Archive for November, 2010

Japan’s justice minister resigns over scandalous comments [Xinhua]

Posted in Bourgeois parliamentary democracy, China, Japan, Naoto Kan, Russia on November 30, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

OKYO, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) — Japan’s Justice Minister Minoru Yanagida resigned Monday for making disparaging comments regarding his job, in the latest saga for Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s government whose support rating has plunged by almost half according to recent polls.

Yanagida expressed his intention to step down to Kan at the premier’s office on Monday morning, having originally said he had no plans to resign over the gaffe despite vociferous calls from the opposition camp for him to do so.

The leading opposition Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) decision to submit a censure motion against the justice minister as well as the likelihood of the opposition-bloc abstaining from talks on the extra budget for the current fiscal year in response to Yanagida’s comments, are believed to have forced Yanagida resignation.

“I told the prime minister I am resigning to ensure the bill is passed quickly,” Yanagida, 56, said at a press conference Monday in Tokyo. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku will take on the justice portfolio, he said.

In his home constituency in Hiroshima Prefecture on Nov. 14, Yanagida told supporters at a private gathering that his job as justice minister was easy and only required him to memorize two key phrases.

“Being the justice minister is easy, as I only have to remember two phrases, either of which I can use in parliament whenever I’m stuck for an answer,” he said.

The first is, “I refrain from making comments on a specific issue,” and [the second is] “We’re dealing with the matter based on laws and evidence,” Yanagida said.

His comments sparked outrage from opposition officials who called for Yanagida’s resignation saying his comments demean parliamentary affairs.

Yanagida is the first minister to step down since Kan reshuffled his Cabinet in mid-September after winning reelection as DPJ president.

Public support for Kan’s Cabinet plummeted to 26 percent in a weekend poll from 49 percent in the previous survey in October — the lowest level since he took office, the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper reported Monday.

The disapproval rate for the Cabinet leapt to 57 percent from 34 percent, the poll revealed.

The survey also showed 71 percent of respondents thought Yanagida should resign over his verbal gaffe, while 27 percent said he did not deserve to resign.

As Kan hopes his extra budget bill will pass through the upper house, as political and public pressure rises for the prime minister to actively take steps to kick start the nation’s stammering economy, the prime minister and his ruling Democratic Party of Japan has been dealt a series of hammer blows of late.

Such problems include Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku, Kan’s top spokesman, last Thursday referring to the Japanese Self- Defense Force troops as an “instrument of violence” and “a kind of military organization.”

Further adding to political instability in Kan’s government, lawmakers close to DPJ’s Ichiro Ozawa quoted the political powerhouse as saying the House of Representatives “could be dissolved” for a snap election as the current government is facing insurmountable problems.

Ozawa is now heading up a policy group of new lawmakers in the lower house who are set to embark on a mission of upholding the DPJ’s original election pledges, made at the general election last year, some of which have since gone awry, and giving advice to the government, which may not be in Kan’s best interests.

Ozawa is a political heavyweight who holds sway over a number of DPJ lawmakers. He is widely regarded as being the DPJ’s puppet- master, and crafted the DPJ election campaign that displaced the LDP from power in the last general election.

Kan and his Cabinet have also come under fire and lost public support over the handling of territorial spats which have reemerged with Russia and China.

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-11/22/c_13616435.htm

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‘US needs tension to stay in Korea’ [PressTV]

Posted in China, DPR Korea, Encirclement of China, Japan, Korean War, Russia, south Korea, US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA on November 30, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

People must ask “Cui bono” as an essential orientation to world events – in this case, who benefits from inter-Korean strife? The first answer must be global warmonger, USA, which needs a pretext to maintain its occupation of the Korean peninsula. – Zuo Shou 左手

November 29, 2010

– The US government is after tensions between North and South Koreas to have a justification for maintaining presence on the peninsula near its strategic rivals, a Koreas expert says. –

“The United States wants to keep a base on the Korean Peninsula and really the only basis for staying there would be if North and South Korea are at each other’s throat,” Ella Rule from the Communist Party of Great Britain said on Sunday.

“If there is peace in Korea there will be no excuse for the United States to remain on the peninsula from where it has a foothold [to exploit] rivalries [with] China and Russia,” she added in her interview with Press TV.

