Archive for ‘South-East Asia’

Monday, October 31, 2016

German FM Vietnam Visit: Counter-Balancing China?

“Vietnam is Germany’s important strategic partner”, Nhan Dan‘s Chinese edition quoted German foreign minister Frank Walter Steinmeier, in one of its headlines on October 29. Nhan Dan is the organ of Vietnam’s Communist Party central committee.

German foreign minister Frank Walter Steinmeier left Berlin on October 29 to begin a trip intended to strengthen the two countries’ strategic partnership.

德国外交部长弗兰克-瓦尔特·施泰因迈尔10月29离开柏林,开始启程对越南进行访问,旨在加强两国战略伙伴关系。

German foreign minister Steinmeier is leading a delegation with members in charge of economic and cultural affairs.

德国外长施泰因迈尔率领负责经济和文化事务代表团对越南进行为期三天的访问。

The German foreign minister sees Vietnam as Germany’s important economic, political, cultural and strategic partner. The head of Germany’s federal parliament, Norbert Lammert, visited Vietnam in March 2015, and Vietnam [then] state chairman Trưong Tan Sang’s visit to Germany in November 2015 strengthened the two countries’ relations further.

德国外交部将越南是为德国重要的经济、政治、文化战略伙伴。德国联邦议院议长诺贝特·拉默特2015年3月对越南进行访问和越南国家主席张晋创2015年11月对德国进行访问为两国关系增添了新动力。

In the framework of the two countries’ strategic-partnership action plan, Germany’s and Vietnam’s cooperation activities are developing further, in a variety of fields, with new projects being added every year. One of these important projects is the “German House”, under construction in Ho Chi Minh City, which is going to be a headquarter for German organizations and companies in Ho Chi Minh City.

在两国战略伙伴行动计划框架内,德国与越南合作活动在各领域上继续向前发展,每年都有新的合作项目。两国重要合作项目之一是在胡志明市兴建 “德国屋”,这里将成为在胡志明市德国组织和企业的总部。

Bilateral trade between Vietnam and Germany amounted to 10.3 billion USD in 2015, with German imports from Vietnam at eight bn, and exports to Vietnam at 2.3 bn USD. Major export products from Vietnam are footwear, textiles, farming and seafood products, electronic components, wooden furniture, etc.. Major import products from Germany are machinery, transport, vehicles, chemical products, and measurement instruments, etc..

越德两国2015年双边贸易金额达103亿美元,德国自越南进口80亿美元、对越南出口23亿美元。越南对德国主要出口产品是鞋类、纺织品、农海产品、电子零件和木家具等;越南自德国进口主要产品是机械、运输车辆、化学物品和化学仪器等。

On Sunday, Nhan Dan reported a visit by Steinmeier to a German company’s investment site in Haiphong. According to the newsarticle, the gypsum production site, built by German gypsum producer Knauf, is one of the biggest investment projects in Haiphong.

Vietnam’s foreign broadcaster Voice of Vietnam‘s (VoV) German service adds a short description of the Phu Lac wind farm.

Betram Lang, a MERICS researcher, wrote earlier this month that

[i]n times of rising diplomatic tensions in the South China Sea, the European Union (EU) tries to bolster the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) as a counterweight to China in the region. To this end, the EU has offered generous financial support to foster the regional integration process and sponsor the still politically toothless ASEAN secretariat. It almost tripled previous financial commitments to 196 million EUR between 2014 and 2020.

That however was proving difficult: While Cambodia has been positioning itself as China’s closest ally in South East Asia since at least 2001, other ASEAN countries have recently sought their own kind of ‘privileged relationship’ with the PRC as well.

China’s online media apparently don’t report Steinmeier’s Vietnam visit – most of the Chinese-language coverage appears to be from Vietnamese sources.

Before heading for Vietnam, Steinmeier reportedly called on Vietnam’s leadership for political reforms in Vietnam, an issue that Vietnam’s state-controlled media didn’t cover (not in Chinese, anyway).

In a speech at the opening ceremony for a German and European Law program of study at Hanoi Law University, Steinmeier came back to the topic of political reforms. Successful modernization required the rule of law, and a strong civil society, he said.

Steinmeier also addressed the South China Sea conflict – in a diplomatic way -, plus ASEAN:

For us, but for Vietnam with its important and further growing role in ASEAN and the United Nations, one thing is clear: Peace can only be secured when international law and politics work together. International law aims at guide power within tracks, and the powerful in politics must accept these tracks. The latest decision, based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, was an important legal step. What matters now is that the groundbreaking elements of the decision will gradually be turned into practice of international law.

Für uns, aber auch für Vietnam mit seiner wichtigen und weiter wachsenden Rolle in ASEAN und in den Vereinten Nationen ist jedenfalls eines klar: Frieden wird nur gesichert, wenn Völkerrecht und Politik zusammenspielen. Das Völkerrecht zielt darauf ab, Macht in Bahnen zu lenken, und die Mächtigen in der Politik müssen diese Bahnen akzeptieren. Der jüngste Schiedsspruch, basierend auf der Seerechtskonvention der Vereinten Nationen, war ein wichtiger rechtlicher Schritt. Jetzt kommt es darauf an, dass die wegweisenden Elemente des Schiedsspruches Schritt für Schritt auch völkerrechtliche Praxis werden.

Vietnam’s opposition to China’s naval strategy in the South China Sea has been stronger than that of other ASEAN nations. But geostrategic considerations are only one aspect of Germany’s Vietnam policy. Vietnam’s economy keeps growing fast, and East Germany and Vietnam in particular share a history of economic cooperation.

Deutsche Welle, once Germany’s foreign radio station, in a March 2015 report, commemorating fourty years of German-Vietnamese ties:

When that country [East Germany] collapsed, almost all its Vietnamese workers suddenly lost their jobs. They did not want to return to Vietnam because the employment prospects in their home country were very poor. The Vietnamese economic boom was yet to come.

Even so, the majority of these Vietnamese were still repatriated because they did not have a residence permit.

The conflict over contract workers and the regulation of old debts strained the German-Vietnamese ties for several years, according to Gerhard Will. “Only during the course of negotiations, it became clear to both countries what they could offer a lot to each other,” writes Will, who has been a Vietnam expert and worked at the German Institute of International and Security Affairs in Berlin.

[…]

In 2011, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung signed the “Hanoi Declaration” to establish a “strategic partnership” between the two countries. The two leaders expressed the desire to continue economic partnership and cooperate in the areas of development policy, environment, education and science. The German-Vietnamese University in the city of Ho Chi Minh, founded in 2008, is considered a model project in terms of bilateral cooperation.

