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Geo-Strategic Trend

People’s Daily: China and the U.S. Roles in the North Korean Nuclear Crisis

People’s Daily recently published a commentary summarizing the roles that China and the United States have been playing in the North Korean nuclear crisis. The author started with a complaint about the completion of the deployment of THAAD in South Korea. China has made solemn protests to South Korea about THAAD. The commentary went on to reason that China will not protect North Korea because of China’s consistent peninsula denuclearization position. On the other hand, the United States is only using the crisis to expand its strategic reach. The commentator expressed the belief that sanctions are only half of the key to the problem. The other half is peace talks rather than any military deployment. While China has been trying its best to maintain the stability of the region, the U.S. is really taking advantage of the situation to serve the interest of U.S. arms vendors and dealers, as well as to strengthen its “leadership power” in the region.

Source: People’s Daily, September 8, 2017 What Does Australia Want to Do with the Largest Military Exercise Encircling China in 30 Years? (the official website for People’s Daily overseas edition) published a commentary article on the recent military exercises of the Australian Navy’s “Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2017.” Below is an excerpt from the article:

According to an Australian Defense Magazine report, the Australian Navy will be conducting military exercises, starting on September 4, in the Indian Ocean and in the Pacific with the code-name, “Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2017.” During the three months of military exercises, the Australian Army fleet will also visit a number of countries including Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Brunei, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, and Indonesia. Excluding Vietnam, the Australian Army fleet will visit almost all countries across the South China Sea and the East China Sea that surround China. What does it mean that Australia’s military exercise route is “encircling” China?

Gao Cheng, a researcher at the Asia-Pacific and Global Strategy Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences mentioned in an interview with that Australia wants to conduct this exercise in order to please the United States and to take this opportunity to consolidate the alliance between the two countries. We can also regard it as Australia’s position toward the United States. In fact, with the recent increase in the amount of attention Australia’s Navy is receiving, the Australian Army is holding a large number of joint exercises with the United States and Japan each year to enhance Australia’s international influence. We also observed that Australia, as a foreign country, is often very active in commenting on South China Sea issues.

Recently,  (China’s) domestic media created a cartoon ridiculing Australia: Australia is depicted as a loudspeaker that a United States radio station set up in the Asia-Pacific. It works very hard and is very proud, but it is becoming more and more like noise in the area. Gao Cheng agreed with this symbolism. He further pointed out that Australia belongs to the “first echelon” in the Asia-Pacific region in its support for the United States. It often acts as the “assistant police” for the United States in the region. However, it also “swings” politically. The honeymoon period with China from the beginning of 2017 fully explains this point. The United States is Australia’s most important ally. China is Australia’s most important trading partner. Australia faces a tough problem trying to balance between these two, but time has proven that, as a “hardcore” ally of the U.S., it is difficult for Australia to get rid of the United States’ political influence.

Gao Cheng said that although it “swings,” Australia’s “pro-U.S.” stance is consistent. Australia boasts, as a “mid-level power,” that it likes to seek dominance in the South Pacific. However, it is impossible to achieve this goal using its own capacity for technology. It needs the support of its U.S. ally. At the same time, Australia regards America as its most trusted ally in security.

Source: (People’s Daily), September 7, 2017

Global Times: How Should China Respond to North Korea’s New Nuclear Test?

Following North Korea’s latest nuclear test, China’s state media Global Times published an editorial to state China’s stance. Soon after, the article was withdrawn from its website, but it is still available on the website of Sina, which republished the article. Below is an excerpt from the article:

North Korea’s latest nuclear test explosions and a recent series of long-range missile tests show that Pyongyang does not yield to any pressure, soft or hard. It is determined to obtain long-range nuclear strike capability and will not yield to any external pressure. North Korea nuclear issue is almost a dead knot (unresolvable).

Faced with this complex situation, China has to maintain a high degree of calm, take measures from China’s national interests, and minimize the risks that Chinese society faces. The safety of northeast China is of number one importance. We need to make it clear to Pyongyang through a variety of channels that its nuclear tests cannot pollute the northeast of China. China’s strategic security and environmental security are the bottom line in China’s exercise of restraint.

