Reuters Gabriel Crossley, Kevin Yao
China’s economic recovery quickened sharply in the first quarter to record growth of 18.3% from last year’s deep coronavirus slump, propelled by stronger demand at home and abroad and continued government support for smaller firms.
But the brisk expansion, heavily skewed by the plunge in activity a year earlier, is expected to moderate later this year as the government turns its attention to reining in financial risks in overheating parts of the economy.
While the jump in gross domestic product (GDP) undershot the 19% forecast by economists in a Reuters poll, the official data showed it was the fastest growth since quarterly records began in 1992 and up from 6.5% in the fourth quarter last year.
“The upshot is that with the economy already above its pre-virus trend and policy support being withdrawn, China’s post-COVID rebound is levelling off,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior china economist at Capital Economics. “We expect quarter-on-quarter growth to remain modest during the rest of this year as the recent boom in construction and exports unwinds, pulling activity back towards trend.”
Aided by strict virus containment measures and emergency relief for businesses, the economy has recovered from a steep 6.8% slump in the first three months of 2020, when an outbreak of COVID-19 in the central city of Wuhan rapidly became a crippling pandemic that has killed about 3 million worldwide.
China’s rebound has been led by exports as factories raced to fill overseas orders and more recently a steady pickup in consumption as shoppers returned to restaurants, malls and car dealerships.
Retail sales increased 34.2% year-on-year in March, beating a 28.0% gain expected by analysts and stronger than the 33.8% jump seen in the first two months of the year.
Other data, however, showed a moderation in expansion with quarter-on-quarter growth slowing to 0.6% in January-March from a revised 3.2% in the previous quarter, missing expectations for a 1.5% increase.
Factory output grew 14.1% year-on-year in March, slowing from a 35.1% surge in the January-February period and lagging a forecast 17.2% rise.
National Bureau of Statistics spokeswoman Liu Aihua told a news conference on Friday while the economy started 2021 on a firm footing, the services sector and smaller firms still faced challenges, while consumer inflation was likely to remain moderate.
Data last week showed consumer prices rising at only a modest pace in March, even as factory gate inflation hit a near three-year high.
“Looking forward, the trend of normalisation may continue for the rest of the year, and domestic consumption is expected to be the major growth driver,” said Chaoping Zhu, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management in Shanghai.
“In terms of policy response, the central bank and fiscal authorities are returning to a more neutral stance, although some selective measures might be continued in order to support the small and medium-sized enterprises.”
Li Wei, economist at Standard Chartered in Shanghai, expected second-quarter growth to slow to 7%.
FOCUS ON RISKS
The world’s second-largest economy is expected to grow 8.6% in 2021, according to a Reuters poll, which would easily beat the government’s 2021 annual growth target of above 6%.
China’s GDP grew just 2.3% rise last year, its weakest expansion in 44 years but still making it the only major economy to avoid contraction as other industrial powers struggled with the pandemic hit.
With the economy back on a more solid footing, China’s central bank is turning its focus to cooling credit growth to help contain financial risks.
However, it is treading cautiously to avoid derailing the recovery with policymakers vowing not to make any sudden policy shifts.
Authorities are especially concerned about financial risks involving the country’s overheated property market and have asked banks to trim their loan books this year to guard against asset bubbles.
Separate data on Friday showed new home prices in China rising at the fastest pace in seven months in March, with gains spreading to more cities as red-hot demand defied government efforts to cool the market.
Source: Reuters “China’s Q1 GDP grows at record pace as recovery speeds up”
Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
Fortunately for US President Biden that Japanese Prime Minister Suga has ensured Biden that Japan joins US Cold War camp against China so that though India has joined the Quad but not joined the Cold War camp in denouncing China openly, the US at least has one Cold War ally in Asia. Japan’s close ties with the US is what Reuters describes in its report “Biden and Japan’s Suga project unity against China’s assertiveness” on April 17, 2021.
