What the Bush-Obama China Memos Reveal

Newly declassified documents contain important lessons for U.S. China policy.

APRIL 29, 2023, 6:00 AM Foregn Policy

By Michael J. Green, the CEO of the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, and Paul Haenle, the director of Carnegie China.

As U.S.-China relations transition from an era of engagement to one of strategic competition, some in the Biden and former Trump administrations have claimed to be abandoning four decades of naive American assumptions about Beijing. Past U.S. policy, they say, was based on a futile view that engagement would lead to a democratic and cooperative China. This, however, is not only a misreading of past U.S. policies but also dangerous analytical ground upon which to build a new national security strategy.

The fact is that no administration since that of Richard Nixon has made U.S. security dependent on Chinese democratization. Every administration has combined engagement with strategies to counterbalance China through alliances, trade agreements, and U.S. military power. Throwing out all previous U.S. approaches to China would mean throwing out some of the most important tools the current administration relies on to compete with China. And the Biden administration will not get its China strategy right until it is clear about what has worked in the past.

Hand-Off: The Foreign Policy George W. Bush Passed to Barack Obama; Stephen J. Hadley, Peter D. Feaver, William C. Inboden, and Meghan L. O’Sullivan (eds.); Brookings Institution Press, 774 pp., $39, February 2023

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U.S. Support for the Philippines in the South China Sea




APRIL 29, 2023

The United States stands with The Philippines in the face of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) Coast Guard’s continued infringement upon freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. Imagery and video recently published in the media is a stark reminder of PRC harassment and intimidation of Philippine vessels as they undertake routine patrols within their exclusive economic zone.  We call upon Beijing to desist from its provocative and unsafe conduct. The United States continues to track and monitor these interactions closely.

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Freedom of expression under threat in Southeast Asia


Governments across Southeast Asia have little incentive to protect freedom of expression domestically but steps taken by both domestic and international actors could mean the difference between freedom and its opposite.

All of the countries of Southeast Asia currently sit in the bottom half of the World Press Freedom Index, with four – Brunei, Laos, Singapore and Vietnam – ranked below 150 in the 180-country list, and Myanmar expected to join them following its February 2020 coup.

In these countries, critical coverage is not formally banned but there is no presumption of the right to publish. In Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand, for example, a theoretical commitment to freedom of expression is marred by restrictive legislation, intimidation and even the killing of journalists.

The media in Southeast Asia faces two problems – vaguely worded laws open to abuse and politically-motivated prosecutions – and, in the absence of robust independent courts willing to challenge these governments, politicians have been able to pursue personal vendettas against publications and individuals with few limitations.


Without independent courts, even those countries with rules-based legal systems, will fail to defend dissenting voices against politicians in power.


Tiếp tục đọc “Freedom of expression under threat in Southeast Asia”

Understanding Causes for Wrongful Convictions in Vietnam: a View from the Top and the Bottom of the Iceberg


Wrongful convictions have severe consequences and effects on the values, dignity, and self-esteem of the innocent and their beloved ones. While Vietnam is implementing the rule of law to ensure the protection of citizens’ fundamental rights, recent and serious wrongful conviction cases suggest a need to enhance the effectiveness and credibility of criminal justice reform. Using several cases for examples from Vietnam, this study examines two levels of factors that contribute to wrongful convictions: (i) the acknowledged causes (the top of the iceberg) and (ii) the hidden roots (beneath the surface). In addition, we compare the case of Vietnam to the findings from other Asian nations, notably those of East Asia. We conclude that the causes for wrongful convictions are embedded in the criminal justice process and culture, and eradication of wrongful convictions requires careful planning and innovative reforms that address the root causes of the problems. Relevant policy and practical recommendations are offered to deal with the factors leading to wrongful convictions in Vietnam.


In recent years, Vietnam’s criminal justice system has been more effective in addressing human rights and responding to transnational crimes and maintaining national security. New legislation in Vietnam’s criminal justice system sets the goals of safeguarding justice and human rights first and foremost, a component of which requires reduction of wrongful convictions. Wrongful convictions have weakened public trust in the criminal justice system, violated human rights, and affected the integrity of the rule of law. Yet, at the domestic level, wrongful convictions are still persistent.

