Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Will China open Wakhan Corridor to U.S.?

Wakhan Corridor@peter peng blog

Wakhan Corridor is a long and slender valley at Northeastern part of Afghanistan. It connects at the far-end with Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China. Annually from October to the second year’s June, the corridor is sealed by snow and ice.

Since November 2009, the Wakhan Corridor has been under the spotlight of the world, because U.S. president Barack Obama asked Chinese president Hu Jintao to open the Chinese part of the corridor for U.S. anti-terror military supplies going into Afghanistan from China when he visited China in Nov. 2009, due to U.S. military personnel reinforcement in Afghanistan and the unstable and vulnerable supply-line from Pakistan. It was said that Hu’s answer to Obama was “need time for discussion and consideration”.

Will China open Wakhan Corridor to U.S. after the consideration and discussion? The analysts’ answer is not optimistic. The main reasons are as follows,

First, China does not want to see a successful U.S. in Afghanistan. When China looks its neighbours finding that it has been surrounded by pro-American regimes, such as South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, and India. Central Asia is the only part of its neighbourhood not firmly controlled by U.S. Although Obama told China clearly during his visit that U.S. had no plan to contain China, China would not believe U.S and change its mind from inertia so easily after so many years of conflicts with U.S. since Korea War of 1950s. If U.S. succeeds in Afghanistan, one pro-American regime would appear in China’s backyard. This certainly is not a good feeling to China.

Second, Taliban is not a die-hard feud of China. Before September 11, 2001, China had no diplomatic relationship with Taliban, but there was no resentment between the two sides either, and Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China was much quite than today. China always thinks that its openly support to U.S. actions on Taliban caused Taliban’s anger to China, therefore East-Turkistan terrorists were accepted by Taliban after September 11, 2001. This leads China to believe that if China opens Wakhan Corridor to U.S., it would be equal to China declares a war to Taliban and anti-U.S. forces in Afghanistan and would cause more terror attacks of East-Turkistan to China.

Third, China does not want to offend any indigenous force in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is known as an empire shredder. China may think the United States may have to leave Afghanistan one day as same as the former Soviet Union (Maybe China has been doing something covertly to realize this target). China has already invested hugely in Afghanistan including the Aynak copper field and some traffic projects. If one day U.S. has to withdraw from there, China would still need to last the business relations with local Afghans. For this reason, China does not want to go close with U.S. to offend other Muslin forces there.

Fourth, China does not want to see U.S. military-existence in Xinjiang of China. Open Wakhan Corridor means set U.S. military station inside China’s border with Afghanistan. After the Uyghur riots broken out on 5 July 2009 in Urumqi, the capital city of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China, U.S. and western countries’ supports to Rabiye Qadir make China worry that U.S. would use the military facility to support covertly or overtly Xinjiang Uyghur independence one day.

The analysts believe the mostly probable choice to China would be: not open the corridor and keep some distance with U.S. If China refuses to open Wakhan Corridor, the best way for NATO would be: Occupy the corridor Afghan part to prevent from China’s possible covert military aids to anti-American forces in Afghanistan through Wakhan Corridor, the analysts also said.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Co-development is better than transfer of technology

For a long term of view, India should co-develop the engine of Tejas light fighter with French Snecma to go beyond just transfer of technology what India would get only from transfer of technology from Eurojet or General Electric.

India is always a favourite of the world. According to India Defense Ministry, to solve the engine problem for the Indian home-grown ‘Tejas’ light combat aircraft (LCA), Eurojet and General Electric both stipulated that they will transfer 50 per cent of the technology to India, if India signs the purchase contract for their engines (EJ-200 for Eurojet and F414 for GE respectively).

Because India still worries that the international firm may not give the critical high-end technology that will be important for India, Indian Defense Ministry is now considering to co-develop indigenously designed ‘Kaveri’ engine for LCA with French engine-maker Snecma.

The Gas Turbine and Research Establishment (GTRE) facilitated to Indian state-owned Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has confidence that that the Snecma-GTRE venture will surely improve the maximum thrust of the current Kaveri engine from the current 65 KN to the 95 KN that the EJ-200 and F-414 currently have.

India, the white-headed boy of the world should take the chance to learn high-end technology as much as possible. The co-develop with foreign firms is a better way to go, the analysts believe.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Chinese Navy, the Santa of Somali Pirates

Dexinhai@peter peng blog

After more than two months of blackmail and bargain, Somali pirates managed to best Chinese government and Chinese navy and therefore received a big gift—four million U.S. dollars—from China during the Christmas season.

According to Reuters, a Somali pirate, self-proclaimed as "Hassan" informed Reuters by telephone that a Chinese helicopter had dropped four million-dollars as ransom on the deck of the hijacked Chinese bulk carrier Dexinhai on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2009.

