Archive for the ‘resources’ Category

Drama on China’s high seas casts U.S. as adversary

March 24, 2009

China’s flash of maritime muscle against a U.S. Navy ship this month has put its neighbors and America on watch against a bolder push to exert sovereignty in regional waters.

After a decade of increases in defense spending that averaged 16 percent a year, China has the military means to enforce claims in the energy-rich and trade-heavy South and East China Seas — and to challenge U.S. activities there, as it did March 8 when five Chinese vessels confronted the U.S.N.S. Impeccable.

By Dune Lawrence
Bloomberg

“China is looking to expand” its sphere of influence toward Guam and to the Philippines, says Tai Ming Cheung, a senior fellow at the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation in La Jolla, California. “The maritime arena is one of the most fluid and strategic for China in terms of how it’s going to defend and expand and protect its interests internationally.”

China’s move reflects its increasing international political and economic clout, which may lend it confidence in challenging the United States — and complicate America’s response. President Barack Obama needs China’s support in dealing with North Korea’s and Iran’s nuclear programs, not to mention its financial help in the form of continued purchases of U.S. government debt to support stimulus plans.

“There are much bigger factors at play, notably the need to keep China on board in cooperating in resolving the financial and economic crisis,” says Tim Huxley, executive director in Asia for the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Just eight weeks after Mr. Obama’s inauguration, the Chinese boats crowded “dangerously” close to the American surveillance ship and demanded that it leave waters about 120 kilometers, or 75 miles, south of Hainan Island, China’s southernmost province, according to the U.S. Department of Defense, which sent a warship escort.

China said the United States broke international law by spying close to its shores. The United States said its activities were allowed under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.

For Shane Osborn, the dispute seemed all too familiar. Osborn piloted a U.S. Navy surveillance plane that collided with a Chinese fighter jet over the same area in April 2001 — just weeks after the start of George W. Bush’s first term as president. The Chinese pilot died. Mr. Osborn made an emergency landing on Hainan, a beach resort and military base, where the Chinese detained him and his crew for 11 days on the ground that they had entered China’s airspace without permission.

The Impeccable’s encounter “was a little bit like déjà vu,” says Mr. Osborn, 34, now state treasurer of Nebraska. While tension died down soon after the 2001 incident, Mr. Osborn says he is concerned that will not happen this time, and he is quick to point out how China’s military has changed in the past eight years.

“They’ve made large investments in upgrading their equipment, and it’s starting to show now,” he says. “They were just at the beginning of it” then.

Read the rest:
http://www.iht.com/articles/20
09/03/24/asia/letter.php

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China’s Economic Might, Arrogance Should Cause Caution in the West

March 13, 2009

China has so much cash in reserve that they are funding their own economic stimulus — and with their own money; not borrowed cash.

China is also funding the American economic stimulus by buying American Treasury bills and other debt.

Cinese leaders are gloating to some extent about the stupidity of American leaders who do not have the cash reserves so carefully put aside by China.  Many Chinese leaders also scoff at the tom foolery of most Americans who have such debt ridden lives, with mortgages, credit card debt, a loan for the car and a college loan still outstanding.

But what the Chinese leaders don’t talk about is that few Chinese have cars, nice homes and college degrees….

So Chinese arrogance about American debt is sometimes confused by envy for many things American….

And China has expressed some concern about the spend-crazy Americans.

Premier Wen Jiabao “We have loaned a huge amount of money to the United States,” Wen said at a news conference in Beijing. “Of course, we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I’m a little bit worried. I would like for you [a Western reporter] to call on the United States to honor its word and stay a credible nation and ensure the safety of Chinese assets.”

This came at about the same time that United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called the U.S. a “deadbeat” nation.

Expect China to exert more influence over U.S. economic and foreign policy, just as Barack Obama is claiming the right to dictate policy to banks who took his bailout money.

China holds about $1 trillion in U.S. debt and will likely “buy” about $1 trillion more — especially if Obama and Nancy Pelosi demand another stimulus package.

Chinese arrogance and wealth is unmistakable, pervasive and in some ways very troubling for the West.

China is using its vast wealth and the current global recession as an opportunity to buy up natural resources at bargain prices.  China is building a world-class military complete with a global navy and an aircraft carrier.  And China is not afraid to confront the likes of the U.S. just as it did on the high seas last weekend….

We can expect China to continue to grow and dominate Asia, the Pacific and wherever they choose to go.

