Posts Tagged ‘U. S.’

This is Trump’s Major Foreign Policy Crisis: Trump Will Have To Confront China and Russia

December 6, 2018

The U.S.-China trade dispute went from bad to worse, despite Donald Trump’s crowing Tweets.

The arrest in Canada of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of the company’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, is no accident.

Ren Zhengfei is a former Chinese military specialist and a close friend of Xi Jinping.

Huawei has been at the center of China’s controversial Made in China 2025 technology dominance drive.

Image result for donald trump, photos

That effort, intelligence sources say, has become a “succeed at any cost” Chinese government program to buy, steal or otherwise obtain whatever technology it needed to win.

Meng Wanzhou even spoke to Huawei  corporate staff about the necessity to sometimes ignore national laws outside China in an effort some call “China First.”

Meng Wanzhou was arrested on the request of the U.S. Justice Department while she was in Canada. She is allegedly to be charged with working to violate U.S. sanctions on Iran.

“The securitate are in charge now,” said Duncan Clark, chairman of technology consultancy BDA China.

If all that isn’t enough, many are wondering how much Xi Jinping is helping Kim Jong Un in North Korea avoid sanctions.

Meanwhile, Putin’s Russia continues to hold Ukrainian Navy sailors and vessels seized November 25, 2018 in the Black Sea and Kerch Strait — a violation of international law that has been largely ignored.

Donald Trump will have to decide if, when and how to more directly confront both China and Russia if international law is to stand and have any meaning at all. He is being tested now, and the global stock markets seem to be sensing a very ugly future — and the end of Trumpism will surely follow — if China and Russia are ignored much longer.

Donald Trump seemed to want to make Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping his friends. Now it should be clear that they are both his adversaries. And the world is wondering how much more trickery the United States can tolerate before it takes decisive action to counter these adversaries.

John Francis Carey
Peace and Freedom




Putin Must Be Punished — By Petro Poroshenko

December 6, 2018

Russia can’t be allowed to get away with its brazen aggression against Ukraine. The West needs to act.

By Petro Poroshenko

Mr. Poroshenko is the president of Ukraine.

In 2014, for the first time in seven decades, a state sought to redraw Europe’s map by way of military aggression. Russia’s theft of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula commanded condemnation and economic sanctions from around the world. But as the news coverage moved on, Moscow was left to design a new assault: a 12-mile bridge between Russia’s mainland and Crimea.

The Ukrainian people will not watch as Russia continues its creeping annexation of our country. Four years ago, in the aftermath of our revolution, Ukraine alone was not able to withstand a Russian military adventure. But today our resolve is strong, and we are prepared to stand up to Russia. This is why I have enacted limited martial law in Ukrainian territory near the Russian border, so that we are able to mobilize and protect our security should Russia dare to intensify its aggression. But we also need the support of the international community in the form of further sanctions against Moscow for its latest assault.

Russia’s attack in the Kerch Strait and the Black Sea on Nov. 25 was not an isolated incident. Since 2014, Russia has regularly violated international rules of navigation and treaties in both those waters and the Sea of Azov. It has stolen our energy supplies and fisheries, harmed Ukrainian livelihoods, and blocked traffic and trade to our ports.

Ukrainian ships in Kerch Strait (picture-alliance/dpa/Tass/S. Malgavko)

This summer, Russia raised the tensions, regularly halting commercial ships destined for Ukrainian ports. Extensive delays can cost each ship as much as $10,000 to $12,000 per day on each leg. Russia is engaging in economic warfare, trying to slowly suffocate our export markets. Jobs have been lost, livelihoods destroyed, food is being wasted, and goods intended for Europe and the Middle East delayed. The words of Western condemnation this fall have only worsened Russia’s behavior.

Russia brought the situation to a head on Nov. 25 as Ukrainian naval boats sought to make their way — legally and peacefully — from the Ukrainian port of Odessa to the Ukrainian port of Mariupol. Let me make clear that despite Russia’s typical efforts to distort the truth, Ukraine’s ships never aggressed Russia’s Navy, never opened fire despite being goaded, were attacked with gunfire and missiles, and were seized while sailing home in international waters.

This was a direct, unprovoked military attack by Russia’s armed forces on Ukraine’s. Moscow did not hide behind “little green men” as it did in Crimea in 2014 or its servicemen on “vacation” as it claimed when hostilities started in Eastern Ukraine the same year. Moscow does not even try to deceive the world this time.

The crisis continues, with our servicemen and boats being held in Russian custody, hundreds of ships being blocked in the Sea of Azov, denied permission by Russians to pass through the Kerch Strait. These are not just Ukrainian ships; they carry the flags of other countries and they have effectively been commandeered by Russia.

