Archive for ‘US’

19/02/2019

The US cannot crush us, says Huawei founder

The founder of Huawei has said there is “no way the US can crush” the company, in an exclusive interview with the BBC.

Ren Zhengfei described the arrest of his daughter Meng Wanzhou, the company’s chief financial officer, as politically motivated.

The US is pursuing criminal charges against Huawei and Ms Meng, including money laundering, bank fraud and stealing trade secrets.

Huawei denies any wrongdoing.

Mr Ren spoke to the BBC’s Karishma Vaswani in his first international broadcast interview since Ms Meng was arrested – and dismissed the pressure from the US.

“There’s no way the US can crush us,” he said. “The world cannot leave us because we are more advanced. Even if they persuade more countries not to use us temporarily, we can always scale things down a bit.”

However, he acknowledged that the potential loss of custom could have a significant impact.

What else did Mr Ren say about the US?

Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned the country’s allies against using Huawei technology, saying it would make it more difficult for Washington to “partner alongside them”.

Australia, New Zealand, and the US have already banned or blocked Huawei from supplying equipment for their future 5G mobile broadband networks, while Canada is reviewing whether the company’s products present a serious security threat.

Mr Ren warned that “the world cannot leave us because we are more advanced”.

“If the lights go out in the West, the East will still shine. And if the North goes dark, there is still the South. America doesn’t represent the world. America only represents a portion of the world.”

What did Mr Ren say about investment in the UK?

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre has decided that any risk posed by using Huawei technology in UK telecoms projects can be managed.

Many of the UK’s mobile companies, including Vodafone, EE and Three, are working with Huawei to develop their 5G networks.

They are awaiting a government review, due in March or April, that will decide whether they can use Huawei technology.

Commenting on the possibility of a UK ban, Mr Ren said Huawei “won’t withdraw our investment because of this. We will continue to invest in the UK.

“We still trust in the UK, and we hope that the UK will trust us even more.

“We will invest even more in the UK. Because if the US doesn’t trust us, then we will shift our investment from the US to the UK on an even bigger scale.”

Huawei boothImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionHuawei has denied that it poses any risk to the UK or any other country

What does Mr Ren think about his daughter’s arrest?

Mr Ren’s daughter Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, was arrested on 1 December in Vancouver at the request of the US, and is expected to be the subject of a formal extradition request.

In total, 23 charges are levelled against Huawei and Ms Weng. The charges are split across two indictments by the US Department of Justice.

The first covers claims Huawei hid business links to Iran – which is subject to US trade sanctions. The second includes the charge of attempted theft of trade secrets.

Mr Ren was clear in his opposition to the US accusations.

“Firstly, I object to what the US has done. This kind of politically motivated act is not acceptable.

“The US likes to sanction others, whenever there’s an issue, they’ll use such combative methods.

“We object to this. But now that we’ve gone down this path, we’ll let the courts settle it.”

Meng Wanzhou, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd"s chief financial officer (CFO), is seen in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters December 6, 2018.Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionMeng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver last December

What did Mr Ren say about Chinese government spying?

Huawei, which is China’s largest private company, has been under scrutiny for its links to the Chinese government – with the US and others expressing concern its technology could be used by China’s security services to spy.

Under Chinese law, firms are compelled to “support, co-operate with and collaborate in national intelligence work”.

But Mr Ren said that allowing spying was a risk he wouldn’t take.

“The Chinese government has already clearly said that it won’t install any backdoors. And we won’t install backdoors either.

“We’re not going to risk the disgust of our country and of our customers all over the world, because of something like this.

“Our company will never undertake any spying activities. If we have any such actions, then I’ll shut the company down.”

Presentational grey line

Is Huawei part of the Chinese state?

Analysis – Karishma Vaswani, BBC Asia business correspondent – Shenzhen

For a man known as reclusive and secretive, Ren Zhengfei seemed confident in the conviction that the business he’s built for the last 30 years can withstand the scrutiny from Western governments.

Mr Ren is right: the US makes up only a fraction of his overall business.

But where I saw his mood change was when I asked him about his links to the Chinese military and the government.

He refused to be drawn into a conversation, saying only that these were not facts, simply allegations.

Still, some signs of close links between Mr Ren and the government were revealed during the course of our interview.

He also confirmed that there is a Communist Party committee in Huawei, but he said this is what all companies – foreign or domestic – operating in China must have in order to abide by the law.

Source: The BBC

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19/02/2019

Pakistan PM Imran Khan says ready to talk terror, then packs in warning against strikes

Pakistan PM Imran Khan has denied hand behind Pulwama terror attack stating if there is evidence, his government will act against the culprits.

