Monday, December 19, 2011

A few thoughts before the visit of Xi Jinping

In a few days Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping will make an official visit to

Vietnam (scheduled on 20/12). In most respects, this is not a normal visit, but a culculated one by the Beijing leadership. In a way this trip is even more important than the recent visit to China  by General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, which was "a matter of must" of courtesy call by a new leader. Mr Xi'svisit is of  a different characteristics; it is mainly to serve the Chinese interest at a sensitive moment. Therefore, it can bring about both challenges and opportunities for Vietnam.
Low profile, high impact   
In the history of Sino-Vietnamese relations, even in periods of good relationship before, very rare top Chinese leaders visited Vietnam while more top Vietnamese leaders wen to China . At the present poor stage of bilateral relations Mr. Xi 's visit to Vienam  is not a normal practice. He is vitting  in the name of  Vice President but in the shadow of a head of the Party and State of China. So by traditional big power thinking, this is convenient to avoid reputation as "breaking rules", but still shows a special concern of Beijing  in front of  new changes in international situation which has been forcing them to promptly take steps in some key areas including Vietnam.  In short, we can understand that Mr. Xi's visit  to Vietnam this time is mainly motivated by the need of China.    
Why now, and what cards in Mr. Xi's sleeve?
If we push back the time of about half a year ago we can hardly  find such a high level visit in the framework of the  bilateral Sino-Vietnamese relations, except for some cases when Chinese top leaders visitted the country on attending multilateral events .  The question is why such a high level Chinese leader opted to visit Vietnam this time ?
Is it  because the Chinese leadership now begins to feel failure after a period of "self-allowance" in manouvering the situation in attempt to  dominate the East Sea, and nowthat  recognizes that this mistake may not only spoil the image of a peacely growing ​​China but also creating a pretext for the U.S. to be welcome back in the region by most stakeholders than ever before. The clear result is that the U.S. military is being deployed in  northern Australia while  strongly enhanced all along  the traditional line of defense runing from Japan, South Korea  to the Philippines, Singapore ... and in a closer alignment with India. No doubt, this has  adverse effects on  China that they worry and have to take countermeasures. To do this, on one hand the Chinese have to stretch to deal directly with the U.S   and allies, and on the other hand  to  try to gain back influence  on adjacent areas of importance, including Vietnam and Myanmar which are in danger of slipping from the arms of Beijing's influence. Dividing   ASEAN is also a tactic that China has been applying very successfully.
That is the deep motives of the visit of Mr. Xi to Vietnam. People are waiting to see specific cards he will draw from his sleeve during his visit to Hanoi. It may be a real innitiative or just an token act  to deceive public opinion and a  split plot for ASEAN community ...    
What is  the challenge and opportunity for Vietnam?
We can say, again challenges and opportunities are equally open to Vietnam. In our opinion, to effectively deal with the new flag of China, Vietnam's leaders must first stand firm on the strategic objectives of our people, that is  to determinedly defend our national independence, integrity of national sovereignty and maintain peace for national construction. It is obvious that the current happenings in the East Sea in particular and the Asia-Pacific region in general are in favour  of Vietnam and other regional smaller states. The sovereignty statements made by  Vietnamese leaders , especially by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung at the National Assembly most recently are strongly supported by the people and appreciated by the world opinion as a right direction of Vietnam.
Ofcourse, the Vietnamese people  never sponsore policy of confronting China. But once  the nation's  interests are  systematicaly  violated by the northern big neighbor power,  Vietnam are forced to choose a suitable method  to  struggle for existence. The majority of people have expressed their will to engage promoting the availability of all internal resources in combination with strength of the era, determined to fight for the ultimate goal, that is to protect the integrity of national sovereignty, namely sovereignty over the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa as well as the entire sea within the continental shelf and exclusive economic zone of 200 nautical miles in accordance with international law. It is the immutable principle never to compromise. In that spirit Vietnamese people in and out side of Vietnam  are monitoring the situation closely developments surrounding the visit of Mr.Xi Jinping and hope that  the country's leadership will take this opportunity to reiterate clearly and explicitly the point that Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has stated ./.

