Amazon, Apple most valuable brands but China’s rising – Kantar survey


Guy Faulconbridge Ben Makori

June 21, 2021 10:26 PM HKT Last Updated 11 hours ago

Summary

Amazon and Apple most valuable brands – Kantar

U.S. brands still dominate

But Chinese brands racing up the rankings

Tesla growing the fastest – 275% rise in value

Only one British brand in top 100 – Vodafone

LONDON, June 21 (Reuters) – Amazon (AMZN.O) and Apple (AAPL.O) are the world’s most valuable brands but Chinese brands are rising up the leaders list and are more valuable than Europe’s top brands, according to a global ranking by Kantar’s BrandZ.

Amazon, founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, remained the world’s most valuable brand with an estimated value of $684 billion, followed by Apple, founded in 1976, at $612 billion and Google at $458 billion, Kantar said.

Tencent (0700.HK), China’s biggest social media and video games company, was the People’s Republic’s top brand, in fifth place, while Alibaba (9988.HK), was in seventh place.

“Chinese brands are steadily and slowly progressing, and have made significant headway as more companies leverage their own technological developments and demonstrate their abilities to align with the major trends shaping China and the global market,” said Graham Staplehurst, global strategy director at Kantar BrandZ.

Five brands more than doubled their value, led by Chinese e-commerce giants Pinduoduo (PDD.O) and Meituan (3690.HK), China’s top liquor maker Moutai (600519.SS), China’s TikTok and America’s Tesla (TSLA.O).

Tesla, founded in 2003, was the fastest growing brand and became the most valuable car brand, growing its value by 275% year-on-year to $42.6 billion, Kantar said.

Top Chinese brands consolidated their lead over top European brands: China accounted for 14% of the top 100 brands, up from 11% a decade ago, while European brands accounted for 8%, down from 20% a decade ago, Kantar said.

The top European brand was France’s Louis Vuitton in 21st place, followed by Germany’s SAP software group in 26th place. The only British brand on the list was Vodafone (VOD.L) in 60th place.

U.S. brands were dominant: American brands grew fastest over the past year and American brands accounted for 74% of the top 100, Kantar said.

The world’s top 100 brands were worth a combined $7.1 trillion, Kantar said.

Table source: Kantar BrandZ

Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

Source: Reuters “Amazon, Apple most valuable brands but China’s rising – Kantar survey”

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


B3W, a Wonderful Idea to Deal with China’s Belt and Road


China conducts win-win cooperation with developing countries in building infrastructures under its Belt and Road initiative (BRI) not for geopolitical influence but for facilitating its investment and expanding its market there.

Now the US tries to start its Build Back Better World (B3W) initiative to counter China’s BRI but lacks the funds for it. It wants to draw in private capital for the initiative. But private capital usually focuses on making profits while developing countries fail to build the infrastructures they need because they lack funds and are unable to attract private investment as the infrastructures are unable or slow to bring satisfactory return to the investment.

First, how can such infrastructures attract US and European private capital in the first place?

Second, geopolitical influence is not determined merely by investment as it is well-known that investment, especially private one, aims making profit. If the investment is made fore beneficial purposes; therefore, even if the investment is profitable, the receiving parties may be upset as they believe that they have been exploited.

BRI does not pursue profit. It is successful if its investment facilitates the development of receiving parties even though the capital invested cannot be recovered. When the receiving countries have developed their economies, China will have more investment opportunities there and its market there will be expanded as the receiving countries have become richer through the development of infrastructures.

The US does not produce cheap goods for those poor countries; therefore, its success in building infrastructures there will expand China’s market when the receiving countries have become richer through the investment. China is clever to open its BRI to other countries because in the final analysis, China will be benefited by the infrastructure built by others.

B3W’s investment in developing countries’ infrastructures will provide investment opportunities and expand market for China. China does not care whether the investing countries will enhance their geopolitical influence there. US private capital has made lots of investment in China, including in infrastructure, but has the US enhanced its geopolitical influence in China?

