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Posts Tagged ‘Beijing’

Ancient shipwrecks unearthed in China

Posted by Admin on May 30, 2012

http://in.news.yahoo.com/ancient-shipwrecks-unearthed-china-120039966.html

By Indo Asian News Service | IANS India Private Limited – 9 hours ago

Beijing, May 29 (IANS) Archaeologists in China have unearthed two shipwrecks under an artificial waterway that remained buried forcenturies.

Over 600 artifacts have also been recovered from the site in Tianjin, the Tianjin Cultural Heritage Protection Centre said.

The wrecks, which date back to Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), first came to light in April, after workers dredged a section of the Grand Canal, said Mei Pengyun, centre director.

The 1,776 km-long Grand Canal passes through several provinces in northern and eastern China. The oldest sections of the canal were built 2,500 years ago, People’s Daily reported Tuesday.

The discovery will provide insights into construction of ships inancient China, archaeologists said.

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Beijing releases pollution data; US figures higher

Posted by Admin on January 24, 2012

http://news.yahoo.com/beijing-releases-pollution-data-us-figures-higher-021659057.html;_ylt=AlKJPQohYJ29ASKTCs8_U1Ws0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTQ3N29ramJpBG1pdANTZWN0aW9uTGlzdCBGUCBTY2llbmNlBHBrZwNhMmNiYTI2Ni1mOGEwLTNkNTAtOGU4Zi03ZDVjZGM3NGY4NzEEcG9zAzMEc2VjA01lZGlhU2VjdGlvbkxpc3QEdmVyA2E2MjQ0MDUwLTQ1ZTAtMTFlMS05ZWZlLTI2OTYwZjY4OWU2NQ–;_ylg=X3oDMTFvdnRqYzJoBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25zBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3

By LOUISE WATT | Associated Press – Sat, Jan 21, 2012

BEIJING (AP) — Caving to public pressure, Beijing environmental authorities started releasing more detailed air quality data Saturday that may better reflect how bad the Chinese capital‘s air pollutionis. But one expert says measurements from the first day were low compared with data U.S. officials have been collecting for years.

The initial measurements were low on a day where you could see blue sky. After a week of smothering smog, the skies over the city were being cleared by a north wind.

The readings of PM2.5 — particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers in size or about 1/30th the average width of a human hair — were being posted on Beijing’s environmental monitoring center’s website. Such small particulates can penetrate deep into the lungs, so measuring them is considered a more accurate reflection of air quality than other methods.

It is the first time Beijing has publicly revealed PM2.5 data and follows a clamor of calls by citizens on social networking sites tired of breathing in gray and yellow air. The U.S. Embassy measures PM2.5 from a device on its rooftop and releases the results, and some residents have even tested the air around their neighborhoods and posted the results online.

Beijing is releasing hourly readings of PM2.5 that are taken from one monitoring site about 4 miles (7 kilometers) west of Tiananmen Square, the monitoring center’s website said Saturday. It said the data was for research purposes and the public should only use it as a reference.

The reading at noon Saturday was 0.015 milligrams per cubic meter, which would be classed as “good” for a 24-hour exposure at that level, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards. The U.S. Embassy reading taken from its site on the eastern edge of downtown Beijing said its noon reading was “moderate.” Its readings are posted on Twitter.

Steven Andrews, an environmental consultant who has studied Beijing’s pollution data since 2006, said he was “already a bit suspicious” of Beijing’s PM2.5 data. Within the 24-hour period to noon Saturday, Beijing reported seven hourly figures “at the very low level” of 0.003 milligrams per cubic meter.

“In all of 2010 and 2011, the U.S. Embassy reported values at or below that level only 18 times out of over 15,000 hourly values or about 0.1 percent of the time,” said Andrews. “PM2.5 concentrations vary by area so a direct comparison between sites isn’t possible, but the numbers being reported during some hours seem surpisingly low.”

The Beijing center had promised to release PM2.5 data by the start of the Chinese Lunar New Year on Monday. It has six sites that can test for PM2.5 and 27 that can test for the larger, coarser PM10 particles that are considered less hazardous. The center is expected to buy equipment and build more monitoring sites to enable PM2.5 testing.

Beijing wasn’t expected to include PM2.5 in its daily roundups of the air quality anytime soon. Those disclosures, for example “light” or “serious,” are based on the amount of PM10, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide in the air.

Beijing interprets air quality using less stringent standards than the U.S. Embassy, so often when the government says pollution is “light,” the embassy terms it “hazardous.”

“There has been tremendous amounts of attention in the Chinese media — whichever newspaper you pick up, whichever radio station you listen to, channel you watch — they are all talking about PM2.5 and how levels are so high,” said Andrews.

“What has been so powerful is that people are skeptical, and I think rightly skeptical,” about the government’s descriptions of data, he said.

___

Online:

Beijing center’s readings (in Chinese): http://zx.bjmemc.com.cn/

The U.S. Embassy’s Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/beijingair

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Obama Raises the Military Stakes: Confrontation on the Borders with China and Russia

Posted by Admin on December 20, 2011

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=28144

by Prof. James Petras

Global Research, December 10, 2011

Introduction

After suffering major military and political defeats in bloody ground wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, failing to buttress long-standing clients in Yemen, Egypt and Tunisia and witnessing the disintegration of puppet regimes in Somalia and South Sudan, the Obama regime has learned nothing: Instead he has turned toward greater military confrontation with global powers, namely Russia and China. Obama has adopted a provocative offensive military strategy right on the frontiers of both China and Russia .

After going from defeat to defeat on the periphery of world power and not satisfied with running treasury-busting deficits in pursuit of empire building against economically weak countries, Obama has embraced a policy of encirclement and provocations against China, the world’s second largest economy and the US’s most important creditor, and Russia, the European Union’s principle oil and gas provider and the world’s second most powerful nuclear weapons power.

