The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) issued a statement on April 29 that avoids challenging China on any of the multiple territorial conflicts that several of its 10 member countries have with their northern neighbor. The statement, issued at the conclusion of a summit of ASEAN members, was widely interpreted as a “tacit victory” for Beijing, Bloomberg says, as China has for years intensely lobbied the organization.
A key influence at this year’s summit was Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines and current chairman of ASEAN, who reportedly made a “judgement call” to not mention the international arbitration case that ruled against China’s claims to islands near the Philippines last July. Reuters additionally noted that the term “land reclamation and militarization” was a point of contention in drafting the statement, as four member states reportedly pushed for it to be included, but the final draft omitted any such reference.
A Reuters analysis on May 1 lays out how the Trump administration’s newly accommodating posture toward China is influencing the calculus of ASEAN countries, who “are trying to gauge how far they can still rely on Washington as a shield against Chinese assertiveness.”
‘One country, two systems’ for Hong Kong could be scrapped if it is used to confront Beijing, official says / SCMP
“Liaison office legal chief warns city could lose the high degree of autonomy the policy offers, reiterating that ‘one country’ must come before ‘two systems.’”
Beijing planning new approach to Taiwan affairs / SCMP
“Beijing now sees appeals to young Taiwanese and grassroots businesses as the best bet for paving the way for future cross-strait reunification.”
China deports American woman convicted on spying charge / NYT (paywall)
Phan Phan-Gillis was detained in 2015 on charges of spying in the 1990s, declared guilty by a southern Chinese court last week, and deported back to the United States on May 1.
China sends warning to lawyers with secret trials / Financial Times (paywall)
“China has sent a warning to its independent legal activists with a spate of secret trials of lawyers caught up in a crackdown that began nearly two years ago.”
China’s environmental woes, in films that go viral, then vanish / NYT (paywall)
“Wang Jiuliang’s 王久良 documentaries on topics like unregulated garbage dumps are internet sensations in China, but they are short-lived online.”
- Former Chinese premier Wen Jiabao resurfaces in the classroom / SCMP