Category: Kings of the East

Will Turkey and China Become Friends?

Soner Cagaptay with Deniz Yuksel

August 14, 2019

Despite their limited economic relations and ongoing differences over the Uyghur issue, the two countries could grow closer if Western partners fail to provide the financial boost Turkey needs so badly.

In June, China’s central bank reportedly transferred $1 billion to Turkey as part of a currency swap agreement that dates back to 2012. While the influx of cash is the largest Beijing has ever provided to Ankara, the most it can do is lend a minor short-term boost to the country’s dwindling foreign exchange reserves. For China to fully sponsor Turkey’s struggling economy, the two governments would have to overcome key historical policy differences, especially regarding the Turkic Uyghurs in China’s restless Xinjiang region.

ECONOMIC TIES UNDER ERDOGAN

With few natural resources of its own, Turkey relies on foreign capital injections and strong ties to international markets for growth. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s electoral success since 2003 has been largely driven by the record amount of foreign direct investment (FDI) the country has attracted during his tenure, mostly from Europe. The resultant economic growth boosted his voter base—many of his diehard fans are attracted to him because he helped lift them out of poverty.

More recently, however, the economy has been shrinking amid financial volatility, political uncertainty, rising unemployment (currently 15 percent), and rampant inflation (17 percent). Erdogan therefore needs more FDI to finance the growth he relies on politically.

Given the size of Turkey’s economy—just under a trillion dollars—only the U.S.-headquartered International Monetary Fund would have the funds necessary to rescue it in case of financial meltdown, as Erdogan is well aware. He also realizes that Russia cannot afford to play that role on its own. In theory, China could do so, but this would require the two countries to bridge their differences on the Uyghur issue.

In June 2018, Erdogan sent Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to seek economic assistance from Beijing at a time of dire need—the lira was collapsing, a wider meltdown loomed, and relations with Washington were in crisis over the Pastor Andrew Brunson affair and related U.S. sanctions. Yet Cavusoglu returned home with no promise of a Chinese rescue.

This result seemed surprising given that Beijing had been courting Turkey through its enticing Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), aimed at developing extensive trade routes to Europe and other locales. In Ankara’s case this meant providing soft loans for construction of new metro lines and other infrastructure. These investments are at the core of China’s Turkey policy, and Ankara has repeatedly expressed its desire to benefit from the BRI. Almost all Turkish ministries have developed action plans to boost ties with China, and the BRI has been incorporated in the policy papers of Turkish bureaucracy.

ENTER THE UYGHURS

Despite this momentum, Beijing remains deeply worried about Ankara’s deep historical ties with the Turkic Uyghur community in Xinjiang. Previously known as East Turkestan, Xinjiang was a nominal part, and occasionally a vassal state, of China’s nineteenth-century Qing dynasty. Turkey’s involvement in Uyghur affairs dates back to that time, when Ottoman sultans instrumentalized Islam to spread their influence.

For instance, in 1873, Sultan Abdulaziz sent the Uyghurs a shipment of weapons for use against the Qing in return for recognition of his suzerainty. At the time, the Qing were once again trying to advance deep into Xinjiang, laying the foundations of Chinese domination that would become formalized and deeply entrenched in the next century.

After the Turkic region became firmly integrated into China following the 1949 Communist Revolution, Mao Zedong initiated a crackdown against nationalist Uyghurs, forcing many to flee in search of political asylum. Turkey, then a newly minted and committed U.S. ally in the Cold War, gladly welcomed these ethnic kin. In doing so, it further solidified relations with Washington and undermined Beijing ahead of the Korean War. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Ankara resettled thousands of Uyghurs with U.S. support. Another wave arrived in the late 1970s, following post-Mao reforms.

Ankara has maintained strong support for the Uyghurs under Erdogan, who in 2009 called Chinese policies in Xinxiang “a genocide.” Meanwhile, the issue has emerged as the most serious political challenge to Chinese leader Xi Jinping, spurring him to respond with a heavy-handed crackdown on the Uyghurs. In addition to sending hundreds of thousands of them to “reeducation camps,” he has initiated mass surveillance of their communities via closed-circuit camera systems and high-tech eavesdropping on smartphones and social media.

More recently, Erdogan has downplayed the issue in the state-dominated Turkish media, which now carries very few stories about the suffering of the Uyghurs. This strategy seems aimed at currying favor with Beijing. Nevertheless, leading Uyghur activists still meet regularly with Turkish officials, and their community in Turkey remains the center of the global Uyghur diaspora. No official data is available on their numbers, but tens of thousands of them are estimated to live in Turkey, and they are well liked by Turkish foreign policy elites. Aware of these deep ties, Beijing has shied away from providing the hundreds of billions of dollars needed to definitely ward off a Turkish economic meltdown.

LITTLE TRADE OR INVESTMENT

Another obstacle to Beijing throwing Ankara an economic lifeline is the fact that their current trade and financial relations are relatively small. Although Erdogan has diversified Turkey’s trading partners, none of them, including China, has emerged as a strong alternative to the country’s traditional markets in the West. Turkey’s exports to China are a fraction of Europe and America’s, and its trade deficit is large—in 2018, its imports from China amounted to $19.4 billion, but its exports were only $2.7 billion. And while the non-Western share in Turkish trade has increased to nearly 30 percent, the EU alone still accounted for 42 percent last year, compared to just 6 percent for China.

Similarly, while Turkey’s investment partners have diversified under Erdogan, the U.S. and European share of FDI inflows has increased as well. In 2005, the EU was Turkey’s largest investor, accounting for 58 percent of net FDI inflows; by 2018, the figure had grown to 61 percent. In contrast, Chinese investment flows remained under 1 percent.

Some recent developments hold the promise of future growth—for instance, a Chinese state-owned company owns a majority share in Istanbul’s Kumport container docks, and Chinese companies have reportedly offered to take over management of Istanbul’s “Third” Bosporus Bridge. Yet Beijing’s overall financial footprint in Turkey is still quite small compared to the West’s.

CONCLUSION

A resource-poor nation with an annual energy import bill of about $30 billion, Turkey needs tens of billions of dollars in FDI or heavy annual cash flows to maintain economic growth and keep Erdogan’s base satisfied. Attracting such a windfall from China would require Ankara to substantially change its Uyghur policy—a tall order given historical patterns. Yet Turkish businesses have had trouble obtaining credit from European and American investors of late, creating a void that Chinese investors may decide to fill in greater numbers. If that scenario comes to pass, Beijing’s political muscle over Ankara could increase considerably, moving Turkey closer to the emerging China-Russia axis in global politics.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10007

Is China Hoarding Food, Gold And Other Commodities In Anticipation Of A Global Collapse?