That certainly upsets China according to the report, Chinese embassy in the US responds by stressing that Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang are China’s internal affairs and criticizing that US President Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Suga’s remarks after their summit in the US have “completely gone beyond the scope of the normal development of bilateral relations”, harming the interests of third parties as well as peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific.
However, that is but normal diplomatic response. China will not counter with the setup of a similar Cold War camp against the US. It will only continue its efforts in carrying out its one-in-three strategy to prevent EU from joining US Cold War Camp. If EU is independent from the US and China gets most of Asian countries on its side except Japan, the US will be isolated though it has Japan as its Cold War ally.
Moreover, as Japan has great interests in the Chinese market and as the US is Japan’s major competitor there, the US-Japan alliance cannot be very firm.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuter’s report, full text may be viewed at https://www.reuters.com/world/china/biden-welcome-japans-suga-first-guest-key-ally-china-strategy-2021-04-16/.
Trump was wise to want to withdraw US troops from Afganistan but failed due to pressures from US military. Now US new President Joe Biden is wise to resist the pressures and decides to withdraw entirely. US media The Washington Free Beacon asks the question “Will the government of Afghanistan survive America’s retreat?” in its column article “The Question Biden Won’t Answer” on April 6, 2021. Biden certainly knows the answer but is not willing to give the annoying answer.
The more appropriate question is: Shall the US keep troops in Afghanistan forever for its boys to die for maintaining the survival of a government that cannot survive on its own?
In spite of US great efforts for 2 decades, Afghnistan remains a poor small country not worth fighting for at all.
Now, the South China Sea and Europe are much greater issue involving lots of interests and US has treaty obligations to protect EU and Philippines’ interests there.
That is why the US sent its aircraft carrier battle groups to scare away Chinese navy, coast guard and fishing vessels in the South China Sea but failed. Russia at the same time massed troops along its border with Ukraine to threaten Europe. Obviously, Russia’s move aims at helping China’s move in disputed waters with US ally the Philippines. If the US fights China in the South China Sea, Russia will fight in Europe to divert US strength. US will thus be forced to fight two wars respectively in Asia and Europe, but it is not sure to be able to defeat either of the two.
As a posture to scare away Russia and enhance EU’s morale, the US plans to send two destroyers to the Black Sea, but that is far from enough for that purpose.
Biden is wise to withdraw US fleet from the South China Sea and scrap the plan to send warships to Black Sea. By so doing, he has avoided its fleet from being ambushed in the South China Sea and crushed by Chinese air and rocket forces.
What about Russia? Are 10,000 US troops stationed in Poland enough to resist Russian attack? Will two US destroyers in the Black Sea be enough to fight Russia? Now, it is certainly clear to Europe that it has to develop its own military to counter the threat. The deciding factor is China. If China supported Russia in invading EU, it would send its well-equipped large infanctry to Europe to support Russia. Then there will be no peace or stability in Europe for a long time.
Europe is lucky that China is not an aggressor as US and Western media describe. It has no intention to fight EU. In fact, what may China gain in invading EU. Nothing. But it may lose an important trade partner and source for coperation in developing technology.
So is it for Russia. The lessons of the Soviet Union remains fresh in Russians’ minds. For a democratic or socialist state, keeping satillite states is not profitable. Take Ukraine for example, The Soviet Union has to supply gas to it at very low prices and has to incur great costs to maintain its military there.
China certainly will not support Russia’s war in Europe. That is why Chinese President Xi Jinping held a video summit with French and German leaders on April 16, 2021 to mediate between Russia and EU in secret. The summit was conducted in an atmosphere full of the intention of cooperation. Xi has thus successfully played his role as China’s top diplomat for the implementation of his one-in-three strategy.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Washington Free Beacon’s article and CCTV prime time report 习近平同法国德国领导人举行视频峰会 in Chinese (translation: Xi Jiping holds video summit with Frence and German leaders), full text of which can be respectively be viewed at The Question Biden Won’t Answer – Washington Free Beacon and https://tv.cctv.com/2021/04/16/VIDEYwLsgxrVKSGqPzprMq56210416.shtml?spm=C31267.PFsKSaKh6QQC.S71105.3.
