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Archive for October 7th, 2006

Chinese mega-pipeline

From Aljazeera News:

China has approved the construction of a multi-billion dollar pipeline to carry gas imported from Turkmenistan to China’s southern business city of Guangzhou.

The pipeline will carry 30 billion cubic metres of natural gas a year from the Central Asian nation, Dow Jones Newswires reported on Wednesday.

The source said the pipeline’s cost would run into tens of billions of dollars.

The report said the project would also double the capacity of an existing pipeline that carries gas from the Xinjiang region of China’s northwest to Shanghai on the east coast.

The pipeline would have to go through either Kazakhstan or a combination of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgystan.

China signed a deal in April to buy gas from Turkmenistan, but did not release price details.

China is trying to expand its use of natural gas to reduce its reliance on oil and coal.

It is also holding talks with Russia on plans to construct a pipeline to deliver Siberian gas to northern China.

Last week, 130 companies from 26 different countries attended a two-day oil and gas conference in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan’s capital.

China ha aprobado la construcción de un oleoducto de varios billones de dólares para transportar gas desde Turkmenistán hasta la ciudad comercial del sur de China, Guangzhou.  El oleduto transportará una media de 20 billones de metros cúbicos de gas natural al año.

El proyecto también doblará la capacidad de un oleoducto existente que lleva gas desde la región del noroeste de China Xinjiang hasta Shanghai en la costa este.

También está en negociaciones con Rusia apara construir otro oleoducto que transporte gas siberiano al norte de China.

Found at Portuguese blog: Planicie Historica.

China has a great need for oil and gas resources, as I have written before.

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Last Thursday Nkorea announced they were going to test their nukes, if US did not lift sanctions on them:

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said a device would be detonated about 2,000 meters (6,562 feet) inside a mine near the border with China in the north of the country.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il had issued instructions that the test should “not excessively rock” Mount Paektu, a nearby peak many Koreans consider sacred.

“They are more or less ready,” the source told Reuters after speaking to North Korean officials. He did not give a timetable.

Un unofficial -but very official- speaker (here is his official website “Center for Korean-American Peace“, and no, I am not joking, HT Captain’s Quarters), has warned US that war is coming to their soil in a statement that seeks to tell the world five messages:

The first message is that Kim Jong-il is the greatest of the peerless national heroes Korea has ever produced. Kim is unique in that he is the first to equip Korea with sufficient military capability to take the war all the way to the continental US.Under his leadership the DPRK has become a nuclear-weapons state with intercontinental means of delivery. Kim is certainly in the process of achieving the long-elusive goal of neutralizing the American intervention in Korean affairs and bringing together North and South Korea under the umbrella of a confederated state
Unlike all the previous wars Korea fought, a next war will be better called the American War or the DPRK-US War because the main theater will be the continental US, with major cities transformed into towering infernos. The DPRK is now the fourth-most powerful nuclear weapons state just after the US, Russia, and China.

Well, apart from the obvious menace to US, er, India, France, Pakistan, etc, are not nuclear-weaponed states, are they? NKorea is the 4th country in nuclear development in the world…

The second point is that a nuclear test will be a legitimate exercise of North Korea’s sovereign right in supreme national-security interests of the country. The sole reason for the development of nuclear weapons is more than 50 years of direct exposure to naked nuclear threats and sanctions from the US. The Kim administration seeks to commit nuclear weapons to actual use against the US in case of war, never to use them as a tool of negotiations.

The US, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France, India, Pakistan and Israel conducted numerous nuclear detonation experiments in legitimate exercise of their sovereignty. There is no international convention or treaty that prohibits North Korea from conducting underground nuclear tests. No country is allowed to infringe on the sovereignty of North Korea in material breach of Chapter 2 of the UN charter, unless they are prepared to risk triggering nuclear war with North Korea.

The third message is that the nuclear-armed North Korea will be a major boon to China and Russia. Nuclear-armed, the two countries are friendless in case of war with the US. The US has nuclear-armed allies, such as the UK and France. The Americans have a network of military bases around the two countries, while they have none. The presence of a mighty nuclear weapons state in Korea should be most welcome to Russia and China.
The People’s Republic of China has every reason to welcome a nuclear-armed North Korea, whatever it may say in public. The nuclear deterrence of North Korea is a major factor in reducing US military pressure on China on the question of the independence of Taiwan.

