Posts tagged ‘diplomacy’

Saturday, August 4, 2018

“Huanqiu Shibao” on German takeover veto

Links within blockquotes added during translation — JR

[…]

“Chinese companies increase acquisitions, German government defends layer by layer!”, Germany’s First Television channel reported on July 27. The German government would for the first time make use of new trade regulation and veto China Yantai Taihai Group’s acquisition of Leifeld company for “strategic security” reasons. “Wirtschaftswoche”, quoting people from government circles, reported that Leifeld company was situated in the small western German city of Ahlen, and a technological leader in the field of high-strength material. Interrelated material could be used in the aerospace industry, and in the nuclear industry. There were some two-hundred employees working for the company. The report said the government’s reason for its decision was that selling the company “endangered Germany’s public order or security”. A German official also told media that the German government wanted said company’s missile and nuclear technology to remain in Germany’s hands.

“中国企业加强收购,德国政府层层防御!”德国电视一台27日报道称,德国政府将首次动用新的贸易法规,以“战略安全”为由否决中国烟台台海集团对德国莱菲尔德公司的收购。《经济周刊》援引政府圈内人士报道说,莱菲尔德公司位于德国西部小城阿伦,是高强度材料领域的技术领先者,相关材料可用于航空航天业,也可用于核工业。该公司有员工约200人。报道称,政府做出这一决定的理由是,出售该企业“危及德国的公共秩序或安全”。一位德国官员还对媒体说,德国政府希望该公司的火箭和核技术掌握在德国手里。

How does China view the first case of a Chinese acquisition being vetoed by the German government? Foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a press conference on July 27 that China had taken note of the reports related to the case and expressed concern. He said that facing the current complicated situation of growing protectionism and unilateralism, China and Germany, as major global economies, had a common responsibility to maintain free trade and multilateralism. By broadening the two countries’ mutually beneficial cooperation with bidirectional openness and assistance, and by maintaining open global trade, positive energy could be inserted. It was hoped that Germany would view Chinese investment objectively, and create a stable institutional framework with a fair market for Chinese companies going to Germany.

中方如何看待德国政府将首次否决中国企业收购案?中国外交部发言人耿爽27日在记者会上表示,中方注意到有关报道,并对此表示关注。他说,面对当前保护主义和单边主义加剧的复杂形势,中国和德国作为世界主要经济体,有责任共同维护自由贸易和多边主义,通过扩大双向开放助力两国高水平互利合作,为维护开放型世界经济注入正能量。希望德方客观看待中国投资,为中方企业赴德投资创造公平开放的市场准入环境和稳定的制度框架。

German media say that this will be the first time for Germany’s government to put a new external-trade regulation to use that was passed in July 2017. The background for its formulation had been robot manufacturing company Kuka. According to the regulation, when investors from outside the EU want to acquire more than 25 percent of German companies’ shares, this will be examined by the German government. The examination periods have also increased from two to four months.

德国媒体表示,这将是德国政府第一次启用去年7月通过的新对外贸易条例。该条例制定的背景是中国企业收购了德国工业机器人制造商库卡等关键技术公司。按照规定,欧盟以外的投资方收购德国企业25%以上的股权,将接受德国政府的审查。调查时间也从原来的2个月增加至4个月。

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Related

Prepared to veto, Reuters, Aug 1, 2018
Regular press conference, FMPRC, July 27,2018

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Friday, July 27, 2018

Trade War: “American Farmers whine about Hardships”

When Russia stopped the import of agricultural products from the EU in late summer of 2014, reacting to the West’s sanctions against the Russian economy in the wake of the annexation of Crimea, the EU pledged 125 million Euros to support the affected farmers. European agricultural exports to Russia had been worth about 11.8 billion euros last year, or roughly $15.7 billion, the New York Times quoted Eurostat at the time, or ten percent of European agricultural trade.

On Tuesday this week, Donald Trump announced a plan that would provide US farmers with $12 billion, to lighten the effects of tarriffs imposed by China and the European Union, in retaliation to earlier US tarriff hikes. Politico quoted US agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue as saying that the $12 bn would be a match for “roughly $11 billion in negative effects that USDA has calculated agricultural producers have suffered as a result of “illegal” retaliatory tariffs imposed by China, Canada, Mexico, the European Union and other major economies.” Apart from direct payments to farmers, a purchasing program and support for farmers looking out for new markets are reportedly part of the plan.

Politico also quotes Republican lawmakers – and farmers – as criticising the program, and demanding an end to the trade war. However, an NBC correspondent points out that the Trump administration’s support programs makes sense for Republican Congress people who would otherwise face “the treacherous choice of letting farmers suffer or criticizing a president who is immensely popular among their constituents.”

Guanchazhe , a paper from Shanghai, posted a report on its website today, recalling that

In spite of opposing voices at home, the Trump administration added 25 percent to import tarriffs on Chinese goods at a value of $34 billion*), from the beginning of July. In reaction, China imposed 25 percent of import tarriffs on the same scale of American products, including American agricultural products.

不顾国内反对声音,特朗普政府于本月初对价值340亿美元的中国商品加征25%的进口关税。作为反击,中国于同日对同等规模的美国产品加征25%的进口关税,美国农产品被列入征税清单。

Guanchazhe suggests that

Trump appears to have recognized that it is exactly the trade clash provoked by him that has shocked the farmers. According to earlier Guanchazhe Network reports, on July 24 local time, the American agriculture secretary announced the biggest emergency assistance plan for farmers since 1998, with a total of $12 billion, to help the farmers to avoid losses.

特朗普似乎意识到了正是自己挑起的贸易冲突,使得农民受到冲击。据观察者网此前报道,当地时间24日,美国农业部公布了一项1998年以来规模最大的农业紧急援助计划,金额为120亿美元,以帮助农民免受损失。

Guanchazhe then quotes Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang as saying that China was a major buyer of American agricultural goods: “For many years, Sino-American agricultural cooperation has continuously broadened, it has deepened by the day, with honest mutual benefits. One should say that it is mutually beneficial and mutually profitable” (多年来,中美农业合作不断扩大,日益深化,给双方带来了实实在在的利益,应该说是互利共赢的). Currently however, it was America that was “adopting unilateralism and trade protectionism, going back on its words (言而无信) and contradicting itself (出尔反尔), insistently provoking a trade war against China.” Geng is also quoted as saying that the American farmers were “paying the bill for the American government’s bullying.”