Rule explained further that it was not “in the imperial interests of the United States to remove themselves from Korea and therefore they keep on inflaming the situation.”

Tension remains high on the Korean peninsula as the US and South Korean naval forces are currently carrying out four days of joint military exercises.

The drills are led by the US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington.

Pyongyang has called the war games “a grave provocation” which has brought the region to “the brink of war.”

Reports indicate that Pyongyang has placed surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles on launch pads in the Yellow Sea.

On Sunday, the North’s sole major ally China called for an emergency meeting of the six countries involved in the Korea talks nearly 20 months after negotiations broke off in April 2009.

The six-party talks — aimed at diffusing current tensions — bring together North and South Korea, the host country China, along with the United States, Japan and Russia.

Article link: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/153197.html

China, Russia quit dollar in trade settlement [People’s Daily]

Posted in Capitalism crisis early 21st century, China, China-US relations, Early 21st Century global capitalist financial crisis' US origins, Economic crisis & decline, Education, Energy, Premier Wen Jiabao, Russia, Sino-Russian, USA on November 30, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Is it true that this big story has been relatively ignored in the US mainstream media? Zuo Shou 左手

November 24, 2010

China and Russia have decided to renounce the US dollar and resort to using their own currencies for bilateral trade, Premier Wen Jiabao and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin announced late on Tuesday.

Chinese experts said the move reflected closer relations between Beijing and Moscow and is not aimed at challenging the dollar, but to protect their domestic economies.

“About trade settlement, we have decided to use our own currencies,” Putin said at a joint news conference with Wen in St. Petersburg.

The two countries were accustomed to using other currencies, especially the dollar, for bilateral trade. Since the financial crisis, however, high-ranking officials on both sides began to explore other possibilities.

The yuan has now started trading against the Russian rouble in the Chinese interbank market, while the renminbi will soon be allowed to trade against the rouble in Russia, Putin said.

“That has forged an important step in bilateral trade and it is a result of the consolidated financial systems of world countries,” he said.

Putin made his remarks after a meeting with Wen. They also officiated at a signing ceremony for 12 documents, including energy cooperation.

The documents covered cooperation on aviation, railroad construction, customs, protecting intellectual property, culture and a joint communique. Details of the documents have yet to be released.

Putin said one of the pacts between the two countries is about the purchase of two nuclear reactors from Russia by China’s Tianwan nuclear power plant, the most advanced nuclear power complex in China.

Putin has called for boosting sales of natural resources – Russia’s main export – to China, but price has proven to be a sticking point.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, who holds sway over Russia’s energy sector, said following a meeting with Chinese representatives that Moscow and Beijing are unlikely to agree on the price of Russian gas supplies to China before the middle of next year.

Russia is looking for China to pay prices similar to those Russian gas giant Gazprom charges its European customers, but Beijing wants a discount. The two sides were about $100 per 1,000 cubic meters apart, according to Chinese officials last week.

Wen’s trip follows Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s three-day visit to China in September, during which he and President Hu Jintao launched a cross-border pipeline linking the world’s biggest energy producer with the largest energy consumer.

Wen said at the press conference that the partnership between Beijing and Moscow has “reached an unprecedented level” and pledged the two countries will “never become each other’s enemy”.

Over the past year, “our strategic cooperative partnership endured strenuous tests and reached an unprecedented level,” Wen said, adding the two nations are now more confident and determined to defend their mutual interests.

“China will firmly follow the path of peaceful development and support the renaissance of Russia as a great power,” he said.

“The modernization of China will not affect other countries’ interests, while a solid and strong Sino-Russian relationship is in line with the fundamental interests of both countries.”

Wen said Beijing is willing to boost cooperation with Moscow in Northeast Asia, Central Asia and the Asia-Pacific region, as well as in major international organizations and on mechanisms in pursuit of a “fair and reasonable new order” in international politics and the economy.

Sun Zhuangzhi, a senior researcher in Central Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the new mode of trade settlement between China and Russia follows a global trend after the financial crisis exposed the faults of a dollar-dominated world financial system.

Pang Zhongying, who specializes in international politics at Renmin University of China, said the proposal is not challenging the dollar, but aimed at avoiding the risks the dollar represents.

