US divides China by playing risky Taiwan card with arms sales that will lead to serious consequences and puts Taiwan at risk


New U.S. arms sale to Taiwan and rising trends of ‘white supremacy’ in the U.S.

White House playing wrong card in its risky game with China

Following its $2.2 billion arms deal with Taiwan that was announced on July 9, the United States Department of State has reportedly “informally” notified corresponding House and Senate committees that it supports the sale of F-16 fighter jets to the island.

Not surprisingly, the Chinese government has lodged “solemn representations” against the $8 billion deal, as it has each time arms sales to the island have been proposed or carried out.

That is because they seriously violate the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, especially the Aug 17, 1982, communiqué, and interfere in China’s internal affairs and undermine China’s sovereignty and security interests, as the Chinese Foreign Ministry pointed out on Monday.

Of course, should the deal get the green light and be inked by both Washington and Taipei, the actual delivery will not take place for several years.

Even if they were to be delivered immediately, 66 F-16s will do very little to change the military imbalance between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits.

Given the mainland’s asymmetrical and constantly enlarging military advantage against Taiwan, rather than constituting a severe security challenge to the mainland, the surplus F-16s to be sold to Taiwan represent a matter of principle in Beijing’s eyes. It holds sovereignty over Taiwan to be a “core interest” as well as a diplomatic redline in its relations with foreign countries.

Not to mention there is the legitimate concern that the Washington may be employing the arms sales to Taiwan, along with the ongoing protests in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, as bargaining chips in its trade talks with Beijing.

However, playing the Taiwan card will more likely than not ruin the prospect of a deal rather than facilitate it. As Beijing has repeatedly stated, a deal will not be made at the expense of such a key national interest.

The only thing the proposed arms sale can do is to send what Washington has time and again been warned are the “wrong messages” to Taipei, encouraging it to edge further toward a military showdown with the mainland, the outcome of which is easily predictable. Such a scenario would be detrimental to Taiwan, the mainland and the US.

Given it announced it would impose sanctions on the companies involved in the July deal, Beijing’s response to the latest arms sales has actually been disproportionally restrained so far considering the severity of the matter.

But Washington should stop its grave interference in China’s internal affairs, cease selling arms to the island and end all military contacts with it, otherwise China will have to take measures to safeguard its interests depending on how the situation develops. Source link

US arms sales to Taiwan will lead to serious consequences 

 

Gun and Freedom

 

US President Donald Trump confirmed Sunday that he has approved the sale of $8 billion worth of F-16V fighter jets to Taiwan. According to reports, the arms sales involved 66 fighters of this type, and it was believed that the deal will pass smoothly in US Congress.

It would be the largest single US arms sale to Taiwan in recent years. In 1992, the Bush administration decided to sell 150 F-16A/B fighter jets worth $6 billion to Taiwan. That deal wreaked havoc on Sino-US relations.

Objectively, with the PLA’s combat capability constantly increasing, even if Taiwan spends all defense budgets to buy US weapons, it will have no real impact on the military situation across the Taiwan Straits. Taiwan is no longer a military rival of the Chinese mainland. The PLA has the ability to disarm the Taiwan military in a very short time. US arms sales to Taiwan cannot change this basic reality.

However, US arms sales to Taiwan have become the biggest link in strengthening political relations between the US and the island of Taiwan.

Beijing has been consistently opposing US arms sales to Taiwan. This time the Trump administration is doing what the Bush administration did 27 years ago, and it comes at a time of tensions between China and the US. It is expected that China will take strong countermeasures.

The Chinese mainland can take steps in two directions. First, it can crank up military pressure on Taiwan, so that it will become a political liability for Tsai ing-wen and her administration. Second, the more weapons Taiwan buys, the greater the risk. Whoever pushes for arms purchases will suffer politically. The Chinese mainland must act firm to establish a new political understanding of Taiwan’s military purchases.

There are many measures that the Chinese mainland can take in this regard. To date, promoting peaceful reunification has been the basic purpose of the mainland’s cross-Strait policies. China’s policy toward Taiwan can be changed, given the worsening cross-Strait relations by Taiwan authorities. Ratcheting up military pressure is another option for China.
It is very dangerous to use force to resist reunification and serve as a strategic pawn of the US, especially at a time of serious tensions between China and the US.

Beijing should insist that the money for the F-16V sold by the US be deducted from its trade with China. The twists and turns of China-US economic and trade negotiations tell us that the US has no bottom-line, and the longer the battle against it lasts, the more likely it will increase our losses.

We suggest that China directly link US arms sales to Taiwan with China’s purchase of US agricultural products in the future. China will buy less US agricultural products for every weapon the US sells to Taiwan. If we make that decision, and stick with it for a few years, it will be American farmers versus arms dealers. It won’t be long before there is a domestic backlash in the US against arms sales to Taiwan.

