China Reform Monitor - No. 1305

China's arms sales diplomacy;
Now Beijing eyes the Arctic

November 8, 2017

October 5:

China has given 3000 assault rifles worth $3.3 million to the Philippine National Police as a gesture of "friendly and cooperative relations,"
the South China Morning Post reports. The delivery was Beijing's second shipment of guns to Manila – and part of a widening Chinese push to sell arms to the wider region. Manila, moreover, is far from Beijing's only client. Later this month, the Royal Thai Navy's Sattahip Naval Base will receive 28 VT4 main battle tanks worth $147 million, a follow-on to an order placed by Thailand back in March for Type 039A Yuan-class diesel-electric attack submarines and VN1 infantry fighting vehicles. And when the Malaysian Prime Minister visits China next month, he will buy four Chinese coastal patrol vessels for a projected $277 million. Additionally, last year, the Indonesian Navy purchased the Chinese Type 730 shipborne weapon system – a radar-guided, Gatling gun-style system that was installed in an Indonesian frigate to protect against anti-ship and precision-guided missiles. The Indonesian government also purchased C-802 anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles, and air search radars from China.

October 8:

Roughly 1.34 million lower-ranking officials have been punished since 2013 under President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption drive. Those punished for graft include 648,000 village-level officials and most crimes were related to small scale corruption, said the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. As of August, 155,000 country-level party bureaus have set up corruption policing mechanisms, representing 94.8 percent of total bureaus,
Reuters reports.

October 10:

China's is promoting the construction of an "Ice Silk Road" between China and Russia through the Arctic Ocean. In July, China pledged to make joint efforts with Moscow to utilize maritime arctic passageways, and on July 20, the ice breaker "Snow Dragon" departed Shanghai. After completing its 83-day expedition, it ship returned, having traveled over 20,000 nautical miles, including 1995 nautical miles in the ice zone. The journey is China's eighth Arctic expedition, and its first circumnavigation of the Arctic rim. The ice breaker travelled the northwest shipping lane along the Arctic rim for the first time, and the team conducted China's first survey on the Labrador Sea and Baffin Bay. The vessel, the "Xuelong," has now transited all three Arctic sea lanes in an effort to promote commerce and accumulate experience,
the official Global Times reports.

October 11:

China is withholding data on upstream river flows to punish downstream India's infringement of Chinese territorial sovereignty in a dispute over the remote Himalayan region of Doklam,
the Asia Times reports. For a fee, China usually shares some hydrological and meteorological data with downstream countries, enabling them to foresee and plan for floods, protect lives and reduce material losses. This year India paid for the information, as usual, but China withheld the data, thus undermining India's flood early-warning systems during Asia's summer monsoon season. Despite below-normal monsoon rains this year, India's Assam state suffered devastating flooding. Beijing told New Delhi that upstream stations were being "renovated," yet still supplied similar data to Bangladesh, suggesting the cessation of information-sharing was political in nature.

The Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed train, developed for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, has been unveiled by CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles Co., Ltd. The train will be the most advanced in China, with even more smart features and energy saving capabilities than existing trains. The smart bullet train will feature complete Wi-Fi coverage and a special media car that enables professional live broadcasting. It will be completed by the end of 2019, and with a length of 174 km and 10 stops, will be the world's first ballasted high-speed rail running at 350 km per hour. Travel time between Beijing and Zhangjiakou will be cut from over three hours to under an hour,
the official reports. CRRC Changchun previously produced trains for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Related Categories: Russia; China; China and East Asia Program

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