After 47 Years, Is the US “Revoking” the Shanghai Communique?


                  by David Parmer / Tokyo

               A Milestone Series of Agreements

This year marks the 47th anniversary of the monumental Shanghai Communiqué issued by the United States and the People’s Republic of China on February 28, 1972. The document, hammered out by China’s Premier Zhou Enlai and US President Richard M. Nixon and their respective teams has stood for just under half a century as the bedrock for US-China relations, and for a clear and un-ambiguous understanding of the status of Taiwan.

There were, in fact two more communiqués issued by the two parties that form the understanding and intent of China and the United States regarding their interests in the Asia-Pacific region. The second communiqué was issued on January 1, 1979 and dealt with the recognition by the United States of the fact that the PRC was the legal government of China and that there is one China and Taiwan is part of that China. At this time the PRC issued a Message To Compatriots in Taiwan calling for peaceful reunification with the mainland. (The 40th anniversary of the sending of this message was noted in a speech this year by President Xi Jinping who reiterated its message.) The third joint communiqué as issued on August 17, 1982 dealt with arms sales to Taiwan, and while the issue was not fully resolved, the US promised to decrease these sales.

                US Turning Back on Agreements?

Recent actions under the current US Trump administration seem to suggest that the US is turning back on the spirit, if not the letter of the Shanghai Communiqué and the two subsequent communiqués.

The clearest sign of a change in attitude and policy by the US government was the passage and implementation of the Taiwan Travel Act on March 17, 2018. This document states that there have not been enough high-level communications between Taiwan and the US. The remedy is to encourage high-level officials of both the US and Taiwan to visit the other.

Another strong indication of a shift in US policy was the passage and signing, on December 31, 2018, of a bill entitled the Asian Reassurance Initiative Act, which reiterates in detail the US Indo-Pacific strategy and authorizes US$1.5 billion to make the Indo-Pacific strategy a reality. Section 209 of this act specifically deals with Taiwan and stipulates that the US will continue to supply arms to Taiwan to meet “existing and likely future threats from the People’s Republic of China…” This, of course goes against, at least in sprit if not in act, to phase out arms sales to Taiwan as agreed to in the Third Communiqué on August 17, 1982.

Add this to the US$256 upgrade of the American Institute in Taiwan, which Reuters describes as “a de-facto embassy” and you have a pattern where actions seem to speak louder than words.

It is not out of the question for the PRC to look at these actions as a unilateral rolling back of the Shanghai Communiqué and subsequent communiqués by conducting a one-sided re-negotiation and making a U-Turn that negates the “One China Policy.”

What is your opinion on this matter? Please log in and let us know.

Photo: China Daily

The Speech Wars – January 2019.

                                 by David Parmer / Tokyo

Both China’s President Xi Jinping and Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen delivered New Years addresses on January 1, 2019. Mr. Xi’s speech was fairly standard; he talked about achievements in the past year and plans for the coming year about China’s achievements in both its economy and its space program and the coming 70th anniversary of the PRC. 

President Tsai’s New Year’s Speech

Tsai Ing-wen’s New Years Day speech recapped 2018, much as Xi Jinping’s speech did. She covered the recent Taiwan elections and said that it most surely was not a referendum on Taiwan sovereignty.

She said cross-strait relations should be conducted in a rational manner. She also noted that Taiwan is strongly affected by the US-China trade friction and is doing what is necessary to cope with this situation. She also proposed four “musts” for equitable cross-strait relations. She said that China must face the reality of the Republic of China, and that Taiwan is a democratic country. President Tsai closed her speech by telling her compatriots that Taiwanese must:

  • Fight for our livelihood
  • Protect our democracy
  • Safeguard our sovereignty

President Xi’s Speech on The 40th Anniversary of the Message to Compatriots in Taiwan ( Jan.2, 2019)

President Xi Jinping gave another speech the following day, January 2, 2019 at the Great hall of The People in Beijing. The occasion was the 40th anniversary of issuing the Message To Compatriots in Taiwan, which was sent by The Standing Committee of The People’s Congress on Jan 1, 1979.

The message basically laid out the blueprint for cross-strait relations, reiterated the one-China policy, called for direct links in mail, transport and trade and carry on Chinese culture and promote cross-strait talks. There were several unambiguous take-aways from Xi’s speech including:

  • China must, and will be reunited
  • There is no room for separatist activities
  • There will be no use of force except against separatists and foreign elements
  • The Taiwan question is an internal Chinese question–a family affair and is to be settled by Chinese
  • Reunification is an historical trend and must be accomplished
  • All parties should send representatives to discuss cross strait-relations and the future of the nation

President Tsai Ing-wen’s Rebuttal to Mr. Xi’s Jan. 2 Speech

On the same day, January 2, Taiwan’s President Tsai delivered a strong rebuttal to Mr. Xi’s comments on the 1979 Message to Compatriots. In her “rebuttal” before the foreign press, President Tsai:

  • Called on the international community to support Taiwan
  • Stated that the concept of “one country, two systems” was unacceptable
  • Urged China to stop bullying Taiwan
  • Stated: “We have never accepted the 1992 Consensus.”
  • Again reiterated that China must recognize the existence of the Republic of China (Taiwan)
  • Stated that all contacts must be government-to-government and not party-to-party as Mr. Xi suggested
  • The results of the 9-in-1 election did not mean the abandonment of Taiwan’s national sovereignty

The first two days of January 2019 seemed to sum up the positions of both Taiwan and the PRC and set the tone for the year to come.It is clear that the PRC is adamant about Taiwan’s re-integration into the Motherland, and Taiwan is equally adamant that this will happen.

How things will move forward is anybody’s guess, and the pressure is rising–it may not be at the boiling point yet, but there seems no chance for cooling off, at least not in 2019. Please let us know your thoughts on Taiwan and the PRC.


Photo: Office of the President Taiwan

Full Text of President Tsai’s “rebuttal” to Xi Jinping

Highlights of  President Xi’s speech on Xinhua

UK Presents Rational Approach to Iran at UN.

                                  by David Parmer / Tokyo

On December 12 at the United Nations in a speech titled Participating in the JCPoA and ending Iran’s destabilising regional behavior, UK Permanent Representative to the UN  Karen Pierce laid out the UK’s current position on the Iran question.

