Posts Tagged ‘OBOR’

China: India Must Pull Back Its Troops Amid Border Standoff

July 24, 2017

BEIJING — China on Monday warned India not to “push your luck” by underestimating Beijing’s determination to safeguard what it considers sovereign Chinese territory, amid an ongoing standoff between the two neighbors over a contested region high in the Himalayas.

Defense ministry spokesman Col. Wu Qian reiterated China’s demand that Indian troops pull back from the Doklam Plateau, an area also claimed by Indian ally Bhutan where Chinese teams had been building a road toward India’s border.

“China’s determination and resolve to safeguard national security and sovereignty is unshakable,” Wu said at a news conference to mark the upcoming 90th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army.

“Here is a wish to remind India, do not push your luck and cling to any fantasies,” Wu said. “The 90-year history of the PLA has proved but one thing: that our military means to secure our country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity has strengthened and our determination has never wavered. It is easier to shake a mountain than to shake the PLA.”

Nathu La
Beijing may support Sikkim’s independence if Indian troops don’t back off, warns Chinese media DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images

India has called for both sides to withdraw forces and a negotiated settlement to the standoff that began last month after Chinese troops began working to extend southward the road from Yadong in Tibet.

While the sides have exercised restraint thus far, heated rhetoric in both Beijing and New Delhi has raised concern over a renewal of hostilities that resulted in a brief but bloody frontier war between the sides in 1962. The nuclear-armed neighbors share a 3,500-kilometer (2,174-mile) border, much of it contested, and China acts as a key ally and arms supplier for India’s archrival, Pakistan.

The crisis is expected to be discussed when Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval visits Beijing at the end of this week for a security forum under the BRICS group of large developing nations that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

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 (From 2013)

China Taken Off Guard By India’s strong response to the Doklam issue

July 18, 2017

Vice president of the European Parliament Ryszard Czarnecki believes that China was caught off guard by India’s strong response to the Doklam issue as it expected only Bhutan to react.

  • July 15, 2017 16:02 IST

While China and the Chinese media have maintained an aggressive stand when it comes to the Indo-China border dispute in Sikkim, asking Indian troops to withdraw time and again, vice president of the European Parliament Ryszard Czarnecki believes that China was caught off guard by India’s strong response to the Doklam issue.

In an article Czarnecki wrote for EP Today, he said that China has been assuring the world that its “peaceful rise” did not create issues for other countries and in fact rooted for a peaceful atmosphere, but that is not the truth. “In recent years and especially after Xi Jinping’s succession as the country’s President, one has been witnessing change in China’s foreign policy and an infringement of internationally accepted norms,” he wrote.

Czarnecki also said that the Doklam issue, which has been going on for the last few weeks, was bound to get Bhutan’s attention as China was constructing the road in an area that Bhutan claimed as its own. However, it came as a surprise to Beijing when New Delhi decided to speak up in Bhutan’s defence.

“Bhutan’s objection to construction activities by China in the disputed Doklam area, conveyed through diplomatic channels, was possibly expected by China. However, what China may not have foreseen was India stepping in to defend Bhutan’s territorial sovereignty,” Czarnecki noted.

“Since 1988, there had been creeping encroachments by China into Bhutanese territory, and this success may have further emboldened the Chinese to undertake bigger gambles.”

Nathu La
Beijing may support Sikkim’s independence if Indian troops don’t back off, warns Chinese mediaDIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images

The vice president of the European Parliament also said that China’s road construction in Doklam plateau can be seen as a move to “unilaterally change the ground situation in areas that are disputed.”

He also spoke about how China has been doing this for a while and one of the best examples is its attempt to change the situation in the South China Sea.

“By conveniently ignoring the maritime territorial claims of Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and the Philippines in the region, in 2016 China went ahead and altered the ground situation by building artificial islands from rock formations in the Spratlys, expanding its strategic outreach in the area,” Czarnecki added.

Ryszard Czarnecki
Ryszard Czarnecki. WikiCommons/Adrian Grycuk

He concluded that China may be growing economically and military wise in a big way, but along with it the country also needs to respect “international rules” so co-exist with other nations.

Meanwhile, the standoff at the Indo-China border refuses to die down and the Chinese media has been invoking the 1962 India-China war for a while now. While the Global Times has been calling India “arrogant” and has blamed the army for provoking China, People’s Daily even dug out an editorial published a week before the conflict. Additionally, another website has reportedly published a few images from the time calling it “rare.”

http://www.ibtimes.co.in/sikkim-standoff-china-caught-off-guard-by-indias-strong-response-border-dispute-doklam-734757

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India – China confrontation now a “complete stalemate” — situation is “grave” — China says no room for negotiations on Sikkim standoff with India

July 17, 2017

Benedict Brooknews.com.au

ASK most people to name a current crisis between nuclear armed states and North Korea and the US’ rapidly worsening relations would come to mind.

