Monday, March 12, 2012

405 US military's cold war with China, cf Corporate America's investments in China

US military's cold war with China, cf Corporate America's investments in China

(1) The Gathering Storm: China's Challenge to US Power in Asia - John Mearsheimer
(2) US military's cold war with China, cf Corporate America's investments in China
(3) China's neighbours welcome America's containment strategy
(4) Delhi sweats as China inches toward Nepal
(5) India: Land of many cell phones, fewer toilets
(6) Chinese claim to Okinawa - Ryukyu Kingdom was a tributary of Ming Dynasty China
(7) Ryukyu Kingdom was a tributary of Ming China, before Japan annexed it as Okinawa
(8) Indian investment in Africa comes up smelling like roses

(1) The Gathering Storm: China's Challenge to US Power in Asia - John Mearsheimer

The Gathering Storm: China's Challenge to US Power in Asia
5 August 2010

Transcript of the fourth annual Michael Hintze Lecture in International Security

Delivered by Professor John Mearsheimer
4 August 2010

(2) US military's cold war with China, cf Corporate America's investments in China
Obama's cozying up to China's rivals

From: chris lenczner <> Date: 09.11.2010 04:05 PM

The President will skip China on his Asia tour, but his itinerary signals America's growing unease with the superpower's global clout.

... In August, the Obama administration sent the USS George Washington to do joint exercises with Vietnam, which has territorial disputes with Beijing in the South China Sea. Team Obama is negotiating a nuclear deal with Vietnam, drawing militarily closer to Indonesia, and has been more aggressive than the Bush administration in selling arms to Taiwan. In July, at the Association of South-East Asian Nations, Hillary Clinton ambushed the Chinese by rallying 12 countries to protest its territorial incursions. And now Obama is visiting India, Indonesia, South Korea, and Japan, the four Asian countries most crucial to its effort at balancing Chinese power. It all adds up, as the Carnegie Endowment’s Douglas Paal recently told The Economist, to “the most comprehensive burst of diplomatic and military activity in Asia, particularly South-East Asia, in decades.”

This, I suspect, is the new normal. Jihadist terrorists may kill more Americans in the years to come, but they don’t threaten American primacy. China does. Decades from now, historians may well identify the entire “war on terror” as an interlude between great power competition, the kind of thing the United States could afford to focus on in those unipolar years between its rivalry with the Soviet Union and its rivalry with China.

The interesting thing about looking at American foreign policy through an Asia-centric, rather than Middle East-centric, lens is that it is suddenly no longer so clear who the hawks and doves are. President Obama began his dealings with Beijing in a conciliatory vein, but almost two years in, his policy is more hawkish than President Bush’s. He’s angered human rights types by restoring military ties to the Indonesian Special Forces and, according to The Economist, may cut a nuclear deal with Vietnam that allows it to enrich uranium outside of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. And if Obama is more hawkish than Bush, the Democrats are, in some ways, more hawkish than the GOP. In September, when the House passed a resolution aimed at pressuring China to revalue its currency, Democrats supported it almost unanimously while Republicans were split. Paul Krugman regularly excoriates China for its currency policies. Nancy Pelosi has long excoriated it over human rights; in 2008 she urged Bush to boycott the Beijing Olympics.

What makes the China debate different from foreign policy debates during the Cold War and the “war on terror” is the role of economics. Since the USSR offered few opportunities for lucrative trade and investment, American businessmen (with a few exceptions, like Armand Hammer) had no problem with the Republican Party taking a hard anti-Soviet line. Similarly, after 9/11, there was no powerful business constituency invested in maintaining ties to the Taliban or Saddam Hussein. But China is different. If the neocons want a new cold war with China, they’ll have to take on corporate America in the process, which would make for very interesting times in the GOP.

If the neocons want a new cold war with China, they’ll have to take on corporate America in the process, which would make for very interesting times in the GOP.

For the moment, America’s China debate takes place in two, artificially separate, spheres. When it comes to defense, the right—more than the left—uses the Chinese threat as a justification for bigger military budgets. But when it comes to economics, the left—more than the right—insists that the U.S. challenge the way China values its currency and treats its workers. The right wants America to grow more economically integrated with China even as we grow more militarily confrontational. The left wants America to risk rupturing our economic ties with China while any national security spills over. It doesn’t make much sense. Sooner or later, China is going to wreak havoc with the foreign policy fault lines to which Americans have grown accustomed since 9/11, and indeed, since Vietnam. Let’s hope it’s sooner.

Peter Beinart, senior political writer for The Daily Beast, is associate professor of journalism and political science at City University of New York and a senior fellow at the New America Foundation.

