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Posts tagged ‘Xi Jinping’

Kerry: China Willing to Pressure NKorea on Nukes.


Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday China is willing to exert more pressure to get North Korea to give up its nuclear program.

He told reporters in Beijing he was pleased that China “could not have more forcefully reiterated its commitment” to the goal of denuclearizing North Korea.

The reclusive Asian state has defied international warnings not to build atomic bombs and long-range missiles. It is believed to have enough fissile material to build up to 10 nuclear bombs, but most intelligence analysts say it has yet to master the technology to deploy such weapons.

“I encouraged the Chinese to use every tool at their disposal, all of the means of persuasion that they have, building on the depths of their long and historic and cultural and common history (with North Korea),” he said.

“They made it very clear that if the North doesn’t comply and come to the table and be serious about talks and stop its program … they are prepared to take additional steps in order to make sure their policy is implemented,” Kerry said, adding the United States and China were now discussing “the specifics of how you do that”.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Kerry China would work with all parties concerned, including the United States, to play a constructive role for the region’s peace and stability.

“China will never allow chaos or war on the Korean Peninsula,” Wang said, according to China’s Foreign Ministry.

North Korea was raised during Kerry’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Foreign Ministry said, with Xi “setting forth China’s stance”. It gave no other details.

The East and South China Seas featured prominently on Kerry’s agenda too, with him calling for a “more rule of law based, less confrontational regime”.

The United States is uneasy about what it sees as China’s effort to gain creeping control over waters in the Asia-Pacific region, including its Nov. 23 declaration of an air defence identification zone (ADIZ) in an area of the East China Sea that includes islands at the centre of a dispute with Japan.

China claims about 90 percent of the 3.5 million square km (1.35 million square mile) South China Sea, depicting what it sees as its area on maps with a so-called nine-dash line, looping far out over the sea from south China.

China and the Association of South East Asian Nations have been discussing a code of conduct for the South China Sea, and Kerry said he believed China was ready to achieve that goal.

“That would help reduce tensions that stem from the territorial and maritime disputes and, in the meantime, it’s very important that everybody build crisis management tools and refrain from coercive or unilateral measures to assert whatever claims any country in the region may have,” he said.

Wang said China was committed to a peaceful resolution for both the East and South China Seas disputes, but urged the United States not take sides and said China had an “unshakable resolve” to protect its sovereignty.

The United States should “respect historical facts and China’s sovereign interests, adhere to an objective and impartial stance and take tangible actions to promote mutual trust in the region so as to safeguard regional peace and stability”, Wang said.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan also have claims over the South China Sea, or parts of it.

Kerry said he told China it would be a bad idea to establish an air defence identification zone in the South China Sea, similar to the one it set up over the East China Sea late last year, which prompted protests from Washington, Tokyo and Seoul.

“We have made it very clear that a unilateral, unannounced, unprocessed initiative like that can be very challenging to certain people in the region, and therefore to regional stability,” he said.

Wang said China was confident it could maintain peace in the South China Sea by working with ASEAN, and denounced efforts by “certain people internationally” to hype up tensions and “spread untruths”. “China is resolutely opposed to this,” Wang said, without elaborating.

Climate change was also on the agenda of Kerry’s talks.

“We need to see if working together we could identify any further steps that we may be able to take, specifically with respect to arrival at meaningful targets with respect to the 2015 climate change conference that will take place in Paris in December of next year,” Kerry said.

 

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Senators Urge China to Lift Defense Zone Over Islands.


Image: Senators Urge China to Lift Defense Zone Over Islands

By Drew MacKenzie

A bipartisan group of senators is asking China to lift the air defense zone it created in November over three deserted islands that both Beijing and Japan claim as their own, going further than what the Obama Administration has requested.

Vice President Joe Biden expressed “deep concerns” to Chinese President Xi Jinping during a visit to Beijing in early December about the Air Defense Identification Zone. But he apparently did not ask China to lift it, even though the deserted islands in the East China Sea were actually purchased by Japan. China has requested that it be informed of all flights through the new zone, and the administration has recommended that U.S. commercial carriers comply with that request, The Hill is reporting.

