China-Britain bilateral relations in Golden Era

Putting economics first

Despite Britain’s role as the closest US ally, its leaders have surprised the world by surging forward in relations with a rising China.

FOR centuries, relations between Britain and China have been undulating, rising rather more than declining.

In that time, Britain has been more ­anxious to penetrate Chinese markets and forage for what China has to offer than the other way round.

The Queen and Chinese president Xi Jinping are driven by carriage along The Mall to Buckingham Palace Photograph: POOL/Reuters

The super-gala treatment that President Xi Jinping and Mrs Xi received in London ­during the week was not necessary to prove the point, but it helps. There was Xi, royally seated next to the Queen, in the gold-trimmed horse-drawn royal carriage parading through London and shown on television screens around the world.

The visiting presidential couple also lodged at Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s official residence, during their trip. Clearly, this was no ordinary state visit.

The Queen called the visit “a defining moment”, Prime Minister David Cameron called it “a golden era”, and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne called it “a golden decade” for their bilateral relations.

An array of gilded items were spread among the vast gilt-edged dining chairs for Xi and his host, the Lord Mayor of London, at the second banquet after the Queen’s.

Gold, the auspicious colour in Chinese culture, went well with the red of the carpet and the Chinese flag.

And Britain was only too happy to oblige.

This was Xi’s first state visit, coming a full decade after his predecessor’s, Hu Jintao’s. But British leaders had been somewhat more proactive.

Only a few years ago, hiccups in relations occurred after British officials stumbled over such sensitive issues for China as the Dalai Lama. After the ruffles were smoothed over came the slew of mega business deals.

Britain wanted to ensure those deals were on and Xi’s state visit would seal them, so Osborne was dispatched to Beijing last month. To make doubly sure he made a side trip to Xinjiang, the alleged epicentre of China’s human rights violations, to talk trade rather than human rights.

China critics condemned that move. But it paid off for Britain in Xi’s high-powered four-day visit and all that it represented and contained.

On Tuesday, China’s Central Bank issued its first offshore renminbi bond in London. On the same day, Cameron appointed Chinese tycoon Jack Ma to his business advisory group. The next day, deals were signed amounting to £40bil (RM260bil), generating nearly 4,000 jobs in Britain. And this was only the beginning.

Critics tend to underrate the importance of business success for both Britain and China. They are perhaps the most enduring of the world’s major trading nations, Britain historically and China in the past and the future.

Even before becoming “the workshop of the world”, Britain had embarked on a glo­bal empire that would span centuries. It lost its sparkle after the Second World War and decolonisation.

British interest in East Asia had centred on China, particularly trade with China. Even its presence in Borneo – Brunei, Sabah (British North Borneo) and Sarawak – were only as a staging post for trade with China on sailing ships and steamships.

The British phrase “not even for all the tea in China” is a measure of one’s resistance to temptation. And tea was only one of many traded items from China.

With the colonial period, parts of China were tugged and torn by European, Russian, US and Japanese imperial powers. China fought and lost two “opium wars” and suffered unequal relations with Britain.

Then they agreed on the return of Hong Kong to China in 1997. But even decades before that date, the buzz in Britain was what would happen to Hong Kong after the “handover”.

Hong Kong had long been known as the world’s classic capitalist enclave, while in the 1990s the West still regarded China as a communist state.

Hong Kong was in quiet panic, as celebrities and stars worried what would happen to them and their work under communist rule.

Many contemplating migration purchased homes abroad from Vancouver to Kuala Lumpur. Jackie Chan bought a luxury condominium in Damansara Heights.

At the time, an Englishman from off the streets in central England put that crucial question to me: What would happen after China “takes over” Hong Kong? I replied that Hong Kong would instead take over China in many ways that mattered. Soon after 1997, Deng Xiaoping’s credo of “it’s glorious to be rich” was abundantly clear throughout the land, often excessively so.

In time, anxieties over the handover were soothed, and it ceased to be an international issue. After moving to the United States and working in Hollywood, Chan returned to Hong Kong and even began work in China itself. His trajectory has been instructive and symbolic. So his presence as an invited guest at a reception for Xi in London’s Lancaster House on Wednesday evening said it all.

While London and Beijing are only too happy to see their relations on the upswing again, their critics have been at work. They have called Britain’s grand welcome for Xi fawning and embarrassingly servile.

Western criticism comes from two broad angles: the US and Europe. Both are not without their own self-interests.

In the European Union, Germany has been an early and the most extensive investor in China. Then earlier this year, Britain stole a march on all other Western countries by signing up as an early co-founding member of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). After that, other US allies joined in: several EU countries including Germany, as well as Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. The US, which tried hard to stop the trend, had only Japan and Canada as recalcitrant holdouts for company.

