When Countries Collide

China and Japan have a long history of animosity toward each other and the recent “boat collision incidents” in disputed waters are only inflaming age old territorial disagreements. Japan’s continuing arrest of the Chinese captain is further escalating this standoff by the day.

Japan-China island tensions rise

The ins and outs of the spat over a Chinese fishing boat captain

Tensions are growing daily over Japan’s arrest of a Chinese fishing boat captain following his ship’s collision with Japan Coast Guard vessels in the East China Sea.

Both countries have openly criticized each other over the incident, and the escalating diplomatic spat has led to public protests, the suspension of ministerial and higher-level exchanges, and the cancellation of a concert by pop group SMAP in Shanghai.

At the heart of the problem are a set of disputed islands in the East China Sea. Japan has administration of the islands, which it calls the Senkaku Islands, but both Beijing and Taiwan claim sovereignty as well, calling them the Diaoyu and Tiaoyutai, respectively. Following are basic questions and answers about the dispute:

Why was the Chinese captain arrested?

A JCG patrol vessel came across a Chinese fishing boat in Japanese-claimed territorial waters on the morning of Sept. 7.

After being warned to leave the area, the boat and JCG patrol ship Yonakuni collided. No details have yet been released as to who or what caused the collision. The Yonakuni then ordered the trawler to stop for inspection, which the Chinese captain refused, according to a JCG representative.

Later that morning, another JCG patrol ship, the Mizuki, was chasing the fishing boat to conduct an onboard inspection near Kuba Island when another collision occurred.

The Chinese captain, Zhan Qixiong, 41, was arrested the next day on suspicion of obstructing the public duties of coast guard personnel.

Japanese authorities are also looking into whether the captain engaged in unlawful fishing.

See also:
China-Japan relations sour as fishing boat dispute escalates
Japan-China row escalates over fishing boat collision
China Japan territorial spat over a fishing boat flares
Chinese fishing boat captain’s arrest reasonable
Japan rejects China’s claim over disputed island chain
Japan counsels against ‘extreme nationalism’ in row with China
China Severs Japan Ties Over Sailor Arrest
China’s Wen threatens new action in Japan boat row
China again urges unconditional release of trawler captain illegally held by Japan
Upping the Ante in China-Japan Clash
Hong Kong Activists Fan China-Japan Flames
Anti-Japan Sentiment Gains Strength in China
East China Sea Dispute: Why Japan’s Era of Quiet Power May Be at an End

Remember this? China has a history of physical confrontations at sea over disputed waters, so I’d bet good money that this latest incident was deliberately instigated by the Chinese and therefore I blame them. Japan has every right to fully investigate the Chinese captain until they get this episode sorted out to their satisfaction.

/I seriously doubt that this knock down, drag out diplomatic kerfuffle will ever boil over into a military conflict, but if it does, my money’s on Japan, last time these two countries went at it hammer and tongs, it didn’t go well for China

Chinese Dragon And American Eagle Headed In Opposite Directions

While we unilaterally disarms under Obama, the Chinese are strengthening their military capabilities, specifically gearing toward a confrontation with the United States.

China Strengthens Strategic Capability, Report Says

The U.S. Defense Department said in a report issued yesterday that China continues to strengthen its strategic capability through updates to its nuclear and missile systems, the Associated Press reported (see GSN, June 3; Anne Flaherty, Associated Press/Yahoo!News, Aug. 16).

. . .

Beijing’s aggressive spending on its effort to become a top military force has been recognized for some time, AP reported. China has rejected U.S. concerns about its defense program. Frustrated by Washington’s military support for Taiwan, it has halted U.S.-Chinese military contact that could address the issue.

“The limited transparency in China’s military and security affairs enhances uncertainty and increases the potential for misunderstanding and miscalculation,” the report says (Flaherty, Associated Press).

U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) said the Pentagon document “paints an alarming picture, despite its ‘glass half full’ perspective,” the Washington Times reported.

