Posts Tagged ‘Venezuela’

Saudi Arabia is world’s energy ‘shock absorber’ says Energy Minister Al-Falih

October 15, 2018

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih on Monday said that the Kingdom was the world’s energy “shock absorber” and pledged to continue to offer a cushion to global supply interruptions.

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He told an energy event in India that it was time this balancing role was respected and acknowledged by the international community.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih on Monday said that the Kingdom was the world’s energy “shock absorber.” (Reuters)

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His remarks come amid concerns among energy-importing nations about the recent rise in the oil price.

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“We could have another unanticipated, unplanned disruption. We’ve seen Libya, we’ve seen Nigeria, we’ve seen Venezuela and we have sanctions on Iran. These supply disruptions need a shock absorber,” Al-Falih told the CERAWeek event by IHS Markit.

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“The shock absorber has been, to a large part, Saudi Arabia. We have invested tens of billions of dollars to build the spare capacity which has been two to three million barrels over the years — that’s equivalent of production capacity of major producers.

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“It has been like a spinning reserve in an electricity system waiting to step in if there is a disruption. We’ve done it out of a sense of responsibility.”

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He added that the Kingdom wanted to continue playing that global balancing role but also hoped that “the global community of nations will respect and acknowledge what Saudi Arabia has done.”

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In a wide ranging address, Al-Falih also questioned the “hype” around the electric vehicle market and said that petrol and diesel engines would co-exist with emerging electric and hydrogen fuel cell technologies for much longer than some commentators expect.

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Saudi Arabia is boosting its energy ties with India and Al-Falih said Saudi corporations including Aramco, SABIC and Ma’aden planned to increase investments in the country.

Arab News

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1387976/saudi-arabia

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Saudi crown prince says Opec working to keep oil prices down

October 6, 2018
The 33-year-old said that it was normal for allies to have disagreements [Hassan Ammar/AP file photo]
Prince Mohammed bin Salman also gives new timeline for possible Aramco IPO

By Ed Crooks in New York

Opec and its allies have been responding to requests from the US for increased oil production and doing what they can to prevent prices rising, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has said. Opec member states and their allies including Russia “did our job and more” in raising output by about 1.5m barrels a day, Prince Mohammed said in an interview with Bloomberg published Friday. This would more than offsetting an estimated 700,000 b/d taken off world markets as a result of the US decision to reinstate sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme.

The crown prince also gave a new timetable for the proposed initial public offering of a stake in Saudi Aramco, the national oil company, saying the plan was to sell the shares in late 2020 or early 2021. He also confirmed that he was still expecting a valuation for the company above $2tn, with a sale of a 5 per cent stake intended to raise $100bn.

The target date for the IPO, originally planned for 2018, has been slipping, delayed by legal and regulatory concerns as well as growing doubts about the ambitious valuation. While Saudi government said in August that it remained committed to the sale, it did not set any timetable and those close to the process said at the time that it had been postponed indefinitely. In recent months US President Donald Trump has repeatedly attacked Opec for pushing up oil prices.

The Saudi Crown Prince says Opec is working to keep oil prices low

At the UN General Assembly last month, he accused Opec members of “as usual ripping off the rest of the world”, adding: “And I don’t like it”. Prince Mohammed, however, insisted that Opec was helping to keep prices down. He also suggested that the upward pressure on crude prices was not caused by US sanctions on Iran, because of the offsetting increase in production coming from Opec and its allies, blaming instead other countries including Canada, Mexico, Libya and Venezuela.

The crown prince confirmed the recent statement from Khalid al Falih, the Saudi energy minister, that the country was producing 10.7m barrels a day, and said it had spare capacity to increase production by 1.3m b/d without any additional investment. He also gave his view of the outlook for oil supply and demand in the long term: oil demand would continue rising until at least 2030 and could start to decline at some point after that.

But on the supply side, Prince Mohammed said, there would be “a lot of producers disappearing”.

For example, he said, “we believe that China will be decreased sharply if not disappeared after five years from today”, and Russia “will have declined heavily if not disappeared”.

He concluded: “We don’t believe that there is any risk in that area for Saudi Arabia.”

https://www.ft.com/content/388abb62-c8d0-11e8-ba8f-ee390057b8c9

See also:

Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman: ‘I love working with Trump’

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/10/saudi-crown-prince-loves-working-trump-181005193430836.html

and

Saudi Crown Prince Discusses Trump, Aramco, Arrests: Transcript

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-05/saudi-crown-prince-discusses-trump-aramco-arrests-transcript

Remarks by Vice President Pence on U.S. Policy Toward China

October 5, 2018

At the Hudson Institute, October 4, 2018

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Ken, for that kind introduction. To the Members of the Board of Trustees, to Dr. Michael Pillsbury, to our distinguished guests, and to all of you who, true to your mission in this place, “think about the future in unconventional ways” –- it is an honor to be back at the Hudson Institute.

For more than a half a century, this Institute has dedicated itself to “advancing global security, prosperity, and freedom.” And while Hudson’s hometowns have changed over the years, one thing has been constant: You have always advanced that vital truth, that American leadership lights the way.

And today, speaking of leadership, allow me to begin by bringing greetings from a great champion of American leadership at home and abroad –- I bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)

From early in this administration, President Trump has made our relationship with China and President Xi a priority. On April 6th of last year, President Trump welcomed President Xi to Mar-a-Lago. On November 8th of last year, President Trump traveled to Beijing, where China’s leader welcomed him warmly.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, suit

Donald Trump and Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago, January 2017

Over the course of the past two years, our President has forged a strong personal relationship with the President of the People’s Republic of China, and they’ve worked closely on issues of common interest, most importantly the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

But I come before you today because the American people deserve to know that, as we speak, Beijing is employing a whole-of-government approach, using political, economic, and military tools, as well as propaganda, to advance its influence and benefit its interests in the United States.

China is also applying this power in more proactive ways than ever before, to exert influence and interfere in the domestic policy and politics of this country.

Under President Trump’s leadership, the United States has taken decisive action to respond to China with American action, applying the principles and the policies long advocated in these halls.

In our National Security Strategy that the President Trump released last December, he described a new era of “great power competition.” Foreign nations have begun to, as we wrote, “reassert their influence regionally and globally,” and they are “contesting [America’s] geopolitical advantages and trying [in essence] to change the international order in their favor.”

In this strategy, President Trump made clear that the United States of America has adopted a new approach to China. We seek a relationship grounded in fairness, reciprocity, and respect for sovereignty, and we have taken strong and swift action to achieve that goal.

