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China Reform Monitor - No. 1244

More PLA generals targeted in anti-corruption campaign;
Xi welcomes Putin for G20 summit

Edited by Joshua Eisenman
October 6, 2016

September 1:

Xi Jinping’s campaign against senior figures in the military has continued full force. The latest to fall is Major General Zhang Ming, 59, the chief of staff of the Jinan Command before it was dissolved in January. Zhang resigned as a National People's Congress (NPC) delegate in early July after he was accused of violating party discipline and state law, 
said General Tian Xiusi, former political commissar for the PLA Air Force and General Wang Jianping, a deputy chief of the Joint Staff Department under the Central Military Commission, are also under investigation, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reports

[Editor’s Note: As part of the most extensive military reform since the foundation of the PRC, the seven military commands - Beijing, Shenyang, Lanzhou, Jinan, Nanjing, Chengdu and Guangzhou - have been replaced by five theatres - Central, North, South, East and West. The Xi administration has used the reform to reshuffle the PLA brass.]

September 2:

China is eyeing Uzbekistan’s gas reserves, which top 730 billion cubic meters,
 Izvestia reports. The Gazli field on the Turkmenistan border alone has gas reserves of 500 billion cubic meters and in December 2015 the China National Petroleum Corp. and the Uzbekneftegaz national holding company agreed to start construction on the Uzbek section of the Central Asia-China gas pipeline. That project, which was supposed to be completed by the summer of 2016, has been postponed for unknown reasons. The most optimistic scenario for starting construction is the end of this year. The Uzbek section of the pipeline will link up with the Tajikistan section, which is already under construction. 

September 4:

President Xi Jinping met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Hangzhou, China, for an “exchange in-depth views on international and regional issues of common concern,” 
the official Xinhua reports. Xi called on China and Russia to “deepen their comprehensive strategic partnership, maintain a unanimous voice, and jointly maintain global strategic security.” He stressed “the need for China and Russia to enhance all-round strategic cooperation in an even closer manner and firmly support each other's efforts on maintaining state sovereignty, security, and development interests.” Putin called for “the two countries maintain excellent communication and coordination in international affairs. The Russian side is willing to translate the two countries' political mutual trust into an even greater impetus for economic cooperation.”

[Editor’s Note: This was the second time Putin has visited China since June, when more than 30 bilateral deals were signed. The two countries increased cooperation after Moscow turned to China to cope with sanctions imposed after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea peninsula. China and Russia are planning a joint drill later this month in the South China Sea.] 

September 5:

China gave Russian President Vladimir Putin center stage at the G-20 summit in Hangzhou, 
SCMPreports. President Xi greeted Putin warmly and gave him a prominent spot in the front row for the photo of world leaders. Wang Xianju, of the State Council's Development Research Centre, said the two nations had used the G-20 summit to present a united front against the Western-oriented world order: "Russia is not happy about the current world order. China and Russia share more common interests or similar stances in a range of issues, such as in Syria, the South China Sea and THAAD [U.S. missile defense system in South Korea]." At last year's summit in Turkey, by contrast, Putin was snubbed by Western leaders over the Ukraine crisis.

September 13:

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is considering buying weapons from China and Russia and also ending joint patrols with U.S. forces in the South China Sea. Duterte said the Philippines would not participate in patrolling the South China Sea to avoid being involved in a “hostile act.” In a televised speech before military officers in Manila, Duterte said the two countries had agreed to give the Philippines a 25-year soft loan to buy military equipment. He said the country’s Defense Secretary and would visit China and Russia “and see what’s best.” The Philippines’ defense procurement budget climbed to $524 million this year, up more than 60 percent from 2015, 
Bloomberg reports
. In a separate statement, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said that defense relations with the U.S. remain “rock solid” and activities planned this year would continue without interruption.

Related Categories: China; China and East Asia Program

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