“I don’t think anyone should be reporting to them,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, the highest ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

“If the Chinese are willing to shoot down a civilian aircraft on an illegitimate claim, then they’re a criminal government,” the Florida senator told The Hill. “Airlines are free to do whatever they choose, but I don’t think our government should be telling them to do that because it sends confusing messages.”

When China laid claim to the Senkaku islands and declared the air defense zone, the U.S. immediately flew two B-52 bombers right through it. The U.S. has also sent more ships and has opened more outposts in the region. China is feeling threatened by the move.

While efforts have been made by both Chinese and U.S. officials to calm tensions, neither country has backed down.

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said he thought it was a mistake that Biden didn’t make the issue central to his meeting with the Chinese leader.

Rubio, along with three Democratic and Republican committee leaders, sent a letter earlier in December to China’s ambassador to the U.S asking Beijing to back off.

“We urge your government not to implement this ADIZ as announced, and to refrain from taking similar provocative actions elsewhere in the region,” the group wrote. “There is nothing for China to gain by undermining regional stability and threatening the peace and prosperity that is the shared object of all Asia-Pacific nations.”

The White House has not taken an official position on the territorial dispute, but Chinese officials say the U.S. has long sided with Japan, citing the fact that the islands are mentioned in the 1960 Defense treaty with Japan.

“It seems absurd that [the U.S.] would commit itself to defend a few small islands it has no position about,” said one Chinese military official.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Bloomberg Layoffs Signal Move Away From Investigative Journalism.


Bloomberg is laying off journalists who report on areas company executives consider to be unconnected to its primary source of revenue —  its eponymous data terminals used by traders and hedge-fund managers.
The company will reconfigure its news division to de-emphasize investigative journalism and non-business stories in order to accentuate market-driven news, The New York Times reported.
Bloomberg first moved into journalism because it boosted the credibility of its terminal business. The idea that the news side would complement the main business side is under reassessment.
“We shouldn’t be doing any news other than what makes money for our readers,” said Thomas Secunda, who co-founded the company in 1982 and is responsible for its profitable terminals and others financial services.
Some 85 percent of Bloomberg’s employees are not journalists. The company projects $8.3 billion in revenue this year. The news side brings in just four percent of that amount. Most of Bloomberg’s 315,000 terminal subscribers don’t use them to read its journalism output.
The business and news sides sometimes conflict, the Times reported.
Award-winning investigative reporting has cost the company terminal sales. Bloomberg’s stories on the wealth accumulated by Xi Jinping, then the incoming Communist Party boss and his family, led Beijing authorities to halt the purchase of Bloomberg terminals in China.
The government also stopped issuing residency visas to Bloomberg reporters. Communist authorities told Bloomberg the company had been licensed to operate in China to cover business not politics.
Bloomberg executives were also concerned that its reporting in Singapore would cost the company sales there.
In May, Bloomberg reporters were caught spying on how customers were using terminal potentially jeopardizing sales.
The change in news mission is being orchestrated by Bloomberg’s chief executive Daniel Doctoroff and implemented by editor-in-chief Matthew Winkler.
The company has fired about 40 out of its 2,400 journalists but will hire 100 others to focus on terse, fast-moving market news, the Times reported. Bloomberg remains highly profitable and maintains bureaus in 73 countries.
When he leaves office at the end of 2013, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who founded the company, is expected to return to write a column for Bloomberg’s opinion section.
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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Elliot Jager

Why China Is Practicing for an Invasion of Taiwan.


Image: Why China Is Practicing for an Invasion of Taiwan

Supply trucks cross a river during China’s Mission 2013B last month, practice for an invasion of Taiwan. (China Online)

The perception that U.S. leadership in the world is flagging likely inspired China to conduct a large-scale military drill using 20,000 troops this month in what experts say was a mock invasion of Taiwan. The danger lies not in how the United States reacts to the drill, which was broadcast to the world, but in not reacting at all and continuing to take great pains not to describe China as an enemy.

