AUGUST 30, 2020 / 5:31 PM / UPDATED 16 HOURS AGO
PARIS (Reuters) – The Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, said on Sunday it was possible to conclude an EU-China investment accord by the end of 2020.
“I am thinking of the investment agreement. We have the possibility of concluding it before the end of the year. It is important more than ever to take a step,” Wang Yi said, speaking at the IFRI think tank in Paris, via an interpreter.
Reporting by John Irish, Writing by Maya Nikolaeva, Editing by William Maclean
Source: Reuters “Senior China diplomat says it’s possible to agree EU-China investment accord by end-2020”
Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
AUGUST 31, 2020 / 9:22 AM / UPDATED 20 MINUTES AGO
BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s factory activity expanded at a slightly slower pace in August, missing analysts’ expectations, dragged lower by disruptions from floods and adding to risks for the world’s second-largest economy as it emerges from the coronavirus shock.
The official manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) fell slightly to 51 in August from 51.1 in July, but remained above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis.
Analysts had expected it to pick up slightly to 51.2.
China’s vast industrial sector is steadily returning to the levels seen before the pandemic paralysed huge swathes of the economy, as pent-up demand, stimulus-driven infrastructure expansion and surprisingly resilient exports propel a recovery, but the recovery remains uneven.
Private consumption has been stubbornly weak, with Chinese consumers turning cautious on purchases of everyday items as the COVID-19 pandemic cuts incomes and threatens millions of jobs.
Reporting by Stella Qiu and Ryan Woo; Editing by Shri Navaratnam
Source: Reuters “China’s factory activity expands at a slower pace in August: official PMI”
Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
Published 3 days ago on August 28, 2020
By EurAsian Times Global Desk
With the US and China leading the development of swarming drone capabilities, they are now looking at not just swarming techniques but also counter swarming tactics. Experts have argued that some drones that are under development are capable of sufficient destructive power to count as Weapons of Mass Destruction.
According to Isaac Kaminer, an engineering professor at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School who is an expert in the subject of swarming and counter swarming tactics, large-scale adversarial swarms are already an imminent threat. He suggested that stopping a swarm is not simply a matter of driving enough missiles or bullets at it; instead, the swarm has to be outsmarted.
“A swarm with 10,000 or more drones must have extremely high levels of autonomy,” said consultant Zak Kallenborn talking to the Forbes. “No human being could handle the amount of information necessary to make decisions.“
Kaminer defines a ‘Super Swarm’ with large numbers and multiple modes like air, surface, and subsurface threats. The US Navy has already performed offensive swarm operations with its LOCUST drone swarm developed by Raytheon.
According to the developer of LOCUST drone swarm, dozens of small unmanned aircraft systems fly together, filling the sky. Some are collecting information. Some are identifying ground targets. Others might attack the same targets.
“They fly together like a flock of birds, tracking their positions and maintaining their relative positions in the air. Human operators are not needed for every flying drone; instead, they direct the flock as one.”
Currently, the drones are controlled remotely by humans which limits the capabilities both due to the demand for personnel and bandwidth restrictions. Only a few numbers can be used. However, if swarming algorithms are developed it would allow the drones to control itself and hence much larger number can be used increasing its lethality.
It works similar to a swarm of birds or insects. Every member adheres to the same rules to follow cohesion without colliding with each other. This will allow it to work without any central control.
David Hambling, who is also the author of ‘Swarm Troopers: How small drones will conquer the world’, wrote that such a swarm can be defeated by taking advantage of its internal rules – if these can be figured out.
“For example, an entire swarm whose members all have a collision-avoidance rule can be ‘herded’ by a few outsider drones or may be fooled into running into each other. If the members of the swarm are all programmed to attack what they see as the highest-value target in range, then they can all be decoyed into attacking the same dummy.”
The biggest challenge for the US comes from China who is also developing swarming capability as a means of asymmetric warfare, to counterpoise the US advantage in aircraft carriers. Last year, satellite images posted on the Chinese internet displayed a lineup of several drones including the Sharp Sword stealth drone and the Wing Loong Reaper.
Considering the fast pace of development of such technologies it is important to have international laws in place. “The opportunity to develop global norms and treaties around drone swarms and other autonomous weapons is now, “ says Kallenborn. “Collective limits on the number of armed drones in a swarm would reduce the risk to civilians and national security.”
Source: Eurasian Times “US, China Developing “Super Swarm” Drones With Destruction Power Equivalent To Nuclear Weapons”
Note: This is Eurasian Times’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
Zak Doffman. Contributor Aug 29, 2020,05:30am EDT
So, you can file this under stories I didn’t expect to be writing this week. Just as Huawei prepares for the launch of its latest flagship device—the Mate 40, while fighting the newly lit and devastating fire of Trump’s latest supply chain sanctions, reports have emerged that the latest device from the Shenzhen tech giant is so smart it can’t be lost. In fact, if you call out it will actually come and find you.
