Xi-Trump G20 meeting in line with global expectations, agreed to restart trade talks; Trump meets Kim at Demilitarized Zone


Robot monks in Longquan monastery, Zhen Robotics delivery bots, the AI-powered Baidu Park in Beijing, are examples of how far China has come technologically. Its tech rivalry with America is at the heart of the US-China trade war that has embroiled companies like Huawei.

The agreement reached between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart, Donald Trump, at the 14th G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, is in line with the best expectations of international public opinion. Given the fact that the Sino-US trade talks have run hot and cold in the past, opinions are divided over whether the new round of trade talks will successfully do the job.

The agreement has broken the deadlock between China and the US. However, Beijing and Washington still face the arduous task of implementing the consensus reached between the two presidents while overcoming differences during the negotiations.

During the meeting, Xi and Trump clinched a deal to restart economic and trade consultations between their countries on the basis of equality and mutual respect. The US side also agreed that it will not add new tariffs on imports from China. These deals add new possibilities to end the year-long trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies that has been deadlocked since May.

It is not a big surprise for Xi and Trump to reach such an agreement. The outcome is logical and guided by the principles of trade and economy. It is also in accord with the general expectations of the international community. Such a result is undoubtedly in the interests of both the Chinese and US societies as it frees people in both countries from the fear of an escalating trade war.

None of the business communities or general public in China and the US want a trade war against each other. In the US, the initiator of the trade war, the call to end the dispute is gaining more and more support. To sum up from all perspectives, the result of the meeting complies with the real expectations and desires of both societies.

Nevertheless, China-US trade tensions have not been completely settled. There is no winner in this current dispute. Public opinion in both countries will likely be critical of an “incomplete victory” against the other. It is a situation similar to the ice-breaking movement made by China and the US to solve trade issues last December. The US media has a tradition of thriving on criticism. In that case, some US media are expected to argue that Washington has made too many concessions to China. The Democrats will also take it as an opportunity to mount pressure on the US government. These uncertainties come from the US and are its own internal concerns.

The situation after resuming economic and trade consultations between the two countries is even more critical. It is worth noting that the Trump administration has repeatedly contradicted itself in the past. The complexity of the power structure of the US government, a divergence of opinion within the administration’s team and the need to win the 2020 presidential election are foreseeable reasons for its reneging. Not only has China been on the alert for such changes, but also the international community has learned from the US’ historically ambivalent attitude. It will take a while to see what the Trump administration will do this time.

As for China, it is important to keep a clear mind and strong determination in this situation. As it turns out, China’s perseverance in the fight against the trade bullying policy of the past few months has played an important role in reaching a positive result with the US side at the Osaka summit. China is willing to work with the US to find solutions. However, it’s getting more and more clear that China is not afraid of a trade war and will not be beaten by one. A strong image is essential for China to reach an equal and mutually respectful agreement in discussions with the US.

China is committed to a peaceful development policy. China has not been involved in any war, nor severe conflicts with other countries in the past 30 years. As a result, some people doubted the possibility of China standing firm and staying strong when confronted with strategic challenges. Now, they have a clear answer from China’s performance during this dispute. China is under the strong leadership of the CPC central committee and the Chinese government has the courage to take responsibility and make decisive decisions. Chinese society has actively responded to the government’s call, and the whole nation has shared the ups and downs of a difficult situation. Cohesion has been the collective belief of the Chinese public. External threats will not force their way into Chinese society.

China has no intention of benefiting from defeating other countries. China sincerely hopes that all parties will enjoy a win-win situation through interaction and cooperation. Diplomatic interactions between China and the US over the past few decades have served as a multiplier effect to boost their national interests. A trade war on a large scale is out of the expectations of both the Chinese government and Chinese public. There is no doubt that China is willing to push forward China-US economic and trade cooperation to keep pace with the times and bring the interests of both sides in line with each other. China has no strategic resistance to such cooperation.

However, the duress of unilateralism does nothing to help solve the problems between China and the US but rather it causes severe unrest and damage to both sides and the rest of the world. If China and the US can meet each other halfway and reach consensus on key issues, then the two sides will find a solution to the trade dispute that is acceptable to both countries and beneficial to the world.

After a lot of fine tuning, Chinese society has grown mature enough to deal with any profound changes there might be in the China-US relationship. Chinese people are well-prepared for any possible uncertainty in future trade talks. The path of China’s development will not always be smooth and that is accepted by the Chinese public. Chinese people will not be surprised by any potential turmoil in China-US economic and trade relations, and they know China will handle it accordingly.

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Trump meets Kim Jong Un at Demilitarized Zone 特朗普抵达板门店与金正恩会面

N. Korean glorious welcome for Predident Xi, China…

Calm attitude needed for future China-US trade negotiations

The meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump on sidelines at the G20 summit in Osaka broke the deadlock between the two countries sinceearly May. According to a briefing by the Chinese side, the two sides have agreed to restart trade consultations with the US declaring not to impose new tariffs on Chinese products. Trump said his meeting with Xi was “excellent” and “we’re right back on track.”
 At G20, Xi leads chorus for multilateralism

 US may lift ban on Huawei; industry representatives happy

World must contain capricious US actions

The G20 summit is being held in Osaka, Japan with the most pressing global tasks and anxieties on the table for the group of te world’s largest economies. We are in an era where advancement and problems coexist. Whether the problems can be seriously tackled depends, to a large extent, on the attitudes of the leaders in Osaka.


