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Monitor The Strategic Trends

Global Government Introduction:

 

      The move toward a global government received a big boost this summer by the introduction of a proposal for an International Criminal Court. Over U.S. objections, the United Nations Diplomatic Conference voted 120 to 7 in favor of establishing an international criminal court to try individuals accused of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression.


[READ THE FULL INTRODUCTION]

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Behold a Black Horse

 Behold a Black

Horse

 

 

Price R 249.00 

 

 

 

Behold a Black Horse:

 Economic Upheaval and Famine

DVD

by Dr. Chuck Missler

 

 

The third of the “Five Horsemen of the Apocalypse” brings inflation and famine on an unprecedented scale.
•What is the real cause of inflation?
•What are the real causes of famine?

Most famines are the direct results of government’s deliberate decisions. Germany sank into the most severe hyperinflationary period in recorded history after printing 1.3 trillion marks: that translates to about 4 trillion in today’s dollars. Ironically, that is almost exactly the same amount of money the United States government has printed since 2008. What are the implications for us today?

How can one use Bayes’ Theorem in “reverse probability”? (Can you form a hypothesis based on experience, common sense and whatever data are available; then test the hypothesis not by what has happened before, but by what comes after?)

The theorem has proved its worth, such as in 2012 when it was used to successfully predict the outcome of the U.S. presidential election in all 50 states before the final vote counts were available.

Join Dr. Chuck Missler in the Executive Briefing Room of the River Lodge, New Zealand, as he explores the identity of the third of the Five Horsemen of Revelation.

This briefing pack contains 2 hours of teaching
 

Available in the following formats

 DVD:

•2 MP3 files

•1 PDF Notes file

 

 

 
 
 

http://www.spacewar.com/Superpowers.xml

 

Turkey, Russia leaders in first contact since plane crisis

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎8:20:19 AMGo to full article
Ankara (AFP) June 14, 2016 - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a letter to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin marking Russia's national day, in their first contact since Ankara downed a Russian warplane in November, an official said Tuesday.

The letter was the most significant in a series of signals from Ankara in recent weeks that it is keen to repair ties that plunged to historic lows after Turkey shot down the Russian war plane on November 24.

"We confirm media reports the president sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the occasion of the Russian national day," the official said, referring to the Day of Russia marked on June 12.

"I hope our relations will reach a level they deserve," Erdogan told Putin in the letter, according to the private NTV television channel.

The full contents of the letter were not made public.

In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that Erdogan had sent Putin the message, saying it was received "via diplomatic channels", the Ria-Novosti news agency reported.

- Ex-friends at odds -

Turkey's downing of the Russian jet on its border with Syria in November sparked an unprecedented crisis in the two nations' relationship, which was then exacerbated by Moscow's role in the Syrian war.

Turkey says the Russian plane strayed into its airspace and ignored repeated warnings, but Russia insisted it did not cross the border and accused Ankara of a "planned provocation."

Erdogan wanted to meet with Putin for face-to-face talks on the sidelines of a climate summit in Paris after the plane crisis, which was rebuffed by the Russian leader.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also sent a letter to his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev on the occasion of the Russian national day, the Turkish official said.

Turkey did not participate at the ministerial level in the national day reception at the Russian embassy in Ankara last Friday.

In recent months, Turkish authorities have struck a reconciliatory tone to restore ties, with Erdogan hoping to get back to previous robust relations with Moscow.

Before the the plane crisis erupted, Turkey and Russia had strong cooperation on many issues, putting disagreements on Syria and Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine to one side.

Turkey is largely dependent on Russian gas and oil for its energy supplies and before the crisis the two sides had been targeting $100 billion (89 billion euros) in bilateral trade volume by 2023.

- 'Back to old days' -

Erdogan has admitted that ties with Moscow reached a "rupture point" over the plane crisis but expressed hope they would regain their former strength.

"With Putin, we brought bilateral ties to a very advanced level. Our trade volume with Russia was much more than that with America ... It is saddening to see such strong ties reach the current state," he said in comments published in the Hurriyet newspaper Saturday.

"I hope our relations will recover in a short time and we'll get back to our old days again with new vigour."

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has also suggested to form a joint working committee between the two countries to address problems.

However, Turkey has so far shown no sign of meeting Russia's key conditions of an apology and bringing to justice those responsible for the death of a Russian pilot of the downed plane.

The Turkish official said the letter should be seen as "a token of Turkey's goodwill" and expressed hope Moscow would also act "in a responsible and constructive manner".

The crisis in relations severely hit Turkey's tourism industry, with the number of Russian tourists drastically declining in southern holiday resorts along the Mediterranean coast.

 

 

Chinese spy ship entered Japan waters: Tokyo

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎8:20:19 AMGo to full article
Tokyo (AFP) June 15, 2016 - A Chinese spy ship entered Japan's territorial waters on Wednesday as Tokyo conducted a joint exercise with the United States and India, Japanese officials said.

Japan quickly voiced "concerns" over the intrusion as it came less than a week after another Chinese naval vessel sailed near islands at the centre of a Tokyo-Beijing sovereignty dispute in the East China Sea.

"The Chinese military vessel moved in after an Indian ship sailed into Japan's territorial waters as it participated in a Japan-US-India joint exercise," Gen Nakatani, defence minister, told reporters.

Japanese defence ministry officials declined to speculate why the 6,000-ton "information gathering" vessel sailed into the area, but Nakatani said China, as Japan's neighbour, must act "carefully".

A Japanese navy surveillance aircraft spotted the Chinese ship around 3:30 am (1830 GMT Tuesday) in territorial waters near Kuchinoerabu island in southern Japan, said Hiroshige Seko, a government spokesman.

Tokyo did not immediately say by how much the Chinese ship breached its territorial waters, which international law stipulates are a 12-nautical-mile band offshore.

The area is part of a Japanese island chain that divides the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean, and is not subject to the territorial dispute.

China's navy was conducting a "normal exercise" and passing through international waters in the Tokara Strait where "all countries can have the right of innocent passage," foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said in Beijing.

"There is no need to provide notification or to get authorisation in advance," Lu told a regular briefing.

"So if Japan insists on hyping up this issue in the media, we have to question its motives."

China's defence ministry also said in a statement that its ship's actions were in accordance with international law.

The Chinese ship sailed southeast and exited Japanese waters around 5 am heading into the Pacific, Japan's Seko told a press briefing.

Wednesday's incursion came less than a week after another Chinese naval ship sailed close to the disputed islands further south in the East China Sea, though it did not enter what Japan sees as territorial waters.

- 'Thorough measures' -

Japan said last week that a Chinese frigate sailed into "contiguous waters" surrounding the contested East China Sea islands last Thursday.

Contiguous waters are a 12-nautical-mile band that extends beyond territorial waters. Under international rules, they are not the preserve of any single country, although the resident power has certain limited rights.

It marked the first time a Chinese navy ship had approached so close to the disputed islets and an angry Japan summoned Beijing's ambassador to protest.

Separately, China sent three coastguard ships inside territorial waters of the disputed isles on Wednesday afternoon, hours after Japan complained about the naval intrusion.

China does not recognise Japan's claim to the disputed islands -- known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China -- and says its ships have the right to sail freely in Chinese territorial waters.

International laws allow ships of all states to exercise the right of "innocent passage" -- cited by Lu -- through territorial sea.

A Chinese nuclear submarine entered Japanese waters in 2004.

Concerns over China's rising military presence in Asian waters have sparked worries in Japan.

Relations deteriorated in 2012 when Tokyo "nationalised" some of the disputed uninhabited islets. The countries have taken steps to mend fences but relations remain tense.

The response from Japan this time was more muted, however, with the government conveying its "concerns about the Chinese military's activities in general", Seko said.

"The government will continue to take thorough measures to patrol the air space and waters surrounding our nation," he added.

Japan has expressed concern over Chinese land reclamation and expansion of military facilities in the South China Sea, where Beijing has disputes with countries including Vietnam and the Philippines.

 

 

Obama to meet Dalai Lama at White House, defying Beijing

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎8:20:19 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) June 15, 2016 - President Barack Obama will meet the Dalai Lama at the White House on Wednesday, in a move likely to enrage China, which sees the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader as a separatist.

Obama's official schedule indicated that the pair, who have met several times previously, would talk behind closed doors in the Map Room at 10:15 am (1415 GMT).

The president usually speaks with dignitaries in the Oval Office. Previous encounters with the Dalai Lama have also been private and held outside the Oval Office to avoid risking relations with China.

Ahead of a February 2014 meeting, US officials at the time said the visit was arranged because the Dalai Lama is "an internationally respected religious and cultural leader" -- implying the face-to-face wasn't political.

Beijing has routinely accused Washington of meddling in its domestic affairs after such encounters.

China says the Dalai Lama is seeking to split Tibet from the rest of China and calls him a "wolf in sheep's clothing." But the spiritual leader has pressed more for Tibetan autonomy rather than outright independence.

Many Tibetans say China is repressing their Buddhist religion and culture, and preventing them from benefiting from the region's economic development.

Beijing vigorously lobbies against foreign leaders meeting the Dalai Lama "in any form."

Although Wednesday's meeting will certainly draw China's ire, the concrete consequences remain unclear.

Obama and the Dalai Lama -- both Nobel peace laureates -- appeared in public together for the first time last year at a high-profile prayer breakfast in Washington.

The president called the spiritual leader "a good friend" and described him as "a powerful example of what it means to practice compassion."

The Dalai Lama has lived in exile in India since 1959 after a failed uprising in Tibet.

Last month, he warned of a growing divide among exiled Tibetans, saying morals are "degenerating" in the community, as the leader of its government-in-exile was sworn in at a ceremony in India.

The spiritual leader called on Tibetans to uphold traditions of love and compassion.

The recent race for political office, won by incumbent Lobsang Sangay, a 48-year-old Harvard scholar, was hit by reports of negative campaigning by candidates.

China rights lawyer ready for consequences over new book: daughter
Hong Kong (AFP) June 14, 2016 - A leading dissident lawyer in China is prepared to face the consequences over his new book predicting the possible collapse of the ruling Communist Party, his tearful daughter said Tuesday.

