Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 16, 2019

China is desperately grasping for straws. While German parliament is planning to ban Huawei against the will of their head of state, Chancellor Merkel, a Chinese ambassador sends a message that “there will be consequences”—when diplomatic channels go to the head of state, not parliament. The Chinese ambassador is like a dog barking up a tree; German parliament doesn’t care what the Chinese ambassador says. But, in China different branches of government don’t matter because that’s just a “silly Western thing”. So, the Chinese don’t know how German government works because the Chinese presume that Germans lie as much as the Chinese do.

Moreover, the Chinese Communists have overlooked one blaring flaw—if Huawei isn’t controlled by China’s government, that would make it the only entity in China not subject to passive-aggressive threats under pain of organ harvesting. Moreover, if Huawei were the independent company China’s government claims it is, China’s government wouldn’t be so defensive of Huawei being banned from Germany.

China has many weaknesses, self-contradicting diplomacy being the least. Its labor force is shrinking. Its economy is much more dependent on exports than America’s. Its tech sector is even more dependent on importing American-made components. Tit-for-tat tariffs don’t favor China in that regard. The Chinese don’t spend as much on their military as America does, regardless of the hype from State-run Chinese news outlets. And, it doesn’t own a very big piece of the pie when it comes to US Treasury bonds—the greatest liquidation threat China could make there is to offer a temporary discount price to willing investors. The cost would be China forfeiting any leverage it had by owning such a small part of America’s debt, while America’s economy might skip two beats at most, then nevermore.

Then, we have the anti-Trump camp. Many economists who haven’t a clue where wealth comes from despise America’s president. Everything needs to pay for itself, otherwise it will die in a suicide cult of bankruptcy. Maybe NATO shouldn’t be in Germany, maybe it should, but the answer—one way or the other—will only surface if NATO requires Germany to pay for its own national defense. Bowing down to China may have made a few American companies rich—regardless of making a few million Americans poor—but it was never going to last long. Even though China took American money and started bullying their neighbors, those who profited from those greedy companies in particular are angry. But, most Americans aren’t fooled anymore.

Trump played his cards well, and he’s still got plenty of chips left to ante up for many rounds to come. That isn’t good news if you’re a member of the Chinese Communist Party, hoping to help the party dominate America.

Great Pacific

After USMCA Passes, Why Worry About A China Phase One Deal? // Forbes

Viz Hong Kong
Congress Hong Kong, Uighur bills ended Trump, China trade deal hopes // Business Insider

Trade & Tech

Huawei will bring Harmony OS to more products next year, but not phones // CNET


China Threatens Retaliation Should Germany Ban Huawei 5G // Yahoo News

No, China Is Not as Strong as It Seems // National Interest

China and Trump say they have trade deal, will cancel next tariffs // CNBC

Angela Merkel faces revolt over Huawei as German lawmakers seek full ban // SCMP

U.S., China strike partial trade deal that cuts tariffs // Politico

On record…
JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon Says He Expects U.S.-China Phase-One Trade Deal // Bloomberg

China’s Unfazed Yuan Traders Bet Tariffs Won’t Be Hiked // Yahoo News

Chinese library workers burn books seen as diverging from teachings of Xi Jinping // Independent


Over 500 Taiwan passengers still stranded overseas by FAT’s sudden flight suspensions // Taiwan News

Hong Kong

Test time: Will anyone trust it?
China wants to make protest-free Macau its next Hong Kong // Aljazeera

Small, accident, contained…
Emergency services sent to Hong Kong International Airport after fire breaks out // SCMP

International experts quit Hong Kong police protest probe // Aljazeera

Inside the Secret Network Helping Protesters Flee Hong Kong // YouTube @ The New York Times

Harshest opinion yet:
As the rats abandon Carrie Lam’s ship, it’s time to shoot an admiral to encourage the others // HKFP

Korean Peninsula

North Korea defector warns Donald Trump on Kim Jong-un, nuclear weapons // WA Times