China Will Be The Straw That Will Stir The World’s Economic Drink?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)

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Forum hears pledge of more effort to revitalize China’s real economy

CHINA will remain committed to ensuring innovation drives development and will increase efforts to revitalize the real economy, Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli said yesterday.

“The real economy is the foundation of economic growth and we will optimize it,” Zhang said at the opening ceremony of the China Development Forum 2017 in Beijing.

China will improve its capabilities in scientific innovation and boost the development of strategic emerging sectors and modern manufacturing while transforming traditional industries with new technology and business models, he said.

The government will continue to promote entrepreneurship and the “Internet Plus” plan to meet the diverse needs of the market and Chinese companies will be encouraged to use craftsmanship to establish competitive brands that can stand the test of time.

China will further reduce costs for enterprises by streamlining administration and pushing forward tax reforms, and prevention and control of financial risks will be elevated to a higher position on the government’s agenda, Zhang said, adding that China will manage risks in bad loans, bond default, property bubbles and Internet finance to avoid systemic financial risks.

To stimulate growth and improve market vitality, China should increase supply-side structural reform, Zhang said.

Highlighting the basic tone of “seeking progress while maintaining stability,” he underscored the need for efforts to maintain growth, ensure employment and counteract risks from home and abroad.

China will forge ahead with its supply-side reform, cutting steel production capacity by around 50 million tons and coal capacity by over 150 million tons this year, he said.

The country will prioritize de-stocking unsold houses in third and fourth-tier cities as it fights speculation in the housing market, he added.

Zhang restated China’s commitment to better air, water and soil quality.

The government will speed up the reform of state-owned enterprises, make concrete mixed-ownership reforms in sectors such as power, petroleum, railways, civil aviation and telecommunications and open the market to more private investment, Zhang said.

On the close ties between China and the world economy, he stressed the need to advance globalization and fight protectionism.

“China is willing to join efforts with the international community to steer the world economy toward strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth,” he said.

The country will continue to implement its opening-up strategy and advance the Belt and Road Initiative, he added.

China will host the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May. Taking part in this “new chapter in win-win cooperation” will be more than 20 heads of state and government, more than 50 leaders of international organizations, more than 100 ministerial-level officials, and more than 1,200 delegates.

For China And The U.S. ‘Cooperation Is The Only Way Forward’

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Cooperation the only way forward

COOPERATION is the only correct choice for China and the United States, President Xi Jinping told visiting US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Beijing yesterday.

There are important development opportunities resulting from China-US relations, said Xi during the meeting in the Great Hall of People in Beijing.

Xi said he had maintained sound communications with his US counterpart Donald Trump through phone calls and messages, and they had agreed that the two countries could be good cooperative partners.

Xi said that to advance China-US ties in a healthy and steady manner, both sides could enhance exchanges at various levels; expand cooperation in bilateral, regional and global fields; and properly address and manage sensitive issues.

Xi suggested the two countries increase strategic trust and mutual understanding, review bilateral ties from long-term and strategic perspectives and expand fields of cooperation for their mutual benefit.

The two countries should also enhance coordination on regional hotspot issues, respect each other’s core interests and major concerns and encourage friendly exchanges between their two Peoples.

Tillerson told Xi, who extended an invitation for President Trump to visit China, that the US president valued communications with his Chinese counterpart and looked forward to meeting Xi and visiting China.

The US side is ready to develop relations with China based on the principle of no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, said Tillerson.

China and the US are discussing arrangements for a meeting between the two presidents and exchanges at other levels, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during his talks with Tillerson on Saturday.

“We attach great importance to your visit,” Wang told the US visitor at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing.

It was Tillerson’s first visit to China since he assumed office last month and he is also the first Cabinet-level official in the new US administration to visit.

China-US ties are developing steadily in a positive direction, Wang said.

He called for more cooperation in foreign affairs, the economy and trade, the military, law enforcement, people-to-people exchanges and local communication.

