A region evolves with rising China


South-East Asia’s complex big power relations demand careful and considered understanding, where frequent complications and familiar gut reactions do not help.

WHEN countries have difficulty relating to a rising China, part of the problem lies in not understanding where China is heading and not knowing what it will become.

The sheer scale of China’s development and the weight of its trajectory mean that the impact of its rise on the rest of Asia and the world is bound to be considerable and profound.

As a frame of reference, the future of today’s China is often seen in the context of its past: a “Middle Kingdom” entity, the heart of an Asian tributary system, a regional superpower with global pretensions whose once closed-door policy is opening to the world.

Yet none of these references fits because modern China’s pace of change is as rapid as it is vast. Not only is it a post-Deng China, it is now into the fourth- and fifth-generation leadership of post-Dengist society.

A sense of a likely future China may then be deduced through elimination, by discarding what it is unlikely to be.

These include a communist superpower, a nation shaped by a distinct ideology, and one led by a powerful charismatic individual. But what of those things, admittedly few, that it will still be?

One of these is rule by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), particularly since single party rule continues to be a central bastion of the status quo. Yet even this requires qualification, if not some revision, and is already subject to much speculation.

The CCP has had to undergo some redefinition as circumstances evolve. The state socialism it championed underwent a social(ist) market phase to emerge as state capitalism.

Ideology continues to be diluted as dogma fritters away. Conservatives and reformists both within and outside China agree the trend is irreversible if not also inevitable.

Just about the only thing that a future China is still certain to be is a unitary state. But even this has to be qualified again.

What is now regarded as Greater China – the People’s Republic of China on the mainland, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan – are unlikely to be fused into one singularly cohesive whole anytime soon.

Yet they are moving together towards a unitary economy, the basis of the modern nation state. Such a trend is beyond the protestations of democrats and the comprehension of many strategists.

At the same time, provinces are slowly moving towards greater autonomy in economic matters, including in dealings with neighbouring countries. A country as large as China cannot endure too long under strict centralised rule.

And China has endured longer than all others, with the country now into its fifth millennium of continued statehood. These trends and movements take time and may seem imperceptible for other countries, but they are par for the course with China’s enormous timelines.

For decades now, Chinese authorities have also introduced elections at local levels with invited inputs from the Carter Center. Voting has been practised in village and provincial levels, and despite occasional fits and starts the trend is towards a controlled political opening with assured stability.

All of this contributes to the near-incomprehension of today’s China on the part of external observers. A survey of their attitudes, assumptions and responses in any given week attests to this reality.

Questions of whether China (meaning Beijing) can ever govern Taiwan, or even understand Hong Kong, are typical. The real risk of observers not seeing the wood for the trees is ever-present.

A debate of sorts has emerged over China’s likely reaction to a possible win by Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in next January’s election. Pessimists who fret over their own cynical pronouncements fail to realise that China is playing for bigger stakes than petty party feuding.

China’s interest in Taipei is Taiwan, not necessarily a Kuomintang (KMT) Taiwan. A lately declining KMT under President Ma Ying-jou has sufficiently energised pragmatists in Beijing to be diplomatic towards the DPP.

Another perennial issue is the presumed rivalry between the US and China. Although competition exists between them, they have more in common than at variance for now and the foreseeable future.

Their shared interests include international security and a single global economy in which both hold the largest stakes. Rivalry in these core areas compromises the interests of both without enlarging opportunities for either.

An understanding of that basic reality is shared between US and Chinese leaders, but apparently not by Japanese ones. The Abe administration is still stuck between old wartime anxieties and proudly snubbing Beijing.

However, China should also not expect anything but Abe’s cancellation of a visit on Sept 3. The occasion, with Western leaders absent, is being presented by some in China as celebrating its victory over Japan.

