Tuesday September 17, 2019

August 2019 News

July 2019 News | September 2019 News

Trump announces additional tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods

Beijing warns Hong Kong protesters: “Those who play with fire will perish by it.”

U.S.-China Collaboration Summit in Kentucky draws ire from the White House

Recap of the July 2019 Aspen Security Forum

Australian report claims China could overwhelm U.S. in Asia with missiles

Hong Kong UK consulate worker detained by Chinese police

Trump announces additional tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods

This Thursday, August 1st, President Trump announced additional tariffs on Chinese goods in a tweet that read: “Trade talks are continuing, and during the talks, the U.S. will start, on September 1st, putting a small additional tariff of 10% on the remaining 300 billion dollars of products coming from China into our country.”

These tariffs will target consumer goods that were not affected in previous tariffs, such as iPhones, toys, and clothing. Neil Dutta, head of economics at Renaissance Macro Research in New York, stated that, “This is a small hit to growth but will likely be more obvious to consumers. Keep in mind that the margins have come in somewhat already, not sure firms can simply eat the cost.”

Trump added that China has failed in its promises to buy more U.S. agricultural products and crack down on U.S. shipments of fentanyl. Chinese state media Xinhua countered by claiming it has imported millions of tons of U.S. soybeans since July 19 and many companies have made orders of American agricultural products.

Update, August 2: On Friday, Hua Chunying, China’s spokesperson at the foreign ministry, spoke at a daily press briefing. She claimed that China would be forced to take countermeasures if the U.S. follows through on imposing more tariffs. She added that China did not want a trade war with the U.S. but was willing to fight one if need be.

Update, August 5: In response to Trump’s tariff increase, China has initiated a two-fold response. First, it has weakened its own currency, allowing the yuan to fall to its weakest point in over a decade. Second, it has requested that state-owned companies suspend imports of U.S. agricultural products.

Update, August 14: Trump has announced that the 10% tariffs on certain Chinese imports will be delayed until December 12, while some imports will be exempt entirely.

Update, August 22: Despite China’s announcement that it would avoid buying U.S. soybeans, from August 9 to 15 it purchased 9,589 tonnes for delivery this year and 66,000 tonnes for delivery next year. China has begun to import soybeans largely from South America since the trade war began, and in 2018 soybean imports to China from the US dropped 74% from the previous year.

Update, August 23: Earlier today, China announced it would be implementing 5% and 10% tariffs on about $75 billion in U.S. imports. In retaliation, Trump tweeted that he was ordering American companies to begin searching for alternatives to China, including bringing production back into the U.S. It is unclear how Trump plans to force American companies to comply with these demands. He also ordered all U.S. mail carriers to begin searching for and refusing to carry Fentanyl. Several mail carriers, including FedEx and UPS, have released statements claiming that they are already complying with security laws and regulations. Finally, Trump stated he would be responding to China’s retaliatory tariffs this afternoon.

Read More:

Business Insider- Trump says the US will slap tariffs on virtually all Chinese imports next month 
The Wall Street Journal- Trump to Impose 10% Tariff on Additional $300 Billion in Chinese Goods
The New York Times- U.S. Delays Some China Tariffs Until Stores Stock Up for Holidays

 

Beijing warns Hong Kong protesters: “Those who play with fire will perish by it.”

After nine weeks of chaos, Beijing sharply rebuked Hong Kong protesters in a press conference on Tuesday, August 6th. Spokesman for Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, Yang Guang stated that those “unscrupulous and violent criminals and the dirty forces behind them” would be punished, saying, “it’s only a matter of time.”

He also urged protesters not to mistake the central government’s restraint for weakness. Yang Guang also did not rule out the use of military force in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong police claim that, since the protests began on June 9th, 420 people have been arrested. Protesters have responded to police intervention and use of force by throwing stones, eggs, and bottles at police stations. An apartment building that houses police officers and their families was also targeted.

Update, August 14: This past Monday, August 12, protesters flooded the Hong Kong airport, where they remained through Tuesday despite warnings from the Hong Kong government and police. Hundreds of flights have been delayed or canceled during these past two days, and there were several violent confrontations between the police and the protesters. The police claimed to have arrested 5 protesters on Tuesday night, bringing the total number of arrests to over 600 people since June. By late Wednesday morning, the protesters had begun to leave the airport. Police presence in the airport thinned as well.

Read More:

Reuters- China warns Hong Kong protesters not to ‘play with fire’ 
The New York Times- China warns Hong Kong protesters not to ‘take restraint for weakness’
Axios- Hong Kong airport protests: What you need to know
The New York Times- Chaos Grips Hong Kong’s Airport as Police Clash with Protesters

 

U.S.-China Collaboration Summit in Kentucky draws ire from the White House

In late May, U.S. and Chinese business and national and subnational government representatives attended a summit in Kentucky to discuss opportunities for economic development and cooperation. This event, which has occurred annually since 2011, was sponsored by the National Governors Association (NGA) and hosted by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship and Foreign Countries, the China General Chamber of Commerce – USA, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

According to the NGA, this summit achieved the following: “U.S. and Chinese representatives signed memoranda of understanding for the Yushen Industrial Park Comprehensive Gas Island Project; the export of magnesium of 24,000 tons per year; an international letter of understanding between the University of Louisville and Jiangxi Normal University; and an agreement of intent on Zhengbang and Beijing Runfa and International Ingredient Corporation Cooperative Project.”

