US - N.KOREA SUMMIT AND THE US ‘PIVOT TO ASIA’

11 June 2018 09:10 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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News that US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un will hold a summit meeting at a venue in Singapore on June 12 this year were confirmed by the White House spokesperson. The on-again-off again summit was given a new lease of life after Trump hosted Kim’s representative who brought with him a personal letter from Kim to the US leader.

According to the White House spokesperson, US personnel are already in Singapore finalising arrangements. They will remain in place the statement added until the summit. The spurt of activity surrounding the summit, signals a shift of US interest from West Asia to East Asia a continuation of Obama’s ‘Pivot to Asia’. The Middle East riven with conflict is important to the US and its western allies because of its vast reserves of oil and natural gas... These supplies though dwindling are still important and the west needs the conflict to control the resources of the region. Thanks to Israeli involvement in the conflict, the flames of disquiet in the ME may never be doused.

Should we, as Asians, not be concerned regarding the shift of US interests from West Asia (Middle East) to East Asia. The US ‘Pivot to Asia’ did not start all of a sudden. As far back as in 2006 according to ‘Livescience’,US researchers flew airborne missions to conduct magnetic, gravity and hyper spectral surveys over Afghanistan after it captured power from the Taliban and learned from maps and studies of Soviet era geological maps and reports up to 50 years old or more that hinted at a geological gold mine in that country. The missions corroborated the findings of the Soviet reports. At that time the US was also sowing seeds of dissension in West Asia and gradually bringing about regime change in countries whose policies did not align with western interests.

Today China is posing a challenge to US hegemony world-wide, both economically and militarily and the US has begun championing the freedom of the oceans in the South China Sea on ‘behalf’ of states like Japan -which it (US) nuclear bombed and fire-bombed at the end of World War II. Vietnam, whose citizens it subjected to chemical gas and napalm attacks, and the Philippines on whom the US kept in place dictator Ferdinand Marcos despite continued human rights abuse, until his violent overthrow.

Asia is rich in mineral resources.

According to ‘Encyclopaedia Britannica’Asia has enormous reserves of coal amounting to nearly three-fifths of the world’s total resources. Britannica also points out that two-thirds of the world’s known crude oil and natural gas are also found in Asia, with many of the island chains bordering eastern Asia having geological formations favouring petroleum accumulation and oil fields both on land and off-shorein the Indonesian islands of Sumatra, Java, Borneo, China and in Brunei. The area of the South China Sea is said to contain large petroleum deposits, but disputes among the surrounding countries about sovereignty over the Spratley Islands has inhibited development. Significant deposits of natural gas were discovered in Bangladesh during the 1990s.

Reserves of uranium ore are found in Asia’s ancient crystalline rocks. China and India have their own deposits.

Many regions of Asia have deposits of iron ore. The Philippines exports ore. Malaysia produces a considerable volume. Thailand, Myanmar, and Pakistan have fair amounts of relatively low-grade ores. Vietnam has good ores in substantial volume. Indonesia and India both have large deposits of good iron ores.

China has huge quantities of varying grades of ores and ranks among the world’s major producers of iron ore.

According to LiveScience Despite being one of the poorest nations in the world, Afghanistan may be sitting on one of the richest troves of minerals in the world, valued at nearly $1 trillion, according to US Scientists.

Afghanistan may hold 60 million tons of copper, 2.2 billion tons of iron ore, 1.4 million tons of rare earth elements such as lanthanum, cerium and neodymium, and lodes of aluminum, gold, silver, zinc, mercury and lithium. For instance, the Khanneshin carbonatite deposit in Afghanistan’s Helmand province is valued at $89 billion, full as it is with rare earth elements.

The US Pivot to Asia bodes ill for the Asian region. Unless countries in the region amicably settle their differences here there is a real danger Asia too, like the Middle East will soon go up inflames.

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