Posts Tagged ‘China’

China Warns U.S. Against ‘Trade War’

August 17, 2017

BEIJING — China’s government on Thursday warned “there is no winner in a trade war” after an aide to President Donald Trump called in published comments for a tougher stance toward Beijing.

A foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, appealed for dialogue to preserve stable relations when asked about the comments by Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon.

In comments to The American Prospect posted online, Bannon said the United States is in an “economic war” with China. He recommended pursuing a trade investigation of Beijing’s technology policies and anti-dumping action over Chinese exports of steel and aluminum.

Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s chief strategist. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

“There is no winner in a trade war,” Hua said at a regular news briefing. “We hope the relevant people can refrain from dealing with a problem in the 21st century with a zero-sum mentality from the 19th or the 20th century.”

Hua appealed for dialogue to “preserve the sound and steady growth of China-U.S. relations.”

On Monday, Trump instructed U.S. trade officials to look into whether to launch a formal investigation into whether Beijing improperly requires foreign companies to hand over technology as a condition of market access.

The Chinese government criticized that as a violation of the spirit of global trade rules. It warned it will take “all appropriate measures” if Chinese companies are hurt.

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Hong Kong Democracy Leader Defiant as Three Jailed for Months

August 17, 2017

HONG KONG — An appeals court jailed three leaders of Hong Kong’s democracy movement for six to eight months on Thursday, dealing a blow to the Chinese-ruled city’s youth-led push for universal suffrage and prompting accusations of political interference.

Joshua Wong, 20, Alex Chow, 24, and Nathan Law, 26, were sentenced last year to non-jail terms including community service for unlawful assembly, but Hong Kong’s Department of Justice applied for a review, seeking imprisonment.

Wong was jailed for six months, Chow for seven months and Law for eight months. Law had been the city’s youngest ever democratically elected legislator before he was stripped last month of his seat by a government-led lawsuit.

The three appeared stern but calm as their sentences were delivered by a panel of three judges.

The former British colony, which has been governed under a “one country, two systems” formula since it was returned to Chinese rule in 1997, was rocked by nearly three months of mostly peaceful street occupations in late 2014, demanding Beijing grant the city full democracy.

The so-called “Umbrella Movement” civil disobedience movement, that drew hundreds of thousands of protesters at its peak, was triggered after Wong and his colleagues stormed into a courtyard fronting the city’s government headquarters.

They were later charged with participating in and inciting an unlawful assembly.

Just before sentencing, a defiant Wong told around one hundred supporters who thronged into the High Court lobby, some weeping, that he had no regrets and urged them to keep fighting for full democracy.

“I hope Hong Kong people won’t give up. Victory is ours. When we are released next year I hope we can see a Hong Kong that is full of hope. I want to see Hong Kong people not giving up. This is my last wish before I go to jail.”

Wong also told Reuters earlier that Hong Kong’s democratic movement was facing its “darkest era” and that he’d lost confidence in the city’s vaunted legal system, long considered one of the best in Asia.

The Department of Justice said in an earlier statement that the trio were not convicted for exercising their civil liberties, but because their conduct during the protest included “disorderly and intimidating behaviour”.

It added there was “absolutely no basis to imply any political motive”.

Critics disagreed.

“The outlandish application seeking jail time is not about public order but is instead a craven political move to keep the trio out of the Legislative Council, as well as deter future protests,” China director at Human Rights Watch, Sophie Richardson, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Hong Kong enjoys a free judiciary, unlike on the mainland where the Communist Party controls the courts which rarely challenge its decisions.

The jail terms will curtail the political ambitions of the trio, barring them for running for seats in the legislature for the next five years.

In recent months, dozens of protesters, mostly young people, have been jailed for their roles in various protests, including a violent demonstration that the government called a riot in early 2016.

