Organic solar battery sets record for converting sunlight to energy in Chinese study


SCMP says in its report “Organic solar battery sets record for converting sunlight to energy in Chinese study” on August 13 that China has developed an organics solar battery with the sunlight-electricity converting ratio of 17% close to the 18% to 22% of commercially used silicon solar cells. The ratio is higher than the 15% achieved by US scientists.

Chinese scientists believe that the ratio may be further raised to 25%. As its price is cheaper and as its stability is better, there are high prospects of wide use of the battery.

Moreover, SCMP says in the report, “The cells are produced as lightweight panels that are as thin as paper and similar to newsprint, according to the study. They can bend or curve to suit different structures, making it possible to use organic photovoltaics to power wearable devices and other internet-connected gadgets.”

Summary by Chan Kai Yee of SCMP’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2159495/organic-solar-battery-sets-record-converting-sunlight-energy.

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China says U.S. politicizing Confucius Institute shows ‘lack of self-confidence’


Reuters Staff August 17, 2018

BEIJING (Reuters) – China said on Friday the politicizing of a Chinese-run cultural organization by some people in the United States showed “a lack of self-confidence”, after the University of North Florida said it would close a campus branch of the Confucius Institute.

The Jacksonville-based university said on Tuesday it had determined after “careful consideration” that the Confucius Institute, which opened a branch there in 2014 to promote language and culture, did not meet the university’s mission.

A number of U.S. legislators, including Florida Senator Macro Rubio, have been critical of the more than 100 Confucius Institutes hosted at universities across the United States, saying that they are a vehicle of Chinese influence on international higher education.

“Some in the United States baselessly politicizing Confucius Institutes, a normal China-U.S. education and exchange program, is typical Cold War thinking and shows a lack of self confidence,” China’s foreign ministry said in a fax response to a Reuters question.

“We hope that the United States can properly regard the important work that the Confucius Institutes do to develop mutual respect and understanding.”

The University of North Florida said the closure was because the institute was not aligned with its goals and mission.

It did not elaborate only saying that the institute would be closed in February, once its legal obligation of six months’ notice to end the contract was up.

Rubio has been among U.S. lawmakers warning that the Confucius Institute was an effort by China to expand its political influence abroad and had contributed to censorship on U.S. campuses.

“I welcome the decision of @UofNorthFlorida to close its Confucius Institute. There is growing & well-founded concern about these Chinese Communist Party-funded Institutes. I continue to urge other FL universities to follow suit,” Rubio said on Twitter this week.

Rubio and other lawmakers have pursued legislation that would require universities to disclose major gifts from foreign sources, at a time when U.S. politicians, including President Donald Trump, but also many Democrats, have been pushing a harder line in dealing with China.

U.S.-China relations have suffered in recent months, with the two countries locked in an increasingly bitter trade dispute.

Several other universities in Florida still host the Confucius Institute, among more than 100 such centers around the United States.

Reporting by Christian Shepherd

Source: Reuters “China says U.S. politicizing Confucius Institute shows ‘lack of self-confidence’”

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


Chinese President Xi to visit North Korea next month: Straits Times


Reuters Staff August 18, 2018

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to visit Pyongyang next month at the invitation of North Korea leader Kim Jong Un to attend the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of North Korea’s founding, Singapore’s Straits Times newspaper reported.

It will be the Chinese leader’s first visit to the North Korean capital since he took power in 2012, and 13 years after the last visit by a Chinese President, when Xi’s predecessor Hu Jintao visited in 2005, the newspaper said on Saturday.

The Straits Times did not say where it obtained the information and the Chinese foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

North Korea’s celebrations are set to take place on Sept. 9 and the Straits Times said that Xi’s visit could still be subject to last-minute changes.

China is the reclusive country’s most important trading partner and Kim has visited China three times so far this year during which he has held talks with Xi on improving cooperation between the two countries and economic reforms.

The United States has stepped up sanctions on North Korea to pressure Pyongyang to give up its nuclear program. This week, the United States imposed sanctions on Chinese firms for exporting alcohol and cigarette products to North Korea in breach of those sanctions.

Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

Source: Reuters “Chinese President Xi to visit North Korea next month: Straits Times”

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


Is the US Pushing Turkey into China’s Arms?


China’s Belt and Road international connection plan has already achieved connection to Iran through Pakistan and through Iran to the Middle East. If Turkey is included in China’s Belt and Road, China will have land connection with Europe through Pakistan, Iran and Turkey. That is why China’s top diplomat says that China supports Turkey’s efforts to safeguard stability according to Reuters’ report yesterday.

Turkey’s instability has been caused by the US and its European allies. It provides chance for China to take Turkey into its arms.

In my previous posts, I said that China is not rich and powerful enough to be world leader, but now the US is pursuing isolation and pushing its allied into China’s arms why shall China not take over?

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-currency-china/chinas-top-diplomat-says-supports-turkeys-efforts-to-safeguard-stability-idUSKBN1L30FS.


China complains about Pentagon report, says it is ‘pure guesswork’


Reuters Staff August 18, 2018

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s Defence Ministry has lodged a complaint with the United States about a Pentagon report that said China’s military was likely training for strikes against the United States and its allies, saying it was “pure guesswork”.

The assessment, at a time of heightened U.S.-China tensions over trade, was contained in an annual report that highlighted China’s efforts to increase its global influence, with defense spending that the Pentagon estimated exceeded $190 billion in 2017.

China’s Defence Ministry said in a statement late on Friday that the Pentagon report misrepresented China’s strategic intentions and exaggerated the “so-called China military threat.”

“China’s military expresses resolute opposition to this and has lodged stern representations with the U.S. side,” it said.

China is on the path of peaceful development and pursues a defensive national strategy, and has always been a contributor to world peace and protector of the global order, the ministry said.

“The Chinese military’s strengthening of modernization is to protect the country’s sovereignty, security and development interests, as well as global peace, stability and prosperity,” it said.

“The Chinese military’s reform, weapons development and defensive capabilities in the internet space are just and reasonable. The criticism in the U.S. report is pure guesswork.”

The Pentagon report said that while the People’s Liberation Army had continued to extend operations, it was not clear what message Beijing was looking to send by carrying out bomber flights “beyond a demonstration of improved capabilities.”

This year, China’s air force landed bombers on islands and reefs in the South China Sea as part of a training exercise in the disputed region.

In January the Pentagon put countering Beijing, along with Russia, at the center of a new national defense strategy.

China’s Defence Ministry said the “peaceful construction work” in the South China Sea was its right as a sovereign country, and it criticized the United States for its freedom of navigation operations there.

It said the report by the United States harms mutual trust between the two countries, the ministry said.

“We demand the U.S. side abandons Cold War thinking, objectively and rationally views China’s defense and military construction, stops issuing the relevant reports, and takes actual steps to promote and protect the stable development of military-to-military relations,” it said.

While Washington and Beijing maintain a military-to-military relationship aimed at containing tensions, this has been tested in recent months, notably in May when the Pentagon withdrew an invitation to China to join a multinational naval exercise.

In June, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis became the first Pentagon chief to visit China since 2014.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard

Source: Reuters “China complains about Pentagon report, says it is ‘pure guesswork’:

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


China’s CATL to start producing next-gen low-cobalt batteries in 2019: source


Yilei Sun, Brenda Goh August 17, 2018

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s largest lithium battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL) plans to begin producing in 2019 next-generation nickel-rich batteries, which are cheaper to make and have longer life-spans, according to an internal company presentation and a company source.

Its plans for the NCM 811 battery, which have not been officially announced, come as global battery makers have been searching for ways to reduce the proportion of cobalt in their batteries to cut costs.

The price of cobalt, which stabilizes and extends the life of lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, rose by 130 percent over 2017 and peaked at a record high of $95,250 a tonne in March this year on booming battery demand.

It has come off those levels as cobalt supply – most of which is from the Democratic Republic of Congo – has increased, but battery makers are still looking for ways to reduce its use.

South Korea’s LG Chem and SK Innovation have said they are working on producing the same type of battery. The name NCM 811 refers to a battery content of 80 percent nickel, 10 percent cobalt and 10 percent manganese.

