Six simple steps to defend your data from ransomware


Ransomware blackmails Internet users by encrypting the files on their computer or mobile device and demanding payment, generally in the virtual currency bitcoin, to unlock them. — dpa

Recent ransomware attacks have rattled internet users around the world. This malicious software blackmails users by encrypting the files on their computer or mobile device and demanding payment, generally in the virtual currency bitcoin, to unlock them. But these six simple security measures can significantly reduce the risk of a computer being hit by an attack.


1. Regular updates
: Software updates for browsers and operating systems don’t just add new functions – they also install security patches to protect computers against the latest malicious software.

The German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) recommends enabling automatic updates on a device and advises against the use of older operating systems such as Windows XP, for which Microsoft has stopped providing regular security updates.

Microsoft will also discontinue updates for the operating system’s successor, Windows Vista, this summer – all the more reason to replace it with a newer version.

2. Be vigilant: Don’t trust anyone, says nomoreransom.org, a website run by IT security companies and European law enforcement. Never open email attachments from suspicious accounts, don’t click on questionable links and don’t download unverified software.

Even emails from friends and co-workers should not necessarily be trusted. Before opening an attachment or clicking on a link, always take time to consider whether the sender’s online account could have been hacked or their computer software infiltrated by malicious software.

3. Antivirus software: Enable all the security applications in your operating system, advises the BSI. Reliable antivirus software can provide further protection, but must be kept up-to-date.

4. Back up data: Creating digital duplicates of your files can protect your personal information from disappearing forever. In the event of an attack, you can just transfer over your back-up files.

Windows (Backup and Restore) and MacOS (Time Machine) have in-built applications for backing up your data, but they might not be accessible in the event of an attack. A more secure option would be to save your files in an external device, such as a hard disk drive, solid-state drive, DVD, or in the cloud.

To reduce the risk of spreading viruses, only connect the external drive to a device during file transfers. As an extra precaution, save your data in two separate external hard drives.


5. Fight back
: If you happen to accidentally install malicious software or receive suspicious messages, immediately disconnect your device from the internet, instructs  nomoreransom.org. to be decrypted. This will prevent the infection from spreading.

You can then run a clean installation of your computer software, and transfer over your back-up files. For some types of ransomware, there are techniques to unlock the content on your computer.

The latest malware outbreak “Petya” can be stopped by creating the read-only filetype “C:\Windows\perfc.dat,” which prevents it from scrambling your files. An initial report on the antidote published on the site bleepingcomputer.com has since been confirm by several IT security companies.

6. Never pay: A blackmailer’s demands should never be met, says the State Office of Criminal Investigation (LKA) of Lower Saxony. There are several reasons for this, the LKA reports. First, even if you pay the ransom, there is no guarantee that you will regain access to your files.

Second, by paying the attacker, you are supporting the growth of a criminal industry. Every payment finances new attacks. In the case of the recent Petya outbreak, the payment system is useless, because only one email address was provided, which has since been shut down by the provider. — dpa

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Xi’s governance of China book a hot seller


 

After its debut in Thailand, Cambodia and Pakistan, Xi Jinping: The Governance of China has become a top seller and been well-received among local officials and scholars, with many hailing the value of the book for both its language and its outreach.

The book, which outlines the political ideas of the top leadership in China, has been released in Thai, Khmer and Urdu versions in the respective capitals of the three countries in the past two weeks.

A Thai publisher sold more than 2,000 copies of the book in a single day after its launch in Bangkok on April 7, with many readers inquiring on social media about ways to purchase the book, reported Xinhua news agency.

Thai Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, who had read the book, said it was written in beautiful language, even though it was not in the form of a novel or essays.

“I believe that to be a great leader, one has to be a good reader, good thinker, good speaker, good writer and good doer, and I found President Xi has achieved all of them after I finished reading this book,” he said.

In Phnom Penh, more than 700 officials, scholars and entrepreneurs, including Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen and five deputy prime ministers, attended the launching ceremony for the book on April 11.