August 8, 2019 by Michael Snyder

Does China believe that we are on the verge of a major global crisis?  The communist Chinese government has always been very big into planning, and it appears that they have decided that now is the time to hoard food, gold and other commodities.  Of course in recent days the fact that China is completely cutting off U.S. agricultural imports has made headlines all over the globe, but at the same time China is dramatically increasing the amount of food that it is importing from the rest of the world.  The end result is actually a substantial surge in Chinese imports, and this is starting to show up in the official numbers.  For example, we just learned that Chinese soybean imports in July were actually up 8 percent compared to last year…  

China’s soybean imports in July rose 8% from a year earlier, to their highest level in almost a year, customs data showed on Thursday, as importers increased their purchases of Brazilian beans on higher crush margins.

As I discussed the other day, China had already been drastically reducing soybean imports from the United States even before this recent announcement that U.S. agricultural imports were being cut off completely.  So American farmers were definitely not benefiting from this Chinese import boom, and now that China has decided not to buy any of our crops it is going to be a  “devastating blow” for our farmers…

With China officially pulling out of buying U.S. agricultural products, American farmers are losing one of their biggest customers. It could be a devastating blow in an already tough year for crops and commodity prices. It may also dent U.S. gross domestic product and hurt companies like Deere, whose business is directly tied to farming in the Heartland.

“Sales have already been lower this crop year because of the existing tariffs. If we went all the way to no China exports whatsoever, that would of course result in even larger market and price impacts,” said Pat Westhoff, director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri. “Cutting China completely out of the market would be a very big deal.”

Needless to say, China has had to turn to other sources to supply their needs, and last month we learned that China had decided to substantially increase wheat and soybean imports from Russia

China has approved wheat imports from the Russian region of Kurgan, the Chinese customs office said on Friday, bringing Russia a step closer to its goal of dramatically increasing grain exports.

It also approved soybean imports from all parts of Russia, the General Administration of Customs said in a separate statement on its website, having all but halted U.S. soy imports as the trade dispute between Beijing and Washington deepened.

This is yet another sign that Russia and China are drawing closer, and this is something that we have been anticipating.

Meanwhile, China is also hoarding gold.  In fact, July was the eighth month in a row in which the Chinese increased their reserves

China bought nearly 10 tons of gold in July, marking the eighth consecutive month the country increased its reserves, Bloomberg reported Wednesday morning.

The purchase is another signal from China that it’s gearing up for a prolonged trade conflict with the US. Gold serves as a historic safe-haven investment, and its price typically rises when markets and other currencies see increased volatility or prolonged weakness.

In addition, Bloomberg is reporting that Chinese commodity purchases of all types were very, very strong in July…

Commodity purchases by China rebounded strongly in July. Imports of soy to coal and crude oil gained, signaling demand in the world’s biggest buyer remains solid even as a trade spat with the U.S. escalates.

So why are the Chinese suddenly stocking up on everything?

Well, the truth is that the answer to that question is quite obvious.  The trade war between the United States and China is rapidly escalating, war in the Middle East could erupt at any time, the global economy has been steadily slowing down, crops are failing all over the planet, and everywhere we look we seem to see rising political instability.

In fact, we even see it in China’s own backyard.  After weeks of unprecedented political protests in Hong Kong, it looks like we could be right on the verge of a brutal crackdown.  The following comes from the New York Post

After eight weeks of huge Hong Kong street protests against Beijing’s rule, the People’s Republic is massing police and soldiers just across the border. Message: If the protesters don’t quit, a bloodbath is coming.

Beijing has also started denouncing the protests as the work of American provocateurs. That’s so the regime can paint its Tiananmen Square-style crackdown as a battle against “foreign influence,” not a smashing of Chinese people who decided all on their own that they’d rather be free.

The relative stability that we have been enjoying for the past several years is ending, and it appears that the months ahead could potentially be quite chaotic.

Normally I would never suggest that anyone should emulate the Chinese government, but in this case they appear to be doing the wise thing.  Now is the time to get prepared for what is coming, because the road ahead promises to be quite tumultuous.

Most people don’t realize it, but U.S. relations with China have already passed the point of no return.  Things are going to become increasingly tense between our two nations, and that is going to have very serious implications for all of us.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9994

China Is Extremely Angry, And They Now Consider The United States To Be Enemy #1

August 2, 2019 by Michael Snyder

Have relations between the United States and China finally reached the point of no return?  At this moment, it would be difficult to overstate how angry the Chinese are with the United States.  Chinese officials are firmly blaming the United States for the enormous political protests that we have witnessed in Hong Kong in recent weeks, and on Thursday President Trump slapped another round of tariffs on Chinese imports.  Sadly, most Americans aren’t even paying much attention to these developments, but over in China everyone is talking about these things.  And of course the truth is that they aren’t just talking – the Chinese are absolutely seething with anger toward the U.S., and they aren’t afraid to express it.

Let me give you a perfect example of what I am talking about.  One of the most highly respected news anchors in China, Kang Hui, actually used an expletive when referring to the United States during a news broadcast earlier this week.  Normally I would never have such language in one of my articles, but this comment made headlines all over the globe, and I think that it is very important for all of us to understand what the Chinese are saying about us.  So since this is a news item of critical importance, I have decided not to censor this quote at all.  The following comes from the New York Times

“They stir up more troubles and crave the whole world to be in chaos, acting like a shit-stirring stick,” Mr. Kang said on the usually stolid 7 p.m. national news program on CCTV, China’s state broadcaster. The expletive quickly became one of the most-searched-for phrases on Chinese social media.

In a follow-up video on a CCTV social media account, Mr. Kang boasted about how he had taunted the United States.

“If a handful of Americans always stir up troubles, then we are sorry,” he intoned. “No more do we talk about certain issues. We will also target you. We will bash you till your faces are covered with mud. We will bash you till you are left speechless.”

Could you imagine Anderson Cooper saying something similar about China on CNN?

And actually Mr. Kang likely has far more viewers than Anderson Cooper does.

