Archive for December 11th, 2010

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Mark your Diary for Dai Bingguo

Korean People's Army Concert Troupe performs at China Grand Theater, November 2009

Korean People's Army Concert Troupe performs at China Grand Theater, November 2009

Asian elders aren’t shy of protesting – as an AFP/Getty photo published by German’s weekly Die Zeit would suggest, too. An online article by the paper, published today:

Their collars turned up to keep off the northerly wind, their peaked caps pulled down over their faces, accusing Asia’s rising superpower: “Beijing is the patron of the mortars from Pyongyang.”  Haven’t they always known? Some of them fought in the Korean war themselves, from 1950 to 1953, against the North Koreans and Chinese, or suffered from the war as children. Later, they joined in the Korea Freedom Federation. “When some thunder woke me up   in the morning, the day before yesterday”, says one of them, knocking his chest, “my pulse and my heart were racing!”

For a long time, they stood quite isolated with their deep distrust of China. No longer. After Pyongyang had fired 170 volleys at the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong, the ASAN Institute of Political Studies’ latest opinion poll signalled a cold snap in feelings towards China. Nine out of ten South Koreans were angered or disgusted that Beijing, once again [after the Cheonan incident earlier this year], was playing down a barbaric aggression from the North.

On the weekend following the attack on Yeonpyeong, writes Die Zeit, China’s most high-ranking foreign affairs politician, Dai Bingguo (戴秉国), invited himself to Seoul, with a lot of Chinese reporters.

Although the surprised hosts later denied that the visitor had announced himself only fifteen minutes before arrival, the obtrusive way in which he wanted to see South Korean president Lee Myung Bak without prior appointment left the impression that North Korea’s big brother was taking care of things in Seoul.

“From Beijing’s perspective”, Die Zeit quotes Dongguk University professor Kim Yong Huin*), “the Korean peninsula is some kind of port facility for overseas powers were and are able to debark.”

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Note

*) the name could refer to Kim Yong-hyun, a North Korea analyst at Dongguk University in Seoul who was quoted by the New York Times earlier this year.

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Related
Greying Protest Elegy, December 11, 2010
Cordial Greetings, FMPRC, Nov 28, 2010
Three Core Interests, June 19, 2010

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Greying Protest Elegy

Yes, I’m aware that two city council members from Ishigaki City, Okinawa Prefecture, have been spotted making a forced entry onto an island to the south of the Senkaku Islands from a Japanese fishing-boat, on December 10, at 8.50 in the morning (Beijing Time, I presume), according to the imperial records.

But is that news? Would it spell distortion if our television crews saved themselves the trouble of making a new movie of each new Japanese and Chinese protest march, and instead pick up the same archive material every time?

Of course, they would have to make sure that the leaves on the trees wear the colors of the season, in Shanghai, Tokyo, and other patriotic locations.

Over the years, though, the protesters will also continue looking older than now. Both China and Japan are countries with aging populations. Then again, the Chinese protesters may dye their hair, for the great rejuvenilation of their country.

Going from Strength to Strength: the Senkaku Conflict in 2025

Going from Strength to Strength: the Senkaku Conflict in 2025

One of the two Japanese city councillors was aged 61. I used to think that people at his age had grown past hoisting flags in remoted places which are their territory anyway.

Any haiku to offer on this topic, Froog?

*Sigh*

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Related
“Caught in the Screw” – China will Rule the World, November 18, 2010
The So-Called Video, November 12, 2010

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Rare Earth Minerals: Back to Global Sourcing

Toyota Tsusho Corporation, a trading company partly owned by Toyota Motor Corporation, will build a rare-earth processing plant in India to secure supply sources outside China, reports the International Business Times, a paper with a number of regional editions and headquarters in New York, also known as IBTimes. Production is scheduled to begin by the end of 2011. Based on the agreement, production of about 3,000 to 4,000 tons of rare minerals is planned, many of which are crucial to many of the world’s most advanced technologies, such as cellular phones, high performance batteries, flat screen televisions, green energy technology, and are critical to the future of hybrid and electric cars, high-tech military applications and superconductors and fiber-optic communication systems.

The IBTimes provides some statistics, too:

China, which mines more than 90 percent of the world’s rare earth, has exported 6,000 tones, or 49.8 percent, of its total rare earth [export or production? – JR*)] to Japan, representing 167 percent rise year on year, according to China’s Ministry of Commerce.

In that light, the project reported by the IBTimes, between Toyota Tsusho, Japan’s Shin-Etsu Chemical Co and Indian Rare Earths Ltd, will make a big global difference in rare earth mineral supplies, provided that the production site in the Indian state of Orissa  meets its production target. China reportedly suspended its export of rare-earth minerals to Japan in the wake of the “Senkaku incident” last summer. Beijing had introduced more general export controls on rare earths three years earlier, in 2007.

Wikipedia has a short history of Global Rare Earth Production, from Brazil and India to South Africa, and then to California in the 1960s to 1980s.

Worldwide demand for rare earths, covering 15 entries on the periodic table of elements, is expected to exceed supply by some 40,000 tonnes annually in several years unless major new production sources are developed,

Reuters wrote in August 2009, citing the potential growth of hybrid-car and wind-turbine production as major drivers of demand for reare minerals. Japanese companies were also showing interest in Canadian and Vietnamese rare earth deposits, the news agency wrote.

In October this year, Japan and Vietnam agreed to build two other nuclear reactors in Vietnam, and to cooperate on developing rare earth minerals. The development site is likely to be Vietnam’s northwestern Lai Chau province, according to a Japanese official quoted by AlJazeera.

China plans to reduce the number of its rare earth mining companies from currently 90, to 20 by 2015, according to Xinhua.

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Note
*) According to a Business Wire report, China’s rare earth production came to 129,400 tons and the global rare earth consumption was about 90,000 tons. The report also contains a lot of background information about the country’s rare-earth production, including the need to modernize the exploitation procedures, and to make the industry’s management more efficient.

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Related
Advice to India: You will only Harm Yourself, November 7, 2010
Sino-Japanese SNAFU in Hanoi: “Full Responsiblilty”, October 30, 2010
ASEAN Unity: Smile, and Show your Teeth, September 22, 2010

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