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Cadence Column

Cadence Column: Asia, June 19, 2017


Cadence

Cadence

The big danger brewing in the Pacific this week was not about who was right and wrong, but about optics and perspective.

American college student Otto Warmbier came back from North Korea in a kind of coma. Almost every news story about Otto provides some background of his arrest and sentencing for taking a North Korean government poster one year ago.

North Korea mentioned “botulism” having preceded Otto’s situation. American doctors found “no sign” thereof. While doctors verify details, Otto’s situation of “nonresponsive wakefulness” has to do with levels of brain damage caused by lack of oxygen from the lungs, usually caused by traumatic injury or intoxication. In other words, it could look like Otto was beaten or poisoned, but news outlets can’t confirm this, so they won’t say it. But, that’s how bad it looks.

And, this is the big problem. There is nothing North Korea can say—even if it is true—to stop the West from being more enraged every time Otto is mentioned.

Taiwan is pursuing it’s desire for official recognition in the world and normal relations with China. This is different from the pursuits of China and the Philippines for respect; both have recognition. Taiwan has international respect, but lacks recognition as a legitimate country. Right or wrong lies in the opinion of the beholder. But, right or wrong, Taiwan isn’t going to stop pushing. The threat to China is that China consciously seeks the respect that it knows Taiwan already has.

Now, the  USS Fitzgerald was broadsided from starboard at night. Ships as sea are supposed to yield to approaching vessels on the right, as with road vehicles at a four-way stop.

Why wasn’t someone watching? Why didn’t proximity alarms wake the crew and prevent collision? Is the superior-tech US Navy ready for a confrontation with China? Most of the crew was asleep at the time. Seven are dead. The collision happened right where they were sleeping. Sailors woke up to find the ship taking on water.

Let’s just say that sailors woke up. In fact, the whole Navy woke up. The world is already waking up to everything going on.

Otto Warmbier: American student freed by North Korea back on US soil | Fox News

Otto Warmbier coma: How does a respiratory arrest leave you in ‘unresponsive wakefulness’? | Express

Otto Warmbier: How did North Korea holiday end in jail, and a coma? | BBC

Search for 7 Navy sailors ends after bodies found on ship | AP

Deadly Collision Crushed Captain’s Cabin USS Fitzgerald | WSJ

China launches crackdown on academic fraud | Financial Times

China sets new record for quantum entanglement en route to build new communication network | News

Diplomats to battle Beijing ‘head-on’ | Taipei Times

UN body turns away Taiwanese without Chinese IDs | Taipei Times

Source: Pacific Daily Times
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About pacificdailytimes

Pacific journalism. …to help people understand each other daily by delivering periodical journalism that is relevant, usable, and inspiring to countries that touch the Pacific Ocean.

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