Why did Chinese shoppers hold back spending even ahead of Covid wave?

Why did Chinese shoppers hold back spending even ahead of Covid wave?

China in Africa: FOCAC celebrates two decades of mutually beneficial relationship

What happened?
On 29 and 30 November, the People’s Republic of China and the African countries participated in the eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Dakar, Senegal. The forum’s theme was ‘Deepen China-Africa Partnership and Promote Sustainable Development to Build a China-Africa with a Shared Future in a New Era’ and was attended by 53 African countries and the African Union. Eswatini, the only African country with diplomatic relations with Taiwan, did not participate in the forum.

Despite being a ministerial meet, the opening ceremony was attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who addressed the forum online and delivered a speech highlighting agricultural cooperation, Chinese investments in Africa and greater trade exchanges between China and the African continent. President Xi delivered his speech based on the White Paper published by the State Council Information Office on China’s cooperation with Africa in the new era. It emphasized China’s intentions of helping the African Union with achieving its goals of vaccinating 60 percent of the African population by 2022, alleviating poverty, promoting agricultural development, encouraging investments worth USD 10 billion in Africa, providing means to digitization of the economy and green development and advocating closer cultural ties and people-to-people exchanges

The forum also adopted four resolutions: the Dakar Action Plan (2022-2024), the China-Africa Cooperation Vision 2035, the Sino-African Declaration on Climate Change and the Declaration of the Eighth Ministerial Conference of FOCAC.

What does it mean?
The cooperation between China and Africa will continue to grow in the coming decade as the country establishes itself as one of the foremost supporters of African development and economic sustainability. Africa’s support for the country is bound to grow further in the coming decades as China pushes billions in investment and provides greater assistance than other countries. There is much criticism regarding China’s lending to African countries and the status of their independence in the face of China’s extreme support that at times leads them into a debt trap. However, African countries such as Rwanda and Guinea have rejected accusations of lack of freedom in their relationship and have deeply appreciated the assistance offered by China.


China: Expresses opposition against motion passed in Irish Senate

On 2 December, the Chinese embassy in Ireland issued a statement, expressing discontent and opposition to a motion passed by the Irish Senate against Beijing. The embassy spokesperson said: “The motion blatantly violates the one-China principle and wantonly interferes in China’s internal affairs.” He further added, “We urge those Irish politicians to respect China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity, respect the Chinese people’s aspiration to realize national reunification as much as they respect the Irish people’s aspiration to realize national reunification, and abide by the one-China principle, so as to preserve the healthy development of China-Ireland relations.”

Former Japanese PM Shinzo AbeJapan: Former Prime Minister says the US and Japan could not stand Beijing attack on Taiwan

On 1 December, in a virtual conference organized by Taiwanese think tank the Institute for National Policy Research, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, “Japan and the United States could not stand by if China attacked Taiwan, and Beijing needs to understand this.” Focusing on the growing tension in the democratically ruled island, Taiwan, he also said: “A Taiwan emergency is a Japanese emergency, and therefore an emergency for the Japan-US alliance. People in Beijing, President Xi, in particular, should never have a misunderstanding in recognizing this.”

North Korea: UN excludes Pyongyang for humanitarian assistance plan

On 3 December, the United Nations excluded Pyongyang from its global humanitarian assistance plan for 2022 released by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Korea Herald reported. The Global Humanitarian Overview 2022 said, “Afghanistan, DPR Korea, and Myanmar are facing acute food insecurity situations, which are likely to deteriorate further by the year’s end.” This marks the second year of exclusion from its assistance plans. The report highlighted: “The persisting economic constraints, exacerbated by restrictive measures to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, have significantly reduced imports, including critical agricultural inputs and humanitarian goods, increasing the population’s vulnerability to food insecurity.”

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reacts during a press conference held in the parliament building Beehive in Wellington, New Zealand, on Aug. 17, 2020.  Courtesy: Xinhua/Guo Lei/IANS

New Zealand: Prime Minister sends peacekeeping force to the Solomon Islands
On 1 December, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern asked troops to join the international peacekeeping mission against the deadly anti-government riots in the Solomon Islands. The riots erupted last week against government policies and issues like poverty, unemployment, and inter-island rivalries. Ardern said, “an initial force of 15 New Zealand personnel would set off on December 2 and another 50 would join them over the weekend” followed by a request from the Solomons government. She also said, “about 200 peacekeepers are already on the ground in Honiara from Australia, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea.”