Many Western and pro-Western countries are happy enough to do business with China in the lead, in the process helping China grow. This is despite strategic thinkers knowing that the AIIB is also a means for extending China’s reach through Central Asia and Russia to the West.

This takes the form of the infrastructure-­heavy Maritime Silk Road and the One Belt, One Road projects offering connectivity between East Asia and Europe. They possess both economic and strategic advantages.

US critics of Britain’s close partnership with China have something of an identity crisis. They have a long list of complaints against Beijing, yet they cannot stop their own corporations doing increasing business with China.

Worse still, the glittering welcome accorded to President and Mrs Xi in London compares too favourably with the one in Washington just weeks before.

Beyond some formal diplomatic niceties, President Obama reportedly threatened to impose sanctions on China. He also remains committed to the largely military “rebalancing” in China’s backyard, while keeping China at bay with the Trans-Pacific Partnership proposal dividing East Asia.

Whether the British or US approach to working with China is better, and for whom, also depends much on which is more enduring. Britain had presided over a global empire for centuries. China, a global superpower before, has millennia of experience to draw on.

Both countries share the approach of making trade their primary purpose, with any political or military posture being secondary to protect those economic interests.

The US in contrast opts for a forward military posture abroad, with any economic interest secondary by comparison. And despite Pax Americana being only 70 years old, it is already showing signs of wear.

By Bunn Nagara, who is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia – The Star

Open, inclusive partnership exemplary for development

China’s President Xi Jinping and Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron attend a joint press conference in 10 Downing Street, in central London, Britain, Oct 21, 2015.[Photo/Agencies]

President Xi Jinping’s pledge that China and the United Kingdom will build a “global comprehensive strategic partnership” in the 21st century will bring China-UK relations to a new level and endow their ties with a significance that goes beyond the bilateral scope.

In his talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday, Xi described the upgraded China-UK partnership as opening up a golden era for an enduring, inclusive and win-win relationship that will enable the two sides to jointly create an even brighter future for their relationship.

The noticeable improvement in China-UK ties has been the result of the strong political will from both sides to transcend their differences and shore up mutual respect, reciprocal cooperation and mutual learning.

During Xi’s ongoing visit to the UK, the two sides have signed a number of intergovernmental and business deals worth about 40 billion pounds ($62 billion), including an eye-catching agreement that means China will partly finance a UK nuclear plant.

This nuclear project will be China’s first in the West, and according to Cameron, it will create thousands of jobs in the UK and provide reliable, affordable energy to nearly 6 million homes when operational.

Such fruitful results show China and the UK are substantiating their cooperation with concrete deals. And as Cameron has said, a strong economic relationship can withstand frank disagreements on some other issues.

With the UK pledging to be China’s best partner in the West and China looking to build a golden decade with the UK, the two sides have set a good example in developing ties between a major developing country and a major Western power.

Xi has stressed the open and inclusive nature of the China-UK comprehensive strategic partnership, which means the stronger bond between Beijing and London does not target any existing alliance or partnership the two have forged with other countries.

Under the principle of voluntarism, the partnership can be expanded to include other partners so as to bring benefits to more countries.

The quick reconciliation and warming of bilateral ties would not have been possible if the two sides had not deepened their mutual understanding, built mutual trust and committed to reciprocal and meaningful interaction.

We have every reason to believe China and the UK will continue to build on the current good momentum in their relations, which will not only cater to their interests but also contribute to the common prosperity of the entire world. – China Daily

Xi trip success narrows divide with West

In the 1950s, China’s stated aim was to surpass the industrial achievements of the UK, which however failed. Decades later, the UK welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping with pomp and pageantry and announced the two countries were entering a “golden age.” China has roughly overtaken the UK in gross GDP, although the living standards of the Chinese still lag far behind the British.

During Xi’s stay, China and Britain signed contracts worth 40 billion pounds ($61.62 billion). London will become the top offshore yuan center apart from Hong Kong. The UK also adopted measures to relax visa rules for Chinese tourists. These combined give people more faith in the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and the UK.

The embrace of China and the UK with open arms primarily proves that the West’s economic alliance designed to counter China does not exist or has been overthrown. Economically, the West has more noncompliance than consent across the board to challenge China. Militarily, the West has NATO at the core, but inside it is still not united enough to pressure China. China’s military pressure mainly comes from the US-Japan alliance, which is trying to involve smaller countries around China to enhance the deterrence. As China’s economic development has bolstered its military might, it has increasing confidence in safeguarding the country’s security.

The UK seems to have distanced itself from the Western group that may threaten China and explicitly wants to befriend us. As an important member of the Western world, the UK’s decision to usher its ties with China into a “golden age” has symbolic significance.

But when it comes to ideology, the old divide comes up again between China and the West. Over political and values conflicts, countries like the UK, Germany and France, which endeavor to advance their bonds with China, return to the Western formation.

