Asia Communique- Week 10

Xi congratulates Biden — India bans 43 Chinese apps — Wang Yi in Japan and South Korea — Meng’s trial in Vancouver (exclusive)

Xi congratulates Biden

“President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory message on Wednesday to Joe Biden on his election as president of the United States, highlighting the importance for China and the US to focus on cooperation, manage differences and work toward the healthy and stable development of bilateral ties,” reported China Daily.

“Xi noted in the message that the sound and stable development of China-US relations not only fits into the fundamental interests of people from both countries but also meets the common aspiration of the international community,” China Daily added.

The original report in Chinese - Xinhua.

“We have a common challenge which is to deal with an increasingly assertive China across the board, including its aggression toward India at the Line of Actual Control, but also using its economic might to coerce others and … to its advantage, ignoring international rules to advance its own interests, asserting unfounded maritime and territorial claims that threaten a freedom of navigation in some of the most important seas in the world,” Blinken told the Indian-Americans during the virtual panel discussion on “US-India Relations and Indian Americans in Joe Biden Administration” reported Press Trust of India based on Anthony Blinken’s comments.

Will Blinken be good for China? — CGTN

For India, Anthony Blinken as Joe Biden's Driver of Foreign Policy Is Good News - The Wire India

Wang Yi visits Japan and South Korea

“Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua co-chaired the 24th session of the committee for regular meetings between Chinese and Russian heads of government Tuesday via video link, together with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko, pledging to promote mutually beneficial cooperation,” reported Xinhua.

“China is ready to work together with South Korea to further expand all-round exchanges and cooperation and push the bilateral relations to a higher level, visiting Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said here on Thursday.

“Wang, who arrived in South Korea on Wednesday for a visit, made the remarks at a meeting with former Prime Minister of South Korea Lee Hae-chan” reported Xinhua.

“Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Japan on Nov. 24-25 and held talks with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi. It was the first visit to Japan by a senior Chinese official since Suga took office in September.” said an editorial in Asahi Shimbun.

“But the outlook of the U.S.-China confrontation, which has made the international community uneasy, remains unclear. Unlike U.S. President Donald Trump, President-elect Joe Biden is expected to take a moderate diplomatic stance. But it remains unknown how Biden will deal with China. Tokyo needs to map out and execute its own strategies for stabilizing Japan’s ties with China, South Korea and other countries while monitoring how the new U.S. administration shapes its policy” added Asahi Shimbun.

Full text: Xi Jinping's speech at opening ceremony of China-ASEAN Expo - CGTN

Line of Actual Control: China’s Ministry of Defense issues statement

"China is ready to maintain communication with the Indian side through military and diplomatic channels. We hope that the Indian side will work with China towards the same goal, implement bilateral consensus with a sincere attitude and positive actions, to jointly safeguard peace and stability in the border areas," Chinese Ministry of Defense spokesperson Col. Ren said.

Here is the complete statement by Col. Ren:

“There is 'perceptional difference' regarding LAC with China, problem arises when agreed protocols are violated,” said India’s Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh.

“In the last three months, the Indian Army and Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) have established outposts and temporary camps in inaccessible areas along the India-China border in the hill state, which were earlier covered only by temporary long-range patrols,” a report in The Diplomat said.

“An official said that “vulnerable stretches” along Dibang Valley, Upper Subansiri, and Upper Siang districts in Arunachal Pradesh have been covered, but he declined to give details about the number of outposts that have been set up and soldiers stationed in them.” added The Diplomat.

Read Tenzing Lamsang’s Twitter thread about the recent controversy about China’s encroachment on Bhutan's disputed territory:

Why Bhutan's Sakteng wildlife sanctuary is disputed by China - BBC

Chinese military testing home-made engines for Y-20 transport planes that will allow them to carry most advanced 99A tanks to battlefield - SCMP

A tale of two bridges: India and China vying for influence in the Maldives - CNN

“National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Friday called on Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and also met with the country's defence secretary to further advance the "valuable" bilateral cooperation which contributes to peace and security in the region” reported NDTV.

India bans 43 Chinese apps

‘The ministry of electronics and information technology (MEITY), the governing authority, issued an order under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act blocking access to the 43 mobile apps on the grounds that they have been “engaging in activities that are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state and public order”’ reported the Hindustan Times.

The Chinese embassy in India responded to media’s questions about the ban:

“India’s tight control of quality clearances for electronic goods from China slowed the import of Apple’s new iPhone model last month and held up other products made by companies like Xiaomi, according to two industry sources,” reported Reuters.

