Friday, May 31, 2013

Pipelineistan and the New Silk Road(s) By Pepe Escobar

This is a version of a paper presented this week at the annual conference of the Middle East Institute at the National University of Singapore.
SINGAPORE - Ask Western elites - oh, those were the days, in the 17th century, when the rise of European sea powers led to the collapse of the caravan trade and the end of the Silk Road as Europe found a cheaper - and safer - way of trading between East and West.
Now, centuries after Tang armies establishing nodes all over
Central Asia as far as Khorasan in northeast Iran, the 21st century Silk Road(s) are back. The camels now wear iPads, with the Persian Gulf as a high-tech caravanserai.
Si chou zhi lu ("Silk Road" in Mandarin). What's in a name? Trouble. A lot of trouble. At least if you ask the Pentagon, which places most of these roads - from the Persian Gulf to Central Asia and even the South China Sea - smack in the middle of its famous "arc of instability". In parallel, in rising Eastern latitudes, it's Dream Team time: and the name of the game is Eurasian integration.
Who's the real Iron Man in this picture? It has to be Beijing Man, expanding his economy at a dizzying pace, securing all the resources he needs - not only oil and gas but by being the world's largest consumer of aluminum, copper, lead, nickel, zinc, tin, iron ore - and breathlessly moving global power tectonic plates.
So no wonder Beijing is appalled by the carnage/civil war forced upon Syria by foreign actors; that's bad for business. The PRC has historically viewed Syria as aning jiu li - a cohesive force in the Arab world - in many aspects the epicenter of the Arab world, and much more progressive, socially, than the Persian Gulf. And while Beijing always praised Syria's stability, the Syrian establishment had been in thrall to China's economic miracle.
When the saints go marchin' in 
What we are experiencing now could be described as The Long March West (from the point of view of Beijing) versus The Short March East, as in Pivoting to Asia (from the point of view of Washington). READ MORE

Recipe for Disaster: Israel & Pakistan’s Sea-Based Nukes | The Diplomat

Recipe for Disaster: Israel & Pakistan’s Sea-Based Nukes | The Diplomat
Both Israel and Pakistan look to the sea to provide strategic depth. It’s a quest that could undermine stability.
The policy of a nation, Napoleon once quipped, can be read in its geography. For much of human history, the verity of such an assertion would have appeared self-evident. After all, what is geostrategy if not a state’s chosen response to a preexisting spatial reality? For many thinkers of the early modern era, a country’s geographical position shaped its strategic behavior, whether in times of peace or war. Maritime powers, some have noted, appear both more democratic and inclined to pursue alliances than their territorially obsessed continental counterparts. Amidst the swirling tides of global geopolitics, geography formed a key fundamental — an enduring physical truth — providing a degree of structure and continuity to otherwise arcane national strategies. READ MORE

Malaysian Solidarity in Singapore | The Diplomat

Malaysian Solidarity in Singapore | The Diplomat

India’s Agni-V ICBM to Carry Multiple Nuclear Warheads | Flashpoints

India’s Agni-V ICBM to Carry Multiple Nuclear Warheads | Flashpoints

Blackouts in Southeast Asia Hatch Political Conspiracy Theories | ASEAN Beat

Blackouts in Southeast Asia Hatch Political Conspiracy Theories | ASEAN Beat
Flickr (massimo-riserbo)
Massive blackouts have hit several Southeast Asian countries in the past month, causing widespread panic, business losses, and even political controversy. 
On May 8, a sudden outage in five power plants in the Philippines plunged 40 percent of Luzon Island into darkness, including Metropolitan Manila. Meanwhile, on May 21, mysterious lightning allegedly affected power transmission in Thailand, triggering the kingdom’s “biggest blackout ever” in its 14 southern provinces.
The following day, a crane error knocked out a major transmission line in Vietnam, immediately causing a ten-hour blackout across 22 provinces in the nation’s south. Affected cities included Vietnam’s southern commercial hub, Ho Chi Minh City, and Phnom Penh in neighboring Cambodia. 
Three weeks after the Luzon blackout, Philippine energy officials admitted that they are still clueless as to what caused the power plants to malfunction. But at least they clarified that a total of 14 plants conked out during the unforgettable day of darkness. READ MORE

Why India Can’t Fulfill Afghanistan’s Wish List | The Pulse

Why India Can’t Fulfill Afghanistan’s Wish List | The Pulse
Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the National Military Academy of Afghanistan

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Half a Billion: China’s Middle-Class Consumers | Pacific Money

Half a Billion: China’s Middle-Class Consumers | Pacific Money
Once China has built up their own consumer base and middle class.
And our middle class spins in the toilet.
 They will no longer care about, or buy American debt.
Then the joke will be on us-U.S.

