Due to the four-day weekend, this one is rather long.
Japan joins U.S. on Taiwan: As reported of Friday (second item), the United States and Japan jointly included Taiwan as a “common strategic objective” (Time Asia). It is the first time the U.S.-Japan alliance has produced any statement on Taiwan, and was warmly received by the island democracy (Cybercast News). Communist China, of course, was livid (Voice of America via Epoch Times), in part because the joint statement also called on the Communists to be more transparent about their current military buildup. They were joined in criticizing the move by Niels de Groot in a bizarre Newsmax column. James Hackett, Washington Times, is much more clear-headed in his analysis.
Chirac and Gordon Brown continue European idiocy on Communist China: While Japan was coming to grips with the Communist threat, Europe continued to stick its collective head in the sand. French President Jacques Chirac flatly told President Bush that the European Union arms embargo on Communist China is “no longer justified” (BBC). That was vehemently challenged by Frank Gaffney, Jr., of the Center for Security Policy (Washington Times) and Daniel Blumenthal and Thomas Donnelly of the American Enterprise Institute (Washington Post). Also reporting: VOA via Epoch Times
Meanwhile, Gordon Brown, Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister) revealed his ignorance on Communist China with this line: “While others may wish to see China and globalization as a threat, I see the rise of China and the new stage of globalization not as a threat but as an opportunity” (BBC). As part of this “opportunity,” Brown vowed to “do everything possible to secure a tie-up between MG Rover and China's Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp” (BBC), a merger which will effectively turn the British carmaker into a subsidiary of Communist China.
Cadres’ Reaction against Nine Commentaries Goes Overseas: In their desperate attempt to stem the continuing strength of the Epoch Times’ Nine Commentaries on the Chinese Communist Party, the Communist regime have harassed and threatened exiles in the U.S. – and their families back home – in a crude and clumsy attempt to silence them.
The Falun Gong War: Qin Yue interviews Dai Xuewu, a Shanghai-based anti-Communist who spent three years in prison and “met many Falun Gong practitioners and witnessed the physical and mental torture of the practitioners at the hands of the police.” Meanwhile, Li Xiuping gives a painful account of a young girl whose father was killed by the Communists when she was fifteen months old, “because he refused to renounce his belief in Falun Gong.” Both links come from the Epoch Times.
Unsafe mines likely to continue without independent unions: Austin Ramzy, Time Asia, probes the underlying reasons for the continuing slew of mining accidents in Communist China, and finds the following: the ban on independent labor unions “leaving miners with few outlets to press for reforms,” and – get this – “mine owners who do double-duty as government-workplace safety inspectors.”
Communist economy slows down, but corruption heats up: Communist China saw a fall in producer price inflation to 5.8%, which the regime took as a sign its “campaign to rein in economic growth by limiting investment is gradually working.” Not so successful is its battle against corruption, which is now so widespread among cadres taking pilfered funds to casinos “that bilingual wags began calling them ‘ganbu-lers’ a pun on the Chinese word for party cadre.” Both links came from the Washington Post.
Three Gorges firm scores huge profit; ecology in Communist China deteriorates: The Communist-owned firm that built the ecological disastrous Three Gorges Dam “said its profits more than doubled in 2004” (BBC) due to “power shortages (that) have hit cities and provinces across the country.” That shortage comes from overdevelopment no free market would tolerate, and that has led to terrible consequence for the environment in Communist China – including the drying up of grassland and the pollution of myriad rivers (Radio Free Asia via Epoch Times).
Amid falling population, HK cadre calls for more children: The BBC has already dubbed it the “three child policy”: Hong Kong Chief Secretary Donald Tsang called for all families to have at least three children “to try to stem the territory's falling birth rate.” Making the issue more troubling for the cadres in HK is the fact that a sluggish economy has led to a fall in migration to the city from the mainland (Time Asia).
Can CAFTA counter the threat from Communist China? That’s the theory Naotaka Matsukata tries to advance in the Washington Post. Although Matsukata focuses on economic rather than geopolitical issues, it still makes for interesting reading.
Some bad advice on Communist China and Stalinist North Korea: The Age (Australia), calls on the U.S. to “learn a little from the quieter diplomacy of the Chinese” (via Washington Times). Meanwhile, Duncan Currie, Weekly Standard, sees the potential for the collapse of the Stalinist regime, but only by convincing Communist China to abandon sending back any SNK refugee it finds.
SNK and Iran cooperating on missile tests: According to an unnamed U.S. official cited by Time Asia, the mullahcracy of Iran “is giving North Korea telemetry and other data from its missile tests” and “North Korea is using the data to make improvements in its own missile systems.” In other words, the Stalinists are using Iran to get around their much-ballyhooed ban on missile testing.
Stalinist North Korea could have as many as 15 nuclear weapons: The myriad estimates on the exact number of nuclear weapons possessed by the Kim Jong-il regime had a new “high end” (Newsday): 15, according to an unnamed Defense Intelligence Agency source. The Stalinists boasted having nuclear weapons a week and a half ago.
Stalinists now say talks back on if U.S. would “move”: Stalinist North Korea told visiting Communist Chinese envoy Wang Jiarui “that talks could resume if the United States ‘would show trustworthy sincerity and move (its stance)’” (CNN). The Stalinists were responding to a supposed ultimatum from their Communist allies to return to the talks. SNK asserted it had “never opposed the six-party talks but made every possible effort for their success” (BBC). That’s news to rest of the world. Lest anyone give the Communists too much credit, it should be noted that three previous rounds of talks have led only to U.S. concessions. The Stalinists also reversed course on bilateral talks with the U.S. – now they oppose them (BBC). Also reporting: Cybercast News
SNK claims Japan wants to invade Korea: Meanwhile, the Stalinist regime fired some rhetorical shots at the U.S. and Japan, which jointly called for it to return to the talks (BBC, VOA via Epoch Times). SNK accused Japan of having ‘joined with the United States’ ‘vicious hostile policy’ toward North Korea” (CNN). The regime went so far as to drop the “co-prosperity sphere” label – the term used by Japan as a cover for their brutal reign over Korea and parts of China before and during World War II.
More commentary on Stalinist North Korea: David H. Hackworth, World Net Daily, calls for a larger military force to enable the U.S. to deal properly with the Stalinist threat. CNN, meanwhile, seems more worried about Japan’s future weapons than SNK’s present one. Glenn Kessler (Washington Post via MSNBC) notes how the Stalinists use a fine-toothed comb on American policymakers’ statements. Donald McIntyre (Time Asia) examines the recent twists and turns in the selection of Kim Jong-il’s successor.