China Exploiting Ocean-bottom Mineral Resources Soon


A robotic arm from the Jiaolong (sea dragon) submersible places a Chinese national flag on the seabed. Photo: Xinhua

A robotic arm from the Jiaolong (sea dragon) submersible places a Chinese national flag on the seabed. Photo: Xinhua

SCMP says in its report “China developing manned submersible capable of reaching the bottom of any ocean” today that China is developing a manned submersible able to go the deepest bottom of ocean on earth according to China’s Science and Technology Daily’s report on the weekend.

The vessel is being built by China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), the company that developed and made the Jiaolong submersible, which has successfully taken a crew to the depth of 7,062 meters in 2012.

In addition, the company’s 4,500-metre manned submersible is in its final assembly and testing stage. Together with a 4,000-ton mother ship for the submersibles that will enter service in March 2019, China will be able to exploit the minerals at ocean bottom in earnest soon.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2064672/china-developing-manned-submersible-capable-reaching


Diplomat says China would assume world leadership if needed


China does not want world leadership but could be forced to assume that role if others step back from that position, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Monday, after U.S. President Donald Trump pledged to put “America first” in his first speech.

Zhang Jun, director general of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s international economics department, made the comments during a briefing with foreign journalists to discuss President Xi Jinping’s visit to Switzerland last week.

Topping the bill at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Xi portrayed China as the leader of a globalized world where only international cooperation could solve the big problems.

Speaking days before Trump assumed the presidency, Xi also urged countries to resist isolationism, signaling Beijing’s desire to play a bigger role on the global stage.

Elaborating on that theme, Zhang said China had no intention of seeking global leadership.

“If anyone were to say China is playing a leadership role in the world I would say it’s not China rushing to the front but rather the front runners have stepped back leaving the place to China,” Zhang said.

“If China is required to play that leadership role then China will assume its responsibilities,” he added.

At his inauguration on Friday, Trump struck a nationalist and populist tone, pledging to end what he called an “American carnage” of rusted factories and crime.

China is the world’s second-largest economy and others also rely on it for their economic growth, Zhang said.

“We still hope that the United States and other Western economies can continue to make an even bigger contribution to the world economic recovery. We’ve heard Trump announce that the United States will achieve four percent growth and we’re very happy about that,” he added.

While Trump said American workers have been devastated by the outsourcing of jobs abroad, he did not mention China by name in his inaugural speech. However, he has threatened to put punitive tariffs on imports of Chinese goods.

Zhang said he thought Trump would not be able to achieve his economic growth goals if he was also fighting trade wars.

“A trade war or an exchange rate war won’t be advantageous to any country,” Zhang added.

Separately, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Xi had sent a congratulatory message to Trump upon his assumption of office, but gave no other details.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Additional reporting by Christian Shepherd; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Source: Reuters “Diplomat says China would assume world leadership if needed”

Note: This is Reuters report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Trump White House vows to stop China taking South China Sea islands


By David Brunnstrom and Matt Spetalnick | WASHINGTON

The new U.S. administration of President Donald Trump vowed on Monday that the United States would prevent China from taking over territory in international waters in the South China Sea, something Chinese state media has warned would require Washington to “wage war.”

The comments at a briefing from White House spokesman Sean Spicer signaled a sharp departure from years of cautious U.S. handling of China’s assertive pursuit of territory claims in Asia, just days after Trump took office on Friday.

“The U.S. is going to make sure that we protect our interests there,” Spicer said when asked if Trump agreed with comments by his Secretary of State nominee, Rex Tillerson, on Jan. 11 that China should not be allowed access to islands it has built in the contested South China Sea.

“It’s a question of if those islands are in fact in international waters and not part of China proper, then yeah, we’re going to make sure that we defend international territories from being taken over by one country,” he said.

Tillerson’s remarks at his Senate confirmation hearing prompted Chinese state media to say the United States would need to “wage war” to bar China’s access to the islands where it has built military-length air strips and installed weapons systems.

Tillerson, who was expected to be confirmed as secretary of State on Monday, was asked at the hearing whether he supported a more aggressive posture toward China and said: “We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops and, second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed.”

The former Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) chairman and chief executive did not elaborate on what might be done to deny China access to the islands.

But analysts said his comments, like those of Spicer, suggested the possibility of U.S. military action, or even a naval blockade, that would risk armed confrontation with China, an increasingly formidable nuclear-armed military power. It is also the world’s second-largest economy and the target of accusations by Trump that it is stealing American jobs.

Spicer declined to elaborate when asked how the United States could enforce such a move against China, except to say: “I think, as we develop further, we’ll have more information on it.”

RISK OF DANGEROUS ESCALATION

Military experts said that while the U.S. Navy has extensive capabilities in Asia to stage blockading operations with ships, submarines and planes, any such move against China’s growing naval fleets would risk dangerous escalation.