As the President said last year on his visit to China, in his words, “we have an opportunity to strengthen the relationship between our two countries and improve the lives of our citizens.” Our vision of the future is built on the best parts of our past, when America and China reached out to one another in a spirit of openness and friendship.

When our young nation went searching in the wake of the Revolutionary War for new markets for our exports, the Chinese people welcomed American traders laden with ginseng and fur.

When China suffered through indignities and exploitations during her so-called “Century of Humiliation,” America refused to join in, and advocated the “Open Door” policy, so that we could have freer trade with China, and preserve their sovereignty.

When American missionaries brought the good news to China’s shores, they were moved by the rich culture of an ancient and vibrant people. And not only did they spread their faith, but those same missionaries founded some of China’s first and finest universities.

When the Second World War arose, we stood together as allies in the fight against imperialism. And in that war’s aftermath, America ensured that China became a charter member of the United Nations, and a great shaper of the post-war world.

But soon after it took power in 1949, the Chinese Communist Party began to pursue authoritarian expansionism. It is remarkable to think that only five years after our nations had fought together, we fought each other in the mountains and valleys of the Korean Peninsula. My own father saw combat on that frontier of freedom.

But not even the brutal Korean War could diminish our mutual desire to restore the ties that for so long had bound our peoples together. China’s estrangement from the United States ended in 1972, and, soon after, we re-established diplomatic relations and began to open our economies to one another, and American universities began training a new generation of Chinese engineers, business leaders, scholars, and officials.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, we assumed that a free China was inevitable. Heady with optimism at the turn of the 21st Century, America agreed to give Beijing open access to our economy, and we brought China into the World Trade Organization.

Previous administrations made this choice in the hope that freedom in China would expand in all of its forms -– not just economically, but politically, with a newfound respect for classical liberal principles, private property, personal liberty, religious freedom — the entire family of human rights. But that hope has gone unfulfilled.

The dream of freedom remains distant for the Chinese people. And while Beijing still pays lip service to “reform and opening,” Deng Xiaoping’s famous policy now rings hollow.

Over the past 17 years, China’s GDP has grown nine-fold; it’s become the second-largest economy in the world. Much of this success was driven by American investment in China. And the Chinese Communist Party has also used an arsenal of policies inconsistent with free and fair trade, including tariffs, quotas, currency manipulation, forced technology transfer, intellectual property theft, and industrial subsidies that are handed out like candy to foreign investment. These policies have built Beijing’s manufacturing base, at the expense of its competitors -– especially the United States of America.

China’s actions have contributed to a trade deficit with the United States that last year ran to $375 billion –- nearly half of our global trade deficit. As President Trump said just this week, in his words, “We rebuilt China” over the last 25 years.

Now, through the “Made in China 2025” plan, the Communist Party has set its sights on controlling 90 percent of the world’s most advanced industries, including robotics, biotechnology, and artificial intelligence. To win the commanding heights of the 21st century economy, Beijing has directed its bureaucrats and businesses to obtain American intellectual property –- the foundation of our economic leadership -– by any means necessary.

Beijing now requires many American businesses to hand over their trade secrets as the cost of doing business in China. It also coordinates and sponsors the acquisition of American firms to gain ownership of their creations. Worst of all, Chinese security agencies have masterminded the wholesale theft of American technology –- including cutting-edge military blueprints. And using that stolen technology, the Chinese Communist Party is turning plowshares into swords on a massive scale.

China now spends as much on its military as the rest of Asia combined, and Beijing has prioritized capabilities to erode America’s military advantages on land, at sea, in the air, and in space. China wants nothing less than to push the United States of America from the Western Pacific and attempt to prevent us from coming to the aid of our allies. But they will fail.

Beijing is also using its power like never before. Chinese ships routinely patrol around the Senkaku Islands, which are administered by Japan. And while China’s leader stood in the Rose Garden at the White House in 2015 and said that his country had, and I quote, “no intention to militarize” the South China Sea, today, Beijing has deployed advanced anti-ship and anti-air missiles atop an archipelago of military bases constructed on artificial islands.

China’s aggression was on display this week, when a Chinese naval vessel came within 45 yards of the USS Decatur as it conducted freedom-of-navigation operations in the South China Sea, forcing our ship to quickly maneuver to avoid collision. Despite such reckless harassment, the United States Navy will continue to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows and our national interests demand. We will not be intimidated and we will not stand down. (Applause.)

America had hoped that economic liberalization would bring China into a greater partnership with us and with the world. Instead, China has chosen economic aggression, which has in turn emboldened its growing military.

Nor, as we had hoped, has Beijing moved toward greater freedom for its own people. For a time, Beijing inched toward greater liberty and respect for human rights. But in recent years, China has taken a sharp U-turn toward control and oppression of its own people.

Today, China has built an unparalleled surveillance state, and it’s growing more expansive and intrusive – often with the help of U.S. technology. What they call the “Great Firewall of China” likewise grows higher, drastically restricting the free flow of information to the Chinese people.

And by 2020, China’s rulers aim to implement an Orwellian system premised on controlling virtually every facet of human life — the so-called “Social Credit Score.” In the words of that program’s official blueprint, it will “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven, while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step.”

And when it comes to religious freedom, a new wave of persecution is crashing down on Chinese Christians, Buddhists, and Muslims.

Last month, Beijing shut down one of China’s largest underground churches. Across the country, authorities are tearing down crosses, burning bibles, and imprisoning believers. And Beijing has now reached a deal with the Vatican that gives the avowedly atheist Communist Party a direct role in appointing Catholic bishops. For China’s Christians, these are desperate times.

Beijing is also cracking down on Buddhism. Over the past decade, more than 150 Tibetan Buddhist monks have lit themselves on fire to protest China’s repression of their beliefs and their culture. And in Xinjiang, the Communist Party has imprisoned as many as one million Muslim Uyghurs in government camps where they endure around-the-clock brainwashing. Survivors of the camps have described their experiences as a deliberate attempt by Beijing to strangle Uyghur culture and stamp out the Muslim faith.

As history attests though, a country that oppresses its own people rarely stops there. And Beijing also aims to extend its reach across the wider world. As Hudson’s own Dr. Michael Pillsbury has written, “China has opposed the actions and goals of the U.S. government. Indeed, China is building its own relationships with America’s allies and enemies that contradict any peaceful or productive intentions of Beijing.”

