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Posts tagged ‘Chinese’

Malaysian Airplane Probe Looks at Suicide as Possible Motive.

The co-pilot of a missing Malaysian jetliner spoke the last words heard from the cockpit, the airline’s chief executive said, as investigators consider suicide by the captain or first officer as one possible explanation for the disappearance.

No trace of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 has been found since it vanished on March 8 with 239 people aboard. Investigators are increasingly convinced it was diverted perhaps thousands of miles off course by someone with deep knowledge of the Boeing 777-200ER and commercial navigation.

A search of unprecedented scale involving 26 countries is under way, covering an area stretching from the shores of the Caspian Sea in the north to deep in the southern Indian Ocean.

Airline chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya also told a news conference on Monday that it was unclear exactly when one of the plane’s automatic tracking systems had been disabled, appearing to contradict comments by government ministers at the weekend.

Suspicions of hijacking or sabotage had hardened further when officials said on Sunday that the last radio message from the plane – an informal “all right, good night” – was spoken after the tracking system, known as “ACARS”, was shut down.

“Initial investigations indicate it was the co-pilot who basically spoke the last time it was recorded on tape,” Ahmad Jauhari said on Monday.

That was a sign-off to air traffic controllers at 1.19 a.m., as the Beijing-bound plane left Malaysian airspace.

The last transmission from the ACARS system – a maintenance computer that relays data on the plane’s status – was received at 1.07 a.m. as the plane crossed Malaysia’s northeast coast.

“We don’t know when the ACARS was switched off after that,” Ahmad Jauhari said. “It was supposed to transmit 30 minutes from there, but that transmission did not come through.”


The plane vanished from civilian air traffic control screens off Malaysia’s east coast less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur. Malaysian authorities believe that someone on board shut off its communications systems.

Malaysian police are trawling through the backgrounds of the pilots, flight crew and ground staff for any clues to a possible motive in what is now being treated as a criminal investigation.

Asked if suicide by the pilot or co-pilot was a line of inquiry, Malaysian Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said: “We are looking at it.” But it was only one of the possibilities under investigation, he said.

Intensive efforts by various governments to investigate the backgrounds of everyone on the airplane had not, as of Monday, turned up any information linking anyone to militant groups or anyone with a known political or criminal motive to crash or hijack the aircraft, U.S. and European security sources said.

One source familiar with U.S. inquiries into the disappearance said the pilots were being studied because of the technical knowledge needed to disable the ACARS system.

Many experts and officials say that, while the jet’s transponder can be switched off by flicking a switch in the cockpit, turning off ACARS may have required someone to open a trap door outside the cockpit, climb down into the plane’s belly and pull a fuse or circuit breaker.

Whoever did so had to have sophisticated knowledge of the systems on a 777, according to pilots and two current and former U.S. officials close to the investigation.

Malaysian police searched the homes of the captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, and first officer, Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27, in middle-class suburbs of Kuala Lumpur close to the international airport on Saturday.

Among the items taken for examination was a flight simulator Zaharie had built in his home but a senior police official familiar with the investigation said there was nothing unusual in the flight simulator programmes. A second senior police official with knowledge of the investigation said they had found no evidence of a link between the pilot and any militant group.

Some U.S. officials have expressed frustration at Malaysia’s handling of the investigation. The Malaysian government still had not invited the FBI to send a team to Kuala Lumpur by Monday, two U.S. security officials said.



Police and the multi-national investigation team may never know for sure what happened in the cockpit unless they find the plane, and that in itself is a daunting challenge.

Satellite data suggests it could be anywhere in either of two vast corridors that arc through much of Asia: one stretching north from Laos to the Caspian, the other south from west of the Indonesian island of Sumatra into the southern Indian Ocean.

Aviation officials in Pakistan, India, and Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia – as well as Taliban militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan – said they knew nothing about the whereabouts of the plane.

China, which has been vocal in its impatience with Malaysian efforts to find the plane, called on its smaller neighbour to immediately expand and clarify the scope of the search. About two-thirds of those aboard MH370 were Chinese.

Australia has offered more resources in addition to the two P-3C Orion aircraft it has already committed.

Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin said diplomatic notes had been sent to all countries along the northern and southern search corridors, requesting radar and satellite information as well as land, sea and air search operations.

