Tillerson ends China trip with warm words from President Xi


China’s President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with U.S. State of Secretary, Rex Tillerson at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, March 19, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

By Yeganeh Torbati and Michael Martina | BEIJING Sun Mar 19, 2017 | 2:14am EDT

With warm words from Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ended his first trip to Asia since taking office with an agreement to work together with China on North Korea and putting aside trickier issues.

China has been irritated at being repeatedly told by Washington to rein in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and the U.S. decision to base an advanced missile defense system in South Korea.

Beijing is also deeply suspicious of U.S. intentions toward self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as its own, with the Trump administration crafting a big new arms package for the island that is bound to anger China.

But meeting in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, those issues were brushed aside by Xi and Tillerson, at least in front of reporters, with Xi saying Tillerson had made a lot of efforts to achieve a smooth transition in a new era of relations.

“You said that China-U.S. relations can only be friendly. I express my appreciation for this,” Xi said.

Xi said he had communicated with President Donald Trump several times through telephone conversations and messages.

“We both believe that China-U.S. cooperation henceforth is the direction we are both striving for. We are both expecting a new era for constructive development,” Xi said.

“The joint interests of China and the United States far outweigh the differences, and cooperation is the only correct choice for us both,” Xi added, in comments carried by China’s Foreign Ministry.

China and the United States must strengthen coordination of hot regional issues, respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, and protect the broad stability of ties, Xi said.

Tillerson replied that Trump looks forward to enhancing understanding with China and the opportunity for a visit in the future.

Tillerson said Trump places a “very high value on the communications that have already occurred” between Xi and Trump.

“And he looks forward to enhancing that understanding in the opportunity for a visit in the future,” Tillerson said.

“We know that through further dialogue we will achieve a greater understanding that will lead to a strengthened, strengthening of the ties between China and the United States and set the tone for our future relationship of cooperation.”

Trump has so far been an unpredictable partner for China, attacking Beijing on issues ranging from trade to the South China Sea and in December by talking to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.

Before Tillerson arrived in Beijing on Saturday, Trump said North Korea was “behaving very badly” and accused China of doing little to resolve the crisis over the North’s weapons programs.

SOME PROGRESS

Speaking in Seoul on Friday, Tillerson issued the Trump administration’s starkest warning yet to North Korea, saying in Seoul that a military response would be “on the table” if Pyongyang took action to threaten South Korean and U.S. forces.

Still, China and the United States appeared to have made some progress or put aside differences on difficult issues, at least in advance of a planned summit between Xi and Trump.

Both Tillerson and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi struck a more conciliatory tone in their meeting, with Tillerson saying the United States and China would work together to get nuclear-armed North Korea take “a different course”.

Underscoring the tensions, North Korea conducted a test of a new high-thrust engine at its Tongchang-ri rocket launch station and leader Kim Jong Un said the successful test was “a new birth” of its rocket industry, Pyongyang’s official media said on Sunday.

North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests and a series of missile launches, in defiance of U.N. sanctions, and is believed by experts and government officials to be working to develop nuclear-warhead missiles that could reach the United States.

Washington wants China, the North’s neighbor and main trading partner, to use its influence to rein in the weapons programs.

China says it is committed to enforcing U.N. sanctions on North Korea, but all sides have a responsibility to lessen tensions and get back to the negotiating table.

Chinese official also repeatedly say they do not have the influence over North Korea that Washington and others believe, and express fears poverty-struck North Korea could collapse if it were cut off completely, pushing destabilizing waves of refugees into northeastern China.

(Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

Source: Reuters “Tillerson ends China trip with warm words from President Xi”

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, US to Achieve Win-win Cooperation


Secretary of State Rex Tillerson greets Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi at the State Department in Washington, U.S., February 28, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson greets Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi at the State Department in Washington, U.S., February 28, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

Reuters says in its report “U.S., China discuss ‘mutually beneficial’ economic relationship” on China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi’s US visit at US invitation that Yang met US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson yesterday and according to US State Department they discussed improving and maintaining “mutually beneficial economic relationship” between the two countries.

Obsessed with world hegemony, US media has long been demonizing China; therefore as always, China was attacked by both president candidates in US presidential elections to win votes. However, good relations with China are too important for the US. As a result, when elected, a US president maintains good relations with China in spite of his harsh rhetoric against China in his election campaign.

It is especially so for US new president Donald Trump as win-win cooperation with China is too important for him to realize his goal of bringing jobs back and making America great again. For Chinese President Xi Jinping, good relations with the US are indispensable for realization of his Chinese dream for recovery of China’s greatness.

