Suicide Bomber Kills Eight Outside a Chinese Kindergarten

This is a horrible murder committed in China by a deranged man upset with people having kids:

Medical workers transport a person injured in an explosion outside a kindergarten in eastern China’s Jiangsu province on Friday. (Li Xiang/Xinhua via AP)

Chinese police said Friday that they think that a 22-year-old school dropout planted a homemade explosive device outside a kindergarten, killing eight people including himself.

Written on a wall near the school was a manifesto-style rant: “Giving birth is a crime,” it said, and added that India, China and Bangladesh will not “have a good end.”

The explosion took place at 4:48 p.m. Thursday outside the kindergarten in the city of Xuzhou in the eastern coastal province of Jiangsu, as mothers were gathered at the school gates to pick up their children.

There was speculation initially that the source of the blast might have been a gas cylinder from a streetside food vendor, but it now appears that the explosion is the latest in a long series of puzzling and disturbing attacks on schools in China in recent years, perpetrated by people with grievances against society or with mental health issues.

Although other attacks were aimed at young children, the manifesto, if confirmed to be written by the perpetrator, would suggest that mothers might have been the target.   [Washington Post]

You can read more at the link.

Why the US Military Presence Remains in Northeast Asia

Ian Buruma a very notable author in regards to Asian affairs had this to say in the New Yorker about the US military presence in South Korea and Japan:

Ian Buruma

The problem is that the existing order, put in place by the United States after the Second World War, might be exactly what hampers efforts to thicken that web. In a sense, America is experiencing the dilemmas typical of an empire in its twilight years. Imperial powers in the middle of the twentieth century used to argue that they couldn’t withdraw as long as their colonial subjects were not ready to rule themselves. But, as the British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan once explained to a rather baffled William F. Buckley, Jr., the continuance of colonial rule would not make them more ready. If the United States were to give up its policing duties in Asia too quickly, chaos might ensue. The longer its Asian allies remain dependent on U.S. military protection, however, the harder it will be for them to take care of themselves.

The most desirable way to balance the rising power of China would be the creation of a regional defense alliance stretching from South Korea to Burma. Japan, as the leading economic and military power, would be the logical choice to lead such a coalition. This would mean, in an ideal world, that Japan should revise its pacifist constitution after a national debate, led not by a government of chauvinistic revanchists but by a more liberal administration. But we do not live in an ideal world. Abe’s revisionism (he has currently set 2020 as a deadline for the amended constitution) is unlikely to achieve its aims in Japan. Most Japanese are no keener than most Germans to play a major military role once again. And as long as Japanese leaders insist on whitewashing their country’s recent past they will never persuade other countries in the region to trust them.

This is the status quo that dependence on the United States has frozen into place. As much as Abe’s government wishes to remain under the American military umbrella, the American postwar order, including the pacifist constitution, still inflames right-wing resentment. Yet Washington, and especially the Pentagon, which shapes much of U.S. policy in East Asia, has consistently supported conservative governments in Japan, seeing them as an anti-Communist bulwark. Meanwhile, as long as the United States is there to keep the peace, the governments of Japan and South Korea will continue to snipe at each other, instead of strengthening their alliance.  [The New Yorker]

You can read much more at the link, but Buruma’s comments are based on a book he reviewed titled “Avoiding War with China: Two Nations, One World” by Amitai Etzioni.  This analysis seems pretty accurate, does anyone disagree with it?

Why Aren’t Major Environmental Organizations Protesting the Chinese Destruction of the South China Sea?

As the Chinese continue to destroy the ocean floor to build man made islands to build military bases and over fish the South China Sea, the world’s leading environmental groups have next to nothing to say about this.  The reason for this is not surprising and an example of how phony many of these major environmental organizations are:

So why didn’t they utter a peep about China’s degradation of the South China Sea?

Knowing when to keep their mouths shut seems to be the price these organizations must pay to enjoy the good will of Beijing. It’s one thing to offer respectful criticism over Chinese fishing subsidies within the bounds that the Communist Party tolerates as a social safety valve. But it’s another matter entirely to condemn the crimes that China is committing in the South China Sea, a position that would infuriate the Politburo.

 Greenpeace, Conservation International and the WWF all have offices in China. The WWF’s programs to protect the giant panda drive donations globally, and well-heeled do-gooders pay $10,000 per person for panda safaris in Sichuan. Mr. Gomez of the University of the Philippines laments, “Sad but true, money talks.”