(3) China's neighbours welcome America's containment strategy

They have returned

China should worry less about America’s “containment” strategy and more about why the neighbours welcome it

by Banyan

Aug 12th 2010

SYMBOLIC gestures come in all shapes and sizes, but few as imposing as that of the USS George Washington, a ship more than three football-pitches long, and capable of carrying 85 aircraft and more than 6,200 people. But even symbols of such massive heft can be interpreted in various ways. The George Washington has just been in the South China Sea, off the coast of Danang, once home to one of the American army’s biggest bases in Vietnam. Fifteen years after the opening of diplomatic relations, and 35 years since the end of the Vietnam war, the carrier’s visit, and the joint naval exercises that followed, were striking tokens of reconciliation. But observers in China saw a different sort of gesture: not so much a handshake with a former enemy; more a brandished fist towards a potential one, their own country.

Vituperative Chinese commentators detected an old bogey: an American attempt to “contain” China by bolstering alliances with its neighbours. China’s leaders were more restrained (or perhaps just slower off the mark). But the South China Morning Post reported that Hu Jintao, the president, was in enough of a huff about this and other slights to contemplate delaying a visit to America. Just when the ice that formed after the Sino-American climate-change tiff in Copenhagen in December seemed to have melted, a new chill has set in. “Sweet-mouthed” American politicians, lamented Global Times, an English-language Chinese newspaper, “stab you in the back when you are not looking.”

Chinese analysts can point to an impressive array of American “provocations” to justify their fulminations. They cited reports that America is in talks on nuclear co-operation with Vietnam, and that, in an apparent reversal for its non-proliferation efforts, the Obama administration is not insisting that Vietnam forswear enriching its own uranium. As with America’s 2008 nuclear deal with India, China scented double standards.

China also faced an unsettling experience in July, at the annual ASEAN Regional Forum organised by the Association of South-East Asian Nations. This usually soporific security talking-shop, held this year in Hanoi, saw Hillary Clinton, America’s secretary of state, declare the South China Sea a “national interest”. When 12 of the 27 countries there spoke up for a new approach to solving their maritime disputes, China sniffed co-ordination—nay, conspiracy—especially when Vietnam swiftly stepped up its protests about Chinese activities in disputed waters.

Before her jaunt to Vietnam, the George Washington had been taking part in joint exercises with South Korean forces. Respecting Chinese sensitivities, she did not exercise in the Yellow Sea, just off China’s coast. But a Pentagon spokesman has said she will do so “in the near future”. This comes as America’s ties with South Korea have been strengthened—and China’s frayed—by the destruction of a naval vessel, the Cheonan, in March. South Korea and America, backed by an international inquiry, have blamed the sinking on a North Korean torpedo. The North has denied responsibility and China has refused to finger its awkward ally.

As the American navy has roamed China’s neighbourhood, senior officials have fanned out over Asia. In Indonesia Robert Gates, the defence secretary, upset human-rights activists and delighted the government by resuming links to Kopassus, the army’s special forces. William Burns, undersecretary of state for political affairs, has been to four South-East Asian countries.

It all amounts to what Douglas Paal of the Carnegie Endowment, a Washington think-tank, has called “the most comprehensive burst of diplomatic and military activity in Asia, particularly South-East Asia, in decades” from an American administration. It is not surprising that many in China see all this as part of a new containment doctrine. Many in America do, too. By this analysis, Barack Obama took office committed to good relations with China, and ready to welcome it as a great power in return for China’s accepting the global responsibilities that go with that status. Then a series of setbacks convinced him to stand up to China with a more muscular strategy. The “sweet mouths” spout charm just the same; but containment is now the game.

That is far from how the administration presents it, however. It argues it is merely reasserting a “national interest” and traditional role in East Asia, a region neglected by an America distracted by terrorism and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Absent without leave, America helped foster an overblown perception in the region of America’s decline and China’s ascent. It is now putting that right. In Mr Paal’s phrase, America’s recent Asian diplomacy is “not aimed at China, but has implications for China”.

A container has several sides

That may be too nuanced a distinction for the Global Times’ leader-writers. But those implications are indeed worth pondering. China seems to have digested one already: that the swagger, bordering on arrogance, with which Chinese officials were throwing their weight around in the region and in the West in the depths of the financial crisis created unnecessary alarm. These days, courtesy is back in vogue.

Another implication is that rather than simply rail against America, China could do more to prevent its neighbours providing such fertile ground for the “seeds of distrust” it sows. That would demand greater clarity over China’s real strategic aims, and a willingness to discuss them in multilateral forums. On the South China Sea, for example, it is hard to know exactly what its claim is based on. Yet its ships sometimes treat the sea as a Chinese lake; its maps show a great lolling tongue of Chinese sovereignty stuck insolently out at the South-East Asian littoral states. No wonder those countries welcome American aircraft-carriers. The trouble is, of course, that if China were clearer about its aims, they might welcome them even more.

(4) Delhi sweats as China inches toward Nepal

By: Sudha Ramachandran on: 17.10.2010

BANGALORE - China's construction of a rail link between Lhasa and Xigaze (Shigatse) in the Tibet Autonomous Region will bring its rail network closer to its Nepal border and to India. The rail link has potential to boost Sino-Nepal trade and tourism; it is also expected to enhance China's already substantial influence in Nepal and bring the Chinese rail system closer too to the contested Sino-Indian boundary. A worried India is looking on as the Chinese railway steams southwards.

