Tag Archives: Xi Jinping

Hope for a Breakthrough in Korea, by Ray McGovern

An agreement with North Korea may be pushed over the finish line by Russia and China. From Ray McGovern at consortiumnews.com:

Donald Trump will ultimately have to remind his national security adviser and secretary of state who is president if there’s to be progress on North Korea, says Ray McGovern.

There is hope for some real progress in U.S.-North Korean relations after Sunday morning’s unscheduled meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, largely because Russia and China seem more determined than ever to facilitate forward movement.

Sitting down before the talks began, Kim underlined the importance of the meeting.“I hope it can be the foundation for better things that people will not be expecting,” he said. “Our great relationship will provide the magical power with which to overcome hardships and obstacles in the tasks that need to be done from now on.”

Trump was equally positive speaking of Kim:

“We’ve developed a very good relationship and we understand each other very well. I do believe he understands me, and I think I maybe understand him, and sometimes that can lead to very good things.”

Trump said the two sides would designate teams, with the U.S. team headed by special envoy Stephen Biegun under the auspices of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to start work in the next two to three weeks. “They’ll start a process, and we’ll see what happens,” he said.

New Impetus

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, who met individually with President Trump at the G20 in Osaka, have been singing from the same sheet of Korea music — particularly in the wake of Xi’s visit to North Korea on June 20-21. Putin’s remarks are the most illuminating.

In an interview with The Financial Times, Putin pointed to “the tragedies of Libya and Iraq” — meaning, of course, what happened to each of them as they lacked a nuclear deterrent. Applying that lesson to North Korea, Putin said,

“What we should be talking about is not how to make North Korea disarm, but how to ensure the unconditional security of North Korea and how to make any country, including North Korea, feel safe and protected by international law. …”

“We should think about guarantees, which we should use as the basis for talks with North Korea. We must take into account the dangers arising from … the presence of nuclear weapons,” he said, adding that if a way can be found to satisfy North Korea’s understandable determination to protect its security, “the situation may take a turn nobody can imagine today.”

“Whether we recognize North Korea as a nuclear power or not, the number of nuclear charges it has will not decrease. We must proceed from modern realities …” And those realities include fundamental, immediate security concerns for both Russia and China. Putin put it this way:

”[W]e have a common border, even if a short one, with North Korea, therefore, this problem has a direct bearing on us. The United States is located across the ocean … while we are right here, in this region, and the North Korean nuclear range is not far away from our border. This why this concerns us directly, and we never stop thinking about it.”

Xi’s ‘Reasonable Expectations’

Last week in Pyongyang, Chinese President Xi Jinping saidChina is waiting for a desired response in stalled nuclear talks with the United States.

“North Korea would like to remain patient, but it hopes the relevant party will meet halfway with North Korea to explore resolution plans that accommodate each other’s reasonable concerns,” he said.

A commentary in China’s official Xinhua news agency said China could play a unique role in breaking the cycle of mistrust between North Korea and the U.S, but that both sides “need to have reasonable expectations and refrain from imposing unilateral and unrealistic demands.”

Putin at FT interview. (Kremlin photo)

There is little doubt that the Russians and Chinese have been comparing notes on what they see as a potentially explosive (literally) problem in their respective backyards, the more so inasmuch as the two countries have become allies in all but name.

On a three-day visit to Moscow in early June, President Xi spoke of his “deep personal friendship” with Putin, with whom he has “met nearly 30 times in the past six years.” For his part, Putin claimed “Russian-Chinese relations have reached an unprecedented level. It is a global partnership and strategic cooperation.”

A Fundamental Strategic Change

Whether they are “best friends” or not, the claim of unprecedented strategic cooperation happens to be true — and is the most fundamental change in the world strategic equation in decades. Given the fear they share that things could get out of hand in Korea with the mercurial Trump and his hawkish advisers calling the shots, it is a safe bet that Putin and Xi have been coordinating closely on North Korea.

The next step could be stepped-up efforts to persuade Trump that China and Russia can somehow guarantee continued nuclear restraint on Pyongyang’s part, in return for U.S. agreement to move step by step — rather than full bore — toward at least partial North Korean denuclearization — and perhaps some relaxation in U.S. economic sanctions. Xi and Putin may have broached that kind of deal to Trump in Osaka.

There is also a salutary sign that President Trump has learned more about the effects of a military conflict with North Korea, and that he has come to realize that Pyongyang already has not only a nuclear, but also a formidable conventional deterrent: massed artillery.