Ambassador Pierce listed the objectives of the UK government with regard to Iran:

  • Upholding the global no-proliferation regime and preventing Iran from achieving a nuclear capability
  • Constraining Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region
  • Encouraging Iran to normalize its economic and diplomatic relations

The ambassador then explained that according to the UN report dated 12 November 2018, Iran is in full compliance with the terms of the JCPoA, and for that reason the UK, France and Germany continue to work toward Iran getting the benefits of honoring the JCPoA. The Europeans have created a European Special Purpose Vehicle to enable Iran to do this.

The second half of Ambassador Pierce’s speech was a denunciation of Iran’s missile program in violation of UN Resolution 2231,  as well a denunciation of its destabilizing activities in the region to include its involvement in Syria and Yemen.

Finally, the UK urged Iran to take its place in the world community and reap the benefits of that action, and at the same time stop its destabilizing activities and military adventures. In providing encouragement for this to happen, the UK continues to support the JCPoA in hopes of Iran choosing a different future for itself.

The UK position outlined by Ambassador Pierce is really the basis for the original 2015 “Iran nuclear deal.” The United States has withdrawn from the agreement, damaging its credibility on the world stage and threatening to further destabilize the region by pushing Iran toward the very nuclearization the JCPoA was set up to stop.

The UK position is both rational and intelligent; it supports Iran’s integration into the wider world community, but at the same time strongly condemns its regional adventurism. This is the exact opposite of the Trump administration’s policy which employs severe punitive measures in the form of sanctions to get Iran to re-negotiate the agreement and to cease its regional adventurism. As we have observed previously, Iran, like Cuba will bend but not break under the weight of sanctions, which are ultimately counterproductive, and only create great hardship for the common people of Iran.

Britain has taken a courageous, nuanced, and firm stand regarding Iran. It is a pity that its oldest ally, the United States, under its present leadership cannot see the way to do the same.

Please let us know your thoughts on this issue.

Included below is the full text of Ambassador Pierce’s speech delivered at the United Nations on 12 December 2018.

Full Text of Speech by UK Ambassador Karen Pierce, 12 December 2018

Photo: United Kingdom Mission to the United Nations via twitter.


Participating in the JCPoA and ending Iran’s destabilising regional behaviour

Thank you very much indeed Mr President. Thank you for scheduling this debate. And we’re very grateful to Secretary Pompeo for taking the time to be here today.

This debate comes at a very important moment. The world is an unpredictable place right now and the developments we’re going to discuss today risk making it more so. I’d also like to join others in thanking the Under-Secretary-General and in thanking the Dutch Representative and his team for all the work they have done on 2231.

Today’s agenda Mr President, is the implementation of that resolution. That resolution was an endorsement of the JCPoA but throughout the negotiations and at the adoption of the resolution, we were clear that the Council was not only addressing nuclear issues but continuing to impose binding restriction to curb Iran’s ballistic missile and proliferation activity because it threatens the region and beyond.

I just want to stress Mr President, the point about the ballistic missile proliferation is not solely about nuclear missiles, notwithstanding that there is a link with nuclear capability. Any conventional payload would cause extensive harm to civilians and infrastructure and Member States in the region Mr President, will naturally be deeply concerned about being confronted by such a threat from Iran. In itself it heightens instability in the region and it heightens the risk of miscalculation. And as Secretary Pompeo said the international community has been trying to curb this activity since at least 2006.

Mr President if I may, I’d like to set out the policy of my government towards Iran. We are motivated by three objectives. Firstly and most critically, to uphold the global non-proliferation regime and prevent Iran achieving a nuclear capability that would threaten the Middle East region and Europe beyond it. Secondly, to constrain Iran’s destabilising actions in the region. And thirdly, to encourage Iran to normalise its economic and diplomatic relations with the region and the West and assume its rightful role as a responsible power, constructively engaged.

The United Kingdom participated in negotiations on a nuclear deal with Iran to secure the first of those objectives. And we believe the JCPoA has done so. It remains critical for our national security and we believe for the shared security of our partners and allies. And I agree with what the French ambassador said on the way forward. We were also clear that the nuclear deal contained elements designed to encourage Iran on a path to normalcy in its trade and diplomatic relations with the outside world.

The Secretary-General’s report records Iran continues to comply with its nuclear related obligations and the IAEA confirm this in their report of 12 November. We expect this commitment to continue and we look to Iran to continue to abide by its obligations under the deal in full. So our first objective Mr President continues to be met and for this reason the United Kingdom, together with France and Germany, have been working to ensure that Iran continues to receive the economic benefits from sanctions relief agreed as part of the nuclear deal.

To this end, in September we announced the creation of a European Special Purpose Vehicle to help facilitate this. This work continues and we hope to announce further progress soon.

There remains however much work to do towards the second objective: the ending of Iran’s destabilising regional behaviour.

And no one should be in any doubt Mr President about the strength of our concern and the strength of our commitment to tackle that and the fact that compliance with the JCPoA – important as it is – for all the reasons the French Ambassador set out it is not a licence to engage in destabilising behaviour elsewhere, whether or not that has a nuclear link.

Iran cannot, Mr President, expect to improve its relations with the rest of the world or ensure its economic prosperity and security while pursuing its current path. Business will not invest and public finances should be spent at home and not diverted to adventurism abroad. The briefing given by the Under-Secretary-General today has been very clear and the findings in the Secretary-General’s report should continue to trouble this Council. As the report notes, the United Kingdom along with our E3 partners raised our concerns over recent Iranian ballistic missile launches into Syria in a letter on 20 November. Since then as the Security Council discussed on 4 December Iran has test fired a medium range ballistic missile with a capability falling under MTCR Category 1. This latest launch like those referenced in the E3 letter is inconsistent with Security Council Resolution 2231.

Now Mr President, we heard a number of arguments when we met before to discuss this issue in consultations. I’m sure we’ll hear many of those arguments again today so I’d like to address them briefly if I may. Some colleagues have made the point that the language in Resolution 2231, OP7 and Annex B Paragraph 3 are not binding. The second plank of that argument is that the Council should therefore not concern itself with Iran’s behaviour because we argue it’s inconsistent with it.

Mr President, we believe that’s an extraordinary but it’s also a flawed argument for two reasons. Leaving aside the question of whether the language is legally binding or not, this Council has the power to make recommendations to Member States with a view to resolving any matter that threatens the maintenance of international peace and security. It is clear that these recommendations should be taken seriously by Member States rather than openly flouted. The call upon Iran to comply with the request not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons has a clear purpose and that purpose Mr. President, is to reduce international and regional tension. In defying the Council’s clearly expressed view Iran is, to say the least, not contributing to the stability of the region. Rather she is ignoring the expressed wishes of this Council.

