Author Topic: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines, etc)  (Read 292055 times)

Crafty_Dog

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ASEAN talks reveal deep divisions on SCS, Ukraine
« Reply #1550 on: November 14, 2022, 11:07:40 AM »
Here it is:

ASEAN talks lay bare deep divisions on South China Sea, Ukraine
U.S. allies' clash with Russia, China overshadows end of bloc's meetings in Cambodia


Leaders from across the Asia-Pacific region take part in the East Asia Summit on Nov. 13, part of three days of ASEAN-led meetings in Phnom Penh.   © Agence Kampuchea Press
CLIFF VENZON and TSUBASA SURUGA, Nikkei staff writers
November 13, 2022 14:10 JSTUpdated on November 13, 2022 19:00 JST

PHNOM PENH -- Southeast Asian leaders on Sunday concluded their annual summit, after three days of intense talks on everything from the crisis in Myanmar to the Ukraine war and tensions in the South China Sea.

The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations held the marathon meetings in Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh, where discussions with bigger powers including China, the U.S. and Russia highlighted deep divisions on critical security issues.

"We must maintain ASEAN unity regardless of circumstances for the best interests of the whole region," Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, this year's rotating ASEAN chair, said as he handed over the chairmanship to Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

Shortly before the proceedings wrapped up, U.S. President Joe Biden, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida participated in the East Asia Summit, which brought together leaders from ASEAN as well as eight dialogue partners -- South Korea, Australia, India and Russia also among them.

The anticipated East Asia Summit statement was not immediately released, amid reports that the U.S. and Russia disagreed on the language. Still, an initial draft seen by Nikkei Asia and remarks by various leaders over the three days offered a window on participants' mindset -- and a preview of a closely watched bilateral meeting between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, set to take place in Bali on Monday.

The presidents of the world's top two economies will be coming face to face just ahead of the Group of 20 summit on the picturesque Indonesian island. Some hope their first in-person meeting since Biden took office last year might ease tensions between the superpowers. But in Cambodia, there was little sign that the U.S. and China can find much common ground.

Biden calls for a "free and open" Indo-Pacific, pushing back against China's effort to dominate much of the South China Sea. Beijing has reclaimed and militarized islands to assert its expansive claims over the strategic waterway, where ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines also lay claims.

A White House handout about Sunday's East Asia Summit said Biden underscored that freedom of navigation and overflight must be respected in both the East China and South China seas, and that all disputes must be resolved peacefully and in accordance with international law. Biden also said the U.S. would "compete vigorously" and vowed to speak out on Chinese human rights abuses, while keeping lines of communication open to prevent conflict.

In the draft of the East Asia Summit statement, some leaders expressed "concern" over land reclamation and other activities that have "eroded trust and confidence, increased tensions, and may undermine peace, security, and stability in the region." They did not, however, name China.

Beijing, which prefers to deal with maritime disputes bilaterally with other claimants, has previously slammed what it describes as Washington's interference. During a summit with ASEAN counterparts on Friday, Li said, "We have full confidence, wisdom and capacity to take the key to the South China Sea issue firmly in our own hands."

On Sunday, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said international law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea should be followed in the South China Sea, which he called a vital global trade route.

"It's important to avoid conflict," Marcos stressed to reporters afterward.

Marcos also said that a long overdue "code of conduct" being negotiated by ASEAN and China is "urgently needed." He did not directly cite the arbitration ruling Manila won in 2016, which invalidated Beijing's expansive claims to the sea -- a decision China rejects.


Cambodia's Ream Naval Base in Sihanoukville: The U.S. has expressed concern about the China-funded facility.   © Reuters
There were other friction points. In a meeting with Hun Sen on Saturday, Biden raised "concern" about Chinese military activities at the Beijing-funded Ream Naval Base, situated on Cambodia's coast on the Gulf of Thailand. The White House said the president stressed the importance of "full transparency."