The essence of China-US trade relations is mutual benefit, said Wang, and he encouraged both countries to expand trade and investment cooperation.

Wang also restated China’s position on Taiwan and South China Sea issues, emphasizing that China and the US should respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, discreetly deal with sensitive issues to protect bilateral ties from unnecessary influences.

Tillerson said the US adheres to the “One China” policy and added that closer cooperation and coordination between the two countries was necessary in the face of a changing international situation. The US would like to have more high-level exchanges with China, and more dialogue in diplomatic security, macroeconomic policy coordination, law enforcement, cyberspace and people-to-people exchanges, he said.

Tillerson’s visit aims to make “political preparations” for the meeting between two presidents, and both sides would make the best use of this chance to seek common ground, said Jia Xiudong, a researcher with the China Institute of International Studies.

Tillerson arrived in Beijing on Saturday from Seoul. His first official Asian tour began on Wednesday and also took him to Japan.

US, China to Increase Cooperation on North Korea

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS PAPER ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

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US, China to Increase Cooperation on North Korea

Korea

Beijing – The United States and China vowed to work together against threats of the North Korea’s nuclear program, while US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that the situation has reached a “dangerous” level.

Tillerson and his Chinese counterpart’s language seemed more reconciliatory in light US President Donald Trump’s accusations that China was not exerting enough efforts to control its troublesome neighbor. Beijing had meanwhile accused the White House of causing tensions.

“I think we share a common view and a sense that tensions on the peninsula are quite high right now and things have reached a rather dangerous level. And we have committed ourselves to doing everything we can to prevent any kind of conflict from breaking out,” Tillerson added during a press conference in Beijing with Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Tillerson’s visit to China is the last leg of his Asian trip, where he made stops in Japan and South Korea.

He avoided using strong language during the joint press conference with Wang, who seemed to have reproached his counterpart for statements he had made earlier this week.

Wang urged the US to remain “cool-headed” and defended his government’s position, saying all international parties should seek diplomatic solutions while implementing UN sanctions against the regime in North Korea.

“We hope that all parties, including our friends from the United States, could size up the situation in a cool-headed and comprehensive fashion and arrive at a wise decision,” he added.

Neither parties announced any tangible future steps to solve the issue and Tillerson did not publically respond to Beijing’s calls for negotiations with North Korea.

Trump had increased the pressure on China, accusing it of not exploiting all means possible to control North Korea, whom he said considered Beijing to be its closest ally and economic benefactor.

“North Korea is behaving very badly. They have been ‘playing’ the United States for years. China has done little to help!” he tweeted.

The developments come after North Korea conducted two nuclear tests last year and launched missiles last month. The US considered the test-launch an attack on its bases in Japan.

The developments alarmed South Korea, spurring it to deploy the US’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System (THAAD). The Chinese leadership had accused the US of aggravating the situation through military trainings with its ally Seoul and the deployment of THAAD.

China is hesitant to increase its pressure on North Korea, whose reactions can be unpredictable.

Washington and Seoul insist that the THAAD system is for defense purposes only, but Beijing fears it could undermine its capabilities to denuclearize North Korea.

Beijing had always called for diplomatic talks to denuclearize North Korea, which is barred by the UN from proceeding with its program.

Wang also said that the Korean peninsula nuclear issue is of interest to everyone, reiterating his country’s commitment to the goal of denuclearization

“We are for the settlement of this issue through dialogue and negotiations and the maintenance of peace and stability on the peninsula and the overall region,” he added on Saturday.

Wang reiterated that China, as a close neighbor of the peninsula and a major power, has devoted a lot of energy and efforts to seek a settlement to the issue. The tremendous important efforts China has made are visible to all, he said.

Tillerson, who was CEO of ExxonMobil before being appointed secretary of state, said that a military option is possible if Pyongyang intensified its work.

