Posted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 5:08 am Post subject: WATCH CHINA (includes Chen info)
China postpones military exchanges with US
February 25 2010 Beijing
China has postponed several high-level military exchanges with the US, in the first tangible sign of retaliation over Washington’s decision to sell $6.4bn in arms to Taiwan.
”China has decided to suspend arrangements for some planned mutual visits between the US and the Chinese military,” a Chinese military spokesman said on Thursday.
The postponed exchanges included a planned trip by General Chen Bingde, China’s chief of the general staff, to the US. A visit to China by Admiral Robert Willard, the head of US Pacific Command, has also been postponed. The spokesman said it was too early to speculate whether other military exchanges would be impacted.
China] routinely uses our military-to-military relationship to express displeasure,” said the spokesman. “Nevertheless, we are committed to maintaining a positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship with China.”
China last week allowed the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier to dock at Hong Kong for a routine port visit, suggesting that Beijing might adopt a softer stance on the arms sales. At the same time, however, Chinese military officers who had been invited to a reception aboard the Nimitz declined to attend.
The suspension of military contacts will complicate the difficult task of building trust between the armed forces of the current sole global superpower and its future most likely challenger.
Next month, the Pentagon is due to release its annual report on the Chinese military – an exercise that regularly stresses concerns about Beijing’s military build-up. The report generally triggers an angry response from Beijing that the US is trying to demonise China.
The US military and the People’s Liberation Army in China have tried to broaden dialogue over the past few years through high-level visits, military student exchanges and port calls. Such contacts had recently been stepped up after China cut most military ties following the last major announcement by the US of arms sales to Taiwan in 2008.
Posted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 5:12 am Post subject: Concerns grow over China's sale of US bonds
Concerns grow over China's sale of US bonds
Evidence is mounting that Chinese sales of US Treasury bonds over recent months are intended as a warning shot
to Washington over escalating political disputes rather than being part of a routine portfolio shift as thought at first.
Posted: Sun May 09, 2010 6:29 am Post subject: NK Kim in China, NK troops mass on SK border
NK Kim in China, NK troops mass on SK border
I had an Email about thousands of North Korea troops massing on their border with South Korea.
THIS IS NOT GOOD!
Kim Jong Il to meet China leaders on rare visit
Reclusive North Korean leader in country amid rising tensions with South
May 4, 2010 - BEIJING
North Korea's reclusive leader Kim Jong Il was making his way Wednesday to China's capital on a rare trip abroad meant to be so secret that Beijing refused to confirm it —
despite videos shot by foreign media showing him leaving a Chinese hotel.
Kim was expected to meet with President Hu Jintao and other top Chinese leaders
just as South Korea inches closer to blaming the North for the recent sinking of a navy ship that killed 46 sailors.
Japanese and South Korean media, which have been closely tracking Kim, reported Wednesday that
a train carrying Kim had arrived in the eastern port city of Tianjin, one of China's special economic zones aimed at manufacturing and exports.
Kim's visits to China — North Korea's chief benefactor — are usually not officially announced until he leaves the country,
but he was photographed leaving a hotel after reportedly arriving in the port city of Dalian. Kim, North Korea's absolute ruler, is known to shun air travel.
Kim's visit, expected for months, comes amid increasing speculation in South Korea that his hard-line communist regime may have
torpedoed the South Korean warship in disputed waters near their maritime border in March.
In Seoul on Tuesday, President Lee Myung-bak said the sinking of the Cheonan was not a "simple accident" and ordered a thorough review of South Korea's military readiness.
Lee called North Korea's military "the most belligerent forces" but stopped short of directly naming the North as a suspect in the March 26 disaster.
If South Korea declares North Korea responsible for the sinking, it could look to China to back new United Nations sanctions aimed at punishing the North.
China would likely be reluctant to support such measures, fearing they could spark unrest along its border with North Korea.
In Seoul, South Korean Unification Minister Hyun In-taek met with Chinese Ambassador Zhang Xinsen on Tuesday and called on Beijing to
play a "responsible role" amid the North-South tensions, according to spokesman Chun Hae-sung.
Chun did not elaborate or say whether China was being asked to convey a specific message to North Korea.
The sensitive timing of the visit and lack of advance notice from Beijing drew criticism from some South Koreans.
"I think it's disappointing and worrisome for China to accept Kim Jong Il's visit," Chung Mong-joon, head of the ruling conservative Grand National Party, told party members on Monday.
