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November 18, 2022- Stealth War 111: Leaders of China and Japan Meet for the First Time in Three Years as Tensions Flare; Is the Belt and Road Forum Coming Back to Beijing?; South Korea Adjusts to China Chip Restrictions; China Opposes UN General Assembly Resolution on Russian Reparations for Ukraine; U.S., Korea, and Japan Tell Xi to Restrain North Korea

By: Jamestown Foundation

Fri November, 2022, Age: 1 year


November 18, 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 watch100 Million

Number of people by which China’s elderly population is projected to increase over the next two decades. This will put additional strains on health and social services, as well as the overall economy.





This Week: 

* Leaders of China and Japan Meet for the First Time in Three Years as Tensions Flare Over Taiwan, North Korea, and the East China Sea

Is the Belt and Road Forum Coming Back to Beijing? 

* South Korea Adjusts to China Chip Restrictions, Deepens Ties with Netherlands

China Opposes UN General Assembly Resolution on Russian Reparations for Ukraine

U.S., Korea, and Japan Tell Xi to Restrain North Korea





Top Stories




(source: Global Times)




Leaders of China and Japan Meet for the First Time in Three Years as Tensions Flare Over Taiwan, North Korea, and the East China Sea




Amidst growing tensions between Beijing and Tokyo, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Thailand marking the first leadership-level talks between the two nations in three years. The meeting could not have come at a tenser time as both states grapple over Taiwan and other regional security issues. According to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, Xi told Kishida that China and Japan must deepen trust, areas of cooperation and regional integration in order to resist conflict and confrontation. Xi’s comments came after Kishida expressed concerns over regional security. In recent months, Japan has become increasingly disquieted about the situation in Taiwan as China continues to violate the island’s airspace as well as conduct war games insinuating a potential invasion. The PRC considers the island to be its own territory and refuses to rule out using force to reclaim it if Taiwan’s government formally declares independence. Japan. Japan also lodged a diplomatic complaint in August of this year against China after five ballistic missiles launched by the Chinese military fell into Japan’s exclusive economic zone, near the disputed islands known as the Senkakus. Whether in regards to the Senkakus or Taiwan, the Japanese view these islands as an extension of their own home island chain, as they are part of the same geological formation. As a result, Tokyo is very vigilant about any activity occurring any activity taking place there deemed detrimental to the Japan’s national security

When they met, Kishida expressed these concerns, saying that the situation in Taiwan needed to be handled properly, while also noting the missiles China launched during its drills around the island in August. In response, Xi said that “China does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, nor does it accept anyone interfering in China’s internal affairs under any pretext.” Ultimately, Xi’s attitude indicates that the PRC views both the Taiwan and Senkaku disputes as internal issues that Japan has no right to get involved with. Despite the prickly nature of the meeting, both leaders agreed on the need to reopen diplomatic channels of communication. Japan’s foreign minister is set to visit China in the near future, and according to media reports, China and Japan are moving quickly to create a maritime and air security hotline to be used in times of emergency as part of a five-point consensus reached by both heads of state as a result of their meeting at the APEC summit.





(source: Global Times)




Is the Belt and Road Forum Coming Back to Beijing? 




In his address to the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, General Secretary Xi Jinping emphasized the need to enhance regional connectivity, development and prosperity. In order to support these goals, Xi announced that China would “consider hosting” the third iteration of the Belt and Road Forum (BARF) in Beijing in 2023.  The BARF was held in 2017 and 2019 respectively, but has not been held since due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The announcement may be an attempt to Xi to breathe new life back into the Belt and Road Initiative, which has seemingly lost steam, not only due to the pandemic but also as a result of China’s general pullback on funding largescale infrastructure development overseas as it grapples with economic challenges at home. Some experts are dubious as to whether the strategy remains a central project for Beijing, as the term “initiative” has lately often been substituted for other phrases such as “cooperation” and “partnership.” Concerns are also growing over some of the quality of the deals negotiated under BRI. According to the Rhodium Group, over the last two years, $52 billion worth of overseas Chinese loans have had to be renegotiated, which is over triple the amount, $16 trillion, which had to be renegotiated in the previous two years.