On Dec. 28, 2009 (China local time), Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu announced that 25 Chinese crewmembers and Dexinhai ship were safely rescued and placed under the protection of Chinese naval warships.

The analysts believe, to save the lives of the 25 Chinese hostages and the ship seized by the Somali pirates since Oct. 19, 2009, Chinese 054A Type frigate Chaohu carried the four millions of U.S dollar cash from China and joined in the Chinese 4th naval flotilla in the Gulf of Adam on Dec. 21, 2009. A week later, Dec. 27, 2009, a Chinese naval helicopter with the four million U.S. dollars and four Chinese naval commandos on board took off from the Chaohu frigate. It dropped later the ransom onto the deck of hijacked Dexinhai bulk carrier.

The Chinese cargo ship Dexinhai belongs to Qingdao Ocean Shipping Company of China. The Somali pirates seized it on October 19, 2009 at a point of 980 nautical miles away from the Somali coast. The ship was carrying coal from South Africa heading for India that day.

Shipping ransom under the escort of commandos is a surely shame and sadness to Chinese navy, but a happiness and a merry Christmas to Somali pirates and 25 hijacked Chinese sailors. As long as Somali pirates are still rampant, the scene of a helicopter being used as the Santa’s sleigh will surely appear again and again sooner or later.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Chinese Homegrown Medium-Lift Helicopter AC313

AC313 helicopter@peter peng blog

Following a breakthrough on the technology of helicopter turboshaft engines, Chinese medium-lift helicopter has entered the prototype manufacturing stage. The Chinese R&D AC313 Modal helicopter with 13 tons of maximum take-off weight is scheduled to have its first flight at the beginning of 2010, according to Chinese newspaper People’s Daily.

The Chinese AC313 helicopter is compatible with the Sikorsky S-92, which is a four-bladed twin-engine medium-lift helicopter built by Sikorsky Aircraft of U.S. for both the civil and military market. Its maximum take-off weight is about 13 tons. The H-92 Superhawk is a military variant of S-92, capable of taking 22 troops, carrying out military transportation, search and rescue (SAR) in battlefields. Canadian Forces is developing its variant CH-148 Cyclone as a naval helicopter for anti-submarine warfare (ASW), surveillance, and search and rescue (SAR) from Canadian warships.

Recently, U.S. announced it would sell another 60 UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters to Taiwan. The UH-60 is also a four-bladed, twin-engine, medium-lift helicopter manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft. Its maximum take-off weight is 11.6 tons, less than the Chinese homegrown AC313. The analysts believe China chose this moment telling the world about its AC313 is trying to beat U.S. psychologically regarding the upcoming 60 Blackhawk helicopters to Taiwan.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Taiwan needs much more Patriot-3 missiles

Patriot 3 missile@peter peng blog

Dec. 24, 2009, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported that the U.S. Raytheon Company has received the contracts to upgrade Taiwan's three existing Patriot-2 missile defense systems to Patriot 3s. The contracts with total value of 1.1 billion U.S. dollars comprise of a 965.6 million contract on hardware of the ground system and a 134.4 million contract on spare parts.

The upgrade plan certainly caused strong opposition from Beijing, because the upgrade will allegedly quintuple the combat abilities of the relevant Patriot systems.

Because the PAC-3 warhead uses Ka Band Active Radar Seeker homing itself to directly hit the target, it carries much less explosive than a PAC-2 warhead triggered by a proximity-fuse once it comes near the target. This improvement on less explosive in the warhead significantly reduced the size of a PAC-3 missile.

Due to miniaturization of the missiles, a single canister can hold four PAC-3 missiles as opposed to one canister per PAC-2 missile. Therefore, one PAC-3 system (four canisters) can totally hold 16 PAC-3 missiles, as one PAC-2 system is only able to hold four PAC-2 missiles.

The other advantages of a PAC-3 missile system include a better missile-maneuverability caused by dozens of tiny rocket motors mounted in the fore body of the missile (called Attitude Control Motors), better software, and a better communication setup than that of a PAC-2 system.

Although the PAC-3 system has allegedly quintupled its capability on anti-ballistic missiles after being upgraded from PAC-2, three such existing systems in Taiwan are obviously impossible to block pending saturate-attacks of 1,600 ballistic missiles aiming at Taiwan from China recently. Taiwan certainly needs much more Patriot-3 missiles, as long as U.S. could sell it with a little cheaper price.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Asian Orphan Vietnam Eagerly Grows Up

Vietnam Map@peter peng blog

No country in Asia is so worrying about itself like Vietnam nowadays. Unlike most of the other southern Asian countries that under the protection of U.S. umbrella, Vietnam looks more like an orphan since Russia withdrew from Cam Ranh Bay, the Russian naval base in Vietnam, in May of 2002.

