The Coming War on China

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Re: The Coming War on China

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Feb 02, 2017 10:07 am

Steve Bannon On China: US War With China Over South China Sea Likely In ‘5 To 10 Years’
BY VISHAKHA SONAWANE @VISHAKHANS ON 02/02/17 AT 7:04 AM

China warns Donald Trump to respect 'one China' principle

The United States will go to war with China in “five to 10 years” over the South China Sea dispute, according to Steve Bannon, who is President Donald Trump’s chief political strategist.

These comments by Bannon were made last March, but they resurfaced Thursday at a time when Washington and Beijing’s relations have soured after Trump questioned the "One China" policy and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said China should be barred from islands in the contested region.

“We’re going to war in the South China Sea in five to 10 years, aren’t we? There’s no doubt about that. They’re taking their sandbars and making basically stationary aircraft carriers and putting missiles on those. They come here to the United States in front of our face — and you understand how important face is — and say it’s an ancient territorial sea,” Bannon said on a radio show hosted for Breitbart in March 2016.

China has been accused of showing its might by laying claims to almost all of South China Sea, from where about $5 trillion worth of maritime trade passes every year. Beijing also has been reportedly building runways and ports on islands in the contested waters to further its claim over the region. However, the country has consistently defended its actions, saying it does not intend to start a conflict and that its operations will actually add to the safety of the region.

Last month, Tillerson aggravated the already tense relations between the two countries by saying that China should not be allowed access to the islands in the South China Sea.

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“We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops and, second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed,” Tillerson said.

However, Chinese experts speculated at the time that Beijing is likely to retaliate if Washington bars China from accessing the South China Sea.

Apart from this, prior to his swearing-in ceremony Trump said that the U.S. does not necessarily have to abide by the "One China" policy — which has more or less formed the basis of diplomatic relations between the two countries since 1979. China, which was already upset with Trump’s telephone call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen following the presidential win, reacted sharply over the then president-elect’s comments.

“If Trump reneges on the one-China policy after taking office, the Chinese people will demand the government to take revenge. There is no room for bargaining. Sticking to [the one China] principle is not a capricious request by China upon US presidents, but an obligation of US presidents to maintain China-US relations and respect the existing order of the Asia-Pacific,” the Global Times said in an editorial last month.
http://www.ibtimes.com/steve-bannon-chi ... rs-2485126
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Re: The Coming War on China

Postby RocketMan » Thu Feb 02, 2017 11:44 am

So... War with China bad, war with Russia a-ok?
-I don't like hoodlums.
-That's just a word, Marlowe. We have that kind of world. Two wars gave it to us and we are going to keep it.
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Re: The Coming War on China

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Feb 02, 2017 12:07 pm

I don't know why don't you ask trumpty dumbty and his butt buddy crazy ass yellowcake Muslim hating Gen.Flynn

SOMEBODY PLEASE SHOW ME PROOF WE WERE GOING TO WAR WITH RUSSIA EVER

talk about ALTERNATIVE FACTS = AN EVIL STATECRAFT

but now you have your pick war with China...war with Mexico ...war with Iran ....war with the American people..war on women...war on immigrants....war on LGBT.....war on public education ....sure beats alternative facts war with Russia...no doubt

but it's a good thing we have our pick now...oh wait a minute ..we don't ..it's WAR on EVERYBODY

but no worry

President Trump offered up a prayer to Arnold Schwarzenegger as he addressed the audience at this morning's National Prayer Breakfast.
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/presiden ... d=45203891


right after he does this he is praying for a game show
WASHINGTON—The U.S. military said Wednesday that civilians were likely killed during a Navy SEAL raid in Yemen on Sunday, an operation that also claimed the life of an American sailor and wounded three others.

Local residents said Sunday that about 20 civilians were killed in the fighting that centered on an al Qaeda compound in the interior of the country. Images purporting to show the bodies of several children killed in the raid circulated on Yemeni social media accounts.



good thing Fred Douglas is still alive!!

and Alex Jones is now in the Press briefings
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Re: The Coming War on China

Postby SonicG » Mon Feb 06, 2017 1:12 am

Mattis was in Asia winning some praise and backing down from confrontation with China...What will Bannon think?

From the end of the article:
New Pentagon Chief an Instant Hit in Japan, South Korea
....
In picking Mattis, 66, to lead the Pentagon, Trump seemed enamored of the general's popular nickname, "Mad Dog," as if this served as a warning to the world not to mess with America.

Mattis, however, insists that the nickname was a media invention that he does not embrace. He certainly came across as anything but "mad" or rabid on his visits to Japan and South Korea. He was a picture of sober restraint at his several public appearances, including a news conference Saturday in Tokyo.

He expressed caution on Iran, saying its adventurism did not mean the U.S. should send more military forces to the Middle East. And he called for diplomacy to address China's militarization of disputed islands and land formations in the South China Sea.

Even some of his biggest admirers have questioned, however, whether he is the right man for Trump's Pentagon. One such skeptic is Erin Simpson, a noted defense strategist who wrote about a prospective Secretary Mattis last fall, before he had been selected.

"Not only does the role of secretary of defense not play to Mattis' strengths," she wrote, "but success in that role would compromise much of what we admire most in him: his bluntness, clarity and single-minded focus on war fighting. The secretary's job is by necessity much more political than all that."

https://apnews.com/0d909415c6ae45baa25e5f9af69e87ff


And another update on other occurrences in the region:
World
Recent developments surrounding the South China Sea
HRVOJE HRANJSKI,Associated Press

BANGKOK (AP) — A look at recent developments in the South China Sea, where China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons in waters crucial for global commerce and rich in fish and potential oil and gas reserves:

___

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a weekly look at the latest developments in the South China Sea, home to several territorial conflicts that have raised tensions in the region.

___

MATTIS RULES OUT MILITARY RESPONSE IN SOUTH CHINA SEA

On his first trip to Asia as secretary of defense, Jim Mattis ruled out a military response to China's assertiveness in the South China Sea but promised to continue with freedom of navigation operations to oppose Beijing's occupation of disputed islands.

"At this time, we do not see any need for dramatic military moves at all," Mattis told reporters in Tokyo, emphasizing the need for diplomacy.

He said that "freedom of navigation operations and other actions by the U.S. forces in the South China Sea contribute to maintaining maritime order based on the rule of law."

"Freedom of navigation is absolute, and whether it be commercial shipping or our U.S. Navy, we will practice in international waters and transit international waters as appropriate," he said.

Over China's objections, U.S. warships have deliberately sailed close to Chinese-occupied features four times since October 2015 in operations meant to enforce Washington's position that the waters must remain open to international navigation.

China has repeatedly warned the U.S. to stay away from the South China Sea disputes because it is not a claimant.

Mattis also explicitly stated that the Trump administration will stick to the previous U.S. stance that the U.S.-Japan security treaty applies to defending Japan's continued administration of the Senkaku islands in the East China Sea, which are contested by China and also known as the Diaoyu.

In response, China's Foreign Ministry reasserted its claim of sovereignty over the tiny, uninhabited islands and called on the U.S. to cease "making wrong remarks" over the issue.

In an editorial, the ruling Chinese Communist Party newspaper Global Times called Mattis' statement on the South China Sea a "mind-soothing pill."

"For, at the very least, it dispersed the clouds of war that many feared were gathering over the South China Sea," the paper said.

___

PHILIPPINES DOESN'T BELIEVE IN U.S.-CHINA WAR

The Philippine defense secretary doesn't think the U.S. and China will go to war over the South China Sea despite hardened rhetoric.

"Trump is a businessman and he knows that if war breaks out, businesses will suffer," Delfin Lorenzana told the Bloomberg news agency.

He also questioned U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's suggestion during his Senate confirmation hearing last month that Washington should deny China access to its man-made islands where Beijing built airstrips, radars and installed weapons in waters which are also claimed by the Philippines and five other governments.

"How can you prevent something that's already there?" he said. "I'm not going to wage war over those small islands. ... Even if we have the military might, we will also think twice before we engage in a shooting war."

The prospect of a military confrontation between the U.S. and China over the South China Sea was raised by President Donald Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon when he hosted the conservative Breitbart News Daily radio show in 2015 and 2016, according to USA Today, which reviewed audio recordings.

"We're going to war in the South China Sea in five to 10 years, aren't we?" Bannon was quoted as saying in March 2016. "There's no doubt about that. They're taking their sandbars and making basically stationary aircraft carriers and putting missiles on those. They come here to the United States in front of our face — and you understand how important face is — and say it's an ancient territorial sea."

Lorenzana, whose government under President Rodrigo Duterte has distanced itself from its U.S. ally and is mending relations with Beijing, said that the Philippines will continue to speak up against Chinese incursions in its waters. "We are not abandoning our claim in the South China Sea," he said, adding that Manila's position is backed by an international arbitration ruling last year that invalidated China's claims in the South China Sea.

Duterte expressed concern last week that his country may get entangled in any U.S.-China conflict, and put Washington on notice that he won't allow any storage of lethal weapons in facilities operated by the U.S. military inside Philippine army camps. U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim denied that any weapons depots are being built.

A 2014 defense agreement, which was criticized by China, allows U.S. forces to preposition troops and equipment in five Philippine army bases close to the South China Sea.

___

U.S. PACIFIC COMMANDER TO OPEN MULTINATIONAL DRILLS IN THAILAND

U.S. military commander in the Pacific Adm. Harry Harris will be the highest-ranking American officer to attend the Cobra Gold military exercises in Thailand since a coup there three years ago.

The U.S. had scaled down the 10-day drills since the 2014 coup, and Harris' scheduled appearance at the Feb. 14 opening ceremony is seen as a sign that the U.S.-Thai military ties are on the mend.

The largest multilateral exercise in Asia, Cobra Gold brings together 29 nations as participants and observers and 3,600 U.S. troops in drills both ashore and afloat.

