China’s President Xi urges greater military use of space

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping urged the air force to adopt an integrated air and space defence capability, in what state media on Tuesday called a response to the increasing military use of space by the United States and others.

While Beijing insists its space program is for peaceful purposes, a Pentagon report last year highlighted China’s increasing space capabilities and said Beijing was pursuing a variety of activities aimed at preventing its adversaries from using space-based assets during a crisis.

Fears of a space arms race with the United States and other powers mounted after China blew up one of its own weather satellites with a ground-based missile in January 2007.

A detailed analysis of satellite imagery published in March provided additional evidence that a Chinese rocket launch in May 2013, billed as a research mission, was actually a test of a new anti-satellite weapon. Continue reading

Beijing set to seal Russian natural gas deal amid Ukraine crisis

Beijing’s refusal to stand against Moscow over the crisis in Ukraine could result in a lucrative natural gas deal with Russia next month, reports the Hong Kong-based Ta Kung Pao.

Following more than a decade of false starts, sources say Chinese president Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will make a final decision next month on the multibillion dollar deal that will see Russia supply pipeline gas to China for 30 years. The deal is expected to come into effect by the end of the year. Continue reading

US unsettled by China’s ‘three warfares’ strategy: Pentagon report

The US and its military partners are reaching for new tools to counter an unconventional ”three warfares” strategy that China is using to advance aggressive territorial claims, according to a Pentagon report.

It says the People’s Liberation Army is using what it calls ”legal warfare”, ”media warfare” and ”psychological warfare” to augment its arsenal of military hardware to weaken the resolve of the US and its regional partners to defend islands and oceans in the East and South China seas. Continue reading

Bundesbank, PBOC in Pact to Turn Frankfurt Into Renminbi Hub

The central banks signed a memorandum of understanding in Berlin today, when Chinese President Xi Jinping met German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Frankfurt-based Bundesbank said in an e-mailed statement.

Germany’s financial capital prevailed over Paris and Luxembourg in a euro-area race to win trade in renminbi, which overtook the euro to become the second-most used currency in global trade finance in October, according to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. The U.K. Treasury said on March 26 that the Bank of England would sign an initial agreement with the PBOC on March 31 to clear and settle yuan transactions in London.

“Frankfurt is one of Europe’s foremost financial centers and home to two central banks, making it a particularly suitable location,” said Joachim Nagel, a member of the Bundesbank’s executive board. “Renminbi clearing will strengthen the close economic and financial ties between Germany and the People’s Republic of China.” Continue reading

The new ‘silk road’, a rail link from China’s factories to heart of Europe

FRANKFURT: One of the world’s longest railways — a “modern-day silk road” — covers some 11,000 kilometres (24,000 miles) en route from the Chinese megacity of Chongqing to Duisburg, a key commercial hub in western Germany.

On Saturday, as part of his landmark visit to Germany, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the last stop on the “Yuxinou” rail line, an industrial feat that promises to revolutionise transport between Europe and Asia.

Duisburg is a steel-making town of around half a million on the confluence of the Rhine and Ruhr rivers that boasts the world’s biggest inland port and is one of Germany’s most important transport and commercial hubs.

Despite the vast distances between them, it takes just 16 days for trains to travel to Duisburg from Chongqing, a sprawling metropolitan symbol of rising China with a population of more than 30 million. Continue reading

Merkel miffed at Barack Obama and David Cameron ‘nuclear war game’

Hopefully this is not a hint of what’s to come in the future, but the threat is real. Many people don’t know that even JFK warned about the Soviets and their nuclear bomb in Washington D.C..

Consider the following, which was told by JFK to Time Magazine:

In late July 1961, President Kennedy, just back from the grim Vienna summit with Khrushchev, asked me to dinner in Palm Beach. After daiquiris and Frank Sinatra records on the patio, his three guests and I gathered around the table for fish-in-a-bag, a White House recipe. Between lusty bites, Kennedy told the story of Khrushchev’s anger over West Berlin, the island of freedom in the Soviet empire’s East Germany. “We have a bustling communist enclave just four blocks from the White House,” I noted, meaning the Soviet embassy. Kennedy paused, fork between plate and mouth, and said, “You know, they have an atom bomb on the third floor of the embassy.” Aware of JFK’s love of spy stories, I said something like, “Sure, why not?”