But there’s another skirmish happening between two nuclear nations and both have far more fully functioning missiles, poised and ready to fire, than Kim Jong-un could even dream off.

Ten thousand feet above sea level, in the sub zero cold of the Himalayas, things could be about to turn hot.

Since mid-June, Chinese and Indian soldiers have lined up “eyeball to eyeball” on the remote Doklam plateau. In recent days, more troops have been sent to the frontline.

Currently it’s a nonlethal battle of platitudes at altitude, but commentators in China have warned, “there could be a chance of war”.

And that’s not a great prospect, given India is thought to have more than 100 nuclear tipped missiles while China’s warheads could total more than 250.

The flashpoint between the two seems mundane ——the building of a new road on the Chinese controlled, but disputed, plateau. But the last time the two went to war, half a century ago, it was also over a road.

There is now said to be “complete stalemate” in the confrontation.

China and India acre wrangling over road access to a remote Himalayan plateau. AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

China and India acre wrangling over road access to a remote Himalayan plateau. AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)Source:AP

CONFLICT AT THE CHICKEN NECK

China and India have regularly come to blows on their 4000km long and infuriatingly ill-defined border. Remote and treacherous, few people live in these disrupted areas. But any moves to tame them such as, say, through the building of a road to make access easier, immediately risks a conflict.

The current anger kicked off in an area close to what India calls the “chicken neck” — a thin stretch of land that is the only direct link to country’s isolated north east.

Directly to the north is China, peering down from the mountains, covetous for some of the land it overlooks.

In early June, China commenced construction of a new road leading to the Doklam plateau, a disputed area it currently administers. It is close to the chicken neck at the so-called “tri junction” where its frontier meets both India and the tiny mountain kingdom of Bhutan.

India is concerned by any Chinese move to consolidate its control in area close to the “chicken neck” — a thin strip of land that is the only direct route to the country’s north east.

India is concerned by any Chinese move to consolidate its control in area close to the “chicken neck” — a thin strip of land that is the only direct route to the country’s north east.Source:Supplied

China accuses Indian troops stationed in Bhutan — which only has a small army and relies militarily on India — from straying across the frontier to prevent the road’s construction.

On Monday, China’s state news agency, Xinhua, said the Indian military’s “trespass into Chinese territory is a blatant infringement on China’s sovereignty”.

However, Bhutan says it is the rightful owner of the plateau.

While Bhutan is part of the stoush, the real battle of wills is between China and India which cite different treaties to back up their various claims to land along the frontier.

And these are no mere scraps of mountain here and there. India claims 250,000 square kilometres of Chinese controlled land while China says 550,000km sq of Indian administered land should belong to them.

The face-off is taking place between nuclear armed China and India on the border of Bhutan, one of the most peaceful nations on earth.

The face-off is taking place between nuclear armed China and India on the border of Bhutan, one of the most peaceful nations on earth. Source:istock

LINE OF ACTUAL CONTROL

“The failure to demarcate the China-India border has led to overlapping perceptions of where the so-called Line of Actual Control lies, guaranteeing rival border patrols will run into each other and force the issue,” Tsering Topgyal, an international relations expert at the University of Birmingham wrote in The Conversation in 2014.

On Tuesday, the Times of India said around 300-400 Indian troops were “eyeball to eyeball” with China in a “non-aggressive confrontation” but thousands more soldiers from both sides are close by. A further 2500 Indian troops has now been stationed in India’s Sikkim province, the province next to the tri point.

A Chinese and Indian soldier at the Nathu La border crossing between India and China in India's northeastern Sikkim state. Picture: AFP.

A Chinese and Indian soldier at the Nathu La border crossing between India and China in India’s northeastern Sikkim state. Picture: AFP.Source:AFP

‘GRAVE SITUATION’

The Indian External Affairs Ministry has justified the build up, saying a 2012 agreement meant the frontier at the tri-junction would be finalised between the three countries. Any attempt to unilaterally determine the tri-junction points is a “violation of this understanding”, the statement said, reported the Hindustan Times.

India sees the road as China asserting sovereignty.

Last week, China’s ambassador to New Delhi, Luo Zhaohui, said the situation was “grave” and Indian troops should “unconditionally pull back to the Indian side”.

“India, who calls Bhutan an ‘ally’, said it had intervened on behalf of its neighbour, yet the true subtext is the South Asian giant wants to maintain and expand regional hegemony” thundered Xinhua.

But India might scoff at China lecturing it on regional hegemony.

Beijing has been widening its influence across the Indian subcontinent, funding big infrastructure projects in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

A maritime analyst said Delhi is increasingly worried.

