Examination of Witnesses (Questions 138-139)|
22 MARCH 2006
Q138 Chairman: Good afternoon everybody.
I would like to welcome our witnesses this afternoon. We are going
to have three witnesses but I think one is delayed, so we will
start with two and go from there. When you respond could you introduce
yourselves for the record, Dr Fell and Dr Swenson-Wright. Thank
you for coming. Can I begin by asking you about the politics of
security in the East Asian region. The United States has played
a significant role for over 50 years in the security of that region.
How do you feel that that will be maintained or changed in coming
years, and, with the rise of China and other changes in the region,
how do you think that will be developed in the future?
Dr Swenson-Wright: First of all,
may I say thank you for inviting me to address the Committee.
It is a great pleasure to be here.
Q139 Chairman: Could you introduce
yourself as well, please?
Dr Swenson-Wright: Yes; John Swenson-Wright,
University of Cambridge. I think, if we are trying to assess America's
role in the region, it is clear from recent policy announcements,
most strikingly the National Security Strategy that was published
in February, that the United States remains committed. It sees
itself as a Pacific power. It sees itself tied to the region,
partly because of the obvious economic interest the country has
in East Asia. It is concerned over the rising security threats
of China and North Korea and, as the National Security Strategy
makes clear, the Bush administration remains committed to the
active promotion of democracy which reinforces its commitment
to staying in the region. As you probably also know, the American
administration has drafted a new security doctrine, the Global
Force Posture Review, and we see in that, from a military point
of view certainly, a commitment on the part of the United States
to maintain a flexible presence within the region, albeit a reduced
one; so one should not view the build down of military forces,
whether from the Korean peninsular or the reallocation of forces
from Japan to Guam, as a sign of diminishing commitment. Far from
it, I see it much more as a re-emphasis of America's commitment
to stay within the region in a fashion that allows it to exert
maximum flexibility; a strategy based on a hub and spokes approach
involving the use of both bilateral and multilateral alliances,
which some people have criticised for lacking an integrated strategy,
but, nonetheless, gives the United States the opportunity to build
"coalitions of the willing" with some of its key allies,
most notably Japan, emphasising the importance of flexibility;
and, as we have seen from the recent meeting between Secretary
of State Rice and her Japanese and Australian counterparts in
Canberra recently, the United States is looking to develop new
partnerships within the region to meet the challenge and the threats
posed by China and other countries.
Dr Fell: I am Dafydd Fell. I am
a Research Fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies.
My main research area is the domestic politics and external politics
of Taiwan; so I am essentially qualified to speak on areas related
to Taiwan. I have not done an awful lot of work on the external
relations, particularly US/Chinese relations, but I can talk a
little bit about the Taiwanese point of view on this issue which
generally is quite distinct from many other East Asian countries.
Taiwan tends to take a rather positive view of the US role in
East Asian security. Taiwan was one of the few countries that
was quite supportive of the US role in Iraq, and Taiwan naturally
is supportive of the US presence in East Asia. We do not see the
same kind of anti-American public opinion that has been growing
in both South Korea and Japan in Taiwan. Again, anti-American
feeling is very, very marginal in the Taiwan case.