jeudi 31 août 2017

Sina Delenda Est

China Is Weaponizing Water
By Eugene K. Chow

Hidden in plain sight is an intimidating Chinese weapon that allows it to hold a quarter of the world’s population hostage without firing a single shot. 
While much attention has been given to the nation’s fearsome new military hardware, a formidable component in its arsenal has largely escaped notice: dams.
With more than 87,000 dams and control of the Tibetan plateau, the source of ten major rivers which 2 billion people depend on, China possesses a weapon of mass destruction. 
With the flip of a switch, the Middle Kingdom can release hundreds of millions of gallons of water from its mega dams, causing catastrophic floods that would reshape entire ecosystems in countries downstream.
China knows first-hand the destructive power of water. 
In an attempt to halt advancing Japanese troops during World War II, Chang Kai-Shek, commander of the Chinese Nationalist Army, destroyed a dike along the Yellow River flooding thousands of miles of farmland, killing an estimated 800,000 Chinese, and displacing nearly 4 million.
It is highly unlikely that China would ever deliberately unleash such a destructive act upon its neighbors, but the fact remains that it wields enormous leverage as an upstream nation by its ability to control life’s most essential resource.
High in the Himalayan Mountains are what has been dubbed the “Water Towers of Asia.” 
Seven of the continent’s greatest rivers start life here including the Mekong, Ganges, Yangtze, Indus and Irrawaddy. 
What begins as dribble from snow melt in the Tibetan plateau builds into mighty rivers that flow across China’s borders before eventually reaching South Asia.
To satisfy its insatiable demand for electricity and as part of its shift away from coal, China has gone on a dam building spree. 
In 1949, China had less than forty small hydroelectric dams, but now it has more dams than the United States, Brazil and Canada combined.
On the upper Mekong alone, China has erected seven mega dams with plans to build an additional twenty-one. 
Just one of its latest dams is capable of producing more hydropower than all of Vietnam and Thailand’s dams on the Mekong.
This dramatic increase in dam building activity has had an outsized environmental impact and stoked fears in downstream nations.
“Beside having environmental issues those dams in Tibet can be disastrous for [India]. They can unleash their fury during earthquake, accidents or by intentional destruction can easily be used against India during war,” said Milap Chandra Sharma, a glaciologist at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.
China’s southern neighbors are not worried without reason. 
In the past, India has blamed sudden discharges from Chinese dams for several flash floods including one that caused an estimated $30 million in damage and left 50,000 homeless in northeast India.
Each year, during China’s rainy season, downstream nations are on high alert as Chinese dams release water to ease pressure with little warning.
“A discharge by a dam will have a domino effect on the whole system, which can cause huge damages,” explained Le Anh Tuan, deputy director of the Research Institute for Climate Change in Vietnam.
In addition to floods, Chinese dams are responsible for worsening droughts. 
Last year, Vietnam pleaded with China to release water from the Yunnan dam on the Mekong River to ease severe water shortages downstream. 
China agreed and waters flowed into Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
These two extremes not only highlight the environmental impact of Chinese dams, but also serve as a stark reminder of China’s influence over its southern neighbors. 
These rivers are foundational to life in South Asia, providing drinking water, irrigation for farming, habitats for fisheries and transportation for commerce.
By controlling the flow of the lifeblood of the region, China has gained enormous power, which has led to accusations of abuse.
When it comes to diplomacy, China uses rivers as a bargain chip,” said Tanasak Phosrikun, a Mekong river activist from Thailand.
China has denied these charges. 
Last year, in response to rising anger in India over Chinese dams, the state-run Global Times published an op-ed stating, “China-India relations should not be affected by an imaginary ‘water war.’”
While China denies that a “water war” exists, it has refused to share hydrological data with India this year, despite signing an agreement. 
The data is critical during monsoon season as it helps India more accurately forecast floods and warn its residents, ultimately saving lives and minimizing damage.
Water has become a weapon providing China with significant political leverage over its southern neighbors. 
As water scarcity worsens with climate change and population increases, the need for this precious resource will grow, amplifying China’s power and intensifying conflict.
Despite the best efforts of regional partnerships South Asian nations have had little success in encouraging sustainable and responsible development of rivers. 
With control of the Tibetan plateau by dint of its geography, China is king of the hill when it comes to water in Asia and there is little downstream nations can do to change the whims of this monarch.

mercredi 30 août 2017

Know about India's real-life James Bond who stared China down at Doklam

Ajit Kumar Doval, the National Security Advisor, is being seen as the man responsible for the favourable outcome of India's conflict with China over Doklam.

Ajit Kumar Doval, the National Security Advisor (NSA) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is being seen as the man responsible for the favourable outcome of India's conflict with China over Doklam
Doval has become a cult figure due to his skillful operations, hawkish ideology and a background that echoes themes from spy movies. 
He attracts sharp criticism as well as blind adulation.
He is the man PM Modi is said to trust more than anyone else not only on national security but also on foreign relations. 
His popular 'Doval Doctrine' is behind the government's hard approach to terrorism and hostile countries.

Who is Doval?
Born in Pauri Garhwal, Doval is a Kerala-cadre IPS officer of the 1968 batch. 
He has served in the operations wing of Intelligence Bureau and was also its director in 2004–05. 
He was awarded the country’s second highest peacetime gallantry award, the Kirti Chakra. 
He became the first police officer to receive it. 
After he retired from IB, he set up a think tank, Vivekanand International Foundation (VIF) in 2009. 
He has extensive experience in counter-insurgency operations in the North East, Punjab, Paksitan and J&K.

Why is he called James Bond?

His life as a spy on the ground seems right out of cinema. 
A daredevil, he has often escaped death narrowly. 
He lived under cover in Pakistan for seven years, which is very unusual for an officer. 
Disguised as a Pakistani Muslim, he used to make friends among the locals by visiting mosques.
According to a report, he was once identified as a Hindu by a local from his pierced ears. 
Doval got a surgery done on his ears so that his cover cannot be blown. 
During terrorism in Punjab, he sneaked into Golden Temple right before Operation Black Thunder in 1988. 
He presented himself to the terrorists hiding within as an ISI spy who had come to help them. 
He gleaned information from terrorists and passed it on to the security agencies.

What is Doval Doctrine?

Doval gave two lectures in 2014 and 2015 in which he delineated his thoughts on defence and foreign policy. 
These thoughts came to be known as the Doval Doctrine. 
Doval favours a tough stance with hostile countries and terrorists and thinks personal morality has no role to play in international relations. 
According to Doval, the opponent can be engaged at three levels: defensive, defensive-offensive and offensive. 
He is more in favour of defensive-offensive approach, which manifested in India's surgical strike on terror launch pads in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and on militants in Myanmar last year.
He had famously warned Pakistan it should be prepared to lose Baluchistan if it carried out another 26/11-type attack in India. 
Doval thinks values of the state are more important than personal values.

Why does China hate him?