This paper addresses the Obama regime’s highly irrational and world-threatening escalation of imperial militarism. We examine the global military, economic and domestic political context that gives rise to these policies. We then examine the multiple points of conflict and intervention in which Washington is engaged, from Pakistan , Iran , Libya , Venezuela , Cuba and beyond. We will then analyze the rationale for military escalation against Russia and China as part of a new offensive moving beyond the Arab world ( Syria , Libya ) and in the face of the declining economic position of the EU and the US in the global economy. We will then outline the strategies of a declining empire, nurtured on perpetual wars, facing global economic decline, domestic discredit and a working population reeling from the long-term, large-scale dismantling of its basic social programs.

The Turn from Militarism in the Periphery to Global Military Confrontation

November 2011 is a moment of great historical import: Obama declared two major policy positions, both having tremendous strategic consequences affecting competing world powers.

Obama pronounced a policy of military encirclement of China based on stationing a maritime and aerial armada facing the Chinese coast – an overt policy designed to weaken and disrupt China ’s access to raw materials and commercial and financial ties in Asia . Obama’s declaration that Asia is the priority region for US military expansion, base-building and economic alliances was directed against China , challenging Beijing in its own backyard. Obama’s iron fist policy statement, addressed to the Australian Parliament, was crystal clear in defining US imperial goals.

“Our enduring interests in the region [Asia Pacific] demands our enduring presence in this region … The United States is a Pacific power and we are here to stay … As we end today’s wars [i.e. the defeats and retreats from Iraq and Afghanistan]… I have directed my national security team to make our presence and missions in the Asia Pacific a top priority … As a result, reduction in US defense spending will not … come at the expense of the Asia Pacific” (CNN.com, Nov. 16, 2011).

The precise nature of what Obama called our “presence and mission” was underlined by the new military agreement with Australia to dispatch warships, warplanes and 2500 marines to the northern most city of Australia ( Darwin ) directed at China . Secretary of State Clinton has spent the better part of 2011 making highly provocative overtures to Asian countries that have maritime border conflicts with China . Clinton has forcibly injected the US into these disputes, encouraging and exacerbating the demands of Vietnam , Philippines , and Brunei in the South China Sea . Even more seriously, Washington is bolstering its military ties and sales with Japan , Taiwan , Singapore and South Korea , as well as increasing the presence of battleships, nuclear submarines and over flights of war planes along China ’s coastal waters. In line with the policy of military encirclement and provocation, the Obama-Clinton regime is promoting Asian multi-lateral trade agreements that exclude China and privilege US multi-national corporations, bankers and exporters, dubbed the “Trans-Pacific Partnership”. It currently includes mostly smaller countries, but Obama has hopes of enticing Japan and Canada to join …

Obama’s presence at the APEC meeting of East Asian leader and his visit to Indonesia in November 2011 all revolve around efforts to secure US hegemony. Obama-Clinton hope to counter the relative decline of US economic links in the face of the geometrical growth of trade and investment ties between East Asia and China .

A most recent example of Obama-Clinton’s delusional, but destructive, efforts to deliberately disrupt China ’s economic ties in Asia, is taking place in Myanmar ( Burma ). Clinton ’s December 2011 visit to Myanmar was preceded by a decision by the Thein Sein regime to suspend a China Power Investment-funded dam project in the north of the country. According to official confidential documents released by WilkiLeaks the “Burmese NGO’s, which organized and led the campaign against the dam, were heavily funded by the US government”(Financial Times, Dec. 2, 2011, p. 2). This and other provocative activity and Clinton ’s speeches condemning Chinese “tied aid” pale in comparison with the long-term, large-scale interests which link Myanmar with China . China is Myanmar ’s biggest trading partner and investor, including six other dam projects. Chinese companies are building new highways and rail lines across the country, opening southwestern China up for Burmese products and China is constructing oil pipelines and ports. There is a powerful dynamic of mutual economic interests that will not be disturbed by one dispute (FT, December 2, 2011, p.2). Clinton’s critique of China’s billion-dollar investments in Myanmar’s infrastructure is one of the most bizarre in world history, coming in the aftermath of Washington’s brutal eight-year military presence in Iraq which destroyed $500 billion dollars of Iraqi infrastructure, according to Baghdad official estimates. Only a delusional administration could imagine that rhetorical flourishes, a three day visit and the bankrolling of an NGO is an adequate counter-weight to deep economic ties linking Myanmar to China . The same delusional posture underlies the entire repertoire of policies informing the Obama regime’s efforts to displace China ’s predominant role in Asia .

While any one policy adopted by the Obama regime does not, in itself, present an immediate threat to peace, the cumulative impact of all these policy pronouncements and the projections of military power add up to an all out comprehensive effort to isolate, intimidate and degrade China’s rise as a regional and global power. Military encirclement and alliances, exclusion of China in proposed regional economic associations, partisan intervention in regional maritime disputes and positioning technologically advanced warplanes, are all aimed to undermine China ’s competitiveness and to compensate for US economic inferiority via closed political and economic networks.

Clearly White House military and economic moves and US Congressional anti-China demagogy are aimed at weakening China ’s trading position and forcing its business-minded leaders into privileging US banking and business interests over and above their own enterprises. Pushed to its limits, Obama’s prioritizing a big military push could lead to a catastrophic rupture in US-Chinese economic relations. This would result in dire consequences, especially but not exclusively, on the US economy and particularly its financial system. China holds over $1.5 trillion dollars in US debt, mainly Treasury Notes, and each year purchases from $200 to $300 billion in new issues, a vital source in financing the US deficit. If Obama provokes a serious threat to China ’s security interests and Beijing is forced to respond, it will not be military but economic retaliation: the sell-off of a few hundred billion dollars in T-notes and the curtailment of new purchases of US debt. The US deficit will skyrocket, its credit ratings will descend to ‘junk’, and the financial system will ‘tremble onto collapse’. Interest rates to attract new buyers of US debt will approach double digits. Chinese exports to the US will suffer and losses will incur due to the devaluation of the T-notes in Chinese hands. China has been diversifying its markets around the world and its huge domestic market could probably absorb most of what China loses abroad in the course of a pull-back from the US market.

