August 12, 2022- Stealth War 100: Indian and U.S. Militaries to Hold Joint Exercises; Five Chinese State-Owned Behemoths to Delist from U.S. Stock Markets; Sri Lanka Defers to India, Barring Entry to Chinese Survey Vessel; Japan Conducts First Maritime Exercises with the Solomon Islands; China’s Envoy to Afghanistan Visits India, Holds Talks

By: Jamestown Foundation

Fri August, 2022, Age: 10 months



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August 12, 2022

Welcome to the Stealth War Newsletter, a collection of the top 5 recent news items, collected on The Jamestown Foundation’s website, To continue to receive this weekly collection, click the button below to subscribe. 

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Stat Du Jour 
This issue’s number to watchTwo Percent

Portion of Taiwanese nationals who identify solely as Chinese.

This Week: 

Indian and U.S. Militaries to Hold Joint Exercises along India’s Himalayan Border with China

* Five Chinese State-Owned Behemoths to Delist from U.S. Stock Markets

* Sri Lanka Defers to India, Barring Entry to Chinese Survey Vessel

Japan Conducts First Maritime Exercises with the Solomon Islands

* China’s Envoy to Afghanistan Visits India, Holds Talks

Top Stories

(source: DOD Flickr)

Indian and U.S. Militaries to Hold Joint Exercises along India’s Himalayan Border with China 

On August 10, Nikkei Asia confirmed that the U.S. and Indian militaries will carry out high-altitude, joint combat training on the contested Himalayan border between India and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from October 18 to 31. Joint military exercises regularly occur between the two nations, even within the state of Uttarakhand, but what makes this event distinct is its location Auli, Uttarakhand and the current geopolitical tensions between the two nations and the PRC. Auli is about 100 kilometers (km) (62 miles) away from the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which serves as the de facto boundary in lieu of an official border demarcation agreement between Beijing and New Delhi. This interactive map does an excellent job of illustrating the region as well as other contested areas. Enmeshed deep in the mountains, the location will allow for training at an altitude of 3,000 meters (9,842.52 feet), whereas previous exercises in the state were only in the foothills and were over 300 km (186 miles) away from the LAC, or took place in Alaska.

Beijing will undoubtedly view the exercises as a provocation in the context of the US’s increased interest in defending Taiwan and a major military buildup on the LAC between China and India. The timing of the exercises is particularly sensitive for Beijing as they will take place around the 20th Chinese Communist Party National Congress in November, wherein Xi hopes to solidify his power by gaining another term as a paramount leader.

Observers have noted that India appears to be taking a relatively measured approach to security cooperation with the US. Specifically, it could have held the exercises closer to where the violent clashes and consequential military build-ups are taking place, but instead it appears to be signaling to Beijing that it will not back down from its border disputes or cooperation with the U.S. but also that it does not seek to be overly antagonistic.

(source: CGTN)

Five Chinese State-Owned Behemoths to Delist from U.S. Stock Markets

On Friday, five large Chinese state-owned enterprises announced their intention to voluntarily delist from U.S. markets, before they are likely to be pushed out in 2024 due to an auditing dispute. The companies which plan to delist from the New York Stock Exchange include PetroChina, China Life Insurance Company and SinoPec.

The decision is the culmination of a two-decade dispute between Washington and Beijing over whether to permit U.S. regulators access to  Chinese companies’ audit work papers. Negotiators have been unable to reach a compromise with a congressionally imposed deadline for the Chinese companies listed in the U.S. to comply by 2024.  Approximately 300 businesses based in China and Hong Kong — with upwards of $2.4 trillion in market value – could be removed from U.S. stock exchanges if a deal is not reached. Chinese state communications technology giants China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom were delisted from U.S. stock markets in 2021 as a result of a decision made under the Trump administration to restrict U.S. investment in Chinese technology firms.

The companies’ move to exit U.S. exchanges comes during increased U.S.-China tensions in the aftermath of U.S. House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last week.

