China maintains stance on disputed Gulf islands despite Iran’s anger

“China held its stance on three disputed islands in the Gulf on Monday despite Tehran’s anger at Beijing for describing the Iran-controlled islands as a matter to be resolved with the United Arab Emirates.
In a statement last week, China expressed support for the efforts of the UAE to reach a “peaceful solution” to the issue of the islands – the Greater Tunb, the Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa.

The islands, claimed by the UAE and Iran, have been held by Tehran since 1971 after the withdrawal of British forces from the Gulf.

In a rare show of anger toward its biggest trading partner, the Iranian foreign ministry on Sunday summoned the Chinese ambassador to Iran to protest China’s “repeated support” for the UAE’s “baseless claims”.

“Considering the strategic cooperation between Tehran and Beijing, it is expected that the Chinese government will revise its stance on this matter,” the Iranian foreign ministry said.

China’s foreign ministry on Monday repeated its call for Iran and the UAE to resolve their differences through dialogue and consultation, describing China’s stance on the matter as “consistent”.”

US sounds alarm over Chinese and North Korean support for Russia’s war in Ukraine

“Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was asked at a press conference in Italy last week about whether China was selling Russia arms for use in the war. Biden, who was standing beside him, waited for Zelensky to say President Xi Jinping told him he would not do so, before delivering a parting shot and ending the event. “By the way, China is not supplying weapons but the ability to produce those weapons and the technology available to do it. So, it is, in fact, helping Russia.”
The comment appeared to signal a hardening tone toward Beijing following months of US warnings that it shouldn’t help its friends in Moscow over the war. NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg reinforced the tough new line during a visit to Washington Monday that included Oval Office talks with Biden.

“Publicly, President Xi has tried to create the impression that he’s taking a back seat in this conflict to avoid sanctions and keep trade flowing. But the reality is that China’s fueling the largest armed conflict in Europe since World War II,” Stoltenberg said at The Wilson Center. “At the same time, it wants to maintain good relations with the West. Well, Beijing cannot have it both ways. At some point, and unless China changes course, allies need to impose a cost.””

The U.S. Should Welcome Chinese Migrants

“There are many reasons why Chinese migrants are the fastest-growing group attempting to cross the southern border (though those numbers have fallen in early 2024). Recent research and reporting—and common sense—cast doubt on the overly simplistic idea that Chinese border crossers are primarily coming to the U.S. to threaten national security and create disorder. It’s far more likely that the average Chinese migrant is coming for the same reasons that other migrants do: to seek political and economic freedom. Rather than rebuking the people who go to such great lengths to flee China’s authoritarian regime, the U.S. should welcome them.

A new report from the Niskanen Center, a public policy think tank, found that many Chinese emigrants are coming from areas experiencing repression such as Hong Kong and Xinjiang, the province where the Chinese government is committing ongoing human rights abuses against the Uyghur people. Niskanen based its estimates on Ecuadorian travel statistics: “Since most Chinese migrants enter the Americas via Ecuador, these records can reasonably be used to draw inferences about irregular Chinese migration.””

“The Niskanen report suggests that economic decline may play a role in Chinese out-migration, noting that three provinces from China’s “Rust Belt” rank in the top third of origin regions when adjusted for population. The economic consequences of China’s pandemic policy are also at play: “In many cases those attempting to make the crossing are small-business owners who saw irreparable damage to their primary or sole source of income due to China’s ‘zero COVID’ policies,” wrote Meredith Oyen, a historian at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, last month.

“The increase in Chinese arrivals is also a response to U.S. politics,” wrote Foreign Policy Deputy Editor James Palmer last week. “During the pandemic, U.S. business and tourist visas became harder for Chinese citizens to obtain.” (Per CBS News, the U.S. issued 2.2 million temporary visas to Chinese nationals in 2016, but that number dropped to 160,000 in 2022.) “The acceptance rate for Chinese asylum claims,” Palmer added, “is a relatively high 55 percent,” at least somewhat attributable to “U.S.-China tensions and growing human rights abuses under Chinese President Xi Jinping.””

“What pops up over and over in reports about Chinese asylum seekers is their desire for freedom. The A.P. noted that migrants said they were leaving “an increasingly repressive political climate and bleak economic prospects”—and that “there has been no evidence that they have tried to mount a military force or training network.”
Given what China is—a country under the thumb of an authoritarian government, where civil liberties and basic freedoms are under constant threat—it should come as no surprise that the U.S. is an attractive destination for the people who choose to flee. That isn’t evidence of a grand, complex espionage plan but a manifestation of all the usual reasons people choose to immigrate, and all the more reason to welcome Chinese migrants.”

Air defenses have been key in tough battles, showing the US what it could need most for a missile war with China

“”These systems work. We’ve seen in multiple campaigns now evidence of them working,” he told BI. “We’ve proven the technology at some degree, and I think that shows that this investment, in general, is worth it.”

But the supply of interceptors is insufficient. The US might not even have what it needs for an extended campaign against Iran. In the Pacific, Shaikh said, “China is going to be a whole separate ball game.””

China Is Doubling Down on Electric Vehicle Subsidies

“”China spent roughly $173 billion in subsidies to support the new energy-vehicle sector, which encompasses electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, between 2009 and 2022,” write Kubota and Leong. By 2019, there were 500 E.V. manufacturers in China. But that same year, the government started paring back those incentives, and by 2023, the number of automakers had shrunk by 80 percent.
Now, though, the country is ready to throw good money after bad: “Chinese leader Xi Jinping has called on local leaders to promote ‘new productive forces’—a buzzword in Chinese policy circles for the need to promote high-value manufacturing industries.” Local leaders responded by pumping money into struggling companies—in one case, giving the equivalent of $27.5 million to a company that had sold fewer than 2,000 cars in the first quarter of 2024.

“China currently has the capacity to produce some 40 million vehicles a year, though it sells only around 22 million cars domestically,” the Journal authors warn. As a result, the country’s largesse “is adding cars to a global market that risks becoming more oversupplied.”

Of course, E.V.s are not inherently a bad idea—especially in China, whose cities have a history of such severe pollution that it lowers the nation’s life expectancy.”

“But as with anything, the advent of clean-energy technology should be driven by market forces. The Chinese government spent more than a decade subsidizing the production of electric vehicles, no matter whether consumers wanted to buy them. When the spigot of free money finally shut off, and manufacturers had to stand on their own, the country saw the rise of “E.V. graveyards,” in which entire fields were covered in unsold or abandoned vehicles.

America would do well to heed China’s example as a cautionary tale about industrial policy. China averaged 9.8 percent annual economic growth for 35 years starting in 1978; in 2013, officials pledged to keep growth at 7.5 percent—a two-decade low for the country, even if it would have been an enviable figure for any other nation.

But much of that expansion was driven by government spending, not market forces: For much of the 21st century, China embarked upon a construction binge, building residential and commercial developments as fast as possible with no regard for whether there were any tenants to fill them.

The result was China’s “ghost cities,” full of high-rise apartments and shopping centers in which nobody lived. Worried about rising debt, the Chinese government finally started drawing back its building spree in 2020. Since then, the country’s real estate market has cratered, and its debt load has only deepened.”