China eyes 9 areas to upgrade manufacturing capability

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWSPAPER FROM SHANGHAI)

 

China eyes 9 areas to upgrade manufacturing capability

China will enhance key manufacturing technologies in nine areas as the government aims to drive the country to be a top manufacturer in the world by accelerating technology upgrading.

The National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s top economic planner, has made three-year (2018-20) targets for railway transport, advanced shipping and maritime engineering, intelligent robots, smart cars, modern agricultural machines, advanced medical devices and medicines, new materials, smart manufacturing and key equipment. The targets are aimed at catapulting China into the top league of manufacturing.

China expects to succeed in producing maglev trains that can run at 600 kilometers per hour and automating the operations of railways in the next three years. It also expects to “realize significant achievements in producing large cruise ships” and building a vessel capable of carrying 22,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units), which will be the world’s largest container ship.

China is expected to expand its global market share in advanced agricultural machines.

The NDRC aims to cut domestic medical expenses by introducing at least 10 new medicines to the domestic market and has plans to sell them abroad.

The targets also include intensifying the development of key components for smart manufacturing, such as programmable logic controllers and robots. Development of artificial intelligence and augmented reality will also be vital under the plan.

New materials such as graphene, specialty steel, advanced organic and composite materials are identified to help the development of advanced machines, save energy and cut carbon emissions.

China needs to deepen efforts on technology upgrading to enhance its manufacturing capability, the NDRC said, adding that the country hopes to rapidly integrate Big Data and AI with manufacturing.

 

NORTH KOREA’S WAR SUPPLIES SHUT OFF BY CHINA

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NEWSWEEK)

 

NORTH KOREA’S WAR SUPPLIES SHUT OFF BY CHINA AS OIL AND FUEL SANCTIONS TAKE TOLL

China shut off all oil and fuel products to North Korea last month, further strangling Kim Jong Un’s regime amid increasing international sanctions and cries for China to toughen its economic and diplomatic policies with its oppressive neighbor.

Related: North Korea is preparing to launch a satellite into space

China also blocked off North Korean imports of iron, coal and lead in November, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing data from China’s General Administration of Customs. The block appeared to be even harsher than sanctions placed on the North by the United Nations this year. New U.N. sanctions enacted last week capped oil shipments to the North for any trade partner at 500,000 barrels in a single year.

The new sanctions, along with others put in place earlier this year, place Kim’s regime in a perilous position. The limited North Korean economy may struggle to fund its nuclear and missile defense, and also maintain order within the totalitarian regime, without sufficient imports.

China, long the North’s top trade partner, also hindered the trade of gasoline, diesel or fuel oil and jet fuel. Jet fuel had not been completely blocked for the North by China since February 2015.

November marked the second consecutive month China did not send gasoline or diesel to the North.

GettyImages-884030122North Korea has threatened war on the United States and blasted the United Nations for economic sanctions. The limited North Korean economy may struggle to fund its nuclear and missile defense, and also maintain order within the totalitarian regime, without sufficient imports. KCNA VIA GETTY IMAGES

Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said she was unaware of the oil export figures, but stated China had always enforced the sanctions against Kim’s government.

“As a principle, China has consistently fully, correctly, conscientiously and strictly enforced relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions on North Korea,” the spokeswoman said at a press briefing. “We have already established a set of effective operating mechanisms and methods.”

China is North Korea’s top fuel provider, and the cutoff coincides with new sanctions unanimously passed by the U.N. Security Council last week to punish Kim for missile tests and threats of an attack against the U.S.

By a 15-0 vote, the U.N. council tightened fuel shipments and ordered North Korean workers overseas to return to their homeland. China and Russia both voted to impose the sanctions, with a large number of North Korean workers already in the latter country.

The regime responded to the new sanctions Sunday, calling them an “act of war” and accusing the U.S. of asking for trouble.

“We define this ‘sanctions resolution’ rigged up by the U.S. and its followers as a grave infringement upon the sovereignty of our republic, as an act of war violating peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and the region, and categorically reject the ‘resolution,’” the state-run Korean Central News Agency said in a statement.

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US-China Contingency Plans On North Korea

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE KOREAN HERALD)

 

[News Focus] US-China contingency plans on NK: what do they mean for South Korea?