As the WWF notes on its website, it operates in China “at the invitation of the Chinese government.” But invitations can be withdrawn. With dozens of Chinese nationals employed on the mainland by the WWF, Greenpeace and Conservation International, the NGOs’ operations in the Middle Kingdom are hostage to the whims of the Party.  [The Wall Street Journal]

The other thing not mentioned in this article is that if groups like Sea Shepherd began operations to interfere with the Chinese dredging and overfishing of the South China Sea the Chinese government would likely have little tolerance for it and imprison the protesters.

Compare the reaction to Japanese whaling of non-endangered minke whales that is closely regulated by an international body to the Chinese destruction of the South China Sea in violation of an international court ruling.  The hypocrisy from major environmental organizations is astounding.

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.

North Korea Welcomes Moon Jae-in Presidency with Successful Ballistic Missile Launch

The Kim regime has welcomed the new ROK president the way they typically do by conducting a provocation:

North Korea fires a medium-range ballistic missile in February in this file photo. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (KCNA-Yonhap)

North Korea launched a ballistic missile Sunday morning from a site north of Pyongyang, South Korea’s military said, as President Moon Jae-in immediately convened an emergency meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) to discuss the issue.

“North Korea fired an unidentified missile at around 5:27 a.m. today from an area in the vicinity of Kusong, North Pyongan Province,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement

The projectile flew some 700 kilometers, it said, adding it’s analyzing more details.

The flight distance suggests a success of the missile test, the North’s first military provocation since the inauguration of Moon last week.  [Yonhap]

The type of ballistic missile has not been disclosed yet, but PACOM has already said that it was not an ICBM.  However, the Japanese are calling this the highest fired missile they have seen yet from North Korea:

Japan’s Defense Ministry said the missile flew for about 30 minutes, reaching an altitude of more than 2,000 kilometers and was believed to have traveled some 800 kilometers before falling about 400 kilometers outside of Japan’s exclusive economic zone, according to the Japan Times.

Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada was quoted as saying that the launch, which was likely conducted at a steep or “lofted” trajectory, could be of a “new type of ballistic missile.” It hit the highest-ever altitude recorded by Japan’s defense authority for a North Korean missile.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

At least one scientist thinks this is a new type of missile that has been tested:

“I don’t believe the missile test Sunday involved existing models, such Pukguksong-2 or Scud-ER, considering its flight distance was about 700 kilometers,” said Kim Dong-yup, a professor at the Institute for Far East Studies of Kyungnam University. “The test appears to be aimed at developing a new type of missile with an improved performance.”

David Wright, co-director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told the Associated Press that Sunday’s launch may have been of a new mobile, two-stage liquid-fueled missile that North Korea displayed during an April 15 military parade to mark that 105th anniversary of the birth of its founder Kim Il-sung

Wright estimated that the missile had a range of 4,500 kilometers if it travelled on a standard, instead of lofted, trajectory.  [Korea Times]

If the range of this missile is 4,500 kilometers that means it is not designed to strike South Korea or Japan which it already has SCUD and Nodong missiles to hit these two countries with.  Instead the only reason to develop a missile with this range would be to strike Guam which would be within its 4,500 kilometer maximum range since it is roughly 3,300 kilometers from North Korea:

This test may be a response to the fact that the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group is supposed to be in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) conducting exercises.

In response to the provocation the Chinese are urging all parties to show the typical “restraint” they always seem to put out after a North Korean provocation.  The United States is trying to play the Russians against the North Koreans after this test since the missile landed close to Russia:

Fox News reported that the White House said North Korea has been a “flagrant menace for far too long” and that Trump “cannot imagine that Russia is pleased” with the latest missile test because the missile landed closer to Russia than to Japan. U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster also condemned the launch in a 25-minute phone call with his South Korean counterpart Kim Kwan-jin and agreed to combine forces towards denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.   [Joong Ang Ilbo]

I doubt Putin really cares, and then in South Korea new President Moon Jae-in wants North Korea to change its attitude if it wants negotiations:

During his first NSC meeting at Cheong Wa Dae, President Moon strongly condemned the launch, saying, “It was an apparent violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and also a serious challenge to peace and security on the Korean Peninsula as well as the international community.”

Moon said he found North Korea’s provocation regretful, citing that it came despite his speech to make full-pledged efforts to bring peace to the peninsula during his May 10 inauguration ceremony.

“I’m strongly warning North Korea, and at the same time, I find its reckless provocation deeply regretful.”

The president said he is open to resuming dialogue with North Korea, but added his government would deal sternly with the North’s provocations to ensure that the reclusive state does “not make a misjudgment.”

“We must show the North that dialogue will be possible only when it changes its attitude,” he said.  [Korea Times]

Good luck with that since people have been waiting decades for North Korea to change its attitude.  As this test proves, a new ROK President promising Sunshine Policy 2.0 is not going to change the nature of the Kim regime.