china latest news – The Eastern Link https://theeasternlink.com Connecting Regions of Asia. Tue, 21 Jul 2020 06:14:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.7.2 https://theeasternlink.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/cropped-external-link-symbol-32x32.png china latest news – The Eastern Link https://theeasternlink.com 32 32 Brookings ‘Latest China Report Lays Bare Dragon Truth’ https://theeasternlink.com/brookings-latest-china-report-lays-bare-dragon-truth/ https://theeasternlink.com/brookings-latest-china-report-lays-bare-dragon-truth/#respond Tue, 21 Jul 2020 05:40:13 +0000 https://theeasternlink.com/?p=5932

Not long ago, China was viewed primarily as a regional actor with a predominant focus on events in its near abroad. In the span of a few short decades, China has established itself as a global actor. It has solidified its role as one of a small handful of countries with interests spanning the globe and […]

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Not long ago, China was viewed primarily as a regional actor with a predominant focus on events in its near abroad. In the span of a few short decades, China has established itself as a global actor.
 It has solidified its role as one of a small handful of countries with interests spanning the globe and the capacity to act on them. China’s presence is now felt in every corner of the world, from the South Pacific to South and Central Asia, the wider Middle East, Latin America, and points in between.
To explore the impact of China’s global activism, the papers in this installment of the Brookings Foreign Policy project “Global China: Assessing China’s Growing Role in the World” explore China’s efforts to expand its influence across different geographic regions, as well as implications of those efforts for the United States and for international order. 
These papers each reach initial conclusions about what tools China is relying upon to advance its interests, how China’s efforts are being met by local actors, and what options exist for those actors — and in some cases the United States — to respond. 
The papers demonstrate the diversity of methods China is employing to advance its interests. Taken as a whole, though, they highlight China’s heavy reliance on economic statecraft as a tool of first resort for pressing gains and for imposing penalties on countries that challenge its interests or push back on its agenda.

