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US private Military Contractor Academi “Blackwater” to open security personnel training centres in China

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Beijing, March 22, 2017: The founder of US private military contractor Academi, formerly known as Blackwater, has announced that he will open security personnel training centres in China, local media reported on Wednesday.

In an interview with Chinese official daily Global Times, Erik Prince said two training centres of his new firm Frontier Services Group would initially be set up on China’s border and conflict-ridden regions.

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One of these centres will be located in Xinjiang, which has experienced several violent attacks over the last few years, which the government blames on Uighur separatists, Efe news reported.

The other centre will be established in Yunnan, another sensitive region for China due to its proximity to Myanmar.

Clashes between the Myanmar Army and ethnic minorities such as Kokang people have caused collateral damage on Chinese territory, as well as an influx of thousands of refugees.

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The new company, headed by 47-year-old Prince — a former US Navy SEAL — brands itself a provider of security services to businesses operating in frontier areas.

Prince told the newspaper that his firm wants to support the development of China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative, which is threatened by armed conflicts across Asia.

His previous firm Academi, sold to an investment group in 2010, was accused of human rights violations during the US-led Iraq occupation during the last decade. (IANS)

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China, US Set To Take Action Against Each Other

US business executives are now bracing for further retaliation from China due to Meng's arrest

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President Donald Trump with China's President Xi Jinping during their bilateral meeting, Dec. 1, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. VOA

China and the US are set to take action against each other as tensions escalate over trade, cyber hacking and espionage as senior American law enforcement officials identified Beijing as the most serious threat to Washington’s national security, officials said.

China’s methods of non-traditional espionage, including their use of ordinary Chinese expatriates instead of spies at universities and businesses, and intellectual property theft, were explained by the officials from the FBI and Departments of Justice and Homeland Security who briefed US lawmakers on Wednesday, CNN reported.

“As the US proceeds a whole of society response to this threat, we must address the vulnerabilities within our system while preserving our values and the open, free and fair principles that have made us thrive,” E.W. Priestap, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Assistant Director of Counter-intelligence told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“What hangs in the balance is not just the future of the US, but the future of the world.”

The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) top national security official told lawmakers on Wednesday the administration was reacting to China’s “steadily increasing” economic espionage activity, which costs the US an estimated $225 billion a year.

From 2011 to 2018, more than 90 per cent of the DOJ’s cases alleging economic espionage by a state have involved China, and more than two-thirds of trade secret thefts have a nexus to China, Assistant Attorney General John Demers said.

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U.S. President Donald Trump. VOA

“From underwater drones and autonomous vehicles to critical chemical compounds and inbred corn seeds, China has targeted advanced technology across sectors that align with China’s publicly announced strategic goals,” Demers said. “The play book is simple: rob, replicate and replace.”

Priestap and his colleagues testified hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed in an interview with Fox News that the US believes Beijing was behind the massive cyber-attack on the Marriott hotel chain, CNN reported.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the assault was part of a broader Chinese operation that also targeted health insurers and the security clearance files of millions of Americans.

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Those disclosures came a day after President Donald Trump said that he would be willing to use Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Meng Wanzhou who was arrested in Canada for violating US sanctions on Iran as a bargaining chip in his trade war with Beijing, which for now is in a 90-day pause.

A Canadian judge on Tuesday night granted Meng a $7.5 million bail, while she awaits extradition to the US.

US business executives are now bracing for further retaliation from China due to Meng’s arrest. (IANS)