|Asia News Digest
Baiting of China by the Kerry-McCain Duo
July 19 (EIRNS)Continuing with their irresponsible and dangerous alliance, as in their (now-dead) resolution authorizing the unconstitutional Libya War, Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Sen. John McCain, the Ranking Republican on the committee, have sent a letter to Dai Bingguo, China's top foreign policy official, ahead of a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)'s foreign ministers and their dialogue partners this week. The letter warns China that recent naval clashes with its neighbors in the South China Sea could jeopardize U.S. "national interests" in the region, comments that are likely to rankle Beijing.
"We are concerned that a series of naval incidents in recent months has raised tensions in the region," the letter said. "If appropriate steps are not taken to calm the situation, future incidents could escalate, jeopardizing the vital national interests of the United States," the letter added, reports the London Financial Times. It is a near-certainty that China will read the comments as a provocation.
The South China Sea includes vital sea lanes for most of Northeast Asia's oil imports and other trade with Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India, and Southeast Asia. China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan claim all or parts of the area, but China's claims are the most extensive.
At the Shangri-La Dialogue regional defense summit in Singapore in June, Robert Gates, then U.S. Defense Secretary, had exhibited his understanding of the situation and had taken a reasonable position on this vis-à-vis China, which partly reflected a desire not to harm improved relations between the two countries.
Japan's Cabinet Ridicules Prime Minister Kan's Nuclear Statement
July 23 (EIRNS)Japan's Industry Minister, Banri Kaieda, in remarks before the House of Councillors, the upper house of Parliament, was openly dismissive of Prime Minister Naoto Kan's anti-nuclear stance. At a budget committee appearance, he characterized Kan's statement calling for the elimination of nuclear power, which he made without any intra-government discussion or consensus, as "words that are not based on the concerted view of the Cabinet," but rather, "words of a private person. They carry less weight than a bean goose feather."
Kaieda also pushed forward Japan's drive to export nuclear technology, as the Prime Minister seemed determined to sabotage major agreements with Turkey and Vietnam.
There have been shockwaves across the world among nations with nuclear power plants, and those wishing to develop nuclear power, at Kan's statements, since Japan is the only independent builder of nuclear containment vessels and other key nuclear components.