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Phuket Gazette World News: China in Top 5 arms dealers; President Li in US talks on cyber war, trade

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– World news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

New China leader Xi to meet U.S. to discuss cyber row, trade
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will meet new Chinese President Xi Jinping today at a critical time in relations between the world’s two largest economies, with cyber hacking, the Chinese currency and market access high on the agenda for talks.

The meeting will be Xi’s first with a senior foreign official since he was formally elected as president by China’s parliament on Thursday. It is also Lew’s first major trip since his confirmation, indicating the importance of the relationship.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the head of government, pledged on Sunday to forge “a new type of relationship” with the United States and called for the end of a cyber-hacking row between the two countries.

A private US computer security company said last month a secretive Chinese military unit was likely behind a series of hacking attacks targeting the United States. President Barack Obama raised the issue during a phone call with Xi last week.

Lew plans to press Chinese officials to stop cyber attacks directed at the United States. China, in turn, says it is the target of US hacking attacks.

Li has said reform was necessary to deliver long-term economic stability and Lew will also push China to accelerate economic reforms.

Lew also wants Beijing to allow its currency to rise faster against the U.S. dollar and to take steps to increase market access for U.S. goods and to protect intellectual property rights better.

Later on Tuesday, Lew will meet Xu Shaoshi, chairman of China’s National and Development Reform Commission, the economic planning agency that wields approval authority over major investment projects.

Lew will also meet newly-appointed finance minister Lou Jiwei, formerly head of China’s sovereign wealth fund.

China replaces Britain in world’s top five arms exporters – report
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: China has become the world’s fifth-largest arms exporter, a respected Sweden-based think-tank said yesterday, its highest ranking since the Cold War, with Pakistan the main recipient.

China’s volume of weapons exports between 2008 and 2012 rose 162 percent compared with the previous five-year period, with its share of the global arms trade rising from 2 percent to 5 percent, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said.

China replaces Britain in the top five arms-dealing countries between 2008 and 2012, a group dominated by the United States and Russia, which accounted for 30 percent and 26 percent of weapons exports, SIPRI said.

“China is establishing itself as a significant arms supplier to a growing number of important recipient states,” Paul Holtom, director of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme, said in a statement.

The shift, outlined in SIPRI’s Trends in International Arms Transfers report, marks China’s first time as a top-five arms exporter since the think-tank’s 1986-1990 data period.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, asked about the report, said China was a responsible arms exporter which strictly adhered to international law.

“On arms exports, China sticks to three principles. First, that it is conducive to the recipient country’s justifiable self-defence needs. Second, it does not damage regional and global peace, security and stability. Third, it does not interfere in other countries’ internal affairs,” he told reporters.

Now the world’s second-largest economy, China’s rise has come with a new sense of military assertiveness with a growing budget to develop modern equipment including aircraft carriers and drones.

At the Zhuhai air show in southern China in November, Chinese attack helicopters, missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles and air defences were on public show for the first time.

China says U.S. anti-missile North Korea plan intensifies antagonism
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: China said yesterday that US plans to bolster missile defences in response to provocations by North Korea would only intensify antagonism, and urged Washington to act prudently.

“The anti-missile issue has a direct bearing on global and regional balance and stability. It also concerns mutual strategic interests between countries,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news briefing.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced plans on Friday to bolster US missile defences in response to “irresponsible and reckless provocations” by North Korea, which has threatened a preemptive nuclear strike against the United States.

Hong said China believed efforts to increase security and resolve the problem of nuclear proliferation were best achieved through diplomatic means.

“Actions such as strengthening anti-missile (defences) will intensify antagonism and will not be beneficial to finding a solution for the problem,” Hong said.

“China hopes the relevant country will proceed on the basis of peace and stability, adopt a responsible attitude and act prudently.”

The Pentagon said the United States had informed China, North Korea’s neighbour and closest ally, of its decision to add more interceptors but declined to characterize Beijing’s reaction.

The remarks from China’s Foreign Ministry come days before US Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen visits China to discuss implementation of economic sanctions against North Korea.

China has expressed unease at previous US plans for missile defense systems, as well as sales of such systems to Taiwan and Japan, viewing it as part of an attempt to “encircle” and contain China despite US efforts to ease Chinese fears.

China has responded by developing an anti-missile system of its own, announcing the latest successful test in January.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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