“It is clear that China is aggressively expanding its military capabilities, which appear to be aimed at limiting American strategic options in the Pacific,” he said. “This troubling reality is inconsistent with China’s supposed interest in fostering a peaceful, stable region” (Bill Gertz, Washington Times, Aug. 16).

Read the report:

Military and Security Developments
Involving the People’s Republic of China
2010

See also:
U.S. Sounds Alarm at China’s Military Buildup
Economic powerhouse China focuses on its military might
Pentagon: China Continues to Expand Military Capability
The Chinese Military Challenge
China Could Intervene at Military ‘Flash Points,’ Pentagon Warns
China threat: Now you see it, now you don’t
Chinese military’s cyber-attack capabilities mysterious: Pentagon
China Fires Back on U.S. Report
China warns U.S. military report threatens ties
Pentagon’s China military report ‘ignores objective truth,’ says China
Chinese Government Rejects Pentagon Report on Country’s Military Ambition

I used to think that, given our vast Pacific superiority in the air, in space, and on the sea, there was no way in Hell that China would ever dare to invade Taiwan or otherwise engage the United States in a military conflict. Now, I’m no longer sure that’s necessarily true.

/every day, they get stronger, we get weaker, and the gap in the military balance of power narrows toward parity

Two Months Later And Still Waiting . . .

Hop in my Chrysler, it’s as big as a whale and it’s about to set sail!

Testing? We don’t need no stinkin’ testing, either the damn thing works or it doesn’t, get on with it!

‘A Whale’ mega-skimmer arrives in Gulf of Mexico, testing begins

The modified ship is being hailed as the “world’s largest skimming vessel” and is being tested in waters north of the oil spill to see if it can safely skim 21M gallons of oil per day.

The 1,100-foot long tanker, called “A Whale,” was designed to carry iron ore and crude oil. However, according to ABC News, after hearing about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, “the owner of the ship, mysterious Taiwanese billionaire Nobu Su, ordered his engineers to cut vents in the bow and redesign the tanks inside, creating the largest skimming vessel in the world.”

The offer by Nobu Su and his company, TMT Shipping, was accepted by U.S. government officials on the condition that tests be conducted to see if the modified ship will work for skimming purposes. As mentioned in the video above, “this type of retrofitting has not been done before.”

According to ABC News, Adm. Thad Allen, the national incident commander, said, “We’re anxious to find out how effective it will be. But it is a very large ship that’s been converted to be able to recover oil, and we’ll see how it goes.”

CNN reports that the A Whale arrived in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday and testing took place Saturday and Sunday. Initial test results are expected on July 5.

See also:
Gulf oil spill update: A Whale skimmer test continues, oil pushes into Louisiana marshes (pictures)
World’s largest skimmer finally arrives in Gulf, but still needs federal approval
Largest skimmer in the world must be deemed ‘effective’ by the federal government before it’s allowed to help with oil clean-up
‘A Whale’ skimmer enters gulf oil spill cleanup
EPA Administrator “Would Not Go Into the Water Today” as Oil Skimmer Attempts to Clean Oil from the Gulf
BP Oil Spill Live Updates: A Whale Skimmer Launched to Solve Problems
A Whale continues skimming operations
‘A Whale’ Supertanker Oil Skimmer Offers Hope for Gulf Spill
Today Makes Tomorrow (TMT)

So let me see if I understand this correctly. We have a giant oil skimmer that can theoretically clean up the Gulf in a week, but the EPA is withholding permission for it to operate because the EPA is worried that the oil laden water that the A Whale scoops up might somehow magically come out on the other end less environmentally friendly, is that it? GOOD GOD, HOW CAN THE A WHALE MAKE THE WATER ANY WORSE THAN IT IS NOW? WHAT KIND OF OBAMA ABOMINATION OPERATION ARE WE RUNNING HERE ANYWAY?

