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Xinhua commentary: Asia-Pacific main theater of China-US interplay

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Beijing: China and the US must not allow the Asia Pacific region to “retrogress into a destructive wrestling ring” Xinhua news agency said. The US is unable to discard its outdated Cold War mentality, it added.

Photo credit: usnews.com
Photo credit: usnews.com

The Xinhua commentary “Asia-Pacific not China-US wrestling ring” said that as Chinese President Xi Jinping wraps up his first state visit to the US, China-US interaction in the Asia-Pacific region is entering a more predictable and reassuring track.

“A series of signals emanating from the trip…indicate that both of the two giants understand the need and share the desire to maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region,” it said.

The commentary on Saturday said that against the backdrop of tangible worries in “international punditry that the region is turning into a ring for China and the United States to wrestle for influence, their latest agreement to deepen dialogue on Asia-Pacific affairs is encouraging”.

The Asia-Pacific is the main theater of China-US interplay. Having the world’s largest developing and developed countries under its roof, it bears the lion’s share of both their common interests and their differences and frictions.

Xinhua said that the Asia-Pacific is vital to global peace and development. It now carries 40 percent of human population, 48 percent of world trade and 57 percent of global output.

“That is why China-US engagement in the Asia-Pacific is important. Positive, it benefits all; negative, it harms all.”

The commentary went on to say that Washington’s sizeable enlargement of its already formidable military presence in the Asia-Pacific has “emboldened some claimants in the South China Sea territorial disputes to make counter-productively aggressive moves, although the United States pledges not to take sides on the complex rows”.

“At the root of those impediments is Washington’s inability to discard the outdated Cold War mentality.”

It said that the key is to strengthen bilateral contact and communication and cement mutual understanding. On top of that, they need to tighten the intermingling of interests and deepen their interdependence.

To bridge the trust deficit, “the two countries can beef up military-to-military ties, rev up consultations on the Korean Peninsula denuclearization issue, and speed up negotiations on a bilateral investment treaty”.

The Xinhua commentary noted that Beijing’s stance on China-US interaction in the Asia-Pacific is consistent and explicit: “The vast Pacific Ocean is big enough to accommodate both China and the United States, and China welcomes the US to play a constructive role in the region”.

“During the Chinese president’s state visit to the United States, that message has become ever clearer. It is incumbent on the two countries to seize the positive momentum and build the Asia-Pacific into a dancing pool for the benefit of all, instead of allowing it to retrogress into a destructive wrestling ring,” it added.

With inputs from IANS

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Shanghai Airport Gets Check-In With Facial Recognition Machines

Increased convenience may come at a cost in a country with few rules on how the government can use biometric data.

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Shanghai,
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection facial recognition device is ready to scan another passenger at a United Airlines gate. VOA

It’s now possible to check in automatically at Shanghai Hongqiao airport using facial recognition technology, part of an ambitious rollout of facial recognition systems in China that has raised privacy concerns as Beijing pushes to become a global leader in the field.

Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport unveiled self-service kiosks for flight and baggage check-in, security clearance and boarding powered by facial recognition technology, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

Similar efforts are under way at airports in Beijing and Nanyang city, in central China’s Henan province.

Shanghai,
Face recognition tool was first launched in 2012

Many airports in China already use facial recognition to help speed security checks, but Shanghai’s system, which debuted Monday, is being billed as the first to be fully automated.

“It is the first time in China to achieve self-service for the whole check-in process,” said Zhang Zheng, general manager of the ground services department for Spring Airlines, the first airline to adopt the system at Hongqiao airport. Currently, only Chinese identity card holders can use the technology.

Spring Airlines, Shanghai said Tuesday that passengers had embraced automated check-in, with 87 percent of 5,017 people who took Spring flights on Monday using the self-service kiosks, which can cut down check-in times to less than a minute and a half.

Shanghai,
Rana el Kaliouby, CEO of the Boston-based artificial intelligence firm Affectiva, demonstrates the company’s facial recognition technology, in Boston, April 23, 2018. VOA

Across greater China, facial recognition is finding its way into daily life. Mainland police have used facial recognition systems to identify people of interest in crowds and nab jaywalkers, and are working to develop an integrated national system of surveillance camera data.

Chinese media are filled with reports of ever-expanding applications: A KFC outlet in Hangzhou, near Shanghai, where it’s possible to pay using facial recognition technology; a school that uses facial recognition cameras to monitor students’ reactions in class; and hundreds of ATMs in Macau equipped with facial recognition devices to curb money laundering.

Also Read: Facial Recognition Technology Catches A Person With Fake Passpost At The US Airport 

But increased convenience may come at a cost in a country with few rules on how the government can use biometric data.

“Authorities are using biometric and artificial intelligence to record and track people for social control purposes,” said Maya Wang, senior China researcher for Human Rights Watch. “We are concerned about the increasing integration and use of facial recognition technologies throughout the country because it provides more and more data points for the authorities to track people.” (VOA)