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Cadence Column

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, June 17, 2019


Cadence

Cadence

Trump’s so-called “trade war” with China was never any failed attempt at relations. It was a way to get American companies out of China before the inevitable crud hit the fan. With Hong Kong’s government ignoring it’s people, we can see Trump’s wisdom with China.

One million people in a population of just over 7 million protested a Beijing-backed extradition law in Hong Kong. Protests continued all week until a second, larger march returned one week later. What in the world is happening in the Far East? To understand Hong Kong, first take a look at Taiwan.

Much like the Asian Mad Scientist Theorem for North Korea, consider the Taiwan Schedule Theorem, as follows: Unknown to the world, China has a military expansion schedule which requires possession of Taiwan. By a certain time, Beijing wants to use Taiwan’s harbors to anchor China’s Navy. Anything that threatens or delays that schedule causes China to take more extreme steps elsewhere, in fact anywhere, anyway. This isn’t truth; it’s a theorem that explains a lot.

For example, the DPP being elected in 2016 meant a slow in China’s schedule for Taiwan—according to this theorem. That led Beijing to lean on Taiwan’s allies, making them break off formal relations with Taipei.

With this theorem in mind, the goal of the US would, then, be to make as many disruptions with China’s “Taiwan schedule” as possible, provoking China to exhaust its “other” ways to respond to schedule delays. Trade would be one way China could respond to schedule delays. But, the US trade war already removed “trade” as way to retaliate.

Another way China expands its power is through unofficial loans. Sri Lanka had to surrender a strategic sea port to China because of debt. Moreover, if countries borrow Chinese money off the books, then government bond values are inaccurate. Under-the-table lending is another rout China can take if the “Taiwan schedule” gets delayed, but that’s been exposed and won’t be so easy in the future.

China’s getting boxed-in and Taiwan absorption seems farther and farther away.

With snowballing US-Taiwan cooperation—including the FBI scene last week, also including the $2 Billion in arms sales—China will see more delays. Protesting the G20 set for June 28, 2019 in Osaka would be another way Beijing could retaliate for delays in absorbing Taiwan. But, Trump already promised tariffs on yet another $300 Billion in goods if Xi Jinping doesn’t show.

Chinese ambassadors to G20 countries are promoting anti-US sentiment. Will those countries be likely to side with China against the US just because a Beijing ambassador told them what to do? Even Hong Kongers don’t like Beijing telling their CEO what to do. Perhaps Beijing doesn’t know that. Perhaps Beijing knows, but doesn’t care. Perhaps everyone “kowtowing” to China’s demands over the last 40 years has led the Chinese to believe they are more influential than they really are. Beijing doesn’t seem to be aware of where it stands with international opinion. But, it might find out soon.

Does any Chinese president show up where he is not welcome? Think about that…

With Trump’s G20 threat in place, if Xi Jinping shows up at G20 where his anti-US diplomacy efforts “un-welcomed” him, then people will think he succumbs to threats and is weak. If he doesn’t show, then Trump will lecture China publicly about “keeping a schedule” while Xi’s country faces tariffs on $300 Billion of goods, and Xi will be seen as weak. More importantly, with new tariffs, China would be even less able to retaliate to delays in the “Taiwan schedule”. Either way, drama over G20 exhausts China and leads to a checkmate.

If Taiwan is considered a playing “card”, then it is a “trump” card, as they say. Taiwan might be a chess piece, but not one that gets sacrificed. Taiwan may be the pawn-turned-queen to hold the king in check at the end game.

Now, consider Hong Kong, where a “to other countries including China” extradition law brought out 1 Million Hong Kongers in protest, twice. CEO Carrie Lam outright ignored the protestorstwice. She’s sad—not about her proposed extradition law, but that the law is opposed. Ignoring 1/7th of the population when they march in the streets is a bad idea in any country, in any universe. But, Carrie doesn’t care, thus reflecting the worldview of any Beijinger.

Taiwan responded by deciding that it would not cooperate with the Hong Kong extradition law, even if passed, until “human rights” were addressed and only if Hong Kong heeded the opinion of its people in choosing whether to pass the law. Without Taiwan’s support, the largest—if not only—reason known to the public for the law has vanished. And, it’s all because of Taiwan.

