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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, …

Philippinen | Thailand | Korea
Okt 24th, 2016 by Gao

Anthony V. Rinna: Can Duterte’s diplomacy have it all? (East Asia Forum)

Less than six months into his tenure as President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte has embarked on what even he considers to be risky foreign policy moves. In September 2016, he declared that he is about to ‘cross the Rubicon’ in the Philippines’ relationship with the United States.
The ‘crossing’ Duterte refers to is his plan to enhance the Philippines’ relationships with Russia and China.

Greg Raymond: What’s wrong with the United States’ Southeast Asian allies? (East Asia Forum)

The Philippines and Thailand are not acting like US treaty allies are supposed to. While the Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte seems somewhat of an outlier, his anti-Americanism is only the latest instalment of instability in the US–Philippines relationship. Thai–US relations have also suffered since the 2014 military coup and Thailand now appears to be seeking closer military ties with China. But these countries’ disagreements with the United States do not necessarily mean they want a change to the status quo in Asia.

Andrei Lankov: Learning to live with a nuclear North Korea (East Asia Forum)

North Korea has done it again. On 9 October they conducted yet another nuclear test, so far the most powerful and arguably the most successful. To make matters worse, there are good reasons to expect that another test is in the making.

Nidhi Prasad: Japan’s nuclear insurance against North Korea (East Asia Forum)

George Shultz’s axiom that ‘proliferation begets proliferation’ appears to be contested in East Asia. North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test on 9 September, leaving its non-nuclear Asian neighbours vexed. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe termed it ‘totally unacceptable’ and has called for strict sanctions. But the international fear of North Korea’s nuclear tests triggering a chain of nuclear tests in East Asia or the rise of a nuclear tsunami seems to have been dispelled with the United States’ Asian allies favouring ‘strategic assurance’.

Landwirtschaft | Hongkong | Korea | Philippinen
Okt 19th, 2016 by Gao

Robert B. Marks: Modern China’s agricultural contradictions / 现代中国的农业矛盾 (ChinaDialogue)

The People’s Republic had to overcome massive environmental degradation and poor quality farmland to drive its industrial transformation

Francesco Sisci: Expect a power struggle at China’s next party plenum (Asia Times)

It is a strange situation: Xi sits on all the power—none of his opponents has enough strength to topple him—but the antagonists can muster enough force to slow down or stop Xi’s plans for change. The vested interests in the country and the party are well rooted, widespread, and unwilling to give up all of their privileges and money for the general benefit of the country – or what they may believe are Xi’s personal ambitions. It is almost a political deadlock, and for both Xi and his opponents, it may be a fight to the bitter end.

Tom Phillips: Rebel Hong Kong politicians defy China at chaotic swearing-in ceremony (Guardian)

Pro-democracy politicians cross fingers and make protest signs and subversive references to Beijing’s authoritarian rulers.

Benny Kung: HK pro-independence lawmakers prevented from retaking oath (Asia Times)

Two pro-independence Hong Kong lawmakers were denied the chance to swear themselves into office on Wednesday after their pro-Beijing peers walked out of the chamber in protest at the duo’s anti-China sentiment.

Hong Kong lawmakers walk out to block swearing-in of democracy activists (Guardian)

Reuters: US and South Korea will ‚pay the price‘ for missile system, China paper says (Guardian)

Noel Tarrazona: Did the US end military drills over Duterte’s China pivot? (Asia Times)

Last Tuesday (Oct 11) was significant for the Philippines. The day marked the early end to the US-Philippines military drills which was supposed to go on till Oct 12…
There may be genuine reasons for this change of plans but many Filipinos and the outside world immediately linked it with Duterte’s recent statement that this would be the last military drill between the two countries.

