Posts tagged ‘Ukraine’

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Huanqiu Shibao: G7 London Meeting, small-circled cliques and factions

As he said before, it’s you, not us

The following is a translation of an article by Huanqiu Shibao online, published on Tuesday (May 4). Huanqiu’s translations from English do not necessarily reflect what the persons quoted there actually said.

The Reuters article referred to by Huanqiu Shibao can be found here.

Main Link: Evoking the China-Russia threat once again? (又渲染中俄威胁)

Bian Zihao, Huanqiu Online reporter — Hyping another Chinese-Russian threat? The G7 foreign ministers’ meeting in Britain’s capital London opened on May 3. According to Reuters, Britain will seek decisive action from the G7 member states to respond to global threats. Reuters says that these so-called “global threats” include China and Russia.

【环球网报道 记者 边子豪】又炒作中俄威胁?七国集团外长会3日在英国首都伦敦开幕,据路透社报道,英国4日将寻求与G7成员国采取果断行动以应对全球威胁。路透社称,上述所谓“全球威胁”包括中国和俄罗斯。

As it holds the G7’s rotating chairmanship this year, Britain also invited Australia’s, India ‘s , South Africa ‘s and South Korea ‘s foreign ministers this week. Reuters says that this is the first time in two years that G7 representatives talk face-to-face and that this is seen as an opportunity to “strengthening support for the international rules-based system.

作为今年七国集团轮值主席国,除了G7成员国外,英国本周还邀请了澳大利亚、印度、南非和韩国等国外长。路透社说,本次会谈是近两年来七国集团代表首次举行面对面会议,被英方视为“加强支持基于规则的国际体系的机会”。

Reuters also quoted Britain’s wording, an evocation of the so-called “China-Russia threat”, saying that China’s economic influence and Russia’s “evil activities” could break that system.

此外,路透社还引述英方说法,渲染所谓“中俄威胁”说,中国的经济影响力和俄罗斯的“恶意活动”可能会破坏上述体系。

The report also mentioned that on May 3 local time, U.S. secretary of state Blinken, after meeting British forign secretary Raab, called for the building of an international alliance. He claimed that although there was no intention to “contain China”, there was a need to make sure that China “acted in accordance with the rules”. In a program broadcast by Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), Blinken explained his position similarly. He said there, “our goal isn’t to contain China, not to block China, not to inhibit China. (But) it is the protection of order-based rules to which China currently raises challenges …”

报道还提到,当地时间5月3日,在与英国外交大臣拉布会面后,美国国务卿布林肯呼吁组建一个全球联盟,他宣称尽管不想“遏制中国”,但要确保中国“按规则行事”。 而在5月2日哥伦比亚广播公司(CBS)播出的一档节目中,布林肯也曾有过相似表态。当时他说:“我们的目的不是遏制中国,不是阻止中国,不是压制中国。(而)是为了维护基于秩序的规则,(但)中国正在对(这些规则)提出挑战……”

The foreign ministers’ meeting is seen as a warm-up for the G7 summit in June. The G7 consists of Britain, America, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan. Russia joined as the eighth country in 1997. In 2014, after the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis, Russia was excluded.

本次外长会被视为将于6月在英国举行的七国集团峰会的预热。七国集团由英国、美国、法国、德国、意大利、加拿大和日本组成,俄罗斯1997年加入后成为八国集团。2014年乌克兰危机爆发以后,俄罗斯被排除在外。

In reality, concerning talk about the so-called “China threat”, FMPRC spokesman Zao Lijian has previously emphasized that China adheres unswervingly to the road of peaceful development, we have never provoked a war on our own accord, and never violated an inch of another country’s territory, nor have we ever constituted a threat to any country. Facts have repeatedly proven that China has always been a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, a protector of international order, and that China’s development is an opportunity for the world.

