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With tariffs, Trump starts unraveling a quarter-century of U.S.-China economic ties
Trump sets $50 billion in China tariffs, escalating trade war
President Trump announced hefty tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports on June 15, sparking an immediate response from Beijing. (Reuters)
by David J. Lynch and Emily Rauhala June 15 at 6:54 PM Email the author
President Trump imposed tariffs Friday on $50 billion in Chinese products, signaling his willingness to unwind nearly a quarter-century of growing commercial links between the world’s two largest economies unless Beijing agrees to transform the way it conducts business.
The decision marked the president’s boldest step so far to implement his “America First” strategy, which he promises will shrink the $811 billion merchandise trade deficit and return lost manufacturing jobs to the United States.
But Trump’s aggressive approach is rattling American corporate leaders and his Republican allies in Congress, as Chinese officials show no sign of capitulating.
It took little more than an hour for the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing to fire back at the president with a late-night statement pledging to erect trade barriers of the “same scale and the same strength.” China is targeting agricultural goods, cars and energy in a bid to hit the president’s supporters in farm states and the industrial Midwest.
[Trump] [China confrontation] [Trade war] [Response]
Kim Jong-un Flies Home on Chinese Plane
By Kim Myung-song, Kim Jin-myung
June 13, 2018 11:09
The front page of North Korea's official Rodong Sinmun on Wednesday /Newsis
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un left Singapore late Tuesday evening after his historic meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump. He used the same chartered Chinese airplane as on arrival.
But the route was a carefully guarded secret. Diplomats say there is a good chance he stopped in Beijing for debriefing by Chinese President Xi Jinping for what would be their third meeting in as many months.
Trump left Singapore on Tuesday evening and stopped by U.S. military bases in Guam and Hawaii on his way back to Washington, the White House said. Andersen Air Force Base in Guam and Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii constitute the U.S. military's key footholds in the Asia-Pacific region.
Trump had used his triumphal press conference after the summit to bewail the cost of supporting U.S. allies in the region in the apparent conviction that such allegiances are a one-way street.
[Singapore summit] [China NK]
Taiwan welcomes outcome of Trump-Kim summit in Singapore
Publication Date: June 13, 2018 |
The MOFA welcomes the outcome of the June 12 Trump-Kim summit in Singapore. (Staff photo/Chin Hung-hao)
The outcome of the summit between U.S. President Donald J. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un June 12 in Singapore is welcomed by Taiwan, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Trump and Kim reached a consensus and signed a document on matters relating to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and U.S.-North Korea relations, the MOFA said. The meeting is of great significance to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific as it creates new opportunities for resolving long-standing issues in a peaceful manner, the ministry added.
[Singapore summit] [Taiwan]
President Tsai lauds robust Taiwan-Kingdom of Eswatini ties
Publication Date: June 11, 2018 |
President Tsai Ing-wen (second right), Vice President Chen Chien-jen (right), King Mswati III (center) and Queen Inkhosikati LaMotsa (second left) enjoy a cultural performance June 8 at the Office of the President in Taipei City. (Courtesy of Office of the President)
President Tsai Ing-wen said June 8 that Taiwan is committed to strengthening the robust partnership with the Kingdom of Eswatini through expanding mutually beneficial cooperation and trade.
China Pats Itself on Back for Role in Trump-Kim Jong-un Summit
By Lee Kil-seong
June 12, 2018 10:05
China is patting itself on the back for its ancillary role in the summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump.
The state-run Global Times daily on Monday crowed, "China has played an important role in setting stage for the Trump-Kim summit" -- by providing a charter plane that took Kim to Singapore.
It claimed Kim's journey to Singapore aboard the Air China plane carries huge symbolic meaning and demonstrates Beijing's "wholehearted support" for the North as well as its intention to continue playing a role on the Korean Peninsula.
It said China plays an "indispensable" role in helping North Korea join the international community and could also help the North open up its economy.
It also talked up Beijing for offering "crucial momentum" in ensuring that the summit proceeds.
Kim met Chinese President Xi Jinping twice in the last few months, the last time just before Trump canceled the summit citing North Korea's "tremendous anger."
Kim's plane was the same Boeing 747 that Chinese Premier Le Keqiang uses on overseas trips.
[Singapore summit] [China]
China and DPRK working closely together
11 June, 2018
With the various coverages of the meeting tomorrow between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump, a small but important detail may not have received the attention it deserves. Kim Jong Un and his team flew in an Air China plane from Pyongyang to Singapore. Kim has a plane that he can use, so why a Chinese plane? It is not any plane, but one of those used by members of the Chinese Politburo for overseas travel.
The message is clear: the DPRK has the backing of China in the current process. Indeed, since Kim Jong Un and Xi Jinping met in March in Beijing (with a follow-up meeting in Dalian), there have been numerous occasions of close consultation and collaboration.
As usual, the most reliable coverage with the best photographs can be found at KCNA and Rodong Sinmun (here, here and here). Some images of the trip, from Pyongyang’s new international airport to Singapore:
After US withdrawal, Iran embraces China
5 June 2018
Author: Simon Theobald, ANU
On 8 May 2018, US President Donald Trump withdrew his country from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that had provided Iran with relief from economic sanctions in return for a freeze on its program of uranium enrichment. Although there is a grace period for US companies presently operating in the Islamic Republic to wind down their operations, economic sanctions will follow, putting pressure once again on the Iranian economy.
Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at Diaoyutai state guesthouse in Beijing on 13 May 2018. (Photo: Reuters/Thomas Peter.)
Not less than a week later, Iran’s charismatic Foreign Minister and one of the chief architects of the nuclear deal, Javad Zarif, was in Beijing meeting with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi. As Zarif does a global lap shoring up support for the wavering deal, it should surprise no one that China is at the centre of Iran’s economic horizons.
[Renege] [China Iran]
China says probe sheds no light on mystery illness striking U.S. diplomats
The entrance of the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China. (Sue-Lin Wong/Reuters)
by Simon Denyer and Carol Morello June 7 at 9:50 AM Email the author
BEIJING — A Chinese government investigation has shed no light on why a U.S. diplomat fell ill at the consulate in Guangzhou after hearing mysterious sounds, an official said Thursday.
On Wednesday, the State Department said it was evacuating several more Americans from Guangzhou for further health screenings. That follows the initial evacuation of a government employee, who had reported hearing strange noises in his apartment and exhibiting symptoms of brain injury.
On Thursday, China’s Foreign Ministry said investigators looked into the case after being told about the first incident.
“China and relevant authorities conducted an investigation and gave feedback to the United States,” spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular news conference. “We haven’t found the cause or clues that would lead to the situation mentioned by the United States.”
Separately, a group of researchers at the University of Michigan suggested that ultrasound signals from two or more transmitters could have accidentally interfered with each other to produce an audible signal.
The ultrasound signals could have come from eavesdropping devices, from jammers meant to block eavesdropping, or even from ultrasound pest repellents, the researchers said, raising the possibility that whatever or whoever caused the noise may have had no intent to harm.
[Sonic] [Self harm]
This Ohio factory thought it could bring U.S. jobs back from China. Then Trump got involved.
by David J. Lynch June 6 at 5:30 PM Email the author
'I'm in a very tough spot:' Factory owner on Trump tariffs
The Trump administration's tariffs on imported steel and aluminum are hitting close to home at a metal stamping plant in Cleveland. (Simon Brubaker/The Washington Post)
CLEVELAND — Bill Adler was invited last year to bid on a contract to make commercial sausage stuffers for a company that wanted to replace its Chinese supplier. The customer had just one nonnegotiable demand: Match China’s price.
Adler, owner of metal-parts maker Stripmatic Products, thought he could. But even as he readied his proposal, talk of President Trump’s steel tariffs sent the price of Stripmatic’s main raw material soaring.
In April, with prices up nearly 50 percent from October and the first wave of tariffs in place, Adler’s bid failed. His costs were too high.
Today, instead of taking business from China, Adler worries about hanging onto the work he has. He hopes tha
[Trump] [China] [Tariffs] [Self harm]
Air China to resume Beijing-Pyongyang flights
Posted on : Jun.6,2018 15:50 KST Modified on : Jun.6,2018 15:50 KST
State-owned airline’s flights to North Korea indication of improved relations and cooperation
On June 5, Air China’s web page began allowing reservations for flights to Pyongyang departing on June 6. (Air China website)
The state-owned airline Air China plans to resume service to Pyongyang after suspending its routes late last year citing insufficient demand.
Air China will be resuming Beijing-Pyongyang service three times a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, starting with flight CA121 from Beijing on June 6. As of June 5, the airline’s web page allowed reservations from a flight departing Beijing at 1:25 pm on June and arriving in Pyongyang at 4:20 the same afternoon.
The cost was 4,690 yuan (US$732) for a business class ticket and 2,940 yuan (US$459) for economy. Combined with Air Koryo’s service on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, this means seven flights a week will be traveling the Beijing-Pyongyang route.
The airline explained that its decision to resume service was “based on market demand.” When service between the two cities was previously suspended after a Pyongyang-Beijing flight on the evening of Nov. 20 last year, the reason given by the airline was “unsatisfactory performance”; the new explanation implies the situation has completely turned around in the six months since.
Exchange and cooperation have been on the rise between North Korea and China since then, with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visiting twice for summits with Chinese President Xi Jinping. North Korea has sent a goodwill observing delegation from its Workers’ Party of Korea to China, and Air Koryo charter flight service between Pyongyang and the inland city of Chengdu is scheduled to begin late this month.
What China wants from a U.S.-North Korea summit — and why it makes Trump nervous
By Don Lee
Jun 04, 2018 | 11:55 AM
After five years of practically shunning North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, Chinese President Xi Jinping has met with him twice this spring. The two Communist allies are pictured here in the second meeting in northern China. (AFP/Getty Images)
In the head-snapping drama of the off-again, on-again U.S.-North Korea summit, the unpredictable lead actors, President Trump and Kim Jong Un, hold center stage.
But off in the wings, China is controlling some of the key action — and may help dictate the ending.
Until recently, Beijing seemed to share Washington’s growing worry about Pyongyang’s increasingly powerful nuclear tests and ballistic missiles. Armed with a United Nations resolution, Chinese President Xi Jinping began squeezing his Communist “little brother” with the toughest economic sanctions ever.
[Kim_Trump_talks18] [China NK]
U.S. weighs more South China Sea patrols to confront 'new reality' of China
Greg Torode, Idrees Ali
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The United States is considering intensified naval patrols in the South China Sea in a bid to challenge China’s growing militarization of the waterway, actions that could further raise the stakes in one of the world’s most volatile areas
The Pentagon is weighing a more assertive program of so-called freedom-of-navigation operations close to Chinese installations on disputed reefs, two U.S. officials and Western and Asian diplomats close to discussions said.
The officials declined to say how close they were to finalizing a decision.
Such moves could involve longer patrols, ones involving larger numbers of ships or operations involving closer surveillance of Chinese facilities in the area, which now include electronic jamming equipment and advanced military radars.
U.S. officials are also pushing international allies and partners to increase their own naval deployments through the vital trade route as China strengthens its military capabilities on both the Paracel and Spratly islands, the diplomats said, even if they stopped short of directly challenging Chinese holdings.
[China confrontation] [South China Sea] [FONOP]
China and the Korean Peninsula: Kim holds the cards now
30 May 2018
Author: Jeongseok Lee, Princeton University
Amid the surprising diplomatic breakthrough on the Korean Peninsula, there have been dramatic changes in China’s relations with North and South Korea.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping, in Dalian, China in this undated photo released on 9 May 2018 (Photo: Reuters/Korean Central News Agency).
Around this time last year, China was imposing economic sanctions against both Koreas. Pressured and alarmed by US President Donald Trump’s threat to unleash ‘fire and fury’, China has taken tougher economic measures against North Korea despite Pyongyang’s blatant criticism that Beijing was ‘crossing the red line’.
China’s relations with South Korea also hit a low point in 2017 due to the feud over Seoul’s decision to deploy the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defence system and China’s subsequent economic retaliation. Even after agreeing to reconcile with Seoul in October 2017, China kept pressuring South Korea for an explicit pledge to restrain the operation of THAAD’s long-range radar system.
Yet since North and South Korea agreed to hold a summit and President Trump accepted Pyongyang’s proposal for direct talks in March 2018, China has rushed to improve its relations with the two Koreas. Chinese President Xi Jinping held a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for the first time since Kim came to power in 2011. In the meeting, Xi urged that the two countries’ friendship ‘should not and will not change’.
[China NK] [China SK] [THAAD]
Mattis warns of Chinese 'intimidation'; says U.S. seeks 'results-oriented' ties
The United States is willing to work with China on a “results- oriented” relationship, but Beijing’s actions in the South China Sea were coercive and the Pentagon would “compete vigorously” if needed, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Saturday.
South Korea's Defence Minister Song Young-moo leaves after a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis on the sidelines of the IISS Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore June 2, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su
The comments by Mattis, speaking at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, come at a time of increased tension between the two nations in the South China Sea and highlight how President Donald Trump’s administration is looking to balance China’s cooperation on North Korea while dealing with its activities in the disputed sea.
“China’s policy in the South China Sea stands in stark contrast to the openness that our strategy promotes, it calls into question China’s broader goals,” said Mattis, who said he would be traveling to Beijing this month.
“The U.S. will continue to pursue a constructive, results-oriented relationship with China, cooperation whenever possible will be the name of the game and competing vigorously where we must ... of course we recognize any sustainable Indo-Pacific order has a role for China,” he said
[China confrontation] [South China Sea] [Mattis]
China May Get World's Largest Gas Field Because of U.S. Sanctions Against Iran
By Tom O'Connor On 5/30/18 at 5:54 PM
World China Iran France Total oil and gas Energy natural gas Iran Nuclear Deal
Iran has threatened to give petroleum giant Total's stake in the South Pars gas fields to China if the French company could not secure protection from U.S. nuclear-related sanctions.
Total signed a $4.8 billion contract to develop phase 11 of the South Pars—by far the world's largest natural gas field—last July, after the 2015 nuclear deal struck between the U.S., Iran and five other world powers saw a rolling back of sanctions against the revolutionary Shiite Muslim nation in exchange for it cutting nuclear production. Trump's May 8 withdrawal from the nuclear accord, however, has put this investment at risk and Iranian Petroleum Minister Bijan Zanganeh said the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), which already claims 30 percent of the project, could take the French supercompany's 50.1 percent stake.
"Total has 60 days to negotiate with the U.S. administration while the French government can also use these 60 days to negotiate with the U.S. administration so that Total can stay in Iran," Zanganeh said in a statement, according to The Financial Times.
"If the U.S. administration does not agree with Total staying in Iran, China will replace this company," he added.
[Iran deal] [Renege] [Consequences] [France] [China]
Pentagon: US military has a lot of experience 'taking down small islands' in Pacific
By Ellen Mitchell - 05/31/18 05:50 PM EDT 355
The Pentagon on Thursday said it would continue to seek China's cooperation on North Korea, but made clear it could devastate Beijing’s assets should provocations in the South China Sea arise.
“We continue to seek areas to cooperate with China where we can, but where we can’t we’re prepared to certainly protect both U.S. and allied interest in the region,” Director of the Joint Staff Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie told reporters at the Pentagon.
“I would just tell you that the United States military has had a lot of experience in the Western Pacific taking down small islands,” McKenzie said, when asked if the United States has the ability to “blow apart” one of China's disputed, man-made islands in the South China Sea.
He later clarified that he was referring to U.S. military operations during World War II.
“It’s just a fact we had a lot of experience in the Second World War taking down small islands that are isolated, so that's a core competency of the U.S. military that we’ve done before. [You] shouldn't read anything more into that than a simple statement of historical fact,” he said.
[China confrontation] [South China Sea] [Pentagon] [Bluster]
Navarro Rebukes Mnuchin for Declaring China Trade War ‘On Hold’
May 31, 2018, 1:01 AM GMT+12 Updated on May 31, 2018, 10:38 AM GMT+12
• White House trade adviser says U.S. ‘ready for anything’
• Commerce’s Ross due in Beijing for negotiations from June 2-4
Trump Goes Ahead With China Tariffs
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro criticized Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for declaring the U.S.-China trade war was on hold, calling the remarks an “unfortunate sound bite” and acknowledging there’s a dispute that needs to be resolved.
“What we’re having with China is a trade dispute, plain and simple,” Navarro said in an interview broadcast Wednesday with National Public Radio. “We lost the trade war long ago” with deals such as Nafta and China’s entry into the World Trade Organization, he said.
[Navarro] [China confrontation] [Trade War]
Harris: China 'dreams of hegemony in Asia'
Posted : 2018-05-31 13:39
By Jung Min-ho
Admiral Harry Harris, who is expected to become the next U.S. ambassador to South Korea, said Wednesday that China's "dream of hegemony" is Washington's biggest long-term challenge, CNN reported.
Harris made the comment as he handed over the reins of the U.S. Pacific Command to Adm. Phil Davidson at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Harris has been at the helm of the most expansive U.S. military command for three years.
"North Korea remains our most imminent threat and a nuclear-capable North Korea with missiles that can reach the United States is unacceptable," he was quoted as saying.
But, he also noted, "China remains our biggest long-term challenge. Without focused involvement and engagement by the United States and our allies and partners, China will realize its dream of hegemony in Asia."
[Harry Harris] [China confrontation] [Seapower]
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As Chinese ‘Crepe’ Catches On Abroad, a Fight to Preserve Its Soul
By Mike Ives and Tiffany May
May 29, 2018
HONG KONG — When is a pancake not a pancake?
The unassuming jianbing, an eggy street-food snack from China that resembles a French crepe, is increasingly trendy abroad — a symbol of Beijing’s growing soft power. It even inspired the creation of a superhero character in a hit Chinese comedy, “Pancake Man.”
But in the Chinese city of Tianjin, a local trade association sees the snack’s soaring popularity — and variety — as a threat. Over the weekend, it imposed rules that attempt to standardize the jianbing, apparently as a way of saving the soul of northern China’s quintessential street food.
The rules have prompted head-scratching among Chinese eaters, and even some metaphysical speculation about what makes a jianbing in the first place.
The rules say that Tianjin’s jianbing vendors should hew to a fixed recipe and a precise pancake-diameter range of 15 to 17.7 inches, according to photographs of the rules that were posted online by Chinese state media outlets. The rules also say that a jianbing should be served in packaging that lists its expiration date and the name, address and phone number of its creator.
MOFA protests China’s efforts to force IATA, member airlines into changing Taiwan’s designation
Publication Date: May 29, 2018 |
The MOFA urges IATA and its member airlines to reject China’s efforts to change Taiwan’s designation on their websites. (Staff photo/Chin Hung-hao)
China’s attempts to force Switzerland-headquartered International Air Transport Association and its member airlines into changing Taiwan’s designation on their websites to “Taiwan, China” are protested in the strongest possible terms, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs May 28.
Officials stationed in the country’s embassies and representative offices abroad are investigating the latest letter-writing campaign by China and conveying the government’s stance on the matter to IATA and the carriers, the MOFA said. No effort will be spared in defending Taiwan’s designation and upholding the dignity and sovereignty of the country, the ministry added.
[Taiwan] [Straits] [One China policy]
How Trump is losing the high-tech fight with China
27 May 2018
Author: Andrew Kennedy, ANU
The high-tech rivalry between the United States and China is getting ugly. So far in 2018, the Trump administration has blocked high-tech acquisitions by Chinese firms, complained about Chinese technology licensing practices at the World Trade Organization and threatened tariffs on Chinese high-tech imports.The administration has also banned US companies from selling parts to Chinese phone maker ZTE, though the President has promised to revisit this decision. For its part, China has brandished its own tariffs while also making promises to protect foreign intellectual property and further open the Chinese economy. Bilateral talks remain underway.
A sign of ZTE Corp is pictured at its service centre in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, 14 May 2018 (Photo: Reuters/Stringer).
