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Sunday, 28 February 2016

Penang is best for property investment in Malaysia

Penang has dislodged Kuala Lumpur's Golden Tringle as the top investment choice

GEORGE TOWN: Penang has now overtaken the Klang Valley as the most attractive place for property investment.

In its Malaysia Commercial Real Estate Investment Sentiment Survey 2016, global property consultancy Knight Frank Ma-laysia said the state had dis-lodged Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle as the top investment choice.

Penang garnered 67% of the overall responses while the Golden Triangle slipped to fourth position with 49%, finishing behind KL Fringe/ Klang Valley (56%) and Johor/Iskandar (55%).

The survey took litmus test for insights and preferences of key players namely fund managers, developers and lenders in the commercial sector for the Year 2016.

It targeted 700 respondents in senior management levels across the property industry.

Half of them (55%) were deve-lopers while the rest were commercial lenders (24%) and fund or real estate investment trust managers (21%).

Last week, George Town was picked as the sixth ‘Best place to retire abroad in 2016’ by CNN Money.

Source: Knight Frank Malaysia/The Star

That’s Right, Penang Just Beat KL To Become The Top Choice For Investments

 It appears that more people are keen to invest in Penang than in Kuala Lumpur, as a survey by Knight Frank Malaysia shows that Penang garnered over 67 percent of the overall response.

The survey also revealed that Kuala Lumpur Central Business District (CBD) (Golden Triangle), which was the top investment choice in 2015, was dethroned and dropped to the fourth ranking with 49 percent of the responses, coming after Kuala Lumpur Fringe/Klang Valley (56 percent) and Joh

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Information is power, overloaded, who and where can we trust?

A global survey gauging trust in society finds that people of a feather really do flock together.

THE person you see in the mirror is the most trusted.”

No, that is not a self-help mantra or nostalgia for Michael Jackson’s old hit Man in the Mirror.

Rather, as the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals, that is a common belief in the world when it comes to trust.

People now are increasingly reliant on a “person like yourself” (rising 6% in trust) more than the “leaders” of society like CEOs, government officials, technical experts or even academic experts, according to global communications firm Edelman’s annual survey that measures trust levels in the world.

Says Edelman Malaysia managing director Robert Kay, it reflects the way people in Malaysia are increasingly sharing and weighing information and opinions online.

“When it comes to information on social networking sites, content sharing sites and online-only information, Malaysians trust friends and families more at 74% compared to a company CEO at 57% or elected officials at 53%,” shares Kay at the launch of the Barometer in Kuala Lumpur last Tuesday.

For its fifth survey in Malaysia, Edelman polled 1,350 Malaysians online from October to November last year.

What some might find surprising is that in today’s celebrity-obsessed world, online personalities rake in only 45% “believers”, while celebrities rank last in their trustworthiness at 30%.

Interestingly, Malaysians’ overall trust in online content, specifically that shared on social media has dipped seven points to 42%.

Kay points to the rampant sharing of misinformation online in the past year as the main reason.

Consequently, search engines hold their lead as the most trusted source for information at 66%, he adds, as people feel they have more control over what they read and see.

The rise in peer-to-peer trust inevitably coincides with the decline in public faith in public institutions and the business world.

Faith in the press among the “informed public”, however, has jumped 13% – from 46% last year to 59% this year.

Asked how much they trust the media – on a scale of zero to nine – to do the right thing, Malaysian citizens say they have a lot more faith in the press than before.

This, says Edelman, puts Malaysia’s more informed citizens’ trust in media at the same level as the elite of the United States.

“Malaysia has one of the biggest rises in media trust among the informed public globally, possibly due to the constant coverage of alleged corruption at 1MDB,” Kay notes, stressing that it is crucial for the media to continue pursuing rigorous, balanced and transparent reporting to maintain credibility.

While the survey did not distinguish between trust in local and international media, the trust in the media in Asia highlights the perceived role of the media in this region, Edelman Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa CEO David Brain reportedly said in Mumbrella Asia, a discussion site on the region’s media.

“The media – through Western eyes – is expected to keep politicians to account, but in Asian countries such as Singapore and Malaysia, there is ‘a social contract that the role of the media is about nation building’, and less about revealing the truth,” Brain had explained.

In a panel discussion on the Barometer results, The Malaysian Insider CEO Jahabar Sadiq points out that even as trust in business captains and political leaders fell, those who are perceived to be critical and caring of society and are vocal on social media, such as CIMB group chairman Datuk Seri Nazir Razak and former Cabinet minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, are deemed as “trustworthy”.

Comparing Malaysia to Britain and the United States, Umno Youth exco member Shahril Hamdan suggests the dip in public trust towards the government is a natural development as the nation matures.

“As democracy matures, the cynicism level of people toward the government increases.

“Regardless of how the government communicates or performs, people will put less trust in the government and its leaders.”

Maxis Malaysia Head of Consumer Business Dushyanthan Vathiyanathan believes that it is time for public institutions and the business sector to transform and engage more with people.

“People now are interested in knowing what is happening and not in what you tell them.

