Cadence of Conflict: Asia, April 1, 2019

China is being overwhelmed—Huawei to the west, British probes to the south, Kim to the north, but the prospect of trade to the east. The weakness is in the Chinese-cultural paradigm of negotiation. Chinese culture wants to sign a contract first, then negotiate the terms after. That’s a polite way of explaining “psychopathic negotiation”.

China labels Hong Kong as an “internal”, national security matter. It’s not; it’s a “joint” matter. According to the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, China can’t govern Hong Kong as its own until 2047—a mandate for Hong Kong being under Beijing’s leadership. By telling Britain to “face reality”, London will see the reality as Beijing reneging on the deal. It’s not that China wants to be malicious, but that China doesn’t understand what a promise really entails.

That could be why the Chinese offer such sweeping concessions to get better trade with America. They might not understand that promises about those concessions will actually have to be kept. But, there’s more that sails over Beijing’s brightest heads.

America shows no indication of backing down on Taiwan. By cozying up on trade, Beijing probably hopes America will receive an indirect message about Taiwan. But, if Taiwan isn’t discussed, then it’s not part of the trade agreement—or any agreement with the US. Beijing, probably laden with more wishful thinking than savvy, won’t understand. They just won’t understand.

That’s the Korean problem to the north. Trump knew exactly what he was doing by telling Kim exactly what “de-nuking” looked like. They had talked before. Kim had taken a three day journey to talk again. Now Kim knows reality: a free economy prospers, North with nukes has neither in the end. That won’t go over well with a culture more prideful than the Chinese. Trump knows this.

Now, Kim is a loose canon to China’s north and the only thing Trump did was unleash the obvious. We’ll see how long it takes for China to understand, if ever.


Exclusive: With a piece of paper, Trump called on Kim to hand over nuclear weapons | Yahoo – Reuters

EXCLUSIVE: The document Trump gave to Kim in Hanoi | Yahoo – Reuters


Taiwan condemns Beijing after Chinese jets cross maritime line | Yahoo – Reuters

US senators initiate bill to cement ties | Taipei Times

Trump’s Sale of F-16 Jets to Taiwan Is Making China Nervous | Bloomberg

China changing ‘status quo,’ Tsai says | Taipei Times

Vice president not running with Tsai | Taipei Times

DPP needs fair, open, ‘paradigm-setting’ primary: Lai | Taipei Times

Hong Kong

UK Six Monthly Report on Hong Kong July – December 2018 | Scribd

Hong Kong Scales Back Extradition Law That Spooked Business | Bloomberg

Human rights in Hong Kong ‘deteriorating severely’: Amnesty | Straits Times

‘Face reality,’ China tells Britain in response to report expressing fears over rights and freedoms in Hong Kong | SCMP

China criticizes British report on HK freedoms | Taipei Times

Hong Kong risks China-style ‘interpretation’ of freedoms, says UK, as latest report adopts tougher tone | HKFP


Exclusive: China shifts position on tech transfers, trade talks progress – U.S. officials | Yahoo – Reuters

China makes unprecedented offers to US on tech transfer, trade | CNBC

US official: UK report confirms warnings of Huawei risks | AP

Jacinda Ardern to China: New Zealand and China meet at critical point | CNN

China’s Global Construction Boom Puts Spotlight On Questionable Labor Practices | NPR


F-35 won’t save NATO’s air forces from Putin’s ‘formidable beasts’ | Business Insider

F-35’s Most Sinister Capability Are Towed Decoys That Unreel From Inside Its Stealthy Skin | The Drive