Trump a Shrewd Businessman, China’s Xi Not Less Shrewd


A file picture of a PLA Su-30 fighter and an H-6K bomber taking part in a drill in the Western Pacific in September. Photo: Xinhua

A file picture of a PLA Su-30 fighter and an H-6K bomber taking part in a drill in the Western Pacific in September. Photo: Xinhua

Trump, as a businessman, knows how to make profit so that he has been able to build up his enormous empire.

What does he want as US president then?

Some analysts believe that his hardline policies may give rise to World War III.

Why?

Does he want his commercial buildings and hotels destroyed by nuclear bombs?

His speeches may be self-contradicting sometimes, but not his goals to become US president: He wants the US to gain in order to make its economy prosper. If US economy prospers, so will his business empire along with it.

Some analysts are so stupid as to think that Trump will play some dirty secret tricks to benefit his empire. If so, Trump will be bankrupt politically. Will he be so stupid?

His open trick to make the US prosper for the benefit of his business empire is to enable the US to benefit from its diplomacy.

How?

He uses his hardline rhetoric to cause tension in the world.

In Europe, he praises Putin and thus encourages Putin to be more aggressive so that Europe wants better US protection. The US will gain in having Europe to pay more for the protection or buy more US advanced weapons for self-protection.

In Asia, he will reverse Obama’s stupid policies of containing China.

Obama’s pivot to Asia hurts the US instead of benefiting it. Economically, the US has to make concessions to have TPP accepted by other members in order to contain China. Hurting oneself to hurt one’s competitors. That is not a wise businessman’s way. A wise businessman hurts his competitors in order to benefit himself.

It is sure that TPP may hurt the US but whether it may hurt China remains a question as China is carrying out substantial reform to make its economy adapt to TPP.

Obama’s efforts to contain China by intervention with China’s disputes with its neighbors in the South China Sea have entirely failed as US threat has caused China to build seven artificial islands there to entirely remove the threat of US attack of China from the South China Sea.

In fact, tension in the South China Sea may not cause countries there to pay for US protection or buy US weapons. ASEAN will not seek US protection for fear of upsetting China as it is now greatly benefited by better relations with China. US only ally there the Philippines may want better US protection and US weapons but it is too poor to be able to pay for that.

Trump does not want to contain China. On the contrary, he want the US to have substantial gains from China’s vast market. He wants China to make trade concessions for better US access to Chinese market.

For that, he needs tension in East Asia. His telephone call with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen was precisely aimed at that. He will try to sell more weapons to Taiwan and support Japan in its disputes with China to cause China to make trade concessions.

On the other hand, he appoints a pro-China politician as US ambassador to China for better economic ties with China. That will be his carrot and stick policies toward China.

By so doing, he will not only gain concessions from China but also make Japan and South Korea pay more for US protection and make them and Taiwan buy more US weapons.

If Trump succeeds in both Europe and Asia, he will be able to get substantial gains for his country so that he will be sure to win the next presidential election for a second term.

China’s Xi Jinping is not less shrewd. SCMP says in its report “PLA will ‘step up flights near Taiwan’ to pressure Tsai after Trump phone call” today, “Beijing wants to keep up the pressure on the island amid fears the US may soften its stance on its policy that Taiwan is part of one China”. Taiwan is Xi’s priority now. He has to cause Taiwan’s pro-independence president Tsia Ing-wen to lose to the pro-Beijing KMT in the next Taiwan presidential election.

SCMP says “China’s military has already flown a series of flights close to the island in recent months as it tries to ratchet up pressure on Taiwan’s independence-leaning government.” Trump’s support for Tsai will give Xi the excuse to send more warplanes to threaten Taiwan.

That will force Taiwan to incur huge costs to buy US weapons at the expense of its economic growth. Xi, on the other hand, will contain Taiwan economically by reducing import of Taiwanese products and Mainland tourists to Taiwan. Tsai’s economic failure will cause her to lose the next election.