“There are 35 million people in Seoul, 25 miles away,” Trump said on Sunday. “All accessible by what they already have in the mountains. There’s nothing like that anywhere in terms of danger.”

Obstacles Still Formidable

Trump and Kim meet Sunday before Trump became first US president to step on North Korean territory. (White House photo)

Trump will have to remind his national security adviser, John Bolton, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, that he is the president and that he intends to take a firmer grip on reins regarding Korean policy. Given their maladroit performance on both Iran and Venezuela, it would, at first blush, seem easy to jettison the two super-hawks.

But this would mean running afoul of the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academe-Think-Tank (MICIMATT) complex, in which the corporate-controlled media play thesine-qua-nonrole today.

In a harbinger of things to come, The Washington Post’s initial report on the outcome of the Trump-Kim talks contained two distortions: “Trump … misrepresented what had been achieved, claiming that North Korea had ceased ballistic missile tests and was continuing to send back remains of U.S. servicemen killed in the Korean War.”

The Trump administration could reasonably call that “fake news.” True, North Korea tested short-range ballistic missiles last spring, but Kim’s promise to Trump was to stop testing strategicnot tactical missiles, and North Korea has adhered to that promise. As for the return of the remains of U.S. servicemen: True, such remains that remain are no longer being sent back to the U.S., but it was the U.S. that put a stop to that after the summit in Hanoi failed.

We can surely expect more disingenuous “reporting” of that kind.

Whether Trump can stand up to the MICIMATT on Korea remains to be seen. There is a huge amount of arms-maker-arms-dealer profiteering going on in the Far East, as long as tensions there can be stoked and kept at a sufficiently high level.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. His first portfolio at CIA was referent-analyst for Soviet policy toward China, Korea, Vietnam, and Japan. In retirement he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

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The Unipolar Moment is Over, by Pepe Escobar

The US cannot match Russia and China’s power and influence in Eurasia, which means the US can no longer be the global hegemon. From Pepe Escobar at strategic-culture.org:

The Russia-China strategic partnership, consolidated last week in Russia, has thrown U.S. elites into Supreme Paranoia mode, which is holding the whole world hostage.

Something extraordinary began with a short walk in St. Petersburg last Friday.

After a stroll, they took a boat on the Neva River, visited the legendary Aurora cruiser, and dropped in to examine the Renaissance masterpieces at the Hermitage. Cool, calm, collected, all the while it felt like they were mapping the ins and outs of a new, emerging, multipolar world.

Chinese President Xi Jinping was the guest of honor of Russian President Vladimir Putin. It was Xi’s eighth trip to Russia since 2013, when he announced the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

First they met in Moscow, signing multiple deals. The most important is a bombshell: a commitment to develop bilateral trade and cross-border payments using the ruble and the yuan, bypassing the U.S. dollar.

Then Xi visited the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia’s premier business gathering, absolutely essential for anyone to understand the hyper-complex mechanisms inherent in the construction of Eurasian integration. I addressed some of SPIEF’s foremost discussions and round tables here.

In Moscow, Putin and Xi signed two joint statements – whose key concepts, crucially, are “comprehensive partnership”, “strategic interaction” and “global strategic stability.”

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Interpreting President Putin’s Speech At The 2019 BRI Forum, by Andrew Korybko

Vladimir Putin and Xi Jingping’s approach to international relations certainly seems to be winning the Russians and Chinese more friends than the US approach. From Andrew Korybko at orientalreview.org:

President Putin left nothing to doubt when he proudly proclaimed that Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union regional integration organization that it leads are strategically merging with China and its Belt & Road Initiative, with this process having unprecedentedly far-reaching strategic consequences for the supercontinent and 21st-century geopolitics as a whole.

This year’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) Forum is a monumental event bringing together several dozen heads of state and providing a platform for the international community to better understand this world-changing vision. President Putin gave an important speech during this event that can be summarized as his proud proclamation that Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAU) regional integration organization that it leads are strategically merging with China and its BRI. There’s no doubt that this process will have unprecedentedly far-reaching strategic consequences for the supercontinent and 21st-century geopolitics as a whole, which is why his entire address deserves to be analyzed in full. What therefore follows is the transcript of his speech interspersed with brief interpretations of the text in order to help the reader appreciate just how significant of an event this was and what his words might mean for the future of Russian grand strategy:

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Trump And Xi – You Are Scaring Markets Cut It Out. By Eric Margolis

Trade wars can in fact lead to shooting wars. From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:

The United States and China look like two punch-drunk prizefighters squaring off for a major championship fight.  They have no good reason to fight and every reason to cooperate now that both their stock markets have been in turmoil.

