Tag Archive | "China"

China Creates, Macau Burns and Robs


NOVANEWS

It is truly an amazing site: monstrous US hotels and casinos, just a few hundred meters from the Mainland China. All that kitsch that one usually associates with Las Vegas or Atlantic City, but bigger, much bigger! In fact, Macau is the biggest casino sprawl in the world.

Casinos, most of them confined inside the US mega-hotels, make approximately 5 times more money here, than in Las Vegas.

You want Venetian; a tremendous mind-blowing temple of bad taste, complete with a fake San Marco Square, canals, gondolas (gondoliers don’t sing O Sole Mio, thank God, as they are mostly from Portugal) and overcooked pasta – it is all here; one of the largest buildings on earth, and the biggest casino in the universe!

Biggest casino in the world – Venetian Macau

You want Parisian; yet another vulgar monstrosity, complete with a fake Eiffel Tower which lightens up right after dark to the great delight of the armies of selfie-takers? It is also here, in Cotai, Macau, together with the fake Champ de Mars that doubles as an (phony again) ice-skating rink.

Parisian Macau – fake tower

Macau is tiny, measuring only some 115 km square. But with around 650,000 people, it is one of the most over-populated places in the world. There is no space to move around here, anymore. Macau is a total, thorough urban nightmare and failure, propelled and ‘justified’ only by greed. But its plans are still Napoleonic. The territory wants more and more. Or more precisely: the Macau government, together with big business from the West, want more and more visitors, more and more casinos, luxury retail stores, and of course, profits.

24 hours a day, 365 days a week, Macau sucks in like a monstrous turbine, millions, in fact billions of dollars, yuan or whatever currency manages to enter its territory. It attracts like a magnet, masses of people from the PRC, who are often still naïve, innocent and defenseless when confronted by brutal and extreme forms of capitalism and its advertisements.

In January 2019, I visited several casinos in Macau, and not surprisingly, there are very few traditional roulette tables there, but masses of electronically controlled machines. Everything is noisy, confusing and lacking transparency. Western casinos treat Chinese people like some brainless children. At least the classic roulette mainly wins (for casino) on ‘neutral’ 0 (zero), giving a gambler very fair chance. But electronic, futuristic machines are a sham, and can ‘strip’ an unseasoned gambler of everything, in just a few hours, even minutes. But that is, obviously, precisely the goal.

Fake canals inside Venetian Macau

I am horrified to see hordes of good Chinese (PRC) citizens who work hard, building their beautiful country, and then crossing to that fake universe of Macau, where they are literally blowing their savings in spasmodic, insane sprees.

On 23 January, 2019, CNN reported from Hong Kong:

Chinese authorities say they have busted an underground money-smuggling ring used to launder more than $4.4 billion through the Asian gambling hub of Macau.

The case is a high-profile example of Beijing’s crackdown on attempts to dodge its capital controls, which it has tightened in recent years to prevent money from flooding out of the country and destabilizing the economy.

Macau’s Judicial Police said the syndicate was formed in 2016 and relied on point-of-sale machines — the devices used by shops to conduct transactions with credit cards or debit cards — which were smuggled in from China. 

These in theory would allow Chinese citizens to make withdrawals from their bank accounts that appeared to be domestic transactions, thereby avoiding China’s strict limits on how much money people can move across its borders.

In theory, Chinese citizens are only allowed to take out of the country no more than 100,000 Yuan, which amounts to approximately $15,000 annually. But local businessmen and gangs are always looking for loopholes.

Macau gangs are brutal and they are dealing with huge amounts of money. Antagonizing them is dangerous. Even journalists and academics connected to this tiny but super rich territory, prefer not to speak openly; only on condition of anonymity. One of my good colleagues replied, sarcastically, to my request for a quote:

“I don’t think I could contribute anything to your open eyes approach – and for me to write the truth on what I see in this fishing village making firecrackers turned capitalist paradise of Macau would be like you risking lèse-majesté in Bangkok by mocking the golden towers of the royal palace.”

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In the old, Portuguese historic area of Macau, which happens to be a UNESCO-inscribed world heritage site, there is hardly any place left to move. Weekends are the ‘deadliest’, with monstrous ‘pedestrian traffic jams’ and more than one hour-long taxi lines. However, weekdays are not much better.

Beijing tried to crack down on gambling and for some time it worked, but during the last months, casinos have been bouncing back. The loopholes are too numerous. In the meantime, the territory panicked (‘God forbid it could not make as much money as before!’) and began trying to attract even more tourists, mainly from the Mainland, by all means available: a new bridge, advertisements…  It also began to cater to the lowest of tastes; historic houses have been painted in kitschy pink, vulgar bluish and greenish, as well as yellow colors. Culture and art has almost disappeared. And everything has become mass-produced and fake, including ‘Portuguese food’.

Frankly, all that Macau represents is wrong: it has already ruined millions of human lives through mass gambling. It robs Mainland China of billions of dollars. Instead of educating people, it offers fake culture, in fact a disgusting parody ‘Las Vegas-style’. It is brainwashing Chinese people, so they see ‘the world according to Disney, Hollywood and big US hotel chains’.

Many hotel managers come from Portugal (for ‘authenticity’, I suppose). They are arrogant, more North American than North Americans themselves, ambitious and unscrupulous. Many of them speak about Mainland China sarcastically, with spite. Typical Western ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom of speech’ nonsense.

In historic Macau pedestrian traffic jams

Stripped of authenticity and decency, Macau adopted a gold-digging, repulsive culture. Talk about ‘fake news’ and fake culture! Everything that is fake, is here, in Macau.

Across the water, in the PRC, beautiful modern cities are growing, simple, elegant, and confident; built for the people.

In Macau, morale, socialist spirit, as well as family savings, are getting ruined and burned.

‘One country two systems’ has gone too far in Macau. This territory produces nothing. Not even those traditional firecrackers, perhaps. It only consumes, and perverts.

One of Sheraton Macau’s employees, a Philippine lady born in Macau, explained:

“I don’t recognize my own home city, anymore! It used to be a dormant, beautiful place. Now it is thoroughly ruined.”

I don’t recognize Macau either. And people who come here, from Mainland China, tend to change, quickly. Is this yet another Western subversion, an attempt to break China into pieces? Definitely. The government of the PRC should take more decisive action, soon; protecting its people and funds.

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This article was originally published on New Eastern Outlook.

