Why is Apple so vulnerable to a trade war with China?

  • Apple closes down almost 6% on Monday after news of a major escalation in the U.S.-China trade war.
  • The company assembles iPhones in China, making it vulnerable to price increases if a tariff were to be placed on Chinese exports.
  • It also sells a lot of iPhones in China, making it sensitive to Chinese consumer confidence.
GP: Tim Cook China Development Forum 2019 In Beijing
CEO of Apple Tim Cook attends China Development Forum 2019 at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on March 23, 2019 in Beijing, China.
VCG | Getty Images

Apple closed down nearly 6% on Monday after news of a major escalation in the U.S.-China trade war.China said on Monday that it decided to raise tariffs on some U.S. goods after President Donald Trump threatened to further raise tariffs on Chinese imports last week.

The trade war is affecting a lot of different stocks, but Apple seems to be hit harder than most. The Dow Jones Industrial index dropped 2.6%, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 3.5%.Apple is especially vulnerable to a trade war with China for two primary reasons.First, it assembles its iPhones primarily in China. Although it has a lot of American suppliers — it spent $60 billion on American suppliers in 2018 — iPhone assembly is done in mainland China.Whenever new tariffs are announced, investors must keep an eye on the details because it’s possible that some of Apple’s products could get caught in the crossfire.Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty estimates that a 25% tariff on the iPhone could lead to a price increase of $160 for the iPhone XS. Or Apple could eat the tax, which could lead to a 23% decrease in earnings per share in 2020.

“Apple has one of the most significant exposures to Chinese exports to the US in our IT Hardware coverage group, given final assembly for many of its consumer electronic devices is located in China,” Huberty wrote in a note last week.“And given the reliance on China’s established, low-cost labor force and expertise in manufacturing/tooling, a large-scale move out of the country would not only be costly, but could take multiple years to complete, potentially raising the odds of execution risk, in our view,” the note continued.Last fall, a draft list of one of Trump’s round of China tariffs would have affected the Apple Watch and Apple AirPods, for example, although the final list did not affect Apple’s products.The other reason is that Apple, unlike other big tech companies, makes a substantial amount of its money by selling its products to Chinese consumers.Apple reported $51 billion in revenue in 2018 from “Greater China,” which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan. That’s Apple’s third-biggest region, after the Americas and Europe. Apple’s total revenue for the year was $265.6 billion.When Apple said earlier this year that its holiday quarter revenue would be significantly less than it had previously said to expect, it blamed a bad economic climate in China.“It’s clear that the economy began to slow there for the second half and what I believe to be the case is the trade tensions between the United States and China put additional pressure on their economy,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview with CNBC in January.“One of the reasons Apple CEO cited for China improvement was increased consumer confidence due to easing of US-China trade tensions,” UBS analyst Timothy Arcuri wrote in a note last week.“However, in recent days, trade tensions have escalated and it bears watching whether this affects China consumer sentiment,” the note continued.Apple has consistently opposed Trump’s proposed tariffs, and Cook has personally told Trump that Apple does not support implementing taxes on imports from China.Apple stock is up 24.9% since Jan. 1.
CEO of Apple Tim Cook attends China Development Forum 2019 at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on March 23, 2019 in Beijing, China.
VCG | Getty Images

Apple closed down nearly 6% on Monday after news of a major escalation in the U.S.-China trade war.China said on Monday that it decided to raise tariffs on some U.S. goods after President Donald Trump threatened to further raise tariffs on Chinese imports last week.

The trade war is affecting a lot of different stocks, but Apple seems to be hit harder than most. The Dow Jones Industrial index dropped 2.6%, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 3.5%.Apple is especially vulnerable to a trade war with China for two primary reasons.First, it assembles its iPhones primarily in China. Although it has a lot of American suppliers — it spent $60 billion on American suppliers in 2018 — iPhone assembly is done in mainland China.Whenever new tariffs are announced, investors must keep an eye on the details because it’s possible that some of Apple’s products could get caught in the crossfire.Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty estimates that a 25% tariff on the iPhone could lead to a price increase of $160 for the iPhone XS. Or Apple could eat the tax, which could lead to a 23% decrease in earnings per share in 2020.

