Posts Tagged ‘Chinese government’

Boeing works to avert US-China trade war escalation

July 16, 2018
Chief notes ‘tough’ global trade challenges but reaffirms UK investments

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Boeing’s chief has said the company is ‘engaged with the US government and with the Chinese government . . . I’m hopeful we’ll come to a good resolution’ © Bloomberg

By Peggy Hollinger and Patti Waldmeir

Boeing is working actively behind the scenes to avert an escalation of the bitter US-China trade war, amid concerns about the risks for a company that is the top US exporter.
Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing chairman and chief executive, said he was hopeful that the trade war would be resolved despite US proposals last week for tariffs on a further $200bn worth of Chinese imports.

Speaking ahead of the Farnborough air show in the UK, which opens on Monday, he told the Financial Times: “Our voice is being heard. We are engaged with the US government and with the Chinese government . . . I’m hopeful we’ll come to a good resolution.”

Although Mr Muilenburg said Boeing had not felt any impact from the US-China tariffs, nor from the new US duties on aluminium and steel imports, a person with knowledge of the situation said that its executives are meeting regularly with high-ranking administration officials.

Analysts estimate that roughly 20-25 per cent of the orders in Boeing’s backlog are for Chinese customers, supporting thousands of US jobs. “The president is well aware of Boeing’s position,” the person said.

Concerns are growing that the trade dispute between the world’s two biggest economies, along with a separate US offensive against aluminium and steel imports from the EU, Mexico and Canada, will hit global growth.

Mr Muilenburg noted the “tough challenges to be resolved” in global trade. These included the framework for the UK’s departure from the EU. Referring to the UK government’s Brexit proposals, published last week, Mr Muilenburg said: “Being able to move goods around the world is fundamental to success in the aerospace sector.” However he said Boeing’s investments into the UK “are going to happen, regardless of where we end up on Brexit and discussions around trade deals.”

Earlier this month, Washington imposed duties on $34bn worth of Chinese imports, while Beijing responded with equivalent tariffs on imported US soyabeans, pork and other products. The Federal Reserve noted in June that US businesses were already putting investment on hold as a result of the tit-for-tat tariff war.

Beijing has so far refrained from targeting new Boeing aircraft. Nevertheless, if the dispute continues and the wider global economy is affected, this could “impact airline passenger and freight traffic, ultimately restraining demand for aircraft”, according to Cai von Rumohr of Cowen investment bank.

Mr Muilenburg dismissed suggestions that Boeing’s European rival Airbus could steal an advantage in China as a result of the trade row with the US. “You are not going to see sudden shifts in orders or delivery profiles,” he said. “That all said, we need to find productive trade solutions. That’s why we’re engaged with both governments. I’m confident that [they] understand the high value of the aerospace sector and what it means to their economic prosperity.”

Nevertheless, Boeing has had no orders from Chinese airlines yet this year, while China Aircraft Leasing Corporation has ordered 15 narrow bodies from Airbus on top of the bumper order for 50 passenger jets in December. Boeing said that the dearth of Chinese deals so far this year was because of the fact that its customers had already placed sizeable orders over the past two years.




South China Sea: China’s Blocking of the Philippines Likely Costing Filipinos Billions in Unclaimed Oil, Sea Resources

July 16, 2018
China’s continued blocking of Reed Bank drilling could cost Philippine development — expert
Patricia Lourdes Viray ( – July 16, 2018 – 9:53am

MANILA, Philippines — China’s continued blocking of oil and gas drilling on Reed Bank in the West Philippine Sea may bring economic repercussions for the Philippines, a maritime law expert warned.

In 2015, the Department of Energy suspended all drilling and exploration works in the West Philippine Sea due to a territorial dispute with China.

The Reed Bank, also called Recto Bank, is being considered as a possible replacement to the nation’s main source of natural gas, the Malampaya field, which will run out in less than a decade.

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Jay Batongbacal, director of the University of the Philippines Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, warned that the Philippine’s plans for economic development will be affected if the Malampaya field runs out of oil and gas.

RELATED: 81% of Pinoys reject government inaction on SCS

The country is seen to lose 30 percent of its energy requirements by 2025 if this happens.

“Luzon will be the most affected. But not only that, there will also be financial effects, the side effects will be big because when you do not have power, your industry will just stop,” Batongbacal said on Vice President Leni Robredo’s radio show on Sunday.

The maritime expert added that a substitute for Malampaya would be more expensive. At least 10 years of lead time would be needed in pursuing natural gas and petroleum energy projects.

Reed Bank, which reportedly has about 21 percent more gas than the reserves in Malampaya, is one of the two areas being eyed as sites of joint exploration between the Philippines and China.

The area is within the country’s exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea but it is also being claimed by China.

Last February, the Philippines and China agreed to form a panel that would draft a framework on joint oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano earlier said that the Philippines wants a deal as good as the one on the Malampaya project, which is 65 km off Palawan.

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“We desire a contract that’s as good or better than Malampaya… If we can have a deal that is as advantageous as Malampaya or better, what’s the difference if we are dealing with China?” Cayetano said.

