Asian Research Center for International Development (ARCID), Mae Fah Luang University, Thailand
ARCID china update
Volume 2, No. 2 ISSN 2630-0885
July - December 2019
ARCID China Update Volume 2, No. 2 July - December 2019
Compiled by Tarida Baikasame Research Associate
Asian Research Center for International Development (ARCID) School of Social Innovation Mae Fah Luang University Thailand
ARCID CHINA UPDATE VOLUME 2, NO. 2 JULY-DECEMBER 2019 Â© All Rights Reserved Compiled by Tarida Baikasame ISSN: 2630-0885 First published in 2018 by ASIAN RESEARCH CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (ARCID) School of Social Innovation, Mae Fah Luang University 333 Moo 1, Thasud, Muang, Chiang Rai 57100, Thailand Tel : +66 5391 7137 Fax : +66 5391 6685 Email : firstname.lastname@example.org Website : chinawatch.today, social-innovation.mfu.ac.th/arcid.php Facebook page : www.facebook.com/ARCIDTHAILAND www.facebook.com/chinawatch.arcid Printed by TECHNO PRINTING CENTER 643 Utarakit Road, Wiang, Muang, Chiang Rai 57000, Thailand Tel/ Fax : +66 5371 8841 Email : email@example.com
Cover Photo by Usukhbayar Gankhuyag on Unsplash
Part I: The Chronology (July-December 2019) (A) Foreign Affairs
(B) Political Affairs
(C) Economic Affairs
(D) Socio-cultural Affairs
Part II: Selected Documentation (July-December 2019) (A) Chinese Embassy Spokesperson’s Remarks on Mekongrelated Media Report Targeting China
(B) White Paper: China’s National Defense in the New Era
(C) Joint Communiqué of the 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
(D) Chairman’s Statement of the 26th ASEAN Regional Forum
(E) Chairman’s Statement of the 20th ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
(F) Chairman’s Statement of the 9th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
(G) Joint Media Statement of the 8th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Intersessional Ministerial Meeting
(H) White Paper: China and the World in the New Era
(I) Speech by President Xi Jinping At the Reception in Celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China
(J) Chairman’s Statement of the 35th ASEAN Summit: Advancing Partnership for Sustainability
(K) Speech by Premier Li Keqiang at the 22nd China-ASEAN Summit
(L) Chairman’s Statement of the 22nd ASEAN-China Summit
(M) ASEAN-China Joint Statement on Synergising the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025 and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
(N) Speech by Premier Li Keqiang at the 22nd ASEAN Plus China, Japan, and South Korea Summit
(O) Chairman’s Statement of the 22nd ASEAN Plus Three Summit
(P) ASEAN Plus Three Leaders’ Statement on Connecting the Connectivities Initiative
(Q) Speech by Premier Li Keqiang at the 14th East Asia Summit
(R) Chairman’s Statement of the 14th East Asia Summit
(S) Joint Leaders’ Statement on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)
(T) East Asia Summit Leaders’ Statement on Partnership for Sustainability
(U) Joint Press Statement between the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Government of the People’s Republic of China
(V) Keynote Speech by President Xi Jinping at the Opening Ceremony of the 2nd China International Import Expo (CIIE)
(W) Joint Statement by the ADMM-Plus Defense Ministers on Advancing Partnership for Sustainable Security
(X) Speech by President Xi Jinping on New Year 2020
Part III: Selected Analysis (July-December 2019) Foreign Affairs (A) By learning from China, Vietnam has taken fewer detours Zhu Zhenming
(B) Understanding Chinaâ€™s Foreign Assistance Policy He Rui
(C) Cooperation source of prosperity and stability in SE Asia Luo Yongkun
(D) Diplomatic Efforts Over 70 Years Jon Taylor
Political Affairs (E) Thailand a new fulcrum for big hitters Kavi Chongkittavorn
(F) China and ASEAN coming closer on South China Sea controversy Li Kaisheng
(G) Will China turn off the Mekong tap? Nauvarat Suksamran
(H) Chinaâ€™s fast-track solutions in Myanmar fail to take off Larry Jagan
(I) HK protests in a regional perspective Thitinan Pongsudhirak
(J) Southeast Asia caught in dilemma Chen Dingding
(K) RCEP can give boost to international trade Zhang Guoping
(L) Mekong nations tighten anti-drug blitz Kavi Chongkittavorn
(M) Mekong River region on more minds Thitinan Pongsudhirak
(N) Smaller powers in Asia can make a difference Lye Liang Fook
Economic Affairs (O) Asia’s ‘flying geese’ Li Chen
(P) Time for China to build cross-border yuan settlements with neighboring countries Xu Weihong
(Q) Malaysia gateway to a digital silk road Hew Wee Choong
(R) China’s economy to face 6 key challenges Liu Yuanchun
(S) Global Trade in 2019: Grand agreements and profound disagreements Ji Xianbai
Socio-cultural Affairs (T) COP 25 is crucial for successfully implementing the Paris Agreement Rachana Gupta
With economic reforms and the opening up of the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China (PRC) to the outside world by Deng Xioaping and post-Deng leaders, China is now the largest economy (on a purchasing power parity basis). All indications show that China will be a superpower. The meteoric rise of China in the 21 st century signals the successful comeback of China in regaining its respectful place in regional and international affairs. It also means challenges as well as opportunities for other parts of the world, especially for countries in the Asia Pacific region. For many of us, the big question is: how should we deal with such a rising superpower? Other questions may include the following: Is Chinaâ€™s rise going to be sustained? What are the new directions mapped out by Xi Jinping to develop China? What sort of developmental challenges will it face? Is China a threat according to some analysts? How can we promote a winwin relationship with China? How can we manage our problems, if any, with China in order to preserve peace and development? To answer these questions, the Asian Research Center for International Development (ARCID) of the School of Social Innovation at Mae Fah Luang University has launched the China Watch Project with a grant from the Thailand Research Fund (TRF). We would like to express our thanks to the TRF for its funding support and suggestions in improving the project proposal. As part and parcel of the China Watch Project, ARCID has established a Monitor and Analysis (M & A) Unit surveying and analyzing major developments in China. Located in Northern Thailand, ARCID would take advantage of its geography and focus its research more on the Mekong region and its relations with East Asia, including China. We hope this strategy could help a young research center to establish a niche in the academic, intellectual and policy community. In this regard, the ARCID China Update, a biannual publication, is produced by the M & A Unit to keep track of the developments in China with special reference to its interactions with the Mekong region. The publication includes a chronology, selected documentation, selected analysis, and at times, ix
appendices. Inaugurated in mid-2018, the ARCID China Update is published twice a year with each issue covering developments in China for the immediate past six months. Essentially, the publication is a record of the events and issues under review.
Lee Lai To, Ph.D. Senior Professor and Director ARCID
Part I The Chronology
(I)The Chronology (July-December 2019) (A) Foreign Affairs July 1-2
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui visits Singapore to enhance bilateral ties. He meets with Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Barakrishnan, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Chee Wee Kiong, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry Gabriel Lim on separate occasions. Both sides exchange views on issues of common concern and express the willingness to work together on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, third-party market cooperation, China-ASEAN relations, free trade and multilateralism.
Luo Zhaohui visits Indonesia and meets with Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi at the ASEAN Secretariat. Both sides want to promote cooperation in the BRI, regional economic integration, and people-to-people and cultural exchanges. They exchange views on the South China Sea issue and expect the consultation on the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea to be finished soon. He meets with Indonesian Vice Foreign Minister Abdurrahman Mohammad Fachir and Director General for Asia-Pacific and African Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Desra Percaya to exchange views and deepen bilateral relations. They are willing to work together on the BRI and the Global Maritime Fulcrum and key cooperation projects, such as the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway.
Luo Zhaohui and Thai Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Busaya Mathelin co-chair the fourth round of China-Thailand Strategic Dialogue in Beijing. They want to push for greater development of bilateral ties and advance the quality of key projects, including the China-Thailand
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Railway, and the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). China supports Thailand as ASEAN Chair and works with the Thai side on China-ASEAN relations. July 8-12
Chairwoman of the National Assembly of Vietnam Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan pays an official visit to China. On July 11, Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan meets with Li Zhanshu, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China, to enhance exchanges and cooperation, such as the BRI and the “Two Corridors, One Economic Circle,” peace and stability at sea, and people-to-people exchanges. On July 12, she meets with President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People. Xi calls on both sides to promote friendship, deepen cooperation, jointly build the BRI and the "Two Corridors, One Economic Circle," increase people-to-people exchanges, and safeguard peace and stability at sea with concrete actions.
(1) Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan meets with Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail at Zhongnanhai, deepening exchanges and cooperation in various fields, such as the BRI, peopleto-people and cultural exchanges, and social governance. (2) The Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) hold the eight theory seminar in Xiamen, Fujian Province. Huang Kunming, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and a member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee holds talks with Chansy Phosikham, a member of the Political Bureau of the LPRP Central Committee and head of the central committee’s organization department, and Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune, head of the LPRP central committee’s publicity department.
Zhao Leji, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the CPC, meets with a delegation of the 4 The Chronology
Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) led by Vo Van Thuong, head of the CPV Central Committee’s Communication and Education Commission, in Beijing to enhance exchanges and cooperation. July 21
Huang Kunming, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, a member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, holds the 15th theory seminar with Vo Van Thuong, head of the CPV Central Committee’s Communication and Education Commission, focusing on exploring laws of socialist modernization in China and Vietnam.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen denies the fake news reported by Wall Street Journal that China and Cambodia have signed a secret agreement to allow China to use Cambodia’s Ream naval base in Preah Sihanouk Province as part of its armed forces.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui and Filipino Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Enrique A. Manalo co-chair the 22nd China-Philippines Diplomatic Consultation in Manila. They want to deepen the integration of the BRI and the “Build, Build, Build” Program, enhance political mutual trust, and promote China-ASEAN ties and regional cooperation. They exchange views on the South China Sea issue, enhancing maritime cooperation and working with ASEAN on the COC in the South China Sea. Both sides agree to hold the 5th Meeting of the Bilateral Consultation Mechanism (BCM) on the South China Sea issue as soon as possible.
Chinese State Councilor and Minister of Public Security Zhao Kezhi holds talks with Myanmar’s Minister of Labor, Immigration and Population U Thein Swe in Beijing to strengthen cooperation in border issues, immigration control and combat crimes.
July 30-August 3
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi pays an official visit to Thailand and attends the China-ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the ASEAN 5 The Chronology
Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Bangkok. Wang Yi meets foreign ministers of ASEAN countries on the sidelines of the ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting and related meetings. On July 30, Wang Yi meets with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, vowing to improve highlevel exchanges and bilateral cooperation. He meets with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn, promoting bilateral cooperation and China-ASEAN relations. He also meets with Filipino Foreign Secretary Teodoro Lopez Locsin on the same day. China wants to support the Philippines as the country coordinator for China-ASEAN relations, deepen the synergy of the BRI and the “Build, Build, Build” Program, promote high-level exchanges, political mutual trust regional development and bilateral cooperation, such as infrastructure, telecommunication, and oil and gas development. On July 31, Wang Yi meets with Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, expressing the willingness to work together on the BRI, the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, trilateral cooperation, innovation and smart city, and ChinaASEAN relations. He meets with Laotian Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith, promoting the momentum of high-level exchanges, the BRI, multilateralism, and bilateral cooperation. August 1
As State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and other related meetings, he meets with Thai Prime Minister and ASEAN foreign ministers in Bangkok. Wang Yi meets with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at the Prime Minister's Office. Both sides want to promote high-level exchanges, advance the BRI, push forward the construction of ThailandChina railway, promote bilateral ties, and exchange 6 The Chronology
experiences on state governance and administration including poverty alleviation. Wang Yi meets with Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Dato Seri Paduka Haji Erywan bin Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Haji Mohd Yusof of Brunei. They are willing to work together on the BRI, the Guangxi-Brunei Economic Corridor, maritime cooperation, the conclusion of the COC in the South China Sea, and people-to-people exchanges. Wang Yi meets with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh. Both sides are committed to deepening the Vietnam-China comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership. They want to implement the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries on maritime issues. August 2
Wang Yi meets with Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah, sharing the willingness to support the BRI, strengthen industrial and innovative cooperation, step up the development of the joint industrial park in each otherâ€™s country, and push forward the construction of the East Coast Railway project. They also support multilateralism and free trade.
The Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation issues a statement to support Chinaâ€™s measures to maintain peace in Hong Kong and return to normalcy as soon as possible.
There was an accident of a bus carrying 44 Chinese tourists and 2 Lao nationals on a road between Vientiane and Luang Prabang on August 19. Among 44 Chinese, 13 were killed and 31 were injured. The Chinese Embassy in Laos and the Chinese ConsulateGeneral in Luang Prabang launch an emergency mechanism and coordinate with the Lao military police and local rescue force to rescue patients. Jiangsu Provincial authorities send rescue workers to help. The Peace Train medical team of the PLA, which participates in the "Peace Train-2019" humanitarian and medical joint rescue exercise in 7 The Chronology
Vientiane, Chinese enterprises' volunteers also join the rescue.
President Xi Jinping exchanged messages with Lao President Bounnhang Vorachith on the bus accident on August 19. Bounnhang expressed deep sorrow for the victims and extends condolences to Xi and the families of the deceased and the injured. He said that the Lao side would provide proper medical treatment and believed in the joint efforts of both sides. Xi said that the Lao side joined the rescue operations immediately and actively and hoped that both sides would continue to work in close coordination. August 21
The 2019 ASEAN-China Fair is held in Beijing to celebrate the 52nd anniversary of the establishment of ASEAN, the 2019 ASEAN-China Year of Media Exchanges and the ASEAN Cultural Year. The event is co-organized by the ASEAN-China Centre (ACC) and Beijing Peopleâ€™s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. The event provides the traditional cuisines of ASEAN and China, singing and dancing performances, and intangible cultural heritage displays.
The Thai Consular Office in Hong Kong issues a warning to Thai residents and visitors to Hong Kong to avoid the protest areas, such as Kowloon, Central, Admiralty and Wan Chai on August 24-25 and gives some advice for Thais who have to reach the airport to leave Hong Kong.
Wang Yi holds talks with U Kyaw Tint Swe, Minister for the Office of the State Counsellor of Myanmar in Beijing. He expresses the support to Myanmar in advancing the domestic peace process and praises the Myanmarâ€™s practical measures on repatriation of the displaced people from the Rakhine State. He wants to work with Myanmar to maintain peace and stability in China-Myanmar border areas and promote bilateral ties. U Kyaw Tint Swe appreciates the Chinese support and will promote domestic peace and restore stability as soon as possible.
8 The Chronology
August 28 -September 1
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte pays an official visit to China. He meets with President Xi Jinping on August 29 at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse. Both sides agree to promote the alignment of the BRI and the Philippines’ “Build, Build, Build” program and implement major cooperation projects, including infrastructure,industrial parks, telecommunications, and energy. They want to put aside the South China Sea disputes, exclude external interference, and promote the adoption of the COC at an early date. On the same day, he attends the opening ceremony of the 2019 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Cup in Beijing with Xi. On August 30, he meets with Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People. Li says that China is willing to work with the Philippines on the alignment of the BRI and the “Build, Build, Build” Program. China supports the Philippines and ASEAN to finalize the COC of the South China Sea and promote oil and gas development. The Philippines will further expand exchanges and cooperation with the Chinese side and will never confront China. The two sides announce the establishment of an intergovernmental joint steering committee and a working group between relevant enterprises from the two countries on oil and gas cooperation. On August 31, Vice President Wang Qishan accompanies Duterte to Guangdong Province to watch the FIBA games.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui meets with Princess Hajah Masna of Brunei in Beijing. Both sides are willing to work on the integration of the BRI and the Brunei Vision 2035, the Year of Tourism between China and Brunei in 2020, and bilateral cooperation, such as trade, culture, energy, sports, and people-to-people exchanges.
9 The Chronology
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi holds talks with Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah in Beijing. Both sides are willing to work together on the BRI, the joint industrial parks in Qinzhou and Kuantan, the construction of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, the ChinaASEAN relations, the South China Sea issue, and the people-to-people exchanges. They agree to make efforts in 5 aspects, including to deepen cooperation under the BRI, promote mutual learning between two civilizations and culture, resolve disputes to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea and strive to accomplish the COC negotiations by the end of 2020, advance regional cooperation in East Asia and strengthen multilateral coordination, carry forward the Asian values and safeguard international justice. They agree to establish a China-Malaysia consultation mechanism on maritime issues as a platform to carry out dialogues and cooperation, manage differences and safeguard peace and stability of the South China Sea. Saifuddin Abdullah also meets with Vice President Wang Qishan and Yang Jiechi, Member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the CPC and Director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee on the same day to promote bilateral ties.
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn has been awarded the Friendship Medal, an honorary title issued under a presidential decree, as China prepares to celebrate its 70th anniversary on October 1. The Princess is one of 42 honorees to be awarded for their contributions to China.
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha meets with Chinese Minister of International Liaison Department Song Tao at Government House in Bangkok to strengthen relations and boost ties, including the linking between the EEC and the
10 The Chronology
Greater Bay Area (GBA) of China, tourism, education, and technology and science. September 27
(1) Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee Wang Yang meets with King Norodom Sihamoni and Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk of Cambodia at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse. They are willing to work for closer highlevel exchanges, promote the BRI, and deepen practical cooperation in various fields. (2) China’s State Council Information Office releases a white paper titled “China and the World in the New Era,” on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PRC to promote a better understanding of China's achievement and path of development for the international community.
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn is bestowed with the Friendship Medal by President Xi Jinping during a ceremony celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PRC in the Great Hall of People in Beijing. The Princess expresses her appreciation for the award and praises the long friendship between the two countries. The Princess also blesses China’s anniversary in Chinese.
Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan meets with HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn in Beijing. The Princess expresses gratitude to the Chinese side for awarding her the Friendship Medal and congratulates China on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PRC. Wang says that China is willing to continue high-level exchanges and strengthen cooperation in various fields with Thailand.
China celebrates the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in Beijing. There is a military parade in Tiananmen Square. President Xi Jinping delivers a speech at a grand rally. He emphasizes unity, strength, and development.
At the closing ceremony of the International Horticultural Exhibition 2019, Premier Li Keqiang 11 The Chronology
attends and delivers a speech at the ceremony. Li Keqiang meets with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong who attends the ceremony. Both sides want to promote bilateral free trade agreement talks, push forward the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, advance the consultation on the COC in the South China Sea, and deepen friendship. October 18-21
President Xi Jinping’s Special Envoy and Vice President Wang Qishan visits Indonesia to attend the inauguration ceremony for President Joko Widodo’s second term. On October 20, Wang meets with Joko Widodo and conveys President Xi Jinping's congratulations to him. Both sides agree to further promote comprehensive strategic partnership, synergize the BRI and Indonesia's development strategies, and support the Jakarta-Bandung highspeed rail (HSR) project. Wang also meets with Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla and Ma’ruf Amin during the trip.
(1) President Xi Jinping sends a congratulation message to King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia on the 15th Anniversary of Enthronement. He expresses the willingness to work with the king to carry on China-Cambodia traditional friendship, elevate strategic cooperation, and build the China-Cambodia community with a shared future. (2) State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with diplomatic special envoys of the 10 countries of ASEAN in Beijing. Both sides exchange views on China-ASEAN cooperation, the integration between the BRI and Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025, the development of the ChinaASEAN “blue economic partnership”, the conclusion of the RCEP, multilateralism and free trade.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang pays an official visit to Thailand and attends the 22nd China-ASEAN Summit, the 22nd ASEAN Plus China, Japan, and South Korea Summit, the 14th East Asia Summit in Bangkok, and
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the 3rd Regional Partnership Summit.
He holds bilateral meetings with leaders of relevant countries. He meets with Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith on November 3 to express the willingness to work together to build the China-Laos community with a shared future, strengthen economic exchanges, share development experience, push forward the China-Laos railway, and advance the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC). He meets with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. Both sides want to enhance high-level exchanges, promote the BRI and cooperation in areas such as infrastructure and law enforcement. They are willing to sign a free trade agreement between the two countries. On the same day, Li Keqiang meets with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to discuss maritime issues, and further bilateral exchanges and cooperation. Both sides want to push forward ChinaASEAN relations and cooperation in East Asia. On November 5, Li Keqiang holds talks with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. Both sides are willing to enhance political mutual trust, deepen bilateral cooperation, and strengthen people-topeople exchanges. They agree to promote the alignment between Thailandâ€™s EEC and Chinaâ€™s Guangdong - Hong Kong - Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), speed up the construction of the ChinaThailand railway, and deepen cooperation in the BRI, trade, e-commerce, smart cities, law enforcement, and security. China wants to share experiences with Thailand on the development of special economic zones, industrial parks and poverty alleviation. They signed 3 Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) on cooperation in science and technology, innovation, and defense, as well as collaboration under the LMC. Li Keqiang also meets with Thai President of the National Assembly and Speaker of 13 The Chronology
the House of Representatives Chuan Leekpai on the same day. Thailand and China pledge to boost China-ASEAN ties, safeguard multilateral trade system, support the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and the conclusion of the COC in the South China Sea, and call for more practical cooperation in marine environment protection. November 8
China’s assistance worth of US$300,000 for Myanmar’s ceasefire monitoring work is presented by the Special Envoy for Asian Affairs of the Foreign Ministry Sun Guoxiang to the National Reconciliation and Peace Center (NRPC) in Yangon and another worth of US$300,000 to Myanmar’s Peace Commission. The special envoy also donated US$400,000 to Myanmar’s National Reconciliation and Peace Center in Nay Pyi Taw on November 6.
Wang Yang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) pays an official visit to Laos to promote bilateral cooperation. He meets with Lao President and General Secretary of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party Central Committee Bounnhang Vorachit to promote the alignment of the BRI and Lao’s strategy, the construction of the China-Laos Economic Corridor, and the implementation of the action plan on building a community with a shared future for China and Laos. He also meets with Lao Prime Minister Thonglun Sisoulith, and Lao President of the National Assembly Pany Yathotou. He holds talks with Lao President of the Lao Front for National Construction Xaysomphone Phomvihane to express the willingness to work with the Lao Front for National construction, deepen political mutual trust, and cooperate in industrial capacity building, trade, tourism, and people-to-people exchanges. 14 The Chronology
He inspects the construction of the China-Laos railway, attends the meeting with overseas Chinese in Laos and activities of the China-Laos tourism year. November 23
Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian says at a forum on the BRI organized by the Malaysian Youth Council and Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka that China will educate Chinese tourists to behave properly in Malaysia after the embassy received many reports on Chinese tourists’ misbehaviors that did not respect Malaysians’ sensitive issues and caused the embarrassment to the Chinese government.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with Vietnamese Vice Foreign Minister Le Hoai Trung in Beijing. Both sides are willing to implement the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, organize activities to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, maintain high-level exchanges, properly manage differences, and promote the integration of the BRI and the “Two Corridors and One Circle” plan of Vietnam. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui and Le Hoai Trung convene the meeting between the heads of delegations of the China-Vietnam governmental border negotiation in Beijing. They review the development of bilateral exchanges and cooperation in all areas in 2019. They agree to continue the China-Vietnam Land Border Joint Committee to implement relevant legal documents on ChinaVietnam land borders, cooperate in port gate opening and upgrading, and advance the construction of cross-border economic cooperation zone. Both sides would like to promote practical cooperation in maritime research and environmental protection, conservation of fishery resources, and maritime law enforcement, and maintain peace and stability on the sea.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui meets with Chair of the Union Election Commission U Hla Thein of Myanmar in Beijing. Both sides agree to 15 The Chronology
further implement the high-level consensus between the two countries and support Myanmar’s general election and political transformation to have smooth and steady progress. December 7-8
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi pays an official visit to Myanmar. On December 7, Wang Yi meets with Myanmar’s President U Win Myint in Nay Pyi Taw. China will support Myanmar in safeguarding national sovereignty, dignity, development, and stability. Both sides are willing to deepen political mutual trust, promote the BRI and the construction of the economic corridor, expand cooperation in various fields, including trade, economy, education, and health, and open up new prospects for MyanmarChina comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership. He meets with State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi on the same day. He says that China wants to promote the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor from conceptual planning to the stage of substantive construction and turn it into a landmark project for the joint construction of the BRI. Both sides are willing to work together on the Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone and the China-Myanmar Border Economic Cooperation Zone and enhance practical cooperation in various fields. He also meets with Myanmar’s Minister of the Office of the State Counsellor Kyaw Tint Swe, Minister of Investment and Foreign Economic Relation and National Security Adviser Thaung Tun, Minister of Construction Han Zaw, and Minister of International Cooperation Kyaw Tin and attends the signing ceremony for cooperation projects between the competent departments of the two countries. On December 8, Wang Yi meets with Commander-inchief of Myanmar Defense Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing in Mandalay. Both sides agree to speed up the BRI cooperation and the ChinaMyanmar Economic Corridor, safeguard peace and 16 The Chronology
stability in the border areas between the two countries, and promote the peace process in northern Myanmar. December 16
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Lopez Locsin on the sidelines of the 14th Foreign Ministersâ€™ Meeting of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Madrid, Spain. For China and Indonesia, both sides want to safeguard multilateralism and free trade, sign the RCEP agreement on schedule, and expand economic, trade and investment cooperation. Wang Yi also briefs Retno Marsudi on the situation in Xinjiang region and welcomes Indonesians to visit Xinjiang. With regard to China and the Philippines, both sides are willing to implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries and push for positive progress in bilateral cooperation in oil and gas development.
(1) China and Myanmar hold the 11th Round of Consular Consultation in Nay Pyi Taw to exchange views on issues, including safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of citizens and organizations, customs facilitation in border areas, and cooperation in combating cross-border crimes. Chinese Director-General of the Department of Consular Affairs of the Foreign Ministry Cui Aimin and Myanmar Director-General of Consular and Legal Affairs Department of the Foreign Ministry U Aung Kyaw Zan attend the meeting. (2) Chinese Chairman of the Standing Committee of National Peopleâ€™s Congress (NPC) Li Zhanshu holds talks with Lao National Assembly President Pany Yathotou in Beijing. Both sides are willing to enhance cooperation, promote the synergy between the BRI and the Lao development strategy, and strengthen cooperation in production capacity, investment, railways, the China-Laos Economic Corridor, tourism, and people-to-people exchanges. 17 The Chronology
Chinese Chairman of the National Committee of the People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Wang Yang meets with Lao National Assembly President Pany Yathotou in Beijing. They agree to advance exchanges and cooperation, promote the BRI, and push the China-Laos comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation to new levels.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi gives an exclusive year-end interview on China’s diplomacy with Chinese media. He emphasizes China’s work on the diplomacy in the coming year with the following 6 major tasks: first, to serve major national development strategies; second, to defend national interests; third, to deepen partnerships; fourth, to champion multilateralism; fifth, to expand international cooperation; and sixth, to modernize China’s system and capacity for diplomacy.
Chinese Director-General of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs of the Foreign Ministry Hong Liang and Vietnamese Deputy Head of National Border Committee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Phung The Long co-host the 12th round of consultation of the working group on sea area outside the mouth of Beibu Bay and the 9th round of consultation of the working group for consultation on maritime joint development between China and Vietnam in Beijing to discuss on the maritime demarcation, joint exploration of sea area outside the mouth of Beibu Bay, joint development of oil and gas in the South China Sea and fishery cooperation.
(B) Political Affairs July 5
The Chinese Embassy in Thailand releases a statement defending China's projects in the Mekong such as issues on the ecological and environmental protection, the blasting of rapids, the role of cascade hydropower stations, and the sharing of hydrological data, after media's recent reports on the Mekong River that targeted at China.
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The Network of Thai People in Eight Mekong Provinces responds to the statement from the Chinese Embassy in Thailand. It points out that China exploits the Mekong River for its advantages and that China has failed to address transboundary impacts from its projects on downstream countries and the ecological system.
The 13th ASEAN Defense Ministerial Meeting (ADMM) is held in Bangkok. Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan chairs the meeting. ASEAN defense ministers exchange views on security issues, such as the situation in the South China Sea, the issue of North Korea, border controls, terrorism, and illegal fishing. They agree to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea and study a Philippine proposal for guidelines on maritime conflict management. They praise the first maritime exercise with China last year and welcome the drills with the US to be held this year. The ministers adopt six concept papers from the meeting and the Joint Declaration of the ASEAN Defense Ministers on Sustainable Security.
(1) The Mekong River Commission (MRC) press release shows that the Chinese government agrees to continue sharing hydrological data with the MRC from June 1 to October 31 every year. This ChinaMRC cooperation will better river monitoring and flood forecasting in the Mekong countries. The MRC reports that the water level in the Mekong River from June to July this year was the lowest flow, lower than that recorded in 1992. The low rainfall since the beginning of this year is also a cause of the drought. (2) Laos informs people living upstream and downstream of the Xayaburi Dam in a notice that the dam begins a trial operation of its fifth generator. As a result, the water levels in the Mekong River will change suddenly from July 15-29, according to Deputy Director of the Xayaburi Energy and Mines Department Dr. Xayphone Bounsou. The water level will be back to normal after the trial.
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Mekong River levels on the Thailand-Laos border in the Northeast of Thailand has fallen at an alarming rate over the week as China’s Jinghong Dam reduced its discharge during July 5-17 and Laos’ Xayaburi Dam began its trial operations. However, the Office of National Water Resources (ONWR) SecretaryGeneral Somkiat Prajumwong assures that the river will return to normal within a few days, as the Jinghong Dam continues its regular discharge rate and the Xayaburi Dam trial operation will finish soon. He reveals that Thai authorities will get a timely report of water discharge and river-level changes from the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), the joint operator of the Xayaburi Dam, after the dam begins to be fully operational in October this year.
The ONMR sends an official letter to the Lao government and the MRC, asking the Lao government to temporarily pause the trial of the Xayaburi Dam for a few days as it worsens the drought on Thai provinces along the Mekong River.
The Mekong Conservation Network in Thailand submits its petition to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), calling for governments of countries along the Mekong River to find a solution to mitigate the damage caused by 11 operational dams and review upcoming dam projects.
(1) As the Wall Street Journal reported on July 21 that China and Cambodia have signed a secret agreement to allow China use of the Ream Naval Base for 30 years in the Gulf of Thailand, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen strongly denies it to the media and says that having a foreign military base is against the country’s constitution. (2) The US State Department stated on July 20 that it is concerned with reports about China’s interference with oil and gas activities in the South China Sea and Vietnam’s exploration and production activities. In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang urges the US to stop irresponsible
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behavior and make trouble regarding the issue of the South China Sea and respect the regional countries. July 22-31
The 27th round of the RCEP negotiations is held in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, according to Assistant Minister of Commerce Li Chenggang. More than 700 representatives from 16 member countries participate in the negotiation, focusing on trade of goods and services, investment, rules of origin, intellectual property rights, and e-commerce.
(1) Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai praised China and Laos that they agreed to release water from Jinghong and Xayaburi dams to help relieve the drought crisis. (2) Chinaâ€™s State Council Information Office releases the 10th defense white paper, titled "China's National Defense in the New Era," to demonstrate the military's peaceful development strategy and clarify that China will never seek hegemony. The white paper for the first time defines the global significance of the Peopleâ€™s Liberation Army (PLA) to support the CPC and the socialist system and contribute to building a community with a shared future for mankind. It aims to help the international community better understand China's national defense.
China urges Vietnam to act properly and expresses its stance after the latter announced on July 25 by the Southern Vietnam Maritime Safety Assurance Corporation to extend the operation of an oil rig on Vanguard Bank in Spratly Islands from July 30 to September 15. The operation has been running by the Hakuryu-5 joint operation with Russia since May 15.
July 27-August 5
The PLA of China conducts a joint exercise with the Singapore Armed Forces at Jurong Camp, focusing on urban counter-terrorism cooperation.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen says that the country will increase its budget to US$40 million in
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order to purchase weapons from China to strengthen the army. July 29-August 3
The 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministersâ€™ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings take place in Bangkok. There are 27 meetings and 31 countries participating in the meetings. The meeting focuses on the rising tensions in the South China Sea and the fallout from the China-US trade war. The other issues include the Korean peninsula, the conclusion of the RCEP, the Rohingya crisis, and the Indo-Pacific strategy. Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chian-o-cha delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the meeting. He states that ASEAN will forge closer ties with partners to achieve the goal of sustainability through ASEANled cooperation platforms. On July 31, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Filipino Foreign Secretary Teodoro Lopez Locsin co-chair the China-ASEAN Foreign Ministersâ€™ Meeting. China and ASEAN reach 5 important consensus. They include the cooperation to promote the synergy between the BRI and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025, establish the year for China-ASEAN digital economy cooperation in 2020, safeguard multilateralism, set up regional rules, such as the COC in the South China Sea, and maintain regional peace and stability. For the South China Sea issue, Wang says that the first reading of the Single Draft Negotiating Text of the COC in the South China Sea has been finished ahead of the schedule. ASEAN countries raise issues of concerns, such as the rise of military activities, illegal fishing, maritime pollution and crimes. For the Indo-Pacific issue, he tells the media after the meeting that China has always maintained an open and constructive attitude in Indo-Pacific cooperation. However, the initiatives and ideas of this concept should uphold the principles of focusing on East Asia and Asia, without affecting the existing cooperation, focusing on cooperation and 22 The Chronology
consensus, and focusing on openness and inclusiveness. It should not engage geographic confrontation and games and form factions and small cliques. On the same day, Wang attends and delivers a speech at the launch of the China-ASEAN Young Leaders Scholarship. This project aims to exchange education and enhance mutual understanding and trust between two peoples. Wang talks about the 12th round of high-level economic and trade consultations between China and the US upon enquiry. He says that this round of the talks is candid, efficient and constructive. This is a positive sign for the common interests of China, the US, and all countries. July 30
(1) The Royal Thai Navy will follow its plan to buy a second submarine worth 12 billion baht from China. In 2016, the previous government agreed in principle with the navy's plan to buy 3 submarines from China with a 36 billion baht procurement plan. Then in 2017, the cabinet approved the first purchase of a Yuan Class S26T submarine worth 13.5 billion baht. The construction began in September 2017 and is expected to be finished in the middle of 2023. (2) The Vietnam Fisheries Society released a statement on July, 29, calling for the government to take stronger measures against Chinaâ€™s activities that violate Vietnamâ€™s sovereignty in the South China Sea. The group demands that China withdraws the survey vessel Haiyang Dizhi 8 from Vietnamese waters. It sent the statement to the foreign ministry, the defense ministry, and other government agencies.
On the sidelines of the ASEAN Foreign Ministersâ€™ Meeting and other related meetings, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh. Both sides are willing to properly manage maritime issues and 23 The Chronology
implement the consensus reached by leaders of the two countries. Wang meets with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to urge the US to meet China halfway to implement the consensus of leaders, strictly abide by the oneChina policy and three joint communiques, properly handle Taiwan-related issues, respect China with regard to the South China Sea issues and issues related to Xinjiang and Hong Kong, and push forward the bilateral ties. Both sides also exchange views on the Korean Peninsula issue on denuclearization. At the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) 10th Anniversary Ministerial Meeting, Pompeo criticizes China’s dam building on the Mekong River causing the drought and the lowest level of water in a decade. August 2
Wang Yi attends the 20th ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. China is willing to work together with all parties to conclude the RCEP negotiations within this year, promote the ChinaJapan-South Korea Free Trade Area and the ChinaASEAN Free Trade Area, build financial cooperation in East Asia, build interconnected East Asia, build smart and innovative East Asia, build sustainable East Asia region, and build an East Asia with mutual learning among different civilizations. At the APT meeting, Wang shares his views on the Mekong River drought. He says that China also faces the drought but overcomes the challenges. China wants to help relieve the drought by releasing water to downstream areas at an amount exceeding the normal level. According to Wang, the drought is caused by many factors, such as the inflow from downstream tributaries and rainfall distribution. The runoff from the Lancang River accounts for only 13.5 percent of the total volume in the Mekong River basin. He refutes irresponsible remarks from nonregional countries about the drought issue. On the same day, Wang Yi attends the 9th East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. He proposes that all parties should uphold 24 The Chronology
multilateralism, address transnational challenges, and solve significant issues through dialogues and consultations to achieve long-term stability and sustainable development in this region. Participants affirm to resolve conflicts in the South China Sea, the Rakhine State issue, and the Korean Peninsula. On the sidelines of the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on East Asia Cooperation, Wang rejects the groundless accusation from a certain non-regional great power against China for “militarization” in the South China Sea. Wang Yi attends the 26th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) to discuss with participants on the ways to promote sustainable security, human security, and maritime security. They exchange views on key issues, such as the South China Sea, the situation in the Rakhine State, trade tensions, the Korean Peninsula, and the cooperation to counter terrorism and transnational crimes. August 2-3
The 8th RCEP Intersessional Ministerial Meeting is held in Beijing. Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua delivers a speech at the opening ceremony on August 3. The participants have completed over two-thirds of the negotiations on bilateral market access, reached consensus on more than 80 percent of the text of the agreement and pushed forward the remaining content. However, critical challenges emerge during the RCEP negotiations, including India’s market access issue, and the new friction between Japan and South Korea.
