Putin warns N. Korea situation on verge of ‘large-scale conflict’



MOSCOW, Sept 1 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on Friday that the tense standoff between North Korea and the United States was on the verge of large-scale conflict and said it was a mistake to try to pressure Pyongyang over its nuclear missile programme.

Putin, who is due to attend a summit of the BRICS nations in China next week, wrote in an article published on the Kremlin’s web site ahead of his trip that he favoured negotiations with North Korea instead.

“It is essential to resolve the region’s problems through direct dialogue involving all sides without advancing any preconditions (for such talks),” Putin wrote.

“Provocations, pressure, and bellicose and offensive rhetoric is the road to nowhere.”

The situation on the Korean Peninsula had deteriorated so much that it was now “balanced on the verge of a large-scale conflict,” said the Russian leader.

North Korea has been working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the United States and has recently threatened to land missiles near the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.

On Monday, Pyongyang, which sees joint war games between the United States and South Korea as preparations for invasion, raised the stakes in its stand-off with the United States and its allies by firing an intermediate-range missile over Japan.

“In Russia’s opinion the calculation that it is possible to halt North Korea’s nuclear missile programmes exclusively by putting pressure on Pyongyang is erroneous and futile,” Putin wrote.

A road map formulated by Moscow and Beijing, which would involve North Korea stopping work on its missile programme in exchange for the United States and South Korea halting large-scale war games, was a way to gradually reduce tensions, wrote Putin. (Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Andrew Osborn)



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Trump Warns Xi: Trade War With China Begins Monday


Tyler Durden

As if there weren’t enough geopolitical stress points in the world to fill a lifetime of “sleepy, vacationy” Augusts, late on Friday night President Trump spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping and told him that he’s preparing to order an investigation into Chinese trade practices next week, according to NBC. Politico confirms that Trump is ready to launch a new trade crackdown on China next week, citing an administration official, a step that Trump delayed two weeks ago under the guidance of his new Chief of Staff Gen. Kelly, but now appears imminent. It is also an escalation which most analysts agree will launch a trade war between Washington and Beijing.

As Politico details, Trump on Monday will call for an investigation into China over allegations that the nation violated U.S. intellectual property rights and forced technology transfers, the official said. While it’s unclear how much detail Trump will get into in the announcement, administration officials expect U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to open an investigation against China under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. The ordering of the investigation will not immediately impose sanctions but could lead to steep tariffs on Chinese goods. Trump has expressed frustration in recent months over what he sees as China’s unfair trade policies.

As we discussed two weeks ago, Trump had planned to launch the trade investigation more than a week ago, but he delayed the move in favor of securing China’s support for expanded U.N. sanctions against North Korea, the senior administration official said.

The pending announcement also comes amid heightened tension between the United States and China, even after the Trump administration scored a victory in persuading Beijing to sign onto new United Nations sanctions on North Korea. Still, Trump has delayed trade action before, amid pressure from business groups and major trading partners:

Two Commerce Department reports examining whether to restrict steel and aluminum imports on national security grounds were expected by the end of June but have been bottled up in an internal review. Trading partners raised threats of retaliation and domestic steel users complained of being hurt by price increases and restricted supply.

The trade investigation will immediately strain relations between the U.S. and China as the two countries wrestle with the unpredictable situation over North Korea.  Should Trump follow through, the move will lay the groundwork for Trump to impose tariffs against Chinese imports, which will mark a significant escalation in his efforts to reshape the trade relationship between the world’s two largest economies. In other words, even if there is now conventional war announced with either North Korea or Venezuela, Trump’s next step is to launch a trade war against China.

“The United States government can, and does, work with countries to address serious concerns such as North Korea while also pursuing measures to address economic concerns, such as the theft of U.S. intellectual property,” a U.S. National Security Council official said.

It wasn’t immediately clear how China would react to the move.

When reports of the potential trade investigation first emerged more than a week ago, China’s Commerce Ministry stressed the importance of U.S.-China trade ties and of resolving differences “through dialogue and consultation.”

“We would like to emphasize that the Chinese government has always attached importance to intellectual property protection,” a spokesman said. “The results are there for all to see.”

Trump, who has been residing at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, for the past week, plans to return to Washington on Monday to officially announce the trade investigation. The decision will not only take action against alleged Chinese violations of U.S. companies’ intellectual property rights, but could also be perceived as an attempt by the U.S. government to crank up the pressure on Beijing to rein in North Korea. “I think China can do a lot more,” Trump told reporters on Thursday. “And I think China will do a lot more.”