An Indian Agni-IV missile which is capable of delivering a one-tonne nuclear warhead anywhere in China. Picture AFP PHOTO / FILES / RAVEENDRAN

An Indian Agni-IV missile which is capable of delivering a one-tonne nuclear warhead anywhere in China. Picture AFP PHOTO / FILES / RAVEENDRANSource:AFP

“That means India is in some ways going to be surrounded by Chinese infrastructure projects. The fear is these Chinese ports could later be used for maritime and naval deployments,” Abhijit Singh of the Observer Research Foundation told the ABC.

In 1962, China and India’s border brinkmanship tipped over into war. More than 700 Chinese troops and 4000 Indian soldiers died before Beijing declared a ceasefire and victory.

That dispute began with the building of a Chinese road on disputed land but much farther west in Kashmir.

Earlier this month, China’s Global Times cited domestic security experts as saying that “there could be a chance of war if the recent conflict between China and India is not handled properly.

“China will resolutely defend its territory and safeguard the border.”

But when it comes to the border squabble close to the chicken’s neck, India is itself playing chicken.

Indian defence minister Arun Jaitley has a dark warning for China.

“The situation in 1962 was different and India of 2017 is different.”

The main difference is the India of 1962 did not have an arsenal of nuclear weapons. It has them now.

http://www.news.com.au/world/asia/warnings-of-a-chance-of-war-between-india-and-china-as-nuclear-rivals-face-off/news-story/325ace8a2957aeb6a3634db44a4c12e9

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China says no room for negotiations on Sikkim standoff with India
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The commentary by the official Xinhua news agency warned that India could face “embarrassment” if it does not withdraw its border troops and sought to add yet another dimension to the face-off by bringing in the Ladakh region and linking it to Pakistan.

Jul 16, 2017 10:34 IST
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With no end in sight to the standoff in the Sikkim sector, China on Saturday said there is “no room” for negotiations to resolve the military face-off and the only solution is the withdrawal of Indian troops from the Donglang or Doklam region.

India will face “embarrassment” if it does not withdraw its border troops to its own side and the situation could get “worse”, the official Xinhua news agency said in a commentary on Saturday night.

“China has made it clear that there is no room for negotiations on this incident, and India must withdraw its border-crossing troops from Doklam. For China, border line is the bottom line,” the commentary said.

The commentary sought to add yet another dimension to the face-off by bringing in the Ladakh region and linking it to Pakistan, China’s “iron brother” ally.

“India should not regard the existing situation as the same as or even similar to the previous two standoffs in 2013 and 2014 near Ladakh, a disputed area between China, Pakistan and India in southeastern Kashmir. Diplomatic efforts led the troop’s frictions there to a well-arranged end. But this time it is a totally different case,” it added.

It is rare for China to call Ladakh a “disputed” region and make a reference to Kashmir.

This is the first time that China has clearly articulated – through one of its primary official channels – that there is no room for parleys to resolve the weeks-long impasse in Donglang, which is under China’s control but claimed by Bhutan.

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Sikkim standoff: India pushes troops in Doka La in longest impasse since 1962
Until now, the foreign ministry had listed the withdrawal of Indian troops hinted as a precondition for resolving the face-off but had hinted there is an ongoing effort to end it through diplomatic negotiations.
Xinhua is an organ of the Chinese government and is affiliated to the State Council, the Communist country’s cabinet.Commentaries published by Xinhua and the People’s Daily, the Communist Party of China (CPC) mouthpiece, are taken to be a reflection of the thoughts of the government and the all-powerful CPC.

“India has repeatedly ignored China’s call for pulling its border-crossing troops from Doklam area back to its own territory. However, turning a deaf ear to China will but worsen the month-long standoff and put itself further into embarrassment,” the commentary said.

It added that India had “lied” to the world by saying it dispatched troops to Donglang to help its ally Bhutan, whereas “apparently” Thimphu had extended no invitation to New Delhi to intervene.

“New Delhi claimed encroachment of its own territory by China before saying it sent troops to ’protect’ its ‘ally’ Bhutan, a sovereign state which has apparently so far made no such an invitation for the sake of that boundary area,” it said.

Bhutan and China don’t have diplomatic ties but have held 24 rounds of talks to resolve a boundary dispute.

The commentary, however, described foreign secretary S Jaishankar’s remarks during a recent speech in Singapore as a “positive” sign.

“As an old Chinese saying goes, peace is most precious. It has been noticed that Indian Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar recently has made positive remarks in Singapore, saying that ‘India and China should not let differences become disputes’,” it said.

“What China would like to see more are corresponding actions taken by India.

“China has a will to solve the problem peacefully by diplomatic means, and China also cherishes the peace and serenity in the border areas, but the precondition is that the trespassers of India must withdraw unconditionally.”

 http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/china-says-no-room-for-negotiations-on-standoff-ladakh-added-to-dispute-with-india/story-7ZD6hmRscxt9TqAUvGrn7I.html

India-US-Japan Malabar exercise is an assertion of New Delhi’s independence, foreign policy and self-confidence

July 14, 2017

By Nalini R Mohanty

It is a great coincidence that the 10-day annual India-US-Japan Malabar naval exercise began at a time (on 10 July) when India and China are locked in a serious standoff in the Sikkim region. India could not have timed it so well to send a maritime threat to China as a rebuff to the latter’s threatening posture in the Himalayan region.

