Date: January 9, 2016

Star Wars is the story of China’s foreign policy

“The Empire, long divided, must unite; long united, must divide.”

The Supreme Leader instructs his men to eliminate the Republic. That’s not just a major part of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it has also been the state of relations on the Korean Peninsula and in Greater China at various times in the past century.

Contrarian critics have defended the Empire as a righteous nation trying to defend itself from terrorists, but as episode VII shows, it could just as well be a Communist thugocracy. Throughout the series relations between the Empire and the Republic are like relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China (Taiwan). Taking a long view (and why not considering the Galactic Republic existed for 25,000 Star Wars years), Star Wars is really the story of the never-ending quest to unify (and expand) one’s empire, the very history of China.

In Jonathan V. Last’s seminal piece in the Weekly Standard “The Case for the Empire,” Last argues that the Galactic Republic before Palpantine’s rise, otherwise known as the Old Republic, was a tyrannical and inefficient behemoth that opposed the rights of the Separatist planets to secede and form the Confederacy of Independent Systems (CIS) in Attack of the Clones.

However,

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Chinese media celebrates landing of plane on artificial island

China has been working on constructing an artificial island with an airstrip on Fiery Cross Reef since 2014. The reef, known in Chinese as Yongshu Reef (永暑礁), and part of the Spratly Islands (Nansha, in Chinese), is also claimed by Taiwan, the Philippines, and Vietnam. China has occupied the reef since 1988.

Now that China’s 3,125 m-long (10,253 ft) runway is complete, they have taken the next step, by landing airplanes on it to welcome the new year, including two commercial jets.

Xinhua, the official state news agency, was proud of the achievement, saying in part, “The successful test flight proved that the airport has the capacity to ensure the safe operation of civil aviation large aircraft.”

The Oriental Morning Post featured a photo of the runway with the passengers and planes, one from Hainan Airlines and one from China Southern, on its front page on January 7, 2016. The headline refers to the runway as China’s southernmost “civil aviation” airport*.

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