China reacts to reports of NATO office in Japan

The US-led bloc’s expansion into Asia will undermine regional peace and stability, Beijing has warned

“Asia is an anchor for peace and stability and a promising land for cooperation and development, not a wrestling ground for geopolitical competition,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said when addressed on the issue during a briefing on Thursday.

Mao warned that “NATO’s continued eastward foray into the Asia-Pacific and interference in regional affairs will inevitably undermine regional peace and stability and stoke camp confrontation.” 

“High vigilance among regional countries” is required in view of the US-led military bloc’s attempts to gain presence in Asia, she added.

On Wednesday, the Nikkei Asia outlet reported – citing both Japanese and NATO officials – that the US-led military alliance was in talks with Japan to open a liaison office in the country.

According to the outlet’s sources, NATO wants to establish a one-man station in Tokyo to be able to conduct periodic consultations with Japan and its other allies in the Asia-Pacific, such as Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea.

The idea of NATO establishing a liaison office was first raised by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during their meeting in Tokyo in late January. Japan must agree to fund the operations of the bloc’s mission in order for it to open in the country, Nikkei Asia added.

The abbreviation ‘NATO’ stands for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, but the bloc has recently openly admitted that it also has interests in the Indo-Pacific. Last June, the bloc’s allies from the region participated in the NATO Summit for the first time ever.

NATO is “strengthening relations” with Japan, Australia, South Korea, and New Zealand because “in today’s complex security environment, relations with like-minded partners across the globe are increasingly important to address cross-cutting security issues and global challenges, as well as to defend the rules-based international order,” the bloc said in a statement last month.

Russia, which strongly opposes NATO’s expansion towards its borders, has also criticized the bloc’s attempts to spread its activities into Asia. In March, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the push by the US and its allies to create what he called a “global NATO” resembled the actions of Nazi Germany, Italy and Japan in the 1930s before the outbreak of World War II.

U.S. & Europe Threaten Malaysia To Ban Huawei 5G – Top 10 Reasons Why Anwar Government Should Call The West’s Bluff

In yet another desperate attempt to stop Huawei’s influence worldwide, the United States and European Union (EU) have warned Malaysia about the risks of allowing the Chinese tech giant to roll out 5G. According to the Financial Times, envoys from the U.S. and EU wrote to the government in April after a Malaysian government’s decision to review the award of a RM11 billion tender to build 5G network to Ericsson.

Not only the Western powers saw it urgent enough to personally write the warning letters to the Anwar-led unity government, the EU has also threatened to pull investment worth €25 billion in Malaysia. Brian McFeeters, the U.S. ambassador to Malaysia, has warned of “national security risks” unless Malaysia maintains its original plan for 5G deployment to Ericsson.

It’s clear who the aggressor is in this case. Exactly who gave the rights to the U.S. and Europe to issue orders, let alone threatens, the Malaysian government which company that can or cannot design and build the country’s 5G infrastructure? First of all, Malaysia is a sovereign nation, not a vassal state of the American Empire like Canada, Australia, Germany or France.

At most, the U.S. and its allies can warn of the so-called dubious “national security risks”, but definitely not threaten to withdraw investments. Whether a sovereign country chooses to listen or otherwise is not up to the West to decide. Even then, the warning should have come from Washington, and not from the ambassadors. An ambassador’s job is not to interfere in the policy making of foreign countries.

Second – the award of the 5G project to Swedish telecommunication company Ericsson in July 2021 by the previous Perikatan Nasional backdoor government lacked transparency, not to mention it was not according to proper procedures. Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB), the government-run 5G wholesaler, was itself a controversial and scandalous entity to begin with.

As the sole owner of 5G spectrum, DNB was set up by the former backdoor Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to enrich his cronies – from former finance minister Tengku Zafrul to the royal house. Instead of auctioning the 5G spectrum to mobile network operators such as Maxis and Celcom, the plan to go with a SWN (single wholesale network) approach screams corruption.