Friday, December 16, 2011

China Facing Neighboring Anger

Nepal & Myanmar cancel visits, Seoul and Tokyo getting tough

Dec. 15 – China is facing increasingly hardened diplomatic attitudes from its neighboring countries, with four – Nepal, Myanmar, South Korea and Japan – allowing protests at varying degrees of what is considered Chinese belligerence.
A South Korean coastguard official was stabbed to death at sea after the Korean coastguard intercepted a Chinese fishing vessel in its waters in an incident the South Korean media have talked up as “Chinese Piracy at Sea.” The Chinese vessel’s captain has been charged with murder and 17 Chinese fishermen have been detained. The situation further deteriorated between the two countries after what sounded like a gunshot was fired at a window of the South Korean Embassy in Beijing on Tuesday afternoon.
Tokyo is expected to lodge protests after China sent their new, and largest 3,900-ton armed patrol ship on its maiden voyage to islands and areas considered disputed between China and Japan, including several offshore oil and gas fields and various Sino-Japanese joint development zones.
Also, in highly unusual moves, Premier Wen Jiabao’s scheduled trips to Nepal and Myanmar next week have both been cancelled. Myanmar, which recently hosted US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently cancelled a Chinese project to build a Dam on the Irrawaddy River. No explanation has been given for the Nepal cancellation.
China has been more assertive recently in refusing to give ground over disputed border areas, and appears to have been playing too hard to gain projects through use of financial and trade muscle. The Chinese efforts to extend territorial land borders with India, where it claims the State of Arunachal Pradesh in its entirety, as well as parts of Ladakh and Kashmir, have long grated with India. Meanwhile, attempts to claim the whole of the South China Sea, in addition to parts of the East China Sea and Yellow Sea have been stepped up. 2point6billion learns that Chinese Embassy officials around the world have been paying particular attention to antique dealers in maps and similar cartographic relics, buying up whatever they can find, presumably in order to prove long held claims or to destroy examples that do not fit with their stated aims. Officials from nations affected by such territorial disputes may wish to consider the importance of such items concerning both cartographic and anecdotal evidence in ancient and historic documents.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

China frets as Taiwan president faces tough reelection bid

Reuters - Taiwan President and Nationalist Party presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou, left, who is China’s preferred candidate, has steered a path of warmer ties with the mainland. 

BEIJING — Already entangled in territorial disputes with neighbors and facing the announced return of the United States to the region, China’s strategic planners suddenly have a new and unexpected cause for alarm: uncertainty over the outcome of next month’s presidential election in Taiwan.
President Ma Ying-jeou, the Beijing government’s preferred candidate who has steered a path of warmer ties and direct economic links with the mainland, is suddenly in a tough race for reelection, polls from Taiwan show.

(Patrick Lin/AFP/Getty Images) - Supporters of Taiwan's ruling Nationalist party wave national and election flags at a rally in Taipei in November. President Ma Ying-jeou is seeking the second and last four-year term on behalf of the ruling Kuomintang.
Ma’s chief opponent is Tsai Ing-wen, chairwoman of the Democratic Progressive Party, which officially backs the independence of Taiwan. Tsai has raised the Beijing government’s ire for her refusal to publicly support an informal, unwritten, 20-year-old agreement between the two sides stipulating that there is just “one China.”
For months, the election was expected to hand an easy reelection victory to Ma, from the ­Kuomintang, or Nationalist Party, after he steered the island through the worst of the global recession and secured a new trade deal with China. But the race became more unpredictable with the entry last month of a third candidate, James Soong, a former Nationalist Party stalwart who founded the People First Party.
Soong is expected to draw votes from Ma, and polls now suggest a dead heat between Ma and Tsai, who has emphasized economic issues and the gap between rich and poor, as well as the problems of farmers who have not benefited from increased trade with China.
Ma stumbled when he suggested that Taiwan might be ready to sign a peace accord with China within 10 years. He later rolled back the remarks, but the critical response suggested that many Taiwanese saw him as moving too close too quickly to the Communist government in Beijing.
During Ma’s term, relations across the volatile Taiwan Strait have been, as he put it in an interview, “the most stable of anytime in 60 years.” But the prospect that he might lose to a candidate of the independence-minded Democratic Progressive Party has raised fears among some analysts in China of renewed tension, which might once again draw in the United States. This last happened in 1996, when China fired missiles near Taiwan and the Clinton administration sent additional naval ships to the region as a show of U.S. determination not to allow China to intimidate Taiwan.
Caught off guard
While clearly concerned about the turn of events, Beijing’s authorities seem uncertain how to respond.
Chinese leaders and others on the mainland have made clear their dislike of Tsai’s party and their preference for Ma’s reelection, but they also fear that any blatant interference might create a backlash among Taiwanese voters. That means it is unlikely, in the view of analysts, that China would stage a repeat of the provocative missile tests or the 2000 warning by Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji, who bluntly cautioned Taiwanese not to “vote impulsively.”
One analyst, Dean Cheng of the Heritage Foundation in Washington, said that China’s leaders were most likely caught off guard by the sudden shift in Ma’s fortunes and that the military has probably not set in place a response.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

“Prepare for warfare” - President Hu tells navy

Phayul[Wednesday, December 07, 2011 15:34]
(Photo/Getty Images)
DHARAMSHALA, December 7: A day before Chinese and US military officials started military talks in Beijing, Chinese President Hu Jintao told its navy to accelerate modernisation and prepare for war.

Speaking to military officials Tuesday, Xinhua, China’s official media agency quoted President Hu as commanding the Party congress of People's Liberation Army Navy to “make extended preparations for warfare in order to make greater contributions to safeguarding national security and world peace.”

Many observers believe that President Hu’s blunt comments are in stark contradiction to his often repeated claims of China’s “peaceful rise”.

The one-day Wednesday meeting between senior US and Chinese officials are the first ministry-level talks between the two nations since September, when Washington announced a $5.85 billion upgrade to Taiwan's fleet of F-16 fighter jets – a decision which angered Beijing.

China’s navy recently acquired its first aircraft carrier and is active in the disputed South China Sea which has off late become the scene of mounting political tension.

While the US announced last month of a full Marine task force base in northern Australia, neighbouring countries such as Philippines and Vietnam, who claim sovereignty over islands in the sea, have repeatedly accused China of overt aggression in the region.