Wen arrived in the northern Russian city on Monday evening for a regular meeting between Chinese and Russian heads of government.

He left St. Petersburg for Moscow late on Tuesday and is set to meet with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday.

Agencies and Zhou Wa contributed to this story.

By Su Qiang and Li Xiaokun, China Daily

Article link: http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90776/90883/7208831.html

‘Russia-NATO deal likely to threaten China’ [PressTV]

Posted in G20, India, NATO, Russia, UNSC on November 30, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

November 22, 2010

– Russia’s approval to cooperate with NATO on a missile system and other security issues will pose a threat to China, says an expert. –

In a Saturday meeting in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, Moscow and the military bloc agreed to conduct a joint study on how Russia can join the missile system, which is said to protect Europe and North America from long-range missiles.

“This poses a direct threat to China. This puts NATO right on the Chinese border,” Wayne Madsen, a Washington-based national security analyst, said in an interview with Press TV on Sunday.

“What we saw as a result of Obama’s trip to Asia, to the G20, and the APEC summit… we saw a lot of problems between the US and China coming to the surface,” Madsen added.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen described the incident as a fresh start in NATO-Russia ties, saying, “For the first time in history, NATO countries and Russia will be cooperating to defend themselves.”

“I don’t think China will look at that with any great favor — especially after Obama in New Delhi talked about having India as a member of the UN Security Council, something that China is opposed to.” he concluded.

On a recent visit to New Delhi, US President Barack Obama backed India’s quest for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

Article link: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/152003.html

USS Washington comes to Yellow Sea, upsetting Northeast Asia [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, China-bashing, China-US relations, Encirclement of China, Obama, Pentagon, Sino-Korean Friendship, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War on November 30, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

November 29, 2010

by Li Hongmei

The past months have witnessed a succession of intensive military exercises in the Pacific Ocean and Northeast and Southeast Asia between US and its Asian allies near and off China’s coasts; some scheduled, and some just hastily arranged, mostly conducted under the lead of the U.S.

And this weekend’s presence of a U.S. aircraft carrier in the strategic Yellow Sea again poses a test for Beijing: should China shrilly [warn] against it as what happened four months ago and further aggravate the already tattered ties with Washington, or quietly accept the key symbol of American military preeminence off Chinese shores? After all, it is a time when the public concerns can no longer afford to be neglected. Any affront to China’s interests or intrusion into Chinese territorial waters would probably inflame the public and require a government response.

Even if Beijing may hold its reticence this time, partially for the sake of the heightened tensions between two Koreas following the artillery shelling last Tuesday, the U.S. gunboat diplomacy can hardly gain ground in the region where China’s influence is growing to challenge the traditional American prestigious position.

Besides, Pentagon’s toughness can never rein in the “defiant” North Korea as expected. North Korea, by contrast, warned Friday that the U.S.-South Korean military drills were pushing the peninsula to the “brink of war.” The deployment of USS Washington just adds fuel to the flames, breeding brinkmanship.

Perhaps, it is true that the US is good at playing games. And US politicians are sweet-mouthed but then stab you in the back when you are not looking, much the way they are doing now—to pressure China to pick sides. The US has been, for the duration of the year, testing China’s resolve over issues ranging from China’s offshore ocean sovereignty, to China’s core interests, to the Chinese yuan, to trade. Each time it ends up with mutual ties damaged.

This time, it is North Korea, which the West tends to describe as China’s “close ally”, that the U.S. would like to take as a good chance to pounce on to “hit three birds with one stone”—-driving a wedge between Beijing and Pyongyang, or at best, Beijing will abandon its wayward “close ally”, otherwise China’s international image could be tarnished; cornering North Korea, and out of despair, it will play a [defensive] role to be visible, say, conducting nuclear tests. Thus, US will readily [exploit the opportunity] to clampdown [on] its “belligerence”. And meanwhile, its jittery ally [sic] South Korea will never have the courage to break away from its protective embrace.

On the one hand, the U.S. will never give up its saber-rattling behavior when it comes to handling North Korea issues, while on the other, it lays down the terms for talks forcing N Korea to stop any nuclear activities, which may be seen as the only bargaining chip by the reclusive country in return for what it needs—recognition as well as food. China is therefore caught in between as an active mediator for “six-party” talks.