Another pressing security matter on Sunday's agenda, meanwhile, was the threat posed by North Korea's missile and nuclear programs. The draft East Asia Summit statement expressed "grave concerns" over the recent surge in Pyongyang's ballistic missile testing.

"This worrisome development reflects an increased tension on the Korean Peninsula and threatens peace and stability in the region and in the world," the document said.

Kishida sought stronger support from ASEAN leaders in dealing with North Korea. At one point during the weekend, he called Pyongyang's recent ballistic missile launches a "clear and serious challenge to the international community."

They "can never be overlooked," he insisted.

North Korea was a key topic for a three-way sideline meeting between Biden, Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol on Sunday. Biden said the three nations are "more aligned than ever" on the threat from Pyongyang.

Separately, Kishida also stressed the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, where Beijing has not ruled out using force to "reunite" with Taiwan. Biden made the same call for peace at the East Asia Summit, according to the White House.

Looming over all of the discussions was the conflict half a world away in Ukraine.

During the East Asia Summit, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said leaders discussed Russia's ongoing invasion, which has unleashed economic and security shock waves in Asia.

"I pointed out that Russia's actions were causing an enormous human toll, that it was an illegal invasion," Albanese told reporters. He also called it "a breach of the international rule of law" that was "having economic consequences and rising costs of inflation through energy prices throughout the world."


Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, seated, talks with Singaporean Minister of Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan during the East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh on Nov. 13.   © Reuters
The initial East Asia Summit draft statement called for respecting "sovereignty, political independence [and] territorial integrity" and underlined "the importance of an immediate cessation of hostilities."

But Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was on hand to push Moscow's position.

Russia's state-run news agency Tass said Lavrov criticized NATO's expanding scope to the Indo-Pacific and said the U.S. and its allies were not taking into account "the interests of most of the countries that are here."

Despite Ukraine's geographical distance, this year's ASEAN meetings became a key forum for both sides to argue their cases. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dymtro Kuleba met counterparts on the sidelines of the summit and urged them to condemn Moscow's invasion and support his country.


Crafty_Dog

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Re: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines, etc)
« Reply #1552 on: November 20, 2022, 02:13:34 PM »
What excrement Bloomberg is!

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Walter Russell Mead: Japan to increase military spending bigly
« Reply #1553 on: November 29, 2022, 06:25:35 AM »
Global Tensions Spur a Sea Change in Japan
Public opinion polls show more than 60% support for higher military spending.
Walter Russell Mead hedcutBy Walter Russell MeadFollow
Nov. 28, 2022 6:24 pm ET
Tokyo

Riots in China, deepening war in Ukraine, continuing upheavals in Iran: It’s been a dramatic week in world affairs. But the quiet revolutions sometimes matter more. Japan is one of the stablest countries on earth, and there are no crowds in the streets as bureaucrats shuffle papers and write reports.

Nevertheless, what is in those reports will have a massive impact on world politics—and could well determine the outcome of the U.S.-China competition.

Germany’s Zeitenwende, or historical turning point—the abandonment of appeasement as the basis of Russia policy and a shift toward greater military spending—has received more attention. But as I learned on a recent visit to Tokyo, the shifts taking place in Japan go further and rest on a wider consensus than anything happening in Berlin.

The pandemic years saw a steady increase in political and military tension in Japan’s neighborhood. Fiery rhetoric from China’s “wolf warrior” diplomats was frequently aimed at Japan. North Korea stepped up its missile program. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shocked a public firmly committed to the post-World War II framework of international law based on the United Nations Charter. China’s support of Russia’s invasion stunned Japanese observers and drove home the danger that China could launch an attack on Taiwan.

A new national-security strategy is expected to be released before the end of the year, and Japanese and foreign observers alike expect it to be a scorcher. Japan is on course to double defense spending, embrace “counterstrike” weapons that would give Japan-based missiles the ability to strike targets on mainland Asia, develop a world-class arms industry based on cutting-edge technology, and upgrade its self-defense forces into one of the world’s most powerful militaries.