“We do believe that if North Korea stands down on this nuclear program, that is their quickest means to begin to develop their economy and to become a vibrant economy for the North Korean people,” the US officials said.

He added: “All options are on the table, but we cannot predict the future.”

Maybe one of the reasons for the calm American-Chinese rhetoric is the expected talks between US President Trump and Chinese President Xi during the latter’s upcoming visit to US next month, the first such summit between the two leaders.

Trump is expected to host Xi at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach on April 6 and 7 for an informal “no necktie” encounter. Experts hope this meeting will reduce tensions between the two officials.

China shares US fears of Pyongyang’s nuclear ambition, but it makes sure not to provoke its neighbor.

In February, Beijing issued a strong position when it announced it will stop coal imports from North Korea until the end of this year.

North Korea expert at Beijing University Wong Dong said: “It is a mistake to think that China can control Pyongyang and it is not reasonable for Washington to accuse Beijing of doing nothing. The situation is complicated and sensitive and there is no magical solution.”

The Obama administration ruled out any diplomatic involvement with Pyongyang until the latter shows commitment to denuclearization.

The communist state insists on owning nuclear weapons to defend itself and executed its first test in 2006 despite international objection. It had done four other tests, two last year.

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China Reacts Angrily To South Korea Wanting To Be Able To Protect Themselves From North Korean Missiles

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)

China angrily reacts with threats after South Korean missile defense decision

Chinese state media has reacted with anger and threats of boycotts after the board of an affiliate of South Korea’s Lotte Group approved a land swap with the government that will enable authorities to deploy a U.S. missile defense system.

The government decided last year to deploy the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, in response to the North Korean missile threat, on land that is part of a golf course owned by Lotte in the Seongju region, southeast of Seoul.

The board of unlisted Lotte International Co Ltd approved the deal with the government on Monday.

China objects to the deployment in South Korea of the THAAD, which has a powerful radar capable of penetrating Chinese territory, with Beijing saying it is a threat to its security and will do nothing to ease tension with North Korea.

Influential state-run Chinese tabloid the Global Times said in an editorial on Tuesday that Lotte should be shown the door in China.

“We also propose that Chinese society should coordinate voluntarily in expanding restrictions on South Korean cultural goods and entertainment exports to China, and block them when necessary,” it said in its English-language edition.

The paper’s Chinese version said South Korean cars and cellphones should be targeted as well.

“There are loads of substitutes for South Korean cars and cellphones,” it said.

The WeChat account of the overseas edition of the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily said late on Monday that cutting diplomatic ties should also be considered.

“If THAAD is really deployed in South Korea, then China-South Korea relations will face the possibility of getting ready to cut off diplomatic relations,” it said.

The official Xinhua news agency also said in a commentary late on Monday that China “did not welcome this kind of Lotte”.

“Chinese consumers can absolutely say no to this kind of company and their goods based on considerations of ‘national security’,” it said.

South Korea’s defense ministry said on Tuesday it had signed a land swap deal with Lotte on the golf course in exchange for providing military property. A South Korean military official told Reuters the military would begin installing fences and soldiers would patrol the area.

The Lotte Group said on Feb. 8 Chinese authorities had stopped construction at a multi-billion dollar real estate project in China after a fire inspection, adding to concern in South Korea about damage to commercial relations with the world’s second-largest economy.

Asked if South Korea had demanded the Chinese government suspend any economic retaliation, South Korean Defence Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-kyun said: “We have continuously persuaded China so far and will keep continuing efforts to do so.”

South Korean government officials have said THAAD is a defensive measure against North Korean threats and does not target any other country.

South Korea’s central bank said this month the number of Chinese tourists visiting the tourist island of Jeju had fallen 6.7 percent over the Lunar New Year holiday from last year, partly because of China’s “anti-South Korea measures due to the THAAD deployment decision”.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Additional reporting by Ju-min Park in SEOUL; Editing by Paul Tait)

China Gearing Up For Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games

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China gearing up for Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games

WHEN Chinese cross-country skier Man Dandan grabbed the country’s first gold medal at the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan on Feb. 20, winter sports fans nationwide were thrilled.