 

Posted in ChinaComments Off on China Creates, Macau Burns and Robs

Tensions Grow as China, Russia and Iran Lead the Way Towards a New Multipolar World Order


NOVANEWS

Military and economic tensions are increasing due to the ramped up warlike stance of the US establishment. The impossibility of halting the shifting world order in favour of prolonging the unipolar moment has left the US deep state reaching for any available weapon at hand, taking no heed of the dangers and consequences of such a reckless foreign policy.

Posted in USA, Iran, RussiaComments Off on Tensions Grow as China, Russia and Iran Lead the Way Towards a New Multipolar World Order

Behind on Payments to China, Sri Lanka Coughed Up Territory Instead


NOVANEWS
A cargo ship navigating one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, near Hambantota, Sri Lanka, in May.CreditAdam Dean for The New York Times

HAMBANTOTA, Sri Lanka — Every time Sri Lanka’s president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, turned to his Chinese allies for loans and assistance with an ambitious port project, the answer was yes.

Yes, though feasibility studies said the port wouldn’t work. Yes, though other frequent lenders like India had refused. Yes, though Sri Lanka’s debt was ballooning rapidly under Mr. Rajapaksa.

Over years of construction and renegotiation with China Harbor Engineering Company, one of Beijing’s largest state-owned enterprises, the Hambantota Port Development Project distinguished itself mostly by failing, as predicted. With tens of thousands of ships passing by along one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, the port drew only 34 ships in 2012.

And then the port became China’s.

Mr. Rajapaksa was voted out of office in 2015, but Sri Lanka’s new government struggled to make payments on the debt he had taken on. Under heavy pressure and after months of negotiations with the Chinese, the government handed over the port and 15,000 acres of land around it for 99 years in December.

The transfer gave China control of territory just a few hundred miles off the shores of a rival, India, and a strategic foothold along a critical commercial and military waterway.

The case is one of the most vivid examples of China’s ambitious use of loans and aid to gain influence around the world — and of its willingness to play hardball to collect.

The debt deal also intensified some the harshest accusations about President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative: that the global investment and lending program amounts to a debt trap for vulnerable countries around the world, fueling corruption and autocratic behavior in struggling democracies.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka, center, holding court at a wedding in Colombo in June.CreditAdam Dean for The New York Times

Months of interviews with Sri Lankan, Indian, Chinese and Western officials and analysis of documents and agreements stemming from the port project present a stark illustration of how China and the companies under its control ensured their interests in a small country hungry for financing.

 During the 2015 Sri Lankan elections, large payments from the Chinese port construction fund flowed directly to campaign aides and activities for Mr. Rajapaksa, who had agreed to Chinese terms at every turn and was seen as an important ally in China’s efforts to tilt influence away from India in South Asia. The payments were confirmed by documents and cash checks detailed in a government investigation seen by The New York Times.

• Though Chinese officials and analysts have insisted that China’s interest in the Hambantota port is purely commercial, Sri Lankan officials said that from the start, the intelligence and strategic possibilities of the port’s location were part of the negotiations.

• Initially moderate terms for lending on the port project became more onerous as Sri Lankan officials asked to renegotiate the timeline and add more financing. And as Sri Lankan officials became desperate to get the debt off their books in recent years, the Chinese demands centered on handing over equity in the port rather than allowing any easing of terms.

• Though the deal erased roughly $1 billion in debt for the port project, Sri Lanka is now in more debt to China than ever, as other loans have continued and rates remain much higher than from other international lenders.

Mr. Rajapaksa and his aides did not respond to multiple requests for comment, made over several months, for this article. Officials for China Harbor also would not comment.

Estimates by the Sri Lankan Finance Ministry paint a bleak picture: This year, the government is expected to generate $14.8 billion in revenue, but its scheduled debt repayments, to an array of lenders around the world, come to $12.3 billion.

“John Adams said infamously that a way to subjugate a country is through either the sword or debt. China has chosen the latter,” said Brahma Chellaney, an analyst who often advises the Indian government and is affiliated with the Center for Policy Research, a think tank in New Delhi.

Indian officials, in particular, fear that Sri Lanka is struggling so much that the Chinese government may be able to dangle debt relief in exchange for its military’s use of assets like the Hambantota port — though the final lease agreement forbids military activity there without Sri Lanka’s invitation.

“The only way to justify the investment in Hambantota is from a national security standpoint — that they will bring the People’s Liberation Army in,” said Shivshankar Menon, who served as India’s foreign secretary and then its national security adviser as the Hambantota port was being built.

The Hambantota Port gets only a small percentage of Sri Lanka’s port business, overshadowed by the main complex in the capital.CreditAdam Dean for The New York Times.
Sri Lankan workers processing cars being unloaded from a ship at Hambantota Port.CreditAdam Dean for The New York Times

An Engaged Ally

The relationship between China and Sri Lanka had long been amenable, with Sri Lanka an early recognizer of Mao’s Communist government after the Chinese Revolution. But it was during a more recent conflict — Sri Lanka’s brutal 26-year civil war with ethnic Tamil separatists — that China became indispensable.

Mr. Rajapaksa, who was elected in 2005, presided over the last years of the war, when Sri Lanka became increasingly isolated by accusations of human rights abuses. Under him, Sri Lanka relied heavily on China for economic support, military equipment and political cover at the United Nations to block potential sanctions.

The war ended in 2009, and as the country emerged from the chaos, Mr. Rajapaksa and his family consolidated their hold. At the height of Mr. Rajapaksa’s tenure, the president and his three brothers controlled many government ministries and around 80 percent of total government spending. Governments like China negotiated directly with them.

So when the president began calling for a vast new port development project at Hambantota, his sleepy home district, the few roadblocks in its way proved ineffective.

From the start, officials questioned the wisdom of a second major port, in a country a quarter the size of Britain and with a population of 22 million, when the main port in the capital was thriving and had room to expand. Feasibility studies commissioned by the government had starkly concluded that a port at Hambantota was not economically viable.

“They approached us for the port at the beginning, and Indian companies said no,” said Mr. Menon, the former Indian foreign secretary. “It was an economic dud then, and it’s an economic dud now.”

But Mr. Rajapaksa greenlighted the project, then boasted in a news release that he had defied all caution — and that China was on board.

The Sri Lanka Ports Authority began devising what officials believed was a careful, economically sound plan in 2007, according to an official involved in the project. It called for a limited opening for business in 2010, and for revenue to be coming in before any major expansion.

The first major loan it took on the project came from the Chinese government’s Export-Import Bank, or Exim, for $307 million. But to obtain the loan, Sri Lanka was required to accept Beijing’s preferred company, China Harbor, as the port’s builder, according to a United States Embassy cable from the time, leaked to WikiLeaks.

