2 words explain China export 'surge': Global South - Asia Times

Contrary to a meme that’s common among American policy experts, there is no Chinese “export wave”. China’s imports to developed nations have stagnated for years, but they have increased to the World South. &nbsp,

Not only have China’s export to the International South in full risen by an extraordinary percentage, but its imports to every area of the Global South – Asia, Latin America, Africa, Middle East/North Africa and Central Asia – have risen in lockstep

Certain, some of China’s export success in developing nations is due to a novel type of triangular trade, driven by the 25 % tariff on some$ 200 billion of Chinese imports that the Trump administration imposed in 2019. China boats pieces and investment products to Mexico, Vietnam, &nbsp, India&nbsp, and different countries, which then assemble them into finished goods for sale in the United States.

Asia Times earliest documented this great circumvention of US levies in an&nbsp, April 3, &nbsp, 2023&nbsp, research. Since&nbsp, then&nbsp, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Bank for International Settlements and the Peterson Institute have published reports documenting the same conclusion: &nbsp, America is more reliant than ever on Chinese supply stores.

China’s exports to the Global South ( left- hand scale ) are tracked by US imports from the Global South ( right- hand scale ), with a lag of about two months. &nbsp, China’s exports to the Global South have jumped from about$ 90 billion a month in 2020 to$ 150 billion a month today, or by$ 60 billion a month. About half of that, or$ 30 billion a month, &nbsp, shows up as higher US imports from third countries. About half of China’s trade rise to the Global South is attributed to the improvement of Taiwanese supply stores to the developing world, or to be shortened.

The other half comes from sectors that China has dominated over the past few years:

  • energy cars,
  • thermal panel,
  • modern equipment,
  • transit systems, as well as
  • electrical products. &nbsp,

Amazingly, British researchers have n’t commented on this great movement of Chinese business, which is by far the most important development by far in the world economy in absolute figures.

A discussion view of China that nearly every scheme shop in the US approved proved to be incorrect as any prediction may be.

The compromise, expressed often on Fox News by Gordon Chang and promulgated in books by&nbsp, Axios’&nbsp, Bethany Allen&nbsp, and&nbsp, Dan Blumenthal&nbsp, of the American Enterprise Institute, &nbsp, as well as a host of small pundits, stated that China was in decline if no crisis, and that America’s restrictions on export of sophisticated chips would infuriate China’s scientific ambitions.

China not only worked around the tech sanctions, but it also worked around US tariffs. China has had a plan, expressed at a high level in the Belt and Road Initiative, to replicate some aspects of its industrialization in other countries of the Global South, or what I called” Sino- forming” in my 2020 book, &nbsp, You Will Be Assimilated.

In 2015 I toured Huawei’s sprawling Shenzhen headquarters with a group of Mexican diplomats. We watched their product line and listened to a lecture about Mexico’s shortcomings in digital broadband and the fantastic things it could do with low-cost high-speed data.

I applauded the author for the breadth of the study and inquired casually whether Huawei had created this content just for the occasion. ” No”, I was told. ” We have digital plans for 100 countries. You can look them up on our website”.

China’s export success in the Global South, in short, is the economic equivalent of Babe Ruth’s apocryphal pointing to left field, followed by a home run in the same direction. &nbsp,

American analysts ‘ sheepish silence on the subject is not just ignorance or sloth. It reflects an unwillingness to own up to a catastrophic, collective policy failure. Virtually everyone in the American policy community agreed that a restraint should be placed on China’s rise as a global power, and that a ban on American technology exports would keep China at a loss.

The Trump Administration stopped the export of advanced chips to Huawei, which caused the first shock&nbsp, which prevented it from producing 5G-capable chips that it created in-house and produced in Taiwan. Because Taiwan’s dominant foundry SCMP used American technology in the manufacture of Huawei ‘s&nbsp, 5G&nbsp, chips, Washington asserted extraterritorial control. Without access to advanced chips, US analysts thought, China would be unable to roll out its national 5G network.

Five years later, China has about 3.8 million 5G base&nbsp, stations in place, while&nbsp, the US has just 100, 000. Huawei learned how to construct base stations using older-generation chips produced in China.

The second shock occurred in October 2022 when Washington decided to impose a “nuclear option” by limiting access to all Chinese companies, not just Huawei. A year later, Huawei launched a 5G smartphone, the Mate 60, with an advanced 5G chip produced in China by a workaround process that American regulators had thought impossible.

The US policy community ca n’t admit that it was collectively, catastrophically wrong, and is groping for an explanation of Chinese success. That is the motivation for the popular meme that China has created “overcapacity” in manufacturing, and threatens the&nbsp, the world with a” second China shock”, as the&nbsp, Wall Street Journal&nbsp, wrote on March 3. &nbsp,

The trouble with the notion of a “second China shock” is that China is exporting less, not more, to the developed markets with which it competes directly, and exporting a great deal more to the Global South, which has virtually unlimited demand for $10,000 energy cars, cheap solar panels and broadband infrastructure.

Promoting that idea is less embarrassing than examining the underlying patterns in the trade data and coming to the conclusion that US policy toward China has been a humiliating failure.

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Old rice safe but infested with dead bugs

Old rice safe but infested with dead bugs
Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai eats cooked corn from the outdated Surin hoard at the beginning of this month. ( Photo: Ministry of Commerce )

The controversial share of old, fumigated rice from the Commerce Ministry is safe to eat, but the Department of Medical Sciences advises that the infested rice first need to be rid of all the dead bugs.

Director-general Yongyot Thummavudhi claimed that his office had received samples of the corn to check whether it was still safe to consume.

The rice, left over from the original Yingluck Shinawatra government’s corn pledging program, has been stored for the last century at two warehouses in Surin state.

Early this month, Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai showed the rice to reporters and showed them some roasted grain that was still edible.

According to Dr. Yongyot, regular assessment and laboratory tests by his office revealed that the sample had regular nutrient levels, comparable to rice sold in markets, was free of toxins produced by fungi, including aflatoxin, and had no residue from any fumigation chemicals.

However, the samples contained several more remains of deceased bugs than grain has in common. So, the old corn must be cleaned before being made available, he said.

Krishnaraksa Jaidee, acting chairman of the Public Warehouse Organisation, said 15, 013.24 tonnes of ancient corn remain in the&nbsp, two stores in Surin. He predicted that the WHO would release selling later this month.

