Financial Times says in its article “Germany’s CDU stops short of Huawei ban in 5G rollout” yesterday, “Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union has backed a strategy paper that could potentially curtail Huawei’s involvement in Germany’s 5G rollout by barring ‘untrustworthy’ companies deemed to be subject to state influence from the process. But the recommendations will disappoint the US by stopping short of banning Huawei technology outright. Ms Merkel, the German chancellor, has opposed any attempt to single out the Chinese telecoms equipment maker, preferring instead to tighten security requirements on all suppliers.”
In order to contain China, the US has tried hard to force its allies to ban Huawei with the threat of ceasing intelligence sharing, but like UK who has allowed use of Huawei equipment with some restrictions, Germany is unwilling to follow US leadership in containing China.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Financial Times’ article, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.ft.com/content/e17ba42a-4ce1-11ea-95a0-43d18ec715f5.
CNN says in its report “Philippines formally ends Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with US” yesterday, “The Philippines has finally sent the United States a notice to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement, marking the start of the 180-day period from when the two-decade military pact will be effectively scrapped. Malacañang on Tuesday confirmed that the document has been signed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Tedoro ‘Teddy Boy’ Locsin, Jr. and sent to the US government.”
That worries Philippine Senate Minority leader Franklin Drilon as according to him, scrapping VFA will make ineffective the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement between the two countries (EDCA), which allows the US military to use and control five bases in the Philippines. He says, “If the VFA and EDCA are no longer effective, then the MDT (Mutual Defense Treaty between the two countries), as mentioned by Sec. Locsin, would be inutile and would serve no purpose,”
However, the MDT has already proved by facts as serving no purpose as proved by US inaction during the Scarborough standoff between the Philippines and China. The US did not defend Philippines’ claimed rights to Scarborough Shoal. As a result, the shoal has entirely been taken over by China and Philippine fishermen who fished on the shoal and in the area around the shoal, were forbidden to fish there.
The US told the Philippines to file an arbitration at The Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague and helped it to get a favorable ruling. The US sent two aircraft carrier battle groups to force China to accept the ruling but China challenged it with war. The US failed to fight a war to defend the rights the Philippines claims. Since the US has failed to defend the Philippines, the MDT has already been inutile and been proved serving no purpose.
Media are used to blame China’s influence for the Philippines distancing from its long-term ally the US. The truth is facts have made the Philippines see that its alliance with the US serves no purpose.
It is only possible for the US to defend the Philippines when China attack the Philippines but China simply will not do so. It has no intention to take back the islands and reefs it claims but are occupied by the Philippines. On the contrary, it wants win-win cooperation to exploit the natural resources in disputed areas.
Before Scarborough standoff, China and the Philippines both fished there but the Philippines tried to forbade Chinese fishing but had its own fishing banned by China there. The US did nothing to help the Philippines.
When he Philippines accepted China’s win-win suggestion, China allowed the Philippines to fish there.
The same with the exploitation of energy resources in disputed areas. China does not allow the Philippines to exploit the resources alone but is willing to conduct win-win cooperation with the Philippines in exploiting the resources.
If the Philippines is not willing, China can wait as it is rich and has no urgent need to exploit the resources. The Philippines, however, is poor and wants urgently to exploit the resources. As a result, it is trying hard now to find an acceptable way to cooperate with China to exploit the resources there.
The above proves that the US has in effect lost its only ally the Philippines in the South China Sea.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on CNN’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://cnnphilippines.com/news/2020/2/11/Philippines-ends-VFA-United-States.html.
Afshan SubohiUpdated February 10, 2020
China asserts that it is not wavering from its commitment to assist Pakistan in the second, people-centric phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Despite being embroiled in multiple problems — the virus epidemic, growth moderation and trade spat with the United States — the Asian dragon is all set to commit $1 billion in the current calendar year to kick-start the next phase of CPEC.
In an exclusive interaction with Dawn, China’s Consul General in Karachi Li Bijian was open and clear about the mutual relationship and its future. He dismissed the perception that China is disillusioned by the Pakistani leadership and has adopted a wait-and-see strategy before committing support for CPEC’s second phase.
“This is a figment of some naïve elements’ imagination. Nothing can be far from the truth. I can confirm that China has helped Pakistan close physical infrastructure gaps in the first phase and wishes to see benefits of this massive investment flowing to Pakistani youth, farmers, labour and disadvantaged segments in the second phase,” he asserted.
He declined to comment on a possible US role in peddling doubts about CPEC and its cost.
‘We can’t order private investment. We know well it will not be persuasion but the profit expectation and risk coverage that will mobilise them,’ CG Li
The second phase of CPEC is focused on public and private collaboration in industrial, agriculture and social sectors (poverty alleviation, training and research to transform industrial/agriculture sectors to improve productivity and competitiveness). The specifics of commitments for the identified projects have yet to be finalised, but about $1bn is expected to land in the country over the next 11 months.