After all, the Malabar exercise is an annual event and its timings are decided and preparations are made, at least, six months in advance. The Sikkim border bedlam which is barely a month-old could not have been anticipated while scheduling the Malabar drill.

But there is no gainsaying that the India-US naval exercise has come to represent, in the last several years, a joint resolve to counter increasing Chinese hegemony in the territorial waters of the region. Both India and the US are coy in admitting it in so many words; naturally so, as both the countries do not want to openly antagonise a rising super-power like China. But everybody concerned knows it very well that the annual exercise is a constant reminder to China to rein in its expansionist designs.

After all, China has been flexing its muscles in its backyard, the South China Sea, for the last several years pushing countries like Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines, which are mostly aligned with the USA, to come under its umbrella.

The Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte has somewhat drifted away from the US and has made common cause with China in the hope of larger economic aid. The US is certainly concerned that its hegemony in the territorial waters worldwide is being challenged by China. So it is looking for reliable partners to checkmate China everywhere.

This suits India as well because China is the only other country, apart from Pakistan, which has been engaged in an adversarial relationship for years. The bigger threat is that Pakistan has become a satellite country of China. China-Pakistan axis, both military and economic, is writ large.

China has helped Pakistan to develop its nuclear capability; it has provided military jets and submarines to Pakistan. It has helped develop the Gwadar port in Pakistan which would help China gain access to the Arabian Sea in the Indian Ocean. China has invested 46 billion dollars to build China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Naturally, India has to be wary of China which is rapidly emerging as a regional hegemony.

The United States and India have, therefore, a shared objective to contain China. The Malabar exercise is meant to precisely do that, though the diplomatic sophistry describes it as a routine maritime drill.

The joint exercise began in 1992 in a modest way; it went on to acquire greater muscle in the succeeding years. Reuters

The joint exercise began in 1992 in a modest way; it went on to acquire greater muscle in the succeeding years. Reuters

It was the foresight of P V Narasimha Rao, the prime minister in the early 1990s — when the Cold War came to an end with the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the international relations underwent a massive churning — that India persuaded the USA to come together to protect their respective interests in the territorial waters.

The joint exercise began in 1992 in a modest way; it went on to acquire greater muscle in the succeeding years. The Manmohan Singh government took the exercise several notches higher; in 2007, India invited Japan, Australia and Singapore to be part of the drill. The five-nation joint exercise infuriated China to such an extent that it issued demarches against the manoeuvre. Australia then backed out from the subsequent strategic dialogue (Quadrilateral Security Initiative) fearing the Chinese backlash. The Australian action displeased India to no end.

Image result for malabar, photos, military exercise

Now, that Australia is facing the Chinese heat again and it wants to break free from the Chinese domination, it has been earnestly requesting India to re-admit it in the annual exercise. But India has stubbornly refused to accede to Australia’s plea. Australia even pleaded to be given an observer status in the Malabar exercise; but, after dithering over it for a long time, India finally rejected the plea last month. There is a lingering view that India still looks upon Australia as an unreliable strategic ally.

Many in India view Australia’s burgeoning economic and political ties with China with suspicion. As an analyst said: “A section of New Delhi’s policy elite believes that China’s associations in Australia are so vast and intricate that Beijing may even have infiltrated Canberra’s political establishment.”

While India has cast aside Australia’s entreaties, it has had no hesitation in embracing Japan for two reasons: first, Japan has been also in an adversarial relationship with China and would be a strategic Asian ally of India in the eventuality of any maritime conflict in the region. Secondly, the USA has been pushing the case of Japan to build an India-Japan strategic relationship to counter the Chinese designs. Japan first joined the exercise in 2014. It has become a permanent fixture in the three-nation naval exercise since 2015.

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Japan’s biggest warship, the helicopter carrier Izumo

By admitting Japan to be an institutional part of the trilateral naval exercise, India has upped the ante against China. There is, of course, no doubt that China is far ahead of India, both economically and militarily. But India today is in a position to demonstrate it is no more a pushover.

India’s supreme confidence was manifest when the Narendra Modi government decided to boycott the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative of China; it also gave a miss to the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) showcased by Beijing in May this year in which almost 100 countries (including the USA, Japan and South Korea) and 29 heads of state (including the likes of Vladimir Putin, the Russian president) participated. India did not even send its ambassador in Beijing as a token representation as it wanted to bring home its objection to the creation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in the disputed territory occupied by Pakistan.

India’s self-assuredness is again evident from its firm position in the Doklam border dispute; it has gone ahead and stopped Chinese construction of a road in the disputed territory and refused to back off despite serious threats from the Chinese authorities.

