China building electromagnetic pulse weapons for use against U.S. carriers

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China’s military is developing electromagnetic pulse weapons that Beijing plans to use against U.S. aircraft carriers in any future conflict over Taiwan, according to an intelligence report made public on Thursday.  Portions of a National Ground Intelligence Center study on the lethal effects of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and high-powered microwave (HPM) weapons revealed that the arms are part of China’s so-called “assassin’s mace” arsenal – weapons that allow a technologically inferior China to defeat U.S. military forces.

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China’s Economic Cold War on the United States

Read the recent report by Congress on China’s Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp. and you could be excused for a sense of déjà vu. It sounds like it came from the U.S.-Soviet era. One passage: “The opportunity exists for … espionage by a foreign nation-state already known to be a major perpetrator of cyber espionage.”  Many are worried that Congress has gone too far. But the truth is it hasn’t gone far enough.  Once the world admitted China to the World Trade Organization in 2001, we welcomed the country into our free-markets. We trusted the global economy would evolve toward free and fair trade. We then set our policies on cruise control, assuming the world would follow the U.S. model.

Instead, China got a hand on the steering wheel: It turned the rules of global business in its favor. We woke up to find a hijacking of our free-market system. China was manipulating its currency, subsidizing its firms, undermining nascent U.S. firms, erecting trade barriers, and stealing intellectual property. China was using its firms as instruments of state capitalism—it even coordinated them to monopolize critical resources such as steel and rare earths.

We are now at odds with China. We are essentially in an economic cold war. The Huawei report—a notable bipartisan effort—documents as much. After hollowing out many manufacturing industries—tires, consumer electronics, auto parts, steel—China has gone after tech-heavy industries like telecommunications.

The report focuses on national-security risks posed by Huawei and ZTE: spying via backdoor software implants, cyber attacks on key networks, and inserting malicious software in security systems. These are serious allegations: Imagine if China used Huawei equipment to shut down American water and electrical systems.

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China buys up Russia’s backyard

Russia spent the end of last year battling the EU for control over Ukraine. But should the Kremlin have been paying more attention to what was going on its southern border instead? In the last three months, the Chinese have swept through Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and Central Asia, buying up Russia’s backyard in a string of billion-dollar deals.  Chinese President Xi Jinping was set for a summit in Moscow in September last year, where Russian President Vladimir Putin was hoping to conclude a crucial natural gas deal that would see a gas pipeline built to connect Russia’s Siberian fields with China’s underdeveloped northwest territories. The pipeline project was agreed on years ago, but the deal has been held up, as the two sides can’t agree on the price of the gas that will flow through it.  However, instead of flying directly to Russia’s northern capital, President Xi went on a whirlwind tour of Central Asia. It was like a visit from Santa Claus as Xi distributed billions of dollars of deals along the way.  In what must have come as a shock to the Kremlin, during his last stop in Turkmenistan Xi signed off on a $60bn energy investment deal that includes $10bn to develop the massive Galkynysh gasfield which has gas reserves of some 1.3 trillion cubic metres – enough to meet China’s needs for several years. The Turkmen deal makes Gazprom’s deal largely superfluous.

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The New Cold War: China vs Japan

Lately, it seems that Japanese officials can’t sneeze without incurring the wrath of the Chinese — and vice versa. So it’s no surprise that even conciliatory statements from Shinzo Abe have been soundly rebuffed. On Thursday, Abe wrote a message, published in local Chinese-language papers, conveying greetings for the lunar new year. According to Reuters’ translation of the Japanese-language version, Abe insisted that Japan has “taken the path of peace” since World War II, and “nothing has been changed in the policy of continuing to uphold this position.”

Friday, Abe further extended the olive branch. According to Channel NewsAsia, Abe told a parliamentary session that “Japan and China are inseparable.” He also expressed his desire for the two countries to restart diplomatic meetings. “Instead of refusing to hold dialogue unless issues become resolved, we should hold talks because we have issues,” Abe said.

China flatly rejected these overtures. Responding to earlier requests for a bilateral dialogue, Qin Gang responded with bitter sarcasm: “Such kind of dialogue will be of no effect. Chinese leaders are very busy. Let them spend more time on things useful and effective.”

