Chinese THAAD Boycott Expected To Ease After Moon’s Election

Many people have kind of expected the Chinese boycott to slowly dwindle away after a while and it appears it is beginning to go away:

China appears to be easing up on a wide-ranging unofficial boycott of Korean goods and service over the stationing of a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery from the U.S. here.

The state-run People’s Daily, a bellwether of official opinion, repeatedly referred to Korea as a “close neighbor” recently after a telephone call between President Moon Jae-in, who is skeptical about the deployment, and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on May 11. This was closely followed by the dispatch of a special envoy to Beijing, former prime minister Lee Hae-chan, last week.

Korean businesses are resuming marketing in China that ground to a screeching halt amid the THAAD spat, and there are signs of sales recovering.

Chinese travel agencies expect Beijing to lift a ban on cut-price group tours to Korea as early as July, and visa applications are rising to 50 to 60 percent of last year’s level after falling to as low as 20 percent.

Chinese travel agencies are asking Korea tour operators about their packages again. The head of one travel agency here said, “Last week, three or four Chinese travel agencies expressed interest in summer tours. We have yet to see actual reservations, but the atmosphere has definitely changed. [Chosun Ilbo]

You can read the rest at the link.

Chinese Government Sponsored Rap Group Releases Anti-THAAD Song

Just when you thought the anti-THAAD silliness in China couldn’t get any stupider along comes this:

A rap group backed by China’s government is warning South Korea in a music video that “you’re going too far” with the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system, as Beijing seeks to bring its state-supported cultural forces to bear in the international dispute.

A member of the group CD REV said government officials worked with them on the video and helped to promote it on foreign websites, many of which are blocked in China by official censors emboldened by the ruling Communist Party’s warnings against foreign “cultural infiltration.”

In the song, group members chant that “about THAAD we say no, no, no,” a reference to the U.S. Army’s missile defense system formally known as Terminal High Altitude Area Defense.

Later in the song, they refer to South Korea, saying, “this time, kid, you’re going too far” and “your big brother’s annoyed,” a nod to China’s view of itself as the pre-eminent political and economic power in northeast Asia.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read more at the link.

How Clothing Made In China May Have Actually Been Manufactured In North Korea

Remember this the next time you buy clothes “Made in China”, you may be unknowingly supporting the Kim Jong-un regime:

North Koreans performing at a restaurant in Beijing last year. For decades, the North has been accused of sending workers abroad and confiscating most of their wages. Credit Ng Han Guan/Associated Press

As the end of the fashion season approached, and the suits and dresses arrived in her company’s warehouses here in the Chinese border town of Dandong, the accountant crammed about $100,000 into a backpack, then boarded a rickety train with several co-workers.

She asked to be identified only by her surname, Lang, given the sensitivity of their destination: North Korea.

After a six-hour journey, she recalled, they arrived at a factory where hundreds of women using high-end European machines sewed clothes with “Made in China” labels. Her boss handed the money to the North Korean manager, all of it in American bills as required.

Despite seven rounds of United Nations sanctions over the past 11 years, including a ban on “bulk cash” transfers, large avenues of trade remain open to North Korea, allowing it to earn foreign currency to sustain its economy and finance its program to build a nuclear weapon that can strike the United States.

Fraudulent labeling helps support its garment industry, which generated more than $500 million for the isolated nation last year, according to Chinese trade data.  (………..)

For those with quick deadlines or detailed specifications, she turns to Chinese factories in Dandong, where quality control is better. Yet even these factories employ North Korean laborers, she said.

For decades, North Korea has been accused of sending workers abroad and confiscating most of their wages, an arrangement that activists liken to slave labor. Researchers say the practice has expanded since Mr. Kim took power, with more than 50,000 workers now toiling in up to 40 countries.

In Dandong, the local government boasts that 10,000 North Koreans are employed in its apparel factories, working 12- to 14-hour shifts, with just two to four days off each month and a monthly wage of no more than $260.

 [NY Times]

You can read much more about how North Korea gets around sanctions aided by the Chinese at the link.

Horrific Traffic Accident Kills 10 Korean Kindergarten Students in China

Condolences to the effected families; this is absolutely horrible:

A school bus heading to a Korean international school bursts into flames in a tunnel in Huancui District in Weihai, China, Tuesday morning, killing 12 out of 13 passengers, including 11 kindergartners. [SCREEN CAPTURE FROM WEIBO]

A fiery accident in a tunnel in Shandong Province, eastern China, killed 12 people, including 11 kindergartners heading to a Korean international school on Tuesday.

A school bus was passing through a tunnel in Huancui District in Weihai, a port city in eastern Shandong, at around 9 a.m., local time, when the vehicle suddenly burst into deadly flames.

The Korean Embassy in China confirmed that 10 of the 11 kindergartners killed were of Korean nationality and the other child was Chinese.

There were 13 passengers on the bus, including the teacher in charge, who is reported to have been severely injured, and the driver, who was killed. Both were Chinese.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link.

China Asks Trump Administration To Fire Top Commander in the Pacific

Admiral Harris must be something right to have the Chinese this upset with him:

China urged the United States to sack the head of the U.S. Pacific Command in return for exerting more pressure on North Korea amid concerns over its growing nuclear and missile threats, a source close to U.S.-China ties said Saturday.

The Chinese leadership headed by President Xi Jinping made the request, through its ambassador in the United States, to dismiss Adm. Harry Harris, known as a hard-liner on China, including with respect to the South China Sea issue, the source said.