The papers also highlight the strategic calculations informing China’s ambitions, including in its efforts to develop force projection capabilities in the Indian Ocean region, its sensitivity to Afghanistan becoming a bastion of instability with potential spillover effects onto western China, and its efforts to establish its first overseas military base in the Horn of Africa. 
Lastly, in several instances, the papers spotlight uncertainties about whether China will be able to translate bold ambitions into realities.
This collection of papers shows the cost-benefit analyses that countries are navigating as they have entered into partnerships with China.
Ted Piccone examines the tightening embrace between China and the Latin American and Caribbean region. He highlights how China has emerged as a heavyweight in trade and investment and the implications for the region’s infrastructure and energy systems, as well as for its politics. China’s growing involvement in the region also is fueling rising competition between the United States and China. 
Piccone argues this dynamic should push the United States to up its game, not by implementing sanctions or attempting to compete dollar-for-dollar with Beijing, but rather by advancing a comprehensive strategy that positions Washington as the partner of choice for tackling major regional challenges.
Harold Trinkunas explores the relationship between Brazil and China, which is largely grounded in trade and investment. Brazil trades nearly twice as much with China as with the United States, a gap that has been widening as a result of trade diversion resulting from the U.S.-China trade war.
 Brazil and China also have shared common interests in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) grouping of emerging powers. 
Since taking office in January 2019, however, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has challenged the historical trends in the Brazil-China relationship by taking a critical stance on China and adopting a highly pro-U.S. position. 
Bolsonaro’s foreign policy positions vis-à-vis China have largely mimicked those of the Donald Trump administration. 
Now, as both Bolsonaro and Trump face wide criticism of their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, Trinkunas warns that such close U.S.-Brazil relations are unlikely to persist beyond these two like-minded presidents. 
Brazil-China relations, on the other hand, are likely to grow closer once again on the basis of commercial interests.
Vanda Felbab-Brown discusses China’s growing presence in Afghanistan. She argues that Chinese objectives in Afghanistan have now become largely security-related, superseding earlier economic interests, as China seeks to halt anti-Chinese militancy and ensure Uighur militants do not receive support from the Taliban.
 For that reason, China has reached a rapprochement with the Taliban and not tilted away from Pakistan as the Afghan government hoped. Chinese economic commitments to Afghanistan also remain substantially unrealized.
 In addition, China increasingly views Afghanistan through a lens of geopolitical competition with India. As the U.S. military presence decreases in Afghanistan, China may step up its role in the country to protect its interests there, which could intensify the China-India rivalry. 
Despite these factors, Felbab-Brown argues that U.S. engagement in Afghanistan should not be animated by competition with China, but rather be judged on its own merits and based on America’s strategic objectives in the country.
Susan A. Thornton challenges the narrative that Chinese activities in Central Asia are damaging to the interests of countries in the region. 
She argues that Central Asian states have leveraged China’s involvement in their favor by using China’s regional ambition as bargaining power to elevate their own diplomatic profiles and to push China to act on their development and security priorities, such as infrastructure. 
She also argues that China’s ambitions in the region are kept in check by Russia’s sustained interest there, as well as public wariness of China, leading to a dynamic of “warm politics, cold public.” Chinese repression of ethnic Muslim minorities has additionally dampened cross-border relations. 
Thornton argues that Washington should shift its focus away from criticizing China’s actions in Central Asia toward articulating its own vision for the region and the role the U.S. can play there.
Pavel K. Baev describes the limits of authoritarian compatibility between Xi Jinping’s China and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. 
He argues that even as Beijing and Moscow try to display an outward friendship, they are not natural allies. China is a rising power, while Russia is on a downward trend. 
Mutual suspicions mar the relationship and undercut any intention to upgrade their relations to a strategic partnership. Baev also observes that structural corruption in both countries creates incompatibilities. Baev argues that the United States should exploit the divergences between the two countries.
Madiha Afzal focuses on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), arguing that the Chinese and Pakistani governments have aggressively controlled the narrative on the project. 
Its details remain opaque, including the terms of the loans and the overall cost of the project to Pakistan. The U.S. has criticized CPEC, citing what it views as predatory lending and undue benefit for Chinese firms and workers at Pakistan’s expense.
 Yet, for Pakistan, Afzal writes, the project is best seen as the economic peg in a longstanding wider relationship with China which helps counter deepening U.S.-India ties. 
Afzal argues Pakistan should provide a clearer picture to its public on the terms of this partnership. Doing so might pressure both parties to generate terms for CPEC that are more favorable to Pakistan.
Joshua T. White documents China’s expanding engagements in the Indian Ocean region (IOR). 
He concludes that even though present-day Chinese power projection capabilities in the IOR remain modest, China appears to be pursuing capabilities that would enable it to undertake a range of increasingly complex military missions in the region. White identifies five such missions that would be relevant to China’s interests. 
He cautions that while China’s investments in ports and other infrastructure may be difficult to leverage into meaningful military advantages, the coercive nature of China’s economic efforts could foster political and strategic vulnerabilities for China. Ultimately, White urges American policymakers to be attentive to Chinese investments in particular capabilities that could presage a more ambitious military role in the region.
Zach Vertin spotlights the Red Sea as a potential theater of great power competition. He notes that China’s economic and strategic expansion in the region — including its first overseas military base in Djibouti — has generated concern in U.S. national security circles.
 Vertin explains that while Washington has viewed Djibouti primarily through a security lens, Beijing has advanced a mix of commercial, technological, and diplomatic investments there, indicative of its approach across the BRI corridor. He observes that China sees its Djiboutian outpost both as a means to project power and as a testing ground — where its military can gain experience and gauge international reaction to a Chinese presence outside the western Pacific.
 Vertin cautions against the U.S. emphasizing “great power competition” among regional partners, and suggests it focus instead on smart investments, comparative advantages, and multilateral cooperation. 
Washington, he notes, should also recognize Djibouti and the Red Sea region as part of the wider, and increasingly pivotal, Indo-Pacific domain.
Adel Abdel Ghafar and Anna L. Jacobs document China’s growing footprint in the southern Mediterranean. They observe that U.S. disengagement from the region and Europe’s diminishing influence have created a power vacuum for China and Russia to fill. 
They highlight that Beijing’s ties to the North African region largely center on trade and infrastructure development, affording the region an alternative to Europe and the United States. China’s rigid social control and rapid economic growth also have served as an attractive model for leaders across the region.
 They argue that China also is forging deeper defense ties and closer diplomatic relations, a trend that is unlikely to reverse due to the declining presence of the U.S. and European Union in the region.
Natan Sachs and Kevin Huggard examine Israel’s relationship with China within the broader context of American and Chinese relations with the Middle East.
 Israel is torn between its diplomatic and economic interests to work with China and its paramount interest to maintain a close relationship with the United States, which has pressured Israel to limit its engagements with Beijing.
 Sachs and Huggard write this balancing act will become more difficult as U.S.-China tensions in the region increase amid a rising Chinese presence.
 As the largest trading partner of many countries in the Middle East, China already holds significant regional influence. Beijing is wary of taking up a more central political role, but holds several advantages over Washington should it choose to invest more in navigating the region’s political fault lines.
Bruce Riedel writes that China’s relationship with Saudi Arabia is driven by access to oil — but even though China is now the biggest importer of Saudi oil, there is little strategic cooperation between the two countries.
 However, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has notably defended Beijing on its repression of Uighur Muslims in the name of security. 
Riedel observes that Riyadh still views Washington as its main strategic partner; a majority of its arms purchases come from the United States, and Washington is far more aligned with Riyadh than Beijing is on Iran, Saudi Arabia’s regional rival. 
While a Joe Biden administration would likely downgrade U.S.-Saudi relations, there would be limits to China’s ability to take advantage.
Natasha Kassam outlines the causes of the ongoing unraveling of the China-Australia relationship and its economic and security implications.
 Kassam argues the current situation between the two countries is unprecedented in terms of the breadth of the economic measures — both real and threatened — and Beijing’s nonchalance regarding the fallout of its aggressive behavior. 
She argues that as China has become increasingly assertive in pursuing its goals in Australia, Australia has grown more tolerant of friction in pushing back. 
China views Australia through the lens of competition with the United States and would like to divide the two allies and weaken America’s position in the western Pacific. 
However, Kassam concludes that China’s regional conduct is likely to deepen its clash with other countries in the region.
 China’s pressure on Australia should not be seen as an aberration, but rather as a foretaste of how China will exercise its growing power to advance its strategic objectives.
Jonathan Pryke analyzes China’s steadily growing influence in the South Pacific. 
He writes that China’s growing footprint has reached a level that has triggered traditional powers engaged in the region to sound alarm. 
While observing that China’s growing involvement in local affairs has had a corrosive effect on regional governance, Pryke also observes that China may be hitting a wall in how far it can go in leveraging economic involvement to pursue strategic objectives. 
Pryke notes that China’s increased activism has prompted Australia and New Zealand to up their regional diplomatic game, and expects the coming year to reveal how far China can go in building inroads in the South Pacific.
These assessments collectively offer diverse analyses about China’s activities and their implications in different regions of the world, while also highlighting China’s use of economic statecraft as the leading edge of its efforts to gain influence and cases in which a military footprint has followed, or can be expected to follow, closely behind. 
The analyses also show the many ways in which the United States and its allies and partners have struggled to adapt to China’s growing influence and present a range of policy recommendations for decisionmakers in Washington and other capitals to be more agile and effective.

