March 27, 2017

China (中国) Today

 

Events Review (20.03–26.03.2017)

China: Events Review 05.03–19.03.2017: http://bintel.com.ua/en/article/obzor_sobytij_vokrug_knr_6_17/

 

Major Events and Trends in the Development of the Situation around the PRC

The leadership of the PRC continues to adhere to the strategic course to strengthen the world and regional positions of its country by supporting the processes of globalization and building the so-called “New Silk Road”.

Boao Forum for Asia–2017Last week in Boao, China (Hainan Province), there was Boao Forum for Asia–2017 (BFA; was founded in 2001 as a non-profit non-governmental international organization, the main goal is to promote economic cooperation in Asia and provide intellectual support for sustainable growth of the regional economy). More than 1,800 representatives of countries from both the Asia-Pacific Region and other regions of the world participated in this event.

The theme of the forum was “The Future of Globalization and Free Trade”. Issues concerning the PRC's “The Belt and Road” (”The Economic Belt of the Silk Road” and the “The Marine Silk Road of the 21st Century”) were discussed. In his report at the forum, Vice Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, Zhang Gaoli, informed the audience that China would actively promote openness of the world economy. According to him, during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016–2020), the PRC will have imported foreign goods worth 8 trillion US dollars.

The Chinese leadership basically adheres to this strategic policy of the PRC in political, economic, security and other spheres.

 

The Politics

Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu paid an official visit to ChinaAs part of the development of cooperation between the PRC and partner countries on 19–22 March 2017, in Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. They discussed issues of deepening cooperation between the two countries in the innovation sphere, as well as plans for implementing joint projects in the context of the Chinese initiative “The Belt and Road”. They came to the conclusion that the parties reached the greatest effect in joint scientific and technical works, in the development of water resources, in agriculture and renewable energy, telecommunications and automotive industry, health care, education and cultural exchange. Besides, by the end of this year, it is expected that the talks on a free trade zone between the PRC and Israel will be completed. According to B. Netanyahu, in May this year at the international conference “The Belt and Road” Israel will fully join this program.

During the meeting of the leaders of the governments of the PRC and Israel, 25 agreements and contracts were concluded in the above-mentioned spheres for a total of 2 billion US dollars. The most important agreements were those on long-term cooperation of the parties, expansion of the aviation communication between the two countries, creation of joint research laboratories, temporary employment of Chinese workers in Israel.

The program of B. Netanyahu's visit to China included a joint Sino-Israeli business forum with participation of representatives of major companies and corporations of the two countries. In particular, China was represented by the leaders of Chinese corporations “Wanda”, “Alibaba”, “Wahaha”, “Lenovo” and “Baidu”, and Israel — by representatives of the banks “Leumi”, “Apoalim” and “Tnuva”, and by a number of large IT-companies and defense enterprises.

 

Visit of Li Keqiang to AustraliaMarch 22, 2017, the official visit of Premier of the State Council of China Li Keqiang to Australia and New Zealand (the first trip of the head of the PRC government to these countries for the last 11 years) began. During his meeting with Australian Prime Minister M. Turnbull, the implementation of the agreement on trade liberalization between the two countries, signed in December 2015, was discussed. The heads of the governments of the two countries stated that bilateral trade turnover had increased to about 105 billion US dollars per year (annually increasing by 9 %). At this, Li Keqiang and M. Turnbull agreed that the access of Australian goods to the Chinese market should expand. This is one of the main factors supporting the stable development of the Australian economy.

Taking into consideration the common interests of the PRC and Australia, the parties agreed on the establishment of three mechanisms for high-level dialogue between the two countries in the spheres of innovation, energy and security, and on creation of four platforms for cooperation in the areas of trade, development strategy, science and technology, regional cooperation. The sides spoke for further coordination of joint actions to support the globalization of the world economy and to fight against any restrictions and manifestations of protectionism in world trade.

During Li Keqiang's visit, there were held the following events: a Forum for Trade and Economic Cooperation (involving about 500 representatives of business circles of both countries); a Round Table of the Chief Executive Directors of the People's Republic of China and Australia in the field of trade and industry; the 2nd Australia-China State/Provincial Leaders Forum (representatives of the provinces of Jiangsu, Henan, Hubei, Guangdong, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Chongqing City and of all eight Australian states).

Separately, Li Keqiang met with Australian Governor-General P. Cosgrove, leader of the Australian Labor Party B. Shorten, Speaker of the Senate S. Parry and Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Australian Parliament S. Smith.

 

True, it is necessary to point out the persistence of contradictions between the PRC and APR countries in their competing for influence in the region, and also over the disputed islands in the South China and East China Seas. For example, on 23 March 2017, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China “expressed concern” about the commission of a new helicopter carrier “Kaga” into the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Forces.