Aides have said that Trump plans a major naval build-up in East Asia to counter China’s rise.

China’s embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the White House remarks.

China’s Foreign Ministry said earlier this month it could not guess what Tillerson meant by his remarks, which came after Trump questioned Washington’s longstanding and highly sensitive “one-China” policy over Taiwan.

Washington-based South China Sea expert Mira Rapp-Hooper at the Center for a New American Security called the threats to bar China’s access in the South China Sea “incredible” and said it had no basis in international law.

“A blockade – which is what would be required to actually bar access – is an act of war,” she added.

“The Trump administration has begun to draw red lines in Asia that they will almost certainly not be able to uphold, but they may nonetheless be very destabilizing to the relationship with China, invite crises, and convince the rest of the world that the United States is an unreliable partner.”

Bonnie Glaser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank called Spicer’s remarks “worrisome” and said the new administration was “sending confusing and conflicting messages.”

Dean Cheng, a China expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said Spicer’s remarks showed the South China Sea was an important issue for the Trump administration.

He said it was significant that neither Spicer nor Tillerson had been specific as to what actions would be taken and this left open the possibility that economic measures – instead of military steps – could be used against China and firms that carry out island building.

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Andrew Hay)

Source: Reuters “Trump White House vows to stop China taking South China Sea islands”

Note: This is Reuters report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Trump’s America First Hurts Japan, but Benefits China


U.S. President Donald Trump (C), flanked by Gary Masino (L) of the Sheet Metal Workers Union and Telma Mata (R) of the Heat and Frost Insulators Allied Workers Local 24, holds a roundtable meeting with labor leaders at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 23, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Donald Trump (C), flanked by Gary Masino (L) of the Sheet Metal Workers Union and Telma Mata (R) of the Heat and Frost Insulators Allied Workers Local 24, holds a roundtable meeting with labor leaders at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 23, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Reuters says in its report “Trump pulls U.S. out of Pacific trade deal, loosening Asia ties” today that US new president Trump took prompt action to kill TPP that Japanese Prime Minister Abe relies on for his efforts to reinvigorate Japan’s economy and containing China.

Trump is indeed a man of quick actions so that when Trump has taken real measures to stimulate US manufacturing, Japanese manufacturing will be the first to suffer as US industrial goods are to be sold in mostly the same market for Japanese goods and the US is well capable of competing with Japan with its most advanced technology in the world.

The competition between the US and Japan will be a more interesting trade war for us to watch. It will be a war that will benefit others by providing them with better goods resulted from the competition.

China has to work hard to join the competition now as it lags behind the two in technology, but the competition will enable Chinese President Xi Jinping to carry out his innovation- and creation-geared reform more smoothly as China has to join the competition for market share in not only international market but also Chinese market for high tech goods as China advocates free trade and has to allow US and Japanese goods entry of its huge market.

As a free-trade advocator, there are no prospects of trade war between China and the US as Trump’s initiatives to take jobs back to the US will only cause American manufacturers to move their investment back to the US, leaving Chinese investment to take over. US manufacturing enterprises in China taken over by Chinese investment will continue to sell goods to the US and improve their technology to join the competition. China will only be benefited from Trump’s moves.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which is reblogged below:

Trump pulls U.S. out of Pacific trade deal, loosening Asia ties

By Steve Holland and Ayesha Rascoe | WASHINGTON

U.S. President Donald Trump formally withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal on Monday, distancing America from its Asian allies, as China’s influence in the region rises.

Fulfilling a campaign pledge to end American involvement in the 2015 pact, Trump signed an executive order in the Oval Office pulling the United States out of the 12-nation TPP.

Trump, who wants to boost U.S. manufacturing, said he would seek one-on-one trade deals with countries that would allow the United States to quickly terminate them in 30 days “if somebody misbehaves.”

“We’re going to stop the ridiculous trade deals that have taken everybody out of our country and taken companies out of our country,” the Republican president said as he met with union leaders in the White House’s Roosevelt Room.

The TPP accord, backed heavily by U.S. business, was negotiated by former Democratic President Barack Obama’s administration but never approved by Congress. It had been the main economic pillar of the Obama administration’s “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific region to counter China.

Trump has sparked worries in Japan and elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific with his opposition to the TPP and his campaign demands for U.S. allies to pay more for their security.

But his trade stance mirrors a growing feeling among Americans that international trade deals have hurt the U.S. job market. Republicans have long held the view that free trade is a must, but that mood has been changing.

“It’s going to be very difficult to fight that fight,” said Lanhee Chen, a Hoover Institution fellow who was domestic policy adviser to 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. “Trump is reflecting a trend that has been apparent for many years.”

Harry Kazianis, Director of Defense Studies at the Center for the National Interest think tank in Washington, said Trump must now find an alternative way to reassure allies in Asia.

