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100m Barrels Of Crude Shipped To China Sold For $800m Shared By Abba Kyari, Mallami, Maikanti Baru, Others

The cabal that shared the national oil money

by Jackson Ude

About 100million barrels of crude oil illegally shipped from Nigeria in 2015, kept in tank farms in Qingdao, China’s eastern Shandong Province, was secretly sold for $800million, and the money shared by ranking members of the President Mohammadu Buhari cabal, investigations have revealed.

Buhari’s late Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari, Late Group General Manager, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Maikanti Baru, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, Minister for Power, Saleh Mamman, as well as the current GMD, NNPC, Mele Kyari were reported to have shared of the $800 million.

Also reported to have participated in the sharing was the now suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, Air Commodore Mohammed Umar Rtd, former Director-General, State Security Services, Mallam Lawal Daura.

Codenamed “The China Deal” illegal crude oil sale has become a subject of litigation in far-away Mexico following the refusal of the cabal to pay 5% of the value of 48 million barrels to SAMANO, an Americo- Mexican company that discovered the abandoned crude in Qingdao, Zhoushan and Rizhao, both in China.

Shortly before the 2015 general elections, several vessels of crude left the shores of Nigeria for China. By the time the crude berthed in the Chinese Port in Qingdao, oil buyers backed off after learning of a change of government.

The crude which had been discharged in several tank farms in the port city of Qingdao, Zhoushan, and Rizhao, were abandoned.

Upon  Buhari’s inauguration, SAMANO approached certain officials of the new administration, alerting them of the Nigerian crude oil abandoned in China.

According to a court paper exclusively obtained, SAMANO, received a letter in August 2016 from Hamman Saleh, now Minister of Power, through his company, Northon Oil and Gas Services, inviting them to Nigeria to meet with Government officials to discuss the matter.

Sources confirmed that the invitation letter to SAMANO came after the company refused to send details of the found crude via electronic means.

A team from SAMANO, Mexico, led by Messrs. José Salazar Tinajero, arrived in Nigeria. He was accompanied by A. Nick Cadena, and Juan Carlos Jaramillo García, and they held a meeting at No 1 Gado Nasko Close, Asokoro, Abuja, the home of Air Commodore Umar, a close ally of President Buhari.

After  the meeting, and with Buhari’s approval, Umar and other members of the cabal, including Mele Kyari, then GGM Crude, NNPC, set out to locate the crude oil

When Umar and Kyari got to China, they connived with others back in Nigeria and agreed to declare that the information was a hoax and that there was no crude oil in any of the tank farms in China.
According to a sworn affidavit, Umar and late Abba Kyari had assured SAMANO of 5 percent of the total value of 48 million barrels of crude oil found. However, to their shock, between October and November 2015, SAMANO officials who had returned to Mexico, received intelligence from China that the crude had been sold.

The affidavit claimed that when SAMANO confronted the Nigerian government about their own share of the sale of the crude, they were rebuffed and some of their officials blackmailed, arrested, and locked up in Nigeria.

The affidavit alleged that the GMD NNPC, Mr. Kyari, had told a SAMANO representative via WhatsApp chat that the late Abba Kyari and Umar had taken advantage of the information they provided and sold-off the crude and that they should forget about the deal, promising to make things up for SAMANO.

A very reliable source said that after the sale, the Nigerian officials shared the proceeds and told President Buhari that the buyers were no longer willing to buy the crude because it had no DNA.
According to the sources, crude oil secretly shipped to China in 2015 was over 100 million barrels. SAMANO was only able to trace 48 million barrels. The cabal was said to have found an additional 52 million barrels stored in other tank farms in China and sold them off.

SAMANO’s lawyer, Joaquin Esparza Mendez, said that the Mexican Court could not continue with the matter for lack of jurisdiction. He said the Judge had advised they file the case in Nigeria since the Whistleblowers Act for which they are relying on is domiciled in Nigeria.