There is also a West German-Vietnamese history. 33,000 immigrants may not sound like a big number these days, but it did in the 1970s and 1980s.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Duterte’s China Visit: We need your Help, Son of a Whore

Guanchazhe quotes “German media” (read: Deutsche Welle‘s (DW) Mandarin website) as reporting that Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, wants to gain distance from America and become close to China (疏美亲中). The second part quotes extensively from the DW article (with credits), but leaves out the more pointed remarks (“this president”, “closely observing”).

Deutsche Welle, on Wednesday:

Philippines president Duterte said on Wednesday (October 19) that it was time to say Good-bye to America. He told Filipinos living in Beijing that an alliance with America that had lasted for many years had brought the Philippines extremely little profit.

菲律宾总统杜特尔特周三(10月19日)在北京表示,是时候和美国说再见了。他对生活在北京的菲律宾团体说,菲律宾从多年的美菲同盟中获利甚少。

Discussing American criticism of how he had drug dealers executed extrajudicially, Duterte said, “I’m really angry. If you do that, you are insulting the people of a country.” He said that just as he didn’t want American interference, he didn’t want American military exercises. The reason for you to stay in our country is for your own interest, therefore, it’s time to say good-bye, friend,” he ostensibly shouted into Washington D.C.’s direction.

在谈到美国批评他法外处决毒贩时,杜特尔特说,”我真的很生气。如果你们这样做,你们是在侮辱一个国家的人民”。他表示,再也不要美国的干预,再也不要美国的演习。”你们留在我的国家是为了你们的自身利益,所以是时候说再见了,朋友”,他似乎在向华盛顿喊话。

“I won’t go to America again, I would only be insulted there,” said Duterte, as he once again denounced US president Obama as “raised by a whore”.

“我不会再去美国,在那里我只会受侮辱”,说完杜特尔特又再次骂美国总统奥巴马是”婊子养的”。

This Philippines president also said he had enough of foreign-policies arranged by the West and said that “in the past, they made us stay distant from China, but that wasn’t our own wish, and I will open a new road.”

这位菲律宾总统还表示,他受够了菲律宾受西方摆布的外交政策,并说,”以前让我们远离中国,并非是我们自己的意愿,我会开始新路线”。

Since the beginning of his presidency in June, Philippine foreign policy has taken a big turn, contrasting with previous president Aquino III policies, distancing the Philippines from Washington, the old ally, and expressing goodwill to China.

自从杜特尔特今年6月底上台以来,菲律宾的外交政策相比前任阿基诺三世时期发生了大转弯,开始疏远多年来的盟友华盛顿,向北京示好。

Duterte, who is currently in China, has praised the country. According to AFP, he said on Wednesday that China was “good”, and hasn’t invaded any place in our country for generations”; thus hinting at America’s colonial history in the Philippines. “During the Cold War, China was described as the bad guy. At that time, our schoolbooks were full of Western propaganda.”

目前身处中国的杜特尔特对中国大加赞赏。据法新社报道,他在周三说中国”不错”,”世世代代以来,从没有侵略过我们国家的任何地方”,影射美国对菲律宾的殖民历史。 “在冷战时期,中国被描述成坏人。那些年里,我们的教科书中都是西方制造的政治宣传”。

China is closely observing Manila’s expressions of goodwill, of course. Foreign-ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in Wednesday’s regular press conference that China “expressed admiration” for Dutertes strikes against drug criminality”, and said that “China supports Dutertes leadership in the construction of his country by the Philippine people, their efforts for economic development, and we are willing to actively participate in economic and social construction. China is willing to cooperate with the Philippines in trade, production capacity, infrastructure building and in other fields.”

对于马尼拉的示好,中国方面自然看在眼里。中国外交部发言人华春莹在周三的例行记者会上表示,中方对杜特尔特打击毒品犯罪”表示赞赏”,同时称,”中方支持杜特尔特总统领导菲人民建设国家、发展经济的努力,愿积极参与菲经济社会建设,同菲方在包括经贸、产能、基础设施建设等领域开展合作。”

There are doubts within the Philippines however, regarding Dutertes position towards China. Richard Heydarian, political scientist of De La Salle University in Manila, told AP that the Philippines’ mainstream media felt that “it can’t be right to be show that much respect for a country that invaded Philippine territory.”

不过,杜特尔特的对华立场在菲律宾国内受到了一些质疑。马尼拉德拉萨大学的政治学教授海德林(Richard Heydarian)对美联社说,菲律宾的主流媒体认为,”对于这个侵占菲律宾领土的国家如此恭敬,这让人感觉不对”。

The initiator of the Hague arbitration case concerning the South China Sea, former foreign minister Albert del Rosario, said that the Philippine’s foreign policy shouldn’t be contemptuous of America as a long-standing ally, or replace it with another country (China).

南海海牙仲裁案的发起者、前菲律宾外长罗萨里奥(Albert del Rosario)也表示,菲律宾的外交政策不应该唾弃长期的盟友美国而取悦另外一个国家(中国)。

That, however, doesn’t appear to be on Duterte’s mind. In a CCTV interview, he said that he wanted to extend a fraternal and friendly hand, ask for Chinese help, and, looking right into the camera, “frankly said, we need your help.”

然而这些,似乎并不在杜特尔特的考虑之中。在接受央视采访时,杜特尔特称,自己要伸出兄弟友谊之手,向中国寻求帮助,他直面镜头说:”坦率地说,我们需要你们的帮助。”

The DW article comes across as slightly sardonic. Guanchazhe, obviously, ignores that. It does, however, quote “foreign media” as reporting doubts from within the Philippines. Guanchazhe also seeks and finds an answer to such voices of doubts, delivered by foreign-ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying, on the same press conference as quoted further up.

Some reporters at the foreign ministry’s regular press conference on October 19 asked: Western media follow Duterte’s China visit closely, but there are voices among them who “pour cold water” on the enthusiasm. How does the foreign ministry comment on this?

Foreign-ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that the Chinese and Philippine people were all very happy and full of hope concerning Duterte’s visit, but in fact, there were also people with anxious, disappointed or complex feelings. The return of Sino-Philippines relations to the tracks of a more healthy and stable development was, however, good news, both for China and the Philippines, and for regional peace and stability. I believe that provided that they hope for peaceful and stable development of the Asia-Pacific region, people will welcome this.

10月19日外交部例行记者会上,有记者问到,西方媒体非常关注杜特尔特访华一事,但其中有“泼冷水”的声音,中方对此有何评论?

外交部发言人华春莹就此回应,对于杜特尔特此访,中菲两国人民都很高兴并抱有期待,但的确也有人焦虑、失落,五味杂陈。中菲关系重回健康稳定发展的正确轨道,无论对于中菲两国,还是地区和平稳定,都是利好消息。我想,只要是真正希望亚太地区和平稳定发展繁荣的人,对此都会持欢迎态度。

Guanchazhe quotes Mainila Commercial Times as reporting that China Railway Group Ltd was going to invest three billion USD in Philippines infrastructures in the future.