Korea | Inselstreit
Jun 27th, 2016 by Gao

Johnny Erling: Nordkorea: Kim provoziert mit Doppelraketentest

Nordkoreas Machthaber Kim Jong-un schlug zum richtigen Zeitpunkt gleich doppelt zu. Den UN-Sanktionen zum Trotz forderte er wieder einmal alle Welt heraus – mit zwei Raketentests kurz hintereinander, und das, obwohl die Vereinten Nationen solche Tests seinem Land verboten haben. … Kim befahl den ersten Test nach Angaben der südkoreanischen Nachrichtenagentur Yonhap Mittwochfrüh um 5.58 Uhr. Er ließ eine Mittelstreckenrakete vom Typ Musudan von der Ostküste Nordkoreas abschießen. US- und südkoreanisches Militär sehen in ihr eine potenzielle Trägerwaffe, die künftig mit einem Atomsprengkopf bestückt werden könnte. Mit einer Reichweite von 3000 bis 4000 Kilometern erreicht sie angeblich jeden Punkt in Japan und bedroht auch US-Stellungen auf Guam und in Alaska. …
Südkoreas Verteidigungsbehörden nannten den Test „misslungen“. Das Geschoß sei 150 Kilometer vom Start entfernt ins Meer gestürzt. Seit April ist es der inzwischen fünfte Fehlschlag in Folge. Doch um 8.05 Uhr zündete Nordkorea eine zweite Musudan. Sie soll laut Yonhap rund 400 Kilometer weit gekommen sein.

Justin McCurry: North Korea: UN security council ‚to meet‘ after missile tests (Guardian)

The missiles are usually test-fired at a flatter angle to maximise their range, according to Jeffrey Lewis at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in California. “That suggests the missile worked perfectly,” he said. “Had it been fired at its normal angle, it would have flown to its full range.”…
It was not immediately clear whether Pyongyang considered the second Musudan launch a success or failure, or how the flight ended.

Pepe Escobar: Beijing goes mobile in the South China Sea (RT)

Not a day goes by without some sort of turmoil in the South China Sea. Let’s cut to the chase: war is not about to break out.

Scenarios of the Coming Crisis: A Response to Aufheben’s “The Crisis: Afterword” (Chuang)

In China, official politics is a game of arcane signals. Predicting tectonic shifts in policy requires that one read the seismic shudders buried beneath terse statements issued by poker-faced officials. Slight changes in terminology may hint at sliding allegiances or new waves of repression. The most significant signals, however, take the form of interviews with anonymous oracles—almost always an “authoritative person”—their words propagated by the state’s highest media organs without attribution. The more such oracles speak, the greater the magnitude of the coming “intervention.” Such proclamations also often signal internal disagreements within the seemingly monolithic Chinese Communist Party (CCP). With the slowing of economic growth, such disagreements have been exacerbated, as the top leadership debates the future of the economic reforms that have led China into a commanding role within global circuits of capital accumulation.

Qiao Long, Wong Lok-to, Luisetta Mudie: Chinese Blogger Who Compiled Protest Data Missing, Believed Detained (Radio Free Asia)

Sanktionen gegen Korea
Apr 6th, 2016 by Gao

Beijing kündigt Handelsrestriktionen mit Pjöngjang an (China Internet Information Centre)

Beijing hat den Import von Eisenerz aus Pjöngjang verboten, ebenso wie den Export von Treibstoffen für Flugzeuge und andere Ölprodukte, die zur Herstellung von Raketentreibstoff erforderlich sind. Das sind die Eckpunkte von Chinas Handelsrestriktionen gegen Nordkorea, die am Dienstag bekannt gegeben wurden. Das Handelsministerium hat eine entsprechende Liste auf der Webseite veröffentlicht. Diese gab weiters bekannt, China würde den Import von Gold und Seltenen Erden aus Nordkorea verbieten. Dies geschieht in Einklang mit den UN Sanktionen. Die Mehrheit der nordkoreanischen Exporte nach China sind Mineralien. …
Chinas Embargoerklärung zeige, dass Beijing die Resolution des UN-Sicherheitsrates uneingeschränkt anerkenne, sagte Shi Yongming, ein Wissenschaftler am chinesischen Institut für internationale Studien.

