Showing posts with label China. Show all posts
Showing posts with label China. Show all posts

16 December 2019

Infrastructure in Tibet gets a big boost as China stepped up focus after Doklam face-off

New Delhi: China has been constructing new infrastructure in Tibet for more than two decades, and although Beijing claims the purpose is civilian, there could be military implications for India as well.

The construction of roads, railways and bridges was hastened after the Doklam stand-off in 2017; the roads around Doklam near the India-China-Bhutan tri-junction were upgraded along with other structures.

ThePrint had reported China’s big focus on rail and road infrastructure in areas bordering India in October last year, and now takes another look at satellite imagery to analyse the progress since.

Lhasa-Shigatse expressway

Bad Idea: China-Driven U.S. Strategy

Samuel Brannen

U.S. national security strategy is overly consumed with China to the detriment of broad global interests. A strategic overcorrection has put China at the center of virtually every U.S. national security conversation and consideration. That positioning is at once distracting the United States from appropriately responding to growing trans-regional geopolitical volatility while also failing to achieve outcomes in U.S. China policy.

In the day-to-day execution of U.S. statecraft, China mania has contributed to a distracted approach to overseeing active U.S. combat operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan, punctuated by episodes of triage as relative neglect leads to crisis. Rather than taking the time to conduct a strategic review of what it would take to responsibly redirect resources from focusing on global counterterrorism to managing great power competition, the United States is trying to jump from one speeding train onto another.

China doesn't need World Bank's loans, just as Trump says


“Why is the World Bank loaning money to China?" President Donald Trump tweeted on Dec. 6. "Can this be possible? China has plenty of money, and if they don’t, they create it. STOP!” He did so in response to the World Bank agreeing to continue lending $1 billion to $1.5 billion a year to China through 2025.

The World Bank’s newly approved country partnership framework with China has met significant criticism from U.S. stakeholders, especially those in Washington who recently supported the World Bank’s capital increase. The framework was adopted by the World Bank’s board on Dec. 5, despite objections from U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and members of Congress. The U.S. should respond by gathering a coalition of shareholders and asking the World Bank board to amend its agreement with China.

I remain an ardent supporter of the World Bank and believe it continues to play a critical role in supporting global development efforts. The World Bank provides critical research, advice and financing for low- and middle-income countries around the world. I have testified to Congress in favor of capital increases for the World Bank and have been a staunch defender of the research the World Bank does, such as its Doing Business Indicators. I was one of the first people to publicly make the case for why the world should support World Bank President David Malpass when he was nominated by the United States. This being said, the World Bank has made a mistake, and President Trump is right to be upset.

U.S. Bets Old Ideas in a New Package Can Deter China

Hal Brands

Through nearly three years in office, the Donald Trump administration has made a lot of noise about competing with China geopolitically but has often struggled to lay out, coherently, what America seeks to achieve. So it is encouraging that the State Department is beginning to articulate a sharper idea of what the U.S. is against in the Indo-Pacific – and, more importantly, what it is for. 

The guiding concept: “Pluralism.” That may not sound very sexy, but it captures the essential difference in U.S. and Chinese visions for the region. And, significantly, it taps into three of the richest historical traditions of American grand strategy. 

David Stillwell, the assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, explained this strategy of pluralism in a speech in Washington last week. The basic idea is that the U.S. doesn't need to dominate the Indo-Pacific or force the region to conform to any single model, so long as no one else can dominate the region or make it conform to a single model, either. A pluralistic region is one in which countries are free to make their own security, economic and political choices — where “they are secure in their sovereign autonomy” and “no hegemonic power dominates or coerces them.” Pluralism is about preserving the freedom and openness in which diversity can flourish.

What Does Beijing Want from the Pacific Islands?

In late September, Pacific Island countries the Solomon Islands and Kiribati switched their diplomatic allegiances from Taiwan to China. That month, a Beijing-based company signed a secretive deal granting it exclusive development rights for the strategic island of Tulagi in the Solomon Islands. (The Solomon government later called the deal “unlawful.”) Increased economic and political alignment with China, often at the expense of partnerships with countries like Taiwan and the United States, is often highly alluring to many developing countries in the region.