(source: Wikipedia)

Sri Lanka Defers to India, Barring Entry to Chinese Survey Vessel

The visit of the Chinese vessel Yuan Wang 5 to Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port has been deferred indefinitely at the behest of India due to concerns over the ship’s espionage capabilities. The Yuan Wang 5 was set to make port on August 11 and due to stay until August 17, but is now idling around 600 nautical miles away in the Indian Ocean, awaiting negotiations between Beijing and Colombo. In response to the deferral, China termed the reaction “senseless”, asking India not to disturb exchanges between the two countries conducted on a normal basis. Nevertheless, the Yuan Wang 5 continues to languish in the open seas, which the Chinese ostensibly claim was moving toward the island for refueling and replenishment.

The Yuan Wang 5 was constructed at Jiangnan shipyard and entered service in 2007. A third-generation scientific research ship of the Yuan Wang series, the ship is responsible for supporting the PLA in its space and satellite tracking missions, such as the Shenzhou-13 mission last October. The vessel is equipped with state of the art tracking technology for transoceanic aerospace observation, and sits at 222 meters long and 25.2 meters wide. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, these types of ships are usually operated by the Strategic Support Force of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) with the express purpose of tracking satellite and aerospace activity. By lodging its protest, the Indian government is expressing its opinion that the vessel poses a threat to its aerospace security, and that the Hambantota port is an ideal place from which the Chinese vessel can track Indian satellites and aerospace projects. With a range of 700 to 750 kilometers, from Hambantota the Yuan Wang 5 would be able to monitor the activities of the Indian satellite base at Sriharikota, the Kalpakkam Atomic power plant, the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, and six different naval ports across Southern India, including India’s southern naval command at Kochi.

(source: Kyodo News)

Japan Conducts First Maritime Exercises with the Solomon Islands

On August 8, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) completed its first ever joint drill with the Solomon Islands’ maritime police. The exercise involved the JMSDF destroyer Kirisame, the Police Maritime’s patrol boat Taro, and the U.S. littoral combat ship Oakland. This occurred one day after senior officials from the U.S. and Japan visited the country to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal. During their visit they vowed to strengthen their cooperation with Honiara, amidst the backdrop of increasing influence in the region vis a vis the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

The Solomon Islands have no dedicated military force and instead rely upon the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF), of which the Police Maritime are a subdivision, for its security. However, the RSIPF was heavily reliant on the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) (2003-2017), which largely consisted of soldiers and police from Australia and New Zealand. As a result, the RSIPF is still finding its footing, receiving supplies and training from former RAMSI partner states, the U.S., and increasingly the PRC. In this realm, over the years Japan has taken on a special role; assisting the RSIPF with the removal of explosive ordinance from World War II. As Tokyo continues to increase its military capabilities in the face of Beijing’s saber rattling, one anticipates that the scale of its assistance and exercises with the Solomon Islands and other Pacific Island nations will increase.

(source: Hindustan Times)

China’s Envoy to Afghanistan Visits India, Holds Talks 

In early August, China’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Yue Xiaoyong, traveled to India to hold discussions with senior Indian officials on the security dynamics of the Taliban-controlled country. Yue’s visit to India follows his recent visits to Pakistan and Turkey to discuss the same matters. According to official sources, the Chinese government requested the meeting, demonstrating recognition for the first time that India is an important stakeholder in the war-torn South Asian country. This was the first time a Chinese special envoy on Afghanistan had ever visited India, and marks the second visit by a senior Chinese official this year after Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi’s visit in March. According to Yue Xiaoyong’s Twitter feed, the envoy exchanged views with the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson for Afghanistan J.P. Singh. Yue said that both sides agreed to “encourage engagement, enhance dialogue and give positive energy for Afghan peace and stability.” Without giving more details, sources claimed that the discussions between the two ministers concerned the status of security in Afghanistan and humanitarian assistance requirements. The discussions mark a shift in the relationship between the two countries with regards to Afghanistan, which has been frayed since 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and the China-India military stand-off in eastern Ladakh that same year. Prior to the recent downturn relations, India and China were cooperating in a joint capacity-building program for Afghan diplomats, wherein Afghan diplomats would travel to India and China to be trained in various subjects in intensive two-week sessions. The meeting between the two ministers, thus, represents a small thawing on the issue of Afghanistan, but does not completely surmount the high-level of tension over the border issue and other points of contention in the China-India bilateral relationship. 




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