Current Philippine admin unilaterally abandons 'gentleman’s agreement': Chinese embassy

The current Philippine administration unilaterally abandoned the ‘gentleman’s agreement’ between China and the Duterte administration on the Ren’ai Jiao (Ren’ai Reef). China urged the Philippines to honor its commitments, safeguarding the hard-won peace and stability in the South China Sea, according to the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines on Thursday.

The gentleman’s agreement between China and the Duterte administration on Ren’ai Jiao was to control the situation, maintain peace, prevent conflicts, and was unrelated to sovereignty, said a spokesperson from the Chinese embassy, in response to Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr’s recent remarks questioning the agreement.

The gentleman’s agreement is not a secret deal. Until early February 2023, seven months after the current administration took office in the Philippines, relevant departments and agencies from both sides have abided by the agreement, effectively ensuring the peaceful and stable situation around the Ren’ai Jiao.

After the current administration of the Philippines took office, China has repeatedly communicated with the Philippine government on issues related to the gentleman’s agreement, and has always insisted on seeking ways to manage differences through dialogue and consultation with the Philippines, said the spokesperson.

In addition to the meeting of the China-Philippines Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the South China Sea (BCM), in 2023, China invited the special envoy of the Philippine President for China affairs to China to discuss and reach an internal understanding on the situation at Ren’ai Jiao. Earlier in 2024, through diplomatic channels, China repeatedly discussed with the Philippine military to reach a “new model” for the operation and resupply at Ren’ai Jiao, according to the spokesperson.

After the relevant understanding and arrangements were implemented, the Philippines unilaterally abandoned them without reason. China once again urges the Philippines to honor its commitments, abide by the consensus, show sincerity, stop provocations, and return to dialogue and negotiation as soon as possible, and work together with China to properly manage the situation at Ren’ai Jiao, the spokesperson said.

In an exclusive interview with the Global Times, former Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte said he started on a neutral foreign policy. “Here in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), when I was president, there was no quarrel. We can return to normalcy. I hope that we can stop the ruckus over there, because the Americans are the ones pushing the Philippine government to go out there and find a quarrel and eventually maybe start a war.”

Individual Philippine politicians have been continuously hyping up maritime disputes between China and the Philippines for their own political gain, exaggerating the differences between the two countries at sea, undermining cooperation between China and the Philippines under the guise of national security, and inciting anti-China sentiments. They even have extended their reach to educational exchanges between China and the Philippines, engaging in baseless sensationalism, a spokesperson from the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines noted on Thursday, in response to Philippine politician Joseph Lara’s recent remarks related to concerns on more Chinese students studying in the Philippines.

A type of “McCarthyism” will be revived in the Philippines if this continues, which should be highly vigilant against and resolutely opposed, the spokesperson said.

China engages with Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia on Iran-Israel tensions

Following Iran's retaliatory attacks against Israel for bombing Iranian embassy buildings, the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi initiated intensive communications with regional parties to prevent further escalation in the Middle East, calling to avoid the situation from further escalating.

Wang Yi, also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian held phone talks on Monday at the latter's request.

Amir-Abdollahian briefed Wang on Iran's position on the attack on the Iranian embassy in Syria, stating that the UN Security Council (UNSC) had not responded appropriately, and Iran had the right to defend its sovereignty.

The Iranian minister mentioned that the regional situation is very sensitive, and Iran intends to remain restrained and does not wish to escalate the situation further. Iran advocates for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and supports China's efforts to promote a ceasefire, restore regional peace, and strengthen cooperation among regional countries. Iran is eager to work with China to further develop Iran-China cooperation, Amir-Abdollahian said.

Wang expressed China's strong condemnation and firm opposition to the attack on the Iranian embassy in Syria, stating that such an incident is a serious violation of international law and unacceptable.

China noted that Iran's response was limited and constituted an exercise of self-defense. China appreciates Iran's emphasis on not targeting regional countries or neighboring states and its continued policy of good neighborliness and friendship. China trusts that Iran will manage the situation well, maintaining its sovereignty and dignity while avoiding further instability, Wang said.