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Security-Wise : Hasty Solutions Only Help China Grab More Territory https://theeasternlink.com/security-wise-hasty-solutions-only-help-china-grab-more-territory/ https://theeasternlink.com/security-wise-hasty-solutions-only-help-china-grab-more-territory/#respond Sat, 06 Jun 2020 06:34:00 +0000 https://theeasternlink.com/?p=4591

Strange, but there was no mention of the troubles the country is facing on the disputed border with China by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his latest monthly edition of radio talk “mann ki baat” on May 30. It is as if all is normal on the national security front and Beijing, emulating the Modi […]

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Strange, but there was no mention of the troubles the country is facing on the disputed border with China by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his latest monthly edition of radio talk “mann ki baat” on May 30. It is as if all is normal on the national security front and Beijing, emulating the Modi regime, has fully imbibed the Wuhan and Mamallapuram spirits and is committed to resolving all issues peacefully. Except, a month plus into the confrontation with China, Beijing’s territorial grab at various points on the 3,800 km disputed border, especially in the western sector, is reality.

The Narendra Modi government and the Indian army’s response to this aggression has been along predictable lines. It is being officially stated that (1) there has been no territorial loss, (2) India has adequate forces to deal with any China front-related contingency, and (3) existing negotiation mechanisms at various levels ranging from field commanders at one end, MEA, to the hotline connecting the Prime minister and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the other end, are working to defuse the situation.

The third factor — diplomacy and negotiation — that the army and the government are stressing and is being publicized is possibly because that’s what they are relying on to restore a modicum of peace but on Chinese terms — meaning Delhi’s acceptance of the new territorial status quo, because the Indian army, honestly speaking, is in no position forcefully to restore the status quo ante. As regards, the first two assertions — well, to put it bluntly, they are false.

There has been serious and extensive capture of territory over time on the Indian side of the claim line by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), most recently and egregiously in the eight terrain features, called “fingers” abutting the Pangong Lake (discussed in the preceding post) . The wide-area satellite imagery that has been available to the Indian government since well before Narendra Modi became prime minister ought to have alerted the army and government to the larger picture of relentless expansion of its presence on the LAC but did not. Why not, is a legitimate matter for investigation. It proves not just the loss of valuable real state elsewhere, but particularly here in one of the most strategically sensitive regions.

The government’s military pointman on the China border issue, the Mandarin-speaking Lt Gen SL Narasimhan, one-time commander XXXIII Corps, Military Attache in Beijing, and presently a member of the National Security Advisory Board, firstly voiced the unexceptionable opinion that the reason PLA has acted up is to hinder military-use border infrastructure construction proceeding apace on the Indian side. Like the long, high altitude, Chewang Rinchen bridge across the Shyok River in eastern Ladakh connecting Durbuk with Depsang via Murgo. Secondly, he attributed the clashes on the LAC to the summer patrolling season, and conceded that territory may have been lost owing to an undefined border. He then adopted a variant of the MEA line that nothing’s amiss to make a perplexing statement: “I think [the Chinese] are trying to lay claim to their perception of LAC. I don’t think it should be seen as if they want to pick up territory or otherwise. It should be seen as they are trying to lay claim to their perception of the LAC.”

Well, what is it, General Narasimhan? Has the PLA ventured onto the Indian side and captured territory, or not? China’s laying “claim to [its] perception of LAC” surely amounts to its creating a new LAC and “picking up” Indian territory, no? Or does he think the enemy’s “perception of LAC” can be abstracted from his activity to realize his perception on the ground? In any case, what kind of hair splitting is this, and that too by an army general? In the event, nothing good can be assumed about the quality of his advice to the government. (https://indianexpress.com/article/india/face-off-along-lac-in-ladakh-chinese-build-up-will-be-matched-says-nsab-member-6432174/)

Narasimhan’s confused and confusing statements notwithstanding, there’s in fact a methodical buildup by the PLA of staging areas, including a forward air field in Ngari, shelters for infantry combat/light armoured vehicles and associated stores, permanent shelters for troops, etc. on India’s side of the claim line that leaves little doubt as to Beijing’s intent to convert this line into the new LAC, one from which it will not withdraw.

