Cadence of Conflict: Asia, April 16, 2018

The war with China is becoming the war with Russia and China, it’s economic, it’s culminating, and Britain is double-involved.

Since the strike on Syria, Russia is angry and thumping the drums. They promised retaliation before. After, they really promised really retaliation next time. It almost seems that Trump is testing Russian and Chinese leadership—and North Korea and Republican and Democrat—and has called their bluff. That’s coming at the US via Europe. But, Germany is also taking rhetorical shots at China, bringing Europe back into the Pacific conflict.

Britain is in contemplating trade talks with Taiwan. The UK is already involved in the Pacific conflict with Hong Kong’s exit status—that China will have no involvement in Hong Kong matters for fifty years as a condition of Hong Kong not being British. With Britain “friending” up to Taiwan, we see more involvement from the Crown.

But, the main fuel in the Pacific conflict is economics. US sanctions are successfully driving Kim to the table; China is eager to work with Japan before a Kim-Trump talk disarms the North. So, the US sanctions are also driving China and Japan to do at least something.

Then, there’s China’s own economics. Germany is angry about Chinese investments in Europe. More news stories this week talk of Chinese using money as a hostile takeover tool in Sri Lanka and Pakistan. China’s ability to stand against a US trade war goes back to US Treasury bonds and the direct devaluing of China’s own currency. While different “experts” have differing opinions, money is the talk—everywhere.

Facing trade war with U.S., China’s Xi renews vow to open markets, import more | WA Post

China, Japan Hold First Economic Talks in 8 Years in Trade War Shadow | Bloomberg

China and Japan Vow Cooperation to Get North Korea to Quit Nukes | Bloomberg

N Korea-US talks: Pyongyang ‘ready to discuss’ nuclear programme | BBC

What Is China Doing To Pakistan? The Same Thing It Did To Sri Lanka | Forbes

China’s Weibo bans ‘homosexual’ content, sparking outcry | Guardian

China’s Weibo to ban gay, violent content from platform | SCMP

Germany’s problem with China goes well beyond trade issues | CNBC

America vs. Russia and China: Welcome to Cold War II | National Interest

China has ‘nuclear options’ in trade war with US … really? | SCMP

Lai explains approach to independence | Taipei Times

Taiwan replaces Hong Kong as ‘bastion of free speech’ in Asia: ‘New York Times’ | Taipei Times

Taiwan, UK mulling trade agreement | Taipei Times