The current situation is a spillover effect of the escalation in Gaza, the Chinese foreign minister said. The immediate priority is to implement UNSC Resolution 2728 to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza, protect civilians, and prevent further humanitarian disasters.

China is willing to keep in communication with Iran and jointly work toward a comprehensive, just, and lasting resolution to the Palestinian issue. As comprehensive strategic partners, China is ready to steadily advance practical cooperation in various fields with Iran and foster greater development in China-Iran relations, Wang said.
On the same day, Wang also talked with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud on the regional situation in the Middle East.

China firmly opposes the attack on the Iranian embassy in Syria, a serious violation of international law, and noted Iran's assertion that its retaliation did not target any neighboring countries and that it wished to continue its policy of good neighborliness and friendship, Wang told Faisal.

The current situation faces a choice between deterioration and normalization. China appreciates Saudi Arabia's emphasis on resolving issues through diplomatic means and is willing to work together with Saudi Arabia to prevent further escalation of confrontation, Wang said.

Wang also pointed out that the urgent priority is to strictly implement UNSC Resolution 2728, to immediately achieve an unconditional and lasting ceasefire, to protect civilians effectively, and to ensure humanitarian aid.

The failure of the Palestinian people to achieve their legitimate national rights has been the longest-standing injustice of our time, the root of the Israel-Palestine issue, and the core of the Middle East problem. The direction for solving this issue is to quickly implement the "two-state solution," establish an independent Palestinian state, restore the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people, and achieve peaceful coexistence between Israel and Palestine, Wang said.

On April 8, the UNSC president referred the Palestinian Authority's application for full membership to the committee on new members. The council is expected to decide at an April 18 ministerial meeting on the Middle East, according to Reuters.

Faisal expressed that Saudi Arabia and China have highly consistent positions on the current Middle Eastern situation. Both countries advocate resolving differences through dialogue and are committed to maintaining peace and stability in the Middle East.

Also on Monday, the Chinese government’s special envoy Zhai Jun on the Middle East issue met with Israeli Ambassador to China Irit Ben-Abba Vitale at the latter's request.

China is deeply concerned about the current escalation of regional tensions, and conflicts and bloodshed serve the interests of no one. All parties concerned should exercise maximum calm and restraint, Zhai said.

The Chinese diplomat emphasized the urgent need for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, ensuring humanitarian aid, the release of all detained personnel, and a political settlement of the Palestinian issue based on the two-state solution to ensure peaceful coexistence between Israel and Palestine.

China urges Philippines to honor commitments and understandings, stop provocations on Ren'ai Jiao: embassy

In response to the situation on the Ren'ai Jiao (also known as Ren'ai Reef), the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines said Saturday that if the Philippines truly wants to ease tensions on  Ren'ai Jiao through dialogue and communication, the key is for it to honor the commitments and understandings and stop provocations.

China remains committed to managing South China Sea disputes with the Philippines through dialogue and consultation, and we have made ongoing efforts in this regard, the embassy said in its statement published on Saturday. On how to deal with the current situation at Ren'ai Jiao, China's position is clear-cut, the statement added.

The statement came after Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday called on China to engage in dialogue to prevent more incidents like ramming vessels and the use of water cannons in the South China Sea, Voice of America reported.

The Philippines continues to talk with China, and is exhausting all options to speak to Chinese leadership so as not to heat up tensions in the waterway, Marcos claimed, according to media reports. 

On Saturday, the Chinese embassy listed three key points of China's views on handling the current situation at Ren'ai Jiao.

First, by keeping a warship grounded at Ren'ai Jiao for decades running, the Philippines has been violating China's sovereignty and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), especially Article 5 which says refraining from action of inhabiting on the presently uninhabited islands and reefs. 

We demand that the Philippines tow away the warship as soon as possible and restore Ren'ai Jiao's state of not hosting personnel and facilities, the statement said.

Second, before the warship is towed away, if the Philippines needs to send living necessities, out of humanitarian considerations, China is willing to allow it if the Philippines informs China in advance and after on-site verification is conducted. China will monitor the whole process, according to the embassy's statement.

