Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

China On Pace To Dethrone The US

Posted: October 9, 2017 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

 

“Not sure whether China will be nice to self-ruled Taiwan? Wait until after the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party.

What’s in store for the hotly disputed, resource-rich South China Sea, where Beijing has taken a military and technological lead since 2010? Wait until after the Congress.

Coffee maker wouldn’t start today? Wait until after the Congress.

Wait. But you get the idea: This event, due to start Oct. 18, is monumental enough to put a lot of Asia on hold — and make it worry.”

That’s how Ralph Jennings opened his piece for Forbes on Wednesday. Humor aside, the point he’s making is the same one I made at the end of September — that China’s upcoming National Congress is a really big deal.

China sets the regional tone on nearly all matters, as Jennings points out in his article:

“Chinese foreign and economic policies shape much of Asia. China’s ever-growing efforts to build and fund infrastructure around the subcontinent through initiatives such as One Belt, One Road have obvious impact on smaller countries that might otherwise struggle to finance their own projects. Neighbors from Japan to India are watching China for foreign policy cues that affect their iffy diplomatic relations with the region’s major power.”

But China’s geopolitical influence extends far beyond Asia. The country has long been viewed as the rising global superpower on pace to dethrone the United States. Much has been written and said about

China’s willingness to embrace this role as more and more countries turn to it for guidance.

China is highly conscious of this trend. It feels the world’s eyes aimed squarely in its direction and very much wants everything at the upcoming Congress, during which President Xi Jinping is expected to be reaffirmed as leader and appoint his own trusted allies to key positions of power, to go smoothly.

This is why, as I pointed out last month, the Chinese government has implemented a system-wide crackdown – both in the streets and in cyberspace – on political dissent ahead of the Congress. It all goes back to perception and the desire to present to the world the “One China” the country’s government says exists.

But perhaps there’s even more to it than that. It may be that once power is further solidified under Xi at the Congress, China will be ready to fully embrace the role of world leader. On Wednesday, its state-run Xinhua News Agency ran an article titled “China offers wisdom in global governance,” which opened with the following:

“With its own development and becoming increasingly closer to the center of the world stage, China has been injecting positive energy into the international community in pursuit of better global governance over recent years.”

Xinhua writes that China’s leadership ability is already well-established and that even though it’s currently undergoing a restructuring of its own, its vision for the world is one rooted in peace and innovation:

“As the world’s second largest economy and the biggest contributor of global economic growth, China’s innovative concepts on improving global governance and promoting global peace and common prosperity have gained wide recognition and support from other countries.

“Undergoing structural reforms, China is implementing its new concept of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, eyeing a quality growth model driven by innovation.

“Meanwhile, the country is assuming its international responsibility to promote common development with other countries in the interconnected world.”

Continuing, Xinhua points to international acceptance of One Belt, One Road as evidence of China’s ability to take the lead in adapting to the modern era:

 

“The Belt and Road Initiative, building a community of shared future for mankind and the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, all proposed by China, have been incorporated in U.N. resolutions, showing wide international consensus on the concepts.

“Equality, mutual respect and win-win cooperation feature in the Chinese plans, which also safeguard the irreversible trend of globalization.”

This “win-win cooperation” is China’s guiding principle, Hu Angang of Tsinghua University in Beijing, told Xinhua. He even dubbed the philosophy “win-winism,” as the state news organ explains:

 

“’Win-winism’ highlights an open world economy for common development of all countries and joint efforts to address global challenges such as climate change and terrorism, and exchanges of different cultures, said the researcher.”

Xinhua goes on to write that Liu Wei, president of Renmin University of China, says the country has taken the lead by “putting forward new concepts, thoughts and plans to reshape the global governance system.”

With China in the spotlight ahead of the National Congress, it shouldn’t be taken lightly that the superpower would allow such bold language by one of its state mouthpieces. Indeed, it could be that a post-Congress China will be a far more assertive player on the world stage.