It is a long process from the signing of the arms sales contract between the US and island of Taiwan to its implementation. We must not allow this contract to be implemented comfortably between both parties. We must make both the island of Taiwan and Washington suffer because of it. Source link

 

Arms purchase puts Taiwan at risk 

 

The US State Department formally announced on Tuesday that the US government had decided to sell $8 billion in military equipment, including 66 new F-16V fighter jets, to the island of Taiwan. The plan still needs congressional approval but it is unlikely to be turned down.

This is the largest-ever US arms sale to the island, which will definitely impact the China-US relations and the situation across the Taiwan Straits.

Taiwan regional leader Tsai Ing-wen’s authorities consider the arms purchase a big political score and will try to use it to convince Taiwan people that the US is reliable in protecting the island and that the radical policy of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is secure, hoping the arms sale could help get Tsai reelected as the regional leader in 2020.

Taiwan’s military buildup is meaningless when compared with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which is getting increasingly stronger. Most analysts believe that it will only take the PLA hours to take down the island if the mainland resorts to force. It doesn’t matter what weapons the island has purchased.

What Taiwan needs most to keep itself safe is to hold the political bottom line rather than picking a wrong path that leads to the extreme condition, in which the PLA has no alternative but to take decisive action. The major arms purchase could probably bring the island greater risks instead of security.

Taiwan must never try to promote de jure independence. If the island goes toward the direction with the salami-slicing strategy, it will only accumulate risks for itself. Taiwan must not act as a puppet of the US to contain the Chinese mainland. Otherwise, it will only find a dead end. The US won’t be able to protect it and the Chinese mainland will definitely not let it have its way.

Taiwan considers Chinese mainland-US tensions an opportunity to develop its ties with the US. The island has been trying to get involved in the US Indo-Pacific Strategy, proactively enhancing its role as a leverage of the US to strategically contain the Chinese mainland. It is a very risky move.

The higher cost and the risk of resorting to force is an important reason the Chinese mainland upholds peaceful reunification. Once the island’s authorities, by cooperating with the US, sharply increase the mainland’s cost of maintaining peace across the Taiwan Straits, the mainland will certainly reconsider its peaceful reunification policy and deliberate on other options.

If the Taiwan authorities insist on going their own way, the PLA will likely take action against the island to either liberate the island or deter and alert Taiwan secessionist forces. If the island’s authorities are bent on their wrong way, the mainland will increase military pressure on the island. Simultaneously, the probability of cross-Straits military frictions will grow, which will boost the likelihood that the PLA will take forceful military measures to punish the island. The DPP will pay for its ventures. Source link

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Peter Navarro, a hawk that ‘lacks intellect and common sense’ is Trump’s trade adviser or political agitator?


A profile photo of Peter Navarro Photo: IC

○ Navarro used the idea of the seven sins to criticize China, which showed his narrow and distorted mind

○ Navarro has been called the US President Donald Trump’s “spirit animal” as Donald Trump Jr. called him “a fierce warrior” for his father’s America First trade agenda

○ Politicians like Navarro have ruined the efforts made in the China-US trade talks and US society will pay for this, analysts said

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on Sunday said that China must end the “seven deadly sins,” a remark that was criticized by Chinese experts as “absurd and full of hostility” and that Navarro’s dominance of economic issues in the White House is a source of sadness in current China-US trade ties.

Navarro, 69, is a White House trade adviser and ardent supporter of the trade war. Several days earlier, Trump escalated his tariff war with China and Navarro was the only person at the announcement who supported it.

Navarro used the Christian concept of the seven deadly sins to criticize China, which showed his narrow and distorted mind. His willful moves to stir up hatred between countries are the real sin, analysts said.

He has written three books discrediting China and produced documentaries portraying Beijing as a threat. He ingratiates himself with those in the White House in order to get promoted. He has a “big mouth” and was told to shut up after saying the Canadian Prime Minister deserves “a special place in hell.” He has written a number of books, but has always been an unrecognized “non-mainstream economist.”

Navarro’s distinguishing feature among White House staff and senior officials is likely not that he is more of a “hawk” than others, but that he lacks intellect and common sense. He is highly compatible with his leader in his use of irrational methods, a Chinese scholar told the Global Times.

A US cargo ship (back) is seen at the Yangshan Deep-Water Port, an automated cargo wharf, in Shanghai on April 9, 2018. Photo: VCG

Out of favor

“Imagine the United States simultaneously engaged in trade wars with China, India, Pakistan, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, Ukraine, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Chile, Brazil and Turkey,” said a report by the Axios news website in August 2018.

Axios has obtained a copy of a draft executive order Navarro put together in the fall of 2017 that would have imposed tariffs on every product imported from every country doing significant business with North Korea, according to Axios.

“Its death is thanks to — well, just about everyone. Officials at Commerce, State, Treasury, and the Office of the United States Trade Representative all considered the proposal totally unworkable,” Axios reported.

As long as he’s in the administration, there will be a persistent, noisy, enthusiastic voice for these kinds of tariffs, according to Axios.

In fact, Navarro was out of favor in the White House when he proposed the tariffs. The American website Vox Media recalled that in the fall of 2017, John Kelly, then White House chief of staff, began controlling advisers’ access to Trump by having Gary Cohen, director of the White House national economic council, restrain Navarro.

