Posts tagged ‘diplomacy’

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

German Chancellor’s first China Visit: Opportunities and Liabilities

It is going to be the first visit to China for German chancellor Olaf Scholz who took office late last year with a three-party coalition (SPD, Greens, and FDP).

On Friday (November 4), he is scheduled to meet “President” Xi Jinping, according to his office’s website, and following that, a meeting his planned with him and Li Keqiang, his actual colleague as head of a government. Bilateral relations, international topics such as climate change, Russia’s “war of aggression” against Ukraine and the situation in the east Asian region are said to be on the agenda. “Federal Chancellor Scholz will be accompanied by a business delegation during his visit”, the office’s statement concludes.

dongnanweishi_scholz_and_companies
Not everybody’s first visit
Shanghai’s “Jiefang Daily” suggests*) that

many European companies have experienced serious economic problems this year, because of the energy crisis, high inflation, rising interest rates and problems like the economic slowdown. It is crucial for these European companies to make up for these losses in Europe by profiting from the Chinese market. Brudermüller for example, CEO at Germany’s chemical giant BASF, plans to further expand BASF’s “favorable investments” in China. It’s business report shows that unlike in Europe, results in China have been positive.
欧洲很多企业今年以来由于能源危机、高通胀、利率上升和经济放缓等遭遇严重经营困难。对这些欧洲企业来说,用中国市场的收益弥补在欧洲的亏损至关重要。比如德国化工巨头巴斯夫集团首席执行官薄睦乐就打算进一步扩大巴斯夫在中国的“有利投资”。业绩报告显示,与在欧洲的亏损不同,巴斯夫集团在中国的增长一直是正向的。


Michelin’s business report, said to have been published on October 25, also shows rapidly rising sales in China, in contrast with an eight-percent drop in Europe, “Jiefang Daily” reports.

Michelin’s handsome China numbers notwithstanding, the “Global Times”, a Chinese paper for a foreign readership, blames a “sour-grape” mentality for France’s differences with Germany’s China policy. Those differences probably exist, with Paris being more skeptical about Chinese “opportunities” than Berlin, but you might consider Germany’s dependence on Chinese export markets as a liability, rather than as an opportunity, just as well.

While the SPD remains highly cooperative when it comes to China business, both its coalition partners have advised caution. And while it may be difficult to forecast a trend of future German investment in, exports to and supply chain connections with China, there are statements from German business circles you wouldn’t have heard a few years ago.

China itself rather bets on protectionism, but wants to get into the act globally, including in Germany (China setzt selbst eher auf Abschottung, will aber überall in der Welt mehr mitmischen, auch bei uns in Deutschland),

German weekly “Focus” quotes Martin Wansleben, head of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce.  Scholz should champion clear-cut rules.
It isn’t only France that is concerned about Germany’s economic dependence on China. “Voice of America’s” (VoA) Chinese service, too, points out that “the West shows growing concern about Chinese trade practices and its human rights record”, as well as unease about “Germany’s dependence on the world’s second-largest economic body” (对德国对中国这个世界第二大经济体的依赖感到不安).

VoA also quotes a German government spokesman as saying that while Berlin’s view on China had changed, “decoupling” from China was opposed by Berlin.

When you keep pressing people for a while, the main problem appears to be China’s aggressive policy against Taiwan. Most Germans (this blogger included) never expected that Russia would really invade Ukraine. Now that this has happened, peoples’ imagination has become somewhat more animated – and realistic.

The Social Democrats are more skeptical than its middle- and upper-class coalition partners when it comes to the West’s human-rights agenda, and rightly so. (If China put all its SOEs on international sale, you wouldn’t hear a word about the Uyghurs from Western governments anymore.)

But the Russian-Chinese alliance is a fact, and so is that alliance’s preparedness to annex third countries. That is something the Social Dems can’t ignore. If the press, the oppositional CDU/CSU and the SPD’s coalition partners statements are something to go by, the tide of German integration with China’s economy is being reversed.

“Nothing speaks against German SMEs continuing to import their special nuts and bolts from China”, a columnist mused on German news platform t-online last week, but not without a backup source.

China’s propaganda doesn’t look at Scholz’ visit in a way isolated from its other global contacts. In fact, the German visitor is mentioned in a row with General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyễn Phú Trọng, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan – all of them bearing testimony, or so the propaganda suggests, of how attractive “Chinese opportunities” (中国机遇) actually are.

But Germany’s dependence on China, while worrying and in need to be cut back substantively, shouldn’t be viewed in an isolated way either. Scholz visit won’t even last for a full day, without an overnight stay, and also in November, Scholz will travel to Vietnam. Statistics appear to suggest that German industry will find backup sources there – if not first sources just as well.

And Annalena Baerbock, Germany’s foreign minister and one of the leaders of the SPD’s China-skeptic Green coalition partner, is currently travelling Central Asia. All the countries there “once hoped to be a bridge between Russia, China, and Europe,” German broadcaster NTV quotes her – the European Union needed to provide Central Asia with opportunities. Options beyond Russia and China, that is.

