Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby SSridhar » 16 Nov 2018 18:58

Vietnam opposes military alliances in region: envoy - Dinakar Peri, The Hindu
Vietnam has an “ambivalent” position on the Quad grouping comprising India, Australia, Japan, and the U.S., Ambassador Pham Sanh Chau said on Thursday. Elaborating, he said while Vietnam welcomed any country’s initiative to preserve freedom of navigation and overflight in the region, it was opposed to any military alliance that could undermine regional peace and security.

Differences in Singapore

The Vietnamese Ambassador’s comments came even as officials from the Quad grouping met in Singapore on Thursday. In a sign that the four countries continued to have differences on the objectives of the grouping, each of the four sides issued separate statements.

“If any country wants to gang up, use force or trying to use force, then it goes against the position of Vietnam,” Mr. Chau, who just assumed charge in New Delhi, said in response to questions on the Quad. The Ambassador added that Vietnam did not want the region to become a “theatre” for power play by major powers.

“We will not join any alliance in order to fight any third country,” he asserted.


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Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby Peregrine » 16 Nov 2018 21:30

China's Xi makes push into Pacific; scores 'own goal' with block on media

PORT MORESBY: President Xi Jinping made a push to expand China's influence in the Pacific on Friday, holding a forum with leaders of eight small island countries in Papua New Guinea.

But Chinese officials barred most media, including reporters from the Pacific, from the forum at which Xi met leaders from the Cook Islands, Fiji, Micronesia, Niue, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, as well as Papua New Guinea, in its capital its capital Port Moresby ahead of an APEC summit this weekend.

China's efforts to win friends in the resource-rich Pacific push have been watched warily by the traditionally influential powers in the region - Australia, New Zealand and the United States - who were not invited to Friday's forum.

But to the disappointment of many of the journalists there to report on China's role in the region, Chinese officials barred access to all media, apart from a small list of outlets, citing space and security concerns. Many of those left out grumbled about what they saw as a lack of transparency around China's efforts to gain new allies.

"It just sends such a terrible signal," said Jonathan Pryke of Sydney-based think-tank the Lowy Institute.

"It just seems like they are trying to buy influence but not build influence," he said,referring to Chinese aid to the region.

Dozens of accredited journalists were turned away despite being invited to attend by PNG officials, who also arranged transport to the well-guarded forum venue.

Chinese officials said they had not been informed of the host's plans and had to limit media numbers.

One official suggested journalists could look out for reports on the forum published by China's state-run news agency Xinhua.

Lina Keapu, photojournalist at PNG's Sunday Chronicle newspaper said it was a "slap in the face".

"As the local media, we should be there covering it and getting the news to our national public," she said.

Pita Ligaiula, a journalist with the Pacific Island News Association, based in Fiji, said Chinese influence was among the big issues affecting the region and it was important to be able to inform the public about its intentions.

"I come all the way from Fiji only to be told we are not invited to cover this," he said.

China's foreign ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Pryke said China had scored an "own goal" by "marginalising domestic media in their own country" when they could have anticipated plenty of positive coverage from the event.

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Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby Peregrine » 16 Nov 2018 22:08

Amid thaw, Chinese ambassador suggests OBOR-Act East synergy - Sachin Parashar – TNN

Describing China's 'One Belt One Road' (OBOR) and India's 'Act East Policy’ as natural (to each other), Chinese ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui Friday said a synergy between the two could be built keeping in mind the focus on economic cooperation between India and China.

Speaking at the China-India Youth Dialogue 2018, Luo said China and India had similar policies on connectivity and trade and that concrete cooperation between them was important.

The dialogue, a precursor to the first ever high-level people-to-people and culture meet soon, started with a message from PM Narendra Modi expressing hope that the engagement will help the youth build a "great wall of trust and cooperation" between India and China.

"Every country is focusing on connectivity and free trade. India and China also have similar policies. Act East and OBOR are natural…how do you synergise these two strategies together between the two countries for economic cooperation and development is important," said Luo, responding to a query from an Indian youth delegate.

The ambassador described Modi's Wuhan summit with President Xi Jinping as a historic milestone in bilateral relations and said both sides were working to implement the Wuhan consensus the two leaders had arrived at.

While India had agreed in Wuhan to work with China in the neighbourhood under what Beijing described as a 2+1 format, the government has officially continued to give a wide berth to OBOR. Much to India's annoyance, The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which India is opposed to as it passes through the disputed Gilgit-Baltistan region, remains the showpiece project of OBOR.

Chinese vice foreign minister Kong Xuanyou was quoted as having said after the Wuhan summit that the two sides will enhance policy coordination in their neighbourhood to discuss cooperation in the form of "China India plus one or China India plus X".

Luo said OBOR was China's national policy with presence in close to 100 countries and that work on the connectivity and cooperation initiative spread across continents was progressing smoothly. The ambassador said that work even on the Bangladesh-ChinaIndia-Myanmar economic corridor was "going well".

Acknowledging the recent thaw in ties, the ambassador said Sino-Indian ties were at "one of the best periods in history".

"China is the largest trading partner of India. Last year the bilateral trade volume reached $84 billion. Over 1,000 Chinese companies are doing business in India, creating more than 1 lakh jobs. The two-way visits last year reached more than 1 million. Over 20,000 India youth are studying in China. The bilateral relations have entered the fast track of development," said Luo.

Significantly, the ambassador said Beijing would encourage Indian engineers to work in China. "In Chinese Linyi city, there are over 100 Indian IT engineers working in its software industry park. In Chinese Guizhou Province, a China-India IT Corridor has been established. We could encourage more India students to work in Chinese enterprises in India," said Luo.

China has, in fact, been pushing India to allow direct flights between Guiyamg and Bengaluru to facilitate more cooperation in IT and related areas.

China, as he said, was encouraging more Indian students to study in China and more Chinese students to study in India. "We could arrange short term study tours and home stays for Indian students in China. There are more than 20 Chinese universities teaching Hindi language. We will encourage more Indian universities and educational institutions to teach Chinese," he said.

On a lighter note, the ambassador said most Chinese were fond of doing three things – watching Bollywood movies, practicing yoga and trying out Darjeeling tea.

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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby ArjunPandit » 17 Nov 2018 21:22

sorry for OT, but Chinese foreign experts exactly sound like property brokers selling moon.

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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby SSridhar » 18 Nov 2018 14:58

Police called on Chinese delegates as APEC summit tensions boil over - AFP
PORT MORESBY (PAPUA NEW GUINEA): The police were called when Chinese officials attempted to "barge" into the office of Papua New Guinea's foreign minister, it emerged Sunday, as APEC summit tensions boiled over.

The Chinese delegates "tried to barge in" to Rimbink Pato's Port Moresby office Saturday, in an eleventh-hour bid to influence a summit draft communique, but were denied entry, three sources with knowledge of the situation told AFP.

"Police were posted outside the minister's office after they tried to barge in," one source privy to summit negotiations told AFP, requesting anonymity.

The diplomatic incident came with tensions already high at a summit of Asian-Pacific leaders that has been overshadowed by a spat between the United States and China.

Pato had refused to meet with the delegates, according to a source, who said: "It's not appropriate for the minister to negotiate solo with the Chinese. The Chinese negotiating officials know this."

The minister himself sought to downplay the incident, telling AFP: "There wasn't an issue."

The Chinese delegation has yet to comment publicly on the incident but was set to hold a news conference later Sunday.

APEC nations usually agree a joint statement but officials are struggling to bridge deep divides on trade policy and admit that a formal communique may not be issued.

This is not the first time Chinese officials have been involved in a tense incident at a regional meeting.

At the Pacific Islands Forum in September, Nauru's president demanded China apologise after its delegation walked out of a meeting when the host refused to let an envoy speak until island leaders had finished.

"They're not our friends. They just need us for their own purposes," President Baron Waqa said at the time.

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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby SSridhar » 18 Nov 2018 15:07

Joint US-Australian naval base on Manus Island a 'significant pushback' against China's Pacific ambitions - ABC News
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the US involvement in the redevelopment of a naval base at Manus Island has been at Papua New Guinea's request.

Tensions between the US and China overflowed during speeches at the APEC Summit in PNG on Saturday, with US Vice-President Mike Pence accusing Beijing of debt-trap diplomacy and Chinese President Xi Jinping warning the US against protectionism.

Mr Pence then announced that the US would partner with Australia and PNG to redevelop the Lombrum naval base on Manus Island.

The move comes as the US, China and Australia all vie for influence in PNG and the Pacific, and one analyst said the Manus base would push American forces further south into the Pacific than they had been in decades.

"It brings the US a lot closer to the South China Sea but I think it's also a significant pushback for China's strategic ambitions in the Pacific region," said Jonathan Pryke from the Lowy Institute.


Mr Pence has not said how much money the Trump administration will contribute to the project, or whether US vessels will be permanently based at Lombrum.

Defence Minister Christopher Pyne has already said that Australian vessels will probably be based permanently at Lombrum under the deal.

"All of the details we'll be working through in the time ahead, and the investments that we'll be making," Mr Morrison said.

"But the key thing here is the PNG Government has invited us to participate at Manus Island in the Lombrum initiative and they've invited the United States to do the same thing, so we're pleased to be working together."
'Greater prosperity and greater security'

PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill and Mr Pence had a bilateral meeting on the night of the speeches.

Mr O'Neill opened by thanking the US for its support of PNG.

Mr Pence then spoke about the "strong partnership" between the two countries.

