain cyber security, we need to strengthen international cooperation. In cyberspace, all countries face the same problems and ultimately share the same fate. Cyber security should be built on the basis of coexistence and cooperation, as cooperation is the only way to achieve win-win solutions to shared problems. The international community should tackle difficulties and challenges together, strengthen communication and exchanges, improve mutual understanding, and jointly shoulder the responsibility for maintaining cyber security.

To strengthen international cooperation and safeguard cyber security; we should take action rather than to be content with empty talks. I, therefore, would like to put forward three proposals today.

Firstly, we should lay down international rules for behavior in cyberspace. We should first define some basic rules guiding behavior in cyberspace that can be observed by all countries. On this basis we should, step by step, create a fair and transparent mechanism for the governance of cyberspace. The definition of basic behavior rules would not only place restraints on all parties, but would also provide protection for the rights of all parties. The international community should, as soon as possible, begin discussions within the framework of the United Nations to promote the process of defining international behavior rules for cyberspace.

Secondly, we should explore effective means to tackle urgent problems. Cyber security involves a number of issues of common concern, such as cyber attacks, viruses and cyber terrorism, as well as issues of concern to specific parties, such as information security and cultural security. I suggest that we give full play to the role of the UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security, identify pressing problems in global security, explore ways and means to solve them, and make clear the direction of actions for all governments and parties concerned. We should start with the problems that are easiest to solve so as to accumulate practical experience that can be applied to more difficult issues in the future.

Thirdly, we should create communication channels to facilitate international cooperation. Dealing with cyber security often involves various government departments and social organizations. To handle problems more efficiently, each country should designate specific government departments or other institutions to establish mechanisms that can quickly respond to calls for international cooperation. This could serve as the substantive action for promoting international cooperation. The National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team Coordination Center of China (CNCERT) has established cooperative relations with 91 organizations in 51 countries and regions and has signed cyber security cooperation memoranda with 13 international organizations. From January to September 2013, the Center received and dealt with a total of 583 requests from international emergency response organizations and other cyber security related organizations. Among them, 106 requests were from the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team. We welcome friends from all over the world to cooperate with the Center.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

The United States and China are Internet giants. We share many common interests and there is enormous scope for cooperation. Our two countries have set up a working group on cyber security within the framework of the China-US Strategic Security Dialogue. We should make good use of this mechanism to carry on dialogue and negotiations on common concerns relating to cyber security so as to increase mutual understanding, keep our differences under control and expand cooperation.

We have already seen positive results from China-US cyber security cooperation. One example is the law enforcement cooperation between the police forces of our two countries. In June 2011, a joint US-China police operation cracked the world’s biggest Chinese-language pornographic website, the Sunshine Entertainment Alliance. A US-based culprit and 12 suspects located in China were arrested. Closing down the Sunshine Entertainment Alliance was a successful cooperation by Chinese and US law enforcement agencies targeting cross-border cyber crime. Cooperation between civil society organizations has also made substantial progress. Four years ago, I recommended to Mr. John Edwin Mroz four possible fields in which the EastWest Institute, the Internet Society of China and CNCERT could cooperate. My suggestion received a positive response from Mr. Mroz and our cooperation has yielded two results. The report, Fighting Spam to Build Trust, issued jointly by EWI and CNCERT in 2011, was a groundbreaking collaborative effort by 34 Chinese and American experts that followed two years of research and discussion. Another report, Frank Communication and Pragmatic Cooperation in Combating Harmful Hacking, to be made public during this summit, embodies the insights and reflections of Chinese and American cyber security experts. It represents another major contribution made by experts from both countries towards maintaining cyber security.

Experience teaches us that where there is action there will be results. Let us join hands to build a safer cyberspace with our wisdom and efforts.

Finally, I would like to wish the Fourth World Cyberspace Cooperation Summit every success.

Thank you all!

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Since 2006, Transpacifica has been a blog, and collection of resources on East Asian politics and international relations in the Asia-Pacific, with a special focus on China, Japan, and the United States. Transpacifica is edited and primarily written by Graham Webster, Research Scholar and Senior Fellow for U.S.–China Relations, Yale Law School China Center. Get in touch, or follow Graham on Twitter.