Yingluck fled the nation in 2017, just before the Supreme Court handed her a five-year prison term for obstructing wheat sales plagued by fraud. When the program ended in May 2014, approximately 18.6 million kilograms of grain remained. On Sept 10, 2018, the management of therefore- perfect secretary Prayut Chan- o- gan sold 17.8 million tonnes, or 95.7 % of the inventory, for about 146 billion baht.

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Weighing why China is juicing exports - Asia Times

Biden ‘s very large tariffs  on a number of Chinese-made products were the big financial news this year. Those taxes appear to have acted as a motivator for a bunch of different nations — India, Brazil, Vietnam, Thailand, Mexico, the Union, etc. — to contemplate their own tariffs on China.

In other words, the majority of the world is now aware that the Second China Shock represents a threat to their own production sectors and is acting appropriately.

This is a great, momentous change. Some people thought I had overstated my claim a month and a half ago when I declared&nbsp that the global economic system that had predominated for the past two to three decades was now crumbling. Also move critics are now forced to acknowledge that we are entering a new era.

What the age of decoupling, opposition, and separation means for the earth, and how to regulate it properly, will be the subject of a huge amount of discussion and analysis in the years to come. But for the moment, I think that this intriguing problem deserves more thought: Why is China exporting so far goods? &nbsp,

Most of the innovative trade barriers and business plans that we see popping up all over the world are either directly or indirectly China- related. China’s enormous and expanding trade surplus in created goods is directly addressed by the new tariffs:

Source: CFR

There are various theories floating around about why Chinese goods like cars, chips, metal, solar panels, equipment, and other goods are flooded with international markets. The principles are n’t typically mutually exclusive — it could be some mixture of any or all of these. However, I believed it would be helpful to compile all the arguments into a single listing.

Theory 1: Economic resonant

In the 2000s, Chinese imports soared even as the Chinese market was even powering forward with rapid progress. The two exchanged hands. China’s export are booming even as the market is slowing down, which is unique in the 2020s. Official statistics say that the country is still growing at a fairly healthy rate of around 5 %, independent estimates put the number&nbsp, closer to 1.5 %, or&nbsp, even 0 %:

Screenshot

The cause of this sluggishness is a massive real property collapse. Real estate and related fields, such as finance and construction, now occupy China’s economy by combining their jobs program, individual savings accounts, and local government funding. In 2021 the economy started to experience a sharp decline that is&nbsp, by no means over.

A significant amount of paper household wealth has been destroyed as a result of the slowdown, which has also led to a significant accumulation of essentially hidden bad debts within the banking system. This could lead to a rise in unemployment. In the past, China’s government responded to economic shocks by pumping up real estate, but that is n’t working now.

Therefore, it makes sense to induce another sector of the economy. The only way to keep young Chinese people employed is to manufacture a lot of stuff, especially since Xi Jinping does n’t seem to believe that consumption and service industries make a country strong.

Since real property began to fall, there has been a large surge in commercial lending in China. A large part of this has been used as a covert rescue for troubled industries, but a large part has been devoted to manufacturing:

Even if this expansion is n’t entirely effective from a supply-side or productivity standpoint, it might be worthwhile from a demand-side perspective, i .e., keeping Chinese people working so they do n’t become angry with the government.

So this is the first concept: Commercial growth as a replacement for the real estate growth.

Theory 2: Overcapacity/underconsumption

There is a minute, closely related concept that is typically referred to as “overcapacity.” In a nutshell, the plan is that China’s use has slowed down as a result of the real estate bust, but due to government grants and other factors, production has n’t slowed.

Therefore, Chinese manufacturers who are paid to make goods but are unable to do so directly will simply dump their goods on the global market and hope someone buys them. In his most recent conversation, National Economic Council Director Lael Brainard cited overcapacity as the main cause of the new taxes.

In part, China’s overcapacity is achieved by firms selling at or&nbsp, below cost—enabled by policy decisions that badly depress capital, labor, and energy costs…By&nbsp, undercutting world prices&nbsp, for these goods, Chinese policy- powered overcapacity disrupts the required demand signal that would enable market- based investment to be practical.

It’s pretty difficult to tell whether this is actually taking place. In a statement titled” Overcapacity at the Gate,” The Rhodium Group claims that power usage at Chinese factories in subsidized business has significantly decreased. That suggests that Chinese businesses have built a bunch of companies they’re never using — quite common for a nation in a downturn.

However, if they are n’t using the factories, they ca n’t use them either to fulfill export orders, at least not yet. Therefore, it’s still unclear why they should start using the free manufacturer capacity rather than simply shutting it down.

One possible answer is” subsidies”. A Chinese automaker that should have gone bankrupt but was saved by federal aid appeared in a fantastic content by Yoko Kubota and Clarence Leong in the WSJ:

In 2019, a little-known Chinese carmaker named Zhido went bankrupt after Beijing cut subsidies for the small electric vehicles it produced, causing its sales to decline. Despite mounting mounting pressure on China to increase its production, the government continues to support Zhido and various manufacturers, encouraging unprofitable carmakers to maintain producing as officials attempt to bolster its position  and  expand China’s role  in the global electric vehicle industry. &nbsp,

This is not a common circumstance in China. A CSIS statement from 2022-2022 attempted to assess China’s full support to manufacturing companies, and the results were eye-poppingly large:

Source: CSIS

But a lot of overcapacity perhaps been driven by these incentives.

However, there is actually a second, much more innocuous, policy-relevant cause for overcapacity. A nation with a sizable local market may experience rapid consumption swings, making it difficult for producers to adjust their manufacturing plans to meet the changes in demand.

This can result in swings in imports and exports that look great from an international standpoint but are actually small compared to the local marketplace.

For instance, sales of Chinese domestic vehicles have recently decreased, likely as a result of the country’s sluggish economy. Even though auto exports account for only one-sixth of domestic consumption, this slowdown, coupled with roughly flat production, has led to a sizable percentage increase in exports:

Source: &nbsp, Brad Setser

Similar patterns can be found in industries like steel and bp, among others.

In fact, China accounts for far more than countries like Japan or Germany in terms of exports, fewer than China does. But because China is just so huge, what look like small swings to China are huge, disruptive swings for other countries around the world.

It’s difficult to tell in the short term whether overcapacity is being caused by subsidies or simply by companies adjusting quickly to declines in domestic demand. These are referred to as” structural” versus “temporary” overcapacity by The Rhodium Group.

But both versions manifest as a seemingly huge flood of cheap Chinese goods glutting world markets and threatening other countries ‘ manufacturing industries.