Vietnamese legal scholars have started examining wrongful convictions, particularly after the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) called for judicial reforms in the 2000s (Dao, 2020; Thai, 2020). These scholars have paid little attention, however, to the fundamental reasons that lead to wrongful convictions. While the CPV encouraged the combination of inquisitorial and adversarial models in criminal proceedings, the legal ideology to identify and recognize hidden factors of wrongful convictions has not been seriously considered in the process. In other words, the hidden factors contributing to wrongful convictions are still not reviewed and assessed alongside the surface elements of wrongful convictions in Vietnam.

Tiếp tục đọc “Understanding Causes for Wrongful Convictions in Vietnam: a View from the Top and the Bottom of the Iceberg”

3 ngôi đền thờ vua Hùng ở Sài Gòn


Ngoài đền thờ Vua Hùng ở Thảo Cầm Viên là di tích được xếp hạng để bảo tồn, thành phố còn có đền tưởng niệm lớn nhất Nam Bộ.

Đền thờ vua Hùng trong Thảo Cầm Viên

Đền thờ vua Hùng nằm cạnh quầy vé Thảo Cầm Viên (quận 1, TP HCM), do người Pháp xây dựng năm 1926. Công năng ban đầu của công trình là đền tưởng niệm những người Việt tử trận vì đi lính cho Pháp trong Thế chiến thứ nhất.

Sau năm 1954, khi người Pháp rút khỏi Việt Nam, công trình được đổi tên thành đền Quốc Tổ Hùng Vương. Trong đó, ngoài việc thờ vua Hùng, còn thờ một số nhân vật lịch sử khác như Trần Hưng Ðạo, Tả quân Lê Văn Duyệt. Sau năm 1975, đền được đổi thành đền thờ Hùng Vương và giao cho Bảo tàng lịch sử Việt Nam – TP HCM trực tiếp quản lý.

Ngôi đền có bình đồ hình vuông, mang phong cách kiến trúc thời nhà Nguyễn với bộ mái chồng diêm, tạo thành ba tầng mái cong. Về tổng thể, công trình phảng phất tòa Minh lâu của lăng Minh Mạng ở Huế.

Mỗi tuần, đền mở cửa miễn phí cho khách đến thăm từ thứ 3 đến ngày chủ nhật. Ngày giỗ tổ Hùng Vương mùng 10 tháng 3 âm lịch hàng năm, ở đây đều tổ chức lễ dâng hương.

Năm 2015, UBND TP HCM xếp hạng di tích lịch sử - văn hóa cấp thành phố cho công trình này. Ảnh: Quỳnh Trần
Năm 2015, UBND TP HCM xếp hạng di tích lịch sử – văn hóa cấp thành phố cho công trình này. Ảnh: Quỳnh Trần

Đền tưởng niệm các vua Hùng

Tiếp tục đọc “3 ngôi đền thờ vua Hùng ở Sài Gòn”

Remarks by US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Renewing American Economic Leadership at the Brookings Institution

APRIL 27, 2023 whitehouse.gov


I want to start by thanking all of you for indulging a National Security Advisor to discuss economics.

As most of you know, Secretary Yellen gave an important speech just down the street last week on our economic policy with respect to China.  Today I’d like to zoom out to our broader international economic policy, particularly as it relates to President Biden’s core commitment—indeed, to his daily direction to us—to more deeply integrate domestic policy and foreign policy.

After the Second World War, the United States led a fragmented world to build a new international economic order.  It lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.  It sustained thrilling technological revolutions.  And it helped the United States and many other nations around the world achieve new levels of prosperity.

But the last few decades revealed cracks in those foundations.  A shifting global economy left many working Americans and their communities behind.
A financial crisis shook the middle class.  A pandemic exposed the fragility of our supply chains.  A changing climate threatened lives and livelihoods.  Russia’s invasion of Ukraine underscored the risks of overdependence.

So this moment demands that we forge a new consensus. 

