On Thursday, Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the Coordinators’ Meeting on the Implementation of the Follow-up Actions of The Eighth Ministerial Conference of The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.
Pro-tip: People in the know say CMotIotFuAoTEMCoTFOCAC for short.
Some context: Established in 2000, FOCAC is China’s primary multilateral forum for liaising with African countries.
Fun fact: The only African nation not in FOCAC is Eswatini (which still recognizes Taiwan).
Wang extolled the strong state of Sino-African ties, highlighting (MoFA):
He also committed China to new heights of support, including:
And then the big one: Wang said China would forgive 23 interest free loans, for 17 African countries, that had matured at the end of 2021.
More context: Wang’s announcement comes just weeks after China gave debt relief to Zambia, clearing the way for a possible International Monetary Fund bailout (FT).
Get smart: China is increasingly focusing its diplomatic energy on developing countries.
On Wednesday, top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi met with Akiba Takeo, the secretary-general of Japan’s National Security Secretariat, in Tianjin.
Some context: Sino-Japanese relations have historically been…umm…a little fraught.
Yang reiterated Beijing’s position on Taiwan and called on Japan to do more to improve ties (Zaobao):
Akiba fired back that China’s military drills weren’t helping things (NHK):
Yawn: That’s a pretty standard exchange of views.
But check this: Chinese state media has been remarkably mum about this relatively high-level meeting.
Get smart: Sino-Japanese relations are complicated because the two countries have major political disagreements but deeply intertwined economies.
What to watch: China and Japan celebrate 50 years of official diplomatic relations on September 29. It’s a golden opportunity to build some positive momentum in bilateral ties.
On Wednesday, Executive Vice Premier Han Zheng helmed a State Grid symposium to talk about – what else? – keeping the power on.
ICYMI: Record-breaking heatwaves and drought-induced hydropower shortages drove Jiangsu, Sichuan, and Anhui to start restricting industrial power consumption last week.
What Han told State Grid: Keep power flowing to households, public services, and industry – in that order.
And above all:
What Han meant: For the love of Mao, we cannot have a repeat of the fall 2021 power crisis!
Officials are being more proactive, but Beijing’s energy security playbook hasn’t changed much since fall 2021: Han reiterated that authorities will do everything possible to keep coal stockpiles high, even as China keeps expanding renewable energy capacity.
Get smart: Despite Han’s admonishment, if the heatwave continues, there will be more industrial power disruptions in central China.
Well, it’s resolute countermeasures day…again.
The story so far: On Tuesday, US Speaker of the House Nancy kicked off a visit to Taiwan despite the mainland’s strenuous objections.
Now it appears Beijing has upped the ante.
According to the Japanese defense ministry, China has fired four missiles over Taiwan itself.
At the time of writing, neither Beijing nor Taipei had confirmed the overflight, but the People’s Liberation Army Eastern Command shared a state media article quoting Meng Xiangqing, a professor at National Defense University, saying it had taken place (Bloomberg):
Get smart: The operative word here is deterrence.
Get smarter: Nobody’s going to war over the Pelosi trip, but the precedent-breaking missile overflight suggests a dangerous ‘new normal’, and highlights the long-term risks of US-China brinksmanship over Taiwan.
China’s armed forces just enjoyed a birthday party – and everyone was there.
On Sunday, Xi Jinping and all six of his Politburo Standing Committee colleagues attended a reception to celebrate the 95th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
Such high-level attendance comes as no surprise – Xi has made strengthening the armed forces one of his top priorities since coming into power in late 2012.
Xi’s thinking is simple, as he laid out at the Party’s 100th anniversary in July 2021:
At Sunday’s reception, where banquet tables were decorated with white birds of peace, defense minister Wei Fenghe said the PLA has (Gov.cn):
Get smart: Military modernization has come a long way under Xi. But the PLA hasn’t experienced a combat situation for over 40 years.
On Friday, China’s top aerospace expert Jin Zhuanglong was appointed the new Party boss of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).
Some context: Xiao’s fall is rumored to be related to a recent probe into the chip industry.
Jin is more tech savvy than Xiao.
More importantly: In 2017, Jin became deputy director of the office of the Central Military-Civilian Integration Development Commission, a ministerial-level body led by Xi Jinping.
Our take: Jin appears to be much more tech-focused than his predecessor.
Our other take: Expect Jin to help the military build more jets and rockets…