Tag Archives: China

Red China Balks at Sanctions Against Moscow

Remember that these are sanctions that the Democrats supported. Will they stand by Trump now?

China has told the US to withdraw sanctions on its military over purchases of Russian jets and missiles or “bear the consequences”.

The US says China has contravened US sanctions on Moscow introduced over Russian actions in Ukraine and alleged interference in US politics.

China recently bought 10 Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and S-400 missiles.

Beijing has not joined in the sanctions imposed on Moscow by the US and its Western allies since 2014.

Its forces took part in giant Russian war games held earlier this month.

Communists Likely Attacked American Diplomats with Microwaves

These are intentional, repeated attacks. They have to be stopped.

(CNN)They’ve been described as “sonic attacks” — bizarre, unexplained head injuries that spurred the United States to bring home diplomatic staff from China and Cuba. Now scientists are saying the ailments could have been caused by microwave weapons.

Though a March report based on the examinations of 21 diplomats who served in Cuba didn’t link the attacks to microwaves, the study’s lead author, Douglas Smith, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Brain Injury and Repair, told The New York Times that the diplomats likely suffered brain injuries and that microwaves are considered the culprit.
“Everybody was relatively skeptical at first,” he told the newspaper, “and everyone now agrees there’s something there.”
In a Sunday interview with CNN, Smith said microwaves are “a main suspect” in causing the diplomats’ injuries, but ultrasound and infrasound were being studied as potential causes as well.
[…]
In a statement, the US State Department on Sunday neither confirmed nor denied the possibility that microwaves were behind the diplomatic injuries.
“The health and well-being of our personnel remains our top priority,” the statement said. “The investigation into the origin of these symptoms continues. The inter-agency community is working diligently to determine the cause of the symptoms, as well as to develop mitigation strategies.”

New Zealand Bans Foreigners From Buying Most Real Estate

Interesting.

The country’s parliament on Wednesday passed a law banning foreigners from buying into most parts of its residential property market as the government seeks to cool red-hot house prices.

The Overseas Investment Amendment Bill will prevent overseas investors from purchasing existing properties in New Zealand, but they will still be able to buy into new apartment complexes and certain other parts of the housing market.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern campaigned on a promise to clamp down on foreign buyers, blaming them for soaring prices that have left many New Zealanders unable to enter the property market.

[…]

Most foreign buyers in New Zealand don’t state where they’re from, official data shows, but the majority of those who do are from China.

New Zealand has also proved to be a popular retreat for the rich and famous. Billionaire investor Peter Thiel and disgraced former NBC host Matt Lauer both own properties in the country.

The Chinese, in particular, are buying property all over the world – especially in America.

Why?

Thanks to their booming economy, there are a lot of Chinese people who have a lot of money. But they still live in a totalitarian regime where their assets can be seized or they can be cast out at any time. There is no real protection for private property in China. So what do you do if you are a wealthy Chinese businessman and you don’t want your assets to evaporate by the whim of a dictator? You buy property in other countries that protect private property. That way, if something happens in China, at least you still have a pot of gold buried somewhere for your family.

Tariff War Escalates

Make it stop!

China has announced plans to put tariffs of up to 25% on US products worth $60 billion, the latest salvo in an escalating trade war.

The Chinese government said Friday that it would impose duties of 25%, 20%, 10% and 5% on the products if the Trump administration follows through on threats to tax $200 billion of Chinese goods.

Do you know who wins tariff wars? Government. Tariffs are just another outflow of cash from consumers to government. Meanwhile, consumers and our economy suffers.

Trump Ratchets Up Trade War

STOP IT!

“In light of China’s unfair retaliation, I have instructed the [United States Trade Representative] to consider whether $100 billion of additional tariffs would be appropriate,” the president said in a statement.

Earlier this week, the United States announced new tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, claiming that China is stealing US intellectual property. China responded within hours by announcing $50 billion worth of tariffs on US goods.

The moves follow US tariffs that were imposed earlier this year on Chinese steel and aluminum, which also prompted retaliatory measures from China.

Trump’s announcement late Thursday that his administration could target another $100 billion of Chinese goods rattled markets and drew criticism from businesses and from within his own party.

Tariffs do nothing by wreck parts of the economy and retard the invisible hand of capitalism.

Trump Imposes Tariffs on China

I don’t like this move.

