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Head of Tibetan government-in-exile meets US special coordinator – News in India by Post24x7

2020-10-16 13:28:00

In a move that is expected to exacerbate frictions between the US and China, the head of the Tibetan government-in-exile in India, Lobsang Sangay, on Thursday met the newly appointed US special coordinator for Tibetan issues Robert Destro.

Sangay, who lives in exile in India and heads the Central Tibetan Authority shared a picture of his meeting with Destro in Washington on Facebook.

“Great honor to meet with the Special Coordinator on Tibetan Issues Robert A Destro. This is the first time in six decades, a Sikyong (President) of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) was formally invited inside the State Department,” Sangay said in his post.

Sangay also took the opportunity to thank US secretary of state Mike Pompeo for appointing Destro as the special coordinator earlier this week – something the Chinese foreign ministry responded sharply to on Thursday. “I want to thank the State Department for acknowledging the democratically elected leader of CTA and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for approving the visit. History is made today!” Sangay said in his post.

Destro was on Thursday confirmed as the special coordinator for Tibetan issues, after Pompeo named him to the post earlier this week. The appointment is seen as a move to exert pressure on China on the autonomy of Tibet and bring issues concerning human rights and forced labour to the fore. Incidentally, Destro was part of a delegation visited Taiwan recently with US undersecretary of state for economic growth Keith Krach.

News reports said Pompeo had criticised the Chinese government in a statement in which he said that the US “remains concerned with the PRC (People’s Republic of China)’s repression of the Tibetan community, including the lack of meaningful autonomy, the deteriorating human rights situation in Tibetan areas, and severe restrictions on Tibetans’ religious freedom and cultural traditions within China.”

China had hit back calling the appointment an attempt to interfere in China’s domestic affairs. Foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the appointment is a case of political manipulation. “Tibet affairs are China’s internal affairs that allow no foreign interference. The setting up of the so-called coordinator for Tibetan issues is entirely out of political manipulation to interfere in China’s internal affairs and destabilise Tibet. China firmly opposes that,” Zhao told reporters on Thursday.

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India reminds China of its redlines on sovereignty matters – News in India by Post24x7

2020-10-16 07:28:00

Amid the border standoff, New Delhi on Thursday reminded Beijing that it should not cross the redlines on India’s sovereignty, including the status of the Union territory of Ladakh, which China said it does not recognize. However, Indian foreign minister S. Jaishankar hoped that talks between the two neighbouring countries could arrive at a solution.

In a related development, India made its intent public of delivering a submarine to the Myanmar Navy in a move to secure its ties with its eastern neighbour amid Beijing’s concerted efforts to increase its influence around India’s immediate periphery. The announcement comes days after Indian Army chief Manoj Mukund Naravane and foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla visited Myanmar.

The move is in line with India’s policy to develop close ties with its neighbours, as part of the Act East policy, which aims to build deeper ties with South-East Asian countries as well as its broader Indo-Pacific strategy. Around three years ago Bangladesh had commissioned two submarines procured from China, much to India’s unease. Myanmar’s acquisition of a submarine also comes amid a spurt in defence hardware purchases by its neighbours in South-East Asia, including Thailand and Vietnam, in recent years, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

When asked about China’s repeated remarks on not recognizing the Union territory of Ladakh during a foreign ministry briefing in New Delhi, spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the centrally administered regions of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir “have been, are and would remain an integral part of India”. In what can be taken as a warning to Beijing, he added: “China has no locus standi to comment on India’s internal matters. We hope that countries will not comment on India’s internal matters, as much as they expect the same of others.”

New Delhi has so far refrained from commenting on last year’s protests in Hong Kong, or allegations of human rights violations in China’s Xinjiang province. New Delhi also seems to be sensitive to China’s concerns over Taiwan and Tibet, though the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, lives in exile in India.

Likewise, on Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims as “Southern Tibet”, Srivastava said the region “is an integral and inalienable part of India”.

“This fact has also been clearly conveyed to the Chinese side on several occasions, including at the highest level,” he added.

China’s comments disputing the sovereignty of Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh come as the military standoff along the border in Ladakh entered its sixth month. India had first noticed multiple intrusions by the People’s Liberation Army in Ladakh in May. Since then, tensions have been at an unprecedented high with both sides suffering casualties for the first time in 45 years.

Srivastava said the talks earlier this week between military commanders of the two countries “were positive and constructive” and they “have a better understanding of each other’s positions”. “Disengagement is a complex process that requires redeployment of troops by each side towards their regular posts on their respective sides of the LAC (Line of Actual Control) border,” he said, adding that “the two sides will maintain the current momentum of communications”.

