Accord signed to teach Chinese in Sindh schools

The teaching of Chinese would be made compulsory from class six onwards in all schools of Sindh within three years.

The teaching of Chinese (Mandarien) would be made compulsory from class six onwards in all schools of Sindh within three years.

KARACHI: The Sindh education department on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Chinese education department of Sichuan province of China for their cooperation in teaching the Chinese language in schools of Sindh.

The ceremony was held in the committee room of the Sindh Assembly and the MoU was signed by Sindh Education Secretary Dr Fazalullah Pechucho and Liu Dong, vice director general of the education department of China. Sindh Senior Minister for Education Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, Consul General of China Ma Yaou and other officials also attended the ceremony.

According to the MoU, the teaching of Chinese would be made compulsory from class six onwards in all schools of Sindh within three years. Students learning the language will get extra marks, scholarships and foreign visit opportunities for education and skills training in China for those students who would pass Chinese as a subject till matriculation and higher classes.

Take a look: Sindh to teach Chinese language in schools from 2013

Education Minister Nisar Khuhro said that making the teaching of Chinese compulsory was aimed at promoting Chinese language and culture in Pakistan as “we have over the years maintained long-lasting culture and economic relations in China”.

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How China used more cement in 3 years than the U.S. did in the entire 20th Century

chinaBy Ana Swanson

China used more cement between 2011 and 2013 than the U.S. used in the entire 20th Century.

It’s a statistic so mind-blowing that it stunned Bill Gates and inspired haiku. But can it be true, and, if so, how? Yes, China’s economy has grown at an extraordinary rate, and it has more than four times as many people as the United States. But the 1900s were America’s great period of expansion, the century in which the U.S. built almost all of its roads and bridges, the Interstate system, the Hoover Dam, and many of the world’s tallest skyscrapers. And China and the U.S. are roughly the same size in terms of geographic area, ranking third and fourth in the world, respectively.

Read more » The Washington Post
See more » http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/03/24/how-china-used-more-cement-in-3-years-than-the-u-s-did-in-the-entire-20th-century/

Toronto becomes first renminbi (Yuan) trading hub in North America

moneycountDirect exchange hub could smooth way for businessess doing deals in China

By Pete Evans, CBC News

After stock markets closed on Monday, Toronto became the first trading hub in North America for China’s currency, known as the renminbi or yuan.

Chinese government dignitaries, Federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver and his Ontario compatriot Charles Sousa attended a ceremony in Toronto Monday evening to formally announce the first conversion from yuan to Canadian dollars.

The announcement makes Toronto the first such trading hub in the Americas that has permission to be a clearinghouse for Chinese renminbi (which means “people’s money” in Chinese). There are currently only a handful of such hubs outside China, including Paris, London, Moscow, Singapore, Tokyo, Seoul and Sydney, Australia.

In practical terms, such hubs make it easier to do business with China because without one, Chinese money has to first be converted into a currency like the U.S. dollar before being again converted into loonies to make investments here, or even pay for supplies.

“What the hub does is it provides the potential to get a good price,” says David Watt, the chief economist of HSBC. “It sets up a way for Canadian businesses to call their local banker and say “we’ve got a deal to import Chinese material and we’d like to pay for it in RMB not U.S. dollars.”

The hub eventually will allow people on both sides to take out that middle man and convert renminbi directly into Canadian dollars and vice versa. “It should give Canadian businesses the confidence to increase trade.”

Read more » CBC
See more » http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/toronto-becomes-first-renminbi-trading-hub-in-north-america-1.3005726

China Deploys Army to Oppress Tibetan Festival

army3In an alarming show of force, hundreds of Chinese army troops were deployed into Tibet. Images emerging on-line from todays ‘Great Prayer Festival’ are few due to intensive censorship, yet show hundreds of troops, some combat ready and heavily armed surrounding the Buddhist Monastery in Kubum, Tibet.

Read more » http://revolution-news.com/china-deploys-army-oppress-tibetan-festival/

It’s On: Asia’s New Space Race

While NASA and the European Space Agency gets most of the world’s attention, China, Japan and India are racing for the heavens.

The general public in the West largely views the exploration of space as dominated by the United States and perhaps Russia. Sometimes, as in the case of the Rosettamission, they may give thought to Europe’s capabilities. Few people think of India when it comes to missions to Mars, but popular joy erupted across India in September 2014 after its Mangalyaan scientific spacecraft successfully achieved orbit around the red planet. One Indian reader responded to the story on a major online news outlet by posting: “It is [a] moment of pride as India becomes [the] 1stAsian nation to reach Mars.” And understood to all Indian readers was the point that China had—after a series of Asian firsts in space—finally been surpassed.Since China’s first human spaceflight in 2003 and its threatening anti-satellite test in 2007, Asia has seen a surge in space activity, with budgets increasing rapidly across the region. While few officials admit to the term, a “space race” is emerging in Asia.

