Archive for ‘Prime minister’

29/05/2019

China, Pakistan vow to further strengthen ties, cooperation

PAKISTAN-CHINA-WANG QISHAN-VISIT

Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan meets with Pakistani President Arif Alvi in Islamabad, Pakistan, May 26, 2019. Wang Qishan visited Pakistan from Sunday to Tuesday and held meetings with Pakistani President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan respectively on further strengthening bilateral relations. (Xinhua/Yan Yan)

ISLAMABAD, May 28 (Xinhua) — Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan visited Pakistan from Sunday to Tuesday and held meetings with Pakistani President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan respectively on further strengthening bilateral relations.

When meeting with the Pakistani president, Wang said China and Pakistan are “iron friends.” Throughout the past 68 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties, the two countries have always respected and supported each other on issues concerning each others’ core interests, forging the sincerest friendship.

In recent years, the development of China-Pakistan relations has kept a good momentum, with mutual political trust further enhanced, pragmatic cooperation continuously deepened and people-to-people exchanges growing more vigorous, Wang said.

He said the development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has made concrete achievements and has become an important hallmark for China-Pakistan friendly cooperation in the new era, adding that his visit was meant for sending out a signal once more to peoples of the two countries and the world that China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners.

Wang said China is willing to strengthen the all-around cooperation with Pakistan in various sectors and at various levels, so as to make the friendship better benefit the two sides and forge a closer China-Pakistan community of shared future in the new era.

For his part, President Arif Alvi extended congratulations to the upcoming 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. He said Pakistan-China cooperation has become more important in current times. Pakistan is firmly committed to the one-China policy, firmly supports China in safeguarding the country’s core and major interests, he said.

Pakistan wishes to deepen cooperation with China in such areas including agriculture, tourism and trade, with a bid to promote the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership further ahead, said the president, who also expressed appreciation for China’s support to Pakistan and wished China to play a bigger role in international and regional affairs.

After their meeting, the Pakistani president conferred on Wang the Nishan-e-Pakistan, the country’s highest award for foreign leaders.

While meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Wang said the prime minister has visited China twice since taking office and reached important consensus with Chinese leaders on further pushing forward the development of bilateral relations.

China is ready to join hands with Pakistan to deepen high-level exchanges, boost strategic communication and pragmatic cooperation as well as closely coordinate in international and regional affairs between the two sides, Wang said.

Wang called on the two sides to work for high-quality CPEC development in the next phase, and make concrete progress in industrial park building and agricultural cooperation.

China will speed up the implementation of social and people’s livelihood projects of early harvest, and discuss the third-party cooperation in the CPEC development, he added.

The Chinese vice president called for strengthened people-to-people and cultural exchanges and collaboration so as to expand the public foundation for the China-Pakistan friendship.

Wang hoped that Pakistan will take effective measures to provide security guarantees for the cooperation and exchanges between the two countries.

Imran Khan, for his part, said that Pakistan adheres to the friendly policy towards China, admires the achievements of China’s reform and opening-up and stands ready to consolidate the traditional friendship with China.

Pakistan also hopes to learn from China in terms of state governance, and enhance exchanges and cooperation in the sectors of agricultural technology, special economic zone development, talent training and anti-corruption.

Noting that fruitful results have been reaped in the CPEC development, the Pakistani prime minister said that the CPEC has played an important role in promoting Pakistan’s economic development and improving people’s livelihood.

He said Pakistan has established a special committee to take charge of inter-department and inter-sector coordination and ensure personnel safety of Chinese institutions in Pakistan.

Pakistan will continue to enhance coordination with China in international and regional affairs so as to enrich bilateral all-weather strategic cooperative partnership.

After the meeting, Wang Qishan and Imran Khan jointly witnessed the signing of bilateral cooperation agreements concerning agriculture, customs and disaster relief.

During his stay in Pakistan, the Chinese vice president also met with local leaders of the Punjab province, addressed the Friends of Silk Road Forum and visited Haier-Ruba Economic Zone.

Source: Xinhua

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28/05/2019

Pakistan PM Khan speaks with India’s Modi to congratulate him on election win

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday spoke to Narendra Modi and congratulated the Indian leader on the runaway election victory of his Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), both countries said on Sunday.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi today and congratulated him on his party’s electoral victory in the Lok Sabha elections in India,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

“The Prime Minister expressed his desire for both countries to work together for the betterment of their peoples.”