事实上,关于所谓“中国威胁论”,中国外交部发言人赵立坚此前曾强调,中国坚定不移走和平发展道路,我们从来没有主动挑起过一场战争,也从来没有侵犯过别国一寸领土,不对任何国家构成威胁。事实一再证明中国始终是世界和平的建设者、全球发展的贡献者、国际秩序的维护者,中国的发展是世界的机遇。

Zhao Lijian said that China’s development spells the growth of global peace, that it is the woeld’s opportunity and not a challenge. China has always firmly upheld the international system with the United Nations at the core, based on international law. But that isn’t an international order defined by individual countries to protect their own interests. In the age of globalization, the destruction of international order [happens] for real when lines are drawn along ideology and when countries form small-circled cliques and factions. In the end, this is what really doesn’t enjoy popular support and what doesn’t provide a way out.

赵立坚说,中国的发展是世界和平力量的增长,是世界的机遇而非挑战。中方始终坚定维护的是以联合国为核心的国际体系和以国际法为基础的国际秩序,而不是个别国家为维护自身霸权所定义的国际秩序。在全球化时代,以意识形态划线,拉帮结派,搞针对特定国家的小圈子才是对国际秩序的破坏。这终究是不得人心的,也是没有出路的。

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Related

Wolf Warrior Diplomacy on Vacation, Aug 9, 2020
An unprecedented common cause, June 7, 2013
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Friday, February 28, 2020

Ukraine between a Rock and a Hard Place: Washington wants to prevent China’s Acquisition of Motor Sich

Huanqiu Shibao quotes foreign media, as usual, without providing links to the specific articles. All links within blockquotes were added during translation. Topic: China’s planned Motor Sich acquisition.

Still Rambo’s favorite target,
the HIND helicopter –
Wikipedia / license CC BY-SA 3.0 –
click photo for source

 

Main Link: Ukraine declines Motor Sich acquisition by Chinese company? Russian media: America dissatisfied with Sino-Ukrainian transactions, has exerted pressure on Ukraine before (乌克兰拒绝中国公司买马达西奇?俄媒:美国不满中乌交易,曾对乌施压)

American website BuzzFeed said on February 25 that an official with the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine had revealed that in March, this commission would publicly announce a ban on Beijing Skyrizon Aviation buying Motor Sich company. There had been news before that in addition to buying shares, the Chinese company had als pledged to invest 250 mn US dollars within two years.

【环球时报综合报道】美国BuzzFeed网站25日称,乌克兰反垄断委员会官员透露,该委员会将在3月宣布,禁止中国的北京天骄航空产业投资有限公司购买乌克兰的马达西奇公司。此前有消息称,除购买股份外,中国公司还承诺在两年内对该工厂投资2.5亿美元。

Sputnik News said that Ukrainian president Zelensky took this decision because of so-called “geopolitical risks”, but Sputnik online  says that Sino-Ukrainian related transactions had caused American dissatisfaction, with the latter exerting pressure on Ukraine. Reportedly, America has plans to let Oriole Capital Group, which isn’t too well-known, become Motor Sich’s buyer. It is said that a penalty to be paid buy Motor Sich for breach of contract is in a range from 500 mn to 2 bn US dollars. As Ukraine’s budget can’t sustain these expenses, it had been hoped that this company would provide the amount. But America didn’t want that, and therefore, it could sanction Motor Sich to force force the Chinese company to abandon the acquisition plan.(Wang Zhen)

俄新社称,乌克兰总统泽连斯基是根据所谓 “地缘风险”做出上述决定的。但俄罗斯卫星网称,中乌的有关交易引起美方不满,后者曾对乌施压。据称,美国打算让一家不太出名的Oriole Capital Group公司成为马达西奇的收购者。据了解,有关马达西奇交易的违约金为5亿至20亿美元。由于乌预算无法负担这一费用,因此希望这家公司提供这笔钱。但美国却不愿意。因此,美方可能会通过制裁马达西奇公司逼迫中国公司放弃收购计划。(王臻)

In an online article, possibly the one referenced by “Huanqiu Shibao”, a BuzzFeed author that President Zelensky would probably prefer to keep the Ukrainian arms manufacturer out of “a larger Washington–Beijing power game” and find an investor “from a country other than the US and China”, but also points out the pressures from Washington, previously concerning “investigating” Biden business in Ukraine, now concerning Motor Sich.

