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林中斌,〈以色列最大港交中國

accessed October 15, 2018

 

本文為名人堂稿件節錄,附圖參考資料,全文等登載後補上。

 

  九月十七日,以色列百年《國土報》 (Haaretz)爆料:國家最大的海法港將於二○廿一年交給擴建港口的中國公司SIPG經營廿五年。以國海軍潛艇基地,也同是美國第六艦隊的母港,就在旁邊。

  一五年底,瀕臨破產的斯里蘭卡以美元二點九二億的價錢把漢班托塔港交付給中國經營九十九年。西方譁然,控訴中國以「債務外交」對貧窮國家進行「新殖民主義」。

  以色列經濟穩健,過去五年GDP年增長平均為三點五二趴,高於美國的二點一二趴。若有人對以硬套中國用「債務外交」進行「新殖民主義」的說法,行得通嗎?

  爆料的來源是以國前海軍副司令Shaul Horev。場合是八月底在海法大學舉辦的國際研討會。與會的美國國防部及海軍官員說:「如果讓中國進入,貴國海軍便不要指望與第六艦隊仍保有緊密關係。」

  《國土報》並指出:一五年中國公司得標擴建海法港,隨即動工,預期五年完成,之後開始經營。一四年,中國另一公司亦得標擴建以南大港Ashdod,亦已動工。但是,這兩項計畫由以國交通部與港務局推動,並未徵詢國安會與海軍意見。

  巧的是,Ashdod 港旁亦有以國海軍基地。

  一五年六月二日,「天津市商務委員會」在以國首都特拉维夫以英文報導:以國商務部及情報部部長Yirael Katz與中方代表簽訂兩港口交中方擴建經營的計畫。經查詢,Katz部長至今不只仍為情報首長,且任「國安內閣」成員。顯然,這兩計畫並非未經國安考量。是否以高層與中南海有暗盤交易?不得而知。看來Horev將軍不是落於局外,便是另有政治目的。

  這些計畫以國政府低調處理。而《國土報》爆料後,西方主要媒體(多由猶太人控制)無一跟進。

 

作者為前華府喬治大學外交學院講座教授,曾任國防部副部長

 

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" Chinese investment, and influence,
 

in Europe is growing" 


Economist October 6, 2018 pp.15.16.18

accessed October 15, 2018

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cV3OZGovWk

中國在歐洲以經濟、外交,高規格之接待方式手段擴展據點。
據點包括義大利輪胎公司Pirelli、倫敦機場Heathrow,希臘的最大港Piraeus等。

 

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"The War No One Watches"

Time October 15, 2018 pp. 17&18

accessed September 15, 2018

 

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●神學士已打到離Kabul 75英里!美軍及阿富汗官方軍隊企圖奪回剛丟失的Ghazni 苦戰數日無功。

1975越南首都西貢淪陷的結局將很快重演!!!

時代雜誌2018/10/1517&18

●美國已派代表與神學士接觸進行"和平"談判。

華爾街日報 2018.10.12 ("U.S. envoy meets Taliban to push for peace talks" Wall Street Journal October 12, 2018 Courtesy Pierre Sheng)

●別國內戰中,數次美國支持的的政府將要敗於美國反對的"叛軍"時,美國便放棄元來支持的政府,甚至與美國淵來反對的"叛軍"談判。

 

林中斌 2018.10.15

 

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林中斌,〈中日和解 〉

《聯合報》 2018年09月20日

accessed September 25, 2018

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名人堂稿件
日期:20180920 本文字數:1100 目標字數:1100

  日相安倍將於十月下旬正式訪問中國,結束「八年對抗」。但俗稱「中日急轉彎」的發展並非眾料所及。
  二一三年六月廿日,某週刊標題「日本軍事轉向,進攻釣島之戰難免」是當時主流看法。那年二月廿二日此欄拙文「釣島戰爭打不起來」屬異類孤音。 

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  即使安倍本月二日表示「日中關係已完全回到正軌」,十七日東京防衛省證實其二級潛艦已於十三日首次在南海演習,被視為溫和反制中國動作。中國外交部反應含蓄,僅不指名要求「區域外國家勿損害地區和平穩定」。

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  去年六月,安倍一反原先抵制態度,開始對中國「一帶一路」逐漸加溫,先接受、後表態參與、再落實行動。今年七月,日本表示將與中國合作鋪設泰國BTS鐵路。以往日本激烈與中國在東南亞搶標,已首度轉為合作。
  安倍一方面尋求外交獨立,不跟美國,另一方面嚴守與美軍事同盟。他的「和中依美」兩手策略成因為何?近期為川普的多變,長期為習近平的謀略。

 

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川普:

經貿批日,斤斤計較。儘管日本大量投資美國日本在美國生產兩倍於由日輸美的車輛,川普仍抱怨美日貿易逆差(去年七百億美元),也不豁免對日鋼鋁進口稅,並威脅日本若不降低美農作物進口關稅,美將減少在日駐軍以示懲罰。
熱朝冷日,情何以堪?今年華府平壤穿梭外交熱鬧,冷落了日本。東京不安,憂慮美國一旦與朝鮮和解簽約,保護了自己卻棄日安全於不顧。安倍顧問河井克行說:「今年六月川金新加坡會議震醒日本。我們在國安上面臨新的環境。」
習近平:劉亞洲一一年寫道:「美國的亞洲戰略是防止中日聯手。 (美國希望中日)世世做鶴蚌,它永遠做漁翁。只要中日雙方不能超越歷史和仇恨就誰也不能成世界大國。」此思維很可能影響了同為嗜書的太子黨習近平。習掌權後對日採取犀利的兩手策略。
高壓不懈,鬥而不破。無論是一三年宣佈的「東海防空識別區」,或節節升高的軍機軍艦繞行釣魚島,出入日本海,都造成日本莫大的壓力。但習嚴控中國海上力量,上台至今,從未衝撞日船,更未擦槍走火,落人話柄。與之前江、胡時代截然不同。
預留空間,爭取和日。一二年九月日相野田購買釣魚島,引爆中日危機。年底安倍二度登台任相後,便不斷謀求見習,以緩和情勢。習雖矜持但不拒人千里之外。他於一四年十一月臭臉見安倍。之後中日官方互動逐漸恢復。一五年三月,恢復中斷三年的部長互訪,十二月重啟政黨交流。今年五月,李克強為八年來首次訪日之總理。
同時,中日是世界第二、第三大經濟體,經貿互動密切,已各成為對方最大貿易夥伴,僅去年貿易額便增加九點九趴。他們聯手支持經貿「全球化」,無言對抗川普反全球化的主張。
如今,若堅稱安倍仍然「美國優先」挺美反中,恐有自誤誤人之險。
日本對中美也「兩面下注」(hedging)之後,東亞只剩我們最熟知的一國仍在挺美抗中。

 

作者為前華府喬治大學外交學院講座教授,曾任國防部副部長

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Trump to China: ‘I Own You.’ Guess Again.