Trump provokes a trade clash with one hand, the article says, and

as other countries are forced to strike back, he now wants to placate the farmers with an emergency assistance plan, plus peddling words on social media about how he likes and values the farmers and about attacking China – will American farmers buy this?

现在想通过紧急援助来安抚美国农民,另一边又在社交媒体上兜售对农民“爱与尊重”的说辞,攻击中国,美国农民会买账吗?

The article quotes two farmers by name, both of them with rather balances statements that emphasize the need for long-term solutions and maintaining their market positions, but without criticizing Trump.

All the same, the two measured statements are lumped together with Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse‘s criticism that the assistance program was about “gold crutches”. The article then moves on to July 25:

According to Reuters, on July 25 local time, Trump met Congress members from agricultural states to discuss trade issues. House agricultural committee chairman Mike Conaway thanked the government for the assistant measures, and lauded the agreement Trump had reached with visiting EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker earlier that day to eliminate trade barriers.

据路透社报道,当地时间25日,特朗普会见了农业州国会议员,共商贸易课题。众议院农业委员会主席科纳韦(Mike Conaway)感谢政府为农民推出的援助措施,并赞许特朗普当天较早前接见到访的欧盟委员会主席容克时,与对方达成协议,争取消除贸易壁垒。

Conaway issued a statement saying that “I’m thanking the President and Secretary Perdue for supporting our farmers and ranchers.”

科纳韦发布声明说:“我感谢总统和珀杜(农业)部长给予我们的农民和牧场主的支持。”

However, Lisa Murkowski, Republican senator for Alaska, tweeted that Trump needed “to recognize that trade assistance can’t replace actual trade.”

不过,阿拉斯加州共和党参议员穆尔科斯基(Lisa Murkowski)在推特发文呼吁特朗普,“认清贸易援助是无法取代贸易本身”。

While the article avoids strong language, the editorial department apparently chose to create more appealing impressions: American farmers whine about hardships, Trump falsely accuses China of ‘malignance’ (贸易战美国农民叫苦 特朗普反诬中国“恶毒”).

According to English-language reports, Trump referred to China’s tarriffs on US agricultural goods as “vicious”, and according to a report by Reuters on Wednesday, Murkowski urged Trump on Twitter to “recognize that trade assistance is no substitute for trade itself.”

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Notes

*) In other reports at the time, trade volumes of $50 billion were mentioned

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Related

FMPRC Regular Press Conference, July 26, 2018
外交部例行记者会, FMPRC, July 26, 2018
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Friday, June 29, 2018

Beijing’s Reaction to Indo-Pacific Strategy: “China’s Rise isn’t isolated but heralds the Rise of the Asian Continent”

The following is a Huanqiu Shibao editorial, published online on Thursday, May 31. It may indicate a pattern of argument currently used by Chinese officials and “public diplomats”, in discussions with Indian counterparts – reminding the unloved southern neighbor of the need to restore Asia’s glory (and to put those small differences aside).
Links within blockquotes added during translation.

Original title
Editorial: Indo-Pacific Strategy wants to bury both China and India

社评:印太战略,想既埋中国又埋印度的坑

America announced on Wednesday that the United States Pacific Command will be renamed Indo-Pacific Command.
This is a plan that has been taking shape for a long time, but has given the common people a running gag when discussing America‘s Asian strategy. Washington now welcomes this attention.

美国星期三宣布将太平洋司令部改名为印度洋-太平洋司令部,这是早已透出的计划,但还是提供了世人谈论美国亚洲战略的一个噱头。华盛顿现在很欢迎这样的关注。

Apart from analyzing how much symbolic or practical significance this kind of renaming may have, many media follow American guidance, looking at it as Washington‘s emphasis on uniting with India, as one of the steps aimed at exerting more pressure on China.

除了分析这种改名有多少象征意义和多少实际意义,很多媒体顺着美方的引导,将这看成华盛顿重视并联合印度,向中国施加更大压力的步骤之一。

This is, of course, an important momentary American strategic consideration. However, we believe that Washington is looking at the next, bigger game. The Indo-Pacific strategy has two long-term objectives. One is to make China and India, the world‘s two largest emerging countries with a population of more than a billion, neutralize each other strategically. The second is to respond to and to plan ahead for the inevitable rise of India, and to make American control of the Indian
Ocean happen in time, thus keeping India from becoming a new challenge.

这当然是美国当下的重要战略考量。不过我们认为,华盛顿在下一盘更大的棋。印太战略有两个长远目标:一是要促成中印这两个世界上十亿人口以上新兴大国的长期相互战略消耗;二是为应对必将到来的印度崛起未雨绸缪,将美国加强对印度洋的控制提前变成现实,防止印度成为新的挑战。

China‘s rise is nothing isolated, but heralds the rise of the Asian continent. When history will look back at the 21rst century, the Sino-Indian rise will most probably be seen as two consecutive waves in the same major event. The nature of China‘s and India‘s rise is identical, with two underdeveloped countries moving to the front of global development, thus driving fairer rules for global economics and politics, and allowing people who have long found themselves trailing
behind to enjoy the benefits of modernization.

中国崛起不是孤立的,而是亚洲大陆崛起的先声。历史回望21世纪时,中印崛起很有可能被看成一个大事件的先后波次。中印崛起的本质都是一样的,那就是后发国家走向世界发展的前台,促使世界的经济和政治规则更加公平,让长期处在落后、贫困中的人们分享现代化的红利。

No matter if it is about China‘s or India‘s development, Westerners‘ true feelings are complicated. In the current stage, Western public opinion more supportive attitude towards Indian development at this stage comes from strategic thought that restrains taking advantage now. As India will continuously earn economic successes, Western public opinion‘s dislike of Indian development will surface in the end.

无论对中国发展,还是对印度发展,西方人的真实情感都很复杂。现阶段西方舆论对印度发展给予了更多支持,是地缘政治思维压住了利益计算的临时心态。随着印度不断获得经济成功,西方舆论对印度发展的反感终将浮上水面。

India‘s diplomacy may be sailing with tailwinds in the smoothest seas, but this won‘t last very long. If India‘s development turns out to be rather smooth, relations with the West will become highly complicated.

