Ongoing Events in China


The Living Force
The U.S. military said it sent two Navy ships through the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday, its latest transit through the sensitive waterway, angering China at a time of tense relations between the world's two biggest economies.

U.S. Navy again sails through Taiwan Strait, angering China
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) transits the Indian Ocean March 29, 2018. Picture taken March 29, 2018. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Morgan K. Nall/Handout via REUTERS

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) transits the Indian Ocean March 29, 2018. Picture taken March 29, 2018. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Morgan K. Nall/Handout via REUTERS

Taiwan is one of a growing number of flashpoints in the US-China relationship, which also include a bitter trade war, U.S. sanctions and China’s increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea, where the United States also conducts freedom-of-navigation patrols.

The voyage will be viewed by self-ruled Taiwan as a sign of support from the Trump administration amid growing friction between Taipei and Beijing, which views the island as a breakaway province.

The transit was carried out by the destroyer Preble and the Navy oil tanker Walter S. Diehl, a U.S. military spokesman told Reuters.
“The ships’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,'” Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet, said in a statement. Doss said all interactions were safe and professional.

U.S., Japan, South Korea, Australia hold first naval drills in Western Pacific
U.S. Navy ships conducted joint drills with warships from allies Japan, Australia and South Korea in their first combined exercise in the
Western Pacific, the U.S. Navy said on Thursday.

Japan woos Trump with pomp and circumstance, looks to avoid trade battle
FILE PHOTO : U.S. President Donald Trump and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe feed carp before their working lunch at Akasaka Palace in Tokyo, Japan November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will treat U.S. President Donald Trump to an imperial banquet, front row seats at a sumo tournament and a trip to the country's biggest warship on a state visit as Tokyo seeks to avoid a bust-up over trade.

China: U.S. resembles "Don Quixote" in seeing other powers as threats
FILE PHOTO: A nuclear-powered Type 094A Jin-class ballistic missile submarine of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy is seen during a military display in the South China Sea April 12, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

China told the world's main disarmament forum on Wednesday that U.S. foreign policy was destabilizing, baffling and redolent of Don Quixote, the Spanish fictional hero whose misplaced determination leads him on a series of doomed endeavors.

China urges U.S. to stop provocative actions in South China Sea
China's Foreign Ministry said on Monday it "strongly urges U.S. to stop such provocative actions" after the U.S. military said one of its warships sailed near the disputed Scarborough Shoal claimed by China in the South China Sea.

Explainer: China's rare earth supplies could be vital bargaining chip in U.S. trade war
FILE PHOTO: A front-end loader is used to move material inside the open pit at Molycorp's Mountain Pass Rare Earth facility in Mountain Pass, California June 29, 2015. REUTERS/David Becker/File Photo

Rare earth elements are used in a wide range of consumer products, from iPhones to electric car motors, as well as military jet engines, satellites and lasers.

Canada sends delegation to China to press for release of citizens
FILE PHOTO: Canadian businessman Michael Spavor arrives next to the former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman (not pictured) after a trip to North Korea, at Beijing Capital International Airport, Beijing, China January 13, 2014.  REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

Canada has sent a parliamentary delegation to China to press for the release of two Canadian citizens formally arrested for espionage last week, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Tuesday.

U.S. Ambassador to China visiting Tibet this week
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad speaks at an event to celebrate the re-introduction of American beef imports to China in Beijing, China June 30, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Schiefelbein/Pool

U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad was scheduled to visit Tibet this week, a U.S. embassy spokeswoman said, the first visit to the region by a U.S. ambassador since 2015, amid escalating trade tension between the two countries.


The Living Force
China and the United States continue to delve deeper into a globally destabilizing economic cold war. Owing to the US embargo on key Chinese tech products (namely Huawei products), this commercial cold war now goes far beyond even a traditional tariff war. In the short term, both sides are gunning for position as neither wants to lose revenue and neither wants to lose face. But in the long term, the success of both economic superpowers will depend on stable and depoliticized monetary policy.

China and the US Should Work Together to Transition to a Classical Gold Standard
China and the US Should Work Together to Transition to a Classical Gold Standard - Eurasia Future

Although neither the US nor China peg their currency to a metallic standard, unlike the US, China has exercised a comparatively conservative monetary policy which both avoids the pitfalls of a freely floating fiat currency whilst also offering the slight flexibility that comes from a managed float of the renminbi.

Ultimately though, the monetary stability that comes from a metallic standard will mean two things by the end of the 21st century. First of all, it will be the final piece of the puzzle in respect of China’s rise to the status of economic world leader. Secondly, it could represent the United States truly making itself great again by rejecting the fiat currency dept traps that fuel the military-industrial complex whilst destroying the country’s long term economic fortunes.

China has been quietly buying a great deal of gold on the global market and while this in no way indicates a desire in Beijing to pivot to a gold standard anytime soon, it does at minimum indicate the fact that China’s leadership is thinking of a long term reality in which gold will provide a crucial shelter during an economic rainy day (or season, or year or multiple years).

Turning back to the US, one must make it clear that if the US went back on the gold standard, the following positive developments could be achieved:

–internal price stability/low inflation

–low interest rates that do not unsustainably balloon the money supply

–a shift away from financial capitalism and real estate speculation and a pivot back to investments in productive industries including both large scale manufacturing as well as small and medium sized businesses

–a government that would be forced to live within its means (including the military -industrial complex which relies heavily on subsidies made possibly through an out of control money supply)

–better long term prospects for low and middle earning savers

–the ability of ordinary people to once again own rather than rent their own properties

–a shift away from speculation and a return to saving

–monetary policy removed as a tool of social engineering and geopolitical manipulation

In respect of international conditions, a return to gold would solve the primary grievance that Donald Trump claims to have vis-a-vis China and the best part is that it would solve that matter without the need to resort to punitive tariffs, sanctions or a trade embargo.

One of Donald Trump’s chief complaints is that Chinese goods are priced too competitively. Although this accusation stems from a misreading of China’s internal development model, when one talks about international trade, every country in the world that uses a fiat currency is by definition a currency manipulator. It is the radical differences in the values of fiat currencies world wide that allow for major price gaps in the value of international imports and exports between nations. Likewise, it is the radical shifts in the value of these fiat currencies that cause international trade to become a speculator’s paradise rather than simply the mainstay of producers and consumers in a free economy.

By contrast, if all nations were to price their goods based on a local currency that is worth a specific amount in gold, the international prices of goods would become immensely more stable. As such, the penultimate desirability of a product would be based primarily on its quality and on its real world price competitiveness. This contrasts with goods whose international prices can be easily manipulated due to unstable monetary systems.

To be sure, China’s crawling peg renminbi is less manipulated than the freely floating dollar but in reality, all currencies not tied to a commodity of universal value like gold are ultimately tools to be manipulated rather than a universal value that no one government can control.

At a time when the US is still the world’s largest economy in terms of GDP, if Washington asked the world to price its goods based on their value in terms of gold rather than in terms of a fiat dollar, the United States would be able to shape a future in which the global prices of both imports and exports would be far stabler, thus ending any accusations that cheap imports are the result of currency manipulation. The fact that the US was a major world exporter when on the classical gold standard likewise offers a clear template for how gold can result in win-win outcomes in respect of both imports and exports.

When it comes to countries that refuse to price their goods in gold, the US can level a fair and flat tariff on all such goods until such a time that an import partner is willing to price their goods in terms of gold rather than a fiat currency.

Inversely, if the US waits to begin a pivot to gold, it may well be China telling the US that it will only take payment of its exports in gold. If unprepared for such a day, this would leave the US at a severe and genuine disadvantage, quite unlike the imagined disadvantage that Trump believes exists today.

The best solution would be for China and the US to dig their way out of their current trading dispute by agreeing to a medium term phased transition to a gold backed trading regime. By solving the monetary issue once and for all, open, free and crucially fair trade would exist on both sides in a way that no one could genuinely complain about unless they are simply opposed to free market systems.

China and the US could therefore work mutually to shift back to gold and once the two largest economies were to do this, the rest of the world would surely follow in due course.

US President Donald Trump on Thursday (May 23) predicted a swift end to the ongoing trade war with China, although no high-level talks have been scheduled between the two countries since the last round of negotiations ended in Washington two weeks ago.

