Category: China
Xi Seeking ‘Rich, Democratic, Modernized Socialist China’ – Academic

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Xi Seeking ‘Rich, Democratic, Modernized Socialist China’ – Academic

China's President Xi Jinping speaks during the opening session of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China October 18, 2017,

Xi Seeking ‘Rich, Democratic, Modernized Socialist China’ – Academic

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While demonstrating commitment to the policy of openness, the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) placed emphasis on people’s ever-growing needs for a better life, ecology, deep reforms and law-based governance, Andrei Karneev, deputy head of the Institute of Asia and Africa at Moscow State University, has told Sputnik.

China’s commitment to the “policy of openness” became Beijing’s major message to the world, Andrei Karneev, deputy head of the Institute of Asia and Africa at Moscow State University told Sputnik China, while commenting on the Resolution of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which took place in Beijing between October 18 and 24.

Policy of Openness

“The Chinese leadership will continue to act on the world arena within the framework of openness, regardless of the difficulties [it is facing] in the way of globalization and emerging anti-globalist and protectionist bias in some countries,” Karneev said.

The academic pointed out that being an important participant of the international system, China “contributes to world development through its ability to provide a dynamic pace of economic development while maintaining social-political stability in the country.” He stressed that new phrases such as “great cause,” “great struggle,” “great dream” and “great project” have appeared in the congress’s resolution.

‘Large-Scale Processes Within CPC’

“These formulations indicate that complex and large-scale processes are taking place within the [Chinese Communist] party,” Karneev highlighted. “After Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, he launched an unprecedented anti-corruption campaign. The fight against corruption intended to clear the [CPC] ranks of those who abused their power and authority.”

As a result of Xi’s sweeping anti-corruption efforts about 1.34 million grassroots level officials as well as tens of thousands of high ranking officials have been punished under his presidency. However, the policy was met with criticism by those who argued that the Chinese leader targeted his political opponents, including former security chief Zhou Yongkang, politician Bo Xilai, and Lin Jihua, an aide to former Chinese president Hu Jintao.According to the academic, by solving the corruption problem and improving the executive discipline at all levels, the country’s leadership is seeking to boost the CPC’s ability to manage the increasingly complex Chinese society.

Therefore, one of the 14 points that form the CPC’s basic policy aimed at developing “socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era” is “to uphold absolute Party leadership over the people’s forces.”

Rule of Law

President Xi’s announcement of the establishment of a government group aimed at maintaining the law-based state and the creation of verification mechanisms to ensure that the decisions made by state bodies comply with the country’s constitution. “Apparently, a controlling body — the State committee for supervision — will also be created soon [in China],” the academic suggested.

“We must uphold the authority and centralized, unified leadership of the Party Central Committee, closely follow the Party’s political line, strictly observe its political discipline and rules, and closely align ourselves with the Central Committee in terms of political stance, direction, principle, and path,” the resolution emphasized.

Karneev stressed that the CPC congress also focused attention on the need to redistribute power between the center and local governments an announced other important initiatives in the sphere of public administration.According to the scholar, they follow the same logic they adhered to during the anti-corruption campaign: to boost the role of the state and to make the management process more efficient and transparent.

“Xi Jinping and his team [are taking these steps] to implement a new package of economic and social reforms which would turn China into a rich, powerful, democratic, harmonious, civilized and modernized socialist state by the middle of the 21st century,” Karneev noted.

Speaking to Sputnik on Thursday, Ding Xueliang, the political analyst and a social science professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, underscored that President Xi is seeking to solidify his power while facing opposition from some CPC members.

‘Moderately Prosperous Society in All Respects’

The Russian academic highlighted that the CPC regards “the principal contradiction in Chinese society” as “one between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life,” while proclaiming the goal of “building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.”

Previously, the party’s documents put an emphasis on contradictions between the material needs of the people of China and the “relative underdevelopment of the productive forces,” Karneev said. Additionally, the new vision highlights the importance of “harmony between human and nature.”In addition, the document promised the CPC’s adherence to “a people-centered approach.”

