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Geo-Strategic Trend

Huanqiu Commentary: China Will Never Play a Role as One of “the U.S. Allies”

On June 21, 2017, Global Times, also known as Huanqiu, China’s official newspaper, published a commentary on the United States’ policy changes toward North Korea after the death of Otto Warmbier, an American college graduate, recently released from a North Korean prison.

Below are some of the key points made in the commentary:

  • The fall of a young life is sad, but making important policies emotionally will result in immediate or potential costs.
  • Currently, the overall mood of the United States is a little bit over agitated, though the United States has not yet issued any medical explanation of Otto Warmbier’s death.
  • Beijing must be wary of the fact that Washington DC may exert greater pressure on Beijing to “work effectively” on the North Korean nuclear issues due to the death of Warmbier, “forcing China to make more commitments.”
  • China has done what needed to be done in terms of trying to break through the deadlock on the North Korean nuclear issues. However, China will never play a role as one of “the U.S. allies.” If Washington DC enacts sanctions against some of China’s enterprises as a third party, China and the United States will be in disagreement.
  • The North Korean nuclear issues are widely affected and very complicated. It is unrealistic for the United States to solve the problem quickly or even rely on China to solve the problem for the United States. If the American system is only capable of doing simple things, unable to handle complicated situations, then it is very likely that the Korean Peninsula will eventually explode, which will be sad.
  • The Asia-Pacific region simply cannot now afford to face any major conflicts between the United States and China. The United States looks cool and confident on the surface; it is also very difficult for the US to handle disagreements between China and the U.S.

Source: Huanqiu, June 21, 2017

Chinese Helicopter Crossed Sino-Indian Border before Xi’s Meeting with Modi

On June 4, a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) helicopter flew inside India’s Arunachal Pradesh and made a landing. It then returned five minutes later. Both China and India claim this region, but it is currently under India’s control.

The Indian government strongly protested the border crossing and stated that, in the upcoming meeting with Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi would demand an explanation from China’s President Xi.

Xi and Modi then met at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization on June 9. It is not clear whether Modi requested an explanation.

An earlier incident occurred in 2014. While Xi was visiting India and was about to meet Modi to negotiate an investment of $20 billion, the PLA army crossed the China-Indian border and camped on the Indian side. Many people think that Xi’s political opponents in China set up the incident.

Source: DW News, June 5, 2017

India’s GDP Growth Rate Surpassed China for Three Years in a Row

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that, according to the official numbers that the Indian government just released, India’s 2016 fiscal year GDP growth rate was 7.1 percent. This has been the third year in a row for India to have a higher growth rate than China. The Indian government and the private sector investments suffered a very slow growth rate, at two percent. However personal spending grew very strongly, at nine percent. In the meantime, based on the newly released numbers, India’s disruptive abolition of large bills near the end of 2016 did cause some negative impact on consumer spending. The World Bank estimated that India will enjoy a 7.2 percent growth in 2017 and 7.5 percent in 2018. The International Monetary Fund expects India’s 2018 growth will even reach 7.7 percent. Experts expressed the belief that India’s tax reform will bring growth in the future. China’s official 2016 GDP growth rate was reported to be 6.7 percent.

Source: Sina, May 31, 2017

China’s Foreign Ministry on Chinese and Russian Opposition to US Deployment of “THAAD” in South Korea

On June 8, 2017, at a regular press conference, a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry asserted China’s firm stand opposing the U.S. deployment of “THAAD” in South Korea. The spokesperson, Hua Chunying, told reporters that China and Russia “share a high degree of consensus and common interests” in their opposition to the U.S. deployment of  “THAAD” in South Korea and “will continue to have close communication and coordination” on the matter.

When answering a question on North Korea’s recent firing of surface-to-ship missiles off its east coast, Hua Chunying said, “Under the current circumstances, the relevant parties should exercise restraint, refrain from provocative actions that may escalate regional tensions, and play a positive role in de-escalating and stabilizing the situation.”

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China Website

RFA: Russia Fears China May Demand Its Territory

According to Radio Free Asia (RFA), Moscow based EurAsia Daily (EA Daily) reported that people in Russia and Tajikistan are worried that China may demand that the two countries return to China those territories it believes belong to China.

China raised the territory issue with Tajikistan in 2013 and then raised the issue again in 2016. Tajikistan’s archaeologists, historians, and scholars are afraid that China may someday take its land back.

The “China Threat” theory has been spread in Russia. One of the points is that “China will, sooner or later, request that Russia return its territory that Russia took by force.”

At the same time, some Chinese media exposed the fact that Jiang Zemin, the former Chinese Communist Party leader, voluntarily signed treaties to give up China’s territory to other countries, when there was no external pressure to do so.

{Editor’s note: There have been reports that Jiang Zemin gave up over 1 million square km (247 million acres) of China’s land to Russia, but he has silenced any reporting on this in China.}

Source: RFA, May 22, 2017

Radio Free Asia: North Korea Increases Taxes and Fees for Merchants from Mainland China

According to an article that Radio Free Asia published, since May, North Korea has been imposing different types of tax and fees on merchants who come from China to enter the Rason Special Economic Zone. The total could add up to as much as 1,000 yuan (US$147) for each such entrance. The move is considered to be related to friction in the foreign relations between China and North Korea. The article quoted comments from South Koreans that, since North Korea is facing sanctions from the international community, it is possible that it is using the imposed taxes to offset the shortage in foreign currency. However since the fee is not a small amount for small businesses owners, it might also result in a reduced traffic flow and trade activities.

Source: Radio Free Asia, June 1, 2017

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