A source at CATL, who declined to be named as he was not authorized to speak to the media, confirmed the authenticity of a copy of the presentation reviewed by Reuters. The presentation was given by CATL’s chief technology officer, Robert Galyen, and showed its roadmaps for its cell production and module programs.

CATL declined to comment. The company currently makes NCM 523 batteries with 50 percent nickel, 20 percent cobalt and 30 percent manganese.

The presentation’s cell production program roadmap showed that CATL plans to produce battery cells with energy density of at least 230 watt-hour per kilogram beginning in 2019, a specification that industry executives said was in line with a NCM 811 battery.

The company source said the presentation was describing an NCM 811 battery.

CATL, based in Fujian province in southeast China, has strategic agreements with carmakers including SAIC Motor Corp, Geely, BMW and Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) and plans to build its first European production site in Germany.

In November, a senior CATL executive told Reuters the company was considering reducing its exposure to cobalt by changing the chemistry in its battery cathodes.

Panasonic, the exclusive battery cell supplier for Tesla Inc’s current production models has said it is aiming to develop cobalt-free batteries, but materials technology company Umicore has said that such a make-up was not possible as cobalt made up for nickel’s lack of stability.

Reporting by Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh; Additional reporting by Tom Daly in BEIJING; Editing by Tom Hogue

Source: Reuters “China’s CATL to start producing next-gen low-cobalt batteries in 2019: source”

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 Needs Popular Support to Win Election While Xi Needs Time


We have Reuters’ report “USTR doubles length of tariff hearing on $200 billion of China goods” today on substantial extension of US tariff hearing on $200 billion of China goods as Trump has to ease the opposition by US citizens and businessmen to his tariff hikes. If he upsets too many people by his tariff hikes, he is very likely to lose the midterm election and yield control of Congress to the Democratic Party, which may even scrap his tariff hikes.

Trump’s lack of support is typically reflected by US top entrepreneur Elon Musk‘s plan to move his high-tech production of electric cars to China and his application for exemption of tariff hikes on his purchase of Chinese parts as reflected by SCMP in its report “Elon Musk asks White House to let him buy Chinese parts without paying tariffs in ongoing trade war” today.

It is very interesting that Musk’s ground for the exemption is that his import of Chinese parts of tunneling machines are not within China’s Made in China 2025 plan. In fact, what Trump wants in starting war is to hinder China’s progress in obtaining high technology so that he imposes tariff hikes on China’s products of high technology. The advanced Chinese parts of tunneling machines shall certainly be Trump’s targets of trade war. However, will Trump upset Musk who is America’s future of high technology in spacecrafts and electric cars?

Let us wait and see.

As for the speculation that Xi encounters opposition in his firm resistance of Trump’s demand on his giving up his China Dream, Xi certainly encounters opposition from quite a few officials. As his campaign against corruption has seriously hurt the vested interests of officials, he encounters their opposition whatever he does.

He simply ignores their opposition as he has firm control over them. Therefore, SCMP’s report “US and China ‘aim to solve trade war by time Donald Trump and Xi Jinping meet at G20 in November’” today is but speculation.

Xi simply will not give Trump the concession on technology no matter how great the pressure Trump threatens to put on China.

What Xi needs is but time. He has already begun his Road and Belt projects to facilitate moving labor-intensive industries abroad and carried out his pursuit of high technology for years.

In two years, he will be able to produce lots of soyabean on the land Russia provides him and will move lots of export-geared enterprises abroad. He will certainly continue to have talks with Trump to gain time.

Therefore, if Trump does not make concession about technology the road map on further talks that The Wall Street Journal talks about is but wishful thinking.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP and Reuters’ reports, full text of which can respectively be viewed at https://www.scmp.com/news/china/economy/article/2160282/elon-musk-asks-white-house-let-him-buy-chinese-parts-without, https://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2160283/expected-donald-trump-xi-jinping-meeting-november-goal and https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-china-trade-hearing/ustr-doubles-length-of-tariff-hearing-on-200-billion-of-china-goods-idUSKBN1L228N.