China: Military parade not aimed at any country

China says its upcoming September 3rd military parade is part of commemorations for the 70th anniversary of its victory in the war of resistance against Japanese aggression, and is not specifically aimed at any country.http://t.cn/RyzoMBy

Nonetheless, the Abe government remains an activist one in provoking competition with China over military issues. Its White Paper released last month inflates China’s maritime military capabilities and even conflicts with US calculations.

Besides the US, Taiwan and Japan, the other barometer of China’s rise as seen through its foreign relations is Asean.

China regards Asean wariness of its territorial assertiveness as limited and negotiable, since not all member countries have rival claims to offshore territory. But Beijing may seriously be underestimating Asean’s sense of solidarity, given not just Asean’s community-building agenda but also its common resolve to develop community cohesiveness.

The established links between China and Asean’s newer CLMV members (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam) are both limited and fraying in places. Beijing needs to rebuild trust and good faith within Asean as much as in North-East Asia.

China has thus emphasised multi-level, multi-sectoral joint ventures both bilaterally and collectively. Its proposals for a Maritime Silk Road and a One Belt, One Road link to Europe are backed by the China-Asean Maritime Cooperation Fund, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the New Development (Brics) Bank and China’s own solvency.

On the ground however, Asean collectively seeks enlarged trade volumes with China. However, China’s currency devaluations and the subsequent jolts to regional currencies compromise these goals.

With Indonesia, China is extending cooperation in fighting drug trafficking as Jakarta favours using the yuan for bilateral trade. With Malaysia, China is building linkages in education and industrial development.

Thailand’s post-coup government is seen as leaning towards China, thanks in part to a US snub. Now Thai-Chinese ties are growing over purchases of stockpiled Thai rice and even the prospect of a Kra Isthmus canal.

China’s relations with Vietnam and more so the Philippines will require more time and work. Ironically, Unctad trade data identifies the Philippine economy as the biggest regional beneficiary of China’s rise.

Beijing’s ties with the other Asean countries may be less complicated but still require attention and constant tending. Its record of fully understanding Asean is not impressive.

Overall, Beijing’s relations with Asean and its member nations are economic, diplomatic and socio-cultural, without political interference in their domestic matters. This contrasts with Washington’s largely military posturing and its political pressures on issues of democracy and human rights.

China’s impact on this region is likely to remain non-political and non-military – differing from US interaction. This asymmetry makes up much of South-East Asia’s strategic status quo.

Whether and how it will endure, and whether it deserves to remain, still have to be seen.

By Bunn Nagara Behind the Headlines

Bunn Nagara is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia.

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Chinese yuan extends fall, long-term depreciation unlikely, weakening is not devaluation


BEIJING, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) — Chinese currency continued to fall on Wednesday after the central bank reformed the exchange rate formation system to better reflect the market.

The central parity rate of renminbi, or yuan, weakened by 1,008 basis points, or 1.6 percent, to 6.3306 against the U.S. dollar, narrowing from Tuesday’s 2 percent, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trading System.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, changed the exchange rate formation system so that it takes into consideration the closing rate of the inter-bank foreign exchange market on the previous day, supply and demand in the market and price movement of major currencies.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) described the central bank’s move as “a welcome step” that allows market forces to have a greater role in determining the exchange rate.

“Greater exchange rate flexibility is important for China as it strives to give market-forces a decisive role in the economy and is rapidly integrating into global financial markets,” an IMF spokesperson said in an email on Wednesday.

The IMF said it believes the country can achieve an effective floating exchange rate system within two or three years.

However, the move still surprised the market and prompted the lowest valuation of the yuan since October 2012.

Ma Jun, chief economist at the PBOC’s research bureau, attributed the lower rate to a long-standing gap between the central parity rate and the previous day’s closing rate on the inter-bank market.

In a latest statement released on Wednesday, the PBOC said the rate changes are normal, as it shows a more market-based system and the decisive role that the supply-demand relationship plays in determining the exchange rate.

“This may lead to potentially significant fluctuations in the short run but after a short period of adaptation the intra-day exchange rate movements and resulting central parity fluctuations will converge to a reasonably stable zone,” the PBOC said.