Speaking at an event organized by news agency Bloomberg, Jaishankar said discussions were on to break the stalemate, but declined to comment further on the matter.

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U.S. should try to delay IPO of China’s Ant Group, Senator Rubio says – News in USA by Post24x7

2020-10-10 16:16:00

Senator Marco Rubio, who has successfully urged the Trump administration to pursue investigations of Chinese companies, called on Friday for the U.S. government to consider options to delay an initial public offering of China’s Ant Group, the fintech arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

“It’s outrageous that Wall Street is rewarding the Chinese Communist Party’s blatant crackdown on Hong Kong’s freedom and autonomy by orchestrating Ant Group’s IPO on the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges,” Rubio, a Republican, said in a statement to Reuters.

“The Administration should take a serious look at the options available to delay Ant Group’s IPO,” he added.

The Hong Kong leg of the IPO, part of a dual listing in Shanghai and Hong Kong, is being sponsored by China International Capital Corp, Citigroup, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley. Credit Suisse is working as a joint global coordinator. Goldman Sachs is also involved.

Ant declined to comment on Rubio’s remarks, but said its business was primarily in China and it is excited about growth prospects there.

It was not immediately clear how the U.S. government could postpone the listing of a Chinese company abroad. But Rubio’s remarks are a sign of growing pressure among China hardliners in Congress, within the administration and elsewhere, for President Donald Trump to sanction Ant before it lists later this month.

Some fear the offering, worth up to $30 billion, could expose scores of U.S. investors to fraud. Others fear it could give the Chinese government access to sensitive banking data belonging to U.S. citizens.

“These digital payment systems are the source of well-founded national security concerns, and the Trump administration should move to protect American users’ sensitive financial data as quickly as possible,” Republican Representative Jim Banks said in a statement when asked whether the administration should impose sanctions on the company.

Ant is China’s dominant mobile payments company, offering loans, payments, insurance and asset management services via mobile apps. Based in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, Ant is 33% owned by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and controlled by Alibaba founder Jack Ma.

Ant’s Alipay payment platform, like Tencent’s WeChat’s platform, is used primarily by Chinese citizens with accounts in renminbi. Most of its U.S. interactions are with merchants accepting payment from Chinese travelers and businesses in the country.

An anti-China advocacy group known as the Committee on the Present Danger: China, whose membership includes hedge fund manager Kyle Bass and former Trump strategist Steve Bannon, penned a letter to Trump last month calling for the company to be added to a trade black list and the IPO to be delayed.

“We believe that the IPO should, at a minimum, be delayed to ensure that…disclosures are faithfully done and properly evaluated as, regrettably, a sizeable portion of the IPO proceeds will almost surely end up in the investment portfolios of millions of retail American investors,” the group said in the letter, dated Sept. 14.

The company could become the latest victim of a years-long technology battle between Beijing and Washington that saw the Trump administration lash out at such Chinese companies as telecoms giant Huawei and surveillance camera maker Hikvision over everything from intellectual property theft, to breaches of sanctions and human rights abuses.

Rubio was the first to publicly call for a probe into popular Chinese-owned social media app TikTok by a powerful national security committee, which did review it. The Trump administration ultimately banned the app, but a court-imposed injunction pending review has kept the ban from going into effect.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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India dismisses China’s directives to Indian media on coverage of Taiwan’s national day – News in India by Post24x7

2020-10-08 20:21:00

NEW DELHI: India on Thursday dismissed China’s directives to Indian media on coverage of Taiwan’s national day over the weekend, saying the country had a “free media” that reported on issues as it saw fit.

The remark was in response to the Chinese embassy in New Delhi advising Indian journalists on covering the national day of Taiwan, saying all countries having diplomatic ties with Beijing should “firmly honour” the One-China policy.

The Indian dismissal of China’s directives to the Indian press came a day after Taiwan’s foreign minister Joseph Wu in a Twitter post on Wednesday slammed the Chinese move.

“#India is the largest democracy on Earth with a vibrant press & freedom-loving people. But it looks like communist #China is hoping to march into the subcontinent by imposing censorship. #Taiwan’s Indian friends will have one reply: GET LOST! JW,” the post said.

The “do and don’ts”to be observed while covering Taiwan’s national day were emailed to Indian journalists on Wednesday by the Chinese embassy in New Delhi. In it, the embassy referred to the “so-called forthcoming ‘National Day of Taiwan’” and said it “would like to remind” the Indian press that “there is only one China in the world, and the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legitimate government representing the whole of China.”

“Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory…All countries that have diplomatic relations with China should firmly honour their commitment to the One-China policy, which is also the long-standing official position of the Indian government,” the email had said. China considers Taiwan a breakaway province. Only about two dozen countries have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

In particular, Taiwan shall not be referred to as a ‘country (nation)’ or ‘Republic of China’ or the leader of China’s Taiwan region as ‘President’, so as not to send the wrong signals to the general public,” the Chinese email said.

The embassy said it “appreciates the good faith and efforts by friends from the media”, and was “willing to maintain communication with media friends on China-related reports.”

That there was only one China was reiterated by the Chinese embassy spokesperson in a post on Thursday. “The Responding DPP authority: There is only one #China in the world.#Taiwan is inalienable part of China’s territory. One-China policy is int’l universal consensus & long-standing position of #Indian govt,which China appreciates. It’s wishful thinking to seek any “Taiwan independence”” the post by embassy spokeswoman Ji Rong said.

Taiwan’s national day is on 10 October.

India and Taiwan established representative trade offices in New Delhi and Taipei in the 1990s but they do not have formal diplomatic relations. Taiwan has set up the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in New Delhi. On its part, India has the India-Taipei Association in Taipei to boost business, tourism, and people-to-people ties.

The controversy stoked by the Chinese embassy email comes at a time of major friction between China and India along their common border in Ladakh. Against this backdrop, analysts have called a review of India’s “One China policy” with some arguing for an upgradation of ties with Taipei.

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China holds military exercises near Taiwan as US diplomat visits – News in USA by Post24x7

2020-09-18 21:18:00

China said Friday it was conducting military exercises near the Taiwan Strait, as a top US diplomat visits the self-ruled island in a move that has angered Beijing.

Relations between the United States and China are at their lowest point in decades, with the two sides clashing over a range of trade, military and security issues as well as the coronavirus pandemic.

Keith Krach, US undersecretary of state for economic growth, energy and the environment, landed in Taipei on Thursday for a three-day visit, the highest-ranking State Department official to visit in 40 years.

At a press conference on Friday, a Chinese defence ministry spokesman said Beijing was “holding actual combat exercises near the Taiwan Strait” when asked how it would respond to the visit.

“This is a legitimate and necessary action taken to safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in response to the current situation in the Taiwan Strait,” Ren Guoqiang told reporters.

Ren also warned that the Chinese military had “sufficient ability” to counter any external threat or challenge from Taiwan separatists.

– ‘Causing trouble’ -Beijing considers Taiwan part of its territory, to be absorbed into the Chinese mainland — by force if necessary.

China’s Communist leadership baulks at any recognition of Taiwan — which has been ruled separately from China since the end of a civil war in 1949 — and has pursued a decades-long policy of marginalising the democratic island.

Ren accused the United States of “frequently causing trouble” over Taiwan, which he said “is purely China’s internal affairs, and we won’t tolerate any external interference”.

An editorial in the nationalist, state-backed Global Times newspaper later warned “war will inevitably break out” if the US and Taiwan continue to “make provocations.”

According to Taipei’s defence ministry, 18 Chinese aircraft — including bombers and fighters — entered Taiwan’s southwest air defence identification zone (ADIZ) on Friday and also crossed the so-called median line that divides the Taiwan Strait.

The ministry said Taiwan’s military “scrambled fighters, and deployed air defence missile system to monitor the activities”.

“We hope the other side can exercise restraint and not… heighten conflicts between the two sides. These military intimidations have caused resentment among the Taiwanese people,” it said in a statement.

In recent weeks, Taiwan has reported a sharp rise in incursions by Chinese warplanes into its ADIZ.

Chinese jets also made a brief incursion across the midline of the strait in August, as US health chief Alex Azar made his country’s highest-level visit to Taiwan since 1979 — the year Washington switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing.

Washington’s increased outreach to Taiwan under President Donald Trump has become yet another US-China flashpoint.

The US said Krach was visiting Taiwan to attend Saturday’s memorial service for late president Lee Teng-hui, who died in July aged 97.

On Friday, Krach met with foreign minister Joseph Wu to discuss bilateral issues and exchange views on future collaborations, according to Taipei authorities. He is also scheduled to join President Tsai Ing-wen for dinner at her official residence.

China has ramped up pressure on Taiwan since Tsai came to power in 2016, as she refuses to acknowledge its idea that the democratic island is part of “one China”.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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With volley of missile launches, China warns US aircraft carriers to stay away – News in USA by Post24x7

2020-08-28 09:37:00

The missiles launched into the South China Sea on Wednesday included the DF-21D and DF-26B, the South China Morning Post reported, citing a person close to the People’s Liberation Army. Those weapons are central to China’s strategy of deterring any military action off its eastern coast by threatening to destroy the major sources of U.S. power projection in the region.

