Mixed reactions to Mattis, but South China Sea tensions diffuse slightly
Top politics and current affairs news for February 6, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup "Chinese troops in Afghanistan."
China welcomes Mattis’s emphasis on South China Sea diplomacy / Reuters
A recent buildup of U.S.-China tensions and anxiety among U.S. officials has diffused slightly following comments made during a visit to Japan by the new U.S. secretary of defense, Jim Mattis. Mattis affirmed a commitment to “exhaust all…diplomatic efforts” to resolve South China Sea issues, adding that “at this time, we do not see any need for dramatic military moves.” Nonetheless, Mattis’s remarks that the U.S. will continue to defend Japan’s position on the islands it claims to the east of China and will continue to support a missile defense system in South Korea frustrated the Chinese foreign ministry.
Senior Chinese health official to attend Vatican summit on organ trafficking / SCMP
Reflecting China’s new push to voice opposition to organ trafficking (the practice of harvesting organs from death row prisoners was officially condoned up until 2015), and perhaps connected to recent efforts to establish diplomatic ties between China and the Catholic Church, a top Chinese health official will attend a Vatican summit on organ trafficking this week. For more background on controversial organ donation regulations in China, see this South China Morning Post report. For more on the recent unsteady outreach between Chinese and Vatican officials, see this Sinica Podcast and a follow-up Q&A with Ian Johnson, a veteran journalist and scholar of religious issues in China.
- Deleted postings about missing Chinese billionaire hint at tensions – read more about Xiao Jianhua here / Reuters
- China protests U.S. sanction list on Iran that hits Chinese firms / Reuters
- Korea sees China’s ire over missile shield in export hurdles / Bloomberg
- Managers held over China massage parlor fire that killed 18 – in Tiantai county, Zhejiang Province / ABC News
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