The G20 Question: Will there be a truce in the trade war?


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Xi Condemns Bullying, Protectionism Ahead of Meeting With Trump at G20 Summit


Asian member states have grown in prominence as China, India and
Indonesia’s economies have boomed over the past two decades. Photo: AFP

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2019-06-28/what-are-the-g-20-leaders-going-to-discuss-at-their-summit-video

The world’s most powerful leaders are gathering in Japan for meetings that may set the direction for the global economy and make the difference between war and peace in geopolitical hotspots.

Key things to watch include any signs of a breakthrough in U.S.-China trade talks, efforts to stem rising tensions between the Trump administration and Iran, and concrete action to lower emissions and reduce plastic pollution in oceans. Major agenda items include President Donald Trump’s meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

China’s President Xi Jinping condemned protectionism and “bullying practices” in a meeting with African leaders ahead of the summit, according to Dai Bing, the foreign ministry’s Director General for African Affairs.

“Any attempt to put one’s own interests first and undermine others’ will not win any popularity,” Xi said, according to Dai.

The comments come a day ahead of Xi’s meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump as the leaders try to resolve their trade war, as well as other major disputes like Huawei and the South China Sea. – Bloomberg

Read more:

US president warns of Plan B on China trade – Business News

Only sincerity can break trade impasse

Whether there is an agreement or not, China will defend its core interests and will focus on doing its own things well. China is well prepared economically and politically

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German leader, 65, sparked renewed fears for her health after bout of uncontrollable shaking on eve of summit in Japan.
China and Japan try to move to ‘next level’ as Xi state visit confirmed

Chinese president meets Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ahead of G20 summit in Osaka, saying he hopes to strengthen ties further.

As G20 host, Japan faces awkward criticism of environmental record
Activists say Japan has fallen behind on reducing plastic consumption and is caving to US pressure to water down language on climate change to achieve a unanimous statement on the issue.
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Asia’s major economies have become increasingly important at the multilateral
forum, which experts say is an opportunity for the likes of China and Japan to step into leadership roles formerly dominated by the West.
Xi calls for another US-North Korea nuclear summit
Kim still committed to goal of denuclearising the Korean peninsula, Xi says.
China welcomes ‘actions that avoid US trade war dispute escalation’
Chinese President Xi Jinping and US counterpart Donald Trump are set to meet in
Osaka, Japan on Saturday, with reports that details of a truce are
being drafted.
G20: eyes on Trump, but Putin’s date with Xi, Modi is one to watch
The Russian leader faces a whirlwind diplomatic task in Osaka. Iran, Syria
and arms control top his agenda with the US president, while Trump’s
stance on trade has pushed India, China and Russia closer
US and China tentatively agree to trade war truce ahead of G20
Fresh tariffs threatened by the United States are expected to be delayed, with the two countries preparing separate statements.
US-China trade war could last ‘longer than a generation’
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Osaka, but rivalry over technology and finance may escalate into other
fields.
US-China trade war deal ‘90 per cent complete’, US Treasury chief says
Steven Mnuchin says this week’s meeting of the leaders of the world’s two biggest economies will be ‘very important’
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Washington hints that access to its spying capabilities could be under threat if
South Korea does not play ball over China’s 5G giant. That leaves Seoul to weigh the demands of its security ally against those of its top trade partner.
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Landslide tragedy caused by slope instability, was a Construction mishap, not landslide!


Earth patch: Workers covering the landslide area with canvas to prevent more soil erosion in Tanjung Bungah.

Construction mishap, not landslide

GEORGETOWN: The incident that claimed four lives at a beach resort in Tanjung Bungah was a construction mishap, said Penang Island City Council (MBPP) mayor Yew Tung Seang (pic)

He said that the slope was unstable due to digging activities as the resort’s owner was building a retaining wall without informing the authorities.

“It’s not a landslide. The incident occurred after the retaining wall collapsed within the resort’s premises.

“We need to be informed of any construction activity and make sure that it is done under the supervision of engineers.

“We are monitoring the situation closely before making a decision on whether to stop the resort’s operations,” he said at a press conference after the launching of the Karpal Singh Digital Hub at SK Sungai Gelugor yesterday.

On Tuesday, four foreign workers were buried alive in a freak accident at the construction site in Tanjung Bungah.

It is learnt that the resort owner recently contracted a Myanmar worker to build a retaining wall after finding that the hill separating the resort and Jalan Batu Ferringhi showed signs of erosion.

The contractor hired three other Myanmar nationals to assist him.

Checks found that the retaining wall, which was supposed to be about 5m wide, had yet to be built but there were other retaining walls beside it.