The surge of Asian countries joining the ranks of major space powers mirrors the rise of Asian economies and their militaries more generally since the end of the Cold War. But following the political drivers of these trends leads most often to regional rivalries, not a desire to compete with the United States or Russia. Being first in Asia to do anything in space brings prestige, lends credibility to governments in power, and helps stimulate Asia’s young population to study science and technology, which has other benefits for their national economies.

The responses to China’s rise have included the sudden development of military space programs by two countries that previously shunned such activities—Japan and India—and dynamic new activities in countries ranging from Australia to Singapore to Vietnam. On the Korean Peninsula, both North and South have orbited satellites in the past three years and both have pledged to develop much larger rockets. Many of these countries realize that they can’t “win” Asia’s space race, but they also know that they cannot afford to lose.

China’s rapid expansion in space activity has also raised serious concerns within U.S. military circles and in NASA. But these developments pose an existential threat to China’s neighbors, some of whom see Beijing’s space program as yet another threatening dimension to their deep-seated historical, economic, and geo-political rivalries for status and influence within the Asian pecking order. Even more, space achievements affect the self-perceptions of their national populations, challenging their governments to do more.

How this competition will play out and whether it can be managed, or channeled into more positive directions, will have a major impact on the future of international relations in space. The U.S. government has thus far responded with a two-track strategy, seeking a bilateral space security dialogue with Beijing, while quietly expanding space partnerships with U.S. friends and allies in the region, adding a space dimension to the U.S. “pivot” to Asia.

Read more » The Daily Beast
See more » http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/17/why-china-will-win-the-next-space-race.html

China’s Double-Digit Defense Growth

What It Means for a Peaceful Rise

By Richard A. Bitzinger

China has done it again. In early March, it released its defense budget for 2015, and as in almost every year for over almost two decades, it increased its military expenditure by double-digit percentages. This year, the Chinese defense budget will rise by 10.1 percent, to roughly $145 billion. And it seems likely that the trend will continue, much to the concern of Washington and regional capitals.

Already, China is the second-biggest military spender in the world, having surpassed the United Kingdom in 2008. China’s new budget for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is more than three times those of other big spenders such as France, Japan, and the United Kingdom, and nearly four times that of its rising Asian rival, India. It is also the only country besides the United States to have a triple-digit defense budget (in billions of U.S. dollars).

This level of spending is all the more remarkable given where China started. In 1997, Chinese military expenditures totaled only about $10 billion, roughly on par with Taiwan and significantly less than that of Japan and South Korea. Beginning that year, however, China’s defense budget began to rise. There were two economic factors that made this growth possible. First, the country’s economy soared; in 1997, defense spending made up less than two percent of GDP, which remains roughly the same share today, at least according to Beijing. Second, low inflation rates over the past two decades have meant that real growth in defense spending has nearly matched nominal growth; even the most conservative estimate of actual growth rates (accounting for inflation) reveal a five-fold real increase in military expenditures since 1997.

What is particularly striking about the growth in defense spending over the last two decades is that it has almost always outpaced GDP growth. Between 1998 and 2007, China’s economy grew at an average annual rate of 12.5 percent, while its defense spending increased at an average of 15.9 percent per annum. Given that the economy is likely to grow by only seven percent in 2015, and its defense spending is growing at double digits, the disconnect between economic performance and defense spending is becoming more pronounced.

Read more » FOREIGN AFFAIRS
See more » http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/143275/richard-a-bitzinger/chinas-double-digit-defense-growth

Are superfast trains speeding down the tracks?

At the time the UK was completing its first stretch of high-speed rail in 2007, China had barely left the station. Nearly a decade on, Britain still has only that same 68-mile (109km) stretch of track, but China has built itself the longest high-speed network in the world.

At more than 12,000km (7,450 miles) in total, it is well over double the length of the European and Japanese networks combined.

So if you want to get a sense of what the future of rail travel might look like, China would seem to be the place to come.

Vacuum velocity

As it stands, train technology doesn’t seem to have changed much for decades.

The UK may have just received its first Hitachi-made Super Express high-speed train capable of running at up to 140mph (225km/h), but this is hardly a quantum leap forward.

The much-loved InterCity 125 – as its name suggests – could do 125mph back in the 1970s. And France’s TGV and Spain’s AVE travel at more than 190mph.

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China to invest $50bn in Pakistan by 2017

ISLAMABAD: China intends to invest as many as $50 billion by 2017 in various sectors of Pakistan’s economy, particularly in energy sector to help the country overcome power crisis and help sustainable economic growth, President Pak-China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry Shah Faisal Afridi said.
“China has planned to replicate the model of Shanghai Free Trade Zone (SFTZ) by investing $50 billion into a number of projects including coal, solar and wind energy till 2017 under Early Harvest Programme,” Faisal said.
These projects would enable Gawadar to create a nexus between Pakistan, Iran, China and Central Asian States that would ultimately generate billions of dollars in revenues along with huge job opportunities in the region.
Afridi said that SFTZ is a perfect model to be implemented at Gwadar, asserting, the SFTZ was first used as a testing ground for a number of economic sectors.
The zone, he said, incorporated numerous relaxations in different sectors, under the FTZ’s new capital registration system, foreign investors were no longer required to contribute 15 percent capital within three months and full capital within two years of the establishment of a foreign invested enterprise (FIE).
Meanwhile, official sources said that in addition to invest in power projects, China was also interested in already working in various projects of motorways and railways.
On energy front, Pakistan has been already working to generate about 10400 megawatt electricity with the help of Chinese investment and several projects were already underway to overcome energy crisis.
Beijing has designated three banks including Exim Bank that will provide loans to Chinese companies for investment in power, railway and transport sectors in Pakistan.

