China is planning to invest $280 billion in Iran’s oil, gas, and petrochemical sectors that are being affected by US sanctions, according to Petroleum Economist magazine.
how reliable is the link..havent heard much on this news..
China is planning to invest $280 billion in Iran’s oil, gas, and petrochemical sectors that are being affected by US sanctions, according to Petroleum Economist magazine.
Rsatchi wrote:Last night was Part II of BBC two china series: about HK demostrations, Chinese billionaires and fronts trying to buy influence
Repeatedly spoke about United Front a Chini commie organisation ( a la Amensty International) trying to peddle Chinese line and buying influence.
Some spine by Pee Pee See given so much Chini influence in the UK.
Is this something like Cash-moor = Chini so to be secular in their own way.
Border tensions between India and China flared up yet again on Wednesday with a prolonged confrontation between the rival troops in eastern Ladakh, even as the Indian Army gets all set to hold a major war game to test its new integrated battle groups (IBGs) in Arunachal Pradesh next month.
Sources said the face-off between Indian and Chinese soldiers began on the northern bank of the 134-km-long Pangong Tso (Tso means lake), two-thirds of which is controlled by China as it extends from Tibet to Ladakh, soon after dawn on Wednesday.
“Indian soldiers were on a patrol when they were confronted by People’s Liberation Army soldiers, who strongly objected to their presence in the area. This led to a scuffle between the rival soldiers, with both sides sending some reinforcements to the area… the face-off was in progress at the site till the evening,” said a source.
The Army, on being contacted by TOI, only said that delegation-level talks led by brigadier-rank officers “had been sought and agreed to by the two sides” as per the established bilateral mechanism to defuse tensions. “Such incidents often take place due to differing perceptions of where the Line of Actual Control (LAC) actually lies … they are usually resolved through border personnel meetings, flag meetings and the like,” said an officer.
The disputed “Finger-5 to Finger-8” (mountainous spurs) area on the north bank of Pangong Tso, incidentally, had witnessed a violent clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers, with stones and iron rods being used to injure each other, on August 15, 2017.
The incident had coincided with the then much more serious troop face-off at the Bhutanese territory of Doklam near the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction that year. Though the two armies had disengaged from the face-off site at Doklam after a 73-day confrontation, the fallout has been that the PLA has constructed military infrastructure and helipads as well as permanently stationed troops in north Doklam, as was earlier reported by TOI.
Interestingly, the Indian Army will be holding its “Him Vijay” exercise in Arunachal Pradesh at a time when Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to visit India for the second informal summit with PM Narendra Modi. The first summit at Wuhan in April 2018, in the aftermath of the Doklam face-off, had led to “strategic guidance” to the two militaries to manage and defuse troop confrontations during patrolling in accordance with existing protocols and mechanisms.
Sources said China has not been informed of the “Him Vijay” exercise because it will not be held close to the border in Arunachal Pradesh. It will witness around 15,000 soldiers in three IBGs, carved out of the 17 Mountain Strike Corps, being tested for mountain warfare in terms of operational viability and logistics. The IAF, in turn, will deploy C-17s, C-130Js and AN-32 aircraft as well as helicopters for airlift of soldiers and equipment as well as inter-valley transfer.
The Army is raising the new IBGs, with a potent mix of infantry, tanks, artillery, air defence, signals and engineers, to ensure they can mobilise fast and strike hard across the borders with Pakistan and China. The IBGs for the western front have already been “test-bedded and exercised” in war games in April-May in the plains of Jammu, Punjab and Rajasthan as part of the Army’s overall plan to reformat its entire war-fighting machinery and sharpen the “cold start” doctrine, as was reported by TOI earlier.
The IBGs bring together all fighting arms and support units into self-contained units even during peacetime to ensure much faster mobilisation for cross-border strikes. “The existing structures, under which the different elements largely marry up only during actual combat, are outdated. The IBGs are being fine-tuned through such exercises,” said an officer.
Sta Maria said she looks forward to more good news in November. She’d said in May that lack of progress this year on RCEP would be “embarrassing,” especially for Southeast Asia economies that have pushed for the deal.
ramana wrote:Gautam, It could be related to upcoming Xi JinPing visit to India.
Now, at least on one particular stretch along the unresolved 4,057-km Line of Actual Control (LAC), Indian soldiers can finally cock a snook at Chinese troops after years of being aggressively needled.
