John Pomfret

Nota: Este archivo abarca los artículos publicados por el autor desde el 1 de mayo de 2009. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.

Taiwanese military maneuver during the Helicopter Landing Training and All-Out Defense Demonstration in Taipei, Taiwan on Dec. 14. (Ritchie B. Tongo/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Chinese air force fighters have begun escorting bombers around Taiwan in “encirclement drills” and spokesmen for the Communist government have warned Taiwan to get used to it . On Wednesday, China’s president Xi Jinping, dressed in military fatigues, convened a military mobilization meeting— the first ever for the entire Chinese armed forces and commanded China’s military to become “battle ready.” Chinese officials are threatening that relations with Taiwan will turn “grave” because Taiwan’s government refuses to acknowledge that the island is part of China. A leading Chinese analyst predicts that China has accelerated its timetable to 2020 for taking over the island by military means.…  Seguir leyendo »

Donald Trump’s phone call with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen has elicited a predictable response from the commentariat: shock and dismay because Trump allegedly upset the apple cart of a bipartisan consensus on how to manage China and its claims on the island of Taiwan. Trump has been accused of undoing 40 years of delicate diplomacy and making a dangerously destabilizing move.

This criticism has elements of truth, but the overblown nature of the reaction to Trump’s call also is unhelpful. Together, Trump’s shenanigans and the hyperventilation by the media could end up adding more unwarranted pressure on democratic Taiwan and could contribute to the continued narrowing of its international space.…  Seguir leyendo »

I participated on Wednesday in a Chinese talk show on Chinese-owned Phoenix TV on the election of Donald Trump. There the glee was palpable about the victory of a man that Chinese state-run media has dubbed a “clown” and held up as an example of why the Chinese are better off living in a one-party state.

Underlying the glee was a belief of the guests, most of them leading Chinese analysts or former diplomats, that a Trump administration would cede the Western Pacific to China, downgrade its alliances with Japan and South Korea and not carry through on the candidate’s threats to slap tariffs on Chinese goods.…  Seguir leyendo »

In his memoirs, former president George W. Bush recounts a story about North Korea and China. In October 2002, he invited China’s then-president, Jiang Zemin, to his Texas ranch. North Korea was developing nuclear weapons, and Bush wanted China’s help. According to Bush, Jiang told him that “North Korea was my problem, not his.” China did nothing.

A few months later, Bush tried a different tack. He told Jiang in January 2003 that if North Korea’s nuclear weapons program continued, the United States would not be able to stop Japan from developing its own nuclear arsenal. Still nothing. A month later he warned China that if the problem was not solved diplomatically he would consider a military strike against North Korea.…  Seguir leyendo »

The tension in the East China Sea between China and Japan is America’s problem. Sure, there are all sorts of reasons war will “never” break out — from “it just wouldn’t make sense” to “everybody is making too much money to fight.” But given the history of the region and the lack of rules for handling such crises, the reality is that one stupid mistake could start a war. Since the United States is obligated by treaty to defend Japan if it is attacked, it falls to Washington to make sure a conflict does not erupt.

Over the past several months, Tokyo and Beijing have played a game of chicken, in the streets, on the seas, in the air and through the airwaves over a cluster of three uninhabited islands and two big rocks called the Senkakus by the Japanese and the Diaoyu Islands by the Chinese.…  Seguir leyendo »

The term “Chinese company” has become a buzzword for some type of seven-headed hydra with links back to the Chinese Communist Party, out to filch trade secrets, infiltrate the homeland and throw Americans out of work. The latest use of the term involves hyperventilation about the successful bid of the U.S. subsidiary of one of the world’s biggest auto-parts manufacturers for a Massachusetts firm that makes batteries.

This month, a Delaware bankruptcy judge approved Wanxiang America’s $256.6 million bid for battery manufacturer A123. Several Republican senators demanded an investigation. The Strategic Materials Advisory Council, a coalition of former U.S. military leaders and industry specialists, urged the U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

The past two months in China have revealed something profound about the outsized expectations that China and the United States have for each other and the often-feeble returns on what many call the most important bilateral relationship in the world.

Many Chinese place the United States on a pedestal that looms even higher from the capital of a nation facing a deep crisis in belief. The Chinese vest the United States with a moral authority that Americans are flattered by but are often loath to accept. For its part, the United States, in need of a hand around the globe, wants China to start acting like a superpower.…  Seguir leyendo »

On June 14, 1989, I was in the Associated Press bureau in Beijing. I had just filed a story about the reopening of the U.S. Embassy in China’s capital. As the sun streamed through the office’s grubby windows, the phone rang.

“This is the police in charge of resident foreigners in China,” a male voice on the other end announced. “Are you Pan Aiwen?” He was using my Chinese name.

“Yes,” I replied.

“You are ordered to appear at our bureau immediately,” he said. Click.

Three days later, I was on a plane bound for Hong Kong, expelled from China. Officially, I stood accused of stealing state secrets and violating martial law provisions.…  Seguir leyendo »