“Apple has one of the most significant exposures to Chinese exports to the US in our IT Hardware coverage group, given final assembly for many of its consumer electronic devices is located in China,” Huberty wrote in a note last week.“And given the reliance on China’s established, low-cost labor force and expertise in manufacturing/tooling, a large-scale move out of the country would not only be costly, but could take multiple years to complete, potentially raising the odds of execution risk, in our view,” the note continued.Last fall, a draft list of one of Trump’s round of China tariffs would have affected the Apple Watch and Apple AirPods, for example, although the final list did not affect Apple’s products.The other reason is that Apple, unlike other big tech companies, makes a substantial amount of its money by selling its products to Chinese consumers.Apple reported $51 billion in revenue in 2018 from “Greater China,” which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan. That’s Apple’s third-biggest region, after the Americas and Europe. Apple’s total revenue for the year was $265.6 billion.When Apple said earlier this year that its holiday quarter revenue would be significantly less than it had previously said to expect, it blamed a bad economic climate in China.“It’s clear that the economy began to slow there for the second half and what I believe to be the case is the trade tensions between the United States and China put additional pressure on their economy,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview with CNBC in January.“One of the reasons Apple CEO cited for China improvement was increased consumer confidence due to easing of US-China trade tensions,” UBS analyst Timothy Arcuri wrote in a note last week.“However, in recent days, trade tensions have escalated and it bears watching whether this affects China consumer sentiment,” the note continued.Apple has consistently opposed Trump’s proposed tariffs, and Cook has personally told Trump that Apple does not support implementing taxes on imports from China.Apple stock is up 24.9% since Jan. 1.
Apple closed down nearly 6% on Monday after news of a major escalation in the U.S.-China trade war.China said on Monday that it decided to raise tariffs on some U.S. goods after President Donald Trump threatened to further raise tariffs on Chinese imports last week.

The trade war is affecting a lot of different stocks, but Apple seems to be hit harder than most. The Dow Jones Industrial index dropped 2.6%, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 3.5%.Apple is especially vulnerable to a trade war with China for two primary reasons.First, it assembles its iPhones primarily in China. Although it has a lot of American suppliers — it spent $60 billion on American suppliers in 2018 — iPhone assembly is done in mainland China.Whenever new tariffs are announced, investors must keep an eye on the details because it’s possible that some of Apple’s products could get caught in the crossfire.Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty estimates that a 25% tariff on the iPhone could lead to a price increase of $160 for the iPhone XS. Or Apple could eat the tax, which could lead to a 23% decrease in earnings per share in 2020.

“Apple has one of the most significant exposures to Chinese exports to the US in our IT Hardware coverage group, given final assembly for many of its consumer electronic devices is located in China,” Huberty wrote in a note last week.“And given the reliance on China’s established, low-cost labor force and expertise in manufacturing/tooling, a large-scale move out of the country would not only be costly, but could take multiple years to complete, potentially raising the odds of execution risk, in our view,” the note continued.Last fall, a draft list of one of Trump’s round of China tariffs would have affected the Apple Watch and Apple AirPods, for example, although the final list did not affect Apple’s products.The other reason is that Apple, unlike other big tech companies, makes a substantial amount of its money by selling its products to Chinese consumers.Apple reported $51 billion in revenue in 2018 from “Greater China,” which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan. That’s Apple’s third-biggest region, after the Americas and Europe. Apple’s total revenue for the year was $265.6 billion.When Apple said earlier this year that its holiday quarter revenue would be significantly less than it had previously said to expect, it blamed a bad economic climate in China.“It’s clear that the economy began to slow there for the second half and what I believe to be the case is the trade tensions between the United States and China put additional pressure on their economy,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview with CNBC in January.“One of the reasons Apple CEO cited for China improvement was increased consumer confidence due to easing of US-China trade tensions,” UBS analyst Timothy Arcuri wrote in a note last week.“However, in recent days, trade tensions have escalated and it bears watching whether this affects China consumer sentiment,” the note continued.Apple has consistently opposed Trump’s proposed tariffs, and Cook has personally told Trump that Apple does not support implementing taxes on imports from China.Apple stock is up 24.9% since Jan. 1.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/13/why-is-apple-so-vulnerable-to-a-trade-war-with-china.html

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The Deadline Passes And Trump Brings Down The Tariff Hammer – China Immediately Promises To Retaliate

At 12:01 AM eastern time on Friday, President Trump followed through on his threats and hit China with a massive tariff increase.

