Asia Communique — Week 18

PLA intrudes into Taiwan ADIZ — India-China hold ninth round of talks — China’s shadow on Biden inauguration — Xi's maritime security law

India-China hold ninth round of talks

“India and China on Sunday held yet another round of military talks in their latest attempt to ease tensions in eastern Ladakh where the two sides have been locked in a lingering border standoff that has hit bilateral ties. This comes at a time when frontline soldiers are deployed eyeball to eyeball at friction points on the contested Line of Actual Control (LAC), officials familiar with the development said,” reported the Hindustan Times.

‘“Neither side is willing to vacate the positions held by them. It seems unlikely that the standoff will be resolved in the short term. However, talks will go on as it is important not to break communication said,” a second official’ reported the Hindustan Times.

The outcome of the talks wasn’t known at the time of publishing the newsletter.

'“The military dialogue alone is unlikely to yield results. Diplomatic efforts will have to progress simultaneously,” said one of the officials cited above,’ added the Hindustan Times report.

“Four months later, that most crucial confidence-building measure is practically useless. Top Army sources confirm that the Indian Army has had no choice but to mirror the gradual build-up on the Chinese side. In some sectors, foreseeing fresh Chinese concentrations, the Indian Army has conducted preemptive actions. As a result, despite the deep winter chill, opposing troops, tanks and armoured personnel carriers are nearer to each other than they have been in the past four months,” reported Shiv Aroor of India Today.

China’s shadow on Biden inauguration

“The Chinese embassy has received an invitation to attend President Biden's inauguration ceremony. The Chinese side has extended congratulations to President Biden,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying.

Bi-Khim Hisao, Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to the US, was present at the Biden inauguration.

“China's position is very clear and consistent. We are firmly against official interactions between the United States and the Taiwan region. We urge the United States to abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiques, prudently and properly handle issues relating to Taiwan and avoid undermining bilateral relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” said Chines Foreign Ministry in reaction to the attendance.

“The KMT caucus proposed freezing 30 percent of Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim’s (蕭美琴) entertainment budget, saying that the proposal was in response to her alleged claim that the US refused to sell smart mines to Taiwan” reported Taipei Times.

Taiwan’s internal politics and debate about the relationship with the US remains tense.

Major intrusion by PLA into Taiwan’s ADIZ

There were two major intrusions by China’s PLA on January 23 and 24. The intrusions have been happening almost every day over the past few weeks. But these two intrusions had a major force package.

On January 23, the Chinese PLA’s 13 aircraft were spotted inside Taiwan’s ADIZ. Out of the thirteen aircraft, eight were H-6K bombers.

On the next day, fifteen PLA aircraft were spotted once again within Taiwan’s ADIZ.

Air Defence Identification Zone is the airspace which a country considers its own territory for air defence purpose. Over 20 countries and regions have such ADIZs. But an ADIZ isn’t a legal concept in international law.

Tweet of the intrusion on January 23

Tweet of the intrusion on January 24

An independent aircraft spotting Twitter account confirmed one of the intrusions by PLA. But the aircraft spotted by the Aircraft Spots was closer to Taiwanese land than what the Taiwan Ministry of Defence reported in their tweets.

“We will stand with friends and allies to advance our shared prosperity, security, and values in the Indo-Pacific region — and that includes deepening our ties with democratic Taiwan. The United States will continue to support a peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues, consistent with the wishes and best interests of the people in Taiwan. The United States maintains its longstanding commitments as outlined in the Three Communiqués, the Taiwan Relations Act, and the Six Assurances. We will continue to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defence capability. Our commitment to Taiwan is rock-solid and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region,” said the US State Department spokesperson in a statement after the January 23 intrusion.

USS Theodore is the South China Sea as Taiwan Strait remains tense.

Xi's maritime security law

There was a lot of buzz around the Coast Guard Law passed by NPC this past week.

