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THAAD
Mrz 20th, 2017 by Gao

Mel Gurtov: Diplomatic Remedies for THAAD Madness: The US, China and the Two Koreas (Japan Focus)

The US decision, supported by the South Korean government, to deploy an antimissile system known as THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) may be one of the most thoughtless strategic moves in a generation. The official US justification is that close-in defense against North Korean missiles is necessary to protect South Korea. But the deployment is having more than a few negative repercussions: an argument in China for increasing its nuclear weapons stockpile; an incentive in North Korea for continuing to develop its long-range missile capability; a deep fissure in China-South Korea relations; a roiling of South Korean politics at a time when its corrupt president has been impeached; and a new source of tension in already fraught Sino-US relations.

U.S. Deploys Missile System Amid Rising Tensions with N. Korea (Democracy Now)

Tensions are rising between the United States, North Korea and China, threatening to create the first significant national security crisis of the Trump presidency. This week, the United States began deploying a missile defense system to South Korea, sparking warnings from Chinese officials who say the U.S. is escalating a regional arms race. The U.S. says the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System, known as THAAD, seeks to protect South Korea amid a series of recent missile tests launched by North Korea…
The deployment of the U.S. missile system is widely opposed by both South Koreans, who have been protesting against U.S. militarization, and by Chinese officials, who say the missile system actually aims to counter China’s military power in the region, not to contain North Korea.
Chinese officials are calling for both an end to North Korea’s nuclear program and an end to joint U.S. and South Korean military drills.

Bruce Cumings, Amy Goodman: North Korea Timed Recent Missile Test to Take Place During Trump-Abe Dinner (Democracy Now)

North Korea tested a ballistic missile last month, sparking widespread international condemnation. The test was a violation of a United Nations Security Council resolution. North Korea claimed the test was a successful launch of an intermediate-range missile. The test came while Trump hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe over the weekend at the Trump-owned Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

Christine Ahn, Bruce Cumings, Amy Goodman: China Warns U.S. & North Korea Are Set for „Head-On“ Collision Amid Rising Tensions & Provocations (Democracy Now)

The political upheaval in South Korea comes shortly after North Korea test-fired several ballistic missiles. In response, the Trump administration announced it would deploy a missile defense system to South Korea. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of South Korean and U.S. troops, backed by warships and warplanes, are currently engaging in a massive military exercise. Last week, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned that the U.S. and North Korea are like two „accelerating trains coming toward each other.“ He called on both sides to de-escalate tensions.

David E. Sanger, William J. Broad: Trump Inherits a Secret Cyberwar Against North Korean Missiles (New York Times) / 트럼프가 물려받은 유산: 북한 미사일에 대응하는 비밀 사이버戰 / 特朗普接手的秘密计划:网络攻击破坏朝鲜导弹?

Three years ago, President Barack Obama ordered Pentagon officials to step up their cyber and electronic strikes against North Korea’s missile program in hopes of sabotaging test launches in their opening seconds…
An examination of the Pentagon’s disruption effort, based on interviews with officials of the Obama and Trump administrations as well as a review of extensive but obscure public records, found that the United States still does not have the ability to effectively counter the North Korean nuclear and missile programs…
In two meetings of Mr. Trump’s national security deputies in the Situation Room, the most recent on Tuesday, all those options were discussed, along with the possibility of reintroducing nuclear weapons to South Korea as a dramatic warning…
The White House is also looking at pre-emptive military strike options, a senior Trump administration official said, …

Obama in Hangzhou
Sep 6th, 2016 by Gao

Pepe Escobar: The G20 Meets in Tech Hub Hangzhou, China, At an Extremely Tense Geopolitical [something] (CounterPunch)

[A]t the heart of the G20 we will have the two projects which are competing head on to geopolitically shape the young 21st century.
China has proposed OBOR; a pan-Eurasian connectivity spectacular designed to configure a hypermarket at least 10 times the size of the US market within the next two decades.
The US hyperpower – not the Atlanticist West, because Europe is mired in fear and stagnation — “proposes” the current neocon/neoliberalcon status quo; the usual Divide and Rule tactics; and the primacy of fear, enshrined in the Pentagon array of “threats” that must be fought, from Russia and China to Iran. The geopolitical rumble in the background high-tech jungle is all about the “containment” of top G20 members Russia and China…
Deng Xiaoping’s maxim – “never take the lead, never reveal your true potential, never overstretch your abilities” – now belongs to the past. At the G20 China once again is announcing it is taking the lead. And not only taking the lead – but also planning to overstretch its abilities to make the hyper-ambitious OBOR Eurasia integration masterplan work. Call it a monster PR exercise or a soft power win-win; the fact that humanitarian imperialism as embodied by the Pentagon considers China a major “threat” is all the Global South – and the G20 for that matter — needs to know.