While Obama strays across the Pacific to announce his military threats to China and strives to economically isolate China from the rest of Asia, the US economic presence is fast fading in what used to be its “backyard”: Quoting one Financial Times journalist, “China is the only show [in town] for Latin America” (Financial Times, Nov. 23, 2011, p.6). China has displaced the US and the EU as Latin America’s principle trading partner; Beijing has poured billions in new investments and provides low interest loans.

China’s trade with India , Indonesia , Japan , Pakistan and Vietnam is increasing at a far faster rate than that of the US . The US effort to build an imperial-centered security alliance in Asia is based on fragile economic foundations. Even Australia , the anchor and linchpin of the US military thrust in Asia, is heavily dependent on mineral exports to China . Any military interruption would send the Australian economy into a tailspin.

The US economy is in no condition to replace China as a market for Asian or Australian commodity and manufacturing exports. The Asian countries must be acutely aware that there is no future advantage in tying themselves to a declining, highly militarized, empire. Obama and Clinton deceive themselves if they think they can entice Asia into a long-term alliance. The Asian’s are simply using the Obama regime’s friendly overtures as a ‘tactical device’, a negotiating ploy, to leverage better terms in securing maritime and territorial boundaries with China .

Washington is delusional if it believes that it can convince Asia to break long-term large-scale lucrative economic ties to China in order to join an exclusive economic association with such dubious prospects. Any ‘reorientation’ of Asia, from China to the US , would require more than the presence of an American naval and airborne armada pointed at China . It would require the total restructuring of the Asian countries’ economies, class structure and political and military elite. The most powerful economic entrepreneurial groups in Asia have deep and growing ties with China/Hong Kong, especially among the dynamic transnational Chinese business elites in the region. A turn toward Washington entails a massive counter-revolution, which substitutes colonial ‘traders’ (compradors) for established entrepreneurs. A turn to the US would require a dictatorial elite willing to cut strategic trading and investment linkages, displacing millions of workers and professionals. As much as some US-trained Asian military officers , economists and former Wall Street financiers and billionaires might seek to ‘balance’ a US military presence with Chinese economic power, they must realize that ultimately advantage resides in working out an Asian solution.

The age of Asian “comprador capitalists”, willing to sell out national industry and sovereignty in exchange for privileged access to US markets, is ancient history. Whatever the boundless enthusiasm for conspicuous consumerism and Western lifestyles, which Asia and China’s new rich mindlessly celebrate, whatever the embrace of inequalities and savage capitalist exploitation of labor, there is recognition that the past history of US and European dominance precluded the growth and enrichment of an indigenous bourgeoisie and middle class. The speeches and pronouncements of Obama and Clinton reek of nostalgia for a past of neo-colonial overseers and comprador collaborators – a mindless delusion. Their attempts at political realism, in finally recognizing Asia as the economic pivot of the present world order, takes a bizarre turn in imagining that military posturing and projections of armed force will reduce China to a marginal player in the region.

Obama’s Escalation of Confrontation with Russia

The Obama regime has launched a major frontal military thrust on Russia ’s borders. The US has moved forward missile sites and Air Force bases in Poland, Rumania, Turkey, Spain, Czech Republic and Bulgaria: Patriot PAC-3 anti-aircraft missile complexes in Poland; advanced radar AN/TPY-2 in Turkey; and several missile (SM-3 IA) loaded warships in Spain are among the prominent weapons encircling Russia, most only minutes away from it strategic heartland. Secondly, the Obama regime has mounted an all-out effort to secure and expand US military bases in Central Asia among former Soviet republics. Thirdly, Washington , via NATO, has launched major economic and military operations against Russia ’s major trading partners in North Africa and the Middle East . The NATO war against Libya , which ousted the Gadhafi regime, has paralyzed or nullified multi-billion dollar Russian oil and gas investments, arms sales and substituted a NATO puppet for the former Russia-friendly regime.

The UN-NATO economic sanctions and US-Israeli clandestine terrorist activity aimed at Iran has undermined Russia ’s lucrative billion-dollar nuclear trade and joint oil ventures. NATO, including Turkey , backed by the Gulf monarchical dictatorships, has implemented harsh sanctions and funded terrorist assaults on Syria , Russia ’s last remaining ally in the region and where it has a sole naval facility (Tartus) on the Mediterranean Sea . Russia ’s previous collaboration with NATO in weakening its own economic and security position is a product of the monumental misreading of NATO and especially Obama’s imperial policies. Russian President Medvedev and his Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov mistakenly assumed (like Gorbachev and Yeltsin before them) that backing US-NATO policies against Russia ’s trading partners would result in some sort of “reciprocity”: US dismantling its offensive “missile shield” on its frontiers and support for Russia ’s admission into the World Trade Organization. Medvedev, following his liberal pro-western illusions, fell into line and backed US-Israeli sanctions against Iran , believing the tales of a “nuclear weapons programs”. Then Lavrov fell for the NATO line of “no fly zones to protect Libyan civilian lives” and voted in favor, only to feebly “protest”, much too late, that NATO was “exceeding its mandate” by bombing Libya into the Middle Ages and installing a pro-NATO puppet regime of rogues and fundamentalists. Finally when the US aimed a cleaver at Russia’s heartland by pushing ahead with an all-out effort to install missile launch sites 5 minutes by air from Moscow while organizing mass and armed assaults on Syria, did the Medvedev-Lavrov duet awake from its stupor and oppose UN sanctions. Medvedev threatened to abandon the nuclear missile reduction treaty (START) and to place medium-range missiles with 5 minute launch-time from Berlin , Paris and London .