There is always the military alternative for Xi to take Taiwan by force, but that will be Xi’s last resort. He certainly does not want to risk a war with the US. Even if the US does not intervene, he will have difficulties in dealing with the aftermath of the war.

Having a pro-Beijing Taiwan government is a much better choice for him. For that he need tension in Taiwan Strait. The military threat of Xi’s takeover of Taiwan by force will aggravate Taiwan’s economic difficulties as no one will invest in Taiwan under the threat. Trump will help Xi in creating the tension.

Article by Chan Kai Yee.

Full text of SCMP’s report mentioned in the article can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2052513/pla-will-step-flights-near-taiwan-after-trump-tsai-call


Trump picks longtime friend of Beijing as U.S. ambassador to China


Governor of Iowa Terry Branstad exits after meeting with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., December 6, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Governor of Iowa Terry Branstad exits after meeting with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., December 6, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Dominique Patton and Steve Holland | BEIJING/NEW YORK

President-elect Donald Trump will nominate Iowa Governor Terry Branstad as the next U.S. ambassador to China, choosing a longstanding friend of Beijing after rattling the world’s second largest economy with tough talk on trade and a telephone call with the leader of Taiwan.

The appointment may help to ease trade tensions between the two countries, the world’s two biggest agricultural producers, diplomats and trade experts said. Branstad has visited China at least six times, and Chinese President Xi Jinping has traveled to Iowa twice, including once while Branstad was governor.

Branstad’s appointment also suggests that Trump may be ready to take a less combative stance toward China than many expected, the experts said.

Trump in a statement cited Branstad’s qualifications including experience in government and longtime relationships with Xi and other Chinese leaders. The nomination, which will be formally made once the Republican president-elect is sworn in on Jan. 20, was well received, even among some Democrats.

“He’s tenacious, and trust me, with the Chinese, you need to be tenacious,” U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a former Iowa governor, said of Branstad.

Trump, who defeated Hillary Clinton in last month’s election, has said that when he takes office he intends to declare China a currency manipulator, meaning it keeps the yuan artificially low to make its exports cheap, and has threatened to impose punitive tariffs on Chinese goods coming into the United States.

Added to that, his unusual decision to accept a call from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen last week prompted a diplomatic protest on Saturday from Beijing, which considers Taiwan a renegade province. Trump’s transition team played down the exchange as a courtesy call, but the White House had to reassure China that its decades-old “one-China” policy was intact.

Branstad’s established personal connection with China could help smooth a relationship defined largely by international security matters and by bilateral trade, where the massive U.S. trade deficit with the country is a source of friction.

“It means that the Trump team understands that it is important to have an ambassador who has access to Xi Jinping,” Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington, said of the pick.

Branstad called Xi a “longtime friend” when Xi visited Iowa in February 2012, only nine months before he became China’s leader.

On Wednesday, Branstad said he and Xi have had a “30-year friendship” and added: “The president-elect understands my unique relationship to China and has asked me to serve in a way I had not previously considered.”

Before his nomination was announced, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang called Branstad an “old friend” of China when asked in Beijing about a Bloomberg report on the appointment, although he said China would work with any U.S. ambassador.

“We welcome him to play a greater role in advancing the development of China-U.S. relations,” he told a daily news briefing.

Xi’s ties to Iowa go back more than 30 years: He visited Iowa in 1985 on an agricultural research trip when he led a delegation from Hebei Province, returning 27 years later and reuniting with some of the people he had met.

Trump’s stance on China has been in particular focus since Friday’s call with Tsai, the first such top-level contact with Taiwan by a U.S. president-elect or president since President Jimmy Carter adopted a “one-China” policy in 1979, recognizing only the Beijing government.

DUMPING ALLEGATIONS

China is the United States’ largest trading partner in goods. But imports from China far outstripped U.S. exports, making for a trade deficit with China of $336.2 billion in 2015, according to the U.S. Trade Representative.