That is a typical demand of China for its projects around the world, rather than allowing an open bidding process. Across the region, Beijing’s government is lending out billions of dollars, being repaid at a premium to hire Chinese companies and thousands of Chinese workers, according to officials across the region.

There were other strings attached to the loan, as well, in a sign that China saw strategic value in the Hambantota port from the beginning.

Nihal Rodrigo, a former Sri Lankan foreign secretary and ambassador to China, said that discussions with Chinese officials at the time made it clear that intelligence sharing was an integral, if not public, part of the deal. In an interview with The Times, Mr. Rodrigo characterized the Chinese line as, “We expect you to let us know who is coming and stopping here.”

In later years, Chinese officials and the China Harbor company went to great lengths to keep relations strong with Mr. Rajapaksa, who for years had faithfully acquiesced to such terms.

In the final months of Sri Lanka’s 2015 election, China’s ambassador broke with diplomatic norms and lobbied voters, even caddies at Colombo’s premier golf course, to support Mr. Rajapaksa over the opposition, which was threatening to tear up economic agreements with the Chinese government.

As the January election inched closer, large payments started to flow toward the president’s circle.

At least $7.6 million was dispensed from China Harbor’s account at Standard Chartered Bank to affiliates of Mr. Rajapaksa’s campaign, according to a document, seen by The Times, from an active internal government investigation. The document details China Harbor’s bank account number — ownership of which was verified — and intelligence gleaned from questioning of the people to whom the checks were made out.

With 10 days to go before polls opened, around $3.7 million was distributed in checks: $678,000 to print campaign T-shirts and other promotional material and $297,000 to buy supporters gifts, including women’s saris. Another $38,000 was paid to a popular Buddhist monk who was supporting Mr. Rajapaksa’s electoral bid, while two checks totaling $1.7 million were delivered by volunteers to Temple Trees, his official residence.

Most of the payments were from a subaccount controlled by China Harbor, named “HPDP Phase 2,” shorthand for Hambantota Port Development Project.

An expressway extension to Hambantota Port. Chinese analysts have not given up the view that the port could become profitable.CreditAdam Dean for The New York Times

China’s Network

After nearly five years of helter-skelter expansion for China’s Belt and Road Initiative across the globe, Chinese officials are quietly trying to take stock of how many deals have been done and what the country’s financial exposure might be. There is no comprehensive picture of that yet, said one Chinese economic policymaker, who like many other officials would speak about Chinese policy only on the condition of anonymity.

Some Chinese officials have become concerned that the nearly institutional graft surrounding such projects represents a liability for China, and raises the bar needed for profitability. President Xi acknowledged the worry in a speech last year, saying, “We will also strengthen international cooperation on anticorruption in order to build the Belt and Road Initiative with integrity.”

In Bangladesh, for example, officials said in January that China Harbor would be banned from future contracts over accusations that the company attempted to bribe an official at the ministry of roads, stuffing $100,000 into a box of tea, government officials said in interviews. And China Harbor’s parent company, China Communications Construction Company, was banned for eight years in 2009 from bidding on World Bank projects because of corrupt practices in the Philippines.

Since the port seizure in Sri Lanka, Chinese officials have started suggesting that Belt and Road is not an open-ended government commitment to finance development across three continents.

“If we cannot manage the risk well, the Belt and Road projects cannot go far or well,” said Jin Qi, the chairwoman of the Silk Road Fund, a large state-owned investment fund, during the China Development Forum in late March.

In Sri Lanka’s case, port officials and Chinese analysts have also not given up the view that the Hambantota port could become profitable, or at least strengthen China’s trade capacity in the region.

Ray Ren, China Merchant Port’s representative in Sri Lanka and the head of the Hambantota port’s operations, insisted that “the location of Sri Lanka is ideal for international trade.” And he dismissed the negative feasibility studies, saying they were done many years ago when Hambantota was “a small fishing hamlet.”

Hu Shisheng, the director of South Asia studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said that China clearly recognized the strategic value of the Hambantota port. But he added: “Once China wants to exert its geostrategic value, the strategic value of the port will be gone. Big countries cannot fight in Sri Lanka — it would be wiped out.”

Although the Hambantota port first opened in a limited way in 2010, before the Belt and Road Initiative was announced, the Chinese government quickly folded the project into the global program.

Shortly after the handover ceremony in Hambantota, China’s state news agency released a boastful video on Twitter, proclaiming the deal “another milestone along the path of #BeltandRoad.”

The Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Hambantota. The stadium has more seats than the population of the area’s main town.CreditAdam Dean for The New York Times
Pilgrim monks visiting the largely empty Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport, just 150 miles southeast from the country’s main airport.CreditAdam Dean for The New York Times

A Port to Nowhere

The seaport is not the only grand project built with Chinese loans in Hambantota, a sparsely populated area on Sri Lanka’s southeastern coast that is still largely overrun by jungle.

A cricket stadium with more seats than the population of Hambantota’s district capital marks the skyline, as does a large international airport — which in June lost the only daily commercial flight it had left when FlyDubai airline ended the route. A highway that cuts through the district is traversed by elephants and used by farmers to rake out and dry the rice plucked fresh from their paddies.

Mr. Rajapaksa’s advisers had laid out a methodical approach to how the port might expand after opening, ensuring that some revenue would be coming in before taking on much more debt.

But in 2009, the president had grown impatient. His 65th birthday was approaching the following year, and to mark the occasion he wanted a grand opening at the Hambantota port — including the beginning of an ambitious expansion 10 years ahead of the Port Authority’s original timeline.

Chinese laborers began working day and night to get the port ready, officials said. But when workers dredged the land and then flooded it to create the basin of the port, they had not taken into account a large boulder that partly blocked the entrance, preventing the entry of large ships, like oil tankers, that the port’s business model relied on.

Ports Authority officials, unwilling to cross the president, quickly moved ahead anyway. The Hambantota port opened in an elaborate celebration on Nov. 18, 2010, Mr. Rajapaksa’s birthday. Then it sat waiting for business while the rock blocked it.

China Harbor blasted the boulder a year later, at a cost of $40 million, an exorbitant price that raised concerns among diplomats and government officials. Some openly speculated about whether the company was simply overcharging or the price tag included kickbacks to Mr. Rajapaksa.