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Notes

*) “Jiefang” actually “quotes foreign media”, but Chinese propaganda is often very creative in doing so – therefore no names here.

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Monday, October 17, 2022

CPC’s 20th National Congress: “The Party will never degenerate”

2,300 delegates were supposed to attend in February, more precisely, according to Li Keqiang (main link) on Saturday morning, the number was 2,296, plus particular invitees (特邀代表), that would be 2,379 delegates, minus 39 delegates having asked for leave because of illness, i. e. 2,340 delegates present there.

“Major-power diplomacy with Chinese characteristics to be unfolded in a comprehensive way” was unfolded by Xi Jinping himself in his work report. You should be forgiven if you think that this is about Chinese consuls-general tweeting about how America bombs and China helps Africa, or how their tummies bulged with pride when Xi Jinping told the party’s national congress that Taiwaners had no right to be free when 1.4 million Chinese were not.

But major-power diplomacy with Chinese characteristics isn’t a diplomatic market-economy product – it was produced at home in Beijing, by the 19th Central Committee’s Sixth Plenary Session (according to their communiqué in November 2021).

Condensed self-flattery concerning the party’s “zero-Covid” policy (which probably didn’t go down as well with the audience outside the “Great Hall of the People” as other parts of Xi’s speech), and this.

We have kept nailing the nails, thus correcting and punishing the “four winds”, opposed the idea and phenomenon of privileges, stopped some unhealthy trends that hadn’t been brought to a halt for a long time, and investigated and punished obstinate chronic diseases which hadn’t been eliminated for many years. We have fought an unprecedented fight against corruption, and by “offending thousands, and living up to the 1.4 billion” [Chinese people], we have fulfilled our mission to dispel the disease and disorder. The multi-pronged struggle against corruption, by beating the tigers, swatting the flies and hunting the foxes, has achieved an overwhelming victory and overall consolidation, eliminating the serious hidden dangers within the party, the state, and the military. By uncompromising efforts, the party found self-revolution, thus escaping the historical cycle of order and chaos, of rise and fall, for a second time. This has made sure that the party will never degenerate, never change color, never change smell.
我们以钉钉子精神纠治“四风”,反对特权思想和特权现象,刹住了一些长期没有刹住的歪风,纠治了一些多年未除的顽瘴痼疾。我们开展了史无前例的反腐败斗争,以“得罪千百人、不负十四亿”的使命担当祛疴治乱,“打虎”、“拍蝇”、“猎狐”多管齐下,反腐败斗争取得压倒性胜利并全面巩固,消除了党、国家、军队内部存在的严重隐患。经过不懈努力,党找到了自我革命这一跳出治乱兴衰历史周期率的第二个答案,确保党永远不变质、不变色、不变味。

hu_jintao
No offense meant, miserable failure

If Bo Xilai had said that, it would have struck people as populism – but then, Bo never made it into the top ranks.
China’s “Communists” have announced many victories in the past. If this one is as decisive as Xi has claimed will be hard to prove or disprove as long as he remains in control of the narrative.

Just these few sidenotes for now.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Newly appointed Russian Ambassador to China addresses Chinese Public

Igor Morgulov is Russia’s new ambassador to China, replacing Andrey Denisov there.

According to Russia’s state-run “Sputnik” website, Morgulov was born on May 4, 1961 and graduated from Lomonosov Moscow State University’s Asian and African Countries’ Research Institute. He speaks Chinese and English as foreign languages (even “fluently” according to RIAC, a thinktank’s website). He held the post of Counselor and Minister of the Russian embassy in China from 2006 to 2009, headed the Russian foreign ministry’s Asian Department next, and was appointed deputy foreign minister in 2011. Still according to “Sputnik, he has been awarded the “For Merit to the Fatherland” medals, order 4 and order 2, among other awards. “Sputnik” also quotes from President Putin’s presidential decrees that remove Morgulov from his previous post and appoint him to his new one, similar to the way TASS newsagency also does.

When you google Morgulov’s role as a deputy foreign minister, you’ll probably get the impression that central, east and southeast Asia were his main fields of work from 2011 to 2022, as well – including Russia’s relations with North and South Korea, as well as the Korean nuclear issue.
As a rule, there appear to be about half a dozen to ten deputy-minister posts in Moscow – see “Current Deputy Foreign Ministers” on Wikipedia. In that light, becoming Russia’s ambassador to China should count as quite a promotion (it’s probably the most important embassy for Moscow anywhere around the world).