The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) announced last year that it was ceasing all operations in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region amid accusations of “forced labor” there.
The statement has disappeared from its website as backlash grows in China against the organization and its members’ attempts to boycott Xinjiang cotton.
The screenshot of BCI statement on Xinjiang cotton released in October 2020 has been removed from its website.
The screenshot of BCI statement on Xinjiang cotton released in October 2020 has been removed from its website.
BCI Shanghai office said it didn’t find any case of “forced labor” in Xinjiang in a statement released on its WeChat account at the end of March.
“In response to overseas reports about ‘forced labor’ [in Xinjiang], our Shanghai office conducted a strict review of the projects in Xinjiang,” Wu Yan, chief representative of the BCI Shanghai office said in an exclusive interview with China Central Television.
Wu said, “We submitted two investigation reports to the headquarters. We also compiled and submitted inspection reports made by third-party inspection agencies, such as the SGS, in the past several years.”
The decision made by BCI to suspend licensing in Xinjiang will prevent nearly 500,000 tons of Xinjiang cotton from entering the global supply chain of cotton textile production, according to Wu.
“Human rights organizations required the BCI to suspend licensing in Xinjiang and demanded BCI claim that any decisions made by it have nothing to do with these human rights organizations,” Liu Haoran, project manager of the BCI Shanghai office, said in the interview.
Founded in Switzerland in 2009, BCI sets the global standard for cotton industries and certifies cotton farms worldwide. It has 2,100 members worldwide, including cotton farmers, textile businesses and retail brands.
Some multinational companies like H&M and Nike, members of the BCI, have been facing a backlash in China after they announced to suspend sourcing cotton from Xinjiang.
Chinese e-commerce platforms Taobao, JD.com, Pinduoduo, Suning.com, and Meituan’s Dianping removed H&M from their platforms in March, and Chinese Android app stores removed H&M as well.
Note: This is CGTN’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
SCMP says in its report “China hesitant over J-10C barter deal with cash-strapped Iran: experts” that Iran is said to be interested in buying 36 of China’s advanced J-10Cs that are regarded as good as Russia’ well-known Su-35 by some analysts, but China is hesitant over a barter deal of the sale.
According the report, analysts believe China is considering the move though China has no need for the oil or gas from the barter deal as there is abundant supply of oil and gas and China has already had full stock of them.
Those analysts perhaps are ignorant of the recently signed Iran-China 25-year cooperation program. In the deal, China promised to invest $400 billion in Iran in that period. The easiest way is use the proceeds from the deal as China’s investment in Iran, but China is certainly considering other cooperation alternatives such as the investment in the construction of gas pipeline from Iran through Pakistan to China’s Xinjiang to enable direct flow of gas from Iran to China.
China has a large demand for gas to be satisfied by all the gas Iran can produce. China wants to use gas as the clean feul of its 1.4 billion people and to replace coal in China’s large number of coal-fired power plants.
The above is but the economic benefit of such energy deals for China.
Such deals facilitate strengthening the Russia-China-Iran iron triangle to counter the US. With such deals, Iran will no longer be vulnerable to US sanctions while China’s advanced fighter jets will enable Iran to protect China’s shipping to the Middle East from Pakistan’s Gwadar port through Persian Gulf.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.scmp.com/news/china/military/article/3129539/china-hesitant-over-j-10c-barter-deal-cash-strapped-iran?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=share_widget&utm_campaign=3129539&fbclid=IwAR22rVm0LCD22n_ZOdnFWNhIxESag6ZqjfRSPS2MmAgfYErYcCJe8KX7yuA.
Competition usually aims at gaining advantages over one’s competitors instead of killing them, but a hostile competition like US’s aimed at killing its competitor is certainly an act of hostility toward an enemy.
