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Geo-Strategic Trend - 2. page

Duowei News: Greeting Letter from Kim Jong-un Indicates Closeness between China and North Korea

According to an article Duowei News published, on March 18, following Xi’s appointment to the new presidency, in section V of the paper, People’s Daily published a number of greeting letters from foreign leaders. The greeting letter from Kim Jong-un was placed on the top. Compared to the greeting letter in 2013, the number of words in the greeting letter from Kim Jong-un this time was only 111 words compared to 213 words in 2013. The content was also missing words such as “strengthening the close friendship between our two countries.” The article further commented that the existing neutral relationship between the two countries is a reflection of the existing trade relationship. In 2017, North Korea had a trade surplus due to the export of electricity to China in the amount of US$10.8 million compared to US$2.6 million in 2016. The article ended with the statement that, “On one hand, China is following the international community in imposing sanctions against North Korea. On the other hand, under the table, it is still assisting North Korea by buying electricity from them, which has enabled North Korea to make tens and millions of dollars. This could be the reason that Kim Jong-un is still sending warm wishes to Xi, although there was an obvious distance between the lines in his letter.”

Source: Duowei News, March 20, 2018

VOA Chinese: Australian Department of Defense Banned WeChat

Voice of America (VOA) Chinese recently reported that the Australian Department of Defense has decided to ban the use of Chinese instant messaging app WeChat across all of the Department’s mobile devices. In the Department’s announcement, WeChat was described as “unauthorized software.” However, in the same announcement, the Department allowed limited use of the U.S. social app Facebook. It is also evaluating the security profile of WhatsApp. The  U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee held a hearing in which the U.S. CIA Director explained that he was very much concerned about the communications products from countries with a different social value system. Apparently, the Australian Department of Defense shares the same concern. Australian network security experts have expressed their observation that the Department not only worries about the close relationship between WeChat vendor Tencent and the Chinese government, but also believes apps like WeChat have very strong capabilities of collecting and monitoring information. Since last December, the Indian Department of Defense has also banned all Chinese communication software.

Source: VOA Chinese, March 13, 2018

China’s Largest Battery Manufacturer Took Control of a Canadian Lithium Mine

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that China’s largest lithium manufacturer, CATL, recently acquired a controlling interest of over 90 percent of Canadian lithium mine owner, North American Lithium. The Quebec government also owns five percent of the shares. CATL is rapidly expanding its capacity to manufacture electric car batteries, aiming to become the largest battery manufacturer in the world. Industrial analysts expressed their belief that CATL’s recent move is to secure the supply of raw resources needed for its products. This deal is still pending approval from the Chinese government and the Quebec government. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is also currently performing its assessment. The mine is capable of producing 23,000 tons of battery-grade lithium carbonate. In terms of global lithium resource control, China is currently ahead of the United States and Europe.

Source: Sina, March 13, 2018


Duowei News: To Reshape Their Image, North Korean Diplomats Display Warm Gestures When Participating in Foreign Events

According to an article that Duowei News published, Dong-A Ilbo, the South Korean newspaper, reported that, unlike 2017, when North Korean diplomats discontinued all of their external activities, in 2018, as the conflicts between North Korea and the EU escalated, North Korean diplomats have displayed a completely different image. They have been actively participating in foreign diplomatic events with EU countries. At a number of events, they have been spotted having dialogues or even posing for pictures with ambassadors from South Korea. The article reported that there was speculation that, since King Jong Un wants North Korea to be recognized as a “normal country,” his foreign diplomats have been actively participating in foreign events in an effort to reshape North Korea’s image on the worlds stage.

Source: Duowei News, March 16, 2018

Xinhua Commentary Claims Solving the Korean Peninsula Problem Requires “China‘s” Wisdom

After the PyeongChang Winter Olympics opened its “window,” the North-South Summit of the Peninsula and the DPRK-U.S. dialogue were announced. A commentary by China’s state media Xinhua stated that “the issue of the peninsula ushered in new opportunities, which are inseparable from China’s persistence and promotion.”

The commentary stated, “All parties, including the United States and South Korea, are fully aware that the current positive trend in the situation on the peninsula has benefited from China’s persistence. When the Korean peninsula was caught in a vicious cycle of ‘verbal attacks’ and ‘exhibiting muscles’ last year, when North Korea and the United States clamored and shouted at each other, China insisted on the ‘double suspension’ and ‘dual-track process’ approach, pointing out a reasonable direction to break the deadlock. The North-South and North Korea-American interactions after the PyeongChang Winter Olympics showed that as long as the ‘double suspension’ and ‘dual-track process’ were implemented, the situation on the peninsula would usher in a turning point.”

“On the peninsula issue, China has done a lot of work, provided a Chinese plan, and brought together all parties involved. Looking ahead, even though the dawn appeared at the end the tunnel, the settlement of the peninsula issue will not be an easy path. However, regardless of the way ahead, solving the peninsula problem cannot be separate from the wisdom of China and it is inseparable from China’s determination. China will, as always, play a unique role in resolving the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, urging all parties to talk and making the talks continue, hoping the talks will bring about a peaceful, stable, non-nuclear Korean Peninsula.”

Source: Xinhua, March 15, 2018

LTN: China’s One Belt One Road Plan Brought Economic Trouble to Eight Countries

Major Taiwanese news network Liberty Times Network (LTN) recently reported on China’s grand One Belt One Road plan, which involves a potential investment total of US$8 trillion and involves 68 countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe. The report showed however, that it actually has brought an economic crisis to eight countries: Djibouti, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Maldives, Mongolia, Montenegro, Pakistan and Tajikistan. Not long ago, the Center for Global Development (CGD) published its analysis on the impact of One Belt One Road. The analysis indicated that many countries developed significant dependency on China and their debt level increased significantly. For example, the African country Djibouti’s Chinese debts are now as large as 91 percent of its GDP. Another example is Pakistan’s development plan of its Port of Gwadar. Now China has pocketed around 91 percent of the Port’s income with only 9 percent left for Pakistan. The income was obtained significantly based on the deep tax cut that Pakistan offered. Sri Lanka had to rent its port city Hambantota to China for nearly one century due to the fact that the government could not pay back its debt (US$1 billion) to China.

Source: Liberty Times Network, March 6, 2018

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