Huawei as trade bargaining chip; Taoran Notes not optimistic about a deal; Xi's North Korea trip

CCP propaganda can have its fun moments. After weeks of attacks on the US, and the broadcasting of multiple old films glorifying struggling against and killing Americans during the Korean War, CCTV-6 on Thursday played the 1999 movie “Lover’s Grief Over the Yellow Moon 黄河绝恋”:

Perhaps there will be a break in the anti-US propaganda between now and the Trump-Xi meeting?

Senator Marco Rubio however is not getting any kisses in China any time soon:

The full article 弱肉强食的“丛林法则”行不通(国际论坛)- 五月荷 appeared on page 3 of the Wednesday People’s Daily and was focused on Rubio’s proposed legislation to block Huawei from pursuing damages in US patent courts.

China Radio International also attacked Rubio over the legislation, saying “Rubio’s low-grade face-changing tricks are increasingly obvious 【国际锐评】卢比奥低劣的变脸戏法让人越看越明白”.

This attacks are not constructive if China wants President Trump to grant Huawei a reprieve. If he tries to throw Huawei into any trade deal he should expect a real backlash in Congress.

Last week Senators Rubio and Warner wrote a letter to Secretary of State Pompeo and US Trade Representative Lighthizer warning against using Huawei as a bargaining chip in the trade negotiations:

In no way should Huawei be used as a bargaining chip in trade negotiations…Conflating national security concerns with levers in trade negotiations undermines this effort, and endangers American security.

From what I hear President Trump was not pleased.

A Huawei reprieve would buy China and Huawei time without changing the fundamental trajectory of the US-China relationship. The damage to the US-China relationship has already been done. Since the ZTE sanctions last year just about all of China now knows that that the country it too reliant on US technology and needs, as Xi has repeatedly exhorted, to reach the "commanding heights" in scientific and technological competition and future development and realize the goal that “key and core technologies are self-developed and controllable”.

In the latest example, Vice Premier Sun Chunlan yesterday was on message about core technologies (Universities urged to boost int'l cooperation to improve innovation abilities - Xinhua):

Calling universities the main channel to innovation and the main site for cultivating innovation talent, Sun stressed greater efforts to make breakthroughs in research and development of core technologies.

US technology firms that work with Huawei want a reprieve because they risk losing a lot of business, fear the costs and complexity of reworking their supply chains, and claim the ban will hurt US innovation. Huawei wants a reprieve because the ban has a very material impact on their business. The PRC government wants a reprieve to buy time for Huawei, allow it to continue to roll out 5G networks globally and to demonstrate to its citizens that it is strong enough to resist foreign bullying.

But it is folly to think that a reprieve for Huawei will change the view among the people that matter in China, starting with Xi, that the US and China are in an existential technology competition. I know there are senior Trump Administration who understand this, but it is not clear President Trump does, or that he sees Huawei as anything more than a bargaining chip for a trade deal.

As I wrote last month, I believe Xi now views the US-China relationship as "fighting while embracing", or 缠斗, and wants to keep the embrace going until China is strong enough to push back much harder against the US.

Thanks for reading.


The Essential Eight

1. US-China

Trump says US helped 'rebuild' China: 'They took us for suckers' | Fox Business

“As you know you may have read a couple of things about China,” Trump told his supporters. “I spoke to President Xi, terrific president, great leader of China. I spoke to him this morning at length and we’ll see what happens. But we’re either going to have a good deal and a fair deal or we’re not going to have a deal at all and that’s OK, too.”..

The president told supporters the U.S. helped rebuild China and “they took us for suckers, and that includes (former President Barack) Obama and (former Vice President Joe) Biden.”

USTR Lighthizer will meet with Chinese counterpart before Trump-Xi meet at G-20

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Wednesday that he will be speaking with a Chinese official before President Donald Trump meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the upcoming G-20 summit.

But it’s still unclear when the currently stalled trade negotiations between the two economic superpowers will restart, Lighthizer said.

“I have a conversation set up with my counterpart on the telephone in the next day and a half, and then I expect to meet with him with [Treasury Secretary Steven] Mnuchin in Osaka before the president meets” with Xi, Lighthizer testified before the House Ways and Means Committee

Question: Will Liu He still be the titular head of the PRC negotiating team? I understand there was a lot of grumbling inside the Chinese system about his performance as lead trade negotiator.

