China launched its first domestically built aircraft carrier on April 26 and was quick to allay fears of an expansionist shift in its defense policy. Both foreign minister Wang Yi and spokespersons from the Foreign Ministry and the State Council Office of Taiwan Affairs responded publicly about the event, reiterating that with Chinese citizens and businesses all over the world, "China has ample reason to raise its own national defense capability to effectively protect its fair rights that are increasingly extending overseas." Though technologically inferior to the ten aircraft carriers being used by the United States Navy, it's a big step for China, BBC has pointed out. The launch coincided with a Chinese navy anniversary, however, China watchers have not missed out the timing as the United States sent warships and submarines to Korean Peninsula as tensions continue to escalate. Forbes stacks the new Chinese vessel against the USS Gerald R. Ford in this infographic.
It appears that China is also catching up with the United States in submarine construction as Popular Science writes. Bohai Shipbuilding Heavy Industrial Corporation (BSHIC) is set to finish constructing a new facility in Liaoning Province, which will build nuclear submarines. The facility will be capable of building four submarines at a time. The translated version of the Popular Science piece made the list of the most read news online this week in China.
Meanwhile, China's first commercial aircrafts, the C919 is set to take its maiden voyage on May 5, Reuters reports. The aircraft looks similar to the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320, with a single-aisle and 158 seats; its interior is slightly wider though, allowing for more passenger room.
Top Chinese leaders have called for the country to be on high alert against financial risks as government regulators in the banking and insurance industries roll out measures to keep a close watch over signs of volatility. President Xi Jinping, during an April 25 study session of the CPC Politburo, laid out six tasks aimed at ensuring financial security with a focusing on compliance and monitoring. Meanwhile, a key banking regulator has singled out the real estate sector as a key problem area, according to a Caixin report. Bloomberg says it's a rare occasion for the Politburo to discuss a specific topic like financial security, highlighting the urgency of managing such risks as over-leveraging, mounting debts, and fraud. A South China Morning Post report says that "financial risks" were referenced twice in the statement released after the Politburo study session.
In this inaugural episode of "He Talks," former Vice Foreign Minister of China, Mr. He Yafei, sat down with China-US Focus special advisor Mr. Zhu Yinghuang for a conversation on the outcomes of the Mar-a-Lago summit between President Xi Jinping and President Donald Trump in early April. Mr. He notes that Xi, during the meeting and in a follow-up phone call with Trump, made clear China's position on the Korean Peninsula crisis: no nuclear weapons, no war and yes to political solutions. Mr. He asserts: "China will not allow war at its doorstep."
Mr. He directed China's teams in multilateral international negotiations, including the climate change talks, and dealt directly with the U.S. State Department at key junctures in bilateral ties. After his retirement from public service, he became a sought-after public speaker, an academic on globalization and China's diplomacy, and a strong advocate for a robust China-US relationship. With "He Talks," we are tapping into this veteran Chinese diplomat-turned academic for his take on issues pertinent to China-U.S. relations.
Jia Jia, an interactive, lifelike robot gave a Skype interview with Kevin Kelly, founding executive editor of Wired Magazine at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei last week. Xinhua reported that it took a team of designers, "three years to research and develop this new-generation interactive robot, which can speak, show micro-expressions, move its lips, and move its body."
Using robots to interview is an interesting development at a time where speaking with foreign media is coming under increased scrutiny at Chinese universities. The Wall Street Journal reported that Wu Qiang, a former politics lecturer at Beijing's Tsinghua university was removed from his role at an association after making critical comments to foreign media. Reporters Without Borders ranked China as the fifth-worst country for press freedom after North Korea, Eritrea, Turkmenistan, and Syria.
When the Chinese C919 takes flight for the first time this May, it will join which other nations in developing commercial aircraft?
a). U.S., Russia, India, Brazil, the U.K., France, and Germany.
b). U.S., Russia, Brazil, Canada, the U.K., France and Germany.
c). U.S., Russia, Brazil, Italy, the U.K, France, and Germany.
Prepared by China-US Focus editorial teams in Hong Kong and New York, this weekly newsletter offers you snap shots of latest trends and developments emerging from China every week, while adding a dose of historical perspective.