Trump would like the world to believe the US government has finally taken the offensive against China. But it has not: China’s government is the one playing offence in the realm of high-tech innovation. With plenty of encouragement from Beijing, China has emerged as the world’s second-largest investor in research and development (R&D). It spent US$279 billion on R&D last year, with most of this investment coming from business. China is now poised to overtake the United States as the world’s top R&D spender within the next decade. China also makes great efforts to lure back high-tech talent from overseas. In recent years, the number of Chinese students returning to China from abroad has been around 80 per cent of those going overseas — up from 31 per cent in 2007.
As a result of all this activity, China is putting points on the board. China’s score in the prestigious ‘Nature Index’, which tracks article publication in the leading science journals, jumped from 24 per cent to 40 per cent of the US total from 2012 to 2016. In the corporate world, 376 Chinese firms were among the world’s top 2500 R&D spenders in 2017
[China rising] [R&D] [Decline]
A ‘new normal’ in the South China Sea?
26 May 2018
Author: Mark J Valencia, National Institute for South China Sea Studies
The United States and China have apparently reached a tacit agreement to disagree and maintain a leaky status quo in the South China Sea. Not coincidentally, relations on this issue between ASEAN claimants and between ASEAN and China are more or less at the same place.
Warships and fighter jets of Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy take part in a military display in the South China Sea, 12 April 2018 (Photo: Reuters/Stringer).
In this ‘new normal’, the United States will continue its freedom of navigation operations (FONOPs) challenging what it views as China’s (and others’) ‘illegal’ maritime claims. But it will not publicise them as China views doing so as purposely stirring up domestic Chinese nationalists. The United States will also continue to argue — some would say disingenuously — that it is defending the freedom of navigation that is threatened by China’s ‘militarisation’ of the features it occupies and in doing so is upholding ‘international law and order’.
[South China Sea] [China confrontation] [FONOP]
China’s integral role in Korean War peace talks
27 May 2018
Author: Quinn Marschik and Min hee Jo, Center for the National Interest
The Inter-Korean Summit on 27 April 2018 made history when North Korea and South Korea agreed to negotiate a peace treaty to end the Korean War through talks that will include the United States and possibly China. The United States may prefer to limit China’s role in future negotiations as much as possible. But the Trump administration should examine what China brings to the table considering its historical relationship with North and South Korea, its past role in international negotiations on North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and its power.
[Peace Treaty] [China]
Close Kim Jong-un Aide Visits China
By Lee Kil-seong
May 28, 2018 11:54
A close aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been spotted in China, raising speculation of another looming visit to Beijing by Kim.
Japanese media reported that Kim Chang-son, a senior official at North Korea's State Affairs Commission, was spotted entering the VIP lounge of Beijing Capital International Airport on Saturday afternoon before boarding a 2 p.m. flight to Pyongyang.
North Korean officials enter the VIP lounge at Beijing Capital International Airport on Saturday. /Yonhap
He was accompanied by Kim Song-nam, a China expert at the Workers Party, and the two stayed at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing.
Secrecy was tight. A Chinese government car was seen spiriting away a passenger who disembarked from an Air Koryo flight last Thursday, with airport staff using large umbrellas to cover the official.
Kim Chang-son reportedly screens all documents that are read by the North Korean leader.
Chinese railway authorities issued a notice of a halt in traffic in China's northeastern region between Monday and June 12. They said the measure was part of routine maintenance, but the same steps were taken when Kim Jong-un visited Beijing by train in March.
Another Kim-Xi summit 'possible'
Posted : 2018-05-27 16:16
Updated : 2018-05-28 13:35
By Yi Whan-woo
Kim Chang-son, de facto chief of staff to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was seen in Beijing on May 26, fueling speculation that the latter may be discussing another summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping following the ones in March and early May.
Diplomatic sources said Kim Chang-son was seen at Beijing Capital International Airport, where he boarded an Air Koryo flight bound for Pyongyang at 2 p.m.
He was accompanied by Kim Song-nam, deputy chief of the international bureau of the North Korea's ruling Workers' Party.
"There's no concrete evidence at the moment that the person seen is Kim Chang-son," a source said. "But if is found that Kim Chang-son stayed in Beijing, it could be a visit for party-to-party exchanges between North Korea and China."
Another source said the trip to Beijing could mean another China visit by Kim Jong-un.
The third source said Kim Chang-son was in Beijing on May 24 en route to Singapore for the North Korea-U.S. summit preparations, but that he had revised his schedule after U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly cancelled the summit.
"There is a possibility that Kim prepared for a Singapore visit in Beijing but saw a twist in his plan due to Trump's announcement," the source said. "Kim Chang-son serves as a guide to Kim Jong-un's schedule, so there is a possibility."
Meanwhile, Hong Kong media reported that the train service bound for Beijing from China's northeast region would be suspended on May 27 and 28 as well as on June 13 and 14.
The route passes trough Dandong, Dalian, Fushun and Shenyang in Liaoning Province; Changchun in Jilin Province; and Harbin in Heilongjiang Province.
The reports add to speculation that Kim Jong-un may visit China again on his special train.
When Kim visited China in late March, train services were suspended in the northeast region, and Kim's train arrived in Beijing via Dandong.
For decades, North Korean leaders, amid rumors that they feared being assassinated, did not use planes when traveling abroad until Kim flew on his private jet, Chammae-1, to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in Dalian from May 7 to 8.
North Korea walks tightrope between US and China
Posted : 2018-05-27 16:12
Updated : 2018-05-28 13:34
By Yi Whan-woo
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un appears to be pursuing balanced diplomacy between the United States and China in a bid to hold the summit with U.S. President Donald Trump while maintaining Pyongyang's decades-old alliance with Beijing.
During his surprise talks with President Moon Jae-in, May 26, Kim said he is committed to meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump.
China 'hopes Trump-Kim summit can happen as planned'
Posted : 2018-05-27 17:02
Updated : 2018-05-27 17:02
China's Foreign Ministry said on Sunday it hoped a summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, originally set for Singapore next month, could happen as planned and be successful.
Direct dialogue between the leaders of the United States and North Korea is crucial to resolving the nuclear issue, the ministry said in a statement sent to Reuters. (REUTERS)
Tsai announces termination of diplomatic ties with Burkina Faso
Publication Date: May 25, 2018 |
President Tsai Ing-wen announces the termination of diplomatic relations with Burkina Faso at Office of the President May 24 in Taipei City. (Courtesy of Office of the President)
President Tsai Ing-wen said May 24 that the government has terminated official relations with Burkina Faso and refuses to engage in a dollar diplomacy battle for diplomatic allies with China.
“China’s serial acts of repression against Taiwan in the diplomatic sphere are a clear display of unease and lack of confidence on their part,” Tsai said during a news conference at the Office of the President in Taipei City.
This insecurity stems from the recent tangible progress in economic and security relations between Taiwan and other like-minded nations such as the U.S., she added.
[Straits] [Diplomatic truce]
Chinese Sanctions Against N.Korea Weaken
By Lee Kil-seong
May 23, 2018 13:30
Chinese trucks are the latest of a slew of small signs that China is relaxing sanctions against North Korea.
Although banned for export to North Korea under UN sanctions, Chinese trucks were on prominent display at a trade fair in Pyongyang, NK News reported Tuesday.
The report comes a day after U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted, "China must continue to be strong and tight on the Border of North Korea until a deal is made. The word is that recently the Border has become much more porous and more has been filtering in."
China rebutted the charge, saying it is "strictly fulfilling its international obligations."
The trucks' display does not mean North Korean customers can buy them for immediate delivery but sends a worrying message.
Chinese trucks are parked outside a trade fair in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this screen grab from the Russian Embassy in Pyongyang's Facebook page.
Three Foton trucks made by state-owned Chinese carmaker BAIC can be seen in photos of the fair the Russian Embassy in Pyongyang put on Facebook.
UN Security Council sanctions that China supported ban the export of all vehicles to North Korea.
Since North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's surprise visit to Beijing in late March, there have been reports that Chinese officials have been turning a blind eye to North Korean laborers returning to China.
They are coming back in groups or 10 or 20 rather than in large groups to avoid being too conspicuous, a source in the Chinese border city of Dandong told RFA. Chinese police are taking no notice. One restaurant that has been employing about a dozen North Korean women for the last two weeks is right across from the police station.
The UNSC bans the dispatch of new North Korean laborers overseas or renewing the visas of existing ones. The new workers apparently come on a border pass that is only supposed to be valid for a month, but in reality passes valid for more than six months are issued.
Chinese Foreign Minister Lu Kang said China and the North are only maintaining "normal exchanges" as friendly neighbors.
[China NK] [Sanctions]
Pentagon disinvites China from major naval exercise over South China Sea buildup
China landed bombers at Woody Island in the disputed Paracel Islands, according to a Chinese news report broadcast on May 19. (CCTV)
by Missy Ryan May 23 at 6:56 PM Email the author
The Pentagon disinvited China from participating in a major naval exercise on Wednesday, signaling mounting U.S. anger over Beijing’s expanded military footprint in disputed areas of the South China Sea.
Lt. Col. Christopher Logan, a Pentagon spokesman, said the Defense Department had withdrawn an earlier invitation to the Chinese navy to participate in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) drill, a biennial naval exercise that involves more than two dozen nations, over Beijing’s decision to place anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles and electronic jammers on the Spratly Islands.
[China confrontation] [Escalation] [RIMPAC] [South China Sea]
China is winning Trump’s trade war
by Heather Long May 20 at 6:20 PM
President Trump on April 9 maintained that he has a "great relationship" with China as trade tensions escalate. (Photo: Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)
It was easy to miss the U.S.-China trade statement that the White House released Saturday, right in the midst of royal wedding mania. But it's hard to hide that China looks as if it's winning President Trump's trade skirmish — so far.
The statement said that, after several days of talks, the Chinese agreed to “substantially” reduce the United States' $375 billion trade deficit with China and that the details would be worked out later. It was noticeably vague.
Notice China didn't agree to a specific amount. On Friday, Trump's top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, was telling reporters that the Chinese had agreed to reduce the deficit by “at least” $200 billion. China quickly denied that, and, a day later, the official statement didn't have a concrete number, a seeming victory for the Chinese.
[Trump] [China confrontation] [Trade war] [Trade imbalance] [IPR]
China is making Mekong friends
19 May 2018
Author: Nguyen Khac Giang, VEPR
Since Chinese President Xi Jinping took over power in 2012, Southeast Asia has become a focal point of China’s geopolitical ambitions. Instead of the clandestine and illegal tactics seen under Mao Zedong, the current strategy combines two major approaches: building Chinese-led institutional mechanisms and buying support with a flood of aid, concessional loans and investments.
China's State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrives at the National Convention Center during the Mekong Greater Sub-Region Summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, 31 March 2018 (Photo: Minh Hoang/Pool via Reuters).
This strategy is clearly illustrated by the stellar rise of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC), an ambitious Chinese initiative that involves the six countries of the Mekong sub-region: China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. At the first LMC summit in 2016, China promised 10 billion RMB (US$1.6 billion) in preferential loans and US$10 billion in credit to the five Mekong countries, while the next year saw a new set of government concessional loans with a total value of US$1.1 billion and US$5 billion in credit for 45 ‘early-harvest’ projects under the mechanism.
Why Is So Much Research on the State Inadequate for Analysing the Socialist State?
21 May, 2018 by stalinsmoustache
While researching my book on the socialist state, I have been digging into the literature. There is plenty of it, although I have been focusing on theoretical material and on research relating to specific features of the Chinese state. To my dismay, I have been struck by the inadequacy of most of this research.
Why? The philosophical assumptions are determined by the nature of the European liberal nation-state, or more accurately, the bourgeois state. In what follows, I deal with three topics: research on state theory; research on state practices; and the ways researchers dismiss work that comes from within socialist states.
North Korean spy 'vanishes in China'
Posted : 2018-05-21 13:41
Updated : 2018-05-21 13:41
North Korea has sent investigators to China to search for a North Korean spy stationed in Shenyang who disappeared in February, according to a Japanese report on Monday. / Scene from "Secretly, Greatly"
By Ko Dong-hwan
A North Korean senior spy in China possibly went into hiding in February with the aim of defecting, Tokyo Shimbun reported Monday.
The spy, responsible for collecting intelligence from China and Russia about possible threats to the Kim Jong-un regime, had been staying at a Shenyang hotel in Liaoning Province. He then reportedly disappeared in late February, according to the report, which cited a Beijing correspondent with a North Korean informant.
Pyongyang reportedly knew that the spy, possibly carrying "a large amount of foreign currency," was in possession of confidential intelligence critical to the regime, which has sent investigators to try to find him in China.
The report said the spy, in his 50s, followed Kim's orders this year to set up an office that tracks down defectors and their supporters. The man reportedly is a descendant of Pyongyang's royal Baekdu lineage.
China agrees to buy ‘significantly’ more from the U.S., but doesn’t commit to specific amount
by David J. Lynch May 19 at 2:26 PM Email the author
White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow pauses as he speaks to media in the rain outside the West Wing of the White House, in Washington, Friday, May 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
The United States and China said Saturday that two days of “constructive” talks between American and Chinese officials in Washington had led to an agreement for China to buy more goods and services — including “meaningful increases in United States agriculture and energy exports” — as the two countries work to defuse a brewing trade war.
But a joint statement released by the White House did not contain a specific target for reducing the $375 billion trade deficit between the two countries, suggesting the White House had not secured the $200 billion reduction that senior Trump administration officials had said was forthcoming.
The joint statement said the U.S. would dispatch a team to China to work out the details, which also may include expanded trade in manufactured goods and stronger “cooperation” in enforcement of intellectual property protections. The statement, which had been expected Friday evening after the talks ended, said that the goal is to “substantially reduce the United States trade deficit in goods with China.”
[China confrontation] [Trade war]
Enter Malaysia’s New Political Order
By Yang Razali Kassim
Yang Razali Kassim is senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. This article was originally published in RSIS Commentary and can be found here.
In the wake of the seismic change that was Malaysia’s 14th general election on May 9, 2018, two aftershocks are now playing out. The first, amid the euphoria of victory, sees the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition taking ground-breaking but cautious steps to put in place not just a new government but also the seeds of what could be a new political order. The second, as part of this changed landscape, sees the defeated Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition bracing for an unfamiliar and uncertain future, with its anchor party, UMNO, under threat of deregistration.
These two aftershocks are moving in tandem as they usher in Malaysia’s new era. Uniquely this post-BN, post-UMNO phase of the country’s political evolution is being led by two colorful personalities who have become national icons but were once allies turned rivals and now allies again ? Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim. It was their statesmanly act of transcending their bitter differences in favor of political reconciliation that launched not just a Malay tsunami but a “people’s tsunami” that toppled the old order. It was a titanic feat that finally removed the surprisingly indefatigable former Prime Minister Najib Razak and, in a historic move, ended the 60-year dominance of UMNO. The road ahead for Malaysian politics will be one of evolution and change.
Has China Compromised Int'l Sanctions Against N.Korea?
By Lee Kil-seong
May 18, 2018 12:38
Ever since North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held two summits with Chinese President Xi Jinping, China has increased supplies of crude oil to North Korea and female workers are streaming across the border again, Radio Free Asia reported Wednesday.
These are among the latest signs suggesting China may have compromised international sanctions against North Korea, which has suddenly become more abrasive again in its rhetoric against the West after Kim met Xi for the second time in as many months.
One source in the Chinese border city of Dandong told RFA that China is rumored to be sending North Korea 80 tanker trucks a day filled with crude oil. Each oil tanker truck holds 60 tons of crude oil, adding up to 4,800 tons a day. That would clearly violate the 4 million barrel limit -- around 640,000 tons or 1,754 tons a day -- the UN has set.
[Sanctions] [China NK]
Chinese spies promised to take care of ex-CIA officer for life, prosecutors say
By Rachel Weiner May 18 at 2:24 PM Email the author
Chinese spies promised to take care of a former CIA officer for life if he handed over information on clandestine activities in their country, federal prosecutors say.
Jerry Chun Shing Lee, 53, pleaded not guilty Friday in federal court in Alexandria to charges of conspiracy to commit espionage and illegal retention of classified information.
When he was arrested in January, Lee was charged only with the latter crime, although many in government believe him to be a mole who devastated the agency’s sources in China.
Some of those human sources were killed. But court papers do not link Lee to those deaths.
Prosecutors say they can prove that Lee communicated repeatedly with Chinese spies and prepared documents at their request. At the same time, authorities say, he was receiving unusual amounts of cash.
[China confrontation] [CIA] [Espionage] [Diaspora]
. The man who did for Mao – a review of a biography of Simon Leys by Philippe Paquet
17 May 2018
In 1932, Malcolm Muggeridge, then based in Moscow for the Manchester Guardian, filed reports of what he had found out about Soviet Russia, from the food shortages and forced labour to the deaths of 3 million people following the collectivization of agriculture in the Ukraine. His copy was censored and he was ridiculed by the liberal establishment, which preferred the Webbs’ rosier view of the New Civilization in the East. Muggeridge concluded that people believe lies not because they are plausible but because they want to believe them.
In 1936, when André Gide returned from Russia having seen for himself that the great Soviet Experiment was to Utopia what Stalin’s show trials were to justice, he too learned that there is no convincing people who do not wish to be convinced. Such, since then, has been the common fate of anyone who denounces causes which endear themselves to people dazzled by propaganda, fake news and their own agendas.
Simon Leys fared rather better than most. His denunciation of the Cultural Revolution in 1971 was declared slanderous and he was blacklisted by the Paris intelligentsia, who blocked his application for a lectureship at Paris VII at Nanterre. Yet he is chiefly remembered as the Man Who Did For Mao.
He was born Pierre Ryckmans in 1935 into one of Belgium’s great families. His father was a publisher and among his uncles were a governor-general of the Congo, a specialist in Arabic epigraphy and “Bob”, an African missionary and expert in medical law.
[China confrontation] [Mao Zedong]
N.Korean Officials 'to Learn from China's Market Opening'
By Lee Kil-seong
May 17, 2018 12:54
Municipal and provincial party chiefs from North Korea who visited China this week said openly they were there to learn from China's new open economy.
China's state-run CCTV reported Wednesday that Chinese President Xi Jinping met with the delegation led by Workers Party Vice Chairman Pak Tae-song.
Xi urged them to further develop bilateral relations and hailed the visit as a "concrete measure" resulting from two summits with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
"We support the improvement of North-South [Korean] relations, the promotion of dialogue between North Korea and the U.S., denuclearization on the peninsula and North Korea's development of its economy," Xi said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (front row center) poses with a group of North Korean party officials in Beijing, China on Wednesday. /Xinhua-Yonhap
Pak said he and his group were in China "upholding the order of Chairman Kim Jong-un to learn from China's economic development and market-opening experience for our goals of economic development."
It was the first visit to China by provincial party chiefs, who are the equivalent of governors and mayors, since October 2010, and this time they were given a much more prominent reception.
They are expected to tour China's "Silicon Valley" in Beijing's Haidian district, agricultural research institutes and regional cities.
[China model] [Media]
North Korean delegation takes surprise visit to China shortly after Kim Jong-un’s second visit
Posted on : May.16,2018 17:19 KST Modified on : May.16,2018 17:19 KST
“Goodwill observation group” hints at possible economic reform and opening
North Korea’s state-run paper Rodong Sinmun ran a story about a “goodwill observation group” that took a surprise visit to China on May 14.
Amid growing interest in cooperation between North Korea and China following two summits between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Chinese President Xi Jinping just 40 days apart, a high-ranking delegation of North Korean officials paid a surprise visit to China on May 14, visiting high-tech economic and agricultural sites in the country over the course of two days.
North Korea’s state-run Rodong Sinmun and Korean Central News Agency reported that a “goodwill observation group from the North Korean Workers’ Party” (KWP) led by KWP Vice Chairman Pak Tae-song had departed Pyongyang en route to China on May 14. The group also included Kim Nung-o, KWP committee chair for North Pyongan Province; Kim Su-gil, KWP committee chair for Pyongyang; and Ryu Myong-son, vice director of the KWP International Department (presumed to be a former bureau chief in the Ministry of Agriculture).
