Cadence of Conflict: Asia, January 7, 2019

The US is working diligently to put Taiwan in the spotlight. It seems that Taiwan is being set up in the American public eye as the next Lusitania or Pearl Harbor—the punch that awakens the sleeping nation. It will be difficult, though, for an attack on foreign soil to provoke the public. That’s where China seems to be playing on cue.

By wanting to sink a US Navy vessel, China would make the final push. Beijing doesn’t understand American “exceptionalism”; it never has. Beijing doesn’t know what freedom does to people, how much it energizes a threatened people. Americans won’t respond as Chinese employees do to a boss who clears his throat; they will respond like William Wallace, just as they always do. But, when a nation isolates itself from Western free speech, that is difficult to know. We should expect China to not think that way.

Imagine China’s perspective: Large US Navy carriers trouncing around the backyard, intimidating to the point that provoked China to the point we see now. To them, sinking a US Navy ship would seem like a big “shock” action because those carriers are the biggest American structure China can see. But, to American voters and soldiers, those carriers are across an ocean and are nothing compared to the size of achievements and monuments Americans see every day. So, China thinks a provocation would be an intimidation.

While it may take a US battleship to take a hit—God forbid—Taiwan will certainly be involved because that’s the way the pieces are being set around the chessboard.

As for Xi Jinping and the Chinese, their resolve is absolute. Even pigs seem to be part of the attack on Taiwan.

A terminal disease specific to pigs seems to have swept Chinese pig farms. Taiwan has been going to great lengths to prevent Chinese pork from entering Taiwan for this very reason. This week, a dead pig with the disease floated ashore a Taiwanese island that sits just off China’s coast. Panic is starting to set in throughout Taiwan—that a pork crisis could crash Taiwan’s economy, cause the pro-US president to resign, making the perfect opportunity for China to invade. That’s how the theories go, anyway.

The concern among Taiwanese is exactly the kind of response China anticipates from a “shock and awe” action against America. But, Americans are different than that, having both the “Wallace Complex” and a Congress-backed law that would compel a retaliation. Taiwanese have tasted some level of freedom, making the Taiwanese response as unpredictable as Taiwanese politics.

US military tweets, deletes New Year’s Eve message about dropping bombs | CNN


China should think twice before threatening to attack Americans | Fox News

China amps up military over South China Sea, Taiwan and US trade tensions |

Chinese manufacturing had an even worse December than expected, more data show | CNBC

Xi Jinping calls on Chinese army to be battle-ready | Taipei Times


China urged to come clean on pig fever | Taipei Times

Council tightens pig feed regulations | Taipei Times

African swine fever found in pig carcass in Kinmen | Taipei Times


Ahead of major Xi speech, Taiwan tells Beijing to ‘face squarely the reality’ of its situation | CNBC – Reuters

Xi Jinping says Taiwan ‘must and will be’ reunited with China | BBC

US congressmen slam Xi’s ‘threats’ | Taipei Times

Cross-strait ties not a unilateral affair, MAC says | Taipei Times

Officials welcome US law asserting support | Taipei Times


Kim warns N. Korea could consider change of tack | AFP

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North Korea’s Kim Warns Trump Talks at Risk Over Sanctions | Bloomberg

Kim Jong-un New Year speech: ‘no choice but to consider a new path if US doesn’t keep its promises’ | SCMP