Sunday, July 15, 2018

Trump And Putin Talking Business

Tomorrow morning the Helsinki summit is going to start where US president Trump and his Russian counterpart Putin will have to discuss subjects of common interest.

Trump's expectations of a summit that unites the "big leaders who really count" in a photo shooting session (like that with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un) will probably come true, however, the urgence of discussing one additional new item on the agenda might become a headache for Trump: The need to challenge Putin on the item of Russian intelligence officials interfering in the US presidential elections of 2016 and which brought about Trump's own inauguration as a president against all odds.

Besides it's mainly about "talking business" and which means the placement of each side on the European markets for natural gas, either from Russia (Northstream-II pipeline for gas from Siberia) or the USA (Liquid Natural Gas LNG).

As far as I remember, a first US project for liquidizing natural gas had been started by Shell in Afghanistan prior to the September 11 incidents. Thereafter Shell resumed their activities in Shanghai, China, and which were related to China's giant project of building a natural gas pipeline intended to join the Central Asian part of China with the industrial region of Shanghai.

That should be the reason for People's Daily Network to point at the Russian project Northstream-II and which would establish an alternative for Europe's energy supply.

The fact of US-Russian competition delivers, as well, an explanation for Trump's behaviour on the latest NATO summit when he bullied Germany by naming it "a Russian captive". That's just how powerseller Trump is functioning: "You are still better off as a US captive than a Russian captive."

“北溪-2”项目计划在波罗的海海底铺设管道,把俄罗斯天然气输送到德国, 再通过德国干线管道输送到其他欧洲国家。建成后,俄罗斯将向德国每年输气 550亿立方米,可满足欧洲10%的天然气需求。

The Northstream-II project plans to lay pipelines on the Baltic Sea floor, transport Russian gas to Germany, and then transport it to other European countries through the German trunk pipeline. After the completion, Russia will deliver 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year to Germany and which can meet 10% of natural gas demand in Europe.

据报道,特朗普在出席北约峰会期间称“德国近70%的天然气市场被俄罗斯控制”, 认为德国同意推进“北溪-2”项目“不可接受”。俄方则认为,特朗普批评“北溪-2”项目, 原因在于美国有意向欧洲出口液化天然气。

According to reports, during his attendance at the NATO summit, Trump said that "nearly 70% of the natural gas market in Germany is controlled by Russia", and that Germany agreed to promote the Northstream-II project "in an unacceptable way". The Russian side believes that Trump criticized the Northstream-II project because the United States intends to export Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) to Europe.

[People's Daily Network 人民网, Beijing, on July 14, 2018]

Helsinki citizens protest against, both, Putin and Trump on July 15, 2018. [The Guardian, UK]

Friday, July 13, 2018

US Elections 2016 Rigged by Russian Agents

Early Morning Update on July 14 included !

The Friday indictment of a dozen Russian nationals for hacking into the Democratic National Committee landed days before President Donald Trump is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, adding a stunning new dimension to a meeting already fraught with tension.

Hours before Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the charges, Trump vowed to ask Putin “firmly” about Moscow’s involvement in the last presidential election, but he warned that the “stupidity” of domestic politics and the special counsel's ongoing probe into the issue was holding back U.S.-Russian relations.


Rosenstein unveiled the indictments of 12 Russians, all Russian intelligence officers, that special counsel Robert Mueller alleged "engaged in a sustained effort to hack into the computer networks of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the DNC and the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton."

Rosenstein said he had briefed Trump about the allegations earlier this week and said the timing of the announcement was a coincidence.

Throughout his European tour, Trump has suggested he would like to build a better relationship with Putin. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Trump described Putin as a "competitor," not an enemy or a friend.

"Not a question of friend or enemy. He’s not my enemy. And hopefully, someday, maybe he’ll be a friend. It could happen,” Trump said.

Democrats on Capitol Hill said the indictments underscored the need for Trump to press Putin on the issue. Several, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on Trump to cancel the meeting altogether.

