Posts tagged ‘Obama’

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ma Ying-jeou: “A Considerable Threat Continues to Exist in the Taiwan Strait”

Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou spoke about cross-strait relations in an interview with the BBC‘s Carrie Gracie this month. There is a three-minutes’ video on youtube, and Radio Taiwan International‘s (RTI) Chinese service has a transcript of the interview.

I have based my following translation – not necessarily accurate – on the RTI transcript. Links with in the following Q & A were inserted during translation.

________________

[Asked what his feelings are about China being both an important trading partner and a cause of security threats]

A: We are only some 100 nautical miles away from mainland China, and to us, China is a big risk risk, and also a big opportunity. Any leader of the Republic of China should learn to reduce risks and to expand opportunities, and what I have done during the past seven years is exactly that.

總統:我們與大陸只有大概100多海浬左右的距離,中國大陸對我們來說是很大的風險,也是很大的機會。任何中華民國的領導人都應該學習把風險減少、把機會擴大,而我過去7年來做的就是這件事。

Our economic relations with mainland China, (language and culture), coincide in fairly many ways, while the developmental stages of both sides aren’t identical. Over the past decades, our trade volume with mainland China has continuously risen, and our trade surplus has been huge. The goods we sell to mainland China can be processed further there, be sold to Europe and North America, and this stage has been of mutual benefit in the past.

我們與大陸間的經濟關係,(語言文化上)有相當多一致的地方,而雙方的經濟發展階段並不一樣。過去幾十年當中,我們與大陸的貿易量一直增加,我方享有的順差也非常龐大。我們銷往大陸的貨品會再經過他們加工,賣到歐洲及北美,這樣的關係在過去的階段是互利的。

Of course, mainland Chinese threats stem from the military and the political field, and some people believe that deepening trade and investment relations with mainland China leads to excessive dependence on mainland China. To consider and weigh political and military threats, the mode our government adopted has been to find some consensus that is acceptable to both sides, and to shelve differences. In terms of the economy and trade, obviously, Taiwan can’t avoid some dependence on mainland China, but since I took office, dependence on mainland China has actually decreased, because the government has started the work of market diversification, leading to Taiwan’s trade dependence on mainland China not increasing further, but rather slightly decreasing.

大陸對我們的威脅當然還是來自軍事與政治方面,有些人認為,與大陸的貿易和投資加深,會造成對大陸過度依賴。考量政治與軍事的風險,我們政府採取的方式,就是找出雙方都可以接受的一些共識、擱置歧見。在經濟及貿易方面,台灣當然不可避免部分依賴大陸,但從我上任後,對大陸的依賴程度反而減少了,因為政府開始做好分散市場的工作,使得台灣對大陸的貿易依賴沒有再增加,反而有少許的減少。

[Asked if he believes that China is moving towards democratization, in a long-term trend]

問:習近平上任後,全世界都在期待中國大陸是否會往民主的方向發展,您認為未來中國大陸走向民主化是一個長久趨勢嗎?

A: During the past few years, I have constantly reminded the mainland Chinese authorities that if you want to narrow the psychological gap between the Taiwanese and the mainland Chinese people, freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, these core values of Taiwan, are important factors.  If mainland China were more active concerning these issues, the distance could be narrowed, but also, if there wouldn’t be more positive activity, the distance could also widen. In the past few years, the trends and changes in the psychological gap have also clearly reflected the actual attitude of mainland Chinese authorities in recent years.

總統:在過去幾年中,我不斷提醒大陸當局,想要拉近台灣與大陸人民心理上的差距,很重要的因素就是自由、民主、人權及法治,這些台灣所擁有的核心價值。如果在這些議題,大陸做得更積極,距離就可以拉近,同樣的,如果他沒有更積極的作為,距離就會拉遠。在過去幾年,心理差距的變化趨勢也清楚反映出大陸當局近幾年實際的態度。

On these issues, mainland China has seen good and bad times, sometimes somewhat better, sometimes worsening somewhat, thus remaining in a state of uncertainty.
中國大陸在這些議題上,他們一直是時好時壞,有時候好一點,有時候惡化一點,因此還處於不確定的狀態。

When I was running for re-election four years ago, mainland Chinese people were able to watch our elections on the internet, which was unprecedented. But recently, we have also seen many arrests of human rights activists, making everyone feel worried about mainland China’s human rights situation. Therefore, the feelings their situation causes us are sometimes good, sometimes bad.

在我4年前競選連任時,大陸人民可以透過網路看我們的選舉情況,這是過去都沒有的。但另外我們也看到,最近有很多維權人士被逮捕,使得大家對大陸人權情況惡化感到憂心,所以他們的情況給我的感覺是時好時壞。

[Asked if he feels angry about not having had an opportunity to met Xi Jinping after his efforts to improve relations]

A: Since I assumed office, one can say that cross-strait relations have improved, no matter if we look at economic aspects, cultural aspects, etc.. Therefore, a meeting between the leaders of the two sides would be a natural thing.  During the last two years, we have thought about the APEC summits as an opportunity to meet, but always without success, and of course, that’s a pity. Our current position is to neither rule a meeting out, nor to insist.

從我上任後,兩岸不論在經濟、文化等各方面的關係,都可以說有很大的進展,因此雙方領導人碰面應該是很自然的事情。過去兩年中,我們本來想利用亞太經合會(APEC)的機會碰面,但始終沒有成功,這當然是非常可惜的事情。我們目前的態度還是不排除、但也不會強求。

[Asked if he thinks that not to meet is Xi Jinping’s personal decision, taken from a too arbitrary  (過於獨斷) position]

A: We don’t know their decision-making process, of course, but certainly, the final decision lies with Mr. Xi. Maybe some of our views just differ, because we feel that in the process of developing cross-strait relations, some encounters on international occasions are unavoidable, but mainland Chinese leaders may try their best not to appear with us on international occasions, as they worry this could be against the so-called “One-China policy”. But what I would like to emphasize is that we have said clearly on many occasions that when we reached the “1992 consensus”, it just meant that the two parties both maintain the “One-China principle”, but the meaning we give to it is not identical. Only with this flexibility, the two parties can establish better relations. However, once it comes to international occasions, mainland China remains very unflexible in this regard.

我們當然不知道他們的決策過程如何,但是最後一定是由習先生拍板確定。我們可能跟他採取一些不同的看法,因為我們覺得在兩岸關係的發展過程中,不可避免地會在國際場合碰到,但是中國大陸儘可能避免在國際場合與我們同時出現,因為擔心這樣會違反所謂的「一個中國」原則。不過,我要強調的是,我們在許多場合都曾清楚說明,當初達成「九二共識」就是指雙方都堅持「一個中國」的原則,但是所賦予的涵義並不相同;有此彈性,雙方才能建立更友好的關係。然而一旦到了國際場合,中國大陸在這方面非常僵硬。

[Asked if Xi Jinping’s statement that the cross-strait issue couldn’t be dragged from generation to generation constitutes a threat to Taiwan]

A: I believe that this way of putting it, makes things look as if they had been delayed for a long time. In fact, the two sides having relatively close and friendly relations has only been going on for these seven years. I often say that seven years can’t count as a generation. Patient handling is required. The two sides have been apart for more than sixty years. The atmosphere can’t be changed over night. We believe that cross-strait relations should be promoted patiently and diligently, to let the fruits gradually emerge.