These recent events have a direct bearing on the security of all of NATO. Russia now has a challenging number of naval ships in the Black Sea, meaning it can threaten NATO members Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey. And that may just be the beginning. Russia also has a significant presence in the Baltic Sea. Recently, Russia’s fighters were intercepted, not for the first time, over the Baltic region and had not filed a flight plan. Who can guarantee that this was not a rehearsal of patrols over the notorious Nord Stream II gas pipeline being built by Russia through the Baltic Sea to challenge Europe?

Russia’s objective is obvious: It wants to return to an era where property and land are seized by force. It starts with Ukraine and continues westward as far as the democratic world will allow. Democratic countries must now make a choice: Stand up for what is right or continue appeasing President Vladimir Putin. If history has taught us anything, it is that appeasement has deadly costs. Despite Kremlin propaganda, Mr. Putin is weaker than he would have the West believe. The West can — by raising the cost of his aggression — force him to fall back into line.

How much more hostility will it take before the West’s words of concern graduate into the hard currency in which the Kremlin trades — strength? Russia has deployed chemical weapons in Britain; undertaken cyberattacks and hacking attempts across the West; bombed civilians in Syria; fomented a war in Eastern Ukraine that has caused more than 10,000 Ukrainian deaths; and spread disinformation to confuse, anger and frighten citizens around the world. Is now not the time to act?

President Trump showed true leadership by canceling his meeting with Mr. Putin at the G-20 in Argentina over Russia’s seizing of Ukrainian ships and sailors. We have enjoyed tangible support from the White House and Congress, including defensive weapons, stronger sanctions and more secure American energy supplies. Together, partners on both sides of the Atlantic can continue to raise the cost to Russia for threatening our collective security.

With Crimea and Donbas under occupation, our common task is not to allow Russia to spill its aggression into the Sea of Azov. And an “Azov package of sanctions” against Russia would be the least the world should respond with this time. While the West is speaking, Mr. Putin is acting. It is time to respond.

Petro Poroshenko is the president of Ukraine.


Huawei Technologies — Ignoring the law nothing new — “China First”

December 6, 2018

China is demanding that Canada release a Huawei Technologies executive arrested for possible extradition to the United States. Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested Saturday in Vancouver, Canada. The Globe and Mail newspaper, citing law enforcement sources, said she is suspected of trying to evade U.S. curbs on trade with Iran. Here are some key facts about the fast-growing telecoms equipment supplier.



The privately held company, based in southern China’s tech hub of Shenzhen near Hong Kong, is the world’s largest supplier of network gear used by phone and internet companies. Huawei also recently surpassed Apple as the second biggest maker of cellphones after South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. The company, founded in 1987 by a former military engineer, Ren Zhengfei, who is Meng’s father, has 170,000 employees worldwide and says it has business in more than 170 countries.



Canadian officials said Meng faces possible extradition to the United States. The U.S. Justice Department has refused comment. The Globe and Mail newspaper cited law enforcement sources as saying she is suspected of trying to evade U.S. curbs on trade with Iran. Huawei says the U.S. requested Meng’s arrest and it is unaware of any wrongdoing. The company says it abides by all laws and rules where it operates.



Huawei’s business in Iran grew after Western companies withdrew to protest a crackdown on demonstrators in 2009. But the company said in late 2011 that it was limiting its business activity and no longer seeking new customers there because of an “increasingly complex situation.” In April, China appealed to the U.S. to avoid damaging business confidence after The Wall Street Journal reported Washington was investigating whether Huawei had violated sanctions on Iran. The report did not say what Huawei might be suspected of.



Both Huawei and ZTE Corp. have faced trouble with the U.S. and other governments over dealings with Iran and fears the Chinese companies’ equipment might be used for spying. ZTE was nearly driven out of business this year when Washington barred it from buying U.S. technology over exports to North Korea and Iran. President Donald Trump restored access after ZTE agreed to pay a $1 billion fine, replace its executive team and embed a U.S.-chosen compliance team in the company. Huawei seems much stronger commercially than ZTE, with the biggest research and development budget of any Chinese company and a vast portfolio of patents, making it less dependent on American suppliers.



It’s unclear exactly what charges Meng could face if she is extradited to the United States. Security concerns have hampered Huawei’s business in the U.S. as acquisitions were rejected and companies warned not to source network equipment from Huawei or ZTE. That means the U.S. has less leverage over Huawei than over ZTE and some other Chinese companies. But the company is likely feeling pressure as other governments heed U.S. calls to limit Huawei’s access to their telecoms networks and strategically vital technologies.