There was a Foreign Affairs’ article titled “Good Foreign Policy Is Invisible: Why Boring Is Better” by James Goldgeier and Elizabeth N. Saunders that says, “The problem is that successful foreign policy is largely invisible. It often means paying up front for benefits that are hard to see until you lose them, or that will only be obvious when you really need them. Sometimes, successful foreign policy even means keeping real victories quiet.”

What do they mean? Successes in diplomacy are always visible only failures may be invisible if popular media refrain from mentioning them.

The best example is Obama’s failure to contain China by his pivot to Asia.

Obama has tried hard to exploit China’s disputes with its neighbors in the South China Sea to pit them against China. His efforts were plainly visible, but what has he got:

Most ASEAN countries have declared that they would not take side between the US and China.

The US seemed very successful in pitting the Philippines against China. It succeeded in making the Philippines seek and did get an arbitration award against China. However, it failed to scare China into accepting the award in spite of its deployment of two aircraft carrier battle groups to threaten China. China has built seven large artificial islands to defend its interests in the South China Sea due to Obama’s pivot to Asia. The three airfields on those islands can provide much greater fire power than that the US can provide with all its aircraft carriers. As a result, the US dare not attack China to enforce the arbitration award.

That was America’s invisible failure. It was invisible as media failed to draw people’s attention to it.

However, it is obvious as it has seriously upset the Philippines and proved US alliance with the Philippines was useful only to the US in containing China but useless for the Philippines in protecting Philippines’ interests.

Media has tried hard to cover Philippines’ frustration by ascribing Philippines’ 180 degree changes in diplomacy to Philippine new president’s personal factors.

That is why Obama’s failures, though obvious, are invisible.

Such failures are certainly boring for those who are fond of US successes and dislike US failures. Better ignore them.

Trump and Xi’s success in pursuing win-win cooperation between the US and China is obvious now as it is reported by such major world media as Reuters but a major part of the diplomacy seems invisible. That was the daughters diplomacy described by me in my previous posts.

To those who are fond of zero-sum results, the diplomacy is perhaps boring as there is no loser as both Trump and Xi won. It is a victory for Trump to get trade concessions from China and China’s cooperation in dealing with North Korea, but China does not lose in giving the concessions and conducting the cooperation as such concessions and cooperation benefit China.

Reuters says in its report, “China’s state news agency, Xinhua, quoted Yang as saying China was willing to work with Washington ‘to enhance exchanges on all levels from top down’ and to broaden communication and coordination on regional and global issues, while respecting ‘each other’s core interests and major concerns.’”

China has declared that its sovereignty and interests in the South China Sea are among its core interests. Tillerson’s friendly talks with Yang and refrain to repeat his harsh rhetoric about the South China Sea indicate China’s progress in making the US respect its core interests there.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters and Foreign Affairs’ articles, full text of which can respectively be viewed at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-china-idUSKBN167291 and https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2017-02-28/good-foreign-policy-invisible?cid=nlc-fatoday-20170228&sp_mid=53521600&sp_rid=a3l0cmFuc2xhdGVAZ21haWwuY29tS0&spMailingID=53521600&spUserID=MjUzMzc0NjM2MTc2S0&spJobID=1104630428&spReportId=MTEwNDYzMDQyOAS2.


Tillerson affirms importance of constructive U.S.-China ties


FILE PHOTO: Rex Tillerson, the former chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil, testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing to become U.S. Secretary of State on Capitol Hill in Washington January 11, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: Rex Tillerson, the former chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil, testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing to become U.S. Secretary of State on Capitol Hill in Washington January 11, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

By David Brunnstrom | WASHINGTON Tue Feb 21, 2017 | 8:14pm EST

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke by telephone with China’s top diplomat on Tuesday and affirmed the importance of a constructive U.S.-China relationship, and the two agreed on the need to address the threat posed by North Korea, the State Department said.

Tillerson and Yang Jiechi, China’s state councilor who outranks the foreign minister, also discussed economics and trade as well as potential cooperation on counterterrorism, law enforcement and transnational crime, the State Department said in a statement.

The call appeared to be the latest effort by the world’s two largest economies to put relations back on an even keel after a rocky start following U.S. President Donald Trump’s November election victory.

“Secretary Tillerson and State Councilor Yang affirmed the importance of a constructive bilateral relationship,” the U.S. statement said. “The two sides agreed on the need to address the threat that North Korea poses to regional stability.”