Full Text: Chinese Outcome List of the Meeting Between the Chinese and US Presidents in Hangzhou (Xinhua)
Tom Phillips: Barack Obama ‚deliberately snubbed‘ by Chinese in chaotic arrival at G20 (Guardian)

China’s leaders have been accused of delivering a calculated diplomatic snub to Barack Obama after the US president was not provided with a staircase to leave his plane during his chaotic arrival in Hangzhou before the start of the G20.

Roberta Rampton, Michael Martina: Row on tarmac an awkward G20 start for U.S., China (Reuters)

A Chinese official confronted U.S. President Barack Obama’s national security adviser on the tarmac on Saturday prompting the Secret Service to intervene, an unusual altercation as China implements strict controls ahead of a big summit.

Mark Landler: Confrontations Flare as Obama’s Traveling Party Reaches China (New York Times)

As the reporters who traveled to the Group of 20 summit meeting with President Obama from Hawaii piled out and walked under the wing to record his arrival, we were abruptly met by a line of bright blue tape, held taut by security guards. In six years of covering the White House, I had never seen a foreign host prevent the news media from watching Mr. Obama disembark.
When a White House staff member protested to a Chinese security official that this was not normal protocol, the official shouted, “This is our country.”
In another departure from protocol, there was no rolling staircase for Mr. Obama to descend in view of the television cameras. Instead, he emerged from a door in the belly of the plane that he usually uses only on high-security trips, like those to Afghanistan…
At the West Lake State House, where Mr. Obama met President Xi Jinping, White House aides, protocol officers and Secret Service agents got into a series of shouting matches over how many Americans should be allowed into the building before Mr. Obama’s arrival.

Tom Phillips: Barack Obama ‚deliberately snubbed‘ by Chinese in chaotic arrival at G20 (Guardian)
Matthias Müller: Gespannte Atmosphäre zwischen China und den USA (Neue Zürcher Zeitung)
Zhou Xin, Nectar Gan: G20 ‘staircase snub’ for Obama was United States’ decision, reveals Chinese official (South China Morning Post)

It was Washington’s decision to have US President Barack Obama disembark from his plane through a small bare metal stairway instead of the usual rolling red-carpet staircase that state leaders get, a Chinese foreign ministry official has revealed…
“China provides a rolling staircase for every arriving state leader, but the US side complained that the driver doesn’t speak English and can’t understand security instructions from the United States; so China proposed that we could assign a translator to sit beside the driver, but the US side turned down the proposal and insisted that they didn’t need the staircase provided by the airport,” the official told the South China Morning Post on Sunday.

Sun Xiaobo: China chides media’s hype of G20 spat (Global Times)

The skirmishes between Chinese and US officials when US President Barack Obama arrived in Hangzhou for the G20 summit on Saturday have been exaggerated by some US officials and attracted undue attention from Western media outlets, dismaying Chinese netizens and observers who viewed the hype as fresh evidence of the arrogance of some in the West.

Tom Phillips: Ghost town: how China emptied Hangzhou to guarantee ‚perfect‘ G20 (Guardian)

Thomas C. Mountain: The CIA’s ‚Dirty War‘ in South Sudan (TeleSur)

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the USA is funding a dirty war in South Sudan. The war in South Sudan is little different than the wars the CIA funded in Angola and Mozambique, to name two of the most infamous.
It is in the “national interests” of the USA to deny China access to African energy resources and the Sudanese oil fields are the only Chinese owned and operated in Africa. It’s that simple – the war in South Sudan is about denying China access to Africa’s oil.

Murtaza Hussain: How Obama’s Asia pivog nudged China toward Pakistan but helped aggravate India (Intercept)

Arbeitskämpfe | Sprachenpolitik | Inselstreit
Aug 28th, 2016 by Gao

Tricky Footwork-the struggle of labour rights in the Chinese shoe industry (Globalization Monitor)

Collected in interviews conducted in 2015 for this study, testimonies attest to the fact that labour law violations are still a common phenomenon in the Chinese leather and footwear industry. The people who work at the factories that supply European brands such as Adidas, Clarks and ECCO told us of, among other infringements, salaries that are far below a living wage, involuntary overtime, insufficient protection from health and safety risks, insufficient protection for young workers, disrespectful treatment of workers, no right to assembly, state violence to suppress strikes, unpaid social insurance contributions and insufficient severance payments.
All of the above is happening despite the fact that China has very progressive labour laws, especially in comparison with other producing countries.

Matthew Carney: The Labours of Mr Zhang (ABC)

Zhang Ziru has lost count of how many times he has been arrested. One week he remembers it was five times. He lives under constant police surveillance. He has moved away from his family to keep them safe.
Such are the occupational hazards for the labour activist who has helped organise some of China’s biggest strikes.