Specific U.S. trade concerns include allegations that China is dumping steel and aluminum in global markets below the cost of production, hurting American producers. In the agricultural sector, the United States has been unable to get Beijing to lift anti-dumping measures on U.S. broiler chicken products and an animal feed ingredient known as distillers’ dried grains (DDGS).

China is one of Iowa’s biggest export markets, so Branstad is well placed to deal with China-U.S. trade issues, said Professor Huang Jing, an expert on Chinese politics at the National University of Singapore.

“This really sends a message that Donald Trump wants to handle China at the bilateral relationship level,” he said.

Branstad, 70, visited China most recently as the leader of a trade mission that made stops in Beijing and Hebei in November. He will be “somebody who clearly understands agriculture representing U.S. interests” in China, said Dale Moore, executive director for public policy at the American Farm Bureau Federation.

(Reporting by Sangameswaran S in Bengalaru, Christian Shepherd in Beijing, John Ruwitch in Shanghai; Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu and Matt Spetalnick in Washington, Tom Polansek and Mark Weinraub in Chicago and Kay Henderson in Des Moines; Writing by Richard Cowan and David Ingram; Editing by Robert Birsel, Martin Howell, Frances Kerry and Jonathan Oatis)

Source: Reuters “Trump picks longtime friend of Beijing as U.S. ambassador to China”

Note: This is Reuters report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


The most important bilateral relationship in the world? China-Japan


Jean-Pierre Lehmann For The Straits Times

How will Japan fare in a Sino-centric Asian century? It bears reminding that after World War II, Japan embarked on a policy of ‘shedding Asia’ and entering the West. It now needs to re-enter Asia and build an equitable relationship with China.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, Dec 7, marks the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. April 28 next year will mark the 65th anniversary of the United States-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, signed in September 1951.

It took just a decade for Japan to move from being America’s most hated enemy for launching the 1941 attack that President Franklin D. Roosevelt said grimly “will live in infamy” to becoming its major Pacific ally and pampered protege after the 1951 treaty was signed.

In the course of that decade, China, which had been the US’ close ally throughout the Pacific War and fellow victorious power, was ostracised behind the “bamboo curtain”, politically and economically.

Thus was the Asia-Pacific order of the second half of the 20th century, corresponding to the broader global order set after 1945 by Washington, established.

The Japanese modern historical narrative is exceptional. Whereas from the late 18th century, when almost all of Asia was colonised or otherwise subjugated by the West, Japan stood out as the only Asian country to “join” the West and become in turn an imperialist power in its own neighbourhood.

illustrationILLUSTRATION: MIEL

Japan’s 20th-century wars with China had Asian regional cataclysmic effects; were war to break out between the two in the 21st century, it would have devastating global cataclysmic effects. With the US no longer willing to provide protection for Japan, the China-Japan relationship has become, to paraphrase Mike Mansfield, the most important bilateral relationship, bar none.

Having witnessed what happened to China when it sought to resist the apparently inexorable Eastern advance of Western power – the two devastatingly humiliating Opium Wars, 1839-1842 and 1856-1860 – the Japanese leadership under the Meiji Restoration (1868) decided that accommodation was the better part of valour.

In the spirit of Datsu-A Nyu-O, the term subsequently coined by the 19th-century Japanese thought leader (and founder of the prestigious private Keio university) Yukichi Fukuzawa, Japan proceeded to “shed Asia and enter Europe”.

In the ensuing decades, Japan underwent a quite remarkable reform programme (only to be rivalled perhaps by the Chinese reform programme undertaken under Deng Xiaoping over a century later), thereby emerging as a full-fledged industrial and imperialist Asian global power.

In the course of the last century-and-a-half, whereas Japan has had a number of Asian colonies (Taiwan, Korea and Manchuria), it has never had any Asian allies. Japan has stood out as literally the “odd Asian man out”.