What does Beijing want from the Pacific Islands? What do these nations offer China politically, in bodies such as the United Nations? And what comparative advantages and disadvantages might Beijing experience in pursuing these interests? —The Editors

Beijing’s recent interest in the Pacific Islands primarily stems from its ongoing efforts to displace the United States as the regional hegemon. Due to their location, the Pacific Islands have high strategic value as links in the second island chain: They impact the U.S. military’s ability to project force and collect intelligence across the Indo Pacific. Control of this area—base access for the People’s Liberation Army Navy, and denial of such access to U.S. and allied forces—would also complicate the ability of the U.S. military to operate in the region unchallenged. And it would hurt the U.S.’s ability to transit to and intervene and resupply in a Taiwan Strait contingency should Beijing decide to launch military operations against the self-ruled island nation.

Competing to Win in the Information Environment: Complex Warfare with Chinese Characteristics

Thomas A. Drohan
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Complex warfare is high stakes competition in learning, and the United States is being out-thought and out-fought by China. Why is this so, and what can we do about it?

First, we need to recognize what warfare looks like in the contemporary information environment (IE). It’s complex warfare, and it involves all instruments of power across all domains. The common context is the information environment:the aggregate of individuals, organizations, and systems that collect, process, disseminate, or act on information.” Who are the actors? All life-forms and technologies that perform these IE functions. Therefore the contemporary IE is where any agent (human, animal, artificial) wielding any instrument of power (survival, statecraft, financial, intelligence, law enforcement) may create effects. Many US elites do not recognize China’s non-violent effects—such the use of American investments to modernize the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) —as threats.

Second, we need to think and act broadly to win complex warfare. Contemporary warfare involves land, sea, air, space, cyberspace, the electromagnetic spectrum, and a host of biological and social micro-environments. Here, too, information is what creates and influences behavior. Information is as basic as DNA, the blueprint for the replication and construction of life itself (Chapter 1). Advanced life-forms upgrade their genetic software by learning. So we compete in the IE with applied concepts. The PLA applications of “unrestricted warfare” (1999) we see today are built upon 2000 years of holistic thought. How do we compete? 

China Is Taking Patents Seriously. The World Should Take Notice.

By Bonnie Girard

By now, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a familiar term to anyone with even a passing knowledge of China, Asia, Africa, global affairs, and trade. The BRI is correctly associated with infrastructure building, investment, potential debt traps, and in general an overarching plan to deeply extend China’s influence around the world.

President Xi Jinping is thought to believe that the BRI will stamp his legacy on Chinese history.

Probably few have considered, however, that the BRI would also offer an opportunity for China to inspect and absorb for its own benefit the patent and IP protection schemes in all of the BRI target countries to which it is extending its financial and political reach.

But indeed, “The Chinese are studying the IP regimes of all the countries along the way [of the BRI], and we can expect that the Chinese will be looking at the IP aspects of all those countries.”

Smuggling Out the Truth: The Story of the Xinjiang Papers and China Cables

By Ben Lowsen

The world since mid-November has seen an unprecedented series of leaks of internal government documents from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) concerning its human rights abuses against Turkic peoples in its western region. The PRC, noted for its tight Communist Party discipline and harsh punishment of transgressors, is often referred to as a “black box” by Sinologists. For them as much as for anybody else, these leaks come as a surprise. Indeed, they are a testament to the courage of some within the PRC, an indication of how bad Beijing’s human rights abuses must be, and possibly a crack in the façade of Xi Jinping’s power over China.

The Content of the Leaks

On November 16, the New York Times published the first watershed story detailing the extraordinary lengths the People’s Republic of China has gone to to carry out — and conceal — its massive program of ethnic “re-education” against Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples in its Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, which these peoples commonly refer to as East Turkistan. It is based on 403 pages of internal PRC government documents smuggled out by an unnamed official seeking only to “prevent Communist Party leaders, including Mr. Xi, from escaping responsibility for the program.” These documents, termed the “Xinjiang Papers,” represent the first time a trove of such size and importance has been exposed.

