India’s Modi to visit China this week as rapprochement gathers pace


FILE PHOTO: India’s prime Minister Narendra Modi attends a bilateral meeting with Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May, at 10 Downing Street in London, April 18, 2018. Kirsty Wigglesworth/Pool via Reuters

Ben Blanchard April 22, 2018

BEIJING (Reuters) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit China this week for an informal meeting with President Xi Jinping, as efforts at rapprochement gather pace following a testing year in ties between the two giant neighbors.

The Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, said the two would meet on Friday and Saturday in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

“Our common interests far outweigh our differences. The two countries have no choice other than pursuing everlasting friendship, mutually beneficial cooperation and common development,” Wang told reporters after meeting Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj in Beijing.

“The summit will go a long way towards deepening the mutual trust between the two great neighbors,” he added. “We will make sure that the informal summit will be a complete success and a new milestone in the history of China-India relations.”

Modi has sought to re-set ties after disputes over issues including their disputed border with Tibet and other issues.

The discussion with Wang was to prepare for the informal summit, Swaraj said.

“It will be an important occasion for them (Modi and Xi) to exchange views on bilateral and international matters, from an overarching and long-term perspective with the objective of enhancing mutual communication,” Swaraj said.

The Asian giants were locked in a 73-day military stand-off in a remote, high-altitude stretch of that boundary last year. At one point, soldiers from the two sides threw stones and punches.

The confrontation between the nuclear-armed powers in the Himalayas underscored Indian alarm at China’s expanding security and economic links in South Asia.

China’s ambitious Belt and Road initiative of transport and energy links bypasses India, apart from a corner of the disputed Kashmir region, also claimed by Pakistan, but involves India’s neighbors Sri Lanka, Nepal and the Maldives. Modi’s previously unannounced Wuhan trip is even more unusual in that he will visit China again in June for a summit in Qingdao of the China and Russia-led security grouping, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which India joined last year.

It is almost unheard of for foreign leaders to visit China twice in such close succession. Xi is also extending Modi the rare honor of a meeting outside of Beijing, which almost never happens unless there is a multilateral summit taking place.

Modi’s nationalist government has reversed course on its relationship with Beijing apparently after realizing its hard line on China was not working.

Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, who lives in India and who China considers a dangerous separatist, is also facing the cold shoulder.

In March, India issued an unprecedented ban on Tibetans holding a rally with the Dalai Lama in New Delhi to mark the 60th anniversary of the start of the failed uprising against Chinese rule.

Other areas of disagreement remain however between Beijing and New Delhi.

China has blocked India’s membership of a nuclear cartel and it has also been blocking U.N. sanctions against a Pakistan-based militant leader blamed for attacks on India.

Additional reporting by Elias Glenn and Gao Liangping; Mayank Bhardwaj in NEW DELHI; Editing by William Maclean and Dale Hudson

Source: Reuters “India’s Modi to visit China this week as rapprochement gathers pace”

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

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China is building drone planes for its aircraft carriers


They’re robotics wingmen for China’s carrier pilots.

By Jeffrey Lin and P.W. Singer April 21, 2018

The Chinese military is bringing its drone and aircraft carrier programs together, pulling unmanned aerial systems onto carriers as robotic wingmen for pilots.

Type 003
This display at the Military Museum of the Chinese People’s Revolution (China’s official military museum) in 2016 shows a nuclear-powered carrier with stealthy unmanned combat aerial vehicles.
Oedo Soldier

Shi Wen, the chief engineer of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp (CASC)’s attack drone family, told the Global Times that China is working on drones capable of flying from aircraft carriers. This program would be China’s response to the U.S. Navy’s UCLASS program, which proved drones’ ability to take off and land from aircraft carriers, and the U.S. MQ-25 Stingray program, which will deploy refueling tanker drones to carriers in the coming years.

Stealthy Sword
The Lijian drone could be tweaked to better serve aircraft carriers.
Hongjian via China Defense Forum

While China’s two aircraft carriers, the Liaoning and the nearly completed CV-17, have ski ramps that would likely limit them to vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) drones, the next Chinese carrier, CV-18, will likely have electromagnetic catapults. Those catapults would enable CV-18 and its nuclear-powered successors to launch heavier and faster drones propelled by turbofan engines.