May 23, 2019 - Trump predicts 'fast' trade deal with China, says Huawei could become part of deal
Trump predicts 'fast' trade deal with China, says Huawei could become part of deal
US President Donald Trump said he will meet with China's President Xi Jinping when they attend the G20 meeting next month in Japan.

US President Donald Trump said he will meet with China's President Xi Jinping when they attend the G20 meeting next month in Japan.PHOTO: REUTERS

"It's happening, it's happening fast and I think things probably are going to happen with China fast because I cannot imagine that they can be thrilled with thousands of companies leaving their shores for other places," Trump said during remarks at the White House, providing no evidence of such an exodus.

Trump also said he will meet with China's President Xi Jinping when they attend the G20 meeting next month in Japan.

Both countries have blamed each other for the breakdown in talks, which were intended to end trade tensions between the world's two largest economies marked by tit-for-tat tariffs.

Trump made the remarks during a free-wheeling news conference after touting a plan rolled out by his administration to provide the country's farmers with an aid package to combat the effects of the trade war, which have hit them particularly hard.

After Trump imposed tariffs on Chinese goods last year, China curbed purchases of US soy, leaving farmers sitting on a stockpile of the commodity. China has also retaliated with tariffs on US corn, pork and other products.

"The US$16 billion (S$22.07 billion) in funds will help keep our cherished farms thriving and make clear that no country has veto on America's economic and national security," Trump said.

Huawei part of the deal
China’s Huawei Technologies Co., which was put on a US blacklist earlier this month, could be part of the trade pact.

“It’s possible that Huawei even would be included in some kind of a trade deal,” Trump told reporters at the White House, without providing details. “Huawei is something that’s very dangerous. You look at what they’ve done from a security standpoint, from a military standpoint, it’s very dangerous.”

The Trump administration is seeking to choke off Beijing’s access to key technologies by limiting the sale of vital US components to the Chinese telecommunications equipment maker over security concerns.

The US had held off on blacklisting Huawei out of concern the move could disrupt trade negotiations with China and only took action after the last round of trade talks hit an impasse, according to people familiar with the matter. The decision to curtail the Shenzhen-based company’s access to American suppliers unfolded quickly once trade talks broke down, the people said.

The Commerce Department action last week requires American suppliers of Huawei, a crown jewel of Chinese manufacturing, to seek US government permission to do business with the company.

The decision touched off a massive disruption in technology supply chains, hitting some of the biggest component-makers. Intel Corp, Qualcomm Inc and Broadcom Inc told their employees they won’t provide products to Huawei until further notice.


The Living Force
China's Xi calls Donald Trump his friend
U.S. President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping arrive at a state dinner at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday called U.S. President Donald Trump his friend and said he believed the United States was not interested in rupturing economic ties with China.

Putin stands by China, criticizes U.S., in trade, Huawei disputes
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia June 7, 2019. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS

Aggressive U.S. tactics such as a campaign against Chinese telecoms firm Huawei will lead to trade wars - and possibly real wars - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday, in a show of solidarity with China alongside its leader Xi Jinping.

U.N.'s Guterres says China, U.S. must not slip into new Cold War
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping meet business leaders at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj/File Photo/File Photo

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Friday it was important to prevent the United States and China, locked in a trade dispute, from sliding into a new Cold War.

Trump to decide on $300 billion China tariffs after G20 meeting
A man walks next to containers in a logistics center near Tianjin Port, in northern China, May 16, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he would decide whether to carry out his threat to hit Beijing with tariffs on at least $300 billion in Chinese goods after a meeting of leaders of the world's largest economies late this month.

China says seriously concerned about U.S. arms sales to Taiwan
China's Foreign Ministry said on Thursday it is seriously concerned about U.S. arms sales to self-ruled Taiwan, after a source told Reuters that Washington was planning a $2 billion weapons sale to the island China claims as its own.

Putin says Sino-Russian relations better than ever
Russian President Vladimir Putin attempts to shake hands with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during a meeting in Moscow, Russia, June 5, 2019. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

Relations between Russia and China have reached an "unprecedently high level", Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

China's Xi says Iran tensions worrying, calls for restraint
Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a meeting with Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourao (not pictured) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China May 24, 2019.  REUTERS/Florence Lo/Pool

A rise in tensions in the Middle East owing to U.S. pressure on Iran is worrying and all parties need to exercise restraint, Chinese President Xi Jinping told Russian media ahead of a visit to the country.


The Living Force
Beijing has found its villain in its multi-fronted conflict with the United States: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

China turns its anger on 'Cold War warrior' Pompeo
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testifies to the initial hearing of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. June 11, 2019.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The former CIA chief has been singled out for scorn, in Chinese state media and even at the foreign ministry, over his criticism of everything from Chinese tech giant Huawei to its record on human rights.

During a regular media briefing on Monday, China's Foreign Minister accused Pompeo by name of telling lies, a striking departure from its usual practice of referring to foreign officials as “the relevant person”, or using similar wording.

Relations between the world’s two largest economies have nosedived amid a bitter trade war, U.S. sanctions on Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, Washington’s support for Chinese-claimed Taiwan and criticism of a China’s treatment of Muslims in its western region of Xinjiang.

Pompeo has also angered Beijing with warnings about Chinese activity in the Arctic and President Xi Jinping's signature Belt and Road infrastructure program.

On Monday, China’s Foreign Ministry took Pompeo to task for an interview with Swiss media where he criticized Huawei.

“For some time, Mr. Pompeo has been talking about China wherever he goes. Unfortunately his remarks are filled with lies and fallacies,” ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters.

“Mr. Pompeo should understand a plain truth. That is, every smear campaign with rumor-mongering and discord-sowing will only whittle down further his credibility and that of his country, the United States.”

One foreign diplomatic source told Reuters that China was responding to the harder line coming out of the State Department on China, and might be testing the waters to try to work out whether this was also representative of what Trump thought, especially ahead of the G20 meeting later this month.

A second foreign diplomatic source said that in private meetings the Chinese are even harsher about Pompeo. “They rant. They hate him,” said the source, who, like the first source, spoke on condition of anonymity.

The rancor comes ahead of the G20 summit in the Japanese city of Osaka, which Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump will both attend.

U.S., others object to U.N. counterterrorism chief visit to China's Xinjiang
FILE PHOTO: A Chinese police officer takes his position by the road near what is officially called a vocational education centre in Yining in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China September 4, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

The United States and other western countries have objected to a visit by the United Nations counterterrorism chief to China’s remote Xinjiang, where U.N. experts say some one million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims are held in detention centers.

Vladimir Voronkov, a veteran Russian Diplomat who heads the U.N. Counterterrorism Office, is in China ar the invitation of Beijing and is due to visit Xinjiang’s capital Urumqi, according to an email sent by his office to countries that raised concerns.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan spoke with U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres on Friday “to convey deep concerns” about Voronkov’s trip because “Beijing continues to paint its repressive campaign against Uighurs and other Muslims as legitimate counterterrorism efforts when it is not.”

“The Deputy Secretary expressed that such a visit is highly inappropriate in view of the unprecedented repression campaign underway in Xinjiang against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other Muslims,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

“The U.N.’s topmost counterterrorism official is putting at risk the U.N.’s reputation and credibility on counterterrorism and human rights by lending credence to these false claims,” the statement said.

China has been condemned internationally for setting up the detention complexes, which it describes as “education training centers” helping to stamp out extremism and give people new skills. Western states are worried Voronkov’s visit will validate China’s justification for the centers, diplomats said.

“China will, and is, actively saying that what they’re doing in Xinjiang is good terrorism prevention,” said a U.N. Security Council diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“The visit by Voronkov validates their narrative that this is a counterterrorism issue, when we would see it more as a human rights issue,” said the diplomat, adding that if Voronkov did not speak out after visiting Xinjiang then “silence could be seen as implicit acceptance, at worst U.N. complicity.”

The email from Voronkov’s office, seen by Reuters, said China planned the itinerary for Voronkov, whose office helps states implement a global counterterrorism strategy adopted by the U.N. General Assembly. The email said his office does “not expect any public statements” on his visit to Xinjiang.

He will be visiting Xinjiang before U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, who has repeatedly pushed China to grant the United Nations access to investigate reports of disappearances and arbitrary detentions, particularly of Muslims in Xinjiang.

“This mission is not connected in any manner to upcoming visits by other senior U.N. officials, including the High Commissioner of Human Rights. We would like to assure you that (Voronkov’s) visit is not intended to undermine or overshadow the visit of Ms. Bachelet,” the email said.

