Saturday, April 15, 2017


The Far East is the next powder keg created by the Obama power vacuum. Candidate Trump took a tough position on China trade and military expansion. Then came the Mar-a-Lago conclave and Chino-US relations improved markedly. President Trump told Xi Jinping that if he wouldn't fix North Korea, the US would. 

UPDATE: So! The chubby Nork dictator bluffed and blinked. The Chino-American nexus of the Presidents Trump and Xi Jinping triumphed. (More) The expected sixth nuclear test was a no show as the Day of the Sun passed into the pyrotechnic night. North Korea can withdraw into its collective darkness once again. But that doesn't mean the problem has been solved. In his secret underground bunkers Kim Jong-un will continue to plot his nuclear wet dreams. Messrs. Trump and Xi undoubtedly made contingency plans for the occasion.
Kelly, speaking with NBC "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd, said a physical attack from the North Korean military is unlikely despite the country's warning earlier this week of a "big event" this weekend. "A kinetic threat against the United States right now I don't think is likely, but certainly a cyber threat," Kelly told Todd in a preview clip. "So we would raise various threat levels in the event that something happened and we felt as though that there was a possible threat. You always want to caution on the side of — come down on the side of caution." Pentagon officials have mobilized resources to hit back at the dictatorship in the case of a military attack, though they have not disclosed how the U.S. would respond to a cyber attack. (More)

April 14, 2017


59 Tomahawks on Syria, a MOAB on ISIS in Afghanistan and an armada setting course to the northern Pacific was a message the North Koreans can hardly ignore. Reckless, they say, while preparing the sixth nuclear test to mark the anniversary of its founder, Kim Jong Un's grandfather. In a remarkable opinion piece on WaPo, John Pomfret is giving President Trump some credit, perhaps....
Something interesting is happening in China and perhaps President Trump deserves some credit. For the first time, the Chinese government appears to have laid down a bottom-line with North Korea and is threatening Pyongyang with a response of “unprecedented ferocity” if the government of Kim Jong Un goes ahead with a test of either an intercontinental ballistic missile or a nuclear device. North Korea will celebrate the 105th anniversary of the birth of its founder, Kim Il Sung, on Saturday, and some type of military show of force is expected. (More)
China flaunts its mighty missiles on state TV as Beijing urges North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions amid growing military tensions 
  • China Central Television yesterday revealed footage of deadly weapons 
  • One of the missiles, said to be DF-21, is dubbed 'the killer of aircraft carrier' 
  • Programme also reported on the 'intensive' mock battles by Chinese army 
  • Tensions are high with North Korea warning of a nuclear attack on the US 
  • China has urged Kim Jong-un to halt his nuclear programme in exchange for greater protection from Beijing (More)

April 12, 2017


(...) Donald Trump called President Xi on the phone to discuss trade and the developing North Korean situation. According to China's state television, Xi stuck with his objective of "denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula, and called for a peaceful resolution of rising tension. (...) Trump's call with Xi came as an influential state-run Chinese newspaper warned that the Korean peninsula was the closest it has been to a "military clash" since North Korea's first nuclear test in 2006. China's Global Times newspaper said in an editorial North Korea should halt any plan for nuclear and missile activities "for its own security". While widely read in China and run by the ruling Communist Party's official People's Daily, the Global Times does not represent government policy. The newspaper noted Trump's recent decision to launch 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airfield in response to a deadly gas attack last week. "Not only is Washington brimming with confidence and arrogance following the missile attacks on Syria, but Trump is also willing to be regarded as a man who honours his promises," it said. "The U.S. is making up its mind to stop the North from conducting further nuclear tests. It doesn't plan to co-exist with a nuclear-armed Pyongyang," it said. "Pyongyang should avoid making mistakes at this time." The Global Times said if North Korea made another provocative move, "Chinese society" might be willing to back unprecedented sanctions, "such as restricting oil imports". (More)

April 11, 2017


Apr 7, 2017 Gordon Chang on President Trump's meeting with President Xi Jinping.

Besides the matter of US-Chino relations and trade, the North Korea issue looms large. The Obama doctrine was, doing nothing allowing power vacuums to occur in which evil could grow until it exploded in on the world stage. The Trump doctrine is not the opposite, interventionism. Nor is it isolationism, as some Trumpists advocate. The Trump doctrine is peace through strength with the goal of serving American interests first. A Navy strike group was diverted to the area to bolster Japan and South Korea. We can expect further belligerence from the North Koreans shortly.
(...) It looks like the American leader, during the two-day get-together in Florida, changed Sino-U.S. ties for the better—from the American perspective. Trump, in a few short hours, put Xi in his place, cut the ambitious autocrat down to size, and maybe pushed the Chinese state in better directions. (...) The forty-fifth president, seeking dominance, turned a well-laid Chinese trap into a debacle for Xi instead.  (...) we are supposed to believe that Xi was on board with Trump hitting a Chinese friend and partner with fifty-nine Tomahawks? That is unlikely, to say the least, but in any event Trump added insult to injury by not waiting a few hours for Xi to leave Mar-a-Lago before ordering the strike. “For the Chinese, the atmospherics of the talks will be as important as the substance,” wrote Jane Perlez of the New York Times shortly before the event. Xi Jinping’s “goal,” she wrote, “will be to get through the quick visit looking like a resolute leader who can hold his own against the American president.” On that score, Xi failed. Xi’s failure to respond to Trump, to fail to defend his country’s interests in Syria, is bound to have consequences back home. The Chinese supremo built a career by looking strong and dominating opponents, but Trump, Xi’s opponents will say, humiliated China. In the eyes of Communist Party cadres, the American president made Xi appear weak. (...) Xi’s fate will in large measure be decided at the Nineteenth Party Congress, which will probably be held in October or November. (More)

April 9, 2017


Speaking with reporters late Friday afternoon, Mnuchin said that the Chinese acknowledged during their meetings that they could do more to promote a more balanced trade policy between the two countries. “We focused specifically on a more balanced economic relationship, specifically on trade,” he said. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross revealed a 100-day action plan that they discussed with the Chinese, but said that the “complex” details were still under negotiations. “The exact way stations are a matter of negotiation itself,” he said. “But, directionally, the objective is to increase our exports to China and to reduce the trade deficit that we have with them.” (Source)