Tensions between India and Pakistan, both nuclear-armed countries, flared in February with cross-border air strikes and a brief battle between fighter jets above Kashmir.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs confirmed Khan had called Modi on Sunday, adding the two leaders had discussed fighting poverty together.

He (Modi) stressed that creating trust and an environment free of violence and terrorism were essential for fostering cooperation for peace, progress and prosperity in our region,” the ministry added in a statement.

Source: Reuters

12/05/2019

Indians vote in penultimate phase of seven-round general election

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Voters in north India lined up early on Sunday to cast their ballots in the second-to-last round of a seven-phase general election, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi facing a diverse group of opposition parties seeking to deny him a second term.

More than 100 million people across seven states are eligible to vote in the sixth phase of the 39-day-long poll, which Modi began on April 11 as front-runner after an escalation of tension with neighbouring Pakistan.

But opposition parties have recently taken heart at what they see as signs Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) may be losing ground and have begun negotiations over a post-election alliance even before polling ends on May 19. Votes will be counted on May 23.

The president of the main opposition Congress party, Rahul Gandhi, said the main issues in the election were unemployment, distress in the countryside, the demonetisation of bank notes and a new sales tax.

“It was a good fight,” Gandhi said after he cast his vote.

“Narendra Modi used hatred, we used love. And I think love is going to win.”

A lack of new jobs – despite annual economic growth of about 7% – and the plight of farmers struggling with falling crop prices have been major worries for voters.

A new good and services tax (GST), as well as Modi’s shock ban on all high-value currency notes in 2016, hurt small and medium businesses.

Some voters in the capital, New Delhi, said they were backing Modi because they were won over by his tough stand on security.

Indian warplanes attacked what the government said was a terrorist training camp in Pakistan in February, soon after a suicide car bomb attack in the disputed Kashmir region killed 40 police officers.

BIG CHANCE FOR SMALL PARTIES?

The aggressive response stirred nationalist passions that pollsters said could favour Modi in the election.

“I have voted for Modi’s sound foreign policy and national security,” said a 36-year-old first-time voter who declined to be identified.

“The demonetisation has affected jobs growth but over time, the positive effects of GST and demonetisation would take care of jobs,” he said.

But concern about unemployment and crop prices have put the BJP on the back foot, and the opposition has in recent days felt more upbeat about its chances.

Political analysts say state-based and caste-driven parties could be decisive in determining the make-up of the next government.

“Regional parties will play a bigger role compared to the previous 5 years or even 15 years,” said K.C. Suri, a political science professor at the University of Hyderabad. “They will regain their importance in national politics.”

Recent weeks have also been marked by personal attacks between leaders, including comments from Modi about the family of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty.

At a recent rally Modi called Gandhi’s late father, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, “corrupt no. 1”. The BJP says Modi was reacting to Rahul Gandhi calling him a thief.

“The political vitriolic has become intense, and negatively intense,” said Ashok Acharya, a political science professor at the University of Delhi.

“It seems as if this particular election is all about a few political personalities. It is not about issues, any kind of an agenda.”

Source: Reuters

11/03/2019

Modi’s former ally in Kashmir urges India to talk to Pakistan

SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) – India should talk to Pakistan and separatists in Kashmir to defuse tension raised by a suicide attack on an Indian paramilitary convoy that was claimed by Pakistan-based militants, a former chief minister of the state said.

Mehbooba Mufti, who was the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir from early 2014 to June last year when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party withdrew support for her regional party, said an ongoing crackdown on militants and those supporting secession could further alienate the people.

India has vowed to kill all the militants in the country’s only Muslim-majority state if they don’t give up arms, after a 20-year-old local man killed 40 paramilitary troopers in a suicide attack last month.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has sought to speak with Modi amid the hostility, said no militant group would be allowed to operate from his country to carry out attacks abroad, days after his government announced a sweeping crackdown against Islamist militant organisations.
“This confrontational attitude – no talks, no discussion -has an impact,” Mufti said. “Whatever relationship we have with Pakistan, it has a direct impact on Jammu and Kashmir and we are the worst sufferers of this animosity.”
Indian authorities have arrested many separatist leaders in Kashmir in the past few weeks, and the chief of Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said recently that the government had made it clear to them that “if they want to live in India, they will have to speak the language of India, not Pakistan’s”.
Mufti, whose father was also a chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, said the tough stance by Indian authorities would only lead to “some calm on the surface” that won’t last. India killed 248 militants in Kashmir in 2018 – the highest in a decade.
“Once you start choking the space for dissent in a democracy, people feel pushed to the wall and then it leads to further dissent and alienation,” she said.
Mufti said India’s general election – starting April 11 and whose results will be declared on May 23 – could delay the process of any inter-party talks on Kashmir.
Source: Reuters
07/03/2019

