Nov 24, 2017
Pangoal Institution International Situation Monthly October 2017 (Vol. 8)
Pangoal Institution International Situation Monthly October 2017 (Vol. 8)
Pangoal Institution International Situation Monthly October 2017 (Vol. 8)

Pangoal Institution

International Situation Monthly

China in a New Era


A World of Complicated Changes

The Dawn of China’s New Era


International Situation in October 2017

Las Vegas Shooting

New Developments in Korean Peninsula Situation

Catalan Independence Referendum

Trump’s “Withdrawal Foreign Policy”

Valadi Discussion Club Voiced Concerns onInternational Order

IS Forces are Soon to be Destroyed in Syriaand Iraq

October 2017 (Vol. 8)

The Dawn of China's New Era

The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China(CPC) was held from October 18th to 24th, 2017, in Beijing.

The Congress is a meeting of great importance, as China hasentered a decisive stage; it has approached finishing the building of amoderately prosperous society in all respects, and it is in a crucial periodfor the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The major report delivered by General Secretary Xi Jinping to the 19thCPC National Congress is a political declaration and guiding document forChinese Communists, announcing to the world that the development of socialismwith Chinese characteristics has entered a new era.

The report fully set out and systematically elaborated on XiJinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. Itproposed that socialism with Chinese characteristics has crossed the thresholdinto a new era, that the principal contradiction facing Chinese society in thisnew era is that between unbalanced and inadequate development and citizens’ever-growing needs for a better life, and that we must continue commitment toour people-centered philosophy of development and work to promote well-roundedhuman development and prosperity for all.

The report made clear that in the next five years, we mustnot only finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects andachieve the first centenary goal, but also build on this achievement to embarkon a new journey toward the second centenary goal to fully realize a modernsocialist country. Meanwhile, the report drew up a two-stage development planbeginning in 2020 until the middle of the century: in the first stage from 2020to 2035, we will work to see that socialist modernization is realized; duringthe second stage from 2035 to the middle of the 21st century, we will developChina into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong,democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful.

The report included a lengthy discussion regarding China’s diplomaticissues, and it was much longer than sections from previous reports. “We havebeen advancing China’s diplomatic agenda in a comprehensive, multilevel,multifaceted way and creating a favorable external environment for China’sdevelopment,” noted Xi Jinping in the report.

The diplomatic practices and achievements over the past fiveyears proved that Chinese Communists are confident and capable of building ourown country and making due contributions to the world; Chinese Communists cannot only contribute Chinese wisdom to the human exploration of better socialsystems, but also offer possible new approaches for the modernization ofdeveloping economies. All these are the most substantial results ofmajor-country diplomacy with distinctive Chinese features.

The report made calm and objective judgments regardinginternational situations in two respects. Xi Jinping pointed out that the worldis undergoing major developments, transformations, and adjustment, but peaceand development remain the call of our day; as a world we face growinguncertainties and destabilizing factors, and as humankind we have many commonchallenges to face; no country alone can address the many challenges facingmankind, and no country can afford to retreat into self-isolation.

The report reiterated that China unswervingly pursues anindependent foreign policy of peace and a mutually beneficial strategy ofopening up. It emphasized that China has actively developed globalpartnerships, that the dream of the Chinese people is closely connected withthe dreams of the people from other countries, and that the Chinese Dream canbe realized only in a peaceful international environment and under a stableinternational order.

The report specified the mission of Chinese diplomacy in thenew era, and made clear that this new era will see China moving closer to thecenter stage and making greater contributions to mankind. It highlighted thatin pursuing major-country diplomacy with distinctive Chinese features, we mustwork to forge a new form of international relations and build a community witha shared future for mankind. In the report, the new form of internationalrelations is explicitly defined as one “featuring mutual respect, fairness,justice, and win-win cooperation,” which echoes the domestic goals of“continuing commitment to our people-centered philosophy of development andworking to promote well-rounded human development and common prosperity foreveryone.” The report also defined the community with a shared future for mankindas “an open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace,universal security, and common prosperity.”

General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed in the report that weshould pursue the Belt and Road Initiative as a priority, follow the principleof achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration, and increaseopenness and cooperation in building innovation capacity, in order to promoteopening China further through links running eastward and westward, across landand over sea.

