Job for new Philippine head: Stop the kidnapping of foreign citizens


 

Manila urgently needs to tackle problems in its own backyard to stop the kidnapping of foreign citizens.

PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was in Manila last November for the Apec Summit when he was informed by officials that Malaysian hostage, Bernard Then, who was abducted by the Abu Sayyaf group, was beheaded.

“He was upset and very shocked,” recalled a Malaysian official.

When he spoke to the Malaysian media in Manila, Najib said President Benigno Aquino had told him that Then’s beheading was probably carried out due to Philippine army operations and that Then had slowed down the militants who were moving from one place to another.

“That is not an excuse we can accept because he should have been released,” Najib told the media.

He described the beheading as savage and a barbaric act.

There seems to be no end to the kidnappings. Now more hostages, at least 20, are in the hands of the militants who are demanding ransoms.

They include four Malaysian sailors who were taken from their boat by Abu Sayyaf militants on April 1 in international waters near Pulau Ligitan. Their fate remains unknown.

Fourteen Indonesians travelling in tugboats from Borneo to the Philippines were also abducted by hijackers in two separate cases recently.

Even as the foreign governments were working to get their citizens released, more shocking news came – Abu Sayyaf gunmen had beheaded Canadian John Ridsdel in the southern province of Sulu, sparking condemnation from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Indonesia is still struggling with how to deal with the kidnapping of its citizens and is hosting talks with Malaysia and the Philippines to boost maritime security.

The meeting of foreign ministers and military chiefs in Jakarta is to discuss joint patrols to protect shipping in the waters between the three countries following the kidnappings.

The Philippine military has said the militants have been targeting foreign crews of slow-moving tugboats because they can no longer penetrate resorts and coastal towns in Sabah due to increased security.

Last week, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman was in Manila to meet his Filipino counterpart, Jose Rene D. Almendras. More assurance was given that Manila was doing all it could to secure the release of the hostages.

The Philippine military and police reportedly said that “there will be no letup” in the effort to combat the militants and find the hostages. But they have had little success in securing their freedom.

All these assurances somehow ring hollow.

We are dealing with human lives. If the foreign governments are frustrated with the way the crisis is being handled by Manila, imagine the anguish and uncertainty of family members waiting for news of their loved ones.

The kidnappings are taking place in the Philippines’ own backyard and the question arises as to whether they are doing enough to tackle the problem at source.

The answer will be no. After all how do you explain the alarming number of people being kidnapped and brought back to the Philippines with a price put on their head?

It is election period in the Philippines. A lot of energy is spent on political campaigning by politicians and fears remain that the lives of the hostages are not on their priority list.

“Manila must be doing more to tackle the kidnapping and transborder crime activities and I seriously think they are not doing enough,” said a security official.

Security is a big challenge for the Philippines. While its military is battling the militants in the south, up north Manila sent its ships and aircraft to keep watch over the South China Sea, where tensions are building up with China.

Another problem has risen from these hostage-taking cases. It is affecting the economic activities of citizens living on both sides of the border.

Sabah has shut down its eastern international boundaries to cross- border trade as part of measures to clamp down on the kidnapping groups.

Barter trade is a lifeline for people on Tawi Tawi, the southern-most Philippine province and the closest to Sabah, for their rice, cooking gas and fuel.

Authorities in several Indonesian coal ports have blocked departures of ships for the Philippines over security concerns. Indonesia supplies 70% of the Philippines’ coal import needs.

The calls for joint navy and air patrol efforts among neighbouring countries are getting louder. But that is a stop-gap measure.

These kidnapping cases are affecting the image of the region as well.

Filipinos are about to elect a new president. Lets hope one of the priorities of the new leader is to tackle, with a lot of care, the safe release of the hostages and subsequently peace in southern Philippines.

By Mergawati Zulfakar The Star

 

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China is making efforts with ASEAN states to protect the peace and stability of the South China Sea [Read it]

 Security threats call for Asia to come together

Rather than military prowess, it will be agreements achieved through dialogue and mutual trust that will guarantee long-term peace and security in Asia.

READ: Malaysian beheaded by Abu Sayyaf after kin failed to comply with ransom demand – military

There seems to be no end to the kidnappings. Now more hostages, at least 20, are in the hands of the militants who are demanding ransoms.

They include four Malaysian sailors who were taken from their boat by Abu Sayyaf militants on April 1 in international waters near Pulau Ligitan. Their fate remains unknown.