The Chinese government had assured the Philippines that joint development would not affect the legal position of both countries on the issue.

“Pending final settlement, China would like to conduct practical cooperation in various fields with parties concerned, including under the principle of shelving differences and seeking joint development,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said in a press briefing in April.

READ: What Cayetano missed in justifying South China Sea joint development



New Round of U.S.-China Trade War Rattles Global Markets

July 11, 2018

President Trump’s escalating trade war with China rattled global markets on Wednesday.

China led a market tumble in Asia and Europe, with stocks there finishing the day down nearly 2 percent, after the Trump administration threatened to impose new tariffs on Chinese goods. Stocks in Japan and South Korea also fell, though by less.

In Europe, there was a broad sell-off across markets by late morning, with major markets down more than 1 percent. Companies with China exposure were among the worst hit.

An electronic board in Hong Kong showing a drop in a local stock index on Wednesday. Shares fell after the Trump Administration threatened to impose more tariffs on China. Credit Vincent Yu/Associated Press

On Wall Street, which saw a rally on Tuesday, futures were trending downward, giving a glimpse of how markets in the United States could open on Wednesday morning.

China’s currency was also hit by selling. China keeps a tight grip on the value of its currency, but the small amount that is traded outside of its borders — the so-called offshore renminbi — weakened against the dollar.

The intensifying trade war adds to China’s challenges, including signs that its effort to tame its debt problems could slow economic growth. Investors have turned skittish as a result. China has now entered bear market territory — when prices drop by more than 20 percent from a peak — with its market hovering at levels not seen since a rout three years ago set off a domino effect in global trading.

The Trump administration promised Tuesday night to impose tariffs on an additional $200 billion of Chinese products, including chemicals, handbags, petroleum and fish. That move came just days after the United States started levies on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods like robotics, ball bearings and even airplane parts.

The Chinese government pledged Wednesday that it would take unspecified countermeasures. It has matched previous tariffs dollar for dollar, leading some investors to worry that trade could get costlier still.

David French, an executive at the National Retail Federation, called the latest round of tariffs by the Trump administration a “reckless strategy that will boomerang back to harm U.S. families and workers.”

“The threat to the U.S. economy is less about a question of ‘if’ and more about ‘when’ and ‘how bad,’” Mr. French said in an emailed statement.

China’s main stock index lost 1.8 percent on Wednesday. In the southern city of Shenzhen, where many new technology and smaller companies are traded, the market fell by 2 percent. In Hong Kong, an index of China’s biggest companies listed dropped 1.5 percent.

Reaction was more reserved in other Asian markets. In Tokyo, the main index fell 1.2 percent. Stocks in Seoul fell less than 1 percent. A broad index of Europe’s biggest companies was down 1.1 percent in morning trading.

In the United States, S&P 500 futures were down 0.7 percent, while Dow Jones futures were down 0.8 percent.


U.N. experts seek urgent release of widow of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo

July 4, 2018

U.N. human rights experts urged China on Wednesday to release Liu Xia, the widow of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, and allow her to seek treatment for deteriorating health, including traveling abroad.

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FILE PHOTO: A pro-democracy protester holds a portrait of Liu Xia, the wife of jailed Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo, during a protest to call for the freeing of Chinese dissidents outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong December 5, 2013. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

The appeal came nearly a year after Liu Xiaobo died of liver cancer on July 13, 2017 while in custody, having been jailed in 2009 for “inciting subversion of state power”.

Liu Xia, an artist and poet who suffers from depression, has been under effective house arrest since her husband was awarded the prize in 2010. She has never been charged with any crime and was last seen in public at his funeral accompanied by Chinese authorities.

“We are disturbed by reports of the deteriorating health of Liu Xia. She is reportedly physically restricted at an unknown location and suffers from severe psychological distress,” U.N. independent experts on enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, and human rights defenders said in a joint statement.

“We reiterate our call to the Chinese government to disclose her whereabouts and release her,” they said.

China has repeatedly said Liu Xia is free and is accorded all rights guaranteed to her by Chinese law.

However, Beijing-based Western diplomats have said she has been closely monitored by Chinese authorities since her husband’s death and has only been able to meet and speak to friends and family in pre-arranged phone calls and visits.

A friend who recently spoke to her by telephone said in May that she was losing hope of leaving the country.

In the past, Chinese dissidents have been allowed to leave the country and take up residence in a willing Western nation.

But President Xi Jinping, who came to power in 2013, has presided over a sweeping campaign to quash dissent throughout Chinese society, detaining hundreds of rights activists and lawyers, with dozens jailed.

The U.N. experts voiced alarm at “the growing trend of deaths in custody in China” – who have included activist Cao Shunli in 2014 and Tibetan monk Tenzin Delek Rinpoche in 2016.

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Cao Shunli

Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, in a speech last month, accused China of preventing independent activists from testifying before U.N. rights bodies. He voiced concern that conditions were “fast deteriorating” in the autonomous regions of Tibet and Xinjiang.