One important factor in the “Taiwan schedule” is the upcoming election. Things seemed to be leaning toward Mayor Han of Kaohsiung for the KMT-Nationalist party. But, the events in Hong Kong over the past week have weakened Han and almost certainly assured a second term for Taiwan’s incumbent, President Tsai. That means only more delays in the “schedule”

If Beijing can’t get a grip on Taiwan quickly, Beijing will tighten its grip on Hong Kong even more.

But, Hong Kong is small and already attached to the mainland and doesn’t lend itself to much in the way of retaliation. Too many changes in Hong Kong law and countries will break treaty with Hong Kong and the “Asia’s World City” show will be finished. Once Hong Kong is no longer sufficient for Beijing to lash out over delays with Taiwan, the only retaliation left will be to invade Taiwan. That was Washington’s goal all along—a fight for Taiwan that requires Pentagon intervention—and long-term presence after—and China started it.

Beijing might be willing for a pro-unification candidate to win  Taiwan’s election. But, if other things crowd in too quickly—say the US normalizes with Taiwan—the 2020 election wouldn’t help the “Taiwan schedule” either way. Beijing needs to give Washington a reason not to formalize ties with Taipei, and so far they haven’t. G20 will decide a lot; China voting “absent” will decide a lot more a lot more quickly. Based on this Taiwan Schedule Theorem, expect more jeers and insults leading up to G20, from both sides, at the end of this month and expect Beijing to try every way to tighten its grip on Hong Kong.

Hong Kong

HK leader rejects calls to scrap extradition bill | Taipei Times

Tear gas fired as Hong Kong protests turn violent | RTE

PLA troops in Hong Kong awaiting orders from Xi: Boxun | Taiwan News

Hong Kong’s Protesters Should Look to Solidarity, not Tiananmen | The Atlantic

Hong Kong’s extradition bill could plunge it into the US-China trade war | Markets Insider

Hong Kong protests: All the latest updates | Aljazeera

Hong Kong extradition: Police fire rubber bullets at protesters | BBC News

Jackie Chan says ‘I don’t know anything’ about Hong Kong protests while in Taiwan | Taiwan News

Hong Kong protests serve as a warning to Taiwan over ‘one country, two systems’ | Taiwan News

Telegram boss links cyber attack during HK protests to China | BBC News

Hong Kong extradition protests leave city in shock | BBC News

Hong Kong extradition row: Will it damage its star status? | BBC News

YouTube: Hong Kong suspends debate on controversial extradition policy | CBS News

Chinese State Media And Others Are Spreading Hoaxes About The Protests In Hong Kong | BuzzFeed

YouTube: Protesters arrested after violent clashes in Hong Kong | CNN

Taiwan refuses extradition cooperation with Hong Kong over human rights issues | Taiwan News

Hong Kong unrest alarms Taiwan with wary eye on China | CNA

‘Happy to see Hong Kong become part of China’: Social media alarmed over Google mistranslation | HKFP

How Hong Kong’s Leader Made the Biggest Political Retreat by China Under Xi | NY Times

US senators table bill to amend Hong Kong trade policy, requiring new report on China’s ‘exploitation’ of city | HKFP

No, this video does not show Hong Kong police shooting a female protester | AFP

Thousands rally in Taipei to support HK | Taipei Times

Lam apologizes for causing ‘conflict’ | Taipei Times

Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong released from prison | City News

Hong Kong protest: ‘Nearly two million’ join demonstration | BBC News

Hong Kong protests: pressure builds on Carrie Lam as public rejects apology | Guardian

Taiwan

Taiwan hosting regional FBI program for first time | Taipei Times

Taiwan confirms request for US tanks, air defense systems | Fox News

As US-China relations sour, Taiwan’s value as a ‘chess piece’ may rise | CNBC

After China tariffs, Trump should recognize Taiwan, the Pentagon likely agrees | Taiwan News

