Categories for China
CHINA/SEC/TRADE DEALS: “U.S. regulators rejected a bid by a Chinese-linked consortium to take over the Chicago Stock Exchange, extinguishing an ambitious dream of starting an international listing venue from a minuscule market.
The Securities and Exchange Commission’s decision ends a process that lasted two years and took place in the crucible of a presidential campaign and a new administration that’s expressed skepticism over China’s policy motives. Now that it’s over, the exchange founded in 1882 is left handling less than 1 percent of daily U.S. stock trading, missing out on an audacious project to court smaller companies, particularly those based in China.
In a document posted on the SEC’s website Thursday [2-15-18], the regulator said the deal didn’t comply with U.S. rules governing stock exchanges. The SEC said it couldn’t resolve concerns about the proposed ownership structure, which would’ve given 29 percent of the company to a China-based shareholder. The Chicago Stock Exchange couldn’t supply documents the regulator requested about relationships among the proposed buyers, according to the SEC.
Will Ruben, a spokesman for the Chicago Stock Exchange, declined to comment.”
-Annie Massa and Ben Bain, “SEC kills Chinese-linked takeover of Chicago Stock Exchange,” Chicago Tribune, Feb. 16, 2018 07:59am
CHINA/TRADE DEALS/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/WTO: “China is showing a willingness to push back against mounting trade pressure from the Trump administration, filing challenges to new U.S. tariffs on solar panels and washing machines at the World Trade Organization.
The petitions submitted to the global commerce arbiter on Tuesday [2-6-18] argue that the tariffs ‘are not consistent’ with international rules, and seek compensation from Washington.
The petitions follow an announcement on Sunday by the Chinese Commerce Ministry that it was investigating American exporters of sorghum for allegedly ‘dumping’ the grain below cost, aided by improper U.S. government subsidies, into the Chinese market. The probe could result in duties being imposed to block the U.S. product.
The Trump administration has been debating adopting a tougher trade policy against China, possibly including broad tariffs and investment restrictions. The measures are being considered as part of a probe into widespread complaints that the Chinese government forces U.S. companies to turn over valuable intellectual property as the price for entering their market ‘These practices by the Chinese are estimated to cost the United States billions of dollars each year,’ the White House said in a recent statement.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Trump’s U.S. trade representative declined to comment on the China WTO filing.”
-Jacob M. Sclesinger, “China Fires Back at U.S. on Trade, Challenging Tariffs,” The Wall Street Journal online, Feb. 6, 2018 05:17pm
CHINA/FOREIGN POLICY/REX TILLERSON/RUSSIA/STATE: “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson criticized Chinese and Russian attempts to expand footholds in Latin America as the chief U.S. diplomat prepared to embark Thursday on a visit to the region… Mr. Tillerson took particular aim at China and criticized what he described as Beijing’s unfair trading practices…
China is the largest trading partner of Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Peru, Mr. Tillerson said. His trip will include stops in both Argentina and Peru, along with Mexico, Colombia and Jamaica… Mr. Tillerson also had tough words for Moscow, saying Russia’s growing presence in the region is ‘alarming as well.’… Russian and Chinese officials didn’t respond to requests for comment.
The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Russia under President Vladimir Putin has revitalized ties to Latin America.
Mr. Tillerson, marking a year on the job Thursday, also suggested that Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro could be ousted by the military there. But he said the Trump administration isn’t promoting regime change there and that it would be ‘easiest’ if Mr. Maduro decided to leave on his own.”
-Felicia Schwartz, “Tillerson Raps Russia, China as ‘Imperial Powers’ in Latin America,” The Wall Street Journal online, Feb. 1, 2018 05:58pm
CHINA/FOREIGN POLICY/TRADE DEALS: “Lawmakers are moving to stanch the flow of U.S. technology to foreign investors, creating potential problems for a number of American companies that have bet big on partnering with China.
The Senate and House, with the backing of the White House, are working on bipartisan legislation to broaden the authority of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., a multi-agency body that has oversight of deals that could lead to the transfer of sensitive technology to rival countries. The current CFIUS statute doesn’t single out any country, but in recent years, the committee has often been focused on deals involving China.
Currently, CFIUS can recommend the president block foreign entities from buying majority stakes in U.S. companies; the new bill would let the committee make similar recommendations for deals involving minority investments and joint ventures, along with transactions that it determines involve ’emerging technologies.’