“These indictments are further proof of what everyone but the president seems to understand: President Putin is an adversary who interfered in our elections to help President Trump win," Schumer said.

[USA Today on July 13, 2018]

The 12 [indicted Russians] are members of Russia’s spy agency the GRU, the successor to the KGB, in which President Putin was an intelligence officer.

Mr Rosenstein said they disseminated the stolen emails, which rocked Clinton’s campaign, on the websites Guccifer 2.0, DCLeaks, and “another entity.”

DCLeaks disguised itself as the work of American hackers, while Guccifer was supposedly a lone Romanian. But Mr Rosenstein said they were all GRU agents.

The defendants were slapped with multiple charges, including conspiracy, identity theft and money laundering. They remain at large, presumably in Russia.

Mr Rosenstein said there was no evidence of American involvement in the indictments, and that nothing in the indictment suggested the hacking changed the election results.

And he warned people to avoid speculation about the ongoing Mueller probe.

“I want to caution you, the people who speculate about federal investigations usually do not know all of the relevant facts. We do not try cases on television or in congressional hearings,” he said.

[News.Com.Au , Australia on July 14, 2018]

Some days earlier on July 4, first allegations of Russia having interfered in 2016 US presidential elections were published by China News Network 中国新闻网:


US visitor to "blueprint news" and who has a special interest in the 2016 election subject.

Visitor coming from Sanaa in Yemen.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

US Tariffs - China Countermeasures

Latest News on China Tariffs - July 11

Please Note: Bloomberg videos can only be viewed under Youtube (use the link)

The Sydney Morning Herald on July 11, 2018:
'Reckless': Trump escalates trade war with another $US200b in Chinese tariffs

The Trump administration pushed ahead with plans to impose tariffs on further $US200 billion in Chinese products by releasing a list of targets, marking a sharp escalation in a trade war between the world's two largest economies.

Comment from the Australian Financial Review on July 11, 2018:
The leader of the world's most powerful country is a dangerous ignoramus. So how should the rest of the world respond? What makes this so difficult to answer is that Donald Trump has created chaos. It is so difficult to negotiate with him because nobody knows what he and his team want. This is just not normal.

[Notification from China's Ministry of Finance on July 8, 2018]

That's what the Chinese might be thinking .....

Chinese music video " Cold War No.2 " 電影寒戰2

One of Donald Trump's most recent tweets composed on July 9, 2018, is intended to reassure us
that he was really elected president against all odds. The video included is a summary of opinions
denying he might have any chance in the elections and shows how surprised his enemies were
when the ultimate catastrophe happened.

However it doesn't need to convince the world of his "real" presidency. We already accepted that
Trump was elected by Homer Simpson and the people of Springfield. And there lies the problem !


Friday, July 06, 2018

China Trade - Trump Pulled The Trigger

Last Update: July 7

U.S. president Donald Trump fired the biggest shot yet in the global trade war by imposing tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports. China immediately said it would be forced to retaliate.

The duties on Chinese goods started at 12:01 a.m. Friday in Washington, which is just after midday in China. Another $16 billion of goods could follow in two weeks, Trump earlier told reporters, before suggesting the final total could eventually reach $550 billion, a figure that exceeds all of U.S. goods imports from China in 2017.

U.S. customs officials will begin collecting an additional 25 percent tariff on imports from China of goods ranging from farming plows to semiconductors and airplane parts. China’s officials have previously said they would respond by imposing higher levies on goods ranging from American soybeans to pork, which may in turn prompt Trump to raise trade barriers even higher.

[Quotations from Bloomberg on July 6, 2018]


Shen Jianguang: The key to winning the Sino-US trade war.


[Shen Jianguang is a well-known columnist on economic subjects with an interesting academic career.]

The Sino-US trade war is only at its beginning, and there are still many variables in its future evolution depending on the economic situation of the two countries, the political "game", the international battlefield and other factors.

[CAIXIN 财新,a Chinese publication on economics and financing on July 6, 2018]


Internal worries and external trouble; - which of both causes more headache for America ?


