Prepare for combat, China’s Hu urges navy!

Chinese President Hu Jintao Tuesday urged the navy to prepare for military combat amid growing regional tensions over maritime disputes and a US campaign to assert itself as a Pacific power.

The navy should “accelerate its transformation and modernisation in a sturdy way, and make extended preparations for military combat in order to make greater contributions to safeguard national security,” he said.

Addressing the powerful Central Military Commission, Hu said: “Our work must closely encircle the main theme of national defence and military building.”

His remarks, which were posted on a statement on a government website, come amid growing US and regional concerns over China’s naval ambitions, particularly in the South China Sea.

Chinese President Hu Jintao on Tuesday urged the navy to prepare for military combat, amid growing regional tensions over maritime disputes and a US campaign to assert itself as a Pacific power.

The navy should “accelerate its transformation and modernisation in a sturdy way, and make extended preparations for military combat in order to make greater contributions to safeguard national security,” he said.

Addressing the powerful Central Military Commission, Hu said: “Our work must closely encircle the main theme of national defence and military building.”

His comments, which were posted in a statement on a government website, come as the United States and Beijing’s neighbours have expressed concerns over its naval ambitions, particularly in the South China Sea.

Several Asian nations have competing claims over parts of the South China Sea, believed to encompass huge oil and gas reserves, while China claims it all. One-third of global seaborne trade passes through the region.

Vietnam and the Philippines have accused Chinese forces of increasing aggression there.

In a translation of Hu’s comments, the official Xinhua news agency quoted the president as saying China’s navy should “make extended preparations for warfare.”

The Pentagon however downplayed Hu’s speech, saying that Beijing had the right to develop its military, although it should do so transparently.

“They have a right to develop military capabilities and to plan, just as we do,” said Pentagon spokesman George Little, but he added, “We have repeatedly called for transparency from the Chinese and that’s part of the relationship we’re continuing to build with the Chinese military.”

“Nobody’s looking for a scrap here,” insisted another spokesman, Admiral John Kirby. “Certainly we wouldn’t begrudge any other nation the opportunity, the right to develop naval forces to be ready.

“Our naval forces are ready and they’ll stay ready.”

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said: “We want to see stronger military-to-military ties with China and we want to see greater transparency. That helps answer questions we might have about Chinese intentions.”

Hu’s announcement comes in the wake of trips to Asia by several senior US officials, including President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

US undersecretary of defence Michelle Flournoy is due to meet in Beijing with her Chinese counterparts on Wednesday for military-to-military talks.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao last month warned against interference by “external forces” in regional territorial disputes including those in the South China Sea.

And China said late last month it would conduct naval exercises in the Pacific Ocean, after Obama, who has dubbed himself America’s first Pacific president, said the US would deploy up to 2,500 Marines to Australia.

China’s People’s Liberation Army, the largest military in the world, is primarily a land force, but its navy is playing an increasingly important role as Beijing grows more assertive about its territorial claims.

Earlier this year, the Pentagon warned that Beijing was increasingly focused on its naval power and had invested in high-tech weaponry that would extend its reach in the Pacific and beyond.

China’s first aircraft carrier began its second sea trial last week after undergoing refurbishments and testing, the government said.

The 300-metre (990-foot) ship, a refitted former Soviet carrier, underwent five days of trials in August that sparked international concern about China’s widening naval reach.

Beijing only confirmed this year that it was revamping the old Soviet ship and has repeatedly insisted that the carrier poses no threat to its neighbours and will be used mainly for training and research purposes.

But the August sea trials were met with concern from regional powers including Japan and the United States, which called on Beijing to explain why it needs an aircraft carrier.

China, which publicly announced around 50 separate naval exercises in the seas off its coast over the past two years — usually after the event — says its military is only focused on defending the country’s territory.


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Why Boston Power Went to China?

Christina Lampe-Onnerud Boston Power


Christina Lampe-Onnerud, founder of the battery startup, discusses the advantages of moving the company’s manufacturing and research to China.

Audio »

While it’s normal for established technology companies to turn to low-cost Asian manufacturing, lately even very young companies have been heading east.

A prominent example is Boston Power, a startup based in Westborough, Massachusetts, that’s developing longer-lasting, higher-capacity lithium-ion batteries.

The company has won widespread recognition for its technology, and lists HP and Mercedes-Benz among its early customers. But in 2009, it failed to get a $100 million grant it had applied for as part of the U.S. Recovery Act, and in late 2011, the Chinese government stepped in with a package of $125 million in venture capital, low interest loans, and grants.

Now Boston Power is building a factory in China that can make enough batteries for 20,000 electric cars. It’s also building a new R&D and engineering facility there.