The New York Times September 25, 2018 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/25/opinion/trump-china-trade-economy-tech.html
accessed Sept. 29, 2018

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作者Thomas Friedman:

"五年以前,中國只有兩家世界最大的科技公司,美國有九個。現在中國有九個,美國有11個。20年前,中國一個都沒有。"

"過去30年,中國飛快成長的公式是:努力工作、解放資本主義、睿智的計畫、長期的教育和基礎建設的投資、還有偷竊技術、強迫技術轉移、和對世界貿易組職規定違規。"

"照過去方式,美國可以用大量的金錢、軍隊、軍艦、大公司、頂尖大學、科學家來抑制像中國一樣的上升強權。但是現在已不可能了。"

 

The Chinese are catching up to the U.S. in many ways, and the president grasps only part of the reason.

By Thomas L. Friedman

Sept. 25, 2018

 

---五年以前,中國只有兩家世界最大的科技公司,美國有九個。現在中國有九個,美國有11個。20年前,中國一個都沒有。

Five years ago China had only two of the worlds largest publicly traded tech companies, while the U.S. had nine. Today, China has nine of the top 20 Alibaba, Tencent, Ant Financial, Baidu, Xiaomi, Didi, JD.com, Meituan and Toutiao — and the U.S. has 11. Twenty years ago, China had none.

 

----人工智慧方面,越多數據,越強。中國人多,產生數據也多,機器的訓練會很強。如果數據是石油,中國是沙烏地阿拉伯。

Because with A.I., the more training data you can feed the machine the faster it learns, the more patterns you can see and the more algorithms you can write to improve products and services or invent new ones. Because China has so many more people than we do, and so many more of them use mobile apps for their daily lives, China’s ability to amass giant data sets and train more machines faster is considerable.

If data is the new oil, then China is the new Saudi Arabia,”

 

----中國公司已經是電腦面相識別聲音識別的世界領袖。

Chinese companies are already the world leaders in computer vision/facial recognition and speech recognition, which can be used for commerce and for surveillance and societal control.

 

----中國有世界第一和第三大無人飛機的公司。

And the No. 1 and 3 drone manufacturers in the world DJI and Xiaomi are Chinese. Frances Parrot is No. 2. At the same time, China is producing far more engineers and scientists than the U.S., and their quality is steadily rising.

 

---- 過去30年,中國飛快成長的公式是:努力工作、解放資本主義、睿智的計畫、長期的教育和淒楚建設的投資、還有偷竊技術、強迫技術轉移、和對世界貿易組職規定違規。

China has grown incredibly these past 30 years with a very specific formula: hard work, unleashing capitalism, smart planning and long-range investments in education and infrastructure — but also by stealing intellectual property, forcing technology transfers and cheating on World Trade Organization rules.

 

----照過去方式,美國可以用大量的金錢、軍隊、軍艦、大公司、頂尖大學、科學家來抑制像中國一樣的上升強權。但是現在已不可能了。

Historically the U.S. could dominate the global scene and check a rising power like China, and set the global rules, with just our sheer physical mass more money, more troops, more naval ships, more top-10 companies, more scientists and more universities. That is just not possible any longer, as China has become both big and smart in more and more areas.

 

Luxury stores in Chongqing, China.CreditCreditThe New York Times

Early in the movie “Crazy Rich Asians” a Chinese-Singaporean father admonishes his young kids to finish their dinner, saying, “Think of all the starving children in America.” I’m sure that everyone of my generation in the theater laughed at that joke. After all, we’d all been raised on the line: “Finish your dinner. Think of all the starving children in China.”

That little line contained within it many messages: The first, which any regular traveler to China’s biggest urban areas can tell you, is that rich China today — its luxury homes, cars, restaurants and hotels — is really rich, rich like most Americans can’t imagine.

The second is that this moment was destined to be a test of who will set the key rules of the global order in the 21st century: the world’s long-dominant economic and military superpower, America, or its rising rival, China. And this test is playing out with a blossoming full-scale trade war.

What does such a test of wills sound like? It sounds like a senior Chinese official telling me at a seminar at Tsinghua University in April that it’s just “too late” for America to tell China what to do anymore on issues like trade, because China is now too big and powerful. And it sounds like President Trump, in effect, telling China: “Says who? Show me what you got, baby!” Or as Trump actually tweeted last week: “We are under no pressure to make a deal with China, they are under pressure to make a deal with us. … If we meet, we meet.”

I guess we should be grateful that this confrontation has been confined to trade, but, as I said, it was inevitable. Because, as one top tech executive pointed out to me: “China is not a ‘near peer’ anymore. It is a peer.”

As Mary Meeker’s latest internet trends study noted, five years ago China had only two of the world’s largest publicly traded tech companies, while the U.S. had nine. Today, China has nine of the top 20 — Alibaba, Tencent, Ant Financial, Baidu, Xiaomi, Didi, JD.com, Meituan and Toutiao — and the U.S. has 11. Twenty years ago, China had none.

 

A shopper using one of Alibaba’s automated checkout features at a supermarket in Hangzhou, China.CreditBryan Denton for The New York Times

Do you see a trend? Do you hear footsteps? The total value of China’s internet economy is already bigger than America’s. And China’s economy now is so cashless that many women no longer carry purses or men wallets — just a cellphone with mobile apps — to buy anything, or even donate to a beggar.

 

And don’t get me started on the biggest emerging work and services tool in the world — artificial intelligence. China’s plan is to catch up to America in A.I. and surpass it as soon as possible, and it’s well on its way. Because with A.I., the more training data you can feed the machine the faster it learns, the more patterns you can see and the more algorithms you can write to improve products and services or invent new ones. Because China has so many more people than we do, and so many more of them use mobile apps for their daily lives, China’s ability to amass giant data sets and train more machines faster is considerable.

If data is the new oil, then China is the new Saudi Arabia,” remarked Kai-Fu Lee, author of “AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order.”

Chinese companies are already the world leaders in computer vision/facial recognition and speech recognition, which can be used for commerce and for surveillance and societal control. In just the last two years there has been an explosion of fintech start-ups in China, offering mobile payments, lending, brokerage and banking. And the No. 1 and 3 drone manufacturers in the world — DJI and Xiaomi — are Chinese. France’s Parrot is No. 2. At the same time, China is producing far more engineers and scientists than the U.S., and their quality is steadily rising.

America today, by contrast, has become the unrivaled world leader in generating data about Donald Trump and from Donald Trump.