The call follows a meeting between China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Tillerson on Friday, their first face-to-face encounter since Tillerson began his job at the start of this month.

In that meeting, Wang stressed that common interests between China and the United States far outweigh their differences.

Trump angered Beijing in December by talking to the president of Taiwan and saying the United States did not have to stick to the “one China” policy, under which Washington acknowledges the Chinese position that there is only one China and Taiwan is part of it.

Trump also accused China of not doing enough to rein in its neighbor North Korea.

However, in a phone call with Chinese leader Xi Jinping last week, Trump agreed to honor the “one China” policy, a major diplomatic boost for Beijing, which brooks no criticism of its claim to self-ruled Taiwan.

“China hopes the two countries, following through on the spirit of the phone conversation, could uphold the principles of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation as well as enhance high-level exchanges,” Yang told Tillerson, according to China’s Xinhua news agency.

China’s readout of the call did not mention any specific issues, with Xinhua noting only that they also “exchanged some views on a number of international issues.”

On Saturday, China’s Commerce Ministry said it would ban all coal imports from North Korea until the end of this year after Pyongyang tested an intermediate-range ballistic missile in its first direct challenge to the international community since Trump took office.

China announced in April it would ban North Korean coal imports to comply with U.N. sanctions aimed at starving Pyongyang of funds for its nuclear and missile programs.

However, it made exceptions for deliveries intended for “the people’s wellbeing” and not connected to the weapons programs.

Other areas of disagreement between the United States and China include trade imbalances and China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.

(Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, Cynthia Oserman and Paul Tait)

Source: Reuters “Tillerson affirms importance of constructive U.S.-China ties”

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


The Conundrum of China-North Korea Relations


Steven Mnuchin pictured during this Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing on his nomination to be US Treasury secretary. Photo: Reuters

Steven Mnuchin pictured during this Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing on his nomination to be US Treasury secretary. Photo: Reuters

In history, Korea used to be very close to China and was often protected by China. China fought Japan to protect Korea in the first Sino-Japanese War and suffered great losses in 1895.

Later, it defeated the US to prevent North Korea from being annexed by South Korea. However, North Korea’s Kim Dynasty has not been grateful. It has kept on developing nuclear weapons that threaten not only South Korea and Japan but also China.

At the beginning of Kim Jong-un’s reign, China tried to make him learn from China’s success of reform and opening up but Kim would not listen. On the contrary, Kim has imposed even more stringent control both politically and economically while keeping on development of nuclear weapons in spite of China’s opposition.

China is upset and has begun to cooperate with the US in imposing sanctions on North Korea, but it cannot go too far as it has to take care of North Korean people that Chinese people regard as their kin.

Lots of North Koreans joined Chinese Communist Party’s troops in resisting Japan and fighting Chinese Civil War. During Mao’s famine lots of Chinese fled to North Korea for survival as at that time North Korea was quite prosperous with substantial Soviet aids.

Now, Kim Dynasty’s famine has forced lots of North Koreans to flee to China for survival. There is arrangement between China and North Korea for repatriating those North Korean refugees, but Chinese people do not want to send their North Korean kin back to be killed or persecuted cruelly by the Kim Dynasty.

As a result, China cannot impose UN sanctions stringently. It has to provide North Korea with food and daily necessities. In order to get paid for Chinese goods, China has to buy coal and other minerals from North Korea in spite of the sanctions.

Now, US new president Trump has said that he has made a long satisfactory friendly phone call to Chinese President Xi Jinping. Obviously, Trump has got what he wants from Beijing.

First, Trump complains that China manipulates its currency yuan to keep its exchange rate low, but now China is in fact manipulating yuan to prevent it from falling; therefore, as a matter of fact, that is not a problem.

Second, Xi must have promised to reduce the high import tariffs and the restriction of US investment in banking, insurance and other sectors. China promised to open those sectors when it joined WTO, but its state-owned enterprises in those sectors needed government protection with high tariffs and restriction of entry. Now, Xi Jinping has been carrying out a reform to open those state-monopolized sectors in order to introduce competition to improve the efficiency in those sectors. In addition, Chinese state-owned enterprises in those sectors have grown strong enough so that there is no need for state protection with high tariffs and entry restriction.

Third, as for Trump’s demand for better protection of intellectual property, China has grown past the stage of stealing foreign intellectual property and is now making great efforts to develop its own intellectual property. As a result, it has switched to stressing protection of China’s own fast-growing intellectual property. It now has to protect foreign intellectual property if it wants other countries to protect its own; therefore, that is not a problem for China either.