Japan turned a corner during the past three years. Public opinion, once resolutely pacifist, has shifted. Polls now show more than 60% support for higher military spending. Officials who previously sought to avoid characterizing China as a threat now speak candidly about the need to counter China and, if necessary, to defend Taiwan. Diplomats and military analysts agree that Chinese control of Taiwan and the surrounding waters would seriously damage Japan’s global position. Several people told me that China’s next step after occupying Taiwan would be to press claims to Okinawa. Others said that control over Taiwan and the surrounding waters would give China a strategic chokehold on trade routes vital to Japan.

Many expected Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who represents Hiroshima in the Diet, to embrace a less activist course than his predecessor, Shinzo Abe. But in part because of his previous reputation as a dove, Mr. Kishida has so far pushed the envelope further while encountering less resistance than Abe’s sometimes brash approaches. Even traditional pacifists like longtime Liberal Democratic Party coalition partner Komeito have softened their opposition to a stronger military.

What happens in Tokyo matters. Japan is America’s single most important ally, and the strategic bond between the two powers is the foundation of America’s position in the Indo-Pacific. Japan’s decision to double down on its American alliance while building up its own capabilities is a major setback for China’s effort to reshape East Asia. In the Philippines and Southeast Asia, Japanese investment and trade help counter China’s economic power. Japanese diplomacy, less hectoring and more culturally sensitive than America’s sometimes abrasive preaching on issues like human rights, is often more effective in Asian capitals. The steady development of closer Japanese relations with India and Australia has been a major factor behind the rapid evolution of the Quad.

Much remains to be done. Japanese-Korean relations, despite some improvements under South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, remain difficult. Japan itself, with a stagnant economy and the highest debt-to-GDP ratio in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, will be hard put to sustain the necessary military buildup.

But at this point it is the U.S. that must do more to secure the peace of East Asia. Given the long military supply lines across the Pacific and the likely difficulty of providing supplies if hostilities break out, the U.S. should position substantial quantities of weapons and supplies in the region. American as well as Taiwanese and Japanese officials told me that current stockpiles are woefully insufficient.

Beyond that, Washington still needs a regional economic strategy. Expanding economic integration between the U.S. and friendly Asian economies is an essential dimension of any long-term policy for the Indo-Pacific.

America’s unique ability to attract powerful allies around the world remains critical to our national security and the values we cherish. The Japanese strategic awakening is historic, and Americans should do everything we can to support it.

Crafty_Dog

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ET: Chinese provocations
« Reply #1554 on: December 09, 2022, 06:30:54 AM »
Communist China ‘Tempting a Crisis’ With Military Provocations: DOD Official
By Andrew Thornebrooke December 8, 2022

Communist China is baiting a catastrophic conflict in the Indo-Pacific by engaging in threatening and erratic military maneuvers designed to intimidate the United States and its allies.

The regime’s military wing, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), frequently risks the lives of its pilots and those of the United States and its allies by conducting aggressive close maneuvers, according to Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner.

“We have PLA aircraft coming within tens of feet of allied aircraft; we have them releasing flares and chaff, we have them doing dangerous maneuvers around aircraft and, to exactly this point, it is tempting a crisis that could have geopolitical and geoeconomic implications,” Ratner said during a talk with the American Enterprise Institute on Dec. 8.

“If Beijing’s intent is to somehow intimidate the United States out of operating according to international law, that hasn’t worked [and] it’s not going to work. But it is very reckless behavior.”

Ratner’s comments referred to increasingly common incidents in which PLA aircraft have attempted, and sometimes succeeded, in forcing allied aircraft out of international airspace by releasing chaff, a countermeasure made of numerous shards of metal, into their engines mid-flight.

In one such episode in May, an Australian aircraft was forced to cut its mission short and engage in an emergency landing after PLA chaff significantly damaged its engines, threatening the lives of its crew.