"Chinese leaders must convey our concerns and anger" to Kim over the ship sinking, he said.
In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu fended off repeated questions about Kim's presence and arrangements for the visit, saying,
"The arrangement of receiving a foreign leader is always decided through bilateral consultations."
Rumors of a Kim trip, the first since he traveled to China in 2006 and since the 68-year-old leader reportedly suffered a stroke in 2008,
have circulated for months since Hu invited him for a visit to mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the allies.
Kim has traveled abroad just five times since taking over power from his father in 1994.
He was seen by foreign reporters in Dalian on Tuesday getting into a car and then being driven away in a motorcade.
Kim visited factories in an industrial zone near Dalian where Japanese and South Korean companies have operations, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said, citing an unidentified source. Yonhap also reported that Kim's train left Dalian on Tuesday evening.
Speculation on Kim's purpose in visiting China have focused largely on North Korea's desperate need for economic aid and diplomatic backing in its disputes with South Korea and the international community. China, which once described relations with its communist neighbor as like "lips and teeth," fought on the North's side in the 1950-53 Korean War, and remains its biggest source of economic aid and political support.
The trip comes as China's leadership has been trying — so far unsuccessfully — to persuade Kim to reform his country's moribund economy and return to negotiations on ending its nuclear weapons program.
China's support is especially key at a time when North Korea's isolation is deepening and Kim is believed to be grooming his youngest son, Kim Jong Un, to succeed him as leader of the impoverished nation of 24 million.
North Korea quit the disarmament-for-aid talks a year ago and then conducted a nuclear test that drew tightened U.N. sanctions. The government's botched currency reform aimed at regaining control over the economy late last year is believed to have worsened its financial woes.
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Posted: Sun May 09, 2010 6:31 am Post subject: North Korea deploys 50,000 troops near SK border
N.Korea deploys 50,000 special forces near border
May 5, 2010 Seoul
North Korea has completed deployment of about 50,000 special forces along the border with South Korea, a report said Wednesday, amid high tensions over the sinking of a Seoul warship.
The deployment began two or three years ago and seven 7,000-strong divisions are now in place, an unidentified senior government official told Yonhap news agency.
"The threat that North Korea may infiltrate special forces for limited warfare has become real," the agency quoted a separate senior defence ministry official as saying.
The defence ministry refused to confirm the Yonhap report, but President Lee Myung-Bak discussed the North's special warfare capabilities at an unprecedented meeting Tuesday with 150 top officers from all armed services.
At the meeting, Lee hinted strongly that the North was involved in the sinking of a South Korean warship with the loss of 46 lives near the disputed sea border on March 26.
Suspicions are growing that the 1,200-tonne ship was hit by a torpedo from the communist state, which has denied involvement.
Lee said the South must be better prepared to tackle "asymmetric" military threats including special warfare units.
A defence ministry report in 2008 said the North, learning lessons from the Iraq war, had strengthened its special warfare capability by augmenting light infantry units and enhancing their street warfare, night-time and mountaineering training.
The North has about 180,000 special forces, it said, adding they would be used for "multifarious types of attacks and mixed warfare" against the South.
earlier related report
N.Korea leader expected to meet with Chinese leaders: report
Beijing (AFP) May 5, 2010 - North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Il was expected to meet Chinese leaders Wednesday as he continued a secretive trip likely to focus on aid and efforts to halt Pyongyang's nuclear drive.
Kim's first trip in four years to China -- North Korea's sole major ally and its main source of finance, food and fuel --
is shrouded in mystery and has not been officially confirmed by either Beijing or Pyongyang.
The North Korean leader, who travelled to China on board an armoured train Monday and stopped off in the northeastern city of Dalian,
was expected to meet China's President Hu Jintao Wednesday, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said.
The agency quoted diplomats as saying he would stay at Diaoyutai Guest House in Beijing before heading home Thursday.
The reclusive 68-year-old Kim, who is thought to have suffered a stroke in mid-2008,
Tuesday reportedly inspected a port under construction outside Dalian -- a city seen as a model of China's economic development.
It was unclear when he was heading to Beijing but members of Kim's delegation checked out of their Dalian hotel late Tuesday,
unnamed sources told Yonhap, prompting speculation he would travel to the capital overnight.
Analysts said China could use the trip to press Kim to return to six-party nuclear disarmament talks he quit in April last year in return for aid.
The talks group the United States, China, Japan, Russia, North and South Korea.