總統:我覺得他這個說法好像我們已經延誤很久了,實際上兩岸之間有比較密切友好的關係也才不過這7年而已,我常說7年不能算是一代,需要耐心來處理,畢竟雙方隔海分治已經60多年了,不可能一個晚上就改變氣氛。我們覺得應該以耐心且很用心地來推動兩岸關係,讓成果逐漸展現。

In fact, the fruits brought about by the cross-strait relations’ development during the past seven years have already surpassed those of the previous fifty years which is very fast, but in the view of the Taiwanese people, they do not wish to move too quickly but to gradually achieve the goal of improved relations.

事實上,在過去7年間,兩岸關係發展所帶來的成果已超過前面的50幾年,這已經算非常快了,但是對台灣民眾而言,他們也不希望走得太快,而是希望逐步達成關係改善的目標。

[Asked if recent mainland Chinese military exercises and their use of the Republic of China’s presidential palace as an imaginary target made him feel uneasy]

A: According to intelligence we’ve collected in the past, they have used mock objects for simulated attacks for a long time. When we conduct military exercises, we also put out defense against such designs. [Mainland Chinese] action of this kind just reminds us that in the Taiwan Strait, in the military field, a considerable threat continues to exist, against which we must prepare.

根據我們過去所蒐集到的情資,他們以台灣做為模擬攻擊的對象已有很長的時間。我方進行軍事演習時,也會針對他們這種設計做出防衛。這個動作只是提醒我們,兩岸之間在軍事領域仍有相當大的威脅存在,我們必須做好防備。

[Asked if the threat against Taiwan doesn’t rise with mainland Chinese military and economic strength]

A: In fact, the balance across the Taiwan Strait, in military terms, has tilted in favor of mainland China, beginning in 2005. Because very year, at a pace of double-digit numbers, and even at a pace of twenty per cent, they increase their national defense budget. It would be difficult for us to engage in an arms race with the mainland in this regard. Therefore, our principle in defense combat is to create a bilateral situation in which any party that wants to use one-sided, non-peaceful means to change the status quo must pay a price it doesn’t want to pay. That’s the only feasible major principle to prevent a cross-strait military conflict. Peace and prosperity have always been the goals of our efforts.

實際上從2005年開始,台灣海峽在軍事方面的均衡是朝大陸傾斜的,因為他們每一年皆以將近兩位數、甚至於將近百分之20的速度在增加國防預算,我們很難在這方面與大陸從事軍備競爭。因此,我方現在所採取的防衛作戰原則就是要造成一種雙邊情勢,使得任何一方要用片面、非和平方式改變現狀時,會付出其不想付的代價,這是唯一能夠阻止兩岸發生軍事衝突的重要原則。和平與繁榮一向都是我們努力的目標。

What I mean is that cross-strait relations exist into all kinds of directions. As for military threats, we must think about ways to reduce them, but in non-military fields, we also want to think about ways to increase them. Therefore, in our dealings with mainland China, we will always see these different directions.

我剛剛的意思是,兩岸之間各種面向的關係都存在,軍事的威脅我們要想辦法減少,而非軍事方面的合作,我們要想辦法增加,所以我們與大陸打交道,永遠有這些不同的面向。

What we prepare for our annual Han Kuang military exercises is just that kind of defense operations, and we have exactly these points in the Han Kuang military exercises. I’m sorry that we can’t disclose these to you. I can’t disclose related details, but we do prepare for conflict scenarios.

而我們每一年漢光演習準備的就是這些防禦作戰,至於我們漢光演習做了哪些科目,很抱歉我們沒有辦法向您透露。我不能透露這些相關細節,但是兩岸之間可能發生衝突的情況,我們要預先做準備。

[Asked if he feels unsatisfied with this.]

A: Of course.

當然。

[Asked if given mainland Chinese military budget increases, and American strategic ambiguity concerning Taiwan, America shouldn’t be more clear about its attitude towards Taiwan, or guarantee support for Taiwan under certain circumstances – and if Obama would be in a position to do this]

A: As for America, the “Taiwan Relations Act” regulations are plain. Of course, we cannot rely on American law and regulations, but on our own preparedness. And our preparations aren’t just about adopting defense measures, but we should, by means of politics and cross-strait relations, eliminate chances for this situation [of military conflict] to occur. Therefore, as for the Taiwanese defense lines against mainland China that I’ve just mentioned, the first line is not about aircraft and artillery, but about reconciliation [or amicable settlement], and thus reducing the risk of conflict erupting, and only this is one of the highest strategies. This is also exactly what Sunzi’s “Art of War” means when saying that  the highest form of generalship is to balk [or counter-attack] the enemy’s plans”.

對美國來講,「台灣關係法」已明文規定。當然我們不能靠美國法律的規定,我們要靠自己的準備,而我們的準備不只是從軍事上做好防禦的措施,更應該從政治上、兩岸關係上,消除這種情況出現的機會,所以我剛提及台灣對大陸的防線,第一道防線不是飛機、大砲,而是兩岸的和解,透過兩岸的和解,使得兩岸發生衝突的機會減少,這才是一個最高的謀略,也就是「孫子兵法」所說的「上兵伐謀」。

[Pressed on whether he would hope for a clear American presidential defense statement in favor of Taiwan if attacked by mainland China]

A: In fact, this problem has always existed during the past sixty years. But during the past seven years, America didn’t need to issue these statements, but could also make the Taiwan Strait maintain peace. The most important key is that this risk is reduced after improving relations with mainland China. The official in charge of cross-strait relations in the U.S. State Department has repeatedly reiterated that stable development of cross-strait relations is an important factor of maintaining constructive relations with Taiwan. In other words, simply relying on America to come to our help to fight this battle. Rather, by lowering this risk to the lowest possible level, by reducing the risk of conflict to a minimum, that’s the highest strategy, and also exactly about “balking the enemy’s plans”.

事實上,在過去60年當中,這個問題一直存在,可是在過去的7年當中,美國已經不需要做這些聲明,但是一樣可以讓台海維持和平,最重要的關鍵是我們與大陸改善關係之後,使得這種風險變少了。美國國務院主管兩岸事務的官員一再重申,兩岸關係的穩定發展,是他們與台灣維持建設性關係的重要因素,換言之,我們不能光靠美國來幫我們打這個仗,而是我們把這種可能的風險降到最低、可能的衝突減少到最少,這才是最高的戰略,也就是「上兵伐謀」。

Monday, May 11, 2015

China’s Press commemorates WW2: Criticizing the Impenitent by Lauding the Remorseful

This was the commemoration of VE day, but the military parade in Moscow on Saturday rather looked like VJ Day. Chinese party and state leader Xi Jinping took the seat that had been US president George W.Bush’s ten years earlier, and proably would have been Barack Obama’s, hadn’t he stayed away, as most Western leaders did, as a reaction to Russia’s Ukraine policies.

Xi Jinping's Moscow Mercedes: Germany's leaders boycotted the parade, but the German-made car pool didn't

Xi Jinping’s Moscow Mercedes: Germany’s leaders boycotted the parade, but the German-made car pool didn’t (CCTV/Xinwen Lianbo coverage, click picture for Youtube video)

Also, for the first time ever, according to Chinese media, a Chinese guard of honor took part in the parade. Xinhua celebrated the great moment:

Greeting the air of spring in Moscow and marching to the “Katyusha” theme, the 102-strong People’s Liberation Army guard of honor, full of high spirits, passed Moscow’s Red Square, showing military prestige, and manifesting national power. On the reviewing stand, Chairman Xi Jinping stood and waved to them.

