Cadence of Conflict: Asia, June 18, 2018

Trump has stopped military exercises near North Korea, but he has not initiated any plans to withdraw troops. His reason for stopping the exercises is that they are provocative and expensive. He has a point: If the heads of state are talking then we are less in need of fighting practice in a scenario where heads of state are not talking.

The military exercises with South Korea are expensive and provocative, as Trump explains. Frankly, they should stop. With healthy conversations and progress toward peace already behind us, there won’t be a need for those drills any longer. Rehearsal for conflict that might never exist can often provoke the very conflicts we otherwise would not need to prepare for. As for the “expense” defense, few accountants will argue in favor of nickeling and diming away money as fiscally responsible and no one believes that taxpayers’ pockets are infinitely deep except pundits with portfolios in public funding.

The Western news is that Trump is wrong, specifically with regard to China that China wins. According to this week’s Western news narrative, China wins because of troop withdrawals that haven’t happened, because a friend of China will de-nuke, and because over 30k US troops will be free to go home—or go to Taiwan, Mischief Reef, Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan, or any number of other Pacific island-nations China doesn’t get along with.

Economically, China “wins” because manufacturing is leaving China—which must therefore mean that China’s innovation and science is the new source of manufacturing elsewhere. Perhaps that includes innovation and science like the Chinese government now trying to track every car with a chip as of 2019. The “Mad Scientist” theorem of the experimental police state research moving from North Korea to China continues to play out.

Just remember with everything: There’s more going on than anyone can see. Deals between governments are never fully explained to the public. They shouldn’t be. But, as peace develops in one part of the western Pacific, hostilities move around and every pundit seizes opportunity to say, “I was right.” No conflict is without news profiteering.

Kim-Trump Summit

Trump sees ‘new future’ for North Korea, but path unclear | AP

EXCLUSIVE: ‘I do trust him’: Trump opens up about Kim after historic summit | ABC

‘They have great beaches!’ Trump included image of MIAMI when he showed Kim video about North Korea’s future… | Daily Mail

Iran warns North Korea: Trump could cancel deal before getting home | Yahoo – Reuters

South Korea and US begin discussing end to military drills | ABC News


China’s Pacific Islands Push Has the U.S. Worried | Bloomberg

China state media attack U.S. tariffs, leave scope for negotiation | CNBC – Reuters

China hikes tariffs on U.S. soybeans, electric cars, fish | Chicago Tribune

China wants to track citizens’ cars with mandatory RFID chips | The Verge

The big winner of the Trump-Kim summit? China. | Vox

For Startups, The ‘Copy To China’ Tactic Has Ended. ‘Copy From China’ Is Beginning. | Forbes

China’s Master Plan: How the West Can Fight Back | Bloomberg

Asian shares fall as U.S.-China trade spat escalates | Globe and Mail


Taiwan, US to share defense research | Taipei Times

New Party’s Wang, others indicted for espionage | Taipei Times

Military to boost use of civilian drones | Taipei Times

New Neihu home for AIT dedicated | Taipei Times

Taiwan to work closer with US: Tsai | Taipei Times

UN envoy to brief allies on summit | Taipei Times