Cadence of Conflict: Asia, August 27, 2018

The Pacific is heating up bigtime. Just after Kim Jong Un meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump calls off a cabinet member’s visit to Pyongyang the day after the new North Korean envoy was announced. What was that all about? Consider China.

China has been moving in on Taiwan aggressively, both through marketing and through international relations. The TOEFL test given in Taiwan lists Taiwan as a province of China, using the controversial, “Taiwan, China” nomenclature. Taiwanese were furious because the US government requires tests such as the TOEFL, which is administered by ETS, a nonprofit organization based in New Jersey. How does a US government recognized US-based English testing organization come to list a testing market contrary to how the US State Department does? The answer is: pressure from China.

Companies around the world have been strong-armed by China into listing Taiwan as a province of China. In the past weeks and months, airlines were required to comply in order to continue flying to China, many waiting until the last possible moment. This week, a PhD candidate at the University of Salamanca in Spain Tweeted a letter from China last October essentially demanding that the university shut down “Taiwan Cultural Days”.

Now, Taiwan ended ties with El Salvador for recognizing China instead of Taiwan. This came after Taiwan declined for a year to make a sizable investment in the Port of La Union. Taiwan was concerned about debt for both countries. Senator Marco Rubio wasn’t happy and a bill has already been amended to cut US funding to El Salvador.

While North Korea doesn’t seem to be making as big of strides as expected in denuclearization, China is cozying up to North Korea while soon-to-be-former US allies cozy up to China and while China and Taiwan exchange lobbing spit wads. The overall situation doesn’t look good for the pro-US side. But, there’s always more than meets the eye.

Pompeo to travel to North Korea with new special envoy | Yahoo – Reuters

Pompeo to return to N. Korea with new special envoy | AFP …Aug 23

North Korea visit: Trump calls off Pompeo’s trip | BBC …Aug 24

Trump says Pompeo won’t go to North Korea, criticizes denuclearization progress | CNN

North Korea Accuses the U.S. of ‘Hatching a Criminal Plot’ Against Pyongyang | TIME

Trade war: The US and China just slapped new tariffs on each other | CNN

‘We don’t like the trade war,’ says one of China’s biggest carmakers | CNBC

Rubio blasts El Salvador’s switch from Taiwan to China as ‘terrible mistake,’ threatens to end funding | Taiwan News

Beijing ‘out of control’: MOFA | Taipei Times

China is picking off Taiwan’s diplomatic allies under the noses of the US | Telegraph

US lawmakers amend bill to limit El Salvador funds | Taipei Times

Ties cut with Beijing-wooed El Salvador | Taipei Times

US warns China over meddling | Taipei Times

‘Taiwan, China’ on ETS site riles TOEFL students | Taipei Times

Nine-year-old boy dies after beating by Buddhist monk | France 24