USA und China gemeinsam gegen Nordkorea (Zeit)
China announces trade sanctions against North Korea over nuclear tests (RT)

Beijing has banned imports of gold, coal, iron ore and rare earths from Pyongyang, in line with UN sanctions on North Korea. The world’s second-biggest economy will also stop selling jet fuel and other oil products used to make rocket fuel to its neighbor.
In March, the UN Security Council unanimously expanded sanctions against North Korea after Pyongyang made a fourth nuclear test and launched a long-range rocket.
China’s participation is crucial to the sanctions, as it buys about two-thirds of North Korean exports, mostly coal, iron ore, gold, titanium, vanadium and rare earths…
However, the Chinese ban exempts coal from third countries through the North Korean port of Rason.
Beijing will also allow jet and rocket fuel exports to Pyongyang for „basic humanitarian needs“, which includes civilian passenger planes.

Svati Kirsten Narula: After North Korea’s nuclear testing, China will impose sanctions—with a major loophole (Quartz)

China says it is banning North Korean coal, gold, iron ore and other mineral imports and will stop exporting jet fuel to the country.
The loophole in this arrangement, however, is that trade of coal and minerals is permitted as long as the proceeds from such are for the “livelihood” of North Korean citizens and will not be put toward the government’s nuclear activities.

KDVR
Jan 12th, 2016 by Gao

Nordkorea-Experte Frank über angeblichen Bombentest (ORF ZiB24, Video, 4:40 Min.)

Gadenstätter: Es haben heute Experten auch schon gesagt, Kim möchte … vor allem mit den USA auf Augenhöhe verhandeln. Warum ist ihm denn das so wichtig?
Frank: Aus nordkoreanischer Sicht sind die Vereinigten Staaten … das größte Sicherheitsrisiko für Nordkorea, zumindest bislang, wenn man China mal ausklammert. … [Die Nordkoreaner!] wollen gerne einen Friedensvertrag abschließen. Den möchten sie zwischen Gleichberechtigten schließen, nicht zwischen Gewinner und Verlierer, und auch dazu trägt sicherlich das Atomprogramm bei.

Klaus Huhold: „Der Abbau von Atomwaffen ist für Nordkoreaner indiskutabel“ (Wiener Zeitung)

Nordkorea hat mit seinem vierten Atomtest wieder einmal für internationale Empörung gesorgt: Das Regime des Diktators Kim Jong-un gibt an, eine Wasserstoffbombe getestet zu haben – westliche Experten vermuten aber, dass es eher eine weitere, herkömmliche Atombombe war. Der Nordkorea-Experte Rüdiger Frank erklärt, warum das Land aufrüstet und in welches Dilemma das China stürzt.

Maximilian Gerl: Pjöngjangs Atomtest: „Der Westen hat kaum noch Drohpotenzial gegen Kim“ (Spiegel)

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Was bezweckt Nordkorea mit der Zündung einer angeblichen Wasserstoffbombe?
Rüdiger Frank: Es ist die konsequente Fortsetzung der bisherigen Politik von Pjöngjang. Nordkorea hat sich schon vor vielen Jahren dazu entschieden, auf das Prinzip der nuklearen Abschreckung zu setzen. Das hat schon während des Kalten Krieges gut funktioniert. Die Führung um Kim Jong Un hat offenbar immer noch die Sorge, dass die USA das Land militärisch besetzen könnten. …
SPIEGEL ONLINE: China gilt als der wichtigste Partner Pjöngjangs. Wie lange wird Peking Nordkorea noch beschützen?
Frank: Das tun die Chinesen schon lange nicht mehr.Eigentlich ist China das von Nordkorea am meisten bedrohte Land in der Region: Gibt es ein Reaktorunglück, weht der Fallout nach China. Bröckelt das Regime in Pjöngjang, ist das auch für Chinas Machthaber gefährlich. Die Nordkoreaner treiben die Chinesen im Moment vor sich her – und machen ihr eigenes Ding.