Morgulov addressed the Chinese public by video this week, published by China News Service on Youtube on Friday.
20220923_morgulov_china_news_service_video
Click photo for video

Translation:

亲爱的中国朋友们,你们好。首先请允许我自我介绍一下。我是莫尔古洛夫。本月13日俄罗斯总统普京把我任命为新的俄罗斯驻华大使。对我来讲,这是一个很大的荣幸,也是很大的责任。 Dear Chinese friends, pleased to meet you. Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Morgulov. On the 13th of this month, Russian President Putin has appointed me as Russia’s new ambassador in China. For me, that’s a great honor and a great responsibility.
1983年,作为第一批苏联留学生的一员,我首次来到中国。从那时候起,我的职业生涯同你们的古老而日新月异的美丽的国家紧密地联系在一起。在当今的复杂多变的国际形势下,俄中两国建立的新时代全面战略协作伙伴关系具有特殊的意义。 In 1983, I came to China for the first time, as a member of a group of Soviet students abroad. Ever since, my professional career has been closely linked to your ancient and rapidly progressing beautiful country. In today’s complicated and unsettled international situation, the comprehensive strategic partnership established by Russia and China in the new era is of special significance.
在新的岗位上,我愿意同中国朋友们积极合作,为落实好俄中两国元首所达成的重要的共识进一步推动两国关系全面发展,加强俄中两国人民之间的传统友谊而努力。朋友们,下个月我将要抵达北京。期待与大家尽快相见。谢谢。 On my new post, I wish to work actively with our Chinese friends, to implement well the important consensus reached between the Russian and Chinese heads of state and to promote our two countries’ relations further, and to make great efforts to strengthen the traditional friendship between the peoples of our two countries. Friends, next month, I will arrive in Beijing. I hope to see you all very soon. Thank you.

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Related

“Important choice, firm action”, Sept 14, 2022
Restive bulk of allies, May 6, 2022

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Monday, September 12, 2022

A Vice-Ministerial Visit to Taiwan and its Story

圖說:駐立陶宛台灣代表處正式掛牌設立,新獲任命的首任代表黃鈞耀及同仁攝於館牌前。 Splittist doorplate – click photo for source

A 28-person Lithuanian delegation of laser and biotechnology company representatives led by the Baltic nation’s Vice Minister of Economy and Innovation Karolis Žemaitis has reportedly arrived in Taiwan for an official visit today (Monday, September 12 UTC).  Also today, Lithuania’s public broadcaster LRT republished a Voice of America article saying that espite offering to build high-speed rail, China charm offensive loses appeal in Baltics.

National security may have been about as much a factor in the cooling relations between China and several of its European partners, as have unfulfilled business expectations.

The Latvia state security service published a report in 2020 “essentially saying that Chinese activities in Latvia are very similar to Russian intelligence activities”,

the article quotes Martins Hirss, a researcher at the University of Latvia. The China-Central-Europe connection originally included “seventeen-plus-one” nations, i. e. Albania, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

The Voice of America / LRT article also quotes an observer as saying that China will work in a more ‘targetted’ way, enhancing its profile where it already exists in a positive manner, for example, Hungary, Serbia.

All three Baltic countries have ended participation int the 17+1 format by now, leaving China with Albania, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia (14+1 or Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries, China-CEEC).

Lithunia not only led the departure of the Baltic cooperation members (Estonia and Latvia followed in August  this year), but has also endured a particularly intense conflict with Beijing over the name of Taiwan’s de-facto embassy in its capital Vilnius  – The Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania in English, or 駐立陶宛台灣代表處 in Chinese.

That was followed by Chinese economic warfare against Lithuania which in turn not only triggered a legislative process on the level of the European Union, but also likely convinced Lithuania’s two Baltic neighbors that they stood more to lose than to gain from “partnership” with China.

According to Taiwan’s foreign ministry as quoted by “Focus Taiwan”, the English-language website run by Taiwan’s Central News Agency CNA,

the fourth Lithuanian delegation led by a deputy minister-level official to Taiwan this year, following visits by Žemaitis’ immediate predecessor Jovita Neliupšienė on June 12, Ministry of Agriculture Vice Minister Egidijus Giedraitis on June 22, and Lithuanian Deputy Transportation Minister Agne Vaiciukevičiūtė on Aug. 6

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Related

Sender Viesintos, Wikipedia, acc Sept 12, 2022

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Thursday, September 8, 2022

The State of Taiwan

First of all, let me come clean: like many people I know, I take sides. I believe that Taiwan’s citizens have a right to determine their future, and that China has no legitimate reasons to interfere with Taiwan’s affairs.
However, you may be aware that not everybody sees Taiwan this way. China’s Communist Party (CPC) doesn’t only want to rule Hong Kong, Macau, and “the mainland”, as the People’s Republic is often referred to by mainlanders, Hong Kongers, Macauans, and by many Taiwaners alike. Rather, the CPC wants to rule Taiwan, too.

taiwanren_are_also_chinese

“Taiwanese are also Chinese, aren’t they?” A tourist from Hong Kong visiting Taiwan on “double-ten” day, in 2009

In the end, China will most probably try to occupy Taiwan, either by laying siege – a naval blockade – to it, or by trying to invade it right away. In either case, China will probably have its way unless Taiwan’s (probably substantial) military resistance gets support from America, and maybe from Australia, Japan, and other countries. So, if lucky, China would gain control over Taiwan by military force, and that would be that (apart from a rather unpredictable Taiwanese population under occupation – Taiwaners could turn out to be rather unruly).