While the Motor Sich saga appears to be continuing, at least until next month, Ukraine’s vice premier Dmytro Kuleba showed interest in economic cooperation with China, saying that the COVID-19 outbreak had delayed such cooperation, Radio Ukraine International reported on Friday morning (UTC).

“We need investment and we have to launch new industrial facilities. We could already be discussing this with China” [hadn’t there been the epidemic outbreak],

Kuleba was quoted as saying.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

COVID-19, new Diagnostics, statistical Effects, and some Leap of Faith

China’s explanation that a jump in the number of new COVID-19 infections can be explained with new diagnostic methods is meeting with a leap of faith in official Kiev. Radio Ukraine International, via WRMI on February 14 (Febr 13 local time in the US) reported in its “Ukrainian Perspective” program that

[a]s of February 13, 60,331 confirmed cases of the novel corona virus COVID-19, including 1,369 lethal cases, have been registered worldwide. The Ukrainian health ministry attributes the [ .. not readable] increase in the number of COVID-19 cases to a new diagnostic method deployed in the Hubei province. In addition to the test and specific symtoms screening, the method includes computer-assisted lung tomography to help detect pneumonia caused by the virus. So far, there have been no confirmed laboratory cases in in Ukraine, the health ministry reported on Thursday.
[…]

The report in full – with some shortwave background noise – can be found under the following link for a while. Please click the icon.

The report also quotes Ukraine’s prime minister, who addressed the issue of evacuating Ukrainians from Hubei province, and possible health risks for Ukraine that needed to be ruled out when the evacuations were carried out.

German television’s flagship news program “Tagesschau”, with a status in Germany comparable to “Xinwen Lianbo’s” in China, also attributed the rise in statistically recorded cases to the new diagnostic measures in a report on Thursday, but took a more distanced stance in the second part of the report, when addressing “revised diagnostic results” (“überarbeitete” Diagnoseergebnisse) announced by Hubei’s provincial government.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Shortwave Logs: Science from the South

1. Radio Havana in English: Science from the South

Charles McKelvey, according to the “American Herald Tribune”*), is an emeritus professor at Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina, USA, and member of the Advisory Council of the Honorary Section of Political Science from the South at the Faculty of Philosophy and History of the University of Havana, Havana, Cuba.

One might read his books, or one might happen on “Notes on the Revolution”, a Radio Havana Cuba (RHC) series with 40 columns to date, about “third World socialist revolutions in power”, which would, in his view, include China, Cuba, and Vietnam.

The program, to effects unknown to this blogger, is edited by RHC editor and presenter Ed Newman.

Picadura Valleys Cattle Breeding Project, Radio Habana Cuba QSL, 1988

Picadura Valleys Cattle Breeding Project, Radio Habana Cuba QSL, 1988. The project’s prominent role in the QSL series is no concidence: the project is or was run by Ramón Castro Ruz, » the older brother of the two political leaders. Asked by an American journalist in the late 1970s » what he thought about Cuban-U.S. relations, Castro parried the questions “with a shrug and grin: ‘That’s all politics – I leave that to Fidel. All I know about are cows.'”

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*) not to be confused with the “New York Herald Tribune”

2. Radio Ukraine International: reviving 2017

Arne Lietz (SPD, German social democrats) may not have been aware, but he was on the radio on Saturday – on the German program of Radio Ukraine International (RUI, formerly Radio Kiev), that is. And as Russia had already annexed Crimea at the time, and because the Gerhard-Schröder / Martin-Schulz generation have adopted an unnerving pep-talk style*) decades ago which  dominates social dem speeches to this day, I only realized that something was wrong with the broadcast when Lietz referred to Martin Schulz as the the German Social Democrats’ candidate for chancellor.  That, after all, was more than two years ago.

