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China Reform Monitor - No. 1299

The KMT changes tacks;
Beijing makes inroads in Riyadh

Edited by Joshua Eisenman
September 14, 2017

August 9:

Yan Xuetong, an influential scholar at Tsinghua University, has
published an editorial in the official Global Times warning of possible overstretch by the PRC. "At the global level, China cannot play the role of a superpower, as it goes beyond China's overall strength," Yan warns. "If China makes its foreign policy as if it were a global superpower, it will result in strategic precipitance."

"If China looks beyond its own neighborhood and puts its strategic resources into regions such as Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, it will only reap a limited harvest," he continues. "The US made too many international promises and invested too much in secondary regions, but it did not receive due returns. China, as the world's second largest economy, should not repeat such strategies. That a country's strategic objectives fit its national strength is the pillar of successful policymaking. A great power should rise steadily rather than at one go. The lesson of China's Great Leap Forward should long be remembered."

August 17:

China's official
Global Times has published editorials in both Chinese and English questioning the viability of the U.S. democratic political system. According to the Chinese version of the piece, "From the perspective of Chinese society, the US' current rift over values is very shocking. In recent days, many Chinese have seen American society's statue-smashing and the 'reactionary slogan written' on the Lincoln Memorial. They think this is somewhat like 'Destroy the Four Olds'. Some even say the US is waging a 'Cultural Revolution'. This is tongue-in-cheek ridicule, but it also reflects the 'abnormality' of the US today in the eyes of the Chinese. Today, the gradual changes in the global balance of power have eroded the overall confidence of American society." The English language editorial, meanwhile, notes that "The unrest in Charlottesville and Ferguson is the harvest of long-sowed hatred. America's political and social issues are so severe that they have impeded the government's operation and undermined its creditability. A solution must be found. However, given the grim reality, there are good reasons to believe the disorder shown in Charlottesville riots will last, and similar unrest and violence may come up again. It's a daunting task to fix the social divide in the US. Trump's presidency is neither a panacea nor a root cause for the problems. 'Make America great again' is likely to be a remote dream."

August 21:

During its 20th National Congress in Taichung, Taiwan, the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang, or KMT) inaugurated Wu Den-yih as its new Chairman. In his acceptance speech, Wu reiterated his opposition to Taiwan independence, and stressed the KMT's "one China, different interpretations" framework of the "1992 consensus." Former KMT chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu's proposal to seek a peace treaty with China as well as a pro-unification "one China, same interpretation" framework were removed from the party's platform,
Taipei's Central Daily News reports. "Wu Den-yih's cross-strait policy did not break new ground, but it at least explicitly recognized that the two sides of the strait belong to one China. He also agreed to discuss a 'cross-strait vision for peace.' The mainland has not been very satisfied, but it should at least be able to accept this."

August 26:

China will expand collaboration with Sudan in oil and gas exploration, agriculture, mining and port construction under the Belt and Road Initiative, Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli has told Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum. "China encourages its enterprises to invest in Sudan and the two sides should step up their efforts in promoting the project of the new Khartoum international airport," Zhang said in comments
carried by the official Xinhua news agency. China will support Sudan's efforts to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and will cooperate and coordinate with Sudan on major international and regional issues, he said.

August 27:

During his three day visit to Saudi Arabia, Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli signed 60 agreements and memoranda of understanding worth nearly $70 billion and proclaimed that bilateral relations between the two countries are entering "a new, more robust, sustainable, and fruitful era,"
according to Saudi Arabia's SPA news agency. Zhang met with Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Faleh to sign the deals, which covered investment, trade, energy, postal service, communications, and media, the official Xinhua news agency reports. Zhang also met with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and the new Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who is "in charge of Saudi foreign policy, security and the oil industry," the Diplomat reports
. In August 2016, the crown prince led a delegation to Beijing, where he met President Xi Jinping and signed 15 agreements.

Related Categories: China; China and East Asia Program

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