China’s envoy in Geneva said on Thursday that he hoped Bachelet would visit China, including Xinjiang, and “we hope to define a time which is convenient to both sides.” The last visit by a U.N. human rights chief to China was in 2005.

The email from Voronkov’s office said he had already visited Russia, Britain, the United States and France which, along with China, make up the five permanent veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council.

China summons U.S. diplomat to complain about Hong Kong remarks
Protesters hold signs following a day of violence over a proposed extradition bill, outside the Legislative Council building in Hong Kong, China, June 13, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

China summoned a senior U.S. diplomat on Friday to lodge a formal complaint about U.S. comments on Hong Kong, after proposed U.S. legislation that would require the government to justify the continuation of special treatment for the territory.

China calls on U.S. not to pass Hong Kong-related legislation
China called on the United States on Friday not to pass legislation in response to a crisis in Hong Kong over a proposed extradition law.

Trump likely to meet with Xi when G20 gathers: White House
FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping meet business leaders at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj/File Photo - RC11ACBFE610

U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will likely meet on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit later this month in Japan, a White House spokesman said on Thursday, although he suggested a meeting was not yet firmly scheduled.


The Living Force
Chinese President Xi Jinping celebrated his 66th birthday on Saturday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who Xi considers a close friend and who gave Xi ice cream as a present, Chinese state media reported.

Russia's Putin gives China's Xi ice cream on his 66th birthday
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) toasts with Chinese President Xi Jinping while congratulating him on his birthday before the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan June 15, 2019. Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) toasts with Chinese President Xi Jinping while congratulating him on his birthday before the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan June 15, 2019. Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin

The discussion of senior leaders’ private lives is extremely rare in China, and the exact birth dates of most of them are not revealed publicly, as they are considered a state secret.

State television showed pictures of Xi and Putin holding up champagne glasses to toast Xi’s birthday at the hotel he is staying at in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, where they are both attending a regional summit.

While Putin gave Xi Russian ice cream - the flavor was not mentioned - Xi gave Putin back some Chinese tea, the report said.

Xi thanked Putin and said that in China Putin was extremely popular, it added.

Pictures on Chinese state television’s website showed the two men inspecting a white cake decorated with red and blue confectionary flowers with the words written on it, in somewhat shaky red-colored Chinese characters, “good fortune double six”.

It was not immediately clear if Xi ate any of the cake.

Bowing to pressure, Hong Kong leader suspends extradition bill
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks at a news conference in Hong Kong, China, June 15, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Saturday indefinitely delayed a proposed law that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, in a dramatic retreat after anger over the bill triggered the city's biggest and most violent street protests in decades.

Beijing supports Hong Kong move to delay extradition bill, condemns violent acts
The central government in Beijing has expressed its support, respect and understanding for Hong Kong's decision to suspend an extradition bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China to face trial, China's official Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.

China summons U.S. diplomat to complain about Hong Kong remarks
China summoned a senior U.S. diplomat on Friday to lodge a formal complaint about U.S. comments on Hong Kong, after proposed U.S. legislation that would require the government to justify the continuation of special treatment for the territory.

China denies hit and run as pressure builds on Duterte to speak up
FILE PHOTO: President Rodrigo Duterte speaks after his arrival, from a visit in Israel and Jordan at Davao International airport in Davao City in southern Philippines, September 8, 2018. REUTERS/Lean Daval Jr.

China has rejected Philippine allegations that a Chinese fishing vessel abandoned 22 Filipinos after it sank their boat in the South China Sea, as pressure builds on President Rodrigo Duterte to take a tougher line.


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Trump says China trade talks 'back on track,' new tariffs on hold
U.S. President Donald Trump meets with China's President Xi Jinping at the start of their bilateral meeting at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The United States and China agreed on Saturday to restart trade talks after President Donald Trump offered concessions including no new tariffs and an easing of restrictions on tech company Huawei in order to reduce tensions with Beijing.

China says violent actions in Hong Kong an 'undisguised challenge': state TV
 Andrew Leung, president of the Legislative Council, looks at damaged glass panels, a day after protesters broke into the council building, in Hong Kong, China July 2, 2019.  REUTERS/Jorge Silva

China regarded the violent actions of some protesters in Hong Kong as an "undisguised challenge" to the one country, two systems formula under which the city is ruled, state television reported on Tuesday.

Hong Kong police fire tear gas in running battles after protesters trash legislature
People are seen inside a chamber, after protesters broke into the Legislative Council building during the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China in Hong Kong, China July 1, 2019. The banner reads There are no thugs, only tyranny. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

Hong Kong police fired tear gas early on Tuesday to disperse hundreds of defiant protesters, some of whom had stormed and ransacked the city's legislature hours earlier on the anniversary of the city's 1997 return to Chinese rule.

Hong Kong police tactics baffle the experts as legislature is trashed
FILE PHOTO: Riot police clear the streets outside the Legislative Council building, after protesters stormed the building on the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China, in Hong Kong, China July 2, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

As images of demonstrators pounding at the glass walls of Hong Kong's Legislative Council were beamed live to the world, with the notable exception of mainland China, police inside suddenly withdrew, allowing protesters to break in and ransack the place.

UK warns China of serious consequences if Hong Kong rights not honored
Jeremy Hunt, a leadership candidate for Britain's Conservative Party, delivers a speech on his Brexit plan, in London, Britain, July 1, 2019. Frank Augstein/Pool via REUTERS

Britain warned China on Tuesday there would be serious consequences if Beijing broke its promises to protect freedoms in Hong Kong, after police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters.

Freedoms make Hong Kong special, says UK's Hunt
FILE PHOTO - Jeremy Hunt, a leadership candidate for Britain's Conservative Party, attends a hustings event in Manchester, Britain, June 29, 2019. REUTERS/Andrew Yates

Britain said on Tuesday it would not compromise on its commitment to Hong Kong freedoms and cautioned China that repression was no way to solve the crisis in the former British colony.

Britain rejects Chinese view of Hong Kong declaration as 'historic document'
Britain rejects China's assertion that their joint declaration on the governance of Hong Kong is a historic document which is no longer valid, junior foreign minister Alan Duncan said on Tuesday.

China's outrage over Hong Kong violence may prompt tighter embrace
Protesters break into the Legislative Council building during the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China in Hong Kong, China July 1, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

China on Tuesday deplored violence in Hong Kong that saw protesters ransack the city's legislature, fuelling expectations it will take a tougher line on the territory, even as details of the scenes of vandalism went largely unreported on the mainland.

China says Turkey president offered support over restive Xinjiang
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and China's President Xi Jinping attend a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, July 2, 2019. Mark Schiefelbein/Pool via REUTERS

Turkey recognizes the fact that the people of China's Xinjiang lead happy lives, Chinese state media on Tuesday cited Turkish President Tayip Erdogan as saying, a region where China has been running a controversial de-radicalization scheme.


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China's manned space lab to re-enter atmosphere on Friday
FILE PHOTO: A model of Tiangong 2 space laboratory by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation is displayed at China Beijing International High-tech Expo in Beijing, China June 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee

China's manned space lab Tiangong-2 has finished experiments and will re-enter Earth's atmosphere on July 19, authorities said on Saturday.

China says Xi urged Trump to ease North Korea sanctions 'in due course'
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping shake hands before their bilateral meeting during the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

Chinese President Xi Jinping urged U.S. President Donald Trump last month to show flexibility in dealings with North Korea and ease sanctions on the country "in due course," China's Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

China to Britain's Hunt: Don't use us in your leadership bid
British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt speaks during the Global Conference for Media Freedom in London, Britain July 10, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt should not use China in his campaign to become the next Prime Minister by "speaking unduly" about the country, its Foreign Ministry said on Thursday, after he criticized China's rights record.

U.S. State Department approves possible $2.2 billion arms sale to Taiwan
FILE PHOTO: Flags of Taiwan and U.S. are placed for a meeting between U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce speaks and with Su Chia-chyuan, President of the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, Taiwan March 27, 2018. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu
The US State Department has approved the possible sale to Taiwan of M1A2T Abrams tanks, Stinger missiles and related equipment at an estimated value of $2.2 billion, the Pentagon said on Monday, despite Chinese criticism of the deal.

China calls on U.S. to withdraw arms sale to Taiwan
China's foreign ministry called on the United States on Tuesday to withdraw a potential $2.2 billion arms sales to Taiwan, saying it strongly opposes the action.