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In the 1970’s we heard the earth was going to get so crowded we’d be falling off. Now the panickers have flipped to population decline. They were wrong in the 70’s, so are they wrong again? Is a declining population catastrophic?

Countries from Germany to Japan are investing in mass immigration or pro-birth policies on the assumption that they must import enough warm bodies to stave off economic collapse. I think this is mistaken.

Falling population on a country level is certainly no catastrophe and, indeed, may be positive. I’ll outline some reasons here…

Historically, the first question is why population declined. If it’s the Mongols invading again then, yes, the economy will suffer. Not because of the death alone, but because wholesale slaughter tends to destroy productive capital as well.

On the other hand, if the population is declining from non-war, we have a well-studied natural experiment in the Black Plague. Which is generally credited with the “take-off” of the West. Because if the population declines by a third while capital including arable land stays the same, you get a surplus. Same resources divided by fewer people.

Think of zombie movies where dude’s running around with unlimited resources at his disposal — free cars, riverfront penthouses. That, in diluted form, is what a declining population gives us — more land, more highways or buildings, more resources per person.

Now, if the population’s declining not because of a terrible disaster like the Plague, rather because people simply want fewer children, then you don’t even get the massive hit from losing productive people. A worker dying at 40 takes a lot of productivity with him, while a child unborn isn’t actually destroying anything but hopes and dreams.

So if the Plague was a per capita economic bonanza to Europe, having fewer children should be an even larger per capita bonanza.

Take Germany; before recent rises in immigration, Germans averaged 1.25 children per woman. This translates into a 1/3 decline in population per cycle (i.e every 75 years if people are living 75 years). So without immigration, Germany might expect a 1/3 decline by 2100. Is this good or bad?

The question breaks into 2 parts: absolute number of people, and changes in age composition. On numbers alone, it’s great for Germans; same physical capital, same amount of land and air and water. True there are fewer taxpayers to amortize shared costs like defense, but these costs are small and, empirically, often scale to the population anyway. For example Holland’s military budget and population are both about 1/5 of Germany’s.

So on numbers it’s great — more stuff for fewer people.

Now the second question is age profile. The key here is that a declining population means fewer working-adults to pay out pensions, but it also means even fewer kids. Who are very expensive. The number that captures both is “dependency ratio,” which is the ratio of workers to children-plus-elderly.

To take a real-world example, the UN expects Germany in 2100 to have 68 million people, compared to today’s 82 million — about a 20% decline. The age profile shifts so they expect a third more over-65’s — from 17 to 23 million. Meanwhile, children 14 and under fall from 11m to 9m. So total dependents goes from 28 million today to 32 million in 2100. Meanwhile, population age 15 to 64 goes from 54 million today to 36 million in 2100. Upshot is today a single working-age person supports half a dependent — 54 million carrying 28 million. But in 2100 that worker will support a single dependent — 36 million carrying 32 million. So far so bad, right?

Well, there are 2 big caveats here, both based on long-lasting trends.

First, for over a century now people are not only living longer, but living healthy longer. This is called “health expectancy” and, sticking with Germany, is rising by about 1.4 years per decade.

This implies that 65 year-olds in 2100 will be as healthy as 53 year-olds today. While today’s 65-year-olds are as healthy as 2100’s 78-year-olds. This alone would bring the elderly numbers back down to today’s, but the lower number of children means worker burdens actually decline.

Of course, this would require raising retirement ages in line with health expectancy – 1.4 years per decade – which politicians are obviously deeply reluctant to do.

Second caveat is another long-term trend, economic growth. The irony here is that, from a population growth viewpoint, economic growth is actually the worst-case scenario. Because if the economy crashes instead, then historically the population actually soars — kids become your safety net if the welfare state goes bankrupt. So if we fail to grow, the demographic problem actually solves itself anyway. Either we grow, or population decline was a false alarm anyway.

