Chinese President to Cement Control as China Assumes Role of Top Global Superpower

Chinese President to Cement Control as China Assumes Role of Top Global Superpower

This article originally appeared at Anti-Media. 

 

Next Wednesday, the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China will begin. The week-long event, during which President Xi Jinping will further cement his control of the government, comes at a pivotal time for the Asian superpower.

Countries in the region — and, indeed, much of the rest of the world — are increasingly looking to China for guidance. For years, in fact, the media has painted the image of China overtaking the United States as the dominant force on the planet.

As Anti-Media has previously observed, evidence suggests that under a freshly anointed Xi,  a post-Congress China may be ready to fully embrace this role of world leader. An article from its state-run Xinhua News Agency last week, titled “China offers wisdom in global governance,” speaks directly to this shifting geopolitical tide.

But Anti-Media has also explored China’s glaring problem in the midst of all its power projection. As the country seeks to present a strong, unified front to the international community during the Congress — the “One China” it very much wants to be recognized — Hong Kong and Taiwan continue to push for independence.

On Tuesday, the president of Taiwan, which China views as a breakaway province, used a speech at the capital city of Taipei to, as Reuters wrote, “warn that the self-ruled island would not bow to pressure” from Beijing.

“Today, on our National Day, we should remember that democracy and freedom are rights that only came following the joint efforts of all Taiwanese people,” said President Tsai Ing-wen. “As a result, the government must make the utmost effort to safeguard Taiwan’s values of democracy and freedom, as well as our way of life.”

In the speech, which focused on her ideas for building a better Taiwan, Tsai says her administration is dedicated to improving the Taiwanese military. In doing so, the delicate line the leader must walk, even while holding her ground on the issue of self-determination, is clear to see:

“Although we are strengthening our military capabilities, we do not seek war. We remain committed to maintaining peace and stability both in the Taiwan Strait and across the region. Meanwhile, we will continue to safeguard Taiwan’s freedom, democracy, and way of life, as well as ensure the Taiwanese people’s right to decide our own future.”

Tsai went on to say that Taipei and Beijing have thus far been able to “maintain the basic stability of cross-strait relations” and that she hopes both sides can be “pragmatic and realistic” in future exchanges.

A large chunk of Tsai’s speech, however, was focused on how Taiwan is working to get as far out of China’s sphere of influence as possible — precisely what China doesn’t want. Specifically, Tsai discussed the New Southbound Policy (NSP), described by Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) on Wednesday:

“The NSP seeks to increase cooperation with Southeast Asian and South Asian countries, as well as New Zealand and Australia, as a means of reducing Taiwan’s trade and investment reliance on China.”

CNA was reporting on the fact that President Tsai just pledged to establish a $3.5 billion fund to assist countries involved in the NSP project. In her Tuesday speech, Tsai said flatly that the purpose of the NSP is to help Taiwan achieve a “more advantageous position in international society.”

It will be interesting, to say the least, to see what happens following the Party Congress. If a more forceful China decides to flex a little muscle, the stubbornly independent Taiwan could make for a very convenient target.

Chinese President to Cement Control as China Assumes Role of Top Global Superpower

China Silencing Opposition Ahead of Critical Communist Conference

This article originally appeared at Anti-Media. 

 

It’s no secret that China has placed an incredible amount of importance on 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, and the Asian superpower has and is taking steps to ensure the affair, set for October, goes off without a hitch. From Reuters on Thursday:

“China is tightening security for next month’s twice-a-decade Communist Party Congress, cancelling police leave in Beijing, limiting tourism to Tibet, and clamping down on the spread of political rumors.

“High-level meetings in China are typically accompanied by a security crackdown — as well as uncharacteristically smog-free blue skies — with the stability-obsessed party not wanting to run the risk that anyone or anything offers a distraction.”

Continuing, Reuters notes that Chinese authorities and their enforcers in the streets will tolerate no political protests leading up to and during the event:

“Some 2,000 delegates will converge on Beijing for the Congress, staying at hotels across the city, and security will only get tighter as its opening nears, meaning any protests will be quickly shut down.”

This is because China puts a high value on perception, national unity, and loyalty to the party. Perhaps this is best evidenced by the actions of the country’s leader in his urging of Chinese artists to direct their work toward the betterment of China. From state-run China Daily on Thursday:

“President Xi Jinping called on the country’s cultural workers and artists to focus on the people during their cultural creation work, thereby providing strong spiritual power for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

“Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, made the remark in a recent instruction on the country’s building of spiritual civilization.

