BDS, the Beidou Navigation Satellite System from China


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China launches 23rd BeiDou satellite into space – CCTV News – CCTV.com English

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China eyes Silk Road countries for its Beidou satellite system

18 satellites to launch for BDS by 2018

China on Thursday vowed national efforts to complete its Beidou satellite navigation system to serve global users by 2020, with priority going to countries involved in the new Silk Road initiative.

The current goal of developing China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) is to “provide basic services to countries along the land and maritime Silk Roads and in neighboring regions by 2018, and to complete the constellation deployment of 35 satellites by 2020 to provide services to global users,” said a white paper released Thursday by the State Council Information Office.

A “globalized” BDS would have “positive and practical significance” in terms of connectivity around the globe, especially the interconnection between China and Southeast Asian countries under the Silk Road plan, known as the Belt and Road initiative, Huang Jun, a professor at the School of Aeronautic Science and Engineering at Beihang University, told the Global Times on Thursday.

In line with the Belt and Road initiative, China will jointly build satellite navigation augmentation systems with relevant nations and promote international applications of navigation technologies, the white paper states.

To fulfill the 2018 goal, the country plans to launch some 18 satellites for the BDS by 2018, Ran Chengqi, BDS spokesperson, told a press conference on Thursday.

“In priority Chinese cities such as Beijing and Urumqi in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, as well as low latitude countries like Thailand, the BDS is capable of offering a positioning accuracy of better than five meters,” said Ran, who is also director of China’s Satellite Navigation System Management Office.

Since 2015, the country has sent up seven more satellites into space in support of the BDS, including five navigation satellites and two backup satellites, Ran added, citing Sunday’s launch of the BDS’ 23rd satellite – a backup satellite – as an example.

In 2020, the BDS might offer different positioning accuracy choices and could provide centimeter-level accuracy under certain requirements, said Lu Weijun, a BDS expert at Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications.

Unique features

Despite being a late starter compared with the US-developed GPS, China’s BDS has unique features, Huang said, citing the BDS short-message communication service as an example.

“The short-message communication service is mainly useful in places with insufficient ground and mobile communication capabilities, such as deserts, seas and disaster areas where communication facilities have been destroyed,” Lu told the Global Times.

More than 40,000 fishing vessels along China’s coastline have been equipped with the BDS application terminals, Ran said, adding that they also provided better communication for islands near the coastline.

The BDS short-message communication service is mainly handled by five Geostationary Orbit (GEO) satellites, Lu said. Located above China, the five GEO satellites mainly serve a coverage area of Chinese territories and the Asia-Pacific region” and “could be used to locally enhance the signal in wartime, when other satellites might have been closed.”

An independently designed global navigation and positioning network would also contribute to national security, Huang said.

Industrial chain

China is developing chips, modules and other basic products based on the BDS and other compatible systems, and fostering an independent BDS industrial chain, the white paper noted.

“By the end of April, the BDS technology has been applied to more than 24 million terminals and over 18 million mobile phones,” Ran said.

It is expected that by the end of this year, up to 50 million mobile phones will have been installed with domestic chips that will be compatible with three satellite navigation systems, namely the BDS, GPS and Russia’s GLONASS, Wang Hansheng, vice president of Olink Star, a Beijing-based company that makes navigation satellite system products, told the Global Times.

By Ding Xuezhen Source:Global Times

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Malaysia-China way to South China Sea disputes: a model of amicable consultations


Taking the cue from both China’s and Malaysia’s approach to South China Sea disputes.

 


Dialogue 06/05/2016 South China Sea & Sino-US ties – CCTV News – CCTV.com English

RECENTLY, the South China Sea disputes had been hyped up as a hotspot issue in regional security and discussed in almost every regional and international forum, resulting from the high-profile interference of and the manipulation by some powers outside the region.

In fact, this issue should be solved through negotiation and consultation by parties directly concerned.

Furthermore, freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, which has never been affected, has been misinterpreted by some country as “freedom exclusive to its own military vessels and planes” and flexing its muscles.

The illegal arbitration unilaterally initiated by the Philippines has been labelled as a “benchmark of law-ruling” by the West, suggesting that judicial settlement is the only way to solve disputes in the South China Sea.

Meanwhile, the approach of non-conflicting and friendly consultation has been overshadowed by the noise and chaos.

One day, a friend of mine asked me, is Malaysia a claimant in the South China Sea? If yes, why is the Malaysia-China and Philippines-China relations poles apart? This is indeed a good question.

There is no essential difference between the two pairs of ties.

As China’s close neighbours, Malaysia and the Philippines have enjoyed traditional friendship with China.

Both were the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with China among Asean states. However, while the Malaysia-China relationship is “at the best time of history” and on the path to a new era of “Diamond 40 Years”, the Philippines-China relationship is experiencing severe difficulties.

The reason behind such a striking contrast lies in the different ways the two claimants chose to deal with the disputes with China.

While Malaysia has consistently been committed to maintaining friendly relationship, properly handling disputes, strengthening cooperation and enhancing comprehensive strategic partnership with China, the Philippine president Benigno Aquino III, on the contrary, misjudged the international situation, acted as a pawn of an outsider’s geopolitical strategy, and chose to confront China.

