6/23/13

Snowden The Heroic Unifier


Published: 6/23/2013 World Journal Forum 《Tiao's Perspective Column》


6/9/13

Michelle's Absence

(Published: 6/9/2013 World Forum " Tiao's Perspective Column")

"Listen to me or you can take the mic, but I’m leaving. You all decide. You have one choice.”
 
(聼我的,還是你拿麥克風,我走人。由大家決定,你們只有一個選擇)
 
                                  by Michelle Obama at Kalorama Home 6/4/2013

 

________________________________________

 

Meeting China's first lady comes second for Michelle Obama
 
    Peter Foster in Washington and Tom Phillips in Shanghai
The hope that this weekend's summit between Presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping might inject a new warmth into US-China relations suffered a setback when the White House announced that Michelle Obama would not be joining her husband.

Her office cited domestic responsibilities for not attending - it is the last week of the school year for the Obamas' daughters Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11 - but the move leaves China's first lady, Peng Liyuan, to attend the summit without her American counterpart.

China experts warned that Mrs Obama's decision to stay in Washington could have an unwelcome chilling effect on a summit that White House officials have billed as an "unprecedented" opportunity to heal divisions between the world's two biggest economies.


Her absence may be interpreted by the face-conscious Chinese bureaucrats and public as a deliberate snub, US and Chinese analysts said. The Chinese had hoped that their country's first lady would dazzle America during the two-day summit at the Sunnylands ranch in Palm Springs which opens on Friday and which both sides have trumpeted as an attempt to kick-start more constructive relations.
 
Zhang Ming, a political scientist from China's Renmin University, predicted that Mrs Obama's absence would "not go down very well" in Beijing."First lady diplomacy is also very important and the US side has failed to cooperate," he said. "According to normal diplomatic etiquette, this is very strange. It shouldn't be like this.

"Maybe Michelle [Obama] doesn't like Xi Jinping - or maybe she is just really busy. But being busy shouldn't be an excuse for missing an event like this."Several leading US commentators agreed. "Michelle Obama not attending the summit is a diplomatic own-goal that could easily have been avoided," wrote Dan Drezner, a professor of international politics at Tuft's University in Boston. "She should be in California."

Communist Party bosses had seen the meeting as a golden opportunity to deploy Peng Liyuan's much-vaunted charms on the world stage in an attempt to spin a more favourable image of China's leaders, after a decade with the stiff, protocol-obsessed former president Hu Jintao in charge. Ms Peng has taken centre-stage during Mr Xi's tour of Latin America and the Caribbean, exchanging high fives with children and playing the steel drums in Trinidad and Tobago.

                
"First lady turns on the charm, impresses hosts," the state-run China Daily enthused on Tuesday, noting that the 50-year-old soprano had made an impact "not just with her music, but also her kindness and language capability". Cheng Li, an expert in Chinese politics from Washington's Brookings Institution, told the New York Times that the Chinese would "readily" accept Mrs Obama's family commitments but said her decision "certainly needs some explanation". The Chinese were "extremely sensitive".

Relations between the two powers have been strained in recent years over trade disputes, allegations of Chinese cyber espionage and America's decision to be more assertive in the Asia-Pacific region - a move the Chinese resent.

The Telegraph, London




The Summit At The Sunnylands' Backyard


(Published: 6/6/2013 World Forum " Tiao's Perspective Column")

6/5/13

Abe's Howler


(Published: 6/4/2013 World Journal Forum 《Tiao's Perspective Column》)


Abe compares Yasukuni trip to visiting Arlington

War victims cry foul amid ongoing historical disputes


May 21,2013
Yasukuni Shrine and Arlington National Cemetery
As Asian countries are still reeling from the sting of Japanese lawmakers’ visit to the contentious Yasukuni Shrine, which enshrines Class A war criminals, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has caused further controversy by defending their action in his latest interview with a U.S. policy magazine, comparing paying respects at the shrine to visiting a national cemetery in Washington.

“About the Yasukuni Shrine, let me humbly urge you to think about your own place to pay homage to the war dead, Arlington National Cemetery in the United States,” Abe told Foreign Affairs last week in an interview for the July-August edition of the 100-year-old bimonthly magazine. “The presidents of the United States go there, and as Japan’s prime minister, I have visited.”

Last month, more than 170 Japanese lawmakers and ministers, including Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, made a pilgrimage to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo which honors the war dead, including some of the country’s highest-ranking war criminals convicted by the allied forces tribunal after World War II.

This spurred a backlash from Japan’s war victims, including Seoul and Beijing, and Abe’s latest defense of the visit adds salt to fresh wounds amid ongoing historical and territorial disputes.

Abe cited a Japanese history professor, Kevin Doak of Georgetown University, who said that visiting the Arlington National Cemetery, where Confederate soldiers are buried “does not mean endorsing slavery.”

Doak’s quote was taken from his 2008 essay, “A Religious Perspective on the Yasukuni Shrine Controversy,” which presented a spiritual perspective, namely as a Catholic, of paying respects at Yasukuni.

Abe has not yet personally visited the shrine since he took office in December, though he sent a ritualistic gift last month to mark the commencement of spring festivities at Yasukuni.

His grandfather, former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi, was arrested as a suspected Class A war criminal after World War II but never charged.

But Abe did not rule out the possibility that he may visit the shrine in the future.

“After Yasukuni enshrined the souls of the Class A criminals, China and South Korea did not make any claims about visits there for some years,” stated Abe in the interview. “Then suddenly, they started opposing the visits. So I will not say whether I will visit or refrain from visiting the shrine.”

Ahead of Japan’s upper house elections in July, Abe rides high on approval rating polls with signs of economic improvement in Japan. But his recent stream of nationalist remarks seeming to deny Tokyo’s wartime atrocities has raised the ire of neighboring countries, and his latest interview is drawing further backlash from Korea.

“The Yasukuni Shrine enshrines war criminals and is a facility that glorifies its war aggressions,” said Cho Tai-young, spokesman of Korea’s Foreign Ministry yesterday regarding Abe’s latest remarks comparing the shrine to the Arlington National Cemetery.

“Our government distinctly opposes paying respects at the Yasukuni Shrine,” added Cho and urged Japanese leaders “to lend their ears to [the Korean] government’s consistent position.”

Abe also made remarks that would likely infuriate Beijing, stating that, “The Senkaku Islands [called Diaoyu by China] are an integral part of Japanese territory, based on both history and international law.”



By Sarah Kim

The Refuge-rator




(Published: 6/2/2013 World Journal Forum 《Tiao's Perspective Column》)


2013-05-23
          
Oklahoma's terrifying tornado was no match for Anita Zhang's walk-in fridge at the Hong Kong Chinese Restaurant .

Zhang opened the Hong Kong Chinese Restaurant on Southwest 19th Street seven years ago when she moved from Guangdong province in China. Zhang and her brother Michael were able to find refuge inside the walk-in fridge while the rest of their restaurant was destroyed.  ( Tomonews)