China’s BRI Boosts Rise of the East, the West Unable to Hinder


Asia Times’ article “Taiwan, the BRI and the geopolitical chessboard” describes the success of China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI) in boosting the rise of the East, which the West is unable to hinder.

The article begins with the tension caused by Beijing’s two J-11s crossing the existent median of Taiwan Strait. The US is going to sell Taiwan more than 60 outdated F-16s to support Taiwan. However, that is insignificant in Asia’s geopolitical chessboard.

The article describes the BRI (Belt and Road initiative) connection between Russia and China. The economies of the two major Asian powers supplement each other. Russia is to divert to China its export of natural resources to the West and get the technologies it needs for development of import-substitution industries from China.

The Article says, “China is de facto an equal or even ahead of the US in plenty of technology areas – as documented, for instance, by Kai-Fu Lee on AI Super-Powers: China, Silicon Valley and the New World Order.” Russia will certainly be able to get the technologies it wants from China.

BRI Cooperation between China and Russia-led Eurasia covers large areas in Asia. In addition, there is an emerging Southwest Asia BRI node that links Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon in the Middle East.

“The West, or what remains of its unity, does not represent a vision of the future any more. China is striving for the BRI to fulfill this role. That’s something a few extra F-16s patrolling the cross-strait median won’t be able to change,“ the article concludes.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Asia Times’ article, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/04/article/taiwan-the-bri-and-the-geopolitical-chessboard/.

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U.S. Navy ships pass through strategic Taiwan Strait, riling China


February 26, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States sent two Navy ships through the Taiwan Strait on Monday as the U.S. military increased the frequency of movement through the strategic waterway despite opposition from China.

The voyage risks further raising tensions with China but will likely be viewed by self-ruled Taiwan as a sign of support from the Trump administration amid growing friction between Taipei and Beijing.

The movement comes as U.S. President Donald Trump said the United States and China were “very, very close” to a deal to end a months-long trade war that has slowed global growth and disrupted markets.

The U.S. Navy’s passage through the Taiwan Strait also came just days before a summit between Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

“The ships’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the U.S. Pacific Fleet said in a statement.

The two ships were identified as the destroyer Stethem and Navy cargo and ammunition ship Cesar Chavez, the statement said. The 180 km-wide (112 miles) Taiwan Strait separates Taiwan from China.

There was no immediate reaction from China, which has previously expressed its opposition to such exercises.

Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said on Tuesday the U.S. ships had already left the strait, following a northerly route.

Taiwan’s armed forces had kept watch on the sailing and noticed nothing out of the ordinary, so there was no cause for alarm, it said.

Washington has no formal ties with Taiwan but is bound by law to help defend the island nation and is its main source of arms. The Pentagon says Washington has sold Taiwan more than $15 billion in weaponry since 2010.

China has been ramping up pressure to assert its sovereignty over the island, which it considers a wayward province of “one China” and sacred Chinese territory.

Beijing’s concerns about Taiwan are likely to factor strongly into this year’s Chinese defense budget, following a stern new year’s speech from President Xi Jinping, threatening to attack Taiwan should it not accept Chinese rule.

China has repeatedly sent military aircraft and ships to circle the island on drills in the past few years and worked to isolate the island internationally, whittling down its few remaining diplomatic allies.

The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency released a report earlier this year describing Taiwan as the “primary driver” for China’s military modernization, which it said had made major advances in recent years.

Democratic Taiwan has shown no interest in being run by autocratic China.

Taiwan is one of a growing number of flashpoints in the U.S.-China relationship, which also include a trade war, U.S. sanctions and China’s increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea, where the United States also conducts freedom of navigation patrols.

Reporting by Idrees Ali; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in BEIJING and Yimou Lee in TAIPEI; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Paul Tait

Source: Reuters “U.S. Navy ships pass through strategic Taiwan Strait, riling 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.


U.S. warships pass through Taiwan Strait amid China tensions


Yimou Lee, Idrees Ali, Phil Stewart October 22, 2018

TAIPEI/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States sent two warships through the Taiwan Strait on Monday in the second such operation this year, as the U.S. military increases the frequency of transits through the strategic waterway despite opposition from China.

The voyage risks further heightening tensions with China but will likely be viewed in self-ruled Taiwan as a sign of support by President Donald Trump’s government, amid growing friction between Taipei and Beijing.

Reuters was first to report U.S. consideration of the sensitive operation on Saturday.

“The ships’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Commander Nate Christensen, deputy spokesman for U.S. Pacific Fleet, said in a statement.

“The U.S. Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows,” he added.

Taiwan’s defense ministry said it closely monitored the operation and was able to “maintain the security of the seas and the airspace” as it occurred.

There was no immediate comment from China.

The U.S. Navy conducted a similar mission in the strait’s international waters in July, which had been the first such voyage in about a year. The latest operation shows the U.S. Navy is increasing the pace of strait passages.

Washington has no formal ties with Taiwan, but is bound by law to help it defend itself and is the island’s main source of arms. The Pentagon says Washington has sold Taiwan more than $15 billion in weaponry since 2010.

STATUS QUO?

China views Taiwan as a wayward province and has been ramping up pressure to assert its sovereignty over the island. It raised concerns over U.S. policy toward Taiwan in talks last week with U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in Singapore.

As the United States prepared for a fresh passage through the strait, it told China’s military that its overall policy toward Taiwan was unchanged.

Mattis delivered that message to China’s Defense Minister Wei Fenghe personally on Thursday, on the sidelines of an Asian security forum.

“Minister Wei raised Taiwan and concerns about our policy. The Secretary reassured Minister Wei that we haven’t changed our Taiwan policy, our one China policy,” Randall Schriver, a U.S. assistant secretary of defense who helps guide Pentagon policy in Asia, told reporters traveling with Mattis.

“So it was, I think, a familiar exchange.”

Taiwan is only one of a growing number of flashpoints in the U.S.-China relationship, which also include a bitter trade war, U.S. sanctions, and China’s increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea.

Taiwan’s relations with China have deteriorated since the island’s President Tsai Ing-wen from the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party swept to power in 2016.

Beijing, which has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control, responded to the July passage with a warning to the United States to avoid jeopardizing “peace and stability” in the strategic waterway.

It has also viewed U.S. overtures toward Taiwan with alarm, including its unveiling a new de facto embassy in Taiwan and passage of the Taiwan Travel Act, which encourages U.S. officials to visit the island.

Military experts say the balance of power between Taiwan and China has shifted decisively in China’s favor in recent years, and China could easily overwhelm the island unless U.S. forces came quickly to Taiwan’s aid.

China has also alarmed Taiwan by ramping up military exercises this year, including flying bombers and other military aircraft around the island and sending its aircraft carrier through the narrow Taiwan Strait separating it from Taiwan.

Reporting by Yimou Lee in Taipei and Lee Chyen Yee in Singapore; Writing by Phil Stewart in Washington; Editing by Toby Chopra and Bill Berkrot

Source: Reuters “U.S. warships pass through Taiwan Strait amid China tensions”

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


Taipei ‘well aware’ of PLA airport just minutes away, SCMP


Taiwan’s military said on May 28 it was aware of a new airport being built by the People’s Liberation Army in nearby Fujian province and would take action to ensure the island’s safety.

There have been reports by other Media that J-10 and Sukhoi Su-30 fighters and S-300 anti-aircraft missiles will be deployed at the new airport

For details please refer to SCMP at:

http://www.scmp.com/portal/site/SCMP/menuitem.2af62ecb329d3d7733492d9253a0a0a0/?vgnextoid=ed7103da0a397310VgnVCM100000360a0a0aRCRD&ss=China&s=News