The U.S. have actually sowed discord between two Koreas, as the U.S. is reluctant to see a unified Korea, which, viewed from geopolitical prism, can not necessarily serve as a puppet to the super power.

In a similar vein, sovereign unity and national resurgence are two missions China must accomplish. But the biggest obstacle to fulfilling those missions also comes from the US, especially from the Pentagon.

The U.S. is also ready to topple the fledgling interactive mechanism among China, North Korea and South Korea. As a matter of fact, the three parties are already on the sound track toward interactions. China and South Korea have upgraded their relations to strategic and cooperative partnership; and North and South Korea also launched “Presidential Dialogue”. Besides, both China and South Korea have respectively set up “economic zones” in North Korea. Without the U.S. meddling in, the Northeast Asia would hopefully achieve stability, if not harmony.

But it comes again, also in “good time” to mess up the situation. Under the…pretext of South Korea’s outrage over the shelling [exchange], the warship is coming.

As the world’s superpower with an unchallenged navy, no single nation in the world can stop the US from conducting such activity, but Washington will inevitably pay a costly price for its stinking decision.

The articles in this column represent the author’s views only. They do not represent opinions of People’s Daily or People’s Daily Online.

Article link: http://english.people.com.cn/90002/96417/7214832.html

Survey: Chinese think people’s happiness index should be standard by which gov’t is judged [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Communist Youth League CYL, CPC, Economy, Employment, Environmental protection, Social Security system on November 30, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

November 23, 2010

China Youth Daily recently conducted a survey among 2,633 people through http://www.minyi.net.cn and news.sohu.com. The survey shows that nearly 96 percent of respondents believe the public happiness index is relevant to local government actions and nearly 69 percent of respondents believe local government actions have much to do with the public happiness index.

The survey also shows that more than 89 percent of respondents hope the happiness index will be integrated into local government evaluation systems, and nearly 57 percent of respondents expressed their high expectations. More than 36 percent of respondents are people born in 1980s, more than 36 percent are people born in 1970s and nearly 16 percent are people born in 1960s.

A message left by a netizen on the http://www.minyi.net.cn said that currently, certain local governments only care about GDP and ignore the people’s happiness because as the GDP grows, they have the hope and guarantee of promotion.

The recently-released 12th Five-Year Plan proposed constructing a beautiful homeland for farmers to live happy lives and required the government to make efforts to increase the income of rural residents keeping in line with the economic development.

In recent years, local governments such as Jiangyin in Jiangsu Province and Pingdingshan in Henan Province have brought the “happiness index” into the performance evaluation of local officials.

Compared with the traditional evaluation systems based on GDP, the happiness index is a comprehensive evaluation of the social conditions covering many aspects such as the health level, social welfare status, the level of economic output and ecological environment. It offers a new perspective for governments to observe the people’s condition.

Many experts suggested that local governments should bring the happiness index into their evaluation system to change the current standard, which focuses on GDP.

China Youth Daily contributed to this report.

By People’s Daily Online

Article link: http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90782/7208091.html

The USA Empire Against ALBA: US Congress hosts subversive confab of ultra-right U.S., Latin American figures [Strategic Culture Foundation]

Posted in Bolivia, Bourgeois parliamentary democracy, CIA, Cuba, Ecuador, Fascism, Fidel Castro, George W. Bush, Honduras, Hugo Chavez, Nicaragua, Obama, Rafael Correa, US imperialism, USA, Venezuela, Zelaya coup on November 30, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Nil Nikandrov

November 21, 2010

Recently the US Congress hosted a convention of staunch opponents of Latin American “populist” regimes. The forum was seen in the ALBA countries as a challenge to the modern society’s developmental alternative known as [21st] century socialism. Clearly, the Empire is outraged at the Latin American integration projects which it is not invited to join.

Outwardly, the event was organized by the [Miami]-based Interamerican Institute for Democracy which the Latin American left media described as a front used by the anti-Castro mafia and its henchmen in Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia. The Institute usually coordinates its subversive activities with the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies (ICAAS) headed by former CIA analyst Jaime Suchlicki. The forum’s sponsors and ideological curators included such ultraconservative think-tanks as the Hudson Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Center for Security Policy. The US intelligence community played the key organizational role behind the scenes.

