In the same week China landed a lunar probe on the moon and Canada said that 13 of its citizens have been detained in China, Chinese President Xi Jinping called on Taiwan to follow the “one country, two systems” model for unification. The president said that “Taiwanese independence should not be tolerated” and urged the start of democratic consultations between the two countries. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, however, said Taiwan will never accept the model, even as Mr. Xi proposed two options: First, military force; or second, the aforementioned “one country, two systems” model.
Later in the week, China’s landing of a lunar probe marked “the world’s first expedition to a lunar region that never faces the Earth”. And in Canada, following the arrest of the chief financial officer of Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, the government said that 13 of its citizens have since been detained in China. At least eight of the 13 have been released. Continue reading
China’s governing elites gathered in Beijing for the “Two Sessions” meetings, to set the economic and social agendas for the country, and to emphasise importance of reform. Premier Li Keqiang announced by economic growth range of 6.5 to seven per cent for this year, while President Xi Jinping outlined economic priorities in four areas: cut excess capacity, curb financial risks and strengthen financial regulation, cool the property markets, and revive the manufacturing sector. But as these domestic issues were discussed, geopolitical challenges emerged. In North Korea – also in the middle of a diplomatic spat with Malaysia – Foreign Minister Wang Yi called for a suspension of missile and nuclear technology tests, after the country test-launched four missiles. In South Korea, China raised its objections to the installation of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System, or Thaad, by the United States, and a spokesman said China would “take the necessary steps to safeguard our own security interests”. Continue reading
Billionaire real estate developer and mogul Donald Trump has just been sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, as the 44th – President Barack Obama – took his leave. With 52 per cent of Americans disapproving his transition performance, unusual for a President-elect, Mr. Trump starts with low approval ratings, while Mr. Obama’s approval has hit 60 per cent, “his highest approval rating since 2009”. Along this tangent, data journalism site “FiveThirtyEight” noted that “presidential approval ratings do a reasonably good job of suggesting where presidents rank in the longer term”. And while Mr. Obama’s presidential legacy will be debated for years and decades to come, “FiveThirtyEight” also evaluated public opinion on 32 big issues, finding in general that even though the United States has become more progressive, on abortion and on same-sex marriage in particular, there has been growing dissatisfaction with foreign policy. Continue reading