In fact, China uses so-called “debt diplomacy” to expand its influence. Today, that country is offering hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure loans to governments from Asia to Africa to Europe and even Latin America. Yet the terms of those loans are opaque at best, and the benefits invariably flow overwhelmingly to Beijing.

Just ask Sri Lanka, which took on massive debt to let Chinese state companies build a port of questionable commercial value. Two years ago, that country could no longer afford its payments, so Beijing pressured Sri Lanka to deliver the new port directly into Chinese hands. It may soon become a forward military base for China’s growing blue-water navy.

Within our own hemisphere, Beijing has extended a lifeline to the corrupt and incompetent Maduro regime in Venezuela that’s been oppressing its own people. They pledged $5 billion in questionable loans to be repaid with oil. China is also that country’s single largest creditor, saddling the Venezuelan people with more than $50 billion in debt, even as their democracy vanishes. Beijing is also impacting some nations’ politics by providing direct support to parties and candidates who promise to accommodate China’s strategic objectives.

And since last year alone, the Chinese Communist Party has convinced three Latin American nations to sever ties with Taipei and recognize Beijing. These actions threaten the stability of the Taiwan Strait, and the United States of America condemns these actions. And while our administration will continue to respect our One China Policy, as reflected in the three joint communiqués and the Taiwan Relations Act, America will always believe that Taiwan’s embrace of democracy shows a better path for all the Chinese people. (Applause.)

Now these are only a few of the ways that China has sought to advance its strategic interests across the world, with growing intensity and sophistication. Yet previous administrations all but ignored China’s actions. And in many cases, they abetted them. But those days are over.

Under President Trump’s leadership, the United States of America has been defending our interests with renewed American strength.

We’ve been making the strongest military in the history of the world stronger still. Earlier this year, President Trump signed into law the largest increase in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan -– $716 billion to extend the strength of the American military to every domain.

We’re modernizing our nuclear arsenal. We’re fielding and developing new cutting-edge fighters and bombers. We’re building a new generation of aircraft carriers and warships. We’re investing as never before in our armed forces. And this includes initiating the process to establish the United States Space Force to ensure our continued dominance in space, and we’ve taken action to authorize increased capability in the cyber world to build deterrence against our adversaries.

At President Trump’s direction, we’re also implementing tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods, with the highest tariffs specifically targeting the advanced industries that Beijing is trying to capture and control. And as the President has also made clear, we will levy even more tariffs, with the possibility of substantially more than doubling that number, unless a fair and reciprocal deal is made. (Applause.)

These actions — exercises in American strength — have had a major impact. China’s largest stock exchange fell by 25 percent in the first nine months of this year, in large part because our administration has been standing strong against Beijing’s trade practices.

As President Trump has made clear, we don’t want China’s markets to suffer. In fact, we want them to thrive. But the United States wants Beijing to pursue trade policies that are free, fair, and reciprocal. And we will continue to stand and demand that they do. (Applause.)

Sadly, China’s rulers, thus far, have refused to take that path. The American people deserve to know: In response to the strong stand that President Trump has taken, Beijing is pursuing a comprehensive and coordinated campaign to undermine support for the President, our agenda, and our nation’s most cherished ideals.

I want to tell you today what we know about China’s actions here at home — some of which we’ve gleaned from intelligence assessments, some of which are publicly available. But all of which are fact.

As I said before, as we speak, Beijing is employing a whole-of-government approach to advance its influence and benefit its interests. It’s employing this power in more proactive and coercive ways to interfere in the domestic policies of this country and to interfere in the politics of the United States.

The Chinese Communist Party is rewarding or coercing American businesses, movie studios, universities, think tanks, scholars, journalists, and local, state, and federal officials.

And worst of all, China has initiated an unprecedented effort to influence American public opinion, the 2018 elections, and the environment leading into the 2020 presidential elections. To put it bluntly, President Trump’s leadership is working; and China wants a different American President.

There can be no doubt: China is meddling in America’s democracy. As President Trump said just last week, we have, in his words, “found that China has been attempting to interfere in our upcoming [midterm] election[s].”

Our intelligence community says that “China is targeting U.S. state and local governments and officials to exploit any divisions between federal and local levels on policy. It’s using wedge issues, like trade tariffs, to advance Beijing’s political influence.”

In June, Beijing itself circulated a sensitive document, entitled “Propaganda and Censorship Notice.” It laid out its strategy. It stated that China must, in their words, “strike accurately and carefully, splitting apart different domestic groups” in the United States of America.

To that end, Beijing has mobilized covert actors, front groups, and propaganda outlets to shift Americans’ perception of Chinese policy. As a senior career member of our intelligence community told me just this week, what the Russians are doing pales in comparison to what China is doing across this country. And the American people deserve to know it.

Senior Chinese officials have also tried to influence business leaders to encourage them to condemn our trade actions, leveraging their desire to maintain their operations in China. In one recent example, China threatened to deny a business license for a major U.S. corporation if they refused to speak out against our administration’s policies.

And when it comes to influencing the midterms, you need only look at Beijing’s tariffs in response to ours. The tariffs imposed by China to date specifically targeted industries and states that would play an important role in the 2018 election. By one estimate, more than 80 percent of U.S. counties targeted by China voted for President Trump and I in 2016; now China wants to turn these voters against our administration.

And China is also directly appealing to the American voters. Last week, the Chinese government paid to have a multipage supplement inserted into the Des Moines Register –- the paper of record of the home state of our Ambassador to China, and a pivotal state in 2018 and 2020. The supplement, designed to look like the news articles, cast our trade policies as reckless and harmful to Iowans.

Fortunately, Americans aren’t buying it. For example, American farmers are standing with this President and are seeing real results from the strong stands that he’s taken, including this week’s U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, where we’ve substantially opened North American markets to U.S. products. The USMCA is a great win for American farmers and American manufacturers. (Applause.)

But China’s actions aren’t focused solely on influencing our policies and politics. Beijing is also taking steps to exploit its economic leverage, and the allure of their large marketplace, to advance its influence over American businesses.

Beijing now requires American joint ventures that operate in China to establish what they call “party organizations” within their company, giving the Communist Party a voice –- and perhaps a veto -– in hiring and investment decisions.

Chinese authorities have also threatened U.S. companies that depict Taiwan as a distinct geographic entity, or that stray from Chinese policy on Tibet. Beijing compelled Delta Airlines to publicly apologize for not calling Taiwan a “province of China” on its website. And it pressured Marriott to fire a U.S. employee who merely liked a tweet about Tibet.