China's National Supervisory Commission (NSC) requested Cambodian law enforcement authorities to arrest 4 criminal suspects involved in embezzlement and bribes, including a fugitive listed on the Interpol Red Notice. The suspects were arrested and repatriated to China, except one that is suspected of other crimes in Cambodia. This is the first bilateral law enforcement cooperation led by the NSC.
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In the latest confrontation in the South China Sea, Vietnamese police disperse a protest outside the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi against China’s maritime survey by the survey ship Haiyang Dizhi 8 and coast guard vessels in the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
The United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation, also known as the Singapore Convention on Mediation, opens for signing in Singapore at the Singapore Convention Signing Ceremony Conference. The agreement was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2018. Some 46 countries including China and the US sign this agreement which aims to boost mediation as another means of solving international commercial disputes.
The Office of the National Water Resources (ONWR) of Thailand holds a meeting with representatives from China, Myanmar, and Vietnam to exchange information, such as water levels, river flow rate, drainage capability, rainfall statistics and waterusage statistics and seek proper strategies to handle water-related problems. The Chinese side promises to draft a short-term plan to be added to the 5-year water resource operation plan (2018-2022).
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) visits Laos to conduct a first joint medical rescue drill with the Lao military in Vientiane and provide medical services for locals. The “Peace Train-2019”, the third edition of the Peace Train exercise, kicks off on August 15. Senior Colonel Song Yu, the officer with the Health Bureau of the Logistic Support Department of the Central Military Commission of China, addresses the opening ceremony. Major General Vongkham Phommakone, Director of the General Logistics Department of the Lao People’s Armed Forces, and Brigadier General Buasing Inthavong attend the ceremony. The theme of the drill is on a humanitarian medical rescue of mudslide disasters. Around 500 army men attend the drill.
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A directive signed by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen states that the Royal Government of Cambodia will ban online gambling and stop the issuance of online gambling licenses as online gambling is a threat to social order and has been used by foreign criminals to extort money.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang defends China’s sovereignty over the Spratly Islands and its surrounding waters in response to reports that the Chinese survey ship Haiyang Dizhi 8 and coast guard vessels enter the EEZ of Vietnam.
The 85th Mekong River joint patrol led by China, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand is held from Jingha Port, Yunnan Province. More than 140 law enforcement officers from 4 countries in 7 vessels participate in the mission.
Philippine Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo tells reporters that the authorities have to ask the president about the policy on online gambling after China requests the Philippines to stop all forms of online gambling and hiring Chinese citizens in its casinos.
US State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus slams China for the escalation of tension in the South China Sea after the report of Chinese vessels entering the EEZ of Vietnam. The US is concerned with China’s interference with Vietnam’s longstanding oil and gas activities in its EEZ. She warns that China should not block efforts by the US oil and gas companies to be partners with other countries in the region.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang defends China’s sovereignty over the Spratly Islands in response to Vietnam's demand for China to withdraw vessels from the EEZ of Vietnam. He calls for Vietnam to respect China’s rights and work together for peace and stability in the South China Sea. He also dismisses a statement from Morgan Ortagus that criticizes China’s activities in the area.
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China’s Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress approves a China-Vietnam extradition treaty after the treaty was submitted to it on August 22.
(1) Dhanin Chearavanont, senior chairman of Charoen Pokphand Group Company, calls for the end of Hong Kong protests through advertisements in local newspapers, such as Ming Pao, Sing Tao, and Oriental Daily as businesses in Hong Kong have been affected by the conflicts between protesters and the Hong Kong government. (2) Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang urges the US to stop malicious hyping on the South China Sea conflicts in response to the US Department of Defense’s accusation that China resumes its interference in Vietnam’s oil and gas activities in the water.
China and Thailand conduct the joint exercise codenamed "Falcon Strike 2019" between China's PLA Air Force and the Royal Thai Air Force at the Udon Royal Thai Air Force Base (Udon RTAFB). The exercise aims to promote exchanges and cooperation between the two air forces, practice tactics and methods, promote equipment development, and improve the joint training level.
The US destroyer Wayne E. Meyer conducts its operation within 12 nautical miles of the Fiery Cross reef and the Mischief Reef in the South China Sea under the pretext of “freedom of navigation,” according to US Navy’s Seventh Fleet Spokesperson Reann Mommsen.
Representatives from 6 country members of the Lancang-Mekong River launch a joint crackdown on cross-border human abducting and trafficking in Kunming, Yunnan Province, according to Zheng Baigang, Secretary-General of the Integrated Law Enforcement and Security Cooperation Center of Lancang-Mekong River. They share information, build databases of information related to victims and
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suspected human traffickers, and launch joint investigations and crackdowns on criminal cases. September 6-10
The 51st ASEAN Economic Ministers' Meeting (AEM) is held in Bangkok. Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chano-cha delivers the opening speech. He urges ASEAN and 6 dialogue partners, including China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, and New Zealand, to finalize the RCEP talks by the end of this year. He says that ASEAN must be ready to move forward together and have a partnership to strengthen connections within and beyond the region. On September 9, the AEM hosts trade talks with partners, including China, South Korea, the US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, India, Russia, Canada, Hong Kong, and the ASEAN Business Advisory Council. At the 7th RCEP Ministerial Meeting, commerce and trade ministers from ASEAN and 6 partners agree to wrap up the RCEP talks and expect to announce the conclusion of the RCEP at the ASEAN Summit held in November this year. The signing of the RCEP agreement is expected to be in 2020. The participants have already concluded talks on 7 articles. There are 13 remaining articles to be finished. On the same day, Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce Jurin Laksanawisit and Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen co-chair the 18th AEM-MOFCOM (Chinaâ€™s Ministry of Commerce) Consultations. Both sides agree to strengthen trade and economic relations and synergize the BRI with the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity. The ministers note the progress of the ASEAN-China FTA (ACFTA) implementation and welcome the Protocol to Amend the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Certain Agreements thereunder between ASEAN and China (ACFTA Upgrading Protocol) for all Parties.
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(1) At the inaugural session of the India-Singapore Business and Innovation Summit in Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar criticizes China on the unfair market access and Chinese protectionist policies that create a trade deficit between the two countries. This creates doubts on the negotiations for the RCEP. Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan urges India to reconsider its position on the RCEP as it would be a game changer. (2) China State Shipbuilding Corporation Limited (CSSC) and the Royal Thai Navy sign an agreement to buy a Type 071E landing platform dock (LPD) worth 6.1 billion baht from China. Commander Admiral Luechai Ruddit attends the signing ceremony in Beijing. This marks the first time China has exported an LPD.
On September 10, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said that President Xi Jinping told him during their meeting in Beijing that China will offer a controlling stake in a joint energy venture in the South China Sea if the Philippines sets aside an international arbitration case against China. However, putting aside the arbitration case is unimportant as the tribunal had already made a decision that the Philippines had legal rights to explore and utilize gas at the Reed Bank, the countryâ€™s EEZ, according to Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin.
The US warship Wanye E. Meyer enters the waters near the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. China sends military vessels and aircraft to identify and warn them to leave. The US Navy says in a statement that the US warship enters the waters in the pretext of freedom of navigation and the unilateral imposition of rules is not permitted by international law.
Vietnamese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang says that Chinaâ€™s actions are illegal, infringing the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and violating the sovereignty of 30 The Chronology
Vietnam when China’s survey ship Haiyang Dichi 8 and its escort vessels remained in Vietnam’s EEZ on September 13 during the running of Blue Whale, a gas field project involving the ExxonMobil, an American firm. September 18
China rejects Vietnam’s accusations on September 14 about China’s survey ship Haiyang Dizhi 8 and escort vessels in Vietnam's EEZ and the resumed violations of Vietnam’s sovereignty. Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang says that China’s operation is legal, reasonable, and beyond reproach and Vietnam should stop the unilateral infringement activities as China has sovereign rights over the Vanguard Bank in the Spratly Islands.
Wang Yi presides over an informal meeting among China, Myanmar, and Bangladesh at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York. Myanmar’s Minister for the Office of the State Counsellor U Kyaw Tint Swe, Bangladeshi Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen, and Special Envoy on Myanmar of UN Secretary-General Christine Schraner Burgener attend the meeting. They reach a three-point consensus, including the realization of the repatriation as soon as possible, establishment of a China-Myanmar-Bangladesh Joint Working Group mechanism, and taking the economic development as a fundamental way to solve the Rakhine State issue.
The 86th Mekong River joint patrol led by China, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand kicks off in Yunnan Province. A total of 136 law enforcement officers and 6 vessels participate in the mission.
The reception in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is held at the Great Hall of the People. President Xi Jinping delivers an important speech, emphasizing the unity of all Chinese people and the realization of national rejuvenation. He points out that Chinese people have made glorious achievements and China will stay on peaceful development, increase opening-up and cooperate 31 The Chronology
with other countries to build a community with a shared future for mankind. October 2
Filipino Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. tweets to file a diplomatic protest in response to China’s coast guard ships sailing near the Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea.
The Chinese Embassy in Bangkok issues a statement in Thai to accuse a Thai politician’s contact with a pro-independence group involved in the Hong Kong protests. The statement has been released after Joshua Wong, the pro-independence activist, posted a photograph of himself and Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Jungroongruangkit on social media on October 6.
Army Chief General Apirat Kongsompong criticizes the Thai politician who met with Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong at a special lecture on national security at the Royal Thai Army Headquarters in Bangkok. To him, this meeting can be interpreted that a Thai politician gives support and encouragement to Hong Kong protesters. However, Mr. Thanathorn Junroonruangkit who appeared in a picture with Wong denies the accusation and states that he has never been involved with any political groups in Hong Kong.
The 9th RCEP Ministerial Meeting is held in Bangkok. Participants vow to conclude the negotiations by the end of this year, according to Thai Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit.
The 18th ASEAN-China Senior Officials’ Meeting on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties (DOC) in the South China Sea is held in Dalat, Vietnam to exchange views on the second reading of the COC in the South China Sea, review and confirm new maritime practical cooperation projects, and update the DOC in the South China Sea implementation plan for 20162021. Chinese Director-General of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs of the Foreign Ministry
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Hong Liang and senior officials from ASEAN countries attend the meeting. October 22-25
The 87th Mekong River joint patrol led by China, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand kicks off in Jingha Port, Yunnan Province. The joint efforts include joint inspections and anti-drug publicity campaign.
The 5th Meeting of the China-Philippines Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the South China Sea (BCM) is held in Beijing. Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui leads the Chinese delegation. The Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs for Policy Enrique A. Manalo leads the Philippine delegation. Both sides exchange the general situation and issues of concern in the South China Sea and maritime issues. They want to maintain peace and stability in the region, implement the 2002 DOC in the South China Sea, and commit to the conclusion of the COC in the South China Sea. Both sides also convene the 1st Meeting of ChinaPhilippines Inter-Governmental Joint Steering Committee on Cooperation on Oil and Gas Development.
The Xayaburi Dam in Laos begins commercial operations amid protests from Thai villagers who are concerned with the effects on the environment and their livelihood. The CK Power Public Limited Company declines to respond to any questions and interviews.
The Preparatory RCEP Ministerial Meeting is held in Bangkok to urge the conclusion of the agreement and to prepare for the 3rd RCEP Summit on November 4. However, the RCEP ministers fail to reach the agreement.
The 35th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits are held in Bangkok and Nonthaburi under the theme of â€œAdvancing Partnership for Sustainability.â€? On November 2 at the plenary of the summit, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte calls on ASEAN 33 The Chronology
leaders not to choose sides between China and the US and to exercise self-restraint amid the ongoing South China Sea dispute. On November 3, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the summit and pledges to work with all countries to boost sustainable security and economic growth. He urges ASEAN and partners to develop mechanisms for trade disputes and promote the multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organization and regional economic cooperation, such as the Greater Bay Area and the Ayeyawady-Chao PhrayaMekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS). He encourages all to finish and to support the conclusion of the RCEP by the end of this year. He emphasizes the commitment to negotiating the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea with China and holding joint naval exercises with the US. He also praises Chinaâ€™s contributions to regional prosperity. On the same day, Prayut and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang co-chair the 22nd China-ASEAN Summit. Li Keqiang said that China has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting ASEANâ€™s centrality in East Asian cooperation. China wants to work with ASEAN on upholding multilateralism and free trade, push forward the conclusion of the negotiations on the RCEP, and synergize the BRI with the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025. Both sides will forge a China-ASEAN partnership on the blue economy to cooperate on areas such as marine ecosystem preservation, ocean industry, clean and renewable energy and technology for water resources management. Other cooperation areas include infrastructure connectivity, the building of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-MalaysiaPhilippines East ASEAN Growth Area, smart cities, science and technology innovation, e-commerce, artificial intelligence, big data, and cybersecurity. ASEAN and China are committed to increase twoway trade to US$1 trillion and expand a two-way investment to US$150 billion by 2020.
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With regard to the South China Sea issue, both sides are willing to carry forward the consultations on the COC in the South China Sea, complete the second reading of the draft text of the COC in the South China Sea in 2020, and safeguard peace and stability in the region. With regard to people-to-people ties, they want to cooperate in media, health, education, tourism, and support projects, such as the China-ASEAN Young Scholarship. China wants to train 1,000 administrative health staff and technical professionals in the following 3 years for ASEAN. The summit agrees with the formulation of the Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration on China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity 2021-2025 and announces that the year 2020 will be the year of China-ASEAN Year of Digital Economy Cooperation. Participants issue a joint statement on promoting cooperation in the BRI, smart cities, and media. On November 4, Li Keqiang attends the 22nd ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Summit chaired by Prayut Chano-cha. Li Keqiang delivers a speech remarking that the completion of the negotiations on the texts of the RCEP among 15 member states is a breakthrough for the development of a free trade zone in East Asia. He urges leaders to bring economic integration to a higher level, support regional connectivity, enhance financial cooperation, promote sustainable development, and deepen people-to-people exchanges. The summit adopts the APT Leadersâ€™ Statement on Connecting the Connectivity Initiative. In the afternoon of November 4, Li Keqiang attends the 14th East Asia Summit (EAS). Prayut Chan-ocha presides over the summit. Li Keqiang points out in his speech that the EAS should keep ASEAN at the center, focus on East Asia and Asia-Pacific, and maintain the current regional cooperation. He calls on parties to uphold multilateralism and free trade. Leaders are committed to finishing the talks on RCEP and the COC in the South China Sea. On the South 35 The Chronology
China Sea issue, he says that countries within the region can have freedom of navigation, finish the COC talks, and safeguard peace and stability. Countries out of the region should respect and support the efforts of the intraregional countries. The summit adopts the Statement on Partnership for Sustainability. On the evening of November 4, Li Keqiang attends the 3rd RCEP Summit. The RCEP will form the largest free trade agreement in Asia, covering 47.4 percent of the worldâ€™s population and accounting for 32.2 percent of global GDP. 15 member states of the RCEP have concluded negotiations and prepared for the signing of the pact in 2020. India has decided at the last minute that it is not ready to join the agreement as it is concerned with market access and a flood of cheap Chinese goods hurting small businesses in its economy after it joins the deal. On the same day at the 7th ASEAN-US Summit, US National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien criticizes Chinese intimidation in the South China Sea by making maritime claims and sending ships into the waterway where some ASEAN members also have claims. On the sidelines of the summits, there are meetings including the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ABIS) 2019 on November 2-3 and the 2nd Indo-Pacific Business Forum on November 4. November 13
Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Hoai Trung said that the country may consider litigation as an option to resolve disputes in the South China Sea. As a result, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said that Vietnam and other countries are engaged in the occupation of Chinaâ€™s Spratly Islands on November 8. Vietnamese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang rejects all contents of the statement made by Geng Shuang and says that Vietnam has sufficient historical and legal evidence to prove its sovereignty over Paracel and Spratly Islands in line with international law. 36 The Chronology
(1) The Ministerial Meeting of the Signatories to the Mekong MOU on Drug Control is held in Bangkok. Six Member countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) discuss narcotics problems, drug precursors, and the industrial chemicals used by narcotics producers. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) also join the meeting. Six countries sign an MOU on narcotics control and endorse the Bangkok Declaration on “Effectively Responding to the Drug Problem in the Mekong” and the 11th SubRegional Action Plan on Drug Control (May 2019May 2021). They join the operation under the code name of “Operation 1511,” monitoring and elevating narcotics prevention activities to be launched in each country. (2) Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe pays an official goodwill visit to Laos. He meets with Lao President and General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) Bounnhang Vorachit on November 15 to deepen pragmatic cooperation between the two armies. He holds talks with Lao Defense Minister Chansamone Chanyalath on November 13.
ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMMPlus) holds a joint counterterrorism exercise with participants from 10 ASEAN member countries and 8 dialogue partners, including China, the US, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, and India in Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. More than 800 officers and soldiers from 18 countries participate in the exercise. The drill aims to deepen exchanges and defense cooperation. The exercise is the largest land-based counterterrorism activity since the founding of the Experts’ Working Group on counterterrorism in 2011. It focuses on counterterrorism missions in urban environments.
Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe pays an official goodwill visit to Thailand. He meets with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on November 17 to further enhance military 37 The Chronology
cooperation. Both sides sign an MOU on defense cooperation. November 17
The 10th China-ASEAN Defense Ministersâ€™ Informal Meeting co-chaired by Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe and Thai Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan is held in Bangkok. Both sides pledge to further strengthen defense cooperation to safeguard regional stability.
Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe meets with US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in Bangkok to discuss about Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the South China Sea issues and exchange views on the relations between militaries and international and regional issues of common interests. Both sides agree to work together to safeguard stability. Wei emphasizes China's firm determination to safeguard territorial sovereignty and marine rights and interests in the South China Sea. He asks the US to stop escalating tensions.
The 88th Mekong River joint patrol of China, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand kicks off at Guanlei Port, Yunnan Province. 8 vessels and 228 law enforcement personnel participate in the drill.
The Chinese military urges the US Navy to stop provocative actions in the South China Sea as the US littoral combat ship Gabrielle Giffords entered near the Spratly Islands on November 20 and the destroyer Wayne E. Meyer entered the territorial waters of the Paracel Islands on November 21. The Chinese military identified and warned them to leave in accordance with laws and regulations.
Chinese Ministry of National Defense Spokesperson Ren Guoqiang slams US warships and military aircrafts trespassing in the South China Sea as they endanger Chinaâ€™s sovereignty and security and China will take necessary measures to safeguard national sovereignty, security, and interests.
Water in the Mekong River has turned from yellowish-brown to greenish-blue in Nakhon 38 The Chronology
Phanom Province in northeastern Thailand. This is a strange phenomenon that could be a sign of danger of critical water shortage, according to a group of Mekong conservationists. They describe the phenomenon as the “hungry water effect,” referring to the river’s starvation of sediments. This situation will cause erosion to the banks, uprooting trees and damaging bridges and engineering structures. They think the problems are related to dams in China and Laos, climate change, and global warming and they need to be solved at an international level. December 13
China announces the closure of the Mekong River, a 60-kilometer section from Guan Lei to Ganlanpa in Xishuangbanna Prefecture, to all types of boats and declares the area as a danger zone while it continues rock blasting to widen the river in its territorial boundaries.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Daily reports that a naval aviation division of the PLA Southern Theater Command concluded an aerial early warning and reconnaissance training exercise in November. The Southern Theater Command Navy operates mainly in the South China Sea. Experts said that this exercise will support China’s defense capability in the South China Sea.
The 14th Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of the AsiaEurope Meeting (ASEM) is held in Madrid, Spain under the theme of “Asia and Europe: together for effective multilateralism.” Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi encourages countries in Asia and Europe to uphold multilateralism.
The South China Morning Post reports that China has protested against Malaysia's filing of a submission with the United Nations on December 12 stating that there were China's claimed areas in the South China Sea that overlap with Malaysia's exclusive economic zone. The submission will be included in the provisional agenda of the 53rd session of the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in 2021 in New York.
39 The Chronology
The 89th Mekong River joint patrol led by China, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand kicks off in Yunnan Province. The activities include joint patrols, visits, inspections, and safety publicity events.
(1) China’s Ministry of Water Resources sends a notification to Thailand’s Office of National Water Resources (ONWR) to inform 8 provinces along the Mekong River in Thailand to prepare for the decrease of water outflows as a result of the testing of China’s Jinghong Dam on January 1-4, 2020. The water outflows from the dam will be reduced from 1,200-1,400 cubic meters per second (m3/s) to between 800-1,000 m3/s. (2) Chinese Director-General of Department of International Economic and Trade Affairs Zhang Shaogang says at China’s Ministry of Commerce’s year-ending meeting that participants of the RCEP expect to complete legal reviews by June 2020 and to sign the RCEP agreement in November 2020. (3) Indonesia has filed a protest to China as it has found Chinese vessel trespassing into its EEZ in the Natuna waters bordering the South China Sea to fish illegally in the waters.
Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a New Year speech in Beijing, vowing to achieve the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. He reviews the achievements in 2019, such as the GDP, poverty alleviation, cutting taxes and fees, diplomatic relations, and the Hong Kong issue.
(C) Economic Affairs July 1
Thailand’s Office of the Insurance Commission (OIC) plans to launch a compulsory insurance plan for foreigner visitors at a 20-baht premium each this year. The visitors will pay for the compulsory insurance at immigration offices in airports. The premium will be sent to the Tourism Promotion Fund for the coverage of claims. This project aims to strengthen the confidence of tourists visiting 40 The Chronology
Thailand after many tourist tragedies in the country, including the boat tragedy that killed 47 Chinese tourists in 2018. July 3
The Lao Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Guangxi Liugong Machinery Company Limited, and VK Group, a local marketing agent of Guangxi Liugong co-organise the meeting in Vientiane to exchange experiences and discuss on 4 main topics, including the road development plan and strategy of Laos, management of machinery and vehicle imports in Laos, technologically advanced machinery for road and bridge construction in China, and the material supply plans for road construction.
(1) Ingmar Wang, country director of Huawei Thailand's consumer business group, revealed that Huawei's smartphone market share in Thailand in the first five months increased to 20 percent from 15 percent in 2018 despite the US sanctions on the company and the ongoing China-US trade war. (2) Zhigang Li, Chairman of the board of directors at ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited) Thai, said that Thailand's new government plans to increase the daily minimum wage. The increased wage (from 308-330 baht to 400-425 baht) could affect the Chinese firms' relocation of their production base to Thailand and they may go to other countries, such as Vietnam, Myanmar, and Laos, because of their lower minimum wages. Moreover, Thailand should be concerned with insufficient skilled labor and domestic political stability that could affect Chinese direct investment in the country. (3) Lao Deputy Minister of Education and Sports Kongsy Sengmany says in Vientiane Times that the Lao government is planning to build a Lao railway vocational technical college with Chinaâ€™s assistance to train and supply professional railway personnel.
(1) Manguwang Food Company, a joint venture company set up by Chinese investors and Thai counterparts, opens a 700-million-baht durian41 The Chronology
processing factory in Thepha District, Songkhla Province to make freeze-dried durian for export to China. The factory employs about 1,200 locals and buys one-third of durians from local orchards in the southern region. It can buy 12,000 tons of durians annually. (2) The Nanning municipal government and the financial supervision administration of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region officially issue the “Construction Plan of the Financial Opening-up Gateway Nanning Core Area for ASEAN (20192023)” to establish a regional financial industrial structure and a distinctive financial industry functional system and complete the basic construction of the Nanning Core Area. July 8
(1) Lao Minister of Planning and Investment Souphan Keomixay says that the Lao government encourages private enterprises to develop infrastructure and facilities along the Laos-China Railway route, including tourism sites, industrial parks, trade facilitation, and transit services to support the inflow of goods and visitors to the country, according to Vientiane Times. (2) Smart Axiata, Cambodia’s leading mobile telecommunications company, collaborates with Huawei, China’s giant technology company, to build the 5G network in Cambodia.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer hold phone talks on trade negotiations with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and Commerce Minister Zhong Shan. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow says to reporters that the talks went constructively, but does not give more details.
Thailand's Trade Negotiations Department reports that fruits and vegetable shipments to China increased 31 percent year on year in the first five months of 2019, worth of US$1.2 billion. Durian is the largest export for fruits, representing 48.5
42 The Chronology
percent. Fruit exports were worth US$838.61 million. July 11
(1) China’s CITIC Group officially began the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and Preliminary Geological Survey of the Kyauk Phyu Deep-sea Port (KPDSP) project in Myanmar earlier this month with HATCH, the Canada-based engineering consultancy firm. (2) Because of the report that some foreign companies plan to move out of China to avoid the effects of the ongoing trade war, Chinese Ministry spokesperson Gao Feng assures that the withdrawal of foreign investment is not large-scale and China will protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign companies.
China’s General Administration of Customs releases trade data for the first half of 2019. It shows that foreign trade increased by 3.9 percent year on year. The total is US$2.16 trillion. Exports were up by 6.1 percent year on year, while imports grew 1.4 percent. The trade surplus was 41.6 percent year on year. China prepares new measures and markets to support its foreign trade structure in the second half of the year.
China's National Bureau of Statistics releases data that shows that the GDP growth slows to 6.2 percent in the second quarter. It is the weakest pace in almost 30 years and decreases from a 6.4 percent expansion in the first quarter. The GDP growth grew 6.3 percent in the first half of the year.
China's customs data showed that ASEAN became its second-largest trading partner in the first half of 2019. ASEAN can catch up with the US for the first time since 1997. China’s trade with ASEAN increased 10.5 percent in the first half of this year, accounting for 13.5 percent of the total trade volume.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) issues the Asian Development Outlook Supplement. It reduces Thailand's growth forecast for 2019 to 3.5 percent 43 The Chronology
because of the lower growth outcome in the first quarter and a sharp slowdown in exports. It maintains an economic growth forecast for developing Asia at 5.7 percent in 2019 and 5.6 percent in 2020 as the US-China trade disputes continue to affect the regional outlook. July 19
The Malaysian government announces that the country will grant visa on arrival to 6 more entry points for tourists from China and India who enter the country through Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia or Brunei, according to the Home Ministry. It also plans to extend the duration of the visa from 7 days to 15 days at a lower price. It expects more visitors during the Visit Malaysia Year 2020 campaign.
The Commerce Ministry of Thailand reveals that the shipments decreased by 2.15 percent year on year in June, 5.8 percent in May, 2.6 percent in April, and 4.9 percent in March, because of the trade tension between US and China, the economic slowdown, and lower oil prices. Exports to China were down by 14.9 percent in June, compared with the same period in 2018, while those to the US were down 2.1 percent. The overall shipments in the first 6 months dropped 2.91 percent from 2018.
The Lao government allows Chinese companies to develop infrastructure and invest in agriculture to promote export to the Chinese market. This is a part of its plan to support the Laos-China railway project. Furthermore, China will help Laos build a rubber research center in Xaythany District, Vientiane Province and plant and animal quarantine station in Luang Namtha Province to certify the quality of products before exporting to China.
China and Malaysia resume construction on the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) with the cost at 44 billion ringgit, reducing from 65.5 billion ringgit, after the trade partners agreed to proceed with the project in April this year. The train connects Port Klang in the Strait of Malacca with Kota Bharu in northeast peninsular Malaysia. China Communications
44 The Chronology
The main section of China-Laos Railway bridge over the Mekong River north of Luang Prabang Ancient Town is completed, 7 months ahead of schedule, according to the China Railway No.8 Engineering Group (CREC-8).
The ongoing Visit Laos-China Year campaign brings more than 2.2 million visitors to the country in the first 6 months, according to the Tourism Development Department, Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism. Chinese tourists increased by 13 percent.
The 12th round of China-US high level economic and trade consultations is held in Shanghai, the first faceto-face discussions since negotiations collapsed in May when the US accused China of reneging on its commitments. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and Commerce Minister Zhong Shan meet with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
US President Donald Trump announces that he will increase 10 percent of tariffs on US$300 billion worth of Chinese goods starting from September 1 as China reneged on more promises in trade negotiations. The new plan means they will have tariffs on almost the US$660 billion of annual twoway trade between the two countries.
The US accuses China as a currency manipulator after it allowed the RMB to fall below 7 to the US dollar for the first time in about a decade. China also announces that it has suspended purchases of the USâ€™ farm exports on the same day.
(1) A group of Thai shippers calls on the Commerce Ministry to set up a gathering of academics, economic specialists and trade experts to seek the best practices to solve the export downfall because of the US-China trade war, political problems in the EU, the protest in Hong Kong, and the strong baht, 45 The Chronology
according to Ghanyapad Tantipipatpong, chairwoman of the Thai National Shippers’ Council. (2) The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) refutes the US labelling China as “a currency manipulator” and competitive devaluation in a statement. The statement says that China will not use the currency to deal with the trade war and the US labeling is an arbitrary unilateral and protectionist practice. August 8
(1) The Khmer Times reports that about 1.2 million Chinese visitors visited Cambodia in the first 6 months of 2019, an increase of 38 percent. The country has 3.3 million visitors from January to June this year, an increase of 11.2 percent, according to the Ministry of Tourism. (2) Thai Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit says that the ministry plans to establish a new Office of Industrial Affairs in China, either in Beijing or Shanghai, to provide investment information and facilitate Chinese investment, especially in the EEC. (3) Data from China’s General Administration of Customs (GAC) shows that foreign trade of goods rose 4.2 percent year on year in the first 7 months of this year to about US$2.49 trillion. Exports increased 6.7 percent year on year, while imports were up 1.3 percent. The trade surplus was increased by 47.4 percent year on year. The trade volume with ASEAN was up 11.3 percent. The trade with BRI countries grew 10.2 percent year on year, accounting for 28.9 percent of total trade volume.
Trump says to reporters at the White House that he may cancel the Sino-American trade negotiation scheduled in September as they are not ready to make a deal.
(1) US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin hold telephone talks with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and plan to have another call in 2 weeks. The office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) announces that the US will increase tariffs as Trump announced on August 46 The Chronology
1. However, it will delay the increased tariffs on Chinese electronics until December 15. (2) The situation and protests in Hong Kong are expected to significantly affect Thailand's travel industry as Thai visitors have recently canceled trips to Hong Kong and shift their travel plans to other countries in Asia, according to the Association of Thai Travel Agents. (3) Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry says that the government cuts its forecast for economic growth from 1.5-2.5 percent to 0.0-1.0 percent this year because of the escalating US-China trade war. (4) China’s Ministry of Commerce announces that foreign direct investment (FDI) into mainland China grew 7.3 percent year on year to US$75.5 billion in the first 7 months this year. FDI from BRI countries increased 5 percent in the same period this year. August 15
The Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council of China says in a statement that China will have to take necessary countermeasures in response to the US’s announcement of imposing a new 10 percent tariff on US$300 billion worth of Chinese goods.
Thailand’s National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) reports that the country’s GDP in the second quarter grew 2.3 percent from 2018 and downed from 2.8 percent in the first quarter. This is the slowest pace since the third quarter of 2014 because of the effects of the USChina trade tensions, the downfall of exports and tourism, and the strong baht. It lowers its forecast for growth in 2019 to 2.7-3.2 percent from 3.3-3.8 percent made in May. However, NESDC says that at least 10 firms, including Sony, Sharp Corporation, and Harley-Davidson Incorporated, are in the process of relocating some production to Thailand from China. This may have some impact on the economy in the second half of 2019.
47 The Chronology
The Thai cabinet approves the extension of free visas on arrival for visitors from 18 countries, including China and India, until April 30, 2020. The current fee waiver will end on October 31. However, it rejects the visa waiver proposal from the Tourism and Sports Ministry for security reasons, for fear of the overuse of resources, management of waste, and a lack of infrastructure to support an increase of visitors.
(1) China's Ministry of Commerce says that China would have to take countermeasures if the US imposes new additional tariffs on Chinese goods. Ministry of Commerce Spokesperson Gao Feng hopes that the US will stop this practice, meet halfway with China, and find the solution based on equality and mutual respect. (2) Thailandâ€™s Tourism and Sports Ministry cut its forecast of foreign arrivals to the country to 39-39.8 million from 40.2 million this year because of the effects of the global tension.
(1) The data released by Malaysia's Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture show that Chinese visitors from mainland China visited the country was increased 6.4 percent to more than 1.56 million in the first 6 months. (2) China plans to impose additional tariffs on US$75 billion worth of US goods, including soybeans, oil, and aircraft, according to the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council. It will increase 10 percent or 5 percent of tariffs depending on the product. Some of those will be starting on September 1 and the rest will start on December 15. It will also continue the imposition of a 25 percent tariff on US autos and a 5 percent tariff on auto parts starting from December 15. (3) Trump vows to practice a quick response to Chinaâ€™s plans for new tariffs by further raising the 5 percent of tariffs on about US$550 billion of Chinese imports and order American companies to leave China. Tariffs on US$250 billion of Chinese goods 48 The Chronology
will go to 30 percent from 25 percent starting on October 1. Tariffs on US$300 billion of Chinese goods will go to 15 percent from 10 percent starting from September 1. August 24
China's Ministry of Commerce opposes the US' plan to impose additional tariffs and urges the US to immediately stop the plan. Otherwise, it will receive all the consequences.
There is a positive sign on the trade talks as Trump says at the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France that the US side has received two phone calls from high-level Chinese officials. Both sides have agreed to get back to the table on the trade negotiations. However, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang says that he is not aware of the phone calls that Trump mentions.
(1) The EEC Office has signed an agreement with Chinaâ€™s Zhengzhou Airport Economy Zone (ZAEZ) on strategic cooperation including the sharing of aviation experience and developing an aerotropolis at U-tapao Airport in Rayong Province. (2) China inaugurates the six new pilot free trade zones (FTZs) in Shandong, Jiangsu, Guangxi, Hebei, Yunnan, and Heilongjiang, aiming to push forward reform and opening up. The Guangxi pilot FTZ covers the area of Naning, Qinzhou Port, and Chongzuo, aiming to promote cooperation with the ASEAN region. The Yunnan pilot FTZ covers parts of Kunming, Honghe Hani, and Yi Autonomous Prefecture that border Vietnam and Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture that border Myanmar, aiming to innovate cross-border economic cooperation.
(1) The US imposes the first stage of a new round of tariffs, an additional 15 percent of tariffs, on the US$300 billion of Chinese goods. (2) China imposes further tariffs of 5 percent or 10 percent on US$75 billion worth of US products in response to the US' new round of additional tariffs. 49 The Chronology
Some start on September 1 and the rest start on December 15. September 2
(1) China submits the complaint against the US to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) that the US tariffs seriously violate the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries in Osaka and China will safeguard its legitimate rights and interests, according to the Commerce Ministry. (2) Data released by Singapore's tourism board shows that the hotel occupancy rates in the city were up to 93.8 percent in July, the highest record since 2005 and up from 92.5 percent in 2018. It is because travelers and business events switch from Hong Kong where the protests continue and tend to be violent.
Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Ministry decides to postpone plans to collect a tourism levy from foreign visitors proposed in May as it is concerned that this plan will worsen Thai tourism that was hit by the trade war and the strong baht.
(1) China and the US agree to hold the 13th round of high-level trade talks in early October in Washington, according to China’s Commerce Ministry after Vice Premier Liu He holds a phone call with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, Governor of the People’s Bank of China Yi Gang, and Deputy Director of the National Development and Reform Commission Ning Jizhe participate in the conversation. (2) Wanlada Rattanapanich, Director of the Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) office in Nanning warns Thai farmers to maintain and improve the quality of durian to serve the Chinese market as Hainan Province succeeds in growing "Sanno” durian seedling imported from Malaysia.
50 The Chronology
(3) Chinese buyers in the northeastern region, such as Harbin, Changchun, and Shenyang, will be new buyers in the Thai property market, especially in Pattaya, as they travel to escape the winter in the cities and look for locations with a similar climate to Hainan, according to Rui Guo, Chairwoman of Jiaranai Real Estate Company. September 6
The Thai economic cabinet approves the â€œThailand Plusâ€? incentive package, including tax incentives, special investment zones for individual countries, and plans to change the Foreign Business Act, to encourage foreign companies that want to relocate production amid the trade war.
Data released by the General Administration of Customs (GAC) of China shows that exports of goods were up 2.6 percent year on year in August, while imports were down 2.6 percent. Exports grew 6.1 percent year on year in the first 8 months this year, while imports rose 0.8 percent. The trade volume with ASEAN was up 11.7 percent and BRI countries rose 9.9 percent year on year during the period.
(1) The Hong Kong Immigration Department reports that the number of Thai visitors to Hong Kong from January to July drop by 2.7 percent. The number of Thai visitors staying overnight in Hong Kong in July was down 6.6 percent from the same period in 2018, but single-day visitors were up by 11 percent because of the ongoing protests in the city. (2) The First China-ASEAN Artificial Intelligence (AI) Summit is held in Nanning, aiming to interconnect and cooperate in the AI field as it promotes better development of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area and provide new development opportunities for enhancing the well-being of both sides. At the summit, the China-ASEAN Financial Service Platform is launched online to integrate financial data and information resources of ASEAN countries and create a financial information service platform for both sides.