Recently, under the shade of the fast development of Chinese naval and air force, Vietnam has always the feeling of pricks on the back due to intensified conflict with China on the territorial controversy in the South China Sea. Although Vietnam knows it will never be as powerful as its neighbor China, it is still endeavoring on hindering any China’s upcoming attempt to drive it out of its already occupied reefs of Spratly Islands.

According to Russian media, Vietnam signed with Russia last week a two billion U.S. dollar contract to buy six Russian-made Kilo class submarines. It will also spend another 0.6 billion dollars to purchase 12 Su-30MK2 fighters to protect its interests in the South China Sea.

Recently, Vietnamese defense minister visited Washington and met with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, urging the U.S. to relieve Vietnam of some of the Vietnam-US military-technical constraints. He also met at the other time with French defense minister to talk about procurement requirements on French helicopters and cargo aircraft. The orphan is hurriedly growing up. The money from oil resources in South China Sea is changing into advanced arms in the hands of the orphan.

The ordered six Russian Kilo class submarines are Project 636 improved ones, which are known as the quietest submarines in the world. Anechoic tiles (special rubber tiles) are fitted on casings and fins to absorb the sonar sound waves from enemy’s active sonar, and to attenuate sounds that are emitted from the submarine itself to reduce the chance being detected by enemy’s passive sonar.

Su-30MK2 is a multi-role fighter that has a range of 3,000km. It is capable of carrying eight tons of anti-air, anti-ship, anti-radar, and anti-submarine weapons. Its modified radar systems are capable of detecting and tracking up to 15 air-targets, while concurrently attacking four of them. The radar systems can also detect large sea-surface targets at a distance of up to 400 km and small ones at a distance of up to 120 km.

Once the new Vietnamese air and sea fleets form combat ability, they will be an un-ignorable deterrence to protect Vietnamese interests in South China Sea. The Asian orphan will not be a small one anymore and will flex mussels when that day comes.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

China aims at Boeing 737 engine technology


Relying on having abundant financial resources and a big market, China successfully finds a breakpoint to solve the bottleneck on its research of turbofan engines for large airplanes. According to Xinhua news report, December 21, 2009, China Aviation Industry Corporation signed an agreement with CFM International to establish a CFM LEAP-X1C engine assembly line in China.

The engines from this line will be the only chosen foreign engines to power the C919 China's self -developed large passenger aircraft, which is the first upcoming Chinese-made large passenger aircraft manufactured by China Commercial Aircraft Co., Ltd.

CFM International is the world's largest manufacturer of commercial aircraft engines. It is a 50-50 joint venture of Snecma, a subsidiary of SAFRAN Group of France, and General Electric Company of U.S.

CFM International’s CFM56 engines are widely used on Boeing 737 and A340. The CFM LEAP-X engine was officially launched in 2008. This engine is under modification for the next generation of aircraft products to succeed the CFM56-5B and CFM56-7, which are recently used for A340 and Boeing 737 respectively. The CFM LEAP-X is supposed to be with better fuel economy and lower carbon dioxide emissions.

Analysts believe CFM International chose China as a partner is because China is able to meet the CFM’s requirements on a suitable test body for this modifying engine, a sure market before the engine is accepted in the world market, and financial and human resources on engine production.

China’s C919 passenger aircraft is planning to carry out its first flight in 2014 and put into formal use in 2016. As only chosen engines on the C919 aircraft, the CFM LEAP-X is guaranteed to have a broad market in China before it is accepted in the world.

What China shortens are not fund and human resources but technologies on engine design, manufacturing, and management of production. By co-operation with CFM, Chinese personnel will experience the details of the engine structure, equipment for assembly and test, and management of production. To get the know-how on the engines for A340 and Boeing 737, the analysts believe, China certainly thinks it is worth paying financially no matter how much it will be.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Taiwan, a caged bird of China

Taiwan Strait@Peter Peng's blog

Reunification with Taiwan is a target China will never give up even if it faces a total loss on what it has gotten from its development in the past decades. To achieve the target, carrots plus bats are always the strategy used by China to deal with Taiwan issues.

One more carrot is bringing to Taiwan these days by Chen Yunlin, the president of the Chinese mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS). On Dec. 22, 2009, a cross-Strait talk will be held between him and Chiang Pin-kung, the Chairman of Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) in Taichung of Taiwan, regarding labor cooperation in the fishing industry, cooperation in the fields of inspection and quarantine of farm produce and standard measurement authentication, avoidance of double taxation and boosting taxation cooperation, which will benefit both sides. If the talk is successful, the two sides could talk further at a proper time later about the cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), which will bring down the tariffs of Taiwan exports to ASEAN and China next year.

