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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

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

China’s Premier Promises Foreign Investors Wider Access to New Sectors

China’s Premier Li Keqiang’s wrote an article on China’s economy, “Economic Openness Serves Everyone Better,” which was published on January 25 in Bloomberg Business Weekly. Li pointed out that, “We are opening new sectors of the economy to investment and widening access to many others.” The article was also published in full on the State Council’s official web site.
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Nikkei: Xi’s Strong Position on Maritime Rights

Nikkei, Japan’s leading economic news provider, reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping used strong words in his 2017 New Year’s speech televised to the nation, “We have adhered to peaceful development while resolutely safeguarding the territorial sovereignty, maritime rights, and interests of China. To whoever wants to take issue with this, the Chinese people’s answer is a resounding No!”

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RFA: Obama Signs Defense Bill Strengthening Military Exchanges with Taiwan

Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported on Saturday that, on Friday, December 23, U.S. President Barack Obama signed the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which requires the Pentagon to facilitate military exchanges between the U.S. and Taiwan.

It was the first time that high level military exchanges between the U.S. and Taiwan had been written into an Act of Congress.

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China’s Defense Ministry: Underwater Drone Handed over to U.S.

According to a terse statement that the News Bureau of China’s Ministry of National Defense issued, at noon on December 20 in related waters of the South China Sea, and after friendly consultation between the Chinese and U.S. sides, the handover of a U.S. underwater drone was carried out smoothly.

A New York Times report on its Chinese website noted that China did not mention that the presence of the U.S. Navy in the South China Sea had caused the tension between the two countries. BBC Chinese also reported the expectation that China would take the opportunity of returning the underwater drone to demand that the U.S. reduce its reconnaissance activities in the South China Sea.

There was no such expression in the Defense Ministry’s one sentence statement issued within hours of the hand over.

On December 17, a spokesperson from China’s Defense Ministry issued a statement confirming that, on the afternoon of December 15, a Chinese naval lifeboat located an unidentified device in the waters of the South China Sea. In order to prevent the device from causing harm to the safety of navigation and personnel of passing vessels, the Chinese naval lifeboat verified and examined the device in a professional and responsible manner.

Upon examination, the spokesperson noted, the device was identified as an underwater drone of the United States. The Chinese side decided to hand it over it to the U.S. in an appropriate manner. Both sides maintained communication on the issue. The spokesperson added, “We regret that,” after commenting, the U.S. side’s unilateral move to dramatize the issue in the process was inappropriate and not conductive to its settlement.

The spokesperson also emphasized that for a long time, the U.S. military has frequently dispatched vessels and aircraft to carry out close-in reconnaissance and military surveys within Chinese waters. According to a statement that the spokesperson published on the Defense Department’s website on December 17, “China resolutely opposes these activities and demands that the U.S. side stop such activities. China will continue to be vigilant against the relevant activities on the U.S. side and will take necessary measures in response.”

Sources:
China’s Defense Ministry website, December 20, 2016,
http://www.mod.gov.cn/topnews/2016-12/20/content_4767292.htm
New York Times Chinese website, December 20, 2016,
http://cn.nytimes.com/china/20161220/china-returns-us-drone/
BBC Chinese, December 18, 2016,
http://www.bbc.com/zhongwen/simp/chinese-news-38359622
Xinhua News Agency, December 18, 2016,
http://news.xinhuanet.com/politics/2016-12/18/c_1120137584.htm

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