South Korea and China make nice


Xinhua News Agency reports that the Chinese foreign ministry says that Beijing has been “maintaining communications on the Korean Peninsula issue through diplomatic channels” with Seoul, and that “both sides agree to return communication and cooperation in various fields to the normal track as soon as possible.”

This was the first positive signal about a relationship that thrived for most of the last two decades, but has deteriorated significantly over the last year — mostly because of China’s objections to the deployment of the American THAAD missile defense system in South Korea, which began in March this year.

• As part of the agreement, “South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries in Vietnam on November 10-11,” Reuters reports.

• China’s foreign ministry understood that South Korea recognized China’s concerns over THAAD, but clarified that the deployment “was not aimed at any third country and did not harm China’s strategic security interests.” China also “reiterated its opposition to the deployment of THAAD, but noted South Korea’s position.”

• South Korean foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha “first hinted at a possible breakthrough on Monday, when she said that despite the Thaad deployment, South Korea had no intention of joining the United States’ efforts to build a regionwide missile-defense system aimed at countering China’s expansion of its military capabilities,” according to (paywall) the New York Times. She also said that “South Korea would not accept any additional THAAD batteries,” nor enter any trilateral military alliance with the United States and Japan. (Her comments are reported in Chinese by Xinhua here.)

• From the point of view of South Korean companies, the political détente “formalizes a thawing that’s been in the making for months,” according to Bloomberg, although one executive says that “Korean companies will keep a two-track business for their post-China strategy…they cannot depend on the Chinese only.”

•“It is necessary to recognize that the achievement of this consensus does not mean that the THAAD problem has been fundamentally resolved,” says a Xinhua commentary (in Chinese) on the agreement to renormalize relations.

Why does China object so much to THAAD? It is generally understood to be because the radar technology that comes with the missile defense system will alter the regional balance of power. For details on China’s specific fears, see this analysis (paywall) by Ankit Panda, which sees the potential for THAAD to significantly degrade China’s nuclear second-strike capability as the main worry in Beijing.

Why now? Reuters hints at a possible reason for the timing: “The unexpected détente comes just days before U.S. President Donald Trump begins a trip to Asia, where the North Korean nuclear crisis will take center stage.”

Source: SupChina “South Korea and China make nice”

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

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China Can Cut India’s Source of Water. Who Contains Who?


SCMP says in its report “Chinese engineers plan 1,000km tunnel to make Xinjiang desert bloom”, “Chinese engineers are testing techniques that could be used to build a 1,000km tunnel – the world’s longest – to carry water from Tibet to Xinjiang, experts involved in the project say.”

According to the experts the water will turn Xinjiang’s desert into rich agriculture area like California, which also lacked water but became prosperous after drawing in water from elsewhere.

China is building a 600km tunnel in Yunnan, which can be regarded as a project to test the technology and equipment for the 1000km tunnel.

The cost of the project will certainly be enormous but the report quotes Zhang Chuanqing, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Rock and Soil Mechanics in Wuhan, Hubei province, as saying, “In five to 10 years from now, the technology will be ready and the cost affordable, and the temptation of the benefits will be difficult to resist.”

The tunnel is expensive but the loss of water in transfer will be small. There are other schemes such as building a dam and canal with much loss of water in transfer. Anyway, diverting water from Yarlung Tsangpo River will certainly reduce the water in its downstream Brahmaputra River, which is a major water source of the Ganges, India’s largest river.

China wants to be India’s friend. For friendly neighbors, they certainly shall discuss a way to cause less reduction of water in Brahmaputra and Ganges, but India wants to join the US in containing China. If so, India becomes a hostile instead of friendly neighbor. To contain its enemy India, China had better divert as much water from Yarlung Tsangpo River as it can. After all, China needs the water.

The US wants India’s help to contain China in order to maintain its number one status in the world. What will India get from the US in doing so? Some very expensive weapons that will be useless as no one want to fight a war?

The US will make lots of profit by selling expensive weapons to India and will get India’s help to lord over other nations. What will India get? Think twice before you leap!

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2116750/chinese-engineers-plan-1000km-tunnel-make-xinjiang-desert-bloom.