There was no news broadcast, and, therefore, no way to find out about the mix-up earlier. Besides, Lietz was a member of the European Parliament from 2014 to 2019, but lost his seat in the 2019 EP elections.

Similar mix-ups used to happen with Radio Ukraine International’s English service transmissions by WRMI, an American broadcaster in Florida, some three years ago. At the time, WRMI supposed that mistakes in the audio file names sent by RUI had occasionally led to old news going on air. Radio Ukraine International’s German program is currently aired by a shortwave enthusiasts’ association in Northrhine-Westphalia who are operating a shortwave station in Kall-Krekel.

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*) It’s beginning to dawn on me that while there may be other reasons not to vote for the German social democrats, the way they talk may be one of those reasons. They make you feel as if you were ten years old again, and back in sunday school. (God forbid.)

3. Fed Court: Da Silva and Rousseff no part of criminal org

reports Radio Havana. However, a series of legal proceedings concerning alleged bribery continues.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Shortwave Logs: Radio Romania International (RRI)

If you are looking for a European broadcaster on shortwave, the BBC World Service may come to your mind – or Radio Romania International (RRI). The latter’s range of program languages is quite diverse: English, Chinese, French, Romanian, Ukrainian, Russian, Arabic, Spanish, Italian, and German. One a week, on Sundays, there’s a broadcast in Hebrew, too, with a review of the week1).

— Some history

According to the station’s website, first experimental radio programmes for target areas beyond Romania’s borders were aired in 1927. Broadcasting became official on November 1, 1928, on 747 kHz (401.6 meters) – apparently targeted at a domestic audience, in Romanian only. French and English programs followed in 1932, “to inform the diplomatic corps in the Romanian capital city”, and weekly programs in French and German were targeted at central and western Europe. Before the second world war, all foreign broadcasts depended on medium wave transmitters. When the first shortwave transmissions began, the focus appears to have been on the Balkans, and the Middle East. According to RRI, [i] t seems that the first letter received from abroad came from Egypt.

It’s a detailed account of RRI’s history (and that of its preceding organizations, all headquartered in Bucharest’s General Berthelot Street), and will most likely contain some information that is new to the reader.

Olt County's coat of arms, 1985 and post-1989

Olt County’s coat of arms, as depicted on a QSL card of December 1985, and as of these days (click picture for Wiki entry)

— Languages, Programs, Contraditions

RRI provides news, background reports and some cultural coverage. Much of the content is the same in English, German, and Chinese, but focus may differ somewhat. While there is news, some background information and cultural programming in all these languages, listeners’ preferred topics seem to count, too. German listeners frequently enquire about European and social issues – something that appears to be of less interest to Chinese listeners. The scope of Chinese programs may also be somewhat limited by air time: thirty minutes per broadcast in Chinese, rather than sixty, as is the case with some of the broadcasts in English, French, and German.

When it comes to international exchange or openness, RRI certainly can’t be accused of discrimination. The Institut Francais is shown among their partners on the French service’s web pages, and a link to the “Confucius Institute” in Bucharest adorns the Chinese-language main page, side by side with one to the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (with no specified status).

According to RRI’s English service’s website, RRI’s Chinese service, which first went on air on October 1, 1999, benefited from […] Chinese language experts […] as well as our colleagues from Radio China International, the Romanian language department […].2)

Given the kind of “news” being broadcast by China Radio International (CRI), this kind of cooperation doesn’t look appropriate.

Some caveats: undue Beijing’s influence isn’t limited to RRI in particular, or to southeastern Europe in general3) (as suspected by some German quarters). A number of German universities have opted for cooperation with the agency from Beijing, for example, and areas of cooperation are hardly less sensitive.