Medvedev-Lavrov’s policy of consolidation and co-operation based on Obama’s rhetoric of “resetting relations” invited aggressive empire building: Each capitulation led to a further aggression. As a result, Russia is surrounded by missiles on its western frontier; it has suffered losses among its major trading partners in the Middle East and faces US bases in southwest and Central Asia .

Belatedly Russian officials have moved to replace the delusional Medvedev for the realist Putin, as next President. This shift to a political realist has predictably evoked a wave of hostility toward Putin in all the Western media. Obama’s aggressive policy to isolate Russia by undermining independent regimes has, however, not affected Russia ’s status as a nuclear weapons power. It has only heightened tensions in Europe and perhaps ended any future chance of peaceful nuclear weapons reduction or efforts to secure a UN Security Council consensus on issues of peaceful conflict resolution. Washington , under Obama-Clinton, has turned Russia from a pliant client to a major adversary.

Putin looks to deepening and expanding ties with the East, namely China , in the face of threats from the West. The combination of Russian advanced weapons technology and energy resources and Chinese dynamic manufacturing and industrial growth are more than a match for crisis-ridden EU-USA economies wallowing in stagnation.

Obama’s military confrontation toward Russia will greatly prejudice access to Russian raw materials and definitively foreclose any long-term strategic security agreement, which would be useful in lowering the deficit and reviving the US economy.

Between Realism and Delusion: Obama’s Strategic Realignment

Obama’s recognition that the present and future center of political and economic power is moving inexorably to Asia , was a flash of political realism. After a lost decade of pouring hundreds of billions of dollars in military adventures on the margins and periphery of world politics, Washington has finally discovered that is not where the fate of nations, especially Great Powers, will be decided, except in a negative sense – of bleeding resources over lost causes. Obama’s new realism and priorities apparently are now focused on Southeast and Northeast Asia, where dynamic economies flourish, markets are growing at a double digit rate, investors are ploughing tens of billions in productive activity and trade is expanding at three times the rate of the US and the EU.

But Obama’s ‘New Realism’ is blighted by entirely delusional assumptions, which undermine any serious effort to realign US policy.

In the first place Obama’s effort to ‘enter’ into Asia is via a military build-up and not through a sharpening and upgrading of US economic competitiveness. What does the US produce for the Asian countries that will enhance its market share? Apart from arms, airplanes and agriculture, the US has few competitive industries. The US would have to comprehensively re-orient its economy, upgrade skilled labor, and transfer billions from “security” and militarism to applied innovations. But Obama works within the current military-Zionist-financial complex: He knows no other and is incapable of breaking with it.

Secondly, Obama-Clinton operate under the delusion that the US can exclude China or minimize its role in Asia, a policy that is undercut by the huge and growing investment and presence of all the major US multi-national corporations in China , who use it as an export platform to Asia and the rest of the world.

The US military build-up and policy of intimidation will only force China to downgrade its role as creditor financing the US debt, a policy China can pursue because the US market, while still important, is declining, as China expands its presence in its domestic, Asian, Latin American and European markets.

What once appeared to be New Realism is now revealed to be the recycling of Old Delusions: The notion that the US can return to being the supreme Pacific Power it was after World War Two. The US attempts to return to Pacific dominance under Obama-Clinton with a crippled economy, with the overhang of an over-militarized economy, and with major strategic handicaps: Over the past decade the United States foreign policy has been at the beck and call of Israel ’s fifth column (the Israel “lobby”). The entire US political class is devoid of common, practical sense and national purpose. They are immersed in troglodyte debates over “indefinite detentions” and “mass immigrant expulsions”. Worse, all are on the payrolls of private corporations who sell in the US and invest in China .

Why would Obama abjure costly wars in the unprofitable periphery and then promote the same military metaphysics at the dynamic center of the world economic universe? Does Barack Obama and his advisers believe he is the Second Coming of Admiral Commodore Perry, whose 19th century warships and blockades forced Asia open to Western trade? Does he believe that military alliances will be the first stage to a subsequent period of privileged economic entry?

Does Obama believe that his regime can blockade China , as Washington did to Japan in the lead up to World War Two? It’s too late. China is much more central to the world economy, too vital even to the financing of the US debt, too bonded up with the Forbes Five Hundred multi-national corporations. To provoke China , to even fantasize about economic “exclusion” to bring down China , is to pursue policies that will totally disrupt the world economy, first and foremost the US economy!

Conclusion

Obama’s ‘crackpot realism’, his shift from wars in the Muslim world to military confrontation in Asia , has no intrinsic worth and poses extraordinary extrinsic costs. The military methods and economic goals are totally incompatible and beyond the capacity of the US , as it is currently constituted. Washington ’s policies will not ‘weaken’ Russia or China , even less intimidate them. Instead it will encourage both to adopt more adversarial positions, making it less likely that they lend a hand to Obama’s sequential wars on behalf of Israel . Already Russia has sent warships to its Syrian port, refused to support an arms embargo against Syria and Iran and (in retrospect) criticized the NATO war against Libya . China and Russia have far too many strategic ties with the world economy to suffer any great losses from a series of US military outposts and “exclusive” alliances. Russia can aim just as many deadly nuclear missiles at the West as the US can mount from its bases in Eastern Europe .

In other words, Obama’s military escalation will not change the nuclear balance of power, but will bring Russia and China into a closer and deeper alliance. Gone are the days of Kissinger-Nixon’s “divide and conquer” strategy pitting US-Chinese trade agreements against Russian arms. Washington has a totally exaggerated significance of the current maritime spats between China and its neighbors. What unites them in economic terms is far more important in the medium and long-run. China ’s Asian economic ties will erode any tenuous military links to the US .