President Hu’s comments come days after a high-ranking Chinese navy official reportedly said that China was ready to risk a third world war for Iran.

A media agency run by the Iranian government on December 4 quoted Chinese rear admiral and director of the National Defence University Military Logistics and Equipment Department Zhang Zhaozhong as saying, “China will not hesitate to protect Iran even with a third world war.”

Meanwhile, India’s Defence Minister A K Antony said India was keeping a close watch on its national security and commercial interests in the wake of China's announced move for exploration in the South-West Indian Ocean.

"The government keeps a constant watch on all developments concerning our national security and commercial interests and takes all necessary measures to safeguard them in accordance with the prevailing security situation and strategic considerations," Antony said while responding to concerns expressed in the Indian parliament over the issue today

Friday, December 9, 2011

A long path of rewriting the Chinese Communist Party’s history

ChinaFotoPress/GETTY IMAGES - Pupils attend a celebration of the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China at a primary school on March 28, 2011 in Chongqing, China.
By Andrew Higgins, Published: May 27, 2011
beijing — China’s Communist Party has finally got its story straight. It took 16 years of editing and four extensive rewrites. Chinese leaders, otherwise preoccupied with running a rising superpower, weighed in throughout.
“I never thought it would take so long,” said Shi Zhongquan, who helped craft what the party hopes will be the final word on some of the most politically sensitive and also bloodiest episodes of China’s recent history — a new 1,074-page account of the party’s early decades in power.
Deconstructing China’s official history
As China races into the future, the Communist Party — which marks its 90th birthday in July — still takes the past, especially its own, very seriously. “Writing history is not easy,” said Shi, a veteran party historian.
It gets particularly hard when it includes not only two of the past century’s most lethal man-made catastrophes — the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution — but also a modest yet now ticklish upset back in 1962 — the disgrace of Xi Zhongxun, the father of Xi Jinping, China’s current vice president and leader-in-waiting.
“It’s an old communist joke that Marxists can predict the future, but the past is more difficult,” said Roderick Macfarquhar, a Harvard University scholar and leading authority on Chinese politics under Mao Zedong, who died in 1976. The past, added Macfarquhar, “is important because it legitimates the present” and “what went wrong then has to be justified now.”
The party published its first official history 20 years ago but ended the story with Mao’s conquest of China in 1949. It has now ventured into far more treacherous territory with the January publication of “History of the Chinese Communist Party, Volume 2 (1949-1978),” which continues the saga until the year Deng Xiaoping started undoing much of Mao’s legacy.
As China gears up to mark the July anniversary of the party’s founding in 1921, history has become a boom industry. Nobody outside a tiny group of die-hard Maoists wants to revive communes, class struggle and brutal purges. But the party is hammering a message it views as crucial to its grip on power: China’s surging economy and growing international clout are entirely the fruit of uninterrupted one-party rule.
The state poured nearly $400 million into a new National Museum stuffed with revolutionary memorabilia, and millions more into “The Founding of a Party,” a star-studded epic movie due to be released soon. Chinese TV stations, meanwhile, have been told to yank cop shows and focus on airing dramas about party history instead.
Shaping history is particularly important to China’s so-called princelings, the offspring of Mao’s comrades. Having secured influence and often wealth on the basis of their family connections, members of this small but powerful group celebrate a wart-free version of the past that boosts their status — and sidesteps their parents’ role as enforcers and then victims of party brutality.
‘Distort and smear’
Xi, the Politburo member who is due to take over as leader of the party next year and whose father was purged by Mao in 1962, has been particularly active in stressing the need to get history right. In a keynote address at a “history work conference” last summer, he called on all party members — numbering nearly 80 million — to “resolutely combat the wrong tendency to distort and smear the party’s history.” (He didn’t comment on his father.)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sea and islands sovereignty: When the top leader states


In the public expectation , today (11/25/2011) Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has just concluded his presentation at the National Assembly  at 11h20. The important thing lies  not in the event itself  but in its content, and Prime Minister have well done with this. Just hours after, many "right side" and "left side" online papers simultaneously transmitted content of his speech . The Vn-Express ran an impressiv headline "Vietnam claims the Paracel Islands in peace" with a more clear-cut opening sentence: "Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung stressed that Vietnam must be resolved and confirmed sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) islands that had been forcibly occupied by China in 1974 ".  

According to my knowledge, this is the first time a top leader of Vietnam has made such complete official statement on the country's stance regarding the sovereignty of the two archipelagoes of Hoang Sa and Truong Sa . Objectively speaking, it is a perfect reply of the Prime Minister in front of the National Assembly, particularly when some"strange statements"are heard from a number of officials and MPs that have hurt the public opinion too much. Unlike them,  the Prime Minister  said briefly, but clearly, complete  with  historical evidenceswhen needed. Prime Minister has shown his straight and clear-cut attitude, not babbling when mentioning about the sovereignty of the country, thus significantly helps to calm down the public which is in a pressing situation due to long lack of  transparent explainations from the country's leadership on issues related to territorial and sea islands sovereignty as well as the fate of millions of fishermen suffering  continuos serious acts of violation by the Chinese side. It is worth noting that, unlike those often consider this matter as "delicate", the Prime Minister has not avoided using  concrete terms and specific stances. In the name of a top state leader of Vietnam the  Prime Minister has sent out to the world a clear message about the stance of Vietnam national sovereignty issues associated sea-waters and  islands, including Hoang Sa and Truong Sa . This move is welcome by all the Vietnamese people of and international friends.    