What did Navarro do? In order to get more direct contact with Trump, he often lurked in the West Wing of the White House at night and on weekends.

Navarro was named director of the newly established White House national trade council after President Trump’s election in 2016, and he remained director after it was transformed into the White House office of trade and manufacturing policy in April 2017. However, Navarro’s first year in the White House was difficult because Trump’s economic team was run by “globalists.”

An American with ties to Trump’s business team told the Global Times that Navarro did not have his own team in the first few months in the White House and had to attend meetings alone. Not only was he excluded from many high-level strategy meetings, he was also required to copy all work emails to Cohen.

However, two personnel changes in early 2018 gave Navarro an opportunity. In February, Rob Porter, a top political aide and White House staff secretary who was a key supporter of free trade, resigned over domestic violence allegations. In March 2018, Cohen resigned after Trump insisted on tariffs on steel and aluminum products.

Navarro was eager for the vacant position and went all out for it in private, but publicly pulled his punches and said he wasn’t competing for it, Politico reported.

Navarro eventually failed, but rose in stature. According to one American trade expert, Trump wanted protectionism, but almost everyone in the room disagreed.

Lü Xiang, an American issues expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Science, told the Global Times that Navarro’s role in the process of economic policymaking in White House was elevated after Cohen’s resignation. It is said that his annual salary was raised from second class to first class from March 2018, lower only than that of the President and vice president, which shows the appreciation with which he has been received.

In May 2018, the China-US high-level trade consultation was held in Washington.

A reporter at Bloomberg said the White House had not scheduled Navarro for the talks because of his inappropriate and unprofessional behavior. But Navarro criticized Steven Mnuchin, secretary of the US Treasury, in the media for giving too much ground in the talks. A few days later, Trump repudiated the negotiations and imposed taxes on $50 billion worth of Chinese products.

Given Navarro’s influence, Time magazine published an article in August 2018 saying that he does not have as much power as Mnuchin or the same responsibilities as trade representative Robert Lighthizer, but that his role should not be underestimated. If Stephen Miller, a controversial White House senior adviser, is the infamous player behind immigration, Navarro is the core leader of a series of much-criticized economic policies.

Unpopular loser

In published photos, Navarro looks somber, with a high forehead and gray hair.

He has a lot more to show for himself, with his Harvard degree, his doctorate and so on, but it is his paranoia that is his most memorable feature. In fact, Navarro originally wanted to be a politician, not an adviser, but he had a problem: people don’t like him.

Navarro was originally registered as a Republican, but ran unsuccessfully for office four times as a Democrat in the 1990s. He was once close to Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

When he ran for congress in 1996, then-president Bill Clinton opposed him. His defeat was devastating: his wife divorced him and he fell deeply into debt.

Until 2008, he was a supporter of Democratic politicians, especially Hillary Clinton. But in the election of 2016, Navarro became an adviser to Trump. Trump is said to have suffered without the help of economists, and his son-in-law Jared Kushner asked Navarro to join after searching Navarro’s book on Amazon.

Born into a working-class family, Navarro grew up with his mother and was a hard-working graduate of two prestigious universities, Tufts and Harvard. However, his experience can be described as changeable and ill-fated.

Lü argues that his life experience has led to Navarro’s perennial unhappiness, and that he will spare no effort to translate his absurd claims into concrete policies once he is promoted by a leader who approves of him.

Although he is valued by his leader, Navarro was not liked by his colleagues. According to some American media, Navarro has a tough personality, and can be unaccommodating and unpopular. Navarro is as rude as ever when Trump cannot hear, scolding and belittling those who disagree with him.

‘Spirit animal’

Navarro was called “President Trump’s spirit animal” by Axios news website, as many scholars and experts in economy poured scorn upon his ideas on trade.

“Peter is a fierce warrior for my father’s America First trade agenda, and while it may upset some members of the failed bipartisan establishment of the Washington Swamp, he understands that we can’t allow China to continue taking advantage of American workers and hollowing out our industrial base,” Donald Trump Jr. said in a statement to The Washington Post. “His only agenda is my father’s agenda and the White House is lucky to have him.”

Some media pointed out that Navarro is the president’s intimate friend only when they talk about tariffs.

Experts said that Navarro was away from the spotlight for a while but then came back with a madder attitude.

Navarro appeared on Fox news on June 13, criticizing China in many fields, including intellectual protection and currency.

Many of Navarro’s propositions on trade and economy are condemned as unreasonable. Many mainstream economists think he has created a new school of economics dubbed the “stupid school.” His theories usually go against the principles of economics and he has made basic mistakes. In his articles, he has confused tariffs with added-value tax, Lü said.

“While purportedly an economist by training, Navarro’s economics is misguided, inaccurate and politicized,” Stephen Roach, a faculty member at Yale University, and former chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia, wrote in an editorial for the Global Times in July 2018.