The group’s visit to China appears to be a follow-up measure to the new strategic line adopted in the 3rd Plenary Session of the 7th KWP Central Committee, namely to “focus all energy on building a socialist economy.”
Xi emphasizes friendship 'sealed in blood' with North Korea
Posted : 2018-05-17 09:37
Updated : 2018-05-17 16:48
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Chinese President Xi Jinping / AFP
Chinese President Xi Jinping has met with visiting North Korean ruling party officials and emphasized the importance of advancing a friendship "sealed in blood" between the two countries, the North's state-run media reported Thursday.
The group led by Pak Thae-song, a member of the Political Bureau and vice chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, arrived in Beijing on Monday. He is accompanied by senior party officials representing major provinces and cities.
"Welcoming the friendship group's visit to China, Xi Jinping said that China is attaching very importance to the work to propel the traditional friendship between the two countries sealed in blood to a higher stage as required by the new era," the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in an English report.
[China NK] [Xi Jinping]
Trump Orders Help For Chinese Phone-Maker After China Approves Money For Trump Project
Trump will profit from Indonesian resort project that will get $500 million in Chinese loans in a deal sealed days before before his tweet ordering help for ZTE.
By S.V. Date
WASHINGTON – A mere 72 hours after the Chinese government agreed to put a half-billion dollars into an Indonesian project that will personally enrich Donald Trump, the president ordered a bailout for a Chinese-government-owned cellphone maker.
“President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast,” Trump announced on Twitter Sunday morning. “Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!”
Trump did not mention in that tweet or its follow-ups that on Thursday, the developer of a theme park resort outside of Jakarta had signed a deal to receive as much as $500 million in Chinese government loans, as well as another $500 million from Chinese banks, according to Agence France-Presse. Trump’s family business, the Trump Organization, has a deal to license the Trump name to the resort, which includes a golf course and hotels.
Trump, despite his campaign promises to turn over his businesses and have no involvement with them, has still not fully divested himself of his businesses, and continues to profit from them.
“You do a good deal for him, he does a good deal for you. Quid pro quo,” said Richard Painter, the White House ethics lawyer for former President George W. Bush and now a Democratic candidate for Senate in Minnesota.
[Trump] [China confrontation] [ZTE] [Corruption]
China still matters
Posted : 2018-05-15 09:42
Updated : 2018-05-15 15:07
By Hwang Jae-ho
On May 4, a week after the Inter-Korean Summit, President Moon Jae-in and President Xi Jinping finally held their first phone conversation. No one knows whether Moon had tried to phone earlier, but the result was quite pleasing because both agreed on close cooperation during the process of "Declaration of the end of war" and "Peace Treaty."
Although the recent online conversation eased the controversy regarding the "China Passing (isolation)," we again witnessed how challenging and susceptible the road to peace can be; what we went through with China this time has become an effective vaccination for the further big picture, the "Peace Regime."
North Korean delegation visits China: reports
Posted : 2018-05-14 15:19
Updated : 2018-05-14 17:33
A North Korean delegation arrived in Beijing on Monday, Japanese media said, as the two allies step up diplomatic contacts ahead of a landmark meeting between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump.
Japanese broadcaster NHK showed images of officials leaving the VIP area of the Chinese capital's airport. The broadcaster said later the group had arrived at the Diaoyutai government guest house although the identity of the visitors was not immediately known.
The report comes a week after Kim made his second trip to China in less than two months to again meet with President Xi Jinping.
China to deliver world's largest amphibious aircraft by 2022
May 14, 2018, 1:09 pm SGT
SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China expects to deliver its domestically developed AG600, the world's largest amphibious aircraft, to customers by 2022, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported late on Sunday (May 13) citing the plane's manufacturer.
"We are endeavouring to get the airworthiness certification from the civil aviation authorities by 2021, and deliver it to the customers by 2022," Xinhua quoted Huang Lingcai, the plane's chief designer at state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), as saying.
China developed the AG600 as part of a drive to modernise its military, amid a more muscular approach to territorial disputes in places like the South China Sea that has rattled nerves in the Asia-Pacific region and the United States.
It made its maiden flight in China in December. Huang also said the aircraft would make more flights this year, including its first takeoff from water.
AVIC has spent about eight years developing the aircraft, which is roughly the size of a Boeing Co 737 and is designed to carry out marine rescues and battle forest fires. It has a range of up to 4,500 km and is designed to be able to take off and land in two metre waves.
Powered by four turboprop engines, the AG600 can carry 50 people during maritime search-and-rescue missions, and can scoop up 12 metric tons of water within 20 seconds for fire fighting trips, according to state media.
In December, state media said that the aircraft had received 17 orders so far from Chinese government departments and Chinese companies.
[Dual use] [Media] [China confrontation]
China's first home-built aircraft carrier begins sea trials [PHOTOS]
Posted : 2018-05-13 14:57
Updated : 2018-05-13 16:47
In this April 26, 2017, file photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, China's newly-built aircraft carrier Liaoning is transferred from dry dock into the water at a launch ceremony at a shipyard in Dalian. / AP
China's first entirely home-built aircraft carrier began sea trials Sunday in a sign of the growing sophistication of the country's domestic arms industry.
The still-unnamed ship left dock in the northern port of Dalian at 7:00 a.m. to ''test the reliability and stability of its propulsion and other system,'' the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
The Liaoning provincial maritime safety bureau issued an order for shipping to avoid a section of ocean southeast of the city between Sunday and Friday.
The 50,000-ton carrier will likely be formally commissioned sometime before 2020 following the completion of sea trials and the arrival of its full air complement.
Latest China Summit 'Came at Kim Jong-un's Urging'
By Lee Kil-seong
May 10, 2018 10:12
The latest North Korea-China summit on Monday and Tuesday in Dalian was proposed by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang made the revelation during a media briefing in Beijing.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (center) talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the beach of Banchuidao Island in Dalian, China on Tuesday, in this photo from the Rodong Sinmun daily on Wednesday. /Yonhap
Kim addressed Chinese President Xi Jinping as "respected and beloved Comrade Xi" in a thank-you letter he sent on his way home from Dalian on Tuesday, according to the North's official KCNA news agency.
He thanked Xi "for having warmly welcomed us and provided hospitality."
Kim Jong-un's 2nd China Trip Sparks Fears of Weakening Sanctions
By Kim Myong-song
May 09, 2018 12:41
North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un's second China visit less than two months on Monday and Tuesday is raising concerns that Beijing could fatally weaken international sanctions that have forced the regime to the negotiating table.
UN Security Council resolutions severely limit oil exports to North Korea as well as joint ventures with the North and were effective only thanks to China's cooperation under U.S. pressure.
Now there are concerns that Xi could open backdoor trade channels with North Korea for fear of being sidelined in denuclearization talks.
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'Top-Ranking N.Korean Official in Secret China Visit'
By Lee Kil-seong
May 08, 2018 11:44
North Korea has sent a high-ranking official to the northern Chinese port of Dalian ahead of the U.S.-North Korea summit amid massive security in the business hub.
One source in Dalian said security was "hugely beefed up in downtown Dalian on Sunday night, and the same was the case around Dalian Airport from Monday morning until 2 p.m."
"Considering the level of security in Dalian, we are considering all possibilities" including that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un came for a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, another source there said.
But China may simply have invited a high-ranking North Korean official to attend a ceremony marking the test voyage of China's first homegrown aircraft carrier.
Maritime officials in Liaoning Province have issued an alert for a military operation from May 4 to 11 and prohibited other vessels from entering its northern waters.
[Carrier] [China NK]
Kim Jong-un visiting China: reports
Posted : 2018-05-08 14:23
Updated : 2018-05-08 15:08
By Park Si-soo, Oh Young-jin
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is visiting the Chinese city of Dalian to meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, according to reports.
If the reports are true, Kim seems to be involved in last-minute diplomatic coordination with Xi before his historic summit with U.S. President Donald Trump. Trump has said the date and place for the summit with Kim are set, saying "stay tuned."
The Chinese foreign ministry remained silent over the rumors. South Korea's foreign ministry hinted at Kim visiting China, but did not specify.
A foreign ministry official told reporters on Tuesday afternoon that the ministry "keeps an eye on what's happening." The official said he has "nothing to share, with nothing officially announced yet in Beijing."
South Korea's Yonhap News Agency first reported on "a high-ranking North Korean official visiting Dalian" on Monday. Citing multiple anonymous sources, the news wire said the official flew in a private plane and arrived at Dalian airport on Monday amid heavy security.
Yonhap did not identify the official. But rumors are spreading on Chinese social media that it is Kim.
Seoul-based broadcaster KBS reported that Dalian airport was closed to the public from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday and roads around the Bangchuidao Guesthouse in the city were also closed Monday afternoon. The guesthouse is normally reserved for foreign VIP visitors.
There is speculation that the North Korean official is visiting to attend the launch of China's first domestically built aircraft carrier, the Type 001A.
[Carrier] [China NK]
What China wants from North Korea
Beijing's desire for stability has played a bigger role than recognized in Kim Jong-un's volte-face decision to negotiate his nuclear position
By Bertil Lintner May 7, 2018
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (L) shaking hands with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) during their meeting at an undisclosed location in North Korea on May 3, 2018. Photo: AFP via KCNA
While the world waits to learn when and where United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will hold their historic summit, it’s still not exactly clear why Kim has agreed to negotiate.
While new United Nations imposed economic sanctions and Trump’s threatening tweets to press his “bigger button” to rain nuclear “fire and fury” on North Korea have no doubt had some impact, it’s China’s fear of instability and even war on its border that’s more likely behind Kim’s change of heart.
[March18_Initiative] [China hope]
Mao's grandson, rumored to be dead in North Korea, makes public appearance
Posted : 2018-05-06 13:39
Updated : 2018-05-06 14:19
Mao Xinyu, left, poses for a group photo during his visit to China State Shipbuilding Corp. on May 4, 2018, in this picture posted on the company's website. / Yonhap
Mao Xinyu, the only grandson of Mao Zedong, made a public appearance last week, silencing a rumor that he was among 32 Chinese tourists killed in a traffic accident in North Korea last month.
A Hong Kong newspaper on Sunday published a photo of Major General Mao visiting China State Shipbuilding Corp. on Friday. He and other officials looked around the company research institute and laboratories.
The accident occurred on April 22 when a bus crashed off a bridge in North Hwanghae Province. Four North Koreans were also killed.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited the Chinese Embassy in Pyongyang the following day and expressed "deep sorrow," according to the North's state media.
The Chinese government publicly identified 26 victims but withheld the names of eight others. A media outlet reported that Mao, 48, was among the unidentified victims.
He is the only son of Mao Anqing, the last surviving son of Mao Zedong. Mao Anqing died in 2007. Mao Xinyu became China's youngest general in 2009. He is said to have visited North Korea five times.
[Mao Xinyu] [Canard]
John Bolton would 'risk military conflict with China to achieve goals'
Posted : 2018-04-12 10:42
Updated : 2018-04-12 10:42
National Security Advisor John Bolton listens to US President Donald J. Trump speak to the media before a meeting with his military leadership in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington DC, April 9. / EPA-Yonhap
By Zhenhua Lu, US correspondent
The new US national security adviser is willing to risk a military conflict with China to achieve President Donald Trump's goals for America, two former senior US officials have told the South China Morning Post.
John Bolton, who is fond of quoting the ancient Roman battle philosophy, "If you want peace, prepare for war", would use military force to coerce compliance from China – which an increasingly hawkish White House has painted as a competitor, if not an adversary, the former officials who worked with Bolton said in interviews.
Bolton, who began his new job on Monday, also seeks to challenge Beijing over its "one China" policy on Taiwan, a move that would certainly inflame tensions amid a looming US-China trade war.
Speculation grew over the weekend that Bolton could visit Taiwan in June when the new American Institute on the self-governed island is slated to open, The Economist reported. The institute represents US interests in the absence of formal ties.
But while Bolton is seen as a military hawk who shares the "Make America Great Again" world view that underpinned Trump's 2016 election campaign, the president is believed to oppose the idea of hostilities with another nation.
Those opposing views would tend to set the stage for a potentially contentious relationship between Bolton and Trump on certain US foreign policy and security matters.
[John Bolton] [China confrontation] [Conflict]
President Moon Jae-in talks with Xi Jinping to complete rounds of “telephone diplomacy” with leaders of US, China, Japan and Russia
Posted on : May.5,2018 15:00 KST Modified on : May.5,2018 15:00 KST
President Moon and Xi agree to “maintain and strengthen communication” toward a declaration of the Korean War’s end
South Korean President Moon Jae-in talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the telephone in the Blue House on May 4.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in called Chinese President Xi Jinping on May 4 to share the outcome of the Apr. 27 inter-Korean summit, concluding his “telephone diplomacy” efforts with the leaders of the US, China, Japan and Russia.
President Moon previously had a 75-minute telephone conversation with US President Donald Trump on Apr. 28, the day after the inter-Korean summit at Panmunjeom. On Apr. 29, he spoke by telephone with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin, asking for their support and cooperation regarding the Panmunjeom Declaration he had agreed upon with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Experts say China is necessary for officially ending Korean War
Posted on : May.4,2018 18:48 KST Modified on : May.4,2018 18:48 KST
Excluding China may create “an obstacle to initiating negotiations for a peace treaty”
The participants of Academic conference called “The First Year of the Moon Jae-in Administration and an Appraisal of the 2018 Inter-Korean Summit” held at Kim Dae-jung Library in Yonsei University on May 3. From the left are pictured Jeong Se-hyun, director of the Korea Peace Forum; Rep. Lee Hae-chan, a lawmaker for the Democratic Party; Park Myeong-rim, a professor at Yonsei University and director of the Kim Dae-jung Library; and Kim Hong-gul, chairman the Democratic Party’s Committee for National Unity
Amid a debate about whether China needs to join South Korea, North Korea and the US in declaring the end of the Korean War – as South and North Korea agreed to do sometime this year in their Panmunjeom Declaration on Apr. 27 – experts contend that China should be allowed to participate. Since the declaration of the end of the war is the starting point for entering into a peace treaty, they argue, the declaration should be made by all four parties, and not just three.
During an academic conference called “The First Year of the Moon Jae-in Administration and an Appraisal of the 2018 Inter-Korean Summit” that was held at Kim Dae-jung Library at Yonsei University on May 3, Jeong Se-hyun, former Minister of Unification and director of the Korea Peace Forum, said that the Blue House’s position that South Korea, North Korea and the US would declare the end of the war on their own “might create an obstacle to initiating negotiations for a peace treaty.”
“I assume that the South Korean government’s position is the result of coordination with the US, but it needs to be adjusted if possible. The government needs to rethink whether a declaration of the end of the war would be legally valid if it excluded China, which is a party to the armistice agreement,” Jeong said.
[Peace Treaty] [China] [China confrontation]
How China looks at the inter-Korean summit
Posted : 2018-05-05 10:25
Updated : 2018-05-05 17:10
By Hwang Jae-ho
The inter-Korean summit on April 27 left a deeply moving impression. South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had a historical moment at Panmunjeom, crossing the border to each other's country holding hands.
Watching them walking together and sharing a big hug was barely imaginable after the Korean Peninsula recently seemed just one step from war. Furthermore, the Panmunjeom Declaration is de facto the declaration of the end of war between the North and South. In other words, the neighboring states of the Korean Peninsula should also prepare to greet a new security environment.
China, as an old external power of Korea, seems to be considering its own interest from various angles as well as congratulating on the well-done summit. In this sense, I've held an email interview with Gaoyue Fan, an authoritative Chinese militarist.
Gaoyue Fan, a retired senior colonel, is now a guest professor at the Collaborative Innovation Center for Security and Development of Western Frontier China, Sichuan University. He was director of the U.S. and Europe Military Research Office at the PLA Academy of Military Science (AMS) in Beijing. His research interests include U.S. military affairs, international security and cooperation, international arms control and disarmament.
US, China in talks over THAAD withdrawal
Posted : 2018-05-04 16:59
Updated : 2018-05-05 10:32
By Na Jeong-ju, Yi Whan-woo
The U.S. and China are discussing a possible withdrawal of a U.S. missile defense system from South Korea as part of a grand bargain over North Korea's nuclear program, multiple sources familiar with the talks said.
The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, deployed in South Korea last year, has been a bone of contention with China. China has doubted U.S. claims that the system has the sole purpose of destroying missiles from North Korea, insisting its covert mission is to spy on Chinese airspace.
"Withdrawing the THAAD system from South Korea is part of a peace roadmap being discussed between Washington and Beijing after denuclearizing North Korea," a source told The Korea Times. "Washington knows well that it is impossible to seek deals with the North without cooperation from China. And China wants the U.S. to get rid of the THAAD system from South Korea."
Another source said the THAAD system in South Korea is among China's bargaining chips in seeking resolution of the North Korea nuclear problem.
[THAAD] [US China]
U.S. and China swap hard-line lists of demands at trade talks in Beijing
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin walks through a hotel lobby in Beijing during trade talks Thursday. (Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images)
by Simon Denyer and David J. Lynch May 4 Email the author
BEIJING — Two days of inconclusive U.S.-China talks ended here Friday amid signs that the Trump administration is demanding dramatic concessions that challenge core elements of China’s economic system and its ambitions for future development.
China said “big differences” remained as a high-level U.S. government delegation headed home, although it said consensus had been reached on some issues.
Given China’s equally uncompromising stance, it was unclear where the two sides had found common ground. U.S. envoys are likely to have met stiff resistance, given their demands for fundamental revisions in how the Chinese leadership manages foreign trade and its domestic economy. The demands included a $200 billion cut in the U.S. trade deficit with China by 2020.
[China confrontation] [Trade]
Here's What Koreans Are Seeing When They Look Toward the West
Don't be fooled. The unification of Korea is being led by Beijing, not Trump.
By Vijay Prashad / Independent Media Institute
May 2, 2018, 5:15 AM GMT
No doubt that it was an emotional moment last Friday, when North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and South Korea’s Moon Jae-in stepped over the boundary line that separates the two Koreas. That Kim invited Moon into North Korea for an unscripted moment was particularly poignant. It was equally important to listen carefully to their speeches, with both sides eager to affirm the unity of the Korean people. It is this fundamental feeling of unity that drove the two sides to finally begin serious steps to end the war in Korea that began in 1950. It is also important to register that the people of both sides of the boundary marker have long felt frustrated, used as they have been as hostages in a great power struggle that has little to do with their own lives and desires.
Caution is necessary. Can there be a real peace with a massive military deployment by the United States inside Korea and around it? There are at least 35,000 U.S. troops in several bases across South Korea and an additional 40,000 U.S. troops at its bases in Japan. U.S. warships routinely skirt the Korean waters and U.S. bombers fly from Guam and Alaska to threaten North Korea. When Kim told Moon that he would consider a complete end to North Korea’s nuclear program, was this prudent?
What are previous examples before the Korean people of such unilateral disarmament or even of reunification?
[NK deal] [China]
Behind Erik Prince’s China venture
The Blackwater founder has cut a lucrative security-training deal with Chinese insiders. But is it against U.S. interests?
The International Security Defense College in Beijing is a private security training school that is overseen by Frontier Services Group, which was founded by Erik Prince, a former Navy SEAL who created Blackwater. (For The Washington Post)
By Marc Fisher, Ian Shapira and Emily Rauhala
May 4, 2018
Beijing’s International Security Defense College, which boasts of becoming “the largest private security training school in China,” sits behind a 45-foot-high exterior wall and a barricade. Inside the compound, trainers with police and military experience teach classes on tackling detainees, handling hostage situations and thwarting terrorist attacks.
The school is overseen by Frontier Services Group, a Hong Kong-based company founded by Erik Prince, a former Navy SEAL who created Blackwater, a security firm that played a major and controversial role in the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
[Eric Prince] [China confrontation]
Mao's Grandson 'Among N.Korean Bus Crash Victims'
By Lee Kil-seong
May 02, 2018 12:28
The only grandson of former Chinese strongman Mao Zedong is rumored to have been among the casualties in a bus accident in North Korea last month that killed 32 Chinese tourists, Radio France International reported on Tuesday citing sources in China.