B3W is a wonderful idea to benefit China.

Article by Chan Kai Yee


Can US Win Competition with China Even if It Stops Spat with Europe


For the US, the competition with China is mainly a competition between political systems. The US wants Europe to joint it in its efforts to prove that democracy is superior to autocracy. To be exact, for the US, the competition is mainly for world leadership, geopolitical influence, etc. However, China does not compete with the US for world leadership or geopolitical influence. It is only interested in maintaining and growing its interests both at home and abroad.

There is certainly lots of competition for interests in the world, mainly for market share.

For China such competition is sure win. For example, the competition in world airliner market.

China, Russia’s CR929 wide-body airliner will begin construction by the end of this year and mass production in 2026

That is what Hong Kong media HK01 says in its report in Chinese on June 18, 2021 “中俄合研CR929客機今年底將開建2026年量產”(translated by this blogger as “C929, the airliner jointly developed by China and Russia will begin construction at the end of this year and mass production in 2026”.

The basic model of the airliner, the CR929-600 will have 280 seats and a range of 12,000 kilometers. There will also be shrink and stretch versions with smaller and bigger capacities respectively.

According to the report, Russia is developing PD-35 engine with the huge thrust of 35 tons for C929.

On the other hand, according to WSJ’s report “The End of the Boeing-Airbus Spat Begins the Aviation Battle With China” on June 15, 2021, China is smoothly developing its single-aisle C919 narrow-body airliner scheduled to enter service by the end of this year 2021.

China’s and China-Russia’s joint development of large airliners scared America’s Boeing and Europe’s Airbus and makes them stop their fierce spat and begin serious preparations for competition with China and Russia.

However, what the two have to beat China and Russia. China has the largest market for airliners at home, enough to support local and joint development of airliners with Russia. In the world, members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Eurasian Economic Community, Iran and quite a few Islamic countries hostile to the West will provide quite a large market.

Moreover, since both Airbus and Boeing’s concerns are market share, China and Russia may share market with Airbus while contain Boeing along with Airbus in world market.

With this analysis, it is clear that there is little chance for Boeing of the US to win the competition.

Article by Chan Kai Yee


Washington’s Dangerous New Consensus on China


Don’t Start Another Cold War

By Bernie Sanders

June 17, 2021

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/china/2021-06-17/washingtons-dangerous-new-consensus-china

The unprecedented global challenges that the United States faces today—climate change, pandemics, nuclear proliferation, massive economic inequality, terrorism, corruption, authoritarianism—are shared global challenges. They cannot be solved by any one country acting alone. They require increased international cooperation—including with China, the most populous country on earth.

It is distressing and dangerous, therefore, that a fast-growing consensus is emerging in Washington that views the U.S.-Chinese relationship as a zero-sum economic and military struggle. The prevalence of this view will create a political environment in which the cooperation that the world desperately needs will be increasingly difficult to achieve.

It is quite remarkable how quickly conventional wisdom on this issue has changed. Just over two decades ago, in September 2000, corporate America and the leadership of both political parties strongly supported granting China “permanent normal trade relations” status, or PNTR. At that time, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the corporate media, and virtually every establishment foreign policy pundit in Washington insisted that PNTR was necessary to keep U.S. companies competitive by giving them access to China’s growing market, and that the liberalization of China’s economy would be accompanied by the liberalization of China’s government with regard to democracy and human rights.

This position was seen as obviously and unassailably correct. Granting PNTR, the economist Nicholas Lardy of the centrist Brookings Institution argued in the spring of 2000, would “provide an important boost to China’s leadership, that is taking significant economic and political risks in order to meet the demands of the international community for substantial additional economic reforms.” The denial of PNTR, on the other hand, “would mean that U.S. companies would not benefit from the most important commitments China has made to become a member” of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Writing around the same time, the political scientist Norman Ornstein of the conservative American Enterprise Institute put it more bluntly. “American trade with China is a good thing, for America and for the expansion of freedom in China,” he asserted. “That seems, or should seem, obvious.”