It’s likely the drones Shi mentions will be sophisticated, heavier versions of today’s systems. The Lijian, for example, uses a flying wing body (just like the B-2 bomber and X-47B drone) and has two bomb bays that could accommodate 2 tons of artillery. A carrier variant would have reinforced landing gears and structures to handle the forces involved in catapult launch and assisted recovery. They may also have larger fuel tanks for extended range.

Shi also added that CASC’s primary customer, the People’s Liberation Army, was looking at using artificial intelligence to enable “wingmen” drones for manned aircraft.

For quick air strike abilities, missile-armed drone helicopters like this V750 and the Sky Saker 300 could be adapted for use on Chinese warships.

Aerial Firepower for the Masses
For quick air strike abilities, missile-armed drone helicopters like this V750 and the Sky Saker 300 could be adapted for use on Chinese warships.
Weibo

These plans fit nicely within China’s other military ambitions. The nation is already testing the first of VTOL unmanned aerial systems (UAS) on its warships. Those VTOL drones are likely unmanned helicopters, used for reconnaissance and possibly anti-submarine missions. Those drones will likely see service in the next few years, before being replaced by those with more sophisticated VTOL propulsion systems, such as tiltrotor engines (the engines tilt 90 degrees for level flight) or tail sitters (the entire aircraft tilts forward perpendicularly for level flight).

Wingmen
The Cloud Shadow, a single-engined version of the Sky Wing UAV, has stealthy features like canted vertical stabilizers and serrated panel edges, though its lacks an internal weapons bay (for now). The CH-X drone, which will be displayed at Zhuhai 2018, will be a completely stealth unmanned combat aerial vehicle.
cqsims

The Cloud Shadow, a single-engined version of the Sky Wing UAV, has stealthy features like canted vertical stabilizers and serrated panel edges, though its lacks an internal weapons bay (for now). The CH-X drone, which will be displayed at Zhuhai 2018, will be a completely stealth unmanned combat aerial vehicle.

Shi also mentioned that a new stealth drone, the Caihong X “CH-X,” will be displayed at the 2018 Zhuhai Airshow in November. The CH-X will likely draw from the work done on the Lijian flying wing stealth drone. Like other members of the CH family displayed at the Zhuhai Airshows, the CH-X will likely be offered for export, possibly making it the world’s first stealthy attack drone offered for export. And, as the CH-X is marketed for foreign buyers, it could also likely find domestic naval users as well.

Peter Warren Singer is a strategist and senior fellow at the New America Foundation. He has been named by Defense News as one of the 100 most influential people in defense issues. He was also dubbed an official “Mad Scientist” for the U.S. Army’s Training and Doctrine Command. Jeffrey is a national security professional in the greater D.C. area.

Source: Popular Science “China is building drone planes for its aircraft carriers”

Note: This is Popular Science’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


To Fight or Not to Fight Trade War, That Is the Question


US President Trump is now challenging China with a trade war to force China to reduce its trade surplus by US$100 billion.

What shall China do? Chinese media and officials have so far responded bellicosely, stating that China will fight to the end.

I had a post on April 4 that predicted that China would win the trade war. However, the victory will be quite costly now as China has not made adequate preparations for it.

Trump’s ban on sales to ZTE alone dealt quite a heavy blow to one of China’s two telecoms equipment giants as ZTE depends heavily on US chips for its operation.

China has already drawn up and been carrying out its Made in China 2025 Program to develop the capabilities of making substitutes for most of its high-tech imports. Now it has decided to make huge additional investment in chip and other electronic high-tech production to be independent from US high-tech supplies, but it takes time.

Moreover, it has been moving its labor-intensive industries to countries with lower labor costs. Time is on China’s side. China can subdue the US in trade war without fighting a decade later. Therefore, I believe it is better for China to delay trade war with the US as long as possible.