State local government commit­tee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said mitigation works along the 50m stretch of Jalan Batu Ferringhi would be completed in three to four weeks’ time.

“Although the incident happened on private land, it has affected the federal road where many heavy vehicles pass by every day.

“It is important to stabilise the road to ensure the safety of road users,” he said.

Meanwhile, Citizens Awareness Chant Group adviser Yan Lee called on the MBPP to reveal its standard operating procedures for investigating illegal earthworks done in the state.

“I hope that the council can share with us how many officers or workers are available to check on such earthworks,” he said.

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GEORGE TOWN: Soil movement due to slope instability is said to be the cause of the freak landslide that claimed four lives at a beach resort in Batu Ferringhi, says Penang Public Works Department (PWD) director Shahabuddin Mohd Muhayidin.

He said preliminary investi­gations showed that the slope was unstable as a result of digging by a third party.

“The digging at the slope caused soil movement with a whole lot of earth coming loose.

“Right now, we are taking the necessary steps to stop further soil erosion at the slope.

“After this, we will install sheet piles to stabilise the slope,” he told reporters at a press conference in Komtar yesterday.

Following the landslide, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow had ordered PWD to conduct a thorough study of Jalan Batu Ferringhi to check on conditions of the road and slopes along the 15km stretch.

“If the study finds any of the slopes or roads unsafe, repair works will be carried out following recommendations from the study.

“For now, a 50m-stretch of the road leading to Teluk Bahang has been closed for mitigation work and to ensure the safety of road users.

“The mitigation work is expected to be complete within three to four weeks, and in the meantime, a flagman will be assigned at the road stretch to direct the one-way traffic,” said Chow at the press conference.

He said the state had no information on the status of the Myanmar workers who died in the incident.

“Relevant authorities will need to investigate the landowner and project owner so that appropriate action can be taken.

Chow said they have called on the police and government agencies like the Department of Occupational Safety and Health to investigate the and take action against those responsible.

“From monitoring at the site, we believe the works to build the retaining wall were carried out without professional help.

“It was just action taken by the landowner who wanted to fix a condition on the site. And, due to the way the work was carried out, it caused soil movement and eventually the soil collapsed.”

He said PWD and the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) would continue monitoring the issue.

“In this incident, the landowner should be responsible as he or she is responsible for monitoring the land.

“Although the landowner tried to take the initiative to build the wall, professional help should have been sought to ensure safer and more secure work.”

MBPP mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang said the council would serve notices to the landowner and other parties concerned under Section 70A of the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974.

“MBPP is investigating, and will take appropriate action against the parties involved.

“Although we have a team monitoring illegal construction, the construction work on this particular site was not visible to public view.”

Yew advised landowners to apply for permits before embarking on any construction work in future.

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Experts: Human error could have led to landslide

GEORGE TOWN: A landslide which occurred even when there was no rain to trigger it might have been due to many reasons, including human error, says an expert.

Universiti Sains Malaysia geotechnical engineering professor Prof Dr Fauziah Ahmad said the workers may have dug at the toe of the slope while trying to build a retaining wall.

“During the digging process, pressure might have been released from the top of the wall, which could already have had cracks.

Prof Fauziah said traffic vibrations could also trigger pressure and cracks on the wall.

“Once there are cracks, water will seep through over a period of time, and when it reaches the instability between backfill and the wall, the slope will collapse,” she added.

Prof Fauziah was asked to comment on the incident on Tuesday where four foreign workers were buried alive in a landslide at a construction site in Batu Ferringhi.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Centre of Tropical Geoengineering director Prof Dr Edy Tonnizam Mohamad said the stability of a slope, among others, depends on its soil properties, slope geometry, volume, effect of gravity and also the pore water pressure.

“A slope could fail if one or a combination of factors passed its equilibrium and factor of safety.

“If the geometry of a slope is not properly designed according to geologic, engineering and climatic factors, a slope failure could occur.

“There have been several cases of landslides even when there was no rain,” he said.

Prof Edy added that to prevent such incidents, monitoring and inspection before and during construction is important.

“Professional supervision is also needed at the construction site.

“During construction, the standard operating procedure should be made clear.

“The construction site should be managed properly and safety procedures adhered to,” he said.

‘Owner built walls on his own’

Earth patch: Workers covering the landslide area with canvas to prevent more soil erosion in Tanjung Bungah. — MUSTAFA AHMAD & ANDY LO/The Star
Earth patch: Workers covering the landslide area with canvas to prevent more soil erosion in Tanjung Bungah. — MUSTAFA AHMAD & ANDY LO/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: The owner of a resort along Jalan Batu Ferringhi may have been building walls on his own to prevent soil erosion for some time before a landslide struck, killing four foreign workers.

Penang Works, Utilities and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said there were signs of such efforts but the authori­ties had never been informed.

“It appears to me like he had been doing it on his own, without informing the authorities,” he said.

Attempts to contact the resort owner for comments were futile as of press time.