According to RFI, most of the tourists who died in the accident in North Hwanghae Province were either children of Chinese soldiers who fought with North Korea during the 1950-53 Korean War or members of a group revering Mao. Mao Xinyu (48) is rumored to have been among the victims.
That would explain North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's unusually swift and humble response to the tragedy. Kim apologized to the Chinese ambassador and visited survivors in hospital the day after the accident, as well as seeing the victims' bodies off at the train station.
U.S.-based Chinese-language broadcaster New Tang Dynasty Television reported that Mao Xinyu had visited North Korea five times before and even met nation founder Kim Il-sung in 1986 and 1990.
If the rumors are true, both Mao Zedong's son and grandson died in North Korea. His oldest son Anying was killed fighting in the Korean War, and the tourists on the bus were apparently visiting his grave.
The Chinese government has not revealed the names of the victims. Some pro-Beijing news media reported the names of 26 tourists including members of the Maoist group, but the identities of the remaining eight are unknown.
[Mao Xinyu] [Canard]
China Denies Mao's Grandson Died in N.Korean Bus Crash
By Lee Kil-seong
May 03, 2018 09:53
China on Wednesday denied rumors that the only grandson of former Chinese strongman Mao Zedong was among the casualties in a bus accident in North Korea last month.
Responding to a written request by the Chosun Ilbo, The Chinese Foreign Ministry said the rumors are "groundless" but did not give details about the whereabouts of Mao Xinyu (48).
The rumors were first reported by the Chinese-language version of Radio Free International on Tuesday, citing sources who said the 32 people killed in the crash were members of a group that reveres Mao Zedong and included the children of several soldiers who fought on North Korea's side in the Korean War.
A post on Weibo, a Chinese version of Twitter, on Wednesday said Mao Xinyu is "alive and well in Beijing."
Kai Lei, a senior reporter with Hong Kong-based newspaper Wen Wei Po, wrote, "I can confidently say that the rumors are false."
Kai, who has 360,000 followers on Weibo, said he is a close friend of Mao Xinyu and added he never joined any tour group that headed to North Korea and was living in Beijing until Tuesday.
Duowei News, a Chinese-language news outlet in the U.S., claimed the reason why the Chinese government has not published a list of victims of the North Korean bus crash is that they are not high-ranking officials or other prominent figures.
Duowei also reported that Mao Xinyu, a major-general in the Chinese military, is too senior a figure to travel to North Korea on a package tour, and there would be no reason for Beijing to be silent about his death.
[Mao Xinyu] [Canard]
China's senior diplomat meets North Korea foreign minister
Posted : 2018-05-03 09:12
Updated : 2018-05-03 09:12
China's state councillor Wang Yi attends a meeting with North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho in Pyongyang in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, Thursday. / Reuters
Beijing hopes that talks between the United States and North Korea will be "smooth and achieve substantial progress", China's foreign minister said on Wednesday (May 2) during a rare visit to Pyongyang as the Asian superpower tries to mend ties with its nuclear-armed neighbour.
The two-day visit by Wang Yi - the highest-ranking Chinese official to travel to North Korea in years ? follows a landmark inter-Korean summit and precedes a meeting between the North's leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump in coming weeks.
Beijing "fully backs ... (North Korea's) efforts to achieve the goal of denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula," Wang said during talks with his North Korean counterpart Ri Yong-ho, China's official Xinhua news agency reported.
[China NK] [Wang Yi]
U.S. says will be consequences for China's South China Sea militarization
The United States has raised concerns with China about its latest militarization of the South China Sea and there will be near-term and long-term consequences for the action, the White House said on Thursday.
U.S. news network CNBC reported on Wednesday that China had installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on three of its outposts in the South China Sea. It cited sources with direct knowledge of U.S. intelligence.
Asked about the report, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told a regular news briefing: “We’re well aware of China’s militarization of the South China Sea. We’ve raised concerns directly with the Chinese about this and there will be near-term and long-term consequences.”
[China confrontation] [South China Sea]
MOFA welcomes Inter-Korean Summit
Publication Date: April 30, 2018 |
Crowds gather April 27 in Seoul to watch the historic meeting of South and North Korean leaders Moon Jae-in (right) and Kim Jong Un at the Peace House in Panmunjom. (CNA)
Taiwan welcomes the Inter-Korean Summit and staunchly supports efforts to reduce tensions and denuclearize the peninsula, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said April 27.
It is hoped that all parties concerned will continue to resolve issues through peaceful dialogue, the MOFA said. As an important member of the East Asian region, Taiwan will closely monitor related developments and work with the international community to promote regional peace, stability and prosperity, the ministry added.
Another Chinese Spy Plane Buzzes Korea's Air Defense Zone
By Jun Hyun-suk
April 30, 2018 10:19
Another Chinese military plane flew into Korea's air defense identification zone without warning on Saturday, the day after the latest inter-Korean summit.
It approached about 74 km east of Gangneung, Gangwon Province before turning back. It was third such incursion this year. The aircraft entered the zone northwest of the submerged rocks of Ieo around 10:45 a.m. Saturday, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff here.
It is presumed to have been a Y-9 intelligence gathering aircraft capable of monitoring electronic communications. It flew first through an area between Jeju and Ieo, coming much closer to actual Korean airspace than on previous occasions.
[China SK] [ADIZ]
Taiwan’s Diplomatic Isolation Increases as Dominican Republic Recognizes China
By Austin Ramzy
May 1, 2018
HONG KONG — The Dominican Republic said it had established ties with China, a move that furthers the international isolation of Taiwan, with which it simultaneously severed diplomatic relations.
The decision was announced by Flavio Darío Espinal, an adviser to the government of the Dominican Republic, and the foreign ministers of China and the Dominican Republic signed a joint communiqué Tuesday morning in Beijing.
Mr. Espinal emphasized the likelihood of increased trade after establishing formal relations with the world’s second largest economy and the prospect of making the Dominican Republic a destination for Chinese tourists.
He said that despite not having official ties, trade between the two countries was worth about $2 billion, making the Dominican Republic China’s second largest trading partner in Central America and the Caribbean.
“Now that we have established diplomatic relations, the growth potential of our commercial ties is immense,” he told reporters Monday evening.
[Taiwan] [Diplomatic recognition] [China-Taiwan competition] [Diplomatic truce] [DPP]
China's top diplomat to visit North Korea this week
Posted : 2018-04-30 16:07
Updated : 2018-04-30 16:11
China's foreign minister will visit North Korea this week, his office said Monday (April 30), becoming the highest-ranking Chinese official to travel there in years as Beijing moves to further improve ties with Pyongyang days after a landmark inter-Korean summit.
The Chinese foreign ministry said in a brief statement that Wang Yi will visit North Korea on Wednesday and Thursday at the invitation of his North Korean counterpart, Ri Yong-ho.
The two met in Beijing in early April, days after talks between President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the Chinese capital – the first meeting between the leaders since Kim inherited power from his father Kim Jong Il in 2011.
Wang will be the first Chinese foreign minister to visit the North since 2007, a lapse that highlights the rough patch that relations between the Cold War-era allies has gone through in recent years.
Former premier Wen Jiabao visited Pyongyang in 2009.
China has backed a series of United Nations sanctions against Pyongyang over its nuclear weapons programme.
But Beijing is likely eager to avoid being marginalised in the wave of diplomacy that has led to last Friday's historic summit between Kim and the South's President Moon Jae In.
Now Kim is expected to meet with US President Donald Trump in the coming weeks at a time and place that have yet to be decided.
The North Korean leader has also invited Xi to visit Pyongyang, but no date has been set yet.
[China NK] [Wang Yi]
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China in the Pacific: where there’s smoke, there’s mirrors
23 April 2018
Author: Jon Fraenkel, Victory University of Wellington
A Fairfax news report that ‘preliminary discussions’ were held between the Chinese and Vanuatu governments about the establishment of a naval base at a Beijing-funded wharf in Luganville is causing quite a stir in Australia. The US$87 million wharf was funded by a loan from China’s EXIM bank to allow cruise ships to dock on the island. But some US and Australian intelligence analysts fear that it could provide port facilities for Chinese warships less than 2000 kilometres from Australia’s east coast.
[China confrontation] [South Pacific] [Hysteria] [Bases] [Australia]
Taiwan thanks US for proposed Indo-Pacific strategic vision bill
Publication Date: April 27, 2018 |
The proposed Asia Reassurance Initiative Act of 2018 is the latest in a series of U.S. legislative efforts seeking to strengthen Taiwan-U.S. ties (CNA)
The introduction of a bill into the U.S. Senate aiming to develop a long-term strategic vision and comprehensive, multifaceted and principled U.S. policy for the Indo-Pacific is welcomed by the government and people of Taiwan, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs April 26.
Serving as a policy framework for demonstrating U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific, the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act of 2018 aims to enhance U.S. leadership in the region and strengthen cooperation with democratic partners in economic engagement and security interests, as well as promoting shared values.
Proposed April 24 by Sen. Cory Gardner and co-sponsored by Sens. Ben Cardin, Ed Markey, Marco Rubio and Todd Young, the bill also backs regular U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and encourages diplomatic and defense contacts between the two sides in line with the Taiwan Relations Act and Six Assurances.
[Taiwan] [Arms sales] [China confrontation]
The Origins of the Belt and Road Initiative
A mountain cannot turn, but a road can (shan bu zhuan lu zhuan).
So goes an old Chinese saying.
And another: A friend made is a road paved; an enemy created is a wall built (jiaoge pengyou duo tiao lu, shuge diren duo du qiang)
I have begun with these sayings, since they indicate how the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) arises from Chinese tradition and culture. But this is not all, for it also emerges from Chinese socialism. Both are relevant in a creative interaction.
Before explaining, it is worth noting how others perceive the BRI. As the worldwide project became evident and as it was officially launched in 2016, some began deploying old categories, derived from Europe. ‘Creditor colonialism’ is one, first coined in India, where British colonialism has left a deep and lasting impression. That is, a piece of infrastructure is built in a country, with a long-term debt incurred. More generally, some have suggested that the Belt and Road Initiative is just another form of colonialism per se, in which China is seeking to influence and dominate more and more places throughout the world. On this matter, it is worth recalling an old (Danish) saying: a thief always thinks everyone else is a thief. In other words, if one comes from a background of international colonialism, then one views the activities of others in the same light.
North Korea's Kim sees off wounded Chinese tourists [PHOTOS]
Posted : 2018-04-26 09:37
Updated : 2018-04-26 11:02
North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un talks to a Chinese tourist, who was injured in a bus accident in North Korea, at Pyongyang Station, Wednesday, before the tourist returns to China. / Yonhap
North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un personally saw off a train repatriating the bodies of dozens of Chinese tourists who were killed in a bus accident as he issued a fresh apology to Beijing over the tragedy, state media reported Thursday.
Thirty-two Chinese tourists and four North Koreans perished when a bus they were travelling in plunged off a bridge south of Pyongyang Sunday night, according to Chinese officials. Two other Chinese nationals were injured.
Beijing is the isolated regime's sole major ally, providing an important economic and political buffer against international opprobrium.
The crash has sparked a series of rare mea culpas on North Korea's tightly controlled propaganda network in which Kim has taken centre stage both in responding to the crash and apologising to China.
In two new dispatches on Thursday morning, the North's state-run KCNA news agency said Kim went to Pyongyang's station on Wednesday evening "to see off a special purpose train carrying the bodies of Chinese who were killed and the wounded in a tragic traffic accident".
The KCNA report described Kim personally making arrangements for the train and offering "words of consolation" to the survivors.
Russia and China Militaries Reach ‘New Heights’ Together, Agree to Challenge U.S. in Middle East
By Tom O'Connor On 4/24/18 at 3:58 PM
Russia and China have pledged to strengthen their bilateral military and political ties as part of a strategic cooperation that challenges U.S. interests, especially to Washington's stance on Middle East allies Syria and Iran.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu met Tuesday with Air Force General Xu Qiliang, deputy vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission, and other regional military officials as part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in the eastern city of Qingdao. As increasingly powerful Russia and China build up their clout on the world stage, they sought a more united front against the U.S., which frequently challenged their rise.
Report on United States human rights abuses in 2017
The Information Office of the State Council in China has published its annual report on human rights abuses in the United States. You can find a full copy of the report here, and a news summary at Xinhua News. While the report details abuses of civil rights, systemic racial discrimination, increasing flaws in US-style democracy, and flagrant abuse of human rights in other countries, an underlying theme concerns the right to economic wellbeing (a basic principle of Chinese Marxist approaches to human rights).
Foreign minister presents diplomacy medal to Heritage Foundation founder
Publication Date: April 24, 2018 |
MOFA Minister Jaushieh Joseph Wu (right) and Edwin J. Feulner, founder of The Heritage Foundation, toast the health of Taiwan-U.S. ties April 23 in Taipei City. (MOFA)
Minister of Foreign Affairs Jaushieh Joseph Wu awarded April 23 the Grand Medal of Diplomacy to Edwin J. Feulner, founder of Washington-based think tank The Heritage Foundation, for his decadeslong contributions to strengthening Taiwan-U.S. relations.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Wu expressed gratitude to Feulner for his staunch support of Taiwan’s democracy, freedom and prosperity. A long-standing friend of the nation, Feulner backs a bilateral free trade agreement and regular arms sales to Taiwan, he said.
[Taiwan] [Heritage Foundation]
Kim Jong Un Pays Consolatory Visits to Chinese Embassy and Hospital
Submitted by KCNA on Tue, 04/24/2018 - 08:38
Pyongyang, April 24 (KCNA) -- Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea and chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, visited the Chinese embassy here at 6:30 a.m. Monday to express his deep sympathy over an unexpected bus overturn accident that claimed heavy casualties among Chinese tourists to the DPRK.
He expressed heartfelt sympathy and deep condolences to Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and president of the People's Republic of China, the party and government of China and the bereaved families of the victims.
He said that the unexpected accident brought bitter sorrow to his heart and that he couldn't control his grief at the thought of the bereaved families who lost their blood relatives.
The Korean people take the tragic accident as their own misfortune, he said, stressing that the party and government of the DPRK would take follow-up measures with utmost sincerity with a wish to alleviate the pain of the bereaved families even a bit.
Ambassador Li Jinjun, hardly repressing his deep impression over the fact that Chairman Kim Jong Un personally visited the embassy early at dawn, busy as his schedule was, and expressed heartfelt condolences and sympathy, said that he would immediately report it to General Secretary Xi Jinping and the Chinese party and government and convey it to the bereaved families as it is.
The ambassador said that they came to realize once again how much Chairman Kim Jong Un, the party, government and people of the DPRK value the traditional China-DPRK friendship, adding that this has been evidently proven again to be unbreakable and great friendship. He stressed that they would closely cooperate with the Korean comrades in taking follow-up measures over the accident.
The respected Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un visited the hospital on Monday evening and personally learned about the treatment of the wounded.
He called on the wounded and warmly sympathized with them and consulted the future treatment with medical workers of the government hospital while learning about the conditions of patients.
The ambassador and staff members of the Chinese embassy here repeatedly expressed gratitude to Chairman Kim Jong Un for showing deep care and personally taking detailed measures as regards the recent sudden accident though he is busy with his important political schedule. -0-
[China NK] [Tourism] [Accident] [Kim Jong Un] [Communication]
US admiral outlines new military buildup to counter China
The man nominated to run the US Pacific Command spells out his plans to contain Beijing on a number of fronts, from the oceans to space
By Bill Gertz April 24, 2018
The USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyers conducting an exercise in the Philippine Sea. Photo: US Navy via AFP
The American admiral slated to head the US Pacific Command is planning a buildup of American forces in the region along with closer alliances as part of the Pentagon’s new strategy to counter China.
Admiral Philip Davidson, the nominee for the command job, revealed in little-noticed testimony to a US Senate committee how he will restructure the 375,000 military and civilian personnel, 200 ships and nearly 1,100 aircraft in the region.
If confirmed for the position, a prospect likely in the coming weeks, Davidson said he would “recalibrate” the command in line with the Pentagon’s new national defense strategy.
“This effort entails ensuring the continued combat readiness of assigned forces in the western Pacific; developing an updated footprint that accounts for China’s rapid modernization and pursuing agreements with host nations that allow the United States to project power when necessary,” Davidson stated in written answers to questions posed by the panel.
[China confrontation] [Seapower] [Philip Davidson]
Chinese arms makers pitching for more orders in SE Asia
A large group of Chinese shipbuilders and aircraft makers have been making a bid to tap robust demand in the region
By Asia Times staff April 20, 2018
Littoral mission ships were among the made-in-China craft on display at the biennial Defense Services Asia trade fair and conference for defense technology and security systems, which finished earlier this week in Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia placed orders with the state-owned China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co, Ltd (CSOC) for several patrol ships to boost its fleet.
[Arms sales] [China rising]
How China’s winemakers succeeded (without stealing)
Unlike cars or electronics, making good wine doesn’t require proprietary technology. Any serious student can learn the techniques by reading, going to school or finding a mentor
By Cynthia Howson and Pierre Ly April 21, 2018 8:07 PM (UTC+8)
Joint ventures between Western and Chinese companies are in the news over accusations – including those of President Donald Trump – that China uses them to steal intellectual property from foreign competitors in industries like cars and technology.
Less well known, however, are the joint ventures between French and Chinese winemakers, which offer a notable counterpoint to this narrative of international rivalry – or foreign exploitation, depending on your perspective.
[Wine] [IJV] [Image]
A Dialectical Leap?
Is China undergoing a historical dialectical leap?
This question has been at the forefront my thoughts of late, for reasons I am still formulating. It comes from the experience, each time I arrive in China, of stepping into a future society. I have written of that feeling elsewhere, so here I want to analyse the question of the leap itself.
A common perception among many Chinese is that China needs to ‘catch up’ to other countries deemed more ‘advanced’. It matters little what the catching up might mean, whether technology, medicine, social security, scholarship, social morality and so on. The model may be the United States (for reasons that puzzle me), Germany, Scandinavia or even – believe it or not – Australia. True, the perception is less common today, but it used to be pervasive not so many years ago.
But as more and more Chinese go overseas, for travel, work or study, they are beginning to experience a dislocation. If it is one of countries I have mentioned, the bewilderment is due to the sense that the country they perceived as ‘advanced’ has in many respects slipped ‘behind’. Many of the daily realities to which they have become accustomed in China simply do not exist in such places, or if they do, they are piecemeal and disorganised.
Xi to Visit Pyongyang Right After N.Korea-U.S. Summit
By Lee Kil-seong
April 19, 2018 12:02
Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to visit Pyongyang in June, reports said Wednesday. Beijing is moving fast for fear of being left out of the geopolitical game as North Korea and the U.S. are making preparations for a summit.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un invited Xi during a surprise visit to Beijing in late March.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying only said Wednesday she had no detailed information to provide about a possible visit. But she did not deny the reports, adding that China and North Korea have "a tradition" of high-level mutual visits.
The leaders of North Korea and China have studiously ignored each other over the past five years as North Korea angered Beijing with a series of nuclear and missile tests and China joined international sanctions against the regime.
Pyongyang conducted its third nuclear test in February 2013, only a month ahead of Xi's inauguration. Enraged, Xi kept Kim's special envoy Choe Ryong-hae waiting for two days in May that year when he wanted to brief him on Pyongyang's nuclear program.
Relations reached their nadir after the assassination of Kim's half-brother Jong-nam, who was under Chinese government protection, in Malaysia last year.
Senior Chinese diplomat Song Tao (left) shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Tuesday, in this photo released by the [North] Korean Central News Agency on Wednesday.
Xi was at first expected to visit Pyongyang around July 27, the 65th anniversary of armistice of the Korean War, or Sept. 9, the anniversary of the North Korean regime's founding. But Beijing seems to have concluded that it cannot afford to idle the time away.
China's official People's Daily in an editorial on Wednesday insisted on the importance of China's role, saying friendship and cooperation between Beijing and Pyongyang will play a constructive role on the Korean Peninsula.
Meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, U.S. President Donald Trump thanked Xi for being "incredibly generous" in helping enforce sanctions on the North.
"They've never been this way with the United States," he claimed. "They have more respect for us, perhaps our leadership... President Xi has been very strong on the [North Korean] border, much stronger than anyone thought they would be."
[Xi Jinping] [China NK]
Xi to Visit N.Korea in June
April 17, 2018 10:42
Chinese President Xi Jinping is to visit North Korea in June for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Japan's Yomiuiri Shimbun reported on Monday.
Quoting sources in North Korea and China, senior Chinese diplomat Song Tao discussed the plans when he went to Pyongyang last week along with a group of Chinese artists.
Xi is expected to visit in late May or early June, after the U.S.-North Korea summit to discuss issues arising from the talks.
It would be the first visit to North Korea by a Chinese president since Hu Jintao back in 2005.
Kim invited Xi when he visited Beijing last month.
Already China is weakening sanctions against its ally. Radio Free Asia on Sunday said Chinese-North Korean joint venture projects are quickly resuming. Citing a source in North Hamgyong Province, RFA said new apartments are being built in the Rajin-Sonbong special economic zone as projects that had been put on ice resume.
[China NK] [Xi Jinping]
Kim Jong-un's Wife Gets New Honorific Title
By Kim Myong-song
April 16, 2018 11:49
The North Korean regime is raising the profile of leader Kim Jong-un's wife Ri Sol-ju, giving her a new honorific title and showcasing more of her public activities.
The North's official Korean Central News Agency reported Saturday that Ri attended a performance of "Giselle" by the visiting National Ballet of China along with Workers Party officials but without her husband.
KCNA said "revered first lady" Ri Sol-ju attended the performance with apparatchiks Choe Ryong-hae, Kim Yo-jong, Kim Yong-chol and Ri Su-yong.
The normal designation has been "comrade." The last time the state media used "revered first lady" was in 1974, referring to nation founder Kim Il-sung's wife Kim Song-ae.
Ri Sol-ju (left) accompanies her husband, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in a meeting with Chinese senior diplomat Song Tao (right) in Pyongyang on Saturday in this picture released by the [North] Korean Central News Agency.
A researcher at a state-run think tank here said, "Ri Sol-ju is playing a suitable role in repackaging Kim Jong-un as the leader of a normal nation. This sets her up to play the role of first lady in summits with South Korea and the U.S."
Meanwhile, North Korea rolled out the red carpet for a 200-member Chinese delegation led by Song Tao, head of the Chinese Communist Party’s International Liaison Department, who arrived in Pyongyang on Friday to mark the 106th birthday of Kim Il-sung.
Kim Jong-un met Song twice including for a banquet, while his sister Kim Yo-jong greeted the Chinese diplomat at the airport.
[Ri Sol Ju] [China NK]
Why Gaddafi's Gold Dinars, Petro-Yuan Pose No Threat to US Dollar Dominance… Yet
According to a Sputnik interview with Ekaterina Blinova on the 5th of April 2018, “Wall Street analyst Charles Ortel argues that the Chinese Petroyuan can’t compete with the Petrodollar as long as China is not a major energy producer” /
In reality however, the Petroyuan does not need Chinese oil any more than the Petrodollar needed American oil to be underpinned with.
[China Russia] [Petroyuan] [Reserve]
Hold high the mighty banner of Xi Jinping Thought
Posted by stalinsmoustache
These sorts of banners are everywhere in China now, especially after the 19th congress of the CPC last year and then the two sessions this year:
‘Hold high the mighty banner of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era; comprehensively implement the vigorous spirit of the party’s 19th congress’.
This one is at Zhongshan University in Guangzhou, but I find all manner of banners and posters everywhere I go.
You really have to be here to get a sense of how much has shifted even in the last year. Marxism is forefront and centre in more and more places: in government policy; the renewed study of Mao Zedong; bookshops full of communist material, from Mao to Xi, let alone Marx and Engels; the best students flocking to schools of programs of Marxism; news and media engaging in in-depth examinations of its many dimensions; clarification of the practices of socialist rule of law, socialist market economy, socialist democracy and governance, and how this works out in international relations; people calling each other ‘comrade’ (example set by ‘Comrade Xi Jinping’). The list could go on for much longer.
It certainly sets me thinking and trying to understand further what is an extraordinary development. Not only does the relatively ‘liberal’ decade of the 1990s and even early 200os seem like a distant – and increasingly bad – memory, but I never thought I would live to see days like these, just as the USA and the ‘world disorder’ it had established is unravelling so fast.
[Xi Jinping] [Mao Zedong]
Will Bolton and Trump Start the First Sino-American War?
by Charles Pierson
April 10, 2018
When America launches a preemptive attack on North Korea, will the US find itself at war with China?
This is not an idle question. On Monday, the fiercest advocate of a preemptive attack on North Korea, John R. Bolton, joined the Trump Administration. Bolton, a former US Ambassador to the UN, replaces H. R. McMaster as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser.
Bolton is the gold standard against which all other hawks are measured. Bolton pushed for war in Iraq and continues to think that invading Iraq was the right thing to do. He has long clamored for regime change in North Korea (and Iran…and Syria…and Cuba).
[John Bolton] [Sino-American war]
Piles of Coal at N.Korean Port Ready for Shipments
By Kim Myong-song
April 10, 2018 11:20
Commercial satellite imagery shows a new open-air coal storage yard at Nampo port in North Korea, as well as piles of coal in a nearby area and a large ship loaded with coal, Voice of America reported on Monday.
The North seems to be preparing to export the coal to China amid a recent thaw in bilateral relations, even though that is banned under UN Security Council sanctions.
Analysis of satellite images shot on March 14 by Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales, France's national space research center, and Airbus show large piles of coal in an area north of a container terminal at Nampo port.
At one coal terminal about 1.8 km west of this area, a vast amount of coal is piled up against a wall.
Several trains that are believed to transport coal are standing near the storage yard.
Coal is loaded on a barge at Nampo port in North Korea, in this satellite image taken on March 14.
A large barge is also docked in the port. The 170 m-long ship has five hatch covers, one of which is open, showing that the cargo bay is filled with coal.
UN sanctions completely ban the North from exporting coal, but the UN Panel of Experts on North Korea has said that ships carrying North Korean coal are still sailing to third countries by indirect routes or manipulating automatic identification system data.
This raises fears that China is resuming coal imports from the North. The Chinese Commerce Ministry officially announced on its website on Monday that it is participating in UN sanctions against the North by banning exports of 32 items that can be diverted to the production of weapons of mass destruction. But back doors can be opened any time.
[Coal] [Exports] [China NK] [Sanctions]
Farmers who propelled Trump to presidency fear becoming pawns in trade war
Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), left, speaks with Matthew Schauenburg of Platteville, Wis., during a listening session. On tariffs, Kind says China is cheating, but says it’s “time to build an international coalition to stand up to them, not to go it alone.” (Jessica Reilly/AP)
By David Weigel April 8 at 4:12 PM Email the author
MANKATO, Minn. — Many of the farmers who helped propel Donald Trump to the presidency fear becoming pawns in his escalating trade war with China, which threatens markets for soybeans, corn and other lifeblood crops in the Upper Midwest.
But Jim Hagedorn, a former GOP congressional aide and Treasury official running for an open House seat, says they should keep their faith in Trump.
“He understands just how important it is to these rural areas that we have these markets,” Hagedorn said in an interview at his campaign office. “Do I understand that the president has the prerogative to go out and negotiate? Of course I do. But I trust that in the end, he’s going to do everything possible to make sure that we help everyone in the United States, including our farmers.”
Trump’s aggressive attacks on China over trade are putting Republicans such as Hagedorn in a difficult spot — torn between siding with Trump and acknowledging the economic peril to many of their constituents.
[Trade war] [Domestic] [Pawns]
Thailand's Kra Canal: China's Way Around the Malacca Strait
A 200-year-old dream might finally become a reality under China’s Belt and Road.
By Rhea Menon
April 06, 2018
The establishment of a Kra Canal in Thailand may soon become a reality as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The canal would permit ships to bypass the Malacca Strait, a crucial maritime chokepoint, amplifying the strategic significance of the project.
Throughout history, there have been multiple attempts by the Thai monarchy and European colonists to capitalize on the commercial and strategic importance of the region by constructing a canal across the narrow isthmus that connects Thailand to the Malay peninsula. In recent times, China’s global vision of a new Maritime Silk Road has renewed the attention on the possibility of developing the Kra Canal. The modern Kra or Thai Canal project would be connected to the various Chinese infrastructure and connectivity projects in the region.
The maritime portion of the BRI is an ambitious connectivity project that aims at linking Southeast Asia to Europe through the Indian Ocean. In the last two decades, the construction of new ports and maritime facilities has contributed to the increasing competition among nations in the Indian Ocean region. As China continues to expand its presence across the maritime domain, the establishment of infrastructure projects, like the Kra Canal, is likely to influence the new emerging security architecture in the Indo-Pacific.
[Chokepoint] [Malacca Strait]
Korea to raise THAAD issue with China
Posted : 2018-04-08 16:28
Updated : 2018-04-08 17:10
By Kang Seung-woo
Korea and China will hold high-level economic talks for the first time in two years, amid budding signs of a diplomatic thaw, according to the foreign ministry, Sunday.
Whether Beijing will effectively lift its economic retaliation against Seoul over the latter's deployment of a U.S. missile defense system here is likely to be high on the meeting agenda.
"The two governments have agreed in principle to hold the 22nd Korea-China Joint Economic Committee meeting in Beijing later this month," said a foreign ministry official.
[China SK] [THAAD]
China threatens to hit back as Trump seeks additional tariffs on $100 billion worth of Chinese goods
by Damian Paletta, Heather Long and Emily Rauhala April 6 at 7:46 PM
The United States and China dug in for a protracted trade war Friday, with the Chinese government saying it would “fight at any cost” President Trump’s threat to slap new tariffs on $100 billion in Chinese goods.
Trump’s Right to Say He’s Not Launching a Trade War With China. He’s Doing Something Bigger.
No one likes trade friction, but after decades of failing to stop Chinese theft of American intellectual property, there are no more no-cost solutions.
Gordon G. Chang
04.06.18 4:58 AM ET
Hours ago, President Trump, acting under the authority of Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, instructed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to consider the imposition of tariffs on $100 billion of Chinese goods. These tariffs are on top of those Lighthizer proposed Tuesday on $50 billion of China’s products. All these duties are intended to remedy China’s theft of American intellectual property.
“We are not in a trade war with China,” President Trump tweeted Wednesday morning.
The president is correct. What looks like a trade war is really a struggle for the control of the technologies that will dominate coming decades.
[China confrontation] [Trade war] [China competition] [Technology] [MISCOM]
The benefits of lifting the presidential (and vice-presidential) term limits in China
Amidst all the uninformed opinions about the constitutional changes at China’s recent two sessions of parliament, this piece by Eric Li is the most balanced I have read (in the Global Times.). The only point with I disagree somewhat concerns the merging party and state. The reason is that Xi Jinping has been promoting China’s unique multi-party system more than ever before. The nine political parties all play a role.
Why Xi’s lifting of term limits is a good thing
SHANGHAI — Western media and the Chinese chattering classes have been in an uproar since China’s National People’s Congress approved constitutional changes that included lifting the two-term presidential limit. China approves “president for life,” proclaimed Western media.
But this misinterprets the nature of the development. And the world appears to be overlooking consequential political reforms taking place in China that will impact our collective future for the better.
The presidential term limit has no bearing on how long a top Chinese leader can stay in power and lifting it by no means allows anyone to rule for life. In fact, the position of real power — the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee — has never had term limits. The most recent draft of China’s constitution, written in 1982, set the presidency as a symbolic head of state, with no actual power. Although the two offices happened to have been occupied by the same person for more than 25 years since Jiang Zemin, the institutional mechanics of the offices are rather separate.
[Xi Jinping] [CPC]
Xi Showered Kim Jong-un with Gifts During Visit
By Kim Jin-myung
April 05, 2018 10:31
Chinese President Xi Jinping gave North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his wife Ri Sol-ju at least 2.47 million yuan or W415 million worth of gifts when they visited Beijing, according to Hong Kong's Apple Daily on Tuesday (US$1=W1,063).
Most of the gifts were luxury goods that are banned from export to the North by the UN Security Council.
Analyzing footage from North Korean state TV, the paper estimated a large vase Xi gave Kim at 500,000 yuan, and plates and porcelain teacups at 20,000 yuan and 5,000 yuan each.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) presents a porcelain vase (pictured left) to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in this screen grab from [North] Korean Central Television on March 29.
The North Korean leader was also given 11 bottles of a prized distilled liquor called Moutai, five of them dating back beyond 1980 and six distilled during the 1990s. That makes the older ones so rare that they retail at an estimated 1.25 million yuan.
A ruby ornament Chinese first lady Peng Liyuan gave to Ri cost at least 30,000 yuan, and a silk blouse and brooch cost 6,000 yuan.
UNSC sanctions ban such gifts to North Korean officials, putting the limit on US$100 per item and no luxury goods.
[Kim_Xi_March18] [Sanctions] [Media]
Can America and China avoid mutual trade destruction?
President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Nov. 9, 2017. (Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images)
By Editorial Board April 4 at 7:32 PM
THE UNITED STATES and China are not in a trade war, yet. By law, the Trump administration cannot impose the tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods it just threatened until American interest groups have had a month to lobby for and against them. Actual tariffs, and the inevitable Chinese retaliation against the list of American products Beijing targeted Tuesday, are probably months away. Which raises the questions: Is there still time to avoid a mutually destructive conflict, and if so, how?
Ideally, there would be a negotiated solution addressing long-standing and legitimate American commercial complaints against China.
[China confrontation] [China competition] [Trade war] [Continuity]
Washington's Hardening On China - Key Decisions Ahead
By Robert Sutter
Robert Sutter (email@example.com) is professor of practice of international affairs at George Washington University. Sutter’s latest book is US-China Relations: Perilous Past, Uncertain Present [third edition] (Rowman & Littlefield 2018).
Tracking the debate over China policy in Washington shows remarkable hardening over the past two years. There are now routine calls for US push back and toughening against expansionist and predatory Chinese practices carried out by an increasingly assertive and challenging Communist party-led dictatorship. Those arguing for continuing constructive engagement are on the defensive as Trump administration leaders depict China’s challenge in stark terms as a “whole of government” plan to weaken the United States and undermine its interests, while attempting to dominate the international economy and re-establish China’s historical sphere of influence in Asia.
In contrast, key domestic US constituencies remain ambivalent about the newly perceived China danger. Recent public opinion data in the US reflects a wary but hardly alarmed attitude, one that is at odds with the Trump administration’s grim view. Business interests are increasingly critical of China but their willingness to accept the consequences of protracted confrontation with China is far from clear. The media also remain ambivalent, especially about tradeoffs between the risks of hardening and the benefits of engagement.
China Strikes Back at the U.S. With Its Own Tariffs
By Keith Bradsher and Steven Lee Myers
april 4, 2018
SHANGHAI — China hit back at the United States on Wednesday with proposed tariffs on American soybeans, cars, chemicals and other goods, in a move likely to spark fears that the countries’ escalating confrontation could become an all-out trade war.
Moving with unusual speed, Chinese officials outlined plans to make it more costly to import 106 categories of American goods into China. The move came just hours after the Trump administration detailed its plan to impose tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese-made steel, aircraft parts, televisions and other products.
China’s new tariffs will amount to 25 percent on the American products. While Beijing did not immediately specify the value of the American goods that would be affected, government officials have said it would be roughly equal to the tariffs the Trump administration detailed on Tuesday.
The American products come largely from Republican-dominated states, where lawmakers might be expected to have some influence with President Trump and could persuade him to back down from his latest trade demands.
[Trade war] [Response] [Pressure]
The U.S. wrote the rules for global trade. Now China is using them against Trump.
Trade tensions escalated between the U.S. and China with Beijing slapping tariffs on 128 U.S. goods, from scrap aluminum and pork to nuts, wine and fruits. (Reuters)
by David J. Lynch April 2 at 6:56 PM Email the author
The Chinese government designed its first concrete response to President Trump’s recent wave of protectionist policies to inflict noticeable political and economic pain upon the United States while remaining within the bounds of global trade rules.
China imposed tariffs on a relatively modest $3 billion in American imports. But by hitting numerous products, including fruit, wine, ginseng and pork, that affect congressional districts across the country, China demonstrated that it can exert pressure within the American system.
The goal was to demonstrate resolve without escalation and to encourage disadvantaged farmers and workers to complain to their elected representatives. Beijing is prepared to engage in a slugging match, but its preferred solution to the deepening trade dispute remains a diplomatic outcome, analysts said.
[Trade war] [Response]
Return to top of page
Xi reasserts role in Korean game with summons to Kim
Kim Jong-un’s ‘surprise’ visit to Beijing was expected by experts as part of groundwork prior to critical summits
By Andrew Salmon March 28, 2018
Chinese President Xi Jinping (2nd right) and wife Peng Liyuan (right) are seen with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his wife Ri Sol Ju in Beijing on March 27. The North Korean leader received a warm welcome during a secretive trip as both sides sought to repair frayed ties ahead of landmark summits with Seoul and Washington. Photo: AFP/ via North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has placed himself back at the center of the game, as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s visit to Beijing adds yet another piece to the fast-shifting diplomatic chess board that is the Korean peninsula.
At a time when the youthful and diplomatically inexperienced Kim is preparing for separate summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and US President Donald Trump, the meeting appears to herald a warming in recently frosty relations between Beijing and Pyongyang.
[China NK] [Kim_Xi_March18]
Kim Jong-un Plays All Ends Against the Middle
By Kim Jin-myung
March 29, 2018 12:34
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is playing all ends against the middle with a surprise visit to Beijing whose aim seemed to be to further fracture international cooperation over North Korea.
Kim may also be trying to boost his leverage in upcoming summits with South Korea and the U.S. in April and May by mending fences with his sole ally. Kim is proving an adept manipulator, driving a wedge between South Korea and the U.S. and taking advantage of China's fierce trade dispute with the U.S.
China is unlikely to halt sanctions against North Korea immediately, but they will inevitably be eased once relations with Pyongyang improve since there are so many possible backdoors.
Kim Jong-un Wants 'Phased' Approach to Denuclearization
By Pak Soo-chan
March 29, 2018 09:16
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un told Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday, "The issue of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula can be resolved if South Korea and the U.S. respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability."
The Chinese Foreign Ministry quoted Kim as saying this requires "phased and simultaneous steps for peace."
This is the first time Kim has mentioned denuclearization. The "phased and simultaneous steps" sound like the old tactics of his father Kim Jong-il that involved gradual freezing and scrapping of the North's nuclear weapons in exchange for eased sanctions, economic aid and security guarantees by South Korea and the U.S. but saw North Korea renege on each of its promises.
Why petro-yuan may become biggest game-changer of all time in capital markets
Published time: 28 Mar, 2018 11:44
Edited time: 28 Mar, 2018 12:04
The historic launch of the long-awaited trading of Chinese crude futures this week has stirred up a heated debate among analysts as to whether the new commodity product will prosper or flop.
© Kim Kyung Hoon No respect for elders: China's new oil benchmark crushing old-timer Brent
Some market analysts expressed doubts over the success of the petro-yuan, citing Beijing’s yearning for total control over trading as one of the key reasons for a potential bust. “The government has been eager to encourage liquidity and paper trading, but of course the issue with paper trading is speculative trading that the government wants to keep at bay,” Michal Meidan, an analyst at energy market consultancy Energy Aspects, told Bloomberg prior to the launch.
Meanwhile, the high costs of oil storage for delivery into the Shanghai Futures Exchange may scare potential investors away from the new contracts, according to industry analysts. “Storage plays a crucial role in linking cash and futures markets. Many speculators, such as proprietary traders and hedge funds, may be scared away,” said Jian Yang, a research director at the JP Morgan Center for Commodities in the University of Colorado Denver, as quoted by the agency.