By 2012, the port was struggling to attract ships — which preferred to berth nearby at the Colombo port — and construction costs were rising as the port began expanding ahead of schedule. The government decreed later that year that ships carrying car imports bound for Colombo port would instead offload their cargo at Hambantota to kick-start business there. Still, only 34 ships berthed at Hambantota in 2012, compared with 3,667 ships at the Colombo port, according to a Finance Ministry annual report.

A fish stall in a zone that is due to be turned into a large industrial area surrounding the Hambantota Port.CreditAdam Dean for The New York Times.
Harvesting rice in a field where the industrial area is due to be built.CreditAdam Dean for The New York Times

“When I came to the government, I called the minister of national planning and asked for the justification of Hambantota Port,” Harsha de Silva, the state minister for national policies and economic affairs, said in an interview. “She said, ‘We were asked to do it, so we did it.’ ”

Determined to keep expanding the port, Mr. Rajapaksa went back to the Chinese government in 2012, asking for $757 million.

The Chinese agreed again. But this time, the terms were much steeper.

The first loan, at $307 million, had originally come at a variable rate that usually settled above 1 or 2 percent after the global financial crash in 2008. (For comparison, rates on similar Japanese loans for infrastructure projects run below half a percent.)

But to secure fresh funding, that initial loan was renegotiated to a much higher 6.3 percent fixed rate. Mr. Rajapaksa acquiesced.

The rising debt and project costs, even as the port was struggling, handed Sri Lanka’s political opposition a powerful issue, and it campaigned heavily on suspicions about China. Mr. Rajapaksa lost the election.

The incoming government, led by President Maithripala Sirisena, came to office with a mandate to scrutinize Sri Lanka’s financial deals. It also faced a daunting amount of debt: Under Mr. Rajapaksa, the country’s debt had increased threefold, to $44.8 billion when he left office. And for 2015 alone, a $4.68 billion payment was due at year’s end.

Chinese construction workers, bottom left, walking home from work in front of Colombo’s changing skyline.CreditAdam Dean for The New York Times

Signing It Away

The new government was eager to reorient Sri Lanka toward India, Japan and the West. But officials soon realized that no other country could fill the financial or economic space that China held in Sri Lanka.

“We inherited a purposefully run-down economy — the revenues were insufficient to pay the interest charges, let alone capital repayment,” said Ravi Karunanayake, who was finance minister during the new government’s first year in office.

“We did keep taking loans,” he added. “A new government can’t just stop loans. It’s a relay; you need to take them until economic discipline is introduced.”

The Central Bank estimated that Sri Lanka owed China about $3 billion last year. But Nishan de Mel, an economist at Verité Research, said some of the debts were off government books and instead registered as part of individual projects. He estimated that debt owed to China could be as much as $5 billion and was growing every year. In May, Sri Lanka took a new $1 billion loan from China Development Bank to help make its coming debt payment.

Government officials began meeting in 2016 with their Chinese counterparts to strike a deal, hoping to get the port off Sri Lanka’s balance sheet and avoid outright default. But the Chinese demanded that a Chinese company take a dominant equity share in the port in return, Sri Lankan officials say — writing down the debt was not an option China would accept.

When Sri Lanka was given a choice, it was over which state-owned company would take control: either China Harbor or China Merchants Port, according to the final agreement, a copy of which was obtained by The Times, although it was never released publicly in full.

China Harbor employees heading to work in Colombo.CreditAdam Dean for The New York Times
Chinese workers in their dormitory in Colombo.CreditAdam Dean for The New York Times

China Merchants got the contract, and it immediately pressed for more: Company officials demanded 15,000 acres of land around the port to build an industrial zone, according to two officials with knowledge of the negotiations. The Chinese company argued that the port itself was not worth the $1.1 billion it would pay for its equity — money that would close out Sri Lanka’s debt on the port.

Some government officials bitterly opposed the terms, but there was no leeway, according to officials involved in the negotiations. The new agreement was signed in July 2017, and took effect in December.

The deal left some appearance of Sri Lankan ownership: Among other things, it created a joint company to manage the port’s operations and collect revenue, with 85 percent owned by China Merchants Port and the remaining 15 percent controlled by Sri Lanka’s government.

But lawyers specializing in port acquisitions said Sri Lanka’s small stake meant little, given the leverage that China Merchants Port retained over board personnel and operating decisions. And the government holds no sovereignty over the port’s land.

When the agreement was initially negotiated, it left open whether the port and surrounding land could be used by the Chinese military, which Indian officials asked the Sri Lankan government to explicitly forbid. The final agreement bars foreign countries from using the port for military purposes unless granted permission by the government in Colombo.

That clause is there because Chinese Navy submarines had already come calling to Sri Lanka.

The Port of Colombo, Sri Lanka.CreditAdam Dean for The New York Times

Strategic Concerns

China had a stake in Sri Lanka’s main port as well: China Harbor was building a new terminal there, known at the time as Colombo Port City. Along with that deal came roughly 50 acres of land, solely held by the Chinese company, that Sri Lanka had no sovereignty on.

That was dramatically demonstrated toward the end of Mr. Rajapaksa’s term, in 2014. Chinese submarines docked at the harbor the same day that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan was visiting Colombo, in what was seen across the region as a menacing signal from Beijing.

When the new Sri Lankan government came to office, it sought assurances that the port would never again welcome Chinese submarines — of particular concern because they are difficult to detect and often used for intelligence gathering. But Sri Lankan officials had little real control.

Now, the handover of Hambantota to the Chinese has kept alive concerns about possible military use — particularly as China has continued to militarize island holdings around the South China Sea despite earlier pledges not to.

Sri Lankan officials are quick to point out that the agreement explicitly rules out China’s military use of the site. But others also note that Sri Lanka’s government, still heavily indebted to China, could be pressured to allow it.

And, as Mr. de Silva, the state minister for national policies and economic affairs, put it, “Governments can change.”

Now, he and others are watching carefully as Mr. Rajapaksa, China’s preferred partner in Sri Lanka, has been trying to stage a political comeback. The former president’s new opposition party swept municipal elections in February. Presidential elections are coming up next year, and general elections in 2020.

Although Mr. Rajapaksa is barred from running again because of term limits, his brother, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the former defense secretary, appears to be readying to take the mantle.

“It will be Mahinda Rajapaksa’s call. If he says it’s one of the brothers, that person will have a very strong claim,” said Ajith Nivard Cabraal, the central bank governor under Mr. Rajapaksa’s government, who still advises the family. “Even if he’s no longer the president, as the Constitution is structured, Mahinda will be the main power base.”

