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Former India Envoy To Pakistan: Massive Navy Operation A Warning To Beijing

Former India Envoy To Pakistan: Massive Navy Operation A Warning To Beijing

Former Indian government officials and military analysts have told Russian media sources that India’s large scale naval deployment, including nuclear submarines and an aircraft carrier, was fundamentally aimed at sending a message to China, not necessarily Pakistan. Indian warships on parade off the coast of Mumbai, via Reuters.

A major naval deployment exercise called TROPEX 2019 involvingsome 60 ships and an equal number of aircraft had been slated to run from January to early March, but according to reports quickly turned into a real time operational situation following the Feb. 27 crisis over Kashmir.

Notably, the games which had already been underway at the time of the crisis had involved the INS ‘Vikramaditya,’ a Russian-built aircraft carrier, and multiple other nuclear submarines essentially becoming “active” as the situation unfolded

But now Indian analysts in an interview with Russia’s RT have presented the interesting prospect that the TROPEX 2019 naval exercises-turned-“active” was “a clear signal to Beijing, rather than Islamabad.”

“China is using Pakistan as a tool to contain India, so the redeployment of an aircraft carrier, warships and nuclear-powered submarines to North Arabian Sea is a clear signal to Beijing, rather than Islamabad,” the analysts, including former Indian envoy to Pakistan Gopalaswami Parthasarathytold RT.

Parthasarathy insisted that “India does not base its defense preparedness on what Pakistan does or does not do,” however cited India’s greater concern as what China does to contain Indian influence in the Indian Ocean.”

Once India’s top envoy to its rival nuclear-armed neighbor, Parthasarathy continued, “Pakistan is an instrument used by China to contain India through supplies of weapons, missiles and even nuclear weapon designs.” And he emphasized further while significantly downplaying Islamadad as a threat: “Pakistan, by itself, does not worry us. We can more than match and manage Pakistan.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

China Premier Vows No Massive Stimulus As Beijing Launches Massive Stimulus

China Premier Vows No Massive Stimulus As Beijing Launches Massive Stimulus 

When it comes to China, the past decade revealed two things beyond a shadow of a doubt: i) all of the country’s economic data is utterly meaningless as it is entirely fabricated (in this measure it is not much different from other developed nations), goalseeked to fit a specific political narrative, and ii) Beijing has an annoying Trotskyite habit of doing precisely what it vows not to do or accuses others of doing.

A good example of the latter was again observed last night, when Premier Li Keqiang said that China will stick to its current targeted economic support strategy and resist the temptation to engage in large-scale stimulus like quantitative easing or a massive expansion in public spending.Li Keqiang on March 15.

“We certainly need to take strong measures to face the downward pressure,” Li told a news conference Friday at the close of the annual National People’s Congress session in Beijing. “An indiscriminate approach may work in the short run but may lead to future problems. Thus it’s not a viable option. Our choice is to energize market players.

This is ironic because just over a month ago, China quietly launched a quasi-QE program in the form of the PBOC buying perpetual bonds issued by local banks, to flood the system with liquidity and achieve the same end goal as more conventional quantitative easing, and which Rabobank described as a means to keep China’s “Ponzi scheme afloat.”

Just as ironic was Li’s vow not to flood the economy with stimulus, read new debt, one month after the PBOC flooded the economy with a record amount of new debt.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

China Offers To Help Venezuela Restore Power As Maduro Accuses Trump, Guaido Of “Sabotage”

China Offers To Help Venezuela Restore Power As Maduro Accuses Trump, Guaido Of “Sabotage”

China offered on Wednesday to help Venezuela repair its power grid after the country was plunged into its worst blackout on record, now in its sixth day, reports Reuters

With the power blackout in its sixth day, hospitals struggled to keep equipment running, food rotted in the tropical heat and exports from the country’s main oil terminal were shut down.

Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang said China had noted reports that the power grid had gone down due to a hacking attack.