On Tuesday, four foreign workers were buried alive in a freak landslide at a construction site in Batu Ferringhi at 9.21pm.

George Town OCPD Asst Comm Che Zaimani Che Awang said all four bodies had been recovered.

He added that three of the victims were discovered in a standing position while holding the metal poles for the retention wall while the other was leaning over.

He said the victims did not have any identification papers.

It is learnt that the resort owner had recently contracted a Myanmar worker called Ong to build a retaining wall after finding that the hill separating the resort and Jalan Batu Ferringhi showed signs of erosion.Ong then hired three other Myanmar nationals, to assist him.Checks found that the retaining wall, which was to be about five metres wide, had yet to be built but there were other retaining walls beside it.

The exposed slope has been covered with tarpaulin sheets to prevent further erosion.

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Facebook delves into Cryptocurrency, the Libra coin plan


Cryptocurrency and Facebook logo are seen together in this photo. Photo: IC

Experts raise concerns over privacy and regulation

Facebook unveiled plans Tuesday for a new global cryptocurrency called Libra, pledging to deliver stable virtual money that lives on smartphones and could bring over a billion “unbanked” people into the financial system.

The Libra coin plan, backed by financial and nonprofit partners, represents an ambitious new initiative for the world’s biggest social network with the potential to bring crypto-money out of the shadows and into the mainstream.

Facebook and some two dozen partners released a prototype of Libra as an open source code for developers interested in weaving it into apps, services or businesses ahead of a rollout as global digital money next year.

The nonprofit Libra Association based in Geneva will oversee the blockchain-based coin, maintaining a real-world asset reserve to keep its value stable.

The Libra Association’s Dante Disparte said it could offer online commerce and financial services at minimal cost to more than a billion “unbanked” people – adults without bank accounts or those who use services outside the banking system such as payday loans to make ends meet.

“We believe if you give people access to money and opportunity at the lowest cost, the way the internet itself did in the past with information, you can create a lot more stability than we have had up until now,” Disparte, head of policy and communications, told AFP.

Facebook will be just one voice among many in the association, but is separately building a digital wallet called Calibra.

“We view this as a complement to Facebook’s mission to connect people wherever they are; that includes allowing them to exchange value,” Calibra vice president of operations Tomer Barel told AFP.

“Many people who use Facebook are in countries where there are barriers to banking or credit.”

But the move raised questions about how such a new money would be regulated, with one lawmaker calling for a pause on Libra.

“Given the company’s troubled past, I am requesting that Facebook agree to a moratorium on any movement forward on developing a cryptocurrency until Congress and regulators have the opportunity to examine these issues,” said Maxine Waters, chair of the financial services committee in the US House of Representatives.

Meanwhile French Finance Minister Bruno le Maire said such digital money could never replace sovereign currencies.

“The aspect of sovereignty must stay in the hands of states and not private companies which respond to private interests,” Le Maire told Europe 1 radio.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said Facebook’s new currency would have to withstand scrutiny of its operational resilience and not allow itself to be used for money laundering or terror financing.

ING economists Teunis Brosens and Carlo Cocuzzo said in a research note it was not clear what Libra was or how it might be overseen while US Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat and banking committee member, voiced concerns over Facebook’s checkered record on protecting users’ privacy.

Backed by real cash

Libra Association debuted with 28 members including Mastercard, Visa, Stripe, Kiva, PayPal, Lyft, Uber and Women’s World Banking.

Calibra is being built into Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp with a goal of letting users send Libra as easily as they might fire off a text message.

Libra learned from the many other cryptocurrencies that have preceded it such as bitcoin and is designed to avoid the roller-coaster valuations that have attracted speculation and caused ruin.

Real-world currency will go into a reserve backing the digital money, the value of which will mirror stable currencies such as the US dollar and the euro, according to its creators.

“It is backed by a reserve of assets that ensures utility and low volatility,” Barel said.

The Libra Association will be the only entity able to “mint or burn” the digital currency, maintaining supply in tune with demand and assets in reserve, according to Barel.

“It is not about trusting Facebook, it is effectively trust in the association’s founding organizations that this is independent and democratic,” Disparte said.

New directions

The launch comes with Facebook seeking to move past a series of lapses on privacy and data protection that have tarnished its image and sparked scrutiny from regulators around the world.

Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has promised a new direction for Facebook built around smaller groups, private messaging and payments.

The new Calibra digital wallet promises eventually to give Facebook opportunities to build financial services into its offerings, offer to expand its own commerce and let more small businesses buy ads on the social network.

“We certainly see long-term value for Facebook,” Barel said.

Facebook said it would not make any money through Libra or Calibra, but rather was seeking to “drive adoption and scale” before exploring ways to monetize the new system.

Financial information at Calibra will be kept strictly separate from social data on Facebook and won’t be used to target ads, Calibra vice president of product Kevin Weil told AFP.

Libra will be a regulated currency, subject to local laws in markets regarding fraud, guarding against money laundering and more, Weil said.

‘Watershed’ moment?

According to Facebook and its partners, local currencies and Libra may be swapped at currency exchange houses or other businesses.