China in Africa’s Peace and Security Landscape

By Abdou Rahim Lema

With growing Chinese security engagements in Africa, Sino-African relations are at a critical juncture. This is not necessarily because of the ignited international attention on what China does in Africa, but rather because of the nature of — and scintillating mutuality in — the expanding China-Africa relationships. For instance, recently China has shown unprecedented willingness and (to some extent) readiness to put its shoulder to the wheel in Africa’s efforts to deal with cycles of insecurity and instability. Likewise, aiming for an “integrated, prosperous, and peaceful [Africa],” the continent — under the aegis of the African Union (AU) — has been striving to develop better strategies in working with external partners to achieve peace and stability. It is in that regard that peace and security have increasingly gained prominence in China-Africa engagements, ranging from growing multilateral cooperation on security challenges facing Africa to nascent (sub)regional initiatives to long-held bilateral partnerships with many African countries.

15 December 2019

Which Way for Europe on China?


STOCKHOLM – Recognizing that the European Union is facing a number of vexing challenges on the world stage, Ursula von der Leyen, the new European Commission president, has promised to lead a “geopolitical Commission.” Echoing this sentiment, Josep Borrell, the new High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, has challenged the EU to decide whether it wants to be a global “player,” or just a “playground” for other powers. So, which way will Europe go?

Of all the challenges Europe faces, few are as important as forging a strategic policy for managing its relationship with China. The stakes are enormous. The EU is China’s largest trade partner, and China is the EU’s top trade partner after the United States, with bilateral trade exceeding $1.1 billion per day.

Over the past few years, the US has adopted an increasingly aggressive approach to China. In fact, “confronting” China seems to be one of the few things that unite Americans politically nowadays, even though no single factor is driving US policy. President Donald Trump seems primarily concerned with the bilateral trade deficit, whereas the US security establishment worries about China’s ongoing military and technological development, which could eventually position it to challenge US strategic supremacy.

China Still Needs Hong Kong

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After another massive march on the weekend, Hong Kong’s protests have passed the six-month mark. Since they started, the protests have taken a toll on the economy and the city has fallen into its first recession in 10 years. Hong Kong is expected to run a budget deficit for 2019, the first since 2004. Increasing violence and a growing sense of unease are leading to predictions that Hong Kong is finished as a business hub and that it has outlived its usefulness for China.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

If the protests continue to grow and cause more unrest, this will certainly affect Hong Kong’s business hub status as multinationals might move their operations and capital elsewhere to places like Singapore. But while Beijing wants to diminish Hong Kong’s political rights and autonomy, it also wants to exploit its status as a global financial center – and it doesn’t have any easy options to replace it, as two recent events show.

The Belt and Road: Calculating Winners and Losers

By Shannon Tiezzi

Since Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled the Belt and Road Initiative (then referred to separately as the Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road) in two speeches in the fall of 2013, proponents have described the massive undertaking as “win-win.” Increasing connectivity will help the entire world prosper, the argument goes. Critics sneer, however, that “win-win” means China wins twice: by exporting its labor and materials surplus abroad and by gaining strategic footholds in foreign countries.

But because the BRI is a relatively new concept and few of its projects have been completed, it’s difficult to actually put a numerical value on the benefits – for China or for any other country. Without a way to quantify the costs and benefits, it’s hard to definitively answer the question of which countries stand to come out ahead – and which might be better off bowing out.

A working paper from the World Bank released earlier this year, however, attempts to put a number on the gains (and, in a few cases, losses) to be expected from BRI infrastructure construction. The paper, authored by François de Soyres, Alen Mulabdic, and Michele Ruta, attempts to quantify the impact of BRI-related transportation infrastructure projects on gross domestic product (GDP). As the authors note:

Why Does China Say It Won't Use Nuclear Weapons First in War?

David Axe

China has reaffirmed its policy of never being the first in a conflict to use nuclear weapons. Experts refer to this policy as “no first use,” or NFU.

The NFU policy reaffirmation, contained in Beijing’s July 2019 strategic white paper, surprised some observers who expected a more expansive and aggressive nuclear posture from the rising power.

Notably, the United States does not have a no-first-use policy. “Retaining a degree of ambiguity and refraining from a no first use policy creates uncertainty in the mind of potential adversaries and reinforces deterrence of aggression by ensuring adversaries cannot predict what specific actions will lead to a U.S. nuclear response,” the Pentagon stated.

