There is a common misunderstanding that China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI) aims at enhancing its geopolitical influence so that Bloomberg’s article “China Faces New Competition as Japan, India Eye Sri Lanka Port” regard India and Japan’s investment in Sri Landa Port as a new competition faced by China.
As I have repeatedly pointed out that BRI aims at provide connections for China’s trade, help other nations’ development by building necessary infrastructures and transferring China’s labor-intensive industries there, and thus expand China’s market there.
China’s investment in building Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port is a part of its efforts to establish its 21st maritime Silk Road linking China with the Middle East, Europe and Africa through the Indian Ocean. Therefore, the most important parts of that Silk Road are the connection through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Pakistan’s Port of Gwadar and the connection through the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor to Myanmar’s Port of Kyaukpyu. For the latter connection the existing port facilities in Sri Lanka are far from enough for China’s huge shipping volume from the Port of Kyaukpyu. That is why China incurs so great costs to build Hambantota Port into a shipping hub for its maritime Silk Road through the Indian Ocean.
India and Japan’s investment in the Port of Colombo will provide additional port facilities for China’s maritime Silk Road. Their project will help China’s establishment of its maritime Silk Road. China will certainly be happy with that.
China knows well that it lacks financial resources to build BRI infrastructures alone so that it has times and again invited other nations to join it. What India and Japan plan to do in Sri Lanka means cooperation with China’s BRI instead of competition.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Bloomberg’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-21/japan-india-in-deal-at-belt-and-road-colombo-port-nikkei.
In the trade war between the US and China, China has been making great efforts to form a united front with EU and Japan. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent visits to Italy and France were very successful. At the same time, he will have a summit meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which, Abe hopes to be very successful,
So does Xi for including Japan in the united front he has formed with EU through the above-mentioned visits.
In its report “Abe looking to accelerate improvements in Japan-China ties after Xi attends G20 summit” on May 17, Japan Times quotes Abe as saying to China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi, “With President Xi’s visit, I want to further develop bilateral ties that have returned to a normal track and jointly create a new era for Japan and China,”
Yang responded by saying he sees “new momentum” for bilateral relations.
Xi is afraid that EU and Japan as US allies may join US trade war to attack China; therefore, he is anxious to make both EU and Japan neutral in the trade war between the US and China. He is happy on his success in EU and will make great efforts to make Japan neutral too when he holds a summit with Abe in late June.
However, the situation has turned out even better for him. Reuters says in its report “Trump declares some auto imports pose national security threat” on Friday May 17, “U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday declared that some imported vehicles and parts pose a national security threat but delayed a decision for as long as six months on whether to impose tariffs to allow for more time for trade talks with the European Union and Japan.”
Trump will extend his trade war with China to US allies EU and Japan. He will thus turn US allies into China’s allies in his trade war.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Japan Times and Reuters’ reports, full text of which can respectively be viewed at https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/05/17/national/politics-diplomacy/abe-looking-japan-china-ties-warm-faster-xi-attends-g20-summit/#.XODApuQUnVA and https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-autos-tariffs-usa/trump-declares-some-auto-imports-pose-national-security-threat-idUKKCN1SN1FY.
China has been conducting BRI win-win cooperation with over 100 nations and international organizations including quite a few European countries. Chinese president Xi Jinping’s recent Europe tour and his speech at 2nd Belt and Road Forum that promises further opening to the outside world attract EU. EU certainly want to be benefited by the connections and other infrastructures such as power plants built by BRI in developing countries and the expansion of the market there brought about by the development of infrastructure there. It now wants to join China’s BRI as a group instead of separately by specific members one by one.
That was what German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said on April 26 according to Reuters’ report “Europe wants to deal with China as a group: German minister” the same day.
It is Xi’s success in forming a United Front with EU to counter the US as EU is also under US trade war threat.
Now, according to Reuters’ report “Trump pressed Japan’s Abe to build more vehicles in the U.S”, the US is pressuring Japan too. Japan has already been making efforts to improve ties with China though it does not join China’s united front against the US. However, US demand for considerable concessions from Japan may well push Japan into China’s united front.
China is winning over US allies with win-win cooperation while the US is pushing its allies away to China with zero-sum demands. The two countries are now joining efforts to enable China to form a united front against the US.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ reports, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-silkroad-germany/europe-wants-to-deal-with-china-as-a-group-german-minister-idUSKCN1S20R3 and https://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKCN1S30KO.