Most Americans spend very little time thinking about relations with China, but over in China they are absolutely furious with us right now, and the developing situation in Hong Kong is one of the biggest reasons for that anger.  Millions of people have flooded the streets of Hong Kong in recent weeks, and it appears that the Chinese have decided that enough is enough.  According to Bloomberg, U.S. officials are closely watching “a congregation of Chinese forces on Hong Kong’s border”…

The White House is monitoring what a senior administration official called a congregation of Chinese forces on Hong Kong’s border.

Weeks of unrest in the Chinese territory have begun to overwhelm Hong Kong’s police, who have found themselves in violent clashes with protesters. China warned Monday that the civil disorder had gone “far beyond” peaceful protest after police deployed tear gas over the weekend.

Could it be possible that Chinese forces could soon storm across the border?

And there have also been other signs that China is about to do something drastic

And also on Wednesday, Chen Daoxiang, the commander of China’s military garrison in Hong Kong — which holds around 6,000 troops — said his forces were “determined to protect national sovereignty, security, stability and the prosperity of Hong Kong.” His remarks came as China released a new propaganda video which include armed forces practicing shooting at protestors, after which he underscored his support for the city’s chief executive for “rigorously enforcing the law.”

Yes, Hong Kong is now technically part of China.  But according to the agreement that was signed when the British handed over Hong Kong, the city is supposed to be allowed to govern itself to a large degree until 2047

After taking over Hong Kong in a war in the 1800s, Britain returned it to China in 1997 with an important stipulation: The city would partly govern itself for 50 years before fully falling under Beijing’s control. So until 2047, the expectation was that the city and the mainland would operate under the principle known as “one country, two systems.”

So if China ends up sending troops into Hong Kong to end the political protests, the Trump administration will be extremely upset, and tensions between our two nations will go up several more notches.

A new development in the trade war is the other reason why the Chinese are so angry with us right now.

After President Trump hit China with new tariffs on Thursday, China’s ambassador to the United Nations warned that the Chinese are prepared to implement “necessary countermeasures”

China’s new ambassador to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, said Beijing would take “necessary countermeasures” to protect its rights and bluntly described Trump’s move as “an irrational, irresponsible act.”

“China’s position is very clear that if U.S. wishes to talk, then we will talk, if they want to fight, then we will fight,” Zhang told reporters in New York, also signalling that trade tensions could hurt cooperation between the countries on dealing with North Korea.

In other words, the Chinese are not going to back down one bit, and they are going to hit us back hard.

And Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said similar things when she addressed reporters on Friday

“China will not accept any form of pressure, intimidation or deception,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a press conference Friday.

China‘s Ministry of Commerce released a statement that said Beijing would impose countermeasures.

“The U.S. has to bear all the consequences,” the statement said. “China believes there will be no winners of this trade war and does not want to fight. But we are not afraid to fight and will fight if necessary.”

In the end, it is very true that there “will be no winners” in this trade war.  The Chinese know where our pain points are, and they will not be afraid to fight dirty.

A rapidly deteriorating relationship with China is a big part of the scenario that we have been anticipating.  As I discussed yesterday, it is exceedingly unlikely that there will be a trade deal between the United States and China before the 2020 presidential election.  And to be honest, it is far more likely that our conflict with China will escalate well beyond just a “trade war” in the months ahead.

The two largest economic superpowers on the entire planet are now locked in a monumental struggle for dominance, and it is going to result in a tremendous amount of economic pain for the entire planet.

Unfortunately, most Americans are completely and utterly clueless about what is going on, and so most of them are still convinced that everything is going to be just fine.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9978

Russia and China romance runs into friction in Central Asia

US strategists call for driving wedge between the traditional rivals

HIROYUKI AKITA, Nikkei commentator July 29, 2019 15:03 JST

TOKYO — China and Russia are cozying up ever closer as they find a common enemy in Washington.

During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia in early June, the two countries signed a joint statement pledging to deepen their ties, as well as around 30 economic agreements.

Xi’s Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, has criticized the U.S. for leveling trade and technology sanctions against China and pledged to cooperate with it to resist U.S. pressure. The two countries are also pushing back against U.S. objectives regarding North Korea and Iran.

While analysts puzzle over whether the romance between China and Russia has peaked or will grow still more fervent, it seems clear they need each other more than ever.

Laboring under U.S. and European sanctions, Russia’s economic growth is forecast to slow to around 1% this year. That will encourage it to lean more heavily on China. For Xi, Russia is a useful tool in countering Washington’s increasingly hard-line policies against China.

But despite their growing closeness, China and Russia must deal with frictions.

Russia “is feeling a potential threat” from China, according to an expert on the Russian military. The difference in the two countries’ power continues to widen: China’s gross domestic product is roughly eight times larger than Russia’s and its population is 10 times larger. Russia is especially nervous about the possibility of Central Asia — much of which was once part of the Soviet Union and is seen by Russians as their backyard — falling under China’s sway.

That is already happening economically. In 2018, China became the largest trading partner of three former Soviet republics: Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan. According to official data released by Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, China is the largest source of foreign direct investment in the two countries. China has also overtaken Russia as the fourth-largest investor in Kazakhstan.

Russia tolerates China’s economic advance in Central Asia because its stands to benefit from infrastructure improvements and regional development that the flood of Chinese investment will bring. Security, however, is another matter. Moscow will not want China encroaching on its turf.

In Uzbekistan, in mid-June, cabinet ministers, senior officials and experts from the U.S., Europe and neighboring countries gathered to discuss the regional situation. China’s activities loomed large during the meeting.

The strategic environment began shifting a few years ago as China began secretly deploying troops in Tajikistan, according to local experts. Although the Chinese Foreign Ministry has denied its troops are in the area, a person familiar with the matter said there are similar indication in Afghanistan.

China has, up to now, refrained from involving itself in regional security issues out of consideration for Russia. But its actions in Tajikistan, part of its effort to keep Islamist militants from entering the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, indicate a change in Beijing’s thinking.

In light of Tajikistan’s lax border controls, China may have sent troops to help it shore up security, one expert said. China is likely to have received a green light to do so from Moscow. But local diplomats said Russia is growing concerned about China’s military moves.

Russia’s largest military base outside its borders is in Tajikistan. The base is scheduled to remain until 2042, under a bilateral agreement. Given that it has around 8,000 troops at the base, it is unthinkable that the Russian and Chinese forces will both stay in the country without friction over the long term, according to one security strategist in Central Asia.

