East Asia Roundup: August 25-29, 2021

China

China, Russia, Iran Military Drills in Gulf Enhance Regional Security, Against External Interference – Global Times
China, Russia and Iran will hold joint maritime exercises in the Persian Gulf around late 2021 or early 2022, according to Russian Ambassador to Iran Levan Dzhagaryan – It is vital for China, Russia and Iran to ensure the safety of international shipping. The three countries are engaging in cooperation in various fields, and as regional countries, are keeping a close eye on the ever changing Afghanistan situation. China and Russia may hope to boost Iran’s military capabilities by virtue of the drills as well, so that Iran can effectively counter the threat from the Western countries.

U.S. Attempt to Pressure China by Politicizing COVID-19 Origins-Tracing Doomed to Fail – People’s Daily Online
The U.S. intelligence community has released a “report” on China’s alleged involvement in the  coronavirus. The origins-tracing of the virus should and can only be left to scientists, not intelligence experts.

Statement by Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu on Release of U.S. Intelligence Report on COVID-19 Origins – People’s Daily Online
The U.S. intelligence community has recently compiled a so-called report on the origins of COVID-19. It is a mendacious report made up for political purposes. There is no scientific basis or credibility in it. The United States has also released a statement slandering and attacking China. The Chinese side hereby expresses its firm objection. 

Harris’ Vietnam Stunt an Insult to Hanoi’s Wisdom: Global Times Editorial – Global Times
Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh told the Chinese Ambassador to Vietnam Xiong Bo on Tuesday that Vietnam does not align itself with one country against another. Sharp-sighted Vietnam is trying to gain advantages from both China and the US by staying “neutral”. Southeast Asian countries have been gradually shifting their previous stance toward China.

Malabar Exercise: Quad’s Costly Show of Self-Comfort: Global Times Editorial – Global Times
The US feels uneasy and worried about its hegemony as China develops so rapidly – China and India have border frictions, but India is clear that China has no intention to bring India to its knees. Admiral John Aquilino, commander of US Indo-Pacific Command, noted during his visit to India that China’s military buildup is the largest by a country since World War II, “Both conventional and nuclear.” He then played dumb by stating that he could not explain what China’s intent is. China will make any country which steps on China’s bottom line on security issues suffer without mercy, no matter if it is a frequent participant of joint military exercises with the US or a US ally.

Real Purpose of US Military’s Intensive Exercises in Pacific – China Military
From the beginning of this year, the US military has conducted multiple military exercises centered on the Pacific region one after another, represented by the Northern Edge 21 and Large Scale Exercise (LSE) 2021. The major scenario of these exercises is to get prepared for large-scale operations with China and Russia as potential targets.

Seeking “Taiwan Independence” Leads to Dead End: Spokesperson – People’s Daily Online
A Chinese military spokesperson Thursday warned Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authority that seeking “independence” by military means will lead to a dead end. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army has maintained a state of high alert at all times and has been ready to smash any “Taiwan independence” plots by the separatist forces, said Tan Kefei, spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defense, at a press conference.

Singing Song of Peace While Wielding Katana, What an Irony – China Military
Japan has made frequent military moves recently, not only forming several new forces, increasing its defense budget by a large margin. Yet on August 15, the anniversary of Japan’s surrender in WWII, Japanese prime minister still claimed “Japan has consistently walked a path of a country that values peace”.

US, Allies Cannot Avoid Afghan Accountability for Human Rights Violations – Global Times
Human rights are not empty slogans, nor are they tools to interfere in other countries’ domestic affairs. Countries and their forces which have violated human rights and committed war crimes should be held accountable, and these countries should shoulder the main responsibility for accepting Afghan refugees. China’s stance shows that it supports Afghanistan to hold the US and its allies accountable for human rights violations through international judicial systems.

Washington’s Bid to Alienate Neighbors Futile: China Daily Editorial – Opinion – Chinadaily.com.cn
There are increasing signs indicating that the close relationship between China and Vietnam can withstand the tests of the times and changes in the international geopolitical situation. Which means Vietnam has no interest in dancing to the US’ tune and joining the latter’s geopolitical game to contain China, even though territorial disputes do remain among China and its regional neighbors in the South China Sea.

