February 6, 2017

China (中国) Today

 

Events Review (30.01–05.02.2017)

China: Events Review for the previous week 23–29.01.2017: http://bintel.com.ua/en/article/obzor_sobytij_vokrug_knr_2_17/

 

 

Politics

Phone negotiations of the Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi and US President’s National Security Advisor Michael Flynn
Phone negotiations of the Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi and US President’s National Security Advisor Michael Flynn

Realizing the importance of constructive cooperation between the USA and China, the leaderships of these countries tend not to complicate their relations.

Thus, on the initiative of the US side, on 3 February 2017 there were telephone talks of National Security Advisor to the US President Michael Flynn with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi. During the negotiations, they reached an agreement that the US and China have common interests and a significant potential for deepening their relations. It was also hoped that the problems in bilateral relations would be addressed through more active high-level contacts.

On the same day, in an interview with the Xinhua News Agency, candidate for the post of US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad (former Iowa governor) said that the United States would continue to actively develop cooperation with China in trade and economic sphere. He promised to use for this “all his years-long experience of friendship with China”.

T. Branstad has been personally acquainted with the leader of China, Xi Jinping for years and considers him a friend. Choosing T. Branstad as US Ambassador to China has been well received in the Chinese Foreign Ministry, which pointed out his “long-standing friendship attitude to the Chinese People's Republic”. In late February — early March 2017 International Committee of the US Senate must approve the appointment of T. Branstad to the post of US Ambassador to China.

Lu Kang stressed the Diaoyu islands and its adjacent islets have been an inherent part of the Chinese territory since the ancient times
Lu Kang stressed the Diaoyu islands and its adjacent islets have been an inherent part of the Chinese territory since the ancient times

It must be noted that in the relations between the USA and China there are still some significant problems. For example, they have different approaches to whom the disputed islands in the South China and East China Seas belong. Beijing also reacts negatively to strengthening the US military presence in the Western Pacific. In particular, on 3 February 2017, at a press conference for the media, Spokesman of the PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lu Kang urged the USA not to question the Chinese rights to the Diaoyu archipelago, so as not to escalate the tension around it. He criticized the USA-Japan Security Treaty, calling it a product of the “Cold War”. According to the Chinese diplomat, Washington and Tokyo should not use this Treaty to violate China's territorial sovereignty, legal rights and interests.

China stands firmly against the deployment of the US THAAD missile defense system to South Korea
China stands firmly against the deployment of the US THAAD Missile Defense System to South Korea

Lu Kang also condemned the USA's actions to deploy a THAAD Missile Defence System on the territory of South Korea, calling to stop this process. In China's view, the implementation of these plans will not reduce the nuclear missile threat from North Korea but will harm the strategic security interests of the regional countries, including China. The Foreign Ministry Spokesman's statement was a response to the visit of US Secretary of Defence J. Mattis to Tokyo and Seoul in early February this year. During the visit J. Mattis outlined Washington's position regarding the extension of the US-Japan agreement on the Diaoyu archipelago, confirmed the plans to deploy a missile defence system in South Korea this year (decision on the matter was taken in 2016 and provides for the deployment in South Korea of a system of high-altitude extra-atmospheric interception of medium-range missiles).

We should also point out that China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs continues to express concern about the US President Donald Trump's on enhancing the firmness of the United States' immigration policy. According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, the implementation of such intentions will erect additional obstacles in bilateral cooperation.

 

The Economy

Grain from Kazakhstan can be transported to China through Alashankou checkpoint and then via China-Pakistan economic corridor and through Pakistan’s Gwadar port to South Asian and African countries
Grain from Kazakhstan can be transported to China through Alashankou checkpoint and then via China-Pakistan economic corridor and through Pakistan’s Gwadar port to South Asian and African countries

The PRC's government continues the process of implementation of strategic projects to create the so-called “Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road”. According to estimates of Russia-Central Asia Research Center of Fudan University, it is important that within the framework of these projects China has participated in the modernization of agriculture in Central Asia. This refers, above all, to the development of arable lands in the region.