Associated Press


Symbolic Istanbul funeral pays homage to Khashoggi — (But Turkey Doesn’t Want To Put This Issue To Rest)

November 16, 2018

Dozens of people on Friday paid homage to murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a symbolic funeral in Istanbul where the 59-year-old Washington Post contributor was killed last month.

In the absence of a body, the crowd gathered in front of an empty place traditionally reserved for the coffin at Fatih mosque, AFP journalists reported.

© AFP | Dozens of people paid homage to murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a symbolic funeral in Istanbul

Supporters from the newly-formed Jamal Khashoggi Friends Association also attended.

Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi leadership, was last seen entering the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate on October 2. Turkish officials say he was strangled and his body dismembered.

Image result for Fatih mosque, Istanbul, photos
Fatih mosque

“We decided to hold the prayers as we are convinced that his body will never be found,” Fatih Oke, executive director of the Turkish-Arab Media Association (TAM) of which Khashoggi was a member, told AFP.

The ceremony which took place under rain, “is a message delivered to the world to say that the murder will not go unpunished and that justice will be served,” said Ibrahim Pekdemir, an Istanbul resident who attended.

Saudi prosecutors on Thursday announced indictments against 11 people and said a total of 21 individuals were in custody in connection with the killing.

But they exonerated the kingdom’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of involvement in the murder.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)

Yasin Aktay, a close friend of Khashoggi and advisor to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, strongly criticised the Saudi version of events.

“They want us to believe that the killers themselves made the decision to assassinate Jamal Khashoggi, we do not believe in this story,” he said after the prayer.

“We will continue to ask who are the true contractors” of the murder.

Turkey has insisted it was a premeditated killing.



See also:

What Turkey Hopes to Gain from Khashoggi’s Murder

For Erdogan, Kashoggi’s assassination—a tragedy and an outrage by any measure—represents a perfectly timed opportunity. Turkey is facing a looming economic disaster at a time when relations are in crisis with the United States, Saudi Arabia and most other potential sources of help. In addition to contemplating a debt tsunami, Erdogan has also seen his aspirations to turn Turkey into a major regional powerhouse eroded by a series of developments in the Middle East.

Khashoggi’s killing in Istanbul unexpectedly created a chance to turn around that misfortune, or to at least lessen its sting. Erdogan, a clever, ruthless operator, is not about to let it slip through his fingers. With his security services in possession of evidence that appears to link Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler to the crime, Erdogan is perfectly placed to extract concessions from the Saudis. And given that the Trump administration has built a foreign policy strategy that hinges on cooperation with MBS, and that Trump’s behavior suggests he is invested in protecting the kingdom, Erdogan’s leverage over the Saudis extends into leverage over the United States.

U.S. Lawmakers urge possible China sanctions — Talk of Xinjiang human rights violations is “gossip” Wang Yi in China says

November 14, 2018

Image result for wang yi, photos

Wang Yi, China’s Foreign Minister

U.S. lawmakers will introduce legislation on Wednesday urging a stronger response by the Trump administration to China’s crackdown on minority Muslims, including possible sanctions against a senior official, a move China decried as hypocrisy.

Related image

Uighurs living in Turkey set a Chinese flag on fire as they stage a demonstration outside the Chinese embassy in Ankara on July 5, 2012. – AFP File Photo

The legislation will also ask President Donald Trump to condemn China’s actions in its western region of Xinjiang, call for a new “special coordinator” of U.S. policy on the issue and seek consideration of a ban on export of U.S. technology Beijing could use in surveillance and mass detention of ethnic Uighurs, according to a copy of the measure seen by Reuters.

The lawmakers want the Trump administration to consider human rights-related sanctions against Xinjiang Party Secretary Chen Quanguo, who is also a member of the powerful politburo, and other officials “credibly alleged to be responsible” for the security crackdown, the measure will say.

Image result for Xinjiang, Uighurs, China, photos

“Chinese government officials should be held accountable for their complicity in this evil and U.S. businesses should be barred from helping China create a high-tech police state in Xinjiang,” said Republican U.S. Representative Chris Smith, one of the sponsors of the bipartisan legislation to be presented in both the Senate and House of Representatives.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the bill, which is also being put forward by Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Senator Bob Menendez.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the United States and its lawmakers had no right to interfere in other countries, considering their own racial problems.

“It’s too strange, they always selectively overlook the various problems their own country is facing, zealously interfering in other countries’ internal affairs, moreover based on wrong information and with strong ideological prejudice,” she told a daily news briefing.