In a broader sense, Xin Jinping proposed the principle ofachieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration by engaging inglobal governance, making clear that China will take an active part inreforming and developing the global governance system, pursuing developmentwith its doors open wide, promoting international cooperation through the Beltand Road Initiative, and building an open global economy. Furthermore,according to a resolution approved by the 19th CPC National Congress, the CPChas incorporated support for the Belt and Road development into the “RevisedConstitution of the Communist Party of China.”

Pangoal Institution, warmly hailing the advent of the newera, has organized members of the Academic Committee, experts, and scholars toread intensively and study the report from the 19th CPC National Congress, andreleased reference articles for studying the guiding principles of the Congresson its subscription account. Pangoal Institution is determined to answer thecall of the new era, remain in step with the changing times, seize emergingopportunities, and integrate deeper into the new trend. In this way, it willgive full rein to its role and capability as a civil think tank, strive to be anew think tank in the new era, and contribute its wisdom to securing a decisivevictory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, seekingthe great success of socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era,working tirelessly to realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation, andseeing our people fulfill their aspirations for a better life.

The 19th CPC National Congress ushers in a new era, reaches anew realm in China’s development, calls for new endeavors, and asks for newcontributions. Pangoal Institution will strive to think in big-picture terms bydoing its job properly and upholding a global vision with diverse views, so asto seek accomplishments in four aspects in particular:

1. Producing macroeconomic outlook reports and microeconomicreviews on both national and local levels; offering civil insights regardingthe realization of the overall goals of economic and social development; andfilling its role as a civil think tank.

2. Carrying out research at the community level, directlyserving the sustainable development of provinces, cities, counties, andvillages with more concrete outcomes and applicable schemes; and contributingto the building of a beautiful country.

3. Striving for innovative development; providingintellectual support for building and improving the national system for theapplication of scientific and technological advances, innovating enterprisesystems, and stimulating the enthusiasm of entrepreneurs; and giving play toits role as creative contributor.

4. Making contributions to people-to-people diplomacy; fullyleveraging expert resources available in the Institution; fully utilizingcentral resources and connections achieved with key partners in South Korea,India, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well asaccumulated research results in priority areas such as major-country relations,international hotspot issues, and global governance; making reliable friends,carrying out meaningful actions, offering feasible recommendations, andpromoting mutual understanding and trust between China and other countries;producing positive energy for acting in accordance with the vision ofmajor-country diplomacy with distinctive Chinese features; and facilitating China to air its views and initiate its proposals.

International Situation in October 2017

Las Vegas Shooting

On the evening of October 1st, 2017, a massshooting occurred in Las Vegas, USA: Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old white man,fired from a hotel room on the 32nd floor of a casino at concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival, killing 59 and injuringat least 527. Paddock killed himself before the police burst into his room. Theongoing investigation showed that Paddock smuggled 23 guns into the hotel roombefore the shooting rampage, and he legally purchased all the guns. More gunswere found at his home.

The Las Vegas shooting was the deadliest shooting in modernUS history. The previous record-holder for most people killed in a massshooting was the attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, on June 12th,2016, with 50 dead and 53 injured. Mass shootings over the past ten yearsinclude the Virginia Tech shooting in April 2007 (32 dead) and the Sandy HookElementary School shooting in October 2012 (20 kids and 6 adults killed).According to the statistics in the Gun Violence Archive (,in less than five years after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, therehave been at least 1,518 mass shootings in US, with at least 1,715 peoplekilled and 6,089 wounded.

Due to the Las Vegas shooting, the issue of gun control againdominated domestic discussions. The Democratic leadership in both chambers ofthe Congress called for stricter gun control laws. The US President DonaldTrump denounced Paddock, and yet assumed an ambiguous attitude towards guncontrol, saying that “maybe it will (happen), but not now.” During the 2016election campaign, Trump stood firmly against gun control, in line withRepublican conservatives and in opposition to Democrats. After the UmpquaCommunity College shooting occurred in Roseburg, Oregon on October 1st,2015, he commented that “if you had teachers with guns you would’ve been a hellof a lot better off.”