Third, if the Philippines sends large amount of construction materials to the warship and attempts to build fixed facilities and permanent outpost, China will not accept it and will resolutely stop it in accordance with law and regulations to uphold China's sovereignty and the sanctity of the DOC.

Recent heightened tensions in South China Sea have a lot to do with US meddling: FM spokesperson

China's maritime law enforcement measures are aimed at safeguarding its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and are justified and beyond reproach, said a spokesperson for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in response to recent remarks on the South China Sea by US Admiral John Aquilino. The spokesperson pointed out that the recent heightened tensions in the South China Sea have a lot to do with US meddling.

The spokesperson's remarks came after Aquilino, commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command, said China's actions in the South China Sea are dangerous and illegal, and that they are "destabilizing the region."

In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said at a Wednesday briefing that the Nansha Qundao are an inherent part of China's territory. If the US truly wants peace and stability in the South China Sea, it should stop fueling the tensions, forming gangs and inciting confrontation, Mao noted.

At a regular White House briefing on Tuesday to preview the summits between leaders of the US, Japan and the Philippines, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that more joint patrols can be expected in the South China Sea after drills by the US, Australia, the Philippines and Japan last weekend. Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. said he will discuss an agreement with leaders of Japan and the US to maintain security and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, according to media report.

"There is no issue with regard to the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea," Mao said in response, adding that peace and stability in the South China Sea have been generally maintained under the joint efforts of China and ASEAN countries.

Mao said countries outside the region, led by the US, have been cobbling together small groupings in the South China Sea. They have been stoking confrontation in the name of cooperation, flexing muscles in the name of peace, and sowing chaos in the name of order. This is no doubt an act of hegemonism.

"No external interference will deter China from defending our territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests," said Mao.

Chinese FM again urges US to stop suppressing Chinese students, slams Washington for creating obstacles for cultural exchanges

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Monday slammed the US for creating obstacles for cultural and people-to-people exchanges between China and the US over reports revealing Chinese students and scholars being arbitrarily revoked visas and forcibly deported without concrete evidence.

The US keeps overstretching the concept of national security, arbitrarily revoking visas, restricting entry, and forcibly deporting Chinese students without concrete evidence, causing great harm to the individuals involved and creating obstacles for cultural and people-to-people exchanges between China and the US, Mao Ning, a spokesperson for the ministry said at Monday's regular press briefing. 

At US airports, especially Washington Dulles International Airport, cases of Chinese students being deported have begun to rise again, according to media reports. 

In March, the Washington Post interviewed six Chinese students and two visiting scholars who had been questioned upon landing the US. Visas for a pair were cancelled and they were immediately deported. 

Previously in January, Chinese Ambassador to the US Xie Feng had revealed that dozens of Chinese arriving in the US, including students, were being denied entry every month over the past few months. They held valid visas, had no criminal records, and were returning to school after travelling elsewhere or reuniting with their family in China. But when they landed at the airport, what awaited them was 8-hour-long interrogation by officers, who prohibited them from contacting their parents, made groundless accusations against them, and even forcibly deported them and banned their entry. 

Mao said that recent cases have shown that US law enforcement officials are deporting individuals solely for the purpose of deporting, demonstrating typical political discrimination and selective law enforcement.

Mao urged the US to immediately cease unwarranted harassment and deportation of Chinese citizens, stop suppressing and persecuting Chinese students. 

The US should take practical actions to fulfill its commitments to support and facilitate cultural and people-to-people exchanges between China and the US, rather than saying one thing and doing another, Mao said. 

The spokesperson also stressed that China will take resolute measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens.

Experts urge US to approach China's capacity issue objectively for positive results ahead of Yellen's upcoming visit

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will visit China from April 4 to 9 and is scheduled to discuss a number of macroeconomic and financial issues between the two countries during her meetings with top Chinese government officials. The visit is seen as a positive sign by both sides to seek consensus amid stabilizing China-US relations that have seen growing negative factors in recent months.

The announcement of Yellen's visit to China followed a phone call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden on Tuesday at the request of the latter.

