US – China Relations

Trump administration officials are discussing taking action after China said it would expel almost all American journalists for The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.

The New York Times
Date:
 March 26, 2020
By:  Edward Wong and Julian E. Barnes

A Foreign Ministry briefing last week in Beijing. At least 13 American journalists stand to be expelled from China.Credit…Andy Wong/Associated Press

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WASHINGTON — As China moves forward with expelling almost all American journalists from three major American newspapers, Trump administration officials have intensified discussions over whether to evict employees of Chinese media outlets who they say mainly act as spies.

The action is under consideration because some U.S. officials want to retaliate against China in a new conflict that has revolved around news organizations and is being fueled by hostility over the coronavirus pandemic.

Since the virus began spreading across the United States, Washington and Beijing have waged a global information war over the outbreak. President Trump and his aides are trying to pin responsibility on China, where Communist Party officials initially covered up the dangers of the virus as it was first discovered. Mr. Trump, though, has been criticized for vast failures in the American response.

Some American intelligence officials have pushed for years to expel employees of Chinese media organizations who they say mainly file intelligence reports. The officials now see an opening to make a strong case after Beijing abruptly announced this month that it would expel almost all American citizens who report from mainland China for The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.    [FULL  STORY]

US government fights back against Chinese claim US army responsible for coronavirus

Taiwan News
Date:\ 2020/03/14
By: Ching-Tse Cheng, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

Chinese Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai. (Twitter photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The U.S. government on Friday (March 13) summoned Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai (崔天凱) to the State Department to address Beijing’s controversial suggestion the U.S. army is responsible for bringing the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to China.

The conspiracy theory was proposed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China Spokesman Zhao Lijian (趙立堅) a day prior on Twitter. He implied the U.S. military "may" have planted the virus in the Chinese city of Wuhan, adding a video of a U.S. official admitting that some Americans who were thought to have died from influenza may have died from COVID-19 instead.

Contrary to the consensus shared by the rest of the world, Zhao accused the U.S. of hiding information about its first domestic patient and suggested the virus was a bioweapon developed by the Western superpower. The tweet has since sparked debate among American and Chinese netizens, arguing about the validity of the accusation.    [FULL  STORY]

  • US Pacific Fleet calls the action last week ‘unsafe and unprofessional’ and a breach of code of conduct
  • Analyst describes it as a ‘serious provocation’ that could have posed a navigational hazard

South China Morning Post
Date: 28 Feb, 2020
By: Teddy Ng

The US said a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft was targeted as it flew over international waters in the western Pacific last week. Photo: AP

A Chinese destroyer pointed a laser at an American maritime patrol aircraft over the western Pacific Ocean last week, the US Navy said, calling the incident “unsafe and unprofessional”.

The US Pacific Fleet said in a statement on Friday that the destroyer targeted the P-8A Poseidon aircraft as it flew over international waters about 610km (380 miles) west of Guam on February 17.

“The laser, which was not visible to the naked eye, was captured by a sensor on board the P-8A,” the statement said. “Weapons-grade lasers could potentially cause serious harm to aircrew and mariners, as well as ship and aircraft systems.”

It said the action by the Chinese warship had breached the multilateral Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea, which “specifically addresses the use of lasers that could cause harm to personnel or damage to equipment”.    [FULL  STORY]

The New York Times
Date: Feb. 26, 2020
By: The Associated Press

GENEVA — A Chinese ambassador on Wednesday ripped into the U.S. for an “attack” on China's candidate to head a United Nations agency that monitors and tracks intellectual property like patents, trademarks and industrial designs — a lucrative and crucial part of the growing digital age.

The showdown over the leadership of the World Intellectual Property Organization amounts to the latest face-off between the United States and China.

The comments by Chen Xu, China's ambassador in Geneva, laid bare rising tensions over an alleged U.S. campaign to prevent veteran WIPO official Weng Binyang from becoming director-general of the money-making agency that counts 192 member states.

