Friday July 20, 2018

June 2018 News

May News | July News

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Mysterious Illness at U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou
ZTE Makes Deal with U.S.
U.S.-North Korea Summit
U.S.-China Trade Issues
U.S. Defense Secretary Meets with Xi Jinping

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Mysterious Illness at U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou

Two weeks ago, in mid-May, an employee at the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou reported health issues usually related with concussions, but had not experienced any head trauma. These mysterious symptoms are similar to what U.S. diplomats in Cuba suffered in 2016. Some experts believe these symptoms arise from some form of sonic disturbance, either a deliberate “sonic attack” or an accidental exposure to very high or very low frequency sound waves. However, in order to have an effect at this magnitude, the waves would have to be highly concentrated, which is difficult to achieve.

On June 5, it was announced that 24 additional employees and family members at the Guangzhou Consulate would be returning to the U.S. due to experiencing similar symptoms. The Chinese government conducted an investigation following the initial report of the mysterious symptoms, but was unable to find a cause. After the additional cases were reported, the Chinese Foreign Ministry stated it’s willing to conduct further investigations at the request of the U.S. government.

July’s Consulate Illness News

Read More:

BloombergU.S. Employee in China Hit With Sound Sensations, Brain Injury
NPRU.S. Evacuates Multiple Employees From Chinese Consulate Over Mysterious Illness
New York TimesU.S. Diplomats Evacuated in China as Medical Mystery Grows
South China Morning PostMore Americans flee US consulate in China as mysterious sonic sickness linked to Cuba illness spreads

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ZTE Makes Deal with U.S.

A deal between the U.S. government and the Chinese technology company ZTE was announced on June 7. ZTE will pay a $1 billion fine, put $400 million in escrow, and make major leadership changes for its board and management within 30 days. If ZTE violates U.S. sanctions again, it will be banned from doing business with American companies for 10 years.

This announcement was not popular with some U.S. legislators who criticized the Trump Administration for being weak on national security. There are plans in the Senate to enact legislation removing the agreement.

Update, June 14: On June 11, a bipartisan group of Senators introduced language to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)  that will continue to ban the U.S. government from buying ZTE and Huawei’s products in the interest of national security. This amendment also reinstates a ban on U.S. loans to these two Chinese tech companies. The NDAA must pass both houses and is considered vital legislation.

Update, June 20: On June 18, the Senate passed the NDAA, with the provision keeping penalties on ZTE and banning purchases of ZTE and Huawei products for the U.S. government. The NDAA will now go to the House and be reconciled with the House’s version of the bill. President Trump is meeting with Members of Congress on June 20 to discuss the provisions.

May’s Trade News

Read More:

Business InsiderIT’S OFFICIAL: Trump has a deal to save the Chinese tech giant ZTE from crippling sanctions
New York Times – ZTE Shares Plunge 40% as Congress Threatens to Block Deal With Trump
NPR –
Senators Move To Reverse Trump’s Deal Lifting Sanctions On China’s ZTE
Reuters
Chinese phone maker ZTE saved from brink after deal with U.S.

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U.S.-North Korea Summit

Following their June 12 summit in Singapore, President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un released a joint statement with four main points. The U.S. and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) committed to establish relations, build lasting and stable peace, reaffirmed the Panmunjom Declaration (the agreement between the DPRK and South Korea to begin the peace process ending the Korean war), and committed to the recovery of POW/MIA remains.

On June 12, President Trump also announced the U.S. and South Korea would stop military drills, a bargaining tactic that American leaders have used with North Korea before. Economic sanctions on North Korea will continue until the denuclearization is verified.

Update June 21: Following the June 12 summit, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un visited China for the third time in as many months. From June 19 to June 20, Kim was in Beijing to discuss the outcomes of the U.S.-North Korea summit with President Xi.

At a rally in Minnesota on June 20, President Trump announced that North Korea had sent back the remains of 200 U.S. soldiers killed during the Korean War. The Pentagon later confirmed this statement.

