Category: Kings of the East

The Government Of Iraq Bans Farmers From Using Water. Now Iraqi Farmers Are Pushing The Government To Get Water From Turkey. This Is Only Helping Turkey Dominate The Middle East

Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. (Revelation 9:12)

The government of Iraq is restricting the use of water for farmers, only allocating water for fifty percent of Iraqi farmland. This disaster is made worse by the fact that Turkey has been building dams on the Tigers and Euphrates, and taking water from the two rivers. Now the situation is so severe that Iraqi farmers are pushing their government to start importing water from Turkey.

The Hurriyet Daily News published an article on the situation, and there are some excerpts I would like to show:

Iraq has banned its farmers from planting summer crops this year as the country grapples with a crippling water shortage that shows few signs of abating.

Citing high temperatures and insufficient rains, Dhafer Abdalla, an adviser to Iraq’s Ministry of Water Resources, told The Associated Press that the country has only enough water to irrigate half its farmland this summer.

But farmers fault the government for failing to modernize how it manages water and irrigation, and they blame neighboring Turkey for stopping up the Tigris and Euphrates rivers behind dams it wants to keep building.

Farmers staged demonstrations against the moratorium. In one instance, they forced the closure of a levee along a branch of the Euphrates River to let the water levels rise for irrigation.

They demand the government secure more water from Turkey, fill the country’s reservoirs, and drill into the nation’s aquifers.

About 70 percent of Iraq’s water supplies flow in from upstream countries. Turkey is siphoning off an ever-growing share of the Tigris and Euphrates to feed its growing population in a warming climate. And it is building new dams that will further squeeze water availability in Iraq.

Syria is expected to start drawing more water off the Euphrates once it emerges from the yearslong civil war.

Turkey started filling its giant Ilisu Dam upstream in June, then paused the operation until July after pleas from Baghdad. Iraq’s Water Resources Ministry says it has enough water behind the Mosul Dam to guarantee adequate flow for a year, but experts say the Ilisu could take up to three years to fill, depending on rains.

So Turkey — as part of its decades long Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) — has been building dams throughout southeastern Anatolia while taking water from the Tigris and Euphrates, and at the same time Turkey is conducting a policy of military expansionism into Iraq. While Turkey has a military presence in Iraq, it is already taking resources, making Iraq more and more agriculturally impoverished. The US’ invasion of Iraq and its toppling of Saddam led to major instability in the country, causing a ripple effect of violence into Syria. With Syria is in chaos, this has enabled countries like Iran and Turkey to take advantage of the situation and enter the country. With Iraq in horrible conditions, due to war, the situation has enabled Turkey to take water from the region, and Iraq’s condition is so bad that farmers are asking water from Turkey. In other words, the declining water supply of Iraq is only giving more political leverage to Turkey to become the rising power in the Middle East.

Turkey’s Southeastern Anatolian Project has been criticized for flooding villages, giving Turkey control over water, desertification and pushing people out of their villages. As one researcher has said:

Opponents of the project criticize the privatization of rivers, the limitation of the right to use water, expropriation of private lands, eviction of villages, depopulation, desertification, clearance of forests, and the submerging of historic homes and cultural sites. GAP has also been harshly criticized in the past for flooding villages and displacing the inhabitants. From the perspective of Kurdish inhabitants in particular, there have been occasions where GAP had brought more instability to the region and its citizens than peace and happiness. In addition, GAP has an international dimension. It has been criticized for being a project that enables Turkey to control the flow of water to downstream states, and thus to build dominance over Iraq and Syria.

According to journalist Alex Kemman, there are academics in Turkey who believe that the dams — while being portrayed as a means to economic growth — are actually part of a war strategy by the Turkish government to fight against the PKK:

I was there in 2013 and 2015 to investigate a series of state-funded dam projects that locals believe will be used for military purposes. Some academics have reported that the so-called “security dams” are actually part of a broader war strategy by the Turkish government, to counter the PKK.

The General Directorate for the Turkish state owned company behind the construction of the dams, State Hydraulic Works (DSI), admitted that the dams are “security dams against the PKK.” The head of DSI, Veysel Eroglu, is a major backer of Erdogan’s Islamist AK Party, and he is also a huge supporter of Turkey’s military operation in Syria, exclaiming early this year:

“Our hero is an army, it has captured important centers at this moment, we will never allow the terrorist organization to form a corridor, America is notwilling to set up such a terrorist state in Mexico, besides, we will not tolerate this.

He also said: “it is a pride of our soldiers to run to martyrdom as if he is going to play.”

So the company behind the building of these dams, State Hydraulic Works (DSI), is ran by a member of Erdogan’s Islamist AK Party who believes in jihad. The building of the dams, then, is a part of Turkey’s geopolitical jihad.

PKK terrorists, in 2012, reportedly set 22 trucks on fire, and construction workers have been kidnapped by these militants. Regardless, that Turkey is building dams that lower the water supply of Iraq, and thus push Iraqi farmers to ask for water from Turkey, does indicate a strategy of war, not just to defeat the PKK, but to give Turkish political preponderance in the Middle East.

Turkish power rising in the Middle East can be, to a great extent, attributed to US policy. With the Saddam regime toppled, it created a power vacuum. With destabilization plaguing Syria, this also created a political power vacuum. This gave Turkey the green light to enter Syria, and now it is entering Iraq. The United States is facilitating Turkish expansionism with its recent agreement with Turkey on the “Manbij agreement” which esteems Turkey as a partner to bring stability to Syria. As Hurriyet Daily News reports:

The Manbij Roadmap agreement between the U.S. and Turkey about power-sharing in the northern Syrian city of Manbij will be “part of the political resolution,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on June 27.

“They [Turkey] will ultimately be part of political resolution there and an important part. And we need to recognize that and do our best of work alongside them,” Pompeo told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on funding for the State Department, according to state-run Anadolu Agency.

The plan was announced after a June 4 meeting in Washington between Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Pompeo.

The deal focuses on the withdrawal of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from Manbij and on stability in the region. Turkey deems the YPG as an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union.

The Turkish General Staff said in a statement on June 24 that the two countries’ forces conducted patrols separately in the west of Manbij. The first patrols by Turkish and U.S. troops in the region began on June 18.

