Tag: Beijing

COVID-19 and geopolitics over a global superpower
Geopolitics

COVID-19 and geopolitics over a global superpower

Amid the ongoing fight against COVID-19 pandemic, geopolitics over a global superpower is changing 

At a time when countries across the world is struggling to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese economy is growing in a bid to help the country attain the status of a superpower over the United States. While the US and Eurozone economies are projected to face declining growth, China is among those countries projected to grow at 1.9 percent. With US’ influence gradually fading away, China is taking over a strategic superpower after transforming its economy and bolstering its political structure. 

Countries across the world are expressing concerns over China’s increased influence and participation in various regions and sectors such as information and communication. As per a recent survey by Nikkei, China’s cross-border data flow in 2019 outstripped that of 10 countries examined including the United States. As of now, China accounts for 23% of cross-border data flows, while the US ranks at second with 12%.

Over the last six years, China’s Belt and Road Initiative has expanded exponentially. As of April 2020, around 138 countries and 30 international institutions are a part of the initiative. As per the World Bank, China has the world’s largest economy and is the world’s largest exporter. It is one of the biggest infrastructural giants in the world. 

The United States is finding itself in the middle of changing global forces where it sees China as a peer competitor and Russia as its main key adversary. Both China and Russia are in direct contest in the international order to wield greater influence across the world. However, as Beijing’s influence and economic grows, Russia is also grappling with increased competition. Burdened by the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia is likely to remain financially stable due to several reasons including its National Wealth Fund. However, the economic shock is likely to put millions into extreme poverty and hamper Moscow’s plan to improve people’s welfare. At the same time, China is overtaking Russia in terms of development and mobilisation of high technology. 

Taking note of these developments, Efforts are being made to rethink economic interactions with Beijing and reduce Chinese-dominated supply chains. European Union is accelerating efforts to cut Chinese takeovers and technology and pharmaceutical dependence on Beijing. A number of countries including Australia, Japan and India are investing in projects to support local manufacturing and reduce their reliance on global supply chains. 

With the changing equation of global superpower, the COVID-19 pandemic has started a new era of geopolitics.

RCEP, the largest trade agreement in the world has born
Geopolitics

RCEP, the largest trade agreement in the world has born

The largest trade agreement: The free agreement in history has been signed in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi. We are talking about Asia, and yes above all, about China. In fact, Beijing brings home an unprecedented result: a commercial alliance with the nearby “Asian tigers” and with Australia and Japan, long ago in the US orbit created by Obama thanks to the TPP, later abandoned by Trump. An abandonment that left the Land of the Rising Sun orphan of its major commercial partner and which therefore forced him to turn to the second on the list, namely China, with which, however, he had not yet signed any commercial agreement. 

And in addition to the unpublished agreements on duties, eCommerce, and intellectual property, what stands out most of all is precisely this newfound multilateralism in a region, that of Asia-Pacific, which has always been studded with differences and frictions. Thanks to the RCP, and to the end of America first, Beijing proves that it can become the new epicenter of multilateralism, by signing an agreement of historic significance. For the first time, three of the top four Asian economies – China, Japan, South Korea – will be part of the same free trade agreement.

For some time, China has been trying to establish itself in the Asian region as a champion of multilateralism. And not just in Asia; we think of the new Silk Road, of investments in Africa, of those in European ports and commercial hubs, Italy in the lead. The RCEP is nothing more than a – great – complement to a party strategy that starts from far away. In addition to its immense commercial grade, the agreement has a significant political value.

 In the competition with the United States for world supremacy, Beijing has patiently and determinedly pursued its diplomacy, and it has built, for now only on paper, an influence block which represents 30% of global GDP and which, nevertheless, welcomes Washington’s old allies. However, it is a success for the whole area. From Japan, which manages to defuse the ongoing trade war between China and Australia, to then move on to the same ASEAN area, which expects to benefit widely from the reduction in tariffs.

Screenshot 2020 11 21 at 5.41.55 PM 1024x575 - RCEP, the largest trade agreement in the world has born

Even with India absent, the numbers of the agreement are impressive. We are talking about an area that, as we have seen, produces almost a third of world GDP and hosts 2.7 billion people. It includes all ten ASEAN countries, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, plus China, Australia, South Korea, Japan, and New Zealand. Observers estimate that it will strengthen economic ties within the region and add about $ 200 billion a year to the global economy. In terms of the GDP of the signatory countries, it will also have a greater weight than NAFTA in North America and the European Union itself. The result for Asia will be the strengthening of regional supply chains. An aspect on which Beijing is increasingly aiming to reduce Asian dependence on the United States.

Screenshot 2020 11 21 at 5.42.03 PM - RCEP, the largest trade agreement in the world has born

The focal point of the agreement reached is the commitment to progressively reduce duties by up to 90% on goods in circulation over 20 years – to 65% in the short term. That means goodbye to the many bilateral agreements in Asia that limited the circulation of goods and caused costs to rise. Thanks to the RCEP, it will no longer be necessary to conclude specific agreements between two states each time to remove duties on traded goods. From now on, a member country of the RCEP producer will be able to trade freely with all the other 14 nations of the agreement. According to analysts’ estimates, 86% of Japanese industrial exports to China and 92% of exports to South Korea will benefit from the cancellation of existing tariffs.

 The most important novelty is represented by the “rules of origin,” as the rules officially define the origin of a finished product. Today, a product made in Thailand that contains New Zealand parts, for example, could be subject to duties in some Asian states. Under the RCEP, on the other hand, the components of any member country would be treated in the same way, giving companies in the area an incentive to seek suppliers within the commercial region.