Also, RRI’s news broadcasts in Chinese don’t appear to differ from those of the English or German departments. When Chinese listeners hear about Romanian citizens who take to the street, opposing changes to the country’s legal system, or Japan’s prime minister emphasizing liberty, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law as Japan’s and Romania’s shared values and principles, it may be met with more open minds, than if broadcast by a source that is deemed hostile by its audience.

All the same, turning October 1, 1949 into common ground between the audience and the station’s first broadcast in Chinese (October 1, 1994) spells a major contradiction, when suggesting at the same time, on a different history page, that RRI services turned towards the future, towards once again building a bridge between Romania and the democratic world and re-establishing the link between Romanians living abroad and those back home, a link that had been weakened on purpose by the totalitarian regime.

— Audience

RRI doesn’t offer detailed statistics – few international broadcasters do. It seems likely, however, that a presence on shortwave makes a difference for the better. I wouldn’t hear or read much about the country, if its signals didn’t come in handy. I’m suspecting that within Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, you can listen to RRI with a pressing iron (any appliance with spiral coils should do).

What has kept this blogger from giving feedback to the station is their online policy. It seems that everything that is mentioned in their listener’s-feedback programs goes right online, as a transcript. Facebookers probably won’t mind, but more traditional listeners may be a different story.

Either way, RRI certainly has its fans, and its multipliers.

— Shortwave

Shortwave plays an important role, at least when it comes to middle-aged and old listeners. For one, there’s the technical aspect. Nobody is encouraged to disassemble and reassemble his smartphone, or to boost its transmission power or its sensitivity. Use of shortwave, however, involves technical aspects, and people interested in some DIY. And while an app user may brush any source of information away after a few seconds, shortwave listeners’ attention span is likely to be sturdier.

It would seem to me that among a number of other aspects (sound not least – I find digital sound ugly), shortwave broadcasting signals respect for the listeners. It is more costly than web-based communication, it doesn’t provide broadcasters with as much information about how “efficient”, in terms of listener numbers, their productions actually are (which means that even the invisible listener matters), and it doesn’t ask if a listener lives under circumstances that allow for internet access – be it for economic or censorship reasons.

Shortwave is therefore a unique RRI feature. Bulgaria abandoned its shortwave transmissions years ago, so did Radio Poland, Radio Ukraine International, and Radio Prague (except for some airtime on German or American shortwave stations respectively). Radio Budapest, once one of the most popular Eastern European external broadcasters, is history.

— Recent RRI logs

Broadcasts in Chinese, German, and Hebrew
Time UTC Lang. Date Freq. S I N P O
07:00 German Jan21 7345 5 5 5 4 4
13:30 Chinese Jan21 9610 4 5 5 3 4
17:05 Hebrew Jan21 9790 4 5 5 3 4

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Footnotes

1) RRI’s website states 19:05 hours as the beginning of the transmission, which is standard time in Romania, and in Israel (17:05 GMT/UTC).
2) The Romanian department at CRI still exists, with an online presence, and medium/shortwave transmissions.
3) The “Spiegel” interview in German.

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Shortwave Logs, August 2016: Radio Ukraine International

1. Radio Ukraine International

Once upon a time, there was a broadcaster named Radio Kiev, or Kiev Radio – a foreign broadcasting station from the Ukrainian Soviet Republic.

Maybe you won’t even know there was such a thing like Radio Kiev. But you might do an online search and find that Radio Kiev was a shortwave broadcaster, the official foreign broadcasting station of the Soviet Republic of Ukraine, and that after World War 2, in 1962, Radio Kiev went on air in English, probably for the first time in its history, and that they added German in 1966, and Romanian in 1970. There had been shortwave broadcasts in Ukrainian, addressing the Ukrainian diaspora, since November 1, 1950. All this information can be found on Wikipedia.

Radio Kiev QSL, 1985

A bluesy QSL card from Kiev, confirming reception of a shortwave broadcast in German, on December 8, 1985.
Click picture for Radio Ukraine International (formerly Radio Kiev).

