National China News

  • A territorial dispute between China and Japan in the East China Sea carries more risk of an international conflict than the South China Sea, according to Ryan Hass from Brooking’s
  • One big factor that increases the threat of conflict is repeated close encounters between Chinese and Japanese vessels, he said

Date: 12-21-2017
By: Nyshka Chandran

When it comes to territorial disputes in Asia, the South China Seatypically commands the bulk of

A Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force flying over the disputed islets known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and Diaoyu islands in China, in the East China Sea.

attention. But the East China Sea, a lesser-known hotbed of tensions, might be more likely to trigger an international conflict.

“Despite the lower profile, the dispute in the East China Sea may carry greater risk of drawing the United States into conflict with China than the various disputes in the South China Sea,” Ryan Hass, David M. Rubenstein Fellow at Brooking’s foreign policy program, wrote in a note on Wednesday.

Both China and Japan lay claim to a set of islands in the East China Sea that cover around 81,000 square miles. Called Senkaku in Tokyo and Diaoyu in Beijing, the area is near major shipping routes and rich in energy reserves.

“There is greater risk of an unintended incident between Chinese and Japanese forces operating in the East China Sea,” Hass explained, citing “the frequency of close-in operations involving Chinese and Japanese assets, the absence of mature risk- reduction mechanisms, and the lack of consensus between Beijing and Tokyo on acceptable behavior.”

Japan is a close ally of the U.S so if a Chinese-Japanese conflict occurs, the world’s largest economy may have to step in given that it seeks to protect allies as well keep sea and air space open, Hass explained. If Beijing were to deny access to ships or planes which are operating in accordance with international law, that could also trigger a reaction from the White House, he added.

Quartz Media
Date: Dec 21, 2017
By: Echo Huang

Perhaps no other country felt the economic cost of China’s wrath as South Korea did this year.

By one estimate, China’s decision to boycott South Korea’s tourism industry over Seoul’s decision

to install a US-made anti-missile system cost the economy some 7.5 trillion won ($6.8 billion), according toSouth Korea’s National Assembly’s Budget Office.

Since 2013, China has been the largest source of foreign tourists to South Korea, and made up around half of the 17 million people from overseas who visited the country in 2016. But since Seoul and Beijing’s falling out, the number of Chinese tourists visiting South Korea between March to October this year plunged more than 60% from the same period last year.

Relations between the two countries hit a low in March after Seoul refused to halt the deployment of the anti-missile system, known as Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), which Beijing deems a threat to its national security. As a result, China’s national tourism administration told travel agencies to suspend selling group packagesto South Korea.

Beijing also directed its ire more specifically against Korean conglomerate Lotte, after the company agreed to provide one of its golf courses near Seoul for the deployment of THAAD. For example, China has fined Lotte over its advertising practices, and shut down a large number of its supermarkets in the country for reasons like fire-code violations.    [FULL  STORY]

China continues its island-building campaign on the South China Sea under the watchful eye of satellites.

The News Lens
Date: 2017/12/21
By: The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative

International attention has shifted away from the slow-moving crisis in the South China Sea over

Fiery Cross Reef

the course of 2017, but the situation on the water has not remained static.

While pursuing diplomatic outreach toward its Southeast Asian neighbors, Beijing continued substantial construction activities on its dual-use outposts in the Spratly and Paracel Islands. China completed the dredging and landfilling operations to create its seven new islands in the Spratlys by early 2016, and seems to have halted such operations to expand islets in the Paracels by mid-2017. But Beijing remains committed to advancing the next phase of its build-up—construction of the infrastructure necessary for fully-functioning air and naval bases on the larger outposts.