The Malabar exercise is another assertion of India’s self-confidence to conduct its foreign policy on its own terms, undeterred by the dispositions by other powers. The independent foreign policy is a legacy that India has succeeded in carrying on despite the changes in governments as well as policy prescriptions.

http://www.firstpost.com/india/india-us-japan-malabar-exercise-is-an-assertion-of-new-delhis-independence-foreign-policy-and-self-confidence-3807493.html

Published Date: Jul 13, 2017 01:08 pm | Updated Date: Jul 13, 2017 01:08 pm

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Sikkim border dispute: Another war with India will be an economic blunder for China

July 12, 2017

By Dinesh Unnikrishnan

China isn’t an indomitable economic force of the world anymore. Its growth is slowing. There are troubles brewing with the economy. The dragon is certainly vulnerable to global shocks, the evidence of which has emerged time to time in the past. Finally, China’s position as the world’s manufacturing hub and a major exporter to the world is inseparably linked to maintaining its image internationally. These are reasons enough for China not to escalate tensions with India, its neighbour and a hard-to-ignore emerging economic powerhouse.

Going on a full-fledged war with India, over a small piece of land that doesn’t offer any long-term tactical or economic advantage to China, will be its big mistake.

For China, India is no longer a vulnerable, debt-laden neighbour that it was back in the 1990s. India has grown over years, has repaired its domestic fundamentals and now possesses capabilities in the areas of exports, manufacturing like any major country in the world. India has significantly strengthened its relevance among the regional groupings.

True, the Indian economy has its share of economic problems — a weak banking sector, complex land and labour laws and still shaping modern tax structure. But, despite these inadequacies, India is gaining the world’s attention for its future growth prospects. As against China’s ageing population, India has a younger demography and the country is slowly laying the framework through a series of economic reforms to prepare itself for future growth path.

recent Harvard study, testifies this. According to the study, India has emerged as the economic pole of global growth by surpassing China and is expected to maintain its lead over the coming decade citing that it is particularly well-positioned to continue diversifying into new areas, given the capabilities accumulated to date. Further, according to the Harvard University’s Center for International Development (CID) growth projections, India will feature on top of the list of the fastest growing economies till 2025 with an average annual growth of 7.7 percent.

Representative image. Reuters

Representative image. Reuters

“The economic pole of global growth has moved over the past few years from China to neighbouring India, where it is likely to stay over the coming decade,” the CID research suggested, adding that India’s growth prospects are now better to also due to the economy diversifying its export base to include more complex sectors, such as chemicals, vehicles, and certain electronics,” the growth projection pointed out.

There are three specific reasons why China’s economy managers should think twice before nodding in agreement with military for another war with India.

One, there is a high cost involved for the Chinese economy, particularly its manufacturing sector. It will face major setbacks on the trade front should it choose war with India. Right now, China has a positive trade balance with India. Total volume of bilateral trade stands at about $71 billion. In the last year, China exported goods worth $ 58.33 billion while Indian entities shipped out only over $ 11.76 billion. Clearly, China has an advantageous position in trade with India, which it wouldn’t want to spoil.

Second, India’s growing dominance in the world economy and its strengthening diplomatic relations with world powers makes it a bad idea for China to confront India attracting international attention. As the above mentioned Harvard study points out, the world has begun to take a strong note on India’s growth prospects and want to engage in a mutually benefitting relation with Indians. If the Sikkim standoff escalates to a war situation, China will certainly suffer on the trade relations with India’s ‘friends’ and ‘partners’ in trade. The question China should ask itself is whether winning the Doklam plateau where India and Bhutan have clear geographic dominance is worth risking its ambitions to grow as a major economic power in the east and hurting own economy.

Third, China is in the midst of expanding its economic reach in South Asia through its much-hyped China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is critical to its One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. A significant chunk of investments (at least $ 50 billion so far) have already gone to this project by Chinese companies. India has already expressed its displeasure to China on CPEC plan lay out since it crosses through the contentious part of Kashmir, which is occupied by Pakistan and claimed by India. One of India’s neighbor, Sri Lanka too has spoken in favour of India on this issue saying it is difficult for India to accept the CPEC since it passes through the ‘heart of Indian interests’. China will further risk the fate of CPEC and OBOR in the event of a war with India.

In the event of a war, China’s gains vis-à-vis the cost it will have to pay economically will be far too lower. Needless to say, India too will face a jolt in the economy. The point here is Chinese economy managers have a good reason to sit across the table with the warmongers in that country to think over the economic consequences of a war in a matured fashion. A war won’t benefit any side.