With such severe hostility, why does the US not fight a hot war with China? Because it is not able to. First, with unsuccessful wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that have caused the US heavily in debt, US people are now fed up with war. In addition, as China and Russia have made great efforts to grow stronger militarily, the US is not capable now of defeating China that may have Russian assistance.
What about China?
Since the US regards China as its enemy and has been carrying out an all-out war except hot war with China, China certainly shall do as the Chinese saying “One should make a return to what one has received.” Therefore, we can be certain that China will fight back in return.
How? When Chinese military has grown much stronger than US’s decades later, it may launch an all-out naval war to put an end to US hegemonic dominance of the oceans.
What about now when Chinese Navy is weaker than US?
When Chinese military is weaker than its enemy, it can exploit its geographical advantages in the South China Sea.China wants the US to be its partner of win-win cooperation, but the US regards China as a “competitor”. However, the word “competitor” here is but a euphemism for “enemy”. The US is now conducting a trade and tech war with such severe hostility that it simply wants to kill its “competitor” such as China’s telecommunication giant Huawei It has seven artificial islands with long airstrips on three of them able to deploy 600 warplanes in all.
Together with the airfields and missile bases on shore in Southeast China, China will have great air superiority over one or two US aircraft carrier battle groups.
Japanese Navy and the rest US Navy will not have enough time to rescue US Navy in the South China Sea as they could not go directly through the Taiwan Strait. The air and rocket forces on Chinese shore may inflict heavy losses on them. They could only go to the battleground through Bashi Channel, but may be intercepted by Chinese submarines. China has a lot of very quiet conventional submarines to operate at the South China Sea as the Channel is not far away from their bases in Hainan Island for conventional submarines to operate. The first island chain has long been used by the US to encircle China, but in such a battle in the South China Sea, US Navy will be encircled by the first island chain while its reinforcement will be blocked by the chain.
Such an ambush is much better than amphibious invasion of Taiwan. In an invasion, US and Japanese warships may come to Taiwan’s rescue quite fast in Western Pacific and US warplanes may use Japanese and Taiwan airfields.
That is why Chinese fishing boats and coastguard and navy ships are so busy now in the disputed waters to upset the Philippines. China hopes that the US may send aircraft carrier battle groups to the South China Sea to perform their obligations to defend the Philippines. If US fleet attacks Chinese vessel, China will have the excuse to defeat US fleet in the South China Sea.
According to Reuters’ report “Philippines files new diplomatic protests over Chinese boats in disputed waters” on April 14, 2021, China has massed more than 240 boats within the waters claimed by the Philippines. The Philippines protested but to no avail. Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin phoned US Secretary of State Blinken to complain and Blinken promised help but US fleet soon leave the South China Sea without giving the Philippines any help.
Article by Chan Kai Yee
I said in my post “Take Taiwan by a War with US in South China Sea” yesterday that amphibious invasion of Taiwan will be costly due to Taiwan’s fortified defense but a naval blockade will be much easier to subdue Taiwan. However, US Navy may break the blockade so that China has to first defeat US Navy in the South China Sea.
Therefore, US Secretary of State Blinken’s threat of consequence of change of status quo (meaning invasion of Taiwan) and China’s warning on US officials’ contacts with Taiwan mentioned in Reuters report “‘Don’t play with fire on Taiwan, China warns U.S.” yesterday are but oral war. The real war will be in the South China Sea.
China is fiercely intensify its activities in the disputed waters within China’s nine-dash line and the exclusive economic zone claimed by the Philippines. It even sent its missile fast boats to drive a Philippine civilian vessel from the area claimed by China. The US, though claimed that it would perform its treaty obligations to protect the Philippines if Philippine civilians have been attacked by Chinese military but turned a blind eye to the incident.
In fact, China has been aggravating the tensions there on purpose to challenge the US. If US fleets in the South China Sea have really interfere by attacking any Chinese vessel, whether civilian or military, China will have the excuse to attack US fleets in the South China Sea where it has geographical advantages.
