Major Singapore newspaper Sinchew recently reported that the Myanmar government is in the middle of re-evaluating a Chinese investment project to develop a deep-water port at the Port of Kyaukpyu. The project is part of China’s One Belt One Road initiative; the total investment was estimated to be US$9 billion. The Myanmar government is deeply concerned about the high cost and what a potential debt default could lead to. Based on what has happened elsewhere, Myanmar may lose control of Kyaukpyu. Sources inside the Myanmar government reported that negotiations are going on with China to reduce the cost of the project. Kyaukpyu is located in west Myanmar’s Rakhine Province. That port offers China a direct path to the Indian Ocean from Southwest China, bypassing the Strait of Malacca. If started, the Port of Kyaukpyu development project will be the largest infrastructure project in Myanmar’s history. The project is also located at the starting point of an oil and gas pipeline station leading to China’s Yunnan Province.
Source: Sinchew, June 4, 2018
The well-known Chinese newspaper in North America, the World Journal, recently published a commentary on the South China Sea. The commentary started with pointing out that, while the world’s attention has been on trade wars and the North Korean nuclear talks, China has consistently been increasing its military presence in the South China Sea. Analysts expressed the belief that China must have surmised that, no matter how upset the United States became, it would not start a real war with China over the South China Sea issues. China has been deploying military equipment in the South China Sea for quite some time now. That includes communication equipment, radar interference facilities and air defense missiles. Although the U.S. warned about “serious consequences” on China’s continuous militarization activities, China did not seem to stop its plan. China’s ultimate goal has been to change the status quo in the South China Sea. Quietly, it has largely achieved that goal in a short period of time – to the point that China has obtained actual control of that region without winning a naval war against the U.S.
Source: World Journal, June 3, 2018
Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that the China Customs Administration just released the numbers on crude oil imports for the first quarter of this year. According to the official data, China had a year-over-year 57 percent increase in crude oil imports from the United States. Also, based on the same data, the U.S. crude oil weight in China’s total crude oil imports increased to 2.5 percent in the first quarter. This new development is positive for the China-U.S. trade relationship, as well as China’s goal of diversifying oil suppliers. China is currently the second largest buyer of U.S. crude oil. However, China’s two largest oil suppliers are still Russia and Saudi Arabia. At this moment, the United States has domestic bottlenecks and limitations in its capacity for pipeline deliveries as well as port loading capacity limitations for its rapidly increasing oil export volume.
Source: Sina, June 7, 2018
According to an article in Radio France Internationale, if the U.S. sends a warship through the Taiwan Strait, it would be seen as blatant support for Taiwan, which is constantly threatened by China’s warships and warplanes. The article stated, “It would be a blow to Beijing. This means that the Trump administration is taking more actions to limit Beijing’s maritime ambitions.” On Tuesday, the spokesperson of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs asserted, “The Taiwan issue is the most important and most sensitive core issue in Sino-U.S. relations. The U.S. should earnestly abide by the one-China principle and the provisions of the three Sino-U.S. joint communiques and carefully handle the Taiwan issue so as not to damage Sino-U.S. relations and the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.” Huanqiu published an opinion article on Tuesday which was titled, “It Is Better for the U.S. Warship to Stay Away from the Taiwan Strait.” The article claimed, “The Chinese people will definitely not be happy about it. … The United States military had best not get too close to the Taiwan Strait, especially if it doesn’t want to stir up the water there.” The paper threatened that otherwise, “It would put the U.S. into the position of risking confrontation with China’s military.”
Source: Radio France Internationale, June 5, 2018
Hong Kong Oriental Daily News reported that it is very likely that the Korean War that has lasted for 68 years will officially end during the Trump-Kim Summit on Tuesday, June 12, in Singapore. A peace treaty is expected to be signed by the U.S., South Korea, and North Korea during the Summit. It will include a non-aggression pact between the North and South and include a security guarantee to North Korea. As to whether China, which participated in the Korean War, might object to the peace treaty, the article quoted Hankyoreh, the South Korean newspaper, which stated that the South Korean government was not aware that China might object to the peace treaty. It will work with China during the execution of the treaty to end the war, but the U.S., North and South Korea will initiate the peace treaty while the denuclearization agreement will be a joint effort to include China, the U.S., and North and South Korea. On June 4, China’s official media Huanqiu published an article that stated, “If China is excluded from the peace treaty, the treaty will be deemed invalid and could be revoked at any time.” The article claimed, “China’s participation in producing and signing the peace treaty would not only make the treaty legally valid and historically grounded; it would also provide an extra share of stability.” The Huanqiu article stated that without China’s arduous efforts, no peace treaty would exist. Therefore, it is undeniable that China should be part of the peace treaty discussion.
1. Oriental Daily, June 5, 2018
2. Sina, June 4, 2018
The Epoch Times published a commentary titled, “The U.S. China Trade War: the Reason for the Deadlock and Beijing’s Bottom Line.” The article proposed that what China is most afraid of is a major change in its economic structure because that would endanger the communist regime. The article quoted a number of comments from scholars. Li Ruogu, the former president of the China Export-Import Bank, expressed the belief that this is a serious misunderstanding because many people regard the current Sino-US trade dispute as a pure trade or deficit problem. He said that this dispute is entirely about the direction of China’s development. Huang Yasheng, a professor at the MIT Sloan School, said that the essence of the Sino-US trade dispute is institutional conflict. The only way to resolve an institutional conflict is to accelerate market-oriented reforms and establish a sound legal system. He stated, “It would be tantamount to abandoning the party’s leadership to business, and to the judicial and legal system.” An Epoch Time commentator believed that Beijing is still playing “order diplomacy.” That is, China can buy more things from the United States; it can even place orders in the hundreds of billions of dollars with the U.S. and it can also lower some tariffs, but it will never agree to “economic restructuring.” If the U.S. really continues to push hard, Beijing might give in. Even if Beijing were to make limited trade concessions in the future, it would do everything possible to delay the implementation of any economic structural reforms.
Source: Epoch Times, June 7, 2018