Archive for April, 2020


April 30, 2020

Fox News on April 29, 2020, published news and comments concerning China’s slowing of global growth and reduction of financial dominance since the outbreak of the Corona pandemic. For excerpts see below:

China…has the world’s second-largest economy following the United States, and has become increasingly isolated over its response to COVID-19…

China’s economy contracted by 6.8 percent in the first three months of 2020 — its biggest plunge in nearly three decades. Its output was down 8.4 percent from the year before and retail sales fell 19 percent as the country went on lockdown.

China, which has enjoyed a remarkable and perhaps reckless rise in economic growth, could be on the verge of losing it.

One of the biggest challenges facing China is the acceleration of a global value chain realignment, which could hit China’s job market in the short term and affect Beijing’s standing in the global economy…

Consumption and production plummeted when its workers and consumers were ordered to stay home; when the official data started to roll in, it wasn’t a pretty picture.

Several economists have slashed their forecasts for China’s GDP (gross domestic product), predicting a sharp contraction and low single-digit growth for 2020. Last year, the country’s GDP growth rate was 6.1 percent, the slowest since 1990. Industrial production and retail sales have also posted record double-digit drops this year.

COVID-19 was first reported in Wuhan, China. Beijing has been accused of downplaying the virus, silencing doctors and significantly rounding down the number of cases and fatalities it had. The move infuriated the international community because it had relied on China to accurately report its findings so they could prepare as the novel coronavirus spread across the world.

Then came the accusations that China hiked up the prices of medical equipment and supplies. Multiple countries complained about forking over small fortunes for masks and kits that weren’t up to standards and began asking China for refunds, which didn’t go over well.

China has also ramped up its anti-American rhetoric, frequently taking shots at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other U.S. politicians.

In recent days, other countries have started to pile on [critique] and the consensus has been growing that the more China engages in fights or threatens economic retaliation, the greater the chance it has of the world turning against them.

Most recently, China seems to have undercut its own diplomacy with Australia, threatening it with a boycott.

China is Australia’s largest trading partner. Australia recently pushed for an international investigation into the origin of the novel coronavirus. The probe into the pandemic angered Beijing so much that it prompted nasty “threats of economic coercion” by China’s ambassador to Australia, who accused the country of playing politics with coronavirus.

When Australia pushed back, Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times, threatened in a tweet: “Let me give a ‘coercion’ to Australia. As its attitude toward China becomes worse and worse, Chinese companies will definitely reduce economic cooperation with Australia, and the number of Chinese students & visitors going to Australia will also decrease. Time will prove it all.”


April 30, 2020

Washington Times on April 29, 2020, reported that President Trump was developing distinct recommendations to hold China and WHO responsible for the spread of the Corona virus. Excerpts below:

“We’re not happy about it, and we are by far the largest contributor to WHO,” Mr. Trump told reporters during an Oval Office meeting with Louisiana’s governor. “They misled us. They’re literally a pipe organ for China.”

The president has instructed U.S. intelligence agencies to look into whether the WHO and China withheld information about the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year.

The president said he will be coming out soon with a recommendation about the WHO, “with China to follow.”

Mr. Trump reiterated that the disease “could have been stopped at the source” in Wuhan, China, late last year.

“They should have been able to stop it,” the president said of WHO and the Chinese government. “And then why did China allow planes to fly out, but not into China? Planes were coming out of Wuhan, and going all over the world. They were going to Italy, very big time to Italy. But they’re not going into China. What was that all about? We’re not happy with it.”

“You would have thought that somebody could have said, ‘Hey.’ They could have stopped it at the source,” Mr. Trump said. “They didn’t have to let airplanes fly out, and loads of people come out.”

The president banned travelers from China on Jan. 31, except for thousands of U.S. citizens returning.


April 27, 2020

National Interest on April 25, 2020, reviewed Charles M. Hernández, ”Mercenaries in the Vietnam War: Washington’s Hiring of South Korean Soldiers” (Washington DC: Amazon Publishing, 2020), 75 pp., $5.99.

South Korea during the Vietnam War provided over 300,000 troops. They suffered around 5,000 deaths. Other U.S. allies sent smaller contingents: Australia 60,000 (521 deaths), Thailand 40,000 (321 deaths) and New Zealand over 3,000 (37 deaths). The Philippines and Taiwan also contributed.

For excerpts from the review see below:

[The author is] a captain in the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, also known as The Old Guard. …he has written a short work entitled Mercenaries in the Vietnam War: Washington’s Hiring of South Korean Soldiers, which covers a part of that particular conflict’s history that is usually omitted from most discussions.

