Taiwan Offers to Help Flood-Struck Australia as China Tackles Net-Zero, USA’s Fighter-Jet Poke: Comment (7)

–CarrZee: USA poking instead of collaborating?
–CarrZee: World is deciding to focus on war instead of climate action. It’s the wrong choice

By Mathew Carr

March 7-9, 2022 (LONDON): Even though Australia is one of the worst climate-change demons – with per-person emissions near the highest in the world – Asian neighbours are offering to help rescue and recover after devastating floods (see Tweet above).

Meanwhile, fraught geopolitics symbolized by the Russian invasion of Ukraine is stoking energy prices and causing hesitation on climate action around the world.

China, the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gas, will introduce new incentives to cut carbon emissions this year, but coal-fired power is still on the table as energy prices go haywire because of the European war, according to Euro News /Reuters.

President Xi Jinping said in a speech in January that the country’s ambitious low-carbon goals should not come at the expense of energy and food security or the “normal life” of ordinary people.

In Taiwan, the Chinese National Federation of Industries (CNFI) said Sunday that it will put forward some new energy policy proposals to the government, as the nationwide blackout on March 3 had caused substantial losses to industrial businesses, according to a Taiwan Focus report.

In its press release, the federation said that apart from the impact in the lives of the general public, the power outage resulted in estimated losses of NT$10 billion (US$355 million) to 48 industrial parks and 521 companies nationwide.

The semiconductor, optoelectronics, petrochemical and steel industries took a huge hit, with petrochemical companies in Kaohsiung’s Linyuan Industrial Park suffering the biggest losses, the CNFI said.

Taking into consideration the two other major blackouts that occurred in May last year, the CNFI said, it is evident that the country’s current energy policies need to be revised as soon as possible.

During the trade war between the United States and China, Taiwan has grown as an investment hub, but that has also driven up Taiwan’s energy consumption, which needs addressing.

___________________

Poking

CarrZee: China officials said Monday the Taiwan situation is very different to Ukraine’s. On Tuesday and Wednesday, they said NATO shared blame for the war (see below). Asian political and economic collaboration seems better so far than Europe’s. It’s surprising yet pleasing to see Taiwan offering to help Australia when it’s got big challenges meeting energy demand and cutting emissions at home.

I’m still concerned that the U.S. is planning a “war trap” for Taiwan that will ruin Asia’s collaborative atmosphere.

Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday the United States should diplomatically recognise Taiwan as “a free and sovereign country”, Aljazeera reported. This seems to be “poking the bear” unnecessarily — like the U.S. did to Mr Putin for years via NATO and via establishment-media outlets. Poke. Poke. Poke. Until there’s war that justifies all the demonizing.

Aljazeera: Pompeo said a Chinese invasion of self-governed Taiwan would depend on “the willingness of the Western world to demonstrate that the costs for [Chinese President] Xi Jinping engaging in that kind of activity are just too high”.

Poke. Poke. Poke.

Big Poke Wednesday (which was rejected)

Times of London newspaper front page March 9

Yet, follow the money. Who’s benefitting from Europe’s war? U.S. oil producers, LNG exporters and weapons makers. The climate disaster that is the U.S. economy, still with no carbon pricing, is now much more competitive than a Europe facing sky-high natural gas prices through 2025. Who will benefit from that?

Unlike China, the USA seems to be seeking “disorderly” rather than “orderly”.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid seems to understand the importance of collaboration rather than confrontation (another example — Iran). Here’s what he said Monday:

“Israel is totally committed to do everything possible to stop the war in Ukraine.  We have condemned the Russian invasion, and we still do.  And Israel is a partner in the global effort to make sure and verify that this war must be stopped. The way to stop a war is to negotiate,” he said.

Why doesn’t the US seem to understand it?

Stop poking. Negotiate properly.

Remember, at the turn of the century, Putin apparently wanted to join NATO.