Read more » http://defence.pk/threads/china-to-invest-50bn-in-pakistan-by-2017.333769/

A Strategic Seaport – Is Pakistan Key to China’s Energy Supremacy?

By Syed Fazl-e-Haider

A seaport in southwest Pakistan may hold the key to China’s energy supremacy. At least, that’s what China hopes. The Gwadar port, which China has built and will operate in the province of Balochistan, is situated near the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil-shipping lane that can serve as an energy corridor from western China through Pakistan to the Persian Gulf.

Beijing’s pivot to Pakistan is a substantial one. The story goes back to 2008, when Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf proposed a railroad and an oil pipeline to link Gwadar to the Kashi port in Xinjiang—allowing China to take advantage of the shortest possible route to the Middle East. In exchange, Pakistan would get an influx of Chinese investment. Indeed, in 2014, the Chinese government committed to spending $45.6 billion over the next six years to build the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor, which will include the construction of highways, railways, and natural gas and oil pipelines connecting China to the Middle East. China’s stake in Gwadar will also allow it to expand its influence in the Indian Ocean, a vital route for oil transportation between the Atlantic and the Pacific.

Another advantage to China is that it will be able to bypass the Strait of Malacca. As of now, 60 percent of China’s imported oil comes from the Middle East, and 80 percent of that is transported to China through this strait, the dangerous, piracy-rife maritime route through the South China, East China, and Yellow Seas.

The United States fears that China will come out of its dealings with Pakistan with more power. But it need not be worried: China’s involvement in Balochistan, a restive area prone to insurgencies, will not end well. Many believe Quetta, Balochistan’s capital, is hiding wanted leaders from the Afghan Taliban. Meanwhile, small towns in Balochistan are the breeding grounds for a decades-old separatist movement targeting federal agencies. Increasingly, China has been caught up in the violence. In 2004, three Chinese engineers were killed and nine wounded when separatists attacked their van in Gwadar. In 2009, China shelved its $12 billion plans to build an oil refinery and an oil city in Gwadar due to security concerns.

China’s involvement in the region’s politics can only be bad news. In 2012, U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher introduced a resolution that asked the United States to support Baloch separatists as freedom fighters. The resolution was tabled, but if the United States ever does decide to involve itself in the conflict, China’s strategic interests will be at risk.

Read more » Foreign Affairs
See more » http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/143227/syed-fazl-e-haider/a-strategic-seaport

China’s ‘gift’ of Z-10 Stealth helicopters to Pakistan

China Likely to give 3 Z-10 Attack Helos to Pakistan; Will this ‘Gift’ Support its R&D?

By

Pakistan is all set to welcome new attack helicopters from China — the Z-10 — in 2015 if reports are to be believed. Moreover, these attack helicopters will be given free of cost to China’s “all-weather friend”, Pakistan.

The reports originated from unconfirmed Russian media, which claimed that China might be gifting three of its latest anti-tank attack helicopter that was designed by the Russian design bureau, Kamov, and further developed by the Chinese 602nd Research Institute.

The primary missions for the Z-10 are anti-tank missions with air-to-air missions being its secondary capability. These according to Duowei News, a US-based Chinese political news outlet, will be added to the aviation fleet of Pakistani Army.

This helicopter will be able to attack either on ground or on air. It has a range of 3-4 kilometres without appearing on the radar. The maximumspeed of Z-10 is 300+ km/h with a range of 800+. It also has 23 mm or 30 mm autocannon mounted, 57 mm, 90 mm multi-barrel unguided rocket pods and four hard points for missiles.

Read more » INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES
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ee more » http://www.ibtimes.co.in/china-likely-give-3-z-10-attack-helos-pakistan-will-this-gift-support-its-rd-619658

China: PV installed capacity grows to almost 30 GW in 2014

China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) has released 2014 solar figures. The report shows installed capacity approached 30 GW, while manufacturers are reporting greatly increased utilization rates.

The NEA report concludes that as of the end of 2014, the total installed PV capacity of connected to state grid was 28.05 GW. Breakdown between installation type reveals ground-mounted capacity was 23.38 GW while Distributed Generation (DG) came in at 4.67 GW.

Total electricity generated by PV showed rapid growth in 2014, reaching 25 billion kW/h, an increase of more than 200% over last year.

For 2014, NEA reports 10.6 GW of new capacity was connected to the state grid, along the lines of previous predictions of 10.52 GW. This accounts for around one quarter of all new PV capacity installed globally and one-third of the total PV module output from China.