Ma also said the shift is a one-off technical correction and should not be interpreted as an indicator of future depreciation.

A relatively robust economy, current account surplus and the internationalization of the yuan will help the currency remain stable, the PBOC said.

Official data showed the Chinese economy maintained 7 percent growth in the first half of 2015 against challenges at home and abroad, creating sound conditions for the yuan to hold steady.

Surplus in goods trade reached 305.2 billion U.S. dollars in the first 7 months, a fundamental prop for the exchange rate.

An internationalized yuan and open financial sector have boosted the demand for the currency in recent years, which serves as momentum for the rate’s stabilization, the PBOC said.

In addition, the PBOC also cited China’s abundant foreign exchange reserves, stable fiscal condition and healthy financial system.

The central parity rate is based on a weighted average of prices offered by market makers before the opening of the interbank market each trading day. The currency is allowed to trade on the spot market within 2 percent of the rate.

The PBOC said it will strive to further improve market-based exchange rate formation, maintain normal fluctuations and keep the rate basically stable at an adaptive and equilibrium level.

– Xinhuanet

Yuan weakening is not devaluation: central bank economist

 
Photo taken on March 16, 2014, shows yuan (central) and other currencies in the picture. [Photo/IC]

BEIJING, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) — Allowing the Chinese yuan to weaken sharply against the U.S. dollar does not signify the beginning of a downward trend, a central bank economist said on Tuesday .

The yuan central parity rate announced by the China Foreign Exchange Trading System (CFETS) stood at 6.2298 against the greenback on Tuesday compared to 6.1162 on Monday, down nearly 2 percent, the lowest level since April, 2013.

The shift is a one-off technical correction and should not be interpreted as an indicator of future depreciation, said Ma Jun, chief economist at the research bureau of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC).

The central parity rate is based on a weighted average of prices offered by market makers before the opening of the interbank market each trading day. The currency is allowed to trade on the spot market within 2 percent of the rate.

The PBOC said Tuesday’s lower rate resolved accumulated differences between the central parity rate and the market rate, and was part of improvements to the central parity rate formation system to make it more market-based.

Ma said a long-standing gap between the central parity rate and the previous day’s closing rate on the inter-bank market led to the lower rate on Tuesday.

He said China’s economic fundamentals support a “basically stable” yuan exchange rate. A central parity rate closer to the market rate will provide a more stable environment for macro-economic development.

The economy has shown signs steadying and recovery, with infrastructure investment accelerating and property sales improving. Compared with some economies under strong pressure to depreciate their currencies, China is better-off, with a current account surplus, huge foreign exchange reserves, low inflation and sound fiscal conditions, he explained.

From Tuesday, daily central parity quotes reported to CFETS before the market opens will be based on the previous day’s closing rate on the inter-bank market, supply and demand and price movements of other major currencies, according to the PBOC.

In July 2005, the central bank unpegged the yuan against the U.S. dollar, allowing it to fluctuate against a basket of currencies.

Making formation of the central parity rate more market-based touches on the core of reform, compared with previous steps that mainly concerned how much the yuan can fluctuate, said Guan Tao, former head of the international payments department at the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.

The yuan was at first allowed to vary by 0.3 percent from the central parity rate each trading day and the trading band gradually expanded to 2 percent in March last year. The market expects it to expand to 3 percent in the near future.

The latest reform actually increases China’s flexibility and independence in foreign exchange control, as a rigid exchange rate system is open to speculative attacks, Guan told China Business News.

Two-way fluctuations will become normal for the yuan in future, he said.

– Xinhuanet

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Sorry is the hardest word for Abe


Abe

The news that the “draft of Abe’s statement contains an ‘apology'” made the headlines all day on Japanese broadcaster NHK on Monday. According to the report, the statement to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday will also include key expressions used in the 1995 statement by then-prime minister Tomiichi Murayama, including “apology,” “deep remorse,” “aggression” and “colonial rule.” This is so far the first report released saying that Abe’s speech will cover this positive content.

