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Geo-Strategic Trend - 2. page

PLA Ordered 1.4 Million Bullet Proof Vests

Apple Daily, a media based in Hong Kong, reported that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) opened a bid for suppliers to provide 1.4 million bullet proof vests, including 930,000 general vests and 467,000 vests with enhanced functions. The price may be up to 13.4 billion yuan (US $1.92 billion).

Currently the PLA army has 13 armies, with 850,000 soldiers. This order, being the largest bullet proof vest order, will give an average of 1.65 bullet proof vests per person.

Some analysts thinks this was the PLA’s deterrence to Taiwan.

Also, China revealed its second 075-class amphibious assault ship at the Zhonghua Shipyard in Shanghai. This type of ship is designed for “military actions against Taiwan.”

Source: Apple Daily, February 26, 2020
https://tw.appledaily.com/international/20200226/2RLO6JRQWZ2JZWNI2WXZKAZPXU/

China Threatened Czech Republic That Its Companies Will Be Punished if Czech Senate Speaker Visits Taiwan

On January 10, China’s Embassy in the Czech Republic, sent a letter to the Czech President’s Office, stating that, if the Czech Senate Speaker Jaroslav Kubera visited Taiwan, Czech companies operating in mainland China, such as Volkswagen subsidiary Skoda Auto or lender Home Credit Group, would be punished.

Kubera died unexpectedly on Jan. 20, before his trip took place.

The letter stated, “Czech companies whose representatives visit Taiwan with Chairman Kubera will not be welcome in China or with the Chinese people.”

“Czech companies who have economic interests in China will have to pay for Chairman Kubera’s visit to Taiwan. China is the largest foreign market for many Czech companies like Skoda Auto, Home Credit Group, Klaviry Petrof and others.”

The Czech president’s spokesman confirmed the letter had been received but did not comment on its contents.

Source: Reuters, February 19, 2020
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-czech-taiwan/china-threatened-to-harm-czech-companies-over-taiwan-visit-letter-idUSKBN20D0G3

Carrie Lam Plans to Use Coronavirus Containment to Boost the Establishments’ Position in Upcoming Election

Apple Daily reported that it obtained a copy of a report that Hong Kong Executive Carrie Lam sent to Beijing. In the report, Lam mentioned that the coronavirus containment could be used to create a favorable environment for the establishment in the upcoming Legislative Council election in September.

The report said:

From the election politics, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) hopes to obtain citizens’ recognition and support by using the effective control of the epidemic in order to create a favorable environment for the establishment. Therefore, we are requesting the Central government to continue to assist the Hong Kong SAR to solve two urgent issues:

1. Allow specified mask and protective equipment manufacturers to continue to deliver supplies to Hong Kong and provide machinery and raw materials to Hong Kong manufacturers who set up local mask production lines.

2. Allow the SAR government to discuss with the Hubei Provincial / Wuhan Municipal government to arrange for Hong Kong people stranded in the local area to return to Hong Kong in batches.

If the Central government can support the completion of these two works, the Hong Kong SAR could retain its administrative reputation and also let the Hong Kong people feel the central government’s care under the ‘one country, two systems’ structure. (We) believe it will be a rare opportunity to change the situation before the Legislative Election in September.

Hong Kong’s Establishment (pro-Beijing group) suffered a big loss in the District Council elections last year because the SAR government took a hardline position against the Hong Kong protests and refused to respond to the public’s demands.

Source: Apple Daily, February 23, 2020
https://hk.appledaily.com/local/20200223/AUBAU7W7CNESCJQTRZAS5MN7RY/

RTHK: Japan Strengthens Approval Process on Foreign Investments

Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK, the top government-owned broadcasting organization of Hong Kong) recently reported that Japan plans to strengthen its review and approval process of foreign investments significantly. It will do this in 12 key categories, including national defense, nuclear, air and space, public services, natural gas, network security, and telecommunications. Foreign investments that will take a one percent or more stake in Japanese companies in these categories will require a review and approval first. The criteria used to be ten percent. There are around 400 to 500 publicly listed Japanese companies fitting the criteria. The Japanese government plans to announce the official list of companies in April. In the meantime, the Japanese congress is planning to pass a new law tightening up reporting requirements on foreign investments in national security related companies. Analysts expressed the belief that Japan is concerned that China is trying to obtain critical technologies. The Japanese Deputy Prime Minister pointed out that the new law is to address certain concerns on national security, but it is also designed to welcome more investments. The new approval process is expected to take effect in May.

Source: RTHK, February 21, 2020
https://news.rthk.hk/rthk/ch/component/k2/1509965-20200221.htm?spTabChangeable=0

UDN: Historic Chinese-Vatican Foreign Minister Meeting Signals Warning to Taiwan

United Daily News (UDN), one of the primary Taiwanese news groups, recently reported that, according to the Mainland Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi met with the Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, Paul Gallagher (also known as the foreign minister of the Holy See), in Munich. This is the first time in 70 years. The Vatican described the talk that took place in a cordial atmosphere. On behalf of the Pope, Gallagher expressed his respect and support for China’s fight against the coronavirus and expressed the Vatican’s belief in China’s wisdom and courage. The Vatican issued a statement later affirming China’s effort in the virus battle and the Vatican sided with the people in pain. Given this is the first time the two Foreign Ministers met, it should be considered an important alarm to Taiwan’s foreign affairs work.

Source: UDN, February 15, 2020
https://udn.com/news/story/6809/4347675

Chinese Military Aircraft Circle Taiwan Region

Major Taiwanese news network Liberty Times Network (LTN) recently reported that the Mainland military has been sending multiple aircraft to circle the areas around Taiwan. The rising new Taiwanese party, the New Power Party (NPP), published an official post on Facebook, accusing the Mainland authorities of wasting time threatening Taiwan, when the whole world is expecting the Communists to report honestly about the status of the coronavirus and to control the virus to keep it from spreading. The NPP also pointed out that the military activities may be one way to “release the Mainland’s internal pressure.”