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(1) Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Ministry says that the number of foreign visitors visiting the country was up 5.59 percent in August from 2018. Chinese tourists increased 15.6 percent in August from a year earlier to 1 million, after increasing 5.81 percent in July following 5 months of decrease. The number of foreign visitors rose 2.6 percent year on year in the 8 months to 26.5 million. (2) Cambodian Deputy Director of the General Administrative Department at the General Department of Immigration Brigadier General Ath Bony reports that more Chinese nationals are leaving the kingdom since the government banned online gambling. About 140,000 departures of Chinese nationals were recorded, while 130,000 arrivals of Chinese nationals were recorded from August 18 to September 7.
(1) China announces the first exemptions of 16 categories of US products, including seafood products and anti-cancer drugs, from tariffs starting from September 17 this year and ending on September 16, 2020, according to the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council. (2) Cambodia’s Agriculture Ministry provides technical assistance to mango farmers to help them meet China’s stringent sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) requirements, according to the Khmer Times. Mango is one of the prioritized agricultural goods for export to China. These goods include mango, longan, pepper, dragon fruit, fragrant coconut, and bird nests.
(1) Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Chief Executive Carrie Lam meets with Myanmar’s Union Minister for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations and Chairman of the Myanmar Investment Commission U Thaung Tun who attends the 4th Belt and Road Summit in Hong Kong. They agree to further enhance relations and explore more cooperation. They mention that the Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement is under negotiation and the Tourist Visa Exemption 52 The Chronology
Pilot Scheme of Myanmar granting visa-free access to HKSAR passport holders for 1 year will be extended until September 2020. (2) The US postpones the imposition of 30 percent tariffs on US$250 billion worth of Chinese goods from October 1 to October 15 as it wants to avoid imposing the tariffs on the 70th anniversary celebration of the PRC on October 1. September 14
The Tourism and Sports Ministry of Thailand will cooperate with the United Chinese Clans Association of Thailand and the Tourism Authority of Thailand to implement the plan to offer deals for Chinese visitors from the same clans or with the same surnames as Thai-Chinese people, according to Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn. This is one of the plans to attract foreign arrivals and boost the tourism industry.
Thailandâ€™s True Corporation and China Mobile sign the pact to collaborate on 5G development and network consolidation in Thailand. It also allows China Mobile to expand its businesses in the region and international markets.
Malaysia's new National Committee on Investment I (NCII) has approved more than US$500 million worth of investments to encourage investments in the country from businesses affected by the trade war, according to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.
The 2019 ASEAN-Chengdu Economic and Trade Cooperation Week kicks off in Chengdu, aiming to promote exchanges between Chengdu and ASEAN and further cooperation. More than 30 different industries from ASEAN countries attend the event.
Kukrit Arepagorn, Manager of the Thai Broiler Processing Exporters Association, says that Thai poultry exports to China have increased this year as nearly 40 percent of pig herds in China has been affected by the African swine fever. Thailand exported 33,500 tons of poultry to China in the first 53 The Chronology
7 months of this year, increased from 4,100 tons last year. September 19-20
China and the US hold consultations at the viceministerial level in Washington, to discuss the trade issues and the specific arrangements for the 13th round of China-US high-level economic and trade consultations.
(1) The 4th China-ASEAN Chambers of Commerce Leaders’ Summit is held in Nanning. About 300 government officials, business leaders, and scholars from both sides attend the summit, aiming to establish a long-term mechanism for dialogue and cooperation among chambers of commerce in China, ASEAN, and other countries. (2) Thailand's Commerce Ministry reports that exports dropped 4 percent in August because of the impact of the trade disputes. Exports to the US were up 5.8 percent, while exports to China were down 2.7 percent during the period. (3) Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit meets with Chinese Secretary of the Guangxi Communist Party Lu Xinshe in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. They agree with the Thai proposal to hold fruit fairs in the province. Jurin also invites Chinese investors from Guangxi to invest in Thailand. Jurin succeeds in making a deal with China to export 18 billion baht of cassava to China by the end of 2019. He meets with Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng to improve strategic economic partnership and increase trade in agricultural products, such as rice and rubber, from Thailand.
The 16th China-ASEAN Expo is held in Nanning under the theme of “Building the Belt and Road, Realizing Our Vision for a Community of Shared Future,” focusing on the China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership Vision 2030 and aiming to facilitate cooperation 54 The Chronology
among China, ASEAN, and BRI countries. Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng makes the remarks at the opening ceremony stating that China will work with ASEAN to construct the BRI and implement the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 under the guidance of the China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership Vision 2030. A total of 2,848 enterprises, an increase of 2.4 percent year on year, from over 30 countries attend the Expo, including high-level exchange events, exhibitions, forums, and activities. The China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit is held in the Expo as well. The issues discussed at the Expo include the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, China (Guangxi) Pilot Free Trade Zone, further opening up Chinaâ€™s financial sector, the Guangdong-Hong KongMacao Greater Bay Area, and the China-ASEAN Information Harbor. At the Expo, Jin Liqun, President of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), says that AIIB will invest in 6 projects, worth US$1.09 billion, in ASEAN countries to promote interconnectivity among China, ASEAN, and other countries. September 29
Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Qian Keming says at a press conference that the trade between China and BRI countries exceeded US$6 trillion from 2013 to 2018. China's investment in BRI countries has reached US$100 billion, while those countries' investment in China has reached US$48 billion.
The Tourism Council of Thailand has cut its forecast for tourist arrivals from 40.1 million to 39.7 million this year as a result of the strong baht and the USChina trade war. The tourism revenue projection has been reduced from 2.13 trillion baht to 1.95 trillion baht.
(1) World Trade Organization (WTO) has cut trade growth forecast for 2019 to the weakest level in a decade. The trade volume will increase by only 1.2 55 The Chronology
percent this year and 2.7 percent in 2020 because of the ongoing trade war between the US and China, Brexit-related uncertainty, and the shifting monetary policy aspects. (2) Angkor Enterprise’s report showed that tourists visiting Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap from January-September this year decreased 12 percent from the same period last year as a result of fewer Chinese tourists. In contrast, the number of Chinese visitors in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville is increasing, according to Cambodian Tourism Ministry Spokesperson Chuk Chumnor. October 2
Thailand’s Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking has revised its forecast of the country’s economic growth in 2019 from 2.9-3.3 percent to 2.7-3.0 percent. It has also lowered exports from -1.0-1.0 percent to -2.0 to 0.0 percent due to the prolonged trade war and the stronger baht.
(1) 1.7 million Chinese tourists visited Cambodia in the first 8 months of this year, an increase of 33 percent from 2018, accounting for 39 percent of the total visitors, according to Cambodian Tourism Minister Thong Khon. (2) Thailand’s cabinet has approved a proposal for cross-border economic ties under the LMC framework, according to Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit. The project aims to connect and develop innovative economic ties, improve digital infrastructure in the region, and promote collaboration in trade, investment, and development of key industries.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast Thailand's GDP growth to increase to 2.9 percent this year because of external factors, such as the trade tensions, the global economic slowdown, and domestic factors, such as a weakening in consumption growth, and drought that affects agricultural incomes.
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(1) Thaicom Public Limited Company (THCOM), Thailandâ€™s satellite operator, signs an MOU with China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC), Chinaâ€™s commercial launch services, satellite systems, and space technology cooperation, to cooperate on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) System and BeiDou. (2) The World Bank releases "Weathering Growing Risks," October 2019 edition of its East Asia and Pacific Economic Update. It shows that the regional growth is expected to slow from 6.3 percent in 2018, to 5.8 percent in 2019, to 5.7 percent in 2020, and to 5.6 percent in 2021 as a result of the ongoing trade war, lower consumption growth, and a decrease in exports and investment growth. It forecasts the growth for Thailand will expand by 2.7 percent this year, and 2.9 percent in 2020, and 3 percent in 2021 due to the decreased farm income, lower Chinese tourist arrivals, and the weakening exports. Risks and challenges are political uncertainty, lower domestic demand, and the escalating trade war between the US and China.
The 13th round of high-level trade negotiations between the US and China is held in Washington. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He meets with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The Chinese side issues a statement that they have made substantial progress on economic and trade issues of common concern. Liu He meets with US President Donald Trump at the White House on October 11. Both sides reach a "Phase One" agreement that the Chinese side pledges to increase purchases of US farm goods to US$40-50 billion a year. They also have progress in financial services and currencies, technology transfer, and intellectual property. In exchange, the US will hold off on a plan to raise tariffs on US$250 billion worth of Chinese goods to 30 percent. Trump hopes to have the first phase signed with Chinese President Xi Jinping when they 57 The Chronology
meet on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Chile in November. October 14
Data of the General Administration of Customs (GAC) of China shows that the total value of foreign trade in the first three quarters of 2019 was US$3.24 trillion, an increase of 2.8 percent year-on-year. The global market share rose by 0.1 percent. Exports grew 5.2 percent from 2018, while imports were down 0.1 percent. The trade value with ASEAN increased by 11.5 percent, accounted for 13.7 percent of total trade. Trade with BRI countries totaled about US$940.3 billion, an increase of 9.5 percent year on year.
(1) The IMF releases the World Economic Outlook (WEO) report. It lowers its global growth forecast for 2019 to 3 percent, the slowest pace since the global financial crisis due to trade tensions, and geopolitical tensions, such as Brexit-related risks. IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath says that there is no room for policy mistakes and urges policymakers to find ways to support growth. The IMF lowers its growth forecast for China in 2019 from 6.2 percent to 6.1 percent. (2) The China National Tourist Office in Singapore hosts the event “Beautiful China Tourism Promotion 2019,” a joint tourism event organized by China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, to promote China’s tourism in Singapore. A total of 11 Chinese Provinces and Municipalities, including Heilongjiang, Jilin, Anhui, Henan, Jiangxi, Shandong, Guangdong, Qinghai, Gansu, Shanghai, and Chongqing, participate in the event.
A total of 10 Chinese Provinces and Municipalities, including Jilin, Heilongjiang, Anhui, Jiangxi, Shandong, Guangdong, Gansu, Qinghai, Shanghai, and Chongqing, promote the Beautiful China Tourism Promotion in Bangkok. The event is hosted by China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism. 300 representatives from the government, travel agencies, media, and airlines attend the event.
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(1) Data of China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that the country’s GDP in the third quarter (July-September) grew 6.0 percent, the slowest rate in 27 years due to weak domestic demand and the trade war with the US. The annual target range is between 6.0-6.5 percent. (2) Alibaba Group officially launches “AlibabaNews Thai,” a news website in Thai language, sharing Alibaba’s announcements and business moves in China, Thailand, and other countries, and trends and innovation.
Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak leads economic ministers to China to boost economic relations, especially in the Greater Bay Area (GBA), aiming to promote relations and strengthen collaboration between Thailand and China. On October 22, Somkid meets with Ren Zhengfei, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Huawei, and witness the signing of an MOU between Huawei and Thailand’s National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) and National Innovation Agency (NIA) in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province. Huawei plans to establish Huawei Academy in the EEC. On October 23, Somkid meets with Li Xi, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Secretary of the CPC Guangdong Provincial Committee, to promote cooperation between the EEC and the GBA. They preside over the signing ceremony of an MOU on economic cooperation on targeted industries, research and development, and human resources development between the EEC Office and Guangdong Province. Somkid is a keynote speaker at a seminar in Shenzhen on the topic "Strategic Partnership through the Belt and Road Initiative and the EEC." On October 24, Somkid meets with Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam to support Carrie Lam to overcome difficult situations in Hong Kong and promote bilateral cooperation between Thailand 59 The Chronology
and the GBA. He delivers a keynote speech at a forum titled “Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay: New Horizon for China’s Reform and Opening Up of One Country, Two Systems.” The EEC Office signs an MOU with the Federation of Hong Kong Industries (FHKI) to promote cooperation in the Thai government's hi-tech investment hub. During the visit, Somkid and teams also meet with executives of leading Chinese firms, including Hairma Nantong Technology, Midea Group, Quantum Hi-Tech China Biological, Primax and Tymphany, Lexin, Advanced Fiber Resources Zhuhai, Gree Electric Appliances, Shenzhen Forms Syntron Information and Shenzhen YUTO Packaging Technology. October 21
(1) There is an increasing number of manufacturers moving their production bases from China and Hong Kong to Thailand to avoid impacts from the trade war, according to the Board of Investment (BOI) Deputy Secretary-General Narit Therdsteerasukdi. The investment applications for BOI tax privileges from Chinese and Hong Kong investors in 2018 has reached 164 projects, worth 60 billion baht. (2) The Lao Tourism Development Department under the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism reports that more than 3.4 million visitors visited the country in the first 9 months of this year, an increase of 11 percent from 2018. The number of Chinese visitors was increased by 26 percent, as a result from the Visit Laos-China Year tourism promotion.
(1) Thailand’s cabinet approves a 6-months extension of the 2,000-baht visa fee waiver until April 30, 2020, according to Deputy Government Spokesperson Traisulee Traisoranakul. (2) China and ASEAN upgrade a trade protocol, the Protocol to Amend the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Certain Agreements thereunder between China and ASEAN (ACFTA Upgrading Protocol). The ACFTA Upgrading 60 The Chronology
Protocol is fully effective for all members immediately according to China's Ministry of Commerce. It expands the area of cooperation, such as agriculture, fisheries, foresty, tourism, transportation, information technology, and simplifies the rules of origin, customs procedures, trade facilitation measures, and investment regulations. The original pact was signed in 2015. (3) ASEAN becomes Chongqingâ€™s largest trading partner with an increase of trade volume by 12.3 percent in the first 9 months of this year, according to Chongqing Customs. (4) Vietnam begins exporting milk to China by Vietnamese TH Milk Joint Stock Company, the first Vietnamese firm to receive approval from China. The company signs a contract with Wuxi Jinqiao International Food City. October 24
Vietnam imposes 5-year tariffs on Chinese steel products. Anti-dumping duties of 2.53-34.27 percent are applied to steel products, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
A total of 29,465,732 visitors visited Thailand in January-September this year. Chinese visitors were the highest number with 8,518,031 visitors, an increase of 1.71 percent, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). TAT targets 11 million visitors from China for this year.
(1) Thai Secretary-General of the BOI Duangjai Asawachintachit says that the number of applications from China's companies seeking BOI's tax privileges reached 45 billion baht in the first 9 months of this year, an increase of 100 percent year on year, as the ongoing trade war forces Chinese companies to relocate their production bases to Southeast Asia's countries, including Thailand. Most of them are in the fields of rubber processing and tire manufacturing. (2) The 2019 Lancang-Mekong Agricultural Cooperation Summit and Economic and Trade Fair is 61 The Chronology
held in Yunnan Province. Representatives from China, India, and some of ASEAN countries participate in the event. The event aims to promote agricultural cooperation and the establishment of a mutual assistance mechanism on agricultural resources among Yunnan and Lancang-Mekong countries. November 1
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He holds a telephone talk with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. They say that the talk was constructive. They address their core concerns and reach a consensus on principles. However, they have not revealed any details. Both sides are looking for a new venue for signing the phase one trade agreement after Chilean President Sebastian Pinera announced on October 30 that the country has canceled the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit and the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25) due to the ongoing anti-government protests.
The second China International Import Expo (CIIE) kicks off in Shanghai. On November 5, President Xi Jinping attends the opening ceremony and delivers a keynote speech titled “Openness and Cooperation for a Shared Future.” He proposes the willingness to work with partners to build an open world economy through cooperation, with innovation, and for mutual benefits. He pledges to open up China’s market, optimize opening-up structure, improve the business environment, deepen multilateral and bilateral cooperation, and advance the BRI. Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit leads a delegation of Thai enterprises to the second CIIE. The value of deals emerging from the event is US$71.13 billion, an increase of 23 percent from the first CIIE in 2018.
After bilateral talks between Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on the sideline of the 35th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok 62 The Chronology
on November 5, Prayut urges transportation officials to settle the disagreement on the Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima high-speed railway with the Chinese contractor as the progress of the project is slow. The disagreement is on “Contract 2.3” as the Chinese side cannot provide a clear price for each piece of equipment and facility. Both sides also disagree on the warranty period. China offers 1 year’s warranty on the high-speed train system, while Thailand insists on the international standard of 2 years. Prayut wants relevant officials to discuss on the warranty period, price of equipment, currency of payment, and interest rate of loans from China and domestic sources at the 28th Thai-Chinese joint committee (JC) meeting on rail cooperation in December this year. November 7
China and the US agree to remove additional tariffs on each other step by step after they make progress in reaching the phase one deal, according to Commerce Ministry Spokesperson Gao Feng.
(1) US President Donald Trump tells reporters at the White House that he had not agreed to rollback tariffs as part of the phase one deal with China. (2) Data of China’s General Administration of Customs (GAC) shows that the country’s foreign trade was up 2.4 percent year on year in the first 10 months. Exports increased by 4.9 percent, while imports decreased by 0.4 percent. The trade surplus grew 42.3 percent year on year. The trade with BRI countries rose 9.4 percent, accounting for 29.1 percent of the total trade.
(1) Alibaba’s 11.11 global shopping festival (the 24hour event) set a new record for the campaign with sales volume reaching 268.4 billion RMB (1.1 trillion baht). The gross merchandise volume (GMV) is up 25.7 percent from last year. The top 10 countries selling to China are Japan, the US, South Korea, Australia, Germany, France, the UK, New Zealand, Italy, and Canada. The popular Thai products among Chinese buyers include latex pillows, cosmetics, and massage oils, according to Alvin Liu, general 63 The Chronology
manager of Tmall global imports and exports under Alibaba. (2) China’s Zhongtong Bus Holding Company Limited signs an agreement with Malaysia’s Terus Maju Services (TMS), an automotive manufacturer, to develop new energy buses for Malaysia’s domestic market and ASEAN markets, including Vietnam, Myanmar, and Cambodia. November 14
China’s Commerce Ministry Spokesperson Gao Feng emphasizes that the new tariff rollbacks are an important condition for the phase one deal between China and the US.
(1) The trade growth of Yunnan Province reached US$26.6 billion in the first 10 months, an increase of 17.6 percent year on year, according to Kunming Customs. Exports rose 24.4 percent, while imports were up 12.7 percent. The trade with ASEAN countries grew by 25.6 percent and with BRI countries increased by 15.2 percent year on year. (2) China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) reveals that the country has signed 197 Belt and Road cooperation documents with 137 countries and 30 international organizations by the end of October this year.
The final railway technology training course by Chinese experts kicks off at the Lao Front for National Development’s training center. 45 people from the Lao Ministry of Public Works and Transport and other sectors attend the course, according to Vientiane Times. The course provides information and training about railway operations and management. It is supported by China’s Ministry of Commerce and implemented by Peking University.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He holds a phone talk with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. They have constructive discussions on the phase one deal and agree to maintain close communication.
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China’s Alipay has partnered with Cambodia’s DaraPay to allow customers to use Alipay wallets to pay at DaraPay’s Point of Sale (POS) payment system in Cambodia. There are more than 3,000 outlets of DaraPay in Phnom Penh, Kandal, Kampong Cham, Siem Reap, and Battambang Provinces.
Thailand’s Department of Agriculture and representatives from the National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards hold talks with the Chinese inspector of Bureau of Import and Export Food Safety at General Administration of Customs China (GACC) to reduce rules and regulations that obstruct the exports of Thai vegetables.
Thailand’s Commerce Ministry announces that total exports are expected to decrease between 1.5-2 percent for the full year. The exports in October were down by 4.57 percent from the same month last year due to the strong baht, the lower oil prices, the Brexit concern, and the fragile global economy. The ministry expects exports will increase next year. However, the effects of the China-US trade war are less, as Thailand's electronics exports rise. The ministry expects total exports will rise at least 2 percent in 2020.
The Myanmar-China border trade fair organized by Myanmar’s Commerce Ministry and China’s Lincang City government is held in Lashio, Shan State. The trade fair is aimed to boost trade relations between Lashio City, Shan State and Lincang City, Yunnan Province, promote tourism, and create jobs for locals.
(1) China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revises the preliminary calculation of the country’s GDP in 2018 to US$13.08 trillion, an increase of 2.1 percent. The revised GDP in 2018 will be the base of the preliminary calculation of GDP in 2019. However, it will not have an important impact on the GDP growth rate of 2019.
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(2) Thailand’s Council of the Economic Ministers approves the government’s GDP growth target of 2.7-3.7 percent in 2020. The export growth is targeted at 3 percent or more. The country expects 41.8 million tourist arrivals next year. November 26
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He holds a telephone talk with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. They reach a consensus to address the core issues of concerns and maintain contact over the remaining issues for a phase one deal.
The China Tourism Academy releases the 2019 report on China’s inbound tourism development. It shows that Asia is the biggest source of tourists, accounting for 60 percent. The source of China's inbound tourists are Myanmar, Vietnam, South Korea, Japan, and the US. The country expects inbound tourism revenue to exceed US$130 billion this year.
Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak and Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam co-chair the first Hong Kong-Thailand High-Level Joint Committee (HLJC) Meeting in Bangkok. Both sides sign 6 MOUs on investment promotion, relocation of Hong Kong industries, creative economy, science and technology development, financial cooperation, and human resources development. They expect the two-way trade volume to be increased from US$15 billion this year to US$20 billion by 2020. They agree to launch a study of the FTA in February next year. Carrie Lam also meets with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
US President Donald Trump tells reporters at the meeting of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) leaders on the 70th anniversary of the military alliance in London, the United Kingdom that he had no deadline for a trade deal with China and a deal could wait until after the 2020 US election.
(1) The trade volume at China’s Tianpeng Port, located on the border of Yunnan Province and 66 The Chronology
Vietnam, was worth US$46.77, an increase of 19.71 percent year on year, in the first 9 months. Inbound and outbound visits totaled 120,302 visits in the same period. (2) The Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS) light rail extension line is launched in Bangkok. The new trains made by the CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles Company Limited, are ready for service. Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Deputy General Manager of CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles Wang Feng attend the launch ceremony. The company has designed 164 urban rail vehicles and 115 passenger trains for Thailand since 2007. December 6
China will exempt some imports of US soybean and pork and other commodities from tariffs based on applications from enterprises, according to the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council.
The data of Chinaâ€™s General Administration of Customs (GAC) shows that the foreign trade increased 2.4 percent year on year in the first 11 months this year. The total foreign trade volume was US$4.14 trillion.
Chinaâ€™s annual Central Economic Work Conference is held in Beijing to review economic work in 2019, analyze the current situation and set economic policy for the coming year. The details of the meeting will be released in the legislative meetings in March 2020.
The 18th China-Myanmar Border Economic and Trade Fair kicks off in Ruili, Yunnan Province. The exhibition displays electronics, agricultural products, food, and garments. Exhibitors from Thailand, Vietnam and other countries attend the event. The activities include conferences and project signings to promote bilateral cooperation between China and Myanmar.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) says in a supplement to the Asian Development Outlook 2019 Update released in September this year that it 67 The Chronology
expects GDP in developing Asia to increase 5.2 percent in both 2019 and 2020, a decrease from 5.4 percent in 2019 and 5.5 percent in 2020 in the September forecast. Chinaâ€™s growth will be at 6.1 percent in 2019 and 5.8 percent in 2020, a drop from 6.2 percent in 2019 and 6.0 percent in 2020 in the September forecast. For Thailand, the GDP growth is forecast to expand by 2.6 percent this year and 3 percent in 2020, a decrease from 3 percent in 2019 and 3.2 percent in 2020 in the previous forecast. December 12
Chinese Commerce Ministry Spokesperson says that China and the US are in close contact to resolve pending trade and economic issues and the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council has already exempted tariffs on some soybean, pork and other products from the US.
China and the US announce that both sides have agreed on the text of a phase one deal. The text has 9 chapters, including the preface, intellectual property rights, technology transfer, food and agricultural products, financial services, exchange rate and transparency, trade expansion, bilateral assessment and dispute settlement, and the final terms. The US would cancel its next round of tariffs on Chinese goods that would take effect on December 15 and reduce by half the tariffs imposed on US$120 billion in Chinese goods on September 1 while China would cancel retaliatory tariffs on US goods and purchase US$50 billion of US agricultural products.
(1) Cambodia's Secretariat of One Window Service for Rice Export reports that the country exported 205,358 tons of milled rice to China in the first 11 months of this year, an increase of 34 percent year on year. It accounts for 40 percent of total rice export. (2) The foreign trade of Yunnan Province rose 18 percent year on year to around US$29.9 billion in the first 11 months of this year, according to Kunming Customs. The trade with ASEAN members and BRI countries grew by 26.2 percent and 15.1 percent year on year respectively. 68 The Chronology
Gansu Province’s trade with ASEAN members increased 51.4 percent year on year in the first 11 months of 2019 while trade with BRI countries rose 2.8 percent year on year, according to local customs authorities.
(1) The World Bank releases China Economic Update that forecasts the country's GDP to be 5.9 percent in 2020 and 5.8 percent in 2021. China has strong growth and remains resilient with more flexible economic policies. However, the world economy still faces many challenges that can affect China's growth. (2) The Bank of Thailand cuts its forecast for Thailand's economic growth from 2.8 percent to 2.5 percent in 2019 and from 3.3 percent to 2.8 percent in 2020, lower than the National Economic and Social Development Council's forecast, as the ChinaUS trade disputes continue to hurt exports. (3) China’s Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council releases a second list of US products to be exempted from China’s first round of tariff countermeasures against the US Section 301 measures. The list includes 6 chemical products, such as white mineral oil and food grade paraffin wax. The exemption is for 1 year starting from December 26.
President Xi Jinping has a phone conversation with US President Donald Trump. Trump reveals via Twitter that they discuss on phase one deal, North Korea, and the unrest in Hong Kong and have a very good talk. Xi says that both sides have reached phase one deal based on the principle of equality and mutual respect.
(1) China lowers tariffs on more than 850 products, including frozen pork, fish, cheese and nuts, pharmaceuticals, chemical products, and high-tech components starting on January 1, 2020, to increase imports and encourage competition, according to the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council. 69 The Chronology
Tariffs on frozen pork will drop from 12 percent to 8 percent. (2) Thailandâ€™s Commerce Ministry reports that exports in November dropped 7.39 percent year on year, while imports decreased 13.78 percent due to the global economic slowdown, baht appreciation, and the ongoing China-US trade tensions. Exports to China increased 2.3 percent year on year in November, while exports to the US dropped 2.6 percent. Exports decreased 2.77 percent year on year in the first 11 months, while imports fell 5.22 percent. December 25
Tourist arrivals in Thailand increased 5.92 percent year on year in November, according to Thailand's Tourism and Sports Ministry. Visitors from China rose 18.33 percent year on year in November. Tourist arrivals in the first 11 months of this year totaled 35.87 million, an increase of 4.44 percent year on year.
The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) signs a contract with China Railway Signal and Communication (CRSC) to supply train signaling and communication equipment worth 6.25 billion baht for the Nakhon Pathom-Chumphon double-track rail upgrade project. The supply is expected to be completed in 3 years. The contract is one of the 3 separate contracts involving the first phase of the double-track upgrades.
Cambodia opens the 6th trade center in Kunming, Yunnan Province to further promote bilateral ties in trade, investment, culture, and tourism with China. The other 5 centers are located in Guangzhou, Xi'an, Haining, Hong Kong, and Yantai.
Chinaâ€™s Commerce Ministry says at the ministryâ€™s year-end meeting that China will continue to strengthen the domestic market, encourage highlevel opening-up and ensure high-quality development of trade and investment in 2020. A target of 2020 is to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects. 70 The Chronology
The power supply project for the China-Laos railway, the first BOT (build-operate-transfer) power grid in Laos, kicks off in Vientiane. The project will build 20 circuits of 115 kilovolts transmission lines with 268 kilometers long and extend 11 bays in 10 substations. Laos-China Power Investment Company, co-sponsored by China Southern Power Grid (CSG) and the Electricite du Laos (EDL) is responsible for the project which is expected to be completed by the end of March 2021.
US President Donald Trump says in Twitter that he will go to Beijing to begin a new round of negotiations at an unspecified date. He will sign the phase one trade deal with China on January 15 at the White House. High-level Chinese government officials will attend the signing.
(D) Socio-cultural Affairs July 15-19
A delegation led by Bouasone Bouphavanh, head of the National Economic Research Institute (NERI) of Laos and former prime minister visits the Development Research Center of the State Council of China to promote the construction of the China-Laos Economic Corridor under the framework of the BRI and strengthen cooperation in areas such as infrastructure, interconnectivity, agriculture, and digital economy.
The Lancang-Mekong Youth Exchange and Cooperation Center is inaugurated at Fudan University in Shanghai, focusing on cross-cultural exchanges, higher education cooperation, innovation and entrepreneurship, and international social practices. Eight universities, including the Royal University of Phnom Penh, Qinghai University, Guangxi University of Finance and Economics, Fudan University, National University of Laos, University of Yangon, Prince of Songkla University, and Vietnam National University of Social Sciences and Humanities, sign an MOU to encourage youth to
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conduct research on sustainable development issues. July 22-26
The 2019 China-ASEAN Education Cooperation Week is held in Guizhou Province. More than 2,400 representatives and students from China and ASEAN countries attend the event. The event aims to enhance cooperation in higher, vocational and preschool education, innovation and entrepreneurship training in college, schoolenterprise cooperation and youth exchanges.
The “Thailand Day” event is held at the ongoing International Horticultural Exhibition in Beijing. Attendants enjoy exhibitions and shows, including Thailand’s history, classic dance, Thai massage, Thai cuisine, and the arts.
China’s Ministry of Public Security reveals that police from China and Vietnam suppress a large cross-border online gambling gang. 29 suspects were arrested across China. 77 suspects were arrested in Vietnam and they have been escorted back to China.
“Myanmar Day” kicks off at the Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition.
(1) The World Animal Protection (WAP) China reports that Chinese tourists prefer wildlife-friendly tours and reject activities that cause suffering and harm to wild animals. The report says that Chinese tourists who ride elephants and watch elephant shows in Thailand have dropped from 2016 to 2019. (2) “A Dream of the Red Mansions,” a classic Chinese TV series with the Myanmar language version, has started broadcasting in Myanmar. It plans to broadcast the Lao and Vietnamese versions this year as well, according to the Guangxi Radio and Television Information Network Corporation.
China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA) Myanmar Office, the first Chinese non-governmental organization (NGO) registered in Myanmar, donates 72 The Chronology
100,000 school bags and stationaries to Myanmar students under Panda Pack Project for 2019-2020 academic year in Yangon. August 29September 3
The 2019 ASEAN-China (Guiyang) Belt and Road Culture and Tourism Exchange Week is held in Guiyang, Guizhou Province to promote cooperation between ASEAN and Guizhou in trade, investment, education, culture, tourism, and media.
August 30September 3
A Chinese medical team provides cataract surgeries to 200 patients in Yangon under a Bright Journey Program organized by Yunnan Provincial People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, Myanmar’s Sitagu Shwe Pyi Hein Eye Hospital and Visakha Foundation.
19 Chinese nationals are arrested in Pattaya for running an online gambling operation with 8 million baht in daily circulation. They are hired by a gambling boss in China to run an online operation in Thailand.
September 16December 15
Terracotta Army of the Qin Dynasty is exhibited at the National Museum Bangkok to celebrate the relationship between Thailand and China. Thailand's Fine Arts Department collaborates with the Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Heritage Administration, Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Center, and Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum in this project. The exhibition entitled “Qin Shi Huang: The First Emperor of China and Terracotta Warriors,” displays more than 400 clay artifacts made 2,700 years ago.
China signs agreements to assist Myanmar in the restoration of Thatbyinnyu Phato, a temple hit by the earthquake on August 24, 2016. Experts from Shaanxi Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage and other heritage conservation institutes and organizations in Shaanxi Province are assigned to work in this project as they have many experiences in restoring stone-structured buildings.
The death of 19-year-old Thailand’s celebrity giant panda, Chuang Chuang, on September 16 went viral 73 The Chronology
on social media in China and some comments blamed Thailand for the death. The autopsy and analysis by Chinese and Thai experts shows that the cause of the death was heart failure, according to the National Forestry and Grassland Administration and the Chiang Mai Zoo that borrowed the panda from China since 2003. Thailand will pay unspecified compensation to China following the original loan agreement. October 14
(1) China's State Council Information Office releases a white paper on food security titled "Food Security in China," to give more information about the country's efforts in enhancing food security and expanding international cooperation in this area. (2) The China-ASEAN University Consortium on Medicine and Health is established in Beijing with support from the ASEAN-China Center. It aims to promote regional and global medical science and public health through in-depth exchanges and collaboration. The consortium has 42 universities and medical schools, including the Peking Union Medical College and Mahidol University of Thailand.
The 11th China-ASEAN Youth Camp and the 4th China-ASEAN Youth Summit are held in Beijing under the theme “Uniting Youths Inspiring Change— Paving the Way for a China-ASEAN future.” The activities include the model summit, visits to the AIIB, the National Museum of China, and some Chinese startups. Participants issue a China-ASEAN Youth Declaration at the summit.
The ASEAN plus Three Culture Cities Network is launched in Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province to promote regional cooperation in cultural fields. Chinese Vice Minister of Culture and Tourism Li Jinzao attends the launch ceremony with representatives of the Culture Cities of East Asia from China, Japan, and South Korea, cultural officials of the ASEAN Cities of Culture from ASEAN countries, and officials from the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat and the ASEANChina Center.
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Chinese ethnic cultural exchange program, named "Colorful Nation-Walking into the Mekong River (Myanmar)," is launched in Yangon. It aims to deepen the bilateral cultural exchange and cooperation. It is organized by the China Ethnic Museum and sponsored by the China Cultural Center in Yangon and Beijing National Cultural Heritage Protection Foundation. The activities include intangible cultural heritage craft exhibitions, photo exhibitions, and workshops.
The Guangdong seismological bureau assists Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Malaysia to complete the earthquake network centers in each country. The bureau will finish the construction of 24 earthquake monitoring stations in Indonesia, Cambodia, and Thailand by the end of this year, according to Director of the Bureau Sun Peiqing. The China earthquake network center, Institute of Geophysics under China Earthquake Administration, and Fujian seismological bureau also aid the projects.
Malaysian authorities break up a Chinese-based online investment scam syndicate, targeting victims in China, and arrest 680 suspected Chinese nationals in Cyberjaya town, Selangor State, according to Immigration Director-General Khairul Dzaimee Daud. It is one of the biggest operations in the country.
The 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 25) is held in Madrid, Spain. Chinese Vice Minister of Ecology and Environment Zhao Yingmin reveals at a forum on South-South climate cooperation that China had signed an MOU on climate cooperation with 33 developing countries so far. It has provided more than US$146 million to help developing countries handle global warming since 2011. It offered training to officials and technicians from 120 countries working in environment or climate-related jobs.
(1) Panyapiwat Institute of Management (PIM), an academic institution under the umbrella of Charoen Pokphand Holding Company, has signed an MOU 75 The Chronology
with Beijing Jiaotong University (BJTU) to teach courses related to railway innovations and technology to engineering students at PIMâ€™s EEC campus for 2020-2021 academic year. PIM is in the process of recruiting professors from BJTU. The courses will be conducted in English. (2) The Philippine Department of Education signs agreements with Chinaâ€™s Confucius Institute Headquarters to jointly train 300 Philippine Mandarin teachers in public schools through a Master of Arts program in the next 5 years. These teachers will study Chinese for 2 years at the Philippine Angeles University Foundation, with 2 semesters in the Fujian Normal University, Fujian Province. December 24
Thai police arrest 3 Chinese nationals in Bangkok as they use Thailand as a base to hack We-chat, a popular social network application, and create fake accounts to sell in the black market in China. The police seize 116 smartphones, 90 charging cables, charging ports, 119 SIM cards, and a laptop. The suspects are charged with working without a work permit.