“This could include multiple bilateral trade agreements. Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam should be approached first as they are key to any new Asia strategy that President Trump will enact,” he said.

Trump is also working to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement to provide more favorable terms to the United States, telling reporters he would meet leaders of NAFTA partners Mexico and Canada to get the process started.

BUSINESS LEADERS

The new president also met with a dozen American manufacturers at the White House on Monday, pledging to slash regulations and cut corporate taxes – but warning them he would take action on trade deals he felt were unfair.

Trump, who took office on Friday, has promised to bring factories back to the United States – an issue he said helped him win the Nov. 8 election. He has not hesitated to call out by name companies that he thinks should bring outsourced production back home.

He said those businesses that choose to move plants outside the country would pay a price. “We are going to be imposing a very major border tax on the product when it comes in,” Trump said.

He asked the group of chief executives from companies including Ford Motor Co , Dell Technologies Inc, Tesla Motors Inc and others to make recommendations in 30 days to stimulate manufacturing, Dow Chemical Co Chief Executive Officer Andrew Liveris told reporters.

Liveris said the CEOs discussed the border tax “quite a bit” with Trump, explaining “the sorts of industry that might be helped or hurt by that.”

“Look: I would take the president at his word here. He’s not going to do anything to harm competitiveness,” Liveris said. “He’s going to actually make us all more competitive.”

At part of the meeting observed by reporters, Trump provided no details on how the border tax would work.

The U.S. dollar fell to a seven-week low against a basket of other major world currencies on Monday, and global stock markets were shaky amid investor concerns about Trump’s protectionist rhetoric.

“A company that wants to fire all of its people in the United States, and build some factory someplace else, and then thinks that that product is going to just flow across the border into the United States – that’s not going to happen,” he said.

CUT TAXES AND REGULATIONS

The president told the CEOs he would like to cut corporate taxes to the 15 percent to 20 percent range, down from current statutory levels of 35 percent – a pledge that will require cooperation from the Republican-led U.S. Congress.

But he said business leaders have told him that reducing regulations is even more important.

“We think we can cut regulations by 75 percent. Maybe more,” Trump told business leaders.

“When you want to expand your plant, or when Mark wants to come in and build a big massive plant, or when Dell wants to come in and do something monstrous and special – you’re going to have your approvals really fast,” Trump said, referring to Mark Fields, CEO of Ford, who sat around the boardroom-style table in the Roosevelt Room.

Fields said he was encouraged by the tone of the meeting.

“I know I come out with a lot of confidence that the president is very, very serious on making sure that the United States economy is going to be strong and have policies – tax, regulatory or trade – to drive that,” he said.

Trump told the executives that companies were welcome to negotiate with governors to move production between states.

Trump was scheduled to hold a meeting later on Monday with labor leaders and U.S. workers, the White House said.

(Additional reporting by David Brunnstrom, Doina Chiacu, Susan Heavey, Ayesha Rascoe and David Shepardson; Editing by Frances Kerry, Alistair Bell and Jonathan Oatis)

Note: This is Reuters report I reblog here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


How Can US Block China’s Access when US Warships Are Driven Away


China's Liaoning aircraft carrier with accompanying fleet conducts a drill in an area of South China Sea, in this undated photo taken December, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer/File photo

China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier with accompanying fleet conducts a drill in an area of South China Sea, in this undated photo taken December, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer/File photo

There has been sensational news that U.S. President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state Rex Tillerson said China should be denied access to islands it has built in the contested South China Sea.

It is equally sensational that China Party paper says no ‘provocation’ can stop its military drills, which is the title of Reuters’ report today.

In its report Reuters says, “The People’s Daily said no amount of ‘word bombs’, such as Tillerson’s South China Sea remarks, could stop China’s military drills. ‘These provocations, pressure, fantasies and over-exaggerations will not prevent the normal drills of the Chinese military,’ ” let alone access to China’s artificial islands.

Both Tillerson’s remarks and People’s Daily’s statement smell gun powder, but readers can rest at ease as the actual confrontations in the sea have, instead, not given rise to any war as neither side want it.

The best proof is that according to a report by China’s northeast Dandong City’s news website in December, 2016, when its reporter visited Chinese frigate the Dandong, Luo Xiang, the commander of the warship, told the reporter that when the frigate conducted its patrol around China’s Nansha (the Spratly) islands in May 2015, it received order to drive away a US littoral combat ship (LCS) that entered China’s territorial waters.

When the frigate sailed near the US LCS, it told the LCS to leave Chinese waters in English but the LCS did not and, instead, sailed around Chinese territorial waters. In order to drive the LCS away, the frigate sailed at high speed directly towards the LCS. To avoid a crash, the LCS gave a signal of erroneous entry and left.