谈,要有谈的样子、谈的诚意_自贸区连线_澎湃新闻-The Paper

A new Taoran Notes on US-China trade talks, says if the sides are going to talk the US needs to show sincerity and understand China's resolve. It said the Trump-Xi phone call shows the Americans finally realized China will not back down under pressure. But the article was not so optimistic about reaching a deal, saying if the US’s position remains unchanged, China’s position will not move either, and the Americans may only change after feeling the pain.

Hopes in China rise for a Trump-Xi trade deal - CNBC

Wei Jianguo, a former vice minister at the Ministry of Commerce, also emphasized Trump’s need to boost his popularity among voters in an interview with CNBC Wednesday afternoon....

“First, from early May to now, the U.S. has seen China isn’t that easy to defeat. China is not like other countries,” Wei said. Second, he noted that Americans from farmers to business people and consumers all oppose tariffs and Trump is lagging behind Joe Biden in the polls.

Third, Wei said Trump has yet to achieve major presidential campaign promises such as bringing manufacturing back to the U.S.

No quick fix to overcome lack of trust behind US-China trade war, Singapore minister says | South China Morning Post

“The Sino-US trade war is not just about trade or technology or even tribe, as in a clash of civilisation ... I believe it is ultimately due to a lack of strategic trust between the US and China,” Chee said at the Centre for China and Globalisation, a Beijing-based think tank on Tuesday.

“This is a problem that unfortunately cannot be resolved quickly. To reduce the current tensions between China and the US, it is important for us to understand why American actions against China gain the support of both Democrats and Republicans, also some business leaders. China could consider how it could address negative perceptions of China in the US and other countries.”

Susan A. Thornton: Prospects for Co-evolution in Sino-American Relations | National Committee on United States - China Relations

with interesting comments from Cui Liru, he is not optimistic

人民网评:中国能吞下“如果”带来的苦果吗?--观点--人民网

Citing Lu Xun, People’s Daily online criticized those who said China could have avoid the conformation with the US if Beijing didn’t do things like Made-in-China-2025, Thousand Talents Program and island building in South China Sea. The article said these critics are delusional and failed to see that the US hegemon will contain China not matter what.

Op-ed: There's no need to admire or fear the US - People's Daily - Jiang Ning

It's been more than a year since the U.S. government first initiated trade frictions with China.

Some say that China's high-profile publicity, represented by the documentary Amazing China, recording China's achievements over the last five years, rang alarm bells for the U.S. and triggered the trade war.

However, time has revealed the facts and proved that such claims couldn't be more ridiculous...

As Mao Zedong said a few decades ago when summing up the War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea, "There is nothing to fear about U.S. imperialism. It is just a thing. We have gained this experience, this amazing experience." He then pointed out: "The Chinese people are well organized now, and no one can bully China. If anyone offends China, there will be trouble."

Beijing's Flagship Newspaper Calls Rubio an `Anti-China Clown' - Bloomberg

“Rubio has spared no effort to play the anti-China clown,” the Communist Party’s flagship newspaper People’s Daily wrote in a Tuesday commentary. “Recently, he has been trumpeting the ‘benefit theory’ of imposing tariffs on Chinese imports to the U.S., while ignoring facts and making ridiculous arguments that capitulation to China will cause long-term and even permanent damage to the U.S. economy

CCTV Evening News highlights the People's Daily comment about Rubio - 人民日报署名文章:弱肉强食的“丛林法则”行不通_CCTV

Apple weighs 15%-30% capacity shift out of China amid trade war - Nikkei Asian Review - This story is getting a lot of play but I think it is way off base so take it with a grain of salt, and if it is true then Beijing is going to be very unhappy with Apple


2. Xi’s North Korea visit

Xi calls for new development of China-DPRK relations in new era - Xinhua

Xi made the remarks in a signed article published on the DPRK's mainstream media including the official newspaper Rodong Sinmun, one day before his state visit to the DPRK slated for Thursday and Friday.

The visit will be the first to the DPRK by the top leader of the CPC and China's head of state in 14 years as well as General Secretary Xi's first visit to the country since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012...

China will unswervingly support Chairman Kim in leading the DPRK to implement the new strategic line and focus on developing economy and improving people's livelihood for new and greater achievements in the socialist construction of the DPRK, Xi added.