By Hariati Azizan The Star/Asia News Network

“You have to be transparent with them and inform them of anything and everything. That’s because now they have information and do their checks.”


Panel Discussion of the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer for Malaysia

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Beijing is home to the world's most billionaires, edging New York City out

Night view of Central Business District with the new CCTV Tower, right, and other skyscrapers and high-rise office buildings in Beijing. Beijing is home to the world's most billionaires, pushing New York City out of the top slot. [Photo/IC]

Story Highlights:

--Beijing is home to 100 billionaires

--Wang Jianlin of Dalian Wanda is the richest Chinese

--China overtakes the US with the most billionaires

Beijing is home to the world's most billionaires, pushing New York City out of the top slot it had held for years, according to a Shanghai-based research and media outlet that keeps track of the world's wealthiest.

Despite a slowing economy, the Chinese capital added 32 billionaires, bringing its total to 100 and New York added four, giving it 95 billionaires, according to the Hurun Global Rich List 2016.

Moscow came in third with 66, and Hong Kong and Shanghai came in fourth and fifth with 64 and 50, respectively, Hurun said in its ranking of US dollar billionaires as of Jan 15.

Wang Jianlin of Dalian Wanda, one of China's top real estate developers, was the wealthiest Beijing resident with a net worth of $26 billion.

New York's top billionaires were businessman David Koch and Michael Bloomberg, the city's former mayor and media company owner. His wealth increased $16 billion to $37 billion, according to Hurun. Another city resident whose wealth increased is Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump. He added $5 billion to go to $6.5 billion.

While China has passed the US with the most billionaires, the Hurun report noted that none of the richest billionaires are from China. Eight of the world's 11 wealthiest, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the world's wealthiest with $80 billion, Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett, Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg are from the US.

And the combined net worth of US billionaires is still nearly double that of Chinese billionaires, for a total of $2.4 trillion, just a little less than the GDP of France, according to the report.

Rupert Hoogewerf, the founder of Hurun, said initial public offerings are behind the rapid expansion of Chinese wealth.

In October, China overtook the US for the first time as the country with the most billionaires within its borders. About 568 billionaires now live in China and 535 in the US.

Hoogewerf said the number of billionaires for the rest of the world was held back by a slowdown in the global economy, the strengthening of the US dollar and the drop in oil prices. - China Daily/Asia News Network

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English not only language of science and mathematics

The Malaysian Education Ministry should review the way English is taught and find ways and means to improve it, rather than rehashing the failed PPSMI in the guise of the DLP

SINCE my name was mentioned in the letter “A common medium” (The Star, Feb 18) by Datin Noor Azimah on the Dual Language Programme (DLP), I would like to respond to some of the issues raised by her on why we should continue the DLP.

First of all, I beg to differ with Noor Azimah’s notion that English is the only language of science. All her arguments about the dominance of English in scientific communications merely show that English has become the de facto communication language of science but not the only language in which established science could be taught and new science could be discovered.

Major scientific discoveries of the 20th century such as the Relativity Theory of Einstein that has enhanced our understanding of the huge expanse of space in the universe and the Quantum Theory of Heisenberg and Bohr that let us understand properties of the very tiny nanoscale structures and of atoms, were discovered in German, the language of the discoverers and not in English.

Both theories underlie almost all subsequent scientific discoveries including the very recent discovery of gravitational waves by LIGO that vindicated Einstein’s Relativity.

According to the Princeton historian of science, Prof Michael Godin in his new book, Scientific Babel, English became the dominant language of scientific communication only recently, in the last 60 years, at the expense of the previous triumvirate of scientific communication languages, English, French and German.

The Anglicization of scientific communication started much earlier by the boycott of German scientists by Western European and American scientists who published in French and English in between the World Wars. German science was further decimated by the defeat in the Second World War and many German scientists were brought over to work for America and to use English in their work.

The dominance of the United Kingdom and American publishers in scientific publications after the War squeezed out French as a scientific communication language and literally forced the English language down the throat of the scientific community, who otherwise would have continued to publish in either German, French or English as was the practice before the War. As a world-ranked scientist at the top of my own field as attested by Thomson Reuters’ World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds 2016, and as a professor in chemical engineering for 36 years at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), I have taught many generations of Malaysian chemical engineers in Bahasa Melayu and have supervised successfully many MSc and PhD students, who used Bahasa Melayu in the practice of world class science in UKM’s labs and in the reporting of the scientific results in their thesis.

External examiners from other universities in Malaysia were amazed and surprised but enthusiastic that world class science could be done and reported in Bahasa Melayu very well. The students then rewrote their research results in English for publication in world renowned journals.

Hence, English does not contribute anything to the science but merely as translations or rewrites of it. Since the MSc and PhD students are among the brightest of the lot, they have no problem in communicating their scientific results in Bahasa Melayu or English at international conferences with confidence because their scientific works are world class.

Renowned scientists look for the science not the language in their presentations and papers because scientific talent is rare and far between whereas the language of communication can be easily learned on the job.

Their scientific education in Bahasa Melayu at UKM did not prevent many of my students from going on to become successful professional engineers in industry and excellent lecturers and world class scientists with many of them becoming professors and world leaders in their fields of research.