As you will see below, China immediately pledged to retaliate. U.S. and Chinese officials will continue to negotiate throughout the day on Friday, but if U.S. officials were optimistic that a deal was imminent the trigger never would have been pulled on these tariffs. At this point the gap between the negotiating positions of the two sides is still enormous, and that does not seem likely to change. The Chinese have been taking advantage of the United States for decades, and they wish to continue doing so. Meanwhile, President Trump and his advisers are absolutely determined to level the playing field. Unless one of the parties backs down in a major way, there is not going to be a trade agreement and this trade war is about to get very real, and that is extremely bad news for the global economy.

Just minutes ago, the deadline that the whole world was watching passed, and as expected Trump’s tariffs were imposed. The following comes from Bloomberg

The U.S. hiked tariffs on more than $200 billion in goods from China on Friday in the most dramatic step yet of Donald Trump’s push to extract trade concessions, deepening a conflict that has roiled financial markets and cast a shadow over the global economy.

China immediately said in a statement it is forced to retaliate, but didn’t specify how.

On Thursday evening, global markets were tentatively hopeful as U.S. and Chinese officials met to negotiate. According to White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere, negotiations will continue in the morning

“This evening, (United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer) and (Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin) met with President Trump to discuss the ongoing trade negotiations with China. The Ambassador and Secretary then had a working dinner with Vice Premier Liu He, and agreed to continue discussions tomorrow morning at USTR,” Judd Deere, White House Deputy Press Secretary, said in a Thursday evening statement.

But the negotiations did not go well enough to even delay the implementation of the tariffs.

North Korea’s latest missile launches are straining US-led efforts to denuclearize the region. However, analysts are saying the trajectories indicate they are not “ballistic weapons.” Also, President Trump rocked the world’s economy after pledging to increase tariffs on Chinese goods. Trump slammed China for attempting to renegotiate after breaking a previous trade agreement. Joining today’s show is “civilized barbarian” Roosh Valizadeh discussing Big Tech’s political banning.

Trump followed through on what he promised he would do, and the Chinese say that they have “already prepared a response for all kinds of outcomes”

At the same time the Chinese side has already prepared a response for all kinds of outcomes, Gao Feng, commerce ministry spokesperson, said in Mandarin, according to a CNBC translation. He was speaking at Thursday’s weekly press conference.

It is likely that the Chinese did not immediately respond with new tariffs of their own because they would like to see how negotiations go on Friday.

In the end, the Chinese would love to get Trump to put a hold on tariffs yet again without giving him the trade agreement that he desperately wants. Throughout this process, the Chinese tactic has been to delay, delay, delay and they will undoubtedly do their best to try to kick the can down the road once again.

But Trump has figured out that they have been trying to run out the clock on his administration, and this time he is putting his foot down.

And without a doubt, it is definitely good to see a presidential administration finally standing up to the Chinese. They have been ruthlessly taking advantage of us and ripping us off blind for years, and that must stop.

Here is just one example of this that Trump often likes to share

“When a car is sent to the United States from China, there is a Tariff to be paid of 2 1/2%. When a car is sent to China from the United States, there is a Tariff to be paid of 25%,” Trump tweetedApril 9. “Does that sound like free or fair trade. No, it sounds like STUPID TRADE – going on for years!”

Of course Trump is exactly correct. It is not “free trade” and it is definitely not “fair trade”. If they want to impose 25 percent tariffs on our auto industry, they should expect the same treatment for their key industries in return.

All along, Trump has insisted that if China wants to remove all their tariffs that we would be willing to do the same thing, but the Chinese would never agree to do that.

So Trump is standing up to China, and that is a good thing.

Unfortunately, upsetting the status quo will also be exceedingly painful.

A full-blown trade war with China will be really, really bad for the global economy. If Trump understood how bad things could potentially get, he probably never would have gone down this road, because it is going to be exceedingly difficult to get re-elected if the economy tanks.

I think that a little review of what happened during our last trade war will help us get a little perspective on what could be ahead.

On June 17th, 1930 President Hoover signed the Smoot-Hawley Act which imposed tariffs on more than 20,000 imported goods.

This coincided with the worst economic downturn of the 20th century. U.S. GDP declined 8.5 percent in 1930, 6.4 percent in 1931 and 12.9 percent in 1932.