“Noting that culture is the bugle for the progress of the times, Xi said that the country’s cultural workers and artists should work for the people and socialism. He encouraged cultural workers and artists to boost innovation, be dedicated and make continuous efforts to produce excellent creations.”

Highlighting Xi’s tightening grip on power — at the Congress, the leader is expected to appoint his own trusted people to key positions in the government — a member of the influential Standing Committee, Liu Yunshan, backed his president’s play while speaking at the same seminar as Xi on Wednesday:

“The cultural workers and artists should learn and implement the president’s culture and art thoughts, devote themselves to cultural creation, and make more excellent cultural products, he said.”

And while China’s political leaders encourage unity, the country’s Thought Police are intensifying efforts. It’s long been recognized that China is more aggressive than Western nations in policing its cyberspace, but ahead of the Party Congress the government is taking sharper aim at dissidents. Also from China Daily on Thursday:

“Chinese cyber police and leading tech firm Baidu have launched an online service to control the spread of rumors.

“The service is imbedded into the country’s top search engine, and all news portals and online forums that Baidu operates.”

All this focus on harmony and a “One China” is precisely why the independence movements in Hong Kong and Taiwan are such a thorn in the superpower’s side. How can China promote strength and unity to the world when two of what it considers its territories want to break away?

The problem is perfectly encapsulated in China’s current relations with Singapore, as Reuters highlighted on Thursday:

“China wants to improve its military relationship with Singapore, but is resolutely opposed to any country having defense ties with self-ruled Taiwan, China’s Defence Ministry said on Thursday, obliquely criticizing Singapore’s Taiwan links.

“China is suspicious of the city state’s good military relations both with the United States and Taiwan, claimed by China as its own.”

The current Taiwanese government is a remnant of the one that was forced to flee the mainland to escape the communists in 1949. While the country is recognized internationally as an independent state, China has never accepted that reality.

Hong Kong, on the other hand, is not a country but a “special administrative region” of China that retains a high degree of autonomy. That’s been the situation since 1997, following Britain’s decision to relinquish control of the area in the 1980s.

But concerns over China exerting its influence over the region were there from the start and eventually culminated into mass, coordinated protest rallies that began in September of 2014.

The desire for independence has only gained strength since then. According to the South China Morning Post, on Thursday — the third anniversary of when the protests kicked off — the co-founders of the movement “implored the people of Hong Kong to continue to fight for universal suffrage and defy what they say is Beijing’s resistance to democracy in the city.”

China wants to present a unified front at the upcoming National Congress. It wants to prove there really is only “One China,” as it’s always said. The problem with that, as is becoming increasingly clear, is that not everyone under the country’s supposed control feels the same way.

Chinese President to Cement Control as China Assumes Role of Top Global Superpower

Trump’s trade war with China on hold after China agrees to North Korea sanctions

This article originally appeared at Anti-Media. 

 

The United States’ much-hyped trade war with China appears to be on hold at the moment. On Monday, the Trump administration made a conciliatory gesture to the Asian superpower following its agreement to restrict North Korean exports of coal, iron, lead, and seafood. From Bloomberg:

“President Donald Trump plans to wait at least a week and possibly longer on moving forward with a trade investigation of China on intellectual property violations after the country backed UN Security Council sanctions on North Korea, an administration official said.”

The unnamed administration insider told Bloomberg that while Trump and his team “remain concerned over what the U.S. perceives as Chinese violations of intellectual property” and that a trade investigation is still an option, the White House wanted to “encourage and reward China’s cooperation on North Korea and is balancing national security concerns against domestic economic considerations.”

While the idea of a trade war with China is nothing new under Donald Trump — the president has long held that China has an unfair advantage in its trading policies with the U.S. — analysts have been particularly concerned lately due to Trump’s continuing frustration with China over the issue of North Korea’s missile program.

Speculation was high last week that the Trump administration was preparing to take unilateral action against China via the little-used Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. That section allows the president to impose tariffs or trade restrictions in the name of protecting U.S. commerce.

A White House announcement on the Section 301 investigation had even been scheduled for last Friday. But by Thursday, as POLITICO reported last week, the announcement was postponed “at the urging of United Nations and State Department officials, who are in the sensitive final stages of convincing China to sign on to a U.N. resolution that would impose new sanctions on North Korea.”

“There are broader talks about diplomatic considerations,” a Trump administration official told POLITICO.

Whether or not Trump’s backing off on the trade angle was what ultimately got China to go along with sanctions, the fact remains that China did go along — knowing full well it would be the one hardest hit in economic terms.