Yet over the past few days, a number of Japanese media have been quoting a variety of inside information saying that Abe’s remarks will not include terms like “apology.” As the day that marks Japan’s defeat in WWII approaches, how Abe will talk about it has been placed under global public scrutiny.

Abe’s statement will reflect the future path of the country. If he only reflects on the wartime past but tries to blur the nature of the war by refusing to apologize, or avoiding mention of “aggression,” the nation will face serious doubts over whether it is planning to ditch peaceful development, and means to reshape the political and historical pattern that formed after the war.

Abe has always been beating about the bush, trying to lower the world’s anticipation of him echoing the spirit of the Murayama Statement. Not long ago, his cabinet voted through revisions of the country’s security rules, which has triggered quite a few domestic protests. His domestic support rate has tumbled sharply, causing him unprecedented pressure since he assumed office as prime minister for the second time.

Abe might compromise, and add those key words from the 1995 Statement. Yet this is not as certain as a compromise to political pressure, rather than his own moral and political responsibility. His historical revisionism is known by all, and opportunism is universally considered as his main principle to adjust strategies over historical issues. Hence, there is a good chance that he may rewrite his statement draft at the last minute.

Accordingly, instead of the real historical recognition by Abe’s administration, the speech will more likely mirror Abe’s scheming and calculating among all the pros and cons in the power structure of the Asia-Pacific region.

Even so, a statement that can be accepted by the international community is still worth welcoming.

Abe’s political logic is weird. He should realize that the US is Japan’s biggest obstacle on the path toward becoming a “normal state.” But he won’t let go of the rivalry with China. Some suspect that Tokyo is eager to stay in the good graces of Washington, letting its guard down and seeking a chance to get rid of its control. However, Japan is unable to make that work.

Abe will find that his ability falls short of his wishes over his strategy in the Western Pacific. We hope he will make the right choice for his statement, whatever the reasons. And history will judge him fairly.

– Global Times

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MH370 Debris found in Reunion may give clues on when plane part broke


The pilots of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 are Forst Officer Gambar Fariq Abdul Hamid, left, and Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah at right.

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Video: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/07/30/world/mh370-debris-investigation/  

Saint-Denis, Reunion Island (CNN)When investigators get an in-peA policeman and a gendarme stand next to a piece of debris from an unidentified aircraft found in the coastal area of Saint-Andre de la Reunion, in the east of the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, on July 29, 2015. The two-metre-long debris, which appears to be a piece of a wing, was found by employees of an association cleaning the area and handed over to the air transport brigade of the French gendarmerie (BGTA), who have opened an investigation. An air safety expert did not exclude it could be a part of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which went missing in the Indian Ocean on March 8, 2014. AFP PHOTO / YANNICK PITONYANNICK PITON/AFP/Getty Imagesrson view of a wingcomponent that likely came from a Boeing 777, they’ll be looking for not only a serial number but cluesas to why the part broke off the Boeing 777.

Story highlights

  • Independent group says damage appears to indicate flaperon came off while plane was in air
  • Plane debris will be sent to investigators in France on Friday, official in Paris tells CNN
  • Investigators confident debris found on an Indian Ocean island comes from a 777 aircraft
One group of independent observers said Thursday that the damage to the component — a right wing flaperon — should give authorities a good indication that the piece came off while the plane was still in the air.
The group, led by American Mobile Satellite Corp. co-founder Mike Exner, points to the small amount of damage to the front of the flaperon and the ragged horizontal tear across the back.
The rear damage could have been caused if the airliner had its flaperon down as it went into the ocean, some members of Exner’s group wrote in a preliminary assessment after looking at photos and videos of the component.
But the lack of damage to the front makes it more likely the plane was in a high-speed, steep, spiral descent and the part fluttered until it broke off, the group said.
Boeing and Australian officials are confident the debris — found Wednesday off the coast of a remote island in the west Indian Ocean — came from a Boeing 777 — and might be from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a 777 that disappeared in March 2014 with 239 people on board.
The plane debris will be transported to France on Friday evening, a spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor’s office said. Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre said the piece will arrive in Paris on Saturday and will be sent to Toulouse, the site of the nearest office of the BEA, the French authority responsible for civil aviation accident investigations.
Exner’s group — an informal cadre of aviation experts — said that if the flaperon were still on the wing when the plane hit water, the front would have been damaged by hitting the part of the wing to which it was attached. And the rear damage looks like it was caused by stress rather than being bent and broken off when the plane hit the water.
But an aircraft component specialist who spoke to CNN disagreed.
The lack of damage to the front section “tells me that the component could still have likely been back in its original position inside the wing itself,” said Michael Kenney, senior vice president of Universal Asset Management, which provides plane components to airlines.

