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China

Chinese aid strategy hinders goals on North Korea

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North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un at a Youth Day rally in Pyongyang, North Korea, 28 August 2021 (Photo: Reuters/KCNA).

Author: Andrei Lankov, Kookmin University

The 2018–2021 period can be seen as an important turning point in Korean history. In the space of a few years, the US–China confrontation has changed everything in Northeast Asia — and this change is likely to last for a long time. The ‘new Cold War’, as this confrontation is sometimes known, has not altered China’s strategic goals in Northeast Asia. But China is now willing to invest much more to achieve them.

What are these goals?

First, China needs a stable Korean peninsula. China does not want to deal with a Syria-style mess nearby — especially one involving large stockpiles of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.

Second, China wants Korea to remain divided. Currently, Korean unification is synonymous with the absorption of the destitute North by the rich South. For China, this would amount to a democratic and fiercely nationalistic state emerging on its border. This new state would most likely be an ally of the United States, with potential for US troops to be stationed on its soil unless withdrawal were part of a grand settlement.

China’s third goal is the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. The North Korean nuclear program undermines the non-proliferation regime, which gives massive advantages to the ‘nuclear five’, including China.

The first and second goals, while not the same, both involve maintaining the status quo. This is especially pronounced as China enters a long-term confrontation with the United States.

The first Cold War lasted for four decades. Nobody knows how long the ‘second Cold War’ will continue. There may be ups and downs, periods of detente and of crisis. But no signs of a solution or lasting compromise are in sight.

Until a few years ago, China was remarkably ambivalent about the future of North Korea. As recently as late 2017, Chinese diplomats not only supported the ultra-tough US sanctions on North Korea in the United Nations, but also pressed Russia, their junior ally, to vote in favour of these sanctions.

These are positions of the past. While China does not violate the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions blatantly, it is willing to turn a blind eye to small-scale violations, use all available loopholes to support North Korea and sometimes ship forbidden items to the state — if the chances of being caught are low.

Even now, when North Korea, wary of the impact of COVID–19, has cut itself off from the outside world, Chinese aid keeps coming quietly. While the provisions of food aid are not in violation of UNSC resolutions, shipments of fuel are. Reports that North Korea is working hard to build disinfection and quarantine centres to process Chinese aid suggest much larger volumes are expected.

Despite its dislike of North Korea’s nuclear program and generally critical attitude to the Kim Jong-un regime, China has no choice but to keep North Korea afloat. North Korea’s stability is a paramount concern to Beijing and this is likely to remain the case in the foreseeable future.

From the international community’s point of view, this is both good and bad.

The Chinese decision to keep North Korea afloat means that the North Korean government can rely on ‘dole payments’ from China. These welfare cheques will not bring industrial growth to North Korea but will ensure against a major outbreak of famine. As long as the North Korean people receive enough to survive and officials are reasonably rewarded for loyal service, North Korea is likely to remain stable.

Chinese aid also means that Pyongyang has fewer reasons to worry about its outdated and inefficient economic system. The first years of Kim Jong-un’s rule were marked by quiet but radical economic reforms which largely emulated what China did in the 1980s, albeit without any attempts at political openness. Since 2018 these reforms have been increasingly obstructed and rolled back. More economic freedom can be dangerous for domestic stability as it allows North Koreans to be less dependent on the government.

Improvements in the China–North Korea relationship have tempered North Korea’s penchant for nuclear warnings. Unlike his predecessors, US President Joe Biden was not welcomed into office by North Korean nuclear tests and intercontinental ballistic missile launches. China’s unhappiness about North Korean provocations, which attract unnecessary attention to the region and justify the US military presence there, has persuaded North Korea to keep quiet.

North Korean society will be even more closed and…

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Canberra ties the knot with Washington

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Canberra ties the knot with Washington

Abstract

Australia has shifted its strategy towards favoring the United States over China due to increasing fear of Chinese power and the competitive Indo-Pacific environment.

The ‘riding two horses’ strategy adopted by Canberra over the past 25 years has shifted in favor of the US alliance to counter China’s growing power. Previous prime ministers sought to balance relations between China and the US, with Kevin Rudd aiming for ‘true friendship’ with China while also promising military intervention if needed. Tony Abbott’s approach was driven by ‘fear and greed’, and John Howard acknowledged the benefits of a relationship with both countries.

However, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has expressed a desire to strengthen the US alliance and cooperate with China while also engaging in Australia’s national interest. This shift is evident in actions such as sending a warship through the Taiwan Strait and introducing legislation to facilitate the AUKUS security partnership.

The Indo-Pacific environment has become more competitive, leading Australia to prioritize fear over greed in its alignment. As China’s GDP continues to rise and may overtake the US by 2030, Canberra’s strategy is likely to continue favoring alignment with Washington due to the lack of a viable alternative for addressing its fear of China’s power.

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2024 China IIT Reconciliation: Appointment Through IIT App Opens on February 21st

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Annual IIT reconciliation for 2023 must be done from March 1 to June 30, 2024. Final tax settlement appointments must be made after February 21, 2024. The process involves checking and reporting on IIT paid and deducted in 2023 to calculate refundable or supplementary tax.


Annual IIT reconciliation for the year 2023 is required to be made during the period from March 1 to June 30, 2024. For those who need to make the final tax settlement between March 1 to March 20, they need to make an appointment after February 21, 2024.

On February 1, 2024, the State Taxation Administration (STA) issued the Announcement on Matters Relating to the Final Settlement of Individual Income Tax on Consolidated Income for the Year 2023 (the Announcement), clarifying matters related to the annual individual income tax (IIT) reconciliation for the year 2023.

Annual IIT reconciliation, or annual IIT settlement, is a process applied to individual taxpayers on their comprehensive income (an individual’s combined income of wages and salaries, remuneration from labor services, author’s remuneration, and royalties), to make sure their IIT paid in the previous tax year is accurate.

During the process, individual taxpayers will need to recheck their IIT paid and deducted in the tax year, calculate the refundable or supplementary tax payable, report to the tax authorities, and make the tax settlement.

In this article, we introduce key issues related to the annual IIT reconciliation in 2024 and the key changes as compared to previous years.

After the end of the year 2023, a resident individual is required to consolidate his/her four types of comprehensive income, namely wages and salaries, remuneration for personal services, author’s remuneration, and royalties obtained from January 1 to December 31, 2023, to compute the final tax payable amount. The taxpayer needs to deduct the prepaid tax amount in 2023 to obtain the tax refundable or the tax to be made up amount. Further, the taxpayer is required to declare to tax authorities for a tax refund or tax to be made up.

Tax Refundable or Tax to Be Made Up = [(Annual Comprehensive Income – RMB 60,000- Special Deductions – Special Additional Deductions – Other Deductions Determined Pursuant to the Law – Qualified Public Welfare And Charitable Donations) × Applicable Tax Rate – Quick Deduction] – Prepaid Tax Amount

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

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The Year of the Dragon brings record-breaking travel and consumption during the 2024 Chinese Spring Festival

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The Chinese New Year holiday saw a remarkable recovery in the tourist industry, with travel numbers and revenues exceeding 2023 and pre-pandemic levels. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism reported unprecedented growth, showcasing the industry’s resilience despite the COVID-19 pandemic.


The tourist industry registered significant growth during this year’s Chinese New Year (CNY) holidays, the first to be completely unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the latest figure released by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, both travel numbers and tourism-related revenues reached unprecedented levels, surpassing figures registered during the 2023 Chinese New Year while also surpassing pre-COVID-19 levels.

Rebound in domestic and international travels

According to the data released by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism on Sunday, domestic tourism registered a remarkable performance during this year’s eight-day celebration.

The data reveals a significant surge in domestic trips, totaling 474 million trips made across the country from February 10 to February 18, marking a notable increase of 34.4 percent compared to the same period in 2023. This figure attracted special attention as it was a 19 percent rise compared with that in 2019.

The surge in travel within the country was facilitated by traditional transportation models, such as railways, civil aircraft, and waterways. Additionally, this year there has been also an increase in travelers embarking on independent road trips, partially due to the current rise in popularity of electric cars in China. This trend was further encouraged by the government’s efforts to stimulate the purchase of these vehicles as a way to boost domestic consumption. To cater to this trend, provinces ensured the temporary deployment of additional recharging stations in service areas, ensuring a seamless travel experience for travelers.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

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