The Chinese side welcomed scheduled visits to China by Treasury Secretary Yellen and Secretary of State Blinken , according to Xinhua News Agency. It will be Yellen's second-in-person visit to China as the Treasury Secretary, after a visit in last July.

Chinese experts view the upcoming visit by Yellen in a positive light, and expressed hope that the visit could foster consensus built on the San Francisco vision articulated last November, despite the US' crackdown on China in the technology field, tariffs on Chinese imports and rising nontariff barriers.

During his phone call with Biden, Xi pointed out that the US side has adopted a string of measures to suppress China's trade and technology development, and is adding more and more Chinese entities to its sanctions lists, according to Xinhua.

This is not "de-risking," but creating risks, Xi said. "If the US side is willing to seek mutually beneficial cooperation and share in China's development dividends, it will always find China's door open; but if it is adamant on containing China's hi-tech development and depriving China of its legitimate right to development, China is not going to sit back and watch."

According to a press release posted on the US Department of The Treasury website on Tuesday (US time), Yellen's visit will include stops in Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong Province and Beijing.

In a visit that "will build on the intensive diplomacy she has engaged in to responsibly manage the bilateral economic relationship," Yellen will meet with Chinese Premier Li Qiang, Vice Premier He Lifeng, Finance Minister Lan Fo'an, People's Bank of China Governor Pan Gongsheng and other officials from Beijing and Guangdong, the press release said.

Yellen will discuss issues including what the US claims are China's unfair trade practices and industrial overcapacity, bilateral cooperation on countering illicit finance and climate change, according to the press release.

"There are reasonable expectations for Yellen's visit to build on the consensus reached by the two side since last November," Gao Lingyun, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Gas said among the many objectives listed by the US' press release, Yellen's focus will most likely be on financial stability, a core concern of the Biden administration.

Gao noted that as the global price of gold soars, China has more options in the management of its assets portfolios and this could affect China's holding of US Treasury bonds.

The expert said that one meeting alone could not iron out all the differences between the two countries but "it is hoped that the incoming visit by Yellen could help address the core concerns of the two sides, which have been articulated by the two presidents in their phone talks, to a certain extent to meet mutual interests."

Chinese analysts believe the US needs to stop using bilateral meetings to push for its unilateral agenda, as this will reduce the likelihood of positive results from the "positive" dialogue.

According to Reuters, a US Treasury official told reporters that Yellen during her upcoming China trip would "make clear the global economic consequences of Chinese industrial overcapacity undercutting manufacturers in the US and firms around the world."

"The US should view China's capacity issue from an objective point of view, as China's production capacity is determined by global market demand, its efficiency and the scale of its vast domestic market," Li Yong, a senior research fellow at the China Association of International Trade, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"To label it as overcapacity would be a stray from facts, if not an ill-intended campaign to smear China following the de-risking theory," Li said.

Li noted that the US has a number of domestic financial issues to address, including inflation and rising debt levels.

US national debt, at $34 trillion, is almost equal to the combined value of the economies of China, Germany, Japan, India and the UK, Li said, citing data.

The US has maintained its crackdown tactics on China in the technology sphere, with newly updated exports control rules that will come into effect on Thursday and expanding the restrictions to laptops containing AI chips.

China's Ministry of Commerce on Tuesday strongly rejected the US' National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers, which listed China as the country of "primary concern."

Despite Western media hype claiming that China is losing attractiveness to foreign investors, executives from a large number of top US firms come in flocks to China last month, pledging their commitment to the Chinese market, announcing new investment deals and setting up new shop or factory floors.

Chinese Premier meets visiting French FM

Chinese Premier Li Qiang called for the building of a stable China-France relationship and jointly injecting more certainty into world development through multilateral cooperation as he met with visiting French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Stephane Sejourne on Monday in Beijing.

Some Chinese experts said that Sejourne's visit, his first to China as French foreign minister, aims to pave the way for future high-level interactions between the leaders of the two countries. It also signals that China and France share more common strategic interests and can overcome some differences in cooperating on major issues of concerns such as the Ukraine crisis and the Palestine-Israel conflict. 