As CNN adds, the trade investigation is expected to be only one part of a multi-pronged push by the Trump administration to counter perceived Chinese trade abuses.  The administration has been eyeing other moves to rebalance the U.S.-China trading relationship. But analysts have cautioned that Trump faces a huge challenge in his desire to significantly reduce the U.S. trade deficit with China, which last year stood at more than $300 billion. “Protection measures against some specific items, such as steel and aluminum, may gain political favors, but are not likely to be of much help to rebalance trade,” economists at the Institute of International Finance wrote in a research note this week.

* * *

Meanwhile, as we reported previously, China state media signaled the nation would hit back immediately against any trade measures, as it has done in past episodes. This time around, the need to project strength domestically is compounded by the looming twice-a-decade leadership reshuffle that may further entrench President Xi Jinping’s power.

Chinese officials have mulled stemming U.S. imports should retaliation be necessary. Under a draft plan, soybeans have been singled out as the top product that can be dialed back, according to people familiar with the matter. Autos, aircraft and rare-earth commodities have also been identified as potential categories for restriction, the people said.

Still, Trump’s offensive comes at a very sensitive time for Beijing: just weeks ahead of the 19th Party Congress, when Xi Jinping wants everything in his economy to be perfect. “Ahead of the 19th Party Congress, the last thing that China will want is a trade war,” said Callum Henderson, a managing director for Asia-Pacific at Eurasia Group in Singapore. “It is also important that Beijing does not look weak in this context. As such, expect a cautious, proportional response.”

Of course, ultimately the big question – as Bloomberg puts it – is whether the Trump administration is willing to risk a trade war as it ups the ante. The IMF warned last month that “inward-looking” policies could derail a global recovery that has so far been resilient to raising tensions over trade. The problem, for both the US and China, is that as Trump gets increasingly more focused on distracting from his numerous domestic scandals, he is likely to take ever more drastic action in the foreign arena, whether that means “hot war” with North Korea, or trade war with China.

“So far, it’s all been posturing, with little action,”’ said Scott Kennedy, a U.S.-China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “Pressure is building to do something, so the U.S. doesn’t look like a complete paper tiger.”

And while we await the formal announcement on Monday and China’s retaliation, below again is a breakdown of the biggest US state winners and losers if and when trade war with China breaks out, from “Winners And Losers When Trade War Breaks Out Between The US And China

* * *

Who stands to lose – and win – if the U.S. takes aim at the unbalanced trade relationship with China? With total bilateral trade of more than half a trillion dollars a year, the list of potential losers is very long as Bloomberg analyzed recently. The most notable examples include:

  • U.S. companies such as Apple Inc., which assemble their products in China for sale in the U.S., and those tapping demand in China’s expanding consumer market.
  • U.S. agricultural and transport-equipment firms, which meet China’s demand for soy beans and aircraft.
  • Manufacturing firms from the U.S. that import intermediate products from China as an input into their production process.
  • Retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and the U.S. consumers that benefit from low-price imported consumer electronics, clothes and furniture.
  • Other trade partners caught in the crossfire of poorly-targeted tariffs. On steel, for example, U.S. direct imports from China account for less than 3% of the total — below Vietnam.

And while conventional wisdom is that the US has a chronic trade deficit with China – it does – the U.S. also runs a nearly $17 billion trade surplus with China for agricultural products. China consumes about half of U.S. soybean exports, America’s second largest planted field crop. Soybean farms are mostly located in the the upper Midwest (Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota and Nebraska). The volumes are so significant that a spike in soybean exports was a noticeable contributor to GDP growth in the second half of last year as readers may recall. China is also a major buyer of U.S. aircraft, perhaps the only areas of manufacturing where the U.S. retains a competitive edge (though not for much longer). The U.S. also has an $8 billion dollar trade surplus with China in the transportation equipment category.

U.S. Trade Balance With China by Product

How about geographically?

It may come as a surprise that on a state-by-state basis, eight U.S. states are running surpluses with China, six of which supported Trump in last year’s presidential election, including West Virginia. In 2016, Louisiana registered the largest surplus, at 2.9% of the state’s GDP. Louisiana’s exports to China are likely inflated given that 60% of U.S. soybean exports are shipped through the Gulf coast. Washington state was second at 1.6% of GDP, largely due to aerospace exports.

Tennessee maintains the largest trade deficit with China at 6.5% of GDP, meaning tariff-induced increases in the price of imports could have the biggest impact on this state.

The biggest losers? Mississippi, Georgia, Illinois and  California, all of which maintain deficits at more than 3% of GDP.