The external ideological pressure is one of the thorniest issues for China currently, and has huge influence on China’s domestic values debate.

Common values have been the prominent bond in the West after WWII, but it is definitely not omnipotent. The divergence on values is the biggest difference between China and the West, which requires mutual respect and will to accept. We often feel the West is arrogant and aggressive in terms of ideology, which may partly come from a sense of insecurity due to internal divergences.

The UK mirrors our own changes and informs us that the times when the outside world united to counter China have ended or never existed. But there is still a long road before disputes on ideological issues between China and the West can be solved. Yet we have more achievements and hopes in this regard than difficulties and uncertainties. Compared with the huge pressure from the West in the past, we have gone so far and clearly know our future path. – Global Times

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State of Malaysian economy: to grow 4~5% in 2016, lead by domestic demand

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian economy is expected to remain steady in 2016, with real GDP growth between 4% and 5% led by domestic demand, according to the Economic Report 2015/2016 drawn up by the Ministry of Finance (MoF).

Private sector expenditure will remain the main driver of growth with private consumption and investment expected to grow by 6.4% and 6.7%, respectively.

The government also remains committed to fiscal consolidation, with the fiscal deficit expected to further decline to 3.1% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016 (2015:3.2%) while the Federal Government debt level will remain manageable with the prudent limit of 55% of GDP.

Meanwhile government expenditure is forecast to expand, albeit at a moderate pace, in line with efforts to strengthen the fiscal position.

On the supply side growth is expected to be broad-based, with all the sectors registering positive growth, the MoF said.

Malaysia’s external position is forecast to remain positive supported by better prospects for global growth and trade.

Against this backdrop, the nominal gross national income (GNI) per capita is expected to increase by 5.6% from RM36,397 in 2015 to RM38,438 in 2016.

With total investment surpassing savings, the savings-investment gap is expected to narrow between 0.5% and 1.5% of GNI.

The economy will continue to operate under conditions of full employment with the unemployment rate remaining below 4%.

Despite the weak ringgit, inflation is expected to remain benign attributed to low oil prices and the waning impact of GST.

For 2016, inflation is expected to range between 2% – 3%.

Slower GDP growth in 2016

THE Malaysian economy is expected to grow between 4% and 5% in 2016 as domestic demand is expected to offset the drag on the economy from a slowdown in growth in emerging markets, particularly China.

Lower commodity prices, depreciating currencies in emerging markets and volatility in financial markets will be hurdles to economic growth but that will be counterbalanced with activity by the private and public sectors..

“Strong economic fundamentals such as benign inflation and stable employment supported by accommodative monetary policy are expected to support growth,” says the report.

Private investment is expected to rise by 6.7% with higher investment by the manufacturing and services sectors.

Private consumption is expected to rise by 6.4%, aided by stable employment and favourable wage growth. In the public sector, public expenditure is expected to grow by 2.7%.

Public investment is forecast to grow by 2.3%. Public consumption is expected to increase by 3%.

The services sector is projected to grow by 5.4% and see its share of GDP increase to 54% with all subsectors posting growth.

The information and communication subsector is projected to grow by 9.6% and real estate and business services subsector by 7.1% aided by construction activity while the transport and storage subsector is projected to grow by 5% helped by the expansion in port and rail services, along with improved bus services.

Manufacturing is projected to grow by 4.3% aided by growth in advanced economies.

The agriculture sector is forecast to expand by 1.3% with improvement in the plantation sector and stronger growth in the food commodity subsector.

Production of crude palm oil is expected to grow by 1% to 20.1 million tonnes and rubber by 0.7% to 680,000 tonnes.

Malaysia is expected to register a smaller current account surplus with gross exports anticipated to increase by 1.4% led by manufactured exports.

Gross imports are expected to turn around and grow at a faster pace of 3% supported by higher public investment and capital spending in the manufacturing and services sectors.

Import duty exemption on 90 tariff lines in the manufacturing sector is expected to provide relief to about 900 companies.

Stable wage growth and employment prospects are expected to support demand for consumption goods and as import growth rise faster than exports, the trade surplus is projected to be lower at RM73.2bil of 5.9% of GDP compared with RM85.3bil in 2015.

For 2016, the transport and other services accounts are expected to remain in deficit following improved prospects for trade-related and investment activity. The surplus of the travel account is projected to grow to RM33.9bil from RM29.8bil driven by higher tourist arrivals.

Malaysia is expected to register a smaller current account surplus with gross exports anticipated to increase by 1.4% led by manufactured exports. Gross imports are expected to turn around and grow at a faster pace of 3% supported by higher public investment and capital spending in the manufacturing and services sectors.