The Guanchazhe article’s effect on the readership, if uncensored, is handsome. The “overjoyed” button was clicked 321 times by 07:15 UTC, 41 clicks went to the button “timely”, and only five clicks hit the “absurd” or “sad” button.

We can sign a contract with Old Du, for step-by-step investment, thus ensuring Chinese interests, but also the stability of Old Du’s political power, how about that,

我们可以和老杜签个合同,投资分段进行,既保证中国利益,又保证老杜政权的稳定,怎么样?

suggests The Little Venerable, and Clear Spring from a Rock serenely declares:

If you say good-bye to America or not doesn’t matter. what matters is an independent and self-determined foreign policy, without being used by others.

与美国再不再见的不太要紧,关键是要独立自主的外交政策,别被人利用了

According to Radio Japan‘s Mandarin service, Duterte meets Chinese party and state chairman Xi Jinping on Thursday.

Carrie Gracie, the BBC’s China editor, suggested two days ago that

a clear-cut courtroom win against China, coming just after Mr Duterte took up office, has created opportunities for a new approach. China cannot take that legal victory away. And meanwhile in the nearly four years since the Philippines began its legal case, it has suffered economically as Beijing has frozen Manila out of the benefits of Chinese wealth. China has actively discouraged tourists, investors and importers from looking to the Philippines. With the legal card in his back pocket, Mr Duterte wants that economic chill to end. He sees no reason why the Philippines shouldn’t, just like most other countries in the region, have its cake and eat it – enjoy the economic benefits of China’s growth at the same time as sheltering under the US security umbrella.

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Related

Inherent Territory, May 13, 2012

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Updates/Related

Indonesia detains Taiwan vessel, RTI, Oct 20, 2016

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Huanqiu Editorial on Hague ruling: “The Chinese People will inevitably support the Government”

The following is a translation from an editorial published online by Huanqiu Shibao. It refers to today’s (Tuesday’s) decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

The terms used in this translation may not be accurate legal language, be it because of my limited translation skills, be it because of the nature of the article which may be more about purposeful agitation and reassurance, than about legal issues.

Links within the blockquote were added during translation.

The arbitration court’s result on the South China Sea arbitration case, announced in the afternoon Beijing time, is even more extreme, more shameless, than predicted by many, and may be rated as “the worst version” people could imagine, and we believe that Chinese people in their entirety will resent this illegal ruling, and the peace-loving global public will also be absolutely astonished about the arbitration court’s seriously partial approach which will very likely add to regional tensions.

南海仲裁案仲裁庭北京时间12日下午公布了仲裁结果,它比之前很多人预测的更加极端、无耻,堪称是人们可以想象的“最坏版本”,相信全体中国人都会为这一非法裁定感到愤慨,世界爱好和平的公众也会对仲裁庭这一严重偏袒一方,并且很可能加剧地区局势紧张的做法而十分诧异。

According to an unofficial translation, this arbitration result, by denying the nine-dotted line, acts drastically against China’s sovereignty within [this line], and also denies its historical foundation. It denies that there were any exclusive economic zone around any of the Spratly Islands which amounts to denying the Taiping Island its due status. It also openly claims that the [artificial] extension of the islands were without legal legitimacy, denouncing China for obstructing the Philippines’ economic activities within the nine-dotted line, and denouncing China’s interception of Philippine vessels can only exacerbate maritime tensions.

根据一个非官方的中文翻译版本,这一仲裁结果借助否决南海九段线内中国主张权益来对其做了釜底抽薪,而且否定它的历史依据。它否定南沙群岛中任何一岛有专属经济区,这等于否定了太平岛的应有地位。它还公然宣称中国在南沙扩建岛礁不具有合法性,指责中国拦阻菲律宾在九段线内开展经济活动,指中国拦截菲律宾船只加剧了海上紧张。

If one goes by this ruling, the maximum that would remain for China in the Spratly Islands would be a few isolated spots, no exclusive economic zones, and even some territorial waters linking the islands and reefs could be denied. In large part, the Spratlys would be covered by Philippine and Vietnamese exclusive economic zones.

如果按照这一裁决,中国在南沙群岛最多只剩下一些孤立的点,既无专属经济区,甚至可能连岛礁周围的一些领海都将被剥夺。而南沙海域大部分将被菲律宾和越南的专属经济区覆盖。

It would also mean that Chinese construction on these islands and reefs could not be continued, and if the Philippines and Vietnam had sufficient power, they could carry out “demolitions” of already existing Chinese construction. From here on, all maritime resources would be the Philippines’ and Vietnam’s; China’s economic activities and all other activities would have to withdraw from that area.

它还意味着,中国的岛礁建设无法持续,如果菲越有足够的力量,甚至可以对中国已建的岛礁搞“强拆”。今后那片海域的资源将归菲越所有,中国的经济活动和其他活动都要退出那个区域。

This is a brazen denial of China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime interests. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea doesn’t apply for the standards and adjustments of territorial sovereignty – this should be one of the main principles of international conventions and treaties. Now, by this contentious redefinition [my understanding of the line – may be wrong – JR], this comes full circle by delimiting the dispute with this forcible ruling, this is shameless overstepping of authority and abuse of authority, and cruel trampling on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and for the entire international law system.

这是对中国领土主权和海洋权益的悍然否定。联合国海洋法公约不适用于领土主权的调整和规范,这是该公约缔约时的首要原则之一。现在仲裁庭通过对这些争端的再定义,兜了个圈子对中菲领土和海洋划界争端强行裁决,这是无耻的越权和滥权,是对海洋法公约以及整个国际法体系的粗暴践踏。

Not only China’s government, but the entire Chinese society will never accept this “arbitration result”. We will show an unwavering attitude of non-participation and non-acceptance, and nobody should think that anything would shake us.

不仅中国政府,整个中国社会都决不可能接受这一“仲裁结果”,我们对仲裁“不接受、不参与”的态度坚定不移,谁都休想撼动我们。

The so-called “arbitration result” is wasted paper, but if America, Japan and other countries will use it to exert actual military and political pressure on China, the Chinese people will inevitably support the government as it fights back. We firmly believe that when China’s law enforcement is embattled, China’s military force will not remain silent when their appearance is needed.

所谓“仲裁结果”就是废纸一张,但美日等国如果利用它向中国施加现实军事政治压力,中国人民必将支持政府予以针锋相对的回击。相信中国的执法力量严阵以待,中国的军事力量同样不会在需要他们站出来时沉默。

We hope that China’s reasonable activities of all kinds will not be affected in any way, and we also hope that Chinese society, in the face of all storms and waves, including geopolitical provocations, will maintain their determination, and let the daily affairs of this country continue as normal. We believe that the government is able to meet these challenges and to make us believe in this country’s strength will guarantee the unmoved continuation of our correct path.

