With North Korea’s missile launch yesterday, debate has emerged as to whether China was either unwilling or unable to stop the launch. AsiaPundit believes there is some truth to both arguments, but the former is more probable.
Pyongyang cannot be prevented from doing anything — even something that goes against its own interest. As dependent as North Korea is on Beijing and Seoul, it is not a client state.
That said, if this Strategy Page report is to be believed, China’s influence over the rogue state is even less than AP had previously imagined.
…(Chinese) food and fuel supplies sent to North Korea have been halted, not to force North Korea to stop missile tests or participate in peace talks, but to return the Chinese trains the aid was carried in on. In the last few weeks, the North Koreans have just kept the trains, sending the Chinese crews back across the border. North Korea just ignores Chinese demands that the trains be returned, and insists that the trains are part of the aid program. It’s no secret that North Korean railroad stock is falling apart, after decades of poor maintenance and not much new equipment. Stealing Chinese trains is a typical loony-tune North Korean solution to the problem.
If the North Koreans appear to make no sense, that’s because they don’t. Put simply, when their unworkable economic policies don’t work, the North Koreans just conjure up new, and equally unworkable, plans. The Chinese have tried to talk the North Koreans out of these pointless fantasies, and for their trouble they have their trains stolen. How do you negotiate under these conditions? No one knows. The South Koreans believe that if they just keep the North Korean leaders from doing anything too destructive (especially to South Korea), eventually the tragicomic house of cards up north will just collapse. Not much of a plan, but so far, no one’s come up with anything better.
(via the Marmot, who notes that he has not seen any news stories corroborating this.)
Technorati Tags: asia, china, east asia, korea, north korea, northeast asia, south korea
Singapore’s godfather of blogging, mr brown, has just been suspended as a columnist for the Today newspaper after the Ministry of Information and Culture (MICA) objected to his previous column.
Although AP is not a citizen, he was a long-term resident of the Lion City and has a strong affinity for the place. AP is outraged by the treatment of mr brown, a personal friend.
AP also objects because the government has again, through its oversensitivity and brutishness, embarrassed Singapore and its people.
The Singapore government says citizens should not offer criticisms unless they offer solutions. With that AP offers the following criticism and an accompanying solution:
Inspired by the government’s four million smile campaign, AsiaPundit would like to propose the Four Million Finger movement. He urges readers to display their outrage in the method illustrated below. Photos and posts will show up on Technorati and when tagged ‘fourmillionfingers.’
In order to help better attain the four-million-finger mark, AsiaPundit encourages the use of the two-finger salute, illustrated below on Ministry of Information spokeswoman Krishnasamy Bhavani.:
Ms Bhavani is president of the Institute of Public Relations of Singapore, which offers diploma and professional certificates in PR and mass communication. AsiaPundit will suggest that the current travesty offers a great case study for the institute: “Bhavani v. Brown: How to create an embarrassing global incident by cracking down on an innocuous columnist.”
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) have issued a statement condemning the Singapore government.:
It is not the job of government officials to take a position on newspaper articles or blog posts unless they are clearly illegal, Reporters Without Borders pointed out today after the Singaporean newspaper Today published an opinion piece by an official on 3 July condemning a recent post by blogger Lee Kin Mun as over-politicised and unconstructive.
“This reaction from a Singaporean official is disturbing,” the press freedom organisation said. “It reads like a warning to all journalists and bloggers in a country in which the media are already strictly controlled. The media have a right to criticise the government’s actions and express political views. Furthermore, a newspaper’s editorial policies depend solely on its editors. They should under no circumstances be subject to instructions issued by the government.”
Lee, who uses the pseudonym “mr brown,” wrote an article entitled “S’poreans are fed, up with progress!” for Today’s opinion pages on 30 June in which he criticised recent government measures and the constant cost-of-living rises in an amusing and acerbic fashion.
Krishnasamy Bhavani, a press secretary to the ministry of information, communications and arts, responded with an article published in Today on 3 July in which she defended her government’s policies but went on to criticise Lee for taking a political position.
RSF issued the above statement yesterday, before it was revealed that mr brown would be suspended.
Technorati Tags: asia, censorship, east asia, fourmillionfingers, singapore, southeast asia
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Mao: The Unknown Story - by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday:
A controversial and damning biography of the Helmsman.
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