• China-Maldives release Joint Press Communiqué: As part of President Mohamed Muizzu of the Republic of Maldives visit to China from January 8 to 12, 2024, at the invitation of President Xi Jinping, a joint communique was presented. In the statement both nations pledged to deepen cooperation in Belt and Road initiatives, economic and trade partnerships, and environmental sustainability. China expressed ongoing support for the Maldives' development priorities, such as infrastructure, health, and agriculture. The leaders also emphasized people-to-people exchanges, cultural cooperation, and joint efforts in addressing global challenges. The statement also stated that Maldives appreciated China's initiatives, including the Global Development Initiative, Global Security Initiative, and Global Civilization Initiative. They committed to actively participating in and accelerating the implementation of these visions and initiatives. During the visit, the two countries signed the Action Plan for Building a China-Maldives Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership (2024-2028) and various cooperation agreements in areas such as Belt and Road, economic development, blue economy, digital economy, green development, and infrastructure. Both sides expressed satisfaction with the visit's outcomes, highlighting its significance in advancing the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership. President Muizzu thanked President Xi Jinping for the hospitality and extended an invitation for Chinese leaders to visit the Maldives. The leaders agreed to maintain communication on this matter through diplomatic channels.

  • Xi reaffirms close ties with Bangladesh: China has reaffirmed its commitment to strengthening political mutual trust and aligning development strategies with Bangladesh following the re-election of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. President Xi Jinping congratulated Hasina and expressed Beijing's readiness to enhance traditional friendship, advance Belt and Road projects, and elevate the strategic partnership. The messages from Chinese leaders highlighted the importance of deepening the strategic partnership with Dhaka. The bilateral ties between China and Bangladesh, seen as a model of mutual respect and win-win cooperation, are expected to enter a new positive development period with Hasina securing her fifth term. The Belt and Road Initiative has played a significant role in transforming Bangladesh's infrastructure and improving people's well-being. China is Bangladesh's largest trading partner, and Bangladesh is China's third-largest trading partner in South Asia. The Belt and Road Initiative has created job opportunities and contributed to Bangladesh's economic development, environmental protection, and community services. The robust ties between the two nations are rooted in strong public support, with over 90 per cent of respondents in a survey expressing positive views on Sino-Bangladeshi relations.

  • Hong Kong Taxis to Accept UnionPay, Alipay from January 25: Hong Kong taxis equipped with Octopus fare machines linked to mobile phones via an updated app will now accept digital payments through two mainland Chinese QR code wallets—UnionPay and Alipay, starting from January 25. This move by Octopus Cards Limited aims to provide convenience to residents and tourists from mainland China, allowing them to make electronic payments in taxis. The decision to prioritize UnionPay and Alipay was influenced by the significant number of mainland visitors, making up 80% of all arrivals after the easing of COVID-related travel restrictions. The initiative is expected to address the reliance on cash transactions in the taxi industry, enhancing both drivers' and riders' experiences.

  • China, US Hold Defense Policy Coordination Talks: China expresses its willingness to cultivate robust military-to-military relations with the United States based on equality and respect, aiming to implement the military-related consensus established during the leaders' meeting in San Francisco in November. The 17th defense policy coordination talks between China and the U.S., held in Washington, concluded with China urging the U.S. to recognize its concerns and take steps to enhance bilateral military ties. Emphasizing its unwavering stance on the Taiwan question and the South China Sea issue, China calls on the U.S. to adhere to the one-China principle, refrain from arming Taiwan, and reduce military deployment in the South China Sea. This marks the first meeting under the defense policy coordination talks mechanism since U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan in 2022, contributing to the resumption of military communication between the two nations.

  • China Launches World's Largest Solid-Fuel Carrier Rocket: China's OrienSpace successfully launched the Gravity-1 (YL-1) carrier rocket, marking its first flight mission and setting records as the world's largest solid-fuel carrier rocket. Launched from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center, the medium-sized rocket stands at 30 meters in height, with a payload capacity of 6.5 metric tons for low Earth orbit and 4.2 tons for sun-synchronous orbit at 500 kilometers. Developed by OrienSpace, the YL-1 rocket is capable of efficiently deploying satellite networks, with potential applications for batch launches, cargo spacecraft, and super-large satellites weighing 3 to 4 metric tons. It is also the first domestically developed commercial rocket featuring a bundled configuration.


  • 300 happy-to-help north China locals offer free lifts for tourists visiting snowy region: Over 300 compassionate individuals in China are providing free rides to stranded visitors during inclement weather, gaining attention on social media. Locals in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, formed a volunteer fleet offering complimentary lifts to domestic tourists from the southern regions, playfully referred to as "small potatoes." The volunteers utilize various vehicles, displaying posters advertising free rides for those unable to secure other transportation. The initiative aims to assist tourists, promote goodwill, and demonstrate the warm hospitality of northeastern China. The heartwarming story has garnered positive reactions on social media, with many expressing a desire to visit the region. Heilongjiang, known for its winter attractions, experienced a substantial increase in visitors in November, contributing to the province's growing tourism industry.



  • China has reaffirmed its commitment to strengthening political mutual trust and aligning development strategies with Bangladesh following the re-election of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Closer ties between China and Bangladesh may lead to an increased Chinese presence in the region. This could be of strategic concern for India, particularly if it involves military cooperation or the establishment of Chinese military facilities in Bangladesh. If China and Bangladesh deepen their security collaboration, it might have implications for the security environment in South Asia. India would need to closely monitor developments to assess any impact on its security interests. A stronger China-Bangladesh relationship could potentially alter the balance of power in South Asia. India may need to adapt its regional strategies to address these shifts and maintain its influence. The diplomatic landscape in South Asia could witness changes based on the evolving dynamics between China, Bangladesh, and India. Competing interests or alignments may emerge, requiring adept diplomatic handling. China's involvement in infrastructure development in Bangladesh might compete with India-funded projects in the region. The two countries might find themselves in economic competition for influence in Bangladesh.

Prepared By

Sejal Dalvi is a Political Science graduate from the University of Mumbai and now pursuing a Master’s in Public Policy from St.Xavier’s College. Her research interests include International relations, Environment and sustainability and Urban governance. Her research papers have previously been published on NITI TANTRA. Her experiences, coupled with a genuine passion for research and addressing societal challenges, have solidified her commitment to policymaking.

CiCM 11th January 2024

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