迎着莫斯科的春光,踏着《喀秋莎》的旋律,由102人组成的中国人民解放军仪仗方队意气风发走过莫斯科红场,走出了军威,彰显了国威。检阅台上,习近平主席起身向他们挥手致意。

But they didn’t only attract the world’s attention for their gallant formation and morale, and not only for their distinctive arrangement rhythmic marching pace, and also not only this was the first time that this was the first time China dispatched a guard of honor to take part in a Red-Square military review.

在莫斯科红场,中国军人吸引了世界的目光,这不仅仅是因为他们军容严整、士气高昂;不仅仅是因为他们独特的队形编排和富有韵律的步态步速;也不仅仅因为这是中国首次派出仪仗方队参加红场阅兵。

The Chinese troops on Moscow’s Red Square attracted millions of peoples‘ attention. This guard of honor, representing the Chinese troops‘ image, vigour and strength made people remember the sacrifices made by the Chinese and Russian armies in the world’s just war against and victory over fascism, manifested the strategic and coordinated relationship between the Chinese and the Russian armies, taking the common mission of their two countries to maintain the peaceful development of the world.

在莫斯科红场,接受检阅的中国军人令万众瞩目。这支代表中国军队形象、精神和实力的仪仗方队,令人追忆中俄两国两军为世界反法西斯正义战争胜利作出的牺牲和贡献,彰显着中俄两国两军全面战略协作关系,承载着两国共同维护世界和平发展的使命。

As China’s military passed across Moscows Red Square, the sound of their footsteps expressed the solemn promise of forever remembering history.

当中国军人走过莫斯科红场,铿锵的足音里,表达出铭记历史的庄严承诺。 […]

Forgetting history spells betrayal (忘记历史就意味着背叛), writes Xinhua. Probably, this does not refer to the way the article itself celebrates what was the CCP’s Red Army at the time of World War 2, and ignores the role of the KMT’s – then regular – Chinese troops.

To commemorate war means avoiding war. Seventy years ago, Chinese and Russian did immortal deeds in the world’s war against and victory over fascism. In this 21rst century, the two countries are permanent members of the United Nations‘ Security Council, and bear a great responsibility for the protection of the fruits of victory in World War 2 and international fairness and justice, for the promotion of the international order taking a more just and reasonable direction, for regional and global peace, security, and stability.

纪念战争是为了避免战争。70年前,中俄为世界反法西斯战争胜利建立了不朽的功勋。在21世纪的今天,两国作为联合国安理会常任理事国,对共同捍卫二战胜利成果和国际公平正义,对促进国际秩序朝着更加公正合理的方向发展,对地区及世界的和平、安全、稳定,都负有重大责任。

Kind of naturally, the mainstream Western press is taking a less cordial look at the parade and its supposed implications.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has used the anniversary to whip up patriotism and anti-Western sentiment; at a parade in Kiev, President Petro Poroshenko said Moscow was trying to hog the credit for the World War Two victory at Ukraine’s expense,

says an article published by the Daily Telegraph on Sunday, and concerning Russian-Chinese cooperation, the Guardian’s foreign affairs commentator Natalie Nougayrède wrote on March 26 that

China has a 2,500-year history of strategic thinking driven by a deep distrust of external players. Don’t expect a People’s Daily front page proclaiming a new era of Chinese openness towards the west. Nor should Vladimir Putin’s Russia think that it will find an amenable partner in Xi’s China if it continues to turn its back on Europe. China sees Russia as a declining power that can eventually be transformed into an economic colony – reduced to the role of oil and gas provider. China believes it can make strategic gains if Europe and Russia continue to clash.

While German chancellor Angela Merkel, just as the majority of Western leaders, boycotted the military parade on Saturday, she did meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Monday, to hold talks after they had laid down a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier together. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) refers to Merkel as having acted as the West’s chief interlocutor with the Kremlin throughout the Ukraine crisis, which might serve as one explanation why Merkel didn’t avoid meeting Putin altogether. But in its English broadcast on Monday, Radio Japan added another interpretation:

Merkel and other Group-of-Seven leaders cited the Ukrainian crisis for their absence from Saturday’s parade in Moscow, marking seventy years since the victory over Nazi Germany. But Merkel attended a wreath-laying ceremony in an apparent attempt to show that Germany has faced up to the responsibility for the Nazi atrocities.

That, however, didn’t keep Merkel from unusually plain talk at a joint press conference with the Russian leader. While Putin referred to Germany as a partner and friend, and, according to Süddeutsche Zeitung, even suggested that Germany had been the first victim of the Nazis, Merkel said that German-Russian cooperation has suffered a grave setback by Russia’s criminal annexation of Crimea, in violation of international law, and the military conflict in Ukraine (hat durch die verbrecherische und völkerrechtswidrige Annexion der Krim und die militärische Auseinandersetzung in der Ostukraine einen schweren Rückschlag erlitten).

On May 6, in a speech at Schloss Stukenbrock, a prisoner-of-war camp in western Germany’s state of Northrhine-Westphalia, German president Joachim Gauck, known as a fiery anti-communist, made a speech which took many political observers, at least in Germany itself, by surprise. He addressed a fact that is frequently unknown or hardly known among Germans, and particularly West Germans (thanks not least to what China’s media might have criticized as cooked history textbooks, if West Germany had been Japan):

We have gathered here today in Schloß Holte-Stukenbrock to recall one of the worst crimes of the war – the deaths of millions of Red Army soldiers in German prisoner-of-war camps. They died in agony without medical care, starved to death or were murdered. Millions of prisoners of war for whose care the German Wehrmacht was responsible under the law of war and international agreements.

These prisoners were forced on long marches, transported in open goods wagons and sent to so-called reception or assembly camps that provided almost nothing at the start – no shelter, not enough food, no sanitary facilities, no medical care. Nothing. They had to dig holes in the ground and build makeshift huts for shelter – they tried desperately to survive somehow. Huge numbers of these prisoners were then forced to do hard labour which, in their weakened and starving condition, they often did not manage to survive.

The Beijing Evening News (北京晚报) combined a rendition of Gauck’s speech with another laudably self-critical one by Germany’s permanent representative at the United Nations, and a much less laudable one (at least according to the paper itself) by Japan’s permanent representative:

In contrast [to the German permanent representative’s speech], Japan’s permanent representative at the UN, Motohide Yoshikawa, only said: “Our behavior created misery for the peoples of the Asian countries. We must not close our eyes to this.” After that, he made big words about Japan’s “contributions to international peace, and Japan’s support for the United Nations”.

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Related

» China invites Russian Troops, Kyiv Post / Reuters, May 11, 2015
» Even closer, The Atlantic, May 10, 2015
» Wo sind die Nachtwölfe, Telepolis, May 10, 2015
» India’s Grenadiers join Parade, Telegraph India, May 9, 2015

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Monthly Summary: March 2015 – Death of a China Expert

Bremen, East of Central Station, March 26, 2015

Bremen, East of Central Station, March 26, 2015

1. How’s your Weibo going?

Mainland regulators say people will be able to have nicknames – they will just have to register them with website administrators first,

the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported in January.

The rule apparently took effect on March 1, but yours truly, himself running a Sina Weibo profile, hasn’t been contacted yet.(Having said that, it’s a very low profile – I’m reading there, but I’ve never posted anything myself.)

Either way, it’s »not »the »first try by the authorities to control or to intimidate the microbloggers, and time will show how serious they are this time.

