April 3, 2017

China (中国) Today

 

Events Review (27.03–02.04.2017)

China: Events Review 20.03–26.03.2017: http://bintel.com.ua/en/article/obzor_sobytij_vokrug_knr_7_17/

 

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

The leadership of the PRC consistently implements the strategic initiative “One Belt, One Road”. On the proposal of the State Committee for Development and Reform of China and the Center for the Study of Transnational Corporations of the Nankai University, on 25 March 2017, a Union of Zones of International Cooperation of the participants of this project was created. It is open to other countries that wish to participate in this initiative.

Trade between China, the EU and RussiaTrade between China, the EU and Russia

European experts believe that the PRC is interested in the development of the world system of trade and economic relations, considering it the basis of its strategic partnership with the West. According to the British Centre for European Reform, apart from deepening such economic cooperation, the partnership can create a counterweight to Russia, which is trying to undermine the foundations of the existing world order.

This conclusion follows can be drawn from both, the deep-seated common interests of the USA, EU and PRC, and the contradictions between Russia and China (although Moscow is constantly trying to impose on Beijing so-called allied relations). In particular, the volume of mutual trade between the USA and the EU with China significantly exceeds the trade turnover between Russia and the PRC, but still there is the territorial unsettledness on the Russian-Chinese border, and the RF itself develops military-technical cooperation with the PRC's regional rivals, for example, with India.

Under such circumstances, in fact, a proposal emerged to strengthen Russia's international isolation by creating more favorable conditions for China's cooperation with the West than with the Russian Federation.

 

Politics

In its foreign policy activities, China, while supporting the processes of world globalization, is trying to further strengthen its international positions. An example of such activity is its active participation within the framework of the project “One Belt, One Road”, as mentioned above.

March 27, 2017, in Beijing, President Xi Jinping had negotiations with Micronesia's President Peter Christian and with Prime Minister of Nepal Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda. The parties discussed issues of development of regional cooperation, including in the format of the Chinese initiative “One Belt, One Road”. Particular attention was paid to the prospects of creation of free trade zones between China and its regional partners.

Besides, on 30 March 2017, Xi Jinping met with Serbian President Tomislav Nicolic. Plans for the implementation of joint economic projects were discussed, in particular, the construction of infrastructure and production facilities. Following the discussion of these issues, China promised Serbia a loan of 14 million Euros.

With the President of Micronesia Peter Christian With the Prime Minister of Nepal Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda With the Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic
Meetings of the President Xi Jinping with the leaders of Micronesia, Nepal and Serbia

In turn, on 27 March 2017, Mr. Li Keqiang, Prime Minister of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, within the framework of his visit to the APR countries, met with Prime Minister of New Zealand Bill English. At the talks, the parties pointed out positive indicators of the implementation of the free trade agreement between China and New Zealand, which allows to increase their bilateral trade turnover. They also agreed that it is necessary to make regional and world trade more open to all countries. Li Keqiang pointed out the role of New Zealand in the process of China's accession to the WTO (New Zealand was the first member of this organization to have recognized the market nature of the Chinese economy).

 

At the same time, certain contradictions remain between the PRC and a number of countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

For example, on 27 March 2017, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China issued a special statement condemning the visit of the Senior Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan J. Akama to Taiwan (the highest representative of the Japanese government, who visited the island since 1972). Commenting on this visit, the Chinese Foreign Ministry stressed the principled nature of the Taiwan issue for China, which violates the political foundations of China-Japan relations. With this in mind, China's foreign policy agency called on Japan to refrain from provocations that harm the peaceful coexistence of both countries.

At the same time, on 29 March 2017, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC confirmed China's negative perception of the measures to deploy the US missile defense system THAAD on the territory of South Korea. According to the Foreign Ministry of China, such measures constitute a threat to China's security and undermine the principles of global and regional stability. Taking this into consideration, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC called on the United States and South Korea to refrain from such steps and not to violate the balance of power in the APR.