In the daily barrage of Trump news and tweets, some Trump statements are actually true, though — like the need for the U.S. to confront China’s unfair trade practices. China has grown incredibly these past 30 years with a very specific formula: hard work, unleashing capitalism, smart planning and long-range investments in education and infrastructure — but also by stealing intellectual property, forcing technology transfers and cheating on World Trade Organization rules.

We have to respond. But wisely.

Historically the U.S. could dominate the global scene and check a rising power like China, and set the global rules, with just our sheer physical mass — more money, more troops, more naval ships, more top-10 companies, more scientists and more universities. That is just not possible any longer, as China has become both big and smart in more and more areas. But all is not lost.

It happens that we have three huge assets that China doesn’t have, and is unlikely to acquire them anytime soon. We should be doubling down on our strengths: immigration, allies and values. Instead, Trump is squandering them.

 

President Trump met with President Xi Jinping of China in Beijing in 2017.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

Many of the smartest and most talented people in the world — high-I.Q. risk-takers — still want to come to our country. And in a knowledge-talent era, where companies thrive by being the first and fastest to put intelligence into everything they make, we should be welcoming more high-skilled immigrants than ever and giving green cards to every Chinese, and other foreign students, who come to America for advanced degrees. China can’t attract the best and brightest Indian, Israeli, Arab, French, Brazilian and Korean immigrants, but we still can. So why would we put out a sign saying “Go Away” or make it harder for their students to stay here?

Also, we have real allies in a way China does not. China has clients, customers and frightened neighbors. It does not have real partners like Canada and Mexico. It doesn’t have the whole Atlantic alliance with the European Union or tight relations with Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Australia — which we can leverage if we aren’t doing stupid stuff, like slapping them with steel tariffs or tearing up the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Finally, as a society, we stand for things — or at least we used to stand for things — values people admire, about the dignity of human beings, the rights of minorities and women and the virtues of freedom and the rules for fair play.

Our nation has never been just a beacon for profit-making, which only measured countries by their trade balance with us. Our values attracted people to our shores and helped us spread our rules onto the wider world. When Trump tore up the TPP trade deal I’m certain that he actually disappointed China’s economic reformers, who wanted to use the pact to create pressures inside China to reform.

In short, a strategic president wouldn’t squander our strengths but would reinforce them by creating a stronger global network of people and countries that share our values. We won the Cold War with a strategy of containment and bankrupting the Soviet Union by outspending the Kremlin on defense. But we will “win” this standoff with China, not by brute force alone, or by containment of China’s giant economy, but by “entanglement” — entanglement of Chinese students with our schools, Chinese businesses with our values, and the Chinese government with our allies. That is, with the broad alliances and global institutions, and their rules of fair play, that we’ve been part of since World War II.

So we have to fight for those rules, and China will fight for its versions. But ultimately, I believe, the U.S. and China together will have to play the role that the U.S. played alone after World War II — to define the rules of the new international order, from A.I. to privacy to trade. And our weight in that process — we must never forget — will depend on the talent we attract, the allies we rally and the values we embrace and promote.

Thomas L. Friedman is the foreign affairs Op-Ed columnist. He joined the paper in 1981, and has won three Pulitzer Prizes. He is the author of seven books, including “From Beirut to Jerusalem,” which won the National Book Award. @tomfriedman • Facebook

A version of this article appears in print on Sept. 26, 2018, on Page A27 of the New York edition with the headline: China’s Being Smart, and Trump Isn’t.

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"Hunker Down"

Economist September 22, 2018 p.12

accessed September 26, 2018

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  這是英國人客觀的看美國對中國貿易施壓。中國的確有犯規。但美國責怪中國的說法並不完全成立。而且美國不但自己經濟受傷,也不能達到削減中美貿易逆差的目的。經濟學人並稱之為"unjust war"(不義之戰/不公平之戰)

倫敦經濟學人922日的社論說:
-- "川普新一輪對中國所加的關稅會對傷害美國目前蓬勃的經濟,也會增加美國的通膨。但大多數美國人不會注意到。"
"President Trump's new tariffs unveiled are likely to damage America's sizzling economy, or to boost inflation by much. Though most Americans will not notice the damage."

-- "白宮說 中國貿易犯規、美中貿易赤字、和美國工業衰退是一回事。 其實,它們不是一回事。"
"The White House may argue that China's abuse of rules, the trade deficit and the decline of American industry are one and the same. They are not."

 

林中斌 試摘譯 敬請賜教 2018.9.25

 

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"J.K. Rowling's friend loves a puzzle"

International New York Times September 20, 2018 pp.1,2

accessed September 25, 2018

 

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  哈利波特的女士作者以男性假名已出版三本暢銷偵探小說。第四本這周推出。大家才發現真相!!!

  Up to now, three best sellers of the detective Cormoran Strike had been published without the public ever having seen a picture of their author Robert Galbraith who, according to J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter's fame was a good friend of hers. As the fourth book hit the market this week, the author has just revealed him/herself J.K. Rowling!!!

 

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"Israel Is Giving China the Keys to Its Largest Port – and the U.S. Navy May Abandon Israel"

Haaretz - Israel News September 17, 2018

https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-israel-is-giving-china-the-keys-to-its-largest-port-and-the-u-s-navy-may-abandon-israel-1.6470527

accessed September 22, 2018

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Has anyone expected this?

以色列將讓中國運作以國最大港口Hafei 25年。

"Dominating Eurasia without war" was in my April 22, 2015 United Daily News piece, and later printed in my Co-authored book "Sunlight Through the Clouds" published in August 2017.

"不戰而主歐亞"(2015.4.22 聯合報名人堂); "不戰而主東亞"(新加坡聯合早報訪問,2004.11.4)

 China has been effectively using "extra-military" instruments on the front with rapidly advancing military capabilities as the backbone, which was not expected by the West. Only in the recent two or three years, the West woke up to the inroads made by China in Eurasia and Latin America not by war but by "checkbook diplomacy", and the West does not know what to do about it except by warning ineffectively the rest of the world of China's "new colonialism".

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"U.S. consumers caught in trade war"

International New York Times September 20, 2018 p.8

accessed September 25, 2018

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"For American consumers, prices have already risen on some products that the administration targeted for tariffs this year-- most notably, washing machines which were subjected to steep tariffs in January"

美國消費者已受洗衣機漲價的影響。其自中國進口關稅是川普今年一月提高的。

"Many buyers are more likely to see big price effects next year than during the holidays"

許多美國消費者要等到明年才會感受到物品大幅漲價的衝擊。

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Vostock 2018/ 東方2018 大演習

Economist September 8, 2018

accessed Sep 17, 2018

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"Russia has all but dropped any pretence of civility with America and Europe; China sticks to the notion of 'win-win relations. Russia arms the Taliban to frustrate America; China seeks to promote a peace deal in Afghanistan."