Weeks later, PLA fighter pilots flew within 20 feet of a Canadian surveillance plane, made eye contact, and presented the Canadians with the middle finger. Canada reported more than 60 such incidents in the first half of the year.

The Canadian aircraft involved had been on a U.N. mission to investigate reports that Chinese ships were violating international sanctions by illegally delivering oil to North Korean vessels at sea.

Ratner said that the provocations demonstrated China’s communist regime did not care about being taken seriously as a superpower.

“It is a pattern of behavior that has been growing in particular over the last year and a half or so,” Ratner said.

“On the whole, the PLA is not yet willing or serious about trying to manage this competition in a way that we would expect a responsible or aspiring major power to do so. We think that’s a huge problem.”

The CCP Rejects International Law
Ratner’s comments follow the release of the Pentagon’s annual China Military Power Report, which found that communist China was engaged in a whole of society effort to seize Taiwan and displace the United States as leader of the international order.

Ratner described the report as “the most authoritative unclassified articulation of PRC capability and strategy,” using an acronym for communist China’s official name, the People’s Republic of China.

Epoch Times Photo
A Navy Force helicopter under the Eastern Theatre Command of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) takes part in military exercises in the waters around Taiwan, at an undisclosed location on Aug. 8, 2022, in this handout picture released on Aug. 9, 2022. (Eastern Theater Command/Handout via Reuters)
To that end, Ratner connected the PLA’s provocations to the regime’s larger ambition of becoming a global military power. He said that the maneuvers were intended to push the United States and its allies out of the Indo-Pacific but that such an effort was doomed to fail.

“We’re going to continue to fly, sail, and operate in a way that is consistent with international law, that is responsible, that is peaceful, regardless of this behavior,” Ratner said.

Ratner warned that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its leader Xi Jinping “don’t accept” international law and refuse to accept the peaceful transit of vessels in international waters where it seeks hegemony.

As such, he said, the United States would continue to lead an international effort to present a model of responsible statecraft in the Indo-Pacific and work peacefully with partners throughout the region even as the CCP engages in military intimidation.

“We’re seeing a more global PLA,” Ratner said. “One that is pursuing installations around the world, very ambitious aspirations with the projection of power and sustaining power overseas.

“The region is looking to Washington and Beijing to manage this more responsibly, and I want there to be no doubt that the Department of Defense … have an outstretched hand to say ‘let’s have a conversation.’”

A Conflict of Decades
Speaking at the same event, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for China Michael Chase said that the Pentagon expects 2023 to be a decisive year in the competition between the CCP and United States, but the PLA threat will not end anytime soon.

Indeed, according to Chase, the Pentagon anticipates the CCP’s aggression, and related risk of catastrophic conflict, to continue for at least three more decades.

“This is part of what makes the PRC the pacing challenge,” Chase said. “There are challenges that we could face in the very near term, over the next five years, and beyond.

“Xi Jinping has set goals for the PLA to accomplish in 2027, 2035, and all the way up to 2049, and we have to be prepared to deal with the challenges they present through that entire time period.”

To that end, Chase said that the CCP sought nothing less than to become a global military power, with a string of bases and other installations spreading its malign influence throughout multiple continents.

“It’s increasingly clear that the PRC has global ambitions for the PLA,” Chase said.

“We now see the pursuit of a global network of logistics and support facilities and bases to help them build that out and become a global military power.”

Crafty_Dog

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Manila concerned by swarming Chinese boats
« Reply #1555 on: December 14, 2022, 03:01:05 PM »
December 14, 2022
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Daily Memo: Manila Concerned by 'Swarming' Chinese Boats
Philippine authorities worry that their access to resource-rich areas slated for joint exploration could be cut off.
By: Geopolitical Futures

Boat swarm. The Philippine Department of National Defense said it was concerned about Chinese vessels “swarming” within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. Growing numbers of Chinese boats have gathered near shoals in the area in recent months, raising alarm among Philippine authorities that their access to resource-rich areas slated for joint exploration could be cut off. Manila has been strengthening military ties with Japan and the United States recently.