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Part II Selected Documentation
(II) Selected Documentation (July-December 2019) July (A) Chinese Embassy Spokesperson's Remarks on Mekong-related Media Report Targeting China Source: http://www.chinaembassy.or.th/eng/sgxw/t1678896.htm Released on: July 5, 2019 Chinese Embassy Spokesperson's Remarks on Mekong-related Media Report Targeting China The Chinese Embassy in Thailand has noted certain media’s recent report on the Mekong River with false accusations against China. Ignoring the joint efforts made by China, Thailand and other relevant parties to promote Mekong water resources cooperation for the benefit of the people in the region, these groundless accusations mislead the readers, and undermine the good atmosphere of sub-regional cooperation. The Chinese Embassy in Thailand would like to share the following facts: I. On Ecological and Environmental Protection of the Mekong River The Mekong River, connecting China, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam closely together, is a gift from nature and embodies a natural bond of mutual support. While committing itself to promote green development, “protect the environment like we protect our eyes and treat the environment like it is our lives”, China also bears this concept in mind when conducting cooperation with Mekong countries. Under the framework of Lancang-Mekong Cooperation, our six countries have established the Environmental Cooperation Center and Water Resources Cooperation Center, implemented the Green Lancang-Mekong Plan and a FiveYear Action Plan on Water Resources Cooperation. We have also actively engaged in sustainable infrastructure construction, investment and financing. With the aim of building a green railway, the China-Laos Railway project has synchronized environmental protection with construction at the stages of design, implementation and inspection, which is hailed by the government and people of the Laos. The six countries, international organizations and NGOs never cease their efforts to enhance technical cooperation, as well as personnel 79 Selected Documentation
and information exchanges for the purpose of realizing environmental protection and sustainable development of the Mekong basin. II. On So-called “Rapids Blasting” From 2016 to 2017, the preliminary work was done on the second phase of the Navigation Channel Improvement Project under the Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Cooperation (GMS), according to the consensus reached by governments of China, Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. Experts from the four countries carried out the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment on the premise of not affecting the natural and geographical features of the LancangMekong River. The preliminary work also involved relevant parties including the NGOs and took into full consideration different parties’ views. Up till now, our four countries have had no engineering plan, let alone any action of the socalled “rapids blasting”. III. On the Role of Cascade Hydropower Stations Frequent floods and droughts in the Mekong basin are the effects of global climate change. The construction of cascade reservoirs on the Lancang River is an effective measure against climate change. The cascade hydropower stations which discharge water in the dry season and store water in the wet season, are able to help adjust the water level of the Lancang-Mekong River. Through scientific regulation, the average outflow of the Lancang River in the dry season could be 70% higher than that under natural conditions, and in the wet season 30% lower than that under natural conditions, reducing effectively economic losses caused by the abnormal fluctuation of water level of the Mekong River to the riverine communities. Currently, the amount of water at the Chiang Saen-Vientiane section of the Mekong River could be increased by 30% to 50%, and the water level raised by 0.6 to 1.9 meters during the dry season. While in the wet season, the amount of water could be reduced by 10% to 20%, and the water level lowered by 0.4 to 1.3 meters. Thanks to the reservoirs’ water supplement during the dry season, for the first time in the dry season could ships navigate through the upper and middle reaches of the Mekong River where the water is shallow and shoals scatter. Local communities are thus provided with a more convenient and green way of transportation. In 2013 and 2016, the entire Lancang-Mekong River was struck by severe droughts. China, although hit by the disaster, provided emergency water supplement to the downstream Mekong River despite all the difficulties, helping 60 million people in the downstream area to get over droughts. The Mekong River Commission (MRC) wrote on its website in 2017 that droughts in the Mekong basin are not caused by upstream water dams, on the contrary, when 80 Selected Documentation
droughts occur due to extreme weather conditions, upstream water dams play an important role by storing water in the wet season for discharge in the dry season. IV. On Notification of Hydrological Data As an upstream country, China always pays great attention to the concerns and requirements of countries in the downstream reaches of the Mekong River, and stays in close communication with them to share hydrological data and conduct cooperation in related areas. Starting from 2003, the Chinese side has been providing flood season hydrological data of the Lancang River through the MRC to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, informing them in advance of the regulation schemes of the dams. Both the MRC and downstream countries have expressed their appreciation. In early June this year, at the special meeting held by the Joint Working Group of Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation, the Chinese side announced to provide data directly to downstream countries. The line of communication between China and downstream countries in terms of hydrological data is unimpeded and transparent. Especially, in accordance with the assessment done by the MRC in 2016, the combined capacity of reservoirs built by Mekong countries on the branches of the river has exceeded that of the cascade reservoirs built by China on the mainstream of the Lancang River. The outflow of the Lancang River accounts for only 13.5% of the runoff at the estuary of the Mekong River. Shared River, Shared Future. The green, coordinated, and sustainable development of the Mekong River calls for mutual trust, mutual understanding, mutual support, enhanced coordination, mutual accommodation of each other’s concerns and proper balance between economic development and ecological conservation. The Chinese side will work even more closely with countries including Thailand, through mechanisms such as the LMC, MRC and GMS, to make the Lancang-Mekong River a river of friendship, cooperation and prosperity. (B) White Paper: China’s National Defense in the New Era For detail see: http://english.www.gov.cn/archive/whitepaper/201907/24/ content_WS5d3941ddc6d08408f502283d.html Released on: July 24, 2019 (C) Joint Communiqué of the 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting For detail see: https://www.asean2019.go.th/th/news/Joint-communique-ofthe-52nd-asean-foreign-ministers-meeting-bangkok-31-july-2019/ Released on: July 31, 2019
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August (D) Chairman’s Statement of the 26th ASEAN Regional Forum For detail see: https://asean.org/storage/2019/08/26th-ARF-Chairmans-State ment_FINAL.pdf Released on: August 2, 2019 (E) Chairman’s Statement of the 20th ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting For detail see: https://asean.org/storage/2019/08/Chair-Statement-20th-APTFMM-2019-final.pdf Released on: August 2, 2019 (F) Chairman’s Statement of the 9th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting For detail see: https://asean.org/storage/2019/08/Chairmans-Statement-ofthe-9th-East-Asia-Summit-FMM_FINAL.pdf Released on: August 2, 2019 (G) Joint Media Statement of the 8th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Intersessional Ministerial Meeting Source: https://asean.org/storage/2019/08/RCEPISSLMM8-05-Draft-JMS-FIN AL_cln.pdf Released on: August 3, 2019 THE 8th REGIONAL COMPREHENSIVE ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP (RCEP) INTERSESSIONAL MINISTERIAL MEETING 2-3 August 2019, Beijing, China JOINT MEDIA STATEMENT 1. The Ministers from the 16 RCEP Participating Countries (RPCs) gathered in Beijing on 2-3 August 2019 for the 8th RCEP Intersessional Ministerial Meeting to review developments in the RCEP negotiations since the Ministers last met in March 2019. The Meeting was opened by H.E. Hu Chunhua, Vice Premier of the People’s Republic of China, and was chaired by H.E. Jurin Laksanawisit, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce of Thailand. 2. In 2018, the RCEP region grew by 5.6%, slightly moderated from 5.8% the previous year, The Ministers highlighted that as growth outlook remains overcast by rising uncertainties, it is in the region’s collective interest and 82 Selected Documentation
highest priority to conclude a modern, comprehensive, high quality, and mutually beneficial RCEP in 2019, as mandated by the 16 RCEP Leaders. The Ministers recognised that trade remains a powerful tool for income and employment generation, productivity and innovation stimulation, and inclusive and sustainable development. Covering 47.4% of global population, 32.2% of the global economy, 29.1% of global trade, and 32.5% of global investment flows in 2018, the Ministers emphasised that RCEP is the most important trade agenda in the region, supportive of an open, inclusive, and rules-based trading system, and an enabling trade and investment environment. 3. The Ministers commended the Trade Negotiating Committee (TNC) for their efforts, especially over the last three rounds, in progressing both market access and text-based negotiations. The Ministers, in particular, welcomed the conclusion of the Annexes on Telecommunication Services, Financial Services, and Professional Services, bringing a total number of 7 concluded chapters and 3 concluded annexes, and noted that some of the remaining chapters or annexes are nearing conclusion. The Ministers were pleased to note that over two thirds of market access negotiations have reached mutually satisfactory outcomes, and that work on the remaining areas are being intensified through constructive engagements at all levels. Determined to keep the momentum towards achieving the Leadersâ€™ mandate to conclude the RCEP negotiations by the end of the year, the Ministers called on all RPCs to find pragmatic and solution-oriented approaches to narrow divergence on the various remaining issues. 4. The Ministers look forward to considering the report of the 6th RCEP Intersessional TNC Meeting and Related Meetings, which will be held in Jakarta in August 2019, when they reconvene for the annual (7th) RCEP Ministerial Meeting to be held in September 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand. LIST OF RCEP MINISTERS (a) Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Australia (b) Dr. May Ariffin, Permanent Secretary, Minister of Finance and Economy, Brunei Darussalam, representing Hon Dato Dr. Amin Liew Abdullah, Minister at the Prime Ministerâ€™s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II, Brunei Darussalam; (c)
H.E. Pan Sorasak, Minister of Commerce, Cambodia;
H.E. Zhong Shan, Minister of Commerce, Peopleâ€™s Republic of China;
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(e) Mr. Anup Wadhawan, Vice Minister, Department of Commerce, India, representing H.E. Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry and Railways, India; (f)
H.E. Enggartiasto Lukita, Minister of Trade, Republic of Indonesia;
H.E. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan;
(h) H.E. Ms. Myung Hee Yoo, Minister for Trade, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, Republic of Korea; (i) H.E. Mrs. Khemmani Pholsena, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Lao PDR; (j) H.E. Darell Leiking, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia; (k) H.E. Thaung Tun, Minister for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations, Myanmar (l) Hon Damien Oâ€™Connor, Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth, New Zealand; (m) H.E. Ramon M. Lopez, Secretary of Trade and Industry, Republic of the Philippines; (n)
H.E. Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore;
(o) H.E. Jurin Laksanawisit, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce, Thailand; (p) H.E. Tran Quoc Khanh, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Viet Nam, representing H.E. Tran Tuan Anh, Minister of Industry and Trade, Viet Nam; and (q)
H.E. Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary-General of ASEAN.
September (H) White Paper: China and the World in the New Era For detail see: http://english.www.gov.cn/archive/whitepaper/201909/27/ content_WS5d8d80f9c6d0bcf8c4c142ef.html Released on: September 27, 2019 84 Selected Documentation
(I) Speech by President Xi Jinping At the Reception in Celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China Source: https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/zxxx_662805/t1704400.shtml Released on: September 30, 2019 Speech by Xi Jinping At the Reception in Celebration of the 70th Anniversary of The Founding of the People's Republic of China 30, September 2019 Ladies and Gentlemen, Comrades and Friends, In this golden season of autumn, we are gathered here to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. For the Chinese people of all ethnic groups and Chinese sons and daughters at home and abroad, this is a joyful moment - a moment to celebrate the 70th birthday of our great People's Republic and to salute the epic progress of our motherland during the past seven decades. Over the past 70 years, under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the Chinese people, with great courage and relentless exploration, have successfully opened the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Along this path, we have ushered in a new era. Having caught up with the world in great strides, we are now marching forward at the forefront of the times with boundless energy! Over the past 70 years, the Chinese people, with perseverance and strenuous efforts, have made development achievements that are the marvel of the world. Absolute poverty, which has haunted the Chinese nation for thousands of years, will soon become a thing of the past. This will be a great miracle in human history! Over the past 70 years, the Chinese people, upholding an independent foreign policy of peace, have forged ahead along the path of peaceful development. Guided by the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, we have deepened friendship and cooperation with other countries and made an important contribution to building a community with a shared future for mankind and advancing the noble cause of peace and development for humanity! Seventy years are but a fleeting moment in human history. But for the Chinese people, for our nation, these have been 70 years of epoch-making changes. The Chinese nation has realized a tremendous transformation: it has stood up, 85 Selected Documentation
grown rich and is becoming stronger; it has come to embrace the brilliant prospects of national renewal. This phenomenal transformation brings infinite pride to every son and daughter of the Chinese nation! Here on behalf of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, I pay high tribute to the Chinese people of all ethnic groups and all CPC members, to officers and men of the People's Liberation Army and members of the armed police, and to all the other political parties and personages with no party affiliations in China! I wish to convey sincere greetings to fellow Chinese in the Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions, in Taiwan and residing abroad! I also wish to express heartfelt thanks to all the countries and international friends who have given support and help to the development of New China! Comrades and Friends! Unity is iron and steel; unity is a source of strength. It is what has enabled the Chinese people and the Chinese nation to move forward against all risks and challenges, from one victory to another. In our new journey, we must hold high the banner of unity and rally closely around the CPC Central Committee. We must cement the great unity of all our ethnic groups, and strengthen the great unity of all Chinese sons and daughters at home and abroad and of all political parties, organizations, ethnic groups, social strata and fronts. We must maintain the close bond between the CPC and the people and promote patriotism. Thus we will create an unparalleled force that will power the ship of our national renewal to clip waves and reach its destination. Comrades and Friends! We will continue to fully and faithfully implement the principles of "One Country, Two Systems", "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong", "Macao people administering Macao" and a high degree of autonomy. We will act in strict accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Laws. We are confident that with the full backing of the motherland and the concerted efforts of our fellow Chinese in Hong Kong and Macao who love the motherland as well as their communities, Hong Kong and Macao will prosper and progress alongside the mainland and embrace an even brighter future! We will uphold the one-China principle and the "1992 Consensus", promote the peaceful development of relations across the Taiwan Strait, and deepen crossStrait economic and cultural exchanges and cooperation to the benefit of people on both sides. The complete reunification of the motherland is an inevitable 86 Selected Documentation
trend; it is what the greater national interests entail and what all Chinese people aspire for. No one and no force can ever stop it! We will hold high the banner of peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit, and keep firmly to the path of peaceful development. We will stay committed to opening-up and work with people in all countries to build a community with a shared future for mankind, and to create a world bathed in peace and development. Comrades and Friends, The Chinese people are great people, the Chinese nation is a great nation, and Chinese civilization is a great civilization. History will shed light on the future, and our journey ahead will be a long one. We are convinced that the Chinese people and the Chinese nation, with a proud civilization spanning over five millennia and great accomplishments during the past 70-year history of New China, will write a more brilliant chapter in our new journey toward the realization of the Two Centenary Goals and the Chinese Dream of great national renewal. Now please join me in a toast: To the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China; To the prosperity and strength of China and the happiness and well-being of the Chinese people of all ethnic groups; To the friendship and cooperation between the people of China and all other countries; and To the health of all the guests, comrades and friends present. Cheers!
November (J) Chairmanâ€™s Statement of the 35th ASEAN Summit: Advancing Partnership for Sustainability For detail see: https://asean.org/storage/2019/11/Chairs-Statement-of-the35th-ASEAN-Summit-FINAL.pdf Released on: November 3, 2019
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(K) Speech by Premier Li Keqiang at the 22nd China-ASEAN Summit For detail see: https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/zxxx_662805/t1713324. shtml Released on: November 3, 2019 (L) Chairman’s Statement of the 22nd ASEAN-China Summit Source: https://asean.org/storage/2019/11/Chairmans-Statement-of-the22 nd-ASEAN-China-Summit-final.pdf Released on: November 3, 2019 CHAIRMAN’S STATEMENT OF THE 22ND ASEAN-CHINA SUMMIT BANGKOK/NONTHABURI, 3 NOVEMBER 2019 1. The 22nd ASEAN-China Summit was held in Bangkok on 3 November 2019. The Meeting was chaired by H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha (Ret.), Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, and attended by all Heads of State/Government of the ASEAN Member States and H.E. Mr. Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China. The SecretaryGeneral of ASEAN was also in attendance. 2. We were pleased that ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations continued to be strong, stable and mutually-beneficial and that our Strategic Partnership remained dynamic as one of the key pillars of peace, stability, prosperity and sustainability in our region. We were pleased to note that following the adoption of the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership Vision 2030 last year, we have further deepened and strengthened our Strategic Partnership and cooperation in the past one year through substantive initiatives in wide-ranging areas. 3. We welcomed the substantive progress made in the implementation of the Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration on ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity (2016-2020). We looked forward to the development of a new Plan of Action (2021-2025) as a guiding document to further strengthen ASEAN-China cooperation in areas of mutual interest, bringing tangible benefits to our peoples, as well as contributing to the promotion of peace, stability, prosperity and sustainability in the region. We reaffirmed our strong support for multilateralism and regionalism, and for the rules-based international order based on the principles of international law, mutual interests and mutual respect. 4. We reaffirmed our commitment to enhance cooperation to address regional security issues of common concerns. We noted with appreciation China’s continued engagement with the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime (AMMTC) and looked forward to the implementation of the 88 Selected Documentation
Memorandum of Understanding between ASEAN and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on Cooperation in the Field of Non-Traditional Security Issues. In light of the regional efforts to combat illicit trafficking of drugs, we encouraged ASEAN and China to strengthen cooperation in this field through continued engagement in ASEAN Plus China Senior Officials on Drug Matters Consultation. 5. We agreed to further strengthen the robust trade and economic relations between both sides. We noted with satisfaction the increase in the total merchandise trade between ASEAN and China which, according to preliminary ASEAN data, reached USD 479.4 billion in 2018, accounting for 17.1 per cent of ASEAN’s total merchandise trade. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows from China to ASEAN amounted to USD 10.2 billion in 2018, accounting for 6.6 per cent of ASEAN’s total FDI. China maintained its position as ASEAN’s largest trading partner since 2009 and, in 2018, China was ASEAN’s third largest external source of FDI among ASEAN’s Dialogue Partners, compared to its previous position in 2017 where it was the fourth largest. We welcomed the progress of the ASEAN-China FTA (ACFTA) implementation including the entry into force of the Protocol to Amend the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Certain Agreements thereunder between ASEAN and China (ACFTA Upgrading Protocol) for all Parties and the ongoing discussions on the remaining elements of the Future Work Programme under the Protocol to improve ASEAN-China trade. We encouraged all Parties to continue efforts to deepen relations under the ACFTA, towards achieving greater economic and trade cooperation. These efforts will support the joint target of two-way trade of USD 1 trillion, and USD 150 billion in investments by 2020. 6. We noted the global outlook in economic and trade performance and the recent moderation of growth. We reaffirmed our strong commitment to upholding an open, inclusive, transparent, and rules-based multilateral trading system as embodied in the World Trade Organization (WTO). We also reaffirmed our support for enhanced regional economic integration. In this regard, we welcomed the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations and the commitment to sign the RCEP Agreement in 2020. Given the rising tensions and uncertainties in global trade, we firmly believe that the RCEP, once concluded, would provide a solid foundation for an open, inclusive, and rules-based global trade environment. 7. We welcomed China’s support for the ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN) and valued China’s commitment to forging cooperation in developing smart cities and its participation in the ASCN Conference and Exhibition held on 22-24 August 2019 in Bangkok. We encouraged the establishment of mutuallybeneficial city partnerships between ASEAN cities, in particular ASCN cities, and Chinese cities, such as Nanning, Xiamen, Hangzhou, Jinan, Kunming, Shenzhen, 89 Selected Documentation
Nanjing and Chengdu, as well as partnerships involving the private sector and other relevant institutions. Reaffirming our commitment to further explore science, technology and innovation (STI) cooperation and collaboration in areas of mutual interests, as well as to achieve innovation-driven development, we adopted the ASEAN-China Leaders’ Statement on Smart City Cooperation Initiative. 8. ASEAN Leaders welcomed China’s support for enhancing ASEAN Connectivity through the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025 to strengthen physical, institutional, and people-topeople connectivity. We welcomed the continuous effort to promote synergies between MPAC 2025 and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as part of the “Connecting the Connectivities” approach, and looked forward to the implementation of such cooperation in an open, inclusive, transparent and mutually beneficial manner. To this end, we adopted the ASEAN-China Joint Statement on Synergising the MPAC 2025 and the BRI. 9. We welcomed the full ratification of the Protocol 2 of ASEAN-China Air Transport Agreement (AC-ATA) and the finalisation of Protocol 3 to expand the Fifth Freedom Intra Package Traffic Rights between ASEAN and China, which will facilitate greater people-to-people connectivity and economic linkages. ASEAN Leaders also congratulated China on the successful convening of the 16th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) held on 21-24 September 2019 in Nanning, with the theme "Building the Belt & Road, Realizing Our Vision for a Community of Shared Future". Annually held since 2004, the CAEXPO has successfully brought people from ASEAN and China together and created opportunities for trade and businesses. 10. We also agreed to explore cooperation on the blue economy and noted with appreciation China’s proposal to build an ASEAN-China partnership on this area of cooperation, as envisaged in the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership Vision 2030. In this regard, we welcomed China’s proposal to forge closer partnership with ASEAN on blue economy and tasked our officials to continue studying said proposal. ASEAN Leaders welcomed China’s continued commitment to supporting and assisting ASEAN with its efforts to promote sustainable development and sub-regional development cooperation including attainment of the SDGs and to narrow the development gap among ASEAN Member States, including through the implementation of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) Work Plan III and its successor document as well as strengthening cooperation under sub-regional cooperation relevant frameworks and mechanisms such as Mekong-Lancang Cooperation and BIMPEAGA-China Cooperation and dialogue between the Ayeyawady-Chao PhrayaMekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) and China as Development Partner. 90 Selected Documentation
11. We applauded the activities held by ASEAN and China to celebrate the ASEAN-China Year of Media Exchanges 2019 including the convening of the High Level Conference on ASEAN-China Media Cooperation and ASEAN-China High Level Media Forum on 23-24 July 2019. The forum, among others, aimed to promote understanding and common knowledge on the developments of media in the region to deepen policy exchanges as well as the sharing of best practices. We also looked forward to the Closing Ceremony of the ASEAN-China Year of Media Exchanges to be held in Thailand at the end of this year. To this end, we adopted the Joint Statement on Strengthening Media Exchanges and Cooperation between ASEAN and China. 12. We reiterated our commitment to closer people-to-people exchanges to promote mutual trust and understanding, including through tourism, education, and cultural interaction. We noted with satisfaction the significant growth of two-way people-to-people exchanges through the tourism sector in the last one year. We looked forward to continuing to strengthen our cooperation in tourism to further contribute to economic and social development. We noted with appreciation that the China-ASEAN Education Week (CAECW) continued to be an important platform, not only for fostering educational cooperation and exchange, but also in cultural communication. In this context, we welcomed the successful convening of the 12th CAECW, which was held on 22-26 July 2019 in Guiyang with the theme “Enhancing Pragmatic Cooperation and Sharing Development Achievements”. We also welcomed the launch of the ASEAN-China Young Leaders’ Scholarship programme, which will contribute towards the development of ASEAN’s human resources and strengthen people-to-people exchanges. 13. We welcomed the convening of the 7th ASEAN-China Health Ministers’ Meeting on 30 August 2019 in Siem Reap and supported the inclusion of Innovations for enhancing quality of health services as a new priority area under the ASEAN-China health cooperation for 2020-2021, adding on the existing priority areas of collaboration for 2019-2020. We also supported the commitment to strengthening innovations for enhancing quality of health services through the promotion of health innovations, quality interventions and ensuring an enabling environment for it. 14. We looked forward to enhancing cooperation in addressing climate change, disaster management, environmental protection and sustainable development to strengthen the resilience of the region. We appreciated China’s commitment to supporting ASEAN in building capacity in disaster management capabilities of ASEAN Member States and AHA Centre through the Project Arrangement on Disaster Management Cooperation. We also looked forward to China’s support and cooperation in the ASEAN Centre for Sustainable Development Studies and Dialogue (ACSDSD) and the ASEAN Centre for Active Ageing and Innovation (ACAI). 91 Selected Documentation
15. We appreciated an additional contribution made by China to the ASEANChina Cooperation Fund (ACCF) next year and welcomed the launch of the ASEAN-China Cooperation Fund (ACCF) Project Management Team on 18 October 2019, which will facilitate the implementation of ASEAN-China cooperation activities and projects under the Fund. We noted the outcomes of the three Working Group Meetings on “Regional Connectivity and Sustainability: Connecting the Belt and Road Initiative and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025”, “Regional Cooperation for Sustainable Energy Development” and “Environment Protection in ASEAN and China: Challenges and Cooperation” by the Network of ASEAN-China Think-Tanks (NACT) in Malaysia, Viet Nam and Singapore respectively this year. We appreciated the good work of the ASEAN-China Centre in carrying out its task to enhance common understanding between ASEAN and China through educational and cultural programmes. 16. We also recognised the importance of keeping abreast of technological advancements and the digital economy for the benefit of the region’s growth and development. We looked forward to continued ASEAN-China cooperation in the digital economy and e-commerce, to further develop micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the region. In this regard, we welcomed the designation of 2020 as the ASEAN-China Year of Digital Economy Cooperation as an effort to encourage more economic activity in the region. 17. ASEAN Leaders appreciated China’s continued support for ASEAN centrality in the evolving regional architecture that is open, transparent, inclusive and rules-based and hoped that the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, adopted at the 34th ASEAN Summit, would be used as a guide in promoting and exploring cooperation and future initiatives with external partners. Likewise, ASEAN Leaders appreciated China’s active participation in ASEAN-led mechanisms such as the ASEAN Plus Three (APT), East Asia Summit (EAS) and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). We agreed to further strengthen security and defence cooperation through existing frameworks and mechanisms such as the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus). 18. We reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea and recognised the benefits of having the South China Sea as a sea of peace, stability and prosperity. We underscored the importance of the full and effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in its entirety. We warmly welcomed the continued improving cooperation between ASEAN and China and were encouraged by the progress of the substantive negotiations towards the early conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) within a mutually-agreed timeline. We commended the completion of the first reading of 92 Selected Documentation
the Single Draft COC Negotiating Text (SDNT) as announced at the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference (PMC) 10+1 Session with China on 31 July 2019 in Bangkok, welcomed the commencement of the second reading process, and tasked our Ministers and Senior Officials to continue making further progress towards the early conclusion of an effective and substantive COC. We welcomed the aspiration to conclude the COC within a 3-year timeline as proposed by China or earlier. We reaffirmed the need to enhance mutual trust and confidence, exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities and avoid actions that may further complicate the situation, and pursue peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS. (M) ASEAN-China Joint Statement on Synergising the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025 and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Source: https://asean.org/storage/2019/11/Final-ASEAN-China-Joint-State ment-Synergising-the-MPAC-2025-and-the-BRI.pdf Released on: November 3, 2019 ASEAN-China Joint Statement on Synergising the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025 and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) WE, the Heads of State/Government of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the People’s Republic of China, on the occasion of the 22nd ASEAN-China Summit in Bangkok, Thailand on 3 November 2019; RECALLING the commitment to broaden and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation to further strengthen the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership as envisaged in the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership Vision 2030 on 14 November 2018, Joint Statement of the 19th ASEAN-China Summit to Commemorate the 25th Anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations on 7 September 2016, Joint Statement between ASEAN and China on Further Deepening the Cooperation on Infrastructure Connectivity and Joint Statement on Production Capacity Cooperation on 13 November 2017; REAFFIRMING the commitment of China to support ASEAN’s efforts in realising the ASEAN 2025: Forging Ahead Together, while maintaining ASEAN Centrality in the evolving regional architecture; RECOGNISING that synergies between MPAC 2025 and the BRI will contribute towards regional connectivity, peace and stability, economic prosperity and sustainable development and welcoming the joint efforts to promote closer ASEAN-China cooperation, and noting with appreciation China’s vision to build an ASEAN-China community with a shared future;
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NOTING the five strategic objectives of MPAC 2025, namely: Sustainable Infrastructure, Digital Innovation, Seamless Logistics, Regulatory Excellence and People Mobility, and the five major cooperation priorities of the BRI, namely: Policy Coordination, Connectivity of Infrastructure, Unimpeded Trade, Financial Integration and Closer People-to-People Ties; ACKNOWLEDGING the importance to improve connectivity between ASEAN and China by synergising common priorities in the MPAC 2025 and BRI, as part of efforts to synergise the various connectivity strategies in the region in a manner that would be mutually beneficial; ACKNOWLEDGING the common priorities in the MPAC 2025 and the Joint Communiqué of the Leaders’ Roundtable of the 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation issued in Beijing on 27 April 2019, and further acknowledging that all ASEAN Member States and China have signed bilateral agreements on Belt and Road Initiative cooperation and appreciating the progress already made as well as cooperation opportunities created by synergising MPAC 2025 and BRI; REAFFIRMING the commitment of ASEAN and China in synergising MPAC 2025 and BRI and enhancing regional connectivity, while noting the principles of openness, transparency, inclusiveness and ASEAN Centrality presented in the ASEAN regional initiative, ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific, which puts Connecting the Connectivities as a priority area of cooperation; APPRECIATING the efforts to foster mutually beneficial and quality cooperation between MPAC 2025 and the BRI, for the goal of high-standard, people-oriented, people-centered and sustainable development; while noting BRI’s spirit of promoting peace and cooperation, openness, inclusiveness, equality, mutual learning and mutual benefit, its principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and concepts of open, green and clean cooperation. DO HEREBY DECLARE TO: 1. Welcome the launch of the Initial Rolling Priority Pipeline of ASEAN Infrastructure Projects under MPAC 2025, which identifies economically viable connectivity-related infrastructure projects in ASEAN Member States, to complement and strengthen the existing economic and transport corridors by enhancing connectivity and mobilising investments, and encourage China to actively support the development and financing of ASEAN infrastructure projects and promote connectivity cooperation in areas such as railways, highways, port and harbours, airports, power and communication, for building better business and investment environment; 94 Selected Documentation
2. Promote innovative infrastructure financing in ASEAN through the mobilisation of private capital. Encourage financial institutions, including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the World Bank Group, and funds such as the Silk Road Fund to better mobilise private capital and enhance capacity building to support infrastructure development through diversified and sustainable financing in the region; 3. Enhance bilateral trade and investment through the implementation of the Protocol to Amend the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Certain Agreements thereunder between ASEAN and China and to further explore other areas of cooperation of mutual interest, including production capacity cooperation; 4. Reaffirm our strong commitment to uphold a rules-based, open, transparent, non-discriminatory, and inclusive multilateral trading system as embodied in the World Trade Organization (WTO), and stand firm against growing protectionist and anti-globalisation sentiments; 5. Further reaffirm our strong commitment to conclude the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations by 2019 and work together to achieve a modern, comprehensive, high quality and mutually beneficial economic partnership agreement; 6. Leverage on the opportunities brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and expand cooperation in relevant areas including innovation, smart city development, digital economy, digital supply chain and work force, artificial intelligence, big data, internet of things (IoT), information and communication technologies, e-commerce and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs); 7. Support the ASEAN Smart Cities Network, particularly in addressing challenges of rapid urbanisation, and welcome the designation of 2020 as the ASEAN-China Year of Digital Economy Cooperation; 8. Strengthen people-to-people connectivity by supporting cooperation in areas such as education, youth, tourism, human resource and technical cooperation, media, think tanks and local governments, including building the ASEAN-China Young Leaders Scholarship (ACYLS) as a flagship project, and cooperation on improving peopleâ€™s livelihood; 9. Strengthen policy dialogues through relevant ASEAN-China mechanisms to foster mutual understanding and closer cooperation on connectivity between ASEAN and China;
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10. Support the Connecting the Connectivities Initiative and note the continued strengthening of connectivity cooperation under existing subregional cooperation mechanisms that can help narrow the development gap in the region, such as the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC), the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) and the ASEAN-Mekong Basin Development Cooperation (AMBDC), the Ayeyawady - Chao Phraya - Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS), and the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asian Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA); and 11. Implement cooperation through relevant bilateral and multilateral platforms, including meetings between the ASEAN Connectivity Coordinating Committee (ACCC) and Chinese Working Committee of the China-ASEAN Connectivity Cooperation Committee (CWC-CACCC), in enhancing collaboration on connectivity initiatives and projects that would facilitate implementation of and enhance synergies between the MPAC 2025 and BRI. ADOPTED in Bangkok, Thailand, on the Third of November in the Year Two Thousand and Nineteen. (N) Speech by Premier Li Keqiang at the 22nd ASEAN Plus China, Japan, and South Korea Summit Source: https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/zxxx_662805/t1713331.shtml Released on: November 4, 2019 Speech by H.E. Li Keqiang Premier of the State Council of The People's Republic of China At the 22nd ASEAN Plus China, Japan and ROK Summit 4 November 2019 Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Colleagues, It gives me great pleasure to attend the 22nd ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Summit. On behalf of the Chinese government, I would like to express my sincere thanks to our host Thailand for its thoughtful preparations and arrangements for the Summit. APT cooperation, which was initiated in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis, has traversed an extraordinary journey. In the past 20 years and more, thanks to our joint efforts, the APT framework has continued to strengthen with expanding and deepening cooperation, contributing to the steady progress of regional economic integration. Deemed a successful example of multilateral 96 Selected Documentation
cooperation, APT cooperation has delivered benefits to the countries and peoples in the region, and boosted economic growth in Asia and beyond. These hard-won achievements deserve to be cherished, and the valuable experience gained therefrom should be carried forward. As we meet, the world is seeing profound and complex changes. Slowing global growth, sluggish trade and investment worldwide, and notably rising protectionism are shaking market confidence and posing new risks and challenges to the development of East Asian countries and APT cooperation. As underpinning forces for regional prosperity and stability, APT countries are duty-bound to strengthen unity and collaboration. Together, we must firmly stand for the international system with the UN at its core and the WTO-centered multilateral trading regime, vigorously advance regional economic integration, firmly pursue open and inclusive development with win-win cooperation, and tackle risks and challenges head on. This will help broaden our space of development and inject a fresh impetus into the steady growth of the regional and global economy. Colleagues, Given our diversity and strong economic complementarity, there exists a broad room for cooperation among APT countries. We need to further unleash the potential to seek more substantive progress in APT cooperation, and steer East Asian cooperation toward higher-quality development. In this context, I propose that we intensify our efforts in the following areas: First, bringing economic integration to a higher level. Asia is one of the most economically integrated regions in the world. Most of the new free trade agreements since 2013 are signed mainly by Asian countries. APT countries, representing the bulk of Asia's economy, have a total trade volume of over US$10 trillion, almost half of which is intra-regional trade. With the ASEAN Economic Community realized, over 90 percent of tariff items in intra-ASEAN trade have been eliminated. China, Japan and the ROK are ASEAN's important trade and investment partners. Last year, ASEAN's free trade arrangements with China, Japan and the ROK generated a total trade volume of close to US$870 billion, up by 6.8 percent year on year. And the three countries' investment in ASEAN countries grew by 10 percent to reach US$38 billion. Thanks to the joint efforts of all parties, 15 RCEP participating countries have concluded text-based negotiations and essentially all their market access issues, and are committed to resolving the few outstanding issues by the end of this year, to make the agreement ready for signing at next year's RCEP Summit. This is a major breakthrough in building a free trade area in East Asia that covers the 97 Selected Documentation
largest population, the most diverse membership and boasts the greatest development potential. The conclusion of the RCEP will strongly boost trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. APT countries, accounting for a large part of the RCEP, have been strong supporters throughout the negotiations, and will be direct beneficiaries. As such, we should play a positive role in facilitating the signing of the agreement as soon as possible. The successful conclusion of the RCEP will put us at a new starting point, and make us more confident in speeding up the China-Japan-ROK FTA negotiations and building an industrial chain and specialization structure in East Asia based on our comparative advantages. These efforts will be conducive to fostering a higher level of economic integration in our region, and put us on course toward an East Asia Economic Community (EAEC). Second, supporting regional connectivity. Connectivity is an important foundation for East Asian economic integration. China supports Thailand's proposal of issuing the APT Leaders' Statement on Connecting the Connectivities Initiative at this year's Summit, as it will help forge a synergy of our efforts in boosting regional connectivity. As a cooperation platform for common and inclusive development, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has drawn a strong interest from regional countries. Yesterday, ASEAN leaders and I issued the Joint Statement on Synergizing MPAC 2025 and the BRI. China is ready to work with all parties to enhance the synergy between the BRI and other regional connectivity initiatives, follow a high-standard, people-centered and sustainable approach and promote open, clean and green development. We need to strengthen cooperation on economic corridors and industrial parks, and improve institutional connectivity including that of market rules and standards, so as to promote interconnected and integrated development of regional countries. Third, enhancing regional financial cooperation. Financial cooperation is a priority for the APT framework. Parties need to act on the vision set out in the Strategic Directions of ASEAN+3 Finance Process, and work to improve the regional economic governance architecture through financial cooperation and serve the need for regional economic integration. The role of the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM) and AMRO needs to be fully leveraged to upgrade the regional financial safety net and build up East Asia's capacity to defuse financial risks and maintain steady economic growth. We welcome the completion of the first periodic review of the CMIM Agreement and support further efforts to explore using local currencies to make the CMIM safer, more effective and readily available. Meanwhile, the use of local currencies in regional trade and investment should also be increased. We support AMRO in strengthening its economic surveillance capacity. We suggest efforts be made to develop local currency bond markets, implement the new 98 Selected Documentation
ABMI Mid-Term Road Map and mobilize more private capital in the region to invest in the infrastructure sector. We also need to strengthen FinTech cooperation in joint research, information sharing and regulation. Last month, the inaugural meeting of the APT Inter-Bank Association was successfully held in Thailand, which will help further diversify financing channels in the region. Fourth, promoting sustainable development. Over the years, APT countries have engaged in extensive cooperation on poverty reduction, aging and food security. China will work with other APT countries to implement the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and share experience through the East Asia Cooperation Initiative on Poverty Reduction and further enhance APTERR. China will do what it can to narrow the development gap and achieve common prosperity in the region through sub-regional cooperation frameworks, including the Lancang-Mekong and the China- BIMP-EAGA cooperation. We support the establishment of the APT Ministerial Meeting on Disaster Management and will be happy to host its first meeting next year. We will work with Japan and the ROK for cooperation with interested ASEAN countries under the "China-Japan-ROK+X" arrangement in a joint effort to pursue common progress in the region. China supports cooperation on the digital economy, smart cities, artificial intelligence and e-commerce to deliver greater benefits of innovation and scientific and technological advances to the general public. Fifth, deepening people-to-people exchanges. Close bonds between our peoples are key to smooth progress in cooperation. Recent years have seen a boom of people-to-people and cultural exchanges among APT countries, which are popular among our people. Cooperation frameworks on tourism, education, culture and press should be fully leveraged and the APT Cooperation Fund well used to sponsor more projects that enjoy the support of the people. The launch of the Network of APT Cultural Cities last month will boost cultural exchanges and cooperation among cities in the region. China welcomes the establishment of the APT Website, which will help the general public better understand and appreciate APT cooperation. China will remain a good host of the APT Media Cooperation Forum and the APT Young Scientists' Forum to strengthen exchanges and mutual learning between cultures and deepen the understanding and affinity among our peoples. The prosperity and development of East Asia requires an environment of peace and stability. As an immediate neighbor to the Korean Peninsula and a responsible major country, China has been a promoter of peace and stability, 99 Selected Documentation