“A number of Chinese human rights lawyers are in detention or simply disappeared,” Alim Seytoff, director of the Uighur service at Radio Free Asia, said at a panel last week.

“The situation of freedom of expression of Uighurs in the northwest of China is even worse,” he said.

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Tibetan monk Tenzin Delek Rinpoche

China, responding to “unfounded accusations” by Western states at the U.N. Human Rights Council, said last week that it encourages activists but “does not allow any organization or individual to engage in subversive or destabilizing activities using the pretext of protecting rights or freedom of speech”.

“Meanwhile, the government is cracking down on ethnic separatists and violent terrorists’ activities to safeguard national security and protect people’s lives and property,” Chinese diplomat Jiang Yingfeng told the forum.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Toby Chopra


Hong Kong’s July 1 march kicks off, with controversy over police orders

July 1, 2018

Civil Human Rights Front, which organises annual demonstration, expects about 60,000 people to turn up for event marking 21st anniversary of city’s return to Chinese rule

South China Morning Post
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 July, 2018, 4:07pm

Roads were closed on Sunday around Hong Kong’s Victoria Park as demonstrators started to stream into Causeway Bay for the annual July 1 pro-democracy march, set to start from the park at 3pm in uncomfortable proximity to an outdoor celebration organised by a pro-China group to mark the 21st anniversary of the city’s handover from British to Chinese rule.

Organised by the Civil Human Rights Front – an umbrella group of some 50 pro-democracy groups – the march is both a protest against Chinese power and a show of support for democracy. This year, the theme is “End one-party dictatorship, reject the fall of Hong Kong”.

The starting point of the march has been a matter of contention this year. Police ordered the march to begin on the central lawn of the park. But the front, which had planned to start the march from East Point Road, opposed that plan, saying participants could clash with the pro-Beijing group using the six soccer pitches at the same time.

The front appealed but lost. It remained defiant and insisted that some of its core member groups would start the march from elsewhere and join the procession midway, although it would officially begin the march from the central lawn, following police orders.

Police warned that anyone ignoring force orders could be arrested for unlawful assembly.

The front said it expected turnout to be more or less the same as last year’s 60,000. Police estimated the turnout was 14,000 last year, a 14-year low.

A protester holds a placard which reads: “End one-party rule”. Photo: Sam Tsang

3.30pm – ‘What is the point of having a Legislative Council?’

Shortly before the procession started, middle-aged marcher Winnie Chan said she joins almost every year.

“I am especially angry this year. Look at how the Legislative Council has turned!” she said, referring to the spate of lawmakers being disqualified and activists being barred from running in elections, as well as Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen’s controversial handling of the bill for joint border checkpoints on the cross-border high-speed rail line.

Winnie Chan said she attends the march almost every year. Photo: Kimmy Chung

“What is the point of having a Legislative Council?” she asked, saying the chamber’s monitoring function had been lost. She said Carrie Lam had to take responsibility for that, and accused her of continuing the political aims of her predecessor Leung Chun-ying.

“We’re here to fight for the younger generation,” said Liao Xiu-Ying, a 74-year-old retiree holding a fan with the slogan “We want universal suffrage”. She said she had been at the march every year since 1997.

“Oppression is mounting from the Communist Party, but if we have the ability, we should continue to fight,” she said.

“Oppression is mounting from the Communist Party, but if we have the ability, we should continue to fight.”: Liao Xiu-Ying. Photo: Martin Choi

3.15pm – Protesters following orders, so far

Dozens of police officers were seen patrolling East Point Road and Great George Street, near where they specifically told protesters not to assemble. No protesters were seen gathering there, after the rally organiser told the public not to, for fear of clashes.

Multiple groups set up booths on Great George Street to seek donations from the public, including People Power, Demosisto, and the League of Social Democrats. Ousted lawmaker Lau Siu-lai – “actively considering” running in the Legislative Council by-election for the Kowloon West seat in November – was also seen seeking donations.

“We don’t fear Ko Wing-man,” Lau said, referring to speculation that the former health minister could run in Kowloon West for the pro-establishment camp.

The march has officially begun, with about 400 people setting off from the park’s central lawn, the police-sanctioned starting point.

As they did, they brandished a yellow banner protesting the police arrangement.

“Protest against the ridiculous starting point arrangement. Citizens have the right to join in safety,” the banner read.

“No guilt in joining midway. Shameful police,” they chanted, referring to protesters who intended to join the march further along the route.

The march officially started at 3pm, about 400 people setting off from Victoria Park’s central lawn. Photo: Winson Wong

3.00pm – ‘Society has made our teenagers think it’s not important; obey the Chinese government’

Taylor Lam, an 18-year-old who just completed the DSE exam, was at the march on his own. He was dismayed by what he saw as political apathy and an influx of mainland Chinese migrants.

“[My classmates] don’t have much interest in politics,” he said. “I think society has made our teenagers think it’s not important; obey the Chinese government. They only focus on studies, find a good job and income.

“First people don’t care about it, then our rights will easily be taken by the Chinese government. We’ll have no bargaining power on any policies. There are lots of new immigrants from China who apply for public housing. Even our locals don’t have enough space to live.”