In turn, the leadership of the Philippines protested against the PRC's preparation for the construction of environmental monitoring stations on six disputed islands in the South China Sea.

 

Economy

The political measures of the Chinese leadership to strengthen China's international positions are consistently supported by the government and business circles of China by increasing foreign investments. According to the report of the consulting company “Deloitte China”, despite the growing instability in the development of the world economy, in 2017 China plans to increase funding for projects that it implements jointly with other countries. The main priority will be given to deepening cooperation with participants of the Chinese initiative “The Belt and Road”, as well as investing in high-tech enterprises.

HUBCO Coal Power PlantThe PRC will also pay attention to other projects in the countries that it is interested in. In particular, on 21 March 2017, the construction of a coal power plant with the participation of the “China Power International Holding Limited” (CPIH) was started near Hub in the Pakistani province of Balochistan. The project is scheduled to be completed in August 2019. After commissioning, the plant will be able to produce 900 million kW/h of electricity annually.

Financial and economic cooperation between China and Russia is developing. Thus, on 22 March 2017, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) opened a Clearing Bank on operations in Yuan in the capital of the Russian Federation. And on 21 March, following negotiations between the acting head of the Atomic Energy Agency of the People's Republic of China, Wang Yiren and Director of the Rosatom’s International Activities Department N. Spassky, an agreement was reached to deepen cooperation between the parties in the field of peaceful use of nuclear energy. Among the promising projects were mentioned as follows: decommissioning of nuclear power plants; construction of reprocessing facilities for spent nuclear fuel, and development of fast neutron reactors.

 

In turn, one of the main areas of actions of the PRC government in the national economy remains the solution of the problems of the country's energy supply. For example, the development of shale gas deposits in Chinese territory continues. In March 2017, the volume of shale gas production at the largest in China Fuling gas field reached 16 million cubic meters per day.

Besides, China is actively supplying gas to the Central Asian countries. According to the Western Pipeline Company of the Chinese National Oil and Gas Corporation, as of March 15, 2017, the total volume of natural gas delivered to China by the Central Asia–China gas pipeline exceeded 170 billion cubic meters.

The Central Asia–China gas pipelineNote:

The Central Asia–China gas pipeline begins on the border of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, passes through the territory of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and crosses the Chinese border at the Khorgos checkpoint (Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region). Today there are three gas pipeline's branches: A, B and C, each of which is 1830 km in length.

 

Security and Law Enforcement Agencies

Modernizing the defense sphere of the PRC, its military and political leadership has consistently been implementing plans to improve the combat and numerical strength of the People's Liberation Army of China (PLA).

By the end of 2017, the number of the PLA Ground Forces will be reduced by approximately 200 thousand people. In particular, 5 out of 18 army corps will be cut down (including the 20th and 27th AK in the Central zone, the 14th AK in the Southern zone, the 16th AK in the North and the 47th AK in the West). At this, the released personnel is supposed to be sent to staff other types and branches of the Armed Forces, in particular, Missile Forces, Navy, Air Forces, and Marines. The Reduction of the Ground Forces will be compensated by new types of weapons and military equipment, improvement of command and control systems and communications, and upgrading the level of operational and combat training of the PLA.

In April 2017, it is planned to commission a new aircraft carrier of Chinese productionThe program of increasing the naval composition of the PLA's Navy will continue, in particular, due to the introducing into service of modern aircraft carriers. Thus, in April 2017, it is planned to commission a new aircraft carrier of Chinese production. According to Chinese experts, on the whole, in order to secure the PRC's interests in the Asia-Pacific region, the PLA Navy must have at least six aircraft carriers, that is three in the South China and three in the East China Seas. The main direction of further development of the aircraft carrier program of the PLA Navy will be creation of nuclear aircraft carriers.

Today, the PLA Navy's warships actively patrol the areas of the disputed islands. In particular, at present, in the East China Sea, three ships of the PRC Coast Guard are located near the Diaoyu Islands (Japanese name — Senkaku), disputable with Japan. Such patrol raids are conducted by China on a regular basis and are seen by it as the ships' being in Chinese territorial waters.

 

Science and Technology

According to the report of the Chinese Academy of Space Technology, in the middle of March 2017, Chinese high-sensitivity remote sensing satellites “Gaojing-1” transferred the first space images to the ground control station.

Satellite “Gaojing-1”Note:

Earth remote sensing satellites “Gaojing-1” were launched on December 28, 2016 from the Taiyuan cosmodrome (Shanxi province) with the help of the “Long March-2D” launch system. These satellites are capable of transmitting to the Earth an image with a resolution of up to 50 cm. By the end of 2017, it is planned to launch two more satellites of this type into the near-earth orbit.