Well, it wasn’t obvious to me, which is why I helped lead the opposition to that disastrous trade agreement. What I knew then, and what many working people knew, was that allowing American companies to move to China and hire workers there at starvation wages would spur a race to the bottom, resulting in the loss of good-paying union jobs in the United States and lower wages for American workers. And that’s exactly what happened. In the roughly two decades that followed, around two million American jobs were lost, more than 40,000 factories shut down, and American workers experienced wage stagnation—even while corporations made billions and executives were richly rewarded. In 2016, Donald Trump won the presidential election in part by campaigning against U.S. trade policies, tapping into the real economic struggles of many voters with his phony and divisive populism.

Meanwhile, needless to say, freedom, democracy, and human rights in China have not expanded. They have been severely curtailed as China has moved in a more authoritarian direction, and China has become increasingly aggressive on the global stage. The pendulum of conventional wisdom in Washington has now swung from being far too optimistic about the opportunities presented by unfettered trade with China to being far too hawkish about the threats posed by the richer, stronger, more authoritarian China that has been one result of that increased trade.

In February 2020, the Brookings analyst Bruce Jones wrote that “China’s rise—to the position of the world’s second-largest economy, its largest energy consumer, and its number two defense spender—has unsettled global affairs” and that mobilizing “to confront the new realities of great power rivalry is the challenge for American statecraft in the period ahead.” A few months ago, my conservative colleague Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, compared the threat from China to the one posed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War: “Once again, America confronts a powerful totalitarian adversary that seeks to dominate Eurasia and remake the world order,” he argued. And just as Washington reorganized the U.S. national security architecture after World War II to prepare for conflict with Moscow, Cotton wrote, “today, America’s long-term economic, industrial, and technological efforts need to be updated to reflect the growing threat posed by Communist China.” And just last month, Kurt Campbell, the U.S. National Security Council’s top Asia policy official, said that “the period that was broadly described as engagement [with China] has come to an end” and that going forward, “the dominant paradigm is going to be competition.”

DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE

Twenty years ago, the American economic and political establishment was wrong about China. Today, the consensus view has changed, but it is once again wrong. Now, instead of extolling the virtues of free trade and openness toward China, the establishment beats the drums for a new Cold War, casting China as an existential threat to the United States. We are already hearing politicians and representatives of the military-industrial complex using this as the latest pretext for larger and larger defense budgets.

I believe it is important to challenge this new consensus—just as it was important to challenge the old one. The Chinese government is surely guilty of many policies and practices that I oppose and that all Americans should oppose: the theft of technology, the suppression of workers’ rights and the press, the repression taking place in Tibet and Hong Kong, Beijing’s threatening behavior toward Taiwan, and the Chinese government’s atrocious policies toward the Uyghur people. The United States should also be concerned about China’s aggressive global ambitions. The United States should continue to press these issues in bilateral talks with the Chinese government and in multilateral institutions such as the UN Human Rights Council. That approach would be far more credible and effective if the United States upholds a consistent position on human rights toward its own allies and partners.

Americans must resist the temptation to try to forge national unity through hostility and fear.

Organizing our foreign policy around a zero-sum global confrontation with China, however, will fail to produce better Chinese behavior and be politically dangerous and strategically counterproductive. The rush to confront China has a very recent precedent: the global “war on terror.” In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the American political establishment quickly concluded that antiterrorism had to become the overriding focus of U.S. foreign policy. Almost two decades and $6 trillion later, it’s become clear that national unity was exploited to launch a series of endless wars that proved enormously costly in human, economic, and strategic terms and that gave rise to xenophobia and bigotry in U.S. politics—the brunt of it borne by American Muslim and Arab communities. It is no surprise that today, in a climate of relentless fearmongering about China, the country is experiencing an increase in anti-Asian hate crimes. Right now, the United States is more divided than it has been in recent history. But the experience of the last two decades should have shown us that Americans must resist the temptation to try to forge national unity through hostility and fear.