China is deeply concerned about this,” Lu said. –Reuters

“China hopes that the Venezuelan side can discover the reason for this issue as soon as possible and resume normal power supply and social order. China is willing to provide help and technical support to restore Venezuela’s power grid,” added Lu.

President Nicolas Maduro, who retains control of the country’s military and has the support of both Russia and China, has accused US President Donald Trump of cyber “sabotage.” 

The United States’ imperialist government ordered this attack,” Maduro said in a 35-minute televised address on Monday night accusing the White House of launching an imperialist “electromagnetic attack.” 

“They came with a strategy of war of the kind that only these criminals – who have been to war and have destroyed the people of Iraq, of Libya, of Afghanistan and of Syria – think up,” Maduro added. 

Maduro claimed that the Trump administration conducted the attack in coordination with “puppets and clowns” from the Venezuelan opposition in order to bring about a “a state of despair, of widespread want and of conflict” to justify a foreign invasion. 

Caracas-based political analyst Dimitris Pantoulas tweeted on Tuesday that Maduro appeared “worried, anxious and absolutely desperate,” adding that it’s clear that the government is not in control of the situation. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Vietnam’s Energy Dilemma Is About To Become A Crisis

Vietnam’s Energy Dilemma Is About To Become A Crisis

Hanoi

Vietnam can’t seem to get a break. The country lies just beneath China, its giant neighbor to the north, and shares many of the same socialist ideals that Beijing promulgates. However, Sino-Vietnamese relations have been a source of tension for years dating back to the colonization of Vietnam by China centuries ago – a historical fact that the average Vietnamese citizen has never forgotten. Even after the protracted and costly war between North Vietnam and the U.S.-backed South Vietnamese government, that ended more than 40 years ago, China (which had proven a valuable ally for Hanoi during the war) turned on its smaller communist ally and invaded the country in 1979. It was a brief but bloody border war which showed Beijing that Vietnam could still hold its own.

Fast forward several decades and Hanoi is still trying to placate Beijing while at the same time rapidly improving relations with one-time adversary Washington. In fact, U.S.- Vietnamese relations, both trade and bilateral, have improved so much recently that the two sides could now arguably be called allies in the Asia-Pacific region. Of course, much of that alliance, similar in some respects to the decades-old U.S. alliance with Saudi Arabia, is born of necessity. The U.S.-Saudi alliance was berthed in the aftermath of World War 2, held together amid shared concerns during the cold war, and remains amid worries over Iranian hegemony ambitions in the Middle East. The U.S.-Vietnamese alliance is largely held together over the mutual aim of both Washington and Hanoi to keep China’s economic and military ambitions in check in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly in the volatile South China Sea, where Beijing claims as much as 90 percent of the troubled body of water.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trade War Deepens: China Bans Canadian Canola Shipments Amid Soaring Diplomatic Tensions

Trade War Deepens: China Bans Canadian Canola Shipments Amid Soaring Diplomatic Tensions

Canada’s largest grain processor said Tuesday that Beijing has canceled its registration to ship canola seed to China, fueled by the arrest of a top executive for the Chinese tech giant Huawei, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The move suggests that rising diplomatic tensions between China and Canada are damaging commerce between the two countries. Tensions have already crushed hopes that senior officials in Ottawa and Beijing would develop further trade ties.

The import ban against Richardson International Ltd. is due to a series of Chinese non-compliance notices declaring some shipments of canola seed from Canada were contaminated with “hazardous pests.” Canadian officials disputed that claim.

“I am very concerned by what we’ve heard has happened to Richardson. We do not believe there’s any scientific basis for this,” Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said in Montreal.

“We are working very, very hard with the Chinese government on this issue.”

Revoking the import license comes as Canada is advancing an extradition hearing for Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. She was arrested in early December by the Canadain government at the request of the Trump administration, where she was wanted on fraud charges. 

The Canola Council of Canada, located in Winnipeg, told the Journal that Richardson is a major player in the country’s canola seed to China.