Chea Munyrith, director of the Confucius Institute of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said publishing a Khmer version will enable the Cambodian people to better learn about China and Xi himself.

Chea, who assisted in the translation of the book into Khmer, said it offers insights for government officials and scholars on how to properly manage a country.

“That is why it is important for the officials, students and scholars in Cambodia to read through the book,” he said.

At the launching ceremony of the Urdu edition of the book in Islamabad on Friday, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the book is as much about the contemporary world as it is about China.

“What has touched me most is that this book is not just about high-level politics, but also about moving stories of common people, their lives and inspirations about hard work and family values,” he said.

“This book is as much about the “Chinese Dream” as it is about the global dream to have a peaceful, harmonious and connected world,” he added.

Building a community of shared destiny is an important concept embodied in Xi’s thoughts on governance of the nation, said Jiang Jianguo, deputy head of the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and minister of the State Council Information Office.

“And this concept has been included in the resolutions passed by United Nations organisations,” Jiang said in Islamabad.

Source: China Daily/Asia News Network

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Xi, Trump discuss China-US cooperation


Working together ‘only correct choice’, Chinese leader tells president-elect

President Xi Jinping said on Monday that “there are a lot of things” China and the United States need to, and can, cooperate on, in a phone call congratulating Donald Trump on his US presidential election victory.

“Facts have proved that cooperation is the only correct choice for China and the United States,” Xi told Trump, noting that the past 37 years of diplomatic relations have brought concrete benefits to the people of the two countries, as well as facilitating global peace and stability.

Since China and the US now have important opportunities and great potential for cooperation, Xi said the two countries should better coordinate in promoting the economic development of both countries and the world, and expand exchanges in all fields to bring bilateral ties forward.

“During the call, the leaders established a clear sense of mutual respect for one another,” a statement from Trump’s presidential transition office said. “President-elect Trump stated that he believes the two leaders will have one of the strongest relationships for both countries moving forward.”

The two leaders also agreed to keep in close contact and meet at an early date.

Tao Wenzhao, a researcher of Sino-US relations at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said mutual interests between the US and China will not be subject to US political changes. Both US parties subscribe to developing relations with Beijing.

Tao said it will take time to see how Trump’s China policy develops after he takes office, though the new administration “will not necessarily resort to a trade war with China”, despite his statements during the campaign and pressure from many US politicians for greater containment of China.

Tao said that is “because he is a smart businessman, and a trade war surely impacts both sides”.

Fu Mengzi, a Sino-US relations researcher at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said there should be a distinction between Trump’s statements during the campaign and his policies as president.

“He knows the importance of China-US relations. He will find some ‘China hands’ to draft his policies toward China,” he said.

At a daily news conference on Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China has remained in close communication with the US side, including Trump’s team.

Geng also said that China expects to expand cooperation with the new US administration at all levels and in various fields, including infrastructure construction .

“The fundamentals of China-US relations will not change in the future, even though frictions may occur,” Fu said.

Tao said the Chinese government will continue to cooperate with the Obama administration, citing the 27th China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade coming up in Washington, DC.

By Mo Jingxi | China Daily.
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Stop bitting the helping hand


Many of the negative responses over the deals with China seem to be politically motivated, stemming from ignorance and, in some cases, ethnic prejudice against all things Chinese.

 

YOU can be angry with Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak but let’s not lose our objectivity. The Prime Minister brought in RM144bil worth of deals signed between Malaysia and China.

Many Asean countries are eyeing that kind of money from China but strangely, some Malaysians’ sense of rationality is becoming warped, even perverted, and they feel it is prudent to go into senseless name-calling and mindless smearing of China.

We have to be careful here – remarks like Malaysia indulging in yellow culture, selling our soul to China and comments which smacks of racism are surely not the way to treat a friendly superpower nation like China.

