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Experts Wary White House Could Trade Beijing South China Sea Concessions for Help With North Korea

Airstrip construction on the Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea is pictured in this April 2, 2015.

While Southeast Asian nations take comfort from the Trump administration’s stated interest in the region, a Singapore-based international security expert said they still remain wary of the president turning their territorial disputes with China as a bargaining chip to pressure Beijing to rein in North Korea.

Joseph Liow, dean of comparative and international politics at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said even though Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in their visits to the region have tried to allay fears these nations see “a lack of clarity” in what the administration intends to do.

The question they raise, he said, is who is in charge of making the evolving strategy: the national security team or the president’s inner circle when it comes to Southeast Asia and overall policy in the Asia-Pacific.

Speaking Tuesday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, he pointed to “less interaction” between officials below the ministerial level across the region with the United States and warned, “the devil is in the details” in hammering out solutions to problems.

While “Southeast Asia does not have a unified position” on how to approach China, Liow told the audience at the Washington, D.C., think tank many nations there regard “the frequency of FON ops [freedom of navigation operations] as a litmus test” of American commitment but see the administration’s use of them as sporadic.

He added they as a group and especially their leading business figures “are adverse to sending any kind of signal that China might consider provocative” because of the close economic ties these nations have with Beijing. They also point to the Trump administration’s walking away from pursuing the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement as another reason to keep Beijing always in mind in their foreign relations.

Dang Cam Tu, deputy director of Vietnam’s Institute for Strategic Studies Academy, said Hanoi was encouraged by the recent joint statement in Washington where the administration pledged to work together with Vietnam to build a “deeper, more substantive and more effective relationship” to counter China’s moves in the South China Sea. That pledge also could serve to counter China’s “charm offensive” economically to exert greater regional influence.

She added some nations view the deal-making promises of President Donald Trump when he was campaigning as meaning “the new administration being more aware of opportunities” beyond the military and security rebalancing of the Obama era.

Like Liow, Tu said Vietnam is concerned whether the Trump team will commit the personnel resources to show its commitment to Southeast Asia beyond Freedom of Navigation operations and voicing support for the rule of international law to settle disputes. Trade and development top these nations’ agendas.

Hanoi and others in the Association of South East Asia Nations also worry that their interests could be shoved aside as China and the United States explore their future relationship and Washington develops its larger strategy for the Asia-Pacific.

Viewing the region from a different perspective, Nong Hong, executive director of the Institute for China-America Studies in Washington, D.C., said Beijing was taken aback by the early July transit of destroyer Stethem by Triton Island. She said what surprised China was it was being asked to lean on North Korea to end its nuclear weapons program and missile testing at the same time as the operation took place.

She said the United States and China will continue to disagree whether the reclaimed coral reefs are being used for purposes other than to exercise military presence and bolster Beijing territorial claims in the South China Sea. She said that is one part of the differences in how China and the United States view each other’s presence and moves in that part of the Asia-Pacific.

In Beijing’s view, Hong said the Chinese leadership believes it “very carefully” explained why it did not have to follow an arbitration panel’s ruling in its dispute with the Philippines, using grounds of historic use that differed from provisions of the Law of the Sea agreement.

“The management of the South China Sea [as an issue] can’t just be military, Colin Willett, former deputy assistant secretary of State, said. The Trump administration has to decide “how are we going to engage [American allies and partners] bilaterally and multilaterally” in the future. She added that included building their capacity.

  • Michael D. Woods

    Here is a key: “He added they as a group and especially their leading business figures ‘are adverse to sending any kind of signal that China might consider provocative’ because of the close economic ties these nations have with Beijing.” These countries won’t do anything themselves; they want the US to take care of their interests. If they want more Freedom of Navigation ops, let them join in with some actions of their own.

    • KazuakiShimazaki

      I think if the goal is to keep China from getting too big in its britches, both sides need to do more, not just the SCS people. It must be appreciated if those SCS countries poke China in the eye, then America retreats or decides something else is more important, they might as well have committed suicide.

      I propose the US actually does something nice and irreversible – for example shifting away from its “sovereignty neutral” policy, maybe even putting a few Marines on one of the disputed islands. Something that makes it hard for them to back out. Then perhaps it may be possible to get those countries to take a chance. A chance is one thing, suicide is not expectable.

