US-China relations: the pre-Trump warning shot that signalled trouble ahead

The souring relationship between Washington and Beijing was forewarned in 2005 ‘responsible stakeholder’ speechFormer State Department official Robert Zoellick provoked anger when he said China should not take access to the US for granted

Ethan Paul

Ethan Paul

Published: 12:00pm, 21 Sep, 2020 SCMP

Former US State Department official Robert Zoellick, who later served as president of the World Bank, gave a speech in 2005 warning of a rise in protectionist sentiment. Photo: AFP

Former US State Department official Robert Zoellick, who later served as president of the World Bank, gave a speech in 2005 warning of a rise in protectionist sentiment. Photo: AFP

When former deputy secretary of state Robert Zoellick stepped up to the podium to deliver the keynote address at the National Committee on US-China Relations’ annual gala in 2005, he was expected to offer the usual rosy celebration of the relationship reserved for such occasions. That did not happen.

Tiếp tục đọc “US-China relations: the pre-Trump warning shot that signalled trouble ahead”

Amid Row With US, China Comes Out With “Unreliable Entities List”

The launch of the “unreliable entities list” ups the ante in the escalating commercial fight with the Trump administration, which has used its own “entity list” to bar Huawei from the US market on national security grounds.

Agence France-Presse Updated: September 19, 2020 11:24 am IST

Amid Row With US, China Comes Out With 'Unreliable Entities List'

The United States and China are engaged in an escalating trade battle centring on technology.Shanghai, China: 

China said Saturday it had launched a mechanism enabling it to restrict foreign entities, a much-anticipated move seen as retaliation to US penalties against Chinese companies such as telecom giant Huawei.

Tiếp tục đọc “Amid Row With US, China Comes Out With “Unreliable Entities List””

In a US-China war, whose side is Southeast Asia on? Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia ponder the unthinkable

Amid China’s military drills near Taiwan and fears that the South China Sea is becoming a proxy for Washington and Beijing’s deepening rivalry, Asian analysts are considering the worst-case scenario

Caught between superpowers clashing in their own backyard, Southeast Asian nations might find staying neutral is not an option

Alan Robles
Dewey Sim

Alan Robles and Dewey Sim in Singapore

Published: 9:00am, 19 Sep, 2020 SCMP

USS Ronald Reagan leads an American carrier strike group. Photo: US Navy

USS Ronald Reagan leads an American carrier strike group. Photo: US Navy

Across Southeast Asia, scenario planning exercises by analysts and policymakers preparing for the unthinkable – a military clash between the world’s two largest economies in their backyard – has taken on added significance in recent weeks.Tensions between the US and China, already fraught over trade,technology and the South China Sea, deepened as Beijing protested against Washington’s ties to Taipei and conducted military activities close to the self-ruled island last week.

Tiếp tục đọc “In a US-China war, whose side is Southeast Asia on? Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia ponder the unthinkable”

VOA – Mỹ đầu tư vào Mekong trong chiến lược đối trọng với Trung quốc – The Mekong-US partnership: The Mekong Region deserves good partners

The Mekong-U.S. Partnership: The Mekong Region Deserves Good Partners



SEPTEMBER 14, 2020Share

The launch of the Mekong-U.S. Partnership reflects the importance of the Mekong region to the United States.  Our relationship with Mekong partner countries is an integral part of our Indo-Pacific vision and our strategic partnership with ASEAN.  With more than $150 million in initial investments in regional programs, we will build on the good work of the Lower Mekong Initiative and the $3.5 billion in regional U.S. assistance during the last eleven years.

The Mekong-U.S. Partnership is committed to the autonomy, economic independence, good governance, and sustainable growth of Mekong partner countries.  The United States has dedicated more than $52 million to fight COVID-19 in the region, building on more than twenty years of Mekong-U.S. cooperation on infectious diseases.  We have supported economic growth with more than $1 billion to develop infrastructure in ASEAN countries through the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), and plan to invest billions more in the coming years.

The Mekong-U.S. Partnership will also continue to strengthen water security and the work of the Mekong River Commission.  It will include $55 million in planned new investments to help our Mekong partners combat transnational crime, including narcotrafficking and trafficking in persons, arms, and wildlife.  It will also increase support for energy security and electricity sector development through Asia EDGE (Enhancing Development and Growth), the Japan-U.S.-Mekong Power Partnership (JUMMP), and the Japan-U.S. Strategic Energy Partnership (JUSEP).  In all our efforts, the United States intends to work closely with partners like Japan, Australia, South Korea, India, and other good friends of the Mekong.

We need to be candid, however, about the challenges we face, including those from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which increasingly threatens the Mekong’s natural environments and economic autonomy.