So the United States used Kurdish militants to defeat ISIS, and now is getting warm with Turkey by siding with the Turks against the Kurds. Turkey is the most powerful country of the Muslim world. Of course it is going to get the permission to rule, because it is the preponderating and superior force.

Removing Saddam was the catalyst to this vicious filling of power vacuums and the stealing of water by Turkey which would have otherwise been used to enrich Iraq’s agriculture. And although Saddam did conduct policies that were destructive to Iraq’s farming (like diverting rivers to dry out marshes to root out political dissidents), the reality is that Iraq under Saddam was in a much better state agriculturally. Said K. Aburis has written:

“Operating through loyalists within the Ministry of Agriculture, Saddam introduced an admirable land reform programme. Trade unions loyal to the party were allowed to function and, although unable to question the overall government policy, they did address themselves effectively to the issues of workers’ conditions and pay. An extensive social security system was introduced, and steps were taken towards improving health care.” (Saïd K. Aburis, Saddam Hussein: The Politics of Revenge)

Before the Iraq War, Iraq had a very strong agricultural economy, being one of the largest producers of dates on earth. Amnon Cohen and Noga Efrati write:

“From being one of the largest producers of dates in the world thirty years ago, Iraq’s crop dropped to such a level after the war that the ministry of agriculture began to consider importing dates. Productivity is down to about half the level of the mid-1980s, in part due to lack of technology and water, and whereas there were 150 date processing factories prior to the 2003 invasion, there are now only six, with most Iraqi dates now packaged more than 800 miles away in the United Arab Emirates.” (Amnon Cohen & Noga Efrati, Post-Saddam Iraq) 

Kamran Mofid also writes on how Saddam focused much on making Iraq agriculturally self-sufficient:

“In 1980 the importance and potential of agriculture in Iraq’s overall development was once more highlighted when Saddam Hussain declared that agriculture was Iraq’s ‘permanent oil’ and that he wanted to see the country become self-sufficient and a net exporter of food within this century”. (The Economic Consequences of the Gulf War)

The water conditions of Iraq are getting so bad that there have been actual cases of gun battles between people over water, as the financial times reports. The Turks are being backed by the Europeans in their dam making enterprise. An Austrian company, Andritz AG, is taking part in this in cooperation with Turkey. European and American actions are enabling Turkey to dominate the Middle East. Be prepared for the next Ottoman Empire.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9280

STILL WINNING: Kim Jong-Un Commits To ‘Complete Denuclearization’ As President Trump Scores Historic Win At Singapore Summit

The president said he had been working around the clock helping to cement the terms of what he hopes will be an iron-clad agreement that Kim will honor. That would mark a change from North Korea’s past performance on pacts with the West. ‘I haven’t slept in 25 hours, but I thought it was important to do,’ he said, animated as ever in gesture and vocal cadence.’  Trump made no promises about relaxing the economic sanctions that have strangled the hermit kingdom for years yet said he was ‘actually looking forward to taking them off’ if Kim follows through on his commitments.

by Geoffrey Grider June 12, 2018

Kim Jong-un affirmed an ‘unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula’ in a signed document on Tuesday, President Donald Trump says.

‘We’re prepared to start a new history, and we’re ready to write a new chapter between our two nations,’ he told a packed room of reporters at a press conference in Singapore.

Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program will come to an end, he predicted, claiming that Kim had already left Singapore and was ‘on his way back’ to North Korea to begin implementing their joint vows.

‘I believe he’s going to live up to that document,’ Trump said. ‘Our eyes are wide open, but peace is always worth the effort, especially in this case.’

Trump said he knows ‘for a fact that as soon as he arrives’ in Pyongyang Kim is ‘going to start a process that makes a lot of people very happy’ even though the statement that his White House provided to press made no mention of an agreed upon timetable for denuclearization.

‘He wants to do that. This isn’t the past. This isn’t another administration that never got it started and therefore never got it done,’ Trump said, tweaking the Obama administration.

The U.S. president told reporters that he became convinced that Kim was serious when he agreed to dismantle a sophisticated missile engine testing site. ‘We’re much further along than I would have thought.’

At the same time, he agreed that there are no guarantees that Kim will tear apart what he called ‘a very substantial arsenal.’ ‘Can you ensure anything?’ he asked. ‘All I can say is: They want to make a deal. … Can anybody be certain? But we’re going to be certain soon because the negotiations continue.’

‘I may be wrong,’ he allowed. ‘I may stand before you in six months and say, “Hey, I was wrong.” ‘ And then with a sly smile, Trump joked: ‘I don’t know that I’ll ever admit that, but I’ll find some kind of an excuse.’

The president said he had been working around the clock helping to cement the terms of what he hopes will be an iron-clad agreement that Kim will honor. That would mark a change from North Korea’s past performance on pacts with the West.

‘I haven’t slept in 25 hours, but I thought it was important to do,’ he said, animated as ever in gesture and vocal cadence.’

Trump made no promises about relaxing the economic sanctions that have strangled the hermit kingdom for years yet said he was ‘actually looking forward to taking them off’ if Kim follows through on his commitments.

He speculated about exchanging ambassadors with North Korea ‘hopefully soon’ but cautioned that ‘it’s a little bit early for that.’

A first step would be a White House invitation.  The U.S. president again said he’s open to inviting Kim to the U.S. and visiting Pyongyang himself.  ‘At a certain time, I will,’ he said of a conversation with Kim in the Oval Office.

He also projected that hostilities between the North and South ‘will soon end’ because ‘the past does not have to define the future.’

‘Anyone can make war, but only the most courageous can make peace. The current state of affairs cannot continue forever,’ Trump proclaimed in his second news conference this week on foreign soil

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9227

China’s first homegrown aircraft carrier heads out for sea trial

By Ben Westcott and Brad Lendon, CNN

Updated 12:04 AM ET, Sun May 13, 2018

 

(CNN)China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier began sea trials on Sunday, a historic step in the country’s mission to build a navy capable of rivaling the world’s leading maritime powers.

