January 30, 2017

China (中国) Today

 

Events Review (23–29.01.2017)

China: Events Review for the previous week (16–22.01.2017): http://bintel.com.ua/en/article/obzor_sobytij_vokrug_knr_1_17/

Politics

The PRC's leadership demonstrates a strong position to defend China's interests in relations with the United States.

January 27, 2017, the official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China Hua Chunying called on the United States to be careful in its statements and actions on the issue of the South China Sea. According to her, the USA is not a party to the territorial conflicts in the region, while China has indisputable sovereignty over the so-called disputed islands and the adjacent waters. At the same time, Hua Chunying said that China is determined to defend its maritime rights. She reiterated Beijing's position in support of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, as well as its commitment to a peaceful solution of the existing problems through negotiations with the countries directly involved.

Hua Chunying's statement was the Chinese Foreign Ministry's response to the statements of the official representative of the White House S. Spicer and the candidate for the post of US Secretary of State R. Tillerson about “the disputed islands being in international waters and not in the ownership of China” as well as Washington's intentions “to defend international territories from being taken over by one country”.


The Paracel and Spratly Islands — the Global Apple of Discord

Against this background, the PRC Central Military Council (the supreme body of the command of the China's Armed Forces) has issued a comment regarding the “high likelihood of an armed conflict in the South China and the East China Seas”. In this regard, concern is expressed about “the USA's actions to enhance the US military presence in Europe”.

In turn, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China's newspaper “People's Daily” has published the Chinese Navy's plans to “continue to maneuver off the coasts of the country, despite Washington's threat to block its access to the disputed islands, where the Chinese bases are located”.

At the same time, January 24, 2017, at the reception on the occasion of the upcoming Chinese New Year, the PRC's Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that China was ready to conduct a dialogue with the new US administration and to develop bilateral relations based on respect for the principle of “one China” and respect for the national interests of both countries.

The trend of the USA-China's relations getting more complicated after D. Trump's having been elected President of the USA is being used by Russia to counterbalance the United States by strengthening relations with China. According to the Russian Foreign Minister S. Lavrov's statement during a “government hour” (hearings) in the State Duma of the Russian Federation on January 25 this year, “...To date, the relationship between Russia and China is an exemplary strategic partnership”.

January 23, 2017, at the meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, it was decided to establish a Central Commission for integrated military and civilian development, headed by President Xi Jinping. The new Commission is a decision-making structure and coordinates actions for integrated civil-military development at the central level, exercising the unified control of the work in this sphere and is responsible to the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.

 

The Economy

The results of China's economic development in 2016 confirm the leading role of China in the processes of the world economic globalization. In particular, according to the Ministry of Commerce of the PRC, last year China's trade with the 19 countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) amounted to about 53 billion US dollars, which is 4.5 % more than in the same period of the previous year. At this, Chinese investments into the economy of the CEE countries amounted to 8 billion US dollars. First of all, the funds were invested into their engineering and chemical industries, development of telecommunications and information technologies, agriculture, as well as scientific and technological research related to the development of new energy sources. In turn, the CEE countries' investments into various sectors of China's economy amounted to 1.2 billion US dollars.

Besides, China actively develops cooperation with other countries. For example, in 2017 China is expected to increase the volume of oil imports from Russia to 31 million tonnes. Currently, Russia is already the largest supplier of oil to China, and in 2016, by this indicator, it was ahead of Saudi Arabia. In the last year the volume of Russian oil exports to China increased by nearly 25 %, to 1.05 million barrels a day.

Besides, in January 2017 the Chinese company “China Railway Construction Corporation Limited” (CRCC) won the tender for the construction of three subway stations of the third interchange circuit in Moscow. The Chinese company has offered to perform the work for 22.98 billion rubles. Performance time — up to December 2019. (CRCC is the second-largest public construction company in the PRC after the “China Railway Engineering Corporation”. The company constructs railway infrastructure objects, highways, airports and sea ports).

In turn, January 23, 2017, Chinese Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng and Financial Secretary (Finance Minister) of the Philippines Carlos Dominguez signed a “Plan of Economic Cooperation for the years 2017–2022”. The Plan provides for the implementation of joint projects in the spheres of construction of infrastructure and highways, transport and information technologies. As part of the Plan, the volumes of mutual investments of the parties are determined to be 3.7 billion US dollars.

The expansion of China's foreign economic relations contributes to the economic growth of the country, and to the increase in incomes of Chinese enterprises. According to the State Statistical Bureau of China, in 2016 China's large enterprises' revenues increased by 8.5 % — to 6.88 trillion Yuans (about 1 trillion US dollars). A similar trend is observed in the manufacturing. In general, their businesses' incomes have increased by 12.3 %. Besides, the revenues of extractive industries and of the companies engaged in the production and supply of electricity, heat and gas, have become lower.