      • life form

        I think that after China said the Hong Kong agreement was “a historical document” we (the US) should have said “We feel the same way about recognizing Taiwan. We need to rethink that.” Then follow through. I think a smarter US president should have made some kind of statement like that.

        I wouldn’t trade anything for Chinese cooperation on North Korea. It would be fake cooperation anyhow. Let’s see Japan beef up their missile defense, if they need help, fine. If the Japanese don’t need help, also fine. And South Korea, who does need help, they will permit more THAAD as soon as that issue dies down. The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Act with the Philippines is going along well,

        We should keep up increased cooperation ASEAN nations, like Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, the Aussies, NZ and India. All of whom have shown increasing seriousness, which the US should appreciate. I don’t think US marines on a disputed island is a good idea at this time. Too much blowback about US hegemonic colonialism. I think we should consider changing our Taiwan policy. That would really annoy the CCP. But maybe the Taiwanese would caution us to tread lightly.

        • Andrew Wang

          Great. Another excuse to defend China”s soveignity. China has been consistent since the Nationalists retreated to Taiwan in 1949 saying that Taiwan is part of China, just like Hawaii is part of the US. Let the games begin.

      • Andrew Wang

        Yes please and watch them die. You attack and China will finish it.

      • Ako Madamosiya 毛むくじゃら

        After Duterte is gone in another 5 years, the US can expand on EDCA by placing ships/troops in Pag-Asa Island of the Philippines and expand its airbase. PaG-Asa is just 13 nm from Subi Reef, a reclaimed island. Better yet help Philippines fortify the rusting naval vessel in Ayungin Shoal which is just 13 nautical miles away from Mischief Reef, another Chinese reclaimed airbase. By using EDCA, it legalizes any US moves to be in Philippine territories.

    • Zephon

      No need to risk American lives for something we previously agreed was Chinese Territory after the end of WWII.

      We should do what is in the best interests of our nation not some failed SecState Clinton policy.

  • Jay

    Dump…lack of clarity? There’s the understatement of the year.

    • incredulous1

      There is value to uncertainty. It gives pause to those who want to create instability. Imagine Putin not knowing Trump’s response were he to invade the Crimea… He would not dare take the chance. If it makes you feel better domestically to call it lack of clarity because you are desperate to “Dump Trump,” then just admit it. But to analyze the effect on security policy and stability, then it’s wise to look at all the factors and outcomes and history to make a prediction. You should be thanking Trump for conducting REAL FonOps for the first time since China was invited in by Obama.

      Trump was not my first choice either, but to blame him for stuff that isn’t happening is seriously destabilizing. In fact, Jinping merely paid lip service at Mar a Lago on the DPRK problem because he is sitting back waiting to see if you are successful in removing Trump from office somehow. Can that be good for US allies in the region?

    • sferrin

      Trump 2020!

  • Bill

    So happy the “experts” cleared that up.

    • incredulous1

      That is exactly the goal of this piece, to prevent clarity from taking hold. Many thought Un of the DPRK would come to his senses after the US did Elephant Walks and shows of force and it has now ostensibly turned in to a game of chicken. But the reality is with all this hardware bearing down, one tends to take the coming economic sanctions and UN resolutions a little more seriously. Of course, we need to wait until next month when China is no longer controlling the Security Council and a new presider takes over to draft any new resolutions. But the UN is nothing without the willingness of some hegemonic power to enforce their resolutions- hopefully through coalitions of the willing but one way or another it has to get done.

      • vpiona

        not trying to be snarky but ‘Un’ is not his last name nor ‘Jinping’ the last name of the Chinese leader. In Asia the last name is written first so it would be ‘Xi’ in China and ‘Kim’ in N. Korea.

        • incredulous1

          No, you’re not being snarky and I wouldn’t take it that way. In fact, I did not use the names that way, as any kind of conveyance of respect, as neither deserves any from us.

  • Hugh

    NK as a pawn in the SCS……….

  • Curtis Conway

    If this administration starts trading Principles for strategic/tactical advantage, then I’m done with them. It’s not American, and is not consistent with our ethics, values, belief, understanding, or supports what our culture, compared to everyone else’s systems, represents. Compromise is one thing, but violating one’s Principles is a tool of the Devil, and is how Standards are eroded.

    • old guy

      I agree with you, but I don’t think its is in the cards. Despite the Dem’s caucus rhetoric, my nephew, who has done much work with the Prez, over many years, says that he is extremely principled.

