The US is arming East Asia and disarming North Korea. China is a spectator in the Western game.
Reports and gossip about the latest North Korean promise to disarm ensnared many in the media. The South Korean Kumbaya singing President Moon Jae-in was quick to give his “peace in our time” report that North Korea has promised to disarm, with the connotatively-added meaning of “shortly after his election”. Trump Tweeted that disarming is great, “yuge” news, then the mainstream media ripped on Trump for an unverified report, particularly PBS. (Why does PBS still receive tax dollar money?) Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was more cautions about North Korean false promises, proving himself the most sober in the room.
Japan is looking into a stealthy F-22 F-35 hybrid from Lockheed Martin, in order to deter impedance from “Chinese” and “Russian” jets in its air defense zone. Taiwan is also looking at Patriot missile defense systems. The increased military talk in China’s backyard, particularly about China, surmounts to the dogs fighting over who gets to eat the pheasant.
China is making so many flybys around Taiwan that scrambling jets over air defense zone approaches is a strain on the Taiwanese military budget. Taiwan might end up sending China a bill, likely by way of military money from the US and US tariffs on not yet mentioned Chinese goods. Also look for new Taiwan-favored trade deficits with the US in amounts similar to the cost of scrambling jets every few days.
Taiwan has received a license from the United States to build its own submarines. Wang, a legislature who sits on the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee said that friendliness from the US is the highest it has ever been. Japan just commissioned its first marine force since WWII. 1,500 troops are ready, specifically to repel invasion of Japan’s islands. Thanks to China’s inspiration and initiative, many nations in the region are also making their contribution to peace and stability in Pacific Asia.
The US is re-evaluating trade with China. While much is just talk, Trump maintains friendly rhetoric. The shakeup with trade will force countries to reinvent and reevaluate trade policy. While a looming “trade war” remains the talk of many so-called “experts”, the long-term benefit will be the overall rebirth of trade throughout the world. Everyone will need to rethink trade. Any kind of thinking is good, especially in these times.
China and the US have fixed their rudders on a ramming course. The only remaining question will be over whose hull is stronger.
The “yuge” US trade deficit with China is purported to be $375B USD. Bloomberg was sure to point out that the figure is inflated, some way or another. Xinhua news reports that a more accurate figure is a mere $298B USD deficit. Trump sent a “Section 301” notice of unfair trade tactics to China along with $50–60B USD in tariffs, depending on which news source you read. Trump also asked China to reduce the deficit by a whopping $100B USD and China says that the US is being unfair, placing tariffs on US food.
Asian markets are up, but a Caixin market index—something like a DOW Jones average in China—isn’t up as much as hoped. Everyone has an opinion on what all that means.
Companies in America believe that tariffs harm the consumer. Some voices argue that the US has a “service” trade surplus with China, but still a deficit overall. Trump argues that trade deficits harm the worker and the overall economy. Basic macro-economic theory would say that workers would afford higher prices with much higher pay.
Trade deficits initiated the Opium Wars with China when China welcomed a one-way flow of silver from Britain for tea, but would not allow the eager Chinese population to import British goods. The Opium Wars ended with surrender of several lands to Britain, including Hong Kong. China’s current and main land dispute is over Taiwan. The stage is set for history to repeat and so far it has.
Taiwan is certainly chumming up to the US as China attempts to endear the Taiwanese. Most recently, Taiwan is buying more advanced missiles from the US while two Senators advocate selling F-35s to Taiwan—a sale more likely since Taiwan’s current administration is unlikely to set up secret talks with China as the rival party attempted nearly four years ago. China banned Taiwanese movies casting a purportedly pro-independence Taiwanese actor, Lawrence Ko.
Unlike much of the Western press, Pacific Daily Times does not side with governments, political parties, or socio-economic ideologies. The Times only sides with history, that by learning from history much of the future is foreseeable. Foreseeability, based on history, is the only bias at Pacific Daily Times.