___

Follow Hrvoje Hranjski at http://www.twitter.com/hatbangkok


The US military adding legitimacy to the Thai coup rulers is not unexpected but saddening...
Also, regarding Sun, ambassdor to the Phils.,I thought Trump had fired all the ambassadors!? Ah but I see that was "fake news":
US President Donald Trump, who famously uttered the words "You're fired" over reality show The Apprentice, has done just that with over 80 ambassadors appointed by his predecessor.

However, US ambassador to Malaysia Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir, who assumed office earlier this month, is not among those being fired by Trump.

An embassy spokesman in Kuala Lumpur said all US ambassadors serve at the President's pleasure.

"However, the President has only recalled political-appointee ambassadors. Ambassador Lakhdhir is a career diplomat," he told The Star Sunday.


Read more at http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2 ... DMbxqG2.99


Not sure how the difference is determined but there you go. Sung is career diplomat then I guess...note that his father was supposedly Korean CIA:
http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/58 ... dor-to-phl

But why send someone with his background when the US has such a huge Filippino and Fil-Amer. population??

Also found this, um, interesting:
He replaces outgoing US Ambassador Philip Goldberg who has been serving in the Philippines since November 21, 2013.

Goldberg has been the subject of President Rodrigo Duterte's controversial remarks that include calling the US Ambassador "bakla" or gay.


This:
During a campaign sortie for the Philippine presidency, Rodrigo Duterte narrated a gang rape case to a gathering of supporters, of an Australian missionary, Jacqueline Hamill, during the 1989 hostage crisis in Davao City, where he was incumbent mayor for 22 years. Duterte joked that he< as Mayor, should have been first to rape the missionary. In a CNN television interview, Goldberg supported an earlier statement by his Australian colleague saying "I am not going to comment on your election or candidates, but any statement by anyone, anywhere that either degrade women or trivialize issues so serious as rape or murder, are not ones that we condone."[14] On August 9, 2016 while speaking at a military base, President Duterte called Goldberg a "gay son of a bitch" for responding to the rape joke during the campaign, prompting the U.S. State Department to summon the Filipino chargé d'affaires Patrick Chuasoto to discuss Duterte's comments.[15]


Hey but I hear that Duterte is really going after the Catholic Church and condoms are finally available at 7-11s...
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Re: The Coming War on China

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:21 pm

Tomgram: Rajan Menon, The China Missile Crisis of 2018?
Posted by Rajan Menon at 5:11pm, February 12, 2017.
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Consider it an irony or simply a reality of our moment, but these days Donald (“America First”) Trump is looking ever less like an old-fashioned, pre-World War II isolationist. In a mere three-plus weeks in office, he’s managed to mix it up royally with much of the rest of the planet. He threatened to send American troops into Mexico (hey, it was a joke, just lighthearted banter!); he insulted the Prime Minister of Australia by shouting at and hanging up on him (“fatigue was setting in” and anyway maybe he thought it was Austria!); he threatened Iran with everything but the kitchen sink (which he evidently couldn’t find in the new, under-inhabited White House); he insulted Iraq by banning its citizens from visiting the land that had invaded and occupied them and essentially dynamited their country; he insulted German Prime Minister Angela Merkel for her handling of the refugee crisis and may still be playing with the idea of appointing an ambassador to the European Union who would like to see it go the way of the old Soviet Union. He put in place the Muslim ban that wasn’t a ban on immigrants and visitors from seven largely Muslim lands -- before an obviously Islam-loving so-called judge in San Francisco (natch!) temporarily banned it. After being played like a fiddle by military officials who told him that President Obama would never have had the guts to order such a raid -- great presidential button-pushing, guys! -- he green-lighted a disastrous Special Operations mission in Yemen in which the raiders didn’t get their guy (but did get a long available terror video), while one American and up to 30 civilians, including children, died. (The Yemeni government, possibly also angered by being put on Trump’s list of banned countries, has now banned such raids in its country, or not.) And to give Trump total credit, he staunchly defended the honor of the American people, as he had always promised he would. When Bill O’Reilly, in a pre-Super Bowl interview, called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “killer” without offering a single kind, offsetting word of praise for the United States, the president promptly insisted that the Russians had no monopoly on killers in high places, not on an America First planet. He shot back: "There are a lot of killers. You think our country's so innocent?" Exactly, Donald. We kill with the best of them!

According to recent research by the Global Impact Institute (GII), in his first 21 days in office, President Trump only missed messing with 13 of the 190-plus nations on the planet, an oversight he’s undoubtedly planning to rectify in week four. (Okay, okay, the GII only operates inside my brain, but take my word for it, it’s no less accurate for that.) And the president has obviously been saving the best for last, despite a recent molifying gesture. I’m talking, of course, about that ominously rising power, China. No other country offers such a mix-it-up opportunity for global economic chaos, outright war, and future Armageddon. But let TomDispatch regular Rajan Menon, author of The Conceit of Humanitarian Intervention, fill in the details on a country that gives Trump the chance to replay a reel of best of John F. Kennedy moments from the Bay of Pigs to the Cuban Missile Crisis -- and believe you me, if Donald Trump had been there, Cuba might not have been. Tom

Is President Trump Headed for a War with China?
All Options Are “On The Table”
By Rajan Menon

Forget those “bad hombres down there” in Mexico that U.S. troops might take out. Ignore the way National Security Adviser Michael Flynn put Iran “on notice” and the new president insisted, that, when it comes to that country, “nothing is off the table.” Instead, focus for a moment on something truly scary: the possibility that Donald Trump’s Washington might slide into an actual war with the planet’s rising superpower, China. No kidding. It could really happen.

Let’s start with silver-maned, stately Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of state. Who could deny that the former ExxonMobil CEO has a foreign minister’s bearing? Trump reportedly chose him over neocon firebrand John Bolton partly for that reason. (Among other things, Bolton was mustachioed, something the new president apparently doesn’t care for.) But an august persona can only do so much; it can’t offset a lack of professional diplomatic experience.

That became all-too-apparent during Tillerson’s January 11th confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was asked for his view on the military infrastructure China has been creating on various islands in the South China Sea, the ownership of which other Asian countries, including Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei claim as well. China’s actions, he replied, were “extremely worrisome,” likening them to Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, an infraction for which Russia was slapped with economic sanctions.

The then-secretary-of-state-designate -- he’s since been confirmed, despite many negative votes -- didn’t, however, stop there. Evidently, he wanted to communicate to the Chinese leadership in Beijing that the new administration was already irked beyond measure with them. So he added, “We’re going to have to send China’s leaders a clear signal: that, first, the island building stops and, second, your access to those islands is not going to be allowed.” Functionally, that fell little short of being an announcement of a future act of war, since not allowing “access” to those islands would clearly involve military moves. In what amounted to a there’s-a-new-sheriff-in-town warning, he then doubled down yet again, insisting, slightly incoherently (in the tradition of his new boss) that “the failure of a response has allowed them to just keep pushing the envelope on this.”

All right, so maybe a novice had a bad day. Maybe the secretary-of-state-to-be simply ad-libbed and misspoke... whatever. If so, you might have expected a later clarification from him or from someone on the Trump national security team anyway.

That didn’t happen; instead, that team stuck to its guns. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer made no effort to add nuance to, let alone walk back, Tillerson’s remarks. During his first official press briefing on January 23rd, Spicer declared that the United States “is going to make sure we defend our interests there” -- in the South China Sea, that is -- and that “if those islands are in fact in international waters and not part of China proper, then yes, we are going to make sure that we defend international territories from being taken over by one country.”

And what of Trump’s own views on the island controversy? Never one to pass up an opportunity for hyperbole, during the presidential campaign he swore that, on those tiny islands, China was building “a military fortress the likes of which the world has not seen.” As it happened, he wasn’t speaking about, say, the forces that Hitler massed for the ill-fated Operation Barbarossa, launched in June 1941 with the aim of crushing the Red Army and the Soviet Union, or those deployed for the June 1944 Normandy landing, which sealed Nazi Germany’s fate. When applied to what China has been up to in the South China Sea, his statement fell instantly into the not-yet-named category of “alternative facts.”

Candidate Trump also let it be known that he wouldn’t allow Beijing to get away with such cheekiness on his watch. Why had the Chinese engaged in military construction on the islands? Trump had a simple answer (as he invariably does): China “has no respect for our president and no respect for our country.” The implication was evident. Things would be different once he settled into the White House and made America great again. Then -- it was easy enough to conclude -- China had better watch out.

Standard campaign bombast? Well, Trump hasn’t changed his tune a bit since being elected. On December 4th, using (of course!) his Twitter account, he blasted Beijing for having built “a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea.” And it’s safe to assume that he signed off on Spicer’s combative comments as well.

In short, his administration has already drawn a red line -- but in the way a petulant child might with a crayon. During and after the campaign he made much of his determination to regain the respect he claims the U.S. has lost in the world, notably from adversaries like China. The danger here is that, in dealing with that country, Trump could, as is typical, make it all about himself, all about “winning,” one of his most beloved words, and disaster might follow.

Whose Islands?

A military clash between Trump-led America and a China led by President Xi Jinping? Understanding how it might happen requires a brief detour to the place where it’s most likely to occur: the South China Sea. Our first task: to understand China’s position on that body of water and the islands it contains, as well as the nature of Beijing’s military projects there. So brace yourself for some necessary detail.

As Marina Tsirbas, a former diplomat now at the Australian National University’s National Security College, explains, Beijing’s written and verbal statements on the South China Sea lend themselves to two different interpretations. The Chinese government’s position boils down to something like this: “We own everything -- the waters, islands and reefs, marine resources, and energy and mineral deposits -- within the Nine-Dash Line.” That demarcation line, which incidentally has had ten dashes, and sometimes eleven, originally appeared in 1947 maps of the Republic of China, the Nationalist government that would soon flee to the island of Taiwan leaving the Chinese Communists in charge of the mainland. When Mao Ze Dong and his associates established the People’s Republic, they retained that Nationalist map and the demarcation line that went with it, which just happened to enclose virtually all of the South China Sea, claiming sovereign rights.