“With this, we [China] can be better placed to meet the ever-growing economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological needs of our people, and to promote well-rounded human development and all-round social progress,” the resolution stated.

According to the Russian scholar, the 19th Congress of the CPC became an important event both for China and its international partners. Most expectations surrounding the forum’s political course and decisions have been met, Karneev noted. Xi’s report both summed up the results of the five-year-long party’s work and formulated new ideas and approaches under the new conditions.

Additionally, the Congress pledged to modernize the country’s military forces making them a world-class army and voiced its commitment to the implementation of the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) project. Following the final day of the congress, Xi introduced five new members of the Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC), while evading naming his potential successor.

America’s Scramble for Africa
| October 19, 2017 | 9:03 pm | Africa, Analysis, China, Donald Trump | No comments
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The ugly row over whether President Trump disrespected the young widow of a fallen American soldier has overshadowed a bigger issue. That is, the increasing number of US military operations across the African continent.

Two weeks ago, Sgt La David Johnson (25) was killed along with three other US special forces troops when Islamist militants ambushed their patrol in the West African country of Niger. Trump got into hot water this week about reported offhand comments he made to the widow of Green Beret Johnson. The president denies he said anything disrespectful. Although the dead soldier’s family says otherwise.

In all the media controversy over what Trump said or didn’t say, questions about what US troops are doing in Niger are unfortunately overlooked. Not just Niger, but in dozens of other African nations.It is reckoned from US army data that there are thousands of special forces and other military personnel carrying out up to 100 missions at any given time in some 24 African states. That’s nearly half of all the countries comprising the African continent.

US special forces and surveillance drone operations are deployed in Niger, Chad, Mali and Sudan which all run along the southern Sahara desert. Further south in sub-Saharan Africa, US military are operating in Nigeria, Central African Republic, Uganda, Ethiopia and, of course, Somalia, where they are involved in a state of war against Islamist al Shabab militants.

The deployment of US troops in Africa was first stepped up under President GW Bush when his administration formed AFRICOM in 2007, a whole US command dedicated to the continent. Subsequently, under President Barack Obama, the American deployments increased further. Now under President Trump, the US force presence is reckoned to be at its highest level yet.

The official explanation is that American soldiers, Navy and air power, as well as CIA clandestine operations, are there to counter terror groups, who could plan and mount strikes on Europe and North America.True, there are several dangerous terror networks active in various African states, from al Shabaab in Somalia, to Boko Haram in Nigeria and al-Qaeda in the Maghreb. The latter has affiliates in Algeria, Mali, Chad and Niger where the US troops were killed recently along with a number of  local forces they were supporting.

But there is more than a suspicion that the US is using the cover of combating terrorism to conceal and project its real objective, which is to exert its influence over African nations. One observation for raising doubts is that the problem of these terror groups has actually grown more rapidly after the US troops started to be deployed in larger numbers under President Bush. Echoes of Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria here.

When Trump hosted several African leaders last month in New York during the UN annual congress he told them that his American investor friends were hotfooting it to the continent “to make a lot of money”. Typical of Trump, everything is reduced to filthy lucre. Now he may have been trying to charm his guests with a little light-hearted banter, but there’s much more to the joke. Africa is indeed seen as the continent of the future owing to its prodigious and still largely untapped resources.

The trouble for America and other Western powers is that China has stolen a march on them in terms of cultivating investments and harnessing resources across Africa. Under President Xi Jinping, China has investment projects worth an estimated $60 billion in dozens of African countries. This is way ahead of what the Americans or Europeans have invested.

Earlier this year, China opened its first ever overseas military base, in the East African country of Djibouti. That’s still small news compared with the reported 46 military bases that the US has across the continent.Beijing said its new military facilities in Djibouti are to secure vital shipping routes against piracy in the Gulf of Aden. That may be partly true. But there is also the factor of China wanting a security foothold in a continent where it has staked so much of its future economic growth plans.

The big difference between the US and China is that while Beijing has devoted most of its resources to developing trade and industry with African states, Washington’s emphasis is on military relations.