Indian soldiers are armed with spanking new high-tech QRT (quick-reaction team) boats to patrol the highly-picturesque but equally-contentious Pangong Tso (Tso means lake in Ladakhi) in eastern Ladakh, which has emerged as a major flashpoint between the world’s largest and second-largest armies over the last decade
Equipped with over 20 well-armed boats, People’s Liberation Army troops have been virtually running circles around Indian troops handicapped by slow, outdated vessels. In the past, Chinese boats have even disabled Indian boats by ramming into them.
"Now, we have received 11 of the 17 QRT boats, each of which can carry 16 to 18 soldiers, ordered from the US. With these high-speed interceptor boats, fitted with radars, infra-red and GPS systems, we can do robust reconnaissance and area domination patrols,’’ said an officer.
"If the Chinese come one km into our territory, we can go three km into theirs. Earlier, apart from some smaller vessels, we had only a couple of large speed boats, mounted with machine guns and capable of carrying 10 soldiers,’’ he added.
SSridhar wrote:ramana wrote:Gautam, It could be related to upcoming Xi JinPing visit to India.
Precisely my thoughts too.
The China border has been quiet after the Wuhan meet last year.
The Chinesee have always behaved like this ahead of an important visit.
During the Chinese President, Xi Jinping’s state visit in September 2014, there were two incidents in Depsang and Chumar. In fact, the Chumar incident rapidly spun out of control.
In April 2013, in a deep incursion, Chinese troops entered the Indian Territory in the Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) sector setting the stage for a face-to-face situation with Indian troops which continued for 21 days. This put the visit of Li Keqiang (who had been specially accommodated by Man Mohan Singh at very short notice upon a direct request from Xi Jinping) in jeopardy. Somehow, this was resolved by the visit of our Foreign Minister, Salman Kurshid to Beijing and Li’s visit took place. This was soon followed by the Chumar incident which occurred in June 2013 just two weeks before the first ever visit by an Indian defence minister in seven years. Much earlier, during the then Indian Foreign Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s path-breaking trip to Beijing, in c. 1979, China launched a war against Vietnam to “teach it a lesson” and this unsettling phrase of 1962 made Vajpayee cut short his Beijing visit. During the first ever Head of State visit to China by the Indian President R.Venkatraman in c. 1992, China conducted its first megaton nuclear test.
This is imperial and dismissive behaviour by China to show that they do not take us seriously at all.
hanumadu wrote:Are they stealing or are they learning from the west and taking it back to their country? IMO, that's technically not stealing if they are not doing anything illegal - that is stealing blue prints or formulas or code without the knowledge of the establishments they work for. I doubt foreign citizens are allowed to work on strategic technology projects.
Anyway, the Chinese are fools to be so aggressive and high profile about 'stealing' the technology from the west. They even gave it a name - 'Thousand Talents'. Can't understand the chinese hurry to be number one.
ArjunPandit wrote:A_Gupta wrote:
China is planning to invest $280 billion in Iran’s oil, gas, and petrochemical sectors that are being affected by US sanctions, according to Petroleum Economist magazine.
how reliable is the link..havent heard much on this news..
Trump’s policies have energized Iranian interest in China. While, following the striking of the nuclear deal, Iran was focusing on Europe to build commercial ties and boost its industrial infrastructure, today all eyes are on China. CITIC Group, a state-owned investment firm, has given a $10 billion credit line to Chinese companies to finance water, energy and transport projects in Iran. The China Development Bank has also committed to deals worth $15 billion. And China has signed several deals with Iran to invest in its oil and gas infrastructure, including a project in the giant South Pars gas field.
China can also use its relations with Iran as a way to weaken the prestige of the US around the world and as retaliation against Trump’s trade war. Beijing is reluctant to abide by the US sanctions as it is committed to many projects in Iran, which the latter is supposed to pay for with oil. There is a synergy between the two countries: Both are confronted by the US, and China is a consumer of oil while Iran is a supplier of the precious commodity. Iran can resort to the infrastructure projects presented in the BRI to boost its economy and compensate for the losses incurred as a result of the US sanctions. Development projects tend to have a multiplier effect, i.e., the money spent on them cascades through several layers of the economy and has a larger effect than the original sum spent.
