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China’s defense budget shows Xi’s priorities as economy tightens



China convenes parliament meeting delayed by pandemic

2020 will mark the first time in decades that China has not set a growth target for its economy. Last year, Beijing targeted growth in the range of 6% to 6.5%. GDP grew 6.1%, its slowest pace in nearly 30 years.

Then came the coronavirus pandemic and a weekslong economic shutdown throughout much of China. GDP shrank 6.8% in the first quarter, the first contraction Beijing has reported since 1976.

As the economy contracted, external pressures were mounting.

The US military was boosting challenges to Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea, including back-to-back naval Freedom of Navigation exercises in April and flights of B-1 bombers, the heaviest in the US Air Force inventory, originating from both Guam and the US mainland.

And when spending numbers for 2020 were announced last Friday, Beijing’s priorities were immediately clear.

The military shares in the pain — its budget increase was the lowest in decades — but the PLA’s pain was minor compared to the blows dealt to other areas of China’s government.

For example, the budget was down 13.3% for general public services, down 11.8% for foreign affairs, down 7.5% for education and down 9.1% for science and technology.

“The proposed budget suggests Beijing feels insecure and under siege,” said Timothy Heath, senior researcher at the RAND Corp. think tank in Washington.

“The robust spending increase reflects intense anxiety about deepening tensions with China’s top competitor, the United States, as well as over the fading hopes for peaceful unification with Taiwan,” Heath said.

“Beijing also has ample reason to bolster defense and security spending to manage mounting problems of domestic turmoil in Hong Kong, western provinces, or across the country as unemployment soars and growth slackens due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Wu Qian, spokesman for the Chinese Defense Ministry, said Beijing’s defense budget was appropriate for the times.

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“It can be said that the world is not peaceful,” Wu said on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress this week.

“China’s homeland security and overseas interests are also facing some real threats….

“It is reasonable and necessary that China’s defense spending increased moderately and steadily,” Wu said.

Comparing with the US

Beijing also touted the military budget increase as its smallest in years, and said the overall number was a fraction of the money spent by some foreign militaries.

In fact, Zhang Yesui, spokesperson for the third session of the 13th National People’s Congress, told a press conference last week that “China’s total defense spending in 2019 only amounted to a quarter that of the world’s largest defense spender.

That largest defense spender is the United States, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

IISS figures released in February show the US spent $686 billion on defense in 2019 compared with $181 billion by China, No. 2 on the IISS world rankings.
But subsequent studies by analysts at IISS and the Washington-based Heritage Foundation say the gap between the US and Chinese military budgets may be as small as 13%.

And when you look at the advances the Chinese military has made since Xi became President in 2013, a large gap between China’s and America’s military budgets defies credulity:

— In just the past few years, China has put into service its first domestically built aircraft carrier, the Shandong;
— made its J-20 stealth fighter — seen as a challenge to the US F-22 and F-35 fighters — combat ready;
— boosted its ballistic missile submarine fleet, both with new boats and better missiles inside them;
— opened its first overseas military base in the African nation of Djibouti;
— and built a string of islands in the South China Sea that US Adm. Philip Davidson, the top US commander in the Indo-Pacifc, called the “Great Wall of SAMs,” or a string of surface-to-air missile bases could make the skies over area extremely hostile for any adversary’s air forces.

Lack of transparency

All that costs a lot of money, but it Beijing’s case it’s often hard to see where it comes from, analysts say.

“The defense budget data available from Beijing … suffer from three distinct problems: lack of transparency, known omissions and unreliability,” Frederico Bartels, a Heritage Foundation researcher, wrote in an April paper released on The Strategist, a website of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Bartels came up with the 13% difference between the US and Chinese defense budgets after analyzing everything from currency exchange rates to the cost of labor across China.

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He told CNN any defense figures coming out of China should be treated with skepticism because Beijing doesn’t go into specifics on where money goes or under what budgets it may have been allocated.

Bartels gave the example of new aircraft carrier built in the US versus China.

In the US, the government would declare the price paid to an independent contractor to build the carrier. But in China, a state-run company would build the warship and only be answerable to Beijing.

The money for the new aircraft carrier could be transferred to the company under any one of numerous accounts, not necessarily ones related to the warship.