China has gained much respect from African nations for its genuine commitment to partnership. It is bringing capital and technology to Africa and gaining access to natural resources of oil and gas, metals and other minerals. Unlike the old European colonialism, China’s involvement in Africa is based on partnership and mutual development. For access to raw materials, China has built schools, universities, telecommunications and transport networks, which are all helping the continent reach its huge potential.

The Americans like the Europeans are stuck in an “extractive mentality” when it comes to Africa. But today, American capitalism is broke. It can’t even invest in its own nation never mind Africa.

Trump speaks for American capitalism. Knowing the rich resources possessed in Africa’s earth and its people, Trump salivates over the prospect of making big bucks. But the Americans aren’t prepared to spend the investment money needed to harness the rewards.That’s where the US military muscle comes in. In place of proper economic investment, diplomacy and political partnership, Washington is using its military edge to encroach on Africa — under the guise of “fighting terrorism”.

That’s not to say that American troops aren’t confronting terror groups. They are, as the deadly firefight in Niger shows.

But the real purpose for increasing US military strength in Africa is about securing American strategic economic interests “on the cheap” by using military power as opposed to deploying financial commitment in the way that China has.

The Americans want to have military firepower in place across Africa in the event of a sharp confrontation with China. China is seen as the global rival to failing US economic power. If relations turn really nasty — as they could over any number of issues, from North Korea to territorial disputes in the South China Sea — the US wants to have military ways to cut China off in Africa.

Like the Europeans in a previous century, the Americans are in a “scramble for Africa”. This time the scramble is all about cornering countries and resources from China’s legitimate expanding bilateral interests with African nations.However, America’s militarism in Africa will bring no benefit to the countries. As in other parts of the globe, the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia, the pattern clearly shows that terrorism burgeons where US military operations occur.

Besides, American capitalism is not motivated by developing Africa for its people. It’s about making profits for Wall Street and rich investors like Trump.

The real danger is that this militarism will lead to another point of confrontation with China if the latter’s economic interests are threatened, as they were when US and NATO forces bombed Libya in 2011 for regime change.

It’s such a crying shame that American widows are having their hearts broken for a mission that is totally fraudulent — and getting no thanks for it from a callous Commander-in-Chief.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

Xi Jinping Declares Era of ‘National Rejuvenation’ in China
| October 19, 2017 | 8:59 pm | China, Communist Party of China, Xi Jinping | No comments

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Xi Jinping Declares Era of ‘National Rejuvenation’ in China

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Chinese premier Xi Jinping’s opening speech at the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party was the most bullish and assertive by a Chinese leader since the era of Mao, no doubt drawing parallels with President Obama’s controversial “pivot to Asia” speech in 2011 as Beijing’s long overdue riposte.

The Chinese miracle of sustained hyper economic growth, lasting over three decades, has under Xi Jinping’s leadership since 2012 been joined by a robust foreign policy with the purpose of solidifying and increasing China’s ability to repel Washington’s hegemonic objectives in the region.

During the course of a marathon speech lasting over three hours, in which “national rejuvenation” was the overarching theme, Xi outlined an ambitious vision of China’s economic, cultural, military, and geopolitical development over the coming decade. In the process of doing so, he left no doubt that rather than relinquish or in any way weaken its hand on the levers of power, the Chinese Communist Party will remain in full command as the ballast of cohesion within and the pillar of strength required to navigate the rapids of an ever-changing world without.

China's President Xi Jinping speaks during the opening session of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China October 18, 2017,
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China’s President Xi Jinping speaks during the opening session of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China October 18, 2017,

After decades of “tireless struggle,” Xi Jinping told delegates, China “stood tall and firm in the east,” before further on proclaiming:

“The Chinese nation… has stood up, grown rich, and become strong — and it now embraces the brilliant prospects of rejuvenation… It will be an era that sees China moving closer to centre stage and making greater contributions to mankind.”

Since assuming coming to power back in 2012, Xi Jinping has led China down an unapologetically nationalist path, determined to assert a dominant regional position, especially in relation to Japan, while, as mentioned, acquiring the military means and ability to deter Washington’s attempt to place a cordon sanitaire around it.