AMTI has identified all the permanent facilities on which China completed or began work since the start of the year. These include buildings ranging from underground storage areas and administrative buildings to large radar and sensor arrays. These facilities account for about 72 acres, or 290,000 square meters, of new real estate at Fiery Cross, Subi, and Mischief Reefs in the Spratlys, and North, Tree, and Triton Islands in the Paracels. This does not include temporary structures like storage containers or cement plants, or work other than construction, such as the spreading of soil and planting of grass at the new outposts.    [FULL  STORY]

Dte: December 6, 2017
By: Chris Morris

The increasingly tense stand-off between the U.S. and North Korea may have hit a new high this week.

As U.S. and South Korean military units conducted an annual air power exercise over the Korean Peninsula, China’s air force reportedly staged exercises in “routes and areas it has never flown before” over the Yellow and East Seas. The exercise involved reconnaissance planes, fighter jets, an early warning and control aircraft, and a joint operation with surface-to-air missile units.

The South China Morning Post quotes Li Jie, a Beijing-based military expert, as saying the drills were done specifically to send a message to Donald Trump.

“The timing of this high-profile announcement by the [People’s Liberation Army] is also a warning to Washington and Seoul not to provoke Pyongyang any further,” Jie told the Post.

The U.S. and South Korea used over 200 aircraft in their recent drills. North Korea has protested the exercise as an “all out provocation.”    [FULL  STORY]

It seems that China has not actually taken any action to influence this decision, but publishers are still playing it safe.

The News Lens
Date: 2017/11/19
By: Merriden Varrall 

The recent decision by Allen & Unwin to drop Clive Hamilton’s book on Chinese influence illustrates that China need not exert much effort in influencing Australia. We’re doing the job ourselves.

Hamilton’s book Silent Invasion: How China is Turning Australia into a Puppet State was pulled, according to an email from the publishers, because of “potential threats to the book and the company from possible action by Beijing.”

That’s a fair few “potentials” and “possibles.” From the information available, it seems that China has not actually taken any action to influence this particular decision at all. With the heated debate in Australia at the moment about Chinese influence, Allen & Unwin have made an enormously controversial decision, especially given recent events with Cambridge University Press and Springer Nature.

This is an important point — no actual pressure has been exerted by China. Rather, the publisher appears to have chosen to self-censor, just in case.    [FULL  STORY]

The Washington Post
Date: November 16 at 1:28 PM 
By: Adam Taylor 

As Xi Jinping visited Zimbabwe during a tour of Africa in 2015, Robert Mugabe offered the

Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, greeted Xi Jinping as the Chinese president arrived in Harare in 2015. (Jekesai Njikizana/AFP/Getty Images)

Chinese president a warm welcome and portrayed the two nations as deep allies. “China is Zimbabwe’s all-weather friend,” the Zimbabwean president told reporters.

Now, a little less than two years after that visit, the 93-year-old Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe for nearly 40 years, is under house arrest in the capital as his own military patrols the streets and rumors circulate that Beijing may have given coup plotters its blessing.

Less than two weeks before political turmoil hit Harare, Zimbabwean army chief Constantino Chiwenga visited Beijing for a meeting with Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan. China’s Foreign Ministry has said the Nov. 5 meeting was a “normal military exchange as agreed by the two countries,” but there is speculation that Chiwenga, now a leading figure in the suspected coup, was seeking China’s support for a move against Mugabe.  [FULL  STORY]

Here is a 10-point guide to understanding the rising fear of China.

Zee News
Date: Nov 17, 2017
By: Shyam Balasubra

Most global powers are now openly talking of containing China. This invariably comes with mentions of increasing cooperation with India as a counterbalance in the region. But how did the Asian giant go from an economic fairy tale to being referred to as a threat to the global order? Simply put, it refuses to play by the rules.

Here is a 10-point guide to understanding the rising fear of China:  [CONTINUE 10-POINT GUIDE]

The way in which Xi deals with the age question in the make-up of the PSC will be a good indicator of the nature of his power and the extent of his success.

The News Lens

Date: 2017/09/23
By: Frances Kitt

On Oct. 18 the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party will kick off, and the

Photo Credit: Corbis/達志影像

new makeup of the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) will be revealed. The policy direction and success of President Xi Jinping’s next term depend on who makes the cut.