Those making such disparaging remarks are doing a disservice to Malaysia. It’s akin to throwing sand into our rice bowl.

Hate the PM as much as you want as this is how democracy works. But do some of us need to lash out with political rhetoric against China?

It is one thing to score points against our political rivals but surely, there must be a line drawn – let’s not bite the hand that is trying to help us at a time when Malaysia needs to secure more foreign investment to shore up our flagging revenue from oil and gas.

Many of the negative responses over these deals with China seem to be politically motivated, stemming from ignorance and, in some cases, ethnic prejudice against all things Chinese, whether it has to do with mainland China or Chinese Malaysians.

Let’s look at the numbers – foreign investors (including the US) are net sellers of stocks in Bursa Malaysia and have reportedly dumped RM948.1mil in stocks although some have said it is even more.

Malaysia can no longer depend on traditional foreign direct investments from the US and other Western countries.

The reality is that China invested as much as US$84bil (RM370bil) in 2012, establishing it as the world’s third largest outward investor after the US and Japan. China has aggressively eclipsed other nations.

The shift towards China, according to one study, is obvious as the republic emerged as Malaysia’s largest trading partner, enjoying a 13.8% share of Malaysian trade since 2012.

Malaysian firms (especially those owned and managed by Malaysians of Chinese descent) have also been actively investing in China since it liberalised its economy in 1979. Some of these firms played a crucial role in attracting mainland Chinese firms to invest in Malaysia, according to studies.

Everyone knows that China has the money. And Malaysia has an edge over other Asean countries because of the link between Chinese Malaysians and China that has given us an advantageous position, especially when China increasingly sees Singapore as a US ally.

There are some who are unhappy with China’s purchase of 1MDB’s energy assets in Edra Global Energy Bhd for RM9.83bil by the state-owned China General Nuclear Power Corp recently, suggesting that the republic was only helping Najib out in the 1MDB controversy.

But let’s look at other investments – even before the recent trip by the PM. China has put in a multi-billion ringgit purchase of a substantial equity stake in Bandar Malaysia via China Railway Construction Corporation.

China Railway Engineering Corporation has announced plans to set up its multi-billion regional headquarters in Bandar Malaysia, which will host the main terminal for the proposed KL-Singapore High Speed Rail project.

It has been reported that the Chinese government has started buying more Malaysian Government Securities (MGS) and this inflow of new money could possibly rise to RMB50bil (about RM30bil) in total or 8.5% of Malaysia’s total outstanding MGS as of early April.

Those who have been grumbling should answer if there’s any big money coming from the US, Australia or Britain.

And many of us are also wary about money coming in from the Saudis – some are alleging that they are exporting radical Islamic values to Malaysia. Do we need this?

Like it or not, China, apart from being Malaysia’s largest trading partner which takes up 19% of its exports, is presently one of the top five foreign investors in the country.

Investments from China in the manufacturing, construction, infrastructure and property sectors are at significant levels now.

According to official data, China’s investments in the manufacturing sector here from 2009 to 2015 totalled RM13.6bil, creating 24,786 jobs.

Malaysia also needs more Chinese tourists to visit our country and we hope to attract two million Chinese tourists by the end of the year. Our tourism industry has seen a growth of 23% in arrivals from China since the e-visa entry programme was introduced in March this year.

China is the third largest source of tourists for us after Singapore and Indonesia. Malaysia targets eight million Chinese tourists by 2020.

Only 10% of China’s population travelled out of their country and yet they have spent US$229bil (RM1tril) globally last year. They easily beat the number of many Western countries put together!

They spend more than other tourists and they travel in bigger numbers. We all know that in Western countries, Chinese-speaking shop assistants are specifically hired to engage with this segment of customers.

Malaysia is not on the radar of Chinese tourists but more young Chinese tourists have chosen to visit Sabah because of its beautiful sea and lush forests.