What has consistently been underestimated in the West is the antipathy in which Beijing holds Japan, rooted in historical factors but which also has a contemporary context with the ongoing territorial dispute between both countries with respect to the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu Islands in China) in the East China Sea.

Anti-Japan feeling in China extends way beyond the country’s political leadership and nomenklatura. In his 2017 book, Everything Under the Heavens, Howard French points out that to “turn on the television in China is to be inundated with war-themed movies, which overwhelmingly focus on Japanese villainy. More than two hundred anti-Japanese films were produced in 2012 alone, with one scholar estimating that 70 percent of Chinese TV dramas involve Japan-related plots.”

Those familiar with the brutal history of Japanese imperialism, and the unresolved issues stemming from Japan’s occupation of China in the 1930s and 40s, will appreciate why Chinese nationalism and anti-Japan sentiment walk hand in hand in 2017.

Fueling this sentiment further is the perception of Japan as a cat’s paw of Washington in the region, most obviously with regard to China’s other territorial dispute over the strategically important Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. Multiple nations in the region claim sovereignty over this small group of islands, which have been claimed by Beijing. The US supports those rival claims with Tokyo’s support.

The controversy over China’s enlargement of the islands through an extensive dredging operation, establishing military installations to leave no doubt of its seriousness in defending them, is a key source of tension between Beijing and Washington in the current period.

This being said, and despite China prioritizing the upgrading, modernization and expansion its military capability, Beijing’s strength remains rooted in its remarkable economic growth and development. It is here where the country continues to astound a Washington Consensus underpinned by a neoliberal model that the 2008 financial and economic crash exposed as a corpse. In contrast, China’s statist mixed market alternative has been responsible lifting 500 million of its people out of extreme poverty over the past three decades, to the point where urban poverty has now been completely eradicated.

This of course is not to suggest that China — the world’s most populace country at over 1.3 billion people — has succeeded in surmounting the contradictions sown by such a phenomenal rate of economic growth. On the contrary, inequality and corruption remain serious problems within Chinese society, both of which Xi Jinping addressed in his speech. But when related to the state of underdevelopment the country was floundering in prior to it opening up in the late 1970s, its successes and achievements outweigh its weaknesses and failures by a considerable margin.

This brings us to the role of the Communist Party in China. The main critique of China in the West concerns its lack of democracy and liberal democratic political institutions — though here we discern the usual Orientalist rendering of non-Western polities, the starting point of which is that the world exists on a blank sheet of paper in which context in the form of a country and region’s specific historical, cultural, geopolitical specificities are conveniently and purposely abstracted.

Martin Jacques makes the pertinent point that democracy “should not be regarded as some abstract ideal, applicable in all situations, whatever the conditions, irrespective of history and culture, for if the circumstances are not appropriate it will never work properly, and may even prove disastrous.”

Jacques, a respected China expert, is absolutely right. Of more importance than democracy in developing countries, he further points out, is economic growth and social cohesion, both of which are inextricably linked to security and stability.

For those who hanker for a world underpinned by multipolarity rather than the unipolarity over which Washington has presided these past few decades, Xi Jinping’s speech will have sounded a welcome note of assertion and strength. Among neocons it will have induced the dread associated with impending irrelevancy.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

Check out John’s Sputnik radio show, Hard Facts.

US Role in 1960s Indonesia Anti-Communist Massacre Revealed
Indonesia elite troops parade in Bandung, June 1966. The red caps are paratroopers in red berets.

US Role in 1960s Indonesia Anti-Communist Massacre Revealed

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Thirty thousand pages of files have been released on US activities in Indonesia during the archipelago’s gory transition from a socialist dictatorship to a pro-West military dictatorship in the mid-60s. The documents confirm that Washington was aware of, and supported, the military takeover of the government and purge of communist opponents.

The anti-communist purges in 1965 and 1966 were horrific, described by the CIA as “one of the worst mass murders of the 20th century.” Between 400,000 and 1 million accused leftists were killed, with some estimates going as far as to place the figure at 3 million.

It has long been known that the US and allied governments supported the 1965 military takeover. The US embassy, as well as the CIA, have been accused of providing weapons, economic assistance, and training to Suharto’s forces as well as lists of names of 5,000 communists. The embassy asserted in 1990 that the list in question was compiled by a single official acting on his own direction, and scholars debated whether or not the US helped facilitate the mass killings.

