When business is going fine, CCP cadres are partners. When it’s going less well, they are mongrels [who] shoot their own people.
Japanese foreign minister Fumio Kishida and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi met on the sidelines of the 47th ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting in Myanmar’s (aka Burma’s) capital city Naypyidaw, and the 4th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, an extension of the ASEAN conference that also includes China and Japan. The two chief diplomats reportedly met in the evening of Saturday, August 9. Both ministers took seats during their – informal – bilateral meeting which ended around 11 p.m. local time, according to a Xinhua report of August 11, apparently quoting Japan’s Kyodo news agency.
The same Xinhua article also quotes an academic from the Chinese ministry of commerce’s research institute who had told Huanqiu Shibao that Wang Yi’s preparedness to have informal talks with his Japanese counterpart showed China’s sincerity and peaceful intentions.
Fumio Kishida made public comments about the meeting on Sunday morning, according to Xinhua quoting Kyodo. It was the first meeting between a Japanese and a Chinese foreign minister after Japanese prime minister had regained office in December 2012.
Last time, then Japanese foreign minister Koichiro Gemba and then Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi held talks in September 2012, according to a Asahi Chinese news article on Sunday. Apparently, this refers to a meeting on September 26, 2012, in New York. At the time, nearly two years ago, Gemba reportedly referred to his talks with Yang as “severe”.
According to the Xinhua article, the meeting took place at Kishida’s request. However, the same article also quotes Japan’s Kyodo news agency as saying that Beijing had been interested in talks between the minister, in the run-up to the APEC summit that is going to be held in Beijing in November. However, if there would be a meeting between Chinese party and state leader Xi Jinping and Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe would still depend on Japan, not least on the issue of the Yasukuni Shrine. If prime minister Abe decided to visit the shrine on August 15 – the day when a Japanese leader usually visits if he decides to do so at all -, Beijing could still change its mind, Xinhua quotes Mainichi Shimbun.
Hong Kong’s Phoenix Media published a Caixin report on Sunday, referring to a “secret visit” to Beijing, made by former Japanese prime minister Yasuo Fukuda. The South China Morning Post (SCMP, Hong Kong) had reported the elder statesman’s visit to Beijing (and his possible meeting with Xi Jinping) on August 1, and the Asahi Shimbun reported on August 3 that Yasuo Fukuda had indeed met the Chinese leader, and that the former prime minister had made use of his personal network in China, rather than of the Japanese foreign ministry, to arrange a meeting.
The Chinese side in particular appears to emphasize the unofficial nature of the meeting, and towards the end of the Xinhua article, Tang Chunfeng (唐淳风), described as a resarcher at a minstry of commerce research institute (and maybe a former official at the Chinese embassy in Tokyo), is quoted as saying that Japan’s leaders needed to understand that Sino-American relations would develop regardless of Japan, as Japan didn’t have the resources to balance those relations.
The Xinhua article is fairly deliberative, by Xinhua standards anyway. After all, it includes Japanese assessments that Beijing, too, might be interested in a Abe-Xi summit. But the appearance of a researcher like Tang Chunfeng is no coincidence. Remarks by Tang open and close the article, and Tang’s closing remarks, besides playing Japan’s international weight down (which should go down well with most Chinese readers and soothe any possible anger), Tang also points out that Japan, while being responsible for the Sino-Japanese tensions, always tries to give the world the impression that “China doesn’t give Japan any opportunities to talk” (唐淳风对《环球时报》说，中日关系紧张的责任在日方，而日方总是试图给外界造成“中国不给日方任何和谈机会”的假象).
According to Radio Japan‘s Chinese service (August 10 podcast, 21:01 JST),
it is believed that Wang Yi, during the meeting, emphasized China’s standard [or consistent] position that China wouldn’t make concessions on these issues [Senkaku / Diaoyu Islands], and hoped that Japan would make concessions.
Also according to Radio Japan, Wang Yi told “this station” (i. e. Radio Japan or NHK) that the meeting had been an informal contact (非正式接触). Radio Japan’s English podcast, posted at the same time as the Chinese one, at 21:01 on Sunday, also contained information about the ministerial meeting but did not mention Wang Yi’s note that the meeting had been informal.
Radio Japan is also informally jammed by China. Domestic Chinese broadcaster CPBS (or CNR) has occupied the afternoon (UTC) frequency of 9540 kHz since July. All the same, there seem to be listeners in China, be it by radio or by podcast. In a tieba forum (The Syria Situation Bar Room), a member posted a transcript of the newscast.