I listened to Radio Kiew every once in a while, during the second half of the 1980s, the dying days of the Cold War, and I remember hardly anything of the program content – I usually listened to the programs in German. On certain holidays, they opened their broadcasts with “the Ukrainian state anthem”, which struck me as odd – but then, Ukraine had a foreign broadcaster of their own, so why not an anthem.

In all other respects, the message was similar to that from Radio Moscow, Radio Kiev’s sister station: the achievements of the Soviet Union, the harmony between the Soviet nationalities, etc. – although I have no idea if Radio Kiev covered foreign affairs, too, as Radio Moscow did. Even the modulation from Kiev sounded similar to Moscow, something which, in Radio Moscow’s case, was later attributed to the use of two microphones pointing towards the presenter, giving it a characteristic echo as there was a phase difference between the sound captured by the mikes.

There are no Radio Kiev files in my sound archive, but I did keep the QSL cards: one showing a melancholic city scene, crumbling building facades and an apparently indestructible tram with olive-green varnishing. I have no idea where the photo was taken; there is no English-language description on the reverse side (see picture above). Other cards presented a Monument to participants of the January armed uprising in 1918 in Kiev who died fighting for Soviet power, a Monument to heroes of the Great October Socialist Revolution who gave their lives for Soviet power, the “Sputnik” international youth tourism bureau, a Monument to Ivan Kotlyarevsky, outstanding Ukrainian writer, Vladimir Street – Taras Shevchenko State University is in the foreground, and the October Palace of Culture.

You probably had to be a somewhat selective listener:

Radio Kiev’s DX program will keep busy with the preparations for the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow from now. The DX program will be broadcast from 19:00 to 19:30 on every first and third Friday in the German-language broadcast, and the English-language DX program can be listened to on Wednesdays from 20:50 to 20:57,

Weltweit Hören, a West German shortwave hobby magazine, noted in June, 1978.

Radio Kiev was succeeded by, or renamed into, Radio Ukraine International (RUI) in 1992, a bit more than half a year after Ukraine’s Supreme Soviet had approved the Declaration of Independence, and three months after a referendum that voted in favor of independence.

Seven and a half years after RUI’s inception, in September 1999, the broadcaster’s last active shortwave transmission site near Lviv had to be closed down, as its operation, including spare part imports from Russia, had become unaffordable, Radio Berlin Brandenburg reported at the time. [Correction, Sept 3, 2016: the last big transmission site went off the air, according to RBB, in September 1999 – the Brovary site, with four 100-kw-transmitters, remained available, apparently until December 2010, when all shortwave broadcasts were terminated, according to Wikipedia.]

In December 2015, Ukrainian parliament passed legislation that prescribed – and limited – public funding of public enterprise, which will be tasked to fulfill functions of foreign broadcasting broadcasting, of RUI.

It’s probably no great liability for the state budget: Instead of shortwave transmitters, RUI counts on the internet, with livestreams and podcasts. and, according to the standard announcement at the beginning of each German program, on satellite (Astra 4 A).

The signature tune has remained the same throughout the decades, from the 1980s to now. And the program languages seem to reflect unchanged foreign-policy priorities: in Ukrainian, English, German, and Romanian.

German-language podcasts are available at the Funkhaus Euskirchen Website radio360.eu. And a half-hour English-language program is relayed by the American shortwave broadcaster WRMI, every morning at 02:00 hours UTC (previously 23:00 UTC), on 11580 kHz. From about March to October, the program can usually, but not every time (see logs underneath), be well heard in northwestern Germany.

WRMI appears to be interested in reception reports concerning the Radio Ukraine relays. Reports can be sent to radiomiami9@cs.com.

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2. Recent Logs

International Telecommunication Union letter codes used in the table underneath:

ARG – Argentina; ARM – Armenia; AUT – Austria; BOT – Botswana; CLN – Sri Lanka; D – Germany; EQA – Ecuador; G – Great Britain; INS – Indonesia; LTU – Lithuania; MLA – Malaysia; SVN – Slovenia; TIB – Tibet; TUR – Turkey; TWN – Taiwan; USA – United States of America.

