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Chinese firms spending billions overseas
PLA tests military might at sea
China Reform Monitor No. 564
Approximately 3000 officers, soldiers, militia, and paramilitary police - using military vessels and civilian cargo ships - participated in military exercises in Zhangzhou, East China, reports the China Daily. The two-day exercise focused on how to provide support to the PLA navy [PLAN], which included the transportation of weaponry and personnel, supply of oil and water, logistical support, telecommunications, and ship maintenance, which involved incorporating commercial vessels. Amid increasing tension with Taiwan, the PLAN also practiced militia [commercial] boats firing ground-to-air guided missiles.
Chinese state firms are buying up billions of dollars of strategic natural resources and industrial corporations from diverse international suppliers, such as Indonesia, Australia and Canada, reports the Singapore Straits Times. In addition to seeking to buy Canada's largest mineral mining corporation, Noranda, Inc., Chinese companies are buying into Indonesian oil fields, Australian iron mines, South Korean carmakers and a Japanese pharmaceutical maker. According to China's Ministry of Commerce, in 2004, foreign investment into China's economy is expected to hit a record high of US $60 billion, while Chinese companies are spending as much as US $33 billion through 7,470 Chinese government-connected companies in 160 foreign countries and territories.
China's state owned Minmetals, Inc. has bid $7 billion to purchase Canada's Falconbridge, the third largest producer of nickel worldwide, reports Canada's National Post. Nickel, a scarce metal remains critical to the U.S. economy for industrial and military weapons production. Nickel-based alloys are essential components of jet airplane engines, missile technology and aerospace vehicles. The largest deposit of nickel outside of Canada is in the Siberian city of Norilsk. Because the U.S. lacks nickel mines, during a shortage in the 1950s, the U.S. Government gave Falconbridge a $40 million subsidy to help ensure that the Canadian mines remained active.
The CIA found that China and Saddam Hussein's regime performed illegal transactions involving 10 to 20 gyroscopes and 20 accelerometers in exchange for the supply of oil in 2001, while Iraq was a major beneficiary of the U.N. oil-for-food program, reports Bill Gertz in the Washington Times. The goods were to be used in Iraq's Al-Samud missile program. China's "Children's software" was discovered to be rocket guidance software for the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission in 2002. Chinese firms employed intermediaries such as India, Turkey, Syria, and Jordan to transport the commodities to Iraq. Siam Premium Products acted as one of its front companies, and the Chinese firm NORINCO [China North Industries Corp.], which has been sanctioned for illicit weapons sales to rogue states numerous times by the U.S. Government, was a key provider of weapons to Iraq.
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