Geographically, the east part of China overtook the west for the first time in terms of new PV capacity installed, accounting for 54% of arrays.

Upstream data

From the perspective of the upstream industry, in 2014 the total poly silicon production of China was about 130,000 tons, a 50% increase on 2013. Despite this rapid growth, China still imported about 90,000 tons of poly silicon for domestic manufacturing. The photovoltaic modules production was over 33 GW, an increase of 17% over the previous year of which 68% were exported.

The capacity utilization of PV manufactures increased sharply. The average capacity utilization of top 10 PV modules manufactures stood above 87% by the end of 2014.

The NEA has announced the goal of 15 GW for new solar capacity for 2015.

News courtesy: PV Magazine

Read more: http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/china–pv-installed-capacity-grows-to-almost-30-gw-in-2014_100018231/#ixzz3TVu14y5b

China submarines outnumber U.S. fleet: U.S. admiral

Washington: (Reuters) – China is building some “fairly amazing submarines” and now has more diesel- and nuclear-powered vessels than the United States, a top U.S. Navy admiral told U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday, although he said their quality was inferior.

Vice Admiral Joseph Mulloy, deputy chief of naval operations for capabilities and resources, told the House Armed Services Committee’s seapower subcommittee that China was also expanding the geographic areas of operation for its submarines, and their length of deployment.

For instance, China had carried out three deployments in the Indian Ocean, and had kept vessels out at sea for 95 days, Mulloy said.

“We know they are out experimenting and looking at operating and clearly want to be in this world of advanced submarines,” Mulloy told the committee.

U.S. military officials in recent months have grown increasingly vocal about China’s military buildup and launched a major push to ensure that U.S. military technology stays ahead of rapid advances by China and Russia.

Mulloy said the quality of China’s submarines was lower than those built by the United States, but the size of its undersea fleet had now surpassed that of the U.S. fleet. A spokeswoman said the U.S. Navy had 71 commissioned U.S. submarines.

U.S. submarines are built by Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. and General Dynamics Corp.

In its last annual report to Congress about China’s military and security developments, the Pentagon said China had 77 principal surface combatant ships, more than 60 submarines, 55 large and medium amphibious ships, and about 85 missile-equipped small combatants.

Mulloy did not provide details about the number of surface ships now operated by China.

He said the U.S. military did not believe China carried nuclear missiles on its submarines, but that it had been producing missiles and testing them.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; editing by Gunna Dickson)

News courtesy: Reuters
Read more » http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/25/us-usa-china-submarines-idUSKBN0LT2NE20150225

 

India to negotiate free trade zone with Russia-led Customs Union

India is to start negotiating a free trade agreement with the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan within the next six months, Indian Deputy Minister of Commerce and Industry Rajeev Kher has said.

A Russian-Indian working group which was established in November 2014 will consider the negotiating of a comprehensive free trade agreement between India and the Customs Union.

Kher said the working group would put forward proposals within the next six months and the negotiating process would start after that, TASS reports.

As most of the developed world in the West is suffering an economic downturn, the developing world has been stepping up efforts to bring their economies closer.

Most recently, China said it could establish a free trade zone with a broader Russia-led economic bloc that also includes Armenia and is expected to include Kyrgyzstan soon.

The Eurasian customs union is a regional bloc that includes Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan aimed at creating a single economic space with common tariffs. The group has a population of 168 million people and a GDP of more than $2 trillion.

The BRICS countries which include Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will also have established by the end of the year the $100 billion New Development Bank, as a rival to the IMF and the World Bank.

Read more » http://rt.com/business/235731-india-russia-customs-union/

The World’s 10 Fastest Growing Metropolitan Areas

By Joseph Parilla and Jesus Leal Trujillo

With only 20 percent of the population, the world’s 300 largest metropolitan economies account for nearly half of global economic output. Through our new Global Metro Monitorreport and interactive, users can understand the individual trajectories of the world’s large metropolitan economies and gain new insights into sources of growth that national or regional assessments tend to obscure.

The fastest growing metro areas this year, as measured by our economic performance index that combines employment and GDP per capita growth, are concentrated in China, Turkey and the Middle East.

Read more » Brrokings
See more » http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/the-avenue/posts/2015/02/10-worlds-10-fastest-growing-metropolitan-areas-parilla-trujillo?cid=00900015020089101US0001-02241

Russia ratifies $100bn BRICS New Development Bank

The Russian State Duma has ratified the $100 billion BRICS bank that’ll serve as a pool of money for infrastructure projects in Russia, Brazil, India, China and South Africa, and challenge the dominance of the Western-led World Bank and the IMF.

The New Development Bank is expected to start fully functioning by the end of 2015, according to the Russian Finance Ministry.

Russia has agreed to provide $2 billion dollars from the federal budget for the bank over the next seven years.

It will have three-tiers of corporate governance, with a Board of Governors, Board of Directors and a President.

The bank’s board of directors will hold its first meeting in Ufa in Russia in April. Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov is likely to become the bank’s first Chairman of the Board of Governors, according to Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak talking on the Russia 24 TV channel.