      • Curtis Conway

        THAT is why the country voted for him. Note the location and color of the states that vote that way, and what kind of activities are associated with those states. Growing food (food stuffs, live animal husbandry, and fibers), manufacturing, heavy industry, etc. I’m still trying to figure out Seattle, but they can eat fish while they build airplanes. Their states budgets also indicate this principled kind of activity. Not all states have a balanced budget, and rainy day fund, particularly Blue States. In fact the Blue States would have a much quicker fiscal reckoning if the Red States were not feeding the kitty.

  • Curtis Conway

    We should not trade Principles for advantage. That is a tool of the devil. If we trade Principles for strategic/tactical advantage, then we have violated our Principles and have abrogated moral authority.

    The US should strengthen its ties to Vietnam, and establish a primary International Maritime Operations Center (IMOC) at Tourane Airfield, and Cam Ranh Bay. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) states can provide assets and forces on a rotating basis, and satellite sub-IMOC facilities provide ports and air stations about the South China Sea, and other locations in the Greater Western Pacific to support policing operations.

    All of this Chinese construction in the region looks more like the villain/robber baron in an old John Wayne movie trying to take over the town/region.

    • Max Miller

      I remember a few gold mining countries, where China moved in supposedly with contracts, then the AK-47s came out, and the tax paying stopped…

      Never trust Communists over anything valuable…especially gas, seafood, and oil in SCS..

      • Andrew Wang

        Never trust an American. Their view of life is blinkered. Look what the US did to the poor pacific islanders who were mercilessly radiated with nuke trials on their atolls. Murder with no apology nor compensation. John Pilger’s doco is excellent.

        • old guy

          BOY, were you named correctly!!!

    • old guy

      Short term expedient efforts that do not support long term strategies should, a priori, be rejected, but their impact, either way, should be, carefully, examined.

    • Zephon

      You must have never heard of the “Kirkpatrick doctrine” and the creation of the Islamic Terrorists from it and more… an old Democrat NeoCon turned Republican under Ronnie who joined his National Security Council.

      We gave up principles for advantage long ago… in Vietnam we assassinated the only good leader the South Vietnamese had in a military coup. Remember Operation Paper there? In South American the Dirty Wars supported by despots trained out of Fort Benning’s School for the Americas. Iran Contra scandal… Iran’s Mossadegh Military Coup, Pinochet, USS Liberty Incident/Coverup? The list is long.

      Besides we supported China’s claim to the South China Sea and our sailors and Marines died to return these islands to China in WWII … and you talk of principles.

      • Curtis Conway

        YOU . . . made my case!

      • Curtis Conway

        One comment Zephon, and this is not a put-down . . . always capitalize Marine, for they have earned it.

        • Zephon

          Thank you for the correction. No disrespect intended.

    • Andrew Wang

      The problem with the US is that they cannot complete a strategic initative so the world of nations are not comfortable with the US agenda as it appears to chop and change.

      Giving China concessions in the SCS for NK stand down on its nuclear development is an interim peace deal as Trump will sooner or later change his mind.

      • Curtis Conway

        Either way, the US will have to confront China at some point for either its dealing with NK to increase the economic standing (fuel oil & diesel fuel), or not honoring UNCLOS by encroaching on its neighbors EEZs that are as far as 800 miles form the mainland in some cases. China is the aggressor taking advantage of others in either argument. Only a Chinese Warlord from antiquity would insist on exploiting resources within a neighbors EEZ, particularly after signing UNCLOS.

  • sferrin

    This would be a stupid idea as China could ease up on NK anytime they wanted. So they’d lull us along until they were nice and completely entrenched in the South and East China Seas then they’d say to NK, “okay, business as usual boys.”

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Those nations of the region have their own share of backstabbing. Witness the current admin in The Philippines for proof of that. He’s firmly in bed with the ChiComs. Many of the nations of the western Pacific are just as bad as some of the members of NATO who do not uphold their obligations to their own defense. Communists don’t make ‘agreements’ unless they come out ahead. Maybe the countries that have disputes with the ChiComs over island ‘sovereignty’ should consider building their OWN islands like the ChiComs did? Do some tit-for-tat…

    • KazuakiShimazaki

      I can hardly blame Duterte on this issue. His predecessor tried to be tough, but when you are a small nation going against a big one, you are going to need help. Not “maybe” help. “Certain” help and lots of it. The United States wasn’t ready to provide that help. Duterte realized this and turned.

