This Is Probably A Good Idea And Should Be Done Quickly

On Sunday, One America News reported that the Pentagon is considering installing a THAAD system on the West Coast. This is the anti-missile system designed to shoot down incoming missiles.

The article explains:

This comes days after Pyongyang launched a missile it claims is capable of reaching the United States mainland.

South Korea installed the same system in September to protect the nation against possible missile launches from Pyongyang.

This makes sense as a temporary measure. However, it is not a long-term solution. The thing to remember in dealing with North Korea is that any perceived aggression from America will most likely result in a massive attack on South Korea by North Korea. It would be nice to avoid that. China is not really going to help in this situation–they fear being overrun with North Korean refugees. The only real pressure we can put on China is to threaten to arm Japan with nuclear weapons. That will provide a check on China’s quest for increasing power in Southeast Asia, and the threat of that might be enough to cause China to put pressure on North Korea to stop testing nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, it is being reported that the mountain North Korea has been using for its testing has collapsed.

This is a complicated mess left for the Trump Administration by the Clinton, Bush, and Obama Administrations. It may take a while to sort it all out. Hopefully, that can be done without waging war.

The Law of the Sea Treaty in Action

In June 12, I posted a letter from a group of retired senior military leaders stating their reasons for opposing The Law of the Sea Treaty.  The letter lists in detail their reasons for opposing the treaty. The treaty was not ratified. Recent events illustrate the wisdom of not ratifying the treaty.

Today The Center for Security Policy posted a small article about the actual usefulness of the treaty.

This is the article:

The International Arbitration Tribunal of the Law of the Sea Treaty has just ruled that one of LOST’s member states, Communist China, has violated the rights of another, the Philippines. Beijing was found to have no valid claim to the South China Sea, despite its manufacturing and arming of islands throughout the region.

The Chinese have imperiously rejected the ruling and are now in a position forcibly to resist any effort to enforce it.

As I and other critics of the Law of the Sea Treaty have long argued, its restrictions only apply to law-abiding nations. Were the U.S. to join, it would impose real burdens on us. But it cannot on countries like China that routinely breach their treaty obligations.

The stage is being inexorably set for conflict in the Western Pacific. China is preparing for it. And so must we.

We have been warned. Are we paying attention?

Remember When Hong Kong Was Free?

The agreement to turn Hong Kong over to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was signed in 1984. The agreement was actually carried out in 1997.

According to Wikipedia:

The background of the Sino-British Joint Declaration was the pending expiration of the lease of the New Territories on 1 July 1997. The lease was negotiated between the UK and the Guangxu Emperor of China, and was for a period of 99 years starting from 1 July 1898 under the Second Convention of Peking. At the time of the lease signing, Hong Kong Island had already been ceded to the UK in perpetuity under the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842 after the First Opium War, and the southern part of the Kowloon Peninsula as well as the Stonecutters Island had also been ceded to the UK in perpetuity under the Convention of Beijing in 1860 after the Second Opium War.

In the early 1980s the territory and its business community grew concerned about the future of Hong Kong. These concerns, regarding the status of property rights and contracts, were spurred by political uncertainty surrounding the scheduled reversion of the New Territories to the PRC. In March 1979, the Governor of Hong Kong, Murray MacLehose, visited Peking. During this visit, informal talks about the future of Hong Kong began. Upon his return, MacLehose attempted to allay investors’ worries about the scheduled reversion, but reiterated that the PRC asserted its intention to regain sovereignty over Hong Kong. The first formal negotiations began with chairman Deng Xiaoping of the PRC during the visit of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Margaret Thatcher, to China in September 1982.

During the following discussions, where the Governor of Hong Kong took part in every round of formal talks as a member of the British delegation, it became clear that the continuation of British administration after 1997 would not be acceptable to China in any form. The Chinese Government has consistently taken the view that the whole of Hong Kong should be Chinese territory, due to what they perceived as the inequality of historical treaties. As a result, the two sides discussed possible measures besides continued British administration, and came up with the concept of Hong Kong as a Special Administration Region of the PRC. In April 1984, the two sides concluded the initial discussion of these matters, and arranged that Hong Kong would retain a high degree of autonomy under Chinese sovereignty with the preservation of the maintained lifestyle in Hong Kong. By 18 September 1984, both sides had approved the English and Chinese texts of the documents and the associated Exchange of Memoranda.

Part of the agreement stated:

“The [HKSAR] will retain the status of a free port and a separate customs territory. It can continue the free trade policy, including free movement of goods and capital.”

Fox News reported yesterday:

China blocked a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier from arriving at a port in Hong Kong as tensions ratcheted up over disputed islands in the South China Sea, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed Friday.

The USS John C. Stennis and escort ships had planned to visit the port next week, Stars & Stripes reports. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not explain why it denied the request.

“We have a long track record of successful port visits to Hong Kong, including with the current visit of the USS Blue Ridge, and we expect that will continue,” Cmdr. Bill Urban told Fox News. The USS Blue Ridge is a Navy command ship.

President Obama has approximately eight months left in office. China, Russia, Iran and North Korea know that. They will do everything they can to take advantage of a weak President during this time, particularly if they see the possibility that the next President might not be so patient with them. Until we have a strong President, we can expect to be pushed around by the bullies of the world.

Strange Priorities

Yesterday Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line about the upcoming visit to America by the Pope. President Obama will be welcoming the Pope and has made some interesting choices as to who his guests for the occasion will be. These guests include transgender activists, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, and a nun who criticizes church policies on abortion and euthanasia. I would consider the current Pope someone who leans to the liberal side of things, but this is definitely not a tactful move on the part of President Obama.

On Friday, The Washington Post commented:

What struck us as we read about this small controversy is the contrast between the administration’s apparent decision to risk a bit of rudeness in the case of the pope and its overwhelming deference to foreign dictators when similar issues arise. When Secretary of State John F. Kerry traveled to Havana to reopen the U.S. Embassy recently, he painstakingly excluded from the guest list any democrat, dissident or member of civil society who might offend the Castro brothers.

And when Chinese President Xi Jinping comes to the White House next week, shortly after the pope leaves town, it’s a safe bet that he won’t have to risk being photographed with anyone of whom he disapproves. Chen Guangcheng, the courageous blind lawyer, for example, lives nearby in exile, but he probably won’t be at the state dinner. Neither will Falun Gong activists, democracy advocates or anyone else who might, well, give offense.

That is truly sad. You would think that basic manners would prevent this sort of behavior. We really need to think about the character of the people we elect to the Presidency. I truly think this is a character issue. A religious leader certain deserves at least as much respect as a ruthless dictator.

Finally Coming To America

ABC News is reporting that Chen Guangcheng, the blind Chinese dissident who recently escaped to the American embassy in China, is on a plane headed to the United States with his immediate family. There are concerns for those family members left behind in China, but his immediate family is with him.

The article reports on one of the events that took place during the three weeks it has taken for Chen to get permission to leave the country:

As they waited, Chen continued to speak to the press. He voiced his outrage that his nephew, Chen Kegui, had been arrested and charged with attempted homicide.

Chen says he was acting in self-defense after local authorities attacked his house following Chen’s escape. Chen said he had been in regular contact with US.. officials, and he praised their efforts to help him. But he also expressed frustration that the process was taking so long.

I am glad that Chen and his family are being brought to safety. I hope the relatives left behind will be safe.

 

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