"The United States is turning this election into a political game. The United States has no candidate of its own, yet it tries every means to block Ms. Weng Binyang and even takes this venture at its top diplomatic agenda," Chen told reporters at a news conference on the issue at the U.N.'s Geneva compound.    [FULL  STORY]

The New York Post
Date: February 19, 2020
By: Post Editorial Board

AFP via Getty Images

Kudos to Team Trump for calling out some of China’s US-based media outlets for what they essentially are: state-sponsored propaganda.

On Tuesday, the State Department announced that the US operations of five Chinese entities — Xinhua News Agency, China Radio International, China Global Television Network and the distributors of China Daily and People’s Daily — will now be considered foreign missions.

That means that, effective immediately, the agencies are covered by the Foreign Missions Act of 1982, which requires them to report all personnel to the State Department and register any property holdings.

This should give the feds a better a grasp of Beijing’s operations (espionage as well as propaganda) and allow more effective counteraction.

The move is “long overdue,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: “For years, these so-called media outlets have been mouthpieces of the Chinese Communist Party, and these Chinese outlets are becoming more aggressive.”    [FULL  STORY]

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the stark statement at a meeting with his British counterpart, where he also talked up the prospect of a U.S. trade deal with Britain.

The New York Times
Date: Jan. 30, 2020
By: Marc Santora

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, in London on Wednesday with the British foreign secretary, Dominic Raab.Credit…Pool photo by Peter Summer

LONDON — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared the Chinese Communist Party “the central threat of our times” on Thursday, even as he sought to talk up the prospects of a United States trade deal with Britain, which rebuffed American pressure to ban a Chinese company from future telecommunications infrastructure.

The scathing criticism of the Chinese government was the strongest language Mr. Pompeo has used as the Trump administration seeks to convince American allies of the risks posed by using equipment from Huawei, a Chinese technology giant.

At the same time, Mr. Pompeo sought to reassure British officials that even though the two countries saw the issue differently, it would not undermine the strong bond between them.

Mr. Pompeo’s reassurances come at a delicate moment for the British government as it begins the process of forging new stand-alone trade deals after it formally leaves the European Union on Friday.

Speaking at an appearance with the British foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, Mr. Pompeo referred derisively to a 2016 warning from President Barack Obama that Brexit would place Britain at the “back of the queue” in any trade negotiations.

“We intend to put the United Kingdom at the front of the line,” Mr. Pompeo said.    [FULL  STORY]

CNBC
Date: January 13, 2020

Johannes Eisele | AFP | Getty Images

Beijing has been forthcoming about its long-term goals and is the “most serious threat” to the U.S., according to a former U.S. national security advisor.

“China has been very clear about what its long-term goals are strategically,” James Jones, who served as NSA under former President Barack Obama, told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble. “We need to take that very seriously.”

One Chinese goal is “total control of their own people using technology,” he said at the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. “They’re making astonishing progress to control every single citizen, whatever he or she does.”

“They’re giving grades for citizenship, which will affect their jobs you’re going to hold, the travel you can do and everything else,” he added, seeming to refer to China’s social credit system. “Where they’re moving is scary,” he said. “They obviously want to export that to other countries.”

‘Trojan horse effect’

He said Beijing is using a “Trojan horse” strategy to gain influence in “many parts of the world.”
[FULL  STORY]

Threat Post
Date: January 2, 2020
By: Lindsey O'Donnell

The U.S. Army this week has banned TikTok from government-owned devices as scrutiny over the platform’s relationship with China grows.

With backlash swelling around TikTok’s relationship with China, the United States Army this week announced that U.S. soldiers can no longer have the social media app on government-owned phones.

TikTok, a social media app used to create and share short form videos, is owned by Beijing-based parent company ByteDance. Despite its popularity with users and celebrities – the app touts over 1.3 billion installs worldwide – several incidents over the past year have caused privacy experts to question how data from TikTok is being collected, used and whether it is being censored by China’s government.

On Monday, the U.S. Army, which previously used TikTok as a recruiting tool for reaching younger users, announced it is issuing a ban on the app, according to Military.com, a website that provides news regarding military members and veterans.