A BETTER WAY FORWARD

The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has rightly recognized the rise of authoritarianism as a major threat to democracy. The primary conflict between democracy and authoritarianism, however, is taking place not between countries but within them—including in the United States. And if democracy is going to win out, it will do so not on a traditional battlefield but by demonstrating that democracy can actually deliver a better quality of life for people than authoritarianism can. That is why we must revitalize American democracy, restoring people’s faith in government by addressing the long-neglected needs of working families. We must create millions of good-paying jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and combating climate change. We must address the crises we face in health care, housing, education, criminal justice, immigration, and so many other areas. We must do this not only because it will make us more competitive with China or any other country but because it will better serve the needs of the American people.

Although the primary concern of the U.S. government is the security and prosperity of the American people, we should also recognize that in our deeply interconnected world, our security and prosperity are connected to people everywhere. To that end, it is in our interest to work with other wealthy nations to raise living standards around the world and diminish the grotesque economic inequality that authoritarian forces everywhere exploit to build their own political power and undermine democracy.

The Biden administration has pushed for a global minimum corporate tax. This is a good step toward ending the race to the bottom. But we must think even bigger: a global minimum wage, which would strengthen the rights of workers around the world, providing millions more with the chance for a decent, dignified life and diminishing the ability of multinational corporations to exploit the world’s neediest populations. To help poor countries raise their living standards as they integrate into the global economy, the United States and other rich countries should significantly increase their investments in sustainable development.

For the American people to thrive, others around the world need to believe that the United States is their ally and that their successes are our successes. Biden is doing exactly the right thing by providing $4 billion in support for the global vaccine initiative known as COVAX, by sharing 500 million vaccine doses with the world, and by backing a WTO intellectual property waiver that would enable poorer countries to produce vaccines themselves. China deserves acknowledgment for the steps it has taken to provide vaccines, but the United States can do even more. When people around the world see the American flag, it should be attached to packages of lifesaving aid, not drones and bombs.

Creating true security and prosperity for working people in the United States and China alike demands building a more equitable global system that prioritizes human needs over corporate greed and militarism. In the United States, handing billions more in taxpayer dollars to corporations and the Pentagon while inflaming bigotry will not serve these goals.

Americans must not be naive about China’s repression, disregard for human rights, and global ambitions. I strongly believe that the American people have an interest in strengthening global norms that respect the rights and dignity of all people—in the United States, in China, and around the world. I fear, however, that the growing bipartisan push for a confrontation with China will set back those goals and risks empowering authoritarian, ultranationalistic forces in both countries. It will also deflect attention from the shared common interests the two countries have in combating truly existential threats such as climate change, pandemics, and the destruction that a nuclear war would bring.

Developing a mutually beneficial relationship with China will not be easy. But we can do better than a new Cold War.

Source: Foreign Affairs “Washington’s Dangerous New Consensus on China”

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


Russia, US Will Launch Arms Control Talks To Avoid ‘Accidental War’


The agreement reached during the summit between President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin is “a positive first step,” according to one analyst.

JACQUELINE FELDSCHER | JUNE 16, 2021

U.S. and Russian officials agreed Wednesday to open the lines of communication regarding the two nations’ nuclear stockpiles to reduce the risk of an accident, President Joe Biden told reporters.

The bilateral strategic stability dialogue is “diplomatic-speak for getting our military experts and our diplomats together to work on a mechanism that can lead to the control of new and dangerous and sophisticated weapons that are coming on the scene now that reduce the times of response, that raise the prospects of accidental war,” Biden said at a press conference in Geneva, where he appeared relaxed after a week of foreign engagements.

Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin also addressed a number of other top defense and foreign-policy issues during the meeting, which lasted more than three hours, including cybersecurity, election interference, violence in Ukraine and the drawdown in Afghanistan.Biden said both sides will look back in three to six months on all the topics discussed to evaluate whether any progress has been made.

