China Reform Monitor - No. 978
Washington grants China a waiver from Iran sanctions;
China Defense Minister opposes DPRK provocations
July 10, 2012
The New York Times has started a Chinese-language website causing tens of thousands to flock to its associated Chinese microblog account. In its first day, the paper’s Sina Weibo microblog account attracted about 10,000 followers and another several thousand joined on other sites, the Associated Press reports. But the next day its Sina and Sohu.com accounts were been not accessible and the commenting and forwarding functions on its Tencent account, another popular portal, were disabled. It was not clear if government interference caused the service disruption. By late afternoon on June 28, however, the Times’ Sina microblog site was again accessible. Bloomberg’s English-language site was also unavailable in China for several days but is now back online.
China’s People’s Liberation Army and India’s army have held brigadier-level meetings at Spanggur Gap, Ladakh, in Indian-controlled Jammu and Kashmir to discuss the situation along their border and maintain peace. The meeting is part of series of confidence- building measures and defense exchanges agreed to last December during the fourth China-India Annual Defense Dialogue. After a two year pause in military-to-military relations, the two navies recently concluded drills in Shanghai, their first in six years. India’s Daily Excelsior reports that New Delhi has also hinted at a third round of joint army-to-army exercises, which it suspended in 2010 after Beijing refused to grant permission to a senior Indian Army Commander to visit Beijing. The two armies last held counter-insurgency and counter- terrorism drills in India in 2008 and before that in China in 2007.
Ambassador S. Jaishankar, India’s ambassador to China, has become the first Indian envoy in a decade to visit Tibet’s Mount Kailash (gangrenboqi feng) and Lake Manasarovar (mapang yongcuo), two sacred religious centers that recently witnessed large scale unrest. To accommodate increasing numbers of Indian pilgrims to both areas, China plans to improve transportation, accommodations and dining facilities. Amb. Jaishankar will also visit other areas of Tibet including the China-Nepal border, from which Indian pilgrims regularly enter Tibet, and neighboring regions that in recent months witnessed self-immolations and protests calling for the return of the Dalai Lama.
The U.S. has exempted China from sanctions over its imports of oil from Iran, the official People’s Dailyreports. Under America’s National Defense Authorization Act the financial institutions of foreign governments who continue to purchase Iranian crude oil after June 28 will be denied access to U.S. financial markets. Washington, however, has decided to exempt China and Singapore from the measures, citing their “significant” reduction in purchases from Iran. Twenty countries have now been given waivers including China, India, Japan, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Taiwan, allowing them to avoid punitive measures from the U.S.
On June 19 in Beijing, China’s Defense Minister Liang Guanglie told a delegation of retired South Korean military leaders that China opposes North Korea’s conducting another nuclear test. “During his meeting with Chairman Ko [Myung Seung] and South Korean Ambassador Lee Kyu Hyung in Beijing, Minister Liang expressed strong opposition to additional provocations by North Korea. Liang noted that (North Korean leader) Kim Jong-un is focused on economics while his aides work on foreign policy. He also said Kim is more likely to listen to China’s advice than (his grandfather) Kim Il Sung or (his father) Kim Jong Il,” an official of the Retired Generals and Admirals Association said in comments carried by Japan’s Kyodo News Agency. On June 9, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said a third nuclear test “is not under plan at present.” North Korea carried out two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.