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Geo-Strategic Trend

China to Invest US$2 Billion in the Reconstruction of Syria

At the First Trade Fair on Syrian Reconstruction Projects (on July 9), Qin Yong, Vice President of the China-Arab Exchange Association, revealed that China plans to invest US$2 billion in Syria to establish industrial parks. The first phase will attract 150 enterprises to participate.

Syrian ambassador to China, Imad Mustafa, said that this is the first time that a Syrian reconstruction project fair has been held in Beijing. The hope is to build an important platform for Chinese enterprises to understand Syria and participate in the reconstruction of Syria.

The Syrian ambassador also said, “China, Russia, and Iran have provided substantial support to Syria during the military conflict. Therefore, it is these three countries that should play a major role in the reconstruction of Syria. If the work were to be carried out by other countries, even by those who participate in the damage to the Syrian infrastructure, it would be very unfair.”

“We learned the lessons from what happened (during the domestic war). We learned who our strategic partners are. Now we will not move closer to the West, but to the north and the east (referring to China, Russia and Iran).”

Source: Sina, July 14, 2017

People’s Daily: “The Borderline Is the Bottom Line!”

For the past few weeks, China and India have had a standoff in a disputed area between China and Bhutan.

The Chinese call the disputed highland region “Donglang” and the Indians call it “Doklam.” It is on the border between China and Bhutan. Bhutan is China’s only neighboring country that has not established a formal diplomatic relationship with China, mainly due to the border dispute.

Recently, China started building a road in the disputed area. India then sent its soldiers to block China from building the road.

An Indian brigadier-general said, “We didn’t fire. We only formed a human body wall to prevent Chinese from continuing its invasion.”

China’s Ambassador Luo Zhaohui said during an interview, “This is the first time that the Indian military crossed the predefined borderline to invade China’s territory, causing the military standoff.” “There is no disagreement between China and Bhutan that Donglang belongs to China. India has no right to intervene in Sino-Bhutan negotiations, nor does it have the right to advocate for territory for Bhutan.”

On July 7, People’s Daily’s official weibo account published a picture with the title, “The Borderline Is the Bottom Line.” The picture is the border map showing the area of China, India, and Bhutan. It shows Donglang is in China. It also shows an arrow pointing from India to China. The note read, “The Indian military illegally crossed the border to enter China’s side.”

{Editor’s note: According to an article published in War on the Rocks on July 13, 2017, when China initiated its road building, “(India) in ‘close coordination’ with a Royal Bhutan Army patrol approached the Chinese construction party and urged them to desist… (This) appears to be an attempt to wean Bhutan away from India.”}

1. Weibo界线即是底线&from=526&_from_=huati_topic
2. BBC, July 5, 2017

BBC Global Survey: China’s International Image Worsens

BBC Chinese recently reported that the BBC World Service just completed its global survey of country images among people from 19 nations. Compared to the same survey done in 2014, the number of people with positive views on China declined from 43 percent to 41 percent, and those with negative views grew by two percent to 42 percent. On a country level, Canada, the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Turkey, Indonesia, and India have negative views on China, while Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Greece, Russia, Nigeria, Kenya, and Pakistan hold positive views on China. According to the survey, people from the U.S. have the highest percentage of negative views on China (70 percent). In some countries, negative views grew significantly, such as India (from 35 percent to 60 per cent). For the first time, Indonesia has more negative views (50 percent) than positive (28 percent). In the meantime, 61 percent of the people in China gave the U.S. negative views. They gave Russia 74 percent positive views and Britain 73 percent positive views (this was after Brexit, with a 34 percent increase from 2014). China also gave North Korea 76 percent negative views and Japan 75 percent negative views (from 90 percent in 2014). China’s negative views against South Korean changed dramatically, from 32 percent (in 2014) to 71 percent.

Source: BBC Chinese, July 6, 2017

Duowei: Vice Chairman of CMC Cut Short His Visit to Vietnam

Duowei reported that it was not with a purpose that Fan Changlong, the First Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), cut short his visit to Vietnam in June.