North Korea’s latest nuclear campaign will inevitably lead to a discussion in the UN Security on imposing new sanctions. Intensified sanctions will be inevitable. However, we believe that, despite the fact that Chinese society is very upset about the DPRK’s new nuclear test, we still want to avoid impulsive action. China should not easily agree to extreme sanctions such as one similar to the embargo against North Korea.

Once China has completely cut off the supply of oil to North Korea, or even shut down the border between China and North Korea, it is still uncertain whether it can prevent North Korea’s nuclear activities. The DPRK’s comprehensive and open opposition to China will likely happen. In that way, over a period of time, the contradiction between China and the DPRK will at least become the most prominent contradiction surrounding the Korean Peninsula. The opposition between China and the DPRK will overwhelm the contradiction between the U.S. and North Korea and take most of the energy of the highly tense situation. Washington and Seoul will then achieve the purpose of “outsourcing” North Korea’s nuclear problem to China. That is completely inconsistent with China’s national interests.

Therefore, as long as the DPRK nuclear activities do not pollute China’s northeast, China should avoid the radical attitude of the United States and South Korea in issuing sanctions against North Korea.

China is a big country. China’s agenda and interests are global. The issue of the Korean peninsula will never garner China’s whole attention.

Source: Global Times, republished by Sina, September 3, 2017

Global Times: Taiwan Reunification Time Table Hard to Establish, but Mainland Cannot Wait Too Long

Global Times recently reported that the press interviewed Wang Zaixi, the former Deputy Director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of Mainland China. Wang stated that the Taiwan Issue has its historic complications and that finding a resolution is pretty challenging. Thus, the reunification may take quite some time. It is fairly difficult to come up with a clear time table to reach that goal. However, the urgency should not just fade away. From what has been demonstrated inside the island, the possibility of a peaceful reunification is “slowly disappearing.” Wang expressed the belief that the current Taiwanese administration is “laying the groundwork” for declaring independence. He cautioned that the 1.3 billion Mainland Chinese people “will not allow” the reunification process to drag on for too long a time. If an agreement cannot be reached, a phased approach may be more realistic. It is also possible that the reunification can be achieved with “overwhelmingly high military pressure,” but without a full-blown war.

Source: Global Times, September 2, 2017

Chinese Private Sector Has Lost Billions in Venezuela

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that, so far, based on the latest statistics, investors from China’s private sector have lost US$3 to US$5 billion in Venezuela. Venezuela is China’s biggest investment destination in Latin America. After years of an unstable situation in that country, most of the Chinese investments were already in deep trouble. Only some projects that resulted from government agreements are still enduring. Since it can no longer obtain loans on the open market, due to the recent Trump sanctions against Venezuela, that nation is sliding deeper into chaos. In 2007, China and Venezuela established the Joint Chinese-Venezuelan Fund. Over the past decade, the overall funds totaled around US$40 billion, with the investments focusing on infrastructure as well as economic growth. In 2010, China provided an additional US$20 billion loan to Venezuela to obtain a sustained oil supply. Most of the private Chinese investors did not participate in the projects that these funds financed. As of now, nearly all the companies in this category have completely withdrawn from that market. According to a 2015 study that the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) did, Venezuela is the riskiest investment destination for China. It is worse that Iraq and Sudan.

Source: Sina, August 30, 201

Beidou Navigation System Will Be a Global Navigation System Not Subject to the Control of the United States

China’s state media quoted the Russian satellite network’s August 19 report that building a Sino-Russian joint orbit cluster (composed of 50-55 satellites) will help the use China’s Beidou satellite navigation system (BDS) in any part of the world. Many Asian countries are now using the BDS.

After creating a unified satellite cluster, “the concerns over Americans’ and Europeans’ (possible actions) will be completely eliminated.” Americans can cut off the global satellite positioning system and do anything they want with the system, but this will not have any effect on the GLONASS and the Beidou’s service consumers. By 2020, Beidou will become a global satellite navigation system for the Chinese army.

In case there is a conflict between any side of the partnership of the China-Russia, Sino-U.S. and Russia-U.S. with the U.S. side, none of the consumers of the GLONASS and BDS services will be damaged in any way. This is important for all countries that use the GPS and are concerned about U.S. sanctions.

The Sino-Russian joint navigation system is a strategic project. It is no coincidence that both countries regard their cooperation as one of the most promising directions in the high-tech field.

Sources: Global Times, People’s Daily and Xinhua, August 24, 2017