One of them in particular, Prof Dr Siti Kartom Kamarudin, a true blue alumnus of UKM who graduated from UKM with BEng, MSc and PhD all in Bahasa Melayu, is also sharing the same accolade with me as one of the World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds 2016.

The Malaysian PhD candidate at Glasgow University from the International Islamic University Malaysia, Hafizah Noor Isa who was involved in the seminal detection of gravitational waves recently, was taught science in Bahasa Melayu in primary and secondary school. Her Bahasa Melayu background does not impair her ability to do world class science at all.

I am sure this is also true for many science and mathematics teachers and professors all over the country, who have taught tens of thousands of students, science and mathematics in Bahasa Melayu before PPSMI, and whose students have become very successful in their chosen fields.

The fact that we have produced so many successful professors, engineers, medical doctors and scientists varying in age from 25 to 55 years old, who were taught science and mathematics in Bahasa Melayu before the PPSMI speaks volumes for itself. The logic that if only one is taught science and mathematics in English then one would be more successful in later life is a fallacy.

If this were to be true, then no Japanese, Korean and now Chinese technopreneurs would have succeeded as they apparently had with world-class brands without learning science and mathematics in English in their schools and universities.

Learning English through science and mathematics, I am sure every educator worth his salt agrees, is not the most appropriate way of learning a language. There is no evidence whatsoever that English proficiency is increased if English is used to teach science and mathematics.

On the other hand, there is abundant evidence to the contrary. The disastrous PISA and TIMMS results of 2012 where Malaysian students were behind other non-English speaking countries clearly demonstrated the failure of PPSMI because the Malaysian students who took the test were taught science and mathematics in English under the PPSMI (See more on related posts below).

Vietnamese students who were weaker in English fared a lot better than Malaysian students who were better in English. Why do we want to resurrect a programme that has clearly failed spectacularly? If the objective is to be proficient in English, then the right way to achieve it is to strengthen the teaching of the language by having better ways of teaching it in schools.

The Education Ministry should review the way English is taught and find ways and means to improve it, rather than rehashing the failed PPSMI in the guise of the DLP.

I think many people like Noor Azimah who wrote passionately about the DLP issue neglect to tell us or probably do not know the kind of science and mathematics learnt by our children in schools all over the world. Science and mathematics taught in schools are established scientific and mathematical knowledge that have been accepted by consensus of most scientists and mathematicians at that point of history. It should not be confused with new cutting-edge science and technology that a scientist and a professor like me has to deal with every day in my scientific work.

Established science and mathematics change very slowly because new scientific discoveries that would become established knowledge is rare and far between.

On the other hand, cutting-edge science changes rapidly as new theories are being postulated to explain newly discovered phenomena, which are accepted or discarded after undergoing rigorous scrutiny by the scientific community. There is no need for our children in schools to learn cutting-edge science because understanding it requires the scientific knowledge of a professor.

Not many people know that established science and mathematics have already been translated into Bahasa Melayu in numerous textbooks for primary and secondary schools as well as for universities published by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) and the premier universities, Universiti Malaya, UKM, Universiti Sains Malaysia,Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and Universiti Putra Malaysia over the past 40 years.

All scientific terms in all fields are already available at the Persuratan Melayu web page of the DBP. Our children can easily gain scientific knowledge by reading them.

Even fewer know that the discovery of new cutting-edge science and mathematics in Bahasa Melayu is growing at the international level over the last few years with the indexing of bi-lingual Bahasa Melayu-English scientific journals such as Sains Malaysiana by major international scientific journal indexing services such as the ISI and SCOPUS! Now scientists from all over the world can access cutting-edge scientific knowledge in Bahasa Melayu.

The whole idea of learning science and mathematics in the mother tongue is not only simply about language patriotism as has been alleged by Noor Azimah elsewhere. The central issue lies deeper than mere patriotism. It is more about being able to create new scientific knowledge from a deeper understanding of science and mathematics, which can only be achieved by learning it in the mother tongue.

I am sure we are all familiar with the history of how both the great Islamic and the European civilisations first translated and then independently created scientific and mathematical knowledge of their own in their own languages.

No country in the world that is ahead in science and technology ever teaches its children science and technology in a foreign language.


Former Founder Director & Principal Research Fellow Fuel Cell Institute, UKM

Prof of Chemical Engineering, UKM

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Malaysia's Vision 2020: Falling apart with alarming speed; Dr M is creator and destroyer, said Musa
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Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Malaysia's Vision 2020: Falling apart with alarming speed; Dr M is creator and destroyer, said Musa

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Deputy Prime Minister Tun Musa Hitam said Malaysia’s Vision 2020 objective was “falling apart” with “alarming speed”, and he blames Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for it.

In his keynote speech at an event to mark the sixth anniversary of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas), Musa said this was because the former premier did not train leaders but instead chose to retain and train followers instead.

“It is ironic that Dr Mahathir’s vision is now certain to fail because of Dr Mahathir himself.

“Brilliant as he was, he forgot that in order to succeed he needed to train leaders at all levels, but most importantly, political leaders.