/hello, are there any sane adults in charge here?

Obama Does A Happy Dance On The Raptor’s Grave

    Did Obama really say that a measly $1.75 billion to build seven more F-22 Raptors, the world’s premier air dominance fighter, was wasteful and that we couldn’t afford it? How wasteful is a $1 trillion “stimulus” fiasco that can’t be shown to have “created or saved” one job and spends money on ridiculous nonsense like $1.191 million for sliced frozen ham , $1.5 million on mozzarella cheese, and almost $17 million on canned pork? Or how about another trillion dollars for socialized healthcare that will degrade the overall level of medical care in this country and which the Congressional Budget Office has calculated will only increase our already unsustainable budget deficits and national debt, can we afford that?

    Are you [expletive deleted] kidding me, we can borrow trillions of dollars to fund every Democrat and left wing pet project ever conceived, trillions it’ll take a miracle for us to ever hope to repay, and yet we can’t spend a comparative drop in the bucket $1.75 billion to defend ourselves against the Chinese and Russians, because it’s wasteful and we can’t afford it? We can’t spend $1.75 billion to save tens of thousands of highly skilled F-22 Raptor design and manufacturing jobs, because it’s wasteful and we can’t afford it, but we can spend more than $50 billion to bail out inept car companies to save Obama’s UAW buddies and their gold plated pensions?

    Obama and the Democrats’ spending policies and priorities are not only depraved and thoroughly disgusting, they border on psychopathy and criminal insanity.

    Shooting Down The Raptor

    Defense Spending: The TARP bailout may hit $24 trillion, but the Senate says the F-22 is too expensive to build and maintain. So why are the Japanese so desperate to buy this “unnecessary” Cold War weapon?

    By a vote of 58-40, the Senate on Tuesday voted to remove $1.75 billion set aside in a defense bill to build seven more F-22 Raptors, adding to the 187 stealth technology fighters already in the pipeline.

    After some hope the production lines would be kept open, the Senate succumbed to arguments by the administration and others that the fighter was too expensive, too hard to maintain and not built for the wars America is fighting these days.

    President Obama welcomed the Senate vote, saying he rejected the notion that the country has to “waste billions of taxpayers dollars” on outdated defense projects.

    Well, the inspector general in charge of overseeing the Treasury Department’s bank-bailout program now says the massive endeavor could end up costing taxpayers almost $24 trillion in a worst-case scenario. Yet we can’t afford to build just seven more F-22s?

    Keeping the F-22 production lines open would be a real stimulus saving real jobs. Lockheed Martin, the main contractor, says 25,000 people are directly employed in building the plane, and another 70,000 have indirect links, particularly in Georgia, Texas and California. Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., a supporter of the program, says there are 1,000 suppliers in 44 states. That’s wasteful?

    Speaking to the Economic Club of Chicago last Friday, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates repeated his assertion that “the F-22 is clearly a capability we do need — a niche, silver-bullet solution for one or two potential scenarios — specifically the defeat of a highly advanced enemy fighter fleet.”

    But the “F-22, to be blunt, does not make much sense anyplace else in the spectrum of conflict,” he added.

    Air dominance is not a “niche scenario,” and while we’re lucky the Taliban does not have an Air Force, other potential opponents do. It would prove quite useful over the skies of North Korea, if necessary, or in thwarting a Chinese threat in the Taiwan Straits. Gates forgets that it was high-tech “Cold War” weapons such as the stealthy F-111A that shattered Saddam Hussein’s air defenses and infrastructure and controlled the skies during Operation Desert Storm in Iraq.

    Retired Lt. Gen. Michael M. Dunn, chief executive of the Air Force Association, notes that in last year’s conflict in Georgia, the Raptor was the only aircraft in our inventory that could have penetrated the defended airspace and had a chance of surviving.

