Obama prepares for last Asia trip as president


President  Obama next month will make what is expected to be his final trip to Asia. There he will  meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other world leaders.

During his time in the White House,  Mr. Obama has sought to “rebalance” America’s defense and economic policy to counter China’s rising influence.

During the trip, from Sept. 2-9, he will attend the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China, where he will  meet privately with Mr.  Xi.

He also will travel to Laos to  take part in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit and East Asia Summit, where leaders have grappled with China’s increasingly menacing territorial claims in the South China Sea.

His visit to Laos will be the first for an U.S. president. There, he will meet  with Laotian President Bounnhang Vorachith and attend a town hall with young leaders.

The trip will be a chance for  Mr. Obama to promote the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, a key part of his Asia strategy but one that faces a lot of opposition in  the U.S. Congress.

To read a Reuters article on this, please hit this link.

New Apple center another opportunity for Chinese theft?


Despite the increasing difficulties for foreign companies operating in China, Apple Inc. will build its first Asia-Pacific research and development center in the country, Chief Executive Tim Cook said Aug. 14.

The pledge comes after China’s industry and technology regulator in May told Apple  that China could deepen its cooperation with the country in research and development and stressed information security. Given China’s record of engaging in massive intellectual-property theft and in cracking down on Internet freedom in China while its government engages in frequent cyberattacks against the United States, it’s unclear how beneficial the center will be to Apple,  other U.S. technology companies or, indeed to U.S. and other Western nations’ national security in general.

The regime of President Xi Jinping may see the new Apple center as yet another way of undermining American technology superiority.

To read a Reuters story on the new center, please hit this link.

Chinese military even more aggressive than Xi

China’s increasingly aggressive military is pushing the nation’s also aggressive Communist political  leadership to be willing to attack the U.S. and other nations that are pushing back against China’s attempt to take over the South China Sea through military threats.  But so  far, anyway, the government of President Xi Jinping has shown some wariness of provoking a direct armed clash with the United States.

China has called for a peaceful resolution of South China Sea disputes through talks at the same time as it continued to build up its military in the sea, especially by militarizing reefs and shoals.

To read a Japan Times article on this, please hit this link.

China sets new rules for Internet ads


Visualization of some  routes on the Internet.

The Chinese government is imposing new regulations for online advertising that include a wide-range of practices from e-mail to videos. The increasingly authoritarian government is trying to impose more rigorous control of this part of the Internet, in this case, apparently, mostly for public-welfare concerns and not as part of the efforts of President Xi Jinping to tighten the political control of the huge nation by  the Communist Party dictatorship.

The Wall Street Journal reports: “The rules are China’s most comprehensive to date, broadly defining online and electronic advertising as including e-mail ads, paid search results, and embedded links, images or videos ‘with the purpose of promoting goods or services.”’

“The regulations, which take effect in September, lay out guidelines against false or misleading practices and prohibit online ads for prescription medication and tobacco while requiring prior government approval for ads for medical supplies, pesticides, veterinary medicine and other health products.”

To read the entire Wall Street Journal article, please hit this link.


Ancient Chinese abacus, an early “computer”.

China puts on military show in advance of ruling on the South China Sea


The exercises, inside a 100,000-square-kilometer zone around the disputed Paracel Islands, come ahead of a ruling expected next week by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague over a long-standing territorial dispute between the Philippines and China.

The court will  rule on whether the Philippines  has the right to exploit waters  also claimed by China.

A ruling  could cast into doubt China’s vast claims in the region, through which about 30 percent of world trade goes through. But Beijing has refused to recognize the court’s authority.

To read The Guardian’s story on this, please hit this link.