It is normal that China and the US have differences, as they have their own interests. Instead of offering constructive advice to deal with these differences, Navarro has acted more like a political agitator. China and the US have gone through 12 rounds of trade talks and are trying to find ways to reach a consensus. The actions of some politicians, including Navarro, remind us that certain politicians’ tricks have ruined the good momentum of the trade talks again and again, Chinese experts noted that the US society will eventually pay for these politicians’ wrong deeds.

By Liang Yan, Qing Mu and Fan Lingzhi, Wang Huicong contributed to the reporting Source link 

Headless Hawk

Peter Navarro Photo: IC

Peter Navarro: trade adviser or political agitator?

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on Sunday accused China of committing the “seven deadly sins.” He said China must “stop stealing our intellectual property, stop forcing technology transfers, stop hacking our computers, stop dumping into our markets and putting our companies out of business, stop state-owned enterprises from heavy subsidies, stop the fentanyl, stop the currency manipulation” before the trade war comes to an end.

The “seven deadly sins” refer to the seven original vices in Catholic teachings. Such a metaphor reflects Navarro’s narrow-mindedness and psychological distortion. He wantonly hyped hatred between major powers, which is a real sin.

Navarro’s seven accusations against China are all clichés. The accusations are long-term China-US disputes and different definitions of the disputes. But of all remarks made by US officials on such differences, Navarro’s summary was the most vicious. It was not only ridiculous, but also full of hostility. His words have exposed the fact that his virtues can’t compare with his position. It is the woe of China-US economic and trade relations that such a person is hijacking the White House’s economic discourse power.

US media reported that Navarro is a key figure who has helped bring about the US decision to impose additional tariffs on Chinese products. He is a major spoiler contributing to the US breach of promises.

China has led its 1.4 billion people to prosperity and development. The country has not been involved in any war in more than 10 years, and has played a positive role in the UN’s climate action. As a trading power, China has made every deal with the US by mutual consent.

It is normal for China and the US to have different standpoints toward their disputes. Trade is mutually beneficial and China cannot force the US to have hundreds of billions of trade with it. This is common sense. By no means can Chinese people understand why the US could define China-US trade disputes in so many weird ways. The US side stubbornly insists on its values about interests, which are not suitable in current globalized world.

The two countries can improve trade balance by adjusting many practices. The Chinese side is willing to take into consideration some of the US’ concerns.

But wielding a tariff stick is unacceptable to China. Navarro said China-US trade won’t end unless China satisfies all the conditions. He speaks as if it’s only China’s one-side wish to end the trade war. Isn’t it boring to still threaten China so shallowly after one and a half years of trade war?

The fact is if the US side has no sincerity to reach a fair deal, China is prepared to fight the trade war to the end. China is being forced to do so, but it can do it well under pressure until the other side is discouraged.

It seems Navarro didn’t offer the president a technical solution to solving China-US differences. He behaves more like a political agitator. The two sides have gone through 12 rounds of trade talks through which negotiating teams work hard to find common ground.

But Navarro reminds us that some people’s political calculations keep impacting on the US negotiating position. American society will eventually pay for these people’s politics.

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Poised for correction: A file picture showing a woman walking by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo. After 10 years of continued rise in asset prices, markets are poised for correction. — AP

Tariffs are here to stay and likely to disrupt the 10-year economic cycle

IF investors ever needed a reminder that not all is right with the equities market, the shock waves the world capital markets, including Bursa Malaysia, had to endure earlier this week are proof enough.

Most stock markets are at the tailend of a 10-year bull run, although the same cannot be said for Bursa Malaysia which has generally has been more bearish than others in the last five years. Going by the current trends, Bursa Malaysia is likely to finish the year lower, which if it happens will be the fourth time in the last five years.

But the leading platform in the world which sets the pace for global flow of capital – the Wall Street – has been hitting new highs although it corrects from time to time largely due to the tweets from President Donald Trump.

Wall Street’s run started in May 2009 and seems to have the strength to carry on for a few more legs, defying conventional logic that economic boom-bust cycles corrects after 10 years. Other stock markets have had good and bad times since 2009 but the US has been consistently on the rise.

The benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Nasdaq and S&P 500, which charts the broader market, have all hit news highs. Bursa Malaysia on the other hand has languished between the 1, 600 and 1, 700 levels, with only one year of positive returns since 2014.

There are several reasons for Bursa Malaysia’s poor performance compared with other markets. For instance, the United States slashed tax rates, which spurred earnings of companies and has the best technology companies listed there. It’s not the same elsewhere in the world.

Nevertheless, after 10 years of continued rise in asset prices due to the combination of a low interest rate environment and advancement in technology, the markets are poised for correction. Until earlier this week, nobody had an inkling of an idea where and how the correction will take place.

However, after President’s Trump latest statement that the US would impose 10% tariff on an additional US$300bil worth of exports from China, it clearly underlines that the trade war is here to stay.

If anybody had a view that the trade war would end if President Trump does not retain his position in the US elections next year, they are wrong. Even some Democrats are leaning towards imposing tariff as measure to help the US keep its competitive edge in the world economy.