“Owing to China’s traditional economic ties with North Korea, it will mainly be China paying the price for implementing the resolution,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Monday while speaking at a forum in Manila, according to statement released by the foreign ministry Tuesday.

“But in order to protect the international non-proliferation system and regional peace and stability, China will, as before, fully and strictly properly implement the entire contents of the relevant resolution,” the statement cited Yi as saying.

The sanctions are aimed at slashing a full third of the Hermit Kingdom’s annual $3 billion in exports.

Patrick Cronin, an Asia specialist with the think tank Center for a New American Society, told CNN that “for China to join, on top of the international community, sends a signal to North Korea that this is serious economic damage if they don’t find a way to reduce those sanctions and the pressure from that.”

United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley agrees that if nothing else, China’s decision to go along with sanctions marks a move toward international cohesion on the North Korea issue.

“What this is going to do is send a very strong message and a united message,” she told NBC in an interview Tuesday.

Donald Trump himself struck a similar chord, tweeting:

“After many years of failure, countries are coming together to finally address the dangers posed by North Korea. We must be tough & decisive!”

Chinese President to Cement Control as China Assumes Role of Top Global Superpower

Trump's trade war with China on hold after China agrees to North Korea sanctions

This article originally appeared at Anti-Media. 
 
The United States’ much-hyped trade war with China appears to be on hold at the moment. On Monday, the Trump administration made a conciliatory gesture to the Asian superpower following its agreement to restrict North Korean exports of coal, iron, lead, and seafood. From Bloomberg:
“President Donald Trump plans to wait at least a week and possibly longer on moving forward with a trade investigation of China on intellectual property violations after the country backed UN Security Council sanctions on North Korea, an administration official said.”
The unnamed administration insider told Bloomberg that while Trump and his team “remain concerned over what the U.S. perceives as Chinese violations of intellectual property” and that a trade investigation is still an option, the White House wanted to “encourage and reward China’s cooperation on North Korea and is balancing national security concerns against domestic economic considerations.”
While the idea of a trade war with China is nothing new under Donald Trump — the president has long held that China has an unfair advantage in its trading policies with the U.S. — analysts have been particularly concerned lately due to Trump’s continuing frustration with China over the issue of North Korea’s missile program.
Speculation was high last week that the Trump administration was preparing to take unilateral action against China via the little-used Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. That section allows the president to impose tariffs or trade restrictions in the name of protecting U.S. commerce.
A White House announcement on the Section 301 investigation had even been scheduled for last Friday. But by Thursday, as POLITICO reported last week, the announcement was postponed “at the urging of United Nations and State Department officials, who are in the sensitive final stages of convincing China to sign on to a U.N. resolution that would impose new sanctions on North Korea.”
“There are broader talks about diplomatic considerations,” a Trump administration official told POLITICO.
Whether or not Trump’s backing off on the trade angle was what ultimately got China to go along with sanctions, the fact remains that China did go along — knowing full well it would be the one hardest hit in economic terms.
“Owing to China’s traditional economic ties with North Korea, it will mainly be China paying the price for implementing the resolution,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Monday while speaking at a forum in Manila, according to statement released by the foreign ministry Tuesday.
“But in order to protect the international non-proliferation system and regional peace and stability, China will, as before, fully and strictly properly implement the entire contents of the relevant resolution,” the statement cited Yi as saying.
The sanctions are aimed at slashing a full third of the Hermit Kingdom’s annual $3 billion in exports.
Patrick Cronin, an Asia specialist with the think tank Center for a New American Society, told CNN that “for China to join, on top of the international community, sends a signal to North Korea that this is serious economic damage if they don’t find a way to reduce those sanctions and the pressure from that.”
United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley agrees that if nothing else, China’s decision to go along with sanctions marks a move toward international cohesion on the North Korea issue.
“What this is going to do is send a very strong message and a united message,” she told NBC in an interview Tuesday.
Donald Trump himself struck a similar chord, tweeting:
“After many years of failure, countries are coming together to finally address the dangers posed by North Korea. We must be tough & decisive!”

Chinese President to Cement Control as China Assumes Role of Top Global Superpower

President Xi stresses Party loyalty in historic speech in Beijing

This article originally appeared at Anti-Media.

 

Beijing — As tensions continue to rise — and accelerate— over North Korea and its missile program, China’s President Xi Jinping gave his highly anticipated speech at the 90th anniversary celebration of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Tuesday.

In his speech, presented at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Xi outlined strategies to continue China’s societal advancement, emphasized loyalty to the governing Communist Party of China (CPC), and praised the modernization of the country’s military.