Third theory: Comparative advantage

Of course, China’s leaders are fiercely opposed to the notion that their nation is experiencing overcapacity. In&nbsp, a speech on April 30, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lin Jian argued that China’s exports simply represent the country taking its natural place as the world’s manufacturer:

The” China overcapacity” claim may seem like an economic one, but in reality, it is based on false logic and ignores the fundamental idea of comparative advantage for more than 200 years in Western economics. All nations produce and export goods using their own comparative advantages, and this is the nature of international trade.

Lin is slightly misapplying the theory of comparative advantage here. I give you soybeans because I grow them, you give me cars because you’re good at making cars, and so on. Compare the advantages. It ca n’t explain why you give me cars in exchange for IOUs. It’s unbalanced. Trade surpluses and deficits require ideas that go beyond comparative advantage.

Lin’s underlying theory is that China’s top manufacturing enterprise is what it does best, and that other nations should do the same amount as China does. In the end, China may balance out trade, leaving other nations turning to farming and financial services, and so on.

This is n’t &nbsp, such&nbsp, a far- fetched notion. The majority of the world’s manufactured goods were produced in Europe, the US, and a few countries in East Asia during the 20th century, making it possible for manufacturing to be very geographically concentrated. China’s vast internal market is a major asset that no other nation possesses ( except perhaps a future India ).

China has a vast number of consumers, who will tend to prefer Chinese products ( out of cultural proximity, even without taking nationalism into account ). Chinese manufacturers can reach a vast&nbsp scale, lowering their costs in comparison to those of businesses in other nations, even before they export anything.

Without having to send numerous parts and materials abroad, China also has access to a vast network of suppliers and manufacturers for every kind of manufacturing. And it tends to create&nbsp, clustering effects, where all the EV makers or chipmakers want to go to China because that’s where the greatest numbers of their competitors are located, companies like to poach employees and appropriate ideas from their competitors.

Therefore, it’s possible that China’s enormous export surge is merely a transitory stage in a long-term shift in global manufacturing to its original location. Chinese economic planners may believe that the best way to promote their nation’s growth is to accelerate this unavoidable shift:

” China wants to be the Amazon of countries — Amazon is the everything store, China wants to be the ‘ make everything’ country”, said Damien Ma of US think tank Macropolo, who met senior policymakers in Beijing last year. The objective is to introduce a complete supply chain to China.

Of course, this theory has some flaws. Why would an inevitable transition need such massive subsidies? Why would comparative advantage show up as a long history of unbalanced trade? However, in my opinion, this theory is basically what many Chinese policymakers either hold or declare to be true in order to shield China from “overcapacity” accusations.

Theory 4: Forced deindustrialization

The” comparative advantage” theory has a more nuanced, darker version. In order to gain a military advantage over its geopolitical rivals, China is allegedly trying to intentionally devastate the country’s manufacturing sectors.

In any major protracted war, industrial capacity becomes extremely important. Manufacturing from civilians is repurposed for military purposes. The most well-known instance is when the US manufactured its rivals during World War 2. The US still has a law called the Defense Production Act that’s supposed to allow a repeat of the civilian- to- military factory conversion.

The better chance it has of outshining its rivals in a war the higher the percentage of global manufacturing China has, and the lower the percentage of its competitors.

China’s leaders have repeatedly said they want to do the same, and it might even do so if it takes over the US and its allies as the world’s dominant power without a fight. Currently, the blocs are about evenly matched:

Source: CEPR

The Second China Shock might significantly shift that balance in China’s favor.

Comparative advantage, on its own, probably wo n’t suffice to achieve that. Usually, when new countries added themselves to the roster of high- output, high- tech manufacturers, they did n’t cause wholesale deindustrialization in other countries. Although US manufacturing employment decreased significantly during the First China Shock, manufacturing output remained roughly unchanged.

Subventions could come in at that point. If Chinese government subsidies make it essentially impossible for any non- Chinese company to compete, it could artificially tip the balance of comparative advantage, to the point where the US, Europe, Japan, and Korea could be inefficiently bereft of manufacturing industries — at least as long as China keeps up the subsidies.

China might be able to achieve its military goals ( such as capturing Taiwan ) while maintaining its position as the world hegemon.

A situation like this is something that the US and others would naturally want to avoid, and I’m willing to wager that those responsible for creating the new tariffs had a lot in mind about the threat of forced deindustrialization.

Theory 5: Xi Jinping’s techno- historical theories

One possibility that we can never rule out is that China does things because it has an absolute ruler who makes those decisions. The Center for Strategic Translation’s director, Tanner Greer, holds the view that Xi Jinping and his hand-picked subordinates are obsessed with monopolizing a few high-tech sectors of the future.

Endorsed by President Xi Jinping and popular among Chinese policy elites, this set of ideas argues that there are hinge points to human history. Emerging technologies, according to the Chinese leadership, can overthrow an existing economic order in these flimsy situations.

The past has now returned. Humanity again finds itself on the precipice of scientific upheaval. The foundations of global economic growth are about to undergo a transformation, and Xi is determined to lead it.

Xi explained the rationale behind [all this ] to a gathering of Chinese scientists held in 2016… Xi argued that “historical experience shows that]these ] technological revolutions profoundly change the global development pattern”.

Some states” seize” this “rare opportunity.” Others do not. Those who recognize the revolution before them and actively take advantage of it “rapidly increase their economic strength, scientific and technological strength, and defense capabilities, thereby quickly enhancing their composite national strength”.

Although this may seem like a bunch of Marxist mumbo-jumbo, the national interest, and technology are not very different from how other nations view things.

For instance, if you read the White House’s report on” critical and emerging technologies,” the language is a little less millenarian, but the underlying premise is that if you want your country to be powerful, it’s good to monopolize strategic cutting-edge high-tech industries as much as you can.

As to what those key technologies are, neither the Chinese government nor the US government appears to be quite sure — instead they’re placing diversified bets across a number of industries, in case any of those turn out to be the key to the future. Greer’s essay:

When the Chinese government discusses the upcoming techno-scientific revolution, they only mention AI in the context of a long list of promising technologies. These include materials science, genetics and plant breeding, neuroscience, quantum computing, green energy, and aerospace engineering. None of these are privileged over the others in Xi’s rhetoric.

That’s a incredibly broad list. But maybe Xi and the Politburo think China needs to massively subsidize&nbsp, all&nbsp, of these things in order to maximize its chances of being a superpower in the world of tomorrow. That choice may have a bearing on the export boom.

Sixth Theory: War preparation

There is one last theory that is the darkest of all, which I only hear muttered in hawkish national security circles. This is the theory that China’s boom in manufacturing and subsidies is the start of war production.