While in Myanmar, Fumio Kishida also met North Korean foreign minister Ri Su Yong and South Korean foreign minister Yun Byung-se. The only thing Kishida and his South Korean counterpart apparently agreed about was the need to improve relations:
South Korea’s KBS World reports that
In the meeting, which is their first in eleven months, [the South Korean foreignminister] said that if Japan shows sincerity on historical issues and Japan’s wartime atrocities, the two nations could find a breakthrough in improving ties.
The minister also asked Japanese politicians to use wisdom in order to find a way out of the strained ties, mentioning Japanese leaders’ visits to the Yasukuni Shrine and Japan’s recent review of the Kono Statement, a landmark 1993 apology for its wartime use of sexual slavery.
In response, Kishida said that there exist difficult issues between the two nations, but improved ties would provide mutual benefits for both sides.
Maybe unwittingly, maybe intentionally, a picture of the Korean politician and his Chinese, rather than his Japanese counterpart, adorns the KBS news article.
1. NPC Standing Commission hears Budget and Final Accounts
In his capacity as China’s top legislator (and CCP Politburo Standing Commission member) Zhang Dejiang (张德江) was present at the second plenary meeting of the 12th National People’s Congress’ Standing Committee’s 9th session, reviewing the final accounts of the 2013 budget. CCTV‘s main evening news, Xinwen Lianbo:
The second plenary meeting of the 12th National People’s Congress’ Standing Committee’s 9th session was held in Beijing at the Great Hall of the People, in the afternoon of June 24. Committee chairman Zhang Dejiang attended.
Vice committee chairman Ji Bingxuan chaired the meeting. 162 Standing Committee members were attending, and the quorum as stipulated by law was therefore met.
On behalf of the State Council, finance minister Lou Jiwei delivered a report concerning the 2013 central final accounts. In 2013, the central government had overall revenues of 6.02 trillion yuan RMB, achieving 100.2 per cent of the budgeted amount, and an increase of 7.2 per cent over the 2012 budget. Central government expenditure was at 6.85 trillion yuan RMB, or 98.5 per cent of the budgeted amount, an increase of 6.8 per cent. In general terms, the implementation of the central budget had been good, but with some problems. The next steps will emphasize the strong advance of the fiscal and taxation system, close attention to fiscal and tax policies, measures, and implementation, tangible strengthening of local government debt management, and great efforts to consolidate financial and economic order etc..
受国务院委托， 财政部部长楼继伟作了关于2013年中央决算的报告。2013年，中央公共财政收入60198.48亿元，完成预算的100.2%，比2012年增长 7.2%。中央公共财政支出68491.68亿元，完成预算的98.5%，增长6.8%。总的看，中央财政预算执行情况良好，但也存在一些问题。下一步将 重点做好扎实推进财税体制改革，狠抓各项财税政策措施落实，切实加强地方政府性债务管理，大力整饬财经秩序等工作。
On behalf of the State Council, National Audit Office general auditor Liu Jiayi reported the 2013 central budget implementation and other revenue and expenditure audits. After reporting, item by item, central budget revenue and expenditure and final accounts drafts, central financial management, the budget implementation and final accounts at the central government authorities, government debt, key people’s-livelihood projects and mineral resources, state-owned financial institutions, state-owned enterprises and other audits as well as major clues of illegality, he made the following suggestions for the next steps in work improvement: strict financial discipline, tangible administrative achievements in accordance with the law, financial management in accordance with the law, accelerating the transformation of government functions and streamlining administration and delegating powers to the lower levels, deepening the promotion of fiscal and taxation system reform, making efficient use of assets, optimizing structures, and increasing the use efficiency of financial funds.
受国务院委托，审计署审计长刘家义报告了2013年度中央预算执行和其他 财政收支的审计情况。在逐项报告了中央财政预算收支执行及决算草案、中央财政管理、中央部门预算执行和决算草案、政府性债务、重点民生工程及矿产资源、国 有金融机构、国有企业等审计情况及查出的重大违法违规案件线索情况后，报告提出下一步改进工作的意见：严肃财经纪律，切实做到依法行政、依法理财；加快转 变政府职能和简政放权，深入推进财税体制改革；盘活存量、优化结构，提高财政资金使用效益。
The meeting heard National People’s Congress Financial and Economic Affairs Committee deputy chairman Liao Xiaojun’s report on the 2013 central final accounts review. The committee believes that the 2013 central final accounts draft reflects the good implementation of the central budget, and recommended the approval of the draft. As for the problems [the draft] also reflected, the committee suggested to accelerate the promotion of budget system reform, further standardization of budget and final accounts management, the building of a comprehensive governmental debt management system, and the strengthening of auditing and supervision.