Xi Calls for Steady, Long-Term Development of China-Philippines Ties – People’s Daily Online
China stands ready to work with the Philippines to keep bilateral relations on the right track and achieve steady and long-term development, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Friday. During the past few years, the two countries have witnessed a turnaround, consolidation and elevation of their relations, as well as the establishment of a comprehensive strategic cooperative relationship, which has brought tangible benefits to the people of both countries and positive energy to the peace and stability of the region, Xi said. Stressing that the Philippines cherishes its friendship with China, he said his country will not engage in geopolitical activities that harm China’s interests, and is willing to actively push for sustainable development of the relationship between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China.

China Condemns US as Warships Transit Taiwan Straits – Chinadaily.com.cn
The Chinese military resolutely opposes and condemns the United States sailing a guided-missile destroyer and a coast guard cutter through the Taiwan Straits on Friday, the Ministry of National Defense said in a statement on Saturday morning.

Taiwan

Chinese Diaspora Must Face HK Issue – Taipei Times
China’s long arm of censorship extends well beyond its borders into diaspora communities. – Decades of CCP rule have shaped the discourse on Hong Kong in the diaspora. – Hong Kongers are a diaspora within the diaspora.

EDITORIAL: Balancing Talent Retention, Liberty – Taipei Times
The Mainland Affairs Council on Wednesday said it plans to amend legislation to increase penalties for those found poaching talent for Chinese firms. Taipei is focusing its legislative efforts on China because it sees the Chinese Communist Party as an ideological adversary. If the government wants to solve the brain drain issue, it should work with industry leaders, veteran engineers and new graduates to figure out how to keep such workers in Taiwan.

EDITORIAL: Commemorating 823 – Taipei Times
Monday marked the 63rd anniversary of the start of the 1958 bombardment. The president needed to give a message of unity in the face of a common foe — the CCP — without invoking differences with the KMT, which would have contradicted her message, and appeal to national resilience and Taiwan’s ability to defend itself, especially in the wake of criticism over her perceived overreliance on the US, given the ongoing situation in Afghanistan.

EDITORIAL: Defense Autonomy to Deter China – Taipei Times
The hasty withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan has ignited a debate within Taiwan over whether the US can be relied upon to come to its defense. President Tsai Ing-wen’s Facebook post was designed to ram home an important truth to the Taiwanese public: The events in Afghanistan demonstrate that Washington will eventually lose patience with any US protectorate or ally that cannot stand on its own two feet.

EDITORIAL: Taiwan Ties Boost National Security – Taipei Times
Japan and Australia should bolster cooperation with Taiwan in maritime affairs management. A territorial dispute over the Diaoyutai Islands, known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan, remains a sticking point. Once Chinese forces can sail through the Miyako Strait at will, it would not be long before Beijing extends its dominance over the entire Pacific.

In Service of ‘Xi Jinping Thought’ – Taipei Times
“Xi Jinping thought” is a break from its predecessors and recent developments in China demonstrate that. Unlike Xi, “Deng Xiaoping demonstrated strategic patience in asserting China’s interests on the global stage.” – China today is stronger than it was 20 years ago, and it is undeniably more economically and militarily capable since Xi took power. China has bided its time and is ready to carry out the next phase of its revolution.

Structures Needed to Keep People in Military – Taipei Times
Over the past five years, military personnel accrued fines of NT$400 million for prematurely ending their service, with the figure rising every year, National Audit Office data showed. Among them, former students at public-funded military academies and former military officers who did not serve the required minimum period owe the government more than NT$280 million, while former volunteer recruits owe more than N$105 million. With more encouragement and less criticism, perhaps Taiwan will retain its military talent, which would benefit the military and the nation.

Taiwan Has Allies Across the Strait – Taipei Times
My Chinese classmates in Taiwan despised the constant surveillance and the forced obedience to Chinese President Xi Jinping, whom they called “Emperor Xi.” When I asked them how many other people in China thought the same way, one guessed 25 percent.

