China air force says to continue with flight drills at sea: CCTV


SHANGHAI (Reuters) – The Chinese air force will keep conducting drills at sea regardless of whatever interference it may encounter, China’s state broadcaster reported, following reports that Chinese warplanes flew near Japan and Taiwan in recent days.

“The air force’s distant sea training has become normal, systemic and practical,” China Central Television quoted air force spokesman Shen Jinke late on Thursday as saying.

The operations “have faced and dealt with a variety of forms of interference and obstruction, but no matter the obstruction we will carry on just as in the past,” Shen said.

“No matter who shadows us we will fly often and frequently,” he said, adding that the flights were legal and reasonable.

The air force said on its microblog earlier this month its planes had recently flown through both the Miyako Strait – which lies between two southern Japanese islands – and the Bashi Channel that separates Taiwan and the Philippines.

China’s long-range flight drills at sea, which started three years ago, were not targeted at any specific country or region, Shen was quoted as saying.

But the flights have raised concern among China’s neighbors.

On Tuesday, Taiwan’s defense ministry responded to a series of recent flybys by Chinese fighter and reconnaissance aircraft, saying the self-governed island was prepared to defend itself against China.

Beijing claims Taiwan as a part of China and has never ruled out the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control, warning that any moves towards formal independence could prompt an armed response.

Japan’s air force regularly scrambles jets to monitor and chase away nearby Chinese military planes, fearing that China’s probing of its air defenses is part of a push to extend its military influence in the East China Sea and western Pacific, where Japan controls an island chain stretching 1,400 km (870 miles) south towards Taiwan.

Reporting by John Ruwitch; Editing by Michael Perry

Source: Reuters “China air force says to continue with flight drills at sea: CCTV”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

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Taiwan says Chinese aircraft flew near island in military exercise


TAIPEI (Reuters) – China flew several fighter and reconnaissance aircraft near Taiwan in a training exercise, the self-ruled island’s defense ministry said on Friday.

Despite decades of growing trade across the Taiwan Strait, China has never renounced the use of force, if necessary, to reclaim what it considers a breakaway province to which the defeated Nationalists fled after losing a civil war in 1949.

“We were in a position to monitor their movements from the beginning to the end,” defense ministry spokesman Chen Chung-chi said, describing what he called a routine exercise. “There’s nothing for our people to worry about.”

The ministry released two photographs, one showing a Chinese warplane as it flew near Taiwan on Thursday.

The Chinese government has not issued a statement on the exercise.

In a similar military exercise last week, China flew six warplanes over the Miyako Strait between Japan’s islands of Miyako and Okinawa to the northeast of Taiwan, which Taiwan’s defense ministry said it had also monitored.

Such exercises were legal and proper and Japan should “get used to it”, China’s defense ministry said at the time.

The flyover by the formation of Xian H-6 bombers was “unusual”, Japan’s defense ministry said in a statement, but added there had been no violation of the country’s airspace.

China’s navy and air force have held exercises in the Western Pacific in recent months, as they hone their ability to operate far from home shores.

Reporting by Faith Hung; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

Source: Reuters “Taiwan says Chinese aircraft flew near island in military exercise”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


China’s Official Media Advocates War if US Sends Warship to Taiwan


Reuters says in its report today titled “China upset about ‘negative’ Taiwan content in U.S. defense bill”, “China said on Monday it had lodged a stern complaint with the United States after the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of a big annual defense bill that would expand exchanges with self-ruled Taiwan.”

The defense bill Reuters refers to in its report is the United States’ National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which also proposes expanding training and exercises with Taiwan including what Reuters fails to mention in its report: NDAA provides that US warships may berth in Taiwan ports.

Global Times, a newspaper under Chinese Communist Party’s official mouthpiece People’s Daily is more bellicose in its editorial on that. It regards such move of US warships as US support for Taiwan independence that China can never allow.

Therefore, Global Times says that China shall announce that the US shall not cross that bottom line. If a US warship stays at a Taiwan port, China shall conduct military attack at the military facilities in that port. If Taiwan dares to conduct counterattack, PLA shall attack the Taiwan military that conducts the counterattack. If the US warship participates in Taiwan’s counterattack, China shall sink the warship.

The editorial says that China is making great efforts for its peaceful rise but shall be brave to fight. Only in that way can China’s economic and military strength be powerful deterrence to “Taiwan independence” forces inside and outside Taiwan.