我们希望看到,中国在南沙地区的各种正当活动不受任何影响,也希望看到中国社会在各种包括地缘政治挑衅在内的各种风浪面前保持定力,让这个国家的运行节奏一如往常。相信我们的政府有能力应对这些挑战,也让我们相信这个国家的实力能够确保我们岿然不动。

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Related/Updates

» Beijing engineers coverage, BBC, July 12, 2016
» Why we cover our Ears, BBC, July 10, 2016

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Monday, May 30, 2016

Neighborhood: No Vietnamese Communist Party without the Chinese Communist Party?

U.S. President Barack Obama visited Vietnam from May 22 to 25. In news coverage, TTP and the complete lifting of an arms embargo that had been in place since 1984, topped the American-Vietnamese agenda.

On May 23, Xinhua‘s English-language website quoted a Russian official, Anatoly Punchuk, as saying that the lifting of a decades-old U.S. arms embargo on Vietnam wouldn’t affect Russia’s weapons sales to Vietnam.

Also on May 23, Xinhua quoted foreign-ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying (华春莹) as saying that China was glad to see Vietnam develop normal cooperative relations with all other countries, including the United States. China hoped the lifting of the arms embargo was a product of the Cold War and should not continue to exist.

In more detail, Hua said that

As a neighbor to Vietnam, we are glad to see Vietnam develop normal relations with all countries, including the United States, and we hope that this will benefit regional peace, stability, and development.

作为越南的邻国,我们乐见越南同包括美国在内的所有国家发展正常关系,希望这有利于地区和平、稳定与发展。

Another question concerning Vietnamese-U.S. relations followed up on the topic:

Q: Vietnam is a close neighbor to China. Why has Vietnam, in recent years, kept calling for a lifting of the U.S. arms embargo? What kind of influence will America’s decision have on U.S.-Vietnamese relations?

问:越南是中国近邻,为什么越南在过去几年一直呼吁美方解除武器禁运?美方的这个决定会对美越关系有何影响?

A: I understand that you are touching on the considerations behind this issue. But you should ask Vietnam this question, not me. I said a moment ago that we are glad to see America and Vietnam develop normal relations, and hoe that this will benefit regional peace and stability.

答:我理解你提这个问题背后的考虑。这个问题你应该去问越方,而不是来问我。我刚说了,我们乐见美越发展正常关系,希望这有利于地区和平稳定。

In October last year, Hua had answered questions about the Trans-Pacific Partnership project, or TPP. Beijing believed that development levels among Asian-Pacific economic entities weren’t entirely the same, Hua said, and that on the basis of special needs, all agreements should help to advance all sides involved. And asked if the American-led TPP could have an effect on China’s promotion of RCEP, she said that

The particular diversity and pluralism of the Asia-Pacific region’s economic development are obvious, and all sides’ bilateral and mutilateral free-trade arrangements are also lively. As long as this is conducive to the Asia-Pacific regional economy’s prosperity and development, we maintain a positive and open attitude. China will continue to work together with countries in the region, based on the spirit of mutual trust, tolerance, cooperation and win-win, and will continiously promote all kinds of free-trade arrangements in the region. At the same time, we hope that both TTP and RCEP will be mutually complementary, mutually promotional, and beneficial for the strengthening of a multilateral trade system that will make a long-term contribution to the prosperity and development of the Asia-Pacific region’s economy.

亚太地区经济发展多样性、多元化的特点十分突出,各种多边、双边自由贸易安排也很活跃。只要是有利于促进亚太地区经济繁荣发展,有利于促进亚太经济一体化 的区域贸易安排,我们都持积极和开放态度。中方将继续与地区国家一道,本着互信、包容、合作、共赢的精神,推动区域内的各种自由贸易安排不断向前发展。同 时,我们也希望无论是TPP也好,RCEP也好,都能够相互补充,相互促进,有利于加强多边贸易体制,为亚太地区经济长期繁荣、发展做出贡献。

In an interview with Guanchazhe (Observer), a privately funded paper and website in Shanghai, Pan Jin’e (潘金娥), a researcher, discussed the future of Vietnam-U.S. relations.

Pan is a vice director at the Marxism Research Institute’s International Communist Movement department. The Marxism Research Institute is part of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, CASS. Her doctoral thesis, around 2012, was titled Research on Vietnam’s socialist transition period’s economic and political innovation (越南社会主义过渡时期的经济与政治革新研究).

Zhonghua Net (中华网, china.com) republished the Guanchazhe interview on May 25. It was first published by Guanchazhe, apparently one day earlier.

The first question of the Guanchazhe reporter (or reporters) contained the allegation that TPP was “anti-China” (排华的) by motivation. Pan did not comment on the allegation but said that Vietnam was the only country that America had invited on its own initiative. This had made Vietnam very proud of itself. In harder terms, TPP was seen by Vietnam as an opportunity to move its economy forward, to alter the model of economic growth, and to change the structure of the national economy. It was also seen as a way to reduce an excessive dependence on the Chinese economy.

However, bilateral Sino-Vietnamese trade amounted to more than 90 billion USD according to Chinese statistics, or over 80 billion USD according to Vietnamese statistics. Vietnam’s bilateral trade with America was only at over 40 billion USD. China was a neighbor that wouldn’t go away.

In an apparent reference to the No-New-China-without-the-Communist-Party propaganda song, Pan said that Vietnam’s Communist Party relied heavily on the Chinese Communist Party, and asked if the Vietnamese Communist Party would still exist without the CCP. No matter how important other Vietnamese considerations were, the only problem that currently existed between the two countries was territorial maritime sovereignty issues.

On the other hand, Hanoi’s political order was continiously challenged by Washington’s “so-called human-rights” issues (所谓的人权问题).

Asked about how far Vietnamese-American cooperation could go, Pan said that while it had been said that Washington had refused Hanoi a comprehensive strategic partnership and kept to a smaller-scale comprehensive partnership only, it was in fact the differences in America’s and Vietnam’s political order that had led to the omission of “strategic”:

… they [Vietnam] are aware that America continiously attacks their political system,even with human-rights issues. During his visit, Obama has, this time, also clearly stated that both sides needed to respect each others’ political systems. That’s to say, America currently respects the socialist road taken by Vietnam. But this doesn’t mean that America would abandon [the concept of] peaceful evolution towards Vietnam. This is something the Vietnamese Communist Party is well aware of.