By Yeo Jun-suk

  • Published : Dec 21, 2017 – 18:41
  • Updated : Dec 21, 2017 – 18:41
  •     

 In November 1950, the United States and China went to war. It was five months into the Korean War when US troops crossed the 38th parallel, marched toward North Korea and clashed with the Chinese troops coming to the rescue of their communist ally.

The war continued for about three years, costing the lives of 36,000 American troops and more than a quarter of a million Chinese troops. The Korean War came to an end when the two sides agreed to an armistice. South Korea opposed the peace talks and refused to sign the armistice agreement.

With North Korea’s relentless pursuit of a nuclear weapons program raising fear of another major armed conflict on the Korean Peninsula, the two powers appear to be bracing for a possible contingency, but this time the focus is on how to work together in the event of a sudden collapse of the North Korean regime.

US State Secretary Rex Tillerson. Yonhap

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently offered a glimpse into the secret contingency plan. He revealed that the Trump administration had assured China’s leadership that if US forces crossed into North Korea to seize nuclear weapons, the troops would do their work and then retreat to the South.

“We have had conversations that if something happened and we had to go across a line, we have given the Chinese assurances we would go back and retreat back to the south of the 38th parallel,” Tillerson said in remarks at the Atlantic Council on Dec. 12.

The South Korea-US wartime scheme, Operations Plan 5015, includes military campaigns to address North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction. The plan calls for the allies’ Special Forces to penetrate into North Korean territory to secure its nuclear weapons before they became operational.

OPLAN 5015, whose operational details are classified, reportedly does not spell out exactly who would control the North Korean territory after the mission is completed in a situation where the Chinese troops would most likely march into the North.

Hence, Tillerson’s discussion on contingency plans with the Chinese government is causing jitters among South Korean policymakers and military planners, experts said, rekindling deep-rooted worries that the two superpowers might determine Korea’s fate once again.

“We believe it is inappropriate for us to discuss or assess the remarks by the US secretary of state,” Choi Hyun-soo, a spokesperson of the Ministry of National Defense, said in response to a question about whether the South Korean military had consulted with the US government on the matter.

South Korea’s Constitution declares North Korea a part of its territory that needs to be reclaimed eventually, but most analysts doubt whether such a position would be recognized by the international community and neighboring countries, who view North Korea as a sovereign state.

Some experts said that Tillerson’s idea is part of a “grand deal” between the US and China, which involves a scenario where the US may cede North Korean territory to the Chinese military if they help the US remove North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction.

In his column on the Wall Street Journal in August, Henry Kissinger said that “understanding” between Washington and Beijing is a prerequisite to resolving the nuclear standoff. Before the publication of the article, he had reportedly suggested to Tillerson that the US could make a pledge to Beijing that it would withdraw its troops from South Korea after the collapse of North Korea.

“My impression is that the US appears to be floating the idea of a grand bargain by Kissinger to the Chinese government,” said Yun Duk-min, former chancellor of the Seoul-based security think tank Korea National Diplomatic Academy.

There is no indication that China has responded to Tillerson’s proposal, or that military officials have met to discuss the idea, a taboo subject for Beijing, which has refused to discuss the idea out of concern that it would worsen the already tense relationship with North Korea

However, calls for developing contingency plans appear to be gaining ground among Chinese security and military experts, as they have publicly urged the country to prepare for any eventuality amid growing frustration with its wayward ally’s relentless nuclear ambition.

Retired Chinese Army Lt. Gen. Wang Hongguang called for mobilizing troops along the border with North Korea to prevent conflicts in the region, warning that a war could break out on the Korean Peninsula at “any time,” even within the next several months.

“China should be psychologically prepared for a potential Korean war, and the northeast China regions should be mobilized for that. … Such mobilization is not to launch a war, but for defensive purposes,” Wang told an annual forum hosted by the Chinese Global Times newspaper Saturday.

A South Korean newspaper reported Monday that China last year conducted a simulated military drill aimed at taking control of nuclear facilities similar to the Yongbyon nuclear reactor. China’s Defense Ministry has yet to issue any public statements.

South Korea’s Defense Ministry declined to confirm the report, saying it is not a matter that the South Korean government can discuss, while highlighting that the government is preparing for “various eventualities” on the Korean Peninsula.

