On December 7, we were not prepared as the Empire of Japan annexed everything in its path and folded it into the Greater Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Does that sound somehow familiar in 2018? Maybe it should. Consider this dear readers, as my cautionary note.
It’s no secret that China wants to make the entire Pacific Ocean part of the Middle Kingdom. The Marshall Islands would seem to a focus of ambitious efforts.
A little background: The US government formed the Congress of Micronesia in 1965, a plan for increased self-governance of Pacific islands. The Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands in 1979 provided independence to the Marshall Islands.
More on current background here, at Asia Times. The article may not be up for long so I’ll excerpt it, below.
…Eight senators behind the no-confidence vote cited the planned introduction of a state-backed cryptocurrency, known as the “sovereign”, that they said risked harming the country’s image and making the nation a potential hub for money laundering and terrorist financing.
The International Monetary Fund has said the cryptocurrency’s introduction puts the country in “uncharted waters” and raises the risk of losing its correspondent banking relationship with the US dollar.
The currency will now be introduced, but Heine said it wasn’t the main issue. “Really the vote of no-confidence is about the so-called Rongelap Atoll Special Administrative Region, or RASA scheme, which is an effort by certain foreign interests to take control of one of our atolls and turn it into a country within our own country,” she told Radio New Zealand.
Again citing the Asia Times article: Located southwest of Hawaii, home to key US military installations, the country’s 1,200 islands are also close to key central Pacific shipping routes.
Chinese military analysts have said that China wants a base in the area. Australian media reported in April that China and Vanuatu had engaged in preliminary discussions about China building a permanent military base on the South Pacific island nation.
China has defended its push into the Pacific, which it says is driven by “friendship and cooperation” with the island nations. “No country should try to obstruct the friendship and cooperation… China has no intention to touch the cheese of any country, instead China is committed to make the pie of cooperation larger,” said Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Zheng Zeguang, according to news reports.
There is huge (nearly unlimited) funding behind the effort, some of it put up by Bai Shi Yuan, said to be one of the wealthiest men in China. An ambitious and expansionist China certainly would offer additional patronage and nearly unlimited funding to gain control of the Marshall Islands, and a center piece in the Central Pacific.
I’ve discussed this with friends at the US State Department, but they have much bigger fish to fry, and there’s a trade deal to be concluded.
Submitted for your consideration on December 7.