China Will Soon Complete Building Its First Floating Nuclear Reactor


SCMP says in its report “China close to completing first offshore nuclear reactor” today, “China’s first offshore nuclear reactor is set to be completed soon, engineers involved in the project said, bolstering Beijing’s maritime ambitions and stoking concerns about the potential use of atomic power in disputed island territories.

This blogger has some posts about China’s plan to build floating nuclear power plant for power supply on its artificial islands. He has also posted a design of China’s floating island with power supply from floating power station.

The report quotes Zhang Nailiang, engineer with the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation, as saying that the technology was mature and the first demonstration project would be deployed soon at drilling platforms in northern China’s Bohai Sea.

As for when the floating nuclear power plant will be built and put into operation, the report says Zhang “declined to give an exact date, saying only that it would be ready well before 2020.”

This blogger said in his posts that China would develop tourism on its artificial islands but there must first be power supply there. The successful development of floating power plant will enable China to attain that goal.

Moreover, it makes possible for China to build floating island in the oceans for tourism and turn them into military bases in war.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2117711/china-close-completing-first-offshore-nuclear-reactor.


China tests new spy drones in near space ‘death zone’


China launches a drone into near space – at an altitude of 25km. Photo: Yang Yanchu, Academy of Optoelectronics, Chinese Academy of Sciences

SCMP says in its report “China tests new spy drones in near space ‘death zone’” today that China successfully tested spy drones flying at the high attitude of 25km in near space (20km to somewhere less than 100km) where air is too thin to generate lift.

The drone is very small and made of synthetic material so that it cannot be detected by radar. It costs only a few hundred dollars much less than a satellite but as it flies much lower it can gather information better than a satellite.

Unlike common drones that fly much lower, anti-aircraft gun fire cannot reach the near space drone so that it has great potential as a reconnaissance aircraft.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee of SCMP’s report, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2117709/china-tests-new-spy-drones-near-space-death-zone.


China warns against attempts to contain Beijing before Trump visit


David Brunnstrom, Matt Spetalnick October 31, 2017

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China’s ambassador to Washington said on Monday U.S. President Donald Trump’s state visit to Beijing next week was a historic opportunity to boost cooperation between the world’s two largest economies, but warned against attempts to “contain” Beijing.

Cui Tiankai also stressed the urgency of efforts to find a negotiated solution to the crisis over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and warned of a “more dangerous” situation if tensions between the United States and Pyongyang continued.

Cui sought to play down differences over China’s massive trade surplus with the United States, saying Beijing was looking for ways to cut this and he was confident of “significant outcomes” from Trump’s Nov. 8-9 visit on the trade and economic fronts.

Speaking after senior U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, outlined an Asia-Pacific strategy involving greater cooperation between Japan, India, and Australia in the face of China’s rise, Cui said relationships should not be seen as a “zero-sum game” at the expense of another county.

“I don’t think it will really serve the interests of these countries if their aim is to sort of contain China … I don’t think anybody would be able to contain China,” he said.

Cui said Washington should not try to “interfere” in regional efforts to resolve disputes in the South China Sea, a vital strategic waterway that China claims, most of which is contested by several Asian countries.

“Maybe it would be better for the U.S. to let the regional countries … find a way a way of managing the situation.”

Cui was asked about a call on Friday by a senior U.S. State Department official for revival of four-way dialogue between the United States, Japan, India and Australia to deepen security cooperation and coordinate alternatives for regional infrastructure financing to “predatory” Chinese options.

”I don’t think any attempts to form exclusive clubs in the region … would help anybody,’ he said. “When people are saying these things about China, they might just look into the mirror…it might be describing themselves.”

Despite the cautionary words, Cui said he was sure the summit between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping would be successful, following on from their first meeting in Florida in April.

“This is a historic opportunity,” he said.

Cui reiterated China’s call for Washington to return to talks, while stressing Beijing’s willingness to step up pressure on Pyongyang through U.N. sanctions.

“We are ready to take up more cost and make greater efforts if there are more Security Council resolutions” he said.

Editing by Bernadette Baum

Source: Reuters “China warns against attempts to contain Beijing before Trump visit”

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


US, India Join Force to Block China’s Belt and Road Initiative


US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khan Abbasi this week after a stopover in Afghanistan and before heading to India. Washington has been critical of Pakistan’s links to terrorist groups. Photo: AFP

Clinton was the first to fall into Thucydides Trap in starting containment of China by interference with China’s disputes with its neighbors in the South China Sea. She was joined by Obama, who began his pivot to Asia to encourage China’s neighbors to contend with China in the South China Sea. Philippines’ President Aquino thought he could exploit US pivot to force China to give up its claims to the islands, reefs and sea areas there. However, China would even fight a war to protect its rights and interests while the US has no rights or interests to protect in the South China Sea, the US refrained from fighting. As a result, US plan to contain China in the South China Sea has entirely failed.

To avoid complete loss of its rights and interests in the South China Sea to a rich and strong China, Aquino’s successor President Duterte seeks friendship with China and has even been putting an end to Philippines’ reliance on its long-term ally the US. The loss of an ally proves Obama’s stupidity in containing China.

At the beginning, ASEAN members told the US and China that they would not take side between the two giants. US failure has made them take Chinese side. According to SCMP’s report “Lull in South China Sea tensions brings joint Asean-China naval drill closer” on October 28, “After adopting the framework on the proposed code of conduct in the South China Sea in Manila in August, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and China attained yet another milestone this month. On the sidelines of the Asean defence ministers’ meeting in the Philippine city of Clark, they agreed to aim for an inaugural joint maritime exercise between their navies next year.”

The US has lost not only the Philippines but also the entire ASEAN.

US President Trump adopts the policy of “American first” so that he does not want to contain China as long as China is willing to help him deal with North Korea and make trade concessions. However, lots of Americans including the vested interests represented in US congress remain deep in Thucydides Trap.

US magazine Foreign Policy published Daniel Kliman and Zack Cooper’s article “Washington Has a Bad Case of China ADHD” on October 27 that precisely shows that the two US security experts have fallen deep in Thucydides Trap. The article says in its subtitle, “China is the biggest threat to the U.S.-led global order. But America keeps getting distracted.” The writers, both being US Asian security experts accuse US presidents’ failure to contain China and describes it as a bad case of their ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).

They accused China of unfair trade, stealing US technology, etc. China is a WTO member. If it is found to conduct unfair trade, the US can complain to WTO and if WTO finds US complaint justified, it will punish China. Facts have proved that the US has indeed lodged some complaints. WTO rejected some but found some justified and punished China. There have been no incidents that China disobeys WTO’s final decisions.

As for the accusation about technology, perhaps Chinese hackers have indeed stolen some US technology, but most of the technology is military one. Such military espionage is common practice of most countries including the US. China has indeed obtained some technology from some Western firms through quite a few joint venture arrangements. That is not illegal.

Moreover, US-led global order has been developed by the US for its own interests. When the US finds such order unfavorable to its interests, it does not observe the order developed by it. For example, the US has been much by benefited by globalization in exploiting other countries’ cheap labor and exporting its capital to make money abroad. Pizza Hut, McDonald, Kentucky Fried Chicken, General Motors, etc. are making big money in China due to globalization. Now it finds globalization unfavorable for US jobs so that it opposes globalization.

I would like to ask: What is US global order globalization or isolation?

The US does not regard UN Convention on the Law of the Sea as global order as it is not desirable for its own interest; therefore, US Congress refuses to ratify it. However it wants China to observe even the arbitration award wrongly based on the Convention because it is desirable for the US to contain China. What double standards!

Since US-led global order serves its own interests at the expense of other countries’, why shall China respect it? China shall respect UN-led instead of US-led global order.

Facts prove that the US has no grounds at all to be unhappy with China; therefore the real cause is but as the article points out, “China has increasingly challenged U.S. leadership both in Asia and around the world, particularly in the economic domain.”

That proves that some Americans have fallen deep into the Thucydides Trap. The US as the established great power finds itself threatened to be displaced by another great power China so that it wants to contain China and even to fight a war to defeat China.

Daniel Kliman and Zack Cooper though are respected as experts, have limited influence on US diplomacy.

Rex Tillerson, however, is influential on US diplomacy as US Secretary of State. Tillerson has also fallen deep into the Thucydides Trap. He calls President Trump a moron due to Trump’s diplomacy that does not pivot to containment of China.