Tsai, politicians slam unification model | Taipei Times

Senate, House pass pro-Taiwan 2020 defense bill | Taiwan News

‘History is clear,’ US will respond when Taiwan is threatened says Pentagon official | Taiwan News

Taiwan airport removes Chiang Kai-shek statue | Taiwan News

Taiwan activists plan rally against pro-China media | Taiwan News

Taiwan remains world’s fifth biggest creditor at end of 2018 | Taiwan News

Rally opposing Hong Kong’s proposed extradition bill reaches 6000 in Taipei | Taiwan News

China

Tiananmen Square: Iconic photo China doesn’t recognise | news.com.au

China mobilises diplomats to drum up global support ahead of G20 | SCMP

Trump says he will raise tariffs if Xi fails to meet him at G20 | CNN

Trump: If President Xi does not attend G-20, more China tariffs will go into effect immediately | CNBC

Trump delivers hard line on new China tariffs threat | Yahoo – AFP

China army colonel says Beijing will defend South China Sea territory | CNBC

China exports grow despite U.S. tariffs, but import slump most in nearly three years | Yahoo – Reuters

China appears to be cutting its US trade surplus – commentary | CNBC

Tariffs are forcing Big Tech to move production out of China | Engadget

China snubbed Trudeau request for talks about detained Canadians | CNA

Spain extradites more Taiwanese citizens to China, ignoring UN High Commissioner | Taiwan News

America Needs a Real China Strategy | National Interest
…explanation of both sides

China prepared for long trade fight with the U.S.: party journal | Yahoo – Reuters

Report: Navy and Marine F-35 Fighters Become ‘Erratic’ While Performing Air Combat Maneuvers | Yahoo – National Interest

Huawei

Cramer: Broadcom hurt by Trump move against Huawei on China trade | CNBC

Huawei apparently decides it needs more bad press, puts ads on phone lock screens | Android Police

[Update: Ads are gone] Huawei apparently decides it needs more bad press, puts ads on phone lock screens | Android Police

Huawei export ban claims another victim: Huawei’s $2,600 foldable smartphone | Ars Technica

North Korea

Kim Yong-chol: ‘Purged’ N Korean diplomat appears with Kim | BBC

Kim Jong Nam: Kim Jong-un’s half-brother was a ‘US informant’ | news.com.au

Kim Jong Un’s Undercover Adolescent Years in Switzerland | POLITICO

US, allies accuse North Korea of violating UN sanctions on refined petroleum | Fox News

North Korean refugee: We took huge risks to help others reach freedom. Why is the US, Spain punishing us? | Fox News

North Korea Fires Insults at U.S., Spares Trump | WSJ

Military

The Navy’s Next Super Weapon: ‘Baby’ Aircraft Carriers? | National Interest

Japan F-35 fighter crash: Pilot suffered ‘spatial disorientation’ | CNN

Japan Blames F-35 Fighter Crash on Pilot Disorientation | Bloomberg

No More F-35: Why a 6th Generation Fighter Will Be Everything | National Interest

Why Yes that was an F-35 Fighter Jet that Buzzed D.C. Earlier | PoPville

This Is the Battle That Turned the F-15 Strike Eagle Into a Legend | National Interest

An F-35B for Japan’s Izumo-class: Obstacles and Challenges | The Diplomat

The Question the Navy Doesn’t Want to Ask: Is the Aircraft Carrier Obsolete? | National Interest

B-52 Bomber Flies For The First Time With New Hypersonic Missile Under Its Wing | The Drive

High-Speed Turns In An Aircraft Carrier Look Like A Hell Of A Lot Of Fun | Foxtrot Alpha

Report: Marine and Navy F-35 Pilots Need to Ration Afterburners at High Altitudes | National Interest

Lockheed Martin and Pentagon Agree to Largest Procurement Deal in History | The Motley Fool

Are Japan’s New Naval F-35s Bad For China – Or Japan? | National Interest

Counterfeit Air Power: Meet China’s Copycat Air Force | Popular Mechanics

Report: Navy and Marine F-35 Fighters Become ‘Erratic’ While Performing Air Combat Maneuvers | Yahoo – National Interest

Source: Pacific Daily Times

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