Construction now underway of the US$1.9 billion, 253-kilometer rail line between Lhasa, Tibet's capital, and the region's second-largest city, Xigaze, will, according to the official Xinhua news agency, be completed in four years. It is an extension of a line between Golmud in Qinghai province and Lhasa, inaugurated in 2006.

Xigaze is the capital of prefecture of the same name, Tibet's largest prefecture and one that shares boundaries with India, Nepal and Bhutan. Xigaze city is also the home of the Panchen Lama, the second most important spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism.

The Golmud-Lhasa line has been hailed as a technological marvel as it cuts through some of the world's most difficult terrain; over 80% of the route lies at an altitude of 4,000 meters above sea level and large stretches run through permafrost conditions and part traverses an earthquake-prone area.

Construction of the Lhasa-Xigaze link is expected to be no less challenging. It too will snake across terrain at an altitude of 3,500-4,000 meters. Nearly half the route will burrow through mountains - Mount Everest rises from Xigaze prefecture - or run across bridges. While construction across unstable permafrost soil confronted engineers building the Golmud-Lhasa line, the new route provides geothermal fields with hot springs to set them thinking.

The Golmud-Lhasa railway came under sharp criticism from environmentalists, who argued that it would have disastrous consequences for the region's ecosystem. Human rights organizations and Tibetan activists said the train link into Tibet was aimed at Chinese consolidation of control over Tibet and would unleash a new wave of Han Chinese migration into the region.

Many of these concerns and criticisms will apply to the Lhasa-Xigaze.

An added concern for India is the rail's steady approach towards Nepal, a country it regards as lying in its sphere of influence, and its own borders. It is evident that the Chinese rail system will not terminate at Xigaze. In 2008, for instance, Chinese and Nepalese officials announced plans for extension of the rail beyond Xigaze up to Khasa, a small market town on the Sino-Nepal border - and it might not stop even there. Cheng Xia Ling, the Chinese ambassador to Nepal, was quoted in 2008 by Nepal Weekly as saying: "We are even planning to link it to Kathmandu in not too distant future."

Landlocked Nepal has been eyeing the southward advance of the Chinese rail system with anticipation. It will bring it more tourists from China and Chinese trains loaded with goods will reduce the Himalayan country's long-standing dependence on Indian imports. To Nepal, the Chinese rail link promises opportunity.

For India, the southward advance of China's rail system is fraught with implications for its security and influence. Nepal has played a traditional role as buffer between India and China. New Delhi has wielded considerable influence in Nepal for decades, half of Nepal's trade is with India and its currency is linked to the Indian rupee.

India's influence has been on the decline in recent years, especially with Nepali Maoists entering Nepal's political mainstream. Indian officials believe that during their brief stint in power, the Maoists built strong ties with the Chinese government. Anti-India sentiment in Nepal is high, with many people and politicians blaming "Delhi's meddling" for an ongoing political impasse.

Indian officials fear that the arrival of trains bearing Chinese people and goods will further undermine their country's already weakening hold in Nepal.

Delhi also has worries over other proposed rail links that might be constructed up to the Sino-Indian boundary at Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. China is contemplating a rail link from Xigaze to Yatung, a trading center a few kilometers from Nathu La, a mountain pass that connects Tibet with Sikkim. Another rail line will run eastwards from Lhasa to Nyingchi near Arunachal.

This southward expansion of China's rail lines is of concern to several Indian security analysts. Much of the Sino-Indian boundary is disputed and the two countries fought a war over it in 1962, which India lost. Incursions by both sides, especially along the eastern sector, are frequent given the fuzziness of the boundary.

It was believed that the Sino-Indian boundary at Sikkim was more or less settled, especially with China implicitly recognizing Indian claims over Sikkim through a 2003 agreement that provides for Sino-Indian border trade via Nathu La. However, Chinese incursions into the Finger Point area in Sikkim in the summer of 2008 and its statements at that time indicated that the boundary at Sikkim was far from settled in China's view.

As for the boundary in the eastern sector, China continues to lay claim to around 90,000 square kilometers of territory that roughly approximates Arunachal. It has stepped up its rhetoric, especially with regard to its claims over Tawang.

It is in the context of these contested claims over the boundary that the extension of rail lines towards India is being seen.

Although China's Minister of Railways Liu Zhijun has described the extension of the Qinghai-Lhasa line as a key project in China's long-and medium-term railway network expansion, aimed at speeding up Tibet's social and economic development, Indian analysts are warning that it has strategic implications.