… 它也知道美国一直是攻击它的政治制度 乃至人权问题的。这一次奥巴马来访时,在发言中也明确指出要彼此尊重政治制度。也就是说,美国尊重目前越南走的社会主义道路。但是并不意味着美国放弃对越 南的和平演变,这一点越南共产党也是心知肚明的。

Concerning the complete lifting of the U.S. arms embargo on Vietnam, Pan said that this was something Voietnam had long waited for. She also touched on the U.S. economic embargo on Vietnam (in force from the 1970s to 1995).

Asked if Russian arms supplies – currently at least eighty per cent of what Vietnam imported – would undergo changes, Pan said that Hanoi was most interested in advanced military technology, not in buying old gear. Imports from Russia would continue, and only a small share of imports would come from the U.S., particularly radar and communications technology, so as to fit into military cooperation with America, Japan, or Australia. However, she didn’t expect that this could lead to a Vietnamese force that would be a match to China’s.

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Related

Even worse than TPP, eff.org, June 4, 2015
Competing or complementary, Brookings, Febr 14, 2014

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

China’s One-Belt-one-Road Initiative: Your Sea is our Sea but My Sea is my Sea

Visiting Xuanzang's library in Xi'an - Xinwen Lianbo, click picture for video

Visiting Xuanzang’s library in Xi’an – Xinwen Lianbo, click picture for video

Former Chinese consul general to Kolkata, Mao Siwei (毛四维 毛四维) was optimistic about China-India relations in a India Today Global Roundtable event in Beijing in May 2015, suggesting that there was an expectation in China that Modi would usher in a new model of relations: “India-China 2.0”, according to the Daily Mail. While conceding that border issues, including China’s claim on Arunachal Pradesh, and Chinese investment in the Kashmiri regions controlled by Pakistan “challenged” the relationship, he expressed hope that during Indian prime minister Narendra Modi‘s visit to China would usher in the second stage where the focus will be on Chinese investment and making in India, thus succeeding the “first stage model” of 1988, which had been about “not letting the border issue getting in the way of overall relations”.

While the Roundtable apparently kept things nice, not everyone in Beijing agreed with Mao.

China’s state paper and website “Global Times” wrote on May 11 that

Modi has been busy strengthening India’s ties with neighboring countries to compete with China, while trying to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities for economic development created by China, as Beijing is actively carrying forward the “One Belt and One Road” initiative.

And:

Due to the Indian elites’ blind arrogance and confidence in their democracy, and the inferiority of its ordinary people, very few Indians are able to treat Sino-Indian relations accurately, objectively and rationally. Worse, some Indian media have been irresponsibly exaggerating the conflicts between the two sides, adding fuel to the hostility among the public.

Modi visited contested areas under Indian control to boost his prestige at home, the “Global Times” wrote, and Delhi was reluctant to admit that a widening trade deficit with China – its biggest trading partner – was its own fault.

The paper’s advice:

The Indian government should loosen up on the limits of cross-border trade with China, reduce the trade deficit, improve the efficiency of government administrations, and relax the visa restrictions, in order to attract more Chinese companies to invest in India.

On June 17, on his personal blog, Mao Siwei wrote about China’s One Belt, One Road initiative. India’s geographical position was a motivation for the initiative and needes a response from India, Mao wrote, and tried to answer the question why India was not taking part in the initiative.

Mao looked at what he sees as at least four views among India’s elites, concerning One Belt, One Road, and he cites four Indian commentators as examples for these views. However, he does not link to their articles in question, even though they are all available online, and of course, he leaves out much of the more controversial content there.

While Mao cites Sino-Indian relations expert Raja Mohan as showing the most constructive opinions of all  (quoting an Indian Express article of May 10 this year to prove this point), he writes that there are  also a very negative positions, as taken by Brahma Chellaney (in the context of Chellaney, Mao mentions a China-US Focus article of May 11, 2015).

Indeed, Mohan had warned in March that [as] Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepares for his China visit in May, New Delhi can no longer delay the articulation of a coherent strategy to restore the subcontinent’s historic connectivity,

and rejected Indian anxieties as stemming from the error of viewing China’s Silk Road initiative through the narrow prism of geopolitics.

Mohans conclusions:

That India needs greater connectivity with its neighbours is not in doubt. All recent governments in Delhi have identified it as a major national objective. If China has economic compulsions of its own in putting money in regional connectivity, it makes eminent sense for Delhi to work with Beijing.

There was no either-or when it came to working with Beijing or – or rather and – with Tokyo and Washington.

Chellaney on the other hand sees colonialism looming from the North:

One example of how China has sought to “purchase” friendships was the major contracts it signed with Sri Lanka’s now-ousted president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, to turn that strategically located Indian Ocean country into a major stop on China’s nautical “road.” The new president, Maithripala Sirisena, said on the election-campaign trail that the Chinese projects were ensnaring Sri Lanka in a “debt trap.”

In his election manifesto, without naming China, Sirisena warned: “The land that the White Man took over by means of military strength is now being obtained by foreigners by paying ransom to a handful of persons. This robbery is taking place before everybody in broad daylight… If this trend continues for another six years, our country would become a colony and we would become slaves.”

Besides, Chellaney accuses Beijing of operating a double standard:

China is also seeking to tap the Indian Ocean’s rich mineral wealth, and is inviting India to join hands with it in deep seabed mining there. Yet it opposes any Indian-Vietnamese collaboration in the South China Sea. “Your sea is our sea but my sea is my sea” seems to be the new Chinese saying.

 

Shyam Saran, a former foreign secretary, is cited by Mao Siwei as an example for a moderately positive stance. While Saran sees China and India as competitors in a very complex relationship, and one where China’s navy has not-so-friendly ideas (and ones that correspond with the “One-Belt-One-Road” initiative), Chinese surplus capital was still good for India’s infrastructure, Saran argues. The initiative could also help India to offset the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. At the same time, India should strengthen its security links with America, Japan, ASEAN and Australia, without signing on to a containment strategy against China.
Another rather critical commentator cited by Mao is Jabin T. Jacob, Assistant Director and Fellow at the Delhi Institute of Chinese Studies. Putting aside disputes as advocated by China was easier to practice for larger, than for smaller countries – indeed, the approach constituted a form of hegemony. Besides, China’s focus on initiatives like these was both exceptional among Asian countries, and also failed to acknowledge other maritime traditions and powers.
Jacob doesn’t mention the worn and corny Zheng He narrative, to which even the most benevolent listeners to the CCP tales might feel overexposed, and he doesn’t use the term arrogance either, but then, he hardly needs to. Anyone familiar with the subject can – probably – relate to what he writes.
In short, Jacob sees a new version

of the ancient Chinese political governing philosophy of tianxia. While the concept has been variously defined over history, at its most basic, it represented the rule over peoples with different cultures and from varied geographical areas by a single ruler.