China and Malaysia Set a Model of Amicable Consultations

China and Malaysia enjoy a time-honoured friendship. There are lots of historical records in China about the Malay peninsula since the Tang and Song Dynasties.

In the 15th century, the Ming Dynasty established close relations with the Sultanate of Malacca. Over 600 years ago, Admiral Zheng He stationed at Malacca five times during seven voyages.

He promoted friendship, developed trade and maintained justice in the area. From Admiral Zheng, people have learned the essence of Chinese culture where peace and good neighbourliness always come first.

They do believe that China has no gene of expansion, plunder or aggression. Instead, China can be a trustworthy friend and reliable partner of Malaysia.

Then Prime Minister Tun Razak first adjusted the policy on China 42 years ago with strategic insight among Asean leaders in the context of the Cold War.

He went to China for “an ice-breaking trip” and signed the Communiqué of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations with Premier Zhou Enlai which opened a new chapter in bilateral relations. Since then, China and Malaysia have helped each other and overcome many difficulties hand in hand.

The relations between the two countries have taken a lead in China’s relations with Asean countries and set a model of friendship in the region.

After four decades, bilateral relations between China and Malaysia are full of vitality and stimulus with deeper mutual trust, frequent high-level visits, constant party-to-party and local exchanges and fruitful cooperation.

China has become Malaysia’s largest trading partner for seven years and Malaysia is China’s largest trading partner in Asean for eight years, and sixth largest in the world.

The bilateral trade volume has reached US$100bil (RM407.5bil). There are also many iconic cooperation projects.

The high-tech cooperation has reached the skies and seas. Malaysia has long been a popular destination for Chinese tourists.

Consulates-general in Kota Kinabalu and Penang and Nanning have been set up. The Malay Studies Centre was established in the Beijing Foreign Studies University and the Confucius Institutes were set up in Universiti Malaya and Segi University.

Xiamen University Malaysia Campus welcomed its first batch of students this year. Pandas Xing Xing and Liang Liang settled in Zoo Negara and gave birth to a baby panda named “Nuan Nuan”, reflecting our heartwarming bond.

Bilateral cooperation in finance, technology, defence and other fields is also striding forward. The seed sowed by the leaders has grown into a flourishing tree, blossomed and yielded fruits.

It is normal for neighbours to have differences and problems. Malaysia is one of the claimants in the South China Sea.

However, this has never hindered the development of our relations. The key is that the leaders of both countries weigh the situation in the perspective of history and experiences, recognise the trend of the world and always place cooperation and mutual development as a priority.

The leaders have frequently exchanged views on the issue of the South China Sea and reached a series of important consensus.

Both sides agree to deal with disputes through friendly consultations and dialogues, avoiding the issue of sabotaging the bilateral relations.

Furthermore, both China and Malaysia object to intervention by forces outside the region. When the Philippines was unilaterally pursuing the South China Sea arbitration case in May 2014, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib revisited China to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

During the visit, the Joint Communiqué signed by the leaders reaffirmed a series of important consensus.

Both sides emphasised that “all sovereign states directly concerned shall exercise self-restraint and settle their differences by peaceful means, through friendly consultations and negotiations, and in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982.”

Both sides recognised that “intervention or involvement of parties not directly concerned could be counter-productive and further complicate the aforementioned differences.”

It is based on such consensus that the two sides have properly managed their differences, pushed forward their relations, benefited the two peoples and set a good example for regional countries in dealing with disputes.

Unilateral Arbitration is a Wrong Option

The Philippines’ conduct was contrary to Malaysia’s friendly and proper handling of the disputes with China.

In recent years, President Aquino abandoned the commitment of the former government, relied on a superpower to hype up the disputes in the South China Sea, and insisted on confronting China.

He became world “famous” as the arbitration case is a farce. When his term ends, apart from the severe consequences of undermining the China-Philippines traditional friendship, his political legacy will only be piles of bills from the tribunal.

China and the Philippines have a long history of friendly exchanges. The two countries established diplomatic relations in 1975, only one year after China and Malaysia.

Until 2012 when the Philippines deliberately stirred up the Huangyandao Incident and went on a path of confrontation, relations between the two countries had developed soundly and stably with fruitful cooperation in various fields which brought tangible benefits to their two peoples.

For instance, it was China and the Philippines that first launched joint maritime seismic undertaking which became a precious endeavour in the South China Sea.

The two sides launched friendly negotiations and achieved positive outcome in establishing dialogue mechanism, carrying out pragmatic cooperation and promoting joint development.

During President Arroyo’s visit to China in 2007, both sides praised the relations between two countries as a “golden era”.

It is deeply regrettable that on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of China-Philippines relations in 2015, the bilateral ties were upset by the arbitration case, instead of entering a “diamond era” from the “golden era” as China and Malaysia has.

Compared with the breadth, depth and warmth of the friendly interaction between China and Malaysia, shouldn’t the Philippines introspect itself?

As a Chinese old saying goes, “close neighbors are more important than remote relatives.” Forces outside the region may come and go whenever they want, but China and Philippines are neighbours that cannot move away from each other.