Streik | Atomkraft | Monsanto | 1989
Mai 30th, 2015 by Gao

Elaine Hui: Chinese Bike Light Strikers Occupy Factory, Face Firings and Arrests (Labor Notes)

Workers who make bike lights at a factory in Shenzhen, China, have been on strike since April 30, demanding that the company pay up what it legally owes them.
The strikers stayed overnight in the factory, stopping production and delivery for two weeks, until police came to evict them and arrest worker leaders on May 13.
New An Lun Lamp, a Taiwanese-owned factory, produces bicycle lights for brands including the German Messingschlager and Buchel and the Dutch AXA.
There are about 100 workers in the factory, mostly middle-aged women, with some nearing retirement.
Though their actions have been peaceful, thus far 13 workers have been fired and nine arrested by police for “disrupting public order.”
Seven out of the nine detained workers were released within 24 hours. The other two—including one of the workers’ elected representatives—were held by police for seven days. During the police raid on May 13 these two clutched the legs of the general manager and his son, crying and begging them not to remove the finish goods.

Migrant worker in Nanjing cheated out of compensation and left to die (China Labour Bulletin)

Listed in Shanghai, Hong Kong, London and New York, China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (Sinopec) is one of China’s largest and best-known companies. It has a vast network of subsidiaries including Yangzi Petrochemical based in Nanjing. This company reportedly owns or has an interest in Nanjing Yangzi Maintenance and Installation (南京扬子检修安装), which employed Chen Dejun, a young migrant worker from the neighbouring province of Anhui.
Chen started work at Yangzi Maintenance and Installation in July 2010. Within 18 months, he started to experience dizziness, irregular heartbeat, headaches and tremors – all the symptoms of benzene poisoning, and almost certainly the result of his work doing spray-painting, acid washing, chemical cleaning and toxic waste disposal at the plant.
Today, Chen is seriously ill and bedridden but he has still not received any compensation because his employer did everything it could to prevent his illness from being classified by the authorities as an occupational disease.

Robert Foyle Hunwick: Desperate Chinese are turning to mass suicide to get their government’s attention (Global Post)

The location was chosen for maximum impact: a downtown boulevard, famous for Beijing’s swankiest shops and its plushest hotels. Studded with these symbols of Western capitalist chic, Wangfujing Shopping Street could hardly be further from the more desperate concerns of rural China.
It was here that a group of about 30 men gathered on a warm spring morning and, in front of hundreds of shoppers, swallowed a quantity of pesticide. They fell to the ground en masse and, according to several eyewitnesses, foamed at the mouth.
As the men were rushed to hospital, startled crowds spread the news on social media, while the scene quickly returned to normal. Police issued a statement later that day that none had died; local reports explained they were taxi drivers from the northeast, who’d traveled to the capital to stage the protest…
In August 2013, a group of 21, also from Heilongjiang, attempted mass suicide near the Beijing West rail station, after a railway company failed to provide their children with the public-service jobs they were promised. Four months later, 13 homeowners attempted the same over a failure to be compensated for demolitions. In two incidents in July last year, five petitioners drank poison in a police station, and five men and two women from Jiangsu, did the same outside the offices of the China Youth Daily newspaper. They were dissatisfied with the terms of their eviction.