The US is now in a dilemma. If it fights China in the South China Sea, it will certainly lose as with the militay bases on artificial islands and on shore, China is much stronger than any US fleets there. However, if the US fails to perform its treaty obligations there, its allies will lose confidence in it.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-taiwan-diplomacy/dont-play-with-fire-on-taiwan-china-warns-u-s-idUSKBN2C00U5.
Taking Taiwan by force seems the only way for reunification of China. Shall the People’s Republic of China (PRC) attack Taiwan by amphibious invasion.
That will be quite costly especially when Taiwan has been well prepared for the attacks. There will be fortified defense in all the coast areas liable to be attacked. However due to Taiwan’s topology with lots of hills and mountains along its coasts, there are few such areas.
China’s gifted strategist Sun Tze says, “Subdue the enemy with stratagem, the best of best; with diplomacy, the second best; with fighting, the next choice; and with attack of city, the worst choice.”
In our times, attacking where there is fortified defense is equal to what Sun Tze means by attack of city.
The wise stratagem for subduing Taiwan with the least cost is naval blockade, PRC’s busy air and naval drills certainly are not aimed at the attack at Taiwan coasts with fortified defense. Certainly for a political goal, PRC is strong and rich enough to conduct such attack. Then it shall not conduct the said drills to keep Taiwan on alert. Such drills will cause PRC’s attack to devoid of surprise. Therefore, only strategy illiterates may regard such drills as omen of amphibious attack.
If PRC conducts a naval blockade to subdue Taiwan, US navy will help Taiwan break the blockade; therefore, in order for the naval blockade to succeed, PRC shall first defeat US Navy. For that the best battleground shall be the South China Sea. The battle there will mainly be an air combat supplemented by navy.
In the South China Sea, there are three long airstrips for deployment of 600 fighter jets on PRC’s artificial islands and lots of warplanes and missiles deployed on its coast. In addition, PRC has deployed quite a few submarines in its bases on Hainan Island. US Navy shall not take the risk of sending its fleet, especially aircraft carrier battle group there. However, the US, as world hegemon, has to show its muscle there though it knows well it cannot scare Chinese military by so doing.
Now, the US claims that US perform its treaty obligations to protect the Philippines. That will precisely provide PRC with the opportunity to draw US fleet into the South China Sea by attacking Philippine fishermen there. If US Navy attacks PRC to help the Philippines, it will offer PRC the chance to annihilate the US fleet within the South China Sea.
PRC’ victory over US Navy may even bring Taiwan down to its knees as Taiwan mainly relies on the US for its defense.
That is precisely the case now in the South China Sea. PRC has taken actions to upset the Philippines. The presence of 220 fishing boats and the chase by PRC coast guard and navy vessels of Philippine civilian ships and fishing boats have really upset the Philippines and caused it to seek help from the US. The US has sent its aircraft carrier battle groups into the South China Sea. PRC immediately sent its Liaoning aircraft carrier battle group around Taiwan seemingly to threaten Taiwan but actually to surround US fleet if US fleet attacks PRC coast guard or navy ship. US Navy is certainly not so stupid as to fight PRC there. It keeps on tracking PRC carrier fleet. As soon as it learned that PRC fleet was crossing Bashi Channel and might surround US fleet, it told its fleet to leave.
But there will be the next time. How can US fleet avoid being annihilated in the South China Sea since it wants to show its muscle there to scare but avoid combating PRC.
Article by Chan Kai Yee
China Challenges Philippines Again in South China Sea
In March 2021, China massed more than 200 fishing boats in waters near Whitsun Reef claimed by both China and the Philippines. Philippines protested so that China took the opportunity to claim again that the area is China’s as it lies within China’s nine-dash line. The Philippines cited the arbitration ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague to deny China’s rights and interests in the South China Sea within China’s nine-dash line. China’s Foreign Ministry reiterated that China did not accept or recognize the arbitration ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague.