…ROK soldiers were deployed perhaps more productively than their American counterparts: their favored small-unit operations were better fit for the Vietnamese context…“[the north Vietnamese] only engaged Korean forces in open field when victory was certain, which rarely occurred.”

Hernández devotes more attention to the political and economic reasons of why South Korea (ROK) joined the Vietnam War.

…the United States offered to cover essentially all the costs of equipping and deploying South Korean soldiers in Vietnam… President Park’s administration [of South Korea], in turn, offered some rather advantageous inducements in order to attract a capable volunteer force: “[Each] recruit would receive credit for three years of military duty for each year served in Vietnam as well as additional monetary entitlements.” This was a rather attractive proposition…

The result, Hernández notes, was heavily in Seoul’s favor…revenues from the conflict “totaled 40 [percent] of Korea’s foreign exchange earnings, and from 1965 to 1972, the country earned $1 billion in hard US currency and received $2.7 billion in foreign loans,” among other benefits. The country’s GDP increased four-fold over the same time period as the war, and South Vietnam provided a ready market for South Korean goods. In Hernández’s view, it is “reasonable to conclude that ROK participation in the conflict contributed to the nation’s rapid economic development.”

Hernández…writes in the acknowledgements section that he intends to follow this book up with an examination of “the contemporary portrayal of South Korean involvement in the conflict within mainstream Korean literature and cinema,”

”Mercenaries in the Vietnam War” provides informative insight into South Korea’s role in Indochina.

Comment: The use of the term ”mercenaries” for the South Korean troops in Vietnam in the book title is not entirely correct. The United States and the Republic of Korea (South Korea) are allies and partners. A mercenary only fights for economic reasons. South Korean soldiers in Vietnam were ideological anticommunists and probably also fought because the United States saved ROK from communism during the war.


April 25, 2020

Bitter Winter, a magazine on religious liberty and human rights in China, on March 25, 2020, reported that there is ground in international law to sue the Chinese government and/or the CCP for the damages their irresponsible conduct caused to the whole world. Excerpts below:

What would be the legal basis for the lawsuits? It is, indeed, a basis the world created with China in mind. In 2002, SARS spread from China’s Guangdong province. By 2003, it had spread to 28 countries, with a total death toll of 774. The figure may now look small, compared to the victims of COVID-19, but the world realized that many casualties could have been avoided, had China not tried to shroud in secrecy the epidemic for several weeks after it occurred. SARS led to the new International Health Regulations of the World Health Organization (WHO), adopted in 2005 and legally binding on all WHO member states, including China. The Regulations refer inter alia to SARS as well as to similar diseases “caused by a new subtype” (such is the virus responsible for COVID-19), and establish an obligation by member states to share relevant information within the WHO “within 24 hours.”

No matter how much China uses its political leverage to control statements by WHO leaders, it is crystal clear that China has violated its obligation to report under the 2005 Regulations. The story of Doctor Li Wenliang (1986-2020), to whose family the CCP apologized when he had already died from the disease, shows clearly that China did not want information on the virus to go public internationally, and those who dared to speak about it were threatened or put in jail.

To help with the notoriously intractable problem of enforcing international law, the United Nations established in 1947 the International Law Commission (ILC). In 2001, this Commission published the Draft Articles on the Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts. Many have noted the limits of the ILC: its documents are authoritative but not legally binding on member states. However, the case law of the International Court of Justice tells a partially different story. The Court has used ILC documents, including the Draft Articles, as guidelines to interpret international law. Art. 34 of the Draft Articles states that a state that intentionally breached an international obligation is liable to “full reparation for the injury caused by the internationally wrongful act,” in “the form of restitution, compensation and satisfaction.” Of interest is also Art. 39, according to which, “In the determination of reparation, account shall be taken of the contribution to the injury by willful or negligent action or omission of the injured State or any person or entity in relation to whom reparation is sought.” This means that, in addition to China as a state, entities (such as the CCP) or persons (such as President Xi Jinping and others) who, to say the least, “contributed” to the Chinese breach of its obligation to share immediately information with the rest of the world through the WHO, are also liable.

[There is an]alternative way to punish the wrongdoers. Since 2016, the Global Magnitsky Act authorizes the United States to take action against human rights offenders. Courts throughout the world have also accepted civil lawsuits seeking damages from foreign officials.


April 24, 2020

China expert Gordon Chang on April 20, 2020 on Sirius XM called for something akin to the Nuremberg Trials for China’s leaders. Excerpts below:

Chang , “I absolutely agree… There does need to be a Nuremberg Trial for Chinese leaders because they have committed a crime against humanity, because if this is not a crime against humanity, then what is?”

