SupChina—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief
1. Trump cancels meeting with Kim Jong-un, citing ‘open hostility’
With an oddly emotional letter to Kim Jong-un and a tweeted speech, Donald Trump upended the news cycle again by canceling his planned meeting with Kim in Singapore on June 12. Trump’s letter blames Kim for the “tremendous anger and open hostility in your most recent statement.” Here is a roundup of reactions to the news:
“Mr. Kim may have already earned enough good will among his neighbors — especially his country’s main trading partner, China,” says Jane Perlez of the New York Times(paywall), that sanctions will be softened despite the cancellation of the Kim-Trump summit.Perlez also sees a win for China: “The cancellation of the meeting allows Mr. Xi to use his influence with North Korea — including his ability to tighten or weaken enforcement of economic sanctions against it — as leverage while Beijing negotiates a trade deal with Washington.”“I am very perplexed and it is very regrettable that the North Korea-U.S. summit will not be held on June 12 when it was scheduled to be held,” said South Korean President Moon Jae-in, according to Reuters.Too hasty: Both Japanese and Chinese governments felt the arrangement of the Kim-Trump meeting was moving too fast, according to the above-linked New York Times article. Robert E. Kelly, Korea scholar (and BBC dad), seemed to agree in a CNN interview: “If it's a total cancellation I don't think that's a good sign… But if it's a postponement that allows the experts to get together and try to work on some arrangement…to provide a framework for a future meeting, that's not a bad thing.”As is its custom for interesting breaking news, Xinhua News Agency published a very brief five-line statement with no details (in Chinese) about Trump’s cancellation.“Beyond the very serious geopolitical stakes, this move is pure Trump. A theatrical withdrawal from a potential ‘deal,’ and reminder to Americans that he milked his adversary and gave them nothing in return.” That’s how Axios sees the cancellation, and the Trump administration would certainly like to promote the idea that Kim got nothing.However, many nuclear security analysts such as Jeffrey Lewis aka Arms Control Wonk have been arguing that the mere offer of a face-to-face meeting with the U.S. president with no preconditions was a huge regime-legitimating concession.“What are people who invested in Dandong real estate going to do, lose all their money?” (丹东炒房团怎么办，亏死了? dāndōng chǎofángtuán zěnmebàn, kuīsǐle) was one reaction on Weibo (in Chinese) to the cancellation. But a more typical comment is perhaps this one: Trump is “an old hooligan with a mouth full of crap who seems to be a sore loser” (老流氓满嘴屁话，看来是输不起了 lǎo liúmáng mǎnzuǐ pìhuà, kànlái shì shūbùqǐle).
2. Angela Merkel in Beijing
Xinhua News Agency’s home page and the top story on central state media (English, Chinese) are about German Chancellor Angela Merkel meeting Xi Jinping in Beijing, where he told her, “China will work with Germany to push bilateral ties to a higher level.” This is Merkel’s 11th visit to China, and comes after several statements from her about the need for Europe to look out for itself in an age of uncertainty about America.
“China and Germany…vowed to boost cooperation on driverless cars and were united in their opposition to U.S. President Donald Trump’s protectionist trade policies, but they remain at odds over Beijing’s heavy-handed approach to human rights cases,” reports the South China Morning Post.Premier Li Keqiang 李克强 said that “China welcomes German companies,” according to the Associated Press, which called Merkel’s visit an opportunity for China “to try to recruit an ally in its trade feud with U.S. President Donald Trump.”
3. Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop should join Weibo
Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop “privately blamed the Australian media’s ‘negative reports’ for adversely affecting Australia–China relations during her meeting with her Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the G20 in Argentina this week,” according to Fergus Ryan, writing for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.
Ryan argues that instead of scapegoating journalists for the two countries’ deteriorating ties, Bishop should start communicating with Chinese people directly on Weibo.Australian diplomats should be given “sufficient resources and leeway to be more on the front foot with their digital diplomacy efforts in China on platforms like Weibo and WeChat,” says Ryan, because “public diplomacy is vital, and doubly so when bilateral relations occasionally sour.”
4. Farewell, Flappy McFlapperson
A bird who gained fame in Beijing among nature- and science-lovers died on a migratory route back to the city, Birding Beijing sadly reports. Flappy McFlapperson was so named by students at Dulwich International School in Beijing in 2016, at which point she was fitted with a tracking device and followed online by a steadily growing audience.
Flappy had, like other Eurasian cuckoos, undertaken a startling yearly globe-trot, all the way from southern Africa, winding through Southeast Asia, and reaching to Beijing and beyond, ending up at breeding grounds in northern Mongolia. She died on May 14 or 15 over central Myanmar, according to data from her tracker.To learn more about the incredible cuckoos, listen to a Sinica Podcast from 2015 featuring the creator of the Birding Beijing website, Terry Townshend, and read a Q&A with Terry on SupChina here. To read up on the fable of Flappy herself, Birding Beijing’s post does it justice.
Look out for old-but-still-relevant interviews coming up in your Sinica Podcast feed soon — this summer, we will be working to transfer the rest of the pre-SupChina Sinica episodes (2010–2016) to the primary Sinica feed. If you’re not subscribed already, find Sinica on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, or Stitcher, or plug the RSS feedinto your favorite podcast app.