Either way, ways appear to have been found to spoil much of the interest in microblogging.

2. Rectifying Political Ideology at Universities

That blog by Fei Chang Dao was posted on February 25, but it’s probably as important in March and in future. Even if you read no other China blog, make sure you read Fei Chang Dao, and China Copyright and Media, for that matter. What they cover matters much more than the not-really-uncertain fate of Zhou Yongkang – if you want to understaaaaand China.

3. Kailash Calling

Travelling Tibet can be an easy affair, or it can be cumbersome. It might depend on who you are, and where you come from. Here’s an account of scuffproof cheerfulness and patience.

4. “Two Meetings”

The annual tale of two meetings has come to its serene conclusion again this year, with China’s new normal. Just to have mentioned that, too.

5. Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)

The Economist suggested in November that

China will use the new bank to expand its influence at the expense of America and Japan, Asia’s established powers. China’s decision to fund a new multilateral bank rather than give more to existing ones reflects its exasperation with the glacial pace of global economic governance reform. The same motivation lies behind the New Development Bank established by the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Although China is the biggest economy in Asia, the ADB is dominated by Japan; Japan’s voting share is more than twice China’s and the bank’s president has always been Japanese. Reforms to give China a little more say at the International Monetary Fund have been delayed for years, and even if they go through America will still retain far more power. China is, understandably, impatient for change. It is therefore taking matters into its own hands.

The “People’s Daily” suggests that the AIIB is intended to be complementary to top dogs like the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Britain, France, Germany and Italy are European countries that want to be founding members of the AIIB, the British move (which came first in Europe, it seems) angered Washington, a so far reluctant Japanese government may still be persuaded to join the Beijing-led project, and Huanqiu Shibao quotes Russian foreign multimedia platform Sputnik as quoting an analyst as saying that America, too, might still join, so as to hamper China’s influence that way.

6. In Defense of the Constitution: Are you mad?

Taiwan’s president Ma Ying-jeou appeared to question the mental faculties of a Fulbright exchange academic who had asked if the KMT couldn’t drop its claims in the South China Sea.

“Are you mad?”, asked the president – reportedly -, then adding that abandoning those claims would be unconstitutional. He’s also said to have reacted somewhat wooden in another exchange with Fulbright scholars, on the same occasion, March 19.

7. Lee Kuan Yew, 1923 – 2015

Ma’s prayers for Lee Kuan Yew‘s early recovery weren’t terribly successful either; Singapore’s elder statesman died from pneumonia after weeks in hospital. Lee had his admirers both in China and Taiwan, especially for very low levels of corruption in Singapore, and apparently, he had a admirer at the American top, too. Probably no great surprise for John McCain or the tea partisans.

According to “People’s Daily”, Lee was a China expert and a West expert. According to other sources, he appeared to be a democracy expert, too (but he denied that claim).

In an apparently rather terse statement, Benjamin Pwee (方月光), secretary general of the Democratic Progressive Party of Singapore (one of several opposition parties, but neither of them influential in Singapore’s flawed democracy) said that

all great leaders are still people, and inevitably, one can find words of praise and of contempt. But at this time of national grief, let’s remember the contributions he made for the people of Singapore, and affirm his contributions.

“所有伟大的领导人毕竟都是人,难免可褒可贬。但在这个举国哀悼之际,让我们记得他为国人做所的贡献,肯定他的贡献。”

Singapore’s authorities closed the “Speakers Corner” at Hong Lim Park on Monday, for an undefined period. Reportedly, truly “free speech” never really ruled there, anyway.

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Related

想要更多政治空間和言論自由, CNA, March 23, 2015

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Dempsey Visit: China People’s Broadcasting Station explains US-Vietnamese Partnership

Huanqiu Shibao had a rendition on a China People’s Broadcasting Station (CPBS, aka China National Radio) on Sunday. The following is a translation of the rendition.

Main Link: http://world.huanqiu.com/article/2014-08/5108330.html

China People’s Broadcasting Station Net (CPBS Net), Beijing, August 17 – According to the Voice of China’s “CPBS News”, the war that lasted for twenty years, from 1955 to 1975, gave both America lasting pain. After the end of the war, the two countries started opposing each other for twenty years, until the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1995.

央广网北京8月17日消息 据中国之声《央广新闻》报道,1955年到1975年,历经20年的越战给美越两国人民造成了永久的伤痛。越战后,美越两国开始了长达20年的对抗,直到1995年,两国才正式建立外交关系。

But after a family feud of half a century, and during the nineteen years of U.S.-Vietnamese relations that followed, tremendous changes have taken place. Just this month, on August 13, and for the first time after 43 years, an American Chief of Staff, Martin Dempsey, visited Vietnam, the highest-level military visiting Vietnam. Also, America will remove some parts of the arms embargo that had been in place for thirty years. Some Analysts believe that the warming up [in the two countries’ relations] is food for thought. [Voice of China’s] “Global Mandarin Broadcasting Network” America observer Yu Hao explains:

然 而,这长达半个多世纪的“家仇国恨”,在随后的十几年美越交往中发生着翻天覆地的变化。就在本月13号,时隔43周年后,美军参谋长联席会议主席登普西访 问越南,成为越战后首访越南的美国最高军事长官;而历经30年后,美国也将解除对越南部分武器禁运。有分析称,美越此时的“暧昧”关系值得深思。《全球华 语广播网》美国观察员余浩介绍:

What is the reason for the U.S. to lift the arms embargo against Vietnam right now? Most American media are looking at this with the background of rebalancing American forces towards Asia-Pacific, and Dempsey also emphasized in Vietnam that America didn’t want Vietnam to choose between the two big countries of America and China.*) In recent years, both America and Vietnam have become wary about China and have strengthened military cooperation. One by one, American secretary of defense and secretary of state visited Vietnam, even exploring the possibility of American warships calling at Cam Ranh Bay, and this time, Dempsey hinted that the arms embargo against Vietnam could be lifted, and one could say that this was boosting U.S.-Vietnamese military cooperation. The ultimate success depends on U.S. Congress approval. However, during this year, many members of Congress have visited Vietnam, like Senate heavyweight John McCain who visited only a few days ago and said that at the earlierst, a partial removal of the arms embargo could be achieved by September this year.

余 浩:为何美国在这个时候要解除对越南的武器禁运呢?美国的媒体大多是将其放在美国亚太再平衡和南海主权争端中越关系紧张的大背景下来观察,登普西在越南也 强调,美国并没有让越南在美中两个大国之间进行选择。近年来美国和越南这两个对中国同样有戒心的国家强化军事合作关系,美国国防部长、国务卿相继访问越 南,甚至探讨美军军舰在金兰湾停靠的可能性,登普西此次放风解除对越南武器禁运,可谓是给美越军事合作加油打气,最后能否成功还取决于美国国会是否批准, 不过今年以来美国议员密集访问越南,重量级参议院麦凯恩前几天刚刚访问过越南,并且称解除对越武器禁运,最快有可能于9月份部分实现。

While America and Vietnam established diplomatic relations, military exchange between the two sides has only been superficial, but when it comes to trade cooperation, it is almost comprehensively in full bloom, having reached leapfrogging style.

