China Geopolitical Watch – From October 8 to October 14, 2022

10/10/2022 : China calls for de-escalation of tensions in Ukraine following the bridge attack in Crimea. -Thomas TAOCHY-

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning called for de-escalation between Russia and Ukraine on Monday October the 10th. Asked at the ministry’s daily press conference on that incident, she told that the Chinese government hoped «the situation will de-escalate as soon as possible». However, the spokeswoman did not directly answer questions about Vladimir Putin’s words regarding the bridge explosion as a «terrorist act» according to the South China Morning Post. Nonetheless, the spokeswoman was quoted as saying that «China is in communication with all parties. We are willing to play a constructive role to help de-escalate the situation».

In response, the Russian government praised the neutrality of its Chinese counterpart. The Russian Consul General in Hong Kong and Macau Igor Sagitov even claims that China and Russia are in agreement on issues related to the war in Ukraine because they have «excellent personal and friendly relations».

As a reminder, an explosion took place on Saturday October the 8th leading to the partial destruction of the bridge connecting Crimea and the Russian territories and causing an escalation of tensions between the two countries.

10/11/2022 : Sino-U.S. «tech war» reaches new heights in tension – Anna Balawender –

The first half of October saw a crystallization of Sino-US tensions around the semiconductor industry: on October 11, the US trade watch added 31 Chinese semiconductor-related companies to its list of blacklisted firms. The list includes DJI, the world’s largest drone manufacturer.

 This announcement is part of the U.S. strategy to intensify national competitiveness in the field, initiated at the end of July 2022 with the passage of the «Chip and Science Act». According to the South China Morning Post, the U.S. Congress dedicated 52.7 billion U.S. dollars to the industry.

Over the weekend, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided to ban the procurement of equipment from Huawei and ZTE, which had already been targeted under the previous US president with a ban on domestic companies doing business with them. But the Biden administration is implementing an even broader range of restrictions than the Trump administration, establishing, among other things, stricter controls on exports out of the United States if they are likely to benefit Chinese companies.

The U.S. has also restricted the «ability of U.S. citizens to support the development or production» of semiconductors at Chinese semiconductor companies. In response, Chinese high-tech equipment manufacturer Naura Technology has suspended U.S. employees working on the development of its equipment. More similar decisions may be announced in the coming days.

10/13/2022 : TSMC gets one-year waiver to continue importing equipment from Nanjing -Anna BALAWENDER-

Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturer TSMC has been granted a waiver to continue operating in China for another year. The company can thus, according to Japanese media outlet Nikkei Asia, continue exporting key components to its foundry in Nanjing, in southeast China. The waiver comes as part of the Biden administration’s series of strict import restrictions on Chinese companies and those trading with China. The number of such restrictions has increased significantly since early October 2022.

According to the South China Morning Post, U.S. authorities plan to consider on a case-by-case basis the degree of restriction they will apply to companies with a subsidiary in China, but not owned by Chinese entrepreneurs – such as Samsung, Qualcomm and SK Hynix. This effort to restrict is, according to the same media outlet, «a manifestation of a broader effort to slow down China’s semiconductor industry».

10/13/2022: Xi Jinping increases pressure on top as Chinese Communist Party congress approaches

As the 20th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party begins this Sunday, the ruling party is doing everything to ensure Xi’s third term, says The Diplomat.

It has been confirmed by the Central Committee that four Communist Party cadres have been sanctioned for wrongdoing. The political message is clear, unconditional loyalty to Xi Jinping is expected, any criticism is banned. Instructions to study Xi Jinping’s Thinking are constantly recalled and without much surprise a third term of office awaits Xi Jinping.

In addition, the state media emphasize Xi Jinping’s successes, such as the improvement of air quality, China’s commitment to climate change and the fight against corruption.

Yet on October 13 protests took place in Beijing. They were against the extremely drastic anti-COVID measures that have crippled the economy. The security force quickly put an end to these protests and any mention of this event on the Internet was censored. It is not known what happened to the protesters, but it is known from the past that any criticism of Xi Jinping is severely punished.

10/14/2022 : Philippines moves closer to U.S. despite Chinese efforts to maintain ties with Manila – Anna Balawender –

The Philippine and U.S. armies finalized joint training they were conducting in Capas, Philippines, on Oct. 14, 2022, according to Associated Press. The exercise involving 3,000 soldiers from both armies showcased U.S. firepower. Reuters reports that Operation KAMANDAG, a Philippine acronym for «Cooperation of the warriors of the sea», began Oct. 3 with naval maneuvers. The same media outlet also explains that the United States has made available to the Philippines 100 million US dollars  for it finance its military modernization.

The overt rapprochement between Manila and Washington comes as China sought, according to the South China Morning Post, to ease relations that had warmed somewhat under Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines until June 2022. Among other things, China has proposed building «demonstration parks» for trade and innovation in the Philippines that would integrate the two countries’ supply chains.

This article had to be republished on October 21, 2022 due to a technical problem on our platform. However, the content of the original writings has not been modified.

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