Obama’s “crackpot realism”, views the world market through military lenses. Military arrogance toward Asia has led to a rupture with Pakistan , its most compliant client regime in South Asia . NATO deliberately slaughtered 24 Pakistani soldiers and thumbed their nose at the Pakistani generals, while China and Russia condemned the attack and gained influence.

In the end, the military and exclusionary posture to China will fail. Washington will overplay its hand and frighten its business-oriented erstwhile Asian partners, who only want to play-off a US military presence to gain tactical economic advantage. They certainly do not want a new US instigated ‘Cold War’ dividing and weakening the dynamic intra-Asian trade and investment. Obama and his minions will quickly learn that Asia ’s current leaders do not have permanent allies – only permanent interests. In the final analysis, China figures prominently in configuring a new Asia-centric world economy. Washington may claim to have a ‘permanent Pacific presence’ but until it demonstrates it can take care of its “basic business at home”, like arranging its own finances and balancing its current account deficits, the US Naval command may end up renting its naval facilities to Asian exporters and shippers, transporting goods for them, and protecting them by pursuing pirates, contrabandists and narco-traffickers.

Come to think about it, Obama might reduce the US trade deficit with Asia by renting out the Seventh Fleet to patrol the Straits, instead of wasting US taxpayer money bullying successful Asian economic powers.

James Petras is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Global Research Articles by James Petras

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China: US currency bill would have repercussions

Posted by Admin on October 9, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/china-us-currency-bill-repercussions-090135830.html

By SCOTT McDONALD – Associated Press | AP – Wed, Oct 5, 2011

BEIJING (AP) — China stepped up its criticism Tuesday of a proposed U.S. law to punish countries with artificially low currencies, saying there would be serious repercussions for the world’s two biggest economies if it is passed.

The criticism comes after U.S. senators voted Monday to open a week of debate on the bill that would allow the government to impose additional duties on products from countries that subsidize exports by undervaluing their currencies.

How worried China is about the proposed law can be seen by the fact that the Foreign Ministry, the Commerce Ministry and central bank all issued statements denouncing it.

But the legislation faces considerable hurdles before it becomes law. The Obama White House, while agreeing that China’s currency, the yuan, is undervalued, has been wary of unilateral sanctions against the Beijing government.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said the Senate move “seriously violated WTO rules and seriously disturbed China-U.S. trade and economic relations.”

Ma said China is reforming how it manages the yuan and that since June 2010 it had increased in value by 7 percent compared to the dollar.

He repeated Chinese comments that the exchange rate is not the cause of America’s big trade deficit with China.

Ma said in a statement that China is the fastest growing export market for the United States and trade is important to both sides.

“The Chinese side appeals to the U.S. side to abandon protectionism and not to politicize trade and economic issues, so as to create a favorable environment for the development of China-U.S. economic and trade ties,” Ma said.

Supporters of the legislation say it would create new jobs and boost the U.S. economy, but China, and some in the United States, say it could trigger a damaging trade war.

The Chinese central bank warned the proposed law would not fix the economic problems in the United States and could cause more serious problems.

If the bill passes, it “cannot resolve insufficient saving, the high trade deficit and the high unemployment rate in the U.S., and it may seriously affect the progress of China’s exchange rate reform and may lead to a trade war, which we do not want to see,” the bank said.

Commerce Ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said China has taken measures to increase U.S. imports and added Beijing hopes “the U.S. side can make positive efforts in substantially relaxing restrictions on exports to China.”

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China urges Libya to protect its investments

Posted by Admin on August 28, 2011

http://in.finance.yahoo.com/news/China-urges-Libya-protect-ians-4025460516.html

Indo Asian News Service, On Wednesday 24 August 2011, 10:29 AM

Beijing, Aug 24 (IANS) China has urged Libya to protect its investments after a Libyan rebel said Chinese oil companies could suffer following the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi.

Wen Zhongliang, deputy head of the ministry of commerce’s trade department, said the information manager at the rebel-run oil firm AGOCO, Abdeljalil Mayouf, had said Russian and Chinese firms could lose out on oil contracts for failing to back the rebellion against Gaddafi.

‘China’s investment in Libya, especially its oil investment, is one aspect of mutual economic cooperation between the two countries, and this cooperation is in the mutual interest of both the people of China and Libya,’ Wen was quoted as saying by the Shanghai Daily.

‘We hope that after a return to stability in Libya, Libya will continue to protect the interests and rights of Chinese investors and we hope to continue investment and economic cooperation with Libya,’ he said.

China last year obtained three percent of its imported crude from Libya. About 150,000 barrels of oil per day – about one tenth of Libya’s crude exports – were shipped to China in 2010.

Yin Gang, an expert on the Arab world at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, said Abdeljalil Mayouf’s warning may not represent the position of an emerging, post-Gaddafi government in Tripoli.

‘This was one individual’s opinion. I can say in four words – They would not dare. They would not dare change any contracts,’ said Yin.

‘Libya is still in a state of chaos and hasn’t formed a government. There are certainly different views among the rebels,’ he said.

The Libyan embassy in Beijing has reportedly switched to the red, black and green flag of the rebel group.

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TV report of China leader’s death fuels political rumor mill

Posted by Admin on July 8, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/tv-report-china-leaders-death-fuels-political-rumor-092510202.html

By Benjamin Lim and Sui-Lee Wee | Reuters – 23 hrs ago

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese state media denied rum ours on Thursday that former president Jiang Zemin had died after a Hong Kong television station said he had, sparking a wave of speculation about a leadership transition due next year.

“Recent reports of some overseas media organizations about Jiang Zemin’s death from illness are pure rumor,” the official Xinhua news agency quoted “authoritative sources” as saying.

Jiang, 84, is in poor health. Three sources with ties to China’s leadership told Reuters that he is in intensive care in Beijing at the No. 301 military hospital after suffering a heart attack.

In the opaque world of Chinese politics, the health of a leader is fodder for rumors about how the balance of power is shifting at the highest levels of the government.