Foreseeability is not preference, hopes, or will—good or ill—toward what will happen, only that the future can, to the extent history repeats, be reasonably anticipated. Too many news outlets seem incapable of understanding that predicting outcomes, within reason, is entirely different from hoping for outcomes. Predicting and hoping are nothing alike. Pacific Daily Times is apathetic and indifferent—uncaring and cold-hearted—for how the future unfolds, except that current events only surprise neglectful history students.
Right now, foreseeability in Asia—not what is hoped-for in Asia—points to the waring parties of China. The KMT-Nationalist party and the Chinese Communist Party seem to have a symbiotic relationship. Their fates seem tied like the villain and hero of some comic series, if the hero kills the villain then both die and vice versa. The KMT-Nationalist party imploded on its home field in Taiwan. It was so distracted with “reunification” with China that it neglected the priorities that kept its power. As a result, Taiwan is run by the de facto pro-independence Democratic People’s Party. The KMT failed to help its CCP friends across the Taiwan Strait because it was overly obsessed with that friendship.
Now, it seems that the CCP is headed in the same direction. Without fear or favor, only calculating predictability based on the past, it seems we could be looking at the beginning of the end of the CCP. Every party that rises too high tumbles, history has executed this with zero exception and will never accept rivals. History demands that history always be the only victor by making all others history.
Since the founding of the current Chinese government in 1912, which the “Chinese year” commemorates, China has confronted its own shame, which it still confronts to this day. The founder, Sun Yat-sen, was a Christian whose Christianity compelled him to the three pillars of Chinese society: nationalism, democracy, and justice for the people. Though the largest nation, China has never been the most powerful nation. Centuries of “leader power distance” touted oppression as “peace-making” virtue. Some say it worked for China, others say it failed for China. Actually, it was the only thing that happened in China, so there is no basis of contrast to prove definably whether that Chinese power distance ethic succeeded or failed except that it brought China to 1911 where Sun defeated it. While the power distance left in the form of a government “empire”, it has neither left the ideology nor the mode of operation in Chinese culture, as repeating history proves once again this month.
Xi Jinping’s thinking remains uncertain. What motivates him? We really don’t know beyond the evidence that his thinking reflects Mao and traditional pre- Sun Yat-sen power distance. He doesn’t want shame for his country and he believes that reclaiming all land from every “old turf war” dispute will make the world think China as worthy of being respected. The rest of the world will decide its own opinion, but Chinese history has its own opinion about Xi.
Xi, as many in China, have loudly declared that they neither import nor export their politics. But, Communism is itself form Europe. Chinese people study English and gladly import Western technology and money while exporting goods to the West. But, most importantly of all, Sun Tzu’s Art of War Ch. 8, ss. 12’s “five dangerous faults” include: 3. a hasty temper provoked by insult and 4. a delicacy of honor sensitive to shame. Whenever Taiwan hints at “independence” or the US sails through UN-international waters which member China disputes, an explosion of rage and demands plume from Chinese press offices. Then we have the insatiable need for respect, the motive behind China’s desire for reunification with many lands, only one of those being Taiwan. Sun Tzu warned against these ideologies nearly a thousand years ago.
China has often misunderstood Christianity. Just as with Confucianism, there is the essential belief and then the government exploitation of it. Most “missionaries” are advancing a government-corporate hybrid, usually known as a “denomination” with an administrative and monetary structure. Jesus did not teach this. Chinese often view Christianity as a religion between God and Man while Confucianism teaches relationship between one Man and another. But, Jesus taught that God and Man is the archetypal relationship guiding the equally important practical application of the relationship between one Man and another. The emphasis on the relationship between God and Man to the exclusion of peer relationships came from European imperial governments misinterpreting the Bible and exploiting people’s ignorance of Jesus’ true teaching.
The great mystery of how the West gained such power and success without the Confucian-preferred version of an “ordered society” remains in the real Jesus. The founders of America, the Pilgrims, studied the Bible to love God as individuals—free from European government misinterpretation and control of the Bible—so they would love each other. All of this Bible study was done as individuals who loved God and had zero government control.