In the end, outside observers really can’t tell what this ship costs.

“That’s the type of game they can play with a state-owned enterprise,” Bartels said.

Police and coast guard forces

The Heritage researcher and the IISS analysis also point out that other parts of China’s defense establishment, such as its growing coast guard, are not seeing at least some of their spending included in the military budget.

According to the IISS study, the budget for the military’s People’s Armed Police (PAP), tasked with law enforcement, border defense and internal security, actually decreased when the large coast guard fleet came under control of the PAP in 2018.

“This would suggest that (Chinese Coast Guard) spending remains an extra-budgetary defense-related cost and should be added to total Chinese defense spending figures,” the IISS study said.

Meanwhile, the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies points out that annual spending figures made public by China’s Finance and Defense ministries can be off by as much as $3 billion.

To put that number in hardware terms, it’s roughly three of Beijing’s state-of-the-art Type 55 destroyers, key linchpins in the country’s naval buildup.

That buildup has been part of Xi Jinping’s military modernization that aims to the make the PLA at least the equal of the United States military in Asia.

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And with the progress made since Xi came to power in 2013 — and especially since he reorganized the country’s Central Military Commission and took aim at corruption in 2017 — it’s clear Beijing will not countenance any weakening of the PLA.

Bartels says the budget sends a strong message from Xi to the PLA that “we really value what the People’s Liberation Army is doing, and we want to be able to shield them even in less positive economic times.”

CNN’s Steven Jiang and Laura He contributed to this report.

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Owen Hargreaves mengalahkan Manchester United setelah pukulan Brentford



Mantan gelandang Manchester United Owen Hargreaves Dia menghancurkan klub lamanya dalam kekalahan 4-0 kemarin dari Brentford.

Setan Merah mencetak empat gol dalam 25 menit babak pertama melawan Peace di Zitec Community Stadium.

Eric Den HaagBrentford tidak bisa menandingi intensitas, keinginan, dan tingkat kerja tim London barat asuhan Thomas Frank itu.

Foto oleh Catherine Iville/Getty Images

Setelah kekalahan beruntun, pelatih asal Belanda itu menjadi manajer United pertama sejak John Chapman pada 1921 yang kalah dalam dua pertandingan pertamanya.

Dengan Liverpool datang ke Old Trafford dalam waktu delapan hari, tim mantan manajer Ajax itu berada di posisi terbawah Liga Premier untuk pertama kalinya sejak Agustus 1992.

Owen Hargreaves mengalahkan Manchester United setelah pukulan Brentford

Foto oleh John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Hargreaves, yang merupakan pemain kunci di tim Manchester United 2007-08 yang memenangkan Liga Premier dan Liga Champions di bawah Sir Alex Ferguson, merobek kinerja United yang kurang baik.

Dia berbicara pada hari itu Produk Liga Primer, dia berkata: “Mereka membuat beberapa kesalahan dan golnya buruk. Tidak ada perkelahian, tidak ada tekel, tidak ada agresi untuk kembali ke permainan. Sepak bola di level ini adalah tentang kompetisi dan bagaimana Anda menciptakannya.

“Brentford memenangkan setiap pertempuran hari ini. Anda harus memenangkan pertempuran. Mereka tidak siap melawan Brighton dan mereka tidak siap lagi. Eric den Haag adalah pelatih super, dia melakukan pekerjaan yang fantastis di Ajax.

“Tapi dua pertandingan ini tidak berjalan sesuai rencana. Saya tidak tahu bagaimana membalikkan ini dengan cepat.

“Harapan hilang begitu saja. Itu adalah hak istimewa dan kehormatan untuk mengenakan kemeja sepak bola itu. Kita semua pernah menjadi pemain dan mengalami permainan yang mengerikan.

“Tapi Anda bisa melewatinya dengan berjuang dan bersaing. Lupakan taktik, ini tentang memenangkan pertempuran individu Anda. Saya percaya diri. [we would see a response after Brighton].

“Saya lelah menjadi kritis dan negatif. Tapi apa yang bisa Anda katakan? Tidak ada yang positif.”