Languages (“L.”):

? – not recognized; E – English; F – French; G – German; M – Malaysian; N – Dutch; R – Russian.

The table underneath might appear messy unless you click the headline of this particular post – or it may remain invisible unless you click “continue reading”.

read more »

Sunday, May 22, 2016

America, Japan: a more equal Relationship?

US President Barack Obama gave NHK an exclusive interview ahead of his arrival in Japan, reports NHK, emphasizing that Obama would be the first sitting US President to visit the atomic-bombed city.

A full account of the interview doesn’t seem to be available online yet. NHK provides a video with excerpts from the interview.

News like this doesn’t make much sense without context. US-Japan relations, frequently dubbed one of the closest alliances worldwide, were contentious in 2009, according to the New York Times. At the time, Japan had just seen its first transition of power from one political party to another, and the Hatoyama government – in short – called for a more equal relationship with the United States, with a number of possible ramifications.

The departure from the usual Liberal-Democrats rule in Japan was only an interlude. And a nation’s foreign policies are usually bi-partisan, or meta-partisan – in Japan, too.

From the Middle East to Ukraine, questions are being asked about the U.S. ability and willingness to maintain peace. If it cannot or will not, who will fill the void?,

the Nikkei Asian Review asked in May 2015.

Japan sees its future more within Asia, the NYT quoted Eswar S. Prasad back then. That, however, doesn’t necessarily benefit Sino-Japanese relations, as suggested by the NYT six years earlier. Rather, Japan appears to be warming to Russia.

Japan and Russia have especially found ample opportunity to conduct a coordinated response to the most recent security crisis in North Korea. Japan and Russia have also sought to increase their economic and financial ties, which are particularly important for the development of the Russian Far East,

Anthony Rinna of the Sino-NK research group noted in March this year. The Russian pivot to the East – possibly with a lot of help from Tokyo – was hampered by two obstacles however, Rinna cautioned: the long-standing dispute over the Kuril Islands, and Japan’s alignment with the West over the Ukraine crisis.

And while

the containment of China remains the primary purpose of the Japan-U.S. defense apparatus, U.S. strategic containment of Russia also continues to be an important factor in the Japan-U.S. alliance, which comprises one key flank of the American strategic posture in Asia,

Rinna added.

But being part of an alliance doesn’t mean that Japan would forgo foreign policies of its own. When Obama (reportedly) tried to talk Japanese prime minister Abe out of a meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin, his appeal was unsuccessful.

It’s not only Japan who needs to take existing alliances into consideration. The same is true for Russia – but less so than Japan. Russian obligations toward China can’t be compared to Japan’s obligations toward America. That may not be a general opinion in China, but observers who watch the developments probably wouldn’t be caught by surprise if Russia and Japan were to sign a peace treaty in the not too distant future.

In December 2013, Cui Heng (崔珩) of the East China Normal University’s Russia Research Center in Shanghai, published an opinion on the China Internet Information Center (中国网) website. Titled “Russia won’t keep away from Japan because of Russia-Chinese relations”, Cui’s article pointed out that Russia’s preparedness to be considerate of China was limited, even though Sino-Russian relations were “at their best in history”.

Abe’s generation in particular had, because of their country’s economic successes, developed a sense of national greatness, and were seeking normalization for Japanese statehood. The economic revival after Abe’s taking office [there was a revival indeed, three years ago] had added to this conscience among Japanese politicians, Cui wrote. Ending the official state of war with Russia would be part of normalization. Even if hardly relevant in military terms, the status quo weighed heavily in terms of in terms of symbolism.