孟山都滚出中国! (monsanto-out-of-china.org)

Emma Graham-Harrison: China warned over ‚insane‘ plans for new nuclear power plants (Guardian)

China’s plans for a rapid expansion of nuclear power plants are “insane” because the country is not investing enough in safety controls, a leading Chinese scientist has warned.
Proposals to build plants inland, as China ends a moratorium on new generators imposed after the Fukushima disaster in March 2011, are particularly risky, the physicist He Zuoxiu said, because if there was an accident it could contaminate rivers that hundreds of millions of people rely on for water and taint groundwater supplies to vast swathes of important farmlands.
China halted the approval of new reactors in 2011 in order to review its safety standards, but gave the go-ahead in March for two units, part of an attempt to surpass Japan’s nuclear-generating capacity by 2020 and become the world’s biggest user of nuclear power a decade later.
Barack Obama recently announced plans to renew a nuclear cooperation deal with Beijing that would allow it to buy more US-designed reactors, and potentially pursue the technology to reprocess plutonium from spent fuel…
He, who worked on China’s nuclear weapons programme, said the planned rollout was going too fast to ensure it had the safety and monitoring expertise needed to avert an accident.
“There are currently two voices on nuclear energy in China. One prioritises safety while the other prioritises development,” He told the Guardian in an interview at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
He spoke of risks including “corruption, poor management abilities and decision-making capabilities”. He said: “They want to build 58 (gigawatts of nuclear generating capacity) by 2020 and eventually 120 to 200. This is insane.”

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian: These Chinese People Want High-Speed Rail So Badly They Are Fighting Police to Get It (Foreign Policy)

On May 16, thousands of people carrying banners marched through the streets of Linshui, a county in the southwest Chinese province of Sichuan. Some shouted slogans while others hurled rocks at lines of police in riot gear, who pushed back against the crowds and beat some with batons. Photographs show several people with bloody head injuries being cared for by paramedics and onlookers. Linshui residents turned out in droves, burned vehicles, and braved riot police for more than eight hours — not to protest inequality, corruption, or environmental degradation, but to demand that a high-speed rail line be built through their county.

Wolfgang Pomrehn: Chinas Investitions-Offensive (Telepolis)

Die Volksrepublik verstärkt ihren Kapitalexport und steckt viel Geld in den Aufbau von Eisenbahnen und anderer Infrastruktur in befreundeten Ländern.

Gu Yi etc.: On the 26th Anniversary of Tian’anmen Massacre (Sri Lanka Guardian)

We are a group of Chinese students born in the 1980s and 1990s and now studying abroad. Twenty-six years ago on June 4th, young students, in life’s prime with innocent love for their country just as we are today, died under the gun of the People’s Liberation Army in Beijing’s streets.

境外势力试图煽动八零后九零后(《环球时报》 im Google-Speicher. Das Original wurde mittlerweile gelöscht.)

十几名自称是“八零后和九零后”的在美“中国留学生”日前联署了一封致国内青年学生的公开信,就八九政治风波发表充满“民运味”、像是被手把手教着写出来的极端观点。它以十分凶悍的语言攻击中国现政权,照抄海外一些势力的话语歪曲讲述26年前发生的事情。通常来说,中国大陆赴美留学生即使思想发生一些变化,也写不出如此赤裸裸攻击祖国的文稿。

Hostile forces target younger generation (Global Times)

Eleven Chinese students born in the 1980s or 1990s and studying in the US recently signed an open letter to their counterparts in the mainland. The letter carries their extreme views on the 1989 Tiananmen incident in the tone that used to be adopted by much older pro-democracy activists. It harshly attacked the current Chinese regime, twisting the facts of 26 years ago with narratives of some overseas hostile forces. Generally, even if changes in thought do take place, it’s unlikely for mainland students who study in the US to lash out at their homeland in such an insulting way.

Emma Graham-Harrison: Chinese students in the west call for transparency over Tiananmen Square (Guardian)
范凌志:香港左翼爱国团体立场坚定反对泛民(《环球时报》)

Writing China: Rian Thum, ‘The Sacred Routes of Uyghur History’ (Wall Street Journal)

Julian Ryall: China plans for North Korean regime collapse leaked (Washington Post)

China has drawn up detailed contingency plans for the collapse of the North Korean government, suggesting that Beijing has little faith in the longevity of Kim Jong-un’s regime.
Documents drawn up by planners from China’s People’s Liberation Army that were leaked to Japanese media include proposals for detaining key North Korean leaders and the creation of refugee camps on the Chinese side of the frontier in the event of an outbreak of civil unrest in the secretive state.