China says feels Myanmar ready to take back Rohingyas

June 29, 2018

China believes that Myanmar is now ready to take back hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims sheltering in Bangladesh who have fled violence in the former Burma, the Chinese government’s top diplomat told his Bangladeshi opposite number on Friday.

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Standing up for human rights and humanitarian conduct: Aung San Suu Kyi and Xi Jinping during an international conference in Beijing. Photo: Xinhua

Since August 2017, about 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled a military crackdown in mainly Buddhist Myanmar, many reporting killings, rape and arson on a large scale in the western state of Rakhine, U.N. and other aid organizations have said.

In May, the United Nations said it had struck an outline deal with Myanmar aimed at eventually allowing them to return.

Chnese State Councillor Wang Yi said that on Thursday he met minister of Myanmar’s State Counsellor Office Kyaw Tint Swe in Beijing, and heard a report from him on how Myanmar was trying to resolve the repatriation issue.

“I strongly felt that the Myanmar side has already prepared to receive these people who have entered Bangladesh to take refuge,” Wang said, speaking to reporters with Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali at his side.

“We really hope to see that the return process, especially the first batch of returnees, can be realized as quickly as possible,” Wang said.

China will provide help and play a constructive role, and China has already provided pre-fabricated houses to Myanmar for those who return, and for Bangladesh China has provided tents and other humanitarian supplies, he added.

“We would like to see and believe that with the hard work of Bangladesh and Myanmar, this repatriation process can begin as soon as possible.”

China has close relations with Myanmar, and has backed what Myanmar officials call a legitimate counter-insurgency operation in Rakhine.

Ali said he had detailed talks with Wang about the Rohingya.

“In this regard we have sought China’s support in ensuring a conducive environment in Rakhine state for early repatriation of these displaced people back to their homeland,” he said.

“China has assured (of) her continued support in resolving this issue. I think we have received tremendous support from China on how to resolve this problem.”

Reporting by Wang Shubing and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Michael Perry


China Takes The “Confusion Defense” on Trade — “We are too stupid to understand this” (Pure Propaganda)

June 24, 2018

China says it is confused by the demands of President Trump. But wanting intellectual property theft to stop is very clear.


South China Morning Post

Donald Trump has called on China to capitulate to U.S. demands on trade. The problem is nobody knows exactly what Trump actually wants – including the Chinese.

One week, he condemns threats to American national security interests and the next, agrees to lift a ban on doing business with Chinese telecom giant ZTE. He rails about the U.S. trade deficit with China, then dismisses Beijing’s offer – negotiated by his own officials – to boost its purchases of U.S. goods by billions of dollars.

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Wang Qishan (left) with Xi Jinping

Beyond the feints and jabs, he’s raised so many different issues that it’s hard to know what his priorities might really be.

The strategy is straight out of “The Art of the Deal”: “I aim very high, and then I just keep pushing and pushing and pushing to get what I’m after.” But some doubt that approach translates to negotiating with a global superpower. By all accounts, it has left the Chinese increasingly mystified about what Trump really wants at a pivotal moment when the world’s two largest economies are teetering on the edge of sustained trade warfare.

“They’re absolutely confused,” Derek Scissors, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, said of the Chinese.

Without clear demands, he argued, Beijing is unlikely to offer much. “The concession has to get them something. And they don’t know what they’re going to get because the U.S. doesn’t have a strategy.”

Chinese officials, for their part, are increasingly blunt about their frustration.

Liu He, china’s vice premier and President Xi Jinping’s economic captain, dispatched central-bank governor Yi Gang to talk to state media to try to calm jittery investors.
Liu He knows exactly what the U.S. wants. He is  China’s vice premier and President Xi Jinping’s economic captain. He dispatched central-bank governor Yi Gang to talk to state media to try to calm jittery investors on Sunday, June 24, 2018. PHOTO: LINTAO ZHANG/GETTY IMAGES

“We appeal our American interlocutors to be credible and consistent,” Li Kexin, minister at the Chinese embassy in Washington, said in a speech Tuesday at the Institute for China-America Studies. “When you agree, you mean it.”

And on Friday, Gao Feng, spokesman for China’s Ministry of Commerce, criticized the U.S. as “capricious.”

Trump’s aggressive approach is a reversal from more than a decade of U.S. policy toward China, which involved negotiating on a suite of business issues every year to make incremental progress. Any gains were secured largely by convincing Beijing that a more open economy was ultimately in its best interests – a tactic that worked very slowly and only to a point.

The president’s willingness to antagonize China more directly has largely been embraced by the U.S. companies and workers desperate for quicker and more substantial results. But veterans of international negotiations are skeptical that negotiations will succeed unless they’re more clearly focused.

“Yes, they have a plan. No, I don’t think it will work,” said Bill Reinsch, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “The plan is always push harder, demand everything and offer nothing.”

The underlying structure of China’s economy is the cause of many of U.S. companies’ most intractable complaints, something that won’t change in a matter of weeks or even months.

