Empire Of The Ring Chapter 264
Xinjiang Uyghur was a hot potato in the global community.
Despite the criticisms of the global society and Central Asian countries, China proclaimed martial law on the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The proclamation of martial law would temporarily stop the autonomy of the state and the commander of the Chinese occupation forces in Xinjiang would wield absolute power over the state.
The border area was certainly closed, and the newspaper companies and broadcasting stations were seized by the Chinese force. The force was now setting up evening curfews and regulating people’s long distance traveling.
The state was turned into darkness. The local people were daunted by the sudden change. However, the independence fighters did not sit back. Governmental buildings, police stations, and military camps were constantly being terrorized by them. There were even several shootouts in the open in the streets. Xinjiang was no different than a wartime situation.
As the Chinese authorities suppressed local Uyghurs more, the Chinese people who resided in Xinjiang became the target of the independence fighters. It was so severe that even the Chinese gangsters who were hired by the Chinese authorities avoided the Uyghur independence fighter groups.
About forty percent of the Xinjiang’s population was Chinese Han people who were more than eight million people. It was not an exaggeration to say that the city of Urumqi was the Han people’s city. As Youngho and Jong-il heard the news after returning to Arirang Autonomous State, they regretted that they had made unnecessary trouble.
“The U.S government might be smiling to this but Uyghurs must be dying for this.”
Youngho spoke in a worrisome voice. Jong-il also frowned.
“Man, was it all pointless? I feel guilty.”
“Well, we’ve got to see the bright side. This would’ve happened eventually. We just sped up the process.”
If it did not become a global issue like this, Xinjiang Uyghur would have been a forgotten place to the global community and would have been completely assimilated to China in several years. Since there were quite a lot of Uyghurs who were pro-China already, as time went by, independence would even become far-off.
Students were taught Chinese in school as mandatory, and teenagers were already accustomed to Chinese cultures. They spoke Chinese in their daily lives and any official documents were written in Chinese.
This was what Uyghur independence fighters feared the most. If people would lose their identities at some point and accept living as Chinese, their past independence movement and struggles would be useless.
Most people predicted that Uyghurs’ Islam would die off soon. The Chinese government had been restricting Muslim traditional cultures for several years already. There had been an incident where a couple was given a sentence. It was because the husband grew his beard in Islamic style and the wife wore a burka. That was why Uyghurs were fighting for their freedom from China.
Kazakhstan also did not step aside for the Uyghurs’ pain. It was because there were 1.5 million Kazakhs living in Xinjiang Uyghur. The Kazakh government requested the Chinese government to allow Kazakhs in Xinjiang to move to Kazakhstan. However, the Kazaks living in Xinjiang did not even bat an eye.
They did not want to leave their hometown. Moreover, it was not like there were house and land prepared for them even if they moved to Kazakhstan. Youngho knew about that well since he had been receiving Serbian immigrants to Arirang Farm.
It was a great cause but the Kazakh government did not have any plans for the Kazakhs in Xinjiang if they decided to move back to Kazakhstan. It seemed that it was Kazakhstan’s protest to China but there was no sincerity in it.
Come to think of it, the U.S. was also not interested in Uyghurs’ peace or independence. Its priority was separating China and Central Asia.
Youngho got frustrated by the thought that Uyghurs could be a sacrifice for international political dynamics. The world was not going to change because he had stirred up some military camps in the border area. He felt that he had been only a puppet in a huge conspiracy.
Because of that, innocent Uyghurs were suffering from China’s forceful oppression.
The Arirang Autonomous State would face the same future if it had no power.
Youngho’s body would not stop shaking because of anger.
“You need to recruit that many?”
“After watching what happened to Uyghurs, I just felt like I was watching our future.”
Jong-il did not understand what Youngho meant.
“You’re going to need a bigger budget if you want to hire more intelligence agents.”
Although Youngho was worried about funding as well, he wanted to increase the number of their intelligence agents in order to build up the autonomous state’s intelligence strength. As the newly recruited agents would be trained to become agents, they would also receive special military training. Then the autonomous state would automatically gain strength as well. Seeing Uyghurs’ suffering because of their lack of power, Youngho was convicted to make the Arirang Autonomous State more powerful.
Jong-il also agreed. The current international dynamics of Northeast Asia was indeed pitiful. A nation needed economic and military strength in order to raise its voice. Nothing could stand before an overwhelming military strength.
“So what are you going to do? Get strategic arms?”
“Sure, if necessary. People don’t care about the Arirang Autonomous State now, and that’s the best condition to prepare for the future. We’ve got ships. We can bring in anything.”
“Even unmanned attack air vehicles? Then, we should build an air defense network like Iron Dome in Israel.”
Jong-il began to list the weapons that he had been willing to have.
“Hmmm. Hey, let’s go get the gifts Michael prepared for us first.”
“We need to get rewarded for what we’ve gone through for America.”
It was snowing at the airport in Frankfurt. Jong-il made a fuss as he got off the airplane that just narrowly made it to the snowy runway.
“What good is a big airplane? It’s more dangerous than the Cessna airplane. Man, my liver has shrunken to the size of a pea.”
“There are large Cessna airplanes as well.”
“There are jets that have longer ranges.”
“The runway is too short.”
“There’s plenty of empty lands, why don’t we extend it? Bigger airplanes need longer runways.”
“Okay. Let’s extend the runway and build a sturdier hangar. We can even make money by lending the airfield to Americans.”
