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Beijing tests Manila’s nerves in disputed reef



China was once again trying to block Philippine ships from delivering supplies to the troops stationed at the Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea on Friday.

Earlier in the day, “China Coast Guard (CCG) and Chinese Maritime Militia (CMM) vessels recklessly harassed, blocked, executed dangerous maneuvers in another attempt to illegally impede or obstruct a routine resupply and rotation mission to BRP Sierra Madre (LS 57) at Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal),” the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea said in a statement. The West Philippine Sea is the name that Filipinos use for waters claimed by Manila in the South China Sea.

“CCG vessel 5203 deployed water cannon against Philippine supply vessel M/L Kalayaan,” it said. M/L, or motor launch, implies a small-sized, motor-powered boat. 

The Kalayaan and another supply boat, the Unaizah Mae 1, were “also subjected to extremely reckless and dangerous harassment at close proximity” by Chinese vessels inside the shoal’s lagoon during their approach to BRP Sierra Madre, said the Philippine National Task Force.  

“Nonetheless, both supply boats were able to successfully reach LS 57 (BRP Sierra Madre),” it said.

“We condemn, once again, China’s latest unprovoked acts of coercion and dangerous maneuvers … that has put the lives of our people at risk.”

Manila deliberately ran the World War II-era Sierra Madre aground in 1999 to serve as its outpost at the shoal and has to dispatch ships on a regular basis to deliver fresh supplies to the military personnel there.

The Philippines’ rotation and resupply (RoRe) missions have recently been increasingly impeded and blocked by Chinese ships.

Philippine ships were surrounded by a large number of Chinese vessels, Nov. 10, 2023. Credit: Ray Powell on X

In a graphic provided by Ray Powell from the U.S. Gordian Knot Center for National Security Innovation, Philippine Coast Guard ships accompanying the two supply boats were surrounded by a large number of Chinese vessels.

“In total, 24 Chinese ships were involved in the incident, including four Coast Guard ships. The rest were maritime militia ships,” Powell said.

Continuing blockade

“Beijing is testing Manila’s nerves,” said Malcolm Davis, a defense analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI).

“China will keep on conducting such blockades with the hope that Manila will give up its RoRe missions but it won’t happen,” Davis told Radio Free Asia.

When and how the United States, the Philippines’ treaty ally, will get involved remains to be seen, according to the analyst. By a mutual defense treaty, Washington is obliged to defend its ally in the case the latter is being attacked.

The U.S. has repeatedly said that Article IV of the 1951 U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty “extends to armed attacks on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, and aircraft – including those of its Coast Guard – anywhere in the South China Sea.”

The Chinese Coast Guard quickly issued a statement calling Manila’s mission “illegal.”

Spokesperson Gan Yu said that “two small transport ships and three coast guard ships from the Philippines entered the waters adjacent to Ren’ai Reef (Chinese name for Second Thomas Shoal) in China’s Nansha (Spratly) Islands without permission from the Chinese government.”

“The Chinese Coast Guard follows Philippine ships in accordance with the law, takes control measures, and makes temporary special arrangements for the Philippines to transport food and other necessary daily supplies,” Gan said.

“The Philippines’ actions violate China’s territorial sovereignty, violate the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, and violate its own commitments,” he said, “We urge the Philippines to immediately stop its infringing actions.”

For its part, Manila said the Philippine Embassy in China “has demarched the Chinese foreign ministry and protested” against China’s actions.

As of Nov. 7, the Philippines has made 58 diplomatic protests against what it sees as China’s violations of its sovereignty in the South China Sea.

Last month Manila summoned the Chinese ambassador to the Philippines to protest over two similar incidents, one of which led to a small collision of ships.

Second Thomas Shoal is about 200 kilometers (124 miles) from the Philippine island of Palawan, and more than 1,000 kilometers from China’s Hainan island. It is claimed  by the Philippines, China, Vietnam and Taiwan, but is located inside the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Edited by Mike Firn and Elaine Chan.

BenarNews is an RFA-affiliated online news organization.

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A Timeline of EU-China Relations Post-2024 European Elections



EU-China relations are crucial in global business, with geopolitical shifts and technological competition shaping the dynamic. The recent EU Parliament elections have brought a political realignment, leading to a more assertive stance towards China. Strategic discussions and new working groups aim to navigate the evolving relationship.

EU-China relations play a crucial role in the global business landscape. The current circumstances, marked by geopolitical shifts, economic interdependence, and technological competition, contribute to the volatility and frequent adjustments in this relationship. In this timeline, we aim to capture key milestones and developments that shape EU-China ties.

The European Parliament elections, held between June 6 and June 9, 2024, have ushered in a new era for EU-China relations. The election results revealed a significant shift in the political landscape, with centrist parties losing ground to far-right groups like the Identity and Democracy (ID) and the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR). This political realignment is poised to influence the EU’s approach to China, introducing more varied and potentially conflicting perspectives on policy.

Traditionally, the EU has maintained a cautious stance toward China, epitomized by the 2019 publication of the EU-China Strategic Outlook, which framed the relationship as one of “partnership, competition, and systemic rivalry.” This tripartite approach was later reiterated in the European Council’s Conclusion on China. However, the narrative toward China has taken a decisive turn with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s speech delivered on March 30, 2023. This speech marked a shift towards a more assertive stance, further strengthened by the release of the European Economic Security Strategy in June of the same year.