(Reporting by Venus Wu and James Pomfret; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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Shanghai Stock Exchange Confusion Over China United Network Communications Sale Involves Tencent and Alibaba

August 17, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | Unicom Group was among six SOEs chosen by Beijing last year for a pilot programme to funnel private capital into state firms

SHANGHAI (AFP) – A plan under which big Chinese companies led by Tencent and Alibaba would invest $11.7 billion in the country’s second-largest wireless carrier was cast into confusion on Thursday — just a day after it was announced.China United Network Communications Ltd, the Shanghai-listed arm of China Unicom, was to receive the infusion under a deal announced Wednesday, part of the Chinese government’s push to overhaul inefficient state-owned enterprises (SOEs) by luring in private capital.

The investors were to include internet titans like Tencent, Alibaba, and JD.com, taxi-hailing service Didi Chuxing and several other firms.

However, confusion subsequently emerged over exactly which companies would be involved, with China United Network Communications withdrawing a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange about the agreement just hours after submitting it on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, plans to lift suspensions on China Unicom-related shares, were subsequently reversed.

China United Network Communications said Thursday in Shanghai that its shares, suspended since April, would remain so for several more days pending further announcements.

“There’s been confusion right to the very last moment — they shouldn?t be rushing ahead to make the announcements,” Francis Lun, Hong Kong-based chief executive officer of Geo Securities Ltd, told Bloomberg News.

“It shows their incompetency. The approval process has to be called into question when they deliver misleading messages like this.”

The fiasco may raise questions over China’s plans to reform SOEs while waging a parallel campaign to crack down on runaway credit in the private sector.

China’s ballooning debt prompted a warning Tuesday by the International Monetary Fund that the country was on a “dangerous trajectory”.

Unicom Group was among six SOEs chosen by Beijing last year for a pilot programme to funnel private capital into state firms, which has seen Unicom-related shares soar this year.

Unicom’s net debt has risen by 20 percent in the last five years to 150 billion yuan ($22 billion), according to Bloomberg, as it spent on mobile network upgrades and plans an expensive 5G rollout expected to benefit the Chinese tech giants.

Three Young Hong Kong Democracy Leaders Jailed for Months

August 17, 2017

HONG KONG — A Hong Kong appeal court on Thursday jailed three prominent young Hong Kong democracy leaders for several months for “unlawful assembly” linked to the city’s months-long pro-democracy protests in 2014.

The three are 20-year-old Joshua Wong, former student leader Alex Chow, 26, and Nathan Law, 24, the youngest ever democratically elected lawmaker in Hong Kong. They were jailed for six, seven and eight months respectively.

The former British colony, which last month celebrated the 20th anniversary of its return to Chinese rule, was gridlocked by nearly three months of street protests in 2014’s “Umbrella Movement” that failed to convince Beijing to allow full democracy in the city of 7.3 million.

(Reporting by Venus Wu and James Pomfret; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Steve Bannon, Unrepentant — Interview with Robert Kuttner, The American Prospect

August 17, 2017

Steve Bannon, Unrepentant

(Rex Features via AP Images)

Steve Bannon on the phone, December 9, 2016

You might think from recent press accounts that Steve Bannon is on the ropes and therefore behaving prudently. In the aftermath of events in Charlottesville, he is widely blamed for his boss’s continuing indulgence of white supremacists. Allies of National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster hold Bannon responsible for a campaign by Breitbart News, which Bannon once led, to vilify the security chief. Trump’s defense of Bannon, at his Tuesday press conference, was tepid.

But Bannon was in high spirits when he phoned me Tuesday afternoon to discuss the politics of taking a harder line with China, and minced no words describing his efforts to neutralize his rivals at the Departments of Defense, State, and Treasury. “They’re wetting themselves,” he said, proceeding to detail how he would oust some of his opponents at State and Defense.

Needless to say, I was a little stunned to get an email from Bannon’s assistant midday Tuesday, just as all hell was breaking loose once again about Charlottesville, saying that Bannon wished to meet with me.

Needless to say, I was a little stunned to get an email from Bannon’s assistant midday Tuesday, just as all hell was breaking loose once again about Charlottesville, saying that Bannon wished to meet with me. I’d just published a column on how China was profiting from the U.S.-North Korea nuclear brinkmanship, and it included some choice words about Bannon’s boss.