Click here to read the full analysis from top intelligence experts at LIGNET.com.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By LIGNET Wires

US Businessman Accused of Being Mob Boss in China.


BEIJING — When more than 500 policemen swooped in to arrest 40 suspected gangsters in southern China last year, the alleged kingpin was a Los Angeles businessman who had hoisted an U.S. flag amid a crowd to welcome Xi Jinping, now China’s president, to California.

Vincent Wu’s children and lawyers say he’s an upstanding, philanthropic Chinese-American entrepreneur who has been framed by business foes who want to seize his assets, including a nine-story shopping mall.

But police in the southern city of Guangzhou say he was a ruthless mob boss who led gangsters with nicknames such as “Old Crab” and “Ferocious Mouth.”

Editor’s Note: Gov. Prohibited From Helping Seniors (Shocking) 

Wu is expected to stand trial within weeks in Guangzhou on charges of heading a crime gang that kidnapped rivals, threw acid at a judge, set fire to farmers’ sheds, operated illegal gambling dens and committed other offenses. Wu has told his lawyers that police interrogators tortured him into confessing.

In the absence of an independent legal system, the truth may never emerge. And although Wu is a naturalized U.S. citizen, American diplomats have not been able to see him because China recognizes only his residency in Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous Chinese territory.

The case provides a glimpse into the often murky world of business in China. Widespread corruption means entrepreneurs can cozy up with police and run roughshod over the law, but they are also vulnerable if their rivals gang up with local authorities.

When disgraced politician Bo Xilai led the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing, hundreds of businesspeople were accused of involvement in organized crime; many were believed to have been tortured into confessing while authorities seized their assets.

Bo was sentenced to life imprisonment last month for embezzlement, bribery and abuse of power, but allegations that the businessmen were wrongfully convicted were not aired at his trial.

Wu was detained in June last year in a dramatic pre-dawn operation involving hundreds of police across Guangdong province, which includes Guangzhou and Wu’s hometown of Huizhou.

He is charged with getting an associate to throw acid at a judge who ruled against him in a lawsuit, and with ordering thugs to set fire to sheds owned by farmers who refused his offer of compensation to clear off land he wanted to develop.

He’s also accused of operating illegal casinos that raked in 48 million yuan ($7.8 million), and of attacking or kidnapping people who crossed him in various disputes. About 30 other people face related charges of gang crimes.

Wu maintains his innocence, his attorney Wang Shihua said. Prior to his detention, Wu had been praised by local Chinese newspapers for giving more than 20 million yuan ($3 million) to his hometown.

“My dad is a really good person at heart, especially to the people who are farmers and have not enough money to go to school. He’s donated money to the elderly and to help build a road,” said Wu’s daughter, Anna Wu, in an interview from Hong Kong, where she has based herself to try to draw attention to her father’s case. “But in China, money speaks louder than law… if you want to bring someone down, you can bribe the police and certain people to make it happen.”

Huang Xiaojun, a former business partner of Wu’s and one of his accusers, said it is Wu who exploited government corruption. Huang said Wu tried to kidnap him four times and sought to seize his share of their business by bribing court officials.

“He is a man with no morals and integrity,” Huang said in a phone interview. “He’s extremely good at playing or acting and confusing right and wrong.”

Wu’s lawyers want to use his case to test the Chinese government’s resolve to stick by its stated opposition to convictions based on evidence extracted through torture. In a written record of a December 2012 meeting with his lawyers, Wu described being beaten, kicked and deprived of food and sleep as police tried to coerce him to sign a confession.

On occasion, Wu’s arms were tied behind his back with a rope that was then strung from a ceiling beam — a torture method dubbed the “suspended airplane,” he told his lawyers. If he fainted, he was woken with water or chemical stimulants.

“As soon as I did not cooperate, they hit me, hanged me,” Wu told his lawyers, according to a copy of the deposition provided to The Associated Press by Wu’s family.

Wu’s legal adviser, Li Zhuang, said more than 20 witnesses also were tortured. During a pretrial meeting at the Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court on Monday, Wu’s lawyers demanded that the court keep their testimony out of Wu’s trial, which they expect to begin within a month.