  倫敦經濟學人98日說:" 俄羅斯跟美國及歐洲已不顧基本的禮貌了,但是中國仍然追求與歐美雙贏。俄羅斯武裝神學士打擊美國,但是中國仍然努力建構阿富汗地和平。"

The largest Russian military exercises since the cold war were held in southern Siberia in which thousands of Chinese soldiers took part as honored guests.

"The West should worry ...because the exercises hold a mirror to America's weakened alliances."

  中俄軍演是一面鏡子,反映了美國與盟國弱化的關係。

"America appears to be complacent, clinging to the conventional notion that the two giant neighbors will never grow too close" (CPL a misjudgement of the U.S.)

  「美國仍然自我感覺良好,深信中俄永不會拉近關係。」(林中斌:美國誤判)

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A difficult diplomatic trip to India

accessed Sep 07, 2018


去年11月,川普見印度總理莫迪後嘲笑後者英文口音。這video在德里瘋狂傳開。
川普告訴莫迪不可買俄國武器,和伊朗石油。逼得印度轉向俄國和中國,但印度以中國為主要威脅。德里陷入兩難。
林中斌 2018.9.7

 

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鐵腕普丁與民共賞諷刺政府節目

accessed Sep 10, 2018


台上表演諷刺俄羅斯官員貪腐享福、人民生活困苦的節目。
台下坐在一般群眾席次的俄羅斯總統普丁,燦爛的與民同笑。
鐵腕統治國家的普丁,無怪享受高達85%的支持度(即使西方民調機構在俄羅斯也獲得同樣的支持數據)
視頻裡貪得無厭的警官,榨乾被罰的汽車司機後,準備離去,於是引述俄羅斯大詩人普希金的名句,以"自圓其貪"。才說第一句,觀眾已爆出大笑。
苦難的俄羅斯民族,靠的是動人的音樂和感人的詩句,度過千百年的外在環境的折磨,而靠堅忍的精神存活至今。
林中斌  2018.9.11

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莫斯科的52座詩人雕像
林中斌 

名人堂稿件
2010.12.6 本文字數:1196 目標字數:1200

賓利是頂級豪華車,一輛一千多萬台幣。俄羅斯在十年前全國一部都沒,去年總數一百零三。
這項時代雜誌十二月六日的報導,令我一震。眼前景象穿過時光隧道,回到十五年前十二月的莫斯科。我站在銀行外排隊。盧布用完,要用美金換。零下溫度,陰雲密佈,雖厚大衣裹身,仍酷寒入骨。
每十五分鐘,軍車載了荷槍實彈的士兵,衝進銀行,背走一大袋現鈔。銀行怕搶,不放心顧客進入,更不放心存放現款。我抬頭看銀行外電子顯示匯率牌:美金一元對盧布六萬多。盧布數字幾分鐘就跳高一次!
那時,前蘇聯剛解體,經濟崩潰,生活困頓,人口損失嚴重,一年幾乎減一百萬!所見到的市民,面色蒼白(營養不良),毫無笑容。
但是,他們衣服樸素整潔,抬頭挺胸,顯露無言的尊嚴。地鐵乾淨,乘客極守秩序。
晚上,我去柴可夫斯基演奏廳,聽音樂。票價不便宜,竟然客滿!
接待我們的人說:「莫斯科一大特色,是歷年來豎立了五十二座詩人雕像。」
心想世界上首都銅像盡是政治領袖、軍事英雄。有那個國家首都豎立數十詩人雕像?俄國詩傳統不過三百年。詩有上千年歷史的中國首都,有多少詩人雕像?
那句話現在回想,依然令我感動。俄羅斯民族稱斯拉夫Slav,其原意就是奴隸slave。這個歷史上已備受鞭躂的民族,再歷經七十年共產黨統治,更沒有自由。共黨政權崩解後,又沒有食物。這些都可以忍。但是不能沒有詩,不能沒有音樂。正因如此,民族的靈魂受苦難而堅韌,潤弦歌而昇華。
我對自己說:俄羅斯將再起!
兩年後,一九九七,我重返莫斯科。車子路過一座建築,金頂閃閃發光。當地朋友高興的告訴我,「基督救世主大教堂」由仍然貧窮的人民集體捐款已重建了。
此教堂在一八一二年拿破崙攻俄失敗後建立,感謝上蒼的庇佑,並紀念為國捐軀的忠魂。一九三一年,被無神論的共產政權爆破,預備樹立巨大的列寧像。後因希特勒進兵蘇聯,全國動員作戰而做罷。此教堂能在經濟蕭條時重建,放射出民族未來的曙光。
果然,一九九八年,俄羅斯經濟便開始谷底回升,一路直線成長到二○○八年,成為金磚四國之一。雖然今年第二季度成長只五點二%,殿後金磚其他三國,卻遠超過美(三點二%)、日(一點九%)、德(三點七%)、法(一點七%)
○○七年,下滑了十年的人口開始止滑。原來侵噬國民生命的問題如酗酒、謀殺已然穩住。
隨了俄羅斯經濟社會復甦,它的外交開始顯露自信,內政展現希望。
七年之後,俄國進入美國後院。那年,俄艦在二戰後首度穿越巴拿馬運河。次年,俄國與委內瑞拉在委國領海舉行海空軍事演習。今年十一月,莫斯科向東西齊頭並進。它宣布將出售給北京本已取消的蘇凱卅五先進戰機,又同意協助以前敵人北約發展飛彈防禦。
九三年,俄國法庭實行陪審制度。被告無罪釋放的比例,由原先一%大幅提昇至卄%。最近,莫斯科市中心首度允許反對黨遊行。政府宣布人民戶口可以自由移動。原先被禁的文學巨著索爾仁尼琴的「古拉格群島」現在為高中生必讀。
偉大的俄羅斯詩人普希金(一七八九至一八三七),如天上有知,應在微笑。

林中斌為淡江大學國際事務與戰略研究所教授

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超越親美親中保持距離

accessed Sep 10, 2018


馬來西亞首位華裔國防部長,道出東亞的中國鄰居都想追求的“兩面下注”(hedging)的外交企望。
林中斌 2018.9.11
 

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中日告別8年對抗

accessed Sep 10, 2018


其實,20176月,安倍有別以往抗拒" 一帶一路",表示將考慮參與" 一帶一路",東京已開始調整日本在美國中國之間的定位:向中方漸漸移動。
如今中日加速接近。
因素:
●.安倍對川普多變不放心。何況川普也對日本開貿易戰。
習近平一直對日留有餘地。可能受劉亞洲多年前便發表的主張影響:中國應向前看,勿受限於二戰之恩怨。因為日本對中國甚為重要。
在下淺見,敬請賜教。
林中斌 2018.9.10

 

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Japan and the US
Watching Him Nervously

accessed Sep 17, 2018

 

日美關係:東京不安的看著川普
The Alliance between Japan and America is under unprecedented stress, mainly because of America's president. There are worries in Tokyo that Mr. Trump might strike a deal with North Korea's leader that protects America but leaves Japan exposed to a North Korean attack.

