US Ban Unable to Kill Huawei


Asia Times’ article “South Korea is the pivot in the Huawei wars” says that as South Korea’s chip supplies to Huawei double that of US ones and as South Korea uses Dutch Extreme Ultra-Violet (EUV) lithography machines to produce 5- and 7-nanometer chips for Huawei, US ban simply cannot cut Huawei’s chip supplies from South Korea.

The US does not produce such highly advanced machines. Its ban can only stop Taiwan TSMC’s supplies of chips to Huawei as TSMC uses US equipment to produce chips for Huawei. Such ban will only cause TSMC to lose its business to South Korea.

The article says “A missing element in Washington’s campaign to stave off Chinese dominance in Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies is research and development at home”. “During the Reagan years, federal subsidies for basic R&D amounted to 1.4% of GDP, nearly double today’s level. Washington wants to throw its weight around without spending the money required to bulk up. That could end badly.”

According to the article due to the lack of R&D, though the US has succeeded in making TSMC set up a $12 billion chip plant in the US, by 2024 when the plant has been put into operation its 7-nanometer technology will be outdated as 3- and 5-nanometer technology will prevail by that time.

Moreover, according to the article, China’s SMIC ha claimed that it will have 7-nanometer capability by year-end. If so Huawei will be able to get chip supplies at home.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Asian Times’ article, full text of which can be viewed at https://asiatimes.com/2020/05/south-korea-is-the-pivot-in-the-huawei-wars/


China-led RCEP to Be Signed at ASEAN Summit November 2-4


CGTN says in its article “Trade deal tops agenda at upcoming ASEAN summit” that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will be signed at ASEAN summit November 2-4.

Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are confirmed to attend as senior figures from ASEAN’s dialogue-partner nations,” CGTN says.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a planned agreement between the 10 countries of ASEAN and six more nations: China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. The bloc accounts for half the world’s population and a third of global trade.”

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on CGTN’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://news.cgtn.com/news/2019-10-28/RCEP-tops-agenda-at-upcoming-ASEAN-summit-LajwwXScDu/index.html.


Asean ‘confident’ RCEP done by year’s end


Optimistic despite Malaysia’s u-turn, Japan-South Korea spat

published : 6 Oct 2019 at 20:19

writer: Thana Boonlert

Asean Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi on Sunday expressed his confidence that the long-awaited Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will be completed in principle before Thailand’s chairmanship ends at the end of this year.

The secretary-general said that despite Malaysia’s recent decision to backtrack on its commitment to the deal and the growing trade spat between Japan and South korea, he remains optimistic that RCEP negotiations will continue as planned.

“This is the seventh year of negotiations, and I’d like to see it concluded,” he told reporters on Sunday at the 8th ERIA Editors’ Roundtable on Asean Vision 2040: Towards Bolder and Stronger Asean Community.

The event was co-hosted in Bangkok by the Economic Research Institute for Asean and East Asia (ERIA) and Bangkok Post.

“More importantly, against the backdrop of trade tension and uncertainties in the global market, we [Asean] are determined to get it done, despite the last-minute issues that were raised by some members,” he said.

The secretary-general remained adamant, saying that the regional partnership scheme is “doable”.

“We should take a pragmatic approach. Given the significant progress in Da Nang, we have to do what we can to resolve and finalise [the negotiations] by the end of this year,” he said.

Of course, we are not 100% done. Perhaps we need a few more months to fine tune some areas. At least we will [conclude the RCEP negotiations] in principle.”

Source: Bangkok Post “Asean ‘confident’ RCEP done by year’s end”

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


US Pushing Japan, South Korea to China’s Side


Foreign Affairs says in its article “How an Alliance System Withers: Washington Is Sleeping Through the Japanese-Korean Dispute. China Isn’t” that the US fails but China is active in mediating the disputes between US allies Japan and South Korea.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and their South Korean counterpart Kang Kyung-wha in Beijing, August 2019
Wu Hong / Reuters

That is indeed quite natural as US President finds the US suffers in having obligations to defend Japan and South Korea while China believed having the two in China-initiated Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will benefit not only China but also Japan and South Korea. Diplomacy is mainly driven by interests. Both Japan and South Korea have great interests in the markets of RCEP members while the US is trying hard to make their trade with the US less beneficial.