An official at the Huizhou police bureau’s propaganda department said he “had not heard” that interrogators might have tortured Wu.

Wu left China in the late 1970s as a stowaway to neighboring Hong Kong, where he obtained residency. He moved with his family to the U.S. in 1994, settled in Los Angeles and eventually became a U.S. citizen.

Even as an American, Wu spent most of his time in China, tending to his businesses and visiting Los Angeles twice a year, his daughter said.

Editor’s Note: Gov. Prohibited From Helping Seniors (Shocking) 

But she said he was also active in Los Angeles’ Chinese-American business community; photos provided by her show him hoisting an American flag as he welcomed then-Vice President Xi Jinping — now the president — to the city early last year.

Chinese authorities have denied Wu access to U.S. officials, saying they regard him as a Hong Kong resident because he last entered China on a Hong Kong identity card.

U.S. officials have sent several notes to Chinese authorities about Wu’s case, Wu’s daughter said. U.S. Embassy spokesman Nolan Barkhouse said American officials were monitoring the case but could not comment out of privacy concerns.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: NEWSmax.com

Obama Grounded, Cancels Asian Trip During Shutdown.


Image: Obama Grounded, Cancels Asian Trip During Shutdown

By Elliot Jager

The sky’s the limit for Barack Obama. The U.S. government shutdown has forced the president to cancel trips to Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia and the PhilippinesNBC News reported.

Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to make these visits in Obama’s place, starting on Oct. 6.

With no fiscal crisis to hold him back – and no democracy to constrain his policies – Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived Wednesday in Indonesia as part of a regional tour that will assert his country’s interests as a power on the ascent. Forbes reported that bilateral trade between China and Indonesia has mushroomed to $66 billion in 2012. Beijing‘s bilateral trade with Malaysia has hit $95 billion.

Obama will miss the chance to address the Fourth Global Entrepreneurship Summit, a program launched in 2009 by the president himself to spur job creation through entrepreneurship by connecting young innovators with resources and ideas,according to  organizers.

In 2010, an earlier fiscal crisis and the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico forced Obama to cancel two foreign trips.

His most recent trip abroad was to St. Petersburg, Russia, for the G-20 summit in September. That trip, which also included a stop in Sweden, cost the president politically when his plans for military intervention in Syria lost steam. While he was away congressional opponents in both parties gained the upper hand, Politico noted.

As president, Obama has visited 40 countries making some 60 trips.

The White House website reported that the president has no public appointments scheduled Wednesday.

Over at US.gov, the Federal government‘s portal, visitors are informed: “Due to the lapse in federal government spending, this website is not available.

We sincerely regret the inconvenience.” Though, helpfully, surfers can scroll and click around to find out all the things they – like Obama – can no longer do.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

China’s Disgraced Bo Xilai Given Life Term for Corruption.


JINAN, China — A Chinese court sentenced ousted senior politician Bo Xilai to life in prison on Sunday after finding him guilty of corruption and abuse of power, a tough term that gives him little chance of staging a political comeback.

Bo was a rising star in China’s leadership circles and cultivated a loyal following through his charisma and populist, quasi-Maoist policies, especially among those left out in the cold by China’s anything-for-growth economic policies.

But his career was stopped short last year by a murder scandal in which his wife, Gu Kailai, was convicted of poisoning a British businessman, Neil Heywood, who had been a family friend.

While Bo has the right to appeal within 10 days from Monday, the sentence effectively puts an end to his political ambitions and the glamorous lifestyle he enjoyed as a member of China’s ruling elite.

The court in the eastern city of Jinan, where Bo was tried, ordered that all his personal assets be seized, and deprived him of his political rights for life, according to a transcript released by the court’s official microblog.

“Bo Xilai was a servant of the state, he abused his power, causing huge damage to the country and its people . . . The circumstances were especially serious,” the court said in its judgment.

State media said he would probably appeal, in which case the supreme court in Shandong province, where Jinan is located, would have to hear the case within two months. As all courts are party controlled, they are unlikely to overturn the verdict.