虽然1995年美越建交,但双方的军事交流还仅仅是浅尝辄止,不过,说到双方的经贸合作,几乎是全面开花,实现了跨越式的发展。

In 1994, one year before the establishment of diplomatic relations, U.S. president Clinton lifted the economic embargo against Vietnam, and the two countries’ trade grew quickly. On December 10, 2001, the U.S.-Vietnamese bilateral trade agreement came into effect, and since then, trade relations have boomed. From January to July this year, Vietnam has exported goods to the U.S. totalling 16 billion U.S. dollars, a year-on-year increase of 24 percent. A forecast by the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam says that bilateral trade relations will reach 336 billion Dollars in 2014. Currently, Vietnam’s exports to America are the third-largest among ASEAN states, second ony to Malaysia’s and Thailand’s.

1994年暨美越建交前一年,美国总统克林顿宣布取消对越南经济的禁运政 策,当年两国的双边贸易便实现了快速增长,2001年12月10日,美越双边贸易协定生效,自此,美越经贸关系发展迅猛,今年1到7月,越南对美国货物出 口额为160亿美元,同比增长24%,越南美国商会预测,2014年越美双边贸易额将达到336亿美元,目前越南对美出口额在东盟国家中位居第三,仅次于 马来西亚和泰国。

Looking back at the Vietnam war, and exactly because of that war, America implemented a comprehensive arms embargo against Vietnam as early as in 1984. PLA National Defense University professor Li Li explains:

回首越南战争,正是由于这场战争,早在1984年,美国便对越南实施了全面的武器禁运。中国国防大学李莉教授介绍说:

In 1984, America officially passed this kind of law, banning all further supplies of military equipment. This included two levels, one about military high-tech, the supply of which wasn’t only prohibited for American companies, but also the entire European Union, countries the EU had relations with, had to join the ranks. This included some important advanced material technology, some electronic devices, or high-precision lathes the supply of which wasn’t allowed either. Adding to this, the definition of combat-class equipment is really broad, including missile equipment, these things are untouchable. It was a comprehensive limitation, and done very thoroughly.

李莉: 1984年美国是正式通过这样一个法律,禁止以后再继续向越南民主主义人民共和国出售所有相关军事装备的物品,包括两个层面,一个就是军事高技术,他不仅 自己不允许向越南提供,此外要求整个欧盟,包括所有和他有关系的国家,都参与到这个行列当中,包括新的一些重要的材料技术,包括一些信息技术、一些电子仪 器、精密的车床加工的这些技术都不允许提供。 此外,就是战斗类的装备是非常宽泛的,涉及陆海空,包括导弹类的装备,这些东西更是碰都不允许碰的,是全面的一个限制,做的是非常彻底。

By following two previous U.S. secretaries of defense and visiting Vietnam, too, joint chief Dempsey almost stirred a “Vietnam-mania”. According to one point of view, American intervention in the South China Sea is no longer just a posture, but some kind of real action. When secretary of state Kerry had just left Vietnam, Dempsey entered, so how come that currently, high American officials, one after another, visit Vietnam, especially a high-level military official? Xu Liping, director of the Chinese Academy of Social Studies’ China Network for the Asia-Pacific Research analyzes:

继此前两任美国防长访问越南,参谋长联席会议主席登普西也前往河内,美 国军方似乎掀起了“越南热”。有观点认为:美国对南海的干预,不再仅仅是一种姿态,而是一种实际的行动。美国国务卿克里前脚刚离开越南,登普西就紧随其 后,那么美国高官为什么会选择此时陆续访越,尤其是美军方高层?中国社科院亚太研究所文华研究室主任许利平分析:

I think that one should say that Dempsey’s visit to Vietnam is an important part of a close U.S.-Vietnamese relationship. Because we know that last year, Vietnam’s state chairman Truong Tan Sang visited the U.S., and Vietnamese-U.S. relations were raised to a level of comprehensive partnership. This is a very important point of view, because as we know, America’s relations with south-east Asian nations like Indonesia have also been raised to the level of comprehensive partnership. One could say that this is a new form of American relations with Asian countries. To strengthen economic relations with them is also an important part of the American rebalancing strategy towards Asia-Pacific, so I believe that Dempsey’s visit is another aspect of this component.

许利平:我想登 普西访问越南的话应该来说是越南和美国密切关系的一个重要组成部分,因为我们知道,去年越南国家主席张晋创也访问了美国,把越南和美国的关系提升为全面伙 伴关系,是一个非常重要的转折点,因为我们知道美国和东南亚的国家比如说印度尼西亚也提升为全面伙伴关系,应该来说也是美国和亚洲国家一个新型的伙伴关 系,强化这些亚洲国家在经济上面的联系,也是美国亚太再平衡战略的一个重要的组成部分,所以我觉得登普西访问也是这种组成部分的一个方面。

The highlight of Dempsey’s Vietnam visit is the strengthening of the two countries’ military cooperation, and a focus on maritime security. Some experts believe that this could put pressure on China.

登普西此次访越,亮点是两国合力加强军事合作,聚焦海事安全。有分析称,这将给中国施加压力。

Xu Liping: One should say that this is a breakthrough in U.S.-Vietnamese relations. America hopes that lifting the arms embargo will increase American arms exports which is, in fact, important for the U.S. economy. From a Vietnamese perspective, all arms imported by Vietnam have come from Russia, and that makes it a rather single market, and if America lifts the arms embargo, I guess this would increase Vietnam’s defense capabilities. Both sides can thus take what they need. Thirdly, and personally, I believe that of course, America’s strengthening of relations with Vietnam also includes considerations about the South China Sea. In fact, America wants to turn Vietnam into a chess piece for disputes with China, but their cooperation with Vietnam on the South China Sea issue is limited because on the one hand, Vietnam still has many misgivings about the U.S., and on the other hand, America, domestically, isn’t too relaxed about Vietnam either. So I think the cooperation between the two will be of a rather limited kind.

徐利 平:这应该来说是美越关系的一个突破,美国希望解除武器禁令扩大美国的武器出口,实际上也是对美国经济的吃紧,对越南方面来讲,由于历史上的原因越南一直 的进口武器都是来自于俄罗斯,应该来说市场是比较单一的,如果美国武器的禁运的解禁我估计会提高越南的这种国防能力,双方是一种各取所需,第三,我个人认 为美国强化和越南的这种关系,当然也有南海方面的考虑,实际上美国也希望把越南作为中国在南海争端方面的一个棋子,但是实际上美国在南海问题上跟越南的合 作我觉得他是有限度的,因为一方面的话越南对美国还是有很多的疑虑的,第二个美国国内也并不是对越南很放心,所以双方之间我觉得是一种有限度的合作吧。

We have noted that year-on-year, Vietnam’s exports to the U.S. have risen by 24 percent from January to July. In these contacts with a superpower, and in political or economic terms, Vietnam hardly incurs any disadvantages. What do you believe is Vietnam’s mentality in this commitment to contacts with America – what are the values they are choosing?

我们注意到,越南今年1至7月对美国出口同比增长24%,在与超级大国交往中,越南似乎在政治和经济上都没有吃亏,您认为越南与美国的交往秉承什么样的思路和价值选择?

The fact that America and Vietnam establish this kind of comprehensive partnership, that they strengthen economic cooperation and that both sides take what they need is part of a Vietnamese objective to implement a rebalancing strategy in its foreign relations, in its diplomacy. Vietnam’s actual overall goal is to establish this kind of strategic partnersip with all great powers. In fact, Vietnam’s foreign ministry has said that it wants to establish strategic partnerships with all five permanent members of the UN Security Council, but America remains as a scond choice, and to establish this kind of comprehensive partnership and rebalancing is something Vietnam hopes to use to increase its regional influence. Actually, Vietnam doesn’t want to side with just one great power, and I believe that this, too, is an important part of Vietnam’s strategy of balancing great powers.