Paul Mason: How to turn a liberal hipster into a capitalist tyrant in one evening (Guardian)

A new play, World Factory, asks the audience to run a clothing factory in China – and even the creators have been surprised at how people have behaved.

Frank Langfitt: How China’s Censors Influence Hollywood (NPR)

Klassenkampf | KDVR
Apr 25th, 2015 by Gao

Ashley Smith, Ellen David Friedman: Contours of the class struggle in China (Socialist Worker)

Since the 2008 and the spread of the global economic crisis, China has experienced a sharp rise in class struggle, both in Hong Kong and on the mainland. Ellen David Friedman, a long-time organizer of the National Education Association in Vermont, founding member of the state’s Progressive Party and member of the Labor Notes Policy Committee, has been working for the last decade with labor and union activists in Hong Kong and the mainland. She spoke with Ashley Smith about the dynamics and nature of these struggles.

‚No way North Korea‘ — DPRK refused entry to China-led AIIB (Emerging Markets)

North Korea approached China to join the new Beijing-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) only to be summarily rebuffed by its chief economic and financial ally, Emerging Markets can reveal.
A senior envoy from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) approached the presumptive inaugural president of the AIIB, Jin Liqun, probably in Beijing in February, only to be spurned, senior Chinese diplomatic sources said.
China’s message to North Korea was a straight-and-simple “no way”, the diplomat said, adding that China had asked for, and had failed to secure, a far more detailed breakdown of North Korea’s financial and economic picture, seen by the new China-led development bank as a basic first step in admitting the hermit state to its fold.

Sneha Shankar: China Clueless About Rejecting North Korea’s AIIB Application (International Business Times)

China said Tuesday it was not aware of rejecting North Korea’s offer to join the Beijing-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). A report last week had alleged that China let down Pyongyang’s intention to join the bank, citing the country’s fragile economy.

Andray Abrahamian: How North Korea’s hushed-up economy is hindering its development (Guardian)
Eric Talmadge: North Korea’s creeping economic reforms show signs of paying off (Guardian)

North Korea is trying to invigorate its hidebound economy by offering more control and possibly more personal rewards to key sectors of its workforce in the country’s biggest domestic policy experiment since leader Kim Jong-un assumed power.
The measures give managers the power to set salaries and hire and fire employees, and give farmers more of a stake in out-producing quotas. Some outside observers say they’re a far cry from the kind of change the North really needs, but they agree with North Korean economists who say it is starting to pay off in higher wages and increased yields.

Urbanisierung | Wachstum | Lateinamerika
Jan 30th, 2015 by Gao

Eli Friedman: The Urbanization of the Chinese Working Class (Jacobin)

China has problems. Not despite thirty-five years of record-breaking growth, but because of it. The country’s dependence on exports and investment-led development has resulted in stark inequality, underconsumption, over-investment, disappearing arable land, exorbitant housing prices, and a looming environmental catastrophe. This leaves China increasingly vulnerable to a number of potential crises: external economic shocks, housing market collapse, mass defaults on public debt, and fits of social unrest.
What, then, might ensure the stability of Chinese capitalism for another generation?
For the state, a big part of the answer is urbanization. In the recently released National New Urbanization Plan (2014–2020), the central government calls for more than 100 million people to move to cities by 2020, pushing China’s urban population to 60 percent. The plan sets out admirable goals such as an expansion of public housing, education, and health services, a reduction in carbon emissions and other environmentally destructive activities, and preservation of agricultural land through limits on sprawl.