Beijing makes U.S. companies jump through more hoops than domestic companies. It conducts cyber espionage and steals U.S. trade secrets and intellectual property, like patents. And the Chinese government subsidizes its companies on a grand scale, guaranteeing that they can sell goods below a market-set price.

All of these policies have been identified by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative as the impetus for new tariffs set to be imposed on $50 billion in Chinese goods. But across the ideological spectrum, China watchers are worried the president’s laser-like focus on the trade deficit may lead him to lose focus on seeking structural changes to the Chinese nonmarket system.

“This is a multiyear process that involves a lot of pain,” Scissors said. “If you don’t want to face the pain and take the time, then don’t do it.”

Chinese officials have similarly cautioned that this negotiation may take years.

“Let’s talk about it, no matter on trade deficit or structural issues,” Li said.

Adding to the confusion, senior administration officials have said they don’t know exactly what Trump will decide to say or do on trade at any given moment. That uncertainty has led advisers to compete for his attention in a bid to sway him, which leads to varied tactics and mixed messaging.

Officials like National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow have indicated the goal is to knock down barriers to U.S. exports, such as tariffs. But under the rules of the World Trade Organization, China is bound to give the United States the same tariff treatment as every other WTO member, making negotiations on the reduction of duties difficult.

Meanwhile, the new U.S. tariffs, aimed at extracting concessions from the Chinese, were designed largely as a response to intellectual property theft, with a nod to China’s policy of propping up companies in particular sectors.

China responded to the announcement of those tariffs by scheduling duties on U.S. goods that mirror the size and timing of the administration’s action. On Tuesday, Trump responded by threatening to slap tariffs on as much as $450 billion in Chinese goods. The administration is also planning next week to place new investment restrictions on the Asian nation.

“Increasingly, I’ve been asked by fairly high-level folks [in China] to just explain what is going on,” said Taiya Smith, who worked under former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to develop formalized trade talks between Washington and Beijing, then called the Strategic Economic Dialogue.

In a press call on Tuesday, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro criticized Beijing’s offers thus far. “If they thought that they could buy us off with a few extra products sold and allow them to continue to steal our intellectual property and crown jewels, that was a miscalculation,” he said. “We hope going forward, there is no more miscalculation.”

So what concessions might be enough? The clearest document outlining U.S. demands looked more like asks in negotiations on a comprehensive free trade agreement than a targeted deal aimed at heading off punitive tariffs.

The administration in May said it wanted China to commit to reducing the trade deficit by $200 billion by 2020. It also asked China to stop subsidizing high-tech sectors like robotics and alternative energy vehicles identified in its China’s strategic economic plan, cut tariffs on “all products in non-critical sectors” to levels at or below U.S. duties and assure that it would not challenge U.S. actions taken in intellectual property disputes.

Robert Lighthizer, Trump’s chief negotiator, said at the time that it wasn’t his goal to “change the Chinese system,” despite his long list of criticisms of that system.

“If they want to do it, that’s fine, but I have to be in a position where the United States can deal with it, where the United States isn’t a victim of it,” he said.

A source familiar with the negotiations said Lighthizer and Navarro both seem to be of the view that China is not going to change, and so they’re taking action to protect the U.S. market. It’s possible, the source added, that a lot of the new trade restrictions will simply remain in place.

Trump himself has railed repeatedly against the massive trade deficit between the U.S. and China, which stood at $566 billion in 2017. He’s also nodded to China’s practice of forcing companies to hand over valuable technology and data.

“We are not in a trade war with China, that war was lost many years ago by the foolish, or incompetent, people who represented the U.S.,” Trump tweeted in April. “Now we have a Trade Deficit of $500 Billion a year, with Intellectual Property Theft of another $300 Billion. We cannot let this continue!”

But he muddied the waters last month by offering to strike a deal to save embattled Chinese telecom giant ZTE, which policy experts argue could’ve been used as an example to Chinese companies that break the law.

The Commerce Department in April imposed a seven-year ban on American companies doing business with ZTE, alleging the company had conducted illegal sales to North Korea and Iran. The ban threatened to shutter the company.

But then Trump tweeted that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping were working on a way to get ZTE “back into business, fast,” adding, “Too many jobs in China lost.”

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) criticized the move as inconsistent with Trump’s effort to get tough on China. “While we simply cannot let China’s unfair trade practices go unchecked, this President’s erratic approach to resolving this issue gives me pause,” he said in a statement.

The Senate has since moved to block Commerce’s deal with ZTE.

Beyond uncertainty about the administration’s goals, U.S. business groups also aren’t pleased with the approach taken by the administration — imposing a lot of new tariffs — in a bid to spur change.

“One way we’ve been putting it lately is: right question, wrong answer,” said Josh Kallmer, senior vice president of global policy at the Information Technology Industry Council.

“We’ve actually been really supportive of the administration for undertaking the investigation and raising this to a level of seriousness that past administrations have not,” added Kallmer, a former career official at the USTR with experience in negotiating with China.