Doval is behind India's stand on Doklam and the later efforts to defuse the situation. 
China is aware of the Doval Doctrine and is wary of his thinking. 
Right before Doval went to China to attend a BRICS meeting last month while the Doklam dispute was on, China's state-run Global Times wrote this about him: "India's National Security Adviser Ajit Doval is to visit China for the annual BRICS National Security Advisers' meeting this week. Doval is believed to be one of the main schemers behind the current border standoff. Doval will inevitably be disappointed if he attempts to bargain with Beijing over the border disputes." 
A month later, Doval was not disappointed at all. 
China had to agree with India to withdraw troops from Doklam. 
After Doklam, Doval has gained a higher stature which means India following his Doval Doctrine with much more zeal.

Who blinked in China-India military standoff?

By Simon Denyer and Annie Gowen 

This 2008 photo shows a Chinese soldier next to an Indian soldier at the Nathu La border crossing between India and China in India's northeastern Sikkim state. 

BEIJING — For weeks, China’s Foreign Ministry had been vehement in its denunciations of India and insistence that New Delhi unconditionally withdraw troops that had trespassed into Chinese territory. 
Don't underestimate us, China repeatedly insisted, we are prepared for military conflict if need be.
Yet on Monday, it appeared as though Beijing, not New Delhi, had blinked.
Both sides withdrew troops to end the stand-off. 
Crucially, military sources told Indian newspapers that China has also withdrawn the bulldozers that were constructing a road on the plateau. 
That road, built on land contested between Bhutan and China, had been the reason Indian troops had entered the disputed area in the first place, in defense of its ally Bhutan.
The eventual deal allowed both sides to save face — India’s Ministry of External Affairs suggested in its statement that it had stuck to its “principled position” in the discussions, which was that road-building violated ongoing terms of a current boundary dispute between Bhutan and China.
Yet some experts said it was premature to start declaring victory and China continued to be cagey in its official remarks.
China insisted its troops would continue to patrol and garrison the disputed area, as well as continue to exercise its sovereign rights there. 
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said Tuesday that the country would make plans for road construction ‘in accordance with the situation on the ground.”
Then, on Wednesday, China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, appeared to chide India, saying “We of course hope that India could learn some lessons from this, and [hope] events similar to this one would not happen again.”
There is precedence for China not sticking to agreements. 
In 2012, China and the Philippines agreed to withdraw naval vessels around Scarborough Shoal in a deal brokered by the United States. 
The Chinese ships never left, and have controlled it since.
Two factors may have helped talk China down and away from conflict — according to Indian media, Bhutan had been quietly resolute in talks with Beijing that it considered the Chinese road to be an infringement of a 2012 deal between the two countries that neither would develop infrastructure in disputed areas.
The second was a summit of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) nations due to be hosted by China this weekend. 
Beijing sets great store in set-piece summits of this nature, and the embarrassing possibility that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi might not attend may have focused minds in Beijing. 
India said Tuesday that Modi would, in fact, be attending the summit in Fujian province Sept. 3-5.
In India, news outlets painted Monday’s stand-down as a win for Indian diplomacy and their behind-the-scenes efforts to defuse tension before bullets flew. 
In China, the state media has also tried to paint the resolution as a victory for Asia and diplomacy — while staying vague about whether that road would still be built.
On social media, though, some Netizens asked uncomfortable questions.
“India withdrawing troops is a fact, did we give up some legitimate rights such as building road, this is what citizens care about, our focus is whether India’s withdrawal is unconditional, hope there is a clear explanation,” one user on China’s social media platform Weibo posted after news of the standoff.


Our universities are a frontline in China's ideological wars
By John Garnaut
Students in Sydney: China's ideological reach goes far beyond its shores. 

Xi Jinping is returning politics to the commanding heights of Chinese education.
He's told teachers to "educate and guide their students to love the motherland, love the people, and love the Communist Party of China".
He's rallied lecturers to "guard the party's ideology" and "dare to unsheath the sword".
And, most challenging for us, Xi has made clear that his primary enemies are the liberal values that undermine his political system but underpin our own.
"There is no way that universities can allow teaching materials preaching Western values into our classrooms," Xi's Education Minister explained.
The liberal values of freedom, equality and individual dignity are under greater strain in China than they have been for decades.
The room for rational debate and open, evidence-based critical inquiry is shrinking.

And the political rewards for blind patriotism – a racialised patriotism that conflates "the motherland" with "the party" – are high and rising.
The challenge for the democratic world is that Xi's deepening struggle against liberal values does not end at China's borders.
To the contrary, Xi has been rebuilding and reinvigorating the old revolutionary machinery – core institutions like the United Front Work Department and its myriad platforms – to export his ideological battle to the world.
"Overseas Chinese have red-hot patriotic sentiment," as Xi told delegates to the Seventh World Get-Together Meeting of Overseas Chinese Social Groups, early in his tenure.
The Communist Party's war against liberal values and its growing international reach presents Australia with challenges we've not seen before.
Last year the Ministry of Education issued new instructions to its counsellors at diplomatic missions around the world: "Build a multidimensional contact network linking home and abroad – the motherland, embassies and consulates, overseas student groups, and the broad number of students abroad – so that they fully feel that the motherland cares."
And nowhere are the challenges greater than at our universities.
In recent months we've seen denunciations of Australian university lecturers who have offended Beijing's patriotic sensibilities.
A lecturer at the the Australian National University was excoriated on Chinese language social media channels for "insensitively" displaying this warning – "I will not tolerate students who cheat" – in both English and Chinese.
He was forced to issue a long apology for any implication that the offenders spoke Chinese.

A lecturer at the University of Sydney was castigated for using an online map of the world which, if you looked extremely closely, showed an Indian demarcation of the Himalayan border.
The lecturer apologised after being found guilty by a Wechat group called "Australian Red Scarf" – which focused on the lecturer's Indian-looking name.
And then there was the convoy of Bentleys and Lamborghinis that wound its way past Sydney University and UTS before revving engines outside the Indian consulate on August 15, India's Independence Day.
"Anyone who offends China will be killed," said one of the car door slogans, quoting from China's biggest grossing film, Wolf Warrior 2.
Racial chauvinism is only one of the challenges that Beijing is exporting to universities.
Look at recent controversies involving Cambridge University Press and its experiment with mass censorship. 
Or the enormous private donations to Harvard. 
Or the attacks on a Chinese student for praising the "fresh air" at the University of Maryland.
Singapore has just expelled a pro-China professor of international relations – a Chinese-born US citizen – because he "knowingly interacted with intelligence organisations" and "co-operated with them to influence the Singapore government's foreign policy and public opinion in Singapore".
This case has implications for the integrity of academic systems everywhere. 
The professor's work, for example, features on the cover of the current edition of an influential Australian university magazine.
There can be no doubting the pressure on universities to fill classrooms with full fee-paying foreign students, generate private donations, and rise up the research rankings.
But they will need to find a way to reconcile their scholarly values and principles with the political objectives of their dominant customer.
How should university leaders respond to the party's latest instructions to "set up party cells in Sino-foreign joint education projects" – as set out in an edict from the Ministry of Education cited by the Beijing-based advisory China Policy
The edict goes onto ensure that cadres are properly compensated for the time-consuming work of "monitoring the ideological orientation of young faculty [members] and overseas returnees".
The reputational and commercial risks for our universities are potentially enormous.
And there will be new legal risks to navigate when the Prime Minister and Attorney-General deliver sweeping counterintelligence reforms later this year.
Mr Turnbull has made clear that he does not look kindly upon countries seeking advantage "through corruption, interference or coercion".
To manage these risks our universities will need to reach out to alienated students, fix the failures of integration and improve their products.
They'll need full spectrum resilience strategies to shore up vulnerabilities and uphold the principles of open and critical inquiry which they are built upon.
Most of all they will have to look at what the Chinese Communist Party is doing on their campuses and do a better job of hearing what it says.