Chinese state media posted the government’s white paper in its entirety. "Nuclear capability is the strategic cornerstone to safeguarding national sovereignty and security," the paper asserts.

How to Revive the WTO

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NEW YORK – December 11, 2019, is the 18th anniversary of China’s accession to the World Trade Organization. It also marks the start of an era in which the WTO no longer has a functioning appellate body to adjudicate trade disputes among member countries. Why is the WTO imploding, and can it be resuscitated before it’s too late?

Before China joined the WTO in 2001, many feared that its membership could doom the organization in one of three ways. First, Chinese rule breaking might be so common, skeptics claimed, that it would trigger an explosion of cases against the country that would overwhelm the appellate body of seven judges. Second, China might express its grievances by bringing countless potentially frivolous cases against other countries, which would also exceed the organization’s capacity constraint. And, finally, China might ignore any WTO ruling against it, undermining the system’s credibility and usefulness.

None of that happened. Of the 349 trade disputes brought to the WTO for adjudication since the end of 2001, China has been a defendant in 44, or 12.6% of the total – in line with the country’s 12.8% share of global exports in 2018. Interestingly, this number is fewer than the 99 brought against the United States and the 52 brought against the European Union during the same period. Part of the reason is that China has continued to reduce tariff and non-tariff trade barriers, and ease investment restrictions, in accordance with – and sometimes going beyond – the terms of its WTO accession agreement. In fact, few countries have reduced such barriers more than China has during this period.

Facing Up to China’s Military Interests in the Arctic

By Anne-Marie Brady

China’s military ambitions in the Arctic, and its growing strategic partnership with Russia, have rung alarm bells in many governments. In May 2019, for the first time, the U.S. Department of Defense annual report on China’s military capabilities had a section on China’s military interests in the Arctic and the possibility of Chinese submarines operating in the Arctic basin (Department of Defense, May 2019). In August 2019, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg raised concerns about what he diplomatically referred to as “China’s increased presence in the Arctic” (Reuters, August 7).

From a nuclear security point of view, the Arctic is China’s vulnerable northern flank. The flight path of U.S. and Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) targeted at China transit the Arctic. [1] Key components of the U.S. missile defense system are also located in the Arctic.

Chinese submarine-based ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) operating in the Arctic could restore China’s nuclear deterrence capability (Huanqiu Ribao, October 28, 2013). China currently operates six nuclear-powered attack submarines, four nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, and fifty diesel attack submarines, with more under construction. If Chinese nuclear-armed submarines were able to access the Arctic basin undetected, this would be a game-changer for the United States, the NATO states and their partners, and the wider Asia-Pacific (Huanqiu Ribao, April 11, 2012). China would be able to target missiles at the United States and Europe with ease; such ability would strengthen China’s military dominance in Asia and bolster China’s emerging position as a global military power. [2]

14 December 2019

China’s successful repression in Tibet provides a model for Xinjiang

IN AN ANNUAL ritual, hardy groups of activists gathered outside Chinese embassies around the world to mark International Human Rights Day on December 10th. They protested about many Chinese abuses: the encroachment on the freedoms promised Hong Kong; the persecution of the mostly Muslim Uighur minority in Xinjiang; and the repression of religious and political freedom in Tibet.

For Tibetans, this year marks an important and poignant anniversary: 30 years to the day since their exiled spiritual leader, the 14th Dalai Lama, was in Oslo to receive the Nobel peace prize. It is also an occasion to reflect on how little their cause has advanced since then. If the successful suppression of almost all dissent counts as winning, then China seems to have won in Tibet. And it appears to think it can replicate the success in the neighbouring region that has also seen unrest in recent years, Xinjiang. So it is worth pondering how that “victory” has been achieved.

Japan’s Options in the South China Sea

By Yoji Koda

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) possesses overwhelming military capabilities in the South China Sea (SCS). And it is clear that no single nation in this region, Japan included, is able to match those capabilities.

For the littoral nations of the SCS – Vietnam and the Philippines in particular – China’s robust military capabilities and its many controversial and militarized/fortified artificial islands have been casting much darker clouds over their policy planning toward China.