‘Highly confident’ component from Boeing 777

Boeing investigators are confident that debris found on a remote island in the Indian Ocean comes from a 777 aircraft, according to a source close to the investigation.
Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, agreed.
“We are highly confident but it still needs confirmation that it is a part from a 777 aircraft,” he told CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront.” “The only 777 aircraft that we’re aware of in the Indian Ocean that could have led to this part floating is MH370. But as I said, we still need to confirm that through closer study.”

EXPAND IMAGE
People cleaning a beach found the debris Wednesday on Reunion, a French overseas territory in the western Indian Ocean.
The source said Boeing investigators feel confident the piece comes from a 777 because of photos that have been analyzed and a stenciled number that corresponds to a 777 component. A component number is not the same as a part number, which is generally much longer.
Images of the debris also appear to match schematic drawings for the right wing flaperon from a Boeing 777. A flaperon helps the pilot control the aircraft. It is lightweight and has sealed chambers, making it buoyant.
Despite this confidence, no one is saying the part definitely comes from a 777, much less MH370.
Finding the debris is a “significant development” in the search for MH370, Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said.

More debris

New debris, which washed ashore Thursday and appears to resemble remnants of a suitcase, is also part of the investigation, Reunion Island police officials confirmed to CNN.
The flight vanished March 8, 2014, en route to Beijing. So far, no confirmed trace of it has been found, making it one of history’s biggest aviation mysteries and leaving relatives of passengers and crew members uncertain about the fate of their loved ones.
A preliminary assessment by U.S. intelligence agencies, produced in the wake of the MH370 disaster, suggested it was likely someone in the cockpit deliberately caused the aircraft’s movements before the Malaysian airliner disappeared.
Two U.S. officials briefed on the matter told CNN that the assessment, which was not intended for public release, was prepared months ago and was solely based on available satellite and other evidence.
The U.S. intelligence assessment was largely focused on the multiple course changes the aircraft made after it deviated from its scheduled Kuala Lumpur to Beijing route. Analysts determined that, absent any other evidence, it’s most likely someone in the cockpit deliberately moved the aircraft to specific waypoints, crossing Indonesian territory and eventually toward the south Indian Ocean.
Malaysian investigators haven’t reported finding any evidence that casts suspicion on the pilots.
The airliner’s crew has been the focus of attention since the mysterious disappearance, but no proof has emerged indicating they intended to destroy the plane. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies from numerous countries examined the plane’s manifest of crew and passengers and found no significant information to suggest anyone on board posed an obvious threat.

Missing plate

If it does turn out to be from Flight 370, the development would reassure Australian officials that they are looking for the rest of the plane in the right area, Truss and Dolan said.
Airplane debris found in western Indian Ocean

Airplane debris found in western Indian Ocean 02:27
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“It’s credible that debris from MH370 could have reached the Reunion Islands by now,” Truss said.
Malaysia Airlines is sending a team of investigators to Paris and a second team to Saint-Denis, Reunion, on Friday, an airline official in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, told CNN.
It’s unclear how identification will be made.
Normally identification would be aided by a small serial number plate attached to a flaperon, but the part found on the beach appears to be missing the serial number plate, according to photographs.

