The Rendon Group Snapshot Report – 16 January 2017

by TRG Alerts Admin on January 23, 2017

The Rendon Group

(16JAN17)

Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at Alert@Rendon.com or +1-202-745-4900.

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China Asserts Itself as US President-Elect Trump Casts Doubt on “One China” Policy

In this 27FEB13 file photo released by China’s Xinhua news agency, China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, is anchored in the northern port in Qingdao, east China’s Shandong Province. (Wu Dengfeng/Xinhua via AP)

As the inauguration of President-Elect Trump approaches, tensions between the United States and China have ratcheted up, as China provokes both the US and it allies in Asia, with regards to trade and territorial claims in the South China Sea. Trump’s willingness to ignore the international norms surrounding the “One China” policy and his posturing in regards to trade and the South China Sea have some in China worried about relations with the US going forward. Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen’s trip through the United States, and her meeting with US officials including Senator Ted Cruz, have raised concerns on the mainland that Taiwan will push to heighten its standing with the Trump administration in an attempt to regain international recognition, a position the People’s Republic of China finds unacceptable. This fear originated with a call between Donald Trump and Tsai Ing-wen, a break with traditional US-China protocol, which observers have described as a deliberate move by Trump to assert himself early with China. This has led to China flexing its muscles in the region, flying planes over disputed airspace, and sailing its aircraft carrier through the Taiwan Strait, a provocation for the self-proclaimed independent island.

News summary of events during the week of 09JAN17 – 16JAN17

  • 09JAN: Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen praised Honduras for its loyalty at the start of a trip to four Central American nations aimed at strengthening ties. (Reuters)
  • 09JAN: A weekend meeting between Republican US Senator Ted Cruz and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has no bearing on US policy on China, White House Spokesperson Josh Earnest said. (Reuters)
  • 09JAN: State-run Chinese media outlet Global Times warned US President-elect Donald Trump that China would “take revenge” if he reneged on the one-China policy, only hours after Taiwan’s president made a controversial stopover in Houston. (Reuters)
  • 10JAN: China said it was committed to promoting peace and stability in Asia, even as it sent an aircraft carrier battle group through the Taiwan Strait. (AP)
  • 11JAN: Taiwan’s China policy-making body, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), said this year will be challenging for ties with China, and it will closely monitor events in China resulting from the inauguration of US President-elect Donald Trump and China’s 19th National Congress later in 2017. (Reuters)
  • 11JAN: Chinese Vice Minister Li Baodong said President Xi would signal at a global forum next week that Beijing supports multilateralism, in a bid to raise its profile as a benevolent global power amid tensions over the South China Sea and escalating criticism from the incoming Trump administration over Taiwan. (WSJ)
  • 11JAN: Taiwan scrambled jets and navy ships as a group of Chinese warships, led by its sole aircraft carrier, sailed through the Taiwan Strait. (Reuters)
  • 11JAN: A Chinese H-6 strategic bomber flew around the Spratly Islands over the weekend in a new show of force in the contested South China Sea, a US official said. (Reuters)
  • 12JAN: China’s sole aircraft carrier sailed out of the Taiwan Strait. (Reuters)
  • 12JAN: Taiwan-China interactions should be based on fairness and respect, Taiwan Premier Lin Chuan said, after a Chinese military vessel passed close to Taiwan earlier in the day. (DPA)
  • 12JAN: China Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang stressed mutual respect and cooperation in response to tough talk from Donald Trump’s pick for US secretary of state, who said the administration will block Chinese access to its fortified man-made islands in the South China Sea. (AP)
  • 12JAN: The Obama administration filed a trade complaint against China for using “artificially cheap” loans and raw materials to boost its aluminum industry at the expense of US competitors. (AFP)
  • 13JAN: The Chinese state news media lashed out at Rex W. Tillerson, President-elect Donald J. Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, warning that his call to deny China access to islands it has constructed in the South China Sea could provoke a conflict. (NYT)
  • 13JAN: China’s sole aircraft carrier returned home following a far-ranging three-week training mission. (AP)
  • 13JAN: When asked if he supported the One China policy on Taiwan, Mr. Trump said, “Everything is under negotiation including One China.” (WSJ)
  • 14JAN: China’s foreign ministry said that its “One China” principle was the non-negotiable political basis for China-US relations, and urged “relevant parties” in the United States to recognize the sensitivity of the Taiwan issue. (Reuters)
  • 14JAN: Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, carving a careful diplomatic path on her stopovers in the United States, visited the headquarters of micro-messaging service Twitter Inc and opened her official account. (Reuters)
  • 15JAN: Japanese PM Abe said during his visit to Indonesia that it is important to solve the South China Sea conflict peacefully. (Reuters)
  • 16JAN:  President-elect Donald Trump “speaks like a rookie,” China’s state-run media said Monday, describing his suggested use of America’s position on Taiwan as a bargaining chip as “despicable.” (AP)
  • 16JAN: The Philippines has filed a low-key diplomatic protest with China after a U.S. think tank reported that Beijing appears to have installed anti-aircraft and anti-missile weapons on its man-made islands in the strategically vital South China Sea, the country’s top diplomat said. (AP)
  • 16JAN: Japan pledged USD1.1 billion to Vietnam Monday as part of a sprawling aid package that targets maritime and security affairs to bolster ties in the face of regional powerhouse China. (AFP)