Chinese Peril: Who is the Sino-American engineer accused of nuclear espionage?

CGNPC employee Szuhsiung Ho conspired to develop nuclear material in China without US approval. Who is he and what is his background?
By Rob Davies
Szuhsiung ‘Allen’ Ho, a nuclear engineer employed by the China General Nuclear Power Company. Photograph: Knox County sheriff's office

Szuhsiung “Allen” Ho is, according to a motion filed by his lawyer, a 66-year-old American citizen who was born in Taiwan, educated in the US and lives in Wilmington, Delaware.
In character statements submitted to a court in Tennessee, friends and neighbours described him as an honest and law abiding member of the community who is accused of nuclear espionage brought against him by the US government.
Ho came to the US in 1973 to attend the University of California and married his wife Anne a year later.
He received a PhD in nuclear engineering from the University of Illinois in 1980, and became a naturalised US citizen three years later. .
The couple are childless, but Ho fathered a son outside the marriage in 2007. 
Neighbours said his wife had declared herself willing to help raise the child in the US.
They are described as active members of the local Chinese American Community Centre in Wilmington, where Anne Ho is involved in running a women’s book club.
The couple live in a large house in the town, which has sizeable Chinese community, but Ho spends much of his time in China working for his nuclear consulting business, Energy Technology International, which was set up in 1996.
Prosecutors say he has two flats in China, one of his own and another for his son and the boy’s mother.
Ho has worked as a consultant for China General Nuclear Power, which has a 33% stake in the UK’s £18bn Hinkley Point C project.
He enticed US nuclear experts at the federally owned Tennessee Valley Authority energy corporation to pass sensitive information to Beijing by paying them bribes. 
He failed to register with the Department of Justice as an agent of a foreign state and that he is paid by the Chinese government.
Ho is charged with helping a foreign power produce nuclear material, a term that refers to enriched uranium and plutonium for nuclear reactor fuel.
His lawyer, Peter Zeidenberg, said in court papers Ho had “no expertise or experience in the development or production of special nuclear material”.
He said Ho was helping nuclear plants in China to run safely in order to avoid a Chernobyl-style disaster.
Ho was arrested in Atlanta, Georgia, in April and has been jailed pending trial. 
If found guilty he could face life in prison.
Zeidenberg has requested bail, pointing out that Ho, 66, is “not a young man” and is “poorly equipped for dealing with the stress and potential dangers inherent in detention”.
He said that at one facility where Ho was held, he had to be segregated from other inmates after they were heard discussing a plan to harm him.
“It has been brutal for him in every way imaginable,” a friend of Ho’s said.

Sino-American eternal conflict of loyalty
Neighbours and family friends have provided statements praising his character, according to filings with the court intended to support his bail request, which will be heard on Tuesday.
Gwen and David Chen, also of Wilmington, said Ho was a “bright, honest, warm, mild, likable [sic], and friendly man”, adding that the allegations “must be some misunderstanding”.
Friend Amy Chien said he was a “man of filial piety” who always visited his family in Taiwan when he travelled to China and was “well liked and respected in his circle of friends”.
Shirley and Evan Tseng said he spent a lot of time in China for work, but that he had “roots deeply planted in Delaware”.
“But China is his home and his country, and he would never betray it,” they said.

Sino-American Conflict of Loyalty

Secrecy surrounds sentencing of Chinese government operative in nuclear tech spy case
By Jamie Satterfield

Szuhsiung "Allen" Ho, a confessed operative for China, faces sentencing in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Tennessee for buying American nuclear technology secrets for China. 
An engineer working as an operative for the Chinese government in a bid to use American know-how to beef up China's nuclear program faces sentencing Wednesday in the first-of-its-kind prosecution in the nation.
Chief U.S. District Judge Tom Varlan will decide Szuhsiung "Allen" Ho’s fate at a hearing Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Knoxville for using China’s money to buy information about American nuclear power generation the country was forbidden to have.
Ho was a key catch for the U.S. intelligence community, and the case brought against him by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Charles Atchley Jr. and Bart Slabbekorn is the first of its kind involving China.

Shrouded in secrecy

Since he pleaded guilty earlier this year, he’s been honoring his side of a plea bargain negotiated by attorneys Wade Davies and Peter Zeidenberg by cooperating with the government in hopes prosecutors will recommend a shorter stint in prison than sentencing guidelines suggest.
But every document associated with Ho’s sentencing has been sealed. 
His penalty range, the government’s recommendation on sentencing and the defense’s position on it are hidden under the veil of court sealing orders.
Atchley has said the Chinese government paid through Ho millions to buy American information on the production of nuclear energy – the by-product of which can be used to make nuclear weapons. 
The Chinese government refuses to even acknowledge the indictment of its own nuclear power company.

Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas A. Varlan 

Ho, his firm Energy Technology International, and Chinese nuclear power plant China General Nuclear Power were indicted in April 2016 in a plot to lure nuclear experts in the U.S. into providing information to allow China to develop and produce nuclear material based on American technology and below the radar of the U.S. government.
It is the first such case in the nation brought under a provision of law that regulates the sharing of U.S. nuclear technology with certain countries deemed too untrustworthy to see it. 
Those countries include China. 

Engineer turned informant
The investigation began at the behest of the Tennessee Valley Authority Office of the Inspector General, which contacted the FBI with concerns about one of TVA's senior executives, engineer Ching Guey, who later admitted he was paid by Ho and, by extension, the Chinese government, to supply information about nuclear power production and even traveled to China on the Chinese government's dime. 
Huey agreed to cooperate in the probe. 
He has since struck a plea deal.
Ho is a Taiwan native who became a naturalized U.S. citizen. 
Atchley has repeatedly insisted in court that the Chinese government had paid Ho millions for his spy work. 
Ho worked for the Chinese government and lived in China most of the time.
The Howard H. Baker Jr. United States Courthouse.

Ho's defense team worked in plea negotiations to get into the official court record Ho's position on why he was involved in the plot. 
They won. 
The plea deal says Ho wanted to make money and was only trying to help speed up and make cheaper nuclear energy in China by using American technology and expertise.
Guey is set for sentencing Sept. 21. 
There have been no sentencing documents filed in his case yet.

mardi 29 août 2017

Chinese Peril

Ecuador jails Chinese fishermen found with 6,000 sharks

Residents protest after Chinese crew members were detained along with others for illegally fishing off the Galapagos Islands, in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, Ecuador August 25, 2017.