Mr Pence said the naval base redevelopment would contribute to "greater prosperity and greater security" in the region and praised Mr O'Neill's "vision and leadership" as well as the "great and enduring friendship between the people of the United States and Papua New Guinea".
Which country gives the most aid to the Pacific?

The answer might surprise you, writes Stephen Dziedzic.

"Seven thousand Americans fell in combat here in Papua New Guinea," Mr Pence said, referring to the battles of World War II.

In an apparent response to China talking about its investment in PNG, Mr Pence said the US was a leading investor in the country and that "American investment in Papua New Guinea is unmatched".

"President Trump's vision … of a free and open Indo-Pacific begins with economic growth, but it's all facilitated by security," he said.

"Let me also say how grateful we are for the ongoing collaboration and partnership on security."

After media were asked to leave the room Mr Pence then met with and was photographed with other Pacific leaders.

Pacific island leaders have been in high demand at APEC in the last few days as countries vie for influence in the region.

The Chinese President held a working dinner with some of the leaders on Friday and Mr Morrison will host a barbecue for them today.

Before the APEC dummit Mr O'Neill said he "wasn't interested" in geopolitics, and wanted to work with everyone.

However, the Manus naval base decision appears to put PNG right in the middle of the geopolitical manoeuvring.

Aid is an important resource for the Pacific Islands region, but public information is often lacking. The Lowy Institute Pacific Aid Map is designed to enhance aid effectiveness.

Mr Pryke said it would have significant implications for PNG.

"It sends a strong alignment signal from a country that's done a decent job of straddling both Australia and China," he said.

"China has clear ambitions for establishing a military presence in the Pacific, and this has undermined that ambition in PNG."

The announcement came just one day after Mr Xi's first state visit to PNG, where the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding which included a new 10-year loan.

"After the pomp and ceremony [China has] displayed here over the last few days, despite no major funding announcement, they must be disappointed and frustrated," Mr Pryke said.

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Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby Peregrine » 18 Nov 2018 23:10

X Posted on the CPEC Thread

Pence-Xi showdown at APEC shows US-China divide only widening – Bloomberg

US Vice President Mike Pence traded sharp barbs with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in back-to-back speeches at a regional summit, showing that neither country appears to be giving ground in an escalating trade war.

Xi received applause on Saturday when he told the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Papua New Guinea that implementing tariffs and breaking up supply chains was “short-sighted” and “doomed to failure.” He called for a stronger World Trade Organization and defended his signature Belt-and-Road Initiative, saying it’s “not a trap as some people have labelled it.”

Speaking moments later, Pence told delegates the US offers countries in the region “a better option’’ for economic and diplomatic relations than Beijing’s heavy-handed approach. He warned against taking Chinese loans, saying the US “doesn’t drown our partners in a sea of debt” nor offer “a constricting belt or a one-way road.”

The back-and-forth on a cruise ship docked in Port Moresby, the capital, suggested the world’s biggest economies remained far from a deal to end a damaging trade war even after President Donald Trump said he was optimistic about a resolution. Trump and Xi are scheduled to meet a few weeks from now at the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires.

Trump told reporters Friday that the Chinese response to US trade demands was largely complete but was missing four or five big issues. Those comments helped US stocks erase losses, as investors bet on whether Trump will impose even more tariffs on Chinese goods than the $250 billion already in place. China has slapped tariffs on $110 billion in imports from the US in retaliation.

On Saturday, Pence warned that Trump could still put more tariffs on China.

“We hope for better, but the United States will not change course until China changes its ways,” he said. Later, Pence told reporters he was “very hopeful” the US and China could reach a deal, but “things have to change” for that to happen.

“We’re in a very strong position,’’ Pence said when asked whether there was a deadline to end the trade war. “The American people know that we have to do something to reset this relationship with China economically. So, I don’t think there’s a timetable.”

Xi gave no indication of giving in on some key US demands, including an end to technology transfer, support for state-run enterprises, and giving up on its Made in China 2025 plan to lead the world in key industries. He said intellectual property rights are important to protect innovation but they shouldn’t widen the digital gap between countries.

Xi also made a veiled reference to a new grouping known as “the Quad” that aims to counter China’s influence in the Asia-Pacific. Consisting of the US, Japan, India and Australia, the group met in Singapore in the past week to discuss ways to cooperate.

“Attempts to form exclusive blocs or impose one’s will on others should be rejected,” Xi said. “History has shown that confrontation, whether in the form of a cold war, a hot war or a trade war, will produce no winners.”

China’s growing military prowess and debt-fuelled economic aid to smaller countries has increased concerns that it could seek a base for its armed forces in the Pacific or Indian Oceans. The nation’s growing influence in Papua New Guinea was on display in Port Moresby: dozens of red Chinese flags line a new six-lane highway built by China, while a giant billboard shows Xi shaking hands with Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

Pence said on Saturday the US would partner with Papua New Guinea and Australia in redeveloping the Lombrum Naval Base on Manus Island.

Still, while US allies like Australia welcome American firepower in the region, they also worry about its tactics on trade. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison used his speech at APEC to strongly criticise the US-China trade war while inviting other nations to participate in a revamped Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“Tit-for-tat protectionism and threats of trade wars are in no one’s interests economically, and undermine the authority of the global and regional trading rules that benefit us all,” Morrison said.

Trump’s withdrawal from the TPP last year and his push for bilateral trade deals are causing concern among allies, according to Ashley Townshend, director of the foreign policy and defense program at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney.

‘Damaging’

“By withdrawing from multilateral trade agreements and pursuing unilateral tit-for-tat tariffs that are damaging not just for the US and China, but for the broader regional and global trading system, the Trump administration is putting itself at odds with America’s Asian allies and partners,” he said. “That’s the concern.”

Pence is representing Trump at the summits after the president opted not to attend becoming the first US head of state to skip the marquee Asian conferences since 2013.

The vice president said he spoke twice with Xi during the summit, “briefly and candidly,” and told him Trump was looking forward to meeting him in Argentina.

Pence said he encouraged Xi to come to the “G20 understanding that their markets have to open up, that President Trump believes that a deal is possible.”

“But we also believe we’re in a very strong position,” Pence told reporters Sunday. “And we will continue to stand firm to achieve the kind of free, fair and reciprocal trading relationship that the American people want."

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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby Prasad » 19 Nov 2018 13:31

Prasad wrote:China’s Digital Rise And India’s Digital Jeopardy
Do read :)

This will be the first of a multi-part set of articles on the electronics arena.


China’s Lead And India’s Lag: It Is Now Or Never For The Indian Electronics Sector

Next article is up. Please do read :)

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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby SSridhar » 19 Nov 2018 16:14

India steps up agro-diplomacy with China - Atul Aneja, The Hindu
As the trade war with the United States continues to bite — with only a slim chance that the world’s two biggest economies can go past a possible truce — China appears to be opening up to non-U.S. imports.

Smelling an unexpected opportunity to export more to the Middle Kingdom, India is quietly squeezing in the door. The focus so far has been on pushing agri-products into the Chinese market. Sensing that China would look first at its food security by diversifying imports in view of the trade war, New Delhi has stepped up its agro-diplomacy with Beijing.

Over the past two months, Indian food and beverage producers have been conducting seminars and road shows in the Chinese capital.

Soya source

Though Indian soya bean exports are apparently a priority, especially after the China imposed a 25% levy on U.S. imports, success in the huge Chinese soya bean market is yet to materialise, though some progress may have registered during talks. Visiting Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan in a conversation with his Chinese counterpart Wang Shouwen earlier in November “expressed satisfaction over progress on soya bean meal and pomegranate and related issues,” an Indian Embassy press statement said.

However, other agri-products may have stolen a march over soya beans in finding a niche in the Chinese market. On November 6, Jay Shree Tea and Industries Ltd. signed a $1-million black tea export contract with State-owned COFCO. Assam tea, in particular, has good prospects in China as it blends well with milk-based tea drinks. “China has been traditionally a green tea market. But of late, its young people are developing a taste for milk infused bubble tea, potentially opening a larger market for Indian black teas,” said Arun Kumar Ray, Deputy Chairman of the Tea Board, on a visit to Beijing.

India’s efforts to export sugar to China, which began in earnest in June, also appear to have paid dividends. Earlier this month, a Commerce Ministry statement said the Indian Sugar Mills Association had signed its first sugar export contract of 50,000 tonnes with COFCO. During his visit, Mr. Wadhawan briefed the China Sugar Association about India’s proven capacity to meet China’s sugar needs over the long haul.

China has also opened up imports of non-Basmati rice from India in June on the sidelines of the Qingdao summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). Officials say China is a lucrative $1.5-$2 billion market for Indian rice. A delegation of Indian rice traders was in Beijing in October on a follow-up visit after China, in principle, opened its doors to 24 India-based rice mills.

Efforts to tap the Chinese agri-market, in view of the China-U.S. trade war, was flagged in April. In his opening remarks at the fifth China-India Strategic Economic Dialogue, NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar said India was ready to step in and supply soya beans to China. “I was noticing that there were some tariffs that were issued on farmers from Iowa and Ohio, etc. Maybe India can substitute for something like soya beans and sugar if we could have access to those exports with all the due quality considerations that you might have,” Mr. Kumar had said.

Trade imbalance

Despite signs of incremental progress, India’s $63-billion trade imbalance with China is alarming. In his meetings in Shanghai, Mr. Wadhawan stressed that pharmaceuticals, information technology services and tourism, in which India has a significant global footprint, had a “minuscule presence” in China.