“I’m not sitting here saying because the president and I agreed that we would do these things that all of a sudden it’s going to work,” Biden said. “What I’m saying is I think there’s a genuine prospect to significantly improve relations between our two countries without us giving a single solitary thing.”

While Biden was quiet on his goals for the meeting ahead of time, saying he wouldn’t negotiate in public, he revealed at its conclusion that his intention was to make progress on arms control. A joint statement from Biden and Putin released by the White House says talks will begin “in the near future…to lay the groundwork for future arms control and risk reduction measures.”

The agreement to begin talks is “a positive first step,” but the talks need to be frequent, comprehensive and more than just grievance-sharing to be productive, said Kingston Reif, the director of disarmament and threat reduction policy at the Arms Control Association.

Both the U.S. and Russia enhanced their nuclear arsenal in recent years. America is building new versions of all three legs of the aging triad: a land-launched intercontinental ballistic missile to replace the Minuteman III, the first new Air Force bomber in decades, and the Columbia-class fleet of submarines to replace the Ohio-class boats.

Russia has unveiled its own new systems for delivering nuclear weapons, including a nuclear-powered torpedo that it tested in April.

The two nations recently made progress in nuclear arms control. Russia and the U.S. in February agreed to extend the New START Treaty, an agreement that first went into effect in 2011 that places verifiable limits on both nation’s nuclear stockpiles. The five-year extension means there will be limits on Russian land and sea missiles plus heavy bombers until 2026, according to the State Department.

Some of the new Russian weapons, including the torpedo, are not covered by New START, and Reif said one area where officials should focus discussions is on a follow-on arms control agreement that also puts limits on the numbers of these types of systems.

The strategic dialogue could also help each side understand the other’s position on cyber and space attacks, Reif said. It would avoid the risk of escalation, for example, if each side knew what kind of cyber or space attacks the other nation viewed as unacceptable and for which a nuclear response could be on the table.

“There should be a conversation about the risk that offensive cyber capabilities pose to nuclear command and control, and a discussion about the escalation risks each side sees with a cyber attack on nuclear command and control,” Reif said. “It’s an opportunity to have a dialogue not only related to some core weapons-specific issues, but also on issues with respect to the weaponization of emerging technologies that could impact the nuclear balance.”

Biden said the two leaders did not discuss whether the U.S. could respond to a cyber attack with conventional military force.

At the summit, Biden and Putin also discussed how to protect national assets from cyberattacks. Biden said he gave the Russian president a list of 16 critical infrastructure items, including the power grid and water system, that should be “off the table” for any cyberattack.

When Biden was asked about what consequences he threatened if Putin went after any of those protected areas, he said, “I pointed out to him that we have significant cyber capabilities and he knows it….If in fact they violate these basic norms, we will respond.”

At a separate press conference, Putin denied that Russian hackers were behind recent cyber attacks on American infrastructure, including the Colonial Pipeline and meat producer JBS.

At the wide-ranging summit, Biden said the two men also discussed Russia’s disinformation campaign and interference in the U.S. election, adding that Putin “knows there are consequences” if Moscow does it again.

Biden also said Putin agreed to “help” on Afghanistan, where America and NATO are withdrawing all their troops by Sept. 11, but declined to provide any details on what that assistance might entail.

Source: Defense One “Russia, US Will Launch Arms Control Talks To Avoid ‘Accidental War’”

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


‘There is no happiness in life’


(This reblogger’s Note: The article is sad that US domestic turmoil fails to facilitate its diplomacy}

CNN’s Meanwhile in America <meanwhile@newsletters.cnn.com>

10:37 (1 hour ago) June 17, 2021

Stephen Collinson and Caitlin Hu

‘There is no happiness in life’

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, US President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva on June 16, 2021.

———-

Did any of it matter?

A week of summits, diplomatic pageantry and media blitzes ended when Joe Biden climbed the stairs onto Air Force One at Geneva airport. “I did what I came to do,” the US President said, after warning Vladimir Putin to halt cyberattacks on American infrastructure and making clear that he didn’t want a new Cold War but would firmly defend US interests and values.