A. Image concerns

But success by naked force, however tempting it may be in the eyes of many Chinese citizens, isn’t the preferred means to achieve the goal of what the CPC refers to as „reunification“. That’s true for a number of economic and military (including nuclear) reasons, as even a successful invasion and a rather smooth occupation might come at heavy opportunity costs, imposed by countries that wouldn’t accept China’s annexation of Taiwan.

This is also true for image reasons, While China appears to have abandoned the idea that it could convince the Taiwanese that „reunification“ with China would be in their best interest, it apparently still hopes to achieve the goal of „peaceful reunification“ by coopting Taiwan’s economic and political elites, and by intimidating a sufficient number of Taiwan’s citizens so as to push them over.

But if the need for military action to achieve „reunification“ would arise (from China’s point of view), China would like to justify its military aggression, just as it has tried to justify its efforts to isolate Taiwan internationally (hint: the never-ending Taiwan-WHO saga, or pressure on governments of third-party  countries to threaten Taiwan’s economic lifelines.

On Twitter, you are faced with a lot of Chinese propaganda, carried forward by the CPC’s official mouthpieces as well as its useful minions (some of them may be paid by China, others may act out of mere fanatism). Some free samples:

Table 1

“Taiwan is an inseparable part of China” (Reality shows that this is not the case.)
“If Taiwan declares independence, we / China will go to war right away.” (We are looking for an excuse – we’ve decided to annex Taiwan anyway.)
“Taiwan has always been a part of China.” (Only during the Qing era, and only if the Qing cared to say that there was “one China” including Taiwan. They probably didn’t care.
“There is only one China.” (Yes, and thank God for that.)
“Taiwan is part of China because Taiwan’s official name is “Republic of China”. If so, which Congo is part of the other? There are two Congos, the “Republic” and the “Democratic Republic”.China’s logic probably prescribes that the Republic must annex the Democratic Republic, because it’s always the democratic countries that get annexed.
You / your country have committed yourselves to the one-China principle. This is probably the case in a number of bilateral declarations of China and third governments – but by no means in each of them. For example, “one-China” policy basically means that you somehow handle China’s “once-China” principle, not necessarily that you agree with it.
Besides, you can always walk away from it – it has happened before.

So, a lot, if not all of the mouthpiece talk on “social media” is hollow words, suitable for propaganda, and maybe not even that. But China has to make do with the excuses it can find to gloss over its aggressiveness.

Did I mention that China applies pressure on third-party governments to deny Taiwan international space? Well, it isn’t just the World Health Organization, or the Nigerian government who accept that pressure, because it comes with good business. Many other third-party countries do likewise, to varying degrees. We’ll have a look at the examples of America and France later on.

But first, let’s take a look at the nomenclature that is flying around when people talk about China-Taiwan relations. To that end, I might use some pseudomath (it isn’t really that scientific).

B. Chinamaths

Table 1

table_one_mainland_china

or the other way round,

Table 2

table_two_orc
Then there’s that One China – or more than one idea of what that is. But wide swathes of mainland Chinese people, plus uncertain numbers from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, will have this kind of math on their mind:

Table 3

table_three_orc

From the CPC’s perspective, it can’t be
table_must_not_exist
because that would imply that Taiwan’s political system would be the emperor of the whole Congo.
Now, when we are talking about Taiwan, we usually refer to everything that is governed from Taipei, not just the island of Taiwan itself, although that’s where Taiwan’s (or the ROC’s, etc.) citizens live.

Table 4

table_four_taiwan
That’s my definition of Taiwan, too – when you read “Taiwan” in this post, this table-4 definition is the definition of it.

C. Taiwan: one country, two positions

Position 1 (pan-Green, more or less)

It may be more than two just as well, but these are the two I can think of.
One is that, when Japan relinquished sovereignty over Taiwan, it didn’t transfer sovereignty to anyone else. Two authors, Michal Thim and Michael Turton, described that position in an article for “The Diplomat” in 2017 – they are themselves supporters of this position, I believe.
Under international law and practice, only an international treaty can settle the status of specific territories, they wrote, adding that the San Francisco Peace Treaty, and the Treaty of Taipei between Japan and the Republic of China on Taiwan fell under that category. If those two had contradicted one another on the matter of Taiwanese sovereignty, the San Francisco Peace Treaty would have outweighed the Treaty of Taipei, but both treaties were silent on the issue of who owned Taiwan, merely affirming that Japan gave up sovereignty over Taiwan.

Position 2 (pan-blue, more or less)

Another position, also widely spread among Taiwanese citizens (if they care about what might be the legal superstructure of their statehood) is the Republic of China.
Now, there are probably many sub-positions to this one, like Taiwan equals the Republic of China, or that Taiwan can somehow claim mainland China (plus Hong Kong and Macau)  as well (that would be a minority, I guess). There is also a an interpretation of what the RoC is that seeks common ground between the San Francisco Peace Treaty supporters, and the RoC guys. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen adopted (and possibly coined) it when she ran for president for the first time, eleven years ago: the ROC, having lost all its territory in 1949, found shelter on Taiwan.