Jonathan Kaiman, Heather Stewart: Hard times return as China bids to bring its economic miracle to an end (Guardian)

Beijing insists slow growth is part of a plan to bring years of explosive expansion under control. But the global slowdown may make it hard to soft-land an economy still hooked on exports…
Official figures published last week showed that China’s GDP expanded by 7.4% in 2014. That was a significant drop from the 7.7% seen in 2013, and the weakest rate of growth since 1990…

Ralf Streck: China mischt den „Hinterhof“ der USA auf (Telepolis)

Nicht nur der Brics-Staat Russland treibt im Zuge der Sanktionspolitik der USA und Europas verstärkt Projekte in Lateinamerika voran (…). Den großen Wurf will nun das große Brics-Land China in der Region machen, die in den USA so gerne als „Hinterhof“ bezeichnet wird. In Washington ist man nicht sehr erfreut darüber, dass allein China im kommenden Jahrzehnt rund 250 Milliarden US-Dollar in Mittel- und Südamerika und der Karibik investieren will, womit sich das Handelsvolumen auf eine halbe Billion verdoppeln soll. Wichtigster Handelspartner Brasiliens (ebenfalls ein Brics-Staat) ist schon jetzt nicht mehr die USA, sondern China. Und das gilt auch schon für Chile und Peru. Über diese Entwicklung ist das Imperium im Norden besorgt. Das Tauwetter zwischen den USA und Kuba muss in diesem Zusammenhang gesehen werden.

Nebenbei:
Geoffrey Crothall: People’s Daily tries and fails to understand problem of wage arrears in China (China Labour Bulletin)
Ian Johnson: The Rat Tribe of Beijing (AlJazeera)
APA: Bürgermeister: Peking „wirklich nicht lebenswert“ (Standard)
Reuters: China stellt Milizen an der Grenze zu Nordkorea auf (Standard)
Catherine Phillips: $242 Billion High-Speed Beijing-Moscow Rail Link Approved (Newsweek)
APA: Chinesen bauen Bostoner U-Bahn (Standard)

Korea
Mai 12th, 2014 by Gao

中国軍が北朝鮮崩壊の対応検討 国境監視や難民キャンプ設置 (Press Net Japan)

中国人民解放軍の専門家が、起こり得る危機として北朝鮮の事実上の体制崩壊を想定、中国との国境での監視強化や難民収容キャンプ設営などの緊急対応を検討していることが軍内の文書で3日までに分かった。朝鮮半島情勢をめぐる中国軍内部の検討状況が明らかになるのは珍しい。

Xinhua: Report on China’s emergency plan on DPRK „with ulterior motives“, FM spokesperson (Global Times)
Justin McCurry, Tania Branigan: China denies making preparations for collapse of North Korea regime (Guardian)
Emily Rauhala: Of Course China Has a Plan for North Korea Collapse (Time)
Ben McGrath: Leaked plans highlight China’s fear of a new Korean war (World Socialist Web Site)

Beijing’s denials notwithstanding, the Chinese leadership is well aware that the collapse of the North Korean regime could result in an aggressive US military intervention into North Korea, leading to war with China. …
Since the sinking of the Cheonan frigate in 2010, which Seoul blamed on Pyongyang, South Korea has adopted a policy of unification through absorption. President Park Geun-hye, who was installed in February 2013, has taken an even more bellicose stance. During her trip to Germany in March, Park outlined unilateral South Korean plans for the future of the peninsula. …
Amid these growing tensions, Beijing increasingly feels threatened by the US. China is clearly dissatisfied with North Korea’s actions, which Washington has seized upon to justify its military buildup in Asia. Last year, German news outlet Deutsche Welle published details of other leaked Chinese documents, which outlined plans to oust North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and replace him with his older brother, Kim Jong-nam.

Associated Press: S. Korea says North ‘must disappear’ (Japan Times)

South Korea is continuing an escalating rhetorical battle on the Korean Peninsula, with an official saying rival North Korea “must disappear soon.”
South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok also said Monday that North Korea is not a real country and exists for the benefit of only one person, a reference to dictator Kim Jong Un.

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