While taking carrots to Taiwan, China never forgets to prepare bats, in case Taiwan goes to independence. Although China has many issues around its boarder such as Daoyudao (Senkaku Islands) with Japan, South China Sea with some south Asian countries, and Arunachal Pradesh with India, using force to reunify with Taiwan may be its top priority in comparison. That is because Beijing knows that it has no guarantee China could control the war-scale once the military conflicts break out with any of its neighbors, and Taiwan may also take the chance to declare independence during a long period of war between China and its adversary. Therefore, China may have to confront not only the adversary, but also Taiwan and the United States. This is a scenario China does not want to see.

Beijing also knows, if China could solve the Taiwan issue ahead of the issues with the other countries, the situation would be entirely different. First, on international, the Taiwan issue is an internal issue of China, and each country having a diplomatic relation with China has admitted that Taiwan is one part of China. If China could find an excuse to use force on Taiwan, it is easy for China to find a standpoint on international law in the face of the blames from the world and to give an explanation to its civilians.

Second, the biggest obstacle of Sino-U.S. relationship is the Taiwan issue. Without the Taiwan problem, China could be entirely friendly with the United States. Because of complement economic ties between the two countries, the interests of co-operation between two would be far greater than confrontation, as long as China only concentrates on its regional interests and respects U.S. interests in the world.

Third, China militarily has already had the capability to take Taiwan under its control after so many years of preparation.

Fourth, China would geographically open its way into Pacific Ocean and economically take the advantages of Taiwan resources after re-unification. Without the Taiwan problem but a better relationship with U.S., China would feel much easier to solve its international disputes with neighbors.

Upon the consideration above, unification with Taiwan is the first objective China is stepping forward firmly before solving its international disputes. By the recent trend, it seems nothing can stop but only delay the development. The incumbent ruling party KMT is giving the chance for China to use carrots, and the opposition DDP that inclines independence will give China the excuse to use bats if the DDP takes the power of Taiwan in the future. In both aspects, Taiwan has already been a caged bird of China. Time is the only problem for the unification to walk out under the carrots and bats from China.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Japanese Anti-Submarine Technology Leading the World

The second prototype of Japanese homegrown anti-submarine aircraft P-1 has been delivered to Japan’s Ministry of Defence in Japan in August 2009. It marks that the Japanese anti-submarine technology has led the world even been ahead that of the United States.

Japan as we know is a country around by sea. Certainly, the security on sea is its most important concern. To replace the aged P-3C American anti-submarine patrol aircraft “Orion”, Japan started its own Kawasaki XP-1 program in 2007, while the United States put forward the P-8A anti-submarine patrol aircraft program. The Japanese XP-1 program has been carrying out by Japan Kawasaki Heavy Industries.

Compared with P-3C Orion, Japanese P-1 has made an all-round progress. On the power system, P-1 is equipped with four F7-10 turbofan engines self-developed by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, while P-3C is propelled with turboprop engines. Therefore, the cruising speed of the Japanese P-1 is over 830 km/h, much faster than 620 km/h of P-3C. The turbofan engines also bring P-1 a cruising altitude of 13,000m, which exceeds much the P-3C’s 8800m. The P-1’s advanced cruising speed and altitude increased significantly its submarine-hunting capability. Because of the excellent power system, P-1 has also a strategic range of more than 8,000km.

Taking the advantage of Japanese electronics technology, P-1 is equipped with more advanced submarine detecting equipment including radar, sonar systems, infrared detection systems, and magnetic anomaly detectors. Allegedly, it can effectively detect still submarines under waters.

With the newest computer technology, the P-1's battle command system is able to process data and intercept a variety of information much faster than P-3C does, so as to quickly identify enemy targets and immediately launch attacks. One thing needs to mention here is P-1 uses optical fiber as the transmission medium to achieve the data link between the sensors and the flight control board. This optical fiber transmission significantly downsized the entire control system weight and volume and raised the level of anti-electromagnetic interference. Therefore, the P-1’s stability and maneuverability are greatly increased.

Addition to excellent detecting performance, Japanese P-1 also has a powerful attack capability. It can totally load more than nine tons of weapons including torpedoes, anti-submarine bombs, and anti-ship missiles.

According to the timetable established by Japan's Defense Ministry, Japan will start to mass-produce P-1s before 2012.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sen Maso, My Favourite Japanese Singer

On Dec. 15, 2009, Japanese Emperor Akihito met with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping in Tokyo. Unreasonably, this let me recollect my favourite Japanese singer Sen Maso.