But it was Xi’s other remarks on China’s military that held the most significance for other players in the region. Xi made it clear Tuesday that while China seeks only to peacefully develop its own national interests, the armed forces stand ready, willing, and able to beat back any attempt to thwart China’s ambitions.

“The Chinese people love peace. We will never seek aggression or expansion, but we have the confidence to defeat all invasions,” Xi said.

This goes for internal factions as well, Xi noted, referencing both sovereignty disagreements with Hong Kong and Taiwan and political opponents to the CPC.

“We will never allow any people, organization or political party to split any part of Chinese territory out of the country at any time, in any form,” he said. “No one should expect us to swallow the bitter fruit that is harmful to our sovereignty, security or development interests.”

Xi also stated that only through loyalty to the CPC can China’s military continue to grow:

“To build a strong military, [we] must unswervingly adhere to the Party’s absolute leadership over the armed forces, and make sure that the people’s army always follow the Party.”

Xi pointed to history in asserting China’s core principle of civilian control over the military, as Reuters reported Tuesday:

“Quoting Chairman Mao Zedong, the founder of modern China, Xi said: ‘Our principle is that the party commands the guns, and the guns must never be allowed to command the party.’”

With party loyalty as a basis, President Xi directed the military — which he heads — to be prepared for a military engagement at any time. From the South China Morning Post:

“Xi also asked the military to focus on preparations for war, and urged its leaders to improve capabilities in modern warfare and combat readiness. The military should be ready to win a war whenever needed, he said.

“As commander-in-chief of China’s military, Xi said that with the unprecedented changes happening around the world, China’s armed forces are the bottom line guarantee for defending peace and security.”

Though he did not point to any situations specifically that would require China’s military to be at a default state of readiness for war, it’s difficult to imagine that Xi wasn’t referring chiefly to heightening tensions over North Korea.

As Anti-Media reported Monday, the U.S. flew two B-1 bombers, accompanied by fighter jets from Japan and South Korea, over the Korean Peninsula over the weekend. It was a show of force following North Korea’s latest firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Friday.

President Donald Trump didn’t help matters when he tweeted, once again, about how “highly disappointed” he was with China for continuing to fail to do more to rein in Kim Jong-un. China wasted little time in pointedly responding through both official statements and the media, as highlighted in a July 30 Reuters piece called “China hits back at Trump criticism over North Korea.”

Things were complicated further still when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson roped Russia into the situation, saying in a statement that “China and Russia bear unique and special responsibility for this growing threat” posed by North Korea as they are the “principal economic enablers” of the country.

Like China, Russia didn’t take Tillerson’s comments lying down, calling U.S. criticisms baseless in a statement released by the country’s foreign ministry:

“We view as groundless attempts undertaken by the U.S. and a number of other countries to shift responsibility to Russia and China, almost blaming Moscow and Beijing for indulging the missile and nuclear ambitions of the DPRK (North Korea).”

All this comes as China officially opened its first overseas military base on Tuesday in Djibouti, a small but strategically positioned country on the northwestern edge of the Indian Ocean. It’s no coincidence that the opening coincided with the 90th anniversary celebration, as the base’s operation represents the kind of Chinese development and advancement President Xi highlighted in his speech.

Chinese President to Cement Control as China Assumes Role of Top Global Superpower

Senior Military Official: North Korean Missiles Aren’t a Threat to U.S. Cities

This article originally appeared at Anti-Media.

 

Geopolitical moves are being made on the issue of North Korea. A day after South Korea’s new government offered to hold military talks with its neighbor to the North, the United States’ second-highest ranking military official admitted Tuesday that North Korean missiles lack the accuracy to effectively target U.S. cities.

On Monday, South Korea’s defense ministry proposed that representatives from both the South and North Korean militaries meet at the border village of Panmunjom in North Korea for talks.

“We make the proposal for a meeting…aimed at stopping all hostile activities that escalate military tension along the land border,” South Korea’s defense ministry said in a statement.

The man in charge of North Korean affairs, unification minister Cho Myoung-gyon, said his country “would not seek collapse of the North or unification through absorbing the North” and suggested a positive response from Kim Jong-un’s government would represent a show of good faith.

“North Korea should respond to our sincere proposals if it really seeks peace on the Korean Peninsula,” Cho said, adding that ifNorth Korea chooses the right path, we would like to open the door for a brighter future for North Korea, together, by cooperating with the international community.