The rent-seeking business model has already seen over-pricing, lack of transparency and monopoly of DNB’s single-ownership of the precious 5G spectrum. As the “middleman” that seeks easy wealth without any contribution of productivity, DNB was basically forcing mobile service providers to sign a subscription agreement in order to use the 5G network.

The approval of DNB was shrouded in secrecy by the corrupt Muhyiddin regime during the Covid-19 pandemic, when the backdoor premier was trying to cling to power through a state of emergency, which allowed him to rule with absolute power. As a result, the Parliament was suspended and the contracts for the 5G were bulldozed without any tenders or explanations.

Third – DNB’s award of the 10-year project to Ericsson potentially involved kickbacks. Last month, Ericsson agreed to pay US$206.7 million in fine to the U.S. government for violating the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Already, it had paid a US$520.6 million penalty in 2019 over “years long campaign of corruption” in Djibouti, China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Kuwait.

Therefore, the Swedish telecoms equipment company, which competes with Huawei and Nokia for 5G equipment contracts, should be re-evaluated over the suspicious deal made under Muhyiddin government. And that’s exactly what Anwar administration tries to do by introducing a second 5G network next year in order to kill the monopoly enjoyed by DNB.

Fourth – Huawei was actually the preferred choice during Mahathir administration, till the Pakatan Harapan government was overthrown by Muhyiddin, who betrayed his own government and formed the radical and racist Perikatan Nasional regime in March 2020. On May 2019, PM Mahathir said Malaysia will make use of Huawei’s technology as much as possible.

Despite the U.S.’ claims of China’s espionage using Huawei, Mahathir visited Huawei’s Beijing office and openly declared support for the Chinese 5G technology – “We found that Huawei is very advanced. We see there is an opportunity for us, together with Huawei, to improve our capacity in the fields of communication and AI.”

Fifth – so far, the U.S. has not been able to provide any evidence over allegations that China uses Huawei as their spying tools. On the contrary, the U.S. federal law actually compels U.S. tech companies to provide law enforcement officials with the requested data stored on servers – even if they are located on foreign soil – suggesting that it’s the U.S. – not China – who are actively spying.

Here’s the real reason behind the U.S. aggressive attacks on the Chinese tech company – Huawei’s refusal to cooperate when the spy agency NSA failed to hack and spy on 170 countries that use Huawei equipments and servers. Huawei becomes an obstacle for the NSA to “collect it all”, hindering the US agency’s efforts to spy on whomever it wants, whenever it wants.

The second reason the U.S. banned Huawei was because the Chinese company is ahead of American companies in the fifth-generation wireless, or 5G technology. To keep Huawei out of the world’s 5G networks business and to buy some time for the U.S. to catch up, all Chinese tech companies were being labelled as the bad guys whose work is to spy for the Chinese government.

Yes, the actual reason the U.S. declares war on Huawei was because the American spy agencies could not spy beyond Huawei equipments. Hence, it had no choice but to keep the company out of the world’s reach by portraying Chinese tech companies as a security threat. Even WeChat and TikTok have been accused as a piece of spyware.

Sixth – even if Huawei is spying, which is not, how do we know that Ericsson isn’t spying for the U.S. and Europe too? If both are also spyware, why should Malaysia pay more for Ericsson when Huawei can offer a cheaper solution? Not only the U.S. is spying on the enemies and even friends and allies, but the U.S. intelligence community spies on the Americans.

The latest leak of classified documents that appeared online is the clearest proof that the U.S. spy agencies, including the C.I.A., were spying on friendly countries such as Egypt, South Korea, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In 2013, Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency (N.S.A.) subcontractor, leaked “PRISM” – a spy program under the NSA.

The most explosive spying was the revelation by WikiLeaks, two years after Mr. Snowden’s leaks, that the N.S.A. had directly targeted German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone, which led her to tell President Barack Obama that “spying on friends is not acceptable.” In an admission, Obama phoned French President François Hollande to assure him that the spying had ended.

Seventh – Malaysia isn’t afraid of being spied. In 2018, PM Mahathir said the country was unperturbed with the allegation of Huawei spying because Malaysia has “nothing to hide” Not only he said Huawei produces better phones than America, but also said the Chinese tech company’s presence is not a major concern to the government in terms of national security.