This stance -- think of it as Beijing’s hard line on the subject -- raises instant questions about other countries’ navigation and overflight rights through that much-used region. In essence, do they have any and, if so, will Beijing alone be the one to define what those are? And will those definitions start to change as China becomes ever more powerful? These are hardly trivial concerns, given that about $5 trillion worth of goods pass through the South China Sea annually.

Then there’s what might be called Beijing’s softer line, based on rights accorded by the legal concepts of the territorial sea and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which took effect in 1994 and has been signed by 167 states (including China but not the United States), a country has sovereign control within 12 nautical miles of its coast as well as of land formations in that perimeter visible at high tide. But other countries have the right of “innocent passage.” The EEZ goes further. It provides a rightful claimant control over access to fishing, as well as seabed and subsoil natural resources, within “an area beyond and adjacent to the territorial sea” extending 200 nautical miles, while ensuring other states’ freedom of passage by air and sea. UNCLOS also gives a state with an EEZ control over “the establishment and use of artificial islands, installations, and structures” within that zone -- an important provision at our present moment.

What makes all of this so much more complicated is that many of the islands and reefs in the South China Sea that provide the basis for defining China’s EEZ are also claimed by other countries under the terms of UNCLOS. That, of course, immediately raises questions about the legality of Beijing’s military construction projects in that watery expanse on islands, atolls, and strips of land it’s dredging into existence, as well as its claims to seabed energy resources, fishing rights, and land reclamation rights there -- to say nothing about its willingness to seize some of them by force, rival claims be damned.

Moreover, figuring out which of these two positions -- hard or soft -- China embraces at any moment is tricky indeed. Beijing, for instance, insists that it upholds freedom of navigation and overflight rights in the Sea, but it has also said that these rights don’t apply to warships and military aircraft. In recent years its warplanes have intercepted, and at close quarters, American military aircraft flying outside Chinese territorial waters in the same region. Similarly, in 2015, Chinese aircraft and ships followed and issued warnings to an American warship off Subi Reef in the Spratly Islands, which both China and Vietnam claim in their entirety. This past December, its Navy seized, but later returned, an underwater drone the American naval ship Bowditch had been operating near the coast of the Philippines.

There were similar incidents in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2013, and 2014. In the second of these episodes, a Chinese fighter jet collided with a US Navy EP-3 reconnaissance plane, which had a crew of 24 on board, less than 70 miles off Hainan island, forcing it to make an emergency landing in China and creating a tense standoff between Beijing and Washington. The Chinese detained the crew for 11 days. They disassembled the EP-3, returning it three months later in pieces.

Such muscle flexing in the South China Sea isn’t new. China has long been tough on its weaker neighbors in those waters. Back in 1974, for instance, its forces ejected South Vietnamese troops from parts of the Paracel/Xisha islands that Beijing claimed but did not yet control. China has also backed up its claim to the Spratly/Nansha islands (which Taiwan, Vietnam, and other regional countries reject) with air and naval patrols, tough talk, and more. In 1988, it forcibly occupied the Vietnamese-controlled Johnson Reef, securing control over the first of what would eventually become seven possessions in the Spratlys.

Vietnam has not been the only Southeast Asian country to receive such rough treatment. China and the Philippines both claim ownership of Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal/Huangyang Island, located 124 nautical miles off Luzon Island in the Philippines. In 2012, Beijing simply seized it, having already ejected Manila from Panganiban Reef (aka Mischief Reef), about 129 nautical miles from the Philippines’ Palawan Island, in 1995. In 2016, when an international arbitration tribunal upheld Manila’s position on Mischief Reef and Scarborough Shoal, the Chinese Foreign Ministry sniffed that “the decision is invalid and has no binding force.” Chinese president Xi Jinping added for good measure that China’s claims to the South China Sea stretched back to “ancient times.”

Then there’s China’s military construction work in the area, which includes the building of full-scale artificial islands, as well as harbors, military airfields, storage facilities, and hangars reinforced to protect military aircraft. In addition, the Chinese have installed radar systems, anti-aircraft missiles, and anti-missile defense systems on some of these islands.

These, then, are the projects that the Trump administration says it will stop. But China’s conduct in the South China Sea leaves little doubt about its determination to hold onto what it has and continue its activities. The Chinese leadership has made this clear since Donald Trump’s election, and the state-run press has struck a similarly defiant note, drawing crude red lines of its own. For example, the Global Times, a nationalist newspaper, mocked Trump’s pretensions and issued a doomsday warning: “The U.S. has no absolute power to dominate the South China Sea. Tillerson had better bone up on nuclear strategies if he wants to force a big nuclear power to withdraw from its own territories.”

Were the administration to follow its threatening talk with military action, the Global Times added ominously, “The two sides had better prepare for a military clash.” Although the Chinese leadership hasn’t been anywhere near as bombastic, top officials have made it clear that they won’t yield an inch on the South China Sea, that disputes over territories are matters for China and its neighbors to settle, and that Washington had best butt out.

True, as the acolytes of a “unipolar” world remind us, China’s military spending amounts to barely more than a quarter of Washington’s and U.S. naval and air forces are far more advanced and lethal than their Chinese equivalents. However, although there certainly is a debate about the legal validity and historical accuracy of China’s territorial claims, given the increasingly acrimonious relationship between Washington and Beijing the more strategically salient point may be that these territories, thousands of miles from the U.S. mainland, mean so much more to China than they do to the United States. By now, they are inextricably bound up with its national identity and pride, and with powerful historical and nationalistic memories -- with, that is, a sense that, after nearly two centuries of humiliation at the hands of the West, China is now a rising global power that can no longer be pushed around.

Behind such sentiments lies steel. By buying some $30 billion in advanced Russian armaments since the early 1990s and developing the capacity to build advanced weaponry of its own, China has methodically acquired the military means, and devised a strategy, to inflict serious losses on the American navy in any clash in the South China Sea, where geography serves as its ally. Beijing may, in the end, lose a showdown there, but rest assured that it would exact a heavy price before that. What sort of “victory” would that be?

If the fighting starts, it will be tough for the presidents of either country to back down. Xi Jinping, like Trump, presents himself as a tough guy, sure to trounce his enemies at home and abroad. Retaining that image requires that he not bend when it comes to defending China’s land and honor. He faces another problem as well. Nationalism long ago sidelined Maoism in his country. As a result, were he and his colleagues to appear pusillanimous in the face of a Trumpian challenge, they would risk losing their legitimacy and potentially bringing their people onto the streets (something that can happen quickly in the age of social media). That’s a particularly forbidding thought in what is arguably the most rebellious land in the historical record. In such circumstances, the leadership’s abiding conviction that it can calibrate the public’s nationalism to serve the Communist Party’s purposes without letting it get out of hand may prove delusional.

Certainly, the Party understands the danger that runaway nationalism could pose to its authority. Its paper, the People’s Daily, condemned the “irrational patriotism” that manifested itself in social media forums and street protests after the recent international tribunal’s verdict favoring the Philippines. And that’s hardly the first time a foreign policy fracas has excited public passions. Think, for example, of the anti-Japanese demonstrations that swept the country in 2005, provoked by Japanese school textbooks that sanitized that country’s World War II-era atrocities in China. Those protests spread to many cities, and the numbers were sizeable with more than 10,000 angry demonstrators on the streets of Shanghai alone. At first, the leadership encouraged the rallies, but it got nervous as things started to spin out of control.

“We’re Going to War in the South China Sea...”

Facing off against China, President Trump could find himself in a similar predicament, having so emphasized his toughness, his determination to regain America’s lost respect and make the country great again. The bigger problem, however, will undoubtedly be his own narcissism and his obsession with winning, not to mention his inability to resist sending incendiary messages via Twitter. Just try to imagine for a moment how a president who blows his stack during a getting-to-know-you phone call with the prime minister of Australia, a close ally, is likely to conduct himself in a confrontation with a country he’s labeled a prime adversary.

In the event of a military crisis between China and the United States, neither side may want an escalation, to say nothing of a nuclear war. Yet Trump’s threats to impose 45% tariffs on Chinese exports to the U.S. and his repeated condemnation of China as a “currency manipulator” and stealer of American jobs have already produced a poisonous atmosphere between the world’s two most powerful countries. And it was made worse by his December phone conversation with Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, which created doubts about his commitment to the One China policy the United States has adhered to since 1972. The Chinese authorities apparently made it clear to the White House that there couldn't even be a first-time phone call to Xi unless the new president agreed to stick with that policy. During a conversation with the Chinese president on February 9th, Trump reportedly provided that essential assurance. Given the new American president’s volatility, however, Beijing will be playing close attention to his words and actions, even his symbolic ones, related to Taiwan.

Sooner or later, if Trump doesn’t also dial down the rest of his rhetoric on China, its leaders will surely ratchet up theirs, thereby aggravating the situation further. So far, they’ve restrained themselves in order to figure Trump out -- not an easy task even for Americans -- and in hopes that his present way of dealing with the world might be replaced with something more conventional and recognizable. Hope, as they say, springs eternal, but as of now, in repeatedly insisting that China must do as he says, Trump and his surrogates have inserted themselves and the country into a complicated territorial dispute far from America’s shores. The hubris of Washington acting as the keeper of world order, but regularly breaking the rules as it wishes, whether by invading Iraq in 2003 or making open use of torture and a global network of secret prisons, is an aspect of American behavior long obvious to foreign powers. It looks to be the essence of Trumpism, too, even if its roots are old indeed.

Don’t dismiss the importance of heated exchanges between Washington and Beijing in the wake of Trump’s election. The political atmosphere between rival powers, especially those with massive arsenals, can matter a great deal when they face off in a crisis. Pernicious stereotypes and mutual mistrust only increase the odds that crucial information will be misinterpreted in the heat of the moment because of entrenched beliefs that are immune to contrary evidence, misperceptions, worst-case calculations, and up-the-ante reactions. In academic jargon, these constitute the ingredients for a classic conflict spiral. In such a situation, events take control of leaders, producing outcomes that none of them sought. Not for nothing during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 did President John Kennedy look to Barbara Tuchman’s book, Guns of August -- a gripping account of how Europe slipped and slid into a disastrous world war in 1914.