This US Navy file photo shows the military Sealift Command ocean ... 
This US Navy file photo shows the military Sealift Command ocean surveillance ship USNS Impeccable (T-AGOS-23). Five Chinese vessels maneuvered dangerously close to a US Navy ship in the South China Sea on Sunday, March 8, 2009, approaching within 25 feet of the unarmed surveillance ship, the Pentagon said.(AFP/NVNS)

Related:
China’s Love/Hate Relationship With The U.S

Obama Wasting America’s Strategic World Power; China Surges Despite Economy
.
Era of Obama, American Weakness Emboldens Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Terrorists

 Global Economy Weakness Leading To Social Unrest

Stimulus: China Will Fund U.S. Debt But “We Hate You Guys”

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORL
D/asiapcf/03/13/china.wen/index.html

Behind the U.S. and China At Sea Incident

Pelosi’s Stimulus II? Lawmakers Propose No Cost, High Employment Energy Package

China Buying Oil, Uranium, Gold, Other Products At Bargain Prices

Russia, “Desperate For Cash,” Sells Oil to China In “Very Bad Deal”

Philippines Enacts Law Claiming Islands also Claimed by China, Others

March 11, 2009

The Philippine president has signed a law affirming sovereignty over islands also claimed by China and Vietnam, an official said Wednesday, sparking protests over the control of strategic South China Sea islands.

Associated Press

The legislation, signed Tuesday by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, reaffirms Philippine sovereignty over the more than 7,100 islands in its archipelago, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said. It also claims outlying islands in the Spratly chain and Scarborough Shoal – two regions in the South China Sea.

China claims sovereignty over both chains. Vietnam and others have long laid claim to the Spratlys.

“We are sending the message to the whole world that we are affirming our national sovereignty … our national interest,” Ermita told a news conference.

The Chinese Embassy issued a statement expressing its “strong opposition and solemn protest” over the signing of the law, and insisted China “has indisputable sovereignty over these islands and their adjacent waters.”

Earlier, China’s Foreign Ministry summoned a Philippine Embassy official to protest the passage of the bill in the Philippine Congress.

Vietnam also urged the Philippines to refrain from taking action that might complicate the dispute.

Foreign Affairs official Henry Bensurto said the Philippines passed the law not to reiterate its claims over the Spratlys and Scarborough Shoal but to define the baseline used to determine its extended continental shelf.

The U.N. has asked the Philippines and other countries that signed the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea to submit the dimensions of their claimed continental shelf by May 13. The convention, which came into force in 1994, defines the maritime limits of its signatories.

The Spratlys, believed to be rich in oil, gas and fish, consist of about 100 barren islets, reefs and atolls dotting the world’s busiest shipping lanes in the South China Sea.

Vietnam, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei each claim all or part of the low-lying islands.

Read the rest:
http://apnews.myway.com/article
/20090311/D96RQ50G0.html

Russia, “Desperate For Cash,” Sells Oil to China In “Very Bad Deal”

March 8, 2009

“Russia, just a few months ago a very oil rich nation, just made a very bad deal to raise $25 billion in cash from China by giving them oil for 10 years.  It is a very bad deal and shows how bad the world economy has become.”

That according to Newt Gingrich on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday March 8.

**************

From the People’s Daily

China will further promote cooperation and exchanges with Russia this year as the two countries embrace the 60th anniversary of their establishment of diplomatic ties, said China’s Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi here Saturday.

China will fully carry out practical cooperation with Russia in various fields, including energy and science and technology, he told a press conference on the sidelines of an annual parliament session.

The two sides’ recent agreement on the construction of a crude oil pipeline project, a long-term crude oil trading deal and a financing scheme was a “mutually beneficial and win-win result”, said Yang.

The agreement signed in February allowed China to lend 25 billion U.S. dollars to Russia in an exchange for a 20-year oil supply starting from 2011 with a total volume of 300 million tons.

“China and Russia have come a long way in the past 13 years since the Sino-Russian Strategic Partnership of Cooperation was established,” said Yang. “A lot of achievements have been made in recent years particularly.”

He urged the two countries, both major countries and permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, to join hands to promote world multi-polarity and greater democracy in international order.

Gas flares off under heavy snowfall at a liquefied natural gas ... 
Gas flares off under heavy snowfall at a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant on Sakhalin island outside the town Korsakovi Russia.(AFP/File/Natalia Kolesnikova)

“We should make greater contribution to promoting world peace, stability and development,” said Yang.

He also pledged to enhance high-level exchanges and mutual visits between the two countries and boost people-to-people interaction through such activities as the Year of the Russian Language in China that falls this year.