China’s objective is to play a larger security role in Central Asia as part of its counterterrorism strategy without irritating Russia. That is easier said than done. Russia also seems anxious about U.S. ambitions in the region.

Leaders of the five Central Asian countries had planned to hold their second summit meeting in March. But the conference was canceled due a sudden change in Kazakhstan’s president. So far, no new meeting has been scheduled. Whatever the official reason given for calling off the summit, a local diplomatic source said the real reason was that the participants were worried about provoking a backlash from Russia.

“Many in Russia still maintain an empire mentality. They consider the former Soviet Union to be their own sphere of influence,” said Dr. Farkhod Tolipov, a political scientist who heads Knowledge Caravan, an independent education and research institution in Tashkent. “Russia wrongly believes that if the Central Asia region integrates it will gradually lean toward the United States and eventually enter U.S. sphere,” he said.

If a rift develops between China and Russia, the implications for global politics would be significant. A weakening of the Sino-Russian axis would be favorable to the West and Japan. It would also help the international community increase pressure on North Korea.

At a public-private strategic dialogue between the U.S. and Europe in the Polish capital, Warsaw, in June, an idea was floated for how to drive a wedge between China and Russia to give the West an edge in its strategic competition with Beijing.

It may be impossible for Europe to reconcile with Putin, given Russia’s annexation of Crimea, according to military strategists in Washington. But they argue the U.S. should try to ease tensions with Moscow after Putin’s term of office ends in 2024 to encourage Russia to keep China at arm’s length.

China and Russia share a border of more than 4,000 km. And although they are unlikely to repeat their military clashes of 1969, it also seems unlikely that their current love affair will last forever, given their historical geopolitical rivalry.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9967

Trump Just Poked The Dragon In The Eye, And U.S.-China Relations Just Took An Ominous Turn For The Worse

June 6, 2019 by Michael Snyder

After what President Trump just did, the odds of the U.S. and China being able to reach a trade agreement this year officially just went from slim to none.  For China, there is no issue more sensitive than the status of Taiwan.  For the Chinese, it is unthinkable for anyone to even suggest that Taiwan is not a part of China, and the Chinese are prepared to defend their “one China” policy to the death if necessary.  On the other hand, most Americans are entirely clueless about Taiwan.  In fact, if you gave them a blank map of the world the vast majority of Americans wouldn’t even be able to find Taiwan thanks to our exceedingly poor system of public education.  So for most Americans, a news story about how President Trump plans to sell 2 billion dollars worth of arms to Taiwan is completely and utterly meaningless.  But for the Chinese, such news is a deep national insult

The United States is pursuing the sale of more than $2 billion worth of tanks and weapons to Taiwan, four people familiar with the negotiations said, in a move likely to anger China as a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies escalates.

An informal notification of the proposed sale has been sent to the U.S. Congress, the four sources said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the possible deal.

This arms sale barely made a blip in the U.S. news cycle, but over in China they are officially freaking out about this.  According to one report, this deal would send “over 100 tanks and almost 2,000 missiles” to Taiwan…

The US, which is the main weapons dealer to Taiwan, would send over 100 tanks and almost 2,000 missiles to the island. There was outrage in China, who said they were seriously concerned after Taiwan’s defence ministry confirmed the sale. The move is believed to further heighten tensions between Beijing and Washington.

It comes days after Chinese defence minister Wei Fenghe said: “If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese military has no choice but to fight at all costs.”

You can do quite a bit of damage with 2,000 missiles.

Most Americans may not realize this, but the truth is that U.S.-China relations just took a really ominous turn for the worse.

And in addition to announcing this arms sale to Taiwan, President Trump also just threatened China with even more tariffs

DONALD Trump threatened to hit China with tariffs on “at least” another $300bn worth of goods today – as a Beijing propaganda campaign painted the US as evil bullies.

Tensions between the world’s two largest economies have soared sharply since talks aimed at ending a festering trade war broke down in early May.

But trust me, the announcement of the arms sale to Taiwan was far, far more insulting to China than the tariff threat was.

On the Chinese side, they have decided to hit the U.S. right in the farm belt by “putting purchases of U.S. soybeans on hold”

China is reportedly putting purchases of U.S. soybeans on hold amid the growing trade war with the U.S., according to a report from Bloomberg News. As the world’s largest soybean buyer, China’s move could ramp up the economic pressure on American farmers.

This has already been the worst year for U.S. farmers in decades, and this move by the Chinese is going to make things even worse.  For much more on this, please see an article that I posted earlier today entitled “U.S. Farms Are Facing Their Worst Crisis In A Generation – And Now Here Comes Another Monster Storm”.

Also, anti-American rhetoric in China has now reached a fever pitch.  According to CNN, the Chinese just issued an official alert warning Chinese travelers of “shooting, robbery and theft” in major U.S. cities…

On Tuesday, China’s Culture and Tourism Ministry warned its citizens of the risks of traveling to the US in an alert, citing frequent recent cases of “shooting, robbery and theft.”

On the same day, the country’s Foreign Ministry — along with China’s embassy and consulates in the US — issued a security alert for Chinese citizens, alleging “repeated harassment” of Chinese nationals in the US by local law enforcement officials.

Of course the Chinese are correct when they warn about the violence in our cities.  For example, more than 50 people were shot in the city of Chicago last weekend alone.

In addition to the travel warnings, Chinese state media is doing all that it can to put the U.S. in a bad light.  In fact, one major Chinese paper just called the United States the “enemy of the world”

The new travel advice did not come in isolation.

China’s ruling Communist Party has launched a trade war propaganda campaign, with recent efforts — delivered via state media — focusing on US “trade bullying” and “hegemony.” In one noteworthy article, published Tuesday in party mouthpiece the People’s Daily, the US was labeled the “enemy of the world.”

Does it sound to you like the Chinese are ready to surrender and head back to the negotiating table?

No, the truth is that they are just getting angrier with every week that goes by.  Most Americans don’t even know that we fought against the Chinese during the latter stages of the Korean War, but right now over in China those old battles against “the evil American invaders” are being publicly celebrated

President Xi Jinping’s state media has even begun to refer to a very bloody battle between America and Chinese forces during the Korean War.

The 1952 battle of Triangle Hill – or Shangganling in Chinese – has been glorified in China for decades as a turning point in the war.