One of the newly released cables came from the embassy’s first secretary, Mary Vance Trent, who told Washington about a “fantastic switch which has occurred over 10 short weeks” that saw an estimated 100,000 people slaughtered.

A particularly shocking 1966 cable from CIA officer Edward Masters discussed the “problem” of captured communist prisoners. “Many provinces appear to be successfully meeting this problem by executing their [communist] prisoners, or killing them before they are captured, a task in which Muslim youth groups are providing assistance,” Masters reportedly said.

The documents were compiled in 2001 by the US State Department and subsequently classified, only to be released today. “We frankly do not know whether the real figure is closer to 100,000 or 1,000,000,” read an April 1966 cable attached to the 2001 report.

US Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), who introduced a bill in 2015 calling for the declassification of all US documents related to the matter as well as Indonesia to create a truth and reconciliation committee on the massacre, praised the release of documents. “These documents will provide greater transparency about the United States’ support for the Indonesian government during the same period that these horrible crimes were committed,” Udall said in a statement.

“Today represents real progress. But in Indonesia, many of the individuals behind these murders continue to live with impunity, and the victims and their descendants continue to be marginalized and unrecognized. These injustices are holding back Indonesia from achieving reconciliation and realizing its democratic potential. Here in the United States, we must encourage the continued democratic progress of a vital ally, and we must confront our own role in these terrible acts. Only by acknowledging the truth about our own history will the United States be able to speak out forcibly and credibly to defend human rights in the future.”

Indonesia, which had been a loose colony of the Netherlands for centuries, declared their independence in August 1945 and created the modern state of Indonesia, with the socialist and anti-imperialist Sukarno as the new nation’s first president. Sukarno attempted to balance the military, political Islam and communism in a policy called “Nasakom” and was a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement with other formerly colonized countries like Egypt and India.

But over time, Sukarno favored his communist allies more, especially those abroad in China and the Soviet Union. Poverty and hunger besieged the world’s third largest communist country, and Indonesia accrued huge debts to Beijing and Moscow. Sukarno also cracked down on Islamists and attempted to weaken the society’s military elements through measures like the creation of a communist-aligned peasant militia.

After a failed coup against Sukarno in September 1965 that the military blamed on the Indonesian communist party and Chinese actors, the nation quickly dissolved into a brief but extremely bloody purge. The military and Islamists allied to annihilate Sukarno’s regime, slaughtering the communist party’s leadership. The documents also suggested that the US embassy had credible evidence that the coup was not orchestrated by the communists — later analysis would question the Indonesian military’s claim, and the culprits and motivation behind the coup attempt remain under dispute.

The rebellion’s leader, Major General Suharto, seized control of the presidency and placed Sukarno under house arrest, where he died in 1970 of kidney failure. Suharto would remain the nation’s US-friendly military dictator until he was forced to resign in 1998.

The legacy of the massacre remains complicated in Indonesia. School textbooks briefly discuss a “patriotic campaign,” a national uprising where 80,000 communist oppressors were killed. A 2016 symposium meant to discuss the tragedy was met with severe backlash, and in September 2017 an anti-communist mob disrupted a meeting of activists to discuss the massacre.

Tillerson’s Wobbly War Assurance
| October 17, 2017 | 8:50 pm | Analysis, China, Donald Trump, DPRK, Russia | No comments

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Tillerson’s Wobbly War Assurance

U.S. President Donald Trump (R), trailed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, arrives to speak to reporters after their meeting at Trump's golf estate in Bedminster, New Jersey U.S. August 11, 2017

Tillerson’s Wobbly War Assurance

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It doesn’t inspire confidence when US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attempted to give assurances that the American government is not seeking war with North Korea.

After weeks of numerous menacing messages from President Donald Trump warning the “total destruction” of North Korea, the White House’s top diplomat was obliged to go public and calm growing concerns about a war breaking out.

Tillerson told American news outlet CNN: “President Trump wants to avoid violence… He is not seeking to go to war.”

