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Tue, 28th March 2017

Anirudh Sethi Report

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Archives of “taiwan” Tag

Sea of Japan the next target for Chinese military

A growing Chinese military presence in the Sea of Japan is becoming an issue that Tokyo cannot overlook. 

On Jan. 5, three Chinese naval vessels sailed through the Tsugaru Strait between Japan’s main island and the northernmost island of Hokkaido into the Sea of Japan. Four days later, a Chinese air force fleet entered the sea by flying over the waters between the southern Japanese island of Kyushu and the Korean Peninsula.

 According to the Joint Staff of the Japanese Defense Ministry, the fleet consisted of six bombers, which are capable of carrying cruise missiles, an early warning aircraft and an intelligence-gathering plane. With an additional fighter jet as an escort and a refueling aircraft, the fleet could have been ready to bomb ground targets.

An even more consequential move by the Chinese military took place in February last year. A Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force patrol aircraft and an escort vessel spotted an unidentified submarine sailing underwater in the contiguous zone between Japan and South Korea and emerging in the East China Sea. The submarine was widely believed to be Chinese, although Japan’s Defense Ministry did not confirm its country of origin. Sailing in a contiguous zone does not contravene international law as the area lies outside a country’s territorial waters. Still, the ministry published the information in order to let the vessel’s proprietor know it was being watched.

China has been busy placing military installations on reclaimed land around reefs and shoals in the South China Sea. In the East China Sea, Beijing is now able to put military pressure on Japan’s Coast Guard and Maritime and Air Self-Defense Forces more frequently. An advance into the Sea of Japan may be part of a new objective: to deploy submarine-launched ballistic missiles there.

China has been using part of Rason Port in North Korea on the Sea of Japan for commercial purposes. © AP

President DonaldTrump calls Chinese ‘grand champions’ of currency manipulation

President Donald Trump declared China the “grand champions” of currency manipulation on Thursday, just hours after his new Treasury secretary pledged a more methodical approach to analyzing Beijing’s foreign exchange practices.

In an exclusive interview with Reuters, Trump said he has not “held back” in his assessment that China manipulates its yuan currency, despite not acting on a campaign promise to declare it a currency manipulator on his first day in office.

 “Well they, I think they’re grand champions at manipulation of currency. So I haven’t held back,” Trump said. “We’ll see what happens.”

During his presidential campaign Trump frequently accused China of keeping its currency artificially low against the dollar to make Chinese exports cheaper, “stealing” American manufacturing jobs.

But Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin told CNBC on Thursday he was not ready to pass judgment on China’s currency practices.

Trump: Senkaku islands will be protected. Japan is top ally

Trump on his call with President of China

  • It was a very, very warm conversation
  • I think the relationship will also be very-much a benefit to Japan
  • It was a long talk
  • Promises to honor ‘one china’ policy

Abe hinted of a greater US presence around the disputed Senkaku islands. Trump said the US will defend all areas under Japanese ‘administrative control’.

What this looks like is that Trump backed off on supporting Taiwan in exchange for China backing off on the disputed islands and perhaps something regarding North Korea. In the early days of Trump’s win, he promised to review Taiwan’s status but he’s quickly backed down.

China Tells US To “Act And Speak Cautiously” In Response To Spicer “Threat” Over South China Sea

The latest diplomatic spat between the US and China erupted overnight, when China said on Tuesday it had “irrefutable” sovereignty over disputed islands in the South China Sea after White House spokesman Sean Spicer vowed to defend “international territories” in the strategic waterway. Spicer’s first official comments on Monday signaled a sharp departure from years of cautious U.S. handling of China’s assertive pursuit of territorial claims in Asia.

“The U.S. is going to make sure that we protect our interests there,” Spicer said when asked if Trump agreed with comments by his secretary of state nominee, Rex Tillerson. Two weeks ago, Tillerson said China should not be allowed access to islands it has built in the contested South China Sea.

“It’s a question of if those islands are in fact in international waters and not part of China proper, then yeah, we’re going to make sure that we defend international territories from being taken over by one country,” Spicer said.

 This led to the now traditional escalating Chinese response, when, as cited by Reuters, the country’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular news briefing on Tuesday “the United States is not a party to the South China Sea dispute”. 