China says U.S. should 'not play with fire' on Taiwan
FILE PHOTO: China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi answers reporter's questions during a Reuters interview in Munich, Germany, February 12, 2016. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

China's top diplomat Wang Yi warned the United States on Friday that it should "not play with fire" on the question of Taiwan, expressing anger about a planned U.S. arms sale.

China to impose sanctions on U.S. firms that sell arms to Taiwan
China said on Friday it would impose sanctions on U.S. firms involved in a deal to sell $2.2-billion worth of tanks, missiles and related equipment to Taiwan, saying it harmed China's sovereignty and national security.

Taiwan president in U.S. after warning of threat from 'overseas forces'
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen speaks to media at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York during her visit to the U.S., in New York City, U.S., July 11, 2019. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen arrived in the United States on Thursday on a trip that has angered Beijing, warning that democracy must be defended and that the island faced threats from "overseas forces," in a veiled reference to China.

Hong Kong leader says extradition bill is dead, but critics unconvinced
Four British nationals have been arrested in eastern China, the British Embassy in Beijing said Friday, amid escalating diplomatic tension between the two countries.

China's top official in Hong Kong says Beijing backs city's leader
FILE PHOTO: Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks to media over an extradition bill in Hong Kong, China July 9, 2019. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo

China's top representative in Hong Kong said on Thursday the central government in Beijing maintained its support for Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who is grappling with the city's greatest political crisis since it returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

Hong Kong protesters, police clash as demonstrations target Chinese traders Riot police pull a protester back from falling down a bridge after he was chased by police after a march in Sheung Shui, Hong Kong's border town, China July 13, 2019. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu
Hong Kong protesters clashed with police on Saturday in a town near the boundary with mainland China where thousands rallied against the presence of Chinese traders, seizing on another grievance following major unrest over an extradition bill.

Exclusive: China's PLA signals it will keep Hong Kong-based troops in barracks
FILE PHOTO: A People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldier saluts to Chinese national flag during an open day of Stonecutters Island naval base, in Hong Kong, China, June 30, 2019. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo
The Chinese military commander responsible for Hong Kong has assured a Pentagon official that Chinese troops will not interfere in the city's affairs – an apparent signal that they will stay in their barracks amid renewed political upheaval.

Chinese state media target Macau's Suncity in online gambling report
FILE PHOTO: A logo of Macau junket operator Suncity Group is seen at a gaming fair in Macau, China November 18, 2015.  REUTERS/Bobby Yip

Macau's biggest junket operator Suncity, which operates VIP gambling rooms around Asia, has raked in billions of dollars in online gaming and proxy betting, causing great harm to China's social economic order, a state-backed report said this week.

China vows to tackle dead pig scam amid swine fever epidemic
FILE PHOTO: Piglets are seen by a sow at a pig farm in Zhoukou, Henan province, China June 3, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

Criminal gangs in China are faking outbreaks of African swine fever on farms <free of the disease> and forcing farmers to sell their healthy pigs at sharply lower prices, the agriculture ministry said on Friday.


The Living Force
Saudi Arabia and Russia among 37 states backing China's Xinjiang policy
FILE PHOTO: People hold signs protesting China's treatment of the Uighur people, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, May 8, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

Saudi Arabia, Russia and 35 other states have written to the United Nations supporting China's policies in its western region of Xinjiang, according to a copy of the letter seen by Reuters on Friday, in contrast to strong Western criticism.

37 Countries Including Large Muslim Majority Nations Support China’s Fight Against Terrorism
37 Countries Including Large Muslim Majority Nations Support China's Fight Against Terrorism - Eurasia Future

July 13, 2019 - Pakistan, Egypt, Algeria, the UAW, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Tajikistan are among the Muslim majority countries that have signed a letter in support of China’s counter-terrorism strategy and social development model in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Additionally, The Philippines, Russia, Cuba, the DPRK, Angola, Togo, Belarus, Myanmar and Zimbabwe are among the 37 countries whose Ambassadors have praised China's approach to security and social harmony which aims to combat the three evils of separatism, terrorism and religious extremism through a combination of vigilant policing alongside free education and vocational training for those who would have otherwise fallen victim to terrorist radicalization and violence.

The global support for China's progressive development and anti-terror model in Xinjiang is a clear indication that many nations seek to learn from China in respect of how to clamp down on extremism whilst elevating the prosperity and solidifying the social harmony of populations susceptible to terrorist infiltration.

The area that is today known as China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has for centuries been a place of political instability, warfare and has infamously played host to multiple geopolitical rivalries for a strategically located area that effectively divides east and central Asia. Located at the axis of multiple historic and contemporary trading routes, today’s Xinjiang is undergoing a period of intense economic development and social stability that has been erstwhile unknown in the modern era. To better address concerns within the wider Turkic and Muslim world regarding the contemporary state of Xinjiang, it is important to understand some of the key events in the region’s late modern history.

From the ancient period up until the 18th century, Xinjiang had been ruled by over a score of sovereigns including Han Chinese sovereigns, Mongol sovereigns, Turkic sovereigns and Turco-Mongol sovereigns. Beginning in 1759, China’s last imperial dynasty, the Qing consolidated rule over Xinjiang and oversaw demographic and cultural changes to a region where Han Chinese, Chinese Hui Muslims and Turkic Muslims shared a unique and often turbulent multi-cultural experience.

If Xinjiang’s incorporation into the Great Qing represented a late modern move towards political consolidation in the region, the contemporary history of Xinjiang begun in 1912 when China as a whole ended millennia of dynastic rule and became a Republic following the Xinhai Revolution which began the previous year.

Between 1912 and 1928, Xinjiang was paradoxically one of the more stable regions of the Republic of China. To understand why this is the case, it helps to recall that the young Republic of China experienced political shock after political shock during its first sixteen years of existence. These shocks can be summed up as follows:

1912: Nanjing based Republican revolutionary Sun Yat-Sen makes a pact with Yuan Shikai of the Beiyang Army to overthrow the Qing Emperor in exchange for giving Yuan the post-imperial presidency which would oversee a modern parliamentary system.

1913: Yuan effectively abolishes parliamentary institutions dominated by Sun’s Kuomintang (KMT) party. An anti-Yuan revolution that same year fails, resulting in the exile of Sun and the execution of Sun’s KMT colleague Song Jiaoren.

December 1915 – March 1916: Yuan crowns himself emperor although his rule lasts for around three months prior to his abdication which itself was shortly followed by his death in June of 2016.

1917: Sun returns to China setting up his first southern KMT government in Guangdong province. That same year, an attempt by Japanese friendly forces in Beiyang to restore the Qing Dynasty fails after twelve days.

1916-1928: This twelve year period recognised as beginning with Yuan’s death and ending with Northern Expedition of 1928 is known as China’s Warlord Period in which the country was divided between a fledgling northern warlord Beiyang government and a southern Nationalist Government led by the KMT under Chiang Kai-shek (which was in a temporary alliance with Communists from 1923 until 1927).

1927: The end of the KMT-Communist First United Front results in the beginning of China’s protracted Civil War

Xinjiang under Yang

While much of China’s coastal and near coastal regions were experiencing the political strife of the Warlord Era, regional sovereignty in Xinjiang remained comparatively stable. Between 1912 and 1928, Xinjiang was ruled by Governor Yang Zengxin, a man who openly professed loyalty to whichever war lord was the de-facto leader of the northern Beiyang government, but who in reality, was a highly autonomous ruler. During his time as Governor, he balanced the aspirations of both Han Chinese residents of Xinjiang against those of Turkic origin by allowing Hui Muslim Chinese to play a key role in his administration.

Yang’s period of rule is generally remembered as a placid one as he assured that the rights of all ethno-religious minorities were protected from the potential for mob violence, whilst unlike his most prominent successor, he was weary of entering into any partnerships with the Soviet Union which had long sought to exert its influence over Xinjiang.

Jin Shuren
Yang’s successor Jin Shuren governed Xinjiang between 1928 and 1933 and compared to his successor, he was known for a particularly harsh treatment of Turkic Muslims in the province. It was during this time that both Soviet and “stay behind” Russian White Army leaders began a period of intrigue into the affairs of Xinjiang.