You can read the full text view heard the Prime Minister's speech (in Vietnamese) here:
* Clip : The Prime Minister answered questions on China Sea

Followings are English translations of key contents (in 4 groups of issues) extracted from the speech for your convenient reference.

1) For the overlapping area in the Bac bo Gulf (Gulf of Tonkin),
"In the Bac bo Gulf, after years of negotiations Vietnam and China have achieved a demarcation in 2000. The waters of off-shore the Halong Bay gate, according to Convention of  the Law of the Sea, Vietnam's continental shelf overlaps with that of Chinese Hainan Island. Since 2006 the two sides negotiated until 2009 decided to suspend negotiations due to much different opinions from each other "...;
" Pending an assignment, the two sides have in practice formed  self-management zones on the basis of the middle line "...;
2) For the Hoang Sa islands(Paracel),
"We mastered  Hoang Sa islands , at least from the 17th century when they were  not of any country. We have mastered the islands in practice and continuous peace";

"1974 China forcibly occupied the entire Hoang Sa (then in the control of the Saigon government), the Government of Republic of Vietnam  protested condemning the invasion and proposed the United United Nations to intervene. the Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam was also made a statement denoucing that act of occupation ";

"Our consistent policy is that Hoang Sa islands belong to Vietnam. We have sufficient evidence and legal history to confirm this. But we sponsor policy of negotiated settlement which requires all rights to the islands by peaceful means. This policy is consistent with the UN Charter, in accordance with Law of the Sea Convention ";

3) For the Truong Sa islands (Spretly) ,
" In 1975 the Vietnamese Navy took over the five islands from the management of the military government of Saigon . The sovereignty of Vietnam expand over 21 islands with 33 points stationed and  built 15 rigs  to assert sovereignty in those waters which fall within 200 nautical miles of the continental shelf and exclusive economic zones of Vietnam ";

" Vietnam is the only country that has residents settling down on some islands, including six newly born and raised on the islands ";

4) The dispute resolution policy,
"Vietnam policy strictly follows the Law of the Sea Convention, the DOC and the principles of the agreement recently signed with China. Vietnam requires the parties to keep status quo, not to complicate the situation to affect peace and stability to this region. " Vietnam also continues to invest in upgrading economic infrastructure and technical facilities in places in oder  to keep, to improve lives and strengthen self-defense capability for the military and civilians over the Truong Sa islands " ;

"For the sea waters in the Eas Sea, Vietnam ​​seriously requires the parties to strictly comply with the Law of the Sea Convention of 1982 and declared DOC  to ensure peace, stability, security security and order, freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. This stance of Vietnam was to support the international community, most recently at the ASEAN summit and ASEAN senior partners./.

Friday, November 25, 2011

China violates Vietnam's sovereignty at Paracel archipelago

Vietnam's Foreign Ministry stated on November 24, 2001 that China authorizing rourist exploitation  at the Paracel archipelago is a violation of Vietnam's sovereignty.

Vietnamese Luong Thanh Nghi spokesman.

The statement was made following news that  Chinese Hainan province's authority has granted  permission for one of its tourist company to organize tourist visits from the Province to the Paracel islands. Vietnam's Foreign Ministry spokesman Luong Thanh Nghi asserted that the above mentioned activity of a violation of China against Vietnam's sovereignty.
"Vietnam has confirmed its undisputed sovereignty for both the Paracels and the Spratlys", said Luong Thanh Nghi  in the  regular press conference in Hanoi.
"All the activities of foreigners in this area without the consent of Vietnam is a violation of the sovereignty of Vietnam and goes against the spirit of DOC" as stated in the Joint Statement on codes of conduct on the East Sea that China signed with ASEAN.
The  Foreign Affairs spokesman reiterated Vietnam's stand that peace, stability, security and freedom of navigation in the East Sea are common interests of  the region and of the world.
"The parties concerned should solve disputes through peaceful means, in compliance with international law, particularly the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS 1982)", he said . "Vietnam welcomes  ASEAN and China have agreed to fully implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea aiming to establish a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC)".
During the press conference the Foreign Ministry spokesman also reacted to the U.S. military deployment in Australia as saying : "We hope that the cooperation between nations will contribute positively and responsibly to the joint efforts to maintain peace, stability and cooperation in the region and the world". 
During his recent Asian tour  U.S. President Barack Obama vowed to deploy a total of 2,500 Marines to northern Australia. (Reporter Phan Le)
Source: Vn-Expess online  

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sino-US war unlikely but not impossible