Earlier this year, India had raised the red flag about its adverse trade balance during China’s trade policy review at the WTO, specifically citing hindrances that Indian exporters of rice, meat, pharmaceuticals and IT products were encountering to access the Chinese market.

“There are some positive developments... but we want that to be reflected in concrete trade figures before we can conclude that there has been a turnaround in our commercial ties with China,” an Indian diplomat told The Hindu .

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Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby Peregrine » 19 Nov 2018 17:22

Chinese city urges those 'poisoned by extremism' to surrender within 30 days – Reuters

BEIJING: A city in China's far-western Xinjiang region has ordered people who are "poisoned by extremism, terrorism and separatism", in contact with overseas terror groups or act in a conservative Islamic manner, to turn themselves in to authorities.

Those who surrender to judicial organs within 30 days and confess to their crimes will be treated leniently and might avoid punishment, said a notice posted on Sunday on the official social media account of the Hami city government.

Beijing has in recent months faced an outcry from activists, academics and foreign governments over mass detentions and strict surveillance of the Muslim Uighur minority and other ethnic groups that live in Xinjiang.

China rejects the criticism, saying that it protects the religion and culture of minorities in the region and that its security measures are needed to combat the influence of "extremist" groups that incite violence there.

"All individuals involved in terrorist crimes and poisoned by the 'three evil forces' are urged to surrender themselves to the judicial organs within 30 days and to confess and hand over the facts of your crime," said the Hami city notice.

The notice issued by the municipal "leading small group for stability maintenance" says that actions ranging from being in contact with overseas "terror" groups to conservative Islamic behaviour should prompt individuals to turn themselves in.

Advocating that people live their entire lives in accordance with the Koran, stopping other people from watching television, or banning alcohol, smoking and dancing at weddings are listed as behaviours that should warrant informing the authorities.

The list also included openly destroying, rejecting or thwarting the government identification system, as well as rejecting government provided housing, subsidies and cigarettes or booze as being "harem" or forbidden. Those who turn themselves in on time will be treated leniently, and if the information provides a significant clue, then they might avoid all punishment, the notice said.

In August, a United Nations human rights panel said it had received many credible reports that a million or more Uighurs and other minorities are being held in what resembles a “massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy” in Xinjiang.

China says it is not enforcing arbitrary detention and political re-education.

Aside from the mass detentions, rights groups also say that the Chinese government has significantly raised limitations on everyday religious observances in the region.

Last month, the region's capital Urumqi launched a campaign targeting halal products, like food and toothpaste, which are produced according to Islamic law, in order to prevent what it sees as the incursion of Islam into secular life.

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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby dinesh_kimar » 19 Nov 2018 20:46

^ it's a good idea, collabrate with China, though complex factors like Pakistan, india's anti Talib stance, OBOR thru Indian territory, and historic Chinese betrayal , and Chinese dishonest/ unprincipled dealings (NSG opposition, nukes for Pak, naval base in SL, Maldives, activity in Nepal and Bangla, ASAT test , 1995 test just before CTBT, dumping and tariff on India, etc.) are in the background.

It will tell the Afghan people that we are gentleman, which will give us valuable brownie points.

Why persue an independent policy like Japan, when one can take China's help and leapfrog over others?

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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby Dumal » 19 Nov 2018 22:02

dinesh_kimar wrote:^ it's a good idea, collabrate with China, though complex factors like Pakistan, india's anti Talib stance, OBOR thru Indian territory, and historic Chinese betrayal , and Chinese dishonest/ unprincipled dealings (NSG opposition, nukes for Pak, naval base in SL, Maldives, activity in Nepal and Bangla, ASAT test , 1995 test just before CTBT, dumping and tariff on India, etc.) are in the background.

It will tell the Afghan people that we are gentleman, which will give us valuable brownie points.

Why persue an independent policy like Japan, when one can take China's help and leapfrog over others?


:lol: :lol: :lol:

No, I think these kind of meshing with the Chinese must be part of well- thought out strategy. We will not bend by acquiescing to the 2+1 format etc but we will engage and keep close to chinese moves. “Keep the enemy closer” kind of move. Besides what are we afraid of in dealing with them as equals?

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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby dinesh_kimar » 19 Nov 2018 22:15

Ah yes, I see now.

Quite clever, isn't it?

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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby SSridhar » 21 Nov 2018 09:26

Kovind hints at enhanced maritime security cooperation with Vietnam - Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, Economic Times
India has said it would expand maritime security cooperation with Vietnam amid China’s belligerence in South China Sea and ambitions in the Bay of Bengal.

The two sides also agreed to further strengthen bilateral cooperation in defence, atomic energy, outer space and oil and gas. Four MoUs in the fields of communications, education and trade and investment were signed to take the bilateral agenda forward.

President Ram Nath Kovind while addressing Vietnam Parliament in Hanoi on Tuesday announced that the two countries will hold a bilateral maritime security dialogue early next year, and hinted at increasing port visits by the navies and coast guards of both the countries.


Kovind is currently on a state visit to Vietnam. It is understood that during his meetings, the two sides discussed the South China Sea situation and expanding defence ties, including implementation of defence related $500-m line of credit.

“...India looks forward to enhanced bilateral cooperation in the maritime domain — for instance, through our first bilateral maritime security dialogue to be hosted by Vietnam in early 2019. Maritime security, piracy, and drug trafficking using the oceans are issues of common concern. I am confident that the programme of regular and friendly visits to each other’s ports by naval and coast guard ships from our countries will upgrade cooperation,” Kovind said in his address to Vietnam’s National Assembly in Hanoi on Tuesday.

“Climate change is not the only question mark looming before the Indo-Pacific Region. Vietnam and India share a vision for the Region, of which the South China Sea is a critical component. We share a vision of a rules-based order that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity, ensures freedom of navigation and over-flight, as well as unimpeded commerce. Our shared vision seeks peaceful resolution of disputes, with full respect for legal and diplomatic processes,” Kovind said.

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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby SSridhar » 21 Nov 2018 10:10

India's relentless push against China in its backyard and how Modi scores on geopolitics - Economic Times
Under its 'string of pearls' policy, China has long been trying to ring-fence India by building strategic and economic bases in smaller countries in the region. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been pursuing an aggressive policy to contain China in India's backyard. South Asia has become a battleground between the two powers as India seeks to challenge Chinese influence in its backyard.

A few days ago, PM Modi attended the swearing-in ceremony of new Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. India-Maldives ties had come under strain under former president Abdulla Yameen who was perceived to be close to China. Some of his decisions, including the restrictions on work visas for Indians and signing of a new Free Trade Agreement with Beijing also did not go down well with New Delhi. The new government in Maldives has said it would pull out of a free trade agreement with China because it was a mistake for the tiny nation to strike such a pact with the world's second biggest economy.

Yameen had signed the agreement during a visit to Beijing last year and the same month his parliament ratified the treaty despite opposition protests that he had rushed through the 1,000-page document in less than an hour without any debate.

China has extended its influence in small countries in India's neighbourhood by funding infrastructure projects. However, since such funding has proved to be a debt trap, these countries have become wary of it which gives India a chance to strengthen economic ties with them.

PM Modi's relentless efforts to minimise Chinese influence in India's neighbourhood has led to a continuous power struggle between the two countries.

In Sri Lanka, India helped broker a coalition between Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe to remove Mahinda Rajapaksa from office 2015. Rajapakse had given China strategic entry into Sri Lanka, by leasing out Hambantota port to China and allowing it to build Colombo port and dock its submarines in Sri Lanka. Wickremesinghe reversed a few deals with China and even signed a deal with India to operate the Humbantota airport.

But now, Rajapaksa's ascent to power has worried India as he is seen to be closer to China.

Though India will need to work much harder and beat China's money power to woo back smaller neighbouring countries, Modi's 'neighbourhood first' policy has been aggressively at work. A few months ago, China had to scrap a hydroelectric project in Nepal due to the daunting cost of resettling thousands of families. But the real reason is said to be India. India reportedly told Nepal it would not buy electricity from that project, and China could not rely on a small Nepalese market.

India's best hope is that the neighbouring countries grow doubtful about China's infrastructure funding. That's already happening. Bangladesh is building the 20-kilometre-long rail and road bridges over Padma river with its own money despite the lure of ready Chinese funds.

While some Chinese firms are involved in the execution of the project selected through tenders, the initiative has no exposure to Chinese funds. Bangladesh has been cautious in accepting loans from China and has on occasions rejected Chinese firms vying for infrastructure projects and even blacklisted Chinese firms.

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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby SSridhar » 22 Nov 2018 16:47

With eyes on China, EU agrees investment screening rules - Philip Blenkinsop, Business News
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union on Tuesday provisionally agreed on rules for a far-reaching system to coordinate scrutiny of foreign investments into Europe, notably from China, to end what a negotiator called “European naivety”.

Negotiators for the European Parliament and the EU’s 28 member states struck a deal to protect strategic technologies and infrastructure, such as ports or energy networks.

Under the plan, developed in the wake of a surge in Chinese investments, the European Commission would investigate foreign investments in critical sectors and offer opinions.

The opinions could address concerns over whether the security of vital infrastructure could be compromised or that innovations that have had years of expensive research could be lost to foreign hands.