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin gave concluding remarks to the Summit: “When one side wins, the other side wins. When China is strong, it is good for America. When America is strong, it is good for China.” Chinese ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai added: “Cooperation is the only right option for our two countries.”

Not everybody was satisfied with the Summit, however. In an April 2019 email, Maryland Secretary of State John Wobensmith stated that the National Security Council (NSC) staff had informed him the White House was “not happy about this event.” The NSC was particularly concerned about the CPAFFC, which is believed to be connected to the CCP’s United Front Work Department, which oversees foreign propaganda and influence operations. This friction is representative of the federal government-level tensions between China and the U.S., even when regional governments between the two nations are able to communicate and coordinate quite well.

 

Recap of the July 2019 Aspen Security Forum

This year’s Aspen Security Forum took place from July 16 to July 19. It was conspicuously China-heavy, with several panels and discussions focusing on China-related issues. Most of the speakers were highly critical and suspicious of China. This attitude is consistent with trends evident in the current presidential race, wherein both Republican and Democratic hopeful candidates have been treating China as a major national security threat.

Many of the speakers focused on China’s security threat specifically towards the United States. Admiral Philip Davidson, for example, claimed that China is “the greatest long-term strategic threat to the United States and the rules-based international order.” Defense Innovation Unit Director Michael Brown appeared to agree: “What China is doing, in my mind, is the most strategic threat of our generation. If you look over the long term, China is the relationship that we have to understand and get right. And in my mind, we’re not doing the amount we should do to prepare for that.”

Others took a slightly less hawkish view, although suspicion was still evident in their commentary. John Rood, undersecretary of defense for policy, stated that China is “the one country, the largest country, with the ability to change our way of life in the United States, and change the global order, for good or ill.”

Issues of intellectual property theft and technology security also featured heavily in the Forum. Retired general Tony Thomas stated that China’s challenge to the technology field is the greatest that the U.S. has seen in almost twenty years.

Finally, concerns were also raised due to China’s territorial behavior in East Asia, in particular China’s actions in the South China Sea. Chris Brose, Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, stated: “There is an expansiveness that I think is concerning and I don’t know where it ends. I think that’s ultimately what the United States needs to focus on… having the ability to deter expansionist and aggressive acts on the part of China.”

This commentary is indicative of continuing tensions between the U.S. and China. The relationship between the two nations is currently besieged by a number of sensitive issues, including the trade war, Taiwan, and the Hong Kong protests.

Read More:

AspenSecurityForum- Aspen Security Forum

 

Australian report claims China could overwhelm U.S. in Asia with missiles

A study was recently conducted by the United States Study Center at the University of Sydney, Australia. Its results indicated that China’s military has developed to the point that it could overwhelm the U.S. ‘in hours’ if a conflict were to arise in Asia.

The report claimed that the U.S., in its dedication to “defending an outdated expansive liberal order,” was spreading itself too thin, making it unlikely to successfully resolve a conflict with China in its own favor. The report also claimed that the Australian military may have the same issue – its commitments are so vast that it has neglected the Indo-Pacific.

The report suggested that U.S. allies in the region begin to increase their military capabilities to support Washington and each other. It also stated that “collective defense” was key to eliminating existing weaknesses.

Read More:

Bloomberg- China Missiles Could Overwhelm U.S. Military in Asia in ‘Hours,’ Says Think Tank 

 

Hong Kong UK consulate worker detained by Chinese police

A Hong Kong citizen working in the UK as a trade and investment officer for Scottish Development International, Simon Cheng, has been detained by Chinese police for two weeks. He was travelling back to Hong Kong from Shenzhen and was set to cross the border on August 8th, but has not been heard from since.

China’s state-run tabloid, The Global Times, reported on Thursday that Cheng had been detained for “solicitation of prostitution.” This accusation has repeatedly been used by Beijing authorities in order to smear critics.

Cheng’s friends have expressed concerns that his detainment may be related to the Hong Kong protests. Although he has not participated in any protests, friends report that he has shared pro-democracy images on social media and has been supportive of the movement.

Cheng’s girlfriend claims that he has not been involved in any protest or made public statements regarding the movement.

Read More:

The New York Times- Worker at Britain’s Hong Kong Consulate Is Feared Detained in China 
BBC – Hong Kong: British consulate worker ‘detained at China border’

Page Updated: August 23, 2019 Top of Page