Monday, April 18, 2005

News of the Day (April 18)

Communist China rejects Japanese efforts to diffuse tensions: Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura met his Communist Chinese counterpart in an attempt to ease tensions enflamed by two weekends of anti-Japanese riots in Beijing and other Communist cities. Machimura suggested a summit meeting in Indonesia (Cybercast News), and even went so far as to say his country is “not opposed to any demonstrations, even if the demonstrations are anti-Japanese demonstrations, because we highly appreciate freedom of expression . . . as long as it remains peaceful” (Washington Post). Communist Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing told him – in diplomatese, of course – to go to hell. Li’s deputy Wu Dawei called the situation “the most serious” (BBC) in over thirty years. The Communists are blaming Japan for the spat, due to its willingness to support the U.S. on Taiwan and its approval for use of a textbook whose account of World War II raised a few eyebrows. Of course, the Communists have their own textbook honesty issues, as Anthony Spaeth (Time Asia) and Fred Hiatt (Washington Post) reveal in detail.

Commentary on the Japan-Communist China dispute: Charles R. Smith, Newsmax, compares Communist China’s treatment of anti-Japan protestors with its brutal repression of anti-Communist ones. The rest of the commentary on this subject is weak. Bill Powell uses his Time Asia column to throw a pox on both houses. His colleague Hannah Beech has a conventional wisdom analysis – it would have been nice to know who started the e-mail call to “Bring old tomatoes and rotten eggs to throw at the Japanese pigs,” complete with a map to Japan’s Beijing Embassy. CNN has an unnamed piece on the history between Japan and Communist China – likely unnamed due to its thorough blandness.

Veterans protesting Communists surrounded and isolated: Roughly 1,000 veterans of the Communist military gathered in Beijing for an appeal – the official name for a petition against the Communists for a particular policy. The cause for the appeal was not known, but “police cars quickly moved in to surround the group” and “isolated them from view of passersby” (Epoch Times). Keep the fate of this protest in mind the next time thousands of anti-Japanese protestors allegedly catch the cadres off-guard.

Will Australia sign non-aggression pact with Communist China? That is the question many are pondering as Prime Minister John Howard’s visit to Beijing continues. The pact, which could prevent Australia from coming to America’s aid in Taiwan’s defense from a Communist invasion, is an apparent prerequisite for joining the East Asian summit group. Howard has not said whether or not he will sign (Washington Times).

Other Commentary on Communist China: Sebastian Mallaby, Washington Post, discusses the perils of free trade and “globalization,” but misses the big one: Communist China’s manipulation of the system to advance its geopolitical interest at America’s expense. Pat Buchanan, in World Net Daily, makes the same mistake, although he sounds more sympathetic to the anti-Communist position than Mallaby. John J. Tkacik Jr., of the Heritage Foundation, examines and then dismisses the possibility of Hong Kong Bishop Joseph Zen becoming the next Pope in National Review Online. Susan Jakes, Time Asia, finds a cadre in Zeguo willing to use polling to make certain local decisions. It’s a nice way to govern, but to call it democracy is absurd – what happens when the locals want to choose their own leaders? Ask the folks in Pingba (second item).

Stalinist North Korea halts Yongbyon power plant: According to South Korea, the Stalinist North “has suspended operations at its nuclear power plant in Yongbyon” (BBC). The move could mean the plant’s “spent nuclear fuel could be removed and reprocessed into weapons-grade plutonium.”

South Korea wants no part of plans for SNK’s collapse: The dovish South Korean government of Roh Moo-hyun “announced that it will not work with the U.S. military to update a special-operations plan that would go into effect if North Korea suddenly collapsed” (Washington Times). South Korea’s National Security Council called the plan as is a possibly “serious restraint to sovereignty.” So no there is no plan. Not that anyone should be surprised; Roh has previously expressed “concern” about any talk of liberating northern Korea (second item).

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