Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday Odds & Ends

This was my favorite sign in the US. The world's most winning pizza brand in the aviation industry! I mean, how many companies specializing in selling pizza in airports can there be?

As I returned from the US to eat vegetables again, I found this in my mailbox. From the Ta Kung Pao, author is professor and PhD.


TKP Urges PRC To Punish US On Financial Crisis In Retaliation For Arms Sales
Wang Dao, ‘Yi ya huan ya huiying Meiguo dui Tai shou wu” (A tooth for a tooth is the way to answer U.S. arms sales to Taiwan), Ta Kung Pao (Hong Kong), October 11, 2008, at

The United States has decided to sell $6.5 billion worth of advanced weapons to Taiwan. China's first reaction was to offer a strong verbal response while reserving the right to respond further. It looks like it is time for China and the United States to bring an end to this long-running matter. Now is the best time for China to take a tougher approach toward resolving the issue. Since its establishment of diplomatic relations with China, the United States has not stopped selling weapons to Taiwan. This in and of itself is a violation of the three official diplomatic documents signed by China and the United States when they established diplomatic relations. For this reason, it is also a violation of international law. Some people in the United States invoke the country's adoption of the Taiwan Relations Act as an excuse to continue selling weapons to Taiwan in an effort to obstruct the mainland's reunification with Taiwan by force. This practice of using domestic law to resist international law is impermissible in the international community. Wouldn't the world be thrown into turmoil if China (or some other country) were to sell weapons to a region in a certain country through the adoption of a law governing relations with that country in an effort to obstruct the latter's reunification? The United States assumes the pose of an "international gendarme," meddles in other ! count ries' affairs without regard to the principles of international law and justice, and has committed so many misdeeds that they cannot be listed one by one. The most notorious offense is its invasion of Iraq after circumventing the United Nations.

We Should Not "Repay Ingratitude With Kindness" Despite its violations of the law, the United States does not allow other sovereign countries to sell weapons lawfully. The reasons are none other than its concerns that 1) they will compete with it for business; 2) they will encroach upon its regional interests (which is euphemistically described as "affecting the balance of regional military power"); and 3) they will jeopardize its security. The United States is the world's largest military power! and arms-producing and exporting country. It accounts for more than half of the global arms market. Even as it makes a fortune out of war-related business, it does not allow other countries to conduct normal arms transactions. This is a case of "giving officials complete license to commit arson while forbidding ordinary citizens to even light their lamps." As the United States insists upon selling weapons to Taiwan, China should stop "repaying ingratitude with kindness" and showing too much forbearance. It should respond appropriately and adopt a tit-for-tat and measure-for-measure approach rather than merely continue with such "vague and fuzzy" work as lodging verbal protests and cancelling some military exchanges. At a minimum, it may adopt the following measures:

1. Strong reaction: Selling advanced offensive weapons, including missiles, submarines, and warplanes, to anti-US South American countries in the "backyard of the United States," such as Venezuela and Cuba.

2. Moderate reaction: Indefinitely deferring participation in negotiations on the Korea and Iran nuclear issues. If the United States does not respond in good faith, China may consider strengthening its nuclear energy cooperation with the DPRK and Iran, including training DPRK and Iranian nuclear technicians and exporting nuclear technology.

3. Muted reaction: Expanding sales of conventional weapons, including ordinary weapons, ammunition, small rockets, shoulder-mounted antiaircraft weapons, and radar, to anti-US regions. In a "tit-for-tat" approach toward arms sales, China may sell weapons to anti-US regions, matching the quantities and grades to the grades of weapons sold to Taiwan by the United States. Since the United States is so keen on making money, China should not treat money as if it stinks. It should compete in the arms market and practice "gunboat diplomacy." To move from a "one-ocean strategy" (the Pacific Ocean strategy) to a "two-ocean strategy" that would also include the Indian Ocean, it is inevitable that China has to build a modern military. The American people have had the wisdom to foster a virtuous circle of selling weapons and using the proceeds to maintain its military and to accelerate national defense modernization in the course of increasing arms sales. The Chinese people should not be too polite and should boldly borrow this practice. The United States is now being hit by a "once-in-a-century" huge financial tsunami. The $700 billion rescue plan passed by Congres s is like a drop in the bucket, and whether it will work is very much in doubt. The United States is asking China, which has $1.8 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, to help it out. International opinion also believes that the effectiveness of the US rescue plan for the financial crisis will ultimately depend on how China acts. Under these circumstances, the Americans are taking a "backstabbing two-faced approach." On the one hand, they are asking China to help out; on the other hand, they are stabbing China in the back, grossly interfering in China's interna! l aff airs, and hurting China's core values with their arms sales to Taiwan. If this can be tolerated, what else cannot? Teach the United States a Lesson China should no longer be sympathetic and kind toward the United States at this rare moment in a century; it should seize the opportunity to teach the United States a lesson. There are quite many options available to it on the economic front:

1. The middle course: Stand by and watch and refrain from buying more bad assets from the United States and helping it out of its plight.

2. Self-preservation: Wait for an appropriate opening at an appropriate time to sell off some of the bonds in US dollars, so as to avert continuing losses due to a renewed decline in their value.

3. Seeking selfish gain: Seize the current opportunity to stir up trouble, exacerbate the crisis in the United States, and slow down the pace of recovery in the United States. China can move faster to overtake the United States as a powerful country in the world only if the world's sole superpower is brought down.

