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China Reform Monitor - No. 1281

S&ED scrapped and replaced at Xi-Trump summit;
In a first, Peking University to open school in Oxford

Edited by Joshua Eisenman
May 4, 2017

April 8:

During his meeting with President Donald Trump, President Xi Jinping proposed four parallel consultation mechanisms to replace the defunct Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED),
South China Morning Post (SCMP) reports. Vice-Premier Wang Yang and State Councillor Yang Jiechi will represent China at the new dialogues while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will lead the U.S. delegations. The new dialogues will cover all issues now included in the S&ED as well as cybersecurity. The announcement was made in similar fashion to the establishment of the S&ED at the first summit between Barack Obama and Hu Jintao in 2009. There are "sketchy details about how exactly these mechanisms will be different from the old ones," said Tao Wenzhao of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

April 9:

In June, Peking University (PKU) will start recruiting staff and students for its new British campus in Oxford,
the official China Daily reports. PKU signed a deal with the Open University in February to purchase the 15-acre campus for 8.8 million pounds ($10 million), making it the first Chinese university to establish a school in a foreign country. The school will enroll 100 international students when it opens in August 2018 to coincide with PKU’s 120th founding anniversary. Students will study for the first-year at the Oxford campus and the second year at the school's campus in Shenzhen. Students on the school's Shenzhen campus will be allowed to select elective courses on the Oxford campus.

April 10:

Beijing’s security services are offering rewards of up to 500,000 yuan ($72,400) for reports on foreign spies under new municipal regulations,
the official the Beijing Evening News reports. "Calls to report all criminal activities - including spying - is an obligation for all citizens. Beijing is the top choice for overseas spy agencies and other hostile forces to conduct activities of infiltration, subversion, division, destruction and information theft," the official Global Times reports. Residents can notify the authorities in person, via a hotline, or through the mail about any activity endangering national security or the theft of national secrets. The rewards vary depending on the significance of the intelligence, although unfounded reports would be tolerated as long as the informer was not deliberately giving false information or trying to harass someone. "The state security apparatus had decided to motivate the masses to gradually build up a steel Great Wall against spies and espionage," the official Beijing News reports. Critics say the new measures are part of a growing clampdown on civil rights and foreign NGOs. Apple Daily described the policy as "nothing more than intensifying white terror through huge rewards for members of the public." Shi Yinhong at Renmin University told the SCMP that "arresting foreign citizens on suspicion of espionage could harm China's diplomatic relations with other countries."

April 13:

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has canceled his planned Independence Day visit to Pag-asa Island in the South China Sea after speaking with officials in Beijing. "China said: 'what will happen if every head of state will go there to (assert their) claim?’ So because of our friendship with China… I will not go there to raise the Philippine flag," Duterte said, referring to China's promise to support the Philippines' development projects,
the Philippine Star reports.

[Editor’s Note: Duterte has promised to repair the runway on Pag-asa, which has about 180 inhabitants, and has also ordered the military to build structures on the nine Philippine-controlled islands in the South China Sea to make a "strong point." Aside from Pag-asa, the Philippines controls the Ayungin Shoal, Lawak Island, Parola Island, Patag Island, Kota Island, Rizal Reef, Likas Island and Panata Island. All are claimed by China.]

April 14:

Several mainland-based military experts have said that China may not be obliged under the 1961 mutual aid and cooperation treaty to defend North Korea if the U.S. attacks the country over its nuclear weapons program,
SCMP reports
. The treaty specifies that if one of the parties comes under armed attack, the other should provide immediate military assistance. But the treaty also says both nations should "safeguard peace and security," meaning North Korea's development of nuclear weapons in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty could be a breach. "It's hard to say how China would assist North Korea militarily in the case of war, since North Korea is developing nuclear weapons, an act that might have already breached the treaty between the two nations," said Li Jie in Beijing. Pyongyang's violation of the UN non-proliferation treaty was a "strong reason" for Beijing to choose not to help, said Ni Lexiong in Shanghai." "If military conflict did erupt, China could help Pyongyang with supplies such as food and weaponry, such as old tanks," said Zhou Chenming. 

Related Categories: China; China and East Asia Program

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