Sunday, December 17, 2006

Japan Upgrades Defense Ministry

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has decided to upgrade his defense ministry to a "full ministry" for the first time since WW2.

Great - this is just what we needed.

Although the world has not YET blown up with several hot crises and wars waging (Afghanistan, Iraq, coups in Thailand and Fiji, NK and Iran nuke crises) this defense ministry move will likely move the East Asian region a step closer to reallignment (a paradigm shift, if you will) and most likely farther from long-term peace. Not that Japan will want to start a war, but inch by inch, Abe's decision will evoke anger in several other countries in Asia, particularly North Korea and China. Yes, many hands will now be closer to the gun than the diplomatic quill and ink....

Good luck, Abe. You've done a helluva job promoting peace and coexistance in East Asia. And the requirements of promoting patriotism in Japanese school. Wonderful. Not that liking your country is a sin, but in the eyes of many Chinese, this is nothing but a move towards nationalism. And to raise the stakes in that game...that's dangerous, amigo!!!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

DPRK (Dangerous Pouring Rain in Korea)

It appears that

... can't seem to digest

... but needs a whole lot more
..but less

* * *

Dealing with North Korea for the past 10 years has been like a

The Remedy: North Koreans need more F-U-N!!!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Empty North Korea

Let's empty North Korea of people. One by one. You may call it reverse abduction to freedom - or just a silly idea ... Let's think about it....

The CIA world fact book estimates there are: 23,113,019 people in North Korea.

Scenario 1: We help one person flee North Korea every hour.
>2643 years later, North Korea is empty. Tada!!
(assuming nobody has any children and no immigration).

Scenario 2: We help one person flee North Korea every minute.
>44 years later, North Korea is empty. Yahoo!!
(same assumptions as in Scenario 1).

Scenario 3: We help one person flee North Korea every second.
>Just under 9 months later, North Korea is empty. Yipeee!!
(same assumptions).

Scenario 4: The United States and Japan starts to positively engage North Korea every second.
Just 8-10 years later, North Korea looks more and more like China in 1981.

We don't have a choice!!!!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Sending Radios to North Korea

How about that?

Let's send thousands of transistor radios by balloons to North Korea (just as they did in Afghanistan) so they can listen to South Korean broadcasts.

It has been estimated that each radio would only coast USD 20. This could probably be brought down if supported by a Japanese hi-tech manufacturer.

Why? This could help bring "modernity" to North Korea.

To foster discussion (which this blog has been horrible at), how do you rate this method to helping develop a civil society in North Korea?

There are many complications involved, including opposition from the Chinese and ROK governments (who wish to keep the status quo), cost and logistics (who should carry this out?).

Tell me that I'm crazy (but don't forget to come up with a better solution).

BBC article on 2003 radio attempt

Saturday, May 27, 2006

In Celebration

There has never been a man who lived and breathed love for a nation as much as this. He is the true spokesperson for 'Sustainable Development' in this World. Now, if only the corrupt politicians in his country would have the balls and set his example.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Prince of Wales and the "appalling waxworks"

A British High Court ruled on March 18 that The Mail's (a British Newspaper) publication of remarks made by Prince Charles, were an invasion of his privacy.

The newspaper published the remarks, which including the of naming Chinese leaders "appalling old waxworks", in connection with the 1997 Hong Kong handover.

However, many people who follow Charles, probably wonder who really is an appalling old waxwork.

Link to UPI article
Link to daily telegraph article

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Pandaplomacy - Robert Zoellick and the Chinese Pandas

Isn't it cute? US-China friendship symbolized by Robert Zoellick hugging a panda cub in Chengdu, Sichuan province (like to picture). Interestingly enough, according to the Washington Post, Zoellick was previously on the advisory council of the World Wildlife Fund -- you know, the organization with the Panda logo. So perhaps Zoellick is using this picture to reveal his peaceful intentions?