This theory basically has two parts. First, as I mentioned, countries at war convert civilian production lines to military production. Therefore, it might be possible to build up civilian industries like steel and computer chips for military use. In The National Interest, Nathaniel Sher hypothesizes&nbsp, something along these lines:

China’s slowdown masks a worrisome trend under the surface: Beijing is pouring investment into high- tech manufacturing at an accelerating pace…China’s new industrial policy could help it narrow the capabilities gap with the United States…Weakness in the property sector is freeing up resources—land, labor, capital, and intermediate inputs—to invest in dual- use sectors.

Particularly strong was growth in  industries , including aviation, electronics, and communication equipment. The government intends to increase the output of” strategic emerging industries” as a share of GDP from 13 % to 17 % by the end of the year.

Historically, the United States ‘ dominant industrial base allowed it to play a pivotal role in great power wars…Today, the United States ‘ consumer and services- led economy is ill- suited to sustain a major war.

China, in contrast, now accounts for 31 % of global manufacturing, despite its industrial and capacity utilization levels are below potential. Continued investments in advanced manufacturing will only serve to strengthen China’s strategic position.

Second, any country at war is vulnerable to having its supply lines cut, so building up domestic manufacturing of critical components like chips is a way to insulate a country against sanctions and blockades. Under Xi Jinping, the main thrust of Chinese industrial policy has been to offshore entire supply chains, and the current big manufacturing push is&nbsp, continuing that trend:

Perhaps the most illustrative of all the indicators of war preparation is Xi’s absolute prioritization of security over the economy. In the last 18 months alone, Xi has undertaken massive efforts to insulate the Chinese economy from potential external vulnerabilities, stressing self- reliance at the expense of growth.

This strategic shift is not just related to de-risking dynamics, perceived supply chain vulnerabilities, or trade wars. Xi appears to have taken the sanctions plan the West used against Russia in relation to Ukraine into account before launching long-lead protective measures to stow away pressure on the Chinese economy.

This is the most ominous theory of all. It suggests that China’s development of the biggest military production facility the world has ever known may have contributed to the export boom.

Which theory is therefore correct?

It’s important to reiterate that none of these theories are mutually exclusive. The leaders of China may have a tendency to align their goals with those of war production, industrial policy, forced deindustrialization of rivals, and recession-fighting.

And it’s possible that natural forces, such as China’s recession and a protracted shift in manufacturing to China, are assisting the government’s efforts. &nbsp, All of these theories could be true at once. Or perhaps just a small portion of them.

However, I believe presenting the options in this way as a helpful prelude to carefully weighing the potential benefits of tariffs and other protectionist measures.

This&nbsp, article&nbsp, was first published on Noah Smith’s Noahpinion&nbsp, Substack and is republished with kind permission. Read the original  and subscribe to  here.

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Simplify launches Thunderbird 5G router on World Telecommunication Day 2024

  • Smarter WiFi turns into a shared service where users can interact and purchase exposure.
  • Offers multi- gbps speeds &amp, solid security, ensuring higher- velocity Internet access

Tuan Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh (4th from left), Chairman of MDEC was on hand to show support to Simplify and its founder/CEO Yen Pei Tay (3rd from right).

Simplify unveiled its Thunderbird 5G network, which it has hailed as a cutting-edge breakthrough in communications systems. The launch was in conjunction with World Telecommunication and Information Society Day ( WTISD ) 2024 on 16 May, which celebrated the theme” Digital Innovation for Sustainable Development” .&nbsp,

Simplify’s founder and CEO, Yen Pei Tay, noted how the WTISD design had a strong resonance with him. ” It&nbsp, completely encapsulates our quest at Simplify— bringing systems for great, and bridging the digital divide”.

He noted that the Thunderbird 5G router, is not&nbsp, only&nbsp, fast, with its top download speed of 4.7 Gbps over 5G network, but how its Fixed Wireless Access ( FWA ) technology helps accelerate 5G adoption across Malaysia rapidly, and affordably.

According to him, “the Thunderbird 5G router connects to the 5G network, and broadcasts it as ultrafast Wi-Fi, enabling as many as 128 devices connecting to it, all at the same time. That also means, 4G users and Wi-Fi devices at home are able to enjoy multi-gigabit 5G speed, with Thunderbird 5G router acting as a bridge.”

The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation ( MDEC ), which was accompanied by Tuan Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh, the company’s chairman, to demonstrate its support for Simplify. The startup, which was named one of the 50 most innovative companies in the world by Fast Company magazine in 2017, made an appearance to support its goal. Additionally, simple lovers from China and Finland flew in to help the product launch.

” It is MDEC’s important role to accelerate Malaysia’s online business forward. Our responsibility to fostering innovation and modern change across the country is demonstrated by working closely with esteemed companions like Simplify, an MDEC AgTech Ecosystem Partner and MD standing business. By addressing the evolving needs of our micro, small, and medium enterprises ( MSMEs ), we aim to fortify their position in today’s dynamic global landscape. Through such cooperation, we strive to understand Malaysia’s broader vision of becoming the modern gateway of ASEAN”, he said.

Thunderbird 5G Router can reach a top download speed of 4.7Gbps over 5G.

With a maximum download rate of 4.7 Gbps, the Thunderbird 5G network achieves a new level of connectivity by utilizing MediaTek’s 5G Release 16-compatible chipset for top-tier performance. This network was created to facilitate and facilitate Internet access, and it offers multi-gigabit speeds and strong safety features that make it now easier and faster than ever.

Smarter WiFi, Monetize Wi- Fi network

The impressive Better WiFi feature that makes the Thunderbird 5G modem a revenue-generating engine. This characteristic makes Wi-Fi into a shared service where users can interact and spend for Internet access. The Smarter WiFi have includes a complete use monitoring tool to control the amount of data and speed you can communicate with other Internet users, as well as a double-encryption engine for the Wi-Fi password for improved connection security.

Simplify was recently recognized at the Beijing 2024 ZGC International Technology Trading Conference, where it was recognized as one of the” 100 Best Innovative Technologies for International Cooperation,” making it the only Indonesian organization to receive the award.

Increasing the international 5G Set Wireless Access business

FWA technology, specifically over 5G networks, is essential in bridging the modern separate and accelerating 5G implementation. FWA enables Wi-Fi networks to support devices that do n’t support 5G. This method provides broadband broadband access to the masses at scale while lowering the cost of gadget update.

