Monday, May 18, 2015

Quite a damp squib, Mr Kerry...

Fireworks over the South China Sea issue were anticipated as Mr "Shoot from the lips" John Kerry rode west, into the wild wild Chinese capital, Beijing....

Sunday Times, May 17
So what happened next? He expressed "concern" about Chinese actions in the disputed waters, and President Xi Jinping expressed "concern" about announced American military activities in those waters and in the air spaces above. After that, they sat down to, well, not exactly smoke the peace pipe, but to drink mao tai and to talk really, really serious stuff, like North Korea's nuclear ambitions. And, in a final flourish, Mr Xi invoked the imagery of "This town is big enough for the both of us" when he declared:

Straits Times, May 18
Saddle up, Mr Kerry. After an equally quick visit to South Korea, it's time to get back to Washington.

Meanwhile, Down Under, Prime Minister Tony Abbott had to hunker down into fire fighting mode after a senior US Defence official apparently "misspoke" (whatever does this word mean??) about the deployment of B1 nuclear-capable strategic bombers to Oz (which is sometimes referred to in the region as "deputy sheriff"):

USAF B1s in Australia? What next... USN ballistic missile submarines? 

Straits Times, May 16
Singapore was mentioned too... four LCSs would operate out of its naval base by 2020.

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