Sources said that officials of SAMANO have no faith in the Nigerian judicial system and are very unlikely to file the case there. Instead, the Mexican company is said to be preparing to file the matter in a court in London once the pandemic is over.

I am in possession of documents relating to the crude deal, Vessels used, WhatsApp Chats, and others and will make them public as we continue to dig into the dirty deals.

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BREAKING: China Records Outbreak Of A New Virus Known As Hanta virus |The Republican News

Amidst outrage of the Coronavirus spread, China has reported another outbreak of a deadly disease, Hantavirus.

In a report by China’s English tabloid, Global Times, on Monday, revealed that a person from Yunnan Province died while on his way back to Shandong Province for work on a chartered bus.

He was tested positive for hantavirus on Monday and other 32 people on bus were tested. In a research, An orthohantavirus or Hantaviruses are a family of viruses spread mainly by rodents and can cause varied disease syndromes in people worldwide. Infection with any hantavirus can produce hantavirus disease in people.

Hantaviruses in the Americas are known as “New World” hantaviruses and may cause hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). Other hantaviruses, known as “Old World”

hantaviruses, are found mostly in Europe and Asia and may cause hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS). Each hantavirus serotype has a specific rodent host species and is spread to people via inhalation of aerosolized virus that is shed in urine, feces, and saliva, and less frequently by a bite from an infected host.

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Chinese Woman Gives Birth To Twins With Different Paternity |The Republican News

Chinese-woman-give-birth-twin-different-paternity1
by EmagNig
A Chinese woman has given birth to twins from two different fathers, an indication she had been cheating on her husband.
 
The woman had a set of twin boys but one of the boys didn’t look like the woman’s husband. A DNA test showed that they had different DNA.
 
This increased the husband’s suspicion and the woman was forced to admit that she cheated on her husband in a one-night stand.
 
The story was revealed after the couple, from south-eastern Xiamen city, had to register the birth of their twin sons at the local police station early last year. In order to complete the registration, they had to produce the results of a paternity test to prove that the babies were theirs.
 
The husband, identified only as Xiaolong, had wondered why one of his sons didn’t look like him. Upon receiving the DNA results, he was even more shocked at discovering that one of the boys did not have any biological relationship with him, according to a director at the Fujian Zhengtai Forensic Identification Centre.
 
Woman gives birth to twins with different fathers after cheating on husband
 
According to the director, Mr. Zhang, Xiaolong was furious after reading the DNA report and confronted his wife.
 
It is reported that the wife initially denied the affair, and accused her husband of falsifying the results. Upon being confronted by Xiaolong, the wife admitted she had slept with another man and that it was a one-night stand.
 
The father said he was happy to raise his own child, but not the one from someone else.
 
Twins were born with different fathers is an extremely rare occurrence, known as heteropaternal superfecundation. According to experts, the exact odds of the phenomenon are hard to calculate, but previous studies suggest the chance could be between one in 400 pairs and one in 13,000 pairs, according to The Guardian.
(lailasnews.com)
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Racist Chinese Restaurant: Lagos Gov’t Defends As More Victims Speak Up |RN

                                                     Shi Shi Chinese restaurant

 

Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

 

The Lagos State Government, on Tuesday, cleared the Chinese restaurant accused by some Nigerians of racism, even as yet another Nigerian, who was barred from entering the restaurant, spoke to The PUNCH.

The Lagos State Government’s position, made known via a Press statement issued by the Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Steve Ayorinde, said that findings by its officers sent to “investigate the veracity of the claim” showed that the allegations were false.

“The two officers who went there on Monday did so incognito, and found the allegations to be false.

“The officers were served without any questions or discrimination. They also took photographs without being noticed.

“Our officers also observed that the restaurant had a number of Nigerians working inside there and did similarly observe that pepper soup, a Nigerian delicacy, is also on the menu.

“More importantly, the restaurant has been registered with the Lagos State Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture since 2016, as required by law.”