会 议听取了全国人大财政经济委员会副主任委员廖晓军作的关于2013年中央决算审查结果的报告。财经委认为，2013年中央决算草案反映了中央预算执行情况 是好的，建议批准该草案。针对反映出的问题，财经委建议加快推进预算制度改革，进一步规范预决算管理，健全政府性债务管理制度，加强审计监督。
On behalf of the State Council, People’s Bank of China deputy governor Liu Shiyu delivered a work report concerning the strengthening of supervising and averting financial crisis. He said that in recent years, in the face of the complications and changes in the international economic situation, downward pressures in the domestic economy had become stronger, the financial crisis had led to accumulated risks, the State Council had issued a number of policies and measures conducive to averting and defusing financial crisis, safeguarding financial stability, and conducive to economic restructuring and transformation of development methods. [The State Council] had firmly kept to the bottomline of not allowing systemic or regional financial crises. The strengthening and improvement of financial supervision and management and prudent macro-management, the continuous comprehensive promotion of macro-economic stability and a modern financial system that supports substantial economic development.
受国务院委托，中国人民银行副行长刘士余作了关于加强金融监管防范 金融风险工作情况的报告。他说，近年来，针对国际经济形势复杂多变、国内经济下行压力加大、金融风险有所积聚的情况，国务院出台了一系列既有利于防范化解 金融风险、维护金融稳定，又有利于促进经济结构调整和发展方式转变的政策举措，牢牢守住了不发生系统性区域性金融风险的底线。今后，将进一步加强和改善金 融监管和宏观审慎管理，不断健全促进宏观经济稳定、支持实体经济发展的现代金融体系。
Besides playing democracy on Tuesday afternoon, Zhang Dejiang also met the speaker of an elected parliament, Pandikar Amin Mulia from Malaysia.
2. Staying ahead of the Enemy (in Xinjiang)
Shanghai Daily, on Tuesday, quoted State Internet Information Office (SIIO) spokesman Jiang Jun as telling a press conference that terrorist forces have “turned the Internet into a principal tool for their operations.”
[...] China launched a campaign on Friday to rid the Internet of audio and video materials that promote terrorism and violence. The move is aimed at safeguarding social stability in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and long-term peace, according to the SIIO.
Meantime, authorities on the ground in Xinjiang are victorious, People’s Daily reported on Monday. 96 per cent of “terrorist gangs” had been detected during planning stage (or in their embrionyic stage, 在萌芽状态) and been wiped out (or knocked out, 打掉), “Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region” Public Security Bureau deputy director Wang Qianrong (王谦榕) reportedly told a press conference. High-pressure policing (打高压态势), attacks at first opportunity (主动进攻) and staying ahead of the enemy (先发制敌) had been instrumental in normalizing the situation.
3. Staying ahead of the Enemy (in Mainland and Hong Kong)
Despite what organisers called the biggest cyber attack in Hong Kong’s history, hundreds of thousands of people have been able to voice their opinion in an unofficial pro-democracy referendum that started on Friday, the BBC‘s Juliana Liu wrote in the broadcaster’s China blog on Monday. Some 689,000 ballots had been cast on June 23, by 14:00 GMT. It probably helped that 15 polling stations provided opportunities to cast one’s vote in person.
They had a choice between three candidates for the office of Hong Kong Chief Executive. Occupy Central is the major force between these – unofficial – elections.
The Economist, obviously sympathetic to the elections, warns that in China’s most prosperous city, both sides have a lot to lose and should be looking for a way to climb down. Beijing shouldn’t alienate Hong Kongers who, in a free election, … would have probably chosen a pro-China candidate anyway, but many of whom moved towards the radicals’ camp after a senior mainland fgure talked about dealing with disorder by sending in the Chinese army.
Also on Monday, with the number of votes at 700,000 by then, Foarp notes that to put pressure on a free society [is] liable to back-fire by driving people to the other side. That said, Occupy Central could have made more of the opportunty afforded to them by Beijing’s intransigence. By giving the voters a choice between the central-government proposed system and their democratic cause, the voters’ message could have been made so much clearer.
An unfriendly interpretaton would be that maybe neither Beijing nor Occupy Central want to leave anything to chances. A friendlier one would be that Occupy simply wanted to demonstrate democratic practice. The turnout, anyway, was remarkable – too remarkable to be officially noted in China. The searchword combination 622 Referendum was censored on Sina Weibo as the Occupy referendum approached, Fei Chang Dao noted on Sunday.
Sino-Russian Shanghai Summit: Natural Gas Deal “supports Russia”, but simultaneous Naval Exercises indicate no Military Alliance
On Tuesday, prospects that Beijing and Moscow would get to an agreement over a natural gas supply treaty after many years of negotiations looked good, according to Victor Larin, Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Far East Institute. Societies in both countries were watching the negotiations closely and discussing them “warmly”, said Larin, and situations like these frequently indicated that two sides were close to an agreement. Russia was in a position to provide China with needed energy, and in turn, the treaty would provide Russia with the funding it needed for its own economic development. Larin was quoted by Economic Information Daily (经济参考报, via People’s Daily, and so was a Russian sinologist whose name would read Bie’erge’er in Chinese. He was quoted as saying that energy cooperation could reach well beyond gas supplies from Russia, and include oil processing, Russian involvement in nuclear power plant construction in China, Russian electricity supplies into China, and cooperation in wind and solar energy development. The main obstacle the sinologist still saw was pricing.