Is that editorial mere bluffing? Global times is often used by Chinese authorities to show its stance that they do not want to uphold openly. China first of all wants win-win cooperation with the US but is also clear of the conflicts between the two powers. The most serious conflict is US support for Taiwan. China and the US are able to maintain good ties as the US has made clear that it opposes Taiwan independence.

However, a US warship in a Taiwan port even a short visit indicates US support for Taiwan independence.

Chinese people remember well the humiliation they suffer in nearly a century in the past when China was bullied by foreign powers. One of the worst humiliations was its loss to Japan in its first war with Japan resulting in its ceding of Taiwan to Japan.

It recovered Taiwan due to the victory of World War II. Will Chinese people allow China to be humiliated in losing Taiwan again? If Chinese Communist Party dare not fight, they will overthrow it.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report and Global Time’s editorial. I give summary translation of Global Times editorial. Full text of the editorial in Chinese can be viewed at http://mil.huanqiu.com/observation/2017-07/10989193.html while that of Reuters report can be viewed at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-usa-taiwan-idUSKBN1A20QA.


China says Taiwan remarks on dissident Liu ‘very dangerous’


Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen poses for photographs during an interview with Reuters at the Presidential Office in Taipei, Taiwan April 27, 2017.Tyrone Siu/Files

BEIJING (Reuters) – China accused Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen of aggravating tension across the Taiwan Strait on Friday, citing her comments following the death of Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo as an example of “repeated arbitrary attacks”.

Tsai said on Thursday that the self-ruled island hoped China could show self-confidence and promote political reform, after the dissident Liu died of cancer.

“Only through democracy, in which every Chinese person has freedom and respect, can China truly become a proud and important country,” she said.

Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, was quoted by the official Xinhua news agency as saying that such “reckless” comments were “very dangerous” for cross-strait relations.

Liu, who died aged 61, was sentenced to 11 years jail in 2009 for “inciting subversion of state power” after he helped write a petition known as “Charter 08” calling for sweeping political reforms.

Reiterating the Chinese government’s line, Ma said Liu was sentenced due to violating the law and that “China made all-out efforts to treat him humanely in accordance with the law”.

Beijing distrusts Tsai and her ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) because it traditionally advocates independence for Taiwan. Beijing says the island is part of China and has never renounced the use of force to bring it under its control.

Ma said Tsai and the DPP had “lifted the deceptive veil” of maintaining the status quo in cross-strait relations and that the repeated attacks were an attempt to pull ties back to “tensity and turbulence”.

“Such behavior is very dangerous,” he said, according to the Xinhua report, which was carried only in English.

China has bristled previously at Tsai’s comments on China’s political system.

In June, it issued an angry response when Tsai offered to help China transition to democracy while marking the 28th anniversary of 1989’s violent suppression of pro-democracy protests in and around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

Reporting by Philip Wen; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Ben Blanchard

Source: Reuters “China says Taiwan remarks on dissident Liu ‘very dangerous’”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Quiet success for China at G20 as Xi avoids drama and spotlight


FILE PHOTO – U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shake hands prior to a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Saul Loeb/ Pool/File Photo

By Ben Blanchard | BEIJING Mon Jul 10, 2017 | 9:23am EDT

From U.S. anger over inaction on North Korea to a festering border dispute with India and the ailing Chinese Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, last week’s G20 summit was strewn with minefields for China’s President Xi Jinping.

By chance or by strategy, Xi and his officials picked their way through unscathed.

Beijing is ultra-sensitive about Xi’s image and ensuring he gets the respect it sees as his due as leader of an emerging superpower, especially when traveling to Western countries where it cannot so tightly control the public narrative.

Diplomatic sources in Beijing, speaking ahead of Xi’s trip to the G20 gathering in the German city of Hamburg, said Chinese officials had in private expressed nervousness that he could be asked awkward questions about North Korea, or the cancer-struck Liu, jailed for 11 years in 2009 for “inciting subversion of state power”.

In the end it was U.S. President Donald Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, amid accusations Russia interfered in the U.S. election, and Trump’s refusal to return to the Paris climate agreement that dominated the limelight.

Xi, by contrast, avoided controversy in his bilateral meetings and reaffirmed China’s commitment to the Paris deal and to an open global economy, in what the official China Daily called the “burnishing of (his) reputation”.

“Nobody talked about the South China Sea. No one talked about trade. Everyone was happy with Xi. I think he played this well,” said Ulrich Speck, senior fellow at the Elcano Royal Institute in Brussels.

“All eyes were on Trump and Putin. But the fact that there was no U.S.-China clash was at least as important. Xi stayed out of the alpha-male fight. China presented itself as a partner to Europe.”