(source: Korea Herald)




South Korea Adjusts to China Chip Restrictions, Deepens Ties with Netherlands




On November 17, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte agreed to “upgrade the bilateral relationship between the two nations to a strategic partnership and expand cooperation in advanced technologies, including chips, nuclear power plants and renewable energy.” This was the second summit between the two leaders since an initial discussion concerning cooperation in the semiconductor industry in June at the NATO Summit in Spain. Between global supply chain issues and the US sanctions the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) chip production—particularly the October 7 export controls (Chip 4), which have been portrayed as devastating for Beijing—major semiconductor manufacturers and related governments have been scrambling to mitigate the economic and strategic losses, while also taking advantage of the emerging opportunities to replace the Chinese markets.
South Korean chip makers were quick to secure  one-year long exemptions from the new US restrictions and licensing requirements, so that their operations in the PRC may continue. At the same time, both Seoul and their domestic companies were cognizant of the need to reorient their supply chains, and fast. By October 18, South Korea had begun more aggressively courting the Netherlands for greater high-tech investment and the expansion of strategic partnerships, with a particular focus on the semiconductor industry. Heralding the agreements between the two nations, the leading Dutch chip supplier, ASML, announced a large expansion of its facilities and other investments in South Korea as part of its 2030 roadmap, just days before the meeting between the president and prime minister.With two of the three South Korean technology giants representing 30 percent of ASML’s global sales, the decision is a clear win-win. Similarly, on a bi-lateral scale, the new deals put the two nations on more even footing with global competitors— from January-September, the ROK “was ranked No. 6 in terms of the number of companies in the top 100 in market cap list [three], following China’s 42, the United States’ 28, Taiwan’s ten, seven from Japan and four from the Netherlands.” However, as the director of Global Security Cooperation Center as well as professor of Division of International Studies, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS) in Seoul, Korea, Dr. Jaeho Hwang, explains, the U.S. must work diligently with Seoul and other partners on nuanced approaches to decoupling the semiconductor industry from the PRC. Otherwise, partner countries’ development of chip and other high-tech industries will be severely hampered, which will be exacerbated by Beijing’s retaliatory policies and the resulting market instability. In the meantime, the one-year exemption is simply a stop-gap measure.





(source: U.S. Navy)




China Opposes UN General Assembly Resolution on Russian Reparations for Ukraine 




On Monday, China joined thirteen other countries in voting against a United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution, which would require Russia to pay reparations for its brutal war crimes in Ukraine. China’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, Geng Shuang, explained that in China’s view the resolution has serious flaws that must be resolved before passage. Geng avoided ascribing direct responsibility for the war to Moscow, noting only that it is understandable that people suffering in a conflict would seek recompense.

China’s leniency towards Russia at the UN reflects the careful balancing act Beijing has been trying to carry off in response to the Kremlin’s actions in Ukraine, seeking to maintain close ties to Moscow, while avoiding an outright break with the West in general and Europe in particular. China has refrained from joining the Western sanctions regime and trade turnover between the two countries has grown by almost one third over the first nine months of 2022. Beijing has stressed caution pertaining to the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine, however, with Chinese President Xi and US President Biden finding common ground at the G20 summit in Bali when urging restraint regarding the nuclear issue in Ukraine. In the near future, China is likely to continue a policy of economic and diplomatic support for Russia, while refraining from overt military support.





(source: VOA)




U.S., Korea, and Japan Tell Xi to Restrain North Korea




Between November 14 and November 17, at the G20 Summit in Indonesia, US President Joseph Biden, the South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, and Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida each met separately with China’s President Xi Jinping. The leaders told Xi to restrain North Korea’s aggression via its record number of ballistic missile tests (60+, including 33 from November 3-5), and the possible renewal of nuclear testing, which would be the first since 2017, and seventh total.

Biden, in particular, warned that a failure to intervene will result in an increased U.S. military presence in the region, especially in the event that Pyongyang conducts another nuclear test. However,  President Biden also added that he was not certain Beijing could control its ally. Experts echoed this assessment, further arguing that Xi did not want to pressure Pyeongyang, lest it lose a bargaining chip against the three nations as they pursue strategies designed to disempower China.

Also, on November 17, U.S. and ROK officials met to discuss the latest U.S. Nuclear Posture Review, Missile Defense Review, and National Defense Strategy Defiantly. On November 18, North Korea defiantly launched another missile, which landed in the waters of Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone. Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada reported that the ICBM could have traveled over 15,000 kilometers [9320.56 miles] if it was fired at a normal angle. This places all of the U.S. mainland well within its range. In response, the U.S. and South Korea announced a new counter-missile working group, as South Korea practiced bombing mock North Korean missile launchers and for creating its own nuclear capabilities increased.