As a country committed to regional peace and stability as well as promoting economic development, China sincerely welcomes all the regional countries to take a ride together for deeper mutual benefit and win-win cooperation.

The Philippines’ inflexibility on the arbitration case will only sacrifice its own opportunities and interest.

Amicable Consultation is the Only Way Out

People in littoral states along the South China Sea have lived for a long time in peace and harmony, ready to help each other when in need. Although in the 1960s and 1970s, some changes took place and new problems emerged, China and Asean states have consistently engaged in dialogues and communication and maintained overall peace and stability at sea without interference from powers outside the region.

The Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) signed by China and Asean in 2002 has played an indispensable role.

Even if the South China Sea issue heats up, China will still stick to settling disputes through negotiation and consultation in a peaceful way. China has also proposed the “Dual Track Approach”, that is, the relevant disputes should be solved by the sovereign states directly concerned through consultation and negotiation, and that peace and stability in the South China Sea should be maintained through joint efforts of China and Asean member states.

The approach is in full accordance with international laws and practices, and has been supported by most of the Asean countries including Malaysia and Brunei which are also claimants in the South China Sea.

History will prove again that friendly consultation is the right way to settle the disputes in the South China Sea.

China is strongly opposed to the unilateral action by the Philippines and China’s position of non-acceptance and non-participation in the arbitration case will not change.

The new Philippine Government should discard illusions and return to the right track. As a matter of fact, Malaysia and Brunei have already set good examples.

Just as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stated, the arbitration case is a knot that has impeded the improvement and development of China-Philippines relations.

As to how to untie the knot, it depends on the Philippines. China wishes that the new Philippine Government will make a wise choice in consideration to improving the relations and enhancing mutually beneficial cooperation between the Philippines and China.

The Philippines should cease its arbitral proceedings, refuse to be a pawn anymore and return to bilateral negotiation with China.

China is standing ready to commit itself to full and effective implementation of the DOC and making continuous efforts with all relevant parties to maintain peace and stability in the region.

Dr. Huang Huikang

The writer is the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Malaysia. The views expressed here are the writer’s own.

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China, the shy superpower


This once sleeping dragon has taken full flight but believes in flapping its wings softly to allay fears of its real intentions.

Vision and ambition: Xi (right) speaking with US Secretary of State John Kerry at the end of the eighth round of the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China. — EPA

TWO years ago, it was predicted that China’s economy would surpass the United States as the world’s biggest. But instead of rejoicing and thumping its chest, the Chinese government strenuously sought to play it down.

This led to several articles on the Internet sporting headlines like “Why China doesn’t want to be number one”, “Why China hates being No. 1” and “China ‘fearful’ of becoming world’s number one economy”. This was in the first half of 2014.

Indeed, China was declared No. 1 by the end of that year but with the slowing down of its economy, it has slipped back to second place with the United States taking back the pole position.

Beijing must have heaved a sigh of relief but to many, China is still the power to reckon with. After all, the ambitious One Belt, One Road (Obor) Initiative launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013 remains a key strategy, through which China will become an undisputed regional and global power.

In fact, even if its economy is now second to the United States, China is widely seen as the superpower of the 21st century. But that is also a title Beijing is extremely uncomfortable with and one which Chinese leaders reject vehemently.

“China is not a superpower, we are still a developing country … we have a long way to go to realise modernisation” was how Chinese premier Li Keqiang responded to questions from visiting editors from Asia News Network in Beijing on May 31.

Granted, China is a very big country and there are still millions among its 1.3 billion citizens who need to be lifted out of poverty. But by just about every yardstick, China measures up to superpowerhood.

By some reckoning, it achieved that status when it successfully detonated its first nuclear bomb in the late 1960s. Since then, it has built up a formidable military force with the world’s biggest standing army of 2.2 million.

Results from a survey in Australia and major Asian countries by a group of regional think tanks released last week showed that a wide majority of Australians and significant numbers of Asians already consider China more powerful than the United States.

China, once the sleeping dragon, is fully awake and airborne, creating huge turbulence and strong winds that are felt across the globe.

But no, “there are no grounds for China to become a superpower and neither does China have the intention to be one,” Li told the ANN editors.

Neither does it see itself as a Big Brother but a good friend to all, regardless of size and wealth.

The same consistent message of assurance was given by Jin Liqun, president of the Asian Infrastruc­ture Investment Bank (AIIB), when he met the editors in a separate session.

The AIIB was one of the financial institutions created to support Obor, now renamed the Belt and Road Initiative, which came about because China was dissatisfied with existing multilateral lending entities like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank.

But the AIIB has also created suspicion and skepticism over China’s motives.

The eloquent Jin, who fielded a wide range of questions, kept to the script which was to give the assurance that China had no ill intentions and that the AIIB would be fully transparent in its activities and guided by three principles in choosing the projects to fund, namely that they must be financially sustainable, environmentally friendly and socially acceptable.

What’s more, he pointed out that if the AIIB is so bad, why have 57 countries become members and another 30 on the waiting list?

