fredag 19. august 2016

Kina går sin egen vei

En måned etter at voldgiftsdomstolen i Haag felte en knusende dom over Kinas aggressive atferd i Sør-Kinahavet, er territorialstriden like fastlåst. Kina avfeier dommen som «ugyldig» og «verdiløs», mens Filippinene og andre land krever at den må respekteres og danne basis for en fredelig løsning. Domstolen fastslo at land som utvikler kunstige øyer, ikke har noe automatisk eierskap til verken øyene eller farvannene de ligger i. Men det affiserer ikke Kina, som bruker sin overveldende militære styrke til å etablere seg uten å spørre, enn si varsle, nabolandene, skriver Torbjørn Færøvik (bildet) i Dagsavisen. Les mer

China's global spending spree has sparked a backlash

From the U.S. to the U.K., Germany and Australia, resistance is growing to efforts by Chinese companies -- often state-backed -- to buy or invest in power grids, nuclear plants, data storage and robot technology. Chinese firms are spending more on foreign takeovers than ever before, and Western politicians are worrying about the deals' potential impacts on technology and critical infrastructure.

"There is a perceived higher national security risk when we're talking about Chinese buyers," said Ke Geng, a partner at law firm O'Melveny & Myers who advises Chinese companies on foreign investments. "It's also connected with the international political environment."Just last week, the Australian government blocked bids by a Chinese state power company and a private Hong Kong firm for control of a major electricity supplier, citing national security concerns. Read more

Senior North Korean diplomat's defection a 'unique situation'

North Korea may send agents after a top diplomat who defected to South Korea recently, a defection expert told CNN. Liberty in North Korea Director of Research and Strategy Sokeel Park said the defection of senior North Korean diplomat Thae Yong Ho was a "unique situation," and could lead to threats of retaliation from North Korea. "There's been those kind of things that have happened in the past for very high level defectors, assassination attempts and death threats ... there will be protection from the South Korean authorities around this person, especially [in] the short term," Park said. Read more

Beijing decries 'China-phobia' after Britain cools on Hinkley Point nuclear deal

Britain would be foolish to turn its back on the “golden era” of relations withChina, Beijing’s official news agency has claimed, dismissing concerns over Chinese involvement in the Hinkley Point nuclear project as “China-phobia”. Since becoming Prime Minister last month Theresa May has stepped back from David Cameron and George Osborne’s energetic and controversial courtship of China, infuriating Beijing by postponing a final decision on the approval of the proposed £18bn ($23.5bn) nuclear power station. Read more

søndag 14. august 2016

Is China Ready for a Post-Mugabe Zimbabwe?

The strong relationship has soured in recent months thanks to controversial policies from Zimbabwe’s leader.On August 3, 2016, China pledged $46 million toward the construction of a new Zimbabwean parliament. According to Zimbabwean state media outlets, China’s parliament construction pledge was a “gift” to Zimbabwe, as Chinese officials believed that Zimbabwe’s current parliament was too small for its lawmakers to work in effectively.

China’s decision to fund Zimbabwe’s parliament construction follows a string of large business contracts signed between Beijing and Harare. In recent weeks, China has opened its markets to Zimbabwean farm products, expanded its investments in Zimbabwe’s housing and agriculture sectors, and lent Zimbabwe money to upgrade its medical equipment in inner-city hospitals. Read more

Vietnam's Growing Protest Culture

Vietnam’s population is increasingly vocal about economic, political, and social issues, to the government’s dismay. The Formosa scandal in Vietnam has recently made international headlines and offered the international community a rare glimpse into the fringe, but steadily growing, culture of protest and activism in the authoritarian state. The ecological catastrophe, which saw millions of fish die in central Vietnam due to improper waste disposal by a Taiwanese-owned steel factory, triggered demonstrations around the country — an unusual occurrence in Vietnam. Read more

Undermining China: towns sink after mines close

Deep in the coal heartlands of northern Shanxi province, people in Helin village are fighting a losing battle as the ground beneath them crumbles: patching up cracks, rebuilding walls and filling in sinkholes caused by decades of coal mining. 
Around 100 pits in Helin - buried in the hilly rural outskirts of the city of Xiaoyi - have been exhausted, and cluttered hamlets totter precariously on the brittle slopes of mines. But while local authorities have begun evacuating hundreds of thousands of residents most at risk elsewhere in Shanxi province, Helin's situation – though serious - isn't yet considered a priority. Read more

Japan to develop missile as tensions with China mount – reports

Japan will develop a new land-to-sea missile as part of plans to beef up its defence of remote southern islands, as tensions with China increase over the disputed territory, a report said Sunday. The two countries are locked in a long-running dispute over the uninhabited islets known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in ChinaThe report comes after repeated protests by Japanese foreign ministry officials over what Tokyo calls “intrusions” by Chinese ships in the territorial and contiguous waters of the rocky islands. Read more

fredag 12. august 2016

China says new satellite will help safeguard interests at sea: China Daily

A newly launched satellite will help China protect its maritime interests, the official China Daily newspaper reported on Thursday amid growing tensions over disputed territory in the South China Sea. The "Gaofen 3" satellite that was launched on Wednesday has a radar system that captures images from space with a resolution down to 1 meter (3 feet) and can operate in all weathers, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence told the newspaper.

