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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
Japan Times, February 19, 2017

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.”

China’s Defense Ministry website, December 20, 2016,
New York Times Chinese website, December 20, 2016,
BBC Chinese, December 18, 2016,
Xinhua News Agency, December 18, 2016,

VOA Chinese: Xi Congratulates Trump on Becoming U.S. President-elect

The Chinese edition of Voice of America (VOA) reported on Wednesday morning that Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulated Donald Trump on becoming the U.S. President-elect.

Xi said in his congratulatory message that China, the world’s largest developing country, and the U.S., the largest developed country, as the world’s top two economies, bear the special responsibility of maintaining world peace and stability, boosting global development and prosperity, and sharing extensive interests, .

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Xinhua: Sing Pao Chief Remains a “Fugitive”

In a recent article, Hong Kong-based Ta Kung Pao cited a dispatch from Xinhua, dated October 20, 2016, that the police still have a warrant out to arrest Gu Zhuoheng, the chief of Sing Pao Daily News. In the past several weeks, Hong Kong-based Sing Pao has been carrying front page commentaries harshly criticizing Beijing’s No. 3 leader, Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the standing committee of the National People’s Congress.

Sing Pao, which is also known for its ties to Beijing, denied that Gu was a wanted man. It dismissed the attacks as being “some power’s” attempt at political revenge. Since late August, Sing Pao, with help from the central government’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong, has been criticizing Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying for escalating the confrontation. In early October, Sing Pao editorials named Jiang Zemin, former secretary general of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as Zhang Dejiang’s backer.

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RFA: Chinese Media Not to Republish Caixin’s Original Content for Two Months

On October 12, 2016, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported  that an order has been issued to ban Chinese media from republishing Caixin‘s original content. The order, given on October 11,  was from the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), Beijing’s central Internet censorship, oversight, and control agency and is to remain in effect for 60 days. Caixin is a leading Chinese media for publishing original content on finance, the economy, and social governances.

RFA cited reports indicating that the immediate trigger for the ban may have been Caixin‘s recent coverage, now deleted, of 168 lawyers’ signing an appeal to oppose new regulations from the State Council. The rules reinforce the Chinese Communist Party’s control over law firms, requiring them not to “indulge or condone” their staff in conducting a wide range of specified activities.

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