Wang Yi in DC; More videos of US-China military close encounters; PRC vetoes UN resolution; Patriotic education law
Summary of today’s top items:
Wang Yi arrives in DC - Expectations should be high that Xi is coming to the US next month but low that Wang’s visit or a Xi-Biden meeting will achieve any material breakthroughs in the relationship, but even a tactical stabilization would be seen by many as positive. But an unexpected crisis can intervene, as we learned with the balloon. Read on to items 2 and 3.
PRC and US videos of intercepts in the air and on the sea - Both sides appear to be stepping up video disclosures of close encounters. The US Pacific Command released a video of a J-11 flying within 10 feet of a B-52 at night on October 24. I have embedded the brief video. The PLA at a press conference released a video of what it says were unsafe encounters caused by US navy vessels. I have also embedded that video. The recent aerial encounter especially looks extremely dangerous.
Philippines-China-US - Perhaps the US can work with Wang Yi on his visit to reduce tensions over Second Thomas Shoal and facilitate the Philippines’ resupply? Nice to think that could happen, would not bet on it. This has all the makings of crisis, with little hope of it being delayed indefinitely given the state of the grounded Sierra Madre.
Middle East crisis - The PRC vetoed a draft UN resolution proposed by the US because, as Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun said in his explanation, “the draft resolution attempts to establish a new narrative on the Palestinian question, ignoring the fact that the Palestinian territory has been occupied for a long time and evading the fundamental issue of independent statehood for the Palestinian people. It is worth being vigilant that the draft departs from the spirit of previous UN resolutions and embeds the dangerous logic of clash of civilizations and the justification of war and use of force”. A People’s Daily commentary Thursday said that “only by truly implementing the "two-state solution" can the Israeli-Palestinian conflict be resolved” and that the “internationally recognized "two-state solution" refers to the establishment of an independent and sovereign State of Palestine, with its borders based on those of 1967 and East Jerusalem as its capital”.
Patriotic education law - An explainer from an NPC official gives more insight into what the patriotic education law that goes into effect January 1 includes. It is interesting that the explainer explicitly ties it to the most recent variant of Xi Thought - “The Patriotic Education Law, implementing Xi Jinping Thought on Culture, clearly stipulates that patriotic education should adhere to inheriting and developing excellent traditional Chinese culture, promote the construction of socialist culture with Chinese characteristics, strengthen cultural confidence, and build a modern civilization of the Chinese nation”.
Greg Allen on the updated chip controls and YMTC makes a breakthrough - Ben Thompson at Stratechery has another excellent interview with Greg Allen about the updated chip controls. I have included an excerpt but the whole interview is worth a read. TechInsights reports that US-blacklisted YMTC has developed the world's most advanced 3D NAND memory chip.
Thanks for reading.
1. Wang Yi arrives in DC
The arrival of China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Washington on Thursday will continue that trajectory. The top diplomat will meet with President Joe Biden during his trip, as he smooths the path for an anticipated leaders’ meeting with Xi next month in California.
“We want to know that the United States values Sino-U. S. relations as much as China does,” said Qiu Huafei, professor of international relations at Tongji University in Shanghai who studies China-U.S. relations. “It cannot be just competition without cooperation.”..
“With the U.S. election next year, resistance to improving Sino-U. S. relations will become stronger. There will be few opportunities to improve Sino-U. S. relations next year, so things must be done this year,” said Zhao Minghao, professor at Fudan University’s Center for American Studies.
Xi's 20 character formulation for US-China relations - 基础在民间, 希望在人民 未来在青年, 活力在地方 The foundation lies among the people, the hope is in the people, the future lies in the youth, and the vitality lies in sub-national areas" is getting top billing across news sites Thursday
Whether Newsom’s visit will help advance the broader climate agenda between the U.S. and China isn’t yet clear.
But it will likely help pave the way for Xi to meet with Biden at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco next month.
Comment: Newsom’s PR team should be happy with this Politico piece...but his visit is irrelevant to the PRC’s decision on whether or not Xi comes to SF for APEC
Every indication suggests Xi’s view of U.S. intentions toward China remains quite dim. For tactical reasons, though, Xi would prefer to project capacity to stabilize relations. Particularly when Xi faces a confidence deficit inside China for overseeing a softening economy and increasingly strained foreign relations, the image of Xi being accorded more than a customary meeting with Biden will hold added value for him. It will give Beijing an opportunity to show a domestic audience that Xi remains capable of recalibrating relations with the United States, a step that many in Beijing view as key for China’s ability to manage relations with U.S. allies in Asia, Europe, and elsewhere...
Some members of Congress, presidential hopefuls, and commentators can be expected to argue that the United States is being played by China — caught in an engagement trap of substituting meetings for action to protect Americans against Chinese predation. This analysis will be loud and wrong.
The Democratic Progressive Party authorities in Taiwan are pushing the island towards a "dangerous situation of war and peril," the Chinese Defense Ministry said on Thursday.
The ministry spokesperson Wu Qian made the remarks in response to media reports saying that the US government intends to seek substantial military assistance for Taiwan from Congress, while the DPP authorities have recently used reserve funds to support joint training with the US.
The phrase "another shooting in the US" may no longer be considered "news" to many people today, which is a tragic reflection of the state of American politics and society. According to incomplete statistics, over 35,000 Americans have died from gun violence this year alone. Even if the US had participated in a regional war, it is unimaginable that such a high number of annual casualties would happen. While the US constantly talks about external threats and seeks out imaginary enemies, every innocent life lost to a shooting serves as a warning, reminding the country of its true threats. The disregard for this warning is a great disservice to those innocent lives.
2. PRC and US videos of intercepts in the air and on the sea
On Oct. 24, 2023, a People’s Republic of China J-11 pilot executed an unsafe intercept of a U.S. Air Force B-52 aircraft, which was lawfully conducting routine operations over the South China Sea in international airspace. During the night time intercept, the PRC pilot flew in an unsafe and unprofessional manner, demonstrated poor airmanship by closing with uncontrolled excessive speed, flying below, in front of, and within 10 feet of the B-52, putting both aircraft in danger of collision. We are concerned this pilot was unaware of how close he came to causing a collision.
The PRC intercept was conducted at night, with limited visibility, in a manner contrary to international air safety rules and norms. Military aircraft, when intentionally approaching another, shall operate with professional airmanship and give due regard for the safety of other aircraft.
This video proves that it is the US side that is making provocations, taking risks and muddling the water. We have much similar video evidence, but I won't show them today because of time constraints. What I'm emphasizing here is to pay close attention to where things are happening. We all know that all the close encounters between Chinese and US aircraft and warships were all in the waters and airspace around China, not in the Gulf of Mexico or on the West Coast of America. It was the US side that came to China's doorstep to provoke and stir up troubles. How is the Chinese military supposed to intercept the US aircraft and warships if they don't come? That is an impossible task for the US to endanger China's national security while making unfettered provocations. The Chinese military is always on high alert and will take all necessary measures to resolutely defend China's national sovereignty, security, and maritime rights and interests.
Chinese version of the explanation of the video - 国防部披露美舰侵权挑衅视频证据 - 中华人民共和国国防部