The Malaysian navy and air force were also searching the southern corridor, he said, and U.S. P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft were being sent to Perth, in Western Australia, to help scour the ocean.

At the same time, the U.S. Navy said the destroyer USS Kidd was ending its search operations in the Andaman Sea.



Electronic signals between the plane and satellites continued to be exchanged for nearly six hours after MH370 flew out of range of Malaysian military radar off the northwest coast, following a commercial aviation route across the Andaman Sea towards India.

The plane had enough fuel to fly for about 30 minutes after that last satellite communication, Ahmad Jauhari said.

A source familiar with official U.S. assessments of satellite data being used to try to find the plane said it most likely turned south after the last Malaysian military radar sighting and may have run out of fuel over the Indian Ocean.

The Malaysian government-controlled New Straits Times on Monday quoted sources close to the investigation as saying data collected was pointing instead towards the northern corridor.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Malaysia Military Tracked Missing Plane to West Coast.

Malaysia’s military believes a jetliner missing for almost four days turned and flew hundreds of kilometers to the west after it last made contact with civilian air traffic control off the country’s east coast, a senior officer told Reuters on Tuesday.

In one of the most baffling mysteries in recent aviation history, a massive search operation for the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER has so far found no trace of the aircraft or the 239 passengers and crew.

Malaysian authorities have previously said flight MH370 disappeared about an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur for the Chinese capital Beijing.

“It changed course after Kota Bharu and took a lower altitude. It made it into the Malacca Strait,” the senior military officer, who has been briefed on investigations, told Reuters.

That would appear to rule out sudden catastrophic mechanical failure, as it would mean the plane flew around 350 miles at least after its last contact with air traffic control, although its transponder and other tracking systems were off.

A non-military source familiar with the investigations said the report was one of several theories and was being checked.

At the time it lost contact with civilian air traffic control, the plane was roughly midway between Malaysia’s east coast town of Kota Bharu and the southern tip of Vietnam, flying at 35,000 feet.

The Strait of Malacca, one of the world’s busiest shipping channels, runs along Malaysia’s west coast.

Malaysia’s Berita Harian newspaper quoted air force chief Rodzali Daud as saying the plane was last detected at 2.40 a.m. by military radar near the island of Pulau Perak at the northern end of the Strait of Malacca. It was flying about 1,000 metres lower than its previous altitude, he was quoted as saying.

There was no word on what happened to the plane thereafter.

The effect of turning off the transponder is to make the aircraft inert to secondary radar, so civil controllers cannot identify it. Secondary radar interrogates the transponder and gets information about the plane’s identity, speed and height.

It would however still be visible to primary radar, which is used by militaries.

Police had earlier said they were investigating whether any passengers or crew on the plane had personal or psychological problems that might explain its disappearance, along with the possibility of a hijack, sabotage or mechanical failure.

There was no distress signal or radio contact indicating a problem and, in the absence of any wreckage or flight data, police have been left trawling through passenger and crew lists for potential leads.

“Maybe somebody on the flight has bought a huge sum of insurance, who wants family to gain from it or somebody who has owed somebody so much money, you know, we are looking at all possibilities,” Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar told a news conference.

“We are looking very closely at the video footage taken at the KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport), we are studying the behavioural pattern of all the passengers.”

A huge search operation for the plane has been mostly focused on the shallow waters of the Gulf of Thailand off Malaysia’s east coast, although the Strait of Malacca has been included since Sunday.

Navy ships, military aircraft, helicopters, coastguard and civilian vessels from 10 nations have criss-crossed the seas off both coasts of Malaysia without success.

The massive search for the plane has drawn in navies, military aircraft, coastguard and civilian vessels from 10 nations.

The fact that at least two passengers on board had used stolen passports has raised suspicions of foul play. But Southeast Asia is known as a hub for false documents that are also used by smugglers, illegal migrants and asylum seekers.

Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble named the two men as Iranians aged 18 and 29, who had entered Malaysia using their real passports before using the stolen European documents to board the Beijing-bound flight.

“The more information we get, the more we are inclined to conclude it is not a terrorist incident,” Noble said.

Malaysian police chief Khalid said the younger man, who he said was 19, appeared to be an illegal immigrant. His mother was waiting for him in Frankfurt and had been in contact with authorities, he said.

