Testimony on HB 3071 scheduled for hearing on 4/20/15 before the Oregon House Eduction Committee:
Chair Doherty and members of the House Education Committee,
I speak in support of HB 3071 and note that it is very similar to HB 3072. I urge the Department of Education and to take broad interpretation of the word "effectiveness" in the bill language: "SECTION 1 (1) The Department of Education shall evaluate methods to improve the effectiveness of the curriculum of the public schools of this state."
In particular, the Department of Education's evaluation should include asking and answering the following two questions:
Could Oregon increase its future economic development by teaching more of its students Mandarin and sending them to study abroad in China?
Could Oregon reduce the likelihood of war with China by teaching more of its students Mandarin and sending them to study abroad in China?
The 78th Legislative Assembly (2015 Session) has not yet in the House Education Committee or any of its other committees held even one hearing on what the economic and military rise of China means for Oregon. And surely the curriculum should support our national security, our safety and world peace. Surely the curriculum should include more Mandarin dual language immersion programs and high school study abroad programs in China.
The US Office of Naval Intelligence issued a report on the Chinese navy titled "The PLA Navy: New Capabilities and Missions for the 21s Century." The "Business Insider" summarizes the report in their article "China's strategy for establishing naval superiority in Asia is not going to make its neighbors happy" by Armin Rosen as follows (here):
China is playing a careful yet potentially dangerous strategic game in its immediate region.
On the one hand, Beijing wants to show that it's arrived as Asia's dominant superpower, and is putting its neighbors on notice by establishing military footholds in the South China Sea and even the Indian Ocean.
At the same time, China's leaders are an inherently cautious bunch who are strongly disinclined from taking downside-heavy geo-strategic risks. Its leaders want to prepare the region for the reality of Chinese hegemony, but without triggering crises that could prove fatal to China's internal stability or international prestige.
So China wants to expand its power in a way that leaves its neighbors unwilling to take it on. But that means building up a military presence in Vietnam, Japan, the Philippines and India's strategic backyard and even their claimed territorial waters. And these are countries deeply suspicious of Beijing's intentions to begin with.
A new report from the US Office of Naval Intelligence explains how China plans to use its navy in accomplishing this goal. Naval power is crucial to China's plans, as Beijing wants to exploit natural resources, protect shipping lanes, legitimize its vast maritime claims and counter growing Indian, Japanese, and American military power in the region — all without sparking an uncontrollable political or military escalation.
The answer is a modernized navy with the ability to operate outside of China's coastal waters.
"Over the long term, Beijing aspires to sustain naval missions far from China’s shores," the report concludes. China's People's Liberation Army—Navy (PLA(N)) wants a "greater percentage of the force consisting of ... modern combatants capable of blue water operations," so that the PLA(N) can have an "increasing capability to undertake missions far from China."
In 1987, a top PLA(N) commander was already talking about "offshore defense" — the idea that a powerful enough Chinese navy could enforce a stable regional security environment on Chinese terms, but without China having to provoke costly or risky conflicts.
The report includes this map, which gives an idea of how China hopes that a long-range navy can help protect its strategic "layers." (CDCM stands for Coastal Defense Cruise Missile, while an ASBM is an an ti-ship ballistic missile).
The inner yellow layer covers Chinese coastal defense forces, the orange line includes all disputed, resource-rich areas in the South China and East China seas; and the red line extends into critical shipping lanes and the Indian Ocean basin.
Overall, the PLA(N) is "evolving to meet a wide range of missions including conflict with Taiwan, enforcement of maritime claims, protection of economic interests, as well as counterpiracy and humanitarian missions."
And as part of these modernization efforts, it's developing weapons designed to reach qualitative parity with the region's other powerful navies. China realizes it can't just build a half-dozen super carriers to counter the US's presence in Asia (at least not any time soon). But it can develop anti-ship missiles with the ability to take down a carrier in a firefight and to quickly cover China's quantitative gap with the US — a possibility that's already worrying US military planners.
The ONI report also visualizes China's increasing anti-ship missile range. The HHQ is a type of Chinese-produced surface-to-air missile; as the report notes, China is building 6 HHQ-9-equipped destroyers with plans for additional vessels that can carry an "extended-range variant" of the HHQ-9.
China seeks to project naval power into both the Pacific and the Indian Oceans so that Japan, the Philippines, the US, and other emerging regional powers will have no choice but to accept problematic Chinese policies, like de-facto annexation of disputed islands and oil and natural gas fields in the South China and East China seas.
But there's no way China can eliminate all of its geo-strategic risk. There may be no way China can enhance its military presence into its neighbors backyards without taking on substantial risk.
The ONI report concludes that China wants its military to be even more present in its region than it already is. That will never be comforting to Beijing's neighbors, many of whom, like India, Japan, the Philippines, and Taiwan, are involved in ongoing territorial disputes with Beijing.
China may not want open conflict — but that doesn't mean its naval policy won't make conflict significantly more likely.
Over the lifetimes of the Oregon cohort of students that are now in kindergarten China's economic growth may grow China's economy to twice the size of the US economy. Consider the upgrading and growth of China's military now, as shown above, and then contemplate what China's military will be like when their economy is twice the size of the US economy. That is what today's Oregon kindergartners may confront. It would be useful if more than one percent spoke Mandarin and had spent time in China.
Thank you - Dave Porter, retired, SE Portland resident, representing only myself