School children are told how the sacrifice of Chinese soldiers eventually led to the “defeat of the evil American invaders”.

At this point, most Americans may be vaguely aware that some sort of a trade war is going on, but over in China they are taking this deadly seriously.  And without a doubt, the stage is being set for a full-fledged global showdown between the two superpowers.

This is not a game, and if things go badly we could potentially be facing apocalyptic consequences.

So hopefully Trump knows what he is doing, because right now things appear to be starting to spiral out of control very rapidly.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9878

China Rising in the Caribbean

by Gordon G. Chang
April 10, 2019 at 5:00 am

About 55 miles east of Palm Beach, Florida on Grand Bahama Island, a Hong Kong-based business is spending about $3 billion on a deep-water container facility, the Freeport Container Port.

  • The concern is that the port will become another debt-trap, like the port of Hambantota in Sri Lanka. There are concerns that Hambantota will eventually become a Chinese naval base. Will the Pentagon have to contend with Chinese warships at Freeport?
  • The Chinese military is already in the Caribbean, in Cuba, apparently to collect signals intelligence from the U.S. Washington splashes plenty of cash around the Middle East, for instance, but American policymakers need also to be concerned, urgently, about critical needy locations closer to home.

There’s a “Red Storm Rising” just miles from America’s shores. “In point of fact, the entire hemisphere is on fire,” said Lou Dobbs on his widely watched Fox Business Network show on April 4. “China and Russia are engaging us in almost every quarter in this hemisphere. Russia and China in Venezuela, but China throughout the hemisphere and throughout the Caribbean.”

Throughout the Caribbean, China’s influence is growing fast. Trade and investment have made Beijing a power. Chinese motives are not solely commercial, however, and do not appear benign.

We begin on the island of New Providence, in the Bahamas. The Export-Import Bank of China in 2011 extended a $2.45 billion construction loan for the Baha Mar resort, near the capital of Nassau. The project, troubled from the start, is the largest and most expensive in the Caribbean.

The project’s size is a curiosity, and China’s large commitment to the Caribbean is, from an economic viewpoint, intriguing. As Evan Ellis of the U.S. Army War College points out, China, on a per capita basis, has more equity invested in the Caribbean than in the rest of Latin America. This is noteworthy in that the Caribbean has, in comparison to the rest of that region, far fewer natural resources and only a tiny market for Chinese goods. As Ellis told Roll Call, “It really isn’t about the market or the materials if you look at the amount that they are investing.”

So, what is China’s motivation? Another large Bahamian investment provides a clue.

About 55 miles east of Palm Beach, on Grand Bahama Island, a Hong Kong-based business is spending about $3 billion on a deep-water container facility, the Freeport Container Port.

The commercial rationale is that Freeport will be able to take advantage of traffic from the recently expanded Panama Canal, but the concern is that the port will become another debt-trap, like Hambantota in Sri Lanka. China in December 2017 took control of the port Hambantota, by grabbing 70% of the equity and signing a 99-year lease after that project could not repay high-interest loans extended by China. China’s takeover was inevitable because Hambantota was misconceived from the get-go.

There are concerns that Hambantota will eventually become a Chinese naval base. China’s admirals have long eyed Sri Lanka for its strategic location. In both September and October 2014, the Sri Lankan government allowed a Chinese submarine to dock at the Chinese-funded Colombo International Container Terminal. Will the Pentagon have to contend with Chinese warships at Freeport?

The Chinese military is already in the Caribbean, in Cuba. According to an October 2018 staff report of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, China maintains physical presences at Soviet-era intelligence facilities at Lourdes, Bejucal, and Santiago de Cuba, apparently to collect signals intelligence from the U.S.

Of these locations, Bejucal, south of Havana, is of special concern. Satellite imagery shows a new radome protecting the radar there, and the installation could well be China’s. China, after all, has been at Bejucal for some time. Marco Rubio, the Republican senator from Florida, in 2016 referred publicly to “this Chinese listening station in Bejucal.”

Ellis, in a podcast with Bonnie Glaser of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, noted that Beijing views the Caribbean Sea in much the same way it perceives the South China Sea. This assessment goes a long way toward explaining China’s otherwise unusual focus on the 13 island states and 17 “dependent territories” — what once were known as “colonies” — in the region.

That focus also goes some way to understanding the tirade of Haigang Yin, China’s chargé d’affaires in the Bahamas, last month. Days before U.S. President Donald Trump’s March 22 meeting with five Caribbean leaders — including the Bahamas’ — at Mar-a-Lago, Yin accused the U.S. of attempting to “disintegrate solidarity and cooperation between China and other developing countries.”

Chinese arrogance has now become breathtaking. Despite Beijing’s efforts, Trump met with the Caribbean leaders. Yet Washington’s intensified engagement with the region is still inadequate to meet Chinese challenges. As Fox Business anchor Trish Regan said on her prime-time show on April 5, “Not since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 had we had such an enemy present in our own hemisphere.”

Up to now, America has mostly left the Caribbean alone. As is often said, the Caribbean is “too democratic and not poor enough” to get U.S. attention. It is, however, correctly called America’s “third border” and “soft underbelly.”

This underbelly is now being remade with Chinese cash. For instance, five countries there — Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, and the Dominican Republic — have joined Beijing’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, an infrastructure plan meant to tie global trade routes to China.

As Beijing pushes the initiative in the region, there are concerns that more countries will be “debt trapped,” like Sri Lanka. USAID Administrator Mark Green is right to label Beijing’s loans to Caribbean borrowers “predatory financing.” American warnings, however, do not mean much if the U.S. is not offering alternatives, as Margaret Myers of the Inter-American Dialogue told Roll Call.

After Trump’s Mar-a-Lago meeting with Caribbean leaders, the U.S. promised to send a delegation to the region. Moreover, the State Department has its own plan, labeled “Caribbean 2020.” Despite catchy names, American programs need cash to back them up.

Washington splashes plenty of cash around the Middle East, for instance, but American policymakers need also to be concerned, urgently, about critical, needy locations closer to home.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9733

U.S. sails massive, F-35-laden warship in disputed South China Sea

by Jesse Johnson

Apr 9, 2019

In the latest show of military muscle in the South China Sea, the U.S. has apparently sailed its USS Wasp amphibious assault ship near a strategic reef claimed by Beijing and Manila that lies just 230 km (140 miles) from the Philippine coast.