JASDF F-35s made 7 emergency landings before crash. However Japan assures U.S. it will continue to buy the jet.Posted: April 25, 2019
By Dario Leone -Apr 22 2019
JASDF F-35s made 7 emergency landings before crash. However Japan assures U.S. it will continue to buy the jet.
Two of the emergency landings involved faults in the F-35 that later crashed.
Takeshi Iwaya, Japan’s Minister of Defense, has assured acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan that Tokyo will continue to buy more F-35s despite the crash of a Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) Lightning II belonging to 302 Hikotai from Misawa Air Base on Apr. 9, 2019.
“At this point, we have no specific information that would lead to a change in procurement plans,” Iwaya was quoted as saying.
Japan has received 13 F-35As so far, of which four were built in the U.S. and the rest assembled in Japan from American components. The government plans to procure six more this fiscal year. Going forward, Tokyo will stick to importing finished jets, as it is more cost-effective.
But the recent crash could derail these plans, the Nikkei says.
The mishap aircraft, F-35A #79-8705 (construction number AX-05), is the first Japanese-assembled F-35A, and was rolled out in Nagoya on Jun. 5, 2017.
The stealth fighter crashed while on a training flight 135km away from Misawa Air Base. It was flying over the Pacific Ocean then.
Little is known about the crash as both the US and Japan scour the Pacific off the northeast coast of Japan to look for wreckage of the jet. The pilot, who is still missing, had called for the mission to end before his plane went down. Should the incident turn out to have been caused by a defect in the plane, Tokyo could face calls to stop buying them.
According to the Defense Ministry, five of Japan’s 13 F-35As have been involved in seven emergency landings between June 2017 and January 2019. Two of the incidents involved faults in the plane that later crashed. Four of the planes that experienced problems had been assembled by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, under a partnership with Lockheed Martin. The other jet was made in the US.
“Unplanned returns to base were made after the planes reported issues with systems relating to fuel, hydraulics and other parts,” Japanese daily Mainichi quoted Iwaya as saying. “Excluding one case of an error by the aircraft’s monitoring systems, the remaining six saw the fighters inspected and parts replaced before they were confirmed safe.”
While the jets were inspected each time to confirm they were safe to fly, the ministry is checking again to see if there might be any links to the accident.
The US has not disclosed details of the F-35’s state-of-the-art technology to other countries, and there are worries that China or Russia could get their hands on the wreckage and unlock some of its secrets, including the jet’s capability to shoot down ballistic missiles. This is among the reasons why Washington is sending a deep-sea search vessel to the site of the incident to help find the wreckage.
If the cause of the crash turns out to involve sensitive information about the plane, the U.S. could be reluctant to share it with even its close ally Japan.
Source: The Aviation Geek Club “JASDF F-35s made 7 emergency landings before crash. However Japan assures U.S. it will continue to buy the jet.”
Note: This is Aviation Geek Club’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
Russia-China Rider-horse Alliance Failed
In the 1950s, there was a treaty alliance between Russia’s predecessor and China. The treaty had a term of 30 years, but the alliance broke and the two nations became enemies within a decade.
Perhaps it was an alliance described by Stephen Blank, a senior fellow for Russia at the American Foreign Policy Council. Blank points out, “every alliance has a horse and a rider.” In the 1950s, the Soviet Union regarded itself as the rider as it was much richer and stronger than China. However, China did not want to remain Soviet Union’s horse when it had grown stronger. It wanted to be the rider too. It began to strive to grab from the Soviet Union the leadership of their socialist camp. The fight for leadership broke the alliance in spite of a long-term treaty of alliance between them.
Marriage of Convenience
Some analysts regard Russia-China alliance as a “marriage of convenience”, a marriage based on mutual needs instead of affection. The needs are obvious as both countries are under US threat. However, in a marriage the two parties are equal. China has a much larger economy and its military is growing stronger than Russia, but China treats Russia as an equal partner. China is wise to pay attention to refraining from regarding itself as rider and Russia as horse. Its president Xi Jinping even wants Russian President Putin to be leader of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) they have jointly set up though China is much richer and stronger than Russia. Putin rejects China’s proposal and wants China to be the leader. As a result SCO is led by Russia and China jointly. Such mutual respect enables a marriage of convenience to remain strong and difficult to break by external pressure.
In addition, a marriage of convenience, though not sound as a marriage based on mutual affection, may have some firm basis for the marriage, which usually is mutual interests. If the couple are both good and their interests are compatible and even facilitate each other as they grow closer due to the alliance, mutual affection may develop gradually. That is the case of Russia-China alliance. Long-term enmity may be turned into friendship due to mutual respect and trust built up through the alliance..