Posted in China, Sri LankaComments Off on Behind on Payments to China, Sri Lanka Coughed Up Territory Instead

Big Oil, Brexit, North Korea, China


NOVANEWS

Ex-Mossad Chief: Best Part of My Job Was Having ‘a License to Crime’

By Richard Silverstein, June 19, 2018

When asked about what issue took the lion’s share of his attention as Mossad chief, he answers that Iran took up 80% of the agency’s operational agenda.  For those of us who’ve long criticized Israel’s obsession with Iran and suspected it was a pressure valve exploited by Israeli leaders who sought to avoid issues like Palestine, Pardo’s admission makes one realize how much time the Mossad wasted on chimeras like this.

The Problem with Lamenting “Acceptance” of Kim Jong-un

By Hugh Gusterson, June 19, 2018

As one might expect of any event starring Donald Trump, reaction to the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore has been polarized. Republicans—the same people who condemned Barack Obama for visiting Cuba and John Kerry for meeting with Iranian leaders—defended Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong-un.

Are the Hard Brexiteers – Jumping Ship?

By True Publica, June 19, 2018

A couple of months ago, the driving force behind Ukip Nigel Faragewas forced into confirming that two of his children possess British and German passports, meaning they will maintain their free movement rights in the European Union after Brexit. Before that, the Independent reported that last year, Mr Farage was forced to deny he was applying for German citizenship himself after he was spotted queueing at the German embassy.

North Korea: What Price Peace?

By Askiah Adam, June 19, 2018

Indeed the Singapore Declaration was much anticipated and is well received. But there is, too, much pessimism. The recent unilateral abandonment of the Iran nuclear agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) by the United States is one. Iran, naturally, advised Kim to be wary.

Oil Giants Shell and Eni Face Trial in Milan Over Bribery Allegations in Biggest Corruption Case Facing Sector in Years

By Chloe Farand, June 19, 2018

They allege that Shell and Eni paid $1.1 billion into an account for the Nigeria government of which $800 million was later transferred to Malabu Oil and Gas, a company secretly owned by former Nigerian petroleum minister and convicted money launderer Dan Etete, to be distributed as payoffs.

China: The Largest Cheap Labor Factory in the World

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, June 19, 2018

The factory price of a commodity produced in China is of the order of 10% of the retail price in Western countries. Consequently, the largest share of the earnings of  China’s cheap labor economy accrue to distributors and retailers in Western countries.

In recent developments, Trump has duly instructed his administration to impose tariffs on about $50 billion worth of Chinese imports.

Posted in China, North KoreaComments Off on Big Oil, Brexit, North Korea, China

Korea, China, Syria, Palestine


NOVANEWS

 

Pro-GMO Activism and Smears Masquerade as Journalism: From Seralini to Jairam Ramesh, Aruna Rodrigues Puts the Record Straight

By Colin Todhunter and Aruna Rodrigues, June 17, 2018

Rodrigues accuses Sandhya Ramesh of dubbing anything that is a proper critique of GMOs based on ‘independent’ science (the distinction is important) as the work of ‘anti-GMO’ activists. She argues that a properly researched piece would have entailed weeks of serious research into the various studies carried out by Seralini and his team over the last decade as well as the reappraisal of Bt brinjal (October 2009 to February 2010) ordered by Jairam Ramesh.

Trump Wants to Free America from “Fool Trade” and Flip the Tables on the EU

By Andrew Korybko, June 17, 2018

Tweeting from Singapore after the failed G7 Summit in Canada, the President wrote that “Fair Trade is now to be called Fool Trade if it is not Reciprocal”, before explaining how Canada and Germany “rip off” the US through their own protectionist tariffs and insufficient contributions to NATO, respectively.

Aftermath of the Trump-Kim Summit: Unilateral Denuclearization, Continued US Military Threats, Economic Sanctions

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, June 17, 2018

ROK president Moon had demanded the suspension of the US-ROK war games directed against the DPRK to no avail.

Under the US-ROK combined forces command, all South Korean Forces fall under US command. The South Korean president is not the Commander in Chief and cannot under any circumstances veto the conduct of joint war games.

Trump Approves $50 Billion in Tariffs on Chinese Goods

By Stephen Lendman, June 16, 2018

Reportedly Trump met with his trade officials on Thursday, a decision reached to impose around $50 billion in tariffs on a range of Chinese goods – an announcement of the move expected on Friday or early next week.

Drivers Behind the War on Syria and the Impoverishment of Us All

By Mark Taliano, June 16, 2018

To be blunt, Western policymakers seek to destroy secular democracy in Syria, along with its socially uplifting political economy, with a view to installing a compliant fascist Wahhabi government.

The end result is chaos, the enrichment of the transnational “oligarchs” and the impoverishment of Syria.

What’s in Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’? The Answers Are in Plain Sight

By Jonathan Cook, June 16, 2018

According to Palestinian officials, they are likely to be offered provisional borders over fragments of land comprising about half the occupied territories – or just 11 percent of what was recognised as Palestine under the British mandate.

The Palestinian areas would be demilitarised, and Israel would have control over the borders and airspace.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, China, North Korea, South Korea, SyriaComments Off on Korea, China, Syria, Palestine

China Contributed 30% to Global Economic Growth in 2017


NOVANEWS
  • Xi Jinping speaks as China
    Xi Jinping speaks as China’s new Politburo Standing Committee members meet with the press at the Great Hall of the People. | Photo: Reuters.
The Asian country saw economic growth of 6.9 percent last year.

China contributed 30 percent to global economic growth in 2017, well above the United States, the European Union and Japan, said a report from the National Bureau of Statistics Wednesday.

RELATED: China Leading Research in Immune Cell Therapy Against Cancer

The Asian country saw economic growth of 6.9 percent last year.

China was also commended for its efforts to protect the environment through energy-saving and use of renewable energy sources. In addition, its One Belt, One Road initiative is increasingly being seen as a positive force, when compared to the interventionist policies of the West. Finally, Chinese President Xi Jinping‘s cornerstone policy of eradicating poverty in China by 2020 was also highlighted.

The data of the Bureau was revalidated by the World Bank, which showed that between 2012 and 2016, China’s economic growth far surpassed that of the United States, the European Union and Japan, indeed.

In addition, last year China saw an increase in sales of consumer products of 10.2 percent and an increase of 6.6 percent in industrial production.

Its foreign trade closed with an upsurge in exports and imports of 7.9 and 15.9 percent, respectively, while direct foreign investment was 7.9 percent higher.