Filipino fishermen near the site known as the Scarborough Shoal initially spotted what appeared to be the massive U.S. vessel on Tuesday, according to ABS-CBN News. It said planes were seen landing and taking off from the ship, some 5 km (3 miles) away from the fishermen’s boat. A video clip shown by the news network appeared to corroborate their account.

Contacted by The Japan Times, a U.S. military spokeswoman would not confirm or deny the Wasp’s presence near the collection of outcroppings that barely jut out above water at high tide, citing “force protection and security.” However, the spokeswoman did confirm that the Wasp “has been training with Philippine Navy ships in Subic Bay and in international waters of the South China Sea … for several days.”

Scarborough Shoal, which is also claimed by Taiwan, is regarded as a potential powder keg in the strategic waterway. It was seized by Beijing in 2012 after an extended standoff with Manila. China later effectively blockaded the lagoon, which is rich in fish stocks, and routinely dispatches scores of fishing vessels and government-backed “maritime militia” ships to the area to continue its de facto blockade.

The Wasp was taking part in the annual Balikatan U.S.-Philippine military training exercise “that focuses on maritime security and amphibious capabilities, as well as multinational interoperability through military exchanges,” said U.S. Marine Corps Second Lt. Tori Sharpe, a spokeswoman for the exercises, adding that the exercises were “unrelated to current events.”

Still, beyond the location of the exercises, the Wasp’s presence alone in the South China Sea was likely to draw Beijing’s attention since this year’s Balikatan exercise was the first to incorporate the Wasp paired with the U.S. Marines Corps’ cutting-edge F-35B Lightning II stealth aircraft. The F-35B is the short takeoff and vertical landing variant of the aircraft.

“Together they represent an increase in military capability committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Sharpe said.

China covets Scarborough Shoal for its strategic significance, experts say, as it would be the crowning jewel in a bid to solidify Beijing’s iron grip over the South China Sea. They say building at Scarborough would create a large “strategic triangle” comprising Woody Island in the Paracel Islands to the northwest and its Spratly islet outposts to the south, giving Beijing the ability to police an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the South China Sea.

The impact of such a strategic triangle — which would bring the entire region under Chinese radar, missile and air coverage — would be tremendous for both the United States’ and Japan’s strategic planning, some experts say, and could be a game-changer in regional power relations.

But any decision by China to forcefully take over the collection of outcroppings for land-reclamation purposes would likely be met with resistance by the U.S., the Philippines and others.

In an effort to push back against China’s behavior near Scarborough, the U.S. Navy sent a guided-missile destroyer within 12 nautical miles (22 km) of the site in January last year as part of its larger “freedom of navigation operations” (FONOPs) program in the South China Sea and across the globe.

Washington has lambasted Beijing for its moves in the South China Sea, including the construction of man-made islands, some of which are home to military-grade airfields and advanced weaponry. The U.S. fears the outposts could be used to restrict free movement in the waterway — which includes vital sea lanes through which about $3 trillion in global trade passes each year — and regularly conducts FONOPs in the area.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9727

Huge Game Changer As China Doubles Down With Russia And Three Major Nuclear Powers Converge On Venezuela

By Stefan Stanford – All News Pipeline – Live Free Or Die


In this new story over at The Stranger that both the Drudge Report and Steve Quayle had linked to on Wednesday, they give us the latest update on the staggering situation in Venezuela, where the Chinese People’s Liberation Army has just sent a team from the world’s largest standing army into Venezuela with The Stranger story pointing out what this means: three major nuclear-weapon countries are converging on Venezuela.

While President Trump national security advisor John Bolton recently admonished Russia on their sending of troops to the country, claiming that ‘anything was on the table‘ in regards to a US response, China has doubled-down upon Russia’s moves in what this story over at News Click calls “a game changer. And while China’s troops are allegedly there to deliver humanitarian aid, we should remember that China and Russia recently held THE biggest wargames in history during ‘Vostok 18’ back in September, prompting complaints from NATO that the drills were “a rehearsal for a major conflict.

Might we soon witness World War 3 unfolding with Chinese and Russian troops now in Venezuela and Bolton and the US having threatened Russia to get their troops out already? From this story over at The Stranger titled “If You Are Not Paying Attention, the World-Ending Storm of a Third World War Is Gathering in Venezuela“:   

At first, the US’s aggressive position on Venezuela seemed uncomplicated. Troops were quickly on the mind of the top hawk in D.C.—White House National Security Adviser John Bolton, the man who, in the first years of the 2000s, played a key role in leading the US into an adventure—the second Iraq war—that proved to be disastrous, and placed American imperial power in a terminal crisis (the collapse of the Project for the New American Century).

The fickle public had forgotten about all that. Bolton, a member of the “old gang” (Cheney, Rummy, Wolfowitz), could resume the war drumming he loves so much. The press could be expected to amplify it. And old allies would fall into line. Venezuela has oil, a socialist government in turmoil, and pro-American opponents who are ready to exploit the oil and turmoil. What could go wrong with the regional exertion of basic imperial power?

Then the Russians arrived and began supporting the socialist leader that the US wants to oust, Nicolas Maduro. And now a team from the largest standing army in the world, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, have, according to Al-Masdar News, been deployed to a crisis that’s becoming more and more dangerous. What this means is that three major nuclear-weapon countries are converging on Venezuela.

china_arrives_in_VZ.png

If things weren’t complicated enough already in Venezuela where the people have been starving under Nicolas Maduro for several years now, the nation has also seen several electrical grid outages over the past few weeks and with the world’s biggest superpowers converging, as The Stranger story points out, these latest moves by China muddy the waters even more, and at a time when the US’s dominance in war is in great question should we go up against Russia and China. 

As globalist think tank RAND had warned back in March following their carrying out of a World War 3 simulation featuring a war between the US and Russia/China, the U.S. continues to lose against Russia and China two top war planners had warned. “In our games, when we fight Russia and China, blue gets its ass handed to it” RAND analyst David Ochmanek said. Once again, from The Stranger story.: 

There are more complications. Bolton’s policy positions are clear enough:

Since joining Trump’s White House, Bolton has pursued an agenda that includes trying to break Iran financially, oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, shield Americans from the reach of the International Criminal Court and toughen the U.S. posture toward Russia. He coordinated with key lawmakers, U.S. diplomatic and defense officials and the Israelis to compel Trump to slow an abrupt withdrawal of American forces from Syria.