One needs to know that among US import market shares China accounts for about 21%, the European Union for 18% and Mexico / Canada for 13%. If America wants to wage a trade war against trading partners that exceed 60% of US import share, it will really be difficult to obtain benefits, and America will face difficulties in import substitution and a rising inflation rate. And if those countries collectively opposed US trade sanctions, they would cause a negative impact on US economy and employment.

[SINA Economics and Finance 新浪财经 on July 6, 2018]

.......... in recent decades the development of integrated supply chains has allowed countries around the world to concentrate on economic activities in which each holds a comparative advantage. In short, global supply chains mean countries can focus on what they do best. The result has been marked increases in productivity, widespread economic growth and big improvements in material living standards around the world.

By launching a trade war that threatens to disrupt these supply chains, Trump would in effect be attempting to roll back the tide of globalisation that has propelled global economic growth.

Although some countries would fare better than others in the conflict, emerging as winners in relative terms, the resulting slowdown in global trade and investment would clearly damage overall world economic growth, and could even lead to a contraction in the world economy as a whole.


The optimists hope the US president is bluffing, and that he intends to fight no more than a phoney war before settling for a showpiece settlement, as he did with North Korea.

In the pessimists’ view, Trump regards international trade as a zero-sum game, which for too long the US has been losing. To Trump, if tariffs inflict losses on other countries, the US will be the winner.

The coming weeks and months will determine which version is correct (and it is possible the US president himself does not know). In the meantime, however, the damage already done to trust in the global trade regime and to confidence in international investment suggests that the global economy as a whole is likely to be the big loser.

[South China Morning Post on July 7, 2018]

US experts: Winning trade wars is a myth.


Network News Blog: The Trade War World Cup - Trump will Tear Apart WHO and Kick NATO ?

[GUANCHAZHE (The Observer) 观察者 news blog quoted on July 7, 2018]


South China Sea - China Enforcing Territorial Claims


Go out ! Leave Hainan to become " the master of an island "

The quoted article is about an initiative of the local authorities of China's Hainan province who are looking for investors in the development of uninhabited islands in the South China Sea. Long-term projects for touristic or economic purpose are appreciated and requests will be scrutinized by the authorities regarding all legal aspects including security items.

This initiative is seen as a measure for a better integration of Hainan's maritime region in the South China Sea into the sphere of influence of mainland China.

[Jinri Toutiao 今日头条, Beijing, privately owned news and information content platform on July 5, 2018]

Territorial claims in the South China Sea.


Thursday, July 05, 2018

Trump's Trade War - Global Reactions

美国犯了众怒 英媒:逾40国在WTO抗议美汽车关税计划

The United States aroused furious protest; British media saying:
More than 40 countries protested US auto tariff plans at the WTO.

英媒称,欧盟、中国和日本等国家7月3日在世界贸易组织(WTO)表示, 对于美国可能对进口汽车和零部件加征关税的做法深感担忧。这些国家 是美国的主要贸易伙伴。

British media said: On July 3, the European Union, China and Japan addressed their deep worries at the World Trade Organization (WTO) about US import tariffs probably to be imposed on automobiles and parts. These countries are America's most important trade partners.

据路透社7月3日报道,一名参加会议的官员表示,日本警告称此类举措可能 引发一连串反制措施,情势恐将急剧升高,导致基于规则的多边贸易体系崩溃。 日本和俄罗斯已在WTO货物贸易理事会启动磋商。

According to Reuters [news] agency report from July 7, an official attending the [WTO] meeting declared Japan warned that such a move [i.e. the introduction of tariffs on cars and parts] may trigger off a series of countermeasures, and there are fears the situation might rapidly aggravate, leading to the collapse of the rules-based multilateral trading system. Japan and Russia have initiated consultations at the WTO Trade in Goods Council.