Quantifying this growth, over the past 50 years Germany has grown 1.65% per year, real per capita. That trends puts a 2100 German worker making 4 times what they do today. Keep in mind this is likely underestimating the benefit, because any outperformance makes Germans richer yet, while any catastrophe probably makes them have more kids.

So, summing up, rising health expectancy implies there will actually be fewer dependents in 2100 Germany, while economic growth implies German workers will be 4 times richer, just on growth alone. The demographic burden plunges by 80% or more.

By the way, if you’re freaked out at the prospect of working an extra 1.4 years per decade, that economic growth alone suggests a 50% decline in worker burdens – twice the dependents on four times the income. So even if politicians are spineless, the welfare burden declines even with more dependents.

Bottom line, whether we look at total numbers or demographically, population decline coming from simply choosing to have fewer kids is nothing remotely catastrophic.

Now, a final point: in a worldwide context, more people does tend to increase investment, therefore innovation and economic growth. This is obvious in the aggregate – there wouldn’t be any factories if there weren’t any humans – but people forget. So, on a world-wide level, we should have a bias towards more humans, while recognizing that, on a country level, a shrinking population is certainly no catastrophe.

 

In an unexpectedly strong diplomatic escalation, one day after China agreed to vote alongside the US (and Russia) during Monday’s United National Security Council vote in passing the watered down North Korea sanctions, the US warned that if China were to violate or fail to comply with the newly imposed sanctions against Kim’s regime, it could cut off Beijing’s access to both the US financial system as well as the “international dollar system.”

Speaking at CNBC’s Delivering Alpha conference on Tuesday, Steven Mnuchin said that China had agreed to “historic” North Korean sanctions during Monday’s United Nations vote. “We worked very closely with the U.N. I’m very pleased with the resolution that was just passed. This is some of the strongest items. We now have more tools in our toolbox, and we will continue to use them and put additional sanctions on North Korea until they stop this behavior.”

In response, Andrew Ross Sorkin countered that “we haven’t been able to move the needle on China, which seems to be the real mover on this, in terms of being able to apply the real pressure. What do you think the issue is? What is the problem?”

 

The stunner was revealed in Mnuchin’s answer: “I think we have absolutely moved the needle on China. I think what they agreed to yesterday was historic. I’d also say I put sanctions on a major Chinese bank. That’s the first time that’s ever been done. And if China doesn’t follow these sanctions, we will put additional sanctions on them and prevent them from accessing the U.S. and international dollar system. And that’s quite meaningful.”

And to underscore his point, the Treasury Secretary also said that “in North Korea, economic warfare works. I made it clear that the President was strongly considering and we sent a message that anybody that wanted to trade with North Korea, we would consider them not trading with us. We can put on economic sanctions to stop people trading.”

In other words, to force compliance with the North Korean sanctions, Mnuchin threatened Beijing with not only trade war, but also a lock out from the dollar system, i.e. SWIFT, something the US did back in 2014 and 2015 when it blocked off several Russian banks as relations between the US and Russia imploded.

Of course, whether the US would be willing to go so far as to use the nuclear option, and pull the dollar plug on its biggest trade partner, in the process immediately unleashing an economic depression domestically and globally is a different matter. So far Washington has been reluctant to impose economic sanctions on China over concerns of possible retaliatory measures from Beijing and the potentially catastrophic consequences for the global economy. Washington runs a $350 billion annual trade deficit with Beijing, while the PBOC also holds over $1 trillion in US debt.

Ironically, the biggest hurdle to the implementation of the just passed sanctions may be the president himself. “We think it’s just another very small step, not a big deal,” Trump told reporters at the start of a meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. “I don’t know if it has any impact, but certainly it was nice to get a 15-to-nothing vote, but those sanctions are nothing compared to what ultimately will have to happen,” said Trump who has vowed not to allow North Korea to develop a nuclear ballistic missile capable of hitting the United States.