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WSJ: Sleeping Japanese Giant Awakens
« Reply #1556 on: December 18, 2022, 07:20:10 AM »
The Sleeping Japanese Giant Awakes
Tokyo rolls out the most important shift in defense strategy and spending since World War II.
By The Editorial Board


Dec. 16, 2022 6:38 pm ET

History is on speed-dial these days, and the latest seismic shift is Japan’s announcement Friday of a new defense strategy and the spending to implement it. This is an historic change, and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida deserves credit for taking the political risk to educate his country about the growing threats from China and North Korea and how to deter them.

Tokyo said it will increase defense spending to 2% of the economy by 2027, double the roughly 1% now. The accompanying strategy documents are right to call the current moment “the most severe and complex security environment” since the end of World War II.

The strategy explicitly mentions the “challenge” from Beijing. Recall that five Chinese ballistic missiles landed in Japan’s nearby waters in August. North Korea routinely lobs missiles over the islands. Tokyo says it will prepare “for the worst-case scenario.”

Notably, the strategy calls for acquiring longer-range missiles that can strike enemy launch-sites and ships, perhaps including the purchase of some 500 U.S.-made Tomahawk cruise missiles. This is the kind of capability that forces other countries to think twice before attacking a sovereign neighbor.

Also welcome is the focus on the vulnerability of East Asia’s first island chain, from southern Japan to Taiwan. China is intensifying “military activities around Taiwan,” the strategy says, and “the overall military balance between China and Taiwan” is moving rapidly in China’s favor. The fate of Taiwan matters enormously to Japan’s ability to defend itself, especially its peripheral islands.

The documents promise to procure more naval vessels and fighter aircraft, as well as more investment in cyber. All of this will complement American efforts to rearm, assuming the U.S. can follow through on priorities such as expanding the Navy’s attack submarine inventory, building more long-range munitions, and putting these assets in the Pacific. One start would be restoring permanent U.S. fighters at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa.

Beijing predictably railed against Japan’s new strategy, but it has itself to blame. It hasn’t controlled its proxy North Korea’s missile launches and nuclear program. Neighbors are alarmed by its aggressive moves in the East and South China seas, border skirmishes with India, bullying of Australia and others, and especially threats against Taiwan. As the world’s third-largest economy, Japan has the wealth to do something to counter China.

The new strategy amounts to a revolution in Japanese domestic politics, essentially transcending its postwar pacifist constitution. It builds on the late Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s vision of a Japan that sheds its postwar reluctance to build a strong military. Rahm Emanuel, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, says a political shift of this magnitude might normally take a decade to accomplish. But the public mood changed rapidly amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s increasing aggression.

The new strategy anchors Japan firmly in the U.S. alliance. Tokyo is America’s most important ally, and a militarily stronger Japan will enhance deterrence in the Pacific.

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Re: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines, etc)
« Reply #1557 on: December 19, 2022, 07:21:54 AM »
By: Geopolitical Futures
Russia in the Asia-Pacific. Russia and China will carry out joint naval drills in the East China Sea on Dec. 21-27, according to Russia’s Ministry of Defense. Vessels from Russia’s Pacific Fleet are headed to the area from Vladivostok to participate in the exercises, which will include missile and artillery firing and anti-submarine exercises. China’s navy will deploy two destroyers, two patrol ships, an integrated supply ship and a diesel submarine. Moscow is continuing to expand its presence in the Asia-Pacific region despite the ongoing war in Ukraine.