While Bo could have been given the death penalty, many observers had felt this was unlikely as the party would not have wanted to make a martyr of him.

Bo did himself few favors with his feisty defense at his five-day trial, said Zhang Ming, a professor at Renmin University in Beijing. “My predication was for shorter,” he said. “His denial of guilt led to a longer sentence.”

The court showed a picture of a handcuffed Bo, with clenched fists in an apparent show of defiance, flanked by two towering policemen who held him by his shoulders and forearms. Two more policemen stood by.

Heavy security and roadblocks around the courthouse kept bystanders back, with no signs of any Bo sympathizers present, unlike at the beginning of his trial when a handful showed up to express support for him.

At the end of Bo’s trial last month, prosecutors demanded a heavy sentence, saying his “whimsical” challenge to charges flew in the face of the evidence. The court rejected Bo’s defense almost entirely, aside from one small section of the bribery charge related to travel expenses for Bo’s wife and their son, Bo Guagua, paid for by businessman Xu Ming, for which it said the prosecution’s case was flawed.

It also rejected Bo’s claims of coming “under psychological pressure” when he said he initially admitted to Communist Party anti-corruption investigators that he had received bribes.

“The pressure Bo Xilai said he came under does not count as being illegal under the rules about forced confession,” it said.

Gu Yushu, a lawyer appointed by Bo’s sister, Bo Jieying, but ultimately denied permission to represent him in court, said he did not believe the evidence submitted justified the sentence.

“The facts were vague and unclear,” he told Reuters.

One of Bo’s most high-profile supporters was, however, unbowed by the sentence.

“Knowing the kind of person he is, he will fight to the end,” said Sima Nan, a well-known defender of Bo’s policies who makes a living appearing on television entertainment shows. “This is like a soap opera and we’re only half-way through.”

FIERY DEFENSE

The trial gripped China, especially details of the extravagant life of the Bo family, including expensive foreign trips, exotic food and the purchase of a villa on the French Riviera.

The court ordered that the villa, bought for the family by businessman Xu, be confiscated, though it was not immediately clear if that meant the Chinese government would have to present its case for the seizure to a French court.

Bo, 64, who was Communist Party chief of the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing, mounted an unexpectedly fiery defense during his trial, denouncing testimony against him by his wife as the ravings of a mad woman hoping to have her own sentence reduced.

But the court said Gu was clear-minded in her evidence and there was no basis to say she was hoping for her sentence to be cut.

Bo repeatedly said he was not guilty of any of the charges, though he admitted making some bad decisions and shaming his country by his handling of former Chongqing police chief, Wang Lijun, who first told Bo that Gu had probably murdered Heywood.

Wang fled to the U.S. consulate in the nearby city of Chengdu in February last year after confronting Bo with evidence that Gu was involved in the murder. Wang was also jailed last year for covering up the crime.

The state prosecutor had said Bo should not be shown leniency as he had recanted admissions of guilt ahead of his trial. Senior party figures feared Bo could stage a political comeback one day if he was not given a harsh sentence, sources told Reuters after the trial.

A light sentence could have undermined President Xi Jinping‘s pledge to go after corrupt political heavyweights as harshly as those lower down the pecking order.

Bo may still end up being released early, said Shang Baojun, a prominent human rights lawyer. “Release on bail and medical parole are both common for government officials,” Shang said.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: NEWSmax.com

NYT: Memo Refers to ‘Seven Perils’ for China’s Communist Party.


China‘s Communist Party is passing around a memo from senior leaders, referred to as “Document No. 9,” warning of the “seven perils” for the party — listing the No. 1 danger as “Western constitutional democracy,” The New York Times reported Monday.

Other perils include promoting “universal values” of human rights, Western-inspired notions of media independence and civil society, ardently pro-market “neo-liberalism,” and “nihilist” criticisms of the party’s traumatic past, The Times reported.

The list comes from Xi Jinping, China’s new top leader, who has tried to prepare some reforms to expose China’s economy to stronger market forces — but has also undertaken a campaign to enforce party authority, The Times reported.