Separately, at a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday, Republican Chairman Ed Royce said the U.S. should target major Chinese banks, including Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. and China Merchants Bank Co., for aiding Kim’s regime. Russia also came in for criticism. Assistant Treasury Secretary Marshall Billingslea said in prepared remarks to the committee that North Korean bank representatives “operate in Russia in flagrant disregard of the very resolutions adopted by Russia at the UN.”

While China and Russia supported the latest UN sanctions, officials made clear they were troubled by Haley’s comments in the Security Council that the U.S. would act alone if Kim’s regime didn’t stop testing missiles and bombs. They emphasized the world body’s resolution also emphasized the importance of resolving the crisis through negotiations. “The Chinese side will never allow conflict or war on the peninsula,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in a statement on Tuesday.

In a soundbite late on Tuesday, Japan’s Nikkei quoted prime minister Shinzo Abe who said that “in the end, [the North Korean] problems should be solved through diplomatic dialogue,” adding that Japan will “work together with the international community to apply maximum pressure, so that North Korea commits to perfect, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization.” For Japan to engage with the regime, he stressed it would have to be “on the condition that North Korea commits to” this complete denuclearization.”

Which, of course, won’t happen: “sanctions of any kind are useless and ineffective,” Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters earlier this month at a summit in Xiamen, China. “They’ll eat grass, but they won’t abandon their [nuclear] program unless they feel secure.”

Predictably, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry slammed the sanctions saying it “condemns in the strongest terms and categorically rejects” the United Nations adding more sanctions, North Korea’s state-run KCNA reported on Wednesday morning. Instead, North Korea warned it “will redouble efforts to increase its strength” as it seeks to establish “practical equilibrium” with U.S.

And so, not only is the entire geopolitical circle jerk back at square one, but the ball is again back in North Korea’s court, while the decision on whether or not to launch another ICBM really depends on whether China will give it the quiet go ahead; a China which responds notoriously poorly to being threatened in the global financial arena, like for example when the US threatens to kick it out of the global dollar system…

 

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog

 

Two major hurricanes, unprecedented earthquake swarms, and wildfires roaring out of control all over the northwest United States – what else will go wrong next?

When I originally pointed to the month of September as a critical time, I had no idea that we would see so many catastrophic natural disasters during this time frame as well. Hurricane Harvey just broke the all-time record for rainfall in the continental United States, Hurricane Irma is so immensely powerful that it has been called “a lawnmower from the sky”, vast stretches of our country out west are literally being consumed by fire, and the magnitude-8.2 earthquake that just hit Mexico was completely unexpected. As I have stated so many times before, our planet is becoming increasingly unstable, but most people simply do not understand what is happening.

My good friend Zach Drew posted the best summary of the major disasters that we have been experiencing so far this month that I have seen anywhere…

California is on fire.

Oregon is on fire.

Washington is on fire.

British Columbia is on fire.

Alberta is on fire.

Montana is on fire.

Nova Scotia is on fire.

Greece is on fire.

Brazil is on fire.

Portugal is on fire.

Algeria is on fire.

Tunisia is on fire.

Greenland is on fire.

The Sakha Republic of Russia is on fire.

Siberia is on fire.

Texas is under water

India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, experience record monsoons and massive death toll.

Sierra Leone and Niger experience massive floods, mudslides, and deaths in the thousands.

Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia are crushed in the death grip of a triple digit heat wave, dubbed Lucifer.

Southern California continues to swelter under triple digit heat that shows no sign of letting up.

In usually chilly August, the city of San Francisco shatters all-time record at 106 degrees, while it reaches 115 degrees south of the city. Northern California continues to bake in the triple digits.

(()) Yellowstone volcano is hit with earthquake swarm of over 2,300 tremors since June, recording a 4.4 quake on June 15, 20017 and 3.3 shaker on August 21, 2017.

(()) 5.3 earthquake rumbles through Idaho

(()) Japan earthquake 6.1 possible tsunami.