READ: 4 Malaysians reported seized by Abu Sayyaf

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Malaysia’s pragmatic patriot: friends with benefits


 

The South China Sea dispute. The global terrorism threat. Malaysia’s foreign policy is back in the world’s spotlight and it is exciting times for ISIS Malaysia’s Foreign Policy and Security Studies chief.

IN an article titled “Think tanks aren’t going extinct. But they have to evolve”, American scholar James Jay Carafano wrote that the capacity to do rigorous, credible research is “no longer sufficient” for think tanks to manoeuvre their ideas prominently into the policy debate. Instead, think tanks must learn to communicate “in ways that will allow their ideas to break through to decision-makers who are bombarded with information from all sides”.

In that regard, Elina Noor has proven to be a real asset to Malaysia’s premier think tank, the Institute of Strategic and Interna­tional Studies, or ISIS Malaysia. Her ability to articulate on complex and dynamic global affairs – such as major power relations, cyber warfare, terrorism and conflicts – in succinct yet jargon-free language has also made her a highly sought-after interviewee by the international media.

As a child, Elina wanted to be “everything”, from prime minister to fashion designer. Her parents, who ran a management consultancy firm, however, might have subconsciously put her on her career path by leaving the world news on television all the time when she was growing up.

“My parents would engage in lively debates about international affairs between themselves. As I grew older, I wanted to do law with an eye towards international law, specifically how war and conflict affect people.”

After graduating from Oxford University in the United Kingdom, she specialised in public international law at the London School of Economics and Political Science. This was followed by an internship at the Centre for Non-proliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Washington DC, specialising in issues of weapons of mass destruction terrorism.

Essentially, she helped compile a database of terrorist groups with chemical or bioweapons capabilities by combing through secondary sources and obtaining intelligence from experts who had gone into the field.

Her days in the United States were cut short, however, by visa limitations. So, after nine months, she returned to Malaysia in 2001.

Her appetite whetted by her Washington experience, Elina joined ISIS Malaysia as a researcher.

Though formally positioned as a research organisation for nation-building initiatives, ISIS Malaysia was set up by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 1983 to serve as a crucial sounding board for the government on foreign policy and security issues.

In addition to research, ISIS Malaysia engages actively in non-governmental meetings between states, known as Track Two diplomacy, and fosters closer regional integration and international cooperation through forums such as the Asia-Pacific Roundtable.

Now, having risen through the ranks, Elina heads a team of eight in the Foreign Policy and Security Studies division.

As a claimant state in the ongoing South China Sea dispute, chair of the Association of South-East Asian Nations in 2015, and currently a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, Malaysia’s foreign policy direction has drawn renewed interest at home and abroad.

Invariably, Elina is asked questions on Malaysia’s relations with China. Her answer is perhaps best laid out in an article she wrote, titled “Friends with Benefits: Why Malaysia can and will maintain good ties with both the United States and China.”

On the topic, Elina had explained: “Malaysia should or will be subservient to an awakening dragon, but the cost-benefit calculus militates against provoking it. Equally, Malaysia’s location and posture make it a strategic partner for China in South-East Asia.

“It is the mark of a mature and solid friendship when overall relations are not held hostage to single-issue disagreements.”

Elina had added that such overlapping claims in the South China Sea, “should not, if managed well, stultify cooperation between Malaysia and China in other areas of the relationship. For a developing country with high-income and knowledge-economy ambitions like Malaysia, the show must go on”.

Or to put it simply, Malaysia wants to be everybody’s friend. That’s always been the country’s foreign policy from the start, she points out.

On the other hand, this pragmatic approach has also enabled the country to punch above its weight in places where even superpowers fear to tread.

Elina’s other portfolio, cyber warfare and security, is expected to come further into the spotlight with recent headlines claiming that the so-called Islamic State extremist group in Iraq and Syria intended to abduct top Malaysian leaders, including the PM.

“Malaysia up to this point has handled terrorism very well,” Elina says.

Many attempts have been foiled in the past, she adds, and the police have kept it low-key.

“If you follow the issues closely, you’ll notice the police only started publicising their efforts in the run-up to Pota (The Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015), an anti-terrorism law passed by the Malaysian government on April 7, 2015 enabling the Malaysian authorities to detain terror suspects without trial for a period of two years.”

Part of this publicising had to do with the political selling of Pota, but there was a more legitimate, pressing reason: People were taking security for granted in Malaysia.

“Malaysians treat security like it’s not a problem. We often criticise the police but the military and Special Branch in charge of counterterrorism really know what they’re doing. The police have been very vigilant and I think they do good work but haven’t been given enough credit.”

After 14 years, she still enjoys her job because of the intellectual robustness but admits some world-weariness has set in.

Nevertheless, Elina remains motivated by the knowledge that a lot of good Malaysians on both sides of the political divide are doing good work for the country.

Pointing to a faded wristband she has been wearing for “donkey’s years”, the inscription reads: “Malaysia tanahairku (Malaysia, my homeland)”.

“Call me cheesy,” she says, “but I’ve never thought of removing it. Love for country might, but does not always, equate to love for government. I’m a sentimental patriot.”

By Alexandra Wong, China Daily/Asia News Network

North Korea: launched a long-range rocket, cannot repeat China’s nuclear weapons path


North Korea launched a long-range rocket on Sunday morning. Pyongyang authorities said they had successfully launched the Kwangmyongsong-4 earth observation satellite, while the US, South Korea and Japan considered the launch to be a long-range missile test.

Pyongyang has made progress in long-range rocket and missile technology, but it is far from mastering mature long-range missile system and building a strategic deterrence. North Korea hopes it can effectively threaten the US homeland, but it views the matter too simply. Washington regards Pyongyang’s rocket launch as “severe provocation.” The majority of the international community doesn’t believe that in the foreseeable future, Pyongyang can miniaturize warheads and have the long-range nuclear strike ability to coerce Asia-Pacific countries and the US.

Long-range missile technology is similar to rocket technology, but there are differences. The deterrence of long-range missiles using liquid propellant is limited due to their restrained mobility and slow response times. According to analysis from the US and South Korean side, Pyongyang’s liquid propellant is backward and unreliable. North Korea has no successful record in long-range missile launch. As long as the Kwangmyongsong-4 enters the target orbit, it can be considered successful. But after all, the launch of a rocket and a missile is different.

Long-range missiles need a huge supportive system, for instance, the ability to measure flight attitude, orbit accuracy and landing location, but Pyongyang doesn’t have any of this. Washington and Seoul believe that North Korea has a rather limited missile testing ability. With the missile and rocket launched by the North landing in the ocean with little possibility of it being retrieved, it is extremely difficult for Pyongyang to collect the test data. Its industry is also not able to manufacture all the materials necessary for developing long-range missile and nuclear bomb.

Some believe Pyongyang’s research into nuclear weapons and long-range missiles is similar to China’s atomic and hydrogen bomb development in the 1960s. Since China succeeded, so will North Korea.

This is a serious misreading. China faced a different environment than North Korea today in developing nuclear weapons. It was before the Non-Proliferation Treaty was adopted in 1968. Plus, China has a vast territory, and has nuclear test sites in the desert, while North Korea’s limited space makes this impossible.

China’s strategic deterrent power of nuclear bomb and missile, limited at the beginning, were enhanced as science and technology improved in the country. It has become even more credible with the mobility of land-based ICBMs and the upgrading of sea-based missile launching system.

Pyongyang is at the stage of developing nuclear equipment and long-range rockets, which however has developed far from the reality of the country’s technology and economic development. So far, it is hard to tell whether it brings more strategic security or strategic harm to Pyongyang.

How far can Pyongyang’s nuclear bomb and missile develop? It is not up to the political determination of Pyongyang, since it involves complicated geopolitical forces which North Korea can hardly harness. Pyongyang must think carefully how to extricate itself from the increasingly grave situation. – Global Times

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However, China’s determination to safeguard its national security should be clearly shown, so that the other stakeholders will have to think carefully before they make any decision that might challenge China’s position.

China will “by no means allow war on the Korean Peninsula” a foreign ministry spokesperson said Wednesday, stressing Beijing was deeply concerned over Pyongyang’s announced plan to launch a satellite later this month, only weeks after it tested a nuclear bomb in defiance of international sanction

US playing a messy game of provocations in SCS; China build up defense to thwart the provocation


In October, the US guided missile destroyer USS Lassen conducted a “freedom of navigation” operation within 12 nautical miles of China’s Meiji and Zhubi reefs.

In December, a United States Air Force B-52 bomber “accidentally” flew within 2 nautical miles of China’s Huayang Reef.

On Saturday, the Pentagon announced an “innocent passage” by the guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur within 12 nautical miles of China’s Zhongjian Island.

On the surface, these are “routine” operations US Senator John McCain says are “normal occurrences” China will have to accept.

Yet this is not a Tom-and-Jerry kind of game where no party gets seriously hurt.

There is real potential danger, because the US challenges to China in the South China Sea are showing a trajectory of escalation.

Zhongjian Island is part of the Xisha Archipelago, where there is no current, active dispute, and hardly part of the issue of the day.

The Pentagon did display some diplomatic sophistication this time, claiming that the USS Curtis Wilbur “challenged attempts by the three claimants-China, Taiwan and Vietnam-to restrict navigation rights and freedoms around the features they claim by policies that require prior permission or notification of transit within territorial seas”.

Ignoring the fact this violates the US’ recognition of “one China”, reaffirmed by US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday, the Pentagon’s statement raises legitimate suspicions that it has an agenda to further complicate the South China Sea issue.

As in the rest of the South China Sea, there is no evidence the named “claimants” are attempting to “restrict navigation rights and freedoms”. Enlarging the South China Sea issue by extending it to the Xisha Archipelago may be an attempt to drive a wedge between the mainland and Taiwan by dragging the latter into a long dormant and increasingly forgotten “dispute”.

The US wants a larger role in the Asia-Pacific. And it is bent on preempting a perceived Chinese challenge.

There is no better way to do this than by making things messier, to make itself “needed” and “wanted”.

What China needs and wants is peace, but as the Chinese saying goes, while the tree craves calm, the wind will not abate. Beijing needs to react accordingly, and prepare for all possibilities.

However, the country learned the significance of comprehensive national strength the hard way. It should not be distracted. It should rise above stress responses and stay focused on its development agenda. – China Daily)

Build up defense to thwart US provocation 

China firmly upholds her sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea. [Photo/Xinhua]

The US on Saturday sent one of its naval vessels within 12 nautical miles of the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea. The move, according to the Pentagon, was about “challenging excessive maritime claims that restrict the rights and freedoms of the United States and others.” The Chinese side criticized the behavior of a “serious political and military provocation.”

Until recently, China-US frictions have been fixed on the Nansha Islands. The latest intrusion by US vessels is a high-profile US provocation that has expanded to the Xisha Islands. Xisha is under China’s actual control and China has released the territorial sea baseline of the Xisha Islands, including Zhongjian Island. Therefore, the US provocation this time is more vicious.

Currently, China and the US have been focused on making their own moves in the South China Sea disputes. China is building islands in accordance with the law, and the US cannot prevent China from doing so despite strong protests. The US sent warships to provoke, and China protests against it strongly, yet with few effective countermeasures.

It is hard to evaluate the strategic nature of Sino-US confrontations in the South China Sea. China seems to have more room to maneuver, while the US apparently has more control over the overall situation.

Since it happens at the door of China, China feels that the US is circling to contain it and the US vigilance against China is aggressive. There is a long way to go before China can have an equal footing with the US. Such equality can only be achieved with the build-up of strategic strength.

China’s military strength still significantly lags behind that of the US. If the US is ready for a face-off in the South China Sea, it can quickly gather its military strength despite the far distance.

We also face similar setbacks in the East China Sea. We bear enormous pressure from Washington in our peripheral areas, and the relative backwardness of China’s military might is the weakest link in our competition with the US. Chinese people must be clear about the broader strategic significance of this reality.

The US provocation comes ahead of the 2016 two sessions which are scheduled in March. This reminds us that we must retain a high growth rate of military spending in spite of the economic downward trend.

The defense expenditure of a big power must constitute a certain percentage of its overall expense. China’s military budget only takes up 2 percent of its GDP, much lower than the US figure of 4 percent. Before we reach the same ratio as the US, we should hold a cautious attitude toward decreasing the defense budget.

China needs to accelerate its speed of building up strategic strike capabilities, including a nuclear second-strike capability. The US provocation will not stop due to Chinese objections. In the short-term future, we will have limited means to counter the US.

It will probably take China a dozen years or longer of military build-up before it faces a different situation in the South China Sea. – Global Times

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Internet set to cut cord with US government, ICANN urges Internet control


&

 

The US government, announcing its intention to end its role in March 2014, said it would seek to maintain a “multi-stakeholder” model for Internet governance

A plan to end a key US government oversight role on the Internet is on track for completion this year, the head of the online address gatekeeper said, in a symbolic move towards asserting the independence of the web.

While the transition will not change how the Internet works, it would help reassure users, businesses and governments about its integrity, according to Fadi Chehade, chief executive of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Chehade told AFP the transition plan being prepared since early 2014 will be delivered to the US government in February, and that it could take place on September 30—a year later than originally planned.

If the US government approves the plan, “then the contract between ICANN and the US government which is set to naturally expire on September 30 will just expire,” Chehade said in an interview Wednesday in Washington.

Chehade said the private non-profit ICANN is effectively a “traffic cop” that ensures the Internet address system functions, and that the US government’s role has been merely to ensure that it follows correct procedures.

“In all the years we’ve done that (the US government) has never said we did not follow the process,” he said.

“People have aggrandized the role of the US government in what we do. But the change is actually minimal. It’s important symbolically because the US was really a steward for the Internet, but for day-to-day accountability, it is minimal.”

Who runs the Internet?

The US government, announcing its intention to end its role in March 2014, said it would seek to maintain a “multi-stakeholder” model for Internet governance—which allows virtually all users from business to academia to government to participate—instead of a “multilateral” system controlled by governments.

Chehade said that without US oversight, ICANN would be managing the technical functions of the Internet under the supervision of a 16-member board which is designed to maintain diverse representation.

“We have a very solid process that ensures this is not a capturable board,” which can be hijacked by governments or other institutions, he said.

He added that the transition plan seeks “to strengthen the assurances that ICANN will remain multi-stakeholder,” by giving Internet users more authority to appeal to overturn decisions or even to remove board members.

Chehade noted that even though the ICANN process can be “unwieldy,” most decisions are made by consensus, with very few disputed votes in the organization.

He added that he expects a fresh round of hearings in Congress, following complaints by some US lawmakers that Washington is “giving away” the Internet and suggestions that it could be controlled by other governments.

“I think the concerns Congress has raised are very justified and genuine and therefore being prepared to address them is crucial,” he said.

But Chehade noted that ICANN has effectively been handling its functions for a long time.

“The independence of ICANN has been proven to be working for many years,” he said.

“It’s been working and we are now simply admitting that. We are ending the symbolic role of the US government which should have been let go in 2000.”

ICANN chief urges wide Internet control

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) President and CEO Fadi Chehadé called for the “preservation of a decentralised, transnational and not too fragmented governance” of the Internet on Tuesday

The head of the private agency that acts as gatekeeper for the Internet called Tuesday for international discussions to ensure control of the web remains decentralised.

Fadi Chehade, president and CEO of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), called for the “preservation of a decentralised, transnational and not too fragmented governance” of the Internet.

He told a Geneva conference that the Internet should remain “polycentric” but that the private and public sectors should work together.

“Only initiatives involving the private sector and governments can successfully and effectively address crucial issues like cybercrime, taxation of e-commerce, and child protection,” Chehade said.

ICANN, which is in charge of assigning domain names, is likely to break free of US oversight late next year.

Washington said in March it might not renew its contract with the Los Angeles-based agency, provided a new oversight system is in place that ensures the Internet addressing structure is reliable.

“ICANN is not and shall not be an island disconnected from other stakeholders,” Chehade said.

The agency plans to submit a proposal on oversight to the US Department of Commerce next year.

In an interview published Tuesday in Swiss daily Le Temps, Chehade said the role of the United States—one of ICANN’s 147 member countries—would remain important.

“If our DNA remains American, our openness to the world is a reality.”

US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker pledged at a meeting of Internet leaders in October that the United States would “protect and preserve a free, vibrant and open Internet”.

Pritzker said that while the United States might not renew its contract with ICANN, it still had a responsibility to encourage a decentralised Internet.

“The United States will not allow the global Internet to be co-opted by any person, entity, or nation seeking to substitute their parochial world view for the collective wisdom of this community,” she said. – AFP

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World Internet Conference 2015 Live from Wuzhen, China


Video: President Xi Jinping delivers keynote speech at WIC

Chinese President Xi Jinping began to deliver a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Second World Internet Conference (WIC) held in the river town of Wuzhen in east China’s Zhejiang Province Wednesday.
 

http://player.cntv.cn/standard/cntvOutSidePlayer.swf
http://english.cntv.cn/2015/12/16/VIDE1450236360367156.shtml

Xi calls for: No double standards in cyber security, cyber sovereignty, inclusive Internet community to build shared cyber future

WUZHEN, Zhejiang, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for joint efforts to combat cyber crimes and Internet terrorism, while underscoring that there should not be any double standards in safeguarding cyber security.

“We can not just have security for one or some countries, leaving the rest insecure, still less should one seek the so-called absolute security of itself at the expense of security of others,” Xi said in a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Second World Internet Conference held in the river town of Wuzhen, east China’s Zhejiang.

Cyberspace is for all mankind. Its future should be in the hands of all nations and countries should step up communication, broaden consensus and deepen cooperation, the Chinese president said.

Xi Jinping has put forward five proposals to build a community of shared future in cyberspace.

Speaking at a government-organised conference in Wuzhen Town attended by executives of global and Chinese Internet companies, he called for efforts to speed up the building of global cyber infrastructure and promote connectivity.

“China stands ready to work with all parties concerned to come up with more investment and technical support to jointly advance the building of global cyber infrastructure and enable more developing countries and their people to share the development opportunities brought by the Internet,” Xi said.

China’s President Xi Jinping laid out his vision for the internet, calling for respect of different governance models and standardized online security, placing China at the front of debates on online control and sovereignty.

“Each country should join hands and together curb the abuse of information technology, oppose network surveillance and hacking, and fight against a cyberspace arms race,” Xi told China’s second World Internet Conference.

Major Internet players such as Facebook, Microsoft, and China’s Alibaba attended the conference.

Participants hail President Xi’s remarks at WIC

Participants hail President Xi’s remarks at WIC.

 

Commentary: “Shared and governed by all” only way for Internet to get out of “Hobbes Jungle”

BEIJING, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) — Twenty-eight years ago, the founding father of the German Internet Dr. Werner Zorn helped Beijing send its first email to the outside world, which said: “Across the Great Wall we can reach every corner in the world.”

However, today, China, together with other developing countries, still find themselves trapped in a jungle due to an expanding digital divide and a lack of joint governance.

The divide, a technological gap between developing and developed countries on an international scale, is mainly caused by some Western countries’ arrogance and monopoly of information and communication technologies.

For example, the central nervous system of the global Internet with 13 root severs is completely dominated by the West, with the United States having 10 root severs while Britain, Sweden and Japan possess one respectively.

The ever-enlarging gap is detrimental to the stability and sustainable development of the international community, leading to anarchy in cyberspace and to some extent, gradually transforming it into a Hobbes Jungle where the stronger always has a bigger say over the destiny of smaller ones.

In addition, the divide has begun to show side effects like cybercrimes or even cyberterrorism as it accelerates social inequality, which provides fertile ground for extremism.

Like China, the United States is also a victim of cyberanarchy and such side effects. The recent shooting rampage in southern California, where two attackers radicalized by fanatical propaganda of the Islamic State (IS) on the Internet opened fire on innocent people, has sent a strong signal to Uncle Sam and its Western allies that they need to share and govern cyberspace with others.

After all, the Law of Jungle is relentlessly fair to everyone. In the long run, it neither favors the United States for its preponderance nor discriminates against the IS for its extremism.

In this sense, the opening of the Second World Internet Conference on Wednesday in China’s Wuzhen with the theme of “an interconnected world shared and governed by all — building a community of common future in cyberspace”, is a boon to nations worldwide threatened by the Law of Jungle.

If they want to get out of the jungle, they should bear three things in mind.

First, teamwork. Treat each other with respect and equality. The jungle is too enormous for egoism. Selfishness and hegemony worship will only ruin the mission. So the hefty ones like the United States should learn to cooperate if they want to defeat common enemies like cybercrimes.

Second, sharing. Don’t let the smaller ones be knocked out. Help them grow. Otherwise, they will become accomplices of the jungle. The Western countries who enjoy early advantages of information technology should loosen their restriction on technology transfers to developing countries.

Thirdly, joint governance. Never seek hegemony in decision-making. There are many paths to leave the jungle and the one you choose may not suit others. The governance of cyberspace needs the participation of all parties and all voices should be heard before a final decision is made.

By Tian Dongdong Xinhua

Cyber security depends on US cooperation

US President Barack Obama delivers remarks next to Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson (L) at the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center in Arlington, Virginia, January 13, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

China’s attempts to cooperate with the United States to safeguard the strategic stability of cyberspace have been welcomed, as the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong have suffered a series of high-profile cyber attacks this year, according to the latest PricewaterhouseCoopers Global State of Information Security Survey. The average financial loss caused by cyber-crimes in the region, says the report, rose 10 percent year-on-year to $2.63 million, compared with a 5 percent decline globally.

In cooperating to safeguard cyberspace, Beijing and Washington could seek the Internet equivalent of the code of safe conduct agreed between their militaries to avoid naval and air encounters, which has helped manage several bilateral disputes.

The two countries should first try their best to not point the finger at each other in case a conflict over cyber security emerges. The latest round of tensions in cyberspace started in early 2013, when American private security company Mandiant released a report, “APT1: Exposing One of China’s Cyber Espionage Units”, accusing the Chinese military of stealing US intellectual property.

Such a hysterical attitude, to a point, reflects the US’ anxiety over China’s impressive economic growth in the recent years. It is, therefore, important that the US seek to adjust its strategic perception of China and accept that the power gap between them is closing.

Beijing, on its part, ought to make more efforts to make its ideas clear to acquire a bigger say in global cyber-security affairs. Besides, neither country, especially the US, should make a habit of “making enemies” by taking irresponsible actions, even for the sake of national security.

True, most cutting-edge technologies in the age of the Internet can be lawfully and strategically used to gather military intelligence and keep cyber attacks at bay. But highly politicized discussions and operations, which used to be kept secret, can now be made public by the media today. So the challenge is to keep such details confidential.

In regard to China-US cyber cooperation, the major problem lies in Washington’s attempts to create enemies for political motives. Tactics such as exaggerating the perils of the so-called Chinese cyber-attacks and intimidating the American public and legislature with some selectively chosen materials, for example, have been routinely used by the US cyber-security authorities to create more room for political maneuverings and get more military budget.

Such tricks may have eased some of their pressure to safeguard homeland security, but they have come at the cost of cyberspace stability which China and the US both need. They have also failed to protect the two countries’ national interests, which need them to closely coordinate rather than oppose or accuse each other.

Washington should also be careful about its military industry, which is basically bolstered by certain security enterprises and departments trying to abduct the national security policy.

For some US security companies, gathering evidence on the imaginary cyber-attacks from China to help thwart them in the future can guarantee the consistent increase in their market values. Likewise, relevant governmental organs also tend to overstate the cyber security issue to increase their budget and influence security affairs.

China and the US should not let such parochial and hawkish mindset affect Washington’s cyber-security strategy, because neither country can emerge as winner in a cyber war; in fact, such a war will cause huge damage to the world. As a responsible major power, the US is obliged to push forward the China-US strategic dialogue on cyber security to make global cyberspace more stable, rather than using double standard to defend its controversial strategy and tactics, and condemn China for absurd reasons.

By Shen Yi (China Daily)
The author is an associate professor in the Department of International Politics at Fudan University in Shanghai.

China key to turning cyberspace truly global

A visitor tries out wearable device at the Light of the Internet Expo in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, Dec 14, 2015. [Photo /chinadaily.com.cn]

China holds a pivotal role in the Internet. It had more than 650 million Internet users by the end of last year and it is the largest and fastest growing information and communications technology consumer market in the world. The Chinese ICT sector is currently valued at €433 billion ($477.472 billion) and it is growing at an annual average rate of 7 percent, the fastest in the world. The country has made tremendous progress in Internet development in the past decade having become the most active e-commerce market in the world.

However, if we look at the distribution of the world’s ICT sector, China does not rank first. It ranks third. In 2012 China accounted for 13 percent of the world’s ICT, behind the United States (32 percent) and the European Union (23 percent). In the same year, the value of the EU’s ICT sector exceeded €516 billion.

These figures show the tremendous growth opportunities of China’s ICT industry. Obviously, the strategy should not be just to copy leading brands or seek to produce “Chinese” products. The ICT industry is not the car industry. It doesn’t just produce a series of final products; it produces interconnected systems too. In the ICT industry, we cannot innovate in isolation. Each single new product or system needs to be compatible — to interoperate — with those of upstream service providers and of the applications that users want.

Even more than in other globalized industries, the keyword in ICT is specialization. In other words, China should not promote investments in areas where other countries or economies are strong, but seek cooperation instead. In this regard, an analysis of the ICT statistics of China and the EU show how complementary China’s and Europe’s ICT sectors are.

China is very strong in manufacturing — more than 50 percent of the ICT sector comprises the manufacturing of telecom equipment, consumer electronics and electronic components. The EU instead dominates in high-end innovative services and IT applications, which together account for more than 55 percent of regional ICT sector.

The EU is a major technology hub and it can provide a key contribution for the growth of new ICT markets in China if adequate cooperation agreements are timely discussed and concluded, for example, in niche markets like the Internet of Things, smart cities, big data, e-health, cloud services, which will drive growth in the ICT industry in the next decade.

But opportunities for cooperation also exist in the “traditional” telecom segment. China and the EU are home to the world’s major telecom vendors. Synergies in 5G development are clear, especially following the signing of the EU-China Agreement on 5G last September in Beijing.

The EU-China political and economic relationship is very developed, though there are some challenges, which we need to overcome to improve cooperation in the digital field, such as the lack of mutual understanding of the reciprocal markets, divergences in the approach to cyber security and, related to it, a lack of global Internet confidence. Moreover there are substantial regulatory divergences between the Chinese and EU rules, for example, on consumer protection and data protection.

The EU has just started its ambitious “Digital Single Market” strategy, which should in the coming years reduce barriers to doing business across the EU’s internal borders, provide EU companies scale and resources to grow and make the EU an even more attractive location for global companies.

The EU’s Digital Single Market strategy will offer substantial investment opportunities to Chinese ICT companies.

However, in the global Internet ecosystem, the concept of attracting investment by making one’s investment conditions more attractive than those in competing economies is outdated. We need a global single, open cyberspace.

The second World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, could be the starting point of discussions between China and the EU, for instance, on how to facilitate online purchases of digital contents and to promote affordable high quality parcel delivery. Obviously, at a later stage anecdotal evidence should be complemented thorough academic study of respective Internet regulations in China and the EU.

By Luigi Gambardella (China Daily)
The author is president of ChinaEU, a non-profit platform aiming to boost bilateral digital cooperation.

Related:

Wuzhen showcases China’s Net prosperity

If we all apply the rules of the US, many societies could not afford the consequences.
Source: Global Times | 2015-12-16 0:48:01


Aerial view of Wuzhen, venue for World Internet Conference

Wuzhen World Internet Conference 2015


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Nabbed Briton in Malaysia among five terror suspects, married 12 times


KUALA LUMPUR: A part-time English teacher from Britain who fought as an al-Qaeda militant in Afghanistan and Bosnia, is among the latest group of five men arrested for being involved in Islamic State (IS) and other terror groups.

Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division nabbed the 44-year-old Briton together with a 25-year-old Bangladeshi, a 29-year-old Nigerian, a 31-year-old Indonesian and a 59-year-old Malaysian, who is also a Rela member, in a se

 

Inspector-General of

ries of raids in Selangor, Kelantan, Johor and here between Nov 16 and Dec 1. Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the British national, a Muslim convert who had been under surveillance for some time, was arrested in Jalan Duta on Nov 16.

“He fought in Afghanistan and Bosnia after joining al-Qaeda. He was working as a part-time English teacher in Penang and we have been monitoring him closely,” the IGP said.

The Nigerian, who had been using his guise as a student in a private college in Petaling Jaya for his terrorism-related activities, was arrested a day later.

Investigators believe that he is actively connected to terror groups in Africa.

Both the Briton and Nigerian have since been deported.

The three other suspects, an Indonesian, a Bangladeshi and a Malaysian, are believed to have links to the IS.

The Indonesian, identified as the leader of the cell, was nabbed on Dec 1 in Benut, Pontian, where he was working as a mechanic.

The IGP said the man had performed the bai’ah (pledge of loyalty) to IS’ “Caliph” Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi via Facebook in mid 2014.

“We also believe that he is one of the main persons recruiting and sending trained militants to Syria. We suspect that he has been arranging travels for IS followers in Malaysia and other South-East Asian countries,” he added.

It was learnt that the Indonesian had direct connections with known Malaysian militants, including former “The Ukays” band drummer Akil Zainal.

Akil, a Universiti Teknologi Mara graduate, was among the first batch of Malaysians who went to Syria and publicly declared support for militant groups.

The two other cell members, the Malaysian and the Bangladeshi, were arrested in Kota Baru and Klang respectively.

At a separate event, the IGP said Bukit Aman would always be on the alert with threats from the IS and other terror groups.

“We will not compromise when it comes to security. Every action will be taken to prevent bad things from happening in this country,” he said.

The IGP said terror groups, including the IS would not be allowed to gain a foothold in Malaysia, he added.

Asked whether any of the suspects had been planning to launch attacks in Malaysia, he said that was their main agenda.

Nabbed Terrorist Married 12 Times

KUALA LUMPUR: The British national nabbed along with four others for involvement in terrorism activities has a reputation of being a Casanova besides his militant tendencies.

The man has so far married 12 women, including five from Malaysia.

His other past and present wives are from the United Kingdom, Bosnia, Germany, Philippines and Indonesia.

“You could call him a Casanova terrorist,” a source told The Star.

“We have not come across a terrorist who has married so many women. He has been busy on the terror front but his love life is interesting as well.”

Apparently, his modus operandi has been to marry the women and divorce them after a few years.

“He is also suspected of duping the women into marriage for their money,” the source said.

It was learnt that a general manager of a bank was among his former Malaysian wives.

The man, who worked as a part-time English teacher in Penang, had been travelling in and out of Malaysia since 1998.

The authorities suspect that the Briton, who had been interacting with students, could be the head of a sleeper cell for the al-Qaeda in the country.

Source: The Star/Asia News Network

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