Maybe every one knows or has heard the Japanese song Spring of Northern Country 北国の春. Sen Maso firstly sang this song. Sen Maso began to go on stage in 1966. When he was on the peak of his fame in 1977, he quit from stage and started his real estate business, which brought him billions during 1980s. Unfortunately many people in Japan were hit by the broken bubble economy in Japan in 1990s. Sen Maso was one of them and fell into bankruptcy then.

In 1991, 14 years after he left the stage, he went back on it again. That year he was 44-year old. Although he got setback in his business, he never gives up in his life. Now he is 62-year old, but we can still see his excellent performance on stage. Let’s click the video above to enjoy his song Hoshikageno Waltz 星影のワルツ, which was sung by him in 1994. Hope you will like his songs too. His songs always inspire me on the way of my life.

Monday, December 14, 2009

CIA and Detained North Korean Weapons in Thailand

The Detained

Thai media reports said, Dec. 12, 2009, Thai authorities detained an IL-76 transport in Bangkok after 40 tons of North Korean weapons including rockets, launchers, and missile warheads were found on board. The plane had a total of five crewmembers, four Kazakh people, a Belarusian. Some analysts said CIA probably planned ahead this action, and some of the crew likely have CIA background.

The Kazakhstan-owned airplane came from Pyongyang of North Korea and landed on Thailand for refueling on Dec. 11, 2009. Several Thai media quoted police sources that the ultimate destination of the aircraft was Sri Lanka. According to the Resolution No. 1874 passed by the UN Security Council on June 12 this year, North Korea is not allowed to sell weapons to the other countries.

The report of the local newspaper MANAGER quoted the Thai immigration and police officials that Thailand originally was not on the route of the detained airplane, and the transport aircraft had broken into the Thai airspace before it applied for landing for refueling. The officials also said the transport plane carrying heavy weapons into the territory of Thailand did not go any declaration procedure, and the inspectors were told that the aircraft was carrying cargo of some "military components" only.

The analysts said that some of the crewmembers probably are undercover CIA, or at least some of them are common people paid by CIA in advance to tell them to do so. The purpose of the unscheduled break-in and landing for refueling was to let Thailand authorities have reason, time and chance to examine the suspicious aircraft from North Korea.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Is China possible to build an Aircraft Carrier?

Varyag in Dalian Shipyard of China

Is it possible for China to build an aircraft carrier by itself? The answer will be negative, because too many key technologies have not been handled by China. These technologies include those on marine engine, aircraft catapult, carrier-based aircraft, and aircraft landing brake, etc.

China now is capable of building 100,000-tonne or even 300,000-tonne oil tankers and cargo ships whose speeds are only 10 to 20 knots. Their engines are difficult to propel an aircraft carrier to a speed of 30 knots and withstand a sudden acceleration and deceleration an aircraft carrier always demands.

In Chinese fleet, the largest Type 052C destroyer is only 7,500 tons. Only a very few countries in the world are able to make carrier-use engines. The United States and the European Union will not sell these engines to China due to arms embargo, and no such a deal has been heard between China and Ukraine or Russia. China also needs time to develop its marine engine technology to build a carrier-use engine.

In 1985, China bought an Australian scraped aircraft carrier Melbourne. Although weapon and electronic and electric system was dismantled before it was towed to China, the steam catapult device and the blocking cable system were still remained on board; however, the catapult device was a outdated towline ejection technology but not the front-wheel ejection technology that has been used by U.S. steam ejection from 1964 till now.

From the scraped Melbourne, China maybe can learn only a little bit about the landing brake---blocking cable system, because the landing speeds of modern fighters are much larger than that of the planes in the years of carrier Melbourne.

Due to lacking steam catapult technology, Chinese carrier may have to use slip-jump deck to take off the carrier-based aircraft on board. This take-off method demands specially designed ship-based aircraft, and the combat aircraft would be difficult to take off at full load. This would severely limit the carrier-based aircraft's combat capability due to less loaded ammunition.

Without the catapult device, fixed-wing early-warning aircraft with detecting range over 500km cannot take off on board. In stead, the aircraft carrier has to rely on early warning helicopters, whose detecting range is only less than 150km. Because China has no special designed carrier-based aircraft yet, there are guesses that China is negotiating with Russia for that. But there are also news reports that Russia refuses to sell Su-33 fighters to China, because Russia is worrying its technology will be copied by China.