According to the Center, today the resource of arable lands in Central Asia is 38 million hectares, of which the share of Kazakhstan is 28 million hectares (about 74 %). But if China is involved in the implementation of agricultural programs in the region, the total area of arable lands will increase to 60 million hectares, and the annual grain harvest will amount to 225 million tons. In this case, the potential volume of the grain export will reach 160 million tons.

The Center's experts believe that grain from Kazakhstan to China can be transported through the checkpoint Alashankou, and then — to the Pakistani port of Guard and farther on — to South Asia and Africa, where there is a food shortage. The created “grain corridor” will also contribute to both covering the grain deficit in China and the development of cooperation in the field of production capacities between China and Central Asian countries. China will help the region's countries increase grain harvest, but for this, it is necessary to organize a more rational use of water resources and to allocate significant resources for the implementation of water-saving technologies.

Shale gas production on the south of Sichuan Province to be increased to 10 billion cubic meters annually
Shale gas production in the south of Sichuan Province to be increased to 10 billion cubic meters per year

At the same time, the Chinese leadership is trying to reduce the country's dependence on imported energy. By 2020, China National Petroleum Corporation plans to increase production volumes of shale gas in the south of Sichuan Province to 10 billion cubic meters per year. To this end, construction of new production facilities in Sichuan is planned to start this year.

During the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), in Sichuan it is planned to drill 600 new wells, 100 of which will appear later this year. Also in 2017, Chine plans to build 19 drilling rigs, which will increase the volume of gas production by 1.5 billion cubic meters.

An exemplary zone for the production of shale gas has been created in Sichuan Province, where they have laid 220 kilometers-long pipelines, commissioned 120 wells, the annual production of which is 2.5 billion cubic meters.

Besides, the transport infrastructure of China is being actively developed. In July this year at the aircraft plant in Tianjin they plan to start assembling the first Airbus A320neo aircraft, and in September it will be handed over to the customer. From 2017, they are going to organize assembling of 4 aircraft of this type monthly.

The plant, built in 2007 in Tianjin as a joint enterprise with the Airbus Corporation participating, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) and the Tianjin Free Trade Zone, since 2008 has assembled more than 300 A320s.

 

Security and Law Enforcement Agencies

According to the Chinese media reports, China is implementing a large-scale, calculated up to 2049, program of reforming the country's Armed Forces (the People's Liberation Army (PLA). The main goal is to supply the Armed Forces with new, using information technology opportunities for successful actions in modern conflicts. Based on this, the focus of the modernization of the PLA at the moment is informatization and computerization of the Armed Forces, strengthening their combat capabilities by improving the interaction of forces in joint operations. As a result of the reform, China's Armed Forces will be able to carry out effective nuclear deterrence successfully act in the current high-tech wars, as well as to carry out peacekeeping and counterterrorism operations. At this, taking into consideration the low probability of a global nuclear war, they are being prepared to participate primarily in local wars.

Therefore, there is an active work on creating highly mobile forces for operations in local conflicts on the borders of the country, and for helping Police.

In general, China's Military Doctrine is first of all defensive. It is believed that the main threats in the sphere of military security are possible as a result of separatist forces' encroachment on the sovereignty of the country, acting under the slogans of independence of Taiwan, East Turkestan and Tibet.

Simultaneously, sufficient attention is paid to building up the US military presence in the Asia-Pacific region. Therefore, preventive measures are taken to strengthen the PLA groups (especially the Air Force and Navy) in the South of the country.

 

Science and Technologies

China plans to carry out two missions to Mars
China plans to carry out two missions to Mars

With the appropriate development of its scientific and technological potential, China is doing its best to take leading positions in the world in the development of space technology.

In 2020, China is going to launch from the Wenchang cosmodrome (Hainan Province) (with the help of “Chang Zheng-5” /“Long March-5”/ launch vehicle) China's first explorer to study the Mars. Another explorer will be launched to explore the geophysical conditions on the Mars, as well as to deliver to the Earth samples of Martian soil (the date of launching has not been determined yet).

 

Other events

March 3, 2017, in Beijing will open the 5th Session of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Council (CPPCC) of the 12th convocation, and March 5, 2017 — the 5th Session of the National People's Congress (NPC) of the 12th convocation. They will discuss strategic issues of China's development, including the country's role and place in the processes of world globalization.