Chinese President Xi Jinping recently promised at Boao Forum further opening of Chinese market and liberalization of Chinese economy. It seems precisely aimed at pleasing the US to avoid the trade war.

However, on April 17 China slapped 178.6 percent deposit on imports of U.S. sorghum in retaliation of US tariff increase on Chinese exports. That gave the impression that China is determined to fight back in the trade war.

What does China really want? To fight or no to fight the trade war, that is the question.

To fight, it will win and put an end to US economic hegemony, but that will be quite a costly victory. According to China’s gifted strategist Sun Tzu, subduing the enemy without fighting is better.

There are also advantages not to make concessions. The US is now attacking nearly all countries in the world with its protectionism. If China surrenders to the US, other countries under US attack will have difficulties to resist a triumph United States. As a result, US protectionism may prevail while globalization advocated by China and most others may suffer.

For example, Trump is also attacking US close ally Japan for reduction of US trade deficit with Japan. The Star says in its report “Trump, Abe fail to agree on U.S. steel tariff exemption for Japan” that Trump will not exempt the high tariffs he imposed on China as well as Japan. China’s surrender will make it hard for Abe to resist Trump’s attack.

I still believe that there will not be a real trade war but some skirmishes between China and the US as Trump does not want a real trade war. The high tariffs he will impose on Chinese goods will make American consumers especially the poor suffer. He will thus lose quite many votes in the next presidential election.

What Trump wants is to get substantial concessions from China so that he will be popular and obtain much more votes in the election.

For China the trade war may cause some hardship near term but in the long run, it will gain quite a lot especially if it can bring an end to US economic hegemony, which is the basis of US military hegemony. Moreover, its victory will also be the victory of globalization that facilitates its economic expansion in the world.

However, China’s priority is to realize its dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. A trade war will certainly cause difficulties in realizing the dream; therefore, China had better avoid it.

To fight or not to fight, that is the question. If the trade war is really fought, the whole world will be affected.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on The Star’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2018/04/18/trump-cites-very-big-deficit-with-japan-during-abe-visit.html.


Factbox: Made in China 2025: Beijing’s big ambitions from robots to chips


Reuters Staff April 20, 2018

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China is looking to catch up with rivals like the United States and Germany in high-end technology, making a major push with a “Made in China 2025” strategy that identifies 10 key sectors, including robotics, aerospace and clean-energy cars.

The drive by President Xi Jinping is at the heart of a bruising trade standoff between China and the United States, with Washington concerned that Chinese companies, backed by the state, could overtake its own tech titans.

Chinese trade partners in Europe, especially Germany, have also raised concerns that a more protectionist China is aggressively moving up the value chain faster than expected. Below are the key targets China has set in high-end tech.

CHIPS, COMPUTERS AND CLOUD

China wants home-made chips used in smartphones to make up 40 percent of the local market by 2025, helping cut heavy reliance on imports. Computers and cloud systems should also close the quality gap on international rivals. In smart manufacturing, China wants domestic firms to have 60 percent of the market in industrial censors.

ROBOT WARS

Chinese firms making industrial robots should make up half of the market by 2020 and 70 percent by 2025 by when local robotics systems should have been “perfected” to compete with global rivals. The country is aiming for 2-3 local champions.

TAKING FLIGHT

Chinese airlines should hit 100 billion yuan ($15.90 billion) in revenue by 2020 and double that by 2025, when plane makers should capture 10 percent of the domestic market. The home-grown CJ-1000A jet engine should also be ready for commercial use. In the space race, China wants 80 percent of civil space industry equipment to be domestically sourced by 2025.

ON THE HIGH SEAS

China should become a world leader in latest-generation ships and out-at-sea engineering equipment, with critical systems and equipment capturing 80 percent of the high-tech ships market by 2025.

RAILWAYS

Beijing wants its domestic firms, already dominant at home, to make a major push overseas in the next decade. By 2020, train makers should make 30 percent of their sales abroad, raising this to 40 percent by 2025.

SMART GREEN CARS

Amid a major push towards fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, China wants its own firms to take 80 percent of the fast-growing market by 2025, with two local champions among the world’s leading new-energy vehicle companies. Chinese companies should also dominate in smart, connected vehicle technology.