facilitator of dialogue and negotiation, and contributor to long-term security. China will continue to work with other regional countries and play a positive role in promoting political resolution of the Peninsula issue, denuclearization of the Peninsula and enduring peace in the region, and this process. Colleagues, This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Over the past seven decades, China has made remarkable progress in development owing to the hard work, wisdom and courage of the Chinese people, and in the course of its mutually beneficial exchanges and cooperation with the rest of the world. Going forward, China has the capacity to take good care of its own affairs and make new contributions to the common development of all countries. This year, in spite of the complex international environment, the Chinese economy has, on the whole, registered steady growth and solid progress with major indicators performing within our expectations. GDP growth stood at 6.2 percent in the first three quarters of this year and is expected to stay in the range of 6 to 6.5 percent set out early this year. Close to 11 million urban jobs have been newly created, and the surveyed urban unemployment rate in September was 5.2 percent. International payments have been balanced overall with foreign exchange reserves remaining above US$3 trillion. Structural adjustments are making steady progress. We have seen another bumper harvest of grains. The high-tech manufacturing and modern services industries have maintained fairly fast growth. An average of nearly 20,000 businesses are newly registered every day, maintaining a strong momentum of business growth. This testifies to the dynamism of entrepreneurship and innovation in society and the confidence of market entities. The per capita disposable income of urban and rural residents has been rising in sync with economic growth, the ecological environment is improving, and continued progress has been achieved in meeting people's basic needs. These achievements have not been easy for China, particularly when its economy has surpassed US$13 trillion and major economies around the world are seeing a slow-down in growth. It once again proves the resilience, potential and vitality of the Chinese economy and our ability to fend off risks and challenges. The fundamentals sustaining China's positive economic outlook for the long term remain unchanged and will not change. That said, due to the slowing global growth, the Chinese economy is also facing difficulties and challenges amid mounting downward pressure. Fully anticipating the complex and challenging situation at home and abroad, we have made comprehensive preparations and responded with proactive measures. 100 Selected Documentation
As the largest developing country in the world, China has intensified its efforts to promote a new type of industrialization, IT application, urbanization and agricultural modernization through deepening reform and opening-up. This process has generated stronger driving forces from within and promises unlimited potential for future development. China has a 900 million-strong work force, a talent pool of over 170 million with higher education or professional skills, and more than 100 million and still growing market entities. We have a huge market of nearly 1.4 billion people with fast upgrading consumption demand, a full-fledged industrial system with a growing innovative capacity, and well-established infrastructure. All these constitute a strong underpinning for China's growth. In the meantime, the host of major policies and measures we have taken are paying off. For example, the larger-scale tax and fee cuts adopted early this year have effectively slashed 1.53 trillion yuan worth of taxes and fees in the first eight months of this year. And the amount for the whole year is expected to surpass 2 trillion yuan. Such cuts will help relieve burdens on businesses, invigorate market entities and counteract the downward pressure. Furthermore, we have stepped up efforts to nurture a world-class, marketoriented business environment governed by a sound legal framework and provide a level playing field for businesses of all types of ownership, domestic and foreign-invested alike. In the first three quarters of this year, despite the sluggish flows of FDI globally, foreign investment in China grew by 6.5 percent year on year. It shows that foreign companies remain optimistic about China and about making investment in China. Besides, with a large toolkit and sufficient policy reserves for macro-regulation at our disposal, we are confident about meeting the main targets and goals for this year's economic and social development, laying a solid groundwork for the coming year. China is a friendly neighbor to all countries around the table, ASEAN, Japan and the ROK. China's development will first and foremost benefit its neighborhood. Last year, all ASEAN countries, Japan and the ROK participated in the first China International Import Expo (CIIE), ranking among the top in terms of products exhibited and transaction value. The second CIIE, which will be even larger in scale, is to open in Shanghai shortly. China looks forward to the active participation of your countries. Looking ahead, no matter how the external environment may change, China will stay committed to the path of peaceful development and all-round opening-up. We will share development opportunities with the people around the world, 101 Selected Documentation
jointly foster an open world economy, and build a community with a shared future for mankind. Colleagues, As APT cooperation now enjoys stronger popular support, a more solid basis and greater opportunities for further development, China will, together with all parties, make APT cooperation a major engine for regional economic integration and contribute more to the long-term prosperity and stability of East Asia. Thank you. (O) Chairman’s Statement of the 22nd ASEAN Plus Three Summit For detail see: https://asean.org/storage/2019/11/APT-Chair-Statement-22nd -APT-Summit-FINAL.pdf Released on: November 4, 2019 (P) ASEAN Plus Three Leaders’ Statement on Connecting the Connectivities Initiative Source: https://asean.org/storage/2019/11/Finalised-APT-Leaders-Statement -on-Connecting-Connectivities-Initiative.pdf Released on: November 4, 2019 ASEAN Plus Three Leaders’ Statement on Connecting the Connectivities Initiative WE, the Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the People’s Republic of China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, gathering at the 22nd ASEAN Plus Three Summit on 4 November 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand; RECOGNISING the geographical proximity, the increasing interdependence and growing connectivity between the ASEAN Plus Three countries and within the region as well as the challenges and opportunities stemming from the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR); RECALLING the importance of connectivity in realising our collective efforts for regional integration and cooperation as well as the promotion of sustainable development both within ASEAN and beyond, in response to emerging challenges and opportunities; AFFIRMING the importance of the spirit of peaceful cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and shared benefit in promoting infrastructure 102 Selected Documentation
connectivity and sustainable transport, as well as regional and inter-regional economic integration and cooperation; REAFFIRMING the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, in which enhanced connectivity is one of the key elements to building the ASEAN Community; RECALLING the ASEAN Leaders’ Statement on ASEAN Connectivity issued in Cha-am Hua Hin, Thailand, on 24 October 2009; RECALLING the Leaders’ Statement on ASEAN Plus Three Partnership on Connectivity (2012), whose main objective is to support ASEAN’s efforts in implementing the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) and enhancing connectivity beyond ASEAN, in the wider region of East Asia; REITERATING our commitment in the Manila Declaration on the 20th Anniversary of the ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation (2017), where the ASEAN Plus Three countries declared to continue cooperation on ASEAN’s connectivity agenda to support the implementation of the MPAC 2025; HIGHLIGHTING the MPAC 2025, which focuses on the five Strategic Areas of: (i) sustainable infrastructure; (ii) digital innovation; (iii) seamless logistics; (iv) regulatory excellence and; (v) people mobility; WELCOMING the identification of economically viable connectivity-related infrastructure projects in the Initial Rolling Priority Pipeline of Potential ASEAN Infrastructure Projects under the MPAC 2025; ACKNOWLEDGING that ASEAN Connectivity is a foundation for the development of enhanced connectivity in East Asia and that enhanced connectivity is important in building an East Asian community as envisaged in the Leaders’ Statement on ASEAN Plus Three Partnership on Connectivity (2012) and the Manila Declaration on the 20th Anniversary of the ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation (2017); REAFFIRMING our commitment to promote regional connectivity in East Asia and cooperative activities to support the successful implementation of the MPAC 2025, as stated in the ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation Work Plan 2018-2022; REAFFIRMING the commitment of the ASEAN Plus Three countries in enhancing regional connectivity, while noting the principles of openness, transparency, inclusiveness and ASEAN centrality presented in the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, which puts connecting the connectivities as a priority area of cooperation;
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EMPHASISING that connectivity strategies can make a strong contribution to economic growth and enhanced links within the East Asian region through the Connecting the Connectivities Initiative. DO HEREBY DECLARE TO: 1. Promote regional connectivity among the ASEAN Plus Three countries by enhancing links and synergies between the MPAC 2025 and key connectivity initiatives promoted by China, Japan, the ROK, as well as other sub-regional and multilateral cooperation frameworks with and within ASEAN in order to attain people-oriented, people-centred community of peace and prosperity with sustainable and inclusive growth and development for shared benefit in the East Asian region, through extensive consultations and joint efforts, while reaffirming the need to promote sustainable, high quality infrastructure in accordance with broadly accepted international principles to facilitate trade, investment, and service competitiveness in the region; 2. Enhance regional and sub-regional connectivity with a view to strengthening overall economic cooperation among the ASEAN Plus Three countries, including by supporting various designated economic corridors in the region; 3. Promote complementarities between the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, where connectivity and infrastructure are components, to catalyse sustainable development in the ASEAN Plus Three countries; 4. Promote multi-sectoral cooperation that contributes to sustainable infrastructure, including by enhancing energy security and energy efficiency and conservation as well as promoting the use of renewable energy; 5. Enhance physical connectivity by, inter alia, promoting an integrated multimodal transport, including air, sea, and land transport between ASEAN and the wider region in order to ensure seamless logistics and enhance the ASEAN Plus Three competitiveness; 6. Promote digital connectivity and innovation in the ASEAN Plus Three countries by (a) exchanging views and information on regulatory frameworks for the delivery of digital services including data management and digital financial services; (b) sharing best practices to support the digital economy of the region; (c) supporting ASEANâ€™s efforts to establish an ASEAN open data network which builds on ASEAN ICT Master Plan 2020; (d) equipping micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with the capabilities to access new technologies and financial support for development and innovation; and (e) 104 Selected Documentation
encouraging collaboration and sharing of experiences and best practices to facilitate the development of digital infrastructure and utilities; 7. Enhance regulatory excellence, including that relating to trade facilitation as well as the harmonisation and mutual recognition of standards, where applicable, in line with a countryâ€™s contexts and regulations and with World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements and applicable international standards, in order to further facilitate economic activities across the ASEAN Plus Three countries; 8. Promote greater people engagement and cooperation on people-topeople connectivity initiatives by enhancing facilitation of travel and tourist visits as well as developing quality tourism, and further strengthening cultural exchanges and cooperation, in order to promote mutual understanding and greater awareness of each otherâ€™s culture; 9. Enhance people-to-people connectivity, through greater collaboration on human capital development including exchange and internship in the field of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and further promotion of student mobility and quality assurance of higher education among the ASEAN Plus Three countries, to raise the skill level of manpower and upgrade quality education in response to the challenges posed by 4IR; 10. Enhance the ASEAN Plus Three cooperation in preventing and addressing cybercrime as well as issues such as violent extremism and radicalisation, misinformation and exploitation of ICTs and enhanced connectivity by entities or individuals engaged in transnational crime, recognising the United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice as a forum to address such matters; 11. Support efforts to advance infrastructure development and financing and encourage public-private-partnerships (PPP) in mobilising resources and expertise, information sharing, as well as developing and financing bankable projects; 12. Further strengthen existing regional financing arrangements and financial cooperation under the ASEAN Plus Three framework towards the strategic direction of maintaining regional economic and financial stability; fostering economic growth and promoting integration, and further promote partnerships between existing mechanisms and relevant financial institutions and international organisations, including Asian Development Bank (ADB), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), and World Bank;
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13. Encourage relevant Sectoral Bodies to explore possible cooperation in the ASEAN Plus Three framework to enhance linkages and synergies between ASEAN Connectivity and other key connectivity initiatives in the region; 14. Enhance partnership on connectivity at the regional and global levels to promote economic growth, free trade and sustainable development; 15. Encourage the ASEAN Connectivity Coordinating Committee to work with the Plus Three countries on appropriate initiatives that would enhance the implementation of the MPAC 2025, thus contributing to greater connectivity in the East Asian region as a whole. ADOPTED in Bangkok, Thailand, on the Fourth of November in the Year Two Thousand and Nineteen. (Q) Speech by Premier Li Keqiang at the 14th East Asia Summit Source: https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/zxxx_662805/t1713589.shtml Released on: November 4, 2019 Speech by H.E. Li Keqiang Premier of the State Council of The People's Republic of China At the 14th East Asia Summit 4 November 2019 Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Colleagues, It gives me great pleasure to join you in the beautiful city of Bangkok, known as the City of Angels. I wish to thank the Thai government for its thoughtful arrangements for our summit. We face a complex and fluid international situation, characterized by setbacks to economic globalization, notably rising protectionism, challenges to the international order and global governance system, and flare-ups of regional hotspots. Global growth is losing steam, as economic slowdown hits developed economies and emerging markets alike. Major international institutions have revised down their growth forecasts for the global economy and trade for 2019 and 2020 to the lowest levels since the financial crisis. Some major economies have introduced interest rate cuts to counter the downward trend. These uncertainties and destabilizing factors are also weighing on East Asia. Overcoming new risks and challenges, maintaining steady growth and 106 Selected Documentation
upholding peace and development have become a more pressing and arduous task. Since its inception 14 years ago, the East Asia Summit (EAS) has grown into an important platform for dialogue and cooperation among countries in and beyond the region. The 18 members of the EAS include major economies in the Asia Pacific and countries of different social systems and stages of development. Given its extensive representation and influence, the EAS should and can make a positive contribution to peace and prosperity in the region and the wider world. To this end, we need to keep the EAS as a "leaders-led strategic forum", advance both political and security cooperation and social and economic development, and promote both strategic communication and practical cooperation. We need to uphold ASEAN centrality, stay focused on East Asia and the Asia Pacific, maintain the existing architecture of regional cooperation, and take cooperation forward along the right track. In this connection, I wish to make the following proposals for our future cooperation: First, we need to promote win-win cooperation and build an open world economy. To cope with the new round of downward pressure on the world economy, we need to step up cooperation in the spirit of mutual support that has helped us navigate through the financial crisis. To ensure steady growth of the world economy, we need to enhance macroeconomic policy coordination, advance structural reform, foster an open, fair, transparent, non-discriminatory and predictable business environment, and improve trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. We need to firmly support multilateralism and free trade, safeguard the multilateral trading regime with the WTO at its core, and make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) proposed by China is guided by the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. It advocates open, green and clean development, and promotes open and win-win cooperation. Yesterday, China and ASEAN reached a new consensus to synergize the BRI and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025, which will create enabling conditions for prosperity and development in East Asia. Fifteen RCEP participating countries have concluded text-based negotiations and essentially all their market access issues, and are committed to resolving the few outstanding issues by the end of this year, to make the agreement ready for signing at next year's RCEP Summit. This represents a major step forward in regional economic integration. It will help create a more open and stable trade and investment environment in our region, and boost the confidence of regional 107 Selected Documentation
countries to overcome downward pressure and sustain the momentum of development and prosperity in East Asia. As an open and inclusive agreement, the RCEP will provide strong support and useful complement to the multilateral trading regime, give new impetus to global trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and contribute to stable global growth. Second, we need to put development first and seek common prosperity. Most countries in East Asia are developing countries faced with the fundamental and common tasks of speeding up growth and promoting inclusive, green and sustainable development. Developed countries need to take concrete and effective actions to fulfill their commitment under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We all need to work together to deepen global development partnership, promote inclusive growth, and make our contribution to narrowing the development gap, improving people's livelihood and protecting the environment. Firmly committed to sustainable development, China has put people's wellbeing front and center, and pursued innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development. We have made vigorous efforts in the areas of poverty reduction, education, health and environmental protection, and contributed over 70 percent to global poverty reduction. Under the ASEAN theme of sustainability this year, the Statement on Partnership for Sustainability, which will be issued at the Summit, is conducive to energizing common efforts by EAS members to achieve more balanced, efficient and sustainable development in our region. This year, China has participated in EAS cooperation with a focus on sustainable development. We have sponsored exchange programs on natural resources, clean energy and new energy, estuary harnessing, protection and management, and ship survey. Next year, we will continue to host the new energy forum, and launch exchange and cooperation projects on vessel traffic service and new food ingredients. We look forward to your active participation. Third, we need to boost innovation to foster new drivers of growth. As the new round of technological and industrial revolution advances, technologies like 5G, artificial intelligence, big data and the Internet of Things will profoundly change the way we work and live. We must seize the opportunities presented. This requires that we identify and exert our respective strengths in pushing forward the transformation of traditional industries and facilitate a shift from traditional drivers of growth to new ones by bolstering the emerging sectors. As next year has been designated the China-ASEAN Year of Digital Economy Cooperation, China is ready to enhance cooperation with ASEAN on smart cities, 108 Selected Documentation
the digital economy, artificial intelligence and e-commerce to drive new progress in our innovation cooperation. Blocking technological exchanges in the areas of innovation goes against the global trend of development and the shared interests of the international community. Such a practice will lead to nowhere and benefit no one. What we need is an open environment for healthy competition and cooperation where more countries and peoples could share in the resources and outcomes of innovation. Fourth, we need to advance cooperation in non-traditional security fields to preserve common security. The increasingly acute non-traditional security challenges, from terrorism to climate change, cybersecurity to transnational crimes and illicit drugs, pose a threat to all countries. Such global challenges require collective responses. We must enhance dialogue and communication and actively pursue the new vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. China supports adopting the statements on combating transnational crimes and on the spread of illicit drugs at this Summit. China will host a counter-terrorism joint exercise this month and continue to support the relevant UN agency in preparing for the earthquake response exercise to be held in Thailand next month to tackle these non-traditional security threats. The Chinese side has cosponsored joint researches on the security architecture in the Asia-Pacific for three consecutive years and will continue to support discussions on the concepts and architecture of regional security suited to regional realities to provide intellectual support for peace and stability in our region. Colleagues, Driven by our shared aspiration for a peaceful and stable South China Sea, China and ASEAN countries have made joint efforts to advance the consultations on the Code of Conduct. Last year, the Chinese side proposed that we conclude the consultations in three years' time, which was positively received. China and ASEAN countries are now working toward concluding the COC by the end of 2021 or even earlier. We have completed the first reading ahead of schedule last July, and the second reading has commenced. Overall, the process has been sound and smooth. The COC is aimed at enhancing trust, boosting cooperation and managing differences. It should steer clear of territorial and jurisdictional disputes between countries concerned and serve as an institutional safeguard for peace and stability in the South China Sea. As important regional rules to be jointly formulated, observed and implemented by the 11 parties of China and ASEAN countries, the COC reflects the common interests and concerns of the 11 109 Selected Documentation
countries. The COC consultations should be built on the DOC, and deliver a more substantive, effective and operable document, which is aimed at better upholding peace and stability in the South China Sea and promoting cooperation among regional countries. Countries from outside the region, who are not direct parties to the South China Sea issue, should show real respect and support for the efforts of the regional countries. Colleagues, This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. The past seven decades have witnessed a momentous journey for our country, marked by solid steps forward and remarkable progress toward prosperity of the country, renewal of the nation and happiness of its people. These achievements have been made possible by the hard work and perseverance of the Chinese people. China's openness to and cooperation with the rest of the world has also been an important contributing factor. The Chinese economy has been deeply integrated into the world economy and its growth has created tremendous opportunities for other countries' development. Going forward, China will keep to the path of peaceful development and the win-win strategy of opening-up, deepen friendship and cooperation with all countries, and work with the rest of the international community for building a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind. Colleagues, East Asia is our shared home whose prosperity requires our joint efforts. China is ready to work with all other countries to expand common ground and enhance cooperation for a better future of our region, a future of peace and stability, economic progress, and a better life for our people. (R) Chairmanâ€™s Statement of the 14th East Asia Summit For detail see: https://asean.org/storage/2019/11/FINAL-Chairman-Statement -14th-EAS_CLEAN.pdf Released on: November 4, 2019 (S) Joint Leadersâ€™ Statement on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Source: https://asean.org/storage/2019/11/FINAL-RCEP-Joint-Leaders-State ment-for-3rd-RCEP-Summit.pdf Released on: November 4, 2019
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JOINT LEADERS’ STATEMENT ON THE REGIONAL COMPREHENSIVE ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP (RCEP) 4 November 2019, Bangkok, Thailand We, the Heads of State/Government of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea, and New Zealand, gathered on 4 November 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand, on the occasion of the 3rd RCEP Summit. We recalled our Joint Declaration on the Launch of Negotiations for the RCEP issued in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in 2012, as well as the Guiding Principles and Objectives for Negotiating the RCEP that we endorsed, in which we committed to achieve a modern, comprehensive, high-quality, and mutually beneficial economic partnership agreement. Against the backdrop of a fast-changing global environment, the completion of the RCEP negotiations will demonstrate our collective commitment to an open trade and investment environment across the region. We are negotiating an Agreement intended to further expand and deepen regional value chains for the benefits of our businesses, including small and medium enterprises, as well as our workers, producers, and consumers. RCEP will significantly boost the region’s future growth prospects and contribute positively to the global economy, while serving as a supporting pillar to a strong multilateral trading system and promoting development in economies across the region. We welcomed the report presented by Ministers on the outcomes of the RCEP negotiations, which commenced in 2013. We noted 15 RCEP Participating Countries have concluded text-based negotiations for all 20 chaptersi and essentially all their market access issues; and tasked legal scrubbing by them to commence for signing in 2020. India has significant outstanding issues, which remain unresolved. All RCEP Participating Countries will work together to resolve these outstanding issues in a mutually satisfactory way. India’s final decision will depend on satisfactory resolution of these issues. _______________________________ Chapters on: 1) Initial Provisions and General Definitions; 2) Trade in Goods; 3) Rules of Origin, including Annex on Product Specific Rules; 4) Customs Procedures and Trade Facilitation; 5) Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures; 6) Standards, Technical Regulations and Conformity Assessment Procedures; 7) Trade Remedies; 8) Trade in Services, including Annexes on Financial Services, Telecommunication Services, and Professional Services; 9) Movement of Natural Persons; 10) Investment; 11) Intellectual Property; 12) Electronic Commerce; 13) Competition; 14) Small and Medium Enterprises; 15) Economic and Technical Cooperation; 16) Government i
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Procurement; 17) General Provisions and Exceptions; 18) Institutional Provisions; 19) Dispute Settlement; and 20) Final Provisions.
(T) East Asia Summit Leaders’ Statement on Partnership for Sustainability Source: https://asean.org/storage/2019/11/5.-Finalised-EAS-Statement-onSustainability_FINAL.pdf Released on: November 4, 2019 EAST ASIA SUMMIT LEADERS’ STATEMENT ON PARTNERSHIP FOR SUSTAINABILITY WE, the Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Australia, the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the Russian Federation and the United States of America, on the occasion of the 14th East Asia Summit (EAS) in Bangkok, Thailand, on 4 November 2019; REITERATING our support for the ASEAN Community building process and reaffirming ASEAN’s central role in the EAS, to ensure that the EAS would continue to be an integral component of the evolving regional architecture, through ASEAN-led processes; ACKNOWLEDGING the importance of the EAS Participating Countries in collaborative efforts of promoting a peaceful, resilient and sustainable region with sustained economic growth and sustainable development would contribute to the long-term stability, well-being of the peoples, and prosperity of the region; EMPHASISING that the East Asia Summit, sitting at the apex of the ASEANcentred regional architecture, will continue to be a Leaders-led forum for dialogue on broad strategic, political, and economic issues of common interest and concern with the aim of promoting peace, stability and economic prosperity in East Asia and can contribute to the promotion of sustainability in various dimensions within the region; REAFFIRMING the commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted on 25 September 2015 at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015 in New York and further acknowledged at the SDG Summit 2019 held on 24-25 September 2019 in New York; UNDERLINING the complementarities between the ASEAN Vision 2025 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to commit to leave no one behind and to uplift the standards of living of the peoples in the region;
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UNDERLINING the principles contained in the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) and in the Declaration of the East Asia Summit on the Principles for Mutually Beneficial Relations (Bali Principles) as principles for further enhancing regional cooperation; REITERATING the EAS’s support for ASEAN’s aspiration towards establishing a truly rules-based, people-oriented, and people-centred ASEAN Community that engages and benefits the peoples, and is inclusive, sustainable, resilient, and dynamic; RECALLING our commitment as stated in the Manila Plan of Action to Advance the Phnom Penh Declaration on the East Asia Summit Development Initiative (2018 – 2022) to work toward further mainstreaming sustainable development at all levels and in all dimensions, as well as promoting balanced, inclusive and sustainable approaches; REAFFIRMING the need to promote sustainable, high quality infrastructure in accordance with broadly accepted international principles, to facilitate trade, investment and service competitiveness in the region, and noting the Vientiane Declaration on Promoting Infrastructure Development Cooperation in East Asia adopted at the 11th East Asia Summit in 2016; NOTING the importance of efforts to enhance the sustainability of agriculture and food production systems, including for palm oil plantation and its related industries as part of the regional and international efforts to achieve sustainable development; RECOGNISING the work to promote sustainable development done by other sub-regional, regional and global organisations, including the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific; DO HEREBY DECIDE TO: 1. ADVANCE partnership in promoting sustainability in all dimensions within the region in order to reinforce a people-centred ASEAN Community that leaves no one behind, looks to the future and is better prepared for challenges and uncertainties in the rapid changing regional and global environment; 2. PROMOTE sustainable security in the region by reinforcing trust and confidence building in the wider Asia-Pacific region, reaffirming the principles of the TAC and in the Bali Principles, including principles of non-interference in internal affairs, settlement of differences and disputes by peaceful means, without resorting to the use of force, and respect for international law, as well as its application to the region; 113 Selected Documentation
3. ENHANCE efforts for the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025 as well as promotion of border trade and economic cooperation linkages through, among others, capacity building and resource mobilisation; 4. STRENGTHEN cooperation in the area of border management to better maximise the opportunities that come along with economic integration, enhanced connectivity, the free flow of goods and services across borders, and people-to-people linkages; 5. REAFFIRM our commitment to combat illicit trafficking of wildlife as indicated in the 2014 EAS Declaration on Combating Wildlife Trafficking; 6. ENHANCE efforts at reducing poverty, promoting food and water security, ensuring access to safe water and sanitation, and improving air quality for all with a view to promoting better quality of life for the peoples in the whole region; 7. STRENGTHEN cooperation among EAS participating countries, regional and international organisations to combat infectious disease outbreaks, including through promoting coordinated preparedness, detection and response initiatives in accordance with World Health Organization International Health Regulations (2005) and information sharing on anti-microbial resistance; 8. STRENGTHEN the regional preparedness to deal with the trends of an ageing society including through development of an ASEAN Centre for Active Ageing and Innovation, and promote better social safety nets in the region through the development of an ASEAN Training Centre for Social Work and Social Welfare; 9. ENHANCE cooperation to promote sustainable economic growth through the provision of appropriate support for the empowerment of MSMEs by strengthening financial collaboration to create new opportunities through financial innovation and risk management, and by promoting regional competitiveness and sustainable supply chains and striving to realise a free, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent, predictable and stable trade and investment and environment and to keep our markets open, in order to achieve strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth in the Fourth Industrial Revolution; 10. PROMOTE diversified finance for sustainable economic growth, including bank and capital markets financing, by leveraging existing platforms and recognising the importance of finance in ensuring and improving economic efficiency, prosperity and competitiveness in the region, protecting the 114 Selected Documentation
environment, and enhancing cultural diversity, decent work and social wellbeing; 11. PROMOTE cooperation among EAS participating countries and partnership with relevant stakeholders in order to achieve decent work and promote employment opportunities and rights at work; 12. PROMOTE sustainable development cooperation and collaboration in the region by forging greater synergies and enhanced partnerships among the EAS participating countries and with regional and international organisations; 13. ACKNOWLEDGE the role of sustainable and integrated water resources management and various agricultural activities in ASEAN Member States in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and in this regard call for stronger cooperation in this area; 14. WORK TOGETHER to reduce development gaps in the region by supporting the effective implementation of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) Work Plan III and its successor documents as well as the development of links and synergies with other regional and sub-regional initiatives and frameworks; 15. SUPPORT the ASEAN Centre for Sustainable Development Studies and Dialogue in Thailand as a regional facility on research and studies and a platform for policy dialogue among ASEAN Member States and with ASEAN’s external partners, including by developing and implementing concrete projects with the Centre for the benefit of the region; 16. CONTINUE cooperation and concrete effort toward ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, including by facilitating access to clean and low emission energy research and technology, to contribute to the region’s and the world’s economic growth, environmental protection, sustainability and resilience; 17. ENHANCE collaboration on energy efficiency and conservation, promotion of renewable energy and effective use of all energy sources, development and deployment of advanced cleaner and lower emission technologies including through competitive trade, open and transparent markets, increasing public awareness, and creation of favourable conditions for public and private investments in R&D while reaffirming the importance of enhancing regional energy security and diversification of energy supply, taking into account each country’s national circumstances; 18. FOSTER closer cooperation among the EAS participating countries, regional and international organisations to strengthen the region’s capabilities 115 Selected Documentation
to reduce the risk of, and to respond to, natural disasters, including those that may be exacerbated by climate change, including through promoting disaster risk reduction initiatives and international support for the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre), the Disaster Emergency Logistics System for ASEAN (DELSA), the ASEAN Centre of Military Medicine (ACMM), and the operationalisation of the ASEAN Declaration on One ASEAN, One Response; 19. FURTHER EXPLORE ways to synergise all connectivity initiatives, policies, frameworks, and Master Plans in the region by using the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025 as the basis for strengthening regional physical, institutional and people-to-people linkages to enhance regional connectivity; 20. PROMOTE digital integration towards a digitally enabled economy that is secure, sustainable, and transformative; responds effectively to the Fourth Industrial Revolution; and therefore enables an innovative, inclusive and integrated ASEAN Community; 21. INTENSIFY efforts in the protection and conservation of the marine environment by contributing to the reduction of marine pollution in particular through integrated land-to-sea approach and the development of appropriate policies on marine plastic debris, sharing technologies and expertise and promoting resource efficiency, including circular economy, product life-cycle management, sustainable materials management, and reduce, reuse, recycle (â€œ3Râ€?) approaches, as appropriate, while enhancing environmentally sound management of plastic waste in a holistic manner; 22. ENCOURAGE cooperation to promote sustainable fisheries and address the issue of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing including through existing ASEAN-led mechanisms, recognising the importance of the WTO fisheries subsidies negotiation; 23. PROMOTE cooperation on sustainable forest management by improving forest and land management to preserve forest cover, prevent biodiversity loss, and monitor carbon stocks and emissions by EAS participating countries; 24. PROMOTE cooperation on environmental management to meet the socioeconomic and cultural needs of present and future generations and contribute positively to sustainable development; 25. CONTINUE to work with the international community to enhance cooperation in preventing illegal transboundary movement of hazardous chemicals and wastes; 116 Selected Documentation
26. PROMOTE and ENHANCE educational partnerships to develop skills, values, and behaviours that advocate sustainable development; 27. ENSURE continued support for the ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN) and ASEAN Cooperation on Environmentally Sustainable Cities which include developing inclusive smart infrastructure as important catalysts for sustainable development; 28. PROMOTE efforts to address gender inequalities and establish gender mainstreaming in all areas of sustainable development; 29. CONTINUE to promote sustainable tourism and further facilitate people-to-people exchanges and cultural links, with a view to enhancing mutual understanding and awareness of cultural differences and identities; 30. ENHANCE the role of ASEAN-centred regional mechanisms, in particular the EAS, as an integral part of the evolving regional architecture in enhancing the sustainability and prosperity of the region. ADOPTED in Bangkok, the Kingdom of Thailand, on the Fourth of November in the Year Two Thousand and Nineteen. (U) Joint Press Statement between the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Government of the People’s Republic of China Source: http://www.mfa.go.th/main/en/news3/6886/111092-JOINT-PRESSSTATEMENT-between-the-Government-of-th.html Released on: November 5, 2019 JOINT PRESS STATEMENT between the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Government of the People’s Republic of China 5 November 2019, Bangkok 1. At the invitation of His Excellency Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha of the Kingdom of Thailand, His Excellency Mr. Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China attended the 35th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits and paid an official visit to the Kingdom of Thailand on 2-5 November 2019. 2. During the visit, Premier Li Keqiang met with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha at Government House. He also met with His Excellency Chuan Leekpai, President of the National Assembly and Speaker of the House of Representatives at the Parliament. 117 Selected Documentation
3. Both sides shared the view that this official visit marked another significant milestone in reaffirming the Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership between the Kingdom of Thailand and the People’s Republic of China and in setting the direction for the future course of relations amidst the evolving regional and international landscapes. Overview of Bilateral Relations 4. The two Leaders agreed that the year 2019 was important for both the Kingdom of Thailand and the People’s Republic of China. Prime Minister Prayut congratulated on the 70th founding anniversary of the People’s Republic of China and the remarkable achievements made by the Communist Party of China in national development over the past seventy years. The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand also conveyed his best wishes to the Chinese people for their endeavors towards realizing the Two Centenary Goals and the Chinese Dream of great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Premier Li Keqiang congratulated the Kingdom of Thailand and the Thai people on the Coronation of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua. He also extended his congratulations to Prime Minister Prayut for being elected to the current position for a second term and expressed support to the Royal Thai Government in its efforts to maintain political stability, promote economic growth, and improve the livelihood of the people. Premier Li expressed his best wishes for Thailand’s smooth realization of the goals set in the National Strategy (2019-2038). Moreover, both sides shared the view that the presentation of the Friendship Medal to Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn by the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the 70th founding anniversary of the People's Republic of China was a testament to the long-standing ties of friendship between the two countries. 5. Both sides expressed satisfaction with the momentum and dynamism in the bilateral relations and agreed to make full use of bilateral cooperation mechanisms and platforms, such as the Joint Committee on Trade, Investment and Economic Cooperation between Thailand and China, the Strategic Dialogue, the Sino - Thai Defense and Security Consultation, the Joint Committee on Scientific and Technical Cooperation, the Joint Committee on Railway Cooperation between Thailand - China and Thailand - China Ministerial Dialogue on Digital Economic Cooperation, to further deepen and expand cooperation. Both sides also attached importance to expediting the implementation of the Joint Action Plan on Thailand-China Strategic Cooperation between the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Government of the People’s Republic of China (2017-2021) to achieve tangible results. 6. Both sides also recognized the importance of promoting connectivity between the Kingdom of Thailand and the People’s Republic of China, amidst the volatility 118 Selected Documentation
in the world economy, through economic cooperation frameworks and infrastructure linkages with a view to enhancing growth and prosperity of the two countries, the sub-region and the region as a whole. Political and Security 7. Both sides agreed to respect each other’s national paths to development, to share experiences and best practices in state governance, and to render understanding and support for each other on issues concerning core interests and major concerns. The Thai side reiterated its firm adherence to the One China Policy and support to the peaceful development of Cross-Straits relations and the peaceful reunification of China. The Thai side also reiterated its support for China’s “One Country, Two System” principle. 8. Both sides welcomed the frequent exchanges of visits between government agencies, legislative bodies, political parties, armed forces and local authorities and expressed support for the continuation of these close engagements with a view to contributing to the promotion of overall relations between the two countries. 9. Both sides expressed satisfaction with the close defense cooperation between their respective Ministries of Defence and Armed Forces through joint military exercises, personnel training and defense industry cooperation as well as multilateral security coordination. 10. Both sides agreed to step up cooperation in eradicating drug trafficking, combating transnational crimes, and countering terrorism and terrorism financing and as well as on anti-money laundering and to continue promoting law enforcement cooperation. Economic, Trade, Investment and Tourism 11. Both sides expressed satisfaction on the on-going cooperation under the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand and the People’s Republic of China on Cooperation within the Framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative (Belt and Road Initiative) and agreed to make the China-Thailand Railway Cooperation Project a successful model of high-quality cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, expedite the implementation of the Memorandum of Cooperation on Construction of the Connection Project of Nongkai-Vientiane Railway, accelerate implementation of the China-Laos-Thailand Railway project and explore collaboration in the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor in mutual areas of interests so as to enhance regional connectivity and development. 119 Selected Documentation
12. The two sides reaffirmed their desire to work closely in coordinating and facilitating import and export activities between the two countries for mutually beneficial trade. Both sides agreed to implement the Memorandum of Understanding between Thailand and China for Cooperation on Agricultural Products Trade and seize the opportunity brought by the growth of new forms of business such as e-commerce to improve the sustainability of trade. The Chinese side looked forward to welcoming the Thai side as Guest Country of Honor at the 2nd China International Import Expo (CIIE) to be held in Shanghai in November 2019. 13. Both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation under the framework of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA) with the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) of Thailand by taking into account the possibility of establishing a related cooperation mechanism to further promote linkages between Thailand’s EEC and the GBA with a view to steering forward the connectivity between the GBA and the EEC and the broader region into concrete results. 14. Both sides will continue to expand industrial cooperation in production capacity and to create greater synergies in industrial plans and policies (based on platforms like the China-Thailand Rayong Industrial Park), particularly by leveraging on Thailand’s strategic location in linking supply chain and logistics of the Mekong countries, to build advantageous industrial clusters development, such as next generation automobile, high-tech medical devices, new energy and energy saving vehicles and rubber. The Thai side welcomed increased investment from Chinese companies in the EEC. Both sides agreed to advance the Three Parties Cooperation in the EEC and viewed that this concept would serve as a model for similar cooperation elsewhere, which would benefit the broader region and beyond. 15. Both sides agreed to further deepen financial cooperation, support the expansion of the use of local currencies in trade and investment, promote the network of financial institutions and services, and effectively strengthen crossborder regulatory cooperation. 16. Both sides were pleased with the increased number of tourists visiting each other’s countries. The two Leaders agreed to strengthen cooperation in tourism and promote people-to-people exchanges. Both sides will strengthen cooperation in tourism market supervision and safety, effectively protect the tourists’ safety, and promote the growth in the number of tourists, quality of tourism and sustainable tourism between the two countries as well as to explore cooperation in tourism-related industries.