Relations between China and the US have indeed wormed up since the Trump-Xi phone call. There were first media reports that on February 17, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of G20 foreign minister meeting in Bonn. In its report “Rex Tillerson, Wang Yi in highest-level US-China meet under Donald Trump”, Firstpost quotes Mark Toner, acting US State Department spokesman, as saying, “Secretary Tillerson and Minister Wang noted the recent call between leaders and discussed efforts to advance bilateral cooperation while addressing differences in a constructive manner.” (Firstpost’s report can be viewed at http://www.firstpost.com/world/rex-tillerson-wang-yi-in-highest-level-us-china-meet-under-donald-trump-3288854.html.)

Then there is SCMP’s report today titled “New US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin makes phone calls to Chinese economic officials” on Mnuchin making separate calls to Liu He, the head of the office of the Central Leading Group on Financial and Economic Affairs; Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People’s Bank of China, and Finance Minister Xiao Jie.

SCMP quotes US Treasury Department’s statement as saying, “In each of these calls, Secretary Mnuchin underscored that he looked forward to fostering strong US-China engagement during his tenure. The secretary emphasised the importance of achieving a more balanced bilateral economic relationship going forward.” (SCMP’s report can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2072060/new-us-treasury-secretary-mnuchin-makes-phone-calls.)

Now, it seems North Korea remains the most tricky problem that Trump asks Xi to deal with.

Firstpost quotes Toner as saying, “Secretary Tillerson also highlighted the increasing threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and urged China to use all available tools to moderate North Korea’s destabilising behaviour.”

Obviously, in his phone call, Trump also asked Xi to help control North Korea. North Korea’s Kim Jong-un must be paying great attention to Trump’s China policies. He guesses that China has promised Trump something regarding North Korea. He knows well that China is not satisfied with his reign, especially his nuclear and missile tests and suspects China has a plan to bring about a regime change in his country that will benefit both the US and China.

For regime change, Kim Jong-un’s half-brother Kim Jong-nam is a precious asset for China. When China has conducted a coup or military attack to bring down Kim Jong-un, his half-brother will be his best replacement for a new regime in his country. After all, Kim Jong-nam is his father’s eldest son with the best qualification to succeed his father. That might be the reason why soon after the telephone call, Kim Jong-nam was assassinated.

That is a conundrum in China-North Korea relations. If China has indeed a regime-change plan, Kim Jong-nam must be China’s very valuable asset. Why China has not sent agents to protect him in secret or at least employed some bodyguards for him. Moreover, China must not attempt to conduct regime change in another country as it regards non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs as its key diplomatic principle.

I would rather believe Kim Jong-un assassinated his half-brother due to his paranoia, which at least shows that he lives in constant fear of his powerful neighbor China.

Knowing that, China began to pressure him. Reuters says in its report “China to suspend all imports of coal from North Korea” that according to Chinese Ministry of Commerce China will ban imports of coal from North Korea from Feb. 19 to Dec. 31.

Perhaps, China has threatened to impose other sanctions to force Kim Jong-un to yield to its pressure. That is why according to Reuters’ report “China sees chance of six-party talks with North Korea”, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Feb. 17 China has not given up hope for a new round of diplomacy with North Korea to prevent Pyongyang making further advances in its weapons program in violation of U.N. resolutions. (Reuters’ two reports can respectively be viewed at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-coal-northkorea-idUSKBN15X09M and http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-missiles-china-idUSKBN15W272.

Article by Chan Kai Yee.


China says common interests outweigh differences with U.S.


US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) and China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi take their seats before a meeting on the sidelines of a gathering of Foreign Ministers of the G20 leading and developing economies at the World Conference Center in Bonn, western Germany, February 17, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan Smialowski/Pool

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) and China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi take their seats before a meeting on the sidelines of a gathering of Foreign Ministers of the G20 leading and developing economies at the World Conference Center in Bonn, western Germany, February 17, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan Smialowski/Pool

The common interests between China and the United States far outweigh their differences, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi told U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday in their first face-to-face meeting since Tillerson took up his job.

U.S. President Donald Trump angered Beijing in December by talking to the president of Taiwan and saying the United States did not have to stick to the “one China” policy, under which Washington acknowledges the Chinese position that there is only one China and Taiwan is part of it.