 

Economy

Made in China 2025Made in China 2025

One of the main activities of the government of China in ensuring sustainable economic development of the country is supporting the national producer. For example, the State Council of China decided to increase the amount of funds for the implementation of the program “Made in China 2025”. Such assistance will be provided, first of all, to enterprises of innovative and industrial sectors. In this regard, the People's Bank of China, the Ministry of Industry and other institutions have been tasked with developing a multilevel capital market, and accelerating the process of high-tech enterprises' entering the stock market. Measures are also are being taken to improve conditions for the Chinese business' external activity and attract foreign investments. Seven new free trade zones (FTZs) have been launched on the territory of China since April 1 of this year, including in Liaoning, Zhejiang, Henan, Hubei, Shaanxi and Sichuan provinces, as well as in the city of central subordination — Chongqing. Four FTZs pilot zones are already functioning in China today — in Shanghai, Tianjin and Guangdong and Fujian provinces.

 

In order to expand its opportunities to enter the world markets, the Chinese government actively supports infrastructure projects in other countries.

The development project in the port of Hambantota (Sri Lanka)The development project in the port of Hambantota
(Sri Lanka)

In particular, in March 2017, the governments of China and Sri Lanka agreed on the Chinese side's participation in investing into the development project in the port of Hambantota in the South of the island. A Chinese-Lancian industrial zone will be established around the port.

At the end of March this year, the Asian Bank for Infrastructure Investment controlled by the PRC, approved applications for new loans of 285 million US dollars to finance infrastructure development projects in Indonesia and Bangladesh. Within the framework of strengthening the positions of the PRC in Europe and, in particular, in the Balkan Peninsula, March 30, 2017, there began an implementation of the joint Serbian-Chinese project on the repair and reconstruction of the Rakovica-Resnik railway section in Serbia. The total cost of the project is 23.8 million Euros, which were allocated as a loan by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

As of April this year, a new sea transport corridor between China and Russia is planned to be put into operation. The final points of the route are the ports of Taicang in the Chinese province of Jiangsu and “Vostochnyi” in the Primorye Territory of the Russian Federation. A new transport corridor will reduce transport costs and increase the competitive ability of transportation.

China and Russia are also going to deepen cooperation in the development of the infrastructure of the Northern Sea Route. Arrangements on this issue were reached during the meeting of Chinese and Russian representatives on the sidelines of the International Arctic Forum on 29 March, 2017.

 

Security and Law Enforcement Agencies

Type 071 amphibious transport docks “Jinggang Shan” and “Kunlun Shan”Type 071 amphibious transport docks “Jinggang Shan” and “Kunlun Shan”

China's political and economic measures to realize its interests in the Asia-Pacific region are supported by its active military activities. At the end of March this year, a detachment of Navy warships of the PLA began a campaign to the South China Sea. The detachment consists of two type 071 amphibious transport docks “Jinggang Shan” and “Kunlun Shan” with helicopters and the newest Chinese air-cushioned landing crafts (LCAC) of the Mustang type. Each of these ships can carry up to 800 military servicemen with full equipment, 20 infantry fighting vehicles and 4 air-cushioned landing crafts.

Note that the PRC continues to develop military infrastructure on disputed islands. According to the report of the Center for Strategic and International Studies of the US “Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative”, China has almost built military facilities on disputed islands in the South China Sea. Air and sea bases, radar complexes, defensive positions for missile systems, as well as hangars for aviation (24 tactical aircraft for each island and additionally for four large airplanes including reconnaissance aircrafts, bombers and tankers on the island of the Fiery Cross Reef), have been built in the area of the Subi Reef, Mischief Reef and the Fiery Cross Reef of the Spratly Archipelago. Commenting on this topic, the Foreign Ministry of China pointed out that China has all the international rights to build defense infrastructure in its sovereign territories.

Subi Reef Mischief Reef Fiery Cross Reef
China's military facilities in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea

Let's also note that, taking into account similar positions of the PRC and Russia regarding USA's actions to deploy a missile defense system, this year both the countries are planning to hold the second missile defense exercise. The first of such Sino-Russian exercises “Aerospace Safety-2016” was held last May in Russia.