The US Has No Allies to Counter Russia-China alliance
While China has won over another world military power Russia to form an alliance that will assist each other to resist the US militarily, the US only has the allies it has obligations to protect but no allies to assist it in attacking China or Russia.
US former President Obama tried to form an Asian iron triangle of US, Japan and South Korea but failed as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had upset South Korea with his visit to Yasukuni Shrine. In fact, South Korea could not help the US in its war with China but Japan will be able to if it has further developed its military.
Obama’s pivot to Asia is mainly an alliance with Japan to contain China. Japan may become an ally comparable to China’s ally Russia. Japan is willing to take an active part to join force with the US due to its history of invading China and inflicting Chinese people with great misery. Together Obama and Abe had formed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to contain China economically. Obama’s successor Trump, however, withdrew from TPP in spite of Abe’s strong opposition. Trump, in addition, plans to start a trade war with Japan. As a result, Japan is now active to improve relations with China. It is now making great efforts to establish with China Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and ASEAN + 3 Free Trade Area.
The US is pushing Japan to China’s arms and will thus lose its only possible ally. Its European allies rely on its military protect and are unwilling to increase their military spending for their own defense, let alone help the US fighting China.
The US has no one to complain as its alliance with others is rider-horse alliance. It certainly cannot hope that its horse will protect it.
Can the US Be a Third Party that Disrupts the “Marriage” with an “Affair”?
The United States regards China as its only rival for world hegemony. As China is rising while the US is declining, normally, the US has to form alliance with some other countries to counter Russia-China alliance or instead make efforts to break Russia-China alliance. US President Donald Trump has tried to improve relations with Russia and thus drive a wedge between Russia and China but has encountered strong opposition at home.
Will Trump succeed in leverage Russia against China?
The question will be answered in my next post.
Article by Chan Kai Yee.
TOC says in its report “Mindef Singapore to ensure safety of F-35 Joint Strike fighter jets prior to acquisition, in the aftermath of Japanese crash” today, “Singapore’s Ministry of Defence (Mindef) assured that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters will be ‘safe to operate’ prior to obtaining them.”
The cause of the recent April-10 crash of a Japanese F-35 remains unknown as the crashed warplane lies down 1,500 meters under water and its pilot has disappeared. However, we can be sure that there was problems in the crashed F-35 as before the crash Hosomi, the pilot of the crashed F-35, “instructed the other pilots participating in the exercise to terminate the training portion of the flight, according to Defense News.”
Hosomi certainly found some problem that caused the crash. If Hosomi has been found alive he, as an experienced Japanese pilot, might tell what problem he has found in the crashed F-35 and caused him to instructed other pilots to terminate the exercise.
It is obvious that F-35 has quite serious problems so that the program of its development was $163 billion in excess of budget and seven years behind schedule. However, those are not big problems as the US is rich and can afford such excessive spending and it has no urgent need to use F-35 to start any war of aggression.
However, killing experienced pilots will be a serious problem. Hosomi’s inability to escape to safety when he found some problem indicated some problem with F-35’s ejection system. It seems the US has to ground all the F-35s to fix the ejection system in order to ensure pilot safety as good pilots like Hosomi are more valuable than F-35s.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on TOC’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2019/04/15/mindef-singapore-to-ensure-safety-of-f-35-joint-strike-fighter-jets-prior-to-acquisition-in-the-aftermath-of-japanese-crash/
Kyodo Apr 11, 2019
Japan will send the head of the Maritime Self-Defense Force and a destroyer to the Chinese Navy’s fleet review in late April to strengthen defense exchanges, the Japanese government confirmed Thursday.
MSDF Chief of Staff Hiroshi Yamamura will make a four-day trip from April 22 to attend the naval review on April 23 in waters off the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao, according to the Defense Ministry, becoming the first MSDF chief to visit the country in five years.
Bilateral meetings between Yamamura and other participating countries’ naval chiefs are being arranged, the ministry and the MSDF said.
Japan will send the MSDF destroyer Suzutsuki with some 250 personnel on board, the first such dispatch to China since December 2011, as part of mutual naval visits that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed in October to resume.
The fleet review will take place to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the Chinese Navy.
MSDF destroyers and Chinese warships made mutual visits from 2007 to 2011, but the exchanges came to a halt in 2012 when Tokyo brought the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, called Diaoyu in China, under state control, straining bilateral ties.
Source: Japan Times “Japan confirms MSDF leader and destroyer will participate in Chinese Navy’s fleet review”
Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.