“We believe he is not likely to be a member of any terrorist group, and we believe he was trying to migrate to Germany,” Khalid said.

Asked if that meant he ruled out a hijack, Khalid said: “(We are giving) same weightage to all (possibilities) until we complete our investigations.”

Both men entered Malaysia on Feb 28, at least one from Phuket, in Thailand, eight days before boarding the flight to Beijing, Malaysian immigration chief Aloyah Mamat told the news conference. Both held onward reservations to Western Europe.

Police in Thailand, where the Italian and Austrian passports were stolen and the tickets used by the two men were booked, said they did not think they were linked to the disappearance of the plane.

“We haven’t ruled it out, but the weight of evidence we’re getting swings against the idea that these men are or were involved in terrorism,” Supachai Puikaewcome, chief of police in the Thai resort city of Pattaya, told Reuters.

About two-thirds of the 227 passengers and 12 crew now presumed to have died aboard the plane were Chinese. Other nationalities included 38 Malaysians, seven Indonesians, six Australians, five Indians, four French and three Americans.

China has deployed 10 satellites using high-resolution earth imaging capabilities, visible light imaging and other technologies to “support and assist in the search and rescue operations”, the People’s Liberation Army Daily said.

The Boeing 777 has one of the best safety records of any commercial aircraft in service. Its only previous fatal crash came on July 6 last year when Asiana Airlines Flight 214 struck a seawall on landing in San Francisco, killing three people.

U.S. planemaker Boeing has declined to comment beyond a brief statement saying it was monitoring the situation.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


‘Unprecedented Mystery’ — US and 9 Other Nations Scour Seas for Missing Jet.

The disappearance of a Malaysian airliner about an hour into a flight to Beijing is an “unprecedented mystery”, the civil aviation chief said on Monday, as a massive air and sea search now in its third day failed to find any trace of the plane or 239 people on board.

Dozens of ships and aircraft from 10 countries scoured the seas around Malaysia and south of Vietnam as questions mounted over possible security lapses and whether a bomb or hijacking attempt could have brought down the Boeing 777-200ER which took off from the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.

The area of the search would be widened from Tuesday, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, the head of Malaysia’s Civil Aviation Authority, told reporters.

A senior police official told Reuters that people armed with explosives and carrying false identity papers had tried to fly out of Kuala Lumpur in the past, and that current investigations were focused on two passengers who were on the missing plane with stolen passports.

“We have stopped men with false or stolen passports and carrying explosives, who have tried to get past KLIA (airport) security and get on to a plane,” he said. “There have been two or three incidents, but I will not divulge the details.”

Interpol confirmed on Sunday at least two passengers used stolen passports and said it was checking whether others aboard had used false identity documents.

Azharuddin said a hijacking attempt could not be ruled out as investigators explore all theories for the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

“Unfortunately we have not found anything that appears to be objects from the aircraft, let alone the aircraft,” he told a news conference. “As far as we are concerned, we have to find the aircraft. We have to find a piece of the aircraft if possible.”

Azharuddin also said the two men with stolen passports did not look like Asians, but he did not elaborate. Airport CCTV footage showed they completed all security procedures, he said.

“We are looking at the possibility of a stolen passport syndicate,” he said.

About two-thirds of the 227 passengers and 12 crew now presumed to have died aboard the plane were Chinese. The airline said other nationalities included 38 Malaysians, seven Indonesians, six Australians, five Indians, four French and three Americans.

China urged Malaysia to speed up the search for the plane.

“This incident happened more than two days ago, and we hope that the Malaysians can fully understand the urgency of China, especially of the family members, and can step up the speed of the investigation and increase efforts on search and rescue,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters in Beijing.

A senior source involved in preliminary investigations in Malaysia said the failure to find any debris indicated the plane may have broken up mid-flight, which could disperse wreckage over a very wide area.

“The fact that we are unable to find any debris so far appears to indicate that the aircraft is likely to have disintegrated at around 35,000 feet,” said the source.

Asked about the possibility of an explosion, the source said there was no evidence of foul play and that the aircraft could have broken up due to mechanical causes.

Still, the source said the closest parallels were the bomb explosions on board an Air India jetliner in 1985 when it was over the Atlantic Ocean and a Pan Am aircraft over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988. Both planes were cruising at around 31,000 feet at the time.

