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Global Times: Posting Marine Guards at New AIT Compound in Taipei Reveals U.S. Hegemonic Nature

Global Times, a subsidiary of the Chinese Communist Party official newspaper People’s Daily, reported that a spokesperson from the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council referred, on February 22, to the China foreign ministry spokesperson’s position regarding U.S. marines to be posted at the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) in Taipei. The AIT is the U.S. de facto diplomatic mission on the island in the absence of official ties. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang, when answering a question on the AIT on February 17, stated, “China has always objected to U.S.-Taiwan connections through official and military channels.”

In an earlier commentary on February 17, Global Times reported that Stephen Young, a former director of the AIT, said Washington would send marines soon to guard the new compound.

Wang Jianmin, a research fellow with the Institute of Taiwan Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said this move from Washington is a critical part of enhancing U.S.-Taiwan relations, but it would cause significant harm to Sino-U.S. relations. It would also negatively impact the already impaired relations across the Taiwan Strait.

On February 16, Wang told Global Times that the current Taiwan administration has been pushing pro-Japan and pro-U.S. policies. The U.S. takes this opportunity to enhance its military exchanges with Taiwan, so as to solidify its political commitment to Taipei. However, such a political commitment is itself a mistake. Offering special protection from one sovereign country on land within another sovereign country highlights U.S. hegemony.

Sources: Global Times, February 23, 2017
http://taiwan.huanqiu.com/article/2017-02/10183997.html
Global Times, February 17, 2017
http://taiwan.huanqiu.com/article/2017-02/10144486.html

In 2017, China to Stimulate Economy with 45 Trillion Yuan Investment in Fixed Assets

On February 17, China Times published an article discussing China’s investments to stimulate the economy. According to the statistics that each province has released, the total investment to stimulate the economy in 2017 amounts to more than 40 trillion yuan (US$5.82 trillion). Twenty-three provinces so far have announced their 2017 fixed asset investment targets. Taking into account the provinces that have yet not published their data, the total investment in fixed assets this year will be at least 45 trillion yuan (US$6.54 trillion).

In addition to the large provincial budget targeted for infrastructure investment, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) also announced the latest progress on major investment projects. On February 15, NDRC spokesman Zhao Chenxin said at a press conference that in January, NDRC approved 18 fixed asset investment projects with a total investment of 153.9 billion yuan (US$22.38 billion). These projects are concentrated mainly in water conservancy, transportation, and energy fields.

Beijing Fushengde Economic Consulting Firm Chief, Economist Feng Delin, told the China Times reporter, “These investments are mainly to cope with the economic slowdown.”

Source: China Times, February 17, 2017
http://www.chinatimes.cc/article/64563.html

Caixin: Former Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang Convicted of a Crime

Caixin reported that, on February 17, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, the second Chief Executive of Hong Kong after China took over, was convicted of a crime.

He faced three charges and was found guilty on  the second charge, misconduct in public office. Tsang had deliberately concealed his plans to lease a three-story penthouse from Wong Cho-bau at the same time that Wong’s company was filing several applications with the Hong Kong government, including one for a digital audio broadcasting license. Wong’s applications were approved.

On February 22, the Hong Kong court sentenced Tsang to 20 months in prison. The Judge said that the sentence should have been a 30-month prison term, but he gave Tsang a 10 month reduction because of his 40 years of public service.

Sources:
1. Caixin, February 18, 2017
http://china.caixin.com/2017-02-18/101056583.html
2. VOA, February 22, 2017
http://www.voachinese.com/a/news-ex-ce-of-hk-sentenced-to-20-month-in-jail-20170222/3734795.html

People’s Daily Online: Washington Expected to Gauge China’s Response to U.S. Aircraft Carrier Entering South China Sea

Global Times, a subsidiary of People’s Daily Online published an analysis of the U.S. aircraft carrier and guided-missile destroyer deployed over the weekend to patrol the South China Sea. The analysis appeared on February 20 in the military section of the website of the Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper.

It cited the U.S. Navy’s press release issued on February 18 that the USS Carl Vinson carrier entered the South China Sea on Saturday.

The analysis cited an article from Japan Times that China watchers believe Washington intends to gauge the Chinese response and then conduct a more beefed up freedom of navigation operation.

Analysts told Global Times reporters that U.S. warships’ patrolling in the South China Sea is different in nature from their entering the adjacent waters of islands in the area. China’s navy has maintained a normalized patrol in the waters of the Nansha Islands, also known as the Spratly Islands. It is paying minute to minute attention to see whether US warships will make any risky moves.

The analysis mentioned an earlier report from U.S.-based Navy Times, that, according to several Navy officials, the U.S. Navy is planning fresh challenges to China’s claims in the South China Sea. It is sailing more warships near the increasingly militarized man-made islands that China claims as its sovereign territory in order to ratchet up potentially provocative operations in the South China Sea. The military’s plans also likely call for sailing within 12 nautical miles of China’s newly built islands in the Spratly and/or Paracel islands.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said in the routine press conference on February 15, “China always respects the freedom of navigation and overflight of all countries in the South China Sea in accordance with international law, but we oppose those who threaten and harm China’s sovereignty and security under the pretext of freedom of navigation and overflight.”

Global Times reporters noted that China’s Ministry of Defense has made no official response regarding this latest development. Global Times‘ interpretation is that China is more at ease when confronting U.S. military intimidation coupled with media hype.

Source: People’s Daily Online, February 20, 2017
http://military.people.com.cn/n1/2017/0220/c1011-29092651.html
Japan Times, February 19, 2017
http:// www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/02/19/asia-pacific/u-s-carrier-group-begins-routine-patrol-tense-south-china-sea/#.WK4rrW8rL3g

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