“But his personal leadership record shows that he did away with all potential leaders, and retained and trained followers,” Musa said in his speech.

He said in the last few years, the behaviour of certain people in government and politics seemed to be based on struggles which prioritised personal survival.

“By now, we should just be about ready to cross the line of definition from ‘developing’ to ‘developed’.

“Unfortunately, though, it seems to me that the 2020 dream is falling apart with alarming speed,” he said.

Musa was Dr Mahathir’s deputy from 1981 to 1986, when he resigned due to differences with the then Prime Minister.

He then joined forces with Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah who mounted a challenge to Dr Mahathir’s position as Umno president in 1987. Dr Mahathir retained his position with a narrow majority of 43 votes at the Umno election.

Ideas chief executive Wan Saiful Wan Jan, in his speech said that the institute’s mission has been the same throughout its six years.

“It is to improve the level of understanding and acceptance of public policy based on the principles of rule of law, limited government, free markets and individual liberty”.

Ideas was set up on Feb 8 to coincide with the birth date of Tunku Abdul Rahman, who died on Dec 6, 1990 at the age of 87.

Musa Hitam: Dr M is creator and destroyer of Vision 2020  

PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was both the creator and destroyer of Vision 2020, according to Tun Musa Hitam (pic).

Musa, who was the deputy prime minister from 1981 to 1986, said his ex-boss had undone the dream when he chose to remove potential leaders and train followers instead.

"Those followers ended up taking over the leadership of the country after he left office," he added.

"It is ironic that Dr Mahathir's vision is now certain to fail because of Dr Mahathir himself.

"Brilliant as he was, he forgot that in order to succeed, he needed to train leaders at all levels, but most importantly, political leaders.

"His personal leadership record shows that he did away with all potential leaders and retained and trained followers! It is mostly these trained followers that had taken over the leadership of the country," Musa said on Saturday.

He was speaking at a special function commemorating the 113th birthday of the nation's first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, organised by the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas).

Musa said Malaysia was in its current state because of the failure of leadership, adding that the followers Dr Mahathir had groomed in his 22-year tenure were not coordinated in administering the country.

"These trained followers are dedicated and loyal to whoever sits at the very top. They need to be, in order to survive.

"It seems to me that the 2020 dream is falling apart bit by bit but with alarming speed. The way it is, I am now certain that we will not reach our goal of Vision 2020," he said.

Vision 2020 was introduced by Dr Mahathir in 1991, ten years into his tenure as prime minister, as an objective for Malaysia to attain fully-developed nation status by 2020.

The goal has remained a key objective of his successors, including present Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Dr Mahathir, a fierce critic of Najib, however, claimed last year that the current administration would not succeed in achieving Vision 2020.


Brain Drain in Malaysia |Waltham Econ


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Monday, 22 February 2016

'The Last Survivors' recalls Japanese occupation of Malaysia during WWII

Japanese Occupation survivors recount their tales to the new generation
Most of Southeast Asia was occupied during most of World War II by the Japanese. The Japanese captured Southeast Asia very quickly but had not planned very well for occupying it. In many ways the Japanese ruled through violence and repression rather than reasonable and humane governing. Southeast Asians that might have welcomed them as liberators were quickly turned off by Japanese brutality

TRAILER: The Last Survivors R.AGE

PETALING JAYA: It has been 70 years since Japan’s surrender after its occupation of Malaya during World War II, and with each passing year, more stories are being lost due to death and old age. 

R.AGE, an online video documentary team, is hoping to change that with the launch of The Last Survivors (, an online video campaign to document the stories of Malaysia’s WWII survivors.

The first video will be released later today, the 70th anniversary of the final signing ceremony in Kuala Lumpur confirming Japan’s surrender.

The video shows Omar Senik, 85, revisiting Pantai Sabak, Kelantan where he witnessed the start of WWII in Asia when the Japanese landed in Malaya – an hour before the bombing of Pearl Harbour.

Another WWII survivor featured in the series is Etheline Lee, who was 13 when the Japanese arrived in Kuantan.

Lee recalled how she was forced to watch the execution of locals accused by the Japanese of being “traitors”.

“They made them walk into this jungle and stand near a big hole they had dug, and shot them one by one so their bodies would drop into the hole,” said Lee.

According to her, the bodies were buried at the beach now known as Teluk Cempedak. Some were buried right beneath the beach’s popular fast-food outlets.

“It’s important to document stories like these,” said Chen Yih Wen, one of the R.AGE producers working on the series. “They really are the last survivors, and it isn’t enough to read about what they went through, you have to see it with your own eyes because these are places we walk by every day.” 

The Last Survivors campaign also hopes to encourage young people to document WWII stories from their own communities, especially through the memories of survivors.

To participate, record a video interview with a WWII survivor, and e-mail it to

The campaign website features an interactive map which will show the exact locations of all the survivors’ stories, so that anyone can visit them and add to the narrative.

To add a story, photo or video to the map, go to or e-mail

> Know any World War II survivors with interesting stories to share of the war in Malaya? E-mail the R.AGE team at . 

