U.S. opposes ‘destabilizing’ behavior by China in Indo-Pacific – Pentagon chief

Robie de Guzman   •   August 5, 2019   •   384

(L-R) U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

The United States opposes the destabilizing behavior by China in the Indo-Pacific, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Sunday (August 4), as the two nations wage an escalating trade war.

“This including weaponizing the global commons, using predatory economics and debt for sovereignty deals and promoting state-sponsored theft of other nations intellectual property,” Esper said.

China’s increasing assertiveness, especially in the energy-rich South China Sea, has raised concerns within the region, and the United States is challenging Chinese maritime hegemony and seeking stronger ties with nations pushing back against Beijing.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday decried “decades of bad behavior” from China that have hampered free trade, laying out a case at a Southeast Asian forum for Washington’s escalating trade war with Beijing.

Pompeo also said on Sunday that he was “very confident” the United States would be able to build a maritime coalition in the Gulf, despite a lukewarm response from European and Asian allies.

“They understand that they have goods that flow through this region, that are important to their own economies and so deterrence in the Strait is incredibly important to their citizens and to their countries,” he said.

“So, I am confident that when we begin to build out this process and begin to develop the operational concept which will be run by Secretary of Defense and his team, I’m very confident that we will have a global coalition that does what Secretary Esper spoke to,” he added. (REUTERS)

(Production: Jill Gralow, Yiming Woo, Stefica Nicol Bikes)

China’s Singles Day sales surpass $1 billion in 1st minute

Robie de Guzman   •   November 11, 2019

Workers sort packages at the Yuqiao mail processing center on Singles’ Day, in Yangzhou City, Jiangsu Province, China, 11 November 2019. Singles’ Day is the largest online shopping festival in the world and Chinese consumers are expected to spend billions on bargains during the one-day e-commerce shopping spree. EPA-EFE/MENG DELONG CHINA OUT

SHANGHAI, China — China’s golden day for e-commerce, Singles Day, began at midnight (16.00 GMT Sunday) with sales surpassing $1 billion in just one minute through the platforms of online retail giant Alibaba Group.

At 12 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month, millions of Chinese began shopping and Alibaba began counting orders with the aim of breaking internet sales records for a single day.

In the first five minutes alone, products worth $4.3 billion were sold on platforms such as Taobao or T-Mall in this public shopping festival similar to Black Friday in the United States.

One hour after midnight, Alibaba Group said sales had reached over $12 billion.

The goal is to beat last year’s record of $30.8 billion in sales, a figure expected to be achieved through an increasing number of Chinese internet users and online shoppers.

According to Alibaba Group’s latest quarterly results published at the beginning of November, annual active consumers in China reached 693 million, 15.3 percent more than a year earlier.

Singles Day emerged in 2009 with the participation of only 27 stores and a collection of just 52 million yuan ($7.4 million).

Sales each year now reach 2.5 times higher than the total of Black Friday and Cyber Monday – large sales days in the US — combined.

Although most purchases are made in China, there are also international transactions since the company is present in other countries through its AliExpress platform.

And although other online sales platforms have joined the day, as well as thousands of physical stores, Alibaba is the main promoter.

It celebrates in style, such as with a televised gala in which artists and celebrities encourage people to buy.

Sunday’s show, which ended with a countdown to mark the beginning of shopping, was held in the city of Shanghai and featured performances by artists such as the US pop star Taylor Swift. EFE-EPA

BI arrests man wanted for investment scam in China

Robie de Guzman   •   November 4, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – A Chinese national wanted for his alleged involvement in economic crimes in China has been arrested by the operatives of the Bureau of Immigration, the agency said Monday.

Chen long, alias Chen Chenglong was arrested last Oct. 30 in a building in Makati City, the bureau said in a statement.

Chen, 32, and his cohort were accused of setting up an unregistered investment company in Shandong province and “reportedly duped their victims more than 60 million RMB or more than P400 million.”

The BI said it launched an operation and case build-up after receiving information from Chinese authorities about Chen’s crimes.

“Upon receipt of the information, we immediately conducted a case build-up and determined his location to effect his arrest,” Bobby Raquepo, head of the BI’s Fugitive Search Unit said.

The bureau added that Chen’s passport has been canceled by the Chinese government, making him an undocumented alien.

Chen has been transferred to the BI Detention Center in Bicutan, Taguig pending the implementation of his deportation.

China donates P22 million for quake victims in Mindanao

Robie de Guzman   •   November 1, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Chinese government on Friday announced that it is donating 3 million RMB or around P22 million to the Philippine government to help victims of strong earthquakes in Mindanao this month.

In a statement, China, through its Embassy in Manila, expressed its deepest sympathies to families affected by the powerful tremors that rattled parts of Mindanao in the past few weeks.

China said its aid also aims to support the disaster relief efforts by the Philippine government in Mindanao and help local residents return to normal life.

“China believes that, under the strong leadership of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and the government of the Philippines, the Philippine people will overcome the disaster and rebuild their homeland as soon as possible,” the Embassy said.

Earlier, Japan and the United States, through its Embassies in Manila, have sent their sympathies and condolences to victims of the latest disaster in Mindanao.

This month, three powerful earthquakes struck Tulunan, Cotabato; a magnitude 6.1 on Oct. 16, followed by a magnitude 6.6 on Oct. 29 and a magnitude 6.5 quake on Oct. 31.

The quakes have killed 17 individuals, and injured more than 300 others, according to the latest report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

The temblors affected large parts of Mindanao, weakened structures and caused some buildings to collapse in the latest tremor.

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