However, China's yuan-backed oil futures managed to make a strong debut on Monday with overnight trade volumes initially outstripping transactions of internationally recognized benchmark Brent. Some 62,500 contracts reportedly changed hands during the first session, as domestic and international oil investors joined the trading.
The impressive start gives deeper cause for optimism about the newcomer with some analysts qualifying oil futures denominated in China’s currency as a game-changer in the world of financial trading. “This is the single biggest change in capital markets, maybe of all time,” said Hayden Briscoe, APAC head of fixed income at UBS Asset Management, as quoted by Reuters.
[Reserve] [Petroyuan] [Oil]
On Strengthening US-Taiwan Relations
By David G. Brown
David G. Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a visiting scholar in the China Studies program at Johns Hopkins, School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).
For the past 18 months, China has been putting increasing economic, diplomatic, military, and psychological pressure on Taiwan to get President Tsai Ing-wen to accept Beijing’s one China position. Predictably, Washington has responded to these pressures by strengthen its support for and ties with Taipei. The US Congress has adopted legislation recommending further enhancements to political and security ties. Beijing has objected to the Taiwan Travel Act and to provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act, while ignoring the reality that these actions were in large part a reaction to its pressures on the Tsai administration.
Since the new congressional acts are sense-of-congress legislation, the Trump administration has flexibility on how they will be implemented. Past practice provides some guidelines on how these new tools can be used to the best advantage.
The most important guideline is that changes should be implemented in close consultation with Taiwan. Consultation is particularly important now because President Trump’s tweets and posturing have created considerable anxiety in Taiwan.
[China confrontation] [Taiwan] [Trump] [Tweet]
Seoul Welcomes Kim Jong-un's China Visit
By Jeong Woo-sang
March 30, 2018 10:23
Seoul on Thursday cautiously welcomed North Korean leader Kin Jong-un's recent visit to China but made no comment on Kim's proposal of a "phased and simultaneous" approach to denuclearization.
Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said Kim's "announcement of his willingness to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula" is "highly significant." He added that having China on board in fresh negotiations would help achieve stability on the Korean Peninsula.
Cheong Wa Dae prefers a "package settlement" of dealing with the nuclear issue and establishing a peace treaty, while the U.S. wants "complete, verifiable and irreversible" steps to ending the North's nuclear program first.
Kim Jong Un and Xi Jinping together in Beijing
Posted by stalinsmoustache
After noting a distinct change in tone in Chinese assessments of the DPRK only a few days ago, it turns out that Xi Jinping invited Kim Jong Un to Beijing.
As is the custom with such visits, the news appears after the meeting is over. Let me pick up some of the comments in the Xinhua account (although all the major Chinese news outlets are carrying the story).
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
By Benjamin Ho and Hoo Chiew-Ping
Benjamin Ho is an associate research fellow with the China Programme, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University and concurrently a PhD candidate at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Hoo Chiew-Ping is a senior lecturer at the National University of Malaysia and an associate fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS-Asia).
Following recent changes to the Chinese constitution that allow President Xi to extend his leadership beyond two-term limits, many commentators – both inside and outside China – have raised concerns over how this would affect China’s international relations. In “How China is Challenging American Dominance in Asia,” The New York Times noted that “the stakes could hardly be higher [given] the two powers are seeking to reshape the economies and political systems of the world’s most populous region in its own image.” Separately, Professor Wang Gungwu highlighted lessons from China’s history whereby party infighting led to the country being weakened and torn apart when faced with external invasion, reaffirming that “only a strong party can save China and such a party needs sustained leadership” provided the impetus for Xi to ensure that he would remain in power to forestall potential challenges that would impede China’s growth.
[China global strategy] [Hegemony]
Kim Jong Un Is Making a Surprise China Visit, Sources Say
March 27, 2018, 4:40 AM GMT+13 Updated on March 27, 2018, 5:16 PM GMT+13
First trip outside isolated state since taking power in 2011
Mysterious move comes weeks after Trump agreed to meet Kim
Kim Jong Un made a surprise visit to Beijing on his first known trip outside North Korea according to sources.
Kim Jong Un made a surprise visit to Beijing on his first known trip outside North Korea since taking power in 2011, three people with knowledge of the visit said.
Further details of his trip, including how long Kim would stay and who he would meet, were not immediately available. The people asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the information.
Speculation about a possible visit by a high-ranking North Korean official circulated around the Chinese capital Monday, after Japan’s Kyodo News reported that a special train may have carried Kim through the northeastern border city of Dandong. Nippon TV showed footage of a train arriving Monday in Beijing that looked similar to one used by Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, to visit the country shortly before his death in 2011.
The unannounced visit is the latest in series of diplomatic power plays in Asia as U.S. President Donald Trump’s battle to lower the U.S. trade deficit becomes entangled with his effort to get Kim to give up his nuclear weapons. Chinese President Xi Jinping has found himself preparing for a trade war with Trump even after supporting progressive rounds of United Nations sanctions against the Kim regime.
The U.S. appears to have had no advance knowledge of Kim’s visit. White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told reporters on Monday that he couldn’t confirm reports of the trip and “we don’t know if they’re necessarily true.” A State Department spokesman, Julia Mason, responded to questions about the report with a single sentence: “We’d refer you to the Chinese.”
[China NK] [Kim Jong Un]
Kim Jong-un 'on Secret China Visit'
By Kim Soo-hye, Lee Kil-seong
March 27, 2018 09:36
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un or someone close to him is believed to be on a secret state visit to China.
Security has been heightened around a 100 m radius of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, while a convoy of 20 luxury sedans has been spotted including cars owned by the North Korean Embassy.
Earlier on Monday, Japanese media reported that a special train from North Korea was captured on camera arriving at Beijing railway station under heavy protection. The 21-carriage train was painted green with yellow lines.
Armed police were stationed along the railroad. Japan's NNN cable channel reported that the train was "very similar" to the one used by former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il when he visited Beijing back in 2011.
A black limousine (in red circle) travels under escort of Chinese police in Beijing on Monday, in this picture posted on Chinese social network Weibo by a citizen.
The Daily NK website also cited sources in China as saying a huge fence screen was set up at Dandong railway station bordering North Korea.
Kim has been out of the public eye for more than three weeks since meeting a South Korean delegation on March 5 amid speculation that he is hard at work preparing for scheduled summits with South Korea and the U.S.
A high-ranking government source here said, "It's true that a special train from North Korea went to China, but we can't verify who is on board." Others speculate that Kim sent his sister Yo-jong, who also attended the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang last month.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters that she does not know anything about the rumors.
[China NK] [Kim Jong Un] [Kim Yo Jong]
Kim Jong-un makes surprise visit to China: reports
Posted : 2018-03-27 07:53
Updated : 2018-03-27 13:35
A military honor guard is seen marching away after a convoy of vehicles enter the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse where top North Korean leaders have been known to stay on previous trips to Beijing, China, Monday. / AP-Yonhap
North Korea leader Kim Jong Un has visited China, Bloomberg reported on Monday citing three unnamed sources, in what would be his first known overseas trip since taking power in 2011 and ahead of a potential summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.
Details of his visit including its purpose and itinerary were not yet known, Bloomberg said.
Japanese media reported earlier on Monday that a high-ranking Pyongyang official appeared to have arrived by train in Beijing. Kyodo, citing sources close to the matter, said the visit of the official was intended to improve ties between Beijing and Pyongyang that have been frayed by North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons and China's backing of tough sanctions against North Korea at the United Nations Security Council.
The visit could not immediately be confirmed by Reuters. Footage from Nippon News Network, owned by Nippon TV, showed what an announcer described as a green train carriage with yellow horizontal lines, part of a 21-car train, similar to the kind that Kim's late father, Kim Jong Il, rode when he visited Beijing in 2011.
[China NK] [Kim Jong Un]
Is Kim Jong-un Visiting Beijing? Online Video Fuels Speculation
By Chris Buckley and Choe Sang-Hun
March 26, 2018
A military honor guard was spotted Monday in Beijing after a convoy of vehicles entered the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, where top North Korean leaders have been known to stay on visits to China. Credit Ng Han Guan/Associated Press
BEIJING — A video that appeared to show the arrival in Beijing of an old-style green train of the kind that has been used by North Korea’s leaders fueled intense speculation on Monday that a high-level North Korean delegation, perhaps even one led by Kim Jong-un, was meeting Chinese leaders ahead of Mr. Kim’s planned meetings with President Trump and South Korea’s president.
There was no official pronouncement from China or North Korea about the train and its passengers. The South Korean press, which usually monitors North Korean official movements carefully, was circumspect on Monday night about the speculation.
But the Japanese broadcaster NTV showed footage of what it said was the train arriving in Beijing. It said that green cars with yellow stripes were similar to those used by Mr. Kim’s father and predecessor as leader, Kim Jong-il, when he visited China in 2011, raising the possibility that the younger Mr. Kim or a powerful envoy may be visiting Beijing.
[China NK] [Kim Jong Un]
Wind of change
An old Chinese saying goes: When the wind of change blows, some build walls, while others build windmills (Feng xiang zhuan bian shi, you ren zhu qiang, you ren zao feng che).
So who is going to come out of the looming ‘trade war’ in front?
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un leaves Beijing after surprise visit
Security returns to normal in Chinese capital as armoured train pulls out with head of restive state on board
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 March, 2018, 6:07pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 March, 2018, 7:45pm
Security at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse and Beijing railway station quickly returned to normal on Tuesday afternoon after the distinctive green train carrying North Korean leader Kim Jong-un set off on its return journey to Pyongyang.
A little over two hours after the armoured express was reported to have pulled out it was business as usual, according to South China Morning Post journalists at the scene.
Two sources, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue, confirmed that the mystery guest was Kim.
“It wasn’t his sister, it was Kim himself,” one said.
[China NK] [Kim Jong Un]
Trump's tariffs on China intensify fears of global trade war
Interview with Sean Thomas, RT International, Moscow, 23 March
[China confrontation] [Trade war] [Tariffs] [Response]
China air force drills again in South China Sea, Western Pacific
China’s air force has held another round of drills in the disputed South China Sea and the Western Pacific after passing though Japan’s southern islands, the air force said on Sunday, calling such exercises the best preparation for war.
FILE PHOTO: Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in this still image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft provided by the United States Navy May 21, 2015. U.S. Navy/Handout via Reuters/File Photo
China is in the midst of an ambitious military modernization program overseen by President Xi Jinping with a heavy focus on its air force and navy, from building stealth fighters to adding aircraft carriers.
China insists it has no hostile intent, but its sabre-rattling in the busy South China Sea waterway, and around Taiwan, has touched a nerve in the region and in Washington.
[China confrontation] [Military exercises] [Media]
China won’t cave in to Trump’s trade bluster
Source: Global Times Published: 2018/3/25 23:18:39
The trade row between China and the US has been a hot topic at the China Development Forum in Beijing where executives and scholars, including those from the US, warned of the risks of a trade war. "The trade war must be avoided at all cost, like nuclear war," Larry Summers, former US treasury secretary was quoted as saying.
But it seems the conceited US government won't listen to reason. The White House said Friday that the US move to raise tariffs against China was already beginning to get results and "many other countries are now negotiating fair trade deals with us." But when China's Ministry of Commerce reacts to the Section 301 investigation with retaliatory measures against tens of billions of dollars in US goods, the US won't be so conceited.
The US has been wielding sticks worldwide over the past year. Washington needs to be taught a real lesson and such a lesson can only be taught by China, the world's second largest economy. Some people think China should tolerate trade frictions and let other countries take the lead. But as a world trade powerhouse, China has to strive for its own interests.
[Trump] [China confrontation] [Trade War] [Response]
U.S. House panel to probe China military footprint in Africa: chairman
U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said his committee will investigate China’s efforts to gain military and economic power in Africa.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland, U.S., February 24, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
The California Republican told “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo” that China’s investment in African countries would allow Beijing to strengthen its grip over world trade.
[China confrontation] [Africa]
China urges US to lower threshold for talks with DPRK
By Curtis Stone (People's Daily Online) 17:01, February 28, 2018
According to Reuters, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Monday the United States should lower the threshold for talks with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), while Pyongyang should in return show willingness towards denuclearization.
It is important the United States and the DPRK sit down for talks. At a regular press conference on Wednesday, a reporter asked Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang what opinions the Chinese side has on this issue.
Lu said China has repeatedly stressed that the core of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue is a security problem, the settlement of which hinges on the DPRK and the United States. Thus, to truly solve the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and fundamentally transform the situation, direct talks between the two parties is indispensable.
To promote this process, China supports “lowering the threshold” and “simultaneous small steps” as a way to carry out bilateral and multilateral talks. Thus, both parties should set aside some unacceptable premises for the resumption of dialogue. In particular, they should not regard the future issues that need resolving during the dialogue as a prerequisite for restarting the dialogue. “As long as there is talk, everything is possible,” Lu said.
With regard to denuclearization, China’s position is consistent and clear: Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula conforms to the common interests of all sides. “This is the unwavering position of the international community, including China,” Lu said.
“Strike when the iron is hot,” Lu said.
The Chinese proverb means to make good use of an opportunity while it lasts. China hopes the current efforts to improve relations between the Two Koreas will encourage direct talks between the DPRK and the United States and settle the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, once and for all, through peaceful dialogue.
[US NK Negotiations] [China]
Navarro’s snake oil will sicken the world
By George Koo March 24, 2018 1:18 PM (UTC+8)
Why would a Harvard PhD economist and tenured university professor make ridiculous assertions about China that no self-respecting economist would claim ownership of?
This question is hanging over prominent China-basher and director of the White House National Trade Council, Peter Navarro.
I went for answers to Professor John Graham, who had been Navarro’s colleague at the University of California at Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business. He joined the faculty in 1989, the same year as Navarro. Now that Navarro has left to join the Trump administration, Graham has taken over Navarro’s course on China.
“I am not sure I know why,” Graham said. “In sum, the three books he’s written about China are xenophobic trash. They contain some truths, but Navarro cherry-picks the data to prove his points. Ultimately it’s nothing but yellow journalism.”
Graham went on to say, “Navarro has no first-hand familiarity of China, doesn’t show any understanding of China and doesn’t speak Chinese. When asked how many times he’s been to China, he evades and doesn’t answer.”
A former UC Irvine professor and colleague confirmed this, saying, “He generally avoided people who actually knew something about the country.”
[Navarro] [China confrontation] [Gordon Chang]
The Revenge of Gordon Chang and the Coming Collapse of China?
By Peter Navarro
In July of 2001, Gordon Chang predicted an inevitable meltdown of the Chinese Communist Party in his best-selling book The Coming Collapse of China. Since that time, China’s economy has increased by more than 8-fold to surpass even the United States on a purchasing parity power basis. Oops?
In Chang’s defense, he could not have anticipated the colossal blunder of President Bill Clinton and a Republican Congress in paving China’s ruthlessly mercantilist way into the World Trade Organization just five months after his book was published. That mother of all unfair trade deals - a well-deserved target of both the Sanders and Trump presidential campaigns - kept China’s Great Walls of Protectionism largely intact. However, it also opened U.S. markets to a flood of illegally subsidized Chinese imports - and catalyzed the offshoring of millions of American manufacturing jobs.
Since China’s entry into the WTO in 2001, the center of the world’s manufacturing base has seismically shifted as the People’s Republic of Unfair Trade Practices has used a dizzying array of illegal export subsidies, currency manipulation, intellectual property theft, sweat shop labor, and pollution havens to seize market share from both Europe and North America. To date, more than 70,000 American factories have closed, over 20 million Americans have been put out of work, and Chinese Communist Party leaders have laughed at Gordon Chang - and all the way to their Swiss, Panamanian, and Cayman Island bank accounts.
China’s mercantilist WTO windfall notwithstanding, there are nonetheless growing signs that the collapse of China as Gordon Chang once predicted - and David Shambaugh is now intimating at - may soon be at hand. As Exhibit A of the signs of China’s troubles, I offer, in the remainder of this missive, an email correspondence directly from the Chinese mainland. It’s from an American citizen living and working with his Chinese wife and son in the PRC.
[Gordon Chang] [Prediction] [Evidence]
Joint Development in the West Philippine Sea:
an Idea Whose Time Has Come
By Lucio Blanco Pitlo III
Lucio Blanco Pitlo III (email@example.com) is a research fellow at the Asia-Pacific Pathways to Progress Foundation. He is based in Washington DC for graduate studies on defense, diplomacy and development at American University and scholar internship at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars. The views expressed here are his own.
A proposed joint development (JD) in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) between the Philippines and China has revived debates on how best to move forward in the longstanding regional flashpoint. There should be no debate – the Philippines should enter into the JD, even if the partner is a state-owned entity, as long as it can deliver. Most importantly, JD does not necessarily impact adversely the 2016 arbitral ruling and the Philippine sovereignty and sovereign rights position on the WPS. The Philippine service contract (SC) system may offer a solution for both countries and can accommodate a JD. This approach to JD can enhance the country’s energy security, create jobs, promote technology and knowledge transfer, and contribute in dispute management.
[China Philippines] [Oil]
Kim Jong-un Sends Cursory Praise for Xi's Power Grab
By Lee Kil-seong
March 19, 2018 13:25
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sent a congratulatory message on Saturday to Chinese President Xi Jinping on a re-election that many see as blatant power grab.
Chinese President Xi Jinping takes an oath of office after being re-elected by a unanimous vote in Beijing on Saturday. /AP-Yonhap
According to North Korean state media, Kim said he hopes Xi would "achieve greater achievements under his leadership."
But Kim, smarting from China's embrace of international sanctions against his renegade regime, pointedly left out the standard formula "traditional friendly and cooperative ally," as he did when Xi was re-elected to head of the politburo.
The drily worded message was just three sentences long, compared to the customary five.
China's People's Daily still featured Kim's message ahead of those from communist allies Vietnam and Laos, while last year it relegated it to fourth place after Vietnam, Laos and Cuba.
[China NK] [Xi Jinping]
Trump prepared to hit China with $60 billion in annual tariffs
Trump has frequently called out China for currency manipulation, shirking duties with North Korea, bad trade deals and even "raping our economy." (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)
By Damian Paletta, Steven Mufson and Josh Dawsey March 19 at 5:25 PM Email the author
President Trump is preparing to impose a package of $60 billion in annual tariffs against Chinese products, following through on a longtime threat that he says will punish China for intellectual property theft and create more U.S. jobs.
The tariff package, which Trump plans to unveil by Friday, was confirmed by four senior administration officials.
Senior aides had presented Trump with a $30 billion tariff package that would apply to a range of products, but Trump directed them to roughly double the scope of the new trade levies. The package could be applied to more than 100 products, which Trump argues were developed by using trade secrets that China stole from U.S. companies or forced them to hand over in exchange for access to its massive market.
The situation remains fluid, and Trump has previously in his presidency backed off economic threats at the last minute. But he has shown a recent willingness to unilaterally impose tariffs — even amid objections from advisers who fear starting a global trade war and economists who warn such actions could ultimately hurt U.S. businesses.
[China confrontation] [IPR] [Technology transfer] [Trump] [Trade war]
China vows to open its markets further in response to Trump’s tariff threats
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks during a news conference following the closing of the First Session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People on March 20 in Beijing. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
By Simon Denyer March 20 at 3:17 PM Email the author
BEIJING — China responded to the threat of new tariffs from the United States by vowing Tuesday to further open its own markets to foreign trade and investment, while warning that a trade war between the two nations would hurt both sides.
President Trump is preparing to impose a package of $60 billion in annual tariffs against Chinese products, a move that he says will punish China for intellectual property theft and create more U.S. jobs, administration officials say. He is determined to bring down the U.S. trade deficit with China, which reached $375 billion last year.
But China’s premier, Li Keqiang, said the issue should be solved through dialogue and negotiation.
“No one will emerge a winner from a trade war,” Li told a news conference at the conclusion of China’s annual parliamentary session. “What we hope is for us to act rationally instead of being led by emotions.”