But this is not the sensible conclusion reached by the government. Modi’s thinking, embellished by MEA and the likes of Narasimhan, is reflected, for instance, in today’s newspaper op-ed by the ex-foreign secretary Shyam Saran, also Mandarin conversant, who believes that despite the construction by the PLA of military facilities on various sites on the LAC, China will withdraw upon a negotiated settlement. (See https://www.hindustantimes.com/analysis/as-the-lac-heats-up-reading-china-s-playbook/story-0b7pzNwsL282ktzMsj5YWK.html). It is an MEA pipe dream the Indian government has long been lulling itself into quiescence with. On the ground though, per Saran’s own report India as of 2013 lost 640 sq kms of territory — a loss that may have doubled by now with China’s policy of creeping occupation of contested and strategically important territory.

Recent writings by senior retired army officers attest to this territorial loss. The outspoken Lt Gen HS Panag, Northern army commander 2006-2008, is forthcoming on this score. Panag, it may be remembered, was transferred by the then army chief General Deepak Kapoor to the Central Command to serve out his career for initiating an investigation into the so-called “eggs and tents” scam occurring during his predecessor Kapoor’s tenure in Udhampur, (See https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Army-chief-gets-his-way-Panag-shifted-out-of-JK/articleshow/2814108.cms)

Panag writes that “the PLA has crossed the LAC and physically secured 3-4 km of our territory along Galwan River and the entire area between Finger 5 and Finger 8 along the north bank of Pangong Tso, a distance of nearly 8-10 km. There also seem to be minor incursions in the area of Hot Springs, in Ladakh’s Chang Chenmo River valley and at Demchok.” More worryingly, the territory the PLA has actually secured may be many times more because, he asserts, “the intrusion by regular troops is not linear like normal border patrols going to respective claim lines. If a brigade size force has secured 3-4 km in Galwan River, it implies that the heights to the north and south have been secured, thus securing a total area of 15 to 20 square km. Similarly, along Pangong Tso, the PLA brigade having secured 8-10 km on the north bank would have also secured the dominating heights to the north to physically control 35-40 square km. And if China subsequently realigns its claim line based on the areas secured, the net area secured would increase exponentially.” [Refer https://theprint.in/opinion/china-believes-india-wants-aksai-chin-back-thats-why-it-has-crossed-lac-in-ladakh/430899/].

Labeling the slow but deliberate occupation of Ladakhi real estate as “provocations”, the more cautious vice chief of the army Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi, 2000-2001, writes, that on the 489 km-long LAC in Ladakh, the “traditional disputed points” at Trig Heights and Demchok, are “now expanded to ten” with China raising fresh disputes on the Pangong Tso and at Chumar. Oberoi also recalled from his time as member of the China Study Circle, the apex China policy-making body, that MEA’s accommodationist ideas invariably prevailed over the army’s views. (https://www.thecitizen.in//en/NewsDetail/index/4/18814/The-Many-Reasons-For-Chinas-Transgressions-Across-LAC).

Interestingly, while both Oberoi and Panag blame the dual-control the army wields on the LAC, and particularly in the Ladakh sector, with the paramilitary Indo-Tibetan Border Police for the surprise the PLA was able to spring on the army, the latter also rounds off on the external intelligence service RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) for the fiasco. “At the strategic level, it was the failure of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) to detect the build-up of the PLA formations from the rear bases to replace the border defence units”, avers Panag, before admitting that the army’s “tactical surveillance with UAVs and patrols has been inadequate to detect this large-scale movement close to the LAC.”

According to Panag, brigade-sized PLA forces are deployed in the Galwan valley and the north bank of Pangong Tso, and possibly “precautionary deployment…at likely launch pads for offensive and other vulnerable areas along the LAC”, with adequate reserves no doubt placed to be readily at hand “to cater for Indian reaction/escalation”. In support are the upgraded Ngari base hosting fighter aircraft, with “additional troops” posted in the Depsang plains, Hot Springs, Spanggur Gap, and Chumar. This is a good reading of the state of affairs in Ladakh.

[Reproduced below are the two maps, perhaps, with his own markings that General Panag attached with his article.]

