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Geo-Strategic Trend

China Decided to “Teach the United States a Hard Lesson.”

People’s Daily reported on December 2 that the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced a ban on U.S. military vessels and aircraft. They are now prohibited from using Hong Kong for logistics. At the same time, China also announced sanctions on a number of U.S. NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) that China identified as “playing an evil role in the Hong Kong riots.” The People’s Daily commentary suggested that it’s about time to “teach the United States a hard lesson.”

Primary Taiwanese news agency Central News Agency (CNA) reported on December 3, along with several Taiwanese media companies, that the Mainland ban should be considered an opportunity for Taiwan to extend an invitation to the U.S. Navy to dock at a Taiwanese port for logistical supplies. The U.S. never truly had a dependency on Hong Kong, and Taiwan can offer much better reliability for supplies.

Global Times published a commentary on December 6 that maintained the region is facing a historic change of military balance. China now has a far superior military power over the Taiwan Strait. The commentary explained that, if the U.S. and Taiwan get closer, Mainland aircraft can attempt flying over the Taiwanese presidential palace and the Mainland navy also has the option of entering the Taiwanese coastal line. The cost for the U.S. to intervene in a Taiwan Strait conflict is rapidly growing. So if Taiwan wants more collusion with the U.S., just go ahead.

(1) People’s Daily, December 2, 2019
(2) CNA, December 3, 2019
(3) Global Times, December 6, 2019

Deutsche Welle: The World Bank Terminated Its Controversial Loan to Xinjiang

Deutsche Welle reported that, on November 11, 2019, the World Bank decided to terminate its loan program and financial support to Xinjiang vocational schools amid questions of whether Beijing used the money to repress Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

The World Bank provided a US $50 million loan to the “Xinjiang Technical and Vocational Education and Training Project” in 2015.

In July, a World Bank employee wrote a lengthy email to an executive director on the bank’s board detailing concerns about the Xinjiang program. The employee listed numerous issues perceived as red flags and suggested that the program should be referred to an internal inspection committee for investigation to ensure that World Bank rules were being followed.

For example, according to a tender dated November 2018, Yarkand Technical School, which is managed by another school as part of the World Bank program, spent about $30,000 purchasing 30 tear gas launchers, 100 anti-riot batons, 400 sets of camouflage clothing, 100 sets of “stab-resistant clothing,” 60 pairs of “stab-resistant gloves,” 45 helmets, 12 metal detectors, 10 police batons, and barbed wire. It is not clear if this money came directly from the World Bank loan, or from other funding sources, but it points to a worrying cross-over between the camps and legitimate schools.

The employee’s concerns went unheeded.

On August 23, the U.S. Congressional Executive Commission on China issued a letter to World Bank President David Malpass expressing its concern.

On November 11, 2019, the World Bank decided to terminate the loan program. However, human rights organizations and experts were not satisfied since the World Bank didn’t release a thorough investigate result about how the money was used.

Source: Deutsche Welle, November 12, 2019世银终止资助新疆职业学校-专家批治标不治本/a-51207170

Belgium Trade Delegation Experienced Severe Cyberattacks in Beijing

The media from Belgium reported that the Belgian Trade Delegation experienced severe cyberattacks that were as high as 135 times per hour, while visiting Beijing.

Princess Astrid, Defense Minister Didier Reynders, and Minister for Security and the Interior Pieter De Crem led the delegation to visit Beijing and Shanghai from November 17 to 22.

Accordingly to Geert Baudewijns, a Belgium network security expert who was a member of the delegation, found it to be suspicious that he saw mobile devices outside their hotel in Beijing and all of their network traffic had to go through some specific network system. He brought a few laptops to China. Using special monitoring tools, he found his laptops were hacked into fairly often. Cyberattacks against his computer were as high as 135 times every hour.

It was hard to pinpoint the attacker. From the IP address, Baudewijns felt it might be related to China’s National Security office.

Source: Epoch Times, November 23, 2019

Papua New Guinea Is Mired in Chinese Debt

At the same time that Papua New Guinea (PNG) is facing record high fiscal deficits, its government’s new annual budget shows that, by 2023, it will face a 25 percent increase in its annual debt repayments to China, an amount of US$ 67 million.

The resource rich country is among the poorest ones in Oceania. In recent years, it has been caught in the midst of the US-China diplomatic wrestling. As China’s influence continues to expand, PNG has become increasingly dependent on China. The United States warned that China’s predatory economic policy is destabilizing the Indo-Pacific region. Although the PNG’s budget does not specify the total debt owed to China, Reuters reports that China is the country’s largest creditor.

According to Reuters, in Papua New Guinea’s annual budget, the amount of its debt increased by 10 percent over the previous year, reaching 42 percent of GDP and exceeding the legal cap of 35 percent. The Australian government recently announced a preferential loan of 440 million Australian dollars (US$300 million) to support the PNG’s budget and economic development.

Source: Voice of America, November 29, 2019

Global Times: Russia is Prepared to Help Turkey Make Its Own Fifth-Generation Fighter Jets

Global Times reported on an intention that the Director of Rostec (the Russian State Corporation for Assistance to Development, Production and Export of Advanced Technology Industrial Products, formally known as Russian Technologies) recently announced. Russia is ready to “provide technical help at any time” to Turkey to develop its own fifth-generation fighter jets. Russia obtained rich experience during its development of the Russian Su-57 fifth-generation fighter jets. Russia has been delivering its S-400 air-defense missile systems to Turkey since July, which caused a relationship crisis between Turkey and the United States. Turkey plans to deploy the S-400 systems in April, 2020. Washington has delayed its delivery of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey and threatened to cancel the F-35 contract with Turkey altogether. The United States asked Turkey to give up the use of the S-400 systems, but Turkey so far has resisted.

Source: Global Times, November 18, 2019

Global Times: Washington Cannot Cut the Ties between Hong Kong and the World

Global Times recently published a commentary as part of the wave of Chinese media attacking the new U.S. law, The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, that President Trump just signed. Global Times asserted that the U.S politicians are simply turning Hong Kong into a jump point to deter the rise of Mainland China. The commentary indicated that China has now become so powerful that Hong Kong can no longer be used as a “strategic Western chess piece.” The U.S. move may be able to create a little bit of trouble for China right now, but in doing so, it may destroy the United States’ interest in Hong Kong. The commentary described the “One Country Two Systems” arrangement as a reasonable setup that is good for both Mainland China and Hong Kong. It is a system which was working well until the U.S. came up with this new law that threatens to take away Hong Kong’s favorable trade partner status. The author claimed that Hong Kong can continue to sustain its prosperity with or without the U.S. The commentary concluded that Hong Kong’s global status was not something that the United States granted; therefore, the U.S. cannot simply cut the ties that Hong Kong has established with the world, .

Source: Global Times, November 30, 2019