In an article in Japan Times, Brahma Chellaney, author of Asian Juggernaut: The Rise of China, India and Japan, wrote that the rail link to Tibet "has now started being used to supply 'combat readiness materials for the air force' there." Regarding the proposed rail extension to India's borders in the east, he told the Times of India that it "will strengthen China's rapid military deployment capability in the eastern (Arunachal) sector." China would be in a position to rapidly move its armed forces and strike at India whenever it wanted to, he said.

Road and railway building has been a key element of China's grand strategy in the Himalayan region for decades. Building motorways into Tibet began as early as 1950. As the People's Liberation Army prepared to annex Tibet, Mao Zedong advised it to "advance while building roads." Roads linking Xinjiang, Qinghai, Sichuan and Yunnan to Tibet were constructed at great human cost, yet pursued with much determination because they facilitated the transport of troops to Tibet - which enabled the quelling of unrest there. They also helped China's economic development of Tibet.

In contrast, India's infrastructure development in the Himalayan region has been lethargic. Its road and rail network near its boundary with China is abysmal. For instance, there is just one single-lane road connecting Sikkim's capital Gangtok to Nathu La and one landslide-prone road linking Sikkim to the rest of India. Sikkim's road density is 28.45 kilometers per 100 square kilometers against the national average of 84 kilometers. Arunachal Pradesh is even worse off, with a road density of just 18.65 kilometers per 100 square kilometers. India might have the world's largest rail network but there are no trains running into Sikkim or Arunachal.

This means that when trainloads of Chinese goods begin arriving at Nathu La around a decade from now, mere truckloads of Indian goods will be trickling in.

Underlying India's poor transport infrastructure in its border regions is a perception that roads and railways there are not in India's interest, as they would enhance China's access to India. Such transport links are not seen as providing Indian access to China.

Fear, rather than ambition, thus dictated India's strategy to the Himalayan region.

But with China flattening the Himalayan barrier to South Asia with its ambitious road and railway building in the region, India has been forced to respond.

Slowly it is acting to build roads and railways in its states bordering China. It has plans to build rail infrastructure into Nepal as well. Five rail links between the two countries are being planned. Most are just a few kilometers long, and do not run through the kind of rugged terrain that the Chinese in the Himalayas have to contend with. However, Indian engineers are likely to run into a far more formidable barrier in executing the projects - official lethargy and negative mindsets.

Unless India looks at its Himalayan infrastructure building as an opportunity rather than with trepidation, it will not be able to gain benefits of its own from China's leveling of the Himalayas.

(5) India: Land of many cell phones, fewer toilets

From: WVNS <> Date: 04.11.2010 03:26 PM

The Associated Press
Sun Oct 31, 2010

MUMBAI, India – The Mumbai slum of Rafiq Nagar has no clean water for its shacks made of ripped tarp and bamboo. No garbage pickup along the rocky, pocked earth that serves as a road. No power except from haphazard cables strung overhead illegally.

And not a single toilet or latrine for its 10,000 people.

Yet nearly every destitute family in the slum has a cell phone. Some have three.

When U.S. President Barack Obama visits India Nov. 6, he will find a country of startlingly uneven development and perplexing disparities, where more people have cell phones than access to a toilet, according to the United Nations.

It is a country buoyed by a vibrant business world of call centers and software developers, but hamstrung by a bloated, corrupt government that has failed to deliver the barest of services.

Its estimated growth rate of 8.5 percent a year is among the highest in the world, but its roads are crumbling.

It offers cheap, world-class medical care to Western tourists at private hospitals, yet has some of the worst child mortality and maternal death rates outside sub-Saharan Africa.

And while tens of millions have benefited from India's rise, many more remain mired in some of the worst poverty in the world.

Businessman Mukesh Ambani, the world's fourth-richest person, is just finishing off a new $1 billion skyscraper-house in Mumbai with 27 floors and three helipads, touted as the most expensive home on earth. Yet farmers still live in shacks of mud and cow dung.

The cell phone frenzy bridges all worlds. Cell phones are sold amid the Calvin Klein and Clinique stores under the soaring atriums of India's new malls, and in the crowded markets of its working-class neighborhoods. Bare shops in the slums sell pre-paid cards for as little as 20 cents next to packets of chewing tobacco, while street hawkers peddle car chargers at traffic lights.

The spartan Beecham's in New Delhi's Connaught Place, one of the country's seemingly ubiquitous mobile phone dealers, is overrun with lunchtime customers of all classes looking for everything from a 35,000 rupee ($790) Blackberry Torch to a basic 1,150 rupee ($26) Nokia.

Store manager Sanjeev Malhotra adds to a decades-old — and still unfulfilled — Hindi campaign slogan promising food, clothing and shelter. "Roti, kapda, makaan" and "mobile," he riffs, laughing. "Basic needs."

There were more than 670 million cell phone connections in India by the end of August, a number that has been growing by close to 20 million a month, according to government figures.

Yet U.N. figures show that only 366 million Indians have access to a private toilet or latrine, leaving 665 million to defecate in the open.