The prize was regarded as a breakthrough for the Chinese delegation, which used to fair better on the ice rink than on the skiing track.

Before the competition, Man had taken the first place in the ladies’ sprint final at the FIS China Tour de Ski Changchun stage. As a rising star, she began to terminate the domination of Nordic countries and regions in some tough games. These years’ Vasaloppet China Festivals, an annual cross-country skiing race launched in Sweden in 1922, also witnessed the rise of young athletes like Man.

“China began to learn how to improve its competitiveness in cross-country skiing events in 2003, several years before China’s bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics,” said Zhao Xiaolu, deputy director of Changchun sports bureau.

As we enter the second full year after Beijing was awarded the 2022 Winter Olympics, Chinese fans are noticing that many national winter sports teams have been established for the first time, such as the alpine skiing and bobsleigh & skeleton teams.

Chinese athletes also competed in all 64 events at the Sapporo Asian Winter Games, eager to test themselves in as many winter Olympic events as possible.

PREPARATION WORK FOR THE GAMES

As it prepares to host another edition of the Olympic games, Beijing’s preparation work is so far going smoothly, with construction on a new airport and venues on schedule.

Construction on the new airport, located in Beijing’s southern Daxing district is expected to be completed in 2019. It will have a capacity of 100 million trips per year, and will be 30 minutes’ ride to downtown Beijing via subway.

Beijing is also converting the 2008 Summer Olympic venues into sites for the Winter Games in an effort to keep costs under control.

Wukesong sports center, which hosted the basketball events in 2008, will host the ice hockey events in 2022. The National Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube, will become the curling rink.

According to the Organizing Committee for the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, Beijing will host three events, namely curling, ice hockey and skating, in 12 venues, including eight legacies of the 2008 Summer Games, three newly built venues, and one temporary venue.

President Xi Jinping stressed the need for solid preparation work for the Games when presiding over a symposium this week on the subject, saying that the work should embody the spirit of green, open and shared development, along with fairness and honesty.

He also vowed zero tolerance in regards to doping and corruption, saying China “should make the Winter Olympic Games as pure and clean as snow and ice.”

A HIGHER GOAL

Eyeing a successful tournament at home in 2022, China is also determined to become a winter sports powerhouse in the next decade.

The efforts are two-fold. On the one hand, China is focusing on improving its technical and tactical skills and gaining advantage in individual events. On the other hand, it aims to popularize winter sports among the general public.

In its bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics, China promised to the world that the country would attract more than 300 million people to take part in winter sports.

To achieve part of that goal, Changchun, capital of Jilin Province, has motivated one million teenagers to enjoy the city’s abundant skating rinks and ski resorts during the just-ended Chinese New Year holiday.

The central government also approved a 10-year plan on developing winter sports in November, 2016, aiming to expand the scale of the winter sports industry to one trillion yuan (about 145 billion U.S. dollars).

According to a document released by the municipal government in January, Beijing will have 40 new ice rinks across the city by 2020. Among them, 16 rinks, including 11 indoor rinks, have been built in 2016. Construction of another 10 venues will be completed this year. The rest will be constructed by 2020, the document said.

China Says Trade War With The U.S. Is Not An Option

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)

A potential trade war should not be used as an “option” to spoil Chinese-American relations as the two countries are able to resolve bilateral trade disputes through dialogue, Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said yesterday.

China and the United States, the world’s largest traders, should work together to promote trade and investment, said Gao, speaking at a briefing in Beijing.

A good relationship between the two countries not only benefits both sides but helps global economic growth and recovery amid a still weak momentum, Gao said.