The ministry which regulates eateries, restaurants, hotels, and other hospitality facilities in Lagos promised to conduct further investigations.

However, findings by our newspaper, which is standing by its report, showed that the restaurant relaxed its obnoxious racist policy after the initial outrage on social media on Sunday.

After our report on Monday, the restaurant threw open its doors to the public.

One of the workers of the company who spoke to our reporter after he was turned back, had admitted that the restaurant took notice of the outrage on social media on Sunday.

A director of the company, Niyi Adegbite, who spoke to our Correspondent on Monday, also refuted the allegations of discrimination but added that the restaurant had two sections: One of the sections is open to the general public, while the other is strictly for Chinese.

According to Adegbite, “The restaurant is divided into two sections. There is one open to the public and there is one called Hot Pot.

“The Hot Pot is where you enter and cook on your own. All the ingredients are made available. But it’s only for Chinese nationals.

“Maybe it’s this one that some people tried entering and were disallowed and is now causing the outcry.”

Joshua Jenom Gidin, who said he was denied entry along with five of his friends last Saturday, said it all seemed like a joke at first when he was told that Blacks would not be let in.

Gidin, who is a journalist with Pulse TV in Lagos, said, “When we got to the gate, we saw some pretty Chinese girls going inside and we even laughed with them.

“When we attempted to go in, they refused to allow us in because we were Black.

“I first thought it was a joke, but when the guards repeated it almost five times, I knew they were serious.

“In order not to cause a scene, we left the place; but I made sure that I scored them low on Google reviews and let the whole world know that they are racists.

“I am sure it was after the negative reviews online and the condemnation on social media that they quickly decided to change their racist policy.”

Obianuju Uba, whose experience was published in one of our earlier reports, found it strange that the government could rush to defend the restaurant.

Uba said, “We know what we witnessed. The government cannot tell us otherwise. Why would I be making spurious allegations against a restaurant?

“If the guards had told us that the restaurant was a members-only establishment, we would have understood and left. But we were told that we would not be allowed in because we are Black. That is truly what happened.

“So, I was confused because I had never experienced such in my life.

“I was shocked that a Nigerian — and not a Chinese — was used as the security guard. The guard even spoke with a Yoruba accent, so I was sure that he was a Nigerian.

“I was pissed off and left, and I walked away while my friends continued to argue with him.”

Blessing Ukeje, a computer programmer who was part of a group that was turned back on Saturday, reiterated that she had visited the restaurant along with four other friends around 8pm on Saturday and that they were turned back because they were Africans.

Ukeje said, “When we were about to enter, a guard asked what we came for and we responded that we were there for Karaoke.

“He told us that they didn’t have a Karaoke bar, but his colleague said they have, and that anyone who wants to enter must enter with Chinese people.

“He said Blacks are not allowed. He said the Blacks that come must come with Chinese people.

“We were all shocked because, even when we travel, we never see such.

“So, I asked him again if he was sure and he said that was the management policy.

“I actually thought I was dreaming. I asked him if he was okay with it as a Black man and he said nothing.

“While we were standing there, we saw Chinese people going in. Two Chinese ladies and two Chinese guys went in. It was after our experience that we decided to expose these people.”

When asked if she was denied entry because of the way they were dressed, Ukeje said, “I was coming from a wedding and I was well dressed. Those people had no excuse for turning us back.

Also speaking with The PUNCH, Akpan Aniefiok, who was barred from entering the restaurant along with his friends, lambasted the state government for defending the restaurant.

Aniefiok, who is a student of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, said he and his friends visited many fun spots on the same day without issue.

He said they had no reason to tell lies or unjustly malign anyone’s business.

The final year student said, “We visited three lounges on that fateful day. Why would we unjustly tell lies against the Chinese restaurant? What do we stand to benefit from such?