China-France relations have long been at the forefront of China's relations with Western major powers, benefiting not only the peoples of both countries but also having a profound impact on the world, Li said on Monday. 

The stability of China-France relations will promote better development for both countries, and by strengthening multilateral cooperation, both countries can inject more certainty into world development, Li said. 

Li also noted that the Chinese and French economies have strong complementary advantages and many points of mutual interest. China has always regarded France as a priority cooperation partner and hopes that by continuing to deepen traditional cooperative relations, both countries can further tap into cooperation potentials in areas such as green energy, technology innovation, advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence, digital economy, and better achieve mutual benefit and win-win outcomes, Li said. 

We hope the French side can provide a business environment that is open, fair, and non-discriminatory for Chinese enterprises, while actively promoting the European side to follow economic rules and market principles, and properly resolve concerns of both sides through consultation, Li said. 

"Lack of cooperation and lack of development pose the greatest risks," Li noted. He said China is willing to strengthen multilateral cooperation with the French side to make positive contributions to solving international hotspot issues and improving global governance.

This year is the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France, and also the Year of China-France Cultural and Tourism Exchange. 

China and France are both great nations with a spirit of independence. The historical wealth of friendship between the two countries is something to be cherished, and the responsibilities and missions they share are undeniable, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said when meeting with Sejourne. 

Both sides agree that under the leadership of their heads of state and taking the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France as an opportunity, they should closely communicate and coordinate, deepen exchanges and cooperation, and make China-France relations more strategically stable and forward-looking.

The two sides should continue communicating closely on major international and regional issues, deepen cooperation in traditional fields such as aerospace, nuclear energy, agriculture and finance, and actively explore cooperation in emerging fields such as green transformation and intelligent manufacturing, according to a readout from the Chinese Foreign Ministry. 

"This visit by the French foreign minister also laid the groundwork for upcoming high-level visits," Wang Yiwei, director of the Institute of International Affairs at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Monday. 

The French side also hopes that China can undertake some positive coordination efforts on both the Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Palestine issues, the expert said. 

"The Russia-Ukraine conflict has impacted France's status as a major power and the multipolar world. The conflict has led to France's increased dependence on the US, in terms of both security and energy. For France, ending and resolving the Russia-Ukraine conflict would reduce its dependence on the US," Song Luzheng, a Chinese scholar residing in France and a research fellow at the China Institute of Fudan University, told the Global Times on Monday. 

Since the beginning of 2024, China-France and China-Europe exchanges have seen significant positive momentum. For example, China eased its unilateral visa-exemption policy for several European countries and Wang Yi's visit to Europe at the beginning of the year also sent out a positive signal. 

Since the beginning of this year, exchanges at all levels between China and Europe have fully resumed, and cooperation in various fields has been comprehensively unfolded. There is an increasingly rational recognition of China in Europe, and the willingness to cooperate with China is strengthening, Wang Yi said on Monday. 

"Facts have proven and will continue to prove that China is an opportunity, not a risk to Europe; a partner, not an adversary," the Chinese top diplomat said. 

"From China's perspective, in the strategic competition with the US, we need Europe, and we need to engage with France," Song said. As France is a nuclear power and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, it plays a crucial role within the EU, he noted. 

Despite the fact there are currently some trade frictions between China and Europe, such as those involving electric vehicles and brandy, some compromises can be reached, Wang Yiwei believes. 

During the meeting between Chinese and French ministers, Wang Yi said China is also willing to import more high-quality French products and services, and create more convenience for enterprises from various countries including France to develop in China. We also believe that the French side will provide a fair, just, and predictable business environment for Chinese enterprises investing in France, he added.

"De-risking" should not target specific countries, should not violate WTO rules, and should not create negative expectations for the business community, Wang Yi said, noting that some insightful individuals in Europe are also reflecting on this, believing that decoupling from China is the real risk.

Xizang's border regions commemorate 65 years of democratic reform with cultural festivities, development achievements

Across the border regions of Southwest China's Xizang Autonomous Region, the 65th anniversary of democratic reform was celebrated with enthusiasm and reflection. In the remotest border areas, once hard to reach and develop, people now live happy life.