There has been a long discussion about gun control: it oftenrenews after a shooting and diminishes soon after, and then things move on –the Las Vegas shooting is no exception. The difficulty of controlling guns inUS reflects the sharp conflict between civil liberties and community safetyregulation. The US Bill of Rights sets out various civil rights, including theright to bear arms. It is specified in the Second Amendment that, “a well-regulatedMilitia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of thepeople to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Such firearm freedommakes US “a nation in arms.” Many Americans resolutely defend the rights theBill of Rights grants, believing that “guns don’t kill people; people killpeople.” They would rather be exposed to social safety risks caused by the outof control spiraling of gun possession than forsaking their lawful right. Thatis what the gun control issue in US is truly about.

Through the overly frequent gun violence and the half-heartednature of gun control discussions in the US, we can get a glimpse of theweakening political system. The government’s capability to govern the countryis on an accelerated degradation. The issue of gun control may be an indicatorof political decay in three respects: some functions of the state performed byadministrative authorities are actually exercised by courts and politicalparties; some interest groups, the National Rifle Association included, have defacto veto power over major national public policies; pubic trust in the governmentconstantly decreases in terms of community safety and other issues. Thepolitical decay in the US is closely associated with the change in itsinternational status.

The Second Plenary Meeting of the Seventh Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea and New Developments in Korean Peninsula Situation

Amidst the highly tense atmosphere regarding the North Korean nuclear issue, the Second Plenary Meeting of the Seventh Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) was held on October 7th in Pyongyang.The occasion coincided with several other international events; unprecedentedly stringent international sanctions on North Korea; American saber-rattling overNorth Korea’s sixth nuclear test; and several consecutive trials ofintercontinental ballistic missiles. As such, the meeting received much attention.

According to the report of Kim Jong-un, the supreme leader ofNorth Korea, and the conference announcement released, the key item underdiscussion was how to break international isolation and sanctions, especially those imposed by the US. Such new expressions as “an independent economyrelying on its own efforts” and “an economic development path with people as the subject” provided sufficient corroboration.

The most important agenda item during themeeting was personnel changes. By promoting economic pragmatists and meritoriousnuclear missile researchers to higher ranks, Kim Jong-un demonstrated his determinationto implement the dual strategic line of driving both economic and nuclear advancement. Kim Yo-jong, Kim Jong-un’s younger sister born to thesame mother, was selected as an alternate member of the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee; and Vice Chairman of the WPK Central Committee ChoeRyong-hae regained his position as the No.3 official, both of which drew intrigueon our part. Through these adjustments, Kim Jong-un seems to be showing thathis power in the country will not be crippled by a deteriorating external environment.

The signal sent in the Plenary Meeting that North Korea wouldsimultaneously push forward economic construction and the building of nuclearforce was clear. In his political report delivered at the plenary session, KimJong-un deliberately downplayed issues on nuclear strategies while speaking greatlyto people’s livelihood and economy. This not only showed that the R&D ofnuclear weapons in North Korea is undoubtedly about to enable the country toform strategic deterrence, but specified that the focus of national strategies would be shifted to economic construction and social development.

Though Kim Jong-un sought to attribute all of North Korea’sproblems to the “threat of the US imperialists and their vassal forces,” and intended to arouse a spirit of solidarity from North Korean people, he could not gloss over the fact that the nuclear missile development he encouraged would soon break through limitations, and thus hadgiven rise to widespread concern worldwide and posed challenges to the gravityof the International Nuclear Non-Proliferation Mechanism. The confrontation ofNorth Korea with the whole international community will continue to constrainthe reform and development opportunities for the nation. Unless a compromise isfound to resume negotiations and reshape the future of the Korean Peninsula, itwould be hard for North Korea to attain great achievements in economic andsocial development.

However, in recent years the Kim Jong-un administration hasshown that it values economic growth. It has introduced some elements ofmarketization, noting that there are still external humanistic support andlabor cooperation channels, and the livelihood of North Korean people has beenimproved in a real sense. The economy also demonstrated a small positive growthrate, and the grain yield could meet the minimum domestic demand. These allshow that this somewhat isolated, peculiar, and drastic country cannot becrushed by total economic sanction and financial blockade.