On June 12th, 1934 President Roosevelt signed the Reciprocal Tariff Act which essentially ended the trade war.

So what happened?

The U.S. economy grew 10.8 percent in 1934, 8.9 percent in 1935 and 12.9 percent in 1936.

Today, the global economy is far more interconnected than it was in the 1930s, and so the impact of a global trade war could potentially be much greater.

We need trade with China to be fair and balanced, but are we willing to go through an extraordinary amount of economic pain to get to that end result?

And once relations with China break down, will they ever be able to be repaired?

We are at a critical turning point in U.S. history, and nobody is going to be able to turn back time once the dominoes begin to fall.

In the end, we are all going to have to live with the decisions that the Trump administration is making right now, and so let us hope that wisdom prevails.

https://www.infowars.com/the-deadline-passes-and-trump-brings-down-the-tariff-hammer-china-immediately-promises-to-retaliate/

Trump: US “Closer Than Ever” to China Trade Deal

President Donald Trump praised the progress U.S. and Chinese negotiators made as they work to reach a sweeping trade agreement, saying China finally respects the U.S. again.

In Friday’s Rose Garden speech that largely revolved around his emergency declaration, Trump also told reporters trade talks with China have been going “extremely well” and that the U.S. is closer than ever before to reaching a “real” trade deal.

“In China we had a negotiation going on for about two days. It’s going extremely well. Who knows what that means because it only matters if we get it done, but we’re very much working very closely with China and President Xi, who I respect a lot,” Trump said. “And we’re a lot closer than we ever were in this country with having a real trade deal. We’re covering everything.”

His comments come after U.S. and Chinese representatives concluded two days of trade talks in Beijing. The meetings included top brass from both countries: U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

While no final deal has been reached, both sides claim progress was made and have agreed to meet again in Washington, D.C., later in February. The next round of talks come as a U.S.-imposed deadline is fast approaching. Trump pledged to enact another round of tariffs on Chinese goods if the two sides fail to reach an agreement by March 1.

The back-and-forth negotiations are a product of Trump’s desire to correct China’s “unfair” trade imbalance with the U.S. — something he has adamantly criticized since running for office. Not only have Chinese leaders agreed to buy more U.S. agricultural products, such soybeans and natural gas, but Trump also wants to see the communist country restructure its industrial policies. Numerous Western governments have complained China unfairly supports state-owned enterprises while abusing foreign companies that try to enter its market.

(Photo by kees torn / Wikimedia Commons)

Trump — who already imposed a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods — vowed to hike the rate to 25 percent until Xi agreed to trade talks in early December 2018. That began the 90-day trade negotiation process, slated to end March 1. China’s slowing economy — which in 2018 grew at its lowest rate in nearly three decades — has pressured communist leaders to reach a deal.

“The tariffs are hurting China very badly,” Trump said. “And the relationship with China is very good. But I think they finally respect our country. They haven’t respected us for a long time — not for a long time.”

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://www.infowars.com/trump-us-closer-than-ever-to-china-trade-deal/

China Developing Battlefield AI

China is developing artificial intelligence for its military as part of its shift to “algorithm superiority” in warfare.

A Chinese military newspaper said the People’s Liberation Army wants to take large data sets and plug them into algorithms for “war-fighting intelligence.”

“Through gunpowder smoke in war, we can perceive that today, war fighting has evolved from bloody struggle for storming castles and capturing territories in the uncivilized and barbaric age into information-driven precision decapitation operations and intense contests in the domain of high intelligence,” wrote Li Minghai of the PLA’s National Defense University. “…In future warfare, the force that enjoys algorithm superiority will be able to rapidly and accurately predict the development of the battlefield situation, thus coming up with the best combat-fighting methods and achieving the war objective of ‘prevailing before battle starts.’”

At the core of the PLA’s proposed “algorithm superiority” is quantum computing, a still-infant technology which could theoretically run circles around today’s computers by utilizing the ability of subatomic particles to exist in more than one state at any given time.

Some have even speculated that parts of the human brain work much like a quantum computer, which gives context to this idea of “battlefield AI.”

“It is quite possible that the advanced abilities of our own human brains like processing information and making decisions come from quantum calculations,” stated a Fossbytes article.

