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From the nytimes.com article:
As Washington tries to rebuild its strained relationships in Latin America, China is stepping in vigorously, offering countries across the region large amounts of money while they struggle with sharply slowing economies, a plunge in commodity prices and restricted access to credit.

In recent weeks, China has been negotiating deals to double a development fund in Venezuela to $12 billion, lend Ecuador at least $1 billion to build a hydroelectric plant, provide Argentina with access to more than $10 billion in Chinese currency and lend Brazil’s national oil company $10 billion. The deals largely focus on China locking in natural resources like oil for years to come.

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From cosmosmagazine.com:
China has already surpassed the United States as the world’s largest carbon polluter, the authors of a U.S. study said yesterday.

“Our best forecast has China’s CO2 [carbon dioxide] emissions correctly surpassing the United States in 2006 rather than 2020 as previously anticipated,” said the study by researchers at the University of California.

The report, written by economic professors Maximilian Aufhammer and Richard Carson of the Berkeley and San Diego campuses respectively, will be published next month in the U.S. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management.

Researchers compiled information about the use of fossil fuels in various Chinese provinces and forecast an 11 per cent annual growth of carbon emissions from 2004 to 2010. Previous estimates had set the growth rate at 2.5 to 5 per cent.

According to the paper’s authors, the spike in air pollution by China has largely cancelled out efforts by other countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the .

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From the washingtonpost.com article:
China announced Tuesday that it will again sharply increase its military spending this year, budgeting a 17.6 percent rise that is roughly equal to last year’s increase.

Disclosure of plans for a $59 billion outlay in 2008 followed a Pentagon report Monday that raised questions about China’s rapidly increasing military budget, and came less than three weeks before a presidential election in Taiwan, the self-governed island over which China claims sovereignty.

A Chinese government spokesman said the country’s decade-long military buildup does “not pose a threat to any country,” but he warned that relations with Taiwan were at a “crucial stage” and that the island would “surely pay a dear price” if it were to take steps that China viewed as a declaration of independence.

At the same time Taiwanese choose a president, they also will vote on a referendum issue asking whether the island should apply for U.N. membership under the name Taiwan.

China’s reported $59 billion budget is still a fraction of what the United States spends each year on its armed forces. President Bush last month requested $515 billion to fund the Pentagon in fiscal 2009, a 7.5 percent increase, plus $70 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The United States has pressed China to be more open about its intentions as the scope of its military capabilities and pace of spending increase. At a Pentagon briefing Monday, David Sedney, deputy assistant defense secretary for East Asia, reiterated the U.S. view that China’s defense establishment still severely underreports total spending and has not been clear about its intentions.

“China’s military buildup has been characterized by opacity,” Sedney told reporters, and “by the inability of people in the region and around the world to really know what ties together the capabilities that China’s acquiring with the intentions it has.”

The Pentagon report said China’s near-term focus remains on preparations for potential problems in the Taiwan Strait. But China’s nuclear force modernization, its growing arsenal of advanced missiles and its development of space and cyberspace technologies are changing military balances in Asia and beyond, the report concluded.

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From the article:
The United States is worried that Russia, China and OPEC oil-producing countries could use their growing financial clout to advance political goals, the top U.S. spy chief told Congress on Tuesday.

Such economic matters joined terrorism, nuclear proliferation and computer-network vulnerabilities as top U.S. security threats described by National Director of Intelligence Michael McConnell in an annual assessment.

McConnell said U.S. intelligence agencies had “concerns about the financial capabilities of Russia, China and OPEC countries and the potential use of their market access to exert financial leverage to political ends.”

Russia, bolstered in part by oil revenues, was positioning itself to control an energy supply and transportation network from Europe to East Asia, and the Russian military had begun to reverse a long decline, he told the Senate Intelligence Committee.

China has pursued a policy of global engagement out of a desire to expand its growing economy and obtain access markets, resources, technology and expertise, McConnell said.

It seeks a constructive relationship with the United States and other countries, but as its influence grows “Beijing probably will increasingly expect its interests to be respected by other countries,” he said.

Russia and China have long been able to target U.S. computer systems to collect intelligence, he said. “The worrisome part is, today, they also could target information infrastructure systems for degradation or destruction.”