Since the beginning of October, North Korea reducedexternally delinquent behaviors in conducting public nuclear missileactivities, and focused on convening the Plenary session. Besides that, nearthe time of the opening ceremony for China’s 19th CPC National Congress, KimJong-un sent short messages of congratulation. Before and during the meeting,North Korea showed no intent to launch nuclear missiles.

Despite that, the US continued with its psywar against NorthKorea. On October 5th, the US President Donald Trump held a banquetfor top military commanders and their partners in the White House. After thephoto op, with regard to the sensitive issues concerning Iran and North Korea,Trump remarked that “maybe it’s the calm before the storm.” The next day whenhe briefed the press in the Oval Office, Trump was asked how to respond to theNorth Korean nuclear issue. “You’ll find out,” Trump replied, “we’ll see.” OnOctober 7th, he tweeted two messages: “Presidents and theiradministrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years, agreements madeand massive amounts of money paid…hasn’t worked, agreements violated before theink was dry, makings fools of U.S. negotiators. Sorry, but only one thing willwork!”

In demonstrating deterrence, Trump seemed to be plain andsimple, tough yet cryptic, as if he were playing strategic ambiguity so as to intrigueand rattle his opponents. When asked about this during an interview with the USNational Broadcasting Company on October 8th, Mick Mulvaney, Directorof the Office of Management and Budget of the White House, explained that Trump’sclearly telegraphing that military options are on the table for addressing theNorth Korean issues.

The 49th Republic of Korea (ROK) and United States (US) SecurityConsultative Meeting (SCM) was held in Seoul on October 28th. Afterthe meeting, the ROK Minister of National Defense and US Secretary of Defensesigned a joint communiqué, agreeing to deploy more US strategic weapons inSouth Korea. According to the communiqué, the two national defense leaders reached a consensus that diplomacy is the most effective way in response to the North Korean nuclear issue, and the success of diplomatic practices requires the support of strong armies. The Minister and the Secretary also decided tonegotiate revision of the MissileGuideline and the introduction of high-end strategic weapons, andcommunicate on removing limits on South Korean troops’ missile payload at theearliest possible time. Secretary James Mattis reaffirmed the US commitment toprovide extended deterrence for the US and its allies with a full range of militarycapabilities, including nuclear umbrella, conventional strike, and missiledefense capabilities. Earlier this year, South Korean President Moon Jae-inpublicly announced his opposition to re-emerging domestic opinions calling forindependent R&D of nuclear weapons and inviting the US to re-deploy tacticalnuclear weapons in South Korea.

As the nuclear capabilities of North Korea escalate, andsystematic strategic deterrence begins form against the US and its allies, whatdoes the “calm” imply? Does that mean the country plans to suspend nuclear and missile programs and focus on economic development? Or, isit using its nuclear and missile capabilities as a bargaining chip to seekresumption of negotiations with the international community, the US in particular,over a package of issues and reshape the future of the Korean Peninsula? Or isit still, that is “the calm before the storm”: it’s hard to say what will come,and continuous observation is a must for predication.

There is another important event closely related to thesituation on the Korean Peninsula this October. After contact, China and SouthKorea agreed to normalize bilateral relations after the Terminal High AltitudeArea Defense (THAAD) crisis, and the process has officially begun.

Based on the meeting between the two state heads during the G20Summit in Hamburg, and friendly congratulations on the 25th anniversary since China and South Korea established diplomatic ties, the two sides exchangedviews on THAAD deployment in South Korea, including the consultations conductedbetween Kong Xuanyou, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs of China, and NamGwan-pyo, the Second Vice Chief of National Security Office of South Korea.

During the parliamentary enquiry held on October 30th,South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha stressed three matters. Firstly, SouthKorea’s current stance to remain a bystander in the US’ efforts to build a missile-defensesystem remains unchanged. Secondly, though South Korea is engaging in securitycooperation with Japan and the US, it has no intention of entering a militaryalliance with the two countries. Thirdly, South Korea is not considering anyadditional THAAD deployment. On the same day, Chinese Foreign Ministryspokeswoman Hua Chunying replied to a related inquiry by stating that: “TheChinese side has always been opposed to the deployment of the THAAD system inthe ROK by the US. We hope the ROK will faithfully follow through on itsabove-mentioned commitments, properly handle the relevant issue and bring theChina-ROK relations back to the track of steady and sound development at anearly date.”