“China is signaling to the U.S., its allies and partners that China has an answer to America’s aircraft-carrier strike groups, an answer that is always available and not dependent on deployment schedules,” said Carl Schuster, an adjunct faculty member of Hawaii Pacific University’s diplomacy and military science program and a former operations director at U.S. Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Center. “In effect, China is saying, ‘If the U.S. puts two carriers in the South China Sea, we send aircraft carrier-killer missiles there.’”

The launches show the U.S. the growing cost of any armed conflict, with a high-profile reminder of China’s increasing arsenal of medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles. President Xi Jinping rolled out the new PLA Rocket Force as part of a massive military parade in October, showcasing a capability that is challenging American military superiority in Asia for the first time since World War II. Researchers at the University of Sydney warned last year that Chinese missiles could wipe out U.S. bases in the “opening hours” of any conflict.

A U.S. defense official who asked not to be identified told Bloomberg News that China fired four medium-range ballistic missiles during a series of military exercises this week. They landed in the sea between China’s southern Hainan Island and the disputed Paracel chain near Vietnam, the official said, not far from where U.S. carriers conducted drills in recent weeks to back up the Trump administration’s decision to challenge Beijing’s sovereignty claims.

“Conducting military exercises over disputed territory in the South China Sea is counterproductive to easing tensions and maintaining stability,” the Pentagon said in a statement Thursday. China’s “actions, including missile tests, further destabilize the situation in the South China Sea.”

The Chinese Defense Ministry reiterated its contention that the exercises weren’t directed at any one nation Thursday, without mentioning the missile launch. Still, ministry spokesman Senior Colonel Wu Qian accused “some U.S. politicians” of trying to provoke a conflict between the two nations, telling a briefing in Beijing that China was “not afraid.”

On Thursday, China’s military issued a statement saying it expelled a U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer that “trespassed” into waters near the Paracel Islands, calling the ship’s move “provocative.”

The missile tests appeared intended for U.S. consumption, rather than a domestic audience, with coverage on the country’s heavily censored internet largely limited to foreign media reports. Earlier this week, China protested an American U-2 spy plane’s flight near the exercise zone in the East China Sea, presumably to glean intelligence about the country’s capabilities.

“The aim is to test the capability of the troops,” said Li Jie, a Beijing-based naval expert, who stopped short of confirming the missile test. “You could say it is sending a warning to the U.S., as the U.S. has increased its military activities in the South China Sea.”

While the two nuclear-armed powers have many incentives to avoid a clash, the risk of escalation is growing as the U.S. and its allies seek to push back against a more assertive Beijing. The U.S. has in recent weeks carried out a series military exercises around the region and approved a landmark fighter jet sale to Taiwan — against the backdrop of a national election President Donald Trump has attempted to focus on China.

The U.S. Navy’s recent exercises in the South China Sea have included joint operations by the USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike groups last month and separate drills by the Reagan this month. Those moves followed Secretary of State Michael Pompeo’s July 13 announcement clarifying U.S. legal opposition to Chinese claims over most of a vital shipping lane, parts of which are also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

The real risk is a U.S.-China conflict over Taiwan escalating to nuclear war, in part because the DF-26 can be armed with both nuclear and conventional warheads, said Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in California.

“If the U.S. were to see DF-26 missiles mobilizing to strike U.S. aircraft carriers, the president would have to order strikes against missile bases throughout all of China, not just coastal areas,” Lewis said. “The United States would likely be striking China’s nuclear forces. It would be very hard to keep such a conflict limited.”

China launched at least one other DF-26 missile in recent weeks, in what the Communist Party’s Global Times newspaper characterized as a response to the U.S. carrier operations. The paper had earlier touted its “carrier-killer” missiles on Twitter — drawing a terse rebuttal from the U.S. Navy, which noted that the warships were nonetheless “still there.”

Although China has yet to prove the ability to sink a moving warship, the cost of losing a $10 billion aircraft carrier, the troops and hardware on board — and all the American military prestige they represent — would be immeasurable. That threat is causing Pentagon planners to consider less conspicuous ways of projecting force, with an internal Defense Department study recommending reducing the country’s carrier fleet to nine from 11 now, Defense News reported in April.

The PLA’s missile arsenal is among the many factors driving the U.S.’s shifting security posture in Asia, with the Pentagon cycling B-1 bombers to and from Guam, where they’re more vulnerable to attack. Concern about the threat also contributed to the U.S.’s decision to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia and seek three-way arms talks with China.