现在是印度外交最顺风顺水的时候,但这个时间不会很长。如果印度的发展比较顺利,或许20年后它与西方的关系就将高度复杂化。

For America, helping India and controlling China and promoting the mutual strategic neutralization of the two, is its best countermeasure to deal with Asia. Agitation for the Indo-Pacific strategy and American containment of China are two thoughts that raised their heads at about the same time. They are two aspects of almost the same strategic consideration. It can even be said that Washington and its main Asia-Pacific allies are working diligently and tirelessly at this. Also, this dream of theirs was almost put into reality at the Doklam standoff in summer 2017.

对美国来说,拉印制华,促使中印相互战略消耗,是其最佳的亚洲对策。鼓吹印太战略与美国遏制中国思维的抬头差不多同时发生,它们几乎是同一战略考量的不同侧面。华盛顿及其主要亚太盟友可谓对此孜孜以求,而且它们的这一愿望在2017年夏天的洞朗危机期间几乎就要实现了。

The Indian Ocean is increasingly turning into global navigation‘s center of gravity, but this area‘s structure of military strength is simple nevertheless. In future, more forces will enter this area, but provided that China and India maintain normal relations, the outstanding competition will probably not be Sino-Indian. America will inevitably play the leading role here, and also go to any length to act as the director, excluding any side that would share in the power.

印度洋越来越成为全球海上交通的重心,但该地区的军事力量格局则相对简单。未来会有更多力量介入该地区,但是只要中印保持正常关系,印度洋上最为突出的安全竞争就不太可能是中印之间的,美国必将是那场竞争的第一主角,而且它将竭尽全力充当主导者,排斥任何一方与它分享权力。

China has no military bases in the Indian Ocean, Indian public opinion is alerted by China‘s participation in building harbors in Sri Lanka and Pakistan. However, the Indian Ocean‘s only significance for China is in passage, while to America, it is a new front in consolidating its global hegemony. A far-sighted view can see the main contradictions on the Indian Ocean inevitably occurring between America and India.

中国在印度洋没有军事基地,印度舆论目前对中国在斯里兰卡、巴基斯坦参与港口建设充满警惕。然而印度洋对于中国的唯一意义是通道,但它是美国巩固全球霸权的新的主阵地。往远了看印度洋上的主要矛盾必将在美国和印度之间发生。

The importance of America‘s military base on Diego Garcia will continuously become more obvious. That base doesn‘t make China feel threatened in any way, but it will probably soon cause India increasing unease.

美国在印度洋上迪戈加西亚军事基地的要性将不断凸显出来,那个基地并不让中国感到什么威胁,但是印度方面大概很快就会对那个基地地位的提升而感到不安。

The Asian continent is facing two different prospects. One is that China and India will be successfully split by America, clash with each other, constitute restrictions on one another, neutralize each other, thus delaying their respective rise to different degrees. The second is that the two countries successfully resolve their disputes or set them aside, jointly promote an irreversible global trend of rising new emerging markets, which allows human society‘s development to obtain a fairer distribution, with Asia as a whole gradually entering modernization.

亚洲大陆面临两种前景:一是中印被美国成功分化,相互冲突,形成彼此牵制、消耗之势,双方的崛起都不同程度地延后;二是两国成功化解或搁置纠纷,共同推动新兴市场的崛起成为不可逆转的世界大势,使人类社会的发展权利得到更加公平的分配,亚洲作为一个整体逐渐步入现代化。

The Indo-Pacific strategy is a big pit, dug by America. Washington wants to bury both China‘s and India‘s rise in there. The anticipation of some American elites is to help India to push China into the pit and India helping to fill it, just to kick India into the next pit.

印太战略是美国挖的一个很大的坑,华盛顿想在这一个坑里同时埋葬中国崛起和印度崛起。一些美国精英的如意算盘是,先拉着印度一起把中国推到坑里,印度跟着填土,然后再把印度也踹进坑里。

Of course, this is the anticipation some Americans are dreaming of. From India‘s reactions to the Indo-Pacific strategy so far, it can easily be seen that there is an awareness in New Delhi that India will, in the end, earn very little from this strategy.

当然了,这是一些美国人梦一般的如意算盘。从印度迄今对印太战略的反应中不难看出,新德里是存了一个心眼的,印度最终被美国这一战略俘获的可能性很小。

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Related

“Confluence of the Two Seas”, East-West Center, May 9, 2018
(Shorter) GT English version of Huanqiu article, May 31, 2018

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Monday, June 11, 2018

Huanqiu: South China Sea “a testing point for China’s strategic-opportunity development”

The following is a translation of an editorial, published by Huanqiu Shibao on May 31.

Original headline / main link: America’s increased Patrolling of the South China Sea is doomed to be transitional (美国巡航南海再多,也注定是过客)

A similarly-worded, but less detailed, editorial was also published by the English-language “Global Times”. Neither version was signed.

Links within blockquotes added during translation, not part of the Chinese article. Translations and links may not always reflect the accurate judicial terms – this is a newspaper reader‘s translation, not a lawyer’s — JR

Under the American machinations, the South China Sea issue has heated up somewhat. American defense secretary Mattis said on May 29 that America would continue to unfold “freedom of navigation activities”, and that the American navy would also take other action.

在美国的策动下,南海问题近来有所升温。美国防长马蒂斯29日表示,美国将继续在南海具有争议的岛屿附近开展“航行自由行动”,此外美军还会采取其他行动。

Just as Mattis said the words above two days ago, two American navy vessels entered China Paracel islands’ [Xisha] and reefs’ territorial waters. Australian senator Jim Molan was an even more ear-piercing voice, asserting that only all-out war would expel China from the Spratlys.

就在马蒂斯发表上述谈话的两天前,美国两艘军舰进入了中国西沙群岛的领海。澳大利亚参议员莫兰发出更加刺耳的声音,宣称只有一场全面战争,才能将中国逐出南沙岛屿。

Also, some Philippine media and Western media have hyped Philippine foreign minister Cayatano’s talk to days ago. That foreign minister said that Philippine president Duterte had defined a red line concerning the South China Sea, and to prepare to “fight for the South China Sea”. However, when you read Cayetano’s complete talk carefully, you find that his and Duterte’s attitude are not that extreme.