Image result for Xinjiang, Uighurs, China, photos

Hua cited statistics on the higher rate of miscarriages of justice for African Americans versus their white counterparts and the economic disadvantages facing minority groups.

“I hope U.S. lawmakers can care a bit more about domestic U.S. matters, and do their job a bit better,” she added.


Trump’s senior aides recently have become more vocal in their criticism of China’s treatment of its minority Muslims in Xinjiang, which has sparked an international outcry.

Any sanctions, however, would be a rare move on human rights grounds by the Trump administration against China, with which it is engaged in a bitter trade war.

Beijing has dismissed accusations of abuses in Xinjiang, urging the United States and other countries to stay out of its internal affairs.

The Chinese government’s top diplomat said on Tuesday the world should ignore “gossip” about developments in Xinjiang and trust authorities there, when asked if Beijing would allow international observers to inspect camps for Muslims in the region.

Western countries including Canada, France, Germany, and the United States have urged China to shut down camps in Xinjiang, where activists say as many as 1 million members of the Uighur minority and other Muslims are being detained.

Far western Xinjiang faces a threat from Islamist militants and separatists, China has said in the past.

Rubio said in a statement that some Chinese officials were responsible for “possible crimes against humanity.”

For several months, the Trump administration has been weighing sanctions against Chinese officials and companies operating in Xinjiang, U.S. officials have said on condition of anonymity.

The new bill calls for consideration of measures under the Global Magnitsky Act, which hits rights violators with freezes on U.S. assets, U.S. travel bans, and prohibitions on Americans doing business with them, and also under a federal law to target those involved in religious repression around the world.

It will urge the administration to report back to Congress on Chinese companies involved in the camps and ask the FBI to act against any Chinese government efforts to intimidate Uighurs living in the United States.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle and Matt Spetalnick, and Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Editing by Peter Cooney and Clarence Fernandez





China top diplomat: Ignore ‘gossip’ over Uighur detention camps

Foreign minister says Xinjiang camps needed to fight ‘terrorism’ as western nations seek clarification on Uighur camps.

China top diplomat: Ignore 'gossip' over Uighur detention camps
Reports of mass detentions and strict surveillance of Uighurs and other Muslims have prompted the US to consider sanctions against Chinese officials and businesses (File: Ng Han Guan/AP Photo]

The world should ignore “gossip” about China’s Xinjiang region and trust authorities there, the government’s top diplomat said on Tuesday, when asked if Beijing would allow international observers to inspect camps holding Muslims there.

Western countries, including Canada, France, Germany and the United States, have urged China to shut down camps in Xinjiang, where activists say as many as one million members of the Uighur minority and other Muslims are being detained.

It rejects all accusations of mistreatment and denies mass internment. It says far western Xinjiang faces a threat from Islamist separatists.


Escape from Xinjiang: Muslim Uighurs speak of China persecution

After initial denials, however, Chinese officials have said some people guilty of minor offences were being sent to “vocational” training centres, where they are taught work skills and legal knowledge aimed at curbing militancy.

After meeting Heiko Maas, Germany’s foreign minister, State Councillor Wang Yi said he hoped people would understand and support the Xinjiang regional government’s efforts to fight terrorism, end the spread of “extremism” and ensure social stability.

“(People) should not listen to gossip or rumour, because the Xinjiang regional government, of course, understands the situation in Xinjiang best, and not some other people or organisations,” said Wang, who is also foreign minister.

Mass detentions

“The efforts are completely in line with the direction the international community has taken to combat terrorism, and are an important part of the global fight against terrorism,” Wang told reporters.

“If we can take care of prevention, then it will be impossible for terrorism to spread and take root.”

Wang’s remarks followed Monday’s comments by Maas that there was a need for more information on the Xinjiang situation and that China needed to be transparent.

“In any case, we cannot accept re-education camps. We need transparency in order to properly judge what is happening there,” Maas said in Beijing.

Reports of mass detentions and strict surveillance of Uighurs and other Muslims have prompted the US to consider sanctions against officials and companies linked to suspected human rights abuses.

Researchers have said spending on security-related construction in Xinjiang tripled in 2017, and that despite the “vocational training” campaign, Xinjiang government data shows employment has not markedly improved.

