Sunak: “golden era” between UK, China is over
- “We also need to evolve our approach to China. Let’s be clear, the so-called ‘golden era’ is over, along with the naïve idea that trade would automatically lead to social and political reform,” UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Monday in his first foreign policy address. “But nor should we rely on simplistic Cold War rhetoric,” Sunak added. He then called China a “systemic challenge to our values and interests” that “grows more acute.”
- Tory backbenchers have been pressuring the new Conservative leader to be tough on China. They criticized him for being less hawkish than his predecessor Liz Truss, who pledged to officially designate China as a “threat” instead of a “systemic competitor” under Boris Johnson.
- Sunak puzzled Tory members with his back-and-forth of calling China a “threat” and a “challenge” when flying to Indonesia for the G20 summit. He also said something provocative for China on the plane: “We stand ready to support Taiwan, as we do in standing up to Chinese aggression.” Later, his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Bali was canceled.
Xi meets with Cuba, Mongolia presidents
- President Xi met with (Zh/En) visiting First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of Cuba Miguel Díaz-Canel on Friday. Xi said that China always places its relations with Cuba in a “special position” in its diplomacy. He also stressed that “However the international situation may evolve, China’s policy of upholding long-term friendship with Cuba will not change, its determination to support Cuba in following the path of socialism will not change, and its resolve to work with Cuba to defend international fairness and justice and oppose hegemony and power politics will not change.” Xi also vowed to “firmly support Cuba in safeguarding national sovereignty and opposing foreign interference and blockade.”
- President Xi held talks with (Zh/En) Mongolian President Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh in Beijing on Monday. The meeting was only two months after the two leaders met in Uzbekistan in September. Xi hailed the high level of China-Mongolia relations and said, “China will work with Mongolia in close coordination and collaboration to jointly defend true multilateralism, reject bloc confrontation, and uphold solidarity and cooperation of the international community.”
In first, mainland Chinese companies outnumber American ones in Hong Kong
- The number of mainland Chinese companies with regional headquarters in Hong Kong surpasses their U.S. counterparts for the first time. As of June 1, the city has 251 regional hubs of mainland Chinese firms versus 240 for U.S. companies. The number of U.S. regional business headquarters was down from its peak at 333 in 2012 and was the lowest since 2002.
U.S. comment on China’s COVID situations
- “Our message to peaceful protesters around the world is the same and consistent: People should be allowed the right to assemble and to peacefully protest policies or laws or dictates that they take issue with,” John Kirby, U.S. National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications said when answering a question over reported COVID-related protests in China. Kirby and White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre were pressed several times to respond to similar questions at a press briefing yesterday. They replied by reiterating the U.S. support for peaceful protests.
- When asked about China’s COVID policies, Kirby said, “China as a major economic player and China still struggling with COVID, there’s — obviously there’s an impact on the economy.”
Russia postpones nuclear arms-control talks with U.S.
- Russia has postponed talks scheduled on Tuesday to resume inspections under the New START treaty, U.S. officials said. The bilateral accord was signed in 2010 to reduce the long-range nuclear arms of the two countries. The arms inspections were suspended in 2020 due to COVID-19. Russia blocked the resumption of the inspections in August, citing U.S. travel restrictions.