QUITO -- An Ecuadorean judge has jailed 20 Chinese fishermen for up to four years for illegally fishing off the Galapagos Islands, where they were caught with 6,600 sharks.
The Chinese-flagged ship Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 was apprehended in mid-August with some 300 tonnes of near-extinct or endangered species, including hammerhead sharks.
The crew received jail time of between one and four years, the judge said late on Sunday.
They were also fined a total of $5.9 million.
Ecuador’s foreign ministry said it had sent a formal protest to China over the presence of ships near the Galapagos, which inspired British naturalist Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
It reported earlier this month that China’s ambassador in Quito, Wang Yulin, said his country wanted to take all measures necessary to “put an end to these illicit practices.”
The islands are about 1,000 km (620 miles) west of Ecuador’s Pacific coast.
A Chinese crew member steps off a bus after being detained along with others for illegally fishing off the Galapagos Islands, in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristobal, Ecuador August 25, 2017. 

The Environment Ministry said the Chinese vessel was fishing in the Galapagos’ marine reserve.
The boat will be taken over by Ecuador and the dead animals thrown out to sea, the government said on Monday.
Shark fin is a status symbol for many Chinese, prized as nourishment and consumed in a shredded jelly-like soup. 
Restaurants across China serve it at traditional banquets.
Centenarian tortoises and blue-footed boobies inhabit the Galapagos alongside some 18,000 islanders who earn a living from fishing and the tourism industry.

Sina Delenda Est


Two nuclear-armed powers have stepped back from the brink — for now. 
Yesterday India and China announced they had agreed to end a two-month border confrontation, in which a few hundred troops had faced off in the Doklam area claimed by both China and Bhutan, and many thousands more had been placed on heightened alert
The immediate crisis seems to be over, but it offers tantalizing insights into Chinese coercive strategies and how they may be thwarted. 
This has implications not only for India in its own land border disputes, but also for several Southeast Asian nations and the United States, as they all confront China’s attempts to expand its control and influence.

Background: The Standoff at Doklam
China had every reason to believe that a short stretch of new road, high in the remote Himalayas, would reinforce its claims on the “tri-junction” where the borders of China, Bhutan, and India meet. In mid-June, Chinese military road crews began to extend a road in an area known as Doklam, disputed by China and Bhutan. 
The road had been built into the disputed territory as early as 2003, and PLA troops had often conducted foot patrols in the area of the proposed road extension. 
But China knew the area was disputed, and had acknowledged as much in agreements with Bhutan in 1988 and 1998, and with India in 2012
Extending the road would be a relatively cheap and clear way for Beijing to advance its claims in the dispute. (The details of the competing territorial claims have been ably covered, including here at War on the Rocks.)
Almost immediately after the road crews began their work, however, they were surprised by an Indian Army intervention. 
Indian troops entered the disputed territory, with at least the tacit consent of Bhutan, and physically impeded the construction of the road. 
India saw the Chinese encroachment as a threat to its security and its regional influence — it historically regarded Bhutan as a pliant buffer and remains its security guarantor today, even as their alignment has loosened in the past decade. 
New Delhi denounced the Chinese road building as an attempt to unilaterally change the status quo in contravention of the 2012 agreement.
Monday’s agreement to end the standoff returns to the situation to the status quo ante, exactly as India and Bhutan demanded. 
Troops from both sides have disengaged, and China claims it will continue patrolling and asserting its sovereignty claims. 
The official statements are vague on some details, presumably to save face among their respective publics. 
Most importantly, the statements only imply — rather than saying outright — that China will abandon the road construction that triggered the crisis. 
Beijing seems to have blinked. 
What explains this setback for Chinese policy?

China’s Coercion Playbook

China used the same playbook in Doklam as it has in other territorial disputes, especially Vietnam and the Philippines
This playbook usually involves four elements. 
The first step is to develop a larger or more permanent physical presence in areas where China has already has a degree of de facto control — whether that means new islands in the South China Sea or roads in the Himalayas. 
Using its military to build infrastructure in the Doklam area was likely an attempt to consolidate China’s control along its southwestern border, including this disputed area where it has patrolled for some time.
This consolidation usually goes hand-in-hand with the second element, coercive diplomacy
Here, China couples its threats or limited military action with diplomatic efforts designed to persuade the target state to change its policies or behavior. 
The strategy is to put the onus on the other side, often in a weaker position militarily, to risk confrontation over these gradual changes to the status quo. 
The goal is to ensure the target country does not counter China’s consolidation attempts, and ideally to compel them to engage in bilateral negotiations. 
It is in such talks that China can then leverage its stronger physical position to secure a favorable settlement.
China has used this model of coercive diplomacy not only against weaker claimants in the South China Sea, but also against the United States. 
In the 2009 U.S. Naval Ship Impeccable incident, for example, it used coercive diplomacy and other elements of its playbook against U.S. maritime surveillance operations. 
The Doklam case carried the added enticing prospect of opening new channels of diplomatic communication — and influence — with Bhutan, with which China currently lacks formal diplomatic relations.
Third, China uses legal rhetoric and principles to present its position as legitimate and lawful, thereby staking a claim to a broader legitimizing principle in territorial disputes. 
In the case of Doklam, China portrayed the Indian response as a violation of Chinese sovereignty — it claimed Indian troops entered Chinese territory through the Sikkim sector of the Sino-Indian border and had been “obstructing Chinese border troop activities.” 
China declared its road construction was entirely lawful, designed to improve infrastructure for the local people and border patrols. 
China’s policy position was that the border was delimited in 1890, formally reaffirmed several times since, and reinforced by the routine presence of Chinese troops and herders. 
Its legal argument thus rested in part on the first element of the playbook: the physical presence that it sought to make permanent with the road at Doklam.
Lastly, China leverages its government-controlled media to highlight its narrative and issue threats. These tend to involve warnings about not underestimating Chinese resolve and the Chinese people’s determination to protect their sovereignty just because China has restrained itself so far. 
The Chinese media was replete with such articles, warning India, for example, not to “play with fire” lest it “get burned.” 
They cautioned the Indian government not to be driven by nationalism and arrogance, to avoid miscalculation and repeating the mistakes of the 1962 war
This is not just a war of words; research shows that escalating threats in the media can be a precursor to China’s use of force.
While other countries may also seek to impose a territorial fait accompli — such as Russia in Ukraine — China always follows its multi-pronged playbook. 
It consistently demonstrates a preference for ambiguity, risk manipulation and controlling the narrative to win without fighting. 
Any use of coercion — which involves threats and use of force — carries the risk of escalation to conflict, even if China has previously managed to resolve most of its disputes without war. 
How China advances its claims in South and East Asia will determine whether those regions remain peaceful and stable.

Thwarting Coercion With Denial

China’s playbook, however, did not go according to plan this time, because it did not account for India’s unexpectedly swift and assertive response to its road-building. 
India did not simply voice displeasure or threaten to punish China if it continued to pursue its territorial claims as the United States and Southeast Asian countries have done in the South China Sea. 
In those cases, China used its coercive playbook effectively, forcing its adversaries to either back down or raise the ante. 
And as China’s uncontested gains have shown, its adversaries have generally lacked the capabilities, and especially the political resolve, to escalate crises.
But in this situation, India thwarted China’s coercion through denial — blocking China’s attempt to seize physical control of the disputed territory. 
By physically denying China’s bid to change the status quo, India created a stalemate, which suited its strategic policy. 
It did not acquiesce to a Chinese fait accompli, and it did not have to summon the capabilities or resolve to reverse China’s position, which would have risked a general war. 
India was able to do this because of a local military advantage and its broader policy of standing up to China
As a result, China did not have the option of proceeding under the guise of peaceful legitimate development, per its playbook; pressing its claims on Doklam would have required it to ratchet up military pressure. 
The stalemate thwarted Chinese coercion — but as long as it lasted, it was pregnant with risks of escalation and conflict.