许利平:美国和越南建立这种全面伙伴关 系,加强经济的这种合作,各取所需,实际上越南的对外外交的一个思路是要实现一种对外的这种平衡的战略,实际上他的总体战略是要和所有的大国建立这种伙伴 关系,越南的外交部其实已经提出了要和五大常任理事国都要建立这种战略伙伴关系,但是和美国只是退而求其次,建立了这种全面的伙伴的关系,实际上越南是希 望通过这种大国的平衡的战略来突出越南在这个地区的影响力,实际上越南也不可能想要任何的大国一边倒,我觉得这也是越南的这个大国平衡战略的一个重要的组 成部分。

An hour and twenty minutes after publication, 44 Huanqiu readers had expressed anger at the article (or what it describes), four readers are delighted, one is bored, and 22 feel that what they’ve read is ridiculous.

Huanqiu, a paper and website with a rather nationalist readership, also reported on Martin Demsey’s visit during the past days, all in a rather noncommittal mode – something also frequently practised by Chinese media during the 1980s/1990s when covering (controversial) foreign issues, but quite different from the often stirring ways Huanqiu articles were written around 2008/2012.

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Note(s):

*) “to choose between being a friend of the United States and a friend of China”, AFP, Aug 16, 2014

Similar statement:

“The Cold War is over. It ended. Russia’s not our enemy. The people of the Czech Republic don’t have to choose between being a friend of the United States or a friend with Russia, you can be both. We don’t believe in a zero sum world,” President Bush said today in Prague

Wall Street Journal, June 5, 2007

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Related

» Help to counter China, USA Today, Aug 18, 2014
» US urged to lift ban, VoV, Aug 14,2014
» 首次访问越南, Huanqiu, Aug 14, 2014
» Australia-US ties, BBC News, Aug 13, 2014
» 王毅晤越南副总理, Huanqiu, Aug 9, 2014
» Low-class nationalism, May 19, 2014
» Vo Nguyen Giap, October 4, 2013
» Giving away the Store, US News, July 23, 2013
» Syria & South China Sea, Aug 5, 2012
» Nothing to deploy, July 30, 2012
» Don’t get burned, June 21, 2012
» Communiqué, Oct 16, 2011
» Five Questions to a Hegemon, Aug 18, 2010
» Threat of an Invasion, April 29, 2009

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Monday Start-of-Work Links: Kim Jong-un “not the real Actor”?

1. A Deity doesn’t need to have a mind of his own,

argues Korhonen Pekka, a Finnish political scientist, in a post for Sino-NK. Nor does Kim Jong-un, he writes. Pekka interprets Kim’s reign as rather ceremonial, and that the bureaucracy is calling the shots. That however doesn’t appear to bode well for the future.

2. Lawyers should not Overestimate their Political Clout,

Fei Chang Dao quotes an editorial by Shan Renping (which is the pen name of Huanqiu Shibao‘s editor-in-chief, Hu Xijin). Fei Chang Dao (there appears to be a lawyer behind the blog) also explains the differences between the Chinese version of the article, and one published by Huanqiu’s sister edition in English, the “Global Times”. More recently, Fei Chang Dao explores how June-4 related searchwords are censored.

3. Public Diplomacy and its Limits

Obama’s Policies on Syria and Egypt, as well as on intelligence operations of U.S. administrations as revealed by Edward Snowden […] will have serious impacts on U.S. popularity in the world, Kilic Kanat, a political scientist, wrote on May 12, in an article for the English-language Daily Sabah from Istanbul. If Obama kept following his current policies especially on Syria and Egypt, […] the U.S. may face another downward trend in its standing. Under those circumstances, public diplomacy campaigns will only waste money on U.S. foreign policy.

Russia, Ukraine, or the Far East don’t seem to matter at all.

4. Meantime, on Capitol Hill …

… American senators and retired propaganda apparatchiks are trying to make sure that money spent on public money gets wasted indeed, by demanding that the language of Voice of America’s mission [..] explicitly state that the outlet has a role in supporting American “public diplomacy” and the policies of the government. To bring it down to a round figure, Fulbright scholarships are apparently being targeted by budget cuts.

No need for international exchange when you can broadcast linear propaganda, be it on shortwave, be it on “social media”.

This is the Voice of America, signing on. Hello World, shut up and listen!

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Related

» Umstrukturierung des US-Auslandsfunks, Radio Eins, April 5, 2014

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Norway: “appeasing China seems to take precedence”

Norway’s prime minister and foreign minister are not going to meet the Dalai Lama when he visits next month, as part of an effort to ease tensions with the world’s second-largest economy, Bloomberg reported on April 23. Views and News from Norway wrote on April 9 that Parliamentary President and a long-time supporter of Tibet, Olemic Thommessen, said he would not be meeting with the exiled spiritual leader because it was more important to repair relations with China. Relations between Oslo and Beijing had been frigid ever since Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, reports the Norwegian English-language website. It was Norway’s – now ruling – Conservative Party, including now prime minister Erna Solberg, who spoke up for human rights issues and Tibet in 2008. The Dalai Lama himself is a Nobel  laureate and visits on the 25th anniversary of being awarded the peace prize.

According to the Views and News report,

Olav Gunnar Ballo, another former leader of the Tibet committee, said it’s a shame Norway’s leading politicians haven’t come out in support of the Dalai Lama, and it’s cowardly that appeasing China now seems to take precedence over human rights issues that were so actively brandished in the past.

According to the Voice of Tibet, a Norway-based broadcaster and website operator, demonstrators protested, on Wednesday, against high-ranking politicians’ decisions not to meet with the Dalai Lama. Among the demonstrators – about 400 according to News and Views -, were Liberal Party leader Trine Skei Grande, MP Rasmus Hansson of the Green Paerty, and rock musician Lars Lillo-Stenberg. Norway should not cave in to force and threats, one of the organizers reportedly told Norway’s public broadcaster NRK. According to Views and News, Liberal Party leader Grande said that

the Dalai Lama would not be received “in the basement” […] but would be brought to parliament to meet “as many politicians as we can manage to scrape together. We will show that people are concerned about the cowardice shown.”

These are strong words of criticism – and as they come from Norwegians, these words are laudable. But before Europeans elsewhere join the condemnations easily, they should pause and think what they or their countries were doing while Norwegian business was kept in the cold by Beijing. In fact, Oslo resisted the pressures for a remarkably long time.

But it is also true that the Nobel Peace Prize committee in Oslo – independent from government in formal terms, but not when it comes to membership and influence – has made a joke of itself in recent years. Awarding Liu Xiaobo was a brave choice, but the award that had preceded it a year earlier – to Barack Obama -, and the one that followed in 2012,  to the European Union, were silly (to put it mildly).

Are the current (small-scale, but still bigger than elsewhere) protests only the last echoes from Norway’s better days? Or are they an indication that civil society is picking up important issues where the elites are failing? The Dalai Lama himself has turned more to people-to-people diplomacy in recent years, at least formally.

That’s where the future is.