Discussing Russia’s “Looking East”, Larin said that Russia was currently actively developing Siberia’s Far East, and Russia would only be able to make this happen with the help of Asian countries, and particularly with help from China. Russia needed Chinese investment, equipment, and Chinese human resources.
Sina quotes the Chinese website of RIA Novosti on Thursday as reporting that Russia was going to invest 55 billion USD in the implementation of the gas supply treaty, while china would invest 22 billion USD. According to the agreement, Russia will supply China with 38 billion cubic meters of gas over thirty years. The treaty’s overall value is 400 billion USD, RIA/Sina quote Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller.
It took almost a decade to conclude the negotiations, the Washington Post wrote on Wednesday. While Russia believes that gas supplies to China can start in 2018, the Christian Science Monitor quoted a consultant who warned that after the political declarations are made this week, and even if Putin comes home waving a huge new gas deal with China, Gazprom may prove unable to deliver the goods, and that 2020, rather than 2018, might mark the beginning of gas supplies at the earliest. The olifields that would have to serve the contract were running behind schedule, and any diversion of existing supplies to serve the expanding Chinese market risks disrupting ties with another priority customer, Japan. It could become necessary to pipe gas from more distant fields, and in the worst case, a costly measure like that could mean that Russian taxpayers are committed to subsidizing Chinese consumers well into the future.
Sino-Russian naval exercises in the East China Sea are taking place for the third time this year, but without intentions to form a Sino-Russian military alliance, a RIA Novosti report quotes both sides. The exercises began on Tuesday.
Guancha, a Shanghai-based website and therefore at the scene of the Sino-Russian summit, suggests that the 400-billion deal between Beijing and Moscow is “a blow to the West”, or rather, that this was the view of much of European and American public opinion (….. 欧美舆论大多认为，中俄走近对西方来说是个打击). The gas treaty would strengthen Russia’s ability to resist Western pressure. Guancha also quotes the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) as saying that the gas supply treaty provides Russia with support at a time when its relations with the West are worsening. While the EU was looing for gas suppliers beyond Russia, the treaty with China strengthened Russia’s position. (A word of warning: I haven’t found the quoted WSJ article online and can’t tell if Guancha quotes it correctly.)
The support the treaty offers Russia might come at a price – two WSJ reporters took the data available about the treaty on Wednesday and computed an implied price for the gas of about $350 per thousand cubic meters, which would spell a good deal for China. If true, that is – other guesswork quoted in the article suggests that Russia would nearly get 380 USD, i. e. basically what it gets from Europe, too.
The protests in Vietnam against the Chinese oil-rig operations near the Paracel Islands are not just jingoism, suggests Bill Hayton, of the BBC Media Action organization. Industrial relations, too, play a role, and conflicts with Chinese bosses or investors (or bosses mistaken for Chinese nationals) are among the currents of anger running underneath the demonstrations’ and riots’ official label:
What we are witnessing in Vietnam is an inchoate sense of anger – partly against China but more urgently against bad employers. This is a nightmare scenario for the Communist Party of Vietnam.
It will be easy for protestors to paint it as betraying the national interest out in the South China Sea (by failing to stand up strongly enough to China) and weak at home for failing to ensure that foreign companies treat their workers fairly.
Probably mot quite beside the point – either Canada Home, an overseas-Chinese paper from Ontario, or Huanqiu Shibao, a Chinese newspaper, or both, warned Vietnam in June 2011 that it shouldn’t manufacture a hostile Sino-Vietnamese atmosphere based on low-class (or vulgar) nationalism. This conflict doesn’t look new at all. Most, if not the majority*) of the Vietnamese citizens who became known as “boat people” in the 1970s, after South Vietnam had been conquered by Hanoi, were ethnic Chinese people, or Hoa people. The current Wikipedia’s article suggests that Hoa population dropped from 1.2 million in 1976 to 935,000 three years later.
But many Vietnamese seem to see their country as a mere victim to China. This probably dates back centuries. Even the country’s name – “Viet” – appears to be of Chinese origin. There were four periods of Chinese domination of Vietnam, between 111 BC to 1427.
Even today, obedience may be what is expected of the southern neighbor (or from a wife from Vietnam, anyway) – and an easy military target for China, at least from the view of the Sunday drivers among the armchair generals. And as recently as in 1979, Deng Xiaoping dispatched Chinese troops into Vietnam, reportedly to teach them some necessary lessons.