The fourth point is that the North Korea government of Kim does not care at all whether Japan goes nuclear, or that South Korea and Australia follow suit. In the first place, those countries are practically nuclear-armed because they are under the nuclear umbrella of the US and house American nuclear bases and because Tokyo’s military spending is 10 times that of Pyongyang’s and Seoul’s defense budget is five times that of Pyongyang’s. It is too obvious that they are capable of acquiring nuclear weapons at short notice. (NOTE: The problem here is that Japan and South Korea are not in very well terms. In fact, there was a fractured reaction to a series of North Korean missile tests in July. In that incident, China and South Korea accused Japan of overreacting -H/T: L’Ombre de lOlivier-)

[…] The fifth and last point is a long, overdue farewell to the nuclear non-proliferation regime, with the Bush administration standing in the dock as prime defendant accused of sabotaging nuclear non-proliferation. Had the Americans been steadfast in upholding the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty by reducing their nuclear weapons and respecting the sovereignty and independence of the non-nuclear states, North Korea would not have felt any need to defend itself with nuclear weapons.

But the worst is yet to come:

A nuclear test by North Korea will go a long way toward emboldening anti-American states around the world to acquire nuclear weapons. There is a long line of candidate states.
It is important to note that the North Korean Foreign Ministry pledges to faithfully implement its international commitment in the field of nuclear non-proliferation as a responsible nuclear-weapons state and to prohibit nuclear transfer.

As you see, logic reasoning was just forgotten when writing those last words.

NYPost (H/T Lawhawk) publised the test could be held this same week. The Economist (H/T The Moderate Voice) says that “satellite monitoring suggests that preparations have been underway for months“, something also reported by swiss.info and Global Security Newswire (H/T: NoisyRoom.Net-).

Pyongyang can’t help but notice all the time and effort going into bribing Iran to swear off nukes: Tehran’s not only getting all the attention, the mullahs are being offered all the best bribes, too – all manner of economic and trade incentives, for starters, from the European Union.

Kim must be saying to himself: “What about me?”

I am the 4th nuclear country in the world…. 😦 But this contrast with the Dear Leader’s statement some days ago:

General Kim has declared that not even a tiny concession will be made to the imperialist US invaders, our arch-enemy,” said a broadcast on North Korean state television. Kim, who never speaks himself in public, said that if the US took “revenge”, it would mean “all-out war”. “It is not empty talk for the DPRK [the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] to respond with revenge to any revenge by the enemy and with all-out war to an all-out war,” the TV said.

But we keep on with the NYPost:

Sure, China could cut off the $1 billion or so in aid it gives Pyongyang every year. But Beijing is deathly worried about exacerbating the grim humanitarian crisis on its border – or, worse yet, causing the regime to collapse, bringing all manner of unforeseeable chaos.

South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun, meanwhile, sent a “grave warning” to North Korea. So what? Seoul has even worse worries than China about a breakdown in the North – and the centerpiece of Roh’s government has been North-South reconciliation, so he’s not likely to cut off the South’s own generous aid streams to the North.

As for the United States, well: Economic sanctions can’t do much – there is virtually nothing left to sanction. The military options – and the possibility of another Korean War – make the challenges in Iraq look like a walk in the park.

Plus, Kim knows that the Clinton administration lifted economic sanctions on India and Pakistan within six months of their nuclear tests in the spring of 1998.

In fact, US has warned NKorea of “unspecified consequences if they test the nuclear weapons” (H/T: NoisyRoom.Net).

According to Professor Shen Dingli, quoted by Newsweek:

His analysis, posted online at the Nautilus Institute, a Berkeley, Calif., geopolitical think tank (www.nautilus.org), asserts that North Korea would enhance its own national security, gain critical economic assistance and avoid American-initiated “regime change” by exploding one of the handful of A-bombs in its arsenal. He says Pyongyang has good reason to bet that none of the region’s big powers—the United States, China, Russia and Japan—will do more than voice strenuous objections and impose symbolic punishments. “If the DPRK [North Korea] successfully carries out a nuclear test, it will be accepted as a de facto nuclear country after a period of international sanctions, as India and Pakistan were reaccepted by the United States and by other mainstream countries … several years after they conducted nuclear tests in 1998,” he writes.

A nuclear North Korea would also be useful to China in its Taiwan policy. To be sure, a nuclear test would cause Beijing, as broker of recent multiparty negotiations to end the nuclear standoff, to lose considerable diplomatic face. But North Korea also serves to neutralize the presence of American troops in South Korea, and a nuclear North Korea would accomplish this even better. “The main task now is ‘opposing Taiwan independence’,” he writes. “In this respect, the DPRK  at least puts in check the tens of thousands of US troops in South Korea and … helps China divide the military threat of the US military forces in the Asia-Pacific region.”

(…) Even moderation is risky; by not thwarting Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions, he says, Washington might unwittingly compel allies Japan and South Korea to develop atomic arsenals of their own.

