New Friendly Site: In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a new addition to the Friendly Site list: the Jamestown Foundation, which was added due to their China Brief. Here are some highlights from the last two issues: Willy Lam on Hu Jintao’s push for the Communist military buildup, and what he hopes to get from next month’s summit with President Bush; Former U.S. defense attaché to Beijing Dennis Blasko on the Pentagon’s Communist military report; Canadian military analyst Nathan Nankivell on the politics of Communist China’s terrible water pollution; Monash University Research Associate Sharif Shuja on how Communist China’s “reforms” are hitting the wall; and Northwestern University Professor Victor Shih on the Communist banking system.
Joint Communist China-Russia military exercises begin: The first major joint military exercise between Communist China and Russia began today, with 10,000 troops staging “a mock invasion of an imaginary country” (BBC). Such an exercise already has many analysts thinking “Taiwan” (Bill Gertz, Washington Times), or perhaps a broader shot across America’s bow for its “bases in Central Asia and presence in Asia.” The Communists states the exercises were mock actions against “international terrorism, extremism or separatism” (Cybercast News). Meanwhile, most agree that Russia is looking to impress its biggest arms customer with some new products. Of course, the Communists are also hoping “to establish a strategic partnership with Moscow to confront what it calls U.S. global hegemony” (James Hackett in Washington Times).
India halts Huawei investment: A deal to let Huawei Technologies (the folks who helped Saddam Hussein integrate his air defenses) “invest $60 million in foreign equity in one of its Indian units” (United Press Int’l via World Peace Herald) is now on hold amid questions of “China's focus on cyber warfare” and “possible espionage.”
Israel and U.S. agree to “process for consultation” on Communist arms sales: Israel has agreed to consult the U.S. on any future arms sales to Communist China (Voice of America via Epoch Times). Also reporting: Bill Gertz, Washington Times
Talks on textiles bring “hope,” but no deal: Two days of talks on restricting textile exports from Communist China to the U.S. ended “without agreement between the countries” (BBC), although chief U.S. negotiator David Spooner expressed “hope (that) we can resolve this in one more meeting.” Textile exports from Communist China “surged 54% year-on-year” after the expiration of worldwide textile trade restrictions on January 1. Many nations that hoped to benefit when the trade curbs ended have instead found themselves crowded out by Communist China (fifth, fourth, and second items).
The Australia file – NetRegistry blocked; van attacked: NetRegistry, an Australian firm that hosts over 10,000 websites, has discovered that Communist China is blocking all of them, due to the fact that one of them happens to be the site for Falun Gong practitioners down under (Epoch Times). Meanwhile, a man who has covered his van with “messages condemning human rights abuses in China” (Epoch Times) has seen it attacked fifteen times.
Royal Bank of Scotland leads group buying chunk of Communist-owned bank: RBS “is to lead a $3.1bn (£1.7bn) investment in the Communist-owned, corruption-racked Bank of China (eleventh, sixteenth, nineteenth, sixth, seventh, last, and tenth items), giving it control of a 10% stake in China's second-biggest lender” (BBC). Among the co-investors in the RBS group is none other than pro-Communist tycoon Li Ka-Shing.
PetroKazakhstan’s suitors – LUKoil, Oil & Natural Gas Corp. and Petrochina: Canada-based PetroKazakhstan announced it had received three takeover offers, from Russia’s LUKoil, India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corp., and Communist-run Petrochina. No details were forthcoming. Report: UPI via Washington Times, third item
Communists create “riot police” units: Communist China has created special police units to “deal with terrorism, violent crimes, riots and threats to public security” (BBC). Now we know who specifically will cause future Hanyuan County massacres.
Presidential shooting case “closed”: Taiwanese Prosecutor General Wu Ying-chao officially closed the investigation into last year’s election-eve shooting of President Chen Shui-bian and Vice President Annette Lu. Wu “said there was no evidence there were any accomplices” (BBC) working with the gunman, who later committed suicide. Chen and Lu narrowly won re-election; their opponents claimed the shooting was staged.
Ignorant Comment of the Day: There wasn’t much competition this time, but the prize goes to Gary Andres, Washington Times, for a column on Communist China and the U.S. that is practically Kudlowesque in its naiveté.
More (and better) commentary on Communist China and the United States: F. Andy Messing, Jr., joins the few analysts who see the danger in the Communist China-Iran axis (he even uses our favorite phrase, Cold War II), in the Washington Times. Stan Grant, CNN, has a cursory, but not dismissive, examination of the Communist arms buildup.
On Taiwan: William M. Reilly, UPI (via Washington Times), sounds the alarm on Communist China’s economic threat to the island democracy. Caroline Gluck, BBC, finds a rare black mark for Taiwan – its woeful policy toward mainland dissidents.
On Communist China and the rest of the world: Andrea Mandel-Campbell, Maclean’s (Cdn.), examines the “China bubble”. Luo Ya and Liang Yu, Epoch Times, report on the effect of Chen Yonglin’s defection on Australia. Thomas Zhu, Epoch Times, gives a sketch of the Stockholm forum on Communism and Human Rights in China.
On Communist China’s dangerous mines: Communist China has witnessed several harrowing mine accidents, and the cadres have been quick to blame unscrupulous mine owners. However, as the editors of the Epoch Times point out, “local officials' ownership of coalmine shares is an open secret.”
On Stalinist North Korea: The Stalinists scored a public relations bonanza by sending delegates to Seoul to mark the anniversary of V-J Day, including kind words from dovish South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun (Washington Times, UPI via Washington Times). Meanwhile, as the U.S. pushes for more talks with the Stalinists (Washington Times) and South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon prepare to come to Washington for more talks (UPI via Washington Times), Peter Baker and Dafna Linzer, Washington Post, take stock of the situation. We ask, again, Will they never learn? On the bright side, the anti-SNK Proliferation Security Initiative continues to progress (Cybercast News).