He said Trump was committed to diplomacy, contrary to recent comments made by the president saying that Tillerson was “wasting his time” in pursuing diplomatic efforts with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Following that earlier snub to his top diplomat, Trump then added that “only one thing will work!”

Rex Tillerson’s assurances of no war plans are not very convincing. With a curious choice of words, he said at one point in his interview with CNN: “Those diplomatic efforts will continue until the first bomb drops.”

Those cryptic words “… until the first bomb drops,” strongly suggest that there are indeed concrete plans for military action by the US against North Korea; and that the diplomacy – the little of it there is up to now – is but a prelude for eventual war.

In the same interview, Tillerson admitted that “military options had been perfected” for the president’s consideration towards North Korea.

That can only mean that the US is ready to deploy military force if “diplomacy” does not succeed. And what does Washington mean by “successful diplomacy”? Trump has said he will not tolerate a nuclear-armed North Korea threatening the US or its allies. (North Korea has always maintained its weapons are for self-defense and deterrence.)

In other words, the only “diplomatic” outcome acceptable to the US is the complete capitulation by Kim Jong-un to American demands for dismantling the country’s nuclear weapons program. That is not going to happen, as the North Koreans have repeatedly affirmed, pointing to the examples of Libya and Iraq where defenseless countries are attacked mercilessly by the US.

Randy Martin, a US-based international political analyst commenting for this column, said Washington’s stance is tantamount to “holding North Korea hostage” under the threat of war. “The US is giving the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea an ultimatum: either submit to our demands for disarmament or face annihilation,” said Martin.

So far, Washington has spurned appeals from Russia and China for multi-party talks and a “double freeze” on all military actions by the US and North Korea.

That rejection of Russia’s and China’s reasonable appeals for negotiations underlines the deep misgivings about American intentions and why Washington’s assurances on diplomacy and avoidance of war are so wobbly.

For its part, the government in Pyongyang appears convinced that the US is moving towards an all-out war footing. The watershed moment was Trump’s speech before the United Nations General Assembly last month when he threatened to “totally destroy” the northeast Asian nation.

This week, the US is to carry out another major naval exercise off the Korean Peninsula along with its South Korean ally. The previous exercise was only a few weeks ago. This time, a second US aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, has arrived in the region to partake in the drill. So too have two missile destroyers and the nuclear-powered submarine, USS Michigan.

This follows last week’s maneuver when American nuclear-capable strategic B1-B bombers flew over the Korean Peninsula on live practice sorties, accompanied for the first time ever by both South Korean and Japanese fighter jets.

Washington claims these repeated maneuvers are “defensive”. While North Korea has long protested they are rehearsals for war. Pyongyang also points out that the US has moved nuclear weapons into the region in a reversal of policy. The absence of a peace treaty to mark a definitive end to the 1950-53 Korean war – mainly due to American refusal to sign such a treaty – is reasonable grounds for Pyongyang’s concern over ongoing military maneuvers.

Adding to these concerns is that the US drills this week also involve evacuation exercises of non-combatant Americans in South Korea. There are nearly 30,000 US troops stationed in there. Their families are part of the evacuation drill taking place this week. That has reportedly prompted fears among South Koreans that it is “a sign that the United States might be preparing for military action against the North”.

If a war breaks out between the US and North Korea it will be a global catastrophe, as Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously warned. For, in that event, such a war would quickly escalate to the use of nuclear weapons.

It is imperative for all parties to scale back the rhetoric and commit to exclusively peaceful means to resolve a decades-old conflict on the Korean Peninsula. It is unacceptable that the US refuses to sign a peace treaty with North Korea to mark the end of the 1950-53 war. It is also unacceptable that the US has for decades shirked a genuine diplomatic engagement with North Korea, as Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov remarked this week.

President Trump’s relentless warmongering threats in the context of a massive military buildup by US forces on North Korea’s borders are not just reckless; they constitute acts of aggression which violate international law.

His Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, appears to be lately involved in a public relations exercise of trying to give the impression that Washington is all about diplomacy, and not about war. But this “prettifying” of the grim situation is like putting lipstick on a pig.