In a phone call with Chinese leader Xi Jinping last week, Trump changed tack and agreed to honor the “one China” policy, a major diplomatic boost for Beijing, which brooks no criticism of its claim to self-ruled Taiwan.

However, several areas of disagreement between the two countries, such as currency, trade, the South China Sea and North Korea, were not mentioned in public statements on the telephone conversation.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry statement released after Wang met Tillerson on the sidelines of a meeting of foreign ministers of the G20 top economies in the German city of Bonn, made no specific mention of where the two disagree.

Wang said the Xi-Trump call was extremely important, and that the two countries should promote even better relations.

“China and the United States have joint responsibility to maintain global stability and promote global prosperity, and both sides’ joint interests are far greater than their differences,” the statement paraphrased Wang as saying.

The two countries should increase mutual trust, deepen cooperation and ensure that under Trump they make even greater contributions to global peace and prosperity, Wang added.

The two also had a “deep exchange of views” on the North Korean nuclear issue, the statement said, without giving details.

Tillerson on Friday urged China to do all it could to moderate North Korea’s destabilizing behavior after Sunday’s ballistic missile test by Pyongyang, Tillerson’s spokesman Mark Toner said after the Wang meeting.

(Reporting by Philip Wen, Ben Blanchard and Christian Shepherd; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Toby Chopra)

Source: Reuters “China says common interests outweigh differences with U.S.”

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


How Can US Block China’s Access when US Warships Are Driven Away


China's Liaoning aircraft carrier with accompanying fleet conducts a drill in an area of South China Sea, in this undated photo taken December, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer/File photo

China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier with accompanying fleet conducts a drill in an area of South China Sea, in this undated photo taken December, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer/File photo

There has been sensational news that U.S. President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state Rex Tillerson said China should be denied access to islands it has built in the contested South China Sea.

It is equally sensational that China Party paper says no ‘provocation’ can stop its military drills, which is the title of Reuters’ report today.

In its report Reuters says, “The People’s Daily said no amount of ‘word bombs’, such as Tillerson’s South China Sea remarks, could stop China’s military drills. ‘These provocations, pressure, fantasies and over-exaggerations will not prevent the normal drills of the Chinese military,’ ” let alone access to China’s artificial islands.

Both Tillerson’s remarks and People’s Daily’s statement smell gun powder, but readers can rest at ease as the actual confrontations in the sea have, instead, not given rise to any war as neither side want it.

The best proof is that according to a report by China’s northeast Dandong City’s news website in December, 2016, when its reporter visited Chinese frigate the Dandong, Luo Xiang, the commander of the warship, told the reporter that when the frigate conducted its patrol around China’s Nansha (the Spratly) islands in May 2015, it received order to drive away a US littoral combat ship (LCS) that entered China’s territorial waters.

When the frigate sailed near the US LCS, it told the LCS to leave Chinese waters in English but the LCS did not and, instead, sailed around Chinese territorial waters. In order to drive the LCS away, the frigate sailed at high speed directly towards the LCS. To avoid a crash, the LCS gave a signal of erroneous entry and left.

Later, the frigate joined other Chinese warships in driving away US destroyer the USS Lassen.

At the reporter’s question whether he was not afraid in the confrontations as the US warships were the most advanced in the world, Luo replied that they were not as they had their motherland behind them.

US warships are clever in avoiding fighting as they know they do not have geographical advantages in a war near China.

To win a war, one must have good timing, geographical advantages and people’s support. According to Chinese sage Mencius’ teaching, “Timing is not as good as geographical advantages; geographical advantages are not as good as people’s support.”

China has good timing as it has already built seven artificial islands in the South China Sea that a US admiral regards as China’s Great War of sand there.

China has geographical advantages as China can deploy more warplanes on its artificial islands than at lease six US aircraft carriers. Moreover, the area lies close to Chinese coast where there are lots of advanced warplanes much more than those all US aircraft carriers can carry. In addition, the carriers will be within the range of China’s lots of advanced land-based anti-ship ballistic and cruise missiles and air defense missiles.

The most important is that in the war Chinese people support Chinese military while American people do not want to fight a war far away from their homeland as the US will gain nothing but a long-term bitter enemy even if it wins the war but lose its world hegemony if it loses the war.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on mil.huanqiu.com’s report in Chinese “Official media reports that frigate the Dandong has directly dash towards a littoral combat ship in the South China Sea” and Reuters’ report “China party paper says no ‘provocation’ can stop its military drills”, full text of which can be found at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-defence-idUSKBN15602H.