Last year, the South China Morning Post reported that China was pursuing an AI decision-support system for nuclear submarines.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://www.infowars.com/china-developing-battlefield-ai/

New Site Exposes How Apple Censors Apps in China

A NEW WEBSITE exposes the extent to which Apple cooperates with Chinese government internet censorship, blocking access to Western news sources, information about human rights and religious freedoms, and privacy-enhancing apps that would circumvent the country’s pervasive online surveillance regime.

The new site, AppleCensorship.com, allows users to check which apps are not accessible to people in China through Apple’s app store, indicating those that have been banned. It was created by researchers at GreatFire.org, an organization that monitors Chinese government internet censorship.

In late 2017, Apple admitted to U.S. senators that it had removed from its app store in China more than 600 “virtual private network” apps that allow users to evade censorship and online spying. But the company never disclosed which specific apps it removed — nor did it reveal other services it had pulled from its app store at the behest of China’s authoritarian government.

In addition to the hundreds of VPN apps, Apple is currently preventing its users in China from downloading apps from news organizations, including the New York Times, Radio Free Asia, Tibetan News, and Voice of Tibet. It is also blocking censorship circumvention tools like Tor and Psiphon; Google’s search app and Google Earth; an app called Bitter Winter, which provides information about human rights and religious freedoms in China; and an app operated by the Central Tibetan Authority, which provides information about Tibetan human rights and social issues.

Some bans – such as those of certain VPN apps and the Times – have received media coverage in the past, but many never generate news headlines. Charlie Smith, a co-founder of GreatFire.org, told The Intercept that the group was motivated to launch the website because “Apple provides little transparency into what it censors in its app store. Most developers find out their app has been censored after they see a drop in China traffic and try to figure out if there is a problem. We wanted to bring transparency to what they are censoring.”

“We wanted to bring transparency to what they are censoring.”

Smith, who said that the website was still in a beta phase of early development, added that until now, it was not easy to check exactly which apps Apple had removed from its app stores in different parts of the world. For example, he said, “now we can see that the top 100 VPN apps in the U.S. app store are all not available in the China app store.”

The site is not able to distinguish between apps taken down due to requests from the Chinese government because they violate legal limits on free expression versus those removed because they violate other laws, such as those regulating gambling. However, it is possible to determine from the content of each app – and whether it continues to be available in the U.S. or elsewhere – the likely reason for its removal.

Radio Free Asia, for instance, has been subject to censorship for decades in China. The Washington, D.C.-based organization, which is funded by the U.S. government, regularly reports on human rights abuses in China and has had its broadcasts jammed and blocked in the country since the late 1990s. That censorship has also extended to the internet – now with the support of Apple.

Rohit Mahajan, a spokesman for Radio Free Asia, told The Intercept that Apple had informed the organization in December last year that one of its apps was removed from the app store in China because it did not meet “legal requirements” there. “There was no option to appeal, as far as we could discern,” said Mahajan.

Libby Liu, Radio Free Asia’s president, added that “shutting down avenues for credible, outside news organizations is a loss – not just for us, but for the millions who rely on our reports and updates for a different picture than what’s presented in state-controlled media. I would hope that Western companies would be committed to Western values when it comes to making decisions that could impact that access.”

An Apple spokesperson declined to address removals of specific apps from China, but pointed to the company’s app store review guidelines, which state: “Apps must comply with all legal requirements in any location where you make them available.” The spokesperson said that Apple, in its next transparency report, is planning to release information on government requests to remove apps from its app store.

The Chinese government expects Western companies to make concessions before it permits them to gain access to the country’s lucrative market of more than 800 million internet users. The concessions include compliance with the ruling Communist Party’s sweeping censorship and surveillance regime. In recent years, the Chinese state has beefed up its repressive powers. It has introduced a new “data localization” law, for instance, which forces all internet and communication companies to store Chinese users’ data on the country’s mainland — making it more accessible to Chinese authorities.

