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China Reform Monitor - No. 1344

Beijing, Kabul increase counterterrorism cooperation;
Buying Tibetan goodwill

Edited by Joshua Eisenman
September 26, 2018

August 26:

The PLA is making advances in robotics and unmanned systems and now has a range of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, in use across its army, navy, air force and rocket force, the military's strategic and tactical missiles unit. The PLA ground force's UAVs are generally smaller models used for battlefield reconnaissance and targeting artillery fire and precision strikes. The fixed-wing drones have a conventional design with a mid-wing configuration and are used to support the artillery. Many are produced by the Xian Aisheng Technology Group, whose UAVs are profiled, along with other models,
reports the South China Morning Post. The navy generally uses smaller, tactical UAVs but also has a number of sophisticated reconnaissance drones, such as its medium-altitude long-endurance model, which is comparable to the U.S. Global Hawk and has a range of 2400km and flight time of 40 hours. It has been operating in the East China Sea since 2013 and in the South China Sea since 2016.

August 28:

"China has funded and started building a training camp for Afghan troops in Afghanistan's isolated Wakhan Corridor,"
the South China Morning Post reports. The objective is to prevent separatists from infiltrating Xinjiang via the narrow strip of barely accessible land that extends 350km from the northern Afghan province of Badakhshan to Xinjiang. When the base is complete, China will station at least one battalion (500) of troops there with weapons and equipment. China's defense ministry denied it planned to build a "military base" in Afghanistan and the Afghan embassy in Beijing has said "there will be no Chinese military personnel of any kind on Afghan soil at any time." During a meeting of defense ministers in January, however, Beijing agreed to finance a new military instillation in Badakhshan and help set up and train a mountain brigade to boost counterterrorism efforts. Over the last three years, China has provided Afghanistan more than $70 million in military aid.

August 29:

The FBI has contradicted an unfounded claim by President Donald Trump that Hillary Clinton's emails were hacked by China, saying there is no evidence that the private servers she used while secretary of state were compromised. Trump had asserted that China had hacked Clinton's emails, and that the Justice Department and the FBI risked losing their credibility if they did not look into the matter further. "Hillary Clinton's Emails, many of which are Classified Information, got hacked by China. Next move better be by the FBI & DOJ..." Trump tweeted. In response, the FBI released a statement that it "has not found any evidence the servers were compromised." In Beijing, China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson said, in
comments carried by the Washington Post, that: "China is a staunch defender of cybersecurity. We firmly oppose and crack down on any form of Internet attacks and the stealing of secrets."

August 30:

Officials are touting a $97 billion development program intended to bring prosperity to 3.3 million Tibetans. Projects include new airports and highways that cut through the Himalayas, as well as plans to repair Tibetan Buddhism's holy sites. Lhasa's special economic zone, built with a $30 million investment from Beijing, is fully leased out by 200 enterprises producing products from beer to medicine and a new technology zone and financial district are being planned. Last month, Vice President Mike Pence said Tibet's people "have been brutally repressed by the Chinese government." And in June, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said conditions were "fast deteriorating" in Tibet,
NBC News reports.

August 31:

LinkedIn says it's working to combat China-based espionage activity targeting users,
ABC News reports
. The Microsoft-owned service is partnering with U.S. law enforcement agencies after uncovering fake LinkedIn profiles and other fraudulent activity. William Evanina, who directs the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, says the U.S. government informed LinkedIn about China's "super aggressive" efforts to contact members on the site for the purpose of spy recruitment. LinkedIn said earlier this month that some of accounts were being misused to connect with members working at political organizations. The company said it believes "nation-state actors" created the fake accounts, an allegation that China's Foreign Ministry denies.

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

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