Prelude to Conflict: Asia, February 9

Prelude To Conflict

Prelude To Conflict

Three trends spanned the Pacific this week: journalism, entrepreneurs, and 2016 elections.

News of ISIS spreads across Asia Pacific, including videos of a man being burned alive. China barks at century-old Taiwanese government leaders about standing up to the young Communist regime. Taiwanese local leaders respond that Beijing should learn to move past the past and just get along.

A former US official, Richard Bush, unofficially speculates (without actually speculating) on China’s yet-to-be-seen reaction to Taiwan’s 2016 likely election swing away from the floundering, grossly unpopular, de facto pro-China, incumbent KMT-Nationalist party.

The recently acquired economic powerhouse, Hong Kong, receives more lectures from Communist Beijing, which only alienate the upcoming generation; though there is little to suggest that Hong Kong’s successful entrepreneurs have been invited to lecture new Chinese businesses on how to catch up to the former British colony. Beijing’s solution to the Umbrella Movement is to change high school curriculum to remind students how much they need China. China watches Taiwan, North Korea watches itself, while the rest of Asia watches ISIS.

Local politics in Taiwan could be one of the biggest factors in the coming Pacific conflict. Over the weekend, a key politician, Tainan Mayor William Lai, announced that he would not run for Taiwan’s presidency in 2016. This means a likely election for Chairperson Tsai, leader of Lai’s political party, the DPP, which wrested local power from the incumbent KMT-Nationalist party this past November.

Should Lai have run for president, he would already have received backing from Kiku Chen, DPP member and mayor of Taiwan’s second largest, also Tainan’s twin city, Kaohsiung. Taipei’s new independent mayor, Ko, made some of his own headlines this week as he stood up to Beijing’s bullying. He is anything but weak. As for Mayor Lai, he has continued to fight corruption in Tainan, including a Tainan KMT-Nationalist legislative speaker, under investigation for allegedly receiving Chinese money to buy the necessary votes to achieve his position.

By Taiwan mayors standing up to Beijing in local politics, and by Lai choosing to remain in Tainan into 2019, when Tsai likely takes Taiwan’s presidency in 2017, Beijing will be both outraged and powerless. Tainan has one of the most attractive landing beaches, should Bejing disrupt peace in the Pacific, rather than going after ISIS. More importantly than Tainan’s wide beach, military strategy must now consider that it has a mayor with a backbone.


Thailand, China bolster military ties

Obama calls Dalai Lama ‘good friend’ at prayer breakfast

Why the Pivot Will Fail: Washington Won’t State Its Real Goal

…with a look back at two articles…

A Term Whose Time Has Come: The Indo-Pacific

America’s Pacific Century

Alliances and Partnerships for a Rebalancing United States

U.S. in the Asia Pacific: Towards More Effective Asia Strategy

Hong Kong

China’s man in Hong Kong Zhang Xiaoming hits out at democracy protests

HK warned against confronting Beijing

ISIS/Islam in Asian News

Asia is certainly watching, just look at the headlines…

Japan Times special ISIS section…

Foreign Ministry takes freelance photographer’s passport to prevent trip to Syria

Officials question IS claim hostage killed in Jordanian attack

Japan releases steps to protect expats, schools abroad

Islamic State says airstrike killed US hostage, US skeptical

Hostage talks with Islamic State now deadlocked: Japan

Shiite rebels seize power in Yemen, dissolve parliament

APEC sounds alarm on Asia-Pacific terror threats

Jordan launches new airstrikes after vowing harsh war on IS

Jordan says IS can be defeated; uproar over burn video

Jordanian jets fly sortie over Syria

Jordan executes jihadists after IS murders air force pilot

Taiwan Politics

Foreign reporters protest vest rule

China may ‘overreact’ at Tsai win: US expert

DPP’s William Lai says he will not run for president

Lai’s presidential chances assessed

Lee urges amending Constitution

Ko dismisses ‘Global Times’ piece

Ko Wen-je (Wiki)

Ko corrects ‘mistranslated’ online interview

…Interesting article with a smack-in-the-face conclusion at China

Ko owns up to ‘colonization’ gaffe in Foreign Policy article

…But another newspaper article pursues the mayor’s choice of words in Mandarin, translated to English, regardless of the drastically different approach that English has to the use of words. Ko is a new independent party Taiwanese Mayor, who is opposed to China’s policy to retake Taiwan “by force” if necessary.

Nottingham Think Tank Blog Looks at New Chinese Entrepreneurs

The Significance of New Company Registration Policies in China

The Second Surge of Private Business in China

China’s move to entrepreneurship – will the private sector continue to grow?


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