There has been lots of anxiety about the malign effects that Donald Trump’s temperament and beliefs could have domestically, and for good reason. But in domestic politics, institutions and laws, civic organizations, the press, and public protests can serve, however imperfectly, as countervailing forces. In international politics, crises can erupt suddenly and unfold rapidly -- and the checks on rash behavior by American presidents are much weaker. They have considerable leeway to use military force (having repeatedly circumvented the War Powers Act). They can manipulate public opinion from the Bully Pulpit and shape the flow of information. (Think back to the Iraq war.) Congress typically rallies reflexively around the flag during international crises. In such moments, citizens' criticism or mass protest invites charges of disloyalty.

This is why the brewing conflict in the South China Sea and rising animosities on both sides could produce something resembling a Cuban-Missile-Crisis-style situation -- with the United States lacking the geographical advantage this time around. If you think that a war between China and the United States couldn’t possibly happen, you might have a point in ordinary times, which these distinctly aren’t.

Take the latest news on Stephen Bannon, formerly the executive chairman of the alt-right publication Breitbart News and now President Trump’s chief political strategist. He has even been granted the right to sit in on every meeting of the National Security Council and its Principals Committee, the highest inter-agency forum for day-to-day national security deliberations. He will be privy to meetings that, according to a directive signed by Trump, even the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of national intelligence may not join unless “issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise will be discussed.” Calling this a break with past practice would be an understatement of the first order.

So Bannon’s views, once of interest only to a fringe group of Americans, now matter greatly. Here’s what he said last March about China in a radio interview: “We’re going to war in the South China Sea in five to 10 years, aren’t we? There’s no doubt about that. They’re taking their sandbars and making basically stationary aircraft carriers and putting missiles on those. They come here to the United States in front of our face -- and you understand how important face is -- and say it’s an ancient territorial sea.”

Think of this as Bannon’s version of apocalyptic prophecy. Then consider the volatility of the new president he advises. Then focus on the larger message: these are not ordinary times. Most Americans probably don’t even know that there is a South China Sea. Count on one thing, though: they will soon.
http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176242/ ... 2018/#more
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Re: The Coming War on China

Postby SonicG » Wed Mar 01, 2017 2:32 am

Just a few things...If you hadn't heard about the wild public assassination of Kim's estranged elder half brother, Kim Jong Nam, check that out on Google. To add to the ongoing purge (?):

Seoul says North Korea executes 5 senior security officials

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea executed five senior security officials with anti-aircraft guns because they made false reports that "enraged" leader Kim Jong Un, South Korea's spy agency said Monday.

The comments by the National Intelligence Service in a private briefing to lawmakers come as Malaysia investigates the poisoning death of Kim's estranged elder half brother, Kim Jong Nam. That investigation is still going on, but South Korea says it believes Kim Jong Un ordered the assassination, which took place Feb. 13 at Kuala Lumpur's airport.

The spy agency told lawmakers that five North Korean officials in the department of recently purged state security chief Kim Won Hong were executed by anti-aircraft guns because of the false reports to Kim, South Korean lawmaker Lee Cheol Woo said. It's not clear what false reports they allegedly made, and the NIS didn't say how it got its information.

South Korean spies have a spotty record when reporting about high-level events in authoritarian, cloistered North Korea.

North Korea fired Kim Won Hong in January, presumably over corruption, abuse of power and torture committed by his agency, Seoul said earlier this month. The fallen minister had been seen as close to Kim Jong Un. North Korea has not publicly said anything about Kim Won Hong or about the alleged executions in his department.

Lee also cited the NIS as saying that Kim Won Hong's dismissal was linked to those false reports, which "enraged" Kim Jong Un when they were discovered.

Since taking power in late 2011, Kim Jong Un has reportedly executed or purged a large number of high-level government officials in what rival Seoul has called a "reign of terror."

https://www.yahoo.com/news/seoul-says-n ... 03066.html


China's Spat With Kim Jong Un Shows Difficulties in Stopping Him

The rare public spat between China and North Korea illustrates the dilemma facing Beijing’s leaders as they try to coax Kim Jong Un back to the negotiating table.

North Korea condemned China for banning coal imports in an unusually hostile state-media commentary last week, mocking its ally for “dancing to the tune of the U.S.” and vowing to continue developing nuclear weapons. China stood firm, saying it would implement United Nations Security Council resolutions.

“Does anyone truly believe that the Korean nuclear issue is an easy one to solve, considering it has been with us for these many years?” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang asked reporters Friday, adding that the two nations remained “friendly neighbors.”
Tensions have escalated as China seeks renewed talks on North Korea with U.S. President Donald Trump, whose administration is moving to install a missile-defense system this year in South Korea. Yet China’s ability to broker negotiations risks backfiring for a simple reason: Kim is confident that Beijing doesn’t want to see his regime toppled, creating a failed state -- or worse, a U.S.-backed unified Korea -- on its doorstep.

The current dynamics open the door for a “dramatic act” by North Korea such as another nuclear test, said Zhang Baohui, director of the Center for Asian Pacific Studies at Lingnan University in Hong Kong.

North Korea has accelerated its development of nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles since 2009, when it walked away from six-party talks involving China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the U.S. Ties between China and North Korea been strained since Kim’s ascension in 2011, a year before President Xi Jinping took power. The two have never met as leaders.

China has sought to renew a dialogue with the U.S. over North Korea in recent weeks, arguing that pushing Kim into a corner won’t work because he’ll keep developing a nuclear capability until he feels safe. In a call last week, top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pledged to “address the threat that North Korea poses to regional stability.”

For Xi, sensitivities are heightened as he prepares for the National People’s Congress next week and looks to further consolidate power in twice-a-decade party gathering later this year. South Korea’s bribery crisis involving impeached President Park Geun-hye and Trump’s unpredictability have added to the potential for miscalculations.

The murder of Kim’s older half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, in a Malaysian airport this month has further complicated matters. South Korean officials blamed North Korea for his death and said he had been under Chinese protection.

Malaysian police said last week the older Kim was killed with VX nerve agent , which the UN classifies as a weapon of mass destruction. Around that time, the Trump administration canceled plans for informal talks between former U.S. officials and a North Korean delegation, the New York Times reported , citing two people involved in the talks.

Trump promised to deal with North Korea “very strongly” after its latest missile test and has called on China to get tougher. His plan to deploy a missile-defense system in South Korea is opposed by China in part because it potentially threatens to counter Beijing’s own military capabilities.

China has backed the Kim dynasty since fighting along side each other in the Korean War, and now accounts for more than 80 percent of its trade. While the coal ban took away about half of North Korea’s total exports, analysts say China would do much more damage if it halted fuel and commodity sales to its neighbor.

Any U.S.-China detente faces a “realistic limitation” because Beijing opposes a scenario where the regime falls, leading to an influx of North Korean refugees and U.S. troops on its border, according to Liu Ming, director of the Korean Peninsula Research Center at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

“Pyongyang won’t give up its nuclear weapons and now thinks Beijing is part of an international conspiracy against the regime,” Liu said.

While state-run Korean Central News Agency didn’t mention China by name in its critical commentary, the piece called the coal ban “tantamount to the enemies’ moves to bring down the social system” in North Korea. The U.S. and its allies have normally responded to North Korean provocations with military exercises and other moves designed to intimidate Pyongyang.

That approach is also perilous, Steve Andreasen, a former director for defense policy and arms control on the White House National Security Council, wrote last week on 38 North, a website that analyzes the country. The article, titled “Time to Test Diplomacy With North Korea,” was co-bylined with his father, Ottar Andreasen, who served in the Korean War.

“The assumption that the United States and its allies could carefully and gradually escalate military pressure on the North Korean regime to achieve a political outcome without precipitating a military conflict is a weak and dangerous plank for U.S. policy,” they wrote.
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/chinas-sp ... 01686.html


Here is the blog post mentioned at the end:
Time to Test Diplomacy with North Korea
http://38north.org/2017/02/andreasen022317/

With Trump's Chinese ambassador still awaiting confirmation - ex-Iowa governor Branstad who the Chinese prez considers "an old friend", and Trump being distracted by many many other shiny objects, I have a feeling that China will do exactly as it pleases with NorKor.
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Re: The Coming War on China

Postby SonicG » Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:11 pm

Seoul: North Korea fires 4 ballistic missiles into ocean
North Korea on Monday fired four banned ballistic missiles that flew about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles), with three of them landing in waters that Japan claims as its exclusive economic zone, South Korean and Japanese officials said, in an apparent reaction to huge military drills by Washington and Seoul that Pyongyang insists are an invasion rehearsal.

It was not immediately clear the exact type of missile fired, but the tests will be viewed as a provocation by the Trump administration in Washington, which is working on its policy for North Korea. The New York Times reported over the weekend that, despite efforts to perfect cyber and electronic strikes against North Korea's missile program, the United States still can't effectively counter Pyongyang's actions.

Pyongyang has staged a series of missile test-launches of various ranges in recent months, including a new intermediate-range missile in February; it also conducted two nuclear tests last year. The ramped-up tests come as leader Kim Jong Un pushes for a nuclear and missile program that can deter what he calls U.S. and South Korean hostility toward the North.

There have been widespread worries that the North will conduct an ICBM test that, when perfected, could in theory reach the U.S. mainland. Washington would consider such a capability a major threat.

U.S. national security adviser H.R. McMaster and senior South Korean presidential official Kim Kwan-jin held a phone conversation after the missile firings. The two condemned the launches and agreed to boost cooperation to get the North to face more effective sanctions and pressure, according to South Korea's presidential office.

Japanese officials said three of the four missiles landed in the 200-nautical-mile offshore area where Tokyo has sovereign rights for exploring and exploiting resources.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that Monday's launches were made from the Tongchang-ri area in North Pyongan province. The area is the home of the North's Sohae rocket launch site where it has conducted prohibited long-range rocket launches in recent years.

Seoul and Washington call their military drills on the Korean Peninsula, which remains in a technical state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice and not a peace treaty, defensive and routine.