And the ubiquity of smartphones means digital wallets for Libra could make banking and credit card services and e-commerce available in places where they don’t now exist.

Analyst and cryptocurrency investor Lou Kerner said Facebook’s move has the potential to open the door for cryptocurrency to a wider public.

“What Facebook is really good at, is making things really simple to use,” Kerner told AFP.

“And that’s what is super exciting for the crypto industry, is somebody comes along who understands user experience and has billions of users that they can roll this out to.”

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Trump US-China Trade War became Tech War


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Tech war exposes urgent need for talent

 

Trade war involves science, tech strength: Huawei founder

Chinese students have increasingly become interested in participating in math contests organized by elite US institutions. Photo: IC

The escalating China-US trade war, which has become a new cold war in technology, has made attracting talent an urgent task.

The recent call by the founder of China’s Huawei to enhance the country’s fundamental education system was echoed across Chinese society, while observers emphasized the importance of science and math.

In a recent interview with China Central Television aired over the weekend, Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei, whose company is now in the middle of the China-US trade battle, reiterated the importance of fundamental education and research instead of spending too much time talking about his company’s future.

The 75-year-old entrepreneur said that he cares about education the most because he cares about the country. “If we don’t attach importance to education, we’ll actually return to poverty,” he remarked.

Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei meets the media in Shenzhen, South China’s Guangdong Province, earlier this month. Photo: Courtesy of Huawei

The country’s development relies on culture, philosophy and education, which are fundamental, Ren said. And the escalating China-US trade war involves strength in science and technology, which comes down to the level of education.

His remarks put the focus on basic education.

Wang Lixin, vice mayor of Shenzhen, a city that is often seen as the new Silicon Valley as it gathers hundreds and thousands of high-tech firms, said at a recent conference that fundamental research is important to not only Shenzhen but the whole country.

“In the 1980s, we often said if you learn math, physics and chemistry well, you will achieve anywhere. Then we had doubts, as working in finance, economy or design would earn you more money. Considering the current situation, it’s time to bring up that slogan again,” Wang was quoted as saying in media reports on Sunday.

As part of broader efforts to strengthen science and technology, Shenzhen, which is now at the forefront of the China-US tech battle, where tech firms such as Huawei and DJI being targeted by the Trump administration are located, has vowed to invest one-third of its science and research funding to fundamental research, to the tune of over 4 billion yuan ($580 million), reports said.

On China’s Twitter-like Weibo, net users praised Ren’s call and considered improving the country’s education system as the most urgent task. “High-tech growth cannot be supported only by a huge amount of money. Only with continuous efforts in fundamental education can the goal be achieved,” a netizen said.

A mother surnamed Song, who lives in western Beijing’s Haidian district, said she has always insisted that fundamental education should not become a heavy burden for children. However, the escalating trade war, especially the Huawei incident, has made it more urgent to enhance the country’s overall STEM education, she believed.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and these academic disciplines are often seen as fundamentals for a country in a race for high-tech supremacy.

“I’m thinking about sending her to an afterschool training course on mathematics this summer,” she told the Global Times on Monday, referring to her 7-year-old daughter, who is now living at an increasingly competitive environment.

Fundamental research

As the world’s two largest economies spar over tech, Chinese industry representatives are considering enhancing fundamental education, including science and math, as a major task, especially after many Chinese parents have been complaining in recent months about the current dogmatic policies of stifling rising talent.

The authorities’ latest move to ease the schoolwork burden on primary and middle school students also weakened science and math education, and the ban on extracurricular coaching for Olympiad-style contests issued in 2018 will seriously affect the cultivation of talented students in STEM, analysts said.

“This one-size-fits-all approach will hurt fundamental education in the country and make our children fall behind their American counterparts in the future, which needs to be corrected,” Mei Xinyu, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times.

The Ministry of Education issued a guideline in December 2018 to ease academic burden in primary and middle schools. The guideline says primary and high schools are forbidden from hosting math Olympiads to recruit students. The move follows a change in policy on stopping the awarding of extra points to students who have won academic Olympiads or science and technology competitions.

But parents also applauded the government’s efforts to ease the children’s burden, while some advocated a happy-elementary-education approach.

Ren said he attaches great importance to fundamental research, and the country should invest more in developing mathematicians, physicists and chemists instead of just pouring money into industries.

The US clampdown on Huawei, as part of the China-US tech battle, will stimulate technological self-reliance while boosting scientific research and innovation, as US sanctions also exposed the country’s high-tech Achilles’ heel due to Huawei’s reliance on American technologies and core components reflecting the overall shortcoming in the sector.

It’s becoming more urgent for Chinese tech companies to attract talent, as the tech war will eventually become a battle for more talent, analysts said.

“Our country has to have an awareness of crisis, and to clearly see the real gap between China and the US in education,” Chu Zhaohui, a research fellow at the National Institute of Education Sciences based in Beijing, told the Global Times on Monday.