Tendentious arguments which seek to diminish the Council’s voice on this serve only to undermine the Council’s prerogative and authority and to encourage other States to disregard the resolutions of the Security Council. We should all Mr. President be deeply concerned by such irresponsible behaviour. Another fallacious argument which I’m sure we’ll hear today is that the MTCR is irrelevant, that it is only an arms export regime. Mr President, the MTCR is itself an important part of international efforts against proliferation. MTCR Category 1 which describes a platform capable of delivering first generation nuclear weapon commonly defined as around 500 kilograms minimum to a distance of 300 kilometres. So it matters that Iran test fired a ballistic missile with a capability that falls under MTCR Category 1. These missiles are not harmless tools of self-defence; they are a source of concern and they are included in this resolution because if Iran were to develop a nuclear weapon these missiles would be its delivery vehicle. They therefore not only threaten the region but Europe and potentially others beyond. Testing them is provocative and the Council should respond.

Therefore Mr President, let me say that we demand Iran ceased activity that defies Resolution 2231. We demand that Iran and all Member States fully comply with the resolutions prohibiting the proliferation of missile technology to and from Iran – on which by the way there is no doubt that these are indeed legally binding.

And our second objective, we note with deep regret but also concern that throughout the region Iran continues to play a negative role, supporting non-state actors that undermine the stability of its neighbours.

On Iran and Syria, Iran has been the key supporter of Bashar al-Assad’s murderous seven-year campaign. Militias funded and controlled by Iran have been integral to Assad’s military campaign to retake opposition-held territory, committing gross abuses of human rights in the process. Iran has proactively shipped weapons systems into Syria, inflaming tensions with its neighbours as well as violating the provisions of Resolution 2231.

For example Mr President, in just the past week, Israel has had to take action to prevent Iranian-backed Hezbollah militants tunneling under its borders. These Hezbollah activities are a clear violation of Security Council Resolution 1701 and they are further evidence of Iran’s destabilizing activity. The United Kingdom condemns the existence of these tunnels. They threaten Israel and Lebanon. The violation of Israeli sovereignty is deeply concerning and moreover, Mr President it takes Iran’s destabilising activity literally to new depths.

In Yemen we are watching the ongoing talks in Stockholm carefully and we welcome the attendance of the Houthi delegation. And I accept Mr President, it’s important to note that Iran has expressed its strong support for the talks in Sweden. But the situation in Yemen remains of serious concern and the Secretary-General reports today includes information about ballistic missiles fired at Saudi Arabia by the Houthis as well as anti-tank and surface-to-air missiles recovered in Yemen. These weapons have characteristics and components consistent with those known to be manufactured in Iran.

Mr President, I have had in the course of my recent work I have been to Tehran to discuss many of these issues with the Iranian leadership and each time I’ve been clear that this habit of testing weapons that threaten her neighbours defy the Council by exporting weapons and militias around the regions makes it very difficult to see how Iran can play a constructive role in her region. And it means that she has no legitimacy when complaining when this Council puts such behaviour on its agenda.

Mr President I have long said that Iran has legitimate security interests in the region; we recognise that. But the way Iran goes about pursuing those interests is leading to increasing destabilisation and is simply not legitimate in the modern world. A different approach is available to Iran that concentrates on reintegration into the economic community of the world and into the world of diplomatic engagement. We support Iran in seeking to benefit from economic development. We won’t have to fulfil her undoubted potential as a vibrant economy and an important power.

But these are not unconditional goals Mr President; Iran can never achieve these objectives without a vital change in approach on the issues I’ve mentioned here today. Iran needs to take steps to address the concerns of this Council seriously and to recognise that its expeditionary and expansionist security doctrine will only provoke more challenge and lead to greater instability within the region. This is why Mr President, the United Kingdom together with our European partners will continue to participate in the JCPoA. We will continue to work with everyone to convince Iran to take a radically different approach to the region and help secure for herself a more prosperous future.

Thank you Mr President.

Published 12 December 2018

Taiwan DPP Suffers Stunning “Midterms” Loss.

                                    by David Parmer / Tokyo

Taiwan voters delivered a stunning defeat to the island’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party on November 24. The local elections could be considered much like the US midterm elections, that is, a referendum on the ruling party; in the US the Republicans and in Taiwan the DPP.

According to a Channel News Asia report, the KMT opposition party won 15 of 22 local seats, including those in the traditional DPP strongholds of Kaohsiung and Taichung.

As a result of the defeat Tsai Ing-wen resigned as DPP party chair but will remain president of Taiwan for another two years. Analysts say the turnaround was a result of voter displeasure with Tsai’s government performance particularly on domestic reforms and relations with the PRC.

 In addition to electing KMT candidates, voters also rejected same-sex marriage and changing Taiwan’s designated Olympics name of Chinese Taipei. This too, in addition to the overall results, was taken as a positive sign by the Beijing government.

What is very interesting about these election results is how they reveal the “temperature tolerance” of the Taiwan electorate. If the political temperature gets too “warm” vis-a-vis Beijing the voters don’t like it. They voted out the KMT in 2016 largely on the perception that the government was getting too close to Beijing.  However, it also seems that if the political temperature becomes too “cool” i.e. distance from Beijing becomes too great, they adjust the temperature by voting in the opposition as we have just seen on Nov.24, 2018.

The question now is how will President Tsai govern for the next two years in the light of this stinging defeat by the KMT? Another question is how this will affect Taiwan’s increasingly warming relations with the United States and the Trump administration.

With the resurgence of the KMT it is likely that we will also see the re-emergence of former president Ma Ying-jeou and the possibility that he will again run for office in 2020.

In the short term will relations with Beijing improve? Will Tsai Ing-wen be unable to govern effectively? What will happen to Taiwan-American relations?

Please let us know your thoughts on these questions


Photo: CSIS via flickr

Iran Oil Exports–VS–New American Sanctions.

                  by David Parmer / Tokyo

US Sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran will “snap back” on November 5, 2018. The ailing Iran economy is expected to be heavily impacted, and Iranians are already protesting the move. US President Donald Trump used his executive powers to pull the US out of the JCPOA or “Iran nuclear deal” because he considered it a bad deal, and that the funds released by the lifting of sanctions would be used to fund Iran’s military activity in the region. The administration also felt that the deal itself was really not “comprehensive” because it did not include Iran’s missile development program although that program was not part of the 2015 agreement.