The U.S. Army’s ban of TikTok comes after a similar ban was issued by the U.S. Navy earlier this year. The ban follows guidance issued Dec. 16 by the U.S. Department of Defense, which identifies TikTok as having potential security risks associated with its use, a U.S. Army spokesperson told Threatpost.

“The message directs appropriate action for employees to take in order to safeguard their personal information,” the U.S. Army spokesperson said in an email. “The guidance is to be wary of applications you download, monitor your phones for unusual and unsolicited texts etc., and delete them immediately and uninstall TikTok to circumvent any exposure of personal information.”
[FULL  STORY]

Following our earlier look ahead to 2020, four more commentators offer their predictions for the trends likely to impact the region in the year ahead

South China Morning Post
Date: 29 Dec, 2019
By: EZRA VOGEL, Professor emeritus at Harvard University

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shakes hand with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Xi’s planned spring visit to Japan provides an opportunity to contain mutual hostility and expand relations. Photo: DPA

Unrest in Hong Kong, tensions between the United States and China over technology and trade, resurgent Hindu nationalism in India, and frictions in the South China Sea are just some of the issues that shaped Asia in 2019.Following our earlier look ahead to 2020, four more commentators, including the editor of This Week in Asia, offer their predictions for the trends likely to impact the region in the year ahead.

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced he plans to visit Japan in 2020 when the “cherry blossoms bloom”. This will be the first visit by a Chinese leader to Japan since the 2008 to 2014 period, when relations between the two reached their lowest point since being normalised in 1972.Chinese attitudes towards Japan had grown worse in the 1990s. After the Tiananmen Square crackdown

 in 1989, the Chinese government launched a patriotic education campaign to gain the loyalty of Chinese youth. China produced many World War II movies featuring heroic Chinese fighting against vicious Japanese. In turn, Japanese became angry after they saw film clips of Chinese attacking Japanese-owned stores in China, and the Chinese military threatening the disputed islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. Nearly 90 per cent of the public in both countries viewed each other negatively.China and Japan should not see each other as a threat, says Xi24 Dec 2019

From 1895, when Japan won the First Sino-Japanese War, until 2008, Japan enjoyed the upper hand in relations with China. But in 2008, China began to pull ahead after the Lehman shock and the Beijing Olympics. In 2010, the World Bank announced that the size of the Chinese economy had surpassed Japan’s.    [FULL  STORY]

Quartz
Date: December 19, 2019
By: Justin Rohrlich

Among the bogus items were ballistic vests for the US Navy.
FUBAR
Feds say the US military was duped into buying “American-made” equipment from China
By Justin RohrlichDecember 19, 2019

A military contractor sold hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Chinese ballistic vests, helmets, and riot gear to the US government while falsely claiming they were made in America. That’s according to a newly-unsealed criminal complaint obtained by Quartz.

On Tuesday, federal agents arrested Arthur Morgan, the founder and CEO of Virginia-based Surveillance Equipment Group (SEG Inc.), on charges of wire fraud. Investigators say the company’s president, Samuel Jian Chen, also appeared to be involved in the alleged fraud.

SEG has been supplying the federal government with law enforcement and security equipment since 2003. On at least 10 occasions, prosecutors say, Morgan submitted sworn declarations that the products he sold the US government were made in the United States or another authorized country, which would specifically exclude China.

The case comes just six weeks after the federal government accused a New York tech firm of fraudulently providing Chinese-made night vision devices and body cameras to the US military that it similarly claimed were manufactured in the United States. And in September, an 82-year-old arms dealer was arrested for selling “blatantly defective replacement parts for US military weapon systems” to the Pentagon over the course of two decades. A number of those components were reportedly sourced from China as well.

The danger in sourcing equipment from China and elsewhere is that unauthorized, cut-rate items sold to the US government may not meet established quality standards, thus putting US and allied personnel at unnecessary risk. This sort of case is “a far more common phenomenon than we generally acknowledge,” Cedric Leighton, a former US Air Force colonel who now works as a private sector risk consultant, told Quartz.    [FULL  STORY]