However, Tillerson seems wiser than Obama. He realizes that the US lacks the strength to contain China in the South China Sea and even if the US succeeds in containing China in the South China Sea, the US still cannot hinder China’s rise as China does not depends on the South China Sea for its rise.

Tillerson seems to know where China’s Achilles’ heel is. He sees that China’s win-win cooperation with other countries through its Belt and Road initiative will greatly facilitate China’s access to the global market and boosts China’s economic growth. He also has the keen vision to perceive that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is the most important Belt and Road project. It will provide China with connection to the Middle East and even Europe without sailing across the Indian Ocean.

Moreover, the Corridor will greatly boost the economic development of Pakistan and China’s vast west.

Tillerson is also wise enough to see that a rich and strong Pakistan will be India’s nightmare so that in spite of India’s long-term practice of non-alliance, there is potential for an alliance between the US and India to oppose the Corridor so as to contain the rise of China, which India also fears.

That was why he gave a speech at Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) titled “Defining Our Relationship with India for the Next Century” before his visit to India aimed at forging such a relationship.

In the speech, he said that the US needs to collaborate with India to prevent the Indo-Pacific from becoming a region of disorder, conflict and predatory economies, hinting US want India’s cooperation in containing China but refrain from naming China.

When CSIS President John J. Hamre asked him to be more specific, Tillerson said, “We have watched the activities and actions of others in the region, in particular China, and the financing mechanisms it brings to many of these countries, which result in saddling them with enormous levels of debt. They don’t often create the jobs, which infrastructure projects should be tremendous job creators in these economies, but too often foreign workers are brought in to execute these infrastructure projects. Financing is structured in a way that makes it very difficult for them to obtain future financing and oftentimes has very subtle triggers in the financing that results in financing default and the conversion of debt to equity. So this is not a structure that supports the future growth of these countries.”

He hinted that the countries that have taken loans from China that they cannot repay according to their current financial strength will become insolvent and lose their sovereignty as they will be forced to obey China.

He fails to mention that China takes great risks in financing the construction of infrastructures in the countries in the Silk Road Belt and along the Silk Road and such finances are not attached with any political conditions.

The Soviet Union provided free aids to its satellite states to keep them obey it, but was finally crushed by the financial burdens. The US has found the burdens to protect its allies too heavy so that American people elected Trump to carry out the policy of “America first”. Shall China be so stupid as to follow their examples of failures in making other countries obey China?

China pursues its long-term goal in taking the financial risks. It learns from its own experience that when a country has developed its economy with the infrastructures financed by China, it will grow rich enough to repay the debt. Moreover, China’s trade with it will grow and the country will provide China with investment opportunities. Lots of jobs will be created in those countries compared with the limited needs for skillful labor that those countries cannot supply in building the infrastructures.

Certainly, some of the countries may fail to develop their economies and become unable to repay Chinese loans. Still China is willing to take the risk as such investment is a better option than investment in US treasury bonds that China has done for years. The investment in US bonds helps fund US development of weapons to attack China. A US general has made that very clear. He said that development of B21 bomber was indispensable if the US wanted to bomb Beijing.

What China spends in financing its Belt and Road initiative even if lost is better than being used to financing US development of weapons to attack China.

Will the US really attack China? History proves that Thucydides Trap often leads to war. The US does not attack China as it is not sure that it may win the war. If China helps the US develop weapons to make the US strong enough to attack China, no one can ensure that the US will not attack China.

China must be careful. Investment in Belt and Road infrastructures may bring great returns but may even cause China to lose its investment entirely. However, investment in US bonds will only bring harms to China.

The US at least may attack Pakistan, which may involves China. SCMP says in its article “What do you get if you cross Pakistan’s Game of Thrones and China’s Belt and Road?” on October 28, “According to political analyst Nusrat Javeed, the episode (the incident of American-Canadian hostages held by Haqqani Network) was engineered by the US to embarrass Pakistan and demonstrate that the US would stage military incursions into Pakistan if the authorities there did not comply with its demands. During a brief stopover in Islamabad on Tuesday, on his way from Kabul to New Delhi this week, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson renewed the US’ demands of Pakistan.

“‘The secretary reiterated President Trump’s message that Pakistan must increase its efforts to eradicate militants and terrorists operating within the country,’ said the US embassy.”

