Asian Research Center for International Development (ARCID), Mae Fah Luang University, Thailand
ARCID china update Volume 1, No. 2 July - December 2018 ISSN 2630-0885
ARCID China Update Volume 1, No. 2 July - December 2018
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 1, NO. 2 JULY-DECEMBER 2018 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 Moo1, 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 2018) Foreign Affairs
Part II: Selected Documentation (July-December 2018) (A) Joint Communiqué of the 51st ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
(B) Full text of Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng’s keynote speech at the 15th China-ASEAN Expo
(C) The Facts and China’s Position on China-U.S. Trade Friction
(D) Chairman’s Statement of the 5th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-PLUS)
(E) Chairman’s Statement of the 33rd ASEAN Summit
(F) Chairman’s Statement of the 21st ASEAN-China Summit to Commemorate the 15th Anniversary of ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership
(G) ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership Vision 2030
(H) Joint Leaders’ Statement on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Negotiations
(I) Speech by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the 21st ChinaASEAN Summit
(J) Speech by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the 13th East Asia Summit
(K) Chairman’s Statement of the 13th East Asia Summit
(L) Speech by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at ASEAN+3 Summit
(M) Speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping at APEC CEO Summit
(N) Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Remarks at Session I of G20 Summit
(O) Speech by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Opening of Symposium on the International Situation and China’s Foreign Relations in 2018
(P) Progress in Human Rights over the 40 Years of Reform and Opening Up in China
(Q) 2019 New Year Speech by President Xi Jinping
Part III: Selected Analysis (July-December 2018) Foreign Affairs (A) What will future international order look like? Wu Xinbo
(B) Mapping the Future Jiang Zhida
(C) Cooperation among China, Japan and Mekong countries in the interest of region Bi Shihong
(D) Thailand will pay heavy price for over-reliance on China The Nation
(E) Challenging Times, Creative Efforts Wang Huiyao
Political Affairs (F) China’s proposals drive Rohingya crisis solution Ge Hongliang
(G) US-China rivalry shifts to mainland SEA Kavi Chongkittavorn
(H) S. China Sea can be more risky than trade Li Kaisheng
(I) The tussle with China in the Mekong basin Supalak Ganjanakhundee
(J) 4 big challenges for Thailand as Asean chair Kavi Chongkittavorn
(K) How Asean can stop Indo-Pacific from becoming USChina ‘theatre’ Endy M. Bayuni
Economic Affairs (L) Four major changes in 40 years of reform Sara Hsu
(M) A trade war that is about more than trade Thitinan Pongsudhirak
(N) Sharing economy, not money diplomacy Shen Dingli
(O) New mindsets needed at Suvarnabhumi Kavi Chongkittavorn
(P) One belt, but many burdens Editorial Bangkok Post
(Q) Slump shows govt must clean up tourism act Soonrath Bunyamanee
(R) Fresh moves announced to spur economy Wang Yanfei
Socio-cultural Affairs (S) Careless and deadly Editorial Bangkok Post
(T) Religious abuse perils Editorial Bangkok Post
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 2018) (A) Foreign Affairs June 27
Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou and Undersecretary of Department of Foreign Affairs Enrique A. Manalo of the Philippines co-chair the 21st China-Philippines diplomatic consultation in Changsha, China to exchange views on their relations, cooperation in many fields, and ChinaASEAN relations. They talk about the South China Sea issue and agree to strengthen maritime dialogue and cooperation. They will continuously commit to implement the Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea with other ASEAN countries.
(1) Chinaâ€™s Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and Vice Premier Han Zheng meets with Singaporeâ€™s Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean at the Great Hall of the People, China to enhance cooperation under the Belt and Road framework and bilateral cooperation such as connectivity, financial cooperation and free trade. (2) According to the Chinese Embassy in Thailand, 6 Chinese experts of cave rescue with Beijing Peaceland Foundation, an organisation with more than 100 rescue teams and experience in Myanmar and Nepal, arrive in Chiang Rai Province, Thailand to help rescue 12 boys and the coach of Thailand soccer team, who have been trapped in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave since June 23. The Blue Sky Rescue Team, a Chinese non-governmental rescue team has participated in this rescue operation as well.
Today marks the 43rd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Thailand. Lyu Jian, Chinese Ambassador to Thailand, says that China and Thailand should encourage cooperation and development strategies, such as the 3 The Chronology
Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Thailand 4.0 Strategy and the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). They should strengthen people-to-people and cultural exchange as well. Lyu emphasises the principle of mutual respect, equity, justice and winwin cooperation. July 2-3
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China and China Law Society co-organise the Forum on the Belt and Road Legal Cooperation in Beijing, China to develop regulations and the rule of law in the BRI, promote laws to enhance cooperation related to financing, taxation, transportation, intellectual property rights, labor, and establish a dispute settlement mechanism. These rule of law and regulations will serve as the safety valve to cope with risks and challenges from BRI. China will provide funding for legal cooperation programs to improve the rule of law of BRI countries. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi delivers a speech and makes the remarks at the opening ceremony of the forum.
(1) Two boats, “Serenata” and “Phoenix”, carrying 133 tourists capsize off the coast of Koh Hae and Koh Mai in Phuket Province, Thailand. 127 of 133 tourists are Chinese. Some of the injured tourists have been sent to the hospitals. (2) Huang Kunming, member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee visits Vietnam and meets with Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee. They vow to further promote bilateral ties and cooperation and enhance exchange of governance experiences.
The Chinese Embassy in Thailand reports that 16 of a total of 127 Chinese tourists were dead, 33 were missing and 78 were rescued from the two capsized boats in Phuket, Thailand. President Xi Jinping calls for all-out efforts to search and rescue Chinese 4 The Chronology
tourists who remain missing and providing proper medical treatment for the injured. He also requires relevant departments to care for the safety of tourists and reminds travel agencies and tourists to be more aware of risks and dangers. The Chinese embassy and consulates in Thailand also arrive in Phuket to help the rescue teams. The Thai side activated the emergency response mechanism. Thai departments and the Thai Navy have joined the rescue. The governor of Phuket has arrived and instructed rescue operations. The Thai Embassy to Beijing set up a desk to facilitate travel for the victim’s relatives to Thailand and provide them with information on the accident and rescue operation. Visa on arrival service has also opened for Chinese at Thai airports. July 7
(1) Chinese officials, including Chinese Ambassador to Thailand Lyu Jian, Deputy Director-general of the Department of Consular Affairs of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Chen Xiongfeng, and Chinese Consulgeneral in Songkhla Zhou Haicheng, visit the injured Chinese tourists in Phuket Provincial Hospital. (2) Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha sends condolences to the families of the dead in the boat accidents. He has ordered to set up a command center for the rescue operation, investigate the cause of the accidents, and provide clear and accurate information to the public.
Thailand’s military approves rescue experts from China’s Zhejiang Rescue Team of Ramunion, a local civil rescue organisation, to start search for missing tourists. The latest report by the Chinese Embassy in Thailand showed that 42 people were dead and 15 remained missing.
(1) Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha visits the command center for the rescue operation in Phuket. He pledges to make all-out efforts in the
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ongoing search and rescue operation of the boat accident. (2) Volunteers from China and Thailand join rescue work in a hospital in Phuket, Thailand to help relatives of the victims and injured tourists. (3) Thai Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan blames Chinese tour operators for the boat accident. He says that they should be responsible for the accident because they ignored the storm warning and operated illegal tours with zero payment. This criticism causes online discussion on Chinese social media. (4) The Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Myanmar Ministry of Information jointly hold a forum on governance and launch the Myanmar edition of the first volume of “Xi Jinping: The Governance of China” in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. This book will enable Myanmar people to have a better understanding of China and further promote ChinaMyanmar friendship. July 10
Thai Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan apologises for his remarks that blamed Chinese tour operators. The Lazy Cat Travel is the tour agency that operates Serenata and one of the ticket agencies for the Phoenix. It belongs to Thai TC Blue Dream Company. It rejects Prawit’s blaming and says that the ships had not received warning of bad weather when they went out for the tour.
The 11-day search of the victims of capsized boats in Phuket ends in the evening. The Serenata and Phoenix boats capsized into the sea on July 5 but all tourists and crew members of Serenata were rescued safely. The Phoenix had 101 people on board, 89 of them were tourists. 12 crew and 2 Chinese tourists were safe because they returned to port after a snorkeling trip. 87 people on the Phoenix had capsized in the sea. 47 Chinese tourists were 6 The Chronology
confirmed to be dead. Chinese Ambassador to Thailand Lyu Jian arrives at Phuket Deep Sea Port and thanks the Thai government, rescue workers and support teams for their collaboration in the rescue operation. July 18
Premier Li Keqiang meets with Special Envoy of Prime Minister of Malaysia and Chairman of the Council of Eminent Persons Tun Daim Zainuddun in Beijing, China to maintain bilateral ties, promote cooperation on major projects such as industrial parks, infrastructure, coastal industrial areas, and people-to-people exchange, and advance ChinaASEAN cooperation. Zainuddin gives Li a letter written by Malasian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. The letter states that the Malaysiaâ€™s new government would continue to develop friendly ties with China and welcome Chinese investment in Malaysia. Zainuddin also meets with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi to express the willingness to deepen and support cooperation under the BRI, and develop China-Malaysia relations.
President Xi Jinping and King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia exchange congratulatory messages, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of China-Cambodia diplomatic relations. Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Hun Sen also exchange congratulatory messages to enhance friendship and deepen strategic cooperation between two countries.
(1) As the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy dam collapsed on July 23 in Attapeu Province, Laos, it causes casualties and missing of Lao people. Six villages in Sanamxay District of Attapeu are flooded. Chinese companies in Laos, such as the China Railway No.5 Engineering Group, Lao-China Hongta Good Luck Tobacco Company, and Power Construction Corporation of China, join rescue work by delivering relief supplies and equipment and organising dam and hydrological experts to support the Lao government.
7 The Chronology
(2) Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) medical team arrives in Attapeu Province, Laos to help the rescue operation. This medical team is on the “Peace Train-2018” Humanitarian Medical Rescue Joint Training Mission in Vientiane, Laos. July 27
(1) Enrique Manalo, Undersecretary of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, tells Xinhua that the Philippines will formally take over as the coordinator of the ASEAN-China dialogue relations on August 2 in Singapore. The Philippines is looking forward to strengthen ASEAN and China relations and promote the negotiation on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea. (2) A Chinese medical team from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been working on epidemic containment in the shelters for victims from a collapsed dam in Attapeu Province, Laos to control and prevent diseases, pests, and food and drinking water hygiene by working with local authorities.
China’s International Development Cooperation Agency announces that China will provide humanitarian aids including 100 boats, 500 tents, and 100 water purifiers to the disaster area in Laos for the victims after the collapse of a dam.
July 31-August 1
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi pays an official visit to Malaysia, aiming to maintain friendly relations with the new Malaysian government and deepen cooperation. On August 31, Wang Yi holds talks with Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdulla of Malaysia, strengthening their bilateral relations. Malaysia will participate in the BRI and develop cooperation with China in area such as trade, tourism, culture and education. China is willing to work together with the new government of Malaysia to intensify high-level exchanges to benefit people of both sides. Wang Yi also meets with Chairman of the Council of Eminent 8 The Chronology
Persons (CEP) Tun Daim Zainuddin of Malaysia and the members of the CEP, holding discussion and exchange views on China-Malaysia relations. On August 1, Wang Yi meets with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir. Mahathir says that Malaysia wants to participate in the BRI and welcomes Chinese investors, especially high-tech firms. He expresses that Malaysia still maintains a good relationship with China. From the Chinese side, it appreciates Malaysia‘s support for the BRI. It will prepare for Mahathir’s visit to China. Both sides also exchange views on trade frictions between China and the US. August 1
Before attending the Foreign Ministers’ Meetings on East Asia Cooperation in Singapore on August 2, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi holds a bilateral meetings with Foreign Ministers of ASEAN countries. (1) Wang Yi meets with Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhon of Cambodia. He congratulates Cambodia on the recent general election and expresses that China always supports Cambodia as a close partner. Prak Sokhon says that Cambodia wants to work together with China to safeguard multilateralism and international rules. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of China-Cambodia diplomatic relations. (2) Wang Yi meets with Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan of Singapore. Both sides agree to play an active role to promote the development of ChinaASEAN relations, free trade and regional economic integration. They will uphold multilateralism and oppose unilateralism and protectionism. (3) Wang Yi meets with Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith of Laos, maintaining high-level exchange and promoting the construction of key projects under the BRI, China-Laos economic corridor, and 9 The Chronology
China-Laos railway. The Lao side expresses deep appreciation to China for the assistance in the dam collapse in Attapue Province. August 2
(1) State Council and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with President Halimah Yacob of Singapore at the presidential residence in Singapore. Halimah Yacob asks Wang Yi to convey her warm greeting to Chinese leaders and says that Singapore will play a positive role to develop ASEAN-China relations. Wang Yi conveys the warm greetings from Chinese leaders to Halimah Yacob and expresses that China is willing to work with Singapore to strengthen cooperation and high-level exchanges. (2) Wang Yi meets with Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano of the Philippines on the sidelines of the ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting calling for closer ties and stable development of bilateral cooperation. The Philippines is willing to make positive efforts as a new coordinator of ASEAN-China dialogue relations in the ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting this year.
(1) State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on the sidelines of the ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting. They are willing to further enhance high-level contacts, deepen cooperation in the BRI, promote multilateralism, and maintain peace and stability in the region and the world. (2) Wang Yi meets with Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi of Indonesia on the sidelines of the ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting. They agree to enhance strategic cooperation and high-level contacts, work together on the major projects including JakartaBandung high-speed railway. (3) Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang dismisses criticism from the US that the construction of dams on the upper Mekong River would affect lower Mekong countries. He says at a news 10 The Chronology
conference that China has always cared for the concerns and maintained close communication with lower Mekong countries. It has also provided hydrological data for them during the flood season. August 4
(1) State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai of Thailand on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit (EAS) in Singapore. They agree to push forward the construction of the China-Thailand railway and the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) in Thailand and also other major projects under the BRI. Thai side also expresses its condolences over the boat accident in Phuket Province and thanks China for the assistance in rescuing a football team from a cave in Chiang Rai Province. (2) 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 on the sidelines of the EAS in Singapore. They are willing to work together to integrate the BRI with Brunei’s “ Vision 2035”, promote China-Brunei relations, ASEAN-China relations, and enhance cooperation in various fields.
40 Chinese tourists are evacuated after they were trapped in Lombok and nearby islands in Indonesia that were hit by the earthquake on July 29, according to the Department of Consular Affairs of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
President Xi Jinping sends a congratulatory message to president of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party Samdech Techo Hun Sen for his party’s victory in the recent general elections expressing that China is willing to enhance the political guidance on bilateral relations, deepen experience sharing on governance and party running. Premier Li Keqiang sends a congratulatory message to Hun Sen as well.
Chinese relatives of the victims of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 gather outside the Malaysian 11 The Chronology
Embassy in Beijing, asking to meet Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad during his visit to China for resuming the search and explaining the recent investigation report. August 17-21
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad pays an official visit to China at the invitation of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. Mahathir visits the headquarters of Alibaba, a giant e-commerce firm, and Geely, a carmaker firm, in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province on August 17. Mahathir wants to attract more Chinese investments, especially technology and manufacturing firms, participate in the BRI, and makes clear that his government would not be committed to projects that create more debts. On August 20, Mahathir meets with President Xi Jinping, calling for better ties. Xi calls for the joint construction of the BRI. Mahathir expresses that China is welcome to invest more in Malaysia. He holds talks with Premier Li Keqiang on the same day. Li says that China will import more products from Malaysia, including palm oil and agricultural goods. China is also willing to explore new cooperation with Malaysia in many fields. They sign several cooperative agreements including a currency deal. Mahathir says at a press conference on August 21 that he was seeking support from China to understand and help Malaysia amid the countryâ€™s fiscal problems. He also disclosed the reason why he would like to cancel Chinese-backed infrastructure projects, including the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and two gas pipeline projects. According to Mahathir, these projects have to be cancelled for now as the current priority for Malaysia is to reduce its debts.
President Xi Jinping meets with Tran Quoc Vuong, Politburo member and permanent member of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committeeâ€™s Secretariat in Beijing, calling for efforts to further promote bilateral ties, maintain high-level
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exchange, cooperate the development strategies, and upgrade governance ability. August 26
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi holds talks with Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith of Laos in Beijing, strengthening China-Laos relations. Lao side thanks China for the assistance to the dam collapse in Attapue Province in July. They agree to highlight multilateral cooperation under the BRI and the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation and advance the construction of the Laos-China economic corridor and the Laos-China railway. Saleumxay also meets with Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan on the same day, expressing positive relations and agreeing to implement the important strategic consensus reached by the leaders of two countries.
At the Future of the Bumiputra and the Nation Congress 2018, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad says that Malaysians may not be able to compete with Chinese people as Chinese people are hardworking, intelligent and have knowledge in business. Therefore, Malaysians have to admit their weakness and protect themselves by not allowing the Chinese into the country until they can compete with them.
Chinese Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) He Lifeng and Myanmese Union Minister of Planning and Finance U Soe Win sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) on the establishing of the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) in Beijing. This project is an important part of the BRI with a 1,700-kilometerlong corridor connecting Kunming, Yunnan Province of China and Myanmarâ€™s 3 economic centers comprising Mandalay, Yangon, and Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone. They agree to collaborate on many fields such as basic infrastructure, construction, manufacturing, agriculture, transport, research and technology, human resources development, and finance.
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State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR) to ASEAN in Beijing. The CPR to ASEAN is an important bridge for China-ASEAN communication and play an important role in the future development of China-ASEAN relations. They are willing to work together to further strengthen cooperation, safeguard common interests, and maintain regional security.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) on ASEAN 2018 is held in Hanoi, Vietnam. Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua attends the Forum at the invitation of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc of Vietnam. They pledge to further promote their comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership. Vietnam supports and is willing to participate in the BRI.
The 15th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) under the theme â€œJointly building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and the China-ASEAN Community of Innovationâ€? and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit were held in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and Vice Premier of the State Council Han Zheng, the leaders of the relevant countries, firms, and business sectors attend the events. Han delivers a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the CAEXPO. The CAEXPO highlights trade and investment among China, ASEAN countries, and other countries along the BRI. It features exhibitions, forums and exchange programs. Cambodia is the country of honor of the Expo this year. China has been the largest trading partner of ASEAN for 9 consecutive years. Trade volume of both sides reached US$500 billion in 2017.
The 11th Meeting of the China-Vietnam Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation is held in Ho Chi 14 The Chronology
Minh City, Vietnam. The meeting is co-chaired by Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh. They vow to promote practical cooperation for more tangible results in various fields such as infrastructure, industrial capacity, and the building of cross-border economic cooperation zones at an early date and improve the Steering Committee mechanism. Wang Yi was also welcomed by Nguyen Thien Nhan, Secretary of Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee on September 15. September 18-27
A delegation led by Vice Chairman of the 13th Chinese Peopleâ€™s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee Li Bin visit Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand. They attend the 23rd Annual Board Meeting of Partners in Population and Development in Indonesia. They visit Thailand at the invitation of Thailandâ€™s legislative assembly. Li remarks that CPPCC would like to enhance coomunication and cooperation with relevant organisations of the three countries. She meets with the leaders of the governments and parliaments of the three nations during the visit.
President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan visit Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni and Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk in Beijing during the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival. They have reached important consensus on inheriting and promoting China-Cambodia traditional friendship. Xi stresses that China will work together with Cambodia to promote comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership to a new height.
Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng and Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean co-chair the 14th China-Singapore Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation Meeting, the 19th China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park Joint Steering Council Meeting, the 10th China-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City Joint Steering Council Meeting, and the 2nd China15 The Chronology
Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity Joint Steering Council Meeting in Singapore. They agree to promote cooperation under the BRI. They sign 6 Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) and 1 Strategic Framework Agreement including the government-togovernment project, Tianjin Eco-City, the setting up of a National University of Singapore research institute in Chongqing, exchanges and collaboration between artists and art groups, and industries such as manufacturing, biomedicine and nanotechnology applications. September 26
Zhao Leji, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and secretary of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, mourns the passing of Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang on behalf of President Xi Jinping, the CPC, the Chinese government and the Chinese people in Hanoi.
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi holds a trilateral informal meeting with Minister for the Office of the State Counsellor U Kyaw Tint Swe of Myanmar and Foreing Minister Abul Hassan Ali of Bangladesh at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York. They have reached a three-point consensus. First, Myanmar and Bangladesh agree to properly solve the Rakhine issue through friendly consultations. Second, they prepare to organise the repatriation. Third, they agree to hold a joint working group meeting to work out a roadmap and timetable for the repatriation as soon as possible.
Myammarâ€™s Ministry of Information announces that Myanmar will offer visa exemption for tourists from Japan, South Korea, and Chinaâ€™s autonomous regions including Macao and Hong Kong for 1 year from October 1 to September 2019. The visitors have to enter Myanmar through international airports in Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon International Seaport, and international border 16 The Chronology
points of entry on Myanmar-Thai border and Myanmar-India border. They can stay in the country for 30 days. In the case of Chinese tourists holding ordinary passports, they have to pay US$50 for a visa on arrival to stay for 30 days. September 30
(1) Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is concerned with a security guardâ€™s assault attempt on a Chinese tourist at Don Mueang International Airport. This incident will increase the declining confidence of Chinese tourists planning to visit Thailand after the boat tragedy in July in Phuket. Gen Prayut has assigned the Tourism and Sports Ministry and other relevant agencies to enact measures to build confidence for Chinese tourists in Thailand. The incident happened on September 27. The Chinese tourist argued with the guard as he was denied entry at the airport. He reportedly could not show evidence that he would return to China after his trip in the country. He refused to cooperate while he was taken to a detention room. Then the guard tried to attack him. The incident was recorded by another Chinese. It went viral and was criticised by netizens. The Chinese tourist claimed that he was required to pay a tip for entering the country. He refused to pay it. As a result, he was attacked by the guard. He was deported to China on September 28. On September 29, Suthirawat Suwanawat, an airport general manager, apologised at a press conference. He said that the airport had to take the responsibility and would investigate the incident. The guard was suspended from duty for 30 days, pending a disciplinary investigation. (2) President Xi Jinping sends condolences to President Joko Widodo of Indonesia over the earthquakes and a tsunami that damage Sulawesi Province. He said that China is ready to provide assistance to the victims and their families according to the needs of the Indonesian side.
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Chinaâ€™s Red Cross offers US$200,000 in cash for emergency relief in Indonesia after it was hit by earthquake and tsunami in Sulawesi island, killing at least 832, according to the Chinese Embassy in Jakarta.
Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon denies that the Chinese government had issued a warning to its people visiting Thailand. He says that the Thai government has already apologised to China. The security guard who assaulted a Chinese tourist at Don Mueang Airport has been fired. The Immigration Bureau Commissioner Pol. Maj. Gen. Surachate Hakpran has ordered immigration officers not to take any additional money apart from the visa fee and discussed measures to prevent tourists from having bad experiences.
Premier Li Keqiang exchanges congratulatory messages on 15th anniversary of China-ASEAN strategic partnership with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. They are looking forward to the adoption of the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership Vision 2030 at the 21st ASEAN-China Summit to set the direction for the future development of bilateral relations.
The China Conference organised by the South China Morning Post is held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Political leaders, businessmen, and academic sectors discuss cooperation between China and ASEAN countries and the opportunities of the BRI. Malaysian Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali delivers the closing remarks at the conference, calling for greater economic cooperation with China.
(1) Premier Li Keqiang meets with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on the sidelines of the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit in Brussels, Belgium. They are willing to make joint efforts to develop industrial and trade cooperation, expand cooperation including production capacity, green energy, transportation, agriculture and 18 The Chronology
tourism, and maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea. (2) Premier Li Keqiang meets with Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen on the sidelines of the 12th ASEM Summit in Belgium. They would like to enhance trade and investment cooperation. The Chinese side expresses its support for Cambodia in hosting the next ASEM Summit. October 23
(1) President Xi Jinping has sent a congratulatory message to Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee (CPVCC), on his election as the Vietnamese President. (2) State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with Diplomatic Envoys of the Ten Countries of ASEAN in China at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse. China supports the construction of the ASEAN community and its active role in regional affairs. It is willing to work together to uphold multilateralism and the free trade system. They exchange views on the South China Sea issue and agree to promote the negotiation for the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC).
(1) State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with Special Envoy of President and Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan of Indonesia in Beijing. They are willing to carry out the integration of the BRI with the â€œGlobal Maritime Fulcrumâ€? strategy of Indonesia and the establishment of the joint committee for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Corridors as an opportunity to enhance cooperation. (2) Wang Yi meets with Former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim of Malaysia and congratulates him on his election as a member of the parliament again. China is the first country that Anwar Ibrahim visits after being elected to the parliament. They want to deepen friendship and
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bilateral cooperation in various fields such as innovation, investment, and culture. (3) Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen speaks to members of the Cambodian diaspora in Geneva, Switzerland on the concern with the influx of Chinese nationals in the kingdom, especially at Sihanouk Province. The data of the Ministry of Interiorâ€™s General Department of Immigration of Cambodia shows that there are about 210,000 Chinese nationals living in Cambodia. 70,000 of them live in Preah Sihanouk Province. Hun Sen argues that these Chinese come to the kingdom to fill in the gap in the construction labour market as Cambodia does not have enough skilled labour. Cambodia does not have any law that would allow them to stay after finishing their work. October 25
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits China to attend the first formal bilateral summit with President Xi Jinping in Beijing. They discuss how to improve economic cooperation and seek ties against the backdrop of trade friction with the US. They also discuss about a business forum for private sector cooperation in third countries, including projects in Thailand such as a high-speed railway project in the eastern part and smart city projects.
Thailand repatriates 17 people suspected of involvement in economic crimes, such as illegal fundraising to China. This is the cooperation among the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) of China, Chinese embassies in other countries, local law enforcement, and immigration forces to repatriate suspects to China.
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi pays an official visit to the Philippines. On October 28, Wang Yi visits Davao City, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterteâ€™s hometown. He meets with Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. They attend the opening ceremony of 20 The Chronology
China’s consulate general in Davao. China sets up this consulate general to enhance relations and broaden cooperation with Davao and the southern Philippines. On October 29, Wang Yi meets with President Rodrigo Duterte at the presidential palace in southern Davao. They express the willingness to work together for the joint construction of the BRI. They prepare for the scheduled high-level visits of both sides. The Chinese side welcomes and invites Rodrigo Duterte to come to China for the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) next year. They talk about the South China Sea dispute and agree to maintain peace and stability and speed up the consultation process of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC). Wang Yi holds talks with newly-appointed Foreign Secretary Teodoro Lopez Locsin. They sign bilateral agreements, covering infrastructure, law enforcement and humanitarian assistance. After the talks, they jointly meet the press. Wang Yi expresses four firm supports of China’s policy toward the Philippines, namely, supports for Philippines’ economy and social development, its national security and stability, its role in regional affairs, and peace and stability of the South China Sea. As for the South China Sea issue, Wang Yi and Teodoro Lopez Locsin consolidate the current momentum of cooperation between China and the Philippines. First, they will push for new breakthroughs in maritime cooperation. Second, they will establish and improve the mechanisms of maritime communication channels. Third, they will accelerate the process of the negotiation on the COC. Wang Yi also meets with Former Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and Secretary of Finance Carlos Dominguez and major members of the economic management team of the Cabinet of the Philippines in the same day. 21 The Chronology
President Xi Jinping sends a message of condolences to Indonesian President Joko widodo over the crash of the Lion Air plane with 189 people on board.
(1) President Xi Jinping meets with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Shanghai. They express their will to work together on high-level exchanges, China’s BRI, Vietnam’s “Two Corridors and One Economic Circle”, maritime peace and cooperation. Nguyen Xuan Phuc will attend the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) on November 5. (2) President Xi Jinping welcomes Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, who will attend CIIE in Shanghai on November 5. They would like to advance the China-Laos economic corridor and the ChinaLaos railway and promote the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC).
Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Fu Ziying and Singaporean Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing announce the upgrade of the ChinaSingapore Free Trade Agreement (CSFTA), China’s first agreement with an Asian country, after the sideline meeting of the CIIE in Shanghai. According to the CSFTA, all China’s exports to Singapore and 95 percent of Singapore’s exports to China enjoy zero tariffs.
Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan pays a visit to Singapore. He meets with Singaporean President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, vowing to deepen cooperation and keep opening-up to foreign investors
Sun Guoxiang, Special Envoy for Asian Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, meets with State Counsellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Aung San Suu Kyi at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nay Pyi Taw. He was assigned to negotiate between Myanmar government and northern ethnic armed 22 The Chronology
groups in the peace process. He discusses with Suu Kyi on the recent developments on peace and reconciliation process related to Rakhine State. He also holds separate meetings with Peace Commission Chairman Dr Tin Myo Win, Union Minister Kyaw Tint Swe, Vice Chair of National Reconciliation and Peace Center (NRPC) and Union Minister for International Cooperation Kyaw Tin. November 12-16
Premier Li Keqiang pays an official visit to Singapore at the invitation of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore, calling for joint efforts to encourage openness and deepen innovative cooperation. This is the first official visit by Chinese Premier to Singapore in 11 years. He also attends the 21st China-ASEAN (10+1) Summit, the 21st ASEAN Plus Three Summit (10+3), the 13th East Asia Summit (EAS) and the 2nd Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Leadersâ€™ Meeting. (see political affairs)
(1) Premier Li Keqiang and Lee Hsien Loong agree to upgrade the free trade agreement (FTA), including boosting bilateral cooperation in innovation and other areas, advancing the building of the New LandSea Corridor to facilitate transport and trade between the both sides. They have lifted the Guangzhou Knowledge City, a joint project for sustainable and knowledge-based city, to a nationallevel project. During the talks, they stress the support on China-ASEAN regional cooperation, the Code of Conduct (COC) on the South China Sea, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). They sign a series of cooperation documents on FTA upgrading, connectivity, finance, science and technology, environment, culture and customs after their talks. (2) Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Fu Ziying and Singaporean Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing jointly sign an upgraded bilateral free trade agreement in Singapore. The agreement includes the BRI for the first time. It stresses deepening bilateral cooperation between China and 23 The Chronology
Singapore, including China and ASEAN member countries, promoting regional development, and enhancing mutual prosperity. November 13
Premier Li Keqiang makes the remarks while addressing a welcoming banquet hosted by the Singapore Business Federation and the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, calling for enhancing economic cooperation between China and Singapore. He also delivers a speech titled “Pursuing Open and Integrated Development for Shared Prosperity” at the 44th Singapore Lecture, calling for global efforts to uphold free trade and multilateralism and reform measures to address problems that happen in the process of globalization. He stresses that China expects to complete talks on the COC within 3 years and finalise negotiations on the RCEP in 2019.
Premier Li Keqiang meets with Singaporean President Halimah Yacob. They are willing to work together to promote bilateral cooperation and deepen ties between China and ASEAN.
(1) Premier Li Keqiang meets with Myanmar’s State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi at the meeting on the sidelines of a series of leaders’ meeting on East Asian cooperation in Singapore. They discuss bilateral ties and vow to promote understanding and support joint development. (2) China and Brunei hold a series of cultural exchange activities in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei to boost their bilateral cooperation. The activities include the launching ceremony of the Splendid Chapters of Silk Road Cultures exhibition and the Brunei special issue of China Report ASEAN Magazine, China-Brunei media symposium (a seminar to discuss cooperation in news report, social media, and documentary production), the ChinaBrunei Friendly Exchange (the exchange views from entrepreneurs, scholars and other people sharing their own stories of the two sides friendship). 24 The Chronology
President Xi Jinping attends the 26th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea at the invitation of Prime Minister Peter O’Neil of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea. (see political affairs)
President Xi Jinping meets with Indonesian President Joko Widodo on the sidelines of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Papua New Guinea. They agree to promote bilateral cooperation on finance, e-commerce and cultural exchange, the development of China-ASEAN relations, maintain high-level communication, and push forward relevant cooperation with the BRI and Indonesia’s Vision of Global Maritime Fulcrum.
President Xi Jinping pays an official visit to Brunei, the first state visit of a Chinese President to the Southeast Asian country in 13 years. He meets and hold talks with Brunei’s Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah on November 19. They agree to upgrade ties to a higher level. The both sides issue a joint statement and sign several bilateral cooperation documents, including a plan to enhance cooperation under the BRI. China is willing to connect the BRI with Brunei’s Wawasan 2035, proposed in 2008 to promote economic diversification in the country. China supports the Brunei Darussalam-IndonesiaMalaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) cooperation and ASEAN. The two sides support the progress of cooperation in the energy sector and relevant enterprises in the area of maritime oil and gas resources. They reaffirm the commitment to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea and handle disputes through peaceful negotiations.
President Xi Jinping pays an official visit to the Philippines. He signed an article titled “Open Up a New Future Together foe China-Philippine Relations” published in the mainstream Philippine 25 The Chronology
newspapers on November 19. In his article, he called on working together with the Philippines to lift their bilateral cooperation to comprehensive strategic cooperation. During the visit, he meets and holds talks with Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte in Manila. They issue a joint statement and sign 29 cooperation documents in many areas, such as trade, finance, culture, and the BRI. They sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cooperation on Oil and Gas Development. They also agree to continue promoting maritime cooperation and manage disagreements through consultation. China supports the Philippines’ fight against drugs and terrorism, its role as the country coordinator for the China-ASEAN dialogue relations, and the BIMPEAGA cooperation. On November 21, Xi meets with the Philippines’ House of Representatives Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and President of the Senate Vicente Sotto III. They agree to further legislative exchanges and exchange experience in state governance. December 6
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with President of the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia Hun Many at the Great Hall of People, China. They express that this year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of China-Cambodia diplomatic relations. They would like to carry on their friendship and strengthen exchanges and cooperation.
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends and addresses the opening of the Symposium on the International Situation and China’s Foreign Relations in 2018, co-hosted by China Institute if International Studies and China Fund of International Studies in Beijing. In his speech, he expresses six keywords representing China’s diplomacy in 2018, including openness, cooperation, steady progress, standing at the forefront of our times, mission, and 26 The Chronology
steadfastness. (for details see document (R) in Part II: Selected Documentation) He also mentions about China’s major-country diplomacy in 2019. First, China will host the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) and the second China International Import Expo (CIIE). Second, China will advance friendship and cooperation with all countries through multipronged efforts. Third, China will safeguard peace and stability in the region and beyond. Fourth, China will take part in shaping global governance. Fifth, China will make more efforts to serve domestic agenda of reform and development. For China-ASEAN relation, Wang Yi says that the China-ASEAN comprehensive strategic partnership increases mutual trust and more positive outlooks. Moreover, the consultation on a code of conduct (COC) in the South China Sea has entered a fast track. December 12
Chairman of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee Li Zhanshu holds talks with President of the National Legislative Assembly of Thailand Pornpetch Wichitcholchai at the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, vowing to enhance parliamentary exchanges and cooperation to contribute to bilateral relations. Chinese side calls on the two countries to continue the synergy of the BRI and Thailand 4.0 strategy and Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi pays an official visit to Laos at the invitation of Lao Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith. He attends and cochairs the 4th Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.