Disengagement, But Dangers Persist

The immediate risks of conflict have receded, but the border dispute remains unresolved, and the broader Sino-Indian relationship remains fraught. 
First, on Doklam, while China has backed down for now, its statement that “China will continue fulfilling its sovereign rights to safeguard territorial sovereignty in compliance with the stipulations of the border-related historical treaty” suggests it has not changed its position on the border tri-junction. 
Indeed, during the standoff, China reportedly offered financial inducements to cleave Bhutan away from its traditional relationship with India — it has other ways, and continued ambitions, to press its claims.
Second, the India-China relationship remains tense, and prone to military risk, especially if China seeks to reassert itself after a perceived slight at Doklam. 
This could include an incursion somewhere along the India-China Line of Actual Control — indeed, such actions have already been reported
Or China might pursue a “cross-domain” response, for example with punitive cyber attacks or threatening activity in the Indian Ocean.
Third, over the longer term, India should be wary of learning the wrong lessons from the crisis. 
As one of us has recently written, India has long been preoccupied with the threat of Chinese (and Pakistani) aggression on their common land border. 
The Doklam standoff may be remembered as even more reason for India to pour more resources into defending its land borders, at the expense of building capabilities and influence in the wider Indian Ocean region. 
That would only play into China’s hands. 
Renewed Indian concerns about its land borders will only retard its emergence as an assertive and influential regional power.

The Lessons of Doklam

With the crisis only just being de-escalated, it is too early to derive definitive lessons from Doklam. However, a few policy implications are already apparent. 
First, Chinese behavior in territorial disputes is more likely to be deterred by denial than by threats of punishment. 
China will continue the combination of consolidating its physical presence and engaging in coercive diplomacy, lawfare, and media campaigns unless it is stopped directly. 
This is what India did at Doklam — it directly blocked Chinese efforts to change the status quo. Denial in other areas would require different military tasks — for example, in the Indian Ocean, it may involve anti-submarine warfare and maritime domain awareness.
Second, denial strategies may be effective, but they have their limitations. 
Denial is inherently risky. 
Countering China’s playbook involves risks of escalation — which most smaller adversaries, and at times even the United States, are unwilling to accept. 
Moreover, denial strategies can only serve to halt adversary action, not to reverse what the adversary has already done. 
As Doklam shows, India could convince China not to proceed with its road-building — but China did not relinquish its claims or its established pattern of presence in the area. 
Denial by itself offers no pathway to politically resolving the crisis.
Third, the agreement to disengage suggests that Beijing’s position in crises can be flexible, and perhaps responsive to assertive counter-coercion. 
Domestic audiences, even those in autocracies, often prefer sound judgment to recklessly staying the course. 
If the Doklam standoff had escalated to a shooting war, anything short of a decisive victory might have put Xi Jinping in an unfavorable position at the 19th Party Congress and hurt the PLA’s image with the Chinese people. 
But short of that, the Chinese government was always in the position to sell Doklam as a non-event, something the decreasing domestic media coverage suggests it was preparing to do. 
Beijing will frame the disengagement agreement as further proof of Chinese strength, especially relative to India. 
As the stronger power, China could magnanimously agree to a mutual disengagement for now while reserving the right to move forward when it sees fit.
Finally, the Doklam agreement tells us that when China confronts a significantly weaker target, such as Bhutan, it will only be deterred by the actions of a stronger third party — in this case, India. 
Had India not acted, China would likely have been successful in consolidating its control and extracting territorial concessions from Bhutan. 
Third-party involvement may not be as easy in other cases — India had a privileged position in Bhutan. 
Such a strategy may also have significant second-order effects. 
In the near term, it is potentially escalatory — China argued that India has no basis for interfering in this bilateral dispute, and had many options for escalating the crisis at a time and place of its choosing. 
More broadly, such third-party involvement could intensify geopolitical competition between China and other powers such as the U.S. or India, if they intercede in other countries’ disputes with China. 
The lesson of Doklam for the United States is that arming small states and imposing incremental costs may not be enough. 
Washington has to accept the greater risks associated with intervening more directly if it hopes to counter Chinese expansion in East Asia.