Jin’s rule was blighted by the Kumul Rebellion which began in 1931. The Kumul Rebellion helps to illustrate that the political rivalries of pre-1949 Xinjiang were far more nuanced than rivalries between “monolithic” ethnic or religious groups. Instead, the power struggles which took place in Xinjiang during the 1930s and 1940s are more akin to inter-personal and intra-factional power struggles in which a competition for resources, influence and geopolitical prestige tended to trump unity among any particular ethnic or religious group.

As such, during the Kumul Rebellion Turkic Muslims allied with Hui Chinese Muslim General Ma Zhongying to topple Governor Jin. Making matters more complicated, the Nanjing government of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek which putatively controlled a united China after 1928, played both sides against one another. Whilst publicly offering support to the embattled Jin, Chang’s government and army supported the rebellion due to suspicions that Jin was too close to a USSR government that had fallen out with Chang’s KMT.

During this rebellion, non-aligned groups of Turkic Muslims in the south of the province organized a rebellion of their own before briefly establishing the First East Turkistan Republic in 1933.

By the time that Chinese Nationalist forces loyal to Ma Zhongying proved victorious against rebels during the 1934 Battle of Kashgar, a new leader a new leader was busily consolidating his rule in Xinjiang.

Sheng Shicai
In 1933, Sheng Shicai was appointed leader (duban) of Xinjiang. With Jin now out of the picture and Ma having been effectively ostracized from Xinjiang in 1934 (after helping to end the First East Turkistan Republic and associated rebellions), Sheng sought to consolidate his own power. Sheng forged a powerful alliance with the Soviet Union and ruled Xinjiang as a nominally Chinese governor of Xinjiang but in reality, Xinjiang at this time became something of a Soviet satellite region within China’s borders.

During Sheng’s period of rule which lasted between 1933 and 1944, Xinjiang again went through a turbulent period. During his early rule of Xinjiang, Sheng worked to Sovietise the province which at first appeared to create an atmosphere of equality among all of Xinjiang’s diverse peoples. However, purges and suppression soon followed whilst the Chinese government of Chang could do little to attempt to bring Xinjiang back into the fold. This was primarily due to two factors: First of all, there was the ongoing rivalry between the KMT and the Communists (the first phase of China’s civil war) and secondly, there was the looming threat of full scale war between China and Japan which broke out in earnest in 1937. This war itself was easily foreseen as inevitable by many in China. The events in eastern China in 1937 help to explain why a Soviet invasion of Xinjiang beginning in the Spring of 1937, easily crushed a Turkic Muslim rebellion against Sheng. Although the anti-Sheng rebellion was backed by the KMT government, by now the Cheng’s Nationalist government clearly had other more pressing matters on its hands. At the time, the Nationalist government buried news of the Soviet-Sheng victory against KMT backed Turkic Islamic rebels due to Japanese attempts to use Sheng’s Soviet backed victory in propaganda efforts against China’s internationally recognised government.

To contextualise the events of the late 1930s, it is important to recall that in 1931, Japan had invaded the region of China then commonly known as Manchuria. Subsequent to the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, the Japanese occupiers set up a puppet regime in north-eastern China. It was therefore only a matter of time before China would need to focus its national struggle on liberating its territory from Japan. This reality solidified in December of 1936 during an event known to history as the Xi’an Incident. During the Xi’an Incident, General Zhang Xueliang detained Chang and forced him to re-establish an alliance with his rival Communists that would act as a united front against further Japanese aggression. Thus, all of eastern China would from 1937 until 1945 be involved in a harrowing struggle of liberation against a savage multi-regional Japanese occupation.

Turning back to Sheng’s Xinjiang, with the Second World War now at its halfway point,1942 witnessed Sheng instigating a rapprochement with the Chinese government which was seen as troubling to his erstwhile Soviet masters. In October of 1943, the KMT sent a delegation to Xinjiang after which Sheng cooperated in the purging of largely pro-Soviet Chinese Communists from the province.

And yet, months later, after the Soviets prevailed in the Battle of Stalingrad, Sheng sought to re-establish good relations with Moscow but by now, Sheng was if anything distrusted more by the Soviets than by Chang’s KMT.

In September 1944, Sheng who was now again generally reconciled with the KMT, left his leadership post in Xinjiang and took a comparatively “safe” job as the KMT government’s Agriculture minister.

The Soviets switch sides
Whilst during the 1930s, the Soviets had helped Sheng to maintain his pseudo-Soviet puppet state much to the consternation of both the KMT and many groups of Islamic rebels, in 1944, the USSR switched sides and helped Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang to establish the Second East Turkestan Republic in the wake of the Ili Rebellion.

However, by 1949, the entirety of Xinjiang came under the consolidated control of the new People’s Republic of China, thus ending what remained of both KMT rule in Xinjiang as well as the fledgling Soviet backed East Turkestan Republic.

The People’s Republic of China and contemporary Xinjiang
Between 1912 and 1949, China experienced what can only be called multiple civil wars, in addition to simultaneously fighting one of the most brutal occupations in history at the hands of the Empire of Japan. In 1949, the People’s Republic of China at long last brought unity to the country whilst simultaneously ending the geopolitical dynamics which were pervasive in China’s Century of Humiliation.

In spite of China’s mid-20th century efforts to peacefully integrate Xinjiang into modern Chinese society, after the Sino-Soviet split of the early 1960s, Moscow began an active campaign which encouraged anti-state terrorism among the Turkic Muslims of Xinjiang. This culminated in the Sino-Soviet border conflict of 1969 which yet again saw Soviet aggression against Xinjiang.

The disputes arising from the conflict remained unsettled until the 1990s when Moscow and Beijing signed a border agreement which helped to pave the way for a golden era in neighbourly relations which continues to flourish in the 2000s.

But just when Moscow agreed to cease hostility against Xinjiang and renew what prior to the 20th century had largely been healthy relations with China, western actors began agitating for terrorism in Xinjiang as a means of weakening a Chinese economy which had witnessed miraculous development since the Reform and Opening Up of 1978.

2009 saw civil disturbances gripping Xinjiang at a time when such strife was becoming ever more common in places like Afghanistan and on the western borders of China’s all-weather friend Pakistan. In response, the Chinese government has prioritised economic investments, infrastructural development, education programmes, vocational training and counter-extremism education for the people of Xinjiang.

Sadly, many of these successful counter-extremist programs which are in fact similar to those instigated in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, have been grossly misrepresented by some of the outside world. Yet as a result of China’s counter-terrorism policies, of all the borderland provinces in multiple Asian nations that have in the past been subject to political extremism, Xinjiang is among the most peaceful. By contrast, the Muslim minority in India is currently facing vastly higher amounts of strife at the hands of supporters of India’s ruling BJP than are the Muslims of Xinjiang.

It is understandable that Muslims in countries in which Islam is the faith of the majority should be troubled by the false information being spread by mainly western governments about Xinjiang. However, there is an easy way to break this cycle of suspicion. China continues to welcome peaceful international observers to Xinjiang in order to experience first hand how a province that experienced centuries of war and political instability is now at its most harmonious in modern history. Furthermore, a new bus service running from Xinjiang to Lahore will offer Pakistanis the opportunity to engage in ever more meaningful human-to-human contact with those in Xinjiang.

Such human-to-human contact should also be prioritised in respect of allowing citizens of the Republic of Turkey to see first hand what the reality is in Xinjiang. As positive relations between Ankara and Beijing continue to expand across a verity of sectors, it must certainly be contemplated that a summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan could take place in Xinjiang which could foster both geopolitical harmony and a sense of fraternity among peoples whose shared history ought to be carried forward in a new era of win-win cooperation.

For Xinjiang peace has dawned after centuries of strife, all that remains is for the wider world to see this positive transformation.


The Living Force
Chinese Admiral says disputes over South China Sea could be resolved by sinking two US Navy Aircraft Carriers
Chinese Admiral says disputes over South China Sea could be resolved by sinking two U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers - The Aviation Geek Club

Rear Admiral Lou Yuan said the loss of one aircraft carrier would cost the U.S. the lives of 5000 service men and women. Sinking two would double that toll.

Chinese Admiral says disputes over the ownership of the East and South China Seas could be resolved by sinking two U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers

Rear Admiral Lou Yuan, deputy head of the Chinese Academy of Military Sciences, has told an audience in Shenzhen that the ongoing disputes over the ownership of the East and South China Seas could be resolved by sinking two U.S. Navy aircraft carriers.