Source:Xinhua

Related:

Recession on track to be longest in postwar period

 Russia Reclaiming Raw Materials Like Oil, Coal

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The Next Big War Will Be Over Commodities

By John E. Carey
2008

Last Month President Bush went to Saudi Arabia to ask his friends there to increase oil production. The White House believed that by increasing supply, the price of gasoline per gallon at your friendly service station would drop. The president was rebuffed.

This month the United States urged upon the other large users of oil in the world community to join the “produce more” bandwagon.”

China, Japan, India and South Korea went along with the U.S. plan.

Cabinet ministers from the five countries, which account for more than half the world’s consumption of energy, agreed that the sharp surge in oil prices was a menace to the world economy, and that more petroleum should be produced to meet rising demand.

The five consumer countries, meeting in Japan before an energy conference of the Group of Eight industrialized nations plus Russia on June 8, 2008, argued that the unprecedented prices were against the interests of both producers and consumers, and imposed a “heavy burden” on developing countries.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries current president, Chakib Khelil, said that the cartel will make no new decision on production levels until OPEC’s September 9, 2008 meeting in Vienna.

So in just a few weeks time, we witnessed the President of the United States pleading for more production and the senior energy ministers from the U.S., China, India, Japan and South Korea joining in a chorus.

We at Peace and Freedom believe that when the engine of the free market jumps the tracks and supply and demand are ignored; one had better get ready for bad blood.

Then we have food. In the Philippines the people took to the streets demanding more rice. In Egypt, the people took to the streets demanding more bread. And some bad blood developed between Thailand, the world’s leading rice exporter, and Vietnam, perhaps the second most important rice exporter.

It seems the Vietnamese had underbid the Thais on contracts to export rice. The Vietnamese saw this as good business. The Thais viewed it as theft. Never mind that Thai rice is of higher quality and thus cists more.

China recently announced that it had “overbuilt” its industry and removed too much farmland from production. China now is instituting new regulations to preserve farmland and it is mapping a strategy to import more food.

Ethanol and other bio fuels seemed like a great idea to help add to U.S. oil stocks. But when all that corn disappeared into your fuel tank, the price of all corn went up. And corn not only feeds people but it is a huge source of livestock feed. So the price of pork and beef and all that other livestock that makes its way to the dinner table went up.

And food and fuels have never been in such demand. Never mind the huge increases in global population; with the combined populations of India and China eight times that of the U.S.

The world, believe it or not, is becoming more “middle class.” That means more people want gas burning cars which suck up a lot of fuel and add to global pollution. These new “middle class” folks also want a higher protein diet.

If one eats rice or corn or other grains the costs are somewhat manageable. But it takes four times more grain (and sometimes as much as six times) to put meat on pork or cattle before human beings eat that meat. So the high protein diet has a huge cost. It sucks up a lot more grain that human grain eaters ever would and it means the eaters need more dollars, rupees euros, yen or other denominations to buy every meal.

Bacon and eggs are more expensive, say, than the traditional rice bowl.

Finally, all these goodies, usually called commodities, are moving around the globe.

The Associated Press had an excellent article by Gavin Rabinowitz out on June 7.

India, China jostle for influence in Indian Ocean

 

Mr. Rabinowitz pointed out that looking south from Sri Lanka “just over the horizon runs one of the world’s great trade arteries, the shipping lanes where thousands of vessels carry oil from the Middle East and raw materials to Asia, returning with television sets, toys and sneakers for European consumers.”

That shipping lane is a possible flashpoint between India and China. Add in Japan, which gets just about all of its oil by that sea lane. And don’t forget the U.S. and the U.S. Navy. Those boys don’t want to see that sea lane interrupted by war, terrorism, piracy or any other form of bad blood.

So the bottom line, from our small window of the world is this: The next big war could well be over “commodities.”

We’ve used food and oil here as the most obvious examples of commodities worth fighting for. But it could be over uranium, tin, gold or who knows what. Even fresh water.

California is already starting to limit development due to water shortages. Australia is in the midst of a multi-year drought which has crippled Aussie grain production. And over use of fertilizers and pesticides in China and Vietnam have poisoned much of the ground water.

The next big war could well be over commodities.

Welcome to the new millennium.

Related:
China’s thirst for copper could hold key to Afghanistan’s future

Philippines Enacts Law Claiming Islands also Claimed by China, Others

China Pips (Screws) India on Myanmar Oil Deal

December 30, 2008

Is it any wonder that China’s offer to be a peacemaker between India and Pakistan was flatly rejected by India?  India sees itself as China’s rival and equal.

China, on the other hand, is often accused of seeing India as a clumsy little brother.

