Lukewarm Partner: Chinese Support for U.S. Counter-Terrorism in Southeast Asia   [open pdf - 93KB]

"Although Beijing in principle supports U.S. efforts to thwart international terrorist activities, Chinese leaders and analysts believe the Bush Administration has defined the war on terrorism (WOT) too broadly and simplistically. Chinese observers commonly object to some aspects of American prosecution of the WOT, arguing that it sometimes serves as a cloak for the pursuit of narrow U.S. interests and that Washington has shown insufficient consideration for the views and concerns of other countries. Beijing nevertheless sees cooperation with the USA against terror groups as a means of gaining international support for China's own counter-terrorism (CT) effort as well as a way of enhancing trust and cooperation with the United States. The Chinese have mixed feelings about U.S. CT efforts in Southeast Asia. On one hand, they welcome the suppression of terrorist activities and havens in this region, which is economically important to China and straddles sealanes on which China is increasingly dependent. On the other hand, China worries that the USA will take advantage of CT engagement with Southeast Asia to attempt to weaken that region's relationships with the Chinese. Informed Chinese observers are doubtful that U.S. CT activities in Southeast Asia will succeed. They point out that Islam has deep roots in the sub-region and that CT activities may have the reverse effect of increasing resentment toward the United States. China is willing to carry out a wide range of measures inside China to deny support to terrorist groups. The Chinese government welcomes many forms of cooperation with U.S. authorities. China participates in the Container Security Initiative and has allowed the FBI to open an office in China. The Chinese remain suspicious, however, that U.S. CT operatives inside China would conduct anti-China espionage. Furthermore, China's support for U.S.-led sanctions or military operations against terrorist havens within the region is uncertain."

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