“It will mark the end of European naivety,”
Franck Proust, who headed the parliament’s negotiating team, said ahead of the talks. “All the world powers - the United States, Japan, China, - have a method of screening. Only Europe does not.”

The proposed new law does not name China, but its backers’ complaints over investments by state-owned enterprises and for technology transfers are clear references to Beijing.

The proposal, demanded by France, Germany and the previous government of Italy, still needs the support of the 28 EU states
at a meeting on Dec. 5. Their backing is by no means certain given opposition from a number a countries, including Cyprus, Greece, Luxembourg, Malta and Portugal.

Some of the opponents have welcomed Chinese investment, such as Greece, whose largest port Piraeus is majority-owned by China’s COSCO Shipping.

“This is not about closing down our markets but about acting responsibly,” said Austrian Economy Minister Margarete Schramboeck, whose country represented the EU states and urged them to back the compromise text.

Parliament will vote on the proposal in February or March.

EU lawmakers succeeded in pushing through tougher screening than initially proposed, such as obliging the Commission to screen deals and requiring EU countries to cooperate.

They also extended the list of “critical sectors” to include aerospace, health, nano-technology, the media, electric batteries and the supply of food.

The system would not require individual countries to carry out screening. Currently 13 nations have a system in place. Those that do will need to inform other EU members and the Commission if they screen an investment.

All would have to provide an annual report to the Commission, which would also be obliged to give its opinion if a third of member states expressed concerns about a planned foreign investment.

However, EU countries, and not the Commission, would still make final decisions on whether to block foreign investments on security and public interest grounds.

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Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby Peregrine » 23 Nov 2018 02:18

Chaguan

The West begins to stir over China’s massive abuse of Muslims

Foreign governments’ worries about Xinjiang reflect a deeper angst about China

Few governments send ambassadors to China to be brave about human rights. Envoys to Beijing are scholars of realism, their fine minds applied to a delicate task: managing profitable relations with a deep-pocketed, unapologetic dictatorship.

It is, therefore, a big deal that at least 14 ambassadors from Western countries, led by Canada, have come together to confront China over its mass detentions of Muslims in the far-western region of Xinjiang, most of them ethnic Uighurs. Officials say the purpose is to stamp out extremism. In a letter leaked to Reuters, a news agency, the ambassadors have asked to meet Chen Quanguo, the Communist Party’s boss in Xinjiang. A hardliner transferred from Tibet, Mr Chen oversees a gulag into which perhaps a million Uighurs have been sent for “transformation-through-education”, many for indefinite periods without trial.

Millions more endure surveillance by facial-recognition cameras, smartphone scanners and police patrols at every turn. Some must host officials as houseguests, sent to assess their loyalties. China calls these measures vital after terrorist attacks carried out in recent years by Uighur fanatics.

It is revealing that China seems startled to find itself under ambassadorial scrutiny. It has some reason to be. Chinese officials cynically believe—and will say in private—that Western leaders and envoys raise human rights out of a sense of reluctant obligation, in order to placate activists and public opinion back home. This time, however, the charge is being led by ambassadors, not the public. Envoys in Beijing admit that most people in their countries have never heard of Xinjiang or the Uighurs. They also concede that some folk back home might have mixed feelings were they to learn that the Uighurs stand accused of terrorist leanings.

Protesting Muslim bans, wherever they are found

Xinjiang’s agonies are hardly a vital national interest for the first countries to sign the draft letter—Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, joined by the European Union. Instead, a Western diplomat sees a stark test of principle, asking: if we do not protest when a million people are detained without trial, when will we speak out?

That points to another reason for China to be startled. It is years since human rights seriously disrupted Chinese foreign policy. China won a big victory in 1994 when America’s then president, Bill Clinton, abandoned his previous commitment to make China’s access to American markets conditional on its human-rights record. “We have reached the end of the usefulness of that policy,” Mr Clinton mumbled, before expressing hopes that China would be changed by engagement with the world. [b]For reasons both selfish and noble, other governments fell in line behind that same plan: a bet that a prosperous China would surely converge with an international order crafted by Western powers after the second world war, based on global trade, universal rights and the rule of law.

China has not converged. In the meantime, the post-war rules-based order has rarely felt so fragile, thanks in part to the election of populists such as President Donald Trump. That fragility explains why once-meek governments are finding their voices. It is why Xinjiang crashed onto the agenda of the Stockholm China Forum, a twice-yearly gathering of American, Chinese and European ambassadors, diplomats, scholars, politicians and business leaders, hosted recently by Sweden’s foreign ministry and the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a think-tank. A speaker predicted that Xinjiang’s woes would “explode in public opinion”.

Normally dispassionate, the forum saw sharp exchanges about Xinjiang. Speakers described hearings in Washington at which farm-state senators, who once cheered trade with China, used phrases like “Orwellian” and “concentration camps”. It was noted that China’s high-tech police state appals Europeans, who dread government surveillance, especially in Germany. Defenders of China accused the West of hypocrisy, saying: “This is not Guantánamo.” (True: there are only 40 inmates in Guantánamo.)

To be sure, the West is not united over how to defend the rules-based order. eu signatories to the ambassadors’ letter are mostly from northern Europe. From the China-led “16 plus one” grouping of former communist countries in Europe, the only signatory at the time of publication was Estonia. Australia, a big exporter to China, signed. New Zealand, another big exporter, did not.

America’s position is hard to predict. In a recent China-pounding speech, Vice-President Mike Pence was stern about Xinjiang. A bipartisan group of members of Congress wants Chinese officials to face sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Act, a law targeting human-rights abusers. But America’s envoy in Beijing did not sign the Canadian-drafted letter. Nobody can guarantee that Mr Trump will uphold his government’s line when he sees his counterpart, Xi Jinping, later this month at a g20 meeting in Argentina, rather than beam that China is smart to be tough on Muslim terrorists.

The wider world is not united. Turkey, which feels bonds of kinship with Uighurs, a Turkic people, was the only Muslim country to rebuke China at a recent meeting of the un Human Rights Council in Geneva. Other Muslim countries, many of them recipients of Chinese loans, praised China’s human rights.

Global argument over Xinjiang is likely to get fiercer. Horrible things are happening. International investors are growing jumpy about stakes in firms selling security kit used there. It matters that China’s talking points are outrageously cynical. Chinese lines tested in Stockholm include the claim that the camps protect the rights of Uighurs raised in remote, mainly Muslim areas. The camps offer modern employment skills, it was explained, and the right—guaranteed in China’s constitution—to choose your own religion or to believe in none. More propaganda like that, and ambassadors will not be the only ones asking hard questions.

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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby SSridhar » 23 Nov 2018 20:23


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Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby Peregrine » 24 Nov 2018 17:07

One Million Chinese Move Uninvited Into Uighur Homes - Richard S. Ehrlich

BANGKOK, Thailand -- China's government sent more than one million majority ethnic Han Chinese to live uninvited in the homes of minority Uighur families in Xinjiang province and report if the Muslims display Islamic or unpatriotic beliefs which need to be forcibly reformed.

"Had a Uighur host just greeted a neighbor in Arabic with the words 'Assalamu Alaykum'? That would need to go in the notebook," and reported to China's authorities, said American anthropologist Darren Byler.

"Was that a copy of the Koran in the home? Was anyone praying on Friday or fasting during Ramadan? Was a little sister's dress too long or a little brother's beard irregular? And why was no one playing cards or watching movies?" Mr. Byler said, describing traditional Muslim behavior which China's civilian monitors added to the dossiers.

Mr. Byler's 5,500-word investigative research was published by New York-based Asia Society's Center on U.S.-China Relations on October 25.

About two weeks after publication, the ruling Chinese Communist Party newspapers Global Times and People's Daily confirmed Mr. Byler's report.

"Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has implemented the pairing and assistance program between officials and the ethnic minority citizens to promote communication and interaction among different ethnic groups in Xinjiang," Global Times reported on November 7.

According to statistics published by People's Daily, as of September 2018, "some 1.1 million civil servants have paired up with more than 1.69 million ethnic minority citizens, especially village residents," Global Times said.

The "pairing" program was expected to continue indefinitely.

Informants who lived uninvited in Uighurs' homes regarded themselves "as relatives" and included officials from "the central government and military departments, including the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps and Xinjiang Armed Police Corps [who] have made over 49 million visits to local residents," the People's Daily statistics revealed, according to Global Times.

Mr. Byler said in his report:

"This spring, as an anthropologist returning to a province where I had spent two years researching Han and Uighur social life, I met and interviewed Han civilian state workers in predominantly Uighur urban districts and towns across southern Xinjiang.

"Over my time there and in conversations online, both before and after my visit, I spoke to around a dozen people about the experiences of [government-appointed Chinese] 'big sisters and brothers' in Uighur and Kazakh homes. They ranged from civilian surveillance workers who performed these visits themselves, to friends and family members of these surveillance workers.

"Some of these people were Han friends that I first built relationships with in 2011 when I began my fieldwork in Urumchi," the capital of Xinjiang province, said Mr. Byler who received a Ph.D. from the University of Washington's anthropology department in 2018.

"Others, primarily friends and family members of those directly involved in the program, were acquaintances I made outside of China. Still others were people I met in Urumchi and Kashgar [Xinjiang’s second-largest city] in 2018."

More than one million monitors lived and ate with targeted Uighur families for one week.

An additional 110,000 monitors lived in Uighur homes for 90 days while other monitors stayed in "sensitive villages" for more than 10 months, he said.

"Visit the People, Benefit the People, and Bring Together the Hearts of the People!" is the program's official slogan.