Sweden elects 1st fSweden elects 1st female PMemale PM.(photo: .facebook.com/magdalenaeandersson )

Sweden elects 1st female PM. Courtesy: Facebook.com/magdalenaeandersson

Myanmar: UN committee postpones decision on Myanmar and Afghanistan representation 
On 2 December, the UN credential committee decided to postpone their decision on “who will represent Myanmar and Afghanistan.” Reuters reported: Swedish UN Ambassador Anna Karin Eneström said, “The committee has decided to defer its decision of the credentials in these two situations.” 

Maldives: Chinese firm signs deal to provide hybrid solar-diesel power system
On 3 December, a Chinese renewable energy firm, Sino Soar Hybrid Technology signed an agreement with the Maldives to provide a hybrid solar-diesel power system. Previously, Maldives environment minister, Shauna Aminath and the company’s project manager signed the agreement. The Chinese embassy tweeted, Sino Soar Hybrid Technology, “has inked a contract with Maldivian govt on 29 November to establish solar power plants at 12 islands in the Maldives.”

Afghanistan: Taliban reacts to the decision on who will represent Afghanistan at the UN 
On 2 December, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan announced Suhail Shaheen as an ambassador to the UN in reaction to the UN credential committee. Tolo reported: the Islamic Emirate also said, “this decision is not based on legal rules and justice because they have deprived the people of Afghanistan of their legitimate right.” He also added, “We hope that this right is handed over to the representative of the government of Afghanistan in the near future so that we can be in a position to resolve issues of the people of Afghanistan effectively and efficiently and maintain positive interaction with the world.”

Pakistan: NSA meets with Russian counterpart in Moscow

On 1 December, a six-member delegation headed by National Security Advisor Dr Moeed Yusuf visited Moscow at the invitation of Secretary of the Security Council of Russia, Nikolai Patrushev. During the meeting, they both discussed matters related to bilateral relations and held in-depth discussions on regional and international issues. Additionally, cooperation in economic, energy, defense, counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, and information and cyber security were discussed.

French President Emmanuel Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron

Middle East: French President visits UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia

On 3 December, the French President Emmanuel Macron visited the UAE during his two-day trip to the Middle East. On 4 December, he visited the UAE and later met the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and discussed Iran’s nuclear programme, the political and economic crises in Lebanon, and the Yemeni war. While in Qatar, Macron revealed that the EU members might open a joint diplomatic mission in Afghanistan but did not wish to recognize the Taliban government. While in the UAE, he signed the largest-ever French weapons contract for export consisting of a sale of 80 upgraded Rafale warplanes. The deal is worth USD 16 billion.

Sweden: First female Prime Minister re-elected

On 29 November, Magdalena Andersson who resigned from the position of the Prime Minister after being the first woman elected to the post was re-elected. She received 173 votes in the 349-seat parliament while 101 voted against and 75 abstained. On 30 November, she formed her cabinet and created a one-party, minority government. She addressed the parliament and said: “A female prime minister means a lot to many girls and women, to see this glass roof shattered. I am proud that the Center Party is involved and makes this possible.”

The US: Washington Post claims of massive troop build-up at Russia-Ukraine border

On 30 November, the Washington Post reported that the CIA had discovered the movement of Russian troops towards the Ukrainian border and issued a word of caution against heightened violence in the border areas. The report alarmed the US intelligence and the government at a time when US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin were scheduled to meet and discuss the Ukrainian issue. The report claimed that Russia was readying 100 battalion tactical groups on the border. 

About the Authors:
Sukanya Bali is a doctoral candidate at OP Jindal Global University. Porkkodi Ganeshpandian is a research intern in the School of Conflict and Security Studies at the National Institute of Advanced Studies. Avishka Ashok is Research Associate at NIAS.