此外,一些菲律宾媒体和西方媒体炒作菲律宾外长卡耶塔诺的一次讲话,这位外长说菲律宾总统杜特尔特已经为南海问题划设了红线,并且准备好“为南海而战”。然而仔细阅读卡耶塔诺的讲话全文,可以发现他和杜特尔特的态度远非那么激进。

Seen from the perspective of the countries within the South China Sea zone, the situation here remains stable, the differences receive control. But the exercise of American strength in the South China Sea begins to show an increasing frequency. This shows in America’s revoking the invitation of China to the RIMPAC exercises under the pretext of opposing China’s “militarization” of the South China Sea, and by two US Navy vessels dashing into the Paracel Islands’ twelve-nautical-miles zone and similar declarations that seem to foretell more active American provocations.

从南海域内国家的关系角度看,这里的局势继续保持平稳,分歧得到管控。但是美国在南海问题上的发力开始呈现增加之势,标志是美以反对中国在南海搞“军事化”为名取消对中国参加环太平洋军演的邀请,美海军两艘军舰一起闯西沙岛屿12海里以及相关表态似乎在预示美更活跃的挑衅。

The South China Sea’s serving as America’s strategic game point can’t be cooled down in the short term. In the future, its continuous heating up will probably occur with a rising frequency. China needs to prepare well psychologically and make tactical arrangements, with the goal of dealing with America in an orderly and methodical way in the South China Sea.

南海作为中美的战略博弈点很难在短时间内冷却下来,它在今后进一步升温看来是高概率趋势。中国必须对此做好充分的心理准备和策略安排,与美在南海有条不紊地长期周旋。

China needs, first of all, to stabilize relations with the claimant countries, especially Vietnam and the Philippines and so on, it needs to continue control of divisions with these countries, avoid the eruption of sharp conflict with any of these countries, [unable to read]. In this way, America’s and its overseas allies excuses for meddling can be greatly reduced, and it will help to let them understand that giving cause to quarrels and manufacturing tense situations are not welcomed.

中国首先需要稳定好与南海声索国,尤其是与越南、菲律宾等的关系,继续管控好同这些国家的分歧,争取不出现同某一个声索国的尖锐冲突,维系发展作为这一地区主题的局面。这样可以大幅减少美国及其南海域外盟友在这里开展干预行动的借口,也会让它们在南海通过搬弄是非制造紧张局势不受欢迎。

Secondly, China must maintain a bottomline concept, strengthen its ability to serve powerful responses, should extreme US intervention in the South China Sea occur. Apart from the deployment of defensive weaponry on the Spratly islands and reefs, China also needs to build a powerful deensive system that includess naval mobile forces and land-based ans air-borne forces, making sure that, if by any chance, the situation in the South China Sea heatens, we are able to meet the situation head-on and fight back at any level of challenge, and any deck of cards.

第二,中国必须保持底线思维,加强对美国一旦在南海采取极端干预进行强有力反制行动的实力建设。除了在南沙岛礁上部署防御性武器,中国还需构建包括海军移动力量和陆基、空基力量组成的强大威慑系统,确保在万一南海局势升级时我方能够迎头回击任何级别的挑战及摊牌。

Thirdly, with ample strength serving as a backup, China will confidently deal with routine military provocations from America, with the principle of each to their own. American declarations of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea don’t touch China; it goes without saying that navigation is free in South China Sea regular territorial waters, and the psychological pressure America can create with this method is decreasing, and its significance diluted. Time in the South China Sea is measured in Chinese and local time, not in American time.

第三,有充足的实力做后盾,中国要自信地与美国一般性军事挑衅耐心周旋,原则应当是它搞它的,我搞我的。美国在南海宣示航行自由奈何不了中国,南海正常水域的航行本来就是自由的,美方这样做所能施加的心理压力一直在递减,其意义不断被冲淡。南海上记录这个时代的钟表使用的一定是中国和当地时间,而决不会是美国时间。

Sovereignty issues concerning the islands and reefs in the South China sea, and maritime rights and interests, are also a testing point for China’s strategic-opportunity development. China must balance these two issues well, and maintain China’s territorial position, and also, it must avoid taking military measures to achieve this position.

南海存在岛礁主权和海洋权益之争,这里同时是中国发展战略机遇期的一个考验点。中国一定要做好这两个问题的平衡,即坚持中国的领土主张,也决不为实现这一主张采取军事手段。

To solve disputes through talks has long been our stable approach. China must strenghten communication with the claimant countries on the South China Sea sovereignty issue, shape mutual understanding, make all sides feel at ease, make regional countries’ development cooperation build on foundations of emerging and solidifying strategic mutual trust. To this end, it is important to implement the “Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea”, to build consensus on standards of negotiations.

通过谈判解决纷争早已是我们的稳定态度,中国要就此与南海主权声索国家加强沟通,形成默契,让各方都安心,使得域内国家的发展合作建立在不断形成并且巩固的战略互信基础之上,为此落实《南海各方行为宣言》,就南海行为准则谈判构建共识都非常重要。

Obviously, navigation in the South China Sea is free, but the South China Sea isn’t a place for countries outside the area to wave about and issue orders, and to show off their military strength. The South China Sea is an important international thoroughfare, but also China’s gate. This means that to China, it needs to be all the more unimpeded. China won’t allow any outisde power to build hostile screenwalls against it here, we have sufficient strength and resolve to persevere until they abandon their harmful attempts against us.

显而易见,南海航行是自由的,但南海不是域外国家指手画脚、耀武扬威的地方。南海是国际大通道,但它同时是中国的家门口,这意味着它对中国来说更必须是畅通的。中国不会允许任何域外力量在这里构建针对中国的敌对性屏障,我们有足够的实力和坚定的意志与任何那样的企图坚决博弈下去,直到它们放弃针对我们的不良企图。

Thursday, March 15, 2018

“Black-Hearted Intentions”: Tillerson’s Replacement may send Signal to Pyongyang

The press keeps raging: the White House is referred to as a “Tollhaus” by Sächsische Zeitung, which criticizes both the way the incumbent secretary of state was fired, and Trumps choice of a successor:

.. a man like Pompeo, who defends Guantanamo and the exercise of torture, doesn’t stand for a moderate style in foreign policy, not to mention diplomacy with reason and a sense of proportions.