Even before this week’s launches, China had quietly ramped up tests of ballistic missiles, in an apparent attempt to gauge their operational capabilities. The country fired off in excess of 100 ballistic missiles last year, more than three times North Korea’s record tally, Kyodo News reported in February, citing people familiar with the matter.

China possesses what former Pacific Commander Harry Harris has called “the largest and most diverse missile force in the world,” with scores of different weapons in development. The DF-21D can travel more than 1,500 kilometers (900 miles), while the DF-26 can deliver warheads an estimated 4,000 kilometers, far enough to reach Guam.

There are “real questions” about whether China’s carrier-killers actually work, said Ankit Panda, a Stanton senior fellow with the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The latest tests may provide the U.S. a chance to better understand their performance.

“The People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force has a busy testing schedule and this was likely operational training,” Panda said. “But certainly it’ll be a reminder to folks in Washington that China’s military continues to modernize and can deny access to the U.S. Navy in parts of the Asia-Pacific.”

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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China uses tech as tool of repression to monitor citizens: US commission – News in USA by Post24x7

2020-08-09 05:33:00

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is committed to the production and use of technology that controls and surveils its population, according to a congressional commission of the US.

In a joint statement to Fox News, Chairman Robin Cleveland and Vice Chairman Carolyn Bartholomew of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission said that China’s move to use technology as a tool of repression is “politically motivated to sustain the Party”.

“The Chinese Communist Party is committed to the production and use of technology that controls and surveils its population. The decision to use these tools of repression is politically motivated to sustain the Party,” the statement read.

The Chinese government monitored every corner of Beijing by state-of-the-art surveillance cameras. Facial recognition algorithms matched with images filed away in a secret database could see you in legal trouble for something you did near your front door. A semi-political post made in a private chat could lead to the loss of your job.

According to the report in Fox News, surveillance has become a booming business in the world’s most populated country with scores of tech start-ups moving in to meet the market demand with the government’s encouragement.

Several human rights activists said that the enterprise has quickly become a critical apparatus for suppression and abuses, especially on minority groups.

Beijing uses a system called the Integrated Joint Operations Platform (IJOP), which has the ability to audit entire populations.

The system is developed by a state-owned military contractor China Electronics Technology Corporation, IJOP. It is said to have been copied by Chinese military theorists researching how the US military used information technology during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and enhanced from there.

“From there, it can rapidly produce names of people classified as “suspicious” — and thus marked for possible detention — purely as a result of their travel patterns abroad, mobile applications installed and key phrases used in bulletins or private messages, sometimes as basic as asking someone else where they can pray,” the report said.

Joseph Humire, Executive Director for the Center for a Secure Free Society (SFS), told Fox News that Xinjiang serves as the “central nervous system of surveillance” in China, which is an IJOP that prompts you to enter identifying information, such as when you grow a beard, leave your house, or your blood type, etc.

“These apps try to determine your pattern of life, and if Chinese authorities determine any change in your pattern of life, they come to visit you,” he told Fox News.

“It is targeting the whole population with the focus on anyone who has independent thinking,” said Xiaoxu “Sean” Lin, a microbiologist and activist/spokesperson for the Washington-based Falun Dafa Association.

“Many technologies are involved in facial recognition including Facial Action Unit analysis, facial expression recognition, deep neuro network analysis, facial muscle movement recognition, topographic modelling, deep machine learning and supercomputer technologies,” Xiaoxu added.

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China warms to idea of four more years of Donald Trump Presidency – News in USA by Post24x7

2020-06-15 20:21:00

Interviews with nine current and former Chinese officials point to a shift in sentiment in favor of the sitting president, even though he has spent much of the past four years blaming Beijing for everything from U.S. trade imbalances to Covid-19. The chief reason? A belief that the benefit of the erosion of America’s postwar alliance network would outweigh any damage to China from continued trade disputes and geopolitical instability.

While the officials shared concerns that U.S.-China tensions would rise regardless of who was in the White House, they broke largely into camps of those who emphasized geopolitical gains and those who were concerned about trade ties. Biden, the former vice president, was viewed as a traditional Democrat who would seek to shore up the U.S.’s tattered multilateral relationships and tamp down trade frictions.

“If Biden is elected, I think this could be more dangerous for China, because he will work with allies to target China, whereas Trump is destroying U.S. alliances,” said Zhou Xiaoming, a former Chinese trade negotiator and former deputy representative in Geneva. Four current officials echoed that sentiment, saying many in the Chinese government believed a Trump victory could help Beijing by weakening what they saw as Washington’s greatest asset for checking China’s widening influence.

