July 31, 2020 – Stealth War Newsletter: Issue 2

By: Jamestown Foundation

Fri July, 2020, Age: 3 years


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July 31, 2020

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

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Strategic Indicator
This issue’s number to watch
$1.8 billion
The lump-sum payment Qualcomm said on Wednesday would be paid to the company by Huawei, to cover previously unpaid licensing fees. Interestingly, as part of the settlement Qualcomm signed a multiyear agreement with Huawei, allowing the Chinese tech company to use Qualcomm’s patented technology. The announcement was unexpected given the U.S. administration’s push to restrict Huawei.

Top Stories

Huawei took the number one spot in global smartphone sales this past quarter, selling 55.8 million units, surpassing rival Samsung’s 53.7 million. This rise in sales comes despite massive pressure from U.S. trade restrictions. The increase in sales stems almost entirely from domestic, Chinese demand – in fact, Huawei’s overseas shipments fell 27% in the second quarter. Meanwhile, 70% of Huawei’s smartphones were sold in China. Huawei overcoming Samsung is the result of a recovering Chinese economy boosting demand for smartphones, while competitors’ sales are still reeling from the global pandemic. For this reason, Huawei is unlikely to hold onto its position as the leading seller of smartphones in the world as competitors and the global economy recovers.

This week has seen new developments in Australia’s and New Zealand’s relationships with China. The Australian Foreign and Defense Ministers Marise Payne and Linda Reynolds, respectively, met with their U.S. counterparts, State Secretary Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper, this week in Washington, DC. China was at the center of these talks. Secretary Pompeo remarked that the group began their discussion with “talking at length about the Chinese Communist Party’s malign activity in the Indo-Pacific region, and indeed all around the world.” This meeting follows the release of Australia’s 2020 Defense Strategic Update earlier this month, which committed the country to spending $190 billion on defense capability enhancements. This plan has been widely perceived as a fundamental shift in Australia’s strategic approach to the region, placing the threat from China in central focus.

Meanwhile, New Zealand this week ended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong. At the same time, the country changed its policy on dual-use goods and technology exports to the city, now treating such exports the same as they would if they were being sent to mainland China. New Zealand is now seemingly where Australia was “three years ago” in coming to terms with confronting an increasingly aggressive China, according to China expert Dr. Anne-Marie Brady. In a must-read report published by the Wilson Center this week, Dr. Brady tracks how successive governments in Wellington have ignored efforts by the People’s Liberation Army to steal New Zealand military technology and skills. However, New Zealand’s opposition leaders favorably approved of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s recent policy changes, indicating that a bipartisan consensus on the China challenge is forming in Wellington.

This past Friday, Singaporean national Jun Wei Yeo, or Dickson Yeo, pled guilty to acting as an “illegal agent of Chinese intelligence.” Yeo used LinkedIn, the massively popular business networking website with 700 million users, to find U.S. government officials who could be potentially susceptible to providing valuable classified information. LinkedIn has become a common source of potential recruits for international intelligence agencies, including by China. For example, in 2017, Germany reported that Chinese intelligence had targeted 10,000 Germans using LinkedIn.

Hong Kong police arrested 4 students this past Wednesday, in the first arrests under the controversial National Security Law to take place outside of protests. The 3 men and 1 woman were arrested for allegedly “subversions and for the organizing and also the inciting (of) secession.” One of the arrested was Tony Chung, the famed leader of the former activist group Studentlocalism, which was disbanded in order to comply with the National Security Law. Chung was released on bail after being held for 48 hours, with his travel documents seized. He was also ordered to check in with the local police station every month and to take down social media posts within 72 hours.

In another worrying sign for democracy in Hong Kong this week, the city’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam is invoking a colonial-era law to suspend elections for a year, citing health risks from the COVID-19 pandemic. This move is set to trigger a constitutional crisis, as Hong Kong’s Basic Law dictates that each session of the Legislative Council can only last four years. Extending the elections will in turn leave a one-year “vacuum.” The legal issue, according to Lam, will be decided on by the Chinese Communist Party’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee in Beijing. Joshua Wong, one of Hong Kong’s most prominent democracy campaigners, Tweeted that, “Using pandemic as an excuse to postpone the election is definitely a lie.” He later Tweeted that the election will be “…the largest election fraud in #HK’s history.”

Stealth War Flyover


The Jamestown Foundation is proud to release the inaugural episode of a new video series, Stealth War Flyover. Part of Jamestown’s new website, Stealth War, this periodic series will feature Brigadier General (ret.) Robert Spalding and Jamestown Foundation President Glen Howard dissecting the latest news in the ongoing competition between China and the United States.In this first episode, Howard and Spalding discuss the recent decision by the United Kingdom to ban Huawei from its 5G infrastructure; the announcement by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company that they will cease processing new orders from Huawei; and the sudden closure of China’s Consulate in Houston.

Watch Here

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