报道称,包括欧盟28国在内的40个WTO成员国警告,鉴于汽车在全球贸易中的重要性, 美国的行为可能严重破坏全球市场,威胁WTO体系。

The report says: Among 40 WTO member states on the alert are 28 nations belonging to the European Union. In the view of the importance of global car trade, America's behaviour might seriously damage the global markets and threaten the WTO [trading] system.

[SOHU 搜狐 on July 5, 2018]

中金:贸易摩擦影响的三种情景 市场好转需正面催化剂

CICC: The three scenarios of trade frictions -
Market improvements need a positive catalyst.

CICC = China International Capital Corporation Limited 中国国际金融股份有限公司, one of China's leading investment banking firms.

Sino-US direct investment volume in billion US$
above: US investment in China / below: Chinese investment in the USA

[Financial World 金融界 on July 5, 2018]

[Bloomberg on July 5, 2018]

Monday, July 02, 2018

Mattis in China - Nice Memories

Last Update: July 3

While China won't give up an inch of its territorial claims in the South China Sea, US defense secretary Mattis will find it hard to forge an agreement that might please his boss Donald Trump. This could be the reason why the Chinese surrounded Mattis with especially beautiful army women as some kind of a cosolation prize and a reminder for the days of his retirement.


Cheer up, old comrade in arms !

中国美女包围美国防长 解放军军官挨批

Chinese beauties surrounding US defense secretary.
Liberation army officers are being critisized.


Photo: US defense secretary Mattis meeting
with China's defense minister Wei FengHe on
1st July [Mattis and Wei standing side by side]

[51新闻 Chinese language news service from Canada on July 2, 2018]


Hong Kong - CNOOC Limited announced today that its parent company, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), has signed a production sharing contract (PSC) with Roc Oil (Bohai) Company (Roc Oil) and Smart Oil Investment Ltd. (Smart Oil) for Weizhou 10-3W oilfield and Block 22/04 in the South China Sea.

[World Oil on July 3, 2018]

我首艘国产核航母开始“试手” 俄罗斯送来两份大礼

China's first homemade aircraft carrier began with a "practical test".
Russia delivered two big presents.

It's about China's intention to construct a nuclear powered icebreaker with the help of Russian technology and which came to China in the frame of "two big Russian presents". The use of Russian technology in a nuclear powered icebreaker hints as well at the origin of Russian and US aircraft carrier drive technology because the application of nuclear drive technology in icebreakers can be seen as a first "practical test" for further military purpose.

[SINA Military 新浪军事 on July 3, 2018]


Visitors to "blueprint news" coming from Los Angeles, USA, and an Egyptian web node in Cairo.

Friday, June 29, 2018

South China Sea - Conduct of Parties Involved

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Wei hosted a regular press conference on June 28, 2018, where he answered questions on the implementation of the "High-Level Officials' Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea".

6月25日至27日,中国与东盟国家在中国湖南省长沙市举行落实《南海各方行为宣言》 第十五次高官会和第二十四次联合工作组会。外交部副部长孔铉佑作为中方高官率团 出席。

From June 25 to June 27, China and ASEAN countries held the 15th Senior Officials' Meeting and the 24th Joint Working Party Meeting of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in Changsha, Hunan Province, China. Vice Foreign Minister Kong Yuyou attended the delegation headed by senior Chinese officials.


我们对会议取得的积极成果感到高兴。从会议成果也可以看出,本地区国家珍惜和平稳定、 合作发展的大好局面。从自身利益出发,中国和本地区国家也比任何域外国家都更加珍视 南海地区的和平以及航行自由与安全。个别域外势力不断地通过各种方式、包括炒作所谓 航行自由与安全受到影响的伪命题来搅动南海局势,地区国家对此保持着应有的高度警惕。 我们希望域外国家尊重本地区国家共同维护地区和平与稳定、致力于地区合作发展繁荣的 良好局面,不要无事生非。

We are pleased with the positive results achieved by the meeting. From the results of the conference, it can also be seen that the countries in the region cherish the excellent situation of peace, stability, and cooperation. Starting from their own interests, China and the countries in the region have also cherished the peace in the South China Sea and freedom of navigation and security more than any other country.