Looks like that Japan is going to change a bit from their prior assumptions over pacifism. The idea of having a North Korea nuclear armed can swift the population to a much more pro-war instance. In fact, Japanese Constitution’s amendment is going to be one of the prior objectives of Mr. Abe. The prior aim to revise the Constitution is  to eliminate Japan’s pacifist postwar military tradition.

China has announced they are totally unable to control NKorea (H/T Austin Bay), because the “DPRK considers its national interests to be greater than its relations with China,” Mr Shen says in his remarkably frank commentary, published in a newspaper of the official China Youth League and circulated yesterday by a North Korea-focused think tank, the Nautilus Institute.

I do not know what to think of this man: in Newsweek, he says that China is interested in NKorea having nukes because of Taiwan. And here he says that China cannot stop North Korea. I personally think -not believe. considering previous activities, that China is interested in NKorea having the bomb, even when that is not very comfortable. In fact, it’s just the opposite.

Latest news are that shots have been fired at the tense border between NKorea and South Korea.

“Our troops fired warning shots at the five North Korean soldiers after they climbed over the military demarcation line despite several loudspeaker warnings,” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

This is not good, at all.

UPDATE: Captain’s Quarters exposes the cause of the sanctions to NKOrea:

China remained officially mum about such consequences, but told the press that only the removal of recent American sanctions would convince Kim to skip the test. These sanctions, CQ readers will recall, got imposed because of Kim’s massive counterfeiting operation that targets the US. We cut out Kim’s banking front from the international financial community, making it difficult for him to flood the market with the phony currency.

El pasado jueves Corea del Norte anunció que iba a probar sus bombas nucleares. Al parecer China señaló que sólo dejarían de hacerlo si USA levantaba las sanciones que, a día de hoy mantiene contra el país comunista.

Pero según el comunicado no oficial -pero muy oficial- del representante no oficial -pero muy oficial- de Corea del Norte, este país debe anunciar al mundo los siguientes mensajes:

– Kim Jong-Il [ o sea, el “querido líder”] es el más grande de los más nobles héroes que Corea del Norte ha producido. Es único porque ha permitido a Corea del Norte tener armamento nuclear. Contrariamente a todas las guerras anteriores, la nueva guerra se llamará la guerra norte-americana porque tendrá lugar en suelo norte-americano, con las ciudades más grandes convertidas en infiernos. Corea del Norte es la cuarta potencia nuclear del mundo después de USA, Rusia y China.

– La prueba nuclear es legítima porque es un ejercicio de su soberanía para asegurar la seguridad nacional y los intereses de este país. Ningún país puede infringir la soberanía de Corea del Norte sin arriesgarse a una guerra nuclear.

– Una Corea del Norte armada nuclearmente, les conviene tanto a Rusia como a China, sea lo que sea lo que digan en público. Con armas nucleares, los dos países no serán amigos de USA.

– A Kim-Jong-IL no le importa que Japón o Corea del Norte o Australia también desarrollen armas nucleares.

– Quinto y último, una despedida cariñosa al régimen de no proliferación nuclear, con el malvado Bush acusado de haber falseado la no-proliferación nuclear.

Por supuesto, lo mejor es el final: dice que después de Corea del Norte serán muchos los países anti-americanos que probarán las armas nucleares (Ahmadenijad????) y que “debemos hacer notar que Corea del Norte promete cumplir fielmente su compromiso internacional en el campo de la no-proliferación nuclear como un país nuclear responsable y prohibir las transferencias nucleares“. La lógica se les olvidó al escribir ese párrafo…

Parece ser incluso que puede realizarse este fin de semana. Tanto China (que da un billón de dólares anuales a Corea del Norte en ayuda) como Corea del Sur, cuyo presidente ha hecho de la reconciliación con el Norte el eje de su gobierno, están preocupados. Pero Corea sabe que Clinton levantó las sanciones a Paquistán y a India pocos meses después de que hicieran sus pruebas nucleares y espera que a ella le hagan lo mismo.

Según el Profesor Shen Dingli, citado por la revista Newsweek, ha señalado que las razones de este test nuclear harían que Corea del Norte incrementase su securidad nacional, ganase asistencia económica internacional e impidiese de esta forma el programa de “cambio de régimen” iniciado por USA. Corea del Norte sirve asimismo para neutralizar la presencia de tropas americanas en Corea del Sur, a lo que contribuiría de manera notable Corea del Norte si fuera nuclear. “Lo más importante es oponerse a la independencia de Taiwan“, escribe.

Incluso la moderación es peligrosa; como no se detiene a las ambiciones nucleares de Corea del Norte, USA estará sin querer compeliendo a los aliados Japón y Corea del Sur a desarrollar arsenales nucleares.

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