Cadence of Conflict: Asia, January 14, 2019

China is preparing for war. It has said so in public. It has demonstrated so with militarization of “Made in China” islands that didn’t exist a decade ago. It has shown intent by showing no sense of limits in cyber-warfare, technology acquisition, and oppression of the press. Facebook and Twitter users are only a “security threat” to those easily threatened.

Unlike China, the United States does not make a habit of announcing its newest military technology to the world. Whatever warfare breaks out between the US and China in the Western Pacific, China’s capabilities will have been known well in advance, but the US will likely employ weapons not yet known to the public. One needs no inside information to forecast as much, only a familiarity with the parts of history that tend to repeat.

But, we are not looking at WWIII, not yet. While the brewing conflict in the Western Pacific will likely involve many countries and islands, Russia is not yet ready for the big one. NATO’s presence in Europe is still too strong and Putin has not had enough time to amass his forces as he would like. Both Russia and the US would want things to quiet down rather quickly. Every effort from the White House to back away from conflicts with Russia suggests that a deal has already been struck with the Kremlin—that an expansionist campaign from China will not receive meaningful Russian help if squashed by the United States.

The question will concern how many Mainland China military supply installations Russia will allow the US to strike. But, if the US intervenes with Taiwan or razes the artificial islands on Mischief Reef, don’t expect China to receive backup from Russia. Moscow took Crimea with a favorable referendum and no bloodshed. The Kremlin would expect just as much success from Beijing in order to court respect and cooperation. Right now, things don’t look that way. 80% of Taiwanese rejecting reunification with China is a near flip to the support Russia received from Crimeans. Backroom Moscow secretly mocks Beijing, no matter how much money the Chinese pay them. Moscow would be fools if they didn’t.

In the supposed “Chinese invasion plans” for Taiwan, there are multiple phases, including opportunistic retaliation from India. But, those plans fail to anticipate retaliation from the insulted Vietnamese, who also hold a long-standing grudge against China. Then, there is the ancient ethnic spite between China and Japan. Mongolia also has border disputes. Tibet is not the only province that wants to break away. It is doubtful Sun Tzu would have advised an expansion campaign while surrounded by enemies, especially as a mere means of being respected.

It would take a miracle and a half to stay whatever makes the pluming smoke on the horizon of the last decade. But, it won’t last long. No one wants this to drag on. No, like “The Great War” (WWI) set the stage for WWII, the approaching war in the Pacific will set the stage for the big one that comes after.

China: Military

World War 3: China ‘drawing up plans for wars with US and India’, warns expert | Express

Threat of force elicits combat drill response | Taipei Times

China’s H-6K: The ‘Old’ Bomber That Could ‘Sink’ the U.S. Navy | National Interest

RIP F-22 and F-35: How Russia or China Could Shoot Down America’s Stealth Fighters | National Interest

China J-20 stealth fighter’s will lose to F-15, F-22, Typhoon | Business Insider

China vs Taiwan

Over 80% reject ‘two systems,’ poll finds | Taipei Times

US tells China to resume dialogue | Taipei Times

Close cross-strait loopholes: academics | Taipei Times

Raw pork seized from Chinese vessel off Cimei | Taipei Times

Inside China

Opinion: Watch these 3 areas to tell when China’s hard landing is near | MarketWatch

Twitter Users in China Face Detention and Threats in New Beijing Crackdown | NY Times

China pledges easier access to Tibet for foreign tourists after US pressure | SCMP

Why the US-China dispute is about so much more than a trade imbalance | SCMP

Beijing issues statement on US-China trade talks | CNBC

The Chinese technology helping New York police keep a closer eye on the United States’ biggest city | SCMP

Chinese coal mine roof collapse in Shaanxi kills 21 | BBC

Reality Check: How safe is it to live in China? | BBC

Why China’s housing market bubble won’t burst any time soon | SCMP

China: Huawei at Poland

China’s ambassador accuses Canada of double standards, ‘white supremacy’ over Huawei | CNN

China seeks visit with Huawei worker arrested in Poland | Yahoo – AFP

Poland spy arrest: China telecoms firm Huawei sacks employee | BBC

Huawei fires Chinese sales director arrested in Poland on spying charges, says case not related | SCMP

Huawei sacks Chinese worker accused of spying in Poland |  Guardian

Inside Taiwan

Mass resignation as budget passed | Taipei Times

Eight Taiwanese start-ups win at this year’s CES | Taipei Times

Passengers arriving in Port of Keelung hit record number | Taipei Times

Hacker cracks high-speed rail system: police | Taipei Times