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.

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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.


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.


Pentagon says China military ‘likely training for strikes’ on U.S. targets


Idrees Ali August 17, 2018

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China’s military has expanded its bomber operations in recent years while “likely training for strikes” against the United States and its allies, a Pentagon report released on Thursday said.

A B-6K strategic bomber aircraft of the Chinese Air Force is seen before the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, October 25, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer

The assessment, which comes 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 estimates exceeded $190 billion in 2017.

“Over the last three years, the PLA has rapidly expanded its overwater bomber operating areas, gaining experience in critical maritime regions and likely training for strikes against U.S. and allied targets,” the report said, using an acronym for China’s People’s Liberation Army.

The report comes as China and the United States plan to hold trade talks, offering hope they might resolve an escalating tariff conflict that threatens to degenerate into an all-out trade war.

The report said that while the PLA had continued to extend operations, it was not clear what message Beijing was seeking to send by carrying out the flights “beyond a demonstration of improved capabilities.”

The Chinese embassy in Washington could not immediately be reached for comment.

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.

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.

The Pentagon report said that despite a projected slowdown in economic growth, China’s official defense budget would be more than $240 billion by 2028.

The Pentagon report also said China’s space program was progressing rapidly.

“The PLA continues to strengthen its military space capabilities despite its public stance against the militarization of space,” it said.

This month, President Donald Trump’s administration announced an ambitious plan to usher in a new “Space Force” as the sixth branch of the military by 2020.

One of the arguments in favor of developing such a force is that American rivals like China appear increasingly ready to strike U.S. space-based capabilities in the event of a conflict.

Reporting by Idrees Ali; additional reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Tom Brown

Source: Reuters “Pentagon says China military ‘likely training for strikes’ on U.S. targets”

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, U.S. to hold lower-level trade talks in late August


Michael Martina, David Lawder August 16, 2018

BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China and the United States will hold lower-level trade talks this month, the two governments said on Thursday, offering hope that they might resolve an escalating tariff war that threatens to engulf all trade between the world’s two largest economies. .

Still, White House Economic adviser Larry Kudlow warned Beijing not to underestimate President Donald Trump’s resolve in pushing for changes in China’s economic policies.

A Chinese delegation led by Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen will meet U.S. representatives led by Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs David Malpass, China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on its website.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the talks in Washington would take place on Aug. 21 and 22, just before $16 billion in new U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods take effect, along with an equal amount of retaliatory tariffs from Beijing.

While the engagement was seen by analysts and business officials as positive, they cautioned that the talks were unlikely to lead to a breakthrough, given they involve lower-level officials, led on the U.S. side by the Treasury Department, not the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).

There also remains a wide gap between the two sides over Washington’s demands that Beijing improve market access and intellectual property protections for U.S. companies, cut industrial subsidies and slash a $375 billion trade deficit with China.

Kudlow, who heads the White House Economic Council, declined to comment on the specific goals of the Malpass-Wang talks.

“It is a good thing if they’re sending a delegation here. We haven’t had that in quite some time,” Kudlow told CNBC television.

“The Chinese government in its totality must not underestimate President (Donald) Trump’s toughness and willingness to continue this battle, to eliminate tariffs and non-tariff barriers and quotas, to stop the theft of intellectual property and to stop the forced transfer of technology,” Kudlow added.

Source: Reuters “China, U.S. to hold lower-level trade talks in late August”

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


Lockheed nabs another big hypersonic weapons contract


By: Valerie Insinna   August 15

WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin will design a second hypersonic weapon prototype for the U.S. Air Force, the service announced Monday.

Although final terms have not been established, the contract could be worth up to $480 million for the critical design review, testing and production readiness support of the Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon, or ARRW.

Lockheed is already working on a separate hypersonic weapon for the Air Force under the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon program, or HCSW, and this newest award sets it up to become a hypersonics-manufacturing powerhouse at a time when the Defense Department is deeply interested in the technology — and is investing funds to match that interest.

“We are going to go fast and leverage the best technology available to get hypersonic capability to the warfighter as soon as possible,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said in a statement announcing the contract.

The Air Force wants to move both ARRW and the HCSW to a flying prototype as soon as possible, with 2021 cited as the goal date. By signing off on an undefinitized contract action, Lockheed and the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center will be able to begin working on the program as the parties settle the final terms and price of the contract.

The service awarded Lockheed the HCSW contract in April. That program could be worth $928 million over its life cycle.

Whereas ARRW will be “pushing the art-of-the-possible” using technologies developed by the Air Force and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the HCSW will comprise mature technologies that are integrated for the first time in an air-launched delivery system, the service said in a statement.

Russia and China are making their own investments in hypersonic technologies. Last week, China claimed that it had tested a hypersonic aircraft called Starry Sky-2 for the first time ever. Russia has also been public about its interest in hypersonics, and in May flew MiG-31s equipped with new hypersonic missiles at Russia’s annual Victory Day parade.

Michael Griffin, the Pentagon’s undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, said in July that the United States cannot afford to concede the area of hypersonics to its potential adversaries.

“How close they are to operational, I just don’t know. But I’m worried about our end of things,” he said.

The other military branches are pursuing parallel hypersonics development programs, and leaders from the Defense Department, Missile Defense Agency, Air Force, Navy and Army signed a memorandum of agreement on June 28 to collaborate on hypersonic boost glide technologies, the statement said.

“The Joint Team requires the right mix of agile capabilities to compete, deter and win across the spectrum of competition and conflict,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein said. “We must push the boundaries of technology and own the high ground in this era of great power competition and beyond.”

Source: Defense News “Lockheed nabs another big hypersonic weapons contract”

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