Wang, Lavrov speak at think tank event
- At a virtual forum convened by Chinese and Russian think tanks, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi expressed (Ch) China’s willingness to promote “genuine democracy that conforms to the national conditions and public opinion of each country” (推进符合各国国情民意的真正民主) with Russia.
- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who was on a trip to the Middle East, also attended the event. Lavrov hailed the “inexhaustible potential” of the strategic relationship between Russia and China, which "remains among Russia's foreign policy priorities."
- China’s attempt to take a neutral position in the war between Russia and Ukraine results from its close ties with both countries and its deep-rooted political mentality that values peace and harmony. However, this is bound to be a challenging task, as the U.S. and its allies support Ukraine overwhelmingly and view both Russia and China as “autocracies.” It seems Beijing’s recent advocacy of an inclusive international order and opposition to bloc-against-bloc confrontation are tactics to confront the rhetorical pressure.
China condemns U.S.-New Zealand joint statement
- While Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi traveling in South Pacific islands countries, U.S. President Joe Biden and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda published a joint statement on Wednesday after meeting at the White House.
- In the statement, the leaders expressed concerns about the security agreement between China and the Solomon Islands, China’s activities in the South China Sea, and issues related to Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Chinese Foreign Ministry strongly criticized the statement.
- The influence in the South Pacific island countries ascended recently as a new focus in China-U.S. relations after the Solomon Islands agreement and Wang’s visit. The competition in the South Pacific will continue to be one of the top agendas for both countries, given the strategic importance of the region. However, the South China Sea will remain a bigger concern due to its complexity and economic significance.
China’s manufacturing activity shrinks less in May
- China’s official Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) by the National Bureau of Statistics rose from April’s 47.4 to 49.6 in May. The Caixin China General Manufacturing PMI also bounced back to 48.1 in May from 46 in April. However, the readings are still below the boom-or-bust line of 50, marking the third month of shrinking manufacturing activity.
- With Shanghai easing its COVID restrictions, Chinese production activities are expected to resume, and economists foresee the PMI will return to the positive territory in June.