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July 22, 2022- Stealth War 97: Chinese Ambassador Downplays Partnership with Russia, Warns U.S. on Taiwan; United Kingdom and Japan Announce Joint-Fighter Project; What Does China’s Involvement in the Development of Nigeria’s First Deep-Water Port Portend?; HSBC Report Acknowledges CCP Party Cells in Private Companies in China, Claims They Have “No Influence”; China Slams Canada over Statement on Hong Kong

By: Jamestown Foundation

Fri July, 2022, Age: 1 year



July 22, 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 watch$4.9 Billion

Total cost to remove equipment made by Huawei and ZTE from U.S. telecommunications networks, per the Federal Communications Commission.

This Week: 

Chinese Ambassador Downplays Partnership with Russia, Warns U.S. on Taiwan 

* United Kingdom and Japan Announce Joint-Fighter Project

* What Does China’s Involvement in the Development of Nigeria’s First Deep-Water Port Portend?

HSBC Report Acknowledges CCP Party Cells in Private Companies in China, Claims They Have “No Influence”

* China Slams Canada over Statement on Hong Kong 

Top Stories

(source: CGTN)

Chinese Ambassador Downplays Partnership with Russia, Warns U.S. on Taiwan 

This week, Ambassador Qin Gang participated in a discussion at the Aspen Institute Security Forum. In his remarks, he castigated the Biden administration for “undermining the one-China principle” and worsening tensions over “so-called” human rights issues in Hong Kong and Xinjiang. Notably, Ambassador Qin’s remarks occurred after the Financial Times reported that U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi is planning to visit Taiwan in August. At the same time however, Qin sought to downplay China’s “no-limits” partnership with Vladimir Putin’s Russia, claiming the relationship is “misunderstood” and not “an alliance.” Instead, Qin implied that Beijing and Moscow are drawn together due to their shared opposition to the “cold war mentality” of the U.S.

Qin has held the post of ambassador for a year. He assumed the post from Cui Tiankai, an experienced diplomat, who during his eight-year run as ambassador, established a reputation as a seasoned “America hand” with a successful track record of soft peddling the growing strains in the bilateral relationship. Qin, who sometimes resorts to more caustic rhetoric in the mold of China’s wolf-warrior diplomacy, has sought to continue this balancing act and has kept a busy schedule of engagements. Nevertheless, Qin has sometimes struggled to make headway. For example, the PRC officially prioritized the 50th anniversary of the Shanghai Communique earlier this year. To mark the event, the National Committee on US-China Relations held a gala in New York City, which Qin addressed. While high-profile ex-U.S. officials such as Secretary of State Henry Kissinger spoke at the festivities, no serving U.S. officials participated, and the U.S. Government did not officially acknowledge the signing of the Shanghai Communique.

(source: Defense News)

United Kingdom and Japan Announce Joint-Fighter Project

The United Kingdom recently announced that Japan will join its Future Combat Air System (FCAS) project. UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace stated that by joining FCAS, Japanese defense companies will work with British and Italian manufacturers to develop new weapons technologies, sensor systems, and a new fighter jet. The project will be headed by British BAE systems in collaboration with Japan’s Mitsubishi Electric, Italy’s Elettronica Group and Sweden’s SAAB AB. Leonardo UK, another British defense company in the project, has already begun collaborative efforts with Mitsubishi to develop the JAGUAR radar technology demonstrator. Britain and Japan plan to merge their respective Tempest and F-X next generation fighter projects through the FCAS. British defense officials aim for the sixth generation fighter to be operational by 2035. Moreover, Tokyo hopes the plane can serve as a successor to its Air Self-Defense Force’s F-2 fighter.

In the past, Japanese Defense officials worked with United States Defense company Lockheed Martin to help develop its fighters. Notably, Lockheed Martin helped Japan develop the F-2 fighter in conjunction with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. However, it seems US-Japanese collaboration on the F-X project has ended. The burgeoning collaboration between the UK and Japan indicates a growing desire among U.S. allies for self-sufficiency in defense production. Following its departure from the European Union, Britain has sought to develop a separate fighter jet project from the France-Germany-Spain plan.

(source: Stears)

What Does China’s Involvement in the Development of Nigeria’s First Deep-Water Port Portend? 

On July 2, a megaship registered in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) became the first vessel to berth at the Lekki Port in Nigeria. The port is Nigeria’s first deep-water facility. Its development began in 2010 with funding primarily from the China Development Bank. It was “built by Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise, a special purpose vehicle owned by a group of investors led by state-owned China Harbor Engineering and Tolaram, a Singapore-based conglomerate, and including local and federal Nigerian governments.” The African Development Bank also assisted with funding the project. The port is located about 38 miles east of Africa’s largest metropolitan area, Lagos (estimated population of 21,320,000), inside the PRC controlled Lekki Free Trade Zone, which has been under development since 2006. It will increase Lagos’s regional capacity for shipping containers from 3,000 to 20,000, and allow up to five mega container ships to dock at the same time (each of which can carry around 20,000 shipping containers). Furthermore, the port is near a Nigerian-multinational oil refinery capable of producing 650,000 barrels per day, and a newly commissioned 500 hectare urea and ammonia fertilizer plant. The latter would be the second largest granulated urea producer in the world, at a time when there are ongoing global fertilizer shortages. Both the fuel and fertilizer are of significant value to Beijing as it struggles to maintain domestic stability.

