Cadence of Conflict: Asia, February 26, 2018

It’s hitting the fan. China is homing-up and the US is “posseing” up. CFIUS is expanding its scope and China just required Apple to send its iCloud encryption keys to servers on the mainland. Both moves are more about caution than provocation. The US is stepping up patrols to enforce the trade block on North Korea. China just started the process of amending its Constitution to remove terms limits on its President.

The change to China’s Constitution is often mis-portrayed. It affects both the President and Vice President. It does not install a President for life, but simply allows it. More importantly, the Constitution is being updated to include the “Xi Thought”, mainly that all ethic groups of China are equal and that helping the entire world is part of China’s responsibility.

Many in the West will jump to presume Xi is making a grab for power. While it does increase his power, the more accurate interpretation is that Xi’s plans go for the long term, specifically after Trump’s term. Without this change, Xi would leave office by 2023. China is thinking in terms of long-term, global strategy. That’s hardly a “grab”, but more of a “waltz”.

This is a significant change. Both the US and China clearly mean business. With a shift toward the long-term, and with China publishing its view that the whole world is part of its responsibility, we are in a different political atmosphere than in years past.

Olympics Ratings Slide To Icy 2018 Low, Slightly Up From Sochi 2014 On Last Night | Deadline

China launches propaganda push for Xi after social media criticism | Yahoo – Reuters

China unveils plans for hypersonic jet that can fly anywhere in the world in three hours | Telegraph

U.S. Blocks a Chinese Deal Amid Rising Tensions Over Technology | NY Times

Trump’s protection plan to keep ‘competitor’ China at bay | Financial Times

The US risks making a strategic blunder over China | Financial Times

China: Why Xi Jinping decision is world superpower’s most important political change for decades | Independent

China will scrap limit on presidential terms, meaning Xi Jinping can stay on | SCMP

China Focus: Proposed constitutional amendment package unveiled | Xinhua

Why China’s proposal was long expected | BBC

Trump administration orders high-seas crackdown on North Korea ships | Independent

US Prepares For “Aggressive” High-Seas Crackdown On North Korea Sanctions Violators | Zero Hedge

Exclusive: U.S. prepares high-seas crackdown on North Korea sanctions evaders – sources | Yahoo – Reuters

Taipei reiterates support of sanctions on N Korea | Taipei Times

China not happy with latest US sanctions for North Korea | NY Post

North Korea ready to open direct talks with US, says Russia’s Sergei Lavrov | Guardian

North Korea Wants to Negotiate a Peace: U.S. Should Sit Down and Talk | Huffington Post

North Korea may suddenly want talks because of how powerful it has become | CNBC

Analysis: Anbang takeover puts China’s companies on notice | Yahoo – Reuters

Apple moves iCloud encryption keys for Chinese users to China | TechCrunch