The CCP’s unilateral decisions to withhold water upstream have exacerbated an historic drought.  The United States stands with the region and the Mekong River Commission in calling for transparent data sharing. We encourage countries of the Mekong region to hold the CCP accountable to its pledge to share its water data.  That data should be public.  It should be released year-round.  It should include water and water-related data, as well as land use, and dam construction and operation data.  And it should be shared through the Mekong River Commission, the organization that serves the interests of Mekong-region countries, not those of Beijing.

We are also concerned about infrastructure-linked debt and the predatory and opaque business practices of Beijing’s state-owned actors, such as China Communications Construction Company.  Concerning also is the boom in trafficking of persons, drugs, and wildlife, much of which emanates from organizations, companies, and special economic zones linked to the CCP.

Countries of the Mekong region have undergone an amazing journey in the last few decades. They deserve good partners.  Through the Mekong-U.S. Partnership, we look forward to many more years of collaboration to ensure a peaceful, secure, and prosperous Mekong region.

Luật Đầu tư theo hình thức đối tác công tư



Căn cứ Hiến pháp nước Cộng hòa xã hội chủ nghĩa Việt Nam;

Quốc hội ban hành Luật Đầu tư theo phương thức đối tác công tư.

Chương I


Điều 1. Phạm vi điều chỉnh

Luật này quy định về hoạt động đầu tư theo phương thức đối tác công tư; quản lý nhà nước, quyền, nghĩa vụ và trách nhiệm của cơ quan, tổ chức, cá nhân có liên quan đến hoạt động đầu tư theo phương thức đối tác công tư.

Điều 2. Đối tượng áp dụng

Luật này áp dụng đối với các bên trong hợp đồng đầu tư theo phương thức đối tác công tư, cơ quan quản lý nhà nước và cơ quan, tổ chức, cá nhân có liên quan đến hoạt động đầu tư theo phương thức đối tác công tư.

Tiếp tục đọc “Luật Đầu tư theo hình thức đối tác công tư”

Loạt bài về biểu giá bán lẻ điện sinh hoạt của Việt Nam

05:13 |04/09/2020 nangluongvn

Đề xuất phương pháp xây dựng biểu giá bán lẻ điện sinh hoạt của Việt Nam [Kỳ 1]

05:13 |04/09/2020

 –  Giá bán lẻ điện ở nước ta là vấn đề nổi cộm từ nhiều năm nay, đặc biệt nó lại rộ lên khi chuẩn bị ban hành biểu giá bán lẻ điện mới. Nguyên nhân chính là do đến nay chưa có một phương pháp xây dựng biểu giá bán lẻ điện nói chung và giá bán lẻ điện sinh hoạt nói riêng, trong đó làm rõ một cách căn cơ và giải đáp một cách thỏa mãn các nguyên tắc, căn cứ, phương pháp xác định biểu giá bán lẻ điện và việc áp dụng các nguyên tắc, căn cứ đó vào việc xác định giá bán lẻ điện trong từng thời kỳ. Trong chuyên đề này, chuyên gia Tạp chí Năng lượng Việt Nam đề xuất phương pháp xây dựng biểu giá bán lẻ điện sinh hoạt của Việt Nam với mục đích góp phần giải quyết một trong những vấn đề nổi cộm của ngành điện nước ta từ nhiều năm nay. 

Tiếp tục đọc “Loạt bài về biểu giá bán lẻ điện sinh hoạt của Việt Nam”

Advancing Reciprocity in U.S.- China Diplomatic Relations



SEPTEMBER 2, 2020Share

For years, the PRC has imposed significant barriers on American diplomats working in the PRC that are far beyond diplomatic norms. PRC authorities implement a system of opaque approval processes designed to prevent American diplomats from conducting regular business and connecting with the Chinese people. U.S. diplomats’ attempts to host cultural events, secure official meetings, and visit university campuses are regularly obstructed.

In the United States, by contrast, PRC diplomats have enjoyed open access to American society, while ignoring sustained U.S. entreaties to improve the balance. In response to the PRC’s longstanding restrictions on U.S. diplomats and refusal to engage in good faith on fundamental matters of reciprocity and mutual respect, the Department of State is compelled to impose certain new requirements on PRC diplomats.

The Department of State will now require senior PRC diplomats in the United States to receive approval to visit U.S. university campuses and to meet with local government officials. Cultural events with an audience larger than 50 people hosted by the PRC embassy and consular posts outside of mission properties will also require Department of State approval. The Department of State will also take action to help ensure that all official PRC embassy and consular social media accounts are properly identified as PRC government accounts, since the U.S. Embassy is denied unfettered access to PRC social media and PRC citizens are blocked from using Twitter and Facebook, amongst other social media platforms.