      • life form

        I agree with you. I even don’t think Duterte has really turned. I think he’s faking.
        Duterte is buying time because the PI is in a very weak position right now.
        I notice the five shared bases the US and PI use are expanding, and the US is trying to help the PI strengthen itself. Duterte could slow that down or oppose it…but he didn’t. Duterte is doing what he has to do. He got time, access to the shoals, billions of dollars…good for him.

        The Enhanced Defense Agreement is still going strong, isn’t it? The US has five (shared) bases in the PI, and they’re expanding. China has none. Duterte is in a tough spot., doing the best he can. He can call me a bad name if he needs to. He got a pretty good return on that.

        • Chesapeakeguy

          All that may well be. But what ‘help’ is he going to get from the ChiComs when it’s the ChiComs who are such a threat to him? Getting in bed with them is not going to make them go away. One more time, these are COMMUNISTS! They invented the adage that says “What’s mine is mine, it’s what is yours that is negotiable”. Also, the ChiComs are nobody’s fools. To think that they can be ‘played’ while someone ‘buys time’ is as much folly as hoping the ChiComs will be accommodating on anything!

          • KazuakiShimazaki

            You have two sides you can side with. Neither side is very reliable in terms of “help”, but one side clearly will more heavily punish you for defiance than the other. What’s your choice?

          • Chesapeakeguy

            If The Philippines’ don’t receive ‘help’ when it comes to being threatened by Red China it is because they are now IN BED with Red China! Please show me where this country has renounced any long standing commitments to any countries in that region, especially ones that involve defense!

          • KazuakiShimazaki

            OK, remind me. Exactly what did America do to help the Phillippines back when Aquino was in power, and how did that compare to the kind of pressures China can and did bring on the Phillippines?

            When China flouted the PCA’s ruling, did the United States threaten sanctions or mobilized troops for exercises like they did with Russia and Ukraine (and let’s face it, the SCS is more important to the US and its traditional allies than Ukraine). Because sitting here as a third party, I really am having trouble remembering anything substantive the US did that might make a weak country like the Phillippines feel like it is an acceptable idea to stand up to China.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Please elaborate on ‘when Aquino was in power’! What are you referring to? And is it your assertion or desire tat the USA automatically go to war with Red China when they do their usual antics visa vis other nations in the area?

          • life form

            you wrote:
            Please show me where this country has renounced any long standing commitments to any countries in that region, especially ones that involve defense!

            Well, de recognizing Taiwan might be an example. Vietnam/Cambodia certainly.

            Outside the area, Ukraine might be an example, we promised them a lot for their voluntary de-nuclearization. The Kurds might be a good example, we promised them a lot in the first Gulf War and left them hanging…many were slaughtered. Bosnia and Kosovo are arguable, but i think it is clear we could have done better. Iran…I don’t like them a bit but they certainly were betrayed by us. and then we couldn’t admit the mistake.

            Yeah, I can think of a few examples.

            Kazuaki Shimazaki knows what he’s talking about, you should listen to him.
            The US is not all powerful. We’re not always right, and not always effective. We sometimes do things we shouldn’t do, and other times fail to do things we should. The world expects a lot from US, we are only 1/22nd of the world’s population. But we do make mistakes. We do have limitations.

            It is not “My country right or wrong.” The whole quote is “My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.” (Carl Shurtz)

            The unwillingness to admit error is poison.
            If we must always be “right”, even if we have to rewrite history to do it, we are halfway to being the CCP or the state in Orwell’s 1984. Neo totalitarians do that. We’re a republic. Flawed, but still …

          • Chesapeakeguy

            The USA still adheres to their long standing policy of not allowing the ChiComs to take Taiwan by force. Vietnam/Cambodia? SERIOUSLY? Did you ever hear of a little dust up called ‘The Vietnam War’? There’s a huge wall dedicated to those who died there, and in Cambodia. You should do some research on that! Ukraine? The Kurds? Talk about reaching. You should go and make an effort to educate yourself before you spew on venues like this. Maybe your pal Kaz can help you with that. Maybe you two can get a room?

          • life form

            You didn’t substantively address I single thing I told you. I asked you directly…specifically… what would you advise Duterte to do and you ignored that, too. You just wrote some evasive bluster flavored with FAUX OUTRAGE and insults made to deflect attention from your lack of substantive answer.