The North hates the military drills, which run until late April and which analysts say force its impoverished military to respond with expensive deployments and drills of their own. An unidentified spokesman for the North's General Staff of the Korean People's Army said last week that Pyongyang's reaction to the southern drills would be the toughest ever but didn't elaborate

The United States has 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea, and 50,000 in Japan, as a deterrent against a potential aggression from the North.
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wir ... n-45928110

More details:
http://edition.cnn.com/2017/03/05/asia/ ... rojectile/

Not the first time they have fired multiple missiles but still...
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Re: The Coming War on China

Postby SonicG » Tue Mar 07, 2017 6:30 am

The US response...Cargo planes!!

World's Next War? US Sends Japan Advanced Military Planes Citing Threats From China, North Korea

The Air Force sent 14 Super Hercules military planes to western Tokyo Monday in a sign of loyalty to Japan amid growing tensions and threats of war in the Pacific with China and North Korea. Air Force officials called the C-130J planes its “meanest, toughest, most tactical machine,” Stars and Stripes reported.

The planes were delivered in a ceremony at Yokota Air Base complete with a crowd of airmen, family members and Japanese guests. U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force commander Lt. Gen. Jerry P. Martinez said during the event that the plane’s signaled Washington’s “ever, ever, ever strong commitment” to Japan.

“Today the United States of America delivered its premier, meanest, toughest, most tactical machine in the world, the J model,” he said. “When you look around the world at the threats that exist in this region, our friends in Japan, they need to know that the United States sends its best … we have the premier tactical airlifter now on Japanese soil.”

Defense and global security leaders have closely been watching simmering conflicts in Asia, where North Korea continues to test its nuclear weapons capabilities, and China has warily eyed the new administration of President Donald Trump, who has threatened to start a trade war with Beijing. China has been at the center of other conflicts, as well, such as building military bases in the disputed South China Sea claimed by various nations and sending warships to the East China Sea claimed by Japan. China has also questioned South Korea over its new anti-ballistic missile system. Seoul and Tokyo are both close allies of the U.S.

Maj. Gen. Mark C. Dillon compared this week the Super Hercules aircrafts to the world's finest sports cars. “It’s like driving a Ferrari or a Maserati,” he said. “It has a lot of power. You can land it exactly where you want to on the runway.”

Newer C-130J Super Hercules feature enhanced GPS capabilities and improved communication systems from contractor Lockheed Martin. The four-turboprop military airlifter is designed for special operations, such as defense and humanitarian applications, aerial refueling and close air support, UPI reported.

The planes' new Rolls Royce engines is said to bring more power, fuel efficiency and range. The C-130Js can carry 128 passengers. Older models only were equipped for 92 passengers. The military aircraft are also considered a model of safety. Fewer than eight C-130Js have crashed to date.
http://www.ibtimes.com/worlds-next-war- ... th-2502848


North Korea missile launches came days after China meeting
March 6 (UPI) -- North Korea's launch of four ballistic missiles on Monday into the Sea of Japan is a slap in China's face, according to government sources in Beijing.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had met with Pyongyang's Vice Foreign Minister Ri Gil Song on Feb. 28, days before the tests in Beijing, Yonhap reported Monday.

The meeting marks the first time a North Korea delegation was dispatched to China since May 2016, when Ri Su Yong, vice chairman of the central committee of the Korean Workers' Party, met with Chinese officials.

North Korea may have requested aid during the meeting, but there is a likelihood Beijing may have asked Pyongyang to lower provocations, citing a joint U.S.-South Korea decision to deploy THAAD.

China has been strongly opposed to the deployment of the U.S. missile defense system, because THAAD's powerful radar could monitor the Chinese military from its location in South Korea.

When officials from both sides met, it is unlikely the North Koreans informed Wang in advance of plans for missile launches, a Beijing diplomatic source told Yonhap.

"Wang met with Ri to stress 'blood' ties, but the missile launches today are throwing cold water on China's intentions," the source said.

Only two days after Ri returned to North Korea, Pyongyang test-fired four ballistic missiles early Monday.

China's foreign ministry told reporters during a regular press briefing the government condemns North Korea for violating United Nations Security Council sanctions resolutions, and that Beijing is "closely monitoring trends," according to South Korean news service Newsis.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said U.N. resolutions explicitly ban North Korea's use of ballistic missile technology.

The four missiles that were fired early Monday from Tongchang-ri, North Pyongan Province, flew a range of distances between 160 and 620 miles.


I believe that CNN article above discusses how the US is going to speed up THAAD deployment now, much to China's chagrin...
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Re: The Coming War on China

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Mar 07, 2017 9:36 am

China warns of ‘consequences’ over deployment of U.S. antimissile system

A view of the Lotte Department Store in Shenyang in northeastern China's Liaoning provincem March 3, 2017. Four stores of South Korea's Lotte Group were closed in China by authorities, media reported on March 6, 2017. (Li Lin/EPA)

By Emily Rauhala March 7 at 6:41 AM
BEIJING — China warned Tuesday of “consequences” for South Korea over the deployment of a U.S. antimissile system, raising regional tension and questions about China’s commitment to free, open trade.

The U.S. military began deploying the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to South Korea on Monday, the same day North Korea launched four missiles that landed off the Japanese coast.

The United States and South Korea say the system is a necessary defense against Kim Jong Un’s regime, but Beijing rejects the plan.

“I want to emphasize that we firmly oppose the deployment of THAAD,” said Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, at a daily press briefing in Beijing on Tuesday. “We will resolutely take necessary measures to defend our security interests."

“All consequences entailed from this will be borne by the U.S. and the Republic of Korea,” he said.

Geng did not provide details on what “consequences" are in store, but South Korea is bracing for retaliatory measures against its business interests, according to a South Korean official.

The Chinese side sees THAAD as a threat to the Chinese military and evidence of U.S. meddling in East Asian affairs. To signal its anger, Beijing has been taking aim at South Korean businesses in China and, since March 3, warning would-be Chinese tourists about booking trips.

Although some travel agencies have already stopped selling tickets and tours to South Korea, China’s National Tourism Administration has officially ordered travel agencies to stop all tour groups and cruise ships by March 15, the South Korean official said.

The new measures would also shut down duty-free shops run by Lotte, the South Korean conglomerate that helped Seoul secure land for THAAD, according to the South Korean official.

A representative of China’s Tourism Administration said by phone that the agency has indeed advised travel agencies not to sell South Korea tours or tickets.

The South Korean official and the Chinese tourism representative spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to give information to the news media.

Three large Chinese travel agencies confirmed the order from the Tourism Administration. Two said they have already stopped selling packages; the other said itwould stop selling by March 15.

When The Post tried to book a five-day South Korea travel package online through Beijing Youth Travel Services, a major Chinese travel agency, a representative called to say it is no longer booking trips to South Korea.

The effort to throttle South Korea’s thriving tourist trade is part of an ongoing campaign.

After Lotte helped the South Koreans secure land for THAAD, its business was denounced and threatened in China’s Communist Party-controlled press. Nearly two dozen of the company’s retail outlets were subsequently shut down by Chinese authorities for alleged safety violations.

In the run-up to the THAAD deployment, China rejected applications by Korean airlines to add charter flights on popular tourists routes, a move interpreted in South Korea as a warning on the missile system.

There have also been scattered efforts to implement at a pop-culture blockade, with South Korean television programs pulled from Chinese websites, calls for boycotts of South Korean cosmetics and canceled K-Pop (Korean pop) shows.

Politically motivated attacks on foreign business are strikingly at odds with China’s recent calls to protect globalization and free trade, most notably President Xi Jinping’s keynote speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

On Monday, South Korea said it was considering filing a World Trade Organization case against China, according to the local press.

Joo Hyung-hwan, South Korea’s trade minister, said Seoul would "seek international action against possible violations of the World Trade Organization and the Seoul-Beijing free trade agreement.”

He also pledged to help South Korean companies deal with any “discrimination” they face.

The South Korean official called China’s moves “regrettable,” noting that curbing business will hurt Chinese vendors, too.

Anna Fifield in Tokyo and Congcong Zhang and Jin Xin in Beijing contributed to this report.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/as ... e433df9d55
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Re: The Coming War on China

Postby SonicG » Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:55 am

Tillerson will be thawed out and head over to Asia to sort things out:

Tillerson to make first trip to Asia

WASHINGTON • United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will make his first trip to Asia next week, and meet senior officials to discuss North Korea's recent missile tests and US economic and security interests in the region.

He will arrive in Japan next Wednesday, continue on to South Korea next Friday, and then visit China from March 18 to 19.

Mr Tillerson's trip comes after Pyongyang's recent missile launches and the alleged assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's estranged half-brother in Malaysia have served to add urgency to the region's security situation.

US President Donald Trump faces a growing test of resolve, having vowed during his election campaign to get tough on North Korea.

His aides are also pressing to complete a strategy review on countering Pyongyang's missile and nuclear threats.

Mr Trump has attacked China on a range of issues from trade to the South China Sea, and what he perceives as China's lack of interest in reining in nuclear-armed North Korea.

Last month, the US President held his first face-to-face talks with a member of the Chinese leadership, top diplomat Yang Jiechi - who outranks Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

The White House said the meeting was a chance to discuss shared security interests, and possibly a future meeting with President Xi Jinping.

Mr Wang and Mr Tillerson met last month in Germany, on the sidelines of a meeting of foreign ministers of the G20 top economies.

"I think that Secretary of State Tillerson is a person who is willing to listen and is a deep communicator," said Mr Wang at a news conference held in Beijing yesterday.

"I believe we can establish a good working relationship," added the Chinese Foreign Minister.

http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-a ... ip-to-asia


Here is a longer think piece from the NYT:
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/07/worl ... trump.html

I think Trump is really going to be tested by the nuclear threat...

And what is up with China granting all those Trump trademarks?
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/201 ... businesses
China provisionally grants Trump 38 trademarks – including for escort service

Throwing him a bone so as not to spark a trade war?