China praises Pakistan for ‘restraint’ with India, Islamabad says thank you

The Chinese foreign ministry on Thursday released a statement in Chinese following the visit of vice-foreign minister Kong Xuanyou to Pakistan, lauding Islamabad’s response.

WORLD Updated: Mar 07, 2019 16:42 IST

Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
China,Pakistan,Islamabad
Kong visited Pakistan as Islamabad faced pressure from global powers to act against groups carrying out attacks in India, including Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which claimed responsibility for the February 14 attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel in Pulwama.(REUTERS File Photo)

China has praised Pakistan for its handling of the tense situation with India, appreciating Islamabad’s “restraint” in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir in February.

The Chinese foreign ministry on Thursday released a statement in Chinese following the visit of vice-foreign minister Kong Xuanyou to Pakistan, lauding Islamabad’s response.

“China has paid close attention to the present situation between Pakistan and India, and appreciates Pakistan remaining calm and exercising restraint from the beginning, and persisting in pushing to lower the temperature with India via dialogue,” the foreign ministry statement said.

It paraphrased Kong’s discussions with Pakistan’s leadership comprising Prime Minister Imran Khan, army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

Kong visited Pakistan as Islamabad faced pressure from global powers to act against groups carrying out attacks in India, including Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which claimed responsibility for the February 14 attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel in Pulwama.

The Pulwama suicide attack – the worst in Kashmir in decades – led to the most serious conflict in years between the nuclear-armed neighbours with India carrying out a strike on a JeM camp in Balakot and then a dogfight over the skies of Kashmir.

Kong was quoted as telling the Pakistani leadership that China maintains that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be earnestly respected and that Beijing is unwilling to see acts that violate the norms of international relations.

The statement quoted Kong as saying that China calls on Pakistan and India to refrain from taking actions to aggravate the situation, show goodwill and flexibility, launch dialogue as soon as possible, and work together to maintain regional peace and stability.

According to the statement, the Pakistani leaders appreciated China’s objective and fair position on the situation in Pakistan and India and thanked China for its efforts to promote the cooling of the situation.
It added that the Pakistani side reiterated that it is unwilling to see an escalation of the situation and is willing to resolve the contradictions and differences between the two sides through dialogue and peacefully, and welcomes China and the international community to play an active role in this regard.
Source: Hindustan Times
23/02/2019

Time to test Pathan’s words: PM Modi on Imran Khan’s promise

At a public rally in Rajasthan, PM Modi said attacks on Kashmiri youths after Pulwama terror attack help the enemies of the country.

INDIA Updated: Feb 23, 2019 19:11 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Tonk, Rajasthan
Narendra Modi,Modi in Tonk,Pulwama terror attack
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a public meeting, in Tonk in Rajasthan on Saturday. (PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday denounced reported attacks on Kashmiri youths in some parts of the country following Pulwama terror attack killing at least 40 soldiers on February 14. PM Modi said Kashmiri youths should not be targeted anywhere in the country.

Speaking at a public rally in Rajasthan’s Tonk, PM Modi said, “Our fight is against terror, the enemies of humanity… Our fight is for Kashmir not against Kashmir, not against Kashmiris.”

“What happened to Kashmiri youths in the last few days…It does not matter whether the incident was small or big, such things should not happen. Kashmiri youths are victims of terror. Every child of Kashmir is with India in our fight against terror,” said PM Modi.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah welcomed the statement of PM Modi. “Thank you @narendramodi Sahib. Aaj aap ne hamaray dil ki baat keh di (you said what I have in my heart),” wrote Abdullah on Twitter soon after the prime minister made the comment at his rally.