Admiral Lou gave a wide-ranging speech on the state of Sino-U.S. relations. As reported by New Zealand Herald, the high-profile, hawkish military commentator reportedly declared the current trade spat was “definitely not simply friction over economics and trade,” but was instead a “prime strategic issue”.

His speech, delivered on Dec. 20 to the 2018 Military Industry List summit, declared that China’s new and highly capable anti-ship ballistic and cruise missiles were more than capable of hitting U.S. Navy carriers, despite them being at the centre of a ‘bubble’ of defensive escorts.

Chinese Admiral says disputes over the ownership of the East and South China Seas could be resolved by sinking two U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers

"What the United States fears the most is taking casualties", Admiral Lou declared.

He said the loss of one super carrier would cost the U.S. the lives of 5000 service men and women. Sinking two would double that toll.

“We’ll see how frightened America is.”

In his speech, he said there were ‘five cornerstones of the United States’ open to exploitation: their military, their money, their talent, their voting system — and their fear of adversaries.

Admiral Lou, who holds an academic military rank — not a service role — said China should “use its strength to attack the enemy’s shortcomings. Attack wherever the enemy is afraid of being hit. Wherever the enemy is weak …”

The U.S. Navy 10 Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, USS Nimitz (CVN 68), USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), USS George Washington (CVN 73), USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), are the largest warships in the world, each designed for an approximately 50-year service life with just a single mid-life refueling. The next generation of aircraft carrier, the Gerald R. Ford-class (CVN 78) was ordered in September 2008 as the force structure replacement for USS Enterprise (CVN 65), which inactivated in 2012.

The typical air wing aboard a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier consists of:

• Four Strike Fighter (VFA) Squadrons, with twelve F/A-18E/F Super Hornets each.

• One Electronic Attack (VAQ) Squadron, made up of five EA-18G Growlers.

• One Carrier Airborne Early Warning (VAW) Squadron, with four E-2C Hawkeyes or five E-2D “Advanced” Hawkeyes.

• One Helicopter Sea Combat (HSC) Squadron of eight MH-60S Seahawks.

• One Helicopter Maritime Strike (HSM) Squadron of eleven MH-60R Seahawks, 3–5 of which are typically based in detachments on other ships of the carrier strike group.

• A Fleet Logistics Support (VRC) Squadron Detachment of two C-2A Greyhounds.

China says will freeze out U.S. companies that sell arms to Taiwan
FILE PHOTO: A military honour guard holds a Taiwanese national flag as he attending flag-raising ceremony at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, in Taipei, Taiwan March 16, 2018. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo

China's government and Chinese companies will cut business ties with U.S. firms selling arms to Taiwan, China's Foreign Ministry said on Monday, declining to give details of the sanctions in a move likely to worsen already poor ties with Washington.

After Taiwan buys arms, China holds military drills on southeast coast
China's military recently carried out air and naval drills along its southeast coast, the Defence Ministry said on Sunday, following the latest arms sales from the United States to self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as a renegade province.


Dagobah Resident
RCMP investigate possible policy breach at National Microbiology Lab
CBC News · Posted: Jul 12, 2019 11:42 AM CT | Last Updated: July 12

Manitoba RCMP are investigating a possible policy breach at the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg.
Few details have been made public, but an RCMP spokesperson confirms police received a referral from the Public Health Agency of Canada.


Chinese researcher escorted from infectious disease lab amidst RCMP investigation

CBC News · Posted: Jul 14, 2019 3:50 PM CT

Dr. Xiangguo Qiu, her husband Keding Cheng and an unknown number of her students from China were removed from Canada's only level-4 lab on July 5, CBC News has learned. The students didn't speak much English and kept to themselves in a group.

A Level 4 virology facility is a lab equipped to work with the most serious and deadly human and animal diseases. That makes the Arlington Street lab one of only a handful in North America capable of handling pathogens requiring the highest level of containment, such as Ebola.

Security access for the couple and the Chinese students was revoked, according to sources who work at the lab and do not want to be identified because they fear consequences for speaking out.

Sources say this comes several months after IT specialists for the NML entered Qiu's office after-hours and replaced her computer. Her regular trips to China also started being denied.


Dr. Xiangguo Qiu, research scientist, second from right, and Dr. Gary Kobinger, former chief of special pathogens, right, are two of the National Microbiology Lab scientists who created the Ebola treatment, ZMapp. Also pictured, at left, Dr. Kent Brantly and Dr. Linda Mobula, assistant professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the physician who administered ZMapp to Dr. Brantly in Liberia. (Submitted/Health Canada)


The Living Force
RCMP investigate possible policy breach at National Microbiology Lab
CBC News · Posted: Jul 12, 2019 11:42 AM CT | Last Updated: July 12

RCMP investigating possible policy breaches at National Microbiology Lab
National Microbiology Laboratory

The National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg is shown in a Tuesday, May 19, 2009 photo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods)

RCMP officers are investigating an administrative matter at the National Microbiology Labratory, after the Public Health Agency of Canada notified them on May 24 of potential policy breaches.

The Public Health Agency said no employees from the lab have been arrested or are confined to their homes, and it is working to resolve the matter "expeditiously".

There is no threat to public safety and the lab is continuing its work, officials said.

RCMP and the Public Health Agency both said they have no further information to provide at this time.


The Living Force
Pompeo - as a wrecking-ball, AGAIN! Creating problems - where there are none. (Must have something to do with "the red socks"? The stimulus keeps him "aggressively ill-tempered ... and un-manage-able"!)

Pompeo calls China's treatment of Uighurs 'stain of the century'

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a news conference on human rights at the State Department in Washington, U.S., July 8, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
WASHINGTON -July 18, 2019 - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday called China’s treatment of its Uighur Muslim minority the “stain of the century” and accused Beijing of pressuring countries not to attend a U.S.-hosted conference on religious freedom.

“China is home to one of the worst human rights crises of our time; it is truly the stain of the century,” Pompeo told the final day of the international conference in Washington.

Pompeo said Chinese government officials had sought to discourage countries from attending the three-day event he has hosted.

“Is that consistent with the guarantee of religious belief that is found directly in the Chinese constitution?” he asked.

Pompeo, who said this week that more than 100 foreign delegations had been invited to the conference, congratulated countries which had defied Chinese pressure, while adding: “If you have declined to attend for the same reason, we take note.”

Pompeo did not name any of the countries and a State Department spokesman could not provide a figure.

“We know the Chinese government called countries specifically to discourage participation. We cannot prove the exact number they successfully impacted,” he said.

Pompeo’s remarks came a day after U.S. President Donald Trump met at the White House with victims of religious persecution from countries including China, Turkey, North Korea, Iran and Myanmar.

The Chinese government on Thursday rejected any suggestion that it abuses religious and human rights.

“In China this situation of so-called religious persecution does not exist,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a news briefing in Beijing after the White House ceremony.

“We demand that the United States correctly view China’s religious policies and the status of religious freedom in China, and stop using the issue of religion to interfere in other countries’ affairs.”

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence,
who has been a strong critic of China, was also due to address the Washington conference on Thursday morning.

Nearly two dozen nations at the U.N. Human Rights Council this month urged China to halt persecution of ethnic Uighurs in its western region of Xinjiang, where U.N. experts and activists say at least 1 million are held in detention centers.

The Trump administration has been weighing sanctions against Chinese officials over their policies in Xinjiang, including the Communist Party chief of the region, Chen Quanguo, but has held back amid Chinese threats of retaliation.

Relations between the United States and China are already tense over a tit-for-tat trade war, with the United States alleging that China engages in unfair trading practices.

Vietnam, China embroiled in South China Sea standoff
FILE PHOTO: Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (2nd L, front) and Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh (2nd R, front) speaks with sailors of Coast Guard Force on field via video call during their visit to Coast Guard Command in Hanoi, Vietnam July 11, 2019. Thong Nhat/VNA via REUTERS.

FILE PHOTO: Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (2nd L, front) and Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh (2nd R, front) speaks with sailors of Coast Guard Force on field via video call during their visit to Coast Guard Command in Hanoi, Vietnam July 11, 2019. Thong Nhat/VNA via REUTERS.

Vietnamese and Chinese ships have been embroiled in a weeks-long standoff near an offshore oil block in disputed waters of the South China Sea, which fall within Vietnam's exclusive economic zone, two Washington-based think-tanks said on Wednesday.

China’s U-shaped “nine-dash line” marks a vast expanse of the South China Sea that it claims, including large swathes of Vietnam’s continental shelf where it has awarded oil concessions.