Posted in ChinaComments Off on China Contributed 30% to Global Economic Growth in 2017

Bull in a China Shop: US Announces More Unilateral Sanctions on North Korea


NOVANEWS

Image result for China CARTOON

By Alex GORKA | Strategic Culture Foundation 

On Feb.23, the US Treasury Department announced the introduction of sanctions on 56 shipping vessels and entities accused of illicit trading with North Korea. The pressure intensification pursues the goal of compelling Pyongyang to give up its nuclear program. Today, almost all ships used for trade with that country are under the restrictive measures, including ship-to-ship transfers.

It’s timing that is important. The move is taken at a time the Winter Olympics are being hosted by South Korea. The event is used for easing tensions and launching dialogue between Seoul and Pyongyang.

Gradually, Washington is edging closer to the imposition of an economic blockade enforced by the US Navy. “If the sanctions don’t work, we’ll have to go Phase 2,” President Trump said, obviously meaning the use of force. “Phase 2 may be a very rough thing,” he warned.

Washington appears to be serious about its intent to go really far. In December, 2017, the US tried to insert a provision into the resolution on Pyongyang that would permit to hail and board North Korean ships in international waters. In January, Defense Secretary James Mattis said the US military had prepared a North Korea war plan. According to leading American experts on nuclear issues, Pyongyang may have as many as 20 nuclear warheads.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says his country will sanction anyone who does not comply with the restrictive measures it imposes. But only the UN-endorsed sanctions are mandatory. If Russia or China imposed sanctions against a country the US maintains trade ties with, would it agree to comply?

There is another aspect of the problem to be paid attention to. US lawmakers are not biding time. The legislation has already passed the House of Representatives. This is a very dangerous legislation that few people remember about. It not only the calls for being as tough as can be but also includes «inspection authorities» over the sea ports of Russia, China, Iran and Syria (Section 104). The legislation mentions the Russian ports of Vladivostok, Nakhodka and Vanino. It authorizes US Secretary of Homeland Security to search any vessel or aircraft that have used North Korean airports or seaports to make them subject to nothing less than “seizure and forfeiture”! The bill openly dictates that other countries must comply with US laws.

And the proposed surveillance of sovereign ports in the Russian Far East! If enforced, it would not only grossly violate international law but also constitute an act of war. But how could lawmakers approve it? Will US senators be wise enough to realize that Russia, China or Iran compliance with these provisions is as realistic as a dog observing a barking ban?

One more thing to emphasize. There had been no real bipartisan debate before the Act was voted by the House. It was handled under a “suspension of the rules” procedure, which is normally applied to noncontroversial bills. It helped to make it pass with only one “no” vote.

The UN Security Council has never delegated the authority to inspect other countries’ vessels or seaports to the US. The 1994 Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control in the Asia-Pacific Region describes in detail the procedures in question. No country has special rights to get onboard of other countries’ ships.

An attempt to board a foreign ship would be a hostile act with unpredictable consequences. Russia and China will certainly counter such activities. But the US Navy will have to do it, once the legislation becomes law. The representatives who endorsed it were fully aware of what it might lead to but they did what they did. It reflects the mentality of those who are responsible for shaping US foreign policy as members of Congress.

And the new sanctions just announced by the administration, who are they aimed at? Probably, ordinary people instead of those who are responsible for the nuclear tests.

The problem is the reluctance of American politicians to perceive reality. The days when the US could do it alone are gone. Only an international effort can solve the North Korean problem. Unilateral actions are fraught with provoking conflicts not because other countries sympathize with or support North Korea but because they have no choice but stand up to the US challenge to remain sovereign nations. It’s time for the US to change mentality and stop behaving like a bull in a china shop.

Posted in USA, ChinaComments Off on Bull in a China Shop: US Announces More Unilateral Sanctions on North Korea

Will China’s Belt and Road (BRI) Trigger an East-West Rupture Within the EU?


NOVANEWS

On 27 November Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, already at odds with the unelected bureaucrats of the European Union over his insistence on the right to decide whether Brussels or national elected governments shall be allowed to become citizens in Europe’s ongoing refugee crisis, waved another red flag, this potentially a future game-changer for the EU as it exists today. Orban hosted the 6th annual meeting of the China- Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) “16+1” summit in Budapest with China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang. The event got barely a mention in western mainstream media despite the fact that it may have set the seeds for a divide within the EU within the coming months between a French-German-dominated federal EU run by Brussels and a more free, nation-based EU on the model of Hungary, Austria, Poland, the Czech republic and other east members of the EU.

In his opening keynote speech, Hungary’s Viktor Orban noted that Europe’s most competitive investment environment has come into being in Central and Eastern Europe. Noting that not too long ago Asia depended on the west for investment in modernization, that today, “the star of the East is now in the ascendant”, and we live in an era marked by the rise of Asia – and within it China. “We are at the beginning of a period in which the further development of Europe will be dependent on the technological and financial involvement of the East.”

Orban stressed the summit was not against the EU. He stressed that the “16+1” format not only serves the best interests of China and the sixteen Central and Eastern European countries, but also the whole of Europe and the European Union. He then announced Hungary would begin public procurement tender for upgrading the Budapest–Belgrade railway line – including funding from China.The cost of the project is 2.4billion Euros, with 85% to be provided by Export-Import Bank of China. The project is the first European project involving an EU member, Hungary, a non-EU member Serbia and China. It will create a major modern freight route to Western Europe through Central Europe. Strangely enough this is not being greeted with joy in Brussels, rather the opposite.

The China-CEEC or 16+1 annual summit was launched in 2012 before formal inauguration of the Belt, Road Initiative by China in late 2013. Until this year it had little to present in terms of results. It served as a vehicle for China and the countries of Central and East Europe, the newest EU member states as well as applicant non-members to exchange information but little concrete. The BRI developments over the past year are beginning to radically change that.

Prime Minister Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Viktor Orban

In his speech to the summit Prime Minister Li Keqiang proposed more rail lines be launched by China Railway Express and more direct flights between China and Europe. He declared that China would like to set up a logistic center in the CEE region, likely in Hungary, a main China investment focus to date. He also announced the establishment of China-CEEC Inter-Bank Association and the second phase of China-CEEC Investment Cooperation Fund. The China Development Bank will provide funds equivalent to 2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) through development-oriented loans to the China-CEEC Inter-Bank Association, which was officially established at the summit, Li said. And he announced that the second phase of the China-Central and Eastern Europe Investment Cooperation Fund, totaling $1 billion, will be mainly spent in the 16 European countries. Li noted the strong growth of agriculture imports from the region to China, rising by 14% this year. Then he called for a feasibility study on extending to Austria a railway line linking the Greek port of Piraeus with Budapest.