PM Modi referred to his congratulatory phone call to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, when he assumed office after the general elections in Pakistan last year. PM Modi said, “As per protocol, I telephoned Pakistan’s new prime minister. I told him we have fought for long. Let India and Pakistan together fight poverty and illiteracy.”

“Pakistan’s prime minister told me, ‘I am the son of a Pathan. I do what I say.’ It is time to test his words,” PM Modi said at his rally in Rajasthan.

Also read: Centre moves 100 companies of paramilitary forces to Srinagar amid massive crackdown

The prime minister said incidents like these “give power to Bharat ke tukde honge gang” and their supporters. “It is the responsibility of every Indian to protect every laal (child) of Kashmir,” he said.

The prime minister served another warning to Kashmiri separatist leaders, many of whom were stripped of their security cover early this week. The Union home ministry had ordered to review the security provided by the government to the separatist leaders in the wake of Pulwama attack.

PM Modi said, “Action has been taken against separatists and more action will be taken against such people…We can’t keep silent, we know how to crush terror.”

‘Trust Modi Sarkar’

Asserting that the government has moved swiftly to “avenge” Pulwama terror attack, PM Modi said all the major institutions of the world have condemned “the terror attack that was engineered at Pulwama”.

“I am proud that our security forces sent the perpetrators (of Pulwama attack) within 100 hours to where they belong,” he said referring to encounter in Pulwama a day after the terror attack on Jammu-Srinagar highway, where a CRPF convoy carrying more than 2,500 jawans was targeted by a suicide bomber.

Also read:In crackdown in Kashmir, JLKF chief Yasin Malik, Jamaat leaders detained

“Trust the brave soldiers of the country and trust the Modi government…This time, everyone will be taken to justice and complete justice will be served,” said PM Modi adding, “Your pradhan sevak is busy finishing terror…If I am destined to put locks to the factory of terror, so be it.”

He also talked about the steps, the government has taken to put pressure on Pakistan following Pulwama attack. He said, “Pakistan is being accounted for everything that they have done. There is anxiety in Pakistan due to the steps we have taken after the terror attack.”

A day after Pulwama terror attack, the government decided at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) to withdraw the most favoured nation (MFN) status granted to Pakistan in 1996. The government also hiked tariff on goods to be imported from Pakistan by 200 per cent.

The external affairs ministry reached out to more than a dozen countries to corner Pakistan, which denied its hand behind the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir despite Jaish-e-Mohammed, a terror group based out of that country, claimed responsibility for the attack on CRPF jawans.

On Thursday, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) passed a resolution condemning Pulwama terror attack. The UNSC named Jaish-e-Mohammed in its statement. The UNSC resolution was unanimously approved by all members including China, which has been shielding Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar from being declared as global terrorist by the top UN body.

In the latter half of his public speech, PM Modi sounded poll bugle throwing what appeared as an election slogan, “Modi hai to mumkin hai” (it is possible if Modi is there). He said, “People have faith in the current government because of the work done in last four years. Modi hai to mumkin hai.”

He listed out achievements of his government and talked about schemes such health insurance, One-Rank-One-Pension and electrification among others repeating the same slogan at the end. He also accused the Congress of misleading the people of Rajasthan in last year’s assembly election by making farm loan waiver promise.

Source: Hindustan Times

22/02/2019

Pulwama attack: India government must protect Kashmiris – top court

Protests against attacks on Kashmiris in Srinagar on 20 FebruaryImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionProtests have been held in Indian-administered Kashmir over attacks on Kashmiris in other parts of India

India’s top court has ordered the government to protect Kashmiri people from attacks in apparent retaliation for last week’s deadly bombing in Indian-administered Kashmir.

There have been several reports of Kashmiri students and businessmen being harassed or beaten up in recent days.

The Supreme Court has also sought a response from the states where these alleged incidents happened.

The attack has sparked anger and anti-Pakistan protests across India.

The suicide bombing of an Indian security convoy in Pulwama on 14 February was claimed by a Pakistan-based militant group and has led to a war of words between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan.

But in some cases the anger has been directed against Kashmiri people living in other parts of India. The attack, which killed more than 40 Indian paramilitary police, was the deadliest against Indian forces in Kashmir in decades.

Hundreds of Kashmiri students, traders and businessmen have returned to Kashmir from various Indian cities out of fear that they could face harassment or attack.