4. A clever tactic: Trade economic interests for other benefits with the United States, for example, asking the United States to sell new and high technology to China. Another example would be to ask the United States to compromise in principle on the Taiwan issue or even to negotiate a price whereby the United States will stop meddling on the Taiwan issue and allow Taiwan to truly return to China. The US financial crisis will surely lead to a great economic depression in the United States. This is already the consensus of farsighted people around the world. For China, this is both a time of "danger" and "opportunity." China should firmly seize the opportunity on such issues as economics, military affairs, the Taiwan issue, and foreign affairs; put its national interests first; and teach the United States a good lesson. At the very least, the United States should be made to suffer a little bit more, so that it will learn to be more modest and prudent in the future and treat other countries as equals. As Western politicians say, "In international politics, nations have no permanent friends or permanent enemies; there are only permanent national interests." The Chinese people should draw upon this wisdom and seek maximum benefits in order to make their country strong and prosperous.


A Chinese man plays a traditional string instrument at the Farragut North metro stop.

Also on tap is this CNN report on the ROC National Day celebration; don't miss the commenter from NPR who seems to think that the KMT had the police state action going hard out of fear of the DPP. Because you know how the DPP is always doing stuff like rioting when they lose elections and crashing trucks into goverment buildings.....possible Obama cabinet members here.

A vendor. All of them appear to sell the same stuff. Are they owned by the same company?

The Taiwan obsession with scorekeeping verges on the ridiculous when it comes to the island's ports. A friend in Hong Kong pointed me to this piece on how Taiwan's ports are doing a booming business....

Despite the global economic downturn, Keelung and Taichung ports have shown double-digit growth in transshipment container volume in the first nine months of this year, rising 16.47 percent and 12.68 percent respectively against the same period last year, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications announced.

However, Kaohsiung Port could fall out of the top 10 ranking of international seaports this year, as the total cargo containers handled from January to August already trails Ningbo Port in Zhejiang Province and Guangzhou Port in the Guangdong Province.
Sorry, but China has about 65 times our population. At some point they are going to have all of the busiest ports in the world. Instead of being delighted at the great growth, though, the MOTC has to warn everyone that Taiwan could fall in the global rankings.

A panorama of northern Washington DC as seen from an apartment building in Ballston. All the trees are wonderful.

Defense News' main editorial this week is on the Taiwan arms sale, warning that people in Washington fear all that delicious technology is going to fall into China's hands if they sell it to Taiwan. The editorial also says that Chinese spies in Taiwan once tried to ship a whole F-16 engine to China. But don't worry -- engagement will make them love us, just as detente was successful in making the USSR into a peaceful democratic state allied to the US.

The China people at USC have made a documentary on the Obama/McCain China issue. China has been remarkable for its absence in the US election this time around... The documentary, hosted by Mike Chinoy (I can feel your winces) is online at the Institute's Youtube channel.

I hope Ryan at Highway 11 finds it in his heart to forgive me -- but I forgot to add that the October issue is out in my last daily links.


Tommy said...

"Wouldn't the world be thrown into turmoil if China (or some other country) were to sell weapons to a region in a certain country through the adoption of a law governing relations with that country in an effort to obstruct the latter's reunification?"

Hahahahahahahaha!!!!!! Can you think of a more contrived question? You know that many in China are thinking about what this guys says. However, all of his suggestions, especially the economic ones would cause China more harm than good at the moment. As for selling planes to Venezuela/Cuba, the writer fails to consider that Venezuela/Cuba and the US are not about to go to war.

Raj said...

If China were to retaliate because of the arms sales it would be shooting itself in the foot. China is already suffering from the global financial trouble, even if it isn't that bad.

Also it would have the reverse desired effect re arms sales as the US hawks would have more ammunition in gunning for stepping them up.

The US doesn't take kindly to blackmail. So far China has realised this by being very careful about where it refuses to co-operate in light of increased support for Taiwan.

Anonymous said...

It's no secret that China pretty much created the rogue state of North Korea in the first place. And China had received kudos in the past for being helpful with those negotiations. Now try to use it as a means to lash out at the US? Pretty laughable....... I do think Beijing has more sense than that....

Anonymous said...

I served in the ROC navy just a year ago, and what the hell are they talking about? the US sells us nothing but way outdated junks. (ok maybe my slight biase since I was assigned to a ex-Knox class destroyer.... which went into service in the late Vietnam war era. suffice to say it was litterally living in a rat colony)

still though, from my perspective, this is all pointless, if the PRC really wants to do a military takeover, it could have done it quiet a while ago. if your a Taiwanese youth who have served, you'll have about 0 confidence in our own military being able to deterr a serious offesnive of any sort from the PRC.

The Army is still living in WW2, the Navy in the Vietnam war era, and the Airforce maybe almost close to the 80s.

If China doesn't give a damn about civillian and collatoral damage, it can win easily by just missile the shit out of the airforce and naval ports. then force land and the POS army can't do a thing.

Tim Maddog said...

Did anybody watch Part 1 of the Chinoy video? The image at the 2:12 mark is clearly Kaohsiung, but Chinoy's narration implies that it's China.

I haven't watched the remainder, but I'm not looking forward to it.

Tim Maddog

Anonymous said...

if your a Taiwanese youth who have served, you'll have about 0 confidence in our own military being able to deterr a serious offesnive of any sort from the PRC.

Perhaps if you're a Chinese youth who has served, you'll have the same amount of confidence about China's military being able to launch a serious offensive of any sort.

If China doesn't give a damn about civillian and collatoral damage

My guess is that China believes that while no one will lift a finger to actually protect Taiwan, an offensive with lots of civilian and collateral damage would make the developed nations question China's "peaceful rise", and that question would have lots of long-term consequences. Just for starters, all transfers of "dual-use" technologies (useful for civilian but also for military) would cease (and what technology can't be argued to have military value?).

China's continued development depends heavily on good relations with other countries.