第二十二条 国家主权、主权权利和管辖权在海上正在受到外国组织和个人的不法侵害或者面临不法侵害的紧迫危险时,海警机构有权依照本法和其他相关法律、法规,采取包括使用武器在内的一切必要措施制止侵害、排除危险。

“Article 22 when a state's sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction are being illegally infringed upon by foreign organizations or individuals at sea or are in imminent danger of being infringed upon, the maritime police agencies shall have the right, in accordance with this Law and other relevant laws and regulations, to take all necessary measures, including the use of weapons, to stop the infringement and eliminate the danger,” said the key part of the order that was highlighted by international media.

Some of the media highlighted this order as an unprecedented development. But China has elevated the role of the Coast Guard over the years, and they have been given some of the powers of the PLA Navy. And, it’s a standard practice to allow Coast Guard to use arms under certain circumstances. But what we should be paying attention to is how the new law defines the escalation ladder, which would deem the use of firearms fit.

Here is an interesting thread:

Full text of the law here.

Article about LCA Tejas in Chinese journal

A detailed analysis of the LCA Tejas - both naval and land-based - was published in NAAS & Inertial Technology journal (海陆空天惯性世界).

Here are some of the interesting bit about the LCA Tejas described in the journal:

“The ground-based LCA has no limitation in this respect). Therefore, LCA has a slender landing gear structure, which can not withstand landing.

In this paper, the extra weight of nearly 400 kg is added, especially the huge impact when leaving the ship. By simply adding a part of the structure, and on this basis, the supporting cylinder structure is also repaired, which successfully solves the problem of the design of the passenger frame (from the traditional rocker type to the problem, but for this reason, the weight of nearly 100 kg is added)

From the land-based outside the eight-character shape to a discount. In addition, due to LCA's large sweep angle, the tailless triangle is connected with the fuselage.

Due to its inherent characteristics, its take-off and landing performance is not ideal. In particular, this kind of change can better arrange and set up the landing speed, which is said to be as high as 320 km / h. in terms of force structure, it can improve the main landing gear's impact strength. In the face of a land airport with a length of several thousand meters, this may not further increase the fact that "the main landing gear wheel" is not a big problem (in fact, it is like "magic wheel")”

I am not entirely sure about the source of the information as I only had access to the screenshot of some of the pages.

Many Countries Interested In Tejas: State Aircraft Firm Chief — NDTV

Don’t Miss Out

“Taiwan’s Economic Ministry is asking domestic chip manufacturers such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to help “like-minded” economies alleviate the global shortage of automotive-related chips.

The ministry said it had received multiple requests since the end of last year from several nations via diplomatic channels. The countries ask Taiwan to help look into the lack of chips for the auto industry that has led to production cuts by leading carmakers such as Nissan, Honda, Ford, Daimler and Volkswagen” Nikkei Asia Review reported.

“Looking to reset the troubled U.S.-China relationship, Beijing is pressing for a meeting of its top diplomat with senior aides to President Biden to explore a summit between the two nations’ leaders, according to people with knowledge of the initiative,” reported Wall Street Journal.

Chinese Foreign Minister has said no such meeting had been requested.

“Centre on Wednesday proposed to suspend the three contentious farm laws for one and half years and set up a joint committee to discuss the Acts to end the stalemate, but farmer leaders did not immediately accept the proposal and said they will revert after their internal consultations. The next round of meeting has been scheduled for January 22,” reported The Indian Express.

“Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi and his newly appointed U.S. counterpart Lloyd Austin agreed Sunday the Senkaku Islands fall under the two allies’ security treaty, giving Japan reassurance that the U.S. position on the Japanese-controlled, Chinese-claimed islets remains intact under the new administration of President Joe Biden” reported Nikkei Asian Review.

“Blinken told his Senate confirmation hearing there was “no doubt” China posed the most significant challenge to the United States of any nation, and added he believed there was a very strong foundation to build a bipartisan policy to stand up to Beijing” reported Reuters.

Upcoming Watch

India will celebrate its 72nd Republic Day on January 26.

President Xi Jinping to deliver a speech at the Davos summit on January 25. Prime Minister Modi will address the summit on January 28. The summit will last from January 24 to 29.

This week, Tencent’s rival to TikTok - Kuaishou - will open for subscription to its initial public offering in Hong Kong.

Vietnam Communist Party’s party congress meeting starts on Monday, January 25.