In addition to these security elements, every nation in the region has economic ties with China. In this context, China has an increased capacity to wield influence through its economic strength.

At the same time, however, almost all regional players want a clear U.S. policy toward China as well as a visible U.S. military presence. They also want to maintain good economic relationships with the United States.

Under the current security situation, China seems to enjoy an advantage over the United States. And today’s stalemate in the SCS complicates Washington’s policies and strategies toward China’s diplomatic and military actions. At the same time, however, the standstill does constrain China’s scope for political and military maneuvering.

US-China Trade War: Impact on Capital Markets and Commodities

By Mercy A. Kuo

Trans-Pacific View author Mercy Kuo regularly engages subject-matter experts, policy practitioners, and strategic thinkers across the globe for their diverse insights into U.S. Asia policy. This conversation with Dimitri Zabelin – currency analyst specializing in international political economy and geopolitics with – is the 216th in “The Trans-Pacific View Insight Series.”

As the U.S.-China trade tensions persist, explain the impact on capital markets and commodities. 

Capital markets have been held hostage by the U.S.-China trade war, which has led the world into an industrial recession. Equity markets have become increasingly reliant on central banks to boost liquidity provisions since underlying demand is no longer able to keep economic activity adequately vivacious by itself.

As a result, monetary authorities all over the world embarked on an easing cycle to offset the growth-hampering effects of the trade war. Investors frequently cheer the prospect of looser credit conditions, but the underlying message in central banks’ decision to cut rates appears not to have fully settled in. The question then becomes: how long can central banks keep sentiment afloat with stimulus measures before investors accept the dark reality of current circumstances?

Analyze the impact of the Hong Kong protests on Asian capital markets. 

A Manufacturing Exodus in China—Fact or Fiction?

By Dingding Chen and Yu Xia

The U.S.-China trade war has now dragged on for more than a year, and a preliminary trade deal between the two sides appears to be on the brink of being reached soon. An initial trade deal could involve a rollback of tariffs that has been slapped on roughly $360 billion worth of Chinese goods and $160 billion worth of Chinese imports.

Even if the deal is “millimeters away,” many would agree that the intense rivalry has caused considerable impact on China’s economy, among which shaking Beijing’s leading manufacturing sector is the most striking. Manufacturers are considering leaving China, but the scale is not that large, and it is not all because of the trade war.

Polls reveal some of the trends with respect to manufacturing relocation. According to the Nikkei Asian Review, more than 50 multinationals are rushing to escape the punitive tariffs placed by the United States. Report shows that Apple has called on major suppliers to consider moving 15 to 30 percent of iPhone production out of China and the trial production of its popular AirPods has started in Vietnam. HP and Dell are thinking of moving up to 30 percent of their notebook production in China to Southeast Asia and elsewhere. Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Sony, and Nintendo are also planning to move some of their manufacturing out of China. Other companies including Lenovo Group Ltd., Acer Inc. and Asustek Computer Inc. are evaluating their options. In addition, Chinese manufacturers, as well as those from the United States, Japan, and Taiwan, are part of this trend. In a poll released by the American Chamber of Commerce earlier, roughly 40 percent of 250 surveyed firms said they were “considering or have relocated manufacturing facilities outside of China.”

Why Does China Say It Won't Use Nuclear Weapons First in War?

by David Axe 

China has reaffirmed its policy of never being the first in a conflict to use nuclear weapons. Experts refer to this policy as “no first use,” or NFU.

The NFU policy reaffirmation, contained in Beijing’s July 2019 strategic white paper, surprised some observers who expected a more expansive and aggressive nuclear posture from the rising power.

Notably, the United States does not have a no-first-use policy. “Retaining a degree of ambiguity and refraining from a no first use policy creates uncertainty in the mind of potential adversaries and reinforces deterrence of aggression by ensuring adversaries cannot predict what specific actions will lead to a U.S. nuclear response,” the Pentagon stated.

Chinese state media posted the government’s white paper in its entirety. "Nuclear capability is the strategic cornerstone to safeguarding national sovereignty and security," the paper asserts.

Bernard Madoff is arrested and charged with securities fraud in a $50 billion Ponzi scheme.

Indiana becomes the 19th U.S. state.