Cadence of Conflict: Asia, March 12, 2018

As talks between Kim and Trump march forward, China is resigned to the new situation at its eastern border and is focusing on other areas, specifically trade. In truth, China’s main trade opponent is not the US, but Vietnam.

Vietnam’s main edge in trade will be that it is less expensive. Vietnam is, in many ways, less developed, yet more free to be expressive. Hanoi doesn’t sanction the same censorship as Beijing does. Many hard-working Vietnamese are hungry, even desperate for income. A hard-working, uncensored, hungry, less-expensive people will be difficult for China to compete with on many fronts. This is entirely beside any point about political tension between China and Vietnam.

The meeting between Kim and Trump is less-than-satisfactorily explained. Suddenly they want to talk? Some “teamwork” consultant trying to sell a book will likely attribute it all to diplomacy, along with the preemptive speculation that Kim would give up the nukes because he got them. More is going on behind the scenes and if the true story is ever told it may not be told for ten or twenty years.

As for the Western spin about China’s constitutional changes, it is all about the party, not about Xi. The humble pig farm worker, Xi Jinping, did not rise to power by publicly trying to serve himself. He has followed Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power to a tee and will continue to do so—that means putting the party first in his public agenda.

Donald Trump praises Xi Jinping over move to end term limit … ‘maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday’ | SCMP

China Scraps Presidential Term Limits | Bloomberg

Will the free-falling 8.5 ton Chinese space station crash into lower Michigan? Experts say that the state falls among ‘the highest probability’ | Daily Mail

Donald Trump to meet Kim Jong-un: President says ‘deal very much in the making’ after day of mixed messages | Telegraph

White House puts an asterisk on Trump, Kim Jong Un meeting | CNN

Donald Trump’s snap decision to meet with Kim Jong-un | Financial Review

Soju and jokes: how ‘rocket man’ Kim boosted chances of meeting Trump | Guardian

Trump’s tough words and progress with China got North Korea to talk: Advisor to Bush and Clinton | CNBC

China Warns of ‘Justified and Necessary Response’ to Trade War | Bloomberg

China And Vietnam Both Want Foreign Investment, But Is There Enough Capital To Go Around? | Forbes

China’s Constitutional Amendments Are All About The Party, Not The President | Forbes

China’s Goal in Trump-Kim Talks: Ensure They Don’t Collapse | Bloomberg

China minister says trade war with US would be ‘disaster’ | CNBC – AP