But “the path they’ve gone on, we’ve found it to be pretty counterproductive and bordering on irresponsible,” he added, saying tariffs are merely going to hurt American standards of living by raising prices.

He argued instead that the U.S. should be focused specifically on intellectual property theft, and it should recruit the help of U.S. allies like Canada, Europe and Japan, rather than further antagonizing those countries.

“There’s no question that the attorneys and key policy officials at USTR are seeing the big picture,” Kallmer said. “But then when it gets to be time for political-level officials to make a judgment about what to do, I think they are being selective and incomplete. They’re really taking their eye off the ball.”

Peace and Freedom Note:  Donald Trump wants a “New World Order” which includes a totally new way of looking at China, free and fair trade without tariffs or government support to businesses. He does not want intellectual property theft. He wants all to have access to U.S. and Chinese markets without fear of coercion, human rights abuses, unfair business practice and violations of international law. He is against “dumping” of steel and aluminum. He wants mutual trust between China and the U.S.

Trump Gave Kim a Summit But Left With Little to Show for It

June 12, 2018
It’s not clear what the U.S. got out of Singapore meeting — Summit delivered a longtime strategic goal for Kim family
Did Trump Give Up Too Much to North Korea?
Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un walk from lunch at the Capella resort on Sentosa Island in Singapore on June 12. | Susan Walsh/AFP/Getty Images

Did Trump give North Korea too much? Bloomberg’s Kevin Cirilli reports from Singapore.

Donald Trump’s historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was unquestionably a success — for Kim.

By credibly threatening the U.S. with nuclear war, he won a one-on-one meeting with the American president — a longtime strategic goal of his family’s regime. And that’s not all.

Trump tossed in a suspension of military exercises with South Korea, while China suggested revisiting economic sanctions that the White House credits for the summit. Meanwhile, the president showered Kim with praise, calling the dictator who leads one of the planet’s most oppressive and brutal regimes “smart” and “very talented,” declaring the meeting “a great honor” and saying he trusts Kim.

Less clear is what the U.S. got in return. American officials said before the meeting they would insist that Kim agree to the “complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement” of his nuclear weapons arsenal. The phrase appears nowhere in Trump and Kim’s statement.

Also missing: basics such as a timetable for Kim to give up his weapons, verification procedures or even a mutual definition of denuclearization.

‘Gave Up Nothing’

The president described the summit as a starting point, and the U.S. concessions as innocuous. “I gave up nothing,” he told reporters at a news conference, and then read off a list of what he believes were North Korean concessions — a halt to missile and nuclear tests, the earlier release of three U.S. hostages and a promise to return remains of U.S. soldiers dating to the Korean War.

Still, some Korea watchers said that it was better for the U.S. and North Korea to be talking than threatening each other, even without a host of specific commitments from Kim.

“I would rate the summit a 10 because it achieved a first-ever diplomatic encounter between two long-time adversaries,” said Patrick Cronin, director of the Center for a New American Security’s Asia-Pacific security program. “They signed a broad political understanding while leaving the details for expert negotiations to follow.”

Trump’s political supporters back home may well agree. Seventy percent of Americans supported Trump meeting with Kim, according to a poll by Real Clear Politics and the Charles Koch Institute, even though just 31 percent think he’ll succeed at persuading North Korea to give up its weapons.

But so far, Trump hasn’t shown he’ll avoid the same trap he’s accused his predecessors of falling into: giving North Korea too much without getting anything in return. While the president repeatedly described the document he and Kim signed as “comprehensive,” at 426 words it is anything but — and there is no indication of when or how Kim will follow through on any of his promises.

“I think he will start that process right away,” Trump said.

Kim’s Summit

Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, criticized the document as “unsubstantial” and said Trump and Kim instead should have signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Michael McFaul, who served as President Barack Obama’s ambassador to Russia, said on Twitter after the document was released that the U.S. “gave up a lot for nothing” with the summit and got “much, much less than a binding deal.”

For all of what he achieved at the summit, Kim’s path ahead isn’t all simple. Trump made clear he was keeping U.S. sanctions in place until he saw evidence of a reduced nuclear threat. Kim won only a vague “security guarantee” from Trump and no mention of a treaty to formally end the hostilities between the two nations.

But the summit did have all of the trappings Kim could have desired. He and Trump met on a red carpet in front of a backdrop of equal numbers of U.S. and North Korean flags at the Capella hotel, a luxury resort on Singapore’s Sentosa Island. They greeted each other with a 13-second handshake, then retired for a 38-minute private meeting before being joined by aides.

There were multiple photo ops, including a walk through the hotel’s garden, more hand shakes, pats on the back and finally the signing ceremony, complete with a pen bearing Trump’s signature that Kim did not appear to use.

Before the meeting, Kim was cheered by Singaporeans as he drove from the airport and then during an outing Monday evening.

Through a translator, North Korea’s leader summed up the surreal nature of the meeting, telling the U.S. president that those watching around the world might see it as “a science fiction movie.”

Different Approach

Anthony Ruggiero, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington and a former official of the U.S. State and Treasury departments who investigated the illicit financing of North Korea, said Trump’s meeting with Kim appeared heavy on pomp and light on substance.