Gao Zhisheng has been under house arrest since 2014 after serving a three-year prison term on subversion-related charges -- a sentence which sparked an international outcry.

Daughter Grace Gao said the 52-year-old was about to publish a book written in custody and was ready to accept the consequences.

"He told us we (the family) should be prepared. To him he is physically and mentally prepared," the 23-year-old told a press conference.

Gao has indicated he is determined to sacrifice his freedom despite being separated from his family, she said, bursting into tears.

"He's determined he is not going to leave China... for things he thinks are right to do," Grace Gao said.

"He is putting his family aside... he thinks there are things bigger than ourselves."

Gao's wife Geng He fled to the United States in 2009 with Grace and their other child.

The wide-ranging book discusses the physical abuse Gao endured under detention, his faith in God and his belief that the Communist Party could collapse next year.

It has been brought out by a Taiwanese publisher and will go on sale there this week. But the publisher is still looking for a distributor in Hong Kong, said pro-democracy lawmaker Albert Ho.

The dissident lives in an isolated village in Shaanxi province. Ho, a friend of Gao, would not say how the manuscript was delivered to the publisher.

Gao fell foul of Chinese authorities by championing the rights of vulnerable people including underground Christians, aggrieved miners and members of the banned Falungong spiritual movement.

He was convicted in 2006 of "subversion of state power" and given a three-year suspended prison sentence.

State media said in 2011 that he had been ordered to serve the sentence after a Beijing court ruled he had violated the terms of his probation.

The decision was criticised by the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and rights groups such as Amnesty International.

Upon his 2014 release, his family said he had suffered abuse in prison and malnutrition that led to severe tooth damage.

Grace said her father was still living in "difficult" conditions and not receiving proper care.

China imprisons a number of high-profile critics including Liu Xiaobo, the writer and democracy advocate who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.

 

 

ASEAN retracts South China Sea criticism: Malaysia

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎8:20:19 AMGo to full article
Kuala Lumpur (AFP) June 14, 2016 - Southeast Asian countries have reversed course on a statement that expressed deep concern over events in the South China Sea, where Beijing is embroiled in territorial rows, Malaysia said Tuesday, adding that "urgent amendments" would be made.

In a strongly-worded statement released to AFP by the Malaysian foreign ministry, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) had earlier warned that recent actions in the disputed waterway -- where Beijing has been building militarised artificial islands -- had "the potential to undermine peace".

The statement came after what was characterised as "a candid exchange" -- language that hinted at a diplomatic set-to -- between the bloc's foreign ministers and their Chinese counterpart in the Chinese city of Kunming.

But just hours later, Malaysia said the ASEAN secretariat had issued a recall.

"We have to retract the media statement by the ASEAN foreign ministers... as there are urgent amendments to be made," a Malaysian foreign ministry spokeswoman said.

She said the Secretariat had approved the release of the statement, then later informed the ministry it was being rescinded.

The Chinese foreign ministry expressed puzzlement over the diplomatic dance, and denied any official document had been issued.

"We have checked with the ASEAN side, and the so-called statement reported by AFP is not an official ASEAN document," spokesman Lu Kang said.

China claims nearly all of the South China Sea -- a vast tract of water through which a huge chunk of global shipping passes.

It has bolstered its claim by building artificial islands including airstrips in the area, some of which are suitable for military use.

The Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam have competing claims to parts of the sea, which is believed to harbour significant oil and gas deposits.

- Arbitration -

The episode comes as the region braces for a ruling by a UN tribunal on a claim brought by the Philippines against China.

China does not recognise the arbitration and has reacted angrily to Manila's legal efforts over the Beijing-controlled Scarborough Shoal, off the main Philippine island of Luzon.

ASEAN has frequently struggled to reach consensus on issues involving China, which prefers to negotiate with individual countries, rather than the bloc.

Critics say this allows it to use its economic leverage on poorer members to water down criticism of its actions.

But the region appeared earlier Tuesday to be rallying around one of its chief democracies.

"We expressed our serious concerns over recent and ongoing developments, which have eroded trust and confidence, increased tensions and which may have the potential to undermine peace, security and stability in the South China Sea," the original statement said, without mentioning China by name.

"We emphasised the importance of non-militarisation and self-restraint in the conduct of all activities, including land reclamation, which may raise tensions in the South China Sea," it said.

"We articulated ASEAN's commitment to maintaining and promoting peace, security and stability in the region, as well as to the peaceful resolution of disputes," the statement said.

This includes "full respect for legal and diplomatic processes, without resorting to the threat or use of force, in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law, including the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) and the UN Charter".

Manila's case is being heard at The Hague under the provisions of UNCLOS.

China has been roundly criticised in the international community for its strong-arm tactics in the South China Sea.

Washington has repeatedly cautioned Beijing to exercise restraint in the region, and has sent warships through the waters on designated "Freedom of Navigation" missions.

It has also chided the Asian giant in recent weeks over what it says are "unsafe" intercepts of US spyplanes by Chinese fighter jets.

Beijing, which claims almost all of the South China Sea on the basis of a "Nine Dash Line" found on Chinese maps dating to the 1940s, says it will not budge.

China's stance on the sea is "in line with international law", its top diplomat Yang Jiechi said last month, insisting his country's position "will not change".

burs-hg/eb

 

 

US charges Chinese worker for IBM with 'economic espionage'

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎8:20:19 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) June 14, 2016 - US authorities charged a former Chinese employee of tech giant IBM with economic espionage Tuesday for allegedly stealing proprietary source code to hand over to a Chinese government agency.

The Department of Justice said Xu Jiaqiang had been a developer for an unnamed US company when he took the source code, intending to provide it to the Chinese National Health and Planning Commission, where he previously worked.

At the same time, he offered the code, the essential kernel of software programs often held tightly by their owners, to US FBI agents posing as tech company officials seeking software for their company.

After an investigation of more than one year, Xu was arrested last December and was charged with theft of trade secrets.

Tuesday's indictment supersedes that charge with three counts of economic espionage, each of which could bring 15 years in prison, and three counts of trade secret threat, which carry 10 year sentences apiece.

The indictment did not name IBM, and the company did not return queries. Justice officials would also not confirm IBM's involvement.

But the company website and a LinkedIn profile both name a Xu Jiaqiang as a developer at IBM, and press reports since the December arrest also put him at the company.

"Xu allegedly stole proprietary information from his former employer for his own profit and the benefit of the Chinese government," US Assistant Attorney General John Carlin said in a statement.

"Those who steal America's trade secrets for the benefit of foreign nations pose a threat to our economic and national security interests."

 

 

NATO boosts eastern presence ahead of key summit

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎8:20:19 AMGo to full article
Brussels (AFP) June 14, 2016 - NATO defence ministers on Tuesday approved sending battalions to the three Baltic states and Poland just weeks before a landmark summit in Warsaw endorses a major build-up to counter a more assertive Russia.

Russia's 2014 intervention in Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea stung NATO out of its post-Cold War complacency and into a major revamp to boost its readiness and resources to meet a host of new security challenges.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said ministers agreed to deploy four "robust" multinational battalions to Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland -- all once ruled from Moscow and deeply suspicious of Russian intentions.

Additionally, "we will take tailored measures to enhance our defence and deterrence in the Black Sea region," Stoltenberg said, citing a Romanian offer to host a similar unit.

"This sends a clear message. If any of our allies is attacked, the whole alliance will respond as one," he said.

Stoltenberg stressed NATO did not seek confrontation with Russia and wanted a constructive dialogue but it would defend the 28 allies against any threat.

- Russian warnings -

Russia bitterly opposes NATO's expansion into its Soviet-era satellites and last month said it would create three new divisions in its southwest region to meet what is described as a dangerous military build-up along its borders.

NATO opened a missile defence base in Romania last month, sparking furious Russian warnings that this endangered its nuclear deterrent and it would have to consider retaliatory measures.

An increased NATO presence in Romania is additionally sensitive given that Russia's key Black Sea fleet has its historic base in Crimea.

Diplomatic sources say the four battalions in the Baltic states and Poland are likely to number 2,500-3,000 troops in total, with the small force designed to act as a tripwire once deployed from next year.

Officials said the United States, Britain and Germany had agreed to be lead nations for the battalions, with Canada expected to be the fourth.

- Cyber defence upgrade -

The Ukraine crisis also highlighted the new danger posed by "hybrid warfare," a mixture of conventional weaponry and information technology to weaken and destabilise an opponent without a formal declaration of hostilities.

Many in NATO were shocked by the speed and effectiveness of Russia's intervention in Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea, and Stoltenberg said ministers had agreed to boost efforts to face the threat.

"We agreed that we will recognise cyberspace as an operational domain, just like land, sea and land," Stoltenberg told reporters at NATO HQ in Brussels.

"Most crises and conflicts today have a cyber dimension so treating cyber as an operational domain will enable us to better protect our missions and operations," he said.

NATO recognised two years ago that a cyber attack against a member state could be considered the equivalent of a military attack, triggering its 'one for all, all for one' Article 5 collective defence commitment.

- More defence spending -

Stoltenberg said NATO had now completed the "Readiness Action Programme" adopted at its 2014 leaders' summit in Wales, boosting resources and sharply improving response times to ensure it would not get caught napping again.

NATO leaders meet in Warsaw July 8-9 to sign off on the upgrade, which was topped off with a crucial commitment by member states to increase defence spending to two percent of annual economic output.

Stoltenberg said the alliance had finally reversed years of defence cuts in 2015, with spending up 0.6 percent and expected to increase another 1.5 percent in 2015.

"This is progress but I call on the allies to keep up the momentum and to do more because we need to match our defence spending with the challenges we face," he said.

The Warsaw summit will be hugely symbolic since the Polish capital gave its name to the Soviet-era Warsaw Pact, NATO's military adversary for nearly 50 years until the fall of Communism.

 

 

Chinese 'political prisoner' released from jail in Australia

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎8:20:19 AMGo to full article
Sydney (AFP) June 15, 2016 - An Australian businessman jailed in China on bribery and embezzlement charges before being sent home to serve out his sentence was released Wednesday on compassionate grounds.

Matthew Ng, who worked for travel services group Et-China in the southern city of Guangzhou, was jailed for 13 years in 2011 in a case that drew top level interest in Canberra.