So, why is the West so concerned – and busybody – to the extent of paranoia about Malaysia’s “national security risks” when the country isn’t bothered at all? The top priority is quality of the 5G communication network. As proven in the FIFA World Cup 2022, Qatar, Huawei has shown its capability to provide a best-in-class user experience during the 64-match tournament.

Together with Ooredoo Qatar, the official MEA telecoms operator that provided the first-ever FIFA World Cup supported by 5G technology, Huawei deployed state-of-the-art international broadcast network solutions that successfully carried live broadcasting traffic of the event globally – in eight stadiums. In the first 48 matches alone, around 533 Terabytes of mobile data had been used.

Eighth – if Malaysia had to choose, it will choose China over Europe in terms of foreign investments. Anwar’s recent trip to China had won RM170 billion investment commitments – more than €25 billion (RM123 billion) Europe threatens to withdraw. Crucially, China has been Malaysia’s largest trading partner for 13 consecutive years, while Europe is the fifth largest.

 The value of trade between Malaysia and China in 2022 was about 17.1% of Malaysia’s total global trade – worth a staggering RM2.8 trillion. Total trade between Malaysia and Europe, meanwhile, was only US$216.53 billion in the same year. It’s not rocket science that the country needs China more than it needs European Union. It exported more than double palm oil to China than the EU.

Ninth – Europe remains addicted to Chinese network equipment. In 31 European countries, the Chinese tech giants supply more than 50% of 5G equipment at the end of 2022. While Huawei is no longer the leader in the smartphone business, its carrier business generated 284 billion Yuan (US$41 billion) in revenue last year, a 0.9% year-on-year rise. It is still alive and kicking.

Tenth – the U.S.’ attack on Malaysia is both surprising and significant. It shows that despite blacklisting Huawei since 2019, the U.S. has failed to defeat the company. More importantly, it demonstrates the West’s fear and frustration over the 5G manufacturer’s continue threat – even after the US imposed a “global ban on sales of advanced semiconductor chips to Huawei.

Instead of killing Huawei, the American tech war makes Chinese companies stronger. The U.S. ban on semiconductor technology forces Chinese chip users to step up the process of substituting domestic products for imported ones, thus inadvertently helping the Chinese government accelerate the “import substitution” policy.

Anwar administration should call the West’s bluff. After Saudi Arabia’s pivots toward China, it would be a strategic error for the U.S. and EU to pull their investments from Malaysia. Beijing is more than happy to fill the vacuum, leaving Malaysia even more reliant on China. They should realize that Malaysia is located at a strategic location – Strait of Malacca. FINANCE TWITTER

West building WWII Axis-style alliance – Putin

The push to create a “global NATO” resembles the actions of Nazi Germany, Italy, and Japan in the 1930s, the Russian president has said
West building WWII Axis-style alliance – Putin

Western countries are seeking to put together new global alliances reminiscent of those forged by the Axis powers prior to World War Two, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.

Speaking in an interview with Russia 1 TV aired on Saturday, the Russian leader dismissed claims that Moscow and Beijing are forming a military bloc that could threaten the West. He described the cooperation between the two as “transparent,” adding that Russia and China make no secret about their ties in various spheres, including defense.

Meanwhile, Putin continued, the US is creating new alliances, citing NATO’s new Strategic Concept as an example of such efforts. “It directly stipulates that NATO is going to develop relations with nations in the Asia-Pacific region, including New Zealand, Australia and South Korea,” he said.

The bloc also announced that it would endeavor to create what Putin called “a global NATO,” adding that the UK and Japan recently signed a reciprocal military access agreement.

“That’s why Western analysts themselves – not us – are saying that the West is starting to build a new axis similar to the one that was created back in the 30s by the fascist regimes in Germany and Italy, and militaristic Japan.” 