“US diplomacy in turmoil”, judges the Independent.

And Süddeutsche Zeitung quotes Rex Tillerson himself: “US leadership starts with diplomacy.”

KBS Seoul‘s German service’s news bulletin of Wednesday mentioned that Tillerson had always called for unconditional talks with North Korea, thus positioning himself against Trump. Tillerson’s successor, Mike Pompeo, was considered a hardliner, the news bulletin said.

The offer from North Korea to have talks with a simultaneous freeze on North Korean nuclear and missile tests, and with no demand for a freeze on US-South Korean military exercises, will have boosted Donald Trump’s ego.

Radio Austria’s (Radio Österreich International / ORF) Washington correspondent, interviewed in the station’s morning magazine on Wednesday, thought it possible that there would be less contradictions between the White House and the State Department in future, and added that according to Trump himself, firing Tillerson and imposing punitive tariffs on steel and aluminium imports had surprised even his closest advisors:

After a bit over a year in office, Trump apparently feels more and more secure, and he seems to manage the White House quite the same way he used to manage his real estate companies in the past.

Nach etwas mehr als einem Jahr im Amt fühlt sich Trump offenbar immer sicherer, und er scheint das Weiße Haus so ähnlich zu führen wie früher seine Immobilienunternehmen.

Success is usually a good thing. It can be the medicine that encourages a public to support good policies. But it can also encourage leaders with a tendency to overestimating themselves.

While President Trump is giving the public the appearance of a man who looks forward to “making a deal” with the North Korean regime, the regime in question still seems to be wondering what the coming months will hold. Or maybe they are wondering which mistake they have made, given that Trump accepted their offer right away.

North Korean KCNA‘s websites – in Korean and English – haven’t updated the “Supreme Leader’s Activities” since March 6 (when Kim Jong-un hosted a dinner for the special South Korean delegation that subsequently relayed his offer to the US), and the “top news” contain no reference to an impending bilateral summit either.

Rather, the US is “Blasted for Ratcheting Up Sanctions and Pressure on DPRK”. When Washington is mentioned at all, it is business as usual in Pyongyang’s propaganda. KCNA quoting Minju Joson:

Pyongyang, March 14 (KCNA) — The U.S. recently announced that it would impose sanctions on 56 designations in total – 27 shipping and trading companies, 28 vessels and 1 individual – of the DPRK and other countries under the pretext of preventing its “attempt to evade the sanctions” and intercepting the illegal means to help the transactions in the open sea.

Commenting on the fact, Minju Joson Wednesday says that it shows how desperately the U.S. is working to ratchet up the sanctions and pressure on the DPRK and suffocate it.

The U.S. recent announcement is not merely a continuation of such anti-DPRK sanction and pressure racket, the paper notes, and goes on:

The U.S. seeks to realize a cynical ploy to bring back the situation to a phase of tension by escalating the sanctions and pressure on the DPRK.

It has so far justified the hegemonic policy towards the Asia-Pacific region under the pretext of mounting tensions on the Korean Peninsula. So, it is seeking to stem the détente on the peninsula, getting the jitters about it.

The U.S. recent announcement of additional sanctions is nothing but a red herring aimed at tarnishing the international image of the DPRK and diverting the attention of the international community welcoming the détente on the peninsula.

It is the U.S. black-hearted intention to create a phase of confrontation on the peninsula by rattling the nerves of the DPRK and plugging more countries into the sanctions racket.

Such sanctions can never be justified as they are illegal and unethical. -0-

With acclaim and great expectations or not, the press appears to expect the Trump-Kim meeting to happen.

But the negotiations have been on and off for decades. Firing Tillerson and appointing Pompeo has sent a signal to Pyongyang, too. Maybe the North Korean leaders have already gotten the jitters.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Huanqiu Shibao: Chinese Interests won’t be sidelined on Korean Peninsula

Huanqiu Shibao carried an unsigned editorial on Friday, reacting to an apparent rapprochement between Washington and Pyongyang. It’s reasoning reflects what Duowei News portrayed as Huanqiu’s editor-in-chief’s notion of Sino-North Korean relations, in December last year.

The author of the article translated underneath doesn’t seem to doubt that Pyongyang genuinely pursues a policy of denuclearization.

Main Link: How China should act in the light of dramatic changes on [Korean] peninsula

Links within blockquotes added during translation.

The situation on the Korean peninsula has seen another dramatic change. Having been to North Korea and in Washington right after that to report, the head of the Blue House national security office, Chung Eui-Yong, announced in Washington that North Korea’s top leader Kim Jong-un had invited invited Donald Trump to a meeting, and the American side immediately said that President Trump had accepted the invitation.

朝鲜半岛局势又出现新的爆炸性突破。几天之内访问了朝鲜、接着又去华盛顿通报的青瓦台国家安保室室长郑义溶在华盛顿宣布,朝鲜最高领导人金正恩邀请特朗普总统会面,美方随即表示,特朗普总统已经接受邀请。

The American side said that time and location of the meeting were yet to be determined. However, South Korea said that the meeting should be conducted before the end of May this year. Trump especially emphasized that South Korea had told him that not only had Kim Jong-un mentioned a freeze on nuclear activities, but also denuclearization. A sitting US president has never met a North Korean leader before. No matter what, a breakthrough like this deserves to be welcomed, and China should be happy for it.

美方表示,会面的时间地点待定。不过韩方称,会晤将在今年5月底前举行。特朗普特意强调,韩方告诉他,金正恩说到的不仅仅是冻结核活动,而是无核化。美国现任总统从未与朝鲜领导人会晤过,这一突破无论如何都值得欢迎,中国应当为之高兴。

In the face of the continuous dramatic changes on the peninsula, both Chinese people and foreigners are watching China’s actions with interest.

面对半岛局势不断出现的戏剧性变化,中国该如何做,国人很关心,世界也很关注。

First of all, the Chinese should maintain a calm attitude and remain focused. There should be no sense of “being sidelined”, and it is not the right perspective from where to look at the issue.

