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Archive for the ‘China’ Category

Too big to flail: US endorses Japanese brinksmanship on Senkaku/Diaoyu island dispute

Posted by Charles II on April 22, 2014

Justin McCurry, The Guardian:

Barack Obama is expected to offer guarded support for Japan in its bitter territorial dispute with China over a group of islands in the East China Sea, as Washington seeks to reassure its Asia-Pacific allies of its commitment to regional security in the face of an increasingly assertive China.

In a sign of how anxious Japan has become over potential threats to its thousands of outlying islands, it began its first military expansion in more than 40 years at the weekend, starting construction of a new base on the southern island of Yonaguni, which is located near the Senkakus.

In a move likely to cause alarm in Beijing, Obama is expected to reach an agreement with the Philippines on better access to the country’s airbases and ports for the US air force and navy, more than 20 years after the US closed its huge naval base in Subic Bay.

Obama’s visit to South Korea will centre on security ties….

In Malaysia, where Obama will be the first sitting US president to visit since Lyndon Johnson in 1966, Obama will attempt to strengthen ties with the leadership despite concerns over its treatment of opposition politicians.

Now, I think that Japan and China should agree to let these islands be a world property, whose resources will be used to make whole those impacted by global warming. Both should have a right of free commercial passage through the area, and make an agreement that there would be no military vessels except in response to outside intervention (by, say, pirates). That would be a slight irritant to China, which doesn’t want to have any restrictions on its military movements, but it would demonstrate good faith. But that is not what is happening. Japan is forward positioning its military and the US is lining up with Japan. This will go a long way toward helping re-form the ties between China and Russia. Other than that, I see little that a formal, public tilt toward Japan will accomplish.

Posted in China, Japan | Leave a Comment »

More tension in international waters off China

Posted by Charles II on December 14, 2013

Reuters:

A US guided missile cruiser operating in international waters in the South China Sea was forced to take evasive action last week to avoid a collision with a Chinese warship, the US Pacific Fleet has revealed.

The USS Cowpens had been operating in the vicinity of China’s only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning…

Another Chinese warship came near the Cowpens in the incident on 5 December. The US ship was forced to take evasive action to avoid a collision, the Pacific Fleet said in its statement.

The Cowpens had been in the Philippines helping with disaster relief in the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan, which hit the region in November. The US navy said it was in the South China Sea conducting routine “freedom-of-navigation” operations – which are intended to assert the right of passage through a disputed area – when the incident occurred.

This was a few hundred miles away from the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands where there has been recent awkwardness. The Chinese are trying to expand the recognized zone of their control farther from the mainland. International law is not, in my opinion, on their side.

And every incident of this kind increases the risk of hostilities.

Posted in China | 3 Comments »

Senkakooky: US launches itself into island dispute

Posted by Charles II on November 27, 2013

Spencer Ackerman, The Guardian:

US warplanes have directly challenged China’s claims of an expanding territorial air defence zone, flying dramatically and without incident on Monday over a disputed island chain [the Senkakus/Diaoyus].

Lieutenant Colonel Tom Crosson, a defence department spokesman, said the planes were not armed and flew “as part of a long-planned training sortie”. The Chinese did not in any way attempt to challenge the planes’ flight, Crosson said, nor did the pilots announce themselves to any Chinese authorities.

A comparable US military challenge to Chinese power has not happened for nearly two decades

The Chinese are IMO behaving very badly. The Senkaku/Diaoyu islands are not important to the Chinese nor, of course, to the Japanese. None of their citizens live there. They are only useful as chits to win military and economic advantage. That’s a good sign that they should be made independent of all.

Instead, we seem to be drawn inexorably toward war.
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Update: US, Japan, and S. Korea send aircraft through China’s newly-annexed “air defense zone;” China responds by sending an aircraft carrier into the Taiwan Straits.

Update, 11/29:: So of course the Chinese retaliate by sending their own jets into the Senkaku airspace.

Image from BBC (image from here
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Update, 12/8:

And now S. Korea jumps in. Reuters:

South Korea’s Defence Ministry said that in expanding the zone to include two territorial islands to its south and a submerged rock also claimed by Beijing it has fully explained its position to related countries.

Posted in China, Japan, military | 10 Comments »

The dissipation of the Pax Americana

Posted by Charles II on April 24, 2013

Reuters, in The Guardian:

China will build a second, larger aircraft carrier capable of carrying more fighter jets, the official Xinhua news service has reported, quoting a senior officer with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.

China is also building up other forms of military hardware, including a stealth fighter jet believed to be capable of landing on a carrier, drone aircraft and nuclear submarines.

China is alone among the original nuclear weapons states to be expanding its nuclear forces, according to a report by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

Japan will respond, I suspect, by amending its peace constitution to repeal Article 9 which is the basis for restricting its spending on military to 1% of GDP.

Japan is also, in my opinion, engaging in a trade war with China by devaluing the yen. Of course, China may be engaging in proxy war using North Korea. Both sides are unwise to escalate tensions. They would do better to work to ensure adequate petroleum supplies to the region and not worry so much about which economy gets the proceeds.

Posted in China, Japan | 5 Comments »

An excellent review of what drives economic growth

Posted by Charles II on February 22, 2013

Michael Pettis has a fascinating post titled “A brief history of the Chinese growth model.” But where China has succeeded, it has been by copying the early American growth model (including, one might add to Pettis’s piece, generous use of slavery or near-slavery).