“In Kim, Trump has met his match,” I wrote. “The risk of two arrogant fools blundering into a nuclear exchange is more serious than at any time since October 1962.” Maybe Bannon wanted to scream at me?

I told the assistant that I was on vacation, but I would be happy to speak by phone. Bannon promptly called.

Far from dressing me down for comparing Trump to Kim, he began, “It’s a great honor to finally track you down. I’ve followed your writing for years and I think you and I are in the same boat when it comes to China.  You absolutely nailed it.”

“We’re at economic war with China,” he added. “It’s in all their literature. They’re not shy about saying what they’re doing. One of us is going to be a hegemon in 25 or 30 years and it’s gonna be them if we go down this path. On Korea, they’re just tapping us along. It’s just a sideshow.”

Bannon said he might consider a deal in which China got North Korea to freeze its nuclear buildup with verifiable inspections and the United States removed its troops from the peninsula, but such a deal seemed remote. Given that China is not likely to do much more on North Korea, and that the logic of mutually assured destruction was its own source of restraint, Bannon saw no reason not to proceed with tough trade sanctions against China.

Contrary to Trump’s threat of fire and fury, Bannon said: “There’s no military solution [to North Korea’s nuclear threats], forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.” Bannon went on to describe his battle inside the administration to take a harder line on China trade, and not to fall into a trap of wishful thinking in which complaints against China’s trade practices now had to take a backseat to the hope that China, as honest broker, would help restrain Kim.

“To me,” Bannon said, “the economic war with China is everything. And we have to be maniacally focused on that. If we continue to lose it, we’re five years away, I think, ten years at the most, of hitting an inflection point from which we’ll never be able to recover.”

Bannon’s plan of attack includes: a complaint under Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act against Chinese coercion of technology transfers from American corporations doing business there, and follow-up complaints against steel and aluminum dumping. “We’re going to run the tables on these guys. We’ve come to the conclusion that they’re in an economic war and they’re crushing us.”

But what about his internal adversaries, at the departments of State and Defense, who think the United States can enlist Beijing’s aid on the North Korean standoff, and at Treasury and the National Economic Council who don’t want to mess with the trading system?

“Oh, they’re wetting themselves,” he said, explaining that the Section 301 complaint, which was put on hold when the war of threats with North Korea broke out, was shelved only temporarily, and will be revived in three weeks. As for other cabinet departments, Bannon has big plans to marginalize their influence.

“I’m changing out people at East Asian Defense; I’m getting hawks in. I’m getting Susan Thornton [acting head of East Asian and Pacific Affairs] out at State.”

But can Bannon really win that fight internally?

“That’s a fight I fight every day here,” he said. “We’re still fighting. There’s Treasury and [National Economic Council chair] Gary Cohn and Goldman Sachs lobbying.”

“We gotta do this. The president’s default position is to do it, but the apparatus is going crazy. Don’t get me wrong. It’s like, every day.”

Bannon explained that his strategy is to battle the trade doves inside the administration while building an outside coalition of trade hawks that includes left as well as right. Hence the phone call to me.

There are a couple of things that are startling about this premise. First, to the extent that most of the opponents of Bannon’s China trade strategy are other Trump administration officials, it’s not clear how reaching out to the left helps him. If anything, it gives his adversaries ammunition to characterize Bannon as unreliable or disloyal.

More puzzling is the fact that Bannon would phone a writer and editor of a progressive publication (the cover lines on whose first two issues after Trump’s election were “Resisting Trump” and “Containing Trump”) and assume that a possible convergence of views on China trade might somehow paper over the political and moral chasm on white nationalism.

The question of whether the phone call was on or off the record never came up. This is also puzzling, since Steve Bannon is not exactly Bambi when it comes to dealing with the press. He’s probably the most media-savvy person in America.