Why indeed. While he admitted that the AIIB had an international trust and credibility issue, he bristled when I suggested that nations signed up because they were basically hedging their bets.

After all, which country wouldn’t want the chance to get their development projects funded by a new lender in town? It is no skin off their nose.

Neither did Jin take kindly to my comment that he had painted a very rosy picture of the bank and its aims.

“I take issue with you. I never pick the rosy pictures, I always pick the realistic pictures,” he said.

Yet for all his claims of openness and transparency, no editor could pin him down on details on the type of projects that the AIIB would fund and the shortcomings of existing development banks that led to the creation of the AIIB.

Instead, Jin quoted from Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, “Skepticism must always be forgiven, you know, because there is no hope of a cure”, substituting “selfishness” in the original text with “skepticism”.

Even though the editors met Jin and Li separately, their answers to all the questions were essentially same: China comes in peace; all it wants is cooperation and stability; it believes in prospering with its neighbours and has no desire to bully any country, no matter how small or weak; and it definitely has no wish to be a superpower.

As the Chinese say, you can talk till your saliva dries up but to no avail. China is just too massively important and influential, and it also harbours ambitions that go beyond military and economic ascendancy.

It is, as the BBC puts it, even “supersizing science” in its quest to become a global leader in science and technology. One of its most visible efforts is the building of the biggest radio telescope, the 500m Aperture Spherical Teles­cope, that when completed in September, will dwarf the current title holder, the 300m Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

It is also making huge investments in medical research and in the exploration of both inner and outer space. Its scientists have built a vessel to explore the world’s deepest oceanic trenches, all in the name of science.

But even that has reportedly spooked certain nations as they fear China will use its advanced marine technology to further its control in the territorial disputes in the South China Sea which have been dragging on for years.

The world’s “beautiful game” too has caught China’s fancy. It wants to be a football superpower by 2050 and has unveiled a blueprint on how to achieve it: build at least 20,000 football training centres and 70,000 pitches by 2020, according to the BBC.

Clearly, this is a nation with great ambitions and many achievements that it can be justifiably proud of, so why such extreme modesty and humility in dealing with the world?

Back in 2014, various experts and observers gave their take on it. The general consensus was that one of the biggest reasons was China’s fear of responsibility as in the classic line, “with great power comes great responsibility”.

Fortune.com opined that while the Chinese government would love to brag about its growing global influence, it is also pragmatic. It doesn’t want the “cumbersome international obligations” like being the world’s policeman and donor that are expected of a superpower or economic giant.

It would also seem that Chinese leaders believe taking the “softly, softly does it” line of diplomacy is most reassuring to the rest of the world and will create the least line of resistance to their overtures.

But it appears that this overly modest and diffident approach hasn’t quite worked as planned. Beijing may want to rethink its strategy because, to quote Shake­speare, it’s a case of “the lady doth protest too much, me thinks”.

By June H.L. Wong Sunday Star Focus

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China urges Philippines to quit arbitration; Pushes back against US pressure


China urges Philippines to immediately cease arbitral proceedings

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http://english.cctv.com/2016/06/09/VIDESodRMnJFJdiaDZ3JKzuo160609.shtml

<<< Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei (Source: fmprc.gov.cn)

BEIJING, June 8 (Xinhua) — China on Wednesday again urged the Philippines to stop its arbitral proceedings and return to the right track of settling relevant disputes in the South China Sea through bilateral negotiation with China.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the comment at a routine press briefing.

The Foreign Ministry on Wednesday issued a statement saying that disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea should be settled through bilateral negotiation.

Hong said that by unilaterally initiating the arbitration in 2013, the Philippines had turned its back on the possibility of solving the issue through negotiation, leading to a dramatic deterioration of relations between China and the Philippines.

China and the Philippines have reached consensus on settling maritime disputes through bilateral negotiation in a number of bilateral documents, but the two countries have never engaged in any negotiation on the subject-matters of the arbitration, said Hong.

By unilaterally initiating the arbitration, the Philippines has violated its agreement with China as well as its own solemn commitment in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), he said.

This is an abuse of the dispute settlement procedures of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and is against international law, including UNCLOS, he added.

The door of China-Philippines bilateral negotiation is always open, he said. “China will remain committed to settling through negotiation the relevant disputes with the Philippines in the South China Sea on the basis of respecting historical facts and in accordance with international law.”

“China urges the Philippines to immediately cease its wrongful conduct of pushing forward the arbitral proceedings, and return to the right path of settling the relevant disputes in the South China Sea through bilateral negotiation with China,” Hong said. – Xinhua

BEIJING: China has urged the Philippines to “immediately cease its wrongful conduct of pushing forward the arbitral proceedings” and “return to the right path” of settling the relevant disputes in the South China Sea, through bilateral negotiation.

In an official statement released yesterday, the Foreign Ministry reaffirmed Beijing’s commitment to a settlement via two-way negotiations, rather than an arbitration unilaterally sought by Manila against China in 2013.

Ties between Beijing and Manila were sunk after the initiation of the arbitration. From the very start of the arbitral process, China has refused to accept or participate.