“Taiwan Independence”

In practical daily life, globally speaking, China and Taiwan are two separate countries. The rest is silly political squabble. But the silly squabble is accompanied by the clouds of war, and that’s why the rest of the world tries to take it into consideraton.
Obviously, wanting to please China (because it might be great business) is another reason to care about the “one-China” noise.

Supporters of the San-Francisco-Peace-Treaty version may argue that Taiwan is independent because Japan gave up sovereignty over it, and because there was nobody entitled to pick it up.

The “Taipei Times”, a paper from Taiwan’s “pan-green” political camp, led by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), described it this way, in 2017:

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) changed the constitutional system and became the nation’s first directly elected president.
By “vesting sovereignty in Taiwanese,” he acknowledged that Taiwan had become an independent state via democratic elections.

This, from Taiwan’s pan-green point of view (or the “Taipei Times” rendition of it), means that Taiwan’s independence is the status quo. Taiwan is independent, and the above is the legal reason.

Position 2, the pan-blue one, basically, may be best summarized by what former Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou told an American audience in 2017:

On the question of Taiwanese independence, Ma recalled once being asked by a reporter why the island doesn’t formally declare. “Have you ever heard of a country declaring independence twice?” he replied. “We were an independent country back in 1912 — how can I declare independence again?”

1912 refers to the declaration of the Republic of China in the aftermath of the 1911 Xinhai Revolution. Ma therefore sees Taiwan as an independent state in the continuity of the mainland RoC from 1912 to 1949. That is pretty much in line with the general KMT view.

And if any version of “Taiwan independence” was palatable to the CPC in China, it would be this second one, because it is somehow about “one China”. The official reason for Beijing to be mad at Tsai Ing-wen and her DPP is that they would rather consider Lee Teng-hui the founding father of Taiwan’s sovereignty, than RoC founder Dr. Sun Yat-sen.

They ignore, however, that President Tsai’s position is somewhere between those two positions, and probably leaning towards position 2. It would be hard to ignore the RoC superstructure when you want to become Taiwan’s President – in fact, you are sworn in on the RoC’s constitution, in front of a large picture of Sun Yat-sen. That’s a tradition left behind by the KMT’s dictatorship era when there was only one legal political party on Taiwan anyway – the KMT itself. The RoC had, for many years, been a one-party state.

What is noteworthy is that both positions – pan-green and pan-blue alike – avoid another declaration of independence. What either camp would do if there wasn’t a threat of war from China is a question for another day. China’s reading of Taiwan’s status is that there hasn’t been a Taiwanese declaration of independence (yet).

How does the rest of the world deal with the “one-China” noise (mostly from China, not from Taiwan)? Let’s have a look at two third-party governments that have established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and severed (official) diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (RoC). Some countries either switched official diplomatic relations from Taipei to Beijing at some point in time, and some others – like the Federal Republic of Germany – hadn’t had diplomatic relations with Taipei anyway, and therefore found it rather easy to establish theirs with Beijing.
The two examples I know a few things about are the American and the French positions concerning Taiwan’s status.

D. Third-government positions

Sample 1: America

The frequently-quoted Joint Communiqué of the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China (aka the “Shanghai Communiqué”), issued in February 1972 on a visit by then U.S. President Richard Nixon to China, says that

The Chinese side reaffirmed its position: the Taiwan question is the crucial question obstructing the normalization of relations between China and the United States; the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government of China; Taiwan is a province of China which has long been returned to the motherland; the liberation of Taiwan is China’s internal affair in which no other country has the right to interfere; and all U.S. forces and military installations must be withdrawn from Taiwan. The Chinese Government firmly opposes any activities which aim at the creation of “one China, one Taiwan”, “one China, two governments”, “two Chinas”, an “independent Taiwan” or advocate that “the status of Taiwan remains to be determined”.

As far as the withdrawal of U.S. forces and military installations are concerned, the U.S. appears to have obliged (although there may be varying, and unconfirmed, numbers of U.S. military staff plus equipment in Taiwan from time to time, or permanently, or whatever).

But Washington did not agree with China’s definition of Taiwan’s status – the 1972 Joint Communiqué basically says that the Americans listened to what the Chinese said about it during the talks:

The U.S. side declared: The United States acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. The United States Government does not challenge that position. It reaffirms its interest in a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question by the Chinese themselves. With this prospect in mind, it affirms the ultimate objective of the withdrawal of all U.S. forces and military installations from Taiwan. In the meantime, it will progressively reduce its forces and military installations on Taiwan as the tension in the area diminishes. The two sides agreed that it is desirable to broaden the understanding between the two peoples. To this end, they discussed specific areas in such fields as science, technology, culture, sports and journalism, in which people-to-people contacts and exchanges would be mutually beneficial. Each side undertakes to facilitate the further development of such contacts and exchanges.

Nearly seven years later (save one month), Washington and Beijing established diplomatic relations. That was accompanied by the Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations of January 1, 1979. Here,

The United States of America recognizes the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal Government of China. Within this context, the people of the United States will maintain cultural, commercial, and other unofficial relations with the people of Taiwan.