Chinese tourists spent US$215bil (RM948bil) abroad last year, 53% more than in 2014, according to a World Travel & Tourism Council report, a figure which is more than the annual economic output of Qatar. Chinese tourists are now spending way more than anyone else, including the Americans.

The number of Chinese tourists travelling globally has more than doubled to 120 million over the last five years, according to data from the China National Tourist Office and WTTC. That means one in every 10 international traveller now is from China.

Malaysia is missing out on this action, unfortunately. For a start, we can make travelling into Malaysia easier for them and having more direct flights will help.

Let’s give credit where credit is due. Najib has done well, from his recent trip to China.

It will even be better if our own Air Asia gets to fly into more Chinese cities as this will surely help boost Chinese tourist arrivals.

Let’s get real, all of us.

Certainly we have the right to express our concerns over the terms of some projects, and to seek clearer details, but let’s not drag in unnecessary elements which strain bilateral ties.

By Wong Chun Wai

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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Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak (L) and China’s Premier Li

Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing. – EPA

Malaysia-China ties to a new high

Malaysian PM Najib given official welcome at China’s Great Hall of the People https://youtu.be/v87tJF3uO7U   Prime Minister …

Malaysia-China ties to a new high


Malaysian PM Najib given official welcome at China’s Great Hall of the People

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/v87tJF3uO7U

 

 

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and China’s Premier Li Keqiang inspect honour guards during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, China, November 1, 2016. Reuters

BEIJING, China: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said his current visit to China will propel bilateral ties between the two nations to a new high.

“We have said that bilateral relations are at a historic high. I can say that with confidence.

“But more so, this visit will being it to a new high because the comprehensive nature of our strategic partnership has now been translated into meaningful action,” he said in his opening remarks at the bilateral meeting between Malaysia and China at the Great Hall of the People here.

Najib also thanked his counterpart Li Keqiang, seated across from him, for the warm welcome given to the Malaysian delegation.

“It’s warm in the room, but outside it’s a little cold,” Li replied in jest. The weather in Beijing is currently chilly as winter approaches, with a high today of 11.7 degrees Celsius and an overnight low of – 2.2 degrees.

Najib was given earlier given an official welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People here.

Najib, who is on a six-day official visit, was welcomed on arrival by China prime minister Li Keqiang. Also present were ministers and government officials accompanying the prime minister’s delegation.

The national anthems of both countries were played, followed by Najib’s inspection of the guard accompanied by Li. The Malaysian prime minister was also given a 19-gun salute.

Earlier, Najib had attended the Malaysia-China Business Forum, titled “Strengthening Cooperation, Building Opportunities”. The luncheon was attended by more than 400 Chinese and Malaysian businessmen. – New Straits Times

Xi vows to cement all-round strategic partnership with Malaysia

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in Beijing, capital of China, Nov. 3, 2016. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in Beijing on Thursday, pledging to boost cooperation with the country in diverse areas and cement their all-round strategic partnership.

Xi hailed the progress of relations since diplomatic ties were established 42 years ago, citing mutual respect, trust, win-win cooperation and close communications.

He urged both countries to maintain frequent high-level exchanges, deepen political trust, keep to the right direction of bilateral relations and continue to support each other on issues related to each other’s major concerns.

Xi called on the two sides to combine their development strategies, and to lay a solid foundation for stronger trade cooperation.

China welcomes Malaysia’s participation in the Belt and Road Initiative, and is ready to work with the country to increase cooperation in areas such as infrastructure, energy, technology, agriculture and finance, he said.

Xi also urged stronger bilateral cooperation in education, culture, health, media, and in fighting terrorism and cross-border crime.

Najib congratulated the successful convening of the sixth plenary session of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee last week, and praised China’s economic and social development.

It is proven in practice that socialism with Chinese characteristics is a correct choice for China, he said.

Calling the two countries friendly neighbors and trustworthy friends, he said Malaysia-China ties are currently at their highest level.