It is expected that China-ROK political ties warm up beforethe end of 2017. The state visit of South Korean President Moon Jae-in to Chinawill be scheduled. This will not be easy, but correct in direction. The improvementof bilateral relations will not only help China play a bigger role in the mediationand coordination of Korean Peninsula affairs, but remove an unavoidablepolitical obstacle for the Moon Jae-in administration, and thus smooth its wayin implementing the engagement policies proactively and participating in the Belt and Road Initiative and other international cooperation programs led by China.

Catalan  Independence Referendum

Following the independence referendum for Iraq’s self-ruledKurdish region, a similar event occurred in Europe. On October 1st, theSpanish autonomous community of Catalonia held its own independence referendum,the results of which showed that a majority of voters supported independence; however,the referendum was declared void by the Constitutional Court of Spain. In thepast month, the Catalan politicians who propelled the referendum initiatedfierce political confrontation with the Spanish central government. On October27th, the Catalan Parliament unilaterally declared independence fromSpain. Within hours, the Spanish Senate authorized the Spanish government to removeCatalonia’s right to autonomy and impose direct rule over the region.

The problem in Catalonia is a long-standing one. Although ithas been a part of the Kingdom of Spain since 1469, Catalonia considers itselfdifferent from the rest of Spain in history, culture, and language. As aresult, some have always wanted independence. The 1978 Spanish Constitution grantedCatalonia a high degree of autonomy, and in 2006, the Spanish Parliament passeda new decree and expanded Catalonia’s autonomy; however, this expansion was declaredunconstitutional by the Constitutional Court of Spain in 2010, which set off awave of nationalist sentiment among Catalans. In 2012, those pro-independencesupporters took the upper hand in the Catalan parliamentary election, aforeshadowing of the independence referendum.

In recent years, independence referendums took place insuccession in both geopolitically fragmented regions between Europe and Asiaand core European areas. Aside from the referendums held in Iraq’s Kurdishregion and Spain’s Catalonia, Scotland organized a referendum in September2014. Though Scotland remained a in the UK after voters decisively rejectedindependence, the UK government gasped in nervousness. Still, the Scottish independencemovement seeks a second referendum. Since the UK prepared for Brexit referendumin 2016, Scotland, in favor of staying in the EU, had already resumed itsefforts for independence. When the Parliament of Catalonia declared independence,the French Corsican Assembly occupied by local nationalists sent messages ofcongratulation.

The root causes of the repeated emergence of independencereferendums are complicated. Apart from unbalanced development among countriesand regions, uneven distribution of wealth, discordant national relations, andconflicting historical traditions, it can also be attributed to Westerncountries’ practicing dual standards of human rights, national sovereignty,democracy, and rule of law, as well as encouraging and instigating separatismin some developing countries with the aim of reaping strategic geographicalbenefits. In the 1980s and 1990s, encouraging local separatism and supportingindependence referendums disguised by national self-determination was anapproach that Western countries adopted to intervene in the internal affairs ofdeveloping countries, as in the case of East Timor. However, this eventuallyactivated separatism inside Western countries and harmed the Western countriesthemselves as well.

At present, without any external support, and under the suppressionof the Iraqi government and neighbors in coalition, the Kurdish region sees no chanceof leaving the country. The independence saga in Catalonia is still unfolding,but the Spanish government is determined to put a check on it. Though theParliament of Catalonia has suspended operation as the central governmentrequested, a close watch is necessary on the potential for a regional civilstrike. If Western countries are to continue with their double standards, suchdisturbances would occur more regularly and confront Europe with local separatistcrisis. This tendency echoes with the trend of anti-globalization and reverse globalization,and thus may aggravate uncertainties in the international security situationand global economic development. The harm cannot be underestimated.

Considering the shock of the recent several independencereferendums on national stability and the peace of peripheral areas, theinternational community should reflect on the stance it takes and the value itrecognizes with regard to the issue of national self-determination, and containunrighteous behaviors with national laws as well as international rules.

Trump's "Withdrawal Foreign Policy"

On October 12th, the US State Department announcedits withdrawal from UNESCO for reasons related to membership fees and theorganization’s alleged discrimination against Israel, a decision that will takeeffect on December 31st, 2018.