Published Date: Jul 10, 2017 02:27 pm | Updated Date: Jul 10, 2017 03:53 pm

http://www.firstpost.com/india/sikkim-border-dispute-another-war-with-india-will-be-an-economic-blunder-for-china-3796365.html

Trump, Xi, and the G20 — More Consequential Than Russia, Putin

July 8, 2017

EURASIA LIVE

7 JULY 2017 

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U.S. President Donald Trump talks to China’s President Xi Jinping during the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
THE REAL MEETING TO WATCH AT THE G20 SUMMIT

Global hype reached a fever pitch around President Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany on Friday. But arguably more consequential will be the US president’s sitdown with Chinese President Xi Jinping this weekend. The possibility of a trade war with China has never been more real. And speaking of wars, both leaders will be anxious to find a way to pacify North Korea’s growing nuclear threat.

Evan Medeiros, managing director of Eurasia Group’s Asia practice, previews this weekend’s meeting between  the two leaders and the very real pitfalls they both face.

Xi’s fundamental game plan going into the meeting is to stabilize the relationship and to elicit a commitment from Trump not to take further provocative actions. So no more armed sails, no more major military operations in the South China Sea.

The challenge is what the US really wants –  is more and better cooperation from China on North Korea – to really squeeze North Korea to the point at which they’re willing to make a strategic decision to give up their nuclear and missile programs. And while Xi Jinping is unhappy with North Korea, North Korea-China relations are at an all-time low. And China certainly didn’t approve of North Korea’s ICBM test.
Xi is going to be reluctant to agree to a major increase in sanctions on North Korea, fearing that would destabilize North East Asia. So Xi might be willing to give Trump a little bit more – but I’ll depend in part on their effort to negotiate a soft landing in the US-China relationship after the major actions the US took last week.

An additional complication of this meeting is the fact that it comes several months before China’s leadership transition this fall. So in that political context Xi Jinping can’t do anything, commit to anything, that could create a political vulnerability for him. So that will constrain his space to give the US more.

Regardless of the outcome of the meeting, this meeting will be critical to determining the shape and the trajectory of the US-China relationship for the remainder of the year. This is the second time both leaders have met. It comes after a period of US actions that increase tensions are growing on the Korean peninsula. So this meeting will be absolutely critical to determining the future of the US-China relationship.

https://www.eurasiagroup.net/live-post/two-major-economies-face-off

For more analysis of the G20 Summit, head back to Eurasia Live.

Indian troop withdrawal ‘precondition’ for peace, China says

July 5, 2017

AFP

© AFP | India and China have vied for influence in South Asia, with Beijing ploughing large sums into infrastructure projects in Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh

NEW DELHI (AFP) – China’s ambassador has said the withdrawal of Indian troops from disputed territory is a “precondition” for peace, in an apparent escalation of a border row between the two Asian powers that has drawn in tiny Bhutan.Indian and Chinese troops are reportedly facing off on a section of land high in the Himalayas near what is known as the trijunction, where Tibet, India and Bhutan meet.

China has alleged that the Indian troops are on its soil, but both Bhutan and India say the area in question is Bhutanese territory.

India, which has a military presence in Bhutan, says its troops approached a Chinese army unit that entered the Doklam area of the Himalayan nation on June 16 and tried to build a road.

In an interview late Wednesday, China’s ambassador said Indian troops should “unconditionally pull back to the Indian side”.

“There has been talk about this option, that option. It is up to your government policy,” envoy Luo Zhaohui told the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency.

“The Chinese government is very clear that it wants peaceful resolution at current state of the situation, for which withdrawal of Indian troops from the area is a pre-condition.”

Bhutan, one of the world’s smallest countries, has said the construction of a road on its territory is “a direct violation” of agreements with China.

“Bhutan hopes that the status quo in the Doklam area will be maintained as before 16 June 2017,” the foreign ministry said in a statement last week.

Bhutan has no formal diplomatic relations with China and is closely allied with India.

The row comes as India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepares to meet with China’s President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Germany this week.

China and India have a number of border disputes, although the section of the frontier that runs along the northeastern state of Sikkim, near where the current stand-off is taking place, is generally regarded as stable.

In 2014, hundreds of Indian and Chinese troops faced off on the de facto border known as the Line of Actual Control that runs along the northwest Indian region of Ladakh, overshadowing a visit by China’s President Xi Jinping.

India and China have vied for influence in South Asia, with Beijing ploughing large sums into infrastructure projects in Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

But the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has remained firmly within New Delhi’s sphere of influence.

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China Threatens India With Military Action If India Doesn’t Listen During Border Dispute: Chinese Media

July 4, 2017

Experts in China have claimed that India is provoking China because it wanted to prove to the US that it could contain China while Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in the US.
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Chinese troops

BEIJING:  China would be forced to use a “military way” to end the standoff in the Sikkim sector if India “refuses to listen” to it, a Chinese expert has warned.

As the standoff at the Doklam area continued for the third week, the longest between the two countries, the official media in China and the think-tanks in Beijing have said that “war is possible if the conflict between India and China is not handled properly”.