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Chinese prepping to build new psuedo islands?
« Reply #1559 on: December 22, 2022, 08:57:08 AM »
South China Sea tensions. The Philippines’ Defense Ministry has ordered the military to boost its presence in the South China Sea following recent reports that China is building on four uninhabited maritime features. Beijing called the reports “unfounded.” The ministry said it was monitoring “Chinese activities” near the strategic Thitu Island but didn’t provide further details. It urged Beijing to uphold the rules-based international order and refrain from acts that will stoke tensions.


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GPF: Japan deploying SAMs to westernmost island
« Reply #1561 on: December 27, 2022, 09:31:13 AM »
Japanese defense. Japan will deploy a surface-to-air missile defense unit to its westernmost island, near Taiwan. The move is part of a plan to reinforce defense capabilities across Japan’s southern island chains, where numerous missile systems have been deployed in recent months. Tokyo announced a major increase to its defense budget earlier this month.


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GPF: China--Philippines
« Reply #1563 on: January 04, 2023, 06:26:21 PM »
China and the Philippines. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. held a meeting in Beijing, during which Xi said China was willing to properly handle maritime issues with the Philippines through friendly consultation, and was eager to restart negotiations on oil and gas exploration. He told Marcos the two countries should work to safeguard the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and avoid confrontation among blocs. They also agreed to expand cooperation in agriculture, infrastructure and culture.

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Re: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines, etc)
« Reply #1564 on: January 05, 2023, 10:22:12 AM »
He [Xi] told Marcos the two countries should work to safeguard the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and avoid confrontation among blocs. They also agreed to expand cooperation in agriculture, infrastructure and culture.

sounds like US democrat shysterisms...

Xi is the one who is threatening all the other SE Asian nations then turns it around

Xi can be trusted about as much as Adam Schiff...

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GPF: Confrontational Exercises
« Reply #1565 on: January 16, 2023, 10:05:19 AM »
'Confrontational exercises.' A Chinese carrier strike group, led by the country’s first domestically built aircraft carrier, conducted live-fire drills in the South China Sea. In a statement, the Chinese navy called them "combat-oriented confrontational exercises," according to the state-owned Global Times newspaper. This comes after the U.S. Navy said on Friday that its USS Nimitz carrier strike group carried out its first routine operations in the South China Sea of the year.

« Last Edit: January 16, 2023, 10:56:00 AM by Crafty_Dog »

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CCP bribing S Dakotans
« Reply #1566 on: January 20, 2023, 01:59:06 PM »

Crafty_Dog

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Re: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines, etc)
« Reply #1567 on: January 20, 2023, 02:36:09 PM »
The better thread for that would be the "Chinese Penetration of America" thread.


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China Taiwan, Xi puts top brain on 'unification'
« Reply #1569 on: January 29, 2023, 08:15:49 AM »
Analysis: Xi puts top brain in charge of Taiwan unification strategy
Nikkei Asia ^

So what role will Wang play in formulating a Taiwan policy during Xi's third term?

One source knowledgeable of China-Taiwan relations noted that Wang will be tasked with writing a theoretical unification strategy fit for the Xi era.

"One may assume that a threat of China using force to unify Taiwan is imminent, but this is not the case. The first step is to launch a new theory that will replace Deng's one country, two systems. Then pressure will be put on Taiwan based on it," the source explained.

The source expects this theory to become a yardstick with which to measure progress and to decide if a military operation is necessary.

Wang is a rare politician. He has served three successive supreme leaders -- Jiang Zemin, who died recently at the age of 96; Hu Jintao, 80; and Xi, 69 -- each time asked to stay on as the leader's brain.

On security issues, Xi is said to respect the advice of the seasoned Wang.

When Xi held talks with the rambunctious Donald Trump, Wang always sat beside him to offer advice. Nobody knew what Trump might say, and Xi needed somebody who could think quickly.

Wang's experience in writing important documents related to security and his past as a professor of international politics at Fudan University prepared him well.

The ability to write in ways that pleases the top leader of the time, however unclear it may seem to outsiders, is perhaps the most important skill to have in the Communist Party.

