China Monitor Articles
On March 29, 2021, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China and the Secretariat General of the Arab League held a video conference on data security. During it, a joint agreement on China-Arab cooperation in this field was signed.
On March 22, the European Union, along with the US, Canada and the United Kingdom, imposed personal sanctions on four Chinese officials responsible for repression in the northwestern province of Xinjiang. This was the first such act since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. In retaliation, Beijing introduced penalties on the members of the European Parliament, scientists and research centers that criticized the activities of the CCP.
The first talks between senior US and Chinese officials were held in Anchorage, Alaska on March 19 and 20. The Chinese pro-government media outlets and people associated with the Chinese Communist Party commented on the tense atmosphere and mutual accusations among the participants.
The sixth edition of the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service annual report, titled “International Security and Estonia,” was published in February 2021. Similarly to last year, the vast majority of the report included the threats posed by Russia. However, towards the end of it, there is also a chapter, which includes concerns about Chinese activities.
On March 12, US President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken met virtually with Prime Ministers Narendra Modi of India, Scott Morrison of Australia and Yoshihide Suga of Japan as part of the Quad forum. As a result of the talks, a joint statement of the leaders was published and concerned the future of mutual cooperation as well as plans for its further development.
On March 9, representatives of the Chinese and Russian space agencies signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the development of research facilities on the Moon and, in particular, creation of the International Scientific Lunar Station. This is yet another partnership between Beijing and Moscow.
March 5, 2021, marked the opening of the fourth session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), which will approve the Five-Year Plan for 2021-2025 on March 11. In the annual report, Premier Li Keqiang set a modest growth target of 6% and a budget deficit of 3.2%.
A several-hour long virtual summit of the Heads of States of the 17+1 format members, i.e., the Central and Eastern European Countries and China, took place on February 9, 2021. For the first time in the history of the initiative, China was represented by the President of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) Xi Jinping. It was another opportunity for Beijing to make its presence in the region known.
On Monday, March 1, 2021, the President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda held a telephone conversation with the President of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) Xi Jinping. The main topics of the talk included economic issues and efforts to fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
The Strait of Malacca is the shortest sea route between the Middle East and East Asia, helping to reduce the time and cost of transportation among Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Its strategic location makes it a vital waterway for hydrocarbon, container and bulk cargo shipment.
The Foreign Ministers of the member countries of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD, or Quad) forum, comprising Australia, India, Japan, and the United States, held a meeting on February 18, 2021. This initiative is seen as an effort to offset China’s growing military and economic power.
It has been a few weeks since the new US President Joe Biden was sworn in. Several top-level appointments have already been made, including those related to security and international relations. How are they perceived in Beijing?
Recently, authorities in Beijing have been signaling that they are ready for cooperation and a fresh start in relations with Washington and the Joe Biden administration. The Chinese officials are very conciliatory and portray the PRC as a non-confrontational party that is reaching out to the new US administration and encouraging it to abandon the former policy of the White House which Beijing perceives as “confrontational.”
Chinese warplanes, including the H-6K bombers and four J-16 fighter jets, entered Taiwan’s airspace on Saturday, January 23. The administration of Joe Biden immediately backed the island nation. Consequently, tensions between Washington and Beijing will escalate once again.