In accordance with the data localization law, Apple agreed to a deal with state-owned China Telecom to control and store Chinese users’ iCloud data. Apple claims that it retains control of the encryption keys to the data, ensuring that people’s photographs and other private information cannot be accessed by the Chinese state. However, human rights groups remain concerned. Amnesty International has previously stated, “By handing over its China iCloud service to a local company without sufficient safeguards, the Chinese authorities now have potentially unfettered access to all Apple’s Chinese customers’ iCloud data. Apple knows it, yet has not warned its customers in China of the risks.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook has presented himself as a defender of users’ privacy. During a speech in October last year, Cook declared, “We at Apple believe that privacy is a fundamental human right.” It is unclear how Cook reconciles that sentiment with Apple’s removal of privacy-enhancing software from its app store in China, which helps ensure that the country’s government can continue to monitor its citizens and crack down on opponents. Cook appears to have viewed compliance with Chinese censorship and surveillance as worthwhile compromises. “We would obviously rather not remove the apps,” he said in 2017, “but like we do in other countries we follow the law wherever we do business. … We’re hopeful that over time the restrictions we’re seeing are lessened, because innovation really requires freedom to collaborate and communicate.”

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://theintercept.com/2019/02/01/apple-apps-china-censorship/

China Releases Footage Of “Mother of All Bombs” Dropped By Nuke Capable Jet

On Friday China unveiled video from a successful test of its most powerful non-nuclear weapon, dubbed the “Mother of All Bombs” in reference to a weapon previously used by US forces in Afghanistan.

The official Xinhua news agency published details of the weapon for the first time while calling it the “Chinese version of the ‘Mother of all Bombs’”.

It is reportedly 5-6 meters long and its massive weight means the delivery vehicle, in this case China’s H-6K long range nuclear capable bomber, can only carry one at a time.

While China has denied that it is a thermobaric bomb an explosive that uses oxygen in the surrounding air to generate a high-temperature explosion its incredible size mimics the 22,000-pound GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb that US forces dropped in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province targeting a jihadist hideout tunnel complex in April of 2017.

Still frame from official test footage of the Chinese “MOAB”

While the Chinese bomb is long, it actually reportedly weighs less than the American version, according to military analyst Wei Dongxu, who was quoted by the semi-official Global Times further as saying, “The massive explosion that was generated would easily wipe out land fortifications.”

The short video of the test was published to the website of state arms manufacturer Norinco and shows the bomb producing a massive ball of fire and black smoke over a nondescript plain.

Chinese media gave no details as to the date, location or range of the bomb blast, but the video was first released on Chinese social media on Wednesday, Jan. 2.

It remains, however, the US is the only military that has ever actually used such an oversized non-nuclear device in battle.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://www.infowars.com/china-releases-footage-of-mother-of-all-bombs-dropped-by-nuke-capable-jet/

China ‘lifts mysterious veil’ by landing probe on dark side of Moon

A Chinese space probe successfully touched down on the far side of the moon on Thursday, China’s space agency said, hailing the event as a historic first and a major achievement for the country’s space programme.

The Chang’e-4 lunar probe, launched in December, made the “soft landing” at 0226 GMT and transmitted the first-ever “close range” image of the far side of the moon, the China National Space Administration said.

The moon is tidally locked to Earth, rotating at the same rate as it orbits our planet, so most of the far side – or “dark side” – is never visible to us. Previous spacecraft have seen the far side, but none has landed on it.

The landing “lifted the mysterious veil” of the far side of the moon and “opened a new chapter in human lunar exploration”, the agency said in a statement on its website, which included a wide-angle colour picture of a crater from the moon’s surface.

The probe, which has a lander and a rover, touched down at a targeted area near the moon’s south pole in the Von Karman Crater after entering the moon’s orbit in mid-December.

The tasks of the Chang’e-4 include astronomical observation, surveying the moon’s terrain, landform and mineral makeup, and measuring the neutron radiation and neutral atoms to study the environment of its far side.

The control centre in Beijing will decide when to let the rover separate from the lander, state news agency Xinhua said.

“It’s an important milestone for China’s space exploration,” Wu Weiren, chief designer of the lunar exploration programme, said, according to Xinhua.

The probe also took six live species – cotton, rapeseed, potato, arabidopsis, fruit fly and yeast – to the lifeless environment to form a mini biosphere, Xinhua said.

A MAJOR SPACE POWER

The landing is the latest step for China in its race to catch up with Russia and the United States and become a major space power by 2030. Beijing plans to launch construction of its own manned space station next year.

While China has insisted its ambitions are purely peaceful, the U.S. Defense Department has accused it of pursuing activities aiming to prevent other nations from using space-based assets during a crisis.