Update, June 27: Prominent North Korean observer, 38 North, released a report indicating that North Korea is continuing to make improvements on a nuclear research center. The report cautioned against taking this as a sign North Korea will not keep their pledge to denuclearize, stating “The North’s nuclear cadre can be expected to proceed with business as usual until specific orders are issued from Pyongyang.”

May’s U.S.-North Korea Summit News

Read More:

White HouseJoint Statement of President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea at the Singapore Summit
LA TimesPanmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula

CBS North Korea summit: What happened and what people are saying
CNNKim Jong Un ends visit to China with a message for the US
New York Times – Trump to Suspend Military Exercises on Korean Peninsula
Politico Pompeo says China sanctions on North Korea will stay in place
ReutersChina’s Xi praises North Korea’s Kim for Trump summit, promises support

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U.S.-China Trade Issues

On June 15, the final list of the first round of U.S. tariffs was released. On July 6, the U.S. will begin imposing a 25% tariff on a selection of Chinese imports valued at $34 billion. The products on this list are mostly from high-tech industries and are a focus of the “Made in China 2025″ initiative. This round was originally planned to target $50 billion of Chinese goods, but further review is required for the remaining $16 billion.

In response, China announced 25% tariffs on $50 billion of U.S. goods focusing on agricultural products and cars. These tariffs will begin to be imposed on July 6, the same day as the U.S. tariffs. China has also filed a complaint about the U.S. tariffs with the World Trade Organization.

On June 18, President Trump announced that the U.S. would consider imposing 10% tariffs on an additional $200 billion of Chinese goods if China carries out plans to tariff $50 billion in U.S. products. The Chinese ministry vowed to respond if such a threat was carried out and accused the U.S. of initiating a trade war. Chinese businesses are reportedly beginning to look to Europe and it’s neighbors in Asia to replace U.S. suppliers.

On June 20, the White House released a report accused China of threatening not only the U.S. economy, but the global economy as a whole.

Looking ahead, no additional trade negotiations are planned between the U.S. and China. An announcement about the restrictions on Chinese investment in the U.S. technology sector  is expected on June 30.

Update, June 27: The Trump administration announced they would be relying on the existing Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to restrict Chinese investment in American tech companies.

The House and Senate recently passed bills increasing CFIUS’s power, however the two versions of the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA) must be reconciled before becoming law. If the final bill does not include the expansion of CFIUS’s powers, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin reported the administration would use executive action.

May’s Trade News

Read More:

White House Press Release – Statement from the President Regarding Trade with China
White House ReportOffice of Trade & Manufacturing Policy Report: “How China’s Economic Aggression Threatens the Technologies and Intellectual Property of the United States and the World”
White House Press ReleaseStatement from the President Regarding Investment Restrictions

BBCTrump tariffs: US escalates trade threats to China [Timeline]
BBC Trade wars, Trump tariffs and protectionism explained
Bloomberg Trump Faults China’s Economic Policy as Threat to U.S. Security
New York TimesU.S. and China Expand Trade War as Beijing Matches Trump’s Tariffs
New York TimesAll the Threats and Tariffs in the U.S.-China Trade Conflict [Timeline]
ReutersTrump determined to hit China as tit-for-tat tariff war erupts
Washington PostWith tariffs, Trump starts unraveling a quarter-century of U.S.-China economic ties

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U.S. Defense Secretary Meets with Xi Jinping

On June 27, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis met with his Chinese counterpart, Wei Fenghe. Secretary Mattis later met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The two discussed issues in the South China Sea, Taiwan, and the Korean peninsula. China has praised the halting of U.S.-South Korean military exercises following Trump’s summit with Kim Jong Un, but tensions are still present.

Secretary Mattis will continue his Asia trip, meeting with military leaders in Seoul and Tokyo over the next few days.

Read More:

CNN – US Defense Sec. meets with Chinese President Xi in Beijing, amid tensions
The Hill – Mattis: Talks with Chinese counterpart about North Korea ‘very open and honest’
Reuters – Xi tells Mattis China won’t give up ‘even one inch’ of territory

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Page Updated: June 27
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