SNS: Asia Letter, Q4 2019: Concern and Disappointment

SNS: Asia Letter, Q4 2019: Concern and Disappointment

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In This Issue
Week of 9/30/2019
Vol. 24 Issue 31

Asia Letter, Q4 2019: Concern and Disappointment

  • Concern and Disappointment
  • More Quotes of Note
  • Secretary Pompeo Goes to Micronesia
  • Vietnam and the EU
  • Huawei in Brazil
  • BMW-Tencent Automated Driving
  • Horizon Robotics
  • Toyota’s New Initiatives
  • About Scott Foster

Concern and Disappointment

“The Department of Defense expresses our strong concern and disappointment that the Moon Administration has withheld its renewal of the Republic of Korea’s General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) with Japan.”

– Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Dave Eastburn (The Hill, 8/22/19)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s dispute with Japan has advanced from resurrecting historical grievances to getting struck off Japan’s export “white list” to his decision to stop sharing military intelligence. By tearing up agreements over “comfort women” and wartime labor signed by his predecessors, he has jeopardized imports of chemicals vital to the Korean semiconductor industry and tossed a wrench into the gears of American attempts to present a united front to North Korea and China.

Meanwhile,

China never insults the Pacific…. They don’t go down and tell the world that we’ve given this much money to the Pacific islands…. They’re good people, definitely better than Morrison, I can tell you that….

The prime minister was very insulting, very condescending, not good for the relationship…. [The Australians] keep saying the Chinese are going to take over. Guess why?

– Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, venting his irritation
with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s attitude at the
Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu (The Guardian, 8/17/19)

“The spirit of the Pacific way is not understood by these guys [the Australians], I don’t think they understand anything about [it]. And if that’s the case, what is the point of these guys remaining in the Pacific Island Leaders’ Forum? I don’t see any merit in that.”

– Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga, responding to Australian Deputy Prime Minister Michael MacCormack’s remark that Pacific islanders could “come here and pick our fruit” if rising seas caused by global warming flooded their homes (The Japan Times, 8/19/19)

The islanders believe that Australia is more interested in saving its coal industry.

Australia’s “Pacific Step-up” policy, launched last year to counter China’s advances in the region, now looks like a step down. According to former Kiribati President Anote Tong, “It’s really about the lesser of two evils, I guess, and at the moment Australia is coming up as the worst of the two evils.” (Ibid.)

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