The mess in the West today, interfering with China along with the rest of the world, is an attempt from old oligarchs trying to reassert their power over a free, Bible-reading people. Xi Jinping is fighting against that same old oligarchy as the American people are. Corptocratic chronyism of the West is a problem everywhere. Xi Jinping is trying his best, with good will, to overcome it. But, he owes more to Sun Tzu’s Chinese wisdom and he is trying to overcome ancient evils of the West without first seeking to understand what virtues of the real Bible made the West so strong in the first place. As for whether and how it works out, history will have the last word as it always does.
China’s changes include finances as well as politics. As the US unrelentingly inches toward absolute denuclearization of North Korea—one way or another—China delays solidarity at the UN. China has no lack of mixed messages in other areas, such as Taiwan.
Stepping up military drills near Taiwan while becoming more economically friendly to Taiwanese isn’t exactly something that causes democratic voters to fall in love with a nation without elected official term limits. Some Taiwanese will take advantage of the economic favoritism, but those will probably be the kind of companies run by bosses who have a moderately high turnover rate coupled with complaints about overbearing, old school Asian leadership style. When China suddenly changes colors again, they could lose their companies, all depending on what Chinese “national security interest” needs arise with the sun. That will become an unanticipated economic edge to “isolationist” companies that remain in Taiwan and prefer a “flattened-out” administrative structure. Notwithstanding, experts claim it could all backfire.
Then there is Korea and Vietnam. China won’t need to worry about US intervention stealing its customers in North Korea much longer since that customer will soon cease to exist. Calling off a potential meeting between Pyongyang and Washington officials at the Winter Games involved Kim Jong Un’s sister being present. It indicates paranoia; Un is evidently concerned about a coup. He should be. Many of his officials had just jumped decades forward in time travel, also called “crossing the border”, when they saw the life, joy, happiness, technology, and pleasures of the modern world. Top North Korean brass will pine to return and Un’s sister knew they would. Calling off the meeting only alerted the world to Pyongyang feeling threatened.
So much said in a denial. US Congress unanimously passes the “Taiwan Travel Act”, essentially allowing every diplomat even up to Trump and Tsai to meet face-to-face, in public, in celebratory AKA “respectful” conditions. But, the US media—always asking for bipartisanship—doesn’t care to report the passage of the unanimous bill. That means that the bill may actually accomplish something, and that is why China is furious, depending on the occasion of course.
The US sending 5,000 troops to stop in Vietnam for the first time in 40 years should be more disconcerting to China that the passage of any bill or the blockage of any trade ships with North Korea. Of course, China says that they have no interest disturbing the international status quo and they respect other countries, albiet the “Xi Thought” includes, more importantly than removal of term limits, that the entire world is China’s responsibility.
While the West would paint China as a villain, nothing could be farther from the truth. After all, a police officer didn’t even need permission to catch a girl falling from the forth floor. Her grandmother had locked herself outside of her own apartment and the key smith scared the girl into climbing out the window. The police officer caught the girl, both were hospitalized. And, of course, ruling party officials from China made sure to visit and congratulate the officer for such quick thinking.
Then, we have Google and Apple courting more favor with China. Maps and Translate are back, with a China-controlled remix, of course. National security is vital. But, therein lies a cloaked warning. China is already under attack by the West. Soon-to-be non-Communist and united Korea, US-Friendly Vietnam, soldiers waiting to flex their muscles in India, diplomatic visits to Taiwan, not to mention the ever pro-US Japan—China is surrounded.
This is dangerous. All that needs to happen is for China to send out its military like King John’s Crusade, then Apple and Google will have no opposition re-educating China’s population, without soldiers to protect what’s happening at home. It would be best for China to refortify and give Apple and Google the boot, but who is the West to give China any suggestion. The West has money and power, so they clearly don’t understand.