Besides its civilian ambitions, China has tested anti-satellite missiles and the U.S. Congress has banned NASA from two-way cooperation with its Chinese counterpart over security concerns.

As competition accelerates in space, U.S. President Donald Trump seeks to create a new “Space Force” by 2020, as the sixth branch of the military.

But the private space race is also heating up, as numerous companies aim to commercialize space travel, such as California-based SpaceX, which has upended the industry with its low-cost reusable Falcon 9 rockets.

The United States is the only country to have landed humans on the moon, and Trump said in 2017 he wanted to return astronauts to the lunar surface to build a foundation for an eventual Mars mission.

NASA administrators have said people could be put on Mars by as soon as the mid-2030s, with the agency having landed eight spacecraft there, the most recent in November.

As soon as 2022, NASA expects to begin building a new space station laboratory to orbit the moon, as a pit stop for missions to distant parts of the solar system.

In 2003, China became the third country to put a man in space with its own rocket after the former Soviet Union and the United States, and in 2017 it said it was preparing to send a person to the moon.

China completed its first lunar “soft landing” in 2013, but its “Jade Rabbit” rover began malfunctioning after several weeks.

(Reporting by Michael Martina Editing by Paul Tait and Clarence Fernandez)

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

http://news.trust.org/item/20190103095508-voxif

China Lands World’s First Lunar Rover On Dark Side Of The Moon

Five years after successfully landing its first rover on the moon, China’s space program took another giant leap forward on Thursday when it became the first to successfully land a lunar probe on the dark side of the moon (the side of the celestial body that perpetually faces away from the Earth).

According to Bloomberg, the Chang’e-4 lunar probe, named after the mythical Moon Goddess, landed at 10:26 am in Beijing and started transmitting the first pictures of the dark side of the moon’s surface. The probe had been circling the moon in an elliptical orbit since Sunday, after leaving the Xichang Satellite Launch Center on Dec. 8.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://www.infowars.com/china-lands-worlds-first-lunar-rover-on-dark-side-of-the-moon/

China Pushes for Primacy in Space

China is poised to realize an ambitious mission to the far side of the moon, the most immediate of many planned milestones in its effort to challenge America’s half-century-long supremacy in space.

In a first for any country, the Chang’e-4 probe is set to touch down on the “dark side” of the moon on or around Jan. 3, according to state media, and dispatch a rover in a vast crater to explore the moon’s interior. While impressive in itself, the mission is a step toward bolder objectives: China plans to operate a manned lunar base by 2030 and lead the world into a new age of space exploration.

For its part, the U.S. is reviving its manned space program after letting it languish in favor of unmanned exploration. A space-policy directive signed in December 2017 by President Trump outlined plans for manned missions to the moon and Mars and started preparations for a new space force to counter the Chinese military’s development of space weapons. These moves came after experts testified at a House Subcommittee on Space hearing in 2016 entitled “Are we losing the space race to China?” that the U.S. risked being eclipsed in the field. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s budget, set at $21.5 billion in 2019, is still nearly double that of its Chinese counterpart.

Already rivals on Earth, the U.S. and China are now the main contenders in a race to determine “who will be in a position to obtain the vast resources in space, secure the routes of trade and write the rules of space commerce,” said Namrata Goswami, an expert on China’s space program at Auburn University Futures Lab in Alabama.

China, she added, “is best placed to win,” thanks to a methodical program that has mapped out clearly defined objectives decades into the future.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-pushes-for-primacy-in-space-11546171206

China To Take Over Kenya’s Largest Port Over Unpaid Loan

After years of “benevolent” handouts to various African countries by Beijing, all of which however came in the form of loans, of which few have led to viable, long-term projects and cash-flow generating assets, and led to accusations that China is pursuing a “new colonialism” of the African continent (and more recently, nations along the One Belt, One Road corridor), China is demonstrating to the world what happens when its debtors refuse to pay up.

But first a brief detour: readers will recall that China’s ambitions for Africa are hardly new, and were discussed here over 6 years ago for the first time in “The Beijing Conference”: See How China Quietly Took Over Africa.