日本擔心川普會跟金正恩達成協議, 保護了美國,卻讓日本暴露在北韓攻擊的危險之下。
Trump resents spending so much on deployments abroad including on Japan. He is obsessed with America's trade deficits with Japan. Trump has been neglecting Abe while interacting with Kim Jong Un. Trump appears ready to exploit military ties with Japan as bargaining chips in economic affairs.

川普抱怨日本佔美國便宜,因為川普很在意日貿易逆差大。川普跟金正恩熱絡來往,冷落安倍。似乎美國要用美日軍事同盟為價碼逼日本在經貿上讓步。
Abe is now trying to pursue an independent foreign policy separating military and politcal/economic policies

and to improve relations with both Putin and Xi jinping as a balance to the tensions between Tokyo and Washington.

安倍在新情勢下把軍事和政經分離。軍事仍然保持與美同盟。政治外交上,他追尋獨立外交,與中俄交好。

Chong-Pin Lin summary attempted September 17, 2018

林中斌 試摘譯 2018.9.17

 

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出芽(Piping)

accessed July 15, 2018

 

小小觀察,或許有助於露面公眾及國際場合的朋友參考。
*西裝袖口露出其內()襯衫或稱"出芽"應注意:
1.
出芽應不多不少。約1.5公分。
這是歐西社會數世紀的傳統,有其審美莊重的基礎。中國古裝遲至滿清,亦有此特性。"出芽"(piping)一詞中斌借用來自滿族內人家旗袍的縫邊。雖然近十年,美國流行減少出芽寬度,竊以為遲早回回歸基本美學。

2.西裝袖口,穿衣人直立時,外肘邊應比內臂邊長。如此穿衣人彎肘時,如坐沙發時,出芽寬度才均等。

連先生不合格。習先生合格。美防長Jim Matiss合格。

*穿西裝,站立時,扣上鈕。坐下時,不扣鈕。(穿雙排釦西裝例外,站立和坐下都扣鈕)

連先生不合格。習先生合格。美防長Jim Matiss合格。

 

林中斌 2018.7.15

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林中斌,〈 廟算蔡習會
《聯合報》 2018年07月20日
accessed Jul 20, 2018
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    「做為臺灣的總統,我很樂意,而且也有責任與對岸領導人坐下來,好好地談一談。」

    「這是您這一任想完成的目標…之一?」
    「我當然希望在我做總統的任內,雙方能夠有機會坐下來談…」

    以上是今年六月廿四日蔡英文總統對法新社記者的回答。

    她為何如此明白的表達想在所餘任期不足兩年內見習近平主席?

一些線索顯露在六月十七日由前研考會副主委民進黨員游盈隆博士創立並主持的「台灣民意基金會」所公佈的民調中:

●小英危機:不贊同蔡總統施政的從去年十一月的卅九點八趴上升至歷史新高五十二趴。

●賴揆失分:對賴院長清德施政不滿意度由去年十月廿一點四趴上升至四十三點四趴新高,首度超越滿意度四十二點四  趴。

●政黨乏力:支持民進黨的佔廿三點一趴,國民黨廿三趴。幾乎打平。

●中間升起:認同民進黨佔廿九點五趴,國民黨廿三點二趴。但中性選民高達四十三點七趴。

●對中好感:人民對中國好感不高,只多於北韓及菲律賓,達四十八點八趴,但首度超越反感四十三點九趴!而去年十一月,好感四十四點四趴,低於反感四十七點四趴。

    既然台灣民意對執政黨如此不利,面對年底縣市長選舉,甚至二○廿年總統大選,兼任黨主席的蔡總統必須有所作為,否則要面臨扛敗選責任而辭去黨主席成為「陽春總統」的窘境。改善國內經濟社會問題短期難顯效果,緩不濟急。最快見效的應是兩岸政策的說詞和姿態(有別於兩岸政策實質)的調整。既然樂見兩岸平穩的中性選民壯大,對蔡總統選情加分最有把握的應是呼籲在「對等和沒有設政治前提的情況下」與習主席見面。

    蔡總統拋出「蔡習會」建議十天後,她麾下成員亦開始跟進。慣稱對岸「中國」的賴院長於七月三日公開致詞說「政府歡迎大陸觀光客來台旅遊」。

    七月十五日「台灣民意基金會」民調顯示不贊同蔡總統施政的比例已下降三趴至四十九趴。雖然人民對民進黨認同繼續下降,從五月卅六點七趴,經六月廿跌至七月廿點七趴。但是人民對國民黨認同更無起色,從五月廿一點九趴,經六月廿三點二趴至七月廿點七趴。寄望十一月縣市長選舉國民黨大規模翻盤,恐怕將落空。

    北京自去年起發動更犀利的軟硬兩手策略。軟的是完全操之在它的惠台措施:針對台灣科技人才、青年學子、一般民眾。硬的是機艦繞台、斷交施威、國際封殺的心理施壓。前者贏取台灣民心,後者雖然嚇阻台獨但失去民心。關鍵是孰強孰弱?

六一七的民調提供答案:贏多於失。但目前幅度尚不夠影響台灣選舉使台北兩岸政策轉向大陸。相較於江澤民、胡錦濤兩岸互動的成績,習將面臨執政十年對台政策交白卷的難堪。否則,他必須面對蔡,而回應蔡六二四的拋球是第一步。

    然而,北京認為蔡九二共識尚未交卷,斷了官方互動。習用擦邊球回應蔡。

這也許是三次一年一度連習會後,擱置三年,又再啟封的苦衷吧。

 

    作者為前華府喬治大學外交學院講座教授,曾任國防部副部長

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林中斌,〈美國選舉:多數服從少數〉
《聯合報》 2018813
accessed Sep 03, 2018
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    兩年前美國大選,民主黨希拉蕊多得三百萬票,相當於總票數二點一趴,卻敗給共和黨的川普。更早在公元兩千年,民主黨總統候選人高爾得票多贏○點五趴,卻敗給共和黨小布希。兩次當選的共和黨總統得票都少於落選對手。為何?

    全世界其他五十八個直選總統的民主國家,沒有一個像美國候選人得票少反而當選總統。這現象在美國之前也不常見。美國上次得票少卻當選總統是一八八八年(Benjamin Harrison)。近來只隔十六年又重演。為何?