INDIA Updated: Feb 19, 2019 14:50 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Imran Khan,Pulwama attack
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said if there is any evidence of involvement of any Pakistani national in Pulwama terror attack, his government will act against the culprits. (AP)

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has denied his country’s role behind the Pulwama terror attack, the worst in Jammu and Kashmir in decades. He claimed that India does not have any evidence to prove Pakistan’s role in terror attacks in Kashmir.

“You (India) have blamed the Pakistan government without any evidence…If you have any evidence, we will act,” Imran Khan said.

He said, “It is in our interest that nobody from our soil spreads violence. I want to tell Indian government that we will take action if evidence is found against anyone from Pakistan.”

“What has Pakistan to gain from this? Why will Pakistan do this at a stage when it is moving towards stability,” said Imran Khan adding that “this is a Naya Pakistan with a new mindset.”

Calling for a dialogue with India, he said, “If you thinks you will attack us and we will not think of retaliating…We will retaliate. We all know starting a war is in the hands of humans, where it will lead us only God knows. This issue should be solved through dialogue.”

Also Read | Eliminated Jaish leadership that planned Pulwama attack within 100 hours, says army

Imran Khan’s reaction comes days after at least 40 CRPF jawans were killed in a terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan-backed terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility for the attack.

Earlier, Pakistan sought an urgent intervention of UN Secretary-General in defusing tensions with India and help facilitate dialogue between the two countries.

Following the terror attack, India launched a diplomatic offensive against Pakistan with the ministry of external affairs reaching out to more than two dozen countries including P5 – the US, the UK, France, Russia and China, which has repeatedly blocked India’s bid to get Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar declared as global terrorist by the United Nations.

Also Read | Army major killed in Pulwama encounter made plans for first anniversary

China has used veto to shield Masood Azhar. Pakistan has also denied its support to the terror group. On Monday, in a joint statement Imran Khan and Saudi Arabia’s prince Mohammed bin Sultan “underlined the need for avoiding politicisation of UN listing regime.” This is being viewed as a snub to India’s renewed efforts to isolate Pakistan over its continued support to terror outfits and corner Masood Azhar’s JeM.

India withdrew the most favoured nation (MFN) status accorded to Pakistan in 1996. The MFN status had not been revoked even during the 1999 Kargil War and in the aftermath of 2008 Mumbai terror attack that killed more than 160 people.

Source: Hindustan Times

18/02/2019

China applauds ‘positive’ Donald Trump tweet, hopes for US trade war deal ahead of Washington talks

    • Opinion piece in major state media outlets is seen to be part of Beijing’s efforts to reassure its citizens that the tariff war with the United States will soon be over
    • A Chinese delegation led by Vice-Premier Liu He is expected to leave on Tuesday for the American capital after last week’s trade talks in Beijing produced ‘progress’

    China applauds ‘positive’ Donald Trump tweet ahead of Washington talks

    18 Feb 2019

    China and US make ‘progress’ but talks to head to Washington next week

    16 Feb 2019

    Chinese President Xi Jinping urged for a “mutually beneficial” trade deal in this week’s talks when he met US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Beijing on Friday, according to Xinhua. Photo: Xinhua
    Chinese President Xi Jinping urged for a “mutually beneficial” trade deal in this week’s talks when he met US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Beijing on Friday, according to Xinhua. Photo: Xinhua

    A tweet by US President Donald Trump on the ongoing trade war is a “positive” signal, brightening prospects of a deal from this week’s talks in Washington, according to an opinion piece published by China’s major state media outlets on Monday.

    Monday’s opinion piece was published the day before a Chinese delegation led by Vice-Premier Liu He is expected to leave for talks in Washington.

    In the tweet on Sunday, Trump said: “Important meetings and calls on China trade deal, and more, today with my staff. Big progress being made on soooo many different fronts! Our country has such fantastic potential for future growth and greatness on an even higher level!”

    The opinion piece, which was published by the official Xinhua news agency, the People’s Daily and the Global Times under the pseudonym Niu Tanqin, is seen to be part of Beijing’s efforts to reassure its citizens that the trade war with the United States will soon be over.

    It did contrast previous columns on Trump by the same author, who in March last year argued that China dislikes the American president for his “insatiable demands, greediness and lack of trust worthiness”.

    Last week’s trade talks in Beijing produced “progress” ahead of the March 1 deadline, which could see tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese products increased from 10 per cent to 25 per cent if the world’s two largest economies fail to reach a deal.