(()) Mexico earthquake 8.2 imminent tsunami. Beach lines are receded atleast 50+ meters

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma (biggest ever recorded), Jose and Katia are barreling around the Atlantic with 8 more potentials forming

And last but not least an X10 C.M.E solar flare two nights ago. The highest recorded solar flare ever!

 

For much more from Zach, you can follow his work regularly at TruNews.com.

Some are describing what is happening to us as a “perfect storm”, and they are wondering if even more major disasters are coming in the very near future.

Let us hope not, because there is a tremendous amount of concern that we may not be able to pay for the disasters that have happened already. The following comes from Politico…

 

Harvey and Irma could be a breaking point. At $556 billion, the Houston metropolitan area’s economy is bigger than Sweden’s. New Jersey could easily fit inside the region’s sprawling footprint, where Harvey dumped 34 trillion gallons of water, as much as the three costliest floods in Texas history combined. The Harvey response alone eventually could double the $136 billion in government aid spent after Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans.

And as of Friday, an estimated $1.73 trillion worth of real estate was in the path of Irma’s hurricane-force winds, according to the University of Wisconsin’s Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies.

We won’t know the true extent of the damage that has been caused down in Florida for many days, but we do know that much of the state is already without power…

More than 3.3 million homes and businesses and counting have lost power in Florida as Hurricane Irma moves up the peninsula. The widespread outages stretch from the Florida Keys all the way into central Florida. Florida Power & Light, the state’s largest electric utility, said there were nearly 1 million customers without power in Miami-Dade County alone. The power outages are expected to increase as the storm edges further north. There are roughly 7 million residential customers in the state.

In the end, the federal government will likely step in and spend a lot of money that it does not have to rebuild and restore the communities that Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma have destroyed.

But we are already 20 trillion dollars in debt, and it is being projected that we will continue to add another trillion dollars to that total every year for the foreseeable future.

At some point all of this debt will simply become completely unsustainable.

Of course the major disasters will just inevitably keep on coming. As Politico has pointed out, major natural disasters seem to just keep on getting bigger, and they seem to be hitting us more frequently than in the past…

The disasters are arriving with greater frequency. Counting Harvey, the U.S. this year has experienced 10 weather-related events each costing $1 billion or more. The country averaged fewer than six big-dollar storms, flood, fires and freezes a year between 1980 and 2016, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Between 2012 and 2016, however, weather catastrophes occurred almost twice as often.

I know that I have been writing about these hurricanes a lot in recent weeks, and I promise to get back to focusing on the economy in the days to come.

But it is absolutely imperative that we all begin to understand that something has fundamentally changed. Our world has become much less stable, and “apocalyptic events” are starting to hit us one after another.

So will things start to calm down in the months ahead?

A poll conducted earlier this year revealed the majority of Japanese view the US as a threat to Japan, despite playing a less important role in the world than they did a decade ago.
A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in April and May in Japan revealed that the majority of Japanese people view their ally, the United States, as one of the major threats to their country. They also believe the US is playing a less important role in the world than it did 10 years ago. Perhaps paradoxically, however, most of the 1000 respondents still share a favorable view of the US.
According to the poll, 72% have favorable view of the US in general. However, 61% of them see America as being in decline, as compared to a decade ago. Fifty-two percent of respondents named the US as 6th out of 8 major threats to their nation, after cyberattacks from other nations, Daesh and China’s emergence as a world power. Global climate change and economic instability are also among the top threats.
At the same time, only 33% believe tensions with Russia are threatening their country — even less than those concerned with Middle-Eastern migrant influx.
Interestingly, despite the fact that the vast majority of Japanese share an unfavorable view on China, with 63% believing China is a major threat, respondents were split evenly regarding whether Japan should grow strong economic ties with their western neighbor or take a tough stance on territorial disputes: 47% believe trade is a better way to stem the perceived Chinese threat, while a slightly smaller share, 45%, believe confrontation is the solution.
While the Japanese remain skeptical about playing a more important military role in the region, this year’s 29% is a slight increase over previous year figure of 23% of respondents supporting the empowering of the Japanese military.
In terms of Daesh and terrorism in general, the vast majority of respondents (79%) believed military force will do no good in fighting the threat, as it creates more hatred and more terrorists.
Respondents were generally approving of Shinzo Abe’s handling of trade, the economy and relations with the US, South Korea and China. Interestingly, the 52% support for Abe’s economic policies comes along with only 30% of respondents believing the economic situation in the country is good. In 2012, only 7% of people favored the state of the country’s economy.
In terms of the view abroad, the vast majority of respondents expressed confidence in US President Barack Obama during the time of the survey.
“The Japanese retain confidence (78%) in US President Barack Obama to do the right thing regarding world affairs,” the survey reads.