Sample of Twitter handles tweeting about rising tensions over “One China” policy

  • @BonnieGlaserBonnie S. Glaser, Senior Adviser for Asia and Director, China Power Project, CSIS
  • @LyleJMorrisLyle J. Morris, Policy Analyst, RAND Corporation
  • @phbarrattPaul Barratt, Deputy Chairman, Cooperative Research Centre for Advanced Composite Structures; Chairman, Australia 21; Formerly Secretary,  Australian Department of Defence and Department of Primary Industries & Energy
  • @RichardBushIIIRichard C. Bush, Director, Center for East Asia Policy Studies, Brookings Institution
  • @suileeSui-Lee Wee, Business correspondent, The New York Times

Sample of Third Party Validators regarding rising tensions over “One China” policy

Huang Jing, Lee Foundation Professor on US – China Relations, National University of Singapore

“Before when China said it’s a responsible power, everyone thought ‘Who are you kidding.’ China wants to use Davos as an established platform to demonstrate that it will play a ‘positive’ role in peace and stability…It’s quite ironic that the U.S. established this global order and now China is acting as its defender.”

  • “Xi to Stress China’s ‘Responsible’ Global Role in Davos,” WSJ, 11JAN17

Tu Xinquan, Executive Dean and Professor, University of International Business and Economics (China)

“We have seen many conflicting messages from people within his prospective administration.”

  • “Trump team struggles for cohesion on tougher China policy,” Reuters, 13JAN17

Zha Daojiong, Professor of International Political Economy, School of International Studies, Peking University (China)

“This does not bode well at all … And it means that the continued war drums from America on the South China Sea would not help matters at all.”

  • “Trump team struggles for cohesion on tougher China policy,” Reuters, 13JAN17

Colin Alexander, Assistant Professor of Political Communications, Nottingham Trent University (UK)

“It’s all a kind of smoke and mirrors. The Central American republics have it pretty good. Taiwan treats them like a princess, and China is engaged in smart power and flexible diplomacy where it’s still willing to invest.”

  • “Taiwan Works to Keep Its Central America Friends (Among Its Few),” NYT, 13JAN17

Ian Rowen, Postdoctoral Fellow, Academia Sinica (Taiwan)

“Taiwan has maintained relations with China hawks in the Republican Party over the past several administrations. Cruz is influential above and beyond many senators, given his performance in the last election campaign. It makes sense to add Cruz, whatever his relationship is going to be with the Trump administration.”

  • “Taiwan’s President Meets With Ted Cruz in the U.S., and China Objects,” NYT, 09JAN17

Sample of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to rising tensions over “One China” policy

  1. Chinese bomber flies around contested Spratlys in show of force: U.S. official

Media: Reuters

Byline: N/A

Date: 11 January 2017

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Chinese H-6 strategic bomber flew around the Spratly Islands over the weekend in a new show of force in the contested South China Sea, a U.S. official said on Tuesday.

It was the second such flight by a Chinese bomber in the South China Sea this year. The first was on Jan. 1, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

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  1. China response to Trump’s choice for top US diplomat

Media: Associated Press

Byline: N/A

Date: 12 January 2017

BEIJING (AP) — China is stressing mutual respect and cooperation in response to tough talk from Donald Trump’s pick for U.S. secretary of state, who said the administration will block Chinese access to its fortified man-made islands in the South China Sea.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Thursday that tensions in the strategically vital waterway have lessened and countries from outside the region should support efforts toward stability.

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  1. Taiwan calls for respect after China military move in Taiwan Strait

Media: Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA)

Byline: Joanna Chiu and Yu-Tzu Chiu

Date: 12 January 2017

Beijing/Taipei (dpa) – Taiwan-China interactions should be based on fairness and respect, Taiwan Premier Lin Chuan said late Thursday, after a Chinese military vessel passed close to Taiwan earlier in the day, a move that escalated tensions.

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) confirmed that its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, had passed through the Taiwan Strait early Thursday.

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  1. Chinese State Media Denounce Rex Tillerson’s Call to Block Island Access

Media: New York Times

Byline: Javier C. Hernandez

Date: 13 January 2017

BEIJING — The Chinese state news media lashed out at Rex W. Tillerson, President-elect Donald J. Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, on Friday, warning that his call to deny China access to islands it has constructed in the South China Sea could provoke a conflict.

Mr. Tillerson said during a confirmation hearing this week before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that China’s efforts to build islands in the sea and to equip some with military equipment were illegal, and he drew comparisons to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

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  1. China Sends Aircraft Carrier Through Taiwan Strait

Media: Associated Press

Byline: N/A

Date: 13 January 2017

BEIJING—China said Wednesday it was committed to promoting peace and stability in Asia, even as it sent an aircraft carrier battle group through the Taiwan Strait amid heightened tensions between Beijing and the self-ruled island.

The statement in the preface to a Cabinet report on China’s policies on Asia-Pacific security cooperation follows heated criticism from the U.S., Japan and others over Beijing’s increasingly robust assertions of its maritime claims, particularly in the South China Sea.

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