    The outcome of the talks in Washington, which are likely to be the last before March 1, will largely decide whether China and the United States can reach a pact, likely in the form of a memorandum of understanding, to suspend the tariff battle that has been roiling global markets and clouding growth prospects since last year.

    According to the opinion piece, Trump’s use of “soooo” instead of “so” indicated that the US president was excited when he heard reports from his trade envoys following the talks in Beijing, which Chinese President Xi Jinping attend on Friday.

    Donald J. Trump

    @realDonaldTrump

    Important meetings and calls on China Trade Deal, and more, today with my staff. Big progress being made on soooo many different fronts! Our Country has such fantastic potential for future growth and greatness on an even higher level!

    “The US side is attaching great importance [to the trade talks]. Although Trump is on vacation, he listened to relevant reports and he definitely will make specific instructions,” it added.

    Trump has been upbeat about the prospects of reaching a trade deal with China, and said on Friday at the White House: “It’s going extremely well.”

    Chinese President Xi urged for a “mutually beneficial” trade deal in this week’s talks when he met US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Beijing on Friday, according to Xinhua.

    Stocks in China and Hong Kong surged on Monday, partly bolstered by the increased likelihood of a trade deal between China and the United States.

    Monday’s opinion piece fits into the latest official line that an agreement is very likely to end the tariff war after the Global Times said over the weekend that the bilateral trade talks are “sprinting” towards a positive end.

    Donald Trump’s demands ‘good for China’, says economist Jin Keyu

    Meanwhile, reports in China suggest differences between Beijing and Washington still remain over forced technology transfer, intellectual property rights, cyber theft as well as a verification system to ensure China keeps its promises.

    Xi told the US trade envoys that China is willing to “cooperate” but “cooperation has principals”, a statement showing that Beijing will not entertain US demands if it finds such demands violate China’s principals.

    A White House statement on Friday said that “much work remains”, showing gaps still exist.

    Source: SCMP

18/02/2019

India asks World Court to order release of man sentenced to death in Pakistan

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – India asked the World Court on Monday to order the release of an Indian national sentenced to death by Pakistan, saying Islamabad had failed to allow him diplomatic assistance before his conviction, as required by an international treaty.

The hearings at the U.N. court, formally known as the International Court of Justice (ICJ), revolve around the case of Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, a former Indian navy commander who was arrested in Pakistan in March 2016 and convicted of spying.

Hearings in the case, which will run for four days, come at a time of intense tension between the nuclear-armed neighbours, as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has warned of a “strong response” to a suicide attack on a convoy in Kashmir last week that killed 44 Indians.

“It would be in the interest of justice, of making human rights a reality, to direct his (Jadhav’s) release,” said Harish Salve, India’s senior counsel.

Pakistan is due to respond at the ICJ on Tuesday. Officials in Islamabad said ahead of the hearing that India was trying to use the court intended to resolve international disputes as a criminal appeals court. They also said the relief sought by India is disproportionate even if the treaty were violated, and at most Jadhav’s case could be reviewed.

India filed a claim against Pakistan before the ICJ in May 2017 arguing Islamabad had breached the 1963 Vienna Convention by not allowing diplomatic assistance to Jadhav during his secretive trial. India won an injunction that ordered Jadhav’s execution stayed while the court looked into the case.

No date has been set for a ruling, which will likely come months after the close of the hearings.

The ICJ is the U.N.’s highest court, and its decisions are binding — though it has no power to enforce them and they have been ignored in rare instances.

The 1963 treaty has been a frequent source of cases before the ICJ. A 2004 ruling led the United States to review the cases of dozens of Mexican citizens on U.S. death row after they were found not to have been granted consular access.

Source: Reuters
17/02/2019

China says no to Germany’s call for arms control deal with US and Russia

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel makes appeal to Beijing at Munich Security Conference as Washington prepares to leave INF treaty
  • But China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi says nation’s missiles are defensive, do not pose a threat
Chinea’s top envoy Yang Jiechi chats to German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at the Munich Security Conference. Photo: AP
Chinea’s top envoy Yang Jiechi chats to German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at the Munich Security Conference. Photo: AP

China on Saturday rejected German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s appeal to join a cold war-era arms control treaty that the United States accuses Russia of breaching, saying it would place unfair limits on its military.

Fearing a nuclear arms race between China, Russia and the US after the collapse of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, which the US is withdrawing from, Merkel made her call for a global treaty.

“Disarmament is something that concerns us all and we would of course be glad if such talks were held not just between the United States, Europe and Russia but also with China,” she told the Munich Security Conference.

Is China about to abandon its ‘no first use’ nuclear weapons policy?