Practically none of these points are mentioned by Mao; he just writes that Jacob doubts China’s ability or preparedness to understand India’s position in the historical Silk Road, and its practical implications, as well as as India’s interests and sensitivities on the Asian mainland and its waters.

It is obvious, writes Mao, that India does not want to respond to Xi Jinping‘s One-Belt-one-Road call, but it is just as obvious, that India is interesting in doing business with China. It could even become the second-largest shareholder in the Asian International Infrastructure Bank (AIIB). India also promoted Sino-Indian railway and port construction (Mao mentions Mundra Port in particular).
However, Mao writes, there is a lack of political and strategic consensus with China (在政治上和战略上与中方缺乏共识). China was focused on economic cooperation, India was focused on border disputes. Regional rivalries – not necessarily recognized by Mao as such – and America’s Asia-Pacific Rebalance (亚洲再平衡) and Narendra Modis Act East policy (向东行动) were connecting to each other on a global level.
And China’s economic involvement in the Pakistan-controlled Kashmir regions – the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor – constituted a flagship of China’s One-Belt-one-Road initiative. Nothing to please India.
In short, India’s non-participation in the One-Belt-one-Road initiative just reflects the objective fact of a “new bottleneck” in current Sino-Indian relations. The author [i. e. Mao Silwei] believes that as long as the two sides can gradually broaden a consensus concerning the handling of border issues, and pay attention to communication concerning maritime security, there should be hope for finding links between the two countries’ development strategies.
总之,印度不参加“一带一路”只是一种表象,它折射出当前中印关系正处于一个“新瓶颈”的客观现实。在笔者看来,只要双方在处理边界问题方面能逐渐增加共识,并在海上安全领域重视沟通、开展合作,中印两国的发展战略相互对接应该是有希望的。

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Updates / Related

» Small Country Diplomacy, Sino-NK, June 22, 2015
» Staying Alive in Tibet, March 31, 2012
» Two Divisions Wanting to Die, Aug 24, 2010

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Monthly Summary: March 2015 – Death of a China Expert

Bremen, East of Central Station, March 26, 2015

Bremen, East of Central Station, March 26, 2015

1. How’s your Weibo going?

Mainland regulators say people will be able to have nicknames – they will just have to register them with website administrators first,

the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported in January.

The rule apparently took effect on March 1, but yours truly, himself running a Sina Weibo profile, hasn’t been contacted yet.(Having said that, it’s a very low profile – I’m reading there, but I’ve never posted anything myself.)

Either way, it’s »not »the »first try by the authorities to control or to intimidate the microbloggers, and time will show how serious they are this time.

Either way, ways appear to have been found to spoil much of the interest in microblogging.

2. Rectifying Political Ideology at Universities

That blog by Fei Chang Dao was posted on February 25, but it’s probably as important in March and in future. Even if you read no other China blog, make sure you read Fei Chang Dao, and China Copyright and Media, for that matter. What they cover matters much more than the not-really-uncertain fate of Zhou Yongkang – if you want to understaaaaand China.

3. Kailash Calling

Travelling Tibet can be an easy affair, or it can be cumbersome. It might depend on who you are, and where you come from. Here’s an account of scuffproof cheerfulness and patience.

4. “Two Meetings”

The annual tale of two meetings has come to its serene conclusion again this year, with China’s new normal. Just to have mentioned that, too.

5. Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)

The Economist suggested in November that

China will use the new bank to expand its influence at the expense of America and Japan, Asia’s established powers. China’s decision to fund a new multilateral bank rather than give more to existing ones reflects its exasperation with the glacial pace of global economic governance reform. The same motivation lies behind the New Development Bank established by the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Although China is the biggest economy in Asia, the ADB is dominated by Japan; Japan’s voting share is more than twice China’s and the bank’s president has always been Japanese. Reforms to give China a little more say at the International Monetary Fund have been delayed for years, and even if they go through America will still retain far more power. China is, understandably, impatient for change. It is therefore taking matters into its own hands.

The “People’s Daily” suggests that the AIIB is intended to be complementary to top dogs like the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Britain, France, Germany and Italy are European countries that want to be founding members of the AIIB, the British move (which came first in Europe, it seems) angered Washington, a so far reluctant Japanese government may still be persuaded to join the Beijing-led project, and Huanqiu Shibao quotes Russian foreign multimedia platform Sputnik as quoting an analyst as saying that America, too, might still join, so as to hamper China’s influence that way.

6. In Defense of the Constitution: Are you mad?

Taiwan’s president Ma Ying-jeou appeared to question the mental faculties of a Fulbright exchange academic who had asked if the KMT couldn’t drop its claims in the South China Sea.

“Are you mad?”, asked the president – reportedly -, then adding that abandoning those claims would be unconstitutional. He’s also said to have reacted somewhat wooden in another exchange with Fulbright scholars, on the same occasion, March 19.

7. Lee Kuan Yew, 1923 – 2015

Ma’s prayers for Lee Kuan Yew‘s early recovery weren’t terribly successful either; Singapore’s elder statesman died from pneumonia after weeks in hospital. Lee had his admirers both in China and Taiwan, especially for very low levels of corruption in Singapore, and apparently, he had a admirer at the American top, too. Probably no great surprise for John McCain or the tea partisans.

According to “People’s Daily”, Lee was a China expert and a West expert. According to other sources, he appeared to be a democracy expert, too (but he denied that claim).

In an apparently rather terse statement, Benjamin Pwee (方月光), secretary general of the Democratic Progressive Party of Singapore (one of several opposition parties, but neither of them influential in Singapore’s flawed democracy) said that

all great leaders are still people, and inevitably, one can find words of praise and of contempt. But at this time of national grief, let’s remember the contributions he made for the people of Singapore, and affirm his contributions.

“所有伟大的领导人毕竟都是人,难免可褒可贬。但在这个举国哀悼之际,让我们记得他为国人做所的贡献,肯定他的贡献。”

Singapore’s authorities closed the “Speakers Corner” at Hong Lim Park on Monday, for an undefined period. Reportedly, truly “free speech” never really ruled there, anyway.

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Related

想要更多政治空間和言論自由, CNA, March 23, 2015

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Dempsey Visit: China People’s Broadcasting Station explains US-Vietnamese Partnership

Huanqiu Shibao had a rendition on a China People’s Broadcasting Station (CPBS, aka China National Radio) on Sunday. The following is a translation of the rendition.

Main Link: http://world.huanqiu.com/article/2014-08/5108330.html

China People’s Broadcasting Station Net (CPBS Net), Beijing, August 17 – According to the Voice of China’s “CPBS News”, the war that lasted for twenty years, from 1955 to 1975, gave both America lasting pain. After the end of the war, the two countries started opposing each other for twenty years, until the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1995.