“The world needs to get justice,” continued Chang. “We need justice for the Americans that we’ve lost and will lose, and we need justice for other people around the world. It’s a Nuremberg Trial. It’s Guantanamo. It’s a visit forever to Florence Colorado Supermax. I don’t care what it is, but we’ve got to take the Chinese leaders off the streets and make sure that they do face justice of one sort or another.”

The coronavirus outbreak is a cost of doing business with China, remarked Chang, repeating his call for the U.S. to decouple its economy from China.

“Ultimately we have to separate ourselves from China,” Chang said. “This process is going to be painful [and] it will be ugly, but we’ve got to do this. … We can’t reform communism in China, and communism has deadly effects for us.”

Chang stated, “We won’t have a country if Beijing succeeds in its goals. We’ve got to sever our relations with Beijing.”

“Just look at what Beijing has done,” Chang said. “When this is over, if the modeling of the Coronavirus Task Force is correct, we’re going to lose 100,000 Americans. And that’s just an unacceptable cost. You can’t put a money value on that.

Comment: Gordon Chang is correct. An international reckoning is needed to find out in detail what happened in China’s virology labs in November and December 2019 and what followed in the beginning of 2020.


April 23, 2020

John Lenczowski, Ph.D., founder and president of The Institute of World Politics, Washington DC, on April 15, 2020, at a webinar lectured on the many dimensions of the threat from China. For excerpts from his comments see below:

…I noted that the American policy of friendship with China that began with Nixon and Kissinger led to a moral-strategic confusion about the nature of the Chinese regime. I listed a good number of the Chinese Communist Party’s actions inimical to our national security, of which too many Americans are unaware. I also explained why so many of our government, corporate, media, and academic leaders have turned a blind eye to Chinese human rights violations, military buildup, espionage, and influence operations: too many of them have been, in effect, “owned,” corrupted, or otherwise neutralized by China. The resulting self-censorship means that the American people, until recently, have not been hearing the full truth.

…the COVID-19 pandemic…has served as a wake-up call to many Americans about the totalitarian and aggressive nature of the Chinese regime and the dangerous depths of our dependence on China for pharmaceuticals and the supply chains for our defense systems.

Comment: The self-censorship is even larger in Europe, where China has managed to disinform governments, the corporations, media and academics. The action taken by President Richard Nixon in the 1970s concerning China was a bold and useful geopolitical move at the time. The continuation of that policy has been a disaster and according to recent polls 90 percent of Americans now regard China as a threat. It is time for the European nations to wake up to the China threat and consider ways of decoupling from Communist China and move production to countries like India instead.


April 23, 2020

Fox News on April 23, 2020, reported that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for structural changes to the World Health Organization (WHO) and greater transparency from China over the origins of the coronavirus.

“Even today, the Chinese government hasn’t permitted American scientists to go into China, to go into not only the Wuhan lab but wherever it needs to go to learn about this virus, to learn about its origins,” Pompeo told “The Ingraham Angle”.

Pompeo then criticized the WHO for not helping the U.S. gather crucial data from China.

“It is the World Health Organization’s responsibility to achieve that transparency. They’re not doing it. They need to be held accountable,” Pompeo said.

President Trump announced at a coronavirus task force briefing last week that the United States will immediately halt all funding for the WHO, saying the global health agency had put “political correctness over lifesaving measures.”

Ingraham asked Pompeo whether he was “ruling out” that WHO leader Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus should step down as a requirement for the U.S. to renew their relationship with the organization.

“No, I think that’s right,” Pompeo said. “Or even more than that. It may be the case that the United States can never return to underwriting, having U.S. taxpayer dollars go to the WHO. We may need to be have even bolder change than that.”


April 22, 2020

Fox News on April 21, 2020 reported on a lawsuite by the U.S. State of Missouri against China as being responsible for the severity of the coronavirus pandemic. Damages are sought for the damages caused by the disease. Excerpts below:

The suit in the Eastern District of Missouri follows at least seven federal class-action suits that have been filed by private groups, with one filed in Florida saying that China knew “COVID-19 was dangerous and capable of causing a pandemic, yet slowly acted, proverbially put their head in the sand, and/or covered it up in their own economic self-interest.”

It also comes on the heels of 22 Republican lawmakers on April 20 requesting that the Trump administration bring a case against China to the International Court of Justice (ICIJ) for the country’s actions during the pandemic.

Officials told Fox News that outside of the health consequences of the coronavirus — Missouri has confirmed 5,963 cases of the virus and 215 deaths as of the morning of April 21 — the economic shutdown the state imposed to reduce the spread of the disease has cost Missouri about $44 billion, according to one estimate.

“In Missouri, the impact of the virus is very real – thousands have been infected and many have died, families have been separated from dying loved ones, small businesses are shuttering their doors, and those living paycheck to paycheck are struggling to put food on their table,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said in a statement.