Under-reported: The treatment of Uighur Muslims in Xi's China

Under-reported: The treatment of Uighur Muslims in Xi’s China


Russia’s prospects for arms sales to China grows in spite of US sanctions

November 9, 2018
  • Rosoboronexport, Russia’s state arms seller, said it signed three more weapons contracts with China during the Zhuhai Airshow
  • Moscow-Beijing ties ‘are closer than ever’ despite Washington’s sanctions, Russian official says
Image result for Russia, Zhuhai Airshow, photos
PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 November, 2018, 1:25pm
UPDATED : Friday, 09 November, 2018, 3:20pm
South China Morning Post

Russia’s prospects for arms sales to China remain undiminished by US sanctions after the countries signed new weapons contracts at China’s major air show.

Rosoboronexport, Russia’s state arms seller, said it signed three more weapons contracts with China during the Zhuhai Airshow, which is being held in south China’s Guangdong province until Sunday.

“Rosoboronexport expects that participation in the exhibition will give further impetus to the positive trend in Russian-Chinese relations in the field of military-technical cooperation,” director general Alexander Mikheev said.

In September, the United States imposed sanctions on the Chinese military for buying fighter jets and missile systems from Russia, in breach of a sweeping sanctions law punishing Moscow for interference in the 2016 US election.

Washington imposed sanctions on the Chinese military partly for buying SU-35 combat aircraft in 2017 from Russia. Photo: Handout

The sanctions were related to China’s purchase of SU-35 combat aircraft in 2017 and equipment related to the S-400 surface-to-air missile system in 2018. China ordered 24 Sukhoi-35s, 10 of which were delivered last year.

China bought the jets and missiles from Rosoboronexport, which was blacklisted in 2017 when the law known as the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act took effect.

The Chinese military was sanctioned because of its “significant transactions” with Rosoboronexport, the US said.

They blocked China’s Equipment Development Department, the branch of the Chinese military responsible for weapons and equipment, and its director, Li Shangfu, from applying for export licences and taking part in the US financial system.

The administration also blacklisted 33 other people and entities associated with the Russian military and intelligence services.

Nevertheless, Rosoboronexport spokesman Vladimir Kryuchkov said more China-Russia arms deals were under discussion. The partnership also had expanded from its initial weapons purchases into hi-tech research and development, he said.

“If the US sanction has any impact on our cooperation with China, it only affected it to the better side,” Kryuchkov said. “Our ties with China are ever closer.”

He said he was happy to see China’s improvement in home-grown weapon technologies and did not believe the country’s advances might diminish its need for Russian products such as military aircraft engines that comprise much of Russia’s exports to China.

The latest sales were announced by Viktor Kladov, who is leading the delegation to Zhuhai on behalf of Rosoboronexport’s parent, military industry conglomerate Rostec State Corp, the Russian state news agency Sputnik reported on Tuesday. Details of the sales were not disclosed.

Kladov also said Russia would complete the delivery of the Su-35 fighter jets and S-400 air defence systems that sparked the US sanctions against China by 2020.

China bought six Mi-171A2 helicopters from Russia at the Zhuhai air show. Photo: Reuters

Russia also could be setting up a maintenance centre in China for S-300 and S-400 missile systems. Dmitry Shugaev, head of Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, said such a deal would be economically viable, noting that Russia built a maintenance centre for Tor-M1 air defence missile systems in China last year.

“I am very pleased that any attempts by third countries to interfere in relations between our countries have not produced the desired effect and are rightly perceived by China as an element of unfair competition,” Mikheev said, referring to the sanctions.

Rosoboronexport, which sells more than 85 per cent of Russia’s military exports, is putting on its largest scale exhibition of the year at Zhuhai, the biggest exhibition of military and civilian aviation products in mainland China.

A video shows an anti-ship missile system at Russia’s Rosoboronexport booth during the air show. Photo: AP

The arms dealer has brought together Russia’s 14 largest defence industry manufacturers in a 1,500 square metre (16,145 sq ft) exhibition space to drive sales at the show, which opened on Tuesday and is held every two years.

The Russian companies also are trying to appeal to civilian buyers. China bought 20 Ansat lightweight Russian helicopters as air ambulances and six Mi-171A2 medium utility helicopters.

How China’s mishandling of the US ‘led to trade war’ — “We Misjudged Trump”

November 7, 2018

American academic Orville Schell says the two countries are now ‘in a very difficult position’

Beijing failed to take chances to make relations more ‘reciprocal and balanced’ by engaging with ‘reasonable and logical’ people, he says

South China Morning Post

Image result for china, U.S., flags

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 November, 2018, 5:01am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 November, 2018, 10:37am
Related image
US President Donald Trump welcomes Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, US, on April 6, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

Beijing is facing strong headwinds to reverse tensions with Washington after missing “extremely good opportunities” to address problems in the past, according to a China scholar.