The analysis tells us China still has no mature technology to build an aircraft by itself. Many Chinese military fans are rumoring about Russian scraped carrier Varyag that is modifying in China Dalian Shipyard. One Chinese naval analyst even said Varyag would be China’s first aircraft carrier. If that is true, this carrier won’t have real combat ability due to the immature technologies in China after it is modified. Some analysts say it will be used for training purpose and testing on carrier-technologies once it is put into service. Some people even guess Varyag will be used as a tourist attraction during its idle time after it is commissioned.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

China puts one more eye around the earth

According to Chinese media, China launched on Dec. 09, 2009 a remote-sensing satellite, Yaogan VII, from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern Gansu Province of China.

The center said that it would be mainly used for scientific experiment, land resources survey, crop yield estimates, and disaster prevention and reduction, but the western analysts believe the satellite is likely an electro-optical spy satellite to be operated by the Chinese military.

The analysts also believe the Yaogan series I to VII, which began launching in 2006, is a new fleet of high-resolution optical and radar reconnaissance satellites. The new satellite Yaogan VII is the forth Yaogan spacecraft equipped with an optical sensor. Including the newest one, China now has totally three synthetic aperture radar (SAR) type and four optical type remote sensing satellites in orbit.

With synthetic aperture radar, a SAR satellite is able to see through cloud cover and also has some ability to penetrate soil. Following the utilization of three SAR satellites, China has had the ability to carry out all-weather and anti-camouflage reconnaissance. If necessary, the seven spy satellites could also guide ballistic or cruise missiles to strike enemy targets.

Beginning from 2006, only three years, China has launched seven reconnaissance satellites into space. The fast steps really shocked the world deeply.

Monday, December 7, 2009

“Car Bomb” Accident and Democracy in China

Damaged civilian houses
Villagers stealing chillies
Damaged trucks

Please click the pictures left to see larger images

A huge explosion caused by a truck fire on a highway of China inspired us on something regarding why democracy could not prevail in China. This question maybe is haunting Canadian PM Stephen Harper these days during his visit in China.

According to Yangzi Daily of China, Dec. 5, 2009, at 12:20 am, a truck, number plate Gan G17951, took a huge explosion when it drove to 1125km point of Jingzhu highway, Xiaogan City of Hubei Province, China. Xiaogan city is 45km away from Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province. Four people were killed and 6 were injured on scene. Three trucks were damaged.

This explosion also caused different losses or damages on 2,000 houses near the accidental point along the highway. The four dead belonged to an opposite bound truck, number plate Yu R61696, that was fully loaded with red chillies, which were stolen later morning by villagers gathered around the scene from the nearby villages.

According to the media report, the exploded truck was illegally delivering 10 tons of gunpowder to a firework factory for the production of fireworks that will be used in the upcoming Chinese New Year. The driver and the owner of the exploded truck were escaped in time when they found from the rear-view mirror that the truck’s rear wheels were caught on fire. They were under arrest by Chinese police.

This story tells us China’s development on the quality of population lags seriously that on the economy. Low educated people account for a large ratio in Chinese population, although coastal areas and big cities are better on that. They are used to do illegal things for making money and ignore other people’s lives and properties. From the story above we see many villagers even stole victims’ property (chillies) after the accident. This is a common phenomenon in China. Overloads and illegally delivering hazardous things for profits are also very popular in China's truck transportation.

Even in each level of every local government and each state-owned enterprise, well-educated candidates take only small portion of leader positions there. That is why coalmine accidents are so popular in China and difficult to be stopped. These people formed the foundation of mono-party ruling in China today. They have no wise to use and understand democracy. By comparison, Mafia-style management is much easier for them to accept.

From China, we also see Afghanistan. Real democracy is a produce of good education. To build democracy in Afghanistan which educational level is much inferior to China, U.S. and NATO will certainly feel very tough to achieve this target. The work on Afghanistan won't be easier but only more difficult than the job on China. Harper is a smart person. Maybe he has already known this.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Chinese Hospital Ship Prepares for South China Sea

China’s Type 920 hospital ship (hull code 866) returned back to a Chinese navy port in Sanya, Hainan province of China on Nov. 28, 2009, after it completed a 39-day medical-service mission to 14 reefs and 4 service points of Chinese navy in South China Sea. During this mission Ship 866 sailed 5,000 nautical miles and served 8,000 military and civilian patients on the trip period.

Analysts believe the purpose of the mission is to get experience for Chinese medical service in South China Sea. In China, the Type 920 hospital ship 866 is called “Peace Ark”. It was designed by China independently in 2005 and then built by China Guangzhou Shipyard. October 2008 it was commissioned in Chinese navy East China Sea Fleet. During wartime, the ship is capable of providing medical treatment for military personnel in the war zone, in particular in an amphibious assault operation. If necessary, the ship could also be deployed for humanitarian relief operations in disaster-devastated regions near coast.

