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RFA Commentary: China Paid a Big Price to Lure Diplomatic Allies into Not Recognizing Taiwan

RFA published a commentary article about China’s actions in dealing with Taiwan’s allies. Chen Pokong, a well-known Chinese commentator wrote the article which was titled, “Chinese People Pay Big Price When China Lures Away Taiwan’s Diplomatic Allies.” The article stated that China has lured away four of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies since Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016. The last one was Burkina Faso, an African country with a population of 20 million. Burkina Faso claimed that China had offered it US$50 billion in January 2017, but that it declined the offer. Chen estimated that if China paid a minimum US$50 billion per country, it would have cost China US$200 billion for four countries or an average of US$156 per Chinese citizen. If China were to be successful in luring away the rest of 18 countries that have diplomatic ties to Taiwan, it would cost China an amount that is greater than the entire “One Belt One Road” project and the equivalent of 10 percent of China’s annual GDP while the Chinese people have no say in any of these decisions.

Chen suggested that Taiwan does not need to compete with China in spending the money but rather it should put more effort into building a stronger relationship with the U.S., Japan, the European countries, India, and other countries. Chen listed a number of recent events in which Taiwan gained international support when it faced continuous threats from China. They include the following situations. When China tried to stop Taiwan from attending the World Health Organization conference, many countries stood up to support Taiwan. When China lured countries away from having diplomatic relations with Taiwan, more U.S. congressional members and politicians voiced their support.  When China increased the presence of its military airplanes and warships near Taiwan, the U.S. increased military cooperation with Taiwan. Because China increased its threats against Taiwan over the past two years, in July 2016, the U.S. Congress passed “Six Guarantees for Taiwan.” Trump signed the “Taiwan Travel Act” in March 2018. When Congress initiated the “Taiwan Defense Evaluation Commission Act” in May of 2018, Congressmen Cory Gardner and Ed Markey co-sponsored the “Taiwan International Participation Act of 2018” that same month. Chen concluded that (if China goes too far on Taiwan) it is very possible that Trump, who is known for his unique style and unpredictability, could decide to invite Tsai Ing-wen for a visit at the White House, which could be quite embarrassing for Xi and his administration.

Source: Radio Free Asia, May 28, 2018

Huanqiu: France and Britain to Sail Warships to South China Sea to Satisfy their Sense of Presence in the Region

On June 4, the South China Morning Post reported that France and Britain would sail warships into the contested South China Sea to challenge Beijing. The announcement was made at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore “echoing the latest U.S. plan to ramp up its freedom of navigation operations to counter Beijing’s militarization in the region and its stance that territorial disputes should be a matter between China and its Asian neighbors.” An article, which Huanqiu published on June 5, quoted comments that a Chinese scholar made. He stated that the move that France and Britain took was just trying to “satisfy their sense of presence” in the region. “This is an obvious proactive move. What do Britain and France have to do with anything in the South China Sea? … China has never interfered with properly exercising Freedom of Navigation in the South China Sea. …  The Asia Pacific region is a hot topic. Perhaps Britain and France want to gain advantages on certain political issues.  … They don’t want to be left alone and lose their ‘influence.”

1. Huanqiu, June 5, 2018
2. South China Morning Post, June 4, 2018

RFI: Air China to Resume Direct Flights between Beijing and Pyongyang

Radio France Internationale (RFI) reported on Air China’s announcement that it will resume direct flights three times a week between Beijing and Pyongyang out of a “business consideration.” RFI quoted an article that the Korean Associated Press published which stated that the reason that Beijing wants to resume direct flight was, “China felt that it was often neglected during the preparation for the upcoming U.S. and DPRK summit. China hopes to send a friendly signal so its diminishing influence on Korean Peninsula affairs will be restored.”

Source: Radio France Internationale, June 5, 2018

Pou Chen Corporation Exited Mainland China

Taiwanese news site Mirror Media recently reported that leading footwear manufacturer Pou Chen has completed its exit from Mainland China. Pou Chen is the largest branded athletic and casual footwear manufacturer in the world. It does OEM manufacturing for major global labels such as Nike, Adidas, Asics, Clarks, Reebok, Puma, New Balance, Crocs, Merrell, Timberland, Converse, and Salomon. Pou Chen makes one out of every five athletic and casual shoes. It started changing its Mainland China operating strategy a few years ago, switching from running production lines to primarily providing distribution channels. By now all footwear production lines have stopped and all Pou Chen owned hotel businesses in the Mainland have been sold as well. Pou Chen Corporation has completely exited the Mainland market. Some industrial land ownership still remain in the hands of Pou Chen; it plans to sell to or jointly develop them with real estate construction companies. Pou Chen currently has a large amount of cash in hand. The next investment plan is to build museums in Taiwan.

Source: Mirror Media, May 29, 2018

Huanqiu: 14 African Countries to Include the RMB as a Reserve Currency

Huanqiu reported that, according to a statement that MEFMI (Macroeconomic and Financial Management Institute of Eastern and Southern Africa) issued, on May 29 and 30, during a forum held in Harare, capital of Zimbabwe, 17 officials from the central bank and government of 14 Africa countries were going to discuss the feasibility of using the RMB (Chinese Yuan) as a reserve currency. The spokesperson of MEFMI said that China has become the largest trading partner for more than 130 countries and regions. Most of the MEFMI members received loans or donations from China; therefore using the RMB for repayment was economically significant. The Huanqiu article also quoted reports from Reuters that China’s strategic goal is to make the RMB the world’s major foreign reserve currency and to help increase foreign investors’ purchases of Chinese bonds and stocks. Earlier this year several central banks in European countries made the RMB part of their foreign reserve. According to the Huanqiu article, over 60 countries and regions have included the RMB as their reserve currency.

Source: Huanqiu, May 30, 2018

Deutsche Welle: South German Newspaper Stopped Publishing China Watch Supplement

Deutsche Welle Chinese recently reported that a German newspaper, the South German Newspaper (Süddeutsche Zeitung) decided to stop publishing the supplement called China Watch, which China Daily provided. The South German Newspaper, published in Munich, Bavaria, is one of the largest daily newspapers in Germany. China Daily is the Chinese government’s official newspaper designed for readers outside of China. In recent years, many Western newspapers have periodically published China Watch as a supplement, including such famous newspapers as the Washington Post, New York Times, British Daily Telegraph, French Le Figaro and Business Daily in Germany. Although the South German Newspaper refused to comment on the reason for discontinuing publication of the supplement, its choice did receive a lot of praise from political observers and human rights organizations. As part of China’s strategy of broadening China’s influence on public opinion in the West, China Watch took the approach of utilizing the channels available through traditional Western media.

Source: DW Chinese, May 19, 2018

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