Posts tagged ‘Russia’

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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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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Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Li Zhanshu: “Russia made an important Choice and acted firmly”

li_zhanshu_television

Meeting Valentina Ivanovna Matviyenko
Xinwen Lianbo, Sept 11, 2022

Li Zhanshu’s talk isn’t exactly going viral on Chinese mass media, and appears to be only just beginning to catch attention on Twitter . The current Chairman of the Standing Committee of the “National People’s Congress” (China’s rubberstamp parliament), told Russian parliament speaker Vyacheslav Volodin and leaders of Russian parliament factions that

We see that the United States and its NATO allies are expanding their presence near the Russian borders, seriously threatening national security and the lives of Russian citizens. We fully understand the necessity of all the measures taken by Russia aimed at protecting its key interests, we are providing our assistance,

and

On the Ukrainian issue, we see how they have put Russia in an impossible situation. And in this case, Russia made an important choice and responded firmly

A transcript (and a much-shared video) on Twitter in Chinese:

对俄罗斯在核心利益和重大关切问题,中方对俄罗斯也是表示理解和充分的支持。就像现在的乌克兰问题,美国和北约直接逼到俄罗斯的家门口,涉及到俄罗斯的国家安全和人民的生命安全,在这种情况下,俄罗斯采取认为适合应当的一些措施,中方是表示理解的,并且从不同方面给予策应。

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js
The translator adds a disclaimer, saying he doesn’t understand Li’s Shanxi accent too well, but that this is about what he said.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Radio Pravda dlya Rossii (“Truth for Russia”) on Vacation

According to its Twitter account, Radio Truth for Russia / Радио Правда для России (Radio Pravda dlja Rossii) is currently taking a summer break. Not sure if this affects their shortwave transmissions.
hf_transmitter_radio_pravda_for_russia
Please check their Twitter feed for updates.

Information about times and frequencies of their broadcasts on shortwave – in addition to their youtube channel – vary, but 9670 kHz, 6070 kHz and 13600 kHz are often mentioned.


For a number of reasons (safety, appropriate use of donations, etc.), I wouldn’t expect QSL cards from this broadcaster.

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.)
Sunday, July 24, 2022

Headlines: Guanchazhe, Shanghai, July 24

20220224_guanchazhe_press_review

Guanchazhe, headlines at 07:30 UTC

(1)     Actual Guanchazhe article there. Wikipedia has a useful article in English on Wentian space laboratory cabin module
(2)     Link
(3)     It’s more of a rant (you wouldn’t need academics for that, but it probably looks more authoratitve this way).
The article may contain some news for you however if you believe that Western sanctions against Russia are happily supported (or admired) everywhere else in the world
Friday, May 6, 2022

Central Asia: Russia’s Restive “Bulk” of Allies

Links within blockquotes added during translation.

In another bid to prove his president’s claim to the global public that you can’t isolate Russia, Russian foreign minister Lavrov wrote in a signed article for Rossiyskaya Gazeta that Russia could see its trade with Central Asia growing dynamically despite “the turbulent geopolitical situation”, and that “the bulk” of Central Asian countries were Russia’s allies.

There’s probably a need to emphasize that, although the Russian government-owned Rossiyskaya Gazeta may not be an ideal communication channel to the Central Asian public.

QSL card from Radio Tashkent, December 1985

That was long ago: a QSL card
from Radio Tashkent, December 1985

But then, security issues aren’t only Russia’s issue. Its allied “bulk” is worried about Moscow’s miltary rampage in Ukraine, and China’s relations with Central Asia may become affected, too.

“Due to its size and geography, China’s role [in Central Asia] will grow [following the war], but the SCO won’t have many success stories to point to”,

RFA/RL quotes Temur Umarov, a fellow at the Carnegie Moscow Center.

“Beijing is also now seen as a supporter of Russia and as a country that isn’t doing much to restrain Moscow when many [SCO members] are seeing it as a potential threat.”

Pengpai News (“The Paper”, Shanghai), by no means a natural critic of Russia, suggested in an article on April 25 that

Since Russia started its “special military operation” againly been upped further, and their immediate and long-term political and economic effects are slowly emerging. In the five Central Asian countries that once belonged to the Soviet region, the Russian-Ukrainian state of affairs has given rise to worries, with their approach becoming more and more subtle.

在刚刚经历过“一月政变”的哈萨克斯坦,从总统托卡耶夫到外交部长和国防部长都在公开表态中与莫斯科保持了一定的距离。哈官方承诺不会成为帮助俄罗斯规避西方制裁的工具,并接待了专程到访的美国副国务卿,两国还宣布拟扩大高水平战略伙伴关系。

Kazakhstan’s regime, despite Russian military dispatches to quell demonstrations against the Tokayev regime only weeks earlier,

officially promised not to become a tool that would help Russia in evading the West’s sanctions, and received a US deputy secretary of state’s special visit. The two countries announced that they would broaden their high-level strategic partnership.

哈官方承诺不会成为帮助俄罗斯规避西方制裁的工具,并接待了专程到访的美国副国务卿,两国还宣布拟扩大高水平战略伙伴关系。

Timur Suleimenov, first deputy chief of Kazakhstan’s Executive Office, is quoted by Pengpai News as saying that his country, while a member of the Eurasian Economic Union,

we are also a member of the international community. We do not want America and the European Union to impose secondary sanctions on Kazakhstan, therefore we have to prove to our European partners that Kazakhstan will not become a tool for Russia to evade America’s and the EU’s sanctions. We will abide by the sanctions.”

“虽然我们和俄罗斯、白俄罗斯一样,是欧亚经济联盟成员,但我们也是国际社会的一员,我们不希望美国和欧盟对哈萨克斯坦实施二级制裁,因此我们必须向欧洲的伙伴证明,哈萨克斯坦不会成为俄罗斯规避美国和欧盟制裁的工具。我们将遵守制裁。”

Kazakhstan’s president, having just been protected from his own people by Russian troops,

presented, in his State of the Nation address on March 16, an entire set of reform plans, and acknowledged frankly that the Russian-Ukrainian state of affairs had made the importance of national independence obvious. He promised to carry out comprehensive political reform.

托卡耶夫在最近一次于3月16日所作的国情咨文中拿出了一整套改革方案,他坦言眼前的俄乌局势凸显了国家独立重要性,并承诺进行全面政治改革。

Uzbekistan is quoted as even telling Russia to stop its “aggressive” behavior (停止“侵略”行为). To find a peaceful solution, Uzbekistan’s foreign minister Abdulaziz Kamilov is quoted,

“We support the search for a peaceful solution to this state of affairs, and a solution to this conflict by political and diplomatic means”. For this, “(Russia) must first end military activity and its invasion.”

“我们支持寻求和平解决这一局势,并通过政治和外交手段解决这一冲突”。为此,“(俄罗斯)首先必须结束军事活动和侵略”。

Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan who are more dependent on Russia, and who have Russian military bases within their borders, kept “prudently silent” after the launch of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. To offset the return of many of its migrant workers from Russia, however, Kyrgyzstan negotiated with South Korea and Turkey, apparently to find work for its citizens there, and asked Turkey to ease visa restrictions on migrant workers.

The fallout, according to Pengpai News, is there: Both Kazakhtan and Uzbekistan are drawing closer to America. Even Russians flee to Uzbekistan, the Pengpai article says, to avoid military service in Russia. And Uzbek nationals have been warned by their government that they could face five years in prison if they serve in Russia’s military.

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