The ship has a total of about 300 beds and 8 operating rooms for patients, as well as other 2,400 medical treatment facilities including CT scan machines, X-ray machines, air purifiers, etc. Fresh water is available 24 hours a day on board, even for hot water showers. Because it is a 10,000-ton ship, the patients won’t feel sea sick even under the sea state of five (sea wave 2.5 to 4 meter high).

The ship uses personal digital assistant (PDA) mobile system to record patients’ information into computer server on board via wireless network on ship. Each medical department can know each patient’s information in time on blood type, position of hurts on body, etc. from a network terminal.

The ship is equipped with a Z-8JH helicopter. It also has a single-spot flight deck and a hanger at stern. This enables patients to be airlifted by helicopter at up to sea state of four (Sea wave 1.25 to 2.5 meter high), The ship is unarmed, and white painted, with the red cross symbol clearly visible to be protected under the international laws of war itemed in the Geneva convention protection.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Bark and Face

Beginning from December of 2009, most new Chinese-Canadians with origin of mainland of China have been added more worry in each of their minds---Maybe they will have to meet their old-day friends and colleagues in Canada.

Dec. 2, 2009, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper went to Beijing almost four years after he took the office in Ottawa. Chinese government treated him like a prodigal son. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met Harper on the second day of Harper’s landing and granted Canada the Approved Destination Status that has been dreamed by the Canadian government for a decade. This grant is really out of most Canadian politicians’ expectations. Before, few people guessed Harper would get ADS so quickly and easily. When Harper brings this trophy home, maybe he never knows that his ADS trophy also adds much worry on many Chinese-Canadians, who immigrated to Canada within past 10 years from the mainland of China.

In China there is a saying “Humans need faces, and trees need barks”. If a tree left its bark, it would die. Chinese use of metaphor between face and bark expresses that feeling honourable in front of other people (face) is as important as human life, just like bark is so important to tree, without bark tree will die.

China granted Canada the Approved Destination Status means more and more Chinese tourists will come to Canada in the following years. To 2020, as an official estimate, there will be one million Chinese tourists from mainland of China to Canada each year. Among them certainly there will be the old-day friends and colleagues of these Chinese-Canadians who immigrated Canada within past 10 years.

During the past 10 years, almost all of their friends and colleagues in China have accumulated treasures by doing business in China or become rich by being promoted on work positions. What did these Chinese-Canadians do in Canada these years? They used up their savings brought from China due to no jobs in Canada. Some of them have jobs in Canada, but most of these jobs belong to low-wage ones. Although they have gotten the Canadian nationality, they are still not really accepted by the main stream of Canadian society and have to hobnob with Chinese people in Canada. They are still and have to be ‘stuck’ in one of the multi-cultural societies of Canada---Chinese society.

Compared with the lives and status of their old-day friends and colleagues in China, they are living in poverty in Canada. They have already had no face to see their old-day friends and colleagues who are going to be brought here from China by the Approved Destination Status, which is Harper’s new trophy carrying back from China.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Crackdown on Individual Business to Save Kim’s Regime

To regain the social stability and stop losing support from most of his roots, Kim Jong-il launched a monetary reform on Dec. 1, 2009 aiming at curbing inflation and smothering growing free markets. This campaign marks North Korean attempt on the marketing economy since mid of 2002 has gone to the dead end.

According to news from South Korea, North Korea has sharply revalued its currency by replacing the old banknotes with new ones beginning from Dec. 1, 2009. The exchange period will be 6 days from Dec. 1 to 6. The exchange rate for the new currency is 100 to 1, for example, with old-denomination 1,000 won notes being replaced by new 10 won notes. The authorities initially limited the total sum that an individual can exchange to 100,000 won. Under widespread protests, the limit was raised later to 150,000 Won in cash and 300,000 that in bank savings.

Since July 2002, North Korea issued a series of opening and reform measures that allow individuals of Pyongyang to freely sell goods in free markets. After seven years, the free market policy caused high inflation and serious disparity between the rich and the poor. The individuals selling in the free markets had accumulated money for themselves, but the personnel of state-owned enterprises and government had confronted extreme difficulties in their lives due to the high inflation caused by the free markets and relatively low and fixed salaries.

In Pyongyang, a worker can only earn about 3000 to 4000 won per month. 3000 won could only purchase two kilograms of rice there. Due to low salaries, many government workers had to take briberies from businesspersons in free markets for a better life. These years, most of people’s living standards were declining sharply except for these newly rich individual businesspersons and bribery-taken bureaucrats. People’s anger and un-satisfaction to Kim’s regime have been accumulated to a historic level high.