The scope of the proposed legislation is broad. China requires foreign investors to form ventures with local partners, and Washington law firms say they are receiving a surge in inquiries over what it might mean for the large number of U.S. firms active in China. The country’s huge size has made it a market of interest for companies ranging from auto makers like General Motors Corp. , technology companies like Cisco Systems Inc. or other manufacturers like Caterpillar Inc. —all of which have local ventures in China.”
-Heidi Vogt, “U.S. Companies Brace for Wider Scrutiny of Chinese Deals,” The Wall Street Journal online, Jan. 29, 2018 04:12pm
BUSINESS/CHINA/FOREIGN POLICY: “Lawmakers are moving to crack down on the flow of U.S. technology to foreign investors, creating potential problems for a number of American companies that have bet big on partnering with China.
The Senate and House, with the backing of the White House, are working on bipartisan legislation to broaden the authority of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., a multi-agency body that has oversight of deals that could lead to the transfer of sensitive technology to rival countries. The current CFIUS statute doesn’t single out any country, but in recent years, the committee has often been focused on deals involving China. Currently, CFIUS can recommend the president block foreign entities from buying majority stakes in U.S. companies; the new bill would let the committee make similar recommendations for deals involving minority investments and joint ventures, along with transactions that it determines involve ’emerging technologies.’
That would make several major U.S. companies have to get the agency’s blessing for some joint ventures, based in the U.S. or abroad, that involve shared U.S. technology, potentially crimping their business prospects.”
-Heidi Vogt, “U.S. Companies Brace for Wider Scrutiny of Chinese Deals,” The Wall Street Journal online, Jan. 29, 2018 08:00am
CHINA/FCC: “The top U.S. communications regulator on Monday [1-29-18] said he opposed an idea by some security officials to counter the threat of China spying on U.S. phone calls by having the government build and run a national, super-fast 5G wireless network… Three of the other four FCC commissioners also said Monday they oppose nationalizing the 5G network.
A U.S. built 5G network could in theory be more resilient to Chinese government intrusions. A leaked National Security Council memo published by Axios news website on Sunday said China is the dominant manufacturer of network infrastructure and notes the importance of building the network with ‘equipment from a trusted supply chain.’…
On Sunday, Reuters reported that President Donald Trump’s national security team was looking at options to counter the threat of China spying on U.S. phone calls that include the government building a 5G network, citing a senior administration official.
The official, confirming the gist of the Axios report, said the option was being debated at a low level in the administration and was six to eight months away from being considered by the president himself. The 5G network concept is aimed at addressing what officials see as China’s threat to U.S. cyber security and economic security.
FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, said the memo ‘correctly diagnoses a real problem. There is a worldwide race to lead in 5G and other nations are poised to win. But the remedy proposed here really misses the mark.’
The Trump administration has taken a harder line with China on policies initiated by predecessor President Barack Obama, a Democrat, on issues ranging from Beijing’s role in restraining North Korea to Chinese efforts to acquire U.S. strategic industries.”
-David Shepardson, “Regulator opposes idea of U.S. government anti-spying 5G network,” Reuters, Jan. 29, 2018 06:34am
CHINA/FOREIGN POLICY/JAMES MATTIS/NAVY/VIETNAM: “In a move likely to irritate China, a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier will probably visit Vietnam in March for the first time since the war, U.S. and Vietnamese officials said Thursday [1-25-18].
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and his Vietnamese counterpart discussed a plan for a carrier visit to Da Nang in March, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said.
He said the Vietnamese are awaiting final approval by more senior government authorities and that the U.S. expects the approval to be granted.
The Vietnamese Defense Ministry said separately that the two defense departments submitted their proposals for a port visit to their leaders. The idea was floated last summer when Vietnamese Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich met Mr. Mattis at the Pentagon.
The two met again in Hanoi on Thursday during Mr. Mattis’s first trip to the Southeast Asian nation, which also included a meeting with President Tran Dai Quang…
Earlier Thursday, Mr. Mattis broke from his usual pattern of official business meetings to pay his respects at one of Vietnam’s oldest pagodas, where he spoke at length with a senior monk and remarked on the serene setting. The Tran Quoc Buddhist pagoda stands on a small island at the edge of a lake in Hanoi, a short distance from a concrete marker noting where John McCain was shot down during a Navy attack mission over the city in 1967. Mr. McCain, now a senator, was retrieved from the lake and imprisoned.”