So called "communist China" has shown that state capitalism is better than corporate capitalism.  

China’s society is changing beyond all recognition. At the heart of the most sweeping social and economic transformation the world has seen is the rise of a powerful new – largely urban – middle class. China’s urban middle-class population alone, if considered as a country, is larger than the entire U.S. total population today. The pace of change has been extraordinary. As recently as 2000, only 4 percent of urban households in China were middle class; by 2012, that share had soared to over two-thirds. And by 2022, China’s middle class should number 630 million – that is, three-quarters of urban Chinese households and 45 percent of the entire population. The rise of the middle class is essentially an urban phenomenon. Average per capita urban income in China is roughly triple that in the countryside – and there are set to be 170 million new urbanites between now and 2022

[TV ZONE] Sungnyemun Gate Is Back!

[TVZONE] Climbing to Bibong Peak and dictating to the whole world there

The outlook of the Northeast Asian infrastructure market

Resumption of the Korea-Russia FTA talks

Key Business Issue/Business & IT/Program/KBS World Radio

UN Urges Japan to Correct Controversial Remarks on Sex Slaves

Hot Issues of the week/News/KBS World Radio
The United Nations has called on the Japanese government to stop its politicians from making controversial remarks about victims of Japan's wartime sexual slavery.

Recently, heavyweight Japanese politicians have made offensive remarks regarding the so-called “comfort women.” This has triggered criticism not only from neighboring countries but also within Japan.

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, a subsidiary body of the UN Economic and Social Council, issued an official opinion last Tuesday. It urged Tokyo to mobilize all means to prevent its politicians from making hate speeches about certain genders and races and comments dishonoring former sex slaves.

The committee also called for educating Japanese people about the sex slave issue. It expressed concern that such remarks prevailing in Japan can adversely affect the rights of those women and provision of compensation for them.

The committee urged Japan to take all possible means to stop those remarks from being made.

The committee regularly unveils views on the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights by its State parties.

Its latest opinion was announced after considering views by both the Japanese government and civic groups.

Opinions issued by the committee are not legally binding, but state parties to the covenant have the responsibility to sincerely accept the committee’s views.

In its deliberation of this matter concerning Japan, the UN committee also took issue with a Japanese rock band that wrote a song with disparaging lyrics about the former sex slaves. In the song, the women are called prostitutes, and there are even lyrics about beheading Koreans.

The deliberation took place before the recent string of disputed remarks by Japanese politicians came to surface.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has justified Tokyo's foreign invasions and defended paying respects at the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japan’s war dead.

Mayor of Osaka, Toru Hashimoto, has said military brothels were necessary and other countries used them also.

Shingo Nishimura, a lawmaker of the Japan Restoration Party whose chief is Hashimoto, also claimed that Japan is currently swarmed with Korean prostitutes. He was expelled from the party after making this remark.

Criticism against this wave of controversial remarks is growing on the world stage and also within Japan.

Japan's Asahi Shimbun daily said the UN committee is apparently deeply concerned about Japanese society’s lack of understanding toward the issue of wartime sexual slavery.

Clash of titans in the Asia Pacific | Russia & India Report

Clash of titans in the Asia Pacific | Russia & India Report
Clash of titans in the Asia Pacific
May 21, 2013 Alexey Dolinsky, specially for RIR
Increased economic, political and, potentially, military competition in the Asia Pacific is becoming a core of global politics. Russia can play a critical role in the world political architecture if it successfully defines its policy in the region.

Chinese Lead World in Economic Optimism | Pacific Money

Chinese Lead World in Economic Optimism | Pacific Money
Even as expert opinion sours on China’s economy, Chinese themselves remain highly optimistic about the state of their economy.
A new poll by Pew’s Global Attitudes Project found that 88 percent of Chinese citizens say their national economy is doing good, more than in any of the other 38 countries Pew surveyed.
80 percent of Chinese also believe their national economy will improve in the next year, which was again the highest percentage in all the countries included in the poll. Only 2 percent said they believe their economy will grow worse in the next twelve months, far less than any other country

The Chinese Are Coming, And They Want America's Pork | Zero Hedge

The Chinese Are Coming, And They Want America's Pork | Zero Hedge
Any one you might know?

Banksters from Wall St. perhaps.

Apps Can Improve Quality of Life For Asians

N.Korea Says Factory Owners Can Come to Kaesong

The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea - N.Korea Says Factory Owners Can Come to 

North Korea on Tuesday said it is ready for talks to resume business in the Kaesong Industrial Complex if the South Korean factory owners visit.

The North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland in a statement said, "South Korean authorities need not worry unnecessarily about the owners' safety. They can send them together with members of the complex management committee if they are still concerned."

