China Power

Xinhua: ASEAN Should Avoid Being Divided by South China Sea Issue

Vietnam-China tensions, PLA officers indicted, and a terrorist attack in Urumqi: this week’s China links.

Xinhua: ASEAN Should Avoid Being Divided by South China Sea Issue
Credit: ASEAN image via Shutterstock

It was a busy week in China news, with the China-Vietnam stand-off continuing, the U.S. charging five PLA officers with cybercrimes, and a terrorist attack bringing tragedy to Xinjiang. Below, some stories you may have missed on the developments:

Xinhua responds to the news that Vietnam and the Philippines are growing closer together in the wake of China’s aggressive actions in the South China Sea. Xinhua warns that ASEAN risks being divided by the tensions (which it sees as being stoked by the U.S.). “If the ASEAN were divided and marginalized, the United States would be most likely to give only a nonchalant shrug,” Xinhua quotes unnamed analysts as saying.

Wall Street Journal reports that new information from a Chinese company in Vietnam has raised the death toll of last’s weeks anti-China riots, with an additional four reported dead. Meanwhile, the Vietnamese government has promised to compensate affected businesses for their losses, but negotiations over the proper amount of payment will be difficult. At Quartz, Lily Kuo discusses the choice Vietnam faces: pay compensation now, or risk losing millions of dollars in foreign investment in the future.

Over at ChinaFile, a group of experts discusses whether the Department of Justice’s case against Chinese officers was the best response to China’s cyber attacks. After all, the case will go absolutely nowhere as the accused will never set foot in an American courtroom. The general consensus is that these moves are a sign of frustration on the part of the Obama administration, and are designed to show China how seriously the U.S. takes the issue of economic cyber espionage. That being said, most of the experts still feel the move will be counter-productive.

Meanwhile, Wired tackles the elephant in the room by exploring how the U.S. charges against PLA officers could be “awkward” for the NSA. Wired notes that the U.S. indictment could pave the way for future charges against the NSA—and not just by China, but by other countries that feel the NSA’s actions harmed their countries’ businesses (Brazil being one possible claimant). And of course, naming and shaming Chinese officers for doing their jobs (even if those jobs happened to involve cyber espionage) will not do much to lift morale among those doing similar work at the NSA.

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Finally, China Daily has a collection of stories mapping the response to the terrorist attack at Urumqi that claimed 31 lives. The reactions (mostly from China, but also from other nations) are worth a read-through. Among other tidbits, China Daily reports that Xinjiang has started a “one-year crackdown on violent terrorist activities” and has started increased security checks at Urumqi’s entry points to prevent weapons smuggling.

And, in case you missed it, The Diplomat‘s Mu Chunshan wrote an op-ed piece about the divergence between official portrayals of Uyghurs and the increasingly negative image social media is giving the Uyghur ethnic group. The Uyghurs, he writes, have been given “two faces” in public portrayals, neither of which really addresses the underlying issues of Uyghur identity and the lack of a sense of “belonging” in China.