The defense ministry’s overture falls in line with the approach advocated by new South Korean president Moon Jae-in, who supports diplomatic talks with the North led by South Korea.

Recently, ahead of the G20 summit in Germany, Moon stated that the need for dialogue” with North Korea is “more pressing than ever before because the situation had “reached the tipping point of the vicious cycle of military escalation.”

North Korea has yet to respond to the South’s proposal.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the primary driver of the “evil North Korea” narrative, United States appeared to go against the grain and actually downplayed the effectiveness of Kim Jong-un’s nuclear weapons program — or, at least, one senior defense official did. From Reuters:

“North Korea does not have the ability to strike the United States with ‘any degree of accuracy’ and while its missiles have the range, they lack the necessary guidance capability, the vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Tuesday.

Speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee, General Paul Selva said North Korea’s July 4 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test showed that the country has no hope of hitting a U.S. target with any “reasonable confidence of success” and that recent talk about its ability to strike Alaska or the Pacific Northwest is overblown:

“What the experts tell me is that the North Koreans have yet to demonstrate the capacity to do the guidance and control that would be required.”

While the general’s admission isn’t on the same level as the actual act of diplomacy just demonstrated by South Korea, the fact that the U.S. military is walking back — even if only just a step or two — a narrative it fought so hard to establish is itself worthy of commentary.

So what gives? Why, in the last two days, have both the U.S. and ally South Korea suddenly taken a softer line — again, in their own ways — on the North Korea issue? Are all parties concerned about to knock off the rhetoric and allow the Hermit Kingdom to continue to fire missiles into the sea?

Not likely. As with most other issues of geopolitical significance in that region of the world, these moves likely have far more to do with China.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet in Washington, D.C., for annual bilateral talks, this year dubbed the “U.S.-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue.” It will be the third meeting between the two men, after Xi’s visit to Mar-a-Lago three months ago and their discussions on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Germany.

Recently, Trump reignited concern over a trade war between the U.S. and China when he said he was considering slapping import tariffs on steel. But these kinds of tactics are nothing new ahead of economic negotiations, as the Washington Post noted last Friday:

“In 1981, the Reagan administration convinced Japan to reduce the number of cars it was exporting to the United States in a bid to boost the U.S. auto sector. In 1984, the administration used the tactic again with the steel industry, as it told dozens of countries to either limit their steel shipments to the United States or lose access to the American market.

In an article published Sunday titled “U.S.-China trade talks sputtering at 100-day deadline,” Reuters outlined how results from economic negotiations between the two countries have been less than encouraging since Trump and Xi first met at Mar-a-Lago. The general consensus is that Donald Trump needs a major win with China to prove he’s sticking to the “America first” guns that got him into the White House.

Noting that “North Korea has cast a long shadow over the relationship between Trump and Xi, Reuters points out that the Hermit Kingdom and its nuclear weapons program has been a hindrance to cooperation for the U.S. president:

“Trump has linked progress in trade to China’s ability to rein in North Korea, which counts on Beijing as its chief friend and ally.”

On Tuesday, the Associated Press also highlighted how Trump has used the issue of North Korea as a bargaining chip at the negotiating table with China:

“As a presidential candidate, Trump attacked China for refusing to pressure Pyongyang to back off from developing nuclear weapons. After the Mar-a-Lago summit, though, Trump praised Beijing for agreeing to help deal with North Korea. As a reward, he abandoned his vow to accuse China of manipulating its currency to benefit Chinese exporters.

So it may be that this one-two punch from the United States and ally South Korea was a coordinated effort to ease tensions and create an atmosphere conducive to cooperation ahead of critical negotiations between the U.S. and China.

It may be that the Trump administration is signaling that it would be willing to back off on pressuring China to rein in Kim Jong-un if China is willing to make concessions on the economic front — and give Trump the win he needs.

Chinese President to Cement Control as China Assumes Role of Top Global Superpower

Senior Military Official: North Korean Missiles Aren't a Threat to U.S. Cities

This article originally appeared at Anti-Media.
 