Chinese media at the time said the case related to Ng's role in Et-China's battle with a government-owned travel company for control of domestic travel agency GZL.

In 2014 Ng, who denied the charges, became the first Australian to benefit from a prisoner swap deal between the two countries.

Australia's department of foreign affairs has previously warned that any early release could negatively affect future cases, but Justice Minister Michael Keenan said there were "exceptional circumstances".

"Mr Ng applied for early release from prison based on his exceptional family circumstances," he said. "I am satisfied exceptional circumstances exist to justify Mr Ng's early release from prison."

Since he was jailed, Ng's wife Niki Chow has been diagnosed with breast cancer and one of his four children has reportedly died.

Ng's lawyer Tom Lennox told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation last week his client was Australia's first Chinese political prisoner.

"A fair description of Matthew can be as Australia's first Chinese political prisoner -- that is, the subject of a state-imposed sanction whereby your liberty is denied for circumstances that would not constitute a crime on any reasonable test," he said.

Ng's arrest came just months after four employees of Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto, including Australian passport-holder Stern Hu, were jailed in China on bribery and trade secrets charges.

Hu's trial strained relations between Beijing and Canberra, and stoked concerns among foreign investors about the rule of law in China, Australia's top trading partner.

mp/mfc/iw

STERN GROEP

RIO TINTO PLC

 

 

NATO to deploy 4 'robust' battalions in Baltics, Poland

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎8:20:19 AMGo to full article
Brussels (AFP) June 13, 2016 - NATO will deploy four international battalions to Poland and the three Baltic states as part of the wider pushback against Russia's intervention in Ukraine, alliance head Jens Stoltenberg said Monday.

"We will agree to deploy by rotation four robust multi-national battalions in the Baltic states and Poland," Stoltenberg told a news conference ahead of a meeting of NATO defence ministers in Brussels on Tuesday.

"This will send a clear signal that NATO stands ready to defend any ally," he said, referring to a whole series of measures the US-led alliance has taken since the Ukraine crisis to counter a more assertive Russia.

NATO leaders are due to sign off on the programme at a July 8-9 summit in Poland, which has pushed for a much harder line, including having permanent bases in the east to counter Russia.

Stoltenberg did not say how many troops would be deployed in the four battalions but officials previously have said they will number 2,500-3,000, acting as a tripwire to deter Russia and reassure nervous alliance members once ruled from Moscow.

The NATO chief stressed that the deployment -- to be made on a rotational basis, not permanent so as not to infringe existing treaties with Russia -- was part of a much wider response to the Ukraine crisis.

This includes tripling the NATO Response Force to 40,000 men ready to move at short notice, creating a Spearhead force of about 5,000 on a just few days standby.

It also includes pre-positioning equipment and headquarters units so these troops can hit the ground running in any fresh crisis.

Topping off the revamp is a commitment by NATO's 28 member states to reverse years of spending cuts and devote two percent of total national economic output to defence within a decade.

Stoltenberg said progress was being made in this crucial area, with the allies spending 0.6 percent more on defence last year and an increase of 1.5 percent expected in 2016.

He repeated that NATO's response to the Ukraine crisis was purely defensive and that it did not seek any "confrontation" with Russia.

 

 

Philippine protesters say harassed by Chinese during flag stunt

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎8:20:19 AMGo to full article
Manila (AFP) June 13, 2016 - Filipino protesters said Monday that Chinese coastguard ships blocked and sprayed them with water as they sailed to a disputed South China Sea shoal to plant a Philippine flag for independence day.

China claims most of the strategic and resources-rich sea and has controlled Scarborough Shoal, just 230 kilometres (145 miles) off the main Philippine island of Luzon, since a 2012 standoff with the Philippine Navy.

The Kalayaan Atin Ito (Freedom This is Ours) group said 16 of its members arrived near the shoal early on Sunday, Philippine independence day, and their boat was promptly blocked by two Chinese coastguard vessels.

"Five of us attempted to swim to the rock to plant the Philippine flag and the UN flag but they harassed us," the group's coordinator Vera Joy Ban-eg, told AFP via text message.

"They chased us with their two speed boats and blocked our path, sprayed water on us. Two of the swimmers however were able to reach the ring of the shoal and raised the Philippine flag."

The incident comes at a particularly tense time in the long-running dispute between the Philippines and China over Scarborough Shoal and other parts of the sea claimed by both.

China insists it has sovereign rights to nearly all of the sea, even waters close to the shores of its neighbours. Aside from the Philippines, other claimants are Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino's administration has taken China to a UN-backed arbitration tribunal in a bid to have Beijing's territorial claims declared illegal.

A ruling is widely expected over the next few weeks, although China does not recognise the arbitration and has reacted angrily to the Philippines' legal efforts.

Kalayaan Atin Ito has organised trips to Philippine-claimed or -controlled South China Sea islands in the past, sending 47 Filipino youths by boat to Filipino-garrisoned Thitu Island in the Spratly group in December.

The Philippine government has previously said it recognises the group's patriotism but has discouraged such trips, owing to safety concerns.

The group posted video clips and pictures of its latest trip on its Facebook wall.

One clip showed a group of young men and women singing the Philippine national anthem while they stood on the deck of a wooden-hulled boat flying Philippine and United Nations flags.

A larger, white-hulled vessel is seen shadowing the Filipino vessel from behind.

Ban-eg said 15 Filipino youths and an American national took part in the protest sail, but did not identify the foreigner beyond calling the person a "volunteer".

A Chinese embassy spokeswoman in Manila told AFP it may comment later.

cgm/kma/jah

Facebook

 

 

Chinese spy ship entered Japan waters: Tokyo

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎8:20:19 AMGo to full article
Tokyo (AFP) June 15, 2016 - A Chinese spy ship entered Japan's territorial waters on Wednesday as Tokyo conducted a joint exercise with the United States and India, Japanese officials said.

Japan quickly voiced "concerns" over the intrusion as it came less than a week after another Chinese naval vessel sailed near islands at the centre of a Tokyo-Beijing sovereignty dispute in the East China Sea.

"The Chinese military vessel moved in after an Indian ship sailed into Japan's territorial waters as it participated in a Japan-US-India joint exercise," Gen Nakatani, defence minister, told reporters.

Japanese defence ministry officials declined to speculate why the 6,000-ton "information gathering" vessel sailed into the area, but Nakatani said China, as Japan's neighbour, must act "carefully".

A Japanese navy surveillance aircraft spotted the Chinese ship around 3:30 am (1830 GMT Tuesday) in territorial waters near Kuchinoerabu island in southern Japan, said Hiroshige Seko, a government spokesman.

Tokyo did not immediately say by how much the Chinese ship breached its territorial waters, which international law stipulates are a 12-nautical-mile band offshore.

The area is part of a Japanese island chain that divides the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean, and is not subject to the territorial dispute.

The Chinese ship sailed southeast and exited Japanese waters around 5 am heading into the Pacific, Seko told a press briefing.

Wednesday's incursion came less than a week after another Chinese naval ship sailed close to the disputed islands further south in the East China Sea, though it did not enter what Japan sees as territorial waters.

Japan said last week that a Chinese frigate sailed into "contiguous waters" surrounding the contested East China Sea islands last Thursday.

- 'Innocent passage'

Contiguous waters are a 12-nautical-mile band that extends beyond territorial waters. Under international rules, they are not the preserve of any single country, although the resident power has certain limited rights.

It marked the first time a Chinese navy ship had approached so close to the disputed islets and an angry Japan summoned Beijing's ambassador to protest.

Separately, China sent three coastguard ships inside territorial waters of the disputed isles on Wednesday afternoon, hours after Japan complained about the naval intrusion.

China does not recognise Japan's claim to the disputed islands -- known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China -- and says its ships have the right to sail freely in Chinese territorial waters.

International laws allow ships of all states to exercise the right of "innocent passage" through the territorial sea. A Chinese nuclear submarine entered Japanese waters in 2004.

Concerns over China's rising military presence in Asian waters have sparked worries in Japan.

Relations deteriorated in 2012 when Tokyo "nationalised" some of the disputed uninhabited islets. The countries have taken steps to mend fences but relations remain tense.

The response from Japan this time was more muted, however, with the government conveying its "concerns about the Chinese military's activities in general", Seko said.

"The government will continue to take thorough measures to patrol the air space and waters surrounding our nation," he added.

Japan has expressed concern over Chinese land reclamation and expansion of military facilities in the South China Sea, where Beijing has disputes with countries including Vietnam and the Philippines.

 

 

NATO chief presses allies on defence spending vows

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎3:55:40 AMGo to full article
The Hague (AFP) June 9, 2016 - NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday called on allies to meet commitments made two years ago and boost defence spending as the alliance deals with a "challenging security environment."

He spoke after talks with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in The Hague and ahead of what he said would be a "landmark" leaders summit in Warsaw next month.

The Netherlands has already increased defence spending to try to help meet "current threats to the east and the south" of NATO's frontiers, Rutte told reporters.

Refusing to reveal any details about current cabinet discussions on the 2017 budget, Rutte added: "I do believe that over the next years we need to find room to go further."

Netherlands boosted its defence spending by 220 million euros ($248.8 million)in the 2016 budget, to a total of 7.5 billion euros. Spending is also set to increase a further 345 million by 2020.

In 2014, at a summit in Wales NATO allies agreed to halt defence budget cuts and aim to spend two percent of GDP on their militaries.

But Stoltenberg said there was still a long way to go for that commitment to be fully implemented, although it was understandable that at first defence cuts were stopped and then budgets gradually increased.

"I understand in a way it is hard to increase defence spending. All politicians and most people I meet, they would prefer to spend money on health, on education, on infrastructure and many other areas," Stoltenberg said.

"But we need to invest in our defence, because defence is a pre-condition for our safety and security and it is the only way to secure peace. We need strong defence not because we want to fight a war. We need strong defence because we want to prevent war."

NATO members are particularly worried about "a more assertive Russia in the east and turmoil and instability in the south," he said.

NATO leaders will meet in Warsaw in early July and discuss some options put forward by military planners to station "several battalions in eastern countries," Stoltenberg said.