That’s why the United States, under President Biden, is pursuing a modern industrial and innovation strategy—both at home and with partners around the world.  One that invests in the sources of our own economic and technological strength, that promotes diversified and resilient global supply chains, that sets high standards for everything from labor and the environment to trusted technology and good governance, and that deploys capital to deliver on public goods like climate and health. 

Now, the idea that a “new Washington consensus,” as some people have referred to it, is somehow America alone, or America and the West to the exclusion of others, is just flat wrong.

This strategy will build a fairer, more durable global economic order, for the benefit of ourselves and for people everywhere.

So today, what I want to do is lay out what we are endeavoring to do.  And I’ll start by defining the challenges as we see them—the challenges that we face.  To take them on, we’ve had to revisit some old assumptions.  Then I’ll walk through, step by step, how our approach is tailored to meeting those challenges.

When President Biden came into office more than two years ago, the country faced, from our perspective, four fundamental challenges.

First, America’s industrial base had been hollowed out.

The vision of public investment that had energized the American project in the postwar years—and indeed for much of our history—had faded.  It had given way to a set of ideas that championed tax cutting and deregulation, privatization over public action, and trade liberalization as an end in itself. 

There was one assumption at the heart of all of this policy: that markets always allocate capital productively and efficiently—no matter what our competitors did, no matter how big our shared challenges grew, and no matter how many guardrails we took down.

Now, no one—certainly not me—is discounting the power of markets. But in the name of oversimplified market efficiency, entire supply chains of strategic goods—along with the industries and jobs that made them—moved overseas.  And the postulate that deep trade liberalization would help America export goods, not jobs and capacity, was a promise made but not kept.  

Another embedded assumption was that the type of growth did not matter.  All growth was good growth.  So, various reforms combined and came together to privilege some sectors of the economy, like finance, while other essential sectors, like semiconductors and infrastructure, atrophied.  Our industrial capacity—which is crucial to any country’s ability to continue to innovate—took a real hit.  

The shocks of a global financial crisis and a global pandemic laid bare the limits of these prevailing assumptions.

The second challenge we faced was adapting to a new environment defined by geopolitical and security competition, with important economic impacts.

Much of the international economic policy of the last few decades had relied upon the premise that economic integration would make nations more responsible and open, and that the global order would be more peaceful and cooperative—that bringing countries into the rules-based order would incentivize them to adhere to its rules.

It didn’t turn out that way.  In some cases it did, and in lot of cases it did not.

By the time President Biden came into office, we had to contend with the reality that a large non-market economy had been integrated into the international economic order in a way that posed considerable challenges. 

The People’s Republic of China continued to subsidize at a massive scale both traditional industrial sectors, like steel, as well as key industries of the future, like clean energy, digital infrastructure, and advanced biotechnologies.  America didn’t just lose manufacturing—we eroded our competitiveness in critical technologies that would define the future.

Economic integration didn’t stop China from expanding its military ambitions in the region, or stop Russia from invading its democratic neighbors.  Neither country had become more responsible or cooperative.

Tiếp tục đọc “Remarks by US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Renewing American Economic Leadership at the Brookings Institution”

Nhức nhối đất nông lâm trường ở Tây Nguyên – 2 bài

Nhức nhối đất nông lâm trường ở Tây Nguyên: [Bài 1] Dưới bóng ma ‘phát canh thu tô’ kiểu mới

NN – Thứ Ba 16/08/2022 , 10:41

Những hợp đồng khoán sản xuất thực chất vẫn theo kiểu phát canh thu tô ở tỉnh Đăk Lăk hệt như ‘bóng ma’ ám ảnh người nông dân nhận khoán suốt bao năm qua.

LTS: Doanh nghiệp ôm diện tích lớn đất đai màu mỡ nhưng hoạt động không hiệu quả, trong khi người dân liên kết nhận khoán phải chịu vô số các khoản thu. Mâu thuẫn, bất ổn đang ngày càng nhức nhối trên hàng vạn ha đất nông lâm trường ở Tây Nguyên.

