The New York Times reported today that China has promoted four military officers to top positions in the PLA. The thing that makes this news is all four have significant experience planning for war with Taiwan.
When it comes to military promotions in the upper ranks it is all about politics. That is true in most countries and certainly the case in China. Therefore, this group of promotions has a meaning and can be taken one of two ways:<br>
1. Beijing is sending a signal that they are taking Taiwanese independence very seriously and other countries should stay out of the way. Hmmm, pretty subtle. And I would think that the massive arms buildup across the Taiwan Straits would have already sent that signal.
2. Beijing is seriously preparing the PLA for a conflict in the near future and these promotions are a step toward staffing the top brass with the right people to wage a major war with Taiwan and possibly other countries if they try to intervene.
Many analysts say that Beijing will not risk a conflict before the 2008 Olympics because of the potential that other nations may boycott. I agree, but that is only a year away. Sounds like just about the right amount of time for these guys to settle in to their new jobs and make preparations for a good ol’ fashion island stompin’.