Malaysia is glad to see China’s Belt and Road Initiative get a warm response, he said, vowing to facilitate the cooperation in trade, transportation, and port construction, with China under the Belt and Road framework.

Malaysia is committed to boosting ASEAN-China relations, he added.

Najib is on an official visit to China from Oct. 31 to Nov. 5. Xinhua

Najib’s visit reveals feeble US rebalance

Malaysia has agreed to buy four Chinese naval vessels that operate close to shore, after the country’s Prime Minister Najib Razak met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang early this week. Malaysia usually purchased military equipment from the US and the latest move marks its first significant defense deal with China. Some have called it a “new milestone.” The two sides signed 14 agreements worth 231.8 billion yuan ($34.28 billion) on Wednesday, and Najib called it a “historic achievement.”

Commentaries speculating that Najib is becoming the “second Duterte” in Southeast Asia and that Malaysia is “another Asian domino falling toward Beijing” have run wild in mainstream Western media. The New York Times contended that “American efforts to contain Chinese ambitions in the South China Sea depend on a ring of allies, but the region’s united front may be crumbling.”

Najib said in a Chinese media outlet recently that former colonial powers should not “lecture countries they once exploited on how to conduct their own internal affairs today.” The tensions between Malaysia and the US brewed by Washington’s interference in Malaysia’s internal affairs are similar to those between the US and the Philippines caused by the former’s accusation against Duterte’s human rights abuses during its anti-drug campaign.

The US’ sense of superiority in politics and morality often makes it point its fingers at developing countries. In 1993, it forcefully inspected a Chinese freighter suspected by its intelligence service of carrying weapons and ended up finding nothing. It launched attacks on Iraq over its alleged ownership of weapons of mass destruction, but faced the same fate.

Chinese people don’t think that Kuala Lumpur is leaning toward Beijing. China and Malaysia are developing their ties steadily. China has been Malaysia’s biggest trading partner and replaced the US to become its largest investor in 2015. The two have minor territorial disputes but have managed them well. China’s relations with neighboring countries ought to be like this.

Friendly ties between China and Malaysia do not exclude a third party. Defense cooperation, which displays a higher level of strategic mutual trust, should not be labeled as “a turning point for the region.”

The fears of US and Western opinion reveals that the US rebalance to the Asia-Pacific is eyeing unrealistic goals, which are to form an alliance system in the West Pacific that includes most countries so as to contain China. The West views China as an expansionist imperial state like Japan used to be in the past, and requires regional countries to be “loyal” to Washington.

The rebalancing strategy does not hold water. China has never thought of military expansion as Japan did. It cherishes peace and stability like all regional stakeholders. China is sincere in tackling territorial disputes through peaceful negotiations. A “nightmare” in the South China Sea is nothing but an illusion created by the US and Japan.

Washington should reflect upon itself. It is an external country and its presence in the region should contribute to peace and stability. It will not stay long if it keeps driving a wedge between regional countries. – Global Times

We need to come out against a third world war


Watch Video:

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/EpF0U7lUVdk

IS A WAR in the making – a third world war? If there is much talk about such a possibility, it is mainly because of the tensions between the United States and Russia.

Tensions between the two most powerful nuclear states in the world have never been this high since the end of the Cold War in 1989 and the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991.

There are at least two flash points, one more dangerous than the other. In Eastern Ukraine, Russian backed rebels will not surrender to the US supported regime in Kiev because they see US control over Ukraine as part of a much larger agenda to expand Nato power to the very borders of Russia. This has been happening for some years now.

But it is the Washington-Moscow confrontation in Allepo, Syria which portends to a huge conflagration. The US is protective of major militant groups such as Al-Nusra which has besieged Eastern Allepo and is seeking to overthrow the Bashar al-Assad government.

Washington has also set its sight on “regime change” in Damascus ever since the latter’s determined resistance to Israeli occupation of the strategic Golan Heights in Syria from 1967.