Inside the world’s biggest cave chamber
Today's video going viral on the Chinese internet shows the world’s largest cave chamber, measuring 380.7 million cubic feet, in Guizhou Province. One part of the cave can even fit a Boeing 747.
TODAY ON SUPCHINA
Sinica Podcast: Talking trade and tech with Yasheng Huang
Kaiser, along with GGV Capital's Hans Tung and Zara Zhang, interviews Yasheng Huang, a renowned economist and professor of global economics and management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, about recent U.S.-China trade tensions, geopolitical factors affecting the tech industry, and how China's growth compares with that of India and other developing countries.
Q&A with Lili Zheng, first mainland Chinese female partner at Deloitte
Click here to read a Q&A with Lili Zheng 郑莉莉, the first woman from mainland China to become a partner at Deloitte, one of the “Big Four” global accounting firms. Lili was one of the technology panelists at our second annual Women’s Conference: How Women Are Shaping the Rising Global Power, on May 14.
BUSINESS AND TECH:
Can Politico pull off its new partnership with a Chinese-owned paper? / Washington PostArtificial intelligence
Qualcomm opening an AI lab in Beijing, joining hands with Baidu’s PaddlePaddle / TechNodeTrade war twists
Protests worldwide against U.S. idea of auto import tariffs / AP
“China, Japan and the European Union condemned Thursday the Trump administration’s decision to launch an investigation into whether tariffs are needed on imports of vehicles and automotive parts into the United States.”
U.S. could seek American compliance officers at ZTE: Ross / Reuters
Trump adviser Peter Navarro slams Steve Mnuchin as ‘Neville Chamberlain’ / Daily BeastCryptocurrency crimes
China prosecutes promoters of $2.3 billion OneCoin pyramid scheme / CNNBlockchain
China orders faster blockchain development in top-level missive / CoinDeskOil companies
China's Sinopec to boost U.S. crude imports to all-time high: sources / ReutersData privacy
China's Tencent: Tech world must tackle privacy concerns / APAftermath of Didi rape/murder
Ride-hailing drivers will soon be subject to taxi review system / Sixth Tone
For more on this case see Police hunt for didi driver suspected of raping and murdering a female passenger and Safety tips are the last thing that Chinese women need after the Didi murder on SupChina.
POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:
Taiwan 'sad, angry' as it loses second ally in a month amid China pressure / Reuters
Burkina Faso breaks ties with Taiwan in fresh blow to island / Washington PostCanada
Canada blocks China-led deal for construction firm / WSJ (paywall)
“Canada in February ordered a national-security review of CCCC International Holding Ltd.’s plan to buy Toronto-based Aecon Group Inc. for 1.22 billion Canadian dollars ($947 million).” The blocking of the deal “marks one of the few times Canadian government has stopped a takeover on security concerns.”
Trading tax info with China will allow Canada to monitor tax evasion among foreign-property owners / Globe and Mail (paywall)
“China and Canada will exchange tax and financial information for the first time this fall, a move that will give Canadian authorities a window into the activities of some foreign-property owners who evade Canadian taxes in real estate markets such as Vancouver.
“The exchange will also give Chinese authorities an ability to track down economic fugitives in Canada.”Malaysia
Robert Kuok part of Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad’s plans for strong ties with China / SCMP
Kuok is the patriarch of the family behind Shangri-La Hotels, and the former owner of the SCMP.Odd happenings in U.S. consular buildings
China denies role in U.S. consular worker's brain injury / NBCU.S.-China military-to-military freeze
China scolds U.S. for withdrawing invite to naval drills / Reuters
SOCIETY AND CULTURE:
Healthcare and parenting
Inside the maternity wards of Chinese public hospitals / Elephant Room
“In August 2017, Ms. Ma, a pregnant 26-year-old Chinese woman, jumped out of the hospital building on the day of her labor. At first, the hospital claimed that the tragedy was largely the responsibility of Ma's family members, who allegedly refused to allow her to have a cesarean section despite the unbearable pain. As the case went viral online, however, Ma's husband claimed that it was the hospital that insisted on a natural birth, refusing to give their permission for the surgery.”
Want to see your baby? In China, it can cost you / NYT (paywall)
“A day after Juliana Brandy Logbo gave birth to twins this month through an emergency cesarean section in a Chinese hospital, she thought the worst was over. Then the demands for money began.”Drugs
Massive crystal meth crackdown in Guangdong Province forcing Hong Kong drug dealers to find new suppliers across Asia and Africa / SCMP
PHOTO FROM MICHAEL YAMASHITA
Busy street scene
This photo, taken in 2011, shows a busy street scene in Zadoi County, Qinghai Province. The region is well known for its caterpillar fungus (冬虫夏草 dōngchóngxiàcǎo), aka Himalayan Viagra. Many people believe the fungus has a range of health benefits such as anti-cancer properties, but a recent paper published by the journal Cell Chemical Biology concludes that it is not anti-carcinogenic.