“We are now in a very difficult position. I don’t see either side trying to break the downward slide of bilateral relations,” said Orville Schell, Arthur Ross director of the Centre on US-China Relations at the Asia Society in New York.

He said there had been no new proposals to de-escalate trade tensions and no new recognition of the severity of the situation in speeches made by President Xi Jinping and Vice-President Wang Qishan at international events this week.

“Over the last 10 to 15 years, China has missed extremely good opportunities to rebalance the relations without any catastrophic effects,” the American academic said on the sidelines of the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore.

Schell added that Beijing had not taken chances to make China-US relations more “reciprocal and balanced” by engaging with people who were seen as “reasonable and logical”, without elaborating.

And without effective efforts from China to rebalance bilateral ties, US President Donald Trump reversed his attitude towards the country, taking a hard line and initiating the trade war.

“All those people in the White House who were quiet and waiting, like Peter Navarro, Robert Lighthizer and Steven Bannon, who were ousted but still influential, began to be very influential and take a much more forceful position on China,” he said.

Schell also played down hopes for any significant outcome from the planned summit between Xi and Trump at the end of November in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

“We don’t see the preparation for having any agreement. We don’t have someone like Wang Qishan and [former US Treasury secretary] Henry Paulson working at the second level,” he said. “There is a big missing link between the presidents and bureaucrats.”

After Trump visited Beijing in November last year, some officials in China believed that ties with the United States were being appropriately handled and they did not expect the US president to take a tougher line on China as he had promised to do during his election campaign.

But tensions between the world’s two largest economies have been rising since Trump imposed a first round of tariffs on Chinese goods in July, starting a trade war that has targeted more than half of the goods shipped between the two countries.

Washington is also taking measures to restrict Chinese access to US technology, accusing China of intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers.

Meanwhile, business surveys have shown that some foreign companies are already looking into relocating production or diversifying their supply chain outside China, amid growing talk about disengagement of the two economies. According to Schell, “the costs of decoupling would be higher for China than the US, and will also affect Asian countries”.

There are also concerns that Trump’s “America first” policy could result in the US reducing its presence in Asia.

Schell said the White House’s Asia team was stable despite frequent personnel changes in the Trump administration. “They are smart, have a plan and are very firm [on China] and are waiting for changes in China,” Schell said.

He added that Beijing and Washington should designate “high special representatives” for the top leaders to work out a road map and identify areas to discuss.

But Schell warned that the South China Sea could become another hotspot for confrontation. He said although the two countries were cooperating on issues such as North Korea and cracking down on drug trafficking, other areas were more important for bilateral ties and needed to be addressed.

U.S. to Restrict Chinese Chip Maker From Doing Business With American Firms

October 30, 2018

Washington raises the stakes in a battle with Beijing over intellectual property


Image result for Micron Technology, photos



The U.S. has raised the stakes in a battle with Beijing over intellectual property by restricting American firms from doing business with a state-owned Chinese chip maker that Micron Technology Inc. has accused of stealing its secrets.

Citing national and economic security concerns, the Commerce Department said Monday that it will begin restricting American companies from selling software and technology goods to Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co., a semiconductor startup into which the Chinese government has been pouring money as part of an effort to build its own chip industry. The decision has the potential to cause significant damage to the new chip maker, which still relies on U.S. technology to produce its own chips.

“Jinhua poses a significant risk of becoming involved in activities that are contrary to the national security interests of the United States,” the Commerce Department said in a statement announcing the new restrictions. Jinhua didn’t immediately provide comment.

The Commerce Department’s action against Jinhua was reminiscent of an April decision—which President Trump later reversed at the behest of Chinese President Xi Jinping—to restrict American companies from selling components to telecoms giant ZTE Corp. for violating terms of an earlier deal to settle allegations that it engaged in sanctions-busting sales to Iran and North Korea.

Yet experts said the Commerce Department move against Jinhua sets a new precedent by punishing a foreign firm for allegedly stealing U.S. intellectual property. The announcement was also unique in the way that it invoked concerns about U.S. companies’ long-term ability to compete in the chip industry.

Jinhua’s imminent plans for “additional production, in light of the likely U.S.-origin technology, threatens the long term economic viability of U.S. suppliers of these essential components of U.S. military systems,” the statement said.

The Commerce Department took the action after Micron, the U.S.’s largest memory-chip maker, filed a lawsuit in December in a California federal court alleging Jinhua stole its technology. Jinhua then sued Micron in January in a court in China’s Fujian province—whose government partly controls Jinhua—and won a temporary order blocking some Micron units from selling products in China on which each company claims patents.