Yes, Huawei it seems is now playing in the robotic dog business. You’ll remember all the palaver a few months ago, when Boston Dynamics’ Spot the Dog was seen on coronavirus patrol in a public park in Singapore, reminding people to socially distance. Well, now Huawei has its own version of Spot, and it seems to have its own set of nifty, robotic tricks.
The dog was “spotted” in a physical Huawei store in China and reported by a blogger. I’m told it was actually put together by one of Huawei’s “ecosystem partners,” rather than the company itself, but it’s full of Huawei wizardry. This isn’t part of the company’s Consumer Business Group, but has been co-developed with one of Huawei’s labs, one with enterprise applications in mind.
According to the reports, the dog is the latest machine to “make use of Huawei’s AI technology, which includes leading-edge AI technology exploration, mature AI technology application, and full-scenario AI technology solutions.” It’s unclear what AI chipset the dog is carrying around, though, and whether that’s impacted by the new U.S. ban.
The dog is full of tricks, “designed in such a way that it is very flexible and can even perform forward somersaults.” There is no word yet from Shenzhen as to why an enterprise robotic dog would need to perform somersaults, but I’ll update the story if I find out.
Boston Dynamics’ Spot is designed as a security and enterprise device, “a nimble robot that climbs stairs and traverses rough terrain with unprecedented ease, yet is small enough to use indoors. Built to be a rugged and customizable platform, Spot has an industry track record in remote operation and autonomous sensing.”
In short, Spot is designed to travel independently over varying types of terrain, with a payload of multiple types of sensors—going where it might be difficult or unsafe for humans to reach, able to report back. One can assume the Huawei concept dog has the same applications in mind, and we won’t be welcoming one into our homes anytime soon, as entertaining as that might be.
Three serious takeaways from this story. First, it demonstrates the breadth of technologies under the hood at Huawei. It’s easy to forget with all the chatter about smartphones and 5G, that Huawei has a powerful enterprise business group, a full suite of cloud and AI solutions and a wide array of smart city deployments around the world. In short, a readymade market for this type of application.
The second takeaway is all about Huawei’s vast investments into AI and an ecosystem to support real-world deployments of those technologies. The company is playing in the automotive world, albeit it says it has no actual car building ambitions, but its “seamless AI life” strategy gives you a good indication of where it sees its future. You don’t need me to tell you that AI is perhaps China’s number one tech investment priority right now, and the AI-driven tech Cold War is right at the heart of Beijing’s standoff with Washington.
Finally, though, we have to return to those sanctions. When Huawei releases its Mate 40, as trailed here by my colleague David Phelan, it will be the swan song for the company’s brilliant Kirin chipsets, designed to be the delivery mechanism for all that AI R&D. We still don’t know what Huawei plans to do to mitigate the latest restrictions, or whether China can step in to help the company survive in its current form. Until then, the future for robotic dogs as well as smartphones, tablets, PCs and other gadgets remains up in the air…
Rather like that somersaulting dog.
Source: Forbes “Huawei’s Radical New Device Is Definitely Not What You Expected”
Note: This is Forbes’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
Efe Udin EFE UDIN AUGUST 29, 2020
Ren Zhengfei Huawei
Chinese manufacturing giant, Huawei, is still looking for ways to deal with the numerous bans for the U.S. and other countries. Since the U.S. included Huawei and its subsidiaries on the list of entities, Huawei’s founder and CEO, Ren Zhengfei has been quite vocal. Nevertheless, in the past few months, we have not heard much from him. A few weeks ago, he led a team to visit a number of Chinese universities. The universities include Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Fudan University, Southeast University, and Nanjing University.
HUAWEI WILL NOT HATE THE U.S.
The fallout between the U.S. and Huawei has attracted so much attention. During the visit, Ren Zhengfei also expressed his views on this. He said “The desire to survive inspires us to find a way to save ourselves. No matter what, we will never hate the United States. It is just the impulse of some politicians and does not represent American companies, American schools, and American society…We still have to stick to the path of self-improvement and openness. If you want to be truly strong, you must learn from everyone, including your own enemies”.
Ren Zhengfei bluntly said that “some politicians in the United States want us to die.” He said: We also want to light the “beacon” of 5G, but as soon as the “match” was burned, the United States hit us with a “big stick” and knocked us unconscious. At first, I thought that there was something wrong with our compliance system, and I was reflecting on it. As a result, the second, third, and fourth bars were hit”.
In Ren Zhengfei’s view, the unknowability of the future technological world is like a darkness that requires a beacon. The responsibility for lighting the beacon of the future will undoubtedly fall on colleges and universities. China’s future and revitalization depend on children, and children only depend on education.