And the murder of Kim Jong-nam has really caused a rift in Malaysian-NorKor relations:
Malacca condemns Malaysian 'hostage' situation in N. Korea

MALACCA: Malacca's state assembly unanimously passed an emergency motion on Thursday to condemn North Korea's action in holding Malaysian hostages in Pyongyang.

The motion was tabled by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron and supported by Datuk M.S. Mahadevan (BN-Gadek).

Idris (BN-Sungai Udang) told the assembly that the Federal Government must embark on an all-out effort to bring back the Malaysians who are still in Pyongyang.

"North Korea has undermined Malaysian's sovereignty and we strongly oppose the act of holding Malaysians as hostages" he said.

Idris said North Korea had also disrespected the friendship of Malaysia, which waived visa requirements for its citizens in 2009.

He said North Korea should not question the professionalism of the Malaysian police in the investigations into the death of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of the country's supreme leader Kim Jong-un, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 on Feb 13.

North Korea banned Malaysians from leaving North Korea on Tuesday.

Nine Malaysians, comprising embassy staff in Pyongyang and their family members, are still stranded in North Korea.

Earlier Thursday, two Malaysians who were working for the UN World Food Programme were allowed to leave and are now in Beijing.

Read more at http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2 ... I1JSTR5.99


Good article on the history of their relation and links to a lot more about the murder and related issues.
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-39139035

Kim Jong-nam's son made a Youtube video also...
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Re: The Coming War on China

Postby dada » Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:56 am

"I think that Secretary of State Tillerson is a person who is willing to listen and is a deep communicator," said Mr Wang at a news conference held in Beijing yesterday.


This is a dig at Donald, isn't it. A deep communicator doesn't tweet, obviously.

Oh, those Chinese. Making monkeys out of us.
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Re: The Coming War on China

Postby SonicG » Fri Mar 10, 2017 4:33 am

dada » Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:56 pm wrote:
"I think that Secretary of State Tillerson is a person who is willing to listen and is a deep communicator," said Mr Wang at a news conference held in Beijing yesterday.


This is a dig at Donald, isn't it. A deep communicator doesn't tweet, obviously.

Oh, those Chinese. Making monkeys out of us.


Well...Could be a sly reference to the fact that TiIllerson has been fairly incommunicado at State...There is a translation issue also...
Slight thread drift but:

Japan’s interpreters struggle to make sense of ‘Trumpese’

BY TOMOHIRO OSAKI
STAFF WRITER
FEB 17, 2017
ARTICLE HISTORY
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As political leaders in Japan pay close attention to how U.S. President Donald Trump will go in office, so, too, are interpreters who have had a nightmarish experience translating his disjointed speeches.

“He rarely speaks logically, and he only emphasizes one side of things as if it were the absolute truth. There are lots of moments when I suspected his assertions were factually dubious,” said Chikako Tsuruta, who routinely covers Trump-related news as an interpreter for CNN, ABC and CBS.

“He is so overconfident and yet so logically unconvincing that my interpreter friends and I often joke that if we translated his words as they are, we would end up making ourselves sound stupid,” Tsuruta, who is also a professor of interpreting and translation studies at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, said in a recent interview.

Like Tsuruta, English-Japanese interpreters recall being dumbstruck by Trump’s disregard for logic and facts as well as his unabashed use of a litany of sexist and racist remarks during the election campaign.

This challenge, the likes of which they claim was not an issue when interpreting for renowned orator Barack Obama, Trump’s predecessor, has spotlighted a long-standing dilemma dogging their profession — whether to sanitize the words of a controversial speaker.

Opinions are divided, with some saying Trump’s colorful language should be neutralized, while others are adamant interpreters should not hesitate to translate him exactly as he sounds in English.

The difficulty translating Trump, they say, has little to do with his use of language.

In fact, it is no secret that “Trumpese” — as his phraseology is called — is by and large simple, characterized by repetition, easy grammar and elementary-level vocabulary.

A “readability analysis” of presidential campaign speeches by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Language Technologies Institute (LTI) revealed last March that Trump’s lexical richness was the lowest — at seventh-grade level — of his rival candidates and past U.S. presidents.

The study also described his grammatical level as grade 5.7, the second-worst after George W. Bush, who barely topped the fifth-grade level.

Particularly symbolic of this characteristic, Tsuruta said, was Trump’s inauguration speech, which she said was peppered with everyday vocabulary, perhaps with the exception of “carnage.”

In addition, the businessman uncharacteristically used a teleprompter and read from a script, which made the Jan. 20 speech flow coherently enough, the professor noted.

But it’s when he speaks off-the-cuff, Tsuruta said, that interpreters are most likely to find themselves scratching their heads, with Trump frequently jumping from one topic to another and gravitating toward insults and vulgarities.

Miwako Hibi, a broadcast interpreter of more than 20 years, said it was “very hard” to follow Trump’s logic — or lack thereof — particularly his tendency to mention proper nouns out of context.

She still remembers the dread she felt as she was translating live Trump’s victory speech on Nov. 9, when the president-elect — apropos of nothing — made a reference to “Reince” and “secretariat” without spelling out who and what they are.

“When he suddenly said ‘Reince is a superstar,’ I was literally thrown off. Only after the camera zoomed in on the face of a ‘Reince’ did I realize who Trump was talking about, and I hastily added, for the sake of the audience, that it’s actually ‘Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman,’ ” Hibi said.

“The convenient thing about the Japanese language, however, is that it tends to do away with a subject in a sentence, so in this particular case, I first translated ‘superstar’ without clarifying who Trump was referring to, and carried on like this until I got a fuller picture.”

But she wasn’t so lucky with “secretariat,” which she mistakenly thought was Trump’s alternate way of referring to Reince.

“I mistranslated that one,” Hibi said. “It didn’t even occur to me that he was talking about a race horse. … It’s really hard to follow his train of thought.”

Trump’s incoherence and apparent disregard for context are not the only source of headache for interpreters.

To retired interpreter Kumiko Torikai, his questionable morality, as evidenced by a string of misogynistic and racist remarks that dogged his election campaign, is a bitter reminder of why — after 20 years — she quit the profession in 1986.

“As an interpreter, your job is to translate the words of a speaker exactly as they are, no matter how heinous and what an outrageous liar you find the speaker to be,” Torikai, who has a Ph.D. in interpreting studies, said.

“You set aside all your personal emotions and become the speaker yourself. It’s a really tough thing, not being allowed to demonstrate your own judgment about what is right and what is wrong. And that’s why I quit.”

Torikai said she was sympathetic with interpreters who struggled with such ambivalence toward Trump’s language. But nonetheless, she is adamant Trumpese “neither be beautified nor be upgraded.”

“If Trump is not making sense, you don’t get to make sense, either. If his language is coarse, that’s the way you translate him,” she said.

Now a professor emeritus at Tokyo’s Rikkyo University, Torikai said she was loath to imagine herself interpreting for the new president, whose sexist and nationalistic attitudes are anathema to her.

“There is nothing he says that I can agree with. Frankly, I think he is a very dangerous person who never should’ve become the U.S. president in the first place. It would be absolutely intolerable for me to lend my own voice to disseminate his views,” Torikai said.

Her insistence that interpreters keep their speakers’ foul language intact, however, may be easier said than done, particularly for broadcast interpreters, who are under constant pressure to sanitize swear words.

Hibi, for one, said her ultimate responsibility boiled down to “not offending or making (the audience) uncomfortable,” and to that end she tried to “neutralize” foul language where possible.

Atsushi Mishima, a broadcast interpreter and associate professor at Daito Bunka University, also said he had mixed feelings about how to translate Trump’s language.

Although agreeing that an interpreter’s primary objective is to “speak as if they were the speakers themselves,” he said other factors sometimes took higher priority.

“If a certain word is deemed a banned phrase per the policy of a TV station I translate for, I usually tone it down, although I do make my best effort to retain its original impact,” Mishima said.

“It’s difficult to ignore my client’s wish.”
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/0 ... MJj0G-GOUk
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Re: The Coming War on China

Postby SonicG » Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:39 am

Here comes Tillerson...


SOUTH CHINA SEA EXPECTED TO FEATURE IN TILLERSON MEETINGS IN BEIJING

Tensions in the South China Sea are expected to feature in meetings this week in Beijing between Chinese officials and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Tillerson raised eyebrows during his confirmation hearings in January when he criticized China's construction of man-made islands in the crucial waterway and suggested the U.S. might step in to prevent Beijing from making use of the facilities.

China has reclaimed more than 1,295 hectares (3,200 acres) of land in the South China sea, built airstrips and equipped its new islands with defensive weaponry, mainly in the Spratly Island chain, where five other governments have territorial claims.

The U.S. says the island building doesn't give China any additional territorial rights, and an international arbitration panel in the Hague ruled over the summer against China's historical claim to ownership of waters within the South China Sea. Beijing has ignored the ruling.

Tillerson's statements met with derision from China's state-controlled media, although Beijing's officials made little comment in keeping with their low-key approach toward comments from Trump and his administration that many consider inflammatory.

The State Department said Tillerson would travel to Beijing on Saturday following visits to Tokyo and Seoul. He is expected to meet President Xi Jinping, top diplomat Yang Jiechi and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

...
CHINA ANNOUNCES RELATIVELY MODEST BOOST TO DEFENSE BUDGET, SOUTH CHINA SEA EFFECT UNKNOWN

China announced it will raise its defense budget by about 7 percent this year, continuing a trend of lowered growth despite tensions over the South China Sea and other issues.

A finance ministry told The Associated Press that the budget was rising 7 percent to 1.044 trillion yuan ($151 billion) this year, pushing it to its highest level ever, even while the rate of economic growth slows to its lowest this century.

It's unclear what immediate effect the spending increase will have on the situation in the South China Sea, although China is funneling much of its new funding into its air and naval forces, including the construction of as many as four aircraft carriers to join the Liaoning, a flattop purchased from Ukraine and commissioned in 2012 following years of refurbishment.

This year's budget marks the third consecutive year of declines in defense spending growth rates, even while some outside observers say those figures don't account for all military spending. The budget grew by 7.6 percent last year and 10.1 percent in 2015.