But what is transparent to Panag is not so plain to Narasimhan. According to the latter, it isn’t at all clear to the government and the army brass just how many PLA troops there are on or proximal to the LAC, nor the specific numbers of PLA troops that may have transgressed into Indian territory to set up camp. “I have heard variations from 500 to 5,000 to 10,000. It will be extremely difficult to predict,” he states. But the adversary’s force strength is not a matter of “prediction” but a conclusion to be reached on the basis of multiple-sourced information and intelligence, lot of it available in the open realm. But this only points to the larger problem — the Indian military’s inability to estimate the kind of forces the PLA High Command can bring to bear against it, in this case, what forces can be detached at short notice from the 200,000-strong main force based in Tibet to partake of contingent hostilities on the LAC. Without this predicate, plans cannot be made for resisting the operational punch of such PLA deployment. In the circumstances, Narasimhan’s comment that “It is not required to predict the numbers…. if there is a build-up from Chinese side, there will be an equal build-up from our side” is less than reassuring.

In the event, is it the army’s contention that it will be able to summon a Tibet-based PLA sized force if and when it is needed? If so, then unbeknownst to many of us we, the armed services included, are inhabiting cloud cuckoo land where military prowess can be conjured out of thin air, the country is ‘atm nirbhar’, and there’s nothing the country needs to do save await the multi-trillion dollar economic great power status round the corner. Alas, in the real world, the severely depleted War Stock of ammo, artillery shells, and chemical explosives means the movement of guns and longrange artillery to the Ladakh frontlines is of little avail. A down-to-earth assessment would question the Indian army’s ability to survive 6-7 days hostilities against the PLA conducted at full tilt, even if restricted to the LAC.

The still grander malady lurks elsewhere. Here I can do no better than revert to my pet theme of two-odd decades that the army, because it disproportionately stresses the minor Pakistan threat, has lacked the resources to invest in comprehensive capabilities to fight China defensively on the LAC and, even less, offensively across it, leave alone take on China and Pakistan in a two-front war — an unwarranted boast the Indian military brass routinely make. It was a case last iterated in my India Today column of January 26 this year [Refer https://www.indiatoday.in/magazine/up-front/story/20200203-two-front-war-a-convenient-fiction-1639507-2020-01-24; it was posted on this blog].

As detailed in my earlier writings and at length in a chapter in my 2015 book Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet), there is a practical solution, the only one, staring the country in the face, short of the Modi sarkar committing 3%-4% of GDP every year for the next 15-20 years for the purpose of achieving an all-aspect force for the China front that is as large as it is sophisticated, and matches up with the PLA on all counts. Such gigantic fund sequestration being unlikely, my solution is unavoidable. It requires the implementation of far reaching measures — the army reverting to 5-7 year colour service for jawans and in lieu of pensions a one-time grant to demobilized jawans (to slice the pensions/payroll expenditure by half or thereabouts), majorly derating the Pakistan threat, rationalizing the three strike corps into a single composite corps, and diverting the freed up manpower and relevant war materiel to raising two additional offensive mountain corps equipped with light (30-35 ton) tanks, for a total of three such corps each with, among other things, integral air assault/air cavalry units for taking the fight to the PLA on the Tibetan plateau.

These and other recommendations were featured in the classified report I authored, as adviser, defence expenditure, and which report was ceremonially submitted along with the main documents by KC Pant, chairman, 10th Finance Commission, to the then President Shankar Dayal Sharma in the Rashtrapati Bhavan, and hence to the (Narasimha Rao) government, exactly 25 years ago. That report, relegated to a back shelf in some office in the Ministry of Defence, must by now have collected a heap of dust.

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China Cannot yet lead the World https://theeasternlink.com/china-cannot-yet-lead-the-world/ https://theeasternlink.com/china-cannot-yet-lead-the-world/#respond Sat, 16 May 2020 05:48:00 +0000 https://theeasternlink.com/?p=3847

An idea seems to be going around that somehow, the COVID-19 pandemic is a turning point for the international order — that Pax Sinica will soon replace Pax Americana. Such belief is premature to say the least, but it provides an occasion, nevertheless, to consider exactly what the world can expect under Chinese leadership. Even […]

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An idea seems to be going around that somehow, the COVID-19 pandemic is a turning point for the international order — that Pax Sinica will soon replace Pax Americana.

Such belief is premature to say the least, but it provides an occasion, nevertheless, to consider exactly what the world can expect under Chinese leadership.

Even before the pandemic, the rise of China had provided despots around the world with the confidence to seek centralisation of power and to retain power by whatever means possible. The pandemic now provides an opportunity for such leaders as well as others potentially, to fast-forward such agenda.

At least one commentator has declared that ‘Creeping Authoritarianism Has Finally Prevailed’ citing the example of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán who pushed a law through his country’s parliament suspending elections and giving him the authority to rule by decree indefinitely. In this sense, the damage to China’s reputation from the pandemic is of little import.

Aiding the spread of the ‘Chinese model’ of political and economic development is the use of technology as a tool of political consolidation by the Communist Party of China (CPC). Chinese enterprises are already involved in setting up biometric databases and surveillance technologies — often without proper local legal safeguards for civil and political rights — from Africa to Russia and from Iran to Latin America. Such surveillance is a threat to democratic institutions and allows for the cover-up of regime incompetence as well as for pre-emptively striking against dissenters and the organisation of civil opposition.

As far as foreign and security policies are concerned, it is unlikely that China’s current behaviour will change. If anything, this could possibly worsen in a world order that Beijing leads. The record of China’s behaviour as it has slowly increased its economic and military capacities in recent decades bears this out.