I asked Bannon about the connection between his program of economic nationalism and the ugly white nationalism epitomized by the racist violence in Charlottesville and Trump’s reluctance to condemn it. Bannon, after all, was the architect of the strategy of using Breitbart to heat up white nationalism and then rely on the radical right as Trump’s base.

He dismissed the far right as irrelevant and sidestepped his own role in cultivating it: “Ethno-nationalism—it’s losers. It’s a fringe element. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more.”

“These guys are a collection of clowns,” he added.

From his lips to Trump’s ear.

“The Democrats,” he said, “the longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em. I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.”

I had never before spoken with Bannon. I came away from the conversation with a sense both of his savvy and his recklessness. The waters around him are rising, but he is going about his business of infighting, and attempting to cultivate improbable outside allies, to promote his China strategy. His enemies will do what they do.

Either the reports of the threats to Bannon’s job are grossly exaggerated and leaked by his rivals, or he has decided not to change his routine and to go down fighting. Given Trump’s impulsivity, neither Bannon nor Trump really has any idea from day to day whether Bannon is staying or going. He has survived earlier threats. So what the hell, damn the torpedoes.

The conversation ended with Bannon inviting me to the White House after Labor Day to continue the discussion of China and trade. We’ll see if he’s still there.

http://prospect.org/article/steve-bannon-unrepentant

Gen. Joseph Dunford: North Korean missile threat would be “horrific” — But allowing North Korea the capability to launch a nuclear attack on the United States is “unimaginable.”

August 17, 2017

Image result for Dunford, Photos, china

U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford and his Chinese counterpart, chief of the general staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Gen. Fang Fenghui, attend a signing ceremony in Beijing, China, Aug. 15, 2017.

The Associated Press

BEIJING (AP) — The top U.S. military officer said Thursday a military solution to the North Korean missile threat would be “horrific” but allowing Pyongyang to develop the capability to launch a nuclear attack on the United States is “unimaginable.”

The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, told reporters in Beijing that President Donald Trump directly has “told us to develop credible viable military options and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

Dunford was responding to questions about Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon’s comments in an interview published Wednesday.

Bannon was quoted as saying there’s no military solution to the threat posed by North Korea and its nuclear ambitions, despite the president’s recent pledge to answer further aggression with “fire and fury.”

“There’s no military solution (to North Korea’s nuclear threats), forget it,” Bannon said in the interview. “Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that 10 million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.”

Image result for Dunford, Photos, china

In Beijing, Dunford said it’s “absolutely horrific if there would be a military solution to this problem, there’s no question about it.”

But, he added, “what’s unimaginable is allowing KJU (North Korean leader Kim Jong Un) to develop ballistic missiles with a nuclear warhead that can threaten the United States and continue to threaten the region,” he said.

Dunford has been in Asia this week, visiting South Korea, Japan and China. In China, he has met with his Chinese counterpart Fang Fenghui, chief of the People’s Liberation Army’s joint staff department. On Thursday he also met with Fan Changlong, vice chairman of the ruling Communist Party’s Central Military Commission, and Yang Jiechi, China’s top diplomat.

Image result for Yang Jiechi, dunford, photos

Yang Jiechi

In Seoul, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said he would consider sending a special envoy to North Korea for talks if the North stops its missile and nuclear tests, in an effort to jumpstart diplomacy.

He also declared, amid fears in South Korea that threats from Trump to unleash “fire and fury” on Pyongyang could lead to real fighting, that there would be no second war on the Korean Peninsula.

“The people worked together to rebuild the country from the Korean War, and we cannot lose everything again because of a war,” Moon said in a nationally televised news conference. “I can confidently say there will not be a war again on the Korean Peninsula.”

Steve Bannon

Moon’s comments follow a spike in animosity generated by North Korea’s warning that it might send missiles into waters near the U.S. territory of Guam, and by Trump’s warlike language. Both Koreas and the United States have signaled in recent days, however, a willingness to avert a deepening crisis, with each suggesting a path toward negotiations.

Trump tweeted early Wednesday that Kim had “made a very wise and well-reasoned decision,” amid indications North Korea doesn’t immediately plan to fire multiple missiles toward Guam.