[China confrontation] [IPR] [Technology transfer] [Trump] [Trade war]
China steps up diplomatic efforts in advance of spring summits
Posted on : Mar.17,2018 16:19 KST Modified on : Mar.17,2018 16:19 KST
China has stepped up its diplomatic efforts amid rapid progress in preparations for upcoming inter-Korean and North Korea-US summits. Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi plans to visit South Korea on Mar. 27–28 to meet with Blue House National Security Office director Chung Eui-yong and others following the National People’s Congress, China’s biggest political event.
Yang and Chung will be meeting for a second time in just over two weeks, after the latter’s visit to Beijing on Mar. 12. With China’s leaders hearing in detail during the last meeting on the outcome Chung’s visits to the US and North Korea, their discussions this time are likely to focus on China’s role going ahead.
The repeat meeting between the two hints at the possibility of senior-level strategic dialogue becoming established between the two sides. Despite a 2013 agreement to upgrade the talks to the level of the South Korean National Security Office director and Chinese State Councilor, no practical progress has been achieved to date in making them a regular event.
Amid fears of Beijing being shut out of the current discussions concerning the Korean Peninsula, many in China are also stressing the need for interchange with North Korea. But observers are skeptical of the approach of China sending a senior-level official to Pyongyang.
South Korea moves to ease Chinese jitters over US-North Korea talks
By Euan McKirdy and Lauren Said-Moorhouse, CNN
Updated 1702 GMT (0102 HKT) March 12, 2018
(CNN)South Korean officials met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday, as part of an effort to bring jittery regional powers on board with US President Donald Trump's decision to accept a face-to-face meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Seoul's lead envoy, National Security Advisor Chung Eui-Yong, sat down with Xi in Beijing for 35 minutes on Monday, as a parallel delegation headed to Tokyo to brief Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the attempts to open talks with Pyongyang on its nuclear and missile program.
"I support the US-NK talks. I am delighted that S. Korea's efforts have made great progress in the overall Korean Peninsula situation and that close dialogue between NK and the US has been achieved," Xi said, according to a statement from the South Korean presidential office.
Chung met China's top diplomat, state councilor Yang Jiechi, for three hours before meeting Xi, the South Koreans said.
China, which appears to have been left on the sidelines as South Korea has orchestrated the rapprochement with the North, attempted to take partial credit for the developments over the weekend.
S.Korean Envoy Briefs Xi on Kim Jong-un Meeting
By Lee Kil-seong
March 13, 2018 10:26
National Security Council chief Chung Eui-yong on Monday briefed Chinese leaders on his recent meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Chung met with President Xi Jinping, State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, demonstrating the importance Beijing places on developments. He also briefed Xi on his recent trip to Washington to arrange a summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim.
Xi praised Chung for achieving "positive results" and added that China "actively supports" improving relations between the two Koreas as well as dialogue between the U.S. and North Korea.
Tibet pulling its weight as part of China
In his book on China’s ethnic minorities, Colin Mackerras writes in regard to Tibet: ‘However, what strikes me most forcefully about the period since 1980 or so is not how much the Chinese have harmed Tibetan culture, but how much they have allowed, even encouraged it to revive; not how weak it is, but how strong’. But cultural realities can never be separated from economic questions, especially in light of the Chinese Marxist emphasis on the human right to economic wellbeing.
What do Tibetans themselves have to say about all this. An insight is provided by Tibetan delegates as the two sessions of parliament this year in Beijing. As the Global Times reports:
Kelsang Drolkar, a deputy of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and a village Communist Party chief in Chengguan district of Lhasa, told the Global Times on Monday that she was glad to see Tibet has not become a forgotten area when the country is moving forward to a moderately prosperous society.
National policies, as well as support from other regions across China, have helped the region achieve tremendous changes in the medical, economic and education sectors, and made local people “live a happier and safer life,” she said.
Tibet registered 10 percent GDP growth year-on-year last year, marking the 25th straight year of double-digit growth. Its GDP reached 131.06 billion yuan ($20.5 billion) in 2017.
China has its own North Korea scenario
Posted : 2018-03-06 15:01
Updated : 2018-03-07 09:07
By Jung Min-ho
China is the only country that can stop North Korea from becoming a fully fledged nuclear power. But Beijing will not take that step, even if that means the U.S. could attack the North, experts say.
China's oil supply provides key support to the Kim Jong-un regime, which would collapse in no time without it. Yet China has chosen to provide resources Pyongyang badly needs and will likely continue to do so, says Boston College professor of political science Robert Ross.
"China opposes nuclear weapons in North Korea, but it has other more immediate priorities, including preventing regime collapse and loss of its control over nuclear weapons," he told The Korea Times.
"These objectives are more important than coercion to achieve immediate denuclearization. Thus China resists excessive sanctions that could lead to regime collapse."
China’s multi-party system: ‘a great contribution to political civilisation’
Posted by stalins moustache
The all-important ‘two sessions’ (lianghui) are underway in Beijing. These are the National People’s Congress (NPC), the highest law-making body in China, and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which provides advice and recommendations to the NPC. You can watch a brief video about the two sessions of 2018 here. These two sessions are perhaps even more important this year after the landmark 19th congress of the CPC in November of 2016.
During the first session of the CPPCC, Xi Jinping and others met with representatives from other political parties, those without party affiliation and returned overseas Chinese. Among other items, Xi stressed the following (quoting from Xinhua News):
President Xi Jinping Sunday called the system of multiparty cooperation and political consultation led by the Communist Party of China (CPC) “a great contribution to political civilization of humanity.”
It is “a new type of party system growing from China’s soil,” said Xi …
Xi said the system is new because it combines Marxist political party theories with China’s reality, and truly, extensively and in the long term represents fundamental interests of all people and all ethnic groups and fulfills their aspiration, avoiding the defects of the old-fashioned party system which represents only a selective few or the vested interest.
[Political parties] [Governance] [CPC]
Hey! What About Term Limits for the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping??
In my most recent China Watch video for Newsbud, I have some fun with the ostentatious handwringing and concern trolling the West concerning the CCP proposal to abolish term limits for the presidency of the PRC.
Here’s the trailer!
The video offers my unique take on U.S. presidential term limits, one that I think is surprising and revealing. That’s a teaser, folks. Go to Newsbud.com to subscribe and take a look.
China champions South Korean leader sending envoy to North Korea
Posted : 2018-03-03 11:38
Updated : 2018-03-03 11:40
Possible candidates: NIS chief Suh Hoon, Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon; presidential chief of staff Im Jong-seok, National Security Office chief Chung Eui-yong
By Park Si-soo
China is welcoming the news of South Korean President Moon Jae-in's plan to send a special envoy to North Korea, calling it a move that will "help ease the situation" on the Korean peninsula.
Beijing's foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Friday at a regular press briefing the Chinese government supports the plan.
"With the opportunity that came with the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, positive movements have emerged in inter-Korea relations," Hua said. "China welcomes and encourages South Korea's decision to send a special envoy to North Korea, and also welcomes the positive attitudes between the United States and North Korea toward the bilateral talks."
Hua added the international community should "continue to support and encourage" the latest developments, and inter-Korea talks should lead to "full-fledged dialogue" between Washington and Pyongyang.
"The essence of the Korean Peninsula issue is security and not sanctions, so dialogue is a fundamental solution to the security concerns of each country and the problem of the Korean peninsula," the spokeswoman said, adding the suspension of U.S.-South Korea joint exercises will ease tensions.
[Intermediary] [Wishful thinking]
We got China wrong. Now what?
China's ruling Communist Party proposed changes to the constitution that would allow President Xi Jinping to rule more than the current limit of two terms. (Reuters)
By Charles Lane Opinion writer February 28 at 7:37 PM Email the author
Remember how American engagement with China was going to make that communist backwater more like the democratic, capitalist West?
For years, both Republican and Democratic administrations argued that the gravitational pull of U.S.-dominated international institutions, trade flows, even pop culture, would gradually reshape the People’s Republic, resulting in a moderate new China with which the United States and its Asian allies could comfortably coexist.
[China confrontation] [Wishful thinking] [Hubris]
As Xi Jinping Extends Power, China Braces for a New Cold War
The New York Times
JANE PERLEZ 3 hrs ago
Having cast aside presidential term limits, China is bracing for relations with the United States to enter a dangerous period under the continuing leadership of President Xi Jinping, intending to stand firm against President Trump and against policies it sees as attempts to contain its rise, according to Chinese analysts.
Even before the announcement on Sunday that he could rule for the foreseeable future, Mr. Xi had ordered the Chinese military to counter the Pentagon with its own modernization in air, sea, space and cyber weapons, the analysts said, partly in response to Mr. Trump’s plans to revitalize American nuclear forces.
Rather than beginning a final term next month as a lame duck, Mr. Xi will govern with new authority to pursue his agenda of making China a global power even if it risks putting Beijing in conflict with Washington and triggering a new Cold War after 40 years of mutual engagement, the analysts said.
[Xi Jinping] [China rising] [China confrontation] [NCW]
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Even the World Bank is starting to take notice: China’s ‘unprecedented poverty reduction’ and the role of the CPC
Posted by stalinsmoustache under China, communist party, socialism in power, socialist market economy | Tags: poverty reduction, World Bank report |
A detailed report from the World Bank, called Towards a More Inclusive and Sustainable Development has been raising interest in some quarters. Among many features of the report, it notes that China’s policies have enabled the “extreme poverty rate, based on the international purchasing power parity (PPP) US$1.90 per day poverty line, to fall from 88.3 percent in 1981 to 1.9 percent in 2013. This implies that China’s success enabled more than 850 million people to escape poverty.” Over the last four decades, 7 out of 10 people who moved out of poverty were Chinese. The report does not hesitate to point out that this is “unprecedented in scope and scale.” This figure is up from the 600-700 million mentioned earlier, which has already been called one of the greatest human rights achievements in world history. The aim in China – in line with the target of a “moderately prosperous society” by 2020 – is to enable the remaining 25 million to escape poverty.
China and the Munich Security Conference
Much happened at the recently concluded Munich Security conference, but I am particularly interested in the speech by the outgoing foreign minister of Germany, Sigmar Gabriel. Some interpreted the speech as an attack on China and its Belt and Road Initiative, seeing the speech an accusation that China is trying to take over the world. However, if you actually look at the text of the speech, you will see that he has relatively little to say about China or Russia, or indeed the Korean peninsula – except to frame the speech in terms of a substantially changed world. Instead, he is most concerned about the way the United States is disappearing from the scene (as someone else pointed out, it is like watching the collapse of the Roman Empire). Gabriel worries about the fragmentation of the ‘liberal’ – that is, bourgeois – world order, imploring the USA to get involved again and suggesting that Europe as a whole needs to step up. All of this was far more accurately reported by Deutsche Welle.
[B&R] [Germany] [Decline]
China Plans New Duty-Free Zone Along N.Korean Border
February 20, 2018 11:09
China is thumbing its nose at international sanctions against North Korea with plans for a new free economic zone along their shared border.
The Chinese city of Hunchun in Jilin Province said on its website that it wants to build the free zone on a 2.6 sq.km island on the Duman River in Kyongwon in North Korea's North Hamgyong Province.
The island is connected to Hunchun and and Kyongwon by a bridge and the zone will offer duty-free benefits worth 8,000 yuan per person a day.
According to Hunchun, North Korea proposed setting up the free zone in June 2016. The money will come from a Hong Kong company rather than the Chinese government, but China will refurbish a port in Hunchun and upgrade the bridge.
This is China's second free zone with North Korea. The first was set up in Dandong, Liaoning Province in October 2015, but North Korean businesses have been barred from investing in it under international sanctions.
[China NZ] [SEZ]
Scoop: Skirmish in Beijing over the nuclear football
On Thursday Nov. 9, when President Trump and his team visited Beijing's Great Hall of the People, Chief of Staff John Kelly and a U.S. Secret Service agent skirmished with Chinese security officials over the nuclear football.
I've spoken to five sources familiar with the events. Here's what happened, as they describe it:
When the U.S. military aide carrying the nuclear football entered the Great Hall, Chinese security officials blocked his entry. (The official who carries the nuclear football is supposed to stay close to the president at all times, along with a doctor.)
A U.S. official hurried into the adjoining room and told Kelly what was happening. Kelly rushed over and told the U.S. officials to keep walking — "We're moving in," he said — and the Americans all started moving.
Then there was a commotion. A Chinese security official grabbed Kelly, and Kelly shoved the man’s hand off of his body. Then a U.S. Secret Service agent grabbed the Chinese security official and tackled him to the ground.
The whole scuffle was over in a flash, and the U.S. officials told about the incident were asked to keep quiet about it. Trump's team followed the normal security procedure to brief the Chinese before their visit to Beijing, according to a person familiar with the trip — but somebody at the Chinese end either didn't get the memo or decided to mess with the Americans anyway.
[China confrontation] [Visit1711]
Trump dispatches China hawk to Australia
Admiral Harry Harris' ambassadorial appointment to Canberra signals a tougher US tack to regional security affairs, including in the South China Sea
By Alan Boyd Sydney, February 14, 2018
US President Donald Trump is welcomed by US Navy Admiral Harry Harris, then commander of United States Pacific Command, at its headquarters in Aiea, Hawaii, November 3, 2017. Reuters/Jonathan Ernst
China has reacted with surprising restraint to the appointment of tough naval commander Admiral Harry Harris as the next US ambassador to Australia.
The appointment is the latest signal that Washington plans a tougher tack to regional security, including in the contested South China Sea.
In August, China’s nationalistic Global Times newspaper labelled Harris the “most prejudiced” American military leader since World War II, and accused him of seeking publicity and “sowing discord” with his hawkish comments.
Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang was more guarded after Harris’ appointment, saying only that that Beijing hoped “policies adopted by relevant countries and their relations could be conducive to safeguard and promote peace, stability, development and prosperity in the region.”
The admiral has been a constant thorn in China’s side as chief of the US Pacific Command since 2014, overseeing a force of 375,000 personnel, 200 ships and more than 1,000 aircraft. Before that he was commander of the US Pacific Fleet and assisted the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
[Harry Harris] [China confrontation]
How Trump’s weak dollar could backfire
The rising yuan could mean it's open season on American companies for acquisitive mainlanders
By William Pesek February 12, 2018
In geopolitics as in life, one should be careful what they wish for. This may dawn on Donald Trump as his desire for a stronger Chinese currency collides with his nationalist bent.
On the campaign trail, the US president rarely missed a chance to rail against what he saw as an undervalued yuan. The exchange rate, Trump said, is “raping” and “killing” us. But since his inauguration, the yuan surged more than 8%. Beijing hopes the move will shield it from Trump’s wrath. Doubtful, given this White House’s obsession with Beijing trade policies the yuan rises, the desired outcome may not be what Trump hoped.
The last 12 months have been about how America is open for business again. In Davos, Switzerland last month, Trump said: “We are creating an environment that attracts capital, invites investment and rewards production.”
That was hardly news for increasingly acquisitive Chinese companies gorging on household US names well before Trump’s inauguration. The list includes AMC theatres, GE Appliances, Hoover, Ingram Micro, Legendary Entertainment, Motorola Mobility, Riot Games, Smithfield Foods, Starwood Hotels, Terex Corp. and the iconic Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
In 2016, China stunned the globe with a record $246 billion of announced outbound takeovers
[ODI] [China bashing] [Trump] [Currency]
Xi Won't Come to Olympics Closing Ceremony
By Lee Kil-seong
February 09, 2018 13:28
China will send Vice Premier Liu Yandong to the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang instead of President Xi Jinping.
Liu is the highest-ranking female official in China and has been vice premier in charge of science, technology, education, and culture since Xi took power in 2013.
Liu was promoted to the politburo as only the fifth female member ever in 2007, when President Hu Jintao was in power.
Born in 1945, she retired from the politburo during the 19th Communist Party Congress last year and will step down from the vice premiership in March.
Cai Qi, the Communist Party secretary of Beijing, and Beijing Mayor Chen Jining are expected to attend the opening and closing ceremonies as representatives of the next host city of the Winter Olympics.
[Olympics18] [China SK]
China best realises the social doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church: Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo
Posted by stalinsmoustache under another world is possible, China, Uncategorized | Tags: appointment of bishops, Roman Catholic Church |
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This one is causing no small brouhaha among reactionary Roman Catholics and others. Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, who is chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, made the following observations in an interview:
“Right now, those who are best implementing the social doctrine of the Church are the Chinese,” a senior Vatican official has said.
Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, praised the Communist state as “extraordinary”, saying: “You do not have shantytowns, you do not have drugs, young people do not take drugs”. Instead, there is a “positive national conscience”.
The bishop told the Spanish-language edition of Vatican Insider that in China “the economy does not dominate politics, as happens in the United States, something Americans themselves would say.”
Bishop Sánchez Sorondo said that China was implementing Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si better than many other countries and praised it for defending Paris Climate Accord. “In that, it is assuming a moral leadership that others have abandoned”, he added.
Geopolitical LaboratoryHow Djibouti Became China's Gateway To Africa
Djibouti, one of Africa's smallest countries, has become China's "strategic partner." The Chinese have built a military base and a port, and is currently constructing a free trade zone, fast establishing it as Beijing's gateway to the continent.
By Dietmar Pieper
DOMINIC NAHR / DER SPIEGEL
February 08, 2018 05:47 PM
Djibouti is one of the smallest countries in Africa, but for several years now, people here have been thinking big. Many are dreaming of creating, with Chinese help, something similar to Singapore and the Gulf States. It may not be easy to make something of this parched land, but there is a true feeling of ambition here, a willingness to take risks and move forward. The Djiboutians are searching for a better life and for a bigger role for themselves in a global society that is in the process of reordering itself.
Map of Djibouti
The country practically serves as a laboratory setting for the global shift in power from the West to the East, and many vivid examples can be seen. Djibouti is more open and willing to experiment than other African countries. And even though Europe and the United States continue to be important for the people here, when they think about their future, it's China that they look to.
The country has witnessed first hand just how quick the Chinese are at turning plans into reality. A new port has already been built on the coast, and
[China Africa] [ODI]
Borderland Fiction: The Mongol Would-be Self-immolator
By Guo Xuebo, translated and introduced by Bruce Humes
January 31, 2018
Volume 16 | Issue 3 | Number 1
Author Guo Xuebo, a Mongol who grew up speaking the language of his people in the Horchin Grasslands of Inner Mongolia where the novel is set.
The all-pervasive PR blitz surrounding China’s strategic campaign to resurrect and expand ancient Eurasian trade routes — by land and sea — known as “One Belt, One Road,” is a hot topic among eager foreign businesspeople, as well as those who view it with a more sceptical eye, such as diplomats, military strategists and China watchers worldwide.
The definition of “silk road” is broad, including both the original land-based caravan routes from Xi’an through Central and West Asia, the Middle East and Europe, as well as the so-called Maritime Silk Road that linked the South China Sea, South Pacific and the Indian Ocean.
Less high profile are cultural components in this strategic campaign. Take the “Silk Road Fragrant Books Project” (??????), for instance, a well-funded global publishing initiative. Given the stamp of approval by China’s Ministry of Propaganda, it is designed to stimulate the translation and publication of literary, historical and cultural works that are grounded in the cultures of peoples along the Silk Road of yore. The plan for 2014-20 includes translation subsidies, translations between Chinese and foreign tongues, international exhibitions, and a database of Silk Road publications.
While scholars and translators specializing in Central Asia are pleased, writers belonging to northwest China’s non-Han ethnic groups, such as Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Sibe and Mongols, also stand to benefit. The “export” of their writing, including contemporary ethnic-themed fiction, is now also eligible for translation grants — specifically targeting minority writers (????????????????) — via the China Writers Association.
[Mongol] [Ethnic tension] [Censorship] [Hate speech]
Trump said he’d shrink the trade deficit with China. It just hit a record high.
By David J. Lynch February 6 at 12:13 PM
The trade deficit with China hit a record high in 2017, defying President Trump’s repeated promises to shrink a number that he regards as a test of whether other nations are treating the United States fairly.
U.S. purchases of Chinese goods and services last year were $375 billion greater than Chinese orders from the United States, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.
