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China sets up unmanned weather station in Tibet for help in ‘live-fire conflict’ with India

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BEIJING: China has set up an unmanned weather station in Tibet which can be used for military purpose in the event of an armed conflict with India, according to a report.
According to the state-run Global Times, this unmanned automatic weather observation station has been set up in the Yumai township in Southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region close to the Indian border.
The construction of the station started in early 2018, but it was severely hit due to extremely bad weather in the area. It was finally completed in June and the station transmitted its first weather data on June 22, the report said.
The unmanned weather station set up near Arunachal Pradesh will provide meteorological support to the Chinese military and assist operations of aircraft and missiles in case of “regional live-fire conflicts,” the report said.
The weather station in the Yumai township under Lhunze county of Shannan Prefecture in Tibet will eliminate a blind area of meteorological services, said the state-run Global Times report.
It will also provide strong meteorological support for national defence and further promote border development as well as military-civilian integration, according to a statement by the Tibet weather bureau.
“The station can observe six factors, including air temperature, air pressure, wind speed, wind direction, humidity and precipitation, with more accuracy than before,” Tashi Norbu, a technician in charge of the station, was quoted as saying by the state-run daily.
“Yumai is at the border. The station could provide data to help with transportation and communication in national defence. It could also offer support during regional live-fire conflicts,” Norbu said.
The unmanned weather station is significant since regional weather is an important factor that could influence the take-off and landing of aircraft and the launch of missiles during a battle, Song Zhongping, a military expert, was quoted as saying by the Global Times.
The small weather observation station could provide such information, the Chinese military expert said. Grasping accurate weather information could help seize good opportunities in the battles, Song added.
The Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China covered 3488-km which includes Arunachal Pradesh, which is claimed by China as part of southern Tibet.
Yumai, which is China’s smallest township in terms of population, has just nine households and 32 residents. It is located in the southern foothills of the Himalayas and affected by the monsoon climate of the Indian Ocean.
Yumai is connected to the outside world with a road which has been under construction since 2017.
More weather stations are likely to come when the construction of the road is complete, a Chinese official said.


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Pakistan puts major CPEC power project on hold, asks China to delete it from list

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Islamabad: In a setback to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Pakistan government has decided to put on hold a major power project, Rahim Yar Khan power project, and has reportedly informed the Chinese government about the same. According to a report in Pakistan-based Dawn News, the Pakistan government will shut down several other schemes under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP).

The report further said that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government has asked Beijing to “formally delete the project from the CPEC list”. The same was communicated to China in a meeting of the CPEC Joint Coordination Committee by Pakistan on December 20, 2018. According to the report, the project was pushed by the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz government in the past.

The development comes months after China refuted charges that Pakistan’s current economic crisis crumbled because of projects under CPEC. China had said that blaming CPEC was uncalled for and that the corridor in fact was something that would bolster Pakistan economy in the years to come.

 

The defence of CPEC was necessiated after rising voices in Pakistan against it. Several people questioned the loans taken from China and asked the terms for their repayment. Even the United States has said that the current state of Pakistani economy is a result of loans it has taken from Beijing and has made it clear that it won’t allow any bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which would be used by Islamabad to repay Chinese debt.

The IMF also later observed that increasing Chinese involvement in Pakistan’s economy could be disastrous on the latter’s future.

Islamabad has already cut the size of the biggest Chinese “Silk Road” project in Pakistan, a reconstruction of the main rail line between the port city of Karachi and Peshawar in the northwest by $2 billion, citing government concerns about the country’s debt levels. The changes are part of Islamabad’s efforts to rethink key Belt and Road Initiative projects in Pakistan, to which China has pledged about $60bn in financing.

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Trump threatens to ‘devastate’ Turkey’s economy if it attacks Kurds

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Washington: US President Donald Trump said that America would “devastate Turkey economically” if the NATO-allied country attacks Kurds in the region. “Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining IS (Islamic State) territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions. Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms,” the President tweeted.

“Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds,” but followed up in a second tweet, “Likewise, do not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey.”

Turkey views some Kurdish groups in the region as terrorist organisations and Kurds make up the majority of US-allied fighters operating in Syria in the civil war against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad`s regime, CNN reported.

 

It`s a stark threat toward an ally in the region that has partnered with the US in the fight against the IS. CNN reported on Thursday that the first US military ground equipment has been withdrawn from Syria, according to an administration official with direct knowledge of the operation.

Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan publicly lashed out at US National Security Adviser John Bolton for saying the US withdrawal was contingent upon Ankara`s pledge not to attack US-backed Kurdish fighters in Syria once troops leave.

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Bill for delisting Pakistan as major ally tabled in US Congress

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WASHINGTON: A bill seeking to remove Pakistan from a list of America’s major non-Nato allies has been introduced in the US Congress, even though the Trump administration enhances its contacts with Islamabad in its pursuit of a peaceful end to the Afghan war.

The resolution — introduced by Congressman Andy Biggs who, like the Trump administration, is a Republican — sets new conditions for future re-designation.

If a US president desires to put Pakistan back on the list, he or she will have to certify to Congress that Pakistan continues to conduct military operations that are contributing to significantly disrupting the “safe haven and freedom of movement” of the Haqqani Network in the country.

 

The president also has to certify that Pakistan has shown progress in arresting and prosecuting Haqqani Network’s senior leaders and mid-level operatives.
Take a look: Pakistan has given us nothing but lies and deceit, says US President Donald Trump

The re-designation will require another certification from Congress that Pakistan has taken steps to demonstrate its commitment to preventing the Haqqani Network from using any Pakistani territory as a safe haven and that Pakistan actively cooperates with Afghanistan to restrict the movement of militants along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Known as Resolution H.R. 73, the bill has been sent to the House Foreign Affairs Committee for necessary action.

Mr Biggs, a second-term legislator, has no cosponsor and his move will need a strong support from the Trump administration and the Democratic Party to pass a House dominated by the Democrats.

In recent statements, President Donald Trump has clearly expressed his desire to withdraw at least half of the 14,000 US troops still stationed in Afghanistan.

Senior Democrats — both in and outside Congress — have also said that the United States cannot remain involved in these apparently unending wars in Afghanistan and Syria.

But before an ultimate withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Trump administration wants to ensure that the pullout does not lead to the collapse of the US-backed Afghan government in Kabul.

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