The first annual session of the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) in China has just ended with the ‘election’ of Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang as President and Premier respectively and approval of a new cabinet of ministers. Despite the NPC’s largely rubber-stamp role – candidates approved by Congress were pre-selected by the Chinese Communist Party – the first sitting of the NPC was important because among other things, it also announced the line-up of China’s new foreign policy team.
It is important to note that major foreign and security policy initiatives are the preserve not of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) as part of the Chinese government but of the Communist Party. Continue reading China’s New Foreign Policy Team
In Sino-Indian relations, it would appear that the more things change, the more they remain the same. Or do they?
2012 was still young when another ‘visa issue’ cropped up between China and India. This time the Chinese refused a visa to an Indian Air Force officer from Arunachal Pradesh slated to leave for China as part of a 30-member Indian military delegation. Contrary to expectations, however, the visit actually carried on with the delegation being halved in size and the IAF officer in question one of the 15 who were dropped. One can wonder about the wisdom of deliberately including an Arunachali in any delegation to China when the person is sure to run into a (great) wall. But perhaps this was, as is normal in the practice of statecraft, simply a testing of the waters? Continue reading 2012 Kicks Off: No Visas and More Boundaries