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Derrick Maestas

Hist 1700
ePortfolio Paper

In the aftermath of World War 2 the Chinese civil war raged for another five years
between communist and nationalist Chinese forces. The war would end on May 1, 1950 with a
communist victory over the nationalist Chinese. This would lead to the founding of the
communist Peoples Republic of China and over twenty-two years of isolation, and silence
between China and the United States. President Nixon in February of 1972 made a formal visit to
China which can be seen as the start of modern day diplomatic relations between the two
countries. (Nixon) However despite over forty-five years of foreign relations with one another,
the history of the Sino-American relationship has been plagued by open warfare, military
buildup, and rising political tensions that span from Chinas founding to modern day. Be it
involvement with enemy nations of the United States, hostile relations with US allies, or the
rapid buildup of Chinese military assets the atmosphere between the two nations are generally
dangerous and mistrustful.

History shows that China has had a hand in military intervention in enemy nations of the
United States since the beginning of US relations with China. This can be seen with the Chinese
military intervention in the Vietnam war in the 1950s and 60s. Before the Vietnam war China
was already giving aid to the North in their attempts to defeat the French forces there and claim
independence which would then establish a communist government which would help serve
Chinese interests. (China in Vietnam) With the outbreak of fighting between North Vietnam and
the American backed South Vietnam, economic and military aid from China increased. (China in
Vietnam) Today it is known that China sent 320,000 troops and spent over 20 Billion in support
of the North in the Vietnam war. (China admits Combat) The start of US relations with China
and president Nixons trip to China in 1972 was in part based on military interest with the US
wanting China to stop supplying North Vietnam. (Nixon)

Another example of Chinese military intervention is their support of North Korea both in
the Korean war and now. On June 25, 1950 the communist North Korea with military aid from
China invaded the American backed South Korea. The Chinese government supported North
Korea on ideological grounds as well as to act as a valuable buffer state between it and what is
seen as hostile forces. (Farley) This led to intense fighting with US and Chinese forces coming
into direct combat with one another and the loss of life on both sides. (Farley) Although an
armistice was signed in 1953 the war technically never ended and continues to be a matter of
concern for both the United States and China today. (Farley) An example of this would be the
continued threats issued by the North Korean government toward the United States backed by
their sole major ally China, who in turn seems unwilling to continually pressure North Korea on
the abandonment of their nuclear weapon program.
Along with aiding enemy nations of the United States China has also been involved more
directly with American allied nations in which rising tensions are common. After the defeat of
the nationalist Chinese forces in the Chinese civil war, the remaining troops and government
retreated to the island of Taiwan off the main Chinese mainland. (Taiwan) There they set up the
Republic of China in 1950 with UN and western recognition as the legitimate government of
China opposed to the new communist regime. (Taiwan) This remained until 1971 in which the
UN recognized mainland China as the sole government which was opposed by the US. Over the
years Sino-Taiwanese relations have been rocky with China claiming that it is willing to use
force if necessary to reunite Taiwan under the communist government. Currently the United
States under the Taiwan Relations Act are committed to Taiwan security as well as the sale of
weapons totaling 46 Billion to Taiwan since 1990. (China-Taiwan) This has led to friction
between the United States and China with China going so far as to deploy missiles along the
Taiwanese straight preparing for potential conflict with Taiwan and the United States in the
event of war. (China-Taiwan)

Along with Taiwan Japan is another ally that has poor relations with China. Since the end
of World War 2 which resulted in the defeat of Imperial Japan and their retreat from mainland
China, relations between the two nations have been brittle and hard fought. (Sino-Japanese)
Currently a major concern now is the ownership of the Senkaku islands in the East China Sea.
Both China and Japan lay claim to the islands in which they are close to shipping lanes, has
potential undersea oil reserves, and has rich fishing areas which makes them valuable to both
nations. (Henderson) China has recently pushed its claim on the islands with military force with
their being maritime and Ariel incursions made by the Chinese military in disputed waters, an act
Japan says jeopardizes peace. (Henderson) While China accuses Japanese involvement in the
area of trying to reestablish the empire of Japan and a return to militarism. With the Japanese
government being a major American ally and with the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and
Security between the United States and Japan. Chinas show of military force creates an
undesirable situation between the US and its allies. (Henderson)