央广网北京8月17日消息 据中国之声《央广新闻》报道,1955年到1975年,历经20年的越战给美越两国人民造成了永久的伤痛。越战后,美越两国开始了长达20年的对抗,直到1995年,两国才正式建立外交关系。

But after a family feud of half a century, and during the nineteen years of U.S.-Vietnamese relations that followed, tremendous changes have taken place. Just this month, on August 13, and for the first time after 43 years, an American Chief of Staff, Martin Dempsey, visited Vietnam, the highest-level military visiting Vietnam. Also, America will remove some parts of the arms embargo that had been in place for thirty years. Some Analysts believe that the warming up [in the two countries’ relations] is food for thought. [Voice of China’s] “Global Mandarin Broadcasting Network” America observer Yu Hao explains:

然 而,这长达半个多世纪的“家仇国恨”,在随后的十几年美越交往中发生着翻天覆地的变化。就在本月13号,时隔43周年后,美军参谋长联席会议主席登普西访 问越南,成为越战后首访越南的美国最高军事长官;而历经30年后,美国也将解除对越南部分武器禁运。有分析称,美越此时的“暧昧”关系值得深思。《全球华 语广播网》美国观察员余浩介绍:

What is the reason for the U.S. to lift the arms embargo against Vietnam right now? Most American media are looking at this with the background of rebalancing American forces towards Asia-Pacific, and Dempsey also emphasized in Vietnam that America didn’t want Vietnam to choose between the two big countries of America and China.*) In recent years, both America and Vietnam have become wary about China and have strengthened military cooperation. One by one, American secretary of defense and secretary of state visited Vietnam, even exploring the possibility of American warships calling at Cam Ranh Bay, and this time, Dempsey hinted that the arms embargo against Vietnam could be lifted, and one could say that this was boosting U.S.-Vietnamese military cooperation. The ultimate success depends on U.S. Congress approval. However, during this year, many members of Congress have visited Vietnam, like Senate heavyweight John McCain who visited only a few days ago and said that at the earlierst, a partial removal of the arms embargo could be achieved by September this year.

余 浩:为何美国在这个时候要解除对越南的武器禁运呢?美国的媒体大多是将其放在美国亚太再平衡和南海主权争端中越关系紧张的大背景下来观察,登普西在越南也 强调,美国并没有让越南在美中两个大国之间进行选择。近年来美国和越南这两个对中国同样有戒心的国家强化军事合作关系,美国国防部长、国务卿相继访问越 南,甚至探讨美军军舰在金兰湾停靠的可能性,登普西此次放风解除对越南武器禁运,可谓是给美越军事合作加油打气,最后能否成功还取决于美国国会是否批准, 不过今年以来美国议员密集访问越南,重量级参议院麦凯恩前几天刚刚访问过越南,并且称解除对越武器禁运,最快有可能于9月份部分实现。

While America and Vietnam established diplomatic relations, military exchange between the two sides has only been superficial, but when it comes to trade cooperation, it is almost comprehensively in full bloom, having reached leapfrogging style.

虽然1995年美越建交,但双方的军事交流还仅仅是浅尝辄止,不过,说到双方的经贸合作,几乎是全面开花,实现了跨越式的发展。

In 1994, one year before the establishment of diplomatic relations, U.S. president Clinton lifted the economic embargo against Vietnam, and the two countries’ trade grew quickly. On December 10, 2001, the U.S.-Vietnamese bilateral trade agreement came into effect, and since then, trade relations have boomed. From January to July this year, Vietnam has exported goods to the U.S. totalling 16 billion U.S. dollars, a year-on-year increase of 24 percent. A forecast by the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam says that bilateral trade relations will reach 336 billion Dollars in 2014. Currently, Vietnam’s exports to America are the third-largest among ASEAN states, second ony to Malaysia’s and Thailand’s.

1994年暨美越建交前一年,美国总统克林顿宣布取消对越南经济的禁运政 策,当年两国的双边贸易便实现了快速增长,2001年12月10日,美越双边贸易协定生效,自此,美越经贸关系发展迅猛,今年1到7月,越南对美国货物出 口额为160亿美元,同比增长24%,越南美国商会预测,2014年越美双边贸易额将达到336亿美元,目前越南对美出口额在东盟国家中位居第三,仅次于 马来西亚和泰国。

Looking back at the Vietnam war, and exactly because of that war, America implemented a comprehensive arms embargo against Vietnam as early as in 1984. PLA National Defense University professor Li Li explains:

回首越南战争,正是由于这场战争,早在1984年,美国便对越南实施了全面的武器禁运。中国国防大学李莉教授介绍说:

In 1984, America officially passed this kind of law, banning all further supplies of military equipment. This included two levels, one about military high-tech, the supply of which wasn’t only prohibited for American companies, but also the entire European Union, countries the EU had relations with, had to join the ranks. This included some important advanced material technology, some electronic devices, or high-precision lathes the supply of which wasn’t allowed either. Adding to this, the definition of combat-class equipment is really broad, including missile equipment, these things are untouchable. It was a comprehensive limitation, and done very thoroughly.

李莉: 1984年美国是正式通过这样一个法律,禁止以后再继续向越南民主主义人民共和国出售所有相关军事装备的物品,包括两个层面,一个就是军事高技术,他不仅 自己不允许向越南提供,此外要求整个欧盟,包括所有和他有关系的国家,都参与到这个行列当中,包括新的一些重要的材料技术,包括一些信息技术、一些电子仪 器、精密的车床加工的这些技术都不允许提供。 此外,就是战斗类的装备是非常宽泛的,涉及陆海空,包括导弹类的装备,这些东西更是碰都不允许碰的,是全面的一个限制,做的是非常彻底。

By following two previous U.S. secretaries of defense and visiting Vietnam, too, joint chief Dempsey almost stirred a “Vietnam-mania”. According to one point of view, American intervention in the South China Sea is no longer just a posture, but some kind of real action. When secretary of state Kerry had just left Vietnam, Dempsey entered, so how come that currently, high American officials, one after another, visit Vietnam, especially a high-level military official? Xu Liping, director of the Chinese Academy of Social Studies’ China Network for the Asia-Pacific Research analyzes:

继此前两任美国防长访问越南,参谋长联席会议主席登普西也前往河内,美 国军方似乎掀起了“越南热”。有观点认为:美国对南海的干预,不再仅仅是一种姿态,而是一种实际的行动。美国国务卿克里前脚刚离开越南,登普西就紧随其 后,那么美国高官为什么会选择此时陆续访越,尤其是美军方高层?中国社科院亚太研究所文华研究室主任许利平分析:

I think that one should say that Dempsey’s visit to Vietnam is an important part of a close U.S.-Vietnamese relationship. Because we know that last year, Vietnam’s state chairman Truong Tan Sang visited the U.S., and Vietnamese-U.S. relations were raised to a level of comprehensive partnership. This is a very important point of view, because as we know, America’s relations with south-east Asian nations like Indonesia have also been raised to the level of comprehensive partnership. One could say that this is a new form of American relations with Asian countries. To strengthen economic relations with them is also an important part of the American rebalancing strategy towards Asia-Pacific, so I believe that Dempsey’s visit is another aspect of this component.