The United States extensively reviewed imagery taken by American spy satellites for evidence of a mid-air explosion, but saw none, a U.S. government source said. The source described U.S. satellite coverage of the region as thorough.

Hopes for a breakthrough rose briefly when Vietnam scrambled helicopters to investigate a floating yellow object it was thought could have been a life raft. But the country’s Civil Aviation Authority said on its website that the object turned out to be a “moss-covered cap of a cable reel”.

Flight MH370 disappeared from radar screens in the early hours of Saturday, about an hour into its flight from Kuala Lumpur, after climbing to a cruising altitude of 35,000 ft (10,670 metres).

Underlining the lack of hard information about the plane’s fate, a U.S. Navy P-3 aircraft capable of covering 1,500 sq miles every hour was sweeping the northern part of the Strait of Malacca, on the other side of the Malaysian peninsula from where the last contact with MH370 was made.

No distress signal was sent from the lost plane, which experts said suggested a sudden catastrophic failure or explosion, but Malaysia’s air force chief said radar tracking showed it may have turned back from its scheduled route before it disappeared.

The Boeing 777 has one of the best safety records of any commercial aircraft in service. Its only previous fatal crash came on July 6 last year when Asiana Airlines Flight 214 struck a seawall on landing in San Francisco, killing three people.

The passenger manifest issued by the airline included the names of two Europeans – Austrian Christian Kozel and Italian Luigi Maraldi – who were not on the plane. Their passports had been stolen in Thailand during the past two years.

An Interpol spokeswoman said a check of all documents used to board the plane had revealed more “suspect passports”, which were being investigated.

“Whilst it is too soon to speculate about any connection between these stolen passports and the missing plane, it is clearly of great concern that any passenger was able to board an international flight using a stolen passport listed in Interpol’s databases,” Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble said.

A European diplomat in Kuala Lumpur cautioned that the Malaysian capital was an Asian hub for illegal migrants, many of whom used false documents and complex routes including via Beijing or West Africa to reach a final destination in Europe.

“You shouldn’t automatically think that the fact there were two people on the plane with false passports had anything to do with the disappearance of the plane,” the diplomat said.

“The more you know about the role of Kuala Lumpur in this chain, the more doubtful you are of the chances of a linkage.”

A Thai travel agent who arranged the tickets for the two passengers using the stolen passports said she had booked them on the flight via Beijing because they were the cheapest tickets, the Financial Times reported.

The travel agent in the resort of Pattaya said an Iranian business contact she knew only as “Mr Ali” had asked her to book tickets for the two men on March 1.

She had initially booked them on other airlines but those reservations expired and on March 6, Mr Ali had asked her to book them again. She told the newspaper she did not think Mr Ali, who paid her in cash and booked tickets with her regularly, was linked to terrorism.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Maria Conchita Alonso: Oliver Stone ‘Got Paid’ to Support Venezuela.

Actress and singer Maria Conchita Alonso says movie director Oliver Stone “got paid” to support the Venezuelan government, a dictatorship being infiltrated by foreign interests that ultimately pose a threat to the United States.

“It’s a dictatorship right now in Venezuela. And it’s a danger for the United States,” the outspoken Cuban-born, Venezuelan-raised star told “The Steve Malzberg Show” Wednesday on Newsmax TV.

“This is a war about the next-door neighbors of the United States. The Cubans are there. The Russians. The Iranians. The Chinese. Just now, in the past few days, planes full of soldiers from Cuba have been arriving in Venezuela. Chinese are also arriving in Venezuela.

“The final point of all this is, they want the United States. Why is that so hard to understand?”

Story continues below video.

Alonso passionately described the personal tragedies unfolding in the streets of Venezuela.

“These students were tired of [the fact that] you can’t find food, you can’t find medicine, if you go out of your home to see your mom or take your kids to school, or whatever, your life is in danger,” she said.

“Every week, hundreds of people are killed by the huge crimes that exist now in Venezuela. Isn’t it better to just go out and do something and stop this once and for all? … The kids are out on the streets trying to save a country,” she said.

“And the students have no arms… I mean, they have nothing, and the military is infiltrated with a lot of Cubans and they’re… attacking with real bullets and with the other ones that do hurt you and open holes in your body but they’re not real ones.

