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Geo-Strategic Trend

BBC Chinese: China Stopped Importing Coal from North Korea

BBC Chinese recently reported that the Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced on February 18 that it will ban coal imports from North Korea. China’s announcement explained that this ban was to implement UN Resolution 2321. The ban will remain effective until the end of this year. Observers around the world expressed the belief that this Chinese ban is the response to North Korea’s missile launch on February 12. It may also be the answer to the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s brother Kim Jong Nam in Kuala Lumpur on February 13. This new coal ban is a very important development since coal is the single most critical export product of North Korea and China has bought nearly all North Korean coal exports. The income from coal exports is considered an important pillar of North Korea’s economy. Previously, China promised to implement the UN resolution only under the condition that the sanction should not have a damaging impact on the civilian population of North Korea.

Source: BBC Chinese, February 18, 2017

BBC Chinese: China Expelled 32 South Korean Missionaries

BBC Chinese recently reported that, according to South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials, China expelled 32 South Korean missionaries in January and arrested another South Korean citizen in February. It is not yet clear whether this had anything to do with the deployment of the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile defense system. The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs reminded its Christian organizations that their activities must follow foreign local laws. In February, China also detained a pastor who is an American citizen. China so far has no explanation of these activities. According to South Korean media, there are over one thousand South Korean missionaries in China and many of them have lent a helping hand to North Koreans to escape to China. In the meantime, Chinese authorities have banned or punished South Korean commercial activities in China (such as events in the entertainment business) as well as South Korean companies.

Source: BBC Chinese, February 11, 2017

South Korea Stopped Issuing Visas to Chinese Lecturers at the Confucius Institute

According to information from the Justice Ministry of Korea, as of December of last year, the Seoul immigration Bureau suspended all E-2 visa extensions and the issuance of any new visas for Chinese lecturers at the Confucius Institute.

The Confucius Institute in South Korea started in 2004. For the past 13 years, it has never been a cause of controversy. The original E-2 visa issuance process is simple, and the E-2 visas are easy to obtain. Some observers pointed out that this is the South Korean government’s response to the clash involving China’s restriction on South Korea.

The Confucius Institute operates through a cooperation agreement between Korean and Chinese universities. The Chinese Ministry of Education selects the Chinese lecturers. The Chinese government pays their salaries.

The Chinese government funds the Confucius Institute. In terms of geographical distribution, there are 169 Confucius Institutes in Europe, 157 in the Americas, 110 in Asia, 46 in Africa and 18 in Oceania. After the United States (109) and Britain (29), South Korea (22) has the third largest number of Confucius Institutes.

Source: Korean Daily republished by Wenxuecity, February 7, 2017

Indian Navy Refused Domestic Carrier Fighter Jets

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that the Indian Navy decisively refused a request from its domestic supplier to deploy the Tejas fighter jet <India’s indigenous fighter jet> on its aircraft carriers. The Navy officially issued a global RFI (Request for Information) looking for a new carrier fighter model. The RFI revealed a need for 57 carrier-based fighter jets for two Indian carriers. The November Navy procurement meeting vetoed the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas due to the lack of critical capabilities that the Navy requires. The RFI requires the candidates to have all-day, all-weather, and air-to-ground combat capabilities. There are other requirements on refueling, electronic warfare, and reconnaissance capabilities. The RFI also stated that the delivery should start in three years and should be completed within three years thereafter. To comply with the government’s “Made in India” policy, the RFI asked the bidder whether establishing a manufacturing center in India was an option. The Indian Navy currently uses the Mig-29K for its carriers.

Source: Sina, February 1, 2017

BBC Chinese: China Said It Will Lead the World if Required

BBC Chinese recently reported that Zhang Jun, a high ranking official in the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, commented on the potential world leadership vacuum after the U.S. election. Zhang made these comments after Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke at the Davos Forum in Switzerland where he emphasized the importance of globalization and after U.S. President Trump reconfirmed his “America First” policy. Zhang suggested that, if China is asked to lead the world, then China will take the responsibility. He added that China’s willingness to play a leadership role only resulted from the fact that the current world leader is giving up. Zhang explained that China is currently the second largest economy in the world and that many other countries are developing a major dependency on it for growth. He expressed his happiness on hearing about U.S. President Trump’s planned a four percent U.S. growth projection. However, Zhang pointed out that this growth goal cannot be realized if the United States keeps waging trade wars. Many western analysts are worried about Trump’s nationalist and populist rhetoric.

Source: BBC Chinese, January 23, 2017

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