The new aircraft carrier, temporarily named Type 001A, sailed out at around 7 a.m. in Dalian, in the northeast province of Liaoning, according to reports in Chinese state media.

The 50,000-tonne ship will become the country’s second aircraft carrier, and the first to be entirely built and designed inside of China, when it joins the navy sometime before 2020.

The carrier’s maiden sea trial follows a speech given by Chinese President Xi Jinping on April 12, in which he announced plans to build a “world-class” navy under the banner of the Chinese Communist Party.

China’s first carrier, the Liaoning, a retrofitted Soviet-era vessel bought from the Ukraine, was hailed as the fulfillment of a “70-year dream” of the Chinese nation when it launched to much celebration in 2012.

But experts said while the new aircraft carrier will dramatically boost China’s military power in the Asia region, its technology was still outdated and lagged far behind the world’s naval superpower, the United States.

“This is, in and of itself, not designed to be some frontal challenge to US power in the Asia Pacific, because it simply isn’t in the class of America’s aircraft carriers,” Sam Roggeveen, senior fellow at Sydney’s Lowy Institute, told CNN.

Chinese workers labor on the deck of China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier, the Type 001A, at the shipyard in Dalian on 16 April.

Bigger and better

China’s second aircraft carrier will be “modernized” compared to its first, experts said, with a design that’s bigger and heavier to allow it to carry more planes.

The basic design for the new aircraft carrier is clearly modeled heavily on the Liaoning, including the signature ski-jump inclination at the front from which aircraft lift off.

The ship, which is roughly 315 meters (1,033 ft) in length and 75 meters (246 ft) wide, uses conventional rather than nuclear propulsion, and is believed to displace 50,000 tonnes, according to reports in state media.

Speaking to CNN, RAND Corporation senior international defense research analyst Timothy Heath described the design as generally easier to build and to operate aircraft from.

But expert analysis of pictures and satellite images of the new China-built vessel reveals it has been altered in subtle ways, possibly allowing it to accommodate up to eight additional aircraft.

By comparison, the Liaoning is thought to currently carry around 30 warplanes, including fixed wing aircraft and helicopters.

According to Peter Layton, visiting fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute, the Liaoning was intended to act as more of a training vessel, whereas the new ship is likely to be deployed in combat missions, positioning China alongside a select number of countries with global naval capabilities, including Russia, France, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

As of this year, the United States Navy fields 11 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, more than any other nation in the world.

The US ships feature “catapult” technology, in which a gear attached to a steam-powered piston or an electromagnetic rail gets aircraft up to flight speed as they leave the deck.

Aircraft launched by catapults can get airborne and with greater quantities of fuel and ammunition, giving them an advantage over Chinese planes, which rely on their own power when lifting off from the Liaoning’s ski-jump.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9180

Steven Mnuchin Will Head to China as Trade Tensions Mount

By Alan Rappeport and Ana Swanson

April 24, 2018

WASHINGTON — With trade tensions mounting between the United States and China, President Trump said he would dispatch his Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, and other top economic advisers to Beijing next week to try to forestall an all-out trade war.

On Tuesday, Mr. Trump said he was optimistic that the United States could reach a deal with China. But he warned that if the Asian nation did not live up to its promises to open its markets, his administration would proceed with the tariffs he has threatened to impose on as much as $150 billion worth of Chinese products.

“I think China is very serious, and we’re very serious,” Mr. Trump said between meetings with President Emmanuel Macron of France. “We have no choice but to be very serious.”

Mr. Trump said that the United States delegation was making the trip at China’s request and that he was heartened by recent remarks by its president, Xi Jinping, suggesting that he was prepared to open his country’s economy to more foreign investment and ease restrictions on imports of American cars.

The two economic giants have been locked in a tit-for-tat battle over tariffs, with the United States threatening to tax Chinese products like TVs and medical devices and the Chinese retaliating with tariffs on pork and threatening to impose additional penalties on soybeans and other American goods.

Mr. Mnuchin is expected to be joined on the trip by Larry Kudlow, the director of the White House’s National Economic Council, and Robert Lighthizer, the United States trade representative. The delegation comprises a wide range of views on trade, with Mr. Mnuchin and Mr. Kudlow, a former CNBC economic commentator, more receptive to free trade and resistant to draconian tariffs, and Mr. Lighthizer encouraging the president to take a harder line. Peter Navarro, a trade adviser and the author of the book “Death by China,” may also travel with the group, but an administration official said the details were not yet finalized.

Chinese officials have increasingly turned to Mr. Mnuchin as their primary contact in trade talks, which some observers say may stem from China’s perception that he is more sensitive to their concerns. After the formal “economic dialogue” between the United States and China stalled last summer, Mr. Mnuchin has held regular discussions with his Chinese counterparts, including Liu He, China’s new economic minister.

The Chinese view Mr. Mnuchin and Mr. Kudlow, who both previously worked on Wall Street, as potentially more moderate voices who would be more reluctant to start a trade conflict that could damage American businesses and cause stock markets to plunge. They hope the two men will be more sympathetic to offers to open up China’s financial market and reduce its trade surplus by making purchases of American natural gas and other products, people briefed on the deliberations said.

Mr. Navarro and Mr. Lighthizer, meanwhile, have criticized China’s offerings and insisted that the Chinese make more sweeping changes to its economy, including removing industrial subsidies and rolling back government intervention in the economy.

The stakes of the trip are high after months of increasing strain between China and the United States. Fears about a trade war between the world’s two biggest economic powers emerged in March after Mr. Trump unveiled tariffs on global imports of aluminum and steel. The threat of tariffs on up to $150 billion of Chinese imports followed.

Next month, the Treasury Department is expected to release a plan to further restrict Chinese investment in American companies, including industries such as semiconductors and artificial intelligence that are sensitive for national security reasons. The rules could also restrict American partnerships with Chinese companies abroad.

China has not taken such threats lightly. In recent weeks it has hit back with its own threats, raising concerns among farmers and businesses in the United States that the escalating dispute could be a drag on the economy and blunt the effect of the tax cuts Mr. Trump signed into law in December.