Since Trump took power, the US has pulled out of severalinternational agreements including the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the ParisClimate Change Agreement. He pressured Mexico and Canada to open renegotiationswith the US on the North American Free Trade Agreement by threatening to walkaway from it. He even talked about withdrawing from NATO, stopping payment forthe UN, and scrapping the Iran nuclear deal. It is not exaggeration to describeTrump’s foreign policy as “withdrawal foreign policy.”

His withdrawal policy has met strong criticism from Americanliberal elites as well as observers from other countries. Pulling the US out ofseemingly unimportant international responsibilities, the Trump administrationremoves the US leadership on many global issues and its influence on othercountries’ choice of development patterns. As this has undermined internationalcooperation in dealing with global challenges and impaired US credibility asthe leading nation of the international community and its moral standing, theworld has seen more uncertainties. The Trump administration is expandingAmerican interests at the cost of the world’s interests and restoring hardpower by giving up some soft power. This practice reflects, in essence, anarrow-minded utilitarianism where America comes first.

In Trump’s view, the fact that America is strong does notmean it should take more responsibilities and subject itself to morerestrictions. He even believes that the US can make foreign policies that arebelow the American moral standards as its competitors do, using the possibilityof “intensifying global uncertainties” as a bargaining chip in negotiations.

However, by withdrawing from many international responsibilitiesand commitments, Trump is not bringing the US back into isolationism, whichdominated US foreign policies in the 1920s. In today’s world, the US has noother option but to remain highly connected with other countries if it wants toaddress domestic and international problems. Furthermore, it needs both exportsand imports. In fact, Trump increased American military foreign input andintervention since he took office. In his first year of presidency, Trump haslaunched military or paramilitary operations in Syria, Afghanistan, and theKorean Peninsula, showing more decisiveness and quicker implementation anddelegating more power to officers than the Obama administration. The biggestthreat the international system faces from Trump, an economic nationalist, ishis protectionist policies.

As the most important rising major country, China should,according to the guidelines made at the 19th National Congress ofthe CPC, remain committed to opening up in a mutually beneficial and win-winway, promoting reform on and innovation of the international system andcontributing to improving global governance. We need to strengthen ourinfluence and voice in international affairs, but also need to reject themisleading idea that America’s woe is China’s blessing. We must pursue ourdevelopment strategy in a peaceful, humble, and down-to-earth manner whileresisting the temptation of hegemony and export of our values.

Valadi Discussion Club Voiced Concerns on International Order

The 14th Annual Meeting of the Valadi Discussion Club washeld between October 16th and 19th in Sochi, Russia. 130 scholars from 32countries attended this meeting with a theme of “Creative Destruction: Is Therea New World Order in Conflicts?” According to discussion at the meeting and thereport released prior to the meeting What is Important is the World is on theBrink of Losing Control, Russia is increasingly worried about future trends ininternational order.

Russian scholars warn that the world is facing a new cold waras countries are more reliant on military rivalry in intensifying geopoliticalconfrontation. After the end of the Cold War, shallow strategies becamemainstream, which makes conflict between countries more likely to occur. Thecurrent order built by sovereign countries is hardly effective for globaleconomic governance as income inequality has become a stubborn illness and theinternational community feels helpless in front of economic problems caused byimmigration and technological advances. Hope lies in a de-militarizedinternational order, which, however, is hard to build.

Sergey Karaganov, founder of the club, dean of the Faculty ofWorld Economy and International Affairs at Moscow's Higher Schoolof Economics and Honorary Chairman of Council onForeign and Defense Policy, predicted that there would be twocenters in the world in the next 15 years. One is the Eurasia area connected bythe Belt and Road Initiative launched by China and Russia’s proposal of theGreater Eurasia Partnership. The other is the western world led by the US.Eurasia will rely on China for economic growth and Russia for security. The twocountries would cooperate to curb US provocations.

As a tradition, Russian President Putin delivered remarks andtook questions from the audience at the closing ceremony. He believedgeopolitical competition is still the main consideration for countries whenthey make policies. Blind pursuit of tactical benefits would bring the world tothe brink of a major crisis. Economic globalization has become a bargainingchip for Western countries against Russia instead of bridging differencesbetween countries. As technological advances are divorced from our politicaland economic systems, turmoil or even revolutions are likely to happen. Putinbashed the US and had strong complains about Russia-US relations.