"The satellite will play an important role in monitoring the marine environment, islands and reefs, and ships and oil rigs," the China Daily said, citing project leader Xu Fuxiang. "Satellites like the Gaofen 3 will be very useful in safeguarding the country's maritime rights and interests," he added, according to the newspaper. In July, an international court in The Hague ruled against China's claims in the resource-rich South China Sea in an action brought by the Philippines, a decision stridently rejected by Beijing. Read more

China's Master Plan for IT Dominance

The Chinese government is steadily moving ahead with a ten-year IT plan that lays out a broad set of information technology goals and also signals a continuing commitment to increasing government oversight and control in cyberspace. On July 27, 2016, the State Council and the Communist Party Central Committee jointly released a blueprint for the country’s national IT strategy, which will guide Chinese government policy efforts over the next decade. Beijing sees the plan and its targets as critical to establishing China as an innovation and technology “powerhouse.” Read more

Japan's new Defence White Paper: Turbulence ahead

In recent days, 13 Chinese coastguard ships, along with around 230 Chinese fishing vessels entered the contiguous zone around the Japanese-held Senkaku islands - claimed by China as Diaoyu - in the East China Sea. 
Incidents like these are becoming increasingly commonplace and are among the litany of challenges that Tokyo faces in the security realm. Earlier, on August 3, North Korea fired a ballistic missile which travelled close to 1,000km before landing in Japanese waters. In addition, though last month's verdict of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in favour of the Philippines in its territorial dispute with China made it clear that Beijing's claims in the South China Sea region do not stand legal scrutiny, China is in no mood to back off. Read more

For These African Migrants, Life In China Isn't What They Were Promised

They did not know very much about China but they had heard it was the world’s second-largest economy and Africa’s leading trading partner, so they assumed there must be opportunity. Europe, of course, was their first choice but with European Union countries overwhelmed by migrants and cracking down on smugglers, China would have to do. Read more

What do 'hangars' on disputed islands in the South China Sea tell us?

Satellite images appear to show China has built aircraft hangars on disputed islands in the South China Sea. The images, from late July, were released by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative and appear to confirm that Chinese military fighter jets could, at some point, be based on Fiery Cross, Subi and Mischief Reefs. The revelation is likely to stoke tension with neighbours and the US, all of whom have raised concerns over what they call "the militarisation of the South China Sea", says analyst Alexander Neill from the International Institute for Strategic Studies - Asia. Read more

Australia blocks electricity deal with China for 'national security' reasons

Some experts believe that handing control of the network to Chinese entities would increase the risk of cyber attacks and electronic espionage. Australia has taken a series of steps to block investment from China. The government has twice prevented Chinese bidders from buying the S. Kidman pastoral estate, one of the largest private landholdings in the world. Australia has also criticised China’s territorial ambitions in the South China Sea, where the country has asserted its claim to a vast swathe of ocean by building artificial islands in defiance of a ruling from an international court in The Hague. Read more

onsdag 10. august 2016

Japan says ties with China 'deteriorating' over disputed islands

Japan's foreign minister has warned that ties with China are "significantly deteriorating", after Chinese vessels repeatedly entered disputed waters in the East China Sea. Fumio Kishida said he had called China's ambassador to protest against the "incursions". On Friday, about 230 Chinese fishing boats and coast guard vessels sailed near islands claimed by both countries. Beijing has been increasingly assertive about waters it believes are Chinese. The Japan-controlled, uninhabited islands - known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China - are the source of a long-running dispute. Read more

Philippines envoy 'optimistic' about ice breaking China trip

Former Philippines President Fidel Ramos on Tuesday named the head of a Chinese government think-tank among the experts and officials he hoped to meet on a trip to rekindle ties with China soured by a maritime dispute in the South China Sea. On July 12, an arbitration court in the Hague ruled that China had no historic title over the busy waterway and had breached the Philippines' sovereign rights there, infuriating China, which had dismissed the case. "I've always been a very optimistic person, always looking for the best results," Ramos told reporters in Hong Kong. "But of course that also depends on the attitude of the Chinese officials." Read more

Exclusive: Vietnam moves new rocket launchers into disputed S.China Sea - sources

Vietnam has discreetly fortified several of its islands in the disputed South China Sea with new mobile rocket launchers capable of striking China's runways and military installations across the vital trade route, according to Western officials. Diplomats and military officers told Reuters that intelligence shows Hanoi has shipped the launchers from the Vietnamese mainland into position on five bases in the Spratly islands in recent months, a move likely to raise tensions with Beijing. The launchers have been hidden from aerial surveillance and they have yet to be armed, but could be made operational with rocket artillery rounds within two or three days, according to the three sources. Read more

China determined to battle on two fronts as North Asian tensions spike

As China diplomatically confronts the United States and South Korea over new missile defenses and intensifies pressure on Japan at sea over disputed islets, Beijing is signaling it is prepared to stand its ground on two key regional fronts. Mainland analysts see little immediate chance for an easing of tensions now roiling across Northeast Asia, saying a rising China is showing it is keen to shape its own battlefield despite fresh threats.

“This action is China saying to the world that it has the ability to fight two regional conflicts on its doorstep,” said Ni Lexiong, a naval expert at the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law. “If [Japan] is actively making provocations in our South China Sea, then in the East China Sea, on its doorway, it will face a little pressure,” Ni said. Read more