Micron has said Jinhua’s suit was a bogus retaliation measure and has repeatedly criticized Beijing over its treatment. In a July statement Micron said that, though “the central government of China has often stated that the rights of foreign companies are fairly and equally protected in China,” the court’s ruling was “inconsistent with this proclaimed policy.” In a recent quarterly filing, Micron warned: “The activities by the Chinese government may restrict us from participating in the China market or may prevent us from competing effectively with Chinese companies.”

For its part, Jinhua has accused Micron of being part of an “international oligopoly” trying to block the rise of Chinese chip producers. In a July statement, it said Micron “recklessly” infringed on its patents.

Jinhua is a key part of Beijing’s plan to try to wean China off foreign technology, a position that has left its companies highly vulnerable, underscored by the ZTE scare earlier this year. Beijing has set aside some $150 billion in funds to create national chip-making powerhouses, including Jinhua, Tsinghua Unigroup Ltd. and Innotron Memory Co.

During August trade talks, U.S. negotiators pressed Beijing about coerced technology transfers and cited the issues surrounding Micron, according to officials familiar with the talks. But Chinese negotiator Commerce Vice Minister Wang Shouwen dismissed the concerns. Micron and Jinhua “are like brothers,” Mr. Wang said, according to the officials, “and brothers fight.”

The U.S. has long been frustrated with what it sees as Beijing’s failure to compromise in a growing number of disputes over trade, technology and other issues. And so far, U.S. officials have found that offering an olive branch has yielded little, ushering in a much colder era in U.S.-China relations.

After Mr. Trump intervened to save ZTE, for example, some government and industry officials expected China would reciprocate and approve a long-running attempt by U.S. chip giant Qualcomm Inc. to buy Dutch chip maker NXP Semiconductors NV for $44 billion. Senior U.S. officials including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross engaged in a round of last-minute lobbying on the company’s behalf.

But a July deadline to win approval from regulators in China—the last of nine markets that would have needed to approve the deal—came and wentkilling the deal and derailing a central part of Qualcomm’s strategy.

Write to Kate O’Keeffe at


Activists to set up panel to tackle pedophilia in Polish church

October 8, 2018

An independent panel aimed at documenting cases of pedophilia in Poland’s Catholic Church will be set up early next year to help victims speak up and claim damages, opposition parliamentarians said on Monday.

The Roman Catholic Church worldwide is reeling from crises involving sexual abuse of minors, deeply damaging confidence in the Church in Chile, the United States, Australia and Ireland among other countries.

In stark contrast, in Poland, a deeply Catholic country, debate has only just begun while activists close to the nascent anti-pedophilia project, called “Nie lekajcie sie” (Don’t Be Afraid), say that around 600 priests in Poland may have inclinations towards pedophilia.

Image result for roman collar, photos

Around 100 people claiming to have been sexually molested by Polish priests phoned to tell their stories in the first 24 hours after organizers of the panel posted an interactive pedophilia map on the Internet on Sunday.

“The map of pedophilia was viewed by 500,000 people since yesterday. Public discussion has started and we want to set up a panel early next year to tackle the issue,” Joanna Scheuring-Wielgus, an opposition MP, told Reuters TV.

The map documents 280 cases of pedophilia committed by 60 priests convicted by Polish courts, but according to activists the real numbers are much higher since victims are often afraid to speak up for psychological and social reasons.

“One-hundred people have called us since yesterday to tell us about their cases, and we need to research and verify all these cases,” Scheuring-Wielgus said.

Several left-wing and liberal MPs, along with rights activists, declared their support in creating or running the investigative panel. The ruling nationalist (PiS) party, whose core support comes from devout Catholics and the Church, is not expected to be involved.

A PiS spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment, nor was a spokesman for Poland’s Church.

Last week a Polish court upheld a landmark ruling granting a one million zlotys ($266,084.83) in compensation and an annuity to a victim of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest, accepting that the church ore responsibility for the crimes of its cleric.

Reporting by Marcin Goclowski; Editing by Mark Heinrich


U.S. Puzzles Out ‘Peace Declaration’ (Not a ‘Treaty’) With North Korea

October 7, 2018

South Korea’s leader pushes a symbolic declaration of an end to hostilities, but there are potential drawbacks

During his trip to Pyongyang and Seoul, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is confronting the question of whether to agree to a symbolic statement declaring an end to hostile relations with North Korea. Shown, Mr. Pompeo at a U.N. Security Council briefing on Sept. 27.
During his trip to Pyongyang and Seoul, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is confronting the question of whether to agree to a symbolic statement declaring an end to hostile relations with North Korea. Shown, Mr. Pompeo at a U.N. Security Council briefing on Sept. 27. PHOTO:JEENAH MOON/BLOOMBERG NEWS

As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo works to regain traction in negotiations with North Korea, one of the main questions hanging over the talks will be how to go about ending a 65-year-old war.