China’s envoy to the United States, Cui Tiankai, conveyed the request to the U.S. side, to coincide with the first face-to-face, two-day meeting between President Donald Trump and Xi in Florida from April 6, but the Trump administration likely rejected it, the source said.  [Japan Times]

You can read more at the link, but this is probably directly related to Admiral Harris’ backing of the “freedom of navigation” patrols he continues in the South China Sea in response to China’s island building campaign there.

I thought this was a funny response from Bruce Klingner:

China Makes Latest Threat Against THAAD Deployment

Instead of making threats about the THAAD deployment how about Beijing do something about the Kim regime that is the reason for it being in South Korea in the first place?:

China on Tuesday warned of stern measures against the ongoing deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system in South Korea.

“China calls for an immediate stop to the THAAD deployment on the Korean Peninsula,” China’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said during a regular press briefing.

“China will pursue protecting its interests going forward by taking the necessary measures in a stern manner.”

He was speaking in response to the U.S.’ announcement that the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery being installed on a former golf course in the southern county of Seongju is “operational and has the ability to intercept North Korean missiles and defend” South Korea.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

President Trump Allegedly Quoted President Xi as Saying Korea Was Once Part of China

I like how the media is bashing President Trump for repeating something that Chinese President Xi said to him during their recent meeting in Florida:

Following his meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping, Donald Trump made a shocking admission of ignorance to the Wall Street Journal, on the subject of China and North Korea: “After listening [to Xi] for 10 minutes I realized that…it’s not so easy.” Trump has been called out for having his views on such an important geopolitical issue shift dramatically in a matter of minutes. He also may not know who rules North Korea.

Right before that line about listening to Xi, though, Trump said something arguably even more shocking. He claimed that “Korea actually used to be a part of China.” This is a glaring historical inaccuracy that has, somehow, not yet enraged South Korea, which is usually extremely defensive about suggestions that it is lesser than China or has ever been dependent on it.

Trump also made it clear in the interview that when he says Korea “used to be a part of China,” he is talking about the entire Korean peninsula, not just the North. Here’s the full quote:

[Xi] then went into the history of China and Korea. Not North Korea, Korea. And you know, you’re talking about thousands of years …and many wars. And Korea actually used to be a part of China.

“No respectable historian would make such a claim,” said Kyung Moon Hwang, a history professor at the University of Southern California and author of A History of Korea, when I asked him via email to assess Trump’s statement.  [Quartz.com]

You can read the rest at the link, but here is the Korean reaction to the quote:

South Korea on Wednesday dismissed the controversial remark reportedly made by U.S. President Donald Trump that Korea was “part of China” as untrue and not worthy of response.

“Whether that is true or not, Korea hasn’t been a part of China for thousands of years and it is an historical fact that the international community acknowledges and no one can deny it,” a foreign ministry official said on the condition of anonymity.

“It is worthless to respond to this kind of story,” he added.

Controversy is growing here after U.S. online media reported that Trump made that remark in an interview with the Wall Street Journal while sharing what was discussed with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in their recent summit held earlier this month.

In the story titled “Trump weirdly says Korea was part of China, which is totally wrong and could enrage South Korea,” Quartz reported that Trump quoted Xi as making the remark during the summit.

It is not clear if and in what context Xi said so, nor is it certain whether it is an accurate quote or an error that possibly occurred in the process of interpretation. The remark was not mentioned in the WSJ interview.  [Yonhap]

So it is a remark with no context and was not in the actual WSJ interview and we are all supposed to get enraged by this?  Even if the remark is true, people instead of getting upset with Trump should get upset with Xi.  Considering China’s ongoing Northeast Asia Project is it any wonder Xi would claim to Trump that Korea was once part of China? The Northeast Asia Project has been going on for years where the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) have been claiming that the ancient Koguryo kingdom in Korea was founded by a Chinese minority tribe.  They have even registered Koguryo sites with UNESCO with no mention of the kingdom being Korean.

This is all likely being done to set political conditions for the possible Chinese domination of North Korea if the Kim regime was ever to collapse.

President Trump Has Confidence China Will “Properly Deal with North Korea”

If history is any indication the Chinese will double-deal the US on North Korea:

Chinese Government Backed Newspaper Warns of Unprecedented Sanctions if North Korea Does Not Back Down

It appears that the Chinese government has gotten the message that President Trump is serious about striking North Korea if they try anything in the near term.  However, will China’s warning towards North Korea be heeded?  I guess we will find out:

Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a peaceful resolution of rising tension on the Korean peninsula in a telephone conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday, as a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group steamed towards the region.

Trump, in an early morning note on Twitter, said the call with Xi, just days after they met in the United States, was a “very good” discussion of the “menace of North Korea”. The call came as an influential state-run Chinese newspaper warned that the Korean peninsula was the closest it has been to a “military clash” since North Korea’s first nuclear test in 2006.  (……)

China’s Global Times newspaper said in an editorial that North Korea should halt any plan for nuclear and missile activities “for its own security”. While widely read in China and run by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, the Global Times does not represent government policy.

The newspaper noted Trump’s recent decision to launch 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airfield in response to a deadly gas attack last week.

“Not only is Washington brimming with confidence and arrogance following the missile attacks on Syria, but Trump is also willing to be regarded as a man who honours his promises,” it said.

“The U.S. is making up its mind to stop the North from conducting further nuclear tests. It doesn’t plan to co-exist with a nuclear-armed Pyongyang,” it said. “Pyongyang should avoid making mistakes at this time.”

The Global Times said if North Korea made another provocative move, “Chinese society” might be willing to back unprecedented sanctions, “such as restricting oil imports”.  [Reuters]

You can read more at the link.