Other markings may be found on the part, said Kenney, the executive from Universal Asset Management.

Australia is leading the underwater search for the remains of Flight 370 in the southern Indian Ocean, some 2,300 nautical miles (3,700 kilometers) east of Reunion. But Truss said that French and Malaysian authorities will be responsible for establishing whether the debris found off the island came from the missing jetliner.

Australia has offered its help, he said, including asking marine experts to look at photos of the debris to determine whether barnacles on it are “consistent with something that was floating in the oceans for 16 months or more.”

Video: http://english.cntv.cn/2015/07/31/VIDE1438309202518257.shtml

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South China Sea Conflicts won’t affect Asean Cooperation


http://player.cntv.cn/standard/cntvOutSidePlayer.swf http://english.cntv.cn/2015/07/30/VIDE1438206483278724.shtml

Challenges we face are temporary

TIANJIN: China is confident that the conflicts at the South China Sea will not affect cooperation with Asean, says Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin.

He said China had been insisting on negotiation and consultation with the countries that also claim sovereignty in the disputed waters, and emphasising on working with Asean to uphold safety and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

“The challenges we are facing now are only temporary. There are broad prospects in the cooperation between China and Asean,” he said.

Liu was speaking to reporters together with Thai Foreign Ministry deputy permanent secretary Noppadon Theppitak after co-chairing the China-Asean senior officials’ meeting on the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DoC) here.

China and several countries in South-East Asia, including Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Vietnam, assert overlapping claims on the resource-rich South China Sea.

Disputes have erupted with the claimants blaming each other for building military and civil facilities on the contested reefs.

Anti-China riots broke out in Vietnam last year when China deployed an oil rig in a section of the South China Sea claimed by both countries.

The Philippines has sought international arbitration to resolve the dispute, a move criticised by China as a betrayal to the commitment to solve the issue through dialogue and negotiations.

As tension continued to flare over the disputed waters, China has openly warned Japan and the United States against meddling in the conflicts.

On Tuesday, China carried out a live-fire drill in the South China Sea to “improve its maritime combat ability”, Chinese national news agency Xinhua reported.

Citing navy sources, Xinhua said dozens of missiles and torpedoes, as well as thousands of shells and bombs, were fired during the drill.

Expressing confidence that the conflicts in the South China Sea were “manageable”, Liu said there was no need to worry.

Without naming any countries in particular, he reminded third parties not to intervene and condemn China on the issue.

“The South China Sea is not an issue between China and Asean, but China and some countries in the grouping.

“Over the years, through the formulation of the DoC and the efforts to draw up a Code of Conduct (CoC), China and Asean have worked together to maintain peace and stability as well as to uphold freedom and safety of navigation in the South China Sea.

“China is confident and determined to work with Asean to jointly manage the issue,” he said.

Meanwhile, Noppadon said China and Asean had agreed to begin a new phase of consultations on the CoC and work towards its early conclusion.

He added that Thailand would submit a draft possible outline of the CoC for the consideration of the next joint working group, which would meet in Chengdu, Sichuan province, in October.

The meeting yesterday also witnessed the agreement to establish hotline communications between the Asean and Chinese foreign ministries to respond to emergencies at sea.

Malaysia was represented by Wisma Putra secretary-general Datuk Othman Hashim and three other officers in the meeting.

When approached, Othman said the meeting was peaceful and constructive.

“We discussed extensively on what we have achieved so far, and what has to be done for the future.

“We are working together with other Asean members for the implementation of the DoC and the development of the CoC,” he said.

Malaysia, which is the chair of Asean this year, will host a series of meetings, including the Asean Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and Asean Plus Three Foreign Ministers Meeting, from Aug 1 to 6.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has confirmed his attendance.

BY THO XIN YI The Star/Asia News Network

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American FBI’s China accusation spurred by finance, not a good idea to spy on friends!