The US plans to impose tariffs on up to $60bn (£42.5bn) in Chinese imports and limit the country’s investment in the US in retaliation for years of alleged intellectual property theft.

The White House said the actions were necessary to counter unfair competition from China’s state-led economy.

It said years of talks had failed to produce change. China said it was ready to retaliate with “necessary measures”.

Beijing also said it would “fight to the end” in any trade war with the US.

China Confirms Dictatorship

They move from pretend non-dictatorship to unabashed totalism.

China has approved the removal of term limits for its leader, in a move that effectively allows Xi Jinping to remain as president for life.

The constitutional changes were passed by China’s annual sitting of the National People’s Congress on Sunday.

The vote was widely regarded as a rubber-stamping exercise. Two delegates voted against the change and three abstained, out of 2,964 votes.

Xi’s Ongoing Purge

“Anti-corruption”… uh huh.

Since becoming China’s leader in 2012, Xi Jinping has overseen a vast and ruthless anti-corruption drive in which more than a million officials have been disciplined.

A BBC study has found that more than 170 ministers and deputy minister-level officials have been sacked and many jailed under Mr Xi, accused of charges such as corruption, misconduct and violation of party discipline.

It has been described by some as a massive internal purge of opponents, on a scale not seen since the days of Mao Zedong, in whose Cultural Revolution many top officials were purged.

[…]

Based on official data, a staggering 1.34 million officials at high and low levels – the so-called “tigers and flies” – have been brought down by corruption and disciplinary charges during President Xi’s first five years in office.

No walk of life has been spared – those felled range from village chiefs and factory managers to government ministers and generals.

The so-called “great purge” goes right to the very top of government – the biggest scalp so far was once the third most senior leader in China, Zhou Yongkang. He had been in charge of the vast internal security apparatus until he retired.

Sun Zhengcai, who was sacked as Chongqing party secretary, was only the fourth sitting politburo member ever to be expelled from the Communist Party. Promoted before Xi Jinping took office, Mr Sun, 54, was the politburo’s youngest member and had been tipped for the very top.

Marathon Speeches

Those silly Communists and their loooooong speeches.

Some call Xi Jinping a Chinese Putin. Others a 21st-century Mao.

On Wednesday morning he was China’s Hugo Chávez, testing his comrades’ eyelids – and their bladders – with a three-and-a-half hour, 65-page sermon in which he outlined his brave new vision for the Communist party, and the world.

“The Chinese dream is a dream about history, the present and the future,” Xi declared towards the end of his unexpectedly long-winded address to the opening of China’s 19th party congress. By the conclusion of this eastern answer to Aló Presidente! more than a few of Xi’s audience appeared to have entered a dreamlike state.

Communist Party Determines Future of China

Yes, China is still a totalitarian regime where one party controls the lives of over a billion people. What will the next 5 years hold?

China’s biggest political event, the Communist Party congress, has begun in Beijing under tight security.

Party leader and Chinese president Xi Jinping is addressing more than 2,000 delegates in the capital.

The closed-door summit, which takes place once every five years, determines who rules China and the country’s direction for the next term.

Mr Xi, who became the leader in 2012, has been consolidating power and is expected to remain as party chief.

China Flexes Muscles

While China has liberalized economically in the past few decades, we can’t forget that it is a totalitarian communist state that is built on repression.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has told his troops ‘a strong army is needed now more than ever’ during a huge military parade

XI, wearing military clothing, warned the ‘world isn’t safe at this moment’ as he watched the display at Zhurihe Training Base in China’s remote Inner Mongolia region.

Among the terrifying weapons on display was China‘s Chengdu J-20 stealth jet fighter as well as its new DF-31AG intercontinental ballistic missile. The rocket is mounted on an all-terrain vehicle to make it harder to track.

The event, to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army, was at Asia’s largest military training centre which features life-size mock-up targets, including Taiwan’s presidential palace.

It came as a number of the world’s superpowers flexed their muscles in massive parades to showcase their military strength.

Trump Indulges in Waffles

Actually, “waffle” isn’t the right word… these are complete flip flops.

US President Donald Trump has said Nato is “no longer obsolete”, reversing a stance that had alarmed allies.

Hosting Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House, Mr Trump said the threat of terrorism had underlined the alliance’s importance.

He called on Nato to do more to help Iraqi and Afghan “partners”.

Mr Trump has repeatedly questioned Nato’s purpose, while complaining that the US pays an unfair share of membership.