Huning will serve as deputy director. Wang Yi once served as the director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, China's government.

As a Politburo Standing Committee member, Wang Huning in one of China's top seven and has a much higher level of authority than Wang Yi, a Politburo member.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Editor-s-Picks/China-up-close/Analysis-Xi-puts-top-brain-in-charge-of-Taiwan-unification-strategy (paywall)

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Re: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines, etc)
« Reply #1570 on: January 29, 2023, 09:21:22 AM »
Interesting.


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George Friedman: On the leaks of a war with China
« Reply #1572 on: January 31, 2023, 08:02:05 AM »
Deep respect for GF, but I think he misses completely the idea of a naval blockade such as what was done around Pelosi's visit.  With McCarthy set to go in the near future (will he flinch?) it seems to me that the Chinese are likely to double down on these tactics.

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January 31, 2023
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On the Leaks of a War With China
By: George Friedman

Over the past few days, two senior U.S. officials – Gen. Mike Minihan, the head of the U.S. Air Force Mobility Command, and Michael McCaul, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee – predicted that a war with China could erupt by 2025. I have been on record as saying China’s economic and political vulnerabilities make such a conflict unlikely, but when a four-star general and one of the few politicians I actually respect go well out of their way to say something like this, I’m compelled to recheck my thinking. That the two are saying the same thing, moreover, suggests to me that someone in Washington has briefed them on the matter. Briefings are not the subject of random gossip.

I remain skeptical; the Pentagon has distanced itself from the general’s remarks, and though McCaul may be a respectable politician, he is still a politician. But in reevaluating the likelihood of a war, some questions must still be answered.

Who will start the war? It’s hard to believe the U.S. would initiate a conflict. Defeating the Chinese navy, though doable, wouldn’t resolve the matter. So long as the Chinese homeland is intact, Beijing can rebuild its armed forces. For China, attacking the U.S. Navy would be a major gamble, and it would have to calculate what a defeat at sea would cost it, particularly domestically.

Why would they wait to start the war? It could be that U.S. intelligence learned that there was an attack planned and spread the news to signal to Beijing that it was wise to its plans. But if those plans were indeed for 2025, the U.S. would have plenty of time to prepare for it. Time and danger are the same in warfare, and the idea that China is planning that far out is hard to buy. No one wants to give the other side an advantage.

What does the aggressor hope to accomplish, and is it worth the risk? China wants to secure its eastern ports and ensure access to trade routes in the Pacific Ocean. The U.S. might want to move from a notional threat to a real threat.

Will the war be on land, in the air, at sea, or some combination of the three? The U.S. is not capable of waging a land war in China given its size and population. China can wage an air and naval war, but it would be doing so against a very capable enemy. Beijing’s advantage is that the homeland is secure. The U.S. has the same advantage, of course, but it has the added benefit of being able to draw deep into the Pacific and engage China far from home. In other words, the U.S. can to some degree determine where the war will be fought.

Are their respective economies healthy enough to support a war? Both economies are in precarious positions, but there’s evidence to suggest America’s downturn is a cyclical event, whereas China’s is a structural event. Sustaining air and sea production would be more difficult for China than for the U.S.

Why would either side leak its intentions? The aggressor must have secrecy. The defender should advertise its preparations to deter the aggressor. So if China is the aggressor, leaking the news would be disastrous. But one of the reasons that the war can’t be planned very far out is that the longer the windup, the more likely there will be a leak. If there was a real war being planned, it would be on a very short timeline.

I respect the general and the congressman, and obviously they have access to better intelligence than I do. But I find it hard to believe that China would plan a war so carelessly. Given the leak, a war could still be in the offing, but for China it would likely be short.

Perhaps I am reverting to bad habits. Answering my own questions with my old views is admittedly poor intelligence. Feel free to let me know which questions I didn’t pose and which answers were insufficient. I will happily pout and respond.