    此外,美國從○八年以來,在參議院、眾議院、州長、以及各州立法機構的選舉,共和黨經常贏過民主黨。雖然民主黨候選人得票多,但敗選。為何?

    以上現象根源有二:

    ●開國元勳善心。兩百多年前,美國立國的先賢擔心都市選民知識高、財富多因此在政治影響力上比鄉村選民佔優勢。為公平起見,鄉村公民的選票應該多算,都市公民的選票應少算,來補償城鄉影響力的差距。

    選舉美國總統雖然由全國選民參與,但最後是由五百卅八選舉團員決定,得票超過其半數,便當選。川普一六年底得三百○四張選舉團員票而進白宮。

    美國加州人口最多,有三千七百萬。加州選舉團員票有五十五張,每張票代表七十一萬人。人口最少的懷俄明州,有三張選舉團員票,每張票代表十九萬人,幾乎是加州的四分之一。所以懷俄明州人民在選總統上影響力上幾乎是加州人民的四倍。比起曠野無垠的懷俄明州,有舊金山、洛杉機大都會的加州選民,正是開國元勳要限制其政治影響力的對象。

    美國一百位聯邦參議員,地位高於四百卅五位的聯邦眾議員。美國五十州每州選出兩位參議員。懷俄明州五十六萬人口,一位聯邦參議員代表廿八萬州民。而加州三千七百萬人口,一位聯邦參議員代表一千九百萬州民,是懷俄明州廿八萬的六十六倍。也就是說,懷俄明州每位州民在聯邦參議院的影響力是加州州民的六十六倍!

    ●兩黨城鄉分化。數十年以前,美國共和黨與民主黨成員各自擁有都市與鄉村的人口。都市人口傾向自由派,鄉村人口傾向保守派。當時兩黨各有自由派和保守派。但近幾十年來,共和黨成員逐漸鄉村化;民主黨都市化。於是以鄉村為主的共和黨選民,總人數雖少於民主黨,投票的政治影響力持續增加,超過民主黨。反智而保守的選民已佔優勢。

意涵有二:

    ●共和黨政治優勢。三權分立的美國,目前共和黨已入主白宮主導行政,掌控國會主導立法,很可能即將主導司法。七月九日川普總統提名極為保守的Brett Kavanaugh為大法官接替立場居中的退休大法官Anthony Kennedy。最高法院九位終身職的大法官,自由派主導了卅年的將結束。

    ●政黨惡鬥常態化。美國國父華盛頓曾警告:「在報仇心態驅使下,黨派交替掌權,是可怕的暴政。」最近重要法案如歐巴馬健保,和川普減稅,都是兩黨壁壘分明下鬥爭通過的,埋下反對黨一旦執政將設法廢除的種子,陷政府於分裂。

 

作者為前華府喬治大學外交學院講座教授,曾任國防部副部長

 

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林中斌,〈妙齡女創造科學怪人〉

《 聯合報》 2018年8月28日 頁 A15
accessed Sep 03, 2018

40390542_2069905173040888_5767035854593720320_o.jpg

 

二○一八是小說《科學怪人》(Frankenstein)問世兩百周年。

    故事:一位科學家在實驗室中意外的創造出聰明、醜陋的巨人。科學家在親人一一為怪物殺害後也步上被毀滅的後塵。
    這本小說從未絕版過,而且它版本之多為所有小說之冠。一三年英國《衛報》 (Guardian)列它為世界一百本最佳小說中第八名。改編成無數舞台劇之外,至今它已拍成五十六部電影,下一部明年將上映。它反映出每一個世代人們對科技創新的不安和期望。

    它的魅力跨越時間,以及空間。二○一四年,在戰火摧殘的敘利亞,居然出現得獎的阿拉伯文小說《巴格達的科學怪人》(Frankenstein in Bagdad)

    今年年初,紀念《科學怪人》兩世紀的生日,已有四本專書出版,研究它文學、心理、哲學、社會的意義。

    它被譽為現代科幻小說之鼻祖,其影響力甚至跨入科學。今年美國National Science Foundation特地資助印行為科學家、工程師、和所有創新者所編的版本(Frankenstein: Annotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds)。科學期刊Science也在今年一月出版特刊及專文(The Long Shadow of Frankenstein)討論此書至今為何仍為科學家所必讀。無情冰冷的科學如何和有情熱血的人類共處?人類的科學發明又如何不會毀滅人類?這些議題隨了人工生命、基因改造、機器人等的出現愈形重要。

    小說《科學怪人》如何誕生?

    一八一六是歐洲歷史上「無夏日之年」。那是一七九○至一八三○年「道爾頓小冰河期」(Dalton Minimum)寒冷的極致。剛好又碰上印尼火山(Tambora Mount)爆發,火山灰長期遮蔽太陽,各地長久不見天日。六月中某晚,在陰雨綿綿的瑞士日內瓦湖畔,一座考究的別墅內,五位英國俊男美女,應景當時詭異的氣氛,比賽講恐怖故事。

    出題目的是廿八歲的主人拜倫男爵,浪漫派大詩人,當時已經享譽歐陸。

    在座的另一位是拜倫好友廿四歲的雪萊,浪漫派名詩人和作家。

    第三位是廿歲的醫生,拜倫仰慕者(John Polidori)

    第四位是十八歲的瑪麗˙高德溫。她文雅秀麗,思想前瞻,十六歲已與雪萊私奔巴黎,一八一六年底將成為雪萊妻子。

    第五位是瑪麗的繼妹Clare Claremont

40272864_2069923799705692_2572991091716390912_n.jpg40326714_2069923806372358_1684930775620780032_n.jpg40358157_2069923876372351_2774719688360329216_n.jpg40325390_2069925629705509_7604757012278149120_o.jpg


這比賽產生了兩本傳世的小說:Polidori醫生的《吸血鬼》(The Vampire) 和瑪麗˙雪萊的《科學怪人》。後者當時贏得比賽。
    瑪麗的父親是新潮哲學家William Godwin。母親是女權運動先驅Mary Wollstonecraft,曾憧憬法國大革命,前往巴黎目睹恐怖的暴民,失望而歸。家庭環境自幼薰陶,妙齡瑪麗的智慧早已超越了一般的想像。母親生下瑪麗後,染病而亡,種下瑪麗心靈上的陰影。創造她的母親因她而死,有如創造怪人的科學家毀於怪人之手。巴黎街頭的叛亂和仇恨,由瑪麗的筆注入怪人的性格。

 「我本善良,因醜而受苦,淪為惡魔。請設法使我快樂,我會回歸純潔。」怪人告訴科學家。後天環境決定我們的善惡,這才是作者的深意。

    《科學怪人》開始用筆名發表。一八三一年第三版才用真名,評論家駁斥不可能為女性所著!