Gerald Roche: The politics of language on the Tibetan plateau (Little Red Podcast / Soundcloud)

The South China Sea is an important world energy trade route (U. S. Energy Information Administration)

Stretching from Singapore and the Strait of Malacca chokepoint in the southwest to the Strait of Taiwan in the northeast, the South China Sea is one of the most important energy trade routes in the world. Almost a third of global crude oil and over half of global liquefied natural gas (LNG) passes through the South China Sea each year.
The Strait of Malacca is the shortest sea route between African and Persian Gulf suppliers and Asian consumers. The strait is a critical transit chokepoint and has become increasingly important over the last two decades. In 1993, about 7 million barrels per day (bbl/d) of oil and petroleum products (20% of world seaborne oil trade) passed through the Strait of Malacca …

Jeremy Bender: The only chart you need to see to know that the South China Sea is one of the most militarized regions in the world (Business Insider)

China, by far, has the largest military force in the region. As such, Beijing could force its claims over the South China Sea against the wishes of the other nations involved in the dispute due to both its economic and military size.

Pepe Escobar: The Real Secret of the South China Sea (Sputnik)

The South China Sea is and will continue to be the ultimate geopolitical flashpoint of the young 21st century – way ahead of the Middle East or Russia’s western borderlands. No less than the future of Asia – as well as the East-West balance of power – is at stake.
To understand the Big Picture, we need to go back to 1890 when Alfred Mahan, then president of the US Naval College, wrote the seminal The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783. Mahan’s central thesis is that the US should go global in search of new markets, and protect these new trade routes through a network of naval bases.

Below the Winds: What Do the Island Disputes Really Mean to Vietnamese & Chinese Workers? (Chuang)

Chinese control over the South China Sea would to some extent entail Chinese control over Korean, Japanese, and Taiwanese capital. These three countries are longstanding American allies, and it stands to reason that should China be determined to dominate the South China Sea as a territorial water, thereby dominating one of the most important shipping lanes in the world, an American allied coalition may be dragged into conflict.

Peter Symonds: The Hague ruling: A dangerous step toward war (World Socialist Website)

In the wake of the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s sweeping ruling on Tuesday in The Hague, negating all Chinese maritime claims in the South China Sea, there has been a chorus of US-led condemnations of China’s “illegal activities,” demands that Beijing abide by the court decision and calls for US diplomatic and military action to enforce the verdict.

Robert Fitzthum: Der Konflikt in der South China Sea im geostrategischen Kontext (PDF, Labournet Austria)

Mehr als 11.000 km vom amerikanischen Festland entfernt proben US-Flugzeugträger, Lenkwaffenkreuzer sowie EP-3 Spionageflugzeuge in der South China Sea die ‚Freedom of Navigation‘. Erstaunlicherweise passieren jährlich ca. 100.000 Transportschiffe und viele Verkehrsflugzeuge dieses Gebiet, ohne dass man bisher von Problemen in der Freiheit der Passage durch die South China Sea gehört hatte. Die USA werfen China aggressives Verhalten im Zusammenhang mit der Schaffung von künstlichen Inseln und ziviler und militärischer Einrichtungen vor. Ein Jahrzehnte alter, regional allseits bewusst niedrig gehaltener Konflikt über die Hoheits- und Nutzungsrechte an Inseln, Riffen, Felsen, Meeresgebieten u.ä. wird derzeit als großes Problem hochgekocht und man fragt sich, warum ist das der Fall.

Jacques deLisle: The South China Sea Arbitration Decision: China Fought the Law, and the Law Won….Or Did It? (Foreign Policy Research Institute)

When the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague issued its unanimous decision on July 12 in the case that the Philippines had filed against the People’s Republic of China two and a half years earlier, the Court set forth: a stunning repudiation of several of China’s key legal arguments and much of its real-world behavior in the disputed South China Sea; a remarkable affirmation of the core elements of US policy and strategy toward the contested maritime region and China’s claims and actions therein; and a striking assertion of the reach and capacity of international law and formal dispute resolution procedures. Yet, as with so much else concerning the South China Sea, China’s relations with its neighbors, US policy toward China, and international law, the implications of the decision are a good deal more ambiguous and ambivalent. In the aftermath of the decision, China is faced with difficult choices, the US with complex dilemmas, and international law with substantial peril.

Minxin Pei: Why China’s elites worry about the country’s future (Nikkei Asian Review)

[I]f you meet Chinese businessmen, academics or government officials who are willing to share their candid opinions in private, most will tell you they have no idea where China is going. Several recent important developments create the same sense of bewilderment about China’s overall direction.

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