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Orville Schell

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Homepage: http://www.chinafile.com/

Sitting in a grand salon of the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square awaiting the official arrival ceremony of President Trump was to be taken back to that period of Sino-Soviet amity when Stalin was Mao’s “big brother” and the Chinese Communist Party was getting ready to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1959. Known at the U.S.

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Before winging off to Beijing, Trump managed to convince his staff and Korean President Moon to take him to the demilitarized zone (DMZ). Many of his aides were said to have been wary about the idea, fearing he might make some kind of provocative statement at this famous line of demarcation that was temporarily drawn by an armistice agreement in 1953 after the Korean War.

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Slowly we are stitching our way across Asia on Donald J. Trump’s great five-nation oriental hegira. After a punishing 2:00 a.m. departure from Yokota Air Force Base outside Tokyo, we arrived this morning at Osan Air Base outside of Seoul, a reminder of the network of massive military bases the U.S. maintains in northeast Asia. Like Japan, the Republic of Korea is a treaty ally of the U.S.

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Many are fearful that Xi Jinping’s ability to awe his visitors with over-the-top manifestations of pomp and ceremony will turn Donald Trump to Jell-o. But having watched Trump arrive in Japan yesterday on the first leg of his five-country trip, it’s clear he, too, understands a thing or two not just about the power of the U.S. military abroad (which is considerable, we have some 50,000 troops in Japan...

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By reiterating its policy of “no acceptance, no participation, no recognition, and no implementation,” China has painted itself into a difficult corner and diminished the chances of resolving the myriad maritime disputes—involving Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and now even Indonesia as well as the Philippines—in a peaceful manner.

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As a liberal, I no longer feel I have a future in China,” a prominent Chinese think tank head in the process of moving abroad recently lamented in private. Such refrains are all too familiar these days as educated Chinese professionals express growing alarm over their country’s future. Indeed, not since the 1970s when Mao still reigned and the Cultural Revolution still raged has the Chinese leadership been...

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