“The alternative would have been both catastrophic and unacceptable!” Trump wrote.

Next week’s start of annual U.S.-South Korean military exercises that enrage the North each year could make diplomacy even more difficult.

___

Associated Press writers Hyung-jin Kim and Kim Tong-Hyung contributed to this report from Seoul, South Korea.

Pakistan Hopes To Resurrect Railway in Karachi With Chinese Money

August 16, 2017

KARACHI, Pakistan (Reuters) – After many false starts, plans to resurrect a railway in Pakistan’s teeming metropolis of Karachi are moving ahead with the help of Chinese cash. Not everyone is happy.

The Chinese-funded $2 billion project to revive Karachi Circular Railways (KRC), nearly two decades since it was shut down, has been touted as a way to ease pollution and chronic congestion in the port city of 20 million people.

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KCR tracks running through Nipa, Gulshan-e-Iqbal — Credit Mohammad Ali, White Star

It is also viewed with suspicion by Pakistanis who have built homes and businesses along the 43-km route connecting Karachi’s sprawling suburbs with the industrial and commercial areas of the megacity.

In April, a push to remove shanty towns near the rubbish-strewn railway track was met with violence as residents clashed with police and set fire to machinery used for demolishing homes.

Blue-Train-Engine

A man sleeps on a bench at Cantonment railway station, once a stop on the now disused Karachi Circular Railway line, in Karachi, Pakistan, May 23, 2017.Caren Firouz

Officials say nearly 5,000 houses and 7,650 other encroaching structures have been erected along the route of the old KRC, which closed in 1999 after 29 years of shunting passengers across the sweltering city.

Three-wheel auto-rickshaws and mini-buses – often cramped and with no air conditioning – have filled the transport gap on Karachi’s streets despite grumbling from commuters.

Work on the new KRC is scheduled to begin later this year, with financing from the $57 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, part of Beijing’s wider Belt and Road initiative to build trade routes from Asia to Europe and Africa.

Beijing’s cash is building motorways and power plants to alleviate Pakistan’s energy shortages, but Karachiites hope it could also modernize their city at a time when traffic appears to be spiraling out of control.

“Let’s hope under CPEC, KCR is revived and people will get an alternate to miserably public transport,” said Manzoor Ahmed Razi, chairman of the Railway Workers Union.

Reporting by Syed Raza Hassan; Writing by Drazen Jorgic, editing by Darren Schuettler and Nick Macfie

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Karachi Circular Railway’s Nipa station

South China Sea: Philippine Foreign Minister Defends Chinese Presence in Philippine Waters — Urges mutual trust with Beijing

August 16, 2017
Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano gestures during a news conference following the conclusion of the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting and Related Meetings Tuesday Aug. 8, 2017 at the Philippine International Convention Center in Manila, Philippines. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines’ top diplomat justified the reported presence of Chinese ships near Pag-asa Island in Palawan, stressing that the country should develop mutual trust with Beijing.

Rep. Gary Alejano of party-list group Magdalo earlier said that China has deployed two frigates, one Coast Guard vessel and two large fishing vessels one to three nautical miles north of Pag-asa Island.

READ: China ships massing near Pag-asa sandbars?

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File photo

Pag-asa, a fifth class municipality in Palawan, is the second biggest island in the Spratly Islands next to the Taiwanese-occupied Itu Aba.

Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said that China should not be regarded as an enemy.

“Why were we not concerned about the US doing freedom of navigation, ang lalaki ng ships nila. You know why? Kasi they’re our allies so if we keep looking at China as the enemy, every time na may movement sila masyado tayong nag-re-react,” Cayetano said.

Cayetano added that the Philippines should instead ask China for an explanation regarding their presence instead of being alarmed.

On the other hand, Alejano called on the Duterte administration to ask China to order their ships away from Pag-asa Island and file a diplomatic protest against China.

“I call on the Philippine government officials to be transparent in what is happening in West Philippine Sea. We must assert our rights in the midst of talks with China,” Alejano said.