China has also been quietly building a network of refugee camps along its border with North Korea — at least five in Jilin province — as it braces for a human exodus in the event of the regime’s sudden collapse, according to a leaked internal document from a state-run telecoms giant China Mobile.

David Straub, a former US diplomat, said China has shown more willingness to discuss a possible contingency in North Korea, though the issue is still too sensitive for Beijing to raise first.

“It seems pretty clear that the Chinese security experts and analysts are becoming more concerned that there might be a real possibility of unexpected developments,” said Straub, a Sejong-LS fellow at the Sejong Institute.

“In the past, the Chinese were reluctant even to listen to Americans talking about the conditions. Now I think the Chinese are quite happy to listen to what the Americans have to say and probably take careful notes. … But I am still skeptical they have volunteered much to the US,” said Straub.

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Japan Approves Expansion of Missile Defense System to Confront North Korea Threat

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Japan Approves Expansion of Missile Defense System to Confront North Korea Threat

Tuesday, 19 December, 2017 – 09:15
The Japanese government approved on Tuesday a decision to expand its ballistic missile defense system to counter North Korea’s missile threat. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat

The Japanese government approved on Tuesday a decision to expand its ballistic missile defense system to counter North Korea’s missile threat.

The system will be backed with US-made ground-based Aegis radar stations and interceptors. A proposal to build two Aegis Ashore batteries was approved by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet.

The sites without the missiles will likely cost at least $2 billion and are not likely to be operational until 2023 at the earliest, sources familiar with the plan told Reuters earlier.

The decision to acquire the ground version of the Aegis missile-defense system, which is already deployed on Japanese warships, was widely expected.

“North Korea’s nuclear missile development poses a new level of threat to Japan and as we have done in the past we will ensure that we are able to defend ourselves with a drastic improvement in ballistic missile defense,” Japanese Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera told reporters after the cabinet meeting.

North Korea on November 29 tested a new, more powerful ballistic missile that it says can hit major US cities including Washington, and fly over Japan’s current defense shield.

That rocket reached an altitude of more than 4,000 km (2,485 miles), well above the range of interceptor missiles on Japanese ships operating in the Sea of Japan.

North Korea says its weapons programs are necessary to counter US aggression.

The new Aegis stations may not, however, come with a powerful radar, dubbed Spy-6, which is being developed by the United States.

Without it, Japan will not be able to fully utilize the extended range of a new interceptor missile, the SM-3 Block IIA, which cost about $30 million each.

A later upgrade, once the US military has deployed Spy-6 on its ships around 2022, could prove a costly proposition for Japan as outlays on new equipment squeeze its military budget.

Initial funding will be ring-fenced in the next defense budget beginning in April, but no decision has been made on the radar, or the overall cost, or schedule, of the deployment, a Ministry of Defense official said at a press briefing.

Japan’s military planners also evaluated the US-built THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) system before deciding on Aegis Ashore.

Separately, Japan’s defense minister said this month Japan would acquire medium-range cruise missiles it can launch from its F-15 and F-35 fighters at sites in North Korea, in a bid to deter any attack.

The purchase of what will become the longest-range munitions in Japan’s military arsenal is controversial because it renounced the right to wage war against other nations in its post-World War Two constitution.

Earlier, Japan and South Korea urged China to do more to “pressure” North Korea to end its nuclear and missile programs, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said on Tuesday.

North Korea has boasted of developing a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and reaching the mainland United States in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions and international condemnation, including from its lone major ally, China.

“China is currently implementing the United Nations Security Council resolutions (on North Korea), but China can probably do more,” Kono said after talks with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha.

“We agreed on the need to put pressure firmly on North Korea.”

The US Navy’s top officer said on Tuesday said that vessels from eastern Pacific could be brought forward to reinforce US naval power in Asia as Washington contends with increased threats in the region.

US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have exchanged bellicose rhetoric in recent weeks, with Trump threatening to destroy North Korea if provoked, while US diplomats have stressed the importance of diplomacy.

Trump on Monday unveiled a new national security strategy, again saying Washington had to deal with the challenge posed by North Korea’s weapons programs.

Artist Who Filmed Beijing Crackdown Is Reportedly Freed on Bail

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Photo

The painter Hua Yong in one of his videos documenting the evictions from migrant neighborhoods in Beijing.

An artist who was detained by the police after documenting mass expulsion of migrant workers from the Chinese capital was released Monday on bail, a friend said.