His comment sums up the rest of a trip on which he mended relations with US allies traumatized by Donald Trump, launched his global crusade to save democracy and offered belated US leadership on the Covid-19 pandemic. He acknowledged it would take months to learn whether his talks result in US prisoners in Russia being freed, whether a cybersecurity showdown cools and strategic clashes with Moscow in Ukraine and elsewhere ease.

By then, his first foreign trip will be a distant memory — reflecting that while presidential travel may be effective in forging incremental progress, it’s often overhyped. (Does anybody remember Barack Obama’s speech to the Muslim world in Cairo?)

But Biden’s reassertion of US leadership was welcome in Europe. A united West may be more effective at countering Putin, the pandemic and even China. It’s better for everyone when the US President doesn’t set out to destroy long-standing alliances.

But Biden’s encounter with the Russian President was also a reminder of how America’s own political turmoil has rendered it an unreliable global power. Putin, on his fifth US President, has run the Kremlin for more than 20 years. In that time, the US has gone into the Middle East and tried to get out again. It joined the Paris climate accord, left it and went back in. It forged an Iran nuclear pact, tried to destroy it and now wants to revive it. It pivoted to Asia and back again. This head-snapping record explains some of the skepticism with Biden’s “America’s back” roadshow.

Republican Rep Steve Scalise of Louisiana — a devotee of Trump, a President who slavishly toadied to Putin — has complained it is time for Biden to “stand up” to the Kremlin strongman. His reminder that irony is dead exemplifies the political fracture Biden must now confront at home.

Until America decides what kind of country it wants to be, it cannot be a true force for international stability. And that’s not happening anytime soon. (This Blogger’s comment: Bravo, bravo!)

Source: CNN “’There is no happiness in life’”

Note: This is CNN’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the article’s views. Some of my views can be found in this blogger’s note and comment.


China’s Shein Grows into World Fashion Giant Thanks to Trump’s Trade War


Bloomberg’s article “How Trump’s Trade War Built Shein, China’s First Global Fashion Giant” on June 14, 2021 tells the story in details. If interested, readers can read the article at https://www.bloombergquint.com/business/online-fashion-giant-shein-emerged-from-china-thanks-to-donald-trump-s-trade-war.

According to the article, due to tariff hikes of Trump’s trade war, China has exempted export duties for direct-to-consumer companies such as Shein to reduce their export costs.

The article said that the trade war puts Shein and companies like it “in a good position in the U.S., where packages worth less than $800 have been able to enter the country duty-free since 2016. When the Trump administration later imposed tariffs to make Chinese products more expensive, the small-value shipments remained exempt.”

The above enables Shein’s goods to continue to enjoy the low-cost advantages of Chinese exports. As a result, the seven-year old company Shein is able to upend a $36 industry by beating world famous brands such as Inditex SA’s Zara and Hennes & Mauritz AB with its supply-chain savvy, data-driven clothing design and the intriguing exploitation of US tax loophole, etc.

According to Supchina’s article “A look inside Shein, the $45 billion retail enigma upending the global fashion industry” on June 9, 2021 (at https://supchina.com/2021/06/09/a-look-inside-shein-the-45-billion-retail-enigma-upending-the-global-fashion-industry/.) Shein keeps a very low profile and refrains to provide information about it so that Supchina regards it as an enigma. However, its tremendous success and huge sales make it impossible to avoid limelight.

This blogger believes that there must be quite a few similar success stories of Chinese companies but not so sensational, otherwise how can China maintain its huge volume of export to the US in spite of US excessive tariff hikes. As all those companies adopt the strategy of keeping secret of their successes, the US not only fails to win the trade war but even does not know how it has lost the war.