The foreign ministers of six Mekong countries are in Laos to attend the 4th LMC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.
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(1) State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Lao Peopleâ€™s Revolutionary Party and President Bounnhang Vorachit in Vientiane. They want to work together to further enhance highlevel exchanges, support the BRI and the China-Laos Economic Corridor, and jointly host the China-Laos tourism year in 2019. The Lao side is willing to attend the second BRF in China next year and welcome more Chinese enterprises to the country. He meets with Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith on the same day. He also holds talks with Lao Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith. They jointly attend the signing ceremony of bilateral cooperation documents. (2) Wang Yi meets with Myanmarâ€™s Union Minister for International Cooperation U Kyaw Tin in Luang Prabang. They exchange views on the implementation of China-Myanmar Economic Corridor cooperation, the Northern Myanmar issue in Panglong Spirit and the China-Myanmar border area, the Rakhine State issue, and the LMC. U Kyaw Tin says that State Councilor Aung San Suu Kyi will attend the second BRF in China next year. (3) Wang Yi meets with Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai in Luang Prabang. They are willing to work together to speed up China-Thailand railway to achieve connection of China-Laos-Thailand railway and promote greater development of bilateral ties. Wang Yi congratulates Thailand as ASEAN chair and will support China-ASEAN relations, push forward the COC negotiations and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations. (4) Wang Yi meets with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong in Luang Prabang, expressing their support on the high-level exchanges, the LMC, bilateral economic and trade cooperation, including enhancing production capacity investment and industrial park. Hor Namhong says that Prime 28 The Chronology
Minister Hun Sen is willing to attend the second BRF in China next year. (5) Wang Yi meets with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh in Luang Prabang. They are willing to work together on the maritime issue, the LMC, and the strategic alignment of the BRI with the Two Corridors and One Economic Circle of Vietnam. December 24
President Xi Jinping sends a message of condolences to Indonesia counterpart Joko Widodo over a deadly tsunami that hit the coastal areas of Sunda Strait on December 22, killing at least 281 people. China provides assistance including the Red Cross to Indonesia, according to Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying.
(B) Political Affairs June 26-29
China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand completed the 71st joint patrol on the Mekong River. The mission was joined by 8 vessels and more than 200 law enforcement personnel. They conducted random inspections of ships and targeted drug trafficking along the Mekong River.
The Sixth China-Myanmar ministerial meeting on law enforcement and security cooperation is co-chaired by Chinese State Councilor Zhao Kezhi and Myanmarâ€™s Minister of Home Affairs Kyaw Swe in Beijing, China. They are willing to strengthen security cooperation in the BRI, deepen bilateral law enforcement and security. Kyaw Swe also meets with Guo Shengkun, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and head of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Central Committee.
Hainanâ€™s provincial ocean and fisheries regulators approve a document to allow individuals to use uninhabited islands up to 50 years for tourism and 29 The Chronology
construction purposes. Analysts stress that this can help to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea. It will benefit China in strengthening its territorial integrity in this area. July 24
The 72nd joint patrol on the Mekong River starts. There are 6 vessels and more than 100 law enforcement personnel participate in the mission. It aims to suppress crime in the region.
July 31-August 5
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends meetings for ASEAN Plus One (China), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), East Asia Summit (EAS), and ASEAN Plus Three (China, Japan, South Korea) in Singapore.
The ASEAN Plus Three Senior Officials’ Meeting and East Asia Summit Senior Officials’ Meeting are held in Singapore, making preparations for the upcoming Foreign Ministers’ Meetings. Assistant Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong attends these senior officials’ meetings.
The ASEAN-China Maritime Exercise, initially proposed by China, is held in Singapore’s Changi Naval Base as a tabletop exercise, focusing on cooperation in times of safety-related sea incidents. More than 40 naval and other military officers from 11 countries attend this exercise. The actual drills at sea will be held in October 2018.
The 51st ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting is held in Singapore, focusing on North Korea’s nuclear weapon programme and China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends the China-ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting to welcome the commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the ASEAN-China strategic partnership. He remarks that China-ASEAN cooperation will be elevated to a higher level on security affairs, innovation, people-to-people exchanges, and funding support.
30 The Chronology
He also remarks that China and ASEAN have approved on a single draft negotiating text of the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea. The draft text will serve as the basis of future COC negotiations. It proves that both sides will maintain peace and stability and reach regional rules. The draft will be discussed in September by the joint working group in Siem Reap, Cambodia, deliberating on the objectives, principles, and kinds of activities. China and ASEAN also look forward to the adoption of the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership Vision 2030 and the ASEAN-China Year of Media Exchanges in 2019. August 3
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh at the sidelines of ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and related meetings. They agree to properly handle maritime issues and implement the important consensuses reached by the leaders of both sides.
(1) State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends the 25th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. He expresses that China is pleased with the positive progress of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and the important progress of the negotiation on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea. He stresses that regional countries should unite and cooperate with each other, support free trade, oppose protectionism, and play a constructive role in the peace and stability of the region. China and ASEAN also adopt a statement of cooperation on disaster management initiated by China at the meeting. He urges non-regional countries to respect the efforts and achievements in peace and stability in the region. (2) Wang Yi attends the 8th East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, proposing 3 principles for future development of EAS. First, EAS should center on East Asia and uphold spirit of mutual respect, consensus-building, openness and inclusiveness. Second, EAS should balance between 31 The Chronology
social and economic development and political and security cooperation. Third, EAS should coordinate strategic communication and pragmatic cooperation. (3) Wang Yi attends the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of ASEAN Plus China, Japan and the Republic of Korea. Foreign ministers agree to speed up the negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and enhance the growth of the China-Japan-South Korea cooperation and the establishment of the ASEAN Community. August 9
As China has done some activities in the Paracel Islands including celebrations marking 6 years of “Sansha city”, installing wave monitoring devices on Woody Island, organising a reality TV show “Xisha by China”, and conducting a series of scientific surveys on the islands, Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Le Thị Thu Hang opposes China’s activities and asks to immediately stop them. She makes a remark that these activities violated Vietnam’s sovereignty and are contrary to the content of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.
China’s island-building has concerned neighboring countries including the Philippines. On August 10, Philippine military aircraft was warned off by the Chinese navy as it flew over China’s man-made islands, Subi Reef. President Rodrigo Duterte says with a soft tone in a speech to business entrepreneurs in the Philippines that China had no right to claim airspace above man-made islands.
The Central Military Commission (CMC) Meeting on Party Building is held in Beijing, China. President Xi Jinping remarks that the military should implement the Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and the spirit of the 19th Communist Party of China (CPC) National Congress. He calls for strengthening the leadership of CPC and Party building in order to build a strong military.
32 The Chronology
Director-General of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs of the Foreign Ministry Yi Xianliang holds talks with Deputy Head of National Border Committee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Phan Xuan Dung of Vietnam in Hanoi, Vietnam. They exchange in-depth views on China-Vietnam maritime issues and land border cooperation. They agree to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, implement the high-level consensus, and promote practical maritime cooperation.
(1) As Thailand is expected to organise a general election soon, Thai politicians criticise China because the military leaders want to use China’s model that could develop its economy without democracy. Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, the leader of the Future Forward party, said that this perspective indicates China’s influence in the country. Anutin Charnvirakul, the leader of Bhumjaithai party, also criticised China in the same way. One of his priorities is to act against China-backed high-speed rail projects in Thailand. (2) China’s Ministry of National Defense announces military exchange and cooperation plans that it will hold maritime military exercises with ASEAN countries in October in Zhanjiang, Guangdong Province, including the application of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea and maritime search and rescue operations.
The China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) starts building a Type S26T submarine for the Royal Thai navy. It is an important cooperation project of both sides contracted on May 5, 2017. CSIC will organise expert technicians to examine the quality of the project. China has a naval capacity to provide equipment, training courses on operating a submarine, and maintenance services.
China asks extra-regional countries of the South China Sea to respect and not damage peace and stability in the region, according to China’s Ministry 33 The Chronology
of Foreign Affairs after a Japanese submarine has conducted a drill in the area for the first time on September 13. Moreover, a British naval ship sailed into the territorial sea close to Xishan Islands without permission in August. British navy claimed this action as a freedom of navigation. China warned it to get out of the area and expressed strong dissatisfaction. September 18
The 74th joint patrol on the Mekong River by law enforcement agencies from China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand begins. It aims to reduce crime in the region and target drug trafficking along the river. It conducts random inspections of ships in waters near key regions such as the Golden Triangle. It is completed on 21 September.
The US Warship’s USS Decatur sails without permission into waters near the Spratly Island in the South China Sea. The Chinese Navy identifies and warns it to leave as it threatens China’s sovereignty and security, as well as peace and stability in the region.
(1) Malaysia has freed 11 Uighur detainees to Turkey on October 9 due to the respect to human rights, according to their lawyer, Fahmi Abdul Moin. They disregard China’s request to send the Uighurs back to China. These Uighurs escaped from jail in Songkhla, Thailand on November 20, 2017 and fled to Malaysia. (2) Li Zhanshu, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee meets with To Lam, Vietnamese Minister of Public Security and a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee to advance bilateral cooperation on law enforcement and security.
China and the Philippines hold the 3rd Meeting of the Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the South China Sea (BCM) held in Beijing. The Chinese delegation is 34 The Chronology
led by Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou and the Philippines delegation is led by DFA Undersecretary for Policy Enrique A. Manalo. Both sides acknowledge the importance of the BCM as a venue for enhanced and regular exchanges on bilateral relations. They reaffirm their commitment to the principles of freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea. The participants exchange views on current and other issues of concern and consider approaches to address these issues in a mutually beneficial way. They also agree that the meeting is fruitful and productive. October 18-20
The 5th ASEAN Defense Ministersâ€™ Meeting (ADMM)Plus and other sideline events are held in Singapore. It is attended by the Defense Ministers of ASEAN member countries and 8 partners, including China, Japan, India, Australia, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Russia, and the US. It issues two Joint Statements on Preventing and Countering the Threat of Terrorism and on Practical Confidence-Building Measures. China and ASEAN pledge to promote defense cooperation at the 9th China-ASEAN Defense Ministersâ€™ Informal Meeting, co-chaired by Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe and Singaporean Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen. Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe meets with US Defense Secretary James Mattis on the sidelines of the ADMM-Plus meeting. They agree to ease tension, deepen high-level ties, enhance trust, expand communication and manage disputes.
China and ASEAN hold the first ASEAN-China Maritime Field Training Exercise in Zhanjiang, Guangdong Province, aiming to enhance defense ties. The drill showcases the resolve and determination of China and ASEAN to safeguard regional peace and stability. It is co-organised by China and Singapore. The drill focuses on maritime safety, and search and 35 The Chronology
rescue at sea with an emphasis on the use of the Code of Unplanned Encounters at Sea. The six countries, including China, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei, and the Philippines, take turns commanding the exercise. Observers are from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos and Myanmar. 8 ships, 3 helicopters, 5 observers and more than 1,200 personnel from China and ASEAN countries participate in the exercise. October 22-29
China, Malaysia and Thailand hold a military drill named “Peace and Friendship 2018” in waters off Port Dickson and Port Klang, Malaysia. The drill aims to strengthen practical exchanges and cooperation to jointly respond to various security threats and maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea. A total of 1,339 military personnel, 592 from Malaysia, 693 from China and 54 from Thailand are involved in the exercise.
The South China Sea Buddhism Shenzhen Roundtable, initiated in 2016 as a platform to create conditions for jointly maintain peace and harmony of the countries in the South China Sea region, is held in Shenzhen, attending by Buddhist masters from 12 countries and regions. They call for joint efforts to sustain peace in the South China Sea and promote people-to-people exchanges in the region.
The United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council reviews China’s rights record in Geneva, Switzerland. Representatives of the UN and other countries ask China to stop the detention of Uighurs and members of other minorities and respect their freedom of religion, expression and association. However, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng defends that the detention is a reeducation camps for preventing people from terrorism and help them fit into the society.
The 33rd ASEAN Summit and related meetings are held in Singapore under the theme “Resilient and Innovative”, focusing on strengthening unity in 36 The Chronology
various areas. The opening ceremony is held on November 13. Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivers a speech, calling for upholding multilateralism and international cooperation in handling common challenges such as terrorism and climate change. Leaders from 10 ASEAN member countries and dialogue partners, including China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, and the US attend the meeting. At the meeting, participants review progresses made in integration and community building efforts, such as ASEAN Community Vision 2025, Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 (MPAC 2025), and Initiative for ASEAN Integration. The issues of the meeting include the COC, the development of the RCEP free trade pact, Myanmar’s Rakhine state, Indo Pacific framework, and peace on the Korean Peninsula. They adopt a number of key documents. On November 15, the ASEAN chairmanship handover ceremony takes place as Thailand will be the chairmanship of ASEAN in 2019 starting on January 1. Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha receives the symbolic gavel from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. He delivers a statement to announce the ASEAN theme of “advancing partnership for sustainability” at the closing ceremony of the summit. Premier Li Keqiang attends the 21st China-ASEAN (10+1) Summit, the 21st ASEAN Plus Three Summit (10+3), the 13th East Asia Summit (EAS) and the 2nd Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Leaders’ Meeting. The 21st China-ASEAN (10+1) Summit On November 14, Li attends the 21st China-ASEAN Summit, which is also held to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership. Lee Hsien Loong delivers opening remarks. He suggests that China and ASEAN 37 The Chronology
economies need to stay open and connected to sustain the economic dynamism. The two sides should implement the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area Upgrade Protocol to help businesses to have easier access to the Chinese market. At the meeting, China and ASEAN adopt the ChinaASEAN Strategic Partnership Vision 2030. It is a blueprint for the long-term development of bilateral ties. From the vision, they would like to achieve the goal of US$ 1 trillion in bilateral trade and US$150 billion in two-way investment by 2020. Li stresses that the vision could synergise the BRI with the ASEAN Vision 2025 for better coordination. The vision also reaffirms the commitment of both sides to work together on the negotiation of the RCEP and the COC. China and ASEAN agree to enhance collaboration in other areas, such as innovation, science and technology, smart cities, connectivity, e-commerce, digital economy, the China-ASEAN scholarship for people-to-people exchanges, the joint naval drills, and defense exchanges. The 2nd Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Leadersâ€™ Meeting On November 14, Li attends the 2nd RCEP Leadersâ€™ Meeting. The negotiations have 7 issues, comprising custom procedures and trade facilitation, state procurement, public health measures and crop healthcare, technical regulations, economic cooperation, SMEs and institutions as well as the establishment of joint committees on oversight, and supervision and monitoring. However, leaders still could not agree on key elements of the pact. They are determined to complete all negotiations by next year. Thailand as the ASEAN Chairman is expected to push ASEAN to finalise the negotiations on the RCEP. The 21st ASEAN Plus Three Summit (10+3) On November 15, Li attends the 21st ASEAN Plus Three (China, Japan, South Korea) Summit. He makes 38 The Chronology
remarks that China hopes that the negotiations on the RCEP and the China-Japan-South Korea free trade zone would continue in parallel. ASEAN plus three should work together to maintain free trade and multilateralism. The leaders agree to conclude the negotiations on the RCEP as soon as possible and expand the cooperation among China, Japan and South Korea with a fourth country. The 13th East Asia Summit (EAS) On November 15, Li attends the 13th East Asia Summit (EAS). He calls for equality-based consultation and mutual openness. To further regional cooperation, he proposes a 5-point proposal, including 1) adhere to multilateralism; 2) safeguard free trade; 3)make efforts to expedite regional economic integration; 4) boost regional cooperation on sustainable development; and 5) conduct political and security dialogue and cooperation. The leaders pledge to speed up the RCEP negotiations and adopt a statement on ASEAN smart cities and several documents. They also expect to finalise the COC within 3 years. November 17-18
The 26th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting is held under the theme “Harnessing Inclusive Opportunities, Embracing the Digital Future” in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. This is the first time that APEC prioritise the digital economy. President Xi Jinping attends the meeting at the invitation of Prime Minister Peter O’Neil of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea. He delivers a keynote speech at the summit and raises 5 proposals to better the future of the world economy, including 1) stay open and expand the scope of development; 2) pursue development in a way that delivers benefits to the people; 3) take an inclusive approach and promote interaction and cooperation; 4) pursue innovation to tap new sources of growth; and 5) take a rule-based approach to improve global governance. 39 The Chronology
The meeting has 3 priority areas, comprising improving digital connectivity and deepening regional economic integration, promoting inclusive and sustainable growth, as well as strengthening inclusive growth through structural reform. Leaders and representatives from 21 member economies attend the meeting. US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin were absent at the meeting. US Vice President Mike Pence attends the meeting instead. At the 30th APEC Ministerial Meeting on November 15, participants failed to agree on a joint statement as there were disagreements over the language on reforming the World Trade Organization (WTO) from two global powers, China and the US. As a result, the leaders are unable to agree on a joint statement because of the tensions between China and the US. This is the first time that the leaders fail to produce a joint summit declaration. The meetingâ€™s chair has to issue instead a statement. Chinese officials attempt to barge into the office of Papua New Guineaâ€™s foreign minister to influence a summit draft communique. They are denied entry and the police are called in. China denied that the incident took place. However, they agree to protect multilateralism and work against protectionism. They call for advancing the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP). November 19
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen denies the construction of a Chinese naval base in the Gulf of Thailand near Cambodiaâ€™s southwest coast, after rumours have been spread. He also received a letter from US Vice President Mike Pence, expressing concerns about this issue.
Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense General Wei Fenghe and his Vietnamese counterpart, General Ngo Xuan Lich hold the 5th 40 The Chronology
China-Vietnam high-level border exchanges between the two militaries. They hold a joint border patrol and joint exercise demonstrations and exchanges. Both sides are willing to work together to safeguard peace and security in the border area and uphold the consensus reached by the national leaders. November 20
Philippine opposition senators ask President Rodrigo Duterte to reveal the details of joint energy exploration plans with China. They are concerned with the areas that both countries claim, especially the Reed Bank. The joint exploration could risk affirming Chinese unlawful territorial claims in the South China Sea.
The 76th Mekong River joint patrol led by China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand is held from Guanlei Port, Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province, including anti-terrorism drills, police skill practices and an anti-drug campaign. This patrol is held once every month since 2011, targeting drug trafficking, smuggling and other cross-border crimes along the Mekong River.
USS Chancellorsville enters the Chinese territorial waters off the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea without permission. Navy and Air Force of the People’s Liberation Army Southern Theater Command monitors and verifies the ship, then warns it to leave, according to a spokesman of the command senior colonel Li Huamin.
November 30 December 1
The 13th G20 Leaders’ Summit is held in Buenos Aires, Argentina. President Xi Jinping delivers a speech entitled “Look Beyond the Horizon and Steer the World Economy in the Right Direction”, calling on member countries to commit to openness and cooperation, promote multilateralism and free trade. He has a dinner talk with US President Donald Trump. They reach consensus and agree not to impose new additional tariffs. The US side will suspend new tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods from 10 to 41 The Chronology
25 percent for 90 days as the two powers try to end a trade war. December 17
The 4th Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Foreign Ministers’ Meeting is held in Luang Prabang, Laos. The ministers from China, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand attend the meeting. It aims to implement the outcomes of the 2nd LMC Leaders’ Meeting, plan the next-stage development of the LMC, and prepare for the 3rd LMC Leaders’ Meeting. The participants support the open world economy and multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization (WTO). They reaffirm that LMC will be based on the principles of consensus, equality, and share benefits. They reiterate respect for the United Nations charters and international laws. They would like to promote the synergy of national development strategies and start the discussion on jointly building a LMC Economic Development Belt. At the meeting, State Councilor and Foreign Minister State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi proposes the six directions of development for future cooperation, including jointly building LMC Economic Development Belt, carrying out cooperation on production capacity, enhancing innovation cooperation, giving priority to improvement of people’s livelihood, deepening environmental protection, and upholding openness and inclusiveness. The members adopt the Joint Press Communiqué. They issue a progress report of the year 2018 on implementing the LMC Five-Year Action Plan, a list of the projects supported by LMC Special Fund in 2018, and a research report on the LMC economic development zone. They also release the anthem for the LMC.
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The 5th LMC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting will be held in December 2019 in China and the 3rd LMC Leaders’ Meeting in January 2020 in Laos. December 20
PLA Daily publishes an article summarizing top ten highlights of China’s military diplomacy in 2018, including (1) defense cooperation among Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) countries at the SCO defense ministers’ meeting; (2) Beijing Xiangshan Forum; (3) first-time participation in Russian military drill; (4) China-US pragmatic cooperation on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise in Nanjing, Jiansu Province; (5) China-ASEAN cooperation in defense and security; (6) PLA medical team’s treatment services in Laos; (7) Good grade at International Army Games 2018; (8) China-Africa defense and security cooperation; (9) “Horn of Peace” Military Band Festival; and (10) China’s naval escort mission spans a decade.
Several hundred Indonesian Muslim protesters demand China to end the mass detentions of Uighurs outside China’s embassy in Jakarta. The protest includes members of the Islamic Defenders Front vigilante group. They call on Chinese government to give Uighurs freedom to worship as Muslims and Indonesian government to provide action to help them. However, Indonesian government says that it has no right to interfere in the domestic affairs of China.
(C) Economic Affairs June 29
China Railway states that the Jakarta-Bandung highspeed railway (HSR) project has made significant progress, including the project licensing, financing, and land acquisition. It is the 142.3 kilometer-long railway project connecting Jakarta and Bandung jointly developed by a China-Indonesia firm consortium.
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(1) The National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce release the shortened negative list for free trade zones (FTZs) from 95 to 45 restricted sectors for foreign investors making it easier for foreign entry into the Chinese market and generating opportunities for Chinese companies to collaborate with foreign companies. (2) There are more than 200 Thai exhibitors that have registered to participate in the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) to be held on November 5-10 at the National Exhibition and Convention Centre in Shanghai, China. Thailand is one of the largest national exhibitor delegations and most of them are involved in food and agriculture, according to CIIE organiser.
June 30-July 2
Ministers from 16 Asia-Pacific countries, including 10 ASEAN countries, China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, and New Zealand, hold talks on the 5th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Intersessional Ministerial Meeting in Tokyo, Japan. They agree on the free trade talks by the end of this year to form a united front against the unilateralism and protectionism policies of the US. They want to conclude negotiations to create a regional free trade framework and seek the ways to narrow the gaps and differences in areas such as tariff reductions, intellectual property protection, and ecommerce.
China Railway Group Ltd and China Railway Construction Corporation Ltd have bought bidding documents for high-speed train linking Don MueangSuvarnabhumi-U-Tapao Airports project that is a part of Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), according to the State Railway of Thailand (SRT). The winner will be announced on November 13.
(1) The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) approves US$ 250 million loan to Indonesia for improving and developing water resources and irrigation systems in the country to support local 44 The Chronology
households. This project will also strengthen irrigation institutions and management. (2) Malaysia wants to reduce the cost of the 688kilometer East Coast Rail Link led by China Communication Construction Company (CCCC). It is a key part of the BRI. The final cost of this project is 81 billion ringgit (US$ 20 billion), including land acquisition, interest, fees and other operational costs, that is nearly 50 percent higher than that estimated by the previous government. Malaysia does not want to be indebted to China, according to Malaysia’s government. July 6
The paper.cn reports that Cambodia’s economic growth attracts more Chinese real estate enterprises and house buyers. Cambodia’s Land Planning and Construction Department reported that China has become the largest investor in Cambodia’s real estate industry. 70-80 percent of house buyers in Cambodia are Chinese. Most of them are from big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. According to World Bank’s report, Cambodia’s GDP maintained an annual growth of 7.6 percent between 1994 and 2015, closely related to China’s economic growth and assistance.
The 3rd Zhanjiang-ASEAN Agriculture Trade Fair is held in Zhanjiang, Guangdong Province, China, attracting more than 1,000 enterprises from 32 countries. The fair aims to advance cooperation and trade between China and ASEAN to a higher level as ASEAN is the largest export market of Zhanjiang since 2013. Cambodian rice and citronella, Chinese tea, and Indonesian coffee are the most popular products at the fair.
The Global New Light of Myanmar reports that its Commerce Ministry is negotiating with a consortium of 6 companies, led by the China International Trust and Investment Corporation (CITIC) to carry out a strategic deep-sea port in Kyaukphyu, western Rakhine state, Myanmar under the planned special 45 The Chronology
economic zone (SEZ). A Chinese consortium won a bid for the implementation of 2 projects, comprising an industrial park and a deep-sea port in December 2015. The Kyaukphyu deep-sea port project represents a part of the BRI. July 10
The data of the National Bureau of Statistics shows that the China’s consumer price index (CPI) rises 1.9 percent year on year in June. The main factors are lower price of fresh fruits and vegetables driven by abundant supply. China aims to keep annual CPI growth at around 3 percent this year. For China’s producer price index (PPI), it rises 4.7 percent year on year in June, beating market expectations of 4.5 percent.
(1) The China railway No. 8 Engineering Group (CRCE-8), responsible for the construction of the third section of the China-Laos Railway and the two cross-Mekong railway bridges completes the No. 21 pier foundation of the Luang Prabang railway bridge. It is the main shipping lane in the middle of Mekong River. It will pave the way for future construction. (2) At Bangkok, Thailand, Thai representatives of the Agriculture and Cooperative Ministry, Alibaba Group, and farmers’ cooperatives from Chanthaburi, Rayong, and Trat Province has signed a purchase deal for at least 3,000 tons of durian for sale through Tmall.com and stores in China next year.
Kongkiat Khuphongsakorn, president of a southern hotel association of Thailand, says that the Phuket’s hotel booking rate has fallen by 80-90 percent at Patong beach and by 50 percent across the province after the Phoenix boat accident. Chinese tourists cancelled around 7,300 rooms at 19 local hotels, worth over 7 million baht. The boat accident also affects other tourism sectors such as shuttle buses, tour boats, and local shops. However, he thinks that this would only have a short-term impact on visitors from other countries.
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cancellation problem after the boat accident in Phuket, Thailand. July 25
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) releases the 2018 Article IV Consultation with China report concludes that the Chinese economy continues to perform strongly. Chinaâ€™s GDP growth was 6.9 percent in 2017. It is projected to be 6.6 percent in 2018 by the IMF as a result of financial regulatory tightening and the softening of external demand. China has to work on many areas to achieve highquality growth such as de-emphasizing the growth target, reining in credit growth, and supporting consumption.
Alibaba, Chinaâ€™s e-commerce giant group, launches Global E-commerce Talents program (GET) at the 11th China-ASEAN Education Week in Guizhou Province, offering general theories and application-oriented courses for young people, and guiding small and medium entrepreneurs to learn competitive skills in global e-commerce. Alibaba cooperates with renowned universities and training agencies to nurture e-commerce professionals for China and ASEAN.
According to Reuters, Myanmar wanted to scale down the project size of the Kyauk Pyu deepwater port, a Chinese-backed project by CITIC Group in Rakhine state as Myanmar was afraid to be indebted and overreliant on China. The negotiations were ongoing. The price will be cut from US$7.3 billion to US$1.3 billion. This project is one of the key parts of the BRI.
(1) The Tourism and Sports Ministry of Thailand predicted that Chinese arrivals to Thailand could fall by 5-8 percent year on year in August because of the Phuket boat accident. 600,000 Chinese tourists cancelled trips to Thailand in July, losing 37 billion baht of revenue. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will encourage Chinese tourists back to Thailand during Golden Week on October 1-7. It plans to bring Chinese media to visit Phuket Province in 48 The Chronology
(3) According to the Thai Condominium Association, Chinese buyers are dominating the Bangkok property market. One-third of buyers was from mainland China and Hong Kong, even though they paid a 10-20 percent higher price than Thai buyers. These Chinese buy condominiums for rent to a tour agent or using them as an Airbnb. They invest in Thai properties through joint ventures with Thai firms. August 9
(1) The Khmer Times reported that the Cambodian government has signed a deal to approve Longmate Agriculture Co, a Chinese-owned firm, to invest in a banana plantation in Kampot Province. The firm will invest in packaging facilities as well. Kampot, Ratanakkiri, and Katie Province can produce bananas up to 14,000 tons in 5,000 hectares of land. (2) Tong Thai Group has produced ts-fang.com, the first full-service Chinese-language property trading website, for Chinese buyers who want to buy properties in Thailand. It provides property information and categories, and consulting services for the Chinese people, focusing on Chinese expatriates in Thailand and Chinese investors in China.
According to the data from the Ministry of Commerce of China, it showed that the revenue of Chinese firms from engineering projects in the Belt and Road countries rose 17.8 percent in the first half of 2018, totaled US$38.95 billion. It accounted for 53.5 percent of the countryâ€™s total. The primary destinations of the direct investment were mostly in Southeast Asia countries such as Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia.
Thailandâ€™s Transport Ministry officials have confirmed that the auctions for the construction contracts of the first phase of the Thai-Chinese highspeed railway project will commence by the end of this year. This project is 252.5 kilometer long from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima and costs 179 billion 50 The Chronology
baht. It has been separated into 14 contracts, using design and constructions blueprints from China. August 16
BYD, Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer, delivers 101 electric taxis in Bangkok, Thailand. The Department of Land Transport of Thailandâ€™s Transport Ministry holds the delivery ceremony. This is also the first time for the Thai government agency to host an event of a car maker. BYD is expected to use its EV cars to connect the three provinces (Chonburi, Chachoengsao, and Rayong) in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).
The Tourism and Sports Ministry of Thailand reports that there are about 3.2 million foreigners visiting Thailand in July, representing a growth of 2.9 percent compared with the same period in 2017. China remained on top of arrivals. However, Chinese arrivals drop 0.9 percent in July. This is the first drop since May 2017 because of the boat accident in Phuket. The officials expect that Chinese tourists will come back on the Golden Week holiday in October.
(1) The 6th Thailand-China Joint Committee on Trade, Investment and Economic Cooperation and ThailandChina Business Forum 2018 are co-chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak and Chinese State Councilor Wang Yong. About 400 business leaders and chief executives from 40-50 leading Chinese firms and Thai counterparts attend the meeting, focusing on deeper strategic cooperation through the BRI and the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). Thailand and China sign 5 MOUs for the EEC scheme, expecting the value of trade and investment between two countries to reach US$140 billion by 2021. Wang Yong also visits U-Tapao Airport and Laem Chabang seaport in Chonburi Province and Amata City and Industrial Estate and WHA Industrial Estate in Rayong Province. (2) CP Land, Charoen Pokphand Groupâ€™s property arm, with Guangxi Construction Engineering Group of China is teaming up with the Industrial Estate 51 The Chronology
Authority of Thailand (IEAT) to set up CPGC Industrial Estate in EEC in Rayong Province, aiming at Chinese-speaking investors. The project estimated investment is more than 60 billion baht. It will be financed by the joint venture’s capital and borrowings. August 27
President Xi Jinping presides over the symposium marking the 5th anniversary of the BRI. He stresses that BRI is aimed to benefit people in the countries along the routes, share growth and promote win-win cooperation. It is not meant to be a ‘China Club’. It also does not aim at a military alliance. He would like to carry out more projects and address key issues related to major projects, financial support, investment environment, risk management and security. Trade between China and BRI countries reaches US$5 trillion in 5 years, according to a press release of the State Council Information Office.
According to China’s General Administration of Customs, China’s foreign trade went up 9.1 percent year on year in the first eight months of 2018. Trade with ASEAN countries and BRI countries increased by 11.8 percent and 12 percent year on year, respectively.
The China Tourism Academy (CTA) together with Ctrip and thepaper.cn release a report. It shows that there are 71.3 million Chinese tourists travelling abroad in the first half of 2018, an increase of 15 percent year on year. Thailand is the most popular destination, followed by Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Russia.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) on ASEAN 2018 is held in Hanoi, Vietnam under the theme “ASEAN 4.0: Entrepreneurship and the Fourth Industrial Revolution”. Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua attends the forum at the invitation of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc of Vietnam. The forum focuses on the adaptation of economies to the disruptive
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technologies such as artificial intelligence, and automation that can replace human jobs. At the opening ceremony, Hu makes the remarks that China is ready to work with ASEAN and other countries to develop an innovative, open, interconnected and inclusive global economy. He warns at the Forum that protectionism poses a serious hazard to economic growth and affects the global trading system. The participants agree that ASEAN should boost intra-ASEAN trade to help protect them from the USChina trade tensions. ASEAN unity and economic integration are the key factors. They call on ASEAN to strengthen collaborative resilience. On September 12, leaders of Mekong countries reiterate a vision of the vital waterway and prioritizes complementarity over competition. They declared their commitment to share prosperity and peace. September 13
Bank of China Ltd (BOC) has signed a cooperation agreement with the government of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to build an open financial gateway to ASEAN. On the same day, BOC (Hong Kong) Ltd, a subsidiary of BOC, signs a cooperation agreement with the municipal government of Nanning to set up the Hong Kong subsidiaryâ€™s Southeast Asia business operations center. BOC has provided corporate finance and retail banking services for ASEAN since 1936. It has 48 branches and 8 visa centers in ASEAN countries.
China finishes the 230 KV Thavieng S/S-Laksao S/S and 115 KV Nam Phay HPP-Thongkoun2 S/S Transmission Lines Project in Laos. This project is a cooperation between the Lao state corporation, Electricite du Laos (EDL) and the Chinese EPC contractor, NORINCO International Cooperation Ltd. It received preferential loans from the Chinese government during construction. It aims to develop
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Lao electricity sector and improve Lao people’s living standard. September 20
Thailand expected more export opportunities to replace Chinese products in the US market after the latest round of an additional tariff worth US$200 billion of Chinese goods, according to the Commerce Ministry. The high-potential products are colored rice, rubber block, coconuts, mangoes, natural honey and so on. The report by Siam Commercial Bank’s Economic Intelligence Unit showed that the negative effect from the US-China trade war on Thai exports remains limited. In contrast, it may be an indirect positive effect on the relocation of certain manufacturing bases in both countries to Thailand.
According to Chenkai Ling, vice-president of corporate strategy and investment head of JD.com International, JDThai grew five times faster than expected since its launching in June. The top 6 items for Chinese buyers are snacks, beverages, textiles, frozen food, pet care products and beauty products. The company is looking for more Thai products to sell on its online platform with the cooperation from Central Group of Thailand.
Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports statistics showed that Chinese mainland tourists visiting Thailand decreased 11.77 percent in August compared with August last year. They contributed US$1.61 billion to the country, a drop of 7.21 percent. For the first 8 months this year, 7.72 million Chinese mainland tourists visited the country, an increase of 16.51 percent compared with the same period last year. They contributed US$13 billion, an increase of 22.17 percent year on year.
