By Sushil Kutty
The two big world news that’s caught the attention of the remote today are North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un getting a shot at giving himself a sheen of respectability and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and China’s lifetime President Xi Jinping sitting down to diagnose and commit POTUS Donald Trump to a multi-polar world.
Indians, however, should not get carried away by the change of heart of China, forget that the Chinese are by nature ‘double-standards’. The stiletto-tipped dragon’s tail can twist around and dig your backside even as it gives you a make-believe Narendra Modi-hug. So, ‘beware’ is the word.
Hit by The Donald’s trade war, China wants to shift gears and looks at neighbour India as succour. Trump, however, is on another trip – get Kim Jong Un out of his kid’s fetish for the bomb in a bid to put detractors at home – the Democrats and mainstream media – in their place, report real events not fake news that The Donald has some secrets hidden in his Trump Tower closet.
Meanwhile, Kim Jong-Un and South Korea’s Moon Jae-in are “laughing and talking” with the chirping of birds. Both leaders planted a sapling at a ‘border village’ with soil from both Koreas to help the sapling grow. If the sapling survives the relationship will also. Kim Jong-Un’s wife Ri Sol-ju was to crossover into South Korea later Friday evening. Kim has signed on the ‘visitor’s book’, stating that a reset in the relations between the two Koreas is in order. That is score one for North Korea and, hopefully, Trump will stop calling Kim ‘Rocket Man’ and ‘Fat Boy’ though democrats will only say ‘fat chance’ to that.
Kim Jong Un’s sister Kim Yo-Jong and wife Ri Sol-ju are part of the let’s ‘Hug in Korean’ effort to inject bonhomie into the relations even as Trump’s better half Melania Trump is adding designs to her wardrobe for the day when The Donald gets into the closet with Kim Jong Un. It will be a tight fit, the same as Melania’s outfits, the last of which that caught the American woman’s eye was a black-and-white striped dress that left the shoulders bare and the knees covered. Conservative Republican women swooned.
Modi has no spouse other than Mera Desh Mahaan and Xi Jinping has by all reckoning gone beyond the folksy, which his spouse symbolizes, to the international. Friday, Modi was given a glimpse of ‘Chinese Folk’ in Wuhan, with dancers in light and dark pink swooning-in-dance to a Chinese folk tune. The Indian Prime Minister stood to attention with President Xi Jinping as half the population of India wondered with hope that ‘may this be the last time Modi stands to attention as India’s Prime Minister’ and the other half hoped that the Karnataka polls will give that notion a fitting burial.
‘Are we in for another round of Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai?’ is a question which should be out of the question. Doklam is stiff fresh in mind and Chinese submarines are sinking anchor in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) which is inflicted with Somali pirates and South China Sea yellow-belly whales with no love lost for the brown-skinned. WION tells us one of the headlines in the Chinese media Friday morning was ‘Couple Wedding’ or some such notion, and that nobody knows exactly what’s going on between the two leaders on the banks of the Yangtze.
The walk in the park will remind Indians of the swing on the banks of the Sabarmati. There will be memorandums of understandings signed and the Chinese will try to ease in the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) but India has already said ‘no way’ and Doklam will not fall victim to short-term amnesia even if Aamir Khan’s Secret Superstar hit big-time in China. His other title ‘Dangal’ spells India-China relations better. Khan’s Gajini, which explained short-term memory loss in graphic detail, is a fading memory to even Indians.
A Chinese-American analyst Einar Tangen, who claims to be the barometer of India-China ties, has after belligerence displayed on Indian TV channels during the Doklan Days, come round to the thinking that ‘India & China can sit down as equals’. Tangen on a tangent is nice to watch and hear but like word goes, ‘beware’. Walks in the park, the swing-swig next to the Sabarmati and the boat-ride on the Yangtze are watery lines. The convergence and divergence of interests will shape the informal and formal talks.
But remember, China and India stand at a crossroad because the United States under Donald Trump is at a crossroad. Indo-China ties can progress beyond today’s point only to the extent the United States allows it advertently or inadvertently. Trump in and on Korea is already a prick on China’s rump. How India and China see the United States will be what matters.
Einar Tangen says the US under Trump is a threat to multi-lateral trade and China and India should teach business to businessman Trump. Modi and Xi and Kim Jong-Un and Moon Ja-In should not forget that the biggest shadow is that cast by the man not in the room – Donald Trump! But Trump and Modi will go with the elections and they have term limits. Kim Jong-Un and Xi Jinping can go on and on… Trump the other week called Kim Jon-Un a ‘Smart Guy’ but don’t we get the feeling that the Master of Ceremonies right now is Xi Jinping, not Modi, not Trump and not Kim or Moon! (IPA Service)