RENEWABLES

Chinese companies making renewable energy equipment and energy saving equipment should dominate the market with an over 80 percent share by 2025, with three home-grown firms with enough scale to compete globally.

ON THE FARM

Already strong in agricultural tech, China is aiming to produce 90 percent of its own farming equipment by 2020, with high-end machines like tractors holding around a one-third share of their segments. This should rise to 95 percent and 60 percent respectively by 2025.

HIGH-TECH MATERIALS

Advanced basic materials, such as for construction or textiles, and essential strategic materials including rare earth and special alloys, should hold a 90 percent and 85 percent share of the domestic market respectively by 2025.

DRUGS AND DEVICES

China wants home-grown drug firms to be up to international standards by 2025, with 5-10 locally-developed drugs having won approval by then in the United States or Europe. In medical devices – an area in which China has been heavily reliant on imports – Beijing wants its own companies to capture 70 percent of the market for middle and high-end medical equipment at county-level hospitals.

Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Philip McClellan

Source: Reuters “Factbox: Made in China 2025: Beijing’s big ambitions from robots to chips”

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


DSA 2018: China’s Norinco reveals Fire Dragon 280A tactical missile


A photograph of a Norinco brochure showing the Fire Dragon 280A 750 mm tactical missile. Source: IHS Markit/Gabriel Dominguez

Gabriel Dominguez, Kuala Lumpur – IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly 17 April 2018

The China North Industries Corporation (Norinco) has revealed the development of the Fire Dragon 280A Tactical Missile for use by its AR3 multiple launch rocket system (MLRS).

This 750 mm-diameter missile is not only larger than the previous largest munition available to the AR3 – the 370 mm Fire Dragon 280 guided rocket – but also has a 10 km-longer range (290 km), according to the company.

“The 7.38 m-long missile, which completed development trials in 2017, is fitted with a 480 kg high-explosive blast/fragmentation warhead that uses pre-formed fragments,” a company spokesperson told Jane’s at the 16-19 Defence Services Asia 2018 (DSA 2018) exhibition in Kuala Lumpur.

Guidance is provided by INS aided by a global navigation satellite system (GNSS), GPS, and the BeiDou systems, thus giving the missile a stated circular error probable (CEP) of no less than 30 m at its maximum range.

The official told Jane’s that the AR3’s previous eight (two pairs of four) launch tubes have been replaced with two launch containers, each of which holds one Fire Dragon 280A.

The company also revealed that the modifications made to the MLRS mean that the TL-7B land-based version of the TL-7 anti-ship cruise missile (ASCM), which was first unveiled at the 2016 Singapore Airshow, can also be mounted on and fired from the AR3.

The official described the 6 m-long ASCM as being fitted with a 320 kg semi-armour-piercing warhead “capable of destroying a medium-sized or large enemy warship”.

Source: Jane’s 360 “DSA 2018: China’s Norinco reveals Fire Dragon 280A tactical missile”

Note: This is Jane’s 360’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


DSA 2018: Chinese LHD design contends for RMN’s MRSS programme


China’s CSOC displayed a model of an LHD with amphibious capabilities at DSA 2018. The company is offering the design to Malaysia to meet the RMN’s MRSS requirement. Source: Richard D Fisher Jr

Richard D Fisher Jr, Kuala Lumpur – IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly 17 April 2018

A Chinese landing helicopter dock (LHD) with amphibious capabilities is one of the designs being considered for the Royal Malaysian Navy’s (RMN’s) multirole support ship (MRSS) programme, officials told Jane’s at the 16-19 Defence Services Asia 2018 (DSA 2018) exhibition in Kuala Lumpur.

The design being considered appears to be a smaller version of the 23,000-tonne LHD design unveiled by the China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Company (CSOC) at the 2012 Defense and Security exhibition in Bangkok. RMN officials said that the Chinese design could carry up to eight helicopters and would be equipped with a well-deck for deploying amphibious vehicles.