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Science and Technology and Innovation 17. Both sides agreed that innovation cooperation is a major highlight of cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. Both sides will explore such projects as cooperation in communication technology, open innovation centre , high-tech industrial park and technology transfer centre so as to strengthen the cooperation in such fields as digital economy, smart city, ICT converged application, software and IT service, ICT infrastructure connectivity, digital transformation of industry, cyber security, cloud computing and artificial intelligence. Both sides are also aiming to build a digital Silk Road. 18. Both sides will continue to promote scientific, technological and innovative cooperation for social and economic prosperity and sustainable development by means of joint research and development, exchange of scientists, specialists and researchers, and technology transfer. They also agreed to explore possible cooperation in the areas of Bio, Circular, Green (BCG) Economy and Frontier Technology. Education and Culture and People-to-People Connectivity 19. Both sides were pleased with the on-going education cooperation under the MOU on Education Cooperation and agreed to strengthen multi-level and multifield cooperation in education through partnership schools, special exchanges, academic exchanges and distance learning, so as to promote talents and provide intellectual support for the development of two countries. 20. Both sides supported the implementation of the Executive Program for Culture Cooperation for the Years 2019-2021 into concrete outcomes and agreed to explore collaboration in co-organizing cultural activities to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the Kingdom of Thailand and the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China in 2020. 21. Both sides will strengthen cooperation in the areas of media and information to promote people-to-people connectivity and media professional development. The cooperation will be conducted through media facilitations, exchanges of news/documentaries and visits, as well as participation in forums and festivals. Regional and International Cooperation 22. China appreciated Thailand's contribution in advancing ASEAN-China relations and East Asian cooperation under its ASEAN chairmanship this year, and congratulated Thailand on the successful hosting of the 35th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits. 121 Selected Documentation
23. Both sides were pleased that ASEAN-China relations continued to be strong, stable and mutually-beneficial and would work together to ensure that the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership remained dynamic and one of the key pillars of peace, stability, prosperity and sustainability in our region. Both sides will continue to reinforce ASEAN-centred regional architecture through existing ASEAN-led mechanisms such as the ASEAN Plus Three (APT), East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus). Both sides also welcomed the continuous efforts to create synergies between MPAC 2025 and the Belt and Road Initiative to help realise the â€œConnecting the Connectivitiesâ€? and looked forward to building an ASEAN-China Blue Economy Partnership. 24. Both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation under such regional and subregional frameworks as ASEAN-China, Mekong-Lancang Cooperation and Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS). Thailand welcomed China in becoming among the first batch of ACMECS Development Partners. Both sides shared the view that both MLC and ACMECS are complimentary in nature. 25. Both sides would support ongoing efforts for the effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in its entirety and the conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct (COC) at the end of 2021 or earlier, commend the completion of the first reading of the Single Draft COC Negotiating Text (SDNT) and welcome the commencement of the second reading of the SDNT and support practical maritime cooperation including in marine environmental protection, so as to transform the South China Sea into a sea of peace, stability, and prosperity. 26. Both sides will strengthen coordination and cooperation in multilateral fora, such as the United Nations, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), AsiaEurope Meeting (ASEM) and Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), uphold the norms and principles enshrined in the UN Charter and work to enhance the interests of developing countries. 27. Both sides agreed to work together to address the daunting challenges of protectionism and unilateralism in the world, safeguard the rule-based multilateral trading system, and promote the economic globalization towards a direction of openness, inclusiveness, universal benefits, balance and win-win results. Both sides welcomed that the related parties have concluded the textbased negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and would work together on outstanding issues with a view to signing the agreement in 2020. 28. Premier Li Keqiang expressed appreciation to the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand for the warm and extended an invitation to Prime Minister 122 Selected Documentation
Prayut Chan-o-cha to pay a visit to China at a mutually convenient date. Prime Minister Prayut accepted the invitation with appreciation. (V) Keynote Speech by President Xi Jinping at the Opening Ceremony of the 2nd China International Import Expo (CIIE) Source: http://www.bjreview.com/Documents/201911/t20191106_8001840 15.html Released on: November 5, 2019 Openness and Cooperation for a Shared Future Keynote Speech by H.E. Xi Jinping President of the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China At the Opening Ceremony of the Second China International Import Expo Shanghai, 5 November 2019 Your Excellency President Emmanuel Macron, Your Excellencies Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, Your Excellencies Speakers of Parliament, Your Excellencies Heads of International Organizations, Your Excellencies Heads of Delegations, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends, In this lovely season tinted with deep autumn hues, it gives me great pleasure to get together with you by the Huangpu River. I now declare open the second China International Import Expo! At the outset, on behalf of the Chinese government and people as well as in my own name, a hearty welcome to all the distinguished guests from afar! To the many old and new friends gathered here from across the world, I give you my warm greetings and best wishes! 123 Selected Documentation
A year ago in this same place, the inaugural China International Import Expo was successfully held. Today, we are happy to be joined by even more friends in the second Expo that carries on the theme of “New Era, Shared Future”. I trust that you will all find your participation in the event worthwhile and rewarding! Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends, At last year’s Expo, I announced the initiatives China was to take in the five areas of further opening-up and spelt out three specific steps for Shanghai to open wider to the world. One year on, these initiatives and steps have been by and large put in place. The Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone now has a Lingang special area, and six other new pilot free trade zones have been set up in other provinces of the country. The Shanghai Stock Exchange launched a sci-tech innovation board, with a registration system being piloted for the listing of companies. In the Yangtze River Delta area, a plan for integrated development of the region has been introduced as a national strategy. At the national level, a Foreign Investment Law will enter into force on 1 January next year. A management system combining pre-establishment national treatment and the negative list has been effected nationwide. Major progress is being made in increasing imports to boost consumption and in bringing down the tariff level. For last year’s Expo, during my bilateral events with foreign leaders, 98 initiatives were agreed upon, of which 23 have now been completed, 47 are making good progress, and 28 are on track of steady implementation. Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends, Economic globalization represents the trend of history. Like the world’s great rivers, the Yangtze, the Nile, the Amazon and the Danube — they all surge forward in relentless flow, and nothing can stop their mighty movement, not the current of undertows or hidden shoals or rocks beneath the water. Of the problems confronting the world economy, none can be resolved by a single country alone. We must all put the common good of humanity first rather than place one’s own interest above the common interest of all. We must have a more open mindset and take more open steps, and work together to make the pie of the global market even bigger. We need to strengthen the mechanisms for sharing benefits globally, and explore new ways of international cooperation. The goal is to give more impetus to economic globalization and remove impediments as much as we could. 124 Selected Documentation
For that to happen, I want to propose the following: First, let us work together to build an open world economy through cooperation. As global value and supply chains continue to develop, countries are interconnected with each other, and integration of their economies is the order of the day. Distances between countries are getting shorter, and interactions among countries are growing, hence the probability of differences and frictions. The right solution lies in consultation and cooperation. All problems could be settled in the spirit of equality, mutual understanding and accommodation. We need to promote development through opening-up and deepen exchanges and cooperation among us. We need to “join hands” with each other instead of “letting go” of each other’s hands. We need to “tear down walls”, not to “erect walls”. We need to stand firm against protectionism and unilateralism. We need to continually bring down trade barriers, optimize global value and supply chains, and jointly foster market demand. Second, let us work together to build an open world economy with innovation. Innovation-driven development is essential to sustained growth of the world economy. What we are seeing is a new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation. It has reached a historic juncture when major breakthroughs are within sight. Countries need to step up cooperation in innovation. We need to facilitate integration of science and technology with economic growth, and increase the sharing of innovation results. We need to remove barriers that hamper the flow of knowledge, technology, talents and other factors of innovation, and support our businesses in technical exchanges and cooperation on their own accord. This is a way to unleash the potential for innovation. And, to benefit mankind with the better use of knowledge, we need to tighten the protection of intellectual property. The least desirable is for us to stifle the flow of knowledge, or to create or even widen the technology divide among us. Third, let us work together to build an open world economy for mutual benefits. We need to work toward the vision of inclusive and mutually beneficial development. We need to work together to safeguard the international order underpinned by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, uphold the core values and basic principles of the multilateral trading system, promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced, and beneficial to all. We need to work in real earnest to implement the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and increase support for the Least Developed Countries so that the benefits of development will reach more countries and peoples. Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends, 125 Selected Documentation
Standing at a new historical starting point, China will open its door only wider to the world. The Communist Party of China has just concluded the fourth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee. A decision has been made to further uphold and improve the socialist system with Chinese characteristics and to modernize the country’s system and capacity for governance. That included a host of significant measures to deepen reform and opening-up. China will adhere to its fundamental state policy of opening-up and stay committed to opening-up to promote reform, development and innovation. This will bring about opening-up at an even higher level. First, China will continue to open up its market. China has a population of 1.4 billion. Its middle-income population is the biggest in the world. The huge Chinese market points to a potential that is simply unlimited. The Chinese people often say, “The world is a big place, and I want to see just more of it.” What I want to say to you today is that the Chinese market is such a big one that you should all come and see what it has to offer. China will better leverage the fundamental role of domestic consumption in economic development and foster a more robust domestic market to boost growth at home and create more room for global growth. China will give greater importance to import. We will continue to lower tariffs and institutional transaction costs, develop demonstration zones to promote import trade by creative means, and import more high-quality goods and services from around the world. We will take steps to promote balanced development of both imports and exports, of trade in goods and services, of twoway trade and investment, and of trade and industry. This way, we will ensure a free yet orderly flow of both international and domestic factors of production, improve the efficient allocation of resources, and deepen integration of markets. Second, China will continue to optimize its opening-up structure. China’s opening-up is all-dimensional and all-sectoral. A new structure of all-out opening-up is quick in the making. China will continue to encourage bold trials and experiments in pilot free trade zones and quicken the development of the Hainan Free Trade Port as pacesetters of opening-up in China. China will continue to implement integrated regional development strategies for the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the Yangtze River Economic Belt, the Yangtze River Delta region, and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and draw up a new national strategy for environmental protection and high-quality development in the Yellow River basin. The purpose is to seek greater synergy of opening-up among different parts of the country. Third, China will continue to improve the business environment. Proper business environment provides the necessary condition for enterprises to survive and thrive. On 24 October, the World Bank released its Doing Business Report 2020, which ranks China 31st, up by 15 places from last year’s ranking of 46th. Last month, China issued a regulation on optimizing the business 126 Selected Documentation
environment. Going forward, China will continue to remove major constraints on economic development, gear up reforms regarding key links and areas, and modernize the system and capacity for governance as an institutional support for high-standard opening-up and high-quality development. China will continue to foster an enabling business environment that is based on market principles, governed by law, and up to international standards. We will give foreign investments greater market access to more sectors, shorten the negative list further, and improve institutions for investment promotion and protection and for information reporting. With regard to IP protection, we will cultivate an environment that appreciates the value of knowledge, improve the legal framework, step up law enforcement, and enhance protection through both civil and criminal justice systems. Fourth, China will continue to deepen multilateral and bilateral cooperation. China is a champion for international cooperation and a supporter of multilateralism. China supports necessary reforms to the WTO so that the organization can play a bigger role in promoting openness and development and the multilateral trading regime can be more authoritative and effective. Later this afternoon, the Chinese side will host an Informal WTO Ministerial Meeting. We look forward to candid exchanges that will lead to joint actions to improve global economic governance. I am happy to note that yesterday, 15 countries taking part in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) concluded text-based negotiations, and I hope the agreement will be signed and enter into force at an early date. China will be happy to conclude high-standard free trade agreements with more countries. We will speed up negotiations on a China-EU investment agreement, a China-Japan-ROK FTA, and a China-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) FTA. We will stay actively engaged in cooperation within the United Nations, the G20, APEC, and BRICS to move economic globalization forward. Fifth, China will continue to advance Belt and Road cooperation. To date, China has signed 197 documents on Belt and Road cooperation with 137 countries and 30 international organizations. China will follow the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits, the philosophy of open, green, and clean cooperation, and a high-standard, people-centered, and sustainable approach to promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends, Looking forward, China will follow the new development approach and the strategy of innovation-driven development, and redouble our efforts to foster new growth drivers by shifting the growth model, improving the economic structure, and creating new growth momentum. We believe such efforts will not 127 Selected Documentation
only bring China high-quality development but also new growth opportunities for the global economy. I have faith in the bright prospects of China’s economic development. China’s development, viewed through the lens of history, is an integral part of the lofty cause of human progress. China will reach out its arms and offer countries in the world more opportunities of market, investment and growth. Together, we can achieve development for all. Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends, The Chinese civilization has always valued peace under heaven and harmony among nations. Let us all work in that spirit and contribute to an open global economy and to a community with a shared future for mankind. Thank you. (W) Joint Statement by the ADMM-Plus Defense Ministers on Advancing Partnership for Sustainable Security Source: https://asean.org/storage/2019/11/JS-of-the-6th-ADMM-Plus.pdf Released on: November 22, 2019 JOINT STATEMENT BY THE ADMM-PLUS DEFENCE MINISTERS ON ADVANCING PARTNERSHIP FOR SUSTAINABLE SECURITY We, the Defence Ministers of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Australia, the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America gathered in Bangkok, Thailand on 18 November 2019 for the Sixth ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (hereinafter referred to as “ADMM-Plus”). We reaffirm our commitment towards regional peace, security and stability by respecting universally recognised principles of international law, promoting cooperation and interactions, reaching out to potential partners as well as responding collectively and constructively to global developments and security issues based on amicable and mutually beneficial relations. We underscore the significance of the ADMM-Plus as a key component of a robust, effective and open regional security arrangement that contributes to trust and confidence-building as well as practical defence and security cooperation between ASEAN Member States and Plus Countries in response to 128 Selected Documentation
common security threats in the region, while upholding ASEAN Centrality and unity. We reaffirm our commitment to maintaining peace and stability of the AsiaPacific region by working closely together to address common security challenges as stated in the Joint Statement by the ADMM-Plus Defence Ministers on Practical Confidence-Building Measures, issued on 20 October 2018. We commend and recognise the progress of practical cooperation under ADMMPlus Expertsâ€™ Working Groups (EWGs), namely Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, Maritime Security, Military Medicine, Counter-Terrorism, Peacekeeping Operations, Humanitarian Mine Action and Cyber Security. The dialogue and exercises within the framework of ADMM-Plus EWGs have contributed to capacity-building and interoperability enhancement amongst ADMM-Plus countries, in order to address security challenges for the collective benefit of the region. We welcome the new Co-Chairs of the ADMM-Plus EWGs for the 2020-2023 cycle, starting at the ASEAN Defence Senior Officialsâ€™ Meeting Plus in 2020 in Viet Nam onwards. We welcome the development of ADMM initiatives putting in place practical cooperation amongst ASEAN Member States to collectively prevent miscalculation and respond to regional security threats. We recognise that adherence to international law encourages safe and professional military interactions, prevents armed conflict and provides, in treaties and conventions, mechanisms for the peaceful resolution of disputes. We recognise the ASEAN-China Maritime Exercise conducted in 2018 and the ASEAN-United States Maritime Exercise conducted in 2019, which reflect practical cooperation on strengthening ASEAN Centrality in regional security architecture, while enhancing mutual trust and confidence amongst ASEAN and Plus Countries. We recognise that security threats and challenges in the Asia-Pacific are transboundary and increasing in frequency and severity. Increasing regional integration and connectivity as well as technological advancement impact nontraditional security threats and increase their complexity and unpredictability. This calls for countries in the region to forge practical cooperation to find sustainable ways to prevent and address these common security threats. In this regard, we remain committed to ensuring peace and stability in the AsiaPacific region by strengthening defence and security cooperation. This includes resolving disputes peacefully in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the 129 Selected Documentation
Law of the Sea and maintaining and respecting freedom of navigation and overflight as well as advancing our partnership in order to effectively respond to regional security threats in a sustainable manner, particularly through the ADMM-Plus EWGs and ASEAN-led security mechanisms based on mutual trust, mutual respect and mutual benefits.
December (X) Speech by President Xi Jinping on New Year 2020 Source: https://news.cgtn.com/news/2019-12-31/Full-text-Chinese-President -Xi-Jinping-s-2020-New-Year-speech--MSnhLaJmIE/index.html Released on: December 31, 2019 President Xi Jinping's 2020 New Year speech Comrades, friends, ladies and gentlemen, The year 2020 is arriving. From China's capital Beijing, I would like to extend my New Year wishes to you all! In 2019, we sweated and we toiled as we pressed ahead with concrete efforts for achievements. Thanks to our steady pursuit of high-quality development, China's GDP is expected to edge close to 100 trillion yuan with the per capita figure reaching the level of 10,000 U.S. dollars. Significant breakthroughs have been achieved in three tough battles. Coordinated development in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region, the Yangtze River Economic Belt, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and the Yangtze River Delta, all accelerated. Ecological protection and high-quality development in the Yellow River basin have become national strategies. About 340 impoverished counties and more than 10 million people have been lifted out of poverty. Our lunar probe Chang'e-4, for the first time in human history, landed on the far side of the moon; the Long March-5 Y3 rocket was successfully launched; the Xuelong 2 icebreaker set sail on its maiden voyage to the Antarctic; the construction of the global network of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System is sprinting towards the finish line; the commercial application of 5G technology is accelerating; the Beijing Daxing International Airport "phoenix spread its wings"â€Ś all these achievements are the result of the efforts and sweat of those who strive in the new era, and they demonstrate extraordinary Chinese splendor and Chinese strength.
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Over the past year, reform and opening-up has continuously generated vigor for development. The reform of Party and government institutions has been successfully completed. We have set up another batch of pilot free trade zones, and expanded the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone. The Science and Technology Innovation Board was launched smoothly. We have cut taxes and fees by more than 2 trillion yuan, and raised the individual income tax threshold. Many types of commonly-used medicines have seen their prices drop, while cheaper and faster internet connection has enabled faster flow of information. Garbage sorting is leading the new trend of a low-carbon lifestyle. This year we have also streamlined the work of officials at the grassroots level. New changes are taking place everywhere and the country is taking on a fresh look. Over the past year, we have steadily pushed forward reforms in our national defense and military systems. The armed forces have taken on a new look of a strong army in the new era. We held a grand military parade on National Day, celebrated the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Navy and the Air Force, and also hosted the 7th Military World Games. The country's first selfdeveloped aircraft carrier was commissioned. The people's army will always serve as a great wall of steel that guards our motherland. Let's salute those loyal soldiers who safeguard our home. The most memorable moment of 2019 was the celebrations for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. We cheered for the glorious achievements the Peopleâ€™s Republic has made over the past 70 years, and were overwhelmed by the sheer force of patriotism. The formations during the military parade were powerful, and the mass pageant thrilling. Tiananmen Square was turned into a sea of happiness. All of China was arrayed in red with proud smiles on all faces as the song "My Motherland and I" played throughout the streets and alleys. Patriotic feelings brought tears to our eyes, and patriotic spirit forms the backbone of the Chinese nation. All these merge into a surging current that sings an ode to New China and inspires us to work harder in the new era, filling us with boundless energy. Over the past year, I have visited many places. Construction of Xiong'an New Area is progressing, Tianjin Port is booming, Beijing's sub-center is thriving, grasslands in Inner Mongolia are splendid, the Hexi Corridor, after thousands of years, is teeming with new life. The winding Yellow River, where the sky is high and waters are wide, sometimes turbulent, sometimes calm; on both banks of 131 Selected Documentation
the Huangpu River, there is plenty and prosperity, and ribbons of light shine in the night. Everything is flourishing across our motherland. I traced the routes of China's revolution to strengthen my original aspiration. From Yudu in Jiangxi Province where the Red Army gathered for their Long March, to the Revolution Museum in Xinxian County in Henan Province, the former capital of the Hubei-HenanAnhui revolutionary base, from the Monument to the West Route Army in Gaotai, Gansu Province, to the revolutionary memorial site in the Fragrant Hills in Beijing, all these places aroused many feelings and thoughts in my mind. Our original aspiration and mission are our inexhaustible source of motivation during our Long March of the new era. As usual, no matter how busy I was, I spent time visiting people in the countryside. People shared many of their innermost thoughts with me, and I always keep them in mind. I have also received letters from villagers of the Dulong ethnic group in Gongshan, Yunnan Province; residents of Xiadang township, Shouning County in Fujian Province; soldiers of the Wang Jie Squad; the graduate students of the Class of Champions at Beijing Sport University; and children and senior volunteers from Macao. In my reply letters, I applauded the achievements they had made and sent my best wishes. Over the past year, many people and their stories touched us deeply. Zhang Fuqing has kept a low profile and stayed true to his original heart despite the great contributions he's made to the nation; Huang Wenxiu dedicated her youth and life to poverty alleviation; 31 fire fighters sacrificed their lives in the line of duty in Muli, Sichuan Province; Du Fuguo sacrificed himself to protect his teammates; and China's Women's National Volleyball Team won the World Cup in an eleven-match winning streak. Numerous unsung heroes, with neither complaint nor regret, with dedication. Ordinary people living extraordinary lives. In the year of 2019, China continued to open its arms wide to embrace the world. We hosted the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, the Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition, the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations, and the second China International Import Expo, showcasing a civilized, open and inclusive China to the rest of the world. I held meetings with many heads of state and government, sharing with them China's proposals, promoting friendship and deepening consensus. A few countries joined hands with us. The number of countries that have diplomatic ties with China now stands at 180. We have friends in every corner of the world. 2020 will be a year of milestone significance. We will finish building a 132 Selected Documentation
moderately prosperous society in all respects and realize the first centenary goal. 2020 will also be a year of decisive victory for the elimination of poverty. The bugle has sounded. We shall all of one heart "add oil." The greater the difficulties, the further we advance, strengthening our weak links even more and laying a more solid foundation to win the hard battle against poverty with determination, to lift all impoverished rural residents and counties out of poverty by current standards as scheduled. Several days ago, I attended the celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of Macao's return to the motherland and felt heartened for the prosperity and stability in Macao. The successful practice of Macao indicates that the principle of "One Country, Two Systems" is fully applicable, achievable, and popular. In recent months, our hearts have been concerned about the situation in Hong Kong. Without a harmonious and stable environment, how can people live in peace and enjoy their work! I sincerely wish Hong Kong well and our Hong Kong compatriots well. Hong Kong's prosperity and stability is the wish of Hong Kong compatriots and the expectation of people of our motherland. Human history, like a river, runs forever, witnessing both peaceful moments and great disturbances. We are not afraid of storms and dangers and barriers. China is determined to walk along the road of peaceful development and will resolutely safeguard world peace and promote common development. We are willing to join hands with people of all countries in the world to build together the Belt and Road Initiative, and push forward the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, and make unremitting efforts for the creation of a beautiful future for mankind. At this moment, many people are still at their posts, many people are safeguarding peace and security, and many people are working tirelessly. Your hard work is greatly appreciated. Let's seize the day and live it to the full, and greet the arrival of the year 2020 together. I wish you all a happy new year!
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Part III Selected Analysis
(III) Selected Analysis (July-December 2019) Foreign Affairs (A) By learning from China, Vietnam has taken fewer detours It is speculated that Vietnam, followed by countries such as China, India and Mexico, would be the next target of the US government's sanctions spree. Why has Hanoi grabbed US President Donald Trump's attention? Vietnam's remarkable economic growth is one of the reasons. Vietnam has a weak economic foundation. Though an important producer of rice, Vietnam once faced problems even feeding its people. In 1986, this Southeast Asian country implemented doi moi, an "open door" market-oriented policy that has helped it grow rapidly. Vietnam's economy has been growing at a high rate especially in the past decade, with the GDP clocking a growth of 7.08 percent in 2018, the highest since 2008. According to the General Statistics Office of Vietnam, in 2018, the agriculture, forestry and fishery sectors grew by 3.76 percent, the industry and construction sector 8.85 percent and the services sector 7.03 percent. The poverty rate in 2018 was 6.8 percent, a drop of 1.1 percentage point from 2017. Vietnam is lifting itself out of poverty to enter the ranks of low-to-middle income countries. What has contributed to Hanoi's rapid economic development? First, the Vietnam government has set a clear goal of development. The Eighth National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) in 1996 set up the goal of making the nation a modern and industrialized country by 2020. The 12th National Congress of the CPV in 2016 drafted a five-year plan with a GDP growth target of 6.5-7 percent from 2016 to 2020. GDP per capita income is expected to be between $3,200 and $3,500 by 2020. The clearly crafted aim, the united leadership of the CPV and the Vietnamese government, and the top-tobottom execution guarantee the realization of the goal. Second, Vietnam has been flexible in applying China's reform and opening-up experience, keeping in view of its realities. Every time China holds the National Congress of the Communist Party of China, issues important economic policies and introduces important reforms, Vietnam carefully studies the Vietnamese translation. 137 Selected Analysis
Vietnam has sent officials on study tours to China several times. By learning from China's experience, Hanoi has avoided possible mistakes and detours, and its economy has grown rapidly. Hanoi's socialism-oriented market economy, with policies targeted at giving state-owned enterprises the leading role and encouraging private enterprises, reflects the experience of China's reform and opening-up. Furthermore, Vietnam's foreign policy has won it more friends. In the domain of economic cooperation, Vietnam proactively integrated into the international community. It has signed agreements, such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement, which has given a fillip to openness in the economy. Hanoi pays great attention to attracting foreign investment and developing manufacturing and other industries, mirroring the experience of other developing countries. Hanoi's strength lies in its preferential policies for foreign capital, low labor costs and cheap industrial raw materials. Currently, companies making integrated circuits and chips such as Samsung and Intel and firms owning labor intensive businesses, like Adidas and UNIQLO, have entered Vietnam. Foreign investment brings in capital and advanced technology and also creates wealth and employment opportunities. It also drives the development of foreign trade. In sum, after years of efforts, the Vietnamese economy has entered a new phase. However, the aftermath could be more daunting. Vietnam's economy has some structural problems which could aggravate if the country enters a new era. It remains to be seen whether Hanoi would be able to overcome them. Written By: Zhu Zhenming Source: Global Times Published: 18 July 2019 The author is a research fellow at China (Kunming) Academy of South and Southeast Asian Studies.
(B) Understanding Chinaâ€™s Foreign Assistance Policy What makes the help different from developed countriesâ€™ strings-attached aid By providing various types of foreign assistance, China has become an important contributor to international development. While some say the largest developing country in the world should focus on its own domestic goals rather than international ones, actually, domestic development and external 138 Selected Analysis
development are two sides of the same coin. No nation can be insulated from the outside world when facing interconnected global development challenges like poverty, unemployment, infectious diseases and terrorism. As Chinese President Xi Jinping said at the UN Office at Geneva in 2017: "China will do well only when the world does well, and vice versa." This is a summary through experience of China's economic growth, a development miracle in human history. For more than 40 years, China received support from the international community and experienced rapid development. Now the second largest economy in the world is upholding peaceful development and cooperation for win-win results, calling for an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world with lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity. A shared future In 2018, President Xi put forward his thought on diplomacy systematically. Xi Jinping thought on diplomacy, an important component of China's governance philosophy, is a guide for conducting China's diplomacy in the new era. In the new era, one major task of China's diplomatic work is to build a community with a shared future for humanity and achieve shared and win-win development. Building a community with a shared future is a peaceful, inclusive and integrated vision, combining China's successful experience with the wisdom of the world. As one important means of major country diplomacy, China's development assistance plays an important role in building a community of shared future. Actually, under the framework of South-South cooperation, China has been committed to foreign assistance for more than 60 years. In 1964, the Chinese Government announced the Eight Principles for Economic Aid and Technical Assistance to Other Countries, whose core contents are equality, mutual benefit and no strings attached, setting the basic principles of China's foreign assistance. After 1978, the foreign assistance transformed from simply providing aid to exploring various mechanisms of mutually beneficial cooperation. Diversified assistance China's foreign assistance doesn't consist of dropping money from a helicopter. There are three major financing modes: grant assistance, interest-free loans and concessional loans. Grant assistance is mainly used for livelihood issues like poverty reduction and emergency humanitarian aid. Interest-free loans go to infrastructure construction in industrial and agricultural areas. Concessional loans are designed for projects which can create economic benefits in the future. In terms of cooperation, China's foreign assistance is of eight types to satisfy the needs of different countries: complete projects, common materials, technical 139 Selected Analysis
cooperation, human resources development, medical teams, emergency humanitarian aid, foreign assistance volunteers and debt relief. To follow through on the promise of building a community with a shared future, China's foreign assistance focuses on effective development. Imbalance in development is the greatest imbalance confronting today's world, which threatens the developing world, including China. If balanced and sustainable development cannot be ensured in other countries, China can hardly deepen the reform and opening-up policy in the new era since the Chinese economy relies on the global value chain. Poverty and infrastructure deficit are the two major bottlenecks in many developing countries, blocking their capabilities to attract foreign capital, create jobs, improve people's livelihood and accelerate industrial transfers. Appropriate foreign assistance can enhance development-oriented approach in two ways. In the short term, humanitarian assistance can provide basic and necessary remedies to individuals from various disasters and catastrophes, enhancing social stability and resilience. For example in 2014-15, when West Africa faced an outbreak of Ebola, more than 1,000 Chinese medical workers went to the areas affected to offer medical help. The Chinese Government also provided emergency assistance worth 750 million yuan ($109 million) to the infected region to combat the virus. Only when people's life and property are guaranteed can they begin to think about development. In the long term, development assistance, especially for infrastructure construction, can strengthen developing countries' vital functions. For example, in 2016 China completed the Aba Samuel hydropower plant and handed it over to Ethiopia. Ethiopia's oldest power plant had gone online in 1941 but then sat idle since the 1970s due to technical problems. In 2012 China signed a contract to repair it, and today the plant has resumed operation, providing power as well as jobs and promoting the business environment for both local people and foreign investors. From giving to partnering Compared with the international aid regime led by developed countries, China's foreign assistance has some advantages welcomed by developing countries. First, as a developing country which led 800 million people out of poverty in the past four decades, China knows better the difficulties, traps and challenges faced by developing countries when they try to industrialize. As a reliable friend and partner of other developing countries, China emphasizes the importance of investment in infrastructure construction, human resources training and technology transfer because these things are the necessary conditions of development. China has learned it in the past 40 years. 140 Selected Analysis
Second, China would like to share both successful experiences and lessons with other developing countries in an equal way when providing assistance. It prefers to work together with the recipient countries rather than "help" them. Also, it neither interferes in other countries' internal affairs nor gives conditional assistance. The foreign assistance is part of South-South cooperation, seeking to narrow the North-South gap and supporting other developing countries in enhancing their capacity for self-development. At the same time, China would also like to learn from other countries. The assistance agenda is flexible and inclusive, ready to absorb opinions and suggestions from partners as well as the international community. Beyond the South-South cooperation, China's foreign assistance also supports the reform of global governance. The concept of building a community with a shared future has been written into several important UN resolutions related to peace, development and human right issues, becoming a global consensus. China's foreign assistance is a window through which the world can know China's vision. Swayed by this, more multilateral institutions, developed countries and international NGOs have started to cooperate with China, working together in global governance. To build a community with a shared future for humanity, Xi said in his speech in Geneva that China must uphold the right approach to justice and interests in diplomatic work, which requires speaking up for justice politically, pursuing mutual benefit and common development economically, and acting in good faith and valuing friendship in international affairs. This is also the principle of China's foreign aid. Written By: He Rui Source: Beijing Review Published: 26 July 2019 The author is an assistant research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies.
(C) Cooperation source of prosperity and stability in SE Asia The white paper, China and the World in the New Era, released on Friday describes how throughout its rapid economic development, China has interacted with the rest of world and proves that China's development is a boon to the regional as well as global economies. Cooperation between China and Southeast Asian countries has played a significant role in China's development. No wonder China attaches great importance to relations with Southeast Asian countries. Bilateral cooperation 141 Selected Analysis
with Southeast Asian countries began when Vietnam and Indonesia established diplomatic relations with China soon after the founding of the People's Republic of China on Oct 1, 1949. In 1954, Premier Zhou Enlai visited India and Myanmar, and signed agreements on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and further promoted the principles at the Bandung Conference (the first large-scale Asian-African conference) in Indonesia in 1955. The principles have been widely recognized as a great contribution to international relations. After the launch of reform and opening-up in 1978, China more actively participated in international affairs. And the end of the Cold War led to further improvement in relations between China and Southeast Asian countries, increasing trade and people-to-people exchanges. Besides, mutual political trust increased between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations after they became dialogue partners in 1991. Economic cooperation between China and ASEAN member states was upgraded in the 1990s, leading to better communication and economic integration. When the Asian financial crisis broke out in 1997, dealing a severe blow to Southeast Asian countries, especially Indonesia and Thailand, China refused to devalue the yuan to escape the aftermath of the crisis, and instead provided economic aid for some ASEAN states. And in 2000, the 10 ASEAN member states and China, Japan and the Republic of Korea signed an agreement, which eventually became a multilateral currency exchange arrangement for regional economic stability known as the Chiang Mai Initiative in 2010. The inking of the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation by ASEAN and China in 2002 marked the beginning of the construction of the China-ASEAN free trade area. Now, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, with its negotiations drawing to a close, is set to further boost regional trade, investment and financial cooperation. Sino-ASEAN cooperation entered a new phase in 2003 when Beijing signed the Treaty of Amity, Cooperation in Southeast Asia, which made China and ASEAN strategic partners. And the establishment of strategic partnership between China and Indonesia in 2005 led to more bilateral partnerships such as the comprehensive strategic partnerships that China formed with Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia, the all-round cooperation partnership with Singapore, and the comprehensive strategic cooperation partnership with the Philippines. China-ASEAN economic cooperation has greatly benefited from the Belt and Road Initiative, as their trade volume reached nearly $600 billion last year. China 142 Selected Analysis
is ASEAN's largest trade partner, and ASEAN has become China's second-largest trade partner. More cooperation projects are in the pipeline, including the regional connectivity railway, highways, ports, industrial zones and the Lancang-Mekong River cooperation mechanism. China and some ASEAN states have also made strenuous efforts to peacefully resolve their territorial dispute in the South China Sea. They signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in 2002, and reached an agreement on follow-up action in 2011. Accordingly, China proposed the international cooperation framework (201115) for the South China Sea and neighboring sea areas, which yielded fruitful results thanks to the support of countries in not only Southeast and North Asia but also Africa. The 2016-20 framework advances marine cooperation to combat climate change, protection of the environment and marine ecosystem and biodiversity, disaster prevention and reduction, and marine policy and management. Besides, China and ASEAN agreed on a single draft negotiating text for the finalization of the South China Sea Code of Conduct last year. And this year, they completed the first reading of the single draft negotiating text of the COC ahead of schedule, which shows the two sides have strengthened practical cooperation and made good progress toward resolving the disputes. It is therefore certain that China-ASEAN cooperation will deepen, and the two sides will make greater contributions to regional stability and common development. Written By: Luo Yongkun Source: China Daily Published: 30 September 2019 The author is an associate researcher at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.