Question:

 Over the years you have made several comments about directional changes and have alluded to the idea that a crossroads is coming in that we will either enter another Dark Age or we will see the light towards greater liberty and freedom. More recently, you mentioned the year 2032 as a critical year in this regard.

 

In addition, you have mentioned that Trump winning the election would postpone the inevitable chaos, but that HRC winning would speed it along.

 

In terms of the distal effects of the November election on 2032, does either Trump or Clinton winning increase the likelihood of entering a Dark Age over something more hopeful? Should we be attempting to kick the can down the road or should we get it over with?

 

Answer:

Hillary is just corrupt and rotten to the core. She represents everything that is wrong with our political economy. Politicians no longer care about the people. Every election promises “change” in some variation.

obama-change-we-can-believe-in

That is admitting something is broken, but it always comes down to the same thing – it’s just about them.

twain-mark-if-voting-made-any-difference-they-would-not-let-us-do-it

Indeed, it was Mark Twain who put it best during the last century: “If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it.” We must understand that this has been an age old battle between the rulers and the people. In Athens where Democracy was born, they constantly fought to seize power back and even made Pericles stand trial. Government has always sought to bribe the people creating a welfare state. The Romans knew that the way to power was to promise everything but give them bread and circuses (sport games) and they could maintain power. It was Decimus I?nius Iuven?lis, commonly known as Juvenal, who was a Roman poet active in the late 1st and early 2nd century AD that wrote that phrase:

… Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses

[…] iam pridem, ex quo suffragia nulli / uendimus, effudit curas; nam qui dabat olim / imperium, fasces, legiones, omnia, nunc se / continet atque duas tantum res anxius optat, / panem et circenses. […]

(Juvenal, Satire 10.77–81)

Nothing has changed. Many people can name every person on some sports team but cannot name their political minister, congressman, or whatever lofty title they call themselves. The judge in a courtroom demands to be called “honorable” as do all public servants. They make a mockery of the very word.

athen550

We are approaching the grave danger of a Dark Age beginning from the aftermath of 2032. Hopefully, I will be gone by then and will not have to face this horrible event. Yet Dark Ages are reoccurring events throughout history and in all cultures. The Greeks endured their between the Homeric Age that marked the end of the Mycenaean civilization around 1100 BC, to the first signs of the Greek cities (poleis) rising again in the 6th century BC (508–322 BC). It was during the 9th century BC (900-801BC) that we begin to see the rise of great cities outside of Greece including Carthage, which was founded by the Phoenicians.

Japan went through its Dark Age, which also lasted about 600 years and the same impact was endured in Europe with the collapse of Rome in 476AD. Dark Ages seem to come in units of 3 so they are 300 or 600 years. The cause is always political corruption.