Reverse globalisation is no longer a bad word in world trade.

A 25% tariff has already been imposed on US$250bil worth of China’s exports to the United States since March this year.

It is bringing in billions to the US coffers with some going towards helping the farmers overcome the woes of the trade war. The person who takes over from Trump is not likely to dismantle the structure.

Any other president will want to get more from China, which is led by the influential President Xi Jinping, who is seen as the most powerful man that rules the second biggest economy in the world after the late chairman Mao Zedong.

China has retaliated by imposing tariffs on US$110bil worth of imports from the US so far including the produce from farms. It has also allowed the yuan to weaken, sparking concerns that the trade war is evolving into a currency war.Latest data from China shows that the exports are still growing and imports dropping in July even though there is a trade war, suggesting that President Xi will not yield to pressure from the US easily.

A new cold war in the form of the trade war has emerged. As a result, it has caused upheavals in the capital markets that should worry investors.

There have been significant shifts in asset prices from bonds to equities and commodities such as oil. Among all asset classes, dramatic movement in bond prices of government debt papers is the first to feel the impact from the trade war.

This is on the back of increasing certainty that the Federal Reserve and other major central banks will reduce interest rates more aggressively to stimulate the sagging economy. It has caused for money to seek safe haven such as US government debt papers.

For instance the yields on the 10-year US debt paper is 1.69% now. It was 1.9% a week ago and 2.06% a month ago. The yields moves inversely with the price of the bonds.

The yields on the five- and two-year government debt papers have also moved by up 18 points in the last one week. Such movements on billions of dollars will have an impact in the months to come.

The trade war has caused a major disruption in the global supply chain, evidence of the economy slowing globally.

If anybody wants any evidence of the disruption in global supply chain, they only need to go to the KLIA cargo complex and see for themselves the number of idle lorries that do not have enough cargo to move about.

In Malaysia’s case, apart from a slowdown in movement of goods around the world, the uncertainties in Hong Kong have exacerbated the situation.

The combined effects of the trade war, China’s economic uncertainties and Hong Kong’s future as Asia’s financial hub will only be felt in the fourth quarter of this year.

Until then, asset prices will continue to adjust to the new norm.

The views expressed here are solely that of the writer. Source link 

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China urges Philippines to quit arbitration; Pushes back against US pressure


China urges Philippines to immediately cease arbitral proceedings

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http://english.cctv.com/2016/06/09/VIDESodRMnJFJdiaDZ3JKzuo160609.shtml

<<< Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei (Source: fmprc.gov.cn)

BEIJING, June 8 (Xinhua) — China on Wednesday again urged the Philippines to stop its arbitral proceedings and return to the right track of settling relevant disputes in the South China Sea through bilateral negotiation with China.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the comment at a routine press briefing.

The Foreign Ministry on Wednesday issued a statement saying that disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea should be settled through bilateral negotiation.

Hong said that by unilaterally initiating the arbitration in 2013, the Philippines had turned its back on the possibility of solving the issue through negotiation, leading to a dramatic deterioration of relations between China and the Philippines.

China and the Philippines have reached consensus on settling maritime disputes through bilateral negotiation in a number of bilateral documents, but the two countries have never engaged in any negotiation on the subject-matters of the arbitration, said Hong.

By unilaterally initiating the arbitration, the Philippines has violated its agreement with China as well as its own solemn commitment in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), he said.

This is an abuse of the dispute settlement procedures of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and is against international law, including UNCLOS, he added.

The door of China-Philippines bilateral negotiation is always open, he said. “China will remain committed to settling through negotiation the relevant disputes with the Philippines in the South China Sea on the basis of respecting historical facts and in accordance with international law.”

“China urges the Philippines to immediately cease its wrongful conduct of pushing forward the arbitral proceedings, and return to the right path of settling the relevant disputes in the South China Sea through bilateral negotiation with China,” Hong said. – Xinhua

BEIJING: China has urged the Philippines to “immediately cease its wrongful conduct of pushing forward the arbitral proceedings” and “return to the right path” of settling the relevant disputes in the South China Sea, through bilateral negotiation.

In an official statement released yesterday, the Foreign Ministry reaffirmed Beijing’s commitment to a settlement via two-way negotiations, rather than an arbitration unilaterally sought by Manila against China in 2013.

Ties between Beijing and Manila were sunk after the initiation of the arbitration. From the very start of the arbitral process, China has refused to accept or participate.

In the wake of recent comments made by various Chinese officials about the arbitration, the statement said “the door of China-Philippines bilateral negotiation is always open”.

Observers and the media have increasingly called on Philippine President-elect Rodrigo Duterte and his expected administration to quit the arbitration and return to the table for two-way negotiations.

The arbitral case is still pending. Some media and observers said the expected ruling by the arbitral tribunal would be made in a few weeks.

China will remain committed to settling through negotiation the relevant disputes “on the basis of respecting historical facts and in accordance with international law,” the ministry wrote.

