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June 22, 2019

  • ​Three's A Crowd

    Chinese President Xi Jinping was greeted with thousands of flower-waving North Koreans when he arrived for a state visit with Kim Jong-un this Thursday. The visit, featuring lavish ceremonies and spirited, choreographed parades, marks Xi's first trip to the hermit state and the first state visit made by a Chinese president since 2005. Some analysts see this visit as a warming in China-North Korean relations, which have been strained since Beijing supported UN sanctions against Pyongyang in 2006, while others sense that the brief visit was just for show ahead of Xi's talks with Trump at the G20 Osaka summit later this month. In any case, the meeting sends a clear message to President Trump that the two neighbors are looking for leverage at the G20.

    Both Xi and Kim have their respective issues to resolve with Trump: one over stalled trade negotiations and the other over stalled denuclearization talks. Kim needs Xi's support in persuading Trump to compromise on denuclearization and lift sanctions, while Xi is looking to reassert China's role as a friendly power in order to leverage against Trump's trade war, according to Doug Bandow in a recent article for China-US Focus.

  • ​Jet Power

    A satellite image taken on Wednesday showed four J-10 fighter jets on the disputed Woody Island (also known as Yongxing Island in Chinese) in the South China Sea according to CNN, marking the first known deployment of Chinese fighter jets since 2017. Woody Island, the largest island in the Paracel Island chain (known as the Xisha Islands in Chinese) is also claimed by Vietnam but has been under Chinese control since 1974 after a battle was fought between the two countries over the island chain. 

    The satellite image showed the jets placed out in the open and without any external fuel tanks, hinting that the jets are to be refueled on the island instead of going for a long haul back to the mainland. "They want you to notice them. Otherwise they would be parked in the hangars," said Peter Layton, a former Royal Australian Air Force officer and fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute.

    Tensions over the South China Sea have resurfaced over the last few months as the United States steps up its freedom of navigation operations in the region. As the world prepares for the upcoming G20 Summit, China is sending a clear signal that its presence in the South China Sea is here to stay.

  • ​Trash Talk

    Garbage and recycling stocks were on the rise this week after waste treatment policies were updated, providing much-needed relief for weakening waste-related stocks. The new guidelines put forth stricter requirement for how wet and dry waste is separated, bringing in business for waste treatment equipment firms specializing in separation and seepage prevention. Liang Chen, an analyst at China Development Bank Securities Co., says that the new guidelines not only give boost to refuse equipment makers, but will also cut separation costs for recycling firms.

    Previous efforts to compel Chinese citizens to separate waste from recycling were to no avail, according to Caixin, and environmental activists are hoping that these new guidelines will allow the country's recycling process be more efficient. As China faces a range of environmental criticisms from the international community, the Xi administration is slowly enforcing stricter environmental protection laws ranging from wastewater treatment to a greenhouse gas emissions-trading scheme, according to China-US Focus contributors Danielle Neighbour and Gillian Zwicker. China also put in place a ban on waste imports last year, creating a recycling crisis in many countries, including the United States. 

About China This Week

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.

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