The foreign ministers of the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, under the leadership of Cayetano, earlier released a joint communique emphasizing the importance of self-restraint and non-militarization in the conduct of activities in the South China Sea.

Cayetano, however, admitted that he did not want to initially include “land reclamation” in the statement as Beijing supposedly stopped its land-filling activities in the region.

RELATED: Photos disprove China’s claim of halting land reclamation

Related:

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Deepsea Metro I

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Chinese H-6 bomber

 (Is the Philippines just a pawn for China now?)

The ONLY TRULY JOYFUL FACES at the ASEAN conference were provided by North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, left, and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.  (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

 

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China chose to ignore international law.

Where did North Korea get its missile technology?

August 16, 2017

A new media report claims North Korea was able to develop its missile system after buying rocket engines on the black market in Ukraine. Kyiv denies the link. In this international mystery, the clues lead to Russia.

Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko visits a rocket plant (picture alliance/dpa/epa/M. Markiv)

Anyone who asks Vitaly Zushtchevski about the allegations being made against his former employer is quickly interrupted. “It is a lie,” said the ex-deputy production manager for engines at Yuzhmash, the former Soviet rocket manufacturer based in the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro. According to a New York Times report published on Monday, North Korea’s surprising progress in missile technology may be linked to Yuzhmash.

The engineering plant is in financial difficulty, and this may be the reason why criminals and former employees reportedly smuggled old Soviet engines, or parts of them, into North Korea. The Times referred to a study conducted by Michael Elleman from the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London and assessments by US intelligence agencies. The newspaper did not provide evidence, only clues.

Read – German weapons makers profiting from Korea tensions

Aiding a technological leap

Elleman has analyzed North Korean medium-range and intercontinental ballistic missiles of the Hwasong 12 and 14 types, whose extended range holds the potential to hit the United States. He concluded that the surprisingly fast development in the last two years has only been possible with the help of foreign suppliers, meaning countries from the former Soviet Union. Even the German missile expert Robert Schmucker from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) agreed with Elleman’s analysis, although he avoided any explicit accusations.

Experts believe that the one-chamber engine used in the latest Hwasong missiles is reminiscent of the Soviet RD-250 rocket engine, which had two chambers and was developed in the 1960s.

It is difficult to prove whether the RD-250 was also manufactured by Yuzhmash. Vitaly Zushtchevski said that they received these engines from Russia, where they were “produced in low quantities.” Elleman suggested that they were also made in Ukraine. In his IISS study, he wrote that “hundreds, if not more” RD-250 engines have remained in Russia, as well as in Ukraine, adding it is also possible that Moscow is Pyongyang’s supplier.

North Korean rocket (picture alliance/AP Photo)Does North Korea’s Hwasong-14 missile contain old Soviet technology?

“We have never produced the types of engines that are shown in the New York Times article,” said Zushtchevski, who worked at Yuzhmash for almost five decades. The retired engineer confirmed that since the end of the company’s cooperation with Moscow, triggered by the annexation of Crimea, the rocket plant in Dnipro has been “virtually dead.” Smuggling technology into North Korea is unfathomable to him. Kyiv and Yuzhmash officials both denied the Times report. Elleman suspects the government in Kyiv knew nothing about the smuggling.

Read – North Korea: Who would have to go to war with Trump?

Shadow of the past

It is the first time that Yuzhmash, the former manufacturer of the giant Soviet SS-18 intercontinental ballistic missile, has been suspected of violating UN sanctions or any other international treaties. However, Pyongyang has shown its interest in Ukrainian expertise in the past. In 2012, two North Koreans were tried in Ukraine for spying on Yuzhmash.

In 2002, there were press reports claiming that Ukraine wanted to supply Iraq with modern radar systems. Kyiv denied the reports and no radar systems were found in Iraq. But there were cases of verified smuggling. In 2005, the then-prosecutor general of Ukraine admitted in a newspaper interview that a group of Ukrainians and Russians illegally sold 18 cruise missiles to China and Iran in 2001.