Some of the extraterritorial forces have constantly stirred up the situation in the South China Sea by various means, including speculating on the false proposition that the so-called freedom of navigation and security have been affected. Regional countries have maintained their due vigilance.

We hope that countries outside the region will respect the good situation in which the regional countries maintain peace and stability in the region and commit themselves to the development and prosperity of regional cooperation. There is no need to put the blame on anything.

[SINA Finance 新浪财经 on June 28, 2018, slightly modified excerpt of some pre-translated text version]


China's ambassador to Britain wrote for the British media: America
won't be tolerated to "put forth its muscles" in the South China Sea.

[Handy Net - Easy Net 手机网易网 on June 29, 2018]


US visitor to "blueprint news" coming from San Diego
and who is interested in China's aircraft carriers.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

US - Trump Ruins Local Industries

- Latest News on US Economy under the Trump Administration -
- June 30: Update added on US Diplomats Leaving their Posts -

On June 26 USA Today published an evaluation of US president Trump's Trade Wars written by an opinion contributor. Here an excerpt from the original text:

An obscure provision in the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, intended to be used to address specific national security concerns, has been invoked by the White House to push through sweeping import taxes on American consumers. Given how these powers have been abused, it’s time for Congress to look at ways that it can restore some oversight powers to the Constitutional powers it delegated away.

Congress has delegated too much power to the President in recent decades. Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act gives the President the power to impose restrictions on foreign trade should the Department of Commerce determine that imports pose a threat to national security. Section 232, unlike other discretionary trade powers, requires only a report by the Secretary of Commerce, which the President can choose to agree with or ignore. This can be used to bypass the normal safeguards Congress set up when delegating away its power to regulate trade.

The situation on the stock markets is none better as a brandnew article is suggesting and which has been published on June 27 by the New York Post. Here an excerpt from that article in order to hint at the driving force that is behind the current rollercoaster behaviour of equity markets:

Reading the tea leaves on President Trump’s ever-changing views on trade with China has proven to be a major headache for US equity markets.

Look no further than the wild ride the Dow Jones industrial average took Wednesday.

The blue-chip index soared 285.91 points in early trading on news that the Trump administration’s restrictions on Chinese investment in US firms wouldn’t be as tough as initially feared. But by midday the Dow reversed course sharply to end the day down 165.52 points at 24,117.59.

“Investors don’t think that this trade war tension is over, and they’re concerned that something is going to come and bite them later on,” Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA, told The Post.

The schizophrenic nature of the equity markets can be attributed to differing headlines coming out of the White House.


US visitors to "blueprint news" coming from New Jersey and Virginia.


US Diplomats That Recently Resigned :

The US ambassador to Estonia is resigning, reportedly in frustration at remarks made by US president Donald Trump about America's European allies. He wishes to retire from the Foreign Service effective July 29 after 33 years of public service.

James D Melville had held senior diplomatic posts in several European countries before he was nominated ambassador to Estonia by former US President Barack Obama. He speaks Russian, German and French according to his biography on the US State Department website.

Mr Melville revealed in a Facebook post that Mr Trump's comments had brought forward his decision to retire, Foreign Policy magazine reported.

In the private Facebook post seen by Foreign Policy, Mr Melville reportedly told friends: "For the president to say the EU was 'set up to take advantage of the United States, to attack our piggy bank', or that 'Nato is as bad as Nafta [the North American Free Trade Agreement]' is not only factually wrong, but proves to me that it's time to go."

Other US diplomats have also left their posts early in recent months.

In January, US ambassador to Panama John Feeley resigned saying he was no longer able to serve under President Trump.

A month earlier, Elizabeth Shackelford resigned from her post in Nairobi where she worked for the US mission to Somalia.

In her letter of resignation to then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, she said she was quitting because the US had abandoned human rights as a priority, Foreign Policy reported.

[BBC on June 30, 2018]