For instance, American students have a deeper understanding of natural sciences and mathematics, as they learn by following their own interests, he noted. “How to arouse the interest of Chinese students in science and technology, which will lead to better fundamental research, remains a challenge,” he said.

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The World Will Not Mourn the Decline of U.S. Hegemony In the global political landscape looms a superpower with a military and eco..

The hegemonic anxiety of America First


In the global political landscape looms a superpower with a military and economic might widely believed to remain unrivalled at least for decades to come.

Yet it appears that in recent years the hegemon — the United States, or specifically its national security apparatus — has grown increasingly restless. It sees the irrevocable collective rise of the developing world as a threat and refuses to accept what is natural and inevitable. That bodes trouble for all.

The peerless prowess that underpins the United States’ leading role on the world stage stems from a combination of political, economic, geographical and other factors, including a grand vision that allowed it to work with others to establish the current international system.

Yet that strategic sobriety has noticeably given way to a sense of superiority. Three decades of unipolar hegemony has induced a historically ill-founded but deeply entrenched belief in Washington that the United States is an exceptional country above all others, and international affairs should be managed in either the American way or no way at all. Its past success in nipping every serious challenger to its dominance in the bud has only deepened its complacency.

But now with the unstoppable growth and ascent of developing countries, it appears destined that the U.S.-led West will have to share the stage with “the rest.” Although the nascent shift is merely a logical outcome of history and does not cost Washington any of its legitimate interests, a self-inflicted anxiety is taking hold of what is called the national security state of America.

Hawkish decision-makers and opinion leaders are drowning out reason and morality in the United States and fanning the fear that America is losing what it is entitled to. Upholding the banner of “America First,” the current U.S. government has in a little more than two years shown the world how far it is willing to go in order to “make America great again,” although the United States remains the sole superpower in today’s world.

Global trade is so far a major battlefront. In the eyes of incumbent U.S. policy-makers, the laws of economics and trade are nothing but a hoax, and any country that has a trade surplus with the United States is ripping it off.

They have waged waves of tariff offensives against not only China, but also U.S. allies like the European Union, Japan, South Korea and Canada, slapping heavy levies on imported products ranging from steel and auto parts to toys and bikes, regardless of rising financial burdens on domestic consumers and businesses, and the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Washington’s assault on the rules-based multilateral global trading system is posing a serious threat to future global economic growth. Gita Gopinath, the International Monetary Fund’s chief economist, warned in May that “the latest (tariff) escalation could significantly dent business and financial market sentiment, disrupt global supply chains and jeopardize the projected recovery in global growth in 2019.”

The high-tech realm has also witnessed the United States scrambling to secure its supremacy. However, it is trying to do so not by sharpening its own edges in fair competition, but by employing the state power to drive out competitors.

Its unjustified crackdown on telecom equipment provider Huawei and other Chinese high-tech companies under the excuse of national security is reminiscent of its erstwhile plot against Japan’s once booming semiconductor industry, and widely interpreted as an attempt to sabotage China’s standard-setting capabilities in such key areas as the next generation of mobile communications and ensure China’s permanent inferiority, at least in advanced technology.

In the realm of geopolitics, Washington’s hegemonic anxiety disorder has become even more conspicuous, especially in its policies on the Middle East and Latin America. In recent months, the United States has flirted with going to war against Iran and orchestrating a coup d’etat in Venezuela.

Meanwhile, the current US government is seeking to reap the benefits of being what Martin Wolf, chief economics commentator at the Financial Times, called a “rogue superpower” while refusing to bear its due global responsibility. Its withdrawal from the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal has breached the global efforts to address many of the world’s most pressing challenges.

In the post-Cold War era, the West once believed that the world had entered a period of “Pax Americana,” where the United States would act as a builder of a rules-based international order and a guardian of peace. However, three decades later, Western countries are disappointed to discover that it has become a big bully pushing the world toward “Chaos Americana.”

Given the high stakes, the international community, including the sober minds in America, needs to work together to help Washington make peace with the current historical trend. After all, every nation is part of the planet, every people is entitled to pursue happiness, and every country has the right to developing its economy and technology.

As for Washington, it should, as US political scientist Joseph Nye has suggested, learn the importance of using its power with others, not just over others, in today’s increasingly interdependent world.

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Hegemonic practices of US will finally lead to failure

There’s a proverb in the western world that self-knowledge is the most valuable knowledge. However, some US politicians, who are just not able to have a clear knowledge of themselves and the global situation, are still stubbornly following the outdated hegemonic approach.

With the strategy of “America first”, these US politicians have never cared about the interests of other countries or the common welfare of global citizens.

They started the trade war under the excuse that the US is losing in its trade with China, but keep silent about the huge profits they have gained from the relationship. They make frequent statements that other countries have posed threat on US national security, but turn mute on their globally-reaching intelligence network. They strongly criticize international organizations such as the WTO, but make no mention of the fact that the US is a major founder and the largest beneficiary of the current global governance system.

White House National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro even said bluntly that other countries dare not to take retaliatory measures against the US because of the great power of the latter. Such arrogance revealed what truly lies under the slogan of “Make America great again”.