Therefore, it is normal for the US to push Japan and South Korea to China’s arms.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Foreign Affairs’ article, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/china/2019-09-09/how-alliance-system-withers?utm_medium=newsletters&utm_source=twofa&utm_content=20190913&utm_campaign=TWOFA%20091319%20Bolton%20Was%20Trump%E2%80%99s%20Best%20Match%2C%20Until%20He%20Wasn%E2%80%99t&utm_term=FA%20This%20Week%20-%20112017.


RCEP meet: ASEAN members, partners reaffirm their resolve to conclude free trade deal talks


The 16 negotiating partners have agreed that they should not lose the long-term vision of deepening and expanding the value chains in the RCEP

Joe C Mathew New Delhi Last Updated: September 8, 2019 | 22:30 IST

Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal during the plenary session of the 7th RCEP Ministerial Meeting in Bangkok on Sunday.

The 7th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) ministerial meeting of the 10 members of ASEAN countries and their six FTA (free trade agreement) partners, including India, said the ongoing global uncertainties have added to the urgency to conclude the mega free trade agreement between these nations. The joint statement issued after the meeting, which reviewed the RCEP negotiations on September 8 in Bangkok, Thailand, said the 16 negotiating partners agreed that they should not lose the long-term vision of deepening and expanding the value chains in the RCEP.

The RCEP underscored issues raised by India by stating that certain developments in the global trade environment might affect the negotiating countries’ individual positions. “The ministers underscored the RCEP will provide the much-needed stability and certainty to the market, which will in turn boost trade and investment in the region. To this end, ministers reaffirmed their collective resolve to bring negotiations to a conclusion,” the joint statement said.

“The ministers recognised that negotiations have reached a critical milestone. Notwithstanding the remaining challenges in the negotiations, the RCEP participating countries are working on addressing outstanding issues that are fundamental to conclude the agreement this year as mandated by the leaders,” it stated. The meeting, held to review developments in the RCEP negotiations since the ministers last met in Beijing on August 2-3, was chaired by Jurin Laksanawisit, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce of Thailand.

The RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement between 10 ASEAN members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam), and its six partners (China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand).

Meanwhile, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s economic wing, Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, has asked the Centre not to sacrifice the interests of key industries like agriculture, diary and manufacturing. “We firmly believe that national interests especially of agriculture, dairy, manufacturing will not be sacrificed at RCEP Meet. #SayNoToRCEP & Renegotiate ASEAN FTA, which is imperative for protecting agriculture & mfg,” SJM Co-convenor Ashwani Mahajan tweeted.

Source: businesstoday.in “RCEP meet: ASEAN members, partners reaffirm their resolve to conclude free trade deal talks”

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


BRI Spells the End of US World Hegemony, US Dollar Dominance


Popularresistance.org’s article “U.S. imperialism views the One Belt One Road as an existential threat to the domination and monopoly of the dollar” points out the reason of US attacks at China’s BRI initiatives though I do not agree with its orthodox socialist views.

The article says,“U.S. imperialism views the One Belt One Road as an existential threat to the domination and monopoly of the dollar. China is becoming deeply connected to Asia, Europe, and Africa and this spells doom for U.S. imperial hegemony.”

The article has the vision to point out the threat of BRI to the dominance of US dollars.

According to the article BRI has promoted economic growth of participating countries so that trade between China and BRI countries has grown fast to a quarther of China’s entire trade. It says, “The more that China dominates trade and investment worldwide, the less likely that these nations will continue to use the U.S. dollar to conduct its economic affairs.” No wonder the US has been attacking BRI so fiercely.

The article’s orthodox socialist view regards EU as US ally in attacking BRI. No, EU has been fighting against dominance of US dollar for a long time as proved by its development of a unified European currency the Euro.

Moreover, EU has becoming interest in BRI since Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Italy and France. It is certainly interested in the expansion of the market in developing countries cause by BRI.

