By Mike Head for WSWS – Defying warnings from Beijing not to escalate tensions in the South China Sea, the Trump administration last Saturday said a United States aircraft carrier strike group had begun “routine” patrols in the strategic waterway. According to a US Navy statement, the guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer is joining the 97,000-ton Carl Vinson along with aircraft from Carrier Air Wing for the operations. The Carl Vinson carries a flight group of more than 60 aircraft, including F/A-18 jet fighters, as well as a crew of 7,500. This is not the first such mission. The Obama administration also ordered US aircraft carrier operations in the South China Sea as part of its “pivot to Asia” to confront China’s rising influence. Almost a year ago, the USS John C. Stennis led another “routine” cruise through the area.
By Reuters. WASHINGTON DC: The new US administration of President Donald Trump said on Friday (Jan 20) its trade strategy to protect American jobs would start with withdrawal from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact. A White House statement issued soon after Trump’s inauguration said the United States would also “crack down on those nations that violate trade agreements and harm American workers in the process.” The statement said Trump was committed to renegotiating another trade deal, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was signed in 1994 by the United States, Canada and Mexico. “For too long, Americans have been forced to accept trade deals that put the interests of insiders and the Washington elite over the hard-working men and women of this country,” it said.
By byLauren McCauley for Common Dreams – Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland on Wednesday, Chinese billionaire Jack Ma accused the United States of spending too much money on foreign wars and risky financial speculation and not enough money “on your own people.” The founder of the world’s largest retailer, Alibaba, was addressing a question posed by CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin about the U.S. economy in relation to China. In response, Ma said the U.S. should stop blaming other countries and look at its own spending priorities: “It’s not that other countries steal jobs from you guys,” Ma said. “It’s your strategy. You did not distribute the money and things in a proper way.”
Pepe Escobar for Sputnik News. Putin already cut to the chase – when he spoke at the defense ministry’s HQ in Moscow before the holiday season; “We can say with certainty: we are stronger now than any potential aggressor.” And he added; “Anyone.” This after Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stressed Russia “for the first time in its history” has fully protected the extensive Russian borders with early warning anti-missile systems. The Pentagon must be processing the information with extreme seriousness. That means, essentially, that before the S-500s were fully rolled out, Moscow could not but exercise extreme prudence. Now Russian air space seems to be effectively sealed. Putin could not actually admit on the record that Russia is the strongest military power in the world until the rollout of the S-500s is complete. All US offensive missiles and stealth aircraft as it stands are rendered useless. And that does no even take into account nuclear weaponized Russian silent submarines.
By Staff of Global Times – US President-elect Donald Trump appointed China hawk Peter Navarro as head of the new National Trade Council Wednesday. Navarro’s public image is largely shaped by his three books about China: The Coming China Wars, Death by China, and Crouching Tiger: What China’s Militarism Means for the World. An article in The New Yorker once said Navarro’s views on trade and China were so radical that it’s impossible to “find another economist who fully agrees with them.” Trump’s Navarro pick is regarded as a signal that he will take more aggressive actions to promote his American interests first agenda.
By Staff of Sustainable Pulse – Farmers in northeast China’s Heilongjiang province, China’s top grain producer, will be prohibited from growing Genetically Modified (GM) crops, according to a provincial regulation passed on Friday. The regulation will become effective on May 1, 2017. Growing of GM corn, rice and soybean will be banned, while illegal production and sales of GM crops and supply of their seeds will also be prohibited. The new regulation also bans illegal production, processing, sale and imports of edible GM farm produce or edible farm products that contain GM ingredients.
By John Pilger for New Internationalist Magazine – A major US military build-up – including nuclear weapons – is under way in Asia and the Pacific with the purpose of confronting China. John Pilger raises the alarm on an under-reported and dangerous provocation. When I first went to Hiroshima in 1967, the shadow on the steps was still there. It was an almost perfect impression of a human being at ease: legs splayed, back bent, one hand by her side as she sat waiting for a bank to open. At a quarter past eight on the morning of 6 August, 1945, she and her silhouette were burned into the granite. I stared at the shadow for an hour or more, unforgettably.
By Curtis Stone for People’s Daily Online – Just days after receiving a phone call from Taiwan’s leader, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump wrote a two-part tweet aimed at China, further upsetting the most important bilateral relationship for America: “Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into their country (the U.S. doesn’t tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea? I don’t think so!” Trump said. In his tweet, Trump accused China of manipulating its currency and of preparing for conflict and war in the South China Sea.
By Mike “Mish” Shedlock for Mish Talks – President Obama made a foolish decision to not welcome China in the formation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). It was ludicrous for Obama to leave China out of things. China is the second biggest economy in the world, third if you treat the EU as a block. Had China been in the deal all along, we may not have seen the ludicrous provision that allowed companies to sue governments. That provision was one of the key reasons the deal failed.
By Maki Sunagawa and Daniel Broudy for Foreign Policy in Focus. The film is also set in Okinawa, as you know. Part of the theme is to show the resistance to power and war by a people who live along a fence line of American bases in their homeland. The film’s title has a certain foreboding about it because it’s meant as a warning. Documentaries such as this have a responsibility to alert people, if necessary to warn, and to show the resistance to rapacious plans. The film will show that the resistance in Okinawa is remarkable, effective, and little known in the wider world. Okinawa has 32 US military installations. Nearly a quarter of the land is occupied by US bases. The sky is often crowded with military aircraft; the sheer arrogance of an occupier is a daily physical presence. Okinawa is about the size of Long Island. Imagine a bristling Chinese base right next to New York. I went on to film in Jeju Island, off the southern tip of Korea where something very similar has happened. People on Jeju tried to stop the building of an important and provocative base about 400 miles from Shanghai. The South Korean navy will keep it ready for the US. It’s really a US base where Aegis Class destroyers will dock along with nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers—right next to China. Like Okinawa, Jeju has a history of invasion and suffering, and resistance.
By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya for Mint Press News – SHANGHAI — (Analysis) The Permanent Court of Arbitration’s non-binding ruling on the territorial dispute between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of the Philippines is largely misunderstood. Sovereignty or ownership of disputed land formations were never going to be adjudicated or awarded as many Filipinos and Filipinas thought or were led to believe by the past and present leadership of the Philippines. What the Permanent Court of Arbitration tribunal studied were the geo-legal status definitions of the disputed territory.
By Pepe Escobar for Sputnik News – The roll call is quite impressive. Philippines and Indonesia were divided by Spain and Portugal in 1529. The division between Malaysia and Indonesia is owed to the British and the Dutch in 1842. The border between China and Vietnam was imposed to the Chinese by the French in 1887. The Philippines’s borders were concocted by the US and Spain in 1898. The border between Philippines and Malaysia was drawn by the US and the Brits in 1930. We are talking about borders between different colonial possessions – and that implies intractable problems from the start, subsequently inherited by post-colonial nations.
By Staff of WSWS – In the wake of the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s sweeping ruling on Tuesday in The Hague, negating all Chinese maritime claims in the South China Sea, there has been a chorus of US-led condemnations of China’s “illegal activities,” demands that Beijing abide by the court decision and calls for US diplomatic and military action to enforce the verdict. A New York Times editorial entitled “Testing the Rule of Law in the South China Sea” declared that “the signs are troubling” that “Beijing has defiantly rejected an international arbitration court’s jurisdiction” and will not accept the “path-breaking judgment.”