The general assumption underlying their views was that little could be done to halt the slide in relations between the world’s two biggest economies. Thus, China needed to accelerate efforts to develop high-end indigenous industries, expand into developing markets and look for opportunities to work with nations in Europe and Asia to counter any U.S. isolation efforts.

Over the course of Trump’s term, the realization has taken hold in Beijing that opposition to China enjoys deep bipartisan support in an otherwise-polarized Washington. The coronavirus outbreak, which was first discovered in the country’s central city of Wuhan, has only hardened American views toward Beijing.

‘Getting Worse’

“I don’t think the election will change the relationship in a fundamental way. The deep feeling in the U.S. is that the U.S. should contain China,” Zhou said. “Whether Trump wins, or Joe goes to Washington, things will get worse.”

Chinese officials, eager to avoid a repeat of their surprise when Trump upset former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016, have been pressing American contacts for insights about who will win. Senior members of the American business community in Beijing say recent weeks have seen a sudden up tick in outreach from well-connected Chinese friends who in some cases haven’t contacted them for years.

Although Republicans traditionally emphasized economic ties with China, Trump has moved the party in a more confrontational direction, challenging the country in virtually every area of the relationship from China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea to trade, public health, human rights and technology. The Democrats have largely supported those efforts, helping to pass legislation to support Hong Kong protesters and give more military aid to Taiwan.

Even Biden, who had long backed an “engagement” strategy with China, adopted a harsher tone as the Democratic presidential primaries heated up. In recent months, Biden has described President Xi Jinping as a “thug,” lauded the “extraordinary bravery” of democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong and accused China of “predatory” trade practices. He labeled the mass detention of Uighur Muslims in the far Western region of Xinjiang “unconscionable.”

Although Chinese officials continue to steer clear of criticizing Trump directly, Internet censors have allowed more nationalistic-tinged criticism of the U.S. to circulate online. One foreign diplomat said China’s foreign ministry was “combative” and “angry” toward U.S. officials.

“Trump has destroyed a lot of goodwill,” said Wang Huiyao, an adviser to China’s cabinet and founder of the Center for China and Globalization. “At the start of the trade war, there were a lot of people who were pro-U.S., but they are now sympathetic to the hard-liners.”

Trump has sought to capitalize on his reputation for confronting China in the election, despite his early praise for Xi’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak. In April, he told Reuters that “China will do anything they can to have me lose this race,” asserting without evidence that Beijing’s response to the virus was focused on a desire to see him lose in November. China’s foreign ministry reiterated its longstanding position that it never seeks to interfere in the internal affairs of other nations.

U.S. Stability

One Chinese official said the election result didn’t matter since relations won’t improve either way. China’s best hope, they said, was that things didn’t deteriorate further.

Some in Beijing are wondering aloud about Trump’s long-term impact on U.S. stability, pointing to surging coronavirus cases, protests against police discrimination and speculation about whether the pandemic election might end in chaos. “The U.S. as we know it may no longer exist,” said Gao Zhikai, a former Chinese diplomat and interpreter for Deng Xiaoping.

Trump’s “America First” policies have created similar frictions in capitals that have traditionally been friendlier to the U.S., as he levies tariffs on key trading partners, presses allies for greater spending on collective defense, withdraws from multilateral agreements and supports the U.K.’s break from the Europe Union. Chinese officials privately acknowledge that a Democratic administration might prove more formidable if it worked with allies to present a united front.

Even if a Biden presidency proved more difficult for Beijing, two current Chinese officials said he might open up more areas for cooperation such as restoring U.S. participation in the Paris climate deal — negotiated while he was vice president under then-President Barack Obama.

“He supports working on topics like climate change, WTO reform and TPP,” said Wang. “There are areas where we can cooperate.”

On a more personal level, some Chinese officials involved in trade negotiations with the Trump administration support a Biden victory simply so they can spend more time with their families, according to one person familiar with their thinking. China’s trade team shows up to work looking exhausted, the person said.

Both sides may find it difficult to escape the pattern of confrontation no matter who wins. Huawei Technologies Co. executive Meng Wanzhou is still detained in Canada awaiting a decision on a U.S. extradition request, while Beijing’s plan to impose a security law on Hong Kong has caused outrage in Congress and brought the countries’ “phase one” trade deal into question.

“Nowadays in China people are becoming more and more clear about the U.S.’s objectives,” said Zhou, the former Chinese representative in Geneva. “We have not yet reached the darkest hour in the relationship.”