China “Shocked” By Navarro Appointment, As Trump Team Proposes 10% Import Tariff

As the FT first reported yesetrday, in a dramatic development for Sino-US relations, Trump picked Peter Navarro, a Harvard-trained economist and one-time daytrader, to head the National Trade Council, an organization within the White House to oversee industrial policy and promote manufacturing. Navarro, a hardcore China hawk, is the author of books such as “Death by China” and “Crouching Tiger: What China’s Militarism Means for the World” has for years warned that the US is engaged in an economic war with China and should adopt a more aggressive stance, a message that the president-elect sold to voters across the US during his campaign.

 

In the aftermath of Navarro’s appointment, many were curious to see what China’s reaction would be, and according to the FT, Beijin’s response has been nothing short of “shocked.” To wit:

 The appointment of Peter Navarro, a campaign adviser, to a formal White House post shocked Chinese officials and scholars who had hoped that Mr Trump would tone down his anti-Beijing rhetoric after assuming office.

“Chinese officials had hoped that, as a businessman, Trump would be open to negotiating deals,” said Zhu Ning, a finance professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing. “But they have been surprised by his decision to appoint such a hawk to a key post.”

China will give back seized drone, criticises U.S. “hyping up” the issue

China’s Defence Ministry said on Saturday it had been in talks with the United States about returning an underwater drone taken by a Chinese naval vessel in the South China Sea, but the U.S. was not helping by “hyping up” the issue.

The drone was taken on Thursday, the first seizure of its kind in recent memory, about 50 nautical miles northwest of Subic Bay off the Philippines, just as the USNS Bowditch was about to retrieve the unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV), U.S. officials said.

The Defence Ministry said a Chinese naval vessel discovered a piece of “unidentified equipment” and checked it to prevent any navigational safety issues, before discovering it was a U.S. drone.

“China decided to return it to the U.S. side in an appropriate manner, and China and the U.S. have all along been in communication about it,” the ministry said on its website.

“During this process, the U.S. side’s unilateral and open hyping up is inappropriate, and is not beneficial to the smooth resolution of this issue. We express regret at this,” it added.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump weighed in to the row on Saturday, tweeting: “China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters – rips it out of water and takes it to China in unprecedented act.”

Without directly saying whether the drone was operating in waters China considers its own, the ministry said U.S. ships and aircraft have for a long period been carrying out surveillance and surveys in “the presence” of Chinese waters.

“China is resolutely opposed to this, and demands the U.S. stops this kind of activity,” it said.

China will remain on alert for these sorts of activities and take necessary steps to deal with them, the ministry said without elaborating.

Earlier, the Global Times, published by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, cited an unidentified Chinese source as saying they believed the issue would be resolved smoothly.

The United States says the drone was operating lawfully.

China Newspapers Blast “Diplomatic Rookie” Trump For “Inability To Keep His Mouth Shut”

It seems that Trump’s phone call with Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen as well a recent pair of tweets from the president-elect blasting China for devaluing their currency, taxing U.S. imports and military provocations in the South China Sea have served their purpose of ruffling some feathers in Beijing.

While the “official reaction” out of Beijing to Trump’s “provocations and falsehoods” has been muted, newspapers across China, often viewed as a mouthpiece of the Communist Party, have spent the day lashing out at the “diplomatic rookie.”.  Per Yahoo News, the People’s Daily accused Trump of “provoking friction and messing up China-US relations,” a move they say will not help “make America great again.”

 Donald Trump is a “diplomatic rookie” who must learn not to cross Beijing on issues like trade and Taiwan, Chinese state media said Tuesday, warning America could pay dearly for his naivety.

Trump’s protocol-shattering call with Taiwan’s president and a subsequent Twitter tirade against Beijing’s policies could risk upending the delicate balance between the world’s two largest economies, major media outlets said.

“Provoking friction and messing up China-US relations won’t help ‘make America great again'”, said a front-page opinion piece in the overseas edition of Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily.

Trump

Brahma Chellaney — Trump could ‘pivot’ to Asia like Obama never did

U.S. President Barack Obama’s strategic “pivot” toward Asia, unveiled in 2012, attracted much international attention but did little to tame China’s muscular approach to territorial, maritime and trade disputes. Indeed, with the United States focused on the Islamic world, Obama’s much-touted Asian pivot seemed to lose its way somewhere in the arc between Iraq and Libya. Will President-elect Donald Trump’s approach to Asia be different?

In his first meeting with a foreign leader since his surprise Nov. 8 election triumph, Trump delivered a reassuring message to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who, in turn, described him as a “trustworthy leader.” In a smart diplomatic move, Abe made a special stop in New York on Nov. 17, en route to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Peru, to meet face-to-face with Trump, who shares his conservative, nationalistic outlook.