See this from the Guardian in November:

Vladimir Putin wanted Russia to join Nato but did not want his country to have to go through the usual application process and stand in line “with a lot of countries that don’t matter”, according to a former secretary general of the transatlantic alliance.

George Robertson, a former Labour defence secretary who led Nato between 1999 and 2003, said Putin made it clear at their first meeting that he wanted Russia to be part of western Europe. “They wanted to be part of that secure, stable prosperous west that Russia was out of at the time,” he said.

The Labour peer recalled an early meeting with Putin, who became Russian president in 2000. “Putin said: ‘When are you going to invite us to join Nato?’ And [Robertson] said: ‘Well, we don’t invite people to join Nato, they apply to join Nato.’ And he said: ‘Well, we’re not standing in line with a lot of countries that don’t matter.’”

The account chimes with what Putin told the late David Frost in a BBC interview shortly before he was first inaugurated as Russian president more than 21 years ago.

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South China Morning Post Snip:

‘Orderly’

Climate change and carbon neutrality were high on the agenda at China’s annual Two Sessions meetings that kicked off on Saturday, with government leaders and delegates from the private sector discussing ways to support the country’s zero-carbon goals.

In 2022, China will “take orderly steps” to achieve peak carbon emissions and carbon neutrality, and “work harder” to make coal use cleaner and more efficient while reducing the use of coal at the same time, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said when delivering the annual government work report in Beijing on Saturday.

The country will also shift from assessing the total amount and intensity of energy consumption to doing the same for carbon emissions, according to Li.

China’s top legislature, the National People’s Congress (NPC), began its annual meeting on Saturday. Along with the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the NPC is one of the biggest events on China’s political calendar, as delegates from all sectors of society are invited to offer proposals and suggestions that could be included in the central government’s policies for the year.

China Foreign Ministry on Tuesday:

Question from Hubei Media Group: Alice Weidel, co-leader of the German political party Alternative for Germany (AfD), said in public that the hardliners in the West who still live by the outdated logic of the Cold War have promised Ukraine the impossible membership in NATO, thus arrogantly denying Russia’s great power status. It is a historical failure. Sanctions will not be able to end the war in Ukraine. All parties should approach geopolitics with a realistic and cool-headed view and make all-out effort to create a European security architecture, but only without the “black-and-white thinking that we are the West and they are the East”. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian, China’s spokesman: This is a very rational and penetrating view. In fact, dating back to as early as 1997, George Kennan, former US ambassador to the Soviet Union, warned that expanding NATO up to Russia’s borders would be the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-Cold-War era. In 2014, Dr. Kissinger said that Ukraine must not be either side’s outpost against the other, and Ukraine becoming a member of NATO would be a “red line”. US professor John Mearsheimer said in 2015 that while guided by the Monroe Doctrine, the US has never stopped its effort to drag Ukraine into the Western camp. Russia, as a great power, will never agree to such move by the US and the West. Thomas L. Friedman, a renowned American expert in international affairs, said in his recent article that America and NATO aren’t innocent bystanders in the Ukraine crisis. In his view, a “huge log” fueling this fire was the decision by the US to expand NATO eastward. Regrettably, these fair, objective and rational assessments have failed to be incorporated into the policy of the US, the West and NATO.

China always believes that the security of one country should not come at the expense of the security of other countries, still less should regional security be realized by expanding military blocs. The Ukraine issue has gone far beyond the bilateral scope of Russia-Ukraine relations. Given NATO’s five consecutive rounds of eastward expansion, Russia’s legitimate security demands ought to be taken seriously and properly addressed. Just as State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said yesterday, to resolve the current crisis, we must uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and respect and protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries. We must adhere to the principle of indivisible security and accommodate the legitimate concerns of the parties involved. We must settle disputes by peaceful means through dialogue and negotiation. And we must keep in mind the long-term peace and stability of the region and put in place a balanced, effective and sustainable European security architecture. China is prepared to continue playing a constructive role to facilitate dialogue for peace and work alongside the international community when needed to carry out necessary mediation.

(Adds fighter-jet deal rejected)

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