But Mr. Xi has also signaled that he is open to negotiating with Mr. Trump. He said this month that China would reduce its tariffs on autos, which Mr. Mnuchin called “a big step in the right direction.”

While some trade experts warned that China has failed to deliver on such promises before, Mr. Trump insisted on Tuesday that he was encouraged about the possibility of a deal.

“President Xi made a speech four days ago where he said that China is going to be opened up,” Mr. Trump said. “Because it’s not opened up right now. They trade with us. We can’t trade with them.”

Some China analysts were not so impressed by Mr. Xi’s speech. “I thought it was a bunch of warmed-over repetition of things we had heard before,” said Scott Kennedy, a China analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “For me, the concern is that the level of mixed messaging that we’re sending the Chinese makes them expect that they can get through this with a very limited offer.”

Edward Mills, a public policy analyst at Raymond James Financial, said he still viewed negotiations that averted tariffs as the most likely outcome. That could include, for example, China promising to reduce tariffs on American cars, open up its financial sector and drop rules that require American companies to partner with Chinese firms in many industries. But the negotiations could drag out for months, damaging business relations.

Mr. Trump “hasn’t actually identified what he wants as the end game” of the negotiations, Mr. Mills said. “I think that is something that gives a lot of flexibility to Mnuchin and the president to declare a number of things as a victory.”

Some veterans of trade talks with China caution that Mr. Trump’s approach could backfire.

“I think that it’s very dangerous to get into a tit-for-tat war in trade, because even if your goal is to be moderate and proportional in response, one thing can lead to another and it can get out of control,” Jacob J. Lew, the Treasury secretary under President Barack Obama, told CNBC last week.

However, Paul H. O’Neill, who was President George W. Bush’s first Treasury secretary and traveled to China for talks in 2001, said it was a good sign that the American delegation was making the trip. Negotiations with Chinese officials tend to be well choreographed, he said, so it is likely that the dimensions of a trade agreement are starting to take shape.

“There’s already been endless conversations, and tweets, from our side,” Mr. O’Neill said in an interview. “They are shadow dancing with each other, but behind the scenes where we can’t see what is going on, apparently they are making some progress.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9147

‘New world order’ could stem from US-China trade battle

  • A tit-for-tat trade standoff between the U.S. and China has fueled market fears that the dispute could soon spiral into a full-blown trade war.
  • “The signal must be there is a new order emerging, and how that new order emerges will depend upon the wisdom, the patience and the understanding of the top leaders,” Andrew Sheng, chief advisor at China’s Banking Regulatory Commission, said Friday.
  • Sheng added he was hopeful of a positive outcome given that the world wants to see “a sensible and measured way of negotiations.”

Sam Meredith | @smeredith19

Published 7:12 AM ET Fri, 6 April 2018 CNBC.com    

A trade showdown between the world’s two biggest economies could be the flashpoint for a new international order, according to the chief advisor of China’s Banking Regulatory Commission.

A tit-for-tat trade standoff between the U.S. and China has fueled market fears that the dispute could soon spiral into a full-blown trade war. Washington and Beijing have been embroiled in escalating tariff threats since early March — with market participants concerned about the potential impact of an ensuing trade war.

“The signal must be there is a new order emerging, and how that new order emerges will depend upon the wisdom, the patience and the understanding of the top leaders,” Andrew Sheng, chief advisor at China’s Banking Regulatory Commission, told CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick on the sidelines of the European House Ambrosetti Forum in Italy Friday.

When asked whether he was optimistic about the prospect of political leaders finding an effective solution to the world’s problems, Sheng replied: “I think so … We are now seeing a much more complex, much more subtle (and) much more nuanced search for the new order.”

‘Sensible and measured’

Late on Thursday, President Donald Trump instructed the U.S. Trade Representative to consider $100 billion of additional tariffs on Chinese goods. The further charges were being proposed “in light of China’s unfair retaliation” against prior U.S. trade actions, Trump said in a statement.

China on Wednesday announced it would introduce tariffs on 106 U.S. products, including soybeans, cars and whiskey. The duties were introduced as a retaliatory measure against Trump, who just 24 hours prior, had unveiled a list of Chinese imports he planned to target with tariffs.

Sheng said the world was finally getting to grips with the “massive labor shock” brought about by globalization. And while Sheng said the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China was a “very confusing situation,” he added that he was hopeful of a positive outcome given the world wants to see “a sensible and measured way of negotiations.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9128

China Prepares For New Cold War With Massive Military Buildup

March 3, 2018 12:40 pm

(Zero Hedge) – As we have been documenting for quite some time, China has been not-so-quietly transforming itself into a serious threat to the West – beefing up its military to contend with the Washington’s air, sea, space and cyber weapons capabilities, while scrapping constitutional term limits for President Xi Jinping.

Since 2000, China has built more submarines, destroyers, frigates and corvettes than Japan, South Korea and India combined. To put this further into perspective, the total tonnage of new warships and auxiliaries launched by China in the last four years alone is significantly greater than the total tonnage of the French navy. –IISS

Analysts on both sides of the Pacific believe Xi’s aggressive military buildup and power grab have put Beijing on a direct course for conflict with Washington – with the heavy U.S. presence in the region setting the stage for a new Cold War.

In the Asia-Pacific, the dominant role of the United States in a political and military sense will have to be readjusted,” said Cui Liru, former president of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, a think tank under the Ministry of State Security that often reflects official thinking. “It doesn’t mean U.S. interests must be sacrificed. But if the U.S. insists on a dominant role forever, that’s a problem.” Cui added that it was “not normal for China to be under U.S. dominance forever. You can’t justify dominance forever.”

China’s military objective is to break through the first chain of islands,” said Mr. Cui, referring to the waters beyond Japan and Taiwan where the Chinese military wants to establish a presence. –NYT

China’s navy is also deploying further from home, including Europe, while their base in the Eastern African country of Djibouti will enable more naval deployments. In terms of military computing technology, China has also set out on an ambitious course, as vast resources have been sunk into “extremely high-performance computing and quantum communications,” which, along with their weapons advancements and overall defense capabilities mean the country is no longer merely “catching up” with Western progress.

Meanwhile, Xi and other Chinese officials are of the firm belief that the United States is a superpower in decline – which will require China to step into the vacuum left behind.