With under-table money, many individual businesses even controlled corrupted government workers who managed the markets. To get more benefits from individual businesses, many officials tricked or ignored Kim’s orders from central government. In January of 2009, Kim Jong-il posted notices throughout, announcing the goods to be traded in free markets had to be limited to individual produced agricultural products, meat (except beef), and clothes. The other goods were only allowed to sell in state-owned stores; however, the measure resulted in failure, due to lacking of powerful monitoring from the lower-level government.

Under this situation, Kim felt that he was losing the support from most of his people including his roots, the ruling party members, except these newly rich individuals in free markets, who only account for a very small part of the population in his country.

To ease the social crisis and regain the support from most of his people, he launched this sudden attack, a revolution to capitalism, on the newly rich traders and corrupted officials. By putting the exchange limit under 300,000 won per person, he thoroughly nullified these people’s treasures, which they had accumulated in the past seven years legally or illegally.

This event tells us an autocratic regime is not compatible with free markets and free competitions, which are the stimulations of the social development. Kim’s regime has been stuck into an unprecedented social crisis.

According to recalls from some people who have been to Pyongyang these years, the examples of individual free trades there were like follows,

Every weekend, in a market place called ‘unification market’, there were more than 1000 individual traders surrounded by thousands of customers there. Individual business stalls inside the market were packed with commodities such as snack food, electronics, imported wine, local apples, peaches, imported pineapples, cloth, clothes from China, Singapore beer, and Thai detergents, as well as China-made watches, electric shavers, television sets, and dishwashers, etc. Business there always was very booming.

Self-employed individuals also appeared on the streets. For example, people could see aged vendors selling farm produces packed at the back of bicycles, aged cobblers squatting on the roadside repairing people’s shoes. Some makeshift stalls were set up on roadside pavements to sell beverage drinks, cigarettes, and sweets for vendors.

All these individual businesses and vendors could decide the prices of their own goods. But they needed to pay rents to market management offices for renting stalls in the market places and that on the roadside pavements. People believe, after the storm of monetary reform on Dec. 1, 2009, this kind of free trades may not be seen any more in Pyongyang.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What Do People Think on Harper’s Trip to China

Three years after taking office as the Prime Minister of Canada, Harper finally boarded on the airplane to China for his official visit from Dec. 2 to 6, 2009. Some analysts think that the relationship between the two countries is going out of the ice age.

According to Chinese media, Canada has begun to gradually take the initiative to "mend" relations with China since a few months ago. April 7 of 2009, the Canadian International Trade Minister Stockwell Day launched a 7-day visit to China. He signed with Chinese side a number of science and technology agreements and construction contracts, He also took part in the opening ceremony of a new Canadian trade office in China. The analysts said it could be clearly seen that Dye's visit in April 2009 to China indicated Canada's policy to China has been under a major adjustment, from the original ideology to present practice.

Harper’s late visit to China has drawn fires domestically from oppositions. Former Prime Minister Jean Chretien criticized Canadian foreign policy in Oct. 2009, saying a planned trip to China by Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been too long in coming. The former prime minister, a liberal, said he believes Canada has abandoned Africa and neglected China in its foreign policy.

To the criticism from liberals, the conservative government retorted that there has been 18 ministerial-level visits to China since Harper's minority government was first elected in 2006.

However, according to CBC of Canada, we could see Canadian relations with China were strained during Harper's tenure due to the following three things,

In 2006, Parliament unanimously adopted a motion giving honorary Canadian citizenship to the Dalai Lama.

In 2007, Harper warned China not to threaten Canada with economic repercussions for bringing up China's human rights record and standing up for the rights of Canadians abroad.

Harper was referring to the case of Huseyin Celil, a Canadian activist jailed in China for alleged terrorist links.

Now let us pay our attentions to China. To Harper’s visit, Chinese folks have their own opinions, which could be mainly summarized as follows,

First, Canada tries to find a new partner to reduce its loss on U.S.

Recently the outlook of the U.S. economy is not good. The United States only buy American policy built trade barriers between U.S. and its neighboring countries including Canada. Therefore, Canada needs to find a new partner. Russia lost money due to low oil prices, and Europe has no money due to recession. Canada has to pick its partners among only a few developing countries. Among the several developing Countries, only China is the best trading partner. Some Chinese folks believe the global situation has forced the Canadian Prime Minister to China.

Second, Canada tries to achieve the currency swap with China

China has implemented currency swaps with South Korea, Japan, ASEAN countries, the Middle East, the European Union. Canada is the only country, which has not sign an agreement with China to store Chinese currency RMB. To prevent from possible revaluation of Chinese RMB in the future, Canada needs to store large sums of RMB to reduce the risk from China. Chinese folks also believe Harper to China is trying to reach agreement on currency swap with their country.

China is Canada's third-largest export destination, after the United States and the United Kingdom. What Harper will bring back from China, Canadians are watching.