The consequence of the positive trend in the development of China's economy has been the improvement of the socio-economic situation in the country. In particular, according to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of China, in 2016 the level of the registered unemployment in the country was 4.02 %, which is lower than the official forecast (4.5 %). In 2016, China created 13.14 million new jobs for urban residents.

According to the forecast of the international rating agency “Standard & Poor's Global Ratings” (S&P), within the next three years: China's economic growth will be 5.5 % annually; inflation — 2–3 %; unemployment rate — 4.1 %. At the same time, January 26, 2017, the S&P downgraded the sovereign credit rating of China to 'AA-', due to the problems in China's public financing system.

 

Security and Law Enforcement Agencies

Within the framework of strengthening the defense sphere of the PRC, the leadership of the country pays special attention to the development and introduction of new strategic nuclear missile systems. Thus, in the nearest future it is planned to deploy three Missile Brigades, armed with new ICBMs “Dongfeng–41” (DF–41, solid-fueled mobile ICBMs with a maximum range of up to 14 thousand km; equipped with warheads, dividing into 10-12 sub-munitions of individual guidance). According to several media (including the Chinese state ones), the first of these Brigades will be deployed near Xinyang (Henan Province), the second — in the city of Daqing (Heilongjiang Province, on the border with Russia), the third — in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous area. Later, the Chinese authorities denied the reports on the plans to deploy new ICBMs near the border with Russia. However, media reports on the issue provoked a mixed reaction in Russia.

For example, commenting on the situation, the RF President's Press Secretary D. Peskov pointed out the partnership relations between Russia and China, and stressed the absence of threats to Russia from China's military component. For its part, the First Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council's Committee on Defense and Security F. Klintsevich pointed out that it is necessary to strengthen the defense system of the Russian Federation in the Far East — in case of Chinese ICBMs' emergence near the Russian border.

Three brigades will be deployed in the Henan, Heilongjiang Provinces and in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous area
Three brigades will be deployed in the Henan, Heilongjiang Provinces and in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous area
The DF-41 would allow China to deliver up to 10 nuclear warheads 12 000 km away using a single missile
The DF-41 would allow China to deliver up to 10 nuclear warheads 12 000 km away using a single missile

Besides, China is developing military-technical cooperation with other countries. In particular, in 2017 it is going to supply the first submarine of the Chinese production S26T to Thailand. Two more boats of the project will be delivered within the next few years. The project of the submarine S26T is the export version of the diesel submarine of the projects “Type 39”/“Type 41”. The sum of the deal between China and Thailand is about 1 billion US dollars for 3 submarines. (Today the Navy of Thailand does not have submarines).

In turn, January 26, 2017, China banned the export to North Korea of dual-use products and technologies, which, in particular, can be used to create weapons of mass destruction: nuclear, biological and chemical. The list of prohibited goods for export also includes software that could be used to build missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles, metals to create multi-layer plates, high-speed video cameras, various telecommunication devices, lasers, sensors, avionics and equipment for air navigation.

 

Science & Technologies

The Chinese government is taking measures for active exploration of outer space. January 23, 2017, China officially introduced a new Earth observation satellite “Gaofen-3” with Synthetic Aperture Radar of high resolution. The satellite was launched on 10 August 2016 by the carrier rocket “Long March-4C” from Taiyuan (Shanxi Province). During the 5 months in the orbit, there were tests of different systems of the satellite, the results of which showed its high working capacity in normal mode.

”Gaofen-3” is the first Chinese satellite with the high-resolution radar, the accuracy of which is up to 1 m. The satellite is capable of doing large-scale photographs of the Earth's surface and can photograph in detail certain areas for 24 hours a day in all weather conditions.

At the same time, China continues cooperation with Russia in the space sphere. In particular, it is planned to conduct joint work on testing the “Beidou” and GLONASS navigation systems along the route of the “Economic Belt of the Silk Road”. In Russia, the experiment will be conducted using a mobile measuring and diagnostic laboratory developed in the information-analytical center of the coordinate-time and navigation support of the Central Research Institute of Mechanical Engineering. Chinese experts will carry out a similar experiment in China. The information obtained will allow to estimate the suitability of the road transport network and related infrastructure to increase traffic.

China's leadership also enhances the control over the activities of the national computer space. According to China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technologies of January 23, 2017, from now on all providers of special services of cable Internet connection and the VPN, need to get a special permission from the authorities.

According to China's Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), at the end of 2016, the number of Internet users in China reached 731 million people. The coverage rate was 53.2 %, which is 3.1 % more than average in the world. In 2016 the number of Internet users in China through a mobile phone increased by 31.2 % and amounted to 695 million people, or 95.1 % of total Internet users.

In turn, today in China are blocked 135 of 1000 world's most popular sites, including the “Google”, “YouTube”, social networks “Twitter”, “Facebook”. Since 2009, China has been using a powerful Internet filter called “Great Firewall of China”.