Major geopolitical developments in China

June 30, 2022 | 4:09pm
Location: CHINA
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Major geopolitical developments in China
13 hours ago

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Hong Kong on Thursday to attend celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of the city's handover from Britain to China, an AFP journalist saw.

Xi travelled into the city by high-speed train, the first time he has left mainland China since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. — AFP

June 1, 2022

China has insisted it has "no intention to compete" for influence in the South Pacific as foreign minister Wang Yi and his Australian counterpart Penny Wong again jetted around the region Wednesday on duelling diplomatic charm offensives.

In a statement distributed by the Chinese embassy in Canberra, Beijing said it "does not seek exclusive rights" in the region and "we have no intention to compete with others".

The claim comes as Wang nears the end of a contentious 10-day visit to Pacific Island nations that has seen China pitch a radically increased role in regional security, much to the concern of the United States and Australia.

"China respects Australia's historical and traditional ties in the region and there is enough space in the vast Pacific Ocean for China, Australia and all island countries to share peace, development and prosperity," the statement said. — AFP

May 30, 2022

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi holds talks with leaders and top officials from ten Pacific Island states Monday, part of a regional diplomatic blitz that has stirred deep Western concern.

On the table is a secret deal — obtained by AFP — that would see China train local police, become involved in cybersecurity, expand political ties, conduct sensitive marine mapping and gain greater access to natural resources on land and in the water.

As an enticement, Beijing is offering millions of dollars in financial assistance, the prospect of a China-Pacific Islands free trade agreement and access to China's vast market of 1.4 billion people. — AFP

May 24, 2022

China's foreign minister tells the United Nations' human rights chief he hoped her landmark visit would help to "clarify misinformation", ahead of her visit to the Xinjiang region.

Wang Yi "expressed the hope that this trip would help enhance understanding and cooperation, and clarify misinformation" during a Monday meeting with Michelle Bachelet, a foreign ministry readout says.

Wang told Bachelet Beijing has "made safeguarding the ethnic minorities' rights an important part of its work, and protecting people's safety its long-term goal," according to the statement.

"To advance the international cause of human rights, we must first... refrain from politicising human rights," he says. — AFP

May 23, 2022

The UN human rights chief has started a six-day trip to China, her spokesperson said Monday, a visit which will include the Xinjiang region and marks the first such mission in nearly two decades.

"(The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights) has arrived and is in meetings," Michelle Bachelet's spokesperson told AFP. — AFP

April 18, 2022

Australia's foreign minister says that a controversial security deal between the Solomon Islands and China would not spell the end of her country's defence cooperation with the Pacific nation.

Marise Payne told national broadcaster ABC that an existing bilateral security treaty between Australia and the Solomon Islands would continue even if the nation ignored entreaties from Canberra and signed a security pact with China.

She noted it was under this treaty "that the assistance force made up of Pacific family countries — Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Papua New Guinea — went to the Solomon Islands at the end of last year to support them in dealing with the unrest" sparked by protests against Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare. — AFP

December 17, 2019

China's second aircraft carrier entered service on Tuesday, adding major firepower to its military ambitions as it faces tensions with self-ruled Taiwan as well as the US and regional neighbors around the disputed South China Sea.

The commissioning of the ship, which has been named the Shandong, puts China in a small club of nations with multiple aircraft carriers and the country is reportedly building a third.

China's first domestically built carrier was delivered and commissioned to the People's Liberation Army navy in Sanya, on the southern island of Hainan, at a ceremony attended by President Xi Jinping, state media said.

Hainan province is in the South China Sea east of Vietnam, which has competing claims in the waterway along with China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Brunei

— Agence France-Presse

May 1, 2018

Taiwan says it was "deeply upset" after the Dominican Republic, one of its few remaining official allies, established diplomatic relations with China and cut ties with the island.

In response to the switch, Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu announces an immediate "termination of relations" with the Caribbean country, including the end of all assistance and the recall of officials.  AFP

April 20, 2018

China's Ministry of Public Security and the State Immigration Administration announces that starting May 1, 2018, citizens of 59 countries, including the Philippines, may enjoy a 30-day visa-free access to Hainan Island. The new policy is an attempt to support the island's reform and opening-up initiatives.

The 59 counties that may enjoy the visa-free access to Hainan include:

Russia, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Norway, Ukraine, Italy, Austria, Finland, Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, Monaco, Belarus, UAE and Qatar.

Hainan's Sansha City administers three island groups in the disputed South China Sea. These are Xisha or Paracel Islands, Nansha or Spratly Islands and Zhongsha.

April 10, 2018

Chinese President Xi Jinping vows new steps to open China market amid a trade spat with the United States. Xi says this during his speech at the Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan.



April 6, 2018

China's commerce ministry says Beijing is prepared to fight the U.S. "at any cost" as a trade dispute between the world's two largest economies escalated with President Donald Trump ordering the U.S. trade representative to consider slapping an additional $100 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods.

