China has so far not acted in an aggressive manner toward shipping in the South China Sea, but the very potential of action creates a clear threat to the economies of Japan and South Korea.
Kazuhiro Nogi | AFP | Getty Images
The following commentary is from Kevin Klowden, chief global strategist of Milken Institute.
News coverage of the weekend’s Group of Seven meetings focused on Ukraine, but China’s rising global presence was the other big topic on the G7 agenda. For two of East Asia’s biggest economies, in particular, the implications of that rise are critically important.
China wants to be the great military and political power of East Asia. Nowhere is that more evident than in President Xi Jinping’s “nine-dash” declaration, through which Beijing claims sovereignty over almost all the South China Sea. And of all the countries with cause to be concerned about that claim, perhaps none have more on the line than Japan and South Korea.
Most of the world is focused on the resource and military implications of Chinese claims to the islands in the region, and Beijing’s development of what is becoming the world’s largest navy. For Japan and South Korea, the threat to their supply chains and energy imports is a far more real and present issue.
In particular, Japan and South Korea are concerned about Chinese declarations which invoke not only the right to inspect cargo, but also the ability to restrict traffic. Neither Japan nor South Korea has any political interest in the ownership of the Spratly Islands, or in China replacing the United States as a dominant naval power. However, they have a strong economic stake in moving their energy imports and manufacturing components without fear of restriction. Even in a non-wartime situation, China has taken the position that the South China Sea is a controlled territory rather than open international waters under Chinese guardianship.
China has so far not acted in an aggressive manner toward shipping in the sea, but the very potential of action creates a clear threat to the economies of Japan and South Korea. China wouldn’t even have to directly stop vessels — it could merely electronically track specific cargo, or carry out inspections or diversions. Such actions would raise the specter of unpredictability and significantly rising costs.
For Japan and South Korea, the role taken by the United States in the post-World War II period was far less disruptive, not only because of their alliance but, more importantly, because the United States acted as a guarantor of free trade and protected movement through the corridor.
Linking the two countries to trading partners in Southeast Asia, India, and beyond is going to increase rather than decrease in importance.
Few people outside Japan or South Korea focus on or understand just how significant the South China Sea is when it comes to regional and even global energy supplies. Significantly, the sea is estimated to carry 30% of the world’s crude oil, supplying China and providing a vital lifeline for the energy-dependent economies of South Korea and Japan.
For Japan, the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and subsequent nuclear accident at Fukushima only exacerbated that dependence. The resulting curtailment of Japan’s nuclear program has left the country dependent on energy imports, with as much as 98% of Japanese oil coming from the Middle East.
In many ways, South Korea is even more dependent on energy imports than Japan, making oil and natural gas imports especially significant.
The South China Sea is important in more than just energy. It also serves as a key passageway for Japan and South Korea’s global supply chains. Estimates suggest that the sea carries between 20% and 33% of global trade; for Japan, that figure reaches as much as 40%.
As global supply chains regionalize, the role of the South China Sea in the Japanese and South Korean economies will only grow. Linking the two countries to trading partners in Southeast Asia, India, and beyond is going to increase rather than decrease in importance.
Japan and South Korea have been able to rely on the stability of the South China Sea as a conduit for driving their economic growth, even as the global political situation has changed over the decades. Significant shifts, including the Vietnam War and the end of the Cold War, haven’t stopped trade in the sea from growing more and more important.
As the United States balances commitments in Europe, Asia and elsewhere, the three strongest economies of East Asia — China included — all have a vested interest in ensuring the stability of trade, supply chains and energy flows.
For South Korea and Japan, trade remains stable in the South China Sea for now. But with China increasingly looking to assert itself and change the status quo in its favor, it’s essential that both countries ask themselves: How much are they willing and able to concede to China in the region before it becomes untenable? And are they prepared with alternatives that will allow them to compete economically?
Knowing the answers to those questions and being prepared for a more Chinese-dominant future in the South China Sea is important for all three countries — even if the status quo holds for now.
NIO sets YTD order intake record after new ES6 launch in May
NIO’s new ES6 already looks to be a key factor as the EV maker looks to expand its brand and compete in the booming Chinese electric vehicle market. According to Morgan Stanley, NIO hit a new year-to-date order intake record aided by the launch of the second-generation ES6.
After launching what many consider its most important model to date two weeks ago with its second-gen ES6 electric SUV, NIO has seen increased interest in the brand.
Although NIO was the only major EV maker in China to see a monthly sales decline in May, delivering 6,155 models (down 8% from April), the company has a plan to turn things around… and it already looks to be paying off.
Although the ES6 has been the company’s top seller since launching in 2018 as a more affordable option to the ES8, NIO knew it was time for an upgrade.