            You dismiss the examples of Kurds, Ukraine and Iran as “reaching”? good grief, why? Do you know how badly we did the Iranians before and during the Shah? We deposed their elected government and supported a brutal dictator. The Kurds we let get slaughtered and gassed after promising them arms and maybe a state (in Gulf war 1). They helped us a lot and we turned our back on their slaughter because it was politically convenient to do so. I’m ambivalent concerning the Kurds, but what i wrote is still true. We promised to protect the Ukraine if they gave up their nuclear program. Look at the mess they’re in now.

            Those examples are not “reaching”. You just won’t acknowledge them.

            And your question, did I hear of the Vietnam War? Funny.

            Yeah, I probably did, since I mentioned it and the slaughter of millions that occurred after we left the SVA to be slaughtered by the North, and the Cambodians to be slaughtered by Pol Pot’s boys.

            And by “we” I really mean “we” literally. Yeah, I am that old. So, you arrogant, ignorant, evasive, dishonest blowhard; yeah, I guess I have heard of it.

            You know what else is funny? Listening you you tell us to educate ourselves. I’ve read your prose, both content and style. That high class stuff, like Maybe your pal Kaz can help you with that. Maybe you two can get a room?

            Clearly you are an educated debate genius, with thoughts and prose so intelligent; so honest and cogent!
            (just kidding.)

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Ahhh, are your panties all in a knot now? Hmmm? Your whines were addressed, point by point. That all that soars well above your hat holder is your problem, no one else’s. Vietnam was the classic case of a country that would not do what they needed to do to be able to stand up their enemy. That your beloved communists were able to take them and Cambodia down (and Laos as well) must certainly be a pint of immense pride for you and yours. But facts are facts, and they re stubborn things at that.

            So, did you and your pal get that room? Hmmm?

          • life form

            I’m sorry I missed the part where you answered any of those questions, like mine here:

            So what exactly, would you advise Duterte to do? Exactly. Specifically. He’s buying time because he has to.

            you also ducked this question

            “Exactly what did America do to help the Phillippines back when Aquino was in power, and how did that compare to the kind of pressures China can and did bring on the Phillippines?”

            by inanely responding Please elaborate on ‘when Aquino was in power’! What are you referring to? And is it your assertion or….

            this is you:
            Huh?! Aquino?? When? What!! OOh, time to deflect aggressively!….”And is it your assertion…(insert irrelevant straw man here)”.

            When I gave examples of Vietnam, Cambodia and de-recognizing Taiwan as times the US had failed in her commitments, you ducked those too, again, inanely:

            Vietnam/Cambodia? SERIOUSLY? Did you ever hear of a little dust up called ‘The Vietnam War’? There’s a huge wall dedicated to those who died there, and in Cambodia. You should do some research on that!

            Really? Should I “do some research on it”?
            Gee, would being there count? Or should I wait for your lecture to me on the subject? You @#$%&* twit..


            Vietnam was the classic case of a country that would not do what they needed to do to be able to stand up their enemy. That your beloved communists…

            First, in your non existent command experience, how would you have suggested the SVA without the US hold against the NVA who had the local support of China?

            Second do you feel no shame, vomiting that up that last part to a guy who left the last two fingers and a little chunk of his left arm in that fight? What a dishonest cheapjack ploy that phrase was.

            With respect to de-recognizing Taiwan, their loss of UN seat, loss of status as an international recognized nation state, again, you answer this:
            The USA still adheres to their long standing policy of not allowing the ChiComs to take Taiwan by force.

            Which is of course IS related, but doesn’t actually acknowledge the de-recognition., does it? Later the 1982 Shanghai Communiques sufficiently weakened the already ambiguous Taiwan Relations Act.

            1982 so weakened guarantees to Taiwan that Reagan felt he had to shore up our position with the “six assurances”. That (1982) would be another time the US didn’t really uphold her commitments out here.

            To recap: you asked us:
            Please show me where this country has renounced any long standing commitments to any countries in that region, especially ones that involve defense!

            and then when we answered you, directly and cogently, with multiple examples, you twirl around insulting and and dodging like the dishonest interlocuter you are.

            You’re loud and cutting, but still, you are dishonest in argument and not very knowledgeable.

          • life form

            Well, you have your opinion, I simply expressed mine.
            I think Duterte understands all that, don’t you? Perhaps you don’t appreciate what a weak hand Duterte starts with. He’s got Chinese navy all over his EEZ and no navy to speak of, nothing. There is no kind of conflict he can win at this time, except the judicial one he did get. Not military, not economic….Duterte will lose any contest, and he knows that.