That trend reflects a "new normal," acknowledging that Chinese growth is plateauing as a whole, although observers have no doubt that China will continue to add high-tech weaponry according to its long-term strategy.

Seeking a more streamlined fighting force, China plans to complete the cutting of 300,000 military personnel by the end of the year, shifting the emphasis away from the land forces and toward the navy, air and rocket units.

China's defense budget is expected to rise to $233 billion by 2020, almost twice what it was in 2010 and four times what Britain spends, according to a study released in December by IHS Jane's.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/recent-devel ... 45829.html


Japan steps up...
China waits to hear why Japanese warship going to South China Sea

China said on Tuesday it was waiting for an official word on why Japan plans to send its largest warship on a three-month tour through the South China Sea, but that it hopes Japan can be responsible.

China claims almost all the disputed waters and its growing military presence has fueled concern in Japan and the West, with the United States holding regular air and naval patrols to ensure freedom of navigation.

The Izumo helicopter carrier, commissioned only two years ago, will make stops in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka before joining the Malabar joint naval exercise with Indian and U.S. naval vessels in the Indian Ocean in July, sources told Reuters.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said she did not know if the ship was going to visit countries in Southeast Asia or if there was another aim.

"We have not yet heard what Japan says officially," she told a daily news briefing.

"If it's only a normal visit, going to several countries, and passing normally through the South China Sea, then we've got no objections, and we hope this kind of normal exchange between relevant countries can play a role promoting regional peace and stability," Hua said.

"But if going to the South China Sea has different intentions, then that's a different matter," she added.
Japan had been stirring up trouble on the South China Sea issue of late, and China hoped it can play a constructive role in peace and stability, Hua said.

Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei also claim parts of the sea which has rich fishing grounds, oil and gas deposits and through which around $5 trillion of global sea-borne trade passes each year.

Japan does not have any claim to the waters, but has a separate maritime dispute with China in the East China Sea.
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan ... SKBN16L0UM


A stronger China sees Japan speed up new warship builds

China's growing naval influence and its dispute with Japan over ownership of a group of East China Sea islands sees Tokyo fast track its new-build naval vessel program
Japan plans to accelerate a warship building programme to make two frigates a year to patrol the fringes of the East China Sea, where it disputes island ownership with China, three people with knowledge of the plan said.

Japan previously was building one 5,000-ton class destroyer a year, but will now make two 3,000-ton class ships a year, beginning from the April 2018 fiscal year, the people said, declining to be identified as they are not authorized to talk to the media.

It aims to produce a fleet of eight of the new class of smaller, cheaper vessels, which may also have mine-sweeping and anti-submarine capability.
http://www.atimes.com/article/stronger- ... ip-builds/


Duterte keeps trying to play both sides...
Duterte says he might visit Japanese warship in disputed sea

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he may visit a Japanese warship touring the disputed South China Sea, dismissing the possibility of earning the ire of China.
Citing three sources, Reuters reported on Monday that Japan plans to dispatch its largest warship on a three-month tour through the South China Sea beginning in May, in its biggest show of naval force in the region since World War Two.
The Izumo helicopter carrier, commissioned only two years ago, will make stops in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka before joining the Malabar joint naval exercise with Indian and U.S. naval vessels in the Indian Ocean in July.
Japan wants to invite Duterte, who has pushed ties with China in recent months as he has criticized the old alliance with the United States, to visit the Izumo when it visits Subic Bay, another of the sources said.
Duterte said he would visit the warship “if I have the time.”
A visit by Duterte to the warship would likely trigger the ire of China, which claims almost the entire South China Sea.
The tough-talking Filipino leader, however, downplayed this scenario, saying the Japanese warship would only exercise its freedom to navigate in international waters.
“China knows that’s international waters," Duterte said.
A Duterte visit on the Japanese warship would be considered another demonstration of his warmth towards Japan. This is in stark contrast to his treatment of the United States, which under former President Barack Obama, criticized his war on drugs.
Earlier this month, three of Duterte’s Cabinet members visited a U.S. aircraft carrier patrolling the disputed sea.
Japan has no claim in the South China Sea and has a separate maritime dispute with China in the East China Sea. However, Japan’s economy relies heavily on the unimpeded access in the South China Sea and has regarded the growing Chinese military presence in the disputed waters as a source of concern.
Japan's flag-flying operation comes as the United States under President Donald Trump appears to be taking a tougher line with China. Washington has criticized China's construction of man-made islands and a build-up of military facilities that it worries could be used to restrict free movement.
Beijing in January said it had "irrefutable" sovereignty over the disputed islands after the White House vowed to defend "international territories".
The 249 meter-long (816.93 ft) Izumo is as large as Japan's World War 2-era carriers and can operate up to nine helicopters. It resembles the amphibious assault carriers used by U.S. Marines, but lacks their well deck for launching landing craft and other vessels.
Japan in recent years, particularly under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has been stretching the limits of its post-war, pacifist constitution. It has designated the Izumo as a destroyer because its constitution forbids the acquisition of offensive weapons. The vessel, nonetheless, allows Japan to project military power well beyond its territory.
Based in Yokosuka, near to Tokyo, which is also home to the U.S. Seventh Fleet's carrier, the Ronald Reagan, the Izumo's primary mission is anti-submarine warfare.
BENHAM RISE
Duterte also downplayed the presence of Chinese ships in Benham Rise east of Luzon.
Benham Rise was declared part of the Philippine territory in 2012 by the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier raised alarm over the presence of a survey ship in Benham Rise, prompting Manila to seek clarification from Beijing.
The Chinese foreign ministry confirmed Chinese vessels for “marine research” passed through Benham Rise, but insisted this was only in exercise of the principle of “freedom of navigation” and “right to innocent passage.”
Lorenzana however raised doubts about Beijing’s explanation on the matter, noting that the Chinese ships staying in Benham Rise for months was no longer an exercise of freedom of navigation.
Duterte, for his part, refused to make a big deal out of the issue.
“There’s no incursion, because may agreement kami (because we have an agreement). I even invited them to the shores of the Philippines for a visit. Napalaki lang iyan (The issue just got blown out of proportion),” Duterte said, without elaborating.
In choosing not to call out China over the presence of the Chinese ships in Benham Rise, Duterte pointed out that “things are getting great our way, so why spoil it?”
Since assuming the presidency, Duterte has chosen to repair the Philippines’ ties with China which have been strained by the bitter South China Sea dispute.
Choosing different approach, Duterte has chosen to set aside a tribunal ruling on the South China Sea favoring the Philippines. China, in exchange, granted the Philippines with billions of dollars worth of investment pledges.
http://news.abs-cbn.com/news/03/13/17/d ... sputed-sea


Here come the drones...


US to deploy missile-capable drones across border from North Korea
Deployment of Grey Eagle drones, designed to carry Hellfire missiles, in the South represents significant build-up of US military muscle

The US has declared it will permanently station missile-capable drones in South Korea in the latest round of military escalation in north-eastern Asia.

The drone deployment comes a week after North Korea carried out a test salvo of four missiles that landed off the coast of Japan, and a day before the US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, embarks on a tour of a region widely regarded as the most dangerous corner of the world.

The US military in South Korea took the unusual step of publicly announcing the deployment of a company of Grey Eagle drones, which it said would add “significant intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability” for American and South Korean forces.

Grey Eagles are designed to carry Hellfire missiles and together with the deployment of Thaad anti-ballistic missile defences in South Korea they represent a significant build-up of US military muscle in response to an accelerated programme of missile and nuclear testing by the North Korean regime.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/201 ... orth-korea


Oh, and this on the eve of Tillerson's visit. Maybe the Chinese can inform him about global climate change... :whisper:
Rex Tillerson: Secretary of State used fake name ‘Wayne Tracker’ to discuss climate change while Exxon Mobil CEO
Court filing comes in legal dispute in which Exxon seeks to derail probes into whether the company misled investors for years about the possible impact of global warming on its business
New York says Secretary of State Rex Tillerson used an email alias to discuss climate change while he was Exxon Mobil’s chief executive: Wayne Tracker.

Mr Tillerson sent messages from the account to discuss the risks posed by climate change, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a court filing about his office’s fraud investigation of the company. Mr Tillerson, whose middle name is Wayne, used the Wayne Tracker account on the Exxon system from at least 2008 to 2015, Schneiderman said.

Schneiderman made the claim in a letter Monday to Justice Barry Ostrager in New York state court in Manhattan, accusing Exxon of failing to turn over all relevant documents required by a court order. The filing comes in a protracted legal dispute in which Exxon seeks to derail probes by New York and Massachusetts into whether the company misled investors for years about the possible impact of climate change on its business.
http://fortune.com/2017/03/14/rex-tille ... stigation/
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Re: The Coming War on China

Postby SonicG » Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:33 pm

So Tillerson is only taking one reporter...It should be an interesting test of how the major outlets will cover this. And exactly what Tillerson is capable of...

Tillerson lets just one reporter — from a conservative website — travel with him in Asia. Why does this matter?

Erin McPike of the right-leaning website Independent Journal Review is the lone journalist permitted to fly on Tillerson’s plane. The decision to bar other news outlets was a way to give access to a “broader representation of U.S. media,” said State Department spokesman Mark Toner.

“This is just an attempt to reach beyond the usual suspects, and I’m not trying to say that in a demeaning way at all,” Toner told reporters Wednesday at the State Department.

The decision has wide ramifications.

North Korea’s pursuit of a long-range nuclear missile that could strike the West Coast poses a major challenge for the new president, and Trump’s bellicose rhetoric on trade with China has strained U.S. relations with Beijing.

Extremely narrow is "broader"?? Oh right, Orwell...

Why does it matter that only an Independent Journal Review reporter is flying with Tillerson?

For decades, reporters steeped in the complexities of foreign affairs have traveled abroad with U.S. secretaries of State.

The absence of any seasoned diplomatic correspondents from nonpartisan news outlets means that Tillerson, a former CEO of Exxon, will be less likely to face questions of substance about Trump’s foreign policy.

