The global macro picture is bad enough in and of itself. Simmering feuds between rival nations certainly do not help the picture. Here are a few recent stories that caught my eye.
China has No Room For Compromise with Japan
The New York Times reports China has No Room For Compromise with Japan.
March 8, 2014
The Chinese foreign minister took a strong stand Saturday on China’s growing territorial disputes with neighboring nations, saying that “there is no room for compromise” with Japan and that China would “never accept unreasonable demands from smaller countries,” an apparent reference to Southeast Asian nations.
In the East China Sea, China refuses to accept Japan’s administration of, or its claims to, islands that Japan calls the Senkaku and China calls the Diaoyu.
“On the two issues of principle — history and territory — there is no room for compromise,” Mr. Wang said in answer to a question from a Japanese reporter on the deterioration of China-Japan relations. “If some people in Japan insist on overturning the verdict on its past aggression, I don’t think the international community and all peace-loving people in the world will ever tolerate or condone that.”
Tensions between China and Japan have been playing out in diplomacy around the globe. In January, the Chinese ambassador to Britain and his Japanese counterpart both wrote op-ed articles for The Daily Telegraph in which they equated the other country to Lord Voldemort, the villain in the Harry Potter series. The two ambassadors even refused to sit at the same table during a televised BBC interview. Also in January, Mr. Abe told an audience at the Davos conference in Switzerland that the rivalry between China and Japan was similar to that between Germany and Britain before World War I, meaning their differences could supersede their close trade ties.
In the South China Sea, China has been trying to stake sovereignty to islands and waters that are also claimed by Southeast Asian nations. Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia are among the opponents to China’s claims. The United States has said it takes no side on sovereignty issues but will maintain freedom of navigation. More recently, it has asserted that the so-called nine dashes map that some Chinese officials say defines China’s ambitious claims in the South China Sea violates international law because the territorial boundaries are not based on land features.
Japan, U.S. Differ on China in Talks on ‘Grey Zone’ Military Threats
Mar 9, 2014
As Japan and the United States start talks on how to respond to armed incidents that fall short of a full-scale attack on Japan, officials in Tokyo worry that their ally is reluctant to send China a strong message of deterrence.
A group of disputed islands, Uotsuri island (top), Minamikojima (bottom) and Kitakojima, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China is seen in the East China Sea, in this photo taken by Kyodo September 2012. Credit: Reuters/Kyodo
Washington takes no position on the sovereignty of the islands, called the Senkaku by Japan and the Diaoyu by China, but recognizes that Japan administers them and says they fall under the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, which obligates America to come to Japan’s defense.
But even as Asia-Pacific security tensions mount, U.S. officials have made clear they do not want to get pulled into a conflict between the world’s second- and third-biggest economies.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is alarmed at China’s rapid military buildup. Beijing in turn accuses Tokyo of being a regional threat, citing Abe’s more nationalist stance, his reversal of years of falling military spending and his visit to a shrine that Asian countries see as glorifying Japan’s wartime past.
Underlying Tokyo’s concerns are worries that Washington might one day be unable or unwilling to defend Japan, despite President Barack Obama’s strategic “pivot” toward the Asia-Pacific region. This fear is adding momentum to Abe’s drive to beef up Japan’s forces while loosening constitutional limits on military actions overseas.
If Washington does not get involved in specifically addressing the China threat, “it would undermine the credibility of the alliance and might end up encouraging China to be bolder,” said Michishita, a professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo.
“U.S. policy makers will have to walk a thin line and try to strike a balance between maintaining credibility and deterrence, and preventing excessive involvement in the situation.”
China Draws ‘Red Line’ on North Korea
Yahoo!News reports China Draws ‘Red Line’ on North Korea
Mar 8, 2014
China has declared a “red line” on North Korea, saying it will not permit chaos or war on the Korean peninsula, and that denuclearisation is the only way to achieve peace.
Beijing’s patience with Pyongyang has been wearing thin following three nuclear tests and numerous bouts of sabre rattling, including missile launches.
