Eye on China: Xi in Chennai – Pak’s Push – Nepal Visit – Trade Talks – EU 5G Warning – Tax Reform

Eye on China is a weekly bulletin offering news and analysis related to the Middle Kingdom from an Indian interests perspective. This week we cover Xi Jinping’s arrival in India for the second informal summit; Imran Khan’s visit to China; Beijing’s announcement of major taxation reforms; the US and China heading towards a partial trade deal and much more…

I. Pak Leadership in Beijing

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan led a rather large delegation to Beijing this week. Before he landed, Pakistani Army chief Bajwa was already in China. Khan met with Premier Li Keqiang and Xi. Interestingly, Bajwa reportedly was present as Khan met Chinese leaders. Li Keqiang reportedly told Khan that China supports Pakistan in safeguarding its independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and legitimate rights and interests, in promoting its national prosperity, and in playing a greater role in international and regional affairs. Xi told him that ties remain “unbreakable and rock-solid” and that China highly appreciates and firmly supports Pakistan’s efforts in fighting terrorism, calling on the two sides to beef up communication and cooperation within the United Nations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and other multilateral mechanisms so as to jointly safeguard regional peace and stability. Think of the bit on terrorism and multilateral organisations in the context of the FATF. This week the plenary meeting is taking place in Paris. Pakistan’s not really done well when it comes to the FATF compliance requirements, but remember China chairs the body for now, so blacklisting might be tough.

One other interesting fact is that apart from meeting the CMC hierarchy, Bajwa also met with PLA Admiral Yuan Yubai, chief of China’s Southern Theatre Command, to “discuss mutual professional matters.” Suyash’s PLA Insight newsletter has more details on the military aspect of the visit.

The joint statement issued after Khan’s visit says:

  • “The two sides reaffirmed their support on issues concerning each other’s core interests. Chinese leaders reiterated solidarity with Pakistan in safeguarding its territorial sovereignty, independence and security. The Pakistan side reaffirmed its commitment to the One China Policy. Supporting One Country Two Systems, Pakistan reiterated that affairs of Hong Kong were China’s internal matter and all countries should uphold international law and basic norms of non-interference in internal affairs of other countries.”
  • The Chinese side “reiterated that the Kashmir issue is a dispute left from history, and should be properly and peacefully resolved based on the UN Charter, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements.” Much has also been made in India about the Xinhua report of the Xi-Khan meeting, where Xi said that “China is paying close attention to the Kashmir situation and the facts are clear.”
  • Pakistan emphasised that “a CPEC Authority was established to oversee the expeditious implementation of CPEC projects.” What this obfuscates is that this authority had to be set up via a presidential ordinance as legislators haven’t been able to come to an agreement. In fact, in late September, the Senate Special Committee on CPEC had expressly said that it would oppose such an ordinance. This, of course, underlines some of the problems that CPEC faces.
  • In the joint statement, “both sides maintained that the second phase of CPEC will promote industrial and socio-economic development.” That entails investments in SEZs, SME sector, power, petroleum, gas, agriculture, industrial and infrastructure.
  • “Both sides expressed satisfaction over the close cooperation between the two countries at multilateral fora and resolved to deepen strategic coordination and consultation.”

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