The Nato U-turn wasn’t Mr Trump’s only change of heart on Wednesday.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, he said he would not label China a currency manipulator, despite having repeatedly pledged to do so on his first day in office.

He was right the first time on both counts. China is a currency manipulator. And NATO is obsolete in its current form. It was designed to counter a single threat that no longer exists.

70% of Millennials in China Own a Home

Interesting cultural differences.

While young people around the world are struggling to get on the property ladder, an HSBC study found that 70% of Chinese millennials have achieved the milestone.

A sizeable 91% also plan to buy a house in the next five years, according to the survey.

The mortgage lender spoke to around 9,000 people based in nine countries.

While China came out top of the pack, Mexico was next with 46% of millennials owning property, followed by France with 41%.

China Maintains Spending on Military

This is a handy reminder that China has been rapidly expanding its military for decades – and will continue to do so irrespective of what the United States does.

China says it will increase military spending by about 7% this year, just days after Donald Trump outlined a boost to the US defence budget.

The scheduled announcement was made ahead of the annual National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing.

China has been modernising its armed forces recently as its economy expands.

China’s announced defence budget remains smaller than that of the US. But many China observers argue the real figure could be much higher.

The announcement marks the second consecutive year that the increase in China’s defence spending has been below 10% following nearly two decades at or above that figure.

It means that total spending will account for about 1.3% of the country’s projected GDP in 2017, the same level as in recent years, said government spokeswoman Fu Ying.

China Strengthens Alliances in SE Asia

As America has intentionally stepped back from exerting her influence in the past several years, other large powers have filled the void.

But there are also two strategic benefits. First, Cambodia uses China as a counterweight to Vietnam. Among ordinary Cambodians, anti-Vietnamese sentiment runs deep. Many bitterly recall the Vietnamese occupation and some demand the return of “Kampuchea Krom”—the delta of the Mekong river, which today is part of Vietnam, but is home to many ethnic Cambodians and was for centuries part of the Khmer Empire. Since Vietnam harboured Mr Hun Sen, the opposition depicts him as a Vietnamese puppet. Closeness to China helps to defuse such claims.

Cambodia also uses China as a hedge against the West. Chinese money comes with no strings attached, unlike most Western donations, which are often linked to the government’s conduct. When Mr Hun Sen mounted a putsch against his coalition partners in the 1990s, Western donors suspended aid. China boosted it. Westerners may threaten to cut funding again if, as is likely, the government rigs elections next year (this week Mr Hun Sen again sued Sam Rainsy, the exiled leader of the main opposition party, for defamation, one of many steps seemingly intended to neuter his opponents). Chinese money will make it much easier for Mr Hun Sen to shrug off Western protests.

As for China, it gets a proxy within the ten-country Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Cambodia has repeatedly blocked ASEAN from making statements that criticise China’s expansive territorial claims in the South China Sea, even though they conflict with those of several other ASEAN members. Last year, less than a week after Cambodia endorsed China’s stance that competing maritime claims should be solved bilaterally, China gave Cambodia an aid package worth around $600m. (Mr Hun Sen insists the two were not related.)

It will be interesting to see if Trump’s new foreign policy is more like China’s than not.

China Takes U.S. Drone

Some might call that a “provocation.”

(CNN)The Pentagon is demanding that China return an “unlawfully seized” underwater drone after a Chinese warship took the device from waters near a US oceanographic vessel.

“We call upon China to return our UUV immediately, and to comply with all of its obligations under international law,” Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said in a statement, using the abbreviation for “unmanned underwater vehicle.”
In the latest encounter in international waters in the South China Sea region, the USNS Bowditch was sailing about 100 miles off the port at Subic Bay when the incident occurred, according to the official.

Trump Questions One China Policy

Huh.

President-elect Donald Trump has questioned whether the US should continue its “One China” policy.

US policy since 1979 has respected China’s stance on Taiwan, which it sees as a breakaway province.

But Mr Trump said that without concessions from Beijing on trade and other issues, he did not see why that should continue.

Relations with China became strained when Mr Trump took a phone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

Mr Trump went on to post a series of tweets criticising China for its exchange rate policy and its operations in the South China Sea.

Speaking in an interview with Fox News broadcast on Sunday, Mr Trump said: “I don’t know why we have to be bound by a One China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade.”