“The handshake is historic but the optics likely hide a significant gap in the substance,’’ he said in an interview as the meeting took place. “It’s important for President Trump not to fall into the North Korean trap as it is –which is three generations of Kims have really persuaded American presidents that they’re ready to denuclearize by just simply making promises and not delivering on those promises.”

Former South Korean Foreign Minister Yoon Young Kwan said Trump’s negotiation appears “very different” from past talks between the two countries because it’s the first time a sitting U.S. president has taken a primarily political approach to the issue.

“So far U.S. administrations tended to focus on a narrowly defined military-security deal instead of trying to tackle the root cause of North Korea problem, which is a high level of mutual distrust,” he said on Bloomberg Television. “North Korea is a small and weak country surrounded by big powers, and that has made North Koreans paranoid about their own national security.”

“We needed to alleviate this kind of paranoia of North Korea on their own national security,” he said.

Trump himself admitted that it might not work.

“I think he’s going to do these things,” the president said. “I may be wrong. I may be standing in front of you in six months and say, ‘I was wrong.’ I don’t know if I’ll ever admit that, but I’ll find some kind of excuse.”

— With assistance by Nick Wadhams, Jennifer Jacobs, and Justin Sink




Trump Was Outfoxed in Singapore

June 12, 2018

It sure looks as if President Trump was hoodwinked in Singapore.

Trump made a huge concession — the suspension of military exercises with South Korea. That’s on top of the broader concession of the summit meeting itself, security guarantees he gave North Korea and the legitimacy that the summit provides his counterpart, Kim Jong-un.

Within North Korea, the “very special bond” that Trump claimed to have formed with Kim will be portrayed this way: Kim forced the American president, through his nuclear and missile tests, to accept North Korea as a nuclear equal, to provide security guarantees to North Korea, and to cancel war games with South Korea that the North has protested for decades.

President Trump and Kim Jong-un of North Korea on Sentosa Island in Singapore on Tuesday. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

By  Nicholas Kristof
The New York Times
June 12, 2018

In exchange for these concessions, Trump seems to have won astonishingly little. In a joint statement, Kim merely “reaffirmed” the same commitment to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula that North Korea has repeatedly made since 1992.

“They were willing to de-nuke,” Trump crowed at his news conference after his meetings with Kim. Trump seemed to believe he had achieved some remarkable agreement, but the concessions were all his own.

The most remarkable aspect of the joint statement was what it didn’t contain. There was nothing about North Korea freezing plutonium and uranium programs, nothing about destroying intercontinental ballistic missiles, nothing about allowing inspectors to return to nuclear sites, nothing about North Korea making a full declaration of its nuclear program, nothing about a timetable, nothing about verification, not even any clear pledge to permanently halt testing of nuclear weapons or long-range missiles.

Kim seems to have completely out-negotiated Trump, and it’s scary that Trump doesn’t seem to realize this. For now Trump has much less to show than past negotiators who hammered out deals with North Korea like the 1994 Agreed Framework, which completely froze the country’s plutonium program with a rigorous monitoring system.

Trump made a big deal in his news conference about recovering the remains of American soldiers from the Korean War, but this is nothing new. Back in 1989, on my first trip to North Korea, officials there made similar pledges about returning remains, and indeed North Korea has returned some remains over the years. It’s not clear how many more remain.

Trump claimed an “excellent relationship” with Kim, and it certainly is better for the two leaders to be exchanging compliments rather than missiles. In a sense, Trump has eased the tensions that he himself created when he threatened last fall to “totally destroy” North Korea. I’m just not sure a leader should get credit for defusing a crisis that he himself created.

There’s still plenty we don’t know and lots of uncertainty about the future. But for now, the bottom line is that there’s no indication that North Korea is prepared to give up its nuclear weapons, and Trump didn’t achieve anything remotely as good as the Iran nuclear deal, which led Iran to eliminate 98 percent of its enriched uranium.

There was also something frankly weird about an American president savaging Canada’s prime minister one day and then embracing the leader of the most totalitarian country in the world.

“He’s a very talented man,” Trump said of Kim. “I also learned that he loves his country very much.”

In an interview with Voice of America, Trump said “I like him” and added: “He’s smart, loves his people, he loves his country.”

Trump praised Kim in the news conference and, astonishingly, even adopted North Korean positions as his own, saying that the United States military exercises in the region are “provocative.” That’s a standard North Korean propaganda line. Likewise, Trump acknowledged that human rights in North Korea constituted a “rough situation,” but quickly added that “it’s rough in a lot of places, by the way.” (Note that a 2014 United Nations report stated that North Korean human rights violations do “not have any parallel in the contemporary world.”)

Incredibly, Trump told Voice of America that he had this message for the North Korean people: “I think you have somebody that has a great feeling for them. He wants to do right by them and we got along really well.”

It’s breathtaking to see an American president emerge as a spokesman for the dictator of North Korea.