In the wake of recent comments made by various Chinese officials about the arbitration, the statement said “the door of China-Philippines bilateral negotiation is always open”.

Observers and the media have increasingly called on Philippine President-elect Rodrigo Duterte and his expected administration to quit the arbitration and return to the table for two-way negotiations.

The arbitral case is still pending. Some media and observers said the expected ruling by the arbitral tribunal would be made in a few weeks.

China will remain committed to settling through negotiation the relevant disputes “on the basis of respecting historical facts and in accordance with international law,” the ministry wrote.

In the past weeks, Washington has publicly pressed Beijing to accept the ruling.

That also included a call from US Defence Secretary Ash Carter on Saturday at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

Wu Shicun, president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, said although it remained to be seen if the incoming Philippine administration would quit the arbitration and return to the table for talks, “it is apparent that the arbitration – from its very beginning – has led to increasing, not decreasing, number of problems between Beijing and Manila”.

“Other regional countries will come to the conclusion that embarking on such an arbitration will obtain no benefit, not to mention resolving any of the existing disputes,” Wu said.

Jia Duqiang, a researcher of South-East Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said as the arbitration process came to a critical moment, all parties knew clearly that “no good will serve any party if the big picture is damaged”.

He also said the incoming administration was re-evaluating its policies towards China. — China Daily / Asia News Network

China pushes back against US pressure

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SINGAPORE: China rebuffed US pressure to curb its activity in the South China Sea today, restating its sovereignty over most of the disputed territory and saying it “has no fear of trouble”.

On the last day of Asia’s biggest security summit, Admiral Sun Jianguo said China will not be bullied, including over a pending international court ruling over its claims in the vital trade route.

“We do not make trouble, but we have no fear of trouble,” Sun told the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, where more than 600 security, military and government delegates had gathered over three days.

“China will not bear the consequences, nor will it allow any infringement on its sovereignty and security interest, or stay indifferent to some countries creating chaos in the South China Sea.”

The waterway has become a flashpoint between the United States, which increased its focus on the Asia-Pacific under President Barack Obama’s “pivot”, and China, which is projecting ever greater economic, political and military power in the region.

The two have traded accusations of militarising the waterway as Beijing undertakes large-scale land reclamation and construction on disputed features while Washington has increased its patrols and exercises.

On Saturday, top US officials including defence secretary Ash Carter warned China of the risk of isolating itself internationally and pledged to remain the main guarantor of Asian security for decades.

Despite repeated notes of concern from countries such as Japan, India, Vietnam and South Korea, Sun rejected the prospect of isolation, saying that many of the Asian countries at the gathering were “warmer” and “friendlier” to China than a year ago.

China had 17 bilateral meetings this year, compared with 13 in 2015.

“We were not isolated in the past, we are not isolated now and we will not be isolated in the future,” Sun said.

“Actually I am worried that some people and countries are still looking at China with the Cold War mentality and prejudice. They may build a wall in their minds and end up isolating themselves.”

During a visit to Mongolia today, US secretary of state John Kerry urged Beijing not to establish an air defence identification zone (Adiz) over the South China Sea.

Kerry, who will visit China next, said an Adiz would be “a provocative and destabilising act”, which would question Beijing’s commitment to diplomatically manage the dispute.

The South China Sea is expected to feature prominently at annual high-level China-US talks starting in Beijing on Monday, also attended by US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

US concerns about Chinese trade policy and the difficulty foreign businesses say they face operating in China will add to what will likely be difficult discussions. — Reuters

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Politicians,international relations experts and opinion leaders from the Philippines on Wednesday called on President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to start bilateral talks with China on the South China Sea issue as soon as
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 Studio interview: Arbitration will not solve dispute

For more insights into the South China Sea issue, we have as our studio guest Jia Xiudong, a Senior Research Fellow from the China Institute of International Studies. Q1. China insists the Philippines
unilateral arbitration is illegal. So how much do you think the arbitration can help solve the maritime dispute?

Beijing believes Manila is politically motivated

 China believes that there are political motivations behindthe arbitration by the Philippines, as it is an open denial of China’ssovereignty. It brings uncertainty to how China would solve disputes with other countries.

South China Sea FAQ 2: What are China’s historical claims to the South China Sea?

 What are China’s historical claims to the South China Sea?

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World’s first Quantum communication satellite to be launched in China against hackers


China is poised to become the first country to send encoded information from space that cannot be hacked. Scientists are making final adjustments to China’s first quantum communication satellite. The project chief describes it as a revolution in communications.

China will launch its first experimental quantum communication satellite in July, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

 

China is poised to become the first country to send encoded information from space that cannot be hacked. Scientists are making final adjustments to China’s first quantum communication satellite. The project chief describes it as a revolution in communications.

A quantum photon cannot be separated or duplicated, which means if someone tried to decode information, the encryption would change, and the receiver would know that his letter was opened by someone.

Scientists hope the new technology will protect China from future cyber issues. In 2015, cases involving information technology in China rose by more than 120 percent, according to survey by a non-profit cybersecurity institution. China plans to use its quantum satellite system to cover the planet by 2030.