Since 2012 China investment in the 16 countries rose by 300% from $3 billion to over 9 billion US dollars.

One-on-one economic diplomacy

The focus on the countries of Eastern and Central Europe by Beijing is a result of the ice-cold response to date of the EU in Brussels and especially by the German and French governments. For them China’s Belt, Road Initiative, sometimes called the New Silk Road, is a threat to their domination of the EU. The recent railroad by the decision of the German Agriculture Minister, to grant a new 5-year approval for the toxic glyphosate against the wishes of the majority of EU states is but an example of the heavy-handed Brussels methods, becoming more rigid as the resistance against heavy-handed Brussels refugee policies and countless other issues grows.

The 16 countries in the China-CEC group after the latest meeting all have formally signed on to participate in the China BRI on a one-be-one basis. The countries include Poland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia, Albania and Bulgaria.

Greece, not formally a member of the 16+1 is already a major infrastructure focus of Chinese state investment in the EU. While Brussels and especially Germany offer Greece only more savage austerity demands since the Greek crisis in 2010, China offers investment. China has invested more than $500 million in the privatized Greek Port of Piraeus using the state shipping group, COSCO, turning it into the busiest Mediterranean port today. China has been operator of the Piraeus Port since 2008 and this April bought 67% ownership for $8 billion to the Greek government including the $500 million for modernization. The China Piraeus Port will serve as the gateway for Chinese seaborne freight into the EU, China’s largest trade partner. Now with the agreement by Hungary to complete the Belgrade-Budapest rail linkthe trade flows could become major for both China and EU countries of the CEE.

Greece took part in the founding meeting in May, 2017 of the Belt, Road Initiative and signed major economic agreements with Beijing.

EU Begins Counter-offensive

Rather that greet the Chinese investment in the ailing economies of Eastern and Central Europe, the Brussels EU Commission, dominated by Germany, is preparing to pass strict new investment rules. In September EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, one who owes his job to Germany’s Angela Merkel, announced a proposal for a new EU rule to centrally control foreign investments into EU member states, another attempt to rob what little remains of member national sovereignty over their national economic development. The Juncker proposal, titled “Investment Screening”, if passed by member states, would require special scrutiny and approval from Brussels when a foreign state-owned enterprise wants to invest in EU ports, energy infrastructure or defense industries. Germany, France and Italy immediately praised the Juncker proposal. Here we see the fault lines that will only become more obvious as EU economic strains grow in coming months.

Austria could play a determining role in such a shift. In October the conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) won a victory making Sebastian Kurz prospective Chancellor in a coalition with the euro-skeptic anti-refugee Freedom Party (FPÖ). Hungary’s Orban has welcomed Kurzas a “close ally.” For the Austrian economy, to orient towards the neighboring countries of Eastern Europe, especially Hungary now that the two are closer on resisting forced refugee policies and other heavy-handed moves of Brussels, could initiate a major tectonic shift in the political weight inside the EU.

For Austria the cooperation with China’s Belt, Road Initiative makes huge sense.  For Austria, engagement with China and the BRI is clear given the country’s strong economic relations with Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans. The countries of CEEC have major infrastructure deficits and Austrian industry could play a constructive partner role to the Chinese investment, what the Chinese like to call win-win. Clearly the present direction of the German-French-domination of the EU cannot continue as it has. The fault lines are too great.

The Danish Saxo Bank head of macro-analysis, Christopher Dembikin a recent assessment of these growing fault lines predicts “The divide between old core EU members and the more sceptical and newer members of the bloc will widen to an impassable chasm in 2018 and will shift the center of gravity from the Franco-German axis to Visegrad-and-friends (Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia-w.e.).”

Dembik suggests that the French Macron “EU reform” plans to integrate further and create a joint treasury and a common defense budget, more top-down rule, will push the countries of the CEEC, and likely Austria and also Italy to create a new blocking minority coalition of 13 EU countries to form a blocking minority at the European Council within the EU states that will push the EU to abandon the disruptive German refugee policies and austerity in favor of economic stimulus. That indeed would be a refreshing change for millions of Europeans. An outrageous prediction?Perhaps not so unlikely at present.

Posted in ChinaComments Off on Will China’s Belt and Road (BRI) Trigger an East-West Rupture Within the EU?

China Gains Ground in Global Ranking of Research


Academic research papers from China garner the second most worldwide citations, after those from the United States but ahead of those from the United Kingdom, according to a new study.

The analysis was conducted by Amsterdam-based information and analytics company Elsevier and commissioned by the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Citations are the way in which scholars give credit to other researchers and acknowledge their ideas. They indicate how seriously research is taken by other scientists.

Elsevier assessed the performance of the UK’s research base between 2010 and 2014 and compared it with seven other countries: China, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US.

The analysis found that in 2014, research papers originating in China accounted for 18.1 percent of all citations, a sharp increase from the 11 percent it had in 2010.

In comparison, the UK’s share in 2014 was 10.7 percent, which was slightly down from the 11 percent they garnered in 2010. The US saw its share slip from 39.4 percent in 2010 to 35 percent in 2014.

In 2014, China accounted for 19.6 percent of the world’s most heavily cited articles, while the UK produced 15.2 percent.

The report said:

“The global research landscape in recent years has become increasingly complex and fluid, and it can only become more so as emerging research nations grow their research bases.”

Authors said the UK and other research-intensive nations are seeing their global shares in key research indicators eroded by emerging countries, “especially by China”.

“As China and other rising research nations succeed in their desire to emulate and even surpass the research performance of countries like the US and the UK, their shares will naturally become larger while the erstwhile powerhouses see theirs shrink,” the report said.

Posted in ChinaComments Off on China Gains Ground in Global Ranking of Research

Multi-polar World Arrives: Russia, China Face Down US Bully


NOVANEWS

By Finian CUNNINGHAM 

The United States’ hegemonic dominance in the world is heading to the exits. The decline in US uni-polar power has been underway for several years, in line with the emergence of a multi-polar world. This week, Russia and China showed important resolve to face down American bully tactics over North Korea. The confrontation suggests a turning point in the transition from American world dominance to a multi-polar one.

US President Donald Trump reiterated the possibility of military attack on North Korea while in Poland this week. This was also while Washington was hectoring China and Russia to join in a tougher response to North Korea over its ballistic missile launch days before – the former two nations themselves having recently been sanctioned anew by the US. Talk about American audacity and double think.