And Beijing routinely demands that Hollywood portray China in a strictly positive light. It punishes studios and producers that don’t. Beijing’s censors are quick to edit or outlaw movies that criticize China, even in minor ways. For the movie, “World War Z,” they had to cut the script’s mention of a virus because it originated in China. The movie, “Red Dawn” was digitally edited to make the villains North Korean, not Chinese.

But beyond business and entertainment, the Chinese Communist Party is also spending billions of dollars on propaganda outlets in the United States and, frankly, around the world.

China Radio International now broadcasts Beijing-friendly programs on over 30 U.S. outlets, many in major American cities. The China Global Television Network reaches more than 75 million Americans, and it gets its marching orders directly from its Communist Party masters. As China’s top leader put it during a visit to the network’s headquarters, and I quote, “The media run by the Party and the government are propaganda fronts and must have the Party as their surname.”

It’s for those reasons and that reality that, last month, the Department of Justice ordered that network to register as a foreign agent.

The Communist Party has also threatened and detained the Chinese family members of American journalists who pry too deep. And it’s blocked the websites of U.S. media organizations and made it harder for our journalists to get visas. This happened after the New York Times published investigative reports about the wealth of some of China’s leaders.

But the media isn’t the only place where the Chinese Communist Party seeks to foster a culture of censorship. The same is true across academia.

I mean, look no further than the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, of which there are more than 150 branches across America’s campuses. These groups help organize social events for some of the more than 430,000 Chinese nationals studying in the United States. They also alert Chinese consulates and embassies when Chinese students, and American schools, stray from the Communist Party line.

At the University of Maryland, a Chinese student recently spoke at her graduation of what she called, and I quote, the “fresh air of free speech” in America. The Communist Party’s official newspaper swiftly chastised her. She became the victim of a firestorm of criticism on China’s tightly-controlled social media, and her family back home was harassed. As for the university itself, its exchange program with China — one of the nation’s most extensive — suddenly turned from a flood to a trickle.

China exerts academic pressure in other ways, as well. Beijing provides generous funding to universities, think tanks, and scholars, with the understanding that they will avoid ideas that the Communist Party finds dangerous or offensive. China experts in particular know that their visas will be delayed or denied if their research contradicts Beijing’s talking points.

And even scholars and groups who avoid Chinese funding are targeted by that country, as the Hudson Institute found out firsthand. After you offered to host a speaker Beijing didn’t like, your website suffered a major cyberattack, originating from Shanghai. The Hudson Institute knows better than most that the Chinese Communist Party is trying to undermine academic freedom and the freedom of speech in America today.

These and other actions, taken as a whole, constitute an intensifying effort to shift American public opinion and policy away from the “America First” leadership of President Donald Trump.

But our message to China’s rulers is this: This President will not back down. (Applause.) The American people will not be swayed. And we will continue to stand strong for our security and our economy, even as we hope for improved relations with Beijing.

Our administration is going to continue to act decisively to protect America’s interests, American jobs, and American security.

As we rebuild our military, we will continue to assert American interests across the Indo-Pacific.

As we respond to China’s trade practices, we will continue to demand an economic relationship with China that is free, fair, and reciprocal. We will demand that Beijing break down its trade barriers, fulfill its obligations, fully open its economy — just as we have opened ours.

We’ll continue to take action against Beijing until the theft of American intellectual property ends once and for all. And we will continue to stand strong until Beijing stops the predatory practice of forced technology transfer. We will protect the private property interests of American enterprise. (Applause.)

And to advance our vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific, we’re building new and stronger bonds with nations that share our values across the region, from India to Samoa. Our relationships will flow from a spirit of respect built on partnership, not domination.

We’re forging new trade deals on a bilateral basis, just as last week President Trump signed an improved trade deal with South Korea. And we will soon begin historic negotiations for a bilateral free-trade deal with Japan. (Applause.)

I’m also pleased to report that we’re streamlining international development and finance programs. We’ll be giving foreign nations a just and transparent alternative to China’s debt-trap diplomacy. In fact, this week, President Trump will sign the BUILD Act into law.

Next month, it will be my privilege to represent the United States in Singapore and Papua New Guinea, at ASEAN and APEC. There, we will unveil new measures and programs to support a free and open Indo-Pacific. And on behalf of the President, I will deliver the message that America’s commitment to the Indo-Pacific has never been stronger. (Applause.)

Closer to home, to protect our interests, we’ve recently strengthened CFIUS — the Committee on Foreign Investment — heightening our scrutiny of Chinese investment in America to protect our national security from Beijing’s predatory actions.

And when it comes to Beijing’s malign influence and interference in American politics and policy, we will continue to expose it, no matter the form it takes. We will work with leaders at every level of society to defend our national interests and most cherished ideals. The American people will play the decisive role — and, in fact, they already are.

As we gather here, a new consensus is rising across America. More business leaders are thinking beyond the next quarter, and thinking twice before diving into the Chinese market if it means turning over their intellectual property or abetting Beijing’s oppression. But more must follow suit. For example, Google should immediately end development of the “Dragonfly” app that will strengthen Communist Party censorship and compromise the privacy of Chinese customers. (Applause.)

It’s also great to see more journalists reporting the truth without fear or favor, digging deep to find where China is interfering in our society, and why. And we hope that American and global news organizations will continue to join this effort on an increasing basis.

More scholars are also speaking out forcefully and defending academic freedom, and more universities and think tanks are mustering the courage to turn away Beijing’s easy money, recognizing that every dollar comes with a corresponding demand. And we’re confident that their ranks will grow.

And across the nation, the American people are growing in vigilance, with a newfound appreciation for our administration’s actions and the President’s leadership to reset America’s economic and strategic relationship with China. Americans stand strong behind a President that’s putting America first.

And under President Trump’s leadership, I can assure you, America will stay the course. China should know that the American people and their elected officials in both parties are resolved.

As our National Security Strategy states: We should remember that “Competition does not always mean hostility,” nor does it have to. The President has made clear, we want a constructive relationship with Beijing where our prosperity and security grow together, not apart. While Beijing has been moving further away from this vision, China’s rulers can still change course and return to the spirit of reform and opening that characterize the beginning of this relationship decades ago. The American people want nothing more; and the Chinese people deserve nothing less.

The great Chinese storyteller Lu Xun often lamented that his country, and he wrote, “has either looked down at foreigners as brutes, or up to them as saints,” but never “as equals.” Today, America is reaching out our hand to China. And we hope that soon, Beijing will reach back with deeds, not words, and with renewed respect for America. But be assured: we will not relent until our relationship with China is grounded in fairness, reciprocity, and respect for our sovereignty. (Applause.)