Sina Delenda Est

How China Plans to Win a War in the South China Sea
By James Holmes

Last year China’s defense minister, General Chang Wanquan, implored the nation to ready itself for a “people’s war at sea.” 
The purpose of such a campaign? 
To “safeguard sovereignty” after an adverse ruling from the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea
The tribunal upheld the plain meaning of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), ruling that Beijing’s claims to “indisputable sovereignty” spanning some 80-90 percent of the South China Sea are bunk.
A strong coastal state, in other words, cannot simply wrest away the high seas or waters allocated to weaker neighbors and make them its own.
Or, at any rate, it can’t do so lawfully. 
It could conceivably do so through conquest, enforced afterward by a constant military presence. Defenders of freedom of the sea, consequently, must heed General Chang’s entreaty. 
Southeast Asians and their external allies must take such statements seriously—devoting ample forethought to the prospect of marine combat in the South China Sea.
That’s the first point about a people’s war at sea. 
A clash of arms is possible. 
Statesmen and commanders in places like Manila, Hanoi, and Washington must not discount Chang’s words as mere bluster.
Indeed, it’s doubtful China could comply with the UNCLOS tribunal’s ruling at this stage, even if the Chinese Communist Party leadership wished to. 
Think about the image compliance would project at home. 
For two decades now, Beijing has invested lavishly in a great navy, and backed that navy up with shore-based firepower in the form of combat aircraft, anti-ship missile batteries, and short-range warships such as fast patrol craft and diesel submarines.
Party leaders have regaled the populace with how they will use seagoing forces to right "historical wrongs" and win the nation nautical renown. 
They must now follow through.
It was foolish to tie China’s national dignity and sovereignty to patently absurd claims to islands and seasBut party leaders did so. 
And they did so repeatedly, publicly, and in the most unyielding terms imaginable. 
By their words they stoked nationalist sentiment while making themselves accountable to it. 
They set in motion a toxic cycle of rising popular expectations.
Breaking that cycle could verge on impossible. 
If Beijing relented from its maritime claims now, ordinary Chinese would—rightly—judge the leadership by the standard it set. 
Party leaders would stand condemned as weaklings who surrendered sacred territory, failed to avenge China’s century of humiliation despite China’s rise to great power, and let jurists and lesser neighbors backed by a certain superpower flout big, bad China’s will.
No leader relishes being seen as a weakling. 
It’s positively dangerous in China. 
As the greats of diplomacy teach, it’s tough for negotiators or political leaders to climb down from public commitments. 
Make a promise and you bind yourself to keep it. Fail to keep it and you discredit yourself—and court disaster in the bargain.
Like any sane leadership, Beijing prefers to get its way without fighting. 
Fighting, though, could be the least bad of the options party leaders have left themselves. 
Quite the predicament they’ve made for themselves.
Which leads to the second point. 
Judging from Chang’s words, small-stick diplomacy has run its course. 
Small-stick diplomacy was about deploying the China Coast Guard and fellow nonmilitary sea services to police waters Beijing claimed. 
It depicted China’s sovereignty in the South China Sea as a fact, and dared woefully outmatched rivals to reverse that fact.
Left unopposed, de facto Chinese sovereignty—a near-monopoly on the use of force within borders sketched on the map—would have become entrenched over time. 
Once it became the new normal, it might even have taken on an aura of legitimacy among seafaring states.
The UNCLOS tribunal struck China’s approach a grievous blow, collapsing the quasi-legal arguments underlying small-stick diplomacy. 
The tribunal’s decision makes it clear that Chinese maritime forces operating in, say, the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone are invaders or occupiers—not constables.
If Beijing can’t get its way through white-hulled coast-guard vessels, that leaves military force. Sovereign states deploy law-enforcement assets to police what is rightfully theirs. 
They deploy military forces to fight for things that are in dispute. 
Chang’s warlike talk implies that Beijing has abandoned the softly, softly approach and has tacitly admitted Southeast Asia constitutes a contested zone.
And the lingo he employs matters. 
People’s war is a Maoist phrase used to convey certain martial ideas. 
Mao Zedong’s Red Army waged people’s war to seize contested ground from Japanese invaders and Chinese Nationalists. 
It appears China now sees the South China Sea in similar terms—as an offshore battleground where rivals must be overcome by force.
But not by military force alone. 
Beijing won’t withdraw the coast guard, maritime enforcement services, or the fishing fleet—an unofficial militia—from embattled waters. 
They will stay on as part of a composite whole-of-government armada. 
But the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy and Air Force will figure more prominently in the force mix.
In the days of small-stick diplomacy, the naval big stick posed an implicit threat from over the horizon. 
Philippine or Vietnamese mariners knew the China Coast Guard had backup if they defied it. 
In all likelihood Chinese commanders will flourish the big stick more promiscuously in the future—rendering the threat overt and visible rather than latent and unobtrusive.
Here’s the third point. 
A people’s-war-at-sea strategy will confront a motley coalition in which outsiders—America, maybe joined by Japan or Australia—supply the bulk of the heavy-hitting combat power. 
The Philippines is lopsidedly outgunned. 
Vietnam has pluck and a formidable military, but it can hardly stand up to the northern colossus without help.
The coalition’s curious makeup would furnish Beijing opportunities for coalition-breaking. 
China might reckon that any conflict in the South China Sea would be a “war by contingent” for the United States, a war in which Washington fixes the size of a force dispatched to support regional allies and instructs the commanders of that force to do the best they can with the resources they have.
Such strategies are excellent for troublemaking but seldom decisive in themselves. 
Lord Wellington, for instance, led a contingent ashore in Iberia in 1807. 
The expedition gave Napoleon a “Spanish ulcer,” a nagging commitment on a new front. 
Yet Wellington never kidded himself that he would win a continent-spanning war with a modest expeditionary force augmented by partisans and the Royal Navy.
Such an approach, in other words, would betray half heartedness on Washington’s part. 
After all, America would have embarked on an open-ended enterprise in a distant theater off the opponent’s shores without any real thought of victory. 
Half Heartedness kills in such ventures.
People’s war is about outlasting stronger foes under circumstances like these. 
If the weaker contender is a China endowed with sizable reserves of hard power to tap, then that contender needs time. 
Its armed forces protract the campaign, both to gain time to muster more strength and to wear away at enemy combat strength.
In short, China could win even if it remains weaker than America in the aggregate. 
The PLA could narrow or reverse the balance of forces in the theater—overpowering the U.S. contingent at the place and time that truly matter. 
It could dishearten Washington. 
U.S. leaders might despair of sustaining the undertaking indefinitely. 
Or, China could outlast America—inflicting numerous tactical losses over a long time, and thus driving the price tag of preserving freedom of the seas higher than U.S. leaders are willing to pay. 
If America goes home, the venture collapses.
How, in operational and tactical terms, can PLA commanders bring this about? 
By hewing to their own warmaking traditions. 
China is politically and strategically predictable in the South China Sea yet operationally and tactically unpredictable. 
Politically and strategically predictable because party leaders painted themselves into a corner with domestic constituencies. 
Tactically unpredictable because that’s how Chinese forces have fought since the age of Mao.
Indeed, “active defense,” the concept whereby Mao codified his ideas about people’s war, remains the heart of Chinese military strategy. 
To oversimplify, the conceit behind active defense is that a weaker China can lure a stronger pugilist into overextending and tiring himself before delivering a punishing counterpunch. 
Conjure up the great Muhammad Ali’s Rumble in the Jungle in your mind and you get the idea.
If the rope-a-dope approach works on a grand scale, Chinese forces can inflict tactical defeats that enfeeble the foe over time. 
Active defense, then, is all about harnessing tactical offense for strategically defensive campaigns.
To prosecute it, Chinese commanders seek out isolated enemy detachments they can assault on “exterior lines,” encircling and crushing them. 
The cumulative effect of repeated tactical setbacks wears down the strong—and could prompt their leadership to question whether the endeavor is still worth its hardships, perils, and costs. 
If not, cost/benefit logic will prod U.S. leaders toward the exit—and China will prevail even without an outright victory over allied forces.
U.S. and allied mariners and airmen, accordingly, must study China’s martial traditions, gleaning insight into how offshore active defense might unfold in the South China Sea. 
If you’re Beijing and have built up a seagoing militia, an impressive coast guard, Asia’s biggest indigenous navy, and a sizable arsenal of land-based weaponry to influence events at sea, how do you alloy those components into a sharp combat implement—and consolidate control over a semi-enclosed sea?
Essaying some foresight into these matters now could pay off handsomely if China tries to put General Chang’s—and Mao’s—strategic concept into practice.
Speaking of whom, a final bit of advice from Mao Zedong. 
Chang deployed China’s traditional lexicon, centered on people’s war, to describe how Beijing may transact business in Southeast Asia. 
But bear in mind that a strategy of the weak was expedient for Mao, not his strategic preference. 
He was writing for a China that was flat on its back, wracked by civil war and foreign invasion.
It could do little else. 
But the goal of active defense—of people’s war—was to make the Red Army the stronger antagonist. Once Maoist forces reversed the force imbalance, they meant to unleash a counteroffensive and win on the conventional battleground.
This is not Mao’s China. 
It’s already a brawny economic and military power, and would be fighting on its own ground. 
Today’s PLA enjoys far more offensive options than did Mao’s Red Army. 
Rather than revert to pure people’s war on the Maoist pattern, PLA commanders could pursue a mix of small- and big-unit engagements against the U.S.-led coalition.
People’s war, then, could start to look awfully like conventional marine combat if Beijing believes the military balance and the trendlines favor China.
By all means, let’s review China’s way of war, discerning what we can about Chinese warmaking habits and reflexes. 
But these are not automatons replaying the Maoist script from the 1930s and 1940s. 
How they might transpose Maoist doctrine to the offshore arena—and how an unruly coalition can surmount such a challenge—is the question before friends of maritime freedom.