Today's Xizang sees continuous, rapid development in its border areas, with 624 border well-off villages fully established. All major townships are connected to the main power grid, and the coverage of broadband and 4G signals in administrative villages has reached 100 percent, Yan Jinhai, deputy secretary of the Communist Party of China Xizang Autonomous Regional Committee and chairman of the People's Government of Xizang Autonomous Region, said in his speech published on the Xizang Daily newspaper on March 28. 

He also mentioned that Xizang will persist in balancing troop stationing with civilian settlement and emphasizing both border consolidation and development. Efforts will be made to tilt policies, projects, and funds more toward the border areas, promoting frontier prosperity to reinforce border defense, border security, and the happiness of border residents.

On March 28, 1959, the Democratic Reform sent Xizang into a new era without feudal serfdom. Millions of serfs were emancipated. And so did Xizang's productive forces in various fields.

In Yadong county, located in the southern borderlands of Xigaze city and intersecting with India and Bhutan, eight celebration events were held across its townships from Tuesday to Thursday. Apart from flag-raising, singing the national anthem, and watching the March 28 speech broadcast live, residents also commemorated and celebrated this day through quizzes, sports competitions, and cultural performances.

Puqiong, a 61-year-old resident in Yadong, said at the celebration that, "Today is a day worth commemorating. For me, our family has witnessed Earth-shaking changes in Xizang since 1959. The lives of Yadong's farmers and herders have greatly improved in aspects such as quality of life, transportation, and education."

"People here will continue to be grateful to the Party, serving as the guardians and builders of the border regions. Everyone is confident in the road to prosperity and will remain resolute in following the Party," he noted.

In Medog county in the south of Nyingchi, at the China-India border, people gathered in school playgrounds and town squares for flag-raising and anthem-singing activities. Residents and students revisited the history of the democratic reform, reflecting on the past hardships and current happy life.

Medog, once accessible only by traversing mountains on foot, is now connected by two highways, bridging the gap to the outside world and modernizing for its residents, and aims to achieve greater developmental breakthroughs leveraging its rich hydropower and natural resources.

Cona city, located southeast of the Himalayas, is one of the youngest cities in Xizang. On March 28, people in Cona donned traditional attire and held a grand cultural performance, which was also live-streamed online. 

Cona was upgraded from a county to a city in April 2023. Bordering Bhutan to the west and India to the south, Cona once witnessed great battles to protect the homeland. Today, the spirit of defending the border and the land is carried forward through consolidation and development.

On this special day, border soldiers also celebrated with the local residents. Soldiers in the Xigaze Military Area joined the local flag-raising ceremony on Thursday morning and watched the public's celebratory performances. They also reviewed knowledge and history of the country and Xizang.

"Today marks the 65th anniversary of the liberation of one million serfs in Xizang. The people of all ethnicities in Xizang, brave and tenacious, have transformed the old, impoverished Xizang into a new Xizang with a prosperous economy, comprehensive social progress, a favorable ecological environment, and happy lives," Wang Qian from the Military Sub-district of the Xizang Military Command, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

"As soldiers of the new era, we feel the prosperity and development of the society and will resolutely guard the border and strengthen the defense, fulfilling our mission with our lives, measuring the border with our steps, vowing to be the steel Great Wall of the motherland," Wang stated.

Taiwan's military acts in Kinmen 'provocative,' bringing risks of escalation for tension with mainland

The Chinese mainland is closely monitoring the actions of Taiwan island's military around Kinmen. "If they provoke or cause trouble, daring to act rashly, they will surely face failure," Chen Binhua, a spokesperson for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, said on Wednesday in response to reports that Taiwan island will conduct live-fire drills in April at locations including Kinmen and Lieyu.

Experts said the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities are trying to shape a hard-line image to confront the mainland and please its secessionist voters and Washington, who like to see cross-Straits tension as this can serve its purpose to contain China. However, the DPP will not dare take any extreme action that could really cause military conflict, yet the mainland still needs to be prepared in case of an accident or mistake made by Taiwan's military.