            We also know the CCP is not slow. You’re not telling us anything we don’t already understand …better than you do.

            So what exactly, would you advise Duterte to do? Exactly. Specifically. He’s buying time because he has to. Everyone understands this.

            COMMUNISM really doesn’t have anything to do with this. I don’t think they invented the adage “What’s mine is mine, it’s what is yours that is negotiable”, though that is an accurate description of their actions in the SCS. We’re not 12 years old out here. We understand the situation in a more sophisticated way than you do.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Oh spare me this crud about how ‘sophisticated’ you are. That you think communism has NOTHING to do with how and why the ChiComs operate reveals a level of ignorance that is truly beyond the pale.

            You are correct about one thing. John Kennedy is attributed with applying the the “what’s mine is mine….” TO the communists. Gee, my bad.

    • life form

      Duterte is blowing smoke, saying what China wants to hear, trying to keep the Chinese from consolidating the Scarborough Shoal more than they have, …so the PI can access resources it needs….and finessing money from the Chinese (9 billion) and buying time. Duterte may not like the US much, but he knows the Chinese ambitions for the PI EEZ and basing rights very well.

      There are five new, large US (shared) bases in the PI since the Obama administration and Aquino administration negotiated the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Act. We are obligated to train PI people, and also are now helping with the terrorism problem the PI has in the south. We recently sold the PI some used frigates, some new anti ship missiles, and other hardware. Duterte could have halted that, but in fact, the pace of US activity has accelerated.

      There are zero Chinese military outposts in the PI.
      Say “getting into bed with ChiComs” again will you? It makes you appear tough and cool…to …somebody…somewhere…

  • John Locke

    As long as China blesses the Trumps with Trademarks they will have free rein of the SCS.

    • Chesapeakeguy

      Thank you for your comment Mrs. Clinton…

    • Zephon

      In the end yes… we should do what is best to make the American Economy and our companies the best in the world.

      China should be seen as an opportunity not a threat. Because if we do not take that opportunity – other nations will and laugh at us all the way to the bank while we waste our tax dollars fighting more wars of choice.

  • R’ Yitzchak M

    IDIOTS!!! If there is a bully to be dealt with you do not go to the mommy to “tell him to behave.. you take the brick to do the “talking” to tell him what need to be told.. every bully will understand that ad will RESPECT that; but apparently our pinheads don’t.. our fools are the main problem

    .. by the way what the thugs in a “hood” do they employ the weakling to harass and to provoke fights to terrorize neighborhood our fools are enablers of that nonsense.. no wander we have issues in Detroit, Chicago, Washington DC.. where those very same pinheads are the partners in crime

    When in the China yo do not speak “Yiddish” you speak the language locals understand.

  • BobSykes

    There are only two options regarding North Korea’s missiles and nukes. First, live with them. Stop the threats and sanctions, and renew diplomatic relations and trade. The second is buy them out. Given the regime security, backed by Chinese and Russian troops on the DMZ, and give them a Marshall Plan for the North.

    • R’ Yitzchak M

      A beautiful poetry under “it would be nice.. IF” we all hold the hands and sing “cumbayah”. The day dreaming and and walking is not recommended

    • life form

      Are you quite sure there are only two options, the two you listed? I can think of more.
      Your solution is put Russian and Chinese troops in the DMZ and the US picks up the check? Wow.
      I imagine that is the dream solution for the CCP.
      But don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen, “Bob Sykes”.

  • Euphrasia Madziva

    Because giving someone else’s land to an aggressor worked so well in 1938.
    China is pushing back a lot of folks. The Philippines is the weakest link, and Obama pressured us not to fight back when China started pushing out our fishermen and destroying the ecology by building artificial islands.
    The ultimate aim will be to take over the Philippines. The oligarchy and business community has Chinese ties (or takes Chinese bribes) but this is one reason we elected Duterte.
    And articles like this is how you get Duterte calling Americans a Putang Ina.

    • life form

      I’m all for the PI, but show me one bit of information that supports your claim
      The Philippines is the weakest link, and Obama pressured us not to fight back when China started pushing out our fishermen and destroying the ecology by building artificial islands.

