Tuesday, October 26, 2021

China's goal is domination, not cooperation. It's playing Biden and America for fools.

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China has a well-deserved reputation for deceit.

That’s what makes a recent statement from China’s Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng so remarkable: It is honest. He said it’s “not realistic” to expect China to make a new pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

There’s every reason to believe him, but the Biden administration is ignoring reality.

President Joe Biden’s Special Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, has embarked on a quixotic diplomatic quest to get China to cooperate with the United States and do something meaningful to combat climate change.

China might say there’s a climate crisis in a non-binding joint statement with the United States, but its real goal is to become the world’s dominant power — a dangerous prospect for the United States and China’s neighbors.

One reason China gets away with this is because it has made the most of its “developing” country status in the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change. Under this treaty, developing countries have far fewer responsibilities.
China is far from a 'developing' nation

The Framework Convention was signed in 1992, a time when China really was a developing country. Since then, its economy has grown more than 1,000% and its emissions more than 250%. It’s now the world’s second largest economy and largest emitter — twice as large as the United States.

Despite this, in an April 16 video meeting with Mr. Kerry, Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng argued that as the largest developing and developed countries, China and the United States should observe their “common but differentiated responsibilities.” A polite way of saying, “You first.”

The Paris Agreement Mr. Kerry negotiated in 2015 did nothing to get rid of this developed-developing country divide. It perpetuated it instead. China could volunteer to be included among the developed nations, but that would mean giving up its strategic advantage. It won’t do that, so instead we have a commitment from China that allows it to emit with abandon until at least 2030.

Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Yucheng on April 16, 2021, in Beijing.

This Photo Sums Up America’s Advantage Over China in the Indo-Pacific

The U.S., U.K., Australia, and Japan recently participated in a giant naval exercise.

The Maritime Partnership Exercise 2021 included three aircraft carriers from three different countries.

Russia and China mirrored the exercise one day later off the coast of Japan.

Navies from four of the largest democracies in the world conducted a huge naval exercise in the Indian Ocean earlier this month—one that involved not one, but three aircraft carriers.

Between October 15 and 18, the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, and Australia took part in the Maritime Partnership Exercise (MPX) 2021 in the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean. The exercise was designed to increase interoperability between the four sea services. A day later, Chinese and Russian navies conducted a similar exercise.

The U.S. Navy sent the California-based aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, as well as her escorts, the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain, destroyer USS Stockdale, and the replenishment oiler USNS Yukon.

Photo credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Russell Lindsey

The Royal Navy's Carrier Strike Group 21—which includes the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (above)—also participated. Queen Elizabeth is on her maiden voyage, one that saw her and her battle group sail across the Indo-Pacific as far east as Guam. "Big Lizzie's" escorts included the destroyers HMS Defender, USS The Sullivans, frigates HMS Kent and HMS Richmond, and fleet auxiliary RFA Fort Victoria.

Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force sent the ships JS Kaga and JS Murasame. Kaga, originally a "helicopter destroyer," is set to become a full-fledged aircraft carrier (along with her sister ship Izumo), embarking F-35B fighter jets. Rounding out the international task force was the Royal Australian Navy's frigate HMAS Ballarat and refueling tanker HMAS Sirius.

The four-power exercise (and others like it) is meant to push back against China's growing naval power in the Indo-Pacific, demonstrating solidarity and the ability to work together against a powerful adversary. Military alliances across the region mean that the U.S. Navy has access to the bases of allies closer to where the potential action is, and can bolster its own naval forces with local forces. For locals like Japan and Australia, it means the ability to call on the 500-pound gorilla of naval warfare if regional tensions rise or if war became imminent.

Photo credit: Japan Ministry of Defense

One day after the exercise, a Sino-Russian joint task force set out to prove the same capabilities. Ten warships from the Russian Navy and the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) sailed through the Tsugaru Strait into the North Pacific. The Tsugaru Strait separates the Japanese northern island of Hokkaido from the main island of Honshu. Japanese air and naval forces first observed the flotilla, which provided the photos above to the Japanese Ministry of Defense.

The five Chinese ships included one brand-new Renhai-class guided-missile cruiser; Nanchang, the largest surface combatant in the PLAN; the guided-missile destroyer Kunming; and the frigates Binzhou and Liuzhou. Rounding out the Chinese complement was a Type 903 fuel and ammunition replenishment ship.

Photo credit: Japan Ministry of Defense

Russia's contribution consisted of ships from Moscow's Pacific Fleet, including two Udaloy-class frigates, two Steregushchy-class corvettes, and the Marshal Krylov space-tracking ship. The two frigates were constructed before the Cold War and were originally destroyers before an upgrade, after which they were downgraded to frigates.

The Indo-Pacific region is coalescing into two power blocs, as these two parallel exercises make abundantly clear. On one side are the navies of the world's major democracies, including regional democracies. On the other side are the authoritarian countries Russia and China. While this doesn't mean the world is any closer to war, it does show that, when it comes to geopolitics, birds of a feather flock together. Whether or not they'll fight together is something the world is better off not finding out.
Meanwhile, China is perfectly willing to exploit Western climate change concerns for its own ends. Fueled by subsidies, the Chinese solar industry has cornered the global market. They have stifled innovation and caused many cutting-edge companies in America and Europe to call it quits. China now supplies more than two-thirds of all solar modules. Chinese companies also make up seven of the top 10 wind turbine manufacturers.

Unrealistic expectations: Joe Biden is right to be blunt with Russia and China, but wrong on what to do next

Key parts of Chinese solar panels are manufactured in Xinjiang province, where the Muslim Uyghur minority is used as forced labor. Though the Chinese government denies this, it has not permitted independent inspectors access to the manufacturing facilities. A big red flag for an entire green industry.

Where it can’t innovate advanced energy technologies, China isn’t above stealing them. The recent Annual Threat Assessment from the Director of National Intelligence warned that the Chinese are specifically targeting the American defense, energy, and finance sectors. It reports the Chinese have no qualms with using espionage and theft as means to steal American technologies.
Don't surrender US energy advantage

We’re seeing almost weekly news stories detailing how researchers connected to China’s military and intelligence services have penetrated our universities and research institutions. They are exploiting the free exchange of ideas to pilfer intellectual property. We need to wake up to the threat.

China is also making an effort to control the critical materials used in many defense and energy technologies. It’s positioned itself as a critical cog in the mining and processing of copper, lithium, nickel, cobalt, and rare earths. It’s also heavily involved in the sectors that use these materials, like battery, solar panel, and wind turbine production.

None of this is an accident. It’s a conscious geopolitical and commercial strategy.

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After achieving energy self-reliance, it would be a mistake to surrender America’s energy advantage. We should not turn our energy dominance over to the whims of foreign powers like China that are actively seeking America’s decline. Undermining America’s energy security will not solve climate change.

Mr. Kerry’s pursuit of international cooperation with China on climate change is sadly predictable, but China is not in the cooperation business. It’s in the global domination business.

China pretends it’s a developing country, steals technology, uses forced labor, and manipulates markets to its advantage.

During his speech to Congress, President Biden said he wants to make “sure every nation plays by the same rules in the global economy, including China.” Yet his administration seems determined to fall for China’s grand deception. China is playing the United States for the fool.

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