China: Japanese Navy Turns Cannon On Chinese Invaders


June 21, 2008:  Chinese troops continue working in central China's earthquake zone, with their efforts to drain lakes created by landslides into rivers. In one case, anti-tank guns were used to blast debris out of the way. All this was played up in the media, giving the military a media boost they have not received in a long time. But this is part of a media campaign to take the heat off local officials who were responsible for the shoddy construction of schools (whose frequent collapse killed over 10,000 kids). The government makes a big deal out of fighting corruption, but the extent, and cost, of the corruption in central China is a bit much and, according to the government, best played down.


June 20, 2008:  The president of a U.S. firm is being prosecuted for buying Chinese AK-47 ammunition and repackaging it to appear to be from Albania. It's illegal to trade in Chinese ammo (in this case, headed for use by the Iraqi army.) Chinese weapons firms are famous for selling just about anything to anyone. In this case, the ammo was old and unreliable, and apparently the Chinese offered a good price. The U.S. firm repackaged the ammo to look more recent, as well as Albanian.


June 19, 2008:  China increased the subsidized price of oil products by 18 percent. With crude oil costing 85 cents a liter, and gasoline selling for over a dollar a liter in the United States (and over twice that in some European nations), China is now charging 75 cents a liter. The fuel subsidies have long been criticized by trading partners, and even some Chinese, because the cheap fuel causes inflation and lowers manufacturing costs (via government intervention, which many nations consider illegal.) The growing demand for oil products in China has been the primary cause for the rapid increase in crude oil prices in the last decade. This sharp jump in Chinese prices (on top of a ten percent boost last November) is expected to force many Chinese firms to cut use. But it will also make it more difficult for the military to find the money for pilot training and keeping warships at sea.


June 16, 2008:  A Japanese coast guard ship used a water cannon to turn back a boat of Taiwanese trying to assert ownership of the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku/Tiaoyutai islands. The Taiwanese turned back. The uninhabited islands are disputed because their surrounding waters may contain oil or gas deposits.


June 13, 2008:  Peace talks between China led to direct air flights between Taiwan and the mainland, as well as easier use of Chinese currency in Taiwan. On Taiwan, opinion polls indicate that less than 20 percent of Taiwanese want to become part of China again. However, this percentage has been increasing over the years, and this encourages the Chinese.


June 10, 2008:  A Japanese coast guard boat entered waters near the disputed Diaoyu (in Chinese) Islands (Senkaku in Japanese and Tiaoyutai in Taiwan) to investigate what  Taiwanese boats were doing there. The Japanese ship collided with, and sank the Taiwanese ship. This caused a big diplomatic and media uproar, and the Japanese eventually admitted it was their fault.





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