Derek Brewin, a professor of agriculture economics at the University of Manitoba, said the Canadian agricultural and food manufacturing company easily controls 20% of total Canadian export capacity for grains and oilseeds.

The canola council said 40% of the industry’s exports end up in China.

Canada’s agriculture department said the country’s top agricultural export to China is canola seed, with sales valued at $2.05 billion per annum.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Washington Provokes Beijing By Flying 2 B-52 Bombers Over South China Sea

Washington Provokes Beijing By Flying 2 B-52 Bombers Over South China Sea 

So far, simmering tensions between the US and Chinese Navy in the South China Sea haven’t had much of an impact on trade-deal talks. But that doesn’t mean investors should just ignore the US’s increasingly provocative “freedom of navigation” operations in the contested region that is also a vital chokepoint for one third of global trade.

As Trump reportedly pressures his negotiators to walk away with a deal, the US air force has for the first time since just before Thanksgiving risked a confrontation with Beijing by flying two B-52 bomber on a mission that brought them within close proximity to the Chinese mainland.

Jets

The “training mission” brought the bombers close to disputed airspace over the South and East China Seas, according to RT. The mission was part of the US Pacific Command’s “Continuous Bomber Presence Missions”, which are designed to act as a means of deterrence against Beijing, which hasn’t shied away from flexing its growing military presence in the Pacific.

Two US Air Force B-52H Stratofortress long-range bombers, based in Guam, participated in “routine training missions” on Monday by flying through the disputed airspaces over the South and East China Seas. As one bomber “conducted training in the vicinity of the South China Sea,” the other practiced off the coast of Japan in “coordination with the US Navy and alongside our Japanese air force,” US Pacific Air Forces said in a statement.

The provocation is particularly notable because of Beijing’s increasingly belligerent rhetoric toward Taiwan, which President Xi pledged earlier this year would soon be “reunited” with the mainland, eliciting cries from Taiwan’s leader that the Taiwanese people would never accept this.

The bombers reportedly took off from Anderson Air Force Base in Guam.

Back in October, a Chinese warship nearly collided with a US destroyer in the South China Sea, provoking condemnations from both sides. Of course, these ongoing provocations apparently don’t matter to global markets…until they do.

Mike Pompeo’s War Warning to China

Mike Pompeo's War Warning to China

Mike Pompeo’s War Warning to China

Could America sustain such a commitment? More important, why should we? Has the White House thought through the implications of what the Pompeo threat may bring?

As President Trump flew home from his Hanoi summit with Kim Jong Un, Mike Pompeo peeled off and flew to Manila. And there the Secretary of State made a startling declaration.

Any armed attack by China on a Philippine ship or plane in the South China Sea, he told the Philippine government, will be treated as an attack on an American ship or plane, bringing a U.S. military response.

“China’s island building and military activities in the South China Sea threaten your sovereignty, security and, therefore, economic livelihood, as well as that of the United States,” said Pompeo. “As the South China Sea is part of the Pacific, any armed attack on Philippine forces, aircraft or public vessels in the South China Sea will trigger mutual defense obligations under article 4 of our mutual defense treaty.”

Article 4 requires the U.S. and the Philippines to come to the defense of the other if one is attacked. The treaty dates back to August 1951. There are Americans on Social Security who were not born when this Cold War treaty was signed.

Pompeo’s declaration amounts to a U.S. war guarantee.

Why would we make such a commitment? Why take such a risk?

Is Trump aware of what Pompeo’s promise could entail?

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For years, Beijing has claimed as national territory virtually the entire South China Sea. Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and the Philippines all reject China’s claims to the Paracel and Spratly Islands within that sea. But Beijing has occupied and expanded half a dozen islets; landed planes and troops; and fortified them as military and naval bases.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

China Accelerates Renewed Gold-Buying Spree “To Diversify Its Reserves”

China Accelerates Renewed Gold-Buying Spree “To Diversify Its Reserves”

After China’s official gold reserves rose for the first time in around two years (since Oct 2016) in December, Beijing appears to have joined the global gold rush, increasing its gold reserves for the second month in a row in January to 59.94 million ounces.