The other parties to the JCPOA including the EU, UK, France, Germany, Russia, and China have been working to try to save the deal despite the withdrawal of the United States. This has generally been tough going since global businesses mainly use US dollars and many European companies fear sanctions against themselves and their US operations. This has caused many countries to pull out of agreements that were just getting going after the lifting of sanctions in 2015.

In an effort to save the JCPOA, the Europeans are in a process of setting up a Special Purpose Vehicle to allow their companies to continue to trade with Iran. This entity would not be a bank, and would not use US dollars. Another idea is to use barter for goods, a method that will be employed in “humanitarian” exceptions to the sanctions. Another work-around would be to use currencies other than US dollars for trade.

In an opinion piece in the Financial Times published on Nov. 4, 2018, US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin used strong language to warn those who would try to dodge or subvert sanctions:

We will not tolerate banks companies or other entities that seek to circumvent our sanctions. We will view them as complicit in funding Iran’s malign ambitions.”

The US is clearly waging economic warfare on the Islamic Republic. The rationale is that this will bring about:

  • Some kind of regime change due to popular uprising
  •  Cessation of military actions in Iran’s neighborhood
  • A change in Iran’s nuclear and missile programs
  •  A return by Iran to the negotiating table to discuss the above

It does not take a lot of forethought to see that this will not happen. Iran has survived sanctions before, and just as in the case of US sanctions on Cuba, the sanctions only rally the people to the side of the government, and the country survives in an atmosphere of depravation and self-reliance.

Already the sanctions are somewhat porous in that the US will give 8 countries waivers to continue to import Iranian oil for the short term.

Finally, many consider that US actions in pulling out and reposing sanctions has seriously damaged US credibility and prestige. In short: the US cannot be trusted to honor its word given in an internationally sanction treaty.

Time will tell what happens with Iran-US relations, and with US-European relations that appear to be rapidly cooling. Please let us know your thoughts on this issue.

Photo:  Kharg Island by alisamii via flickr

US Vice-President Has Strong Words For China.

                                    by David Parmer / Tokyo

“President Trump’s leadership is working; and China wants a different American President.” (US Vice-President Mike Pence, Oct. 4, 2018)

On October 4, 2018 US Vice President Mike Pence made a speech before the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. In a 40-minute presentation, Mr. Pence laid out the Trump administration’s perception of US-China relations.

The speech is a list of complaints about and accusations against Chinese policy both domestically and internationally, but particularly as with regard to the United States. The underlying theme in Pence’s speech is the oft-repeated underlying theme of Trump’s view on international politics, treaties and agreements: that the United States is being treated unfairly by allies and rivals alike, and it is time for this to stop. Vice-President Pence also dragged out the “China is a currency manipulator” theme which has been around in Trumpworld since before the 2016 election.

Mr. Pence’s speech was not ill-informed on historical matters; clearly his “China experts” have had their input into the speech. This, however, is just decoration for the Trumpian policy agenda and worldview that it puts forth in every paragraph.

China did not react well to Mr. Pence’s speech. On October 5, one day after the speech the spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hua Chunying, made a forceful comeback, saying in part:

“The relevant speech made unwarranted accusations against China’s domestic and foreign policies and slandered China by claiming that China meddles in US internal affairs and elections. This is nothing but speaking on hearsay evidence, confusing right and wrong and creating something out of thin air. The Chinese side is firmly opposed to it.”

 It is worth taking the time  (about 12 minutes) to read Mr. Pence’s speech for yourself. We include it here in its entirity. Please let us know what you think about the points covered in the speech.


Remarks by Vice President Pence on the Administration’s Policy Toward China

 October 4, 2018

The Hudson Institute

Washington, D.C.

11:07 A.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Ken, for that kind introduction. To the Members of the Board of Trustees, to Dr. Michael Pillsbury, to our distinguished guests, and to all of you who, true to your mission in this place, “think about the future in unconventional ways” –- it is an honor to be back at the Hudson Institute.

For more than a half a century, this Institute has dedicated itself to “advancing global security, prosperity, and freedom.” And while Hudson’s hometowns have changed over the years, one thing has been constant: You have always advanced that vital truth, that American leadership lights the way.

And today, speaking of leadership, allow me to begin by bringing greetings from a great champion of American leadership at home and abroad –- I bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)

From early in this administration, President Trump has made our relationship with China and President Xi a priority. On April 6th of last year, President Trump welcomed President Xi to Mar-a-Lago. On November 8th of last year, President Trump traveled to Beijing, where China’s leader welcomed him warmly.

Over the course of the past two years, our President has forged a strong personal relationship with the President of the People’s Republic of China, and they’ve worked closely on issues of common interest, most importantly the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

But I come before you today because the American people deserve to know that, as we speak, Beijing is employing a whole-of-government approach, using political, economic, and military tools, as well as propaganda, to advance its influence and benefit its interests in the United States.

China is also applying this power in more proactive ways than ever before, to exert influence and interfere in the domestic policy and politics of this country.

Under President Trump’s leadership, the United States has taken decisive action to respond to China with American action, applying the principles and the policies long advocated in these halls.

In our National Security Strategy that the President Trump released last December, he described a new era of “great power competition.” Foreign nations have begun to, as we wrote, “reassert their influence regionally and globally,” and they are “contesting [America’s] geopolitical advantages and trying [in essence] to change the international order in their favor.”

In this strategy, President Trump made clear that the United States of America has adopted a new approach to China. We seek a relationship grounded in fairness, reciprocity, and respect for sovereignty, and we have taken strong and swift action to achieve that goal.

As the President said last year on his visit to China, in his words, “we have an opportunity to strengthen the relationship between our two countries and improve the lives of our citizens.” Our vision of the future is built on the best parts of our past, when America and China reached out to one another in a spirit of openness and friendship.

When our young nation went searching in the wake of the Revolutionary War for new markets for our exports, the Chinese people welcomed American traders laden with ginseng and fur.

When China suffered through indignities and exploitations during her so-called “Century of Humiliation,” America refused to join in, and advocated the “Open Door” policy, so that we could have freer trade with China, and preserve their sovereignty.

When American missionaries brought the good news to China’s shores, they were moved by the rich culture of an ancient and vibrant people. And not only did they spread their faith, but those same missionaries founded some of China’s first and finest universities.

When the Second World War arose, we stood together as allies in the fight against imperialism. And in that war’s aftermath, America ensured that China became a charter member of the United Nations, and a great shaper of the post-war world.