There is an ancient Chinese proverb that reads, “Men see only the present, but heaven sees the future.” As we go forward, let us pursue a future of peace and prosperity with resolve and faith. Faith in President Trump’s leadership and vision, and the relationship that he has forged with China’s president. Faith in the enduring friendship between the American people and the Chinese people. And Faith that heaven sees the future — and by God’s grace, America and China will meet that future together.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

END

11:47 A.M. EDT

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-vice-president-pence-administrations-policy-toward-china/

Asian markets rally Friday with US economy, Wall St on growth optimism

September 28, 2018

Asian markets rose Friday, tracking a rally on Wall Street where investors were buoyed by the Federal Reserve’s positive outlook for the US economy, and oil added to gains with predictions it could be headed back to $100.

Friday – 28 September 2018 – 04H56

© AFP | The euro has taken a hit after Rome agreed a budget deficit target of 2.4 percent of gross domestic product for next year, fuelling fears of a conflict with Brussels

While concerns over the China-US trade row hang in the air, equities continue to be supported by optimism that the global economy and companies are in rude health.

That was reinforced by the Fed Wednesday as it lifted interest rates and indicated more to come over the next year citing the strong labour market and playing down concerns about vulnerabilities in the financial system.

“One thing that’s telling is the current price action which sees investors continually coming back for more. That suggests the gushing US economy and not trade wars, continues to influence investors’ decisions,” said Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trading at OANDA.

All three Wall Street indexes ended with gains and Asia followed suit.

Tokyo led the way, ending the morning 1.7 percent higher as exporters were boosted by the weaker yen, which is at its lowest level against the dollar this year.

Hong Kong added 0.5 percent, Shanghai gained 0.8 percent, Sydney rose 0.6 percent and Singapore climbed 0.7 percent. Wellington and Taipei each edged up 0.2 percent while there were also solid performances in Manila and Jakarta, though Seoul edged slightly lower.

– Euro struggles –

While the prospect of higher US rates has lifted the dollar, the upbeat mood is also helping emerging market and high-yielding currencies, which have been swiped in recent weeks by the trade war fears.

The South Korean won, Indonesian rupiah, Thai baht and Mexican peso were all being bought while the Turkish lira jumped more than one percent, despite ongoing concerns about the country’s economy.

The euro continued to struggle after losing almost one percent as Italy’s populist government agreed on a budget deficit target of 2.4 percent of gross domestic product for next year, fuelling fears of a bust-up with Brussels.

Crude prices extended gains on growing concerns about supplies following a decision not to increase output by key producers, just as Iran faces export sanctions and Venezuela continues to be dogged by political and economic crises.

Also, the US energy secretary this week ruled out using the country’s emergency stockpiles to ease a prices.

Bloomberg News reported that the chief executive of oil and gas major Total, Patrick Pouyanne, saw prices swinging to the $100 levels last seen in mid-2014.

“Everyone’s worried about the tightness in supply at the moment and that?s continuing to push up prices,” Will Yun, a commodities analyst at Hyundai Futures, said. “But volatility is coming as we?re still waiting for further response from the US.”

– Key figures around 0230 GMT –

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 1.7 percent at 24,202.40 (break)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.5 percent at 27,852.25

Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.8 percent at 2,813.63

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1644 from $1.1641 at 2100 GMT

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3077 from $1.3078

Dollar/yen: UP at 113.55 yen from 113.39 yen

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP 17 cents at $72.29 per barrel

Oil – Brent Crude: UP 19 cents at $81.91 per barrel

New York – Dow Jones: UP 0.2 percent at 26,439.93 (close)

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.5 percent at 7,545.44 (close)

AFP

How Isolated Trump Insulted Allies and Dismissed the World at UN

September 27, 2018

Trump declined to acknowledge the distress he appeared to have left in his wake at the UN.

From Bloomberg

By , and

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  • ‘It doesn’t matter what world leaders think,’ Trump said
  • U.S. leader says China interfering in midterm elections

President Donald Trump arrived at the United Nations this week looking to rally global support against Iran and show that his policies on North Korea were lowering the risk of nuclear war.

By Wednesday, he made clear he didn’t care whether he persuaded anyone.

Trump speaks during the UN General Assembly meeting in New York on Sept. 25.

Photographer: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg

“It doesn’t matter what world leaders think on Iran,” he said after absorbing criticism from America’s allies up close, insisting that “Iran’s going to come back to me and make a deal.”

The comment was emblematic of Trump’s entire approach at a meeting many world leaders use to help narrow divides, not widen them. After doubling down on his “America First” approach, with its insistence on national sovereignty and rejection of globalism, he’ll leave New York this week with allies and adversaries as frustrated as ever with the U.S. over issues from trade to climate change to Iran’s nuclear program.

For a meeting of diplomats, there was little diplomacy to be seen on either side.

Read more: Trump Faces Laughter at UN, Then Unleashes Grievances

The pushback on Trump and his approach to foreign policy started during his speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, when a murmur of laughter greeted the president’s claim that his administration had accomplished more than almost any in U.S. history. A day later at a Security Council meeting he hosted, Bolivian President Evo Morales, who has longstanding anti-American sentiments, insulted the U.S. to Trump’s face, saying America had no interest in upholding democracy.

Donald Trump listens as Evo Morales, third right, speaks on Sept. 26.

Photographer: Don Emmert/AFP via Getty Images

More surprising was the chiding from allies.

In a reference to Trump’s rebuke of alliances and multilateral institutions, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said that delivering for citizens at home “does not have to be at the expense of global cooperation.” French President Emmanuel Macron disputed Trump’s claim that ties with France were “99 percent good,” saying “the disagreements are known and they are more than 1 percent,” citing a divergence over issues including climate change and Iran.

“It’s never been like this before,” said Daniel Kurtzer, a former ambassador to Egypt and Israel under President George W. Bush who’s now a professor at Princeton. “U.S. policy always has engendered opposition from allies — Germany and France during the 2003 invasion of Iraq — but what’s new is the derision.”

China’s Interference

No one was in a bridge-building mood. With U.S.-China trade tensions only getting worse, Trump suggested his much-touted friendship with President Xi Jinping was coming to an end, and accused Beijing of interfering in the upcoming U.S. midterm elections.

Almost as glaring was the mini-drama that unfurled at a luncheon for leaders on Tuesday, when cameras caught the president ignoring Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s attempt to say hello. Trump then curtly shook his hand but would not get up from his seat as he did for other leaders.