Stable wage growth and employment prospects are expected to support demand for consumption goods and as import growth rise faster than exports, the trade surplus is projected to be lower at RM73.2bil of 5.9% of GDP compared with RM85.3bil in 2015.

The services account is expected to improve to RM11.4bil from a deficit of RM14.7bil in 2015.

With higher imports projected, the goods and services account is envisaged to post a lower surplus of RM63.7bil.

The primary account is expected to register net outflows of RM33.7bil in 2016 from RM33.2bil due to higher repatriation of profits, dividends and interests accuring to multinational corporations in Malaysia.

The secondary income account will still be in deficit amounting to RM18.7bil mainly due to sustained demand for foreign labour.

As inflows will be larger than outflows, due to the surplus in the goods and services account, the current account is forecast to be in a surplus of between 0.5% and 1.5% of gross national income.

State of the Malaysian economy

THE economy is expected to grow at a lower pace next year compared with 2015 as the government projects slower growth in the manufacturing, services and construction sectors.

The report said GDP was expected to expand between 4% and 5% in 2016 compared with the 4.4% to 5.5% growth estimated for the current year.

Domestic demand was expected to offset the drag on the economy from a slowdown in growth in emerging markets, particularly China.

Lower commodity prices, depreciating currencies in emerging markets and volatility in financial markets will be hurdles to economic growth.

However, these would be counterbalanced with activity by the private and public sectors, with private expenditure the main anchor while public expenditure will increase moderately.

To boost the economy, the Government has raised allocation for development spending by 6.1% to RM49.2bil, while operating expenditure will remain at RM215.2bil.

The increase in spending will be matched by higher revenue in 2016 forecast at RM225.6bil. The fiscal deficit in 2016 is projected at 3.1% of GDP.

Trade surplus is projected to be higher in 2015 at RM85.3bil, or 7.3% of GDP.

Debt level

The level of Government’s debt is projected to increase RM627.5bil, or 54% of GDP in 2015 from current RM582.8bil last year, or 52.7% of GDP.
Household debts level remained high at 88.1% of GDP at end of August, up from 86.8% of GDP at the end of 2014.

Fiscal consolidation

The government will continue its fiscal consolidation in 2016 as it seeks to achieve a balanced budget by 2020 but it acknowledges there will be challenges from external sources.

It emphasises that while it ensures strong public finances, fiscal policy will continue to support economic growth and improve the people’s well being.

“With all the measures in place, the fiscal deficit is projected at RM38.8bil or 3.1% of GDP in 2016 (2015: 3.2%),” it said.

The fiscal deficit has come down from 6.7% in 2009 to 3.4% of GDP in 2014.

Revenue collection

The government expects revenue to increase by 1.4% to RM225.70bil due to higher tax revenue.

For instance, collection from oil-related revenue is expected to increase by 1.7% to RM265.2bil (2015: RM260.7bil).

Due to the implementation of the managed float fuel pricing system, subsidies, incentives and assistance will remain low at RM26.1bil (12.1%), reflecting a more targeted subsidy mechanism to reduce market distortions and leakages.


The government projects to collect RM39bil from the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in 2016 – which is about 3.1% of the GDP as it seeks to achieve a balanced budget by 2020.

Since the GST was implemented in April, collection was RM27bil, higher than the earlier projection of RM21.7bil.

For 2016, GST’s collection will reflect a full 12-month of the tax implementation that had replaced the Sales and Services Tax (SST).

The higher collection will offset the contraction in oil-related revenue that has been the main revenue source for the Government.

Inflation, employment

Inflation rate is expected to increase from 1.9% in 2015 to between 2% and 3% in 2016.

However, the government expects the unemployment rate to decline from 3.1% in 2015 to 2.9% in 2016.

Strong economic fundamentals such as benign inflation and stable employment supported by accommodative monetary policy are expected to support growth.

Medium-term fiscal framework

The government also announced under the medium-term fiscal framework (MTFF) for 2016 to 2018, its revenue was estimated to be RM729.50bil.

The projection for the three years was based on the assumption that US light crude oil would be between US$48 and US$60 per barrel and oil production to be 600,000 barrels per day.

On Friday, US crude oil was trading below US$46, which is sharply lower than the near US$100 in July 2014.

The three-year framework expects non-oil revenue to be RM631.60bil and non-oil revenue RM97.9bil.

The government’s operating expenditure is expected to be RM685.7bil during the period and gross development expenditure RM153bil.$48-to-US$60-in-2016-to-2018/?style=biz

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6 Singapore church leaders found guilty of fraud over pastor’s wife’s failed S$50m music career

City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee (R) and his wife Sun Ho arrive at the State Courts in Singapore

VIDEO: A Sun Ho music video, featuring Wyclef Jean
A video from an English-language single, “China Wine”, shows her dancing intimately with rapper Wyclef Jean, sparking criticism that she had betrayed her calling as a Christian pastor.