It is now clear Xi’s agenda to rebuild an Asian order with China at its center is here to stay,” said Hugh White, a scholar and former defense official in Australia who has argued that the United States must be prepared to share power with China in the Asia-Pacific region.

I think Xi is impatient,” Mr. White added. “He wants China to be the predominant power in the Western Pacific. He wants to do it himself and for it to go down in history as his achievement. That makes him formidable.” –NYT

In a keynote speech to China’s Communist Party Congress last October, Xi promised to make China’s armed forces world-class by the middle of the century. In a January speech, Xi told thousands of Chinese soldiers to “neither fear hardship nor death,” during an inspection visit Wednesday to the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) Central Theater Command in northern Hebei province, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Xi advised the military to continue improving upon its equipment, tactics, technology, and combat readiness by engaging in “real combat training.” The Chinese president – for life, spoke of the need to “create an elite and powerful force that is always ready for the fight, capable of combat and sure to win in order to fulfill the tasks bestowed by the Party and the people in the new era.”

He [Xi] has accelerated the military’s plans to build a blue-water navy, increased spending on weaponry in outer space, and established China’s first military bases abroad. He has promoted a global infrastructure program to extend Beijing’s influence and ignored Western concerns about human rights, which have diminished under the Trump administration. –NYT

Indeed, with the rollout of stealth jets, new high-tech naval artillery such as a “secret railgun,” and Chinese media reports bragging about aggressive maneuvers that “dare to shine the sword,” our trading partner to the West has made it perfectly clear that they intend on being a dominant global force, both economically and militarily.

Last November, we reported on a secretive hypersonic weapons program, which if successful would be able to hit the United States in under 14 minutes.

“China and the US have started a hypersonic race,” said Wu Dafang, professor at the school of aeronautic science and engineering at Beihang University in Beijing who received a national technology award for the invention of a new heat shield used on hypersonic vehicles in 2013.

And just two weeks ago the International Institute for Strategic Studies reported that China’s rapid military modernization is “remarkable,” and is set to challenge the West on several fronts.

“China’s emerging weapons developments and broader defence-technological progress mean that it has become a global defence innovator” says Dr. John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive of the London-based think tank. Of note, Chipman points out that China’s Chengdu J-20 low-observable combat aircraft is set to challenge America’s “monopoly on operational stealthy combat aircraft.”

The IISS report also notes that China’s expanding array of advanced guided-weapons projects, such as the PL-15 extended range air-to-air missile which could enter service this year. “This weapon appears to be equipped with an active electronically scanned array radar, indicating that China has joined the few nations able to integrate this capability on an air-to-air missile,” reports Chipman.

Trump and China

Trump has clearly changed his tune Chinese trade – declining to label them a currency manipulator last year because the “timing was bad,” and refusing to impose sanctions – however the U.S. President has committed to beefing up defenses with a new nuclear policy calling for the revitalization of the nation’s nuclear arsenal, while also reaching out to forge a stronger “Indo-Pacific” coalition with Australia, India and Japan in order to counter China’s rapid rise.

“Trump is obsessed with strategic forces,” said Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University. “He is determined to maintain American military predominance in face of China’s strategic buildup. That will make the relationship more profoundly confrontational.”

Chinese analysts downplayed Trump’s efforts, however, noting that the United States has been unwilling to fund the projects. “In the short term,” said Shi, “China does not care about it because the ability to form a real coalition is limited.”

Meanwhile, many feel that President Trump will be pressured into taking a harder line with China going into the midterm elections – as Democrats have signaled that they will compare his campaign promises with his softline approach to a country he spent much of the 2016 election railing against.

“Now that it’s clear that President Xi isn’t going anywhere, getting tough on China is even more of an imperative,” said Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “If President Trump and Congress don’t crack down on their rapacious trade practices,” he added, “China will continue eating our lunch for years to come.”

And while Wall Street continues to broker lucrative investment-banking deals with the Chinese government, US manufacturers are growing increasingly frustrated at the prospect of competing with Chinese businesses who steal corporate secrets and regularly undercut their competition.

Manufacturers tend to be more fed up than Wall Street, which continues to do lucrative investment-banking business with the Chinese government. Technology companies have soured on China, though the market is so vast that they are still willing to consider concessions they would make nowhere else in the world.

The Trump administration reflects those fissures. Advisers like Gary D. Cohn, director of the National Economic Council, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who both worked at Goldman Sachs, have persuaded Mr. Trump to hold off on tough trade measures against China in the past. -WSJ

Infiltrating Universities

On the national security front, the Trump administration has been using “Cold War-like terms,” referring to China as a revisionist power that will try “to erode American security and prosperity.”

This extends to U.S. colleges, which according to FBI Director Christopher Wray, are underestimating the ability for Chinese students to gather sensitive national security intelligence. Public universities have long been instrumental in the development of both offensive and defensive capabilities for a multitude of US agencies such as the Department of Defense and DARPA.

“The reality is that the Chinese have turned more and more to more creative avenues using non-traditional collectors (of information),” Wray said during the Senate Intelligence Committee’s annual open hearings on the greatest threats to the country.

“The use of non-traditional collectors, especially in the academic setting—whether it’s professors, scientists, students—we see in almost every field office that the FBI has around the country, Wray said, adding “They’re exploiting the very open research-and-development environment that we have, which we all revere, but they’re taking advantage of it.’

Specifically, the FBI is “watching” programs at dozens of Confucius Institutes, funded by China’s Ministry of Education that are widely embedded within American universities and public schools to teach the Mandarin language.

The Confucius Institute program, which started operations in 2004, has been the subject of vast criticisms, concerns, and controversies during its international expansion. Many such concerns stem from the program’s close relationship to the Communist Party of China.

According to the South China Morning Post, some 350,000 Chinese students are actively enrolled at American universities, which is about thirty-five percent of the one million foreigners, said the Institute of International Education.