On the other hand, it had a succession of Western allies. From 1902 to 1922, there was the Anglo-Japanese alliance, linking the great imperial power of the day, Great Britain, to the emerging Japanese empire.

In the course of the 1930s, relations with Britain (and the US) soured, leading Japan to become the ally of Nazi Germany in its wars against China and the US.

Since 1952, it has been the US’ closest ally in the Asia-Pacific. It followed Washington’s foreign policy lead to the letter. Thus, it refused to recognise the Beijing government of the People’s Republic of China, instead recognising the Taipei government of the so-called Republic of China. Japan eventually switched, but only after President Richard Nixon’s surprise visit to Beijing in 1972.

Though there were occasional tiffs, especially in respect to what the Japanese referred to as boeki masatsu (trade friction), Japan was able to prosper quite fantastically under the American “nuclear umbrella”.

The distinguished former senator Mike Mansfield, a long-term American ambassador to Tokyo (1977-1988), famously announced and reiterated that the US-Japan relationship was “the most important bilateral relationship in the world, bar none”. This was a time when the two heads of government, Mr Ronald Reagan and Mr Yasuhiro Nakasone, became the first to call each other by their first (in fact, nick) names in what was called the “Ron-Yasu relationship”.

The 1980s, however, also corresponded to a decade during which the Japanese economy kept growing as if on anabolic steroids, in contrast with what appeared a sclerotic US economy. Many Japanese believed it was only a matter of reasonably short time before the Japanese economy would take over the US.

There emerged a syndrome among Japanese government, business and thought leaders called kenbei (contempt for America).

The most vivid illustration was a quite offensively arrogant book co-authored by then governor of Tokyo Shintaro Ishihara and co-founder of Sony Akio Morita entitled The Japan That Can Say “No” (1989).

In 1993, a senior Japanese official, Mr Kazuo Ogura, at the time head of the Economics Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, penned a lengthy essay essentially arguing that the US (and the West generally) was heading for a dead-end and that the hour for Japan, which was in any case a superior civilisation, had come.

In fact, in the course of the ensuing years, two major developments occurred. The Japanese economy tanked and entered its lost decades, from which it still has not emerged, while China’s economy soared, overtaking Japan, then the US (in purchasing power parity, or PPP, terms).

China, not Japan, became the newly risen Asian global power. Having been based in Tokyo during the 1980s and visiting the country frequently in the 1990s, I can vouch for the fact that mainly due to atavistic perceptions, prejudice and contempt for China, the Japanese did not see this major Chinese transformation occurring. Tokyo was taken completely off guard and has remained in a state of strategic torpor.

TOKYO AND WASHINGTON

In this century, on the one hand, Tokyo has had fraught relations with Beijing, essentially over territorial disputes in the East China Sea and over historical legacies, while it has desperately sought to return to Washington’s protective embrace.

To that end, Tokyo enthusiastically adhered to the Washington-driven Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which excluded China, while at the same time, at Washington’s bidding, it refused to become a founding member of the Chinese-sponsored Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), as a step to trying to contain China’s rise.

Japan was one of only two countries to refuse the invitation to join (the other being the US). Membership of AIIB is universal, including a large number of both EU and non-EU European countries, a small number of African and Latin American countries, and a plethora of Asian countries, including Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Singapore and South Korea. At a meeting of the Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce in Xi’an in September, there were representatives from pretty much throughout the planet, with, however, Japan (the odd Asian man out) conspicuous by its absence.

So what will Japan do now in the light of United States President- elect Donald Trump’s declared intention to pivot out of the Asia- Pacific, including abandoning the TPP?

Henceforth, Tokyo’s greatest 21st-century challenges include, first, reversing the 19th-century policy, which is not shed, but “re-enter Asia”, and second, establishing an equitable, constructive and cooperative relationship with Beijing. Japan’s 20th-century wars with China had Asian regional cataclysmic effects. Were war to break out between the two in the 21st century, it would have devastating global cataclysmic effects.

