Assignment Kunming

In Our Lifetimes, 21 of 20
While on this trip to China there occured an historic meeting between the leaders of North and South Korea. Much progress was seemingly made at this summit, and in the following weeks a sense of euphoria in Korea and amazement in the rest of the world would dominate the headlines.

Also following my trip was the 50th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, where the US ultimately fought Chinese troops in a bloody, stalemated war.

I was born in 1972, near the time when US President Richard Nixon visited China and reopened diplomatic channels. China is now poised to join the World Trade Organization, and a recent vote in the US House of Representatives was in favor of granting China permanent trade relations.

In only the span of my short lifetime, so much has changed in China and indeed the rest of the world. Changed enough to give one hope.

However, there are still outstanding issues in this game. Many seem to think that China and the US are on a collision course as the two biggest kids on the block. The US is near deploying a National Missile Defense system that is ostensibly to shield it from a North Korean or Iraqi missile threat, though in reality it is just as valid for countering a Chinese attack. I read an article from one pundit that the threat from China was not serious and we should not think about it too much at the moment, as it will be at least 30 years until China can match the US military. Looking back on Chinese history, and even the much shorter US history, we know that 30 years is as good as tomorrow--and within the lifetime of this young boy in the photo. I suggest that that particular pundit remove his head from his rear. We need to be thinking about this right now--and we need to be thinking about diplomacy, perspective, and in the case of the scientists working on the NMD, physics and geometry.

This is only a sampling of the outstanding issues we are dealing with, and how things might turn out in the next 30 years. With luck, I and this website will be here to see it.

Ed's Photos is created by Ed Kaspar
Copyright © 1997-2000
All rights reserved