Nông dân nhận khoán gánh hàng loạt các khoản thu ở Đăk Lăk. Ảnh: Minh Quý.
Tiếp tục đọc “Nhức nhối đất nông lâm trường ở Tây Nguyên – 2 bài”

Myanmar is a failing state, led by a junta fuelled by Russian arms, says UN rights envoy


Civilians are being killed by Russian weapons just like in Ukraine, says special rapporteur Tom Andrews in call for global action

A man sits in front of a house destroyed by the Myanmar junta’s air strike.

A man sits in front of a house destroyed by a Myanmar junta air strike. The UN special rapporteur for human rights there has called for an arms embargo. Photograph: SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Rebecca Ratcliffe South-east Asia correspondentWed 15 Mar 2023 19.00 GMT

Myanmar is a “failing state” and the crisis is getting exponentially worse, a UN special rapporteur for the country has warned, urging countries to adopt the same unified resolve that followed the invasion of Ukraine.

“The same types of weapons that are killing Ukrainians are killing people in Myanmar,” Tom Andrews, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, told the Guardian in an interview, citing the supply of Russian weapons to the junta since the coup two years ago. The junta relies heavily on aircraft from China and Russia, and has increasingly resorted to airstrikes to attempt to quell determined resistance forces.

The international response to Myanmar has been inadequate and some countries are continuing to enable the junta’s atrocities, Andrews said, calling for an arms embargo.

A man sits in front of a house that was burned by a military air strike


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CFR – Critical Minerals and China

The Water’s Edge April 28, 2023
The President’s Inbox Recap: Critical Minerals and China

by Michelle Kurilla, Guest Contributor

The digging of raw nickel ore near Sorowako, Indonesia’s Sulawesi island, on January 8, 2014.
REUTERS/Yusuf Ahmad

The latest episode of The President’s Inbox is live, and we’ve revived the practice of posting a weekly episode recap on The Water’s Edge.  This week, Jim sat down with Morgan Bazilian, the Director of the Payne Institute and a professor of public policy at the Colorado School of Mines. They discussed the role of critical minerals in geopolitical competition with China.

Here are four takeaways from the conversation:

1. Critical minerals are essential for the green energy transition. Lithium, cobalt, nickel, copper, and other minerals are critical to building the batteries, electrical grids, and solar facilities needed to move away from fossil fuels. Demand for lithium alone is predicted to increase thirteen-fold by 2040 and could become a sticking point in the green energy transition. Nor is demand for critical minerals limited to the energy sector; they’re widely used to manufacture everything from smartphones to advanced weaponry.

2. China dominates the critical mineral supply chain. A few countries sit atop vast mineral reserves. Seventy-five percent of the world’s known lithium reserves are found in Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile. The Democratic Republic of the Congo possess more than half the world’s cobalt reserves. Indonesia has more than 20 percent of the world’s nickel reserves. Regardless of where mines might be located, China owns or finances many of them. As recently as 2020, China owned and financed fifteen of the nineteen cobalt mines in the DROC. China also dominates the refining process. It controls 65 percent of cobalt refining, nearly 60 percent of the lithium refining, and as much as 95 percent of manganese refining. This dominance gives China leverage over customers, something it has used in the past. In 2010, China stopped exporting rare earth elements (a subset of critical minerals essential to electronics manufacturing) to Japan amid heightened tensions between the two countries.

3. The United States can lessen its dependence but doing so will take time. The United States is working with its allies and partners to lessen potential vulnerabilities to disruptions in critical mineral supply. The recently signed Mineral Security Partnership with Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, and others would allow investments in mining infrastructure abroad by the United States through the Export-Import Bank. The United States is currently negotiating a deal with the EU that would harmonize rules governing critical minerals used in electric batteries. The United States struck a similar deal with Japan last month. President Biden could also invoke the Defense Production Act to rapidly increase domestic investment in critical minerals. But all of these steps will take time to produce results. It can take more than sixteen years to make a new mine operational. There’s been pushback to investments in mining and processing due to their harmful environmental impacts, and both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have voiced concern about a need for congressional oversight in the trade agreements.