While officials at DSA 2018 stressed that the RMN has yet to select a final design, the experiences made with China’s different production and ship standards as part of the ongoing Sino-Malaysian co-operation to build littoral mission ships (LMSs) for the RMN has led to concerns about the desirability of China’s MRSS proposal. However, the officials also stressed that Beijing’s proposal could remain competitive if it becomes the low-cost option.

Malaysian officials indicated they expect the 15,000-tonne three-ship MRSS programme to be funded in 2018, with a final design expected to be selected in 2019.

The MRSS is part of the RMN’s ’15-to-5’ fleet transformation programme, which seeks to reduce operational costs and increase efficiency in logistics management, while bolstering vessel numbers.

Source: Jane’s 360 “DSA 2018: Chinese LHD design contends for RMN’s MRSS programme”

Note: This is Jane’s 360’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Exclusive: China looks to speed up chip plans as U.S. trade tensions boil – sources


Elias Glenn, Cate Cadell April 19, 2018

BEIJING (Reuters) – China is looking to accelerate plans to develop its domestic semiconductor market amid a fierce trade stand-off with the United States and a U.S. ban on sales to Chinese phone maker ZTE that has underscored the country’s reliance on imported chips.

Senior Chinese officials have held meetings this week with industry bodies, regulators and the country’s powerful chip fund about speeding up already aggressive plans for the sector, two people with direct knowledge of the talks told Reuters.

The talks underscore China’s concern about its reliance on imported chips from global names such as Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) and Intel Corp (INTC.O), aggravated by a worsening dispute with the United States centered on cutting-edged tech.

“In the last few days senior Chinese officials have met to discuss plans to speed up the development of the chip industry,” one person with knowledge of the talks said, asking not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

China has already made the semiconductor market a key priority under its “Made in China 2025” strategy to cut reliance on foreign technologies and create its own domestic champions.

That goal has been given fresh urgency after a U.S. ban on sales of products – including chips – to Chinese phone maker ZTE Corp (000063.SZ) roiled the firm, which uses mainly U.S. chips in its smartphones.

A second person with knowledge of the talks said senior officials had met with key ministries, as well as the National Integrated Circuitry Investment Fund, “this week” to discuss speeding up plans due to recent trade tensions.

China’s Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) did not immediately respond to faxed requests for comment late on Thursday. The IC Fund did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The seven-year ban on U.S. firms selling parts to ZTE comes at a time when the two countries have threatened each other with tens of billions of dollars in tariffs in recent weeks, fanning worries of a full blown trade war.

Washington said ZTE had violated an agreement reached after it was caught illegally shipping goods to Iran.

ZTE, which has chips from U.S. firm Qualcomm in an estimated 50-65 percent of its phones, is now facing a struggle to save its smartphone business as it looks to find new supplies.

That over-reliance has spooked China – though most industry insiders said shifting production back home would not be easy.

“China won’t allow the U.S. to use chips as a stick against it. China can take steps to replace foreign-made chips with domestic,” the country’s hawkish Global Times newspaper said in a commentary this week.

“The Trump administration is helping us Chinese make such a decision.”

The move could boost domestic firms including Tsinghua Group, Huawei [HWT.UL], Unisplendour Corp Ltd (000938.SZ), Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (0981.HK), and smaller rival Jiangsu Changjiang Electronics Technology Co (600584.SS).

China already wants locally-made chips inside 40 percent all smartphones in the domestic market by 2025 and is betting billions of dollars on domestic “champions” to get there. It also has targets in robotics, electric cars and drugs.

Analysts say money is now “raining down” from Beijing and state-backed funds to support the chip market, while the country’s state chip fund, known as the “Big Fund”, raised an estimated $32 billion in a new round of financing last month.

China’s chip push is at the heart of the trade stand-off with the United States. Beijing wants to boost its tech prowess and escape from its reliance on U.S. products. Washington sees the move as a direct challenge to its own technology leaders and a potential security threat as China’s power grows.

Reporting by Elias Glenn and Cate Cadell in BEIJING; Writing by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Alex Richardson

Source: Reuters “Exclusive: China looks to speed up chip plans as U.S. trade tensions boil – sources”

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