This is followed by a bilateral reaffirmation of the principles agreed on by the two sides in the Shanghai Communiqué. Also,

The Government of the United States of America acknowledges the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China.

When you have read some “legal papers” before, you’ll probably think that in the 1979 Joint Communiqué, Washington didn’t accommodate Beijing’s positions any further than in the 1972 Shanghai Communiqué. I also think so.

The United States acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China (1972) only says that Washington understands that Chinese people in China and Taiwan see it that way.

The Government of the United States of America acknowledges the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China (1979) doesn’t even acknowledge that an unspecified number of Taiwaners (“all Chinese”) sees it that way.

Sample 2: France

France went a step further than America in pleasing China – in 1994, that is, not in 1964 when Paris and Beijing established official diplomatic ties, and when Paris didn’t mention Taiwan at all, according to a piece by France-Info, published in August this year.

In 1994, France stated in another communiqué with China that (my translation)

The French side confirmed that the French government recognizes the government of the People’s Republic of China as the only legal government of China, and Taiwan as an essential part of Chinese territory.
La partie française a confirmé que le gouvernement français reconnaît le gouvernement de la République Populaire de Chine comme l’unique gouvernement légal de la Chine, et Taïwan comme une partie intégrante du territoire chinois.

Now, I would think that this states explicitly that Taiwan, from France’s point of view, is under China’s jurisdiction. But Antoine Bondaz, a Research Fellow and the Director of both the Korea Program and the Taiwan Program at the Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique (FRS), points out that (my translation)

France doesn’t say explicitly that Taiwan is part of the People’s Republic of China, there isn’t any such declaration.
La France ne dit pas explicitement que Taïwan fait partie de la République populaire de Chine, il n’y a eu aucune déclaration.

Sounds like logic applied by a bunch of weasels, but that’s diplomacy. And if this assessment is correct, you can be pretty sure that China’s diplomats knew that, and still didn’t squeeze France to make further concessions (because that would have meant no communiqué at all, I suppose).

E. Some cold hard facts

All this is mostly about superstructure – cream on a cup of coffee that wouldn’t go away even if there was no cream. What remains as a fact is the existence of Taiwan (and its semiconductors, of course), and a Chinese disposition towards violence against Taiwan.
So if there are two Chinas, just as there are two Congos, why would China believe that it has a right to harass, invade and/or annex Taiwan?
Former Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi probably said it best, at the 17th Meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Hanoi in July 2010, reportedly: “China is a big country and other countries are small countries and that is just a fact”.

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Note

Thanks to Multiburst who suggested that this topic deserved some more attention than what a few tweets would allow.

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Related

Some people, March 23, 2022
China-Deutschland, “Beijing Rundschau”, Oct 11, 2017

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Saturday, August 27, 2022

What do Xi Jinping’s and Kim Jong-un’s Congratulatory Telegrams look like?

Punched tape, email, portable document format? Don’t know about you, but when I hear that Putin sends a congratulatory telegram to Kim Jong-un, I’d really like to know what that telegram looks like. If you do, too, keep reading. If not, don’t let me bore you.

20220519_putin_congratulatory_telegram_to_kim_jong_un
Victorious triple chin

“Ars Technica”, in a blogpost of June 2013, gives us a first clue:

Samuel Morse’s version of telegraphy—Morse code over the wire—died a long time ago. It was replaced by Telex, a switch-based system similar to telephone networks, developed in Germany in 1933. The German system, run by the Federal Post Office, essentially used a precursor to computer modems and sent text across the wire at about 50 characters per second. Western Union built the US’ first nationwide Telex, an acronym for Teleprinter Exchange, in the late 1950s.

Ordinary Chinese cadres appear to send faxes – they are considered to be more reliable or legally binding than emails, and fax machines are relatively easily available.

As I have no idea what North Korea‘s or Russia’s “telegrams” look like, I’ll focus on China’s. The political folklore on both sides of the Yalu River is becoming more alike by the day, anyway.

There is an article concerning diplomatic protocol available online, written by quite an authority, it seems, but without verifiable autenticity. According to  the info provided, the autor would be a former advisor or counselor  at the Chinese foreign ministry’s (FMPRC) protocol department (礼宾司). His name is Wu Deguang, born in 1938.

This is how he is quoted:

Congratulatory telegrams and congratulatory messages are most frequently used methods of congratulations. State leaders, foreign ministers and diplomatic envoys overseas generally use diplomatic letters, diplomatic telegrams or formal diplomatic notes  to send letters or telegrams of congratulations. Leaders’ congratulatory telegrams can usually be passed on by the relevant embassies or consulates abroad, or directly be sent by electronic means (电传)*).
贺电和贺函是最常用的祝贺方式。国家领导人、外长、驻外使节一般采用外交函件、外交电报或正式照会的方式发送贺函、贺电。领导人的贺电可通过有关驻外使领馆转递,也可通过电报局或经电传直接拍发。

Different from a lot of other things (and people), Chinese authorities don’t show congratulatory telegrams received around like trophies. So there remains an air of mystery around those messages, or their substance.