Why China fears India’s move on Article 370
September 14, 2019,
India’s action of making Article 370 toothless has set the alarm bells ringing in the corridors of power in China and has elicited strong reactions from them. It is wrong to interpret their reaction merely as a friendly gesture towards Pakistan. Rather, it is the result of the Chinese leadership feeling threatened about their stranglehold over power. In their view, India’s move is a step towards a war against them by a coalition consisting of India, the United States, and other countries.
The Chinese government views the world as a stage for its exclusive use and every other country except Pakistan as an adversary. Even in the case of Pakistan, it is not treated as an ally or a friend but as a pawn that will advance the Chinese government’s interests. Pakistan has willingly become part of this abusive relationship as it is driven by the singular goal of opposing India. It is very likely that China has even forced Pakistan to share the F-16s in its possession and has replicated them. Thus, Pakistan may actually be telling the truth when it claims that it did not use any F-16 aircraft against India in February 2019 when it brought down an Indian plane in a dogfight. That aircraft used by Pakistan was probably a copy of an F-16 made by China.
In recent years, China has pursued a policy of making its presence and influence felt all around the world and it has done this in an aggressive and deceptive manner. For example, it financed and built Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port, and Sri Lanka rapidly found itself in debt that could not be redeemed and was forced to cede control of the port to China. This method of engineering a debt trap by both financing and building infrastructure projects around the world has become the standard operating procedure for China in its Belt and Road Initiative (earlier, One-Belt-One-Road, OBOR). Such an aggressive and expansionist program to control and monopolise world trade is viewed dimly by America. In 2017, James Mattis, the then American Defense Secretary, stated that US did not agree with the idea of one country putting itself in a position of dictating one belt and one road as the world had many belts and many roads. He also opposed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that would connect the belt to Gwadar port, and highlighted the fact that the corridor passed through the disputed territory of Gilgit-Baltistan.
China’s presence in Gilgit-Baltistan has turned Jammu and Kashmir into an extremely important place from the geopolitical perspective. Stability in Kashmir valley makes China nervous as it is right next to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. On the other side of CPEC is Afghanistan where an American-led effort to strike a deal with the warring groups and install a government is underway. That effort could result in China being completely shut out of Afghanistan. A government in Afghanistan that does not kowtow to Beijing’s line combined with a stable Jammu and Kashmir would impede China’s hegemonic ambitions as the corridor would be in an extremely vulnerable position in case of a conflict involving India and other powers.
Mattis did not restrict his opposition to just BRI. He also targeted China in general when he stated, “[W]e should be under no illusions. There are areas where, also, strategically, we need to confront China where we think it’s unproductive—the direction they’re going in.” Apart from Mattis, American President Donald Trump too has expressed his displeasure with China. In particular, he has attacked China for manipulating its currency and is now engaged in a trade war against them. No one knows the details of China’s currency manipulation schemes as their policies are kept secret and they have created multiple currency systems without much transparency.
China’s goal of controlling the world’s trade has also manifested itself in other ways, chiefly in the form of their confrontational actions in the international waters of the South China Sea. Ships passing through the shipping lanes of the South China Sea account for more than one-third of the global maritime commerce and China seeks to hold this region hostage and dictate its terms to the world. It routinely intimidates ships belonging to other countries and has taken over and built illegal military bases on islands and reefs that do not belong to it. Steve Bannon, who worked on Donald Trump’s election campaign in 2016 and then worked in the White House, has advocated going in and dismantling these bases. Bannon has cited a ruling against China by an international tribunal to justify such an action.
The US is not alone in its concern over China’s attempt to take over the international waters of the South China Sea. Russia, Japan, South Korea and India share this concern along with other countries in the region such as Vietnam and Philippines. Russia has another reason for its unhappiness against China. Russia’s far east has been flooded with Chinese nationals and China is attempting to take over this region by altering its demographics.
China’s hostility towards other countries and its general lack of ability to realise that it is in the wrong can create conditions for a conflict. A single incident could trigger such a conflict with other powers, and China will be isolated in any such conflict with only Pakistan on its side.
Such a conflict will not occur and China’s expansionist ambitions will even be encouraged if the old guard in the US consisting of the proteges of pro-China leaders such as Henry Kissinger, George H.W. Bush, Zbignew Brzezinski, John McCain and John Kerry return to power in 2020. It is never easy to predict how the future will unfold, but there is an old Chinese curse wishing interesting times upon one’s opponents, and that curse may now be casting its spell on China, which should fear interesting times.