首先,中国人应放平心态,保持定力,不应有“中国被边缘化”的想法,跳出那样看问题的角度。

We should keep in mind what China’s main goal on the peninsula is, i. e. denuclearization and peace and stability. These two major points matter more than China and the gains and losses in its bilateral relations between the North and the South respectively, or the effect of such gains and losses in the contest of big powers. This is because China’s Northeast is close to North Korea, and North Korea’s nuclear activities and the stirring acrtivities on the peninsula are posing a potential threat to China.

我们应当牢记中国在半岛最重要的目标是什么,它们是半岛的无核化及和平稳定,这两点的重要性要高于中国与半岛南北两方双边关系的得失以及这种得失对大国博弈的影响。原因就是中国东北紧挨着朝鲜,朝鲜的核活动以及半岛的动荡都对中国东北构成潜在威胁。

China can’t compare match America. Firstly, America is far from the Korean peninsula, with corresponding room to maneuver. Secondly, US-South Korean relations are those of alies, and its ability to control South Korea is a legacy of its role of an experienced superpower.

中国不能和美国比,第一美国远离朝鲜半岛,因此进退都更有空间。第二,美国与韩国是盟友关系,美对韩国的操纵能力是它作为老牌超级大国的遗产。

China’s influence on North Korea didn’t continue after resisting the US and helping North Korea. We haven’d stationed troops in North Korea. The Chinese People’s Volunteers delegates also left Panmunjom in the mid-1990s. Chinese-North Korean relations soon became normal bilateral relations,with only certain remaining ideological bonds. The relations between the two countries also mainly amount to mutually beneficial cooperation, and it is many peoples’ misunderstanding that there were great amounts of Chinese gratuitous help to North Korea.

中国对朝鲜的影响在抗美援朝之后中断了,我们在朝鲜既无驻军,志愿军谈判代表也在上世纪90年代离开了板门店。中朝早就是正常国家关系,只剩下一定的意识形态纽带。两国经济关系也主要是平等互利的合作,中国大量无偿援助朝鲜是很多人的误解。

The influence that China does exercise on the peninsula is based on our country’s increasing strength, and its geopolitical position. The appearance of being able to decide international sanctions is also a key element in its ability to influence the situation on the peninsula. But China is no leader in finding a solution to the situation on the peninsula, and nor do we have the leverage to change the attitude of any of the parties on our own.

中国今天对半岛的影响力是基于我们国家实力的增强和地缘位置,中国有决定国际制裁面貌的能力,也是影响半岛局势的关键一方。但中国不是如何解决半岛问题的领导者,我们也没有能够单独撬动某一方态度的杠杆。

All the same, China’s exercise of power has played a role. The direction the situation on the peninsula is taking now is precisely what China has promoted. Firstly, the “double-moratorium” proposed by China has at last appeared. The “two-track merger” is also beginning to take shape. During these two years, China both participated in the sanctions policy against the DPRK, led by the United Nations, and China also prevented extreme measures such as sea blockades, that could have led to military conflict, and has made preparation for the aftermath of a possible hot conflict.

然而中国的发力产生了作用,半岛局势今天的走向恰恰与中国推动的方向相一致。首先,中国提出的“双暂停”终于出现了,中国主张的“双轨并进”也开始形成态势。这两年中国一方面参与了联合国主导的对朝国际制裁,一方面阻止了对朝海上封锁等可能导致军事冲突的极端措施,为朝美激烈冲突之后局势峰回路转预留了可能性。

As a big country, China has no reason to worry that North Korea could turn to a so-called “reliance on American help”. There can’t be any country on China’s boundaries that could completely “rely on American help”. China has actively advocated direct US-North Korean dialog on the nuclear issue, and seeing the two sides breaking the deadlock and talking directly, we should support this improvement all the more. If Kim and Trump can help to denuclearize the peninsula and make it peaceful and stable, this achieves China’s two big goals, and why should we not be happy about that?

作为大国,中国完全不必担心朝鲜会所谓的“投靠美国”,中国周边不可能有任何一个国家是完 全“投靠美国”的。中国从朝核问题一开始就积极推动美朝直接对话,在事实证明美朝直接对话是打破僵局绕不开的途径时,我们就更应该支持局势的这一进展了。 如果金特会有助于通向半岛无核化及和平稳定这两大中国最期待的目标,我们有什么理由为此而不高兴呢?

Chinese-North Korean relations are currently at a low ebb, but the real reason for that is the nuclear issue, not some historical or cultural reasons, a s some people like to exaggerate, or because of the North Korean leader’s personality. Once the North Korean nuclear issue can be alleviated, Chinese-North Korean may rather easily be improved.

目前中朝关系处在低潮,根本原因是核问题,而非一些人夸张的历史文化原因或者朝鲜领导人个性的影响。只要朝核问题能够缓解,中朝改善关系就会变得比较容易。

xBecause of modern technological development and because of changes in the international situation, North Korea’s significance as China’s geopolitical protective screen may decrease. Future good Chinese-North Korean relations will be more important for North Korea, than for China. China should calmly support US-North Korean contacts, and look favorably at the Kim-Trump meeting. At the same time, we should also actively react to sudden changes in the situation, improve relations with North Korea, and support the stabilization of a good development.

由于现代科技的发展和国际形势的变化,朝鲜作为中国地缘政治屏障的意义已大为下降,未来良好的中朝关系对朝鲜的意义比对中国来说更为重要。中国应当坦然支持美朝接触,对金特会乐见其成。同时我们也应积极回应局势的急遽变化,改善与朝鲜的关系。

We should respect North Korea. We should both continue to protect the UN security council’s decision-making authority, and help protect North Korea’s legitimate rights and interests*), as talks on conditions for denuclearization between Pyongyang and Washington get underway. North Korea, once starting the process of denuclearization, China must be a advocate and defender of international guarantee systems which make sure that [North Korea] won’t be cheated by America, and that it won’t continue to be pressured by America.