With contested land and waters in the South China Sea becoming a topic of fierce debate
and the relationship between the US and its allies strained China has begun to modernize and
increase their military capabilities. In this regard they have begun to manufacture man made
islands to strengthen their position in the area. (South China Sea) This has led to an outcry from
the US and other nations as this area is heavily disputed and gives China an area for expanded
military operations in what is regarded as international waters. (South China Sea) While
currently too small to support large military units sea ports, airfields, and mobile artillery
vehicles have been seen in the area and under construction. (South China Sea) This would allow
China to have more control over the area and its strategic resources, while also acting as a buffer
to the Chinese mainland in case open conflict was to occur. (South China Sea)

Along with the creation of islands another major example of Chinas military expansion
would be the increase and technological development of Chinas nuclear weapon program. China
has through the years kept a relatively small nuclear arsenal acting as a deterrent to aggression
against them. However, it can be seen that they are currently expanding and modernizing their
nuclear capability, with the creation of five new ballistic missile submarines capable of carrying
around twenty-five percent of Chinas current nuclear arsenal. (Keck) Furthermore the research
and development of more land based firing systems, along with the planned development of the
next generation of submarines, demand an increase in nuclear weapons to keep up with the
carrying capacity and technology of the new systems to maximize their effectiveness. (Keck)

As can be seen since president Nixons first visit to China opening the doors for
diplomatic relations, the Sino-American relationship with China has been under the shadow of
military force and extensive military buildup. Weather in involvement with enemy nations of the
United States both past and present, clashes with foreign nations over political ideologies and
territorial expansion where the use of force silently hangs in the background, or the rapid buildup
of military assets and weapons. The US relationship with China continues to breed an
atmosphere of hostility and paranoia between the two nations with the wonder if war will ever
once again break out between the two and their allies.
REFLECTION QUESTION:

How have these events shaped your perception about your surroundings and the world in which
you live? What other courses have contributed to your experience in this course and the
assignment?

The issue of Chinese military relations has shaped my perception of my surroundings by


giving me an uneasiness when I hear about rising tension between China and the US. Especially
when it comes to threats of military action in response to one anothers actions. My own
grandfather had fought in the Korean war and battled the Chinese forces there which for me
makes our bloody history with China more apparent or real in regards to perhaps other people
my age as it makes me wonder what it would take to start the fighting once again. Also being
that China has a large and modern army it would be a devastating war in which I predict
causalities of both sides could well be in the millions especially if nuclear weapons are used.

Other courses that have contributed to my experience in this course and assignment are of
course English classes in both high school and college, where the five paragraph essay which is
my go to format to write having been branded into my brain from the numerous papers of high
school and college. Also all those papers gave me experience in researching material for my
paper and making sure that they came from a credible source.

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Citations

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in-vietnam-war/6b9cb8a4-4d18-48bf-80d2-bea80f64057c/?utm_term=.53905faf4dd1

China-Taiwan Relations. (n.d.). Retrieved December 10, 2017, from


https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/chintaiwan-relations

Farley, R., Carafano, J. J., Easton, I., Ottolenghi, E., & Maltz, D. (2014, October 29). Deadly
Lessons: The Last Time China and America Went to War. Retrieved December 10, 2017, from
http://nationalinterest.org/feature/deadly-lessons-the-last-time-china-america-went-war-11558

Henderson, B. (2014, November 10). Why do Japan and China have such a frosty relationship?
Retrieved December 10, 2017, from
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/11221248/Why-do-Japan-and-China-
have-such-a-frosty-relationship.html

Keck, Z., Carafano, J. J., Easton, I., Ottolenghi, E., & Maltz, D. (n.d.). The Big China Nuclear
Threat No One Is Talking About. Retrieved December 11, 2017, from
http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/the-big-china-nuclear-threat-no-one-talking-about-
20983

Nixon arrives in China for talks. (n.d.). Retrieved December 10, 2017, from
http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/nixon-arrives-in-china-for-talks

Taiwan profile - Timeline. (2017, June 14). Retrieved December 10, 2017, from
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-16178545

The future of Sino-Japanese relations. (2017, September 09). Retrieved December 10, 2017,
from https://www.economist.com/news/books-and-arts/21728605-asias-reckoning-analyses-
long-standing-regional-rivalry-future-sino-japanese

What China Has Been Building in the South China Sea. (2015, July 31). Retrieved December 11,
2017, from https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/07/30/world/asia/what-china-has-been-
building-in-the-south-china-sea.html