11 September and China : opportunities, challenges, and warfighting
Date of Issue2002
S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
This essay examines the Chinese perspectives on the implications of 11 September for US-China relations, and for fututre warfighting. On US-China relations, the essay shows two major Chinese views: the optimistic view which stresses post-11 September opportunities for better US-China relations and for Chinese gains, and the pessimistic view that places emphasis on post-11 September challenges for US-China relations, and the cost that China may have to pay. While the optimism is associated with China's economic, trade, and diplomatic bureaucracies and underlies China's support for the US war against terrorism, the pessimism is largely identified with China's national security bureaucracies and underwrites China's reservation, ambivalence and criticism regarding this war. On warfighting, this essay shows that the People's Liberations Army has learned several major lessons from 11 September: for the superior (US) side, information and capabilitiy dominance, enhanced role of special operations, and fusing old and new technologies; and for the inferior (Al Qaeda and Taliban) side, asymmetrical and unrestricted warfare. All these lessons have been integrated in the two major PLA warfighting scenarios: "superior fighting inferior," and "inferior fight superior."
RSIS Working Papers ; 032/02
Nanyang Technological University