“Western forces hostile to China and dissidents within the country are still constantly infiltrating the ideological sphere,” says Document No. 9, which was issued in April.
A version of the document, which hasn’t been openly published, was shown to The Times and verified by four sources close to senior officials, including an editor with a party newspaper, The Times reported.

The hard line signals a shift to a more conservative stance with Xi’s “rectification” campaign and attempts to defend the legacy of Mao Zedong, the newspaper reported.
The edicts have been distributed at a series of must-attend study sessions.

“Promotion of Western constitutional democracy is an attempt to negate the party’s leadership,” Cheng Xinping, a deputy head of propaganda for Hengyang, a city in Hunan, told a gathering of mining industry officials.

Human rights advocates, he continued, want “ultimately to form a force for political confrontation.”

The memo appears similar to another issued earlier this year and reported by the Sunday Times, in London.

In that memo, officials were told they must “completely understand the harm of viewpoints and theories propagated by the West” and “use battlefield tactics” to defeat liberals.

The Sunday Times also reported a memo sent to China’s universities told them to avoid “seven evil subjects” — listed as “universal values; western ideas of the freedom of the press; civil society; civic rights; historical mistakes of the Communist party; crony networks; and judicial independence.”

The conservative shift is a disappointment for reformists.

“There’s no doubt then it had direct endorsement from Xi Jinping,” Li Weidong, a political commentator and former magazine editor in Beijing, told the New York Times. “It’s certainly had his approval and reflects his general views.”

Since the document was issued, there’s been a torrent of commentary and articles in party-run periodicals.

“Constitutionalism belongs only to capitalism,” said one in the overseas edition of the People’s Daily.

Constitutionalism “is a weapon for information and psychological warfare used by the magnates of American monopoly capitalism and their proxies in China to subvert China’s socialist system,” said another in the paper, The Times reported.

Xi will face another ideological test later in the year when the Communist Party celebrates the 120th anniversary of Mao’s birth. The scale of those celebrations hasn’t been announced, but Xiangtan, the area in Hunan Province that encompasses Mao’s hometown, is spending $1 billion to spruce up for the occasion, The Times reported.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Cathy Burke

Obama Hit by Snowden Setbacks with China, Russia.


For President Barack Obama, National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden’s globe-trotting evasion of U.S. authorities has dealt a startling setback to efforts to strengthen ties with China and raised the prospect of worsening tensions with Russia.

Relations with both China and Russia have been at the forefront of Obama’s foreign policy agenda this month, underscoring the intertwined interests among these uneasy partners. Obama met just last week with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Group of Eight summit in Northern Ireland and held an unusual two-day summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in California earlier this month.

Obama has made no known phone calls to Xi since Snowden surfaced in Hong Kong earlier this month, nor has he talked to Putin since Snowden arrived in Russia.

Former Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., said it wasn’t clear that Obama’s “charm offensive” with Xi and Putin would matter much on this issue. The U.S. has “very little leverage,” she said, given the broad array of issues on which the Obama administration needs Chinese and Russian cooperation.

“This isn’t happening in a vacuum, and obviously China and Russia know that,” said Harman, who now runs the Woodrow Wilson International Center.

Both the U.S. and China had hailed the Obama-Xi summit as a fresh start to a complex relationship, with the leaders building personal bonds during an hour-long walk through the grounds of the Sunnylands estate. But any easing of tensions appeared to vanish Monday following China’s apparent flouting of U.S. demands that Snowden be returned from semi-autonomous Hong Kong to face espionage charges.

White House spokesman Jay Carney, in unusually harsh language, said China had “unquestionably” damaged its relationship with Washington.

“The Chinese have emphasized the importance of building mutual trust,” Carney said. “We think that they have dealt that effort a serious setback. If we cannot count on them to honor their legal extradition obligations, then there is a problem.”

A similar problem may be looming with Russia, where Snowden arrived Sunday. He had been expected to leave Moscow for a third country, but the White House said Monday it believed the former government contractor was still in Russia.

While the U.S. does not have an extradition treaty with Russia, the White House publicly prodded the Kremlin to send Snowden back to the U.S., while officials privately negotiated with their Russian counterparts.