On last year’s tomb-sweeping day, Huanqiu Shibao remembered Chinese soldiers buried on Vietnamese soil, and in July 2010, Yazhou Zhoukan, a Malaysian/Hong Kong weekly, suggested that neither China nor Vietnam wanted to get back to history.
*) Most probably not a majority – the numbers make that implausible. The total estimated number of boat people was 1.6 million or more.
China says its oil rig will continue drilling in contested waters in the South China Sea, despite deadly anti-Beijing riots in Vietnam, reports the BBC.
Three news items of Thursday and Friday from the Chinese press this week, closely or loosely interrelated.
1. FMPRC Regular Press Conference, Spokesperson Hua Chunying, May 15, 2014
Q: In recent days, there are several violent incidents against foreign enterprises and workers in Vietnam. What is Chin’s comment on that?
A: We are shocked at and seriously concerned about relevant incidents. Now Chinese officials from the embassy in Vietnam are racing against the time to reach the scene which is located in very remote areas and verify relevant reports. Leading officials of the Chinese Foreign Ministry have summoned the Vietnamese ambassador to China to lodge solemn representations and demanded the Vietnamese side to take all necessary and effective measures possible to protect the safety of Chinese citizens and the property of Chinese enterprises and organizations in Vietnam.
It is worth pointing out that the Vietnamese side has an inescapable responsibility for the beating, smashing, looting and burning targeted at China and other countries.
We have learned that enterprises from Hong Kong SAR, Taiwan China, Singapore and ROK have also sustained damages and threats to various degrees. That also points to the graveness of the current situation. Again, we urge the Vietnamese side to immediately take all necessary and effective measures possible to protect the safety of foreign citizens and enterprises in Vietnam, including those from China, and provide a decent working environment for foreign enterprises doing normal business there.
2. Xinhua Net, via Enorth (Tianjin): Chinese Companies in Vietnam newsarticle, May 16
In recent days, foreign investors and companies have faced seriously violent cases of vandalization and looting. Some Chinese companies, including companies and employees from Taiwan and Hong Kong region, and Singaporean, South Korean, and other companies suffered attacks of various degrees, causing losses of property and life. According to initial confirmation, one Chinese citizen has died, and hundreds have been injured.
Concerning this, on the evening of May 15, foreign minister Wang Yi had an emergency telephone talk with Vietnamese deputy prime minister Pham Binh Minh. For the Chinese government, he expressed strong condemnation and put forward a solemn and just protest.
Wang Yi said that the Vietnamese side bore an inescapable responsibility for lawless elements who violently attacked companies and employees of the Chinese side. The Chinese side solemnly demands that the Vietnamese side immediately take resolute measures, stop all violent behavior, guarantee the safety of life and property of all Chinese companies and employees in Vietnam, immediately make proper arrangements for those who were attacked and to make every effort to help the injured, to start investigations of the violent incidents immediately, to punish all criminal elements in accordance with the law, and to compensate the Chinese companies and individuals for all losses.
王毅表示，越方对不法分子暴力 袭击中方企业和人员负有不可推卸的责任。中方郑重要求越方立即采取坚决有效措施，制止一切暴力行为，确保所有在越中国企业和人员的生命和财产安全；立即妥 善安置受到袭击的中方企业和人员并全力救助伤员；立即对有关暴力事件展开调查，依法严惩所有犯罪分子，赔偿中国企业和个人的一切损失。
Pham Binh Minh said that the Vietnamese side was paying close attention the current situation, more than one thousand suspects had been arrested, and criminal elements would be severely punished in accordance with the law. Vietnam would take all measures and protect the safety of lives and property of Chinese employees and institutions in Vietnam. Currently, the situation was stabilizing.
In the afternoon [of May 15], deputy foreign minister Liu Zhenmin was tasked to summon Vietnamese ambassador to China, Nguyen Van Tho, made solemn representations, demanding that the Vietnamese side immediately take practical and effective measures, resolutely stop and severely punish illegal and criminal behavior, and ensure the safety and the rights of Chinese citizens in Vietnam.
On the same day, the Chinese government exigently dispatched an inter-departmental working group headed by assistant foreign minister Liu Jianchao to Vietnam.
(Original headline: China puts forward solemn and just protest against seriously violent attacks suffered by Chinese companies in Vietnam.)
3. Xi Jinping Speech to Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, May 15
On Thursday, Chinese media also covered a speech by Xi Jinping on the 60th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. The occasion was probably long-planned, and Xi’s speech didn’t necessarily undergo changes to adapt to the troubles south of the border. Xi apparently spoke in his capacity as state chairman only, as the report doesn’t mention his role as secretary general of the CCP. A number of foreign guests reportedly attended, Richard Nixon’s grandson Christopher Nixon Cox among them.