(1) Asian Development Outlook (ADO), originally published in April, is updated in September by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The updated ADO 2018 keeps its gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast for China this year unchanged at 6.6 percent because of domestic consumption, supply-side 54 The Chronology
reform, and monetary and fiscal support. However, the report warns that the prolonged trade dispute with the US will affect confidence and investment in the region. For Thailand, the updated ADO 2018 has raised its economic growth forecast to 4.5 percent this year after a strong growth of 4.8 percent in the first half of this year. (2) Four steel bridges funded by Laos-China Railway Project are completed. They connect Samakhixay District to Sanamxay District in Attapue Province where the flood hit as a result of the collapse of the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy dam on July 23. The construction began on August 18, aiming to improve the transportation of relief materials and other supplies to the victims in the disaster zone. Minister of Public Works and Transport Bounchanh Sinthavong, Chinese Ambassador to Laos Wang Wentian, Deputy Governor of Attapeu Souksamai Chanthamath, and officials of both sides attend the opening ceremony. (3) The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism reports that 3.8 million Chinese visitors visit the country in 9 months this year, up 29.7 percent year on year. September 28
The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) issues the draft Terms of Reference (TOR) for the construction of the second section of the first phase of China-Thailand high-speed railway project in Nakhon Ratchasima. This section is estimated to cost 3.35 billion baht (US$101.51 million) for 11-kilometer section between the Sikhio and Kudchik areas. The TOR calls for bidding and will announce a winning contractor in November.
(1) The Revenue Department of Thailand has announced three 7-Eleven convenience stores in Bangkok, namely Lido (Siam Square), Bangkok Night Bazaar, and Yaowarat, to offer services for valueadded tax (VAT) refunds to foreign tourists from October 1, 2018 to the end of March 31, 2019. It aims to promote tourism and touristâ€™s spending in the 55 The Chronology
country. These 3 convenience stores have great technology system and locations. (2) Maj-General Surachate Hakpal starts his job as a new head of Thai immigration. He has begun implementing anti-corruption message in immigration. He has announced the end to the practice of border officials taking bribes of 300 baht. The permanent signs “No Tips Please” were posted at airports. October 2
Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat has a meeting with the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) and business sector about the decline of Chinese tourists coming to the country. There are several factors, including the boat capsizing in Phuket in July, the warnings of dengue fever, and the recent assault on a Chinese tourist at Don Mueang Airport. Weerasak says that he was considering double entry and free visa to boost Chinese arrivals. The ATTA expects the Chinese arrivals in Thailand will decrease 10 percent during the Golden Week, a possible loss of 2.1 billion baht compared with last year. The data of the Tourism and Sports Ministry shows that Chinese arrivals dropped 12 percent month on month in August, from 983,212 to 867,461, but the total still goes up by 16 percent to 7.7 million from January to August, compared with the same period last year.
The number of Chinese tour groups arriving in Phuket drops 50 percent because of the boat tragedy in July and safety worries, according to the Phuket Tourism Association. Association President Phumkit Raktae-ngam suggests that the government need to solve this problem at the root cause and increase safety guarantees that could return Chinese tourists back within six months.
(1) China has been the country with most outbound tourists in annual terms since 2013, according to 56 The Chronology
China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Its outbound tourism market is estimated to increase by 5 percent annually on the average in the coming year. The number of outbound tourists will be 157 million in 2020, according to the China Tourism Academy, a think tank under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. (2) The data of Ctrip, one of the biggest travel websites in China, showed that Japan is the top choice for Chinese tourists during the Golden Week. This is the first time Thailand has lost its top destination status. October 8
(1) Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak calls for speeding up the Thai-Chinese high-speed railway from Bangkok to Nong Khai as it is behind schedule. The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has not yet finalised investment for the second phase of the project and the bidding for the rest of the construction was delayed for 2 months. However, the SRT insists that the project could be finished by 2024 as initially scheduled. (2) The World Economic Outlook Report shows that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cuts its outlook for global GDP to 3.7 percent for 2018 and 2019 as the trade tension between China and the US affects global economy. China’s economic growth is forecast to slow to 5.6 percent as the government shifts to support a more sustainable growth path and addresses financial risks, according to the IMF.
Chinese made nearly 7 million outbound trips during the Golden Week from October 1-7, up 8.2 percent year on year, according to Chinese National Immigration Administration’s report. Ctrip’s report shows that Thailand remained the most popular destination for Chinese tourists, followed by Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Singapore. There were 7.7 million Chinese tourists visiting Thailand in the first 8 months. The report also said that Chinese tourists paid more attention to the experience of the local cultural and folk activities. 57 The Chronology
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) collaborated with Ctrip and Fliggy, the online travel platform of Alibaba, to launch 11/11 campaign or Bachelor Day promotion on November 11, aiming to promote tourism in Thailand via the social media and attract Chinese tourists to visit the country during November and December. The TAT plans to promote a New Yearâ€™s countdown event in Pattaya for Chinese tourists as well.
Thailand ranked second in Alipayâ€™s transaction volume, after Hong Kong, and ranked the top in Southeast Asia. The average spending per user was 7,501 baht. Chinese tourists used Alipay at convenience stores, duty-free shops, and drugstores in Thailand. The transaction in Suvarnabhumi airport ranked the third among all airports in the world, after Hong Kong airport and Changi airport of Singapore. Nowadays, Chinese tourists could also pay for taxi rides in Thailand by Alipay.
(1) The Cambodian Tourism Ministry reports that the number of Chinese tourists visiting Cambodia was more than 1.27 million during the first 8 months of this year, up 72 percent from the same period last year. It accounted for 32.4 percent of the international arrivals to the country. (2) The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) publishes the latest investment trends monitor. It shows that China is the largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the first half of 2018, an increase of 6 percent.
(1) Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak chairs a joint meeting with Commerce Ministry officials, international commercial counsellors, and the business sector. The government has set the export growth at 8 percent for 2019 despite the risk factors affecting domestic production costs, including a global economic slowdown, higher world oil prices, and the escalating trade dispute between China and 58 The Chronology
the US. The participants suggest that Thailand needs to seek for more new markets and new free trade agreements with potential countries to help the country from the negative impact of a trade war. (2) From the meeting, the government plans to exempt visa on arrival fees during November and December this year. They also consider to cancel the 2,000-baht visa fee for Chinese visitors. Mr. Somkid has authorised the Immigration Office to give free visa on arrival for 21 nations. This measure aims to increase the number of visitors to Thailand, especially Chinese visitors. The Immigration Office plans to provide an e-visa application and e-payment in the future to decrease the congestion and increase visa handling capacity. October 19
Chinaâ€™s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reports that Chinaâ€™s GDP growth decreases to 6.5 percent in July to September period because of the trade tension with the US and the campaign to battle with debt in the country. However it is still in line with the growth target of 6.5 percent this year.
The representatives of Shanghai Thai Rubber Co sent a letter to the Rubber Authority of Thailand (RAOT), asking for leasing 20,000 rai of rubber plantation land in Nakhon Si Thammarat for 30 years in a meeting with rubber farmers at Prince Songkla University. According to Agriculture Minister Grisada Boonrach, the request is likely to be rejected because the area is not in a special economic zone that can be leased. The RAOT also must take into account the interests of the farmers.
The Commerce Ministry of Thailand reports that the customs-cleared exports in September fell 5.2 percent year on year, due to a gold export decrease, a large base last year, and the impact of the China-US trade war. Thai exports to China contracted 14.1 percent while imports rose 9.9 percent year on year last month. However, the Ministry is maintaining its export growth target of 8 percent this year. The Fiscal 59 The Chronology
Policy Office (FPO) is maintaining its economic growth forecast at 4.5 percent this year, as Southeast Asian countries have an opportunity for the relocation of Chinaâ€™s and the USâ€™s production bases during the trade war. October 23
As the mobile cabinet meeting will take place in Chiang Mai on October 29-30, representatives of Chiang Raiâ€™s business community plan to call on the government to ease cross-border regulations that restrict on foreign-registered vehicles travelling into the country. The regulations were imposed by the Transport Ministry in June 2016. As a result, the number of Chinese tourists dropped. They also ask for a one-stop service centre in Chiang Khong, exempt of duty for goods exported by boat, waiver of visa fees at special border checkpoints, creation of a joint centre to improve security along the Mekong River, and establishment of the Northern Economic Corridor.
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak says that the new tourism measures will be announced in November to attract tourists back to Thailand, especially from China. The exemption of the visa fee and double-entry visas would be implemented in a few months. He also plans to visit China in early November to promote Chinese investment and tourism in Thailand.
The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism reports that the number of Chinese arrivals to Vietnam is 4.2 million in the first 10 months of this year, accounting for 32.6 percent of the total international arrivals.
(1) Thai Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong said that Chiang Khong district in Chiang Rai Province is highly likely to be chosen to develop the first crossborder special economic zone (SEZ) in the Golden Triangle under the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) scheme. This aims to expand economic links among Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, and China. This area 60 The Chronology
could also link the four countries on the R3A highway. The government was studying the feasibility of this SEZ since September this year. They plan to hold discussions with the governments of the three countries on the improvement of logistics, transport efficiency, e-commerce, and the BRI ties with China in the future. (2) PetroChina International (Yunnan) Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of PetroChina group, exports the first tanks of more than 64 ton diesel to Laos at Boten, the Laos-China border town, after studying and preparing to get into the Lao fuel market since 2016. The importer is the Nationwide Trading Petroleum Public Company of Laos (NTP). Laos mostly imported petroleum products from or through Thailand and Vietnam before. Therefore, China is the new petroleum importing source and route for Laos. November 1
Trade between Thailand and China under the ASEANChina Free Trade Agreement rises to US$39.39 billion in the first half of 2018, up 13 percent for the same period in 2017, according to the Trade Negotiations Department of the Commerce Ministry of Thailand. From the total trade value, Thailand exports to China were US$ 14.93 billion and Thailand imports from China were US$24.46 billion.
The first China International Import Expo (CIIE) is held at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai. President Xi Jinping delivers a keynote speech at the opening ceremony. He proposes that all countries should be committed to opening-up and oppose protectionism and unilateralism. He vows to boost the nationâ€™s total imports to more than US$40 trillion in the next 15 years and warn that US protectionism will be negative effects to the global free trade system. China organises this expo as a sign of its open market to the world. 18 heads of state and government and over 3,600 companies from more than 170 countries and regions attend the expo.
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The Hongqiao Internation Economic and Trade Forum is also held this day under the theme â€œSpurring New Vitality of Global Trade, Creating an Open and Win-win Scenarioâ€?. It has 3 sessions, including trade and opening, trade and innovation, and trade and investment. Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, who visits China for 4 days to discuss on trade and tourism, gives a speech at this forum. He vows to support Chinaâ€™s policy on global free trade and strengthen economic ties. November 5
Thai Commerce Ministry Sontirat Sontijirawong discusses with Jack Ma, the founder of the Chinese largest e-commerce group, Alibaba, in Shanghai to apply the Taobao Village model to battle poverty in Thai communities. The Taobao Village is the online marketplace with clusters of rural online entrepreneurs opening shops. It began to emerge in China since 2009. Thailand aims to expand cooperation with Alibaba in 2 areas, comprising more agricultural items to sell in Tmall and cooperation with Hema, the cashless supermarket run by Alibaba that Thailand will supply with fresh farm products.
(1) The Thai Cabinet approves free visa on arrival for tourists from 21 countries from November 15, 2018 to January 31, 2019. They waive the 2,000-bath fee for visitors staying in the country for no more than 15 days. This aims to stimulate the tourism sector and bring back tourists, especially from China, to the country. The government hopes that the number of tourists will increase by at least 30 percent. There were 28.54 million visitors visiting Thailand in the first 9 months this year, up 8.7 percent year on year. The number of Chinese tourists rose 13.3 percent year on year in the same period but dropped 8.8 percent year on year in the third quarter. (2) Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak holds talks with Jack Ma, the founder of Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba, on various issues of economic cooperation in Shanghai. He asks Ma to help promote Thailand to Chinese people. As a result, 62 The Chronology
Alibaba will launch a 20-second video on its website on November 11 or “Single Day” campaign to encourage Chinese tourists to travel to Thailand. They also talk about investment in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) and China’s demand for Thai fruit. During Somkid’s China trip, he also meets with Chinese State Councilor Wang Yong and Vice Premier Han Zheng in Beijing. November 7
(1) The Thai National Shippers’ Council (TNSC) maintains its export growth forecast of 5 percent next year, while the Commerce Ministry expects 8 percent because of a threat of the US-China trade dispute. According to the Commerce Ministry’s report, custom-cleared exports in September fell 5.2 percent year on year. (2) Thailand and China sign a comprehensive framework agreement to enhance trade and economic partnership, including 7 key areas: trade, investment, science and technology, digital, tourism, finance, and regional economic cooperation. They aim to increase two-way trade to US$140billion by 2021. The bilateral trade in the first 9 months of 2018 was US$45.71 billion, up 11.6 percent from the same period last year.
China’s state-run CITIC Group signs the framework agreement with the Kyaukpyu Special Economic Zone Management Committee, led by Myanmar Planning and Finance Deputy Minister Set Aung in Nay Pyi Taw to move forward a deep-sea port project after years of negotiation since 2015. Earlier proposals for the project was US$7.3 billion for the port, which China has 85 percent share, but Myanmar officials were concerned with the debt-trap and overreliance on China. Therefore, Chinese stake is down to 70 percent and Myanmar holds 30 percent. The first phase of the project costs US$1.3 billion.
Data of the General Administration of Customs of China showed that China’s foreign trade totaled US$3.61 trillion in the first 10 months of 2018, up 63 The Chronology
11.3 percent from the same period last year. Exports grew 7.9 percent and imports rose 15.5 percent from the same period in 2017. Trade with the EU, the US, ASEAN, Japan and other major markets rose and trade with BRI countries has higher growth than the overall rate. November 13
(1) Thai Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong said Thailand proposed to have cooperation between China and multilateral linkages, including the PanPearl River Delta, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay area, the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC), the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), and the Ayeyawady-Chao Praya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS). This aims to attract more Chinese investment and tackle the impact from the US-China trade dispute. Thailand wants to push forward the signing of economic cooperation between China and ACMECS and organise meetings between them. (2) Thai Cabinet approves the â€œAmazing Thailand Grand Sale: Passport Privilegesâ€? campaign, running from November 15, 2018 to January 15, 2019 and agrees in principle to stimulate tourism, according to Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat. They also allow a double-entry visa for 6 months at the same fee of 1,000 Baht per person. A re-entry is permitted to facilitate foreign tourists who visit neighboring countries to return to the country without making another request. These measures aim to meet the goals of 38 million foreign visitors and 2 trillion Baht in foreign tourism revenue for 2018.
Trade volume between Thailand and China under a free trade agreement (FTA) reached US$59.15 billion in the first 9 months, up 9.9 percent from the same period last year. Total value of exports to China was US$22.24 billion, according to the Foreign Trade Department, under the Commerce Ministry of Thailand.
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(1) Data of the Philippine Department of Tourism showed that the number of Chinese tourists to Southeast Asian countries rose to 970,000 during the first 9 months, surpassing the full year total of 2017. China is the second-largest source of tourists to visit the Philippines, following South Korea. Chinese touristsâ€™ growth was 34.9 percent and shared 18.14 percent of total international arrivals in 9 months. (2) The Commerce Ministry of Thailand remains its export growth forecast of 8 percent in 2019 to US$276.01 billion, despite the lower forecasts of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) on November 19 decreasing 2018 GDP growth to 4.2 percent from 4.2-4.7 percent range and export outlook to 7.2 percent growth from 10 percent. International Trade Promotion Directorgeneral Banjongjit Angsusingh sayst that Thailand does not have to fear the impact of the US-China trade row as the products are still seeing higher demand.
(1) The number of visitors to Thailand was 2.71 million in October, down 0.51 percent year on year, the first drop since early 2017, because of the falling numbers of Chinese tourists, according to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports. There were 646,000 Chinese tourists visiting Thailand in October, a drop of 19.8 percent in October last year. The revenue from the Chinese market fell by 16.5 percent. However, Chinese tourists remained the largest group of visitors in October this year. (2) The Commerce Ministry of Thailand announces that Thai exports rise 8.7 percent year on year in October. Export value in the first 10 months expands at 8.2 percent year on year, beating the target of 8 percent. Exports to the US market maintained positive growth at 7.2 percent last month and exports to China were back on track with growth of 3 percent.
The Lancang-Mekong tourist cities forum is held in Sanya, Hainan Province, focusing on discussing the opening of new air routes, cruise routes and creating 65 The Chronology
more tourism products. It promotes cooperation on trade, investment, and the capacities of high-end tourism services. Delegations from 26 cities in the six member countries attend the forum. November 28
Tourist arrivals to Thailand increase 20 percent in the second half of November, as a result of the government’s visa fee waivers, according to the Tourism and Sports Ministry of Thailand.
Thailand’s Consular Affairs Department announces that the Department, joined with Kasikornbank, will launch the first e-visa service on February 15, 2019 and Beijing will be the first to be able to access the service. As a result, Chinese tourists do not need to fill out the form at the embassy and go through the process. They can do it online at www.thaievisa.go.th and pay the visa fees via Kasikornbank’s secure epayment system. The service will be expanded to other Chinese cities on March 1, 2019 and the UK and France on April 1, 2019. All Thai embassies and consulates-general will offer the service within 3 years.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT), and the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) have organised 3 events in the first half of 2019 to attract and increase arrivals from mainland China. The first event, titled “We Care about You”, is a mango sticky rice welcome party held on January 20, 2019, aiming to boost tourism and promote traditional Thai dessert. Other two events are a mega run, held in Pattaya in April 2019 and a make-up activities, held in June 2019.
The 18th China-Vietnam Border Trade Fair is held in Hekou, Yunnan Province. The activities include product display, an economic and trade cooperation forum, a major projects signing ceremony, and other activities. The exhibitors from other countries, such as Thailand, Indonesia, and South Korea also join the
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event. The event has been organised annually in Hekou and Lao Cai, Vietnam since 2001. December 5
The Thai Chamber of Commerce forecasts the country’s GDP to grow at 4-4.3 percent and the exports will expand 5-7 percent in 2019 as a result of internal factors, such as weaker local purchasing power and falling crop prices, and external factors, such as the fallout from Brexit and the ongoing ChinaUS trade war.
China’s foreign trade volume rises 15.6 percent in the first 11 months, according to Gao Feng, spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce of China. The foreign trade growth in 2019 will have strong support despite external uncertainties, such as protectionism and unilateralism. China’s foreign trade with ASEAN countries accounted for 12.7 percent of total trade volume, up 18.5 percent compared with last year, in the first 10 months of this year.
According to China’s customs administration data, export growth slowed in November, as exports rose 5.4 percent year on year and imports rose 3 percent year on year. The trade was affected by the trade war with the US, its battling with the country’s debt and the falling of infrastructure investment.
Alibaba visits the Rubber Authority of Thailand (RAT) and asks RAT to gather and certify sources of natural rubber supply, as it will provide an auction system for Chinese buyers of Thai rubber in China. They expect the project to produce annual sales of at least 200,000 ton of rubber.
Thailand’s Commerce Ministry signs a letter of intent (Lol) with International Merchandise Exchange and Exhibition (IMX), a subsidiary of Chinese conglomerate King Wai Group (KWG), to establish a strategic partnership to give 48,000 Thai SMEs access to the China market via online and offline channels. KWG will find high-quality products from Thailand with help from the Commerce Ministry’s Department 67 The Chronology
of International Trade Promotion (DITP) for Chinese buyers. IMX operates four exhibition centers across China, namely Tianjin, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Chengdu. This is a good opportunity for Thailand to promote products and services. The 3 most popular Thai products are food, cosmetics, and fashion items. December 17
(1) Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen inaugurates the 400-megawatt Lower Sesan II hydropower dam in Stung Treng Province. It is a joint venture of China’s Hydrolancang International Energy with 51 percent stake, Cambodia’s Royal Group with 39 percent stake, and Vietnam’s EVN International with 10 percent stake. The dam will help increase the country’s energy capacity, reduce energy imports, and support industrial expansion. This is the biggest and the seventh Chinese-built hydropower dam in Cambodia. However, the dam will damage the biodiversity of the Mekong River, the people’s livelihood, and the ability to catch fish. (2) China’s Yunnan Provincial Tourism Investment Co., LTD and Thailand’s New Chiang Saen Group Co., LTD sign 3 documents at the Chiang Saen port to develop boat trip service along the Mekong River. They will promote a single-day trip boat service that take tourists to visit Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar. They will launch a boat service from Chiang Saen port to Jinhong, Yunnan Province, Luang Prabang of Laos, and Kengtung of Myanmar. The Chinese company would like to boost tourism cooperation in line with Thailand’s vision of “the five Chiang cities, four countries”, including Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Luang Prabang (Chiang Thong), Kengtung (Chiang Tung), and Jingjong (Chiang Rung).
Thailand announces that Chinese visitors to the country hit 10 million for the first time. He Weixin, the 10 millionth Chinese visitor, comes from Yunnan Province to Suvarnabhumi Airport. The number of Chinese arrivals to Thailand totaled 9 million in the first 10 months of 2018.
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The annual Central Economic Work Conference is held in Beijing. President Xi Jinping delivers a speech, reviews economic work in 2018, analyses the current economic situation, and presents the plan for 2019.
(1) Thailand’s Commerce Ministry plans to increase the export volume to China to US$100 billion by 2027, focusing on high potential provinces and cities, such as Guangdong, Shanghai, Shandong, Beijing, and Henan, after the study by the Trade Policy and Strategy Office showed that Thailand’s exports to those provinces and cities remained below their full capacity. Moreover, the government will promote closer links between the BRI and the EEC and attract more investment. (2) The report of the Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) shows that the number of Chinese tourists visiting the country was nearly 1.06 million in the first 10 months, accounting for 18.02 percent of the total foreign tourists. China is the second largest number of visitors of the Philippines.
According to Thailand’s Commerce Ministry, the value of exports fell 0.95 percent year on year in November to US$21.24 billion because of the trade war between China and the US. Imports increases by 14.66 percent to US$22.41billion in November. In the first 11 months, exports expanded by 7.29 percent to US$232.72 billion and imports up by 14.77 percent to US$231.34 billion. Trade surplus was US$1.38 billion in this period.
Thailand wants to start applying the Taobao Villafe model in Ban Na Kha, Muang District, Udon Thani Province and Phu Khae, Chalerm Phrakiat District, Saraburi Province in February 2019 after the minister visited China and held talks with Jack Ma, the founder of the largest Chinese e-commerce Alibaba, in November, according to Thai Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong. The ministry aims to help battle poverty and raise community income through e-commerce and digital technology. Alibaba is 69 The Chronology
sending a team to provide training to people in the chosen communities. December 28
(1) Travel websites in China start to sell trips, as Chinese New Year is coming and Chinese people like to spend holidays overseas. According to Ctrip, the biggest travel website, the top 10 most visited countries by Chinese tourists will be Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Australia, Vietnam, Indonesia, the US, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Italy. (2) President of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) Vichit Prakobgosol warned that inbound tourism will be affected by the ongoing unclear bilateral trade policies between China and the US. However, Thailand will have more than 40 million visitors next year, especially from China, India, and Southeast Asia. Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Yuthasak Supasorn said that safety and security should improve to reassure foreign tourists. The TAT will promote the second-tier provinces and highlight niche markets, such as wedding, sports tourism, female tourism, dream tourism, and responsible tourism.
(D) Socio-cultural Affairs July 1
Chulalongkorn University of Thailand holds a seminar on “The Sustainable Development of Water Resources”. Academics and experts from China state that hydropower projects in the Mekong River are sustainable and beneficial to all stakeholders. In contrast, Thai academics and experts argue that the relocated residents still suffer from negative impacts of dam projects. For example, they have social problems and cannot adapt to their new way of living.
The Mekong-Lancang Cooperation Media Summit is held in Vientiane, Laos under the theme “Shared Vision, Shared Future”. Government officials of six member countries, media and business sectors attend the meeting. They call for deepening 70 The Chronology
cooperation, promoting connectivity, and focusing on mainstream media, small-sized media and social media in the digital era. July 4
Chinese Vice Minister of Ecology and Environment Zhao Yingmin and Cambodian Environment Minister Say Samal have signed three Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs), including the establishment of the Cambodia-China Environmental Cooperation Center Preparatory Office, the donation of wastewater treatment equipment, and the pilot cooperation on biodiversity and ecosystem conservation.
The Eco Forum Global Annual Conference is held in Guiyang, Guizhou Province, China under the theme on “Embracing a New Era of Eco-Civilization: Green Development with High Priority to Ecology”. The forum aims to stress the necessity to build an ecosystem based on respect of nature and green development. President Xi Jinping sends a congratulatory letter to the conference. He emphasises that China pays close attention to the protection of the ecological environment and is willing to continue the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
After two boats in Thailand capsized in waters off the coast of Phuket island on July 4, some Chinese tourists remained missing. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China releases an urgent circular on ensuring summer travel safety and another circular on independent trips. According to the circulars, tourists have to follow the weather forecast and warning of severe weather conditions. They should choose quality travel agencies and examine online travel companies, their platforms and travel products. The meteorological, ocean, land and other departments should deliver accurate forecast and alert tourists for severe conditions.
China’s Ministry of Education (MOE) statistics showed that 66,100 Chinese students chose to study 71 The Chronology
in Belt and Road countries in 2017, up 15.7 percent from 2016. It is because China has been strengthening educational cooperation with Belt and Road countries. The low tuition fees and job opportunities in China are leading factors that attract students. July 18
Piriya Khempon, Thai Ambassador to China, makes a remark that Thailand will reform the travel industry to welcome Chinese tourists at a lunch to honor China’s Peaceland Foundation and Green Boat Emergency Rescue teams that participated in the rescue operation of 13 football players trapped in a cave.
The data of the Bureau of Exit and Entry Administration under the Ministry of Public Security shows that China has over 310 million exits and entries across the border in the first half of 2018, up 7.7 percent year on year. Chinese mainland citizens exited over 77.94 million, increasing 14.1 percent year on year. Hong Kong, Macao, and Thailand were the top three destinations for the exits.
Romchat Jantranugul, the programme director of the admissions and international programme development department at Beijing’s School of International Education, University of International Business and Economics (UIBE), gave information that China’s universities are more attractive and witnessing an increase of more foreign students. As for UIBE, there are more than 3,300 foreigners from 165 countries and among them are 200 Thais. It has signed Memorandums of Understanding for general collaboration with Thai universities, such as Kasetsart, Thammasat, Silapakorn, Assumption, NIDA, and the Panyapiwat Institute of Management. It has set up the China-ASEAN studies centre and has offered scholarships to outstanding students.
(1) The 2018 Liupanshui Belt and Road & ASEAN Media Tour holds an opening ceremony in Liupanshui city, Guizhou Province, China. 72 The Chronology
International reporters, journalists, students and experts attend the ceremony. This tour aims to impress media from all over the world to enjoy the beauty of Liupanshui city, a well-known city for fresh and clean air. (2) Thailandâ€™s National Legislative Assembly committee on religion, culture and tourism organises a seminar to discuss the ways to attract Chinese tourists back to the country. Weerasak Kowsurat, Tourism and Sports Minister, stresses that tourists need travel insurance to ease the burden on the compensation fund. It should include a wide range of coverage for risk activities, such as mountain climbing and scuba diving. Chanapan Kaewklachaiyawuth, vice-president of the ThaiChinese Tourism Alliance Association (TCTA), says that TCTA will make tracking GPS bracelets for Chinese tourists in case they get lost or involved in accidents. July 25-30
The 11th China-ASEAN Education Cooperation Week is held in Guian New Area, China. The event is a platform for educational cooperation and exchange, and for cultural communication with Belt and Road countries. It holds 57 activities on education, culture, sports and health. It invites about 3,000 guests and 800 foreign guests, including some from ASEAN countries.
A six-nation of Lancang-Mekong region joint operation against drug crimes has seized 17.6 tons of narcotics and arrested 15,000 suspects from MayJuly 2018, according to Chinese police. This year is the last year of a three-year joint drugs control action plan by the six countries. The next three-month-long joint operation will be held in September-November 2018.
The Mekong River Commission (MRC)â€™s Joint Committee Working Group (JCWG) for the Procedures for Notification, Prior Consultation and Agreement (PNPCA) agrees to start a six-month prior 73 The Chronology
consultation process on Laosâ€™s Pak Lay hydropower project on the Mekong River. However, Pham Tuan Phan, MRC Chief Executive Officer, proposes to postpone the process as the Lao government has recently announced a review of dams in the country after the Xe-Pein Xe-Namnoy dam collapse. August 14
Cambodia launches a crackdown on prostitution rings and detains more than 50 Chinese nationals in a Chinese investment hub in Sihanoukville Province. As it attracted more Chinese investments, the development of casinos and hotels has expanded. Therefore, there are a rise of crimes and illegal sex services provided by Chinese nationals in the area.
President Xi Jinpingâ€™s special envoy and Vice Premier Sun Chunlan attends the opening ceremony of the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia as invited by Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
This year marks the 5th anniversary of the BRI. In the past 5 years, China and Belt and Road countries have made progress in cooperation in culture, education, tourism, technology, and people-to-people exchange. For example, according to Ning Jizhe, head of the Naitional Bureau of Statistics, China has an increase in the number of international students from Belt and Road countries, accounting for nearly 65 percent of the total international students in China. China has set up 81 education institutions and projects and also 35 cultural centers. In the first half of 2018, it spent over US$39.3 million on the Silk Road scholarships.
The China-ASEAN New Energy Forum is held in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China, focusing on cooperation in new energy, policies, and measures in promoting new and renewable energy and new energy technological innovation. They promote new choices of energy sources such as solar, wind, and biomass in order to respond to climate change problems. Officials from the ASEAN-China Center and Asian Development Bank attend this forum as well.
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Cambodia has created the movie “Love in Cambodia” to celebrate the Cambodian society and present as a gift marking the 60th anniversary of the establishment of China-Cambodia relations. The movie will be shot at landmark locations in Cambodia such as the Angkor Wat, Koh Rong Island, the Bokor Mountain and in China, especially in the Yunnan Province. It aims to promote tourism in Cambodia and China and attract more investors to the kingdom.
Deputy Minister of Education and Sports Kongsy Sengmany and the Economic and Commercial Counsellor at the Chinese Embassy to Laos Wang Qihui sign an agreement for a possibility study on the establishment of a railway service training college. This college aims to train personnel to work as ticket sellers, station operators, and passenger services in order to serve the Laos-China railway project that is expected to complete by 2021.
Suvarnabhumi Airport launches the automated immigration channel for Chinese passengers to help ease congestion in the airport and shorten waits. It is available for holders of Hong Kong and Chinese passports. This project represents the cooperation between Thai and Chinese authorities.
(1) Thailand holds the UN Environment Sustainable Development Forum in Bangkok. Shi Feng, Deputy Division Director of the China-ASEAN Environmental Cooperation Centre, says that every Chinese investment project under the BRI ensures proper environmental protection and follows best business practices. It has acknowledged people’s concerns about the impacts on the environment. His center has a branch in Cambodia to ensure proper regulation and environmental protection. Additional branches will be opened in Thailand and Laos. (2) The 11th China-ASEAN Think Tank Strategic Dialogue Forum is held in Nanning. Participants agree to speed up the expansion on cultural exchanges in the digital era. Fan Weiping, Deputy Director of the 75 The Chronology
State Administration of Radio and Television, proposes three proposals to promote the development of internet culture, to conduct the construction of international governance systems for internet audiovisual materials, and to conduct cooperation in the internet information technology and industry. October 1
Thailand’s Tourist Police Bureau manages a team of 147 cops and airport staffs to take care of visitors especially from China during China’s National holiday. The police collaborate with the Immigration Police, Vibhavadi Metropolitan Station Office, Don Mueang Metropolitan Police Station, the Airports of Thailand (AOT), the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA), and the Department of Tourism, to ensure tourists’ comfort and safety.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Innovation Expo Bangkok 2018 is held in Bangkok. It is co-hosted by the Thai Ministry of Science and Technology, Chinese Embassy, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). The expo aims to deepen ThailandChina cooperation in science and technology. HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn presides over the opening ceremony. The expo exhibits Chinese technological achievements, practical technology, products and services that support 10 target industrial projects of Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), Thai government agencies’ innovation projects, and Thai private sector’s innovative products.
The opening ceremony of the Safe Mekong Coordination Centre (SMCC) is held in Vientiane, Laos. It aims to support close cooperation for the fight against drugs in the region especially in the Golden Triangle. The Mekong member countries, including China, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand, will be able to share information, exchange experiences, and jointly conduct research.
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China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), with technical guidance from the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launches an initiative to enhance disaster risk reduction and response capacity for countries along the BRI. This initiative is a series of implementation projects under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and the Action Plan to integrate the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development into the BRI. The first of the series is “Technology for Resilience”, aiming to provide better warning system with disaster risk information and accurate post-disaster damage assessments. China will use its Beidou Navigation System to share technological resources to provide high-accuracy disaster reduction date service.
The first Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation Forum is held in Kunming, Yunnan Province under the theme “Water Partnership for Sustainable Development”. It is co-sponsored by the Ministry of Water Resources and Yunnan provincial government, aiming to build a platform for water policy dialogue, technology exchanges and experience sharing. 150 delegates from governments, research institutions, academic groups, and enterprises from the six member countries attend the forum.
China Central Television (CCTV) Documentary Media Co and Xiamen Danxiyinghua Culture Media Co produce the documentary “Beautiful Nanyang” that start shooting in Xiamen, Fujian Province. It aims to show the unique attractions of the countries along the BRI. It explores the beautiful sceneries, customs and cultures of more than 30 cities in the ASEAN member countries. It will be shown in October 2019 and promoted across China and the world.
Twelve members of a Chinese loan-sharking gang are arrested in Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri Province. They use Thailand as a base for illegal 77 The Chronology
lending service through the website, charging clients 30 percent interest a month. They had been hired by a Chinese loan shark and paid 20,000 baht a month. November 17
The Phoenix that sunk and killed 47 Chinese tourists on July 5 is brought back to the surface from the seabed. It is an important piece of evidence to determine the cause of the accident. Thailand tightens security for the recovery and investigates the shipwreck, according to Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat.
Residents in Chiang Khong District, Chiang Rai Province have expressed strong opposition to a public hearing on China’s Mekong blasting plan as the plan would affect the river ecosystem and livelihood. They do not want more talk on this issue. China has begun Phase 1 of the project, the blasting of 600 kilometers of rapids from Jinghing, China to Myanmar’s border from 2015-2020. Now, it would continue Phase 2, the blasting of 260 kilometers to Luang Prabang, Laos from 2020-2025.
The Mekong 6-country Water Market opened recently in Xishuangbanna Dai autonomous prefecture, Yunnan Province. Visitors could enjoy the cultures of China, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand.