Monitors tried to ingratiate themselves as "relatives" even though everyone knew the "indoctrination and surveillance" program was hunting for perceived "terrorism, separatism, and religious extremism."

Muslims deemed suspicious were reported to authorities who would usually force them into prison-like "counter-extremism training centers" and other facilities which Beijing insists are benevolent "vocational training centers."

Mr. Byler said "the mobilization of more than a million Chinese civilians -- most members of the Han ethnic majority -- [was] to aid the military and police in their campaign by occupying the homes of the region's Uighurs and other Muslim minorities, and undertaking programs of indoctrination and surveillance, while presenting themselves as older siblings of the men and women they might then decide to consign to the camps."

Adults and their children had to answer any questions the monitors asked about their personal life, religious beliefs, patriotism, and similar activities of their relatives, friends and neighbors.

To trick Uighurs into dropping their guard, a monitor would "offer a host a cigarette or a sip of beer," because devout Muslims avoid smoking and alcohol.

"A hand could be extended in greeting to a little sibling of the opposite gender, staying alert for signs of flinching," because Muslim females are often taught not to shake a male stranger's hand.

Chinese monitors "could go out to the market for some freshly ground meat, and propose that the family make dumplings. And then wait and watch to see if the Uighurs would ask what kind of meat was in the bag," because most Muslims shun pork.

More than 10 million Uighurs live in northwest China's resource-rich Xinjiang province, which is about five times the size of Germany, and many speak a Turkic language.

Smoldering demands for independence, and the appearance of a tiny number of China's Uighurs allegedly fighting as Islamist insurgents in the Middle East, have stoked fears in Beijing.

In 2014, about 200,000 Chinese Communist party members began arriving in Xinjiang for "long-term stays" in Uighur villages, Mr. Byler said.

Two years later, an additional 110,000 civil servants began "90-day stays" in the "homes of Uighurs whose family members had been imprisoned or killed by the police."

The newest escalation began in 2017 when more than one million civilians imposed themselves for week-long home stays, "often focusing on the extended family of those who had been detained in the drastically-expanded 'transformation through education' program."

Monitors are instructed to say "they have been monitoring all internet and cell phone communication that is coming from the family, so they should not even think about lying when it comes to their knowledge of Islam and religious extremism," Mr. Byler said.

During his research, the anthropologist discovered some monitors considered themselves altruistic servants helping impoverished, misinformed people realize the error of their ways so Xinjiang would become patriotic and prosperous.

Many Muslims who suffered the surveillance said they felt "infantilized and stripped of their dignity" because the program "undermined the authority of Uighur parents and destroyed families," he said.

Zhu Weiqun, former head of the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing, told Global Times: "The pairing and assistance program has been implemented for two years, which is a successful practice for Xinjiang."

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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby SSridhar » 24 Nov 2018 20:31

In China, radical students rattle Party leaders - AFP
The Chinese Communist Party has faced and crushed a myriad of dissidents over its decades-long rule, from pro-democracy reformers to human rights advocates and outspoken religious leaders.

But Chinese authorities are now facing an unlikely challenge spawned from their own efforts to indoctrinate the population with the ideology of the party: young Marxists {That's a real danger, too much indoctrination. After the 19th Congress last year, CPC has launched into this}.

“After I started university, I became very sensitive to the treatment, rights and interests of workers,” a student activist at Peking University said.


“As the son of migrant farm workers, the 21-year-old had a sense of social responsibility for China's underclass, he said.

In exploring ways to help them, he read the work of Karl Marx. His story is not unique. Reacting against the increasing consumerism in Chinese society and the growing inequality between the rich and the poor, students at elite universities are turning to Marxism.

On campus, students organised movie nights and socials for the school’s janitorial and cafeteria staff. They gathered to sing socialist anthems.

But when students tried to apply theory to practice by joining efforts to organise a labour union for factory workers in southern Guangdong province, the Chinese authorities flew into action. {Labour union is only in non-communist countries, not in China!}

In August, a police raid swept up the student activists, beating several of them and confiscating their phones, according to the Jasic Workers Solidarity group, a labour rights organisation that the students joined. Several of them have not been heard from since. {Sent to re-education camps, perhaps}

A violent past

The crackdown continued this month, with around five graduates detained in various cities, according to activists.

At one university, students who participated in Jasic Workers Solidarity activities are tightly monitored by teachers and questioned if they leave the campus for an extended period of time {A 'Cultural Revolution' is now needed to 'take care of' these teachers}, according to an activist who asked that her school not be named for fear of retribution.

Students say their Marxist societies have struggled to register with their universities.

“These incidents will only make me feel more angry and further arouse my will to fight,” a Nanjing University student involved in the Jasic group said.


Though the activists make up a small portion of the student body, Chinese authorities are taking no chances. In 1989, thousands of university students joined workers in pro-democracy protests in Beijing's Tiananmen Square that eventually provoked a bloody crackdown.

Since those protests, authorities have moved “swiftly and harshly against anything that seems capable of linking people in different occupations and different places,” explained Jeffrey Wasserstrom, a Chinese history professor at the University of California, Irvine.

With the upcoming 100th anniversary of the May 4th movement, another historical mass demonstration led by students in Beijing, the Party will be on “high alert,” Mr. Wasserstrom said.

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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby SSridhar » 25 Nov 2018 08:46

Taiwan votes in test for pro-independence ruling party as China watches - Reuters
Taiwan began voting on Saturday in local elections, a key test of support for the island's pro-independence ruling party ahead of presidential polls in just over a year, and will also hold a referendum on same-sex marriage.

The results will be closely watched in China, which claims self-ruled and proudly democratic Taiwan as its own and which has ramped up pressure on President Tsai Ing-wen and her administration since taking office in 2016.

In the run-up to the election, Tsai andThe results will be closely watched in China, which claims self-ruled and proudly democratic Taiwan as its own and which has ramped up pressure on President Tsai Ing-wen and her administration since taking office in 2016.

In the run-up to the election, Tsai and her government have repeatedly said China is attempting to sway election results with its “political bullying” and “fake news”, {These are part of the 3Ws, the Three Strategies of War, psychological, legal and media warfare, san, zhong & zhanfa} accusations Beijing denies.
“This is a fight for democracy,” Tsai said at a rally in northeastern Taiwan on Friday. “Our vote is a demonstration to the world that false information and external forces will not defeat Taiwan's democracy and the dignity of the Taiwanese.”

More than 11,000 seats are up for grabs in municipalities, counties, townships and villages, with the southern city of Kaohsiung a key battleground for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which has held the city for two decades.

Candidates have fanned out across the island to press the flesh and canvass votes, and have held noisy, colourful rallies that have become the hallmarks of Taiwan's vibrant democracy, in marked contrast to China where the Communist Party tolerates no dissent to its rule.

Tensions across the Taiwan Strait have heightened with China conducting military drills around the island and snatching away Taiwan's dwindling number of diplomatic allies. Tsai's domestic reform initiatives, from the island's pension scheme to labour law, have also come under intense voter scrutiny recently.

Confidence in the government has waned in recent months after reform moves upset both the opposition and some supporters, who said Tsai had backed away from promises to reduce the deficit and cut pollution.

Underscoring Tsai's challenge will be a series of public votes on Saturday on whether to make same-sex marriage legal, an issue which has deeply divided Taiwan. Tsai has made little progress despite campaigning on a promise of marriage equality in the run-up to elections in 2016.

In Asia's first such ruling, Taiwan's constitutional court declared in May last year that same-sex couples had the right to legally marry, and set a two-year deadline for legalisation.

Voters will also be asked whether the island should join the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as Taiwan, rather than “Chinese Taipei” the name agreed under a compromise signed in 1981. A vote to compete under a Taiwan banner would further rile Beijing, which has never renounced the use of force to ensure eventual unification.

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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby SSridhar » 26 Nov 2018 07:52

Faced with mounting debt, Maldives seeks assistance from India - Sachin Parashar, ToI
Faced with mounting foreign debt, some of which may have resulted from dubious loan agreements, the Maldives is looking at India for more budgetary support to help Male meet its development goals:

Ahead of his meeting with Indian leaders on Monday, Maldives foreign minister Abdulla Shahid told TOI that Male was still trying to study the implications of the debt accumulated by the previous Abdulla Yameen government as figures provided by government officials on foreign debt did not necessarily "tally with the Chinese estimates".


The Maldives is said to owe close to 70 per cent of its external debt to China.

"We hope that India will be generous enough to help us with the initial management of any shortfall we might face. We know that the Indian government is fully equipped to help us deal with issues like fresh water scarcity, sewerage and with our focus on the health sector," said Shahid.

Shahid will hold talks with his counterpart Sushma Swaraj on Monday and is also expected to call on PM Narendra Modi. His visit will also lay the groundwork for visit by Maldives' President Ibrahim Solih next month.

Speaking about Maldives' debt problem, Shahid said the Yameen government gave sovereign guarantees to not just state enterprises but also individuals and that the huge debt had not translated into projects.

According to sources in Male, the Yameen government is suspected to have pocketed a part of the grants and also earned commission on soft loans. In that regard, the new government is looking closely at the controversial cost escalation of recently inaugurated China-Maldives Friendship Bridge.

Shahid, who will soon visit China, indicated that Beijing will continue to be an important partner in economic development of the archipelago. "Yameen played one country against another but we don't believe China can replace India or India can replace China. However, one thing which should be obvious is that the neighbourhood will get priority," said Shahid.