Six religious leaders in Singapore who used $50 million in church funds in a failed bid to turn the pastor’s glamorous wife into a global pop star have been convicted of fraud.

Top left to right: former finance manager Serina Wee, founder Kong Hee, former finance manager Sharon Tan. Bottom left to right: , deputy senior pastor Tan Ye Peng, former treasurer John Lam, and former fund manager Chew Eng Han. Photo: Reuters

After a two-year trial that captivated Singapore with tales of lavish spending and financial deceit, pastor Kong Hee and five aides were found guilty of diverting $Sg24 million ($24 million) to finance his wife Sun Ho’s music career, which was portrayed as a religious mission.

The six were also found guilty of misappropriating another $Sg26m from City Harvest Church to cover their tracks, prosecutors said.

Ms Ho, who starred in a music video with rapper Wyclef Jean, was not charged.

The church said Ms Ho’s music could be used to attract followers.

On Wednesday, Judge See Kee Oon found the accused guilty of criminal breach of trust or falsification of accounts, or both.

The maximum penalty for criminal breach of trust, which all six were convicted of, is life imprisonment, according to the penal code.

The six were granted bail before their sentencing date, which has not yet been set.

The glamorous couple fell from grace after the leaders were charged in 2013 and the court was told how church funds were spent on music videos, marketing and a luxurious lifestyle

Prosecutors said Kong and his subordinates engaged in a practice called “round-tripping” by channelling money allotted for a church building fund into sham bonds in linked companies so they could finance Ms Ho’s music career.

They falsified church accounts to make it appear the bonds were redeemed, prosecutors said. – AFP

Singapore megachurch leaders hit a sour note in pop music fraud case

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – The co-founder of a Singapore church and five other leaders were convicted of multi-million dollar fraud on Wednesday for diverting money to support his wife’s pop singing career, a rare fall from grace in the tightly regulated city-state.

The mix of money, faith and scandal in the case has fascinated the public in affluent Singapore, where such cases are rare under a system with little tolerance for corruption.

Senior pastor Kong Hee heads City Harvest Church, one of a growing number of Singapore’s megachurches preaching “prosperity gospel” that blends spiritual and material aspirations. (

The churches have ambitions to turn Singapore into a centre for evangelical Christianity and to export their faith to the world. Kong was arrested and charged in 2012 with criminal breach of trust and falsifying accounts.

The six church officials were convicted of diverting nearly S$51 million (£23.97 million) in funds to advance the career of Kong’s wife, Ho Yeow Sun.

“There is no doubt that they had something to hide … They knew they were acting dishonestly,” Judge See Kee Oon said in convicting the six in the Singapore subordinate court.

Ho has focused on the Mandarin pop market and has released albums, including “Embrace”, through Warner Music Taiwan.

A video from an English-language single, “China Wine”, shows her dancing intimately with rapper Wyclef Jean, sparking criticism that she had betrayed her calling as a Christian pastor.

Ho, the co-founder and executive director of the church, was not charged in the case.

The church, which had around 17,000 members last year, has stuck by its leader. It held a prayer session for Kong and others on Tuesday night and Ho issued a message of support after the court ruling.

“Thank you for your unwavering faithfulness in loving God and loving one another. More than ever before, let’s have a unity that is unbreakable,” she said on the church website.

(Reporting by Rujun Shen; Writing by Rodney Joyce; Editing by Paul Tait)

Sino-UK ties herald golden time with West

  • Buckingham Palace prepares for Xi Jinping visit

    President Xi Jinping’s visit will also receive a warm welcome from the British Monarchy. Queen Elizabeth the second, who has met with some of the most famous leaders in recent history, is expected to greet President Xi at Buckingham Palace.

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Cameron’s meeting with the Dalai Lama in 2012 was a turning point in Sino-UK relations. For 18 months, Beijing gave London the cold shoulder, while at the same time developing cordial relationships with Germany and France. The low ebb in bilateral ties happened when Europe was deeply troubled. Although China had struggled with Germany and France over the same problem in 2007 and 2008, by 2012, China was much stronger and was deemed more influential. Now, China has become more attractive to Europe than ever, and that has served to transform the foundation of China-EU relations.

The UK has shown its adept diplomatic skills while re-calibrating its relationship with China. It was the first European nation to announce that it had applied to join the Asian Infrastructure Development Bank, an international financial institution proposed by China. This decision thawed the previous discord. Since then, the UK has committed itself to turning London into the biggest offshore yuan center other than Hong Kong. Cameron has received Ren Zhengfei, president of Huawei, one of China’s biggest telecommunications companies. He also invited Chinese companies to invest in a new nuclear power station project. Such actions have set examples in Europe.

As an old empire, the UK has declined, but its foundation is solid. With a special relationship with the US, London knows how to communicate with Washington over China issues.

