Nikkei, Japan’s leading economic news provider, reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping used strong words in his 2017 New Year’s speech televised to the nation, “We have adhered to peaceful development while resolutely safeguarding the territorial sovereignty, maritime rights, and interests of China. To whoever wants to take issue with this, the Chinese people’s answer is a resounding No!”
Following Trump’s tweet and Putin’s statement about the expanding nuclear capabilities in the U.S. and Russia, China’s state media Global Times published a commentary claiming that China needs to advance its nuclear program to stay relevant as a world power.
The article said, “Russia’s conventional military capabilities have been far less than those of NATO, but the Russian-U.S. equal nuclear balance of power continues to ensure that Russia’s status as a military superpower is almost equal to the United States. Russia dared to confront the United States in Ukraine, in Syria and in other conflicts. The number one reason is the support of its nuclear forces.
Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office (USTR) once again put the Chinese online trade platform Alibaba on the annual “Notorious Markets” list. Alibaba was listed on the same blacklist four years ago. Alibaba Group President Michael Evans expressed his disappointment after USTR’s announcement. Alibaba complaint that the huge effort the company put in to battle counterfeits was ignored. However, USTR explained that the percentage of the counterfeit products sold on Alibaba’s platform is still too high. In this latest “Notorious Markets” list, four Chinese online markets and six physical markets were included. Alibaba is currently working with famous global labels such as Apple, Burberry, LV, Cartier, and Nike to fight the fake products. This program now includes 18,000 international brands. Alibaba hinted that the recent move by USTR might have something to do with the “new U.S. domestic political atmosphere. “
Source: Sina, December 22, 2016
Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported on Saturday that, on Friday, December 23, U.S. President Barack Obama signed the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which requires the Pentagon to facilitate military exchanges between the U.S. and Taiwan.
It was the first time that high level military exchanges between the U.S. and Taiwan had been written into an Act of Congress.
According to a terse statement that the News Bureau of China’s Ministry of National Defense issued, at noon on December 20 in related waters of the South China Sea, and after friendly consultation between the Chinese and U.S. sides, the handover of a U.S. underwater drone was carried out smoothly.
A New York Times report on its Chinese website noted that China did not mention that the presence of the U.S. Navy in the South China Sea had caused the tension between the two countries. BBC Chinese also reported the expectation that China would take the opportunity of returning the underwater drone to demand that the U.S. reduce its reconnaissance activities in the South China Sea.
There was no such expression in the Defense Ministry’s one sentence statement issued within hours of the hand over.
On December 17, a spokesperson from China’s Defense Ministry issued a statement confirming that, on the afternoon of December 15, a Chinese naval lifeboat located an unidentified device in the waters of the South China Sea. In order to prevent the device from causing harm to the safety of navigation and personnel of passing vessels, the Chinese naval lifeboat verified and examined the device in a professional and responsible manner.
Upon examination, the spokesperson noted, the device was identified as an underwater drone of the United States. The Chinese side decided to hand it over it to the U.S. in an appropriate manner. Both sides maintained communication on the issue. The spokesperson added, “We regret that,” after commenting, the U.S. side’s unilateral move to dramatize the issue in the process was inappropriate and not conductive to its settlement.
The spokesperson also emphasized that for a long time, the U.S. military has frequently dispatched vessels and aircraft to carry out close-in reconnaissance and military surveys within Chinese waters. According to a statement that the spokesperson published on the Defense Department’s website on December 17, “China resolutely opposes these activities and demands that the U.S. side stop such activities. China will continue to be vigilant against the relevant activities on the U.S. side and will take necessary measures in response.”
China’s Defense Ministry website, December 20, 2016,
New York Times Chinese website, December 20, 2016,
BBC Chinese, December 18, 2016,
Xinhua News Agency, December 18, 2016,
Following the incident in which the Chinese Navy captured the U.S. unmanned underwater vehicle in the South China Sea on December 15, China’s state media Global Times reported on an interview of some Chinese military officers about the incident. Below is an excerpt from their report:
Wu Shicun, President of the China South Sea Research Institute, said that the issue of the foreign media’s so-called international waters [where the incident happened] represents only one side of the opinion from the United States. There is no (such explanation) in the Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Wu believes that the calm in the South China Sea is only temporary. Because the core problem has not been resolved (including Sino-U.S. competition in the South China Sea, geopolitical competition, and a power struggle over sea rights), the United States is back. Therefore, this may represent a trend in the South China Sea — the conflict is heating up as the U.S. returns again with deep intervention.
In answering the question “whether China is getting stronger and stronger in the ability to control the South China Sea issue, and will not let the United States do whatever it wants,” Wu answered that “it is very obvious” and added that the Chinese military will be very confident in dealing with the issue. The strategic situation of the South China Sea will gradually change with China’s Nansha reef-related facilities being in place.
He said that China’s capturing the U.S. unmanned underwater vehicle sends the following signal: The United States performs close reconnaissance, threatening our country’s security. China has counter-measures. In the 2001 the plane crash incident and the 2009 “USNS Impeccable” event, China had “no choice but to suffer in silence” in many regards. That era may be gone forever.
Yang Yi, Major General and former director of the Strategic Research Institute of the National Defense University, claimed that China should “capture whatever should be captured,” and now they (the United States) “can stop us.”
Yang Yi also believes that, when Trump comes to power, the Sino-US conflict around the South China Sea may become more intense.
Yang said that [since] Americans “sent this thing to our door,” it could not be more natural for us to take it home and study it. If the United States becomes even noisier, it only indicates that it is that much more guilty.
Source: Global Times (Huanqiu), December 17, 2016