“What happened on that day was that the security guard told us that we would not be allowed inside because we are Black and that he was following orders.”  (Punch)

 

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Nigerian Businessman Loses N177.5m To Chinese Fraudster, Sues Bank

IkoyiEFCCcash2

Cash found in a flat in Ikoyi, Lagos, The Republican News

Oladimeji Ramon

A Nigerian businessman, Umegelo Emmanuel, has dragged Zenith Bank Nigeria Plc before the Lagos State High Court in Igbosere after being allegedly swindled out of his N177, 500, 000 by a Chinese, whose name, was given only as Ms Muna.

The businessman is urging the court to compel Zenith Bank to pay him the N177.5m, which he allegedly lost to the Chinese fraudster.

Emmanuel, in his statement of claim before the court, explained that he entered into a business agreement with Muna, who has a business interest in Nigeria, for the Chinese to help him purchase some goods from her country, China.

Emmanuel said because of his long-standing banking relationship with Zenith Bank, he insisted that Muna should provide a Zenith Bank account.

The businessman said, as a result, the Chinese provided him with a Zenith Bank Account No: 1005689704, with an account name, Xian Fang Li.

Emmanuel said he confirmed that the account existed before transferring the N177.5m into it.

“But shortly after the money was paid into the account, Ms Muna refused to deliver the goods and subsequently stopped picking my calls and blocked all my access to her contact.

“I have visited China twice in search of Ms Muna and had even reported the matter to the Chinese police and the Chinese Embassy but all my efforts to locate the said Ms Muna has proved abortive,” the businessman said.

He said an investigation by the police in Nigeria showed that “the utility bills presented in opening the Xiang Fang Li account were fictitious and the signature of one of the purported referees to the Xiang Fang Li account, Mr  Kazeem Lawal, was conclusively found to be forged.”

The businessman contended that the bank did not do its due diligence “to verify the true identity of the account holder, the true identity of the referees supplied during the account opening as well as the validity of the account opening documents.”

He is, therefore, seeking, among other prayers, “a declaration that the defendant is negligent and reckless in her duties to the claimant and the public in general.”

He wants the court to make  an order “mandating the defendant to refund the sum of N177,000,090 to the claimant being the sum lost by the claimant due to the negligence of the defendant.”

He wants the court to award N10m against the bank “as general damages against the defendant for breach of contract.”

Emmanuel wants the money to be paid with 15 per cent interest before judgment and 21 per cent post-judgment.

But the bank has urged the court to dismiss the businessman ’s suit against it.

While absolving itself of complicity in Emmanuel’s loss, Zenith Bank contended that Emmanuel did not contact it for advice on the alleged business transaction he had with Muna before paying the sum of N177.5 into the supplied account.

“The claimant failed to request a bank guarantee of the alleged sum from or requested that the defendant issue a confirmation or a letter of comfort before dealing with both Ms Muna and Xian Fang Li.”

The court has yet to fix a date to hear the suit.  (Punch)

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China Hits Back At Trump Tariffs As Trade War Finally Arrives ( Video) |RN

 China said it doesn’t fear a trade war with the U.S. and announced plans for reciprocal tariffs on $3 billion of imports from the U.S. in the first response to President Donald Trump’s ordering of levies on Chinese metal exports.China plans tariffs on imports of U.S. pork imports, recycled aluminium, steel pipes, fruit and wine, according to a Commerce Ministry statement on Friday. China will also pursue legal action against the U.S. at the World Trade Organization in response to the U.S. planned tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, the statement said and called for dialogue to resolve the dispute.

The announcement came hours after Trump instructed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to slap tariffs on at least $50 billion in Chinese imports. That was in addition to the metals duties ordered earlier this month on China and other countries. The news sent U.S. equities tumbling, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 724 points, almost 3 percent, its biggest drop in six weeks. All major indexes in Asia also fell on Friday.

“The U.S. declared a trade war, but China is acting quite restrained. The list that China has announced appears to be a retaliation, but still, it is very measured,” said Li Yong, senior fellow of China Association of International Trade. “The move sends a message that China is able to fight back, but we still want a trade peace instead of a trade war.”