Artocle by Chan Kai Yee


U.S. Navy says carrier group operating in S.China Sea


Reuters

June 15, 2021 12:42 PM HKT Last Updated a day ago

U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan is seen during its visit to Hong Kong, China November 21, 2018. REUTERS/Yuyang Wang/File Photo

TAIPEI, June 15 (Reuters) – A U.S. aircraft carrier group led by the USS Ronald Reagan has entered the South China Sea as part of a routine mission, the U.S. Navy said on Tuesday, at a time of rising tensions between Washington and Beijing, which claims most the disputed waterway.

China frequently objects to U.S. military missions in the South China Sea saying they do not help promote peace or stability, and the announcement follows China blasting the Group of Seven nations for a statement scolding Beijing over a range of issues.

“While in the South China Sea, the strike group is conducting maritime security operations, which include flight operations with fixed and rotary wing aircraft, maritime strike exercises, and coordinated tactical training between surface and air units,” the U.S. Navy said.

“Carrier operations in the South China Sea are part of the U.S. Navy’s routine presence in the Indo-Pacific.”

The carrier is being accompanied by the guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh and the guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey, it added.

China has ramped up its military presence in the South China Sea in recent years, including building artificial islands and air bases.

The South China Sea has become one of many flashpoints in the testy relationship between China and the United States, with Washington rejecting what it calls unlawful territorial claims by Beijing in the resource-rich waters.

U.S. warships have passed through the South China Sea with increasing frequency in recent years, in a show of force against the Chinese claims.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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


Russia Not China Is EU’s Threat, but Biden Warms up with Putin


Some media says that G7 communique singles out China to accuse, but is entirely ignorant of the communique’s severe attacks of Russia as Russia not China is G7’s EU members’ major threat. Therefore Defense One says in its report “NATO Condemns Russia’s ‘Aggressive Actions’ Ahead of Biden-Putin Meeting” on June 14 begins by saying, “NATO leaders emerged from their Monday summit united in their determination to counter Russia, but American officials have yet to convince their alliance counterparts to oppose China with similar full-throatedness. The communique from the summit mentions Russia 62 times, and China just 10.”

NATO members are mostly EU members constantly under Russian threat. They certainly want the US to be harsh on Russia, but US President Joe Biden wants to meet Putin and seems will be warm with him.

That is especially true judging by Biden’s meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sideline of NATO meeting. In spite of US tensions with Turkey, the meeting seems quite friendly.

In spite of US-Turkey tensions, Biden said at the NATO summit that he had a “positive and productive” talk with Erdogan at their meeting, while Erdogan said at a press conference following the bilateral meeting that he believes “there are no problems in Turkey-U.S. ties that don’t have a solution.”

Does Biden believe that there are no problems in US-Russia ties in spite of US-Russia tensions, European leaders wonder.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Defense One’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.defenseone.com/threats/2021/06/nato-condemns-russias-aggressive-actions-ahead-biden-putin-meeting/174721/.


American Cannot Be Back if Republicans Back in Power


Foreign Affairs article “America Is Back—but for How Long?” on June 14, 2021 worries that due to polarization in US politics if current Democratic President Joe Biden is succeeded by a Republican like Donald Trump, there will be an end to Biden’s “America Is Back”.

Therefore, the unity of the West in current G7 summit is but one in appearance. EU certainly has to keep on its great efforts to make preparations for a world where America is not back!

China seems to be making better preparations whether America is back or not. It’s Belt and Route initiative will enable it to move lots of its enterprises for export to the US away from China to Silk Road economic belt. In addition it has long been making great efforts and providing huge subsidies for development of its own advanced technology.

EU certainly knows if Trump comes beck or someone like him comes to power, it will be the next target of US trade and tech war.

If unfortunately America is not back and EU is not prepared while China has been prepared through its Belt and Road initiative, China will look on with a smile the trade and tech war between the US and EU.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Foreign Affairs’ article, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/world/2021-06-14/america-back-how-long?utm_medium=newsletters&utm_source=fatoday&utm_campaign=America%20Is%20Back—but%20for%20How%20Long?&utm_content=20210614&utm_term=FA%20Today%20-%20112017