“Now you’re talking.”
Jong-il was satisfied since his idea was accepted. Even though the autonomous state was a small territory, it would be necessary to give an impression that it was an organized place. A small autonomous state that was equipped with important facilities would be able to earn good deals from negotiation tables. Even though it was a small land, no one would dare to underestimate it, just like Israel.
“I wonder what Michael had prepared for us.”
Jong-il was looking forward to receiving intelligence devices while Youngho was looking forward to receiving coastal patrol boats.
“He must’ve pressured the headquarters quite a lot this time. Since the European chapter is receiving the credit for broadening the gap between China and Central Asia, he might even have asked to build a U.S. military base in Kazakhstan.”
It would be interesting if a U.S. military base was built right under China’s chin. Youngho planned to convince Michael to make an air base near Almaty when he met him.
Russia must not be excited to see that the Chinese government had deployed too many of its soldiers near the Xinjiang’s border. It was not at all impossible to convince Russia for building an American air base in Kazakhstan under the pretext of stopping China’s advance into the country. Since Russia had overlooked the fact that the U.S was supporting military supplies to Kazakhstan already, an airbase could be overlooked as well. Although an agreement would be made between the two countries only after some political deals were exchanged, it was politically resolvable.
Putin’s dream was for Slavic to dominate the Far East regions, and China was now an obstacle of his dream.
Knowing that the United States did not intend to merge other countries like themselves, Russian authorities would overlook the U.S. that was stepping in to disturb China.
Even if China opposed it harshly, Russia could just shrug it off since it was between the United States and Kazakhstan.
Now that every scheme was planned, it was time to present them before Michael.
“I seriously think you’d make a great novel writer.”
Listening to Youngho’s words, Michael smirked. Although he was criticizing him, he listened to what Youngho had to say until the end without cutting his words.
“Chief. You’ve got to know a novel at this level would make a bestseller.”
“Oh, does it have a sequel?”
“Of course it does but I’m afraid that you’re going to mock me and say that it is a fantasy novel.”
“Whoa, you mastered the fantasy genre too?”
“Our autonomous state is planning to expand our airfield and runways to make it as a middle stopover for the public. I won’t share other plans anymore because they are top secrets.”
Michael held his side with laughter now. Knowing him for many years, Youngho knew that it was his way of complimenting. Whether it was a classic novel or a fantasy novel, he seemed to like the idea.
“Good. That’s what politicians do. Heck, I’ll also join them and help you.”
If Michael decided to help, he was not someone who would just suggest an idea to the authorities. In order to make it come true, he would do anything from lobbying and promoting it until he succeeded.
“Chief. Now is a good time to show your gifts.”
“You never give up Youngho. Are you trying to forcefully take things from me?”
“I know you’ve prepared them already. Why don’t you be a man and just show them to me at once? You don’t want to make someone like your son frustrated.”
Youngho was now appealing to his emotional side.
“Are you insane? Why are you, my son?”
“Korean people sometimes call men similar to their father’s age their father. Well, I’m just saying it.”
Michael had turned sixty this year and it was not wrong to be called a ‘father’ by Youngho.
Listening to the conversation next to them, Jong-il turned his face toward the other side since he was holding back his laughter.
“Then, you need to serve your father devotedly.”
“Who else can replace me? Who else could be your good son’s hand that can scratch your itchy parts?”
“A good son’s hand?”
“It’s a Korean back-scratcher made out of bamboo that scratches parts of your body that you can’t reach.”
At last, Jong-il burst into laughter.
“I’ve already sent two 15-year-old patrol boats at the New York Harbor. The Kazakh government will take them over.”
Youngho was surprised that the U.S. government was giving away two huge vessels but Michael’s last words made him sing small. There was no way that the Kazakh government would pass down the received vessels to the Arirang Autonomous State.
“Chief. The autonomous state is responsible for patrolling around the coast now. The Kazakh government won’t give them to us once they receive them.”
“You said you don’t even have enough people to run the vessels. Why are you being greedy? You can ask the Kazakh government to patrol the coast.”
Not knowing what Youngho had in mind, Michael seemed to have made the Kazakh government the receiver of the vessels. The U.S. government wanted to receive credit by giving away free vessels to the Kazakh government.
“The area that our autonomous state is going to patrol around is already set up. We’ve already sorted things out with the Kazakh Navy.”
Any kind of vessel was an expensive asset. Especially, he would never miss patrol boats that had the U.S. military systems installed. Although they were 15-years-old, any U.S. vessels regardless of their ages were updated to newer systems periodically.
“Those will be delivered to Kazakhstan anyway. Can you make an arrangement so that Arirang Farm can be the receiver?”
“I’ve gone through such trouble to pass down old intelligence devices to your side. Yet, you want me to go through another one?”
‘Is this real? He’s giving away intelligence devices too?’
Youngho did not step back.
“The name of the receiver just got longer. It’s changed to the Autonomous State of Arirang from Kazakhstan.”
“Okay, okay. Now stop bothering me and just go.”
Michael waved him off as if Youngho was bothering him.
Youngho knew better than to linger around since Michael would pick up the phone when Youngho disappeared from his sight.
“Chief. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
“It’s not decided yet. Why are you thanking me already?”
Despite his words, he was picking up the phone to make a call already.
He called Youngho as he was about to step out the door.
“Keep your schedule free this evening. I promised I’ll buy you a drink.”
At Michael’s remark, Youngho smiled as he closed the door behind him.