Tanked Relations

Relations between the P.R.C. and their island neighbor Japan, have never exactly been what one would describe as ‘warm’…and I would suspect that they won’t be getting any warmer with this blunder on Japan’s part.

Japan’s Kyodo news agency reportedly revealed on Sunday the country’s Defense Agency will revise its security strategy based upon three hypotheses under which China could attack Japan.

If war broke out across the Taiwan Straits, the mainland might attack Japan to thwart US forces positioned in Japan to aid Taiwan, the agency allegedly said.

Their main concern argued that with the territorial disputes between China and Japan increasingly sharpening, China might obtain the Diaoyu Islands by force. They also believe China might take every possible means to defend its interests in the East China Sea.

Taiwan, as usual, is the pivotal point in this regional soap opera. But I would suspect that it has much to do over disputed claims over oil and gas reserves in both the always interesting South China Sea (Apparently every Asian nation has sovereignty over the whole thing) and the Sea of Japan.

It’s no secret that China is after natural resources, of every type to fuel their incredible growing economy. Energy needs, for instance, are expected to grow by 10% for next year alone. And since oil parties always get busted up, it might be easier to stay home with theTigers.

If Hu Jintao, China’s powerful leader, is listening, he and his government will heed the calls of the environmentalists this time and preserve Tiger Leaping Gorge, a magnificent natural phenomenon, saving an important part of China’s cultural and ecological heritage for future generations.

The gorge, often said to be the deepest in the world, is sometimes referred to as China’s Grand Canyon. Others argue that the ravine is the real location for Shangri-La, a magical and peaceful place described in the 1933 novel “Lost Horizon.” In reality, the area is a Unesco World Heritage site that is inhabited by an estimated 100,000 people.

Three Gorges Redux? Maybe, but I hope not. I doubt the Yangtze, as powerful as it is, could handle another dam project.

On a somewhat un-related subject, last week one of my directors was telling me stories about his time in the PLA (People’s Liberation Army). He had joined up when he was 14 and was the main gunner in a T-59 MTB. For awhile this old Russian bad boy was the mainstay of China’s armored forces, but it is pretty much just a big old paper weight now. He was telling me about the several times he was almost killed while on training operation.

I’ve walked past Skyways Bakery (next to door to NNU) every day for the past 2 weeks and finally decided to go in yesterday. Tons of foreigners there, but they make kickass sandwiches for about 15 kuai.

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