"We are pleased to see that with Chairman Kim's correct decision and the concerted efforts of all parties concerned, the general trend of peaceful dialogue on the Korean Peninsula has taken shape, and a political settlement to the Peninsula issue sees a rare historical opportunity, which has been universally recognized and anticipated by the international community," he said.

习近平在朝鲜媒体发表署名文章-新华网

传承中朝友谊,续写时代新篇章 - Chinese text of Xi's article

Xi firmly backs Pyongyang's effort to solve Korea Peninsula issues: Rodong Sinmun - Reuters

The front-page op-ed is an honor rarely granted to foreign leaders and comes a day before Xi is set to visit Pyongyang on Thursday and Friday at the invitation of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, making him the first Chinese leader to visit in 14 years.

Why there’s more than just ideology behind Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to North Korea | South China Morning Post

Zhang Liangui, a North Korean affairs specialist from the Central Party School in Beijing, said that Xi would follow other Chinese leaders, such as Mao Zedong or Deng, in emphasising the “traditional friendship” between the two countries.

But he said the Chinese president would also be “very pragmatic” in trying to persuade the North Korean leader to give up his nuclear arsenal – a move that would help cement Beijing’s geopolitical influence in the region.
“It is good timing now …. that China can seek common ground with the US in pushing for significant progress on the North Korean issue, which is one of the very limited shared interests between China and the US,” Zhang said,

China and Russia thwart US-led bid to call out North Korea on UN sanctions violations | South China Morning Post

China and Russia have again blocked a UN Security Council committee from declaring that Pyongyang breached its annual cap on imported refined petroleum products, imposed as part of international sanctions against North Korea.

Two United Nations diplomats said on Tuesday that the Russians and Chinese notified the committee monitoring North Korea’s compliance before the deadline for objections. The Russians and Chinese are the main suppliers of petroleum products to North Korea.


3. Hong Kong

China says Hong Kong does not need meddling by 'black hand' Western forces - Reuters

State Councillor Wang Yi, in the first public comments by a senior Chinese leader since the protests took place, said the proposed Hong Kong government’s legislation “completely suited the interests of the Hong Kong people”...

“What we must be on guard against is that some Western forces are taking advantage of this issue to stir up trouble and incite opposition in an attempt to destroy Hong Kong’s social stability and the implementation of one country, two systems,” Wang added.

“We must say it here loudly: you must withdraw your black hand. Hong Kong is China’s domestic affair. We don’t need your meddling here. Hong Kong is not a place for you to run amuck.”

Wang Yi’s comments - 王毅:坚决反对外部势力插手香港事务_国内新闻_环球网

王毅指出,值得高度警惕的是,一些西方势力利用这个问题,兴风作浪,挑拨对立,企图破坏香港和平稳定,破坏“一国两制”。我们要大喝一声:请收回你们的黑手!香港事务是中国内政,香港不是你们横行的地方!

With Hymns and Prayers, Christians Help Drive Hong Kong’s Protests - The New York Times

Christians have been a visible part of the protests this month — among the largest in Hong Kong’s history — providing food and shelter at demonstrations and condemning efforts by the police to break them up. Many protesters, even those who are not religious, have embraced the teachings and messages of Christianity to denounce a proposed law to allow extraditions to mainland China.

Hong Kong: So What? Now What? In the Future What? | RUSI - Charles Parton

Should Beijing share the blame? Probably. It may not have given direct and detailed orders; that is not its way. But it set the general direction and certain objectives, of which a Fugitive Offenders Ordinance was almost certainly one, not least to avoid the need for kidnapping (as it instigated in recent years with the five booksellers and the tycoon Xiao Jianhua). But the Chief Executive chose the timing – disastrously, not least because it ran over the sensitive 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen repression, and because, if there was to be any long-running protest, just over 100 days before the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PRC was a risky date...

the protests have laid bare the lack of trust (and patriotism, if you are from the CCP) of the Hong Kong people, their ability to defy Beijing (yet again) even as 2047 gets nearer, and the governance problem inherent in a Chief Executive who fears to represent Hong Kong to the CCP leadership, but rather tries to represent the CCP to Hong Kong’s people. They have also exposed the failure of extensive United Front Work Department activities to bring over the people, not least the young, always an important target.