The US-led military bloc approved the new concept at the Madrid summit of the bloc last June, while describing Russia as the “most significant and direct threat” to NATO amid the Ukraine conflict. In a first, it also addressed the challenges stemming from China, claiming that Beijing’s “hybrid and cyber operations and its confrontational rhetoric” target the alliance’s security.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov stated at the time that while NATO regards Moscow as a threat, such an assessment is unfounded. The concept was also denounced by China, which claims that this document distorts facts, is tainted with a Cold War mentality, and smears Beijing’s foreign policy. RT

A Secret War Is Brewing In The South China Sea

  • The South China Sea, due to its natural resources and strategic importance, has long been a source of regional tensions.
  • After a period of relative calm in the region, tensions are rising at two potential flashpoints, the first between China and Malaysia and the second between China and the Philippines.
  • The real reason behind these recent disputes isn’t fishing rights, access to oil, or even shipping routes, it’s actually part of a secret war over the subsea cables that carry 99% of global internet traffic.

After a period of relative calm and quiet, there is once again a geopolitical storm brewing out in the South China Sea. This time, there are dual face-offs: one minor spat between China and Malaysia, and another seriously major spat between China and the Philippines.

The South China Sea is one of the most heavily trafficked maritime routes in the entire world. However, the conditions that make it so valuable – namely, its location on the coasts of a considerable number of Asian countries – have also led to major regional tensions over ownership, rights, and tenure. Vast, overlapping swaths of this prized patch of the Pacific are currently being claimed by Brunei, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

China, which has staked the largest claims to the South China Sea and has historically (and continuously) been the most aggressive in its position with an ever-expanding military presence on the waters, has stirred up no shortage of political discontent in the region. Beijing claims sovereignty over more than 90 percent of the South China Sea – using a delineation branded as the “nine-dash line” – which cuts into the exclusive economic zones of Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia. As a result, geopolitical squabbles over rights to the Sea are the rule rather than the exception.

Earlier this year, when Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim made his first official visit to China, officials pointedly questioned Malaysia about its exploration activities in what it has designated as China’s exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea. In an unsurprising twist, Ibrahim claimed that those waters actually belong to Malaysia and “therefore Petronas will continue its exploration activities there”. According to reporting by Al Jazeera, “The exchange highlights Beijing’s increasing efforts to pressure Kuala Lumpur not to exploit energy resources under its control, even as Anwar looks to deepen Sino-Malaysian ties, analysts say.”

Now, just a couple of months later, China has once again made headlines for its bullying and intimidation in the South China Sea, but this time Beijing’s adversary is the Philippines. On the surface, the argument between’s Xi Jinping’s China and Ferdinand Marcos’ Philippines is over fishing rights. It all started in late April when the Philippines publicly accused China’s coastguard of employing “dangerous manoeuvres” and “aggressive tactics” to intimidate the Filipino coast guard Philippines-held waters. The reported incident, took place in fishing waters in the Second Thomas Shoal, “a flashpoint for previous altercations located 105 nautical miles (195 km) off its coast,” according to Reuters.

However, according to new reporting this week, the fights between the Philippines, Malaysia, and China aren’t really about fishing or even oil exploration at all – instead, it’s just one battle in a “secret war to control the internet.” Indeed, many of the activities carried out recently in the South China Sea seem far too militarized and grand in scale for a simple fishing disagreement. In April of this year, the U.S. and the Philippines held the largest-ever military drills in the South China Sea, which were followed up by plans for more major military drills from China and Singapore.

According to reporting from The Hill, “ the biggest economic asset up for grabs in the region is Big Data — and the future of the entire internet depends on who wins the battle to dominate this strategic waterway.” The crux of the war is underwater cables. More than 99% of all international internet traffic is carried through such subsea cables, which are overwhelmingly controlled by a handful of Big Tech companies in the U.S., “namely Google-owner Alphabet, Facebook-owner Meta, Amazon and Microsoft.” As the internet economy ramps up in Asia – it’s expected to reach $1 trillion in value by just 2030 – other economic powers now want their slice of that pie. Whoever controls the cables that cross through the South China Sea will stake a major claim to that $1 Trillion. 

In other words, don’t expect anything approximating a truce in the South China Sea any time soon. OILPRICE.COM