China in world’s top five arms exporters

By Michael Martina | Reuters

China Arms

(Reuters) – China has become the world’s fifth-largest arms exporter, a respected Sweden-based think-tank said on Monday, its highest ranking since the Cold War, with Pakistan the main recipient.

China’s volume of weapons exports between 2008 and 2012 rose 162 percent compared with the previous five-year period, with its share of the global arms trade rising from 2 percent to 5 percent, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said.

China replaces Britain in the top five arms-dealing countries between 2008 and 2012, a group dominated by the United States and Russia, which accounted for 30 percent and 26 percent of weapons exports, SIPRI said.

“China is establishing itself as a significant arms supplier to a growing number of important recipient states,” Paul Holtom, director of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme, said in a statement.

The shift, outlined in SIPRI’s Trends in International Arms Transfers report, marks China’s first time as a top-five arms exporter since the think-tank’s 1986-1990 data period.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, asked about the report, said China was a responsible arms exporter which strictly adhered to international law.

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Senators raise alarm over another possible sale of taxpayer-backed firm to Chinese

Fisker 660

A solar roof is seen on a Fisker Karma hybrid electric car during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. (Reuters)

Republican senators complained Wednesday that U.S. taxpayer dollars could end up boosting the Chinese economy, following reports that a Chinese firm is leading the pack of companies bidding for a majority stake in government-backed Fisker Automotive.

The troubled California-based electric car maker, which was backed by U.S. taxpayers to the tune of nearly $530 million, for months has been looking for a financial partner. Reuters reported earlier this week that China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group is favored to take over, though Fisker is also reportedly weighing a bid from another Chinese auto maker.

The development comes after Fisker’s main battery supplier — U.S. government-backed A123 Systems — was recently purchased by a separate Chinese firm.

Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, voiced concern Wednesday that Chinese companies are benefiting from U.S. taxpayers’ investment.

“Obama’s green energy investments appear to be nothing more than venture capital for eventual Chinese acquisitions,” Thune said in a statement. “After stimulus-funded A123 was just acquired by a Chinese-based company, it’s troubling to see that yet another struggling taxpayer-backed company might be purchased under duress by a Chinese company.”

Grassley added: “Like A123, this looks like another example of taxpayer dollars going to a failed experiment. Technology developed with American taxpayer subsidies should not be sold off to China.”

Despite the Reuters report, Fisker stressed that the bidding process is still very much open.

“The company has received detailed proposals from multiple parties in different continents which are now being evaluated by the company and its advisors,” Fisker spokesman Roger Ormisher said in a statement.

The Obama administration also defended the Energy Department’s overall loan program, which originally extended the nearly $530 million loan to Fisker in 2010.

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Chinese bid for A123 may raise security risks: Senators

A123

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Chinese company’s attempt to take over government-backed battery maker A123 raises serious national security concerns, a bipartisan group of lawmakers said this week, adding to growing congressional opposition to the deal.

China’s Wanxiang Group Corp is currently competing with U.S.-based Johnson Controls Inc to buy bankrupt A123, which makes lithium ion batteries for electric cars.

The government must ensure that any sale of A123’s technology, which has also been used by the military and to support the U.S. electrical grid, does not threaten domestic security, the senators said in letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and other top cabinet officials.

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China Launches Aircraft Carrier

Chinese Aircraft Carrier

China J-16 Landing on Deck

Langley Intelligence Group Network LIGNET

China has entered a critical phase in its rapid military expansion — and it is flexing its muscle for the world to see.

China just announced that it has succeeded in landing a J-15 fighter on an aircraft carrier, a milestone most experts didn’t expect the Chinese military to achieve for several years.

Gordon G. Chang, an expert on Asian geopolitics, tells LIGNET, the global intelligence and forecasting service, that China is becoming desperate as a result of its deteriorating economy and the desire to claim more land.

Chang also believes the “military is starting to break free of civilian control.” He calls this “a very, very troublesome event.”

Is this just the beginning of China’s aggressive attempt to position itself as a global military superpower?

As the Obama administration prepares to announce the replacement for Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, this looms as a critically important question.

On Tuesday, Dec. 4LIGNET will hold an emergency briefing on the escalating tensions between the United States and China.

Leading the intelligence panel will be former CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who recently served as U.S. ambassador to China.

We strongly encourage you to join this urgent LIGNET briefing Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, at 11 a.m. EST to discover how this new China could have dire consequences for America and inescapable economic ramifications.

If you would like to register to watch this important briefing, you can sign up by clicking here.

Silicon Valley exporter sentenced to prison

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A Silicon Valley electronics exporter was sentenced to a little more than a year in prison for selling sensitive technology to China without a license.

Fu-Tain Lu had was also ordered on Monday to pay a $5,000 fine and forfeit $136,000 worth of sensitive electronics. The 65-year-old Lu had pleaded guilty to one felony charge in November, admitting he sold microwave amplifiers to a Chinese company. U.S. companies are required to get the permission of the Department of Commerce before selling and shipping amplifiers to China.

The U.S. government restricts the sale of some technologies if they are for military use. The Justice Department also said Lu instructed employees to lie about where the products were going.

Pratt & Whitney Caught Illegally Selling Military Technology to China

Pratt & Whitney, a key military hardware supplier to the U.S., sold China the software and engines needed to make its first-ever modern attack helicopter.

A Chinese Z10 helicopter shows off its 30 mm cannons, anti-tank guided missiles, and air-to-air missiles. (Global Security)

The Canadian arm of the aircraft engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney closed a six-year U.S. government probe last week by admitting that it helped China produce its first modern attack helicopter, a serious violation of U.S. export laws that drew a multimillion dollar fine.

At the same time it was helping China, the company was separately earning huge fees from contracts with the Pentagon, including some in which it was building weapons meant to ensure that America can maintain decisive military superiority over China’s rising military might.

The Chinese helicopter that benefited from Pratt’s engines and related computer software, now in production, comes outfitted with 30 mm cannons, anti-tank guided missiles, air-to-air missiles and unguided rockets. “This case is a clear example of how the illegal export of sensitive technology reduces the advantages our military currently possesses,” Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton said in a statement released on June 28.

The events are once again raising questions about the circumstances under which major defense contractors might be barred from government work. Independent watchdogs have long complained that few such firms have been barred or suspended, even for egregious lawbreaking, such as supplying armaments or related equipment to a hypothetical adversary.

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