“We are expecting the Russians to examine the options available to them to expel Mr. Snowden for his return to the United States,” Carney said.

The U.S. has deep economic ties with China and needs the Asian power’s help in persuading North Korea to end its nuclear provocations. The Obama administration also needs Russia’s cooperation in ending the bloodshed in Syria and reducing nuclear stockpiles held by the former Cold War foes.

Members of Congress so far have focused their anger on China and Russia, not on Obama’s inability to get either country to abide by U.S. demands. However, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said in an interview with CNN on Monday that he was starting to wonder why the president hasn’t been “more forceful in dealing with foreign leaders.”

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton echoed the White House’s frustration with China. “That kind of action is not only detrimental to the U.S.-China relationship but it sets a bad precedent that could unravel the intricate international agreements about how countries respect the laws — and particularly the extradition treaties,” the possible 2016 presidential contender told an audience in Los Angeles.

Snowden fled to Hong Kong after seizing highly classified documents disclosing U.S. surveillance programs that collect vast amounts of U.S. phone and Internet records. He shared the information with The Guardian and Washington Post newspapers. He also told the South China Morning Post that “the NSA does all kinds of things like hack Chinese cellphone companies to steal all of your SMS data.” SMS, or short messaging service, generally means text messaging.

Snowden still has perhaps more than 200 sensitive documents, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said over the weekend.

Hong Kong, a former British colony with a degree of autonomy from mainland China, has an extradition treaty with the U.S. Officials in Hong Kong said a formal U.S. extradition request did not fully comply with its laws, a claim the Justice Department disputes.

The White House made clear it believes the final decision to let Snowden leave for Russia was made by Chinese officials in Beijing.

Russia’s ultimate response to U.S. pressure remains unclear. Putin could still agree to return Snowden to the U.S. But he may also let him stay in Russia or head elsewhere, perhaps to Ecuador or Venezuela — both options certain to earn the ire of the White House.

Fiona Hill, a Russia expert at the Washington-based Brookings Institution, said she expected Putin to take advantage of a “golden opportunity” to publicly defy the White House.

“This is one of those opportunities to score points against the United States that I would be surprised if Russia passed up,” Hill said.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: NEWSmax.com

Reports: NSA Leaks Could Further Strain US-China Ties.


HONG KONG — The disclosure of a huge U.S. electronic surveillance program will test U.S.-China relations already strained by Washington’s accusations of cyber-spying by Beijing, state media said on Thursday.

Chinese media had remained relatively quiet during a public holiday about bombshell revelations by a former U.S. government subcontractor of massive phone and Internet spying.

Adding to the diplomatic complications, the 29-year-old source of the information, Edward Snowden, has flown to the semi-autonomous Chinese city of Hong Kong and vowed to resist extradition.

Snowden also told Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post on Wednesday that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has hacked computers in China and Hong Kong since 2009.

The program “is certain to stain Washington’s overseas image and test developing Sino-U.S. ties,” the China Daily cited analysts as saying.

“How the case is handled could pose a challenge to the burgeoning goodwill between Beijing and Washington given that Snowden is in Chinese territory and the Sino-U.S. relationship is constantly soured on cybersecurity,” it said.

An analyst cited by the paper noted the irony that the U.S. surveillance program was exposed just as Washington has intensified its public accusations of Chinese state-backed cyberattacks — an allegation which Beijing vehemently denies.

The two sides’ presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping discussed the issue at a two-day summit in California last week.

“It turns out that the biggest threat to the pursuit of individual freedom and privacy in the U.S. is the unbridled power of the government,” the paper quoted China Foreign Affairs University researcher Li Haidong as saying.

Leaks and reports have revealed that the NSA is tapping the servers of nine Internet giants including Apple, Facebook, and Google, and collecting a vast sweep of phone records.

The revelations have triggered huge debate about privacy and security.

As of Thursday afternoon, Snowden’s claims of U.S. hacking targeting China were topping the headlines on the leading Chinese Web portals Sina, Sohu, and Tencent.

© AFP 2013

Source: NEWSmax.com

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