The North has suffered from persistent food shortages since the Soviet Union collapsed two decades ago.
Ongoing shortages were further aggravated last November by a bungled currency reform.
But other analysts say the as-yet unexplained sinking of a South Korean warship in March --
which was ripped apart by an external blast, killing 46 sailors -- has made an early resumption of the six-party talks less likely.
Seoul has hinted the incident could be Pyongyang's fault. The North has denied all responsibility.
Posted: Sun May 09, 2010 6:35 am Post subject: China, Iran, North Korea formed strategic alliance
China, Iran, North Korea formed strategic alliance
NEW AXIS of EVIL - NOW INCLUDES CHINA
Friday, May 7, 2010
China, Iran and North Korea have established a strategic alliance that focuses on missile and nuclear development.
The report said that Beijing, Pyongyang and Teheran were helping each other in missile and nuclear programs. The report, titled "China, Iran and North Korea: A Triangular Strategic Alliance," by Israel's GLORIA Center said China and North Korea were the key suppliers of Scud-based ballistic missiles to Iran's military, the target of Western sanctions.
"This flurry of activities underscored the growing proliferation threats posed by DPRK [North Korea] assistance to Iran's missile capabilities, which has also led to collaboration in the nuclear realm," the report, published in the Middle East Review of International Affairs, said.
The report said North Korea helped develop Iran's Shihab ballistic missiles series. Author Christina Lin said North Korea's Taepo Dong intermediate-range missiles have served as the basis of Iran's program, including the design of a nuclear interncontinental ballistic missile with a range of up to 6,000 kilometers, dubbed Shihab-6.
China has sought to make Iran a key waystation in Beijing's silk road policy of expanding influence throughout Asia. The report said Beijing, believed to be channeling aid through neighboring North Korea, regarded Iran as an ally to balance the strategic relationship between the United States and the Gulf Cooperation Council.
"Iran may also be a new pearl in China's maritime pearl necklace," the report said. "China is increasing its naval presence in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean, with a call in December 2009 by Chinese Rear Adm. Yin Zhou to set up a permanent naval base in the Gulf of Aden."
The report did not discount the prospect that China would establish a permanent naval base in Iran. Ms. Yin, today a researcher with Jane's Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Intelligence Center, said China could be offered a naval base at one of Iran's islands in the Gulf.
"Iran may be inclined to offset U.S. pressure by playing the 'China card' should the United States try to project military power by utilizing some of the UAE's man-made islands," the report said. "Indeed, in November 2009, NATO entered into the advanced stages of negotiating a Status of Forces Agreement with the United Arab Emirates in the face of Iran's nuclear threat."
The report said China was expected to block United Nations Security Council sanctions against Iran. Ms. Lin compared China's role to that of Russia's alliance with Serbia when it came under attack by a Western-led coalition in 1999.
Regardless of UN sanctions, North Korea would continue to funnel weapons and technology to Iran, the report said. Ms. Lin said Iran has financed North Korean research and development of ballistic missiles and other strategic systems.
"Iran and DPRK have partnered closely on missile flight-testing, proxy testing of DPRK systems in Iran, and data exchanges," the report said. "Proxy testing in Iran of jointly developed missiles allowed DPRK to avoid sanctions after the September 1999 missile test moratorium while continuing its missile advances."
The report said the Damascus-Pyongyang alliance has spread to Syria and Hizbullah. This has included North Korean construction of an alleged plutonium production plant in Syria as well as constructing tunnels for Hizbullah in southern Lebanon.
"The three top Hizbullah officials who received training in DPRK are Hassan Nasrallah, Hizbullah's secretary general and the head of the Hizbullah military organization; Ibrahim Akil, head of Hizbullah's security and intelligence service; and Mustapha Badreddine, Hizbullah's counter-espionage chief," the report said.
Posted: Fri May 28, 2010 4:39 am Post subject: China raises wages after suicides
China raises wages after suicides
Friday, May 28, 2010 TAIPEI
Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry plans to raise workers' salaries by about 20 percent at its Foxconn unit in China, as it struggles to stop a spate of worker suicides and quell rising public anger.
An employee of Foxconn, maker of Apple Inc's iPhone, jumped to his death late on Wednesday, bringing the total of such apparent suicides to 10 this year.
Another employee attempted to slit his wrists, but survived with medical attention, Xinhua news agency said late on Thursday.
The increase in the cash portion of pay packages for all its workers in China had been planned for some time. He did not say when the raises would be implemented.