With the US no longer willing to provide protection for Japan, the China-Japan relationship has become, to paraphrase Mr Mansfield, the most important bilateral relationship, bar none.

While much attention is being paid now to the US-China relationship and the cross-strait relations between Taiwan and China, and the one-China policy, I consider the China-Japan relationship to be the one most challenging to manage – a point I have made on previous occasions in this column. With a new President Trump soon to be sworn in, it has become all the more urgent, indeed burning, to reiterate the point.

• The writer is emeritus professor of international political economy at IMD business school, with campuses in Lausanne and Singapore; and visiting professor at Hong Kong University.

Source: Strait Times “The most important bilateral relationship in the world? China-Japan”

Note: This is Strait Times’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


China Is Transforming Southeast Asia Faster Than Ever


by David Roman December 5, 2016 — 4:00 PM EST Updated on December 6, 2016 — 1:03 AM EST

➞ Rising Chinese labor costs send companies to Cambodia and Laos

➞ Countries becoming more incorporated with China’s supply chain

China’s investment is transforming its smaller Southeast Asian neighbors like never before while helping turn Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar into bigger destinations for its exports.

That’s driving some of the world’s fastest economic growth rates and providing Chinese companies with low-cost alternatives as they seek to move capacity out of the country. It’s also helping Asia’s largest economy and nations in its orbit adapt to what looks more and more like a new era of waning U.S. commitment to the region from a more inward-looking administration of President-elect Donald Trump.

“China’s definitely looking at these countries in general as an area where it can sell products and get good return for its investments,” said Edward Lee, an economist with Standard Chartered Plc in Singapore. “China itself is getting more expensive for its companies, and that’s reinforcing this trend.”

China is investing in everything from railroads to real estate in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar — the frontier-market economies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

growth-rates-of-chinas-neighbors

China Minsheng Investment Group and LYP Group, headed by Senator Ly Yong Phat, signed a $1.5 billion deal last week to build a 2,000-hectare city near Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, with a convention center, hotels, golf course, and amusement parks, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. The spending equals roughly one-tenth of the country’s $15.9 billion gross domestic product.

Belt, Road

In landlocked Laos, work started last year on the China-Laos railway, which will stretch 414 kilometers (257 miles) from the border to the capital, Vientiane. The project, part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s One Belt, One Road initiative, will cost $5.4 billion, according to Xinhua. Xi met last week with Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith in Beijing, where he pledged stronger ties.

Myanmar, which is liberalizing its economy and adopting market reforms after a transition to democracy, is forecast by the International Monetary Fund to expand 8.1 percent this year, the fastest in the world after Iraq. De-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been quick to engage China since taking office this year, including visiting Xi in Beijing. China is its largest trading partner, accounting for about 40 percent of Myanmar’s total last year, and is building a special economic zone, power plant and deep-water seaport on the west coast.

Cambodia’s economy is projected to grow 7 percent this year, while Laos is set for 7.5 percent expansion. Myanmar’s currency, the kyat, was Asia’s top performer in the first five months of the year, but has weakened about 10 percent against the dollar since June as the U.S. currency strengthened

As Sino-Cambodian relations have flourished, so has trade, with two-way commerce climbing to $4.8 billion last year. That’s more than double from 2012, the year Cambodia warmed up to Beijing by opposing mention of China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea during a regional summit in Phnom Penh.

cambodia-china-trade

Most Chinese money flowing in to Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar is lending on highly concessionary terms to finance construction projects run by Chinese firms, especially in Laos, said Derek Scissors, Washington-based chief economist at China Beige Book International, who specializes in studying the country’s foreign investment. Chinese construction and investment since 2005 equal about 15 percent of Lao GDP, which it couldn’t have financed from other nations, he said.