"Tensions are going up, we are living in a more dangerous world," he warned.

Also Thursday NATO member Denmark affirmed its commitment to the alliance in announcing it would acquire 27 new F-35 fighter planes to replace its ageing F-16 fleet.

"Denmark will continue to contribute at a high level to NATO operations, exercises and capacity," said Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen.

The military investment approved by the Danish parliament is estimated to cost 2.7 billion euros.

 

 

China says US 'hyping' spy plane intercept

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎3:55:40 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) June 8, 2016 - Beijing accused Washington of "hype" on Wednesday after the US said two Chinese jets conducted an unsafe intercept of one of its spy planes over the East China Sea.

The spat came soon after the world's two largest economies concluded an annual dialogue overshadowed by disagreements over maritime issues.

US Pacific Command spokesman Commander David Benham said two Chinese J-10 fighter jets flew close to an American RC-135 reconnaissance plane that was on a routine patrol.

The Pentagon downplayed the encounter and blamed it on shoddy piloting.

"One of the intercepting Chinese jets had an unsafe excessive rate of closure on the RC-135 aircraft," Benham said, without specifying exactly where the incident occurred.

"The US once again is deliberately hyping this issue," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a regular briefing on Wednesday.

"The relevant Chinese military personnel have always acted professionally and in accordance with law."

He also called on the US to stop carrying out "close surveillance activity against China...to prevent similar incidents from happening again".

The East China Sea is part of the Pacific and home to small islands whose ownership is disputed by China, Japan and Taiwan.

China also claims a string of islets across the South China Sea and its military expansion in the contested waterway has sparked heightened tensions with regional neighbours and the United States.

Pentagon chief Ashton Carter attended a security summit in Singapore over the weekend, promising unspecified "actions" if China continued its buildup.

Last month the Pentagon said two Chinese jets conducted an "unsafe" intercept of a US reconnaissance plane over the South China Sea.

Still, PACOM head Admiral Harry Harris told reporters in Singapore on Saturday that such incidents were rare.

Tuesday's reported intercept came as US Secretary of State John Kerry urged China to settle its territorial rows peacefully and based on the "rule of law" on a visit to Beijing.

Beijing will not budge on its claims of ownership over a vast tranche of the South China Sea, a top official insisted Tuesday, as a key two-day annual meeting ended in the Chinese capital.

 

 

Japan protests as Chinese navy sails near disputed isles

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎3:55:40 AMGo to full article
Tokyo (AFP) June 9, 2016 - A Chinese naval ship sailed into waters surrounding disputed East China Sea islands for the first time early Thursday, prompting Tokyo to summon the Chinese ambassador to protest, the Japanese government said.

Russian naval ships were also seen in the area around the same time.

A Chinese naval vessel entered waters surrounding the Tokyo-administered isles, called Senkaku in Japan and also claimed as the Diaoyu islands by China, around 00:50 am (1550 GMT Wednesday), according to the Japanese foreign ministry.

It was a 3,963-ton Jiangkai class frigate, spotted by Japan's guided-missile destroyer Setogiri, the Japanese defence ministry said.

Contiguous waters are a 12-nautical-mile band that extends beyond territorial waters. Under international rules, they are not the preserve of any single country, although the resident power has certain limited rights.

"The fact that (China) sent a naval ship to the contiguous waters of our Senkaku Islands for the first time is an act that unilaterally increases tension and our nation is gravely concerned," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a regular briefing.

Relations between Japan and China deteriorated in 2012 when Tokyo "nationalised" some of the islets.

Since then, the two largest Asian economies have taken gradual steps to mend fences but relations remain tense.

Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki summoned Chinese ambassador Cheng Yonghua around 2:00 am to lodge a protest.

Saiki "expressed grave concerns and protested, while demanding the ship immediately leave our nation's contiguous zone," the ministry statement said.

During his meeting with Saiki, Cheng claimed the Chinese frigate was allowed to sail in the waters, Kyodo News said, citing an unnamed source.

The frigate left the zone at about 3:10 am, the Japanese government said.

Japan's Defence Minister Gen Nakatani, who was visiting Thailand, told Japanese journalists that Tokyo was taking a measured response.

"We will continue our calm handling of this issue so as not to unnecessarily escalate the situation," Nakatani said in an televised group interview.

"We will continue to act firmly in order to defend our territorial land, waters and air space," he said.

Chinese coast guard vessels routinely travel around the disputed islands.

Three Russian military vessels were also seen in the waters around the disputed islands around the same time, a Japanese defence official said.

The Russian ships entered the area around 9:50 pm Wednesday and left around 3:05 am Thursday, he said.

Suga said Japan was analysing whether the Chinese and Russian moves were in anyway related.

But he added that a lack of territorial disputes with Russia in the regional waters made its moves less concerning.

 

 

China blasts 'unilateral' Philippine move ahead of ruling

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎3:55:40 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) June 8, 2016 - China accused the Philippines Wednesday of ignoring requests for dialogue about their maritime dispute, as tensions rise before an international tribunal's ruling on the territorial row.

The Philippines has "unilaterally closed the door of settling the South China Sea issue with China through negotiation", China's foreign ministry said in a lengthy statement published by the official Xinhua news agency.

The statement came a day after the end of an annual meeting between the US and China in Beijing, at which the two countries failed to make progress on the issue.

China asserts ownership over nearly all of the sea despite competing claims by several of its Southeast Asian neighbours, and has rapidly built artificial islands suitable for military use.

Manila accuses China of effectively taking control of Scarborough Shoal, one of the contested areas, in 2012 and has brought a case against Beijing to the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague.

China has shunned the proceedings and said it will not recognise any ruling.

In the statement, the foreign ministry said that in 1995 Beijing and Manila agreed to settle disputes through talks and negotiation. It accused the Philippines of ignoring proposals to create a consultation mechanism on disputes at sea.

The ministry did not specify how such consultations would be different from the numerous exchanges the countries have had on the issue.

It blamed Manila for the dramatic worsening in the two countries' relations and in the peace and stability of the South China Sea.

The Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam have competing claims to China, and object to its island-building.

Washington says such construction, which includes military-capable airstrips, threatens freedom of navigation. It has sent warships close to Chinese-claimed reefs, angering Beijing.

During the two-day meeting that ended Tuesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry urged China to settle its territorial rows peacefully based on the "rule of law".

But Beijing's top diplomat Yang Jiechi said the US should butt out of disputes that were a long way from its shores, including the international arbitration case brought by the Philippines.

China's stance on the case is "in line with international law", Yang said, insisting that his country's position "has not and will not change".

 

 

One killed in Poland crash during NATO exercises

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎3:55:40 AMGo to full article
Warsaw (AFP) June 8, 2016 - A Polish motorist died Wednesday after crashing into a United States military truck on a motorway in western Poland, where large-scale NATO war games are underway.

"The car's driver died while the passenger was injured," said Wojciech Kaliszczak, a spokesman for the Anaconda-16 manoeuvres involving 31,000 troops from 24 NATO and partner states.

"The large (US military) truck was travelling in a convoy with the Anaconda exercises," he added.

It was not immediately clear why the civilian car crashed into the truck while travelling on the A-18 motorway near the town of Swietoszow.

Police were investigating the causes.

Ben Hodges, Commanding General, US Army Europe, who is supervising the 14,000 US troops taking part in the manoeuvres, expressed his condolences to the family of the deceased.

NATO says the 10-day exercises are intended to shore up security on the alliance's eastern flank, where member states have been spooked by Russia's increasingly assertive actions.

 

 

Russia to set up joint air defence system with ex-Soviet allies

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎3:55:40 AMGo to full article
Yerevan (AFP) June 8, 2016 - Russia is working on setting up a joint air defence system with all of its ex-Soviet military allies, a senior official said Wednesday.

"The merger of regional air defence systems will pave the way for creating a common air defence (system) over the entire territory of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation," Nikolai Bordyuzha, the head of the Russia-led alliance of six countries, told a press conference in the Armenian capital Yerevan.

CSTO, Russia's answer to NATO, groups Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

Moscow has a joint air defence system in place with Belarus and Kazakhstan, and the agreement to create one with Armenia "is being considered for ratification" by the two countries' parliaments, Bordyuzha said.

Moscow has stepped up military cooperation with its CSTO allies since becoming embroiled in its worst standoff with the West since the Cold War over its 2014 annexation of the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine and the subsequent start of a pro-Russian uprising in Ukraine's east.

Russia, for its part, accuses NATO of expanding its military reach close to its borders.

In May, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Washington that Moscow will consider measures to "end threats" from NATO's anti-missile systems in Europe that are based essentially on US technology.

The Western military bloc's missile shield includes the progressive deployment of missile interceptors and powerful radar in eastern Europe and Turkey.

NATO and the United States said this spring that they will switch their defence doctrine from assurance to deterrence in eastern Europe in response to a "resurgent and aggressive Russia".

 

 

Prince Philip, the 'strength' behind Britain's throne

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎3:55:40 AMGo to full article
London (AFP) June 9, 2016 - Britain's Prince Philip, who turns 95 on Friday, has been Queen Elizabeth II's constant companion for almost 70 years, offending and amusing in equal measure with his salty off-the-cuff comments and gaffes.

Known formally as the Duke of Edinburgh, the prince is a supporter of numerous charities and has been a reassuring presence at Elizabeth's side.

A self-described "cantankerous old sod", Philip's unvarnished humour endears him to some but often makes headlines for the wrong reasons.

In 2015 he was caught on camera appearing to tell a photographer "just take the fucking picture!" and asked a group of unpaid community workers: "Who do you sponge off?"

"You managed not to get eaten, then?" was one typical remark to a British student who had trekked in Papua New Guinea in 1998.

And on a historic state visit to China in 1986, Prince Philip warned a group of British students: "If you stay here much longer, you'll all be slitty-eyed."

Although garnering a reputation for coldness towards his children, the prince is considered by observers to be the glue that held the royal family together during a series of divorces by three of his four offspring.

In a rarely seen softer side, it emerged that the late Princess Diana addressed him as "Dearest Pa" in letters in which he offered solace over her deteriorating marriage to his eldest son Prince Charles.