But soon after it took power in 1949, the Chinese Communist Party began to pursue authoritarian expansionism. It is remarkable to think that only five years after our nations had fought together, we fought each other in the mountains and valleys of the Korean Peninsula. My own father saw combat on that frontier of freedom.

But not even the brutal Korean War could diminish our mutual desire to restore the ties that for so long had bound our peoples together. China’s estrangement from the United States ended in 1972, and, soon after, we re-established diplomatic relations and began to open our economies to one another, and American universities began training a new generation of Chinese engineers, business leaders, scholars, and officials.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, we assumed that a free China was inevitable. Heady with optimism at the turn of the 21st Century, America agreed to give Beijing open access to our economy, and we brought China into the World Trade Organization.

Previous administrations made this choice in the hope that freedom in China would expand in all of its forms -– not just economically, but politically, with a newfound respect for classical liberal principles, private property, personal liberty, religious freedom — the entire family of human rights. But that hope has gone unfulfilled.

The dream of freedom remains distant for the Chinese people. And while Beijing still pays lip service to “reform and opening,” Deng Xiaoping’s famous policy now rings hollow.

Over the past 17 years, China’s GDP has grown nine-fold; it’s become the second-largest economy in the world. Much of this success was driven by American investment in China. And the Chinese Communist Party has also used an arsenal of policies inconsistent with free and fair trade, including tariffs, quotas, currency manipulation, forced technology transfer, intellectual property theft, and industrial subsidies that are handed out like candy to foreign investment. These policies have built Beijing’s manufacturing base, at the expense of its competitors -– especially the United States of America.

China’s actions have contributed to a trade deficit with the United States that last year ran to $375 billion –- nearly half of our global trade deficit. As President Trump said just this week, in his words, “We rebuilt China” over the last 25 years.

Now, through the “Made in China 2025” plan, the Communist Party has set its sights on controlling 90 percent of the world’s most advanced industries, including robotics, biotechnology, and artificial intelligence. To win the commanding heights of the 21st century economy, Beijing has directed its bureaucrats and businesses to obtain American intellectual property –- the foundation of our economic leadership -– by any means necessary.

Beijing now requires many American businesses to hand over their trade secrets as the cost of doing business in China. It also coordinates and sponsors the acquisition of American firms to gain ownership of their creations. Worst of all, Chinese security agencies have masterminded the wholesale theft of American technology –- including cutting-edge military blueprints. And using that stolen technology, the Chinese Communist Party is turning plowshares into swords on a massive scale.

China now spends as much on its military as the rest of Asia combined, and Beijing has prioritized capabilities to erode America’s military advantages on land, at sea, in the air, and in space. China wants nothing less than to push the United States of America from the Western Pacific and attempt to prevent us from coming to the aid of our allies. But they will fail.

Beijing is also using its power like never before. Chinese ships routinely patrol around the Senkaku Islands, which are administered by Japan. And while China’s leader stood in the Rose Garden at the White House in 2015 and said that his country had, and I quote, “no intention to militarize” the South China Sea, today, Beijing has deployed advanced anti-ship and anti-air missiles atop an archipelago of military bases constructed on artificial islands.

China’s aggression was on display this week, when a Chinese naval vessel came within 45 yards of the USS Decatur as it conducted freedom-of-navigation operations in the South China Sea, forcing our ship to quickly maneuver to avoid collision. Despite such reckless harassment, the United States Navy will continue to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows and our national interests demand. We will not be intimidated and we will not stand down. (Applause.)

America had hoped that economic liberalization would bring China into a greater partnership with us and with the world. Instead, China has chosen economic aggression, which has in turn emboldened its growing military.

Nor, as we had hoped, has Beijing moved toward greater freedom for its own people. For a time, Beijing inched toward greater liberty and respect for human rights. But in recent years, China has taken a sharp U-turn toward control and oppression of its own people.

Today, China has built an unparalleled surveillance state, and it’s growing more expansive and intrusive – often with the help of U.S. technology. What they call the “Great Firewall of China” likewise grows higher, drastically restricting the free flow of information to the Chinese people.

And by 2020, China’s rulers aim to implement an Orwellian system premised on controlling virtually every facet of human life — the so-called “Social Credit Score.” In the words of that program’s official blueprint, it will “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven, while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step.”

And when it comes to religious freedom, a new wave of persecution is crashing down on Chinese Christians, Buddhists, and Muslims.

Last month, Beijing shut down one of China’s largest underground churches. Across the country, authorities are tearing down crosses, burning bibles, and imprisoning believers. And Beijing has now reached a deal with the Vatican that gives the avowedly atheist Communist Party a direct role in appointing Catholic bishops. For China’s Christians, these are desperate times.

Beijing is also cracking down on Buddhism. Over the past decade, more than 150 Tibetan Buddhist monks have lit themselves on fire to protest China’s repression of their beliefs and their culture. And in Xinjiang, the Communist Party has imprisoned as many as one million Muslim Uyghurs in government camps where they endure around-the-clock brainwashing. Survivors of the camps have described their experiences as a deliberate attempt by Beijing to strangle Uyghur culture and stamp out the Muslim faith.

As history attests though, a country that oppresses its own people rarely stops there. And Beijing also aims to extend its reach across the wider world. As Hudson’s own Dr. Michael Pillsbury has written, “China has opposed the actions and goals of the U.S. government. Indeed, China is building its own relationships with America’s allies and enemies that contradict any peaceful or productive intentions of Beijing.”

In fact, China uses so-called “debt diplomacy” to expand its influence. Today, that country is offering hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure loans to governments from Asia to Africa to Europe and even Latin America. Yet the terms of those loans are opaque at best, and the benefits invariably flow overwhelmingly to Beijing.

Just ask Sri Lanka, which took on massive debt to let Chinese state companies build a port of questionable commercial value. Two years ago, that country could no longer afford its payments, so Beijing pressured Sri Lanka to deliver the new port directly into Chinese hands. It may soon become a forward military base for China’s growing blue-water navy.

Within our own hemisphere, Beijing has extended a lifeline to the corrupt and incompetent Maduro regime in Venezuela that’s been oppressing its own people. They pledged $5 billion in questionable loans to be repaid with oil. China is also that country’s single largest creditor, saddling the Venezuelan people with more than $50 billion in debt, even as their democracy vanishes. Beijing is also impacting some nations’ politics by providing direct support to parties and candidates who promise to accommodate China’s strategic objectives.