The US may use the above as excuse to invade Pakistan in order to scrap the project of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

The article regards the conflict between Pakistani civilian government and military especially the military’s opposition to the project as some great problem for the project, but Pakistani military relies heavily on Chinese weapon supply so that it will certainly support the project. However great the pressure the US may place on Pakistan, the project will not be scrapped. The only way out for the US and India is to fight a war in disputed Kashmir as the Corridor goes through the area in Kashmir claimed by India.

India depends on Russia for weapon supply but Russia is China’s close ally. It certainly will not supply India with weapons for the war. US has only begun to provide India with weapons so that even if it is willing to be involved in the war, it takes time to supply India with weapons and train India military to operate the weapons.

It takes at lease a couple years for India to be ready for the war. Moreover, will India be so stupid to fight a war in both east and west fronts with Pakistan and China?

India’s Modi is very shrewd. He is exploiting the conflict between the US and China to gain from both of them. He certainly will not fight a proxy war for US interests, knowing well that the US is unable to send its army to Kashmir to join the fight.

One thing is certain: US-India alliance will push Pakistan even closer to Chinese side, making India tightly sandwiched between its two neighbors.

Article by Chan Kai Yee


China’s Wisdom Tested when the US Likely Falls into Thucydides Trap


Foreign Policy published Daniel Kliman and Zack Cooper’s article “Washington Has a Bad Case of China ADHD” yesterday that precisely shows that the two US security experts have fallen deep into Thucydides Trap. The article says in its subtitle, “China is the biggest threat to the U.S.-led global order. But America keeps getting distracted.” The writers, both being US Asian security experts accuse US presidents’ failure to contain China and describes it as a bad case of their ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).

They accused China of challenging US world leadership but lack grounds to justify their accusations such as unfair trade, stealing US technology, etc. China is a WTO member. If it is found to conduct unfair trade, the US can complain to WTO and if WTO finds US complaint justified, it will punish China. Facts have proved that the US has indeed lodged some complaints. WTO rejected some but found some justified and punished China. There have been no incidents that China disobeys WTO’s final decisions.

As for the accusation about technology, perhaps Chinese hackers have indeed stolen some US technology, but most of the technology is military one. Such military espionage is common practice of most countries including the US. China has indeed obtained some technology from some Western firms through quite a few joint venture arrangements. That is not illegal.

Moreover, US-led global order has been developed by the US for its own interests. When the US finds such order unfavorable to its interests, it does not observe the order developed by it. For example, the US has been much benefited by globalization in exploiting other countries’ cheap labor and exporting its capital to make money abroad. Pizza Hut, McDonald, Kentucky Fried Chicken, General Motors, etc. are making big money in China due to globalization. Now it finds globalization unfavorable for US jobs so that it opposes globalization.

What is most absurd is the US itself does not rectify UN Convention on the Law of the Sea for its own interest but wants China to accept the decision of the International Court of Arbitration at the Hague that is allegedly based on but in fact distorts the Convention.

The US does not regard the Convention as global order when it is not desirable for its own interest, but wants China to observe it even when it has been distorted because it is desirable to contain China. Such unreasonable and selfish hegemony makes the US unpopular in the world so that it has lots of trouble to divert its attention from China.

Facts prove that the US has no grounds at all to be unhappy with China; therefore the real cause is but as the article points out, “China has increasingly challenged U.S. leadership both in Asia and around the world, particularly in the economic domain.”

That proves that the US has fallen deep into the Thucydides Trap. The US as the established great power finds itself threatened to be displaced by another great power China so that it wants to contain China and even to fight a war to defeat China.

Pursuing peaceful rise, China certainly shall have the wisdom to avoid the Trap. It should make concessions to please the US such as the liberalization of its currency, the equal treatment to domestic and foreign enterprises, etc. Such reform in fact benefits China in the long run.

Turning Chinese currency into a freely convertible one helps remove US dollar’s monopoly and the equal treatment will facilitate competition to improve Chinese enterprises.

China shall in addition avoid giving the US the impression that it wants to replace the US as world leader politically or militarily. For its own benefit, it shall certainly replace US economic leadership when US leadership harms Chinese interests.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Foreign Policy’s article, full text of which can be found at http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/10/27/washington-has-a-bad-case-of-china-adhd/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=New%20Campaign&utm_term=%2AEditors%20Picks.