    那時,拜倫因參戰而病死希臘七年。雪萊已辭世九年。瑪麗將守寡一生直至一八五一,享年五十四。

 

作者為前華府喬治大學外交學院講座教授,曾任國防部副部長

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北京仍孤立於東亞?

accessed October 25, 2017

★此篇拙作共1,100字花3天2017.12.21-23寫成寄給聯合報。之後,再寄修成稿3次2017.12.23-24。
★此篇參考共61項資料(請見所附圖2),包括53份剪報掃描檔,和8份下載文字資料。
★拙作文字檔貼在下方。另有兩篇英文資料附在拙作下方:
-- Richard Heydarian, "China's Regional Isolation" Al Jazeera November 23, 2015
-- "China Scores Diplomatic Coup in Sea Row" Agence France-Presse August 7, 2017

敬請賜教。
林中斌 2017.12.25

北京仍孤立於東亞?
林中斌
名人堂稿件
日期:20171223 本文字數:1100 目標字數:1100

「中國在東亞被孤立…鄰居紛紛倒向美國尋求保護。」二○一五年十一月,菲律賓學者R.Heydarian投書半島電台寫道。
兩年後的今日,情況如何? 
●日本:鮮明抗中的首相安倍今年十一月,翻轉原來抵制態度,表示願意參與中國「一帶一路」建設,並力邀習近平明年訪日。當月底,派二百五十人的「聯合訪華團」擴大經濟交流。十二月四日,他稱中日對「一帶一路」可「大力合作」。
●新加坡:總理李顯龍九月下旬選擇先訪中再訪美,修補去年因李力挺不利北京的「南海仲裁案」而惡化的中新關係。早先六月,李一改之前冷淡態度,宣佈支持「一帶一路」。
●印度:今年六月,中印雙方軍隊於邊境洞朗地區開始對峙,八月結束。總理莫迪於九月三日上午,任命西塔拉曼女士為國防部長,取代號稱能打兩個半戰爭的前任,隨後於傍晚趕抵廈門參加習近平主持的「金磚五國峰會」。西塔拉曼十月七日前赴邊境,向中國軍隊合什問候並友好互動。八月底,印度邊防部隊開始要求士兵學會五、六十句中文,以避免雙方誤會並解決對抗。
●菲律賓:菲國為美國軍事同盟。其總統杜特蒂一六年六月底就任後,擱置同年七月公佈不利北京的「南海仲裁案」。這是他前任要求國際法庭審理的。他公開罵過美總統歐巴馬和美大使,已經兩次訪中。同年十一月,美國停售菲反恐用的步槍。他轉向中、俄求助。北京捐贈他兩批射程一公里的狙擊步槍,一七年五月他賴以收復伊斯蘭叛軍控制的菲國南部。同年二月,他要求中國軍艦協助打擊菲南部海盜,曾禁美國使用菲國港口,直到七月都不派駐美大使。
●緬甸:一一年,歐巴馬來訪,是歷史上首位訪緬的美國總統。美緬關係上升,中緬關係下降。同年,緬甸取消中國密松水壩計畫。西方力挺的民主鬥士昂山蘇姬,其政黨一五年贏得大選。她次年出任國務資政,相當於國家元首。之後,情形逆轉。至今她已兩次訪中,一次取消華府邀請。密松水壩計畫一六年恢復。一七年,她同意中國建造皎漂港,駐點印度洋。同年,她支持軍方鎮壓羅辛亞人民反抗,被美國譴責。而中國力挺她,並協助斡旋孟加拉協助解決問題。她更親中遠美。
●其他東協國家:一七年八月初,東盟外長會議達成「南海行為準則」架構。前述R. Heydarian認為:「這是中國外交大勝利。」英國南海專家B. Hayton表示:比起○二年的決議,這架構的文字有利中國甚多。對東協,北京的確下功夫。美國盟友泰國向它買潛艇。它幫印尼造高鐵。它也幫馬來西亞造高鐵,花四十億元美金承建皇京港。
●斯里蘭卡:本月初,漢班托港經營權移交中國。年初,新總理反對親中前總理所安排之本計劃,終於還是接受。
以上意料外變化原因為何?
●川普總統的「美國(國內)優先」政策令東亞國家不敢放心。
●北京的「支票外交」搭配「鬥而不破」的手段奏效。
東亞局勢板塊移動,台灣能不未雨綢繆?

作者為前華府喬治大學外交學院講座教授,曾任國防部副部長,甫發表新書《撥雲見日:破解台美中三方困局》

 

 

 

China's regional isolation
http://www.aljazeera.com/…/china-regional-isolation-1511221…accessed Dec. 20, 2017
ASEAN summit saw member countries pushing for a legally binding 'code of conduct' in the South China Sea as a way to constraint China's territorial assertiveness in the area, writes Heydarian [AP]
On the surface, China looks nothing short of an Asian juggernaut. It boasts Asia's biggest economy, having eclipsed Japan in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, and is poised to become the world's biggest in the near future.
It is already the world's largest trading power, having overtaken the United States in 2013. And within a relatively short period, China has emerged as a leading investor, particularly in the realm of infrastructure development, across the global south and beyond.
Unlike Japan, China is a comprehensive power, which isn't bedevilled by constitutional restrictions on the development of its offensive military capabilities. Flushed with cash and ambition, China has rapidly caught up with leading military powers, now boasting two operational fifth-generation jet fighters, an aircraft carrier, and sophisticated asymmetrical area-denial/anti-access (A2/AD) capabilities.

ASEAN summit leaders meet in Kuala Lumpur
No wonder then, that leading naval experts such as James Holmes have described China as "a near-peer [military] competitor vis-a-vis the United States" in East Asia.
And yet, one can't escape the impression that China is suffering increasing diplomatic isolation due to its aggressive manoeuvres across contested waters such as the South China Sea.
Not to mention that China's recent economic troubles, ranging from massive stock market crashes to declining manufacturing exports, have chipped away at its long-held image as a beacon of capitalist success.
Conscious of growing worries over China's economic health, Chinese President Xi Jinping, in his keynote speech during the APEC summit, was adamant that his country's economy is strong, resilient, and dynamic.
All of a sudden, China has been on the diplomatic back foot, while the US and its allies have been confidently pushing for greater regional unity to ensure freedom of navigation and maritime security in the Asia-Pacific region.
The elephant in the room
China's weakened regional position was evident during the recently concluded Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summits.
Without a doubt, China is expected to stand its ground and further consolidate its territorial claims in adjacent waters. But it is also clear that Beijing is no longer seen as a fully benign, peacefully rising power by many of its neighbours.