For some time, security analysts have been focusing on the possibility that the PRC is planning on establishing a permanent naval presence on the west coast of Africa, particularly in Equatorial Guinea, as US intelligence apparently indicated in 2021. However, given its state of completion, its controlling interests, and the potential debt-trap Nigeria may be in with Beijing, it is possible that this new port could be repossessed or repurposed for the People’s Liberation Army’s Navy (PLAN). Of particular note is a controversial “sovereignty clause” in which the PRC is entitled to reclaim whatever assets were given and whatever collateral Nigeria put forth to obtain the loan. Nigerian journalists have pointedly written about a suspicious lack of transparency regarding what Lagos offered Beijing to secure financing for the project. On the one-hand, the concept of “debt-trap diplomacy” may be overblown and more attributable to debtor incompetence. On the other hand, the current dynamic is similar to numerous other deals in which nations have offered up ports and other large-scale assets to repay the PRC. In either case, Nigeria is perfectly placed to help Beijing expand BRICS (which now has a security mandate), the PRC’s commercial presence in West Africa, and by extension, potentially to justify the establishment of a PLAN presence on Africa’s west coast, which would provide China’s military with increased, albeit still limited, access to the Atlantic Ocean.

(source: Wikipedia)

HSBC Report Acknowledges CCP Party Cells in Private Companies in China, Claims They Have “No Influence”

Earlier this week, London-based banking giant HSBC released a report acknowledging that the CCP has branches at private companies in China, but claimed dubiously that they “lack influence” and/or involvement by management. Although HSBC is headquartered in London, the firm generates most of its revenues in Hong Kong and Mainland China. Notably, HSBC’s Chinese investment bank- Qianhai securities, in which it has a 90 percent ownership stake, has established an internal CCP committee. PRC law requires the establishment of CCP committees at private companies, although the rule has not always been uniformly enforced among foreign financial firms. The committees act as both “workers’ unions” and a way for the CCP to place its representatives within private companies.

UK politicians expressed concern over the revelations over the CCP’s penetration of HSBC’s mainland subsidiary. This follows calls earlier this year by multiple Members of Parliament for Wimbledon to drop HSBC as a sponsor due to the financial conglomerate’s record of support for oppression in Hong Kong. In aiding Hong Kong authorities’ suppression of pro-democracy protests, HSBC even went so far as to freeze the bank accounts of a number of activists. In response, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators and Representatives wrote a letter to CEO Noel Quinn expressing “concerns about HSBC’s business practices in Hong Kong and globally, including restrictions placed on the accounts of American citizens and the freezing of accounts of Hong Kong activists, independent media, and civic groups.”

(source: VOA)

China Slams Canada over Statement on Hong Kong 

Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly recently issued a statement on the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s retrocession to China. In the statement, Joly noted the intricate ties that bind Canada and Hong Kong, discussing the history of their relations from World War II to the present day. The minister recalled that “Hong Kong was the first place Canadians fought a land battle in the Second World War.” She further emphasized that over half a million Hong Kong residents call Canada home while an estimated 300,000 Canadians reside in the former British colony, and that Hong Kong is one of Canada’s most important bilateral trade and investment partners, “a fact confirmed by the presence of over 100 notable Canadian companies in the territory.” She also expressed serious concern, in the her statement, over the political situation in Hong Kong and the clear erosion of political freedoms in the city since the institution of the National Security Law in 2020. The Minister lamented these changes, calling on the Chinese government to instead “act in accordance with international obligations they willingly undertook 25 years ago…to uphold human rights and fundamental freedoms…”

Unsurprisingly, the Chinese Communist Party did not take kindly to her words and the statement as a whole. The Chinese embassy in Ottawa said in a response that external countries should not make “irresponsible remarks” about China’s internal affairs. The PRC in turn called on the Canadian government to respect the rule of law and China’s sovereignty and unity, and to generally stop meddling in the affairs of Hong Kong or China’s internal affairs in any shape or form. The statement further added that if they did not, “the Canadian side will only bring disgrace to itself.”

On July 1, 1997, Hong Kong was handed over to the People’s Republic of China from the United Kingdom under conditions set out in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, which provides for fundamental rights, a high degree of autonomy, and the “one country, two systems” apparatus in Hong Kong.

The spat between Canada and China comes at a time when China’s Foreign Ministry is dealing with challenges on multiple fronts, whether it be international backlash to their stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Xi’s economic policies, or pushing back against U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s potential upcoming visit to Taiwan.