“The power sector is basically Chinese-built, bringing electricity to the majority of the population,” while China built several hydroelectric plants to increase electrification, Scissors said. “There were grand plans for Myanmar, but investment and construction actually realized is more conventional, in the energy and mining sectors.”

Garments, Shoes

Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar are becoming more incorporated with China’s supply chains, buying intermediate goods from its factories and selling consumer items such as garments and shoes that are often made by companies owned or funded by China. Its imports from the three Southeast Asian economies more than doubled in the past five years, IMF data show.

The Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone, where a number of Chinese companies have set up factories. Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

The Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone, where a number of Chinese companies have set up factories. Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

Such dependence on China isn’t without risks. Beijing accounts for the largest chunk of foreign investment in Cambodia and also about 43 percent of the country’s total debt stock, mostly in loans from Chinese development banks to Cambodia’s government, according to the IMF. Similarly, China’s railroad in Laos equals about half of its $10.5 billion 2015 GDP.

“This reliance on a narrow production and export base has many downsides,” the IMF said in a recent report. “A majority of Cambodian garment factories concentrate on cut-make-trim processes, which are at the bottom of value chain and also small part of the overall production. As a result, firms in Cambodia have limited leverage and autonomy.”

Cambodia has gained particular appeal for Chinese manufacturers seeking to relocate, which aligns with China’s strategy to export industrial capacity through initiatives such as One Belt, One Road. Cambodia’s $121 average monthly wage is just a fifth of China’s $613 average, according to the International Labour Organization in Geneva.

looking-south

The biggest risk for frontier Asean economies is that Chinese inflows create “extractive” elites who entrench themselves in power, said Song Seng Wun, an economist at CIMB Private Banking in Singapore.

“These economies are getting a lot of money and opportunity from China,” he said. “If wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few, that may lead to problems and instability. The key here is developing a middle income group that Chinese companies will be targeting as a consumer.”

Source: Bloomberg “China Is Transforming Southeast Asia Faster Than Ever”

Note: This is Bloomberg’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


China urges U.S. to block transit by Taiwan president


Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen speaks during an interview in Luque, Paraguay, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Jorge Adorno

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen speaks during an interview in Luque, Paraguay, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Jorge Adorno

By Ben Blanchard and Bill Barreto | BEIJING/GUATEMALA CITY Dec 6, 2016 | 6:22pm EST

China called on U.S. officials on Tuesday not to let Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen pass through the United States en route to Guatemala next month, days after President-elect Donald Trump irked Beijing by speaking to Tsai in a break with decades of precedent.

The U.S. State Department appeared to reject the call, saying that such transits were based on “long-standing U.S. practice, consistent with the unofficial nature of (U.S.) relations with Taiwan.”

China is deeply suspicious of Tsai, whom it thinks wants to push for the formal independence of Taiwan, a self-governing island that Beijing regards as a renegade province.

Her call with Trump on Friday was the first between a U.S. president-elect or president and a Taiwanese leader since President Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition to China from Taiwan in 1979.

Tsai is due to visit Guatemala, one of Taiwan’s small band of diplomatic allies, on Jan. 11-12, its foreign minister, Carlos Raul Morales, told Reuters.

Taiwan’s Liberty Times, considered close to Tsai’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party, reported on Monday that she was planning to go through New York early next month on her way to Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador.

Taiwan has not formally confirmed Tsai’s trip but visits to its allies in the region are normally combined with transit stops in the United States and meetings with Taiwan-friendly officials.

The trip would take place before Trump is inaugurated on Jan. 20 to replace Democrat Barack Obama and Tsai’s delegation would seek to meet Trump’s team, including his White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, the Liberty Times said.

MEETING “UNLIKELY”

An adviser to Trump’s transition team said he considered it “very unlikely” there would be a meeting between Tsai and Trump if she were to go through New York.

China’s Foreign Ministry said the one-China principle, which states Taiwan is part of China, was commonly recognized by the international community and that Tsai’s real aim was “self-evident.”