dimanche 27 août 2017

Doklam standoff: Indian Army prepares to beat back more Chinese incursions

With China getting more aggressive with its salami slicing policy in the Himalayas, the Indian Army must prepare for what General Bipin Rawat described as more Doklam-like incidents.
  • Indian and Chinese troops are in standoff at Doklam for over two months.
  • China keeps transgressing into Indian territories in three pockets of borders.
  • Bipin Rawat warned of more Doklam-like incidents in future.
By Prabhash K Dutta

Delivering the General BC Joshi Memorial Lecture in Pune yesterday, Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat warned that standoffs with China like that at Doklam are likely to "increase in future".
"The recent stand-off in the Doklam plateau by the Chinese side attempting to change the status quo are issues which we need to be wary about, and I think such kind of incidents are likely to increase in the future," General Bipin Rawat said.
Indian and Chinese troops are in eyeball encounter at Doklam plateau of Bhutan for over two months. Standoff began when Indian troops, after formal request by the Royal Army of Bhutan, stopped the People's Liberation Army of China from constructing a highway through Doklam area.
Doklam plateau is governed by Bhutan and has long been inhabited by the Bhutanese shepherds. China has been eyeing this piece of hilly terrain because of strategic significance.
Doklam lies very close to the Silliguri Corridor that connects the northeastern states of India with rest of the country.
It is the sole passage for supply of materials and transport to and from the northeastern states.

General Bipin Rawat has underlined what many geostrategic experts have been saying for long. China is the only country post-World War II that has been engaged in territorial expansion by poaching lands and maritime areas of its neighbours.
This Chinese policy is widely known as Salami Slicing through which it cuts into the territories of its neighbours and then stakes claim over the same.
Furthering the Salami Slicing policy China has captured the entire Tibetan kingdom in 1949 forcing the Buddhist government of the plateau state flee to India and seek asylum.
The Dalai Lama has headed the Tibetan government in-exile since 1950s with its headquarters at Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh.
Later, India recognised Tibet as part of China.
China captured Aksai Chin area in Ladakh of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in 1962 war with India and has illegally governed it since then.
Aksai Chin is roughly of the size of Switzerland in area.
China also forced Pakistan to cede almost 6,000 sq km area north of Karakoram mountain ranges in Pakistan-occupied parts of Jammu and Kashmir state.

Apart from Aksai Chin and the area in northern Kashmir, China stakes claim on Indian territories in two more pockets.
It claims Arunachal Pradesh to be its own territory calling it South Tibet and several patches along international borders falling in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.
The borders between India and China are not properly demarcated and the demarcation done during the British colonial regime is contested by Beijing as per its suitability.
During his lecture on India's Challenges in the Current Geo-Strategic Construct at the Department of Defence and Strategic Studies of Savitribai Phule Pune University in Pune, General Bipin Rawat said, "Pockets of dispute and contested claims to the territory continue to exist. These are due to differing perceptions on the alignments of the Line of Actual Control (LAC)."
"Transgressions across Line of Actual Control do happen and sometimes they do lead to some kind of misunderstanding between the forward troops," General Rawat said, adding, "However, we do have joint mechanisms in place to address such situations."
But, Chinese Salami Slicing policy stands in the way of resolving issues.
Even in the case of Doklam standoff, it has been reported that during all flag meetings with Chinese counterparts, the Indian Army has insisted on restoring pre-June 16 positions of the troops.
But, no resolution has been found yet.

The Doklam standoff is a classical example of Chinese border policy with India.
Chinese policy towards Indian borders has three well defined contours.
China invests heavily to strengthen its infrastructure in the regions where it is in stronger position.
It pursues Salami Slicing policy more aggressively where both troops are on equal footing strategically while China needles India where Indian Army is in stronger position to test water.
At Doklam plateau, Indian Army has been patrolling for decades while Chinese troops used to visit there occasionally and never stayed for long.
As it is a disputed area between China and Bhutan, and is very close to the Indian borders, PLA attempted to alter status quo.

China has invested in its defence forces and infrastructure more than any other Asian country over past several decades.
Even General Bipin Rawat underlined that the PLA has made significant progress in enhancing its "capabilities for mobilisation, application and sustenance of operations" particularly in the Tibet.
Xi Jinping has overhauled the entire military structure and divided the PLA commands in more reasonable units.
Their force reorganisation along with developing capabilities in space and network-centric warfare is likely to provide them greater synergy in force application," General Rawat noted in his speech.
China is also working on other aspects of geostrategy vis-a-vis India.
China is increasing its military and economic partnership with Pakistan and has also been trying to win over Maldives, Sri Lanka and even Bangladesh in India's neighbourhood.
On the other hand, while Doklam standoff continues, China has not yet confirmed about the annual joint military exercises with India.
India and China conduct joint exercise every year on reciprocal basis.
Named "Hand-in-Hand", Indian team goes to China one year followed a visit by Chinese troops next year.
Responding to a question whether Doklam standoff is affecting India-China annual military exercise, General Bipin Rawat said, "It could be, but we are not sure."
The ground realities leave no doubt that China's approach towards India is adversarial than friendly and General Bipin Rawat seems to have delivered the right message by saying, "It is always better to be prepared and alert than think that this will not happen again. So my message to troops is that do not let your guard down."