The decision to establish the BRICS bank, along with a $100 billion reserve currency pool, was made in July 2014. Each of the five member countries is expected to allocate an equal share of the $50 billion startup capital that will be expanded to $100 billion.

The bank will be headquartered in Shanghai, India will serve as the first five-year rotating president, and the first Chairman of the Board of Directors will come from Brazil.

Read more » RT
See more » http://rt.com/business/234027-russia-ratifies-brics-bank/

Doubts cast on Xi March visit to Pakistan

By Ananth Krishnan

It is unclear whether Chinese President Xi Jinping may accept Pakistan’s invitation to preside over a symbolic national military parade on March 23, with officials in Beijing indicating that the Chinese leader was more likely to visit in April or May.

While a decision has not been taken yet on when Xi will visit Pakistan – the Chinese leader had already in September cancelled a visit on account of security concerns – Pakistan has been pushing for Xi to preside over the March 23 military parade, which will be the first to be held in seven years. In recent weeks, a number of Pakistani media reports suggested the Chinese leader had confirmed his attendance.

An announcement on the visit was expected last week with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visiting Pakistan to firm up the dates. Following his two-day talks, however, Wang only said the visit would take place some time “early” this year.

Catching the dragon

IN RECENT weeks, economists at the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and Goldman Sachs, a bank, have tentatively suggested that within a year or two, India’s economy might be growing more quickly than China’s. The day came sooner than they had imagined. Official statistics published on February 9th revealed that India’s GDP rose by 7.5% in 2014, a shade faster than China’s economy managed over the same period (see chart). Narendra Modi, India’s publicity-savvy prime minister, could scarcely have hoped for a better endorsement of his first few months in office.

Read more » The Economist
See more » http://www.economist.com/news/business-and-finance/21642656-indias-economy-grew-faster-chinas-end-2014-catching-dragon?fsrc=scn/tw/te/bl/catchingthedragon

Islamic State executes three of its Chinese militants: China paper

By Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) – The Islamic State has killed three Chinese militants who joined its ranks in Syria and Iraq and later attempted to flee, a Chinese state-run newspaper said, the latest account of fighters from China embroiled in the Middle East conflict.

China has expressed concern about the rise of the Islamic State, nervous about the effect it could have on its Xinjiang region, which borders Pakistan and Afghanistan.

But Beijing has also shown no sign of wanting to take part in the U.S.-led coalition’s efforts to use military force against the militant group.

Around 300 Chinese extremists were fighting with the Islamic State after traveling to Turkey, the Global Times, a tabloid run by China’s ruling Communist Party’s official newspaper, said in December.

The paper on Thursday cited an unnamed Kurdish security official as saying that a Chinese man was “arrested, tried and shot dead” in Syria in late September by the Islamic State after he became disillusioned with jihad and attempted to return to Turkey to attend university.

“Another two Chinese militants were beheaded in late December in Iraq, along with 11 others from six countries. The Islamic State charged them with treason and accused them of trying to escape,” the official said, according to the paper.

Islamic State, which has seized parts of northern and eastern Syria as well as northern and western Iraq, has killed hundreds off the battlefield since the end of June, when it declared a caliphate.

Chinese officials blame separatists from the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) for carrying out attacks in Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uighur people. But they are vague about how many people from China are fighting in the Middle East.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei did not comment on the report at a regular press briefing, but said China was opposed to “all forms of terrorism”.

“China is willing to work with the international community to combat terrorist forces, including ETIM, and safeguard global peace, security and stability,” Hong said.

Human rights advocates say economic marginalization of Uighurs and curbs on their culture and religion are the main causes of ethnic violence in Xinjiang and around China that has killed hundreds of people in recent years. China denies these assertions.

China has criticized the Turkish government for offering shelter to Uighur refugees who have fled through southeast Asia, saying it creates a global security risk.

(Reporting by Michael Martina and Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Courtesy: Reuters
Read more » http://news.yahoo.com/islamic-state-executes-three-chinese-militants-china-paper-083953180.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory&soc_trk=tw

‘China, Russia back India on UN terror resolution targeting Pakistan’

NEW DELHI: China and Russia decided on Monday to back the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) — a resolution supported by India and heavily biased against Pakistan.

At a meeting of Russia-India-China (RIC) in Beijing, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said her counterparts from the two countries understood the need for endorsing the resolution that has been pending at the UN for nearly two decades and seeks to widen the existing definition of terrorism.

The CCIT was proposed by India in 1996 in lieu of Pakistan allegedly backing Kashmiri separatists.

In Tuesday’s meeting, the RIC communiqué vouched to oppose terrorism of all forms and called all countries to join efforts in combating terrorism together with the United Nations.

Speaking at a press conference after the RIC meeting, Swaraj told reporters: “Our discussions on terrorism brought consensus on two issues. Firstly, there can be no ideological, religious, political, racial or any other justification for the acts of terrorism and secondly the need to bring to justice perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these acts of terror.”

Swaraj added that the ministers emphasized the need to step up information gathering and sharing and prevent the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICTs) for the purposes of recruitment and incitement to commit terrorist acts.