Related:  WWII survivors tell their stories | The Last Survivors | R.AGE 

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Sunday, 21 February 2016

Philippines violated agreements and laws by filing arbitration over South China Sea

China: Rejection of the Philippines' arbitration 'in line with law'

 Foreign Minister Wang Yi says China's rejection of arbitration filed by the Philippines over terroritorial claims, is in line with the law. His remarks came after talks with his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop in Beijing on Wednesday, as Australia called for a resolution to the South China Sea disputes through peaceful means, including arbitration.

"China is actually following international law by not accepting arbitration regarding sovereign and maritime entitlements. Because after joining the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 2006, China issued a declaration according to the rights given to China by Article 298 of the UNCLOS. We issued a government statement excluding China from being subjected to the compulsory settlement measures. The Chinese government will continue to stand by the declaration." said Wang Yi.

China in 2006 declared it would not accept arbitration of disputes concerning territorial sovereignty and maritime rights, in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Wang said.

"Chinese government will certainly stick to this position," Wang said, adding that more than 30 countries, including Australia, have also made similar "exclusive" declarations.

He gave a list of reasons why the Philippines' arbitration attempt is invalid and unacceptable, including unilateral moves without consulting China, which goes against international norms, as well as the common sense argument that arbitration applications are usually lodged only when all other means are depleted.

China and the Philippines have several agreements that disputes should be solved through dialogue and consultation.

The Philippines has also signed the fourth article of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), which states that disputes should be solved by those countries directly related, through negotiation and consultation.

Wang said that the Philippines' arbitration attempt violated previous agreements and raised suspicion of its complicated international background or even hidden political motives.

The minister listed reasons why the Philippines' arbitration attempt, first made in 2014 to a UN tribunal, is invalid and unacceptable. He said it was a unilateral move by the Philippines, which goes against international norms on arbitration, and that they have not yet exhausted other means to reach a resolution. Wang Yi also said any deployment of defense facilities on China's own territory would be legitimate.

Wang further said the Philippines not only violated a number of agreements by filing arbitration without China's consent ... but also did not follow the Declaration on the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea. According to him, any arbitration should only be filed after all possible solutions are tried and failed.

"The Philippines betrayed our trust and went against justice to file for arbitration. That made us wonder whether they are making these decisions following complicated international circumstances.   They may even have political purposes that they don't want to share," he said.

This was in response to western reports that an advanced surface-to-air missile system was deployed to one of the disputed islands in the South China Sea.

"I hope that media everywhere will turn their attention to the lighthouses that we have built on some of the islands in the South China Sea. They are in operation now and they have been very useful in ensuring the safety of passing ships in those waters. The meteorological forecast facilities and other facilities will provide assistance and rescue and emergency response to the fishing boats in those waters. Because I think all of those are actions China, as the biggest state in the South China Sea, has undertaken to provide more public goods and services to the international community and play a positive role there. " said Wang, " As for the limited and necessary self-defence facilities that China has built on the islands and reefs stationed by Chinese personnel, this is consistent with the self-preservation and self-protection that China is entitled to under international law. So there should be no question about that."

The Chinese Foreign Minister also stressed that demilitarization benefits all, but it can not be applied to only one country, or with double or even multiple standards. He said demilitarization in the South China Sea needs joint efforts from countries both in and outside the region. The Chinese Foreign Minister said China noticed that during the just concluded meetings between the US and ASEAN, the two pledged to achieve demilitarization in the region. He said China hopes they can keep their word. Xinhua

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China responds to US's militarizing the South China Sea

Saturday, 20 February 2016

China responds to US's militarizing the South China Sea

It is the US that is militarizing the South China Sea

The U.S. has recently been hyping the idea that China is militarizing the South China Sea. It first criticized China for deploying missiles in Yongxing Island, then claimed in a report that China is building a radar system on islands or reefs in the Nansha Islands.

However, plenty of evidence suggests that it is the U.S. rather than China who is actually militarizing the South China Sea.

First, the U.S. is clearly “a thief calling on others to catch a thief” when accusing China of escalating militarization in the South China Sea.

It is the U.S. that has been enhancing military deployment in neighboring regions of the South China Sea.

The U.S. not only acquired access to eight military bases in the Philippines, the superpower has also continued increasing its military presence in Singapore and sent warships and aircraft to the South China Sea.

What’s more, it has repeatedly pressured its allies and partners to conduct targeted military drills and patrols to play up regional tension.

Besides selling weaponry to the Philippines, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries, the U.S. also repeatedly sent missile destroyers, strategic bombers and anti-submarine patrol aircraft to approach or even enter relevant reefs and islands, as well as the adjacent waters and air space of China’s Nansha and Xisha Islands. Such acts betray ambition to provoke China.

Secondly, the U.S. obviously has a guilty conscience when criticizing China for deploying national defense.

As islands and reefs in the South China Sea have been an indisputable part of China's territory since ancient times, China is entitled to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests.

By deploying necessary defense for its own territory, China is exercising the right of self-preservation granted by international law to sovereign states. This has nothing to do with militarization and is completely legitimate.