Bottom line: China’s rapid military buildup and commitment to becoming a dominant global force will require that the United States either cede power in Asia, or face another Cold War of steadily increasing temperatures. Keep in mind – times are good. The next recession, whenever that might occur, will most certainly push already-strained economic and military relations between the Washington and Beijing into uncharted territory.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9069

China’s Xi to Assume Greater Dictatorial Power

Chinese online posts compare supreme leader to North Korea’s Kim

BY: Bill Gertz
February 27, 2018 5:00 am

China’s Communist Party on Sunday moved closer to reinstituting the personality cult-like leadership under Mao Zedong by ending term limits for current supreme leader Xi Jinping.

The party announced Sunday the Chinese constitution will do away with the two, five-year term limit on Xi, the party secretary general, paving the way for him to become president for life.

The state-run Xinhua news agency said the requirement for China’s president and vice president to serve no more than two consecutive terms was removed from the constitution.

Removal of the term limit prompted criticism from China experts who regard the constitutional change as further destabilizing China.

“Xi is obviously behind the move to remove the current two-term limit,” said China expert Steven W. Mosher. “This will allow Xi, like Mao Zedong, to stay in power as long as he lives.”

Former State Department China expert John Tkacik said China’s powerful PLA supported Xi’s action based on worries about leadership succession in 2023, when Xi would have ended his second term.

“For the United States, the idea of an absolute dictator running the most powerful peer competitor nation-state-and soon to be the most powerful economy—with a single-minded obsession to ‘Make China Great Again’ who is going to be around for another 10 to 15 years must give us pause,” Tkacik said. “Fasten your seatbelts.”

The policy change was made in January by the 200-member Central Committee, a party policy-making organ, but only made public on Sunday.

Xi since 2013 has obtained more power than any Chinese leader since Mao, by eliminating rivals and making party and government changes.

A Chinese source with knowledge of internal affairs said Xi is the first leader to reside in Mao’s residence inside the walled Beijing leadership compound known as Zhongnanhai. In the past, Mao’s residence was a museum.

Mao seized power in 1949 and brutally transformed the nation by imposing communist rule. In the process, the communist system caused the deaths, through political repression and famine, of as many as 60 million Chinese.

The Chinese dictator ruled through a personality cult that granted him unlimited power under a totalitarian system until his death in 1976.

Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing, sought to perpetuate the system after his death. She was ousted by reform communist leader Deng Xiaoping who then set limits on leaders’ tenure in office.

Xi currently holds three power positions: general party secretary, government president, and head of the central military commission that runs the party’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

Xi is also the core member of the seven-member Standing Committee of the Politburo, the collective dictatorship that runs China.

Last October, he was re-elected general secretary and will be confirmed for the post at a government meeting March 5.

China’s vibrant internet responded with a wave of wry commentary as censors struggled to remove what the government regards as offensive posts.

“Argh, we’re going to become North Korea,” said one online post on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media outlet.

“We’re following the example of our neighbor,” said another post, referring to the communist family dynasty in North Korea in power since the late 1940s.

One social media post showed a picture of a condom in a wrapper under the caption, “doing it twice is not enough.”

A number of phrases used online to mask criticism of the Chinese political system were banned, including “boarding a plane” that in Chinese sounds similar to “ascending the throne.” Censors also banned “life-long rule,” “long live the emperor” and the title of George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm, Financial Times reported.

Mosher, author of the new book, “Bully of Asia,” predicted Xi’s consolidation of power as supreme leader.

“Core leader Xi Jinping envisions a sinocentric world, with China’s borders expanding outward, near neighbors reduced to de facto vassals, and countries further afield humbly serving as markets for Chinese products and sources of raw materials,” Mosher wrote.

For the United States and the world, Xi’s power grab signals greater dictatorial rule in China and increased Chinese aggression abroad, Mosher said.

The party justified the action as an effort to promote internal stability.

A close aide to Xi, Ding Xuexiang, director of the party’s General Office, appeared to justify Xi’s further consolidation of power by claiming in a recent internal speech that the party is under assault from political enemies that have sought to “usurp the party and seize power.”

The comments appeared to be a reference to high-level opposition to Xi within the party from the so-called Shanghai faction aligned with former leader Jiang Zemin.

Xi has engaged in a five-year anti-corruption campaign that ousted a number of very high-ranking party leaders, many of them regarded as rivals for political power.

Most of the high-level officials ousted in recent years, including Bo Xilai and Zhou Yongkang, were part of the Shanghai clique.

Despite the anti-corruption effort, unofficial news outlets in China have reported that corruption remains rampant in both the party and government.

The congressional U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission stated in its most recent annual report that Xi’s anti-corruption campaign has produced political uncertainty.

Additionally, Xi’s crackdown has produced large outflows of cash by Chinese officials and business people who are moving their wealth abroad to avoid government seizures.

The capital flow has raised concerns about China’s economic stability.

Recently, the government took action to prevent the collapse of the conglomerate HNA Group that is in danger of bankruptcy after spending billions overseas in questionable investments.

“According to China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, in the first half of 2017 more than 210,000 Chinese officials were punished for corruption,” the commission report said.

Despite cordial meetings between Xi and President Trump since last year seeking common ground, “tensions increased” between Washington and Beijing, the report said.

The Pentagon’s most recent annual report on the Chinese military says that Xi and Chinese leaders view the first two decades of the 21st century as a “period of strategic opportunity.”

The Chinese under Xi are seeking to expand China’s power to perpetuate communist rule, maintain domestic stability, and achieve regional dominance with a modernized military, the Pentagon said.

Xi’s assumption of new dictatorial power is a setback for some U.S. commentators who thought he would move the country in a democratic direction.

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, a China expert, predicted in 2013 that Xi would bring political reform. Kristof wrote in a Jan. 5, 2013, column that change under Xi was coming. “Here’s my prediction about China: … Mao’s body will be hauled out of Tiananmen Square on his watch, and Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning writer will be released from prison,” he said.

Liu died in prison from neglect last year and Mao’s embalmed cadaver remains an object of veneration at a Tiananmen Square mausoleum.

Another Chinese social media outlet, WeChat, was forced to disable the comments section for the official Party newspaper People’s Daily, to squelch negative comments about the constitutional change.

The overseas edition of People’s Daily also was forced to take down an article on the changed leadership term limits, replacing it with another article that did not mention the change.