- Exile from Greece -

The prince has been largely blessed with robust health, but was admitted to hospital with various complaints as he advanced into his 90s.

He suffered a bladder infection during the queen's diamond jubilee celebrations in 2012 and had a coronary stent fitted in 2011.

However, he accompanied the queen on overseas visits as recently as 2015, although was forced to miss a World War I commemorative ceremony last month on "doctors' advice".

Never one to talk about his own feelings, the prince admitted in a rare interview that he had carved out his own role by "trial and error".

Asked if he had been successful, he told the BBC: "I couldn't care less. Who cares what I think about it? I mean it's ridiculous."

But the queen was more forthcoming, calling him "my strength and stay all these years" in a golden wedding anniversary speech in 1997.

Prince Philip was born on a kitchen table on Corfu on June 10, 1921, the only son of Prince Andrew of Greece -- the younger brother of Greece's King Constantine -- and Princess Alice of Battenberg.

Aged just 18 months, he and his family were evacuated in a British Royal Navy ship from politically unstable Greece, with the toddler reputedly carried in a cot made from an orange box.

The family settled in Paris, sending the young Philip to preparatory school in England when he was just seven, then secondary school at Gordonstoun in Scotland, where he was head boy.

- Duty to serve -

He became a Royal Navy cadet following the outbreak of World War II in 1939, before serving on battleships in the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean.

By 1945, he was a first lieutenant and witnessed the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay with the British Pacific Fleet.

Philip and the then Princess Elizabeth, the future queen, were formally introduced in July 1939 when her father King George VI and his family toured the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, on England's south coast.

They kept in touch during the war and met on a number of occasions. But it was not until July 1947 that their engagement was announced and they tied the knot that year on November 20 at London's Westminster Abbey.

Prince Philip's naval career was cut short after his wife ascended to the throne following the death of King George VI in 1952, but said "being married to the queen, it seemed to me that my first duty was to serve her in the best way I could".

In his spare time he is a keen horseman, competing at international level for Britain in the sport of carriage-driving.

He has also been patron of a number of organisations, including the WWF conservation group, and chancellor of the universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh.

 

 

US firms 'increasingly unwelcome' in China

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎3:55:40 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) June 7, 2016 - US firms feel increasingly unwelcome in China, top American officials said Tuesday, as disagreements overshadowed an annual dialogue in Beijing.

The comments came as a survey of European firms said China's slowing growth was matched by an "increasingly hostile," business environment.

American companies are "questioning whether they are welcome in China", US treasury secretary Jack Lew told a meeting of CEOs on the sidelines of the Strategic and Economic dialogue.

"Concerns about the business climate have grown in recent years," he added.

Top US diplomat John Kerry urged Beijing to "get the barriers out of the way" of companies, adding that the two countries have yet to resolve concerns on intellectual property and clarify "the rules of the road".

"As every businessperson at this table knows, certainty, clarity, even-handedness ... and an equal application of the laws to everybody is critical to the confidence of the marketplace," he said.

He added that a Chinese law on foreign non-governmental organisations, including universities and professional groups, set to come into force next year would seriously curtail their ability of to work in China.

Lew and Kerry made their comments in a meeting with CEOs from US corporations including metals manufacturer Alcoa, which has accused China of dumping aluminium on world markets.

The group also included executives from China's Wanda Group, whose recent overseas buying spree included the purchase of Hollywood studio Legendary earlier this year.

China's vice-premier Wang Yang called on companies to seek "win-win results" while acknowledging that "in a market economy there will always be competition between our businesses".

The event came on the second day of the annual dialogue whose opening was marked by pointed exchanges on China's alleged overproduction of steel.

Lew said excess capacity had a "distorting and damaging effect" on world markets, but China's finance minister replied that the world was merely "pointing a finger" at his country.

bfc-nr/tjh/tm

ALCOA

 

 

Beijing refuses to move on sea disputes as US meet ends

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎3:55:40 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) June 7, 2016 - Beijing will not budge on its claims of ownership over a vast tranche of the South China Sea, a top official insisted Tuesday, as a key annual meeting with the US ended with no movement on the issue.

During a two-day confab in the Chinese capital, US Secretary of State John Kerry urged China to settle its territorial rows peacefully and based on the "rule of law".

But Beijing's top diplomat Yang Jiechi said the US should butt out of disputes that were a long way from its shores, including an international arbitration case brought by the Philippines.

China's stance on the case is "in line with international law", Yang said, insisting that Beijing's position "has not and will not change".

The case, he said, should be settled directly between the parties involved and called on Washington to "honour its promise of not taking a position in territorial disputes".

The South China Sea had been China's territory since ancient times and China had every right to uphold its territorial sovereignty and lawful and legitimate maritime entitlements, Yang said.

China claims nearly all of the strategically vital sea despite competing claims by several of its Southeast Asian neighbours, and has rapidly built artificial islands suitable for military use.

Washington has responded by sending warships close to Chinese-claimed reefs, angering Beijing.

The sour ending to the annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue came despite efforts by both sides to smooth out the differences dividing the world's top two economies.

Speaking to reporters, the two sides seemed to talk past each other on the thorny question of how to settle a conflict in the region kicked off by the Chinese construction.

Both called for peaceful settlement of the issue and pledged to support freedom of navigation through the region's airspace and waters, but their remarks suggested very different visions for achieving those goals.

The US will continue its "fundamental support for negotiations and a peaceful resolution based on the rule of law", Kerry said.

The Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam have competing claims in the South China Sea, which encompasses vital global shipping routes and is believed to have significant oil and gas deposits.

Manila accuses China of effectively taking control of the Scarborough Shoal in 2012 and has brought a case against Beijing to the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague. China has shunned the proceedings and says it will not recognise any ruling.

- 'Growing restrictions' -

The meeting was also overshadowed by US views on an unfavourable business climate, steel overcapacity, and a restricted environment for foreign non-governmental organisations.

On Monday US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said Chinese oversupply of steel was "damaging and distorting global markets", joining a chorus of criticism that blames Beijing for plant closures and job losses in the industry worldwide.

Washington also shared its concerns that a new law would hamper the ability of a wide range of American groups to operate in China, Kerry said, and over the "growing restrictions of freedom of expression and religion" in China, which has seen a crackdown on human rights lawyers and tightening controls on media.

But President Xi Jinping assured him that China "intends to remain open" and does not believe the restrictive law will impair its ability to do so, Kerry said.

A US official said the Americans brought up the law repeatedly during intense talks and considered it a major sticking point between the countries.

Foreign businesses also feel that the environment in China has become increasingly hostile, Lew said at an earlier meeting of CEOs on the sidelines of the dialogue.

But in closing statements top ministers from both countries stressed areas of agreement, and affirmed support for the denuclearisation of North Korea, cooperation on global health and ocean conservation, and joint efforts to combat bribery.

China and the US must "shelve" their differences and respect each others core interests, President Xi said in a top-level meeting that followed the dialogue.

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KERRY GROUP

 

 

Beijing's artificial island includes operational farm

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎3:55:40 AMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Jun 08, 2016 - While Washington has continuously accused Beijing of constructing islands in the South China Sea for military reasons, the true purpose may be agricultural. Ever since China began its land reclamation projects in the Spratly archipelago, the United States and its Pacific allies have cried foul, expressing particular concern over a military-grade runway atop Fiery Cross Reef.

But China has long maintained that the primary purpose of the artificial islands is for humanitarian reasons, and a number of facilities recently constructed in the Spratlys support that claim, including a lighthouse, hospital, and tourist resort. The latest development is no different.

According to state-owned Xinhua news, Fiery Cross Reef is now home to a farm. Nearly 4,000 square meters have been set aside for a vegetable garden, with more area reserved for a fishing pond. Roughly 500 livestock now call the island home, including geese, chickens, and pigs.

A hospital on Fiery Cross Reef is expected to be completed later this month. Covering nearly 160,000 square meters, the facility has a garden that includes coconut trees and tropical plants, according to Xinhua. The hospital will also feature state-of-the-art equipment for conducting operations and treating disease.

Naturally, these facilities require personnel, which is where that "military-grade" runway the US intelligence apparatus has been so panicked about apparently comes into play. The airstrip has been used by commercial jets to shuttle Chinese tourists.

A highly-contested region through which nearly $5 trillion in trade passes annually, most of the South China Sea is claimed by China, though there are overlapping claims by Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

The United States has conducted a series of patrols within the 12-mile territorial limit of Beijing's land reclamation projects. Washington has also coordinated joint-military exercises with regional allies, in an effort to challenge China's influence.

On Sunday, the Chinese government responded to comments from US Secretary of State John Kerry in which he criticized Beijing's planned creation of a national air defense zone in the region.

"Countries from outside should honor their commitments and not make irresponsible remarks on issues involving territorial sovereignty," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said.

Sun Jianguo, deputy head of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army of China, had his own feedback for Kerry.

"We do not create problems, but are not afraid of trouble," he said, according to Reuters.

Source: Xinhua News Agency

 

 

US vows 'action' if China builds new S. China Sea structures

 
‎Monday, ‎June ‎6, ‎2016, ‏‎11:28:06 AMGo to full article
Singapore (AFP) June 4, 2016 - Chinese construction on a South China Sea islet claimed by the Philippines would prompt "actions being taken" by the United States and other nations, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter warned Saturday.

Speaking at a security summit in Singapore, Carter said Beijing risks building a "Great Wall of self-isolation" with its military expansion in the contested waters, but he also proposed stronger bilateral security cooperation to reduce the risks of a mishap.

"I hope that this development doesn't occur because it will result in actions being taken both by the United States, and actions being taken by others in the region that will have the effect of not only increasing tensions but isolating China," Carter said when asked about Scarborough Shoal in a forum also attended by senior Chinese military officials.

Hong Kong's South China Morning Post has reported that China plans to establish an outpost on the shoal, 230 kilometres (140 miles) off the Philippine coast, which Manila says lies in its exclusive economic zone.

Beijing claims nearly all of the strategically vital sea and has developed contested reefs into artificial islands, some topped with airstrips.

Manila says China took effective control of Scarborough Shoal in 2012, stationing patrol vessels and shooing away Filipino fishermen, after a two-month stand-off with the Philippine Navy.

