Breaking News -- Far East

Earthquakes, Disasters European Union Far East Germany Israel   what's new breaking news
Middle East Refugee Crisis Europe Russia United States     home headlines
China and Pakistan Military tests flank India, boost tensions in Asia
by Tom O'Connor

China and Pakistan this week each demonstrated their military might at a time of heightened tensions with neighboring India.

The Chinese and Pakistani governments have close military and economic ties, and both are involved in border disputes with India: The contested Kashmir region has been a flashpoint between India and Pakistan for decades, and claims over land on the Sino-Indian border have led to confrontation in recent weeks.

China’s decision to carry out live-fire military drills near its border region of Tibet nearly coincided with Pakistan’s test launch of a nuclear-capable missile this week.

Daily Emails and Alerts - Get the best of Newsweek delivered to your inbox

Related: Russia and NATO war games in Europe see new player: China

“We have repeatedly said the Indian troops...illegally crossed the delimited Sikkim section of the China-India boundary mutually recognized by the two sides,” a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, Geng Shuang, said Thursday during a routine press briefing.

“That is essentially different from the previous border frictions and stand-offs between the two border troops in undefined areas,” Shuang said. “India’s trespass into China’s territory has changed the status quo which can only be recovered when the Indian side withdraws.”

Shuang’s comments referred to an incident last month when China said Indian soldiers crossed the international boundary between the Indian state of Sikkim and the Chinese region of Tibet, sparking a verbal dispute. India has since accused China of compromising the security of nearby Bhutan, an ally of India’s, by constructing roads close to the border region shared by the three nations. China has dismissed these claims and has, in turn, accused India of militarizing its side of the border, Reuters reported.

Amid the heightened tensions, The Global Times, a nationalist outlet aligned with China’s ruling Communist Party, urged Beijing to "reconsider its stance" over its recognition of Sikkim as an Indian state, which China only recognized in 2003, The Hindustan Times reported. Indian concerns were exacerbated by China’s recent live-fire drills in the mountainous border region. The exercises were reportedly intended to test the high-altitude capabilities of its new Type 96B tank and assess “battlefield environment analysis, combat operations command, combat coordination and other real combat and live-fire shooting training,” according to a report published by China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency and translated by the Times of India.

While India deals with military tension on its far eastern border, it was called out by name by its northern rival, Pakistan, which has been independent from India since 1947 and since that time has fought four wars with its longtime foe. One of the most contentious disputes is over the territory of Kashmir, which lies on Pakistan and India’s mutual border and has been the source of a number of violent and even fatal incidents over the decades.

Escalations between Pakistan and India risk far-reaching consequences, because both countries possess nuclear weapons and neither is a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Earlier this week, one of Pakistan’s top generals flaunted his country’s defense capabilities by testing an advanced version of its surface-to-surface, nuclear-capable NASR missile and dismissing India’s so-called Cold Start doctrine of preventing a Pakistani nuclear attack through conventional preemptive strikes.

“NASR has put cold water on Cold Start,” Pakistani Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa told troops with the Army Strategic Force, according to a press release issued Wednesday. It added that Pakistan did not seek war but only to protect against “a highly militarized and increasingly belligerent neighbor.”

Both China and Pakistan have called for peace in the region and displayed aversion to instigating a wider regional conflict. Since 2013, the two countries have embarked on creating the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a multibillion-dollar project designed to improve trade infrastructure between the nations. The project corresponds with China’s greater Belt and Road Initiative, which seeks to reestablish and expand historic land and sea trading routes through Asia to the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

China’s decision to include Pakistan as a hub for this initiative has the potential to make the South Asian country a global economic leader, according to experts cited in The Express Tribune, a Pakistani outlet affiliated with The New York Times.

Xi calls on G20 to champion open world economy, foster new growth drivers

Chinese President Xi Jinpingattends the 12th Summit of the Group of 20 (G20) major economies in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017. (Xinhua/Xie Huanchi)

HAMBURG, Germany, July 7 -- Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday called on members of the Group of 20 (G20) major economies to champion an open world economy and a multilateral trade regime as global growth remains unsteady despite signs of recovery.

Speaking at the annual G20 summit in Hamburg, a major port city in northern Germany, Xi also called for concerted efforts in fostering new drivers for growth, promoting a more inclusive growth and improving global economic governance.

"We must remain committed to openness and mutual benefit for all so as to increase the size of the global economic 'pie'," said Xi, who is at the helm of the world's second-largest economy.

This year's G20 summit, scheduled for Friday and Saturday and themed "Shaping an Interconnected World," comes as global growth continues to gather momentum and both developed countries and emerging-market economies show stronger economic performance.

However, the world economy is still plagued by deep-seated problems and faces many uncertainties and destabilizing factors, Xi pointed out.

He underscored the role of innovation and development in boosting global growth, proposing that G20 members increase cooperation in digital economy and the new industrial revolution, and jointly develop new technologies, new industries, new business models and new products.

"Another source of growth derives from making greater efforts to address the issue of development and implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and such efforts will both benefit developing countries and generate business and investment opportunities for developed countries. In other words, this will be a win-win game for all," he said.

The Chinese leader also urged G20 members to cooperate more in education, training, employment, business start-up and wealth distribution-related mechanisms.

"Progress on these fronts will make economic globalization work better," he said.

In addition, Xi asked G20 members to strengthen coordination of macroeconomic policies, forestall risks in financial markets, and develop financial inclusion and green finance to make the financial sector truly drive the development of the real economy.