Sing Hallelujah: The Miracle of Hong Kong’s March - The Little Red Podcast - Omny.fm

With public faith in its institutions shattered and a pattern of popular mobilization and radical action in train, we’ll be asking if Hong Kong is now governable at all.  Louisa reports from the protest frontlines, and we’ll be hearing calls for more democracy from Civic Party legislator Alvin Yeung and Cardinal Joseph Zen, the 87-year-old cardinal of the Catholic Church.


4. Interbank stress

China Urges Big Brokerages to Support Smaller Non-Banks - Caixin

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) and the central bank Sunday summoned nine leading brokerages and fund managers to discuss ways to address liquidity risks facing the non-banking financial sector in the wake of last month’s seizure of Baoshang Bank Co.

The meeting with top brokerages continues a series of moves to limit the Baoshang fallout. Although the People’s Bank of China has said Baoshang was an isolated case, the takeover has cast a chill over the interbank market and driven up the borrowing costs for smaller banks and non-bank institutions. On Friday, the central bank announced a plan to hand out 300 billion yuan ($43.4 billion) in rediscount and standing lending facility (SLF) quotas to support lending by smaller banks...

Regulators asked the brokerages and fund managers to provide liquidity support to smaller securities firms and funds. In return, China Securities Finance Co., a state-owned institution that provides margin financing loan services to securities companies, will provide financing to the big brokerages, according to the meeting minutes.

Comment: And we have the annual liquidity pressures around June 30 coming up as well. Could be a very stressful 12 days in the banking system

China's Interbank Funding Squeeze Has Echoes of Lehman - Bloomberg

The decision to turn to brokerages is stunning. For a start, brokers aren’t banks; they don’t have the ability to take deposits and don’t create money, so their ability to expand liquidity is far more constrained. Secondly, regulators are relying on a securities industry that only four years ago oversaw a spectacular boom and bust in China’s stock market that was fueled by excessive over-the-counter margin financing.


5. Xinjiang

A Muslim Family Sought Help at the Belgian Embassy in Beijing. The Police Dragged Them Out. - The New York Times

His wife, Wureyetiguli Abula, 43, had gone to the Belgian Embassy to seek visas so the family — from the Uighur Muslim minority group — could be reunited with Mr. Tursun, 51, in Brussels, where he won asylum in 2017.

But instead of finding protection, Ms. Abula and her children, ages 5 to 17, were dragged away after the Chinese police were allowed to enter the embassy.

Now the case is raising alarms back in Belgium, where lawmakers are asking how it could have happened and where Mr. Tursun’s family has been taken. It illustrates how, two years after China began detaining Uighurs in a vast network of internment camps, the group has limited protections — even from Western democracies — against persecution by the Chinese government.

Uighur author dies following detention in Chinese 're-education' camp | Books | The Guardian

PEN America condemns death of Nurmuhammad Tohti, who had been held in a Xinjiang internment camp, as a grave example of China’s violations of free expression


6. China and Russia in Central Asia

Russia, China Vie for Influence in Central Asia as U.S. Plans Afghan Exit - WSJ $$

In recent years, as it became clear that the American effort in Afghanistan wasn’t turning the corner as quickly as U.S. officials claimed, Russia and China expanded their ties to the Taliban as well as to the Afghan government, with Moscow also deepening its links to Afghan political groups and members of parliament. There are also signs they began taking steps to take security matters into their own hands, rather than depending on the U.S...

In neighboring Tajikistan, China in 2015 or 2016 signed secret agreements with authorities that gave Beijing rights to refurbish or build up to 30 to 40 guard posts on the Tajik side of the country’s border with Afghanistan, a Tajik official said last year. The official asked not to be identified for fear of retribution.

Under the accords, Chinese border guards have replaced their Tajik counterparts along large swathes of the territory along the Tajikistan-Afghanistan border, where Beijing deems the Tajiks incapable of stopping militants potentially infiltrating Tajik territory, the official said. “There are parts of the country where the Chinese have taken over border control completely,” the official said. “They patrol on their own, in their own vehicles.”


