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Trump Takes on China in a Twitter Outburst

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Donald Trump
  • Trump Takes on China in a Twitter Outburst

Weeks before taking office, the incoming American president is riling Beijing with confrontation and online statements that appear to foreshadow a tougher foreign policy toward China.

China woke up this morning to sharp criticism posted by Trump on Twitter, days after Beijing responded to his telephone conversation with Taiwan’s president by accusing the Taiwanese of playing a “small trick” on Trump.

Trump wrote:

Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into their country (the U.S. doesn’t tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea? I don’t think so!

Personality

That was apparently prompted by China’s response to Trump’s talk Friday with Tsai Ing-wen, the first time an American president or president-elect is known to have spoken to a Taiwanese leader since the US broke off formal diplomatic relations in 1979.

So far, China has avoided responding with open hostility. Today, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China would have “no comment on what motivated the Trump team” to make the tweets, but said he believed both sides would continue to support a “sound and a stable bilateral relationship.”

“For us, for China, we do not comment on his personality,” Lu said.

We focus on his policies, especially his policies toward China.

China’s reaction to Trump’s call with Tsai was relatively low-key given the sensitivity China places on Taiwan.

The US and Taiwan retain strong unofficial ties, and the US sells weapons to the self-governing island. But American leaders have for decades avoided any official recognition in deference to China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory, to be captured by force if necessary.

Trump’s reference in another tweet to Tsai as “the President of Taiwan” was sure to inflame China, which considers any reference to Taiwan having a president as a grave insult.

Punish

But China only said it would make a “solemn representation” in Washington, and Lu declined to expand on that statement today.

Instead, China seemed to offer Trump a face-saving way out of an apparent blunder by blaming the Taiwanese.

English-language commentaries then appeared in two state-run newspapers known to be used by China’s ruling Communist Party leadership to send messages abroad.

“Trump might be looking for some opportunities by making waves,” the Global Times said in an editorial today headlined, “Talk to Trump, punish Tsai administration.”

“However, he has zero diplomatic experience and is unaware of the repercussions of shaking up Sino-US relations,” the newspaper said.

“It is certain that Trump doesn’t want a showdown with China, because it is not his ambition, and neither was it included in his promise to the electorate.”

“He puts out feelers to sound China out and chalk up some petty benefits.”

China’s response was characteristically coded. But it now faces an incoming president who deals in outspoken tweets, not communiques.

Not true

Trump used a platform banned by censors in mainland China to renew several of his criticisms during the US presidential campaign. Some of his arguments aren’t true.

Taiwan’s official Central News Agency, citing anonymous sources on Saturday, said Edwin Feulner, founder of the Washington-based Heritage Foundation, was a “crucial figure” in setting up communication channels between the sides.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence yesterday said that the phone call shouldn’t necessarily be interpreted as a shift in US policy. He shrugged off the attention to the incident as media hype.

“It was a courtesy call,” Pence told NBC’s Meet the Press.

Ned Price, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said Trump’s conversation does not signal any change to long-standing US policy — although some in Taiwan expressed hopes for strong US support from the incoming administration.

In terms of Trump’s criticisms, Chinese imports are taxed at standard US rates, while Washington has recently slapped painful punitive tariffs on Chinese steel, solar panels and other goods.

And while China once kept a tight grip on the value of the yuan, also known as the renminbi, it now allows it to trade within a bandwidth 2% above or below a daily target set by the People’s Bank of China.

The yuan is currently trading at around a six-year low against the dollar. But economists now conclude that the currency is more or less properly valued in relation to the dollar and other foreign currencies.

Controls

And with economic growth slowing considerably and more Chinese trying to move money out of the country, the government is now spending massively to hold up the yuan’s value rather than depressing it as Trump and other critics accuse it of doing.

It has also imposed strict controls on Chinese moving money out of the country.

China has built up its military and constructed man-made islands in the South China Sea, and made sweeping territorial claims over almost the entire critical waterway. Those claims were broadly rejected in June by an international tribunal in The Hague.

Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at People’s University in Beijing, predicted China would not lash out immediately, but calibrate its response over the next several months after Trump enters the White House.

“Trump’s remarks will certainly raise the concerns of Chinese leaders,” Shi said. “But at the moment, they will be restrained and watch his moves closely.”

Calm

Meanwhile, Taiwan has urged China to stay calm after the Taiwanese leader’s unprecedented phone call to US President-elect Donald Trump angered Beijing, as residents and analysts in Taipei expressed fears at the possible fallout.
Ties between Taipei and Beijing have grown increasingly frosty since China-sceptic Tsai Ing-wen took power in Taiwan in May, ending eight years of cross-strait rapprochement.

Beijing has since cut off all official communication with the self-ruled island, which it still views as part of its territory.

Today Taiwan’s China affairs minister Chang Hsiao-yueh urged Beijing to consider the matter with a “calm attitude”. She told reporters:

“The government values ties with [China] and the president has reiterated time and again that Taiwan will not go back to the old way of confrontation… I don’t think there is an act of provocation.”

Tsai herself has made no comment but the presidential office has insisted there is “no conflict” between Taiwan maintaining relations with the US and with China.

In Taipei some said they now fear a Beijing backlash.

“I doubt that a short phone call will help Taiwan that much in the long-term, but it will infuriate China and they will likely take vengeful moves against Taiwan,” said receptionist Hu Chi-hui, 38.

Saleswoman Ho Li-chin, 43, told AFP she fears China will try to isolate Taiwan even more in the international community.

More harm than good

Political analysts said Tsai was gambling that the call would increase her bargaining power with Beijing.

Fan Shih-ping of the National Taiwan Normal University, said Tsai wanted to show Beijing that “giving Taiwan the cold shoulder would drive it further towards the US”.

But as she battles falling approval ratings at home over domestic issues, observers agreed the move was unlikely to significantly improve her popularity – and could damage it further.

“Beijing will not leave the matter at that and this could do Tsai more harm than good, such as prompting Beijing to get Taiwan’s diplomatic allies to switch recognition,” said Tang Shao-cheng, a political scientist at the National Chengchi University.

However, some residents voiced support for Tsai.

“Taiwan has the right to maintain relations with other countries and we shouldn’t look to China before taking our moves,” said pensioner Lin Ji-chen in Taipei. ”Taiwan should walk its own path.”

AFP

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade long experience in the global financial market.

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Mismanagement of Public Funds and Resources Will Destroy Nigeria, Says Stakeholders

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Buhari in Port Harcourt

Some concerned stakeholders have said the broad-based financial misappropriation, abuse of public office by Public Officeholders and unchecked borrowing will destroy the nation’s present and future if not checked.

According to Auwal Musa, the Executive Director, CISLAC, who spoke at a stakeholders’ dialogue on ‘Policies, Gaps and Alternatives in Fiscal Transparency in Private Sector Governance,’ organised by Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), and Transparency International (TI), with support from OXFAM’s country office in Nigeria, abuse of power and financial recklessness as been going on for far too long.

Musa said, “This has been going on for too long, and every singular effort from the citizens is termed as hate or unpatriotic. Meanwhile, the consequences of this anomaly are staring us in the face on a daily basis and are on the increase. Increased poverty; banditry allegedly occasioned by rising unemployment; and unpatriotic citizens trooping into leadership positions to perpetuate the looting and misappropriation due to no oversight and punitive sanctions, not to mention health, infrastructure and societal decay. The list is inexhaustible.

He also implored the Government that in order to reduce the excessive misuse of public resources, mismanagement of finances and strengthen the financial management system, the holes that encourage people to evade and undermine the collection of taxes must be bridged and in-depth economic improvement devised to close policy gaps.