News courtesy » The Express Tribune
Read more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/832183/china-russia-back-india-on-un-terror-resolution-targeting-pakistan/

India PM Narendra Modi to visit China in May

PM Modi

PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit China in May, Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj has announced during a three-day visit to Beijing.

China is one of India’s top trading partners but they vie for regional influence and dispute their border.

The announcement comes after US President Barack Obama’s landmark visit to India last week.

India and the US share an interest in curbing China’s growing regional influence.

During Mr Obama’s landmark visit he and Mr Modi signed the “Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region” pledging to work together to keep freedom of navigation, maritime security and air space safe, especially in the South China Sea.

Correspondents say it was the first time India and the US had come together openly to say that they do not want Asia to be dominated by one power.

“Mr Modi is going to come in May. I will give them dates today. This is a preparatory visit,” Ms Swaraj told reporters in Beijing, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to take Mr Modi to his home province of Shaanxi, reports say.

Mr Xi visited India in September. The two sides signed 12 agreements during his visit.

Read more » BBC
Learn more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-31087807

Chinese President Xi Jinping to break protocol, will meet Sushma Swaraj

By ,TNN

BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping has made an exception by agreeing to meet the visiting Indian external affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj, on Monday. The Chinese president rarely meets the visiting foreign ministers from other countries, who are sometimes accorded respect by a meeting with the country’s premier.

Xi’s desire to have direct consultations with Swaraj could be related to the recent New Delhi visit by US President Barack Obama. The hallmark of the visit was the Indo-US joint strategic vision for the Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean region, much to China’s discomfort. Besides, India’s growing closeness with China’s arch rival, Japan, in the new regime has also upset Beijing.

Swaraj is slated to have another significant meeting with the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, who will visit her hotel for preliminary discussions with her before the scheduled meeting of foreign ministers of Russia, India, China (RIC) on Monday. Swaraj will also meet Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi separately before the RIC summit.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said Beijing expects “a range of consensus” to emerge between India and China during Swaraj’s visit, indicating that officials from both sides are ready to discuss their differences head on. “We believe a range of consensus will emerge from the meeting to further our political trust and our practical cooperation. Our cooperation has made some headway. We are in sound coordination and cooperation on regional and international issues,” Hua said.

Read more » THE TIMES OF INDIA
See more » http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Chinese-President-Xi-Jinping-to-break-protocol-will-meet-Sushma-Swaraj/articleshow/46081518.cms

 

China universities ‘must shun Western values’

China’s education minister has told universities to shun textbooks that promote Western values, state media say.

Yuan Guiren said universities should maintain political integrity and keep criticism of China’s leaders or political system out of the classroom.

His comments, reported by Xinhua news agency, came at an educational forum.

In recent months restrictions on academics appear to have been tightening.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-31052682

China Invites India to Join its Ambitious Silk Road Projects

XIAN, CHINA:  Giving final touches to its most ambitious plan to build a wide network of new silk roads on land and seas to enhance global connectivity, China has invited India to join President Xi Jinping’s pet project that would revive the ancient trade route and benefit the region.
“From historical point of view India is the converging point of Maritime Silk road (MSR) and the ancient Silk Road on land. For more than 2,000 years India had very good exchanges with China through the passage of the South Silk Road,” Gao Zhenting, Councillor, Department of International Economic Affairs, told PTI.
“So in China we have a belief that China and India both placed the trail of silk roads and MSR and we both have benefited from the roads,” said Gao, who oversees the Silk Roads projects that involves a maze of highways on land and port connectivity by sea.The projects were expected to revive China’s trade links specially its sagging exports besides globally enhancing its sphere of influence.

Throughout the history of Silk Road and Maritime Silk Road many scholars and businessmen from India visited China and still many Chinese remember the names of many of them and stories, he said.

Gao took a team of diplomats and journalists to showcase China’s preparations to build the New Silk Road (NSR) from the historic city of Xian, once the flourishing capital of imperial China.

The road enabled China’s famous Buddhist scholar Xuanzang to visit India in 600 AD and return with treasure trove of Buddhist scriptures.

According to the recent Encyclopaedia of 2000 years of cultural contacts between India and China, Xuanzang, an ardent Buddhist scholar, visited India traversing through the ancient Silk Road of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan and entered the undivided India.
Xian houses the Wild Goose Pagoda, built in memory of Xuanzang’s visit to India.“The Chinese government believes that India naturally is an important partner in this One belt and One Road,” Gao said.

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In China, Projects to Make Great Wall Feel Small

 

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DALIAN, China — The plan here seems far-fetched — a $36 billion tunnel that would run twice the length of the one under the English Channel, and bore deep into one of Asia’s active earthquake zones. When completed, it would be the world’s longest underwater tunnel, creating a rail link between two northern port cities.

Throughout China, equally ambitious projects with multibillion-dollar price tags are already underway. The world’s largest bridge. The biggest airport. The longest gas pipeline. An $80 billion effort to divert water from the south of the country, where it is abundant, to a parched section of the north, along a route that covers more than 1,500 miles.