The Primary Taiwanese news agency Central News Agency (CNA) later reported that, after Mainland aircraft circled the Taiwan region on February 9 and 10, the U.S. military sent MC-130J multi-mission combat aircraft and B-52 bombers on February 12 to patrol east and west Taiwan. On February 15, the U.S. also sent a combat warship to pass through the Taiwan Strait. This is the second time this year that the U.S. Navy dispatched a warship to the Taiwan Strait. The last time was on January 17. Strategists pointed out that the U.S. activities should be considered as a response to the Chinese operations.

Sources:

(1) LTN, February 10, 2020
https://news.ltn.com.tw/news/politics/breakingnews/3063118
(2) CNA, February 15, 2020
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/firstnews/202002150253.aspx

Taiwan: Commentary – Why Beijing Does Not Allow Taiwan to Evacuate Its Citizens

As many countries have withdrawn their citizens from Wuhan, Taiwan also wanted to evacuate its 300 citizens who are currently trapped in Wuhan. However, Beijing wouldn’t give the evacuation a green light but instead claimed that it will provide “special care” for them in Wuhan.

An Epoch Times article commented that there could be three possible reasons for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to do this:

  1. To keep the Taiwan people as political hostages in revenge for its defeat in the Taiwan Presidential election. The CCP supported the Kuomintang candidate, Han Kuo-yu, whose relationship with the CCP was much closer than that of President Tsai Ing-wen.
  2. To keep them long enough to make some of them catch the virus or even die. That could create a big backlash against Tsai’s government in Taiwan.
  3. To give their “red agents” an opportunity to gain political capital. These agents could come out as the heroic mediators who broker a deal between the two sides and bring the Taiwan people back.

Related postings on Chinascope:

Source: Epoch Times, February 1, 2020
https://www.epochtimes.com/gb/20/2/1/n11836485.htm

Xinhua: U.S. Middle East Proposal Received Mixed Reactions

Xinhua reported, one day after U.S. President Trump announced the new Middle East peace agreement, that the key players had mixed responses. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu stood behind the U.S. and supported the proposal. The Palestinians clearly refused the proposal in full, since they were not at all involved in drafting the deal. The UN Secretary General supported the “Two Nations” strategy since it had been determined in a number of UN resolutions. The Arab League said the U.S. plan will result in the loss of many rights on the Palestinian side and called for compliance to international laws and standards. Egypt urged a dialogue between Palestinians and the Israelis to offer their thoughts on the Trump proposal. Turkey, however, described the U.S. proposal as already dead. Iran asked all Islamic countries to stand up against the U.S. “shameful agreement.” Jordan in the meantime supported all peaceful efforts and suggested a swift start of proper negotiations. The European Union needed more time to look carefully at the new proposal but was willing to help in the negotiation. The French government will also carefully study the agreement and stick to a “Two Nations” solution. The Germans said only an agreement accepted by both sides can lead to long-lasting peace. The British government welcomed the U.S. proposal, but emphasized the importance of having the buy-in of both the Palestinians and the Israelis.

Source: Xinhua, January 29, 2020
http://www.xinhuanet.com/2020-01/29/c_1125511294.htm

Lianhe Zaobao: High Profile International Companies Suspended Chinese Operations

Singapore’s primary Chinese language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao recently reported that, with the spread of the coronavirus across China, several high profile international companies have suspended their Chinese operations. Google closed all of its outlets in Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. IKEA closed all its 30 stores in Mainland China. IKEA earlier only planned to close half of its stores. McDonald’s closed all its 300 branches in Hubei Province. Multiple airlines decided to reduce or close their flights to and from China. Air Canada cancelled a full month of all flights to Beijing and Shanghai; Lufthansa, Swissair, and Austrian Airlines cancelled two weeks; Air France reduced flights for a week; British Airlines cancelled all flights to all Chinese cities. American Airlines and Delta both reduced flights. Lion Air Indonesia cancelled all of its flights to China. Indian’s IndiGo Air stopped flights to Chengdu, China, and Hong Kong. China has so far closed more than ten cities. Local spending saw a significant reduction in China. This might also be a reason to suspend retail activities.

Source: Lianhe Zaobao, January 31, 2020
https://beltandroad.zaobao.com/beltandroad/news/story20200131-1025165

China’s Ambassadors Failed to Raise Money from German Businesses for a Pro-China Portal

German national television recently reported that two of China’s Ambassadors to Germany asked German businesses for money to finance a portal supporting Beijing.

The idea of the portal, named “China reporter,” was from Wolfgang Hirn, editor of Manager magazine and Georg Blume, a free-lance writer for Times and Der Spiegel. Both are viewed as “experts on China” in the German media circle.

Shi Mingde, the previous Chinese Ambassador to Germany, had been trying to raise money for this project. On February 28, 2019, his last day as Ambassador, he even wrote fund-raising letters to large foundations and companies listed on Dax.

His successor Wu Ken sent his letter on December 4, 2019, a few days after the media exposed the Communist regime’s systematic arrests of Uyghurs in Xinjiang. “Since the German media did one-sided reporting (criticizing the CCP), it has become a more urgent need to spread a full and better image of China.”

According to the German media’s investigation, none of the foundations or companies that received the Ambassador’s letters provided funds. However, it is quite shocking that the CCP even asked German businesses for money for it to influence public opinion in Germany.

Source: Epoch Times, January 21, 2020
https://www.epochtimes.com/gb/20/1/20/n11808274.htm