But his position in the White House is not so clear. His expanding public profile, Bloomberg reports, seems to be getting at Trump’s goat (or, put another way, big ego). The growing split between Bolton the globalist hawk and Trump the anti-globalist is certainly on the radar of Russian and Chinese intelligence. This state of things is bound to throw US foreign objectives into a confusion that will debilitate the main peaceful way out of the crisis—diplomacy.

But what would trigger a third world war? Simply the escalating costs of maintaining the key capitalist directive, which is limitless growth, in the face of real limits posed by climate change. We can expect this situation to be exacerbated by the world-historical development at this conjecture, which is the transition of political/economic power from Washington, D.C./New York City to Beijing/Shanghai. What the history of capitalism makes very clear is that such transitions (the Dutch to the British, the British to the US) are not gradual and peaceful, but always accelerated by war.

As we’ve reported previously on ANP, while those who seek out war against Russia (Bolton?) seemingly do so because they believe that we will be able to win such a war, as Dr. Peter Vincent Pry had reported on ANP back on March 14th of 2018, we’ve entered a new era of warfare where ‘mutually assured destruction is no longer mutual‘ after Russia achieved ‘the holy grail of nuclear superiority over America, escalation dominance, largely thanks to Barack Obama’s NEW START treaty. 

While Bolton and others seeking out war for Venezuela’s recourses may have believed a short time ago that they’d be able to send US troops into the region and secure the nation, the arrival of first Russian troops there now followed by the arrival of China absolutely muddies the water and complicates any ‘invasion‘ strategy the US might have had with any such moves potentially pitting US troops against soldiers from the PLA or Russian special forces who are already there

And should we ignore the many warnings from experts such as Dr. Pry and get into a ‘skirmish‘ in Venezuela that triggers WW3, a war that we probably cannot win should it be against Russia and China, we’ll remind folks here like John Bolton of what we’d now be up against. 

Russia’s Satan 2 nuclear missiles, allegedly with the power to completely destroy an area the size of Texas or France, might be the least of our worries, Mr. Bolton, and according to experts, we can’t stop them. As we had reported on ANP back on March 31st:

Back on March 22nd of 2018, the website ‘Task and Purpose’ reported that while testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, US Air Force General John Hyten warned lawmakers “the U.S. isn’t completely prepared to stave off adversaries’ hypersonic missile technologies.”

Within that same story they reported that according to US Senator Jim Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, America was powerless against Russia’s new hypersonic weapons, a warning Inhofe repeated again back in November of 2018, that Russia was perhaps light years ahead of the US in their development of hypersonic nuclear weapons.

As Paul Craig Roberts warned back in October of 2016, just prior to the presidential election, “Five or six of these ‘Satans’ as they are known by the US military, and the East Coast of the United States disappears“, potentially leaving much of the Eastern half of the United States completely uninhabitable for hundreds if not thousands of years. 

VLADIMIR Putin’s nuclear stockpile could completely destroy the east coast of the US in one clean swipe should the Russian leader launch an attack on the West, an expert has warned.

A staggering 112.6million people could be at risk of extermination from the deadly missiles.

Russia has the largest haul of nuclear weapons of any country in the world and reportedly has the most powerful bomb named the SS-18 – menacingly nicknamed the Satan.

Experts estimate Russia has 55 of the deadly weapons, but only five would be needed to destroy the East Coast of the US. 

“Five or six of these ‘Satans’ as they are known by the US military, and the East Coast of the United States disappears.”

Dr Roberts said: “The atomic bombs that Washington dropped on these helpless civilian centres while the Japanese government was trying to surrender, were mere popguns compared to today’s thermo-nuclear weapons.

 

And as Dr. Pry had also reported on ANP back on June 20th of 2018, Russia now has a new ‘nuclear apocalypse machine‘ named ‘POSEIDON‘, an AI-powered nuclear submarine allegedly capable of unleashing a tsunami of up to 1,600 feet high which travels hundreds of miles inland, leaving everything in its path a flooded nuclear wasteland.

And should tensions in Venezuela escalate to the point that Russia/China decide that they have no choice but to retaliate against the US but decide NOT to drop a nuclear bomb upon US cities, instead choosing to do to us what some have accused the US of doing to Venezuela, taking down the electrical grid via EMP, it’s long been warned that such a scenario would eventually lead to the deaths of 90% of Americans or more through violence and starvation as ‘the system‘ collapses.

So we pray that cooler heads prevail in Venezuela and pray for the people of Venezuela who have for far too long been suffering.

In the first video below from Ruptly we see China’s PLA arriving in Venezuela while in the 2nd and final video below from videographer ‘Hedgehog‘ titled “World War 3: Something Prophetic Is Happening“, our videographer takes a look at a medley of different news stories surrounding Venezuela and the converging of nuclear powers there while warning of more ‘end times signs‘. 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9720

Airstrikes, Tanks Heading To The Border And Planes Shot Down – India And Pakistan Are In A State Of War

War has erupted in Asia.  India is the second largest country in the world by population, and Pakistan is the fifth largest, and they both possess large nuclear arsenals.  If this conflict continues to escalate, things could get really, really bad very quickly.  On Wednesday, military aircraft were shot down by both sides, there was shelling across the border by both armies, and in recent hours videos have been posted of Pakistani tanks and Indian tanks both heading to the border.  Once one army crosses the “Line of Control”, it is going to be very difficult to get the two sides to sit down at the negotiating table.  War is one of the elements of “the perfect storm” that I have been warning you about, and I have a feeling that this is just the beginning of the conflict that we are going to see in 2019.

The Pakistani military was greatly embarrassed by the successful Indian airstrikes on Monday, and on Tuesday military aircraft from both sides were shot down

Earlier today Pakistan and India said they had shot down each other’s warplanes, in a dramatic escalation of the dangerous confrontation between the nuclear-armed rivals.

Pakistan said it downed two Indian jets in its airspace and captured two pilots, later amended to one: whom they then seemingly paraded – blindfolded and bloodied – for the camera.

On Tuesday evening, Islamabad used heavy calibre artillery to shell 12 to 15 places along the Indian side creating panic among the populace on the border where bunkers are being hastily thrown up to ease their fears.

