Tag Archives: prc

Stick A Dome On It

3 Feb

Couple Wearing Cute MasksHaving a skyline one can taste, or living in a city where no one can distinguish the smoke from a burning building and human-generated smog, is bad enough. Spending ridiculous amounts of money to sidestep the issue of overuse of coal due to industrialization is so very western.

The biggest ticket item is a huge dome that looks like a cross between the Biosphere and an overgrown wedding tent. Two of them recently went up at the International School of Beijing, one with six tennis courts, another large enough to harbor kids playing soccer and badminton and shooting hoops simultaneously Friday afternoon.

The contraptions are held up with pressure from the system pumping in fresh air. Your ears pop when you go in through one of three revolving doors that maintain a tight air lock.

The anti-pollution dome is the joint creation of a Shenzhen-based manufacturer of outdoor enclosures and a California company, Valencia-based UVDI, that makes air filtration and disinfection systems for hospitals, schools, museums and airports, including the new international terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

Continue reading

Using Vaccines To Subvert Pyongyang

26 Jan

nk famine victimsI respect those who place human rights above all other considerations in North Korea. The intractable situation on the Korean peninsula is frustrating for reasonable people to accept.

This week, and really for the past few weeks, has seen any illusion of diplomatic or domestic opening stripped naked. On human rights, abundant imagery and other documents exist, to verify the existence of abominable activities, that undermine the rhetoric of  Pyongyang’s “skeptical” supporters. Curtis Melvin believes he has located a new prison camp in Kaechon county. Meanwhile, in structures of another sort, NK watchers believe they have found the site at Punggye-ri of the imminent third nuclear test of which Pyongyang has warned. Finally, almost as a comic coda to a busy week, Pyongyang threatened to nuke itself.

In response, the United Nations passed UNSCR 2087.

On Thursday, the US placed economic sanctions on two North Korean bank officials and a Hong Kong trading company that it accused of supporting Pyongyang’s proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The company, Leader (Hong Kong) International Trading, was blacklisted by the United Nations on Wednesday.

Seoul has said it will look at whether there are any further sanctions it can implement alongside the US, but said the focus for now is to follow security council resolutions.

The resolution said the council “deplores the violations” by North Korea of its previous resolutions, which banned Pyongyang from conducting further ballistic missile and nuclear tests and from importing materials and technology for those programmes. It does not impose new sanctions on Pyongyang.

The US had wanted to punish North Korea for the rocket launch with a security council resolution that imposed new sanctions against Pyongyang, but China rejected that option. Beijing agreed to UN sanctions against Pyongyang after North Korea’s 2006 and 2009 nuclear tests.

Yet, the most desperate form of North Korean-inspired desperation is this – again, very insightful, very commendable – suggestion for “vaccine diplomacy” (via UN Dispatch).

Continue reading

Why They Quarrel

2 Jan

south_china_sea_dispute_China on December 14 submitted a non-binding report to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) on exclusive economic zones (EEZs), and Japan and South Korea have responded with their own reports. It’s hardly news as dramatic as boats clashing and planes scrambling, but – sorry, media – it’s not a pointless dust-up. I wonder sometimes if anyone realizes, that the point here is to avoid violence and acknowledge valid disagreements.

John Hickman offers an alternative explanation for why nation-states, such as China, South Korea, or ASEAN members, press for every kilometer of maritime territory.

The unspoken grievance is that China and South Korea gained little new territory as Exclusive Economic Zones in the scramble to carve up the oceans during the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Despite their large economies and populations, China and South Korea were entitled to claim only fractions of the areas claimed by the ten states that received the largest shares: the five Anglo-Saxon powers + France, Russia, Indonesia, Japan and Portugal. The United States and France each acquired more than 11.3 million square kilometers of the oceans. By comparison, China may claim a mere 879,000 square kilometers – less than the 923,322 square kilometers that the Maldives received. Given that China has the largest population on the planet, the second largest national economy and the fourth largest pre-UNCLOS land area, awarding 31 other states more area is another humiliation for a people whose modern national narrative consists largely of humiliation by other powers.
Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: