onsdag 16. august 2017

IMF warns China over 'dangerous' growth in debt

China’s credit-fuelled economic strategy has been branded as dangerous by the International Monetary Fund in a strongly-worded statement warning that its approach risks financial turmoil. The IMF used its annual health check on the world’s second biggest economy to stress that faster expansion in 2017 was coming at the cost of a jump in private sector debt and an increasing use of complex financial instruments. While the IMF increased its forecast for Chinese expansion in 2017 from 6.2% to 6.7%, it stressed that this was the result of the authorities in Beijing putting a higher priority on hitting a growth target than on the quality of the economic output.

Trump administration goes after China over intellectual property, advanced technology

President Trump signed an executive memorandum Monday afternoon that will likely trigger an investigation into China’s alleged theft of U.S. intellectual property, a measure that could eventually result in a wide range of penalties as the administration seeks a new way to deal with what it calls Chinese violations of the rules of international trade.

“The theft of intellectual property by foreign countries costs our nation millions of jobs and billions and billions of dollars each and every year,” Trump said, as he signed the memo surrounded by trade advisers and company executives. “For too long, this wealth has been drained from our country while Washington has done nothing... But Washington will turn a blind eye no longer.”

China’s Intellectual Property Theft Must Stop

President Trump on Monday instructed the office of the United States Trade Representative to consider an investigation into China’s sustained and widespread attacks on America’s intellectual property. This investigation will provide the evidence for holding China accountable for a decades-long assault on the intellectual property of the United States and its allies.

For too long, the United States has treated China as a developing nation to be coaxed and lectured, while tolerating its bad behavior as merely growing pains. There has been an expectation that as China’s economy matures, it will of its own accord adopt international standards in commerce, including protection for intellectual property. There has also been a tendency to excuse mercantilist behavior, including industrial espionage, as a passing phase, and to justify inaction as necessary to secure Chinese cooperation on other, supposedly more important, issues.

Deterring Pyongyang: US Open to More Powerful South Korean Missiles

The U.S. Department of Defense is currently reviewing a request by the Republic of South Korea to allow it to develop more powerful ballistic missiles amidst rising tensions over North Korea’s growing military capabilities. “There is currently a limit on the warhead size and missiles that South Korea can have and yes, it is a topic under active consideration here,” Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis told reporters on August 7, Reuters reports.

In a bilateral agreement signed in 1979, the United States and South Korea set out guidelines about the specific payload and range of the latter’s domestically developed missiles in order to avoid a regional arms race. These guidelines were updated in 2012. However, while South Korean missiles can have now an extended range of up to 800 kilometers (about 500 miles), the maximum payload remains unchanged at 500 kilograms (1,102 pounds).

Chinese billionaire battles talk of trouble at real estate empire

Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin is fighting back against talk that his sprawling business empire is in trouble. Wang's Dalian Wanda Group is one of China's biggest conglomerates, with several international acquisitions under its belt. Less than a year ago, Wang was promising to become the world leader in real estate, tourism, entertainment and sports. Now he's on the defensive. Last week Dalian Wanda sold several theme parks and dozens of hotels for $9.3 billion, marking the end of Wang's dream to defeat Disney (DIS) in China. The billionaire said the deal would reduce his company's debt burden.

The architect charged with bringing China's former capital back to life

Outside China, architect Zhou Qi is best known for the People's Daily headquarters, a Beijing tower that went viral in 2013 when social media users drew attention to its distinctly phallic appearance. But the building's notoriety does a disservice to its designer. Not only did the 590-foot (180-meter) skyscraper go on to win an international award (the viral photographs had been taken during construction), it also distracts from a distinguished architectural career. Zhou may design the occasional high-rise, but he spends most of his time restoring treasured pre-war buildings in his home city of Nanjing.

South China Sea: Vietnam takes up fight against China

When it comes to the disputed waters of the South China Sea, Vietnam's leaders must feel very lonely these days. Their fellow Southeast Asian claimants have either reversed course after years of escalating tensions with Beijing, or are keeping their heads down and letting Hanoi take up the fight. In June, the Vietnamese government refused a Chinese demand to halt drilling by a subsidiary of Spanish company Repsol in an oil and gas block on Vanguard Bank—an area of the seabed that, as far as international law is concerned, is undisputedly Vietnam's.

China tells US and North Korea to cool it

China urged the US and North Korea to urgently "put the brakes" on provocative actions and words on Tuesday after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appeared to back away from a threat to fire missiles toward the US Pacific territory of Guam. Speaking with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday in a phone conversation, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi said peacefully solving the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula is in the interest of all relevant parties, including China and Russia.

tirsdag 15. august 2017

Russian Railpolitick and China’s Belt and Road

An old Chinese proverb would be best amended to go something like this: if you want China to be rich, you must first build roads. Unfortunately, a road or railway is useless unless you own and can legally operate a fleet of trucks, locomotives, and rolling stock to ply the routes.

Denuclearization Is Dead, Now Let’s Bury It

Make no mistake: after more than two decades of tedious maneuvering that have led many of our best experts to surrender to a false sense of eternal recurrence and essential stability, the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula is now hurtling towards an actual showdown. A year or two from now, the DPRK will be either an established (if not formally accepted) nuclear power with a small but largely undisputed intercontinental capability, an active conflict zone, or conceivably – and with no unnecessary drama intended – an irradiated wasteland, the likes of which the world has never seen before

In its quest for the ultimate guarantee of regime survival, the DPRK government has on balance proven itself more determined, more tenacious, and far more resourceful than the United States and its allies. It now stands ready to claim its prize – the ability to deter the United States not just by proxy, but by holding hostage a substantial portion of the American populace itself.

China, Let’s Talk About Sex

Whether in a classroom or at home, young people in China are in desperate need of “The Talk.” From startling increases in HIV and unplanned pregnancies to unreported sexual abuse, a dangerous ignorance about the birds and the bees and how to do “it” safely is putting the nation’s youth at risk. While China has made extraordinary progress in bringing down HIV infection rates to some of the lowest in the world, there has been an alarming increase in new HIV cases among 15 to 24 year olds. During the first nine months of 2016, 2,321 students were diagnosed with HIV – a 410 percent increase over the same period in 2010.

Key Questions on North Korea’s Plan to Fire Missiles Near Guam

North Korea’s ballistic missile program has shown drastic improvement in recent months. It conducted two tests in July of a new intercontinental ballistic missile, the Hwasong-14, that demonstrated a potential range of 6,500 miles, meaning it could hit the West Coast, the Rockies and much of the Midwest. But its statements about Guam have specified that it intends to use a different missile, the Hwasong-12, which is classified as intermediate-range and is fired from mobile launchers.

South Korea’s Leader Bluntly Warns U.S. Against Striking North

With his public alarmed by President Trump’s recent threats to North Korea, President Moon Jae-in of South Korea issued an unusually blunt rebuke to the United States on Tuesday, warning that any unilateral military action against the North over its nuclear weapons program would be intolerable. “No one should be allowed to decide on a military action on the Korean Peninsula without South Korean agreement,” Mr. Moon said in a nationally televised speech.

Donald Trump soft pedals after earlier threats of trade war with China

Donald Trump claimed he was making “a very big move” against alleged Chinese trade abuses on Monday as he ordered trade officials to consider opening an investigation into potential intellectual property violations. The US president billed the step - which was considerably less severe than had initially been floated by White House officials - as the start of a major push-back against unfair trade trade practices.

North Korea attack on Guam could 'quickly escalate into war' – James Mattis

James Mattis, the US defence secretary, has warned that a North Korean missile attack aimed at US territory “could escalate into war very quickly”, saying US forces would know “within moments” if one was heading towards Guam, home to military bases and 160,000 people. If a missile was judged to be about to hit Guam, Mattis said, “we will take it out” – a presumed reference to US missile defence systems around the island. If North Korean missiles are headed towards the seas around Guam, the defence secretary said it would be up to the president to decide how to respond.

mandag 14. august 2017

Guam's faithful look to God as North Korea threat looms

Father Paul Gofigan began his homily with a question for the parishioners in Guam's biggest place of worship -- the Catholic Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral Basilica. "If we were given 14 minutes to decide what to do with our lives, do you think you'd have enough time?" Gofigan was referring to the length of time the Guam Homeland Security department estimates it would take a North Korean missile to reach the island. It's not idle debate.

How U.S. Military Actions Could Play Out in North Korea

The intelligence could come to President Trump secretly and urgently: The North Koreans have placed another intercontinental missile on its launching pad. In less than two hours, it could be fueled and ready for launch on a test flight into the Pacific Ocean or perhaps on a mission to strike American territory. In that scenario, the American president could quickly set in motion a move long debated but never taken — a preventive military action inside North Korea aimed at disabling an imminent missile launch and sending an unmistakable “cease and desist” message to Kim Jong-un, the country’s volatile leader.

Trump Eyes China Sanctions While Seeking Its Help on North Korea

In a diplomatic gamble, President Trump is seeking to enlist China as a peacemaker in the bristling nuclear-edged dispute with North Korea at the very moment he plans to ratchet up conflict with Beijing over trade issues that have animated his political rise. Mr. Trump spoke late Friday with his counterpart, President Xi Jinping of China, to press the Chinese to do more to rein in North Korea as it races toward development of long-range nuclear weapons that could reach the United States. Mr. Xi sought to lower the temperature after Mr. Trump’s vow to rain down “fire and fury” on North Korea, urging restraint and a political solution.