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China Reform Monitor - No. 1312

A warning to Taipei... and Washington;
China eyes deeper engagement in Southwest Asia

Edited by Joshua Eisenman
January 12, 2018

December 9:

The U.S. Congress has passed a measure allowing U.S. Navy vessels and military officials from the U.S. and Taiwan to visit each other's territory. In response, Li Kexin, a Minister at the Chinese embassy in Washington, told more than 200 Chinese students, Taiwanese residents, and media that: "The day that a U.S. Navy vessel arrives in Kaohsiung, is the day that our PLA unites Taiwan with military force." Visits by Navy ships between the U.S. and Taiwan would violate the basic spirit of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Beijing and Washington, Li said. Taipei, in turn, has said that Li's threats had hurt the feelings of the Taiwan people and harmed the positive development of cross-Strait relations,
the Taiwan News reports.

December 14:

India and Taiwan have signed a MoU to promote bilateral trade and industrial cooperation. The Chinese version of the statement stated that the agreement was signed between "two nations,"
the official Global Times reports. India is using Taiwan as a bargaining chip against China and as a friendly gesture towards the U.S., according to Wang Dehua of the Shanghai Municipal Centre for International Studies. "It is a classic move of [Taiwan President] Tsai Ing-wen and the 'ruling' Democratic Progressive Party, as they constantly tout their dangerous political agenda of 'Taiwan-independence,'" Hu Shiqing of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences has added.

December 15:

China's Foreign Ministry has lodged an official protest with Washington after President Donald Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which opens the possibility that U.S. warships will visit Taiwan,
CDNews Taiwan reports. "Beijing has never conceded and will not yield an inch on Taiwan being part of China. It is a matter that leaves no room for negotiation. This seems to be something that needs restating since the provisions concerning Taiwan in the NDAA...constitute a potential provocation to China. U.S. policymakers would do well to bear in mind there is a line that should not be crossed when it comes to Taiwan," the official China Daily noted. Military commentator Song Zhongping, meanwhile, told the official Global Times: "Without the Chinese government's permission, foreign forces' activity in Chinese territory, including Taiwan, will be regarded as an invasion or an attempt to separate China, and will force a military response from China. No one should underestimate China's determination."

December 19:

Four leaders of Taiwan's pro-unification New Party have been arrested on suspicion of violating national security laws,
the Liberty Times reports. Party spokesman Wang Ping-chung and three others, Lin Ming-cheng, Hou Han-ting and Chen Shih-chun, were arrested for helping Zhou Hongxu, a mainlander sentenced to 14 months in prison in September for trying to bribe a diplomat and recruit spies for Beijing. China's official Global Times responded to the news with a menacing editorial that outlined: "The mainland should strongly condemn the Taiwan authorities' persecution of pro-reunification supporters visiting the mainland on charges of disturbing national security. Now is the time to deal with them and teach them a bitter lesson. Mainland military aircraft flights around Taiwan are now becoming routine. In future, mainland military aircraft flights over the island, and mainland warships entering Taiwan ports, should become options for the People's Liberation Army when acts of 'Taiwan independence' are constantly escalating. We want to see the mainland impose sanctions and order the arrest diehards 'Taiwan independence' elements."

December 26:

China will extend the $57 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in Beijing, standing alongside Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif and Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani,
Reuters reports. The trilateral dialogue is the first since the three neighbors agreed to establish a formal dialogue mechanism focusing on development, security, and counterterrorism. It is an in-depth exchange on "political mutual trust and reconciliation, development cooperation and connectivity and security cooperation and counterterrorism," said China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson in comments carried by Pakistan's
Express Tribune.

Related Categories: China; China and East Asia Program

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