The Haiyang Dizhi 8, a ship operated by the China Geological Survey, on Monday completed a 12-day survey of waters near the disputed Spratly Islands, according to separate reports by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS)

One of the oil blocks it surveyed is licensed by Vietnam to Spanish energy firm Repsol (REP.MC), which was forced last year and in 2017 to cease operations in Vietnamese waters because of pressure from China.

As the Haiyang Dizhi 8 conducted its survey, nine Vietnamese vessels closely followed it. The Chinese ship was escorted by three China Coast Guard vessels, according to data from Winward Maritime, compiled by C4ADS.

In a separate incident days earlier, the China Coast Guard ship Haijing 35111 maneuvered in what CSIS described as a “threatening manner” toward Vietnamese vessels servicing a Japanese-owned oil rig, the Hakuryu-5, leased by Russian state oil firm Rosneft (ROSN.MM) in Vietnam’s Block 06.1, 370 km (230 miles) southeast of Vietnam.

That block is within the area outlined by China’s “nine-dash line”. A series of dashes on Chinese maps, the line is not continuous, making China’s claims often ambiguous.


The Living Force
First Russian-Chinese air patrol in Asia-Pacific draws shots from South Korea
A Russian TU-95 bomber flies over East China Sea in this handout picture taken by Japan Air Self-Defence Force and released by the Joint Staff Office of the Defense Ministry of Japan July 23, 2019. Joint Staff Office of the Defense Ministry of Japan/HANDOUT via REUTERS

A Russian TU-95 bomber flies over East China Sea in this handout picture taken by Japan Air Self-Defence Force and released by the Joint Staff Office of the Defense Ministry of Japan July 23, 2019. Joint Staff Office of the Defense Ministry of Japan/HANDOUT via REUTERS

Russia carried out what it said was its first long-range joint air patrol in the Asia-Pacific region with China on Tuesday, a mission that triggered hundreds of warning shots, according to South Korean officials, and a strong protest from Japan.

The flight by two Russian Tu-95 strategic bombers and two Chinese H-6 bombers, backed up according to Korean and Japanese officials by a Russian A-50 early warning plane, marks a notable ramping-up of military cooperation between Beijing and Moscow.

That is something likely to worry politicians from Washington to Tokyo and could complicate relations and raise tension in a region that has for years been overshadowed by hostility between the United States and North Korea.

While troops and naval ships from Russia and China have taken part in joint war games before, they have not, according to Russia’s Ministry of Defence, conducted such air patrols in the Asia-Pacific region together until Tuesday.

“The joint patrol was carried out with the aim of deepening Russian-Chinese relations within our all-encompassing partnership, of further increasing cooperation between our armed forces, and of perfecting their capabilities to carry out joint actions and of strengthening global strategic security,” the ministry said in a statement.

Seoul and Tokyo, who both scrambled jets to intercept the Russo-Chinese mission, accused Russia and China of violating their airspaces, an allegation Moscow and Beijing denied.

South Korean warplanes fired hundreds of warning shots towards the Russian A-50 military aircraft, defense officials in Seoul said, saying it had entered South Korean airspace.

It was the first time a Russian military aircraft had violated South Korean airspace, an official at the South Korean Ministry of National Defence said in Seoul.

The Russian and Chinese bombers had entered the Korea Air Defence Identification Zone (KADIZ) together early on Tuesday, the South Korean defense ministry said.

The separate Russian A-50 airborne early warning and control aircraft later twice violated South Korean airspace over Dokdo - an island that is controlled by Seoul and claimed by both South Korea and Japan, which calls it Takeshima - just after 9 a.m. (midnight GMT Monday), according to the South Korean military.

Russia’s Defence Ministry said it did not recognize South Korea’s KADIZ, while the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the area was not territorial airspace and that all countries enjoyed freedom of movement in it.

South Korean fighters did not fire any warning shots toward Russia’s two bombers, the Russian defense ministry said in a statement, which made no mention of any A-50 aircraft.

It accused the two South Korean F-16 fighter planes of carrying out “unprofessional maneuvers” and of crossing the path of the Russian bombers and not communicating with them.

“It was not the first time that South Korean pilots tried unsuccessfully to prevent Russian aircraft from flying over the neutral waters of the Sea of Japan,” the Russian ministry said. If the Russian pilots had felt any threat to their safety, their response would have been swift, it added.

A South Korean defense ministry spokesman did not directly address the Russian accusation of reckless behavior, but said that South Korea had never said the Tu-95 bombers had violated its airspace.

South Korea’s top security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, lodged a strong objection with Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia’s Security Council, asking the council to assess the incident and take appropriate action, South Korea’s presidential office said.

“We take a very grave view of this situation and, if it is repeated, we will take even stronger action,” Chung said, according to South Korea’s presidential office.

"Tactical Action"
South Korea’s Foreign Ministry summoned Russian Deputy Chief of Mission Maxim Volkov and Chinese Ambassador Qiu Guohong to lodge a stern protest and strongly urge them to prevent a recurrence, said ministry spokesman Kim In-chul.

Separately, Japan, which said it had also scrambled fighter aircraft to intercept the Russian and Chinese planes, lodged a complaint with both South Korea and Russia over the incident, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

Tokyo criticized South Korea for taking action against a Russian plane over what Japan says is its airspace.

“In light of Japan’s stance regarding sovereignty over Takeshima, the fact that the South Korean military aircraft carried out warning shots is totally unacceptable and extremely regrettable,” Suga told reporters.

The South Korean jets loosed about 360 rounds of ammunition during the incident, an official at South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said. “The South Korean military took tactical action including dropping flares and firing warning shots,” the South Korean Defence Ministry said.

A South Korean defense official told Reuters that the Russian aircraft did not respond in any threatening way. It left South Korean airspace but then entered it again about 20 minutes later, prompting the South Koreans to fire more warning shots.

Russia says it flew first long-range air patrol with China in Asia-Pacific region
Russia's Ministry of Defence said on Tuesday it had conducted its first joint long-range air patrol with China in the Asia-Pacific region and that it had not been aimed at another country.

Japan scrambles fighters to intercept Russian and Chinese planes

Japan's military scrambled fighter aircraft to intercept Russian and Chinese planes, it said on Tuesday, including an observation jet at which South Korean forces fired warning shots after it entered airspace over an island claimed by both Seoul and Tokyo.

Japan says it, not South Korea, should have taken action on Russian plane
Japan on Tuesday criticized South Korea for taking action against a Russian plane over what Japan says is its airspace, after Japan lodged a protest against both South Korea and Russia over the incident.

Japan lodged protest with South Korea, Russia after jet incident: Suga
The Japanese government has lodged a protest against South Korea and Russia after South Korean warplanes fired hundreds of warning shots at a Russian military aircraft on Tuesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

China says South Korea's air defense zone not territorial airspace
China's foreign ministry said on Monday that South Korea's air space identification zone is not a territorial airspace and all countries enjoy freedom of movement there.

Russia denies its strategic bombers violated South Korean air space

Russia's Ministry of Defence on Tuesday denied that its strategic bombers had violated South Korean air space and accused South Korean jets of carrying out dangerous maneuvers that threatened its aircraft, the RIA news agency reported.

South Korea complains to Russia about airspace violation, warns of tougher response
South Korea's top security adviser lodged a strong objection with Russian after its military aircraft violated South Korean airspace on Tuesday, South Korea's presidential office said, and will take stronger action if it happens again.

S. Korea's claim on warning shot firings disputed by Russia

This image released by Joint Staff, Ministry of Defense, shows Russian A-50 airborne early warning and control aircraft flying near the Korean-controlled island called Takeshima in Japanese Tuesday, July 23, 2019. Japan has protested to Russia for allegedly violating Japanese airspace and to South Korea for firing warning shots there. (Joint Staff, Ministry of Defense via AP)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean air force jets fired 360 rounds of warning shots Tuesday after a Russian military plane twice violated South Korea's airspace off the country's east coast, Seoul officials said in an announcement that was quickly disputed by Russia.

South Korea said three Russian military planes — two Tu-95 bombers and one A-50 airborne early warning and control aircraft — entered the South's air defense identification zone off its east coast before the A-50 intruded in South Korean airspace. Russia said later that two of its Tu-95MS bombers were on a routine flight over neutral waters and didn't enter South Korean territory.