One can argue that my perspective is too narrow: That what counts in a broader sense is that the risk of war is much less today than it was a year ago, and North Korea has at least stopped its nuclear tests and missile tests. Fundamentally, Trump has abandoned bellicose rhetoric and instead embraced the longstanding Democratic position — that we should engage North Korea, even if the result isn’t immediate disarmament.

The 1994 Agreed Framework, for example, didn’t denuclearize North Korea or solve the human rights issues there, but it still kept the regime from adding to its plutonium arsenal for eight years. Imperfect processes can still be beneficial, and the ongoing meetings between the United States and North Korea may result in a similar framework that at least freezes the North Korean arsenal.

Of all the things that could have gone badly wrong in a Trump administration, a “bloody nose” strike on North Korea leading to a nuclear war was perhaps the most terrifying. For now at least, Trump seems to have been snookered into the same kind of deeply frustrating diplomatic process with North Korea that he has complained about, but that is far better than war.

Even so, it’s still bewildering how much Trump gave and how little he got. The cancellation of military exercises will raise questions among our allies, such as Japan, about America’s commitment to those allies.

The Trump-Kim statement spoke vaguely about efforts “to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean peninsula,” whatever that means. But that was much less specific than the 1994 pledge to exchange diplomatic liaison offices, and the 2005 pledge to work for a peace treaty to end the Korean War.

In January 2017, Trump proclaimed in a tweet: “North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won’t happen!” But in fact it appears to have happened on Trump’s watch, and nothing in the Singapore summit seems to have changed that.

All this is to say that Kim Jong-un proved the more able negotiator. North Korean government officials have to limit their computer time, because of electricity shortages, and they are international pariahs — yet they are very savvy and shrewd, and they were counseled by one of the smartest Trump handlers of all, President Moon Jae-in of South Korea.

My guess is that Kim flattered Trump, as Moon has, and that Trump simply didn’t realize how little he was getting. On my most recent visit to North Korea, officials were asking me subtle questions about the differences in views of Mike Pompeo and Nikki Haley; meanwhile, Trump said he didn’t need to do much homework.

Whatever our politics, we should all want Trump to succeed in reducing tensions on the Korean Peninsula, and it’s good to see that Trump now supports engagement rather than military options. There will be further negotiations, and these may actually freeze plutonium production and destroy missiles. But at least in the first round, Trump seems to have been snookered.

This column has been updated to reflect news developments.

Trump says he will stop ‘war games’ with S. Korea

June 12, 2018

The US will stop holding joint military exercises on the Korean peninsula, President Donald Trump said Tuesday, making a major concession to North Korea after his summit with Kim Jong Un.

© YONHAP/AFP/File | A US Air Force F-22 Raptor lands at Gwangju Air Base in South Korea during the Max Thunder drills in May

Washington and Seoul are security allies, with 28,500 US troops stationed in the South to defend it from its neighbour which invaded in 1950.

They hold joint military exercises every year that infuriate Pyongyang, which has long demanded an end to the drills and often responds with actions of its own, ratcheting up tensions.

North Korea in May cancelled talks with Seoul over “Max Thunder” joint military air exercises between the US and the South. They were a “rude and wicked provocation”, it complained.

“We will be stopping the war games which will save us a tremendous amount of money,” Trump told reporters.

“I think it’s very provocative,” he said — echoing Pyongyang’s traditional line.

“Under the circumstances we are negotiating a complete deal,” he added. “It is inappropriate to have war games. Number one, we save money. A lot. Number two, it is really something they very much appreciated.”

Trump did not indicate whether the North would make any concessions in return for stopping the exercises.

The move, if fulfilled, would appear to be effectively an implementation of the “freeze for freeze” proposal promoted by China, under which the North would stop nuclear and missile tests in exchange for a halt to the exercises.

Kim has previously declared a moratorium on testing, saying the development of his nuclear arsenal is complete.

Trump also said he wanted to withdraw the US troops stationed in the South, something he promised on the campaign trail, saying: “I’d like to be able to bring them back home.”

The issue was “not part of the equation right now”, he said, but “at some point I hope it will be.”

Trump’s declarations are likely to alarm conservatives in South Korea, who have appealed to him not to put its security at risk.

A presidential spokesman, in a cautious response, said Seoul needed to understand “the exact meaning and intention” of Trump’s remarks.

But various ways to encourage dialogue on denuclearisation should be seriously considered, the spokesman said.

US Forces Korea said it had received no new instructions about its scheduled training exercises, including this summer’s Ulchi Freedom Guardian.

The other major joint exercise is known as Key Resolve/Foal Eagle exercise, usually conducted in the spring.

“In coordination with our ROK (South Korean) partners, we will continue with our current military posture until we receive updated guidance from the Department of Defense and/or Indo-Pacific Command,” it added.

Any suspension of the joint exercises would be a “substantial concession” to the North’s security concerns, said Alison Evans, deputy head of Asia Pacific Country Risk at IHS Markit.

There is a precedent for cancelling joint exercises to encourage talks. A major drill known as Team Spirit was cancelled several times in the 1990s as Washington held its first major negotiations over the North’s nuclear programmes.