Chinese social media also carried numerous memes of Winnie the Pooh, the fictional bear of the A.A. Milne children’s stories that has been used as a surrogate for Xi based on a likeness between the two. As a result, censors banned images of Winner the Pooh in China.

Global Times, the party-controlled jingoistic newspaper, said in an editorial that ending the term limit for Xi would preserve the system of party chief, government leader and military leader in a single person.

“Removing the two-term limit of the Chinese president can help maintain the trinity system and improve the institution of leadership of the [party] and the nation,” the newspaper said.

The rule changes will be announced during the meeting next month of China’s mock parliament, the National People’s Congress when Xi’s ideology also will be added to the constitution. His version of Chinese communism is called “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.”

Hong Kong analyst Lau Yui-siu said the constitutional changes are designed to facilitate Xi’s “life long tenure” as supreme leader and predicted greater struggle for democratic reform.

“Xi is taking a rollback step by step, which runs counter to the political civilization of the mankind,” Lau told the newspaper Ping Kuo Jih Pao. “If the feudal dictatorship continues to develop indefinitely, the CPC political reform will not be realized in the foreseeable future. Fierce struggle may reappear in the process of China’s democratic development.”

Willy Lam Wo-lap, a veteran China watcher, said Xi believes that only by staying in power can he “stabilize the entire country and put his political platform into practice.”

According to Lam, Xi seems to have forgotten that “dictatorship ultimately leads to collapse without exception” by suppressing dissent and ultimately producing a disaster.

Lam believes democratic forces within that Party and outside of it oppose Xi’s power grab and can be expected to launch “counterattacks.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9056

U.S. vs. China in South China Sea

The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson left a four-day port visit in the Philippines on Tuesday and is leading a strike group to conduct a “freedom of navigation operation” in the South China Sea. (Associated Press) more >

By Bill Gertz – – Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Pentagon is stepping up its strategic messaging targeting China with the deployment of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson now underway in the South China Sea.

The Vinson strike group, including the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain and guided-missile destroyers USS Wayne E. Meyer and USS Michael Murphy, left a four-day port visit in the Philippines on Tuesday.

The carrier will resume operations in the contested sea — close to where China is militarizing several disputed islets, including Scarborough Shoal, some 100 miles from the Philippines.

The Vinson is expected to conduct a “freedom of navigation operation” involving disputed islands in the sea in the coming days. It also is expected to make a port call in Danang, Vietnam, next month.

“U.S. presence matters,” Rear Adm. John Fuller, strike group commander, told reporters on board the warship. “I think it’s very clear that we are in the South China Sea. We are operating.”

A Navy official was more specific: “Vinson ops in the [South China Sea] are designed to promote freedom of navigation, show the U.S./Navy flag and work with our partners and allies — all to message China that these waters aren’t theirs.”

The Navy expects Chinese warships to closely shadow the Vinson and its accompanying warships throughout its operations. “Typically, the interactions are professional and predictable,” the official said.

The Vinson visit followed an incident involving U.S. and Chinese warships in the region last month. China’s Defense Ministry claimed a Chinese warship forced the guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper out of the South China Sea last month. The Pentagon denied that the warship was driven from the waters, where it was conducting a freedom of navigation operation.

The carrier deployment began in early January as part of a new Navy command arrangement called “3rd Fleet Forward” — control by the Navy’s 3rd Fleet, the force of ships based on the West Coast and Alaska.

In the past, 3rd Fleet forces automatically shifted command to the Japan-based 7th Fleet upon crossing the international dateline.

“The new 3rd Fleet Forward construct expands 3rd Fleet control of ships and aircraft across the Western Pacific and beyond the international dateline to India, enabling 3rd and 7th Fleet to operate together across a broad spectrum of maritime missions — 7th Fleet maintains the ‘fight tonight missions,’ and 3rd Fleet does the phase zero and presence missions,” the Navy official said.

The new command system “allows us to keep pressure on competitors and reassure allies, splitting the focus among two staffs. This is a good thing,” the official said.

Defense Secretary James Mattis said last week that Chinese militarization in the sea was part of the reason he shifted U.S. defense strategy from terrorism to dealing with China and Russia.

“What made the competition explicit was the turning of atolls and features in the South China Sea in the military outposts,” he said.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry so far have not directly criticized the Vinson deployment. Beijing appears to be holding its propaganda fire until after the Vinson’s freedom of navigation operation.

The Communist Party-linked newspaper Global Times quoted a Chinese military expert denouncing the Vinson’s deployment.

“The Trump administration is trying to pressure China by creating more issues, including the South China Sea issue, as it feels uneasy and unsatisfied by China’s raising competitiveness,” said Liu Weidong, a research fellow at the Institute of American Studies of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. “Additional provocative moves by the U.S. such as entering the South China Sea can be expected in the future.”

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Tim Hawkins told reporters aboard the Vinson last week: “International law allows us to operate here, allows us to fly here, allows us to train here, allows us to sail here, and that’s what we’re doing and we’re going to continue to do that.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9047

Experts Warn China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ Initiative Seeks to Undermine U.S.-Led World Order

by Kristina Wong26 Jan 20181,053

The United States and China are in a battle for global supremacy — one that the U.S. is losing, experts said at a congressional hearing on Wednesday.

“The United States and China are locked in a consequential geopolitical competition right now that will determine the character of the 21st Century,” said Ely Ratner, the Maurice R. Greenberg Senior Fellow for China Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

“The United States is losing that competition right now,” he added.

Ratner’s warning came during a day-long hearing held by the congressionally-appointed U.S. China Commission, on China’s new “One Belt One Road” initiative, which experts warned is aimed at replacing the current U.S.-led world order.

The “Belt and Road Initiative,” or “BRI,” as Western experts call it, is Chinese President Xi Jinxing’s plan to build roads — literally and figuratively — across Central Asia to Western Europe, in a bid to further integrate their economies.

The name of the initiative purposely hearkens back to the ancient “Silk Road” trade routes, when China was a great empire. China’s dream is to recapture that status and become the world’s leading power by 2050. In that regard, BRI is aimed at slowly reorienting nations away from the U.S. and towards China and its preferred world order.