Current President Hu Jintao retires from office from late next year in a sweeping leadership overhaul, and the rumors about Jiang’s health underscore the uncertainties around this.

Hong Kong’s Asia Television interrupted its main newscast on Wednesday evening to announce solemnly that Jiang had died, and followed with a brief profile. It kept up the news for several hours on a ticker and then said it would air a special report on Jiang’s life late in the evening.

It later canceled the report, and withdrew the ticker after failing to get official confirmation.

On Thursday afternoon, the television station issued a statement to apologize to its audience and Jiang’s family.

“Asia Television has taken note of this afternoon’s report from Xinhua and has withdrawn last night’s report about Mr. Jiang Zemin’s death and would like to apologize to our audience and Mr. Jiang Zemin’s family,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, the Shandong News website (www.sdnews.com.cn) in northeast China posted a black banner with white characters, saying “Our Respectable Comrade Jiang Zemin Is Immortal.” The site was no longer accessible on Thursday.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei deflected numerous questions about Jiang at a regular news briefing, saying Xinhua had already made a full explanation and that he had nothing further to add.

Searches on a popular Chinese micro-blogging site with terms ranging from “Jiang Zemin” to the Yangtze River (Jiang’s surname means “river”), are blocked, a sign that China’s censors are concerned about public debate about his health.

Premature reports about the demise of Chinese leaders are hardly new. In the 1990s, Hong Kong and Japanese media reported several times that paramount leader Deng Xiaoping had died.

UNCERTAINTY FOR JIANG ALLIES

Jiang Zemin’s passing — on the surface at least — would likely have limited impact on the direction of China’s politics and economic development.

He retired long ago, handing over the Communist Party’s top job to Hu in 2002 and his other posts over the next two years. Hu and Premier Wen Jiabao have since led the country on a decade-long charge that saw it grow from an economy the size of Britain to one that has surpassed Japan.

But the prospect of Jiang’s passing would add a breeze of uncertainty to a transition that is widely thought to hand power from Hu to a new generation led by Xi Jinping, currently vice president. That would take place at the 18th Communist Party Congress expected sometime in the autumn of 2012.

Xi, anointed as Hu’s heir apparent at the congress in 2007, was considered acceptable to both the Hu and Jiang camps.

But in China, the death of a senior leader can be cause for worry, and even spell disaster, for proteges and allies who are no longer protected.

Hu would no longer have Jiang acting as a counterweight to his influence over the future make up of the next leadership.

“New leaders are selected by old leaders,” Zheng Yongnian, professor of Chinese politics at the National University of Singapore. “He’s one of the important selectorate. After he passes away, other current leaders will become more influential.”

He could also settle scores or take down other rivals with links to Jiang, if necessary.

Past leaders can have considerable clout in China. Deng wielded power as paramount leader despite having given up all his posts except the honorary chairman of the Chinese bridge association.

Jiang consolidated his own grip on power after Deng died in 1997. By the time Jiang retired his last post — as head of the military commission — in 2004, he had already stacked the Politburo with his people.

“Front and back, left and right, up and down. No matter where Hu looks, there is a Jiang man,” said one source at the time the leadership line-up was announced back in 2002.

In Jiang’s case, there are quite a few allies still in place in the leadership who might now have cause for concern, should Hu assert himself.

“If he dies, the situation becomes very delicate,” said one source with ties to leadership circles who requested anonymity given the sensitivity of the subject.

Among the Jiang allies still in senior posts are: Wu Bangguo, parliament chief and the second ranking person in the nine-member Politburo Standing Committee; Jia Qinglin, who heads a parliamentary advisory body and is ranked fourth; and Li Changchun, who oversees propaganda and ideology and is ranked fifth.

How exactly it will play it out, is unclear. With the Party Congress only about 15 months away, Hu’s window to further consolidate his grip on power is considerably shorter than Jiang had as he prepared to step down.

(Writing by Brian Rhoads; Additional reporting by Alison Leung in HONG KONG and Ben Blanchard in BEIJING,; Editing by Don Durfee and John Chalmers)

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China dismisses U.S. call on Tiananmen anniversary

Posted by Admin on June 5, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110604/wl_nm/us_china_tiananmen

People walk past a replica of the Goddess of ...
 People walk past a replica of the Goddess of Democracy as they enter Hong Kong‘s Victoria Park
By Ben Blanchard and James Pomfret 1 hr 33 mins ago

BEIJING/HONG KONG (Reuters) – China dismissed a U.S. call for it to free dissidents and fully account for the victims of the bloody Tiananmen crackdown, on the anniversary of the crushing of the pro-democracy uprising 22 years ago.

The date on which troops shot their way into central Beijing in 1989, killing hundreds, was not publicly marked in mainland China. The democracy protests in Tiananmen Square and elsewhere remain taboo for the ruling Communist Party, especially this year after calls for an Arab-style “jasmine revolution.”

In Hong Kong, tens of thousands lit candles, held jasmine flowers and chanted for a fully democratic China in a night vigil to mark the anniversary and condemn Beijing’s human rights abuses and curbs on freedoms.

The State Department said China must release all those still jailed for their participation in the 1989 protests.

“We ask the Chinese government to provide the fullest possible public accounting of those killed, detained or missing,” deputy spokesman Mark Toner said.

At least five people remain in jail for taking part in the protests.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, in a statement carried by the official Xinhua news agency, said the U.S. comments “groundlessly accused the Chinese government.”

“We urge the U.S. side to abandon its political bias and rectify wrong practices to avoid disturbing China-U.S. relations.”

The president of democratic Taiwan, the island China claims as its own and has never renounced the use of force to recover, said Beijing should follow Taipei’s example and reform politically.

“We urgently hope the mainland Chinese authorities will have the courage to undertake political reforms and promote the development of freedom, democracy, human rights, and rule of law,” President Ma Ying-jeou said in a statement.