However, the crass arrogance shown by the US seems to have hit a new limit of tolerance in Moscow and Beijing. Both are beginning to demonstrate a loss of patience with the bumptious, insufferable Americans.

Reacting to North Korea’s breakthrough ballistic missile launch, Washington deployed its typical conceit, casually threatening to carry out a «retaliatory» military strike. Trump said he was considering «severe» options over Pyongyang’s «very, very dangerous behavior».

But Russia and China’s stance this time to the Americans had significantly stiffened. Both explicitly warned the US against taking military action against North Korea.

Moreover, Russia and China said that they would oppose Washington imposing further sanctions on the government of Kim Jong-un. The latter has already been subjected to six rounds of US-led sanctions.

In short, the American bully is finding that it is no longer able to dictate its unilateral way.

Addressing an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council, the Russian and Chinese ambassadors rejected the shrill American call for «global action to a global threat». Russian envoy Vladimir Safronkov stood firmly with his Chinese counterpart, saying that threatened American military action was simply not an option, and that a different policy was needed from the failed American one of slapping ever-more sanctions on North Korea.

One can imagine the exasperation felt within Washington of being bluntly told «no» to its invariable, self-anointed belligerence.

The alternative route being proposed by Russia and China was the «radical» one – radical from the American point of view – of diplomacy. It has perhaps taken the Russians and Chinese overdue time to reach this point. But what is remarkably apparent now is that they are asserting themselves against the US with increased confidence. And what they are asserting in this case is an eminently reasonable solution to the Korean crisis. They are calling for a freeze on Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program in conjunction with the US freezing its constant military exercises on the peninsula, as well as withdrawing its anti-missile THAAD system. The next step is to then hold multilateral negotiations for a comprehensive peaceful settlement, without preconditions.

Such an eminently reasonable approach is anathema to the Americans. Because it negates their unilateral arrogance and self-righteousness to dictate terms.

This is a significant development, one that portends a new determination by Russia and China to confront the American bully head-on. For too long, Washington has gotten away with outrageous aggression, lawlessness, hypocrisy and absurd hubris, not just over Korea but on countless other international issues. On the world stage it behaves like a schoolyard bully, or perhaps more accurately that should be a street thug. Going around beating up other people, usually the weak, as it likes. Then when Washington feels particularly affronted about some perceived slight, it invokes international law and righteousness.

This week, what we saw over the North Korea missile launch and the typical American over-reaction was Russia and China saying to Washington: your days of self-licensing aggression and abusing international law are over; your American uni-polar hegemony is redundant.

Welcome to the multi-polar world forged largely by Russia and China where all nations must abide by international norms and law, principally the paramount pursuit of diplomacy.

Oh the shock to American arrogance to receive such a rude awakening.

The lawlessness of American «exceptionalism» is a theme that Russian President Vladimir Putin has been constantly hammering over the past decade. But it seems now that Russia and China are strong enough politically, economically and militarily to begin asserting and acting on the conviction that the days of American arrogance and lawlessness are indeed over. It is no coincidence that the firm Russian-Chinese opposition to American aggression over North Korea came at the same time that Putin was hosting his counterpart President Xi Jinping in Moscow, where both leaders hailed an even deeper Sino-Russian strategic alliance.

Moscow and Beijing censured North Korea over its 11th missile launch so far this year. They said it violated UN sanctions imposed on Pyongyang since it first exploded a nuclear warhead in 2006. Still, they sought to put a proper perspective on the event, rather than reflexively demonizing North Korea as the Americans never cease to do.

The intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launched this week by North Korea was not armed with a warhead but Pyongyang said it now has the capability to do so and to strike anywhere on the globe. The trajectory of the ICBM indicates that North Korea could now hit the US state of Alaska. That heralds a major breakthrough in North Korea’s military capability. Earlier this year, President Trump claimed that North Korea would never be allowed to reach that point. Well, it just did this week.

Nevertheless, Russia and China realize that the Korean crisis is a complex issue, not the simplistic narrative put out by Washington about a «rogue regime» threatening world peace. Moscow and Beijing are well aware that Washington is very much part of the problem, with its relentless military exercises and provocative threats to North Korea’s sovereignty.

Russia and China understand that the only reasonable solution is not reckless escalation, but a negotiated engagement by all sides, including North Korea, South Korea, the US, Japan, China and Russia. Past multilateral negotiations have come unstuck largely because of Washington’s high-handed imperious attitude. Winding down conflict on the Korean Peninsula necessitates the winding down of military forces by all sides, and a primary responsibility for that lies with the US, the external protagonist in the region.

As the Russia-China strategic alliance grows ever stronger heralding a «post-West» world order, as Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov put it, one which was dominated by American capitalism, the US petrodollar and its military machine, it seems unmistakable that both Russia and China have reached a practical limit of tolerance to Washington’s lawless arrogance.

In recent weeks, Washington has slapped more sanctions on both Russia and China, conducted provocative military incursions into their territorial domains, and continued to disparage them with media distortions. Washington possesses thousands of ICBMs, test-fires them all the time, and installs missile systems around Russian and Chinese territory. Washington has waged or covertly sponsored criminal wars across the Middle East over the past two decades, resulting in millions of innocent deaths and spawning of terror groups.

North Korea has attacked no-one, has an arsenal of perhaps 10 nuclear weapons and conducts its missile tests far from any of its neighbor’s territory.

Yet the lawless, mass-murdering Americans – the only nation to have actually dropped nuclear weapons on civilian populations – have the audacity to declare North Korea a threat to world peace and insist on the «right» to preemptively attack Pyongyang. And if Russia and China do not acquiesce to this American demand then Washington threatens to increase more sanctions on them.

The American bully is patently beyond itself from its own megalomanic despotism. But the big, crucial difference now is that Russia and China are moving to finally put this bully in its place. The multi-polar world has arrived. And the only «radical» thing that Russia and China are insisting on is that the US behaves like everyone else and abides by international law. That basic requirement is an indication of how lawless the Americans are.

Addressing bused-in supporters in Poland’s Warsaw Square this week, Trump declared with bravado that «the West [that is, the US] will never back down».

Well, we’ll see about that. As noted, the multi-polar world has arrived and America is being compelled to back down by an ascendant Russia and China who also happen to have world opinion on their side.

Posted in USA, China, RussiaComments Off on Multi-polar World Arrives: Russia, China Face Down US Bully

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