IS Forces are Soon to be Destroyed in Syria and Iraq

In October 2017, successive victories were made in the globalfight against terrorism.

On October 17th, the US-backed Syrian DemocraticForces announced the complete takeover of Raqqa, the so-called Islamic State’sstronghold in Syria and its nominal capital. This June, the Democratic Forcesbegan to launch offensives from three sides against IS troops in Raqqa and havesuccessfully closed in on them with air raid support from the US-ledinternational coalition.

OnOctober 17th, Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu said thatover 90% of Syrian territory had been recovered from the radical forces,implying that Russia’s anti-terrorist military operations in Syria were soon toend. After losing Raqqa, the only remaining stronghold for ISIS in Syria isDeir al-Zour, a province in the east. Russia-backed Syrian government forcesare now launching a major military operation to take it back.

In Iraq, after the major victory in Mosul this July,government troops launched a new round of offensive in mid-October againstremaining IS forces in west Iraq to recover the military bases and villages inthe Euphrates valley and completely drive IS forces out of Iraq. The Iraqigovernment said that this operation would be the last major offensive againstIS as the battle was drawing to an end, and by the end of this year, IS forcesin Iraq would be completely destroyed.

On thesame day, the Philippines President Duterte declared the liberation of thesouthern city Marawi from terrorist influence and said that this marked thebeginning of rehabilitation. In the previous day of fighting, the Philippinesmilitary shot two radical militant leaders dead: Omarkhayam Maute of the Mautegroup and Isnilon Hapilon, top commander of the Abu Sayyaf group, a most wantedman for the US State Department and an important ISIS proxy in southPhilippines.

Despite fierce geopolitical competition in the Middle Eastbetween the US and Russia, IS is their common enemy. With US and Russian airraids and assault from ground armies including Syrian government troops, the Syrian Democratic Forces, and Iraqi government army, IS is doomed in Iraq and Syria.

But some remaining IS soldiers are fleeing to Afghanistan, forming new terrorist forces with offshoots of Taliban and al-Qaeda. As aresult, President Trump decided to stop withdrawal of American troops from andmaintain US military presence in Afghanistan when announcing his newAfghanistan and South Asia policies last month. At the same time, extremistshave never stopped trying to disseminate extremist ideas and brainwash youngpeople around the world through the Internet and other secret channels. Some ofthem have even mixed themselves in with refugees, making it hard for countriesto detect them. A new battleground in fighting terrorism has emerged as we haveseen more and more lone wolf attacks.

Although IS is collapsing, threats from extremism andterrorism in the international community will linger. Countries around theworld still need to strengthen cooperation to address both the immediateproblems and root causes. Anti-terrorism cooperation is an important part ofglobal governance. Building on the hard lessons we’ve learned from anti-terrorismefforts in Syria, major countries should go beyond their own geo-politicalinterests and carry out cooperation in sensitive areas to strengtheninternational capacity to fight terrorism.

For China, an active anti-terrorism force, while fightingdomestic terrorists and warding off extremism come first, we are promotinginternational cooperation to address terrorism. We advocate a new model forinternational anti-terrorism coordination in the framework of the UN and theShanghai Cooperation Organization. Well-coordinated international efforts tofight terrorism are prerequisites for success for the Belt and Road Initiative,which in turn will provide a solid foundation for the international communityto better tackle terrorism. As terrorists in Xinjiang, a border region of Chinaand other countries along the Belt and Road have highly coordinatedorganizations, personnel, and actions, China must not let its guard down.

International Events in October, 2017

● On October 1st, a mass shooting occurred in Las Vegas, USA.

Catalonia held an independence referendum.

● On October 3rd, the US expelled 15 Cubandiplomats from their embassy in the US.

● On October 4th, during the second specialsession, the US-Korea Joint Free Trade Agreement Committee reached an agreementto start negotiations on revising the FTA.

● On October 5th, US Vice President Mike Penceannounced at the first meeting of the re-established US National Space Council that American astronauts would return to the moon and go to Mars.