The Chinese president cited last year's summit in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou and the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) in Beijing in May this year to expound the synergy between the Hangzhou summit and the Hamburg summit and between the commitment of the BRF and the goal of the G20.

The world economy is expected to grow by 3.5 percent this year, the best performance in recent years. China posted a forecast-beating growth rate in the first quarter, with GDPup 6.9 percent year on year, the quickest increase in 18 months.

China has been a major stabilizer and driver for the world economy, contributing more than 30 percent of global growth in recent years.

The G20 leaders said at the summit that the world economy has shown positive signs such as growth recovery and employment improvement, but is still facing instabilities and uncertainties brought by unbalanced development, increasing trade barriers and financial vulnerability.

They said that the G20 members, which are of great influence on the world economic and financial issues, should strengthen solidarity and make concerted efforts to implement the consensus and outcomes of the Hangzhou summit, advance structural reforms, and promote innovation and education.

They added that the G20 members should also promote trade that is beneficial to all and improve the international financial system, so as to achieve a balanced, resilient and sustainable global growth and deliver the development benefits to more people in the world.

Many of the leaders called for protecting free trade and the World Trade Organization rules and voiced opposition to protectionism.

G20 leaders gathered at a meeting on counter-terrorism on Friday morning ahead of the summit, during which the Chinese president proposed that a united global front against terrorism should be created.

In recent years, the international community has strengthened cooperation on counter-terrorism and spread of terrorist organizations has been curbed, Xi stressed.

However, terrorism has not been uprooted, he added.

China proposes establishing a united global front against terrorism to eradicate the roots of terrorism, cut off the channels for terrorists to obtain funds, and stop the use of Internet by terrorists to spread terrorism, he said.

"China itself is a victim of terrorism and is on the frontline of the international fight against terrorism," Xi said.

"China will actively participate in the international counter-terrorism cooperation and offer support to other countries in strengthening capacity building in this regard, thus jointly providing a security umbrella for people around the world," he added.

The G20 is a main forum for global economic and financial cooperation that brings together the world's major advanced and emerging economies, representing around 85 percent of global GDP, 80 percent of world trade, and two-thirds of the world population.

The G20 started in 1999 as a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis. The members include 19 individual countries along with the European Union.

In 2008, the first G20 Leaders' Summit was held in Washington, D.C. in the United States, and the group played a key role in the response to the global financial crisis.

China, Russia team up to challenge the dominance of Western media
by Curtis Stone (People's Daily Online)

In an article published in the Russian newspaper Izvestia on Tuesday, Russian Senator Konstantin Kosachev wrote that the Western mass media distorts information about the intentions of countries as the main weapon in their information war.

According to Kosachev, the main objective behind this distortion is the creation of a myth that portrays certain countries as dangerous aggressors. “Thanks to all these Orwellian statements we are now living in some sort of an inside-out reality,” the Russian senator wrote, according to an English translation of the Russian-language report in RT.

Though Kosachev was talking specifically about how the Western mass media distorts Russia’s intentions, his comments apply to all key potential U.S. rivals, including, and perhaps especially, China, which is often cast as a rising power with malign intentions and commonly singled out as the biggest threat to U.S. hegemony.

His comments also come at a time of profound time change in discourse, as media from all corners of the world battle to gain the dominant position in a fast-changing global media landscape.

On July 4, Lu Xinning, deputy editor-in-chief of the People’s Daily, urged the Chinese and Russian media to work together to break the dominance of Western discourse in a speech at the third China-Russia Media Forum in Moscow, Russia.

Lu said China and Russia should work together to seize the opportunity of this new media era. “As two big powers, strategic collaboration between our two countries is related to global stability. This same logic applies to discourse, which can have a global impact,” Lu said.

Lu noted that in recent years, the Western discourse against China and Russia has been strong and the West is trying to force its Hobbes’s “war of all against all” view on China and Russia, creating a distorted view of the two world powers.

The Chinese and Russian media cannot let others interpret the international order and international rules on their behalf, and should take the initiative in this fierce international competition over discourse, Lu added. “This new media era has redefined the way in which information is disseminated and acquired, creating a rare opportunity for developing countries and emerging market countries to win the right to speak.”

But Lu’s call to action will be far from simple, as one reader pointed out. “No doubt [this effort] will be portrayed in the Western Privileged Press as a vast communist conspiracy against ‘freedom,’ ‘rule of law,’ and of course ‘democracy’ through the spreading of evil propaganda,’ the user wrote on People’s Daily Online. Then added: “[But] I certainly hope this effort helps to refute the false narrative of the 'Empire of the Exceptionals.'”

The Russian senator in his comments also talked about countering a false narrative: “The demagogy about attacks on values and freedoms should be countered with the truth about the geopolitical motives of Western nations’ actions,” Kosachev wrote.

The practice of demonizing other countries in the Western mass media plays a key role in keeping the myth of exceptionalism alive and well, but comes at the cost of other countries’ image and progress. In the U.S., for example, elite policymakers and the mainstream media passionately believe in “American exceptionalism.” They are convinced that the U.S. is a “shining city upon a hill,” morally superior to every other country on earth, and this thinking is reflected in their powerful and influential discourse.

But the tide may be turning. On Tuesday, visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin witnessed the signing ceremony of a media cooperation agreement in Moscow. The agreement, signed between People’s Daily President Yang Zhenwu and Sergey Mikhaylov, director general of Russia’s TASS news agency, will allow both sides to form a comprehensive strategic partnership under the principles of equality and mutual trust. Eighteen other agreements were also signed at the China-Russia media forum in Moscow on July 4.
(Disclaimer)        What to Look For in World Events:  Audio & Text  Video