The artist, Hua Yong, posted dozens of short videos in recent weeks recording how the authorities had forced tens of thousands of people to leave Beijing and demolished vast swaths of neighborhoods.

The police came for him after he filmed residents protesting by blocking a roadway in the Daxing district of Beijing, and he fled the city. He was detained late Friday in Tianjin.

Ji Feng, a friend, said Mr. Hua had been held on suspicion of “gathering the masses to disturb traffic order.” He was released on a form of bail known as “qubao houshen,” which allows the police to continue investigating for up to a year. Often the suspect won’t face charges, but can be monitored and face restrictions on his ability to travel and speak publicly.

Mr. Hua was allowed to travel to Chengdu, where his daughter lives, Mr. Ji said.

Before he was detained Friday, Mr. Hua posted a series of short videos that he said were filmed in an apartment in Tianjin, a large city near Beijing. In some of the videos, someone can be heard pounding on the apartment’s door and telling him to come out.

Continue reading the main story

Mr. Hua, 48, who had shaved his beard and shorn his dreadlocks, said his arrest was imminent. As he waited, he recorded himself singing “Happy Birthday” to his daughter, who turns 3 this month.

“Everything I do is so your generation won’t have to go through what I and your grandfathers’ generation experienced,” he said in the video to his daughter. “I want to make our country better. To be just, fair, free, democratic and have freedom of speech.”

Reached by phone, the police in the Daxing district declined to answer questions about Mr. Hua.

Mr. Hua’s work documenting the evictions of migrant workers touched a nerve with the authorities, said Patrick Poon, a Hong Kong-based researcher for Amnesty International.

“His videos became important evidence about the human rights violations during the evictions,” Mr. Poon said. “His detention makes him become like a symbol about how grass-roots people are treated by the Chinese government.”

Mr. Hua has been incarcerated over speech issues in China before. In 2012, he was sentenced to 15 months in a labor camp after a performance in Tiananmen Square in which he punched himself in the face, then used his blood to write the date of the 1989 massacre of pro-democracy protesters.

In the videos recorded Friday, Mr. Hua repeated his desire to remain in China rather than leave for someplace where he would be able to speak more freely about political issues.

“The People’s Republic of China constitution provides for freedom of speech, freedom of the press,” he said. “All I did was take and post a few videos online. There’s nothing wrong with this. So I will stay in China. Even if I die, I die in my country.”

Trump: Israel not the cause of Mideast problems

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Trump to present new doctrine that says Israel not the cause of Mideast problems

‘America First’ national security strategy, to be unveiled Monday, reverses Obama-era warnings on climate change and de-emphasizes multinational deals that long dominated US policy

US President Donald Trump steps off Marine One on the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, December 17, 2017, after returning from Camp David in Maryland. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

US President Donald Trump steps off Marine One on the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, December 17, 2017, after returning from Camp David in Maryland. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON — Prioritizing national sovereignty over alliances, US President Donald Trump is poised to outline a new national security strategy that envisions nations in a perpetual state of competition and downplays the Israeli-Palestinian conflict’s impact on the broader world order.

The new national security doctrine reverses Obama-era warnings on climate change and de-emphasizes multinational agreements that have dominated the United States’ foreign policy since the Cold War.

The Republican president, who ran on a platform of “America First,” will detail his plan Monday, one that if fully implemented could sharply alter the United States’ relationships with the rest of the world.

The plan, according to senior administration officials who offered a preview Sunday, is to focus on four main themes: protecting the homeland and way of life; promoting American prosperity; demonstrating peace through strength; and advancing American influence in an ever-competitive world.

Trump’s doctrine holds that nation states are in perpetual competition and that the US must fight on all fronts to protect and defend its sovereignty from friend and foe alike. While the administration often says that “America First” does not mean “America Alone,” the national security strategy to be presented by Trump will make clear that the United States will stand up for itself even if that means acting unilaterally or alienating others on issues like trade, climate change and immigration, according to people familiar with the strategy.

US President Donald Trump, right, chats with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, November 9, 2017. (AP/Andy Wong)

Despite international challenges, the document cites emerging opportunities to advance American interests in the Middle East. “Some of our partners are working together to reject radical ideologies and key leaders are calling for a rejection of Islamist extremism and violence,” it says. “Encouraging political stability and sustainable prosperity would contribute to dampening the conditions that fuel sectarian grievances.”