Global Times | November 15, 2011 23:01
By Global Times

Sino-US war unlikely but not impossible
Luo Yuan (罗援)
Editor's Note:
A recent report released by the RAND Corporation, a US think tank specializing in military studies, examined the prospect of China and the US going to war, but concluded it improbable. What is the ultimate red line for a major military conflict between the two powers? Will the US back other Asian countries in provoking China? Global Times (GT) reporter Wang Wenwen talked to Major General Luo Yuan (Luo), deputy secretary-general of the PLA Academy of Military Sciences, and Robert M. Farley (Farley), a professor at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce in the University of Kentucky, on these issues.
GT: Some people predict that China will be a real competitor for the US in the next few decades. Do you think a war between China and the US will ever occur? If it does occur, what can be the trigger?
Luo: At the current stage, both countries don't have the desire to start a war, nor do they have the capability. However, if China's core interests such as its sovereignty, national security and unity are intruded on, a military conflict will be unavoidable.
Farley: I think that war is unlikely, but not impossible. Both countries have a lot to lose, both from the conflict itself and the overall fallout. If war does occur, I suspect that the trigger will be a miscalculation over Taiwan, or possibly North Korea. Some in the US might feel compelled to defend Taiwan following a declaration of independence; a North Korean collapse will lead to competition over the new structure of politics on the Korean Peninsula. 
The first and most important consequence is that Americans and Chinese will die.
Robert M. Farley
GT: What will be the consequence if a military conflict happens?
Luo: The war could cause destruction to both sides, with the US having more to lose. China is the largest foreign holder of US debt. The US dare not irritate China easily, and China is also tied to the US. If a war starts, the two countries will suffer economic losses immediately. As both countries have nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, the consequence will be disastrous if the war escalates.
Farley: The first and most important consequence is that Americans and Chinese will die. Another major consequence will be a severing of the US-China economic relationship no matter who wins the war, which could induce another global financial collapse and throw much of the world into a very severe recession.
GT: The RAND report says the war may start over China's border countries or regions like North Korea, India, the South China Sea or Taiwan Straits. Do you think so?
Luo: The US is a pragmatic country. It will try to trigger a war in other countries or regions to deplete their powers while maintaining its own safety. The US will not really get involved into a war if the harm is greater than the benefits. Even if it does get involved, it won't sacrifice itself for its allies.
Robert M. Farley
Farley: I doubt that the US will become engaged in the South China Sea in any but a supporting role. However, the Taiwan situation is ripe for miscalculation by all the parties involved. I'm a bit less worried about either India or North Korea. While the US and India have been building a good relationship, the focus of Indian foreign policy remains on Pakistan, and previous Indo-Pakistani wars haven't dragged either China or the US in. In North Korea, I'm optimistic that diplomats will be able to work out the major issues without war.
GT: Will the US draw China's neighboring countries to its side to rival with China?
Luo: Definitely. The US has already display its power through China's neighboring countries. For example, it has conducted naval exercises amid growing tensions with China over disputed waters in the South China Sea. It sells arms worth millions of dollars to India as a sign of its desire to deepen defense cooperation with that nation.
Farley: The US will definitely attempt to rely on some of its allies. If North Korea does become a flashpoint, Japan is quite likely to become involved, as well as South Korea. Naval conflict in the South China Sea would almost certainly involve Vietnam and the Philippines. The big question mark is Taiwan, where it's unclear that anyone but the US would be interested in defending the island. Japan has substantial economic connections with Taiwan island, but then it also has such connections with the Chinese mainland.
The US will not really get involved into a war if the harm is greater than the benefits.
Luo Yuan
GT: Some US military sources say the US can easily destroy China's small nuclear arsenal. What do you think? Can a nuclear war ever happen?
Luo: This is not the first time that the Americans have made such crazy remarks. It should be noted that everybody is vulnerable to nuclear attack. Although China has pledged no first-use of nuclear weapons, it will not keep them just on display in life-and-death moments for the nation.
Farley: I think the Chinese nuclear arsenal is very vulnerable to US attack right now, and probably will remain so for some time. However, I also think that the US would be extremely reluctant to start a nuclear war. The problem is again miscalculation. If China believes that the US is likely to launch an attack on its nuclear forces, it might be inclined to use those assets to pre-empt the US attack.
GT: The RAND report believes that conflict between China and the US is more likely to occur in the field of the Internet or economy. What can be the consequence of an Internet war? What would be the intensity and consequence of an economic war?
Luo: The US is good at covering up its own misdeeds by shifting the blame on other countries. It accuses China of being the center of Internet crime.
However, the US established a cyber command to start an online arms race. Not only the armed forces, but also ordinary people of both sides will be involved if an Internet war occurs.
Farley: An economic war would have very serious consequences for the global economy. Everyone around the world would hurt in the short term. In the long term, we would likely see a shift to regional trade blocs around the great powers, rather than the global free trade that prevails today.
GT: To avoid a war between China and the US, what can be done by both sides?
Luo: The main conflicts between China and the US are reflected in the fields of politics, economy, national security and interests. Only when the US gives up Cold War ideas can these conflicts be eased. Both countries should respect each other's way of development and not provoke other's core interests. But I doubt whether the US can do this.
Farley: The best solution is to make sure that the two sides understand each other's negotiating positions very, very well. Dense relationships between the US and China across various spheres will help create groups that have a vested interest in preventing war, and that understand each other well enough to appreciate the dangers of specific flashpoints.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

No united Asean stand vs China?