许利平:我想登 普西访问越南的话应该来说是越南和美国密切关系的一个重要组成部分,因为我们知道,去年越南国家主席张晋创也访问了美国,把越南和美国的关系提升为全面伙 伴关系,是一个非常重要的转折点,因为我们知道美国和东南亚的国家比如说印度尼西亚也提升为全面伙伴关系,应该来说也是美国和亚洲国家一个新型的伙伴关 系,强化这些亚洲国家在经济上面的联系,也是美国亚太再平衡战略的一个重要的组成部分,所以我觉得登普西访问也是这种组成部分的一个方面。

The highlight of Dempsey’s Vietnam visit is the strengthening of the two countries’ military cooperation, and a focus on maritime security. Some experts believe that this could put pressure on China.

登普西此次访越,亮点是两国合力加强军事合作,聚焦海事安全。有分析称,这将给中国施加压力。

Xu Liping: One should say that this is a breakthrough in U.S.-Vietnamese relations. America hopes that lifting the arms embargo will increase American arms exports which is, in fact, important for the U.S. economy. From a Vietnamese perspective, all arms imported by Vietnam have come from Russia, and that makes it a rather single market, and if America lifts the arms embargo, I guess this would increase Vietnam’s defense capabilities. Both sides can thus take what they need. Thirdly, and personally, I believe that of course, America’s strengthening of relations with Vietnam also includes considerations about the South China Sea. In fact, America wants to turn Vietnam into a chess piece for disputes with China, but their cooperation with Vietnam on the South China Sea issue is limited because on the one hand, Vietnam still has many misgivings about the U.S., and on the other hand, America, domestically, isn’t too relaxed about Vietnam either. So I think the cooperation between the two will be of a rather limited kind.

徐利 平:这应该来说是美越关系的一个突破,美国希望解除武器禁令扩大美国的武器出口,实际上也是对美国经济的吃紧,对越南方面来讲,由于历史上的原因越南一直 的进口武器都是来自于俄罗斯,应该来说市场是比较单一的,如果美国武器的禁运的解禁我估计会提高越南的这种国防能力,双方是一种各取所需,第三,我个人认 为美国强化和越南的这种关系,当然也有南海方面的考虑,实际上美国也希望把越南作为中国在南海争端方面的一个棋子,但是实际上美国在南海问题上跟越南的合 作我觉得他是有限度的,因为一方面的话越南对美国还是有很多的疑虑的,第二个美国国内也并不是对越南很放心,所以双方之间我觉得是一种有限度的合作吧。

We have noted that year-on-year, Vietnam’s exports to the U.S. have risen by 24 percent from January to July. In these contacts with a superpower, and in political or economic terms, Vietnam hardly incurs any disadvantages. What do you believe is Vietnam’s mentality in this commitment to contacts with America – what are the values they are choosing?

我们注意到,越南今年1至7月对美国出口同比增长24%,在与超级大国交往中,越南似乎在政治和经济上都没有吃亏,您认为越南与美国的交往秉承什么样的思路和价值选择?

The fact that America and Vietnam establish this kind of comprehensive partnership, that they strengthen economic cooperation and that both sides take what they need is part of a Vietnamese objective to implement a rebalancing strategy in its foreign relations, in its diplomacy. Vietnam’s actual overall goal is to establish this kind of strategic partnersip with all great powers. In fact, Vietnam’s foreign ministry has said that it wants to establish strategic partnerships with all five permanent members of the UN Security Council, but America remains as a scond choice, and to establish this kind of comprehensive partnership and rebalancing is something Vietnam hopes to use to increase its regional influence. Actually, Vietnam doesn’t want to side with just one great power, and I believe that this, too, is an important part of Vietnam’s strategy of balancing great powers.

许利平:美国和越南建立这种全面伙伴关 系,加强经济的这种合作,各取所需,实际上越南的对外外交的一个思路是要实现一种对外的这种平衡的战略,实际上他的总体战略是要和所有的大国建立这种伙伴 关系,越南的外交部其实已经提出了要和五大常任理事国都要建立这种战略伙伴关系,但是和美国只是退而求其次,建立了这种全面的伙伴的关系,实际上越南是希 望通过这种大国的平衡的战略来突出越南在这个地区的影响力,实际上越南也不可能想要任何的大国一边倒,我觉得这也是越南的这个大国平衡战略的一个重要的组 成部分。

An hour and twenty minutes after publication, 44 Huanqiu readers had expressed anger at the article (or what it describes), four readers are delighted, one is bored, and 22 feel that what they’ve read is ridiculous.

Huanqiu, a paper and website with a rather nationalist readership, also reported on Martin Demsey’s visit during the past days, all in a rather noncommittal mode – something also frequently practised by Chinese media during the 1980s/1990s when covering (controversial) foreign issues, but quite different from the often stirring ways Huanqiu articles were written around 2008/2012.

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Note(s):

*) “to choose between being a friend of the United States and a friend of China”, AFP, Aug 16, 2014

Similar statement:

“The Cold War is over. It ended. Russia’s not our enemy. The people of the Czech Republic don’t have to choose between being a friend of the United States or a friend with Russia, you can be both. We don’t believe in a zero sum world,” President Bush said today in Prague

Wall Street Journal, June 5, 2007

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Related

» Help to counter China, USA Today, Aug 18, 2014
» US urged to lift ban, VoV, Aug 14,2014
» 首次访问越南, Huanqiu, Aug 14, 2014
» Australia-US ties, BBC News, Aug 13, 2014
» 王毅晤越南副总理, Huanqiu, Aug 9, 2014
» Low-class nationalism, May 19, 2014
» Vo Nguyen Giap, October 4, 2013
» Giving away the Store, US News, July 23, 2013
» Syria & South China Sea, Aug 5, 2012
» Nothing to deploy, July 30, 2012
» Don’t get burned, June 21, 2012
» Communiqué, Oct 16, 2011
» Five Questions to a Hegemon, Aug 18, 2010
» Threat of an Invasion, April 29, 2009

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Meeting in Myanmar: Correcting “False Impressions” created by Japan

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.

关于尖阁诸岛(中国称钓鱼岛)问题以及历史认识问题,据认为,王毅在会谈中强调了中国的一贯立场,即中方不会在这些问题上退让,并希望日方作出让步。

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.

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Related

» Two Men and a Pet, Huolong, June 1, 2014
» Making Patriotism useful, Sept 17, 2012

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