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March 20, 2008

China Admits Tibetan Protests Have Spread And Things Get Interesting In Asia

With everything going on here with the Presidential campaign, itís easy to get caught up in the horse race aspect of the process. However, itís important to remember that one of these people is going to have to deal with some serious shit come January of next year.

Take the current situation in Tibet for example.

China acknowledged Thursday that anti-government riots have spread to other provinces since sweeping through Tibet last week, as communist authorities announced the first group of arrests for the violence.

In India, the Dalai Lama told reporters he was "always ready to meet" Chinese leaders, in particular President Hu Jintao, though he said he would not travel to Beijing to do so.

ÖArmed police and troops poured into far-flung towns and villages in Tibetan areas of adjacent provinces to reassert control as sporadic demonstrations continued to flare. Foreigners were barred from traveling there and tour groups were banned from Tibet, isolating a region about four times the size of France.

If that werenít enough to make things interesting, adding to the concerns about a possible confrontation is the fact that Taiwan is holding its presidential elections this weekend. These elections usually raise tensions with the Peopleís Republic making lots of noise about Taiwan being a part of China. This year however, both candidates in Taiwan have preached the importance of closer economic ties with the mainland and China has responded in a generally favorable way.

The one possible sticking point is a referendum on whether or not Taiwan should apply to the UN for membership under itís own name. Itís a non-binding vote but itís the kind of thing China usually isnít very happy about.

With so much going at stake the US is obviously deeply concerned and involved.

As Galrahn at the naval blog Information Dissemination points out, the US has a good portion of the Pacific Fleet at sea right now.

There are some major military movements taking place in Asia right now, and it should come to no surprise to anyone that the US Navy is about to have more ships at sea in the Pacific than any other time in recent memory, including all 4 available Carrier Strike Groups.

ÖBasically every major naval platform you would want at sea in the 7th Fleet theater is at sea right now, and there are reserves on the wayÖ

I donít think anybody expects a shooting war to break out with China but that doesnít mean it isnít a situation worth watching and one US presidential candidates should be asked about it.


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posted by DrewM. at 11:23 AM

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