China’s defense is not fundamentally different from the defense installation by the U.S. in Hawaii. If other countries have zero intention to threaten China’s sovereignty and security, they needn’t worry about defensive measures.

Thirdly, the U.S. revealed its double standard when criticizing China’s construction on the Nansha Islands. Such construction falls completely within China’s sovereignty. The light houses built by China on its stationed islands and reefs, as well as the facilities for meteorological observation, emergency shelter and rescue, are public services and goods offered by China to the international community as the largest coastal state in the South China Sea.

They are by no means military facilities, but the U.S. has continued picking on China nonetheless.

In contrast, the U.S. turns a blind eye to military actions taken by the Philippines and Vietnam on the Nansha Islands, which they illegally occupy.

Lastly, so-called “safeguarding navigation freedom” is just a cover-up for the U.S. to destroy peace and stability in the South China Sea.

The U.S. military has been carrying out “navigation freedom” activities for a long time. Such activities, in essence, are challenges to other countries’ sovereignty and jurisdiction in their own waters and exclusive economic zones. The U.S. carries out these activities just to maintain its own maritime supremacy.

The freedom of navigation and flight over the South China Sea, to which all countries are entitled under international law, has never been threatened. Over 100,000 vessels from various countries pass through the region every year without a hitch.

However, the “navigation freedom” actions conducted by the U.S. destroy peace and tranquility in the South China Sea and escalate regional tensions.

Not only won’t this selfish and overbearing act help to peacefully resolve the South China Sea issue, it will further disrupt regional peace and stability.

The U.S. must realize that as a party not concerned in the South China Sea issue, it should respect the efforts of China and concerned nations to peacefully handle their own disputes and safeguard the stability of the region.

If the U.S. intends to make sincere contributions, the best way is to stop stirring up tensions through risky military actions in the South China Sea.

-  By Zhang Junshe - The author is a research fellow of China's Naval Research Institute

China said on Friday that it does not intend to pursue militarization of the Nansha Islands in the South China Sea and criticized U.S. air and naval patrols in the region.

China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, adding "China is serious about its commitment not to pursue militarization of the Nansha Islands."

Hong made the remarks after U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said commercial satellite imagery suggested "very recent" placement of missiles on Yongxing Island that goes against China's pledge not to militarize the South China Sea.

"We see no indication that ... this militarization effort, has stopped. And it's doing nothing ... to make the situation there more stable and more secure," Kirby said at a regular news briefing on Thursday.

Hong said that demilitarization in the region is not a matter for just a single country. "There should not be double standards or multi-standards for demilitarization in the South China Sea, and the process requires joint efforts from countries in the region and beyond."

He said the United States is strengthening military deployment in the South China Sea and frequently sends military vessels or planes to waters in the South China Sea to conduct close-in reconnaissance against China.

He also accused the United States of sending missile destroyer and strategic bombers into waters and airspace adjacent to the Nansha Islands and had its allies hold targeted joint military exercises or joint cruises in the region.

The U.S. actions have escalated tensions in the South China Sea and constitute the militarization of the South China Sea, said Hong.

Yongxing Island, the largest island in the Xisha Islands group in the South China Sea, is an inherent part of China's territory, he said.

In 1959, the Chinese government set up an administrative office and the ensuing government facilities on the Yongxing Island.

The deployment of defense facilities on Yongxing Island amounts to China exercising its sovereignty and it has been going on for decades, he said, urging the U.S. side to learn the basic facts regarding the South China Sea before commenting on the issue.

HQ-9 missile prompted by US threat

US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday that "There is every evidence, every day that there has been an increase of militarization of one kind or another," referring to the reported Chinese deployment of missiles in the "disputed" islands in the South China Sea. He said "it's of serious concern" and the US will "have further very serious conversation" with China. The US media has responded strongly to the allegations that China has deployed HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles on Yongxing Island, one of the islands in the Xisha chain. US Senate Armed Forces Chairman John McCain suggested the US consider "additional options to raise the costs on Beijing's behavior."

The HQ-9 missile is a typical type of defensive weapon. The Xisha Islands are Chinese territory and have long been under China's actual control. Previous disputes in the South China Sea did not involve this area, but this time the US has targeted Yongxing Island in Xisha to attack China's "militarization" of the South China Sea. Washington intends to not only tarnish China's image, but also expand the disputes so as to contain China's activities in the Nansha Islands.

The confrontation between China and the US in the South China Sea is likely to escalate. The whole of Chinese society should be cool-minded and be prepared for long-term competition with the US.

First, we should be clear about the country's stance toward the South China Sea. We are safeguarding our legitimate rights without any radical moves. Island building in Nansha and missile deployment in Xisha are in accordance with international law.

Second, China cares about developing ties with all regional countries. The missiles in Yongxing do not target any South China Sea claimants.

Third, China should send clear messages to the outside world that its defensive deployment in Yongxing targets external military threats. The freedom of navigation in the South China Sea only applies to civilian vessels and aerial vehicles. Outside warships and jet fighters must obey the principle of "innocent passage." American warships and flights have constantly made provocations in the South China Sea. The US is bold about imposing pressure on China, and China must make an appropriate response.