US President Donald Trump pledged during his election campaign to raise import duties on Chinese goods to 40 percent but he has yet to take formal action. He also said he would declare China an “exchange rate manipulator.”

However, in a phone conversation earlier this month to Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump said that the United States was ready to work with China to take bilateral ties to new historic heights.

Gao said yesterday China would not comment too much on what the US president said during his election campaign, but would focus on the new American government’s attitude toward trade with China.

“As a consensus reached between leaders of the two countries, cooperation was the only right choice for China and the US,” Gao said.

Whatever changes in the US policy toward China, the trade relations between the two nations will eventually return to “the track of mutual benefits and win-win,” he said.

China is now America’s largest trading partner and its third largest export destination after Canada and Mexico, according to a report from the US-China Business Council.

China’s direct investment in America hit a record high of US$45 billion in 2016, a threefold increase on 2015.

Robust bilateral trade and investment have supported some 2.6 million jobs in the US, according to the report.

“A trade war should not become an option,” Gao said. “If the two sides fight, both will be hurt.”

The US last year replaced China as the world’s largest trader as China’s foreign trade declined.

Gao yesterday said China would not seek a “blind expansion in exports‚“ as it could undermine the country’s resources and environment.

China would instead gain new grounds through improved standards, techniques, brands and services.

Addressing China’s tightening inspection on outbound investment since late last year, Gao said measures were being taken to control irrational and blind outbound investment, where companies made huge investment into high risk areas and fields unrelated to their core businesses.

The commerce minister said the government would guide companies to make more prudent and rational outbound investment while improving rules to facilitate outbound investment and protect the rights of investors.

China’s President Xi Jinping Tells Government Leaders They Must End Their ‘Special Privileges’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)

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Privileges must end, Xi urges leading officials

PRESIDENT Xi Jinping told leading officials yesterday that they should practice strict self-discipline and eliminate special privileges.

Xi made the remarks at the opening session of a workshop on the Sixth Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee. The workshop was attended by senior provincial and ministerial officials.

Xi, who is also general secretary of the Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, said implementing the decisions of the plenum would have far-reaching and profound significance for both the Party and socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Xi urged leading cadres to “build a fence” against special privileges to prevent themselves and those around them from abusing power.

Leading officials should use their power “impartially, cautiously and legally,” Xi said.

The workshop was being held to help senior provincial and ministerial officials understand two documents — one on the norms of political life within the Party in the new era, and a regulation on intra-Party supervision — which were approved by last year’s plenum.

“Leading officials should strengthen their political capability, firm their political ideals, uphold political direction, be steadfast in their stance and strictly observe political rules,” Xi said, stressing that they should enrich their political experience and match their political capability with the positions they were holding.

Xi said upholding the authority of the Central Committee with strict observance of orders and rules was related to the future and fate of the Party and the nation as well as the fundamental interests of all people across the nation.

Xi called on all Party members to become more aware of the need to uphold political integrity, keep in mind the bigger picture, follow the Party as the core of the Chinese leadership, and act consistently with Central Committee policy.

Safeguarding the authority of the Central Committee and the centralized and unified leadership chimed with democratic centralism, Xi said.

The Party sets great store by intra-Party democracy, as all major decisions follow strict processes, and are informed by wide opinions and suggestions, Xi said.

Strengthening and regulating political life within the Party requires the correct political direction, and advancing with the times, said Xi, who also stressed principles of political life and its spirit of holding firmly to the truth and rectifying errors.

Self-development is the most distinctive characteristic of the Party, and its biggest advantage, because the Party has no interests except for those of the country, the nation and the people, Xi said.

Leading officials, especially those in senior roles, must strengthen their self-discipline, he said.

They should ensure their words and deeds are in line with the Party constitution, and embody the Party spirit in all they do.

Xi called for thorough study of the two documents, which were designed to address contradictions and problems within the Party.

Xi also said Party organizations must improve inspections and ensure accountability. He also stressed that high-raking cadres should take the lead in complying with the Party’s code of conduct.