US Failure to Help Philippines with Scarborough Standoff in 2012
That is the same as the Huangyan Island (also known as Scarborough Shoal in the world) that also lies within both China’s nine-dash line and Philippines claimed 200-mile exclusive economic zone. US open denial of China’s nine-dash line emboldened Philippine President Aquino to start the Scarborough Standoff with China in 2012, Aquino hoped that US Navy would have helped drive Chinese Navy, coast guard ships and fishing boats away from Scarborough Shoal and the waters around it within the exclusive economic zone claimed by the Philippines. The US, however, did not interfere as it traditionally does not take side in other countries’ border disputes.
As the US refused to take actions, China was able to entirely drive the Philippines away from the Shoal and the area around it and ban Philippine fishing there. Philippines complained to the US and asked it for help. The US remained inaction but told the Philippines to apply for arbitration at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague. China simply refused to take part in the arbitration, claiming the said court had no jurisdiction over the case. Philippines had to incur arbitration costs of tens of millions of US dollars but was not sure whether it would win. In addition, it clearly knew that the court’s ruling was not binding so that it could not enforce the ruling on China even if it won.
The US promised to use its influence to enable the Philippines to win and to force China to accept the court’s ruling.
True enough, with US and Japan’s influence the Philippines obtained an arbitration ruling in favor of the Philippines that denies all China’s rights and interests in the South China Sea. China immediately announced that it would not accept or recognize the ruling while the UN immediately announced that the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague is not a UN agency. As a result, the US and quite a few Western media are not able to make people believe that the court’s ruling is a UN agency’s.
It would have been otherwise, if the Philippines had submitted the case to the International Court of Justice (ICE), a UN agency. However, both the US and the Philippines lacked confidence to win the case at ICJ. In addition, if they had lost the case in ICJ, they would have no ground to force their views on China while China’s rights and interests in the South China Sea would have been officially justified by the ICJ.
As China has refused to accept or recognize the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague and as the UN has denied the court is an agency under it, few countries except a few Western countries have respected the ruling.
Frustrated, the US sent two aircraft carrier battle groups to force China to accept the ruling, but China responded with the challenge of a war with the US. The US had to give up as it was not willing to incur the heavy costs of war for Philippine interests.
China Challenges US Again in South China Sea
Mow US President Joe Biden regards China as America’s major threat and has begun a new Cold War against China. US provocative activities in Taiwan Straight and the South China Sea have greatly intensified.
Safeguard Core Interests in South China Sea while Making a Show to Take Taiwan
US high generals believe China may soon send its troops to take Taiwan and thus trigger a war with the US. However, China will not gain much in taking Taiwan by force especially if the US has been forced to fight China. The war may turn Taiwan into ruins so that with heavy costs of a war, China will not get economic gains in taking Taiwan by force; therefore, as long as Taiwan does not openly announce independence China will not take Taiwan by force. So far the US, though has openly declared its protection of Taiwan if China attacks Taiwan, does not support Taiwan independence as one-China policy is the basis of China-US relations.
The South China Sea is an entirely different issue. It is a vast area of three million square kilometers with rich energy and fishing resources. Due to such tremendously great interests, China has incurred billions of dollars costs to build seven artificial islands there in order to strengthen its defense there. The three airstrips on the islands alone may deploy 600 fighter jets, which together with the missiles deployed there constitute very powerful fire power enough to deal with all the aircraft carrier battle groups the US is able to send there. Moreover there are lots of airfields and missile bases on the coast near the sea.
Now, the US seems trying to deny China’s rights and interests there by frequently sending its aircraft battle groups to patrol the South China Sea with the excuse of ensuring freedom of navigation. For more than a month from March and April 2021 China’s fishing fleet remains in the area around Whitsun Reef that China disputes with the Philippines over the ownership of the reef.
As the reef emerged above water only at low tide according to a judgment by the International Court of Justice in 2012: “low-tide elevations cannot be appropriated”, no one can claim ownership of he reef. However, at the end of the 20th century some small sand dunes had developed on the reef making a territorial claim possible. China sends the fishing fleet there with obvious intention to claim ownership of the reef.