On Saturday, Tiananmen Square was packed with tourists as normal, with no obvious signs of extra security.

“I didn’t agree with the method of the protest, making a disturbance on the square,” said a 60-year-old Beijing resident who gave her family name as Chen. “But I think there should be a way for people to express what’s on their mind.”

“VOICE FOR CHINA”

In a Hong Kong park however, some 150,000 people made a plea for Beijing to atone for the June 4 crackdown, an event given added poignancy this year by a heavy clampdown on dissent.

“We want to express that we’ve never given up,” said Andy Wong, who was at the vigil with his wife and two kids. “When there’s a big turnout it shows that we (Hong Kong) still care.”

Hong Kong, a former British colony handed back to China in 1997 with a promise of a high degree of autonomy, has remained a beacon for the overseas Chinese pro-democracy movement.

“Hong Kong is now playing a more important role when the whole of China is silenced,” said Lee Cheuk-yan, a pro-democracy lawmaker and one of the organizers. “We are the voice for China and we’ll spread the message for democracy,”

Dissidents in China, meanwhile, said controls over them had been strengthened.

“I can’t come out today. I’ve been kept at home. But I’ll be fasting for the day, like I do every June 4 anniversary,” said Zhou Duo.

Zhou was one of four activists who negotiated with troops to evacuate Tiananmen Square of student-protesters in 1989, avoiding much bloodshed on the square itself on June 4. He was later jailed for his role in the protests.

“Of course, sooner or later June 4 will be reassessed and rehabilitated. That’s inevitable. History can never be completely erased.”

Zhang Xianling, who lost her son in the Tiananmen protests, said she had been allowed out to visit her son’s grave, but was being followed and was not allowed to go as part of a group with other bereaved parents, as she has done in the past.

“It shows that even after all these years, China is still limiting human rights,” Zhang said.

After the crackdown, the government called the movement a “counter-revolutionary plot,” but has more recently referred to it as a “political disturbance.”

Recent unrest in Inner Mongolia and explosions in two provinces sparked by social grievances have also ruffled authorities as the leadership prepares to hand over power to a new generation at a Party Congress next year.

(Additional reporting by Chris Buckley, Ken Wills and K.J. Kwon in Beijing, Paul Eckert in Washington, James Pomfret, Xavier Ng and Justina Lee in Hong Kong, and Jonathan Standing in Taipei; editing by Robert Birsel and Andrew Roche)

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China knows less about NKorea than thought

Posted by Admin on November 30, 2010

Logo used by Wikileaks

BEIJINGChina knows less about and has less influence over its close ally North Korea than is usually presumed and is likely to eventually accept a reunified peninsula under South Korean rule, according to U.S. diplomatic files leaked to the WikiLeaks website.

The memos — called cables, though they were mostly encrypted e-mails — paint a picture of three countries struggling to understand an isolated, hard-line regime in the face of a dearth of information and indicate American and South Korean diplomats’ reliance on China’s analysis and interpretation.

The release of the documents, which included discussions of contingency plans for the regime’s collapse and speculation about when that might come, follows new tensions in the region. North Korea unleashed a fiery artillery barrage on a South Korean island that killed four people a week ago and has since warned that joint U.S.-South Korean naval drills this week are pushing the peninsula to the “brink of war.”

The shelling comes on the heels of a slew of other provocative acts: An illegal nuclear test and several missile tests, the torpedoing of a SouthKorean warship and, most recently, an announcement that in addition to its plutonium program, it may also be pursuing the uranium path to a nuclear bomb.

The memos give a window into a period prior to the latest tensions, but they paint a picture of three countries struggling to understand isolated and unpredictable North Korea.

In the cables, China sometimes seems unaware of or uncertain about issues ranging from who will succeed North Korean leader Kim Jong Il to the regime’s uranium enrichment plans and its nuclear test, suggesting that the North plays its cards close to its chest even with its most important ally.

Questioned about the enriched uranium program in June last year, Chinese officials said they believed that was program was “only in an initial phase” — a characterization that now appears to have been a gross underestimate.

China is Pyongyang’s closest ally — Beijing fought on the northern side of the Korean War and its aid props up the current regime — and its actions have often served to insulate North Korea from foreign pressure. It has repeatedly opposed harsh economic sanctions and responded to the latest crises by repeating calls for a return to long-stalled, six-nation denuclearization talks that the North has rejected.

But China would appear to have little ability to stop a collapse and less influence over the authorities in Pyongyang than is widely believed, South Korea’s then-vice foreign minister, Chun Yung-woo, is quoted telling American Ambassador Kathleen Stephens in February.

China lacks the will to push Pyongyang to change its behavior, according to Chun, but Beijing will not necessarily oppose the U.S. and South Korea in the case of a North Korean collapse.

China “would be comfortable with a reunified Korea controlled by Seoul and anchored to the US in a ‘benign alliance’ as long as Korea was not hostile towards China,” Chun said.

Economic opportunities in a reunified Korea could further induce Chinese acquiescence, he said.

The diplomatic cables warn, however, that China would not accept the presence of U.S. troops north of the demilitarized zone that currently forms the North-South border.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China would not comment specifically on the cables.

“China consistently supports dialogue between the North and South sides of the Korean peninsula to improve their relations,” Hong said at a regularly scheduled news conference.

In the leaked cable, Chun predicts the government in Pyongyang would last no more than three years following the death of ailing leader Kim Jong Il, who is seeking to transfer power to his youngest son Kim JongUn, a political ingenue in his 20s.

Chun also dismisses the possibility of Chinese military intervention if North Korea descended into chaos.

Despite that, China is preparing to handle any outbreaks of unrest along the border that could follow a collapse of the regime. Chinese officials say they could deal with up to 300,000 refugees, but might have to seal the border to maintain order, the memos say, citing an unidentified representative of an international aid group.