7. Chengdu AKA “Gaydu”

Chengdu Is Tapping Into China’s $300 Billion Rainbow Economy - Bloomberg

A world away from Beijing, Chengdu has become a haven for the LGBT community, whose members are drawn to the relaxed, open vibe. The city sits in a basin surrounded by mountains, which kept it isolated for centuries. Fertile ground and abundant natural resources allowed it to stay mostly self-sufficient, with an attitude that’s both “mind your own business” and “anything goes.” The city of 16 million, best known internationally for its pandas, was voted the gay capital of China in a recent poll by gay dating app Blued...

While there aren’t official statistics on Chengdu’s LGBT population, the nickname “Gaydu” has stuck. ..

Blued says there were about 70 million LGBT people in China in 2016, based on the estimate that roughly 5% of the global population is LGBT. But most don’t live an out-and-proud lifestyle: A United Nations Development Programme study of sexual orientation in China that same year found that only 5% of sexual and gender minorities have come out.


8. Xi’s important instructions

The Power to Instruct | China Media Project

Now only Xi Jinping gets to issue Xi Jinping “important instructions” (重要指示). Premier Li Keqiang is left with giving “written comments,” or pishi (批示).

The new norm now is for the general secretary to issue “important instructions,” and for the premier to “make written comments.” The issuing of “important instructions” has now fully become a special right and privilege of Xi Jinping himself.

Frivolous though it may seem to some, this is much more than a word game. It reflects the political norms of Xi Jinping, and it goes to the very heart of Chinese politics today.


Business, Economy and Trade

Tech Hub Shenzhen Hasn’t Had This Much Vacant Office Space in 10 Years Vacancies in the office market in Shenzhen, South China’s Guangdong province, hit a decade-high in the first half of 2019, burdened by a flood of new space entering the market and lingering fallout from a recent cleanup in the financial technology sector.

China Buying Iran LPG Despite Sanctions, Ship-Tracking Shows - Bloomberg some Chinese customers are still buying from Iran, according to Kpler SAS. Based on ship-tracking data, the Paris-based data intelligence firm estimates that at least five supertankers loaded Iranian LPG in May and June that was destined for China. That would equate to around $100 million of the gas, according to Bloomberg calculations.

Chinese Land Prices Decline for First Time Since 2012 - China Banking News The “2019 May National Real Estate Market Report” (2019年5月全国房地产市场报告) released by the Shanghai E-house Real Estate Research Institute (上海易居房地产研究院) indicates that during the period from January to May the land purchase floorspace for real estate development enterprises fell 33.2% YoY. The average land purchase price was 4389 yuan per square metre, for a YoY decline of 3.5% and the first YoY drop since 2012.

Lower-tier cities, upgraded goods power JD's 618 shopping promotion · TechNode Chinese retail giant JD, which started the 618 shopping promotion in 2010, racked up a record RMB 201.5 billion (around $29.2 billion) in sales from June 1 to 18. The figure was a 26.6% increase from last year’s RMB 159.2 billion, and was driven by growth in various categories from consumer goods, electronics, fresh food, fashion, and lifestyle items, according to the company. JD said that it served around 750 million customers around the world during the festival.

In Trade War Shadow, Wall Street Keeps Experts in China Busy - Bloomberg The market for corporate advice is booming in China, but it isn’t necessarily for guiding businesses through the minefields of the U.S. trade war. Lawyers, consultants and recruiters say they’re busier than ever working with global financial companies trying to make the most out of China’s unprecedented opening of its banking, insurance and securities sectors.

Politics and Law

突出政治建设锻造公安铁军  忠实履行好新时代职责使命--法治--人民网 深入学习领会习近平总书记在全国公安工作会议上的重要讲话精神 赵克志 // Zhao Kezhi, minister of public security wrote a long op-ed on People’s Daily, urging the police troops to stay “absolute loyal” to Xi Jinping. “On this fundamental issue relevant to our flag, our direction, and our path, our mind must be very clear, our position must be very firm, and our attitude must be very clear-cut.” He also talked about how the police must work hard to safeguard the CCP regime, and “severely crackdown all kinds of infiltration and subversion activities, violent and terrorist activities and radical religious activities”.