The EV maker is focusing on its NT 2.0 EV platform vehicles, including the recently launched EC7, second-generation ES8, ET5, and ES7 models. All NT 2.0 models are built on the NIO Adam supercomputer using four Nvidia DRIVE Orin system-on-chips (SoCs).
New ES6 boosts NIO’s order intake to record YTD high
A research report released last week from the Chinese consumer behavior research agency CarFans highlighted consumer behavior in NIO stores within the first 72 hours of launching (May 24 to May 27) the new ES6.
The report found each NIO store received 90 pre-orders on average, with around 20 confirmations that included a down payment.
With roughly 330 stores, that’s around 29,700 pre-orders or 6,600 confirmations. For just three days, that’s pretty impressive for a premium SUV.
Although the cancellation rate is expected to be around 10%, the new ES6 is already leading to a new order intake record for the year, according to Morgan Stanley analyst Tim Hsiao (via CnEVPost).
In a research note on June 5, Hsiao said the firm had been tracking feedback from startups’ major sales channels in Tier 1 cities since last year to analyze the market. The team shared data that confirmed the new ES6 accounted for 35% to 40% of new orders in May, suggesting a meaningful impact on inflow as it launched in the final week of the month.
NIO’s overall traffic at flagship stores rose 30% to 40% month-over-month, with momentum continuing into early June. The new ES6 is NIO’s cheapest electric SUV, starting at RMB 368,000 ($51,614).
Meanwhile, the team said that despite customer traffic at the stores it tracks returning to levels seen this February, they are still “20% below last September’s level when the company rolled out ET5.”
Vineyard Wind 1’s first turbine blades arrive in the US
The first turbine blades for Vineyard Wind 1, the US’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm, have arrived at the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal in Massachusetts.
The $3.5 billion offshore wind farm will feature 62 GE Haliade-X 13-megawatt (MW) turbines spaced one nautical mile apart. The first turbine blades – each one 107 meters (351 feet) long – arrived at the Port of New Bedford (pictured above) from GE’s production site in Nazaire, France, on the heavy load vessel Rolldock Sky. (And no, it’s not lost on us, either, that wind turbine blades arrived on a fossil fuel vessel. May we collectively resolve that ironic problem ASAP.)
The turbine sections will be assembled at the terminal before they’re shipped out and installed this summer.
The 800 MW Vineyard Wind 1 is 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket and 35 miles from mainland Massachusetts. It’s a 50-50 joint venture between clean energy company Avangrid and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) funds CI II and CI III.
Vineyard Wind I will supply clean energy for over 400,000 homes and businesses in Massachusetts and reduce carbon emissions by over 1.6 million tons per year. It’s expected to come online at the end of 2023.
Read more: This US offshore wind farm is piloting a bubble curtain – what it is and why it’s cool
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Save energy with a 4-pack of Govee dual Wi-Fi smart plugs that can automate lights, fans, more at $30 (25% off) in New Green Deals
Using smart plugs can lead to more than just a convenient home. It can lead to a more energy-efficient home. Simply program a smart plug to turn off the lights, fan, or even a heater (in the winter) and you’ll immediately begin saving electricity. Every little bit counts, and depending on what you automate, can lead to multiple kW of savings every month, and dozens per year. Right now we’re seeing a 4-pack of dual Wi-Fi smart plugs on sale for just $30, which saves 25% and marks a new low that we’ve tracked. We also have a wide selection of Tesla and e-bike discounts in today’s New Green Deals, so you won’t want to miss that either.
Head below for other New Green Deals that we’ve found today and of course Electrek’s best EV buying and leasing deals. Also
Automate lamps, fans, heaters, and more with Govee’s dual smart plug
Govee’s official Amazon storefront is offering a 4-pack of its Wi-Fi Dual Smart Plugs on sale for $29.99 shipped once you clip the on-page coupon. Today’s deal delivers a full 25% in savings and comes in at $10 off. Not only that, but it’s $2 below the previous best pricing and marks a new low that we’ve tracked. Smart plugs have a lot of uses around your home, but one you might not think of is the energy saving implications of using them. Today’s deal is actually pretty unique, too, as it’s a 4-pack of dual smart plugs for just $7.50 each, and each one is individually-controlled, meaning you’ll have eight smart outlets in your home once picking the kit up.
All you’ll have to do is plug in various items in your home and the smart plug can begin automating your life. One great thing to use smart plugs for is lamps or other lights around the house. Simply program it to turn them off when you leave and on when you come back home. Not sure how much power that’ll save? Well, even if you’re using LEDs, most bulbs are around 10W or so of power draw. Leave that light on for 10 hours throughout the day, and you’ve now used 100W of electricity. Multiply that by a few lights in your house, five days a week, and you’re burning several kW of power every month for lighting a home that nobody’s in. On top of that, you can use smart plugs to turn on things like mini air conditioners, fans, or heaters depending on the season, ensuring those aren’t left on when nobody’s home, either. The smart plugs here can be controlled by the Govee app as well as either Alexa or Assistant, allowing for full programming as well as voice commands.
