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China has prevented ‘great tragedy’ in Xinjiang, state-run paper says

BEIJING: Massively stepped-up security in China’s restive far western region of Xinjiang has helped prevent “great tragedy”, a state-run newspaper said on Monday, in the country’s first response to a critical United Nations report on the situation there.

A UN.human rights panel said on Friday that it had received many credible reports that 1 million ethnic Uighurs in China are held in what resembles a “massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy”.

China has said that Xinjiang faces a serious threat from Islamist militants and separatists who plot attacks and stir up tensions between the mostly Muslim Uighur minority who call the region home and the ethnic Han Chinese majority.

Hundreds have died in unrest there in recent years.


In joint editorials in its Chinese and English versions, the widely-read Global Times tabloid said criticism of the rights record in Xinjiang was aimed at stirring trouble there and destroying hard-earned stability.

China’s security presence there has prevented Xinjiang from becoming another Syria or Libya, it added.

“There is no doubt that the current peace and stability in Xinjiang is partly due to the high intensity of regulations. Police and security posts can be seen everywhere in Xinjiang,” the paper wrote.

“But it’s a phase that Xinjiang has to go through in rebuilding peace and prosperity and it will transition to normal governance.”

Maintaining peace and stability there is in the basic interest of people in Xinjiang and all of China, it added.

“The turnaround in Xinjiang’s security situation has avoided a great tragedy and saved countless lives, thanks to powerful Chinese law and the strong ruling power of the Communist Party of China,” the paper wrote.

“What the West has been hyping has destroyed numerous countries and regions. When the same evil influence was spreading in Xinjiang, it was decisively curbed.”

Xinjiang has “no room for destructive Western public opinions”, and all steps must be taken to ensure its stability, it said.

“Peace and stability must come above all else. With this as the goal, all measures can be tried. We must hold onto our belief that keeping turmoil away from Xinjiang is the greatest human right.”

China’s Foreign Ministry has not yet responded to a request for comment on the United Nations report.



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Trump signs defense policy bill with watered-down China measures

FORT DRUM, New York:  US President Donald Trump signed a $716 billion defense policy bill on Monday that authorizes military spending and includes watered-down controls on US government contracts with China’s ZTE Corp and Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.

Trump signed the law at the U.S. Army’s Fort Drum base in upstate New York on his way back to Washington after a 12-day working vacation at his golf club in New Jersey. The bill was named for one of Trump’s political critics, the ailing U.S. Senator John McCain of Arizona, but he did not mention McCain’s name.

Trump said the bill “is the most significant investment in our military and our war-fighters in modern history.”

Some lawmakers wanted to use the bill to reinstate tough sanctions on ZTE to punish the company for illegally shipping products to Iran and North Korea, but the restrictions included in the final National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, that passed Congress were weaker than earlier versions of the bill.

Trump has lifted an earlier ban on U.S. companies selling to ZTE, allowing China’s second-largest telecommunications equipment maker to resume business and putting him at odds with both Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

Leaders of U.S. intelligence agencies have said they are concerned that ZTE, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and some other Chinese companies are beholden to the Chinese government or Community Party, raising the risk of espionage.

The White House opposed putting stronger measures against the companies in the bill, and the measures were softened before lawmakers held their final vote.

The NDAA does strengthen the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which reviews proposed foreign investments to weigh whether they threaten national security. That measure was seen as targeting China.

Separately, the NDAA authorizes spending $7.6 billion for 77 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets, made by Lockheed Martin Corp.

Prior to the ceremony Trump watched an air assault demonstration by U.S. troops at Fort Drum.



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China says business ties with Iran no harm to any other country

BEIJING: China’s business and energy ties with Iran do not harm the interests of any other country, the country’s Foreign Ministry said, after US President Donald Trump said companies doing business with Iran would be barred from the United States.

China has already defended its commercial relations with Iran as open and transparent as U.S. sanctions on Iran took effect despite pleas from Washington’s allies.

In a statement released late on Friday, China’s foreign ministry reiterated its opposition to unilateral sanctions and “long-armed jurisdiction”.

“For a long time, China and Iran have had open, transparent and normal commercial cooperation in the fields of business, trade, and energy, which is reasonable, fair and lawful,” it said.

“This does not violate United Nations Security Council resolutions or China’s promised international obligations, nor does it harm the interests of any other country, and should be respected and protected,” the ministry added.

Using sanctions at the slightest pretext or to threaten anyone won’t resolve the problem, it said.

“Only dialogue and negotiations are the true paths to resolving the issue,” the ministry added.

China, Iran’s top oil customer, buys roughly 650,000 barrels a day of crude oil from Tehran, or 7 percent of China’s total crude oil imports. At current market rates, the imports are worth some $15 billion a year.

State energy firms CNPC and Sinopec have invested billions of dollars in key Iranian oil fields such as Yadavaran and North Azadegan and have been sending oil to China.

European countries, hoping to persuade Tehran to continue to respect the nuclear deal, have promised to try to lessen the blow of sanctions and to urge their firms not to pull out.

But that has proven difficult, and European companies have quit Iran, arguing that they cannot risk their U.S. business.

Few American companies do much business in Iran so the impact of sanctions mainly stems from Washington’s ability to block European and Asian firms from trading there.



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Asian Development Bank (ADB)

China interested in linking of TAPI natural gas project

ISLAMABAD: China has articulated their interest in joining TAPI gas pipeline project, it is a multiple countries linking project with its financial close of the first phase is expected next month.

Originating at the giant Galkynysh gas field in Turkmenistan, the $9.6-billion TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India) pipeline links four countries energy companies and will be carrying 33 billion cubic meters (BCM) of gas per year.

Turkmenistan is building the TAPI pipeline to expand its gas exports, which are mostly utilized by China. But this project has been on the verge of delays due to financial assistance issues along with the security risks of construction  of a pipeline through a war zone country Afghanistan.

Mobin Saulat, the chief executive officer of Pakistan’s state-owned Inter State Gas Systems (ISGS), told Reuters that Chinese officials have shown growing interest in building a spur from Pakistan and this line can act as a substitute to Beijing’s plans to build a fourth China-to-Turkmenistan pipeline.

Saulat stated, “With this channel, there is a possibility they don’t have to do another line and they can off-take from this pipeline which is passing through Pakistan.”

This China-to-Turkmenistan line has to cross several Central Asian mountain ranges and it will be contemptible and unproblematic for China to build a line from inside Pakistan’s territory to cross the Karakoram range to its Western border.

China’s relationship with Islamabad have intensified in contemporary years as Beijing has assured to fund $57 billion in infrastructure as part of its Belt and Road (OBOR) initiative, including power stations and transport links.

TAPI project is now due to be done in two phases, with the pipeline built without compressors in the first phase, which would cut gas volume but would diminish excessive project costs.

Once the natural gas starts its flow, and the pipeline begins spawning cash flow, the finances will be elevated for the second phase that would see 11 compressors installed along the 1,814 kilometres (1,127 miles) pipeline project.

Saulat also stated, “With this introduction of the phased approach, it has gained momentum with the Chinese.”

According to sources, the financial slam for the first phase is due by the end of September, as the aids are expected from Asian Development Bank (ADB) of about $1 billion to $1.5 billion and the Islamic Development Bank has assured an amount of $1 billion in loans.




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