GOOD MORNING FROM LONDON
#1 CLOSER LINKS BETWEEN CHINA AND THE VATICAN
#2 FEW REFERENCES TO CHINA AT CONSERVATIVE PARTY CONFERENCE
#3 US ALARM OVER REDUCED FUNDING FOR UKRAINE
#4 TAIWAN AND THE WORLD ECONOMY
HONGKONG’S TOP CATHOLIC MADE A CARDINAL BY POPE FRANCIS
The Pope has announced the appointment of Bishop Stephen Chow as the new Cardinal of Hongkong. Chow was quoted in Vatican News as saying he was “surprised” by the appointment, and that he was having dinner with his family when he found out.
“I think this is an important role. Even Hong Kong itself in history is a bridge between East and West. And so is the church, between the church in China and the universal church. And we would like to see that come closer,” he told Vatican News.
The Pope’s choices for cardinal are closely watched as members aged under 80 are eligible to take part in the conclave to appoint a new pontiff.
Born in 1959, Chow was appointed by Pope Francis as bishop of the Catholic diocese of Hong Kong in 2019 following the death of Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung. Chow paid a five-day visit to Beijing in April at the invitation of Bishop Joseph Li Shan of the Beijing diocese, the first time a senior Catholic clergyman from Hong Kong had visited the capital since the city’s return to Chinese rule in 1997.
The bishop called for closer ties between the city’s diocese and churches and their counterparts in mainland China.
Cardinal Chow is one of the youngest clerics to be promoted to bishop in Hong Kong since the first Chinese prelate was appointed in 1969. Chow is also seen as a moderate, or politically neutral.
THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY ANNUAL CONFERENCE
BLACKPOOL. WEEK ENDING 8 OCTOBER 2023
It’s always interesting to see what gets picked up by journalists and what slips under the radar. For example, in a discussion with James Cleverly on The Spectator’s Chinese Whispers, the Foreign Secretary implied that one of the reasons the promise to remove Confucius Institutes from British universities had stalled was because of a fear of a reciprocal ban on the British Council in China – long suspected, but not admitted by senior officials so frankly before.
On the positive side, this was the first time in years a British Foreign Secretary has had to talk coherently about China at length. Ultimately, those looking for signs that the Conservative Government has a coherent and joined-up approach to China will be left disappointed. Just a few doors down from where Cleverly was making his pitch – that engagement with China is in itself not a reward, but just basic diplomacy – his fellow Cabinet attending colleague, Security Minister Tom Tugendhat, told an audience that cooperation with the PRC is just “win win [which] means China wins twice.” The founder of the China Research Group concluded that “the Chinese state is nothing but an aggressive attacker on British business at the moment”
THE FINANCIAL TIMES 8 OCTOBER 2023
WHITE HOUSE ALARM RE US FUNDING FOR UKRAINE
The White House and pro-Ukraine lawmakers are growing increasingly alarmed about the future of US funding for Kyiv in the wake of Kevin McCarthy’s ousting as speaker of the House of Representatives, which has left military aid in limbo. The risk of a lapse in American aid to Ukraine within a few months — a worst-case scenario for the Biden administration which has until now seemed unlikely — has risen in the past few days as chaos has enveloped the Republican party in Congress.
It has also triggered soul-searching in Washington over the impact of US political dysfunction on the administration’s foreign policy goals, as it tries to forge global alliances to counter Russian aggression and rising threats from China. “Will we appease Putin and cut off aid to the Ukrainians? If we do, it will be our problem,” said Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat and the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, in a speech on the Senate floor this week.
THE UK GUARDIAN ON TAIWAN AND THE WORLD ECONOMY
If China were to impose a blockade on Taiwan, the global economic impact would far outweigh the shutdowns caused by COVID-19, a senior U.S. official has warned.
The Pentagon is looking “very closely” at the scenarios that might play out if China opted for a blockade, Ely Ratner, the assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs, said Thursday at an event held by the Washington think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“What happens the very minute that the PRC starts mounting a blockade against Taiwan? The global economy falls through the floor,” Ratner said, using the acronym for China’s official name, the People’s Republic of China.
“Not just for China and not just for Taiwan — for the United States, for Japan, for Southeast Asia, for India, for Africa, for Latin America, for Europe,” he said. “There will be no one immune from the economic pain that the PRC would place on the world through doing that.”
The coronavirus pandemic contributed to a global semiconductor shortage that slowed auto production. This has added to concerns over the risk of a Taiwan crisis cutting off trade with an indispensable link in the global semiconductor supply chain.
Ratner continued, “Some of the analyses that I’ve seen are quite extreme in terms of what a blockade-like scenario would do for the global economy on a scale vastly greater than what the world experienced under COVID.”
Once that happens, Ratner said, “the global community is going to rally around [Taiwan] and against the PRC’s actions because of what it is doing to the global economy. Beijing will be inviting exactly the kind of counterbalancing diplomatic coalition that it is trying to avoid on this issue.”