The industrial park was effectively shut 50 days ago after the North closed the border amid rising tensions. 

Until recently, the regime rejected South Korean offers of talks to salvage goods and raw materials left behind at the complex, blaming Seoul for the closure. 

Pyongyang cited annual South Korea-U.S. military exercises and South Korean media insults to its "dignity" as the reasons for the closure. 

Tuesday's statement is only a partial concession since the invitation extends only to civilians rather than government officials members.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (with umbrella) inspects a fishery station in this photo released by North Koreas KCNA news agency on Tuesday. /Rodong SinmumNorth Korean leader Kim Jong-un (with umbrella) inspects a fishery station in this photo released by North Korea's KCNA news agency on Tuesday. /Rodong Sinmum
A Unification Ministry spokesman here accused Pyongyang of "a double attitude" because it had nothing to say about South Korea's offer of government-level talks.

"The North must clearly understand that such a divisive plot will not work," the spokesman added. "We once again strongly urge the North to come to the dialogue table immediately as we proposed if it really has the will to resolve the issue." 

The North Korean statement was about 2,400 words long, only 197 of which were about Kaesong. The rest was devoted to lambasting President Park Geun-hye and her administration. 

A South Korean government official said, "I wonder if the North really has the intention of holding talks given its continued denouncement of President Park."

Chung Young-tae of the Korea Institute for National Unification was equally skeptical. "The North is talking about normalization of the industrial park even though it's well aware that there will be no dialogue," he said. "The purpose is to sow disunity in South Korea and leave the South Korean government at a loss how to react." / May 29, 2013 09:28 KST

Related Articles

Korea Ranked Near Bottom in Quality of Life

The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea - Korea Ranked Near Bottom in Quality of Life

Australia has the best quality of life in the OECD, a survey suggests. The Wall Street Journal on Monday reported that the OECD's Better Life index puts Australia on top for the third year running.

The index awards points in 11 categories like housing, income, jobs, education and health. Although the OECD does not announce the overall rankings, the WSJ said, "If each of the 11 categories in the survey is given equal weight, Australia's cumulative ranks rises to No. 1."

Even as advanced countries suffered economic slumps, Australia's economy has managed to grow steadily.

Second was Sweden, followed by Canada, Norway, Switzerland, the U.S., Denmark, the Netherlands, Iceland and the U.K.

Korea ranked near the bottom in all categories except education and public safety. In the area of work-life balance, it ranked fourth from the bottom after Turkey, Mexico and Japan. That means Koreans work too much and rest too little. / May 29, 2013 12:06 KST

Kuick Releases South Korea Wind Power Sector Analysis 2013 >> Offshore Wind

Kuick Releases South Korea Wind Power Sector Analysis 2013 >> Offshore Wind

Much Ado over Small Islands: The Sino-Japanese Confrontation over Senkaku/Diaoyu :: JapanFocus

Much Ado over Small Islands: The Sino-Japanese Confrontation over Senkaku/Diaoyu :: JapanFocus

Gavan McCormack
More than six decades from the San Francisco Treaty that purportedly resolved the Asia-Pacific War and created a system of peace, East Asia in 2013 remains troubled by the question of sovereignty over a group of tiny, uninhabited islands. The governments of Japan, China, and Taiwan all covet and claim sovereignty over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands.
These tiny islands, together with other scattered outcroppings across the Western Pacific, assume today some of the weight that attached almost a century ago to the vast domain of Northeast China (“Manchuria”), with comparable potential to plunge the region into conflict. If the countries of the region are to transcend the 19th and 20th century eras of Japanese imperialism and US Cold War hegemony and construct a 21st century of peace, cooperation, and prosperity, the Senkaku/Diaoyu issue must somehow first be addressed.
1. The Long View READ MORE

Concentrating Solar Power – China’s New Solar Frontier :: JapanFocus

Concentrating Solar Power – China’s New Solar Frontier :: JapanFocus

Asia Times Online :: World eyes China's coexistence strategy

Asia Times Online :: World eyes China's coexistence strategy

By Liselotte Odgaard 

China is no longer merely a passive recipient of the world order, but it has become a key factor in determining the foreign and defense policy choices that are open to other international actors. 

Beijing seems to have positioned the country as a global great power in a political sense. It has achieved this position by means of a strategy of coexistence that was recently reiterated in the Chinese defense white paper. This strategy is designed to change the context for other states' international behavior without promoting a completely new world order. 