Geopolitical moves are being made on the issue of North Korea. A day after South Korea’s new government offered to hold military talks with its neighbor to the North, the United States’ second-highest ranking military official admitted Tuesday that North Korean missiles lack the accuracy to effectively target U.S. cities.
On Monday, South Korea’s defense ministry proposed that representatives from both the South and North Korean militaries meet at the border village of Panmunjom in North Korea for talks.
“We make the proposal for a meeting…aimed at stopping all hostile activities that escalate military tension along the land border,” South Korea’s defense ministry said in a statement.
The man in charge of North Korean affairs, unification minister Cho Myoung-gyon, said his country “would not seek collapse of the North or unification through absorbing the North” and suggested a positive response from Kim Jong-un’s government would represent a show of good faith.
“North Korea should respond to our sincere proposals if it really seeks peace on the Korean Peninsula,” Cho said, adding that ifNorth Korea chooses the right path, we would like to open the door for a brighter future for North Korea, together, by cooperating with the international community.
The defense ministry’s overture falls in line with the approach advocated by new South Korean president Moon Jae-in, who supports diplomatic talks with the North led by South Korea.
Recently, ahead of the G20 summit in Germany, Moon stated that the need for dialogue” with North Korea is “more pressing than ever before because the situation had “reached the tipping point of the vicious cycle of military escalation.”
North Korea has yet to respond to the South’s proposal.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the primary driver of the “evil North Korea” narrative, United States appeared to go against the grain and actually downplayed the effectiveness of Kim Jong-un’s nuclear weapons program — or, at least, one senior defense official did. From Reuters:
“North Korea does not have the ability to strike the United States with ‘any degree of accuracy’ and while its missiles have the range, they lack the necessary guidance capability, the vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Tuesday.
Speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee, General Paul Selva said North Korea’s July 4 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test showed that the country has no hope of hitting a U.S. target with any “reasonable confidence of success” and that recent talk about its ability to strike Alaska or the Pacific Northwest is overblown:
“What the experts tell me is that the North Koreans have yet to demonstrate the capacity to do the guidance and control that would be required.”
While the general’s admission isn’t on the same level as the actual act of diplomacy just demonstrated by South Korea, the fact that the U.S. military is walking back — even if only just a step or two — a narrative it fought so hard to establish is itself worthy of commentary.
So what gives? Why, in the last two days, have both the U.S. and ally South Korea suddenly taken a softer line — again, in their own ways — on the North Korea issue? Are all parties concerned about to knock off the rhetoric and allow the Hermit Kingdom to continue to fire missiles into the sea?
Not likely. As with most other issues of geopolitical significance in that region of the world, these moves likely have far more to do with China.
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet in Washington, D.C., for annual bilateral talks, this year dubbed the “U.S.-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue.” It will be the third meeting between the two men, after Xi’s visit to Mar-a-Lago three months ago and their discussions on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Germany.
Recently, Trump reignited concern over a trade war between the U.S. and China when he said he was considering slapping import tariffs on steel. But these kinds of tactics are nothing new ahead of economic negotiations, as the Washington Post noted last Friday:
“In 1981, the Reagan administration convinced Japan to reduce the number of cars it was exporting to the United States in a bid to boost the U.S. auto sector. In 1984, the administration used the tactic again with the steel industry, as it told dozens of countries to either limit their steel shipments to the United States or lose access to the American market.
In an article published Sunday titled “U.S.-China trade talks sputtering at 100-day deadline,” Reuters outlined how results from economic negotiations between the two countries have been less than encouraging since Trump and Xi first met at Mar-a-Lago. The general consensus is that Donald Trump needs a major win with China to prove he’s sticking to the “America first” guns that got him into the White House.
Noting that “North Korea has cast a long shadow over the relationship between Trump and Xi, Reuters points out that the Hermit Kingdom and its nuclear weapons program has been a hindrance to cooperation for the U.S. president:
“Trump has linked progress in trade to China’s ability to rein in North Korea, which counts on Beijing as its chief friend and ally.”
On Tuesday, the Associated Press also highlighted how Trump has used the issue of North Korea as a bargaining chip at the negotiating table with China:
“As a presidential candidate, Trump attacked China for refusing to pressure Pyongyang to back off from developing nuclear weapons. After the Mar-a-Lago summit, though, Trump praised Beijing for agreeing to help deal with North Korea. As a reward, he abandoned his vow to accuse China of manipulating its currency to benefit Chinese exporters.
So it may be that this one-two punch from the United States and ally South Korea was a coordinated effort to ease tensions and create an atmosphere conducive to cooperation ahead of critical negotiations between the U.S. and China.
It may be that the Trump administration is signaling that it would be willing to back off on pressuring China to rein in Kim Jong-un if China is willing to make concessions on the economic front — and give Trump the win he needs.

Chinese President to Cement Control as China Assumes Role of Top Global Superpower

As Trump and Xi Shake Hands at Mar-a-Lago, War Drums Beat in S. China Sea

This article originally appeared at Anti-Media.