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China eases one-child policy and abolishes ‘re-education labour camps’

State media says China’s top legislature has sanctioned the ruling Communist Party’s decision to allow couples to have a second child if one parent is an only child.  It is the first major easing in three decades of the restrictive national birth planning policy.  Implemented around 1980, China’s birth policy has limited most couples to only one child, but has allowed a second child if neither parent has siblings or if the first born to a rural couple is a girl.  The official Xinhua News Agency said the standing committee of the National People’s Congress approved a resolution Saturday to formalise the party decision.  It says the national lawmaking body has delegated the power to provincial people’s congresses and their standing committees to implement the new policy.

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US to airlines: Obey China’s defense zone

The U.S. government is asking American airlines to follow China’s rules regarding its newly-declared air defense zone.  On Nov. 23, China declared airspace off the coast of China as the country’s “Air Defense Identification Zone.” The country asked that it be notified when flights are to pass through the airspace.  During a Wednesday press briefing, a State Department spokesperson said U.S. airlines are expected to comply with rules issued by foreign governments.  The U.S. “remain[s] deeply concerned by China’s November 23 declaration” of the airspace, the spokesperson said, but “generally expects that U.S. carriers operating internationally will operate consistent with NOTAMs (Notices to Airmen) issued by foreign countries.”  The fact that the U.S. government expects airlines to comply with the rules “does not indicate U.S. government acceptance of China’s requirements for operating in the newly declared ADIZ,” the spokesperson said.  Shortly after’s China’s declaration of the airspace as an “air defense identification zone,” the U.S. government flew two warplanes over the area without first notifying the Chinese government.  The New York Times compared the U.S. response to that of Japan, which asked its country’s airlines to stop following China’s notification requirements “out of fear that complying with the rules would add legitimacy to Chinese claims to islands that sit below the now contested airspace.”

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Russia and Japan Make a Play for the Pacific

GangofTwoOn November 2, Russia and Japan held their first-ever “two plus two” meeting, which brought together their respective foreign and defense ministers in Tokyo to discuss security cooperation. The meeting grabbed few headlines, but was far from routine: such gatherings are typically reserved for close allies, and for most of their modern history, Moscow and Tokyo have been anything but.  Now, however, the two countries find themselves linked by a shared predicament in the Asia-Pacific. Both are secondary players in a region overshadowed by an increasingly assertive China, which has not hesitated to push against the boundaries of its neighbors. New ties between Russia and Japan would mark not only a breakthrough in their relations but also a significant shift in Northeast Asia’s political dynamic. Since the 1950s, U.S. alliances with Japan and South Korea have dominated regional security. Russia and China thawed their frosty relationship in the 1990s and signed a friendship treaty in 2001, but China’s rise has increased tensions in every regional relationship.

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U.S. Sends Two B-52 Bombers Into Air Zone Claimed by China

WASHINGTON — Defying China, two long-range American bombers flew through contested airspace over the East China Sea, days after the Chinese announced they were claiming the right to police the sky above a vast area that includes islands at the center of a simmering dispute with Japan.  Pentagon officials said Tuesday that the B-52s were on a routine training mission planned long in advance of the Chinese announcement on Saturday that it was establishing an “air defense identification zone” over the area. But the message was clear.  A senior Pentagon official said that the mission overnight Monday from Guam “was a demonstration of long-established international rights to freedom of navigation and transit through international airspace.” The official said the unilateral Chinese declaration of expanded control “was provocative,” and “only increases the risk of miscalculation in the region.”

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China declares air defense zone over disputed islands

BEIJING, Nov. 23 (UPI) — China said Saturday it has marked out an “air defense identification zone” over part of the East China Sea that includes islands claimed by Japan and Taiwan.  Aircraft entering the area over the islands China calls Diaoyu would have to obey China’s rules, China’s Defense Ministry said, or face “emergency defensive measures,” the BBC reported.  Japan, which refers to the islands as Senkaku, called the Chinese action an “escalation” and lodged a strong protest. In a statement, the Japanese foreign ministry charged the unilateral move “has the danger of leading to an unexpected situation.”  Taiwan promised military action to protect its national security.  The zone claimed by China includes areas close to South Korea and Japan.