"It may help the suicide situation, because we workers just need money and the financial pressure on us is great," said a Foxconn employee surnamed Wang,
reached by telephone at the company's factory in Longhua, an industrial town north of Shenzhen. "Every little bit helps."
The spate of deaths has thrown a spotlight on the labor practices of Foxconn, whose clients include Dell Inc, Hewlett Packard Co and Sony Ericsson.
Apple and other clients have said they are investigating working conditions at Foxconn, which has about 420,000 employees at its base in Shenzhen and has come under fire for its secretive corporate culture.
The planned pay rise could raise Hon Hai's quarterly labor costs by about T$2.7 billion ($84 million), which would erode its operating profit by around 10-12 percent, Citi said in a report.
Other analysts disagreed with Citi's assessment.
"I don't think this will impact Hon Hai's profitability," said Vincent Chen, an analyst at Yuanta Securities in Taipei.
"Salaries for production workers are usually raised at around the third quarter, which is the peak season for most contract manufacturers as they gear up for the year-end holiday season."
Chen added that labor costs accounted for only around 2 percent of Hon Hai's operating costs and a salary increase of about 20 percent was not unusual.
"Hon Hai has raised salaries by up to 50 percent in the past, and it's still doing well," he said.
Hon Hai shares were down 1.2 percent on Friday morning, trailing the broader Taiwan market's 1 percent gain.
Foxconn's Hong Kong-listed shares were up 0.8 percent, also trailing a rally that saw the main index up 1.8 percent.
Entry-level line workers at Foxconn's factory in Longhua earn just over 900 yuan ($131.80) per month before overtime and bonuses, said Zhu Fuquan, a production supervisor for the company.
Foxconn was rumored to be paying around 100,000 yuan to compensate families of suicide victims, said factory worker Wang, a sum he said was tempting some victims given their low base wages.
On Wednesday, workers said they had been asked to sign a letter from Foxconn, including a clause saying the company would pay no more than the legal minimum for injuries sustained outside the workplace.
Confronted with the letter, Gou apologized and said he was taking it back, calling the language inappropriate.
China Restricts Export of Metals Crucial for National Defense
Jun. 2, 2010
China appears to be making moves that several folks had been fearing for some time: It is considering stricter limits on the export of so-called rare-earth metals.
The metals, which are most abundant in China, are used in a range of high tech industries including green energy and defense, which is what most concerns the US government.
Claiming that the mining of rare earths has been bad for the environment, the government is moving to restrict unauthorized wells, which may be exporting their goods illegally at too-low prices.
This move will surely be good news for the one major domestic player, Molycorp, which is based in California, and has IPO plans.
Any restrictions coming out of China can only mean an easier time with regulations, and more subsidies, especially given the defense implications.
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Posted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 6:15 am Post subject: Death toll in China flooding climbs to 377
Death toll in China flooding climbs to 377
as workers begin repairs on breached river
June 25, 2010 BEIJING
The death toll from storms that have pounded southern China for more than a week has climbed to 377, the government said Friday.
The toll is expected to rise as 142 people are missing and more rain is expected, according to the China Meteorological Administration website. That threatens to hamper rescue efforts that have seen 4.4 million people evacuated from their homes.
The death toll climbed from 211 in the past two days as heavy rains fell in the southern regions of Guizhou, Hunan, Jiangxi, Zhejiang, Fujian and Guangxi, the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said on its website. The government says the flooding has caused about $11 billion in damages.
Workers and soldiers began repairing two breaches along the Fuhe river near Fuzhou city in Jiangxi province on Friday, said a report posted on the Jiangxi Flood Control Headquarters website, days after it overflowed its banks and a dike on another portion of the river burst, forcing the evacuation of 100,000 people.
Thousands of soldiers and workers transported stones and sandbags to block and redirect water, with the goal of patching up the breach within the next week, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited Fuzhou to rally rescuers and comfort victims, wearing galoshes and wading through floodwaters in the disaster area, according to footage aired on China Central Television.
Storms have pounded southern China for more than a week, collapsing 368,000 houses, as landslides have cut off transportation and rivers and reservoirs have overflowed.
China shares fall to 15-month low on economy fears
July 5, 2010
The Shanghai composite index has closed at a 15-month low after data pointed to slowing growth and rising inflation.
The index dropped 19 points or 0.8% to 2,364 at the end of trading, its lowest close since April last year.