The last of such incidents took place on March 7, when China voiced “deep concerns” to North Korea following reports that a missile launched by the latter passed by a Chinese civilian plane, according to a Reuters new agency report.
“The Korean peninsula is right on China’s doorstep. We have a red line, that is, we will not allow war or instability on the Korean peninsula,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters on Saturday, on the sidelines of China’s annual largely toothless parliament.
DF-21D Missile Could Sink US Aircraft Carrier
ChinaTimes reports DF-21D Missile Could Sink US Aircraft Carrier.
The People’s Liberation Army Navy’s DF-21D anti-ship missile has a range of 2,000 kilometers and has the capability to sink a US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, according to the Hindu, an English-language Indian newspaper on Mar. 5, citing a recently published report.
The idea of hitting a moving aircraft carrier with a ballistic missile had been unheard of, said S Chandrashekar, one of the authors of the report, adding that the Chinese have come up with a very innovative system based on well-understood components.
China Outraged as Japan Revamps Defense Plan
RT reports China Outraged as Japan Revamps Defense Plan
China’s Defense Ministry on Friday issued a strongly worded statement criticizing Japan’s plans to increase defense spending, accusing Tokyo of turning up the temperature on regional tensions.
Amid ongoing territorial tensions between Beijing and Tokyo in the East China Sea, Japan this week announced a five-year defense plan that has attracted an uncharacteristically outspoken response from China.
China “resolutely opposes” the five-year defense plan adopted by Japan on Tuesday, Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said in a statement posted on the ministry’s website.
Ukraine Prepares for War with Russia
On March 1, CNN reported Ukraine mobilizes troops after Russia’s ‘declaration of war’. Yesterday, Zerohedge had images and videos of mine deployment, SAMs, Tanks and troop movements in Ukraine.
China Warns US, Neighbors
On March 4, the Financial Times reported China Warns Neighbours on Territorial Disputes
China has called on the US to accept its growing security presence in east Asia and warned its neighbours that it would “respond effectively” to safeguard its territorial integrity amid simmering maritime disputes in the region.
“If the US cares about peace and prosperity, it should support China’s aspirations for safeguarding territorial integrity and regional peace,” said Fu Ying, spokeswoman for the National People’s Congress, China’s rubber stamp legislature, on Tuesday.
“The US has stated publicly that it has no plans to contain China and that its ‘pivot’ to Asia is not directed at China,” Ms Fu said. “We want to see if words are matched by actions.”
Ms Fu said that if any country “provokes or undermines security” in the region China would “respond effectively to safeguard its territorial integrity and regional security”.
Last November, China angered the US, Japan, South Korea and other countries in the region by unilaterally announcing the creation of an “air defence identification zone” in the East China Sea.
During a recent visit to Beijing, John Kerry, US secretary of state, warned China not to establish a similar zone in the South China Sea. The US also recently said for the first time that it did not accept China’s “nine-dash line”, a demarcation on Chinese maps that Beijing uses to justify its claim to most of the South China Sea.
Most in this country are sick of war. Senator John McCain isn’t.
On March 7, McCain actually stated ‘It’s Tragic’ There’s No U.S. Military Option In Ukraine.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on Friday lamented the lack of a military option for the United States in Ukraine against Russia and criticized President Obama for thinking the Cold War is over.
During a segment on MSNBC, McCain said that the Obama administration does’t understand Russian President Vladimir Putin. “They have been near delusional in thinking that the Cold War was over,” McCain said referring to Obama officials. “Maybe the president thinks the Cold War is over but Vladimir Putin doesn’t and that’s what this is all about.”
Later in the interview, when host Andrea Mitchell asked if there is a military option for the U.S. in Ukraine, the Arizona Republican sounded despondent. “I’d love to tell you that there is Andrea, but frankly I do not see it,” he said, adding, “I wish that there were. … I do not see a military option and it’s tragic.”
McCain Laments over Tragedy of No War Option
While McCain laments the lack of a military option, he does want US missiles in the Czech Republic, acceleration of more countries in NATO, and military exercises with Baltic countries.
Had McCain beaten Obama in 2008, we most certainly would have bombed Iran by now and likely would have started a war with China.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock