China geopolitical strategy January 2024-

Written by  //  February 9, 2024  //  China, Geopolitics  //  Comments Off on China geopolitical strategy January 2024-

More on China
Belt and Road Initiative:
Relevance beyond the Xi Jinping regime?

In the year of the dragon, will China breathe fire into its deflating economy?
Amy Hawkins
Plunge in consumer prices has fuelled calls for a stimulus package – yet Beijing may stick to the new normal of lower growth
China consumer prices plunge at fastest rate for 15 years
China’s economy has gone from bad to worse – and it is only February.
Figures released on Thursday showed consumer prices fell by 0.8% in January compared with a year earlier, outstripping economists’ expectations and marking the biggest contraction in 15 years.
Prices in China have been flat or falling nearly continuously since July. Although the country’s zero-Covid policy was abandoned more than a year ago, consumers are still cautious about spending, both on everyday goods and on property, which has traditionally been the driver of growth in China’s gross domestic product. Income growth has slowed, and high unemployment rates are pushing down wages for some workers.
Some economists are worried that persistently low demand in China could have knock-on effects around the world as it may start to rely on demand from other countries to revive its economy.

9 February
C Uday Bhaskar: World needs China to take up diplomatic gauntlet in Middle East
As it seeks to project itself as a major global power in contrast to the US, China would be well advised to review its tangible contribution to the global good
Beijing has a rare opportunity to explore options for lowering the temperature in the region, by first seeking to end the spiral of violence and enable tentative negotiations
(SCMP) The UN Security Council emergency meeting, held on Monday at Russia’s request to deliberate the US military strikes against targets in Iraq and Syria – and the potential implications for peace and security in a region still reeling from the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel and the disproportionate reprisals – ended in an inconclusive but predictable manner.
The five permanent members stuck to their respective national positions – as is often the case when there is a sharp divergence between the United States and Russia – and there appears to be little light at the end of a dark, blood-spattered tunnel. An escalation stemming from miscalculation could have catastrophic consequences given the number of interlocutors in the turbulence that has engulfed the long-troubled Middle East.
… Scholars Zha Daojiong and Dong Ting wrote in an Asian Perspective journal article last year that Xi’s speech [China’s Xi Jinping rails against ‘cold war mentality’ and US hegemony in call for global cooperation] “used the expression ‘anquan buke fenge’ put forward as a principle (‘yuanze’). The core elements therein are ‘anquan’ (security) and ‘buke fenge’ (not to be divided or separated in conceptualisation). When used to discuss topics pertaining to national security and/or international affairs, ‘buke fenge’ can be translated into English as ‘inalienable’, ‘inseparable’ or ‘indivisible’.”
China surprised the world with its diplomatic dexterity last year by helping broker a deal between regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia. While the structural fault lines between Tehran and Riyadh in the religious, ethnic and geopolitical spheres will pose complex challenges, the resumption of normal diplomatic engagement between the regional heavyweights augurs well.
Beijing must now seek to burnish its nascent credibility as an enabling power in conflict negotiations and contributing to the global good. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council that pitches itself as being in the same league as the US, China should pick up the political-diplomatic gauntlet to stabilise things in West Asia.

22 January
Red Sea crisis: China firms eye Plan B ahead of Lunar New Year as container prices soar further
Average rate during the second week of January for shipping a 40-foot container between Europe and China was about US$5,400, up from US$1,500 a week earlier
Demand for containers in China has increased ahead of the Lunar New Year, with firms seeking to avoid the Red Sea following recent attacks by Houthi militants
(SCMP) Shipping prices between Europe and China have continued to soar amid the Red Sea crisis, weighing on China’s fragile export growth and pushing its companies to seek contingency plans to fortify their supply chains ahead of the Lunar New Year.
Pan Guang, a senior researcher with the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said that the ongoing Red Sea crisis could add risks to China’s investment in the region.
“The shipping route of the Red Sea is crucial for China’s belt and road projects,” Pan said in an interview with Shanghai-based news website Guancha on Wednesday.
“It is not just a responsibility to be shouldered by one single country to keep smooth and safe international shipping ways.”
China has called for a joint effort to restore and ensure the security of the shipping lanes in the Red Sea to avoid disruption to the global supply chain and international trade order.
“We will intensify coordination with relevant departments, closely monitor developments and offer support and assistance to firms,” Ministry of Commerce spokesman He Yadong said at a press conference on Thursday

14 January
The real winner of Taiwan’s election
(Bloomberg) What a weekend! Taiwan chose a new leader in the hardest-fought election in decades. But while the Democratic Progressive Party held onto the presidency, the political landscape changed dramatically.
Taiwan’s current vice president, Lai Ching-te, won with just 40% of the vote — the lowest winning percentage since 2000. His ruling DPP also lost its majority in the legislature. Opposition votes were split between the Kuomintang, which failed to gain enough seats to control the assembly, and the upstart Taiwan People’s Party, which holds the balance of power.
That makes the big winner of the election the status quo, which may bode well for the sensitive, three-way relationship between Taiwan, China and the US. Strong checks and balances between the executive and legislative arms of government make sharp changes in policy unlikely, potentially lowering the risk of changes that could, in turn, increase tensions between Washington and Beijing.
The president-elect’s weak mandate and the divided assembly mean he must work with the opposition on crucial decisions, including on military funding. The 64-year-old has already pledged to look at his rivals’ policies, and to appoint officials from other parties to government.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office repeated President Xi Jinping’s stated aim of unification with the island, and — without naming Lai — said his victory didn’t reflect mainstream public opinion. Six People’s Liberation Army warplanes, four navy vessels and one balloon were seen around Taiwan by Monday morning, according to the island’s defense ministry. That’s not particularly unusual.

After attempts to meddle in Taiwan’s elections fail, China takes stock
(WaPo) Taiwanese voters have made it clear — for the third time in a row — that they don’t want a leader who will kowtow to China. The democratic island on Saturday elected as president Lai Ching-te, the current vice president and former independence advocate whom Beijing views as a dangerous “separatist.”
Now, Beijing must craft a response.
For Beijing, Lai’s victory is a loss that deepens anxiety about its ability to bring Taiwan under its control, a long-held goal of the ruling Communist Party and a key part of Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s legacy. The result gives Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which Beijing refuses to engage with, an unprecedented third term.
“A Lai win will mean that Xi loses face,” said Chen Fang-Yu, assistant professor of political science at Soochow University in Taipei. “It means his Taiwan policy has failed. So now he must do something to show his muscle.”
World reactions to Taiwan election
(Reuters) – Following are reactions by some foreign leaders and other officials to the result of Saturday’s election in Taiwan, won by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) presidential candidate Lai Ching-te. Lai’s party champions Taiwan’s separate identity and rejects China’s territorial claims.

This weekend, Taiwanese voters are heading to the polls to elect their next president. The race has been marred by a misinformation campaign from China, highlighting the contest’s importance to relations with Beijing. But, as David Sacks writes in a new article, the three major candidates are largely similar—and will likely continue the agenda of President Tsai Ing-wen, who has worked to bolster the country’s defense and anchor Taiwan more firmly to the West.
In an essay she wrote for Foreign Affairs in 2021, [Taiwan and the Fight for Democracy – A Force for Good in the Changing International Order] Tsai made the case for Taiwan’s vital role in upholding the liberal order—and the stakes of rising tensions in cross-straits relations. “If Taiwan were to fall, the consequences would be catastrophic for regional peace and the democratic alliance system,” she warned. “It would signal that in today’s global contest of values, authoritarianism has the upper hand over democracy.”

10 January
Taiwan’s Status Quo Election
Why the Result Won’t Have Much Effect on Cross-Strait Relations—or U.S.-Chinese Tensions
David Sacks
(Foreign Affairs) … From the perspective of the Chinese Communist Party, however, Taiwan’s very existence as one of Asia’s strongest democracies, and by some measures the region’s freest society, is a threat. Taiwan’s success reveals—despite the CCP’s claims to the contrary—that democracy and a majority ethnically Chinese society are not incompatible. Moreover, as China and Taiwan’s political systems continue to diverge, there is little support on the island for unification. Taiwan is increasingly anchored to the West, and its population broadly favors strengthening relations with Japan, the United States, and Europe.

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