The U.S. will impose 25 percent duties on targeted Chinese products to compensate for the harm caused to the American economy from China’s policies, according to a fact sheet released by USTR. The proposed product list will include items in aerospace, information and communication technology and machinery. The USTR will announce the proposed list in the next “several days,” according to the fact sheet.

Long in Making

“This has been long in the making,” Trump said, adding that the tariffs could affect as much as $60 billion in goods. “We have a tremendous intellectual property theft situation going on” with China affecting hundreds of billions of dollars in trade each year, he said.

As he signed the tariffs order, Trump told reporters, “This is the first of many.”

“This is an opening gambit by China, signalling that the imposition of tariffs by the U.S. will elicit what Beijing views as a proportionate retaliatory response,” said Eswar Prasad, a former chief of the International Monetary Fund’s China division and now a professor at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. “China has the ability to inflict significant economic harm on U.S. exporters of certain goods and can also use other overt as well as covert actions such as supply chain disruptions to hurt U.S. manufacturers.”

Brookings Institution’s Eswar Prasad discusses President Trump’s tariffs against China and the expected retaliation.

a close up of a black background: Chinese Goods Coming to America         © Provided by Bloomberg LP Chinese Goods Coming to America

Policymakers across the world are warning of a brewing trade war that could undermine the broadest global recovery in years. Meanwhile, business groups representing companies ranging from Walmart Inc. to Amazon.com Inc. are warning U.S. tariffs could raise prices for consumers and sideswipe stock prices.

Fed Warnings

Even central banks, which normally stay above the fray of trade spats, are weighing in. “A number of participants reported about their conversations with business leaders around the country and reported that trade policy has become a concern,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said this week while cautioning that trade issues haven’t changed the Fed’s outlook. The Bank of England warned Thursday that increased protectionism could have a “significant negative impact” on global growth.

Trump also directed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to propose new investment restrictions on Chinese companies within 60 days to safeguard technologies the U.S. views as strategic, said senior White House economic adviser Everett Eissenstat.

Chinese President Xi Jinping                          © Getty Chinese President Xi Jinping

The Trump administration is framing the move as a major turning point in U.S.-China relations. It followed a seven-month investigation by USTR into allegations China violates U.S. intellectual property, under the seldom-used section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act. The U.S. concluded China engages in a range of violations, including policies that force American companies to transfer technology and the accessing of trade secrets through hacking, said Eissenstat.

The initial Chinese response may not be as severe as many fear but the conflict could easily escalate, said Robert Manning, an expert on U.S.-China relations at the Atlantic Council in Washington.

“What you’re probably going to get from the Chinese is a low-key response to try to negotiate their way out of it,” Manning said. “I just worry if it gets really ugly, they may go for the nuclear option.”

He says nuclear option would be to sell a “couple hundred billion” in U.S. Treasuries, which would tank markets and raise U.S. interest rates.

Trump tried to make it clear he wasn’t trying to provoke China or its leader, President Xi Jinping.

“I view them as a friend. I have tremendous respect for President Xi,” Trump said. But, the U.S.’s trade deficit with China is “the largest deficit in the history of our world,” he said.

Trump’s actions represent a “seismic shift from an era dating back to Nixon and Kissinger, where we had as a government viewed China in terms of economic engagement,” White House trade adviser Peter Navarro told reporters on Thursday. “That process has failed.”

“The problem is that with the Chinese in this case, talk is not cheap. It has been very expensive for America,” said Navarro. “Finally the president decided that we needed to move forward.”

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross predicted a strong stand on trade would bring concessions without escalating into a broader conflict. ‘We will end up negotiating these things rather than fighting over them, in my view,” Ross said.