Such enormous infrastructure projects are a Chinese tradition. From the Great Wall to the Grand Canal and the Three Gorges Dam, this nation for centuries has used colossal public-works projects to showcase its engineering prowess and project its economic might.

Now, as doubts emerge about the country’s three-decade boom, China’s leaders are moving even more aggressively, doubling down on mega-infrastructure. In November, for instance, the powerful National Development and Reform Commission approved plans to spend nearly $115 billion on 21 supersize infrastructure projects, including new airports andhigh-speed rail lines.

“China has always had this history of mega-projects,” said Huang Yukon, an economist and senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a think tank based in Washington.

“It’s part of the blood, the culture, the nature of its society. To have an impact on the country, they’ve got to be big.”

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I am a Marxist, Dalai Lama says

KOLKATA: Describing himself as a Marxist, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Tuesday said many Marxist leaders have now become capitalists in thinking.

“As far as social-economic theory is concerned, I am still a Marxist,” the spiritual leader said adding that he admires Marxism because of its focus on reducing gap between the rich and the poor.

“Many Marxist leaders are now capitalists in their thinking. It depends on their motivation, thinking, wider perspective,” the spiritual leader said during a lecture on world peace in Presidency University.

“In capitalist countries, there is an increasing gap between the rich and the poor. In Marxism, there is emphasis on equal distribution. That is very crucial to me,” he said.

He blamed discrimination against women and those from low-castes for hampering peace in India, but said, “Muslims in India are living more safely than the Shias of Pakistan.”

The Dalai Lama greets the audience as he arrives to speak on “A Human Approach to World Peace” at Presidency Univeristy in Kolkata, on January 13, 2015.

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China’s cracking down on sexy – Shanghai May Ban Spokesmodels at Auto Shows to Keep Focus on Cars

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The Shanghai auto show is a once every two years events, and the city’s Communist government is mulling a ban on the use of scantily-clad models, a draw at many auto shows, so that visitors can instead focus on the cars. It’s in line with a wider attempt by government in China to impose a more Victorian set of values vis a vis sexiness. Bloombergreports:

While female models are a staple for major auto shows globally, China’s car expos have challenged the country’s morality guardians by featuring models with plunging necklines and ultra-short hemlines. China Central Television, the state broadcaster, renewed the criticism with a report last month castigating the use of racy models at another auto show.

The criticism follows reports that television regulators ordered the cropping of scenes featuring revealing costumes in a period drama about the seventh-century Tang dynasty woman emperor Wu Zetian.

In 2012, the Beijing government reprimanded organizers of the city’s auto show for allowing scantily clad models to pose beside cars

That period drama is The Empress of China. It lasted on the air seven days before the Chinese government suspended it for being “too sexy.” It’s now on the air in a less sexy version, with closer shots that crop out possibly sexy body parts.

In the U.S., there have been pushes to ban “booth babes” at shows like the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Mercifully the government has been kept out of it. While the organizers of CES have resisted calls to ban the hiring of models by their exhibitors, they have released new guidelines suggesting “thoughtful consideration” in the use of models. As they become less useful in helping to sell cars or electronics or bring eyeballs to an exhibit, spokesmodels will be used less. Organizers and exhibitors can make these decisions on their own, based on what they perceive their potential customers want. Customers will respond the way they want and a happy medium will find itself. Government intervention only distorts the signals used to arrive at a self-regulated state.

Courtesy: Reason.com
Learn more » http://reason.com/blog/2015/01/14/shanghai-may-ban-spokesmodels-at-auto-sh

China pledges to help Russia overcome economic hardships

China’s foreign minister has pledged support to Russia as it faces an economic downturn due to sanctions and a drop in oil prices. Boosting trade in yuan is a solution proposed by Beijing’s commerce minister.

Russia has the capability and the wisdom to overcome the existing hardship in the economic situation,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi told journalists, China Daily reported Monday. “If the Russian side needs it, we will provide necessary assistance within our capacity.

The offer of help comes as Russians are still recovering from the shock of the ruble’s worst crash in years last Tuesday, when it lost over 20 percent against the US dollar and the euro. The Russian currency bounced back the next day, but it still has lost almost half of its value since March.

Read more » RT
Learn more » http://rt.com/news/216563-china-russia-economic-hardships/

China’s hypersonic strike vehicle ‘in 3d test flight’

China has reportedly conducted a third flight test for its new ultra-high speed strike vehicle – capable of travelling at up to eight times the speed of sound, in what experts suspect is part of the development of its strategic nuclear program.

Read more » RT
Learn more » http://rt.com/news/211575-china-hypersonic-missile-test/

CHINA’S STRATEGIC SHIFT TOWARD THE REGION OF THE FOUR SEAS: THE MIDDLE KINGDOM ARRIVES IN THE MIDDLE EAST

 

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Since the Arab Spring, China has been quietly asserting its influence and fortifying its foothold in the Middle East, while the United States pivots to the Asia Pacific after a decade of war.  It is aligning with states that have problematic relations with the West and are also geo-strategically placed on the littoral of the “Four Seas”–the Caspian Sea, Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea, and Arabian Sea/Persian Gulf. Paradoxically, the U.S. eastward pivot is matched by the resurgent Middle Kingdom’s westward pivot across its new Silk Road, and threatens to outflank the citadel of American geo-strategies in the region.