Arvind Kumar can be reached at email@example.com
SHILLONG: In a bid to bolster military infrastructure along the China border, the Indian Air Force is set to operationalise its Vijaynagar Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) in Arunachal Pradesh on Wednesday.
Eastern Air Commander Air Marshal R D Mathur and Eastern Army Commander Lieutenant General Anil Chauhan will jointly inaugurate resurfaced Vijaynagar ALG on September 18, Defence Spokesperson (Shillong) Wing commander Ratnakar Singh said today.
The officials will land at Vijayanagar ALG in AN-32, a turboprop twin-engined military transport aircraft.
Vijaynagar is situated in a remote corner of the state and is not connected with any motorable road. The area is important as it is close to the borders with China and Myanmar.
A total of eight ALGs have been revived for operations by the Indian Air Force as part of steps to strengthen military infrastructure along the China border.
Other seven ALG which have been made operational by EAC are Pasighat, Mechuka, Walong, Tuting , Ziro , Along and Tawang .
Vijaynagar ALG has been non-operational for fixed-wing operations since 2016 due to want of repair and upgradation its facilities there.
what if the IA and GoI actually want to handle things quietly and away from the public glare.
SSridhar wrote:No Chinese incursion, says Army - The HinduThe Army on Wednesday denied any Chinese incursion in Arunachal Pradesh, rejecting claims made by MP and State BJP president Tapir Gao that Chinese troops had constructed a temporary wooden bridge over a stream in Anjaw district last month.
Army spokesperson Col. Aman Anand said the area being referred to is the area of Fish Tail where there are “differing perceptions” on the alignment of the Line of Actual Control. “Being an area of differing claims, troops routinely from either side patrol the area... There is no permanent presence of either Chinese soldiers or civilians in the area,” Col. Anand said.
He stated that the terrain is thickly vegetated and all movements are undertaken on foot along Nalas and streams and during monsoons whenever the Nalas are in spate, “temporary bridges are constructed by the patrols for their movement”.
Col. Anand further said that India and China have well-established diplomatic and military mechanisms to address all border-related issues and both countries have also “agreed to work towards a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement” of the boundary question on the basis of the 2005 Agreement on Political Parameters and Guiding Principles.
Separately, Army sources said that after the Wuhan summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping last year, the Armies were told to avoid face-offs during patrols which each side conducts to enforce their claims. In this particular case the claims would also be verified by a patrol team, a source added.
One thing that we should be wary of is that the Chinese never stick to agreements while we always do.
In a significant development for the region, the Quadrilateral Strategic Dialogue (“the Quad”) between India, Australia, Japan and the U.S. held its first Minister-level meeting since it was revived in 2017. The group, which met in New York on Thursday, is seen as a regional counter-weight to China and has only met at the Joint or Assistant Secretary level since 2017.
The Ministers “met to discuss collective efforts in our shared commitments and close cooperation on counter terrorism, mentoring, assistance in disaster relief, airtime security, cooperation, development, finance and cybersecurity efforts,” a senior State Department official told reporters in New York.
The high-level meeting “demonstrates a shared commitment of our respective leadership to institutionalise this gathering of like-minded Indo-Pacific partners” , a second official present at the briefing said. The official then suggested that “formalise” was a more apt description than “institutionalise”.
India has been hesitant about the Quad, in part because it does not want to isolate China and because it has had a history of staying clear of security alliances.
At the briefing, the State Department official went on to emphasise India’s role.
“If I could single out India’s role in the quad, I think it highlights India’s leadership in the end of the Pacific region. It’s one of the many ways that the U.S. and India are now cooperating closely on shared strategic objectives.”
Asked by The Hindu what had changed this year with regard to India’s participation, the official said, “There’s recognition that, you know, in the past we didn’t have that similar like-mindedness necessarily among the four partners and over the past two years, you know, we’ve been able to demonstrate what’s changed.”
“We have a shared evaluation of those security threats and the threats facing the region when countries don’t have options to develop in a sustainable and free manner. And that’s really brought our four nations together,” the official said, adding, “ Again, I would emphasise as, one mechanism, one architecture that complements and supplements, you know, other formats that we are all engaged in to promote the free and open Indo-Pacific.”
The official also emphasised that the U.S., India and other Quad countries were “resolute” in their view of the centrality of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) in South East Asia. The notion of ASEAN centrality broadly refers to the group of countries being at the centre of security and strategic frameworks for the Asia-Pacific region.