No, Kennedy continued, it was his understanding that the Soviets had brought the components of an atomic device into the building in inspection-free diplomatic pouches and assembled it in the upstairs attic. “If things get too bad and war is inevitable,” he said, “they will set it off and that’s the end of the White House and the rest of the city.” I laughed. Still suspending his bite of fish, Kennedy said, “That’s what I’m told. Do you know something that I don’t?” No sign of mirth. The conversation moved on.

Five years ago I was lecturing in Staunton, Va., and retold the story. In the question session, a man in the audience rose and said, “You may not believe that story about the bomb in the attic, but I do. I worked for 25 years at the Defense Intelligence Agency, and that was our understanding.” And now I can hear Kennedy asking again, “Do you know something I don’t?”

Source: Were the Russians Hiding a Nuke in D.C.? (Time)

 

World leaders played an interactive nuclear war game designed to test their responses to a terrorist atomic “dirty bomb” attack that threatened the lives of hundreds of thousands of people

David Cameron joined Barack Obama, Angela Merkel and Xi Jinping and other world leaders to play a “nukes on the loose” war game to see how they would cope with a terrorist nuclear attack.

The German chancellor grumbled at being asked to play games and take tests with the Prime Minister, US and Chinese presidents around a table with dozens of heads of state at a nuclear summit in The Hague.

Continue reading

PLA orders discussion of combat readiness

The People’s Liberation Army’s General Political Department has ordered the army and armed police across the nation to discuss combat readiness and effectiveness, the army’s media outlet PLA Daily reported on Tuesday.

The PLA Daily said the across-the-board discussions are aimed at instilling the concept of combat readiness, adding that the discussion will be the army’s prime political task this year. Continue reading

World asleep as China tightens deflationary vice

China’s Xi Jinping has cast the die. After weighing up the unappetising choice before him for a year, he has picked the lesser of two poisons.

The balance of evidence is that most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong aims to prick China’s $24 trillion credit bubble early in his 10-year term, rather than putting off the day of reckoning for yet another cycle.

This may be well-advised for China, but the rest of the world seems remarkably nonchalant over the implications. Brazil, Russia, South Africa, and the commodity bloc are already in the cross-hairs. Continue reading

The potential role of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

China’s president, Xi Jinping, announced the creation of an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) just before the October 2013 APEC meeting in Bali. If the new bank is managed professionally to finance commercially viable investments in economic infrastructure, it can begin to correct a very significant failure of global financial markets.

There is room for a new development bank, specialised in financing large-scale economic infrastructure on commercial terms, working alongside existing multilateral development banks, including the World Bank and the ADB. These well-established institutions have the expertise to lend a lot more for infrastructure, but have moved in a different direction. Net lending by multilateral development banks on commercial terms has been negative in five of the last ten years, including 2011 and 2012. The World Bank and the ADB are now focusing on concessional lending and knowledge sharing with low-income countries, leaving an important niche to be filled by a new financial institution. Continue reading

China’s Push Into ‘America’s Backyard’

The United States has been quite vocal about its “pivot to Asia,” but as Washington seeks to further its influence in the Asia-Pacific, China has been quietly upping its own importance to Central and Latin America. Now China is making a push to further its engagement with countries in the Western Hemisphere, as evidenced by the announcement of a new dialogue mechanism. The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), which met in Cuba from January 28 to 29, adopted a statement announcing the establishment of a China-CELAC Forum. Continue reading

Xi Jinping told aircraft carrier captain to build up combat readiness: official magazine

A Communist Party magazine has revealed the chief concerns President Xi Jinping  expressed during his inspection of the country’s first aircraft carrier in August.

“[You should] build up [the carrier’s] combat readiness and logistics and support expeditiously,” the carrier’s captain, Zhang Zheng, said Xi told him before wrapping up his inspection of the Liaoning, according to an account in this month’s issue of Dangjian, or Party Construction, magazine. Continue reading

Beijing strengthens police powers in South China Sea

At this moment, it’s only a matter of time before the Western powers get pushed out, mainly the United States. As the United States becomes more unreliable to their regional partners, expect countries such as Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, etc… to form their own alliance or eventually become enveloped in a regional Asian bloc with China at the helm, as the pressure to join China would be more alluring than going to war against China, with limited or no support from the USA.

The Chinese government has announced that it is strengthening the implementation of police powers in the South China Sea, demanding that all foreign fishermen acquire approval from its authorities prior to operating in regions “belonging to China,” reports our Chinese-language sister paper Want Daily.

China lays claim to 2 million square kilometers, or nearly two-thirds, of the South China Sea, including an area that includes island groups claimed by the Philippines and Vietnam. Continue reading