● On October 7th, the Second Plenary Session ofthe Seventh Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of North Korea was convened in Pyongyang.

● On October 9th, Kobe Steel in Japan wasreported to have falsified data of their aluminum and copper products.

● On October 10th, Iraqi Prime Minister al-Abadisaid the ISIS forces in Iraq would be completely destroyed by the end of thisyear.

● On October 12th, the US State Departmentannounced its withdrawal from  UNESCOwith the decision to take effect on December 31st, 2018.

● On October 13th, the Seoul Central DistrictCourt decided to extend the detention of former Korean president Park Geun-hyeby another six months. The IMF Asia-Pacific economic report revised up growth forecastof this region in the next two years to 5.6%, as it believed that Asia wouldremain the engine for the world economy in the coming five to six years.

● On October 14th, US President Donald Trumpannounced that he would keep the Iran nuclear deal, signed by the Obamaadministration, alive in his new Iran policy instead of officially pulling outof the deal. But at the same time, he said the US was not sure that Iran hadhonored this deal. A car bomb attack killed more than 300 people in Mogadishu,capital of Somali.

● On October 15th, Kyrgyzstan held the fifth presidentialelection and Sooronbay JEENBEKOV from Social Democratic Party was elected as the new president.

● On October 17th, the US-backed SyrianDemocratic Forces announced that it has gained complete control of Raqqa,ISIS’s stronghold in Syria and its nominal capital.

Filipino President Duterte announced that the Philippineshas taken back the southern Filipino Marawi City from terrorists.

● On October 18th, in his remarks at the Centerfor Strategic and International Studies on US foreign policy toward India, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that India needed a reliable partnerwhich is none other than the US.

● From October 18th to 24th, the 19thNational Congress of the Communist Party of China was held in Beijing.

●On October 20th, two suicide attacks killed 76people at two mosques, one in the Afghan capital Kabul and the other in thewestern province of Ghor.

● On October 21st, the Spanish central cabinetdecided to strip Catalonia of its autonomy and take full control over theregion.

● On October 22nd, in Japan’s lower houseelections, the coalition of the New Komeito Party and the Liberal Democratic Party led by the sitting prime minister Shinzo Abe won more than two thirds ofthe seats with the LDP collecting over half of all seats.

● On October 25th, at the invitation of USPresident Trump, Chinese president Xi Jinping had a phone conversation withhim. Mr. Trump conveyed his congratulations to Mr. Xi on the successfulconclusion of the 19th CPC National Congress and his re-election asthe CPC’s General Secretary.

● On October 26th, an elaborate funeral was held in Thailand for the lateKing Bhumibol. Iraqi government forces launched a new offensive againstremaining ISIS troops, in an attempt to completely eliminate the terroristgroup’s forces in Iraq.

● On October 27th, the Catalan regionalparliament declared independence unilaterally, to which the Spanish centralgovernment responded by announcing its full control over the region.

The US State Department briefed on sanctions against Russiaand added 39 organizations and individuals related to Russian defense industryand intelligence agencies to the sanctions list.

● On October 28th, the 49th US-ROKSecurity Consultative Meeting was held in Seoul.

● On October 29th, at the US Pacific Commandheadquarters in Hawaii, Katsutoshi Kawano, Japan’s Chief of Staff, JosephDunford, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Jeong Kyeong-doo, Chairmanof the Republic of Korea Joint Chiefs of Staff, met to discuss multilateral andthree-way coordination to improve forces integration and quick response.

Yukiya Amano, DirectorGeneral of the International Atomic Energy Agency, confirmed that Iran wascomplying with the nuclear deal during his visit there.

Masoud Barzani, President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region,stepped down over fallout from the independence referendum.

● On October 30th, Kang Kyung-wha, Korean ForeignMinister, said the country would not consider any additional THAAD deploymentswhen answering lawmakers during a parliamentary audit at the National Assembly.

Paul Manafort, US president Donald Trump’s former campaignmanager, turned himself in to the FBI over his alleged collusion with Russia.

The Catalan regional parliament recognized the Spanishcentral government’s decision to dissolve the body until new elections takeplace.

● On October 30th and 31st, Philippines President Duterte madea visit to Japan.

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