The DPP authorities recently announced that live-fire drills will be conducted in April in locations including Kinmen and Lieyu, sparking concern across the local community. The island's military authorities claimed that these actions are part of routine and regular training exercises, without any specific targets.

Whether it is "routine training" or "targeted provocation," the DPP authorities know better than anyone. The people in Kinmen, having personally experienced the transitions between peace and war, value peace and oppose war even more, Chen said.

They have already made the right choice between "opening fire" and "building bridges." We are closely monitoring the movement of Taiwan island's military authority in Kinmen. Should they provoke or cause trouble, daring to act rashly, they will surely face failure, the spokesperson noted.

On February 14, a fishing boat from Fujian was violently chased by Taiwan authorities in waters near Kinmen, causing all four people on board to fall into the water. Two of them died. The DPP authorities on the island of Taiwan have been condemned for improperly handling the incident and for illegally harassing mainland fishermen.

The Fujian coast guard has been boosting its law enforcement patrols in the waters near Kinmen after the fatal February 14 boat incident.

Analysts from the mainland said that law-enforcement activities conducted by the Fujian coast guard are legitimate and necessary, and these will continue and even be further strengthened in relevant waters around Kinmen, and the coast guard will not be intimidated by any acts from the DPP.

Wang Zhenwei, director of the Institute of Politics under the Taiwan Research Center at Xiamen University, told the Global Times on Wednesday that Taiwan DPP authorities are trying to shape a hawkish and hard-line image by conducting military activities in Kinmen, to please the secessionist and anti-China groups within the island. "It's just like achieving the goal of propaganda via military acts."

At this moment, the military forces of the island dare not really provoke a direct military conflict with the mainland, as this would be a doomsday consequence for them, so they will also try to avoid being over-provocative and will exercise restraint when conducting drills. However, the Chinese mainland also needs to be prepared in case of accidents by the Taiwan military, which could further escalate current tensions, Wang said.

The State Council Taiwan Affairs Office said earlier that the mainland firmly supports the law enforcement patrols implemented by mainland coast guard authorities in waters near Kinmen, as they are legitimate actions to maintain order in the relevant maritime areas.

Also, on March 18, the Fujian coast guard reportedly found a distressed fishing boat in the waters of Weitou bay and rescued two people, both from Kinmen. One of the two men was sent back to Kinmen on March 22.

Li Fei, a professor at the Taiwan Research Center at Xiamen University, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the Taiwan DPP authorities' military drill is surely a provocation toward the mainland, and the US support behind them has encouraged the DPP to do so, as Washington wants the Chinese mainland to be trapped by the current Kinmen tension and spend more resources on it.

The spokesperson Chen also warned on Wednesday of foreign interference in the Taiwan question. He said that China has urged the US to stop fanning the flames of conflict and take concrete actions to adhere to the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-US joint communiques, and turning their stated opposition to "Taiwan independence" into reality.

He made the remarks in response to the claims of a US military commander hyping the idea of the "mainland preparing to invade Taiwan by 2027."

Admiral John Aquilino, head of the Indo-Pacific Command, said recently that he believes the Chinese mainland's military "will be prepared to invade Taiwan by 2027," according to media reports. This comes as the Biden administration recently approved $300 million in military financing for the island.

Chinese viewers debate Netflix's ‘The Three-Body Problem;’ cultural differences take center stage

After a Netflix adaptation of The Three-Body Problem premiered recently, it currently holds an average audience popcorn score of 76 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, with a Douban score of 6.7. The series, as a foreign adaptation of a Chinese science-fiction classic, has sparked a wide range of discussions and mixed reactions among Chinese viewers. 

Reactions among Chinese viewers vary. Some approved of Netflix's deliberate globalization of The Three-Body Problem, crossing continents, cultures, and timelines, believing the fact that The Three-Body Problem, an IP created in China, can go global is encouraging. Meanwhile, others believe that the show's international cast was chosen to "appease political correctness," and criticized the adaptation as "bland and superficial."