The Post cited a source closed to the Chinese military as saying construction at the outpost would allow Beijing to "further perfect" its air coverage across the South China Sea, suggesting it plans to build an airstrip.

- 'Great Wall of self-isolation' -

The construction plans were likely to be accelerated in light of the upcoming ruling from the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague on a case brought by the Philippines against China, which has shunned the proceedings and says it will not recognise any ruling.

In a prepared speech, Carter said the United States views the upcoming ruling "as an opportunity for China and the rest of the region to recommit to a principled future, to renewed diplomacy, and to lowering tensions, rather than raising them."

The Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam have competing claims in the sea, which encompass vital global shipping routes and is believed to have significant oil and gas deposits.

Beijing's claim to nearly the entire sea, based on controversial historical records, has also pitted it against the United States, which has conducted patrols near Chinese-held islands to press for freedom of navigation.

"Unfortunately, if these actions continue, China could end up erecting a Great Wall of self-isolation," Carter said in his speech.

The key to regional security, Carter said, was enhanced military cooperation across the region and the observance of "core principles" such as the peaceful resolution of disputes through legal means and the development of a "principled security network."

He also suggested the United States and China would benefit from better military ties -- both to build understanding and to avoid the risk of mishaps.

According to the Pentagon, two Chinese fighters last month conducted an "unsafe" intercept of a US spy plane in international air space over the South China Sea, further heightening tensions in the strategically vital waters.

"America wants to expand military-to-military agreements with China to focus not only on risk reduction, but also on practical cooperation," Carter said.

His attendance at the summit is part of a broader US diplomatic push, known as the Asia "rebalance", to build and maintain alliances in the Asia-Pacific region, which America sees as key to its own long-term economic and security interests.

In a report last month, the Pentagon said China put its land reclamation efforts on hold in the Spratly Islands chain at the end of 2015. Instead, it focused on adding military infrastructure to its reclaimed features.

In all, China has added more than 3,200 acres (1,295 hectares) of land to the seven features it occupies in the Spratlys, the report found, and it has added lengthy runways to three of these.

 

 

China says it doesn't fear 'trouble' in S. China Sea

 
‎Monday, ‎June ‎6, ‎2016, ‏‎11:28:06 AMGo to full article
Singapore (AFP) June 5, 2016 - An Asian security summit ended in discord Sunday after China denounced US "provocations" in the South China Sea and declared it does not fear trouble in the contested waters.

"The South China Sea issue has become overheated because of the provocations of certain countries for their own selfish interests," Admiral Sun Jianguo told an annual forum in Singapore.

Sun, who stressed China's desire for a peaceful solution, spoke one day after US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said any Chinese construction on an islet near the Philippines would prompt unspecified "actions" by the United States and other nations.

On a visit to Mongolia Sunday, US Secretary of State John Kerry also warned Beijing against setting up an air defence identification zone over the disputed waters.

"We would consider an ADIZ, an ADIZ zone, over portions of the South China Sea as a provocative and destabilising act, which would automatically raise tensions and call into serious question China's commitment to diplomatically manage the territorial disputes of the South China Sea," Kerry said.

"We believe that it is critical that no country move unilaterally to militarise the region," he added.

His remarks came on the eve of a US-China dialogue in Beijing and after Hong Kong's South China Morning Post (SCMP) newspaper cited Chinese army sources as saying Beijing was mulling such a zone.

China claims nearly all of the sea despite competing claims by several Southeast Asian neighbours, and has pressed its claims by rapidly building artificial islands suitable for military use.

Washington has responded by sending warships close to Chinese-claimed reefs, angering Beijing.

Rhetoric has escalated ahead of a decision at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on a case brought by the Philippines, a longtime US ally and former colony, against China, which says it will not recognise any ruling.

The Chinese admiral said US naval and air patrols in the sea were a display of "military muscles" and China was being forced to "accept and honour" the tribunal's ruling.

"China firmly opposes such behaviour. We do not make trouble but we have no fear of trouble," Sun, the leader of the Chinese delegation in Singapore, said in prepared remarks.

Carter had left Singapore by the time Sun made his speech.

Sun also took exception to Carter's statement on Saturday that Beijing risks building a "Great Wall of self-isolation" with its military expansion.

- China 'not isolated' -

"We were not isolated in the past. We're not isolated, and we will not be isolated in the future. Actually I am worried some people and countries are still looking at China with a Cold War mentality and prejudice," the Chinese admiral said in response to questions from other delegates.

Apparently referring to the United States and the Philippines, Sun said "some hegemonic countries have empowered small countries to make provocations against big countries".

The SCMP has reported that China plans to establish an outpost on Scarborough Shoal 230 kilometres (140 miles) off the Philippines which considers it part of its exclusive economic zone.

According to a Pentagon report, China has added more than 3,200 acres (1,295 hectares) of land to the seven islets it occupies in the Spratlys, a separate island chain from Scarborough.

Manila says China took effective control of Scarborough Shoal in 2012, stationing patrol vessels and shooing away Filipino fishermen.

Carter declined to elaborate when pressed on Saturday over what "actions" Washington might take. But the Pentagon chief proposed stronger bilateral security cooperation with China to reduce the risk of a mishap.

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told the forum that the European Union had a stake in maintaining freedom of shipping and navigation in the South China Sea, and said he would speak to his counterparts on the issue.

Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan also have competing claims in the sea.

Beijing's territorial claims, based on controversial historical records, have pitted it against the United States, which has conducted patrols near Chinese-held islands to press for "freedom of navigation" in the waterway.

Pentagon officials say two Chinese fighters last month conducted an "unsafe" intercept of a US spy plane in international airspace over the South China Sea.

 

 

Spooked by Russia, Poland boosts army by 50,000 men

 
‎Monday, ‎June ‎6, ‎2016, ‏‎11:28:06 AMGo to full article
Warsaw (AFP) June 3, 2016 - Poland will expand its armed forces next year to 150,000 men from the current 100,000 because of security concerns, Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz said Friday.

He did not explicitly mention Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine or the pro-Moscow revolt in the country's east, but those events have already spooked Warsaw into bolstering its defence capabilities.

The NATO member and allies in the region have managed to obtain an alliance revamp putting more troops into eastern European member states -- a plan NATO leaders will formally endorse at a Warsaw summit next month.

"We've decided to increase the number of Polish troops. We estimate that next year the army will number around 150,000 men," Macierewicz told reporters.

He added that an important part of the new total would be the 35,000-member paramilitary force, whose first volunteers Poland will start enrolling in September.

The force's command structure and senior appointments were decided in April, Macierewicz had said on Thursday at a conference of paramilitary organisations in Poland.

Comprising civilians who have had military training, the force is intended to deter Russia from seizing Polish territory by infiltration, as it is perceived to have done in eastern Ukraine.

Each of Poland's 16 provinces are expected to have a brigade-level force, and Mazovia -- the biggest and most populous region in the centre of the country -- will have two.

Priority in deployment will be given to eastern provinces -- Podlachia, Lublin and Podkarpackie -- deemed to be the most exposed to Russian pressure.

 

 

Maritime disputes loom large as US, China hold talks

 
‎Monday, ‎June ‎6, ‎2016, ‏‎11:28:06 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) June 5, 2016 - Mounting tensions over South China Sea territorial rows could overshadow US-China talks in Beijing Monday, after the two global powers exchanged barbs over the disputed waterway.

China claims nearly all of the sea despite competing declarations by several Southeast Asian neighbours and has built artificial islands suitable for military use in the South China Sea.

Washington has responded by sending warships close to Chinese-claimed reefs, angering Beijing.

Tensions mounted after the South China Morning Post reported last week Beijing could establish an air defence identification zone (ADIZ) over the sea -- which would require civilian aircraft to identify themselves to military controllers.

On a trip to Mongolia Sunday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said the establishment of such a zone would be considered "a provocative and destabilising act".

"We believe that it is critical that no country move unilaterally to militarise the region," he told reporters in Ulan Bator.

Kerry arrived later Sunday in Beijing for the two-day "Eighth US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue", which will also be chaired by US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi and Vice Premier Wang Yang.

The meeting follows an Asian security summit in Singapore Sunday attended by US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, where the South China Sea dispute was front and centre.

"The South China Sea issue has become overheated because of the provocations of certain countries for their own selfish interests," Admiral Sun Jianguo said at the meeting.

Despite the terse exchanges, Kerry insisted this week's dialogue with Beijing was about cooperation, not discord.

"Some people want to try to create a sense of tension and clash, but I think it's much more important to be working on the things that we can do to cooperate together and to make a difference," he told Hong Kong's Phoenix TV in an interview aired Sunday.

He highlighted areas of collaboration between the global superpowers, including on the Iran nuclear deal, combating Ebola in west Africa and supporting UN sanctions against North Korea, Beijing's traditional ally.

- 'Concerned' -

Monday's meeting is set to cover issues beyond the South China Sea, including climate change, cyber-security, terrorism, trade and economic cooperation.

A US Treasury Department statement said talks will focus on "a wide range of bilateral, regional and global areas of immediate and long-term economic and strategic interest".

But ahead of the meeting, a US official told AFP: "The tensions on the South China sea are higher than last year. We remain concerned."

The Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam have competing claims in the South China Sea, which encompasses vital global shipping routes and is believed to have significant oil and gas deposits.

Manila accuses China of taking effective control of the Scarborough Shoal in 2012 and has brought a case against Beijing to the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague. China has shunned the proceedings and says it will not recognise any ruling.

China's vice minister of foreign affairs Zheng Zeguang warned against rising tensions ahead of Monday's meeting.

"Confrontation between the US and China will only be disastrous for the two countries and for the world," he told reporters Thursday.

While in China, Kerry will also attend the annual US-China Consultation on People-to-People exchange, a forum bringing together government officials and private sector representatives to strengthen ties in fields such as education, culture and sports.

Kerry arrived in Beijing after visiting Mongolia, which he hailed as an "oasis of democracy" sandwiched between China and Russia.

burs-nr/ger/jv/har

 

 

Thailand asks China, rivals to look beyond border rows

 
‎Monday, ‎June ‎6, ‎2016, ‏‎11:28:06 AMGo to full article
Singapore (AFP) June 3, 2016 - Thailand on Friday urged China and rival claimants to the South China Sea to look beyond border disputes and find ways of cooperating in order to ease tensions in the region.