Confronting criticism over its territorial assertiveness in adjacent waters, China desperately sought to eliminate any multilateral discussion of the South China Sea disputes.
Fearful that the Philippines, this year's APEC host and China's rival claimant state, would use the event to diplomatically confront Beijing, Xi refused to confirm his participation until the 11th hour, and making it conditional on the host's agreement to brush aside the maritime disputes during the APEC summit.
Before Xi's highly anticipated visit, China dispatched Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Manila to warn the Philippines against embarrassing his boss. In effect, Beijing tried to influence the summit's agenda so that no dark shadow would be cast on its image.
To secure Xi's participation, and to bolster its credentials as a magnanimous host, Manila promised not to mention the disputes in the main agenda of APEC, and extended a warm welcome to the Chinese leader.
Allies chip-in
After all, Xi's visit would mark his first to the Southeast Asian country, potentially paving the way for the resuscitation of long-frozen high-level contacts between the two countries. As the leader of the second biggest economy in the Asia-Pacific region, Xi's presence was considered as essential to a successful APEC summit.
Though China managed to block any discussion of the disputes in the APEC's main statements, the Philippines did bring the issue to the fore in its bilateral engagements on the sidelines of the summit.
________________________________________
Shortly after landing in Manila, US President Barack Obama made a highly symbolic visit to the Philippines' flagship naval vessel BRP Gregorio del Pilar. He reiterated the United States' "ironclad commitment" to its alliance with the Philippines, pledging to donate two vessels and an increase in overall maritime security assistance to the country.
Both countries emphasised the centrality of freedom of navigation to regional security. For the US and its allies, China's massive reclamation activities and increased military presence across the South China Sea poses threats to freedom of navigation in one of the world's most important sea lines of communications.
Regional pushback
Vietnam, another maritime rival of China, also signed a strategic partnership agreement with the Philippines, which deepens diplomatic, legal, and naval cooperation between the two Southeast Asian countries against China. The new agreement was meant to signal to Beijing that its rivals in the South China Sea were forming a counter-alliance.
The Philippines signed a new military deal with Japan as well, another regional power that has been perturbed by China's maritime assertiveness. Under the latest deal, the Philippines is expected to benefit from greater military aid from and more regular joint naval exercises with Tokyo.
________________________________________
________________________________________
Other regional powers such as Australia, South Korea and even Russia, offered greater military assistance to the Philippines, which has been caught in a precarious maritime dispute with China.
Earlier this month, an anxious China went so far as sabotaging a high-level talk among regional defence ministers, the ASEAN Defence Minister Meeting-Plus, by refusing to sign up to a joint statement that would have covered the South China Sea disputes.

Yet, to China's dismay, the recently concluded ASEAN summit saw Southeast Asian foreign ministers pushing for a legally binding "code of conduct" in the South China Sea as a way to constraint China's territorial assertiveness in the area.
Without a doubt, China is expected to stand its ground and further consolidate its territorial claims in adjacent waters. But it is also clear that Beijing is no longer seen as a fully benign, peacefully rising power by many of its neighbours, who have increasingly gravitated towards the US as the supposed guarantor of regional security in Asia. (CPL
Ironically, the trend has overturned by December 2017)
Richard Javad Heydarian is a specialist in Asian geopolitical/economic affairs and author of Asia's New Battlefield: US, China, and the Struggle for Western Pacific.
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

China scores diplomatic coup in sea row
Agence France-Presse / 07:07 AM August 07, 2017

http://globalnation.inquirer.net/…/china-scores-diplomatic-… accessed December 22, 2017

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks during a press conference on the sidelines of the 50th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) regional security forum in Manila on August 6, 2017. AFP
China on Sunday scored a diplomatic coup in its campaign to weaken regional resistance against its sweeping claims to the South China Sea when Southeast Asian nations issued a diluted statement on the dispute and agreed to Beijing’s terms on talks.
After two days of tense meetings on the dispute in the Philippine capital, foreign ministers from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) issued a joint communique that diplomats involved said was carefully worded to avoid angering China.
The release of the statement came shortly after the ministers met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and agreed on a framework for conducting negotiations on the decades-long row that included key clauses advocated by China.
“This is an important outcome of our joint effort,” Wang told reporters as he celebrated the agreement.
China claims nearly all of the strategically vital sea, through which $5 trillion in annual shipping trade passes and is believed to sit atop vast oil and gas deposits.
Its sweeping claims overlap with those of Asean members Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei, as well as Taiwan.
China has dramatically expanded its presence in the contested areas in recent years by building giant artificial islands that could be used as military bases, raising concerns it will eventually establish de facto control over the waters.

Duterte thanks China again for its help during 5-month Marawi siege
In what two diplomats involved said was another victory for Beijing on Sunday, Asean members declined to say in their joint statement that the hoped-for code of conduct with China be “legally binding”.
Vietnam, the most determined critic of China on the issue, had insisted during two days of negotiations that Asean insist the code be legally binding, arguing otherwise it would be meaningless.
The Asean ministers failed to release the joint statement as expected after meeting on Saturday because of their differences on the sea issue, with Vietnam pushing for tougher language and Cambodia lobbying hard for China.
“Vietnam is adamant, and China is effectively using Cambodia to champion its interests,” one diplomat told AFP on Sunday as negotiations extended into overtime.
Consensus struggle
Tensions over the sea have long vexed Asean, which operates on a consensus basis but has had to balance the interests of rival claimants and those more aligned to China.
Critics of China have accused it of trying to divide Asean with strong-armed tactics and checkbook diplomacy, enticing smaller countries in the bloc such as Cambodia and Laos to support it.
The Philippines, under previous president Benigno Aquino, had been one of the most vocal critics of China and filed a case before a UN-backed tribunal.
The tribunal last year ruled China’s sweeping claims to the sea had no legal basis.
But China, despite being a signatory to the UN’s Convention on the Law of the Sea, ignored the ruling.
The Philippines, under new President Rodrigo Duterte, decided to play down the verdict in favour of pursuing warmer ties with Beijing. This in turn led to offers of billions of dollars in investments or aid from China.
“It’s clear that China’s pressure on individual Asean governments has paid off,” Bill Hayton, a South China Sea expert and associate fellow with the Asia Program at Chatham House in London, told AFP.
Hayton and other analysts said the agreement on a framework for talks on Sunday came 15 years after a similar document was signed committing the parties to begin negotiations.
The 2002 document was more strongly worded against China.
China used those 15 years to cement its claims, while continuing to get Asean to issue ever-weaker statements of opposition, according to the analysts.
“It would appear China has never lost in terms of seeing the language of Asean forum statements being toned down,” Ei Sun Oh, adjunct senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, told AFP.
Philippine academic and security analyst Richard Heydarian expressed stronger sentiments as he summarized Sunday’s developments: “Overall it’s a slam dunk diplomatic victory for China”. CBB

 

 

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