So is Japan and South Korea as proved by their desire for the establishment of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

I have to point out that China pursues harmony and cooperation instead of conflicts as advocated by the article. It is the US that is used to create conflicts and resort to force when it is able to. US trade war with China is a typical example. China is forced to fight back, but it is still sincere in seeking win-win cooperation with the US. However, the US is fond of conflicts. It always refuses win-win cooperation in the world.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on popularresistance.org’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://popularresistance.org/u-s-imperial-decline-and-the-belt-and-road-initiative-the-most-important-global-struggle-of-the-century/


RCEP expected to be finalised by year-end: ASEAN General Secretary


Update: August, 01/2019 – 17:31

ASEAN General Secretary Dato Lim Jock Hoi delivers a speech at the 3rd ASEAN Media Forum held in Bangkok on July 29. — Photos courtesy of ASEAN Secretariat

Ngọc Bích

BANGKOK — ASEAN General Secretary Dato Lim Jock Hoi has expressed his optimism over the likelihood that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) between 10 ASEAN member countries and six partners will be finalised by the end of the year.

RCEP is considered the world’s largest regional trade agreement as it covers a market of almost half of the world’s population and around one third of global gross domestic product.

There are 27 rounds of RCEP negotiations over the past seven years but “we don’t want to go beyond that, if we don’t do it this year, it will be very difficult for us to go beyond next year,” Hoi said.

According to the General Secretary, political difficulties have already been resolved and under the situation of trade tension among economic giants, there is urgency for all ASEAN members to push the agreement to its conclusion.

We know that challenges are still there, and we will intensify negotiations among the trade negotiators as well as at the ministerial level,” he said, affirming “the climate seems to be quite positive.”

Economic ministers are scheduled to meet in Thailand in September and “this will be a venue for the ministers to sit down and try to push [the negotiations] ahead.”

When asked about the most challenging problems that still exist, Hoi said: “Sixteen countries with different levels of economic development and different levels in trust. So it is not easy to put into one package. We need to balance the interests of each country, which is the role of ASEAN.”

We have concluded certain chapters in telecoms, the movement in IP, the movement in financial services. But market access negotiations are still going and they will not end until we are all satisfied.”

Some countries are concerned that they would be exposed to many other imports, he said, adding that “They have to be careful and mindful with the domestic pressure.”

However, “they have taken a practical approach toward RCEP. Hopefully they will lead the way to good outcomes in the months ahead,” Hoi said.

There is also a problem with non-ASEAN members because they don’t have free trade agreements (FTAs) among themselves so they need to intensify their negotiations in market access, he added.

Dr Suthad Setboonsarng, Board Member of the Bank of Thailand and former first Thai Deputy Secretary General of ASEAN (right), receives a gift from ASEAN Secretariat. image: http://image.vietnamnews.vn/uploadvnnews/Article/2019/8/1/28934_DrSuthad.jpg

Speaking with Việt Nam News on the sidelines of the 3rd ASEAN Media Forum early this week, Dr Suthad Setboonsarng, Board Member of the Bank of Thailand, said that RCEP is a conglomeration of five FTAs. The first one is the ASEAN-China FTA which was signed in 2003 and the toughest FTA is the one with India.

In RCEP negotiations, one of the rules is we have to give everybody else what we give to one country,” like the Most Favoured Nations mechanism.

What we have to give to China, we must give to India and to Japan. In 2003’s agreement, China liberalises the agriculture sector for ASEAN countries. But now for China to liberalise the agriculture sector for Japan, India and Korea, it is much more difficult,” Setboonsarng said.

However, the former first Thai Deputy Secretary General of ASEAN was also optimistic of the future of RCEP as he saw a new mechanism being implemented in negotiating the trade deal.

In the past, there were trade negotiation working groups but heads of the groups couldnot make any immediate decision at the meeting, he said.

The only way to get RCEP is to come out for outside talks not on the table because going to the table is very difficult.”

Currently, a small group of three countries including Thailand (current ASEAN Chair), Singapore (last year’s ASEAN Chair) and Việt Nam (next year’s ASEAN Chair) are going around other countries and try to talk and see what is the problem that each country has, he said, adding that it will help facilitate the process.

I think it has been used in political arena much more than in economic negotiations. But I saw this one, which is very important for the success of RCEP.”