Many analysts believe that Huawei’s ban by the U.S. is more than just national security. Presently, Huawei can not purchase smartphone chips whether directly or indirectly. Because of Huawei, the U.S. is regulating the business model of any company that uses its technology. MediaTek, TSMC, and many other non-American companies can not do business with Huawei. This is because they use a couple of American technology in their manufacturing process. So far, China has not hit back. It has not banned any American companies. In fact, it is the U.S. new laws (especially on WeChat) that are attempting to cripple American businesses in China.
Source: gizchina.com “REN ZHENGFEI: HUAWEI BAN IS SIMPLY THE IMPULSE OF SOME POLITICIANS”
Note: This is gizchina.com’sarticle I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
In my previous posts I said China has three ways to bypass Malacca Strait for the security of its trade lifelines to the east: the Kra Canal, Railway through Laos, Tailand to Malaysia’s west coast and rail and road link between China’s Ruili and Myanmar’s Kyaukpyu port.
Due to Thai political instability, there is great political risk in building Kra Canal. The canal may provide a shortcut to bypass the crowded and pirate-harassed Malacca Strait. It will benefit not only China but also Japan and South Korea, but due to Thai political instability, no one will take the risk to build the canal.
Even the railway through Laos, Thailand and Malaysia has difficulties to go through Thailand. China has been building and will soon complete a rail way through Laos to Thai border. As the construction of the East Coast Railway in Malaysia has resumed only the section through Thailand is missing and Thailand does not seem willing to build a railway to connect the railways in Laos and Malaysia. Therefore, the second choise of a railway through Laws, Thailand to Malaysia’s western coast to bypass the Malacca still has to wait indefinately.
Now, China is fortunate to have made breakthrough in building China-Myanmar Economic Corridor in 2018. China is now building Kyaukpyu Port at full speed and the rail and road links between Ruili and Kyaukpyu have been under construction or planning.
The US certainly wants to hinder China’s efforts to bypass Malacca. It has been making great efforts to attract India to join its Quad to contain China. The two countries believe that China will bypass Malacca through Kra Canal. As a result, according to eurasiantimes.com’s report “India Responds to China’s Plans To Bypass Malacca Straits By Militarizing Indian Ocean Islands” on August 25, 2020, India is expanding its military bases in INS Kohassa, Shibpur in North Andamans and the Campbell strip at Nicobar in order to hinder China’s shipping through Kra Canal.
As now China will bypass the Malacca through rail and road in Myanmar and begin marine shipping from Kyaukpyu, Andamans and Nicobar are too far away from Kyaukpyu. Moreover, Myanmar has leased Coco Islands to China. If India uses its military bases in Andamans and Nicobar to hinder China’s shipping from Kyaukpyu to Hambantota China, can develop a military base on Coco Islands to counter that.
The Myanmar route will enable southern and eastern China to bypass Malacca while Chinese areas to the north can use the Arctic route as shortcut to bypass Malacca.
On the other hand, northwestern China can use China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to bypass Malacca.
As a result, China’s trade lifelines to the west will be free from hindrance in spite of US control of the Malacca Strait and India’s attempt to control the Indian Ocean,
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Eurasian Times report, full text of which can be viewed at https://eurasiantimes.com/india-responds-to-chinas-plans-to-bypass-malacca-straits-by-militarizing-indian-ocean-islands/.
AUGUST 28, 2020 / 7:22 PM / UPDATED 16 HOURS AGO
BERLIN (Reuters) – Europe and China should keep the conversation going on topics on which they can cooperate, such as climate change, but also on difficult topics on which they do not agree, such as Hong Kong, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday.
“We also need to talk about topics where we are of different opinions. That includes things that are happening in Hong Kong at the moment,” she told journalists at a news conference.
“We want to continue the conversation and set an example for multilateralism.”
Reporting by Berlin bureau; Writing by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Riham Alkousaa
Source: Reuters “Europe and China must keep conversation going: Merkel”
Enrique Dans, Senior Contributor
Aug 27, 2020,02:57pm EDT
On Tuesday, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt spoke at the Bipartisan Policy Center about artificial intelligence and global leadership, concluding that China will pretty much be running things from now on.
This is a position I have been defending for quite some time: Beijing’s approach, which we in the West consider unacceptable, has positioned China as a world leader in the technologies that will dictate the future of humanity, while the rest of the world sat back and watched or, in the case of the United States during the Trump administration, took steps backwards.
“China is on its way to surpass us in many, many ways, and they’re cleverly run in a way that’s different from the way we would ever want to run. We need to take them seriously… they’re going to end up with a bigger economy, more R&D investments, better quality research, wider applications of technology, and a stronger computing infrastructure.”