“Four students have been killed, three students and one girl were killed…. A 17-year-old kid was run over by an SUV from someone from the pedevesa [the state-run oil and gas company], from the government. The kids are out on the streets trying to save a country, trying to tell the Cubans, ‘you get out of here.’”

Stone — whose films include “JFK,” “Natural Born Killers,” and “The Hand” —  is producing a biopic on the life of the late Hugo Chavez and recently implied that student protests against the current regime aren’t legitimate.

“Venezuela is a democratically elected government. These people who keep protesting are sore losers,” he said in an interview.

Alonso, co-star of the Robin Williams flick “Moscow on the Hudson,” says Stone received funding from the Chavez government for film projects and therefore has remained sympathetic to the Venezuelan government.

“He got paid all the money [from the Chavez regime] and has to do this….

“And the same thing years ago, Danny Glover got paid, I don’t know how many millions… to make a movie about one of the first presidents from Haiti….

“It’s all about money.”

See the “Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV each weekday live by clicking here now.


© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Joe Schaeffer

Mukasey: Obama Should Be More Worried About ‘Present Dangers’ to US.

Image: Mukasey: Obama Should Be More Worried About 'Present Dangers' to US

By Courtney Coren

President Barack Obama is more worried about protecting the American people “from hypothetical abuses than from present dangers,” says former Attorney General Michael Mukasey in response to Obama’s speech Friday on intelligence gathering reforms.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal Monday, Mukasey derided the president for offering “no recommendations” on how to stop leaks like those exposed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Instead, he said, Obama is trying to change a NSA system of phone and Internet data collection when “there is no evidence it has been abused” while at the same time acknowledging that the surveillance programs need to be preserved.

Urgent: Should the NSA Spy on Americans? Vote Here Now 

“To impose such a burden on the NSA as the price of simply running a number through a database that includes neither the content of calls nor the identity of callers is perverse,” Mukasey wrote, of the president’s order that the NSA can no longer query the database unless it seeks permission from the special Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

The problem, Mukasey observed, is that such a request will end up becoming a long legal process before a request even reaches the court.

“The president said that this step may be dispensed with only in a ‘true emergency,'” he noted, all but calling it absurd to think that “events unfold to a musical score with a crescendo to tell us when a ‘true emergency’ is at hand.”

The former attorney general also argued that Obama’s long-term goal of having the database monitored by a private entity would simply make the United States even more vulnerable to a data breach.

“Telephone carriers sensibly do not wish to be compelled to undertake the risks of storing the data, and could not as readily provide it to the NSA as the agency’s own storage,” Mukasey said. “A private entity is likely to be far less secure than the NSA and staffed by less reliable personnel. The paradoxical result is that the Chinese and the Russians could wind up with easier access to the data than those trying to protect us.”

Mukasey also took issue with the president’s promise to “offer the same privacy protections to citizens of other countries as we do to our own,” something he said “no other nation does.”

“Many people whose job it is to decide how aggressively we will fight our enemies watched President Obama’s speech from the Justice Department and got the message . . . that when it comes to intelligence-gathering, the president would rather protect us from hypothetical abuses than from present dangers,” Mukasey concluded.

Urgent: Should the NSA Spy on Americans? Vote Here Now 

Related Stories:

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Chinese Doctor Gets Death Sentence for Trafficking Babies.

Zhang Shuxia
Zhang Shuxia, 55, an obstetrician in northwestern Shaanxi province’s Fuping county, was found guilty of selling the babies for as much as 21,600 yuan ($3,600) each between 2011 and 2013. (Reuters/China Daily )

A Chinese court on Tuesday handed down a suspended death sentence on a doctor who sold seven newborn babies to human traffickers, a case that sparked widespread anger in a country where child trafficking is rampant.

Zhang Shuxia, 55, an obstetrician in northwestern Shaanxi province’s Fuping county, was found guilty of selling the babies for as much as 21,600 yuan ($3,600) each between 2011 and 2013, the court in Weinan city said.

Zhang tricked the parents to give up their newborns by convincing them the infants had incurable diseases or deformities, the court said in a statement on its website.

“Though Zhang Shuxia confessed, her behavior violated both professional and social ethics, had an extremely bad social impact, and the circumstance of the crimes were grave,” the court said.