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China to Foreign Media: Get in Line or Get Out

It’s no secret that China bans foreign news portals that offend its oh-so delicate sensibilities, swiftly and without mercy or explanation. This week has seen The Wall Street Journal and Reuters‘ Chinese websites blocked. There is, so far, no explanation for China’s blocking of these sites — could be anything from the Tiananmen attack reporting to Paul Mooney’s rejected visa — but signs point to a bleak future for foreign media in the Middle Kingdom.  This news comes as Bloomberg is under scrutiny for allegedly censoring sensitive stories to be able to report in China; their site has been blocked since July 2012 for running a story on Xi Jinping’s family wealth. This is not totally dissimilar to the censor’s axe that is still chopping on The New York Times‘ neck (Chinese and English language websites) for a story about Wen Jiabao’s family wealth. The message from China’s censorship czars is clear: get in line, or get out.

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Satellite imagery reveals mystery ‘supergun’ in Chinese desert

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Satellite imagery has revealed two unusually large artillery pieces, measuring about 80 ft and 110 ft respectively, at a test centre for armour and artillery northwest of Baotou in China.  The two pieces, which are horizontally mounted, are mounted on a concrete pad that appeared between September 2010 and December 2011, when the two pieces were first captured by satellite imagery. Images provided by Astrium confirmed that the objects were still in place in July 2013.  The 2011 imagery clearly depicts a series of what appear to be targets in front of the 110 ft piece, suggesting some kind of penetration testing for high-velocity projectiles.

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The Limits of China’s Surveillance State

Violence in Xinjiang appears to be worsening significantly, despite Beijing’s large commitment of money and manpower to build a comprehensive surveillance apparatus intended to preempt social disorder. China now spends at least $111 billion per year nationwide on internal security – nearly as much as its reported 2013 military budget of approximately $114 billion.  Yet 2013 has been among the most violent years in the past decade in Xinjiang, with some data showing that at least 189 people – mostly Uyghurs – have been killed in violent confrontations with government forces since March, with many others left injured. More disturbingly, Xinjiang’s troubles seem to be metastasizing into other parts of China, a dynamic the authorities have worked hard to prevent.

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China unveils moon rover for lunar mission set to launch in December

China-unveils-moon-roverSHANGHAI, Nov. 5 (UPI) — Officials in Shanghai have unveiled a moon rover they say will be launched with the Chang’e-3, China’s third lunar probe set to be fired into space next month.  Designed by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, the six-wheeled rover is equipped with four cameras, and is designed to climb hills and cross over obstacles, China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.  “It will move really slowly,” planning its route only after observing and detecting the surrounding environment, said Xiao Jie, one of the rover’s designers.  Two mechanical legs will dig into the moon’s surface to collect samples.  It will have a solar panel to generate electricity but is also equipped with a nuclear battery using plutonium-238 that can provide years of power, officials said.

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China builds sea power to shield oil, mineral supplies

MOMBASA, Kenya, Oct. 31 (UPI) — China disclosed this week that its nuclear submarines have started regular sea patrols, underlining Beijing’s plans to build a powerful naval force to protect the strategic Indian Ocean shipping lanes that carry the oil and raw materials from the Persian Gulf and Africa that fuel China’s expanding economy.  The official Xinhua news agency released photographs of what appeared to be Xia-class subs that will extend Chinese naval operations.  These are China’s first-generation of nuclear-armed submarines and are now decades old. Xinhua said they were being “declassified” for the first time, probably because they’re being replaced by more advanced Jin-class boats.  But the open display of the Xia-class subs, which Xinhua said “would gallop to the depths of the ocean, serving as mysterious forces igniting the sound of thunder in the deep sea,” reflects the growing assertiveness of China’s military forces, notably in the disputed oil-rich South China Sea.  At the same time, China’s been substantially extending its stake in Africa’s oil and gas fields and the continent’s other strategic minerals, and the Indian Ocean ports along the East African coastline.  The Indian Ocean has long been dominated by the U.S. Navy and its aircraft carrier battle groups, and the Americans are unlikely to relinquish control of that vast maritime region, so vital to Beijing’s strategic planning, anytime soon.