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Xi “made it clear that the G20 should adhere to taking the path of open development and mutual benefit leading to all-win results, support a multilateral trade mechanism, and promote international trade and investment”.

“China was in a good place at G20, with reasonable policies,” said Jin Canrong of the School of International Studies at the Renmin University of China, who has advised the government on diplomatic matters.

“So President Xi was comfortable and positive there.”

DON’T MENTION TAIWAN

Potentially the biggest test was Xi’s meeting with Trump, who in the run-up to Hamburg had voiced frustration over China’s inability to rein in its troublesome erstwhile ally, North Korea.

In the event, Trump returned to the conciliatory tone struck at their first meeting in April, telling the Chinese leader it was “an honor to have you as a friend” and he appreciated actions Xi had already taken to try to dissuade North Korea from pursuing nuclear weapons.

Influential Chinese state-run tabloid the Global Times said in an editorial on Monday that the Xi-Trump meeting had defied “the naysayers in the West”.

“Beijing and Washington saw friction on issues including Taiwan and the South China Sea ahead of the meeting, and there was speculation from Western public opinion that the China-U.S. ‘honeymoon’ had come to an end. But the Xi-Trump meeting repudiates such speculation,” the paper said.

Speaking to reporters later on Air Force One, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Trump-Xi meeting lasted more than an hour-and-a-half, and would have gone on longer had they not had to leave for other engagements.

Ruan Zongze, a former Chinese diplomat now with the China Institute of International Studies, a think-tank affiliated with the Foreign Ministry, said Xi was much more upbeat than when he spoke to Trump a few days ahead of G20 and mentioned certain unnamed “negative factors” in their relationship.

“Even on trade Trump underscored that he wants cooperation,” Ruan said.

China’s biggest concern had been U.S. policy toward self-ruled Taiwan, after the Trump administration approved a $1.42 billion arms package for Taiwan, claimed by China as its own.

Neither government mentioned Taiwan in their respective accounts of their G20 meeting.

Chinese officials were at pains to point out their good relations with the new administration in Washington.

Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao told reporters in Hamburg that the Chinese and U.S. teams dealing the bilateral financial relationship clearly understood that both would be hurt by fighting with each other.

“Our strength is communicating every morning and every evening. This is unprecedented,” Zhu said.

NO DRAMA, FOR NOW…

On India, where China has over the past few weeks accused New Delhi of provocation by sending troops across the border in a disputed region, Xi avoided drama by not having a formal bilateral meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, though India’s foreign ministry said they did speak.

Even on Liu Xiaobo, Xi avoided being put on the spot, with China on Saturday allowing a U.S. and German doctor to meet him at his hospital in northeastern China.

Still, the faultlines remain in the tricky China-United States relationship.

China may respond more assertively if, for example, more Chinese entities are sanctioned by the United States over North Korea or Trump raises barriers to Chinese goods as he has frequently threatened, said a senior Beijing-based Western diplomat.

“China has been restrained so far in reacting to Trump, but that is unlikely to last,” said the diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Things are gearing up to be a summer of drama between China and the United States.”

(Additional reporting by Gao Liangping in Beijing, Roberta Rampton in Washington and Noah Barkin in Hamburg; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Source: Reuters “Quiet success for China at G20 as Xi avoids drama and spotlight”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


China’s Xi urges Japan to put aside ‘distractions’ in relations


Chinese President Xi Jinping is seen during a working session at the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

Chinese President Xi Jinping urged Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday to put aside “distractions” that have strained bilateral ties and warned that China was unwilling to compromise on Taiwan, state news agency Xinhua said.

Relations have been complicated for decades by the legacy of Japan’s wartime aggression.

Self-ruled Taiwan, which is claimed by China and was governed by Japan from 1895-1945, is another sensitive issue, and a maritime territorial dispute over small islands in the East China Sea has deepened mutual suspicion in recent years.

Beijing complained to Tokyo in March after a Japanese minister visited Taiwan, and China has also told Japan not to get involved in the dispute over the South China Sea.

Meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in the German city of Hamburg, Xi told Abe the countries were important neighbors, and said the healthy development of relations was of importance to the rest of the world, Xinhua said.

Xi urged Japan to learn from history so as to have a “better future” in its ties with China, the report added.

“Noting that the China-Japan ties have been distracted by complicated factors despite some positive exchanges between the two sides, the Chinese leader said there is no room for compromise on the issues related to history and Taiwan, and Japan shall honor its words in these respects,” Xinhua said.