Consider, for instance, the Panchsheel Principles or the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, the promotion of which is a staple claim of China’s ties with other countries. Among these are included such lofty ones as mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.

Beijing’s extensive propaganda campaign to cover up its role in the spread of the novel coronavirus across the globe has, however, unabashedly included frequent criticism of governments, media and other institutions in foreign countries.

For instance, a Chinese diplomat in an unsigned posting on his embassy website in Paris, alleged that employees at French nursing homes had abandoned their charges and left them to die. He said this specifically in the context of defending his government’s actions in the wake of the outbreak attempting thus, to show his own country in a better light vis-à-vis Western ones.

In another egregious example, the Chinese consulate-general in Chicago in the United States sent an email to the head of the senate in Wisconsin to sponsor a Bill praising China’s response to coronavirus. He was even helpfully provided with a draft resolution for ‘reference’. While both instances invited furious backlash, Chinese embassies and consulates seem impervious to the criticism and have repeated variations of these exercises elsewhere in the world.

So much for China’s claim of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries.

More importantly, if even Chinese diplomats can engage in this sort of obnoxious or tone-deaf behaviour so widely at odds with their government’s rhetoric, it suggests that China lacks the ability to carry everyone along in a world order that it seeks to lead.

Similarly, examples of China’s lack of respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of other nations are by now well-known. However, it speaks to the Chinese focus on their self-interest above all else that they have continued even during the pandemic to press their unlawful territorial claims in the South China Sea. In April, a Chinese coastguard vessel rammed and sank a Vietnamese fishing boat off the Paracel Islands while another was deployed to the Scarborough Shoal claimed by the Philippines. A Chinese survey vessel also followed around another owned by Malaysia’s Petronas in waters claimed by both Vietnam and Malaysia.

Another case in point from mid-April is China’s establishment of two new districts to administer disputed features in the South China Sea. This was followed a day later by China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs and Ministry of Natural Resources announcing the standardisation of names for features in the South China Sea it claims. All of these efforts suggest that a world order China leads will not be based on respect for international law but on its own writ.

It should be clear by now that for China, global leadership is not going to be about replacing the United States at the top and then letting the world continue as it has under norms and principles set by the West. On the contrary, because the principal goal of the CPC is to maintain itself in power at home, it also sees democratic and open societies as posing threats to its survival. All Chinese foreign policy is, therefore, a means to promote regime survival.

This zero-sum worldview implies that China will want the world to be run according to its own rules and for other countries to take after its own image. Thus, it becomes necessary for Beijing to undermine both individual democracies as well as the liberal international order, or the aspiration for it that the US has at least seemed to promote since the end of the Cold War.

China seems to believe that it will over the next couple of decades have the economic and military capacity to pre-empt competition or opposition to its will and that this will itself lead to global order on its terms. However, such a world order is actually likely to be an unstable one based as it is on the principle of ‘might is right’. What a Chinese-led world order also promises is a descent into a dystopian future of political authoritarianism and technology-based surveillance in the name of ‘global goods’ or a ‘community of common destiny’ — terms left suitably vague or whose definition and articulation will be China’s prerogative

.Jabin T Jacob is Associate Professor, Department of International Relations and Governance Studies, Shiv Nadar University, Uttar Pradesh and Adjunct Research Fellow at the National Maritime Foundation, New Delhi. He tweets @jabinjacobt. Views are personal.

Courtesy – MoneyControl

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China Hitting Back At US Entities In Covid Slambang https://theeasternlink.com/china-hitting-back-at-us-entities-in-cvid-slambang/ https://theeasternlink.com/china-hitting-back-at-us-entities-in-cvid-slambang/#respond Thu, 14 May 2020 09:56:04 +0000 https://theeasternlink.com/?p=3746

China is extremely dissatisfied with the abuse of litigation by the US against China over the COVID-19 epidemic and mulling punitive countermeasures against US individuals, entities and state officials such as Missouri’s attorney general Eric Schmitt, who filed lawsuits against China to seek damages over the coronavirus pandemic, sources close to the matter told the […]

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China is extremely dissatisfied with the abuse of litigation by the US against China over the COVID-19 epidemic and mulling punitive countermeasures against US individuals, entities and state officials such as Missouri’s attorney general Eric Schmitt, who filed lawsuits against China to seek damages over the coronavirus pandemic, sources close to the matter told the Global Times exclusively. At least four US Congress lawmakers and two entities will be put onto China’s sanction list, according to analysts.

China won’t just strike back symbolically, but will impose countermeasures that will make them feel painful, analysts said. 

Some US congressmen and state governors as well as attorneys who are also GOP hawks have filed lawsuits against China, alleging that the Chinese government mishandled the epidemic, which has led to severe economic consequences.

At least six lawsuits have been filed against China in US federal courts, while some lawmakers have also introduced bills to make it easier to sue China despite legal hurdles and no realistic possibility for US states to achieve their aim. Missouri became the first state in the US to sue the Chinese government. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed the lawsuit on April 21, claiming that China did little to stop the spread of the virus and “lied to the world about the danger and contagious nature of COVID-19,” claiming that Missouri residents may have suffered tens of billions of dollars in economic damage.

Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch followed suit in a move that was slammed as “ridiculous” and “absurd” by Chinese officials and experts. The suit calls for Mississippians to be allowed to seek justice and hold China accountable, Fitch was quoted as saying in a report by Fox News on April 25.

Those Republicans who have been harshly criticizing China and inflaming this “holding China accountable” political farce will face severe consequences, sources said, noting that the aftermath will also impact the upcoming November elections, while business and trade between Missouri and China will be further soured. 

Senators who also actively pushed the anti-China bill over the pandemic include Josh Hawley – a Missouri Republican – who came up with the “Justice for Victims of COVID-19 Act” in mid-April which would take away China’s sovereign immunity and permit US citizens to sue the Chinese government for downplaying COVID-19 information. Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton and Texas Republican Dan Crenshaw also introduced legislation that would allow Americans to sue China over the coronavirus.

On April 16, Cotton introduced legislation that would allow Americans to sue China in federal court to recover damages for death, injury, and economic harm caused by the coronavirus. Specifically, the bill would amend the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act to create a narrow exception for damages caused by China’s handling of the coronvirus outbreak. A day later, Republican Chris Smith of New Jersey proposed the likewise bill to strip China of its sovereign immunity and allow Americans to sue the Chinese government, according to his official website. Republican Jim Banks also joined the blame game in condemning the Chinese government’s handling of the epidemic outbreak.

For those lawmakers, anti-China deeds have almost fully covered their daily routines. In fact, Hawley introduced legislation along with another Republican Rick Scott on March 12 to ban all federal employees from using TikTok on government devices. Smith has also been a frequent instigator on China-related topics, particularly on so-called human rights issues. In March 2019, Smith introduced legislation to tackle China’s political influence in the US by saying “Beijing’s influence operations are sophisticated and threatening.”

Other GOP lawmakers have been actively pushing forward a bill that would facilitate suing China, such as one introduced by GOP Senator Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee, Martha McSally from Arizona and Lance Gooden of Texas. Also, some Republicans in New Jersey – Jim Holzapfel, Greg McGuckin and John Catalano – are introducing a resolution urging US President Donald Trump and US Congress to pass a bill that lets US citizens sue China, media reported.

US lawyer Larry Klayman and his advocacy group Freedom Watch, along with Texas company Buzz Photos, also filed a lawsuit against the Chinese government. The plaintiffs have sought $20 trillion from China. 

China has repeatedly stressed that cooperation between China and the US is mutually beneficial while always maintaining the hope that bilateral relations will develop in a healthy direction. However, we cannot back down again and again and tolerate some people who have endlessly compromised China-US relations, analysts said. 

“We must resolutely crack down on those politicians who, for no reason, undermine China-US ties for their own political benefits. For those who promote anti-China legislation, we need to find out what the business ties are between those officials or their families with China,” Yuan Zheng, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

“We can’t just strike back symbolically, but should impose countermeasures that could make them feel the pain,” Yuan said.

China was the third-largest export destination for Missouri, after the UK and Canada, for goods and services in 2019 worth $1.1 billion and $775 million, respectively. Some of the top goods exported to China included oilseeds and grains, meat products, and medicine. 

Missouri, together with other states like Michigan, South Carolina and Texas, had taken measures to make it easier for Chinese investment to come in and boost local job growth years ago. For example, in 2013, one week before Chinese company Shuanghui purchased Smithfield Foods, the Missouri legislature amended a law clearing the way for approval.

Hong Lei, then Chinese Consulate General in Chicago, said in a speech in 2017 that Chinese companies invested more than $1.1 billion in Missouri, creating 4,500 jobs.

China could impose the countermeasures on the relevant states represented by those anti-China lawmakers, including measures targeting trade and exchanges, Yuan said. “Those officials should be held responsible for what they said. However, we need to strike a balance between punishing them and not diminishing them all,” he added.

Some Missouri companies, for example, have long-term investments in China and are likely to feel severe consequences if China strikes back with punitive measures in response to the coronavirus lawsuit. Emerson Electric, which was founded in Missouri, has significant operations in China, and just opened its largest overseas research and development center in Suzhou, East China’s Jiangsu Province in 2019. 

Courtesy – GlobalTimes

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Chinese Analysts Claim Quick Control Of Border Face-Off https://theeasternlink.com/chinese-analysts-claim-quick-control-of-border-face-off/ https://theeasternlink.com/chinese-analysts-claim-quick-control-of-border-face-off/#respond Mon, 11 May 2020 02:42:00 +0000 https://theeasternlink.com/?p=3629

Chinese and Indian troops reportedly had a faceoff along the two countries’ border which was quickly resolved by local dialogue, Indian media reported.   This showed the effectiveness of the bilateral communication mechanism established after the Doklam Standoff, Chinese analysts said on Sunday. But it also reminded both countries to find an ultimate solution to the […]

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Chinese and Indian troops reportedly had a faceoff along the two countries’ border which was quickly resolved by local dialogue, Indian media reported.  