A trafficker threw one sick child into a garbage ditch, presuming she was dead, the statement said. Zhang was not convicted in connection with the child’s death, but the court ruled she was partly responsible. The baby was never found.

The other six infants were rescued by police and returned to their families.

The official Xinhua news agency said it was unclear if Zhang, who was detained in August and stood trial in December, would appeal. Suspended death sentences are typically reduced to life in prison.

Child trafficking is widespread in China, where population control policies have bolstered a traditional bias for male offspring, seen as the main support for elderly parents and heirs to the family name, and have resulted in abortions, killings or abandonment of girls.

The imbalance has created criminal demand for abducted or bought baby boys, but also for baby girls destined to be future brides attracting rich dowries.



Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Nick Macfie

© 2013 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Bill Mundell on China: Accentuate the Positive.

China and the United States can minimize the potential for conflict by increasing the economic linkage that distinguishes their relationship from other historical power contests. But a new, more positive interdependence is required. A good place to start is with a better alignment of China’s need to invest is $3.3 trillion reserves with U.S. states’ needs to finance infrastructure renewal.

When Chinese President Xi Jinping meets President Barack Obama tomorrow at Sunnylands, Calif., the agenda will likely be populated with the same issues that have dogged the relationship for years — currency values, North Korea, protection of intellectual property, human rights — and some newer ones that have heated up recently, such as cyber-security and conflict in the South China Sea.

This will all be discussed in the context of China’s historic rise and the seeming inevitability of China eclipsing the U.S. economy sometime in the next decade — something that no power has managed to do since the United States became the world’s largest economy in the 1880s.

History teaches us this can be dangerous. When emerging power confronts established power, there is potential for conflict, whether actual war or, as in the case of the Soviet Union’s challenge to the United States, for proxy wars and a long, expensive, and ultimately draining Cold War.

Both China and the United States know how important it is to avoid this so-called Thucydides Trap. They can minimize that possibility by increasing their already significant economic interdependence, which creates powerful incentives to resolve any conflicts and distinguishes the U.S.-China relationship from other historical power contests.

But they also need a new and more positive interdependence. That would create what President Xi has called “a new type of great power relationship.”

We need to come up with a new framework that better aligns China’s need to invest its massive reserves — $3.3 trillion and rising —and America’s need for infrastructure renewal. China already invests in the United States, in the form of 8 percent or so (and falling) of outstanding government debt. But China doesn’t believe the U.S.-dominated financial system provides adequate protection against potential losses on these reserves, so it is looking to invest in U.S.-based hard assets as well.

U.S. infrastructure satisfies this objective and is a sufficiently large and needy target. Some estimates put the U.S. infrastructure deficit as high as $3 trillion. It is difficult to imagine America’s continued prosperity if this is not addressed.

China’s foreign direct investment may exceed $1 trillion over the next seven years. Last year, China deployed more of this capital in Australia, the 12th largest economy, than in the United States, the largest.

We are losing out on this historic opportunity to restart America’s growth and maintain our status in the world because of reflexive fears that permeate our relationship with China. It has prevented us from working out a rational non-controlling architecture for foreign investment in our infrastructure as large parts of the rest of the world have done.

If we can accomplish this, we can entice the new power to invest in the established power, harness the remarkable energy of China into cooperation not conflict, and finally replace the mutual mistrust with goodwill. Rising Chinese strength can be leveraged to sustain established American strength.

The Obama-Xi summit, no matter how optically pleasing, cannot be expected to change U.S. public opinion enough to pave the way to open up the floodgates of Chinese investment here. Nor should the Chinese rely on the billions that they have reportedly spent on slick Madison Avenue campaigns to soften U.S. opinion towards China.

Rather, the Chinese should realize that this can’t happen without changing the political incentives of our leaders here. That requires the Chinese to be bolder about their commitment to America.

If the Chinese now announced that they intend to invest say a minimum of $100 billion per year for the next five years in U.S. infrastructure, they would create a flurry of U.S. state-level proposals, rather than the trickle that exists today.

The greater competition for those dollars — in effect a beauty contest between the states — would transform the political calculus of local leaders. Chinese investment would become a vehicle for improving the lives of their constituents rather than something to be feared.