Dr Hoe Ee Khor, Chief Economist of ASEAN+3 Macro Economic Research Office, said if ASEAN countries and dialogue partners can finalise the RCEP, it will be a very strong signal of commitment to rules-based multilateral trade amidst the rising trend of protectionism and nationalism.

Initiated in 2012, RCEP involves 10 ASEAN member countries, namely Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Myanmar, Việt Nam, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei; and six dialogue partners including China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Korea. — VNS

Source: Viet Nam News “RCEP expected to be finalised by year-end: ASEAN General Secretary”

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


Russian-Chinese Joint Air Patrol Showcases Strong Military Alliance


A Russian TU-95 bomber flies over East China Sea in this handout picture taken by Japan Air Self-Defence Force and released by the Joint Staff Office of the Defense Ministry of Japan July 23, 2019. Joint Staff Office of the Defense Ministry of Japan/HANDOUT via REUTERS

Reiters’ report “First Russian-Chinese air patrol in Asia-Pacific draws shots from South Korea” describes Russian-Chinese joint air patrol with strategic bombers and AEW&C warplanes, which aimed at display of Russia-China military alliance and perhaps the possible joint air protection of North Korea when it is attacked.

When the Soviet Union has collapsed and China has refrained to openly declare its commitment to protect North Korea, North Korea is justified to develop nuclear weapons to deal with US military threat. If the US has signed a peace treaty with North Korea to remove its threat and if North Korea has been ensured of joint Russian and Chinese protection, it certainly will be willing to give up its nuclear weapons.

That will be a positive outcome of the patrol. As for Russia-China military alliance, it has been an established fact for a long time as proved by their joint drills and cooperation in development of weapons. It is nothing new.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-southkorea-russia-aircraft/first-russian-chinese-air-patrol-in-asia-pacific-draws-shots-from-south-korea-idUSKCN1UI072.


Huawei launches 5G lab in South Korea, but keeps event low-key after U.S. ban


Ju-min Park May 30, 2019

SEOUL (Reuters) – Huawei Technologies unveiled an open lab for next-generation 5G wireless network in South Korea on Thursday, but kept the launch low-key given its recent blacklisting by the United States, a key security ally of the Asian nation.

The Chinese tech giant, the world’s top producer of telecoms equipment, said it planned to invest about $5 million in the lab in the Junggu district of Seoul. It did not provide any more details on the location and did not invite media to the launch.

“Based on the philosophy of “In Korea and for Korea” and the strength of its own 5G network, Huawei will build a 5G ecosystem through cooperation with a number of South Korean ICT companies and especially small-and-medium enterprises,” Huawei’s Korea office said in a statement.

The event was, however, overshadowed by the U.S. decision earlier this month to ban American tech and telecom firms from doing business with Huawei. Washington has also been urging its allies to bar the Chinese company from their 5G networks.

Huawei had initially considered inviting the press to the launch in South Korea, but after the U.S. ban it decided to keep the event low-key, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

“Huawei wanted to promote the launch to as many Korean small-and-medium enterprises as possible, but it decided to keep the press out after the ban to avoid any damage to its Korean partners in case they are shown in media,” the person said, declining to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Huawei said the heads of South Korean enterprises attended the event, but did not disclose any names.

The move underlines Huawei’s commitment to South Korea from where it purchases components such as chips and screens.

The U.S. campaign against Huawei, and the broader U.S.-China trade war, have landed export-driven South Korea in a familiar bind, caught between its crucial security ally and biggest trading partner.

The lab in South Korea is Huawei’s first open 5G services development center in the world that will allow other companies to test their platforms, according to the company.

South Korea rolled out 5G services in April, hoping the next-generation wireless technology will spur breakthrough in fields such as autonomous cars.

Currently, Huawei provides its 5G network equipment for a small South Korean carrier LG Uplus. LG Uplus has said it does not plan to remove Huawei gear, but promised to step up security checks.

The two bigger carriers, SK Telecom and KT, do not use Huawei gear.

Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Himani Sarkar

Source: Reuters “Huawei launches 5G lab in South Korea, but keeps event low-key after U.S. ban”

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


Russia-China Alliance, Marriage of Convenience


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.