China Reform Monitor - No. 1293

Standoff at the China-India border;
Taiwan hosts Paraguay president

July 25, 2017

July 5:

The Indian and Chinese armies are locked in a stand-off at the tri-junction border where Bhutan, Tibet, and the Indian state of Sikkim meet. Each side has about 300 soldiers facing off in the remote Dolam plateau. China says Indian soldiers crossed Sikkim into its territory of Donglang (Doko La for India) and stopped the construction of a road on land that India and Bhutan claim belongs to the latter. China’s road-building activities are being closely watched by New Delhi given the proximity to India’s "Chicken’s Neck," the narrow strip of territory that connects India’s northeast with the rest of the country. Although China and Bhutan have spent decades negotiating the precise border, the tiny Himalayan kingdom sought help from its long-time ally, India, which sent troops onto the plateau. Beijing has warned of "serious consequences" if India does not withdraw its soldiers,
the South China Morning Post reports.

July 7:

Vietnam has extended an Indian oil concession in the South China Sea and begun drilling in another area it disputes with China. Vietnam granted Indian oil firm ONGC Videsh a two-year extension to explore oil block 128, the state-run company's managing director Narendra Verma
told Reuters. Part of that block falls within the 'nine-dash line' which marks the vast area that China claims in the South China Sea. Interest in the block is more strategic than commercial, since oil development there is high-risk and has only moderate potential, said an ONGC Videsh official. "Vietnam wants us to be there because of China's interventions in the South China Sea," he said. The concession was first granted to India in 2006 and was due to expire last month after several extensions.

In New Delhi, Vietnam’s deputy prime minister Pham Binh Minh told a forum that India was welcome to play a bigger role in Southeast Asia – particularly in the South China Sea. New Delhi is providing Hanoi with naval patrol boats, satellite cover to monitor Vietnam's waters, and training for its submarine and fighter pilots. A $500 million defense credit line announced last year will include transfers of naval vessels and missiles. India-Vietnam security cooperation has expanded since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration took office in 2014 and sought to push back against China's expanding presence in South Asia by raising its diplomatic and military engagement in Southeast Asia. Hanoi's growing defense and commercial ties with India are part of its strategy of seeking many partnerships with big powers while avoiding formal military alliances.

July 10:

A man and woman team have been arrested in southern China for providing illegal gender determination services. The couple traveled around Guangzhou in a minivan with dark curtains and an ultrasound scanner in the back and could tell the sex of an unborn child within two minutes. Expectant mothers were charged 300-500 yuan ($44 to $74) for the service, which was provided by the woman while the man drove the vehicle.
The New Express Daily, in coordination with the local family planning bureau, conducted the undercover operation whereby a pregnant woman sought a consultation and police moved in to arrest the suspects, who had been operating for 17 years.

[Editor’s Note: In China, it is illegal for doctors to reveal the sex of unborn children, though the practice does go on, especially in private hospitals. Under the one-child policy, which came to an end last year, male children were strongly favored and female fetuses would often be aborted. According to official figures, China had 30 million more males than females last year.]

July 12:

Paraguay President Horacio Cartes is visiting Taiwan, offering a diplomatic lifeline to the island whose international breathing space is being steadily eroded by Beijing. Cartes and his delegation are scheduled to attend events commemorating 60 years of ties between Taiwan and the landlocked nation, Taiwan’s only diplomatic ally in South America. Cartes’ three-day visit comes almost a month after Panama switched relations from Taipei to Beijing, leaving Taiwan with just 20 diplomatic allies. Last year, after the election of independence-leaning President Tsai Ing-wen, Beijing renewed a campaign to diminish Taipei’s global standing,
the Associated Press reports

Related Categories: China; China and East Asia Program

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