London making a friendly gesture to China shows that Western countries are trying to redress their deep-rooted political prejudices and explore more potential to develop relations with China.

To a large extent, London’s friendliness toward China stems from the pursuit of more benefits, but it shows that the spillover of China’s development in many respects has become an irresistible attraction. Nothing can guarantee that country-to-country relations will develop on a certain course without having to worry about derailment. So far, historical experience has shown us that the bond of interests is one of the most reliable mechanisms that can maintain a reciprocal bilateral relationship.

China and the UK need each other. As the US is becoming weaker in exporting interests to Europe, China is providing more opportunities to the UK, while China also needs a Western country to set an example for a new China-West relationship.

It must be noted that political and ideological misunderstandings will remain a challenge for both sides. How to deal with them is a long-term issue.- Global Times

Xiangshan defense forum: PLA prowess persists without tough talk; US provocative risks destabilizing region

Chinese Defence Minister Chang Wanquan (4th right) claps next to his counterparts from Asean during the China-AseanDefense Ministers’ Informal Meeting in Beijing, China, October 16, 2015. China’s Xiangshan defence forum followed the informal Asean meeting today. — Reuters pic –

At the sixth Xiangshan Forum on Saturday, Fan Changlong, vice- chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, said China has always advocated dealing with disputes through peaceful means and will not use violence recklessly, even if it comes to territory and sovereignty. The quote was soon singled out and garbled by netizens without mentioning the context, resulting in the wrong impression that the Chinese military is “too weak.”

The commitment of the forum is to facilitate communication between governments and militaries in security policies, but the ordinary Chinese people have also shown much interest in it. It is difficult for top Chinese military officers to please every one of them.

In fact, Fan’s remarks have more clearly reflected China’s stance over territorial issues. China does not use force recklessly, but, as it always insists, will use whatever is necessary to safeguard sovereign integrity.

China’s military building has garnered worldwide attention, and its construction works on some of the Nansha Islands are misunderstood to be a process of militarization. This misunderstanding is the bone of contention in the South China Sea disputes, and a focus of the Sino-US rivalry in this region. Concerns arise due to the simmering tensions, and how to soothe neighboring countries is of strategic significance for China.

China is not at the appropriate moment to emphasize its military prowess. It is more important to declare to the world that China will utilize this power with caution. In this way, the international community will put more faith in China’s rise as a responsible global player.

China needs to coordinate military building with the publicity about the prudent use of force in the future. As a rising power, this could put China on the moral high ground, where it can avoid becoming a focal point of political conflicts.

An unreasonably tough stance, used as an emotional outlet for the public, is not what a government should adopt. A deliberate show of strength can only reveal a country’s lack of confidence in regional and international affairs. Powerful countries seldom deliver harsh words in most circumstances.

The Chinese must understand that on the road to rejuvenation, China needs strength as much as it needs wisdom and an open mind. The country is more than able to defend itself by force, but it needs more than force to deal with many other kinds of conflicts. The US for example, which has the most powerful military, still cannot handle every security issue without using other leverage. We need to put more trust in both the Chinese military and diplomats. They know how to do their job well, and they cannot be disrupted by radical nationalists. Global Times

Planned U.S. provocative move in S. China Sea risks destabilizing region

Fan Changlong (right), vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, and Hun Sen, prime minister of Cambodia, at a welcoming dinner for Xiangshan Forum participants on Friday. FENG YONGBIN/CHINA DAILY