Xi-Trump phone talk a good first step in fostering China-US dialogue

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)

Xi-Trump phone talk a good first step in fostering China-US dialogue

THE phone talk held by Chinese President Xi Jinping with his US counterpart Donald Trump is a good first step in fostering the China-US dialogue and provides a platform for further cooperation, US experts said Friday.

“The phone call was a good first step…for fostering dialogue between Presidents Trump and Xi,” Dan Mahaffee, an analyst at the Center for the Study of Congress and the Presidency, told Xinhua in an interview.

Trump and Xi held a lengthy and “extremely cordial” phone conversation Thursday night on numerous topics, during which they agreed that the two sides will engage in discussions on various issues of mutual interest.

“The fact that it was cordial, and the discussion’ s tenor reflects that both leaders understand that while differences remain, they need to be addressed through dialogue and diplomacy,” Mahaffee said.

Douglas Paal, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International peace, told Xinhua that the call “was very important to provide a foundation of stability in the US-China relations as well as a platform for further wide-ranging cooperation and the management of emerging tensions.”

The call was the first between the leaders of the top two economies in the world since Trump’s inauguration in late January. Before Thursday, Trump had already talked on the phone with about 20 foreign leaders except Xi, fueling concerns that the absence of contact between the two leaders could lead to renewed tensions in the China-US ties.

The Xi-Trump phone conversation was important to break the ice in the China-US ties, Darrell West, vice president and director of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, told Xinhua in an interview.

“The call helped to open the door on high-level consultation, which is good for both countries,” West said.

“It is important that China and the US remain in close contact. They are the two leading nations in the world and it is crucial that there are open communications so there are no misunderstandings or (something) that could spiral out of control,” he added.

The experts agreed that Trump’s affirmation of the one-China policy, the bedrock of the China-US ties, paved the way for the phone call, which probably came after Trump and advisers concluded that the costs of not doing so could bring greater costs than benefits.

Trump had previously aggravated China by taking a call from Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen after winning the US presidency last November and telling the US media in December that the one-China policy was open for negotiation.

“The fact that Trump now embraces the one-China policy will allow the relationship to unfold more naturally,” West said, citing that resolving the issue was a prerequisite for addressing every other issue.

If Trump continues to question the one China policy, there would be no basis for President Xi to interact with him, said Paal, a former director of the American Institute in Taiwan.

Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Xinhua that Trump probably was convinced by his top aides that it was necessary to make the one-China statement “in order to move forward with the US-China relationship in other areas.”

“The costs of not adhering to the one China policy were very high,” Glaser said, though adding that this should not be seen as Trump making a concession.

Media reports revealed that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had said in written answers to questions after his Senate nomination hearing that the US should adhere to the one-China policy.

As China and the US start negotiations to address their frictions and advance cooperation on various issues of mutual interest, there is a broad range of issues that demand early attention, the experts said.

They include the nuclear program of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, US trade deficit with China, mutual investments and boosting American exports, Paal said.

Mahaffee said at the top of the agenda of the China-US talks should be the issues of maritime disputes in the South and East China Seas, cyber security, as well as trade, investment and currency.

“I think there can be discussions aimed at avoiding miscalculation between the nations in the sea, air, space and cyber domains, and I also think that agreements on trade and investment could be reached that would make it easier for companies from either country to invest in the other,” he said.

China’s President Xi Has New Year Message For The Nation’s Military

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)

Xi has New Year message for the nation’s military

PRESIDENT Xi Jinping called on the military to improve its political awareness, push forward reform, and govern its forces according to law to aid the building of a strong military.

Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, underscored the importance of improving combat readiness through troop training.

The president made the comments on Monday during a visit to the 65th Army Group, which is stationed in north China’s Hebei Province.

While at the barracks, Xi extended Spring Festival greetings to the armed forces, armed police force, the militia and reserve forces.