 

South China Sea — Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping have met, talked, and now seem to want to work things out. That’s fantastic. We should all go into our weekends breathing a little easier and put out of mind a chilling reality.

The war drums are beating in the South China Sea.

Reuters reported Thursday that Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte just ordered his military to deploy troops to the Spratly islands:

“Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday ordered troops to occupy uninhabited islands and shoals it claims in the disputed South China Sea, asserting Philippine sovereignty in an apparent change of tack likely to anger China.”

On Friday, Reuters reported that Duterte’s government and military say the president’s words had been misunderstood, and that the troops will only be stationed on islands the Philippines already claims:

“The Philippines will upgrade existing facilities on its inhabited islands and reefs in the South China Sea and not occupy new territories adhering to a 2002 informal code in the disputed waters, defense and military officials said on Friday.”

The article goes on to explain how China’s reaction to Duterte’s move was, essentially, to tell him to reconsider. And now the Filipino president is backtracking, so we’re left to assume that everything’s once again peachy between the two nations. And that’s great. But the troops will still be on the islands — just in time for Japan’s mightiest warship to begin a tour through the South China Sea.

From a report published by The Independent in mid-March:

“Japan plans to dispatch its largest warship on a three-month tour through the South China Sea beginning in May, three sources said, in its biggest show of naval force in the region since World War Two.”

Continuing:

“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 US naval vessels in the Indian Ocean in July.”

Yesterday, Anti-Media reported that for the first time ever, Japan, South Korea, and the U.S. are cooperating on anti-submarine drills targeting the evil North Korea of the mainstream narrative. Those drills are taking place within the larger scope of military exercises now happening between the U.S. and South Korea.

A reasonable conclusion, we proffered, was that the anti-submarine drills mark the solidification of a coalition of the U.S., Japan, and South Korea.

China, incidentally, likes to play anti-submarine games, too. From The Diplomat on Thursday:

“The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has commissioned a new Type 056/056A Jiangdao-class corvette at Yulin naval base at the port city of Sanya on Hainan island on March 31, China Military Online reports.

“The new warship, named Liupanshui (pennant number 514) will serve in PLAN’s South Sea Fleet, the force responsible for conducting Chinese naval operations in the South China Sea, and is specifically designed to conduct anti-submarine warfare (ASW) operations.”

The Diplomat, which specializes in analysis of the Asia-Pacific, writes that PLAN will launch a total of 60 such vessels in the coming days, with one new warship commissioned every six weeks.

China also just announced that its latest, greatest, and biggest ever amphibious aircraft will be entering service in May — right about the time Japan’s warship shoves off. The craft, writes China’s Xinhua News Agency, is highly maneuverable and perfect for transportation.

This makes one think China might be preparing to have to move a lot of troops and equipment to oh, say, a string of islands in the South China Sea.

And speaking of aircraft, consider this one from Reuters, published yesterday:

“A Chinese fighter plane has been spotted on a Chinese-held island in the South China Sea, the first such sighting in a year and the first since U.S. President Trump took office, a U.S. think tank reported Thursday.”

And while you’re considering all this, keep in mind that soldiers from the U.S. military’s most elite units — including Navy SEALS, Army Rangers, and Delta Force, among others — are in South Korea right now taking part in drills.

We know that because the military announced it. And the very fact that they did is enough to give one pause. The purported reason for deployment, of course, is to practice taking out that nasty Kim Jong-un of North Korea. Believe that if you wish.

The point is, regardless of the niceties currently being displayed between Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping, the warships are still sailing. The jets are still flying. The troops are still being deployed. And a collision course in the South China Sea still, at present date, seems inevitable.

Chinese President to Cement Control as China Assumes Role of Top Global Superpower

Anti-Government Vandalism Hits Trump Golf Course at Worst Possible Time

 

Virginia — Kicking off what CNN called “the most crucial week of statesmanship so far” for the new U.S. president, NBC Washington reported Monday that police in Virginia are investigating a striking piece of vandalism at the Trump National Golf Club.

From that report:

“Vandals dug holes in the club’s 13th fairway of the club’s Championship Course, spray-painted parts of the course and poured a chemical, believed to be bleach, on the grass, said the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office.”

Continuing, NBC explained what makes the vandalism so profound:

“The word ‘resist’ was spray-painted on the fairway and symbols associated with anarchists appeared to have been spray-painted and dug into the course.”

The incident was reported Saturday morning, a day ahead of a scheduled golf game at the course between President Trump and Senator Rand Paul.