Fourth, how the PLA deploys weapons and the defense levels should be determined by the threat level from external military forces. If the US military stages a real threat and a military clash is looming, the PLA may feel propelled to deploy more powerful weapons.

Fifth, China does not want to see an escalation of Sino-US frictions in the South China Sea, but it should let the US know that its every single provocative act will face countermeasures from China.

Sixth, the main risks come from the uncertainty of intensity of China-US competition. It is unrealistic for relevant countries to woo the US to balance China.

Last, China should adopt an active approach to cope with an opinion war and express its stance to the world. China holds firm strategic initiatives in the South China Sea, and the US has no actual effective tools to contain China in the waters. It is best at rhetoric offense, so we must reason with it head-on. - Global Times

Washington's destabilizing role in South China Sea

South China Sea. (Photo/Xinhua)

After failing to get its way at the first U.S.-ASEAN summit in California, Washington appears ready to grasp at anything that could be used against China. And the media hype over China's deployment of a surface-to-air missile system in Yongxing Island, part of the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea, just provided Washington a much-needed excuse to once again criticize Beijing for its alleged role in "militarizing" the region.

For starters, China has indisputable sovereignty over the Xisha Islands and deploying limited and necessary national defense facilities on China's own territory has nothing to do with militarization in the South China Sea.

China has repeatedly made it clear that it has no intention to militarize the region. Its activities are mainly for maintenance purposes, improving the living conditions for the stationed personnel there and providing more public goods in the region.

With trillions of dollars' worth of goods traversing the patch of water every year, the South China Sea is vital both to global trade and to China's development. Beijing has no reason to disrupt one of its own crucial arteries of trade.

Meanwhile, the United States, which has become fixated on the South China Sea since Washington announced a pivot to the Asia-Pacific, has been the primary source of destabilization in the area.

It has conducted a slew of naval and air patrol trips in the vicinity of the China-owned islands, which is in clear violation of China's sovereignty, not to mention international law.

In addition, it has also reopened military bases in the Philippines, in a move widely interpreted as stirring up tension in the region.

Furthermore, some countries in the region are taking more provocative measures to press for illegitimate territorially claims ever since the U.S. put the South China Sea on its radar.

If there were a ranking for destabilizers in the South China Sea, there's no doubt Washington would top the list.

China's practices in the region are defensive in nature, and it sees direct talks between rival claimants rather than military means as the best way to resolve any dispute.

For the sake of regional stability and the common good, let's hope the United States honor its previous commitment of not taking sides on the issue or stirring up tensions. Only then can the South China Sea be home to calm waters. Xinhua

Military factors injected by US provocation in the South China Sea

In an exclusive report, Fox News claimed that it obtained civilian satellite imagery which appears to show China's HQ-9 air defense system on Yongxing Island, part of the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea. Fox News used this as evidence that China is increasingly "militarizing" its islands and "ramping up tensions in the region." Many Western media picked up the news.

They probably aren't clear about the differences between the constructed islands in Nansha Islands and Yongxing Island in Xisha. The disputes over the sovereignty of islands in Nansha are sharp, while the Xisha Islands are under the actual control of China.

China has released the baseline of the territorial sea to the Xisha Islands and their sovereignty is not disputed. Meanwhile, Yongxing is the largest of the Xisha Islands and the location of the city of Sansha. Defensive weapons were deployed on the island in the past. Even if the presence of the HQ-9 system is true as the West has claimed, it is a matter of China's sovereignty and it is fully legitimate for China to do so.

US authorities and opinion have paid particular attention to the "militarization" of the South China Sea, which shows the absurdity of US-style hegemonic mentality. The US, an outsider, has injected the most military elements in the region. It will reopen military bases in the Philippines. It also advocates its allies, Japan and Australia, to join its military navigation in the South China Sea. The biggest act of militarization is that it sent warships within 12 nautical miles of islands claimed by China.

Facing more frequent provocations from the US military, China should strengthen self-defense in the islands in the South China Sea. The deployment of defense systems is not in the domain of militarization, as militarization of islands often means they are built into a fortress to become an outpost of military contests.

Guam is a typical example of US militarization. In recent years, Guam has deployed offensive nuclear submarines and various missile systems which are aimed at deterring China, making it the new pillar of US military deterrence in the Pacific.

At least currently, China finds it does not need to militarize the islands to cope with the other South China Sea claimants. As long as Washington does not inject tensions, China has no motivation to do so. Uncertainties in the future come from the US side.

Once the US repeatedly sends warships to make provocations at Chinese islands and threatens the security of Chinese people and facilities on the islands, more military equipment should be deployed to counter US provocations. This is common in contemporary international relations.

Once the South China Sea is militarized, it will only add to China's strategic costs. Therefore, China will hardly resort to the last choice. But China is not the decisive factor, as it is propelled to react due to provocations from the US and its allies.

China is serious about ensuring stability and prosperity around the South China Sea and has invested enormous energy and resources. The region is adjacent to the route of China's "One Belt, One Road" initiative and China's efforts are eliminating vulnerability caused by a lack of security trust.

