Escalating East Asia Tensions
by Stephen Lendman
Trump straightaway in office showed he’s the latest in a long line of US warrior presidents - escalating imperial wars in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
Afghanistan is likely next. Will he launch new wars besides ongoing ones? Are Iran and North Korea on his target list? Are China and Russia at risk?
Unthinkable nuclear war remains a possibility by design or accident. America’s bipartisan criminal class should terrify everyone.
Last week, neocon Senators Marco Rubio (R. FL) and Ben Cardin (D. MD) introduced legislation to punish China for constructing artificial islands in its territorial waters.
Rubio said proposed legislation would require Trump to “impose sanctions and prohibit visas for Chinese individuals and entities who contribute to construction or development projects, and those who threaten the peace, security or stability of the South China Sea or East China Sea.”
If enacted, the measure would prohibit investments in Chinese companies involved in the construction. Foreign aid to nations recognizing China’s territorial rights would be halted.
Foreign banks doing business with sanctioned Chinese companies would be penalized.
China’s Foreign Ministry blasted the proposed legislation, calling Rubio and Cardin “arrogan(t) and ignoran(t).”
The measure was in the works before Secretary of State Tillerson’s Asia trip, wrapping up in Beijing on Saturday and Sunday.
While there, North Korea tested a powerful new high-thrust rocket engine, its state media reported - designed to enhance the country’s “capability in the field of outer space.”
The test was apparently timed as a show of resistance to US bullying and threats during Tillerson’s China visit.
He belligerently said everything is “on the table” in dealing with the DPRK, including war. Tough talk got a tough response.
According to Pyongyang KCNA state media, “(t)he development and completion of a new-type high-thrust engine would help consolidate the scientific and technological foundation to match the world-level satellite delivery capability in the field of outer space development.”
“(L)eader Kim Jong-un noted that the success made in the current test marked a great event of historic significance as it declared a new birth of the Juche-based rocket industry.”
Pyongyang said the engine was developed for satellite launches and other space-related activities. Testing it during Tillerson’s visit didn’t go down well with him or Washington.
Last week, during provocative US-South Korea war games Pyongyang considers preparation for war, it launched four missiles, simulating an attack on US regional facilities.
Longstanding US hostility toward North Korea forces it to prepare for another war on the peninsula, affecting East Asia if launched.
If nuclear weapons are used, horrific devastation and massive loss of life would follow.
China urges diplomacy over confrontation to prevent the unthinkable from happening.
America’s rage for war gives Beijing great cause for concern - escalating regional tensions sure to be discussed when Chinese President Xi Jinping and Trump meet next month at his Mar-a-Lago, Florida estate.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.