"At least tap water and sewage disposal — how can we talk about any development without these two fundamental things? How can we talk about development without health and education?" says Anita Patil-Deshmukhl, executive director of PUKAR, an organization that conducts research and outreach in the slums of Mumbai.

India's leaders say they are sympathetic to the problem.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, an economist credited with unleashing India's private sector by loosening government regulation, talks about growth that benefits the masses of poor people as well as a burgeoning middle class of about 300 million. He describes a roaring Maoist insurgency in the east — which feeds in large part on the poor's discontent — as the country's biggest internal security threat.

Sonia Gandhi, chief of the ruling Congress Party, has pushed laws guaranteeing a right to food and education, as well as a gargantuan rural jobs program for nearly 100 million people. But as many as 800 million Indians still live on less than $2 a day, even as Mumbai's stock exchange sits near record highs.

Many fear the situation is unsustainable.

"Everybody understands the threat. Everybody recognizes that there is a gap, that this could be the thing that trips up this country," says Anand Mahindra, vice chairman and managing director of the Mahindra & Mahindra manufacturing company.

Private companies have tried to fill that gap, and Tata sells a 749 rupee ($16) water purifier for the poor. Mafias provide water and electricity to slumdwellers at a cost far higher than what wealthy Indians pay for basic services.

"For every little thing, we have to pay," says Nusrat Khan, a 35-year-old maid and single parent who raises her four children on less than 3,000 rupees ($67) a month and blames the government for her lack of access to water and a toilet.

The government is spending $350 million a year to build toilets in rural areas. Bindeshwar Pathak, the founder of the Sulabh Sanitation and Social Reform Movement, estimates the country needs about 120 million more latrines — likely the largest sanitation project in world history.

"Those in power, only they can change the situation," says Pathak, who claims to have helped build a million low-cost latrines across India over the past 40 years. "India can achieve this — if it desires."

In the slums of Mumbai, home to more than half the city's population of 14 million, the yearning for toilets is so great that enterprising residents have built makeshift outhouses on their own.

In Annabhau Sathe Nagar, a raised latrine of corrugated tin empties into a river of sewage that children splash in and adults wade across. The slum in east Mumbai has about 50,000 residents and a single toilet building, with 10 pay toilets for men and eight for women — two of which are broken.

With the wait for those toilets up to an hour even at 5 a.m., and the two-rupee (4-cent) fee too expensive for many, most people either use a field or wait to use the toilets at work, says Santosh Thorat, 32, a community organizer. Nearly 60 percent have developed piles from regularly waiting to defecate, he says.

Conditions are far worse in Rafiq Nagar, a crowded, 15-year-old slum on the lip of a 110-acre garbage dump.

Most of the slumdwellers are ragpickers who sort through heaps of trash for scraps of plastic, glass, metal, even bones, anything they can sell to recyclers for cash. A pungent brew of ripe garbage and sewage blows through the trash-strewn streets, as choking smoke from wood fires rolls out the doorways of windowless huts. Children, half clothed in rags, play hopscotch next to a mysterious gray liquid that has gathered in stagnant puddles weeks after the last rainfall.

Just beside the shacks, men and women defecate in separate areas behind rolling hills of green foliage that have sprung up over the garbage. Children run through those hills, flying kites.

Khatija Sheikh, 20, splurges to use a pay toilet in another neighborhood 10 minutes away, but is never sure what condition it will be in.

"Sometimes it's clean, sometimes it's dirty. It's totally dependent on the owner's mood," says Sheikh, whose two young children use the street. Her home is less than five feet from an elevated outhouse built by a neighbor that drops sewage next to her walls.

Since there are no water pipes or wells here, residents are forced to rely on the water mafia for water for cooking, washing clothes, bathing and drinking. The neighborhood is rife with skin infections, tuberculosis and other ailments.

A large blue barrel outside a home is filled with murky brown water, tiny white worms and an aluminum drinking cup. To fill up two jerry cans costs between 40 ($.90) and 50 ($1.10) rupees a day, about one-third of the average family's earnings here.

"If the government would give us water, we would pay that money to the government," said Suresh Pache, 41, a motorized rickshaw driver.
Instead, it has issued demolition notices throughout the slum, which sits illegally on government land. Pache, whose home was razed 10 times, jokes that the destruction is the only government service he can count on.

Yet the world of technology has embraced the slumdwellers with its cheap cell phones and cut-rate calling plans that charge a sliver of a penny a minute. Pache bought his first phone for 1,400 rupees ($31) four months ago. Since then, his wife, a ragpicker, found two other broken models as she scoured the garbage dump, and he paid to have them repaired.

He speaks with fluency about the different plans offered by Tata, Reliance and Idea that cost him a total of 300 rupees ($6.70) a month. Now, when his rickshaw breaks down, he can alert his wife with a call. She uses her phone to tell the recyclers where she is in the dump so they can drive out to her, saving her the time and effort of dragging her bag of scraps to them.