The ministry said in a statement Friday that if Washington persisted in what Beijing describes as protectionism, China would "dedicate itself to the end and at any cost and will definitely fight back firmly."

Trump's surprise directive Thursday came a day after Beijing announced plans to tax $50 billion in American products, including soybeans and small aircraft, in response to a U.S. move this week to slap tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese imports.

April 4, 2018

China's state news agency Xinhua reports that Beijing strongly condemned a US list of $50 billion in Chinese imports set to be hit by tariffs.

It adds that China warned it was ready to retaliate. The warning was issued by the commerce ministry as the countries engage in a simmering trade confrontation.

March 28, 2018

State-run Chinese media outfit Xinhua confirms the meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korea's chief Kim Jong Un in Beijing.

The confirmation ends rumors that the North Korean leaders was secretly in the Chinese capital on Tuesday for a summit. Xinhua reports it was Xi, whose term was recently extended indefinely, who invited Kim for an unofficial visit from Sunday to Wednesday.

"During the visit, Xi held talks with Kim at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan held a welcoming banquet for Kim and his wife Ri Sol Ju and watched an art performance together," Xinhua reports.

March 27, 2018

China has protested to the U.S. over its sending of a guided missile destroyer into waters near Chinese-claimed territory, saying it dispatched two vessels of its own to warn the ship off.

The USS Mustin "arbitrarily entered waters surrounding islands and reefs in the South China Sea," Defense Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang was quoted as saying on Friday by the official Xinhua News Agency.

The incident constitutes a "serious political and military provocation," Ren was quoted as saying. Such actions "harm military relations between the two countries, causing close encounters between the countries' air forces and navies, which could lead to misjudgment and even accidents," he said.

The Pentagon generally declines to comment on such freedom of navigation operations, known as "FONOPs," aimed at asserting the U.S. military's right to sail, fly and operate anywhere that is legal under international law.

The U.S. does not take a stance on sovereignty claims in the South China Sea, but has strongly criticized China's building of man-made islands equipped with airfields and other military infrastructure.

March 27, 2018

A report says the French navy declined to either confirm or deny that one of its surveillance frigates conducted a freedom of navigation operation while transiting the South China Sea.

The website Navy Recognition said Friday the Vendemiaire, home-ported in the French territory of New Caledonia, is on a two-month cruise in the area that has included a joint operation with the USS Murphy, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.

It said that included the establishment of a data link and secure communications and the deployment of a joint visit, board, search and seizure team often used in anti-piracy or anti-smuggling operations.

The French ship also make a visit to Brunei, where it conducted a joint search and rescue drill, helicopter operations and other maneuvers, the website said.

China regularly criticized U.S. FONOPs but has remained largely quiet about similar missions by ships and aircraft from other countries. — AP

March 23, 2018

Hong Kong and mainland Chinese stocks plunge at open Friday on growing fears of a global trade war after Trump imposed billions of dollars of tariffs on Chinese imports and Beijing drew up a list of retaliatory measures.

The Hang Seng Index plunges 3.67 percent, or 1,140.82 points, to 29,930.23, while the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index falls 2.78 percent, or 90.71 points, to 3,172.77 and the Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China's second exchange, drops 3.09 percent, or 57.22 points, to 1,792.38.

March 23, 2018

China has announced a list of US goods including pork and aluminum pipe it says may be hit by higher tariffs in response to President Donald Trump's higher import duties on steel and aluminum.

The Commerce Ministry on Friday calls on Washington to reach a negotiated settlement of the dispute "as soon as possible" but gave no deadline.

March 20, 2018

China has found a new route for its troops to South Doklam, bypassing India's blockade, India-based news website The Print reports.

The development is the latest after a tense standoff between militaries of India and China in June last year and despite both sides' agreement to pull back and resume status quo two months later.

China's aggressive position in Doklam seems to be a mirror of its activities in the South China Sea and its part the Philippines calls the West Philippine Sea. Beijing has built islands and established military outposts in waters within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone.

March 13, 2018

China President Xi Jinping, who may be president for life after an amendment to China's constitution, has created a powerful new anti-corruption agency, the Associated Press reports.

"The move is part of a sweeping government reorganization aiming to boost the authority of the ruling Communist Party headed by Xi, who has firmly established himself as China's most formidable leader since Mao Zedong, the founder of the communist state," AP reports.

The move is seen by critics as part of a potential return to one-man rule and the removal of limits on the powers of political leaders.

March 11, 2018

So it has happened. Chinese President Xi Jinping has been given by the parliament the power to remain in position for life, making him the most powerful political figure in China since Mao Zedong.

China's lawmakers pass constitutional changes that abolish term limits to let Xi rule indefinitely, the Associated Press reports.

A report by Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua says China will raise its defense budget by 8.1% in 2018.

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