Many Indians have expressed sympathy towards the Kashmiri students on social media, with some offering shelter in their own homes.

India has long had a volatile relationship with Muslim-majority Kashmir, where there has been an armed insurgency against Indian rule since the late 1980s.

The region has been a flashpoint between India and Pakistan since independence. Both countries claim all of Kashmir but control only parts of it. They have fought two wars and a limited conflict over the territory.

Kashmiri students from Dehradun, Ambala, Banur and Mohali leaving for Kashmir in Mohali, India.Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionKashmiri students living in Dehradun and other cities have returned home since the attack

What did the court say?

The court’s decision singled out the federal government as well as governments in 10 states which are home to a sizeable Kashmiri population.

It asked authorities to widely publicise the details of officials who Kashmiris can contact if they face threats or violence.

The order was in response to a petition seeking protection for Kashmiris living across India. Tehseen Poonawala, one of the petitioners, told the BBC that he was moved to act because he was “disturbed” after reading reports of Kashmiris being attacked.

“It’s not about Kashmiris. It’s about human beings. We cannot be a country that responds with mob violence,” he said.

What happened to Kashmiri students?

In the days following the attack, isolated incidents of students from Kashmir being beaten up or evicted from their accommodation in northern Indian states were reported in local media. Kashmiri Muslims were warned to stay vigilant and India’s Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) offered help to those in need, but also warned of false reports.

Twenty Kashmiri girls in the northern city of Dehradun were forced to lock themselves in their hostel after protesters gathered outside to demand their eviction, according to the Times of India.

Two other colleges in the city issued public statements saying they would not admit Kashmiri students in the next academic year.

“We did so to provide protection to the [Kashmiri] students,” the college principal, Aslam Siddidqu, told the BBC, adding that he had faced pressure from right-wing groups.

Federal education minister Prakash Javadekar has denied that “incidents” have taken place involving Kashmiri students.

But a police official in Dehradun told the BBC that 22 students had been arrested for protesting and demanding that Kashmiri students be expelled from colleges in the city.

Kashmiri traders are seen shouting slogans during the protest. Traders in Lal Chowk and adjoining markets closed their shops as a mark of protest against attacks on Kashmiris elsewhere in India.Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionMarkets and businesses were closed to protest against violence

What’s the bigger picture?

The attack has raised tensions between India and Pakistan, which have fought two wars and a limited conflict in the region and are both nuclear powers.

India has accused Pakistani intelligence services of having a hand in the attack, which was claimed by militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad.

Pakistan denies this and has warned that it will retaliate if India takes military action. In his first comments addressing the attack, Prime Minister Imran Khan said India should “stop blaming Pakistan without any proof or evidence” and urged Indian authorities to share any “actionable intelligence”.

India has moved to impose trade restrictions on Pakistan. It has also said it will build dams to reduce the flow of water to Pakistan from three rivers in India. Similar plans were announced in 2016, after a deadly militant attack on an Indian base in Kashmir.

The tensions between the neighbours may also have an impact on cricket, a national obsession in both India and Pakistan. Amid outrage over the attack, there have been calls for India to boycott its much anticipated match against Pakistan at the World Cup in June.

Indian cricket administrators say no decision has yet been made.

Source: The BBC

19/02/2019

China’s top legislator vows to enhance exchanges with National Diet of Japan

Li Zhanshu (R), chairman of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, shakes hands with Ninoyu Satoshi, a member of Japan’s House of Councillors who heads a delegation consisting of several members of Japan’s House of Councillors, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Feb. 18, 2019. The delegation was in Beijng to attend the eighth meeting of the mechanism for regular exchanges between China’s top legislature and the upper house of the National Diet of Japan. (Xinhua/Li Tao)

BEIJING, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) — China’s top legislator Li Zhanshu on Monday met with a delegation consisting of several members of Japan’s House of Councillors, pledging to enhance the exchanges and cooperation with the National Diet of Japan, so as to promote Sino-Japanese relationship.

Li, chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, said there are important opportunities facing the two countries this year for further improvement and development of bilateral ties, as China-Japan relations were led back to the right track of development after Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met three times last year and reached important consensus.

“The two sides should implement the consensus of the leaders of the two countries, enhance mutual trust over strategic security, expand pragmatic cooperation in such areas as the economy, culture and exchanges between the young people,” said Li.