Six Chinese nationals and one American citizen have been detained for taking standardised college admission tests for other people in Thailand, according to Immigration Bureau chief Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn. They used fake passports to sit the test. They will be paid between 40,000-90,000 baht. 4 of the suspects took the American College Testing (ACT) exam held in Mahidol University’s Nakhon Pathom campus. Another 2 of them took a test held at NIST International School in Bangkok.
103 universities for China, South Asia and Southeast Asia, including Thailand and Singapore, form into an alliance to enhance regional cooperation on higher 78 The Chronology
education. They agree to establish a resource sharing platform, joint programs and laboratories, and hold presidents’ forums. The secretariat will be based in Yunnan University. December 11
According to several rescue groups across the Mekong region, women from Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar have faced bride trafficking. They are pressed into marriages with Chinese men to fill the gender gap as a result from the one-child policy and sex-selective abortions of daughters in China. Some of them are tricked, lured, or kidnapped and sold as wives and prostitutes across the border. The marriage trade is a big business. It costs between US$10,000 and US$15,000 to buy a wife in China. It will be paid to the brokers who give some money to overseas associates to find the brides. The dowry is between US$1,000 and US$ 3,000. However, the brides may not receive anything at all.
China issues a white paper, titled “Progress in Human Rights over the 40 Years of Reform and Opening Up in China”. It stresses that reform and opening up help improve people’s living standards and develop human rights.
The network of Thai people in 8 Mekong provinces vows to boycott the second public hearing for the Lao-based Pak Lay hydropower project, funded by China, to be held on December 14 in Bung Kan Province. The public hearing will be held in Thailand due to the trans-boundary impact of the project. They will also not participate in the PNPCA process, the procedures for notification, prior consultation and agreement. Pak Lay dam is the 770-megawatt dam that would sell electricity to Thailand and would be ready for use by 2029.
The Office of the Vocational Education Commission (OVEC) of Thailand continues to use the products of Higher Education Press, China’s largest textbookpublishing house, to help Thai vocational students improve their Mandarin language to meet the 79 The Chronology
business sector’s needs. The OVEC will improve and update the textbooks, teacher’s handbooks and other curricular materials in the next 5 years. December 17
Crime detection police and specialists from China and Germany investigate the sunken Phoenix boat after it was salvaged. They conclude that the boat was substandard and illegally approved. The engineers and officials who accepted and approved the boat’s construction will face legal action, according to Immigration Bureau chief Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn.
The end of China’s one-child policy has driven couples who cannot have a baby by themselves, looking for women in poorer countries in the Mekong region to be surrogate mothers. However, commercial surrogacy is illegal in Mekong countries such as Thailand and Cambodia. Experts say that couples are willing to pay between US$40,000 and US$100,000 for the baby, while the surrogate mother will get just around US$10,000 to US$15,000. Now in Cambodia, authorities are working to raise awareness about the ban of surrogacy to protect the women and children from becoming victims of trafficking.
80 The Chronology
Part II Selected Documentation
(II) Selected Documentation (July-December 2018) August (A) Joint Communiqué of the 51st ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting For detail see, https://asean.org/storage/2017/08/51st-AMM-Joint-Commu nique-Final.pdf Release on August 2, 2018
September (B) Full text of Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng’s keynote speech at the 15th China-ASEAN Expo Source: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201809/17/WS5b9f5293a3103 3b4f4656754_1.html Released on September 17, 2018
Developing a Higher-Level Strategic Partnership between China and ASEAN, Heading for a Closer Community with a Shared Future. Profound friendship It gives me much pleasure to meet you all in this beautiful "green city" of Nanning and attend the 15th China-ASEAN Expo and the China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit. First of all, on behalf of the Chinese government and people, I would like to extend warm congratulations on the opening of this event, and express a sincere welcome to the participants from ASEAN member states and other countries and regions. China and ASEAN countries are good neighbors, good friends and good partners with a long-standing friendship. Over 2,000 years ago at the time of China's Han Dynasty, our ancestors overcame the barriers of the ocean and started exchanges by opening the Maritime Silk Road. China and ASEAN have seen sustained and rapid development in their relations since the 1990s. The two sides announced the establishment of a strategic partnership for peace and prosperity at the seventh China-ASEAN Summit in October 2003, opening a new chapter for China-ASEAN friendly relations. When visiting Indonesia in October 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed 83 Selected Documentation
China's willingness to work with ASEAN member states to jointly build the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future, drawing a beautiful blueprint for the development of China-ASEAN relations. Over the past 15 years since the establishment of the strategic partnership, China and ASEAN have developed a profound friendship and made fruitful achievements in mutually beneficial cooperation. In particular, since the Belt and Road Initiative was proposed five years ago, the two sides have carried forward the Silk Road Spirit and advanced more firmly on the path of building a community with a shared future with common ideals, prosperity, and responsibility. Strategic cooperation has become closer. China has always put ASEAN high on its agenda of diplomacy with neighboring countries and supported the building of the ASEAN Community and ASEAN centrality in regional cooperation. ASEAN members have viewed China as a reliable partner. The two sides have carried out all-dimensional, multilevel, and wide-ranging dialogue and communication, enhanced political trust in each other, focused on cooperation and development, and safeguarded regional peace, development, and prosperity. China-ASEAN relations have stood the test of time, becoming the most successful and vigorous example of Asia-Pacific regional cooperation. Openness and cooperation have been deepened comprehensively. China started the free trade negotiations first with ASEAN and established the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area. ASEAN is a priority and an important partner in the international cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative. China has been ASEAN's largest trading partner for nine years in a row and ASEAN has remained the third largest trading partner of China for seven consecutive years. The total two-way investment between China and ASEAN exceeded $200 billion while more than 4,000 enterprises in ASEAN countries with direct Chinese investment have employed more than 300,000 local people and vigorously contributed to local economic and social development. Cultural and people-to-people exchanges have flourished. The two sides have successfully held theme year activities on science and technology, culture, ocean, education, and tourism, and launched the China-ASEAN Innovation Year this year. Last year, there were nearly 50 million two-way visits and over 200,000 students studied in each other's universities. China has set up six cultural centers, 33 Confucius Institutes, and 35 Confucius classrooms in ASEAN countries. Sea changes
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This year marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up. In the four decades, China has unswervingly adhered to reform and opening-up, and opened its doors to pursue development. This has brought about sea changes in the country and the people's life. China has shouldered the responsibilities of a major country in carrying out the reform and opening-up and actively contributed Chinese wisdom and Chinese strength to global stability and prosperity in the processes from "bringing in" to "going global", and from joining the World Trade Organization to pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative together with other countries. China's reform and opening-up has profoundly changed not only China but also the world. At the annual conference of the Boao Forum for Asia held in April this year, President Xi Jinping stressed that China's door of opening-up will not be closed and will only open even wider. President Xi Jinping also announced that China will significantly broaden market access, create a more attractive investment environment, strengthen protection of intellectual property rights, and take the initiative to expand imports, among a series of other major measures. On Aug 27, President Xi Jinping attended a symposium marking the fifth anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative and made an important speech. He emphasized dialogue and consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, win-win cooperation, exchanges and mutual learning, and seeking the broadest common interests in cooperation with Belt and Road countries. He advocated stronger political mutual trust, economic integration, and people-to-people exchanges, while striving for solid progress in jointly building the Belt and Road to benefit the people along the routes and to advance the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. China's deepening of reform and opening-up will bring more new opportunities to countries around the world, including ASEAN member states. China welcomes ASEAN members to board the fast train of China's economic development and stands ready to share the fruits of its economic development with ASEAN. China is willing to develop a new type of international relations with ASEAN on the basis of mutual respect, equity and justice, and win-win cooperation, to build China-ASEAN community with a shared future into a model for a community with a shared future for mankind. This will contribute to the building of an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity. Hand in hand China and ASEAN are marching hand in hand toward a new era of common development and prosperity. China is willing to build the strategic partnership with ASEAN at a higher level and strive for a closer community with a shared future. To this end, I would like to propose the following: 85 Selected Documentation
First, strengthen strategic synergy. China is willing to work with ASEAN members to promote and deepen the synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and the building of the ASEAN Community, as well as the development strategies and plans of ASEAN members. China will join hands with ASEAN to implement the"3+X Cooperation Framework", which is supported by three pillars - political security, economy and trade, and people-to-people exchanges, and covers various areas. The two sides need to further upgrade their relationship, strengthen Lancang-Mekong cooperation, and accelerate the formulation of China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership Vision 2030. Second, promote cooperation on trade and investment. China will make full use of the China International Import Expo and the China-ASEAN Expo as platforms to expand imports from ASEAN countries. It will continue to encourage its enterprises to increase investment in ASEAN countries, and welcome investment in China from ASEAN enterprises. China will, as always, uphold the principle of mutual benefit and win-win cooperation with ASEAN, push the upgraded China-ASEAN Free Trade Area to take full effect, and speed up the negotiation on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. Third, strengthen international cooperation on production capacity. ASEAN countries are in a stage of rapid industrialization and urbanization, while China has large high-quality production capacity and cost-effective equipment. China is willing to work together with ASEAN members to implement the Joint Statement between China and ASEAN on Production Capacity Cooperation and create industrial, value, and logistics chains with greater integration, stronger driving force and broader benefits. The two sides should support production capacity cooperation in such fields as human resources, information, customs, taxation, finance, and authentication. Institutions and platforms including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Silk Road Fund, the China-ASEAN Investment Cooperation Fund, and the special loan on China-ASEAN infrastructure development should play their proper role to provide priority support for high-quality production capacity projects. Fourth, push forward connectivity cooperation. Infrastructure connectivity is among the priorities of Belt and Road development. China is willing to work with ASEAN members to implement the Joint Statement between China and ASEAN on Further Deepening the Cooperation on Infrastructure Connectivity, and push forward the implementation of key projects for land, maritime, air, and online connectivity. Construction of projects including the China-Laos Railway, JakartaBandung railway, China-Thailand Railway, and the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity as well as its southern corridor should be accelerated. Fifth, deepen innovation cooperation. The theme of the China-ASEAN Expo this year is "jointly building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and the China86 Selected Documentation
ASEAN community of innovation". China stands ready to work with ASEAN to implement the Belt and Road Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation Action Plan and develop the collaboration network of regional technology transfer, in a bid to boost transfer and application of technologies. China is also keen to conduct scientific personnel training and technical exchanges, so as to provide strong technical and intellectual support for development in this region. Sixth, enhance cultural exchanges and cooperation. China is willing to deepen practical cooperation with ASEAN members in culture, education, health, tourism, youth, media, sports and other fields based on mutual respect of cultural diversity and social values, and jointly foster a spirit of China-ASEAN cooperation characterized by mutual trust, mutual accommodation, mutual benefit, and mutual assistance. More achievements China and ASEAN have shared weal and woe in their strategic cooperation in the last 15 years and seen win-win results over the past 15 expos. We hope this year's expo and summit will further consolidate the platform for high-level dialogue, widen the "Nanning Channel", and score more achievements in implementing the Belt and Road Initiative. To conclude, I wish the 15th China-ASEAN Expo and Business and Investment Summit a complete success. May all our guests enjoy good health, success in your work, and a pleasant stay during the expo!
(C) The Facts and China’s Position on China-U.S. Trade Friction
For detail see, http://en.people.cn/n3/2018/0926/c90000-9503689.html Released on September 26, 2018
October (D) Chairman’s Statement of the 5th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-PLUS) Source: https://asean.org/storage/2018/10/Final-5th-ADMM-Plus-Chairmans -Statement.pdf Released on October 20, 2018 CHAIRMAN’S STATEMENT OF THE 5TH ASEAN DEFENCE MINISTERS’ MEETING-PLUS (ADMM-PLUS) SINGAPORE, 20 OCTOBER 2018 87 Selected Documentation
1. The Fifth ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus), now an annual event, was held in Singapore on 20 October 2018. The Meeting was chaired by Dr. Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Defence, Singapore. For the first time since inauguration, all 18 Defence Ministers from the ten ASEAN Member States and eight ASEAN Dialogue Partners, namely Australia, the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of India, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America attended the Meeting. The Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN was also present. 2. The Defence Ministers affirmed the ADMM-Plus as the de facto multilateral security mechanism in the Asia-Pacific. In addition to the Meeting proper where common security challenges were discussed, the Experts’ Working Groups for the seven domains of maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, counter-terrorism, military medicine, peacekeeping operations, humanitarian mine action, and cyber security also provided for military-tomilitary interactions and cooperation. All Defence Ministers further affirmed ASEAN’s centrality in the regional security architecture. 3. During the Meeting, specific initiatives to deal with terrorism and prevention of mishaps in the air for military aircraft were agreed upon. Consensus was achieved among all countries that resulted in the issuance of two Joint Statements by the 5th ADMM-Plus. 4. The Joint Statement on Preventing and Countering the Threat of Terrorism reaffirmed ADMM-Plus’ collective commitment to strengthen regional cooperation against this common security threat. In particular, a common information-sharing platform was proposed and supported. The Defence Ministers also agreed to step up practical military-to-military cooperation through the ADMM-Plus Experts’ Working Group on Counter-Terrorism (EWG on CT). 5. The second Joint Statement on Practical Confidence Building Measures highlighted the importance of ensuring the safety and security of the sea and air lanes which were essential for global commerce. In acknowledging the risks, the Defence Ministers agreed to promote communication, mutual trust and confidence and reduce miscalculations and mishaps in the region. During the Meeting, Singapore proposed a set of guidelines on air military encounters to promote a safe operating environment. The proposal received unanimous support in-principle; various countries also lent support to the attendant documents on operational procedures. This represented the first such agreement in a multilateral defence establishment. This set of air guidelines, together with previous ADMM-adopted initiatives such as the ASEAN Direct Communications Infrastructure, the ADMM Guidelines for Maritime Interaction, as well as the ADMM-Plus EWG exercises and ADMM-Plus’ agreement to 88 Selected Documentation
subscribe to the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES), were significant measures to enhance regional peace and stability. 6. The Defence Ministers also exchanged views on other common security challenges, including the situation in the Korean Peninsula, recent developments in the South China Sea, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and cyber threats. They emphasised the need to enhance mutual trust and confidence, exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities, avoid actions that may further complicate the situation, and pursue peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). In this regard, the Defence Ministers expressed the hope for the good progress and expeditious conclusion of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea. 7. The ADMM-Plus further noted that the ASEAN Defence Ministers had agreed on the selection criteria for observers during the 12th ADMM held on 19 October 2018. This initiative provided non-Plus countries with opportunities to contribute expertise and capabilities to the region through the EWGs. 8. The Defence Ministers also witnessed the ADMM Chairmanship Handover Ceremony from Singapore to Thailand, and expressed full support for the upcoming 13th ADMM and 6th ADMM-Plus in Thailand in 2019.
November (E) Chairman’s Statement of the 33RD ASEAN Summit
For detail see, https://asean.org/storage/2018/11/33rd_ASEAN_Summit_ Chairman_s_Statement_Final.pdf Released on November 14, 2018
(F) Chairman’s Statement of the 21ST ASEAN-China Summit to Commemorate the 15TH Anniversary of ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership Source: https://asean.org/storage/2018/11/ASEANChinaSummitChairmans StatementFinal1.pdf Released on November 14, 2018 CHAIRMAN’S STATEMENT OF THE 21ST ASEAN-CHINA SUMMIT TO COMMEMORATE THE 15TH ANNIVERSARY OF ASEAN-CHINA STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP SINGAPORE, 14 NOVEMBER 2018 89 Selected Documentation
1. The 21st ASEAN-China Summit was held in Singapore on 14 November 2018. The Meeting was chaired by H.E. Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore, and attended by all Heads of State/Government of ASEAN Member States and H.E. Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China. The Secretary-General of ASEAN was also in attendance. 2. We noted with satisfaction that ASEAN-China relations continued to be strong, stable and mutually beneficial. We welcomed the commemoration of the 15 th Anniversary of the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership and the various commemorative activities carried out by both sides to celebrate the milestone. 3. Both sides also welcomed the activities held by ASEAN and China to commemorate the ASEAN-China Year of Innovation 2018. We adopted the Joint Statement on ASEAN-China Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation. ASEAN Leaders welcomed China’s support for the ASEAN Smart Cities Network. We also looked forward to continued cooperation in digital economy and ecommerce. We underscored that technological advancements presented many opportunities for further collaboration, especially under our economic cooperation, which includes sharing of expertise in the digital economy and ecommerce to better integrate our micro, small and medium enterprises into the global economy. 4. We welcomed the substantive progress made in the implementation of the 2016-2020 Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration on ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity and agreed to further implement the Plan of Action to enhance effective cooperation in wide-ranging areas. 5. We were pleased to note that over the past fifteen years, the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership has deepened cooperation between ASEAN and China and further strengthened our relations, contributing to regional peace and prosperity. Inthis regard, we adopted the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership Vision 2030, which will chart the future direction to further advance the ASEANChina Strategic Partnership to new heights by forging closer cooperation for mutual benefit. 6. We agreed to further promote trade, market access, investment, and tourism flows. We noted with satisfaction that in 2017, China remained as ASEAN’s largest trading partner with total merchandise trade at USD 441.6 billion. China also rose from being ASEAN’s fourth largest external source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to third largest, with FDI flows amounting to USD 11.3 billion in 2017. 7. We welcomed the completion of the ratification of the Protocol to Amend the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Co-operation and Certain 90 Selected Documentation
Agreements thereunder between ASEAN and the People’s Republic of China (ACFTA Upgrading Protocol) and looked forward to the effective implementation of the Protocol by all Parties. We welcomed the completion of the Review of Product Specific Rules (PSRs) and looked forward to the timely implementation by the target date of 1 January 2019. 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. 8. We welcomed the substantial progress made in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in 2018. We noted with satisfaction that the RCEP negotiations have advanced to the final stage, and we expressed our determination to conclude a modern, comprehensive, high quality, and mutually beneficial RCEP in 2019. We also expressed our commitment to uphold a global trade environment that is open, mutually beneficial, rules-based and inclusive through the RCEP. 9. ASEAN Leaders welcomed China’s support for the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025. We welcomed further exploration of synergies between MPAC 2025 and the Belt and Road Initiative. We looked forward to the implementation of such cooperation in an open, inclusive, transparent and mutually beneficial manner. We also looked forward to enhancing cooperation on infrastructure with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and Silk Road Fund. To enhance air connectivity, we looked forward to working towards the full liberalisation of the ASEAN-China Air Transport Agreement (AC-ATA), including a new Protocol 3 to expand Fifth Freedom Traffic Rights between ASEAN and China under the intrapackage of Protocol 2, which will facilitate greater people-to-people and economic linkages and further enhance regional connectivity. 10. ASEAN Leaders welcomed the successful convening of the 15th ChinaASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) held in Nanning, China from 12 to 15 September 2018, with the theme “Jointly Building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, Forging the ChinaASEAN Community of Innovation”. We also noted the convening of the 11th ASEANChina Prosecutors-General Conference in Brunei Darussalam from 14 to 15 August 2018 which, among others, focused on strengthening the region’s cyber resilience. 11. We noted with appreciation that the China-ASEAN Education Cooperation Week continued to be an important platform for fostering educational and cultural cooperation and exchanges. In this context, we welcomed the successful convening of the 11th China-ASEAN Education Cooperation Week in Guiyang, China from 25 to 27 July 2018 with the theme, “A New Beginning for Education Cooperation, A New Future for Cultural Exchange”. We welcomed the adoption 91 Selected Documentation
of the ASEAN-China Work Plan on Cooperation in Culture and Arts 2019-2021 and the Work Plan on Enhancing ASEAN-China Cooperation through Information and Media 2018-2020. We also welcomed the designation of 2019 as the ASEAN-China Year of Media Exchanges. 12. ASEAN Leaders welcomed China’s continued support for ASEAN’s efforts to narrow the development gap among ASEAN Member States, including through the implementation of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration Work Plan III. 13. We underscored the important role and contribution of the ASEAN-China Centre in promoting trade, investment, tourism, education and cultural cooperation between ASEAN and China for mutual benefit. ASEAN Leaders also welcomed China’s establishment of the ASEAN-China Cooperation Fund (ACCF) Project Management Team, which will facilitate the implementation of cooperation activities and projects under the Fund. We noted the outcomes of the two Working Group Meetings on “ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership Vision 2030” and “ASEAN-China E-commerce for Regional Growth and Cooperation” by the Network of ASEAN-China Think-Tanks (NACT) in Beijing and Singapore respectively this year. 14. We appreciated China’s continued support for ASEAN Centrality in the evolving regional architecture, through various 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). We agreed to continue utilising these mechanisms to effectively respond to traditional, as well as non-traditional security challenges. We also welcomed the successful conduct of the ASEAN-China Maritime Exercise in 2018. 15. 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 also 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 Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) on a mutually-agreed timeline. We noted the agreement among ASEAN Member States and China on a Single Draft COC Negotiating Text, looked forward to the completion of the first reading of the Single Draft COC Negotiating Text by 2019, and encouraged further progress towards an effective COC. We discussed the importance of promoting a rulesbased order in the region, including through upholding international law including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 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 reaffirmed the need to enhance mutual trust and confidence, exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities and avoid 92 Selected Documentation
actions that may further complicate the situation, and pursue peaceful resolution of disputes, in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.
(G) ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership Vision 2030
Source: https://asean.org/storage/2018/11/ASEAN-China-Strategic-PartNer ship-Vision-2030.pdf Released on November 14, 2018 ASEAN-CHINA STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP VISION 2030 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, gathered on 14 November 2018 in Singapore, at the 21st ASEAN-China Summit to commemorate the 15th Anniversary of ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity; Recalling our commitment to fostering friendly relations, mutually beneficial cooperation and good neighbourliness between ASEAN and China, under the Joint Declaration of the Heads of State/Government of ASEAN and the People's Republic of China on Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity signed on 8 October 2003 in Indonesia, and the Joint Statement of the 16th ASEAN-China Summit on the Commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership adopted on 9 October 2013 in Brunei Darussalam; Recognising that over the past fifteen years, the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership has contributed significantly to regional peace, stability and prosperity, and expanded the broad cooperation agenda between ASEAN and China, thereby strengthening ASEAN-China relations which are among the most substantial, dynamic and mutually beneficial relationships; Recognising that ASEAN-China relations have entered into a new era with the realisation of the ASEAN Community in 2015 and ASEAN’s development over the past five decades and the achievements of China’s reform and opening up over the last four decades; Recalling that the 20th ASEAN-China Summit in Manila, Philippines on 13 November 2017 agreed to issue the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership Vision 2030 so as to chart the future direction and contribute to building an open, inclusive, and sustainable world that enjoys peace, security and common prosperity; Further reaffirming our mutual respect for each other’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity in accordance with international law, and 93 Selected Documentation
the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states; and reaffirming ASEAN countries’ adherence to one-China policy; Recognising that the current peace and stability in the region should not be taken for granted, it is important to strengthen mutual trust and confidence, and improve cooperation between ASEAN and China; Hereby agree on the following: Overall ASEAN-China Relations 1. Advance the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership to new heights by forging closer cooperation for a mutually beneficial future of ASEAN and China, including through the full and effective implementation of the 20162020 Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration on the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity and its successor documents. ASEAN notes with appreciation China’s efforts to promote closer ASEANChina cooperation, including China’s vision to build an ASEAN-China community with a shared future; 2. Promote peace, security and stability in the region, including through the further deepening of strategic relations, and promote mutual trust and confidence, peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law, without resorting to the threat or use of force, and the maintaining of friendly dialogue and consultations including high-level exchanges; 3. Strengthen the strategic partnership with mutually-beneficial cooperation on ASEAN integration and community-building, including through capacity building and resource mobilisation, synergising common priorities in the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025 and China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), as part of efforts to synergise the various connectivity strategies in the region in a manner that would be mutually beneficial. ASEAN notes with appreciation China’s announcement on “3+X Cooperation Framework” comprising the three pillars of politicalsecurity cooperation, economic cooperation, people-to-people exchanges, and supported by mutually agreed areas of cooperation; 4. Advance a strategic partnership that continues to adhere to the fundamental principles, shared values and norms that have guided ASEANChina Dialogue Relations since its establishment in 1991, including those enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, the ASEAN Charter and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and the East Asia Summit (EAS) 94 Selected Documentation
Declaration on the Principles for Mutually Beneficial Relations (Bali Principles) as well as universally recognised principles of international law; 5. Stand firm against growing protectionist and anti-globalisation sentiments, and reaffirm that international trade and investment are important engines for sustainable economic growth and development, the reduction of social inequality, and securing a better future for our people; 6. Enhance the complementarities between ASEAN Vision 2025 and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development including through further South-South cooperation; 7. Reiterate our commitment to supporting and assisting ASEANâ€™s efforts to narrow the development gap among ASEAN Member States, including through the implementation of the IAI Work Plan III, as well as other bilateral, sub-regional and regional cooperation between China and ASEAN Member States and promote ASEAN integration consistent with the ASEAN 2025: Forging Ahead Together; 8. Welcome the continued strengthening of cooperation under relevant subregional frameworks and cooperation mechanisms to support efforts to narrow the development gap in the region; Political and Security Cooperation 9. Reaffirm the long-standing friendship between ASEAN Member States and China, and respect the independent choice of development paths, according to national circumstances; 10. Enhance mutual trust and understanding through dialogue, confidence building measures and cooperation in defence, security, non-traditional security, and transnational threats; 11. Reaffirm the importance of maintaining ASEAN Centrality in the evolving regional architecture and strengthen regional and security cooperation by continuing discussions and coordination to uphold an open, transparent, inclusive and rules-based regional architecture through the various ASEAN-led mechanisms such as ASEAN Plus Three (APT), East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus); 12. Enhance high-level exchanges, contacts, and policy communication, and expand exchanges of visits of all levels and promote the sharing of experiences on governance; 95 Selected Documentation
13. Reaffirm our commitment to maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability and safety in the South China Sea. Reiterate our respect for and commitment to (i) freedom of navigation in and over-flight above the South China Sea; (ii) resolve the territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force, through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned, and in accordance with universally-recognised principles of international law including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS); and (iii) exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities, to avoid complicating or escalating disputes and disrupting peace and stability; 14. Further reaffirm our commitment to fully and effectively implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in its entirety, and work towards the early conclusion and adoption of a substantive and effective Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) based on consensus. We noted that the Framework of the COC adopted by the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN Member States and China in August 2017 was an important step towards the conclusion of an effective COC. We will continue to build trust and confidence through practical dialogue and maritime cooperation, including through the MFA-to-MFA Hotline, and the implementation of the Joint Statement on the Application of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) in the South China Sea and the Leaders’ Declaration on a Decade of Coastal and Marine Environmental Protection in the South China Sea (2017-2027); 15. Deepen practical defence cooperation between ASEAN and China under the ADMM-Plus to enhance mutual understanding and friendship, and to address common transnational and non-traditional security challenges that threaten the region’s peace and stability. We welcome the successful conduct of the inaugural ASEAN-China Maritime Exercise to build confidence between ASEAN and Chinese navies; 16. Strengthen anti-corruption cooperation through relevant mechanisms; 17. Acknowledge the growing need to strengthen collective regional resilience and cooperation to effectively address non-traditional security threats, and transnational challenges including terrorism and transnational crimes; Economic Cooperation 18. Acknowledge China currently as ASEAN’s largest trading partner, third largest external source of foreign direct investment (FDI), and an important 96 Selected Documentation
source of foreign tourists, and welcome continued strong and growing levels of trade, investment and tourism flows between ASEAN and China; 19. Intensify efforts to meet the joint target of US$1 trillion in trade volume and US$150 billion in investment by 2020 through the deepening of economic linkages and improvement in connectivity, and look forward to yielding more fruitful results in trade and investment by 2030; 20. Strengthen trade, investment, and tourism flows between ASEAN and China, including through the implementation of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA) and the Protocol to Amend the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Certain Agreements thereunder between ASEAN and China (the ACFTA Upgrading Protocol), including the completion of the Future Work Programme under the ACFTA Upgrading Protocol, and explore new initiatives to strengthen and facilitate ASEAN-China trade and investment flows and enhance the business environment, including exploring possible upgrades to the ACFTA, and cooperation in new areas such as e-commerce, competition and intellectual property; 21. Reaffirm our commitment to intensifying our efforts to finalise the negotiations for a modern, comprehensive, high-quality and mutuallybeneficial Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement that will contribute significantly to the growth of global trade, enhance economic growth, provide more jobs and improve the livelihood of people in the RCEP region in an inclusive way; 22. Strengthen physical and institutional connectivity to bring markets closer together in line with the strategic objectives in MPAC 2025, as well as improve digital connectivity, including through supporting the implementation of ASEAN ICT Master Plan 2020; 23. Deepen financial cooperation including through active involvement of international financial institutions, such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), mobilising private capital, and enhancing capacity building to support infrastructure development in the region; 24. Continue to promote dialogue and exchanges in maritime economic cooperation through relevant platforms on the basis of the principles of inclusiveness, mutual benefit and respect for international law. This may, where appropriate, include initiatives such as Chinaâ€™s Belt and Road Initiative; 25. Reaffirm our commitment to encouraging airlines from both ASEAN Member States and China to tap their full potential by utilising the ASEAN97 Selected Documentation
China Air Transport Agreement (AC-ATA) and its Protocols I and II so as to realise stronger regional connectivity and to work towards the ultimate goal of the full liberalisation of the ASEAN-China Air Services regime; 26. Promote the establishment of an Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) ecosystem in the region that supports and advances innovation, including through the timely granting and protection of IPR, as well as by facilitating cross border IP commercialisation and utilisation; 27. Explore science, technology and innovation (STI) cooperation and collaboration in areas of mutual interests including to seize the opportunities from the digital economy and technological innovation, and address the potential common challenges of these new technologies, and thus achieve innovation-driven development in areas that include telecommunications, e-commerce, and smart city development. In this context, we welcome the establishment of the ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN) as well as Chinaâ€™s support for the ASCN initiative; 28. Promote production capacity, technology and innovation as measures to enhance Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSMEs), and promote growth in the region; in this regard, support the implementation of the ASEAN Strategic Action Plan for SME Development (2016-2025) through sharing best practices and experiences, on the development of MSMEs, and convening of capacity building activities such as seminars, workshops, and symposiums; 29. Establish a formal high-level framework of cooperation to strengthen, deepen and broaden cooperation in tourism between ASEAN and China; 30. Engage in the process of economic globalisation and facilitate further economic integration, including to support the long-term goal of building an East Asia community for the mutual benefit of people in the region; 31. Recognise the importance of a regional approach in boosting clean energy development under the new ASEAN-China Clean Energy Capacity Building Programme and Study on Clean Coal Utilisation Road Map in ASEAN; 32. Encourage partnership on blue economy between ASEAN and China and promote marine ecosystem conservation and sustainable use of the ocean, seas and marine resources, including cooperation in marine science and technology, ocean observation and hazard mitigation, as well as ocean economy development;
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33. Explore the opportunities that will arise from new scientific, digital and technological innovation, as well as address the potential common challenges of these new technologies to further economic growth; and in this context, welcoming the ASEAN-China Year of Innovation 2018 as an important initiative that has injected new impetus into ASEAN-China cooperation in innovation; Socio-Cultural Cooperation 34. Strengthen education innovation and academic exchanges and linkages between ASEAN and China, including through the ASEAN-China Education Cooperation Week; 35. Encourage people-to-people exchanges and cooperation between ASEAN and China for a better future, and in this regard, continue to promote youth exchanges in the fields of languages, culture, art and heritage with a view to enhancing mutual understanding and further deepen friendship as well as to hold training courses for young professionals at different levels and in different areas through relevant educational institutions; 36. Strengthen cooperation in environmental protection, water resources management, sustainable development, climate change, including through the implementation of the ASEAN-China Strategy on Environmental Cooperation 2016 – 2020 to support the relevant strategic measures of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Blueprint 2025; 37. Reaffirm the importance and raise awareness of ASEAN-China cultural relations and encourage opportunities for cultural exchanges. Continue to promote awareness of preserving and protecting the cultural heritage of ASEAN and China; 38. Strengthen constructive dialogue and cooperation to promote active ageing and be better prepared to deal with the challenges of an aging society; and 39. Promote policy communication among governments and welcome China’s efforts to provide assistance to ASEAN Member States, where appropriate, in implementing objectives under the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including poverty eradication in all forms and dimensions, in accordance with respective sustainable development goals.
(H) Joint Leaders’ Statement on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Negotiations 99 Selected Documentation
Source: https://asean.org/storage/2018/11/RCEP-Summit-2_Joint-Leaders Statement_FINAL2.pdf Released on November 14, 2018 Joint Leaders’ Statement on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Negotiations 1. We, the Heads of State/Government of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Participating Countries – the ASEAN Member States and ASEAN’s free trade agreement (FTA) partners: Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea, and New Zealand – gathered on 14 November 2018 in Singapore, on the occasion of the 2nd RCEP Summit. 2. We reaffirmed our commitment made at the launch of the negotiations to achieve a modern, comprehensive, high-quality and mutually beneficial economic partnership agreement establishing an open trade and investment environment in the region to facilitate the expansion of regional trade and investment and contribute to global economic growth and development. 3. We noted that the task to conclude the RCEP negotiations is becoming more urgent and significant given the current headwinds faced by the global economy. In this regard, we undertook the collective commitment to deliver on the expeditious conclusion of the RCEP negotiations to foster an open, inclusive, and rules-based trading system, and demonstrate to the world that it is possible to make trade work for all. 4. We recalled our instruction to the Ministers and negotiators at the 1 st RCEP Summit in 2017 to intensify efforts in 2018 to bring the RCEP negotiations to conclusion, and our resolve to ensure they have the necessary support to achieve this outcome. 5. We welcomed the substantial progress made in RCEP negotiations in 2018. We have advanced to the final stage of negotiations. We are determined to conclude a modern, comprehensive, high quality, and mutually beneficial RCEP in 2019. 6. We welcomed the conclusion of 7 Chapters to date, namely the Chapters on Economic and Technical Cooperation, Small and Medium Enterprises, Customs Procedures and Trade Facilitation, Government Procurement, Institutional Provisions, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, and Standards, Technical Regulations and Conformity Assessment Procedures, of which 5 were concluded in this year alone. The status of the negotiations is described in the Annex to this Joint Statement. We highlighted the need to heighten this momentum to bring all remaining Chapters and Annexes to conclusion. 100 Selected Documentation
7. We reiterated the value of continued engagement with various stakeholders of the RCEP, including representatives from the business sector, nongovernment organizations, and other stakeholders, in ensuring that RCEP remains inclusive. ANNEX Status of the RCEP Negotiations (as at November 2018) Without prejudice to the ongoing negotiations, the following describes the status of the RCEP negotiations as at November 2018: Market Access Negotiations: Final Push toward a Commercially Meaningful Outcome Negotiations on goods and services market access and on investment Reservation Lists have advanced significantly with all RCEP Participating Countries (RPCs) intensively engaged in a series of bilateral and plurilateral negotiations throughout the year. There has been a genuine effort by RPCs to progress market access negotiations while recognizing that different RPCs have different sensitivities toward each other. RPCs are within reach of concluding market access negotiations to meet the goals in the Guiding Principles and Objectives for Negotiating the RCEP, but some work is needed to close the remaining gaps. Special consideration may need to be given to the fact that not all RPCs have in place bilateral free trade agreements among themselves, without undermining the potential expansion and deepening of regional supply chains among the 16 RPCs. Rules Negotiations: Ensuring a Platform for Growth Negotiations on rules have also progressed substantially. This year alone, RPCs managed to conclude the Chapters on Customs Procedures and Trade Facilitation (CPTF); Government Procurement; Institutional Provisions; Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures; and Standards, Technical Regulations, and Conformity Assessment Procedures (STRACAP); which, added to the earlier concluded Chapters on Economic and Technical Cooperation (ECOTECH) and on Small and Medium Enterprises, bring the total number of concluded chapters in RCEP to seven. Significant progress has also been made in other chapters and relevant annexes, with some almost concluded while others require further technical work or horizontal consideration due to their cross-cutting nature, i.e. settlement of relevant issues in other chapters is required to conclude some chapters. 101 Selected Documentation
The past 15 years have also seen a momentous journey for China-ASEAN relations. In 2003, China became the first country to establish a strategic partnership with ASEAN. The Joint Declaration on China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity signed by our leaders in Bali marked the beginning of a new historical stage in our fast-growing relations. Over these 15 years, we have engaged in all-round, multi-tiered and wideranging cooperation which has delivered bountiful outcomes. We upgraded the 2+7 cooperation framework to the 3+X framework, and achieved a leap in our ties from quantity to quality. China-ASEAN relationship now enjoys tremendous vitality and bright prospects. We enriched the substance of our strategic cooperation. We deepened strategic communication by setting up security dialogue platforms, and worked to build an open and inclusive regional architecture based on international law and rules. This has contributed to the maintenance of overall peace and stability in our region. We established the Lancang-Mekong cooperation framework, worked toward the East Asia economic community, and led the way in the regional integration process. This has boosted regional development and prosperity. We maintained close communication and coordination at APEC, the UN and other fora, worked together to improve the global governance system by reform and resolve regional and international hotspots by peaceful means, and opened new prospects for South-South cooperation. China-ASEAN relations have gone beyond the bilateral scope and gained increasing regional and global significance. We established a framework for win-win cooperation. Since President Xi Jinping set out the vision of a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road in 2013, China and ASEAN countries have reached broad consensus on jointly taking forward the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with concrete steps for stronger synergy between the BRI and ASEAN’s development plans. So far nine ASEAN countries have signed agreements with China on BRI cooperation, which facilitated the delivery of a series of big projects on infrastructure connectivity and industrial capacity cooperation. We established and upgraded the largest FTA among developing countries whereby over 90% of our goods can trade at zero tariff. Two-way trade surged from US$78 billion in 2003 to US$510 billion in 2017. China has been ASEAN’s top trading partner for nine years in a row, and ASEAN China’s third largest for seven consecutive years. Cumulative mutual investment exceeded US$200 billion. 103 Selected Documentation
made joint efforts to deepen cooperation on the industrial and value chains, advance trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and promote East Asian integration, thus achieving win-win outcomes in the process of economic globalization. Third, a commitment to inclusiveness and mutual learning. In the unique East Asian civilization, different ethnicities, religions and cultures have long lived side by side, and shaped a regional tradition of harmony in diversity. We respect cultural diversity and each other’s national conditions and development paths, and sought to draw on each other’s strengths through dialogue and exchanges. This has invigorated our divergent cultures by unleashing tremendous creativity and contributed to the advancement of human society. Colleagues, The East Asian region now faces unprecedented new challenges: growing uncertainty and instability on the global horizon, protectionism and unilateralism on the rise, multilateral rules and the international order under strain, set-backs in economic globalization, flare-ups of regional hotspots, and traditional and non-traditional security threats compounding each other. It is all the more important that we, China and ASEAN, strengthen all-round cooperation to be a firm facilitator of regional peace, stability, progress and prosperity, a staunch supporter of the international order and multilateral system, and a vigorous advocate for regional integration and world multipolarity. We need to join hands to take the China-ASEAN strategic partnership to a higher level and forge a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future. To this end, I wish to make the following proposals: First, we need to strengthen strategic planning. Effective top-level design and sound policy implementation will generate sustained momentum for cooperation. The China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership Vision 2030，which will be issued as an important outcome of this Summit, draws a blueprint for the long-term growth of China-ASEAN relations. Following the guide of Vision 2030, we should work to upgrade China-ASEAN relations by fostering stronger synergy between the BRI and ASEAN Vision 2025, strengthening the “3+x” cooperation framework, and bolstering the three pillars of political and security cooperation, economic cooperation and people-to-people exchanges. Second, we need to deepen economic cooperation and trade. The protocol on upgrading the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area and negotiations on the product specific rules of origin have been completed. Both will serve to elevate trade liberalization and facilitation between our two sides. We look forward to the early and substantive conclusion of negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that contributes to the building of more robust and effective supply and value chains in the region. 105 Selected Documentation
A few days ago, China successfully held the first International Import Expo, which was another major action to open China wider to the world. It is expected that in the coming 15 years, China will import over US$30 trillion worth of goods and over US$10 trillion in services. This will bring greater development opportunities to ASEAN and other countries. China is ready to work with ASEAN to deliver the Joint Statement on Production Capacity Cooperation and the Joint Statement on Further Deepening the Cooperation on Infrastructure Connectivity with priority given to industrial capacity cooperation in areas such as power, automobiles, ICT, rail transport and equipment manufacturing. We will steadily move forward the construction of the China-Laos Railway, China-Thailand Railway, Jakarta-Bandung Railway and other large-scale infrastructure projects in the transportation sector to help regional countries grow their economies and improve peopleâ€™s lives. Third, we need to nurture innovation highlights. Embracing the new wave of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation, China and ASEAN have both placed innovation high on the development agenda. Innovation has thus emerged as a new growth area of cooperation. This year is the China-ASEAN Innovation Year. The two sides will release a joint statement on ASEAN-China science, technology and innovation cooperation, explore new mechanisms for this cooperation, work together to establish science parks, and deepen the implementation of the China-ASEAN Science and Technology Partnership Program. China supports the building of the ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN), and has participated in the ASEAN Smart Cities Showcase. We are ready to enter into a smart cities cooperation agreement with ASEAN to advance cooperation in policy research, standard-setting, technological innovation, market sharing, personnel training and other areas. We may set up a platform for ASCN cooperation on the basis of the China-ASEAN Information Harbor. Chinese cities, including Nanning, Xiamen, Hangzhou, Jinan and Kunming, are ready to establish partnerships with their ASEAN counterparts. China supports the building of an ASEAN tourism digital platform and will work with ASEAN on the Environmental Information Sharing Platform, forge the partnership for ecologically friendly urban development, and establish a geosciences cooperation center to boost green economy and sustainable development. Fourth, we need to cement people-to-people ties. The proud achievements of China-ASEAN cooperation owe to a large measure to the robust exchanges between our peoples. China and ASEAN have designated 2019 as the ChinaASEAN Year of Media Exchanges. To enhance public knowledge and participation in our bilateral cooperation and support more people-to-people and cultural exchange programs, China will make an additional contribution to the China-ASEAN Cooperation Fund next year. The fund management team of the ASEAN Secretariat will soon be operational. 106 Selected Documentation
China will set up the China-ASEAN Young Leaders Scholarship and launch the “Bridge of the Future” China-ASEAN Young Leaders Training Program. In the next five years, we will invite 1,000 young talents from ASEAN countries to China for training to sow the seeds of friendship in the hearts of our peoples. Fifth, we need to expand security cooperation. Strengthening security exchanges and cooperation serves the interests of all countries. Since the beginning of this year, major progress has been made in China-ASEAN security cooperation. Last month, China and ASEAN countries successfully held the first joint maritime exercise in Zhanjiang, an important initiative for the two sides to increase mutual trust, jointly manage security risks and uphold regional stability. We hope that such exercise will be institutionalized. China is ready to work with ASEAN to set up a direct hot line between our defense authorities as soon as possible. We will carry out friendly exchanges between our military think tanks and young and middle-aged officers, deepen cooperation in such areas as disaster prevention and reduction, humanitarian assistance, military medical sciences and counter-terrorism, and explore the possibility of setting up an ASEAN warehouse of disaster relief equipment in order to make our cooperation more diversified and productive. Colleagues, Peace and stability in the South China Sea is the common aspiration of all regional countries and serves our shared interests. Thanks to the concerted efforts of China and ASEAN countries, the situation in the South China Sea has eased and consultations on the COC have been moving forward smoothly. All this testifies to the resolve of regional countries to address the South China Sea issue with a constructive approach and jointly shape the rules of the region. What has happened proves that the full and effective implementation of the DOC and progress in COC consultations are an effective means toward achieving these goals. The South China Sea is an important international shipping route. As a major trading nation, China conducts over 60 percent of its seaborne trade in goods through the South China Sea. China is committed to safeguarding the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea enjoyed by countries under international law. Non-littoral countries should respect and support the efforts made by China and ASEAN countries for peace and stability in the South China Sea. China and ASEAN countries are each other’s opportunity for development, not threat. We must grasp the key to addressing the South China Sea issue with our own hands and overcome external impediments. While steadily advancing COC 107 Selected Documentation
consultations, we need to conduct practical cooperation on the sea, and unlock the potential of cooperation in areas such as search and rescue, environmental protection, fishery resources conservation and coast guard. China has been improving the civilian facilities on the islands and reefs in the South China Sea. In addition to strengthening the search and rescue capabilities in the middle and southern parts of the South China Sea, we have also installed maritime observation, meteorological forecasting, environmental monitoring and disaster prevention and reduction facilities, which are all designed to provide more public goods for the region. Colleagues, When we stick together and forge ahead with firm confidence in each otherâ€™s development, in China-ASEAN cooperation, and in the future of East Asia, we will foster a higher-quality China-ASEAN relationship that is even more fruitful and beneficial to our peoples in the next 15 years. Thank you.
(J) Speech by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the 13th East Asia Summit Source: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201811/16/WS5bee1a9ea310 eff3032890d5.html Released on November 16, 2018 Speech by H.E. Li Keqiang Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China At the 13th East Asia Summit Singapore, 15 November 2018 Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Colleagues, It gives me great pleasure to join you in the Lion City. I wish to thank the Singapore Government for its thoughtful arrangements for our Summit. Singapore, one of the most developed countries in Asia, stands as a fine example of mutual cultural convergence between the East and the West by retaining its rich traditional heritage of the East and embracing advanced Western ideas and technologies at the same time. The spirit of openness and inclusiveness that Singapore espouses is also an important feature of the East Asia Summit (EAS), which, over the past 13 years, has become a significant platform for dialogue and cooperation and played a substantial role in enhancing understanding and trust 108 Selected Documentation
among participating countries and promoting development and prosperity in the region. The international political and economic landscape has been undergoing profound adjustments. Uncertainties and destabilizing factors have been on the increase, from weak global growth, rising unilateralism and protectionism, backlash against economic globalization, to regional hotspots coupled with terrorism and other non-traditional security threats. The pursuit of peace and development remains a daunting task. In such a global context, East Asia has kept overall stability and remained a most robustly growing region and a most attractive investment destination. This has been the result of both the perseverance and enterprise of countries in the region and their joint endeavors to promote mutually beneficial cooperation and seek common ground while shelving differences. Such hard-won accomplishments need to be cherished. With a renewed commitment to amicable co-existence and win-win cooperation, we will step up consultation and dialogue and pursue greater opening-up and progress in East Asia. Together, we will strive to be a vigorous facilitator of peace and stability in East Asia, leading contributor to economic prosperity, and powerful locomotive for regional cooperation. East Asian cooperation has come a long way in recent years. We have seen ASEAN Communities being established, frameworks such ASEAN Plus One, ASEAN Plus Three and Lancang-Mekong cooperation producing fruitful results, and growing momentum of trade and investment and integrated development in the region. EAS participating countries need to seize such precious opportunities to advance cooperation in priority areas and inject fresh impetus to East Asian cooperation. We should maintain the nature of EAS as a "leadersled strategic forum" focusing on East Asia and on development, uphold ASEAN centrality, and advance economic development and political and security cooperation in parallel as the two wheels driving EAS forward. In this connection, I wish to make the following points. First, we need to uphold multilateralism. In today's world where the interests and future of countries are interconnected, only by committing to multilateralism, mutual respect and consultations on an equal footing, playing by the rules and working with one another can we effectively tackle global challenges and promote common development in the region. It was the spirit of solidarity and mutual assistance that helped us overcome the Asian and international financial crises. This same spirit of multilateralism will again be vital to our efforts to prevail over the daunting challenges today. As an advocate for upholding the international order and multilateralism, China calls for the building of a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation and a community with a shared future for mankind. China will work with other countries to safeguard the rules-based international order, unswervingly pursue friendship and cooperation with our 109 Selected Documentation
East Asian neighbors, and promote security based on rules and development through cooperation. This way, we will do our part for peace and prosperity in the region. Second, we need to promote free trade. Free trade is a vital pillar of the modern economy and bedrock for national development and prosperity. As the global industrial, supply and value chains continue to develop, countries around the world are seeing their economies mutually interlinked and integrated. In such an interdependent relationship, any attempt to close doors and raise barriers will only backfire. Greater market openness and collaboration through division of labor is the right way to achieve win-win results. We need to focus our efforts on building an open world economy, supporting the multilateral trading system centered around the WTO, advance trade and investment liberalization and facilitation and promote steady growth of the world economy. In making necessary adjustments to improve the existing WTO rules, parties should adhere to the general direction of free trade, and see to it that the adjustments will fully accommodate the interests and concerns of all players and help narrow the North-South gap. Third, we need to accelerate regional economic integration. Over the past 70 years and more since the end of the Second World War, Asia has achieved progress and prosperity thanks to economic globalization and opening-up and cooperation among countries in the region. For East Asia to keep its role as a main engine for global growth and realize a higher level of development, economic integration would be a natural choice. Regional free trade arrangements have picked up pace. ASEAN has established the AEC. China, Japan and the ROK have all established free trade areas with ASEAN. China and ASEAN have completed negotiations to upgrade their FTA. Positive steps have been taken in developing an East Asia Economic Community. The RCEP is the biggest free trade agreement in East Asia that meets the development needs of its extensive membership. At this crucial moment, what is needed is political resolve to conclude the negotiations as quickly as possible to deliver early benefits to people and businesses in the region. China holds an open attitude toward the CPTPP and hopes that when effective, it will be conducive to East Asian cooperation and inclusive development. Fourth, we need to advance regional cooperation for sustainable development.Development remains the top priority of East Asian countries, many of whom are developing countries in need of sustained attention to and greater investment in people's wellbeing. This year, China has implemented cooperation projects in such areas as environment and resource management, clean energy, tumor prevention and control and special food. Continued efforts are needed to follow through on the Manila Plan of Action, advance cooperation in the six priority areas, namely, energy, education, finance, public health, environmental protection and disaster management, and ASEAN connectivity. 110 Selected Documentation
Exchanges and cooperation on food security and poverty reduction need to be stepped up. The Statement on ASEAN Smart Cities co-sponsored by Singapore and China will facilitate innovation cooperation among countries in the region. China will host a new energy forum and a seminar on maritime management next year, and continue to hold the clean energy forum and the seminar on natural resources and information sharing. China further calls for joint studies on geosciences to promote balanced and inclusive development of the region. Fifth, we need to conduct dialogue and cooperation in political and security areas. A safe and stable environment is a prerequisite for development and prosperity in the region. Parties need to increase communication on development strategies and policies to dispel misgivings, reduce misjudgment and enhance political trust. China advocates the vision on common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, supports discussions on regional security outlook and architecture that suits this region, and advocates peaceful settlement of disputes through dialogue and consultation. China will carry out non-traditional security cooperation with parties on counterterrorism, climate change and cyber security. China supports the statement sponsored by Russia on fighting terrorism and will hold joint counter-terrorism exercises next year to promote peace and tranquility in the region. Colleagues, Major positive changes have taken place on the Korean Peninsula with improved North-South relations and advancement in the dialogue process between the DPRK and the United States. Parties need to seize the opportunities to step up dialogue and consultation, accommodate each other's legitimate concerns, and convert political commitment into concrete actions in order to move toward the goal of complete denuclearization and a peace mechanism and achieve early, lasting peace on the Peninsula. Tranquility in the South China Sea is the aspiration of all parties and serves the interests of countries in this region. China is the biggest littoral state with over 60% of its seaborne trade in goods passing through the South China Sea. China firmly supports the freedom of navigation and overflight pursuant to international law. China is probably more keen than any other country to see peace and stability in the South China Sea. In his seven voyages to Southeast Asia and onward over 600 years ago, the Chinese navigator Zheng He laid the foundations for a tradition of benevolence, neighborliness and peaceful coexistence among Asian countries. Today, the Chinese economy has deeply integrated into the world economy and China and its neighbors live in a closely-knit community with a shared future. China will steadfastly pursue a foreign policy of building friendships and partnerships with its neighbors. We are ready to properly manage the South 111 Selected Documentation
China Sea issue with countries in this region to turn the South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation. China is committed to working with ASEAN countries to fully and effectively implement the DOC, carry out practical maritime cooperation and actively advance COC consultations. China is sincerely committed to take forward COC consultations. At the ChinaASEAN Summit yesterday, all parties agreed to complete the first reading of the single draft negotiating text within 2019. And China and some ASEAN countries put forward a vision of concluding COC consultations in three years' time through the concerted efforts of China and ASEAN countries. By working together, we are confident that China and ASEAN countries will reach a COC that reflects the realities of our region, serves our peoples, and anchors peace, stability and enduring tranquility in the South China Sea. We also hope that nonregional states will respect and support these efforts by regional countries. Colleagues, This year marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up. Over the past four decades, China has made remarkable achievements and contributed its share to the development and progress in East Asia and the world beyond. The just-concluded inaugural China International Import Expo fully demonstrated China's sincere desire and voluntary steps to open up its market and share development opportunity with other countries. China will deepen reform comprehensively, advance a new round of high-standard opening-up, and move toward high-quality development. All this will only bring more opportunities to the world. As a Chinese saying goes, "A single drop of water cannot make an ocean, nor can a single tree form a forest". China will enhance solidarity and mutual trust and deepen dialogue and cooperation with all countries. Together, let us sustain the sound momentum of prosperity and stability in our region, and build an even brighter future of peace and development for East Asia. Thank you.
(K) Chairmanâ€™s Statement of the 13th East Asia Summit
For detail see, https://asean.org/storage/2018/11/East_Asia_Summit_ Chairman_Statement_Final.pdf Released on November 16, 2018
(L) Speech by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at ASEAN+3 Summit Source: http://en.people.cn/n3/2018/1116/c90000-9519189.html Released on November 16, 2018 112 Selected Documentation
Speech by H.E. Li Keqiang Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China At the 21st ASEAN Plus China, Japan and ROK Summit Singapore, 15 November 2018 Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Colleagues, It gives me great pleasure to attend the 21st ASEAN Plus China, Japan and ROK (APT) Summit. On behalf of the Chinese government, I would like to express sincere thanks to the Singapore Government for its thoughtful preparations and arrangements for the Summit. We are now at a special moment in time. It has been 10 years since the global financial crisis and 20 years following the Asian financial crisis. Exposed to the extensive impact of both crises, we Asian countries have stood the tests and continued to be a leading engine for global growth. ASEAN, China, Japan and the ROK have played a pivotal role in this process, and the APT framework, which was created to meet the Asian financial crisis, can also rightly claim credit for our progress. As we speak, the world economy is still on the road to recovery, yet factors of instability and uncertainties have notably increased, posing risks and challenges that are deeply concerning. Protectionism and unilateralism are on the rise. With economic globalization suffering setbacks, the rules-based international order and the multilateral trading system are coming under strain. Just as we did before, the APT countries should work together in the spirit of solidarity and mutual help to tackle the challenges head on and turn crisis into opportunities through a collective response. We need to shoulder greater responsibilities for regional stability and play a bigger role in promoting regional prosperity and development. We should remain committed to economic globalization, multilateralism and free trade, and work to advance regional economic integration and build an open world economy. We need to seize the opportunities brought by the new round of technological and industrial revolution to strengthen innovation cooperation and nurture new drivers of growth. The APT economies have a combined GDP of US$21.9 trillion, accounting for 27 percent of the world economy. Having surpassed that of the US and the EU, APT countries carry significant influence in the world economy. With such flagship projects as CMIM, AMRO, APTERR and East Asia Forum under its umbrella, APT cooperation has become more mature in institution building. We have sufficient 113 Selected Documentation
means and capabilities to handle all kinds of difficulties and challenges. China will work with other APT countries with greater resolve and a longer-term perspective to plan for the future of East Asian cooperation. Together, we will promote a higher level of integrated development in East Asia and inject new impetus into the world economy. The year 2018 marks the beginning of a second 20-year period for APT cooperation. At this new starting point, all parties need to make full use of APT cooperation as the main channel of East Asian cooperation, step up efforts to advance regional economic integration, and jointly work toward an East Asia Economic Community (EAEC). In this context, I would like to make the following proposals. We need to move forward the EAEC with concrete actions. The EAEC will facilitate intra-regional cooperation across the board and serve as a useful platform for supporting the growth of APT countries. It has a significant role to play in resolving the challenges we face and steering future APT cooperation. At our meeting last year, my proposal to advance the building of the EAEC received positive response from various parties. To accelerate regional economic integration, I would like to propose that we instruct our trade ministers to work ly through the AEM Plus Three Consultations on the vision and roadmap for the EAEC in order to convert this initiative from vision into actions. We need to speed up FTA building. East Asia is one of the most dynamic growth areas in the world. With free trade and market opening policies widely pursued in the region, East Asia enjoys huge potential in intra-regional trade. Trade among APT countries has now reached US$4.7 trillion, accounting for almost half of our total foreign trade. Regional free trade arrangements have been thriving. ASEAN has established the ASEAN Economic Community and developed bilateral free trade arrangements with China, Japan and the ROK respectively. RCEP, with its extensive membership, will help lay an important foundation for East Asia economic integration, as it reflects the practical realities of our region and seeks to accommodate the interests and concerns of different countries. Substantial progress has been made in RCEP negotiations this year. This has made us more confident in the prospect of an early conclusion. China will work with all other parties to settle the left-over issues as soon as possible in order to conclude a modern, comprehensive, high-standard and mutually beneficial free trade agreement. It is important for us to step up research and cooperation on supply chain connectivity among APT countries to improve regional supply chain and value chain and enhance resilience in development. At the same time, we will more proactively advance the China-Japan-ROK FTA negotiations to inject a fresh impetus to the building of the EAEC. 114 Selected Documentation
We need to enhance financial security. Financial cooperation is the earliest and most fruitful area of cooperation in the APT framework. Faced with rising uncertainties in the international capital markets and growing financial risks in the region, we need to take concrete steps to make the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation safer, more effective and more readily available, and explore the possibilities of using local currencies. Efforts should be made to support the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office in improving its economic surveillance capacity and consolidate regional mechanisms for financial risk prevention and rescue. China will contribute additional funding to the Credit Guarantee and Investment Facility and work with regional countries to develop local currency bond markets for greater regional financial stability. We need to broaden innovation cooperation. With a new wave of technological and industrial revolution gaining momentum, the burgeoning new technologies and industries such as big data, the Internet of Things and AI are bringing new opportunities to regional countries in terms of development and cooperation. China, Japan and the ROK are all big innovators and the ASEAN has been actively pursuing a Smart Cities Network (ASCN). In this context, innovation could be a new growth driver to APT cooperation. We need to strengthen innovation policy exchanges and communication, conduct extensive innovation cooperation among industries, universities and research institutes, and make greater efforts in human resource development and in creating networks of innovators. China proposes to host an APT Young Scientists Forum next year and welcomes the active participation of all parties in the APT SME Service Alliance launched in China last August, with a view to developing a regional platform for innovation exchanges and cooperation. We need to promote inclusive development. Given APT countries' different development stages, unbalanced and inadequate development remains a prominent challenge in our region. It is, therefore, incumbent on us to work out ways of delivering more benefits of regional development to our peoples. Our joint effort to advance the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) offers a new platform for advancing inclusive development. China will work to further synergize the BRI with the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC), promote greater connectivity across the region and build stronger transport, energy and information infrastructure. This will be conducive to stronger growth and to narrowing the development gap in our region. China, Japan and the ROK are exploring a "China-Japan-ROK+X" model to prioritize cooperation with ASEAN countries in industrial capacity, environmental protection, disaster management, health and poverty reduction, with a view to promoting sustainable development of our region. We need to forge ties among our peoples. The friendly exchanges among our peoples are deeply rooted in history and have lent strong support to regional cooperation. We need to strengthen cooperation in culture, education, tourism, 115 Selected Documentation
media and youth, expand people-to-people exchanges and deepen mutual trust and understanding. China proposes to develop an APT cultural cities network on the basis of East Asian Cultural Cities and the ASEAN City of Culture. We will expand cooperation between our youths, implement the Memorandum of Cooperation on APT Tourism Cooperation, and carry out education cooperation including running joint universities and mutually recognizing credits and diplomas. We can make full use of APT Cooperation Fund to promote cultural exchanges. The East Asia Forum and the Network of East Asian Think-Tanks should be fully leveraged to facilitate East Asian cooperation. China will continue to run the APT Rectors' Conference, the APT Media Cooperation Forum and the "Understanding China" program to foster an enabling environment for open dialogue and mutual learning. On the Korean Peninsula, we have seen continued momentum of dialogue and de-escalation on the whole, with various parties maintaining dialogue and interactions. This has presented opportunities for political resolution of this issue, yet challenges remain. China stays committed to denuclearization, to peace and stability of the Peninsula and to resolution through dialogue and consultation. We have endeavored to promote dialogue for peace and move toward the goal of a nuclear-free and peaceful Peninsula. As a neighbor, China will continue to do its part for lasting peace and stability on the Peninsula and in the wider region. Colleagues, This year the Chinese economy has on the whole maintained stable development, with major indicators performing within a proper range. GDP grew by 6.7% year on year in the first three quarters. More than 11 million new jobs were created in towns and cities, which kept the surveyed urban unemployment rate stable at round 5 percent. CPI registered moderate growth. Foreign exchange reserves have been maintained at above US$3 trillion. Structural adjustment has picked up pace, with consumption and services playing a stronger role as the main engine of growth. High-tech, equipment manufacturing and IT services industries have all seen fast expansion. Profits of large-scale companies have been growing at double-digit rates. Over 18,000 new businesses are set up on an average day. New drivers now contribute over 30 percent to economic growth. All in all, China's economic fundamentals remain sound. That said, affected by factors such as shifting dynamics in its external environment, China is also faced with notable challenges in maintaining growth. Nevertheless, thanks to ever stronger internal engines of growth, the Chinese economy has acquired great resilience, huge potential and broad room for maneuver. We are seeing parallel progress in the new type of industrialization, IT application, urbanization and agricultural modernization. We have a 900 116 Selected Documentation
million-strong labor force, over 170 million of whom have had higher education or professional training, providing abundant supply of human capital. With the swelling ranks of middle-income earners, there has also been accelerated upgrading of consumption in the market of over 1.3 billion people. With ample policy tools and means for macro regulation at our disposal, we are well-placed and well-equipped to tackle all kinds of risks and challenges, and we will be able to deliver our targets for economic and social development, and move the Chinese economy toward high-quality development. This year marks the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up in China. In the past four decades, China has not only realized fast development at home but also created development opportunities for countries around the world. China's foreign trade grew at an average annual rate of 14.5%, making China a major trading partner for most countries in the world. For many years now, China has contributed over 30 percent to world growth. We will continue to press ahead with reforms to streamline administration, delegate government powers, enhance regulation where necessary and improve government services. Our policies will be more transparent and our regulations fairer and more impartial. We will further widen access by foreign investors to China's financial and other services sectors as well as the manufacturing sector and cut import tariffs on goods. Efforts will also be made to strengthen IPR protection, create a levelplaying field and foster a world-class business environment. The first China International Import Expo held successfully in Shanghai a few days ago represented a major step by the Chinese government to advance a new round of high-quality opening-up. It was also meant to show support for economic globalization and promote free trade. At the Expo, China reached intended deals worth US$10.9 billion with the ten ASEAN countries and Japan and the ROK. And Japan and the ROK became the top two countries in the number of participating companies. It is estimated that in the coming 15 years, China will import more than US$30 trillion worth of goods and US$10 trillion in services. It will create bigger and greater opportunities for businesses all over the world to access the Chinese market, which will contribute to the growth of our region and the world. Colleagues, APT cooperation, which is now at an important stage of further expansion, faces a rare opportunity for even faster progress. China will work with all other parties to build consensus, enhance collaboration and deepen practical cooperation across the board to advance the building of the EAEC and deliver a better future for our region. Thank you. 117 Selected Documentation
(M) Speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping at APEC CEO Summit For detail see, http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1127766.shtml Released on November 17, 2018 Jointly Charting a Course Toward a Brighter Future Keynote Speech by H.E. Xi Jinping President of the People’s Republic of China At the APEC CEO Summit Port Moresby, 17 November 2018 Honorable Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, Chairman Isikeli Taureka, Members of the business community, Ladies and gentlemen, Good Morning! It gives me great pleasure to come to the picturesque city of Port Moresby and meet with you on board Pacific Explorer. As we brave the rough waters of the global economy and confront the many risks and challenges, it is all too befitting that we have come together on this ship to chart the course for future development and cooperation. The theme of this CEO Summit, “Inclusion in the Age of Disruption: Charting a Common Future”, couldn’t be more important. The world today is going through major development, transformation and change. While economic globalization surges forward, global growth is shadowed by protectionism and unilateralism. A new revolution in science, technology and industry is in the making; but old driving forces are yet to be replaced by new ones. The international landscape is undergoing profound changes, but imbalance in development is yet to be addressed. The reform of the global governance system is gathering momentum, but improving its efficiency remains a major challenge. The changes we are encountering in the world are unseen in a century. Changes create opportunities, but more often than not, they are accompanied by risks and challenges. Mankind has once again reached a crossroads. Which direction should we choose? Cooperation or confrontation? Openness or closing one’s door? Win-win progress or a zero-sum game? The interests of all countries and indeed, the future of mankind hinge on the choice we make.
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A review of the world’s modern history clearly shows that different choices would lead the world onto different paths. In the Asia-Pacific, the establishment of APEC is such a success story. Its birth and growth echoed the historical trend of openness and integration, our region’s fervent desire for development and our people’s need to meet challenges through cooperation. Openness and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific has not only boosted its prosperity but also injected vitality into the vast ocean of global economy. Today’s Asia-Pacific has the world’s most dynamic and promising economy, which is recognized as a key engine driving global growth. However, not all that happened in the past are success stories. Mankind has learned lessons the hard way. World War II, for instance, plunged mankind into the abyss of calamity in the last century. Not far away from where we are meeting now are the sites of the fierce Battle of the Coral Sea and the Battle of Guadalcanal in World War II. Today, this part of the ocean has long restored its peace and calm, but never should we forget the lessons of history. An ancient Chinese philosopher observed that one needs to clean the mirror before taking a look at himself and that one should learn the lessons of the past before making decisions of the day. In reviewing history, we should draw its lessons to prevent the recurrence of past tragedies. Facing the surging historical trend, we need to ask ourselves: How can we steer the right course for global economic development? How can the international community find an effective way of conducting global governance? I believe it is imperative that we keep the following focuses: First, we should focus on openness to create more space for development. Economic globalization is the sure way for the human society to achieve development, and the multilateral trading system has created opportunities for us all. In today’s world, countries’ interests are so closely intertwined, and the global supply chain, industrial chain and value chain are so closely connected. We are all links of the global chain of cooperation; increasingly, we are becoming one and same community with shared interests and a shared future. This is the working of the laws of economics, a fact no one can change. We need to gain a keen appreciation of this underlying trend of our times and view the changing world for what it is and, on that basis, respond to new developments and meet new challenges in a responsible and rules-based way. Attempts to erect barriers and cut the close economic ties among countries work against the laws of economics and the trend of history and run counter to the shared desire of people around the world. This is a short-sighted approach and it is doomed to failure.
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Each era faces problems of its day. Problems themselves are not to be afraid of; what truly matters is for us to take a right approach to resolve the problems. Resorting to old practices such as protectionism and unilateralism will not resolve problems. On the contrary, they can only add uncertainties to the global economy. Only openness and cooperation can bring more opportunities and create more space for development. This is a well proven historical fact. One who chooses to close his door will only cut himself off from the rest of the world and lose his direction. APEC is a pioneer in building an open global economy. As the Bogor Goals are set for 2020, we should set our sights on post-2020 cooperation and endeavor to build a free trade area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP). We should say no to protectionism and unilateralism, uphold the WTO-centered multilateral trading system, make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all, and expand converging interests and share opportunities through opening-up and cooperation. Second, we should focus on development to deliver more benefits to our peoples. More than anything else, we should strive to deliver better lives to our people. Every country is entitled to an equal right to development; and no one has the right or the power to stop people in developing countries from pursuing a better life. We should strengthen development cooperation and help developing countries eliminate poverty so that people in all countries will live better lives. This is what fairness is essentially about; it is also a moral responsibility of the international community. We should make the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development a part of our national development strategies, promote coordinated advances in the economic, social and environmental fields, pursue inclusive development in keeping with our respective national conditions, and forge equal and balanced global development partnerships. Developed countries should honor their commitments on official development assistance and increase support to developing countries. We should give priority to development in international economic policy coordination and have a clear focus on development when adopting policies and rules on trade and investment, IPR protection, the digital economy and other areas. By doing so, we can create more opportunities and a more enabling environment for the development of all countries as well as robust drivers and a stable environment for global growth. The principle of â€œspecial and differential treatmentâ€?, which is a cornerstone of the WTO, is not to be challenged. Otherwise the very foundation of the multilateral trading system will be shaken. Third, we should focus on inclusiveness and promote interactions. We live on the same planet. It is home to more than 200 countries and regions, 2,500-plus 120 Selected Documentation
ethnic groups and over 7 billion people. Trying to erase their differences will not work. Such differences are not a hindrance to exchanges, still less a cause for confrontation. Diversity and interaction between different civilizations, social systems and paths can provide strong impetus for human progress. We should reject arrogance and prejudice, be respectful of and inclusive toward others, and embrace the diversity of our world. We should seek common ground while putting aside differences, draw upon each otherâ€™s strengths and pursue coexistence in harmony and win-win cooperation. When it comes to choosing a development path for a country, no one is in a better position to make the decision than the people of that country. Just as one does not expect a single prescription to cure all diseases, one should not expect a particular model of development to fit all countries. Blindly copying the development model of others will only be counterproductive, so will be any attempt to impose oneâ€™s own development model on others. Fourth, we should focus on innovation to tap new sources of growth. Breakthroughs are being made one after another in frontier areas such as information technology, life sciences, smart manufacturing and green energy, and new materials, new products and new business forms are replacing existing ones at a faster pace. Big data, 3D printing and artificial intelligence, which we read about only in science fiction in the past, are now part of our daily life. The future is already with us. In a boat race, those who row the hardest will win. If we do not move proactively to adapt to the surging tide of new scientific revolution and industrial transformation, we risk missing valuable opportunities or even falling behind the times. What we should do is to lose no time in making every effort to explore new growth drivers and development paths, and remove all institutional obstacles holding back innovation. We should boost innovation and market vitality and deepen international exchanges and cooperation on innovation so as to better meet our respective and common challenges in development. The sweeping new scientific revolution and industrial transformation will have a profound impact on the mode of production, way of life and values of human society. The need to strike a balance between equity and efficiency, capital and labor, technology and employment has become a common challenge for the international community. If not handled properly, this issue will further widen the wealth gap between the North and the South. We should gain a keen understanding of the complex dimensions of this issue and make the right decision. This will enable us to steer the new scientific revolution and industrial transformation in the right direction. Scientific and technological innovations should meet peopleâ€™s needs. Every country is entitled to benefit from such innovations made through both their 121 Selected Documentation
own efforts and international cooperation. Scientific and technological innovations should not be locked up or become profit-making tools for just a few. The IPR regime is designed to protect and encourage innovation, not to create or widen the scientific and technological divide. We should develop policy institutions and systems that are responsive to the new scientific revolution and industrial transformation, and foster an enabling environment for international cooperation that will deliver the fruits of innovation to more countries and peoples. Fifth, we should focus on a rules-based approach to improve global governance. With the painful lessons of two world wars in mind, countries established the global governance framework underpinned by the United Nations and composed of the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO and other institutions. This framework, while not an ideal one, represents an important step in human history. Indeed, it has been pivotal to global peace and development in the past decades. We must strengthen rules-based global governance if we are to achieve stability and development. Rules should be formulated by the international community, not in a might-is-right way. Once the rules are made, they should not be followed or bent as one sees fit, and they should not be applied with double standards for selfish agendas. For the system of global economic governance to be equitable and efficient, it must keep up with the times. We should advance the reform of the global governance system on the principle of conducting consultation and collaboration for shared benefits. This reform should be advanced on the basis of equality, openness, transparency and inclusiveness. Developing countries should have more say and greater representation in this process. Disagreements should be resolved through consultation. Attempts to form exclusive blocs or impose oneâ€™s will on others should be rejected. History has shown that confrontation, whether in the form of a cold war, a hot war or a trade war, will produce no winners. We believe that there exist no issues that countries cannot resolve through consultation as long as they handle these issues in a spirit of equality, mutual understanding and accommodation. Ladies and gentlemen, Friends, In 1978, China embarked on the great journey of reform and opening-up. Over the past 40 years, the Chinese people, with vision, hard work and perseverance, have forged ahead and taken a historic stride. We have stood up, become prosperous and grown in strength. We the Chinese nation are moving forward toward great rejuvenation.
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— Over the past 40 years, the Chinese people have blazed a new trail and made solid progress. With enterprise and grit and through self-reliance, we have turned China into the world’s second biggest economy, making tremendous advances in our country’s development and the improvement of people’s lives. It is the relentless efforts of the Chinese people that have made China what it is today! — Over the past 40 years, the Chinese people have embraced the world with open arms. China has pursued its development through opening-up. As a result, China’s import and export of goods have grown by 198 times and those of services by over 147 times. China has attracted more than US$2 trillion in foreign investment. It has become the world’s biggest trader of goods, the biggest tourism market and a major trading partner with over 130 countries. — Over the past 40 years, the Chinese people have pursued development with a single focus and made lives better for ourselves. Guided by a people-centered development philosophy, between 1978 and 2017 China raised its per capita disposable income by 22.8 times, lifted 740 million people out of poverty and doubled the number of jobs created. We have achieved free compulsory primary and middle-school education nationwide and established the world’s biggest social safety net. Thanks to these accomplishments, our people now feel more secure and have a greater sense of fulfillment and contentment. — Over the past 40 years, the Chinese people have pursued our own development to achieve development for all. China has stayed on the path of peaceful development, got actively involved in global economic governance, and actively supported other developing countries in their development. We have implemented responsible macroeconomic policies and contributed a significant share of global growth. We have played our part in responding to the Asian financial crisis and the global financial crisis. By so doing, China has contributed its vision and input to building a community with a shared future for mankind. Five years ago, I announced the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which aims to enhance connectivity among countries and regions, promote interconnected development, and create new space for global growth. This initiative has won wide international endorsement in the past five years. China has signed BRI cooperation documents with over 140 countries and international organizations, and a large number of cooperation projects have been launched under this Initiative. Let me make this clear: the BRI is an open platform for cooperation. It is guided by the principle of consultation and collaboration for shared benefits. It is not designed to serve any hidden geopolitical agenda, it is not targeted against anyone and it does not exclude anyone. It is not an exclusive club that is closed to non-members, nor is it a “trap” as some people have labeled it. Rather, the BRI 123 Selected Documentation
is a major and transparent initiative with which China shares opportunities and pursues common development with the rest of the world. In April next year, China will host the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, and we welcome members of the Asia-Pacific business community to this event. As we look back over the four decades of reform and opening-up, we in China are more convinced than ever before that only through reform and opening-up can China develop itself. Going forward, China will take an even more responsible approach, be even more open and inclusive, and strive to achieve even higher quality of growth. By doing so, as it develops itself, China will make greater contributions to the common prosperity of the world. China will continue to significantly expand market access, strengthen IPR protection, and do more to increase imports. Since the beginning of this year, China has announced a host of new measures for further opening-up, which include the following: creating a more attractive investment and business environment, significantly lowering the tariffs for 1,449 consumer goods and 1,585 industrial goods, further cutting the tariffs for automobiles and auto parts to 13.8 percent and 6 percent respectively, and eliminating tariffs on all imported anti-cancer drugs. With a new round of tariff cuts coming into effect on 1 November, Chinaâ€™s overall tariff rates have been reduced to 7.5 percent, lower than the majority of developing countries and beyond the commitment China made upon its accession to the WTO. China has released a new negative list on foreign investment, and will further open up finance, automobiles, aircraft, ships and other sectors. According to a recent World Bank report, China has moved up over 30 places in the ease of doing business ranking over the past year and is among the economies with the most significant improvement. China views all companies, both Chinese and foreign, as equals. China welcomes and encourages fair competition among them, and will fully protect their legitimate rights and interests. A week ago, the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) was successfully held in Shanghai. It was attended by 172 countries, regions and international organizations, over 3,600 companies, and more than 400,000 Chinese and foreign buyers. Deals worth US$57.8 billion were sealed. The Hongqiao International Economic and Trade Forum, held as part of the Expo, attracted over 4,500 leading personalities from various sectors around the world. With such actual steps, China has demonstrated its commitment to trade liberalization and opening-up of its market. I wish to welcome you all to the second CIIE to be held next year. I am confident that the large market of China, with a population of close to 1.4 billion, will be a source of dynamic growth for the global economy.
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Many of you present today have witnessed, contributed to and benefited from Chinaâ€™s reform and opening-up, and have forged a special bond with China. The business community is an important force driving the economic development of the Asia-Pacific and the wider world. As entrepreneurs, you should bring out your best and ride the waves of economic globalization. I hope you will continue to share your insights with decision makers, encourage countries to adopt positive and practical policies and carry out extensive economic and technological cooperation. Together, we can open a new horizon for the common development and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific and the world at large. Ladies and gentlemen, Dear friends, We APEC member economies are brought together by the Pacific Ocean. I was looking at the vast ocean when I boarded the ship, and it struck me that we are all indeed fellow passengers in the same boat. Let us keep the steering wheel steady and paddle in the right direction so that the ship of the global economy will brave winds, break waves and sail to a brighter future. Thank you!
(N) Chinese President Xi Jinpingâ€™s Remarks at Session I of G20 Summit For detail see, http://www.bjreview.com/Documents/201812/t2018 1203_800150228.html Released on November 30, 2018 "Look Beyond the Horizon and Steer the World Economy in the Right Direction": President Mauricio Macri, Dear Colleagues, It's been 10 years since the global financial crisis broke out and the first G20 Summit was convened. Today, the global economy, while maintaining growth on the whole, is still not free from the underlying impacts of the crisis. Old growth drivers are yet to be replaced by new ones and various risks are building up rapidly. The new round of technological revolution and industrial transformation is triggering profound changes, the wealth gap keeps widening, and social contradictions are growing. The world economy is facing another historical choice. 125 Selected Documentation
An ancient Chinese philosopher had said that "reviewing the past enables us to learn about the law governing the evolution of history." We G20 members must closely follow the underlying historical trend so as to chart the course for the future. In humanityâ€™s relentless quest for development and progress, the trend toward openness and integration among countries is unstoppable despite ups and downs in the global economy. The ever growing and expanding industrial chain, value chain and supply chain have boosted the flow of production factors across the world and led several billion people out of poverty and toward prosperity. Greater coordination and complementarity among countries meet the need of productivity growth. They will also shape the future of relations of production. In this process, countries are increasingly becoming a community of shared interests, shared responsibilities and a shared future. Going forward, win-win cooperation is the only choice for us, be it in good times or bad. This is dictated by the law of economics, and it is in keeping with the development of human history. Facing various challenges, we must have a stronger sense of urgency, be rational in our approach and look beyond the horizon. We must fulfill our responsibility and steer the global economy in the right direction. The G20 was born out of the international community's need to maintain stable growth of the global economy. Over the past decade, we have faced difficulties together, navigated the global economy out of recession and brought it back to the track of recovery and growth. Ten years later, let us work with the same courage and strategic vision and ensure that the global economy grows on the right track. First, we should stay committed to openness and cooperation and uphold the multilateral trading system. Five years ago when I attended the G20 Summit for the first time, I called for joint efforts to uphold and build an open world economy. Five years on, this has obviously become an even more urgent task for us. The number of new trade restriction measures applied on a monthly basis among G20 members has doubled compared with six months ago. In 2018, the growth of trade in goods may decline by 0.3 percent globally. We should uphold free trade and the rules-based multilateral trading system. China supports necessary reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and believes that it is critical to uphold the WTO's core values and fundamental principles such as openness, inclusiveness and non-discrimination, and ensure the development interests and policy space of developing countries. We need to conduct extensive consultation to achieve gradual progress instead of imposing one's position on others. Second, we should forge a strong partnership and step up macro policy coordination. Partnership is the most valuable asset of the G20. We G20 members should work together to surmount whatever difficulty lies ahead. We should employ the three tools of fiscal and monetary policies and structural reform in a holistic way to ensure strong, balanced, sustainable and inclusive 126 Selected Documentation
growth of the global economy. Strengthening policy coordination, which is essential for global growth, is also the due responsibility of major economies. Developed economies, when adopting monetary and fiscal policies, should give more consideration to and work to minimize the impact such policies may exert on emerging markets and developing economies. The IMF's 15th General Review of Quotas should be concluded on schedule. The international monetary system should become more diversified, and the global financial safety net should continue to be strengthened. Third, we should stay committed to innovation and create new momentum for growth. The global economy is embracing the trend of digital transformation, and the new round of industrial revolution will reshape human society in profound ways. We should encourage innovation and leverage the role of the digital economy in growing the real economy. We need to watch out for risks and challenges brought by the application of new technologies, and strengthen the legal and regulatory framework. And we need to do more to boost education and vocational training. We should give priority to achieving development through fully tapping our innovation potential. At the same time, we also need to keep our doors open and encourage the spread of new technologies and knowledge so that innovation will benefit more countries and peoples. To better adapt to and guide technological innovation, I propose that the G20 carry out an in-depth study on the application and impact of new technologies on a priority basis to explore new thinking and new ways of cooperation in this area. Fourth, we should stay committed to win-win cooperation to promote inclusive global development. Development holds the key to many problems facing the world today. Development also provides a strong guarantee for greater equity and justice. We need to continue to follow a people-centered development philosophy and endeavor to deliver a sense of fulfillment, happiness and security to our people. We need to continue to prioritize development in global macro-policy coordination, implement in real earnest the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and give strong support to work in this area under the UN framework. We should protect the development interests and space of developing countries so as to ensure global growth that is truly equitable. We should continue to support Africa's development by helping Africa with its infrastructure and connectivity building and new industrialization. Dear Colleagues, This year marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up. During the past 40 years, with the support of the international community, we in China have forged ahead with perseverance and made historic achievements in development. In the years since the global financial crisis, China has contributed over 30 percent of global growth. China is firm in its resolve to eradicate poverty. Our goal is to eliminate absolute poverty as currently defined by 2020, and we 127 Selected Documentation
have every confidence to meet this target. China owes its progress to reform and opening up, and will continue to advance on this path. Earlier this month, the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) was successfully held, and was warmly received by the international community. China will continue to deepen market-oriented reform, protect property rights and intellectual property rights, encourage fair competition and do more to expand imports. The CIIE will be held annually as a way to further open China's market. In the latest World Bank Doing Business report, China moved up 32 places in the ease of doing business ranking from last year. China will continue to improve its business environment, and hopes that all countries will work together for a free, open, inclusive and orderly international economic environment. Thank you.
December (O) Speech by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Opening of Symposium on the International Situation and Chinaâ€™s Foreign Relations in 2018 For detail see: http://www.china-un.org/eng/zgyw/t1621221.htm Released on December 11, 2018
(P) Progress in Human Rights over the 40 Years of Reform and Opening Up in China For detail see, http://en.people.cn/n3/2018/1214/c90000-9528739.html Released on December 14, 2018
(Q) 2019 New Year Speech by President Xi Jinping
Source: http://www.bjreview.com/Nation/201812/t20181231_800152959 .html Released on December 31, 2018 Comrades, friends, ladies and gentlemen, Greetings to you all! "Time stops for no one, and the seasons keep changing." As we usher in 2019, I'd like to extend my New Year wishes from Beijing to you all! 2018 has been a full year, and we approached it with steadfast determination. Despite all sorts of risks and challenges, we pushed our economy towards highquality development, sped up the replacement of the old drivers of growth, and kept the major economic indicators within a reasonable range. We made headway in our efforts to protect our blue skies, and to defend our rivers and 128 Selected Documentation
soil from pollution. And we intensified our efforts to improve people's wellbeing and steadily raise our standards of living. National strategies such as the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt, and the construction of the GuangdongHong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area were steadfastly implemented. During my inspection tours around the country, I was pleased to see the lush green banks of the Yangtze River, the ocean of rice sprouting at the Jiansanjiang agricultural base, the lively Shenzhen Qianhai Harbor, the bustling Shanghai Zhangjiang High-tech Park, and the bridge that brings together Hong Kong, Zhuhai, and Macao. These achievements are all thanks to the hard work of people from all of China's ethnic groups, who are the trail-blazers of the new era. Over the past year, the combined forces of Chinese manufacturing, Chinese innovation, and Chinese construction, have continued to change the face of the country. We successfully launched the Chang'e-4 lunar probe; our second aircraft carrier set sail on its maiden voyage; our domestically-made large amphibious aircraft performed its first water launch; and the BeiDou Satellite Navigation System has gone global. Let me take this opportunity to salute every scientist, every engineer, and every nation builder who made these achievements possible. We have also made great strides in our poverty alleviation efforts in the past year. Another 125 poor counties and 10 million poverty-stricken rural residents were lifted out of poverty. We reduced the price of 17 cancer-fighting drugs, and included them on our medical insurance list. And we are continuing to tackle the financial strain that can accompany a family member falling ill. Our comrades on the front lines of the fight against poverty are often in my thoughts, including over 2.8 million officials living and working in villages, and the local village leaders. They are devoted to their work and do an awesome job, and I wish them good health. My heart goes out to the people living in hardship. In Sanhe Village of Liangshan in Sichuan Province, I visited the families of two villagers from the Yi people. In Sanjianxi Village in Jinan City in Shandong Province, I sat down with the family of Zhao Shunli to hear about their day-to-day lives. In the Donghuayuan community in the city of Fushun in Liaoning Province, I visited Chen Yufang's family to learn about how they were settling in after being relocated from a dangerous area. In Lianzhang Village in Qingyuan in Guangdong Province, I discussed with a villager named Lu Yihe how we could help to relieve his household's poverty. I can vividly recall their down-to-earth sincerity. I would like to wish all of them and their fellow villagers a prosperous and thriving New Year. In 2018, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up. We unveiled a comprehensive and systematic overhaul of both Party and State 129 Selected Documentation
institutions. We launched over 100 major reform measures, held the first China International Import Expo, and began construction of a pilot free trade zone in Hainan. The world has seen China's accelerating reform and opening up, and its determination to carry it forward. China's reforms will never stop, and its doors will only open ever wider. I noticed that in the past year, most people who enrolled in college when the entrance exam resumed in 1977 have retired. And a large number of people born after 2000 have entered university. More than 100 million people from our rural areas are gradually becoming permanent residents in our cities. 13 million have found jobs, and construction has begun on 5.8 million new homes for those people living in dilapidated houses. Many have already moved into their new warm homes. Many people from Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan now have resident permits for the mainland, and Hong Kong has become a stop on our high-speed railway network. China, as a country of people on the move, is energetically pursuing prosperity. We are running at full speed towards the realization of our dreams. At this point, I'd like to mention several leading lights. Nan Rendong, a Chinese scientist after whom an asteroid was named a few months ago; Lin Junde and Zhang Chao, who joined the long list of exemplary soldiers in the People's Liberation Army; Wang Jicai, who for thirty-two years served on a border island; and those who died protecting an experimental offshore platform--Huang Qun, Song Yuecai, and Jiang Kaibin, and the many other heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. They are the most admirable people in China's new era, and we should remember their names forever, and learn from their deeds. In 2018, China played host to many friends, both old and new. We hosted the annual Boao Forum for Asia, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in Qingdao, as well as the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. We put China's proposals on the table and made our voice heard at these and other diplomatic events. I and my colleagues visited five continents and attended many important diplomatic events. We spoke with state leaders about wide-ranging issues, we strengthened our friendships, we enhanced mutual trust, and we enlarged our circle of friends. In 2019, we will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Our country has braved thorny paths and confronted stormy weather over the past seventy years. Our people are the country's solid foundation and our main source of confidence to govern. Through the years, the Chinese people have been self-reliant and worked diligently to create Chinese miracles that the world has marveled at. And now, looking forward, despite the complexities and difficulties we may face on the road ahead, we shall always closely rely on the people and stick to self-reliance and hard work. With rocksolid confidence, and racing against time with unwavering determination, we 130 Selected Documentation
will carry forward our unprecedented great cause one resolute step after another, and leave enduring footprints behind us. 2019 will see both opportunities and challenges that will require us to work together shoulder to shoulder. Policies to cut taxes and fees must take root to ease the burden on enterprises. We must show our sincere appreciation to talent of all kinds, and stimulate their creative energy. We must lend an ear to our officials at the grassroots, and bring energy and greater purpose to those who are ready to commit to making a difference. To achieve our task of lifting another 10 million-plus rural residents out of poverty as planned, we shall remain focused and work hard on this. We shall take better care of our military veterans who have done much to keep the motherland safe. Even as we speak, there are deliverymen, street cleaners, taxi drivers, and countless others who are hard at work. We should thank these workers who contribute to the creation of our beautiful society. Their hard work is much appreciated. Looking at the world at large, we're facing a period of major change never seen in a century. No matter what these changes bring, China will remain resolute and confident in its defense of its national sovereignty and security. And China's sincerity and goodwill to safeguard world peace and promote common development will remain unchanged. We will continue to push ahead with the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, and continue to advocate for the development of a community of shared future for mankind. And we will work tirelessly for a more prosperous and beautiful world. As we ring in the New Year, let's embrace 2019 with confidence and anticipation. Best wishes to China! And best wishes to the world! Thank you!
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Part III Selected Analysis
(III) Selected Analysis (July-December 2018) Foreign Affairs (A) What will future international order look like? The US tried to build a unipolar global order after the Cold War by expanding and consolidating ties and alliances it forged after World War II. However, from the first decade of the 21st century, the US-led international order began to change with the pace of transformation accelerating in the second decade. First, the change in power is one reason. All orders in history were built on the basis of power and norms. The profound change in the balance of power in this century is driving the transformation of the existing order. Second, the shortcomings of the existing order, including too much American dominance, insufficient public goods and the lack of inclusiveness, have hastened the need for change. Third, the USâ€™ ability and willingness to maintain the current order is declining. After Donald Trump came to office, the US increasingly showed a tendency to undermine the existing order. Joseph Nye of Harvard University says he is worried the liberal international order is threatened more by the rise of Trump than by the rise of China. China is one of the main drivers of the transformation with the growing power and willingness to bring about change. But China will not replace the US as the next hegemon or establish a new hegemonic order. Chinaâ€™s national strength is far behind that of the US. In economic strength, China is likely to bypass the US, but it is difficult to beat Washington in terms of military and technological might. In addition, the soft power the US has gained via international organizations such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, is still hard for China to catch up with. Beijing needs to promote reform of the current order, including strengthening existing multilateral mechanisms as well as providing some other options, such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Belt and Road initiative. It will neither undermine multilateral institutions, nor build and alliance system. But all these efforts to promote change and expand its influence will inevitably be subject to US structural constraints.
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The paradigm of Sino-US relations in the 21st century is likely to be characterized by power – and leadership-sharing. This means that the US must accept China’s rise and expanded international role, while China must learn to get along with the US in both competition and cooperation. This is consistent with the goal of Beijing to establish a new type of major power relationship with Washington. So, what kind of order will the future world acquire? The international system will emerge as a regional or sub-regional community that shares interests and ideas, like the EU and the ASEAN, and inter-state relations will be in the nature of partnerships rather than following the superior-subordinate model. If before WWII it was a so-called free empire order, the postwar order could be described as “free-hegemonic.” “Free” because of open trade and multilateralism; “hegemonic” because it is dominated by the US, the keeper of this system. The world’s largest economy has created a hierarchy based on its unrivaled economic and military advantages, and the system reflects its own vision of order, values and interests. In the 21st century, we will see the emergence of a free partnership order, in which the world embraces more openness, multilateralism and freedom, and countries build partnerships based on equality, respect and mutual benefits. Historically, hegemonic countries generally provide most public goods, but in the future, all countries will jointly provide them, although the contributions of countries will vary. On the whole, more freedom and less hegemony will be the greatest feature of the 21st century international order. Due to the prominent role of globalization and economic factors in the current changes in vogue, the new order will be dominated by economic factors rather than security considerations. With the rise of emerging countries, developing nations will have a greater say in international affairs. Regional organizations will play a greater role in regional governance. The new order will accommodate more political, economic and cultural diversity than the current one that has been dominated by Western values and culture. In the era of major changes, emerging economies are prone to impulses and hegemonic countries vulnerable to anxiety, which in turn impacts their strategy and policy making. We must have an accurate judgment of where the world is headed. An understanding that the world pattern of the 21st century will be characterized by multilateralism and partnership will help overcome the impulse and anxiety. 136 Selected Analysis
Written By: Wu Xinbo Source: Global Times Published: 17 July 2018 The author is the dean of the Institute of International Studies at Fudan University. This article is based on his speech at the Symposium on China and International Order on June 17 at the School of International Studies, Renmin University of China.
(B) Mapping the Future China and ASEAN commit to cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative as well as the South China Sea issue From July 31 to August 5, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Malaysia and Singapore where he attended a slew of foreign ministers' meetings alongside counterparts from across the region under the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). This year also marks the 15th anniversary of the China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity. China has always placed ASEAN squarely on the first page of its foreign cooperation agenda, regarding ASEAN as a priority in its foreign policy and a key region for the development of the Belt and Road Initiative, with the two sides having made notable achievements thus far through cooperation. All-round partnership In recent years, mutual political trust has been considerably enhanced, with President Xi Jinping proposing the joint development of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and the forging of a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future. The latter is an ambitious endeavor aimed at facilitating regional economic cooperation, strengthening cross-cultural exchanges, promoting world peace and development, and advancing the well-being of people around the world, which has won widespread support from ASEAN countries. Through the collective efforts of all parties, the Belt and Road Initiative is becoming more closely aligned with the blueprint of the ASEAN Community and the development strategies of its individual member states. Economic and trade cooperation is also deepening. China is at present ASEAN's largest trading partner, while ASEAN is the third largest trading partner, the fourth largest export market and the second largest origin of imports of China. The volume of trade between China and ASEAN reached $514.82 billion in 2017, almost seven times that of 2003, accounting for one eighth of China's total foreign trade volume.
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Meanwhile, aggregate two-way investment between China and ASEAN has exceeded $200 billion. Investment by Chinese companies has gradually widened from manufacturing, mining, wholesale and retail to infrastructure such as electric power, water supply and telecommunications as well as broader commercial services. China has set up over 4,000 direct investment companies in ASEAN nations, hired more than 300,000 local people and helped boost local socioeconomic development. Additionally, regional and sub-regional economic cooperation is flourishing, the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area has been successfully upgraded, negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) are forging ahead, the Pan-Beibu Economic Cooperation Roadmap is complete, and Lancang-Mekong cooperation is prospering. Lancang-Mekong cooperation is a sub-regional collaboration mechanism involving China and five other countries along the Mekong River that has grown rapidly since its first leaders' meeting in March 2016. Based on pragmatism and efficiency, it has made significant progress in creating institutions, building capacity, implementing projects, formulating visions and shaping recognition, and serves to highlight the potential of China-ASEAN cooperation. Furthermore, China and ASEAN are involved in mutual coordination and close cooperation on regional and international affairs. Both sides oppose external interference in the South China Sea, actively promote consultation on the Code of Conduct (COC) in the region and advocate the simultaneous running of the "two wheels" of consultation and practical maritime cooperation. China and ASEAN nations are all developing countries which stand against unilateral action, economic nationalism and trade protectionism manifested by the Donald Trump administration of the United States, as well as for upholding the settlement of disputes through multilateral channels. China and ASEAN have grown to become important figures in safeguarding regional peace and stability, as well as crucial forces promoting regional development and prosperity. Since the Belt and Road Initiative was put forward by China in 2013, ASEAN has always been a priority area and its nations important partners in international cooperation along the Belt and Road routes. Both sides abide by the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and have a lot to gain from Belt and Road cooperation. China has signed memorandums of understanding (MOU) with ASEAN countries including Singapore, Myanmar and Malaysia; agreed on inter-governmental bilateral cooperation plans with Laos and Cambodia; and conducted mutually beneficial economic cooperation in infrastructure and other fields. Marked by the signing of the China-ASEAN MOU on Cultural Cooperation, people-to-people exchanges have also become a priority for cooperation between China and ASEAN and a new pillar of their bilateral relationship. Since the concept of a China-ASEAN community with a shared future was proposed, 138 Selected Analysis
and particularly since the 25th anniversary of China-ASEAN Dialogue Relations in 2016, expanding people-to-people exchanges has become another key channel for China and ASEAN collaboration. A bilateral people-to-people exchange mechanism featuring cultural industry cooperation, educational exchanges and cooperation, youth exchanges and international tourism has yielded rich and innovative results, and the scope of these interactions continues to broaden. The number of two-way visits between China and the region hit a new high in 2017, rising to almost 50 million from close to 30 million in 2016. Progress made Foreign Minister Wang's recent visit to ASEAN saw an intense schedule packed with both bilateral and multilateral activities. Wang was the first high-level Chinese official to visit Malaysia since the election of the country's new government, and he received a warm welcome. Productive outcomes were attained as both sides reached consensus on jointly promoting the Belt and Road Initiative and paved the way for Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's visit to China. At the Foreign Ministers' Meeting on East Asia Cooperation held in Singapore, Wang, together with the foreign ministers of ASEAN countries, vowed to stand against unilateralism and trade protectionism, and continue to promote free trade and regional economic integration so as to build a fairer and more reasonable international economic order. All sides took the opportunity of the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the strategic partnership between China and ASEAN to jointly map out a blueprint for future cooperation. The China-ASEAN 10+1 Foreign Ministers' Meeting on August 2 resulted in the completion of a single draft text in negotiations over the COC in the South China Sea, marking major progress in COC consultation. Both China and ASEAN agreed to hold joint maritime drills in October and to upgrade the quality of security cooperation in the region. With accelerated progress in COC consultation, China and ASEAN states have shown the wisdom and capacity to establish rules for mutual compliance and jointly contribute to peace and stability in the South China Sea. The China-ASEAN strategic partnership has undergone 15 years of successful development and envisions a broader space with greater possibilities in the future. This year is also the China-ASEAN Year of Innovation, and both sides will mark this occasion by deepening cooperation in new industries and fields such as smart cities, the digital economy and artificial intelligence. China and ASEAN will further work toward the China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership Vision 2030â€” a blueprint to further upgrade and enrich their cooperation, and explore new areas and space for collaboration. Looking back at the past 15 years, ChinaASEAN relations are at a higher point now than ever before. The two sides are 139 Selected Analysis
joining hands and setting out to make greater progress in their strategic partnership and build a closer-knit China-ASEAN community with a shared future. Written By: Jiang Zhida Source: Beijing Review Published: 16 August 2018 The author is an associate research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies
(C) Cooperation among China, Japan and Mekong countries in the interest of region The 10th Mekong-Japan Summit convened in Tokyo on October 9 adopted a series of important documents including “Tokyo Strategy 2018” and reached consensus on several issues. Japan, with ever-increasing support and participation in the region, has become the largest donor of Mekong countries. Bilateral and multilateral cooperation among them is also bringing in political and economic dividends. First, social and economic development of Mekong countries has received a boost. Japanese assistance to industries like energy, resource development, transportation, telecommunications, agriculture and forestry, urban development and environmental preservation has made contributions to helping Mekong countries eliminate poverty, bridge regional development gaps, protect the environment, boost agricultural development and build a market economy, bringing remarkable economic and social benefits. Second, a positive image of Japan has been created in the Mekong region. A steady flow of Japanese assistance is undoubtedly attractive to Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. Japanese assistance, mainly in the form of technological cooperation and grants, has to a large extent lightened the countries’ foreign debt burden, thus winning affection and trust of recipient governments and local people. Third, Japan’s soft power in the Mekong area has grown increasingly strong. Japan has enhanced its soft power through cultural diplomacy and people-topeople contacts and developed quality middle and senior management talent for Mekong countries, ensuring supply of talented manpower for the latter’s economic development and social progress while improving relations with Japan. Fourth, policies toward China have been influenced to some degree. Japan views China as a major competitor and tries different means to pull Mekong countries 140 Selected Analysis
closer. Mekong nations, to some extent, “understand” Japan’s stance and policies. Though Tokyo participates in local cooperation with Mekong countries with an obvious intention of taking on China, it does not justify the opinion that Japan means to start a confrontation with Beijing or stand in the way of China’s development. Mekong countries wish to deepen cooperation with China and Japan for maintaining regional peace and boosting their respective economies. China should welcome and embrace Japan’s participation in the development of Mekong countries and avoid competing for “money diplomacy” in the area. China and Japan should keep the Japan-China Policy Dialogue on the Mekong Region going so as to achieve connectivity between economic corridors, convenient cross-border transportation and more investments in logistics and trade. Dialogue and cooperation in agriculture, finance, infrastructure, environment preservation, talent-building and poverty alleviation should also be encouraged. In engaging with Mekong countries, China should focus on efforts in different directions. First, China should properly understand and approach concerns of Mekong countries and make efforts to facilitate their rise as a whole. Second, China should maintain close contact and exchange with all levels in Mekong countries, promote integration of the Belt and Road initiative and development strategies, encourage them to play their due role in international affairs, facilitate exchange and communication among political parties and social groups, as well as share with them experience of governance. Third, China should share the spirit of win-win cooperation, deepen capacity cooperation with Mekong countries and keep implementing early-harvest projects. It should adopt a step-by-step approach based on the countries’ development levels and local circumstances when selecting modes of cooperation. Differentiated industrial cooperation policies should be adopted to enable adjustment and upgrade of industrial structures on both sides. Fourth, people’s livelihood should receive further support and people-to-people and cultural exchange needs to be fostered. Peace, openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation should be taken as common values of China and Mekong countries. In-depth exchanges in tourism, science, education and local cooperation should be facilitated.
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Fifth, research on and exchanges with Mekong countries should be deepened. Renowned think tanks in those countries may be selected to establish a LancangMekong think-tank network to discuss major issues on cooperation and seek advice. Written By: Bi Shihong Source: Global Times Published: 21 October 2018 The author is a professor at the Center for China’s Neighbor Diplomacy Studies and School of International Studies, Yunnan University.
(D) Thailand will pay heavy price for over-reliance on China Beijing’s Belt and Road funding comes with punishing debts and backing for authoritarian regimes As China celebrates the 5th anniversary of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) this year, countries seeking to profit from the scheme should now be asking whether it is in fact in their long-term interest. In September 2013, President Xi Jinping said during his visit to Kazakhstan that China and Central Asia should join to build a new Silk Road, resurrecting the ancient trade route from China to Europe. But this was no coy suggestion. Xi had in fact kick-started China’s grand vision to fuse the world via a great trade highway. A month later in Indonesia, he proposed a 21st-century Maritime Silk Road that would span the disputed South China Sea to link China and Asean. The maritime route was later extended beyond the Strait of Malacca and into the India Ocean to reach Africa. Although many view the Belt and Road as an ambitious effort to boost regional cooperation and connectivity, others are more sceptical. The latter group says it serves China’s grand strategy to dominate the world and eventually overtake incumbent superpower the United States. The initiative aims to strengthen infrastructure, trade and investment links between China and some 65 other countries that account collectively for over 30 per cent of global GDP, 62 per cent of population, and 75 per cent of known energy reserves, according to the World Bank. Beijing initially called it One Belt One Road, but after the project expanded to encompass six other economic corridors, the broader description Belt and Road 142 Selected Analysis
was adopted. The BRI links Southeast Asia to China’s South and Southwest regions via the Mekong River and by the ports and lanes of the South China Sea. Beijing has so far poured nearly US$700 billion into countries under BRI cooperation agreements, much of it spend on mega-infrastructure projects, with railways and roads a top priority. The impacts of Beijing boosting its trade, investment and other assistance are being felt strongly in mainland Southeast Asia, which increasingly resembles an economic periphery of China. To guard its own economic interest, Beijing has offered enthusiastic support to authoritarian regimes in Asean. The Thai junta was shielded by Beijing from criticism by Western countries after the military’s coup toppled and elected civilian government in 2014. Meanwhile Cambodia can afford to ignore criticism of its faltering human rights records for as long as it enjoys Chinese support. But that backing does not come for free. While Beijing may initially offer grants for development, most BRI projects lever a heavy burden of debt on to the host country. China often sets interest on it loans at above the market rate offered by other development lenders such as the World Bank and IMF. Countries including Sri Lanka and Pakistan are already groaning under the load and have expressed worries over whether they can repay Beijing. Sri Lanka has even handed over a major port in lieu of money owed. Closer to home, Malaysian Premier Mahathir Mohamad has pulled back from the BRI, cancelling a $20-billion railway and a $2.3-billion natural gas pipeline approved by his predecessor, Najib Razak, citing his country’s ability to repay the debts. Such a signal – coming from the region’s senior-most statesman and a man whose vision for Asean integration as clear as it is enduring – should serve as a warning for others to reconsider their BRI commitments. The Thai military government, however, apparently sees nothing wrong in sticking with China both economically and politically. Economic tsar Somkid Jatusripitak is pushing forward economic, trade and investment links with China without hesitation, acting as if Beijing were the only source of support for his economic plans. That might not be a good move for the country in the long run. The Thai governing elite should learn from other countries in the region and begin considering alternatives. Written By: The Nation Source: first published on 7 November 2018 in The Nation
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(E) Challenging Times, Creative Efforts The key themes of Chinese diplomacy in 2018 As the curtain comes down on 2018, it is a good moment to look back at the highlights and central themes of China's diplomacy during another eventful year. For China, 2018 has been a year to continue building a new type of international relations based on three core tenetsâ€”mutual respect, fairness and justice, as well as win-win cooperation, with the long-term vision of building a community with a shared future for humanity. This 21st-century world is shaped by increasing multipolarity and cross-border flows of people, goods, capital and information. It is a world of greater openness, where the cast of characters is more populous, complex and interconnected than ever before. It is also a world where technological progress and globalization are blurring boundaries and overturning traditional assumptions. The rise of emerging markets and developing countries is reconfiguring balances of power, while the international order of the last half-century increasingly struggles to accommodate to the new reality. Against this evolving backdrop, the rest of the world is learning and adapting to the growing stage presence of China and other emerging powers. China is also defining its role in the world and refining how it interacts with fellow nations. In this role, China will forge its own approach to international relations. In 2018, China has continued to expand its diplomatic repertoire, leveraging conventional channels but also developing new mechanisms to build mutual understanding. Throughout the year, China's diplomatic toolkit highlighted six key themes which start with the central role of summit diplomacy and include Sino-U.S. relations, breakthroughs with neighboring countries, cooperation along the Belt and Road, protecting growing overseas interests, and finally, efforts to reform and innovate the global governance system. Summit diplomacy Summit diplomacy has been the core pillar of China's international engagement in recent years. President Xi Jinping has been more active in global affairs than any previous Chinese leader and 2018 saw top-level summitry become more important than ever. 144 Selected Analysis
The role of summit diplomacy was evident at the recent G20 Buenos Aires Summit. As well as exploring joint solutions to global challenges, this gathering became an important chance to prevent the Sino-U.S. trade dispute from spiraling out of control. To the world's relief, Xi and U.S. President Donald Trump were able to reach a preliminary "ceasefire" agreement to start working to resolve differences over economic relations. While supporting existing mechanisms such as the G20, China has also led the creation and strengthening of new platforms to promote free trade and international cooperation. In 2018, China hosted four such international events: the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit and the China International Import Expo (CIIE). At the Boao Forum event in April, Xi sent a clear signal: China will continue to open up its economy and promote globalization with pledges to expand market access and improve the business environment for foreign investors. He also pledged to promote import growth. This gave firm support to globalization amid the protectionist wave that has swept the world. This theme was reinforced at the inaugural CIIE in November. Much more than a trade fair, the CIIE served as a landmark in the evolution of China's development and its economic interaction with the rest of the world. Once renowned as the "factory of the world" for its role as an export powerhouse, today it is China's consumer market and imports that serve as an engine for global growth. As Xi said in his opening speech, over the next 15 years, China is set to import $30 trillion worth of goods and $10 trillion in services. In June, the coastal city of Qingdao played host to the 2018 SCO Summit. Formed 17 years ago with regional security objectives in mind, the agenda of the SCO has broadened to include other areas of cooperation such as the economy and the environment. This year's summit was significant as India and Pakistan attended in as new full members. The eight-member SCO now accounts for nearly half of the world's population and over a fifth of the global GDP. These events reflect China's efforts to build platforms and engage a broad range of partners across the world. Sino-U.S. relations China and the U.S. are the world's most significant economic and political actors. In 2018, the twists and turns in their relations have formed the central storyline, not just of China's external relations, but of global affairs at large. As the trade 145 Selected Analysis
dispute intensified, the goal of stabilizing the relations with the U.S. has been a key objective for Chinese diplomacy. The meeting between the two presidents following the G20 Summit averted further escalation of tariffs and brought both sides back to the negotiating table. But despite this reprieve, it is clear that a fundamental shift has occurred in the relationship. A bipartisan view of China as an antagonist and biggest strategic competitor has coalesced in Washington. The U.S. approach of engagement in previous years is gradually being replaced by a mindset of containment. In this regard, it was encouraging that the second annual U.S.-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue was held in Beijing in November. This gave top diplomats and military officials from both sides a chance to talk and share perspectives of contentious issues. Despite frictions, the two countries still have enormous potential synergies to exploit through closer cooperation, particularly with respect to transnational challenges such as climate change. China's participation in California's Global Climate Action Summit in September showed that there are many channels for the two to work together. Deepening cooperation at the local level may offer an effective way to do this. Breakthroughs with neighbors Efforts to strengthen relations in the region to create a benign environment for the growth of economic and cultural links within Asia have contributed to breakthroughs with three fellow nations over the year. First, 2018 saw a notable warming of ties between China and Japan. The premiers of both countries made reciprocal visits. Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Japan in May was followed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to Beijing in October, the first stand-alone journey to China by a Japanese leader in nearly seven years. During this visit, the premiers of Asia's two biggest economies reached a series of agreements to deepen economic and trade ties. Sino-Indian relations also experienced a positive turnaround following a period of heightened tensions caused by their border friction last year. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited China in April, holding talks with Xi to build mutual trust and deepen cooperation. China and India, the world's two most populous nations, share strong cultural ties and economic complementarities. It is encouraging to see that Sino-Indian relations are now on a track to closer collaboration. Third, with China's support, there has also been progress on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue. This has seen the Democratic People's Republic of 146 Selected Analysis
Korea hold breakthrough summits with China, the U.S. and the Republic of Korea. These are initial but important steps toward defusing tension on the peninsula and opening a channel for lasting peace in the region. Belt and Road cooperation In the five years since its launch, the Belt and Road Initiative, drawing on China's capital resources and infrastructure development capabilities, offers a new model of diplomacy by helping partner countries to improve connectivity and open new paths to growth and prosperity. The initiative has been supported by growing numbers of Chinese enterprises that are going global. According to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, in the first half of 2018, investment in 55 countries along the Belt and Road was up 12 percent year on year. Alongside, China has directed diplomatic efforts to promote the initiative. Following the inaugural Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation last year, as of 2018, more than 100 countries and regions as well as international organizations have signed cooperation agreements with China, extending the initiative's scope from Eurasia to Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the South Pacific region. The FOCAC Summit held in Beijing in September brought together leaders from China and African countries to explore new forms of collaboration. Xi announced $60 billion of financing for Africa in the form of government assistance as well as from financial institutions and companies. The summit built on Xi's trip to Senegal, Rwanda, South Africa and Mauritius earlier in the year, the fourth African trip during his presidency. Countries that previously held misgivings about the initiative such as Japan and the U.S. are gradually beginning to warm to it. During Abe's visit to Beijing, China and Japan launched a mechanism to discuss economic cooperation projects in third countries related to the initiative. The number of foreign companies and financial institutions taking part in Belt and Road projects is increasing, helping to strengthen links between China and its partners around the world by sharing experience and mutual benefits. Protecting overseas interests Driven by China's opening up and the Belt and Road Initiative, the number of Chinese citizens and companies overseas is growing. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China has been the country with the most outbound tourists in annual terms since 2013. The number of outbound tourists is expected to grow to 157 million in 2020, compared to 135 million in 2016. 147 Selected Analysis
China's accumulated outbound direct investment (ODI) reached over $1.8 trillion by the end of 2017, moving up to the second place in the world ranking. Chinese investment in both Europe and Africa saw an over 70-percent increase, while investment in countries along the Belt and Road accounted for over 12 percent of ODI, up 31.5 percent year on year. These trends mean protecting the interests of Chinese citizens working, traveling and studying overseas has become an increasingly important task for Chinese diplomatic and consular services. The evolving risk map includes security threats and natural dangers. In 2017, the Chinese Foreign Ministry handled over 70,000 cases of consular protection. This year, Chinese nationals have been supported in a range of situations, from evacuating them from natural disasters to protecting them from terrorist threats. To support this vital aspect of China's overseas work, in 2018 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs released draft legislation on consular protection to help safeguard Chinese citizens overseas. Global governance reform Recent years have seen multilateralism under increasing strain. There has been a rise in anti-globalization sentiment around the world, and countries that helped to build the international order are now undermining the very institutions that support it. In part, the current global governance deficit is a result of multilateral institutions failing to reform and adapt to new challenges. Therefore, as well as supporting existing mechanisms, part of China's new role is to promote reform of the global governance system according to concepts of fairness and justice. It is not only official agencies that are engaged in this task. A growing cast of social actors is also contributing ideas and impetus to reform global governance. This includes non-governmental think tanks that can help to generate and disseminate ideas at home and abroad. Many of the challenges require fresh approaches and cross-border collaboration between different types of organizations. Think tanks are well placed to support China in building a new type of international relations. Through the ages, many have seen relations between actors on the stage of world history as antagonistic, driven by fear and self-interest. Proponents of this view often see modern states as playing out predetermined roles, destined to clash and come into conflict as balances of power shift.
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To build a new type of international relations, China has determined to craft its own role as the supporter of a more open, fairer world. It is likely that 2019 will bring more twists and turns in world affairs. However, it is hoped that the coming year will also provide more chances to build relationships, work together, and script a shared future for humanity. Written By: Wang Huiyao Source: Beijing Review Published: 20 December 2018 The author is president of the Center for China and Globalization
Political Affairs (F) Chinaâ€™s proposals drive Rohingya crisis solution In late June, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met in Beijing with Minister for the Office of the State Counsellor U Kyaw Tint Swe of Myanmar and Bangladesh Foreign Minister A H Mahmood Ali. The three sides exchanged frank views about solving the Rohingya issue and reached understanding on four points. The common understanding on the four points is a continuation of the threephase proposal put forward by China to address the issue. The proposal, which can be accepted by both Myanmar and Bangladesh, is aimed at playing a constructive role in resolving the conflict. The Rohingya issue is complicated and solving it is arduous. In the near term, security in Rakhine state of Myanmar needs to be restored, bringing back peace and tranquility. In the medium term, a plausible solution should be offered to settle down Rohingya refugees. In the long run, the Rohingya issue should be resolved and the root cause of conflict between different ethnic groups in Rakhine state should be eradicated. In this context, Chinaâ€™s three-phase proposal will fundamentally solve the issue. The first phase is about ceasefire and restoration of social order to bring back stability and a safe environment for the local people. The direct cause for the exodus of Rohingya is unrest and insecurity in the state. In the second phase, Bangladesh and Myanmar are encouraged to talk to find a feasible approach to sort out checking, repatriation and reception of refugees, during which the international community should play a facilitating role.
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The third phase, which is the most difficult one, involves eradicating the root cause of the Rohingya crisis while ensuring the development of the region. The crisis is closely linked with Rakhine’s poverty and competition between ethnic groups for resources. Therefore, Development is the key. The implementation of the three-phase solution requires talks between Myanmar and Bangladesh. The solution not only details the process, but also classifies the role of the international community. In this sense, it has provided a suitable condition for the two countries to resolve the issue. The four points on which an understanding has been reached are: “Immediately improve the situation in Rakhine State through stopping violence-repatriationdevelopment; the priority at this stage is to repatriate refugees to Myanmar from Bangladesh, and take concrete measures to realize the repatriation; based on the two countries’ wishes, China is willing to provide assistance in resettling them, which includes emergency assistance and reconstruction; boost cooperation in developing the border areas between Myanmar and Bangladesh, and improve the living standards of locals.” Among them, the three-phase plan of stopping violence-repatriationdevelopment has been mentioned again and continues to be agreed upon by Myanmar and Bangladesh. The four points of consensus show the determination of the three countries to push forward this plan. China will not be a bystander, but has categorically said that it will provide emergency assistance and help in reconstruction. This is the role China should play as a neighbor of both Myanmar and Bangladesh. It also shows that Beijing tries to shoulder responsibility in international affairs. Currently, Myanmar and Bangladesh are working on the second phase. The two have reached an agreement on refugee reception and verification. But given the pressure of Western opinion and complexity of the situation in Rakhine, they have not made satisfactory progress. The achievements made in giving effect to the four points may become vital in the evolution of the Rakhine issue. They will help Myanmar and Bangladesh win humanitarian assistance and moral support of the international community. But the international community should also realize the difficulties and timeconsuming process of resolving the Rakhine issue and provide necessary assistance. Written By: Ge Hongliang Source: Global Times Published: 3 July 2018
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The author is a research fellow with the Charhar Institute and the College of ASEAN Studies at Guangxi University for Nationalities.
(G) US-China rivalry shifts to mainland SEA The sense of deja vu at last week’s annual Asean foreign ministers meeting in Singapore regarding progress on the code of conduct in the South China Sea – an agreement with China on a single draft for future negotiations – is an ominous sign that the regional grouping is already at the centre of US-China rivalry. Both superpowers are determined to cooperate, compete and confront – not necessarily in that order – whenever they deem such approaches are warranted, using the familiar battlefield of Southeast Asia, snugly situated at the crossroads of the Indo-Pacific. Lest we forget, the two clashed during the Cold War over ideological differences. After the Berlin Wall collapsed, the region managed to survive in one piece – enemies turned friends – and has since then enjoyed stable economic development that has helped to transform the 10 Asean countries into an economic powerhouse of 645 million people. Leaders of great powers come to Asean-led meetings every year to make sure that they do not count themselves out. Today, power diffusion is on display. In the current global strategic environment with high competition and conflict, not to mention the tit-for-tat US-China trade affairs, Asean has to act prudently as a group. The regional grouping has shown its mettle in handling delicate negotiations on the code of conduct in the South China Sea with China. The South China Sea will remain a hot spot until all parties in the conflict follow their commitment not to militarise their activities in the disputed areas and move forward toward complying with the code. On North Korea’s nuclear crisis, Asean has also turned out to be a key player, not just a conduit. Despite continued US pressure to isolate Pyongyang, the regional bloc has continued to engage the beleaguered nation in its unique way. Unlike Mr Trump, Asean cannot afford to engage in fake claims of diplomatic triumph or unsubstantiated development, especially on devastating nuclear issues. In coming months, the future of US-China challenges will move to mainland Southeast Asia, where half of the Asean livelihoods depends on the great Mekong River. At the moment, the fate of the Mekong’s development and resource
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utilisation lies at the heart of Indo-Pacific, even though Washington places emphasis on the maritime sector. In the Mekong region, the US has been perceived as a weak and inefficient partner. A dozen countries and international organisations have been involved in development programmes in the region, but none have produced tangible outcomes like the three-year-old Lancang-Mekong Cooperation, an intergovernmental mechanism among China and the five lower Mekong countries -Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. The lower Mekong nations have decided to take the bull by the horns, attempting to reshape and map out long-term strategies to ensure the river can continue to serve their developmental goals without outside interference and coercion. Their leaders met in Bangkok in June to reinvigorate the 2003 subregional organisation known as the Ayeyawady-Chao Praya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (Acmecs). The summit produced a five-year master plan for connectivity beginning next year. In the near future, the Mekong region’s pattern of cooperation will shift toward broader frameworks that encompass southern China. The Acmecs leaders have already discussed possible linkage of the Pan-Pearl River Delta Cooperation, which covers China’s nine southern provinces, Hong Kong and Macao, and the behemoth Belt and Road Initiative. With the US announcement of the IndoPacific strategy, all these cooperative frameworks on the mainland would be accelerated to make way for the regional countries to set forth joint cooperative frameworks and governance. Notably, last week’s annual Asean meeting recognised the indispensability of Asean to the future of US-China relations. In retrospect, the US and China have long designed and sharpened unique strategic plans to engage with and win over Asean members, reflecting both their common and different visions. After the Cold War, the US continued to reign in the region. Subsequent US administrations under presidents Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Barak Obama had their own strategies to woo Southeast Asia and sustain US influence. Against this background has always been China’s rise. Under Mr Clinton, the US decided to go for multilateral security cooperation rather than bilateral cooperation due to budget and personnel constraints at home, giving rise to the establishment of the Asean Regional Forum – now the region’s biggest venue to discuss sensitive security matters. After the Sept 11, 2001 attacks, both Mr Bush and Mr Obama paid even more attention to a region considered a second front in the campaign against terrorism. In retrospect, the US administrations provided some bedrock policies 152 Selected Analysis
and measures that displayed Washington’s commitment to peace and security in the region. Mr Obama rebalanced US policy toward its allies and friends as a means to deal with China’s growing influence. For the current US president, when it comes to Asean policy, it is hard to gauge what he has in mind. While Mr Trump tried to demolish major Obama foreign policy initiatives and achievements, he has not yet changed a single thing on US policy toward Asean. The only complaint the regional grouping has today is the 18-month absence of a US envoy designated for Asean. In fact, it is an open secret that the Trump administration is building on the successful and strong AseanUS foundations that were laid down by the Obama administration as manifested in the Sunnylands Declaration of February 2016. Under Mr Trump, the US wants strong military ties with its security allies and friends in Asean, needing to ensure that its place in the emerging regional security architecture is firmly embedded. Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced US$300 million to help boost security cooperation, adding to the $113 million to assist Asean in technology, energy and infrastructure. With the ongoing US security commitment, the regional bloc can look beyond the limits of US-China relations. Moreover, Asean also wants to strengthen ties with other dialogue partners. For example, its relations with Russia have been stuck despite efforts to reboot and reset their bilateral ties in the past two decades. Asean has been blunt with Russia – the only great power that is still not its strategic partner – demanding more concrete results from their agreed action plans. However, this could be changed when Russian President Vladimir Putin reorients his country’s foreign policy. After his first appearance at the inaugural East Asia Summit (EAS) in 2005 as an observer, he might join the upcoming EAS to signal a new re-engagement with the bloc. Like China, Russia is promoting free trade and multilateralism – a position that augurs well for Asean. Russia is planning to invite the regional grouping to join the expected plan to expand the Eurasia Union as trade pressure increases on Asean members. Asean-China relations are dynamic, with ups and downs. Toward the end of Mr Obama’s second term, China realised that it needed a broader and long-term policy to engage with the region and beyond to sustain its influence, both in economic and security matters. Since 2010, the South China Sea dispute has been the main focus of Asean-China relations. Now that the draft for future negotiations on the code of conduct, expected to be wrapped up next year, for the troubled sea has been agreed upon, Asean-China ties are bound to improve. In the future, Asean might collectively endorse the Belt and Road Initiative and reconsider more than 100 other proposals from China. 153 Selected Analysis
Beijing’s top echelons recently reassigned Asean as the No. 1 priority in China’s periphery strategy. If the current trade war with the US continues, the economic fallout would be felt throughout the region. Chinese leaders have already expressed the willingness to ease the difficulties the region might face in the near future. Asean has the ability to create an environment in which the US and China can compete and still coexist without going to war. After all, the grouping has no policy to stay on one side. Although certain Asean members might have a penchant to support either the US or China, consensus-based decision-making is still imperative in weeding out disagreements when major decisions are being made. Written By: Kavi Chongkittavorn Source: Bangkok Post Published: 7 August 2018 The author is a veteran journalist on regional affairs
(H) S. China Sea can be more risky than trade Since the second half of 2016, the South China Sea has restored its tranquility. However, the US still sends its warship to sail within 12 nautical miles of the islands that are Chinese territory not only in the South China Sea but also in China’s other seas. It is the result of inevitable friction between the two major countries that are adapting to each other in East Asia and there is no need to make a fuss about it. But on September 30, US Navy destroyer USS Decatur came within 12 nautical miles of Chinese islands in the South China Sea and was warded off by China’s warships. The encounter triggered political noise. On October 4, US Vice President Mike Pence delivered his speech on the Trump administration’s policy toward China. He mentioned the event and said: “Despite such reckless harassment, the United States Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows and our national interests demand. We will not be intimidated. We will not stand down.” Apart from the South China Sea disputes, Pence’s speech is full of accusations against China, including diatribes against domestic and foreign affairs. On the one hand, Pence said, “We want a constructive relationship with Beijing,” and on the other hand, he talked of confronting China. Washington’s moves against China were in the nature of trade hegemony and bullying. However, it intended
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to turn the US warships, which appeared at China’s doorstep, into a new symbol of resisting Beijing’s so-called bullying. Some media outlets and critics also hyped up the situation in the South China Sea. Some claimed that China is determined to confront the US and to expel the latter out of the Western Pacific. Some stressed China’s territorial disputes with other countries and claimed that China wants to dominate the South China Sea. Some related the event with other China-US disputes and speculated if a “new Cold War” is coming. Some said that it is time for the US to pick a side in the South China Sea dispute and encourage its allies and partners to join the socalled free navigation. In fact, the South China Sea has enjoyed its tranquility over the past two years. China, the Philippines and Vietnam, the three major claimant countries, have reached broad consensus in managing disputes and exploring cooperation. The Philippines promoted the preparation of joint exploitation with China, and Beijing agreed to push forward consultations on the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea. It has been proved that without intervention, China and other relevant countries can understand each other and protect peace and stability in the region. But such condition isn’t in line with Washington’s interests. The Trump administration treats the North Korean nuclear issue as the top priority of its East Asia policy, and it never gives up intervention in the South China Sea. As the China-US trade conflict is likely to escalate into a comprehensive strategic confrontation, the South China Sea has become a card in Washington’s hard again. This sums up the reason behind the encounter of Chinese and American military ships in the South China Sea. China and the US should now resist the temptation of escalating the trade dispute into a strategic confrontation. Current China-US relations are undoubtedly the worst since the two countries established diplomatic relations. But instead of fighting for hegemony, the basis of the two countries’ conflict is their different understanding of international rules, orders and global governance. There is no need to avoid these conflicts, but it’s more dangerous to exaggerate them. Howsoever severe the trade confrontation is, it is not a military conflict. But the South China Sea concerns sovereignty and military issues which are highly sensitive and may even trigger armed conflicts. If the China-US confrontation is exaggerated unlimitedly, it would only lead to more similar encounters of warships and both sides will fall into the Thucydides trap.
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Experience proves that sovereignty disputes can be shelved. If each side has a different understanding of freedom of navigation, they should resort to politics and law, not show of force. If the hard-won tranquility in the South China Sea is destroyed again, the region’s stability and peace will be sacrificed. The biggest victim would be the countries in the region themselves. Written By: Li Kaisheng Source: Global Times Published: 11 October 2018 The author is a research fellow at the Institute of International Relations, the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.
(I) The tussle with China in the Mekong basin Countries in the lower Mekong basin are in need of a collective strategy to secure their future, given China’s control of the river upstream and ongoing changes in global geo-politics. The Mekong runs 4,909 kilometres from Western China through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. But only its lower portion is regulated by an international agreement and multi-country organisation. Not covered is China’s part of the river, which it calls the Lancang. While all six countries in the basin are exploiting more and more Mekong resources – for hydropower by damming the mainstream and major tributaries, for transporting goods and for its fisheries – there remain no clear procedures to ensure proper management of the Mekong environment and fair resource distribution between countries. These Mekong activities have caused cross-boundary impacts in the sub-region over the past decade, leading to occasional differences over water resource utilisation and management. Hydropower construction and operations on the Mekong mainstream in China and Laos have also caused severe impacts to downstream countries. Dams can create fluctuation of water flows, block navigation routes and prevent fish migration vital to spawning and renewing stocks. Four lower-Mekong countries – Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam – signed an agreement back in 1995 to establish regulations for river utilisation and set up the Mekong River Commission (MRC) to coordinate and enforce the agreement.
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But the inter-governmental MRC is now struggling to influence Mekong decision-making in its individual member-countries, with Laos deciding to push ahead in constructing the Xayaburi and Don Sahong dams on the mainstream despite concerns expressed by its neighbours. Meanwhile more Laos dams are in the pipeline. The MRC’s core mechanism – the Procedures for Notification, Prior Consultation and Agreement (PNPCA) – has proved weak as a means of influencing its members’ decisions. Even weaker is its credibility as a mechanism for incorporating all stakeholders’ views, as seen in the move by civic groups to boycott the latest public hearing on the planned Pak Lay dam recently. The MRC and its four members now face another big challenge to their Mekong management, after the China-led Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) forum was created in 2015 to include all six Mekong countries under one framework. While jurisdictions of the MRC and the LMC are different, some areas overlap – notably water resource management. Despite calls over the past few years for the MRC to expand and cover the upper Mekong, by inviting China and Myanmar to become full members, both have maintained “dialogue partner” status since 1996. The partner status means the MRC has been able to get a certain degree of cooperation on water resource management, with China agreeing to share hydrology information. But further cooperation remains illusive. Indications are that the LMC’s institutions and mechanisms will eclipse the MRC in the near future, since Beijing commands huge resources and funds to forge bilateral cooperation with countries downstream. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who oversees the LMC, has rejected the idea that the MRC is being overshadowed and has suggested that the two could support and complement each other. The MRC is also seeking closer relations with the LMC’s Water Resource Cooperation Centre. MRC chief executive officer Pham Tuan Phan met with senior Chinese officials in Kunming on the sidelines of the first Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation Forum last week to discuss tighter links between the two organisations. 157 Selected Analysis
“China has welcomed our call to strengthen cooperation between the LancangMekong Water Resources Cooperation Centre and MRC for the benefit of the whole Mekong River basin,” Pham said. “We will be working on further identifying key areas of cooperation that are vital to our work for sustainable development of the Mekong River and the basin’s people.” One key area where cooperation is needed is the sharing of forecast data from the Jing Hong dam, whose huge releases of water can send Mekong levels soaring. Sharing hydrological data during the dry season would also benefit development planning and drought management in the Mekong, said Pham. Under the current data-sharing agreement, China shares water levels twice daily during the flood season from June to October, using measurements at two stations located on the Lancang. This information is fed into the MRC’s flood forecasting system. China contributes 13.5 per cent of the flow of the Mekong River, according the MRC. The MRC said it needs more cooperation from China and the LMC to update its strategic plans on sustainable hydropower and basin development. “There is no better time than now for China to cooperate with the MRC in the interest of the whole basin population of over 70 million people,” said Pham. Indeed, the proposal for closer cooperation between the two Mekongmanagement bodies was emphasised during an MRC summit in Cambodia’s Siem Reap in April this year. But crucially the leaders of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam failed to spell out what they meant by “cooperation” in this context. The suspicion is that it could mean “reliance on China” – as it does in many other sub-regional cooperation schemes. Cooperation in this sense is not based on equality and reciprocity, but in China playing the role of “donor” country with power to match Written By: Supalak Ganjanakhundee Source: first published on 13 November 2018 in The Nation The author is editor of The Nation
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(J) 4 big challenges for Thailand as Asean chair Last week, Singapore handed the incoming Asean chair, Thailand, four formidable challenges that would define Asean’s centrality and its relevance, not to mention the kingdom’s leadership role. These issues are the nascent IndoPacific concept, the Rakhine crisis, peace and security on the Korean Peninsula, and the drafting of a code of conduct (COC) on the South China Sea. Despite Thailand’s decision to focus on the theme of “Advancing Partnership in Sustainability” – putting a human face and sustainability on the Asean scheme of things – these issues will certainly keep the chair engaged and Asean on its toes. It will be one of the most exciting years of Asean chairmanship and summits, as it coincides with the political opening and election in the kingdom. Truth be told, the Prayut Chan-o-cha government has to be prepared for any eventuality. First, it is about the future of the Indo-Pacific initiative within the Asean-led mechanism. Last week in Singapore, Asean leaders discussed all relevant ideas and strategies proposed by various countries since last November, after their earlier recalcitrance because of a lack of information. They decided to talk up and shape this nascent framework. But Asean is approaching the Indo-Pacific concept in a holistic way, with other ideas such as China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Japan’s Expanded Partnership for Quality Infrastructure as a joint effort by dialogue partners to deepen engagement with Asean. The timing is perfect as all major powers now are the grouping’s strategic partners, including Russia and the European Union (EU), which were upgraded last week. The chairman’s statement said Asean would “explore mutually beneficial cooperation and create synergies with these initiatives”. All these efforts must be carried out on “the basis of Asean centrality, particularly with a view toward promoting peace, stability as well as deepening trade and investment connectivity in our region”. As such, Asean still has lots of homework to do to strengthen “an Asean-centric regional architecture that is open, transparent, inclusive and rules-based”. At the summit, Asean agreed to use principles proposed by Indonesia and Thailand that embrace Asean openness, transparency, inclusivity and a rulesbased approach, in order to enhance mutual trust, respect and benefit as a foundation to develop collective cooperation. At the upcoming retreat in Chiang Mai in mid-January, the Asean foreign ministers will have the opportunity to fine-tune the grouping’s positions and substance on the Indo-Pacific – even gaining it a new name. By the time of the 14th East Asia Summit in November 2019, a full Asean vision for the Indo-Pacific will be ready. 159 Selected Analysis
Second, the Rakhine crisis has reached a critical stage, with growing international pressure on Myanmar and Asean. In Singapore, peer pressure on Myanmar and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi was at their highest, prompting Myanmar to seek further help and cooperation from Asean on two key issues: repatriation as well as humanitarian aid and rehabilitation. Asean will send a team to Rakhine soon from the Jakarta-based Asean Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA) to identify possible areas of cooperation. Under the Thai chair, individual Asean members will step up their assistance to Myanmar on the ground in areas such as public health, education, economic selfsufficiency, agricultural production, inter-faith dialogue and other areas. At present, Ms Suu Kyi has lowered her guard and welcomed additional assistance from the grouping. For the time being, Asean has urged Myanmar to implement memorandums of understanding signed with UN agencies and recommendations on Rakhine by the expert group led by former UN chief Kofi Annan. Judging from Asean’s past engagements with Myanmar on sensitive issues, Nay Pyi Taw prefers incremental assistance from Asean, depending on the situation in Rakhine. At the moment, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand have provided bilateral assistance. In particular, Thailand has the most extensive assistance programme in Rakhine, which aims to increase the local community’s ability to coexist and earn livelihoods. Third, as the coordinating country of Asean-South Korea relations (2018-2021), Brunei Darussalam made it clear at the Singapore summit that Asean must play effective roles in the peace and reconciliation process on the Korean Peninsula. As such, the Asean-South Korea summit next year, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of ties, will be pivotal to increasing Asean’s engagement on the Korean Peninsula. Previously, key players on the peninsula rejected the grouping’s purposed role to ease tensions, fearing it would be too soft toward Pyongyang. After all, half of Asean’s members maintain full-time embassies there. Asean members also trade with Pyongyang, but all export-import transaction were halted recently following US pressure and UN sanctions. However, Pyongyang’s ties with Asean plummeted in the past few years after repeated North Korea’s missiles tests and the February 2017 assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, in Kuala Lumpur. Tensions on the peninsula have begun to ease after the summits between the leaders of the US, South and North Korea in the past six months. No more missiles tests have taken place in North Korea and intra-Korea ties have greatly improved. 160 Selected Analysis
As part of overall support for South Korea’s New Southbound Policy, Asean hopes it can help engage North Korea with the international community in the near future through its numerous programmes and activities. Pyongyang joined the Asean Regional Forum in 2000 but its attendance record was dismal and irregular. However, with its recently improved international profile and image, regional gatherings at the government or track 1.5 or track 2.0 talks for North Korea should be encouraged as part of trust-building measures. Track 1.5 refers to unofficial talks involving official and non-official actors while track 2.0 is an unofficial and non-structured interaction. As chair, Thailand can take the initiative to invite North Korea leader, Kim Jongun, to attend East Asia Summit-related functions to allow guests to meet and engage with other world leaders. Last week, Singapore invited Chilean President, Sebastian Pinera, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and International Monetary Fund Managing Director and Chairwoman, Christine Legarde, for a working lunch with the Asean leaders. In addition, Asean strongly supports the resumption of the six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear programme and missile tests among the two Koreas, the United States, Russia, Japan and China. If need be, Asean can host the talks on the sidelines of the annual Asean Regional Forum’s ministerial meeting, as all parties are ARF members. Fourth, for the first time, China said the drafting of the code of conduct in the South China Sea should be completed in three years. The time frame will coincide with the Asean chairmanship of Brunei Darussalam. So far, all parties to the conflict have closely cooperated in creating an atmosphere conductive to further talks. Both China and Asean have reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of maritime and air navigation in the South China Sea, and recognise the benefits of having the South China Sea as a sea of peace, stability and prosperity. Given the existing level of mistrust, Asean continues to stress the importance of practical measures that could reduce tensions and the risk of accidents, misunderstandings and miscalculations. Some East Asia Summit leaders expressed concerns over land reclamation and activities in the South China Sea during the discussion. However, they also noted progress made including the recent successful testing of the Asean-China hotline between their respective foreign ministries to help manage maritime troubles during emergencies as well as the operationalisation of the code for unplanned encounters at sea. Written By: Kavi Chongkittavorn Source: Bangkok Post Published: 20 November 2018 The author is a veteran journalist on regional affairs
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(K) How Asean can stop Indo-Pacific from becoming USChina ‘theatre’ A cold war between the United States and China is looking more and more inevitable, with the Indo-Pacific region the main theatre where the emerging contest between the two superpowers will be played out. While attention has focused mainly on the tariff wars between the two largest economies in the world, the two countries are slowly – if not quietly – building their military presence and widening their spheres of influence through the Indian and Pacific oceans. As expected, China is doing this more subtly by channelling massive infrastructure investment into dozens of countries through its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The port developments in the Indian Ocean and structural developments on the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea are the clearest indication of China’s intention to build its maritime strengthen. The BRI also stretches aggressively into the West Pacific. The US, on the other hand, is doing it more openly by building alliances to contain Chinese expansion and by pushing its concept of a US-led regional architecture for the Indo-Pacific. US Vice President Mike Pence revealed this latest manoeuvre last week by announcing that the US would build a naval base in Papua New Guinea. Speaking on the sidelines of the Apec Summit in Port Moresby, Pence said that the US would partner with Australia in developing the Lombrum naval base on Manus Island “to protect sovereignty and maritime rights in the Pacific islands”. Indonesia and the other member states of Asean have the misfortune of being right in the middle of this new cold war, as the region straddles the two oceans. The 10-member Asean will have to muster all its diplomatic skills to ensure that the region is spared the impacts of the emerging contest between the two behemoths. On this, Asean has an effective instrument at its disposal that helped it survive the cold war between the US and the Soviet Union: the Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN) agreement, which the grouping’s five original members – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand – hammered out and signed in Kuala Lumpur in 1971. The others that joined Asean later – Brunei, Myanmar and the three communist states Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam – acceded to the agreement automatically. 162 Selected Analysis
ZOPFAN has since been buried in the deepening tureen of alphabet soup that Asean is famous for; so much so that its relevance has been grossly underestimated. One only needs to look at the region before Asean came into begin in 1967 to be reminded that this was once a Cold War theatre of the West and the Communist bloc. ZOPLAN not only helped guide the region in sailing through the turbulent waters of that era, but it also became the main reference for future treaties and agreements to promote regional security and stability, including the 1976 Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) signed in Bangkok and the 1995 Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon Free Zone (SEA-NWFZ) treaty, also signed in Bangkok. Asean diplomacy ensured that the TAC peace instrument bore the signatures of more than 30 countries, including China in 2003 and the US in 2009. One of the points in ZOPFAN was phasing out foreign military bases in the region, in particular the US’s Subic and Clarke bases in the Philippines, and the Cam Ranh base in Vietnam that hosted the Soviet fleet. Admittedly, it took many years after the signing before the closure of these foreign bases. ZOPFAN does not extend beyond Southeast Asian borders, so Asean has no say in Papua New Guinea’s decision to invite the US to develop Lumbrum base, just as it had no say when Australia offered Darwin in 2011 to host a US military base. The growing build-up of strongholds – the US bases in Darwin and eventually Papua New Guinea, and the Chinese construction on the Spratly Islands – are right at Asean’s back door and too close for comfort. Asean needs to respond not only to secure its own borders, but also to ensure peace and stability in the entire Indo-Pacific region. It already has several initiatives on the table, including ongoing negotiations with China on a code of conduct for dealing with territorial disputes in the South China Sea, and the Indonesian initiative for a more inclusive Indo-Pacific regional architecture that involves China – compared to the more exclusive American concept. And there is the longstanding Indonesian proposal for an Indo-Pacific treaty of amity and cooperation. No one can accuse Asean of a shortage of initiatives. But recent regional developments call for a more rigorous Asean approach to diplomacy. Written By: Endy M. Bayuni Source: first published on 23 November 2018 in The Nation The author is a senior editor of The Jakarta Post.
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Economic Affairs (L) Four major changes in 40 years of reform China's reform and opening-up process has involved thousands of policies, allowing China to grow at a high and sustained pace unlike any other country in the world. China has reformed rapidly since December 1978. In each decade of the nation's reform, there is a major policy that stands out. In the 1980s, the most impactful reform was the Household Responsibility System. In the 1990s, it was the consolidation of State-owned enterprises. In the 2000s, it was the accession to the World Trade Organization. In the 2010s, it was the Belt and Road Initiative. First, the Household Responsibility System was started in 1979 and eventually implemented throughout China. The program allowed farmers to move from collective farming to family farming. Farmers were able to farm their own plots, increasing their efficiency and allowing them to make extra income by selling surplus crops. The policy greatly boosted agricultural production, and provided China with a strong agricultural base from which to launch the rest of its reform policies. Second, in the 1990s, the consolidation of State-owned enterprises resulted in the layoff of millions of workers, but paved the way for China to set up a thriving market economy. This was a time of major privatization, and greatly boosted the contribution of private enterprises to the Chinese economy. By 2005, the private sector contributed over 50 percent to Chinaâ€™s GDP. This was an essential step in transforming from a centrally controlled economy to a socialist market economy. Third, accession to the World Trade Organization represented another major victory for China's economy. Joining the World Trade Organization allowed China to increase its trade with other nations, while requiring the country to continue to lower its tariff and non-tariff barriers. During this period many multinationals moved to China. Setting up shop in China became an important step in the life cycle of international firms. One major reason for this was the presence of relatively lower labor costs in China than developed nations, and another reason was that China was an integral part of the Asian supply chain network. During the 2000s, China became the "factory of the world," producing everything from T-shirts to farm equipment. Fourth, in the 2010s, China's major focus has been on Belt and Road Initiative, which promises to revive and even improve on China's ancient Silk Road, a major pathway for trade and cultural exchange. Since the programâ€™s inception 164 Selected Analysis
in 2013, China has struck thousands of deals under Belt and Road Initiative. From building up motorways and railways to constructing ports and special economic zones, China has been striking up deals with nations all over the world. This program will boost China's growth through trade and investment, as well as strengthen diplomatic ties with a multitude of other countries. Of course, China has paid attention to many other areas of its economy, at both the central and the local levels. These policies are far too numerous to list here, but they are impressive in both quantity and quality. What stands out about the nature of these policies is that they have been determined based on the needs of China's economy, and as such, China has been said to follow a pragmatic approach to economic policy. Undoubtedly, the nation is filled with skilled technocrats who are able to aptly grasp economic conditions at both the micro and macro levels. China provides the rest of the world with an important example of a successful socialist market economy. In the past couple of decades, it has become clear that the western neoliberal model of growth does not always work well for every country. The negative effects of opening up to trade and financial flows too quickly can be seen in the myriad financial crises witnessed in the 1990s and 2000s. Neither has China shied away from opening up its economy to trade flows. However, it did so in a gradual and calculated manner. Today, China's successful, open trade policy can be contrasted with that of other nations, which are turning inward. As a result, we can expect to see China boost its leadership status among other nations in the coming decades. In the next 40 years, China will continue to grow as an economic and political powerhouse. Written By: Sara Hsu Source: China Daily Published: 21 August 2018 The author is an associate professor of Economics, State University of New York at New Paltz, US.
(M) A trade war that is about more than trade The most dangerous risk from the ongoing â€œtrade warâ€? between the United States and China is that it is not fundamentally about trade. With each tit-for-tat escalation and retaliation from both sides, what the world is witnessing is a larger struggle between two grand competitors of the 21st century, underpinned by opposing systems of socioeconomic organisational, values and ideas about global order. China is essentially carrying on this battle of ideas and organisational systems in place of the defunct Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). If the second half of the 20th century was about US versus the USSR, between liberal 165 Selected Analysis
democracy and market capitalism on the one hand and communist party-rule and central planning on the other, the first half of 21st century is about the US versus China. The key difference is that China has adopted and blended communism with market capitalism. This Chinese adaption and optimisation of centralised control with a dynamic capitalist system makes it a more formidable foe. Despite being ahead for a time in the 1950s, the USSR eventually lost, imploding from within and disintegrating into states that we now see today in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The USSR was so powerful and fierce, equipped with immense natural resources and human talent, that even its successor state – Russia – is a force to be reckoned with and a major power in its own right. But Russia does not have China’s wherewithal to match up to the size, reach and depth of the US. This is the broader context of the US-China trade war. Trade disputes are not uncommon. The US and European Union (and its forerunner the European Community) have had trade frictions for years, revolving around thorny issues such as agriculture subsides. In the past multilateral trade negotiations, particularly the Uruguay Round in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the US and EU locked horns into a stalemate. Once they resolved their differences, the round was concluded, as smaller economies readily went along as they reaped gains from the deal. The US and Japan also experienced trade disputes, especially in the 1980s. AntiJapan books in the US, such as Who’s Bashing Whom: Trade Conflict in HighTechnology Industries and Trade Places: How We Are Giving Our Future to Japan & How to Reclaim It, headlined that era of Japan-bashing in America. The major difference between then and now is that the US always found settlements with the Europeans and Japanese because they were allies. The US instrumentally rebuilt both Europe and Japan after the Second World War. Washington also provided nuclear deterrence and underwrote security alliance by way of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation for Western Europe when the USSR and its Warsaw Pact of military allies were an existential menace. Japan also has benefited from the US nuclear umbrella up to this day. So when push came to shove, the Europeans and Japanese buckled and budged, and the Americans did not go too far in their demands on trade fairness. For example, after almost two decades of trade surpluses with the US, Japan agreed to revalue its currency vis-a-vis the US dollar. US trade deficits with Japan narrowed but the resulting asset price inflation in Japan worsened what was a bubble economy into bursting in the early 1990s. Nevertheless the US-Japan security alliance is still going strong. 166 Selected Analysis
All of this does not apply to China. In its National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy over the past year, the US has officially labelled China a geostrategic “rival” along with Russia. But the US administration under President Donald Trump has not really treated Russia as a rival the way it has faced off against China. In fact, the US appears to be treating China now not just as a rival, but a full-fledged adversary. These trends were laid out in a first-hand account to me two months ago. A senior White House official stopped by Bangkok after Trump-Kim Summit in June and described Washington’s view of China on trade as exploitative and hypocritical. When China joined the World Trade Organisation in 2001, the implicit deal was that its membership in the world trade body would lead to economic liberalisation and reform. In return for benefiting from global trade, China was supposed to “open up”. It has not. This is a fair observation even if we disagree with its policy outcome of trade protectionism. A month later, at China’s premier think-tank outing called the “World Peace Forum”, a senior Chinese government official gave a keynote address over lunch, when he conceded that China “cannot be as open” because it is still a developing country. It was a telling statement of how China sees itself. Outsiders may see China as aggressive and ambitious but the collective view at home may be that China is modest and proud, still trying to find its way in the world. These two first-hand accounts, reinforced by the bilateral trade war, suggested to me that the global economy is likely to see more headwinds. The US sees itself as victim, the aggrieved party for having constructed the post-war order only to see formerly minions, outliers, and minor and junior partners develop Trump’s administration preference for the interests over values, the US is behaving like it is “payback” time, demanding trade concessions and burden sharing in ways it has never done. For Southeast Asia, this is a time to hedge, find cushion, and seek insurance policies unilaterally and together with friends and allies. It means more serious attention must be paid to make the Asean Economic Community work as intended. For Thailand, it is time to rethink and reconsider bilateral free-trade agreements. When the two biggest economies and mightiest geopolitical giants go at it, the rest must do all they can to save the hitherto rules-based system from collapsing and falling into unknown and uncharted territory. This effort might end up being futile but it must be tried. For individual countries, Plan B is also advisable in the long run, which means straddling and balancing adeptly among the giants and other major powers. 167 Selected Analysis
Written By: Thitinan Pongsudhirak Source: Bangkok Post Published: 24 August 2018 The author is an associate professor at Chulalongkorn University.
(N) Sharing economy, not money diplomacy Lately, China has been blamed for extending its economic outreach, with some critical voices calling China's foreign investment "money diplomacy". With such a biased view, China's external economic programs are viewed as being "mercantilism" or even "neocolonialism". Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative has also come in for criticism, with claims that it burdens the recipient countries with debt. Looking into these accusations, it is easy to see that they are far from the reality. First, China works with other countries as equals, rather than through unfair "neocolonialist" practices. Second, China's trade and business pattern with foreign countries is not merely give-and-take type, but actually helps establish local economic and social networks that strengthen the cohesiveness of the recipient economies. Third, China's investment level is normally commensurate with the capacity of recipient countries, and, as time passes, adjustable with their changing convenience, and comfortably so, in order not to bring them any benign "burden". Let us look at these further. In reality, China's external economic program is not based on gunboat diplomacy. Rather, China employs "smile diplomacy" to conduct its international economic collaboration. On the one hand, China doesn't force other economies to accept its investmentďź?they do have the right to say no. On the other, China doesn't grab other's resources via any hegemonism. For the record, there has been no instance of China using colonialism or neocolonialism to attain its purpose. While China's foreign trade and investment has been based on mutual consent with all other countries, Beijing has partnered with others to take care of respective needs through cooperation. For years, the West has been concerned about China's resources diplomacy with other developing countries, because China imports resources without preconditions such as human rights or "good governance". China is attaching greater importance to corporate social responsibility. For instance, while partnering with the South Sudanese government in developing its energy sector, the Chinese State-owned enterprises are spending their own money to develop water resources for the local people. When some African 168 Selected Analysis
countries were experiencing outbreaks of the Ebola virus, China mobilized its resources to produce the relevant medicine and dispatch a medical contingent to the region so as to help prevent the spread of the disease. China also benefits from such acts, by stopping the threat of a pandemic. Clearly, the Chinese pattern of international economic cooperation is neither hegemonic nor neocolonial. It is neither giving without taking, nor taking without giving. Instead, it is based on consultation and consent. This is especially true in relation to the Belt and Road Initiative, which focuses on infrastructure interconnectivity across borders, reaching Eurasia and beyond. It is noteworthy that the United Nations General Assembly has adopted its resolution to support this global infrastructure interconnectivity endeavor. Such a gigantic regional and global development driver entails contributions from all countries. Actually, as China has accumulated rich technical and financial resources in infrastructure construction since the launch of reform and opening-up, it is naturally expected to play an important role in this regard. In advancing the initiative, China and its partners share opportunities and challenges. There will be shared benefits from any successful projects, but there are also shared risks, such as geopolitical instability, terrorism and budgetary changes. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is meant to tap multinational resources and estimate financial risks, so reasonable risk is shared among all stakeholders. Of late, the AIIB has been moving toward partnering with other international financial institutions such as the Asian Development Bank to cofund prospective infrastructure projects, while controlling the so-called excessive investment which tends to create burdens. As China is proceeding to invest abroad with other economic powers such as Japan, it is sharing more benefits with them through such regional and international co-investment. At the same time, with the AIIB's partnership with the ADB and the World Bank, the Belt and Road Initiative is forging truly multinational partnerships. The international community will increasingly witness China's growth in helping advance shared development. A rising power with such a consciousness and responsibility should be praised, not criticized. Written By: Shen Dingli Source: China Daily Published: 30 August 2018 The author is a professor at Institute of International Studies, Fudan University, Shanghai.
(O) New mindsets needed at Suvarnabhumi 169 Selected Analysis
Warning: Cheap package tours to Thailand from China for the coming MidAutumn Festival (third week of September) and National day (first week of October) are nearly fully booked. However, some major tourist agencies in the posh Chaoyangmenwai Street still hold out hope that Thailand will waive visa fees for their holidaymaker once again. Some of the tour operators cited past precedent. Visa-free waivers and visas on arrival (VOA) have been key measures to increase incoming tourists, Chinese or otherwise. There are no statistics on VOA fees collected at the airport. VOA is under the purview of the Royal Thai Police Immigration Bureau. Last time, tour operators in the Chinese capital did not know that the temporary measure cost Thailand billions of baht in lost revenue. Last year, an average of 30,000 Chinese arrived in Bangkok every day. They paid lump sums for visas without refunds. Truth be told, the number of Chinese visitors rises and falls naturally depending on the seasons and holidays in China. The low season is July and August. Obviously, whenever accidents, disasters or other negative events are publicised, immediately after arrivals from the country decrease. But these incidents result in only a short-term impact. In fact, relative low cost and proximity are the two real attributes behind the influx of Chinese tourists to Thailand over the past decade. After the Chinese film Lost in Thailand was screened in 2013, the numbers grew further. The comedy introduced key tourist attractions to its Chinese audience. This year, the figure may well hit 10 to 11 million. Last year, a total of 130 million Chinese travelled abroad. Although a growing number of independent Chinese travelers are coming to Thailand, most still prefer to join package tours, coming in large groups from the same provinces, communities or vicinities. They feel good travelling among friends and acquaintances as they can help each other without feeling embarrassed or intimidated. Most importantly, they can speak the same language and dialect. Truth be told, not every Chinese speaks putonghua, the standard Mandarin. When they travel with a group which speaks the same dialect, they feel more at ease. In addition, according to some salespeople at the department stores or duty-free shops in Thailand, before Chinese tourists purchase any item, big or small, cheap or expensive, there are loud exchanges of comments about what to buy or not to buy. Sometimes, they are so loud that some Thais think they are arguing. In fact, they are not. After these exchanges die down, it means they have agreed on their choice of purchases. They also tend to buy particular brands agreed among themselves. Diversion can cause endless gossip among their travelling companions. 170 Selected Analysis
Some of these tourists are traveling outside China for the first time so they choose to go nearby places which are not so different, normally Asian countries. That explains why Thailand ranks top among foreign destinations ahead of Japan and South Korea. It is interesting that only Thailand has been constantly trying to lure the Chinese tourists. For instance, to obtain a single-entry tourist visa for a 30-day period, there is no need to buy health insurance, which is a normal basic requirement for all foreign visas. The recent Phoenix boat incident in Phuket was indicative of the lack of first-aid responders that would come to the rescue. The question of increasing safety measures is becoming an issue as more and more Chinese visit Thailand. In addition, signs on board and warnings should be in putonghua in all the places where they visit. Recently, Suvarnbhumi International Airport set up special lanes for Chinese passport holders, a dramatic move to single out one group of tourists. It is aimed at easing congestion in the check-in area. The measure appeared to be working as of last week. But it still contributes to the mismanagement of the space and officials directing the flow of incoming passengers on particular days. The airports are often too rigid while operators in the ground do not have the authority to change the flow of people, especially during rush hours as they must wait for instructions. Better management and extra immigration officials could cut back on waiting times. Frequently, half of all immigration booths are not occupied. It is still uncertain whether the special lanes for Chinese passport holders will be permanent fixtures or not. If they are, it could be problematic. As of last week, the Asean lane, which has been on and off for the past three years, made a return with three special lanes, following recent internal reviews for no reason. The Asean charter stipulates that all members should have Asean lanes at international entry points to promote people-to-people contact as part of the community-building process. Just for the record, Thailand recently set up special a “Women’s Lane” for reasons beyond any understanding except for publicity to show gender equality efforts. In the 1990s, Thailand was the first member country to implement an “Asean Lane”, when the country chaired Asean under then prime minister Barnharn Silapa-archa. For several years, Don Mueang International Airport maintained a similar lane, before later giving up. Apparently, lots of passengers had no idea that this “Asean lane” was designed for visitors from the region. The recognition of this measure among tourists from Asean has not yet reached a level of automaticity but is increasing, as is their awareness of the Asean charter, which went into effect in 2008. Despite Thailand chairing the grouping next year, lots of officials still do not understand the content of the charter. In fact, in order to engage the Chinese tourists, additional language training for tour operators/agencies, interpreters and others related professionals is 171 Selected Analysis
extremely urgent. Taxi drivers, public officials and other officials should understand some Chinese. Basic conversation can help ease anxiety and suspicion, enrich personal ties and increase mutual trust. Most importantly, it might help to avoid many of the misunderstandings that currently occur. Written By: Kavi Chongkittavorn Source: Bangkok Post Published: 4 September 2018 The author is a veteran journalist on regional affairs
(P) One belt, but many burdens China has suddenly encountered a number of problems with its grandiose scheme to revive, modernise and then massively expand the Silk Road of old. Not only have several countries questioned and even pulled out of vital parts of the project. Some have rudely questioned the motives of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), often and even better known as the One Belt, One Road programme. Ironically, it had appeared momentarily that Thailand would be the major fly in the BRI ointment. If so, that would have hardly caused consternation in China. Officials of the two countries have wrangled for more than two years over one of the BRI’s key parts. They have discussed and often disagreed over design, financing and even the workforce of the projected high-speed, north-south railway that it is hoped will link Singapore and Malaysia to Laos and China, through Bangkok and the Northeast. Those disagreements, which have constantly delayed even the first, BangkokNakhon Ratchasima link, now appear almost quaint. For as the recent US president Barack Obama once noted, “elections have consequences”. China is learning that lesson quickly, as new governments in Malaysia and Pakistan quickly began to re-examine the previous commitments to One Belt, One Road. Last month, newly re-elected Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad took a drawer full of bad news on his official visit to Beijing. Dr Mahathir had his ministers have cancelled three projects China’s President Xi Jinping was counting on. One is a north-south, US$20 billion (654 billion baht) railway up the east coast from the Singapore to the Thai border. Also gone: a natural gas pipeline for Sabah and a planned US$100 billion new town. That project, called Forest City but in fact a huge Chinatown for 700,000 people, was apparently the straw that broke the back of Dr Mahathir’s camel. He told the Chinese authorities that no foreigner – meaning Chinese citizens – would be 172 Selected Analysis
allowed to purchase residential units. Then he pushed it further by referring to “a new version of colonialism”. That was reiteration of the view of Mohamed Nasheed, the exiled opposition of the Maldives. He described China’s actions in his country as a “land grab” and “colonialism”. He was particularly scathing that in promoting projects within the Maldives, Beijing holds up to 80% of the debt. Sri Lanka was the first country to discover the problem with that. When China financed a port that proved useless, Beijing foreclosed and took over the port and all surrounding land. Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan has also proved more than standoffish about the BRI. His Movement for Justice Party has demanded more transparency in the deals with One Belt, One Road. Mr Khan and ministers are particularly wary of the US$63 billion plan to develop the so-called ChinaPakistan Economic Corridor in Baluchistan. This, in turn, is music to the ears of the Indian government, which has refused to support One Belt, One Road at all. The lessons for Thailand are clear. First and foremost, the government must be constantly evaluating and re-evaluating Chinese-backed projects. Rule No.1 must be that they are mutually beneficial. There are plenty of questions already, for example, about the overall value of building a high-speed, double-track railway all the way to Nong Khai and Laos. The investment, whether initially financed by loans or by China, is massive. It has been clear from the start that China introduced the One Belt, One Road programme to help China. Beijing bristles at suggestions the plan is a form of neo-colonialism, or controlling countries with huge investments. In light of the problems that democracy has brought recently, China is supposedly reexamining One Belt, One Road, and Thailand should do the same. Written By: Editorial Bangkok Post Source: Bangkok Post Published: 5 September 2018
(Q) Slump shows govt must clean up tourism act The sharp drop in the number of Chinese tourists visiting Thailand in recent months has become a cause for concern for the Thai government. This is mainly because tourists from China have been the largest revenue contributors to the Thai tourism industry. The government has come up with the idea to waive visa-on-arrival fees for tourists from 21 nations, particularly China, as a means to attract more visitors, 173 Selected Analysis
and in particular, deal with a sharp decline in Chinese tourist numbers since July this year. After consecutive increases in the number of Chinese visitors to Thailand in the first six months, both the number of tourists and revenue generated in the industry have dropped since July. In July, the number of Chinese tourists dropped by 0.87% on the same period last year while revenue still grew 4.4%. But in August, tourists numbers plunged by 12% and revenue declined by 7.2%. Last month, tourist numbers decreased drastically by 15% year-on-year while revenue dropped 11.5%. It is expected this trend will continue throughout the rest of the year, a period which is considered the high season for tourism. The decline in numbers may also extend into next year as well. It is believed the falling numbers were triggered by the deadly boat accident off Phuket in July that killed 47 Chinese nationals. The knee-jerk reaction to the accident by Thai government was heavily criticised by China when Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon piled the blame on Chinese tour operator who arranged the trip. If that wasnâ€™t enough, an incident occurred late last month at Don Mueng airport which also failed to show Thailand in a good light. A video clip of security guard at the airport trying to assault a Chinese tourists went viral on social media in China. Netizens there said the Chinese man was nearly hit because he refused to pay 300-baht tea money to officials on top of 2,000 baht visa-on-arrival fee. One reason why the government is deeply worried over the falling number of Chinese tourists is because it had expected an increase in numbers, not the other way round. Over the entire year, the government had expected at least 11 million Chinese visitors, or about 30% of the total foreign arrivals. However, this is not the first time Thailand has seen a drop in the number of Chinese tourists. 174 Selected Analysis
In August 2015, the Erawan Shrine bombing at Ratchaprasong intersection in downtown Bangkok, killed 20 people and injured 125, with most of the victims being Chinese tourist. Chinese tourist numbers dropped off sharply for the rest of the year but recovered at the start of 2016. In August 2016, Chinese tourist numbers declined sharply again after Thai authorities launched a crackdown on so-called zero dollar tours from China. The situation improved early last year after Thai government reduced visa and visa-on-arrival fees for Chinese tourists. Still, there are doubts over the government’s current plan to waive visa-onarrival fees as to whether effectively help revive the falling number of Chinese tourists. In addition to the negative incidents in Thailand, it can’t be denied that the tourist decline also has something to do with the Chinese economy, which has been affected by the trade war with the United States. Sentiments over China’s economic outlook is not good due to concerns over a prolonged trade war, potentially putting the brakes on the world’s secondlargest economy. This will definitely affect the spending sentiment of people, including holidaymaker. Whether or not there is a reversal of falling Chinese tourist numbers soon, the government should take this opportunity to review tourism promotion policies and improve tourism management standards. High standards are very important for tourism. Some of the negative incidents which have caused drops in Chinese tourist numbers were the result of poor standards, particularly safety measures. It has been reported that at least 77 Chinese tourists have died in water-related tragedies in Thailand this year, including the 47 fatalities in the Phuket boat accident in July. Others have involved drowning on beaches. This shows a lack of proper safety measures in tourist destinations. The attack on the Chinese tourist at Don Mueang airport was another example of poor standards. 175 Selected Analysis
According to the Airports of Thailand, the tourist arrived at the airport on a flight from Indonesia and was prevented from entering the country because he failed to show a document providing he had accommodation in Thailand. He was asked to go to the passenger waiting room to await deportation, but he objected. If the airport officials followed international standard in politely dealing with his objections, instead of intimidating him, the situation would not have escalated. In terms of general tourism policy, the government should concentrate more on tourism quality and less quantity even though the number of visitors is still important. Thailand has suffered many cases of visitors overcrowding tourist attractions, which have caused damage to national resources and the environment. Also, spending by Chinese tourists has not contributed to the local economy on the scale that it should because many travelled to Thailand on “zero dollar” tour packages offered by Chinese tour companies. That means they are usually herded by tour operators into shopping, dining and buying goods and services at places run by the operators’ business networks – both legal and illegal. Given that about one-third of inbound tourist arrivals were from China last year, we can’t deny that Chinese tourists are very important to Thailand’s economy, especially since the government expects impressive economic growth amid challenging global economic circumstances. Still, it is time the government revised its strategies and policies to ensure the best standards are followed in the country’s tourism industry. Written By: Soonrath Bunyamanee Source: Bangkok Post Published: 24 October 2018 The author is a deputy editor of Bangkok Post
(R) Fresh moves announced to spur economy Officials unveil plans for bolstering investment, consumption, innovation China's ministerial policymakers vowed on Sunday to make substantial efforts to boost investment, promote consumption and technological innovation, increase imports and expand opening-up, all moves that are in line with
176 Selected Analysis
requirements of the newly concluded tone-setting Central Economic Work Conference. He Lifeng, minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, said the NDRC plans to strengthen policy support to shore up growth, with a focus to be put on upgrading the manufacturing sector and supporting infrastructure growth. The conference, held from Wednesday to Friday, called for more investment in areas exhibiting weakness in the economy, such as infrastructure. Top policymakers at the meeting also agreed to stimulate domestic consumption, push for a more comprehensive opening-up and strengthen innovation and technological upgrading. At Sunday's annual work conference of the commission, He said the country will map out a strategy for achieving high-quality infrastructure growth. Lending will be increased to support infrastructure construction, rural development, water conservation, ecological and environmental protection, energy and transportation in order to ease economic downside pressure. But "investment needs to be efficient, and projects must be able to bolster areas of weakness in the economy". He added that efforts will be made to encourage private capital to be channeled into infrastructure projects. More efforts will be made to foster upgrading of traditional industries, and the government will step up financial support for the technological transformation of manufacturing firms, said He, adding that a number of world-class technological innovation centers will be built to foster new growth drivers. "Consumption has a greater role to play in stabilizing growth, and the commission will take more measures to boost domestic demand and unleash gigantic domestic market potential," he said. Consumption contributed to 78 percent of the country's economic growth in the first three quarters of the year, and China's 400 million middle-income consumers are demanding more imports of high-quality goods and services, according to official data. The Ministry of Commerce held its annual work conference over the weekend, with Zhong Shan, the minister, vowing to continue promoting reform and opening-up, expand domestic consumption, accelerate development of pilot free trade zones and free trade ports, and enhance bilateral and multilateral economic cooperation next year. 177 Selected Analysis
Song Xianmao, deputy director-general of the ministry's Foreign Trade Department, said the country's imports are expected to exceed $2 trillion this year, compared with $1.84 trillion last year, setting a record and making a greater contribution to global trade. "China will take multiple measures to further increase imports next year such as hosting the second China International Import Expo and increasing imports of agricultural and resource products." China has signed cooperation deals with more than 130 countries, regions and international organizations on jointly developing the Belt and Road, with 17 free trade agreements involving 25 countries and regions finalized. The work conference, presided over by President Xi Jinping, called for continued expansion of economic opening-up. Bernard Dewit, chairman of the Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, said, "It is reassuring to learn that President Xi reaffirmed in the speech that he emphasized among other subjects that China had pushed forward reform and opening-up in 2018 and maintained sustained and healthy economic development. It is reassuring to learn that China will continue in that direction in 2019." He added that it is important for the outside world to have a China with a more open economy and market, as well as a socially stable country. Sino-US trade China and the United States conducted vice-ministerial-level calls on Friday and achieved fresh progress on issues of mutual concern, including trade imbalances and strengthening of intellectual property rights protections, the Ministry of Commerce said in an online statement released on Sunday. The calls came as China's Central Economic Work Conference decided to "push forward Sino-US economic and trade negotiations". Written By: Wang Yanfei Source: Peopleâ€™s Daily Published: 24 December 2018 The author is a reporter at China Daily.
Socio-cultural Affairs (S) Careless and deadly 178 Selected Analysis
Monday’s flight schedule of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha tells a tale about the nation. First, he flew to Phuket because of last week’s tragic seaborne events. He spoke with hospitalised survivors of two dive boat accidents, and comforted Chinese relatives of some of the 42 known dead and 10 missing. Then he flew to Chiang Rai, where he observed rescue operations at Tham Luang cave face in Mae Sai district. Following that he visited the eight children who had been extracted and taken to Chiangrai Prachanikroh Hospital. There is commonality in these sad and sobering incidents. Both the heavy death toll of tourists and the isolate of the Mae Sai football team and coach were preventable. Not only could both have been prevented, they should have been. The immediate aftermath of both disasters is under way. It is important that there be intensive follow-up in the South and in the North. Otherwise, there will be similar calamities that will needlessly endanger and cost more innocent lives. The cave Khun Nam Namg Non Forest Park is supposed to close in the rainy season. It is supposed to be staffed. In fact, it is posted with an extremely careless sign – easy to miss at that – that doesn’t even say the cave is closed. It says there is danger from possible flooding, from July to November. Even if the boys and their coach saw this sign, they entered the cave in June, a week before this sign’s warning. After the boys were trapped in Tham Luang, the chief of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department explained there was “a mistake”. Thanya Nethithammakul admitted there was no attendant at the cave, and no barrier to keep visitors out. Nor was the permanent “danger from July [to] November” sign altered in any way to adjust the warning for this year’s early arrival of the rainy season, and flooded caverns. Had even one of these obvious steps be taken, the boys and coach would have been turned away, and gone home. Instead lack of attention to such details caused one of the country’s great disasters of recent years. One heroic volunteer died. But all precautions were ignored and the most senior person in charge is trying to memory-hole the failing of his parks officials as a simple error. This cavalier attitude towards known, obvious safety has a derogatory name – the mai pen rai attitude. The Thai phase usually translated as “never mind” was not originally meant as a synonym for carelessness and malfeasance. But it has unfortunately become linked to a disrespectful attention to laws, duty and ethical behavior. At Phuket last week, all of the above were displayed. The swamping of the tourist boat Sereniga and the capsizing of the Phoenix dive boat revealed to the public and the world enormous shortcomings and possible criminal behavior and 179 Selected Analysis
To those of the terrorist mindset, attacking innocent Chinese and ethnic Chinese tourists in Thailand is an easier task taking the issue or real and alleged mistreatment to the Chinese authorities responsible. And that mistreatment has rapidly escalated. Not only has Beijing increased pressure on the Uighurs in Xinjiang. Indisputable proof emerged last week of an anti-religious campaign against ethnic Hui in neighbouring Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region just above Vietnam and east of Yunnan province. The campaign against the Hui should cause extra concern in Thailand, apart from the obvious human rights abuses by China. The Hui are the original Muslims from China who now live in Chiang Mai and northern Thailand. Last week, an extremely unusual mass anti-government protest occurred in Weizhou, a large town of mostly Hui nationality in China. The rally was against plans announced to tear down the towering grand mosque of Weizhiu. Immediately after the protest broke up, the state-run Global Times, a mouthpiece of the Communist Party, carried a strong editorial that would have been amusing if the issue were not so serious. In the Global Times version, the mosque must be destroyed in reaction to “the illegal act” of protesting. But the protest was to oppose the demolition of the mosque. The sad fact is that China has embarked on a general campaign against religion, because authorities have come once against to fear that some people put their religion before the Party. Re-education camps have reappeared. Last week, Gay McDougall, a member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, cited estimates that several million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities were forced into what he called “political camps for indoctrination”. The campaign goes far beyond the former crackdown on Uighurs that supposedly targeted Islamists and potential terrorists. More than 1 million Uighurs, or 10% of the total population, have gone to these particular amps. Islamic crescents and domes have been stripped from mosques. Christian churches have been shut down and Bibles seized. Tibetan children have been moved from Buddhist temples to state schools. China tacitly confirmed the UN claims on Monday, saying that security measures “have avoided a great tragedy and saved countless lives”. One hopes that diplomats are even now trying to dissuade China from such heavy-handed abuses of human and civil rights. The real danger of such campaigns, well illustrated in the past and probably in the Bangkok bombing three years ago, is that abuse from the state raises the chances of violent retribution from those resentful of such treatment. Written By: Editorial Bangkok Post Source: Bangkok Post Published: 15 August 2018
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The 4th Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting The 4th LMC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was held on December 16-17, 2018 in Luang Prabang Province, Laos. The theme was “Enhancing Partnership of Shared Prosperity”. The meeting was co-chaired by Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Lao Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith. Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Hor Nam Hong, Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai, Myanmar’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs U Kyaw Tin, and Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh attended the meeting. The meeting aimed to implement the outcomes of the 2nd LMC Leaders’ Meeting, plan the development of the LMC, and prepare for the 3rd LMC Leaders’ Meeting. The meeting adopted a joint press communiqué and issued a progress report of the year 2018 on implementing the LMC Five-Year Action Plan. The participants approved the list of the projects supported by LMC Special Fund in 2018 and a research report on the LMC economic development zone composed by thinktanks of the six member countries. The anthem for the LMC, titled “Lancang and Mekong, A River of Friendship”, was also released. At the meeting, six countries have identified six directions of development for the future, including; 1. Jointly building the LMC Economic Development Belt: the member countries could use the Lancang-Mekong waterway, key industrial towns, and major infrastructure projects to enhance the quality of the subregion’s economic development. 2. Cooperation on production capacity: the members could establish a capacity cooperation alliance, set up a cooperation fund, and push forward the building of production capacity cooperation parks. 3. Innovation cooperation: the members should share new technology, promote digital infrastructure and innovation capability, and develop cross border e-commerce among others. 4. Priority to the improvement of people’s livelihood: the members will implement new projects on education, poverty reduction, medical services and safety of major dams. 185 Appendix
5. Environmental protection cooperation: the members will carry out pragmatic cooperation on environmental improvement, biodiversity protection and other areas. 6. Openness and inclusiveness: the members will exchange with other cooperation mechanisms in the subregion to achieve complementarity and coordinated development.
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)
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