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Notes

*) The “Yellowbridge” online dictionary explains “electronic means” as follows:
yellowbridge_dianchuan

Monday, August 15, 2022

August 15, 1945 Commemoration: Putin, Kim, according to KCNA


Dizzying heights: Kim Jong Un, Vladimir Putin,
Vladivostok, April 25. 2019 (Source: Kremlin)

Putin to Kim Jong-un

金正恩收到普京发来的贺电

Pyongyang, August 15 (KCNA) — Kim Jong Un, president of the State Affairs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, received a message of greeting from Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, president of the Russian Federation, on August 15. 朝中社平壤8月15日电 朝鲜民主主义人民共和国国务委员长金正恩同志15日收到了俄罗斯联邦总统弗拉基米尔•弗拉基米罗维奇•普京发来的贺电。
In the message, Putin extended sincere felicitation to the respected Comrade Kim Jong Un on the occasion of the day of liberation, a national holiday. 普京总统在贺电中表示,值此民族节日——解放日之际,谨向尊敬的金正恩阁下致以由衷的祝贺。
The message noted that the two countries have deeply kept the memories of servicepersons of the Red Army and patriots of Korea who fought shoulder to shoulder for the liberation of Korea. 我们两国珍藏着为了实现朝鲜的解放,并肩作战的红军战士们和朝鲜的爱国者的回忆。
The glorious traditions of friendship and cooperation gained in the grim days serve as a durable foundation for developing the good neighborly relations between the Russian Federation and the DPRK today, it stressed. 在严峻的年代里缔造的友好合作的光荣传统,如今也成为发展俄罗斯联邦和朝鲜民主主义人民共和国之间睦邻关系的牢固基础。
It said that we would continue to expand the comprehensive and constructive bilateral relations with common efforts, 普京总统表示相信,我们做出共同努力,将继续扩大综合性的建设性双边关系。
adding that this would entirely conform with the interests of the peoples of the two countries and contribute to strengthening the security and stability of the Korean peninsula and the whole of the Northeastern Asian region. 这将完全符合我们两国人民的利益,而且将为加强朝鲜半岛和整个东北亚地区安全与稳定做出贡献。
It wished Kim Jong Un good health and success and all citizens of the DPRK happiness and prosperity. -0- 普京总统在贺电中祝愿尊敬的金正恩阁下身体健康、事业有成,同时希望贵国的全体公民享受幸福和繁荣,并表示了敬意。(完)
http://www.kcna.kp (Juche111.8.15.) http://www.kcna.kp (主体111.8.15.)

Kim Jong-un to Putin

金正恩向普京发去贺电

Pyongyang, August 15 (KCNA) — Kim Jong Un, president of the State Affairs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, sent a message of greeting to Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, president of the Russian Federation, on August 15. 朝中社平壤8月15日电 朝鲜民主主义人民共和国国务委员长金正恩同志15日向俄罗斯联邦总统弗拉基米尔•弗拉基米罗维奇•普京发去贺电。电文如下:
Kim Jong Un in the message extended the warm greetings to the president, the government and people of the Russian Federation on behalf of the government and the people of the DPRK on the occasion of the 77th anniversary of Korea’s liberation. 值此朝鲜解放77周年之际,我以朝鲜民主主义人民共和国政府和人民的名义谨向你和俄罗斯联邦政府以及人民致以亲切的问候。
The servicepersons of the heroic Red Army showed the example of noble internationalism by dedicating their blood and precious lives to the struggle for liberating Korea, and merits and feats performed by them are deeply kept in the minds of the Korean people as an eternal monument, the message noted. 英勇的红军全体官兵在争取朝鲜解放的斗争中树立了无私奉献自己的鲜血和生命的国际主义的崇高典范,而且他们所建树的功绩和功勋作为永恒的纪念碑巍然屹立且永远珍藏在了我国人民的记忆中。
The DPRK-Russia friendship forged in the anti-Japanese war against the common enemy has been invariably consolidated and developed century after century, it noted, adding that the strategic and tactical cooperation, support and solidarity between the two countries have put on a new high stage in the common front for frustrating the hostile forces’ military threat and provocation, and high-handed and arbitrary practices. 在反对共同敌人的抗日大战年代里凝成的朝俄友谊跨世代和世纪不断得到巩固和发展下来,如今两国之间的战略战术合作和支持声援在粉碎敌对势力的军事威胁和挑衅、强权和专横的共同战线上正在提升到新的更高阶段。
It expressed the belief that the friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries based on comradely friendship and militant unity would grow stronger in all fields on the basis of the agreements reached at the 2019 meeting in Vladivostok and thus contribute to the prosperity and wellbeing of the peoples of the two countries. 我表示相信,根植于同志式友谊和战斗团结的朝俄友好合作关系将本着2019年在符拉迪沃斯托克会晤中达成的协议精神,在各领域进一步得到蓬勃加强和发展,为实现两国人民的繁荣和福利做出贡献。
The message sincerely wished the Russian president good health and big success in his responsible work for defending the sovereignty and interests of the country and people and achieving the prosperity of the country. -0- 借此机会,衷心祝愿你身体健康,并在维护国家和人民的主权和利益、争取国家复兴的责任重大的工作中取得更大的成果。(完)
http://www.kcna.kp (Juche111.8.15.) http://www.kcna.kp (主体111.8.15.)
Friday, July 8, 2022

Chinese-Philippines Ties: “Brimming with Expectations”

The following is my translation of a press release by the Chinese foreign ministry (FMPRC), published on Wednesday morning (GMT) this week.