Shanghai was one of the first markets to recover after the global financial crisis, but peaked in August last year. It has since fallen 32%.
Growth in passenger car sales slowed in June, the latest sign that China's high speed economy may be cooling down.
Car sales rose 10.9% in June compared with a year earlier, down from a growth rate of 25% in May.
On Thursday it was reported that the Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), which gives an indication of the health of the manufacturing sector, fell to 52.1 in June from 53.9 in May. Anything above 50 shows expansion in manufacturing output.
Then on Monday, HSBC announced that a similar index that it produces for the Chinese service sector fell to a 15-month low of 55.6 in June from 56.4 in May.
Meanwhile, inflation in China has been rising, with the Consumer Prices Index rising at an annual rate of 3.1% in June - above the Chinese central bank's official target of 3%.
More worryingly, producer price inflation - the cost of goods leaving the factory gate - rose to 7.1% in June.
Beijing's recent decision to allow more flexibility in the exchange rate of the Chinese currency should help slow inflation.
A rising yuan lowers the price of imports and cools demand for Chinese exports.
However, the Chinese authorities have only allowed the yuan to rise very gradually - the currency is up 0.9% against the dollar since the new more flexible policy was announced last month.
Other options to rein in inflation may include raising interest rates and ordering banks to cut back on lending.
Posted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 6:04 am Post subject: China sees surge in trade surplus
China sees surge in trade surplus
July 10, 2010
China has recorded a fresh surge in its trade surplus and exports, beating market expectations.
Exports for June were up 43.9% on the same month last year, while the $20bn (£13.2bn) trade surplus was the largest this year.
Analysts said the negative effect of the European debt crisis had not been as bad as feared.
The results are the first since China last month allowed its yuan currency to trade more freely against the dollar.
Western politicians have argued that the yuan is undervalued, giving China an unfair trading advantage.
The trade surplus and export figures both beat market expectations.
Exports were worth $137.4bn in June, up 43.9% on June 2009, while import growth was around expectations at 34.1%.
Liu Nenghua, an economist with Bank of Communications in Shanghai, told Reuters: "Exports were better than expected because the negative impact from the European debt crisis was not as serious as the market had feared."
There have been expectations of a slowdown of growth in China and analysts believe that will still happen, although not as sharply as originally feared.
The strong trade figures for June might spark calls for the yuan controls to be relaxed further.
The yuan has gained just 0.78% since China's announcement, fuelling Western demands for more action.
A stronger yuan would dampen Chinese exports and boost home consumer spending on cheaper imported products.
Tom Orlik, of Stone & McCarthy Research Associates in Beijing, told Associated Press: "A resurgent trade surplus will clearly strengthen the argument for rapid appreciation of the yuan.
"But with the global recovery on slippery sands, the outlook for China's exports is not as stable as the last two months of data suggest."
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20 July 2010
The BBC's Damian Grammaticas on the rescue effort in Guang'an City in Sichuan province.
The Three Gorges dam on China's longest river, the Yangtze, is standing up to its biggest flood control test since completion last year, officials say.
Floodwaters in the giant reservoir rose 4m (13ft) overnight, and are now just 20m below the dam's maximum capacity.
The authorities are using the dam to limit the amount of water flowing further downstream to try to minimise the impact of devastating floods.
Beijing cited flood control as a main reason for the $27.2bn (£16.7bn) dam.
Hundreds of people have died in central and southern China in the country's worst floods in more than a decade.
The Three Gorges dam, the largest in the world, was a controversial project as it forced the relocation of 1.4 million people. It is situated in Hubei province.
The flow of the water overnight was the fastest ever recorded, at 70,000 cubic metres per second.
The BBC's Damian Grammaticas, who is upstream in Guang'an in Sichuan province, says shops there are submerged,
and people are waiting to ferry supplies by boat to relatives trapped in their homes.
Teams of Chinese soldiers are manning rescue boats, he says.
Meanwhile, at least 11 people were missing after a landslide caused by torrential rains hit a village in Mianning country in Sichuan province, state media reported.
Sichuan and neighbouring Shaanxi province have been hard hit by a series of landslides in recent days that have killed 37 people and left nearly 100 missing, Xinhua reported.
More than 35 million people across China have been affected by the poor weather and 1.2 million have been relocated.
China is facing its worst floods since 1998, when more than 4,000 people died, and 18 million people were displaced, the China Daily newspaper said. video here
Last edited by CJ on Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:58 am; edited 2 times in total
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