Cadence of Conflict: Asia, August 7, 2017

If North Korea heeds China’s urges to back down on its nuclear program, it would be a welcome first. China requested the US back down its military activity in South Korea. Russia does not want North Korea’s economy to become worse. Much has been claimed about the purported, will-be effectiveness of new UN sanctions against North Korea, but history provides little to no basis that North Korea heeds any warnings or follows any step toward deescalation.

Though historically bleak, this effort from the international community is the best well-mounted push for peace ever seen for the Korean situation. Even Taiwan is urging North Korea to back off. While this may set the stage for some kind of “breakthrough” in negotiations, the bigger and less-acknowledged stage being set is war. With the best-made good-will effort having been made to stop North Korea’s nuke program, one missile launch would prove all the yea-sayers wrong. That threat could wake up North Korea to climb down out of the tree—the hidden threat of war that every peaceful stance veils.

Any peace offering indeed doubles as a hidden war threat by definition. But, fools don’t believe in what they can’t see. So, we’ll see.

Remember, though, how fools surrender: in childlike tears.

If North Korea fires even one more missile, buckle up and grab the popcorn for an immanent Trump “it didn’t work, so now we will” speech. If that happens, not only will North Korea’s position be untenable, but so will it be for everyone who claimed that negotiations would stop the missile launches.

In these tense times, China is making no new friends. Old border disputes with India are rehashing and ramping up. The VPN crackdown makes sense since no government should be circumvented, the most-ignored question is whether there should be a need in the first place. There are numerous reports of Chinese students being denied travel documents to study at universities in Taiwan. Of particular interest is National Cheng Kung University in Tainan. Tainan’s Mayor, William Lai is the most popular of any and in the same semi-pro-independence party, DPP, as Taiwan’s president. And, Tainan’s small airport was used by the US in the Vietnam war. Other than that, there’s little to explain why the third-top school seems to be a top target for denied travel from China.

With stronger rhetoric about military and not letting any China-claimed land go, with action concerning Taiwan, and militarized border crossings with India, it is clear that China intends to take a lead role in conflict on multiple fronts. All depending on how things develop in the Korea situation, China could face a clear third front.

North Korea

US detects ‘highly unusual’ North Korean submarine activity | CNN

Jet passed within 10 minutes of where North Korean missile test landed, official says | ABC

China Confident Sanctions Can Block North Korea Nuclear Push | Bloomberg

North Korea must not provoke international community, China says | The Guardian

Taiwan urges Pyongyang to stop tests | Taipei Times

UN Security Council adopts new North Korea sanctions | Aljazeera

Japanese practising nuclear attack drills | BBC

North Korea’s ‘No. 2’ official strengthens ties with Iran as UN hits Pyongyang with new sanctions | CNBC

North Korea warned by US ‘we are not playing anymore’ as UN imposes new sanctions | Independent

China media stress limits to North Korea sanctions, slam U.S. ‘arrogance’ | Yahoo – Reuters

China and Territory

No loss of land, ever: Xi Jinping | Taipei Times

Xi Jinping Says China’s Sleek, Modern Military Will Never Allow Threats to Its Sovereignty | TIME

US plans trade probe over China’s demands for tech transfers | WA Post

Foxconn considering a second Wisconsin facility — this one in Dane County | Journal Sentinel

U.S. Army halts use of Chinese-made drones over cyber concerns | Yahoo – Reuters

China cracking down on use of VPNs, web users fear enhanced ‘Great Firewall’ | New Paper

Chinese barred from study at NCKU: reports | Taipei Times

Apple is making a terrible mistake in China | CNBC

China ramps up rhetoric in border row with India ahead of key meetings | SCMP

Top China, India Officials Meet as Border Standoff Drags On | Bloomberg

China border row: Tensions increase as China accuses India over illegal entry | Express