The weeklong holiday, which starts on the eve of the Chinese New Year tomorrow, is the most important in the Chinese calendar, when millions of people travel home, many seeing their relatives for the only time in the year.

Xi visited a study room of a company of an infantry brigade under the 65th Army Group, where he saw servicemen using a smart phone app to compare study results. He encouraged all soldiers to carry forward the country’s excellent traditions and move with the times, while using the Party’s new theories to arm their ideologies.

Xi expressed an interest in soldiers’ living arrangements during the Chinese Lunar New Year. He was briefed by a platoon leader that soldiers will have dinner, play games and attend entertainment events.

After listening to the soldiers singing, Xi sat with them, talking to every soldier in the platoon and urging the leaders to make sure that the soldiers have a good Spring Festival.

At the company clubhouse, Xi posed for photographs with the soldiers and told them that the grassroots units were the foundation of the military. He urged officers to care about their fellow servicemen and address their concerns.

He also voiced the hope that young servicemen could make personal achievements while in service.

Better work order

At the command and training center of the army group, Xi ordered better ideological and political work, saying that the pernicious influence of Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou, two corrupt former CMC vice-chairmen, should be purged.

Guo was jailed for life last year. Xu died of cancer in 2015 before he could face trial.

It must be ensured that the military upholds the authority of the Party’s Central Committee at all times and under any circumstances, and firmly follows the command of the Party and the military commission, Xi said.

He demanded reform tasks be implemented and the military’s combat capability be enhanced through drills under battle conditions.

Xi stressed that the military should be strictly governed according to law, with a focus on primary-level units.

While striving to complete military missions, Xi said, the military should also support the integrated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and the country’s poverty alleviation efforts.

Anywhere America Steps Back: China’s Communist Government Steps Forward

 

THE WEEKEND ROUNDUP 

A new rift in world affairs appears to be opening up: a division between pro-globalization Asia, with China in the lead, and the transatlantic nations that have turned against globalization.

“President Xi’s appearance at the World Economic Forum in Davos next week,” I write in a blog post this week, “comes at both an auspicious and inauspicious moment. It is an auspicious moment because President-elect Donald Trump has all but announced America’s withdrawal from the world it has largely made over recent decades — and from which Asia has most benefited.” Since Europe has become inwardly absorbed with anxieties over terror attacks, immigration and failed integration, I continue, “that leaves China as the one major power with a global outlook. Ready or not, China has become the de facto world leader seeking to maintain an open global economy and battle climate change. In effect, President Xi has become the ‘core leader’ of globalization.”

“The inauspicious aspect is the reverse,” I go on to say. “The general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party is speaking to the converted from the pulpit in the foremost church of the global elite that gathers annually in Davos. Aligning with the global business elites in such a high profile manner places China even more squarely in the negative sights of the populist wave sweeping the Western democracies. It affirms in their minds that China is the main enemy of the working and middle class in the West.” China’s increasing show of force in the South China Sea this week in response to what it sees as provocations by the incoming U.S. administration also does it little favor in Western eyes.

Alexis Crow makes the counter-case that globalization continues to be beneficial to the West, saying trade is closely correlated with economic growth. “Increased wages in Southeast Asia boost demand for goods from new economy sectors in the West,” she writes. She also notes, as a case in point, how Chinese investment is creating thousands of jobs in Ohio.

Writing from Vladivostok, Artyom Lukin wonders how heightening conflict with China, as Trump tilts toward a closer embrace of Moscow, will play out. “Given Trump’s obvious hostility to China and his friendliness to Russia,” he writes, “Moscow may move into the apex spot of the triangle, having better relations with Beijing and Washington than they have with each other.” As Lukin sees it, Russian President Vladimir Putin may well seek to, “position himself as a sort of mediator between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.”