(D) Diplomatic Efforts Over 70 Years The PRCâ€™s history of dialogue, cooperation and multilateralism This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC), a period in which the world has changed rapidly. China has played a significant role in that change through international relations and global
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governance. It has moved from standing up to opening up to growing rich and strong. China's relations with the rest of the world have seen historic changes over the past 70 years on its road to becoming the world's second largest economy. Its prosperity, enhanced national strength and restoration to preeminence on the world stage have given the nation the ability to defend both its sovereignty and fundamental interests. Nowhere is this more apparent than in its diplomatic efforts. Since 1949, the goals of the PRC's foreign policy have been consistent: safeguarding the country's development environment while supporting both global peace and development efforts. Basis of foreign policy In reviewing China's diplomacy, it is important to understand the role that it has played in the modern international relations system. Much like any other great power, it is crucial to comprehend that China's history, national interests, international responsibilities and current role in global affairs all color the nation's foreign policy and have a significant impact on an ever-evolving international system of governance. During the past 70 years, China has moved from international isolation to become one of the world's major powers. After the founding of the PRC, domestic weakness and external vulnerability came to an end. Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the nation sought to regain the respect and dignity of being a great nation that was lost after a century of humiliation, one that saw external powers engage in hegemony in both China and East Asia. That experience of victimization at the hands of Western and Japanese powers was a critically influential and the formative basis for China's foreign policy, which remains a cornerstone of contemporary China's approach to foreign relations. If the West is at all interested in understanding what drives China's foreign relations and diplomatic efforts, it is essential to comprehend the impact that a century of hegemonic victimization from 1840-1949 had on the nation. It provides insight into what has driven much of China's foreign policy for the past 70 years. Simply stated, to grasp why China is concerned with issues such as sovereignty, national reunification and territorial integrity, look no further than the humiliations of the 19th and 20th centuries. The restoration of China as powerful and a globally preeminent nation has allowed it, much like other great powers, to assert its national interests. Its interests have become of increasing concern for those in the West who are more than happy to ratchet up differences of opinion into full-blown trade wars and calls for combating the so-called "China threat." Nowhere is this more evident than with issues that the West believes are international in scope, but 144 Selected Analysis
are central to China's view of sovereignty. Western support for the independence of Taiwan or Tibetâ€”particularly from the countries that were formerly invaders and colonizers of Chinaâ€”is perceived to be both rank hypocrisy and an encroachment on China's inviolable core interests. To have a general understanding of 70 years of Chinese foreign policy, one only needs to review its objectives, guiding principles and strategies. China defines these as follows: domestic political stability, sovereign security, territorial integrity and national reunification, and sustainable economic and social development. These objectives have been consistent over the past seven decades. The history of the PRC's foreign relations and diplomacy can best be understood through two periods: before and after reform and opening up that began in 1978. For the first 30 years (1949-78), the focus of China's foreign policy and diplomatic efforts was to oppose the threats posed by the two superpowers, the consolidation and enhancement of the nation's independence, and the safeguarding of the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Since 1978, China has gradually reoriented its foreign policy and diplomatic efforts by creating an external environment that has been conducive to both its domestic economic development and its return to prominence in international relations. Since reform and opening up began, China's role in foreign affairs has moved from one of relative isolation within East Asia to one of the world's two largest economic powers with a global reach. Backed by both expanding economic and political power, this global reach has allowed China to extend its influence virtually everywhere and not only to demonstrate its diplomatic intentions as a peaceful and responsible power, but also to both advance and foster myriad development opportunities for a number of countries. A new era Under President Xi Jinping, China's diplomacy has expanded on a global scale as the nation has restored its place as a major country. China has invested heavily in global infrastructure and governance, worked hard to further economic integration and invested in trade and infrastructure in emerging economies, which is aimed at assuring both stability and regional security. As China enters the new era, its diplomacy will likely undergo some changes in order to serve the new mission envisioned by Xi. China will act more decisively since its strength and economic size provide it with the ability to handle conditions using a variety of approaches to deal with evolving international issues and events. China's 70-year commitment to peaceful development certainly warrants praise. Its strong investment in pursuing diplomatic and international development efforts as a logical win-win solution will be ever more 145 Selected Analysis
important as the world grapples with issues ranging from international peace, security, development and economic growth to climate change. During the past 70 years, the world order has changed greatly and China is now a significant player on the international stage. Under the leadership of the CPC, China's framework governing its diplomatic strategy has been historically consistent. As China returns to global prominence, both the scale and context of China's diplomatic activities have significantly increased, owing in large part to Xi's emphasis on the nation's contribution to addressing global political, economic and social concerns. Reviewing the 70-year history of PRC's diplomacy and understanding where China was, where it is today and where it may likely go in the future are of great significance as the nation takes on the burden of even greater international responsibilities in an often uncertain and an everchanging international system. Written By: Jon Taylor Source: Beijing Review Published: 30 September 2019 The author is chair of the Department of Political Science and Geography and professor of political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Political Affairs (E) Thailand a new fulcrum for big hitters Is it by design or default that foreign ministers of the world's three most powerful nations are making their official visits to Thailand at the same time? It does not matter actually. First of all, they are scheduled to be here to attend the Post Ministerial Meeting, East Asian Foreign Ministerial Meeting and Asean Regional Forum anyway. That was it. But the US, China and Russia want to have their presence felt strongly, stating that their trips would be official ones, not at the working level like those of other dialogue partners. After five years of military rule, Thailand now has a civilian government. Therefore, the big three have lots of common objectives. They have to catch up with the new Thai government on whether there will be any shift, subtle or not, in their respective relationships. They also want to firm up their relations with Thailand. Finally, they view Thailand as a neutral ground where they can converse and hold dialogues with the Asean members and other colleagues. For the US, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's three-day visit will be his first and the most important visit of the three powers. Washington wants to ensure that its defence and security relations with Bangkok remain strong and relevant. The 146 Selected Analysis
2014 coup was a disaster as far as Thai-US ties were concerned as their friendship plummeted and trust went down the drain. Now, Mr Pompeo has the chance to reboot Thai-US ties to take their relations to a new level. Remember, it was the US State Department's analysis that paralysed Thai-US relations. It took countervailing perspectives from the Defence Department and White House to overrule the US State Department's stereotyped thinking about Thailand. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's visit to Washington last October was a milestone that saved Thai-US ties and the alliance. Without the long-standing sentiment and personal rapport that were so common among Thai and US military elites in the past, the memories of good old days over the past six decades would have been forgotten. Policymakers in Washington tend to look at the current situation and make a judgement without taking a broad historical outlook or strategic framework into consideration. Mr Pompeo has been unconventional so far. With his background at the CIA, he understands the added value of Thailand, not only bilaterally but also in a wider context related to the regional security architecture. Furthermore, new US Defence Secretary Mark Esper has said recently that the US needs more bases throughout the Indo-Pacific region to counter China's rise and technological advancement. As such, Thailand could easily be one of the Pentagon's alternate operating locations. It remains to be seen how Thailand will respond to the US if it is asked to cooperate with the US in confronting China. For Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi this trip is equally important, as China would like to confirm its solid support of the new government and its future plans, especially on the country's economic development and strategic relations. China's unfaltering support of Thailand since Beijing opened up to Southeast Asia in the 1980s has had many positive effects, not to mention the past five years. Thailand has served as a bridge for China's move into the heartland of Southeast Asia and has helped to moderate views on China's engagement with Asean over the past three decades. Under the Thai chair, two deliverables have been accomplished -- the completion of the first reading of the Single Draft of COC Negotiating Text and the Asean Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP). This would not have been possible without Thailand's diplomatic finesse. At next week's ministerial meetings with dialogue partners, the Asean chair has to garner support from all dialogue partners for the AOIP, its new regional framework for cooperation. China has already pledged that the code of conduct (COC) on the South China Sea will be completed by 2021. While Asean welcomed China's enthusiasm, some of its members are raising concerns about rushing to complete the COC. For Asean, a bad COC is not an option. With the second reading to start in October in 147 Selected Analysis
Vietnam, it remains to be seen how Asean and China can negotiate contentious points and move forward to the final third reading by 2021, which would mark the end of text negotiation. For the time being, China has not delivered an official response to the AOIP. Other dialogue partners such as the US, Japan, India and Australia have welcomed the Asean effort. In Bangkok, Wang Yi will have the opportunity to inform the Asean chair of China's position on the Asean strategy. Beijing must bear in mind that the Asean plan was inclusive from the beginning. Thailand must also convince China that the AOIP will not be hijacked by the West due to the use of the term "Indo-Pacific". Truth be told, China has rejected this geographical construct. That helps to explain why Asean and its AOIP treats the Indo-Pacific as a contiguous region, with Asean at the centre. Anything short of strong support from China for the AOIP would have long-term negative consequences for Asean-China ties. Throughout the past 18 months of discussions among Asean members, China has been consulted and informed of the AOIP's progress. The US, Japan and Australia have begun to coordinate with the Asean chair to synergise areas of cooperation. In addition, Asean plans to identify how dialogue partners can take part, especially in priority areas such as maritime conservation and protection, and poverty eradication, to name but a few. To many observers, Russia is a latecomer when it comes to the Indo-Pacific. However, that is not the case. Russia has held its own views on the Indo-Pacific for the past three decades, under its broader Asia-Pacific collective security idea, officially known as the Draft Declaration on the framework Principles of Strengthening Security and developing Cooperation in the Asia Pacific region. But somehow, Moscow's approach has not gained strong traction in Asean. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin understands the importance of Asean and is trying hard to strengthen ties, especially economic ties, with the group. He attended the Asean summit, his first, last November in Singapore. Bangkok wants to make sure Mr Putin will come again for the forthcoming summit. Russia is promoting its free-trade pact known as the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) with Asean. Vietnam signed the EAEU in 2016. Thailand and Indonesia are also interested in the Russian-led free trade group. Mr Putin's strong push yielded one positive outcome -- Russian was admitted as a strategic partner last year before the European Union, which is still in limbo followed joint oppositions by Indonesia and Malaysia. Indeed, Russia still needs to articulate its approach to Asean. Its second five-year plan of action (2016-2020) needs a strong push from both sides. After-all, Russia would like to be a partner in regional connectivity schemes. There are new areas 148 Selected Analysis
that Russia can engage with Asean in disaster management, sustainable development projects and smart cities. Moscow is still ambivalent towards the AOIP. Like China, it treats the Indo-Pacific region as a geographical label of the Western alliance aimed at excluding China and Russia. Moscow continues to view Southeast Asian countries as a big client for its weapon systems. In coming years, to be an effective player in the region, Moscow needs a new mindset that implements its pledges as obligations, not aspirations, as has often been the case. Written By: Kavi Chongkittavorn Source: Bangkok Post Published: 30 July 2019 The author is a veteran journalist on regional affairs.
(F) China and ASEAN coming closer on South China Sea controversy At the 52nd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, which concluded Saturday, ministers reaffirmed promoting implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and strengthening cooperation with their dialogue partners. ASEAN members threw their weight behind multilateralism and free trade, promoted consultations and managed disputes, agreeing to further carry forward ASEAN economic integration. Great strides forward have been made when it comes to the cooperation between China and ASEAN. The two sides have been jointly promoting the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and shaping rules for the region. China has been the largest trading partner of ASEAN for 10 consecutive years, while the bloc surpassed the US to become China's second-largest trading partner in the first half of 2019. China and ASEAN have generally reached consensus on their goals. Although the two sides may have divergences on specific issues, they both agree to build a peaceful and mutually beneficial relationship. This is the foundation of ChinaASEAN cooperation. Without such consensus, the two sides cannot make progress. China-ASEAN cooperation has been promoted in a variety of fields. Their collaboration is not achieved at one stroke, but is gradually and steadily advancing. For example, China and ASEAN members have recently finished the first reading of the Single Draft Negotiating Text of the South China Sea Code of Conduct. Optimism can be anticipated when it comes to negotiations between China and ASEAN over the South China Sea issue. The two sides have reached a strategic
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consensus to standardize the international order and bilateral relations in the waters. But on the other hand, China and ASEAN also face challenges in developing their ties. The US has been interfering in the region. China and ASEAN also have some disputes on some key issues including the exploitation of petroleum resources. Besides, some countries want to strive for more interests before negotiations take place, hence their moves may impact the entire negotiation process. Generally, there are still uncertainties in the negotiations and both China and ASEAN need to treat them carefully. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday criticized China's dam building on the Mekong River, warning that the structure may harm the downstream countries in Southeast Asia. "The river is at its lowest levels in a decade, a problem linked to China's decision to shut off water upstream," Pompeo said. The US has always been interfering in the South China Sea region, directly or indirectly. Direct interference includes carrying out the so-called freedom of navigation operations in the waters belonging to China. Indirect interference includes sending US coast guard vessels to the region, holding joint military exercises with other countries in the region and inciting them against China. Such US interference has somewhat worsened these countries' relations with China, which will influence the overall situation in the South China Sea. China and ASEAN need to further overcome external disturbances. Relations between China and ASEAN face two challenges in the future. The first challenge is whether they can further reach a strategic consensus on international order and regional condition. The world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, so are current international relations. ASEAN members have their own views and concerns on China-US relations, ChinaRussia ties and regional order. Whether ASEAN will choose sides between China and the US will be of great significance. The second challenge is whether China and ASEAN can reach a consensus on specific issues over the South China Sea dispute and the BRI. The two sides should further develop more mechanisms to control and reduce divergences on these issues. Written By: Li Kaisheng Source: Global Times Published: 6 August 2019 The author is a research fellow at the Institute of International Relations, the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.
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(G) Will China turn off the Mekong tap? Countries in the lower Mekong basin are watching anxiously to see whether their "big brother" to the north will tackle the growing Mekong River crisis. China controls the upper section of the river, which rises on the Tibetan Plateau and runs through Laos, the North and the Northeast of Thailand, and Cambodia before reaching the sea via the Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam. Over the past three decades, China's push to tap the Mekong for hydropower and transport of its goods has brought tremendous changes to the river's ecology. Along with dams have come explosives to widen the river channel so it can accommodate large cargo vessels from southern China. Thai villagers along the river have for years complained about adverse effects from these man-made changes, especially the loss of fish stocks vital to their livelihoods. Last month, a dramatic drop in water levels left parts of the Mekong dry, triggering alarm in riverside communities. The finger of blame was pointed at China, which eventually conceded it had reduced the discharge from its Jinhong hydropower dam upstream as it underwent maintenance. The river level was pushed down even further by tests conducted on the newly built Xayaburi dam in Laos. A growing outcry from residents downstream eventually prompted China to restore the water flow, helping to alleviate drought conditions, which Beijing claimed were intensified by the effect of El Nino. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi acknowledged the Mekong issue at the Asean ministerial meeting in Bangkok earlier this month. Seeking to appease local anger, Mr Wang said countries in the Mekong Basin all shared the same fate. Those upstream, he said, were also vulnerable to drought. He cited the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation mechanism, launched by China in 2016 as a framework for countries to work together. China gives the name Lancang to its 4,350-km stretch of the river. China has already built six major dams on the upper section of the river, and with plans to build another 21, its ability to store and release water during the dry season and at times of drought is set to increase. However, Mr Wang told his Thai counterparts that China "had embraced the hardship" and, as a show of goodwill, decided to increase the discharge to help residents downstream during the drought. He insisted that the Lancang River only contributed 13.5% of the flow in the entire Lancang-Mekong basin. 151 Selected Analysis
Meeting with his Thai counterpart, Don Pramudwinai, to discuss Mekong issues, Mr Wang insisted that the controversial blasting of rapids had been halted. He said more talks on cooperation with riparian countries were planned as part of efforts to achieve fair and sustainable use of the Mekong. A high-level Chinese delegation led by Zhang Jie, the director of the Department of Asia-Pacific Security, recently visited northern Thailand to address local concerns about the impact of the river's changing ecology on livelihoods. Speaking at the Mae Fah Luang's Centre for International Development in Chiang Rai, Mr Zhang also explored possible solutions, including career switching. The forum agreed it was necessary to focus more on using rail and road for transportation. Two major highways link Chiang Rai to China -- the R3A which runs from Chiang Khong via Luang Nam Ta in Laos to Kunming, and the R3B which connects Mae Sai district with China's Xishuangbanna via Kyeng Tung and Muang La in Myanmar. However, work to improve both road links has been delayed by the powerful Wa armed ethnic minority in Myanmar. China has pledged to talk with the group so the projects can resume and achieve their aim to boost cross-border trade. The Chiang Rai forum, though informal, may in the future expand to encompass concrete cooperation for mutual benefit. Now we have to wait and see whether China, as the region's "big brother", will deliver on its promise to do more to alleviate hardships downstream, or if those big words merely evaporate without concrete action. As I write, there are reports that China will again cut the Mekong discharge from its Jinhong dam, from tomorrow until Aug 15. All we can do this time is pray the impact on downstream communities is minimal. Written By: Nauvarat Suksamran Source: Bangkok Post Published: 10 August 2019 The author is assistant news editor.
(H) Chinaâ€™s fast-track solutions in Myanmar fail to take off Beijingâ€™s attempt to kick-start Rohingya repatriation reveals lack of oversight The stand-off between Myanmar and Bangladesh over the planned repatriation of tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees continues. But things have just got a bit more complicated with China's intervention. Beijing -- with all good 152 Selected Analysis
intentions -- is now trying to soothe the troubled waters, in part, a result of their earlier misjudged involvement, having proposed a trilateral meeting of foreign ministers in New York in the coming weeks -- sponsored by the UN secretarygeneral -- to try to find a way out of the growing impasse. But it will only succeed if China takes a realistic approach to solving the problems and if the two countries directly involved are really prepared to compromise and not just pay lip service to cooperation. Of course, it can only move the process forward if the legitimate concerns and interests of the refugees are at the heart of any future repatriation plans. The latest episode in this saga was last month's rushed attempt to start the repatriation process -- at China's persistent insistence -- which quickly turned into a fiasco when not a single refugee got in the buses that had pulled up in the camps to transport the returning refugees back to Myanmar. Recriminations quickly followed this latest shambles, with both countries blaming each other for the failure, and the US inappropriately weighing in on Dhaka's side, also blaming Myanmar for the failure. But while Bangladesh must do more to prepare for the refugees' departure, Myanmar must also do more to prepare for their return. The root problem is that there is an overwhelming mistrust on the part of the refugees towards both the Myanmar and Bangladesh authorities. But the root cause of the current failure was China's strong-arm tactics in trying to prematurely force a start to the repatriation programme. Since the crisis erupted anew in August 2017, Beijing has played a constructive role behind the scenes -- one that is too often not given enough credit -- though this time China's impatience in trying to "solve the Rakhine problems" was counter-productive in the extreme: it not only doomed the repatriation process to another false start, and caused untold angst amongst the refugees themselves; it may also have actually widened the gulf between Myanmar and Bangladesh and caused further problems for any future attempt to start repatriation in earnest. Beijing needs to understand there is a difference between meditating and using their "good offices" to help find a solution -- one that is agreeable and acceptable to all parties involved, including the refugees -- and meddling. Unfortunately, this subtlety seems to have been uncharacteristically lost in translation somewhere along the way. Over the past few months, Beijing has become impatient and absorbed with sorting out the problems of Rakhine -- maybe in Myanmar's interests, but certainly in their own economic interests -- bringing peace and stability to Myanmar's western region, especially around their important "economic base" 153 Selected Analysis
and port in Kyauk Phyu, but also bringing calm to Myanmar's north, in order to protect their growing interests there. Earlier this year, the Chinese Foreign Ministry held high-level internal discussions on how to achieve this. At the time "solving the Rakhine problems" became central to their Myanmar policy and strategy, according to Chinese government sources. But Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's trip to Beijing in early July, where she implored China's leaders to help jog Myanmar into action and start the repatriation process that had been agreed in November 2017 -- brokered in the background by Beijing -- but has so failed to materialise. Although China was already focused on helping to resolve the Rakhine issue, this provided an added impetus to their efforts. A series of high-level meetings took place in the past few months: with Chinese diplomats and the special envoy Sun Gaoxiang meeting Bangladesh and Myanmar officials in an attempt to break the deadlock. They even met Rohingya leaders in the camps in Cox's Bazar, at least twice to encourage the Rohingya to return to Myanmar. This culminated in the key meeting between top Bangladesh and Myanmar officials, brokered by the Chinese at the end of July. This seems to have eased the bilateral tensions and cleared the way for cooperation between the two countries on repatriation. A plethora of other diplomats and officials, including Chinese representatives, attend the days of meetings. At the last meeting in Dhaka, Myanmar handed over a list of 3,450 names of refugees that they had cleared to return -- from an original list of 22,000 names handed to the Myanmar authorities over a year ago -- and the Bangladesh side then submitted a subsequent list of 25,000. Although there does not seem to have been any formal agreement to start the return process, according to diplomats who attended the meetings, the groundwork had been laid to go forward. But China in its eagerness to kick-start the repatriation procedures pressured Dhaka to commit to starting the returns in August -- despite misgivings all round that this was far too hasty. In fact, Beijing asked Dhaka to start by mid-August but overlooked the fact that this would run up against the Muslim holiday of Eid, according to Bangladesh government officials. As a result, it was deferred a week to start on Aug 22. But instead of Bangladesh officials notifying their Myanmar counterparts, the Chinese envoy conducted his own shuttle diplomacy, he met the State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in Nay Pyi Taw on Aug 6 and told her Bangladesh would start returning refugees on Aug 22. The following day he met the army chief, Senior Min Aung Hlaing. Here they discussed and discussed the way forward for Rakhine, encouraging Myanmar to start the repatriation process. This was the 154 Selected Analysis
first the Myanmar government knew of Bangladesh's imminent intentions, according to senior government officials, on condition of anonymity. In reality, neither the Bangladesh authorities nor the Myanmar government was in a position to realistically begin the process then. It was all too hastily arranged and ill-prepared. The UN Refugee Agency UNHCR -- who's role was to ascertain whether the selected refugee families freely wanted to return -- was given the list two weeks before the process was to start. It was in fact mission impossible. So it was no surprise to anyone that this latest effort failed -- it was doomed from the start. Asean officials who have been supportive of Myanmar were also only informed two weeks before the repatriation was scheduled to start. The Asean Coordinating Committee for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA), which had been asked to help monitor the repatriation process, then hurriedly had to decide whether to participate -- agreeing in the end to be present on the Myanmar side, where they already have a team, but were unable to assemble a team to monitor the Bangladesh side. Since the fiasco, Bangladesh has determinedly reached out to Asean for further support and assistance, given their closeness to the Myanmar government. They have also sought Japan's assistance to relocate the refugees within Bangladesh on -- which is notoriously open to the elements and generally inhospitable. Bangladesh is even demanding the UN put more pressure on Myanmar to accept the refugees back. Though both Dhaka and Nay Pyi Taw remain suspicious of the UN's motives, unfortunately, Bangladesh seems intent on internationalising the issue -- something Myanmar is adamantly opposed to so far. But both countries are willing to accept Beijing's "mediation". Both countries are heavily dependent on China: for aid, investment and trade; and both are integrally linked strategically to Beijing; both also have strong military connections -- Myanmar for the past 30 years and Bangladesh more lately, as evidenced by Dhaka's recent purchase of two Chinese submarines. But more importantly both accept Beijing as an "honest" broker. The hope is that all parties may have learned from last month's debacle. The next attempt needs to be better planned, preparations on both side of the border need to be more comprehensive, and the wishes of the refugees' paramount in any renewed repatriation scheme. For this to happen the UN must be integrally involved -- after all Myanmar has renewed its MOU with the UN. Written By: Larry Jagan Source: Bangkok Post Published: 7 September 2019
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The author is a specialist on Myanmar and a former BBC World Service News editor for the region.
(I) HK protests in a regional perspective When Hong Kong's protest movement against the Extradition Law Amendment Bill began on March 30, few could have anticipated that it would become a fullblown popular revolt. The protesters initially opposed the bill because it would allow the Hong Kong government to detain and extradite fugitives to mainland China. Despite the suspension and subsequent withdrawal of the bill by Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam, the protest movement has taken on a life of its own. As its end goals of universal suffrage, an independent inquiry into police conduct and Ms Lam's resignation harden, its endgame appears fraught with risks of intensifying confrontation and violence. At its most extreme, the protest movement has come to resemble a kind of separation and distance from mainland Chinese rule. At a minimum, it appears to be in search of some local autonomy and democratic governance with greater upward mobility, away from Chinese supervision but with more equitable income distribution. Many of the protesters are reportedly young and economically deprived with few prospects of better standards of living, while the territory is famously wealthy and glitzy to outsiders. What's happening in Hong Kong is also taking to task China's "one country, two systems" pledge after the Chinese government regained sovereignty over the territory from British rule in 1997. Either way, Hong Kong will likely end up a shadow of itself, no longer the bustling, gleaming metropolis and regional financial hub it used to be. Tourists, investors and residents alike are having second and third thoughts about the former British colony. The corollary is that nearby neighbours will become a refuge for people and money leaving Hong Kong. Singapore is the most well positioned to provide the logistics and facilities as a regional safe haven. If Thailand's political environment were more settled and stable, this country would also be attractive as a sanctuary. To be sure, Hong Kong is still an immense and vibrant destination. With all the news flashes and dramatised media coverage out of Hong Kong, I had no idea what to expect for an overnight work visit last week, just a day before the Hong Kong government promulgated a ban on face masks to deter protesters. It seemed like another ordinary Thursday in Hong Kong. The MTR subway train system ran as it was supposed to, streets were beset with the usual traffic, shops were busy, restaurants were noisy.
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But as the weekend approached, when protesters normally take to the streets in the face of a heavy police pushback, the air felt tighter and more ominous. By lunchtime, word had gone out that the government's face-mask ban would be announced at 3pm. High-rise buildings began preparations. Gates and doors were shuttered and offices told workers to go home early, while protesters began to make their presence felt. In conversations with interlocutors and colleagues, Hong Kong after four months of weekly street demonstrations, with some violence by both protesters and police, is divided and torn much like the nasty and ugly old days of yellowred demonstrations in Bangkok, splitting families and friendships. By and large, the turning point was when the protests took on a violent streak from June 9. Many protest marchers, supporters and sympathisers began to have misgivings about the dynamics and direction of the protest movement. Now, many Hong Kongers still want considerable latitude and autonomy for their government and way of life on the territory, but they are also apprehensive about where the protest movement is heading and about its mob mentality. Like Bangkok at several junctures over the past 14 years, the protest movement will now persist in spite of police suppression and countermeasures. Restoring order and a semblance of stability will be difficult for the Lam government as it has lost legitimacy and credibility. Even Ms Lam's resignation may not be enough to placate protester demands. The police force that I saw on street corners looked determined and committed to keeping order. It appears something will soon have to give. When the "Emergency Regulations Ordinance" was enacted on Oct 5 to implement the anti-mask legislation, outlawing the donning of masks in legal or illegal assemblies, it also gave Hong Kong's Chief Executive sweeping powers to "make any regulations whatsoever which he (or she) may consider desirable in the public interest". This is virtually a blank cheque for policymaking and power, including potential curfews, bans on public gatherings, and internet censorship. If the protest movement cannot be subdued and dispersed by more authority and power under the ordinance, Hong Kong's Basic Law, tantamount to a constitution, allows its government under Article 14 to "ask the Central People's Government for assistance from the garrison in the maintenance of public order and in disaster relief". This means the People's Liberation Army, which keeps a number of barracks in Hong Kong, may eventually deploy on request from Hong Kong's government based on the territory's laws. Ultimately, if order cannot be restored and Hong Kong ends up in an outright state of emergency, Article 18 allows Chinese authorities to apply China's laws in Hong Kong. This would be a cataclysmic outcome. It would be China's forceful 157 Selected Analysis
subjugation of Hong Kong. It would make China look bad as an aspiring superpower, and it would spell the end of Hong Kong as the world has known it. In such dire circumstances, a compromise is still the best way out. But getting rid of Ms Lam would also make Beijing look weak, and it may not be enough to satisfy protesters' demands. For Southeast Asia and Thailand, how China handles Hong Kong will be indicative of Beijing's intent and role in this neighbourhood. Hong Kong has had an indigenous democratic system that is now under China's sovereignty. If China overruns Hong Kong's political system, it will mean a mean China that is willing to run over other democratic systems elsewhere in ways that it can. But if Hong Kong somehow emerges in sufficient shape to be recognisable as "one country, two systems", then China will be seen by many as a country of its word. Written By: Thitinan Pongsudhirak Source: Bangkok Post Published: 11 October 2019 The author is an associate professor and director of the Institute of Security and International Studies, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University.
(J) Southeast Asia caught in a dilemma The US-triggered trade war and its power struggle with China is giving countries in the region an increasingly difficult time In his speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue on May 31, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that most countries in Asia would be at pains to choose between the United States and China given that all US allies in the region have China as their biggest trading partner. Lee suggested that to gain influence, smaller countries should work together to deepen economic cooperation, strengthen regional integration and build multilateral institutions. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership would be an ideal example of such a framework, except that India's opting out of the RCEP owing to some unresolved issues shows that for small Southeast Asian states promoting regional integration is caught with difficulties. Therefore, the Southeast Asian countries' response to this great power competition will shape the regional or even international environment for decades to come. Some observers, argue that Southeast Asian countries benefit from import substitution or production relocation as a result of the trade spillover from China. Others claim that the Association of South East Asian Nations members 158 Selected Analysis
are going through a bumpy ride as the US-triggered trade war against China continues. Take the case of Vietnam, an export-oriented country that has considerable trade ties with both China and the US. According to a report by Nomura, an Asia-based financial services group, Vietnam's gain from the trade diverted from China is equivalent to 7.9 percent of its GDP - and its exports to the US in the first five months of 2019 surged 36 percent year-on-year. Given its stable economy, Vietnam has not suffered much because of the Sino-US trade disputes. In fact, it has benefited from it. However, analysts say the sweeping slowdown of world trade, currency fluctuations, and Vietnam's unpreparedness to benefit from China's spillover effects in the long run could lead to pessimistic prospects for the country. Given that the US is the top foreign direct investor in and an important security contributor to the region, and China the top trading partner and dominant economic driving force, Southeast Asian countries would prefer to have constructive ties with both. But the recent ASEAN Summit demonstrates the contradictory attitude of the regional countries. On the one hand, they resist Washington's pressure to distance themselves from Beijing, as they do not want to be used as proxies in the trade war. That is exactly why the ASEAN member states and China stepped up efforts to expedite the negotiations on the RCEP. Aware of the importance of strengthening relations with China and promoting regional integration, Southeast Asian countries appear to be arriving at a consensus to counter the negative impact of protectionism by bolstering multilateralism. On the other hand, there is no fundamental change in the region, especially in terms of security collaboration with the US. The dilemma for Southeast Asian countries is unlikely to end soon, as China is expected by the US to challenge its dominance in the region. Earlier last year, in its National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy reports, the US identified China as a strategic competitor that aims to realize "Indo-Pacific regional hegemony". The US administration confirmed its regional strategy this year with a comprehensive Indo-Pacific Strategy Report asserting that China seeks to "reorder the region to its advantage", while the US pursues "a future where small nations need not fear larger neighbors". Consequently, even if China and the US reach a trade deal, Southeast Asian countries will remain saddled with the dilemma of weighing up economic and security gains. The region is no stranger to power competition. During the Cold War, ideology guided the regional countries' foreign policies. After the end of the Cold War, the US undertook an engagement policy toward China, highlighting the potential of 159 Selected Analysis
cooperation. It is in the interests of small countries to maintain equilibrium between big powers in peaceful times. Southeast Asia is thus walking the tightrope as it engages with both sides. And with the power rivalry intensifying, Southeast Asia's response illustrates a new trend in the era of high interdependence. "Don't make us choose" has become a common refrain echoing through the region. The uncertainty of the US' commitment and long-lasting concerns about China's rise are shaping the road ahead. The US president's decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership three days after its inauguration triggered panic and damaged Washington's reputation. What Southeast Asia is currently talking about, therefore, is not China's rising influence in the region, which it sees as an inexorable trend, but the hard-edged rhetoric of the White House. So, China's loss because of neighboring states' overcautious policy does not necessarily translate into a win-win scenario for the US. Southeast Asia's response disavows a binary pattern for small states in the face of a great power contest. Their refusal to choose sides and their efforts to resolve disputes under a multilateral framework are conducive to regional stability and to preventing the world from heading back to bipolar confrontation. For both China and the US, a wise choice to maximize benefits in Southeast Asia would be to not push regional countries into choosing sides but to engage with them on their own terms based on positive economic and political agenda. Written By: Chen Dingding Source: China Daily Published: 14 November 2019 The author is president of Intellisia Institute, professor of International Relations at and associate dean of the Institute for 21st Century Silk Road Studies at Jinan University in Guangzhou. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily.
(K) RCEP can give boost to international trade India's sudden withdrawal has hit negotiations involving 16 countries of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership treaty, which is expected to conclude this year. The RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement between the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and six states with which ASEAN has FTAs. China needs to remain open to welcoming India to join the RCEP whenever it is ready, deepen reform and opening-up to benefit countries entering the Chinese market, and mediate among different countries to ease trade frictions to 160 Selected Analysis
contribute to the conclusion of RCEP negotiations, which can inject fresh impetus to global trade. With a population of about 3.5 billion, this trading bloc has a total gross domestic product of more than $21 trillion, accounting for more than 30 percent of global trade. If the RCEP is finalized, it will be the world's largest regional FTA. The RCEP is more accessible to developing nations. Its framework complements the World Trade Organization by covering traditional issues such as goods trade, dispute settlement and service trade as well as new ones, including investment intellectual property, digital trade, and finance and telecommunication. It plans to cut restrictions and discriminatory measures especially in the field of service trade. The RCEP can lay the foundation for developing countries participating in the treaty to get involved in higher FTA levels in the future, which is significant for promoting free trade between member countries in the era of globalization. Since WTO reforms have not yet been launched, the RCEP will offer great opportunities for global trade, especially for China. Due to factors such as the unilateralism of some major countries, the number of permanent WTO judges has come down from seven to three, with the tenure of one of them concluding by the end of this year. Participation in the RCEP will be an important approach for China to cope with Sino-US trade frictions and stabilize its foreign trade growth in the short term. In the long term, it is expected to promote China's high-level opening-up and further its participation in regional integration. China will further expand its economic and trade partners among the RCEP member countries and make greater contributions for maintaining the prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region. It will also share its experiences and help RCEP member countries enhance confidence in free trade and combine the RCEP framework with the Belt and Road Initiative to produce joint results. At present, all parties have reached consensus on more than 90 percent of the agreement text. However, the China-United States and Japan-Republic of Korea trade frictions, and India's withdrawal, continue to pose challenges. India has concerns about the potential negative impact of imports and lacks confidence in the competitiveness of the domestic industry. It has filed many anti-dumping cases against China, and has established a complicated non-tariff system to protect the domestic market. 161 Selected Analysis
In this regard, China first needs to promote to the member countries to adopt more proactive and pragmatic strategies toward the conclusion of negotiations while respecting ASEAN's dominant role. China needs to uphold the principle that the 15 RCEP countries can go ahead with the agreement that is open to India, which reflects China's openness toward foreign cooperation as well as its determination to adhere to multilateralism and trade liberalization. Second, some Southeast Asian countries are concerned that domestic markets may bear the brunt of China's exports once the RCEP treaty is concluded. China needs to further reform and open up, show the huge potential of the Chinese market to enterprises and investors of other countries participating in the RCEP, and encourage countries to invest in China and facilitate RCEP negotiations. The second China International Import Expo recently held in Shanghai allowed foreign enterprises to see the great returns of tapping into the Chinese market and demonstrated China's confidence as the world's largest market. The Foreign Investment Law will come into effect in 2020, when foreign investment and business activities in China will be more secure. Third, China needs to further play its role as a mediator. Since Japan-ROK economic and trade frictions are showing no signs of easing in the short term, China needs to respect the dominant role of ASEAN while continuing to mediate between countries as a major power and promoting countries participating in RCEP negotiations to adopt more proactive pragmatic strategies, which can turn risks into opportunities, and lay the foundation for future negotiations for the China-Japan-ROK Free Trade Zone and the China-India trade agreement. In the era of globalization, RCEP member countries need to remain open and inclusive, participate in negotiations proactively and promote regional integration to better cope with challenges caused by anti-globalization and trade protectionism. As the world's largest regional agreement, the RCEP will serve as a multilateral cooperation platform for member countries, provide a new approach for countries to address problems, advance cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region and give new impetus to global trade. Written By: Zhang Guoping Source: China Daily Published: 19 November 2019 The author is a postdoctoral fellow at the China Development Institute.