In the past weeks, Washington has publicly pressed Beijing to accept the ruling.

That also included a call from US Defence Secretary Ash Carter on Saturday at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

Wu Shicun, president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, said although it remained to be seen if the incoming Philippine administration would quit the arbitration and return to the table for talks, “it is apparent that the arbitration – from its very beginning – has led to increasing, not decreasing, number of problems between Beijing and Manila”.

“Other regional countries will come to the conclusion that embarking on such an arbitration will obtain no benefit, not to mention resolving any of the existing disputes,” Wu said.

Jia Duqiang, a researcher of South-East Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said as the arbitration process came to a critical moment, all parties knew clearly that “no good will serve any party if the big picture is damaged”.

He also said the incoming administration was re-evaluating its policies towards China. — China Daily / Asia News Network

China pushes back against US pressure

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/ZabX_OfMRss

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/ZabX_OfMRss

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/qAsu3U47DzA

SINGAPORE: China rebuffed US pressure to curb its activity in the South China Sea today, restating its sovereignty over most of the disputed territory and saying it “has no fear of trouble”.

On the last day of Asia’s biggest security summit, Admiral Sun Jianguo said China will not be bullied, including over a pending international court ruling over its claims in the vital trade route.

“We do not make trouble, but we have no fear of trouble,” Sun told the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, where more than 600 security, military and government delegates had gathered over three days.

“China will not bear the consequences, nor will it allow any infringement on its sovereignty and security interest, or stay indifferent to some countries creating chaos in the South China Sea.”

The waterway has become a flashpoint between the United States, which increased its focus on the Asia-Pacific under President Barack Obama’s “pivot”, and China, which is projecting ever greater economic, political and military power in the region.

The two have traded accusations of militarising the waterway as Beijing undertakes large-scale land reclamation and construction on disputed features while Washington has increased its patrols and exercises.

On Saturday, top US officials including defence secretary Ash Carter warned China of the risk of isolating itself internationally and pledged to remain the main guarantor of Asian security for decades.

Despite repeated notes of concern from countries such as Japan, India, Vietnam and South Korea, Sun rejected the prospect of isolation, saying that many of the Asian countries at the gathering were “warmer” and “friendlier” to China than a year ago.

China had 17 bilateral meetings this year, compared with 13 in 2015.

“We were not isolated in the past, we are not isolated now and we will not be isolated in the future,” Sun said.

“Actually I am worried that some people and countries are still looking at China with the Cold War mentality and prejudice. They may build a wall in their minds and end up isolating themselves.”

During a visit to Mongolia today, US secretary of state John Kerry urged Beijing not to establish an air defence identification zone (Adiz) over the South China Sea.

Kerry, who will visit China next, said an Adiz would be “a provocative and destabilising act”, which would question Beijing’s commitment to diplomatically manage the dispute.

The South China Sea is expected to feature prominently at annual high-level China-US talks starting in Beijing on Monday, also attended by US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

US concerns about Chinese trade policy and the difficulty foreign businesses say they face operating in China will add to what will likely be difficult discussions. — Reuters

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Analysts pooh-pooh US Defence Secretary’s ‘self-isolation’ as an exaggeration


Analysts refute Ashton Carter’s China ‘self-isolation’ claims

SINGAPORE – US defense secretary’s China “self-isolation” claims were totally incorrect, local analysts said here on Saturday.

In a speech delivered here Saturday at the on-going Shangri-La Dialogue, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said China could end up erecting a Great Wall of self-isolation, but analysts here refuted Carter’s remarks as one-sided and over-exaggerated.

As China develops, Asia-Pacific countries had built close relations with not only the United States but also China, which proves Carter’s China “self-isolation” claims at best “exaggerated,” said Huang Jing, Professor and Director of Center on Asia and Globalization, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore.

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Carter’s claims are misinterpreting China’s policies, and are not in line with the two countries’ consensus on forging new pattern of relationship, said Colonel Lu Yin, Associate Researcher from the Institute of Strategic Studies of China’s National Defense University.

The colonel noted that Carter’s remarks revealed logical paradoxes in the US rebalance strategy in the Asia-Pacific.

“I don’t see it possible that without efforts from China, the United States can realize its rebalance strategic in the Asia-Pacific region as well as achieve common prosperity as envisioned,” said Lu.

In his half-hour or so speech, the US defense secretary mentioned the word “principle” for as many as 37 times. In Professor Huang Jing’s view, it is fairly disputable that the United States does faithfully stick to principle.

When asked about the fact that not only China, but countries including Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam all had similar construction actions, Carter said there are differences in the scale of such activities.

If one really sticks to principles, it doesn’t matter what scale the actions might be, any construction activity is against the principle, argued Professor Huang.

On matters of navigation freedom, the professor said that navigation freedom should be guaranteed, but any country’s freedom shall not be at the cost of posing threats to others.

Although tensions in the South China Sea are included in Carter’s speech, analysts pointed out that the US defense secretary had also elaborated on the fact that China and the United States do have cooperation potentials over a number of international agendas. To safeguard peace and stability in Asia-Pacific, the two countries need to cooperate.