NUSA DUA, Indonesia – Southeast Asian nations yesterday backed away from establishing a united front against China over territorial disputes in the South China Sea, as Beijing warned against the initiative.
The Philippines is pushing for a joint stand on the issue among Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders’ meeting on Indonesia’s Bali island this week, according to an internal document obtained by AFP.
China has caused disquiet in Washington and Asian capitals with its claim to all of the South China Sea, a region that encompasses vital shipping lanes and which is believed to sit atop vast oil and mineral reserves.
China’s rival Taiwan, as well as ASEAN countries the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei, also lay claim to all or part of the area, and Manila pushed for a meeting of all six countries involved.
But Beijing, which prefers to negotiate individually with its weaker neighbors, said it was not appropriate to discuss territorial rows at the East Asia Summit, which will take place in Bali this week.
“China believes that the disputes should be resolved through peaceful consultations between parties directly concerned,” China’s assistant foreign minister Liu Zhenmin told journalists at a briefing in Beijing.
“The intervention of outside forces is not helpful for the settlement of the issue, on the contrary it will only complicate the issue and sabotage peace and stability and development in the region,” he said in an apparent reference to the United States, which is joining the East Asia Summit this year.
Beijing’s economic and political clout mean that ASEAN members cannot afford to cause offence, making the establish- ment of a unified position difficult.

“China is showing a positive step by organising seminars and workshops, that is very positive. ASEAN should recipro- cate on that,” Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman told AFP.
“To introduce another forum will com- plicate the matter further,” he said, adding it was more constructive to concentrate on a non-binding declaration of conduct, even though critics have dismissed it as toothless.
Cambodia’s Foreign Minister Hor Namhong also declined to support Ma- nila’s proposal.
“We are not against,” he told AFP, laughing, before adding: “The problem is how to avoid... duplication.”
ASEAN secretary general Surin Pitsu- wan indicated the concept was being put on the diplomatic back burner, saying it “remains to be discussed further”.
He echoed other ministers’ views that the region should focus on a legally bind- ing code of conduct, which has eluded agreement for years.
“That issue is gaining momentum and we are making progress. There will be some efforts here and there in order to strengthen this momentum,” he said.
Phl pushing for ‘zone of peace’
Despite this, the Philippines remains committed to pushing for a “zone of peace” with China at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) sum- mit here this week to settle the volatile West Philippine Sea territorial disputes.
China, on the other hand, opposes discussing claims to the South China Sea at the summit. China wants individual negotiations to settle the claims in the potentially oil-rich region.
“The Philippines believes that a rules- based approach is the only legitimate way in addressing disputes in the West Phil- ippine Sea (South China Sea),” Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said yesterday at the ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting here.
The government also plans to pursue other means such as third party adjudica- tion, arbitration or conciliation as may be appropriate in the context of the dispute settlement mechanism of the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Del Rosario said the rules-based ap- proach was embodied in the “zone of peace, freedom, friendship, and coopera- tion.”
“We believe that the ‘zone of peace’ is the actionable framework to clarify and segregate the disputed land features from the non-disputed waters of the West Phil- ippine Sea, and in the process, address the issue of the nine-dash line. This process of segregation would have enabled a work- able cooperation between and among ASEAN and China, especially the littoral and claimant states in the South China Sea,” he said.
The “zone of peace” is consistent with the rules-based framework of managing the disputes in the West Philippine Sea and is, likewise, pursuant to the DOC (Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea), Del Rosario added.
He said ASEAN should play a positive and meaningful role to contribute in the peaceful resolution of the disputes in the South China Sea.
US wants access to South China Sea
President Obama said during the re- cently concluded Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Hawaii that he wanted the United States to have un- controlled access in the South China Sea when he attends the ASEAN summit in Indonesia.
“We’re going to be speaking, again, about how can we, a great Pacific power, work with our (ASEAN) partners to ensure stability, free flow of commerce, maritime rules and drilling and a whole host of issues are managed in an open and fair way,” Obama said.
He made the statement in response to a query made by journalist Jim McNerney about his main agenda in his subsequent visit to Australia, another US ally.
By “drilling,” the US leader meant oil explorations in the disputed Spratlys area. Admiral Robert Willard of the US Pacific Command has confirmed that the US government has interests in the South China Sea since such lane carries $5.3 trillion in bilateral annual trade.
“South China Sea is a very important maritime common for the entire region. So the South China Sea region and the sea lanes that it contains are incredibly vital to the region, to our partners and allies, and certainly to the US,” Willard said.
President Aquino had earlier said that Forum Energy, an American firm, will start oil explorations north of Palawan that would “dwarf” the Malampaya oil fields.
Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras confirmed Aqui- no’s statement that Forum Energy’s oil explorations will be under way early next year.
the disputed oil-rich Spratly Islands.
Aquino, Almendras and presidential spokesman Ed- win Lacierda have all main- tained that Recto Bank in Palawan, which is 80 nautical miles from the Philippines’ 200-mile exclusive economic zone, does not fall within
Aquino added that the pur- ported nine-dash line that China has belatedly invoked cannot reach Recto Bank, which is 500 miles away from its mainland. He said it has been known to be the Philip- pines’ property in 1982 and that China claimed it only in 2009.
Aurea Calica, Delon Porcalla, AP
Source: The Philippine Star