In response, on April 7, 2021 US Department of State spokesperson Ned Price said “An armed attack against the Philippines’ armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific, including in the South China Sea, will trigger our obligations under the US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty.”
Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin complained to US Secretary of State Blinken in his phone call with him on April 9, 2021. He got Blinken’s verbal confirmation of US commitment to defend the Philippines.
Obviously the US is not carrying out a freedom of navigation operation by sending an aircraft carrier into the South China Sea. A destroyer or even frigate is quite enough. The US is showing its strength to scare China.
However, before the carrier came to the South China Sea, on April 5 2021, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said to his counterparts from four ASEAN countries, “China will not accept that there is any nation in the world that [can] put itself superior to the others, and that any nation will have a final say on world affairs. If the US continues to confront, China will take it calmly without fear.”
Before US provocation with frequent deployment of its carrier battle groups to show its strength in the South China Sea, China was not so active in safeguarding its rights and interests in the South China Sea as it wants to maintain friendly relations with the Philippines. Now China used not only its coast guard ship but even naval missile fast boats to drive Philippine civilian ships and fishermen away from the disputed area. That is quite exceptional. Obviously China has been intentionally testing the US. If the US only wants to make a show, China will not challenge it, but if the US tries to interfere with the maritime territory disputes between China and the Philippines to performs its defense-treaty obligations in helping Philippine civilian ships counter Chinese navy or coast guard ships as alleged by US government statement orally confirmed by US Secretary of State Blinken, China will fight the US in order to safeguard its core interests there.
US carrier battle group is surrounded by China’s forces on Chinese coast and artificial islands. It cannot flee to the north as there are lots of Chinese coastal forces to intercept it. Its only way of retreat will be through the Malacca Strait or Bashi Channel to the west or south of the South China Sea. China sent its Liaoning aircraft battle group to conduct military drill to the east of Taiwan seemingly to threaten Taiwan but really to intercept US carrier battle group in case the group attacks Chinese navy to help the Philippines.
I don’t think that the US will help the Philippines and thus trigger a naval war with China. However, whether due to tacit understanding or secret agreement, Russia massed its troops along its border with Ukraine at the same time.
That is not the first time China and Russia coordinate. When Russia invaded Ukraine, China coordinated with the construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea.
Russia Sends Troops to Its Border with Ukraine to Coordinate with China’s Challenge in South China Sea
Russia’s military move is testing the US whether it will protect its European allies against Russia as promised while the US is challenged by China in the South China Sea. The US is sending two warships to the Black Sea to counter Russia, but that is far from enough.
If US carrier battle group fails to help the Philippines counter China in the South China Sea as I foretell. It shows US weakness. Russia may well invade Ukraine as neither Ukraine nor EU has enough troops to counter Russia in Europe. There certainly will not be serious military conflicts as Russia has no intention to have long term military conflicts with EU. Russia wants friendly relations with EU as EU is its major energy market; therefore, it has been making great efforts to complete its Nord Stream 2 pipeline for direct supply of natural gas to Germany and its neighbors. However, by invading Ukraine, it will test US desire and will to protect EU. When it is clear that the US has no desire or will to protect its allies whether in Asia or Europe, US allies will entirely lose confidence in the US. Without allies, the US will be entirely unable to conduct its Cold War against China and Russia and without US interference, Russia may greatly improve its relations with EU.
Article by Chan Kai Yee
US Busy in Organizing Its Cold War Camp without Success
The US regards itself as world leader and believe it can compete with both China and Russia, but its efforts to establish its Quad to contain China failed as India does not dare to upset China openly. On the contrary, India has reached agreement with China to withdraw along with China its troops from the line of contact. The two countries have actually done so to ease their border tensions. In addition, Indian Prime Minister Modi wrote to Pakistan to seek reduction of tentions with Pakistan.
Russia’s Contribution in Making Quad Fail
Certainly, Russia has played important role in mediating between India, and China and Pakistan.