When the Indian pilot that was shot down was discovered by locals in Pakistan, they started beating the living daylights out of him.  The following comes from the Mirror

The brief clip shows the cameraman approach a group of people huddled around the stricken pilot in what appears to be a small creek.

The pilot, whose arms are being held above his head, is struck in the face twice before being kicked in the back of the head, with someone behind him appearing to attempt to knee him.

The Pakistani military was able to rescue the pilot from the locals, and they are now holding him in a detention facility.

In addition to airstrikes, it is being reported that both armies “have been shelling across the LoC (Line of Control)”.  Needless to say, a lot of civilians that live along the border are really freaked out, and on the Indian side of the border a total of 14,000 bunkers are hastily being constructed to give concerned citizens some shelter.

Most westerners don’t really think of India and Pakistan as prominent global military powers, but the truth is that they both have very large standing armies.  And at this point India is allocating even more money than the UK toward military spending…

India, home to 1.3 billion people, has a conventional army of about 1.4 million soldiers. Pakistan, with a population of over 200 million people, has about 650,000 troops. Both countries have spent billions developing conventional arms. Last year, Pakistan spent about $11 billion or about 3.6 percent of its gross domestic product on defense. India meanwhile allocated about $58 billion, or 2.1 percent of its GDP on defense, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies. India’s ballooning military spending has propelled it to the world’s fifth-biggest defense spender, surpassing the United Kingdom, according to the IISS.

But the big concern is that this crisis could go nuclear.

If India and Pakistan fought a war and it stayed strictly conventional, the rest of the world would probably not be affected too much.

However, it is being reported that India and Pakistan both “possess more than 100 nuclear warheads each”, and if such weapons are actually used the global impact would be “devastating”…

Both India and Pakistan are believed to possess more than 100 nuclear warheads each and have conducted atomic weapon tests. Both countries have test-fired nuclear-capable missiles. Pakistan also has refused to renounce a first-strike option with its atomic bombs should it feel outgunned in a conventional war. It takes less than four minutes for a missile fired from Pakistan to reach India. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists warns that “computer models have predicted that the physical impacts of a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan, or even a single strike on a large city, would be devastating and would reverberate throughout the world.”

Approximately one out of every five people on the entire planet lives in either India or Pakistan.

So the death toll in a nuclear conflict between these two nations could result in a death toll that would be unimaginable.

And let us not forget that it looks like the U.S. is about to enter another new war as well.  In an article that I posted yesterday, I discussed the fact that Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev has just accused the United States of shipping troops to Colombia and Puerto Rico in preparation for an invasion of Venezuela.  China has come out very strongly against western military intervention in Venezuela, and the Russians already have special forces there.

If someone makes the wrong move, it could end up sparking World War 3.

We are living in one of the most pivotal times in all of human history, and most people don’t even realize it.

If India backs down, Pakistan will probably be willing to go to the negotiating table.  But if India’s tanks cross the Line of Control, Pakistan may feel forced to resort to using nukes because they can’t match India’s military strength, and then all hell could break loose.

Similarly, if the U.S. backs down and doesn’t arm the opposition in Venezuela, there probably won’t be a bloody war in that nation.  But if the U.S. arms the opposition and decides to invade on top of that, it is going to unleash a series of negative consequences that we will not be able to control.

Critical decisions are being made right now that are going to greatly alter our future, and let us hope that cooler heads prevail.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9659

Pakistan says it shot down 2 Indian warplanes, shut down its airspace

By Edmund DeMarche | Fox News

Tensions between two of the world’s nuclear powers were raised dramatically Wednesday after Pakistan’s air force said it shot down two Indian warplanes that crossed the disputed Kashmir border and captured each of the aircraft’s pilots.

Police officials in Indian-occupied Kashmir told Reuters two Indian pilots and a civilian on the ground died when the planes crashed. The officials did not confirm the planes were shot down by Pakistani forces.

Raveesh Kumar, a spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, also claimed an Indian plane shot down a Pakistani fighter jet — although Pakistan denied any of its jets had been hit and photographic evidence had yet to emerge.

The Pakistani official said one of the Indian planes crashed in the Pakistani part of Kashmir and the other went down in Indian-controlled Kashmir. Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor told the Associated Press one of the pilots was injured and was being treated in a military hospital. He did not elaborate on the pilot’s injuries. Ghafoor said the other pilot was in custody.

News sites out of Pakistan posted unconfirmed pictures and videos of one of the pilots who appeared blindfolded and with a bloody nose. Pakistan’s information ministry also tweeted out apparent footage of one of the downed Indian jets as well as a message congratulating the Pakistan Air Force.

A senior Indian police officer said earlier that an Indian Air Force plane crashed in the Indian-controlled sector of Kashmir. No information about injuries or deaths was immediately available.

Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority said later it closed its airspace to all commercial flights as tensions with India escalated.

Tensions have been simmering between the two nuclear-powers after India launched an airstrike Tuesday following a suicide bombing that killed more than 40 soldiers in India’s section of the disputed territory of Kashmir earlier this month.

Indian air force spokesman Anupam Banerjee in New Delhi told the Associated Press he had no information on Wednesday’s incident.

Tensions have been simmering between the two nuclear-powers after India launched an airstrike Tuesday following a suicide bombing that killed more than 40 soldiers in India’s section of the disputed territory of Kashmir earlier this month. (AP)

In a televised address, Imran Khan, the Pakistani prime minister, warned against further escalation between the two countries.

“If we let it happen, it will remain neither in my nor [Indian prime minister] Narendra Modi’s control,” he said.

Referring to air strikes by Pakistan earlier Wednesday, he said Pakistan had been obliged to respond to Tuesday’s action by India.

“Our action is just to let them know that just like they intruded into our territory, we are also capable of going into their territory.”

Sushma Swaraj, the Indian foreign minister, said India “does not wish to see further escalation of the situation.”

Residents on both sides of the de-facto frontier, the so-called Line of Control, said there were exchanges of fire between the two sides through the night. In Pakistan’s part of Kashmir, hundreds of villagers have fled border towns.

The airport in Srinagar, the main city in Indian-controlled Kashmir, was closed in what was described as a “temporary and precautionary measure,” an Indian official told the Associated Press.

Asian News International reported that commercial flights between Indian and Pakistani airspace are affected. Its report said Pakistan immediately stopped domestic and international flight operations from Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Sialkot and Islamabad airports.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9649