In the first phase, the thrust was on bridging the physical infrastructure deficit (electricity, logistics and the port). Big-ticket projects close to $21bn in energy, transport infrastructure and Gwadar Port are either complete or about to finish shortly.
Expanding on his argument, the consul general stated: “The relationship between the two countries is not transactional. We are long-term partners who share the common dream for a just and inclusive order that affords decent living standards for all citizens. China chose Pakistan to be the first stop for its One Belt, One Road vision.”
“If there was some confusion in the party that assumed power after the 2018 general elections, it has been cleared. We know the current leadership in Pakistan understands and acknowledges CPEC’s value for the country and its future,” he added, putting to rest the perception of deliberate reluctance on either side.
He also mentioned the revised China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that has added 301 items to the list of articles enjoying duty-free access to the gigantic Chinese market. “It can translate into $6bn worth of additional export from Pakistan to China if the potential of the facility is properly leveraged,” Mr Li elaborated.
To a question regarding little interest among private Chinese companies in relocating their operations in Pakistan, the consul general was not apologetic. He attributed it to a lack of suitable business environment that had de-motivated even local investors.
“We can’t order private investment. Yes, we are encouraging companies. We know well that it will not be persuasion but the profit expectation and risk coverage that will mobilise them. We are engaging with the relevant quarters in Pakistan to work out an incentives package for Chinese investors in special economic zones (SEZs).”
About $1bn is expected to land in Pakistan over the next 11 months as part of the second phase of CPEC
Elaborating on multiple factors that influence the decision of Chinese companies about the destination of their overseas investment, he mentioned the low quality of workforce in Pakistan. “Finding workers with required skills was identified as a big challenge by prospective Chinese investors. We intend to initiate more skill training programmes for workers in Pakistan to ensure the availability of employable youth for Chinese companies setting up shop here. Currently, we are setting up one such facility at Gwadar.”
Commenting on the current slump in Chinese funding, the consul general mentioned multiple challenges that his home country is facing. “Taking care of I.4bn- strong population is not a mean challenge in itself, especially when the GDP growth rate has moderated to 6.1 per cent from over 8pc annual average. The global slowdown and trade frictions with the United States are there. The fear of a virus epidemic in a country of high population density has soaked up the government attention. In this environment, China can’t afford to be too generous. Like others, we also need to justify to our people the resources diverted to other countries.”
He said the next Joint Coordination Committee meeting is still on the agenda. “The tradition of top-level exchange of visits will be maintained this year. Such frequent bilateral visits will further promote and strengthen the existing relations and cooperation.”
Experts involved in CPEC-related affairs agree that sometimes China raises issues, but it would be wrong to interpret those as second thoughts on Pakistan. “The problem is on Pakistan’s side. The PTI leadership took long to absorb the value of Chinese support to the economy that is on a slippery slope. All members of the leading team might still not be fully convinced by the official line to make CPEC fly. This, however, has proven to be insufficient.
“The Khan government is still struggling to put in place a workable mechanism acceptable to all federating units for implementing the second phase of CPEC,” a well-connected source in Islamabad commented.
Several attempts to reach retired Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa, chairman of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority (CPECA), for his input did not succeed.
Zafar Hasan, federal secretary for planning, was upbeat about the future of CPEC. He confirmed that the incentives package for local and Chinese investors in SEZs was in the works in collaboration with Chinese counterparts.
He defended the newly established autonomous authority that he said would be sufficiently empowered and made financially independent to coordinate and streamline dealings with all relevant departments and ministries and lower tiers of the government in CPEC-related projects across Pakistan.
As for the past and present inflow of funds from China, Mr Hasan said working out the exact quantum was a little difficult and involved monetising goods and services associated with CPEC projects. He did not confirm or dismiss the projection of $1bn worth of support in 2020 mentioned by the Chinese consul general.
“The intent might be there but the pace of progress is woefully slow. It is almost criminal. The government must immediately remove irritants delaying the arrival of Chinese investment that might ease economic stress through job creation or the strengthening of social protection programmes,” commented a senior officer anonymously.
Published in Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly, February 10th, 2020
Source: Dawn “CPEC: The ball is in Pakistan’s court”
Note: This is DAWN’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
February 9, 2020 / 5:56 PM / Updated 15 hours ago
TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan’s air force scrambled on Sunday to intercept Chinese jets that flew around the island claimed by Beijing as its own, in a move denounced by Taiwan’s Defence Ministry as a threat to regional peace and stability.
China has been flying what it calls “island encirclement” drills on-off since 2016 when Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen first took office.
Beijing believes Tsai, who won re-election last month, wishes to push the island’s formal independence. She says Taiwan is an independent country called the Republic of China, its official name.
In a statement, Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said Chinese J-11 fighters and H-6 bombers flew into the Bashi Channel to the south of Taiwan, then out into the Pacific before heading back to base via the Miyako Strait, located between Japan’s islands of Miyako and Okinawa, to the northeast of Taiwan.
“During this period, the national military appropriately used air reconnaissance aircraft and air defense forces in accordance with combat readiness regulations,” it said.