Members of the Quad, barring Australia, are currently engaged in the annual Malabar exercises – military exercises that started between India and the U.S. in 1994 and became trilateral (with Japan) in 2015. India has not permitted Australia to participate in these exercises, concerned about what message it would send to China, which is wary of the exercise.
An official at Thursday’s briefing said the exercises did not come up during the Foreign Ministers’ discussions.
“There wasn’t a direct conversation on Malabar…we welcomed the opportunity to work with India and Japan in this setting and I leave open the question of any future modifications.”
The Indian government had not released a press statement on Thursday’s meeting as of writing.
Senior officials of the group will meet on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Bangkok in November.
Hidden in the shadow of India’s Kashmir gambit and Pakistan’s nuclear rhetoric, China’s aggressive moves in the South China Sea off Vietnam’s coast has largely gone unnoticed. But it has raised red flags within the Indian system and found mention in the first meeting of the Quad foreign ministers in New York this week. Speaking to journalists in his first press conference, foreign minister S Jaishankar said India was working with Vietnam, while the MEA has twice signaled India’s support of Vietnam’s position.
Speaking exclusively to TOI, Vietnam’s ambassador, Pham Sanh Chau said China is trying to “transform non-disputed waters into disputed waters.” Promising to protect Vietnam’s interests, the envoy said, “we will use all peaceful means defined by international law to protect our legitimate interests. We do it in a very resolute and resilient manner. We do not exclude any measures in order to protect our legitimate interests.”
Pham Sanh Chau said, “We’re facing one of the most serious crises in the South China Sea for the past eight years. In 2011, China came into our waters and cut our cable. Then in 2014, China placed a huge drilling platform in our waters. In 2019, China sent their survey ship (Haiyang Dizhi into our waters. This time, however, Chinese ships came in, got out, came in again, got out and came in again — as if these are their waters for them to come and go as they please.”
Pham Sanh Chau added that the situation has been aggravated by the fact that “this time they sent a huge fleet of accompanying ships including Chinese Coast Guard, militia and fishing boats, some using water cannons.”
The Chinese ships came “too close to the ongoing oil exploration by ONGC, Rosneft and Petrovietnam. Since July 3, Chinese ships have conducted 129 surveys.” The gas block has been in operation since 1988 and “giving dividends” since 2002.
Vietnam forces, he said, regularly push the Chinese boats back beyond their waters but they keep returning. The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) reported that Chinese Coast Guard have been maintaining a continued presence “around several symbolically important features in the South China Sea: Luconia Shoals, Second Thomas Shoal, and Scarborough Shoal.”
“The dangerous thing is, they have been able to have one militarised built up an artificial island close by. So they don’t need to go back to mainland China or Hainan Island. It’s very convenient for them
"In the past five years, many countries have raised their voice against the militarisation of the islands in the South China Sea, artificial build-up. They had predicted this kind of thing would happen. And it is happening.”
The Vietnamese envoy pointed out that China’s actions not only come on their 70th anniversary, but they also coincide with the third anniversary of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling on the South China Sea. “They rejected the legitimacy of the 9-dash line. They also said these islands are too small to have an EEZ or continental shelf, they’re just uninhabited rock. Then you claim it’s a livable island. Those islands are disputed between six parties. We follow the principle of ‘land dominates sea’. China has no land there. The closest is 860 miles away. It’s a huge challenge to international law.”
The imposing Lotus Tower in Colombo, which was opened to the public recently, is considered to be the latest symbol of Sri Lanka-China ties. An agreement to build this structure, which is to serve as a multi-functional telecommunication tower, was signed by the two countries in 2012.
It may look ironical that much of the project’s execution took place under a regime which came into office at a time when there was a “strong anti-China mood”. In the run-up to the 2015 presidential election, Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was backing Maithripala Sirisena, had assured people that another Chinese project, the $1.4 billion Colombo Port City, would be scrapped. Soon after Mr. Sirisena became the President, work on the Port City came to a grinding halt. Then, there was also uncertainty over the fate of the Hambantota port, the development of which was originally offered to India by Mahinda Rajapaksa on becoming Sri Lankan President in November 2005. (India was said to have examined Hambantota purely from the point of view of economics, overlooking the strategic angle.)