Boston Power’s founder, Christina Lampe-Onnerud, says money was only a part of China’s draw. Recently she talked to Technology Review senior editor Kevin Bullis about the other attractions China has to offer, the impact the move could have on U.S. innovation, and what it takes for a newcomer to take on big battery manufacturers.

TR: What makes China attractive to young technology companies?

Lampe-Onnerud: It’s not like China is all good and the U.S. is all bad. It’s not that simple. We love being based in the United States for the innovation culture. Boston is a phenomenal community where there’s a lot of support and infrastructure for innovators and entrepreneurs. What China has given us is scale and recognition, very, very high up in the bureaucracy.

The premier of China invited me to meet with him. In the United States, well, I understand that I cannot speak to President Obama, but could I speak to someone in the administration? It would be good for me to know at least what my country wants to do. I could not get through. We would love to do manufacturing in the U.S., but if China is more eager and more hungry, that’s where we will go.

Although you’re based in the U.S., you’ve long had connections to Asia. What was the attraction in the beginning?

When we set up the company, we went immediately to China to do prototypes. In the U.S., the idea was, you could run pilot trials, but pay $1 million up front. And I’m like, “I’m not going to pay you a million dollars. I don’t even know if it works.”

In China, I was able to make our prototypes in production facilities. I paid for the materials and we were able to do small runs. I was there donating time to the team at the factory, sharing my insights from 15 years in the battery industry, so it was more like a trade. We had working prototypes two months into the journey, and I paid for it out of my Bank of America savings account—$5,000 or $6,000 per run.

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How To Handle Rejection

J. Maureen Henderson J. Maureen Henderson
, Contributor

English: Logo of the band Rejected Español: Lo...Image via Wikipedia

Passed over for a job. Disqualified for a bank loan. Turned down for a date. Rejection happens to the best of us on occasion. Yes, even those of us who are pitching pros sometimes get red-carded, as evidenced by the two “thanks, but no thanks” responses I got to queries I sent out last week.

But rejection isn’t the end of the world. In fact, there are ways to evaluate the experience of being frozen out for a few key lessons that will put the ego undermining in perspective and help you cope with the next time someone opts not to buy what you’re selling:

Decide if it’s you or them 

Most people fall into the two camps – they internalize rejection as a function of their personal shortcomings or inadequacies or they assume that they’re doing everything right and it’s the rest of the world that has a problem. The reality is never so binary. Sometimes, it’s you. Sometimes, it’s them. Sometimes, it’s Mercury in retrograde. The trick is to figure out whether your natural tendency is to internalize or project and to keep this knowledge in the forefront of your mind when coping with a rejection. Acknowledge your instinct, but then take a step back to interrogate the situation as objectively as possible.

 Realize that what you want to sell might not be what someone else wants to buy 

I like to write what I want to write and how I want to write it. I am not Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. People do not pay me for what I decide to give them. They pay me for what they want me to produce. If I want to be paid for my prose, it’s my job to understand what that is and to give it to them or to find other clients who will pay for exactly what I want to produce and never hold me to any standards (Ha!). We all have to figure out where our individual boundaries are in this regard and negotiate the trade-off between personal integrity and public acceptance. Tailoring your resume for a job outside your field is one thing, pretending to like country music or cats to impress a date is another. Rejection allows us to revisit this issue to decide whether we need to increase our flexibility and get better at reading our desired audience or whether we’ve reached the limits of how and what we’re willing to compromise and repackage and maybe it’s time to cut our losses and move on. Speaking of which…

Know when to cut your losses 

Just how much effort are you willing to expend on a given endeavor? Deciding that in advance helps you to put rejection in perspective and prevents you from continuing to bet on a losing horse. Maybe it’s 25 casting calls before you re-evaluate moving back to Omaha, or five interviews that don’t net job offers before you hire a career coach, or 10 rejection letters from agents before you take a long hard look at the merits of your Great American Novel. If you’re currently at three rejections, you know that you still have some leeway left, but there’s also a relief in being at #9 and knowing that it will soon be time to switch focus and try a different tactic.

Mine the experience 

As a writer, it makes perfect sense that after being rejected, I’d write a piece about how to deal with rejection. That’s my process. Not everyone is a wordsmith (Thank God, I don’t need any more competition), but everyone can find a nugget of useful intel in each rejection if they’re willing to stop licking their wounds long enough to seek it out. Maybe a string of dates that go nowhere forces you to reconsider your readiness for a relationship. Maybe your lack of enthusiasm in job interviews is a red flag that you’re pursuing ill-suited opportunities. Dig deep and apply the insight you glean to making your next kick at the can a more accurate one.

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