Ninoyu Satoshi, head of the delegation and a member of Japan’s House of Councillors, said the National Diet of Japan would like to reinforce contacts and mutual understanding with the National People’s Congress of China and make more contributions to the two countries’ neighborly friendliness.

The delegation was in Beijing to attend the eighth meeting of the mechanism for regular exchanges between China’s top legislature and the upper house of the National Diet of Japan.

Source: Xinhua

15/02/2019

Seizing on Huawei’s troubles, Samsung bets big on network gear

SEOUL (Reuters) – Samsung Electronics is pouring resources into its telecom network equipment business, aiming to capitalize on the security fears hobbling China’s Huawei, according to company officials and other industry executives.

Those efforts include moving high-performing managers and numerous employees to the network division from its handset unit, two Samsung sources said.
Potential customers are taking notice of Samsung’s efforts to reinvent itself as a top-tier supplier for 5G wireless networks and bridge a big gap with market leader Huawei and industry heavyweights Ericsson and Nokia.
French carrier Orange’s chief technology officer, Mari-Noëlle Jégo-Laveissière, visited Japan last year and was impressed with the pace of 5G preparations using alternative equipment makers including Samsung, a company representative told Reuters.

Orange, which operates in 27 markets and counts Huawei as its top equipment supplier, will run its first French 5G tests with Samsung this year.

Underscoring the growing importance of the business, South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon visited Samsung’s network division in January. In a closed-door meeting during that visit, Samsung heir Jay Y. Lee asked for government help with recruiting high-level engineers.
Huawei is battling allegations by the United States and some other Western countries that its equipment could enable Chinese spying and should not be used in 5G networks, which will offer higher speeds and a host of new services.
Australia and New Zealand have joined the United States in effectively barring Huawei from 5G, and many other countries, especially in Europe, are considering a ban. Huawei denies that its gear presents any security risk.
Its woes have presented Samsung with a rare opportunity. Telecom firms would ordinarily stick with their 4G providers for 5G upgrades as they can use existing gear to minimize costs, but many firms may now be under political pressure to switch.

“We’re bolstering our network business to seize market opportunities arising at a time when Huawei is the subject of warnings about security,” said one of the Samsung sources.

The sources, who did not disclose specific figures for the employee moves, declined to be identified as they were not authorized to speak on the matter.

Keen to seek new growth, particularly as sales of its mainstay chips and smartphones have begun to drop, Samsung plans to invest $22 billion in 5G mobile technology and other fields over three years. It declined to break down how much will go to 5G and the other areas – artificial intelligence, biopharma and automotive electronic parts.

“Samsung is focused on building trust with our partners and leading the global 5G markets, regardless of other companies,” it said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

Asked about Samsung’s big push into network equipment, Huawei said in a statement that it welcomed competition in the market.

INDIA OPPORTUNITY

In India, Samsung is now in talks with Reliance Jio to upgrade its network to 5G, looking to build on what has perhaps been its biggest network success – becoming the key supplier for the upstart carrier.

“We don’t think 5G is far away in India,” a Samsung official with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. He declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Samsung’s clients include U.S. firms AT&T Inc, Verizon Communications Inc and Sprint Corp and it has 5G network contracts with all three, though it was not clear how extensive those contracts are. It also sells to South Korean carriers and has partnered with Japanese mobile carriers to test its 5G equipment.

In many cases, Samsung supplies only small pieces of networks. According to market tracker Dell’Oro Group, the South Korean firm holds just 3 percent of the global telecom infrastructure market compared with 28 percent for Huawei.

Its network business made 870 billion won ($775 million) in operating profit last year, according to Eugene Investment & Securities. Filings show Nokia’s network business made about 1.2 billion euros ($1.4 billion) while Ericsson’s network operations made 19.4 billion Swedish crowns ($2.1 billion). Figures for Huawei were not available.

FINDING THE PEOPLE

One major hurdle for Samsung will be attracting talent amid a dearth of software engineers in South Korea.

“We need more software engineers and want to work with the government to find that talent,” Lee was quoted as saying by government officials at his meeting with the prime minister.

Samsung’s network business unit employs roughly 5,000 people, according to a government official in the southern city of Gumi where Samsung operates its manufacturing plants.