Russia and the United States are the signatories to the 1987 INF treaty that bans land-based missiles with a range between 500km (310 miles) and 5,500km, and which US President Donald Trump started the six-month withdrawal from this month, blaming Russian violations.

Moscow denies any wrongdoing, but the US and its Nato allies want Russia to destroy its 9M729 nuclear-capable cruise missile system, which Washington says could allow Russia to strike Europe with almost no warning.

Merkel’s suggestion of involving China in a negotiation is seen by European Nato diplomats as a potential way out of the impasse because a new treaty could address American concerns about a growing military threat from China and Russia.

“China develops its capabilities strictly according to its defensive needs and doesn’t pose a threat to anybody else. So we are opposed to the multilateralisation of the INF,” he said.

China’s stated ambition is to modernise its People’s Liberation Army by 2035, improve its air force and push into new technologies including very high speed cruise missiles and artificial intelligence.

Its defence budget grew nearly 6 per cent between 2017 and 2018, according to the London-based International Institute for Security Studies.

Chinese scientists make progress on nuclear submarine communication

Retired Chinese general Yao Yunzhu told delegates a new arms control agreement would only work if it included sea- and air-launched missiles, as well as land, because most of China’s military technology was ground-based and the country would not want to put itself at a disadvantage.

Cheaper to build, more mobile and easier to hide, ground-based rocket launchers are an attractive option for China as it develops its armed forces, experts said, whereas the United States operates more costly sea-based systems to comply with the INF.

“China is traditionally a land power and the Chinese military is a ground force,” Yao said.

“If China is to enter into these kinds of negotiations, I think it ought to be more comprehensive to include not only land-based but also air and sea-based strike capabilities … and that would be hugely complicated,” she said.

Source: SCMP

16/02/2019

U.S. backs India’s right to self-defence over Kashmir attack – Indian government

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – The United States supports India’s right to self-defence against cross-border attacks, India’s foreign ministry said on Saturday after a deadly car bombing in disputed Kashmir raised tensions with rival neighbour Pakistan.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised a strong response after a Pakistan-based militant group claimed responsibility for the suicide attack on a military convoy on Thursday that killed 44 paramilitary policemen.

India’s government said it had evidence the group, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), had the backing of Pakistan and demanded Islamabad take action. Pakistan has condemned the attack and rejected India’s allegations.U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton spoke to his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval on Friday night, promising to help bring those behind the attack to justice, the foreign ministry said in a readout of the phone call.

“The two NSAs vowed to work together to ensure that Pakistan cease to be a safe haven for JeM and terrorist groups that target India, the U.S. and others in the region,” the foreign ministry said.

“They resolved to hold Pakistan to account for its obligations under U.N. resolutions,” it added.

India has for years accused Muslim Pakistan of backing separatist militants in divided Kashmir, which the neighbours both claim in full but rule in part.

Pakistan denies that, saying it only offers political support to the Himalayan region’s suppressed Muslim people.

Modi, who is facing an election in the next few months, has called a meeting of political parties on Saturday to build support for action against Pakistan.

Indians have poured onto social media to vent their fury over the suicide bombing in Kashmir, with many of them calling for swift retribution against Pakistan as TV news shows hosted jingoistic debates.

When he swept to power at the head of a Hindu nationalist-led alliance in 2014, Modi vowed to pursue a tough line with Pakistan. The two countries have gone to war three times since independence from Britain in 1947, twice over Kashmir.

The attack comes at a difficult time for Pakistan, which is struggling to attract foreign investment and avert a payments crisis, with its swiftly diminishing foreign currency reserves at less than $8 billion, equivalent to two months of import payments.

Source: Reuters

13/02/2019

Trade spats could dampen shipping growth in 2019: Hapag Lloyd’s CEO

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – An escalation of tariff wars between China and the United States could dampen growth in international container shipping as operators pre-emptively brought forward business in the second half of last year, Germany’s Hapag Lloyd said.

“Many customers tried to get their goods through to the U.S. ahead of time in second half 2018, creating additional growth,” Rolf Habben Jansen, chief executive of the company that is the world’s fifth biggest shipping liner, told reporters in Hamburg on Tuesday.

“That points to some business having been brought forward,” he added.

However, with European activities being relatively stable, a direct crisis was not on the horizon, and only later this year would it be clear whether there would be sustained damage to business, he said.

Shipping is only slowly recovering from an oversupply of vessels that plunged the sector into an almost decade-long slump, forcing some players out of business and others to combine forces to seek economies of scale.