The text of the lawsuit lays the blame for the pandemic’s consequences squarely at China’s feet.

“The repeated unlawful and unreasonable acts and omissions of” China, the Missouri suit claims, “have been injurious to—and have significantly interfered with—the lives, health, and safety of substantial numbers of Missouri residents, ruining lives and damaging the public order and economy of the State of Missouri.”

“An appalling campaign of deceit, concealment, misfeasance, and inaction by Chinese authorities unleashed this pandemic,” the suit reads. “During the critical weeks of the initial outbreak, Chinese authorities deceived the public, suppressed crucial information, arrested whistleblowers, denied human-to-human transmission in the face of mounting evidence, destroyed critical medical research, permitted millions of people to be exposed to the virus, and even hoarded personal protective equipment—thus causing a global pandemic that was unnecessary and preventable.”

Fox News has reported that sources have increasing confidence that the coronavirus escaped from a Wuhan laboratory, not as a bioweapon but as part of China’s attempt to demonstrate that its efforts to identify and combat viruses are equal to or greater than the capabilities of the United States. The U.S. is conducting a full-scale investigation into whether that’s the case.

Officials say the Missouri suit seeks to present good-faith claims about actions China likely took that led to the pandemic. They also emphasize the Chinese government took other actions to worsen the spread of the coronavirus that have been proven with near certainty.

The suit also alleges that China worked to hoard personal protective equipment (PPE) needed by health care workers to treat coronavirus patients, which resulted “in it going ‘from being a net exporter of personal protective equipment, as it is the largest producer in the world, to a net importer.'”

The suit, led by Schmitt, goes after The People’s Republic of China — the official Chinese government — as well as a variety of Chinese government agencies. Notably, however, the suit also names the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in an effort to go around restrictions in the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA).

China has sought to soften the PR blow against it with a propaganda campaign framing itself as the benefactor of many countries’ coronavirus responses, although questions have arisen about the qualify of tests and other virus-fighting equipment produced by China.

The Missouri suit seeks to have the Chinese government, the CCP and other involved organizations “cease engaging in the abnormally dangerous activities, reimburse the cost of the State’s abatement efforts, and pay compensatory and other damages…”

It says that Missouri has seen an, “unprecedented number of jobless claims” to go with a negative impact on the state budget that will last for years. “On the human side,” the release continues, “Missouri’s nurses and doctors are forced to quarantine from their families, our elderly citizens are stuck in nursing homes away from loved ones, and more.”


April 21, 2020

Republican Congressman Greg Steube of Florida on March 26, 2020 reported that he had introduced the Chinese Government COVID-19 Accountability Act. See below:

Today, Congressman Greg Steube (FL-17) introduced the Chinese Government COVID-19 Accountability Act. This legislation will hold China financially responsible for the detrimental economic impact of COVID-19 on the American economy.

“The Chinese government’s failure to be transparent with global leaders about the Coronavirus outbreak is not only costing thousands of lives but also is causing serious economic harm for millions of Americans and businesses,” Steube commented. “We should not have to pay for China’s mistakes financially. This virus has already cost us enough.”

This legislation will direct the President to develop a strategy to hold the Chinese government responsible for the initiation and spread of COVID-19 and will require the Chinese government to be financially responsible for costs associated with the overall economic impact on the United States caused by COVID-19. Among some of the reimbursements the Chinese government will be required to pay include $100 million to the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), over $105 million to the United States Department of Health & Human Services, $2.5 billion from the Administration’s appropriation request, and the $8.3 billion in funding from the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act.


April 17, 2020

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., told Fox News on April 16, 2020 that China has permanently damaged its reputation around the globe because of its handling of the coronavirus pandemic. For excerpts see below:

Rubio reacted to a Fox News report that U.S. officials are increasingly confident that the coronavirus likely escaped from the Wuhan lab where it was being studied.

“It would be a dramatic, earth-shattering revelation if, in fact, [the report] turns out to be the case. And that would be the case for two reasons. Number one, it’s one thing that someone became infected in the lab and infected some other people. That’s concerning [in] that the same safety standards there are not high,” Rubio said. “But another thing completely is that a government, when they learn of it, would actively attempt to cover it up as they have, if that’s the case. You know, from the very beginning of this crisis, the Chinese have been less than transparent.”

Rubio went on to call the pandemic a “global scandal … one of the most outrageous things that has happened in the modern history of the world if that [report] were to turn out to be true,” and added that China’s coverup of the origins of the virus would not go unpunished in a democracy like the United States.

When asked about potential penalties for Beijing, Rubio bluntly stated that China’s “reputation globally has already been badly damaged.”