"Countries in the region should think of sovereignty in less traditional terms in order to support collective security in the long term," Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha said in a speech opening Asia's largest security forum in Singapore.

"If we look at everything from the standpoint of conflict, we will never be able to see a way out," said the Thai leader, a former army chief who seized power two years ago.

"If we focus solely on borders, some of which are still in dispute, then again, we'll never find a way out," Prayut told the annual meeting known as the Shangri-La Dialogue.

The three-day gathering is being attended by defence ministers and military officials including Pentagon chief Ashton Carter.

Beijing's claim to nearly the entire South China Sea has angered Southeast Asian neighbours and pitted it against the United States, which has conducted patrols near Chinese-held islands to press for freedom of navigation.

The Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam have competing claims in the area, which encompasses key global shipping lanes and is believed to have significant oil and gas deposits.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague is expected to issue a ruling soon on a Philippine submission challenging China's claims and activities in the region. Beijing says it will not abide by any ruling.

Ahead of the Singapore conference, US Defence Secretary Carter and his Singapore counterpart Ng Eng Hen flew over the busy Strait of Malacca in a demonstration flight of a US P-8 maritime patrol plane stationed in Singapore, a close military partner of Washington.

"The American approach is an inclusive one in which everyone participates in the collective defence of our peoples from today's threats," Carter said at a joint news conference after the brief flight.

"That's the objective of the US military presence out here, and it's been that way for decades."

- Heated US-China exchanges expected -

Carter did not speak out against China, but has previously condemned Beijing's island building and last week said it risked creating a "Great Wall of self-isolation".

He is scheduled to address the meeting on Saturday, while China's delegation chief Admiral Sun Jianguo will speak on Sunday.

Past editions of the Singapore meeting were marked by heated exchanges between the two sides.

Several US lawmakers were attending the summit as part of a Congressional delegation, including Republican Senator John McCain, who heads the Senate Armed Services Committee.

He said in a lecture before the forum that China must decide if it is going to engage in "coercion and intimidation" or follow a "better path".

"It could cooperate with its neighbours and manage disputes peacefully, consistent with the same international rules that have benefited China so greatly," he said.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula are another concern to be addressed at the forum organised by the London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS).

The UN Security Council on Wednesday strongly condemned North Korea's latest attempted missile launches and urged world governments to ramp up efforts to impose sanctions on Pyongyang.

Tim Huxley, the IISS Asia head, also said there has been renewed concern over "jihadist terrorism", particularly the threat from organisations and individuals in Southeast Asia who have associated themselves with the Islamic State.

Tensions in the South China Sea are expected to drive up Asia-Pacific defence spending by nearly 25 percent from 2015 to $533 billion in 2020, security think-tank IHS Jane's wrote in a research note issued Thursday.

 

 

Poland enrols paramilitary to offset perceived Russia peril

 
‎Monday, ‎June ‎6, ‎2016, ‏‎11:28:06 AMGo to full article
Warsaw (AFP) June 2, 2016 - Poland will shortly start enrolling the first volunteers in a 35,000-member paramilitary force aimed at parrying a perceived threat from Russia, Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz said on Thursday.

"Enrolment of the first members of the territorial defence force will start in September," Macierewicz said at a conference of paramilitary organisations in the northern town of Ostroda.

The force's command structure and senior appointments were decided in April, the minister said, according to a report by PAP news agency.

Comprising civilians who have had military training, the force is intended to deter Russia from seizing Polish territory by infiltration, as it is perceived to have done in eastern Ukraine.

"The territorial defence force is our response to the threat associated with hybrid warfare," said Grzegorz Kwasniak, in charge with setting up the force, referring to the stealth tactic.

Each of Poland's 16 provinces are expected to have a brigade-level force, and Mazovia -- the biggest and most populous region in the centre of the country -- will have two.

Priority in deployment will be given to eastern provinces -- Podlachia, Lublin and Podkarpachie -- deemed to be the most exposed to Russian pressure.

The Polish move has been mirrored in the ex-Soviet Baltic states, which have a long history of tension with Moscow. Paramilitary groups from these countries also attended the conference in Ostroda.

Poland already has a paramilitary group, a "riflemen's association" called the Strzelec, set up in the early 20th century by the architect of Polish independence, Jozef Pilsudski.

It has around 12,000 volunteers, many of them youngsters, who get training in military skills.

Strzelec units are to take part for the first time in a major military exercise, Anakonda, gathering Poland and several NATO allies, Strzelec commander Marcin Waszczuk told AFP. The exercise is due to take place in Poland from June 7 to 17.

 

 

Chinese military moves key issue at Singapore forum

 
‎Monday, ‎June ‎6, ‎2016, ‏‎11:28:06 AMGo to full article
Singapore (AFP) June 2, 2016 - Asia's largest annual security forum opens Friday in Singapore with territorial disputes in the South China Sea, North Korea's military provocations and Islamist extremism expected to dominate discussions.

The Shangri-La Dialogue, organised by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), is to be attended by at least 20 defence ministers led by Pentagon chief Ashton Carter, said IISS Asia executive director Tim Huxley.

Beijing's claim to nearly the entire South China Sea has angered Southeast Asian neighbours and pitted it against the United States, which has conducted patrols near Chinese-held islands to press for freedom of navigation in the body of water that encompasses key global shipping lanes.

The Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam have competing claims in the area, which is believed to have significant oil and gas deposits.

"There is much speculation about China's next steps in the South China Sea, particularly in the context of an apparently imminent ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on a Philippine submission that challenges important aspects of China's claims and activities there," Huxley wrote in a pre-conference blog.

Tensions in the South China Sea are expected to drive up Asia-Pacific defence spending by nearly 25 percent from 2015 to $533 billion in 2020, security think-tank IHS Jane's wrote in a research note issued Thursday.

"By 2020, the centre of gravity of the global defence spending landscape is expected to have continued its gradual shift away from the developed economies of Western Europe and North America, and towards emerging markets, particularly in Asia," said IHS Jane's director Paul Burton.

- 'Jihadist terrorism' -

Tensions on the Korean peninsula are another concern to be addressed at the Singapore forum.

The UN Security Council on Wednesday strongly condemned North Korea's latest attempted missile launches and urged world governments to ramp up efforts to impose sanctions on Pyongyang.

Huxley also said there has been renewed concern over "jihadist terrorism", particularly the threat from organisations and individuals in Southeast Asia who have associated themselves with the Islamic State.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha, a former army chief who seized power two years ago, will open the Singapore conference with an evening keynote address.

The forum also serves as a venue for military officials to meet behind closed doors.

Past editions of the conference have been marked by heated public exchanges between US and Chinese officials.

Zhou Bu, an honorary fellow at China's Academy of Military Science, wrote in Singapore's Straits Times newspaper ahead of the forum that public acrimony between the two powers could lead people to believe that "a showdown between the two giants is inevitable".

Recent editions of the Shangri-La Dialogue have been a "feast for the media" and could mislead people to believe that "a showdown between the two giants is inevitable," Zhou wrote.

But he said the US-China relationship is "also resilient, partly because each side can ill afford the consequence of a conflict or confrontation".

There are over 90 dialogues plus two hotlines between the two governments and two militaries to make sure the relationship stays on track, Zhou said.

He noted that China will take part in a 27-nation US-led naval exercise called the Rim of the Pacific Exercise, billed as the world's largest such drills, off Hawaii and California starting in late June.

 

 

Eyeing China, Obama demands Congress move on key UN maritime rules

 
‎Monday, ‎June ‎6, ‎2016, ‏‎11:28:06 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) June 2, 2016 - US President Barack Obama asked Congress to ratify contentious UN maritime rules Thursday, hoping to strengthen his hand in a dangerous stand-off with Beijing over the disputed South China Sea.

Addressing the US Air Force Academy in Colorado, Obama said that Congress should approve UN rules designed to peacefully resolve maritime disputes.

Obama's presidency has seen escalating diplomatic and military tensions over Beijing's claim to territory throughout the South China Sea.

The area is a vital shipping channel that is also believed to have significant energy and mineral deposits.

It is also pivotal to China's effort to transform the focus of its navy from coastal defense to a "blue water navy" capable of projecting power across the region.

Chinese military deployments in the South China Sea have spooked neighbors who also claim islands and atolls, and set off a chain of tit-for-tat countermeasures by Washington.

Obama has ordered US navy vessels to sail across the region to affirm freedom of navigation.

The White House believes that Congress's failure to ratify the UN agreement has undercut the US case that disputes must be solved peacefully.

"If we are truly concerned about China's actions in the South China Sea for example, the Senate should help strengthen our case by approving the law of the sea convention," Obama said.

Obama's call comes at a particularly sensitive time, ahead of a landmark international panel ruling on a dispute between the Philippines and China over the Spratly Islands.

Beijing has angrily rejected the panel's jurisdiction and vowed to ignore its ruling.

Four topics to dominate Singapore security forum
Singapore (AFP) June 2, 2016 - Defence ministers and military chiefs from around the world are attending Asia's largest annual security forum starting Friday in Singapore.

Known as the Shangri-La Dialogue, it will start with a keynote address by Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha and will end on Sunday after a series of open and closed-door talks.

The forum is organised by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Here are four key topics likely to dominate discussions:

- South China Sea -

Regional neighbours and other powers are fretting over what they see as China's expansionism as it rushes to exert sovereignty over the vast waters, a major global shipping route believed to be home to large oil and gas reserves.

Four Southeast Asian states -- the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei -- have rival claims with China, which claims nearly all of the sea based on controversial historical maps.

The Philippines has filed a case against China before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague and a decision is expected in the coming weeks but China has said it will not recognise any ruling.

- North Korea -

The UN Security Council has strongly condemned North Korea's attempted missile launches this week and in April, urging governments to ramp up efforts to impose sanctions on Pyongyang.

UN resolutions ban North Korea from any use of ballistic missile technology, although it regularly fires short-range missiles into the sea off its east coast.

- US-China relations -

The two powers are likely to come head-to-head again at the Singapore meeting, where US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter is expected to make another tough speech that will anger China.