The minister also made it clear that no part of Maldives territory will be allowed to be used for military purposes by any foreign power. "We will review any such agreement which Yameen may have signed and renegotiate it," said Shahid.

India and the Maldives will also sign a visa agreement soon to facilitate easy access for Indian professionals to the Maldives and for Maldivians who have families in India.

The foreign minister also said that India's assistance can help the new government deliver on its promises to provide several services to the Maldivian people. "These will ensure that the Maldives turns into a middle-income country in reality and not just on paper," he said.

"India can also help us develop harbours which is on top of our agenda for improving access to islands. We can build a good transport network with help from India," added the minister.

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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby SSridhar » 26 Nov 2018 19:24

India-China amends double taxation avoidance treaty - PTI
India and China have amended the bilateral tax treaty which will help prevent tax evasion by allowing the exchange of information, the Finance Ministry said Monday.

The Government of India and the People's Republic of China have signed a protocol on 26 November, 2018, to amend the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) for the avoidance of double taxation and for the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.

"The Protocol updates the existing provisions for exchange of information to the latest international standards," the ministry said in a statement.

Further, the Protocol incorporates changes required to implement treaty related minimum standards under the Action reports of Base Erosion & Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project.

Besides minimum standards, the Protocol brings in changes as per BEPS Action reports as agreed upon by the two sides, the ministry added.

Under Section 90 of the Income-tax Act, 1961, India can enter into an agreement with a foreign country or specified territory for the avoidance of double taxation of income, for the exchange of information for the prevention of evasion.

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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby A Nandy » 26 Nov 2018 22:58

China’s cashless economy threatens to leave its elderly—and their money—behind

https://qz.com/1435320/chinas-cashless- ... rly-behind

Those issues were brought into sharp focus recently by a viral video of an older Chinese patron in northern China arguing with the staff at the checkout of a supermarket in northern China over how to pay for a bag of grapes—the staff told him he needed to pay by app, but eventually relented and allowed him to pay by cash. A slew of viewers expressed sympathy for the demoralized customer, including consultant Matthew Brennan, who writes about China’s ever-evolving tech scene.

Such snafus are poised to become all the more common as China’s population of 1.3 billion ages. The population over 60 is expected to grow by 100 million between 2015 and 2030 to over 300 million, according to Feng Wang, a professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University. Feng wrote in a paper for the Brookings think tank that the change will “test the government’s ability to meet rising demands for benefits and services.”

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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby SSridhar » 27 Nov 2018 08:56

RCEP: India in talks with China for a balanced pact - Amiti Sen, Business Line
With the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) deal deferred to next year, India can breathe easy for now but with the next meetings scheduled for February and April, New Delhi will have to come to quick bilateral understandings on dismantling tariffs with challenging partners like China.

“The pressure is still on India to improve its goods offers to RCEP members, including China. The going will be tough for us in 2019 as members don’t seem ready for a low ambitions pact,” an official told BusinessLine.

Indian negotiators are positive about the extra year that they have got to seal the deal as they hope to get a better deal on services and cover all sensitive areas in goods in the best manner possible, another official said.

The next RCEP round is in Indonesia in February and the meeting of Trade Ministers in Bangkok in April.

While with members such as the ASEAN, Japan and Korea, with which India already has free trade agreements (FTA), it will have to dismantle tariffs on over 90 per cent of the items, for China, New Zealand and Australia (non-FTA countries), tariffs have to be eliminated on about 80 per cent items.

“India’s main concern is about dealing with China as the Indian industry is already struggling to cope with an influx of goods from the country and the bilateral trade deficit is widening every year,” the first official said. China’s trade surplus with India was over $60 billion last year.

To get around the problem, New Delhi is trying to negotiate a long phasing out period spanning 20 years with China so that the Indian industry gets time to adjust to competition. “For very sensitive items, India is trying for a 25-year phase-out period,” the second official said.

However, the number of products on which tariffs have to be eliminated at once and the sequencing of the tariff elimination of other items have to be negotiated. “India already has had several rounds of negotiations with China on the issue. There is another meeting that is scheduled later this month,” the official said.


It will also be difficult to decide on the list of sensitive items with Australia and New Zealand as in the absence of a bilateral FTA, most items at present have tariff protection.

“The trouble is that although we have bought more time, the tricky issues in goods remain. We also need to get better offers from members in the area of services. There is no time to sit on our laurels and we have to keep negotiating wisely,” the official said.

The Commerce Ministry has initiated an internal detailed study on the existing tariff structure with RCEP members, including China, and what tariff eliminations would actually mean in terms of giving additional market access to the partner countries.

“We will have that study with us very soon and it will give a clearer picture on the negotiations to all stakeholders,” the second official said.

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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby SSridhar » 29 Nov 2018 12:25

Amid US-China row, Trump, Modi and Abe set up meet - ToI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Donald Trump and Japanese premier Shinzo Abe will hold their first trilateral meeting this week on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina. Held in the backdrop of rising US-China tensions, the meeting will provide an opportunity for all three nations to cement their Indo-Pacific policies.

The trilateral, which would be an expansion of the bilateral meeting between Trump and Abe, is part of the series of meetings the US President would have on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires on November 30 and December 1, the White House said.

At the recently concluded Est Asia summit, Modi met all the members of the Quadrilateral separately— Japan, US and Australia — even though India remains the most cautious in that group.

Modi, in his keynote address at the Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore in June expounded India's stand on the strategic Indo-Pacific region. "India does not see the Indo-Pacific Region as a strategy or as a club of limited members. Nor as a grouping that seeks to dominate. And by no means do we consider it as directed against any country. A geographical definition, as such, cannot be," Modi had said. "India stands for an open and stable international trade regime. We will also support rule-based, open, balanced and stable trade environment in the Indo-Pacific region, which lifts up all nations on the tide of trade and investment," he said.

Briefing journalists before the visit, foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale said Modi would meet Chinese president Xi Jinping as well. "There is always scope on the margins of G20 for a meeting between the BRICS head of states and that meeting is confirmed. The PM will meet the Xi as decided at the BRICS summit of Johannesburg."

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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby SSridhar » 29 Nov 2018 13:00

Emerging balance of power in Asia - G.Parthasarathy, Business Line
Ever since the assumption of power in the US by President Donald Trump and his advocacy of a radically new American approach to global policies, chanceries across Europe, Africa and Asia have appeared bewildered about how to deal with America. Trump has shocked the European Allies, by threatening a relook at Trans-Atlantic cooperation, unless European governments contributed more to NATO. He has imposed higher tariffs on selected European exports.

In brief, Trump has replaced American advocacy of globalisation, by an “America First” doctrine. He rejected a global approach to climate change and appeared to be to be more comfortable dealing with authoritarian “strongmen” than with liberal democrats, like France’s Macron and Germany’s Merkel. Europe itself appears to be headed towards becoming more insular, as the UK’s “Brexit” from the European Union indicates.

In Asia, Trump has dealt harshly with China’s mercantilist trade policies by imposing what could become destabilising tariffs, on Chinese exports. Even staunch ally Japan has felt the impact of new American tariffs on its exports. Trump has also withdrawn American participation in the “Trans-Pacific Partnership,” which aimed to link the US with a number of Asian economies, in a vast “Free Trade Area.”

India has also felt the heavy hand of Trump’s trade policies. New Delhi is now having bilateral negotiations with the US, to deal with the challenges it is facing from the Trump administration. Russia is facing the prospect of stringent American sanctions on its exports of petroleum products and arms. Moscow has a global partnership with China, despite mutual distrust about each other’s reliability. Russia’s global partnership with China to balance American power does not, however, materially affect Russia’s close relations with India.

Japan, a key partner

Amidst all this volatility in global power equations, India’s most important partner, across its Indian Ocean neighbourhood in the past decade, is Japan. Tokyo has now set aside the serious differences, in the years following the 1998 nuclear tests. It has overcome domestic opposition to promote nuclear energy cooperation with India. Both India and Japan have been challenged by Chinese territorial claims, actions and ambitions, together with China’s quest to become a hegemonic power in Asia. India and Japan also closely cooperate on their relationship with China, including on measures to see that tensions with China do not get out of control.

Prime Minister Modi and President Xi Jinping had met “one to one” for seven hours over two days in April in Wuhan. They decided that they would “issue strategic guidance to their respective militaries to strengthen communication to build trust and understanding, to implement various confidence-building measures, which have already been agreed upon, by the two sides”.
This meeting has led to both militaries taking more measures to avoid tensions arising out of face-offs across disputed borders, like the prolonged military stand-off at Doklam, along the India-Bhutan-China border tri-junction.

Likewise, Prime Minister Abe and President Xi Jin Ping focussed on avoiding actions that could escalate tensions across disputed maritime boundaries in the East China Sea, during Abe’s visit to Beijing in October. China and Japan also agreed to cooperate on maritime search and rescue missions, to set up a military hotline and commence dialogue between their militaries. There has been a measure of congruence in the approach of India and Japan, to maintain peace and tranquillity across their respective land and maritime boundaries with China.

Japan, unlike India, has significant financial and technological resources to play a major role in developmental and infrastructure projects in Indo-Pacific countries. India is, therefore, working in close cooperation with Japan, on economic development projects across the Indian Ocean region, to ensure that countries in the region do not become overly dependent on China.