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Related

» press conference, FMPRC (English), April 28, 2014
» press conference, FMPR (Chinese), April 28, 2014
» Dalai Lama in Oslo, schedule May 7-9
» Out of the Flames, Woeser/High Peaks, April 15, 2014

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Monday, April 28, 2014

An Open Letter from Malaysian Politics: Universal Virtues

Some analysts see Obama’s visit to Malaysia, a close trading partner of China, as a strategy to dilute China’s influence in Southeast Asia, writes the “Global Times”, a state-owned English-language paper from China which is mainly written for a foreign audience (and possibly for Chinese learners of English, too). However, quoting Qu Xing (曲星), director of the China Institute of International Studies, the article suggests that Kuala Lumpur was in fact taking a balanced attitude and showed that Malaysia is trying to avoid confrontation with China on this issue. The article suggests that the American president didn’t make much headway in promoting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade project that, if put into practice, would manage trade between its original member states of Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore, as well as Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, the United States, and Vietnam. If the trade pact would benefit or damage the interests of the nations involved is contested, as is a trade project between America and the European Union, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

The (English-language) “Global Times'” headline is implicitly about censorship: US TV shows removed from popular streaming websites / The removal of several popular American TV series from Chinese video streaming sites over the weekend may indicate stricter online monitoring. Huanqiu Shibao, the Chinese-language sister paper for a mostly domestic readership, carries a headline about the Ukraine crisis. Huanqiu also prominently features a short news article from Jilin: Unearthing the whole story of Japanese invasion has made many experts suffer from depression (日本侵华档案发掘始末:很多专家患上抑郁症). According to the news article, the files in question were some 100,000 volumes of Japanese files in an archive in Jilin, northeastern China, concerning the invasion, 90 percent of them written in Japanese.

Underneath the top headlines, another article of today quotes an American official – or American officials – as saying that America was working on several military plans to contain or deter China (美国官员:美国拟定多套军事方案遏阻中国). Huanqiu quotes a quote from the Chinese edition of the Wall Street Journal (also of Monday) which is avaliable online.

The Wall Street Journal:

American officials say that the American military prepares several plans to strongly respond to future provocative actions in the South China Sea (called Southern Sea by china) and the East China Sea (called Eastern Sea by China). These plans include dispatching B-2 bombers to places close to China, and holding aircraft-carrier exercises in the range of China’s coastal waters.

美国官员称,美国军方准备了多种方案,将强有力地应对中国未来在南中国海(中国称南海)和东中国海(中国称东海)的任何挑衅行动。这些方案包括向靠近中国的地方派遣B-2轰炸机,以及在接近中国沿海水域的范围举行航母演习。

Apart from the explanations in brackets, the first paragraphs are identical at WSJ and Huanqiu. From the second paragraph, Huanqiu cuts a long WSJ story short, with only two more paragraphs:

Security issues play an important role on president Obama’s tour of four Asian countries. On April 28, the American president will sign an agreement in the Philippines which allows American military to return to the Philippines after more than twenty years. The Philippine opposition parties had previously forced America to abandon its military bases on the Philippines.  Equally, Obama stood side by side with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe during his visit to Japan, saying that America’s promise to guarantee Japan’s security was “absolute”.*)

美国总统奥巴马近日 访问亚洲四国,安全问题是他此行的一个重要议题。4月28日,美国总统将在菲律宾签署一项协议,允许美军在二十多年后重返菲律宾。此前,菲律宾反对党曾迫 使美国方面放弃了在菲律宾的军事基地。同样,巴马访问日本时与日本首相安倍晋三并排站在了一起,并表示,美国在条约中对日本的安保承诺是“绝对的”。

Besides military aspects, the Huanqiu account of the WSJ argicle also mentions contingency plans and humanitarian aid operations. Surveillance of areas near China would be strengthened, calls of American navy vessels to allied countries’ ports be intensified, so as to demonstrate American military strength (加强对中国附近地区的监视、增加美国海军对盟友港口的停靠等,以展示美国的军事实力).

A major issue mentioned by the WSJ Chinese edition, about Washington trying to alleviate doubts among its Asian allies in its security assurances, especially after the annexation of the Crimean peninsula (尤其是在俄罗斯吞并克里米亚半岛之后), are not quoted by Huanqiu Shibao.

The full WSJ article (which has been put behind a registration wall by now) quotes Pacific Command public affairs officer Chris Sims as a source.

But it’s not all about the U.S. Navy. Under China’s lead, eight countries’ navies carried out the “Maritime Cooperation 2014” military exercises off the coast of Shandong province last week. China, Pakistan, Indonesia, India, Singapore and three other countries participated, reports a Beijing Youth article republished  by Huanqiu Shibao on Monday. Beijing Youth in turn quoted Xinhua newsagency as reporting that the exercise featured reactions to non-traditional security issues (非传统安全的内容) such as piracy, terrorism, natural disasters as well as other threats faced by countries in the region and everywhere in the world.

» The Negarakuku Saga, August 2007

Tony Pua (潘俭伟), a member of Malaysia’s Democratic Action Party (DAP) and member of parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara, published an open letter to Barack Obama on Saturday, the day of the American president’s arrival in Kuala Lumpur:

Mr President, with all due respect, we do not need you to visit our country to tell us that our country is a standout example of moderation, because it is not.

Or for you to praise our government that it is a model plural society living in peace and harmony, because it is a façade.

We need you, Mr President, to speak of the universal virtues of humankind, of the principles your forefathers upheld and sacrificed for.

We want you to speak of the importance of basic human rights, equality, freedom and fundamental democratic principles.

We want to know that the president of United States still believe in the protection and promotion of civil liberties throughout the world – those very liberties which allowed you to be in your position today.

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Footnote

*) this apparently refers to this statement by Obama: And let me reiterate that our treaty commitment to Japan’s security is absolute, and Article 5 covers all territories under Japan’s administration, including the Senkaku Islands.

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Related

» Pivotal state, BBC, April 26, 2014

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Friday, April 25, 2014

U.S.-Japanese Alliance covers Senkaku Islands: Greater Japanese contributions welcome, says Obama; Neighbors mindful, says FMPRC

U.S. president Barack Obama wound up a visit to Japan on Friday and began a visit to South Korea.

The Japanese and US governments issued a joint statement on Friday, after an unusual delay, reports Radio Japan. The statement says the United States and Japan are committed to taking the bold steps necessary to complete a high-standard, ambitious and comprehensive TPP agreement, and says the US and Japan underscore the importance of maintaining maritime order based on international law, including the freedom of navigation and overflight. It was apparently alluding to China’s increased maritime activities.

The statement also says the US provides all necessary capabilities to meet its commitments under the US-Japan security treaty. It says these commitments cover all territories under the administration of Japan, including the Senkaku Islands, adds Radio Japan.

x

Greater contributions?

American president Obama and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe held a press conference on Thursday, and the White House published a transcript of the press conference. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement that is currently meant to include Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam, was one of the big topics, another was military cooperation between Japan and the U.S..

Addressing the Japanese prime minister directly, Obama explicitly stated that under your leadership, Japan is also looking to make even greater contributions to peace and security around the world, which the United States very much welcomes.

Obama also explicitly stated that the American military alliance with Japan covered the Senkaku Islands (aka Diaoyutai Islands), replying to a question from a news person not mentioned by name or organization.

A U.S. reporter follows up on that.

Q (CNN): Thank you, Mr. President.  Arigato, Mr. Prime Minister. Mr. President, in regards to the Senkaku Islands, I just want to make sure that this is absolutely clear.  Are you saying that the U.S. would consider using military force were China to have some sort of military incursion in those islands to protect those islands?  And how does that not draw another red line that you would have to enforce of putting U.S. credibility, your credibility on the line once again, as it was in the case with Syria and Russia?  And on another key security issue, you mentioned North Korea in your meeting with the Prime Minister.  Are you issuing a warning to North Korea that there should not be another nuclear test?