Oh Ei Sun, senior fellow with S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said that Carter actually adopted a relatively “mild” approach when addressing disputes in the Asia-Pacific and gave much emphasis on setting up security networks in the region.

William Choong, Shangri-La Dialogue Senior Fellow for Asia-Pacific Security, said he thought the US-China relations are far more inclusive.

It’s a broader relationship, although they disagree on the South China Sea issue, they can agree on many other issues which are important, such as the cooperation in cyber space, the DPRK issue, and climate change, he said.

The two countries are preparing for their upcoming strategic economic dialogue as well, he noted.

“To put it very simply, even though there are tensions in the South China Sea, I think the relationship is broad enough and strong enough, and has enough institutional mechanism for both sides to avoid their differences and work on potential solutions,” said the researcher.

China refutes US defense secretary’s China ‘self-isolation’ claims

SINGAPORE – A high-ranking Chinese military official Saturday refuted US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s “self-isolation” claims about China.

“Carter’s claims are incorrect and do not accord with the actual situation,” Guan Youfei, director of the Office for International Military Cooperation of the Chinese Central Military Commission, told the media.

Guan’s comments came after Carter’s claims at the ongoing Shangri-La Dialogue that China’s military activities in the South China Sea would isolate itself.

Guan said the United States should learn lessons from the wars it had waged in the Asia-Pacific region after World War II and play a constructive role in the region.

Guan urged the United States to keep its security pledges, withdraw troops from Afghanistan as soon as possible, stop arms sale to China’s Taiwan and refrain from holding military drills on the Korean Peninsula.

Guan said China has made great efforts in promoting international and regional security cooperation since its reform and opening-up, and China’s achievements in areas such as peacekeeping, disaster relief and naval escort missions are obvious.

China will continue to enhance cooperation with other Asia-Pacific countries under the Belt and Road initiative in various fields, the Chinese military official added.

The US defense secretary had earlier made similar accusations against China in a speech delivered at the US Naval Academy. The Chinese Foreign Ministry had responded, saying such claims reflected “American-style mentality” and “American-style hegemony.”

Sources: China Daily/Asia News Network

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Even the claimant countries in the waters want to prioritize safeguarding peaceful development in the region.

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But Carter won’t change his attitude. He represents a clique that is eager to sustain Washington’s hegemony in the Western Pacific by reinforcing military deployments and containing China’s peaceful rise.

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China urges US, Japan to stop pointing fingers on South China Sea

Contradiction blots Obama’s legacy with outdated Cold War mindset


Obama insurance conference call providers Russia and the U.S. are sending rather contradictory signals about their relationship.

US President Barack Obama belittled Russia as a nation that “doesn’t make anything” in an interview with the Economist on Sunday. He also said that the West must be “pretty firm” with China, as the latter will “push as hard as they can until they meet resistance.”

Obama downplayed Russia’s role in the international community by saying Moscow is unable to attract quality immigrants and Russia’s population is shrinking and aging. He described US tensions with China as “manageable,” but stressed that the West should be tough with China when China “breaches international norms,” and show China “the potential benefits over the long term.”

Condescending to China and Russia, Obama treats both nations separately. He wants to draw more Western attention to China, so there could be more efforts to contain China. Obama paying close attention to China resulted in his “rebalancing to Asia” strategy.

He hasn’t shown much belligerence to China and Russia since he took office, but apparently, he lacks strategic insight and the power to control his government and be a good decision-maker. His advocacy is always ambiguous and easily misguided by some emergency issues. Diplomacy will not be a proud part of his legacy.

In the Middle East, the US withdrawal from Iraq under his leadership has not helped sort out the mess in the region. He won’t be given a medal for the current situation.

In its relationship with Russia, the US wrongfully kept its momentum to squeeze Russia’s strategic space and caused Moscow’s intense countermeasures.

Washington and Moscow are now engaged in Cold-War-level tensions, and they will cost the US much resource and attention.

In US-China relations, Obama has also found it hard to fully achieve his “rebalancing to Asia” goals. When the new Chinese leadership proposed the concept of a new type of major power relationship, the Obama administration accepted the general idea, but hasn’t accepted the connotations.

Obama has not made constructive contributions to China-US relationships. He cannot make landmark progress if he still clings to an outdated Cold War mindset.

In the next two years before his last term ends, Obama could make himself remembered by making breakthroughs in the Sino-US relationship.

He could work with his Chinese counterparts to work out a framework for both countries, which would influence the entire picture of international relations.

In the early years of Obama’s administration, people were impressed by his less strident posture toward international affairs, and this is also why he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. But now he has become more self-contradictory.

Perhaps that’s how the most powerful man plays his role, held back by many different forces. It seems that only recklessness and strident talk can make the US presidency function well, while forward thinking won’t get anywhere.

Source: Global Times

Asians can and must think strategically, not to be dominated by the West


Can Asians think?

