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China Reform Monitor - No. 1238

In a rare move, India expels three Chinese journalists;
ASEAN remains gridlocked after UNCLOS Tribunal

Edited by Joshua Eisenman
August 31, 2016

July 25:

Three journalists—including Wu Qiang and Lu Tang, the heads of Xinhua's bureaus in Delhi and Mumbai, and She Yonggang, a reporter in the Mumbai bureau—have been expelled from India, 
The Hindu reports. The Xinhua reporters were intercepted by police while traveling to Bengaluru under assumed names to meet with members of the local Tibetan community. An anonymous “associate of one of the reporters” said that they were unaware that there was any issue with “the areas they visited” or the “people they met,” and said that many Chinese adopt local names when working abroad because they are easier to pronounce. The expulsion was denounced by China's official Global Times.
August 4:

China's deputy Foreign Minister Zhang Ming paid a three-day state visit to Ankara, the Turkish capital, to express goodwill and hold meetings with Turkey's top government officials,
 the Yeni Safak, a Turkish pro-government newspaper, reports. The Turkish Foreign Ministry stated that Zhang “is paying an official visit to Turkey to convey the Chinese government's support to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, two weeks after the failed coup attempt.” Zhang also met with Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Energy and Natural Sources Minister Berat Albayrak.

August 6:

For the first time after a UN tribunal declared Beijing's claim over the disputed waters in the South China Sea (SCS) illegal, India criticized China position in its a sovereignty dispute with the Philippines. On July 26, Foreign Minister V.K. Singh told the East Asia Summit in Vientiane, Laos: "India has noted the award of the arbitral tribunal constituted under Annex VII of the 1982 UNCLOS in the matter concerning the Philippines and China. As a state party to UNCLOS, India urges all parties to show utmost respect for the UNCLOS, which establishes the international legal order of the seas and oceans." Indian officials insist that the tribunal's verdict makes the SCS issue more than a "bilateral" dispute between China and the Philippines, and that by not accepting the tribunal's verdict, China is violating UNCLOS and setting a dangerous precedent. Beijing responds that by referring to the dispute Singh's comments constitute interference in a bilateral spat between Beijing and Manila, 
The Telegraph reports.

[Editor's note: Singh had delivered a near-identical jab at China the previous day when meeting the foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which includes Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. The East Asia Summit consists of the 10 ASEAN nations and India, China, Japan, the US, Russia, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.]

China avoided an embarrassing condemnation from the ASEAN last week in Vientiane. Amid pressure from China and its supporters, the foreign ministers' final "chairman's statement” at the East Asia Summit skipped any mention of the aforementioned UN tribunal's verdict. Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines and Japan - six members of the East Asia Summit - are battling China diplomatically over its SCS claims. But Beijing's supporters – Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar – are unwilling to confront China, 
The Telegraph reports

August 11:

Chinese-built railway lines in African countries are a model of China-Africa cooperation, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during his visit to Kenya. Wang cited the Nairobi-Mombasa railway line as an example after talks with his Kenyan counterpart Amina Mohamed and a meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta. The railway line, funded by China and being built by a Chinese company, will run from Port Mombasa to Nairobi, and a new deal will now extend it to Kenya's western border. Construction is being carried out in line with Chinese standards with Chinese equipment. "Once completed next year, it will be one of the railway lines with the highest standard, quality and cost effectiveness in Africa," Wang said. The line's construction has contributed about 1.5 percent of Kenya's GDP, created more than 40,000 local jobs, and provided skill training for 20,000 local employees, the official China Daily reports. Wang said the Chinese-built railway lines were operating in many African countries, including Nigeria, Angola and one linking Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with Djibouti.

Related Categories: China; China and East Asia Program

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