Even if the HQ-9s are deployed on South China Sea islands, regional countries would not raise much concern as these claimants have no intention to fight for air supremacy. Jet fighters from the US, an outside country, may feel uneasy when making provocative flights in the region. To us, that's a proper result. - Global Times


US militarizing South China Sea

On issues concerning national sovereignty, the Chinese military will follow the will of its people.

Commentary: U.S. has hard time justifying criticism of China's actions in South China Sea
WASHINGTON, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. government is recently struggling China Sea, because it is clear that it is the United States, not China, that is the real source of militarization of the region.
China's deployment of a surface-to-air missile system on the Xisha Islands, an inherent part of China's territory, is defensive in nature and falls within its sovereign rights and international law.Full Story

China Voice: Provocation no good for peace in South China Sea
BEIJING, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- Sending a warship to another country's territorial waters without notice is hardly the right thing to do, regardless protocols and codes.
The Saturday maneuvers of a U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer 12 nautical miles off Zhongjian Dao, Xisha Islands, was "deliberate provocation", according to China's Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun.
It also drew angry outcry from Chinese on the Internet, with many comments much more radical than the official response. The Chinese people have every reason to feel offended. Full Story 

U.S. should be more inclusive in diplomacy
When the U.S. is excluding others such as China, China pursues a philosophy of openness, transparenc[Read it]

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Chinese scientists aim high with space gravitational wave project

Gravitational wave detection proposal in the works

Chinese scientists are proposing a space gravitational wave detection project that could either be a part of the European Space Agency’s eLISA project or a parallel project.

The announcement of the discovery of gravitational waves in the United States on Thursday by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory has encouraged scientists around the world, with China set to accelerate research. Gravitational waves are tiny ripples in the fabric of space-time caused by violent astronomical events.

Scientists from the pre-research group at the Chinese Academy of Sciences disclosed that the group will finish drafting a plan for a space gravitational wave detection project by the end of this year and will submit it to China’s sci-tech authorities for review.

The Taiji project will include two alternative plans. One is to take a 20 percent share of the European Space Agency’s eLISA project; the other is to launch China’s own satellites by 2033 to authenticate the ESA project.

“Gravitational waves provide us with a new tool to understand the universe, so China has to actively participate in the research,” said Hu Wenrui, a prominent physicist in China and a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

“If we launch our own satellites, we will have a chance to be a world leader in gravitational wave research in the future. If we just participate in the eLISA project, it will also greatly boost China’s research capacity in space science and technology.

“In either case, it depends on the decision-makers’ resolution and the country’s investment,” he said.

The draft will provide different scenarios with budgets ranging from 160 million yuan ($24.3 million) to more than 10 billion yuan.

“Although I am not sure which plan the decision-makers will finally choose, I think the minimum budget of 160 million yuan should not be a problem for China,” Hu said.

The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna’s gravitational wave observatory was the EAS’ cooperative mission with NASA to detect and observe gravitational waves. The project, proposed in 1993, involved three satellites that were arranged in a triangular formation and sent laser beams between each other.

Since NASA withdrew from the project in 2011 because of a budget shortfall, the LISA project evolved into a condensed version known as eLISA.

On Dec 2, the European Space Agency launched the space probe LISA Pathfinder to validate technologies that could be used in the construction of a full-scale eLISA observatory, which is scheduled for launch in 2035.

“Currently, all the operating gravitational wave detection experiments worldwide are ground observatories, which can only detect high-frequency gravitational wave signals,” said Wu Yueliang, deputy president of the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

“A space observatory, without any ground interference or limitation to the length of its detection arms, can spot gravitational waves at lower frequency.”

On February 11, scientists from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory in the US confirmed they had detected gravitational waves caused by two black holes merging about 1.3 billion years ago. This was the first time this elusive phenomenon was directly detected since it was predicted by Albert Einstein 100 years ago.

LIGO, currently the most advanced ground facility for gravitational research, includes two gravitational wave detectors in isolated rural areas of the US states of Washington and Louisiana.

“Metaphorically speaking, if the research into gravitational waves is a symphony, the discovery of the LIGO experiment makes a good prelude by proving that the hypothetical wave does exist. But I believe the other movements will mostly be composed of new discoveries from space observatory devices, because the low and middle band — which can only be detected from space — is the most extensive source of gravitational wave,” said Hu, the CAS physicist.

Meanwhile, the Taiji project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has competitors in China. Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, proposed the Tianqin project in July. That project will receive a 300 million yuan startup fund from the local government to initiate a four-step plan to send three satellites in search of gravitational waves and other cosmic mysteries.

Li Miao, director of the Institute of Astronomy and Space Science, said it was still too early to tell the specific direction of the future of the university’s Tianqin project.

“The major gravitational wave research program in China is the cooperation with eLISA, which is led by professor Hu Wenrui,” Li was quoted by Guangdong’s Nanfang Daily as saying.

“The reason that eLISA made progress rather slowly was that the member states in Europe held different opinions as to whether gravitational waves exist. Now this has been proved to be true, which will greatly accelerate the pace of research in and out of China,” Li said.

China Daily/Asia News Network



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