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China to Build a World Class Anti-Terrorist Force That Is Ready to Be Deployed Overseas to Protect National Interest

Voice of America reported that, on Saturday, September 29, a senior Chinese intelligence Officer told Xinhua that, if China’s national interest is under threat, China will build a world class anti-terrorist Special Forces unit that will be deployed overseas. According to a quote from Xinhua, “The Special Forces must follow the development of national security interests and must be prepared to fight against terrorism.” According to VOA, there are extensive terrorist groups in countries along the Belt and Road project. In Pakistan alone, thousands of Chinese workers could be the new target for terrorist groups. In the Anti-Terrorist law China passed in 2015, it stated that, after a serious terrorist attack on Chinese institutions or personnel abroad, China’s counter-terrorism department can, after consultation with the relevant countries, “send staff to go abroad to carry out response work.” China currently sends police to other countries to help maintain the safety of Chinese tourists, but, in the past decade, it has not sent warfare personnel to other countries.

1. Voice of America, September 29, 2018
2. Xinhua, September 29, 2018

Beidou and the “Space Silk Road”

On Wednesday September 19, China launched two Beidou navigation satellites so as to join the network with the previously launched Beidou-3 navigation satellite. By 2020, Beidou is expected to boast of having 35 satellites covering the earth. This year alone, China has launched more than 10 Beidou satellites.

The Beidou navigation system has seen an increasing application in China. In Ningxia, farmers use it to provide navigation for unmanned agricultural machinery; in Inner Mongolia, herders in remote areas can send text messages through Beidou, and remotely control the water supply for livestock. In Beijing, 33,500 taxis and 21,000 buses have already installed Beidou chips. The Chinese government has set a goal to install Beidou chips in all new cars by 2020.

China is keen to upgrade its technological capabilities. After completing the global network by 2020, the Beidou system is expected to be a world-class navigation system and comparable to the U.S. GPS system.

Beidou was originally designed for the Chinese military to reduce its dependence on the U.S. GPS system. With the expansion of its coverage, business opportunities have also emerged.

Beidou’s ambitious expansion is coupled with China’s foreign policy. By the end of 2018, Beidou will cover the countries along the “Belt and Road,” and create a “Space Silk Road.” At present, Beidou covers 30 countries along the route, including Pakistan, Laos, and Indonesia. If these countries join the “Space Silk Road,” they could become dependent on the space services that Beijing provides, which will have more influence on their policies.

Three other satellite navigation systems are currently in place – Glonass in Russia, Galileo in Europe, and GPS in the United States. Blaine Curcio, founder of Hong Kong-based space and satellite consulting firm Orbital Gateway, said that we may see the world gradually split into “pro-China” and “pro-U.S.” camps. Those who are “pro-China” may be less likely to trust the satellite navigation services of the U.S. or the EU, and would therefore choose Beidou.

The Beidou chips have been widely deployed in Chinese made mobile phones, such as Xiaomi, Huawei and OnePlus, although Apple hasn’t incorporated Beidou in its latest iPhone which was released on September 12. Chinese official media said that this choice “does not rule out political reasons.”

Source: BBC Chinese, September 21, 2018

Report: China Tops the World in Nuclear Reactor Startups

The World Nuclear Industry Status Report is an annual report that explores the global challenges facing the nuclear power industry. Mycle Schneider, an independent energy expert, produces it; he provides a detailed overview of the global nuclear industry and a special analysis of key events and trends. The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2018 was released on September 4.

The report highlighted the following information with regard to China:
– Nuclear power generation in the world increased by 1 percent due to an 18 percent increase in China.
– Global nuclear power generation, excluding China, declined for the third year in a row.
– Out of four reactors that started up in 2017, three were in China and one was in Pakistan (built by a Chinese company).
– Five units started up in the first half of 2018, of which three were in China—including the world’s first EPR and AP1000—and two were in Russia.
– Of five construction startups in the world in 2017, one was a demonstration fast reactor project in China.
– There has been no startup of the construction of any commercial reactor in China since December 2016.
– The number of units under construction globally declined for the fifth year in a row, from 68 reactors at the end of 2013 to 50 by mid-2018, of which 16 were in China.
– China spent a record US$126 billion on renewables in 2017.

Source: World Nuclear Industry Status Report.

Military Expert: Upcoming Military Exercises in East China Sea “Tailored to Taiwan Independence Forces”

Huanqiu reported that the PLA will conduct large scale military exercises in the East China Sea from 8:00 a.m. on July 18 to 6:00 p.m. on July 23 lasting about six days. Eighteen days ago, the Ministry of Defense made an advance announcement about the exercises. One military expert told Huanqiu that “the military exercises are live exercises that are tailored to the ‘Taiwan independence’ forces.” The article claimed that these are routine military exercises that have been conducted in the same region every year. An expert who asked for anonymity told Huanqiu on the 17th that, based on an analysis of the published information, the exercises are expected to be high level military exercises because they will last for six days, cover a large region, and involve different types of military forces and weapons. Since the Navy is leading them, generally speaking, all three major fleets will have their troops participate. This will include the navy, marines, air force, rocket army, and the support forces.

Source: Huanqiu, July 17, 2018

Ministry of Defense: Renting Taiping Island to the U.S. Is a Dangerous Idea

Global Times recently reported that the spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Defense, Wu Qian, commented at a press conference that the idea that the Taiwanese military could rent Taiping Island to the U.S. military was a very dangerous one. The comment was based on some media reports indicating such a possibility. Taiping Island is the largest of the naturally occurring Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. Taiwan currently controls the island. However, China, Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam all have claimed sovereignty. Earlier reports suggested that some Taiwanese military think-tank provided the idea. The rental to the U.S. military would be under the name of humanitarian rescue missions. Wu Qian said the Chinese government is strongly against this idea and has the determination as well as the capability to defend China’s sovereignty. Taiping Island is the size of 70 soccer fields and is 860 nautical miles from Southern Taiwan. Currently Taiwan has around 200 troops guarding the island. The Taiwanese government later clarified that there was no such official plan.

Source: Global Times, June 28, 2018

China Has Slowly Obtained South China Sea Control

The well-known Chinese newspaper in North America, the World Journal, recently published a commentary on the South China Sea. The commentary started with pointing out that, while the world’s attention has been on trade wars and the North Korean nuclear talks, China has consistently been increasing its military presence in the South China Sea. Analysts expressed the belief that China must have surmised that, no matter how upset the United States became, it would not start a real war with China over the South China Sea issues. China has been deploying military equipment in the South China Sea for quite some time now. That includes communication equipment, radar interference facilities and air defense missiles. Although the U.S. warned about “serious consequences” on China’s continuous militarization activities, China did not seem to stop its plan. China’s ultimate goal has been to change the status quo in the South China Sea. Quietly, it has largely achieved that goal in a short period of time – to the point that China has obtained actual control of that region without winning a naval war against the U.S.

Source: World Journal, June 3, 2018