Two different records
However, all of this is now history, as Colombo-Beijing ties have stood the test of time. China has been able to resolve all the controversies over these projects. The Port City’s execution is underway without any major hitch. When it becomes a reality, it will stand beside the Colombo port, which serves as a major transshipment hub for India. A Chinese company has got Hambantota on lease for 99 years along with associated land of 15,000 acres. More importantly, Sri Lanka is a member-country of the Belt and Road Initiative.
Notwithstanding an argument by some international experts that economic ties with China are driving Sri Lanka into a “debt trap”, the bilateral relationship on the economic front is only becoming stronger. According to the 2018 annual report of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, imports from China accounted for 18.5%, just a little less than the 19% from India.
On the other hand, India cannot claim to have accomplished much in the Sirisena years, despite its “neighbourhood first” policy since May 2014. Apart from clinching a joint venture deal in May with Japan and Sri Lanka to develop the East Container Terminal at the Colombo Port, India cannot boast of having taken up any major infrastructure project in Sri Lanka. Not much is known about the status of a project to renovate the Kankesanthurai harbour in the Northern Province, for which India provided over $45 million in early 2018. There seems to be little progress in India’s proposals to develop the Palaly airport in the North, (where commercial flight services in a limited way are expected to be launched shortly) and acquire a controlling stake in the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport. And for all practical purposes, the Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement, an improved version of the existing bilateral Free Trade Agreement, has been shelved.
In recent years, only a couple of social sector projects of the Indian government — building 60,000 homes for Tamils of the civil war-torn Northern and Eastern Provinces as well as those in the hill country region, and the provision of ambulance services all over the island — gathered momentum. Both these are being carried out using grants of the Indian government. In July, an agreement was signed to upgrade a key railway segment, connecting the north and the south, at $91 million.
However, given its potential and willingness to do more in development cooperation, India cannot remain satisfied with such a modest track record. When Mr. Wickremesinghe visited New Delhi about a year ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed concern over delays in projects proposed by India. The joint development of an oil storage facility in Trincomalee is one such project which has been discussed for years. What can be a matter of consolation for New Delhi is that Colombo, about a year ago, reversed a decision to award a $300-million housing project, meant for the North, to Beijing.
China-funded infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka may look great, but India-Sri Lanka ties are deeper and more complex. As Mr. Modi said, “In good times and bad, India has been and will always be the first responder for Sri Lanka.” India’s assistance during the 2004 tsunami and Mr. Modi’s visit to Colombo in June (the first foreign dignitary to do so) in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday attacks show India’s sincerity of approach.
Despite these deep ties, it is true that India and Sri Lanka have seen some unpleasantness in bilateral relations in contemporary times. The anti-Tamil pogrom of 1983 dragged India into the Sri Lankan Tamil question. Events such as the withdrawal of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in March 1990 and the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991 made New Delhi adopt a “hands-off approach” towards Colombo till the final phase of the civil war. In the last five months of the war that ended in May 2009, India repeatedly conveyed to Sri Lanka that the rights and welfare of the civilian population should not get enmeshed in hostilities against the LTTE. But this was not considered sufficient by protagonists of the proscribed organisation and some others who have been accusing the Indian government of having played a role in the LTTE’s defeat.
However, with all their shortcomings, the Rajiv Gandhi-Jayawardene Accord of 1987 and the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution, envisaging devolution of powers for provinces, still provide a solid framework to address the ethnic question. Apart from a political settlement, the Northern and Eastern provinces, which account for less than 10% of Sri Lanka’s GDP, require economic development as there are signs of the youth there getting distracted from the pursuit of greener pastures. The Indian government is willing to walk the extra mile in this area, but what is wanting is a proper response from the Tamil political leadership.
When Sri Lanka gets a new President in two months, India must sit with that leader not just to get expeditious approvals for all the pending infrastructure projects but also contribute to a holistic development of Sri Lanka’s youth. Also, New Delhi should sustain its interest on developmental issues concerning the hill country Tamils, regarded as the most backward in Sri Lanka. It will also be worth making one more attempt to encourage the voluntary repatriation of nearly 95,000 refugees who live in Tamil Nadu back to Sri Lanka. As a step towards this direction, the authorities should resume ferry services between Talaimannar and Rameswaram at the earliest.