This state-led initiative could open the way for a much freer flow of investment into the country. The federal government would surely follow the lead set by the states.

Notwithstanding the chorus of China watchers channeling a Nixon-meets-Mao moment — and there is at least some possibility of a breakthrough on North Korea — the real shift in the long-term relationship between China and the United States is more likely to happen between Beijing and the states.

President Obama and President Xi should create the framework for that to happen.

Bill Mundell ( is a member of the advisory board of the Annenberg-Dreier Commission at Sunnylands. 

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Bill Mundell

WSJ: China’s Economic Miracle May Be Over.

News that Chinese economic growth slid to 7.7 percent in the first quarter from 7.9 percent a quarter earlier may be a sign that the nation’s days of economic glory are over.

Many industries are beginning to sag after 30 years of economic growth averaging about 10 percent, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Retail sales growth slowed to 12.6 percent in March year-on-year from a 15.2 percent pace in December. Industrial production growth also dipped last month.

Editor’s Note: 
‘It’s Curtains for the US’ — Hear Unapologetic Warning from Prophetic Economist. 

While China’s growth still remains the envy of the world, it has fallen almost 50 percent from its 2007 peak of 14.2 percent. 

Foreign demand for Chinese goods and what was once exploding investment at home have both fallen. Some experts are worried that China is doing too much lending, generating the risk of a serious credit bubble, according to The Journal.

The slump in first-quarter growth came at the same time as record lending by financial firms — 6.1 trillion yuan (about $1 trillion). That combination suggests new money is producing less economic benefit.

Property, infrastructure and factory investments are providing smaller returns. Meanwhile, government agencies are cash-strapped after major spending programs on new offices, train stations and other projects, The Journal reports.

News of the economic slowdown has hit investors hard. 

“The disappointing data show the recovery is much weaker and bumpier than expected, dragged down by soft domestic demand,” Zhu Haibin, chief China economist at JPMorgan Chase, tells Bloomberg.

Weakness in industrial production led to the disappointing gross domestic product (GDP) data, Tim Condon, head of Asian economic research at ING, tells Reuters

“Based on this, the consensus forecasts for GDP are going to be headed lower, and we’ll certainly be looking at ours,” he notes. 

Editor’s Note: ‘It’s Curtains for the US’ — Hear Unapologetic Warning from Prophetic Economist. 

© 2013 Moneynews. All rights reserved.

By Dan Weil


Commentary: Romney May Want to Reconsider His China Policy.

COMMENTARY | Mitt Romney‘s views on China have come to the forefront over the last few days. Throughout the campaign, Romney has accused the Chinese government of using unfair tactics to keep its country’s exports high and to entice companies to move jobs out of the United States and into China.

Romney has assured Americans that he will force China to “play by the rules.” Recent media stories have hinted that the Republican candidate, if elected president, would not keep one of his key promises — to label China as a “currency manipulator.” Perhaps Romney should reconsider his entireChina policy, as it contains some serious flaws.

Romney has accused China of engaging in a number of unfair economic practices, including currency manipulation, fraud, and theft of intellectual property. He asserts that China’s policies have harmed U.S. companies and have cost many Americans their jobs. Romney is almost certainly correct in his assessment. Bloomberg News estimates that American job losses resulting from the U.S. trade deficit with China may be as high as 2.7 million.

The next president should work with China to correct these abuses. However, he will need to proceed carefully. For one thing, China plays a key role in keeping U.S. borrowing costs low. The country holds more than $1 trillion in American debt. At the same time, China is a key player in the world economy. If China’s manufacturing sector were to slow down, it would negatively impact numerous countries, including the United States. Finally, many Americans benefit from the current status quo, which provides them with access to affordable goods.

Romney has stated that he will use sanctions, tariffs, and other harsh measures to pressure China to “play by the rules.” If the Republican candidate becomes president and follows through on this promise, he might end up harming the U.S. economy instead of helping it. Romney’s policies, if successful, could cause the Chinese economy to stall, thereby hurting the world economy. American families (especially those living near the poverty line) might also suffer, as the price of Chinese made goods would almost certainly increase. In the worst case scenario (however unlikely), China could retaliate by selling American bonds en masse and by refusing to buy more. Romney would then have a real crisis on his hands.