Based on his experiences with Putin, Alexey Kovalev offers some advice as a Russian journalist to his American colleagues who this week faced their first press conference with Donald Trump. “Facts don’t matter. You can’t hurt this man with facts or reason. He’ll always outmaneuver you. He’ll always wriggle out of whatever carefully crafted verbal trap you lay for him. Whatever he says, you won’t be able to challenge him.” He welcomes his American colleagues to “the era of bullshit.” Fearing this is only the beginning of what’s to come in the battle between Trump and the press, Howard Fineman writes, “It’s not a video game. It’s Washington in the Trump era, and we’ve just seen an unsettling preview.”

Many Africans are also wondering how a Trump presidency that is hostile to China will unfold for them. As Eric Olander and Cobus van Staden report, while America’s role in the world is growing uncertain, China is becoming more predictably favorable. As the year opened, China outlawed its domestic ivory trade and Foreign Minister Wang Yi is making a visit to Africa his first overseas trip of the year. China has also committed $60 billion in financing for African projects.

Writing from Singapore, Parag Khanna takes another tack entirely, suggesting that an America caught up in the turmoil of a populist backlash might learn a thing or two not only from other successful states like Germany, but from China as well. America, Khanna observes, “is caught in a hapless cycle of flip-flopping parties and policies while overall national welfare stagnates. Populism has prevailed over pragmatism.” He further remarks that, even in the West, there is grudging admiration for, “China’s ability to get things done without perpetual factionalism holding up national priorities, such as infrastructure.”

The populist drift in both the U.S. and Europe deeply concerns the Human Rights Watch organization, Nick Visser reports. “They scapegoat refugees, immigrant communities, and minorities. Truth is a frequent casualty,” he cites the watchdog’s director, Kenneth Roth, as saying. Nick Robins-Early looks at the trend of populism in Europe, noting that this year will be a test for the far-right, specifically in France, Germany and The Netherlands.

Writing from New Delhi, Swati Chaturvedi fears the consequences of the anti-Muslim and anti-woman hate speech that seems part and parcel of a Hindu brand of populism taking hold in India today. “Trolls,” she says, “are the goons of the online world. … lies and violent words can have deadly consequences in the real world.”

In an interview, former Iranian President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr sees opportunity for the regime in a Trump presidency where others see only trouble. “Khamenei’s supporters believe not only that Trump will maintain the Vienna nuclear agreement,” he says, “but also that his policies in Syria and the Middle East will maintain the interests of the regime.”

Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, also has a positive spin on the negativity surrounding President-elect Trump. He thinks Americans are more than capable of rising to disruptive challenges of new technologies behind so much political anxiety today. Wheeler argues that the slogan “‘Make America Great Again’ became a surrogate for ‘Make me secure again amidst all this change.’ Great swaths of the electorate sought stability in a world where everything seemed to be changing.” Wheeler reminds his fellow Americans that they’ve been here before: “Like today,” he says, “the technology revolution of the 19th century produced a longing for stability. But instead of retreating, Americans pushed forward to build a new security around new concepts. Universal education, employee rights, governmental offsets to abusive market power and other initiatives targeted the new problems. The result was the good old days many now long for.”

Writing from Geneva, Richard Baldwin sees a double blow to the labor market – in both rich and poor countries ― of both offshoring and robots. “Rapid advances in computing power and communication technology,” he contends, “will make it economical for many more people to work remotely across borders.” As medical costs rise in the rich countries, for example, Baldwin expects to see more and more “telesurgery” where the patient and doctor are divided by hundreds of miles.

In this world so afflicted by hatred and violence, Turkish novelist Kaya Genc also sees a way to unite amidst division, finding beauty and peace in the quotidian event of a winter snowfall. “Snow saved Istanbul,” he writes this week from his beloved hometown on the shores of the Bosphorous. “As flakes fell from the sky, the city was relieved of its status as the new destination of international terror. … There was a hint of something chilling in the air, and I felt relieved that it was not man-made.”