“BRI is a comprehensive vision for political and economic integration under Beijing’s helm,” said Nadege Rolland, senior fellow for political and security affairs at the National Bureau of Asian Research.

Under BRI, China will work with other nations, particularly developing countries, to build infrastructure linking the East to the West, including railways, pipelines, fiber optic cables, ports, and other infrastructure.

To build this network, China will use its growing economic might to loan developing countries money to build the infrastructure, in what they hope will become “even bigger than the Marshall plan,” said Randal Phillip, managing partner at the Mintz Group.

Rolland said BRI’s “intangible manifestations are as important if not more than its actual physical development.”

It is really a “multilayer web of … security ties that China is developing with the developing world … shaping before our very eyes,” she said. The goal is “unleveled Chinese influence over a key region, if not the world,” she added.

Already, several countries have announced their intention to link their development to one belt one road, said Jonathan Hillman, fellow and director of the Reconnecting Asia Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The initiative is also drawing China closer with Pakistan, he said.

Phillips called BRI’s mission statement “beautiful” and attractive to other nations.

“It talks a lot about win-win,” for China and other nations, he said. But, he added, the joke is that it really means “China wins twice.”

Experts noted that the concept for the BRI first emerged in 2013 to little fanfare, as a response to the Obama administration’s “Asia Pivot” and to the U.S. joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade pact with Asian nations excluding China.

But since then, Chinese President Xi Jinping has embraced it and elevated it to Chinese Communist Party doctrine and integrated it throughout all levels of Chinese government. Rolland said China’s determination to implement it is “deadly serious.”

Experts also testified that BRI would have huge military implications for the U.S. by giving the Chinese military more places to deploy and potentially try to block the U.S. military.

“BRI will increase demand to send the Chinese military abroad,” said Daniel Kliman, senior fellow at the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security.

The more involved Chinese companies are in other nations, the more China’s military will be involved in humanitarian missions, as well as rescue missions, Kliman said. It will also reinforce voices within the People’s Liberation Army for more “power projection” — ports, airfields, and a more robust logistics network, he said.

As an example, he pointed to how China first built a commercial port in Djibouti, and then built its first military overseas base there as well, right next to a U.S. military base.

From these military bases, Chinese ships can operate farther away from its shores and hold the U.S. military off with weapons such as long-range anti-ship missiles, Kliman said.

BRI would also allow China to use the growing infrastructure network to glean large amounts of data that would fuel China’s artificial intelligence industry, he said.

And if developing nations cannot afford to pay China back for loans, Chinese would likely seize the assets or demand concessions as they have over a Sri Lankan port they helped build in Colombo — in what experts called a “debt trap.”

Either way, Ratner said, China will gain “increased access” and coercive power over so-called “BRI countries” over time.

Overall, experts said, if BRI is successful, it could have very serious implications for Americans in everyday life.

Under a China-led world, “markets will be closed to American business. China’s policies will bankrupt American businesses,” Ratner said. “They’re being completely transparent about their goals to do just that.”

Already, he noted, Hollywood is censoring their movies for Chinese audiences. Newspapers are self-censoring the reporting they’re doing on Xi. Universities are censoring themselves in exchange for Chinese money, he said.

“Do we want our selves and our children to live in a world … that is fundamentally free or not?” he said.

Experts said BRI did have some risks for China. Nations could turn on China if there is a gap between expectations and reality from developing nations, or if China turns predatory. But so far, Phillips said, developing countries are “happy to see the cash come in.”

Experts testifying to the commission agreed that BRI could already be considered a success, particularly since it has no hard objectives, targets, or end date. They noted that it has already succeeded in piquing international leaders’ interest.

They noted that China’s Belt and Road Forum — which they jokingly called “BARF” — drew 29 world leaders and representatives from more than 130 countries.

“People didn’t kowtow but they came with gifts. In return for that they got access, investment, protection,” Rolland said. “It’s already happening, it’s already successful.”

“Their global stature is already enhanced,” she added. “There is no leader around the world that is not paying attention to China’s proposal and how they can get some benefit from it. Just that … is very important.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8996

Chinese PLA Braces For US Attack on North Korea

January 17, 2018

Secretary Tillerson begins mirroring General Mattis’ diplomacy as war with North Korea is presented as almost certain; President Xi mobilizes the multi-million man PLA in preparation for ensuing chaos on their border. On today’s J Factor a successful businessman shares why his trust is only in Jesus.

World war drums are beating louder, but few people hear the warnings.  Even fewer people are taking actions to prepare for world war.   The normalcy bias has immobilized them from getting ready.  They don’t believe it can happen to them.

Twenty nations that supported America in the 1952 Korean War convened in Vancouver Canada on Monday and Tuesday.   In addition to the USA, Canada, and Great Britain, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Sweden and Australia also participated.

The diplomats issued an uncompromising hardline message to Pyongyang: The coalition of nations will step up maximum pressure against North Korea.  The new level of pressure will include stopping and boarding ships suspected of trading with Pyongyang.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sounded more like Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.  Secretary Tillerson said, “We must increase the costs of the regime’s behavior to the point that North Korea must come to the table for credible negotiations.”

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono accused North Korea of buying time to continue building nuclear warheads and long-range missiles.

Likewise, Britain’s foreign minister Boris Johnson also accused North Korea of pursuing the acquisition of nuclear-armed ICBMs that could have incalculable geostrategic consequences.

Russia and China were not invited to the meeting in Vancouver.  Moscow lashed out on Wednesday saying the Vancouver meeting was making the situation worse.  Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavov denounced the allied meeting as destructive.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said banning China and Russia from the meeting will not help solve the crisis.  He called the meeting the product of cold war thinking and a sign that the USA is planning a military attack on North Korea.

As the talks wrapped up, Secretary of State Tillerson said the threat posed by North Korea was growing.  Mr. Tillerson implied that diplomacy is finished and war is coming.

He said: “We all need to be very sober and clear-eyed about the current situation … We have to recognize that the threat is growing and if North Korea does not choose the pathway of engagement, discussion, negotiation, then they themselves will trigger an option.”

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