If he is elected president, Romney must pressure China to “play by the rules.” However, he needs to proceed carefully. He cannot treat China too harshly, or he risks harming the U.S. economy instead of helping it.


By  | Yahoo! Contributor Network

China says tensions with Japan likely to hurt trade.


BEIJING (Reuters) – China warned Japan on Thursday that trade could be hurt by the flare-up in tension over a group of disputed islands that is fraying ties between Asia’s two biggest economies.

The latest warnings from China brought a call for restraint from Japan, which on Tuesday announced it had bought the disputed islands in the East China Sea from a private Japanese owner, an act Beijing called a violation of its sovereignty.

“With Japan’s so-called purchase of the islands, it will be hard to avoid negative consequences for Sino-Japanese economic and trade ties,” Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Jiang Zengwei told a news briefing.

The islands were at the centre of a chill in 2010 after Japan arrested a Chinese trawler captain whose boat collided with Japanese Coast Guard vessels near the disputed area.

The United States this week urged both sides to tone down increasingly impassioned exchanges over the longstanding row.

China is Japan’s largest trading partner. In 2011, their bilateral trade grew 14.3 percent in value to a record $345 billion.

Jiang hinted that his government saw nothing wrong with peaceful boycotts of Japanese goods. China is a major market for Japanese cars and electronics, and China’s National Business Daily newspaper said that travel agents had reported cancelled bookings for tours to Japan.

“I still haven’t seen any actions by Chinese consumers in response to the Japanese violation of Chinese territorial sovereignty, but if we do see them expressing their stance and views in a reasonable way, I think that would be their right,” Jiang said.

Speaking in Tokyo, Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba called for both sides to keep the broader picture of their relationship in mind when dealing with the spat.

“It is important that both Japan and China respond calmly with a broad picture in mind. I believe stable progress in Sino-Japanese relations should not be hindered by this development, and would like to ask China to take calm and appropriate steps,” he told reporters following Jiang’s comments.

A Nissan Motor Co Ltd executive said last week that the tensions were affecting business with China.

The row is the latest episode in troubled relations between the neighbors. The dispute erupted again last month when Japan detained a group of Chinese activists who had landed on the islands, known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese.

China’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday repeated its condemnation of the Japanese purchase of the islands.

“People from all walks of life in China are greatly indignant at Japan’s act, and China will continue to take decisive measures,” ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters.


The row has been compounded by domestic political concerns on both sides, with China’s ruling Communist Party preoccupied with a looming leadership handover, while Japan’s ruling Democrats struggle with poor poll figures ahead of elections expected late this year.

Those complications could make it even harder for the two governments to find a quiet way to back down.

“The Diaoyu Islands dispute is pushing China and Japan towards confrontation, and Japan has chosen the wrong opponent at the wrong time and in the wrong place,” said a commentary in the Global Times, a popular Chinese tabloid.

“The Diaoyu Islands conflict is a new turning point in the deterioration of Sino-Japanese relations.”

On Thursday, protesters gathered at the Japanese embassy in Beijing, waving banners and the Chinese national flag while singing the country’s national anthem and shouting slogans.

Police allowed them to take turns standing in front of the embassy in groups of 40 or so. A few demonstrators tossed water bottles over the gates and into the compound.

“Down with Japanese imperialism! Get the hell out of the Diaoyu Islands! Boycott Japanese goods! Declare war on Japan!” some of them shouted.

Japan’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday issued an advisory for Japanese nationals in China, urging them to stay away from rallies and refrain from behavior that might attract attention.

In 2005, a surge of anti-Japanese resentment spilled over into sometimes violent protests in Chinese cities, and demonstrators trashed Japanese-owned shops.

One demonstrator said bitter memories of Japan’s wartime occupation of China and other Asian neighbors continued to stoke public anger. China’s official memorial day for the war on September 18 could act as another focus for that ire.

“It’s more than about the Diaoyu Islands,” said Han Xue, an office worker holding a small Chinese flag. “It’s about wanting to avenge all the millions of Chinese the Japanese killed in the war. We can never forget that.”

(Additional reporting by Chris Buckley, Terril Yue Jones and Sabrina Mao, and Kiyoshi Takenaka in TOKYO; Editing by Ron Popeski)


By Ben Blanchard and Xiaoyi Shao | Reuters

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