The strategy document asserts that “for generations the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has been understood as the prime irritant preventing peace and prosperity in the region. Today, the threats from radical jihadist terrorist organizations and the threat from Iran are creating the realization that Israel is not the cause of the region’s problems. States have increasingly found common interests with Israel in confronting common threats.”

The last such document, prepared by then-president Barack Obama in 2015, declared climate change an “urgent and growing threat to our national security.” A senior official said the Trump plan removes that determination — following the administration’s threat to pull out of the Paris climate accord — but will mention the importance of environmental stewardship.

Despite the risk of potential isolation presented by Trump’s strategy, its fundamentals are not a surprise. The Associated Press last week reviewed excerpts of a late draft of the roughly 70-page document and spoke to two people familiar with it. The draft emphasizes that US economic security is national security and that economic security must be ensured with military might. And they said it would stress the US is interested only in relationships with other countries, including alliances like NATO, that are fair and reciprocal.

Trump, according to the senior officials, is also expected to discuss threats he’ll deem as “rogue regimes,” like North Korea, and “revisionist powers,” like Russia and China, who aim to change the status quo, such as Moscow and its actions with Ukraine and Georgia, and Beijing in the South China Sea. Trump is also planning to renew his call for the member states in the United Nations and NATO to spend more on defense, saying that the United States will insist on its alliances being fair and reciprocal.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and US President Donald Trump during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Danang, Vietnam, November 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Hau Dinh)

The senior officials said the document refers to China as a “strategic competitor,” rather than the stronger accusation of “economic aggression” previewed last week by National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.

The president is also set to make the case that US economic security is national security and that economic security must be ensured with military might.

The criticism of Russia will come as a break from recent warm words between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The leaders have spoken twice in four days, with Trump calling Putin to thank him for kind words about the US stock market and Putin reaching out to Trump to thank the CIA for help in stopping a terror plot in St. Petersburg.

The strategy document will not make explicit reference to Russian attempts to meddle in the US political system, but an official said it would highlight the importance of ensuring the resilience of US democratic institutions.

The early draft of the strategy reviewed by the AP lamented that America had put itself at a disadvantage by entering into multinational agreements, such as those aimed at combating climate change, and introducing domestic policies to implement them.

The senior officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the plan before the president’s remarks.

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Trump strategy brands China, Russia as ‘revisionist’ powers

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE ‘NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW’)

December 19, 2017 3:39 am JST  (Updated December 19, 2017 5:56 am JST)

Trump strategy brands China, Russia as ‘revisionist’ powers

President aims to project power under his ‘America First’ security policy

TSUYOSHI NAGASAWA, Nikkei staff writer

President Trump says “extraordinary strength” will lead to “long and extraordinary peace.” © AP

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump promised Monday to protect American interests against foreign rivals that challenge them, including the “revisionist” powers of China and Russia seeking to change the global status quo.

“Our new strategy is based on a principle, realism, guided by our vital, national interests and rooted in our timeless values,” Trump said in a speech laying out his first national security strategy.

The roughly 70-page document, released that day, is centered on four pillars: protecting the homeland, promoting American prosperity, preserving peace through strength, and advancing American influence. It reverses predecessor Barack Obama’s focus on dialogue and diplomacy and promotes a world order backed by military power.

“Whether we like it or not, we are engaged in a new era of competition,” Trump said.

“The American people rejected the failures of the past,” he said. “You rediscovered your voice and reclaimed ownership of this nation and its destiny.”

The document brings foreign policy back closer to the neoconservative vision advocated in the 2000s by then-President George W. Bush. Bush embraced such moves as pre-emptive strikes on terrorist groups, as well as unilateral military action.

The concept of peace through strength lies at the heart of Trump’s approach. Cold War-era Republican President Ronald Reagan also sought to counter the Soviet Union and other threats to the U.S. by bolstering its military and ramping up pressure. The Trump administration plans to fatten the defense budget by more than 10% in fiscal 2018 to roughly $700 billion.

On the list of potential threats against U.S. interests are international terrorist organizations, “rogue” regimes like North Korea and Iran, and Russia and China, which are branded as “revisionist” powers that seek to alter the status quo. North Korea, for example, is working on an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach anywhere in the U.S. China is militarizing the South China Sea, while Russian involvement in Ukraine continues. Trump looks to curb such threats through military might and to boost the American presence in the Chinese and Russian spheres of influence.