On Thursday last week, the FBI released a film entitled The Company Man: Protecting America’s Secrets, which targets economic espionage. The 35-minute film features two Chinese economic spies who try to bribe a US employee with money, attempting to acquire insulation technology from the latter’s company. The two were later prosecuted and caught in the net of justice. According to media reports, the video has already been shown nearly 1,300 times at US enterprises.

An FBI official publicly voiced that “China is the most dominant threat we face from economic espionage … The Chinese government plays a significant role.”

The official also declared that economic espionage has caused losses of hundreds billions of dollars annually to the US economy.

How much is “hundreds of billions of dollars?” Say $300 billion, about 2 percent of US annual GDP.

Since the FBI believes that there has been a 53 percent surge in economic espionage in the US, and 95 percent of US companies suspect that China is the main culprit, does it infer that China has stolen 2 percent of US GDP?

Some people may ponder that given the Cold War is over, Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were eradicated and the war on terror is seemingly not that urgent for the moment, and in light of US federal budget constraints, the FBI needs to find new strategic reasons for more funds. Therefore, the “position” of “Chinese economic spies” has been greatly elevated.

What the FBI has done is bound to injure Sino-US relations. But it is US society that will suffer the most. Many Americans will hence think that their economy is fine, their companies have no problems at all and the only issue is the threat from Chinese economic espionage.


It looks to them like Chinese intelligence services and civilian business spies are much more powerful than the FBI, CIA and other non-governmental intelligence forces combined. China is not capable in every category except for spy technology. This is the logic of the FBI
.

If we take a good look at China’s overall development in this changing world, you will see that one-third of global new technical patents are now created by Chinese companies every year. Innovation has also become China’s national slogan. China will eventually be able to challenge the West’s dominance in high technology.

China is well aware that it should learn from the West, especially the US, in terms of technology. But this is not stealing.

US universities are also attracting students from all over the world, yet this brings more benefits than losses to the nation due to the dissemination of knowledge.

Someone who always claims that his house was robbed and feels free to suspect his friend or neighbor is the thief is very annoying, and that is what the US is doing right now. The whole world knows that US intelligent agencies are the most notorious regarding this issue.

We hope that the often-silent Chinese intelligence services could expose some hard evidence of espionage by US spies, and make a spy movie featuring US espionage, providing it with a mirror to look at itself.- Global Times

Not a good idea to spy on friends

THERE’s been so much dramatic news these days – from Greece’s miseries to Iran, China from blowhard Donald Trump – that the shocking story of how America’s National Security Agency has been spying on German and French leadership has gone almost unnoticed.

Last year, it was revealed that the NSA had intercepted Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone. She is supposed to be one of Washington’s most important allies and the key power in Europe. There was quiet outrage in always subservient Germany, but no serious punitive action.

Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, was also bugged by American intelligence. Her predecessor, Luiz Lula da Silva, was also apparently bugged.

This year, came revelations that NSA and perhaps CIA had tapped the phones of France’s president, Francois Hollande, and his two predecessors, Nicholas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac. Hollande ate humble pie and could only summon some faint peeps of protest to Washington. Luckily for the US, Charles de Gaulle was not around. After the US tried to strong-arm France, “le Grand Charles” kicked the US and Nato out of France.

Last week, WikiLeaks revealed that the NSA had bugged the phone of Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, for over a decade. Imagine the uproar and cries “the Gestapo is back” if it were revealed that German intelligence had bugged the phones of President Barack Obama or Secretary of State John Kerry.

A lot of Germans were really angry that their nation was being treated by the Americans as a northern banana republic. Many recalled that in the bad old days of East Germany its intelligence agency, Stasi, monitored everyone’s communications under the direct supervision of KGB big brother at Moscow Centre.

The National Security Agency and CIA claim their electronic spying is only aimed at thwarting attacks by anti-American groups (aka “terrorism”). This claim, as shown by recent events, is untrue. One supposes the rational must be a twist on the old adage “keep your enemies close, but your friends even closer”.

Ironically, the political leaders listed above – save perhaps Brazil’s da Silva – are all notably pro-American and responsive to Washington’s demands.

