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Showing posts from August 24, 2018

China’s Strongman May Need A Rest, But He is Hardly in Need of Rescue

Charles Parton Commentary , 21 August 2018 News that Chinese President Xi Jinping may be facing serious resistance from within his party’s ranks is premature. It is the silly news season, in China no less than elsewhere in the West. Chinese President Xi Jinping is said to be under pressure from the elders of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), may have fallen into political danger and has had his authority at home shaken. Xi is, allegedly, looking exhausted as the CCP’s ‘secretive conclave’ of the annual Beidaihe meeting  gets underway . Although this may sound familiar, thinking of the state of British Prime Minister Theresa May and the travails of her ruling Conservative Party, the similarities stop there. The days of significant meetings in August at Beidaihe (which to the CCP is what Brighton is to the UK Conservatives) and accounting to Party elders are gone. In August 2015, the Party’s own People’s Daily carried a clear message from Xi to his predecessors: retired cadres shou


TIMOTHY HEATH SPECIAL SERIES - MINISTRY OF TRUTH Editor’s Note: This is the fourth installment in “Ministry of Truth,” a special series on state-sponsored influence operations.  Catch up on the series here .  In September 2015, tens of thousands of Malaysian pro-government “red shirt” protestors thronged Kuala Lampur’s Chinatown, where they  shouted slogans denouncing the country’s ethnic Chinese community and leaders . China’s ambassador reacted angrily, warning that his country “ will not sit idly by ” as others “infringe on the national interest of China.” His statement, employing language suggestive of threats to use military force, outraged Malaysian leaders, who promptly  summoned the ambassador  to demand a clarification. As U.S. officials continue to grapple with  Russian interference  in domestic politics, growing attention has turned to Chinese  influence operations . Although much attention has focused on Beijing’s efforts to fund pro-China propaganda, the incident in

Vietnam website taunts Chinese drama fans with S. China Sea quiz

REUTERS August 24, 2018 at 18:45 JST Facebook6 Twitter list HANOI--A Vietnamese website, which only works when users correctly answer a quiz about disputed islands in the South China Sea, has infuriated scores of television fans in China desperate to catch the latest episode of a popular Chinese period drama. The drama--"The Story of Yanxi Palace"--has attracted a huge following in China for its colorful depiction of Qing Dynasty-era politics and the tale of a brave and plucky young concubine who outsmarts her rivals. The first 56 episodes of the show are being aired for free on Chinese video streaming platform iQiyi, which holds exclusive rights to the drama. For a fee, iQiyi members can watch eight more episodes. But a Vietnamese website somehow obtained extra episodes which have not yet been broadcast in China. Chinese drama fans flocked to, which hosts online copies of Asian television dramas, only to be met with a challenge which pits patriotism agains

China, Thailand agree on further cooperation under Belt and Road Initiative

BANGKOK, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and visiting Chinese State Councilor Wang Yong agreed to further enhance the cooperation between Thailand and China during their meeting here on Friday. Wang, who came to attend the 6th Conference of China-Thailand Joint Trade Committee in Bangkok , conveyed the sincere greetings of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Prayut. He said to Prayut that China-Thailand relations are very vibrant and bilateral cooperation in all fields have borne fruits due to the joint efforts of Xi and Prayut. China is willing to work with Thailand to implement agreements reached by the leaderships from the two countries, to dock Belt and Road Initiative with Thailand's Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) project, to drive major projects such as China-Thailand railway forward, and to further promote China-Thailand comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership to new heights, Wang said. He added that China welcomes Thai enterprises to att

Belt and Road Initiative no Marshall Plan, Chinese FM says

ULAN BATOR, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is not a geopolitical strategy but international public goods offered by China to the world, visiting Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said here on Thursday. The initiative is not China's Marshall Plan, Wang said when meeting reporters with his Mongolian counterpart Damdin Tsogtbaatar. Since the launch of BRI, China has adhered to the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, upheld the spirit of transparency, openness and inclusiveness, and abided by international rules and laws of every country, Wang said. China has also been seeking green and sustainable development, committed to high quality and high standards in its projects and paying great attention to fiscal sustainability, Wang added. These are in line with China's long-term strategy featuring mutual benefits, win-win results and openness, Wang said. BRI is aimed to explore new cooperation a

Pakistan faces elevated external pressures on CPEC imports

 KARACHI: Ratings agency Moody’s on Friday said Pakistan is facing elevated external pressures stemming from strong domestic demand and capital-import heavy investments related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. “ We expect a current account deficit of 4.8 percent of GDP this year,” Moody’s Investors Service said in a research report. The current account deficit was recorded at $18 billion or 5.7 percent of GDP in the last fiscal year of 2017/18 compared to $12.6 billion or 4.1 percent of GDP in the previous fiscal year. In July, current account deficit continued to swell year-on-year, up 13.87 percent to $2.2 billion, mainly due to monthly trade deficit of $3.192 billion. The central bank’s foreign exchange reserved fell to $10 billion in June from $16.1 billion a year earlier – not enough to cover two months’ worth of imports. Economists estimated a need of $28 billion this fiscal year to make debt repayments. Moody’s said while reserve coverage of external debt repaymen

TRIVIUM CHINA: Tip Sheet on China

HEARD IN BEIJING “[We] exchanged views on how to achieve fairness, balance, and reciprocity in the economic relationship.” -The White House Some context:   That was part of the readout from the US side after trade talks concluded in Washington on Thursday. Expectations for the meetings were low, and those low expectations were met. There doesn’t seem to be an offramp in sight. More in the Tip Sheet below. .   THE TIP SHEET DRIVING THE DAY 1. Expected, but still disappointing trade talk outcome Almost everyone had extremely low expectations  for any progress to come from the US-China trade talks that took place on Wednesday and Thursday. Those low expectations were met. Both side issued vapid statements upon concluding the meetings (Bloomberg): “The White House said the countries “exchanged views on how to achieve fairness, balance, and reciprocity in the economic relationship, including by addressing structural issues in China” identified by the U.S. in an investigation int

India’s Answer to the Belt and Road: A Road Map for South Asia

DARSHANA BARUAH August 21, 2018 Summary:   India is not opposed to infrastructure development in the region, but it is concerned about the strategic implications of certain Chinese-led initiatives. INTRODUCTION Asia has a massive and growing need for infrastructure. There is tremendous potential for cross-border cooperation on connectivity and infrastructure development. The Asian Development Bank estimates that between 2016 and 2030 developing countries in the region will need to spend $1.7 trillion per year to build the infrastructure required to “maintain its growth momentum, eradicate poverty, and respond to climate change.” 1 Japan and the United States have been among the primary donors for development projects in Asia since World War II, although other countries such as Germany and the United Kingdom (UK) have played a greater role in recent years as well. 2 Japan in particular has provided significant development assistance to South Asian countries, including India. Mean