True, despite the mentioned contradictions in the Asia-Pacific region, China's leadership will continue active military cooperation with the United States of America. According to the official representative of the Ministry of Defense of the People's Republic of China Wu Qian at the press conference on 30 March 2017, the development of the so-called inter-Armies relations between the PRC and the USA suits the interests of both the countries and contributes to peace and stability not only in the Asia-Pacific region, but throughout the world. In 2017, such ties will be intensified, including high-level contacts, institutional dialogues, visits of warships and joint exercises and trainings.

Beijing pays special attention to the security of the “One Belt, One Road” route in the Central Asian region. This issue was discussed during the meetings of the member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Secretary of the Political and Legal Commission of the CPC Central Committee Meng Jianzhu and a member of the State Council of China, the Minister of Public Security of China Guo Shengkun with the Chairman of the National Security Committee of Kazakhstan K. Masimov on 27–28 March, 2017. The parties agreed to deepen cooperation between the two countries in the struggle against terrorism, organized crime and illegal activities in the cybernetic sphere.

 

Science and Technology

The leadership of the PRC continues to implement a large-scale space program. According to the Chinese Aerospace Science & Industry Corporation (CASIC), 156 small satellites for special communications will be put into orbit (at 1,000 km) within the next few years, which will ensure coverage of the whole world with broadband Internet access. The program will be implemented in three phases, namely: the launch of the first test satellite for technology testing — in 2018; the launch of four satellites to test the functioning and to create a small satellite grouping — by the end of 2020; beginning of the systematic work of all 156 satellites — by the end of 2025.

 

It should be noted that one of the important directions of the scientific and technical policy of the PRC is independent production of the main types of aircraft.

Commercial airliner COMAC C919 Large amphibious flying boat AVIC AG600
Commercial airliner COMAC C919 and large amphibious flying boat AVIC AG600

In March of this year, the expert commission of the People's Republic of China completed a comprehensive assessment of the first large passenger aircraft C919 designed and manufactured by China's Commercial Aircraft Corporation (COMAC, located in Shanghai). The aircraft is technically ready for flight tests.

The flight range of the aircraft is up to 4,075 km, and the number of passenger seats can vary from 150 and more — depending on the modification. The C919 is supposed to compete the Airbus A320 and the new generation of Boeing 737 aircraft, which currently dominate the market. By the end of 2016, COMAC received an order for more than 500 C919 from 20 companies.

According to the leadership of the Chinese state “China Aviation Industry Corporation” (AVIC), for May of this year is scheduled the first flight (from the land) of the new AG600 amphibian aircraft of its own design. It is the world's largest amphibious flying boat and is designed to fulfill a wide range of tasks, including extinguishing forest fires, rescuing from water, transporting goods, exploring the oceans, etc.

 

Scientific research vessel Tan Kah KeeScientific research vessel Tan Kah Kee

China is also one of the leading manufacturers of modern research vessels. March 28, 2017, the scientific research vessel Tan Kah Kee, built by Guangzhou Shipyard for Xiamen University, was commissioned. The vessel meets the highest world standards and will become the main Chinese scientific research ship for long-distance sea expeditions. The length of the ship is 78 m, the width is 16 m, displacement is 3450 tons, the maximum speed is 14 knots, and the cruising range is 10 thousand nautical miles. The scientific and technical personnel — 50 people. The vessel is equipped with an ultrasonic ocean exploration system. Today there are no more than twenty such ships in the world.

 

Development of Cooperation between China and Ukraine

According to experts, the intensification of work of the GUAM group (the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development), in particular, the plans to create a free trade zone within its framework, opens up positive prospects for deepening Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Azerbaijan's cooperation with the PRC within the framework of the Chinese initiative “One Belt, One Road”. For this purpose, the existing ties within the GUAM group can be used, as well as the experience of its members' bilateral cooperation with China. Thus, one of the promising projects involving Ukraine and China, may be the involvement of Chinese investors in the construction of the fourth Syrets-Pechersk line of the underground railway in Kyiv. According to the latest information, the Chinese consortium is ready to finance 85 % of the total cost of this project.