News Analysis U.S. congresspersons are finally pushing to remove the malign influence of foreign money in the American political system. Representative Lance Gooden (R-Texas) recently introduced legislation to require think tanks to disclose foreign money received, according to a statement by Representative Jim Banks (R-Ind.), who is pushing for a Truth in Testimony resolution that requires congressional witnesses to divulge their sources of foreign funding. Those funded by the adversaries of America—including China, North Korea, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, and Cuba—would face extra scrutiny. Representative Mike Johnson (R-La.) proposes to prohibit lobbying by former members of Congress on the part of communist regimes. A group of House Republicans wants to strengthen the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Some Democrats support the measures, but quietly so far. Josh Rogin of the Washington Post, who often writes on foreign influence issues, wrote an opinion published on Nov. 23, demanding that Democrats use their …Read More
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida vowed to bolster Japan’s Self-Defense Force to cope with security threats posed by China and North Korea, renewing his pledge to consider “all options,” including acquiring enemy base strike capability. Japan’s security situation has been rapidly changing, Kishida said at his first troop review, describing the reality as more severe than ever, with North Korea’s missile threat and China’s increasingly assertive maritime activity in the region. Kishida, who took office in October, served as the top commander for the first time at a Self-Defense Force troop review held at the main army base Camp Asaka, north of Tokyo, on Nov. 27, which gathered about 800 troops for the inspection. “I will consider all options, including possessing so-called enemy base strike capability, to pursue strengthening of defense power that is necessary,” he said in an address to hundreds of Ground Self-Defense Force members. The possibility of …Read More
Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said on Friday that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) desires closer relations with the U.S. military – and then blamed the U.S. for taking “provocative” actions that make such a close relationship difficult.
Wu said China wants to be friends, but Washington insists on such aggressive policies as supporting Taiwan, challenging China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, and monitoring Chinese military movements.
“As we have said many times, China has principles for the development of relations between the two militaries, which is that China’s sovereignty, dignity and core interests cannot be violated,” Wu said.
“On the Taiwan issue in particular, China has no room for compromise and the U.S. should not have any illusions,” he added.
Wu objected to U.S. officials describing China as a “strategic threat,” accusing them of “paranoia” and “persecution.”
“People who are addicted to and chasing hegemony always feel that others are coveting their hegemony,” he sniffed. “Their purpose is simply to find excuses for their own pursuit of absolute superiority in the military field and the maintenance of global hegemony,”
In truth, China is the party raising tensions across the Pacific – everywhere from the skies of Taiwan, which have been filled with a large number of Chinese warplanes lately, to the Philippines, which is resisting aggressive Chinese attempts to seize disputed shoals by force.
Philippine Defense Minister Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday rejected China’s demands for Philippine forces to remove their unusual outpost from the disputed Second Thomas Shoal as “baseless.”
Lorenzana said China is the “trespasser” on the shoal, which has been blockaded by Chinese coast guard ships over the past few days. Philippine vessels were blocked from resupplying the small contingent of troops based on the BRP Sierra Madre, a rusty ship deliberately run aground in 1999 so the Philippine military could use it as an observation post.
“Ayungin Shoal lies within our EEZ, where we have sovereign rights. Our EEZ was awarded to us by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which China ratified. China should abide by its international obligations,” said Lorenzana, using the Philippines’ preferred name for the landmark.
The U.S. State Department said last week that America “stands with our ally, the Philippines, in the face of this escalation that directly threatens regional peace and stability.”
The State Department said China’s blockade of the Second Thomas Shoal “escalates regional tensions, infringes upon freedom of navigation in the South China Sea as guaranteed under international law and undermines the rules-based international order.”
The State Department said America would respond to any “armed attack on Philippine public vessels” under relevant defense treaties.
Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton also denounced China’s “alarming” actions on Friday, pointing to its bullying of Taiwan and relentless militarization of the South China Sea.
“We’re all familiar with the frequent claims of the Chinese government that it is committed to peace, cooperation and development. And yet we bear witness to a significant disconnect between the words and the actions. We’ve watched very closely as the Chinese government has engaged in increasingly alarming activities,” he said.
The Australian government on Thursday took note of Chinese surveillance ships operating near the Australian coast in July and August, passing through its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that in contrast with China’ incessant complaints about U.S. Navy Freedom of Navigation operations (FONOP) in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait, Australia was willing to acknowledge the Chinese ships did take illegal actions.
“It does mean that Australia has to be on its guard and Australia has to stand up to those who want to coerce us… and slap trade sanctions on things like our wine, and our government is standing up to that,” Morrison said, alluding to punitive Chinese sanctions against Australian goods.Read More
China’s latest coronavirus outbreak forced more than 20 Shanghai hospitals to “suspend out-patient and emergency medical services” on Friday “for epidemic prevention and screening,” China’s state-run Global Times reported.
“Two nucleic acid tests will be conducted within the hospitals at 24 hours intervals. If all the nucleic acid tests results are negative [for coronavirus], it is expected that relevant hospitals will resume medical services since the morning of November 27 [sic],” the Global Times relayed, citing local health officials.
Shanghai ordered the 20-plus hospitals to limit services on November 26 after the city allegedly detected just three new coronavirus cases in people affiliated with Shanghai’s medical service industry on November 25.
“The reason why so many hospitals have implemented closed-loop management is mainly due to the numerous close contacts of the three confirmed cases, involving workplaces, living places, cultural activities as well as various means of transportation,” Lu Taohong, deputy director of the Shanghai Health Commission, told reporters on Friday.
China’s federal government coined the term “closed-loop management” at the start of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic. State health officials use the term to describe a site they have forcibly quarantined after a coronavirus outbreak or a facility in which they hope to prevent viral transmission. All staff and personnel connected to a site under “closed-loop management” must be “strictly confined to designated areas” for the duration of the quarantine period, according to WhatsonWeibo.com. If state authorities have set up a “closed-loop management system” at a site to prevent viral transmission, then the facility is treated as a “biosecure bubble” with movement in and out of the locale strictly monitored.
The Global Times detailed on November 26 how some of Shanghai’s hospitals have dealt with “closed-loop management” protocol. The descriptions suggested people working or being treated at such hospitals since November 25 have not been allowed to leave the medical centers.
“Convenience stores in the hospitals have stocked up on supplies to ensure the daily needs of the staff under closed-loop management. Notably, a baby girl was born on Friday morning, the first baby to be born under closed-loop management in Ruijin hospital,” the newspaper revealed.
“Along with the closure of hospitals, some transportation has been impacted,” the Global Times reported. “As of 10 am Friday, over 30 percent of flights at Shanghai Pudong International Airport were canceled, according to aviation intelligence platform VariFlight.”
China’s latest coronavirus epidemic began on October 17 and soon spread nationwide. The outbreak began after a Shanghai-based tour group traveled to China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous region in early-to-mid October where some of the group’s members allegedly contracted coronavirus, according to an official narrative promoted by China’s ruling Communist Party. Beijing continues to claim that unspecified foreign sources in Mongolia transmitted coronavirus to the Shanghai tour group while they visited the Inner Mongolia-China port town of Ejin Banner in October, though state officials have yet to provide evidence for the allegation.Read More