Before the tariffs become final, there will be a 30-day comment period, the White House said. Trump also directed his officials to pursue a World Trade Organization complaint against China for discriminatory licensing practices.    (Bloomberg)

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China’s Tiangong-1 Space Station Will Crash To Earth Within Weeks |RN

Bonnie Malkin

Tiangong-1 space station

China’s first space station is expected to come crashing down to Earth within weeks, but scientists have not been able to predict where the 8.5-tonne module will hit.

The US-funded Aerospace Corporation estimates Tiangong-1 will re-enter the atmosphere during the first week of April, give or take a week. The European Space Agency says the module will come down between 24 March and 19 April.

In 2016 China admitted it had lost control of Tiangong-1 and would be unable to perform a controlled re-entry.

The statement from Aerospace said there was “a chance that a small amount of debris” from the module will survive re-entry and hit the Earth.

“If this should happen, any surviving debris would fall within a region that is a few hundred kilometres in size,” said Aerospace, a research organisation that advises government and private enterprise on space flight.

Aerospace warned that the space station might be carrying a highly toxic and corrosive substance called hydrazine on board.

The report includes a map showing the module is expected to re-enter somewhere between 43° north and 43° south latitudes. The chances of re-entry are slightly higher in northern China, the Middle East, central Italy, northern Spain and the northern states of the US, New Zealand, Tasmania, parts of South America and southern Africa.

However, Aerospace insisted the chance of debris hitting anyone living in these nations was tiny. “When considering the worst-case location … the probability that a specific person (ie, you) will be struck by Tiangong-1 debris is about one million times smaller than the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot.

“In the history of spaceflight, no known person has ever been harmed by reentering space debris. Only one person has ever been recorded as being hit by a piece of space debris and, fortunately, she was not injured.”

Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist from Harvard University and space industry enthusiast, also sounded a note of caution. He said fragments from a similar-sized rocket re-entered the atmosphere and landed in Peru in January. “Every couple of years something like this happens, but Tiangong-1 is big and dense so we need to keep an eye on it,” he told the Guardian.

A chart showing the descent of the Tiangong-1Photograph: Jonathan McDowellMcDowell said Tiangong-1’s descent had been speeding up in recent months and it was now falling by about 6km a week, compared with 1.5km in October. It was difficult to predict when the module might land because its speed was affected by the constantly changing “weather” in space, he said.

“It is only in the final week or so that we are going to be able to start speaking about it with more confidence,” he said.

“I would guess that a few pieces will survive re-entry. But we will only know where they are going to land after after the fact.”

The Tiangong-1 or Heavenly Palace lab was launched in 2011 and described as a “potent political symbol” of China – part of a scientific push to become a space superpower.

It was used for both manned and unmanned missions and visited by China’s first female astronaut, Liu Yang, in 2012.

In 1991 the Soviet Union’s 20-tonne Salyut 7 space station crashed to Earth while still docked to another 20-tonne spacecraft called Cosmos 1686. They broke up over Argentina, scattering debris over the town of Capitán Bermúdez.

Nasa’s 77-tonne Skylab space station came hurtling to Earth in an almost completely uncontrolled descent in 1979, with some large pieces landing outside Perth in Western Australia.      (The Guardian)

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U.S Aircraft Carrier Heads To Vietnam, With Message For China |The Republican News

By HANNAH BEECH
a large ship in a body of water: The United States aircraft carrier Carl Vinson is scheduled to make a port call on Monday in Danang, Vietnam, which served as a major staging post for the American war effort four decades ago.© United States Navy, via Getty Images The United States aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, is scheduled to make a port call on Monday in Danang, Vietnam, which served as a major staging post for the American war…

 

BANGKOK — For the first time since the end of the Vietnam War, a United States aircraft carrier is scheduled to make a port call in Vietnam on Monday, signalling how China’s rise is bringing together former foes in a significant shift in the region’s geopolitical landscape.

The vessel, the Carl Vinson, will anchor off Danang, the central Vietnam port city that served as a major staging post for the American war effort in the country.