The drive for regime change intensified with the US-Israeli quest for a “new Middle East” following the Anglo-American invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. It became more pronounced in 2009 when Bashar al-Assad rejected a proposal to allow a gas pipe-line from Qatar to Europe to pass through his country, a pipe-line which would have reduced Europe’s dependence upon Russia for gas.

Russia of course has been a long-standing ally of Syria. Together with Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah, it is helping the Syrian government to break the siege of Eastern Allepo and to defeat militants in other parts of Syria.

It is obvious that in both instances, in Ukraine and Syria, the US has not been able to achieve what it wants. The US has also been stymied in Southeast Asia where its attempt to re-assert its power through its 2010 Pivot to Asia policy has suffered a serious setback as a result of the decision of the new president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, to pursue an independent foreign policy that no longer adheres blindly to US interests.

At the same time, China continues to expand and enhance its economic strength in Asia and the world through its One Belt One Road projects and the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank and via its leadership of BRICS.

China’s regional and global economic role is leading to its pronounced presence in security and military matters. As a result of all this, the US’s imperial power has clearly diminished. It is a hegemon in decline.

It is because it is not prepared to accept its decline that some US generals are threatening to demonstrate US’s military might. If a hegemon is a danger to humankind when it is at its pinnacle, it becomes an even greater threat to peace when its power is diminishing.

Like a wounded tiger, it becomes even more furious and ferocious. A new US president may be inclined to give vent to this frustration through an arrogant display of military power.

How can we check such wanton arrogance? There will be elements in the elite stratum of US society itself who would be opposed to the US going to war.

We saw a bit of this in 2013 when those who were itching to launch military strikes against Syria based upon dubious “evidence” of the government’s use of chemical weapons were thwarted by others with a saner view of the consequences of war. It is also important to observe that none of the US’s major allies in Europe wants a war.

Burdened by severe challenges related to the economy and migration, the governments know that their citizens will reject any move towards war either on the borders of Russia or in Syria and West Asia.

This also suggests that a self-absorbed European citizenry may not have the enthusiasm to mobilise against an imminent war. Let us not forget that it was in European cities from London to Berlin that the biggest demonstrations against the war in Iraq took place in 2003.

Anti-war protests will have to be initiated elsewhere this time.

Governments in Moscow and Beijing, in Teheran and Jakarta, in Pretoria and La Paz, should come out openly against war. They should encourage other governments in the Global South and the Global North to denounce any move towards a war that will engulf the whole of humanity.

Citizens all over the world should condemn war through a variety of strategies ranging from signature campaigns and letters to the media to public rallies and street demonstrations.

In this campaign against an imminent war, the media, both conventional and alternative, will have a huge role to play.

It is unfortunate that well-known media outlets in the West have supported war in the past. It is time that they atone for their sins!

By Chandra Muzaffar

Dr Chandra Muzaffar is the president of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST).
Comments: letters@thesundaily.com

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US becoming nothing more than troublemaker! Why US resents Beijing-Manila rapport?


https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/6ecL5kuyubY

US becoming nothing more than troublemaker

The US military revealed to Reuters that its guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur on Friday conducted a so-called freedom of navigation mission in the South China Sea. The US military mentioned China’s Yongxing and Zhongjian islands, and said the Chinese mainland, the island of Taiwan and Vietnam all claim ownership of the Xisha Islands.
It said the destroyer did not come within 12 nautical miles of the islands.

According to China’s Ministry of National Defense, a guided-missile destroyer and a guided-missile frigate were dispatched to identify and expel the US vessel.

All Western media have noted that the US maneuver was conducted during Philippine President Duterte’s state visit to China in which bilateral relations have been restored with the signing of a series of cooperative agreements. This was a provocation by the US, flagrantly telling the world that it doesn’t want to see peace in the South China Sea, and that it wants waves there. If no one helps it, it will make them itself.

China  as early as 1996 announced that the territorial waters surrounding Xisha Islands belong to it alone. Unlike the Nansha Islands, the Xisha Islands are under full Chinese control and Beijing doesn’t recognize any territorial disputes there. A US warship coming to the Xisha Islands can be viewed as a way to escalate provocations.

The Philippines has started to shelve its disagreements with China and restore friendly
relations, and has announced the end of its joint military patrols and exercises with the US. Duterte has talked of “separation” from the US, which will severely impact the US’s strategy. The Pentagon dispatching warships to patrol at this moment is a clear response to Duterte’s visit to China, sending signals to the region that it will maintain its
presence and continue trying to exert influence.

They chose the Xisha Islands this time, probably with the intention to arouse the
interest of Vietnam and test its reaction. After Duterte has repeatedly ridiculed Washington, US ships going to China-Philippines disputed waters will be fruitless, therefore the US has decided to change direction.

We hope that Vietnam will see through the US’s intentions and not fall into their trap. Duterte has said the US military is stationed in the Philippines only out of its own  interests and he has decided to leave the road of conflict that the US has forced the Philippines to take, which shows that he and many of his compatriots are fed up with the US profiting from South China Sea tensions at their expense.

Recently, China and Vietnam have also started to control disputes and push for better bilateral ties. As China-Philippine ties improve, the geopolitical situation in the South China Sea has changed, which is good for the whole region. While the US is not willing
to accept this change, as long as China, Vietnam and the Philippines stick to their own interests and put cooperation first, a US warship sailing in the South China Sea will have no effect.

Many critics have overestimated Washington’s tolerance. It has started not to care
about its image as a “world leader,” but is becoming nothing more than a
troublemaker.

Why the US resents Beijing-Manila rapport ?

In a signed article published by the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter tried to trumpet the US rebalance to the Asia-Pacific strategy, claiming the US can “help ensure that the next 70 years in the region are as secure, stable, and prosperous as the last.”

He also used more than a few words to criticize China, arguing that “Beijing sometimes plays by its own rules and undercuts those [regional] principles.”

The article was published during Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to China. A number of steps Duterte took, especially this visit, are regarded as undermining the
US’ South China Sea strategy, which is core to the US rebalance to the Asia-Pacific.

As the most outstanding diplomatic and political legacy of Barack Obama’s presidency, Washington’s rebalancing strategy is now in crisis. Besides the Philippines’ fresh start over the South China Sea issue, the chances that US Congress will pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal are slim. Carter’s article is refuting those voices pessimistic about the US strategy of rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific.

Washington has been claiming credit for safeguarding peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific, including the South China Sea.

Now the Philippines and China have reached a rapport after intense conflict
over the maritime dispute. Washington should feel happy about the stabilization of the situation, but look how begrudging it is.

President Obama announced an overall lifting of the weapons ban on Vietnam during
his visit there in May, a move widely seen as targeting China. But Beijing reacted positively about the improved ties between the former foes. Washington should take the same gesture, even if it is faking it, to compliment Beijing and Manila on their return to a friendly track.

However, the US seems to be unhappy and feel betrayed. It is widely believed that
Washington is pressuring Manila to return to confrontation against Beijing. US public opinion is hoping Duterte can retake a tough stand over Huangyan Island.

The major conflicts in the South China Sea are becoming those between China and the US, rather than territorial disputes. It is not difficult to cool Beijing’s disputes with Manila and
Hanoi down to a level that will not seriously jeopardize their friendly cooperation. Whether the US can restrain itself from the urge to dominate regional order and using “rules” as an excuse to contain China is a real test.

To Washington, rules and principles actually mean its leadership. US national strength is losing its advantage, but its obsession and sensitivity to hegemony have increasingly turned extreme, which leads to many problems.

China has no intention to drive the US out of Asia. In many cases, it doesn’t reject the US’ willingness to be a global leader. But we hope it knows that its strength is limited, as well as its understanding of the world. – Global Times

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