Source: CCTV Online (央视网), via Enorth (Tianjin)
State Chairman Xi Jinping chaired a conference at the Great Hall of the People on May 15, marking the 60th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), and gave an important speech. He emphasized that friendship between peoples was a fundamental force in promoting global peace and development. The Chinese people wish to live together in peace with all peoples of the world, to develop harmoniously, and together with them promote the lofty cause of peace and development of humankind. People-to-people diplomacy would innovate the development of friendly exchange in multiple areas, through many channels, and on many levels.
国 家主席习近平15日在人民大会堂出席中国国际友好大会暨中国人民对外友好协会成立60周年纪念活动并发表重要讲话，强调人民友好是促进世界和平与发展的基 础力量，中国人民愿意同世界各国人民和睦相处、和谐发展，共同促进人类和平与发展的崇高事业。民间外交要开拓创新，多领域、多渠道、多层次开展对外友好交 流。
Xi Jinping emphasized that friendship between peoples was a fundamental force in promoting global peace and development, and a prerequisite for achieving win-win cooperation. Facing a complicated and volatile international situation and severe and protruding global problems, peoples of all countries needed to strengthen friendly exchange, work together, and help each other. In the process of bringing about the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, China would, together with all countries of the world, promote the achievement of all countries’ peoples of their own dreams. China would continue to comprehensively open up to the outside world, promote mutually beneficial cooperation with all countries of the world, promote the construction of an economic Silk Road belt and a maritime Silk Road of the 21rst Century, bring about opportunities for all countries to develop, to create together and to share together. China would make great efforts to develop international cultural exchange, and to make contributions to the progress of human civilization.
习近平指出，人民友好是促进世界和平与发展的基础力量，是实现合作共赢的基本前提。面对复杂多变的国际形势和 严峻突出的全球性问题，各国人民需要加强友好交流，携手合作，同舟共济。中国将在实现中华民族伟大复兴的过程中，同世界各国一道，推动各国人民更好实现自 己的梦想。中国将继续全面对外开放，推进同世界各国的互利合作，推动建设丝绸之路经济带和21世纪海上丝绸之路，实现各国在发展机遇上的共创共享。中国将 大力开展中外文化交流，为推动人类文明进步作出贡献。
Xi Jinping empasized that the Chinese nation had always been a peace-loving nation, had always sought and passed on the firm concepts of peace, concord, and harmony. To invade others, seeking world hegemony was not in the nature of the Chinese nation, and the Chinese people did not accept the logic of “national strength must dominate”*), but wanted to live in peace with the peoples of all countries of the world, to develop harmoniously, seek peace together, protect the peace together, and enjoy peace together. China would adhere to the path of peaceful development, and also promote the persistence of all countries in peaceful development.
习近平强调，中华民族历 来是爱好和平的民族，一直追求和传承和平、和睦、和谐的坚定理念。中华民族的血液中没有侵略他人，称霸世界的基因，中国人民不接受“国强必霸”的逻辑，愿 意同世界各国人民和睦相处、和谐发展，共谋和平、共护和平、共享和平。中国将坚持走和平发展道路，同时也将推动各国共同坚持和平发展。
*) “national strength must dominate” might be replaced by “national strength must lead to domination (of others)” – that would seem to reflect the meaning of “国强必霸” better.
Norway’s prime minister and foreign minister are not going to meet the Dalai Lama when he visits next month, as part of an effort to ease tensions with the world’s second-largest economy, Bloomberg reported on April 23. Views and News from Norway wrote on April 9 that Parliamentary President and a long-time supporter of Tibet, Olemic Thommessen, said he would not be meeting with the exiled spiritual leader because it was more important to repair relations with China. Relations between Oslo and Beijing had been frigid ever since Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, reports the Norwegian English-language website. It was Norway’s – now ruling – Conservative Party, including now prime minister Erna Solberg, who spoke up for human rights issues and Tibet in 2008. The Dalai Lama himself is a Nobel laureate and visits on the 25th anniversary of being awarded the peace prize.
According to the Views and News report,
Olav Gunnar Ballo, another former leader of the Tibet committee, said it’s a shame Norway’s leading politicians haven’t come out in support of the Dalai Lama, and it’s cowardly that appeasing China now seems to take precedence over human rights issues that were so actively brandished in the past.