On the ground, China is also building its own quantum information sharing network for use in national defense and security. At some point, China plans to connect the ground network to the quantum satellite system.

It has taken five years for Chinese scientists to develop and manufacture the first quantum satellite. In June, it will be transported to the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in southwest China for final preparation and launch in July., 2016

China wins space race to launch world’s first ‘quantum communication’ satellite in fight against hackers

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No room for an Islamic State (IS) and the racists in multiracial Malaysia


Let not the first brick be laid

THREE issues that have surfaced over the past week have terribly disturbed me and I am sure many Malaysians who are rational, reasonable and fair-minded feel the same way. More than that, these actions are slowly eroding the Malaysia that we know.

Minister in charge of Islamic Affairs Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom told Parliament that unilateral conversions are lawful and gua­ranteed under the Federal Constitution.

This writer does not know if Jamil understood what he was reading out, which was presumably prepared by an official, or if he had referred to the Cabinet papers or read up on the Federal Constitution.

There is a 2009 Cabinet directive on uni­lateral conversion and early this year, a five-member Cabinet committee on unilateral conversion also decided that no child can be converted to another religion without the consent of both parents.

The 2009 Cabinet directive also stipulated that children must follow the practised religion of the parents at the time of marriage in the event that one of them converts.

Surely Jamil must be aware of the committee because he is also a member. Among the others in the panel are Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Joseph Kurup.

The other members of the committee are Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz, de facto law minister Nancy Shukri, and Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.

Jamil and his officials cannot read the Federal Constitution – specifically the provision for conversion – in isolation.

The argument of the singular meaning for “parent” does not hold water as the Interpretation Act 1948 & 1967 clearly indicates otherwise; the term “parent” in Article 12 (4) must necessarily mean both the father and mother.

To construe otherwise would mean depriving, for example, a mother of her rights as a parent to choose the religion of her infant under Article 12 (4), if the father alone decides. In simple English, the Interpretation Act stipulates “parent” to mean plural, not singular.

The Interpretation Acts of 1948 and 1967, which generally apply to all Acts of Parliament, state that words in the singular shall include the plural. Therefore, the Constitution ought to be interpreted in like manner.

Jamil should also put himself in the shoes of other Malaysians, especially non-Muslims. He may be in charge of Islamic Affairs but he is also a leader of all Malaysians.

I don’t think Jamil will be a happy man if his spouse makes a decision without telling him, and we are not even talking about religious issues.

Lest we forget, the Federal Court has ruled that Hindu mother M. Indira Gandhi is allowed to challenge the validity of the unilateral conversion of her three children by her Muslim-convert ex-husband Muhammad Riduan.

The ruling is the culmination of the interfaith custody battle between Indira and Muhammad Riduan that began in 2009. They were married as Hindus and today, no one has been able to trace the whereabouts of Muhammad Riduan (formerly K. Pathmanathan), who had converted the couple’s three children – then aged 12, 11 and 11 months – to Islam without their presence or Indira’s knowledge, just six days before he obtained a custody order for all three in the Syariah Court on April 8, 2009.

Another big surprise last week was the Government’s decision to allow PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang to table a Private Member’s Bill in the Dewan Rakyat to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965.

On Thursday, it was at the bottom of the day’s agenda but it was prioritized by two Federal Ministers. It came as a surprise because PAS has brought the Private Member’s Bill four times since 1995, and has never succeeded. On Thurday, Hadi got this first step.

We can be sure that Hadi will repeat his mantra that the Bill only seeks to empower the Syariah Courts and it only involves Muslims.

When tabling the Bill, he said it seeks to amend Section 2 of the Act to state that the Syariah Courts will have jurisdiction over Muslims, and in the case of offences on matters listed in Item 1 of the State List under the Ninth Schedule of Federal Laws.

He said it is also to include Section 2A, which states that in the conduct of criminal law under Section 2A, the Syariah Courts have the right to impose penalties allowed by Syariah laws related to offences listed in the said section, in addition to the death penalty.

What Hadi is pushing for is unacceptable. We live in a plural society. Those who argue that the Syariah law is only for Muslims may have missed this point – can anyone in Malaysia guarantee that crimes would only involve Muslim criminals and victims?

Many kinds of criminal acts affect non-Muslims, including rape. If we follow what Hadi is preaching – we will have to find four male witnesses of repute to testify in a rape case. Women witnesses are not accepted and we wonder where we are going to find four men of good reputation in relation to a rape case.

If non-Muslims already find that judges in civil courts are reluctant to adopt a firm stand on the civil rights of the aggrieved non-Muslim party, we wonder how the Syariah Courts can defend the interest of non-Muslims.

There cannot be a parallel criminal justice system with Muslims and non-Muslims subjected to two different laws. This is not about Islam, as advocated by Hadi and PAS, but simple common sense. But of course, common sense is not that common in PAS but we hope there will be a sense of fair play from Umno, and not the agenda dictated by the likes of Jamil. Sometimes we wonder if Jamil is really from Umno or PAS.

The third disappointment must be a speech made by Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaacob, the controversial Rural and Regional Development Minister, who is well known for his communal remarks.