我们应当尊重朝鲜,一方面我们要继续维护安理会决议的权威,一方面要在平壤与华盛顿就无核化条件开展谈判时,帮助维护朝鲜的正当权益,继续做局势的平衡者。朝鲜一旦开始无核化进程,中国有必要做确保其不被美方欺骗、不继续受美国挤压等国际保障体系的坚决推动和维护者。中国的平衡作用有利于半岛局势的最终软着陆。

As the situation on the peninsula is about to ease, many uncertainties are still lying ahead. China must maintain its focus and stick to principles. It must not allow dazzling situations  to disturb our train of thought. We can’t see short-term gains, and even less should we worry about gains and losses. We should welcome US-North Korean talks to solve the nuclear issue, and in the denuclearization process, we should be [North Korea’s] strong supporter in their defense of their interests. If this is how China consistently continues, our interests will certainly not be sidelined.

半岛局势缓和刚开了个头,前方还有大量可能的变数。中国需保持定力,坚持原则,不让眼花缭乱的事态变化扰乱我们的思路。我们不能急功近利,更不应患得患失。欢迎美朝谈判解决核问题,在朝鲜无核化的过程中做它保护自身利益强有力的支持者,中国就这样一以贯之地做下去,我们自身的利益也一定不会被挤向边缘。

____________

Notes

*) When first published online on Friday, the article used the term 合法权益 (which seems to amount to “legitimate”, too, though maybe somewhat less expressively).
x

Monday, February 19, 2018

Promising Profits: Syria’s Nation (Re)building Propaganda

Links within the blockquotes were added during translation.

Following America and Russia, China has announced its interest in playing a greater role in Syria, TRT Ankara‘s Chinese service reported on February 12. China’s ambassador in Damascus, Qi Qianjin (齐前进),

said that China wanted to play a greater role in solving the Syria crisis. The diplomat told Xinhua that “the time has come to focus on the development and reconstruction of Syria. I believe that in this course, China can provide more help to the Syrian people and government, and play a bigger role.”

向新华社表示:“现在已到聚焦于叙利亚的发展和重建的时机。我认为中国在这一进程中能够为叙利亚人民和政府提供更多帮助,发挥更多作用。”

Ambassador Qi Qianjin visited al-Mouwasat University Hospital in Damascus, and the hospital director thanked him.

齐前进大使参观了位于大马士革的姆瓦萨特大学医院,医院院长向中国大使表示感谢。

The Syrian communications minister had previously said that Syria’s transportation network, once restored, could become a railroad extending to China.

叙利亚交通部长之前曾表示,在叙利亚交通网得到恢复之后,可建立一个延伸至中国的铁路。

According to a report by China’s “Global Times”, at least 30 Chinese business people have been to Syria since April, to explore investment opportunities.

据中国《环球时报》报道,4月至今至少有30名中国商人前来叙利亚探索投资机遇。

China is acting together with Russia in the Syrian conflict, but has worked hard to avoid American resentment.

中国在叙利亚冲突中与俄罗斯一道行动,另一方面致力于避免美国的不满。

In the United Nations security council’s seven important resolutions concerning Syria, China abstained and chose not to get involved in the US-Russian quibble.

中国在联合国安理会关于叙利亚的7个重要表决中弃权,选择了不卷入俄罗斯-美国较量的道路。

Reportedly, from the three countries of Russia, China and America, China is the only country that hasn’t sent troops to Syria.

据悉,俄中美三国中唯一没有向叙利亚派兵的国家是中国。

Radio Damascus QSL 1980s

Radio Damascus shortwave QSL, 1980s *)

The war in Syria is by no means over, and Turkey itself plays no small role in keeping it alive. According to Syrian foreign radio ORTAS‘ German service on Friday, that day marked the 27th day of “the Turkish regime’s barbarian aggression against the Syrian town of Afrin”. According to the same news broadcast, the Syrian government and the Kurdish “people’s defence units (or protection units, YPG, Volksverteidigungseinheiten)” had agreed to have the Syrian army stationed in Afrin. Both ORTAS and Xinhua quoted Rezan Heddo, a media advisor of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), as saying that “Afrin is a Syrian city”.

German news magazine Der Spiegel reported on Sunday night that “of all things”, “dictator Assad’s army is coming to the aid of Afrin region.”

At the same time, Syrian media accuse the US of trying to prolong the war. In its “News and Views” program of February 4, Syrian foreign radio’s English service noted that [27′ 40”]

It is pretty clear that the regional and international powers … do not have a desire to reach a political solution, but, in accordance with their interests in Syria, and for achieving them, those foreign sides try to prolong their war against Syria to give them a chance to extend their presence in the Syrian land under the pretext of combatting terrorism or preserving the alledged national security, as Turkey is claiming to justify its aggression on the Syrian territory.

That said, the Syrian media depict the situation as one where powers hostile to Damascus will prolong, but never win the war. This has been Damascus’ propaganda approach for some time. On October 4 last year, an ORTAS commentary in German claimed that the end of the war was approaching [6’52”]:

Nobody but some hateful or uneducated people can deny this truth. All conditions on the ground and their political consequences are emphasizing that the end of the struggle against terror and terrorist gangs is a matter of time. Aggravations here or there, the committing of crimes by the terrorist gangs is only this terror’s death struggle, carried to Syria from the outside.

It was time to rebuild the country, the same commentary said [08’58”]:

It is clear that the world has begun to think of the post-war situation in Syria, especially concerning a political settlement by dialog among the Syrians themselves. According to that, the Syrians think and talk about reconstruction of the facilities destroyed during the war. The talk in some concerned states, regarding reconstruction and a preparedness to contribute to this mission, is currently “hip”, even in some states that enormously contributed to the destruction of Syria.

Nation-building propaganda is nothing new in Syria. Before the war, too, posters portraying President Bashar al-Assad adorned not only public buildings, but many shops and retail stores, too, some combined with the depiction of a fingerprint in the colors of the Syrian flag, apparently suggesting that there was a genetic link between the people and the regime, in accordance with Syria’s nature. However, at least in Aleppo, you would usually find those posters at the doors of better-off neigborhoods.

But if an era of reconstruction should be upon Syria – depending on which areas are considered sustainably safe by domestic and foreign investors -, the narrative that is shaped by Damascus is beginning to show, as described there by a retired US Army officer:

Nation building can involve the use of propaganda or major infrastructure development to foster social harmony and economic growth.