    The F-22 Raptor is also perhaps the only plane that could evade the sophisticated S-300 surface-to-air missile defense system Russia has contracted to sell Iran. Russia’s S-300 system is “one of the most lethal, if not the most lethal, all-altitude area defense” systems, according to the International Strategy and Assessment Service, a Virginia-based think tank.

    Gates and the Pentagon prefer the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. But many believe its lesser abilities have been further compromised by making it a one-size-fits-all aircraft for all services in all conflicts.

    Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., in whose state final assembly occurs, says, “The F-35 was designed to operate after F-22s secure the airspace and does not have the inherent altitude and speed advantages to survive every time against peers with counter-electronic measures.”

    In an interview with Human Events, Japanese ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki said Tokyo wants F-22s to replace its aging F-4s and F-15s. Japan is facing an increasingly capable and unstable North Korea armed with nuclear weapons and the weapons to carry them. It also confronts a future superpower in China, with which it has territorial disputes.

    Japan wants the F-22 to deal with both threats. It will soon have to deal with fifth-generation Chinese fighter aircraft and aircraft carriers to carry them. Japan is wise to prefer the F-22, which can fly 300 to 400 mph faster and two miles higher than the F-35.

    We would be too.

    See also:
    Obama victory: Senate votes to kill additional F-22 funding
    Obama Praises F-22 Funding Shut-off; Sen. Chris Dodd Upset
    Senate Votes Against Funding For New F-22s
    Senate kills production of F-22 Raptor
    Senate votes against F-22 Raptor
    Senate strips extra F-22 funding from defense bill
    Senate Votes To Halt Production Of F-22 Fighter Jet
    Governor Rell blasts U.S. Senate vote to strip F-22 Raptor funding
    We Cannot Afford to Lose the F-22
    Obama Plucks The Raptor
    The Air Force Association (AFA)
    International Assessment and Strategy Center
    S-300 (missile)
    S-300PMU
    S-300PMU (SA-10) Air Defence Missile System
    Israel’s Red Line: The S-300 Missile System

    Well, hey, that’s another $1.75 billion that Obama can now spend on ham and cheese.

    /for the first time in my adult life, I’m not proud of my country

It Was 20 Years Ago Today

Tiananmen Anniversary Muted in Mainland China

Mainland China remained quiet Thursday on the 20th anniversary of the bloody Tiananmen Square crackdown, while tens of thousands of people staged a protest in Hong Kong.

Beijing, the capital, was on virtual lockdown. Key foreign news Web sites were blocked, dissidents were placed under house arrest, and police blanketed the vast square where a still-undetermined number of pro-democracy activists were killed in a violent clash with the military June 4, 1989. Journalists were kept away from the scene.

Several foreign governments called on Beijing this week to revisit its policy of ignoring the crackdown. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a statement Wednesday that China “should examine openly the darker events of its past and provide a public accounting of those killed, detained or missing, both to learn and to heal.”

On Tuesday, Congress urged China to agree to a U.N.-backed inquiry into the crackdown, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she had directly petitioned President Hu Jintao to free the estimated 30 people still being held for participating in the protests.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel commented in a speech Thursday that “June 4, 1989 . . . marked a terrible sacrifice in Tiananmen Square.”

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, who has pushed for closer ties with the mainland, said: “This painful chapter in history must be faced. Pretending it never happened is not an option.”

Over the years, Beijing has taken a two-pronged approach to the massacre. Domestically, the incident is ignored in history books, and discussion about it is banned to the point that many young people know nothing of what happened. In arguments directed to the international community, Beijing has said the crackdown was necessary to ensure social stability, which it says was a precondition for the market-driven changes that have since transformed China into the world’s third-largest economy.

On Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang limited his remarks to a sentence: “On the political incident that took place in the 1980s, the party and the government have already reached a conclusion.”