Release of the new trade figures came one week after the president boasted in his State of the Union address that the United States had “finally turned the page on decades of unfair trade deals that sacrificed our prosperity and shipped away our companies, our jobs and our nation’s wealth.”
[Trade deficit] [Trump] [China comnpetition]
New series of Chinese assault drones takes flight
Military drones are set to boost attack and reconnaissance capabilities, while civilian versions command an increasing UAV market
By Asia Times staff February 7,
China’s new all-weather strike-drone series Caihong-4, developed by the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, has just wrapped up a six-day live-fire drill to test its compatibility with various types of ammunition for both extensive bombing and precise targeting, People’s Daily reports.
The CH-4 is an upgraded version of a drone that first took flight in 2015.
“The capacity and variety of its ordnance payload indicate the CH-4 can conduct effective air strikes on more targets, from longer distances with nimble, faster reaction,” the report said.
According to its developer, the CH-4 has better basic performance than that of US-based General Atomics’ MQ-1 Predator, an industry leader, and is more competent in reconnaissance, surveillance, and strike missions.
China Strengthens Missile Defense Near N.Korean Border
By Lee Kil-seong
February 05, 2018 12:30
China is preparing for a potential war on the Korean Peninsula by reinforcing missile defenses near the border with North Korea, Radio Free Asia reported Friday.
RFA quoted a North Korean source in China as saying the Chinese military late last year deployed another missile defense battery at an armored division in Helong, west of Longjing in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture.
Military units in Yanbian were relocated from Heilongjiang Province, thus adding 300,000 troops along the border, the source added.
Now it is deploying missile defense batteries near North Korean reservoirs by the Apnok and Duman rivers.
Chinese troops in the border area could be swept away if the North tore down the banks of the reservoirs or they were destroyed by missiles or air strikes, the source added.
On Jan. 24, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported that the 78th Group Army, the first Chinese military unit that would cross the border into the North in the event of a war on the Korean Peninsula, has been armed with newest surface-to-air missiles against South Korean and U.S. aircraft and missiles.
[US NK war] [Warning] [Chinese intervention]
Chinese Boycott Hits Korean Online Sales
By Park Yu-yeon
February 05, 2018 12:40
Sales growth of Korean online stores slowed last year as an unofficial Chinese boycott tempered enthusiasm there.
Statistics Korea said Friday that direct sales overseas from Korean online shopping malls in 2017 rose 28.7 percent to W2.95 trillion.
But that was a significantly slower growth rate than the previous year's 82 percent and 85.5 percent the year before that, mainly due to flagging enthusiasm from China.
Sales to China increased just 29 percent last year, compared 107.9 percent the previous year.
[China SK] [THAAD] [Public Opinion]
[Correspondent’s Column] China’s Global Times news miscast as “government-run” news outlet
Posted on : Feb.4,2018 17:08 KST Modified on : Feb.4,2018 17:08 KST
The outlandish rhetoric often distorts the official position of the Chinese government
The Global Times is a Chinese newspaper that is often cited in the foreign press. It’s common to hear diplomats and foreign journalists in Beijing railing against it. It seems to provoke head-shaking from people from all around the world.
To see its editorials, you can understand where they’re coming from. The two editorials it prints each day are just about the only content it produces on its own; all the other pieces typically quote the foreign press. But the rhetoric is often outlandish. Recently, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen was referred to disparagingly as a “provincial governor,” suggesting she was in charge of an administrative unit within China. Australia’s “fickle” approach to foreign affairs was described as “small person diplomacy.”
The newspaper also contributed in a big way to souring Chinese feelings toward South Korea. South Korean THAAD proponents were met with emotionally charged criticisms, asking if they had “grown stupid from eating only kimchi.” When the South Korean Coast Guard warned that it would start firing live rounds at Chinese fishing boats that illegally entered South Korean territorial waters in the West Sea, it asked whether South Korea had “gone mad.” The editorials, which every day refer to foreign governments, political parties, and forces as nimen - “you people” - are undignified, at least by our standards. For the most part, they adopt a nationalist, patriotic perspective that sees any loss to China as absolutely bad and any benefit to China as absolutely good.
The problem comes when we start referring to it as a “government-run news outlet.” At first glance, this seems justified, since the Global Times is a sister publication to the People’s Daily, which is an official newspapers of the Chinese Communist Party. It also prints articles written by People’s Daily reporters at home and abroad. Aside from the Global Times Online section, all Global Times employees work at the “People’s Daily Town” in Beijing’s Jintai Lu neighborhood.
Still, it’s difficult to call the Global Times exactly a “government-run news outlet.” While that term gives the impression that it communicates the position of government authorities, officials in China insist that the Global Times is not that kind of newspaper. While we have no way of knowing their actual thoughts, a Chinese diplomat said that officials have “often been dismayed” by its content.
The newspaper is also not included in the list of the 18 “major central media” often mentioned in the Chinese press world. According to one document, that list is divided into news outlets at the “ministerial level” (People’s Daily and Xinhua), the “vice-ministerial level” (Qiushi, People’s Liberation Army Daily, Guangming Daily, Economic Daily, China Daily, China National Radio, China Central Television, China Radio International, and Science and Technology Daily), and the “bureau director level” (Discipline Inspection Daily, Workers’ Daily, China Youth Daily, China Women’s Daily, Farmers’ Daily, Legal Daily, and the China News Service). As a newspaper outside this list, the Global Times itself says its corresponds to a “marketing medium,” as opposed to a government-run medium.
A newspaper that bases its positions on public opinion
The correct way to view the Global Times is as a newspaper that does not so much represent the position of authorities as it seeks out positions based in public opinion that more readers will support. Since China is a society where the press is controlled, that does not leave it with a lot of room to maneuver; anything “anti-government” or “anti-system” would be strictly cracked down on. Some scholars claim it has something of an effect in terms of “finding the boundary of what is reportable.” And since the Global Times is the only medium doing that, some even regard this as “special treatment.”
What a US-China trade war would look like
by Richard Javad Heydarian
Employees process solar panel components at a solar power plant in Hefei, Anhui province, China on July 26, 2012 [File photo: Reuters]
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In recent years, Asian trading partners, such as China, have seen a massive increase in their trade surplus with the US, which has been grappling with widespread deindustrialisation and manufacturing layoffs.
US President Donald Trump has taken up the issue and has promised to "bring jobs back to the US". In the first year of his presidency, he effectively commenced a trade war by imposing hefty tariffs on imports of foreign-made solar panels and washing machines, where China and South Korea have been world leaders.
Over the coming months, Washington is expected to up the ante by targeting rivals in hi-tech industries, with a particular focus on China's alleged intellectual property rights' theft.
But the risk is an unwanted escalation of hostility that could burn bridges among nations. In its wish to "protect American jobs", the Trump administration could unleash a dangerous tit-for-tat dynamic among leading industrial nations. What is at stake isn't only an unprecedented era of economic globalisation, but also peace among major powers.
'Massive intellectual property theft'
In his highly anticipated speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Trump openly warned that his country "will no longer turn a blind eye to unfair economic practices" of other nations. Decades from now, Trump's speech could be remembered as the de facto declaration of the 21st-century global trade war.
In particular, he focused on alleged "massive intellectual property theft, industrial subsidies and pervasive state-led economic planning" by rival nations. Though he fell short of naming names, it was more than obvious that he had state capitalist nations such as China in mind.
What's clear is that almost overnight the US has transformed from a pre-eminent advocate of free trade into a protectionist villain in the eyes of both friends and foes.
Robert Lighthizer, Trump's hardline trade official, defended the imposition of 30 percent tariffs on selected foreign products as a clear indication that the new administration "will always defend American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses in this regard."
The US International Trade Commission has determined that imports of solar panels and washing machines, for instance, have unfairly hurt domestic manufacturers.
China, the world's leading trading nation, immediately shot back. The Chinese commerce ministry expressed "strong dissatisfaction" with Trump's latest trade measure for it "aggravates the global trade environment".
The Asian powerhouse prodded the US to "exercise restraint in using trade restrictions", warning that it will not shirk from "resolutely defend[ing] its legitimate interests" if push comes to shove.
Key US allies were also livid . South Korean Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong characterised the measures as "excessive and a clear violation" of World Trade Organization rules.
Leading Korean companies, namely Samsung and LG, were the prime targets of the latest American tariffs. Mexico, another major trading partner, warned that it "will utilise all legal resources available" against the US.
All these came against the backdrop of the Trump administration's decision to unilaterally renegotiate existing free trade agreements with both South Korea and Mexico, embittering historically cordial relations with long-time allies.
A leap into the abyss
The 1930 Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, under which the US imposed tariffs on over 20,000 imported goods, added fuel to the Great Depression of the early 20th century.
As the world's leading economy back then, the US' aggressive protectionism ensured the virtual collapse of global trade, as each nation adopted corresponding measures to defend their local industries.
The upshot was a mutually assured financial destruction, which precipitated the most destructive war in human history. In recent decades, the US has flirted with virtual trade wars with often-disastrous results.
[Trump] [Trade war] [China competition] [Protectionism]
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At Davos, the Real Star May Have Been China, Not Trump
By Keith Bradsher
Jan. 28, 2018
Liu He, a top economic policy adviser to President Xi Jinping of China, drew a full house to his presentation during a meeting of global business and political leaders in Davos, Switzerland. Credit Gian Ehrenzeller/European Pressphoto Agency
DAVOS, Switzerland — President Trump used the World Economic Forum meeting to woo investors and business leaders by reassuring them that “America first does not mean America alone.” But it was clear in Davos, Switzerland, this past week that geopolitical momentum lay with Beijing, not Washington.
At one end of town, President Michel Temer of Brazil welcomed an unexpected offer from Beijing for Latin American nations to work closely with a Chinese initiative, known as the Belt and Road, intended to spread its economic and diplomatic influence abroad.
At the other end of town, a senior Chinese diplomat helped introduce the prime minister of Pakistan at a breakfast meeting. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi used his talk to praise the rapidly expanding Chinese investments in his country, including to build power stations and a large port.
One of the best-attended speeches at the forum was that of Liu He, a member of China’s ruling Politburo, who promoted the Belt and Road initiative, also known as One Belt, One Road. Participants here said the Chinese initiative was already rivaling more established, traditionally American-led, international institutions.
[China rising] [Davos] [Belt & Road] [Trump] [Decline]
Command and control: China’s Communist Party extends reach into foreign companies
By Simon Denyer January 28 at 6:30 PM Email the author
Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in October. Xi’s vision of complete control over Chinese life is intruding into the boardrooms of foreign firms. (Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images)
BEIJING — American and European companies involved in joint ventures with state-owned Chinese firms have been asked in recent months to give internal Communist Party cells an explicit role in decision-making, executives and business groups say.
It is, they say, a worrying demand that threatens to put politics before profits, and the interests of the party above all other considerations. It suggests that foreign companies are no longer exempt from President Xi Jinping’s overarching vision of complete control.
“The creeping intrusion by the party apparatus into the boardrooms of foreign-invested enterprises has not yet manifested itself on a large scale, but things are certainly going down that path,” said James Zimmerman, a managing partner of the law firm Sheppard, Mullin, Richter and Hampton and former chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, who is instructing clients to “push back.”
The party’s demand would give its cells a formal role in approving management decisions, such as investment plans or personnel changes. And that is ringing alarm bells.
At the same time, a campaign to reinforce China’s draconian censorship of the Internet is beginning to affect foreign companies.
The twin efforts to keep tabs on foreign companies are an expression of the Communist Party’s constant paranoia about internal stability. But they also represent a shift in the balance of power here, as China feels itself to be stronger economically and Western businesses more dispensable.
Not every company is affected by the changes. Larger enterprises have dedicated lines and special technology ensuring unfettered Internet access. But the smaller ones do not have that latitude.
By the same token, wholly owned foreign ventures have not faced the same pressure from internal party cells, while even companies involved in joint ventures are pushing back against the new demands.
But everyone is aware which way the wind is blowing.
[China confrontation] [IJV] [CCP] [FDI] [Democracy]
TAIWAN TRAVEL ACT: BAD IDEA?
BY DENNIS V. HICKEY
Dennis V. Hickey (firstname.lastname@example.org) is Distinguished Professor and Director of the Graduate Program in Global Studies at Missouri State University. The opinions expressed in this essay are his own and do not reflect the views of Missouri State University, the state of Missouri or the US government.
On Jan. 9, the US House of Representatives passed the Taiwan Travel Act (H.R. 535) by voice vote. According to media accounts, most lawmakers were absent. The legislation must now be passed by the Senate and signed by the president to become law. This bill ought to die in the Senate: it is frivolous, unnecessary, and provocative. Here’s why.
On Dec. 15, 1978, President Jimmy Carter announced that he had agreed to China’s three demands for the establishment of diplomatic relations: termination of formal diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (ROC or Taiwan), abrogation of the 1954 US-ROC Mutual Defense Treaty, and removal of all US troops from Taiwan. On April 10, 1979, Carter signed the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), legislation that would guide “unofficial” relations with Taiwan. The TRA is not the only document that guides US policy: the TRA and the three US-China Communiques form the foundation of America’s Taiwan policy.
[Taiwan] [Posturing] [Congress]
China charges Australia’s lithium boom
Australia enjoys new mining growth with rising demand for the light metal used in many 'next generation' technologies
By Lachlan Colquhoun January 23, 2018
Australia is on the cusp of a new commodities boom as a lithium exporter, and Chinese investors are well ahead in the race to secure their supply.
As the critical ingredient in next generation battery storage and electric vehicle technologies, global demand for lithium is forecast to grow at a compound rate of 18% in the decade to 2025, according to Macquarie Research.
In 2015, Australia supplied around 36% of the world’s lithium. By 2021, that proportion is forecast to grow to 48% of a much larger global market.
Recent fine dust pollution in Seoul caused primarily by domestic pollution
Posted on : Jan.21,2018 13:28 KST Modified on : Jan.21,2018 13:28 KST
Citizens wearing masks to protect themselves from fine dust walk under a sign advising of an air quality emergency at Gwanghwamun Station in Seoul on Jan. 15. (by Baek So-ah, staff photographer)
The findings contradict the popular view that the particulate matter originated in China
Analysts at South Korea’s National Institute of Environmental Research (NIER) have tentatively concluded that the high-density particulate matter, also known as fine dust, that blanketed the capital region between Jan. 16 and 18 was more influenced by domestic factors than foreign factors. This contradicts the widespread view that high-density fine dust originates in China.
[China bashing] [Pollution]
China-N.Korea Trade Plunges in December
By Lee Kil-seong
January 15, 2018 13:18
Trade between China and North Korea dropped by more than half last month compared to the same period of 2016.
The White House on Friday praised the development, which it said "supports the United States-led global effort to apply maximum pressure until the North Korean regime ends its illicit programs, changes its behavior, and moves toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."
According to Chinese customs, trade volume with North Korea fell 51 percent in December. China's exports to North Korea dropped 23 percent on-year to US$54.3 million, while its imports from North Korea plummeted a whopping 81.6 percent to $260 million.
That was the lowest figure since January 2014 and appears to reflect the impact of sanctions. Total trade volume last year between the two countries shrank 10.5 percent to US$5 billion.
[China NK] [Sanctions] [Trade] [Appeasement]
Beijing wins battle for blue skies — but the poor are paying a price
By Simon Denyer January 13 at 8:00 AM
One year ago, China’s capital city was in the grip of suffocating and potentially fatal smog that made life a misery and breathing downright dangerous.
This month, the air in Beijing has been clear and the skies blue.
Favorable wind and weather have played a part, but this is no fluke.
Last year as a whole, Beijing recorded its largest improvement in air quality on record. The average concentration of tiny “PM2.5” particulates fell by more than 20 percent, according to Greenpeace East Asia.
In a mad dash to meet year-end air pollution targets and combat the traditional winter smog, 5,600 environmental inspectors were hired from around the country and dispatched into the industrial heartland surrounding the capital.
[China bashing] [Pollution]
Presidents Moon and Xi agree to strengthen strategic cooperation
Posted on : Jan.12,2018 16:14 KST Modified on : Jan.12,2018 16:14 KST
President Moon Jae-in speaks with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a phone call at the Blue House on Jan. 11.
The two leaders discussed the recently resumed inter-Korean dialogue during a phone call
During a phone call on Jan. 11, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to strengthen strategic communication and cooperation between the two countries so that the recently resumed inter-Korean dialogue could not only enable the North’s participation in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics but also lead to the peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue and the establishment of peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Moon, Xi reaffirm joint efforts on North Korea nuclear issue
Posted : 2018-01-11 20:50
Updated : 2018-01-11 21:34
By Kim Rahn
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed to increase cooperation to help the ongoing inter-Korean talks lead to a peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue, according to Cheong Wa Dae, Thursday.
In a phone conversation, the two leaders reviewed the inter-Korean talks that took place two days ago over the North's participation in PyeongChang Winter Olympics to be held next month.
N.Korean Hotel in China Forced to Close
By Lee Kil-seong
January 10, 2018 11:01
The notorious Chilbosan Hotel in Shenyang, the only hotel North Korea operates in China, was closed on Tuesday in accordance with a UN Security Council deadline.
The hotel, which is believed to have been a haven for North Korean spies, said only last week it was still taking bookings and did not expect to shut.
But on the hotel's front door on Tuesday was a notice that read, "We've closed down according to an administrative order from the Shenyang city government. All business operations of the hotel have stopped."
The hotel sign was also removed.
Staff of the Chilbosan Hotel remove the sign in Shenyang, China on Tuesday. /Yonhap; A notice (right) on the front door of the hotel announces its closure in this picture provided by a reader.
North Koreans own a 70-percent stake in the hotel and Chinese the rest. The Chinese co-owners, a trading arm of Liaoning Hongxiang Group, were blacklisted by the UN Security Council last year for helping North Korea's missile development and nuclear weapons programs.
When it opened in 2000, the hotel was capitalized at US$5 million. Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development chairwoman Ma Xiaohong was the vice president.
North Korean hackers are thought to have had an office in the hotel where they launched massive attacks on South Korean businesses.
The hotel apparently failed to find Chinese investors interested in buying out the North Korean stake. Nine North Korean restaurants in downtown Shenyang also closed down on Tuesday under the UN deadline.
The Haedanghwa restaurant in Beijing, which is wholly North Korean-owned, also shut and posted a message on its front door saying "closed for the day."
At what price success? Lessons in education from post-Mao China
BY Edward Vickers
When it is hard to identify and measure the aspects of schooling that are truly important for success, the drive to meritocratic fundamentalism in modern China needs a closer look, writes Edward Vickers
Debate on education policy in the West today is underscored by two unshakeable assumptions. First, that educational success is readily measurable through cross-national testing of student achievement. And second, that it translates into economic success—for individuals, and for whole societies.
In other words, to the educationally most deserving go the rewards of the global knowledge economy.
Education the ‘new currency’
In recent years, China has served as ‘exhibit A’ for this line of argument. In 2009 and 2012, Shanghai topped the OECD PISA rankings, based on tests of student achievement in mathematics, science and literacy. A wider selection of Chinese regions turned in strong results in maths and science in the 2015 tests.
Many Western policymakers have concluded that correlation between PISA achievement and China’s rapid economic growth indicates that the first causes the second.
[China] [Education] [Measurement]
Trump's accusation based on shaky evidence
Source:Global Times Published: 2017/12/29 17:40:01
US President Donald Trump Friday morning tweeted in a strong tone about US satellites capturing photos of "Chinese ships" selling oil to North Korean boats in the West Sea.
"Caught RED HANDED - very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea," he wrote. "There will never be a friendly solution to the North Korea problem if this continues to happen!"
Western and South Korean media published photos said to be taken by US satellites.
In the photos, North Korean boats appeared to be linking up with Chinese vessels. These "Chinese vessels" are not oil tankers and are not large-tonnage.
US and South Korean media believe these photos prove China violated UN Security Council resolutions to transfer oil to North Korea, but even in the reports it is unclear where the vessels come from or whom they belong to.
[Sanctions] [China SK] [Water down]
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