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RFA Commentary: China Paid a Big Price to Lure Diplomatic Allies into Not Recognizing Taiwan

RFA published a commentary article about China’s actions in dealing with Taiwan’s allies. Chen Pokong, a well-known Chinese commentator wrote the article which was titled, “Chinese People Pay Big Price When China Lures Away Taiwan’s Diplomatic Allies.” The article stated that China has lured away four of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies since Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016. The last one was Burkina Faso, an African country with a population of 20 million. Burkina Faso claimed that China had offered it US$50 billion in January 2017, but that it declined the offer. Chen estimated that if China paid a minimum US$50 billion per country, it would have cost China US$200 billion for four countries or an average of US$156 per Chinese citizen. If China were to be successful in luring away the rest of 18 countries that have diplomatic ties to Taiwan, it would cost China an amount that is greater than the entire “One Belt One Road” project and the equivalent of 10 percent of China’s annual GDP while the Chinese people have no say in any of these decisions.

Chen suggested that Taiwan does not need to compete with China in spending the money but rather it should put more effort into building a stronger relationship with the U.S., Japan, the European countries, India, and other countries. Chen listed a number of recent events in which Taiwan gained international support when it faced continuous threats from China. They include the following situations. When China tried to stop Taiwan from attending the World Health Organization conference, many countries stood up to support Taiwan. When China lured countries away from having diplomatic relations with Taiwan, more U.S. congressional members and politicians voiced their support.  When China increased the presence of its military airplanes and warships near Taiwan, the U.S. increased military cooperation with Taiwan. Because China increased its threats against Taiwan over the past two years, in July 2016, the U.S. Congress passed “Six Guarantees for Taiwan.” Trump signed the “Taiwan Travel Act” in March 2018. When Congress initiated the “Taiwan Defense Evaluation Commission Act” in May of 2018, Congressmen Cory Gardner and Ed Markey co-sponsored the “Taiwan International Participation Act of 2018” that same month. Chen concluded that (if China goes too far on Taiwan) it is very possible that Trump, who is known for his unique style and unpredictability, could decide to invite Tsai Ing-wen for a visit at the White House, which could be quite embarrassing for Xi and his administration.

Source: Radio Free Asia, May 28, 2018

Huanqiu: France and Britain to Sail Warships to South China Sea to Satisfy their Sense of Presence in the Region

On June 4, the South China Morning Post reported that France and Britain would sail warships into the contested South China Sea to challenge Beijing. The announcement was made at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore “echoing the latest U.S. plan to ramp up its freedom of navigation operations to counter Beijing’s militarization in the region and its stance that territorial disputes should be a matter between China and its Asian neighbors.” An article, which Huanqiu published on June 5, quoted comments that a Chinese scholar made. He stated that the move that France and Britain took was just trying to “satisfy their sense of presence” in the region. “This is an obvious proactive move. What do Britain and France have to do with anything in the South China Sea? … China has never interfered with properly exercising Freedom of Navigation in the South China Sea. …  The Asia Pacific region is a hot topic. Perhaps Britain and France want to gain advantages on certain political issues.  … They don’t want to be left alone and lose their ‘influence.”

1. Huanqiu, June 5, 2018
2. South China Morning Post, June 4, 2018

RFI: Air China to Resume Direct Flights between Beijing and Pyongyang

Radio France Internationale (RFI) reported on Air China’s announcement that it will resume direct flights three times a week between Beijing and Pyongyang out of a “business consideration.” RFI quoted an article that the Korean Associated Press published which stated that the reason that Beijing wants to resume direct flight was, “China felt that it was often neglected during the preparation for the upcoming U.S. and DPRK summit. China hopes to send a friendly signal so its diminishing influence on Korean Peninsula affairs will be restored.”

Source: Radio France Internationale, June 5, 2018 Commentary Calls U.S. Navy Warships Recent Presence in South China Sea “Escalation of Unprecedented Provocative Action” against China

On May 27, Reuters first reported that two U.S. Navy warships, the Higgins guided-missile destroyer and the Antietam, a guided-missile cruiser, came within 12 nautical miles in the region where China has territorial disputes with its neighbors. The article called it “an operation that is the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing’s efforts to limit freedom of navigation in those strategic waters.” On May 28,, People’s Daily Overseas edition, published a commentary article that Hu Bo wrote. Hu is a research director at the Institute of Ocean Research at Peking University. The article stated that the latest move of the U.S. Navy is an obvious escalation in its action to challenge China’s sovereignty in the South China Sea islands. It called the move “provocative,” and “unprecedented.” It stated that “the U.S. is uneasy with China’s growing military power in the South China Sea.” The author predicted that the U.S. will increase its presence in the region and will take more “direct and rough” provocative actions against China. As to how China should react to the threat, the article said that China has no other way except to continue to exercise its ability in the area of self-defense. According to the article, “Since the U.S. is concerned about the narrowing of the power gap between China and the U.S. in the South China Sea, the conflict and standoff could be a long term and perhaps a direct fight between China and the U.S. This could be a healthy move for the relationship between the two countries.”

1. Reuters, May 28, 2018
2., May 29, 2018

Huanqiu: 14 African Countries to Include the RMB as a Reserve Currency

Huanqiu reported that, according to a statement that MEFMI (Macroeconomic and Financial Management Institute of Eastern and Southern Africa) issued, on May 29 and 30, during a forum held in Harare, capital of Zimbabwe, 17 officials from the central bank and government of 14 Africa countries were going to discuss the feasibility of using the RMB (Chinese Yuan) as a reserve currency. The spokesperson of MEFMI said that China has become the largest trading partner for more than 130 countries and regions. Most of the MEFMI members received loans or donations from China; therefore using the RMB for repayment was economically significant. The Huanqiu article also quoted reports from Reuters that China’s strategic goal is to make the RMB the world’s major foreign reserve currency and to help increase foreign investors’ purchases of Chinese bonds and stocks. Earlier this year several central banks in European countries made the RMB part of their foreign reserve. According to the Huanqiu article, over 60 countries and regions have included the RMB as their reserve currency.

Source: Huanqiu, May 30, 2018

VOA: Tibetan Monk’s Testimony Describes Torture and Sexual Abuse Inside a “Re-education Camp”

In the same week that the U.S. State Department issued the “International Religious Freedom Report for 2017,” VOA published an article reporting that the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy published the testimony of a Tibetan monk who, for four months, had been forced to take the “patriotism” and “legal education” training in a “political re-education center” in Tibet. The monk’s testimony recounted that what went on behind the hidden walls included torture and sexual abuse. According to the monk, those who had to attend the center had to buy their uniforms with their own money. Just like the rest of the participants, the monk had to acknowledge that he believed in the Communist Party. They all had to sing red songs and deliver a “self-criticism” speech in front of each other. The political re-education training included courses to learn mandarin and the law, but the majority of the contents was material that defamed the Dalai Lama. Those who attended had to take military training during the day and participate in meetings organized in the “Cultural Revolution” style at night. If the elderly nuns or monks were late or missed an activity, they were beaten. Sexual abuse of the nuns was common. Other inhuman treatment included forcing them to eat stale food, collective punishment, deprivation of food and sleep, and beating them with electric batons.

Source: Voice of America, June 1, 2018

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