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Archive for the ‘China’ Category

A uniter, not a divider

Posted by Charles II on August 19, 2015

M. K. Bradrakumar, ATimes

From all accounts, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had a highly successful visit to Moscow on Monday. The single biggest outcome of his talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov should be the signing of the contract for the delivery of upgraded S-300 missiles by Russia to Iran.

The official Russian media reported that the delivery of the missile systems will take place 30-40 days after the signing of the agreement in Moscow (which is expected to be on Aug. 25.)

There is much political symbolism here insofar as Moscow is plainly mocking at the timeline of the US Congress’s approval/disapproval of the Iran nuclear deal will be mid-September. Clearly, as far as Moscow is concerned, Iran’s integration with the world community is deemed to have happened already.

Of course, the S-300 is not covered by any sanctions, since it is categorized as a “defensive” weapon. Nonetheless, the White House has protested. And, to be sure, this time around Moscow will ignore the protest.

The American and Israeli experts have admitted that the S-300 will be a game changer in the strategic balance in the Middle East, since it is a formidable weapon that will make an air attack on Iran very prohibitively expensive.

But that is not the whole story. The fact remains that China is also waiting in the wings. A commentary in the government-owned China Daily on Monday was the latest report speculating on a deal in the pipeline for the supply by China of the J-10 multi-role fighter jet to Iran. The report suggested that not only is the J-10 a “good option for Iran … capable of performing air-to-surface strikes and anti-ship strikes” but “China is also very flexible in payment issues” and “it is highly possible that Chinese aviation industry will transfer technology used on the J-10 to buyers.”

The U.S. has certainly managed to unite all of our potential adversaries. A uniter, not a divider, as Dubya once said.

Posted in China, Russia | Comments Off on A uniter, not a divider

Diaoyu Islands: a pro-Chinese view

Posted by Charles II on August 16, 2015

China Daily (XinHua News):

The short feature [Diaoyu Islands, the Truth, by Chris D. Nebe] holds the view that “the real Diaoyu Islands conflict goes from the so-called administrative rights of the United States. After the Second World War, instead of returning the islands to China, the United States claimed ‘administrative rights.’ In 1971, America gave the islands back to Japan, ignoring China’s long-standing claim.”

In the last part of the film, Nebe asserts that “America can quell the tension by encouraging his Japanese ally to return the Diaoyu Islands to China and apologize to Chinese people for the war crimes of Imperial Japan.”

A lot of it is re-hashing Japanese war crimes, which indeed should never be forgotten. It takes 30 minutes to get to the meat of the issue.

Nebe’s view is that hundreds of years ago, envoys of the Chinese emperor discovered the Diaoyu, and that the Chinese of that era were not rapacious imperialists, so they deserve the islands. But there’s no evidence that I know of that the Chinese were interested in the islands before they became important with regard to claiming offshore oil, fisheries, and shipping lanes.

My own view is that this region should be declared a world site dedicated to rescuing the people displaced by global warming. Japan became an aggressive empire in large part because it lacked resources and feared being overwhelmed by the American and Russian empires. China was weak and therefore easily devoured– as had done the western powers before them.

Now China is becoming strong, and increasingly imperialistic. There is clearly fear of Chinese hegemony in Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Phillipines, Vietnam, and other Asian nations. Will China do the right thing and seek a solution that reassures its neighbors? Or will it continue to press to gain absolute control over territory in order to exploit resources and control shipping?

Posted in China, Japan, resource wars | Comments Off on Diaoyu Islands: a pro-Chinese view

And in another sign of imperial decline….

Posted by Charles II on June 24, 2014

China will be forming an international development bank to compete with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. The bank is proposed to have $100B in capital, some of which will be from “West Asia”– the Chinese nickname for the Middle East. They plan to focus development investment on the old Silk Road.. all the way to Baghdad.

And, Chinese foreign direct investment abroad will now exceed investment into China. In other words, Chinese are starting to buy the world, rather than the world buying China.

And, China has taken a major step toward turning the renminbi into a reserve currency by creating an exchange outside of areas that it controls (Hong Kong) or strongly influences (Singapore). For three-quarters of a century, the dollar has been the world’s reserve currency. If the renminbi becomes an alternate reserve currency, US power to manipulate the financial system would be undermined.

These are not developments to applaud. They represent American failures, not Chinese successes. They come from extreme American venality, not from Chinese liberality. Heaven help us all.

Posted in China | 8 Comments »

Good news for neo-cons

Posted by Charles II on May 27, 2014


A Chinese boat rammed and sank a Vietnamese fishing vessel not far from where China has stationed a massive oil rig in disputed waters of the South China Sea, the head of Vietnam’s coastguard said on Tuesday.

Vietnamese fishing boats operating nearby rescued the 10 fishermen on board following the incident on Monday, said coastguard commander Nguyen Quang Dam.

He said the ramming occurred 17 nautical miles from the rig, which has been deployed between the Paracel islands occupied by China and the Vietnamese coast.

Posted in China | Comments Off on Good news for neo-cons

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 | 2 Comments »

More tension in international waters off China

Posted by Charles II on December 14, 2013


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.
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
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 on An excellent review of what drives economic growth

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 on South Korean dictator’s daughter becomes president

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