“It’s a pretty big and historic step since a carrier has not been here for 40 years,” said Rear Adm. John V. Fuller, the commander of the Carl Vinson strike group, whose father served in Vietnam.

“We hope to continue the same issue that we’ve always had,” he said, “and that’s to promote security, stability and prosperity in the region.”

The arrival of the Carl Vinson strike group’s 5,500 sailors will mark the first time such a large contingent of American soldiers has landed on Vietnamese soil since the last of the United States troops withdrew in 1975.

During the four-day port call, the aircraft carrier’s personnel will visit an orphanage and a centre for victims of Agent Orange, the defoliant used by the United States military that is blamed, through a toxic contaminant, for poisoning generations of Vietnamese.

Carrier sailors will also play basketball and soccer with Vietnamese counterparts.

For the last month, the Carl Vinson has been deployed in the South China Sea, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. Six governments have competing claims over various features in the South China Sea. In recent years, Vietnam, in particular, has watched warily as China, through extensive reclamation, has transformed bits of rock and reef it controls into sprawling artificial islands that now double as military bases.

In 2017 alone, China built permanent facilities on reclaimed land that “account for about 72 acres, or 290,000 square meters, of new real estate,” according to the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative run by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

“Hanoi’s agreement to the aircraft carrier visit demonstrates Vietnam’s anxiety about what China will do next in the South China Sea,” said Murray Hiebert, senior associate of the Southeast Asia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “The U.S. is virtually the last man standing to which Hanoi can look for support in the South China Sea dispute.”

Although the United States is not a claimant in the maritime dispute, the Navy portrays its deployments in the South China Sea as important to ensuring maritime security and nurturing the conditions that have led to Asia’s post-World War II economic expansion.

“It’s a stable environment where you have the ability to actually foment economic growth,” Admiral Fuller said. “I think we’ve helped create the environment that has allowed for the 70 years of growth.”

The admiral F declined to comment, however, on how China’s island-building is changing regional dynamics. Beijing protests whenever the United States conducts freedom of navigation operations in which Navy ships sail close to disputed maritime features controlled by China.

While the American War, as the Vietnamese call the conflict, lingers in American memories as a bloody and ideologically charged confrontation, Vietnamese animosity toward China runs much deeper.

Communist fraternity between Beijing and Hanoi has not erased the fact that the Chinese Empire ruled Vietnam for a millennium. Four years after the last Americans withdrew from Saigon, Vietnam fought a border war with China. Since then, Chinese and Vietnamese troops have skirmished over ownership of islets in the South China Sea.

“No one trusts the Chinese,” said Maj. Gen. Le Van Cuong, the former director of the Institute of Strategic Studies at Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security. “But everyone needs their money.”

In 2016, an international tribunal ruled overwhelmingly in favour of the Philippines in a case that questioned China’s vast claims in the South China Sea.

But that legal victory has proved largely irrelevant to regional geopolitics. President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, who took power days before the tribunal ruling, has declined to push Beijing to honour it.

Instead, he has cosied up to China and criticized the United States, a longtime ally. Beijing followed up with vows to invest billions of dollars in the Philippines.

Mr Duterte’s departure from previous Philippine policy leaves Hanoi as the only country with major claims on the South China Sea that continues to denounce Beijing’s muscular actions.

In 2014, Beijing moved an oil-drilling rig into disputed waters not far from Danang. The Vietnamese responded with anti-Chinese protests that culminated in the deaths of two Chinese workers in southern Vietnam.

Yet geopolitics dictates that Vietnam cannot alienate China entirely.

“Vietnam works overtime trying to balance its ties between China and the U.S.,” Mr Hiebert of the Southeast Asia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said.

When Beijing again moved the oil rig into contested waters in 2016, Hanoi ensured that there was no repeat of anti-Chinese rioting.

Although Washington has tried to coax Hanoi to expand naval exchanges with the United States, Vietnam has declined in order “to avoid irritating China,” Mr Hiebert said.