Mohan Singh, a 58-year-old bicycle repairman, says his son uses their 2,000 rupee ($45) Orpat phone to play music and talk to relatives. Thorat, the community organizer, shows photographs of his neighborhood and videos of a pre-school he started on his Nokia cameraphone, while his second phone rings in his pocket. Sushila Paten, who teaches at the pre-school, organizes a phone chain with her Samsung to instantly mobilize hundreds of people in the streets when violent thugs show up demanding "rent" from the squatters.

In fact, the spread of cell phones may end up bringing toilets.

R. Gopalakrishnan, executive director of Tata Sons, one of India's most revered companies, says the rising aspirations of the poor, buttressed by their growing access to communications and information, will put tremendous pressure on the government to start delivering.
People already are starting to challenge local officials who for generations answered to no one, he says.

"I think there are very, very dramatic changes happening," he says.

(6) Chinese claim to Okinawa - Ryukyu Kingdom was a tributary of Ming Dynasty China
From: chris lenczner <> Date: 24.10.2010 06:04 AM

China scholars enter Okinawa fray

By Kosuke Takahashi

Oct 23, 2010

TOKYO - To much of the world, the Japanese island of Okinawa is synonymous with vast United States military bases and the troubled relationship between servicemen and locals who want the Americans out. In recent years, however, the specter of anti-Chinese sentiment is also in the air.

Powerful Chinese interests now laying claim to sovereignty of the Okanawa islands - which is located halfway between Kyushu and Taiwan - may increase the antagonism over the disputed Senkaku Islands (known by China as the Diaoyu Islands), which are also administered as part of Okinawa prefecture.

Anti-Chinese sentiment in Japan is high after Beijing's recent display of territorial belligerence over the sovereignty of the islands in the East China Sea spooked Tokyo. Neighboring nations, especially South Korea and Vietnam - once China's tribute states - have already been made to feel more nervous in their disputes with China over island territories.

 This is because Beijing has expressed Asian waters as a "core interest" to counter United States moves to gain more influence in the region as a counter to China's rise. China's claims of primacy over the sovereignty of its near waters are encouraging increased discussion among its neighbors regarding naval collaboration.

''It is a bit surprising to see such a move,'' Kurayoshi Takara, professor of the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, told Asia Times Online. ''Those who claim Okinawa land may reflect increased national prestige and chauvinistic voices in China. Or they may see their chance to claim it, as Japan-US relations have been strained by a row over the relocation of a US Marine base in Okinawa.''

Beijing's recent diplomacy against Norway over the Nobel committee awarding the 2010 Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, shows signs of Beijing further asserting itself on the world stage. China's control of the distribution of rare-earth minerals that play essential roles in numerous industrial processes, including high-technology and military industries, presents another reason why Japan is leery - even as Beijing denied a New York Times report that it was halting exports of the minerals to Japan, the United States and Europe.

Japan-China relations deteriorated to their lowest point in years in the wake of a dispute over Japan's arrest of a Chinese fishing boat captain in early September over a collision with the Japanese Coast Guard near the Senkaku islands. Chinese media reported last week that a fisheries patrol boat set sail for waters near the islands to protect Chinese fishing boats.

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who was damaged politically by his handling of the detention of the trawler skipper, came to power this year after his predecessor, Yukio Hatoyama, reneged on an election promise to enter negotiations with the United States to move the American bases off Okinawa.

Chinese scholar affirms Okinawa claim

More than a few Chinese scholars are beginning to claim Okinawa as Chinese land by writing numerous academic papers in Chinese journals, though they are still in a minority among historians.

Xu Yong, noted professor of history at the Beijing University, is among scholars whose work presents the Chinese case. Xu was a member of the Japan-China Joint History Research Committee, set up in 2006 under an agreement between then-prime minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Hu Jintao. This was an attempt to salvage bilateral relations that dived during the time of Abe's predecessor, Junichiro Koizumi, and his regular visits to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine memorializing Japan's war dead (including Class A war criminals such as Hideki Tojo).

Xu has said in research papers and recent symposiums that the issue of sovereignty over Okinawa is unsettled because the Qing Dynasty of China did not approve when Japan abolished the Kingdom of Ryukyu and set up Okinawa Prefecture in 1879.

The US put Okinawa under its control after World War II on the Potsdam Declaration without any legitimate basis in international law, Xu has said. He has claimed that the abolition of the kingdom by the Meiji government in 1879, US control over Okinawa even after the war and Okinawa's reversion to Japanese sovereignty from US occupation in 1972, were all illegitimate, which in return affirmed China's right to claim Okinawa.

Anti-Japan protesters also claim Okinawa Chinese scholars are not alone in staking claims for Okinawa. Recent anti-Japan protesters in Chinese cities have made the same claim. For example, a Reuters photo taken on September 16 in Chengdu showed that young anti-Japanese marchers brandished a big Chinese-language banner reading ''Restore Ryukyu! Liberate Okinawa''.