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(L) Mekong nations tighten anti-drug blitz The Mekong region is no longer a mysterious place, as it has now become the world's main hub of illicit drugs across multiple frontiers. Last month, anti-drug officials from riparian countries -- Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, China -- and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDODC) met in a series of meetings in Bangkok to forge a new political agreement and plan that would strengthen their cooperation to address the deteriorating drug situation. Thailand has been successful in destroying drug-producing sites along border areas. However, illicit drugs still flow into the country and go through neighbouring countries. The large amount of drug seizures inside Thai territory is extremely alarming. As such, Thailand needs to further strengthen cooperation with other Mekong riparian countries to map out common strategies to increase cross-border investigation and operation. The meetings were initiated under the 1993 Mekong Memorandum of Understanding on Drug Control, bringing together the six countries, with the UNODC providing secretariat and technical support to the Mekong MOU process. It is one of the longest standing narcotic suppression efforts among the riparian countries and has been going on for 26 years. The Thai host organised the meetings following reports of an increase in production, trafficking and use of illicit drugs and precursor chemicals across the Mekong. Of late, the fertile but delicate region has been in the headlines due to strategic competition among major powers trying to deepen their cooperation with riparian countries in all areas. The meetings also came amid a clear indication that transnational organised crime syndicates have moved their operations into the Golden Triangle following a recent clampdown by China. The Mekong MOU is unique as signatories voluntarily mobilise their own efforts and national resources in addressing the drug problem and its consequences in the Mekong region. It focuses on strengthening the capacity of government officials for effectively addressing the drug problem in each country and the whole region. According to Thailand's Office of the Narcotics Control Board, a number of major projects have long been implemented, such as controls on precursor chemicals, the establishment of Border Liaison Offices (BLOs) and the Synthetics Monitoring: Analyses, Reporting and Trends, or SMART, programme. The latter programme has now been expanded and developed as the Global SMART Programme, which helps to promote understanding and effective assessment of the synthetic drugs situation and the patterns of their distribution and use all over the world. 163 Selected Analysis
At the Bangkok meetings, the Mekong countries also adopted two important documents -- the Bangkok Declaration: Effectively Responding to the Drug Problem in the Mekong, and the 11th Sub-Regional Action Plan on Drug Control (May 2019-May 2021). It is important to note that the declaration reaffirms the joint commitment of member countries to address the drug problem in the Mekong region. Most importantly, they have to do it in line with the principle of common and shared responsibility, the three international drug control conventions, and other relevant UN documents, as well as areas agreed under the regional action plan. The Bangkok Declaration enhances the BLOs and their ability to exchange information, interdict illicit drugs and control precursor chemicals. All the riparian countries also agreed to strengthen drug demand reduction by ensuring easy access to treatment and rehabilitation. In addition, efforts to promote the capacity of government officials in drug control must be enhanced. In the case of the regional action plan, there are four key priority areas: drugs and health, law enforcement cooperation, legal and judicial cooperation, and sustainable alternative development. These selected areas are shaped by world drug control policy, which focuses on people's health, well-being and security in line with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In retrospect, the notorious Golden Triangle -- where the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet -- has been a source of drugs and trafficking since the 1950s. But the worrisome trend these days is the unprecedented level of synthetic drugs, especially methamphetamine (meth), known locally as ya ba, which has been traced to the area. Last year, record amounts of tablets and crystal meth were seized across the Mekong, due to low prices and easy access not seen for the past 20 years. Last year Thailand seized 515 million meth tablets, 17 times the total amount for the Mekong region a decade ago. At the same time, Thailand also seized more than 18 tonnes of crystal meth, more than the East and Southeast Asia regional total of five years ago, UNODC records showed. In response, Thai authorities began intense suppression campaigns along the borders in the Golden Triangle, resulting in the rerouting of drug shipments. Now the new route is through southern Myanmar, seeking entrance to Thailand along its western border or out via the Andaman Sea, and overland to Laos and Vietnam. According to the UNODC, during the first half of 2019, the drug seizure in these areas have already surpassed 2018 totals. Preliminary data for 2019 indicates that the region has already seized more crystal meth than in 2018. UNODC Regional Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific Jeremy Douglas was succinct stating that the increase of synthetic drug trafficking in the 164 Selected Analysis
Golden Triangle is now considered an international problem. Myanmar's northern Shan State has been identified as a hub of meth production due to its remoteness. Mr Douglas also said that the organised crime syndicates behind the trade are able to maintain production even if labs are seized, and that new precursors can be used when others are unavailable. In Bangkok, the Mekong countries agreed to focus on dampening market demand through preventive education and addressing health, harm and social consequences. To achieve these objectives, they have to increase cross-border operations, joint training and justice cooperation. In addition, continued support for impoverished opium farmers in Myanmar and Laos is necessary to turn them away from the drug economy. Another alarming trend is an increase in the amount of money being laundered. Recent estimated values of the regional meth market have reached US$61.4 billion per year and the heroin market up to US$10.3 billion. In particular, organised crime syndicates have been seeking and using new and innovative ways to launder increasing profits, including through hundreds of casinos set up in the frontier areas of the Gold Triangle. From now on, cooperation among intelligence and border law enforcement officials will be stronger, as they have adopted a common strategy to increase cross-border investigations and operations, which used to be problematic. With better synergy among the six riparian countries, ya ba suppression could produce better results. Written By: Kavi Chongkittavorn Source: Bangkok Post Published: 3 December 2019 The author is a veteran journalist on regional affairs.
(M) Mekong River region on more minds As Vietnam is poised to take over the rotational chair of Asean in January 2020, its second foremost foreign policy priority after the South China Sea is reportedly the Mekong River region. While the South China Sea, where more than one third of global shipping passes, is considered an overall Asean concern, the Mekong region is left to the five riparian countries in mainland Southeast Asia to deal with in view of China's upstream hydropower dams that have led to frequent droughts and depleted fish stocks in downstream communities, especially in Cambodia and Vietnam. If Vietnam as Asean chair has its way, the Mekong may soon become an Asean matter, so providing the five riparian countries more leverage in grappling with 165 Selected Analysis
China's unilateral hogging of water in the upper reaches of the river. In turn, if Asean can rally together behind both the South China Sea and the Mekong River, the 10-member regional organisation would have more bargaining power vis-Ă vis China, especially if it can enlist other major players such as Japan and the United States to be involved. Given ongoing global power shifts and fluid regional dynamics in Asia, mainland Southeast Asia bordering and in proximity to the Mekong region -- what might be called the "Mekong mainland" -- has emerged as a distinct space of promising economic development, resource-sharing, and capacity-building that demands greater cooperation among all stakeholders. Despite its immense water resources and the necessity of cooperative resource-sharing among riparian states, the Mekong mainland has had a loose and non-binding regional governance framework, revolving around the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) from the early 1990s. This "first-generation" of Mekong regional cooperation spawned a clutch of cooperative agreements, featuring the Mekong Agreement (MA) and the Mekong River Commission (MRC) as well as the Mekong Institute (MI). Their overall and collective aims were to harness and facilitate the sustainable growth and development of the Mekong mainland countries, comprising Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, although China and Myanmar took on observer status at the MRC. Almost three decades later, as mainland Southeast Asia's economies expanded briskly on the back of broader trade, investment and growth dynamics in Asean, the Mekong space has become more attractive. In the GMS context that includes southern provinces of Yunnan and Guangxi, this region now offers a combined market of more than 350 million and an overall GDP of more than $1.2 trillion, with considerable upside potential. The GMS infrastructure connectivity has led to north-south and east-west roads and highways that traverse the entire mainland Southeast Asia, stretching from Kunming in Yunnan province to southern Thailand and from Myanmar's southeast to central Vietnam. What has been missing in the regional infrastructure development is rail. The downside of regional development in the Mekong region is the uneven water resource utilisation between upstream and downstream riparian states. While the first-generation cooperative vehicles from the GMS and MA to the MRC have been of great service in the recent past, recent economic development and geopolitical shifts have challenged the role, utility and efficacy of these established schemes. Clearly, there is a greater need for regional cooperation to keep pace with increased resource utilisation in the Mekong region. In particular, China's rapid economic development has engendered new ways and new mechanisms for promoting regional cooperation. Chief among them is 166 Selected Analysis
the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC), established in 2015. Over the past several years, the LMC has held two Leaders' Meetings in 2016 and 2018. The LMC has been offered and forwarded as the first and foremost "second generation" cooperative vehicle for the Mekong mainland. More recently, Thailand has revived its Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS), first launched in 2003, consisting of all mainland Southeast Asia countries without China. ACMECS is gaining more attention because it offers an alternative to China's LMC. On the other hand, China's LMC is bolstered by the country's Belt and Road Initiative, which envisages the China-Indo-China Peninsula Economic Corridor (CICPEC). Its Mekong mainland rail development is well underway in Laos, connecting Kunming to Vientiane on the banks of the Mekong. A rail connection from Vientiane through Thailand southwards to Malaysia and Singapore is in the BRI infrastructure blueprint. As a result, the Mekong mainland region has become a jigsaw for shared resource utilisation and infrastructure development. What should be the rules and norms and governance frameworks to realise the next stage of regional cooperation among stakeholders has been contentious. And so has the compatibility between cooperative frameworks such as the MRC and LMC. For its part as Asean chair, Vietnam has chosen the theme of "cohesive and responsive Asean." Underpinning this theme are five priorities of contributing to regional peace and stability, promoting regional connectivity and the sense of Asean identity and community, fostering external partnerships for peace and sustainable development, and capacity building for adaptability. In addition, Vietnam will also become a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council in 2020, a crucial year for such an up-and-coming country, which will also mark its 25th anniversary as an Asean member state. Vietnam will benefit from Thailand's chair this year and its major achievement in coming up with the Asean Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, a five-page document that addresses and navigates between the US-led Free and Open Indo-Pacific and China's BRI. With the AOIP as the basis going forward in relations with the two competing superpowers, Vietnam can focus on more immediate priorities. If Vietnam can elevate Mekong issues in addition to the South China Sea in view of China's undue leverage from upstream dams, it will be a major accomplishment not just for Vietnam but for the entire Mekong mainland region south of China. Written By: Thitinan Pongsudhirak Source: Bangkok Post Published: 6 December 2019 The author is an associate professor and director of the Institute of Security and International Studies, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University.
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(N) Smaller powers in Asia can make a difference The heightened competition between the United States and China has not only dampened growth prospects but also deepened concerns about how smaller countries in Asia ought to respond to the evolving strategic landscape. There appears to be no respite in sight, with US President Donald Trump’s latest remarks at the NATO Summit in London in December that the United States was doing “very well” in the trade war and that he was in no hurry to sign an agreement before the election in November. Compared with the two major powers, the other countries of the region are widely considered middle-size or even small players. It is already well-known that small countries cannot set or dictate trends in which the big powers have an interest. But this does not mean that small countries are effectively powerless to shape, influence or even have a voice. In fact, one may argue that because big powers sometimes suffer from what is known as “big power autism” — meaning they’re preoccupied with those they regard as their equal — and so tend to neglect the views of their smaller counterparts. Thus, it is even more important for small players to actively play a role in making their views or stands known. Small countries can play a role in a number of ways. The first is to be forces of moral persuasion, urging the big players to remain calm and rational and, more important, urged them to resolve their differences in an amicable manner — a new modus operandi with each other. For example, on a number of occasions, Singapore has said that the US-China bilateral relationship is the most important in the world today and how the two countries work out their tensions and frictions will define the international environment for decades to come. With its rapid socioeconomic progress and heightened international stature, today’s China is different from what it was before the opening-up and reform period. Hence, it can no longer expect to be treated in the same way it was when it was much smaller and weaker. China itself also needs to be more sensitive to how other countries regard its rise and actions — and there are signs that it is cognizant of this. Even the United States needs to adjust to a China that sees itself playing a larger role in regional and world affairs. In this sense, it would not be fruitful, and may even be counterproductive, to try to constrain its growth. Even before the onset of the US-China trade war, Singapore had consistently urged them to work out their differences peacefully through negotiations. That 168 Selected Analysis
advice is even more pertinent today as all-out competition appears to have become the defining characteristic in the relationship. Beyond moral suasion, the second role that small countries can play is to take concrete action to promote multilateralism and uphold the principles of free and open trade that are the lifeblood of a majority of countries since the end of World War II. In this regard, the signing of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP, by 11 countries, most of them middle-size or small, at the end 2018 — despite the withdrawal of the United States — is a notable achievement. China is at present not a signatory. Equally commendable is the conclusion of the “text-based” negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, by 15 of the 16 countries (including China) on the sidelines of the 35th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok after several delays. In the current climate of rising protectionism and anti-globalization sentiment, the fact that those countries were able to conclude negotiations on an agreed text is to be welcomed. If all goes well, a formal signing is expected sometime in 2020. It would certainly have been of greater strategic significance if the 16th country, India, would have come on board, and there appears to be some possibility, however slim, of this happening, as Japan has indicated that it is not thinking of a RCEP without India. The third role that small countries can play is to take concrete action to engage other partners that have a stake in the peace and stability of the region. One of the foremost examples is the first ASEAN-China Maritime Exercise-2018, which took place when Singapore was chair of ASEAN. The exercise was an important confidence-building measure for the participating navies and was aimed at promoting regional peace and stability. In line with this approach, the organization went on to conduct the first maritime exercises by ASEAN and the US in 2019. Such exercises open up the possibility of ASEAN conducting similar exercises with other dialogue partners. The roles played by small countries, whether in terms of moral influence, upholding free and open trade or promoting regional peace and stability, stem from their respective national interests. In playing its role, Singapore has sometimes been mischaracterized by other countries as taking the side of one major power over the other. This is an incorrect interpretation and the wrong conclusion to draw. From Singapore’s perspective, its words and actions are determined foremost by its own national interests. As a small country, it is in Singapore’s interest to see the United States and China cooperate and sort out their differences in a manner that causes the 169 Selected Analysis
least disruption. Such an outcome would create a conducive environment for small countries such as Singapore to have more room to grow and prosper. On the other hand, rising tensions and confrontation between the United States and China will only mean that smaller countries have less space. Worse, they may even be forced to take sides, which will further constrain their room to maneuver. Written By: Lye Liang Fook Source: China Daily Published: 23 December 2019 The author is a senior fellow of Regional Strategic and Political Studies at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute.
Economic Affairs (O) Asia’s ‘flying geese’ Manufacturing of labor-intensive commodities in the region moves from the more advanced economies to the less developed ones It seems clear that the United States' policy goal of pushing manufacturing back is not working effectively. And its strongest effect actually lies in further stimulating the reconfiguring of the manufacturing supply chains within Asia. In a report released by the US Chamber of Commerce in May, around 75 percent of the 250 surveyed companies said the increases in US-China tariffs are having a negative impact on their business. About 40 percent of the companies reported they were considering or have relocated manufacturing facilities outside China, with Southeast Asia the top destination (over 24 percent). Less than 6 percent said they have or are considering taking their manufacturing to the US. Some analysts see such relocation of manufacturing largely as a negative and unwelcome change for the Chinese economy. This view is mistaken. From a historical perspective, there is a well-established paradigm of "flying geese" in the shifting pattern of Asian manufacturing supply chains, which has underpinned the Asian economic miracles. In this paradigm, Asian economies have caught up with the West in a regionally sequential pattern, with the manufacturing of labor-intensive commodities gradually shifting from the more advanced economies to the less developed ones as the costs increase for the forerunners, or "lead geese".
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For the "lead geese," their economic structure is compelled to upgrade toward more capital intensive and innovation-driven sectors, which can produce higher productivity. And for the latecomers, they can absorb new investment, job opportunities and technology transfers, embracing a growth takeoff at their various development stages. So companies that are the "lead geese" will typically invest heavily in the catching up of latecomers. Overall, this "flying geese "paradigm has successfully reproduced itself in Asian economies during the past decades, with labor-intensive manufacturing supply chains sequentially shifting from Japan to the "Four Asian Tigers" (Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan) to the Chinese mainland (especially the coastal provinces). Now the labor-intensive manufacturing supply chains are shifting toward India, Vietnam and Myanmar as well as China's more inland provinces. Throughout this process, it has created dense cross-boundary trade, investment and financial networks in Asia. But alongside its profound longterm benefits, this process can also produce substantial transitional "growing pains" for the forerunners as they go through restructuring and industrial upgrading, but these can be mitigated by appropriate policies. There are three critical challenges that must be addressed to maximize the upside gains and minimize the downside risks of the "flying geese" paradigm among Asian economies. First, forerunners must overcome inertia and effectively promote innovation and openness to move to higher segments of global value chains, driving forward internal restructuring and facilitating outward transfers. Second, both forerunners and latecomers need to develop fair and inclusive solutions to compensate potential losers from the restructuring, ensuring the benefits from economic growth are broadly and equitably shared among citizens. And third, economies must work together to strengthen regional cooperation, fostering a robust and efficient multilateral policy environment that supports cross-boundary trade and investment. Most economists would agree the US government's trade war policies are detrimental to the health of global trade and investment. Paradoxically, as an unintended consequence, the uncertainty it has produced is stimulating the reconfiguring of Asian manufacturing supply chains in a way that strengthens the networks of cross-boundary trade and investment linkages within Asia. For 171 Selected Analysis
example, the share of the Chinese mainland's foreign direct investment in the total FDI in Vietnam has increased from around 1.3 percent in 2014 to 3.4 percent in 2018, and further surged to over 9 percent in the first half of 2019. In the context of the shifting pattern of "flying geese" in Asia, China's recent initiative in developing the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is particularly important. With a population of 70 million, the GBA accounts for over 12 percent of China's GDP. It includes Guangdong's nine key cities (such as Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Foshan), as well as Hong Kong and Macao. This region has been at the core of China's manufacturing success and has bred many of China's most innovative companies. The aim is to strengthen the region's innovation capability, promote market integration, connectivity and opening-up, as well as creating a world-class business and public services environment. Given its size, dynamism and geographic advantages, the Greater Bay Area can serve as a powerful engine, a super-connector as well as a laboratory for public policy experimentation for China to drive forward internal economic restructuring, foster cooperation with the Southeast Asian economies and lead the growth of a new generation of Asian manufacturing supply chains. Despite all the noises on trade policy uncertainty and corporate relocation, what is fundamentally happening in Asian manufacturing is part of a larger, transformative process of regional economic development and structural changes. Written By: Li Chen Source: China Daily Published: 22 July 2019 The author is an assistant professor at the Centre for China Studies and Faculty of Social Science at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and an assistant professor (by courtesy) at CUHKâ€™s Lau Chor Tak Institute of Global Economics and Finance. The author contributed the article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily.
(P) Time for China to build cross-border yuan settlements with neighboring countries As China's economy gets bigger and more competitive, the country will play a greater role in the international financial system. The yuan's internationalization is an inevitable trend despite hardships along the way. Countries like the US have been pursuing protectionism and unilateralism in recent years. The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), on the 172 Selected Analysis
contrary, enhances trade facilitation and boosts development of the financial industry along the BRI route. In the past six years since the BRI was proposed, more countries and companies have seen opportunities from it. The BRI is in line with globalization. The BRI will experience three phases. The first phase is building infrastructure. The second is to conduct capacity cooperation and the last phase is monetary cooperation. The three phases can overlap. Financial innovation has been sprouting in the internet era. The yuan's internationalization should not only closely follow the cryptocurrency trend, but it also needs to focus on actual trade transaction settlements. Cross-border transaction settlements should start from trade with neighboring countries. Since the reform and opening-up, the quoting and settlement system of the exchange rate in China has been centered on the US-dollar-based international financial system. Transaction settlements in trade between China and other non-US dollar countries were computed through cross rate. As the Chinese economy expanded, neighboring economies recovered gradually from the 1997 Asian financial crisis, and several developed countries experienced the US sub-prime mortgage crisis and European debt crisis, the market base of the exchange rate formation mechanism between China and its neighbors has taken shape. Thus, cross-border financial settlement has emerged. A vigorous financial settlement along the border is a challenge to the traditional reserve and settlement system based on the US dollar. It will also be an opportunity for China and its neighbors. Pragmatic entrepreneurs should face the reality of China's economic size and view the US dollar system objectively. They should adopt the cross-border settlement system and US dollar system comprehensively, as well as the newly-risen cryptocurrency. Together, a new monetary system that is more open to the BRI is starting to form. As for the Chinese monetary authority, one effective method to promote the yuan's internationalization is the application of cross-border internet payment and settlement. By extending foreign exchange centers to areas that share borders with neighboring countries, the yuan exchange rate formation mechanism can connect with neighboring countries. For example, establishing a branch of the China Foreign Exchange Trading System in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region would help deal with currencies in Central Asian countries. A branch in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province can deal with currencies in Northeast Asian countries. The financial reform pilot zones in Southwest China's Yunnan Province and 173 Selected Analysis
Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region can deal with currencies in Southeast Asian countries. This way, it is possible to bypass the cross rate calculated using the US dollar. The Silk Road Currency Regional Trading Information Platform was launched in August 2018 to provide information on the interbank market and over-thecounter market. The platform will make information on regional currency transactions public and transparent. Information on the foreign exchange market will be better shared to help financial institutions and firms settle bilateral currencies with greater efficiency, and thus step up trade and investment facilitation. The People's Bank of China issued a scheme in 2013 to construct financial reform pilot zones in Yunnan and Guangxi, fostering financial cooperation with ASEAN and South Asian countries. Within the zones, it offers yuandenominated loans and financial instruments. According to the scheme, attempts will be made to set up the yuan-denominated overseas investment fund. When the time is appropriate, transactions between the yuan and other currencies of neighboring countries should be made on a regional interbank market. Internet giant Facebook announced plans to create Libra, a new cryptocurrency. The scheme of China's regional financial pilot zones can serve as a reference for Libra. As the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road goes deeper, China and ASEAN countries have large-scale cross-border transactions in trade and tourism sectors. There is a huge demand for real-time settlement in electronic transactions. Chinese internet giants such as Tencent and Alibaba have built up an exclusive and closed transaction chain. Not all the financial regulatory bodies in ASEAN countries embrace the trend. Financial construction along the border is needed. While China communicates with ASEAN on political and diplomatic levels, it can also organize communication with central banks and regulatory bodies in ASEAN countries. The operation and organizational structure can learn from Facebook's Libra. Against the backdrop of cryptocurrency competition, China has to catch up with tangible financial sectors and free itself from the cage that the US dollar system has put on international trade. On the other hand, China can study the organizational structure of Libra. It will have to cooperate with cross border transaction institutes from Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia with market-orientated operation. By developing a digitalized yuan cross-border transaction market, the regions will stand on solid ground to face Libra. 174 Selected Analysis
Written By: Xu Weihong Source: Global Times Published: 24 July 2019 The author is chief advisor of China Securities JT Fund and global research partner of Anbound Think Tank.
(Q) Malaysia gateway to a digital silk road Chinese companies are increasingly leveraging the ASEAN opportunities for win-win cooperation Malaysia is strategically poised to play a crucial role in the upcoming new Silk Road, a digital one at that. After all the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road sees the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as a key starting point under China's Belt and Road Initiative. By various estimates, this is one of the largest infrastructure and investment megaprojects in history, covering more than 68 countries and equivalent to 65 percent of the world's population and 40 percent of the global GDP as of 2017. The opportunities are staggering. According to A.T. Kearney, a global consulting firm, if the ASEAN were a single country, it would rank No 3 in population and No 7 in GDP globally. The Association has the potential to be among the world's top five digital economies by 2025. And with strong growth of the digital economy and digital innovation ecosystem, Malaysia can collaborate with Chinese tech companies to build a digital silk road for win-win cooperation. What gives Malaysia an incomparable advantage is its location at the center of Southeast Asia, particularly its positioning along the Straits of Malacca, one of the busiest trade routes in the world. China has historically positioned Malaysia as a gateway to the ASEAN, India and the Middle East. But Malaysia is itself emerging as a destination for business opportunities and growth potential. From being a base for shared services, multinationals now see Malaysia as a hub for catalytic digital technology and services. And venture capitalists see it both as a gateway to the ASEAN and as a digital growth hub. Even the Belt and Road Initiative has highlighted Malaysia's forte as a digital destination and China has put many investments and incentives in place to 175 Selected Analysis
ensure Malaysia wins a good slice of the new global economy. Malaysia's digital economy contributed 18.3 percent to the nation's GDP in 2017 and analyst firm International Data Corporation says it will touch 21 percent by 2022. Since China's digital economy contribution reached 34.8 percent in 2018, this signals much more capacity for digital industry growth in Malaysia. It is important now, more than ever, to build on collaboration between countries, companies and peoples. The National Regulatory Sandbox is a safe test bed to pilot solutions across different areas such as drone tech, smart cities and autonomous vehicles. Malaysia is rapidly being recognized as an ASEAN test bed with a well-developed and varied infrastructure. Also, new avenues of industry are being developed under Malaysia's Digital Economy Plan - focusing on big data analytics, e-commerce, and the internet of things (IoTs). Providing a digital hard and soft infrastructure, comprising high speed internet, world class physical infrastructure, business friendly policies and innovative talent ecosystems remain priorities for Malaysia, as evidenced by the Malaysian Cabinet's recent approval of the National Fiberization and Connectivity Plan. The marriage of IoT and big data analytics is feeding artificial intelligence (AI), which many see as the defining force of the fourth Industrial Revolution. These are stepping stones to even greater things. As a trading nation, Malaysia is now moving up the value chain and trading in ideas, innovation and new technologies in a spirit of collaboration. The Digital Silk Road is bringing new waves of tech opportunities to ASEAN expansion of Chinese tech companies into this region, particularly in ecommerce, smart cities and Industry 4.0, automation and AI. The increasing tide of collaboration between Chinese and Malaysian enterprises including Alibaba, Tencent, Huawei, are the latest testament to the growing strength of Malaysia's digital economy ecosystem. For example, China's Alibaba set up its first overseas electronic World Trade Platform hub in Malaysia to accelerate e-commerce opportunities and growth. A collaboration between Malaysia's G3 Global, China Harbour Engineering Company and China-based Sense Time Group is being touted as the most valuable AI startup to set up Malaysia's first AI park, which is likely to see more than $1 billion in investments over the next five years. The ASEAN's combination of a strong and vibrant economy, youthful demographic, rapid urbanization and ongoing economic integration make it a very attractive market for business expansion. There are other factors: the region's combined GDP of $2.5 trillion; 628 million people (10 percent of world 176 Selected Analysis
population), with about 40 percent of them under 30 and digital natives; and a literacy rate of 94 percent. At the heart of the ASEAN is Malaysia, with a population of 31 million, 68 percent of which uses the internet, 65 percent are smartphone users; it has 82 percent broadband penetration and 31 percent of internet users use mobiles to purchase. From Greater Kuala Lumpur, major cities in the region can be reached within eight hours by flights. Malaysia is also a hub for Asian languages, a rich culturally diverse workforce, which is buoyed by a highly skilled and growing talent pipeline, strengthened by business-friendly government policies. Malaysia was the first country in the region to establish diplomatic ties with China when its second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein visited China in 1974. On the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China, it is interesting to note that Malaysia's role, both as a hub and gateway to the ASEAN, has become even more significant. Written By: Hew Wee Choong Source: China Daily Published: 17 October 2019 The author is the vice-president of Investment and Industry Development at Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily.
(R) Chinaâ€™s economy to face 6 key challenges The Chinese economy continues to slow down as it faces multiple pressures in 2019, but it is also showing resilience with the support of a complex set of stabilizing policies. Economic growth has remained in a rational and controllable range this year. 2020 will be a crucial year for China to secure a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, but the country will face greater challenges, particularly in the following six aspects. First, external challenges will be more demanding. The global economic downturn and great-power competition have entered new phases, bringing about unprecedented uncertainty to global economic policies. This will not only directly impact China through trade, but it will also negatively influence the open economy by undermining market confidence. In 2020, external demand is expected to continue weakening, the global manufacturing industry is set to slump, China-US strategic competition will enter a new stage, and the 2020 US election will bring further uncertainty to the prolonged trade war between the two countries. 177 Selected Analysis
Second, domestic demand is expected to remain weak and may accelerate the economic slowdown. China's net exports have seen rapid growth this year, but domestic demand has experienced a significant decline. The economy is therefore more vulnerable and reliant on external demand, particularly when enterprises don't expand their investment in production and residents don't increase their consumption of durable goods. In the short term, China needs to stabilize foreign trade. The global economic slowdown will make it harder for China to maintain the rapid growth of net exports in 2020, and China must implement more targeted measures to boost domestic demand. More importantly, the decline in production investment does not just concern numbers, but also efficiency. Third, the slowdown of economic growth may aggravate the current conditions of weak sectors and regions. As pressures mount for small and medium-sized enterprises, local financial risks may worsen. Changing economic structures in some regions may cause unemployment risks. In 2020, enterprises in eastern regions will find it difficult to turn a profit, and those in central regions should expect to see a further slowdown in the growth of revenue. Thus, employment will be at risk in certain regions and sectors. The automobile and mobile phone industries are still in steep decline. The real-estate, construction and information services industries have also contracted significantly. Downward sales and production in these industries mean that they face greater pressure when it comes to employment. Fourth, the risk of a new round of deflation in the Chinese economy will increase in 2020, which deserves attention and requires preparation. Although the price of food - represented by pork - has risen sharply since the third quarter, driving the consumer price index (CPI) higher, this doesn't mean that deflation will not occur next year. Instead, the continued falls of the non-food CPI, producer price index (PPI) and GDP deflator are highly similar to the initial performances of previous rounds of deflation. PPI trends from the fourth to the second quarter next year will need to be watched closely. Meanwhile, monetary policy needs to remain prudent. Fifth, China should be wary of the risks that come with a structural rise in food prices - including pork - and weak overall demand. The prices of pork and other foods will continue to rise next year, leading to negative expectations in the market. Meanwhile, overall domestic demand will remain weak. These two factors are expected to have short-term impacts on the economy, causing severe problems for its macro-management in 2020. Sixth, mitigated financial risks may recur in 2020. Although the financial sector is clearly moving to provide more support for the real economy, pressure from a poor monetary transmission mechanism still exists. And though financial risks 178 Selected Analysis
have been mitigated this year, defaults will persist in the future. Particularly alongside the continued economic downturn, financial risks may appear repeatedly. Financial-risk mitigation and prevention will be the core focuses of macro-management next year. Written By: Liu Yuanchun Source: Global Times Published: 11 December 2019 The author is vice president of Renmin University of China.
(S) Global Trade in 2019: Grand agreements and profound disagreements The World Trade Organization (WTO) in its World Trade Report 2019 designated 2019 as the year of globalizing services trade. It is timely for the WTO to chronicle the rising significance of services vis-Ă -vis agriculture and manufacturing in global trade. However, 2019 might be well remembered as a year of grand trade agreements as well as profound trade disagreements. On the bright side, 2019 has witnessed the emergence of three mega free trade agreements (FTAs), each of which is the world's largest in a distinct sense. In June 2019, European and South American leaders took to the stage in Osaka to announce the conclusion of the talks on the European Union (EU)-Mercosur FTA, after 20 years of negotiations. The potential EU-Mercosur FTA represents the largest region-to-region FTA in the world and will offer lessons as to how the EU might pull off a comparable deal with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) down the road. The second good news came days later in July. African leaders in Niger launched the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the world's largest FTA in terms of participating members (potentially up to 55 members). By harmonizing pre-existing customs territories that give rise to an African "spaghetti bowl," the AfCFTA will simplify inter-state trading relations while reducing transaction costs for traders. A third positive development occurred in November when text-based negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) concluded in Bangkok. India's last-minute pull-out notwithstanding, RCEP will be the world's largest FTA covering 30 percent of global economic output. It will grease sprawling East Asian value chains, safeguard ASEAN Centrality and signify China's leadership role in the global trading architecture.
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While the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union is not party to any of the three mega-FTAs, it is among the most enterprising regional trade players in 2019. It implemented a trade agreement with Iran and China, signed a deal with each of Serbia and Singapore and launched talks with Egypt and Indonesia. Clearly, the EAEU is also asserting itself as a trade power through expansive trade diplomacy. On the other hand, the global trade landscape was wrecked by a series of trade disagreements, with the most acrimonious one being the Sino-American trade war. In May, the U.S. increased the tariffs on 200 billion U.S. dollars of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent. In September, a 15-percent tariff hike was applied to an additional amount of roughly 110 billion U.S. dollars' Chinese goods. In the process, China retaliated calmly. However, with the December announcement of a phase one deal, tariffs are likely to be rolled back. While the world attention may have mostly focused on the Sino-U.S. trade war, Japan and the South Korea were actually also embattled in a smaller-scale trade war in 2019. The row was triggered by a 2018 South Korean Supreme Court ruling that ordered a number of Japanese companies to compensate South Korea's forced labor during World War II. This enraged Tokyo which hit back by imposing trade restrictions on exporting critical chemicals to South Korea's semiconductor industries in July. As Japan and South Korea removed each other from their "White-List" of trusted trading partners, the trade relations between the two countries hit a historical low in 2019. Another noteworthy trade dispute turned up in March after the European Commission confirmed the EU is phasing out palm oil in its biofuel mix because the production of palm oil is laden with unsustainable deforestation and environmental hazards. This policy was met with fierce pushback from leading palm oil producers like Malaysia and Indonesia. Malaysia threatened to buy fighter jets from China and veto any upcoming talks on EU-ASEAN FTA if Brussels does not change course. Indonesia also warned of raising tariffs on European goods. In the end, Jakarta decided to challenge the EU's decision at the WTO in December. Ironically, Indonesia filed the lawsuit after the WTO appeals court had ceased to function on December 10. Indeed, the most lamentable tragedy for global trade in 2019 is the incapacitation of the Appellate Body (AB) due to Washington's repeated blockade on judge reappointments. Like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the WTO is also at the grave risk of "brain death" without an impartial AB to make definitive rulings on trade disputes. 2019 proved to be an eventful year for global trade. The resuscitation of the WTO's AB ought to be the number one item on global leaders' to-do list in 2020. Otherwise, next year may mark the onset of a power-based "every man for 180 Selected Analysis
himself" trade world. Among other priorities, signing the RCEP agreement, ratifying the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement and negotiating a post-Brexit trade deal would all bring benefits to signatories and the wider world. Written By: Ji Xianbai Source: China Daily Published: 31 December 2019 The author is a research fellow of International Political Economy Program at the S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Socio-cultural Affairs (T) COP 25 is crucial for successfully implementing the Paris Agreement The 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) commenced on December 2 and will continue until December 13 in Madrid, Spain with participants from around 200 countries and regions in attendance. The COP is an arm of the United Nations, which is responsible for implementing the Paris Agreement and UNFCCC. Notably, under the 2015 Paris Agreement, participating nations had pledged to keep the global temperature rise between 1.5-2 degrees Celsius from 2005 levels. Unfortunately, the global temperature has already risen by 1.1 degrees above pre-industrial levels. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Emissions Gap Report published last month highlighted that global temperature would increase by 3.2 degrees Celsius (5.8 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100 if the current situation persists. Besides, the report recommended that urgent actions be taken to reduce the worldwide emission level by 7.6 percent every year to meet the 1.5 degrees target, and 2.7 percent annually to reach 2 degrees goal. It is worth mentioning that the US and China are not just the world's largest and second-largest economies but also the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases. Regrettably, the recent US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement has caused a significant setback to the accord, while making China's role even more crucial in leading the world towards achieving climate goals. Thankfully, the country has been taking several aggressive measures to fulfill its responsibility in this direction. China, in 2009, during the Copenhagen climate summit, committed to reducing its carbon emissions by 40-45 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. Subsequently, in 2015, it vowed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions per unit of GDP by 60181 Selected Analysis
65 percent from pre-industrial levels as part of the Paris Agreement. It also pledged to increase the share of non-fossil fuels up to 20 percent of its total energy consumption by 2030. The country met the Copenhagen climate target in 2018, two years ahead of schedule by successfully reducing the carbon emissions per unit of GDP by 46 percent from 2005 levels. Additionally, in line with the commitment to the Paris accord, China has been investing heavily in expanding its share of renewable energy. As a result, the percentage of non-fossil fuels as the country's primary source of energy grew from 12 percent in 2017 to 14.3 percent by the end of 2018. China, during the first half of this year, added 1.82 GW of hydropower capacity, 11.4 GW of solar capacity, and 9.09 GW of wind capacity to reach a total of 354 GW, 186 GW, and 193 GW respectively, according to the National Energy Administration. Moreover, in 2014, China introduced an aggressive ultra-low emissions (ULE) policy for overhauling the coal-fueled power plants to curtail the emissions of three significant pollutants: sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and extremely fine particulate matter (PM 2.5 and 10) to 35, 50, and 10 milligrams per cubic meter respectively by 2020. A recent study entitled "Substantial emission reductions from Chinese power plants after the introduction of ultra-low emissions standards," published in Nature Energy journal in October this year, corroborated the impact of ULE standards policy on reducing the level of significant pollutants in China. As per the study, power plant emissions of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and PM 2.5 and 10 dipped by 65 percent, 60 percent, and 72 percent respectively between 2014 and 2017 in the country. Furthermore, a study published by NASA early this year highlighted China's significant contribution in making the planet greener in the past two decades. It stated that the country contributed to almost a 25-percent increase in the green leaf area, despite having just 6.6 percent of the world's vegetated area. Moving on, this year's COP conference is happening at a crucial point when the planet is remarkably close to the point of no return. Already, the signs of tippingpoint such as melting of Arctic summer ice, dying glaciers of Greenland, disintegrating West Antarctic ice sheets, and shrinking Amazon rainforests are visible. Consequently, natural calamities such as floods, droughts, extreme heat, and tropical cyclones are getting increasingly frequent, impacting biodiversity adversely and causing a rise in sea level. Climate scientists have been warning about the sixth mass extinction as a result of human activities and the resulting climate change. Therefore, by looking at the current situation, and its irreversible damage on the Earth's climate pattern, it is vital that the primary objective of COP 25 of effectively implementing the Paris Agreement and UNFCCC be achieved. Since the problem of climate change isn't confined to one country or region, it is also 182 Selected Analysis
critical that the world leaders from all across the globe, business enterprises, and the public come together to fight against this mounting problem. Written By: Rachana Gupta Source: China Daily Published: 6 December 2019 The author is an Indian blogger, poet and freelance writer based in Shanghai.
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ARCID CHINA UPDATE SERIES 1. ARCID China Update Volume 1, No. 1 (January-June 2018) 2. ARCID China Update Volume 1, No. 2 (July-December 2018) 3. ARCID China Update Volume 2, No. 1 (January-June 2019) 4. ARCID China Update Volume 2, No. 2 (July-December 2019)
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ARCID ChINA UPDATE - Volume 2, No2 July - December 2019