-Associated Press, “U.S. Aircraft Carrier Expected to Visit Vietnam for First Time Since War,” The Wall Street Journal online, Jan. 25, 2018 7:10am
CHINA/FOREIGN POLICY/NORTH KOREA/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “The Trump administration’s top sanctions envoy pressed China in high-level meetings this week to deliver on commitments to expel North Korean agents helping finance Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and missile programs.
Sigal Mandelker, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, urged Chinese officials in Beijing to comply with obligations under United Nations sanctions to oust what the U.S. calls North Korean “financial facilitators.”
Ms. Mandelker declined to say how many North Koreans she asked be expelled. The U.S. has identified more than two dozen North Koreans as currently or previously based in China and linked to North Korea’s banks or weapons programs. She said she stressed ‘the importance of expelling those individuals’ and suggested that failure to act could make Chinese banks targets for future sanctions… China’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Chinese government has repeatedly said it strictly enforces U.N. resolutions, though opposes unilateral U.S. sanctions.
China is North Korea’s biggest trade partner, aid donor and investor, and getting Beijing to curtail, if not cut, those ties is central to the Trump administration’s strategy for stopping Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs.”
-Jeremy Page and Ian Talley, “Top U.S. Sanctions Envoy Presses China to Expel North Korean Agents,” The Wall Street Journal online, Jan. 24, 2018 05:08am
CHINA/INDONESIA/JAMES MATTIS/NATIONAL SECURITY: “U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis pushed for more extensive security ties Tuesday [1-23-18] with strategically located Indonesia, part of new drive to shore up Southeast Asian countries against intimidation by China in the South China Sea.
Mr. Mattis is making a short tour that will also take him to Vietnam, days after he described China as using ‘predatory economics’ to extend control over its smaller neighbors. He will also travel to Pacific Command in Hawaii, where he meets South Korea’s defense minister…
Jakarta drew Beijing’s ire last year when it named the southern fringes of the South China Sea after the Natunas island chain and stepped up a drive to build airstrips, a fishing industry and security patrols there to consolidate its hold on the territory. President Joko Widodo took the symbolic move of holding a cabinet meeting on a navy ship there.
The move reflected heightened concern after China in recent years established control over outlying islands claimed by smaller states in the South China Sea, often by using its fishing fleet and then armed coast guard vessels. It has reclaimed land and built up military-level facilities on some islands.
The U.S. and Indonesia have long maintained security ties, including conducting exercises together. In 2015, the nations upgraded bilateral ties to the level of a strategic partnership. Mr. Mattis also said the U.S. was open to expanding counterterrorism ties with Indonesia.”
-Ben Otto, “Mattis Pushes Stronger Ties With Indonesia, Vietnam,” The Wall Street Journal online, Jan. 23, 2018 08:59am
CHINA/FOREIGN POLICY/TRADE DEALS/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “The Trump administration said Monday it would impose new trade barriers aimed at protecting domestic makers of solar panels and washing machines from a recent surge of cheap imports.
The moves begin what Trump aides say will be a year of tougher trade actions, aimed in particular against China…
Specifically, the administration said it would impose tariffs on washing machines at a rate of up to 50%, with the rates phasing out over the next few years. The tariffs would be combined with quotas. Tariffs on solar modules would be as high as 30%, and be phased out over time.
The solar and washer decisions are the first of what is officials have signaled will be a number of 2018 actions invoking little-used trade protection powers as he pursues his ‘America First’ trade agenda…
The Trump administration began considering the trade protections last year after Suniva Inc. and SolarWorld Americas Inc., two embattled solar panel makers with operations in the U.S., asked the U.S. International Trade Commission to declare that they qualified for safeguard relief, and Whirlpool Corp. did the same for its washing machines.
The four-member panel voted unanimously in both cases to support the petitions, and the decision fell to the White House to decide whether and how to impose protections.”
-Jacob M. Schlesinger and Erin Ailworth, “U.S. Imposes Trade Tariffs, Signaling Tougher Line on China,” The Wall Street Journal online, Jan. 22, 2018 05:22pm
CHINA/DEFENSE/JAMES MATTIS/MILITARY/RUSSIA: “The United States is switching its priority to countering Chinese and Russian military might after almost two decades of focusing on the fight against terrorism, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Friday [1-19-18], unveiling a national defense strategy that Pentagon officials say will provide a blueprint for years to come.
