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China won’t surround India with ‘string of pearls’ bases

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Guided Missile Frigate Tongling

Shanghai: It’s not possible for China to surround India in a ‘string of pearls’ bases as has been stated by some commentators, according to a top PLA naval official.

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Senior Captain, Wei Xiao Dong

Senior Captain Wei Xiao Dong, chief of staff at the Shanghai Naval Garrison, said that there was no reason for India to “show concern or worry about” Chinese navy vessels, including submarines, visiting countries like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh or others.

“China does not have a policy of hegemony nor is playing to be a military power in the region,” Wei told a group of visiting Indian journalists. “Our policy is defensive in nature,” he said.

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Guided Missile Frigate

He said such visits were not as common as was sometimes made out. “I have been in the navy since 1987 and I have not sailed in a warship to the Indian Ocean.”

He emphasized that there was no possibility of China creating a ‘string of pearls’ around India.

He said one need only to refer to China’s white paper on military strategy to realize that china only believes in a defensive approach and had no intention of expanding its military influence to other countries.

 Guided Missile Frigate Tongling
Guided Missile Frigate Tongling

He said that the visit to Pakistan has been noted in India with concern. But China, he added, had an enhanced level of cooperation with India too.

“Looked at in another way, should we reduce our visits to Pakistan and increase them to India. In such a case will Pakistan fear our cooperation with India?” he asked. He said the relations with the two countries were only on a bilateral basis.

He said in the past four ships from India had visited the Shanghai base together and he “always looks forward” to Indian ships visiting there.

He said he did not have much information on the status of China’s aircraft carrier. It was in Qindao region for training purpose. In any case, he said the carrier was not under the jurisdiction of East China Sea Fleet which was his area of operation.

Wei said one of his mandates in Shanghai was to act as anti-terrorism force and ensure peace and tranquility in the region, including the area’s coastal cities. He said they had not come under any terrorism-related attack, but they study such action around the world to gain information on how to react. He was responding to a question whether they feared an attack of the kind that happened in Mumbai in 2008 when terrorists came in boats from Karachi.

The visiting journalists were taken on a rare tour of a guided missile frigate, Tongling, docked at Shanghai and were shown its fighting capabilities, including its anti-submarine and anti-air attack capacity.

Talking of Indian navy’s presence in South China Sea, which the country, deems to be its region, Wei said that he did not know what the “strategic intention” of India was in the region. Indian ships had entered the sea a few years ago when Indian public sector companies were invited to explore oil in Vietnamese waters.

On Diaoyu islands disputed between China and Japan, Wei said they were “part of” the Chinese territory and it was responsibility of the navy to protect its “sovereign areas”. He said it was “legal for china to patrol the seas around the island in order to ensure peace. (IANS)

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Chinese Police Catches Hold of $1.5 Billion Money in Online Lending Scandal

The internet has helped financial platforms attract money from financial novices with little knowledge of the risks involved.

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Chinese policemen watch as depositors from Ezubao gather outside the State Bureau for Letters and Calls Reception Division office in Beijing, Jan. 1, 2016. China's policy ministry says it investigated 380 online lenders following an avalanche of scandals. VOA

Chinese police have investigated 380 online lenders and frozen $1.5 billion in assets following an avalanche of scandals in the huge but lightly regulated industry, the government announced Monday.

Beijing allowed a private finance industry to flourish in order to supply credit to entrepreneurs and households that aren’t served by the state-run banking system. But that threatens to become a liability for the ruling Communist Party after bankruptcies and fraud cases prompted protests and complaints of official indifference to small investors.

The police ministry said it launched the investigation because person-to-person, or P2P, lending was increasingly risky and rife with complaints about fraud, mismanagement and waste.

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The police ministry said it launched the investigation because person-to-person, or P2P, lending was increasingly risky and rife with complaints about fraud, mismanagement and waste. Pixabay

The ministry gave no details of arrests but said more than 100 executives were being sought by investigators and some had fled abroad. It said authorities seized or froze 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) but gave no indication how much might be returned to depositors.

Police say some lenders and investment vehicles were brazenly fraudulent, while others collapsed after inexperienced founders failed to manage risk.

Monday’s statement said P2P lenders were investigated for complaints including wasting money, reporting phony investment plans and using illegal tactics to raise money.

Lending through online platforms grew by triple digits annually until 2017 when regulators tightened controls.

Depositors lent 1.9 trillion yuan ($280 billion) last year, but that was down by 50 percent from 2017, according to the Shenzhen Qiancheng Internet Finance Research Institute.

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The internet has helped financial platforms attract money from financial novices with little knowledge of the risks involved. Pixabay

The outstanding loan balance stood at 1.2 trillion yuan ($177 billion) at the end of 2018, down 25 percent from a year earlier, according to Diyi Wangdai, a web site that reports on the industry.

P2P lenders are part of a privately run Chinese finance industry the national bank regulator estimated in 2015 had grown to $1.5 trillion.

The internet has helped financial platforms attract money from financial novices with little knowledge of the risks involved.

Many lend to factories and retailers or invest in restaurants, car washes and other businesses. But inexperience and poor risk control means a downturn in business conditions can bankrupt them.

Also Read: Sales of Smart Feature Phones Expected To Be About $28 Billion Over Next Three Years

Finance as a whole has come under tougher scrutiny after a 2015 plunge in stock prices led to accusations of insider trading and other offenses.

In one of China’s biggest financial scams, authorities say depositors lost 50 billion yuan ($7.7 billion) in online lender Ezubo before it was seized by regulators in 2015.

The founder and his brother were sentenced to life in prison in 2017. (VOA)