Cadence of Conflict: Asia, February 15, 2016

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, February 15, 2016

Ri Yong-gil was said to be executed in Korea. He wasn’t seen in his usual place in public with Great Successor Un. This just after the satellite launch, which led to more sanctions approved by the Senate.

Hong Kong cracked down on some unlicensed food vendors in the streets of Mong Kok. People responded by throwing and burning things. Their view is clear, as is the view of Hong Kong’s government. China remarked about “terrorist tendencies”. Hong Kong’s finance minister, Tsang (曾俊華), implied the Biblical story of Solomon’s judgment of two women in writing, “A mother who truly loves her son would not saw him in half and would never themselves be the executioner.” It is good to see that China did not rebuke a government leader for studying the Bible.

China is losing money. It also lost a bank. But, so what. China is oblivious to its own past with which it haunts itself. HSBC has reviewed Hong Kong again, for a possible location. HQ-ing in HK could save $14B. But, again, no. Tienanmen scared them too much. Even after 25 years, old fears don’t die easily, especially when they don’t have a reason to.

It’s somewhat ironic, though. Asia is responsible for much of HSBC’s revenue. Or, maybe it’s not ironic since that “is” seems to be changing into more of a “was”. Asia “was” responsible for much of HSBC’s revenue. It seems that the West has profited and, now, has picked up, packed up, and isn’t coming back. And, what should that tell us?

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 28, 2015

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 28, 2015

China steps up its game again. While companies won’t be required to give Beijing power to indiscriminately snoop the web, they are on notice to cooperate with coming procedures if they are asked. This time wasn’t the first, but it’s a little more clear, a little more friendly, and a little more toothy than the last.

Taiwan’s likely Presidential victor party, the DPP, has adopted a policy effectively outlawing the KMT-Nationalist party practice of owning for-profit businesses. The policy is wise by many measures, respect from the US and an even greater increase in voter support notwithstanding.

Since the US stepped up its own game, $1.8B to Taiwan, China is not happy.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 21, 2015

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 21, 2015

Tensions intensify in the China seas. Beijing knows it. Washington knows it. Everyone knows it.

Japan delayed a US cooperation step-up due to popularity issues. The Japanese public is tired of the US war machine in their back yard, however increasingly necessary Chinese patterns make such cooperation. Perhaps Japan suffers from US-imosed affluenza. Japan’s Diet is holding off until the public “figures out” that cooperation with the US is a good idea. Do they know something we don’t? What exactly is it that will happen to convince the Japanese voters to change their minds? The Diet seems to think that we’ll find out soon enough.

Taiwan’s historic election is fast approaching. Debate formats have been agreed to. The new likely party is recognizing progress from the sinking establishment. China’s answer to a new political power remains unknown.

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Prelude to Conflict: Asia, February 9

Prelude to Conflict: Asia, February 9

Three trends spanned the Pacific this week: journalism, entrepreneurs, and 2016 elections. News of ISIS spreads across Asia Pacific, including videos of a man being burned alive. China barks at century-old Taiwanese government leaders about standing up to the young Communist regime. Taiwanese local leaders respond that Beijing should learn to move past the past and just get along. A former US official, Richard Bush, unofficially speculates (without actually speculating) on China’s yet-to-be-seen reaction to Taiwan’s 2016 likely election swing away from the floundering, grossly unpopular, de facto pro-China, incumbent KMT-Nationalist party. The recently acquired economic powerhouse, Hong Kong, receives more lectures from Communist Beijing, which only alienate the upcoming generation; though there is little to suggest that Hong Kong’s successful entrepreneurs have been invited to lecture new Chinese businesses on how to catch up to the former British colony. Beijing’s solution to the Umbrella Movement is to change high school curriculum to remind students how much they need China.  · · · →

Prelude to Conflict: Asia, January 26

Prelude to Conflict: Asia, January 26

US Congress questions HK: Beijing vets HK politicians; is HK not China? “Experts” say Washington appeases Beijing, but the big issue: Don’t pee in the international pool, consider HK’s Hague membership. Washington and Beijing have only found excuses to raise Pacific tensions, including China’s nine-dash line and Kerry’s extradition request of espionage witness, Snowden. Appeasing Beijing would mean Congress not raising the HK question at all.

It was wise to release HK Umbrella Movement leaders without pressing charges (yet). Even wiser would be if Beijing made one change years ago: Rather than vetting HK politicians before elections, vet HK policy after—free elections, but anti-Beijing policy would automatically impeach a HK CEO. That would have given Beijing the power they want (and arguably deserve since China provides HK’s military) and given HK residents what they want without asking.

Beijing can no longer hope Taiwan would accept so-called “Beijing democracy” after rejecting the HK Umbrella Movement.  · · · →