The new strategy echoes — on paper, if not in tone — a national security blueprint offered last month in which President Trump described rising threats to the United States from an emboldened Russia and China, as well as from what was described as rogue governments like North Korea and Iran.
But where Mr. Trump struck a campaign tone during the unveiling of his national security strategy, with references to building a wall along the southern border with Mexico, Mr. Mattis took a more sober route by sticking to the more traditional intellectual framework that has accompanied foreign policy doctrines of past administrations.
Drawing inspiration from Winston Churchill, who once said that the only thing harder than fighting with allies is fighting without them, Mr. Mattis said that the United States must strengthen its alliances with other powers.”
-Helene Cooper, “Military Shifts Focus to Threats by Russia and China, Not Terrorism,” The New York Times online, Jan. 19, 2018
CHINA/FOREIGN POLICY/RUSSIA/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “Much of the world has soured on American leadership since President Trump took office, a loss of faith that has opened up opportunities for other countries like China, Russia and Germany to assert themselves on the international stage, according to an extensive new survey of people living around the globe.
Just 30 percent of people interviewed in 134 countries last year approved of American leadership under Mr. Trump, a drop of nearly 20 percentage points since President Barack Obama’s final year and the lowest finding since the Gallup polling organization began asking the question overseas more than a decade ago. The decline was especially steep in Latin America, Europe and Canada.
The findings of the survey come just a week before Mr. Trump plans to go to Europe to attend the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, a traditional gathering of political and economic elites. Mr. Trump has alienated many other countries, including longtime American allies, by pulling back from international agreements and organizations, not to mention by issuing derogatory remarks like those last week denigrating Africa and Haiti.”
-Peter Baker, “Souring World Views of Trump Open Doors for China and Russia,” The New York Times online, Jan. 18, 2018
CHINA/CIA/LEGAL/NATIONAL SECURITY: “A former Central Intelligence Agency officer was arrested Monday [1-15-18] on charges of unlawfully retaining classified information, and U.S. officials familiar with the matter said he was suspected of providing information that helped the Chinese government identify U.S. informants in that country.
Jerry Chun Shing Lee, 53 years old, who worked for the Central Intelligence Agency from 1994 to 2007, was arrested after arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, the Justice Department said Tuesday. Charged with unlawful retention of national defense information in Alexandria’s federal court, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison
Mr. Lee was ordered held Tuesday after a brief appearance before a federal judge in Brooklyn.
The CIA declined to comment. The Justice Department released few details about the case, but U.S. officials said Mr. Lee is suspected of playing a key role in helping China identify U.S. assets after he left the CIA. A representative for Mr. Lee couldn’t be reached for comment.”
-Del Quentin Wilber, “Ex-CIA Officer, Suspected of Outing U.S. Informants in China, Is Arrested,” The Wall Street Journal online, Jan. 16, 2018 09:46pm
CHINA/DEFENSE/FOREIGN POLICY/MILITARY/NATIONAL SECURITY/NUCLEAR/RUSSIA: “The Pentagon is planning to develop two new sea-based nuclear weapons to respond to Russia and China’s growing military capabilities, according to a sweeping Defense Department review of nuclear strategy.
The planned move has ignited a broad debate over future U.S. nuclear strategy at a time when the nation also faces the threat of proliferation, in particular from North Korea’s efforts to expand its arsenal of nuclear weapons and develop long-range missiles capable of delivering them.
Supporters of the Pentagon’s plan say it is time for the U.S. to update its nuclear forces to deal with changing threats some three decades after the end of the Cold War. Critics worry that the Pentagon’s search for more flexible nuclear options could lower the threshold for their use.
One weapon, which experts say could be deployed in about two years, is a ‘low yield’ warhead for the Trident missile, which currently is deployed with more powerful warheads on the Navy’s submarines that carry ballistic missiles.
The U.S. also would pursue the development of a new nuclear-tipped sea-launched cruise missile, reintroducing a system that was retired from the American arsenal in 2010.
The development of the two weapons is among a broad range of recommendations in the Pentagon’s Nuclear Posture Review, a major reassessment of the U.S. nuclear strategy and programs that was commissioned about a year ago by President Donald Trump.”