Tibet to integrate anti-separatism drive with gang crime crackdown - Global Times As for Tibet, overseas secessionists may be the root of some gangs, Xiong Kunxin, a professor at Tibet University in Lhasa, told the Global Times on Tuesday. Local gangs collude with and receive support from overseas separatist forces. These gangs differ from normal ones because they aim to disturb the region's social stability and prosperity rather than make money, Xiong noted. Zhu noted at the briefing that cracking down on gang crimes in Tibet should be integrated with the fight against separatist forces, according to the Lahsa government website.

China to commend role models of ethnic unity - Xinhua Approved by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, the campaign will find individuals and organizations who have made great contributions to ethnic unity and common prosperity. By honoring and promoting their contributions, it is expected to create a stronger sense of community for the Chinese nation and build the stronger social atmosphere for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

河北日报报业集团党委书记于山接受审查调查 Yu Shan, Party boss of Hebei Daily, put under investigation

Local Government Crackdowns on Some ‘Foreign’ or ‘Feudal’ Place Names Draws Debate - Caixin Global The national campaign, which started in December, is aimed at ridding China of place names that "exaggerate functions, use Chinese characters for foreign names, pursue strangeness, or imply vulgar or feudalistic meanings." An official who wished to stay anonymous due to the sensitivity of the issue told Caixin that local governments knew the changes would be met with skepticism, but had no choice but to “implement policies decided by the top.”

Foreign and Defense Affairs

第十届安全事务高级代表国际会议在俄罗斯举行 Guo Shengkun, head of the CCP’s Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, is in Moscow to attend a security conference. He boasted China’s experience in combating terrorism and safeguarding cyber security. He also said China’s success in maintaining the economic growth and social stability are “two miracles”. // 郭声琨表示,在以习近平同志为核心的党中央坚强领导下,在习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想指引下,中国创造了经济持续健康发展、社会持续安全稳定“两大奇迹”。中国愿与世界各国分享安全治理的经验,也愿与各方携手应对各种问题和挑战。我们应更加严厉地打击恐怖主义,坚决维护人类社会的安全底线;更加有效地维护网络安全,共同守护清朗健康的网络空间;更加深入地打击跨国犯罪,努力保护各国人民的安全和福祉。

With Esper, Pentagon inherits an army veteran long focussed on China - Reuters China has been a personal priority as far back as the 1990s, including when Esper worked as an aide on Capitol Hill after more than a decade in the Army, he told Reuters. “We may be a little bit late - we are late - coming to the recognition that we are in a strategic competition with China,” Esper said in an April interview.

Hard-line US stance against China to continue: experts - Global Times The Trump administration has chosen someone to fulfill its vision, which is to remain in a hegemonic position and to consider China a threat, and Esper is that person, according to Peng.  Esper is considered trickier than Jim Mattis on China-US relations and defense, Chinese analysts said. They do not expect Esper to bring fundamental changes to US policy toward China, but whether Esper would be as extreme as Pompeo remains to be seen.

Hundreds of Chinese and Bangladeshi labourers in deadly clashes at Beijing-backed power plant near Dhaka | South China Morning Post Police said the violence was triggered by the death of a Bangladeshi worker at the site of the China-funded 1,320-megawatt plant, prompting locals to accuse the Chinese of trying to cover up the incident. At one point, hundreds of Bangladeshi and Chinese workers were fighting at the site – about 200km south of the capital – and more than a dozen were injured, including six Chinese who were taken to hospital.

Censorship casts shadow over China’s top film festival | Financial Times $$ Another casualty of the crackdown is a proposed sequel to China’s all-time top-grossing domestic film, Wolf Warrior 2, about a Chinese mercenary whose advertising tagline was “whoever offends China will be hunted down wherever they are”.  In addition to military topics, government officials are worried by content that could be perceived as excessively patriotic, which could unnerve foreign audiences and damage China’s reputation abroad, according to three industry executives. A sequel, Wolf Warrior 3, was announced in 2017 but cancelled by officials according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter. “The government doesn’t want films which make China appear aggressive,” the person said.

Belt and Road Economics : Opportunities and Risks of Transport Corridors - World Bank his study analyzes the economics of the Belt and Road Initiative with a particular focus on connectivity. It covers three main areas of analysis. First, it assesses the connectivity (e.g. transport, trade, investment) gaps in the BRI region. Second, it examines the economic effects of the proposed BRI infrastructure improvements, including the impact on international trade, cross-border investment, allocation of economic activity, and inclusive growth in the BRI countries. Third, it identifies complementary policy reforms and institutions that will support welfare maximization and mitigation of risks for all BRI economies.