Wider India app ban means darker days for investors — The Global Times

India’s GDP Shrinks as Covid-19 Keeps Stranglehold on Economy - WSJ

Meng’s lawyer accuses Canadian law enforcement of coverup

I am now accredited for listening to Meng Wanzhou’s trial proceedings currently underway in British Columbia. I will bring you exclusive quotes from the hearing.

Meng’s defense team has been trying to prove that her Canadian Charter Rights were violated by Canadian law enforcement during the arrest.

Meng’s lawyer Scott Fenton also alleges that Canadian law enforcement held her for 3 hours and collected passcodes to her devices without providing access to a lawyer.

Fenton has also argued that the FBI was covertly surveilling the Huawei CFO at the Hong Kong airport.

Fenton asked Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Sgt. Graaf, “you are telling the court that you don’t know what information he is referring to there?”

“That’s correct. I don’t know specifically,” Sgt. Graaf replied.

Sgt. Graaf continued to maintain that FBI didn’t get the passcodes to Meng’s devices. Even though Graaf’s notes indicated that the passcodes had been sent. The Canadian government lawyers maintain that the passcodes were never shared with the FBI. We know that the passcodes of Meng’s phone were collected by Canadian law enforcement based on the exhibits shown in court.

“I don't know the answer to that,” replied Sgt. Graaf, when asked if it was appropriate to collect passcodes.

Meng’s team is trying to establish if the passcodes were shared.

Meng’s lawyer Fenton accused Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Vander Graaf of trying to protect Retd. Staff Sgt. Ben Chang and Sgt. Dhaliwal. Sgt. Vander Graaf denied the allegation.

Sgt. Ben Chang has refused to testify at the court. Chang is now working at a high-end casino in Macau, China.

‘The former Mountie left the RCMP in June, 2019, and soon after became assistant senior vice-president at Galaxy Macau, an upscale casino and luxury hotel. Macau is across the Pearl River Delta from Hong Kong and is known as the “Las Vegas of Asia.”’ reported The Globe and Mail.

“Did you coordinate with CBSA or the US law enforcement to execute the provisional arrest warrant after Meng’s examination by the CBSA and attempt to extract information from Meng for US law enforcement?” Meng’s lawyer asked Sgt. Lundie.

“No,” replied Sgt. Lundie.

Don’t Miss Out

“On Sunday, Pudong International Airport ordered cargo handlers and other potentially exposed workers to immediately undergo tests. But this time, the plan faltered badly.

The urgent order prompted a crush of hundreds of workers who merged on an airport parking garage that had been converted into a temporary test center, and video that spread first on Chinese social media showed guards in protective suits struggling to hold back a seething, anxious crowd trying to walk up a ramp. Other video shared by Shanghai residents appeared to show a worker who had fainted being carried out of the garage,” reported NYT.

This week, the Chinese state media continued to report on the Malabar naval exercise.

“Malabar 2020” exercise has just ended, and a carrier-based aircraft crashed into the sea on an Indian aircraft carrier — People’s Daily Online

A visualization of the People’s Liberation Army ranks:

Social Talk

An interesting trend on Weibo this week was the hashtag “I thought Ding Zhen was in Tibet.” The trend is based on the story of a young boy who went viral on Chinese social media for his good looks. Many Weibo users had assumed that Ding Zhen was from Tibet. But Ding’s hometown is in Ganzi prefecture, Sichuan Province.

The hashtag was viewed over 640 million times and received over 84,000 comments.

Business Street

Google-backed Chinese truck-hailing firm Manbang raises $1.7 billion

Off-Track Reads

Mao’s Lesson for Trump’s America - The Atlantic

COVID pushes Asia to embrace big government — Nikkei Asian Review

A Soaring Monument to Beauty in China Is Stirring Passions. Mostly Anger — NYT

Long road to democracy — Himal Magazine

Evan Feigenbaum on Asia's Fragmented Future — Grandtamasha Podcast

As China’s power waxes, the West’s study of it is waning — The Economist

Upcoming Watch

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will attend the 19th meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on November 30.

“Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will attend the 19th meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Beijing next Monday, a foreign ministry spokesperson announced here Thursday,” reported Xinhua.

“Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will hold the 25th regular meeting with his Russian counterpart Mikhail Mishustin via video link on Dec. 2, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Thursday,” reported Xinhua.

Chinese Defence Minister Gen. Wei Fenghe will visit Nepal on November 29.