 Today, Asia faces the specter of power disequilibrium. Concern that Trump could undo Obama’s pivot to Asia by exhibiting an isolationist streak ignores the fact that the pivot has remained more rhetorical than real. Even as Obama prepares to leave office, the pivot — rebranded as “rebalancing” — has not acquired any concrete strategic content.
 If anything, the coining of a catchy term, “pivot,” has helped obscure the key challenge confronting the U.S.: To remain the principal security anchor in Asia in the face of a relentless push by a revisionist China to expand its frontiers and sphere of influence.

Trump indeed could face an early test of will from a China determined to pursue its “salami slicing” approach to gaining regional dominance. In contrast to Russia’s preference for full-fledged invasion, China has perfected the art of creeping, covert warfare through which it seeks to take one “slice” of territory at a time, by force.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, right, at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, on Nov. 17. © Reuters

With Obama having increasingly ceded ground to China in Asia during his tenure, Beijing feels emboldened, as evident in its incremental expansionism in the South China Sea and its dual Silk Road projects under the “One Belt, One Road” initiative. The Maritime Silk Road is just a new name for Beijing’s “string of pearls” strategy, aimed at increasing its influence in the Indian Ocean. Meanwhile, without incurring any international costs, China aggressively continues to push its borders far out into international waters in a way that no other power has done.

Indeed, boosting naval prowess and projecting power far from its shores are at the center of China’s ambition to fashion a strongly Sino-centric Asia. Boasting one of the world’s fastest-growing undersea fleets, China announced earlier in November that its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, is ready for combat. Such revanchist moves will inevitably test the new U.S. administration’s limits.

China FDI January – October: +4.2% y/y (CNY terms)

Foreign direct investment (FDI) into the Chinese mainland

  • Up 4.2% year on year (Unchanged growth rate from the January-September period)
  • Reaches 666.3 billion yuan
  • For the first 10 months of the year
China’s Ministry of Commerce announcement

China & US Elections: Trump May Start a Trade War, But Clinton Could Begin WWIII

China, like the rest of the world, is keeping a close eye on the US presidential race, knowing full well that the outcome of the election will have a serious impact on every country in world. But which candidate would Beijing prefer to deal with?

Unlike Russian analysts, who have indicated that Moscow would probably prefer to deal with an American president with a pragmatic, rather than an ideological, approach to foreign policy, the choice for Chinese experts isn’t as simple. Their choice is further complicated by the knowledge that while pre-election talk is one thing, actual policy, backed by the behemoth that is the US foreign policy establishment, is something else entirely.

Commenting on China’s dilemma, PolitRussia contributor Ilya Novitsky suggested that at first glance, it may seem that China would prefer to deal with anyone except Donald Trump. “It’s generally accepted to consider Trump as Beijing’s traditional foe,” the analyst noted. “In the course of his campaign, Trump has repeatedly made harsh statements about the nature of the trade relationship between the US and China.”

“Specifically, Trump’s main gripe with the structure of US-China trade relations comes down to the fact that China enjoys favorable customs conditions, which give Chinese producers a privileged position in the US market. Trump quite rightly believes that the Middle Kingdom is putting ‘economic pressure’ on the US, simply forcing US producers out of the Chinese domestic market.” In response, the Republican candidate has effectively “promised to declare a trade war against China, and to completely revise the majority of existing trade agreements between the two countries.” In this situation, Novitsky noted that “it’s no wonder that political scientists around the world, almost in unison, have figured Trump as Beijing’s enemy, which creates a privileged position for Hillary Clinton in the Chinese context. However, this is not quite the case…”

In fact, the analyst explained, “if Clinton wins, China will find itself in a very unenviable position. She may not revise trade policy as radically as Trump proposes, but the military threat to East Asia created by the Democratic candidate is quite serious.”

With Clinton making little mention of her strategic plans in public, the analyst pointed to the treasure trove of information released by WikiLeaks, which has been publishing the leaked emails of Clinton campaign manager John Podesta all this month. In one such email, featuring a transcript of a private Clinton speech about North Korea in 2013, the former Secretary of State made her position on China very clear, saying that “we’re going to ring China with missile defense. We’re going to put more of our fleet in the area. So China, come on. You either control [North Korea] or we’re going to have to defend against them.” In a separate speech, Clinton slammed Beijing over its position in the South China Sea dispute. “I mean you claim [the South China Sea] based on pottery shards from, you know, some fishing vessel that ran aground in an atoll somewhere,” Clinton quipped. By this logic, she added, the US could have labeled the Pacific Ocean the “American Sea” following the Second World War.