Fan left Beijing on June 12 to visit Spain, the Netherlands, and Vietnam. China’s Ministry of Defense reported that Fan would attend the Forth Summit of the Sino-Vietnam Militaries. However, the Ministry of Defense later reported that “due to a work arrangement, China cancelled the Forth Summit of the Sino-Vietnam Militaries.”

Analysts think this is related to the sovereignty debate between China and Vietnam, related to the South China Sea, where both sides claim ownership. One version of the story was that Vietnam started exploration work on a gas field in the South China Sea during Fan’s visit. China was so irritated that it sent over forty military ships and sea patrol ships and several military transport aircraft, to stop Vietnam’s drilling operation.

Source: Duowei, June 28, 2017

Huanqiu Commentary: “Indian Troops’ Provocation in the Wrong Place Brings Disgrace to Themselves”

On June 27, 2017, China’s state-run Global Times website, called Huanqiu in Chinese, published a commentary titled “Indian Troops’ Provocation in the Wrong Place Brings Disgrace to Themselves.”

China accused Indian troops of “trespassing” its boundary and entering Chinese territory. Chinese and Indian soldiers are locked in a face-off at the Sikkim section of the China-India border, where, according to the Huanqiu commentary, no disputes have ever occurred between them.

The commentary stated, “It remains unclear whether this flare-up is the fault of low-level Indian troops, which chose a wrong place to declare ‘patriotism’ or a tentative strategic move that the Indian government made. Whatever the motive, China must stick to its bottom line. China must use all means necessary to force the Indian troops to retreat to the Indian side and China’s road construction mustn’t be stopped.”

“What we are concerned about is that Indian’s attitude toward China has become more arrogant. With its GDP rising to fifth in the world, its national confidence is growing. The fact that the U.S. and the West are willing to woo India to counterbalance China has particularly added to Indians’ sense of strategic superiority. … India shows an inexplicable arrogance toward China as if it holds the strategic dominance in Sino-Indian relations.”

“Some Indians believe that the US and Japan are building a circle to contain China and India has an advantage over China because it can choose whether to join this circle.”

“It’s not time for India to display arrogance toward China. India’s GDP is only one-quarter of China’s and its annual defense budget is just one-third. Having a friendly relationship and cautiously handling border issues with China is its best choice.”

“However, almost all friction is fed to the Indian media by the Indian military which hypes {things up} time and again.”

Global Times continued, “China has avoided making an issue of these border disputes, which has indulged India’s unruly provocations. This time the Indian side needs to be taught the rules. … Let the Indian troops lose face openly. Let them know that they have to pay the price if they break the border agreement.”

“India cannot afford a showdown with China on border issues. It lags far behind China in terms of national strength and the so-called strategic support for it from the U.S. is superficial,” the commentary said, adding that China has no desire to confront India.

{Editor’s note: Zachary Keck, former editor of the National Interest, wrote a recent article focusing on a different point of view}

1) Huanqiu, June 27, 2017
2.) National Interest: China’s Secret Landgrab (No, Not in the South China Sea)

Russian Customs Announced China as the Main Source of Synthetic Drugs

Radio Free Asia reported on news that Russia’s “63 news network” published on June 26. According to Russian Samara Customs, since the beginning of 2017, 4.5 kilograms of drugs and strong psychotropic drugs had been seized in the Samaritan area. Of the synthetic drugs that had been seized, more than 90 percent came from China.

The Russian media report also revealed that many of the drugs from China had been sent through the mail and through other hidden means in order to avoid a customs inspection. Alexander Maximovich, head of the anti-drug department of Samara Customs, said that the Chinese hid narcotics in vegetable oil or in a variety of buns and dumplings, in semi-finished packages, and in packs of different kinds of soup materials, all of which were sent through the mail.”

Source: RFA, June 26, 2017

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