According to South Korean government accounts, an unspecified number of South Korean fighter jets, including F-16s, scrambled to the area and fired 10 flares and 80 rounds from machine guns as warning shots.

Seoul defense officials said the Russian reconnaissance aircraft left the area three minutes later but later returned and violated South Korean airspace again for four minutes. The officials said the South Korean fighter jets then fired 10 flares and 280 rounds from machine guns as warning shots.

South Korea said it was the first time a foreign military plane had violated South Korean airspace since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. South Korea's Foreign Ministry and the Joint Chiefs of Staff summoned Russia's acting ambassador and its defense attache to protest.

Russia's Defense Ministry said in a statement that its planes did not enter South Korean airspace. It also said South Korean fighter jets didn't fire any warning shots, though it said they flew near the Russian planes in what it called "unprofessional maneuvers" and posed a threat. "If the Russian pilots felt there was a security threat, they would have responded," the statement said.

South Korea's presidential national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, told top Russian security official Nikolai Patrushev that South Korea views Russia's airspace violation "very seriously" and will take "much stronger" measures if a similar incident occurs, according to South Korea's presidential office.

The former Soviet Union supported North Korea and provided the country with weapons during the Korean War, which killed millions. In 1983, a Soviet air force fighter jet fired an air-to-air missile at a South Korean passenger plane that strayed into Soviet territory, killing all 269 people on board. Relations between Seoul and Moscow gradually improved, and they established diplomatic ties in 1990, a year before the breakup of the Soviet Union.

The airspace that South Korea says the Russian warplane violated is above a group of South Korean-held islets roughly halfway between South Korea and Japan that have been a source of territorial disputes between the two Asian countries. Russia isn't part of those disputes.

Japan, which claims ownership over the islets, protested to South Korea for firing warning shots over Japanese airspace. South Korea later countered that it cannot accept the Japanese statement, repeating that the islets are South Korean territory. Japan also protested to Russia for allegedly violating Japanese airspace.

South Korea said the three Russian planes entered the South Korean air defense identification zone with two Chinese bombers. South Korea said the Chinese planes didn't intrude upon South Korean airspace.

The Russian statement accused South Korean aircraft of trying to hamper the flights of Russian jets before "a vague missile defense identification area" that it said South Korea unilaterally defined. Russia said it had raised its concerns about the zone before.

Before their reported joint flights with the Russian planes, the Chinese warplanes entered South Korea's air defense identification zone off its southwest coast earlier Tuesday, South Korea's Defense Ministry said. Seoul says Chinese planes have occasionally entered South Korea's air defense identification zone in recent years.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry and Joint Chiefs of Staff registered their official protests with Beijing when they summoned China's ambassador and defense attache.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said she was not clear about the situation but noted that the air defense identification zone is not territorial airspace and others are entitled to fly through it.

She took issue with a reporter's use of the word "violation" to ask about China's reported activity in South Korea's air defense identification zone. "I feel that given China and South Korea are friendly neighbors, you should be careful when using it, because we are not clear about the situation," she said.

Seoul lodges protest with Russia over jet incident
F-15K fighter jets from South Korea's airforce EPA-EFE/JEON HEON-KYUN

F-15K fighter jets from South Korea's airforce © EPA-EFE/JEON HEON-KYUN

The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff alleged earlier on Tuesday that three Russian warplanes had violated the country’s air defense identification zone.

MOSCOW, July 23, 2019 - The South Korean Foreign Ministry summoned Russia’s Charge d'Affaires Maxim Volkov to hand him a note of protest over Tuesday’s jet incident above the Sea of Japan, the ministry said in a statement published on its website.

According to the statement, South Korean Deputy Minister for Political Affairs Yoon Soon-gu said that "the Russian aircraft’s violation of the South Korean airspace undermines trust-based relations between the two countries." He demanded that Moscow provide "explanations and apologies, and take measures to prevent such incidents in the future."

The South Korean Foreign Ministry also summoned Chinese Ambassador to Seoul Qiu Guohong.

The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff alleged earlier on Tuesday that three Russian aircraft - two Tupolev Tu-95MS strategic bombers and a Beriev A-50 early warning and control aircraft - and two Chinese warplanes had violated the country’s air defense identification zone over the Liancourt Rocks. In response, South Korea’s F-15 and F-16 jets were scrambled and fired warning shots.

South Korea’s air defense identification zone includes not only the country’s airspace but also a segment of international airspace. The South Korean military demands that aircraft give early warnings about plans to enter the zone. If an aircraft fails to do so, warplanes are scrambled to intercept it even if the country’s airspace is not violated.

The Russian Defense Ministry repeatedly points out that the Airspace Force conducts flights in accordance with international rules. On Tuesday, the ministry said that two Russian Tupolev Tu-95MS strategic bombers had conducted a scheduled flight above the neutral waters of the Sea of Japan without violating other countries’ airspace. The ministry added that South Korea’s F-16 jets had carried out awkward maneuvers close to the Russian aircraft.

Russian aircraft violate South Korea's airspace — Yonhap
Russia's Tu-95 strategic bomber Yury Smityuk/TASS

Russia's Tu-95 strategic bomber © Yury Smityuk/TASS

MOSCOW, July 23, 2019 - Russian military aircraft have violated South Korea's airspace above the Sea of Japan twice, Yonhap news agency reported on Tuesday citing South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The South Korean Air Force scrambled fighter jets in response and fired warning shots, Yonhap said.

According to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff, three Russian military aircraft and two Chinese Air Force planes entered South Korea's air defense identification zone on Tuesday morning. One Russian aircraft violated South Korea's airspace twice — at around 9am and 9:30am local times.

The incident occurred near the Liancourt Rocks, a group of small islets to the east of the southern part of the Korean Peninsula. Seoul and Tokyo are in a territorial dispute over the islets.

In mid-June, South Korea scrambled fighter jets to intercept Russia's Tu-95 strategic bombers that entered its air defense identification zone.

Russian Defense Ministry denies border violations during flights over Sea of Japan
Tu-95MS strategic bomber Mikhail Tereschenko/TASS

Tu-95MS strategic bomber © Mikhail Tereschenko/TASS

MOSCOW, July 23, 2019 - Two Russian Tu-95MS strategic bombers did not violate other countries’ borders during their scheduled flight over neutral waters of the Sea of Japan, the Russian Defense Ministry reported on Tuesday.

"On July 23, 2019, two Tu-95MS strategic bombers of the Russian Aerospace Forces were performing a scheduled flight in the airspace over neutral waters of the Sea of Japan," the ministry noted.

The Defense Ministry stressed that the planes did not violate other counties’ borders. "According to flight data, the Tu-95MS aircraft did not deviate from the planned route in accordance with international regulations, flying more than 25 km away from Dokdo (Takeshima) islands without violating South Korea’s airspace," it said.

The ministry said that two South Korean F-16s approached the Russian bombers near the Liancourt Rocks and "conducted unprofessional maneuvers, crossing the course of the Russian aircraft and jeopardizing their safety."

The Russian defense agency also pointed out that "The South Korean pilots did not establish communications with the crews of Tu-95MS, fired flares and then the F-16s conducted another maneuver, retreating away from the Russian planes."

The Russian Defense Ministry has refuted reports on warning shots fired by South Korea’s F-16 fighter jets at Russia’s Tu-95MS strategic bombers.

"No warning shots were fired by South Korea’s fighter jets," the Defense Minsitry said, adding that, "if the Russian pilots felt a security threat, the response would follow quickly."

The ministry also emphasized that "it is not the first time that South Korean pilots have unsuccessfully tried to disrupt the Russian aviation’s maneuvers over the neutral waters of the Sea of Japan, citing a self-imposed "air defense identification zone"." However, these zones are not envisioned by the international rules and, therefore, are not recognized by Russia, which has been repeatedly communicated to the South Korean side through various channels."

Flights over Sea of Japan
Earlier on Tuesday, the South Korean Yonhap News Agency claimed that a Russian Air Force jet had twice violated the South Korean airspace near the Liancourt Rocks, situated in the Sea of Japan and contested by Seoul and Tokyo.

The South Korean air defense identification zone stretches not only across the country’s airspace, but is also partly applied to the international airspace. In spite of that, the South Korean military demands that the intention to enter the zone and the aims of the flights should be communicated to them ahead of missions. Usually, if it does not happen, they scramble aviation to intercept the ‘intruders’ even if the South Korean airspace has not been violated.


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