Japanese-Debasement 760-958AD

In the case of Japan, each new emperor devalued the money in circulation with a decree that it was worth 10% of his new coins. There was no intrinsic value since they were bronze or iron. This process led people NOT to hoard money. Chinese coins were sought after since they would not be devalued. Eventually, nobody would accept Japanese coins and they ceased to be issued for 600 years. People used Chinese coins or bags of rice.

roman-follis-295-348ad

The Roman Monetary Crisis that saw silver vanish by 268AD, was naturally followed by  an attempt to restore the monetary system. A new bronze coin was introduced in 295AD known as the Follis. Again, one 52 year cycle saw its collapse from over 16 grams to under just 2 grams.

zenonis

By the time you come toward the very end of the Roman Empire, you rarely find any bronze and when you do, it is less than an American penny. Coinage is debased because of the corruption in government. Those who think restoring the gold standard would do anything are wrong. Such monetary reforms appear repeatedly throughout history with little lasting impact. The system as we know it is always doomed to failure simply because we are satisfied as a whole with bread and circuses and let politicians run wild in their greed. Hillary is the example for everyone to see.

I will gather all the accounts and this is on my bucket-list of books to complete. We do have a choice. We can understand what is coming and WHY, and perhaps take that first step out of darkness and move into the light of a realistic political system that ends the bribing of citizens and this eternal battle of political corruption. We need a REAL democracy without career politicians. Only then can we hope to advance as a society.

Perhaps it is not a coincidence that on the 15h anniversary of Sept11, China’s navy announced earlier that China and Russia will hold eight days of naval drills in the South China Sea off southern China’s Guangdong province starting from Monday. The exercises, previewed here at the end of July, come at a time of heightened tension in the contested waters after an arbitration court in The Hague ruled in July that China did not have historic rights to the South China Sea and criticized its environmental destruction there. As reported previously, China vehemently rejected the ruling and refused to participate in the case, and has been aggressively pushing an axis that involves Russia to counteract that regional tension which has seen the US spearhead the anti-China quasi alliance.

The “Joint Sea-2016” exercise will feature surface ships, submarines, fixed-wing aircraft, ship-borne helicopters and marines, the Chinese navy said in a statement on Sunday on its official microblog. The two countries will carry out defense, rescue and anti-submarine operations, as well as “island seizing” and other activities, it added.

Among the numerous exercises, which are meant to send a loud message to the US, Japan, Philippines and other “interested” parties who dispute China’s territorial claims on the artificial islands and reefs in the South China Sea, marines will participate in live-fire drills, island defense and landing operations in what will be the largest operation ever taken together by the two countries’ navies, the statement said.

China announced that it had called the “routine” naval exercise in July, saying “the drills were aimed at strengthening cooperation and not aimed at any other country.” One can almost sense the smile on its face as it wrote this.

As a reminder, China and Russia are veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council, and have held similar views on many major issues such as the crisis in Syria, often putting them at odds with the United States and Western Europe. Last year, they held joint military drills in the Sea of Japan and the Mediterranean.

 


Chinese and Russian naval vessels participate in the Joint Sea-2014 naval drill
in the East China Sea, May 24, 2014.

China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion of trade moves annually. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have rival claims. Additionally, China has repeatedly blamed the United States for stoking tension in the region through its military patrols, and of taking sides in the dispute. The United States has sought to assert its right to freedom of navigation in the South China Sea with its patrols and denies taking sides in the territorial disputes.

And this is why the upcoming drills are not just important, they have a massive symbolic significance: Russia has been a strong backer of China’s stance on the arbitration case, which was brought by the Philippines. China’s defense ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said in a July press conference, that China and Russia were comprehensive strategic partners and had already held many exercises this year.

“These drills deepen mutual trust and expand cooperation, raise the ability to jointly deal with security threats, and benefit the maintenance of regional and global peace and stability,” he said.

And, as time goes by, Russia and China will only become closer strategic partners, to the exclusion of the US and Washington’s own Pacific Rim sphere of influence, until ultimately the balance of power shifts so far that a provocation, either real or fabricated by a “superpower”, will be the only recourse to accelerate a reversion to the power mean. Luckily, the US has much experience in precisely the kind of false flag event that will be required.