WASHINGTON, Oct. 15 — The United States could shoot itself in the foot if it proceeds with planned naval patrols in the adjacent waters off China’s islands in the South China Sea, as such provocation will risk creating miscalculation and destabilizing the region.
U.S. military officials and government spokespersons have recently indicated the country’s intention to send navy ships to sail within 12 nautical miles of the islands where China has recently done reclamation work, in a move deliberately designed to challenge China’s territorial claims.
The U.S. government is having a hard time trying to justify such provocative step.
Firstly, such a plan obviously contradicts Washington’s public statement that it takes no stand over the territorial claims by six parties in the South China Sea region.
Secondly, the United States says it will do so in order to exert so-called rights of freedom of navigation as the international law allows. But, the fact is China has never done anything to infringe upon the freedom of navigation in the region.
On the contrary, China has a vested interest in protecting such rights as most of its flow of commerce in foreign trade passes through the sea lanes in the region.
Thirdly, it is a fallacy for Washington to claim that such step is designed to prevent the militarization of the South China Sea while China has already pledged that it has no intention to pursue militarization of the newly reclaimed islands.
Beijing has clearly stated that its construction of facilities in the region is mainly for the purposes of maintenance, improving living conditions for the stationed personnel and providing common goods to the international community by offering service to foreign ships sailing in the region.
The U.S. move, if carried out, will leave China no choice but to beef up its defense capabilities.
Furthermore, it will be a slap in its own face if the United States resorts to military intimidation to exert its alleged rights, because it has been calling for the claimant countries to settle their maritime disputes through peaceful means.
No doubt that if Washington goes ahead with the patrol plan, it should bear responsibility for escalating tensions in the region, raising danger of miscalculation, and complicating the efforts to seek diplomatic resolution of the disputes.\
Washington should also be clear-eyed to the fact that some claimants in the region, such as the Philippines, a U.S. ally, will be encouraged by the U.S. move to take more provocative steps to challenge China and destabilize the region.
China has already urged the United States to avoid taking the provocative step in the South China Sea at a time when the China-U.S. relationship has just improved due to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s fruitful state visit in late September.
During the visit, Xi and his U.S. host Barack Obama renewed their commitment to building a new model of major-country relationship featuring no confrontation, no conflict, mutual respect and win-win cooperation.
They also promised to further enhance military-to-military ties and expand cooperation on a wide range of issues for the benefit of both peoples and the world as a whole.
So, it will be a grave mistake for the United States to use military means to challenge China, as it will inevitably damage the newly-generated positive momentum in the bilateral ties and could lead to dangerous misunderstanding between the two militaries.
Washington boasts the strongest military power in the world, but this by no means justifies its act of bullying any other country at its will.
China has every right to defend its rights and strategic interests, and will respond to any provocation appropriately and decisively.- Xinhua
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US warned against ‘provocations’: patrol plan risks ‘escalating tensions’

A J-15, China’s first generation of carrier-based fighter jet, takes off from the Liaoning.

Firm reaction for US sea provocation

US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said US ships and aircraft would “fly, sail and operate whenever international law permits” in response to a question about whether the US would enter 12 nautical miles of China’s “artificial islands” in the South China Sea. Carter said the South China Sea would not be an exception.

It was reported by US media recently that US military vessels would enter within 12 nautical miles from China’s “artificial islands” in the South China Sea, and challenge China’s construction work in that region and claims over the Nansha Islands. It is said that relevant plans have been submitted to the president’s office. China may face a grave test imposed by Washington’s escalation of tensions over the maritime disputes.

“Artificial island” is an inaccurate depiction of China’s construction work in the South China Sea. China is expanding, not building these islands out of thin air. The expanding national interest in terms of waters and air space is not yet clearly defined by international law. Whether this ambiguity could trigger major-power conflicts depends on what major powers think.

China has not made any statement about the expansion of its sovereignty due to the construction work, and China has no intention of claiming more sovereignty. Washington’s ceaseless provocations and coercion can only demonstrate that it does not intend to protect freedom of navigation in this region, as China has clearly stated that the right will not be impeded. What the US wants is to play rough against China and stress its hegemony.

In this case, China mustn’t tolerate rampant US violations of China’s adjacent waters and the skies over these expanding islands. The Chinese military should be ready to launch countermeasures according to Washington’s level of provocation.

The US must have known that China’s reclamation work does not contravene international law, so Washington has no sufficient reason to stop China. Despite the legitimacy of China’s construction work and the public good it can provide, if the US adopts an aggressive approach, it will be a breach of China’s bottom line, and China will not sit idly by.

China has remained calm with self-restraint even in the face of Washington’s escalating provocations, but if the US encroaches on China’s core interests, the Chinese military will stand up and use force to stop it.

If Washington wants to prove it can keep its military edge in China’s offshore areas, then let it come. US military forces will have a chance to test the deterrence of its equipment and its willingness to show off its hegemony on China’s doorstep at any cost.

The South China Sea is not a place where countries can act wantonly. Rules should be jointly made by all stakeholders, and US military ships cannot dominate the region. Washington has over-estimated the effect of its military prowess. – Global Times

US patrol plan risks ‘escalating tensions’

Tensions in the South China Sea could spiral out of control if the US starts patrolling too close to Chinese islands, with any military confrontation between China and the US escalating to a dangerous level, analysts said Wednesday.

Speaking after a two-day meeting between US and Australian foreign and defense ministers in Boston, US defense secretary Ashton Carter said Tuesday that the US would sail and fly wherever international law allows, including the South China Sea.

His remarks were rebuked by China’s foreign ministry, which said China has indisputable sovereignty over certain South China Sea islands and their surrounding waters and that China is not the one that had militarized the region.

“I want to point out that some countries have recently flexed their military muscles again and again in the South China Sea,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing Wednesday.

FM: Construction is our int’l responsibility

China has denied its island-building in the South China Sea would “militarize” the area, after

“This is the biggest factor in the militarization of the South China Sea. We hope the relevant countries cease hyping up the South China Sea issue and scrupulously abide by their promises not to take sides on the territorial disputes,” she said.