And to Prime Minister Abe, do you have confidence in President Obama’s assurances about your security when the U.S. and the West were unable to stop Russia’s advances in Ukraine?  Thank you.

After this question, Obama’s answers began to take time. It started with Well, Jim, let me unpack that question because there’s a whole bunch of assumptions in there, some of which I don’t agree with. There was no “red line”, the president added, but only the standard interpretation over multiple administrations of the terms of the alliance, which is that territories under the administration of Japan are covered under the treaty. Diplomacy, not escalation, would be encouraged, according to Obama, who pointed to the removal of chemical weapons from Syria as an example for successful diplomacy.

On the day of Abe’s and Obama’s press conference in Tokyo, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang (秦刚) held one in Beijing, too.

Q: US President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met the press together after their meeting. Obama said that the Diaoyu Islands are under Japan’s administration and fall within the scope of the US-Japan security treaty. What is China’s comment?

问:24日,美国总统奥巴马在与日本首相安倍晋会谈后共见记者时称,钓鱼岛在日本的施政权之下,适用于《美日安保条约》。中方对此有何评论?

A: China’s position on the issue of the Diaoyu Islands is clear, firm and consistent. China firmly opposes the inclusion of the Diaoyu Islands into the US-Japan security treaty. I have already clarified this solemn position yesterday.

答:中方在钓鱼岛问题上的立场是明确、坚定和一贯的。昨天在这里,我已经阐明了中方坚决反对将钓鱼岛作为《美日安保条约》适用对象的严正立场。

I want to add that the so-called US-Japan security treaty is the product of the Cold War era. It should not be cited to target a third party, let alone to undermine China’s territorial sovereignty. No matter what others may say or do, the solid fact that the Diaoyu Islands are integral parts of China’s territory cannot be changed, nor will our government’s and people’s determination and resolve to safeguard territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests be shaken.

我还想特别指出,所谓《美日安保条约》是冷战时期的产物,它不应针对第三方,也不应损害中国的领土主权。不管别人说什么、做什么,都改变不了钓鱼岛是中国固有领土这一根本事实,也动摇不了中国政府和人民维护国家领土主权和海洋权益的决心和意志。

The Obama administration had apparently prepared the ground with an interview. He had told Yomiuri Shimbun that our engagement with China does not and will not come at the expense of Japan or any other ally, and that the Senkaku Islands are administered by Japan and therefore fall within the scope of Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. And we oppose any unilateral attempts to undermine Japan’s administration of these islands.

On Wednesday, Qin Gang – as he pointed out on Thursday – had commented on Obama’s message, too.

Q: Today’s Yomiuri Shimbun published their interview with US President Barack Obama. Obama said in the interview that the Diaoyu Islands are under Japan’s administration and fall within the scope of US-Japan security treaty, adding that the US supports Japan in playing a bigger role in the field of security in the Asia Pacific. What is China’s comment?

A: China’s position on the issue of the Diaoyu Islands is clear and consistent. The Diaoyu Islands are an integral part of China over which China has indisputable sovereignty. The so-called control of the islands by the Japanese side is illegal and invalid. Their provocative actions are undeniable and unjustifiable. Our determination and resolve to safeguard territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests is unshakable.

It should be noted that the US-Japan alliance, as a bilateral arrangement forged during the Cold War era, should never infringe upon China’s territorial sovereignty and legitimate rights and interests. China firmly opposes the inclusion of the Diaoyu Islands into the US-Japan security treaty. The US should respect facts, act responsibly, stick to its commitment of taking no sides in relevant territorial disputes, think twice before saying or doing anything and truly play a constructive role in ensuring regional peace and stability.

For historical reasons, countries in the region as well as the international community are mindful about Japan’s policies in military and security areas. Considering the recent incidents, by incidents I mean the provocative words and actions of the Japanese authority on issues of history, territorial sovereignty and others, Japan’s moves in the military and security areas are also closely watched by us. We hope that relevant parties can show their respect for facts, tell right from wrong, and make positive efforts in safeguarding regional peace, security and stability. As for the Japanese side, we hope they can follow the trend of the times, featuring win-win cooperation, and show us with their concrete actions that they are still on the path of peaceful development.

Meantime, Obama has arrived in South Korea, and is scheduled to visit Malaysia and the Philippines after that.

Huanqiu Shibao, on Tuesday, published an account of an interview with Jin Canrong (金灿荣), a foreign-relations observer, who states a belief that Washington was aware of Japanese ambitions to lead America, rather than to be led by America, and that Washington was confident that its own leadership would prevail in U.S.-Japanese cooperation. However, nobody should make much of the fact that Obama wouldn’t stay in the State Guest House during his stay in Japan, or that he wasn’t accompanied by his wife. China’s feelings were hardly Obama’s concern when making these decisions. A researcher at the Japan Institute of the China Institutes Of Contemporary International Relations, Liu Junhong (刘军红), suggests that several successive Japanese governments had tried to bypass America in order to dominate the East Asian community, but that with America joining the TPP, this Japanese concept had disintegrated. Now, Japan hoped to achieve the goal of domination by “borrowing strength” from America.

“美国有信心主导美日关系而不是被日本主导,肯定不会被日本当枪使”,中国国际问题专家 金灿荣21日对《环球时报》说,对于日本期望美国为其站台的盘算,美国心里是清楚的,但如果认为奥巴马不住国宾馆、米歇尔不随行是顾虑中方感情,那显然是 想多了。金灿荣说,日本近期在扩大集体自卫权方面动作频繁,中方不要指望美国会“管教”日本,相反日本军事动作背后有美国的意思,因为美国人自信完全可以 控制住日本,希望日本在亚洲多发挥军事作用。中国现代国际关系研究院日本研究所研究员刘军红说,最近几届日本政府期待主导“东亚共同体”,也就是甩开美国 单干,但这个构想被美国的TPP瓦解了。现在日本仍未放弃主导亚洲,但希望通过借力美国来实现。

Huanqiu also quotes Russia Today‘s “Voice of Russia” as commenting on Monday that while countries visited by Obama wanted American security assurances, America might not be able to give such guarantees. Those countries needed to understand that America had always kept its own interests first on its mind, and that these interests wouldn’t allow America to openly antagonize China.

“俄罗斯之声”21日说,对于奥巴马来访,受访国家都想听到美国的安全保证,但未必能如愿,这些国家应清楚,美国向来先考虑自己的利益,而利益不允许美国公然对抗中国。

Meantime, the “Voice of Russia” is interviewing academics, too. On Friday, the former radio station’s website published remarks by Dmitry Babich, a political analyst of their own. America was lucky enough to have good economic relations with both China and Japan, Babich says, but instead of being a mediator between them Obama engaged himself 100% on the side of Japan, said that the US has to protect Japan according to the defense treaties. And in this way he alienated China and pushed it into the arms of Russia right on the eve of President Putin’s visit.

Or, maybe, Beijing allows Moscow to jump into China’s arms.

But then, Beijing has interests of its own, too. And not confronting America openly – i. e. to maintain big-power relations with Washington – may be a priority for Beijing, at least for the time being.

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Related

» Sino-Japan Communiqué, fully understood, July 27, 2010
» Previous posts mentioning Jin Canrong

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