“China is trying its best to use historical lessons to reason with India and show sincerity in peacefully solving the problem, but if India refuses to listen, then China would have no other choice than to use a military way of solving the problem,” Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, told the state-run Global Times.

Mr Hu claimed that India is provoking China because it wanted to prove to the US that it could contain China while Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in the US. Mr Hu said that Donald Trump was not like his predecessor Barack Obama.

“(Barack) Obama believes India is important only because they share the same values, but (Donald) Trump is very pragmatic, and he doesn’t treat India as a valuable ally because New Delhi is too weak to confront Beijing,” Mr Hu claimed.

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India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi hugs U.S. President Donald Trump as he departures the White House after a visit, in Washington, U.S., June 26, 2017. After this photo was taken, China becan to increase the pressure on India.  REUTERS/Carlos Barria

“Although India always treats China as its biggest rival, China does not think so, as India lags far behind China,” claimed Song Zhongping, a Beijing-based military expert. He was quoted as saying this by state-run Global Times.

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“(Chinese) Experts also scoffed at India’s military threat after Indian Defence Minister Arun Jaitely asserted on Friday that the India of 2017 is different from what it was in 1962,” the report in state-run Global Times stated. Global Times is known for its nationalist stance.

“The gap between the militaries of China and India today is even bigger than in 1962, and I hope India can keep calm for its own good,” Mr Hu claimed.

Since the standoff on June 6, when the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) destroyed bunkers of the India Army claiming the area belonged to China, Chinese media have carried several pieces warning India for escalating border tension.

Of the 3,488-km-long India-China border from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh, a 220-km section falls in Sikkim.

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http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/china-will-have-to-take-military-way-if-india-doesnt-listen-chinese-expert-1720367

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Coming to a Chinese cinema near you: ‘Core Socialist Values’

July 4, 2017

AFP

© GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File | Actor Jackie Chan will star in Chinese public-service adverts promoting “core socialist values”

SHANGHAI (AFP) – Chinese cinema-goers now have to sit through a short clip promoting “core socialist values” and President Xi Jinping’s “Chinese dream” political credo before the show starts — and some aren’t happy about it.
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Authorities enlisted action star Jackie Chan and domestic film idols as part of the public-service adverts, which have been ordered shown at cinemas in China since July 1 and last a few minutes apiece, state media said.

Four videos were made under the title series “The glory and the dream — our Chinese dream”, borrowing from Xi’s vision of a revitalised China, and were an initiative of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, said the official Beijing Youth Daily.

“The purpose is to help people better understand and accept the (ruling communist) party’s principles and policies,” it added.

The state-aligned Global Times quoted one of the videos as saying: “No matter what you do, as long as you respect the country, our society, our nation and our family, you are helping us to realise the Chinese dream.”

The newspaper said Beijing cinemas were required to play one of the short videos before screenings, but theatres in other parts of the country also confirmed to AFP that they too had been showing the clip, suggesting the edict is country-wide.

“Many came late for the movie just to avoid the short video and others complained about the video after watching the movie,” the Global Times quoted one cinema employee as saying.

Users on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media platform, expressed mixed feelings.

“Had planned on going to the cinema but heard there is now a China dream trailer at the beginning, forget it,” wrote one.

But another, named Good Netizen from Henan, wrote: “Three generations of film stars spreading positive energy in society. They expressed the aspirations of a Chinese person, every ordinary Chinese person’s Chinese dream.”

Since taking office in 2013, Xi has consolidated control to become one of China’s most powerful leaders in decades, exalting the Communist Party and cracking down on its critics.

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Pakistani journalist arrested under cyber crime law — “Law being used to eliminate political opposition, stifle free press and free speech.”

June 30, 2017

Reuters

By Gul Yousafzai | QUETTA, PAKISTAN
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Pakistan authorities have arrested a journalist under a new electronic crime law aimed at combating terrorism and preventing blasphemy but which critics say is used to suppress political dissent.

The journalist, Zafarullah Achakzai a reporter for the Daily Qudrat newspaper, in Quetta city was produced before a magistrate on Wednesday and remanded in police custody under the cyber law, an official from the police’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) said.

Pakistani policemen and frontier corps investigate the area after a bomb explosion in Quetta on December 12 2015 A frontier corps member was killed...

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Pakistani paramedics shift an injured Frontier Corps member into a hospital after a bomb explosion in Quetta on December 12 2015 A frontier corps...

Frontier Corps photos

Pakistani Frontier Corps soldier patrols the streets via a truck during a media visit to the area June 23 2009 in Buner district Pakistan Over 19...

He is one of the first reporters to be charged under the electronic crime law, which was introduced in August to the objections of media freedom and human rights activists.

Achakzai’s father, Naimatullah Achakzai, said his son was detained on Sunday by officers from the Frontier Corps, a paramilitary force in overall charge of security in Baluchistan province, of which Quetta is the capital.