Washington is criminally derelict in legal obligations to prioritize diplomacy with North Korea. Are we supposed to believe that Trump’s 3am Tweet-storms mocking North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as “Rocket Man” are a serious effort at diplomacy?

No, the truly disturbing thing is that the US is foisting its war plans on North Korea regardless of international law, morality, and the risk of a nuclear war. This in itself is criminal conduct by Washington.

Surely, Russia and China should draft a resolution at the UN Security Council demanding implementation of their diplomatic roadmap. If the US vetoes then it stands to be exposed as an aggressor.

A war with North Korea is completely unnecessary. It is a gratuitous calamity in the making.

The only thing “necessary” about such a war is for the necessity of the US to “justify” its monstrous spending of $700 billion every year on military and weapons. Wars are to the US what a fix is to a drug addict.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

Iran fulfills all nuclear deal commitments, subject to world’s most robust verification – IAEA
| October 13, 2017 | 9:09 pm | China, Donald Trump, France, Germany, IAEA, Iran, JCPOA, Russia, UK | No comments

https://www.rt.com/newsline/406636-iran-nuclear-deal-iaea/

Iran fulfills all nuclear deal commitments, subject to world’s most robust verification – IAEA

The international atomic watchdog has confirmed that Iran is fully implementing all of its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). “As I have reported to the Board of Governors, the nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran under the JCPOA are being implemented,” the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, said Friday. The head of the agency also stressed that Iran is subject to the “world’s most robust nuclear verification regime” and that so far the IAEA has “had access to all locations it needed to visit.” Earlier, US President Donald Trump announced that his administration will not re-certify Iran’s compliance with the 2015 JCPOA nuclear agreement. Signed in July 2015 between Tehran and the P5+1 ( China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany) the deal was designed to gradually lift sanctions against Tehran in exchange for limiting Iran’s nuclear program.

Beijing sends frigate & jets to warn off US destroyer near disputed South China Sea islands
| October 11, 2017 | 8:46 pm | China | No comments

https://www.rt.com/news/406377-us-south-china-sea/

Beijing sends frigate & jets to warn off US destroyer near disputed South China Sea islands
China sent a guided-missile frigate, two fighter jets and a helicopter to warn off the USS ‘Chafee’ near disputed islands in the South China Sea, accusing the US of damaging the country’s sovereignty and security interests in the region.

Beijing condemned the mission of the guided-missile destroyer USS ‘Chafee,’ which on Tuesday sailed within 16 nautical miles of the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea, within the framework of a so-called “freedom of navigation” operation.

“In the face of repeated provocation by the US forces, the Chinese military will further strengthen preparation for combat at sea and in the air and improve the defenses to resolutely defend national sovereignty and security interests,” China’s Defense Ministry said in a statement, quoted by the South China Morning Post newspaper.

The guided-missile Type 054A frigate ‘Huangshan,’ two J-11B fighter jets and one Z-8 helicopter were sent to identify the US vessel and make it leave the waters.

The incident with the USS ‘Chafee’ would affect trust between the militaries of the two countries, the ministry stated, adding that further operations of such nature might trigger “unwanted incidents.”

China’s Foreign Ministry has also urged the US to “respect the sovereignty and security” of the country and stop such “erroneous acts.”

“The US destroyer’s behavior violated Chinese law and relevant international law, severely harmed China’s sovereignty and security interests, and threatened the lives of military personnel of both sides,” ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily press briefing.

The destroyer, however, did not violate the 12-nautical-mile territorial limits of the islands, according to a Reuters report, citing US military officials. The mission was carried out to challenge “excessive maritime claims” in the region, according to the officials.

READ MORE: US damages ‘peace & stability’ with S. China Sea warship maneuvers – Beijing

US ships have repeatedly sailed past the disputed islets in the South China Sea, triggering an angry reaction from China. Beijing accuses the US of violating its sovereignty, while Washington claims the missions support “freedom of navigation” in the region.

Small uninhabited islets in the resource-rich South China Sea are contested by multiple nations. The Paracel archipelago is claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam, while the Spratly Islands are additionally contested by the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.