China hopes the United States “does not allow her transit, and does not send any wrong signals to ‘Taiwan independence’ forces,” the ministry said in a statement sent to Reuters.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said on Monday he had no information whether Tsai would meet U.S. officials if she stopped in transit but said Taiwanese presidents did stop over periodically.

He said the transits were “based on long-standing U.S. practice, consistent with the unofficial nature of our relations with Taiwan.” A spokeswoman repeated the position on Tuesday when asked to comment on the Chinese call.

In a meeting with American reporters on Tuesday, Tsai played down the significance of her conversation with Trump, saying it was to congratulate the president-elect.

“I do not foresee major policy shifts in the near future because we all see the value of stability in the region,” she told the reporters.

U.S. Vice President-elect Mike Pence told the Fox News Channel on Tuesday that Trump did not regret taking the call.

“(The) president-elect was fully aware of the one-China policy,” Pence said. “He’s also very aware that the United States has sold billions of dollars in arms to Taiwan.

“We have a unique relationship with that country that’s been defined over the decades since we’ve reopened relations with the People’s Republic of China but I think he think he felt it would be rude not to take the call.”

Taiwan has been self governing since 1949 when Nationalist forces fled to the island after defeat by Mao Zedong’s communists in China’s civil war.

Taiwan’s Presidential Office said media reports about a January trip were “excessive speculation.”

El Salvador’s government said it was working with Taiwan on plans for a visit by Tsai in the second week of January but gave no specific dates.

The Nicaraguan government had no immediate comment. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega is to be sworn in for a third consecutive term on Jan. 10, however, so Tsai’s trip to Guatemala would dovetail with that ceremony.

The White House said on Monday it had sought to reassure China after Trump’s phone call with Tsai, which the Obama administration warned could undermine progress in relations with Beijing.

(Reporting by Bill Barreto in Guatemala City, Nelson Renteria in San Salvador, Enrique Andres Pretel in Mexico City, David Brunnstrom and Susan Heavey in Washington, Michael Martina in Beijing and J.R. Wu in Taipei; Writing by Simon Gardner; Editing by Bill Trott and James Dalgleish)

Source: Reuters “China urges U.S. to block transit by Taiwan president”

Note: This is Reuters report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Chinese Shipyard Builds 6 Advanced 052D Destroyers Simultaneously


A 052D being built

A 052D being built

Another 052D being built

Another 052D being built

A third 052D being built

A third 052D being built

A fourth 052D being built

A fourth 052D being built

A fifth 052D being built

A fifth 052D being built

Some warships including a sixth 052D being built

Some warships including a sixth 052D being built

Dingsheng.com provides the above photos of lots of warships being built at a Chinese shipyard including six advanced 052D destroyers.

Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Six 052D being built at a Chinese shipyard at the same time” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)


Trump Tweets Complaints About Chinese Economic And Military Policy


U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks at a USA Thank You Tour event at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S., December 1, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks at a USA Thank You Tour event at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S., December 1, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Trump, who vowed during his campaign he would label China a currency manipulator, continued some of his hard-line rhetoric on Sunday.

By Roberta Rampton and Steve Holland 12/04/2016 11:19 pm ET | Updated 6 hours ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President-elect Donald Trump complained about Chinese economic and military policy on Twitter on Sunday, showing no signs of a conciliatory approach after a phone conversation with Taiwan’s president raised hackles in Beijing.

Trump’s unusual call with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday prompted a diplomatic protest with the United States on Saturday, although Vice President-elect Mike Pence downplayed its significance, saying it was a “courtesy” call, not intended to show a shift in U.S. policy on China.

Trump, who vowed during his campaign he would label China a currency manipulator, continued some of his hard-line rhetoric on Sunday.

“Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into their country (the U.S. doesn’t tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea? I don’t think so!” Trump said on Twitter.

China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei claim parts or all of the energy-rich South China Sea, through which trillions of dollars in trade passes annually.

