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China Reform Monitor - No. 1034

People’s Daily issues claim on Okinawa;
DoD report highlights cybersecurity threat from China

Edited by Joshua Eisenman
May 22, 2013

May 5:

Japan, China, and South Korea have established a trilateral panel of high-ranking officials to address cross-border air pollution, including hazardous particulate matter measuring below 2.5 microns, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reports. The agreement was reached during a two-day meeting in Kitakyushu, Japan among Japanese Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara, his South Korean counterpart Yoon Seong Kyu, and Chinese vice minister for environmental protection Li Ganjie. Concern in Japan over air pollution originating in China spiked this year when harmful concentrations of PM2.5 air-borne pollution reached Japanese cities.

May 6:

The Pentagon’s annual report to Congress on China’s military has accused the Chinese government and military of launching cyber attacks on U.S. government computer systems and defense contractors. The report said China’s primary goal is stealing industrial technology, but that many intrusions were also looking for insights into the thinking of U.S. policymakers. It warned that China is “building a picture of U.S. defense networks, logistics, and related military capabilities that could be exploited during a crisis.” Recently China’s attacks have become much more sophisticated: “It is investing in electronic warfare capabilities in an effort to blind American satellites and other space assets, and hopes to use electronic and traditional weapons systems to gradually push the U.S. military presence into the mid-Pacific nearly 2,000 miles from China’s coast,” The New York Times reports. General Keith Alexander, commander of the U.S. military’s Cyber Command, told Congress the U.S. Army is creating more than a dozen offensive cyber-units that, if necessary, could mount attacks on foreign computer networks.

May 7:

Bank of China (BoC) has closed the account of North Korea’s Foreign Trade Bank and halted all transactions. The Foreign Trade Bank, Pyongyang’s biggest foreign exchange bank, was hit with U.S. sanctions in March after Washington accused it of helping finance Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program, Reuters reports. The DPRK’s Foreign Trade Bank does not have an account with either the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. or the China Construction Bank Corp.), Bloomberg reports.

May 8:

The People’s Daily, the Communist Party of China’s official newspaper, has published an article arguing that China has a claim to the Ryukyu Island chain, which includes Okinawa – home to major U.S. air force and marine bases and 1.3 million people. The Ryukyus were a “vassal state” that paid tribute to Chinese emperors until Japan annexed the islands in 1879, the article claims. “Unresolved problems relating to the Ryukyu Islands have reached the time for reconsideration,” it said, citing post-World War II declarations that required Japan to return Chinese territory. In response, Tokyo lodged a formal diplomatic protest with Beijing, Japan Today reports. China’s foreign ministry spokesman, in comments carried by the People’s Daily, replied that: “China does not accept Japan’s representations or protests.”

May 9:

Hundreds of migrant workers staged a rare protest in Beijing demanding an investigation into the mysterious death of a 22-year-old woman from Anhui who was found on May 3 after falling from the five-story Jingwen Commercial Building – a wholesale garment market in Fengtai district. Dozens of armed police with riot gear were sent to the scene to maintain order. Police said surveillance cameras recorded the woman, who worked in the market, entering the building alone on the night of May 2. Rumors spread on the Internet that she had been raped by six security guards from northern China before falling from the building. But the autopsy report showed no evidence to substantiate that charge, the South China Morning Post reports. Mainland censors removed reports and images, and banned searches for keywords such as “Jingwen.”

Related Categories: China; China and East Asia Program

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