Who do people in Asia-Pacific want to win the US presidential election?

Who do people in Asia-Pacific want to win the US presidential electionTaiwanese people are the biggest fans of Donald Trump but in every other market surveyed Joe Biden is favoured

Last week YouGov revealed that major European countries all wanted Joe Biden to win the US presidential election. This week a look at a selection of eight countries and regions in the Asia-Pacific area reveals a more mixed picture.

Unlike in Europe where every country favoured the Democratic challenger, President Trump does find himself ahead in one place in APAC: Taiwan, where he leads by 42% to 30%.

Chinese military beefs up coastal forces as it prepares for possible invasion of Taiwan

Chinese military beefs up coastal forces as it prepares for possible invasion of TaiwanBeijing is stepping up the militarisation of its southeast coast as it prepares for a possible invasion of Taiwan, military observers and sources have said.

The People’s Liberation Army has been upgrading its missile bases, and one Beijing-based military source said it has deployed its most advanced hypersonic missile the DF-17 to the area.

“The DF-17 hypersonic missile will gradually replace the old DF-11s and DF-15s that were deployed in the southeast region for decades,” the source, who requested anonymity, because of the sensitivity of the topic. “The new missile has a longer range and is able to hit targets more accurately.”

Japan, Vietnam to step up defence and economic ties amid China’s growing influence

Japan Vietnam to step up defence and economic ties amid China growing influenceJapanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc have agreed to step up security and economic cooperation – with Tokyo set to export defence equipment and technology to Hanoi – amid China’s growing influence in the region.

Suga, who is on his first overseas trip since becoming prime minister last month, called Vietnam a linchpin in efforts to realise a “free and open Indo-Pacific” and vowed Japan’s “continued contribution to peace and prosperity in the region”.

Distortions and Omissions

Distortions and Omissions‘A unique, comprehensive account of people beheading one another’ was Liang Qichao’s pithy dismissal of Chinese history writing before 1900. It was only useful to instruct an emperor or a minister, he complained, and had no relevance to the people. Instead, Liang demanded a new way of writing history, one that would give life to a new Chinese nation.

As the most influential Chinese journalist and reformer of his era, Liang’s essay, published in 1902 in the newspaper he edited, put a metaphorical bomb under the old historiography. But it is remarkable that, over a century later, the ‘New History’ that he called for remains the framework through which most people understand Chinese history. At the time he was writing, the territory that we now call China was under the rule of a decaying empire. Liang wanted to replace it with a modern nation state. First, however, he had to define the nation that should inhabit the state.

Who causes the “dangerous” and “worrisome” situation in the South China Sea?

Who causes the dangerous and worrisome situation in the South China SeaOn July 7, 2020, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA)’s website, China Military Online, published an article by Mr. Wu Shicun, President of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies. In his article, this scholar stated that the recent changes in the South China Sea were “very dangerous” and “worrisome” because: 1/ The US provoked “militarization of the South China Sea”; 2/ ASEAN countries including Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia have “colluded” with the US to go “against China”. Judging from what is happening in the South China Sea at the moment, people who are knowledgeable of the current affairs find it true that the South China Sea situation is “very dangerous” and “worrisome”. But the reasons for such “very dangerous” and “worrisome” situation are definitely not what Mr. Wu Shicun said they are. This scholar is deliberately “distorting and bending the truth”. Hence, it is necessary that his arguments be challenged academically.

United Kingdom joins in legal battle over the South China Sea

United Kingdom joins in legal battle over the South China SeaThe Government of the United Kingdom (UK), on 3 September 2020, formally joined in the legal battle over the South China Sea, by issuing a Statement of Position on the legal issues relating to the sea, underlining the importance of 1982 UNCLOS in solving all disputes and calling all parties concerned to abide by the 12 July 2016 Arbitration Award.

Comparing with the 13 July 2020 Statement of the United States and the 23 July 2020 Note of Australia, the Statement of the UK shares the similarities, namely they are based on 1982 UNCLOS and the 12 July 2016 Arbitration Award to reject China’s claims and to oppose to Chinese actions, and at the same time reaffirm the freedom of maritime navigation in the South China Sea. To be more specific:

Peking’s “wolf warrior” diplomacy in South China Sea – “what goes around comes around”

Pekings wolf warrior diplomacy in South China Sea what goes around comes aroundMr. Xi Jinping came to power in Zhongnanhai in 2012 at a time when Peking formally gave up its strategy of “biding its time” and openly pursued the hegemonic ambition and stepped up its assertiveness in an attempt to increase its interests and influence in the world. Peking has more and more fiercely embraced a “wolf warrior” diplomacy, a term that academic and experts circle used to describe the aggressiveness and brazenness of the way China is pursuing its ambition.

Along that line, Chinese diplomats, bypassing all long-existing diplomatic norms, have been demonstrating a superior and arrogant attitude with a view to imposing China’s policy or rules upon other countries regarding almost all matters. China’s “wolf warrior “diplomacy has had a clear manifestation during the Covid-19 pandemic. Right before the start of the Covid-19 crisis, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi instructed his Chinese diplomats to apply a more assertive approach in order to safeguard the interests and reputation of China in other countries.

Opportunities for ASEAN to uphold its role in the South China Sea

Opportunities for ASEAN to uphold its role in the South China SeaChina’s tactic of capitalizing on the Covid-19 pandemic to push up coercion and intimidation against its neighbouring countries to establish total control and monopoly in the South China Sea forces the US to adjust its South China Sea approach in two ways (i) increase the presence of US navy and air force in the South China Sea; and (ii) adopt a clearer and firmer position on China’s claims on the basis of international law.

The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statement on July 13th 2020 marked a milestone in the changes of the US’ South China Sea approach and was in favour of South China Sea littoral states. International analysts opine that such changes will open opportunities for ASEAN countries to fulfil its role in South China Sea dispute settlement because the US position is now convergent with that of the South China Sea littoral states in ASEAN. The convergent position is shown in four aspects:

Indonesia and international law in the South China Sea

Indonesia and international law in the South China SeaDespite not being a directly concerned party to the South China Sea dispute, Indonesia always upholds the rule of law concerning the relevant issues and supports the settlement of disputes by peaceful means provided by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Recently, within only half a month, Indonesia submitted two notes verbales to the UN to take a stand on the South China Sea issue and resolutely decline China’s request to negotiate on maritime issues.

In the recent notes verbales and statements, Indonesia affirms that: (i) Indonesia is not a claimant to the territorial dispute in the South China Sea; their exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or continental shelf does not overlap with any illegal claims by China; (ii) Indonesia highlights the significance of the Award on 12 July 2016 of the South China Sea Arbitration between the Philippines and China; (iii) Indonesia has sovereignty and sovereign rights over the maritime areas in consistency with UNCLOS; (iv) Indonesia urges all parties to respect international law, including UNCLOS.

Mike Pompeo keeps up pressure on China

Mike Pompeo keeps up pressure on China despite cutting short Asia trip after Donald Trumps coronavirus positiveUS Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has cut short his Asia trip after Donald Trump and other senior officials tested positive for Covid-19.

The State Department confirmed he will still visit Tokyo on Sunday, where he will meet counterparts from Australia, India and Japan for security talks between the strategic Quad grouping, seen as a response to growing Chinese power.

However, he has cancelled plans to visit South Korea and Mongolia.

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