For the sake of brevity, we will not discuss another, more troubling, aspect of conventional wisdom, namely that trade wars almost inevitably lead to real wars. Aside for the US military industrial complex, there are no winners there.

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China will stop U.S. if it tries to attack North Korea; State-run newspaper

China, North Korea’s most important ally and trading partner, has reiterated calls for calm during the current crisis

If North Korea launches an attack that threatens the United States then China should stay neutral, but if the United States attacks first and tries to overthrow North Korea’s government China will stop them, a Chinese state-run newspaper said on Friday. 

President Donald Trump ratcheted up his rhetoric toward North Korea and its leader on Thursday, warning Pyongyang against attacking Guam or U.S. allies after it disclosed plans to fire missiles over Japan to land near the U.S. Pacific territory.

China, North Korea’s most important ally and trading partner, has reiterated calls for calm during the current crisis. It has expressed frustration with both Pyongyang’s repeated nuclear and missile tests and with behavior from South Korea and the United States that it sees as escalating tensions.

The widely read state-run Global Times, published by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, wrote in an editorial that Beijing is not able to persuade either Washington or Pyongyang to back down.

Read more




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Chinese Media Has Told Rex Tillerson to ‘Prepare for a Military Clash’

Rex Tillerson testifies during his confirmation hearing to become U.S. Secretary of State

The U.S. Secretary of State nominee has provoked fury with his hawkish remarks on the South China Sea

China’s state media has responded forcefully to suggestions by U.S. Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson that China should be barred from the artificial islands it has built in the South China Sea, warning that any such attempt would force a “devastating confrontation” and both sides should “prepare for a military clash.”

On Wednesday, Tillerson told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Beijing’s ongoing island-building strategy in the busy waterway — through which $5 trillion of trade passes annually — was illegal and “akin to Russia’s taking of Crimea.”

“We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops,” the former ExxonMobil CEO told the hearing. “And second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed.”

Beijing claims sovereignty over almost 90% of the South China Sea, competing with neighbors Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei, who also claim parts of the waterway. In a bid to bolster its presence, China has transformed seven reefs and islets through reclamation into artificial islands. The mini fortresses now host antiaircraft guns and other weaponry, according to recent analysis.

Although a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman declined to answer a journalist’s question about possible responses to American naval incursions into the vital trade corridor, China’s notoriously strident state media pulled no punches.

“Tillerson’s statements regarding the islands in the South China Sea are far from professional,” the Chinese Communist Party–linked Global Times declared in an editorial on Friday. “If Trump’s diplomatic team shapes future Sino-U.S. ties as it is doing now, the two sides had better prepare for a military clash.”

The state-backed China Daily described Tillerson’s remarks as “a mishmash of naivety, shortsightedness, worn-out prejudices, and unrealistic political fantasies. Should he act on them in the real world, it would be disastrous [and] set a course for devastating confrontation between China and the U.S.”

Although Donald Trump has been fiercely critical of China during his campaign, his attacks have typically focused on alleged unfair trade practices that the U.S. President-elect claims have “stolen” American jobs. The Trump Administration’s trade team has been stocked with outspoken China trade hawks, such as Peter Navarro and Robert Lighthizer.

Given that Trump campaigned on drawing down expensive military commitments overseas, many believed any confrontation between the U.S. and China would be limited to commerce, and that the South China Sea would be less of a hot spot than it has been under the Obama Administration, which stepped up naval patrols in the region.

However, Zhu Feng, professor of international relations at Nanjing University, says the South China Sea will now remain an “essential component” of Washington’s Asia-Pacific security strategy. “The entire U.S.-China relationship is a minefield,” he tells TIME. “There’s not one place to stick your foot.”

Only ‘large-scale war’ would allow US to block Beijing from S. China Sea islands, state media warns

China building islands to claim international waters

China’s secret ‘humpback’ stealth nuclear sub surfaces with missiles that could reach ANYWHERE in the US

  • The ‘Jin’ Type 094A sub has a large ‘hump’ concealing 12 ballistic missiles 
  • Missiles known as ‘big waves’ have a range of over 11,000km

Mark Prigg For Dailymail.com

New photos of China’s latest secret stealth submarine have emerged – and it is believed could soon carry missiles powerful enough to reach America.

The ‘Jin’ Type 094A has a large ‘hump’ concealing 12 submarine-launched ballistic missiles known as ‘big waves’, with a range of over 11,000km.

It is believed the secret sub has been given a major overhaul since it was last spotted.