As we previously notedChina has long been silent on its holdings of gold as many countries are turning away from the greenback.

The value the country’s holdings of the precious metal reached US$79.319 billion, increasing by more than $3 billion compared to the end of last year. 

China is also trying “to diversify its reserves” away from the greenback, according to Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at currency broker OANDA. The analyst told the South China Morning Post that the state of affairs in global politics, including a trade war with the US, are driving China’s interest to buy gold as a “safe haven hedge.” 

In January, China dropped to sixth place among the world’s largest holders of the yellow metal behind Russia. With its 67.6 million ounces of gold, Russia now stands in fifth place behind the US, Germany, France, and Italy.

Crucially, the size of the gold addition are far less important than the signaling effect – why did China decide now was the right time to publicly admit its gold reserves are rising?

After months of seeming stability in the yuan relative to gold, Q4 2018/Q1 2019 saw China seemingly allow gold to appreciate relative to the yuan

One wonders if Alasdair Macleod is on to something when he notes that if the yuan is to replace the dollar for China’s trade, officials will have to back it with gold

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Coming US-China Proxy War In Venezuela

The Coming US-China Proxy War In Venezuela

China won’t give up on embattled Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro anytime soon even as the US-led international noose of “delegitimizing” hangs around the socialist strongman, according to government statements released on Friday. Beijing reaffirmed it maintains “normal state-to-state relations” and cooperation between the two sides “shouldn’t be undermined no matter how the situation evolves,” according to press briefing by the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Or rather, we could more simply translate: with billions of dollars in credit on the line, “non-interference” is simply not an option for China

Image via CNN Chile

“China has maintained close communication with all parties through different ways,” a ministry spokesperson said in response to question about whether China has had contact with National Assembly leader Juan Guaido. “We are ready to work with all parties to promote peace talks, and create favorable conditions for the proper settlement of the Venezuelan issue,” the ministry added. 

But then there’s the not so minor issue of China over the past decade lending over $50 billion to Caracas as part of an oil-for-loan agreements program. It underscores just how quickly what appears a new White House full court press for regime change could bring Washington again into indirect conflict with both China and Russia. And in total Venezuela owes “more than $120 billion just to China and Russia” FOX reported this week. 

A new Wall Street Journal report outlines what’s at stake, and the mounting costs for Beijing:

When China hatched the first of a series of oil-for-loans agreements with Venezuela in 2007, it seemed like a perfect match. Venezuela had the world’s biggest oil reserves; China was poised to become the biggest energy consumer.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Europe on the Brink of Collapse?

The Empire’s European castle of vassals is crumbling. Right in front of our eyes. But Nobody seems to see it. The European Union (EU), the conglomerate of vassals – Trump calls them irrelevant, and he doesn’t care what they think about him, they deserve to be collapsing. They, the ‘vassalic’ EU, a group of 28 countries, some 500 million people, with a combined economy of a projected 19 trillion US-dollar equivalent, about the same as the US, have submitted themselves to the dictate of Washington in just about every important aspect of life.

The EU has accepted on orders by Washington to sanction Russia, Venezuela, Iran – and a myriad of countries that have never done any harm to any of the 28 EU member states. The EU has accepted the humiliation of military impositions by NATO – threating Russia and China with ever more and ever more advancing military basis towards Moscow and Beijing, to the point that Brussels’ foreign policy is basically led by NATO.

It was clear from the very get-go that the US sanctions regime imposed on Russia and all the countries refusing to submit to the whims and rules of Washington, directly and via the EU, was hurting the EU economically far more than Russia. This is specifically true for some of the southern European countries, whose economy depended more on trading with Russia and Eurasia than it did for other EU countries.