-Michael R. Gordon, “U.S. Plans New Nuclear Weapons,” The Wall Street Journal online, Jan. 15, 2018 07:37pm
CHINA/INTELLIGENCE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP FAMILY/JARED KUSNER: “U.S. counterintelligence officials in early 2017 warned Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, that Wendi Deng Murdoch, a prominent Chinese-American businesswoman, could be using her close friendship with Mr. Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, to further the interests of the Chinese government, according to people familiar with the matter.
U.S. officials have also had concerns about a counterintelligence assessment that Ms. Murdoch was lobbying for a high-profile construction project funded by the Chinese government in Washington, D.C., one of these people said…
The counterintelligence officials didn’t provide Mr. Kushner with details about their assessment of Ms. Murdoch, the people familiar with the interaction said. The warning was part of an effort by national-security officials to highlight to Mr. Kushner, who was new to government, the need to be careful in his dealings with people whose interests may not align with those of the U.S., the people added. Ms. Trump, who in late March announced she would take a formal White House role, wasn’t present for the counterintelligence warning. Neither Ms. Murdoch, Mr. Kushner nor Ms. Trump has been accused of any wrongdoing.
It is common for counterintelligence officials to warn senior members of a new administration about interactions with people with foreign connections, and such briefings sometimes refer to specific people, according to people familiar with the protocols.”
-Kate O’Keeffe and Aruna Viswanatha, “U.S. Warned Jared Kushner About Wendi Deng Murdoch,” The Wall Street Journal online, Jan. 15, 2018 05:33pm
CANADA/CHINA/FOREIGN POLICY/RUSSIA/TRADE DEALS/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “The Trump administration on Friday [1-12-18] targeted markets in Russia, China and other countries—including a Chinese mall in Canada—for allegedly turning a blind eye to the sale of counterfeit goods and other intellectual-property violations.
The ‘notorious markets’ list, published by the U.S. trade representative’s office, names online or physical marketplaces believed to facilitate the sale of pirated goods. The latest version again blames Russian social media network VKontakte.com for allegedly allowing the exchange of Hollywood movies, as well as naming six physical markets in China blamed for allowing counterfeit goods to be sold or not making enough progress to defend intellectual property.
The U.S. document, the Trump administration’s first, once again included the Taobao online platform of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
The Obama administration a year ago had reinstated Taobao on the list, provoking protests from Alibaba, which says it has taken efforts to prevent the sale of counterfeit goods…
The list typically focuses on emerging markets with lax enforcement of copyright and trademarks, but this year’s version included a marketplace outside Toronto, from a developed economy, U.S. neighbor and top trading partner that is currently in tense negotiations with the U.S. and Mexico to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement. A spokeswoman for the Canadian government didn’t immediately comment.
A U.S. official on Friday told reporters that the ‘report covers a wide variety of illustrative markets’ and that Canada is ‘not unique.’ “
-William Mauldin, “Trump Administration’s ‘Notorious’ List Names Markets in Russia, China,” The Wall Street Journal online, Jan. 12, 2018 12:22pm
CHINA/TRADE DEALS/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “China reported its largest-ever annual trade surplus with the U.S. last year while its overall imbalance with the world shrank, potentially strengthening the Trump administration’s case for tougher penalties and other trade actions against Beijing.
A global recovery led by the U.S. provided a shot in the arm for Chinese exporters last year, boosting China’s economy. Rising American demand, in particular, pushed up Chinese shipments, expanding China’s trade surplus in goods with the U.S. by 10% to $275.8 billion in 2017, according to Chinese customs data released Friday [1-12-18].
That figure, a record for the nearly five decades for which such data exist, marks the U.S.’s largest trade deficit with any trading partner. By comparison, China’s overall foreign trade surplus contracted 17% as higher prices of oil, iron ore and other commodities raised the value of inbound shipments from countries like Russia, Australia and Saudi Arabia.
The widening of the China-U.S. trade imbalance comes as U.S. and Chinese officials and business groups warn of sharper clashes over trade between the world’s largest economies…
President Donald Trump has promised sterner measures to curb the U.S.’s chronic trade imbalance with China.”
-Lingling Wei, “China Reports Biggest-Ever Annual Trade Surplus With U.S.,” The Wall Street Journal online, Jan. 12, 2018 07:50am
ARMY/CHINA/CYBERWAR: “The U.S. Army said it removed surveillance cameras made by a Chinese state-backed manufacturer from a domestic military base, while a congressional committee plans to hold a hearing this month into whether small businesses face cybersecurity risks from using the equipment.