Rogue Banks

To Disarm North Korea, Cripple A Large China Bank
By Gordon G. Chang 

Tuesday, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on 10 entities and six individuals. 
The sanctioned parties are Singaporean, Russian, and Chinese and had, according to Treasury, aided North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons efforts.
In addition, the Justice Department sought to forfeit $11 million from three entities—at least one connected to China—for laundering money for Pyongyang.
Beijing howled. 
The foreign ministry called the actions “wrong behavior,” and the Global Times, the tabloid controlled by People’s Daily, went further, stating in an editorial that the U.S. would “pay for unjust ban on Chinese firms” and that “Washington had better restrain itself.”
In reality, the U.S. had already restrained itself. 
Too much, in my view. 
Washington needs, at this time, to move beyond actions against minor bad actors and impose severe penalties on large institutions. 
First among the targets should be one of China’s so-called Big Four banks, perhaps the Bank of China.
While the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea perfects missiles and nukes at an accelerated pace, American administrations have been slow to impose costs on Pyongyang’s primary backer, Beijing, for, among other crimes, money laundering.
Experts, like former State Department sanctions coordinator Dan Fried, believe Washington should warn Beijing before moving against Chinese banks.
Washington, however, has already warned the Chinese—repeatedly. 
The Obama administration began to signal American impatience. 
On September 26 of last year, the Justice Department announced the forfeiture of funds from 25 Chinese bank accounts. 
The actions were announced at the same time Treasury moved against Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development, its owner, and employees, in large part for handling North Korean cash.
Beijing, however, did not take the hint. 
Therefore, on June 29 President Trump’s Treasury Department, pursuant to Section 311 of the Patriot Act, designated Bank of Dandong a “primary money laundering concern.” 
The designation effectively cut off the institution from the global banking system.
Beijing still did not get the message, hence Tuesday’s forfeiture actions.
Actions against individuals and small-fry institutions are necessary, but they have been ineffective in getting Beijing out of money laundering and other illicit activities on behalf of the North Korean regime.
Therefore, it looks like time for Washington to move against Chinese institutions that matter, like Bank of China. 
Bank of China was, according to the Foreign Policy site, named in a 2016 U.N. report for devising and operating a money-laundering scheme for Pyongyang in Singapore. 
There are also hints the bank has been involved in dirty business in Dandong, the Chinese city on the Yalu River across from North Korea.
Bank of China, as large as it is, may not be the biggest Chinese money launderer. 
Anthony Ruggiero of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies thinks the U.S. could go after the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world’s largest financial institution in S&P Global Market Intelligence’s annual asset rankings.
Bank of China, by the way, comes in at No. 4 on this list.
The U.S., of course, can fine these institutions, but that would be just another signal for Beijing to disregard. 
North Korea is too close to being able to nuke the American homeland for Trump to send signals Beijing may ignore.
What could not be ignored, however, is Washington shutting down the U.S. operations of the largest Chinese banks and, more importantly, denying their access to dollar accounts. 
Without the ability to handle greenback transactions, they would be put out of business everywhere outside China, and they would even lose some business inside that country as well.
Would the U.S. suffer by unplugging one or more Chinese banks? 
Yes, no doubt. 
In comments to Reuters, Joseph DeThomas, another State Department sanctions official, warns of “unpredictable” consequences. 
And as Gary Samore of Harvard’s BelferCenter told Bloomberg, “If we were to impose penalties on really big Chinese financial institutions, it would have major economic consequences on the U.S.”
Yet the willingness to endure “major economic consequences” is not an argument for refraining from crippling a large Chinese bank. 
On the contrary, it is the reason why imposing death sentences on China’s institutions would be so effective.
Chinese leaders need to see that Washington is determined to stop North Korea, and they are not going to take America seriously unless America is willing to accept costs to do so.
In any event, whatever the Trump administration thinks its China or North Korea policy should be, it has an obligation to enforce U.S. law. 
No one gets to use the American financial system to launder cash for Kim Jong Un, at least more than once.
At the moment, Trump officials are turning up the pressure slowly, in the hope that Beijing will come around. 
That sounds responsible, but unfortunately the approach has been completely ineffective
Once a Chinese individual, company, or bank has been sanctioned for money laundering, the activity simply moves to another. 
Going after Bank of Dandong, therefore, was a mistake.
Beijing, the master of ignoring signals, has to know what is going on. 
China’s banks are tightly controlled by both the Chinese central government and the Communist Party. 
The government and Party must know about the banks’ sensitive relationships, like those with North Korea. If they do not in fact know about them, it is only because they do not want to.
Beijing cannot run a police state and then disclaim responsibility for what happens inside that state, especially when the largest state institutions are involved.
Therefore, it’s time to go after the biggest Chinese banks in order to cut the head off this particular beast.
In all probability, the Trump administration will have to unplug only one big institution to make a lasting impression. 
Beijing will then, for the first time since 1994, realize that American officials place the safety and security of the American people above all else.
“China is not a small country that you can just squeeze and it will do whatever,”Yuan Zheng of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences told Bloomberg. 
“China won’t accept it and will take measures in response. The whole atmosphere of U.S.-China relations will get worse.”
Who cares? 
I, for one, care far more for the safety of Americans than friendly ties with those determined to launder money for North Koreans.

China promotes army general who fought Vietnam in 1979 border war


Chinese Gen. Li Zuocheng, center, speaks during a meeting with U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, not shown, at the Bayi Building in Beijing, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016.
BEIJING -- China’s military has promoted an army general who fought Vietnam in a brief border war in 1979, the Defence Ministry said, part of a broad reshuffle expected as part of this autumn’s Communist Party congress.
In a brief statement late on Saturday, the ministry named army commander Li Zuocheng, 63, as the new chief of the Joint Staff Department of the People’s Liberation Army, replacing Fang Fenghui.
It is not clear if Li also remains army commander.
The ministry did not directly announce Li’s promotion, simply identifying him with his new title during a meeting with Pakistan army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan.
It did not say what had happened to Fang, who turns 67 next year and is likely to retire.
The move comes as Xi Jinping oversees an ambitious military modernization program, including adding new aircraft carriers and developing stealth fighters, and taking a more assertive stance in the disputed East and South China Seas.
Li was last year subject to a glowing profile in the official Beijing Daily that described his time fighting the Vietnamese, showing black-and-white pictures of him, aged 26 at the time, in a trench and pointing out positions on a map.
The state-run Global Times said on Sunday that Li had been wounded in the war but performed so bravely he was given the title “war hero”.
China invaded Vietnam on Feb. 17, 1979, to "punish" Hanoi for toppling the Beijing-backed Khmer Rouge in Cambodia one month earlier. 
China had previously given Hanoi steadfast support against U.S. forces in the Vietnam War.
Relations with Vietnam have more recently soured again over the two countries’ dispute in the South China Sea.
Fang earlier this month played host to U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford, the top U.S. military officer.
During Li’s meeting with the Pakistan army chief, on the sidelines of a regional counter-terrorism summit, Li praised China-Pakistan ties and pledged deeper cooperation, the Defence Ministry said.
China and Pakistan consider each other "all-weather friends" and have close diplomatic, economic and security ties.
China defended Pakistan last week for its sacrifices after U.S. President Donald Trump said the United States could no longer be silent about Pakistan's "safe havens" for militants and warned it had much to lose by continuing to "harbour terrorists".

samedi 26 août 2017

Per qualche renminbi in più

US jails ex-Guinea minister over China bribes
Mahmoud Thiam took millions of dollars in bribes from senior representatives of the Chinese conglomerate to facilitate mining rights while serving as a cabinet minister.
New York -- A former Guinean cabinet minister was sentenced to seven years in a US prison on Friday and ordered to pay back $8.5m for laundering bribes from a Chinese conglomerate in exchange for mining rights.
Mahmoud Thiam, 50, learned his fate in a Manhattan federal courtroom from Judge Denise Cote, more than three months after he was convicted on May 3 of money laundering.
Thiam, who was minister of mines and geology in Guinea from 2009-10 and is a US citizen, had faced a maximum sentence of 15 years.
Arrested in December 2016, prosecutors say he took millions of dollars in bribes from senior representatives of the Chinese conglomerate to facilitate mining rights while serving as a cabinet minister.
Thiam was found to have concealed the bribes in a Hong Kong bank account before transferring the money to the United States, where he bought a lavish $3.75m estate in Dutchess County, New York and sent his children to private school.
Acting Manhattan US attorney Joon Kim accused the defendant of "enriching himself at the expense of one of Africa's poorest countries."
"Today's sentence shows that if you send your crime proceeds to New York, whether from drug dealing, tax evasion or international bribery, you may very well find yourself at the front end of a long federal prison term," Kim said.
China has become a key trade partner with many nations in Africa, where it is eager to tap into the continent's mineral and energy resources to help feed its fast-paced economic growth.
As far back as 2013, federal authorities in Manhattan began investigating far-reaching allegations of corruption in Guinea's resource sector involving financial transfers through the US or activity on US soil.
Friday's statement did not name the Chinese conglomerate involved but news reports have said Thiam was accused of dealing with a joint venture involving the China International Fund, a Hong Kong investment organization sometimes referred to as the 88 Queensway Group.
A former UBS banker, Thiam had worked as an asset manager in Manhattan after stepping down from as Guinea's mining minister.