Hanoi, which relies on Russia for most of its military equipment, has also refused to increase purchases of American weaponry, even though the United States lifted its embargo on lethal arms sales to Vietnam in 2016.

President Trump’s decision last year to scupper the Trans-Pacific Partnership irked Hanoi, which hoped the American-led trade pact would provide a counterweight to China’s growing economic influence in the region.

And even as the United States and Vietnam have hailed warming relations, a mounting crackdown on dissent by the Vietnamese authorities has curtailed hopes of political change. The tightened grip mirrors a similar clampdown by the Communist Party in China.

There are around 130 political prisoners in Vietnam, including environmental activists, religious advocates and the nation’s most famous female blogger, according to Human Rights Watch.

The State Department issued a statement last month calling on “Vietnam to release all prisoners of conscience immediately and to allow all individuals in Vietnam to express their views freely and assemble peacefully without fear of retribution.”                             (The New York Times)

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China And Russia ‘Readying For War With The West’ |The Republican News

Elliott Goat
China and Russia ‘preparing for war with West’                      © Wang Zhao – Pool/Getty Images
China and Russia ‘preparing for war with West’ China and Russia could soon match the military might of the US and her allies – and the decline of western supremacy could lead to all-out war.

Those are the conclusions of a report by the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), which says that although war between the great powers is not inevitable, Washington, Moscow and Beijing are now preparing for the possibility.
The IISS’s annual Military Balance 2018 report sets out at length how China’s leadership has stepped up its military programme in recent years, with huge spending on new technology that could give it an advantage on land, sea and air.

The opening of China’s first overseas military base in Djibouti will enable it to carry out missions over vast distances, and has been viewed as a major statement of intent.

                  © Getty
 

While the pace of militarisation is slower in Russia, partly due to a shortage of funding and industrial capacity, the country is “benefiting from experience of real life combat in Syria and Ukraine and has shown extensive capabilities in the field of hybrid warfare including cyber attacks”, says The Independent.

The Foreign Office said last night that the Russian military was reponsible for the NotPetya cyber attack on Ukraine last year.

In a bid to combat the growing threat posed by Russia and China, reports CNN, the US Pentagon is asking for a boost in military spending for 2019, requesting Congress approve a budget of $686bn – one of the largest in US history.

The budget proposal also included cuts to international diplomacy and overseas aid.

Touting the plans earlier this week, Donald Trump said the additional spending would make the US military the strongest it has ever been, with “increasing arsenals of virtually every weapon”.

But Dr John Chipman, the chief executive of the IISS, said the US could still find itself outgunned.

“Some governments in the West will look to ‘leap-ahead’ technologies to augment and even deliver military power,” he said, “but these are no guarantee of success.”              (The Week)

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Defected North Korean Nuclear Scientist Commits Suicide After Being Forced to Return

Juliana Rose Pignataro
a group of people standing in a field posing for the camera                            © Provided by IBT US 

A North Korean nuclear scientist who defected to China committed suicide after being forced to return back, Radio Free Asia reported Thursday. The defector was a researcher at the physics center in the State Academy of Sciences in Pyongyang, the report said.

The scientist was identified as Hyun Cheoi Huh, though RFA clarified it was unclear whether that was his real name. The man reportedly took a leave of absence from his job at the academy before defecting.

He was sent back to North Korea Nov. 17, RFA reported.

“He killed himself only a few hours after he was placed in solitary confinement at the State Security Department in Sinuiju city,” a source told RFA, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “He died before he could be questioned about the reasons for his escape, and what his route had been.”

The man took poison inside the security cell where he was set to be questioned. It remained unclear how he smuggled the poison inside.

The man was detained in China and sent back to North Korea. It appeared he had kept his occupation a secret when he was detained, RFA reported, though it was unclear why.

“If the Chinese government had known who he was, they would have wanted to learn what he knew and would never have sent him back,” the source said.  (International Business Insider)

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