Steven Butler, the Asia program coordinator of the Committee to Protect Journalists, faulted Tillerson for a “complete lack of transparency.” The nuclear threat from North Korea, he said, made it especially important for Tillerson to respond to questions from reporters with expertise in Asian affairs.

“This is something that’s absolutely critical for the American people, and for people around the world, to understand and to evaluate, because it is potentially a life-and-death situation,” Butler told CNN.

It is not yet clear how much access Tillerson will provide reporters in Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing.

What is Independent Journal Review?

It’s a conservative news website founded by Alex Skatell, who was media director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee in the 2012 elections. For the 2010 elections, Skatell was director of new media and technology at the Republican Governors Assn.

Skatell’s bio on the IJR website omits both positions.

IJR’s parent company, Media Group of America, was co-founded by Skatell and Phil Musser, a former executive director of the Republican Governors Assn. Musser was a senior advisor to Republican Mitt Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Does McPike have much experience covering foreign affairs?

No. The bulk of her career as a reporter since 2006 has been covering political campaigns. McPike reported on politics for NBC News, the National Journal and RealClearPolitics. As a White House correspondent at CNN, she filed reports on the Islamic State militant group and the Russian incursion into Ukraine.

On her LinkedIn profile, McPike lists her specialties as “profiles of leading national & up-and-coming political figures, early trend coverage, positive & inspiring stories; connector and mentor.” For two months, she has been IJR’s White House correspondent.
http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-t ... story.html


Interesting contrasts with Hilary Clinton's first visit...
Tillerson’s quiet trip to Asia
Hillary Clinton got a rock star welcome in 2009, but Trump’s envoy is flying below the radar.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives in Asia on Wednesday for his first foreign trip with almost no fanfare. He’s traveling on a “small plane” with “a modest footprint,” says a spokesman. He’s bringing along just one reporter and will hold only one brief press conference during his planned stops in Japan, South Korea and China.

It’s a far cry from the splash Hillary Clinton made in February 2009 on her first trip abroad as secretary of state, following a similar itinerary through Asia. The celebrity diplomat arrived in a 747 and packed her schedule with town halls, TV appearances and media interviews in a tour the Washington Post said “has the feel of a presidential visit.”

To some critics of the last administration, that’s just fine. Clinton and her successor, John Kerry, they say, paid copious attention to PR while getting outmaneuvered behind closed doors.

“America needs a secretary of state like Rex Tillerson who has the potential to quietly and effectively get the job done, as opposed to a showy one like John Kerry who got out-negotiated by the Iranians, Russians, Chinese and other adversaries at every stop,” said Mark Dubowitz, CEO of the conservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

But the Trump administration is still crafting its Asia policy at a particularly volatile moment for the region, with officials preaching economic and military confrontation with China are dueling with others who favor stability and free trade.
“They don't have a coherent Asia strategy,” said Ely Ratner, a China expert at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former deputy national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden. “The region is trying to figure out what these guys are all about.”

For now, Trump officials seem clearest on what their policy is not. At a Monday briefing for foreign journalists, the State Department’s acting top official for Asia said the Obama administration policy that came to be known as “the pivot to Asia” is defunct.

As for an alternative, said Acting Assistant Secretary of State Susan Thornton, “we haven’t seen in detail what the formulation will be, or if there even will be a formulation.”

It is unclear how Tillerson might be advising President Donald Trump. The president had his top diplomat join him for dinner Monday with national security adviser H.R. McMaster. The White House would not comment on what was discussed at the dinner.

But in his Senate confirmation testimony, Tillerson offered a view of China—around which all U.S. policy in Asia revolves—that combined tough talk about Beijing’s territorial claims with an acknowledgement that “the economic wellbeing of our two nations in deeply intertwined.”


...
But one former Obama official said that Asian leaders will eagerly welcome Tillerson, even if he’s no Hillary. “They’re going to talk to anybody who is Trump’s person. The discussion that he’s not bringing a press [contingent], not doing enough press — that’s Washington navel-gazing. That’s not what the region is preoccupied with,” said Evan Medeiros, formerly the top official for Asia policy on President Barack Obama’s national security council. (The Washington discussion focused Tuesday night on word that Tillerson, breaking with years of precedent, would bring just one reporter on his plane — from the five-year-old conservative Independent Journal Review.)

The Chinese in particular, Medeiros added, “like to deal with people that are cool, careful, discreet—but very credible interlocutors. And I think right now they see Tillerson like that.”

Others believe Tillerson needs to begin asserting himself, including by leaving memorable impressions of his inaugural trip as Trump’s top envoy. “If he just slides in and slides out,” Ratner said, “he will have missed an opportunity to elevate his profile.”
http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/r ... ina-236059


That article mentions this deal, which I had never heard about before...
Before stepping down from ExxonMobil in December, Tillerson also oversaw plans for a joint $10 billion natural gas project between the company and the government of Vietnam that was inked in January. That gas drilling would occur in waters claimed by Beijing, which has warned foreign energy companies against trying to develop in such waters.
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Re: The Coming War on China

Postby SonicG » Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:40 pm

More info. on that deal:

Exxon-Vietnam gas deal to test Tillerson’s diplomacy
The multi-billion dollar joint energy project comes amid past Chinese threats and tough Trump administration talk on the South China Sea
http://www.atimes.com/article/exxon-vie ... diplomacy/

Rex Tillerson Backs Aggressive Policy in Disputed South China Sea as Exxon, Russia Eye Region’s Oil and Gas

President Donald Trump's newly sworn-in Secretary of State, recently retired ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, turned heads when he expressed support for an aggressive military stance against China's actions in the disputed South China Sea during his Senate committee hearing and in response to questions from Democratic Party Committee members.

Tillerson's views on China and the South China Sea territory appear even more concerning against the backdrop of recently aired comments made by Trump's increasingly powerful chief strategist, Steve Bannon, that the two nations were headed toward war in the next five to 10 years, as reported by the Independent (UK). However, what Tillerson did not reveal in his answers is that Exxon, as well as Russian state-owned companies Gazprom and Rosneft, have been angling to tap into the South China Sea's offshore oil and gas bounty.

...
Vietnam

On January 12, the New York Times became the first news outlet to dig into Exxon's bounty of South China Sea offshore oil and gas and how it could possibly relate to Tillerson's hardline views on the disputed territory there.

“What is also not clear is the extent to which Mr. Tillerson’s tough stance on the South China Sea springs from his extensive experience in the region during his time as chief executive of Exxon Mobil, when his company became embroiled in bitter territorial disputes over the extensive oil and gas reserves beneath the seafloor,” wrote the Times. “During his tenure, the company forged close ties to the Vietnamese government, signing an agreement in 2009 with a state-owned firm to drill for oil and gas in two areas in the South China Sea.”

That agreement was completed with a “quiet signing given sensitivities with China,” according to a State Department cable published by Wikileaks. ExxonMobil Vietnam's then-President Russ Berkoben told the State Department that “although EM is uncertain of China's reaction, it is ready if China reacts,” according to the cable. The deal made Exxon the largest offshore acreage holder in Vietnam, with 14 million acres to explore and tap into.

In 2008, the South China Morning Post reported that Exxon had “been approached by Chinese envoys and told to pull out of preliminary oil deals with Vietnam.” Vietnam stood its ground, telling China that Exxon and other companies had a right to drill in its territorial sea under its laws.

Three years later in 2011, Exxon said it had “encountered hydrocarbons” in the area during its exploratory drilling in a company statement. China reacted with fury, moving its own state-owned oil platform, belonging to China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CONOC), to the same area in 2014.

U.S. Secretary of State at the time John Kerry called CONOC's move “aggressive” and “provocative,” with the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi telling Kerry to “speak and act cautiously” on the issue.

On January 13, PetroVietnam and Exxon announced a $10 billion deal to build a natural gas power plant in the country, set to be sourced with the gas Exxon will tap from the South China Sea via the Ca Voi Xanh offshore field. Exxon will also ship the gas to Vietnam via one of its underwater pipelines.

VietGazprom, Rosneft Vietnam

PetroVietnam also has a joint venture with the Russian state-owned company Gazprom; it goes by the name VietGazprom. Together, they operate five offshore blocks in the South China Sea.

Gazprom began negotiations to buy a 49 percent stake in Vietnam's sole oil refinery, the Dung Quat refinery, in April 2015 but walked away from the potential deal in January 2016.

Rosneft, the Russian state-owned company which maintains close business ties with Exxon, also has skin in the game for offshore drilling in Vietnam through its subsidiary Rosneft Vietnam. The project is Rosneft's first international offshore project.

“The implementation of projects in Vietnam is one of the priority [sic] of Rosneft’s international strategy,” said Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, a close ally of Putin, of the project in a March 2016 press release. “The development of offshore fields in one of the most dynamically growing Asia-Pacific region country is a remarkable example of high-tech cooperation with our partners … We appreciate not only the current progress of joint projects implementation in Vietnam, but also the future prospects for their development.”

Rosneft and PetroVietnam signed a joint cooperation agreement in May 2016, which includes but is not limited to offshore drilling, that will further bolster the ties between Rosneft and Vietnam in the South China Sea.

“The agreement provides for the expansion of cooperation between the parties in Russia, Vietnam and third countries in the area of hydrocarbon exploration and production (including offshore), processing, commerce and logistics, as well as staff training,” reads a Rosneft press release. “The parties agreed to consider potential options for joint projects and define the basic terms of cooperation as well as establish a working group for each of the areas of cooperation.”

Rosneft also co-owns the underwater Nam Con Son Pipeline on a 32.7 percent basis through its subsidiary Rosneft Vietnam Pipelines, which is also owned on a 51 percent basis by PetroVietnam.


There are supposed to be a lot of Russians here in Vietnam but I cannot say I have had a conversation with a single one. I do know that there are a lot of Russian language signs in Nha Trang, a beach resort town closer to the oil region...

Oh and no real conflict of interest here for Tillerson...What is he going to do? Nuke-threat China to back off the oil in the So. China Sea?
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