And while back then few noticed, in September of 2018, during a major conference with African leaders, China’s president Xi Jinping proposed an additional $60 billion in financing for Africa in the forms of assistance, investment and loans, the western media was quick to label the latest round of Chinese financing a “debt trap”, to which a top Chinese official responded at the time that Beijing is merely helping Africa develop, rejecting criticism it is loading African countries with unsustainable financial burdens.

It turns out, the official was not exactly telling the truth, because far from handing out free money the African Stand reports that China is likely to take over Kenya’s lucrative Mombassa port if Kenya Railways Corporation defaults on its loan from the Exim Bank of China.

Call it a “debt-for-sovereign equity” exchange with a twist.

China’s aggressive strategy emerged when a leaked audit report showed that the Kenyan government had inexplicably waived its sovereign immunity on the Kenya Ports Asset when signing the agreement, thus exposing the Kenya Port Authority to foreclosure – and confiscation – by China’s Exim Bank.

The report said that “the payment arrangement agreement substantively means that the Authority’s revenue would be used to pay the Government of Kenya’s debt to China Exim bank if the minimum volumes required for [rail] consignment were not met”, auditor F.T Kimani wrote. “The China Exim bank would become a principal over KPA if KRC defaults in its obligations, reports Africa Stand and All Africa news.

KRC accepted the multi-billion dollar loan from the Chinese institution to build the Mombassa-Nairobi standard gauge railway (SGR), with construction services provided by China Roads and Bridges Corporation (CRBC), a division of state-owned conglomerate China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), which is why some have said the loan was a low-risk, full recourse vendor financing, one where it is China who gets all the upside while sticking the naive natives with all the potential downside, as the “worst-case scenario” now confirms.

The China-built, China-funded standard gauge railway, also known as the Madaraka Express, is a diesel-powered passenger and freight rail service connecting Nairobi and Mombassa. Its construction was plagued by cost overruns, and outside observers questioned its economic viability, but China was not worried: after all, if the 80% China-funded project failed, Beijing would have full recourse.

Sure enough, SGR reported a 10 billion Kenyan shilling loss in its first year of operation, with current estimates that the railway generates about 600 billion Kenyan shilling in revenue.

Meanwhile, in addition to putting the port at risk for a Chinese takeover, at stake is also the Inland Container Depot in Nairobi, which receives and dispatches freight hauled on the new cargo trains from the seaport.

So what happens if China does takeover the port? Implications would be grave, including the thousands of port workers who would be forced to work under the Chinese lenders. Management changes would immediately follow the port seizure since the Chinese would naturally want to secure their interests.

Further, revenues from the port would be directly sent to China for the servicing of an estimated Sh500 billion lent for the construction of the two sections of the SGR.

In other words, a Chinese-funded project in Africa, is about to be confiscated by China, which will appoint Chinese management, upstream all revenues to China (and, eventually, profits after enough fat is trimmed), and provide China with its own strategist port in east Africa.

A brilliant “investment” scheme? Why yes, and it won’t be the first time China has used it: in December 2017, the Sri Lankan government lost its Hambantota port to China for a lease period of 99 years after failing to show commitment in the payment of billions of dollars in loans. The transfer, according to the New York Times, gave China control of the territory just a few hundred miles off the shores of rival India.

It is a strategic foothold along a critical commercial and military waterway.

“The case is one of the examples of China’s ambitious use of loans and aid to gain influence around the world and of its willingness to play hardball to collect,” says the New York Times of December 12, 2017.

More recently, in September 2018 Zambia lost Kenneth Kaunda International Airport to China over failure of debt repayment.

And while some may gawk at the unprecedented loophole that was left to grant China what is effectively the takeover of a strategist sovereign assets, some suspect that backdoor financial dealings may have been involved becuase as African Stand writes, it is “indiscernible” how KPA signed the loan agreement as a borrower, in one of the toxic clauses subsequently exposing its assets to the Chinese clamp.

“…any proceeding(s) against its assets (KPA) by the lender would not be protected by sovereign immunity since the Government waived the immunity on the Kenya Ports Assets by signing the agreement,” the auditor wrote.

Whatever the reason for the glaring oversight, and the imminent “confiscation” of this critical African asset by Beijing, slowly but surely China’s intrepid vision behind first colonizing Africa (using China-funded loans) and subsequently much of Asia with the “One Belt, One Road” initiative is becoming quite clear.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://www.infowars.com/china-to-take-over-kenyas-largest-port-over-unpaid-loan/