4. Technological advancements could lessen supply chain vulnerabilities. Technology has a long history of solving scarcity problems. Critical minerals could provide yet another example. For example, progress is being made on developing sodium batteries. They don’t require either cobalt or nickel as lithium batteries do. Even better for the United States, Wyoming sits on top of more than 90 percent of the world’s main industrial source of sodium. But it would take time to scale up sodium battery production and ease doubts about their durability, let alone ramp up construction of sodium battery factories to compete with China and get the rest of the world onboard.

Shortly after Jim and Morgan talked, Chile nationalized its lithium reserves, citing economic and environmental concerns. Chile isn’t the first country to make this move. Mexico did the same last year.

If you’re looking to read more of Morgan’s work, check out the piece he co-wrote earlier this year for Foreign Affairs arguing that the United States needs to rework its supply chains at home and abroad to “win the energy battle of the twenty-first century.” In another article for Foreign Policy, he and his co-authors warned America’s dependency on the critical minerals that China dominates poses a national security risk. He also co-wrote a piece for the Wilson Center’s New Security Beat blog that argued the United States needs to diversify its supply chains globally and domestically so that its climate mitigation strategies and military readiness are not in competition with one another.Read Original Post

How online searches for ‘Ukraine’ and ‘Taiwan’ are censored in China: study

Thousands of combinations of keywords attract either no matches on internet platforms or redirect to approved content, Canadian research group saysThree-month project shows infringement of ‘rights to freely access political and religious content’

Sylvie Zhuang

Sylvie Zhuang in Beijing

Published: 7:58pm, 28 Apr, 2023, SCMP

A Canadian study has detailed censored search terms about the war in Ukraine on Chinese platforms.  Photo: Shutterstock Images

A Canadian study has detailed censored search terms about the war in Ukraine on Chinese platforms. Photo: Shutterstock Images

Ukraine” and “Taiwan” are among a wide range of newly discovered keyword combinations censored by Chinese search engines and social media platforms, according to a study by a group of Canadian researchers.

In a report released on Wednesday, researchers from the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab said they looked at eight platforms accessible in China and found “60,000 unique censorship rules used to partially or totally censor search results”.

Tiếp tục đọc “How online searches for ‘Ukraine’ and ‘Taiwan’ are censored in China: study”

Rùa Hoàn Kiếm ở hồ Đồng Mô qua đời

tienphong.vn 24/04/2023 | 09:34

TPO – Cá thể rùa Hoàn Kiếm ở hồ Đồng Mô, một trong 3 cá thể rùa Hoàn Kiếm được ghi nhận chính thức trên thế giới đã qua đời, làm hẹp dần hy vọng khôi phục loài rùa quý hiếm nhất thế giới.

Nguồn tin của Tiền Phong xác nhận, cá thể rùa Hoàn Kiếm ở hồ Đồng Mô đã qua đời. Xác rùa nổi lên trên mặt hồ Đồng Mô hai ngày qua. Nguyên nhân cái chết của cá thể rùa cực kỳ quý hiếm này đang được các cơ quan chức năng làm rõ.

Theo một chuyên gia trong lĩnh vực bảo tồn, cá thể rùa Hoàn Kiếm ở hồ Đồng Mô có thể đã chết nhiều ngày trước khi nổi lên mặt nước, như chuyện từng xảy ra với cụ rùa Hồ Gươm cuối cùng. Cá thể này có chiều dài toàn thân 156cm, chiều dài mai rùa 98cm, chiều rộng mai rùa 76cm, cân nặng 93kg.

Theo nhận định, cá thể rùa Hoàn Kiếm bị chết nhiều khả năng chính là cá thể rùa đã được bẫy bắt thành công vào năm 2020. Khi đó, các nhà bảo tồn đã bẫy bắt thành công một cá thể rùa Hoàn Kiếm có cân nặng 86kg, chiều dài mai 99,5cm, rộng mai 75,5cm.

Tiếp tục đọc “Rùa Hoàn Kiếm ở hồ Đồng Mô qua đời”

China and Taiwan: A Torrid Backstory

Tensions between the United States and China over Taiwan have been on the rise. Here’s what lies behind them.