Washington denounces China’s new law and the expelling of opposition lawmakers
Asia Pacific Focus

Washington denounces China’s new law and the expelling of opposition lawmakers

Washington denounces China’s new law: Hong Kong has dived further into tensions after a new law was passed by Beijing under which they had disqualified few opposition members by calling them unpatriotic and claimed that they incited the whole pro-democracy protest.

Robert O’Brien, the US national security advisor, blamed China for having “outrageously abused” its global commitments and warned to impose further fresh sanctions on those answerable for quenching Hong Kong’s freedom and democracy. 

Chinese and Hong Kong authorities could confront new sanctions from the United States over their imposing of the new law that disbarred four pro-democracy lawmakers and provoked a statement of a mass resignation by the supportive of the pro-democracy council. 

Within minutes after the disqualifying legislation was declared by Chinese state media, the Hong Kong government delivered an official statement in which they prohibited four lawmakers.

The mass resignation would likewise leave Hong Kong’s governing body with just pro-Beijing legislators, who as of now make a majority, however, would have the option to pass bills in parliament supported by Beijing with the absence of much opposition.

On Wednesday, China’s highest administrative body passed a measure to banish anybody from Hong Kong’s legislative council who wish to supports autonomy, and reject to recognize Beijing’s government over Hong Kong. However, seeking help from foreign nations or forces to meddle in the internal issues of the region or to employ different acts that jeopardize country’s national security, they could face similar consequences. 

Under the new law, the legislators who are deemed to advance or support Hong Kong’s autonomy, or who won’t recognize Beijing’s government, will “quickly lose their qualification,” the new law stated. 

On Monday, the city’s 15 pro-democracy legislators declared that they would also resign stating that the “One Country Two Systems” structure that had intended to provide Hong Kong with more prominent self-rule from the region has ended. 

The administration clampdown comes after the months-long pro-democracy protest, While some Hong Kong activists including former legislators and dissent pioneers have looked for political refuge in different nations, dreading their security under the new bill. 

However, in June, Beijing had announced a new national security law that some have called draconian after the anti-legislature protests shook the city for quite a long time, and it has utilized it to take action against opposition cries. 

Accordingly, the U.S. imposed sanctions on a few authorities, including Lam. A few Western nations have halted their extradition treaty with the region, and Australia and Britain have offered Hong Kongers simpler ways to settle in those nations. 

Beijing has lashed out at these offers and called it gross foreign interference in the Chinese government. Chinese Foreign Ministry representative Wang Wenbin stated on Wednesday that disqualifications were important to keep up rule of law and the constitution in Hong Kong. 

Beijing’s most recent crackdown in Hong Kong has become a source of stress on both sides. Under US President Trump, Washington had revoked the special relationship with Hong Kong, pronouncing it would be dealt with similar to China. The US is thinking of imposing more sanctions on Chinese officials for passing an unjust law and also following the resignation of opposition legislators.

Taiwan not invited to WHO meet due to Chinese intervention
Asia Pacific Focus

Taiwan not invited to WHO meet due to Chinese intervention

Taiwan not invited to WHO meet: Taiwan has blamed China’s obstruction for not being invited to WHO’s annual assembly on COVID-19

Taiwan has yet not received an invite to a key meeting of the World Health Organisation (WHO) this week that focuses on the global implications of the Coronavirus pandemic. On Monday, the island’s foreign ministry released a statement alleging that Chinese “obstruction” prevented it from participating in the 73rd WHO annual assembly on November 9-14. 

This development came even as the United States Mission in Geneva had urged WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to invite Taiwan to the World Health Assembly (WHA), the decision-making body of WHO. 

“In view of Taiwan’s resounding success in responding to COVID-19, Director-General Tedros must allow Taiwan to share its best practices at the WHA,” the US Mission had said in its statement.

While the US has backed the participation of the island, the 83-page list of delegations for WHO’s assembly meeting does not include any members from Taiwan. The island is yet to be invited to join the virtual meeting of 194 member states, the foreign ministry said in its statement. Taiwan’s foreign ministry also expressed regret and dissatisfaction with WHO’s continuous neglect of the health and human rights of 23.5 million people of the island. 

Reportedly, Taiwan has been blocked out of a number of key international organisations including the WHO due to Beijing’s objections as it claims the island within its territory.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation has asserted that the decision to invite Taiwan for the WHA meeting lies with the member states. 

As per a Reuters report, China’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva Chen Xu on Monday had told the WHO ministerial meeting that Taiwan’s inclusion in the meeting as an observer will be “illegal and invalid”. Earlier on Friday, China’s mission to the UN in Geneva had condemned US “distorted” remarks on Taiwan’s participation, adding that the island will be allowed to join the assembly session only after it admits to being a part of China. However, the Taipei government has always maintained that Taiwan is a separate nation whether or not independence is declared officially.

Last week, as many as 650 members of parliament from 25 European nations had also sent an open letter to WHO Director-General Tedros, demanding Taiwan to be invited as an observer to the WHA meeting. In addition, the World Medical Association had also written to the WHO chief, calling for inviting Taiwan in an observer capacity. 

While Taiwan joined the WHA as an observer between 2009 and 2016, China has intensified its efforts to exclude from participating in the WHO global actions. After Beijing took its seat in the WHO, Taiwan was forced out of the international organisation in 1972.

This has come at a time when the Taiwanese government has achieved astounding success in combating the COVID-19 pandemic on the island. It is been more than 200 days since the island reported any virus transmission.

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