If you want to know why we became a rich nation and have subsequently faltered, this article is a great place to start. I would argue that as to the latter, we have both failed to protect our infant industries but, more important, have failed to get capital to them in an effective fashion. Our venture capital system provides capital, but at extortionate rates. There is tremendous dishonesty and even corruption in start-ups. Government funding is limited, wasting entrepreneurial time on writing lots of small applications, often ends up going to big corporations rather than start-up companies, and is sometimes wasted in ways that should involve consequences to the entrepreneurs that lie. Our banking system is completely ineffectual for start-ups.

Posted in China | Comments Off

South Korean dictator’s daughter becomes president

Posted by Charles II on December 19, 2012

Justin McCurry, The Guardian:

Park Geun-hye, whose father ruled South Korea with an iron fist for 18 years, became the country’s first female president on Wednesday….

Moon, a leftwing former human rights lawyer from the Democratic United party, conceded defeat and congratulated Park on her victory.

Park, 60, had to overcome resentment towards her privileged background and accusations that her Saenuri party was too close to the powerful chaebol conglomerates that dominate the South Korean economy.

OK: An expansionist China, an ultranationalist government in Japan, a dictator’s daughter in control of South Korea, and North Korea firing missiles.

Anyone see a pattern here?

Posted in China, Japan, Korea | Comments Off

Irresistible force meets immovable object (China vs. Japan/US in Senkaku/Diaoyu dispute)

Posted by Charles II on December 14, 2012

China violates airspace, claims Japan is intruding.

Japan tipped to elect bellicose PM.

What could go wrong?

Posted in China, Japan | 2 Comments »

China in a bull shop

Posted by Charles II on November 27, 2012

Once again on my China-is-not-a-benign-continental-power rant….from Jonathan Kaiman, The Guardian:

It took just one little map to create a regional diplomatic dispute.

The map, in China’s newly designed passport, claims ownership of the entire South China Sea – parts of which are also claimed by Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia – as well as disputed areas on the China-India border and two Taiwanese tourist destinations.

The Philippines, Vietnam, India and Taiwan have all vehemently protested against the new microchip-equipped passport, which essentially forces neighbouring countries to validate China’s position on contested regions.

Vietnam and the Philippines lodged formal complaints last week with Chinese embassies in Hanoi and Manila, respectively. India’s external affairs minister, Salman Khursid, called the map “unacceptable”.

It’s as if the US did a map with the Jamaica, Iraq, and, oh, say, France as US territories. Would not make the locals happy. And would suggest that the US is even more arrogant than it actually is.

None of this would be of much moment if the US were stable or if the nations of the South China Sea had developed to the point of being capable of mutual self-defense. But China is behaving recklessly. Evidently the lessons of the generation that suffered in war to achieve national independence have been lost, and a narcissistic generation, grasping for power, has emerged. We should know. We have been there before.

Posted in abuse of power, China, impunity, wrong way to go about it | 18 Comments »

Sparring over Senkaku

Posted by Charles II on September 27, 2012

For some time, I have been concerned about the strengthening of the Chinese navy. In 2009, there was a clash between the USS Impeccable and Chinese vessels. In 2010, there was an incident between the Chinese and Japan.

Now there is rising tension over the Senkaku (Chinese: Diaoyutai) Islands. Probably because of domestic factors, Japan has chosen to emphasize its claims to ownership of the islands and China, for its own domestic reasons, has chosen to respond with rhetoric so intense that some Japanese manufacturers in China have been forced to shut down. The islands are not inhabited, and are roughly 150 miles off of Taiwan and 230 miles off of China. However, thanks to the 200 mile exclusion zone granted by international law to territorial waters, whoever controls the islands, controls something like 25,000 square miles of seabed which might constitute a new Saudi Arabia. If there is a conflict, the US is bound by treaty to support Japan.

None of this would be an issue if China had not developed a blue water navy. But it has, and the purpose of that navy is probably, according to the Congressional Research Service, to fend off any attempt to rescue Taiwan from a Chinese invasion. Today, on CCTV, their first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, was pointedly on display.

China has had a series of clashes with its neighbors, including Vietnam, the Philippines, and Japan. India regards it as its primary rival. China, of course, seized a US aircraft during the Dubya Administration.

This is a dangerous situation and, I fear, part of a China that has gone from confident to arrogant, and prone to misjudgment. Whether the present kerfuffle over the Senkaku Islands will end in bloodshed is unknowable. My guess is, probably not. But as American power comes under increasing strain (thanks to our criminally incompetent military leadership), the emergence of an aggressive China is likely. Economically, the effect of open conflict could be as serious as war against Iran. Perhaps worse.

And the American media continue pouring out infotainment, and the American public remains oblivious.

Added: This column by Han Yi-Shaw presenting the Chinese point of view is useful, as are many of the comments. Personally, I think that the resources below the Economic Zone should be donated to the Palestinians and other people living under stateless conditions. Then the Chinese and Japanese can probably find an amicable resolution as to who owns the islands.

Posted in China, international, Japan | 4 Comments »

More fun in Euroland

Posted by Charles II on January 6, 2012

Hungarian and Egyptian yields spike, Chinese land prices slump.

More joy as it arrives in my mail box.
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Update: Ah, well, US jobs increase, so all is well, say the European markets. Even Asia is not so bad: Japan down, China up.

But there’s a fair amount of negative news in Europe, even though the US news is good.

Posted in Arab Spring, China, economy, Europe, financial crisis | Comments Off

 
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