Most Japanese experts on China see the Chinese authorities approval of anti-Japanese protests as an outlet for Chinese people's frustrations toward their society, as they struggle to express freedom of speech, find jobs and buy affordable homes.

A common view of the modern history of Okinawa among Japanese scholars goes like this: Okinawa flourished as an independent trading nation, the Kingdom of Ryukyu, over several centuries, until 1609, when the Shimazu family, feudal lords of the Satsuma domain - today's Kagoshima Prefecture of Kyushu Island - conquered the Ryukyus.

But the Edo government allowed the Ryukyus to trade with the Qing Dynasty of China for its own profit and to collect information on China. In this sense, the Ryukyus were tribute states towards both Japan and China.

But in 1879, the Meiji government formally abolished the Ryukyus and established Okinawa Prefecture, sending a big shock to the Qing Dynasty. Fifteen years later, Japan was victorious in the Sino-Japanese War, and gained control over the Korean Peninsula. Towards the end of World War II, Okinawa became the biggest and most crucial battlefield between the US and Japan.

In his Pulitzer-prize-winning book Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, American scholar Herbert Bix wrote that the Okinawa battle "cost an estimated 94,000 to 120,000 Japanese combatants and 150,000 to 170,000 non-combatants, including more than 700 Okinawans whom the Japanese army forced to commit collective suicide. American combat losses were approximately 12,500 killed and more than 33,000 wounded; among these casualties were more than 7,000 sailors, reflecting the toll taken by kamikaze [airplane suicide] attacks."

''If the claims by anti-Japanese protesters were justified, the whole modern world order would collapse,'' Takara of the University of the Ryukyus said. ''They have no legitimate argument. And most of all, unlike Tibetans and people in the Hsinchiang Uighur Autonomous Region, we Okinawans have never asserted our independence from Japan. It's really strange to see Chinese people discussing Okinawa independence by ignoring our own opinions.''

Kosuke Takahashi is a Tokyo-based journalist. Besides Asia Times Online, he also writes for Jane's Defence Weekly as Tokyo correspondent

(7) Ryukyu Kingdom was a tributary of Ming China, before Japan annexed it as Okinawa

Ryukyu Kingdom

... For nearly two hundred years, the Ryukyu Kingdom would thrive as a key player in maritime trade with Southeast and East Asia[3]. Central to the kingdom's maritime activities was the continuation of the tributary relationship with Ming Dynasty China, begun by Chuzan in 1372[1][4], and enjoyed by the three Okinawan kingdoms which preceded it. China provided ships for Ryukyu's maritime trade activities[5], allowed a limited number of Ryukyuans to study at the Imperial Academy in Beijing, and formally recognized the authority of the King of Chuzan, allowing the kingdom to trade formally at Ming ports. Ryukyuan ships, often provided by China, traded at ports across the entire region as well, journeying to ports in Korea, China, and Japan, as well as Siam, Malacca, Java, Sumatra, Annam (Vietnam), Pattani, and Palembang, among others in the region[6].

Japanese products—silver, swords, fans, lacquerware, folding screens—and Chinese products—medicinal herbs, minted coins, glazed ceramics, brocades, textiles—were traded within the kingdom for Southeast Asian sappanwood, rhino horn, tin, sugar, iron, ambergris, Indian ivory and Arabian frankincense. Altogether, 150 voyages between the kingdom and Southeast Asia on Ryukyuan ships were recorded in the Rekidai H?an, an official record of diplomatic documents compiled by the kingdom, as having taken place between 1424 and the 1630s, with 61 of them bound for Siam, 10 for Malacca, 10 for Pattani and 8 for Java, among others[6].

The Chinese policy of hai jin (??, "sea bans"), limiting trade with China to tributary states and those with formal authorization, along with the accompanying preferential treatment of the Ming Court towards Ryukyu, allowed the kingdom to flourish and prosper for roughly 150 years[7]. In the late 16th century, however, the kingdom's commercial prosperity fell into decline. The decline of the wokou ("Japanese pirate") threat among other factors led to the gradual loss of Chinese preferential treatment[8]; the kingdom also suffered from increased maritime competition from Europeans[1]. ...

When Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry sailed to Japan to force Japan to open up trade relations with the United States in the 1850s, he first stopped in the Ryukyus, as many Western sailors had before him, and forced the Ryukyu Kingdom to sign Unequal Treaties opening the Ryukyus up to American trade. From there, he continued on to Edo.[citation needed]

Following the Meiji Restoration, the Meiji Japanese government abolished the Ryukyu Kingdom, formally annexing the islands to Japan as Okinawa Prefecture on March 11, 1879.[citation needed] The Amami-?shima island group which had been integrated into Satsuma domain became a part of Kagoshima prefecture. King Sho Tai, the last king of the Ryukyus, was moved to Tokyo and was made a Marquis (see Kazoku), as were many other Japanese aristocrats, and died there in 1901.[citation needed]