I don't want to put too much importance into this photo-op, but let's think about the development of Panda-diplomacy - or Pandaplomacy -- which started with Nixon's trip to China in 1972, and has seen ups and downs, most recently with the recent Chen-PRC spat. If China can continue to convince other countries that true economic (and animal) benefits are more important than the human-rights and judicial problems abound in China, we will probably see many more Panda-ops.

Overall, Zoellick is demonstrating a sincere US effort to negotiate terms of trade with China (despite all the saber-rattling), and this also underlines the fact that China currency/trade deficit issue the Bush administration cannot run away from (as in the Burma, North Korea, and Iran issues). American Business is on the line, and trading is something China is really, really good at…

Washington Post article

Friday, January 20, 2006

China and Taiwan Resume Spring Festival Flights

The first "Spring Festival" flight of the year betwixt Taiwan to Mainland China has just disembarked to help celebrate the continuation of last year's goodwill gesture between the two sides of the straits. The flight, a China Airlines jet, landed in Shanghai at 10:30am on Jan. 20, having arrived from Taipei. This year will only see a limited 72 flights cross the straits to save travelers from much hassle in connecting flights in Hong Kong--the usual method for traveling between Taiwan and China.

Putting this in the light of Chen Shui-bian's harsh rhetoric against the Mainland as of late, the flights of this year will likely cause less international attention than yesteryear's. It does, however, generate a continued sense of optimism among Taiwanese people and may help foster a peaceful status quo, which so far worked quite well for peace in the straits--albeit, with the US navy behind Taiwan's back. Following the theme of engagement and diplomatic resolution to our problems, these 'Flights of Peace' may be remembered in history as carriers of hope and harbingers of stability in what Michael Mandelbaum has dubbed "The Most Dangerous Place in the World"

The on-going impeachment process against President Chen is also likely to overshadow these stupendous flights that attempt to re-unite the Chinese people. If Chen is pushed in a corner to produce even more negative anti-PRC speeches, the flights may have helped the passengers of 72 flights, but to undermine an engagement process between Taiwan and the Middle Kingdom.

British Broadcasting Corp. Article
Voice of America

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

It's Been Confirmed: Kim Jong Il in China

So it definitely happened! Mr. Kim did in fact visit China and made an unexpected "economic tour" to cities such as Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

Economic reforms in North Korea: Here we go.

Or, perhaps not.

Perhaps North Korea is trying to be on China's "good side" and continue to receive food and humanitarian relief from the Middle Kingdom.

Or is Kim really pondering economic reform?

BBC Article
WP Article

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Kim Jong-Il in China and ... Russia ???

Let's hope we'll see more of these....

What in the world is Kim doing in China and Russia? Could it be that he's exerting an effort to gain support of their position in the six-party talks, which is to say that these meetings actually hold water? The ministry of foreign affairs in Russia, however, refuted the claims that Kim was going to Russia. So what is going on? Is Mr. Kim changing his personality to a globe-trotter-jet-setting personality? Probably not…

Now listen to this: According to AFX and the Washington Post (quoted in Forbes), Mr Kim is allegedly in Shanghai overseeing China's economic success, but this is again--it seems--speculation.
But could it be that Mr. Kim indeed is in China to seriously address the six-party issues as well as making a Deng-light-like "southern trip" to illuminate his intentions to introduce capitalism in the hermit state? If anything, is there any hope?

What wondrous future we have ahead if Mr. Kim indeed embraced the Chinese economic development model. Surely a safer and more transparent path towards regional cooperation and security.

North Korea certainly has the natural resources to jump-start their economy, but it is doubtful whether it has the infrastructure, human capital, and technology to reach the growth of its neighbors. But then again, that would not be the goal. Beggars can’t be choosers and a few dollars in the pockets of local North Koreans would be better than eating bark and grass.

Am I getting ahead of myself? Certainly! Mr Kim’s trip will likely fade out of memory as we see future controversial saber-rattling dramas between Kim and Bush. But let’s keep hoping. That’s what us idealists are so good at. Optimism is our "opiate of the masses."

Link to WP Article
Link to Forbes Article