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Manila, Hanoi forge cooperation on South China Sea

MANILA | Wed Oct 26, 2011 7:24am EDT
MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines and Vietnam on Wednesday signed agreements to expand non-military cooperation of their maritime forces in the South China Sea, avoiding formal military pacts on the disputed waters that could provoke protests from China.The two governments also discussed their desire to push for a multilateral and rules-based approach in resolving disputes in the South China Sea.
Manila invited Hanoi to invest in about 15 oil and gas blocks being offered for exploration in areas outside disputed waters in the South China Sea.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino and Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang witnessed the signing of four agreements, including a blueprint for a five-year cooperation in 13 areas that included agriculture, energy, and technology.
The more important deals involved information sharing and creating a hotline to deal with maritime issues, such as piracy, smuggling, disaster response and protection of marine resources.
"The agreements on the establishment of a hotline communications mechanism between our coast guards, and the agreement linking our two navies mark significant progress in ensuring a safer and more secure maritime area," Aquino said after bilateral talks.
Sang promised his government's support for Manila's proposal for a Zone of Peace, Freedom, Friendship and Cooperation (ZoPFFC) in the South China Sea. The proposal will complement implementing guidelines of an informal code of conduct by the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China.
"We again confirmed the importance of the maintenance of peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation in the East Sea," Sang said, adding he hopes ASEAN would come up with a binding code.
Vietnam refers to the South China Sea as East Sea, while the Philippines calls it West Philippine Sea.
Officials said Sang assured Aquino that the six-point pact signed by Vietnam and China this month on the South China Sea would not go against the multilateral and rules-based approach pushed by Manila in resolving disputes.
Manila and Hanoi had protested earlier this year China's activities in the South China Sea, and both had planned a joint complaint on Beijing's claim in the disputed waters.
The Philippines, Vietnam, China and two other Southeast Asian states have conflicting claims over parts of the South China Sea, a potentially oil- and gas-rich body of water spanned by key shipping lanes.
(Reporting By Manny Mogato; Editing by Rosemarie Francisco)

US gas find off Vietnam adds to China tension

Financial Times
By Ben Bland in Hanoi, Leslie Hook in Beijing and Sheila McNulty in Houston

American oil major ExxonMobil has made a “potentially significant” gas discovery off the coast of Vietnam in an area that is also claimed by China.
The find brings the bitter territorial dispute over the resource-rich South China Sea back into focus at a time when leaders in both Communist nations have been trying to play down tensions.
China has become more vocal about its claims to the South China Sea in recent years, and Chinese vessels have several times tangled with Vietnamese and Japanese ships in contested waters this year.
In May, PetroVietnam, Vietnam’s state oil and gas monopoly, claimed that Chinese ships had harassed and damaged its oil exploration ships on more than occasion.
ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil group by market capitalisation, said in a brief statement on Wednesday that it had “encountered hydrocarbons” after drilling a second well in block 118 off the coast of Danang, central Vietnam, in August.
The company did not comment on the size of the discovery, saying that it was analysing the data from the second well after its first well failed to find oil or gas.
But an executive from another oil company prospecting nearby said that this was “a potentially significant find”, given the geology of the area. An executive from PetroVietnam, ExxonMobil’s production partner, said that they had found gas.
ExxonMobil has a licence from the Vietnamese government to explore blocks 117, 118 and 119 off the coast of Danang. This area falls well within what Vietnam claims is its 200-mile exclusive economic zone under international maritime law.
But these blocks also fall within China’s vast claim to almost the entire South China Sea, also claimed in part by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan as well as Vietnam. The sea is thought to contain substantial oil and gas reserves and encompasses key global trade routes and important fisheries.
China has pressed international oil companies, including BP and ExxonMobil, to withdraw from oil and gas exploration deals with Vietnam, according to industry executives and leaked American diplomatic cables that have been published online by Wikileaks.
A confidential American diplomatic cable sent from then ambassador Michael Michalak to Washington in July 2009 claimed that ExxonMobil “quietly signed” a production-sharing agreement with PetroVietnam in order to minimise any negative reactions from China.
The agreement covered blocks 117,118 and 119, which Mr Michalak said lay “well within China’s line of demarcation”.
Beijing has consistently said that China opposes oil and gas exploration in what it considers its territorial waters.
The foreign ministry said Thursday it was too soon for them to comment on reports of the ExxonMobil discovery.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


"India-Vietnam joint work  must be halted" is the title of an editorial on the Global Times - an  official mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China on  its issue of  Nov.14, 2011. 

I think, it is not just a headline but a threat. Inside the article contains may words of threatening not only to India and Vietnam but also other nations concerned . It makes sense that any reader can see the absurdity when a country gives itself the right to interfere  in the external relations of other nations.  It is so negative itself  by causing doubts about the goodwill, if any, of   the heads of the Chinese Party and State  just expressed  to the people of Vietnam and the world during the ongoing high-level visit of the Vietnamese Secretary General  Nguyen Phu  Trong. 