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian: American Reporter Was Denied A Visa To China — She Said Because She Criticized The Communist Party. Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, a Washington, DC–based freelance journalist, applied for a journalist visa with AFP last year. AFP was told to find another journalist.

Vietnam has a new partner in its old rivalry with China – the US | South China Morning Post When Dang Duc Toai completed the Aviation Leadership Programme at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi last month, he became a trailblazer among pilots from his native Vietnam. Dang, a captain in the Vietnam People’s Air Force, was the first of his countrymen to graduate from the programme, through which the United States Air Force provides 52 weeks of flight training to pilots from US partner and developing countries.

Chinese armed police host int'l counter-terrorism forum - China Military An international counter-terrorism forum hosted by China's armed police force opened in Beijing Tuesday. With the theme "special force sniping," the four-day event, "Great Wall-2019 International Forum on Counter-terrorism," attracted more than 240 representatives from the military and police forces of 31 countries including China, France, Pakistan, Israel and Uzbekistan.

No need for China to spy on India using balloons: experts - Global Times Surveillance devices launched on balloons have limited abilities, so China would not use such a method to see across the border, Li Daguang, a professor at the National Defense University of the People's Liberation Army, told the Global Times on Wednesday. Satellites nowadays provide clear images on the ground, making balloons unnecessary, Li noted. Li's remarks are in response to a Tuesday report by Indian media outlet The Print, which claimed that China "is using high-tech balloons to spy on India from Tibet."

China's FC-31 fighter jet shows major upgrades at Paris Air Show - Global Times China's fifth generation stealth fighter jet FC-31 showcased its latest upgrades at the ongoing Paris Air Show, and analysts noted on Wednesday that the displayed model shows noteworthy changes in design that could significantly improve its capabilities.

Sino-UK dialogue yields dozens of outcomes - China Daily Some other key milestones reached during the dialogue include the launch of the London-Shanghai Stock Connect with Huatai Securities being the first issuer of global depositary receipts on the London Stock Exchange; an agreement to widen Chinese market access for British beef and pork; a new private sector fund targeting 1 billion pounds ($1.25 billion) to help UK firms expand into Chinese markets, and deepening cooperation on infrastructure projects that meet international standards.

Tech and Media

Huawei Founder Ren Zhengfei: Both Sides Will Suffer From Trade War - Pandaily Ren Zhengfei, Huawei Founder and CEO, sat down with two prominent thinkers George Gilder and Nicholas Negroponte for 100 minutes of conversation and Q&A on June 17. The new segment named “Coffee With Ren” marks the first of a series of discussions held by Huawei to talk about important and highly controversial issues surrounding Huawei. The panel held today was chaired by Tian Wei, host of China Global Television Network’s World Insight. // Comment: I thought CCTV anchors were banned from making private appearances?

Chip-Designer ARM Breaks Silence on Huawei Ties - Caixin In an exclusive interview with Caixin last week, ARM President Graham Budd — who is also the company’s chief operating officer — said the company was evaluating its options and seeking a “swift solution” from policymakers.

Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

S2 E10: Back In The '90s Dashan Was In A Very Famous TV Show (in Chinese) This is a very special episode we think you’ll really enjoy. Instead of talking about one particular work of pop culture, we sit down with Dashan, the most famous non-Chinese comedian in China, a pop culture symbol himself.

President Xi writes letter to Chinese athletes - CGTN Chinese President Xi Jinping wrote a return letter to a group of athletes on Tuesday, urging them to make more efforts in building China into a sports power.

Energy, Environment, Science and Health

China rejects claims fracking caused Sichuan quake: state media - Reuters The comments come amid speculation in online forums that fracking had contributed to the 6.0 magnitude quake that killed 13 people and injured nearly 200 on Monday. The quake-prone Sichuan is the site of extensive fracking operations and accounts for about a third of China’s total shale gas production.

Education

State Council issues guidelines for reform of high school education - Gov.cn Senior high schools play an important role in consolidating achievements made during compulsory education, providing momentum for future development of higher education, and improving overall quality of the public. The government must promote curriculum reform within China’s senior high schools and the comprehensive reform of Gaokao (national college entrance examination) to improve education quality, the circular said.