Thursday, June 16, 2011

Caucus Brief: China Navy Reaches Far, Unsettling the Region

CHINA NAVY REACHES FAR, UNSETTLING THE REGION.  Last week China conducted a naval exercise involving sailing Chinese ships through the Japanese islands of Okinawa and Miyako.  The People's Liberation Army asserts that this exercise was regularly scheduled and was in compliance with international law.  In recent weeks Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan have voiced concerns over Chinese nautical movements in which Chinese vessels have deployed ships into disputed waters.  In Japan this most recent Chinese exercise was reminiscent of a large Chinese flotilla that passed near Okinawa last year.

CHINA DISPATCHES PATROL SHIP TO SINGAPORE AMID S. CHINA SEA TENSIONS.  China has dispatched one of its largest maritime patrol ships on a first-ever visit to Singapore, amid a spike in tensions over disputed territory in the South China Sea.  The Chinese ship will stay in Singapore for two weeks of exchanges on search and rescue, anti-piracy and port management operations.  Similar Chinese ships have been accused of harassing foreign shipping in the South China Sea, including U.S. Navy surveillance vessels.

INSECURITY AMONG CHINESE LEADERSHIP.  An article in the NYT reports that as the Chinese Communist Party prepares to celebrate its 90th birthday this July 1st, the crackdown on dissent and increase in police violence reveals the Party Leadership's insecurity.  The Party's control is being challenged by widespread perceptions of corruption among the Chinese people, a problem the Party admits but does not seem to know how to handle.  Kerry Brown, head of the Asia Program at Chatham House, says in the piece: "The party has long admitted that corruption is a problem.  Yet reporting on the use of violence against the people is taboo, even if the public is increasingly aware of it via the Internet."

CHINA BACKS RUSSIA AGAINST U.S. MISSILE SHIELD.  Russia won the backing of China in criticizing U.S. plans for a missile shield, saying yesterday that it could undermine global security.  The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a security bloc grouping of Russia, China and four ex-Soviet Central Asian states, signed a declaration condemning any unilateral build-up of missile defenses.  From the declaration: "the unilateral and unlimited build-up missile defense by a single state or by a narrow group of states could damage strategic stability and international security."

CORRUPT CHINESE OFFICIALS TAKE $123 BILLION OVERSEAS.  A new report out of China suggests that corrupt government officials are illegally transferring billions of dollars to banks and family overseas.  The top destinations for these officials and their money are the U.S., Canada, and Australia.

CHINA CLOSES TIBET TO FOREIGNERS AHEAD OF ANNIVERSARY.  China has closed Tibet to foreigners ahead of the 90th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party on July 1.  This move, most likely prompted by insecurity towards a perceived threat to one-party rule, has been planned for months.  A Beijing-based travel agent says that they have been notified of the policy but have no idea why it is being implemented.  A Beijing-based travel agent spoke to Reuters via phone: "We had to make a lot of cancellations, but we don't know the reasons behind it.  Perhaps it has to do with something political."

BEIJING SAYS ITS REACTORS ARE SAFE.  China has declared that all of its active nuclear reactors are safe and that the nation will move forward with plans to build a number of new power plants.  This announcement comes after China halted production of new reactors following the nuclear disaster at the Japanese Fukushima plant.  China currently has 13 nuclear power plants that were determined to be safe with 27 additional reactors currently under construction.

The Caucus Brief is a daily publication for Members of Congress and Hill Staffers on China news and information compiled by the office of Congressman Randy Forbes, Founder of the Congressional China Caucus.  Email with tips, comments, or to subscribe/unsubscribe.

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