Chinese officials are also quoted using mocking language in reference to North Korea, pointing to tensions between the two neighbors in contrast to official statements underscoring strong historical ties.

Then-Deputy Foreign Minister He Yafei is quoted as telling a U.S. official in April 2009 that Pyongyang was acting like a “spoiled child” by staging a missile test in an attempt to achieve its demand of bilateral talks with Washington.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday that WikiLeaks acted illegally in posting the leaked documents. Officials around the world have said the disclosure jeopardizes national security, diplomats, intelligence assets and relationships between foreign governments.

Five international media organizations, including The New York Times and Britain’s Guardian newspaper, were among those to receive the documents in advance. WikiLeaks is also slowly posting all the material on its own site.

 

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Signs of diplomacy in NKorea crisis

Posted by Admin on November 30, 2010

Coat of Arms of North Korea

Coat of Arms - North Korea

SEOUL, South Korea – A supercarrier sent jets into overcast skies Tuesday in U.S.-South Korean military drills that North Korea warned could spark war, but signs of diplomacy emerged alongside the tensions over last week’s deadly North Korean attack.

The North’s only major ally, China, hosted a top North Korean officialfor talks, and Japan also planned to send an envoy to China. The U.S., South Korea and Japan agreed to talk next week in Washington about the North’s nuclear weapons and its Nov. 23 artillery barrage that killed four South Koreans.

It was unclear if the Beijing visit by North Korea’s Choe Thae Bok, chairman of the North’s Parliament, would lead to any diplomatic solution. China, under pressure to rein in its ally, proposed emergency regional talks earlier this week, but South Korea, the United States and Japan gave a cool response.

Even as diplomats scrambled, leaked U.S. diplomatic cables revealed signs of a rift in the relationship between China and North Korea, a striking contrast from official statements underscoring their strong historical ties.

Documents from the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks showed China’s frustration with the North and speculated that Beijing would accept a future Korean peninsula unified under South Korean rule.

The North, meanwhile, reminded the world it was forging ahead with its nuclear efforts. Pyongyang said Tuesday that it’s operating a modern uranium enrichment plant equipped with thousands of centrifuges. The main Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in an editorial that the North is also building a light-water reactor.

The North first revealed the uranium program in early November to a visiting American scientist. A light-water nuclear power reactor is ostensibly for civilian energy purposes, but it gives the North a reason to enrich uranium. Uranium enrichment would give the North a second way to make nuclear bombs, in addition to its known plutonium-based program.

North Korea has pushed for renewed international talks on receiving much-needed aid in return for commitments to dismantle nuclear programs, and its recent aggression could reflect frustration that those talks remain stalled.

The North unleashed an artillery barrage last week on a South Korean island that hit civilian areas, marking a new level of hostility along the contested maritime border between the Koreas. The attack killed two civilians and two marines.

In a major address Monday, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak pledged a tough response if the North carries out any further attacks.

Kim Keun-sik, a North Korea analyst at South Korea’s Kyungnam University, said sides in the standoff will have competing ideas on how to resolve tension.

“North Korea and China will want to resolve the matter through a dialogue,” he said, “while South Korea and the U.S. will say ‘Why negotiate at this time?’ and think about pressure and punitive measures” on the North.

The Wikileaks documents further complicate the diplomatic picture.

China, the documents show, “would be comfortable with a reunified Korea controlled by Seoul and anchored to the US in a ‘benign alliance’ as long as Korea was not hostile towards China,” then-South Korean vice-foreign minister, Chun Yung-woo, is quoted as telling U.S. ambassador to South Korea Kathleen Stephens in February.

Chun predicted the government in Pyongyang would last no more than three years following the death of ailing leader Kim Jong Il, who is seeking to pass power to son Kim Jong Un, an untested political newcomer in his 20s.

In Seoul, government officials declined to comment on Chun’s reported comments.

During Tuesday’s U.S.-South Korean military drills, a heavy fog engulfed the USS George Washington supercarrier. The carrier’s fog horn boomed out as U.S. aircraft took off and landed in quick succession.

Cmdr. Pete Walczak said the ship’s combat direction center was closely monitoring any signs of ships, aircraft of any other activity and that nothing unusual was detected from North Korea.

“Absolutely nothing,” Walczak said. “A lot of saber-rattling, fist-shaking, but once our presence is here, reality says that it’s really nothing.”

The North’s propaganda machine warned that the drills could trigger a “full-blown war” on the peninsula. “Our republic has a war deterrent that can annihilate any aggressor at once,” the government-run Minju Joson said.

On the streets of the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, North Koreans spoke with pride of their military.

“Those who like fire are bound to be punished with fire,” Kim Yong Jun, a Pyongyang resident, told international broadcaster APTN.

A rally in Seoul, meanwhile, drew several thousand protesters who burned North Korean flags and called for the overthrow of Kim Jong Il. “We’ve had enough,” said Kim Jin-gyu, 64, adding that North Korea deserves punishment. “We should just smash it up.”

Yonhap news agency reported that Choe, the North Korean official, was expected to meet top Chinese communist party officials and discuss last week’s artillery barrage, the North’s nuclear program and the U.S.-South Korean military drills.

China has sought to calm tensions by calling for an emergency meeting among regional powers involved in six-party nuclear disarmament talks — the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Russian and Japan — which have been stalled since last year.

Seoul, however, wants proof of Pyongyang’s commitment to denuclearization as well as a show of regret over the March sinking of a warship.

Japan rejected a new round of aid-for-disarmament talks any time soon, but announced Tuesday that a nuclear envoy would travel to China. Tokyo provided no further details

___

Santana and Kelly Olsen reported from aboard the USS George Washington. AP writers Foster Klug, Kim Kwang-tae and Ian Mader in Seoul, Christopher Bodeen in Beijing, and photographer Jin-man Lee in Yeonpyeong contributed to this report.

 

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