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China’s Brutal Crackdown in Xinjiang

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As the world celebrates Eid al-Adha, the Islamic festival of sacrifice, turbulence in Yarkand County, Xinjiang province continued earlier this week when five Muslim Uyghurs were shot, according to Radio Free Asia (RFA). Other acts of violence and concentrated efforts to quell the troubled region are causing many to question whether or not China’s propaganda and security crackdowns are doing any good.  Yarkand (a.k.a. Shache in Chinese) entered its third straight week of violence, which began when three Uyghurs were allegedly shot and killed in two separate incidents on September 26. Later, on October 3, four more were killed when police fired on a private residence suspected of illegally convening the World Uyghur Congress—an avowed peaceful organization that China nonetheless considers hostile and the source of many of its woes in the region. The horrible violence of the summer shows no signs of easing.

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China and Iran: Destined to Clash?

Even as the U.S. considers Iran’s nuclear program as its most immediate threat, a consensus has emerged in the U.S. foreign policy establishment that China’s rise poses the biggest long-term strategic challenge to the country. There is little indication that a similar consensus has taken hold among Iranian elites. It will.  Indeed, as Iran has been preoccupied with the U.S. and its allies over the past decade, China has quietly established a growing presence along all of Iran’s borders. In none of these places are Iran and China’s interests perfectly aligned. In some cases, particularly the Middle East, they are starkly at odds. Consequentially, should Iran avoid a conflict with the U.S. in the next few years, it’s likely to find China to be its most menacing threat in the future.

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Where Have All the Workers Gone?

It became fashionable after the Soviet Union’s collapse to say that breakneck economic growth was the only thing postponing the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) day of reckoning. Communist ideology was discredited, went the argument, but as long as the economic pie kept growing, citizens would set aside broader concerns and take their piece. But what if growth were interrupted by, say, a global financial crisis, collapse of world trade, and mass layoffs on the Chinese factory floor? The music would stop, the masquerade party would end, and Jennifer Connelly would smash her way through David Bowie’s bubble prison, so to speak. Except that it didn’t. The Chinese economy faced exactly this cataclysmic scenario in the final months of 2008.

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Six Wars China Is Sure to Fight In the Next 50 Years

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On July 8, 2013, the pro-PRC Chinese-language newspaper, Wenweipo, published an article titled “中國未來50年裡必打的六場戰爭 (Six Wars China Is Sure to Fight In the Next 50 Years)”.  The anticipated six wars are all irredentist in purpose — the reclaiming of what Chinese believe to be national territories lost since Imperial China was defeated by the Brits in the Opium War of 1840-42. That defeat, in the view of Chinese nationalists, began China’s “Hundred Years of Humiliation.” (See Maria Hsia Chang,Return of the Dragon: China’s Wounded Nationalism. Westview, 2001.  Below is the English translation of the article, from a Hong Kong blog, Midnight Express 2046. (The year 2046 is an allusion to what this blog believes will be the last year of Beijing’s “One County, Two Systems” formula for ruling Hong Kong, and “the last year of brilliance of Hong Kong.”)  Midnight Express 2046 (ME2046) believes this article “is quite a good portrait of modern Chinese imperialism.” What ME2046 omits are:

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World should ‘de-Americanise’, says China following default fears

The looming prospect of a US default on debt prompted China to call for the world to “de-Americanise”, amid warnings of a new global recession.  In China, Xinhua, the official government news agency, said that as American politicians continued to flounder over a deal to break the impasse, “it is perhaps a good time for the befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanised world”.  The jibe came as Christine Lagarde, the International Monetary Fund chief, raised the spectre of a repeat of the 2008 financial crash as hopes dwindled for a resolution of the crisis over the debt ceiling and partial government shutdown.  Harry Reid, the leader of the Democrat-controlled Senate and Mitch McConnell, who heads the Republican minority, met on Sunday for “preliminary” talks following the acrimonious collapse of negotiations between the White House and Republicans in the lower chamber.

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Get your fiscal house in order: China warns US as Asia expresses concern for $1.3tn of investments

China, the biggest foreign creditor of the United States, has waded into the American budget crisis, warning Congress that it must resolve the political impasse over the debt ceiling without further delay.  The Chinese Vice Foreign Minister, Zhu Guangyao, told America’s deadlocked politicians on Monday that “the clock is ticking” and called on them to approve an extension of the national borrowing limit before the federal government is projected to run out of cash on 17 October.

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