US officials have repeatedly accused China of fostering regional tensions in the South China Sea, but Beijing has accused Washington of militarising the area with its "freedom of navigation" patrols.

Carter has also lashed out at Chinese hacking of US companies' information systems ahead of his Singapore visit.

- Terrorism -

The rise of Islamist movements in Asia has seen hundreds of radicalised people from predominantly-Muslim countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh join terror groups such as the Islamic State.

IS even has an entire battalion comprising fighters from Southeast Asia, and governments have to grapple with returning fighters who have been fully trained in military tactics.

 

 

China FM berates Canadian journalist over human rights

 
‎Monday, ‎June ‎6, ‎2016, ‏‎11:28:06 AMGo to full article
Ottawa (AFP) June 2, 2016 - China's foreign minister berated a Canadian journalist on Wednesday for questioning Beijing's human rights record, saying she had "no right to speak" about the issue.

The remarks by Wang Yi came after the reporter asked Canadian Foreign Minister Stephane Dion about what was being done to push China on human rights and its holding of a Canadian man on espionage charges.

"Your question is full of prejudice and arrogance," Wang told a press briefing in Ottawa where he stood beside Dion. "This is totally unacceptable".

"The people that know the most about human rights in China is not you, it's only the Chinese people. You don't have the right to speak," he added according to a video posted online by Canadian broadcaster CBC.

"Don't ask these kinds of irresponsible questions again".

China often condemns other countries for criticising its record on human rights, but usually refrains from doing so in such direct terms at press conferences overseas.

In contrast, Chinese President Xi Jinping last year admitted the country had "room for improvement" on human rights after being asked a similar question by a British journalist while on a visit to London.

Wang's Canadian visit -- where he also met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau -- was portrayed in local media as an attempt to improve relations as Ottawa presses for a free-trade deal with the world's second-largest economy.

Ties have been strained by the detention of Canadian citizen Kevin Garratt in 2014 on espionage charges. He previously ran a Christian-themed coffee shop near the North Korean border.

Beijing announced in January he had been formally charged, after his wife who was also detained was released on bail.

Aside from the outburst, Wang reiterated China's standard line on the South China Sea, where it has overlapping claims with several Southeast Asian neighbours.

Speaking after incoming Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte recently heaped praise on Xi, Wang said that "the door of dialogue between China and the Philippines is always open."

Ties soured under outgoing President Benigno Aquino, whose government sued Beijing before a UN-backed tribunal over its claims in the South China Sea.

With a ruling expected in the coming weeks, the Philippines' response will probably be left to Duterte, who takes office on June 30.

In contrast to Aquino, Duterte has said he is willing to engage China in bilateral talks on the issue.

However, he has also played to nationalist sentiments by saying he would ride a jet ski to plant a Philippine flag on disputed islands in the sea.

 

 

China FM welcomes dialogue with Philippines

 
‎Monday, ‎June ‎6, ‎2016, ‏‎11:28:06 AMGo to full article
Ottawa (AFP) June 1, 2016 - Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Wednesday he welcomes a possible warming of relations with the Philippines, currently strained over China's claims to most of the South China Sea.

Speaking during a visit to Canada after incoming Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte recently heaped praise on Chinese president Xi Jinping, Wang Yi told a news conference in Ottawa that "the door of dialogue between China and the Philippines is always open."

"If the Philippines sincerely wants to come back to the track of dialogue and negotiations, we welcome that," he said.

"China and the Philippines properly handling disputes through direct dialogue and consultations is helpful for breaking a deadlock in the bilateral relations in recent years," he added.

Wang Yi was in Ottawa for meetings with his counterpart Stephane Dion and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Duterte on Tuesday described Xi as "a great president," in a hint that frosty relations between the Asian neighbors could soon warm.

Their ties soured during the six-year term of outgoing President Benigno Aquino, whose government sued China before a United Nations tribunal over its claims in the South China Sea, where Beijing is building low-lying ocean features and sandy blips into islands for military bases.

With a ruling expected in the coming weeks, the Philippines' response will probably be left to Duterte, who takes office on June 30.

In contrast to Aquino, Duterte has said he is willing to engage China in bilateral talks on the issue.

However, he has also played to nationalist sentiments by saying he would ride a jet ski to plant a Philippine flag on disputed islands in the sea.

 

 

 

 

 

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The History of the House of Rothschild

by Andrew Hitchcock

 

 

  • Hitchcock also wrote a history for the bankers:

 

 

  • One of our listeners added images and photos and turned this Rothschild document

into a PowerPoint presentation. It is very large; 67 megabytes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rothschilds have been in control of the world for a very long time, their tentacles reaching into many aspects of our daily lives, as is documented in the following timeline.  However, before you jump to the timeline, please read this invaluable introduction which will tell you who the Rothschilds are as oppose to who they claim to be.

The Rothschilds claim that they are Jewish, when in fact they are Khazars.  They are from a country called Khazaria, which occupied the land locked between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea which is now predominantly occupied by Georgia.  The reason the Rothschilds claim to be Jewish is that the Khazars under the instruction of the King, converted to the Jewish faith in 740 A.D., but of course that did not include converting their Asiatic Mongolian genes to the genes of the Jewish people.

You will find that approximately 90% of people in the world today who call themselves Jews are actually Khazars, or as they like to be known, Ashkenazi Jews.  These people knowingly lie to the world with their claims that the land of Israel is theirs by birthright, when in actual fact their real homeland is over 800 miles away in Georgia.

So, next time you hear an Israeli Prime Minister bleating about the so-called persecution of the Jews, consider this, every Prime Minister of Israel has been an Ashkenazi Jew.  Therefore when all these Prime Ministers have curried favour with the West for their re-establishment of a Jewish homeland, they have knowingly and deliberately lied to you, as they were never from that region, and they well know it, because it is they who call themselves Ashkenazi Jews.

The Book of Revelation, Chapter 2, Verse 9, states the following which would appear to be about these Ashkenazi Jews:

"I know thy works, and tribulation and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan."
The most wealthy bloodline in the world bar none and the leader of the Ashkenazi Jews in the world today is the Rothschild family.  As you will see in the timeline, the Rothschilds have obtained this position through lies, manipulation and murder.  Their bloodline also extends into the Royal Families of Europe, and the following family names:  Astor; Bundy; Collins; duPont; Freeman; Kennedy; Morgan; Oppenheimer; Rockefeller; Sassoon; Schiff; Taft; and Van Duyn.

However, these are not the only bloodlines to worry about.  You are probably aware of the centuries old pratice undertaken by many Ashkenazi Jews whereby they would change their name, in order for them to appear part of the dominant race of the country in which they lived, so as they could obtain influential positions in that country, which they would then exploit to serve their real masters elsewhere.  There is plenty of evidence to prove the Rothschilds continue that deceptive tradition.

Furthermore the Rothschilds are known to sire many children secretly that they can put into positions of power when required.  This started with the very first man who took the name Rothschild, who had a secret sixth son.  Finally, remember the world is a diverse place, I could if I wanted change my name to Rothschild, or any of the names listed above, and that would not make me part of this family anymore than converting to Judaism in 740 A.D. will make these Ashkenazis Jewish.

Please, therefore, do not automatically assume someone you see with the name Rothschild or any of the names listed above are part of the Rothschild criminal network.  Furthermore and most importantly, the majority of Ashkenazi Jews are innocent and not part of this network.  Check the facts out for yourself first, this article is designed to inform people who the enemy is, not single out people of a particular race or people with a particular surname, who may have nothing to do with this Rothschild criminal network.
 

1743: Mayer Amschel Bauer, an Ashkenazi Jew, is born in Frankfurt, Germany, the son of Moses Amschel Bauer, a money lender and the proprietor of a counting house.

 

Moses Amschel Bauer places a red sign above the entrance door to his counting house. This sign is a red hexagram (which geometrically and numerically translates into the number 666) which under Rothschild instruction will end up on the Israeli flag some two centuries later.

 

1753: Gutle Schnaper, an Ashkenazi Jew (future wife of Mayer Amschel Bauer), born to respected merchant, Wolf Salomon Schnaper.

1760: During this decade Mayer Amschel Bauer works for a bank owned by the Oppenheimers' in Hanover, Germany.  He is highly successful and becomes a junior partner. Whilst working at the bank he becomes acquainted with General von Estorff.

Following his father's death, Bauer returns to Frankfurt to take over his father's business. Bauer recognises the significance of the red hexagram and changes his name from Bauer to Rothschild, after the red hexagram or sign signifying 666 hanging over the entrance door ("Rot," is German for, "Red," "Schild," is German for, "Sign").

 

Now Mayer Amschel Rothschild, he discovers that General von Estorff is now attached to the court of Prince William IX of Hesse-Hanau, one of the richest royal houses in Europe, which gained its' wealth by the hiring out of Hessian soldiers to foreign countries for vast profits (a practice that continues today in the form of exporting, "peacekeeping," troops throughout the world).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The European Union (flag pictured) is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for "the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe".

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South Sudan must sustain efforts to protect human rights, says UN official

Conflict in Darfur
Date 2003–2009 /2010

 

Location Darfur, Sudan
Belligerents
Sudan JEM factions
Bandera Darfur.svg SLM (Minnawi faction)
Sudan LJM
Allegedly supported by:
 Chad
 Eritrea
Sudan Janjaweed
Sudan Sudanese Armed Forces
Sudan Sudanese Police
Foreign Mercenaries
African Union
 
United Nations
Commanders and leaders
Sudan Khalil Ibrahim
Sudan Ahmed Diraige
Bandera Darfur.svg Minni Minnawi
Sudan Abdul Wahid al Nur
Sudan Omar al-Bashir
Sudan Musa Hilal
Sudan Hamid Dawai
Sudan Ali Kushayb
Sudan Ahmed Haroun
Rodolphe Adada
United Nations
Martin Luther Agwai
Strength
NRF/JEM: Unknown N/A 9,065
Casualties and losses
unknown
  • 178,258-461,520 excess deaths
  • 2,850,000 Displaced (UN estimate)
  • 450,000 Displaced (Sudanese estimate)
unknown 51 peacekeepers killed

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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