Six hundred point market swings down and then up look like symptoms of economic nervous breakdown.

Factions in both nations are beating the war drums, putting presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping under growing pressure to be more aggressive.

Trump shoulders much of the blame for having started this unnecessary confrontation by imposing heavy duties on Chinese goods.  The US president has turned the old maxim on its head that nations that trade heavily don’t go to war.  The US and China, both huge trading partners, appear headed to military clashes, or even full scale war, if their governments don’t come to their senses soon.

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“I’ll Eat My Hat If This Means Anything Substantive”: Why The Trump-Xi Truce Achieves Little, by Tyler Durden

The pomp and circumstance signify little. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

The most important, and much-anticipated dinner date between Trump and Xi in years, which concluded amid loud applause and brief celebrations by both sides, ended in a three-month truce to the ongoing trade war between the two superpowers, with the US agreeing to postpone a planned tariff hike on January 1 and to keep the rate on existing tariffs at 10% for another 90 days in return for greater purchases of American goods.

While the arrangement provides breathing space to both leaders as they face slumping stock markets and economic warning signs, and will likely result in a brief jump in the market in the coming days, the two sides failed to make any tangible progress on the fundamental divide and core issues separating the world’s biggest economies.

“You blink first!”… “No, you blink first.”

As Bloomberg recaps this morning, “negotiations have long been stuck over U.S. demands for deep structural reforms such as stopping forced technology transfers, enforcing intellectual property rights and ending state subsidies for strategic industries – all of which China sees as an American strategy to thwart its rise as a global power.” It is on these most thorny of issues that there was no real progress during the Trump-Xi dinner.

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Putin and Xi Jinping Affirm Both “Oppose Unilateralism And Trade Protectionism” In Summit, by Tyler Durden

Hats off to the geniuses who believed the best US foreign policy was to drive a wedge between China and Russia. It worked well; they are getting closer by the day. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping met on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on the Sino-Russian border Tuesday. Simultaneously Russia and China kicked off unprecedented joint military exercises as part of Russia’s annual Vostok war games, which will run for a week and includes thousands of Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops, and some 300,000 Russian personnel.

President Putin has of late sought closer relations with China, which Russia shares a massive 4,200km border with, amidst both countries experiencing deep tensions with the West, including US sanctions against Moscow and a growing trade war between China and Washington.

It’s the third time this year the two leaders have met and the fact that it was planned at the inauguration of Vostok 2018 no doubt sent a strong signal to Washington that the two countries’ usually chilly relations are warming fast in the face of a common increased threat from the West.  Continue reading

From Beijing to the Beltway: The Revolt Against the Entitled, by Justin Raimondo

It would be a mistake to think that China is any more politically stable than the US, and it may be less so. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

China’s woes mirror our own

Elites and their privileges are under attack throughout the world, and not just in the West. While here in the US the security clearances of former national security officials are being revoked to the howls of the #TheResistance, in China the Communist Party “nobility” is facing a similar challenge:

“Elite privileges for retired high-level cadres should be eliminated. The system of the present ‘dynasty’ allows for the state to provide inclusive retirement-to-grave care for high-level cadres according to a standard that is far and away above that allowed to the average citizen. These cadres retain the privileges they enjoyed during their careers …

“This system continues the kinds of prerogative given to the Imperial Zhu Family Lineage during the Ming dynasty [founded by Zhu Yuanzhang in 1368CE] and the emoluments permitted to the families of the Eight Banners [exclusive Manchu military and administrative groups that contributed to the founding and rule of the Qing dynasty in 1644; the privileges continued until the end of the dynasty in January 1912].

“This is not merely a betrayal of the self-advertised ‘revolutionary spirit’ [of the Communist Party], it is also in breach of modern standards of civic life. What’s all that talk of ‘the remnants of feudalism’? This is a perfect example of it! People are outraged but powerless to do anything about it; it is one of the main reasons people hold the system itself in utter contempt.”

So writes Xu Zhangrun, a distinguished law professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, on the web site of the Unirule Institute of Economics, which the New York Times describes as an independent thinktank operating out of Beijing. The professor emphasizes the material privileges enjoyed by the Party elite, and yet the same principle – and the economic reality – is equally applicable right here in the good ol’ US of A: the political class arrogates special status to itself, and this is routinely monetized. How much does John Brennan get for slandering the President on MSNBC?

To continue reading: From Beijing to the Beltway: The Revolt Against the Entitled