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China says coronavirus pushing US ties to brink of ‘Cold War’ – News in USA by Post24x7

2020-05-24 22:27:00

Fresh tensions between Beijing and Washington emerged as Muslims around the world celebrated an end to the holy month of Ramadan muted by virus restrictions and as more European nations prepared to further ease their lockdowns.

Globally more than 5.3 million people have been infected by the virus, which most scientists believe jumped from animals to humans — possibly at a market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the pandemic emerged in December.

The origins of the virus and China’s response have become highly politicised, with US President Donald Trump accusing Beijing of a lack of transparency, and pushing the theory that it may have leaked from a Chinese maximum-security laboratory.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Washington had been infected by a “political virus” to continually attack China, but added the country would be open to an international effort to find the coronavirus source.

“It has come to our attention that some political forces in the US are taking China-US relations hostage and pushing our two countries to the brink of a new Cold War,” Wang told a press conference at China’s week-long annual parliament session.

Wang blasted what he called efforts by US politicians to “fabricate rumours” about the virus origin and “stigmatise China”.

While European nations initially among the hardest hit have started to ease lockdowns in a bid to salvage economies and lifestyles, other countries such as Brazil, where deaths have surged, are emerging as new centres of the pandemic.

Hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world were celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday, marking the end of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, with Islam’s two most important mosques still closed to worshippers in Mecca and Medina.

At the same time, churches were reopening in some countries, Spain’s football league announced it would kick off again on June 8, and thousands flocked to beaches in the US, where lockdowns and social distancing have become rights issues that have split communities.

But in Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who recovered from the virus himself after intensive care, on Sunday faced increased pressure to sack top aide Dominic Cummings who was accused of twice breaching his government’s own lockdown rules.

End of Ramadan

With infection numbers stabilising in the West, many governments are trying to move towards lighter social distancing measures to revive moribund business and tourism sectors while remaining wary of a second wave of infections.

In Spain, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez sought to reassure potential visitors, saying that from July 1, “entry for foreign tourists into Spain will resume in secure conditions”.

Italy is also due to reopen its borders to foreign tourists from June 3.

French churches were holding their first Sunday masses in more than two months after the government bowed to a court ruling that they should be reopened — provided proper precautions were taken.

“My cell phone is crackling with messages!” Father Pierre Amar, a priest in Versailles, just outside Paris, told AFP.

France’s mosques, however, called on Muslims to stay at home for the Eid al-Fitr holiday. They said they would gradually resume services from June 3.

In Saudi Arabia, Eid prayers will be held at the two holy mosques in the cities of Mecca and Medina “without worshippers”, authorities said as the kingdom began a five-day curfew after infections quadrupled since the start of Ramadan.

“Eid is not Eid with the atmosphere of coronavirus — people feel a sense of fear,” Palestinian Akram Taher said in Gaza, where worshippers wore masks and kept prayer mats apart.

In Senegal’s capital Dakar, muslim worshippers packed the outdoor floors of the esplanade at a main mosque for Eid prayers. Orderlies distributed hand gel and tried to keep people apart to respect social distancing.

Some faithful gathered for prayer on a nearby beach, kneeling on the sand to keep a safe distance apart.

For Christians in Jerusalem, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre briefly reopened its doors, but with tight restrictions in place.

British scandal

In Britain, a scandal has erupted over disclosures that top government adviser Dominic Cummings had flouted the lockdown rules.

Cummings was seen visiting his parents in Durham, 250 miles (400 kilometres) away from his London home in March, despite suffering from virus symptoms.

The Observer and Sunday Mirror reported he had broken lockdown restrictions again and was seen in Durham a second time on April 19, days after he had returned to work in London following his first trip north.

Cummings denies any wrongdoing and the British government has so far rejected calls to sack him over the allegations.

“You cannot advise the nation one thing then do the opposite,” Tory MP Craig Whittaker tweeted, echoing opposition criticism.

Despite positive signs elsewhere, the disease continued its surge in large parts of South America, with the death toll in Brazil passing 22,000 and infections topping 347,000, the world’s second-highest caseload.

In the US, where the death toll is highest in the world nearing 100,000, Trump has aggressively pushed to reopen the economy, defying the advice of health experts.

He sent a signal of his intentions by playing golf Saturday — his first round since March 8.

But the New York Times marked the grim US toll on Sunday with a memorial on its front page carrying one-line obituaries for 1,000 victims.

“The 1,000 people here reflect just one percent of the toll. None were mere numbers,” the newspaper said.

The US economy has shed almost 40 million jobs this year and many companies have gone to the wall. But most states have begun easing their lockdowns and many reopened public beaches despite worries about infections.