With the growth of the global 5G FWA business, FWA-based service providers are expected to earn an estimated US$ 67 billion by 2028. This development is not just major but revolutionary, as it leverages wireless broadband property thoroughly. In Malaysia, Simplify is at the forefront of developing innovative options.

Varied applications and genuine- world demonstrations

Thunderbird 5G Router with Holomonsters Game Pack.

Simplify claimed that its Thunderbird 5G router offers quick, dependable connections in settings ranging from airports and food trucks to pop-up locations and electric vehicle ( EV ) charging stations. It is not just a gateway to the Internet but also a bridge to technological equity.

Its plug-and-play deployment in such diverse environments highlights its versatility and crucial importance of 5G in improving intelligent infrastructures. Through live demonstrations, including a COFE mechanical coffee shop and an interactive holographic activity by Holomonsters, the launch event gave attendees firsthand knowledge of the potential of the Thunderbird 5G.

Simplify Thunderbird 5G router is more than just a product; it is a vision that has been realized, pushing the boundaries of what digital connectivity for sustainable development is.

For inquiries, kindly contact Chan Shir Ley

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Amid uncertain weather, Malaysian durian exporters fear quality of upcoming harvest may impact sales to China

According to Citrus expert Mr. Lim,” Black Thorn has a sweet flavor that the Chinese areas are favoring, compared to Musang King, which is somewhat terrible.”

” To be related and contend for China’s growing desire, we may be flexible to these changes in taste and adjust quickly”, he added.

According to Mr. Chong, Musang King accounts for 36 % of Malaysia’s total durian production market while Black Thorn only accounts for 1 % of the total market, according to data released by the agricultural ministry. &nbsp,

However, community durians, which are mostly consumed directly, accounts for 38 per share of output while D24 varieties make up 11 per share. The remaining ones are hybrid durian clones, which account for 14 % of the country’s edible produce. &nbsp,

However, according to Mr. Chong, this is likely to change because the Chinese culture has changed, despite the fact that the Black Thorn versions cost significantly more than the Musang King types. &nbsp, &nbsp,

Musang Kings price RM50 per pounds, while Black Thorns usually cost RM80 per pounds in Malaysia. &nbsp,

” In China, the smaller the edible range, the more interest it gets and the consumers will need a style of it”, said Mr Chong. &nbsp,

He continued, nevertheless, that Malaysia may first make sure its farms are protected from extreme conditions, which will probably get worse in the years to come, as a result of climate change. &nbsp,

A Grade A premium fruit will only be a grade B or C, according to Mr. Chong, and regardless of which variety, you wo n’t be able to get the same price and quality you want. &nbsp,

” The fruit you desire will not grow, and the fragrance you want will not be there,” he continued. &nbsp,

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China’s gray zone social media war comes to America - Asia Times

China uses a variety of “gray zone” strategies to combat a number of adversaries while being fairly intense and no egregiously aggressive. One such technique is used within the United States: cultural media-based hidden influence operations.

Recently, Foreign government-related action has grown more alarming. &nbsp, Previously the principal danger was People’s Republic of China ( PRC ) propaganda lulling the US into uncritical acceptance of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP ) foreign policy agenda. &nbsp, Nowadays, the Chinese government is adding its mass to the troops tearing at America’s national material from the inside.

Prior to recently, the primary goals of PRC-sponsored social media messages directed at Americans were to foster a positive perception of China and its current state and to advance Beijing’s point of view on issues involving Taiwan’s social relationship with China, the treatment of Tibetans and Uighurs, and the restrictions of civil liberties in Hong Kong. &nbsp,

The language used in social media posts was comparable to what US-based Chinese officials were saying when they gave speeches and TV discussions or wrote articles for magazines.

This contrasted with the communication promoted by the Russian government, which usually denigrated the US government and exacerbated deeply entrenched private social and political issues in the US, suggesting that the Russian government’s intention was to foster social unrest in America.

This appeared to be in line with the individual Russian and Chinese relations with the US. &nbsp, Vladimir Putin wanted to hurt the United States. &nbsp, He held strong animosity over

  • the loss of Russia’s great power status in the 1990s,
  • degrading US treatment of Russia as a result of the growth of NATO and disrespect for Russian tastes as America engaged in wars in Iraq, Libya, and Syria,
  • the release in 2016 of the thus- called Panama Papers, which Putin&nbsp, said&nbsp, was an effort by the US government to offend him, and
  • punishment from the US against Russia for its 2014 annexation of Crimea. &nbsp,

Putin is likely to welcome an economic decline and lawlessness in America.

On the other hand, China needed American to keep purchasing Chinese products, sending Chinese students to school, and bringing cutting-edge systems there. Thus, the purpose of Chinese strategic communication was to end any threats to American business continuity.

The United States has continued to try to develop good sentiments toward China. &nbsp, During the 2022 election battle in the United States, PRC- linked entities&nbsp, promulgated messaging&nbsp, friendly of China- pleasant prospects in a few political races. To support the Chinese propaganda about Xinjiang and another contentious political issues, TikTok has produced, promoted, and distributed brief videos to millions of its users.

However, there is now a much lighter component to PRC communication.

The US director of national intelligence&nbsp, notes&nbsp, “growing]PRC] efforts to actively exploit perceived US societal divisions”, through which” the PRC aims to sow doubts about US leadership]and ] undermine democracy”.

According to&nbsp, Clint Watts, general manager of Microsoft’s Threat Analysis Center,” More recently, ]PRC government ] efforts have shifted to exploiting existing partisan divides in the US”, including” the Chinese actually going into US audience spaces, masquerading as Americans and posting inflammatory content around current events or social issues or political issues”.

A&nbsp, report&nbsp, by Microsoft published in April 2024 found attempts by the PRC to” stretched conspiratorial narratives on various social media platforms” .&nbsp, Accounts that appear to be CCP- affiliated “post about contentious US regional issues such as global warming, US border policies, substance use, immigration and cultural tensions”.

As an example, these messages said the dangerous August 2023 fires in Maui, Hawaii resulted from the US defense testing a “weather weapon” .&nbsp, Foreign- linked accounts also published speculation that the US government&nbsp, caused&nbsp, the disaster of a coach in Kentucky in November 2023 and was “hiding things” in the aftermath.

Microsoft concluded that the apparent objective of such posts is “encouraging mistrust of and disillusionment with the US government” .&nbsp, In another&nbsp, report&nbsp, also published in April 2024, Microsoft’s Threat Analysis Center assessed that Chinese government- sponsored social media activity “aims to destabilize” the US and other democracies.

There are two key factors contributing to the change in the content of PRC-promoted messaging in the social media platforms used by Americans.