While India has gone ahead with processing defence deals with Russia, Abe has also shown a degree of readiness to settle Japan’s disputes with Russia over four Islands, seized by Russia, as the Second World War was drawing to an end. Japan and the Soviet Union agreed in 1956 that two of these Islands, Habomai and Shikotan, would be returned to Japan — something, which did not happen, because of continuing Cold War rivalries.

China’s messy diplomacy

The Indo-Japanese partnership can balance the vast resources that China is committing primarily for infrastructure development in India’s South Asian and Indian Ocean neighbourhood. China has also, in recent years, been bending backwards to cultivate leaders and political parties in this region. It is no secret that in countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives, China is supporting leaders and political parties known to be inimical to India, even during national elections.

The large amounts of money that China poured in to finance projects patronised by the discredited and authoritarian government of President Abdulla Yameen in Maldives and the efforts Beijing made to support him for re-election are widely acknowledged. Yameen’s electoral defeat has left the Chinese crestfallen. China will, however, inevitably use debt accumulated by projects financed during Yameen’s years, to virtually blackmail the newly elected government.

China also acted clumsily, by rushing to welcome Mahenda Rajapakse, as Prime Minister, soon after his appointment.
This was even before Rajapakse obtained Parliamentary approval, which eventually, was not forthcoming. China has alienated significant sections of people in Sri Lanka by this clumsy action. On the other hand, western powers led by the US and Japan have expressed unhappiness at the hasty removal of the Ranil Wickremesinghe government and even frozen economic assistance to Sri Lanka.

Myanmar recently cut down the size of Chinese investment in the strategic Kyaukpyu port, worried about walking into a debt trap. Economists in Pakistan now quite openly express unhappiness at what they see as Chinese exploitation in the much-touted China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Malaysia has rejected Chinese offers of aid for a massive rail-road project. Similar sentiments are now being voiced about Chinese “aid” across Africa and Central Asia.

There are now indications the US and EU will not be averse to taking on China on its “debt trap” diplomacy in India’s neighbourhood, by offering investments on more acceptable terms. This is an opportunity for India to work with not only Japan, but also the US and EU, to imaginatively develop structures for multilateral investments in Asia and Africa, to ensure that China does not use “debt tap” diplomacy to secure military and economic advantage in countries across the India Ocean.

The writer is a former High Commissioner to Pakistan.

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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby SSridhar » 30 Nov 2018 20:04

China signals displeasure to Pakistan with map depicting PoK in India - Saibal Dasgupta, ToI
The sudden decision of CGTN, China's official broadcaster, to show Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in a map as part of India is being seen as a test balloon floated by the Chinese authorities to gauge Pakistani responses.

The move is significant because it comes ahead of the India-China military drill + on December 10 and the ongoing debate on the Kartarpur issue + .

CGTN showed PoK as part of India while reporting the terror attack on its consulate in Karachi. This was seen as a signal that Beijing was extremely unhappy with Pakistan's inability to protect its citizens.

CGTN uses fixed templates for maps and production staff are not allowed to tinker with them, sources said. The decision to skip the use of the template could not have been taken by the usual production staff without directions from higher authorities, sources said.

Chinese authorities often use the official media as test balloons before considering policy changes in the domestic and international spheres.

Observers warned that this one-off deviation from the norm should not be seen as a change in China's official policy{exactly}
, more so because print media in China have stayed clear of the map-related issue.

Officially released maps in China have never shown PoK as part of India. The official media could not have shown a different map without a signal from higher ups in the Communist Party, sources said.

Maps are a sensitive issue in China. Chinese officials routinely visit bookshops and scrutinise local media to make sure that maps of all countries are depicted exactly in the manner approved by the authorities. Books and magazines showing maps that differ from Beijing's official view are blocked.


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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby SSridhar » 01 Dec 2018 21:35

Nothing to do with neutering China. But, a good read.

Death of a nuclear scientist - Atul Aneja, The Hindu

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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby SSridhar » 04 Dec 2018 09:14

‘JAI’ to work on security structure for Indo-Pacific - Indrani Bagchi, ToI
The India-Japan-US trilateral grouping will begin work on a five-point agenda as the three powers devise security structures for the Indian Ocean and the Indo-Pacific region.

Although the first summit by Modi, Abe and Trump who met in Argentina seemed like a last-minute thing, top sources here said the trilateral summit was planned weeks ahead, and it was a deliberate decision to avoid the announcement until the very end. To balance things out, India pushed for a revival of the Russia-India-China summit, where Modi, Putin and Xi met without an agenda but a deep conversation.

Nevertheless, the JAI grouping is shaping up to be a core group in Indian foreign policy, despite the fact that India is probably the most cautious member of the related Quadrilateral grouping.

During the summit, India proposed five steps that the group could take in the immediate future. Among them, introduction of a rules-based system for all countries to ensure free movement of trade and energy — two important components for developing countries like India and those in the Asean region. This includes everything from freedom of navigation to multilateral trading rules, sources said.

As the Indo-Pacific concept is introduced in this region to be a counter to an expansionist China, India proposed the three countries synergise their infrastructure and related projects in the countries. This is something India and Japan have begun working on, particularly in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. The US said its BUILD Act has opened the doors for US private sector to cooperate in such projects in third countries. The important difference here is in “synergy” rather than joint projects, which run into their own challenges.

But for all these to take off, its crucial to engage all stakeholders, Modi said. That would mean both making the Asean central to the Indo-Pacific strategy, and also explain its benefits to these countries. The Indo-Pacific is regarded with some suspicion in Asean region, and fuelled by Chinese diplomacy, which describes it as an “exclusive” club. On the other side, China’s BRI is creating unwilling dependencies, and there is a growing pushback against this project. The trilateral countries believe they have a better narrative, using transparency and sustainability as key attributes of the Indo-Pacific policy.

Most of the Asean countries are wary of China anyway, but equally wary of this other grouping. India and Japan in many ways soften the trilateral.

The last action point put out includes a strategy for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, that the three countries can cooperate on and execute in the region. This could, if worked out correctly, do more to build confidence in the region, and all three countries have significant resources and skills in this front.

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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby SSridhar » 04 Dec 2018 15:29

Some new perspectives on India-Bhutan relationship.

‘India remains the cornerstone of our foreign policy’ - Suhasini Haidar, The Hindu
Bhutan’s Prime Minister Lotay Tshering is expected to visit Delhi in late December, in the first high-level exchange between the Modi government and the newly elected government of the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) party that won a surprise victory last month. Ahead of the visit, Bhutan’s new Foreign Minister, Tandi Dorji , speaking over the telephone, said the change in government would not alter the Himalayan country’s foreign policy focus.

Q: In the run-up to the election, the manifesto of your party, the DNT, had not focussed much on foreign policy issues. Many are hence curious about what your government’s foreign policy agenda is?

A: The foreign policy of all parties in Bhutan follow the policies already established [by the monarchy], and I think whoever would have come to power would have the same policy in place. We will continue to build on that policy, with India as the cornerstone of our foreign policy. PM Dr. Lotay Tshering has said he would like to take India-Bhutan friendship to greater heights. His visit to India towards the end of the month will be his first call abroad, and we will hope to finalise India’s assistance for the 12th Five-Year Plan. The government hopes to establish its ties with the Government of India and would like to invite Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi for his long-awaited visit to Bhutan.

Q: There have been some divergences from the past policies however. In the campaign, for example, one party (DPT) made “Bhutan’s sovereignty” its plank. Another concern was reducing Bhutan’s indebtedness to India. Will you discuss these issues with New Delhi?

A: We are always grateful to India for its assistance, and it is only natural that as a land-locked country, we will continue to harness our needs from India. Yes, we are concerned about the issue of debt, but most of those debts are incurred from hydropower projects, which we believe will be paid back in time, once the projects are completed.

On non-hydropower projects, we are doing some rethinking. Bhutan will graduate from an LDC (least developed country) to a middle-income country by 2023. So we will have to look for ways for our domestic revenues to meet our current budget at least.

Those are serious issues for us, and we are very happy that India continues to assist us through this process.

Q: But there have been serious differences over the rate of hydropower that India pays. How important will resolving this be?

I don’t think this is a difficult issue. [Foreign Secretary] Mr. [Vijay] Gokhale had assured us that India will look at our requests very favourably. Eventually, what is good for Bhutan will also be good for India to a large extent, and we hope to discuss these issues during the PM’s visit.

More than the hydropower rate that India pays, we are concerned about India’s revised policy on cross-border trade of electricity (CBTE) that will certainly impact Bhutan’s ability to sell power to India. We would like to see reforms in this policy.

Q: India has been very keen on the passage of the BBIN (Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal) Motor Vehicles Agreement that was shelved by the Bhutanese Parliament. Will your government try to revive this, given the opposition from local Bhutanese transporters to freeing access for vehicular traffic?

We are definitely looking at it, and we will reconsider the BBIN agreement.

The arrangement has advantages and disadvantages, but we know that some of the outcomes will benefit Bhutan, and we will reconsider the agreement.

Q: The former Prime Minister, who had to deal with the Doklam crisis, spoke of Bhutan being one of the smallest countries sandwiched between two Asian giants. How does your government hope to navigate ties with China?

We have a very cordial relationship with China, but we do not have diplomatic relations with them.

This is not because we don’t want them, but because it has always been our foreign policy not to build full relations with any of the permanent member of the UN Security Council, like China, U.S., etc. I don’t think that will change. We have people-to-people interactions and we cannot wish away China as our neighbour to our north.