Trump later said at a free-wheeling press conference Wednesday evening that he rejected Trudeau’s request for a one-on-one meeting, saying “Canada has treated us very badly.” Trudeau later said he had never sought a meeting.

“Lashing out at the Canadians in highly personal terms was diplomatic carnage,” said Richard Gowan, a senior fellow at the United Nations University’s Center for Policy Research. Gowan called Trump’s more than hour-long press conference “a steaming hot mess.”

Trump’s Successes

Trump and his team believe they can afford to be dismissive. Iran’s economy has been pinched by U.S. sanctions that he vows will only get tougher. Trump said his outreach to North Korea helped stave off a nuclear war that looked imminent when he came to office. If Canada doesn’t back down on dairy tariffs, Trump argued, he’ll just tax cars imported from the north.

“The world loathes what Trump says, but they pay deep attention to the new credible threats of economic and military coercion,” said Charles Lipson, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Chicago. “Trump sees the old international order as fundamentally unsustainable.”

As the week went on, domestic politics proved to be increasingly distracting, with stories about his embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh crowding Trump’s foreign policy agenda out of the headlines.

That led to some awkward moments. Most glaring was during the opening of his meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, when he accused Democrats of “bringing people out of the woods” to smear Kavanaugh, who will confront allegations of sexual assault at a Senate hearing on Thursday.

Donald Trump and Shinzo Abe.

Photographer: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

“They can do that to anybody, they can to it to anybody,” Trump said as he sat next to Abe. “Other than perhaps Prime Minister Abe because he’s so pure.”

As his UN trip wound down, Trump declined to acknowledge the distress he appeared to have left in his wake. Asked about the laughter that greeted the opening of his General Assembly speech, the U.S. president said the audience was laughing with him, not at him.

“We had fun,” Trump said. “People had a good time with me.”

— With assistance by Robert Hutton, and Gregory Viscusi

Includes videos:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-09-27/isolated-trump-insults-allies-dismisses-the-world-at-un-meeting

Venezuela’s Maduro makes surprise UN appearance to ‘defend country’

September 27, 2018

Embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro showed up unexpectedly at the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday to “defend his country” as six nations accused him of crimes against humanity and President Donald Trump hinted at taking military action.

The surprise visit came after Maduro threatened to skip the global gathering, citing fears he could be assassinated as his once-wealthy OPEC nation spirals into a brutal economic crisis and international pressure mounts for the socialist leader to step down.

In a rambling, 50-minute General Assembly speech directed mostly at U.S. policy, Maduro spoke for well over the allotted time and said that the United States “wants to continue giving orders to the world as though the world were its own property.”

© Angela Weiss / AFP | Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 26, 2018.

“From this very rostrum a threat was issued yesterday to governments of the world that orders should be obeyed and the U.S. policy should be followed or else those countries would suffer from the consequences,” Maduro said.

He was referring to Trump’s speech Tuesday in which the U.S. president outlined the rationale for his more unilateral “America-first” policy.

It appeared unlikely that Maduro would cross paths with Trump, despite the U.S. president’s comments earlier in the day that he was willing to meet with his Venezuelan counterpart if it would help ease suffering in the South American nation.

“I’m willing to meet with anybody anytime I can (to) save lives, help people,” Trump said as he was pummeled by reporters’ questions about whether the U.S. would ever intervene military to remove Maduro.

Maduro responded to the meeting comments in kind, saying that he and Trump “certainly have our differences, but that is what we have to dialogue about.”

“Donald Trump said he was worried about Venezuela, he wanted to help Venezuela,” Maduro said. “Good. I stand ready to talk with an open agenda on everything that he might wish to talk about with the United States of America.”

On Wednesday, presidents from five conservative Latin American governments and Canada’s prime minister met in New York and signed a complaint with the International Criminal Court, asking it to investigate Maduro on charges of crimes against humanity.

It’s the first time that member countries have referred another country to the Netherlands-based U.N. court. They pointed to a human rights report accusing Venezuelan security forces of carrying out arbitrary arrests, murders, extrajudicial executions, torture, sexual abuse and rape on orders from Maduro’s government.

“To remain indifferent or speculative in front of this reality could be perceived as being complicit with the regime,” said Paraguayan Foreign Minister Andres Rodriguez Pedotti. “We are not going to be complicit.”

Venezuela‘s ousted chief prosecutor, Luisa Ortega, meanwhile, called on the United States to take advantage of Maduro’s visit to arrest him on charges of organized crime, corruption and genocide. A small group of Venezuelans shouted “Assassin!” as they protested his presence outside the U.N.

Maduro’s trip came a day after the Trump administration imposed financial sanctions on four members of his inner circle, including his wife and Venezuela’s vice president, on allegations of corruption. Trump also suggested Maduro could be easily toppled in a military coup, echoing comments first floated last year that some sort of “military solution” might be needed to restore Venezuela’s democracy.

“These are illegal unilateral sanctions imposed on us,” Maduro said in his speech, reflecting previous comments about earlier sanctions.

Upon arrival, Maduro held meetings with Iranian President Hassan Rohani and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov   both of whose countries, like Venezuela, are under U.S. financial sanctions.

Addressing the U.S. threats, Lavrov said afterward that “we are ready to offer all-around assistance for all of your plans,” Russian news agencies reported.

Maduro has been seeking a meeting with Trump for almost two years and has watched with frustration as the U.S. leader has talked with American adversaries like North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and Russia’s Vladimir Putin while shunning Venezuelan entreaties.

Citgo, a subsidiary of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, was a major corporate donor to Trump’s inaugural committee. Maduro also this year freed a former Utah missionary jailed for more than two years on weapons charges in a bid to improve relations with the White House.

His desire for some sort of reconciliation with the U.S. has increased as international pressure has been building on his socialist government at a time of hyperinflation and widespread food and medicine shortages.

An estimated 2.3 million Venezuelans have fled into neighboring countries in the last four years, threatening to upset regional stability.

Maduro had not attended the U.N. General Assembly since 2015.

(AP)

US imposes sanctions on Venezuelan president’s wife, inner circle

September 25, 2018

The United States went after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s inner circle on Tuesday, imposing sanctions on his wife, vice president and other close associates.

President Donald Trump said the penalties were aimed at the “repressive regime” in Caracas that is responsible for a “human tragedy” in the once oil-rich nation.

The US Treasury named Cilia Adela Flores de Maduro, a former attorney general and the president’s wife, as one of the figures who has helped Maduro retain his grip on power, along with Vice President Delcy Rodriguez.