Monday, April 17th, 2023 New York Times

This transcript was created using speech recognition software. While it has been reviewed by human transcribers, it may contain errors. Please review the episode audio before quoting from this transcript and email transcripts@nytimes.com with any questions.

Sabrina Tavernise: From “The New York Times,” I’m Sabrina Tavernise. And this is “The Daily.” [MUSIC PLAYING]

The posturing between the US and China has been intensifying in recent weeks, especially when it comes to Taiwan. Today, my colleague, Edward Wong, on why China is so fixated on Taiwan and how the US got in the middle of it.

It’s Monday, April 17.

So, Ed, Taiwan has been back in the news again for the past few weeks. Tell us why.

Edward Wong: Well, Sabrina, we saw tensions spike this month over Taiwan. Earlier this month, the president of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, stopped in Los Angeles on her way back to Taiwan from Central America. Archived Recording (Tsai Ing-Wen)

Tiếp tục đọc “China and Taiwan: A Torrid Backstory”

An Giang: Đưa nghệ thuật múa Óc Eo vào trường học

Thứ tư, 26/04/2023 00:15 (GMT+7)

(ĐCSVN) – Đưa giáo dục di sản văn hoá tới học sinh, ngay tại khu di tích quốc gia đặc biệt Óc Eo – Ba Thê là một phương pháp rất hiệu quả để tuyên truyền, giáo dục truyền thống lịch sử văn hóa; giúp thế hệ trẻ nâng cao hiểu biết, thêm tự hào về di tích, thêm trân trọng tiền nhân và cùng ra sức giữ gìn các di tích của địa phương.

Điệu múa Óc Eo do diễn viên Trung tâm Văn hoá Nghệ thuật An Giang biểu diễn

Nghệ thuật múa Óc Eo

Theo một nghiên cứu của TS. Nguyễn Khánh Trung Kiên, Phó Viện trưởng Viện Khoa học xã hội vùng Nam Bộ, khoảng 2.000 năm trước, vùng đất An Giang từng là thời kỳ phát triển rực rỡ của văn hóa Óc Eo, với sự xuất hiện của một “đô thị” quan trọng của quốc gia cổ Phù Nam vào đầu Công nguyên.

Nơi đây từng có một thời hoàng kim với những hoạt động kinh tế nông nghiệp và thương mại sôi động, là điểm dừng quan trọng của những tuyến hàng hải đường dài kết nối phương Đông và phương Tây.

Tiếp tục đọc “An Giang: Đưa nghệ thuật múa Óc Eo vào trường học”

Campuchia và sự trỗi dậy của một cường quốc nhỏ

NCLS – Tháng Tư 19, 2023

Thủ tướng Hun Sen, kỹ năng chính trị và kiến thức của ông là vô song. CPP

Kavi Chongkittavorn

19 Tháng Tư, 2023

Biên dịch: GaD

Đối với Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen [Lãnh chúa chỉ huy quân sự tối cao Hun Sen], Thủ tướng Campuchia, thời gian là tất cả. Do đó, không có gì ngạc nhiên khi nhà lãnh đạo tại vị lâu nhất thế giới gần đây đã phát tín hiệu rằng ông sẽ từ chức chính trường. Không thể tin được, phải không? Ông từng nói rằng ông sẽ nắm quyền cho đến năm 90 tuổi. Nếu ông ta không nói trực tiếp điều đó, sẽ không ai tin. Quyết định được cân nhắc cẩn thận của ông được đưa ra vào thời điểm quan trọng nhất do các điều kiện bên trong và bên ngoài hiện tại và những hậu quả lâu dài có thể xảy ra.

Quan trọng hơn, nó cũng chứng tỏ khả năng của Hun Sen vượt qua mọi cơn gió chính trị đang ập đến mình. Sức mạnh bền bỉ ấy là đặc biệt nhờ bản năng chính trị của ông – điều mà người Campuchia sẽ mô tả là “Noyubuy..Ascha Nas!” Và, nó đang lan rộng ra bên ngoài đất nước.

Tiếp tục đọc “Campuchia và sự trỗi dậy của một cường quốc nhỏ”