Just this last week, China signed an oil export agreement from Myanmar, in an area once 25% or more controlled by India.

The Business Standard of New Delhi reported the caper under the headline “China Pips India to Sign Gas Deal with Myanmar.”

“Pip”  is a British slang word meaning to screw, best, or take advantage, we are told….

Related:
China To Reap Most of Myanmar’s Oil

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China Pips India to Sign Gas Deal with Myanmar

The Business Standard, New Delhi

China has pipped India to sign a 30-year agreement to import natural gas from fields lying in offshore Myanmar where India’s state-owned companies have a 25 per cent stake.
China’s state oil and gas firm China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) last week signed a Gas Sales Agreement with South Korea’s Daewoo International for buying gas from the Shwe field in A-1 offshore block and the adjoining A-3 block, industry sources said.

Daewoo is the operator in the two blocks with 51 per cent stake, while Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has 17 per cent and GAIL 8.5 per cent. Korea Gas Corporation has 8.5 per cent and Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise the remaining 15 per cent.

GAIL had offered a price of $5.01 per million British thermal unit to buy the entire gas from the offshore fields and pipe it to India through the northeastern states. But the military-rulers of Myanmar have chosen China, which will have to lay a longer pipeline to reach its south-western Yunnan province.

Sources said Myanmar would also be able to tap the pipeline running across its territory to meet its fuel needs once the gas starts flowing sometime in 2013.

Read the rest:
http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/
china-pips-india-to-sign-gas-dealmyanmar/01/0
9/344716/

China To Reap Most of Myanmar’s Oil

December 29, 2008

Military-run Myanmar has signed a deal with South Korean and Indian companies to pipe natural gas from the energy-rich nation’s offshore fields to China, state media reported Monday.

The Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise inked the deal last Wednesday with South Korean companies Daewoo and Korea Gas Corporation and Indian energy firms ONGC Videsh and GAIL to supply gas to the China National United Oil Corporation.

AFP

Myanmar soldiers parade during a ceremony marking the country's ... 
Myanmar soldiers parade during a ceremony marking the country’s Armed Forces Day in the country’s new capital, Naypyidaw. Military-run Myanmar has signed a deal with South Korean and Indian companies to pipe natural gas from the energy-rich nation’s offshore fields to China, state media have reported.(AFP/File/Khin Maung Win)

“The agreement was signed to export natural gas to China from Shwe natural gas project at Block A-1 and A-3 at Rakhine coastal region through pipelines,” the New Light of Myanmar newspaper said.

The paper gave no other details of the project, but Beijing media reported last month that China was planning to start construction on a gas pipeline to Myanmar in early 2009.

Related:
 Get the Feeling Russia and China Are Slicing Up The World and the U.S. Will Be Left Out?

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081229/bs_afp/m
yanmarskoreaindiachinaenergygas_081229075537

Russia Reclaiming Raw Materials Like Oil, Coal

December 8, 2008

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has long maintained that Russia made a colossal error in the 1990s by allowing its enormous reserves of oil, gas and other natural resources to fall into private hands.

So he hired the head of the Russian oil giant Gazprom, Dmitry Medvedev, to become his chief of staff and then to succeed him as president.  Now most believe after Medvedev completes his term, putin will return as president.

 

But there are new hints that Putin wants to reclaim natural resources for the Russian state.

This according to UPI:

The Russian government may be using a 2-year-old mining accident as an excuse to take over the mining company Uralkali, observers said.

Uralkali stock has plunged 60 percent since the government, in October, reopened an inquiry into a the mining accident, The New York Times reported Monday.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin listens during a nationally ... 
Putin

Deputy prime minister Igor Sechin has threatened the company, which made $550 million in the first six months of the year, with crippling fines, the Times said.

The company was previously absolved of all blame in the accident, in which no one was hurt.

But the involvement of Sechin, who reportedly headed the government effort to take over oil company Yukos, has led some to believe the government is interested in talking over Uralkali.

He is the state’s main raider, said Olga Kryshtanovskaya at the Center for the Study of Elites in Moscow. He organizes these raider seizures, sometimes to the benefit of the state, or sometimes to the benefit of companies that are friendly to him.

 

 

It seems to us that the authorities simply want to take the company, said Vladimir Smirnoff, a transport driver at the mine. The authorities just can’t watch all that money pass them by.

See the UPI report:
http://economie.moldova.org/stiri/eng/170891/

Also see the Times of India and the New York Times report:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/World/Russia_swoops_on_priva
te_industries/articleshow/3810582.cms