A keynote address at the forum was delivered by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, notorious for her involvement in subversive activities and advocacy of terrorist struggle against the Castro brothers. She gained her political capital on campaigns of support for the humanitarian rights of such terrorists as Orlando Bosch, Eduardo Arocena, and Luis Posada Carriles. Ros-Lehtinen’s irreconcilable position regarding the Cuban communist regime earned her the “ferocious wolf” (Loba Feroz) nickname.

Ros-Lehtinen ran as a Republican candidate in the past midterm elections in the US and won a seat in the US Congress House of Representatives. In the nearest future, she expects to become the chairwoman of the Republican-dominated US House Committee on Foreign Affairs and will certainly use the post to intensify the US pressure on the governments of Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Bolivia at which which she levels permanent criticism over democracy and human rights. Ros-Lehtinen declared that it is an opportune moment to get rid of Latin American populism which she described as the region’s disaster and called for struggle against H. Chavez. Ros-Lehtinen and her ideological brethren – the rightists in the US and Latin America – are emboldened by the recent ouster of Manuel Zelaya, the former populist leader of Honduras, the attack against the regime in Ecuador during which the country’s president Rafael Correa narrowly escaped death, and the neutralization of Paraguayan president Fernando Lugo’s reform plans.

The ranks of coordinators of the anti-populist forum included Otto Reich and Roger Noriega from G. Bush’s Administration, congressman [Connie Mack] who will soon chair the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, former DEA chief John Walters, former president of Ecuador Lucio Gutiérrez, and G. Zuloaga who owns Globovision, a Venezuelan TV channel. Not long ago Zuloaga fled Venezuela. Currently he resides in Miami and is selling himself as a victim of political persecution, though he was actually implicated in automobile speculations and is trying to avoid facing justice in court. According to journalists from the ALBA countries, the public at the forum mostly comprised oligarchs, fascists, various renegades, and ordinary crooks rather than the populist regimes’ political serious political opponents with strongly held views.

Venezuela’s ambassador to the US Bernardo Álvarez says the alliance between the radical opposition in the ALBA countries and the current US Congress, which he slams as ultra-right and extremist, presents a serious problem. He said in an interview to the TeleSur TV channel that the objective behind the alliance is to destabilize the Latin American countries Washington perceives as hostile. Álvarez stressed that the key roles at the forum were played by group of conspirators including Lucio Gutiérrez, who was involved in the attempted coup in Ecuador, and Otto Reich who took part in coups in Venezuela in 2002 and in Honduras in 2009. Roger Noriega is another ominous character with a dozen of coup attempts across Latin America on his record.

Bolivia’s ambassador to the US Erika Dueñas shares the view expressed by her Venezuelan colleague. She said she was concerned that the forum enabled criminals – former presidents Sánchez de Lozada and Carlos Mesa – to air their agendas. Both are guilty of provoking severe repressions in the country in 2003 when the death toll in Bolivia reached 60 and some 500 people were injured. Bolivia submitted an extradition bid to the US but it was turned down. At the moment Sánchez de Lozada and Carlos Mesa are conspiring against the government of Evo Morales. They also continue planning an assassination of the Bolivian president. Recently, a group of terrorists charged with the mission were brought to Bolivia from Europe but were killed by the government agencies. Their curators – separatists from the Santa Cruz province – managed to escape to the US.

Erika Dueñas remarked that several self-proclaimed Indian leaders were invited to the anti-populist conference. She opined that the creation of alternative Aymara and Quechuas organizations meant to draw American natives into the opposition to Morales was an element of the unfolding plot against the government of Bolivia.

The forum backed by the US Congress showed that the US intelligence community and propaganda machine are instructed to go on using without limitations all methods employed by the Bush Administration in the struggle against the ALBA countries. Having failed to perform at the face of the global economic downturn, Obama’s Administration finds itself in desperate need of international-politics breakthroughs. Defeating the “populists”, overthrowing Hugo Chavez, and dismantling the regimes of his allies are [therefore] on the Empire’s 2011 Latin American Agenda.

Article link: http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2010/11/21/the-empire-against-alba.html