China Reform Monitor No. 1447

Related Categories: Democracy and Governance; Human Rights and Humanitarian Issues; International Economics and Trade; China; Central Asia; Taiwan; Hong Kong

"PEOPLE OF INSIGHT," "U.S. BUSINESS SECTOR" SHOULD HELP U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS
While meeting with a U.S.-China Business Council delegation via video link, China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, called for efforts to "resume dialogue, bring ties back on track, and rebuild mutual trust for the next stage of bilateral ties." Wang said both sides should respect each other’s "core interests and major concerns as well as choices by the two countries' peoples concerning their respective national systems." Then he "called on people of insight in both countries to give more objective and rational information and introduce to the general public the real picture of China's development and China-U.S. cooperation," and urged "the U.S. business sector can play their due role in bringing bilateral relations back on track and make active contributions in the process." (Xinhua, December 7, 2020)

U.S. TO SELL MORE ARMS TO TAIPEI AMID PLA ACTIVITY
The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency has notified Congress of plans to sell the $280 million Field Information Communications System to Taiwan. The deal, which would be the sixth arms sale to Taipei this year, is for an encrypted command system that can link combat units with command centers. Its deployment "in the Taiwan military will mean its entire command and combat system will be integrated into U.S.' chain of command." China, for its part, has urged the U.S. to cancel plans to sell arms to Taiwan, and "has been frequently conducting exercises and patrols near the Taiwan Straits for more than two months." If necessary the PLA could "immediately turn the exercises into real operations and resolve the Taiwan question," said PRC military expert Song Zhongping. (Global Times, December 8, 2020)

CHINA-EUROPE TRADE FORUM CANCELED AFTER CHINESE DEMANDS
The China-EU CEO and Former Senior Officials Dialogue was canceled after the European organizers at BusinessEurope, an umbrella organization for the EU’s national business lobbies, rejected Beijing’s request to bar two participants from the fourth annual closed-door event. Scheduled to take place via video link, this year’s dialogue was set to include dozens of Chinese and European executives, officials, and academics. But China demanded the exclusion of Reinhard Bütikofer, the chair of the European Parliament China Caucus, and Mikko Huotari, the head of the German thinktank Merics, both of whom have been critical of Beijing’s policies in Hong Kong and Xinjiang. The cancellation underscores the growing frostiness in China-Europe relations amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. "We hope to hold the dialogues next year and in person," announced the event’s co-host, the China Center for International Economic Exchange. (Wall Street Journal, December 10, 2020)

CHINA’S FOUR-POINT PLAN TO ENHANCE COOPERATION WITH CENTRAL ASIA
Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui has offered a four-point proposal as chair of the China-Afghanistan-Central Asian Countries Vice Foreign Ministers' Meeting on Trade & Connectivity, a forum that includes Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Luo’s proposals outlined (1) "deepening the cooperation on global COVID19 response" including "with all parties on vaccines;" (2) expanding "regional trade, increase logistics exchanges at ports," and "working with all parties to build a ‘Digital Silk Road;’" (3) "advancing connectivity by strengthening the ‘hard connectivity’ of railways, highways, air routes, pipelines and other infrastructure, and promote the ‘soft connectivity’ of transport facilitation;" and (4) "deepening cooperation on counter-terrorism and security," including opposing Uighur separatism and supporting "the Afghan-owned peace process." (PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs, December 9, 2020)

TAIWAN SHUTTERS PRO-CHINA NEWS CHANNEL FOR INACCURACY
Taiwan’s pro-China cable news channel, CTiTV's channel 52, has gone dark after the National Communications Commission (NCC) refused to renew its license. The station, which is owned by the Want Want China Times media group and has long espoused a pro-China perspective, has been fined 25 times in the past six years for spreading false information. "The biggest problem is external interference into the TV station’s news production and broadcasts," said NCC Chairperson Chen Yaw-shyang in announcing the denial. After the station went off the air, a crowd of supporters gathered outside of its headquarters wearing blue windbreakers and holding signs and chanting "Hang on, CTiTV!" The network will continue streaming on YouTube and other digital platforms. (USA Today, December 12, 2020)