All eyes went to Taiwan this week. The Taipei Times shows an uptick in article views. China held no less than three military activities that made headlines in Taiwan’s backyard, and is reported to have broken its promise not to militarize it’s freshly-made islands. In one incident, the Japanese even responded.
The topic of Taiwan’s Independence is not going away anytime soon. The topic was formally debated in Taipei with careful scrutiny over the implications of Nixon’s (1972) and Carter’s (1979) policies involving Taiwan and China. The Taiwanese, reading the tealeaves as it were, suspect that they won’t be able to trust the current political party that just took power, and the new “Power” party is already on the rise with “Independence” as a “crucial” talking point.
China has gone full-swing into testing it’s one-and-only operational aircraft carrier, the diesel-powered, Soviet-made Liaoning. The other carriers are still being assembled in the docks and aren’t scheduled for commission for a few years. But, China already has its own “unsinkable aircraft carriers”, man-made airport islets in the Spratly Islands.
With the Western and Eastern press in full-swing, with military events moving as they are, neither the West nor the East will be lacking, neither in force nor in press nor in public support for what’s been brewing in the South Sea.
Northern Korea launched a missile that travelled 1/10 the distance it needs to. Pyongyang considered it a “success”.
China has come to a consensus about its activity in the South China Sea. The consensus did not include all ASEAN nations. And, the US continues to disagree with the consensus.
The City Council Speaker of a southern Taiwan city, Tainan, was found guilty of “vote buying”. This was the second guilty verdict. He was relieved of his speakership the next day, placing control of City Council back in the hands of the majority party, same as the popular Mayor William Lai. Former Speaker Lee is a member of the KMT, which recently lost the national elections for the legislature and the presidency. With Lee removed from the Speakership, Mayor Lai will no longer protest City Council meetings, removing over a year of city-wide gridlock.
China is deploying weapons. The US is responding with pressure—mostly economic, some political, always involving alliances. Money and trade are atop the list.
China’s unusual manipulation of its money is documented and under more scrutiny than ever.
According to Chinese State-run media, China has weapons on disputed islands by right. According to the government, US concern over militarizing those islands is “hype”. Still, Asean is watching the Pacific and so is Bloomberg.
No one is happier today than Beijing. More hoops for law-abiding gun owners to hop through means an easier cakewalk if China invaded it’s number one enemy. Without the logistic ability to invade the US, all of China’s antics in the Pacific, including landing the first plane on their man-made military islands, are dead in the water. Fortunately for Beijing, Obama is doing his part and with more persuasive words.
Perhaps Beijing could learn from Obama. Never argue with people who buy ink by the barrel. Apprehending Hong Kong publishers who speak out against you isn’t exactly the way to convince their readers that you don’t over-reach. While Obama introduced more background checks on guns, Beijing might consider background checks on books.