In the energy sector, a weak U.S. dollar had prompted some oil suppliers, including Iran, Syria and Libya, to ask for payment in other currencies, or to delink their currencies from the dollar, McConnell said. “Continued concerns about dollar depreciation could tempt other producers to follow suit.”

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From the article:
Russia’s most likely next president, Dmitry Medvedev, on Thursday called on Russian businessmen to mirror China and go on a global buying spree of foreign firms to boost the country’s economic clout.
Medvedev, whom President Vladimir Putin has chosen as his candidate in the March 2 presidential election, vowed Kremlin support to Russian firms seeking new markets abroad.
But Russia’s most influential business group said internal barriers, including corruption and the growing role of the state in the economy, could prevent firms developing.
Medvedev, speaking at an investor conference in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar, said Russian firms had been buying foreign technology to boost productivity but called for a reduction of such “technological dependency.”
“One of the paths here is the purchase of foreign enterprises, directly or with stakes in their charter capital,” Medvedev told an audience which included some of Russia’s most powerful businessmen, known as the oligarchs inside Russia.
“It is a very important task and you know it is being carried out by the majority of countries and some of them are doing it very actively, such as China, and we could do it more actively,” Medvedev said.

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From the 10/26/05 article:
Russia and China could take a step closer to forming a Eurasian military confederacy to rival NATO at a Moscow meeting of the six-member Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Wednesday, experts say.

The group, which started in 2001 with limited goals of promoting cooperation in former Soviet Central Asia, has evolved rapidly toward a regional security bloc and could soon induct new members such as India, Pakistan, and Iran.

One initiative that core members Russia and China agree on, experts say, is to squeeze US influence – which peaked after 9/11 – out of the SCO’s neighborhood. “Four years ago, when the SCO was formed, official Washington pooh-poohed it and declared it was no cause for concern,” says Ariel Cohen, senior researcher at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. “Now they’re proven wrong.”

Wednesday’s meeting is expected to review security cooperation, including a spate of upcoming joint military exercises between SCO members’ armed forces. It may also sign off on a new “Contact Group” for Afghanistan. That would help Russia and China – both concerned about increased opium flows and the rise of Islamism – develop direct relations between SCO and the Afghan government. While this will be highly controversial given the presence of NATO troops and Afghans’ bitter memories of fighting Russian occupation throughout the 1980s, the Russians have an “in” because they still have longstanding allies in the country.

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From the article:
China roiled financial markets around the globe yesterday when it asserted that the dollar is losing its luster as the world’s reserve currency and that Beijing will swap some of its $1.4 trillion in reserves out of U.S. dollars and into stronger currencies like the euro and Canadian dollar.

China’s verbal assault on the dollar helped trigger a 360-point plunge in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and came as French President Nicolas Sarkozy warned in a speech to Congress that the “disarray” caused by the dollar’s steep fall could lead to “economic war.”

“The world’s currency structure has changed,” Xu Jian, a central bank vice director, said in a Beijing conference, according to wire service reports. The dollar is “losing its status as the world currency,” he said.

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From the article”
On a holiday created to unite his country, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a veiled warning that foreigners were seeking to split up the vast country and plunder its resource wealth.

“Some people are constantly insisting on the necessity to divide up our country and are trying to spread this theory,” Putin told military cadets during a speech in Moscow on Sunday, Russian news agencies reported.

“There are those who would like to build a unipolar world, who would themselves like to rule all of humanity,” Putin said, a phrase he has used over the past seven years of his administration to mean the United States.

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From the article:
For the first time in modern history, China will next year contribute more to global economic growth than the United States.

The landmark moment was predicted yesterday by the International Monetary Fund and is the latest illustration of the fast-growing Asian country’s importance to the world economy.

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This is like a chess match with multiple players and real consequences.

From the article:
Is the Caspian a sea or a lake?

The answer has immense repercussions for the energy industry. If it is a lake, there are no obligations by countries that flank it to grant permits to foreign vessels or drilling companies. But if it is sea, there are international treaties obliging those countries to an array of permits.

The Caspian, one of the world’s largest enclosed bodies of water, has become the center of a new power game involving the United States and Russia as well as its bordering countries, including Iran, over who should control the vast energy reserves under its depths.

Read the article here.

See the Wikipedia link regarding the Caspian Sea which includes a map showing the borders of all the countries involved in the story.

Diplomacide Mothballed

Diplomacide has been mothballed.
December 2017
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