The United States insists on reciprocal access to educational and cultural institutions for U.S. diplomats around the world. These new requirements on PRC diplomats are a direct response to the excessive restraints already placed on our diplomats by the PRC, and they aim to provide further transparency on the practices of the PRC government. Should the PRC eliminate the restrictions imposed on U.S. diplomats, we stand ready to reciprocate.

It is impossible to impose human rights criteria of one country on another: NA member

vietnamnet 31/08/2020    07:00 GMT+7

Major General Nguyen Thanh Hong, standing member of the National Assembly’s National Defense and Security Committee, told VietNamNet that the Law on Cyber Security was created to ensure human rights and citizenship.

Good medicine for a number of diseases

As a member actively participating in the assessment process of the Law on Cyber Security who said that “this law creates a legal mechanism to protect the legitimate rights and interests of organizations, individuals, domestic and foreign enterprises,” over a year after the law took effect, what can you say now about your comment?


Góp ý về Lộ trình phát triển điện gió ngoài khơi cho Việt Nam – Comments on Offshore wind roadmap for Vietnam 

Comments on Offshore wind road map for Vietnam

See comments in English below

Tháng 7.2020, Ngân Hàng Thế Giới đưa ra Báo cáo giữa kỳ về Lộ trình điện gió ngoài khơi cho Việt để tham vấn công khai các bên.

Báo cáo đề cập các khía cạnh bao quát cần được xem xét trong phát triển gió ngoài khơi Việt Nam. Báo cáo này có nội dung kỹ thuật rất đáng kể và cho thấy nhóm nghiên cứu thực hiện  khối lượng công việc nghiên cứu khá chuyên sâu trong một thời gian ngắn.

Tuy nhiên, còn nhiều điểm chúng tôi mong muốn nhấn mạnh nhưng chưa được đề cập trong báo cáo này

1. Báo cáo không đề cập đến việc can thiệp  của Trung Quốc trên Biển Đông (Biển Nam Trung Hoa) có thể ảnh hưởng tới các dự án điện gió ngoài khơi của VIệt Nam . Toàn bộ vùng biển, từ miền Bắc Việt Nam đến Khánh Hòa có thể không ổn định cho các nhà đầu tư quốc tế. (Nhưng tất nhiên, đây là một thực tế không thể đưa vào trong báo cáo vì vấn đề này vẫn chưa có giải pháp thực sự hiệu quả).

2. Báo cáo dựa trên giả thiết với nền hệ thống pháp lý, chế độ chính trị và hành chính hiện hành của Việt Nam và hiện trạng sẽ tiếp diễn, và không đề cập đến những thay đổi về mặt cấu trúc cần thiết đối với hệ thống này, đặc biệt trong ngành năng lượng. Điều đó có nghĩa là, tất cả các vấn đề hành chính đang tồn tại sẽ vẫn còn đó, và sẽ tiếp tục cản trở sự phát triển của ngành năng lượng, bao gồm phát triển điện gió ngoài khơi.
Tiếp tục đọc “Góp ý về Lộ trình phát triển điện gió ngoài khơi cho Việt Nam – Comments on Offshore wind roadmap for Vietnam “

Vietnam’s lawmaker addresses dual citizenship exposed in Cyprus Papers

Wednesday, August 26, 2020, 16:39 GMT+7 tuoitre

Vietnam’s lawmaker addresses dual citizenship exposed in Cyprus Papers
Pham Phu Quoc, a deputy of Vietnam’s lawmaking National Assembly for 2016-21, is seen in a file photo.

A serving member of Vietnam’s lawmaking National Assembly (NA) has addressed the controversy around his dual citizenship exposed in an exclusive report by the Al Jazeera.

Dozens of major political figures and their families have bought Cyprus citizenship through the ‘golden passport’ program of the Cypriot government, the Al Jazeera reported on Monday after obtaining what they call ‘The Cyprus Papers.’

Such papers are a batch of leaked documents containing more than 1,400 approved applications for the Cyprus Investment Programme (CIP) run by the Republic of Cyprus.

“The programme allows people to buy a Cypriot passport, and by extension become European Union citizens, by investing at least €2.15 million ($2.5 million) in the country,” the Al Jazeera said in their investigative report.

Named in the papers is Pham Phu Quoc, the incumbent NA representative from Ho Chi Minh City who is serving the 2016-21 tenure.

Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper was able to interview Quoc on Tuesday to give further details on his Cyprus citizenship.

Tiếp tục đọc “Vietnam’s lawmaker addresses dual citizenship exposed in Cyprus Papers”

Việt Nam demands China to stop military exercises in Paracel islands

Update: August, 26/2020 – 12:15|vietnamnewsChina’s Liaoning aircraft carrier sailing during a drill in the South China Sea in 2018. — AFP/VNA Photo

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam has condemned China’s latest military drill in Hoàng Sa (Paracel) islands as a move against the country’s territorial integrity and regional peace.