 

On vessel supply, he said order books were low, representing 10 percent of the global fleet, with some scrapping activity being noticeable.

Preliminary results for 2018, due on Feb. 25, were likely to reflect growth in transport volumes above the market average and results should be “satisfactory”, Habben Jansen said.

The company in November said a later peak season in 2018 was likely to lift full year earnings.

It targets earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) in a corridor of 200-450 million euros ($226.4-509.4 million).

Hapag Lloyd is introducing a surcharge mechanism this year to account for cleaner fuel rules starting in 2020 under the watch of the International Maritime Organisation.

It was important to have “the right bunker clauses in all contracts”, Habben Jansen said.

Source: Reuters
11/02/2019

China upbeat on U.S. trade talks, but South China Sea tensions weigh

BEIJING (Reuters) – China struck an upbeat note on Monday as trade talks resumed with the United States, but also expressed anger at a U.S. Navy mission through the disputed South China Sea, casting a shadow over the prospect for improved Beijing-Washington ties.

The United States is expected to keep pressing China on longstanding demands that it reform how it treats American companies’ intellectual property in order to seal a trade deal that could prevent tariffs from rising on Chinese imports.

The latest talks kick off with working level discussions on Monday before high-level discussions later in the week. Negotiations in Washington last month ended without a deal and with the top U.S. negotiator declaring work was needed.

“We, of course, hope, and the people of the world want to see, a good result,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a news briefing in Beijing.

The two sides are trying to hammer out a deal before the March 1 deadline when U.S. tariffs on $200 billion (£155 billion) worth of Chinese imports are scheduled to increase to 25 percent from 10 percent.

Trump said last week he did not plan to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping before that deadline, dampening hopes that a trade pact could be reached quickly. But the White House’s Conway said a meeting was still possible soon.

Escalating tensions between the United States and China have cost both countries billions of dollars and disrupted global trade and business flows, roiling financial markets.

The same day the latest talks began, two U.S. warships sailed near islands claimed by China in the disputed South China Sea, a U.S. official told Reuters.

Asked if the ships’ passage would impact trade talks, Hua said that “a series of U.S. tricks” showed what Washington was thinking. But Hua added that China believed resolving trade frictions through dialogue was in the interests of both countries’ people, and of global economic growth.

China claims a large part of the South China Sea, and has built artificial islands and air bases there, prompting concern around the region and in Washington.

Source: Reuters

06/02/2019

Chinese state-owned broadcaster registers with US as foreign agent under anti-propaganda law

  • CGTN America chose to comply ‘in the spirit of cooperation with US authorities’
  • Russian state-backed English-language news outlet RT registered in 2017
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 February, 2019, 6:33pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 February, 2019, 6:33pm

CGTN America – the US division of China Global Television Network – denied that it was engaged in any “political activities” as defined by the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA), a federal law from 1938 that monitors the operation of overseas lobbyists and propagandists.

China Global Television Network was, until January 2017, the name of the international operation of state-owned broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV).

CGTN America said it had “elected to file this registration statement out of an abundance of caution and in the spirit of cooperation with US authorities”.

It identified itself as the Washington news bureau of CCTV to produce material for 24-hour broadcasts that target English-speaking audiences in more than 100 countries.

CCTV disagreed with the decision by the US Department of State to characterise CGTN America’s relationship with a foreign government and a foreign political party as one of interest to Washington, it said.

CGTN America’s registration was filed as Beijing and Washington sought to end a damaging trade dispute.

On Friday, a Chinese delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He concluded two days of talks in Washington, while a US party – to be led by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer – is expected in Beijing this month.

Those talks may pave the way for a meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump before a trade war truce expires on March 1.

CGTN America’s registration took place about six months after Washington ordered it and Xinhua News Agency to acknowledge their affiliation with Beijing and disclose ownership and budgets. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said at the time this order was “politicising” media activities.

Xinhua, one of the major official mouthpieces of the Communist Party, has not registered.

Under the registration act, which was enacted to counter Nazi Germany’s propaganda efforts in the US – CGTN America must update its registration filing with the US government every six months and submit copies of reports to the justice department for scrutiny within 48 hours of distribution.

Washington’s surveillance of foreign media has intensified since late 2017 when RT, the Russian state-backed English-language news outlet, was ordered by the justice department to register as a foreign agent amid investigations into Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election.

While chairing a UN Security Council meeting in September, US President Donald Trump accused Beijing of planning to interfere in November’s congressional election because of his trade policies against China, although those accusations were not substantiated.

Source: SCMP

05/02/2019

US-China trade war: UN warns of ‘massive’ impact of tariff hike

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