Later, the frigate joined other Chinese warships in driving away US destroyer the USS Lassen.

At the reporter’s question whether he was not afraid in the confrontations as the US warships were the most advanced in the world, Luo replied that they were not as they had their motherland behind them.

US warships are clever in avoiding fighting as they know they do not have geographical advantages in a war near China.

To win a war, one must have good timing, geographical advantages and people’s support. According to Chinese sage Mencius’ teaching, “Timing is not as good as geographical advantages; geographical advantages are not as good as people’s support.”

China has good timing as it has already built seven artificial islands in the South China Sea that a US admiral regards as China’s Great War of sand there.

China has geographical advantages as China can deploy more warplanes on its artificial islands than at lease six US aircraft carriers. Moreover, the area lies close to Chinese coast where there are lots of advanced warplanes much more than those all US aircraft carriers can carry. In addition, the carriers will be within the range of China’s lots of advanced land-based anti-ship ballistic and cruise missiles and air defense missiles.

The most important is that in the war Chinese people support Chinese military while American people do not want to fight a war far away from their homeland as the US will gain nothing but a long-term bitter enemy even if it wins the war but lose its world hegemony if it loses the war.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on mil.huanqiu.com’s report in Chinese “Official media reports that frigate the Dandong has directly dash towards a littoral combat ship in the South China Sea” and Reuters’ report “China party paper says no ‘provocation’ can stop its military drills”, full text of which can be found at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-defence-idUSKBN15602H.


Philippine officials to visit Beijing to discuss investment deals, ASEAN summit


FILE PHOTO - A child holds national flags of China and the Philippines before President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte and China's President Xi Jinping attend a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, October 20, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

FILE PHOTO – A child holds national flags of China and the Philippines before President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte and China’s President Xi Jinping attend a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, October 20, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is sending a cabinet-level delegation to Beijing this week to meet with China’s Vice Premier Wang Yang and other top Chinese officials to discuss investment deals and his country’s chairmanship of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) this year.

The Jan. 23-24 trip by Philippine officials includes Duterte’s finance, budget, economic, public works and transport secretaries, according to a statement from the Department of Finance on Sunday.

The visit occurs three months after Duterte visited Beijing to pave the way for what he called a new commercial alliance. He has increased his overtures to China since assuming office last year while berating traditional ally the United States, a sharp change in Philippine foreign policy.

The Beijing mission to court China and tap loans and business follows Duterte’s “pro-Filipino” policy aimed at reducing the reliance on a U.S. that he says he has lost faith in.

Duterte will make a second China visit in May for a bilateral summit, China’s Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said after meeting with him in Manila last week. That meeting was just days after Duterte’s meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Meetings during the visit will also discuss the Philippines’ chairmanship of the 10-member ASEAN this year, the Department of Finance said in a statement, without elaborating.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay said on Jan. 11 that he was confident a code of conduct in the South China Sea between ASEAN and China could be finished by mid-2017. Still, the Philippines did file a diplomatic protest with China over its installation last year of anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems on its manmade islands in the disputed waters.

At this week’s meeting, Philippine and Chinese officials will flesh out some $15 billion worth of investment pledges that China committed to Manila during Duterte’s visit in October, the Department of Finance said.

Philippine Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi is also in China to “enhance energy cooperation” between the two countries and attract investments in local energy projects, his office said in a separate statement.

Japan’s Abe, who wants to deepen ties with Duterte amid a changing geopolitical landscape, has pledged $9 billion worth of investment and development aid for the Philippines.

(Reporting by Karen Lema; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

Source: Reuters “Philippine officials to visit Beijing to discuss investment deals, ASEAN summit”

Note: This is Reuters report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Laser 3D Printing Enables China to Develop, Produce J-31 Fast, Cheap


Major titanium-alloy structural part of the new version of J-31 made with laser 3D printing technology. Shenyang Daily photo

Major titanium-alloy structural part of the new version of J-31 made with laser 3D printing technology. Shenyang Daily photo

I reported the maiden flight of the new version of J-31 (Gylfalcon) in my post “Maiden Flight of New Improved Version of China’s J-31 Stealth Fighter” on December 24. According to the data provided by its producer, J-31 will be well able to grab a large market share from F-35 as it is much cheaper but comparable with F-35 in functions and performance.

China’s local newspaper Shenyang Daily published a report yesterday why China is able to develop the new version so quickly and make it so cheap as it uses the most advanced 3D printing technology to make the major titanium-alloy part of its structure. The part as shown in the picture on top enables J-31 to carry heavy load.

The technology makes production of J-31 quicker and cheaper compared with the old technology of forging and mechanical processing.

Source: Shenyang Daily “Titanium-alloy structural part made with 3D printing makes major contribution to the success of the maiden flight of the 2.0 version of Gylfalcon” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)