The first was the coronavirus pandemic. &nbsp, Just before the virus began to severely impact the United States in early 2020, US President Donald Trump was &nbsp, praising&nbsp, the Chinese government for its counter- pandemic response and&nbsp, touting&nbsp, a bilateral agreement that was supposed to end the” trade war” and restore normalcy to US- China trade relations. &nbsp,

As US fatalities mounted, however, Trump&nbsp, blamed&nbsp, China for unleashing a “plague” on the US. &nbsp, The PRC government responded by ratcheting up its criticism of the US government. &nbsp,

Chinese officials and government- controlled media not only decried the botched management of the pandemic in the US but extended the critique to add the argument that America’s political system is&nbsp, broken&nbsp, and that the US&nbsp, does not&nbsp, deserve&nbsp, a role in global leadership. In PRC strategic communication, greater emphasis on these themes grew to be a new standard.

Russia’s expanded invasion of Ukraine, which started in February 2022, gave it a second boost. &nbsp, The war pulled China into stronger diplomatic support for its” no limits” quasi- ally. This has resulted in a closer harmonisation between the propaganda messages from Russia and China. &nbsp, The Chinese government, for example, &nbsp, repeats&nbsp, the Russian position that NATO is responsible for causing the war.

Russia and China are working to delegitimize US influence and the liberal political outlook that threatens both Xi Jinping and Putin as the conflict in Ukraine has intensified the sense among the democracies of an increasingly dangerous authoritarian bloc.

Researchers have &nbsp, found&nbsp, large numbers of China- linked social media accounts spreading pro- Trump and anti- Biden messaging, suggesting that China prefers Trump over Biden as the next US president.

Which of the two major party presidential candidates for the Russian government is unquestionably the best option for the Russian government. Trump has frequently criticized US aid for Ukraine as well as the NATO alliance and has consistently held a friendly and respectful stance toward Putin.

For Beijing, however, the question is more complicated.

Biden’s significant, foreseeable negative effects on the PRC. He would continue to thwart Chinese requests for more open access to US markets and technology. The Biden administration continued to impose tariffs on Chinese imports from the Trump era and stifled China’s access to cutting-edge technologies. &nbsp, Biden’s team has also repaired and strengthened US alliances in the Asia- Pacific region, obstructing PRC domination.

Trump, however, poses a risk to China. Trump is respectful and respectful toward Xi and has occasionally uncritically absorbed CCP views like” Korea actually used to be a part of China.”

Trump, on the other hand, appointed advisors to the White House during his first term that significantly weakened US policy toward China. Trump himself has at times harshly criticized China, as during the pandemic. &nbsp, He recently&nbsp, said&nbsp, he might increase tariffs on Chinese imports into the US to over 60 %. &nbsp, At his worst, Trump might be worse for China than Biden.

Has Beijing’s top leadership now decided that if America descended into chaos, its interests were best served by pursuing a compromise? Given that CCP officials continue to say that their goal is to give China the best chance to extract wealth and know-how and not Washington stop worrying about national security.

They also want Americans to feel less confident in supporting the world’s liberal democratic system of government. &nbsp, Chinese leaders want to fortify their country against demands for political liberalization.

This is part of the reason why the PRC government keeps&nbsp, harping&nbsp, on the importance of the” Bali consensus” in US- China relations. According to Beijing, this” consensus” is a list of five policy renunciations that Biden agreed to during his meeting with Xi in Bali in 2022, one of them his assurance that” the United States does not seek to change China’s system” .&nbsp, ( There is no parallel list of policies that China renounces in the Chinese summary of the meeting, and the US&nbsp, official readout&nbsp, does not include a list of five US renunciations. )

It is ironic and expected that the Chinese government is a part of such a campaign.

It is ironic because Beijing so&nbsp, often&nbsp, and so&nbsp, strenuously&nbsp, insists&nbsp, that” China never interferes in the affairs of other countries” .&nbsp, PRC officials specifically deny that China ever has or ever will attempt to influence the US electoral process, &nbsp, saying&nbsp, the accusation indicates American “paranoia” and a penchant for” slinging mud at China to divert attention” from US governance failures.

A covert attempt by the Chinese government to subvert an adversary’s government is not surprising, because the Chinese government is already preoccupied with the threat of subversion. &nbsp, The 2013 internal PRC government memo&nbsp, Document No 9&nbsp, summarizes the Xi regime’s fear of” Western anti- China forces” overthrowing China’s political system by smuggling in liberal ideas and values.

The document argues that CCP authorities must “ensure that the media leadership is always firmly controlled by someone who maintains an ideology similar to the Party’s Central Committee” and that they must “allow absolutely no opportunities or outlets for incorrect thinking or viewpoints to spread.”

PRC leaders and the government-controlled media frequently mention the threat posed by” color revolutions” and place “hostile foreign forces” or “black hands” in China’s internal conflicts, which are in fact caused by dissatisfaction with Chinese colonization or CCP oppression.

Beijing will not fail to use the same tactic against its own adversaries if the Chinese government believes subversion from the outside is potentially effective.

Poor judgment and cynicism are attested by the numerous PRC officials’, including Xi, broken promises to behave ethically in international affairs. &nbsp, To dissuade Beijing from continuing to meddle in American politics, a US response is justified.

As with other Chinese gray zone operations, however, hitting back is problematic. The PRC does not hold real elections or hold open debate on domestic political issues, and China forbids the social media platforms the PRC uses to reach American audiences. &nbsp, &nbsp, &nbsp, &nbsp,

A possible proportionate US response would be to attack the ruling regime’s fear of losing legitimacy in the eyes of the Chinese population. &nbsp,

Xi’s government has already suffered a decrease in prestige because of widespread public&nbsp, pessimism&nbsp, about the government’s ability to successfully manage China’s economy, plus fresh bad memories of the government’s counter- Covid policy, which included draconian lockdowns followed by acquiescence to a mass die- off.

In 2012, a&nbsp, New York Times&nbsp, article&nbsp, documented the immense wealth built up by family members of PRC Premier Wen Jiabao. &nbsp, The expose clearly jabbed a raw nerve in Zhongnanhai, the Chinese government&nbsp, scrambled&nbsp, to censor the story and discussion of it, officially called it false and later expelled a&nbsp, New York Times&nbsp, reporter as retaliation.

Top-ranking Chinese leaders of the present are similarly susceptible to damaging revelations about their personal hypocrisy ( such as sending their children to American colleges ) from a trustworthy foreign source.

