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Taiwan’s Defense Minister Rejects the Idea of Installing THAAD

The Taiwan-based news portal China Times reported on March 5, 2017, that Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan reiterated Taiwan’s position of being against the installation of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD).

During a session at the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense committee last Thursday, legislators asked Feng whether Taiwan would host the U.S. anti-ballistic missile system THAAD. Feng replied that Taiwan “should not be involved in other nations’ wars or make pointless sacrifices in conflicts between two global powers.”

The China Times‘ report noted that some people among the Pan-Green Groups recently expressed their hope that Taiwan would take part in THAAD. However, a retired People’s Liberation Army (PLA) general on Mainland China said that the day Taiwan deploys THAAD will be the day to unify Taiwan by force. The Pan-Green Group got its name from the colors of the now ruling Democratic Progressive Party.

China Times quoted Feng as explaining the position of Taiwan’s military regarding weapons purchases. “In the past we directly bought fish, and now we hope to learn fishing — producing military airplanes and warships by ourselves.”

When questioned about his opinion on the South Korea’s decision to install THAAD, China Times reported that Feng said that the U.S., Japan, and South Korea formed the plan in order to force China to cooperate. Feng considered this an idea that “global powers” thought up and which, he believed, Taiwan should take no part.

Source: China Times, March 5, 2017
http://www.chinatimes.com/realtimenews/20170305002229-260417

China’s 2017 Economic Theme: Seeking Progress while Maintaining Stability

President Xi Jinping said on February 28 that this year, in order to achieve healthy development, China will stick to the basic economic theme of “seeking progress while maintaining stability.”

Xinhua News Agency reported Xi’s outline for this year’s economic work: to improve the quality and efficiency of the economy, to deepen supply-side structural reform, and to make major headway in economic restructuring. Xi gave this speech at the 15th meeting of the Central Leading Group on Finance and Economic Affairs, which he heads.

Three other politburo standing committee members, Li Keqiang, Liu Yunshan, and Zhang Gaoli also attended the meeting.

Xi urged that more effort be put into reducing excessive production capacity and that government departments firmly solve the problem of zombie enterprises, as they are unprofitable, debt-laden, and tie up public resources. As for people affected by the reduction in excessive capacity, Xi said that they should receive training for new job skills as well as social aid.

Xi reiterated the necessity of establishing long-term methods to promote the stable and healthy development of the real estate market. He again affirmed that “houses are built to be inhabited, not for speculation.”

Xi also said that the decisions made at all meetings of the Central Leading Group on Finance and Economic Affairs must be implemented.

Source: Xinhua News Agency, February 28, 2017
http://news.xinhuanet.com/politics/2017-02/28/c_1120545454.htm

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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