China has actively begun to increase its influence both in the region and beyond. Of particular relevance, today are the Sino-US negotiations on Taiwan and the countries’ position on the Solomon Islands, military cooperation between China and Serbia, support for the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as some recent economic successes of China.
China has accelerated the buildup of its nuclear arsenal due to a change in the assessment of the threat posed by the United States. Beijing sees the strengthening of its nuclear arsenal as a way to keep the U.S. from getting directly involved in a potential conflict over Taiwan, a result of Washington’s refusal to get directly involved in the Ukrainian conflict. China’s military will never tolerate separatist activities seeking “Taiwan independence” and interference from outside forces, Wu Qian, an official of China’s People’s Liberation Army delegation, said Wednesday on the sidelines of the 5th session of the 13th National People’s Congress. The relevant drills and training activities of the СPLA are by no means aimed at Taiwan’s compatriots, but against separatist activities seeking “Taiwan independence” and interference by outside forces, he said. The separatist activities of Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party administration and its collusion with outside forces are the main cause of the current tension and unrest in the Taiwan Strait area, Wu Qian added. “The more the U.S. and Japan make waves over the Taiwan issue, the tougher we will act to protect state sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.
China warned the U.S. against a visit to Taiwan (Republic of China) by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. A statement to that effect was made by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. On April 8, the American politician and Joe Biden’s Democratic Party colleague were supposed to visit Japan and then go to Taiwan, but she tested positive for COVID-19 on the eve of her international visit. However, the U.S. has not announced the cancellation of the visit, only the postponement. Washington has approved another arms shipment to the island, which includes «Patriot» SAMs. Taiwan believes that Beijing will use the Ukrainian crisis to attack it. China denies such statements and stresses that “Taiwan’s return to the embrace of the motherland” is inevitable, but mainland China will achieve it peacefully.
Taiwan releases a wartime survival guide. The Taiwanese military has published a manual that tells civilians how to prepare for a potential Chinese invasion, including where to find bomb shelters through cell phone apps and what to do in an emergency, and how to distinguish air raid sirens. The 28-page manual contains information that “the general public can use as a guide for responding to emergencies in a military crisis or natural disaster,” a defense ministry official said. This is the first time the Taiwanese military has published such a manual.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a telephone conversation with his Serbian counterpart Nikola Selakovic that China is ready to join forces with the international community to counter the Cold War mentality being revived by the West and to prevent a split in the world.
Six Y-20 cargo planes of the People’s Liberation Army of China (PLA) Air Force were spotted in Serbia. This could be the largest overseas operation by Chinese transport aircraft, demonstrating the country’s strategic capabilities. The mission reflects a significant improvement in the PLA Air Force’s long-range strategic transport capabilities, as well as the logistics and maintenance capabilities of large transport aircraft on intercontinental flights. The Y-20’s mission to Serbia remains unknown, but it is speculated that the aircraft may have delivered the FK-3, an export version of the Chinese HQ-22 surface-to-air missile system.
The political changes in Pakistan will not affect the lasting friendship with China. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was removed from office in a vote of no confidence in the country’s parliament on Sunday, but such a major political upheaval in Islamabad will not affect the strong friendship between China and Pakistan. Chinese and Pakistani analysts believe that the strong Sino-Pakistani relationship will not be affected by internal political changes in Pakistan because maintaining and developing bilateral ties is a joint consensus of all parties and all groups in Pakistan.
China expressed appreciation to the provisional government of Afghanistan for banning the cultivation of narcotics.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian made the following statements on the issue:
– “A very shameful role in the drug problem in the country has been played by the U.S., which is the initiator of the Afghan issue.”
– “The U.S. military presence in Afghanistan has led to a worldwide program of drug laboratories and a significant increase in the production of opiates in Afghanistan.
China warns the Philippines against engaging in military blocs, promising increased investment Regional security and stability cannot be achieved through military alliances, Xi Jinping told his Philippine counterpart Rodrigo Duterte. The Chinese authorities’ fears stem from upcoming elections in the Philippines, which lead to the risk of a deterioration of bilateral relations. The U.S. has already begun to expand its influence in the Southeast Asian country, looking for an opportunity to expand its influence.
Kurt Campbell – U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs is preparing to travel to the Solomon Islands on a rare high-level visit that underscores concerns in Washington about the Pacific country’s security pact with China. The pact, which has not yet been signed, paves the way for China to deploy troops and police to the islands. It also states that Chinese security personnel will guard any country ships that dock in the Solomon Islands.
In the first quarter of 2022, China’s foreign trade in goods was ¥9.42 trillion (~$1.48 trillion), up 10.7% year-on-year. Russia-China trade turnover from January to March 2022 reached $38.17 billion, a year-on-year increase of 28.7%.
By the middle of this year, China will own 69% of the world’s reserves of corn, 60% of rice, and 51% of wheat. All this to feed 18% of the world’s population. China’s food purchases of everything from soybeans to pork have increased dramatically over the past five years. Last year, a Chinese official said the country’s grain reserves were “historically high” and that there was enough wheat to meet the demand for 18 months.
Inflation in China accelerated in March, but the situation is more favorable than in many other countries. Annual inflation rose 1.5% in March (8.5% in the U.S.), the strongest jump in three months. The inflation data show how China’s strict pandemic measures are increasingly affecting consumer prices: the cost of some consumer goods is rising rapidly and the price of services is falling as consumers stay home.
China continues to increase its ties with different countries of the world through various political levers. So far it is difficult to say whether this is done for the sake of a potential assault on Taiwan or as part of a classic policy of increasing influence in different regions of the world. We should proceed from the official position of China’s Foreign Ministry, which says the return of Taiwan by peaceful means. Against the backdrop of Taiwan, tensions in Sino-American relations have increased, which is already considered the norm in today’s realities. At the moment, China is increasing its military capabilities and its economy is growing at a slow pace.
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