The bullying and arbitrary practices of the US are supported by the hegemonic logic of the country that US rules apply to the whole world and other countries must compromise to ensure US interests.

From the “economic aggression” theory by US Vice President Mike Pence, to the fallacy made by Navarro that Chinese commodities are mortgaging America’s future, and to the statement of former White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon that exporting of Chinese excess capacity gutted the upper Midwest of the United States, these US politicians take normal economic exchanges as “nails” and wish to hammer them. They are not willing to see the Chinese people live in a well-off society just like Americans do.

Under the banner of “America first”, some US politicians just cannot keep a lid on their impulses and even started attacking their allies. Not long ago, Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel expressed her views on the cracking foundation of the post-World War II order and the deterioration of trans-Atlantic ties. The US is becoming a rival of global countries.

Why the US politicians are still dreaming about the “chosen nation” and “shining city upon a hill”? It’s because they still believe in the old philosophy that might is right, and perceives the world with a “law-of-the-jungle” mentality. Besides, they are taking international relations as a “clash of civilizations”.

This explains why the US government always calls itself a monitor of global orders and a judge of international relations.

With the irreversible trend of today’s multi-polarization, economic globalization, cultural diversification and social informatization, the US is still considering itself a savior of the world and taking the globe as its “backyard garden” where it can act arbitrarily and do everything it wants to. It is even making attempts to stop the building of a community with a shared future with the so-called “America first” policy.

At present, the US hegemony has aroused anger from across the world. Even some US enterprises are making adjustments in reaction to the pressure from the US government. A series of “made-in-America” companies including Harley-Davidson, Inc., have “escaped” from the US, and Exxon Mobil Corporation and Tesla are also building factories in China.

However, the US hegemony is nothing but a wishful thinking. According to American scholar Stephen Roach, the US had merchandise trade deficits with 102 countries in 2018, which reflected the extreme insufficiency of the country’s domestic savings – a situation caused by the rash approvals of budget deficit made by the congress and decision makers.

Some scholars attributed the inequality in the US to its wrong policies, rather than economic globalization. Unfortunately, some US politicians made wrong prescriptions, and called other countries a barrier on the way to “make America great again”.

Blaming the others for its own mistakes, the US will miss the opportunity for self-improvement and hurt the country and people via the diversion of domestic contradictions.

US scholar Robert Kagan argues that America’s decline is being actively willed by unnamed “politicians and policymakers”, and they are “in danger of committing pre-emptive superpower suicide out of a misplaced fear of declining power”.

No country in the world is willing to be manipulated by other countries in human history. Mutual respect, sincere cooperation and win-win benefits should be the principle held by each country when it comes to international relations.

Of course, it’s not easy for the arrogant US politicians to be aware of this. The bright side is that facts don’t lie and speak louder than words.

There is an idiom in China that ultimate power incurs humiliation. Any country that deviates from the path of win-win cooperation and sticks to zero-sum games, disobeys rules for fair competition and pressures others, and goes against the trend of economic globalization and resorts to conservatism will end up losing.

Hegemony will only consume the power of a nation and accelerate the process of its recession. Such cases are just prevalent in history.

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 Xi to hold meetings with world leaders at G20 summit –

Summit could signal end to Pax-Americana: expert

Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold multilateral meetings with leaders of BRICS countries, trilateral talks with leaders of India and Russia as well as meetings with leaders of African countries during the G20 summit in Japan from Thursday to Saturday,
Chinese officials said

 

China to uphold multilateralism, oppose protectionism at G20 Osaka summit

China is ready to work with relevant sides to firmly uphold multilateralism, and oppose unilateralism and protectionism at the upcoming Group of Twenty (G20) summit in Osaka, Japan, said senior officials in Beijing Monday.

Fighting protectionism G20’s top task amid trade war

Amid an impasse between the US and China, the G20 summit in Japan offers a platform where US President Donald Trump will be able to talk with Chinese President Xi Jinping, if all goes well. It is too early to predict the outcome, but the summit has rekindled hopes that the two sides may resume trade talks after negotiations to reach a broad deal left hanging last month.

Fighting protectionism G20’s top task amid trade war

Amid an impasse between the US and China, the G20 summit in Japan offers a platform where US President Donald Trump will be able to talk with Chinese President Xi Jinping, if all goes well. It is too early to predict the outcome, but the summit has rekindled hopes that the two sides may resume trade talks after negotiations to reach a broad deal left hanging last month.

US policies can cause global recession: expert 

The US has increased trade conflict with China, and also Europe. What was the primary reason for Washington to start the trade dispute with them? Will China and Europe further expand cooperation to deal with US unilateral and protectionist behavior?

Pompeo’s role as troublemaker runs counter to diplomacy

Having a secretary of state of this caliber is a tragedy of US politics and the sorrow of international politics. The world needs to be exposed to the damage Pompeo has brought to humankind’s peaceful existence.

Can US force multinationals out of Chinese market?