The Chinese government has long asserted, repeated at Communist Party congresses, that its model is not only different, but superior, and that the time has come for China to take center stage and make a bigger contribution to humanity. From a purely strategic point of view, China’s form of government and the reinvention of state capitalism carried out by Xi Jinping has produced any number of large, decisive and top-down initiatives, which implies a much higher degree of efficiency. In Schmidt’s words:
“The Chinese model is a vision of high-tech authoritarianism which is incompatible with the way America works. I’m not saluting it, I’m not endorsing it in any way, but I’m telling you to take it seriously (…) It has benefits from the standpoint of the strategic execution.”
Schmidt believes a world where China controls artificial intelligence and trade would not be a nice place for many of us, and highlights the need for a long-term, well-funded plan to counter Beijing’s hegemony by doubling R&D spending over the next five years. He adds that the way to fight China is not through a trade war, sanctions or executive orders, which is the approach taken by the Trump administration, but instead by moving faster and leaving China behind. Right now, the problem is not only that China is able to develop technology faster, more efficiently and with less resistance, but also that it is enjoying success in attracting and retaining talent.
These are issues that I’ve been discussing for a long time now, and they have a lot to do with the comments made a few days ago by Tim Wu in his article in The New York Times: China has behaved unilaterally unfairly, giving it a huge advantage in terms of leadership over the rest of the world, along with access to global markets while keeping its own out of reach.
Schmidt’s views are gaining wider traction, but the problem is that China has already won: the macroeconomic data has yet to prove it, but it has become the world’s leader in generating data to feed its algorithms, has more artificial intelligence patents, and is streets ahead in implementing cutting-edge developments. A surveillance society where resistance to planned and centralized management is impossible, a social contract accepted by much of the population in return for improved economic welfare.
As democrats, we might not like to live under such an authoritarian regime, but we might as well start accepting that to all intents and purposes, China has already won.
Source: Forbes “Has China Already Won? You Bet”
Note: This is Forbes’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
Written by Scott Bicheno 1 day ago
Taiwanese chip-maker Mediatek reportedly thinks it can supply Huawei without getting put on the US naughty step, but is double-checking just to make sure.
The report comes courtesy of Reuters, which says Mediatek has applied for permission from the US to keep supplying Huawei with chips. “MediaTek reiterates its respect for following relevant orders and rules on global trade, and has already applied for permission with the U.S. side in accordance with the rules,” it said in a statement given to Reuters.
Mediatek would presumably only bother to ask if it thought it could supply chips free of any American intellectual property. Earlier this month Uncle Sam made it clear that he will bring his full wrath to bear on anyone who thinks about selling Huawei any kit that the US has had even the most superficial involvement in.
There’s a hell of a lot of cleverness that goes into making the system-on-chips in today’s smartphones. Many of the processors themselves have been designed by Anglo-Japanese company Arm and they can be manufactured by Chinese fabs if need be. However there is presumably involved somewhere in the process, even if its only machines made by companies like Applied Materials.
The response to this request will presumably answer that question conclusively, because you can bet Mediatek’s processes will be heavily scrutinised by US authorities as a result. If they refuse the request there will be a fair bit of pressure on them to comprehensively demonstrate why. If they don’t it will be reasonable to question the entire basis of this latest US action against Huawei.
Source: telecoms.com “Mediatek goes all in with request to supply chips to Huawei”
Note: This is telecoms.com’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
And that’s just in peacetime.
MARCUS WEISGERBER | AUGUST 27, 2020
NAVY INDUSTRY CHINA
America’s shipyards lack the repair capacity the Navy needs in peacetime, let alone during war, a Navy admiral said Tuesday.
Rear Adm. Eric Ver Hage, who leads the Navy Regional Maintenance Center and directs the service’s surface ship maintenance and modernization, became the latest senior officer to paint a grim picture of a shipbuilding sector that has struggled to repair vessels on time and on budget.
“We don’t have enough capacity for peacetime,” Ver Hage said during a Navy League webcast Tuesday. “We have so much to be proud of, but we’re not as effective or efficient [as we should be]. We can’t get ships delivered on time with the predictability that we need today.”
The admiral pointed to the lengthy times to repair the USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain. The Arleigh Burke-class destroyers were heavily damaged during separate collisions with commercial ships in 2017. It took nearly three years to repair the Fitzgerald and more than two years for the Navy to repair the McCain.
It will be a “massive effort” if the Navy chooses to repair the USS Bonhomme Richard, an amphibious assault ship severely damaged in a fire last month, Ver Hage said.
Source: Defense One “US Shipyards Lack Needed Repair Capacity, Admiral Says”
Note: This is Defense One’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.