India, however, is afraid of Chinese invation as China has geographycal advantages. In a war between the two, even if India wins, it will gain some barren areas at high altitude hard for people from low altitude to live. China’s rich areas lie far away from its border with India. But if China wins, Chinese troops may soon occupy India’s rich plain areas while Pakistan may seize the opportunity to invade India from the west.
I believe Russia has made India realize its disadvantages in fighting for Quad to contain China. In fact, the attempt to use Quad to have India contain China is a stupid plan in the first place as it is naive to believe Indian leader is so stupid as to be easily duped to fight hard wars for other’s gains.
He knows that the border disputes between India and China are insignificant though Western and Indian media have tried hard to make the disputes sensational. China has no intention to fight a war as it has to focus on realizing its China dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Seeing its mediation succeeded in making India and China ease tensions on their borders and Indian Prime Minister send a letter seeking peaceful relations with Pakistan. Russia grabbed the opportunity to send its Foreign Minister Lavrov to visit India and Pakistan in a row in early April 2021, not long after the Quad summit convened by US President Joe Biden. Lavrov mediated India and Pakistan in person and promised to provide both India and Pakistan with advanced weapons much cheaper than US ones. It is able to do so as its weapon production costs less and it has rich China’s financial support. The US, however, is hard up and will have difficulties raise funds from Congress for overhaul of its poor old roads and bridges.
To maintain its hegemony, the US raises the ghost of China to scare others so that it may make them purchase its expensive weapons and rely on US expensive protection. For exapmle, South Korea has to pay the US more than US$1 billion for the protecton of 28,500 US troopers in it. The cost is really excessive as South Korea has to pay $35,000 to keep one trooper there.
However, the US fails to make most of its allies and partners to join its Cold War camp against China in spite of its intimidation of them with China’s image of hegemon created by the US.
Xi Jinping Got German Leader Merkel’s Words on Independence from the US
What about Europe, US competitor in China’s vast and growing market. US Secretary of State Blinken visited EU in order to take it into US camp of Cold War against China, but EU has no warries about China’s rise. Biden’s predecessor former US President Trump’s hegemonic pressures on EU remains fresh in EU’s memory. Anyway US loss of its world number one position to China will not hurt EU much. But if a Republican like Trump wins the next predidential election, EU will suffer from US hegemonic pressures and even persecution again. As a result, EU is unwilling to join US Cold War camp against China. Blinken could not but say in Europe that the US would not force EU members to take side between the US and China.
However, in order not to upset the US, EU has to join the US in imposing sanctions on China for the so-called “use of forced labor in cotton production in Xinjiang”. It believes it is no big problem as the sanction concerns only local production of a specific commodity. It does not expect the strong response from Chinese netizens.
Chinese people’s boycott of the foreign well-known brands in response of their boycott of Xinjiang cotton will greatly facilitate the development of China’s national brands on China’s vast domestic market. China is now anxious to develop its own national well-known brands but its negligence for decades of national intellectual property has enabled foreign well-known brands to flood their products on Chinese market. Foreign fashion brands’ boycott of Chiese cotton provides China with a golden opportunity to develop its own national fashion brands.
Chinese companies will use the cotton foreign companies boycotted to produce fashion products to replace the brand of goods boycotted by foreign companies. Lack of foreign brands will greatly facilitate the development of China’s national brands. Chinese people’s boycott really hurts and may hurt some EU countries’ fashion industry.
Chinese President Xi Jinping took the opportunity to talk with German Chancellor Merkel on the phone. He gave her the advice that Germany had to maintain its independence from the influence of others. Xi was certainly trying to persuade Germany not to follow the US in fighting a Cold War against China. He got Merkel’s words that Germany, the most influential country in EU, will maintain its independence. As a matter fact, Xi has thus got Merkel’s words that Germany would not join US Cold War against China. After all China is Germany’s major trade partners and has signed a trade deal with EU to allow EU even better access to Chinese market.
Article by Chan Kai Yee