American people will feel the pain if the world is deprived of China’s huge market.
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US technology sector faces triple threat


Uncertainty over the future of US-China economic relations has derailed the once high-flying global equity market, which rose almost 15 per cent in the January-April period.

Clive McDonnell, head of Equity Strategy at Standard Chartered Bank, looks at the causes behind the decline.

The technology sector, now facing challenges on a number of fronts, is supposedly the main cause behind the decline.

While President Trump’s policies get blamed for a lot of events impacting global equity markets, he is probably less responsible for the upset in the technology sector than many would have you think.

There are three primary challenges facing the US technology sector:

1. The sector’s high overseas revenue share: over 60% of total revenue comes from

abroad.

2. The threat of regulation on accessing and using personal data.

3. Monopoly powers and the risk of an antitrust investigation.

Let’s consider each factor. US economic growth appears resilient in the face of weaker growth prospects in the euro zone and emerging markets.

However, since US technology companies generate more than 60% of their revenue from overseas, they are acutely sensitive to slower growth prospects outside the US. In the past, they have been able to offset slower growth in the euro zone with robust growth in emerging markets led by China.

The next downturn may witness slower growth in both regions, which would leave US technology companies exposed relative to US banks and utilities which have the lowest overseas revenue exposure amongst US companies.

Additionally, there is a risk that China responds in kind to the US President’s targeting of Chinese technology companies. There is also a risk that US dollar strength creates a negative effect on US technology sector earnings once overseas revenue is converted into US dollars.

The threat of regulation on accessing and use of personal data looms large for technology companies, particularly those in the social media space. Europe has been at the forefront of regulating use of personal data via the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

These regulations changed the balance of power between individuals and companies over the use of personal data. The rules give EU citizens more control over their personal data held by companies and the right to have their data removed from databases, the so-called “right to be forgotten” law.

The challenge for US companies is these rules cover their processing of personal data in Europe, regardless of the residential location of the individual generating the data.  

The rules give EU citizens more control over their personal data
held by companies and the right to have their data removed from
databases.

Similar to the long arm of US financial regulators – which impact banks regardless of where they are incorporated once they engage in US dollar transactions – European rules on personal data are impacting US technology companies in ways that are not covered by domestic laws.

The central business challenge for US technology companies, in particular those in the social media sector, is their business models are built on free access to consumer data in exchange for free use of their software, including search, email and productivity tools, such as those available on Google Drive.

If these companies lose unfettered access to personal data, they would likely start charging consumers for use of the same software.

This, in turn, will have a significant impact on their advertising revenues, as the precision they have been able to offer companies targeting customers would decline. No doubt their business models would evolve, but this could be at the cost of lower net margins relative to the near-20% margins they currently enjoy.

Finally, the perceived monopoly power of some of the sector’s leaders and the resultant risk US technology companies face from antitrust investigations is probably the biggest risk to the sector.

The definition of monopoly power in the US, focusing on the short-term price impact on consumers from company actions, has been unchanged for over 40 years.

Specifically, if company actions lead to higher prices, it could be designated as a monopoly (and importantly, the reverse also applies). This is relevant for technology companies as many have helped to lower prices for consumers.

The definition of monopoly power is changing. This is led by Lina Khan, a Legal Fellow at the Federal Trade Commission and an academic Fellow at Columbia Law School.

In a paper, entitled “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox (1)”, she challenged the current interpretation of antitrust law which is designed to curb monopolistic power. She proposed that lower prices were not necessarily good for consumers if prices were used as a tool to choke off competition and eventually restrict consumer choice.

The primary tool available to technology companies to manipulate consumer choices (and some would say restrict competition) is their search algorithm.

Whenever a social media or e-commerce company implements a change to their search algorithm, the ensuing uproar amongst its users and customers is a measure of the importance this tool has to drive sales and choices for consumers.

The search algorithm assumes unique power once a platform becomes dominant in an industry and consumers no longer look at other platforms as they believe that their chosen one offers them all the choice they need.

The risk is: their choices are being determined by companies who pay more to appear higher up the search results than those which pay less, even though the latter companies may offer lower prices.

If regulators’ definition of monopoly power evolves, as Lina Khan suggests, there is a risk of antitrust investigations against US technology sector leaders, with penalties ranging from fines to reversal of prior acquisitions.

The challenges facing the US technology sector have converged at a time when valuations are elevated and earnings growth has weakened.

They are shining a light on their business model, which can undoubtedly evolve, but may require changes that the market is not currently anticipating.

Clive McDonnell is Head of Equity Strategy at Standard Chartered Private Bank.

The views expresssed here are entirely the writer’s own.

 

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US block spurs tech independence drive by Chinese companies

The latest US blacklisting of the Chinese supercomputing companies will not reduce domestic technology companies’ resolve to pursue innovation and research and development (R&D) as they strive to make up for shortcomings in certain segments to pursue further growth despite “irrational assaults” by Washington, industry insiders said.

 

Innovation is a driving force within China’s economy today. Yet behind that innovation, what’s the role of research and development?

 

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