Asia Times Online :: Fears grow for a Malaysian Spring

Asia Times Online :: Fears grow for a Malaysian Spring

By Chin Huat Wong 

KUALA LUMPUR - Adam Adli, a student activist, was charged on May 23 under Malaysia's Sedition Act for saying merely "you cheated in elections, we go for demonstrations". Eighteen other people have been also detained by police, with three claiming injuries, for attending a vigil held in response to the activist's detention.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Murder Versus Trade: U.S. and China Rivalry over Africa’s Riches | Piazza della Carina

Murder Versus Trade: U.S. and China Rivalry over Africa’s Riches | Piazza della Carina: "Guns Versus Trade: U.S. and China Rivalry over Africa’s Riches ~ By Asad Ismi
In my report on France’s invasion of Mali published in the March issue of The Monitor, I wrote that, “According to U.K. journalist John Pilger, ‘A full-scale invasion of Africa is under way. The United States is deploying troops in 35 African countries, beginning with Libya, Sudan, Algeria, and Niger. The invasion has almost nothing to do with ‘Islamism,’ and almost everything to do with the acquisition of resources, notably minerals, and an accelerating rivalry with China. Unlike China, the U.S. and its allies are prepared to use a degree of violence demonstrated in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Palestine.    

Thursday, May 23, 2013

China's surprisingly open hacking culture

China's surprisingly open hacking culture - The Week
"The Ministry of Education and Chinese universities, for instance, join companies in sponsoring hacking competitions that army talent scouts attend, though "the standards can be mediocre," said a cyber-security expert who works for a government institute and handed out awards at a 2010 competition.
Corporations employ freelance hackers to spy on competitors. In an interview, a former hacker confirmed recent official news reports that one of China's largest makers of construction equipment had committed cyber-espionage against a rival. [New York Times]"

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

'Dumbass' By Chinese Artist Wei Wei

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sends envoy to China

BBC News - North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sends envoy to China
"Chinese media said Mr Choe met Wang Jiarui, a top foreign affairs official.
The visit - the duration of which remains unknown - follows weeks of high tension on the Korean peninsula.
China is North Korea's biggest trading partner and closest ally. It has traditionally sought to maintain stability in North Korea, avoiding any crisis that could trigger the fall of the regime and propel a flow of refugees across the border.
But in recent weeks, following Pyongyang's 12 February nuclear test and amid strident rhetoric from its leaders, China has expressed frustration with North Korea, with state media openly debating the benefits of close ties."

Monday, May 20, 2013

China manoeuvres to create space for itself in Afghanistan - The Times of India

China manoeuvres to create space for itself in Afghanistan - The Times of India
"According to an assessment by Indian intelligence agencies, China believes the situation will deteriorate in Afghanistan following the 2014 election and it will be in the interest of Beijing and other neighbours to ensure stability in the country. Pessimism over the reconciliation process and the future role of the Afghan National Army, which may not be able to handle the anarchy likely to follow the elections, as well as a ripple effect of increased insurgent activity in Afghanistan in its own Xinjiang province have made China closely follow the reconciliation process and have a say in critical political deliberations. "

Li Keqiang Pledges Better Relations With India

BBC News - China Premier Li Keqiang pledges better ties with India

The two neighbours are the world's two most populous countries.
Monday's talks are expected to involve trade ties and other bilateral issues.
The Chinese leader arrived in Delhi on Sunday in the first stop of his maiden foreign trip since taking office.
On his arrival, Premier Li said said his decision to choose India for his first foreign visit since taking office "indicates the great importance Beijing attaches to its relations" with Delhi.
Continue reading the main story

Friday, May 17, 2013

Vietnam's Massacre Survivors

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

US, South Korea Conduct Military Drill

Kim Jong-un had 'secret' daughter in 2010

Kim Jong-un had 'secret' daughter in 2010 - Telegraph:
"There have been no reports from within North Korea about the birth of either of Kim's daughters, which analysts attribute to the ongoing three-year official period of mourning for Kim's father, Kim Jong-il, who died in December 2011.
Kim Jong-il also had a complicated personal life and is understood to have been officially married only once, but to have had at least three mistresses.
As well as Kim Jong-un, Kim fathered two other sons and two daughters."

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Australian Foreign Minister A US Spy?

Is Australian Foreign Minister A "Spy?" Australian Newspaper Exposes Bob Carr As An "agent" Under US Influence - OpEd Eurasia Review

"Carr began his relationship with US embassy officials in the mid 1970s when he was President of Young Labor and education officer of the NSW Labor Council. According to The Age investigative report Philip Dorling he would regularly brief the US Consul General over labour issues and the prospects of the Labor Government in Canberra. From the information gathered from Carr and also NSW Labor President John Ducker, intelligence reports on Australian politics and labour issues would be sent onto Washington. Leaked US cables to WikiLeaks also indicated that the former Labor Senator Mark Arbib, who is also the son in law of the current Australian Governor General Quentin Bryce, was also a “protected” US embassy source passing on information and commentary on Australian politics."