© AFP/File | In this file photo taken on January 15, 2017 Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (L) and his wife, Cilia Flores wave to supporters

“Currently we are witnessing the human tragedy” in Venezuela, Trump told the United Nations General Assembly. “More than two million people have fled the anguish inflicted by the socialist Maduro regime and its Cuban sponsors.”

He said Maduro’s socialism “has bankrupted the oil-rich nation and driven its people into abject poverty.”

Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the situation in Venezuela “is one of our foreign policy priorities,” and Ottawa is urging action to help with the growing refugee crisis and its impact on neighboring Colombia.

The “migration crisis coming out of Venezuela is not just a local problem, it has to be a problem for our hemisphere and really a global problem,” Freeland said at an event on the sidelines of the UN assembly.

“There are a lot of people who are fleeing Venezuela, and these people, in addition to being poor and hungry, many of them are really sick and have illnesses which we thought had been eradicated.”

She also said sanctions against the regime are needed.

“The Venezuelan leadership needs to know that actions have consequences,” Freeland said. “And all of us need to continue to let the people of Venezuela know that they have our support.”

– ‘Tragic decline’ –

The other Venezuelan officials US Treasury targeted with sanctions were described as members of Maduro’s inner circle — Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez and Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez.

“Treasury will continue to impose a financial toll on those responsible for Venezuela’s tragic decline, and the networks and front-men they use to mask their illicit wealth,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

Those hit with sanctions will have any assets or property in the United States seized — including a Gulfstream 200 private jet located in Florida and owned by Rafael Sarria Diaz, named as a front man — and US institutions are prohibited from doing business with them.

Maduro already was hit with the same penalties on July 31, 2017, as was Diosdado Cabello, president of Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly (ANC).

Treasury said the sanctions could be lifted if the officials “take concrete and meaningful actions to restore democratic order, refuse to take part in human rights abuses, speak out against abuses committed by the government, and combat corruption in Venezuela.”

Some 2.3 million Venezuelans, or 7.5 percent of the population, live abroad with the number sharply growing in the past several years as hyperinflation slashes the worth of salaries and makes necessities prohibitively expensive, according to the UN.

AFP

U.S. preparing ‘actions’ in coming days against Venezuela: Pompeo

September 22, 2018

The United States is preparing a “series of actions” in the coming days to increase pressure on the Venezuelan government, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News on Friday.

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FILE PHOTO: Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro during what appeared to be a drone attack, August 4, 2018

“You’ll see in the coming days a series of actions that continue to increase the pressure level against the Venezuelan leadership folks, who are working directly against the best interest of the Venezuelan people,” Pompeo said. “We’re determined to ensure that the Venezuelan people get their say.”

He did not give further details on the nature of the planned actions.

Venezuela’s information ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Trump administration has steadily increased sanctions against officials in the leftist government of President Nicolas Maduro, accusing it of stifling democracy by jailing opposition leaders.

Last year, Washington imposed sanctions prohibiting trading new debt and equity issued by the Venezuelan government and its state oil company PDVSA. It has imposed several rounds of sanctions on government officials, including on Maduro.

Venezuela’s economy has collapsed under Maduro, with annual inflation running at 200,000 percent, and staple foods and basic medicine increasingly difficult to obtain, which has led to mass emigration.

Pompeo’s warning comes ahead of the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York next week attended by heads of state from around the world. Maduro has not attended the meetings since 2015 and this week said he may not attend the gathering because of concerns about his safety.

In August, two drones exploded over an outdoor rally in Caracas where Maduro was giving a speech, injuring seven soldiers and leading to the arrest of over a dozen suspects, including several military officials. Maduro described it as an assassination attempt.

Reporting by Lesley Wroughton, editing by Rosalba O’Brien and James Dalgleish

Reuters

Venezuela’s Maduro Travels to China in Search of Fresh Funds

September 13, 2018

Chinese loans: Venezuela was close to clinching a fresh loan of $5 billion to finance oil projects

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is traveling to China to discuss economic agreements, as the crisis-struck OPEC nation seeks to convince its key Asian financier to disburse fresh loans.

“I am going with great expectations and we will see each other again in a few days with big achievements,” the leftist leader said on Wednesday in a state broadcast from the airport, without providing details.

Venezuela’s Information Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

Image may contain: 2 people, people on stage and concert

FILE PHOTO: Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro attends an event with the Youth of the Venezuela’s United Socialist Party (PSUV) in Caracas, Venezuela September 11, 2018. Miraflores Palace/Handout via REUTERSREUTERS

China’s Foreign Ministry, in a brief statement carried by the official Xinhua news agency, said Maduro would visit from Thursday until Saturday at the invitation of President Xi Jinping. It gave no other details.

Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez is currently in China and on Wednesday met with Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a brief statement late Wednesday.

The two countries have long had friendly ties and cooperation has been “steadily progressing” in all fields, the ministry cited Wang as telling Rodriguez.

On Tuesday, Rodriguez met with Zhang Jianhua, president of top state energy firm CNPC to discuss cooperation, said a senior oil source briefed with the matter, without giving further details.

A CNPC spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

CNPC is a major investor in oil and gas exploration in Venezuela and also a top lifter of Venezuelan oil under the government-to-government loans for oil deals.

Over a decade, China plowed more than $50 billion into Venezuela through oil-for-loan agreements that helped Beijing secure energy supplies for its fast-growing economy while bolstering an anti-Washington ally in Latin America.

The flow of cash halted nearly three years ago, however, when Venezuela asked for a change of payment terms amid falling oil prices and declining crude output that pushed its state-led economy into a hyperinflationary collapse.

Venezuela’s finance ministry in July said it would receive $250 million from the China Development Bank to boost oil production but offered no details. Venezuela previously accepted a $5 billion loan from China for its oil sector but has yet to receive the entire amount.

Local consultant Asdrubal Oliveros, who tracks Chinese loans closely, said on Wednesday Venezuela was close to clinching a fresh loan of $5 billion to finance oil projects. Beijing was waiting for Maduro to announce a series of economic measures, including a steep devaluation and more flexible currency controls, before extending fresh funds, Oliveros said.

(Additional reporting by Vivian Sequera and Alexandra Ulmer, and Ben Blanchard and Chen Aizhu in Beijing and Brenda Goh in Shanghai; Writing by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Gopakumar Warrier)

Reuters

How China Went From a Business Opportunity to Enemy No. 1

September 6, 2018

Republicans, Democrats, unions and manufacturers are aboard the anti-China train. What about Silicon Valley?