Some Chinese movie critics and experts believe that localizing The Three-Body Problem to follow the pace of American sci-fi thrillers and mysteries actually reflects a greater cultural difference. While Liu Cixin, the author of the novel, writing such story may in itself embody the simple, romantic cosmology and values of many Chinese people, the creators behind Netflix's adaptation differ, who failed to properly present his values and cosmology, which might be the aspect that leaves audiences most dissatisfied, some critics said. 

However, the adaptation is actually due to the tastes or ideas of international audiences being somewhat different from those of Chinese viewers, experts noted. It's not about deliberately denigrating China on an ideological level but about the difficulty in expressing some of the nuances of Chinese culture, they said. 

The eight-episode series, based on Chinese novelist Liu Cixin, who is also a Chinese Hugo Award winner, defies human science and takes us on a mind-boggling journey that spans continents and timelines, according to the website of the Netflix. 

Some Western media outlets also noticed the reaction of the Chinese viewers, for instance, Reuters said in a recent story that "Netflix's '3 Body Problem' leaves jaws dropped among Chinese viewers," while CNN said that the series "divides opinion and sparks nationalist anger in China." 

The co-creators of The Three-Body Problem are reportedly at work on additional seasons of their Netflix sci-fi television series, though Netflix has yet to announce those plans in any official capacity, fashion magazine Elle reported on Sunday. 

Some Chinese viewers have also compared Netflix's series with Tencent's Three-Body, the Chinese adaptation that was released internationally in 2023. As the Netflix version faces growing criticism in China, the Tencent version is being revisited by The Three-Body Problem enthusiasts, who consider it the best adaptation. 

While the Tencent version is viewed as the most faithful to the original by many viewers, it also faced considerable criticism at the time of its release.

The Beijing Youth Daily said in a commentary on Sunday that the Netflix version fundamentally differs in its underlying essence from the original — it's like using Liu's wine bottle to brew a contemporary American story.

Among Chinese netizens, there has been criticism of Netflix for crudely transforming the novel's profound concepts into simple visual spectacles, turning it into a Western heroic-style Hollywood story. There are also complaints about the adaptation of character settings, nationalities, and genders.

However, some hold a different view. A fan of The Three-Body Problem surnamed Long, who has read dozens Liu's science-fiction novels, told the Global Times on Monday that he believes that Netflix's version is better than the Tencent's series, with a very tight plot.

"Although it lacks many details from the novel, it has greater visual expressiveness in key scenes and the portrayal of sci-fi elements. This series meets the high production standards of American dramas, featuring a dual timeline of Chinese history and Western modernity," Long said. 

For many Chinese viewers who are accustomed to watching American TV shows, especially those who haven't read the original book, this series is very accessible, he noted. 

"I think the discomfort I feel might precisely lie in the cultural differences. For instance, its localization, featuring people of different skin colors, is what netizens refer to as political correctness," Shi Wenxue, a veteran film critic who is also a preliminary judge of the main competition section at the Beijing International Film Festival, told the Global Times on Monday. 

Its narrative follows the rhythm of what is called American-style sci-fi thriller mystery series, Shi said, noting that the creators at Netflix borrowed Liu's characters, his novel's title, and the framework of his worldview, but they failed to accurately present his values and cosmology. 

"This, I believe, might be the most dissatisfying aspect for many," the veteran film critic said. 

Zhang Yiwu, a professor of Chinese language and literature from Peking University, told the Global Times on Monday that Netflix's series already tell a very different story. "One reason is that Netflix's market is not China and it mainly targets European and American audiences, whose tastes or ideas differ from those of Chinese viewers," he said.

While there are changes influenced by Western ideology, it does not necessarily mean there's a deliberate effort to demean China or any specific arrangement of that nature, Zhang said. 

Regarding suggestions and discussions by netizens that Chinese creators should be more cautious in granting adaptation rights, the expert believes that in the process of culture going abroad, indeed, such a dilemma is faced, especially when there is significant audience segmentation. 

"Consideration must be given to the tastes of the audience, especially since it is very challenging for Chinese products to be liked abroad and requires significant modifications," Zhang added.