According to the Voice of Tibet, a Norway-based broadcaster and website operator, demonstrators protested, on Wednesday, against high-ranking politicians’ decisions not to meet with the Dalai Lama. Among the demonstrators – about 400 according to News and Views -, were Liberal Party leader Trine Skei Grande, MP Rasmus Hansson of the Green Paerty, and rock musician Lars Lillo-Stenberg. Norway should not cave in to force and threats, one of the organizers reportedly told Norway’s public broadcaster NRK. According to Views and News, Liberal Party leader Grande said that
the Dalai Lama would not be received “in the basement” [...] but would be brought to parliament to meet “as many politicians as we can manage to scrape together. We will show that people are concerned about the cowardice shown.”
These are strong words of criticism – and as they come from Norwegians, these words are laudable. But before Europeans elsewhere join the condemnations easily, they should pause and think what they or their countries were doing while Norwegian business was kept in the cold by Beijing. In fact, Oslo resisted the pressures for a remarkably long time.
But it is also true that the Nobel Peace Prize committee in Oslo – independent from government in formal terms, but not when it comes to membership and influence – has made a joke of itself in recent years. Awarding Liu Xiaobo was a brave choice, but the award that had preceded it a year earlier – to Barack Obama -, and the one that followed in 2012, to the European Union, were silly (to put it mildly).
Are the current (small-scale, but still bigger than elsewhere) protests only the last echoes from Norway’s better days? Or are they an indication that civil society is picking up important issues where the elites are failing? The Dalai Lama himself has turned more to people-to-people diplomacy in recent years, at least formally.
That’s where the future is.
U.S.-Japanese Alliance covers Senkaku Islands: Greater Japanese contributions welcome, says Obama; Neighbors mindful, says FMPRC
U.S. president Barack Obama wound up a visit to Japan on Friday and began a visit to South Korea.
The Japanese and US governments issued a joint statement on Friday, after an unusual delay, reports Radio Japan. The statement says the United States and Japan are committed to taking the bold steps necessary to complete a high-standard, ambitious and comprehensive TPP agreement, and says the US and Japan underscore the importance of maintaining maritime order based on international law, including the freedom of navigation and overflight. It was apparently alluding to China’s increased maritime activities.
The statement also says the US provides all necessary capabilities to meet its commitments under the US-Japan security treaty. It says these commitments cover all territories under the administration of Japan, including the Senkaku Islands, adds Radio Japan.
American president Obama and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe held a press conference on Thursday, and the White House published a transcript of the press conference. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement that is currently meant to include Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam, was one of the big topics, another was military cooperation between Japan and the U.S..
Addressing the Japanese prime minister directly, Obama explicitly stated that under your leadership, Japan is also looking to make even greater contributions to peace and security around the world, which the United States very much welcomes.
Obama also explicitly stated that the American military alliance with Japan covered the Senkaku Islands (aka Diaoyutai Islands), replying to a question from a news person not mentioned by name or organization.
A U.S. reporter follows up on that.
Q (CNN): Thank you, Mr. President. Arigato, Mr. Prime Minister. Mr. President, in regards to the Senkaku Islands, I just want to make sure that this is absolutely clear. Are you saying that the U.S. would consider using military force were China to have some sort of military incursion in those islands to protect those islands? And how does that not draw another red line that you would have to enforce – of putting U.S. credibility, your credibility on the line once again, as it was in the case with Syria and Russia? And on another key security issue, you mentioned North Korea in your meeting with the Prime Minister. Are you issuing a warning to North Korea that there should not be another nuclear test?
And to Prime Minister Abe, do you have confidence in President Obama’s assurances about your security when the U.S. and the West were unable to stop Russia’s advances in Ukraine? Thank you.
After this question, Obama’s answers began to take time. It started with Well, Jim, let me unpack that question because there’s a whole bunch of assumptions in there, some of which I don’t agree with. There was no “red line”, the president added, but only the standard interpretation over multiple administrations of the terms of the alliance, which is that territories under the administration of Japan are covered under the treaty. Diplomacy, not escalation, would be encouraged, according to Obama, who pointed to the removal of chemical weapons from Syria as an example for successful diplomacy.
On the day of Abe’s and Obama’s press conference in Tokyo, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang (秦刚) held one in Beijing, too.
Q: US President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met the press together after their meeting. Obama said that the Diaoyu Islands are under Japan’s administration and fall within the scope of the US-Japan security treaty. What is China’s comment?
A: China’s position on the issue of the Diaoyu Islands is clear, firm and consistent. China firmly opposes the inclusion of the Diaoyu Islands into the US-Japan security treaty. I have already clarified this solemn position yesterday.
I want to add that the so-called US-Japan security treaty is the product of the Cold War era. It should not be cited to target a third party, let alone to undermine China’s territorial sovereignty. No matter what others may say or do, the solid fact that the Diaoyu Islands are integral parts of China’s territory cannot be changed, nor will our government’s and people’s determination and resolve to safeguard territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests be shaken.