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He loves the global stage. Paul Yeung/Bloomberg via Getty Images

One of the remarkable things about the Donald Trump era is how significantly the American conversation about China has changed.

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US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago

As recently as 2016, Barack Obama argued that a weak China that could not contribute to solving global problems was more dangerous than a strong and potentially aggressive China. The Trump administration, by contrast, has identified China as the biggest long-term threat to U.S. geopolitical and geo-economic interests. Trump himself has labeled Beijing an implacable economic competitor even as he has occasionally tried to buddy up to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

In sum, only a few years ago, China was seen primarily as a difficult but essential partner, one that might yet be co-opted into supporting the U.S.-led international system. Today, it is more often described primarily as a destabilizing revisionist power.

Amid the chaos of the Trump presidency, it can be hard to tell what has changed permanently and what has shifted only temporarily. Yet this transformation in U.S. views of China seems likely to outlast Trump’s tenure. Polls show that the American public has grown more skeptical of Beijing’s intentions. In 2016, 82 percent of Americans saw China’s ongoing military buildup as a somewhat serious or very serious concern. More recently, the number of Americans considering China the greatest immediate threat tripled from 2017 to 2018.

For nearly 25 years, there was a bipartisan consensus on the need for intensive engagement with Beijing. Now, one can see the outlines of a nascent — if still incomplete — consensus stressing the need for stiffer competition.

That consensus begins with intensifying concern about the national security risks a rising China poses. Although the foreign policy establishment often finds itself at odds with Trump and his America First agenda, when it comes to China most members of that establishment broadly agree with the way the Trump administration defines the China threat.

As Xi has reached for power and influence on the global stage, the perception that China is determined to unseat the U.S. as the dominant actor in the Asia-Pacific — and perhaps globally — has become more widespread among informed observers of U.S. policy. So has the belief that efforts to change Beijing’s behavior and limit its ambitions through persistent economic and diplomatic engagement have failed to produce the desired results.

Earlier this year, two former high-ranking Democratic foreign-policy officials — Kurt Campbell and Ely Ratner — wrote an article describing the China challenge in roughly the same terms as Trump’s National Security Strategy. It is hard to imagine the next administration’s strategy identifying China as anything other than the most formidable great-power challenger the U.S. has faced in decades.

The nascent consensus on China also reflects that fact that Beijing has come to represent a major ideological threat. In the 1990s and early 2000s, it was widely assumed that ideological conflict was a thing of the past, because Beijing would eventually liberalize both economically and politically. Now, that rosy scenario has largely been abandoned.

China is becoming steadily more autocratic under Xi; it is also seeking to expand its influence and ensure its security by promoting authoritarianism abroad. As the Chinese regime undermines democratic rule in Hong Kong and Taiwan, undertakes horrific repression against Muslims in Xinjiang, supports autocrats in countries from Cambodia to Venezuela, and seeks to stifle free speech even in Europe and the U.S., it is earning itself a reputation as the leader of an authoritarian resurgence that is promoting repression and undermining democratic values around the world.

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Ethnic Uighur children in the old town of Kashgar, in the far western Xinjiang province © Getty

This may seem like an abstract issue, but for Americans it has traditionally been quite powerful. As pointed out in a recent essay by Aaron Friedberg, a Princeton professor and former national-security official in the George W. Bush administration, nearly every time the U.S. has mobilized for a serious competition with a great-power rival — whether Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union — it has done so in part because that rival seemed to threaten the survival and spread of American political ideals. Just last week, a bipartisan group of senators and representatives urged Trump to slap sanctions on Chinese officials involved in creating Beijing’s “high-tech police state” in Xinjiang. Expect to see more of this in the future.

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Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops march at Zhurihe training base in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Then there is the third driver of rising American hostility to China: the threat to U.S. economic competitiveness. To be clear, organized labor was always skeptical of engagement with China, out of fears — justified, as it turned out — that increased trade with Beijing would accelerate the hollowing out of American manufacturing. Yet that concern has become more politically salient, as Trump harnessed frustration with the dislocations of globalization in his 2016 campaign — with China as the poster child for all that had gone wrong. As Trump showed, there are votes in China-bashing.

More broadly, the past few years have produced growing evidence that China is not simply labor’s problem. It now represents a larger economic threat, through practices such as forced technology transfer, deliberate efforts to weaken the U.S. industrial and technological base, and its Made in China 2025 project that aims to make Beijing dominant in numerous critical sectors. Americans are becoming less likely to see China as a massive market for U.S. goods and debt, and more as a predatory competitor. Recent polls show that overwhelming majorities of Americans now see Chinese economic strength and Chinese economic practices as somewhat serious or very serious concerns.

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Chinese police using facial recognition and artificial intelligence

Yet the economic realm is where the emerging consensus on China remains most tenuous, because a critical constituency — the U.S. business community — is still of two minds on the matter. On the one hand, there are plenty of American firms — media outlets, tech companies and others — that have experienced rampant intellectual property theft, bullying and censorship, and other abusive Chinese practices. On the other hand, there are still gobs of money to be made in China, and the Chinese are experts at employing the divide-and-conquer tactics that prevent U.S. firms from more effectively asserting their interests.

These factors are sometimes exacerbated by the mix of techno-utopianism and post-nationalism that prevails in key parts of the business community, namely Silicon Valley. One can find examples of leading tech firms that now realize it is critical to partner with the U.S. government to prevent China from dominating the future of artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technologies. Yet there also remain companies like Google, which refuses to continue cooperating with Uncle Sam to use AI to enhance the performance of American drones, but is willing to secretly work with the Chinese government to build a search engine more conducive to censorship.

To help an authoritarian regime strengthen its power while recoiling from involvement with the Pentagon bespeaks a special kind of corporate moral illiteracy. It is also short-sighted, because American firms will lose out if China becomes the technological, economic and geopolitical superpower of the next century. And, of course, it undermines any strategy that requires harnessing private-sector innovation to enhance U.S. national security capabilities, while also carefully calibrating U.S. economic engagement with China to limit the creation of dangerous dependences.

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There is a stronger consensus today on the need to get tough with China than there has been in decades. But that consensus is still not broad or strong enough as it must be to meet the China challenge.

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-09-06/how-china-went-from-a-business-opportunity-to-enemy-no-1

[China’s seizure of much of the South China Sea was a violation of international law much like Russia’s moves on Crimea and Ukraine]

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law. Vietnam has been unable to develop its own undersea oil due to China’s aggressive behavior.