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Livemint news News in USA

There’s a long way to go before China Inc. abandons US listings – News in USA by Post24x7

2020-05-22 01:05:00

Relations between the world’s two largest economies have deteriorated markedly in the past few months, with tensions spilling over into Chinese companies’ access to the U.S. capital markets in the wake of the rapid downfall of Luckin Coffee Inc, one of China’s brightest startups, as a result of accounting fraud.

The bill passed on Wednesday would require companies to certify that they are not under the control of a foreign government or submit to audits from a U.S. accounting agency to determine that. China’s refusal to let the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board examine audits of firms whose shares trade on U.S. exchanges has long been a bone of contention between the two sides and the Luckin Coffee debacle has brought it back to the fore.

But while the environment for Chinese companies in the U.S. has become decidedly more hostile of late, the allure of U.S. markets — with their better liquidity and deeper investor base — is unlikely to go away.

“It will be a delicate balance for investors weighing between the risks here,” said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG Asia Pte. “The U.S. may not drop off as one of the top IPO destination for Chinese companies, long seen as a highly liquid avenue which also helps in boosting the company’s attractiveness. That said, worsening of U.S.-China ties could trigger considerations of alternatives in Europe and closer to home in Asia.”

A string of disappointing debuts by Chinese firms on U.S. exchanges last year also fueled angst among investors and policy makers, while some global banks began dropping off deals, concerned about rising reputational risks. Of the 12 companies that listed in New York this year, just two are trading above their IPO prices, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Baidu Inc., which runs China’s top search engine, is considering delisting from the Nasdaq and moving to an exchange closer to home to boost its valuation, Reuters reported Thursday, citing three unidentified people familiar with the matter. A Baidu spokesperson in Beijing described the story as “a rumor” and declined to comment further. Baidu’s shares swung between gains and losses in New York trading.

“The recent Senate vote shouldn’t be seen as a bluff or an expression of temporary pique,” said Brock Silvers, chief investment officer of Adamas Asset Management. “The ‘Chinese exception’ of reduced auditing access won’t last for long. Nasdaq has offered a solution, but one which may not actually eliminate the loophole. No matter which party wins the election, China may face de-listings should Beijing’s regulators not give ground.”

The latest move by the U.S could, however, prove to be a boon for rival exchanges like Hong Kong, which have sought to position themselves as alternatives for Chinese companies seeking international capital. Several U.S.-listed Chinese technology heavyweights, such as Inc and NetEase Inc are already gearing up for second listings in the financial hub and the trend may accelerate as the U.S. becomes more hostile. Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. has already done so, raising $13 billion in a massive share sale last year, which both gives it a listing venue closer to its home market as well as providing a hedge against risks from increasing U.S.-China tensions.

Shares in Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd. have risen 7.4% this week, helped by news that the bourse is planning to speed up the IPO process to bring it more in line with other international markets.

“Now that conditions to list in the U.S. are getting more difficult, many Chinese companies are likely to choose Hong Kong instead. The reforms in Hong Kong will welcome those Chinese ADRs as secondary listings, and unlisted weighted-voting rights companies will be able to have primary listings in the city,” said Banny Lam, managing director at CEB International Capital Corp.

Here’s what others are saying about the Senate Bill:

Gary Dugan, chief executive officer at the Global CIO Office:

“I would expect the Chinese giants to be safe. I’m not so sure the U.S. authorities will escalate matters so far as to put at risk the listings of the Chinese majors. London would be an obvious market for the Chinese to turn to. Both London and Frankfurt have in the past tried to court the smaller companies sector.”

Shen Meng, director of Beijing-based boutique investment bank Chanson & Co.:

“It would dampen sentiment for Chinese ADRs in the short term but I wouldn’t worry too much about the potential impact. It would be hard for U.S. authorities to prove some Chinese firms are under the influence of their government and Chinese firms, especially those in the tech industry, wouldn’t easily give up on the U.S. market due to easier and more flexible rules.”

James Hull, a Beijing-based analyst and portfolio manager with Hullx:

“I don’t think it’s much of a shock. If you go back to last year, there were plenty of congressmen and senators talking about this idea of getting the disclosure requirements for foreign firms — Chinese U.S.-listed firms — aligned with U.S. domestic firms that are listed in the U.S. And that’s got a lot of bipartisan support.”

Justin Tang, head of Asian research at United First Partners in Singapore:

“Very simply, with the change in the HK Exchange, these Chinese issuers can go down the Alibaba, route. Where we saw valuation arbitrage in the Chinese ADRs in 2015, we will soon see a repeat of it albeit in a slightly different form.”

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