Q: How do you hope to strengthen people-to-people ties with India? In the past few years, we have seen more Bhutanese students making the shift to colleges in countries such as Thailand, Australia and Singapore, instead of India…

There has always been a great interest from our students in India. I myself am a product of an Indian education: I went to St. Joseph’s school at North Point, Darjeeling, when I was four years old and then later studied at the Armed Forces Medical College in Pune.

We would like to explore how more Indian universities can come to Bhutan and attract more students, because 70% of Bhutanese students would still prefer to study in India as it is more affordable and gives better value for them.

The rest may be wealthier and able to send children abroad to study, but we hope to step up India-Bhutan exchanges for all.

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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby SSridhar » 06 Dec 2018 13:20

Canada arrests Chief Financial Officer of China’s Huawei Technologies - AP
Canadian authorities said on Wednesday that they have arrested the chief financial officer of China’s Huawei Technologies for possible extradition to the United States.

China demanded her immediate release, and a former Canadian envoy to China warned the case might lead to retaliation by the Chinese against American and Canadian executives.


Justice Department spokesman Ian McLeod said Meng Wanzhou was detained in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Saturday. Ms. Meng is a prominent member of Chinese society as deputy chairman of the board and the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei.

McLeod said a publication ban had been imposed in the case and he could not provide further details. The ban was sought by Meng, who has a bail hearing Friday, he said.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year that U.S. authorities are investigating whether Chinese tech giant Huawei violated sanctions on Iran.

“The company has been provided very little information regarding the charges and is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng,” the statement said.

The Chinese Embassy in Ottawa said her human rights were violated and demanded she be freed.

“The Chinese side firmly opposes and strongly protests over such kind of actions which seriously harmed the human rights of the victim,” the statement said.

A U.S. Justice Department spokesman declined to comment.

In April, China appealed to Washington to avoid damaging business confidence following the Wall Street Journal report that U.S. authorities were investigating whether Huawei violated sanctions on Iran amid spiralling technology tensions.

A foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, said then that China hoped the U.S. would refrain from taking actions that could further undermine investor confidence in the U.S. business environment and harm its domestic economy.

That same month Washington barred Huawei rival ZTE Corp. from exporting U.S. technology in a separate case over exports to Iran and North Korea

Mr. Trump has threatened to raise tariffs on Chinese goods in response to complaints that Beijing improperly pressures foreign companies to hand over technology. That is widely seen as part of a broader effort by Washington to respond to intensifying competition with Chinese technology industries that Trump says benefit from improper subsidies and market barriers. The escalating trade war is threatening world economic growth and has set global investors on edge.

David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, said U.S. and Canadian business executives could face reprisals in China.

“That’s something we should be watching out for. It’s a possibility. China’s plays rough,” Mulroney said. “It’s a prominent member of their society and it’s a company that really embodies China’s quest for global recognition as a technology power.”

Mulroney said Canada should be prepared for “sustained fury” from the Chinese and said it will be portrayed in China as Canada kowtowing to Trump. He also said the Iran allegations are very damaging to Huawei and said China will push back hard.

Wenran Jiang, a senior fellow at the Institute of Asian Research at the University of British Columbia, noted the arrest took place on the same day Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss the trade war
after the close of the G-20 summit in Argentina.

“She was in transit though Vancouver. That means the intelligence agencies in Canada and the U.S. were tracking her and planning to arrest her for some time,” he said. “The Chinese will read this as a planned conspiracy to do damage.”

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, a Republican member of the Senate Armed Services and Banking committees, said Huawei is an agent of China’s communist party and applauded Canada for the arrest.

“Americans are grateful that our Canadian partners have arrested the Chief Financial Officer of a giant Chinese telecom company for breaking U.S. sanctions against Iran,” he said.

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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby rgosain » 06 Dec 2018 13:30

The 5-eyes nations and the EU together with the Japanese have banned Huawei and other Chinese telecom firms from operating networks or 5G platforms that can be compromised or become a security risk. They will extend the same to Lenovo and few others in the chip ector
Since the PRC has taken it upon itself to continue the non-proliferation campaign against india that was started by the US back in the 1970s, India should link market access by PRC telecom firms with membership of the NSG of which china is the main opposition.

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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby Arima » 06 Dec 2018 14:54

rgosain wrote:The 5-eyes nations and the EU together with the Japanese have banned Huawei and other Chinese telecom firms from operating networks or 5G platforms that can be compromised or become a security risk. They will extend the same to Lenovo and few others in the chip ector
Since the PRC has taken it upon itself to continue the non-proliferation campaign against india that was started by the US back in the 1970s, India should link market access by PRC telecom firms with membership of the NSG of which china is the main opposition.


is lenovo also known to be in the hunt of snooping/sniffing??
many western country office use lenovo since it was IBM laptop earlier.

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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby rgosain » 06 Dec 2018 14:58

We kept our old ibm thinkpads with XP and refused to upgrade because the new chipset on the Lenovo had a habit of switching the wifi routers

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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby kancha » 06 Dec 2018 19:21

[quote="SSridhar"]Canada arrests Chief Financial Officer of China’s Huawei Technologies - AP

Apparently, she's not just the CFO, but also the daughter of the 'founder'!

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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby kancha » 06 Dec 2018 19:25

Xi has tied his own hands in the trade war

As the world watched the high-profile dinner meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump in Buenos Aires last Saturday, news broke from an unexpected source.
So it was CGTN that told the world that the Trump-Xi dinner had gone well.

Later, Wang Yi, China's State Councilor and Foreign Minister appeared in front of reporters and declared that the two leaders had reached "an important consensus."
But Wang left out perhaps the most important element: the 90-day deadline for Beijing and Washington to negotiate structural reforms to China's economy, after which tariffs would jump to 25% from 10% if no progress was made.

All Chinese media outlets, which are under the Communist Party's control, followed Wang's lead and did not report the 90-day deadline. The reason was clear. Trump's choice of time frame hit a raw political nerve in China.

Immediately after the 90-day period expires, China holds the most important political event of the year.
This is the annual session of the National People's Congress, China's parliament, which gathers the great and the good of Chinese politics in Beijing for two weeks.


The entire article is worth a read.

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Re: Neutering & Defanging Chinese Threat (15-11-2017)

Postby SSridhar » 06 Dec 2018 19:53

Clues in Marriott hack implicate China: Sources - Reuters
Hackers behind a massive breach at hotel group Marriott International Inc left clues suggesting they were working for a Chinese government intelligence gathering operation, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Marriott said last week that a hack that began four years ago had exposed the records of up to 500 million customers in its Starwood hotels reservation system.

Private investigators looking into the breach have found hacking tools, techniques and procedures previously used in attacks attributed to Chinese hackers, said three sources who were not authorised to discuss the company's private probe into the attack.

That suggests that Chinese hackers might have been behind a campaign designed to collect information for use in Beijing's espionage efforts and not for financial gain, two of the sources said.

While China has emerged as the lead suspect in the case, the sources cautioned it was possible somebody else was behind the hack because other parties had access to the same hacking tools, some of which have previously been posted online.

Identifying the culprit is further complicated by the fact that investigators suspect multiple hacking groups may have simultaneously been inside Starwood’s computer networks since 2014, said one of the sources.

If investigators confirm that China was behind the attack, that could complicate already tense relations between Washington and Beijing, amid an ongoing tariff dispute and US accusations of Chinese espionage and the theft of trade secrets.

Marriott spokeswoman Connie Kim declined to comment, saying "We've got nothing to share", when asked about involvement of Chinese hackers.

Marriott disclosed the hack last Friday (Nov 30), prompting US and British regulators to quickly launch probes into the case.

Compromised customer data included names, passport numbers, addresses, phone numbers, birth dates and e-mail addresses. A small percentage of accounts included scrambled payment card data, said Ms Kim.

Marriott acquired Starwood in 2016 for US$13.6 billion (S$18.6 billion), including the Sheraton, Westin, W Hotels, St Regis, Aloft, Le Meridien, Tribute, Four Points and Luxury Collection hotel brands, forming the world's largest hotel operator.

The hack began in 2014, shortly after an attack on the US government's Office of Personnel Management (OPM) compromised sensitive data on tens of millions of employees, including application forms for security clearances.

White House National Security adviser John Bolton recently told reporters he believed Beijing was behind the OPM hack, a claim first made by the US in 2015.


Beijing has strongly denied those charges and also refuted charges that it was behind other hacks.

Former senior FBI official Robert Anderson told Reuters that the Marriott case looked similar to hacks that the Chinese government was conducting in 2014 as part of its intelligence operations.

"Think of the depth of knowledge they could now have about travel habits or who happened to be in a certain city at the same time as another person,"
said Mr Anderson, who served as FBI executive assistant director until 2015.

"It fits with how the Chinese intelligence services think about things. It's all very long range," said Mr Anderson, who was not involved in investigating the Marriott case and is now a principal with Chertoff Group.

Mr Michael Sussmann, a former senior Department of Justice official for its computer crimes section, said that the long duration of the campaign was an indicator that the hackers were seeking data for intelligence and not information to use in cyber crime schemes.

"One clue pointing to a government attacker is the amount of time the intruders were working quietly inside the network," he said. "Patience is a virtue for spies, but not for criminals trying to steal credit card numbers."

FBI representatives could not immediately be reached for comment on the evidence linking the attack to China. A spokesman said last Friday that the agency was looking into the attack, but declined to elaborate.


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