Links within blockquotes were added during translation.

Lines of disputes in the South China Sea (map)

一百聞不如一見:
maritime disputes (click map for source)

Main Link: 

Wang Yi meets Philippine national security advisor Carlos

王毅会见菲律宾国家安全顾问卡洛斯

On July 6 local time, State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Philippine National Security Advisor Ms Carlos1) in Manila.

当地时间2022年7月6日,国务委员兼外长王毅在马尼拉会见菲律宾国家安全顾问卡洛斯女士。

Wang Yi said that Sino-Philippine have a thousand-year history of friendly relations. During the past six years, with the joint efforts of both sides, Sino-Philippine relations had achieved a change for the better and advanced quality. The election of President Marcos had opened a new page in Sino-Philippine relations, and the two countries’ peoples were brimming with expectations for the development of bilateral relations. This visit represents the Chinese side’s focus on Sino-Philippine relations and its support for the new government, the continuity and stability in China’s friendly policies toward the Philippines. China would like to cooperate with the Philippine side to implement the important consensus between the two heads of state, to deepen pragmatic cooperation and to initiate another “golden age” in Sino-Philippines relations.

王毅表示,中菲有着千年友好交往历史。过去6年来,在双方共同努力下,中菲关系实现转圜改善、提质升级。马科斯总统当选为中菲关系翻开了新的一页,两国人民对双边关系发展充满期待。此访旨在体现中方对中菲关系的重视和对菲新一届政府的支持,体现中国对菲友好政策的连续性和稳定性。中方愿同菲方落实好两国元首重要共识,深化各领域务实合作,开创中菲关系下一个“黄金时代”。

Carlos said that the two peoples of the Philippines and China were were deeply attached and culturally connected to each other. China was a friendly major power. Chairman Xi Jinping had emphasized that he wanted to create a prosperous and beautiful future together with the Ascia-Pacific countries. The Philippine side is fully in favor of this and would like to broaden exchange and cooperation with the Chinese side, handle disagreements properly, promote mutual trust, improve confidence, gather goodwill and strengthen friendship.

卡洛斯说,菲中两国人民相亲、文化相通。中国是友善的大国。习近平主席强调要同亚太国家共创共享和平繁荣的美好未来,菲方完全赞同,愿同中方扩大交流合作,妥善处理分歧,促进互信、增强信心、积累善意,巩固友好。

Wang Yi said that China had never followed the traditional great powers’ road of colonialism and lootings and that it would maintain its own peaceful development, maintain cooperation and win-win, maintain shared development of opportunities with neighboring countries, join hands to build the community of human destiny2) together and take good care the global village inhabited by all of us together.

王毅说,中国从不走传统大国殖民掠夺的老路,将坚持自身和平发展,坚持合作共赢,坚持与邻国分享发展机遇,携手共建人类命运共同体,呵护好我们共同居住的地球村。

Wang Yi emphasized that China and the Philippines were neighbors neither of which could be moved away, and our choice was friendship, friendship, and friendship again. The healthy continuation and the stable development of Sino-Philippine relatoins was in accordance with the two countries’ and the two peoples’ fundamental and long-term interests. Given the current international and regional situation full of uncertainty and instability, the two sides must continue and enhance their traditional friendship, and let Sino-Philippines relations become more stable and durable, so as to keep them moving forward on the right track.

王毅强调,中菲是搬不走的邻居,我们唯一的选择就是友好、友好、再友好。中菲关系健康持续稳定发展符合两国和两国人民的根本和长远利益。面对当前充满不确定不稳定性的国际地区形势,双方要传承弘扬传统友好,使中菲关系更加稳固坚韧,始终沿着正确轨道向前发展。

Both sides believed unanimously that people-to-people exchange should be strengthened and that the two countries’ friendly public opinion and the societal foundations of the two countries’ friendship be solidified.

双方一致认为应加强人文交流,夯实两国友好的民意和社会基础。

The two sides unanimously believed that the valuable experience of the two countries should be summed up, the overall situation of Sino-Philippine friendship should be actively protected, bilateral relations should not be defined by disputes, and definite differences not be allowed to be in the way of the two countries’ cooperation.

双方一致认为应总结两国交往宝贵经验,努力维护中菲友好大局,不以争议定义双边关系,不让具体分歧阻碍两国合作。

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Notes

1) Clarita Reyes Carlos, aka Clarita Carlos
2) frequently, but not precisely, translated as a community with a shared future
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