‘Taiwan Will Likely Have No Caribbean Allies Within 10 Years’ | Taiwan News
Taiwan’s last remaining allies will swap allegiance to Beijing within the next 10 years.

Taiwan, China Not Engaged in a Civil War – Taipei Times
Few observers noticed something else that Biden said in the interview, namely that the US’ agreements with Taiwan and South Korea are not based on a “Civil war,” but on helping a “Unity government” to resist forces that want to harm them. Taiwan needs to discard the old civil war mentality. Only then can Taiwan convince more countries to realize the importance of the Taiwan Strait question and jointly resist China’s expansionism, while consolidating Taiwan’s relations of trust with its allies around the world.

The Liberty Times Editorial: Watching China’s Economic Path – Taipei Times
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s tightening of and intervention in the economic sphere, and even the de facto transformation of private enterprises to state-owned businesses have made it increasingly difficult to adjust to the differences between the economic systems of the US and China. Xi — who is seen as reviving Mao Zedong’s (毛澤東) political line — has accelerated China’s return to a dictatorship, with the party-state controlling everything and in which tycoons and their giant private companies go up in smoke. As the US and China have substantially delinked their economies, Taiwan has only one choice: to stand firmly with the democratic camp, and help defend world peace and universal values.

Abandonment of Taiwan Unlikely – Taipei Times
Taiwan is fundamentally different from Afghanistan, and highly relevant to US political and economic interests. The US has a vested interest in Taiwan remaining an independent democracy that respects the free market. Through ingenuity and innovation, Taiwan can rely on itself – and the world is relying on Taiwan.

Japan

Editorial: LDP Presidential Election a Platform to Question Credentials of Japan’s PM – The Mainichi
The date of the presidential election of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has been decided. Campaigning will kick off on Sept. 17, and voting will take place on Sept. 29. The election will, essentially, determine the prime minister of Japan. If the party president is merely selected based on the logic of the LDP’s inner circle, then it will only become more distant from the public. The nature of the LDP as a responsible political party is being questioned.

LDP Leadership Election: Suga Has a Target on His Back | the Japan Times
This past week has seen a flurry of activity by party heavyweights jockeying for position ahead of the LDP presidential election — now officially slated for late next month. By design, the party is trying to keep things from spilling out into the media, but there are enough puzzle pieces available to formulate a picture of the back-room battles taking place. Party leaders designated Suga as PM last year only as a temporary measure; after all, if they were fully behind Suga, they would not have limited his presidential term to one year instead of the standard three.

Malaysia returns to the old order, old ways | The Japan Times
Malaysia’s political crisis contributes to the erosion of democracy in Southeast Asia. The return of UMNO without the endorsement of voters is a cynical and disillusioning moment for Malaysia. Overturning the verdict of the voters in a democracy is always dangerous. When Mahathir used Japan as a guide for his “Look East” policy, Japan reciprocated by investing substantially in Malaysia. There are some 1,500 Japanese companies in Malaysia that have created 340,000 jobs in manufacturing alone. Malaysian governments have been zealous defenders of national sovereignty.

North Korea

Chinese Newspaper Censures the U.S.: The U.S. Is Directly Responsible for Situation in Afghanistan
The U.S. is not a builder, but a destroyer. The U.S. occupied Afghanistan to seek its hegemony and gain its geopolitical ambition, rather than reconstruct it. The U.S. and the West are directly responsible for creating chaos in Afghanistan. They cannot shift their own responsibility onto the Afghan people and the neighbouring countries.

China, Russia Stage Joint Military Exercises
China and Russia held joint military exercises in Ningxia Hui autonomous region, China. The main mission of the drill was to demonstrate the capacity to develop Sino-Russian relations and strategic partnership and strategic mutual cooperation and improve military cooperation and friendship between the two armies.