I wonder if the author of this editorial as well as Beijing leaders could  foresee the consequences of this type of  propaganda or not (?) Just read some comments full of extremist nationalism and war-like passion below this article we will see how dangerous it  has caused. 
You can read the original aditorial and comments via thislink:

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Vietnam and Phillipines work on bilateral cooperation Updated October 07, 2011 11:45 PM 

HANOI (Xinhua) - Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pham Binh Minh, and his Philippine counterpart Albert F. Del Rosario, co-chaired the 6th meeting of the Vietnam-Philippines Joint Committee for Bilateral Cooperation here on Friday.
The two sides reviewed and evaluated results from the implementations of the agreements approved at the 5th meeting held in the Philippines in February 2008 and the Vietnam-Philippines Plan of Actions during 2007-2010.
They also set forth measures to promote cooperation in some concrete fields in the coming time, including the signing of the Vietnam-Philippines Plan of Actions for 2011-2016 aimed at further deploying the "Joint Declaration on the Framework of Bilateral Cooperation in the first 25 years of the 21st century and years to come".
Both sides were pleased at the fine development of their friendly relations and comprehensive cooperation after 35 years of official diplomatic ties. They highly evaluated the recent visit to Vietnam by Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III, and the on-going visit by Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. Del Rosario, and agreed to continue the exchange of both sides' high-ranking visits and those at different levels.
The two sides agreed to soon establish the Vietnam-Philippines and the Philippines-Vietnam Friendship Parliamentary Groups aimed at enhancing relations and cooperation between the two parliaments.
Measures were set forth to promote cooperation in various fields including economic, trade, investment, security and defense, maritime, agriculture, forestry and seafood, energy security, culture and tourism, training and education, and sciences and technologies.
The two sides agreed to boost two-way trade turnover to reach $3 billion by 2016.
Both sides also exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual concern.                     The two sides agreed to hold the 7th meeting in the Philippines in 2013.
On the same day, Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang received Albert F. Del Rosario at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Over the Horizon : Is worrying about war with China a self-fulfilling prophecy?

PF-FForeign Policy

Is it possible that, a decade after 9/11, America has become too preoccupied with the threat from "nonstate actors" and too complacent about the more classic dangers posed by powerful and self-aggrandizing states? Or, put more succinctly, how afraid of China should the United States be?
We know, of course, that China owns $1.5 trillion worth of U.S. Treasury bills and thus has the U.S. economy by the short hairs; that China refuses to significantly revalue the renminbi and thus retains its colossal imbalance in trade with the United States; and that China has begun to buy American real estate and other assets (including, perhaps, the Los Angeles Dodgers). But should Americans regard China as a national security threat and not merely an economic one?

The authors of "Asian Alliances in the 21st Century," a report published by the Project 2049 Institute, a conservative think tank that focuses on East Asia, insist that we must. (The lead author is American Enterprise Institute scholar Dan Blumenthal of Foreign Policy's Shadow Government blog.) The report concludes that "China's military ambitions threaten America's Asian allies, raise questions about the credibility of U.S. alliance pledges, and imperil the U.S. military strategy that underpins its global primacy."
This is startling news to those of us who think of China as a "status quo" power, a view that until recently was widely shared in the academic and policy community. In Power Shift: China and Asia's New Dynamics, published in 2006, David Shambaugh, a leading China scholar, concludes that "China is increasingly seen as a good neighbor, constructive partner, and careful listener." Shambaugh and others wrote then that China had emerged from a long era of suspicion and insularity and had begun to join regional organizations, send peacekeepers to U.N. missions, and improve bilateral relations in the neighborhood. Yes, China's military was rapidly modernizing in ways that gave the Taiwanese a fright, but such signs of belligerence had been offset, Shambaugh concluded, by "bilateral and multilateral confidence-building measures."
But five years is a long time for a country growing, and changing, as rapidly as China. "Asian Alliances" argues, in effect, that China has now fully emerged from its defensive crouch. In recent years, China has developed a new generation of ballistic and cruise missiles, attack submarines, tactical and stealth aircraft, radar, and space-based intelligence, as well as an anti-satellite missile, which together give it the capacity to establish "contested zones" in air, sea, and space, and thus push the United States further and further out from regions of the Pacific that it has long patrolled and protected. And China's behavior in the neighborhood has turned markedly bellicose, aggressively pursuing its claim to islands in the South China Sea and sending its blue-water navy on long-range exercises off the Japanese coast. It's for this reason that Robert D. Kaplan wrote in the current issue of FP that the future of conflict lies not in the sands of the Middle East but the open water of the South China Sea.
It seems odd that a country so famously patient and slow-gestating would have so radically, and so quickly, changed its posture to the world. Maybe that careful listening was an elaborate show, or a transitional phase. Elizabeth Economy, a China scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations, argues that China's peaceful rise was never more than a "rhetorical formulation"; only now, however, has China's military capacity and its rhetoric caught up with its long-held aspirations to expand its sphere of dominance in East Asia. U.S. President Barack Obama's administration has not accepted that view, but has nevertheless warned China to play by the rules of the international system. In the 2009 speech in which he coined the phrase "strategic reassurance," then-Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg noted that China's "enhanced capabilities" and "overbroad assertion of its rights" in the South China Sea had caused Washington and its allies to "question China's intentions."

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