There are many areas in which the government can increase its revenue drive. For instance, in the Oil and Gas sector, there are a lot of gaps as a result of lack of a clear legal framework through the PIB, which will enable the sector to be more efficient, transparent and competitive. Again, the oil theft needs to be blocked; other areas like maritime revenue can be harnessed in these sectors.

“Also, the government should block the areas where revenues are supposed to be collected and are not collected. For instance, the audit report clearly shows how the government is losing revenue.” he said.

The stakeholders urge policymakers to look for other sources of revenue that can guarantee development in Nigeria.

Also, speaking at the event was the Programme Manager, Tax, Justice, Environment and Conservation of Nature, CISLAC, Chinedu Bassey, who said one of the reasons to strengthen the Nigerian financial management system is to stop people from stealing and mismanaging resources meant for development.

Iheme Madukairo, the Manager, Large Tax Audit, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), advised Nigerians who evade taxes to stop such act that the law will take its course.

He said “Enforcement is out there, sleeves are rolled up to do the job that we are mandated to do by the act and sooner or later, we will catch up with them. The sanctions have also increased by virtue of the finance act. The penalty has been increased, once it is found out that it is a deliberate act to breach the law, the law will take its course.

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Lai Mohammed Says Buhari Has Recovered Over N800bn in Looted Funds

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President Muhammadu Buhari

Buhari Has Recovered Over N800bn in Looted Funds

President Muhammadu Buhari government has recovered over N800 billion looted by corrupt Nigerians since the beginning of this administration in 2015.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, disclosed this on Tuesday at a press conference held in Abuja.

He said, “This administration’s fight against corruption is as strong as ever, and we have the records to back up this claim.

“This administration has recorded over 1,400 convictions, including high profile ones, and recovered funds in excess of N800bn, not to talk of forfeiture of ill-gotten properties.”

President Muhammadu Buhari has made recovery of Nigeria’s stolen assets one of his priorities since he became president in 2015.

Several of Nigeria’s untouchables have been convicted despite political experts and social commentators saying the war against corruption should not be only against opposition but also against those in the ruling party that seems to have been overlooked.

Still, the ruling party has insisted that members of the party have been convicted and one of such is Kalu.

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President Buhari Names Railway Stations After Tinubu, Jonathan, Fashola, Others

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Buhari

Buhari Names Railway Stations After Prominent Nigerians

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday named railway stations after Tinubu, Jonathan and other prominent Nigerians.

In a statement released through the Ministry of Transportation and signed by Eric Ojiekwe, Director, Press and Public Relations of the Ministry, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed that the deserving citizens have contributed to the progress and development of their respective communities and the nation at large.

According to the statement, for the Lagos-Ibadan with extension to the Lagos Port Complex at Apapa railway station, the beneficiaries are:

Bola Ahmed Tinubu (Apapa station)

Mobolaji Johnson (Ebute Metta Station)

Babatunde Raji Fashola (Agege station),

Lateef Jakande (Agbado station) and

Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (Kajola station).

Others are Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti (Papalanto station)

Prof. Wole Soyinka (Abeokuta station),

Aremo Segun Osoba(Olodo station)

Chief Ladoka Akintola (Omio-Adio station)

Chief Obafemi Awolowo (Ibadan station)

and Chief Alex Ekwueme (Operation Control Centre)

For the Itakpe-Ajaokuta/Aladja-Warri Railway, the names are:

Alhaji Adamu Attah (Itakpe station)

Dr. Olushola Saraki (Ajaokuta station)

Admiral Augustus Aikhomu (Itogbo station)

Brigadier General George Innih (Agenebode station)

Anthony Eromosele Enahoro (Uromi station)

Chief Tom Ikimi (Ekehen station) and

Brig. Gen. Samuel Osaigbovo Ogbemudia (rtd) (Igbanke station)

Others according to the statement include:

Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (Agbor Station Complex)

Brigadier General David Ejoor (Abraka station)

Micheal Ibru (Opara station)

Alfred Rewane (Ujevwu station) and

Vice Admiral Mike Akhigbe (Railway Village, Agbor).

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