What’s interesting is that Trump was making these remarks a few days after meeting with former SOS Henry Kissinger. Kissinger was key to opening up China in the 70’s and has been a staple in advising incoming presidents since the 80s. He is also a proponent of the One China policy under the belief that the more the Western world can integrate China into international norms, the more it will dilute its communism. History would suggest that the One China policy has been largely successful – even if it came at the expense of Taiwan. (BTW, I highly recommend reading Kissinger’s “On China.” It’s a good read.)

But Trump’s statement suggest that he believes that the Once China policy has run its course and that China’s increasing economic and military belligerence over the past few years invites a more adversarial relationship. He might be right. China’s interests in the West, like owning American debt, property, trading interests, etc., make a firmer stance more effective. After all, in 1979, China was almost completely isolated and could flip off the West with few internal consequences. Now, there are powerful people in China who would lose billions should their government sever relationships with the West.

Of course, that assumes that Trump has thought this through at all.

China’s Tarmac Diplomacy

Did you know that our government had such a thing as a “Twitter operative?”

However, a Twitter operative of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) – a secretive spy unit within the defence department that advises on intentions and capabilities of foreign nations and entities – appears to have made things worse, the Wall St Journal reported.

The “Classy as always China” tweet linked through to a New York Times article on the protocol incident, it said.

The DIA felt compelled to issue a speedy apology, saying the posting did “not represent the views of the DIA. We apologize.”

Here’s what it was about:

When President Barack Obama arrived in Hangzhou there was no red carpet and he had to leave by a different plane exit.

There was also a row on the tarmac when a Chinese official shouted “This is our country!” as reporters and US officials tried to bypass a cordon.

[…]

More tensions between the two sides broke out at the West Lake State House, where Mr Obama met President Xi Jinping.

White House aides, protocol officers and Secret Service agents became embroiled in a row with Chinese officials as to how many Americans should be allowed into the building before Mr Obama’s arrival. At one point there were fears the confrontation could become physical, the New York Times reported.

The Chinese have done stuff like this since the emperors elaborately staged diplomatic visits right on to Mao’s legendary use of time and space to manipulate visits from foreign dignitaries. They do it to influence and control the visits themselves as well as for use in internal propaganda. And here they have done it again at the expense of our President. Don’t think for a minute that this wasn’t an intentional slight on the part of the Chinese government.

Unfortunately, Obama has brought this upon himself. His willingness to endure any slight from a foreign government – particularly one hostile to America –  in the name of “diplomacy” invites such treatment. But that doesn’t make it any less infuriating. As an American, it angers me to see my president treated this way. I wish he had just sat in his office on Air Force One until the Chinese treated him as a President of the United States should be treated.

China Launching 2nd Strike Force

These are the same Cold War calculations that the U.S. and Soviet Union were making in the 1950’s and 60’s, but they are just as relevant today.

Mounting concern within the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) over the vulnerability of its land-based nuclear deterrent and the ability to deliver a retaliatory second strike has prompted China to place some of its nuclear warheads on board submarines.

Two years ago, China deployed the Jin-class ballistic missile submarine for the first time, each armed with 12 JL-2 nuclear missiles.

Operating from a state-of-the-art base near Sanya, on Hainan island’s southernmost tip, Jin class submarines are now patrolling the depths of the South China Sea. But in order to be within range of the US, they must be able to break out into the Pacific Ocean.

Before the submarines achieve this, they must leave their base in Hainan and cross the South China Sea to reach the Pacific Ocean undetected. The Pentagon believes that the first such Pacific patrol will occur this year.

Chinese Continue to Provocate

And we make excuses for them.

A U.S. spy plane conducting a routine patrol over international waters in the East China Sea on Tuesday was intercepted by two Chinese fighter jets.

U.S. military officials in the Pacific told Reuters that one of the Chinese planes came within “an unsafe excessive rate of closure” to the U.S. aircraft, but blamed the incident on “improper airmanship, as no other provocative or unsafe maneuvers occurred.”

The altercation underscores the geopolitical power struggle in maritime Asia between the U.S. and China. Beijing has claimed most of the contested reefs, rocks and islets of the South China Sea as its own territory. But Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have competing claims to various parts of the region.

Beijing responded to the incident by accusing Washington of “deliberately hyping up the issue of the close surveillance of China by U.S. military aircraft,” according to a statement quoted by Reuters.