The ‘sanctions’ disaster really hit the fan, when Trump unilaterally decided to abrogate the “Nuclear Deal” with Iran and reimpose heavy sanctions on Iran and on “everybody who would do business with Iran”. European hydrocarbon giants started losing business. That’s when Brussels, led by Germany started mumbling that they would not follow the US and – even – that they would back European corporations, mainly hydrocarbon giants, sticking to their contractual arrangements they had with Iran.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

China To US Navy Chief: Army Will Defend Taiwan Claims “At Any Cost”

China To US Navy Chief: Army Will Defend Taiwan Claims “At Any Cost”

A rare and under-reported tense exchange occurred between US and Chinese military commanders in Beijing on Tuesday. A high level Chinese military official, General Li Zuocheng, told the head of the United States Navy, Admiral John Richardson, in a face to face meeting that Beijing would defend its claim to Taiwan “at any cost”. “The Taiwan issue is an internal matter of China, concerns China’s fundamental interests and the national feelings of the Chinese people, and no outside interference will be tolerated,” Li Zuocheng said in a statement released by the Ministry of Defense, cited by the AFP.

Admiral John Richardson traveled to China for talks aimed at reducing “risk and miscalculation”. 

After a series of recent instances involving US Navy warships making provocative passages through the Taiwan Strait — which the US says is its right according to freedom to navigate international waters, it appears China is going “gloves off” in direct statements challenging US military commanders.

Gen. Zuocheng, who is a powerful member of the Central Military Commission further told the US Navy chief:

If anyone wants to separate Taiwan from China, the Chinese army will defend the unity of the motherland at any cost.

Alarmingly this comes after President Xi Jinping provoked an angry rebuke from Taiwan’s pro-independence president when he demanded during a landmark speech on Jan. 2  that Taiwan submit to “reunification” with Beijing.

And in a follow-up speech days after this before military officials, Xi took his belligerent rhetoric one step further by issuing his first military command of 2019: that “all military units must correctly understand major national security and development trends, and strengthen their sense of unexpected hardship, crisis and battle.” Xi had essentially ordered the Chinese military to prepare for war as his first act of 2019.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…


 

China Using Twitter History To Arrest, Interrogate Dissidents

China’s notorious crackdown on internet activity has resulted in the arrest, imprisonment and interrogation of people posting over Twitter, according to the New York Times.

A growing number of users who have been using the blocked platform through Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) have been swept up in a sharp escalation of Beijing’s censorship effort, as authorities tighten their grip over Chinese citizens’ online lives. There are an estimated 3.2 million Twitter users in China – or around 0.4 percent of those who use the internet.

“If we give up Twitter, we are losing one of our last places to speak,” said human-rights activist Wang Aizhong, who said the police told him to delete messages critical of the Chinese government.

When he wouldn’t, 3,000 of his tweets mysteriously disappeared.

Mr. Wang refused to take down his tweets. Then, one night last month while he was reading a book, his phone buzzed with text messages from Twitter that contained backup codes to his account.

An hour later, he said, 3,000 of his tweets had been deleted. He blamed government-affiliated hackers, although those who were responsible and the methods they used could not be independently confirmed. –NYT

Wang’s experience is far from unique – as The Times reports that one Twitter user spent 15 days in a detention center, another person had their family threatened, and “a third was chained to a chair for eight hours of interrogation.”

Beijing’s war against internet freedom reveals its vision of internet control over the user of social media – while the CHinese government has stepped up their demands that Google and Facebook take down content deemed offensive despite the fact that both companies’ sites are blocked in China.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

As Trade Talks Begin, US Infuriates Beijing With Latest Navy Operation In South China Sea

As a US delegation led by senior trade officials arrived in Beijing on Monday to begin the first round of in-person talks to resolve the burgeoning US-China trade war, the US has reportedly carried out its latest ‘Freedom of Navigation’ operation in the South China Sea – though at least this time there wasn’t a near-collision with a Chinese ship.

Since President Trump’s inauguration, the US has stepped up its ‘Freeops’ as the US Navy seeks to contain China’s growing military ambitions in the Pacific. But since the trade war began, the US has demonstrated a keen sense of timing, contributing to China’s decisions to cancel security conferences and reconsider coming to the table to talk on trade.

