Op-Ed Commentary: Christoph Unrast
Aug. 17 – Recent developments on the Korean Peninsula indicate that the Peoples Republic of China may be further consolidating their control of the global supply of rare earth elements. Already China has a monopoly in the production of rare earth elements, and could now it could get a hand on North Korea’s resources, which are estimated to be the second largest in the world.
Rare earth elements have been a perennial topic for quite a while. Although the metals are not as rare as the name suggests, China was able to develop a production monopoly since the 90s, replacing the once leading nation of the United States. This issue received its first major attention when Beijing used its monopoly in a diplomatic stand-off with Japan in 2010, cutting of Japans industry from several of the most essential elements used in high-technology products. Continue reading
Aug. 15 – It is expected that the state-owned Aluminium Corp of China Ltd, or Chalco, will drop its takeover bid for Mongolia’s coal-producer SouthGobi Resources Ltd due to fierce resistance from the Mongolian government.
In April of this year, Chalco offered $926 million for a 60 percent stake in SouthGobi. Almost immediately, however, the Mongolian government reacted by introducing a new investment law that limits foreign companies from owning more than 49 percent of companies involved in mining, finance, media and telecommunications sectors. In an even more aggressive stance, the Mongolian government has delayed the renewing of some of SouthGobi’s license, scaring away customers and squashing production. Continue reading
By Ian Bhullar
Aug. 3 – India’s recent power outage, which affected 20 of India’s 24 states this week, has raised questions both within and beyond India’s borders about capacity to deal with growing energy demands.
As power returns to the 700 million affected, India’s population asks how such a huge blackout could happen. In other parts of the world, including China, commentators ask what lessons can be learned from a blackout affecting one tenth of humanity.
Reports of the blackout, which ran from Tuesday into Wednesday morning, have stressed just how dramatic its costs were. Alongside miners trapped underground, surgery procedures cancelled, and hundreds of trains stuck on the tracks, the economic costs are likely to be very large. Continue reading
Jul. 26 – China’s third-largest oil company, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), has agreed to pay US$15.1 billion in cash to acquire the Canadian oil company Nexen Inc. If this deal is successful, it will be the largest overseas takeover by a Chinese company. CNOOC is offering US$27.50 a share, which is a 61 percent premium on Nexen’s Friday stock price.
“For Canada, this agreement provides a stable source of investment for the many projects that Nexen operates,” said CNOOC Chief Executive Li Fanrong. Continue reading
Jul. 3 – Hackers have broken into Indian naval computers in Visakhapatnam, where India’s Eastern Naval Command is headquartered, and have relayed confidential data to IP addresses based in China. The Eastern Naval Command is in charge of Indian operations and deployments in the South China Sea, a region in which China currently has numerous territorial disputes. The Command’s Visakhapatnam location is also the current base for India’s first nuclear missile submarine, which was undergoing trials at the time of the cyber-attack. Continue reading
Jun. 29 – The United States exempted both China from its sanctions targeting Iran’s oil exports on Thursday, just hours before the deadline. While explaining its decision, the U.S. State Department stated that China had significantly reduced its imports of Iranian crude, and thus like 19 other countries, deserved to be exempted from the rigors of the sanctions.
The Obama administration has now spared 20 of Iran’s major oil buyers from its sanctions. Without exemption from these sanctions, any nation that makes energy purchases through Iran’s central bank would be denied access to the U.S. financial system. The goal of the sanctions is to choke off Iran’s oil revenues, which is the life-blood of its economy and the main source of income that funds its nuclear development program. Continue reading
Jun. 26 – According to India’s Naval Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma, who spoke at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London on Monday, the Indian Navy will soon attain a retaliatory nuclear strike capability. In reference to the three arms of India’s defense, Verma explained that this was necessary so that India has a credible and invulnerable deterrent nuclear triad in place.
“A retaliatory strike capability that is credible and invulnerable is an imperative. The [Indian] navy is poised to complete the triad, and our maritime and nuclear doctrines would then be aligned to ensure that our nuclear insurance will come from the sea,” Verma said during his address. Continue reading