The immediate issue isn’t whether to sign a peace treaty: It is widely understood in Washington and Seoul that a formal peace accord can come only after a diplomatic process that leads to the dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and arsenal.

Rather, the issue now is whether to issue a symbolic statement declaring an end to hostile relations on the Korean Peninsula.

Such a move has been heavily promoted by South Korean President Moon Jae-in as a way to energize negotiations between U.S. and North Korean diplomats, which have stalled since the June summit meeting in Singapore between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The question before the U.S. is whether such a declaration should serve as a major theme at the next summit  and, if so, what denuclearization and confidence-building steps U.S. officials should demand in return.

Within the Trump administration, consideration has already been given to how such a peace declaration might be worded, and Mr. Pompeo has been careful not to rule it out.

“I don’t want to prejudge precisely where we’ll end up,” he told CBS News during his week at the United Nations in September.

Former officials have been less circumspect about the idea, including potential pros and cons.

“I think an end-of-war declaration is a pretty good idea at this point,” said Joseph Yun, the former U.S. special envoy for North Korea policy from 2016 to 2018.

Such a move, he said, would further U.S. objectives if it were incorporated in a broader statement that committed North Korea to begin the dismantling of its Yongbyon nuclear facility in the presence of international inspectors and perhaps take other steps.

Even dictators, Mr. Yun continued, have to worry about sentiment at home, and the declaration could help Mr. Kim assure his generals and security officials that the U.S. is prepared to turn the page.

But there are plenty of skeptics who see such a declaration as a ploy by Pyongyang to try to undermine the rationale for keeping U.S. troops in South Korea and perhaps reinforce Mr. Trump’s occasional musings about reducing the American military presence there.

“A peace declaration is not merely ineffective in establishing peace, it advances the North Korean push to unwind the U.S.-ROK alliance,” said Daniel Russel, the former top State Department official for Asia policy during the Obama administration, using the acronym for South Korea, formally known as the Republic of Korea. “This is not an argument we should be having right now.”

The ongoing debate has a long history.  The Korean War ended with an armistice in 1953, concluded by China, North Korea and the U.S.-led United Nations Command, leaving to diplomats the task of how to establish something more durable than a tense truce between two heavily armed sides.

The outlines of a potential way forward were drawn in Singapore, where Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim signed a joint statement that embodied each side’s priorities.

Addressing longstanding North Korea concerns, the two leaders promised in the statement to “build a lasting and stable peace regime.” Addressing U.S. demands, the statement pledged to “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

But the sequence of steps to be taken next wasn’t spelled out, prompting each side to insist its priorities be addressed up front. Little headway has been made since.

Enter Mr. Moon, who served as chief of staff to former South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun when he supported the idea of an end-of-war declaration.

Mr. Moon has been anxious to advance progress, but his room to maneuver has been limited. The U.S. won’t agree to ease sanctions until the North Koreans carry out major steps toward denuclearization, and Pyongyang has balked at giving the U.S. an inventory of its nuclear arsenal and programs. So Mr. Moon has been advocating a peace declaration at every turn.

“This is basically a political statement that announces the end of hostile relations” that would be intended to “lead to more denuclearization measures from North Korea,” Mr. Moon told the Council on Foreign Relations during his visit to the U.N. late last month.

The U.S. military has been cautious about the idea of a peace declaration, stressing that it be linked to commitments by Pyongyang. “I would be skeptical about any solution that does not have denuclearization in it, and how that can become an enduring peace,” Gen. Vincent Brooks, the senior U.S. commander in South Korea, said in August.

With Mr. Trump boasting of the “beautiful letters” he has received from Mr. Kim, declaring an end to the hostile relationship may not be much of a leap—especially since the U.S. had made clear that it will maintain economic sanctions until North Korea takes major steps to eliminate its nuclear weapons and programs.

“We know how North Korea and China would want to use an end-of-war declaration, but whether it actually undermines the alliance depends entirely on Washington and Seoul,” said Robert Einhorn, a former U.S. negotiator on North Korea’s missile programs. “If the allies are resolved to preserve their alliance and the U.S. military presence after peace is declared, such a declaration will not have the feared adverse effects. But the allies should only accept it in exchange for concrete denuclearization steps.”

Write to Michael R. Gordon at