The ministry provided a picture of a Taiwan air force F-16 shadowing one of the Chinese H-6 bombers.
“The Chinese Communist’s long-range far-out-at-sea missions have impacted regional security and stability and endanger the peace and welfare shared by all parties in the region,” the ministry said.
There was no immediate comment from China’s Defence Ministry. China has brushed off such drills in the past as nothing out of the ordinary.
Relations between Taipei and Beijing have further plummeted in the past few weeks following the outbreak of the new coronavirus in China, with Taiwan accusing China of preventing the island from accessing full information from the World Health Organization (WHO) or attending its meetings.
Taiwan is not a WHO member due to China’s objections, which says the island is merely a Chinese province whose interests in the health body are adequately represented by Beijing.
But in one small diplomatic breakthrough for Taiwan, the WHO said Taiwanese experts will participate this week in an on-line meeting of experts about the virus.
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said in a Sunday statement this was a “good start” and that they would strive to take part in more WHO events.
Taiwan’s WHO troubles last week became another flashpoint in Sino-U.S. ties, with the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva telling the agency to deal directly with Taiwan’s government, drawing a sharp rebuke from China.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard: Editing by Neil Fullick
Source; Reuters “Taiwan scrambles jets as Chinese air force flies round island”
Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
February 8, 2020 / 4:24 PM / Updated 20 hours ago
BEIJING (Reuters) – The Chinese city at the center of the coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 700 people across the country opened another makeshift hospital on Saturday, providing 1,500 beds, state media reported.
The first medical team has arrived at the Leishenshan hospital in Wuhan and patients will be admitted on Saturday, state-run CCTV reported. It said the hospital has 32 wards and a surgical operating room.
Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei province, has been converting buildings into hospitals to deal with the high number of patients that have contracted the coronavirus.
The city’s first makeshift hospital, Huoshenshan – built from scratch in just eight days – started to receive patients on Monday.
Hubei’s health commission said on Saturday that 699 people in the province have died from the disease and it was dealing with 24,953 cases of the virus.
Reporting by Tom Daly and Min Zhang: Editing by Neil Fullick
Source: Reuters “China’s Wuhan opens another makeshift hospital to fight virus”
Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
Western media are full of fake news about China. A typical example is their fake reports about debt trap concerning the lease of Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port, which China has not said much to refute as China focuses on doing its own jobs well and it was a business transaction between a Chinese company and some Sri Lankan companies instead of between governments.
Perhaps as China does not care much about refuting fake news, some Western media has become entirely blatant in making up fake news.
UK’s Star News claims in its report “Rumours swirl after President Xi Jinping disappears as coronavirus rapidly spreads” on February 6 that Chinese “President hasn’t been seen in public in several days and missed his regular media appearances” but Xi appeared on CCTV on February 5 in a footage about his meeting with visiting Cambodian Prime Minister (http://tv.cctv.com/2020/02/05/VIDEge94cLKcARoeizjw2i7w200205.shtml?spm=C31267.PFsKSaKh6QQC.S71105.4)
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Star Daily’s report, full text of which can be viewed at
On this topic we have National Interest’s article “China’s ‘Long March’ to a Credible Nuclear Attack Submarine” dated April 30, 2019 republished on January 30, 2020 and nti.org’s article “China Submarine Capabilities” dated October 9, 2019.
The latter lists its sources mostly earlier than end of 2017 except US Department of Defense’ 2019 annual report to Congress.
The former is based on articles in Chinese on December 2018 edition of Naval and Merchant Ships [舰船知识] in Chinese (NAMS).
Both are not reliable update sources, but as each and every maritime power, especially China, regards its submarine capabilities as its top secret, no reliable sources are available.
According to the latter, China has in service four Jin-class strategic nuclear submarines (SSBN) that can travel over 20 knots when submerged. Each of them is able to carry 12 JL-2 SLBMs with range not long enough to cover the entire United States if launched from Chinese coast. Two others have been built and are being outfitted in shipyard.
Construction of Type 096 SSBN armed with JL-3 SLBMs that cover the whole United States will will in early 2020s.
From the two articles, especially the former, we can see that China has build up its surface navy quite impressively but its nuclear attack submarines (SSN) do not satisfy its navy. It has only 6 of them, merely enough to escort China’s SSBNs and aircraft carriers An article in NAMS urges China to build 1.5 to 2 SSNs a year to satisfy the need.
China has 50 conventional submarines, 17 of which are air-independent propulsion (AIP) enabled. They will play a vital role in defending Chinese homeland but if China wants to have submarines for its blue-water navy, it needs SSNs instead of conventional ones.
There has been report that Chinese shipyard at Huludao has built facilities for building six nuclear submarines simultaneously. If so, China may build submarines on the same large scale as its building of surface warships.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on National Interest and nti.org’s articles, full text of which may respectively viewed at https://nationalinterest.org/feature/china’s-‘long-march’-credible-nuclear-attack-submarine-55137 and https://www.nti.org/analysis/articles/china-submarine-capabilities/.