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Hearing on “China's Views of Sovereignty and Methods of Access Control”, Feb. 27, 2008

February 27, 2008

February 27, 2008
Room 562, Dirksen Senate Office Building
First Street and Constitution Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20510


Opening Statement of Carolyn Bartholomew, Vice Chairman

Good morning and welcome to the second hearing of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2008 reporting cycle.  We are pleased that you could join us.  I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of you, and I thank you for your interest in the Commission’s work.

At today’s hearing, we will be exploring the concepts of sovereignty that are advanced by the Chinese government. In some circumstances these concepts are at odds with interpretations of international law as understood by the United States, and  also play a role in conflicting territorial claims between China and some of its neighbors in Asia. Furthermore, the continuing advances in outer space exploration and use and in use of cyberspace raise questions regarding how sovereignty is defined in these critical realms of economic and information exchange and what are the rights of lawful international access. We hope that this hearing will add to the public dialogue on these issues, which I am confident will assume ever greater importance in the months and years ahead.

Throughout the day today, we will be hearing testimony from distinguished members of the academic and public policy research communities, who will contribute their views and insights regarding the positions of the U.S. and Chinese governments on issues of national sovereignty and access to the global commons. A thorough understanding of these issues will be of tremendous importance in the future of U.S.-China relations, and we hope that this hearing will assist the public and policy-making community in coming to better informed judgments on these complex and difficult issues.

The co-chairs of this hearing will be Commissioners Mark Esper and Jeffrey Fiedler. I would now like to turn the microphone over to Commissioner Fiedler for his opening remarks

Opening Statement of Mark Esper, Commissioner

I would like to welcome everyone to today’s hearing.  I am pleased to be serving as a co-chair for this hearing, along with my colleague, Commissioner Jeff Fiedler.

As mentioned earlier, today we will be examining China’s views of sovereignty and the methods China is capable of employing to ensure that what it views as its sovereignty is protected.  For the last ten years, China’s defense spending has increased at a rate of over ten percent per year.  The Chinese defense budget increased more than 17 percent in 2007, increasing the pace of its military modernization.  Fielding more capable naval weapon systems has increased China’s ability to protect sovereignty and control access on its periphery.  Its recent demonstration of an anti-satellite weapon has shown that China now possesses the ability to engage and destroy targets in space.

Yet, even with China’s numerous recent military achievements, we should not restrict our analysis of its ability to protect what it views as its sovereignty to military capabilities, for China appears to be taking a much broader approach to these issues.  We also look forward to our panelists helping us explore non-military means of enforcing sovereignty claims.  At the same time China has been growing militarily and economically, it has also been taking a more active role in the development of regional and international norms and laws regarding sovereignty.  This approach will be discussed today as well.

Some excellent witnesses have agreed to appear before us today.  I look forward to the insights they will provide this commission on these issues, and I would like to thank them for being here.

I’ll now turn it over to my co-chair, Commissioner Jeff Fiedler, for his opening remarks.

Opening Statement of Jeffrey Fiedler, Commissioner 

Thank you.  The Commission’s mandate from Congress requires us to closely monitor the economic and security dimensions of the U.S-China relationship.  I’m pleased to co-chair this hearing on China’s views of sovereignty and methods of access control, which have significant implications for U.S. interests around the world and for international peace and security.

The purpose of this hearing is to assess China’s views of sovereignty, to examine China’s access controls of both a military and a non-military nature, and to determine the impact of those access controls on U.S. national security.  As China’s economic power grows along with its political influence in global affairs, clearly understanding how Chinese views on sovereignty diverge with the views of the United States as well as the views of the broader international community is vital to our efforts to avoid potential conflict not just in Asia around the globe.  With China’s continued military development and expanding global reach, it is vital that the United States play a positive role in encouraging China’s compliance with international standards and its cooperation in global security efforts.

Additionally, this hearing is an opportunity to consider what the United States can do to encourage China to more fully and vigorously implement its commitments.  I look forward to the testimony of our expert witnesses and to the recommendations that they may provide for consideration by the Commission.  Thank you again for participating in the hearing and we’ll begin with our first panel.

Panel I: Congressional Perspectives
Senator Bill Nelson

Panel II:  Chinese Views of Sovereignty
Dr. Allen R. Carlson, Professor of Political Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (HTML) (PDF)
Dr. June Teufel Dreyer, Professor of Political Sciences, University of Miami School of Business Administration, Coral Gables, FL
Panel III: Chinese Methods of Advancing Sovereignty by Non-military Means
Dr. Robert G. Sutter, Professor of Asian Studies, Georgetown University, Washington, DC

Panel IV:  Chinese Methods of Advancing Sovereignty by Military Means
Mr. Peter Dutton, Esquire and Associate Professor of Strategic Studies, Naval War College, Newport, RI
LTC (retired) Roy D. Kamphausen, Vice President of Political and Security Affairs, National Bureau of Asian Research, Washington, DC

Panel V:  Chinese Views of Sovereignty in Space and Cyberspace
Mr. Philip A. Meek, Esquire and Associate General Counsel of International Affairs, Air Force General Counsel’s Office, Washington, DC
Mr. James A. Lewis, Senior Fellow, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC