The Dark Side Of China’s National Renewal
Jamil Anderlini, FINANCIAL TIMES
Examples of the West ceding global leadership seem to have become a weekly occurrence. In the vacuum left behind it is natural to look for a replacement and for many, including the Mandarins in Beijing, China appears to be the most credible. But how much do we know about the kind of global leader China wants to be? On assuming the mantle of the ruling Communist party’s paramount leader in 2012, Communist Party leader Xi Jinping declared it his mission to realize the “China Dream,” which he defined as the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” This phrase has come to underpin and justify everything China does. To an English-speaking ear, rejuvenation has positive connotations but the official translation of this crucial slogan is deeply misleading. In Chinese it is “Zhonghua minzu weida fuxing.” The important part of the phrase is “Zhonghua minzu”—the “Chinese nation” according to party propaganda. A more accurate, although not perfect, translation would be the “Chinese race.”
China Is Trying To Pull Middle East Countries Into Its Version Of NATO
Jonathan Fulton, THE WASHINGTON POST
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a Central Asian security bloc led by China and Russia that is often described as a future Eastern counterweight to NATO. It held its annual summit last week in Kazakhstan, and the most significant outcome was the announcement that India and Pakistan became its first new members since being formed in 2001. The evolution of the SCO looks set to continue, with Iranian membership gaining momentum and Turkey’s an increasing possibility. If this initial expansion of the SCO into the Middle East happens, it is likely to spark interest among Arab states to apply as well. Washington’s muddled response to the current dispute between the GCC and Qatar, combined with the perception that the US is disengaging from global leadership, gives leaders in the Middle East reason to look to as many external powers as possible as potential security partners.
China Cancels Military Meeting With Vietnam Over Territorial Dispute
Mike Ives, THE NEW YORK TIMES
State-run newspapers in Vietnam and China reported in recent days that senior military officials from the two countries would hold a fence-mending gathering along a border where their militaries fought a brief but bloody war in 1979. But Tuesday, the scheduled start of the gathering, came and went without any of the coverage in the state news media that readers in the two countries had expected. The Chinese Defense Ministry later said in a terse statement that it had canceled the event “for reasons related to working arrangements.” Analysts, citing government sources, said that the Chinese delegation had unexpectedly cut short a trip to Vietnam after tempers flared during a closed-door discussion on disputed territories in the South China Sea. The cancellation is highly unusual for the two Communist neighbors.
Former CANF President Alberto Hernandez Dies At 84
Mario Penton, THE MIAMI HERALD
Dr. Alberto Hernandez, a former president of the Cuban American National Foundation, died June 16 in Miami. His family said one of the top leaders of the Cuban exile community had three passions: family, medicine and a free Cuba. Hernandez was 84. “My father was a devoted fighter for the freedom of Cuba. That struggle was an obligation for him,” his son Alberto Hernandez Jr. told El Nuevo Herald. Born in Havana, Hernandez’s life was marked by his leadership and a deep sense of justice, said former CANF director Horacio Garcia. Hernandez led the University Student Federation when it fought the Batista dictatorship in the 1950s, and fought the Castro Revolution with equal determination in 1959. Hernandez sought asylum in a foreign embassy in Havana and then left for exile in the United States where he became active in several anti-Castro causes, his son said.
North Korea Could Co-Host 2018 Winter Olympics, Seoul Suggests
Justin McCurry, THE GUARDIAN
South Korea has proposed that North Korea host some of the skiing events at next year’s Winter Olympics, in a move it hopes will ease cross-border political tensions. The South Korean sports minister, Do Jong-hwan, has also suggested forming an inter-Korean women’s ice hockey team to compete at the Games, which open in February in the South Korean town of Pyeongchang. Do cited North Korea’s “top-class” Masikryong ski resort as a potential venue and said he would discuss co-hosting with Jang Woong, North Korea’s delegate to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). His overture reflects a desire by South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-in, for cautious engagement with Pyongyang, despite anger over the its recent missile launches and the death this week of the US university student Otto Warmbier. Moon suggested earlier this month that the two countries lead a north-east Asian bid to host the 2030 World Cup.