Last week, he reminded his listeners that Malays must unite to prevent non-Muslims from becoming Prime Minister because the Federal Constitution is silent on the racial origin of the top boss.

First of all, I cannot imagine any non-Malay aspiring to be the PM because, accept it, realistically it is not going to happen in my lifetime. It took 200 years in the United States for a black man to become president, even when the whites and blacks are mainly Christians and speak English.

But it is sad that in this age and time, Ismail is still looking inward and seeing things through his racist lens. Surely, he must have applauded when a Muslim became the first mayor of London, and for that matter, the first mayor in a big Western city.

Even in Jakarta, the capital of the world’s largest Muslim country, a Christian Chinese has been voted in as the city’s governor.

The non-Malays, especially the Chinese, are aware of their position as a minority in Malaysia. Politicians like Ismail should stop using phrases like “they” and “us” in his speeches, because we are all Malaysians.

What he has said serves little purpose, except to hurt feelings unnecessarily. A true mature Malaysian leader will talk about the strength of all Malaysians, regardless of their race and religion, coming together and not going separate ways.

As one lawyer put it aptly in his article, Malaysia is represented by at least 45% of the population who have faiths other than Islam. The important question one needs to address is the line between maintaining social stability and securing individual rights of religious practice and freedom of religion.

He further added, “this needs to be re-evaluated – where the politicisation of the Muslim rights over the non-Muslim citizens and fear mongering has had considerable effect in defining the parameters of the fundamental rights afforded to the citizen by the Constitution.”

Three months from now, Malaysia will celebrate its National Day. As we replay the old visual of Tunku Abdul Rahman raising his hand at Stadium Merdeka, let us not forget that the Alliance created Malaysia as a secular democracy.

Tunku would have been horrified at the thought of what Hadi and his PAS theolo­gians want to do with Malaysia.

He would have also reminded a few Umno leaders, who have no sense of history, that our Independence was made possible because of the unity of Umno, MCA and MIC, and that without Sabah and Sarawak, there would be no Malaysia.

So please think carefully of the hearts and minds of the rest of Malaysians who do not live in Kelantan and do not want to see Malaysia turned into an Islamic State. Let not the first brick be laid.

By Wong Chun Wai The Star

Wong Chun Wai began his career as a journalist in Penang, and has served The Star for over 27 years in various capacities and roles. He is now the group’s managing director/chief executive officer and formerly the group chief editor.

On The Beat made its debut on Feb 23 1997 and Chun Wai has penned the column weekly without a break, except for the occasional press holiday when the paper was not published. In May 2011, a compilation of selected articles of On The Beat was published as a book and launched in conjunction with his 50th birthday. Chun Wai also comments on current issues in The Star.

 

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Hackers in your heads, Cybercriminals preying on gullible


 

Cyberscammers tapping into minds – Conmen get personal data from social media

<< You’ve been had: A user checking an SMS alert about an unauthorised credit card transaction.

PETALING JAYA: Cybercriminals are getting into your head.

Realising that victims are no longer falling for the ‘I’m a Prince who wants to deposit US$50mil (RM199mil) into your account’ e-mail, these syndicates have enlisted psychologists and behavioural experts to launch targetted attacks on companies, groups and individuals.

By going through their victims’ social media accounts, they learn more about their targets and are able to craft attractive e-mail, prompting them to respond.

Clicking on the link in the e-mail will download malware that encrypts your device. Computers, smartphones, smartwatches and any other network-connected device, can be locked by cybercriminals who will only release it for a fee, or “ransom”.

Such ransomware has reached our shores, with a total of 5,069 attacks in Malaysia last year, according to cybersecurity company Symantec Corporation.

“The new modus operandi uses social engineering, with the e-mail being crafted by Malaysians who know the local scenario and how to trigger emotional reactions,” Symantec (Asia Pacific and Japan) cyber security services senior director Peter Sparkes told Sunday Star.

For example, if they find out from Facebook that you went shopping, you could get an official-looking e-mail from a trusted source like a government body or postal department saying: ‘You’ve received a free gift from shopping at our KL outlet. Click this link to trace your parcel’.

“Or if they see you at a cycling event, the e-mail could say: ‘Thank you for participating. Click on the link for photos and videos of the ride’,” he said.

“To decrypt your device, they’ll ask for about US$200 (RM782) in virtual currency like Bitcoin, to bypass the banks,” Sparkes added.

Acknowledging this new threat, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) strategic communication head Sheikh Raffie Abd Rahman urged the public to be more alert.

He said one of the most commonly used social engineering techniques was phishing attacks targetting online banking customers.

Such cases would be investigated by the police under the Computer Crimes Act 1997 or the Penal Code.

A total of 1,311 phishing websites have been blocked by the MCMC between last year and March 8.

This includes fake pages created to acquire personal information such as usernames, passwords, banking information and credit card details by masquerading as a trusted entity in an electronic communication.

CyberSecurity Malaysia (CSM) chief executive officer Dr Amirudin Abdul Wahab said the number of incidents reported to the CSM indicates the growing threat of ransomware here.

Revealing that local businesses are also targeted, he said the CSM will work together with international communities to share current information on ransomware threats and disseminate them to the public.