Adding to long-standing tensions, China said last month a Japanese citizen was being investigated for harming national security, following a similar case in May in which China said six Japanese were being questioned on suspicion of illegal activity.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Helen Popper)

Source: Reuters “China’s Xi urges Japan to put aside ‘distractions’ in relations”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


U.S. plans to sell Taiwan about $1.42 billion in arms


FILE PHOTO – A demonstrator holds flags of Taiwan and the United States in support of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen during an stop-over after her visit to Latin America in Burlingame, California, U.S., January 14, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

By David Brunnstrom and Arshad Mohammed | WASHINGTON Thu Jun 29, 2017 | 8:58pm EDT

The United States plans to sell Taiwan $1.42 billion in arms, the first such sale under the administration of Donald Trump and a move sure to anger China, whose help the president has been seeking to rein in North Korea.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters the administration had told Congress of the seven proposed sales on Thursday.

“It’s now valued about $1.42 billion,” she said.

The State Department said the package included technical support for early warning radar, high speed anti-radiation missiles, torpedoes and missile components.

Nauert said the sales showed U.S. “support for Taiwan’s ability to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability,” but there was no change to the United States’ long-standing “one China” policy, which recognizes Beijing and not Taipei.

The sale, which requires congressional approval, would be the first to Taiwan under Trump and the first since a $1.83 billion sale that former President Barack Obama announced in December 2015, to China’s dismay.

The previous package included two navy frigates in addition to anti-tank missiles and amphibious attack vehicles.

A State Department official said the latest package primarily represented “upgrades to existing defense capabilities aimed at converting current legacy systems from analog to digital.”

Taiwan’s defense ministry said the items would enhance its air and sea combat capability and early warning defenses.

“We will as soon as possible discuss with the United States the purchase, the duration, the amount and other details, and plan the follow-up budget,” the ministry said in a statement on Friday.

It said Taiwan and the United States would continue to consolidate their security partnership to contribute to long-term stability in the region.

STRONG SUPPORT

In a strong sign of congressional support, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee welcomed what he called the “long-overdue” arms sale.

“Sales of defensive weapons, based on Taiwan’s needs, are a key provision of our commitments as laid out by the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances,” said Rep. Ed Royce, referring to legislation and informal guidelines that steer U.S. relations with Taiwan.

U.S. officials said in March the administration was crafting a big arms sale to Taiwan, but such talk died down as Trump sought to persuade Beijing to do more to rein in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, an increasing threat to the United States.

Earlier on Thursday, China responded angrily and said it had protested to Washington after a U.S. Senate committee approved a bill calling for the resumption of port visits to Taiwan by the U.S. Navy for the first time since the United States adopted a one-China policy in 1979.

The bill also directs the Pentagon to help Taiwan develop an indigenous undersea warfare program and recommends strengthened strategic cooperation with Taipei.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said the bill was in violation of the principles of U.S.-China relations and called on Washington to halt military drills with and arms sales to Taiwan “to avoid further impairing broadly cooperative China-U.S. relations.”

U.S. officials told Reuters this week that Trump – who alarmed Beijing after assuming office by breaking with decades of precedent and talking to Taiwan’s president – was becoming increasingly frustrated with China over its inaction on North Korea and trade.

According to the officials, Trump is now considering trade actions against Beijing, despite having heaped praise on Chinese President Xi Jinping after an April summit.

Also on Thursday, Washington stepped up pressure on Beijing by imposing sanctions on two Chinese citizens and a shipping company for helping North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and accusing a Chinese bank of laundering money for Pyongyang.

China’s ambassador to Washington said the arms sales to Taiwan and sanctions against Chinese companies would hurt bilateral relations.

Ambassador Cui Tiankai, speaking to reporters at an embassy reception, said, “And all these actions, sanctions against Chinese companies and especially arms sales to Taiwan, will certainly undermine the mutual confidence between the two sides and runs counter to the spirit of the Mar-a-Lago summit.” Trump and President Xi Jinping met in Florida in April.

“We are against this kind of long-arm jurisdiction by the U.S. side,” Cui said.

Trump plans to meet Xi again on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Germany next week, U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told reporters

(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed, David Brunnstrom and Yeganeh Torbati; Additional reporting by J.R. Wu in TAIPEI; Editing by Richard Chang, Jonathan Oatis and Paul Tait)

Source: Reuters “U.S. plans to sell Taiwan about $1.42 billion in arms”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.