Carter’s statement came a day after The New York Times reported that the US has been briefing its allies in Asia, including the Philippines, on plans to conduct naval patrols near Chinese islands, which could come as close as within the 12 nautical mile limit.
The patrols look more imminent according to a Wednesday Reuters report, which, by quoting some analysts in Washington, said the patrols could happen at the end of this or next week.


“What will happen is that China will take necessary countermeasures [if the US begins patrolling the area.] The actual measures will depend on how frequently the US decides to enter the airspace or waters close to the islands and what kind of aircraft or ship they plan to send,” Wu Shicun, president of the National Institute for the South China Sea, told the Global Times.

According to Wu, the first measure would involve diplomatic and military warnings. If the situation escalates, China may dispatch planes to tail US aircraft to decide if there is hostile intent. If this is believed to be so, the next step would be for the Chinese military to expel the US ships and planes.

Wu warned that there could be considerable danger, and if further measures need to be taken, the risk of a military clash or even casualties, based on either miscalculation or coincidence, would significantly rise.

“I think the bottom line for both China and the US is to make sure there is no open conflict or casualties,” Wu said.
His opinion was echoed by Hu Bo, a professor at the Peking University Ocean Strategy Research Center, who said that both China and the US will remain restrained to prevent any confrontation from evolving into a full-blown war.

“The problem is, both countries need to demonstrate their strong will to the world while trying to keep their heads cool. This makes controlling the situation difficult,” Hu said.

Although entering within 12 nautical miles of Chinese islands may not be technically difficult for the US military, analysts believe the important question the US should ask itself is whether it will face a better situation in the South China Sea if it decided to take such action.
“China is unlikely to let the US get away with it. A likely outcome would be a long-term military stand-off in the South China Sea,” Hu said.

Civilian use stressed

The US intervention could also change what China plans to do with the South China Sea islands, experts said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said last month during his visit to the US that China did not intend to militarize the islands.
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua on Wednesday re-iterated that China’s purpose of island construction is for civilian use.

She noted that China is only deploying limited military equipment for necessary defensive purposes, which is “understandable given that some countries are flexing their muscles and frequently conduct targeted large-scale military exercises with allies.”

“The proportion of military facilities on these islands depends on how much threat the US and its allies exert on China,” Wu said.
“If the US military comes within 12 nautical miles of these islands, it would only be more reasonable for China to speed up its construction of military facilities, which at the moment is restrained,” Hu said.

By Bai Tiantian (Global Times)

How hard do Chinese work?

Workers in China put in the hours

Recently, foreign media reported on the Chinese work ethic, such as The Guardian article “How hard does China work?” . (Photo/Screenshot)

Recently, foreign media reported on the Chinese work ethic, such as The Guardian article “How hard does China work?” on Oct. 6, suggesting Britons needed to pull up their socks and work hard “in the way that Asian economies are prepared to work hard”. On Oct. 8, Singapore’s Lianhe Zaobao cites The Guardian’s statistics, saying the average Chinese worker puts in somewhere between 2,000 and 2,200 hours each year.

The earliest survey data is published on Wall Street Journal last year. It claimed, citing official statistics that nearly 85 percent of migrants worked more than 44 hours a week, earning an average of just £270 per month.

China is one of the countries with the longest average working hours in the world, equivalent to the level of the countries such as the UK, Germany and France in the 1950s, according to data. In addition, survey data reflect the general working hours of European and American countries per capita is shorter than of developing countries.

According to figures from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development,in 2013, working hours in Germany and France were 1,388 hours and 1,489 hours respectively, well below China’s per capital working hours at the same period. Compared to the UK average of 1,677 hours last year, the average Chinese worker put in 320 more hours last year.

Why do Chinese workers have to put in longer hours than their counterparts in European countries and the United States? Director of Research at the Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences, Ding Li, said that China’s per capita level of work depends largely on the strength of the domestic economy.

Chinese workers have to work longer hours than their peers from the more developed countries, such as the UK and US, because in China the average wage is low, while the domestic prices are relatively high, noted celebrity financial expert Larry Hsien Ping Lang in 2013.

Last year, the labor market research center at Beijing Normal University released a report, noting employees in 90 percent of industries in China work over 40 hours per week. Those working in the construction industry, resident services, repairs and other services have a working week of over 49 hours and the longest hours in China are worked by those in hospitality and catering, racking up over 51.4 hours.

For more than half of all industry sectors, including accommodation and catering industry, employees do over four hours’ overtime per week.
In recent years, Chinese people pay more attention to health problems caused by growing pressure from work, such as fatigue, obesity and insomnia.

However, long working hours will persist for a certain time as Ding Li pointed out, because China is still at the developmental stage of chasing GDP growth and increasing total production.

By Gao Yinan (People’s Daily Online)  

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