Kim Jong-un watches a rocket test (Reuters/KCNA)North Korean rocket technology has made significant strides in recent years

Oleg Uruski, former head of the State Space Agency of Ukraine, finds it improbable that the same could have happened in this case, saying that the state has a multistage monitoring system. However, Uruski did not rule out that the clues point to wrongdoing. “A crime is possible in every sphere,” he said.

Pointing the finger at Moscow

Observers in Kyiv believe that the Times article may be part of a targeted campaign by Russia. In an analysis published on Tuesday, the Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies (CACDS) in Kyiv wrote that the US publication shows “signs of an information attack on Ukraine.” Among other things, the aim of the article is apparently to divert attention from “their own missile technology shipments to North Korea” and to discredit Ukraine, especially in the eyes of the US.

“Russia shares a border with North Korea, so one can deliver anything, even entire engines,” said Mykhailo Samus, the CACDS deputy director for international affairs. Ukraine, on the other hand, would have logistical problems, he said.

TUM’s Robert Schmucker said that the latest story is about more than just the engines. “What about the missiles? The information itself is of no use; you need production facilities, technical equipment and above all, good quality control,” he said. “A lot more must have come from Ukraine than just a few engines.”

http://www.dw.com/en/where-did-north-korea-get-its-missile-technology/a-40107204

South China Sea: Vietnam Forced To End Oil Drilling Due to China’s Pressure

August 16, 2017
THE drilling ship at the centre of a row between Vietnam and China over oil prospecting in disputed waters in the South China Sea has arrived in waters off the Malaysian port of Labuan, shipping data showed today.

PUBLISHED: 09:50, Mon, Aug 14, 2017 | UPDATED: 10:00, Mon, Aug 14, 2017

A tumultuous history of the South China Sea dispute

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Drilling by the Deepsea Metro I ship was suspended in Vietnam’s Block 136/3 last month after pressure from , which says the concession operated by Spain’s Repsol overlaps the vast majority of the waterway that it claims as its own.

The ship, used by Norway’s Odfjell Drilling Ltd., was reported to be in Labuan at 9.17am (0117 GMT). It was last recorded at the drilling site on July 30.

Odfjell Drilling did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Xi Jinping, Vietnam flag and Deepsea Metro I shipGETTY/ODFJELL DRILLING

Drilling ship at centre of row between China and Vietnam has arrived at the Malaysian port of Labuan

The row over the drilling inflamed tensions between Vietnam and China, whose claims in the South China Sea are disputed by five Southeast Asian countries.

Repsol said last month that drilling had been suspended after the company spent $27 million on the well. Co-owners of the block are Vietnam’s state oil firm and Mubadala Development Co of the United Arab Emirates.

The block lies inside the U-shaped “nine-dash line” that marks the area that China claims in the sea.

China had urged a halt to the exploration work and a diplomatic source with direct knowledge of the situation said that the decision to suspend drilling was taken after a Vietnamese delegation visited Beijing.

Oil workersGETTY STOCK IMAGE

Drilling was suspended after pressure from China

Deepsea Metro I shipODFJELL DRILLING

Deepsea Metro I ship used by Norway’s Odfjell Drilling Ltd

Vietnam has never confirmed that drilling started or that it was suspended, but last month defended its right to explore in the area.

Vietnam has emerged as the most vocal opponent of Chinese claims in the South China Sea, where more than $3 trillion in cargo passes every year, and China was also angered by Vietnam’s stand at a regional meeting last week.Vietnam held out for language that noted concern about island-building and criticised militarisation in South China Sea in the communique from foreign ministers of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/840774/china-vietnam-row-oil-ship-deepsea-metro-I-malaysia

Related:

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Deepsea Metro I

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Chinese H-6 bomber

 (Is the Philippines just a pawn for China now?)

The ONLY TRULY JOYFUL FACES at the ASEAN conference were provided by North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, left, and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.  (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

 

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Best search terms: ,  

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China chose to ignore international law.