Taiwan Officials Eyeing Republican Plan For Tax Code Overhaul
Griffin Connolly, ROLL CALL
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan reaffirmed Tuesday Congressional Republicans’ intention to give the US tax code a makeover. Among those listening with keen interest to Ryan’s announcement? Taiwanese corporations and investors. One-hundred forty Taiwanese business leaders attended the SelectUSA summit on foreign investment in the United States this week, the largest Taiwanese delegation in the summit’s history and the second-largest delegation from any nation this year. The Taiwanese delegation spoke with state government officials and made visits to the White House as well as the Departments of State and Commerce to probe for information on investment incentives and changing tax structures that could facilitate Taiwanese investment here. Many Taiwanese businesses and investors see a potential Republican tax code overhaul as a boon to their return on investment in the United States. Trade and investment between the US and Taiwan is robust: Taiwan was the 10th-largest US trading partner in 2016, with the countries exchanging $65 billion of goods.
Most Taiwanese Consider Taiwan, China Separate Countries, Poll Suggests
SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST
A survey of just under 1,000 Taiwanese showed that 54 percent of those polled would prefer formal independence from mainland China. Three quarters of Taiwanese people think Taiwan and China are two separate countries, while only about 14 percent believe they are both part of one nation, according to the results of a survey released on Tuesday. The poll, commissioned by the pro-government Ketagalan Foundation and the Taiwan Brain Trust, also showed that about 54 percent of those polled prefer independence for the self-ruled island if the status quo across the Taiwan Strait cannot be maintained. About 24 percent prefer unification and the rest revealed no preference. Beijing considers Taiwan a breakaway Chinese province. Most countries accept the “one-China” principle which states that the self-governed island and mainland China are part of one country. The poll was conducted by telephone among a random national sample of 953 adults. It came after Panama switched diplomatic allegiance from Taipei to Beijing last week.
Taiwan President Meets Vice President Of Honduras After Panama Break
Matthew Strong, TAIWAN NEWS
In the highest-level meeting with a government representative from Central America since Panama switched recognition to China on June 12, President Tsai Ing-wen received Vice President Ricardo Antonio Alvarez Arias at the Presidential Office Wednesday. Panama’s departure after more than 100 years of official diplomatic ties left Taiwan with only 20 allies and fears of a domino effect. In Central America, the island can still count on Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala and the English-language country of Belize. Tsai reportedly told Alvarez he would “feel Taiwan’s sincerity and efforts in removing trade barriers.” She was referring to a bilateral Free Trade Agreement, which she said would be used to its fullest effectiveness in order to benefit both sides. Tsai and Alvarez already met on the first leg of her Latin American tour last January, when the Honduran vice president welcomed her at the airport in the capital Tegucigalpa, she said.
Venezuelan President Sacks Military Top Brass Amid Abuses
Venezuela’s president has replaced four top military commanders over the use of live bullets by security forces during months of unrest. On Monday images emerged showing security force officers apparently firing on protesters. President Nicolás Maduro also announced the recruitment of 40,000 new police officers and national guardsmen. The military reshuffle includes the removal of Gen Antonio Benavides Torres, the head of the National Guard, who protesters accuse of being behind many of the attacks against them. Mr. Maduro also said he was replacing the heads of the army, navy and the central strategic command. The military has maintained that the growing death toll was due to rogue soldiers. In May, Venezuela’s attorney general, Luisa Ortega said she had witness statements that a protester had been hit by a tear gas canister fired at close range. She said the security forces had broken international rights law.
Venezuela Opens Inquiry Into A Critic: Its Attorney General
Nicholas Casey, THE NEW YORK TIMES
Venezuela’s Supreme Court said Tuesday that it had begun an investigation that could lead to the removal of the country’s attorney general from office, a step that was widely viewed as an effort to silence the most outspoken government critic of President Nicolás Maduro. In a statement, the court said it had opened an investigation into “alleged commission of serious offenses in the exercise of office” by the attorney general, Luisa Ortega. The court said it was responding to a complaint by Pedro Carreño, a leftist lawmaker in Mr. Maduro’s governing party, who said Ms. Ortega was mentally ill. Ms. Ortega has become a surprise opponent of the president’s authoritarianism—as a top official in his government—denouncing his crackdown against demonstrators and demanding that the jailed protesters be tried in civilian courts, not military ones, as Mr. Maduro has ordered. On Tuesday night, Ms. Ortega condemned the investigation as evidence that democracy was failing in Venezuela. “They are trying to snuff out any dissidence,” she said. “It is a shame to say it, but I believe the state has dissolved.”