In the aftermath of the 2024 elections, the increased fragmentation within the EU Parliament suggests a more complex and uncertain path to forming a cohesive strategy toward China. This uncertainty poses challenges for European companies conducting business with China, as well as Chinese and global businesses operating in Europe, who must now navigate a more unpredictable regulatory environment.

Amid these developments, the Chinese government is keenly observing the evolving dynamics within the EU. China aims to cultivate allies within the European bloc, and this intent was evident during President Xi Jinping’s recent European tour, which included official visits to France, Serbia, and Hungary. During his visit, President Xi reiterated the EU’s significance as China’s major trading partner.

As the new EU Parliament begins its work, strategic discussions have been underway to address key issues, including the EU’s technological and strategic autonomy. To manage different views and promote collaboration on shared interests with China, new cross-regional working groups have been established. These groups are focusing on sectors such as agriculture, aviation, artificial intelligence, energy, and finance, aiming to enhance resilience and foster dialogue.

In this article, we present a timeline of EU-China relations following the EU Parliament elections, reflecting the complexities and opportunities presented by this new chapter in bilateral relations.

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

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Economic Update: Consumption and Trade in China See Strong Recovery Despite Decrease in Industrial Output by May 2024



Industrial output growth in China has slowed, with robust performance in some manufacturing sectors but an increase in consumption driven by services, retail sales, and imports. Despite a slowdown, equipment manufacturing has been crucial in stabilizing overall industrial growth. Certain high-tech and electronic equipment manufacturing sectors have shown strong performance, while the automobile manufacturing sector has decelerated due to falling domestic demand.

The data indicates a slowdown in industrial output growth, despite some manufacturing sectors still showing robust performance. In contrast, consumption is on the rise, driven by growth in services, retail sales, and imports. The uptick in these areas suggests a strengthening of domestic demand, spurred by a stabilizing global economic situation and the boost from the Labor Day Holiday at the beginning of May.

China’s foreign trade also continued to show marked improvement, reflecting the country’s strong export capabilities and increasing imports.

Year-on-year growth in China’s industrial sector slowed in May from the previous month but remained relatively strong. Total industrial value-added output grew by 5.6 percent year-on-year in May, a month-on-month increase of 0.3 percent but a deceleration from 6.7 percent year-on-year growth recorded in April. Value-added output of the manufacturing industry grew 6 percent year-on-year, a deceleration from the 7.5 percent year-on-year in April.

According to NBS spokesperson Liu Aihua, equipment manufacturing played a crucial role in stabilizing overall industrial growth. The sector’s added value increased by 7.5 percent from the previous year, contributing 2.6 percentage points to the growth of all industries above the designated size and accounting for 45.7 percent of the total growth. Within this sector:

Certain high-tech and electronic equipment manufacturing sectors exhibited particularly strong performance:

However, the automobile manufacturing sector decelerated significantly from a 16.3 percent year-on-year jump in April to 7.6 percent year-on-year growth in May, possibly due to falling domestic demand.

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

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Outlook for China’s Wine Market: Current Trends and Opportunities



China’s wine market faces challenges like declining consumption and imports, but remains resilient. Adapting to consumer preferences, focusing on quality and sustainability, and using digital platforms for sales are key strategies. Despite setbacks, the market is promising for foreign producers.

Despite challenges such as declining consumption and import figures, China’s wine market remains resilient and promising. Strategic adaptation to evolving consumer preferences, emphasis on quality and sustainability, and leveraging digital platforms for sales are pivotal strategies for success in this dynamic and competitive landscape.

In recent years, China’s wine market has faced significant challenges marked by declines in key metrics such as consumption, imports, and domestic production. These difficulties were further compounded by the disruptions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these setbacks, the market retains its allure, presenting opportunities for foreign wine producers and exporters who are willing to adapt and strategically engage.

As consumer preferences evolve and government policies increasingly emphasize quality and sustainability, understanding these complexities becomes crucial for stakeholders navigating China’s evolving wine landscape. By staying attuned to shifting trends and regulatory developments, stakeholders can position themselves effectively to capitalize on the market’s enduring potential.

The wine sector in China has experienced dramatic shifts over the last two decades, initially reflecting rapid growth and then gradually declining. In the early 2000s, China emerged as a lucrative market for global wineries seeking expansion due to soaring wine imports driven by rising consumer wealth and the perception of wine as a symbol of sophistication. However, per capita consumption peaked around 2012, and imports have since plateaued, with recent years showing significant market contraction. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these challenges, particularly affecting wine sales due to its association with social gatherings, which were restricted during lockdowns.

Following this trend, in 2023, China saw a significant decline in wine consumption, with a 24.7 percent decrease compared to 2022. According to the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV), China’s wine consumption has been falling since 2018, averaging a loss of 2 million hectoliters annually.

Nevertheless, China remains the ninth-largest wine-consuming nation worldwide.

Looking forward to 2024, China’s wine market is poised for dynamic activity, delineated primarily by consumption settings: at-home and out-of-home. According to Statista, revenue from wine sales in supermarkets and convenience stores (at-home) is forecast to reach US$9.7 billion. In contrast, revenue generated from wine consumed in restaurants and bars (out-of-home) is expected to be substantially higher, totaling US$17.2 billion. This projects the total revenue from the wine market to reach US$26.8 billion by the end of 2024.

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

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