By coming to formally peaceful terms with Russia, Japan could also shed its status as a defeated country, Cui argued, and then addressed a factor that made Russia’s perception of Japan different from both China’s, and America’s:

Russia isn’t only prepared to develop beneficial relations with Japan for geopolitical reasons. In Russian historical memory, there isn’t much hate against Japan. During the age of the great empires, Japanese-Russian relations in the Far East were of a competitive nature. Many Russians still talk about the 1905 defeat, but the Far East wasn’t considered a place that would hit Russian nerve as hard as the crushing defeat in the Crimean war. Back then, Japan wasn’t perceived as a threat for Russia, and from another perspective, if there had been anti-Japanese feelings, there wouldn’t have been a revolution. According to perception back then, the [1905] defeat was a result of the Russian government’s incompetence, not [brought about by] a strong adversary. The outstanding achievements of the Soviet Red Army in 1945 led to a great [positive] Russian attitude, but still without considering Japan a great enemy.

By visiting Hiroshima, Obama appears to make a concession to Tokyo’s desire for “normalization”. Of course, few decisions are made for only one reason – they are part of a network, or hierarchy, of objectives. One objective was stated by Obama himself – that we should continue to strive for a world without nuclear weapons.

There is no great likelihood that Japan would shift away from the alliance with Washington. Japan’s distrust of China probably outweighs even America’s. That’s a stabilizing factor in US-Japanese relations.

But Tokyo is certainly trying to put its relations with America on a more equal footing – not just formally, but by creating diplomatic and economic facts that will help to further this aim.

Russia’s Far East is nothing to disregard, in terms of its economic potential. Japan can do business with Ukraine, and with Russia, and is likely to cooperate with both.

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Related

Shared Concern, Nov 11, 2015
Greater Contributions, April 25, 2014

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Friday, May 20, 2016

Shortwave Logs, April/May 2016: Okeechobee and the World

The Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival was going to “put Okeechobee on the map, worldwide”, organizers of the event were quoted in September last year.

But listen, toffee-nosed little startup: Okeechobee, Florida, has been on the world map for decades. WYFR, a religious shortwave broadcaster, operated transmitters there from the late 1970s to 2013, and relayed Radio Taiwan International (initially “Voice of Free China”) broadcasts to the Western hemisphere.

QSL Card, RTI Taipei, Taiwan

The easier way to get a QSL card confirming Okeechobee:
write to Radio Taiwan International (Spanish service)

Even the end of the world (and of all world maps, for that matter) was announced from Okeechobee. Granted, the studios were based in California, but anyway.

The WYFR transmission site was bought by WRMI, another broadcaster in Florida, in 2013, less than half a year after WYFR had ceased operation. WRMI’s broadcasting schedule looks like a who-is-who of European broadcasters who abandoned shortwave in recent years, and who now re-appear on WRMI. The schedule looks pretty complicated to me, but if you switch on your radio somewhere in northern-central Europe during the second half of the night, you are likely to hear some of them on 11580 kHz: Radio Ukraine International from 23:30 to 23:59 UTC, and then Radio Slovakia, for example.

Later in the night (or early morning), it will be  Ralph Gordon Stair, a usually ill-tempered preacher. So to quite a degree, the transmission site has remained religious, because Stair buys tons of airtime, via satellite and shortwave – from WRMI not least.

Stair considers himself a prophet and shows some interest in the future of Donald Trump,  New York City, and US-North Korean relations.*)

Whichever way you look at it, Okeechobee is likely to remain on the world map. Until doomsday, anyway.

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The A-16 broadcasting season started on March 27 (and will end late in October). The following is a list of some of my listening logs during the past few weeks, in northern Germany.
International Telecommunication Union letter codes used in the table underneath:

ALB – Albania; ARG – Argentina; AUS – Australia; D – Germany; KRE – North Korea; KOR – South Korea; NZL – New Zealand; PHL – Philippines; SVNSlovakia Slovenia; USA – United States of America.

Languages (“L.”):

C – Chinese; E – English; F – French; G – German; K – Korean. The table underneath might appear messy unless you click the headline of this particular post – or it may remain invisible unless you click “continue reading”.

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