The statement was made by Việt Nam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Lê Thị Thu Hằng on Wednesday over reported Chinese naval exercises and live-fire drills in a part of the Paracels lying within the hotly contested South China Sea (known in Việt Nam as the East Sea) on August 24-29.

Tiếp tục đọc “Việt Nam demands China to stop military exercises in Paracel islands”

Can We Be Forced to Say Something We Don’t Believe? Ask This Teacher

Rachel del Guidice @LRacheldG / August 25, 2020 / Daily Signal

French teacher Peter Vlaming, who had taught since 2012 at West Point High School in West Point, Virginia, was fired in December 2018. (Photo: Alliance Defending Freedom)

A French teacher at West Point High School in West Point, Virginia, was fired for not using pronouns preferred by a transgender student.

Should people be forced to contradict their core beliefs just to keep a job? Can you be compelled to speak a message you don’t believe in?

Caleb Dalton, a counsel with the Christian legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom who represents the teacher, Peter Vlaming, joins “The Daily Signal Podcast” to discuss the issues involved.

Rachel del Guidice: I’m joined today on “The Daily Signal Podcast” by Caleb Dalton, who serves as legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom. Caleb, it’s great to have you on “The Daily Signal Podcast.”

Tiếp tục đọc “Can We Be Forced to Say Something We Don’t Believe? Ask This Teacher”

On Thailand, Stay True to American Values

Walter Lohman / August 21, 2020 / Daily Signal

Protesters hold lights and three-finger salutes during a protest on Aug. 21 in Bangkok, Thailand. (Photo: Allison Joyce/Getty Images)


Walter Lohman

Walter Lohman is director of the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation.

There is a long-held logic in Washington that puts so-called geostrategic interests ahead of values. The idea is that we cannot afford to stand for liberty because our global competitors do not.

If we alienate oppressive governments by criticizing them or pushing for political reform, the logic follows, they will side with our competitors and tilt the game board against us.

This is a much too simple way of looking at the world.

A case in point right now is what is happening in Thailand. For weeks, thousands have been demonstrating in favor of democratic reform, which the Thai government is already attempting to suppress.

How are socialists deluding a whole generation? Learn more now >>

If the U.S. turns a blind eye to this suppression—or sides with the Thai authorities—out of fear of pushing the Thai government closer to Beijing, we will be betraying our own democratic values.

The demonstrators are calling for a new constitution and greater freedom of expression. Protesters also are calling for constraints on the power of the Thai monarchy—a very touchy subject in Thailand, as criticism of the monarchy can land one in prison for up to 15 years.

It is hard to blame them. The state of democracy in Thailand today is not good. Elections held last year were best described as “partly free and not fair.” Although they did provide for a transition to civilian government, the military remains very much in control of the Thai political structure.

The strong influence of the military is by design. The country’s 2017 constitution, drafted by the Thai military junta, was written precisely to keep the military in, to keep former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra (and other opposition like the former Future Forward Party) out, and to augment the powers and privileges of the monarchy.

Of course, Thailand is not the worst abuser of liberal freedoms. Freedom House now classifies it as partly free—a status it holds with several other countries in Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, which have regular elections.

The U.S. is right to engage Thailand as the valuable treaty ally it is. The Thai people, however, are also right to demand more of their government.

A relatively low-grade crackdown is already underway, and likely will intensify. The best model may be the current situation in Hong Kong, which Thai authorities may see as the most efficient approach to shutting down dissent.

Like Hong Kong following Beijing’s imposition of its “national security law,” the legal structure is in place in Thailand to target protest leaders and try to decapitate the movement.

There is also the possibility of a much broader, violent shutdown of the protests that anyone familiar with the Thammasat University massacre of 1976 shudders to consider.

In either case, the U.S. must stay true to its values. It cannot condone the arrest of political activists or a broader crackdown on peaceful protests. The Trump administration should speak out and take action against individuals responsible—as it has in Hong Kong.

If things cascade into another military takeover, Washington will be compelled to curtail the extent of its military cooperation with Thailand—as it did after other recent coups in 2006 and 2014. 

Is this ceding the field to the People’s Republic of China in what is now a global strategic competition? Not at all.

Certainly, in the short term, Beijing will seek to gain an advantage, as it has at other tense points in U.S.-Thai relations. But Thailand has long had a good security relationship with China, the best in Southeast Asia, in fact. That is not the doing of the U.S.

Thailand is the classic fence-sitter. It wants to engage both the U.S. and China, and barring the former, will still be wary of drawing too close to the latter.

In the longer term, American interests align with the Thai people. They will remember where we were in these days of protests. Any tactical edge we may gain with U.S.-Thai military exercises or new arms sales will be overshadowed by their disappointment in our sense of priorities.   

American values are a strategic asset, not a liability. We may soon be called upon to treat them as such.