As once stated by the High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, “Our aid is not to raid or invade”. A benign and comprehensive approach, backed by the sincerity of purpose, will not only earn India greater respect of Sri Lankans, but also send a message to other international players about the strength of its ties with Sri Lanka.
US citizen accused of spying on behalf of Chinese government
Associated Press JANIE HAR and JOCELYN GECKER,Associated Press 11 hours ago
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US attorney David Anderson announces criminal spy charges against a San Francisco Bay Area tour operator Xuehua Edward Peng Monday, Sept. 30, 2019, in San Francisco. Xuehua Edward Peng, who operates tours for Chinese students and visitors, was charged with being an illegal foreign agent and delivering classified U.S. national security information to officials in China, U.S. government officials announced Monday. (AP Photo/Janie Har)
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A California tour operator charged by U.S. officials with illegally ferrying information to China was a quiet and friendly man with a taste for luxury cars, a neighbor said.
Xuehua Edward Peng, 56, of Hayward was charged in documents unsealed Monday with being an illegal foreign agent and delivering classified U.S. national security information to officials in China, U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson said in San Francisco.
Anderson accused Peng, whom he described as a tour operator for Chinese students and visitors, of a "combination of age-old spycraft and modern technology."
"The charges announced today provide a rare glimpse into the secret efforts of the People's Republic of China to obtain classified national security information from the United States," Anderson said.
Danilo Serrano said Peng moved in across the street from him about five years ago and kept a Lexus and Porsche parked outside. About a year ago, he bought "an expensive Tesla SUV, the nice one where the doors go up," Serrano said.
Serrano recalled thinking, "Man, he must have a lot of money."
The U.S. is engaged in a trade war with China. But John Bennett, the FBI agent in charge of San Francisco, said international politics had nothing to do with the arrest and charges against Peng.
"We have criminal spies that are running around in our area of responsibility and it's the FBI's mission to stop this, so what's going on in the rest of the world, it doesn't matter to us," he said.
FBI Director Christopher Wray has said China poses a more serious counterintelligence threat to the United States than any other country, including Russia.
In July, he testified before a Senate panel that the FBI had more than 1,000 investigations involving economic espionage and attempted intellectual property theft, nearly all of which lead back to China.
The Justice Department has brought multiple cases in the past year involving Chinese espionage and has also brought charges against operatives working with the Ministry of State Security as law enforcement officials grapple with how to deal with an increasing threat of China trying to steal information from American companies.
Last October, prosecutors charged a Chinese spy with attempting to steal trade secrets from several American aviation and aerospace companies, the first time an MSS operative was extradited to the U.S.
Anderson did not say how long Peng had been operating as an unregistered spy for China's Ministry of State Security, only that the FBI employed a double agent in 2015 who conducted exchanges with Peng in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Columbus, Georgia.
Over six occasions between 2015 and 2018, Peng would secure a hotel room and leave up to $20,000 there, authorities said in the criminal complaint. The double agent would then get a key to the room, take the cash and leave a digital card containing information, it said.
Peng would then take the card and travel to Beijing to meet Chinese intelligence officers, authorities said.
Authorities say the unnamed double agent went to the FBI in 2015 after China's intelligence department tried to recruit the person as a spy. The unnamed agent was told by Chinese intelligence officials at a meeting in 2015 that "Ed" was reliable and had family in China, according to the complaint.
The criminal complaint says Peng is a naturalized U.S. citizen who entered the country on a temporary business visitor visa and became a permanent resident in 2006. Peng was naturalized in September 2012.
He holds an acupuncturist license from the state.
Peng was arrested at his home Friday and ordered held without bond at a hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero. He is scheduled to return to court Wednesday.
Qian Peng, the suspect's daughter, said she could not comment because she had not seen the charges.
Serrano said he sometimes wondered what Peng did for a living but didn't inquire.
"He seemed to travel a lot," Serrano said, recalling he would sometimes see cars come to pick up Peng, who would get in with suitcases.
Serrano and Peng chatted about domestic things, he said, with Peng admiring the fencing and succulents in front of Serrano's home. Peng installed a similar fence and planted succulents that Serrano gave him.
Serrano was shocked when told about the spy charges.
"I can't believe Ed was a Chinese spy!" he said.
Court records indicate Peng will be represented by the federal public defender's office. The office did not respond to requests seeking comment.
Anderson did not elaborate on Peng's tour operations. Public records list Peng as president of U.S. Tour and Travel in San Francisco, but no website for the company was found in an online search.