On promoting prosperity, Trump promises to reduce the U.S. trade deficit through increased pressure on China and other trading partners. The document identifies “economic aggression,” a likely reference to China, as a threat to the country and promises efforts toward fair and mutually beneficial trade relationships.

To advance American influence, the Trump administration is focusing on such principles as the rule of law and human rights. It sees the travel ban on certain Muslim-majority nations and a planned wall on the Mexican border as key aspects of protecting the homeland and will work to prevent terrorist attacks and improve public safety.

 

CHINA SNUBS TRUMP, SAYS RUSSIA TIES BEST AND MOST IMPORTANT IN WORLD

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NEWSWEEK)

 

CHINA SNUBS TRUMP, SAYS RUSSIA TIES BEST AND MOST IMPORTANT IN WORLD

 

China’s envoy to Russia has praised the increasingly powerful relationship between the two countries as both the strongest and most important ties between two major states. Beijing’s man in Moscow also took the opportunity to offer a veiled slight at Washington.

Chinese Ambassador to Russia Li Hui spoke Wednesday at a government news conference organized in response to the results of the 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress in October. Russia and China, the two leading diplomatic and military rivals of the U.S., have pursued closer relations in past years while embarking on initiatives to modernize their forces and assume a more assertive role in international politics.

Related: U.S. and Western Europe could lose badly in a war against Russia without China’s help

“The Chinese-Russian relations of comprehensive strategic cooperation and partnership are the most important bilateral relations in the world and, moreover, the best relations between big countries,” Li told the state-run Tass Russian news agency, which hosted the gathering.

“One can say that they are a classic example of the healthiest and most mature interstate relations and an important force to protect peace and stability throughout the world,” Li added.

RTX3MLVU Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Zhang Youxia, China’s Central Military Commission vice chairman, at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, on December 7. China has described its relationship with Russia as the strongest and most important in the world, leaving out the U.S. altogether.SERGEI KARPUKHIN/REUTERS

One of the key reasons the diplomat cited as being responsible for Russia and China’s success was that they “abandon the thinking of the Cold War” and a “zero-sum game” policy. Both countries have frequently criticized the U.S. for viewing the world in black-and-white, portraying Russia and China as enemies rather than partners in global affairs.

Moscow’s post-Soviet relationship with Washington has been tumultuous but was thought to have been salvaged with the election of President Donald Trump, who promised a reset after the administration of his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, witnessed heightened tensions and historic military mobilizationsbetween U.S.-led Western military alliance NATO and Russia across Europe. Ongoing investigations into Trump’s alleged conspiracy to win the election with the help of the Kremlin and differing views between the Republican leader and Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, have damaged the chance of a future U.S.-Russia alliance.

Russia has denied any interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential race and has portrayed efforts of U.S. authorities to produce evidence of such a plot as being reminiscent of the anti-Communist wave of the 1940s and 1950s.

Unlike Russia, China was an early and frequent target of Trump’s and his allies’ both before and after the billionaire real estate tycoon took office earlier this year. The Trump campaign accused China of currency manipulation and stealing U.S. jobs. As he prepared to assume the role of secretary of state, Rex Tillerson suggested the U.S. should potentially use military force to deny Beijing its vast territorial claims in the disputed seas of the Western Pacific.

As Chinese President Xi Jinping expanded his nation’s sphere of influence, his country has accused the U.S. of portraying this rise as a malicious one. Trump has tried to boost cooperation between the two, but mostly in regard to the nuclear crisis between the U.S. and North Korea, during which China has appeared most eager to work with Russia to reach a political framework.

RTX3LKDSChinese armed police and Russian national guards take part in a joint counterterrorism drill in Yinchuan, the capital of China’s Ningxia Hui autonomous region, on December 5. Both countries have criticized the U.S. for pursuing policies they view as destabilizing in the Middle East and contributing to a rise in extremist movements.STRINGER/REUTERS

China and Russia’s joint simulated anti-missile drills, geared at deflecting potential U.S. or North Korean missiles, on Monday were also the latest evidence of the burgeoning military cooperation between the two powers. The countries have been deeply suspicious of the U.S. presence in the Asia-Pacific, and although both Beijing and Moscow share Washington’s opposition to a nuclear North Korea, they have urged Trump to pursue direct talks and avoid provocative shows of force in the tense region.

