There’s a lot of news out there again this week with the May holiday looming. The leaders of the two Koreas met, which has all sorts of positive implications to it, but it’s still anyone’s guess where this is going. Will Trump really meet with Kim? What will he say? Declaring a formal end to a war that ended more than 65 years ago would be nice, but what are the odds Kim would be willing to give up his nuclear deterrent? But the idea of the Koreas talking, creating the illusion of the possibility of re-unification, is heart-warming.
Heat of a different kind in terms of Taiwan and US-China trade. The Chinese conducted round-island military aircraft exercises, and, quite rightly, nobody responded in kind. The Pentagon even issued a statement saying it would not “take the bait.” Taiwan remains our top concern in terms of live war possibilities.
And in other kinds of war, Huawei is apparently being investigated on the same lines as ZTE, which raises the ante significantly. It’s looking grim, and if we were in a betting mood we would say that China would be likely to appear to be the winner in the short term, but not in the medium term.
A key phrase from the 1960s re-emerged this week in a new guise. “Self-reliance” (自力更生) was a phrase from Mao in the face of isolation from both the West and the Soviet Union, and it was plastered all over the country. The phrase rolled out this week is “rely on ourselves” (立足於自己), and the echo is unmistakable for Chinese people over a certain age. But for those too young to remember “self-reliance”, the idea of isolation must still be unsettling. This situation is not necessarily helpful in the medium term to the preservation of peace and unity.