INTRODUCTION: CHINA’S STRATEGIC INTERESTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Energy Security

China’s interest in the Middle East is first and foremost energy-driven.[1] In 1993, when it became a net oil importer for the first time, Beijing embarked on a “go out” (zhouchuqu) policy to procure energy assets abroad to feed its growing economy.  The legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rests on continued economic growth and delivering a rising standard of living for the Chinese population.  As a corollary, China is also concerned about security of energy supply lines and Sea Lines of Communication (SLOCS).  Because the United States is considered its main opponent in the international system, China is wary of U.S. naval dominance and the risk of choking China’s energy supply through the Malacca Straits should hostilities break out over Taiwan.  This is referred to as the “Malacca Dilemma,” where 80 percent of China’s oil imports traverse this chokepoint that is vulnerable to piracy and U.S. blockade.  Indeed, given increasing tension in the three flash points of the South China Sea, the Korean Peninsula and the Taiwan Straits, this concern is even more pressing for the Chinese leadership.

Market Access

The Middle East is also a strategic logistics and trade hub for China’s exports and market access in Europe and Africa. China understands the importance of having strong economic foundations for military power and sees that continued market access for their exports to fuel China’s economy would build up their war chest to further underwrite military modernization.[2]  The EU is currently China’s largest trading partner ahead of the United States.[3] Moreover, China also has vast interests on the African continent–both via infrastructure projects and long-term energy supply contracts.  More than 1 million Chinese are in Africa (up from about 100,000 in the early 2000s), with trade at $120 billion in 2011.[4] In 2009, China overtook the United States to become Africa’s number one trading partner.[5]  As such, the Middle East is a strategic region that connects Europe, Africa, and Asia markets.

Thus, given the Middle East’s location as a trade hub linking the three continents, a vital region for market access, and site of vast energy reserves to fuel China’s continued economic growth, the CCP deems the Middle East as a high priority on its foreign policy agenda. As the United States “pivots” towards Asia, China will naturally seek strategic depth in areas that were once dominated by the United States and its Western allies.  This is even more so in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.

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China Has Big Plans to Explore the Moon and Mars

by Leonard David

China continues to ramp up its space activities, which include a new launch complex, more powerful boosters and the construction of a large space station, as well as plans for complex robotic missions to the moon and Mars.

For example, China’s “little fly” spacecraft looped around the moonand returned to Earth Nov. 1 (Beijing time) after eight days of flight, parachuting safely down in northern China’s Inner Mongolia.

The capsule used seven kinds of thermal protection materials, returning data that will be applied to China’s Chang’e 5 robotic lunar sample return mission, which is slated to launch in 2017 from the new Wenchang Satellite Launch Center. [Greatest Moon Missions of All Time]

Courtesy: Space
Read more » http://www.space.com/27893-china-space-program-moon-mars.html?adbid=10152483784056466&adbpl=fb&adbpr=17610706465&cmpid=514630_20141203_36643077

China launches ‘world’s longest’ train route: Cargo train from China to Spain.

Move over Trans-Siberian: China launches ‘world’s longest’ train route

The 82-wagon cargo train is expected to take 21 days to travel 6,200 miles, passing through six countries between China and Spain.

Dubbed Yixinou, the train left Yiwu, an industrial center less than 200 miles south of Shanghai, on Tuesday and is expected to reach Madrid in December after traversing Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, and France, reports the Local.se.

Read more » RT
See more » http://rt.com/news/207447-china-spain-longest-train/

China Flight Tests New Stealth Jet During Obama Visit

White House calls on China to halt cyber espionage

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China’s military upstaged the Asian economic summit in Beijing this week by conducting flights tests of a new stealth jet prototype, as the White House called on Beijing to halt its cyber attacks.

Demonstration flights by the new J-31 fighter jet—China’s second new radar-evading warplane—were a key feature at a major arms show in Zhuhai, located near Macau, on Monday.

The J-31 flights coincided with President Obama’s visit to Beijing for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting. In a speech and meetings with Chinese leaders, Obama called on China to curtail cyber theft of trade secrets.

China obtained secrets from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter through cyber attacks against a subcontractor for Lockheed Martin. The technology has shown up in China’s first stealth jet, the J-20, and in the J-31. Both of the jets’ design features and equipment are similar to those of the F-35.

The Chinese warplanes are part of a major buildup of air power by China that includes the two new stealth fighters, development of a new strategic bomber, purchase of Russian Su-35 jets, and development of advanced air defense missile systems. China also is building up its conventional and nuclear missile forces.

Read more » THE WASHINGTON FREE BEACON
See more » http://freebeacon.com/national-security/china-flight-tests-new-stealth-jet-during-obama-visit/