And since last year alone, the Chinese Communist Party has convinced three Latin American nations to sever ties with Taipei and recognize Beijing. These actions threaten the stability of the Taiwan Strait, and the United States of America condemns these actions. And while our administration will continue to respect our One China Policy, as reflected in the three joint communiqués and the Taiwan Relations Act, America will always believe that Taiwan’s embrace of democracy shows a better path for all the Chinese people. (Applause.)

Now these are only a few of the ways that China has sought to advance its strategic interests across the world, with growing intensity and sophistication. Yet previous administrations all but ignored China’s actions. And in many cases, they abetted them. But those days are over.

Under President Trump’s leadership, the United States of America has been defending our interests with renewed American strength.

We’ve been making the strongest military in the history of the world stronger still. Earlier this year, President Trump signed into law the largest increase in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan -– $716 billion to extend the strength of the American military to every domain.

We’re modernizing our nuclear arsenal. We’re fielding and developing new cutting-edge fighters and bombers. We’re building a new generation of aircraft carriers and warships. We’re investing as never before in our armed forces. And this includes initiating the process to establish the United States Space Force to ensure our continued dominance in space, and we’ve taken action to authorize increased capability in the cyber world to build deterrence against our adversaries.

At President Trump’s direction, we’re also implementing tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods, with the highest tariffs specifically targeting the advanced industries that Beijing is trying to capture and control. And as the President has also made clear, we will levy even more tariffs, with the possibility of substantially more than doubling that number, unless a fair and reciprocal deal is made. (Applause.)

These actions — exercises in American strength — have had a major impact. China’s largest stock exchange fell by 25 percent in the first nine months of this year, in large part because our administration has been standing strong against Beijing’s trade practices.

As President Trump has made clear, we don’t want China’s markets to suffer. In fact, we want them to thrive. But the United States wants Beijing to pursue trade policies that are free, fair, and reciprocal. And we will continue to stand and demand that they do. (Applause.)

Sadly, China’s rulers, thus far, have refused to take that path. The American people deserve to know: In response to the strong stand that President Trump has taken, Beijing is pursuing a comprehensive and coordinated campaign to undermine support for the President, our agenda, and our nation’s most cherished ideals.

I want to tell you today what we know about China’s actions here at home — some of which we’ve gleaned from intelligence assessments, some of which are publicly available. But all of which are fact.

As I said before, as we speak, Beijing is employing a whole-of-government approach to advance its influence and benefit its interests. It’s employing this power in more proactive and coercive ways to interfere in the domestic policies of this country and to interfere in the politics of the United States.

The Chinese Communist Party is rewarding or coercing American businesses, movie studios, universities, think tanks, scholars, journalists, and local, state, and federal officials.

And worst of all, China has initiated an unprecedented effort to influence American public opinion, the 2018 elections, and the environment leading into the 2020 presidential elections. To put it bluntly, President Trump’s leadership is working; and China wants a different American President.

There can be no doubt: China is meddling in America’s democracy. As President Trump said just last week, we have, in his words, “found that China has been attempting to interfere in our upcoming [midterm] election[s].”

Our intelligence community says that “China is targeting U.S. state and local governments and officials to exploit any divisions between federal and local levels on policy. It’s using wedge issues, like trade tariffs, to advance Beijing’s political influence.”

In June, Beijing itself circulated a sensitive document, entitled “Propaganda and Censorship Notice.” It laid out its strategy. It stated that China must, in their words, “strike accurately and carefully, splitting apart different domestic groups” in the United States of America.

To that end, Beijing has mobilized covert actors, front groups, and propaganda outlets to shift Americans’ perception of Chinese policy. As a senior career member of our intelligence community told me just this week, what the Russians are doing pales in comparison to what China is doing across this country. And the American people deserve to know it.

Senior Chinese officials have also tried to influence business leaders to encourage them to condemn our trade actions, leveraging their desire to maintain their operations in China. In one recent example, China threatened to deny a business license for a major U.S. corporation if they refused to speak out against our administration’s policies.

And when it comes to influencing the midterms, you need only look at Beijing’s tariffs in response to ours. The tariffs imposed by China to date specifically targeted industries and states that would play an important role in the 2018 election. By one estimate, more than 80 percent of U.S. counties targeted by China voted for President Trump and I in 2016; now China wants to turn these voters against our administration.

And China is also directly appealing to the American voters. Last week, the Chinese government paid to have a multipage supplement inserted into the Des Moines Register –- the paper of record of the home state of our Ambassador to China, and a pivotal state in 2018 and 2020. The supplement, designed to look like the news articles, cast our trade policies as reckless and harmful to Iowans.

Fortunately, Americans aren’t buying it. For example, American farmers are standing with this President and are seeing real results from the strong stands that he’s taken, including this week’s U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, where we’ve substantially opened North American markets to U.S. products. The USMCA is a great win for American farmers and American manufacturers. (Applause.)

But China’s actions aren’t focused solely on influencing our policies and politics. Beijing is also taking steps to exploit its economic leverage, and the allure of their large marketplace, to advance its influence over American businesses.

Beijing now requires American joint ventures that operate in China to establish what they call “party organizations” within their company, giving the Communist Party a voice –- and perhaps a veto -– in hiring and investment decisions.

Chinese authorities have also threatened U.S. companies that depict Taiwan as a distinct geographic entity, or that stray from Chinese policy on Tibet. Beijing compelled Delta Airlines to publicly apologize for not calling Taiwan a “province of China” on its website. And it pressured Marriott to fire a U.S. employee who merely liked a tweet about Tibet.

And Beijing routinely demands that Hollywood portray China in a strictly positive light. It punishes studios and producers that don’t. Beijing’s censors are quick to edit or outlaw movies that criticize China, even in minor ways. For the movie, “World War Z,” they had to cut the script’s mention of a virus because it originated in China. The movie, “Red Dawn” was digitally edited to make the villains North Korean, not Chinese.

But beyond business and entertainment, the Chinese Communist Party is also spending billions of dollars on propaganda outlets in the United States and, frankly, around the world.

China Radio International now broadcasts Beijing-friendly programs on over 30 U.S. outlets, many in major American cities. The China Global Television Network reaches more than 75 million Americans, and it gets its marching orders directly from its Communist Party masters. As China’s top leader put it during a visit to the network’s headquarters, and I quote, “The media run by the Party and the government are propaganda fronts and must have the Party as their surname.”

It’s for those reasons and that reality that, last month, the Department of Justice ordered that network to register as a foreign agent.

The Communist Party has also threatened and detained the Chinese family members of American journalists who pry too deep. And it’s blocked the websites of U.S. media organizations and made it harder for our journalists to get visas. This happened after the New York Times published investigative reports about the wealth of some of China’s leaders.

But the media isn’t the only place where the Chinese Communist Party seeks to foster a culture of censorship. The same is true across academia.

I mean, look no further than the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, of which there are more than 150 branches across America’s campuses. These groups help organize social events for some of the more than 430,000 Chinese nationals studying in the United States. They also alert Chinese consulates and embassies when Chinese students, and American schools, stray from the Communist Party line.

At the University of Maryland, a Chinese student recently spoke at her graduation of what she called, and I quote, the “fresh air of free speech” in America. The Communist Party’s official newspaper swiftly chastised her. She became the victim of a firestorm of criticism on China’s tightly-controlled social media, and her family back home was harassed. As for the university itself, its exchange program with China — one of the nation’s most extensive — suddenly turned from a flood to a trickle.

China exerts academic pressure in other ways, as well. Beijing provides generous funding to universities, think tanks, and scholars, with the understanding that they will avoid ideas that the Communist Party finds dangerous or offensive. China experts in particular know that their visas will be delayed or denied if their research contradicts Beijing’s talking points.

And even scholars and groups who avoid Chinese funding are targeted by that country, as the Hudson Institute found out firsthand. After you offered to host a speaker Beijing didn’t like, your website suffered a major cyberattack, originating from Shanghai. The Hudson Institute knows better than most that the Chinese Communist Party is trying to undermine academic freedom and the freedom of speech in America today.

These and other actions, taken as a whole, constitute an intensifying effort to shift American public opinion and policy away from the “America First” leadership of President Donald Trump.

But our message to China’s rulers is this: This President will not back down. (Applause.) The American people will not be swayed. And we will continue to stand strong for our security and our economy, even as we hope for improved relations with Beijing.

Our administration is going to continue to act decisively to protect America’s interests, American jobs, and American security.

As we rebuild our military, we will continue to assert American interests across the Indo-Pacific.

As we respond to China’s trade practices, we will continue to demand an economic relationship with China that is free, fair, and reciprocal. We will demand that Beijing break down its trade barriers, fulfill its obligations, fully open its economy — just as we have opened ours.

We’ll continue to take action against Beijing until the theft of American intellectual property ends once and for all. And we will continue to stand strong until Beijing stops the predatory practice of forced technology transfer. We will protect the private property interests of American enterprise. (Applause.)

And to advance our vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific, we’re building new and stronger bonds with nations that share our values across the region, from India to Samoa. Our relationships will flow from a spirit of respect built on partnership, not domination.

We’re forging new trade deals on a bilateral basis, just as last week President Trump signed an improved trade deal with South Korea. And we will soon begin historic negotiations for a bilateral free-trade deal with Japan. (Applause.)

I’m also pleased to report that we’re streamlining international development and finance programs. We’ll be giving foreign nations a just and transparent alternative to China’s debt-trap diplomacy. In fact, this week, President Trump will sign the BUILD Act into law.

Next month, it will be my privilege to represent the United States in Singapore and Papua New Guinea, at ASEAN and APEC. There, we will unveil new measures and programs to support a free and open Indo-Pacific. And on behalf of the President, I will deliver the message that America’s commitment to the Indo-Pacific has never been stronger. (Applause.)

Closer to home, to protect our interests, we’ve recently strengthened CFIUS — the Committee on Foreign Investment — heightening our scrutiny of Chinese investment in America to protect our national security from Beijing’s predatory actions.

And when it comes to Beijing’s malign influence and interference in American politics and policy, we will continue to expose it, no matter the form it takes. We will work with leaders at every level of society to defend our national interests and most cherished ideals. The American people will play the decisive role — and, in fact, they already are.

As we gather here, a new consensus is rising across America. More business leaders are thinking beyond the next quarter, and thinking twice before diving into the Chinese market if it means turning over their intellectual property or abetting Beijing’s oppression. But more must follow suit. For example, Google should immediately end development of the “Dragonfly” app that will strengthen Communist Party censorship and compromise the privacy of Chinese customers. (Applause.)

It’s also great to see more journalists reporting the truth without fear or favor, digging deep to find where China is interfering in our society, and why. And we hope that American and global news organizations will continue to join this effort on an increasing basis.

More scholars are also speaking out forcefully and defending academic freedom, and more universities and think tanks are mustering the courage to turn away Beijing’s easy money, recognizing that every dollar comes with a corresponding demand. And we’re confident that their ranks will grow.

And across the nation, the American people are growing in vigilance, with a newfound appreciation for our administration’s actions and the President’s leadership to reset America’s economic and strategic relationship with China. Americans stand strong behind a President that’s putting America first.

And under President Trump’s leadership, I can assure you, America will stay the course. China should know that the American people and their elected officials in both parties are resolved.

As our National Security Strategy states: We should remember that “Competition does not always mean hostility,” nor does it have to. The President has made clear, we want a constructive relationship with Beijing where our prosperity and security grow together, not apart. While Beijing has been moving further away from this vision, China’s rulers can still change course and return to the spirit of reform and opening that characterize the beginning of this relationship decades ago. The American people want nothing more; and the Chinese people deserve nothing less.

The great Chinese storyteller Lu Xun often lamented that his country, and he wrote, “has either looked down at foreigners as brutes, or up to them as saints,” but never “as equals.” Today, America is reaching out our hand to China. And we hope that soon, Beijing will reach back with deeds, not words, and with renewed respect for America. But be assured: we will not relent until our relationship with China is grounded in fairness, reciprocity, and respect for our sovereignty. (Applause.)

There is an ancient Chinese proverb that reads, “Men see only the present, but heaven sees the future.” As we go forward, let us pursue a future of peace and prosperity with resolve and faith. Faith in President Trump’s leadership and vision, and the relationship that he has forged with China’s president. Faith in the enduring friendship between the American people and the Chinese people. And Faith that heaven sees the future — and by God’s grace, America and China will meet that future together.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)


11:47 A.M. EDT

Photo: The White House via flickr

Text of VP Pence’s Speech: The White House

People’s Republic of China October 1, 1949 – October 1, 2018.