Fort Leonard Wood, an Army base in Missouri’s Ozarks, replaced five cameras on the base branded and made by Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co. , said Col. Christopher Beck, the base’s chief of staff. He said officials at the base acted after reading media reports about the company…
A Wall Street Journal article in November highlighted the prevalence in the U.S. of devices made by Hikvision, the world’s largest maker of surveillance cameras, which is 42% owned by the Chinese government. The Journal reported that some security-system vendors in the U.S. refuse to carry Hikvision cameras or place restrictions on their purchase, concerned they could be used by Beijing to spy on Americans…
A Defense Department spokesman said the Hikvision cameras at Fort Leonard Wood weren’t connected to the military network. He said the department is conducting a review of all network-connected cameras on the base to ensure they are ‘in compliance with all security updates.’ The spokesman declined to comment on whether Hikvision cameras are in use at other military facilities.”
-Dan Strumpf, “Army Rips Out Chinese-Made Surveillance Cameras Overlooking U.S. Base,” The Wall Street Journal online, Jan. 12, 2018 05:30am
CHINA/FOREIGN POLICY/PAKISTAN/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “Senior Pakistani officials warned that the U.S. suspension of security aid announced last week will push their country closer to China, Washington’s main rival for influence in Asia, as regional alliances realign…
China has already invested heavily in a relationship that is redefining the balance of power in Asia, anchored by a $55 billion-plus infrastructure program that aims in part to boost Pakistan’s economy—in part as a counterweight against their common competitor, India.
The U.S., after decades of partnership with Pakistan, has over recent years tilted toward India, as it seeks to counter Chinese sway across Asia. That longer-term realignment is being accelerated by the Trump administration’s penalization of Pakistan and its calls for India to take a bigger role in Afghanistan.
Washington said it would freeze $2 billion in security assistance to Pakistan until it takes action against the Taliban and the Haqqani network, Afghan insurgents the U.S. says use Pakistani soil as a haven…
Some U.S. officials described China role in Pakistan not as a threat to U.S. interests but as a potentially positive influence, saying that Beijing also wants a stable Pakistan free of militancy.”
-Saeed Shah, “With U.S. Aid Cut, Pakistan Drifts Closer to China,” The Wall Street Journal online, Jan. 10, 2018 05:30am
CHINA/NORTH KOREA/TRADE DEALS/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/UN: “Beijing and Washington clashed over a U.S. push to blacklist cargo ships for violating international sanctions against North Korea, including one vessel South Korea said it seized after an illegal transfer of oil.
The confrontation, playing out in jockeying at the United Nations, comes amid an escalating war of words between President Donald Trump and Beijing over China’s willingness to tightly enforce sanctions following Pyongyang’s nuclear and long-range missile tests. China’s critics say it has agreed to tough-sounding Security Council resolutions while modulating how strictly the sanctions are actually enforced. China denies it violates sanctions…
But China successfully got the list whittled down to just four vessels, according to diplomats familiar with its communications to the U.N. sanctions committee.
China’s role is crucial because the sanctions committee operates by consensus and reports to the Security Council, where Beijing holds a veto. Chinese officials at the U.N. didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.”
-Michael R. Gordon and Andrew Jeong, “China Resists U.S. Efforts to Blacklist Ships Through U.N.,” The Wall Street Journal online, Dec. 29, 2017 12:46pm
CHINA/FOREIGN POLICY/TAXES/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “China said on Thursday [12-28-17] that it would temporarily exempt foreign companies from paying tax on their earnings, a bid to keep American businesses from taking their profits out of China following Washington’s overhaul of the United States tax code.
There is, however, a catch: To be eligible, foreign companies must invest those earnings in sectors encouraged by China’s government — including railways, mining, technology and agriculture — according to a statement from the Finance Ministry. The measure is retroactive from Jan. 1 this year, the ministry said.
The move would ‘promote the growth of foreign investment, improve the quality of foreign investment and encourage overseas investors to continuously expand their investment in China,’ the ministry said. It did not elaborate.
Despite its appeal as a manufacturing hub, one where companies from around the world have set up operations to tap into a highly skilled work force and strong infrastructure, China charges high taxes. On top of a standard corporate rate of 25 percent, companies are required to make social security contributions and other payments that push their tax burden higher than it is in many other countries.”