In the weeks before the anniversary, authorities erased most traces of the massacre from the capital. Twitter and other Internet services that people could have used to coordinate gatherings were blocked, as were news Web sites such as CNN and the BBC. Foreign newspapers and magazines that had been covering commemorative protests in Hong Kong were delivered with pages ripped out. Writers, activists and even mothers of victims were put under surveillance or house arrest.

On Thursday, the only place on Chinese soil where a large-scale protest took place was Hong Kong, the former British colony that has maintained its own legal system since it reverted to Chinese rule in 1997.

Police estimated that 62,800 people, dressed either in white or funereal black, showed up for a vigil in downtown Victoria Park. Organizers put the figure closer to 150,000. Either way, the turnout was the largest since the annual event was first held in Hong Kong in 1990.

Xiong Yan, one of the 21 student leaders placed on Beijing’s “most wanted” list in 1989 and now a U.S. resident, attended the vigil, but Wuer Kaixi, No. 2 on the list, was back in Taiwan after being denied entry.

The Tiananmen Mothers — a Chinese democracy group led by Ding Zilin, whose teenage son was killed at the square — thanked the Hong Kong people for their support. In a statement, the group accused the Chinese government of using “the economy to lure and buy people.”

Lester Lai, 22, a recent university graduate, said he had come to the vigil because “economic progress is never an excuse for a government to kill its people.”

Deng Ying, a 30-year-old tourist from the mainland, said that in China, the authorities take advantage of the fact that they can ban “anything they are unhappy about.”

In this instance, she said, Hong Kong was acting as “China’s conscience.”

See also:
No ordinary day at Tiananmen Square
Demonstrators honor memory of Tiananmen Square in Hong Kong
Dalai Lama pays respects to Tiananmen Square victims
Tiananmen Mothers Press For Answers, 20 Years On
Thousands turn out to commemorate Tiananmen Square massacre… only in Hong Kong, not China
Tiananmen Square: 20 Years Later
Tiananmen Square: 20 Years Later
Police swarm Tiananmen Square on anniversary
China Blocks Twitter Ahead of Tiananmen Anniversary
China blocks Twitter, Flickr and Hotmail ahead of Tiananmen anniversary
Tiananmen Square protests of 1989

/just say no to the Chinese communists’ attempts to shove their bloody, evil, inhuman massacre of unarmed citizens down the history memory hole

Make Room Under The Bus

Forsaking Taiwan?

Some key Cabinet picks bode ill for Taiwan in its struggle for independence from Red China. Obama’s intelligence czar, for one, doesn’t think the key island democracy is worth protecting.

In fact, Adm. Dennis Blair regards Taiwan much like the Chinese Communists regard it — as a nuisance. His exact words are more colorful. At a late 1999 Capitol Hill meeting, Blair told staffers that Taiwan had become “the turd in the punch bowl” of U.S.-Chinese relations, as Bill Gertz reported in his book “The China Threat.”

If Taiwan were to declare itself an independent nation, Blair asserted, “I don’t think we should support them at all.”

The remark was viewed by at least one Senate aide who attended the closed-door meeting as a clear sign that the Clinton administration had aligned itself with the communist regime in China against democratic Taiwan, an alignment that seems to be repeating itself with this administration.

. . .

It’s not as if Blair’s negative remarks were a secret. Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., asked Blair about them in written questions he submitted to the nominee outside the public hearings. (In his answers, Blair copped to the “turd” comment, but said he was referring not to Taiwan but to some unspecified action by a former Taiwanese government official.)

Why would senators have to keep such important questions private, when the fate of Taiwan could hang in the balance — along with possibly Japan and South Korea, and potentially the entire Pacific island chain stretching to Hawaii?

Answer: Because Sen. Dianne Feinstein is chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which unanimously approved Blair as Obama’s top intel adviser. She and her billionaire husband, who does brisk business in Beijing, are notorious China boosters. Not surprisingly, she praised Blair throughout his nomination hearing.

/raise your hand if you seriously think Obama would lift a finger to defend Taiwan