In normal times, the US could disregard Chinese social media influence operations as insignificant. Unfortunately, this Chinese push comes at a time when US domestic politics are polarized, conspiracy theories are prevalent, and procedures and institutions that are crucial to the proper operation of US democracy are in decline.

PRC interference reinforces harmful trends that are already occurring. This vile influencing behavior could lead to outcomes that Beijing may regret as well as be bad for America under such circumstances.

Denny Roy is a senior fellow at the East- West Center, Honolulu.

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China unveils property stimuli amid falling sales - Asia Times

After falling in house sales and purchase in the first four months of this year, China released an extraordinary bundle of measures to encourage homebuyers to enter markets on Friday. &nbsp,

The People’s Bank of China ( PBoC ) said it will establish a nationwide program to unleash 300 billion yuan ( US$ 41.5 billion ) in cheap funding to help state- owned- enterprises ( SOEs ) buy unsold homes.

The minimum down payment ratios for first-time purchases were reduced from 20 % to 15 %, and second-time purchases were reduced from 30 % to 25 %, according to the PBoC and the NFRRA. &nbsp, &nbsp,

Additionally, it stated that first and second home loan rates will be abolished nationwide at the lowest rate possible. &nbsp,

According to the central bank, central bank branches is then set lower mortgage rates in accordance with local circumstances. Financial corporations should set the minimum borrowing costs based on their business climate and customer threats, it remarked.

From May 18, the PBoC may also reduce the mortgage rates of the individual accommodation retirement account, a long-term cover savings plan made up of required regular deposits by both employers and employees, by 0.25 percentage points.

Stocks of the Hong Kong-listed Chinese engineers increased on Friday after many of them more than doubled in value during the week that ended Thursday. &nbsp,

Shares of China Vanke Co increased 19.4 % to close at HK$ 6.84 (88 US cents ) on Friday while shares of Sunac China rose 25.9 % to HK$ 1.85. &nbsp,

Agile Group gained 24.3 % to 92 HK cents while Guangzhou R&amp, F Properties surged 12.7 % to HK$ 1.33. &nbsp,

Poor house figures

Meanwhile, the National Bureau of Statistics ( NBS ) released new economic data for January- April 2024 on Friday.

In the first four weeks, China’s estate investment fell 9.8 % year- on- yr to 3.09 trillion yuan. For the 23rd subsequent month, the number has been declining.

In January-April, investment in residential real estate decreased by 10 % to 2.34 trillion yuan from last year.

New home sales fell 28.3 % to 2.81 trillion rmb for the same time. New home sales slumped 31.1 %. &nbsp,

New home sales size decreased 20.2 % to 293 million square feet. New home sales level decreased by 23.8 % year over year.

In April, the average home price in 70 largest Chinese cities fell 3.1 % from a year ago, according to the NBS. It’s the biggest year-on-year drop since November 2014, in terms of terms of year on year.

” March and April are a classic great time, but both new house sales and sales volume have decreased year-on-year over the course of that time, demonstrating how severe the Chinese home markets are right now,” said Wang Xiaoqiang, chief scientist with the Zhuge Real Estate Data Research Center. &nbsp,

Wang claimed that new home sales volume in the first four months of this year decreased by 26.4 % from the same time last year, when most Chinese cities still adhered to Covid laws.

Zhang Hongwei, founder of Jingjian Consulting, said property activities may improve if some urban commercial banks start offering mortgage borrowers10- 20 % discounts in the coming few months. &nbsp,

SOE home purchases&nbsp,

He Lifeng, the vice president of China, stated at a teleconference on Friday that the government will make more efforts to address the risks associated with unfinished commercial housing projects, ensure the delivery of housing projects, and encourage the reduction of property inventory in the markets.

He claimed that local governments are permitted to purchase unsold homes at fair prices and turn them into affordable or rental housing units.

In the upcoming year, 21 national banks, including China Development Bank, policy banks, state-owned commercial banks, Postal Savings Bank of China, and joint-stock commercial banks, will be given loans worth 300 billion yuan at an interest rate of 1.75 %, according to PBoC Deputy Governor Tao Ling. The period of time can be extended four times. &nbsp,

She stated that the central bank will provide loans to national banks to cover 60 % of the scheme’s lending, allowing them to lend SOEs an additional 200 billion yuan, increasing the total to 500 billion yuan.

She suggested that national banks should grant loans to SOEs designated by local governments in accordance with market rules, while local governments should make their own decisions about whether to join the scheme.

” The SOEs for home purchases will be designated by local governments”, Tao said. ” They must not be local government financing vehicles ( LGFVs ) or companies related to local governments ‘ shadow financing” .&nbsp,

China’s total local government debt, including LGFV loans and shadow credit, was about 90- 110 trillion yuan, or 75- 91 % of the country’s GDP in 2022, according to a research report published last November by the 21st Century China Center of the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the University of California San Diego. &nbsp,

Read: China to reboot markets with SOE home purchases

Follow Jeff Pao on X: &nbsp, @jeffpao3

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US opens door for China advances in the Pacific - Asia Times

China and the US are competing for wet real estate, underwater resources and military edge among the South Pacific’s secluded island nations, a powerhouse contest to gain influence over their economies, airstrips, seaports and security forces.

China is commonly perceived as expanding its Belt and Road system across the Pacific’s wet” Blue Continent” to finally reach North, Central, and South America plus Antarctica, all the while empowering Beijing’s military, businesses, global policies and politics.

China won a victory on May 2 when the strategically important Solomon Islands elected pro-Beijing Prime Minister Jeremiah Manele, 55, a former foreign minister in the country’s once-friendly state of incoming prime minister Manasseh Sogavare.

Because the two nations had signed a diplomatic Solomon Islands Security Agreement in 2022, the US, Australia, New Zealand, and their allies were now concerned.

The China-Salomon Islands agreement, according to critics, might enable Beijing to establish a military base on the islands, which are 2, 000 kilometers east of Australia. According to China and the Solomon Islands, the agreement would certainly lead to the establishment of a Chinese military center on the country’s 900 smaller islands or its six main islands.

In the event of an armed conflict between the big forces, Manele, the next foreign secretary, told Parliament in 2022,” We are no stupid to ask for a military base, as we ourselves could be the goal of a military attack in the future.”

He said,” Having a stable Solomon Islands is also about ensuring stable and prosperous Pacific region.”

China trained the Solomon Islands ‘ police, provided water cannon vehicles and boosted their anti- riot tactics after unrest, some of it anti- Chinese, disrupted the islands.