-Sui-Lee Wee, “China Offers Tax Incentives to Persuade U.S. Companies to Stay,” The New York Times online, Dec. 28, 2017
CHINA/NORTH KOREA: “Caught RED HANDED – very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea. There will never be a friendly solution to the North Korea problem if this continues to happen!”
-Donald Trump, Twitter.com, Dec. 28, 2017 11:24am
CHINA/FOREIGN POLICY/NATIONAL SECURITY/RUSSIA/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP POSITION CHANGES: “President Trump presented a blueprint for the country’s national security on Monday [12-18-17] that warns of a treacherous world in which the United States faces rising threats from an emboldened Russia and China, as well as from what it calls rogue governments, like North Korea and Iran.
To fend off these multiple challenges, the report says with Cold War urgency, the government must put ‘America First,’ fortifying its borders, ripping up unfair trade agreements and rebuilding its military might.
But in his speech announcing the strategy, Mr. Trump struck a much different tone. Instead of explaining the nature of these threats, he delivered a campaignlike address, with familiar calls to build a wall along the southern border with Mexico and a heavy dose of self-congratulation for the bull market, the low jobless rate and tax cuts, which, he promised, were ‘days away.’…
The disconnect between the president’s speech and the analysis in his administration’s document attests to the broader challenge his national security advisers have faced, as they have struggled to develop an intellectual framework that encompasses Mr. Trump’s unpredictable, domestically driven and Twitter-fueled approach to foreign policy. The same confusion has confronted foreign governments trying to understand Mr. Trump’s conflicting signals.”
-Mark Landler and David E. Sanger, “Trump Delivers a Mixed Message on His National Security Approach,” The New York Times online, Dec. 18, 2017
CHINA/ECONOMY/NATIONAL SECURITY/RUSSIA/TRADE DEALS/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “President Donald Trump will put his domestic economic and trade policies at the heart of a new national-security strategy that depicts the world as one of heightened rivalries and potentially dangerous competition.
The new strategy, with an emphasis on confronting unfair trade practices and precluding rivals from stealing American technology, holds potentially far-reaching implications for relations with China, which is described as a ‘revisionist power’ that is seeking to undermine U.S. security and prosperity.
Russia is portrayed as a dangerous rival that is trying to restore its status as a great power and establish spheres of influence by dividing the U.S. from its allies and is using state-funded media and cyber elements to undermine Western democracies…
The drafting of the national-security strategy is mandated by Congress, and some past strategies have been derided as heavy on platitudes and short on policy prescriptions.
Mr. Trump’s strategy has attracted particular interest because it comes early in the administration and presents an opportunity for the White House to systematically outline views that have often been espoused in Twitter messages and sometimes have appeared contradictory.”
-Michael R. Gordon, “Trump Plans Shift to U.S. Security Strategy,” The Wall Street Journal online, Dec. 18, 2017 05:00am
CHINA/FOREIGN POLICY/NORTH KOREA/REX TILLERSON/STATE: “Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson let slip last week a few tantalizing details about one of the nation’s most secret military contingency plans: how the United States would try to race inside North Korea to seize its nuclear weapons if it ever saw evidence that Kim Jong-un’s government was collapsing.
For years, American diplomats have been trying to engage their Chinese counterparts in a discussion of this scenario, hoping to avoid a conflict between arriving American Special Forces — who have been practicing this operation for years — and the Chinese military, which would almost certainly pour over the border in a parallel effort.
And for years the Chinese have resisted the conversation, according to several former American officials who tried to engage them in joint planning. The Chinese feared that if news of a conversation leaked, Beijing would be seen as conspiring with the United States over plans for an eventual North Korean collapse, eroding any leverage that Beijing still held over Mr. Kim.
So it was surprising to Mr. Tillerson’s colleagues in the White House and the Pentagon when, in a talk to the Atlantic Council last week, he revealed that the Trump administration had already provided assurances to China’s leadership that if American forces landed in North Korea to search for and deactivate nuclear weapons, the troops would do their work and then retreat.
North Korea has defied past predictions of collapse, and one does not appear imminent. But if a collapse were to occur, the aftermath could present grave dangers. American officials have envisioned that North Korean officers, fearing the end of Mr. Kim’s government, might lob a nuclear weapon at South Korea or Japan as a last, desperate act — or detonate it on North Korean territory to make occupation impossible.”
-David E. Sanger, “A Tillerson Slip Offers a Peek Into Secret Planning on North Korea,” The New York Times online, Dec. 17, 2017