Tuesday, July 26, 2005

News of the Day (July 26)

“Open-ended” talks on SNK nuclear weapons begin: Uh oh. The U.S. plan for the six-way talks on Stalinist North Korea’s nuclear weapons, which begin today, was revealed by an unnamend “senior U.S. official” to the Washington Post: “stay in Beijing as long as necessary, seeking to find relatively easy points of agreement that would become a platform to launch further rounds of negotiations in the future.” There have already been bilateral talks between the U.S. and SNK (South Korea, Russia, Japan, and host Communist China are the other parties to the larger talks), and U.S. envoy Chirstopher Hill insisted, “We remain prepared to speak with the DPRK [North Korea] bilaterally in the context of these talks” (CNN). Hill also insisted the U.S. accepted the “fact” of a sovereign North Korea. The Stalinists had similar “conciliatory remarks” (BBC), not surprising given how much the U.S. had moved to their position before these talks began. There were whispers that these would be “make or break” talks (Cybercast News), and some concern from the Japanese press that the matter of their abducted citizens was being swept under the rug (BBC), but overall, there seems to be a lot of momentum for a deal, which, as always, forces this corner to ask: Will they never learn?

Taiwanese President wonders why so few focus on Communist China: Meanwhile, President Chen Shui-bian “accused the international community of double standards, for not taking the threat from China as seriously as the nuclear challenge posed by North Korea” (BBC). The elected leader of the island democracy noted the 700-plus Communist missiles pointed at his people “with 100 more being added each year.” However, “six-party talks are going on in Beijing to try to resolve the issue of North Korea's nuclear weapons while at the same time some European countries are trying to lift the embargo on selling arms to China.” However, Chen did give credit where it is due, “welcoming the efforts by the US and Japan to support Taiwan.”

Anti-Communist events in Washington: Last Thursday, Freedom House, Friends of Falun Gong and the Falun Dafa Associations jointly held a rally calling on the cadres to end the Falun Gong War (Epoch Times). The next day, Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado), Center for Security Policy Head Frank Gaffeny, and Canadian Opposition MP Rob Anders discussed the dangers of trading with Communist China (Epoch Times).

Reaction to the Communist currency move: Three pundits have already discounted Communist China’s miniature concession on its deliberrately devalued currency. John Tamny (National Review Online), blithely ignoring national security issues as always, actually prefers the old currency peg. Meanwhile Irwin M. Stelzer (Daily Standard) recognizes the Communists’ “overwhelming comparative advantage in labor costs that has enabled it to displace American products in many sectors,” but says nothing about the prison labor and lack of independent unions that creates such a condition. Robert Samuelson (Washington Post), melds Communist China with its neighbors in a column on the economies of Asia. All completely ignore national security issues.

On Unocal: Ben White, Washington Post, examines how Unocal’s board of directors decided to endorse Chevron’s merger bid over the plan from Communist-owned CNOOC, and what could happen before the stockholders decide on August 10. Meanwhile, Harvey Feldman, of The Heritage Foundation, explicitly ignores national security issues in his Washington Times column as he asks: “So are there reasons to object to the deal?” However, he still answers, “Yes, there are,” and lists them.

Communists facing coal shortage: At the present consumption rate, Communist China could literally run out of coal – its largest source of already insufficient energy (tenth, sixth and eighth items) – by 2020 (Central News Agency, Taiwan, via Epoch Times).

Suicide leading killer of young in Communist China: Among those in Communist China between the ages of 20 to 35, “suicide is the primary cause of death” (BBC). This makes suicide “the fifth major cause of death among China's 1.3 bn population, but the main cause of death for people aged between 20 and 35.” A psychiatrist cited “pressure and competition.” The effect of being in a Communist dictatorship was not discussed.

U.S. can stay in Kyrgyzstan: Kyrgyz Defense Minister Ismail Isakov assured his American counterpart, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, that the U.S. military “can keep its airbase in Kyrgyzstan as long as it is needed for operations in Afghanistan” (BBC). Kyrgyzstan had previously joined a Shanghai Cooperation Organization call for an American pullout from Central Asia (third item).

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