Malaysian Mental Health Association deputy president Datuk Dr Andrew Mohanraj said cybercriminals have become more sophisticated in their approach by enlisting psychologists.

“But whichever methods they use, there is an underlying modus operandi of appealing to human emotions of fear, greed, curiosity, loneliness, compassion or even spirituality,” he said.

By Christina Chin Yuen Meikeng The Star

Cybercriminals preying on gullible

Users beware! With cybercriminals leveling up, ransomware attacks are expected to spike here. Malaysians shouldn’t let their guard down when it comes to personal information and should be on the lookout for online scams.

HE wasn’t the fastest, but Eugene (not his real name) feels like a champion after finishing his first marathon.

Posting a selfie he made public on his Facebook account, the 28-year-old later receives an e-mail congratulating him on the feat. “Click on this link to see more pictures and videos of the event,” says the e-mail, which appears to be sent from the organiser of the run.

Curious and hoping to see images of himself, Eugene clicks open the link on his laptop but instead, gets a message telling him his device is now locked. All his files have been encrypted and he can’t access them, including his work document to be submitted on Monday.

The only way he can retrieve them is to pay a hacker a ransom of US$300 (RM1,181) in Bitcoin currency. Such an incident, known as a ransomware attack, could very well happen to you if you are not careful.

To top it all off, these cases are expected to increase this year, with “very specific ransomware targeted very specifically at Malaysians” being detected, says Symantec (Asia Pacific and Japan) cyber security services senior director Peter Sparkes.

According to cybersecurity company Symantec Corporation, Malaysia ranks 47th globally, and 12th in the Asia Pacific and Japan region, in terms of ransomware attacks.

Last year, there were 5,069 ransomware attacks or 14 per day in Malaysia. But Sparkes foresees that these numbers will surge.

“Ransomware is very attractive because it makes lots of money. It’ll be big here in the coming months, probably averaging 20 attacks per day.

“We’ve seen a lot of smartphone attacks recently. They love WhatsApp because the best way to get someone to click on a link is if it comes from someone you know,” he says.

Sparkes describes such crypto ransomware as the latest, and most dangerous malware threat because it’s near impossible to get rid of.

He adds that the experience is very emotional because many people do not back up their data.

“For individuals, losing personal data like photos and videos is traumatic so most victims will pay. Some will even tell you how to infect your friends to decrease your ransom,” he reveals.

Ransomware hackers are also using help from psychologists and behavioural experts to study their victims on social media before sending them personalised messages to trigger a response.

But it is not just ransomware that needs to be taken seriously as Malaysians need to be vigilant over social media scams, with these two being named as key trends in the country now by Symantec Malaysia systems engineering director David Rajoo.

He says cybercrime is extremely widespread with one in three Malaysians surveyed having experienced it in the past year and 83% know of someone else who was a victim.

“Consumers here lost an average of 27 hours and about RM8.9bil over the past year, dealing with the fallout of online crime.

“The amount of personal data stored online continues to grow, and while this free flow of data creates immense opportunities, it also opens the doors to new risks,” he warns.

Cybercriminals preying on personal data are also a cause for concern here and globally.

Sparkes points out that personal assistants and those in human resources are popular targets because that’s how cybercriminals gain access into an organisation’s database.

“Take a hotel for example. I’d target the CEO’s personal assistant. All I need is 200,000 of their best guests. If I sold the details at US$50 (RM197), it’s pretty good money for a day’s work. HR staff’s another good one because they look at CVs,” he says.

Last year, 500 million personal information was breached globally. That, he says, is a conservative estimate.

Someone checks out your Facebook activities, creates a personalised e-mail to get you to click on a link, and that’s it.

Everytime you download an app on social media, you could be giving access to your life, he cautions.

Of 10.8 million apps analysed in 2015, three million were collecting way more information than necessary, Sparkes says.

“Cyber scammers are also making you call them to hand over your cash,” he adds.

They send fake warning messages to devices like smartphones, driving users to attacker-run call centers to dupe them into buying useless services.

The services industry is the most vulnerable sector in the country, attracting 72.4% of spear phishing attacks.

There was also a significant spam increase with Malaysia jumping up the global ranking from 44 in 2014 to 23 last year, he adds, lamenting how many still don’t realise that cybercrime is an industry.

Cybercriminals are professionals using very sophisticated tools and techniques.

“They work like any other legit organisation – it’s a 9am to 5pm job with weekends off, holidays and proper offices. A lot of users still think it’s 18-year-olds in the garage fooling around. Nothing could be further from truth. The guys sell info to the underground economy,” Sparkes says.

Syndicates only need three things – cheap broadband, a cyber-savvy workforce they can hire, and countries where cyber laws are weak. Asia Pacific and Japan has invested significantly to give their population access to the Internet, he adds, explaining the shocking rise of cybercrime.

“I’m particularly concerned about the senior citizens as many are just discovering the Internet. They’re very trusting and will download without questioning. People stress on being streetsmart, but it’s just as crucial to be cybersmart,” he feels.

By Christina Chin Yuen Meikeng The Star

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M’sians still giving away sensitive info

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