Reconstruction and “dialog” aren’t only aiming at positive dynamics within Syria, but abroad, too. Syria’s officials and media have sent clear signals to friends and enemies abroad. Newsagency SANA reported on September 30 last year that

China’s Special Envoy for Syria Xie Xiaoyan affirmed that his country would support efforts for reconstruction and rebuilding infrastructure in Syria.

Xiaoyan’s remarks came in a seminar held in Beijing University titled “Rebuild Syria,” during which he called on the Chinese companies to participate in the reconstruction.

For his part, Ambassador of Syria in Beijing Imad Mustafa said that Syria seeks to form a joint strategic vision with China and will not wait for the end of the war to begin reconstruction, noting that the priority in that field will be given for companies from friendly countries.

Early in October, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad told a delegation led by Russian deputy minister for energy Kirill Molodtsov that [00’41”]

it was obvious that those states that had stood with the Syrian people during its war against terror would be entrusted with the task of reconstruction.

Beijing must have been glad to hear that, too. But TRT Ankara’s report – see beginning of this post – is correct in that China is trying to avoid “American resentment”. For sure, Beijing isn’t asking for it.

Also in September last year, Chinese foreign-policy newspaper Huanqiu Shibao quoted Beijing’s Middle-East envoy Xie Xiaoyan (解晓岩) as saying that he had heard suggestions about reconstructions during his visits both to Russia and Syria:

The situation has improved, but first, the country needs to be stabilized, and comprehensive cease-fire agreements are necessary. It is hard to imagine that war should be conducted on the one hand, and roads should be repaired on the other. What is repaired on one day, may be destroyed one day later. But the fact that war still continues doesn’t mean that the parties couldn’t think about rebuilding and reconstruction. China has sufficient industrial capabilities and is preparing for active involvement in this process.

在访问叙利亚和俄罗斯时,听到有关开始叙利亚重建进程的提议。目前那里的局势已经得到改善。但首先仍需要实现国家稳定,需要全面执行停火协议。很难想象,一边在打仗,一边在修路。修好的基础设施在第二天就会被摧毁。其次,尽管现在战斗仍在进行,这并不意味着各方不去考虑基础设施的改建和重建。中国拥有足够的工业能力,准备积极参与这一进程。

However, Xie also said that

China is the world’s second-largest economy, but it can’t do the rebuilding alone. Reports say that reconstruction is going to cost two to three hundred billion Dollars. Therefore, not only China, but countries of the region and of the international community, too, should make joint efforts to achieve Syria’s reconstruction.

中国是世界第二大经济体,但中国独自无法完成重建工作。据有关报道,重建需要大约2000至3000亿美元资金。 因此,不仅是中国,本地区国家和整个国际社会都应共同努力,实现叙利亚的重建。

In a number of ways, China is well-positioned to draw the lion’s share from post-war profits – once the war is really over, or limited to a few marginal conflict zones. While Russia certainly spearheaded military support for Damascus, and while Beijing rather tried to hedge its bets, Russia may not have those industrial capabilities that Xie Xiaoyan ascribes to his own country.

Western economic powers may prove to be essential in one or another aspect of reconstruction, but Damascus is likely to maintain its position that countries that propped it up during the crisis, and during foreign aggression, should profit most.

That doesn’t mean that China would be extremely popular in Syria – although the war may have helped its soft power there. When former Chinese chief state councillor Wen Jiabao referred to the Arab people as good friends, good partners and good brothers, regional elites, rather than entire populations, came to mind. Wen made his statement about Sino-Arab friendship while Hosni Mubarak was still Egypt’s president, and Wen himself may have cherished a memory of Chinese relations with a – then nationalist rather than islamist – Arabia of the 1950s.

Syria’s regime may be the last (and maybe the only lasting) representative of that cherished past.

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Notes

*) Until some time into the war, ORTAS – named “Radio Damascus” until recently – broadcasted on shortwave. Two frequencies were usually announced, but only one of them actually appeared to be in operation (9330 kHz). Reportedly, the facilities have been demolished – apparently in a regular way, and not because of the war.

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Related

Russia is very clever, Sept 11, 2013
A Just Mideast Position, Febr 16, 2012
Understanding and Support, Oct 25, 2011

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Monday, December 4, 2017

Dalai Lama and Barack Obama meeting in New Delhi

Heads of state and government (apparently) can’t always afford to be polite – not if this CS Monitor report of nearly eight years ago is something to go by. In February 2010, the Dalai Lama, as he left the White House after a meeting with then president Barack Obama, was reportedly “awaited” by “a mound of trash”. A White House spokesman contested the interpretation – see same CS Monitor page.

But there were other downgradings, too, at the time. Obama met Tibet’s spiritual leader in the “map room” of the White House, not in the Oval Office. An ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) reporter interpreted this – most probably accurately – as a concession to China, which had demanded that the meeting not even go ahead.

Aller, Nov 2017

But a wise man who works to better the lot of the People won’t fear the height of a mountain or the width of a river on his way to gain worldly credit.

It will be left to reason here if Donald Trump is too high a mountain, or if meeting him, just like having met all US presidents from George H. W. Bush to Barack Obama while they were in office, wouldn’t benefit Tibet anyway.

There has been another meeting between the Dalai Lama and Barack Obama last Friday, and when you are travelling on behalf of your foundation that carries your name, meetings with the man Beijing loves to hate appear to make sense. The setting in New Delhi appears to have been nicer, too, than in the White House, in 2010.

The meeting apparently hasn’t generated a splash in the Chinese media. Overseas Chinese Website Duowei News, a news website operated from New York (and blocked in China, according to Wikipedia) points out that just before, Obama had completed a China visit, including a Meeting with Xi Jinping at Diaoyutai Guest House. Xinhua newsagency reported on Thursday that Xi and Obama held talks on November 29.

Duowei also adds some statistics, saying that this was the sixth meeting between the Dalai Lama and Obama, and that the most recent one had taken place at the White House, in July 2016, when Obama was still in office. (According to VoA, that was in June 2016.)

During an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) during a visit to Ottawa, the president of Tibet’s exile government in Dharamsala, Lobsang Sangay, advocated the Dalai Lama’s “Middle Way” policy.

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