“Some 50 people came to our home at 6 a.m. and kicked down the door,” Achakzai said, adding that police filed a case against his son under the cyber crime law on Wednesday.

Police had shown him the filing, he said.

“We weren’t allowed to talk to him or meet him,” he said, adding he believed is son was arrested over social media posts.

The elder Achakzai said he believed his son was in trouble because his social media activity.

The son posted a comment on Facebook after a suicide bombing killed 13 in Quetta this month, in which he questioned why the Frontier Corps had responsibility for policing the city.

Reuters was unable to reach officials at the Frontier Corps for comment.

The FIA official, who declined to be identified, confirmed that the journalist had been arrested by the Frontier Corps, and then handed over to the FIA on Wednesday.

The Pakistani media watchdog Freedom Network said it was concerned about what it saw as “the authorities’ zero-tolerance for critics on social media”.

“The arrest of journalist Zafarullah Achakzai is a grim reminder that more arrests will follow for the same reason in the near future,” the group said.

Authorities began cracking down on social media in May, with security officials saying that more than 200 accounts were under investigation.

(Additional reporting by Saad Sayeed; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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Pakistan — Taliban faction claims attack that killed 13 in Quetta — June 23, 2017

Taliban faction claims attack that killed 13 in Quetta

Explosion near Inspector General of Police Ehsan Mehboob’s office in Quetta has killed 13 people, including 4 policeman, and over a dozen have been injured. Four are said to be in critical condition, including a girl around 10 years of age.

According to confirmed reports on Waqt News, “It was a suicide bombing and about 75 kgs of explosives were in the car.” The car is said to have been destroyed and windows of nearby buildings smashed due to the intensity of the blast.

According to Police surgeon Ali Mardan nine people, including three police officers and one traffic warden, were killed in the blast. While Civil Hospital spokesperson Waseem Baig said, 11 people were killed in the blast.

Jamaat-ur-Ahrar, a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack in a message sent to Reuters by spokesman Asad Mansur.

Abdul Razzaq Cheema, director general of police in Baluchistan province, told Reuters it appeared the bomber had detonated a car packed with explosives. He said 15 people had been wounded.

An eyewitness told The Nation, “I was two minutes away from the scene when a loud explosion was heard. The intensity of the explosion was so severe that when the dust settled, a leg of a policeman was lying near me.”

It was a blessing that the car did not enter the Cantonment area as the Hazara community was to take out a procession today regarding Quds day, he added.

Security teams have cordoned off the area and started an investigation.

The bomb disposal squad has been called to the site and investigations are under way, a police spokesperson said.

Balochistan government spokesman Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar said that the explosion took place at around 9:00 am when the police officers were checking the suspected car. He also said, “There were already intelligence reports that an attack would take place near Eid, we had increased security. It’s possible the IG office was the target, or the assailants were trying to enter the (army) cantonment which is close by,” he said.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif strongly condemned the act in Quetta. He directed the authorities at federal and provincial
levels to hunt down the perpetrators of this heinous act and bring them to justice. The provincial government should provide best medical treatment to the injured. “These cowardly attacks are a sign of growing frustration of terrorists
and extremists who have even targeted innocent civilians during the Holy month of Ramazan,” the PM said. He also said, “Such elements deserved no mercy and would meet their fate soon in view of the unflinching and united resolve of the entire nation against terrorism and extremism.”

Minister of Interior Chauday Nisar

Minister of Interior Chaudary Nisar has condemned the incident and asked the authorities to submit a report. Expressing grief and sorrow over the loss of precious lives in the incident, he prayed for the early recovery of the injured.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Chief Minister Balochistan Nawab Sanaullah Khan Zehri have strongly condemned the bomb blast in Quetta.

In their messages, they expressed grief and sorrow over the loss of precious lives in the bomb blast.

Balochistan Chief Minister directed the concerned authorities to provide better medical facilities to the injured people.

According to police, extra security measures had being taken for ‘Juma tul wida’ (the last friday in ramzan) and Eid ul Fitr.

This ramzan a number of terrorist attacks have taken place globally but Afghanistan has been the worst hit.

Quetta is about 100 km (60 miles) east of the border with Afghanistan and is the capital of Baluchistan, which has been plagued by militant violence. The province is the base of a separatist movement as well as home to the Taliban and other militant Islamist groups.

It is also at the center of Chinese-backed “Belt and Road” development projects worth $57 billion that first focused on Chinese firms building roads and power stations but is now expanding to include setting up industries.

Militants from the Islamic State group abducted and killed two Chinese nationals in Quetta last month.

That attack prompted Pakistan to boost security around Chinese nationals and other foreigners in the province, which is already one of the most militarised regions in the country.

http://nation.com.pk/national/23-Jun-2017/explosion-near-ig-office-in-quetta-leave-2-dead-10-injured