2018 Marks the 69th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. It has been a tumultuous seven decades since Mao Zedong stood atop Tienanmen square and declared that the Chinese people have stood up. The nation has moved from war to peace and from foreign intervention to total self-sovereignty. The economy after a rocky start has become one of the strongest in the world, and is now ranked at #2. President Xi Jinping has proposed a grand vision in creating an even better life and society for the 21st century and beyond. The future holds much in store for the PRC and the Chinese people. What do you think will happen in China and in the world in the next 80 years? Please let us know your thoughts. 

1978-2018 – China Celebrates 40 Years of Reform and Opening Up.

This year marks 40 years of Reform and Opening Up in the People’s Republic of China. The achievements of the Chinese nation since 1987 are truly noteworthy.

The PRC came off a series of natural, economic, and political disasters during the first 30 years of its existence that would have left other countries poverty-stricken and in ruins. Yet starting with the reforms in agriculture promoted by Deng Xiaoping in the late 1980s, the genie of Chinese economic power and recovery would never go back in the lamp, but would perform miracles that could only be considered magical.

Agriculture reform and privatization of peasant plots resulting in a reported 25% increase in agriculture production was accompanied by the promotion of entrepreneurship and the admission of foreign capital into the PRC. These three activities followed quickly by the establishment of special economic zones acted to unleash the economic power of China and its energetic population.

In the course of the first 40 years, some 800 million people have been lifted out of poverty and the PRC has become the world’s #2 economy. Incomes have risen and China has become a consumer society with a high-speed rail network, wealthy first and second tier cities, a vibrant education system, a modern downsized and capable military, a space program, and a citizenry that travels to all cities around the globe.

To many, including President Xi Jinping, this first 40 years is just a prelude to the next 40 years in which China will become a “moderately prosperous society” taking its place and exerting leadership on the world stage. This strategic vision of China’s future was laid out by President Xi at the 19th Party Congress held in Beijing in 2017.

In Mr. Xi’s vision, China’s Belt and Road Initiative will bring greater prosperity not only to China, but to all who participate in it. BRI shows China’s commitment to globalization at the exact time when other countries are looking inward and ignoring the bigger global picture.

China intends to continue Reform and Opening Up, not just with BRI, but also by easing  restrictions on foreign investment and capital and by adding a further special economic zone in the form of the Hainan Free Trade Zone.

The next 40 years will indeed be eventful for China and her people. Please let us know your thoughts on this matter.

Photo: Jianjin Liang via flickr


PRC Rejects US Iran Sanctions.

In a regular press conference in Beijing on August 3, 2018 spokesman Geng Shuang of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs soundly rejected US sanctions against Iran. The following exchange took place between Geng and a reporter at the news conference:

Q: Bloomberg said that China rejects the US request to cut the Iran oil import. What’s your comment?

A: We have responded to similar questions many times before. China and Iran, under the precondition of not violating their respective international obligations, have maintained normal exchanges and cooperation. This is reasonable, legitimate, legal and beyond reproach. Meanwhile, China is always opposed to unilateral sanction and “long-arm jurisdiction”. China’s legitimate rights and interests should be upheld. This position is firm and clear.

In an article on August 9, the Tehran Times reported that China buys roughly 650,000 barrels / day from Iran at a cost of around $15 billion annually. It also reported that Iran’s CNPC and China’s Sinopec have significant joint ventures in Iranian oil fields.

China’s refusal to honor US sanctions is in line with its efforts to help save the JCPOA or “Iran nuclear deal” along with the original signers (China, Russia, EU, UK, France Germany and Iran) after the US’s unilateral withdrawal from the accord. For its part, China seems committed to the continued support of the JCPOA and to keeping Iran in the 2015 deal despite US sanctions.

Will China, Russia, and the Europeans be able to do this? Please let us know your thoughts on this.

Photo:  Ministry of Foreign Affairs PRC.

China, Europeans, Russia Struggle to Save Iran Nuclear Deal.

“Can the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) be saved?” That is the question now being pondered by Iran, the EU, Britain, France, Germany Russia, and China. Foreign ministers of these countries met in Vienna on July 6, 2018 to see what was possible in order to save the agreement.

While the meeting was said to be both amicable and productive, no concrete measures were agreed upon except continuing support for the agreement and a willingness to keep working to save it.

The members discussed ways to save trade and economic relations with Iran despite sanctions that will “snap back” in August and November. Their goal is to ensure the continuing smooth operation of:

  • Banking channels
  • Gas and oil exports
  • A favorable investment climate

While both sides to the agreement have a shared common goal, i.e. the continuance of the JCPOA, they have different concerns and opinions about specifics. Iran’s FM has indicated that Iran’s timetable is to get things done before the sanctions are re-imposed.

On the other hand, France’s FM, Jean Yves Le Drian, suggested that things might not be in place until November, which is well after the August deadline. Iran seems to have taken a “wait and see” attitude, but it is clear that Iran is focused on getting a real, positive outcome from the other side or it will go its own way.

What this all comes down to is how willing and able the signatory parties to defy the United States and the Trump administration. How far can the Europeans go in protecting their companies that are, or wish to deal with Iran in the light of the punitive US sanctions?

Certainly current events, like where Donald Trump calls the EU “a foe” or where he insults long-time US partner NATO, will only stiffen the resolve of the EU and France, Britain and Germany to do their utmost to save the JCPOA.

Meanwhile, China has made its position on the issue abundantly clear. In a regular press conference held on July 9, 2018, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying, in an answer to a question on the JCPOA stated:

“China put forth five propositions in a clear-cut manner. We emphasized in particular that the international rules should be followed and the major countries should have credibility and assume their due responsibilities. The unilateral sanctions should be abandoned because they are counterproductive. All relevant parties should stay committed to dialogue and negotiation and adopt a responsible attitude to discuss the issues of common concern.

 China will by no means accept the unilateral sanctions which are groundless under the international law and we will resolutely safeguard our own legitimate rights and interests.”   (Emphasis added)

Trend News Agency reported on July 13 that Japan’s Senior Deputy Foreign Minister Takeo Aikiba said that Japan fully supports the JCPOA and would encourage other nations to do the same. Aikiba’s remarks were made at the reception of credentials of Iran’s new ambassador to Japan.

While it seems that only Donald Trump, his steadfast ally Benjamin Netanyahu and Trump’s right-wing supporters are behind the US withdrawal from the JCPOA, the fact remains that the economic might of US sanctions are formidable indeed.

It will take some resolve, hard bargaining, and real creativity to save the JCPOA, but the signatories think it is worth saving. Let us hope that they can come up with a workable plan in record time to make this happen.

Please let us know what you think about this important issue.

Photo: European Union External Action