Foto oleh James Gill – Tanhouse/Getty Images

Ini bukan pertama kalinya karakter pemain dipertanyakan dan sayangnya untuk Den Haag dan basis penggemar Manchester United itu tidak mungkin menjadi yang terakhir.

Penggemar berat sepak bola yang menyelesaikan Diploma terakreditasi NCTJ dalam Jurnalisme Olahraga Multimedia pada tahun 2016.

Manchester United menyalakan kembali minat pada gelandang Brighton Moises Caicedo

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Jerman Tolak Paspor Baru Indonesia




Kedutaan Besar Jerman di Jakarta telah menolak desain terbaru paspor Indonesia karena tidak memiliki kolom tanda tangan. Direktorat Imigrasi Kementerian Hukum dan Hak Asasi Manusia meminta maaf atas masalah ini. “Ini akan berdampak langsung pada orang yang mengajukan visa Jerman atau mereka yang telah diberikan visa dan tidak dapat melakukan perjalanan ke Jerman,” kata juru bicara Direktorat Imigrasi Ahmad Noor Saleh, Jumat.

Direktorat Imigrasi sedang berkoordinasi dengan Kementerian Luar Negeri untuk menyelesaikan masalah ini. Menurut Ahmad, desain paspor terbaru mengacu pada Kepmenkumham No.M.HH-01.GR.01.03.01/2019 tentang pengamanan khusus untuk paspor biasa dan dokumen perjalanan seperti paspor.

Sementara itu, Kedutaan Besar Jerman menjelaskan bahwa paspor Indonesia ditolak karena tidak adanya kolom tanda tangan. “Kami sedang mengkaji rencana kerja sama antara lembaga pemerintah Jerman dan Indonesia. Sampai saat ini, kedutaan Jerman di Indonesia tidak dapat menerima paspor tanpa kolom tanda tangan untuk memproses aplikasi visa,” demikian pernyataan kedutaan Jerman mengutip pernyataan kedutaan Jerman.

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Pink Venom: Anggota Blackpink Star di Poster Chic Credits dan Teaser Konsep Baru untuk Lagu Mendatang



Menjelang lagu pra-rilis mereka ‘racun merah muda’ Pada tanggal 19 Agustus, kita pertama kali melihat keempat anggota Blackpink berpose bersama! Pada 13 Agustus pukul 20:30 IST, YG Entertainment merilis poster kredit untuk perilisan girl grup yang akan datang. Poster ini menampilkan Jisoo, Jenny, Rose dan Lisa di poster tim pertama ‘Pink Venom’.

Para anggota terlihat dengan gaya rambut yang ditampilkan sebelumnya dan pakaian merah muda pucat BlackpinkPutaran pertama poster judul individu untuk ‘Pink Venom’. Sementara itu, poster tersebut juga menghadirkan kembali pecahan kaca yang sebelumnya muncul di poster judul dan klip teaser untuk konsep tersebut. Lihat poster kredit di bawah ini:

Sebelum ini, BLACKPINK juga merilis klip teaser konsep baru untuk keempat anggota BLACKPINK.

Kali ini, teaser konsep menampilkan penampilan dari poster judul terpisah ‘Pink Venom’ putaran kedua Blackpink.

Sementara set klip teaser pertama memberikan getaran yang chic dan canggih, babak kedua ini menghadirkan suasana yang lebih keras.

Garis bersih dan lampu putih memberi jalan ke suite gelap yang terlihat seperti sepasang taring hitam.

Dijadwalkan tayang perdana pada 19 Agustus pukul 1 siang KST (9:30 pagi IST), ‘Pink Venom’ akan menjadi lagu pra-rilis BLACKPINK. Album kedua yang akan datang, ‘BORN PINK’. ‘Pink Venom’ dan album mendatang girl grup menandai comeback resmi pertama BLACKPINK sebagai grup penuh dalam hampir dua tahun, setelah perilisan album full-length debut mereka ‘THE ALBUM’ pada Oktober 2020.

Setelah ini, BLACKPINK juga akan memulai tur dunia pada bulan Oktober.

Bergabunglah dengan komunitas terbesar penggemar K-Pop langsung di Kamar Pinkvilla untuk lebih dekat dengan K-Celebs favorit Anda! Klik disini untuk bergabung.

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