Protests, riots, arson and looting erupted in 2021 after the Solomon Islands switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 2019 when Manele was foreign minister. Australia, under its joint security pact with the Solomon Islands, sent police to the islands ‘ capital Honiara to quash the civil unrest.

On November 26, 2021, as rioting broke out in Honiara’s Chinatown and thousands of people refused to comply with a government lockdown order, flames rose from buildings. Photo: Asia Times Files / AFP via Getty Images / Charley Piringi

Manele was expected to maintain Solomon Islands ‘ friendly relations with China, which dramatically improved under the leadership of incoming prime minister Sogavare, who chose Manele as a candidate for prime minister. The Solomon Islands will be “friends to all, and enemies to none”, Manele said.

China’s recent construction of an airfield on Guadalcanal, the largest of the Solomon Islands, evoked chilling reminders of America’s World War II Battle of Guadalcanal to seize it from Japan.

Guadalcanal Island was the first major US military offensive to stop Japan from using the Solomons to bomb ships passing between the US and Australia in 1942.

Under intense enemy fire, US forces scurried west across the Pacific to defeat Japan after capturing control of the Solomon Islands and other island nations.

Today, many of the Solomon Islands ‘ 720, 000 citizens say they favor Manele not for his international stance, but in hopes his Ownership, Unity and Responsibility ( OUR) Party will upgrade the islands ‘ poor health care, transportation infrastructure, electricity supply, schools, employment opportunities, housing and other daily needs.

The Solomon Islands is one of the world’s poorest nations. To enable Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications company, to build mobile telecommunications towers on its islands, China granted the Solomon Islands a$ 66 million loan.

The Solomon Islands and Australia also provided funding for Huawei’s 2018 contract for underwater telecommunication cables to and from the islands.

In a meeting billed as a” Ministerial Dialogue on Police Capacity Building and Cooperation Between China and Pacific Island Countries in Beijing,” the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, and the Cook Islands sent delegates to hear China’s plan to strengthen law enforcement and security cooperation in 2023.

In a joint 2023 statement, the Solomon Islands reportedly agreed to Beijing’s positions on Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and Tibet.

” China has been on the front foot across the Pacific for many years, doing trade and security deals with island countries, while the US is only now stepping up with new embassies opening in Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Tonga”, said Ben Bohane, a Vanuatu- based Pacific political analyst and photojournalist.

From the perspective of islands, the competition has given them for the first time as various powers try to court them, including Arab nations like Israel, Japan, and even India, according to Bohane in an interview.

Meanwhile, on the island nation of Kiribati, a” Chinese police delegation team works with the Kiribati Police Service to assist a community policing program, and martial arts kung fu, and an IT ( information technology ) department, assisting our crime database”, Kiribati’s acting Police Commissioner Eeri Aritiera told Reuters in February.

About a dozen uniformed Chinese police officers landed for a six-month rotation in 2023 and have since been updated.

When asked about Kiribati and China, the US State Department told government-run Voice of America (VOA ) in February,” We do not believe importing security forces from [ China ] will help any country.” After excluding Taiwan, Kiribati established relations with China in 2019 and is located two hundred kilometers south of Hawaii.

China is considering how to finance the reconstruction of Kanton Island, a coral atoll in Kiribati, which had been a major stopover for military and commercial aircraft during World War II.

Kanton will now be a tourist destination that Chinese tourists visiting other islands would enjoy visiting, according to China and Kiribati. If financed and built by China, the airstrip on Kanton would be for passenger flights, including within Kiribati’s chain of islands, but not for military use, Kiribati said.

Kiribati also receives financial assistance from the US, Canada, Japan, the European Union and others.

” Australia is supporting the Kiribati Police Service with major upgrades to its policing infrastructure, including a new barracks and headquarters and radio network”, Australia’s Foreign Affairs Department told Reuters in February.

The International Dateline intersects the Equator, and Kiribati’s islands are splattered across the map in four different areas.

Some islands are east of the dateline, while others are west of it, and some islands are north of the Equator, while others are below it.

One of the largest exclusive economic areas on earth is Kiribati, which asserts more than 3.5 million square kilometers of territorial rights in the Pacific Ocean.

” Pacific countries have long felt their infrastructure needs have not been met, so it is difficult for them to tell island nations not to accept assistance from China if traditional partners like Australia, New Zealand, and the US do n’t provide the wharves, roads, and airports,” Bohane said.

Under The Compacts of Free Association ( COFA ), Washington exerts some control over three island countries: Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and Palau.

Palau’s Rock Islands. Palau, a tiny island nation in the Pacific, established one of the largest marine sanctuaries in the world, claiming to be interested in protecting the ocean for future generations. And the country’s Covid- free. Photo: The Pew Charitable Trusts

The Pentagon has the power to land troops and weapons on COFA’s territories under the agreement, which was signed in 2023, and to prevent other nations from doing so. Many COFA citizens who enlisted in the US armed forces as a quick way to become Americans after serving in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries are familiar with the US military.

After feeling economically exploited and destabilized by China’s overwhelming wealth, Palau President Surangel Whipps reportedly requested from the Pentagon to construct ports, bases, and airfields on its islands.

Under COFA, the US agreed to pay$ 7 billion over the next 20 years in assistance to Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau. In February however,” the funding was dropped from the security supplemental in the US Senate, under pressure from conservatives who wanted to lower costs”, VOA reported.

” With no amendment process permitted, the funds could not be added back in”.

A mangled COFA could wreck the islands ‘ confidence in US backing, critics said. It “opens the door for China to make similar overtures to the COFA nations”, Hawaii’s Senator Mazie Hirono warned.

The US West coast is protected from China’s eastern shores by a Three Island Chain, a theory that was developed in the US during the US-Korea War to protect against China and the Soviet Union.

Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Borneo, and other islands in the increasingly militarized and contested South China and East China seas are included in the First Island Chain.

Further southward, the Second Island Chain connects Guam with the Mariana Islands, Palau, Yap, and islands farther south.

The Third Island Chain runs south from the Aleutian Islands, through the center of the Pacific and the Hawaiian Islands, to American Samoa, Fiji and New Zealand.

Since 1978, Richard S. Ehrlich, an American foreign correspondent reporting from Asia and the recipient of Columbia University’s Foreign Correspondents ‘ Award, has been based in Bangkok. Excerpts from his two new nonfiction books,” Rituals. Killers. Wars. &amp, Sex. — Tibet, India, Nepal, Laos, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka &amp, New York” and” Apocalyptic Tribes, Smugglers &amp, Freaks” are available here.

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