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Daily Brief: Chinese Officials Call for Cooperation at U.S.-China Strategic Dialogue

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June 6, 2016

Daily News Brief

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Chinese Officials Call for Cooperation at U.S.-China Strategic Dialogue

Chinese President Xi Jinping called on the United States and China to "not to adopt a confrontational attitude" toward the countries' differences as the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue opened in Beijing (IBT). The two countries should cultivate "common circles of friends" rather than "exclusive circles of friends," Xi said (Xinhua). U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew (SCMP) are attending the two-day conference, which will include discussions on maritime disputes in the South China Sea, monetary policy, and a proposed U.S.-China bilateral investment treaty. The conference comes as tensions escalate in the South China Sea, with a Chinese admiral blaming the United States for "openly showing its military muscle" and backing "allies that are confronting China" during an Asian defense summit in Singapore  this weekend (FT).


"According to the U.S.-China Business Council, U.S. foreign direct investment in China has remained fairly steady, at between $2.7 and $4.1 billion per year, since 2008. Chinese investment in the United States, however, has skyrocketed in the same period – going from less than $1 billion in 2008 to $11.9 billion in 2014 (down from a high of $14 billion in 2013). As these numbers indicate, the objectives of both sides are different. U.S. firms hope that a successful BIT could open up what has become a stagnant investment environment in China. Chinese firms – which are in the midst of drastically expanding their investments in America — seek a streamlined investment process that would eliminate fears of bias and excess scrutiny from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S.," Shannon Tiezzi writes for the Diplomat.

"When it comes to military solutions to manage China’s rise, the Pentagon — swift, clear and measured — affirms  just how honed the U.S. military reflexes are. No doubt, the Pentagon’s handling of territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas has had its shortcomings, but U.S. military leaders have in relatively short order managed to settle on, communicate and execute a concrete set of responses to Chinese provocations. By contrast, America and its Pacific allies enjoy no such economic counterpart to what the U.S. military alliance structure represents on the security side. There is no comparable framework or vision for jointly exercising economic muscle," CFR's Jennifer M. Harris writes for the World Post.

"In addition to the tensions on the water, China is also facing a legal battle at the permanent court of arbitration in The Hague, where the Philippines has brought a case challenging Beijing’s 'nine-dash line' claim to almost the entire sea. In Singapore, Mr Carter joined counterparts from Japan, France, the UK and other nations in accusing China of disregarding international law by refusing to recognise the right of the court to hear the case, in which a ruling is expected within months. Chinese officials, who have struggled to find many supporters for their position beyond the likes of Russia and Belarus, retorted that the Philippines was twisting international law and that the US was hypocritical because it has yet to ratify the UN law of the sea under which the case was brought," Ben Bland writes for the Financial Times.


U.S. Navy Imposes Drinking, Free Travel Ban on 18,600 Soldiers in Okinawa

The U.S. Navy imposed a drinking ban on its soldiers stationed in Okinawa, Japan, following the arrest of a U.S. soldier suspected of driving under the influence and injuring two people (Reuters). The accident follows the arrest of an U.S. civilian contractor for allegedly killing a Japanese woman; U.S. President Barack Obama expressed "deepest regrets" over the incident during a recent visit to Japan (Japan Times).

CFR's Sheila A. Smith examines U.S.-Japan relations in this World Politics Review article. 


Gunmen Kill Six in Kazakh City of Aktobe

In near-simultaneous attacks on two firearms stores and a national guard base, gunmen killed three soldiers and three civilians (Al Jazeera) in Aktobe. Kazakh authorities said security forces had killed five of the suspected gunmen and arrested two overnight (RFE/RL).

INDIA: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Switzerland on Monday (Hindustan Times) for the third leg of a five-country tour that will bring him to the United States later today (WSJ). The visit will be Modi's seventh meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama (FT).


Fighters Loyal to Libyan Unity Government Capture Military Base Near Sirte

Forces allied with the UN-backed Libyan Unity Government captured the Gardabiya air force base near the city of Sirte following weeks of heavy fighting against militants from the self-proclaimed Islamic State (Al Jazeera). Also in Libya, officials from the Red Cross and a city government announced that the bodies of 132 migrants had washed up on the country's shores over a period of four days (Middle East Eye).

SAUDI ARABIA: A spokesman (Saudi Gazette) for the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen said a UN report that added the coalition to a blacklist of groups that violate children's rights in conflict zones was "imbalanced and does not rely on credible statistics." The report said (Reuters) that the coalition was responsible for 60 percent of child deaths in the Yemen conflict last year.


Nigeria Says It Recovered $9.1 Billion in Corrupt Assets

Nigeria's information minister said that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari had recovered $9.1 billion in stolen money and assets in the year since Buhari assumed the presidency (Reuters). The minister did not name the individuals from whom the funds had been recovered.

WEST AFRICA: Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected to head the Economic Commission of West African States in a summit in Dakar, Senegal (VOA). She called on ECOWAS members to work together against terrorism, to promote intelligence sharing, and to improve coordination with the African Union and United Nations.


Report: EU Efforts to Stem Migration to be Backed by $60 Billion in Funds

A strategy paper from the European Commission reviewed by the Financial Times (FT) outlines EU measures to refocus its relations with neighbors around a goal of stemming migration. The "partnership framework" uses the March EU-Turkey migration deal as a template for relations with other countries in Africa and the Middle East.

This CFR Backgrounder examines the countries involved in Europe's migration crisis.

SWITZERLAND: Voters rejected a proposal for a universal basic income (BBC) in Switzerland, the first country to hold a vote on such a proposal. 


Exit Polls Shows Small Lead for Former Finance Minister in Peru Election

An exit poll and partial ballot count showed former Finance Minister Pedro Pablo Kuczynski slightly ahead of Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of jailed former President Alberto Fujimori, in Peru's presidential election (Bloomberg).

CFR's Matthew Taylor discusses what is at stake in Peru's election and Latin America's "right turn" in this blog post.

MEXICO: Twelve of Mexico's thirty-two states voted for new governors, along with mayors and hundreds of local legislators (LA Times).


Sanders: U.S. Intervention in Libya Was a Mistake

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D–VT) said (CNN) he would not have backed a U.S. intervention in Libya in 2011, unlike his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton who supported the move, when leader Muammar Gaddafi threatened to kill rebels and regime opponents. Tuesday’s Democratic primary in California could give front-runner Clinton the delegates she needs to become the party's presumptive nominee.

Track and compare the candidates’ positions on major foreign policy issues with CFR’s interactive, The Candidates and the World.

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