When CNN said this would be a challenging week for the president in terms of diplomacy, it was referring to the fact that on Friday, Trump is set to sit down with the most powerful world leader he’s faced yet — China’s President Xi Jinping.

U.S. tensions are high with China, with territorial disputes in the South China Sea and concerns over global financial markets pitting the two superpowers in a standoff.

It can’t look good for the Donald, then, to have a rival world leader in town days after an anti-government group publicly exhibited such a bold statement in opposition to his rule — and on the man’s own soil, no less.

 

This post originally appeared at Anti-Media.

Chinese President to Cement Control as China Assumes Role of Top Global Superpower

Trump Caves on ‘One China’ Policy, Now a ‘Paper Tiger’ to the World

This article originally appeared at Anti-Media.

 

Washington D.C. — After months of tough talk on the campaign trail on how to handle China — and after weeks of even tougher talk from some in his administration since being elected — President Donald Trump, according to official statements, has agreed to change course and abide by the “One China” policy.

“President Donald J. Trump and President Xi of China had a lengthy telephone conversation on Thursday evening. The two leaders discussed numerous topics and President Trump agreed, at the request of President Xi, to honour [their] ‘one China’ policy,” a White House statement said.

Describing the phone call as a “very cordial,” one in which the two leaders “extended best wishes to the people of each other’s country,” the statement says that going forward, “the United States and China will engage in discussions and negotiations on various issues of mutual interest.”

In a statement published by China’s Foreign Ministry, President Xi appeared appreciative of Trump’s acceptance of the “One China” doctrine:

“I believe that the United States and China are cooperative partners, and through joint efforts we can push bilateral relations to historic new high.”

Suggesting there’s no reason both nations can’t grow at the same time, Xi added, “The development of China and the United States absolutely can complement each other and advance together. Both sides absolutely can become very good cooperative partners.”

Trump campaigned on nationalistic rhetoric rooted in an “America First” ideology that advocated economic protectionism. This stood in stark contrast to the “One China” policy the Asian superpower requires other countries to recognize if they wish to engage it in trade and commerce.

Since entering the White House, comments made by Trump and certain members of his administration — such as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who suggested the U.S. should block China’s access to artificial islands in the South China Sea — have had world leaders and analysts worrying about a possible trade war, a global currency crisis, and the potential for a military conflict between the two superpowers.

Now, with Trump seemingly succumbing to the will of the Chinese leader, many analysts are saying the new U.S. president has lost serious face.

James Zimmerman, former head of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, told the Washington Post that Trump never should’ve raised the “One China” issue in the first place.

“There is certainly a way of negotiating with the Chinese, but threats concerning fundamental, core interests are counterproductive from the get-go,” he said. “The end result is that Trump just confirmed to the world that he is a paper tiger, a zhilaohu — someone that seems threatening but is wholly ineffectual and unable to stomach a challenge.”

The New York Times, noting in its article title that Trump just gave China an upper-hand, opened the piece by suggesting the new U.S. president has “handed China a victory and sullied his reputation with its leader.”

Speaking with the Times, Shi Yinhong, professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing and advisor to China’s State Council, would seem to agree with this assessment.

“This will be interpreted in China as a great success,” he said, “achieved by Xi’s approach of dealing with him.”

Hugh White, professor of strategic studies at the Australian National University, concurs.

“The Chinese will see him as weak,” he told the Times. “He has reinforced the impression in Beijing that Trump is not serious about managing the U.S.-China relationship.”

Whatever the reputational fallout for President Trump, there’s no question the Chinese are feeling much more comfortable about future dealings between the two nations.

Stating that previous comments from the Trump administration had U.S.-China relations “tumbling and collapsing,” Ni Feng, deputy director for the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Studies, suggested to the Times that there could much clearer skies ahead:

“Now we can say that Sino-U.S. relations can proceed.”

Minimalistic Mockup Of A Paperback Book With A Customizable Background 3438 El1

Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan

by Scott Horton

Minimalistic Mockup Of A Paperback Book With A Customizable Background 3438 El1 (3)

What Social Animals Owe to Each Other

by Sheldon Richman

Minimalistic Mockup Of A Paperback Book With A Customizable Background 3438 El1 (2)

Coming to Palestine

by Sheldon Richman

Minimalistic Mockup Of A Paperback Book With A Customizable Background 3438 El1 (4)

No Quarter: The Ravings of William Norman Grigg

by Will Grigg

Minimalistic Mockup Of A Paperback Book With A Customizable Background 3438 El1 (1)

The Great Ron Paul

by Scott Horton

Pin It on Pinterest