Scroll down for video 

The Type 094A, China's newest nuclear missile submarine, is currently based at Hainan Island, in the underground submarine base at Yulin. The new variant has a curved tower and front, making it more aerodynamic underwater.

The Type 094A, China’s newest nuclear missile submarine, is currently based at Hainan Island, in the underground submarine base at Yulin. The new variant has a curved tower and front, making it more aerodynamic underwater.

According to Popular Science, the sub, seen in the image at Hainan Island, in the underground submarine base at Yulin, is a new version of China’s Type 084A sub, four of which have been seen before.

The new variant has a curved tower and front, making it more aerodynamic underwater.

The JL-2C missile, a longer ranged variants of China’s existing missiles, which boasts multiple nuclear warheads with global reach

According to PopSci, ‘The Type 094A’s conning tower has also removed its windows. Additionally, the Type 094A has a retractable towed array sonar (TAS) mounted on the top of its upper tailfin, which would make it easier for the craft to ‘listen’ for threats and avoid them.’

Crucially, it boasts a bigger missile payload bay, and is believed to carry new ‘big wave’ missiles.

A big hump: The old (bottom) and new (top) Type 094A (top). The newer version has a larger 'hump' to accommodate more missiles.

A big hump: The old (bottom) and new (top) Type 094A (top). The newer version has a larger ‘hump’ to accommodate more missiles.

Officially known as the JL-2A, it has a 11,200-kilometer range.

This means it could reach almost the entire US from its home base.

Longer ranged versions, like the JL-2C variant, can carry multiple nuclear warheads with global reach.

According to a recent Congressional report, Chinese subs are already patrolling with nuclear-armed JL-2 missiles able to strike targets more than 4,500 nautical miles.

China's submarine fleet

China’s submarine fleet

The Chinese are currently working on a new, modernized SSBN platform as well as a long-range missile, the JL-3, the commission claimed.

Earlier this year the Chinese navy released a rare photo of the Type 093B ‘Shang’ submarine, which can launch missiles vertically at ships and other targets overhead.

This model improves upon the capabilities of earlier nuclear attack submarines, and is expected to be quieter and faster.

According to the Popular Science blog Eastern Arsenal, this reveal marks an extremely rare event.

It’s thought that there were three Type 093B SSNs launched last year.

These were preceded by two Type 093 SSNs, which were launched 15 years ago.

Though they were intended to be stealthy, the Type 093s were equipped with noisy reactors and propulsion systems, the blog explains, and this was only worsened as they climbed to higher speeds.

China’s new nuclear attack submarine is among the military’s most secretive platforms – and the world has just been given its first glimpse. The Chinese navy has released a rare photo of the Type 093B Ssubmarine, which can launch missiles vertically at ships and other targets overhead.

China’s new nuclear attack submarine is among the military’s most secretive platforms – and the world has just been given its first glimpse. The Chinese navy has released a rare photo of the Type 093B ‘Shang’ submarine


The Type 093B SSN is a nuclear attack submarine.

It’s expected to be quieter and faster than earlier models, and is equipped with a vertical launch system.

This makes for quicker launches, and larger size of the cells means it can support UACs or underwater robots.

In the new version, the submarine uses more advanced metallurgy and reactor resigns to reduce noise to an estimate stealthiness between the USN Los Angeles Flight I and Flight III SSNs.

Little is disclosed regarding the stealth and performance given the view of the photo, but the article points out numerous other ‘noticeable improvements.’

This includes a vertical launch system battery, which has been installed behind the conning tower.

A vertical system will make for faster launches, and the cells are larger and thus better suited for the launch of underwater robots or UAVS.

But, the submarine will still have cruise missiles, which are shot from a torpedo tube.

In the photo, sailors can be seen loading a missile canister into the tube.

Submarines can fire missile canisters from their torpedo tubes, which break open to launch the missile inside. In the photo, sailors can be seen loading a missile canister into the tube

Submarines can fire missile canisters from their torpedo tubes, which break open to launch the missile inside. In the photo, sailors can be seen loading a missile canister into the tube

Along with this, the 093B has a flared base, a feature that’s seen similarly in modern attack submarines.

This may contain sensors, the blog explains, and installation mounts on the sides of the hull indicate there will be side-mounted active sonar to look for warships and submarines.

Recent improvements in the underwater force show China is beginning to catch up to other powers at sea, including the US and Japan.

The country is already working on another nuclear attack submarine, the Type 095, which could launch before 2020.

China to Present Itself as Defender of Globalism at Davos

European leaders snub forum despite focus on combating rise of populism