China and Russia also have joined forces against the West in other parts of the world, including in Syria, where they both backed the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against jihadist and rebels who received international support. Over the summer, Russia and China also launched their first joint drills in the Baltic Sea, near one of the tensest flash points between NATO and Russian forces in Europe.

As China and Russia empower their partnership as well as their respective militaries, the Rand Corporation noted in a report earlier this week that despite superior technology and defense spending, “U.S. forces could, under plausible assumptions, lose the next war they are called upon to fight.”

Riyadh, Beijing Launch Digital Silk Road Initiative

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Riyadh, Beijing Launch Digital Silk Road Initiative

Tuesday, 12 December, 2017 – 12:15
Riyadh – Asharq Al-Awsat

Undersecretary of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology for Saudi Planning and Development Dr. Mohammed al-Mishaigeh revealed that his country has embarked on transformation programs and developing young talents and establishing innovation labs during his participation in the World Internet Conference, which concluded Monday in Wuzhen City, east China.

Mishaigeh said that the Kingdom and China have also launched Digital Silk Road initiative, and he called on the Chinese to boost partnerships and benefit from Saudi investment and geographical capabilities to transfer knowledge and achieve progress in the field of technology, which the Kingdom is betting on as a knowledge and economic resource.

He pointed out that the city of NEOM will be the focus of artificial intelligence, automation, manufacturing and renewable energy in the world.

Speaking at the conference, Mishaigeh said that his country has started implementing the desired social and economic transformation led by Vision 2030, which aims to bring about profound changes that will extend to many aspects of life reaching the lead in all aspects.

Notably, the Saudi participating delegation has visited the Huawei Research Center in Shanghai to learn about the latest technologies in infrastructure, smart cities and the Chinese experience in enabling the digital economy in the indoor environment.

On the sidelines of the conference, the delegation held a meeting with the National Development and Reform Commission, during which a mechanism was discussed to activate the terms of the memorandum of understanding signed between the two parties in January 2016 on promoting the development of the Digital Silk Road as well as a review of the Chinese experience in building smart cities.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, represented by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, has participated in the World Internet Conference, which was organized by Chinese Electronic Space Administration and Zhejiang Province’s Government with participation of leading figures from governments, international organizations, companies, competent technical sector departments as well as non-government relevant agencies.

Over 1000-year-old sunken Chinese treasure returns home

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Over 1000-year-old sunken Chinese treasure returns home

The 162 pieces of treasure were part of a huge cargo of ninth-century porcelain traded from China during the Tang Dynasty.

WORLD Updated: Dec 11, 2017 18:26 IST

Press Trust of India, Beijing
A Ru Guanyao brush washer bowl from China's Song Dynasty is displayed during a press conference after its record breaking sale for $ 37.7 million at the Sotheby's Chinese Works of Art Autumn Sales in Hong Kong on October 3.
A Ru Guanyao brush washer bowl from China’s Song Dynasty is displayed during a press conference after its record breaking sale for $ 37.7 million at the Sotheby’s Chinese Works of Art Autumn Sales in Hong Kong on October 3.(AFP File Photo/Representative image)

A stash of 1,200-year-old Chinese treasure found under the sea has been returned to China’s central Hunan province.

Experts believe they will provide evidence of China’s overseas porcelain trade during the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

The 162 pieces of treasure were part of a huge cargo of ninth-century porcelain traded from China during the Tang Dynasty via an Arab dhow, which wrecked in Indonesia’s Java sea.

In 1998, a German salvage company discovered the shipwreck and named it ‘Batu Hitam’.

More than 67,000 pieces of treasure were found in the ship, 85 per cent of which came from a kiln in Changsha, now Hunan’s capital city.

Most of the porcelain is now owned by Tilman Walterfang, head of the salvage company.

In September, the administration office of the kiln in Changsha signed an agreement with Walterfang to return a collection of 162 pieces to China, state-run Xinhua news agency reported today.

The treasure sent home includes fine ceramics from several kilns in the provinces of Hunan, Zhejiang, Hebei, Henan and Guangdong.

The treasure is expected to be accessible to the public at a museum in Changsha by early 2018.

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