Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 9, 2019

Money doesn’t lie; it’s in the airline figures. Cathay is reducing its capacity, largely from loss of demand for flights in and out of China. Hong Kong Airlines is dropping long hauls to and from Australia, the US, and Canada. Clearly, both Chinese nationals and Pacific English speakers have lost confidence in Hong Kong. Hong Kong was special—for tourism, culture, lifestyle, trade, finance, and a slough of other things—all because both Chinese and the English-speaking West had easy and overlapping access. They could meet, they could do business, they could speak their own language, and they could enjoy Chinese culture without the oppression of a Confucian-Communist government. But, neither wants to play ball anymore.

In response to the US ending exports of riot-control weapons and defining autonomy as “being autonomous”, China banned the US Navy from making port stops in Hong Kong. The port stops had been an encouragement to international business, reassuring investors that everything was alright between the US and China. But, apparently China doesn’t want that illusion of reassurance to continue. And, more importantly, China obviously is less fearful of the US Navy making its R&R port calls in Taiwan instead.

Watch for many things to shift to Taiwan. While the first finance leaders in Hong Kong are exiting to Singapore, watch for a swath to relocate in Taipei once Singapore’s galore wears off and finance centers discover the difference in real estate prices and cost of living.

China will still be angry enough to blow a few gaskets when the US Navy does make more port calls in Taiwan, it’s just that they are less fearful of it for the time being. China’s leaders have been had, largely due to their thirst for respect, which blinds their judgement. But, they are incapable of learning, so they are only going to be had more and more.

Great Pacific

This will fuel anti-China sentiment…
Video shows Bloomberg saying China’s ‘Xi Jinping is not a dictator’ // Taiwan News

Hong Kong Slogans Heard at Mainland Chinese Protest: Report // TIME

Trade & Tech

Huawei seeks to overturn FCC ban on the use of subsidy program // CNBC


China exports fall again as US trade war continues // BBC News

CNBCs Cramer says US can walk away from the table in China trade talks after jobs report // MarketWatch

Turn of the tide, whether in or out…
Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, takes bigger role in China trade talks // Yahoo News

Huawei under fire in China over employee detained for eight months // Guardian

For the record…
The US-China trade war won’t get any worse in 2020: Goldman Sachs // CNBC

Hong Kong

Hong Kong protests: Pro-democracy movement keeps up pressure with mass march // CNN

And “told” to sign “was voluntary”…
US business leaders in Hong Kong detained and denied entry to Macau // Guardian

Hong Kong police to take ‘flexible’ approach to protests // NY Post

Hong Kong Protest Momentum Faces Test With Weekend Rally, Strike // Bloomberg

Investors ‘cautious’ about Hong Kong markets in 2020 as questions remain over how protests, trade war will be resolved // SCMP

Officer sitting on arrested student’s head was using minimum necessary force, say Hong Kong police // HKFP

And sanctiond human rights groups!
China says it banning US military visits to Hong Kong // CNN

Flagship airline…
Cathay Pacific Further Cuts Hong Kong Capacity Due To Unrest //

Korean Peninsula

North Korea’s UN ambassador says denuclearization is off the table in talks with US // CNN

North Korea: It’s ‘entirely up to the US what Christmas gift’ it gets // CNBC

Westernizing his fashion…
Kim Jong-un steps out of grandfather’s sartorial shadow with trench coat look // Guardian

Military Faceoff

In 1999, One Country Figured Out How to Kill U.S. Stealth Fighters // National Interest