      Oh I agree the PI is currently the weakest link, but the PI didn’t fight back because they can’t. They don’t yet have the means. Blaming the current PI weakness on Obama is face saving, but nonsense.

  • Zephon

    Perhaps people missed how Vietnam withdrew their oil exploration rigs out of the South China Sea this week after the Chinese told them to leave. Initially reported by the BBC.

    And President Duterte setting aside the Arbitration Ruling that ignored China’s historical claim to the South China Sea.

    The game is basically over. China was called out by the Obama/Clinton/Campbell Pivot of 2010 to further the containment of China with the Philippines and Vietnam; China basically doubled down their claims to their South China Sea territory and nobody really challenged them. Because nobody really can.

    Besides, our sailors and marines fought to return this territory back to China in WWII and we fully supported their claim back then. How easily we forget our history and sacrifices in the defeat of Japan with our Chinese allies in WWII.

    • Zephon

      I would add that it appears China and the other nations surrounding the SCS are making progress in working things out there.

      Specifically I quote VOA article opening paragraphs from yesterday titled: “ASEAN, China Expected to Endorse Initial Code of Conduct in South China Sea”.

      “After more than 15 years of intermittent talks, ASEAN member nations and China are expected to endorse the draft framework for a non-binding code of conduct that commits to cooperation rather than confrontations in the contested South China Sea, the Voice of America Khmer service has learned.

      The draft framework is expected to be endorsed by ASEAN foreign
      ministers and China’s foreign minister at the weeklong post-ministerial
      conference hosted by the Philippines, the current holder of ASEAN’s
      revolving chairmanship. The meeting in Manila begins August 2.”

      • old guy

        Again, WOW

    • old guy

      See above

    • Andrew Wang

      No apologises from the Japs and no compensation for the millions of Chinese murdered by the Japanese. The US even gave the administration of the Dioyu islands back to the Japanese. These hostile acts is not that of a friend. Payback will be sweet.

  • old guy

    Although not widely known, Vietnam is, ENTIRELY, dependent on China for her defense. Ipso Facto, a client state,

    • Zephon

      There is truth to your statement but I would expand it:

      When France was taking IndoChina as a Colony that was entirely true. Such as the Tonkin War/Sino French wars of 1885. Started in fury when the Chinese Blag Flag regiment called out the French Army to battle at Paper Bridge outside Hanoi… The French were spanked and wanted revenge and that escalated to a major Chinese loss. Though the Treaty ending that war was one of the first to recognize the South China Sea as Chinese territory.

      Dien Bien Phu was similarly strongly a combined Chinese Vietnamese battle against the French. Chinese provided political, economic, military strategy and equipment to the Vietnamese.

      But in the later stages and after our Vietnam war the Vietnamese became more dependent on Russia for defense. That was why they tried to annex Cambodia with Russian support. Hence the continued use of Cam Ranh Bay by Russians as a deep water port to this day.

      And in 1979 weeks after meeting with President Carter/Kissinger and Deng Xiaoping in Washington; we worked with the Chinese to see Russian influence diminished in the region by supporting China in the Sino-Vietnam war. To stop Vietnam’s incursion into Cambodia and expansion of Russian influence in SouthEast Asia. We gave PRC China the “one China policy” in return for that invasion of Vietnam. China went in and marched their Army to Hanoi and left leaving a scorched earth policy (like Grant’s march to the Sea) in their wake. Vietnam never annexed Cambodia as well.

      There was also the battle of the Paracels in 1974. China heavily outgunned -managed to evict the Vietnamese attack on these South China Sea Islands (tactics similar to Nelson at Trafalgar or Battle of Surigao Straits with our TinCans).

      Today Vietnam is more dependent on China as an economy and that obviously has defense implications. But there is no defense agreement or major export of weapons from China to Vietnam today because of a lack of trust between them. Vietnam still gets most of their advanced weaponry from Russia though I notice Israel is selling them stuff as well (rocket artillery, anti-tank missiles and small arms).

      The relationship between these two communist countries is difficult due to their long history.

      P.S. – the Cham Empire (2nd to 19th Century) that eventually became Vietnam was created by a renegade Chinese governor that decided to declare himself a new country and diminish the Chinese influence… the Cham’s eventually became closer to India because of this history as well. There was also a several major failed invasions by the Chinese under the Mongol Kublai Khan’s Yuan Dynasty that failed in 13th Century.

      • old guy

        Comment. This one of the best precis I’ve seen in some time!