CAN Asian Think is a provocative book written in 1998 by the dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, Kishore Mahbubani, a prolific and brilliant thinker.

The book is a combative rebuttal of the idea that the dominant Western (read American) ideas are universalist, arguing that the Rest (of the World) has a lot to teach the West.

Re-reading it after more than 16 years, the questions raised by Mahbubani are as relevant as ever. Personally, I found the title rather condescending – of course Asians can think! The real issue is whether Asians can think strategically in their own interest, or whether they think that the dominant Western philosophy and values are so comfortable and relevant that they simply accept that the West is best.

The intellectual tide is going full circle. Since 1998, we have experienced two full-scale crises – the Asian financial crisis of 1998-1999 in which some Western polemicists gloated over Asian hubris, and the Great Recession of 2007-2009, when even Western intellectuals questioned whether unfettered capitalism was a dead end.

As one Asian leader said, when our teacher stumbles, what does the student do? This strategic question has not been completely answered, or at least the answers are different for different Asian countries.

Now that the West has begun to recover, we are going through a reversal of fortunes. Emerging economies are going to bear the brunt of global adjustment. At least three Asian economies are counted among the Fragile Five (India, Indonesia, Turkey, Brazil and South Africa), and there is considerable worry that China may be going through a hard landing.

President Obama’s trip to Asia was a belated personal confirmation of his “Pivot to East Asia” policy, first articulated in 2012 by then Secretary of State and Presidential wannabe Hillary Clinton. As the United States began to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, and its discovery of shale oil making it less dependent on the Middle East, the Pivot strategy involved strengthening bilateral ties with allies in East Asia, and working relationships with emerging powers, such as China. The immediate unintended consequence of the Pivot policy was the eruption of the Ukraine crisis, whereby Russia took advantage of European weakness and diversion of US attention to effectively bring Crimea back to the Russian sphere of influence.

All of a sudden, the Cold War, defined as the struggle between Big Powers, re-emerged into the global risk equation.

Russian  Victory Day parade
Russian soldiers march at the Red Square in Moscow during a Victory Day parade. Thousands of Russian troops marched in Red Square to mark 69 years since victory in World War II in a show of military might amid tensions in Ukraine following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea. -AFP

The word “pivot” originally arose from a paper “The Geographical Pivot of History”, delivered exactly 110 years ago by Sir Halford Mackinder (1861-1947), then director of the London School of Economics. In his second book in 1919, Mackinder, considered the father of geopolitics and geostrategy theory, enscapsulated his theory of the Heartland in a dictum: “Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; Who rules the Heartland commands the World Island; Who rules the World Island commands the World.”

The Heartland is of course Central Asia, previously part of the Soviet Union, and the World-Island is the largest landmass of Euroasia, from Atlantic Europe to the East Asian Pacific coast, which commands 50% of the world’s resources. Many of today’s areas of geopolitical risk are at the frontiers of the Heartland – Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and the South China Sea.

Mackinder’s innovation was to examine national strategy on a global scale, recognising that the British empire must use geography and strategic policy to its advantage against competing great powers.

Former British colonies understood very well the British strategy of “divide and rule”, playing off one faction against the other, so that Britain could rule a subcontinent like India without expending too much resources. But Britain did not hesitate to apply gunboats or cannon to maintain the strategic balance. Similarly, Britain played off one European power against another, until weakened by two world wars, her former colony, the United States emerged as the global superpower.

Seen from the long lens of history, we are in the second Anglo-Saxon empire, with America being the new Rome. Just as the Roman empire shifted its capital from Rome to Constantinople (now Istanbul) in the 20th century, power shifted westward from London to Washington DC.

In the 20th century, two island economies, Britain and Japan, played leading roles in intervening in the continents of Europe and Asia through maritime power, but by the 21st century, air and technological power through size and scale changed the game in favour of the United States. The United States is a continental economy defended by two oceans, the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic, without a military rival within the Americas.

In contrast, Asia has been historically riven by war and territorial disputes.

In his new book, the Revenge of Geography, geostrategist Robert Kaplan argued how politics and warfare were determined throughout history largely by geography.

Even though the arrival of air travel and Internet suggest that the world may become borderless, the reality is that the world is becoming more and more crowded.

When the First World War broke out in 1914, the global population was only 1.7 billion, with a death count of 16 million. By the Second World War, the death count reached as high as 85 million, when world population was only 2.3 billion.

The next World War will be fought over water and energy resources, because there are limits to natural resources even as the global population exceeds 7 billion, going towards 9 billion by 2030.

For the world to avoid global conflict will require great skills and mutual understanding, because the geopolitical risks of political miscalculation and accidents are extremely high in an age of rising tensions due to inequality, chauvinism, religious and ethnic polarisation. As an old African saying goes, when elephants fight, the grass gets trampled. In the next big fight between the nuclear powers, there will be no winners.

Now that is something that not just Asians must seriously think about.

– Contributed by Tan Sri Andrew Sheng

Tan Sri Andrew Sheng is Distinguished Fellow of the Fung Global Institute. The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.

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