Why would the US risk alienating and humiliating some of its closet allies?

One suspects the reason is sheer arrogance … and because US intelligence could do it. But must US intelligence really know what Mr Merkel is making Mrs Merkel for dinner?

Until WikiLeaks blew the whistle, some European leaders may have known they were being spied upon but chose to close their eyes and avoid making an issue. Raising a fuss would have forced them to take action against the mighty US.

Besides, British, Italian and French intelligence are widely believed to have bugged most communications since the 1950’s. But not, of course, the White House or Pentagon. The only nation believed to have gotten away with bugging the White House was Israel during the Clinton years. The Pentagon was bugged by a number of foreign nations, including Israel, China and Russia.

Humiliating Europe’s leaders in this fashion is a gift to the growing numbers of Europeans who believe their nations are being treated by the US as vassal states.

There is widespread belief in Western Europe that US strategic policy aims at preventing deeper integration of the EU and thwarting a common foreign policy or a powerful European military. Britain serves as a Trojan horse for America’s strategic interests in Europe.

Way back in the 1960’s, then German defence minister Franz Josef Strauss, an ardent proponent of a truly united Europe, thundered that Europeans would not play spearmen to America’s atomic knights. But, of course, that’s just what happened.

The US still runs and finances Nato in the same way the Soviet Union commanded the Warsaw Pact. Washington calls on Europe for troop contingents in its Middle East and south Asian colonial wars in the same way that the Persian Empire summoned its vassals to war.

Many Germans and French, both right and left, would like their leaders to react more forcefully to NSA’s ham-handed spying. However, Merkel and Hollande are both political jellyfish eager to evade any confrontation with Big Brother in Washington. Maybe he has too much dirt on them.

But a confrontation is inevitable one day if Europe is to regain its true independence that was lost after World War II.

By Eric S. Margolis who is an award-winning, internationally syndicated columnist. Comments: letters@thesundaily.com

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Japan security bills, Abe fans anti-China flames with defense paper


By Li Feng

Abe fans anti-China flames with defense paper

People hold placards during a rally against Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration and his security-related legislation in front of the parliament building in Tokyo July 15, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

The Japanese Cabinet on Tuesday approved its annual defense white paper, in which it accuses China of raising regional tensions in the East China Sea and South China Sea. China’s Ministry of Defense expressed strong dissatisfaction and opposition toward the 429-page document later the same day, saying it “tarnishes the image of China’s military” and deliberately plays up the “China threat” theory. Comments:

By defaming China as a regional security threat in its defense white paper, the Japanese administration led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is clearly aiming to add necessity and legitimacy to the new security bills, which breach Japan’s pacifist Constitution, and complicate Asia-Pacific security issues such as the South China Sea disputes. It will be unfortunate for both Japan and East Asia if Abe remains adamant on challenging China.

Xinhua News Agency, July 21

Japan’s defense white paper for 2015 is not conducive to safeguarding peace and stability in East Asia. The so-called threat is not from China but Japan itself.

Kamakura Takao, an emeritus professor of Saitama University, Japan, July 21

Two new implications in Japan’s latest defense white paper should be noted. First, the document is in line with the new security bills that Abe is trying to muscle through, offering excuses for the country’s overseas military deployment. Second, as a non-stakeholder in the South China Sea issues, Tokyo may propose to participate in the US patrols in the area to expand its regional presence, and, of course, conduct more overseas military operations. It is a dangerous move that other regional powers should pay close attention to.

Qian Feng, vice-president of Asia Times, July 22

In the past, Japan used to see the Soviet Union and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as the top threats. Now China has become the No 1 “threat”. Confronted with the “unexpected” opposition to his security bills in Japan, Abe has resorted to the defense white paper to defuse public rage and convince peace-loving Japanese that the bills’ passage is necessary.

Ny Huang Dahui, director of the East Asia Research Center of Renmin University of China, July 21

Source: Asia News Network/China Daily

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