|In the recent Party Congress of China, Xi Jinping has emerged as the clear “Emperor of China” and potentially the leader of the world -- at least in his mind, if not in fact. As a consequence, Xi has clearly brought the military under his thumb. Accordingly, he is denouncing the independence movements in Hong Kong and rattling the saber with Taiwan. Notice the military officers, at the Party Congress, in the green uniforms below just to add a bit of order which is much like the current U.S. White House.
The Party Congress has unofficially enthroned Xi Jinping as “Emperor Xi”. He stood and spoke for four hours which probably ranks up there with most other delusional personalities.
A thorny issue in China’s move to world dominance is their territorial claims and land-grab activity in the South China Sea which is counter to all international bodies that have reviewed their alleged rights. The Chinese standard modus operandi is to stake a claim on various atolls or reefs and then begin to reclaim the land under a Chinese flag. Over time, this effort has evolved into the construction of airstrips and the addition of Chinese military forces. Ostensibly, the forces are to protect Chinese shipping lanes but it puts their forces very close to most of Southeast Asia.
Despite the huge China presence on the northern border of Vietnam, the foreign minister of Vietnam shown below was the loudest voice in a recent meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to condemn China’s expansionist moves in the South China Sea.
Now comes the day job of the author which supports the activities of The Elephant Story. For over seven years, my company has sought to obtain the Vietnamese oil exploration licenses for two blocks in the South China Sea. Interestingly, some one-fourth of the licenses are in the China claim area. In fact, when the Vietnamese Government was acquiring seismic over the acreage, Chinese gunboats deliberately cut their seismic cables. All of these provocations led to Russia providing mobile missile launchers and kilo class submarines to bolster the defensive capability of Vietnam.
Just to “put our money where our mouth is” regarding Emperor Xi and his paper tiger, the author signed a significant exploration commitment on the two blocks in Hanoi on October 27, 2017. In a China/Vietnam face-off, we bet on the Vietnamese. Somehow, over the course of history, they have prevailed over much stronger forces and long odds.
Moreover, who would have thought forty-two years ago you would have found the author surrounded by the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a four-star General in the Ministry of Defense.