The diplomatic contretemps was one of several recently for the Republican president-elect, a real estate magnate who has never held public office and has no foreign affairs or military experience. Trump, who takes office on Jan. 20, is still considering whom to name as his secretary of state.

The call with Taipei was the first by a U.S. president-elect or president with a Taiwanese leader since President Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition to China from Taiwan in 1979, acknowledging Taiwan as part of “one China.” China regards Taiwan as a renegade province.

China blamed Taiwan for the call, but also lodged a diplomatic protest with the United States on Saturday, saying the “one China” policy was the bedrock of relations between China and the United States.

Pence called the uproar over the call with “democratically elected” Tsai a “tempest in a teapot.” He blamed the media for the controversy, saying the call was similar in nature to one between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping after the Nov. 8 election.

“I think I would just say to our counterparts in China that this was a moment of courtesy. The president-elect talked to President Xi two weeks ago in the same manner. It was not a discussion about policy,” Pence said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

China’s Foreign Ministry said on Saturday it had lodged “stern representations” with what it called the “relevant U.S. side,” urging caution on the issue.

Pence said he was not aware of any contact between the Trump transition team and the Chinese government since Friday and did not expect Trump’s team to reach out this week to ease tensions with Beijing.

UNCONVENTIONAL DIPLOMACY

Trump and Pence have had more than 50 phone calls with foreign leaders so far. Pence said he spoke with Jordan’s King Abdullah on Saturday.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday the Trump transition team had yet to contact the State Department for information and recommendations ahead of calls with foreign leaders.

“I do think there’s a value, obviously on having at least the recommendations, whether you choose to follow them or not is a different issue,” Kerry told a think-tank conference.

Trump, known for his unconventional approach to politics, has raised eyebrows with his initial forays into the complex web of international diplomacy as president-elect.

He has been praised by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has sparred with U.S. Democratic President Barack Obama over Russian actions in Ukraine and Syria. Putin said in an interview on Sunday that Trump was a “clever man.”

Last week, Trump offered to help Pakistan solve its problems and praised Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as a “terrific guy” during a phone conversation, the Pakistani leader’s office said.

Asked on Sunday whether that meant Trump wanted to mediate the long-running border dispute between Pakistan and India, Pence acknowledged recent violence in the Kashmir region and said Trump wanted “continued U.S. engagement” with both sides.

Trump also spoke last week with Philippines leader Rodrigo Duterte, who said Trump showed understanding about a deadly crackdown on drug dealers. Duterte told Obama earlier this year to “go to hell” after Obama expressed concerns about possible human rights abuses in Duterte’s war on drugs.

FIELD WIDENS FOR SECRETARY OF STATE

Pence also said Trump may consider new candidates for secretary of state, America’s top diplomat, after having narrowed the field last week to four people: Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee; Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York; U.S. Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; and retired general and former CIA Director David Petraeus.

Trump met on Friday with John Bolton, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under Republican President George W. Bush.

Trump will have additional interviews with new candidates for secretary of state in the coming week, Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s senior adviser who managed his campaign, told reporters at Trump Tower on Sunday.

Among the new names: Jon Huntsman, a former ambassador to China and ex-Utah governor, Rex Tillerson, the chief executive of ExxonMobil, and retired Navy Admiral James Stavridis, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters.

Stavridis, a former supreme allied commander of NATO and dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, will meet with Trump on Thursday, said Stavridis’ spokeswoman, Juli Hanscom.

“There has been no discussion of a position in the Trump administration,” Hanscom said. Stavridis had been vetted to be the running mate of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

An Exxon spokesman declined comment. A representative for Huntsman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

(Additional reporting by Arshad Mohammed and John Whitesides in Washington and Melissa Fares in New York; Editing by Alan Crosby and Peter Cooney)

Source: Huffingtonpost.com “Trump Tweets Complaints About Chinese Economic And Military Policy”

Note: This is Huffington Post’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.