Kim Young-woo, an analyst at SK Securities, expects Samsung to hire 1,000-1,500 people for 5G network equipment this year. Samsung declined to comment on network employee levels and hiring plans.

But Samsung’s bet remains risky as the long-term nature of telecom network investment means change comes slowly.

Sweden’s Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia, which acquired the remnants of once-powerful network equipment companies Alcatel-Lucent and Nortel, have as yet seen little sales growth from Huawei’s problems, company executives said.

Both are in cost-cutting mode, even in the face of the 5G opportunity and the problems confronting their biggest rival.

Indeed, some network operators in Europe are warning that a Huawei ban – now under consideration in France, the UK, Germany and other countries – could push back deployment of 5G by as much as three years.

Others warn Samsung may struggle to develop a global sales and support organization.

“The way telcos purchase products and services from their suppliers demand a lot of time and resources, which is why Ericsson and Nokia have around 100,000 employees and Huawei almost twice as many,” said Bengt Nordstrom, CEO of telecom consultancy Northstream.

But Samsung is taking the long view. In December, it agreed to extend its Olympic partnership with the International Olympic Committee through to 2028 and expand its sponsorship to 5G technology.

The company did not want to leave its sponsorship spot open to Chinese rivals, a separate source with knowledge of the matter said.

“If Samsung dropped the top mobile sponsorship for the Olympic games beyond 2020, then who would have taken that spot? It would only have been China, Huawei.”

($1 = 1,122.8000 won)

Source: Reuters

15/02/2019

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi holds talks in Thailand ahead of general election

  • Official will meet his opposite number Don Pramudwinai in Chiang Mai
  • Wang likely to discuss investment projects under Beijing’s ‘belt and road’ plan
PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 February, 2019, 7:17pm
UPDATED : Friday, 15 February, 2019, 7:17pm

9 Feb 2019

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrived in Thailand on Friday for high-level talks likely aimed at reassuring Beijing about its investments in the Southeast Asian country ahead of a long-delayed general election, analysts said.

During his two-day trip to the northern city of Chiang Mai, Wang will meet his counterpart Don Pramudwinai, Thailand’s ministry of foreign affairs said on its website.

Zhang Mingliang, a Southeast Asian affairs specialist at Jinan University, said China was concerned the upcoming poll might have an impact on its interests.

“The recent events regarding the sudden changes to Thailand’s prime ministerial candidate could affect the country’s political stability and affect its relationship with China,” he said.

He was referring to the fact that on Wednesday, Thailand’s Election Commission asked the constitutional court to dissolve the Thai Raksa Chart, a political party allied with the powerful Shinawatra clan, for putting forward Princess Ubolratan as candidate for prime minister.

The move came just days after Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn, Ubolratan’s younger brother, issued a royal decree denying her bid to become prime minister hours after her name was submitted.
Zhang said that only by ensuring the political stability of Thailand could China’s interests in the country and Southeast Asia as a whole be protected.

“In the past, political instability meant Thailand’s leaders were unable to attend foreign events such as meetings with Asean and China,” he said.

“If there is political stability in Thailand … that can aid its contribution to Asean and its ties with China.

“China’s relationship with Thailand is the best among the Asean nations, with the least conflict of interests,” he said.

Concerns over China’s overseas investments are growing and there have been accusations that Beijing is using them to gain political leverage.

China and Thailand reached an agreement in 2017 for the construction of Thailand’s first high-speed rail line. Once completed it will run from Bangkok to Nong Khai on the Thai border with Laos.

The line is seen as a key project under the “Belt and Road Initiative”, Beijing’s plan to connect China with countries across Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Elections in Southeast Asia have proved troublesome for the initiative, however. Soon after being re-elected as prime minister of Malaysia last year, Mahathir Mohamad’s government cancelled the China-funded US$20 billion East Coast Rail Link. Officials later backtracked on the decision, leaving its future in the air.

Xu Liping, a specialist in Southeast Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that Thailand, as this year’s chair of Association of Southeast Asian Nations, has a crucial role to play in promoting China’s relationship with other members of the group.

“Ensuring the continuity of China-Thailand ties after the elections in March will also be on the agenda in Wang’s meeting,” he said.

Meanwhile, China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi, a member of the Communist Party Politburo, travelled to Germany on Friday to attend the Munich Security Conference, which runs until Sunday.

Source: SCMP

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