Cadence of Conflict: Asia, October 31, 2016

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, October 31, 2016

Chinese President Xi has been hailed with a personality cult akin to support for Chairman Mao, at least in some circles. As if the Xi personality cult wasn’t enough, China also saw a bloodless victory in the Philippines. In an effort to seek their own so-called “independence”, Philippinos’ new choice of a president has thrown-off many ties with the US in exchange for more dependency on China. China still patrols disputed Philippine islands, but fishing boats don’t get harassed any more. It probably makes sense in the Philippines every bit as much as it made sense to France and Italy 80 years ago.

The Pacific resembles pre-WWII Europe with more and more likenesses every week. NPR reported that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will stop swearing as much. That headline probably made sense to NPR, given the situation. As for swearing and the Pacific, Hong Kong, with no military, is putting up the greatest fight against China. Lawmakers “swore” during their swearing-in, contrary to some stipulations that no Hong Kong lawmaker can object to Chinese rule.

The Philippino “switch” was always going to happen. Their desire for “independence from other countries” will eventually drive them to fly China’s flag above their own, just how China’s desire for respect provoked Beijing to provoke the West, just how “America and her interests” drove the US to fly its flag at military posts in countries across the globe thereby frustrating Beijing and Milan.

With Taiwanese public continuing strong objection to Chinese patrol expansionism (75:18%), with Hong Kong (under China) wanting out from China, with the Philippines shifting sides, and with Cambodia cozying up to Beijing, we could see more jersey swapping in the coming months. Japan and South Korea are standing against North Korea on nukes—by cooperating with the US. That coalition could very easily extend to Taiwan, as far as N Korea nukes are concerned. The islanders of Taiwan oppose nuclear “anything”, just like post-Fukushima Japan.

Taiwan also has a close cooperation with the US military, the kind of cooperation the Philippines just renounced. The Pentagon has yet to give an elaborate position on the Philippines’ wave-making. In war, if the Philippines violates any alliance agreements, the Pentagon could declare the Philippines as “rogue” and get the excuse they need to use force. Who knows what would happen then.

China’s “no-objection” policy for HK lawmakers has given Great Britain whatever excuse the Crown needs to anchor the Royal Navy in Hong Kong, much like Queen Victoria did against China via Taiwan. When Southeast Asian Islands start spitting at each other, Hong Kong could could get snatched-up in a Pacific-West coalition. Having no military could be the only reason Hong Kong can court sympathy from the West. Guarded by mountains between the New Territories and Shenzen, Hong Kong would be strategic. The West would then see Hong Kong as the “trump card” while China would come back with the Philippines as the “wild joker”.

The Philippines and Hong Kong don’t seem to have figured out that every island is just another pawn. The Pacific Daily Times Symphony Editorials take no sides, except the side of foresight: It was all predictable.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, October 17, 2016

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, October 17, 2016

China expanded its network this week. The focal point was the BRICS summit. But, China also expanded its network into Space, sending Shenzhou 11 to the Tiangong 2 Space laboratory.

Meanwhile, back here on Earth, China’s solar, trade, and finance network expanded into roads with India, fighting terrorism with Russia, and world peace with South Africa. Aerospace was also on the table; South Africa has drones, solar batteries, and wind turbines. The activity at BRICS is all so fascinating, it feels like a day at Silicon Valley.

The excitement wasn’t limited to BRICS. China also wiped-out a huge chunk of debt in a State visit to Cambodia. Cambodia borrowed more money. Who wouldn’t?

The week of tech and finance continued elsewhere in the Pacific. Taiwan is manufacturing military parts for the US, not only for the Wolf A1 Carbine, but also PAC-3 Patriot missiles.

But, tech week didn’t go so well for Northern Korea. Their Musudan missile test failed, at least according to the Pentagon. Bummer. Everything else was so exciting.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, September 26, 2016

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, September 26, 2016

The iPhone 7 is why Taiwan’s market jumped last week. The US presidential debate is why the Asian market dipped Monday. At least, that’s what the “experts” say.

The US and Philippine militaries will practice, especially since the Philippine president thinks he needs more US troops in his back yard pool. China flew no small number of jets past Japan in their own rehearsals—for something. China is also investigating North Korea’s banking connection to their nukes. South Korea won’t help with relief from the devastating Tumen river flood in North Korea for concern that Kim would take the credit and bolster his power. And, the headline news from Taiwan is typhoon Magi, the approaching storm.

Two things are for sure: There is more than one storm brewing in the Eastern Pacific and money is involved in all of them.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, September 12, 2016

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, September 12, 2016

North Korea launched “another” nuke test. The announcement made sure that the North Koreans knew that it didn’t harm the environment. The Philippines released photos proving that China was doing what it had already been found guilty of and yet didn’t care.

Obama and China pointed fingers at each other this week. Reportedly, yet unconfirmed, China had a few more fingers to point than Obama. And, none of this is news, yet it continues to get reported week after week.

Instead, the news has quite a different tone:

A young woman walked a young man like a dog in Fuzhou before he stood up and they entered a shopping center together. China has finished the world’s “tallest” bridge, yet we won’t be able to cross it for several months. Research shows that about 20% of Taipei has been built on unstable ground and the Taipei mayor cares about the report of the ground as much as China cares about the verdict at sea. And, the most interesting news of all is that, while democracy ideologies have not found their way into North Korea, Green Peace’s ideologies have.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, July 11, 2016

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, July 11, 2016

Abe’s landslide re-election in Japan, a US shield deployment in South Korea, and $2B USD pumping into Taiwan’s navy won’t exactly be sweet music to countries on the other side of the line. China isn’t in a position to make demands. Though, Beijing has denounced Hague’s coming trial often and loudly.

Beijing doesn’t know what and who they are dealing with. What is Washington’s motive for allowing China to continue to build islands? Why doesn’t Washington intervene if Washington objects? Bejing doesn’t seem to have considered the trend: America is outsourcing once again. These islands, “Made in China”, are the perfect place for the US to expand its naval presence.

Consider the scenario: Keep monitoring the construction under the guise of “intel gathering”. Once the islands are useful to the US, make the perfect “mistake” to provoke the bull. The bullfighter wins slowly, one cut at a time, three years later, all China’s man-made islands belong to the US at the “Chinese surrender”.

It’s not necessarily going to happen, but it could. And, for all arguments and responses coming from China, Beijing doesn’t seem to have considered that particular psychology of Washington, clearly available in the headlines of history.

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