Major events
 1372 The first Ming dynasty envoy visits Okinawa, which had been divided into three kingdoms, during the Sanzan period. Formal tributary relations with the Chinese Empire begin[1].
 1416 Chuzan, led by Sho Hashi, occupies Nakijin gusuku, capital of Hokuzan[9].
 1429 Chuzan occupies Shimajiri Osato gusuku, capital of Nanzan, unifying Okinawa Island. Sho Hashi establishes the Kingdom of Ryukyu, ruling as king with his capital at Shuri (now part of modern-day Naha)[9].
 1470 Sho En (Kanemaru) establishes the Second Sho Dynasty[9].
 1477 The third king, Sho Shin, ascends to the throne[9]. Golden age of the kingdom.
 1609 (April 5) daimy? (Lord) of Satsuma in southern Ky?Sho conquers the kingdom. King of Ryukyu becomes a Japanese vassal[9].
 1624 Lord of Satsuma annexes the Amami Islands.
 1846 Dr. Bernard Jean Bettelheim (d. 1870), a British Protestant missionary, arrives in Ryukyu Kingdom[9]. He establishes the first foreign hospital on the island at the Naminoue Gokoku-ji Temple.
 1853 Commodore Matthew Perry of the US Navy visits the kingdom[9]. Betteleheim leaves with Perry.
 1866 The last official mission from the Qing Empire visits the kingdom.
 1872 The Japanese government unilaterally abolished the Ryukyu Kingdom, and declared the islands to be the Ryukyu Han (Ryukyu fief), with Sho Tai (?? ? ) as the head of the fief ?? (Han'? ? ).
 1874 The last tributary envoy to China is dispatched from Naha.
 1879 Japan replaces the Ryukyu han with Okinawa Prefecture, formally annexing the islands[9]. King Sho Tai (?? ? ) is given the title of marquis (?? ? ) and removed to Tokyo. ...

This page was last modified on 13 October 2010 at 04:33.

(8) Indian investment in Africa comes up smelling like roses

Date: October 30 2010
Mehul Srivastava and Subramaniam Sharma

NEW DELHI: The Indian billionaire Ravi Ruia has flown to Africa every month for the past 18 months, buying coalmines in Mozambique, half an oil refinery in Kenya and a call centre in South Africa for his Essar Group.

This month executives of Essar Energy attended a conference hosted by the Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, to attract investors in the power grid.

The officials, backed by $US2 billion the company raised in an April listing on the London Stock Exchange, had also mulled other ''business opportunities'' around Africa, the company said.

Mr Ruia, who controls the $US15 billion Essar Group with his brother Shashi, is not alone. A billionaire compatriot, Sunil Mittal, the chairman of India's largest mobile phone provider, Bharti Airtel; Adi Godrej, the chairman of Godrej Consumer Products; and Harsh Mariwala, the founder of Marico, have helped fuel a $US15.8 billion buying spree in Africa over four years.

''Africa looks remarkably similar to what India was 15 years ago,'' said Firdhose Coovadia, the director of Essar's African operations. ''We can't lose this opportunity to replicate the low-cost, high-volume model we've perfected in India.''

Indian companies have acquired or invested in at least 79 companies in Africa, chasing business in less crowded markets after growing in a home economy that has expanded by an average 8.5 per cent since April 2005.

Africa's GDP is expected to rise to $US2.6 trillion by 2020 from $1.6 trillion in 2008, and consumer spending may double to as much as $US1.8 trillion by 2020 as infrastructure is built and farm output increases, a McKinsey report in June said.

Africa is new territory for Bharti, which paid $US9 billion in June for mobile phone operations in 15 countries and will rebrand them by year's end.

This month its executives sought advice at the Kenya offices of Karuturi Global, in Bangalore, the world's largest rose-grower. Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi, the managing director, said Africa was driving his company's success.

Six years ago, as he struggled to compete against flower growers in Africa and Europe with lower freight costs and larger tracts of land, he bought a small plot in Ethiopia. Sales since have grown 11-fold to $US112.7 million in the financial year ending March 31.

He leases 311,000 hectares of land in Ethiopia and Kenya, and his company sells more than half a billion roses a year.

''I got in on the ground floor, others got in on the second floor, but there's a lot of floors left to go in Africa's economic cycle,'' Mr Karuturi said.

Apollo Tyres, India's second-biggest tyremaker, bought the South African Dunlop Tyres International for $US62 million in April 2006. That gave Apollo two manufacturing plants and a retreading unit in South Africa and Zimbabwe, and brand rights to 32 African countries.

''If tomorrow the Indian economy was to take a U-turn, then at least you have other markets which are growing,'' its managing director, Neeraj Kanwar, said.

A reason smaller Indian companies ventured into Africa is that they attracted attention in countries trying to woo foreign investors, Mr Karuturi said.''I am not even a fly on the wall in India, but in Ethiopia I am the largest investor, the second-largest employer after the government.''


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