Nine Dash

But this time, the controversial maneuver seemingly doesn’t bode well for the fate of a lasting US-China trade compromise. According to the Wall Street Journal, the US-guided-missile destroyer the USS McCampbell patrolled within 12 miles of the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea on Monday. In particular, it came within a few miles of three islands: Tree, Lincoln and Woody.

China sent its own ship to try and deter the McCampbell, but ultimately decided to file an official complaint. According to Bloomberg, China urged the US to halt “provocative actions” in the South China Sea. “The actions by the U.S. fleet have violated Chinese law and related international laws, and undermined the peace, security and good order in the relevant waters,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a briefing Monday in Beijing. “China strongly opposes the actions.”

USS

The Paracels are claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan but have been controlled by China since the Communist Nation seized them from Vietnamese forces in 1974. Further alarming the US, Beijing has upgraded several military outposts in the Paracels and deployed jet fighters to at least one, according to satellite images and US officials.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Beijing Threatens “Severe” Retaliation Against Canada If Huawei CFO Is Not Released

Canada’s extraordinary arrest one week ago of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei founder and billionaire executive Ren Zhengfei, and its decision to charge her with “multiple” counts of fraud – a preamble to her likely extradition to the US to face charges of knowingly violating US and EU sanctions on Iran – has elicited widespread anger in Beijing, which declared Meng’s detention a “violation of human rights” during a bail hearing for the jailed executive on Friday.

That anger has apparently only intensified after the hearing adjourned without a decision (it will resume on Monday, allowing Meng’s defense team to argue for why she should be released on bail, contrary to the wishes of government attorneys who are prosecuting the case).

Meng

And with Canada insisting that it will prosecute Meng to the full extent of the law over allegations that she mislead banks about the true relationship of a Huawei subsidiary called Skycom, angry Chinese officials have decided to issue an ultimatum directly to the Canadian ambassador, who was summoned to a meeting in Beijing on Saturday and told in no uncertain terms that Canada will face “severe consequences” if Meng isn’t released, according to the Wall Street Journal.

China’s foreign ministry publicized the warning in a statement (though Canadian officials have yet to comment):

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng summoned Canada’s ambassador to Beijing, John McCallum, on Saturday to deliver the warning, according to a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The statement doesn’t mention the name of Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, though it refers to a Huawei “principal” taken into custody at U.S. request while changing planes in Vancouver, as was Ms. Meng. The statement accuses Canada of “severely violating the legal, legitimate rights of a Chinese citizen” and demands the person’s release.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

China Outraged At Arrest Of Huawei CFO, Warns It Will “Take All Measures”

So much for a trade war truce between China and the US, or a stock market Christmas rally for that matter.

Shortly after the news hit that Huawei CFO Wanzhou Meng — also deputy chairwoman and the daughter of Huawei’s founder — was arrested on December 1, or right around the time Trump and Xi were having dinner in Buenos Aires last Saturday, and faces extradition to the U.S. as a result of a DOJ investigation into whether the Chinese telecom giant sold gear to Iran despite sanctions on exports to the region, China immediately lodged a formal protest publishing a statement at its embassy in Canada, and demanding the U.S. and its neighbor “rectify wrongdoings” and free Meng, warning it would “closely follow the development of the issue” and will “take all measures” to protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens.

Full statement below:

Remarks of the Spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in Canada on the issue of a Chinese citizen arrested by the Canadian side

At the request of the US side, the Canadian side arrested a Chinese citizen not violating any American or Canadian law. The Chinese side firmly opposes and strongly protests over such kind of actions which seriously harmed the human rights of the victim. The Chinese side has lodged stern representations with the US and Canadian side, and urged them to immediately correct the wrongdoing and restore the personal freedom of Ms. Meng Wanzhou.

We will closely follow the development of the issue and take all measures to resolutely protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens.

Meng’s arrest will immediately heighten tensions between Washington and Beijing just days after the world’s two largest economies agreed on a truce in their growing trade conflict.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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