Leave behind gas and oil when you use Greenworks’ 80V electric mower
Are you tired of having to remember to get gas for the mower when it comes time for summer lawn chores? Well, Amazon has you covered. Right now the Greenworks Pro 80V 21-inch Cordless Electric Lawn Mower is on sale for $372.81 shipped. You’ll normally pay $497 for this mower, and today’s deal comes in at a match for the second-best price we’ve seen all year long. In fact, we’ve only seen it this low once before at the beginning of May, and before that it hit $345 one time back in April, showing just how good of a deal this discount is. Not only will you get the 80V electric lawn mower, which Greenworks says has “gas-like performance,” but also two 2Ah 80V batteries which deliver up to 60 minutes of runtime per charge.
Powered by a TRUBRUSHLESS motor, this Greenworks 80V electric lawn mower has “twice the torque, power, and longer runtime” compared to normal brushed alternatives. While traditional mowers require gas every time they run, and yearly oil changes and tune ups, electric mowers need none of those things. All you have to do is charge the battery and it’s ready to mow. Occasionally, you might need some new blades, but outside of that maintenance will be next to none here. Starting it is even simple, as you just have to press the button and the quiet electric motor will whirl to life. So, if you’re ready to enter the 21st century of mowing and leave gas behind, then the Greenworks Pro 80V 21-inch model is a solid upgrade for your lawncare setup.
Joining this price drop on this more powerful Greenworks electric mower at $156 off and a series of ongoing seasonal deals from the brand, you’ll find a series of offers now live from $8 on Amazon highlighted below to kit out your yard prep setup at a discount as well:
Juiced’s RipCurrent S e-bike lets you travel greener this summer
Today, Juiced Bikes is clearing out old stock of the RipCurrent S e-bike for $1,849 shipped with the code RIDE50 at checkout. Normally $2,399, like other colorways still fetch at Juiced, today’s deal comes in at a new all-time low that we’ve tracked. In fact, it beats our last mention by an additional $50 thanks to the promo code tacked on today. Designed to help you travel greener this summer, the Juiced RipCurrent S e-bike has a lot of solid features. For starters, it can travel at up to 28 MPH, which makes it easy to ride to or from work. The 70+ mile range per charge means you can travel longer distance before having to plug back in, too.
Now, how can this e-bike make your travel greener and more eco-friendly this summer? Well, the battery can be easily charged with solar panels or power stations, which can let you enjoy off-grid power. This means that those who value being green over all else can now travel without having to have massive batteries or large solar panel banks to charge a car. The 70+ miles of range here means you can easily travel over 30 miles to work and then the same distance back, all without having to charge mid-day. However, if you do need to power up before heading home, just plug into a standard 110V wall outlet and you’ll be ready to go. Of course, there’s also a display that shows your speed, ride mode, and battery life remaining at a glance. The rear rack and fat tires make carrying heavier loads simple, even when riding over softer terrain. Learn more about the Juiced RipCurrent S e-bike in our previous coverage.
New Tesla deals
After checking out the Govee Wi-Fi smart plugs on sale above, if you keep read, you’ll find a selection of new green deals that will make your Tesla experience better in multiple areas. From storage to keep recordings on to phone mounts, car chargers, and anything else we can find, it’ll be listed below. Each day we’ll do our best to find new and exciting deals and ways for you to save on fun accessories for your Tesla, making each trip unique. For more gift ideas and deals, check out the best Tesla shop. Keep reading on for e-bike, Greenworks, and other great deals.
New e-bike deals + electric scooter discounts
If you’re looking to get out and enjoy the sunshine still after using your new electric mower, than we recommend you experience it than on another e-bike or electric scooter you just got at a fantastic price through one of our deals and sale below. You can use it for fun, exercise, or even transportation to and from work or the coffee shop. We have several people here that will regularly commute to coffee shops or offices on their e-bike, as it cuts down on fossil fuel usage as well as allows them to enjoy some time outdoors on nice sunny days. Below, you’ll find a wide selection of new e-bike deals and electric scooter deal in all price ranges, so give it a look if that’s something you’d be interested in picking up. As always, the newest e-bike deal and electric scooter discounts and sales will be at the top, so shop quick as the discounts are bound to go away soon.
Additional New Green Deals
After shopping the Govee Wi-Fi smart plugs on sale above, be sure to check out the other discounts we found today. These new green deals are wide-ranging from outdoor lawn equipment to anything else we find that could save you money in various ways, be that cutting gas and oil out of your life or just enjoying other amenities that energy-saving gear can bring. As always, the newest deals will be at the top, so shop quick as the discounts are bound to go away soon.
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