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EXTRACTS FROM MEDIA COVERAGE ON CHINA #459

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NIKKEI ASIA

18 JULY 2023

Solomon Islands has denied suggestions by Australia and others that its policing deal with Beijing is “a threat to the Pacific region peace” and says China will enhance the capability of its 1,500 police officers in cybersecurity and community policing…In a statement on Friday, [President] Sogavare’s office said the Pacific island nation was broadening its security partnerships, and the Chinese police will add to the existing Australia and New Zealand policing support. “Solomon Islands Government fails to see how the improvement of (Royal Solomon Islands Police Force) traffic control and management system in Honiara, provision of police equipment or the completion of the Forensic Autopsy Lab is a threat to the Pacific region peace and security,” said the statement from Sogavare’s office. In the week before his China visit, Sogavare announced Australia’s security treaty would be reviewed.

Solomon Islands has a population of 700,000, across an archipelago that occupies a strategic position in the Pacific islands and was pivotal to the U.S. move west across the Pacific to liberate the Philippines in World War II.

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JANET YOON IN FINANCIAL TIMES

THE CHIPMAKING MARKET

5 JULY 2023

Investors are putting big bets on who the immediate winner will be in geopolitical backbiting between China and the US. China has hit back at mooted US-led restrictions on chip sales by limiting its own exports of two metals used in chipmaking.
By subjecting gallium and germanium to export restrictions, Beijing has set up roadblocks in the world’s chip manufacturing supply chain. The two materials are used in chip production and can serve as alternatives to some traditional silicon wafers. They are also needed in a wide range of products in the defence and renewable energy industries, including solar cells, night-vision devices and satellites.
China accounts for about two-thirds of the world’s germanium production and about 80 per cent of global gallium output.

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SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

18 JULY 2023

TAIWAN

Beijing sent a record number of warships close to Taiwan within a single day last week, surpassing a previous high set during the then US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei last year. People’s Liberation Army warships made 16 trips near Taiwan in the 24 hours before 6am on Saturday, the island’s defence ministry said, despite no announcement of any major drills nearby.
That topped the 14 warships sent towards Taiwan as Beijing, which considers Taiwan to be a breakaway province, reacted to Pelosi’s visit in August with days of unprecedented live-fire drills around the island.In April, it sent as many as 12 warships in a day as part of another large-scale exercise after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met Pelosi’s successor Kevin McCarthy in California.
Beijing has sent fighter jets and warships to Taiwan’s self-declared air defence identification zone (ADIZ) almost every day in recent years, as relations worsened under Tsai’s independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Those trips only intensified after Pelosi’s visit, with PLA jets more willing to fly across the median line of the Taiwan Strait, a tacit boundary that both sides generally abided by for decades until 2019. Beijing no longer recognises the line.

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SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST.

18 JULY 2023

CHINA AND SAUDI ARABIA

China’s Greater Bay Area development zone is of growing interest to Saudi Arabian investors who are looking to tap into the southern economic and business hub that they believe will be “the future of Asia”, according to the consul general of Saudi Arabia in Guangzhou.
The geographical location of the Greater Bay Area and its economic contributions to China, coupled with Beijing’s goal of turning it into “the world’s technology centre”, make the region a go-to destination for foreign investors, Abdullah bin Abiyah told the South China Morning Post.
“There is international infrastructure in the Greater Bay Area, which provides convenience to foreigners to live and work there,” the top diplomat added. “In the same bay area, Shenzhen is the tech city, Hong Kong is the financial city and Macau is the culture city.” Abiyah said that “the future of Asia” is the Greater Bay Area, which will also contribute a lot economically to the Belt and Road Initiative

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NIKKEI ASIA

12 APRIL 2023

US SEMI-CONDUCTORS ARRIVE IN RUSSIA

More than a year since the start of the Ukraine war, hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of U.S.-made semiconductors are flowing into Russia despite Washington’s sanctions on the country, a Nikkei investigation has found.
Washington banned the export of American semiconductors to Russia, except for humanitarian purposes and other special exceptions, on Feb. 24, 2022, immediately after Russia invaded its neighbor. The move was aimed at weakening Moscow’s ability to wage war by cutting off its access to semiconductors — chips are vital components in missiles, tanks, drones and military aircraft for functions including guidance systems, radar and nighttime image sensing, and U.S. manufacturers command a large share of the market for high-performance products.
But Russia has continued to acquire chips through circuitous routes, with a large portion flowing through small traders in Hong Kong and mainland China. To uncover these routes, Nikkei obtained Russian customs data from Export Genius, an Indian research company, and examined semiconductor import records from Feb. 24 to Dec. 31, 2022.
The records showed 3,292 transactions worth at least $100,000 each, and 2,358 of them — about 70% — were labeled as products of U.S. chipmakers such as Intel, Advanced Micro Devices, Texas Instruments and many others. The total value of these transactions was at least $740 million. Of those transactions, 1,774 — about 75% — were shipped from Hong Kong or mainland China, and many of the shippers were small or midsize companies, some of which were established after the Ukraine invasion.

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