He could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted of working as an unregistered agent of a foreign government,
No force can ever stop China from marching forward, President Xi Jinping asserted on Tuesday as he presided over the country's largest parade, showcasing its military might and unity among top leaders, to celebrate the Communist Party's hold on power for 70 years.
As China held its largest parade, Hong Kong witnessed one of its violent protests with thousands of pro-democracy activists, who burnt Chinese flags, demanding autonomy, universal franchise, and freedom for all the people to contest the elections for the territory's legislature.
"No force can ever shake the status of China, or stop the Chinese people and nation from marching forward," an assertive Xi said in his speech ahead of the parade, as the two-million strong world's largest army flexed its muscles displaying some of its most sophisticated weapons, including long range Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs).
Regarded as the most powerful leader since the Communist Party of China (CPC) founder Mao Zedong, Xi, 66, who heads the party, the military and the presidency, said that the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC) under the leadership of the CPC has completely changed "China's miserable fate" of being poor and weak and being bullied and humiliated for over 100 years since the advent of modern times.
Flanked by his predecessors, Jiang Zemin, 93 and Hu Jintao, 76, as a show of unity and solidarity of the CPC leadership in face of intensifying strategic competition with the US and emergence of China, Xi called on the people to uphold the CPC's leadership.
The parade included decorated floats with huge photos of Mao, his successor Deng Xiaoping, Hu and Xi outlining their political and ideological contribution to the development of CPC and China.
"Seventy years ago, on this day Comrade Mao Zedong solemnly declared here to the world that the PRC was founded and the Chinese people had stood up," Xi said.
For the world, he assured that China would stay on the peaceful development path, allaying global concerns over China's rise.
"We will continue to work with people from all countries to push for jointly building a community with a shared future for humanity," Xi said.
Besides the bruising trade war, China and the US are locked in strategic competition amid efforts by Beijing to expand its global influence with multi-billion dollar projects like the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
In his speech, Xi stressed that the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the People's Armed Police Force should always preserve their nature, purpose and character as the forces of the people, resolutely safeguard China's sovereignty, security and development interests, and firmly uphold world peace.
Xi's hard-hitting speech and the lavish display of arsenal by the Chinese military would be watched with interest in New Delhi too as India, along with Bhutan, is the only country Beijing is yet to seal a border deal with. Also, China remains an all-weather ally of Pakistan.
President Xi will visit Mamallapuram near Chennai in the second week this month for 2nd informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to work out a road map for the bilateral ties for the next five years.
About Hong Kong, Xi said "on our journey forward, we must uphold the principles of 'peaceful reunification' and 'one country, two systems', maintain lasting prosperity and stability in Hong Kong and Macao."
Xi urged concerted efforts to achieve its centenary goals.
"China's yesterday had been inscribed in human history while China's today is being created in the hands of hundreds of millions of Chinese people," Xi said, adding that "Beijing will surely have an even brighter future".
Later, he oversaw China's biggest parade till date in which the military displayed about 300 new weapons, according to the state broadcaster CGTN.
The new weapons systems displayed included the Dongfeng-17 conventional missiles which were unveiled for the first time for public.
The missile has the capability of precision strikes against short-and medium-range targets, with strong penetration capacity in all-weather conditions.
The formation is comprised of two conventional missile brigades from a base of the People's Liberation Army Rocket Force.
Five J-15 fighter jets, China's domestically-produced first-generation multi-purpose fixed-wing fighter jet, were also on display, and the core strike force of China's aircraft carrier formation.
The J-15 planes operates from the deck of China's first aircraft carrier Liaoning.
China's H-6N home-made strategic bomber capable of air refuelling and long-range strike also made the debut. It flew along with H-6K, a domestically-developed medium and long-range bomber.
China's supersonic CJ-100 cruise missiles were also on display. The missiles carried by 16 vehicles formed part of a long range, high precision and quick responsive weapons, the report said.
The weaponry displayed included reconnaissance drones in multi-range and multi-altitude.
Among them, a high-altitude high-speed reconnaissance drone including all black-coating UAV in the parade, made public appearance for the first time.
China also unveiled anti-ship cruise missiles in the parade. The long-range submarine-launched and ship-based missiles are domestically designed and built ship deterrence force.
The PLA also displayed China's new-generation main battlefield 99A tanks.
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