This showed the effectiveness of the bilateral communication mechanism established after the Doklam Standoff, Chinese analysts said on Sunday.

But it also reminded both countries to find an ultimate solution to the border issues as soon as possible, they added. 

Troops of China and India faced off at the border close to North Sikkim a few days ago, with minor injuries on both sides, Indian media outlet Asian News International (ANI) reported on Sunday, citing Indian Army sources.

The faceoff was resolved after local interaction and dialogue, the report quoted the Indian military sources as saying.

They also said that similar temporary and short duration faceoffs happen frequently as the border issue has not been resolved.

Troops resolve such issues mutually as per established protocols, the report said.

The Chinese side had not announced information on the reported incident as of press time.

Qian Feng, a senior fellow at the Taihe Institute and director of the research department of the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University in Beijing, told the Global Times on Sunday that Chinese and Indian troops have been conducting increased border patrols thanks to improved transportation on both sides.

The China-India border issue was left over from the past and both sides have different recognition, Qian said, noting that despite this, the two countries’ leaderships and related authorities have established communication mechanisms.

Their effectiveness was demonstrated by this incident, Qian said, as the problem was solved at the local level and did not escalate to a national level.

The faceoff reminded both countries that while these reoccurring minor issues have not yet hurt China-India relations, they may in the future, Qian said. 

“So we need to find opportunities and work out a fair and reasonable resolution to the border issue as soon as possible,” he said.

China and India experienced a 72-day military standoff in Doklam in 2017. Since then, measures have been taken to avoid another similar major incident.

The two countries’ leaders had two informal meetings and agreed both sides will continue to maintain peace and tranquility in border areas and work on additional confidence-building measures through consultation.

After the second informal meeting they urged the special representatives of the two countries to figure out a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution to the border issue, the Xinhua News Agency reported on October 13, 2019.

The two countries agreed to set up hotlines between the two countries’ defense ministries and between neighboring military regions, said Wu Qian, a Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson, at a routine press conference in August 2018.

Courtesy – South Asian Monitor

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Chinese Economy On Turnaround https://theeasternlink.com/chinese-economy-on-turnaround/ https://theeasternlink.com/chinese-economy-on-turnaround/#respond Fri, 08 May 2020 06:37:13 +0000 https://theeasternlink.com/?p=3506

China’s exports unexpectedly rose in April aided by stronger shipments to South East Asia, though with the coronavirus pandemic damaging global demand that increase is likely to be temporary. Imports fell. Exports rose 3.5% in dollar terms in April from a year earlier, while imports dropped 14.2%, the customs administration said Thursday. That left a […]

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China’s exports unexpectedly rose in April aided by stronger shipments to South East Asia, though with the coronavirus pandemic damaging global demand that increase is likely to be temporary. Imports fell.

Exports rose 3.5% in dollar terms in April from a year earlier, while imports dropped 14.2%, the customs administration said Thursday. That left a trade surplus of $45.3 billion for the month. Economists had forecast that exports would shrink by 11% while imports would contract by 10%.

Key Insights

  • S&P 500 futures extended gains and the offshore yuan rose after the better-than-expected data
  • Export data in yuan terms indicated that a rise in shipments to SE Asia drove the better-than-expected performance. Shipments to Asean rose 3.9% in the first four months of the year. Exports to the EU dropped 6.6%, while to the U.S. they fell 15.9%.
  • China’s exports usually start slowly in the first quarter due to the Lunar New Year and then rise from April. While there were some signs in March of a recovery from the domestic slump at the peak of the coronavirus outbreak, restrictions in other parts of the world to contain the pandemic had been expected to weigh on export orders and disrupt supply chains.
  • “April shipments may have been boosted by exporters making up for shortfalls in the first quarter due to supply constraints then,” according to Louis Kuijs, head of Asia economics at Oxford Economics Hong Kong Ltd. “As heralded by the weakness of new export orders in the PMIs, exports should weaken significantly in the near term as China’s key trading partners fall into deep recession.”
  • The earliest indicators for the economy in April showed the nascent rebound was already losing momentum.
  • The surprise increase in exports wasn’t uniform across Asia – South Korea’s exports in April fell by over 24%, the biggest drop since the global financial crisis, with shipments to all destinations down sharply.

Export Rebound

Chinese exports usually start slow due to the Lunar New Year and then rise from April, but that jump may be temporary this year.“As the volume of commodity imports actually rose, the decline in imports was driven by falling commodity prices,” said Raymond Yeung, chief China economist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group in Hong Kong. “April’s exports also reflected the pent-up demand of previous export orders for electronic products. Global work-from-home is also expected to be contributory to certain consumer electronic products. Nonetheless, this figure does not bode well for the US-China trade relationship. Trump’s administration will certainly press for more going forward.”

Almost 2.8 trillion yuan ($395 billion) worth of mechanical and electrical goods were shipped in the first four months, with more than 800 billion yuan of that just in April, according to the data.

Courtesy – Bloomberg

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