A mostly informal set of rules govern eligibility for a spot on the PSC. One important convention holds that promotion to or retention on the committee is dictated by the candidate’s age when the National Congress is held. This precedent, started and upheld since 2002, is encapsulated by the catchphrase “seven up, eight down” (七上八下) — if a candidate is 67 at the time of the Congress, they may advance upwards in the ranks. If a candidate is 68 or older, they probably expect to be retired.

In theory, this norm precludes five out of seven members from staying on the PSC this October. According to the age norm, only one member of the PSC (apart from Xi, aged 64) will not be of retirement age come October: China’s second-in-command, Premier Li Keqiang, who is 62.

If the age precedent is upheld, which candidates will fill the remaining five spots in China’s leadership? How will the leadership line-up change? What the age rule means in practice has sparked a flurry of speculation in the run-up to the National Congress — but perhaps a more illuminating question is whether Xi will uphold the “seven up, eight down” convention at all.    [FULL  STORY]

Apart from China’s rhetoric and actions, China’s domestic transition towards a green, low carbon economy will serve as the best explanation for its ambitions in Antarctica.

The News Lens
Date: 2017/08/28
By: Jiliang Chen

Concerns raised by China’s promulgation of the term “use” or “utilization” in its Antarctic diplomacy is causing mistrust in Antarctic governance.

The main cause for concern for some in the international community is China’s status as a “resource hungry nation” that craves fossil fuels and minerals to feed its growing economy. In the context of the Antarctic, China’s long-term interest in the region may be motivated by the fact that the 1998 Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (the Madrid Protocol) will be up for review in 2048, which will include discussion of mining operations beginning in Antarctica.

Adding to this concern is the ambiguity surrounding China’s Antarctic agenda. China does not have comprehensive legislation or an official strategy for Antarctica. Deng Xiaoping(鄧小平)’s 1980s slogan “contribute to mankind’s peaceful use of Antarctica”(為人類和平利用南極做出貢獻), which the former leader used to capture China’s position on the region, can be widely interpreted. China has so far employed the term “rational use” as a reason to block negotiations on marine protected areas under the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). The term “use” in Chinese domestic laws — such as in the Law on the Protection of Wild Life — is controversial and associated with the poor practice.

But does China actually have any ambitions to re-shape the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) into a regime for resource exploitation?

China’s hunger for resources is driven by the need to fuel its rapidly growing economy. China’s economy is export driven, which means part of its demand for raw material originates from the consumption of other countries. Domestic demand for a better living also contributes to growth. But the need for natural resources will stagnate when China’s population peaks in the 2030s as predicted.    [FULL  STORY]

The percentage of people around the world who hold a favorable perception of China declined from 48 per cent in 2007 to 40 per cent in 2016.

The News Lens
Date: 2017/08/18
By: Sacha Cody

Photo Credit: Reuters/達志影像

Ten years ago, then-Chinese president Hu Jintao announced that China needed to develop its soft power. Progress is not good. The percentage of people around the world who hold a favorable perception of China declined from 48 per cent in 2007 when Hu made his announcement to 40 per cent in 2016.

Even in regions where China invests generously, things have not changed dramatically. Positive sentiment remains stable in most of Latin and Central America, and has dropped slightly across Africa. China fares much worse in Western nations. Over the same period, favorable perceptions dropped from 42 to 37 per cent in the United States and from 39 to 32 per cent in Western Europe. Only Australia has stable impressions of China: 52 per cent held a favorable view in both 2007 and 2016.

But a new ingredient has recently emerged in China’s quest for soft power — Chinese brands and their global influence. A recent study identified 30 Chinese brands that are ‘going global’ (meaning they derive a significant portion of their revenue and positive sentiment from overseas), including businesses in ‘traditional’ industries such as Lenovo and Huawei as well as newer internet and digital businesses like Alibaba and Elex.

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