The Obama administration had apparently prepared the ground with an interview. He had told Yomiuri Shimbun that our engagement with China does not and will not come at the expense of Japan or any other ally, and that the Senkaku Islands are administered by Japan and therefore fall within the scope of Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. And we oppose any unilateral attempts to undermine Japan’s administration of these islands.
On Wednesday, Qin Gang – as he pointed out on Thursday – had commented on Obama’s message, too.
Q: Today’s Yomiuri Shimbun published their interview with US President Barack Obama. Obama said in the interview that the Diaoyu Islands are under Japan’s administration and fall within the scope of US-Japan security treaty, adding that the US supports Japan in playing a bigger role in the field of security in the Asia Pacific. What is China’s comment?
A: China’s position on the issue of the Diaoyu Islands is clear and consistent. The Diaoyu Islands are an integral part of China over which China has indisputable sovereignty. The so-called control of the islands by the Japanese side is illegal and invalid. Their provocative actions are undeniable and unjustifiable. Our determination and resolve to safeguard territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests is unshakable.
It should be noted that the US-Japan alliance, as a bilateral arrangement forged during the Cold War era, should never infringe upon China’s territorial sovereignty and legitimate rights and interests. China firmly opposes the inclusion of the Diaoyu Islands into the US-Japan security treaty. The US should respect facts, act responsibly, stick to its commitment of taking no sides in relevant territorial disputes, think twice before saying or doing anything and truly play a constructive role in ensuring regional peace and stability.
For historical reasons, countries in the region as well as the international community are mindful about Japan’s policies in military and security areas. Considering the recent incidents, by incidents I mean the provocative words and actions of the Japanese authority on issues of history, territorial sovereignty and others, Japan’s moves in the military and security areas are also closely watched by us. We hope that relevant parties can show their respect for facts, tell right from wrong, and make positive efforts in safeguarding regional peace, security and stability. As for the Japanese side, we hope they can follow the trend of the times, featuring win-win cooperation, and show us with their concrete actions that they are still on the path of peaceful development.
Meantime, Obama has arrived in South Korea, and is scheduled to visit Malaysia and the Philippines after that.
Huanqiu Shibao, on Tuesday, published an account of an interview with Jin Canrong (金灿荣), a foreign-relations observer, who states a belief that Washington was aware of Japanese ambitions to lead America, rather than to be led by America, and that Washington was confident that its own leadership would prevail in U.S.-Japanese cooperation. However, nobody should make much of the fact that Obama wouldn’t stay in the State Guest House during his stay in Japan, or that he wasn’t accompanied by his wife. China’s feelings were hardly Obama’s concern when making these decisions. A researcher at the Japan Institute of the China Institutes Of Contemporary International Relations, Liu Junhong (刘军红), suggests that several successive Japanese governments had tried to bypass America in order to dominate the East Asian community, but that with America joining the TPP, this Japanese concept had disintegrated. Now, Japan hoped to achieve the goal of domination by “borrowing strength” from America.
“美国有信心主导美日关系而不是被日本主导，肯定不会被日本当枪使”，中国国际问题专家 金灿荣21日对《环球时报》说，对于日本期望美国为其站台的盘算，美国心里是清楚的，但如果认为奥巴马不住国宾馆、米歇尔不随行是顾虑中方感情，那显然是 想多了。金灿荣说，日本近期在扩大集体自卫权方面动作频繁，中方不要指望美国会“管教”日本，相反日本军事动作背后有美国的意思，因为美国人自信完全可以 控制住日本，希望日本在亚洲多发挥军事作用。中国现代国际关系研究院日本研究所研究员刘军红说，最近几届日本政府期待主导“东亚共同体”，也就是甩开美国 单干，但这个构想被美国的TPP瓦解了。现在日本仍未放弃主导亚洲，但希望通过借力美国来实现。
Huanqiu also quotes Russia Today‘s “Voice of Russia” as commenting on Monday that while countries visited by Obama wanted American security assurances, America might not be able to give such guarantees. Those countries needed to understand that America had always kept its own interests first on its mind, and that these interests wouldn’t allow America to openly antagonize China.
Meantime, the “Voice of Russia” is interviewing academics, too. On Friday, the former radio station’s website published remarks by Dmitry Babich, a political analyst of their own. America was lucky enough to have good economic relations with both China and Japan, Babich says, but instead of being a mediator between them Obama engaged himself 100% on the side of Japan, said that the US has to protect Japan according to the defense treaties. And in this way he alienated China and pushed it into the arms of Russia right on the eve of President Putin’s visit.
Or, maybe, Beijing allows Moscow to jump into China’s arms.
But then, Beijing has interests of its own, too. And not confronting America openly – i. e. to maintain big-power relations with Washington – may be a priority for Beijing, at least for the time being.