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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

Green Peace: Increase in China’s 2018 Carbon Emissions Expected to Be the Fastest in Six Years

China Carbon Trading Online recently published a report by Green Peace, which showed that China’s 2018 carbon emission volume will increase at a pace never seen in the past six years. Green Peace reached this conclusion based on China’s official data. This brings back the doubt as to whether the Paris Agreement can truly result in curbing carbon emissions. Green Peace’s calculation showed China’s carbon emissions increased four percent in the first quarter of this year. China is currently the largest carbon emissions country in the world; it creates a quarter of the world’s total emissions. Global emissions stabilized between 2014 and 2016. However, in 2017, the total emissions started growing again as a result of the increase in the volume that China produces, as well as the European Union and the rest of the Asian countries. Scientists expressed their belief that, according to the Chinese government’s economic development plan, China’s increase in emissions will continue. China estimated that its emissions level will top out “before 2030.”

Source: China Carbon Trading Online, May 30, 2018 Commentary Calls U.S. Navy Warships Recent Presence in South China Sea “Escalation of Unprecedented Provocative Action” against China

On May 27, Reuters first reported that two U.S. Navy warships, the Higgins guided-missile destroyer and the Antietam, a guided-missile cruiser, came within 12 nautical miles in the region where China has territorial disputes with its neighbors. The article called it “an operation that is the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing’s efforts to limit freedom of navigation in those strategic waters.” On May 28,, People’s Daily Overseas edition, published a commentary article that Hu Bo wrote. Hu is a research director at the Institute of Ocean Research at Peking University. The article stated that the latest move of the U.S. Navy is an obvious escalation in its action to challenge China’s sovereignty in the South China Sea islands. It called the move “provocative,” and “unprecedented.” It stated that “the U.S. is uneasy with China’s growing military power in the South China Sea.” The author predicted that the U.S. will increase its presence in the region and will take more “direct and rough” provocative actions against China. As to how China should react to the threat, the article said that China has no other way except to continue to exercise its ability in the area of self-defense. According to the article, “Since the U.S. is concerned about the narrowing of the power gap between China and the U.S. in the South China Sea, the conflict and standoff could be a long term and perhaps a direct fight between China and the U.S. This could be a healthy move for the relationship between the two countries.”

1. Reuters, May 28, 2018
2., May 29, 2018

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