Justification of Militarism Manifestation of Wild Ambition for Reinvasion
Japanese Cabinet ministers including the minister of Defense, the minister for Economic Recovery and the minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, officials concerned of the Liberal Democratic Party and the ultra-right elements offered visits to the Yasukuni Shrine one after another on the occasion of the anniversary of Japan’s defeat in the Second World War. Prime Minister Suga openly made an offering to the shrine and then visited the cemetery of the war dead in Tokyo to honour them who were killed in the aggression war without uttering a word about Japan’s blood-stained history of aggression. Japan, a defeated nation and war criminal state, is obliged to show deep repentance – Recently the Japanese Defense Ministry worked out and opened to public the “Defence white paper for children”, the first of its kind, reflecting its ambition for territorial seizure.

NAM Needs Unity, Cooperation
The reality demands NAM member nations conduct a vigorous struggle against the imperialists’ aggression and war moves. The key to ensuring the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) thwarts challenges and threats from outside and fulfils its mission and role is to enhance its unity and cooperation between its member nations in every way. If the NAM members make a concerted effort to launch a counterattack against the imperialists’ moves for aggression and interference by achieving a solid unity and cooperation in the struggle for independence and peace, the imperialist aggression and interference will be surely futile and unable to avoid frustration.

The Only Weapon to Ensure Peace and Security Is an Actual Deterrent
On August 25, Deputy Representative of the People’s Republic of China to the UN, at a meeting held in the United Nations, denounced the U.S.-south Korea joint military drill as a root cause of escalating tension on the Korean peninsula. Through the U.S.-south Korea aggressive war drill this time, we could feel keenly once again the need to continue bolstering the national defensive power and preemptive strike capabilities which can strongly contain and eliminate the outside threats. There are ever-worsening military threats from the U.S.

The U.S. Is in Decline
The press and experts of the world now continue to make a barrage of comments saying that “The U.S. is a declining power.”, “The U.S. influence is on the wane.”, “How many allies can be found in reality that count on the U.S. strength?” That the U.S. is obviously “a declining state” is the common recognition gained by the international society through Afghan situation. 

South Korea

Lesson US Needs to Learn From Its Failure in Afghanistan
I hope the US won’t be seen as a country that quits when things don’t work out. The US ought to have either forced the Taliban to change or wiped it out. It owes its wealth and power to the whole world, not just Europe and other regions.

[Editorial] a Tale of Two Lawmakers
Rep. Yun Hee-suk, a rising lawmaker of the main opposition People Power Party, offered to give up her parliamentary seat and presidential bid over suspicions that her father violated the farmland law in the past. Her declaration to quit over dubious allegations is a fresh shock. Yun’s offer to resign stands in contrast to other lawmakers who stick to their parliamentary seats despite suspicions. He sold the building for 3.45 billion won in December 2019, a year and five months after purchasing it. The margin amounted to 880 million won.

[Editorial] Beyond Rhetoric
Five lawmakers from the People Power Party in South Korea have been asked to give up their party membership. The probe follows a similar one conducted in June on lawmakers of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea. The state anti-corruption agency needs to be more active in implementing its role.

Seoul Could Be a Better Ally to Washington
As in the U.S., South Korea’s opposition parties are no serious about North Korea and alliance policies. How a non-DPK government in Seoul would handle North Korea issues is uncertain, but expectations should be extremely low. A U.S. return to the JCPOA which could prevent a nuclear program, just like the Agreed Framework did with North Korea should have been low-hanging fruit, but after months of U.S. bungling, that agreement is hanging by a thread.

A Stifling Law
The press in Korea are being forced into a kind of burqa. They will be constrained under the so-called Media Arbitration Act and Damage Relief Act. Proponents of the law believe nothing will be a problem if journalists stick to reporting the facts.

Mongolia

Intertwined Destiny of L.Oyun-Erdene and Oyu Tolgoi
The term of L.Oyun-Erdene’s government will depend on what happens to Oyu Tolgoi. If the negotiation isn’t beneficial to Mongolia, L.Oyun-Erdene may have to resign. The prime minister will need to raise his game if he wants to protect his position. Generally, this project has become a mainstay of the country’s economy and foreign investment.

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