|Asia News Digest
Musharraf Ready To Give Up His Military Uniform
Nov. 23 (EIRNS)Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is expected to give up his post as the Chief of the Armed Services (COAS) within a few days, following the validation of the Oct. 6 election by the parliament and the provincial assemblies, which was issued by a ten-member full court of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar. The seven-member bench of the Supreme Court also disposed of two identical petitions on Nov. 23 validating the Nov. 3 Proclamation of Emergency, Provisional Constitution Order, and follow-up actions, but directed that the emergency be revoked at the earliest possible time.
The outcome of these two decisions means that Musharraf will be sworn in for his second term as President, and will then give up the COAS post. It is evident that he does not have to lift the state of emergency until the administration considers the internal situation secure. Musharraf has already announced that nationwide general elections will be held on Jan. 8 to constitute the next National Assembly (parliament) with the country under the state of emergency.
In essence, Musharraf has agreed to a number of Western demandsgiving up his uniform and holding general elections on the scheduled date. But, he has defied the British and Cheney-led neocon pressures to lift the emergency. Neither Musharraf nor the Pakistani generals believe that free and fair elections can be held without the emergency in place.
This situation is in no way resolved, commented Lyndon LaRouche today, and Musharraf could be the target of an assassination in the context of the continuing targetting of Pakistan. "An assassination of Musharraf is what Cheney's policies of continuing war in the region implies," says LaRouche.
U.S. Moots Invasion of Pakistan
Nov. 20 (EIRNS)There is a secret U.S. plan to expand the presence of American military trainers in Pakistan, and directly finance a separate tribal paramilitary force against the militants who are hostile to the U.S., NATO, and Pakistani troops, according to the Nov. 19 New York Times. The report says the Pentagon is about to start funding the Frontier Corps (FC) of Pakistan.
Outgoing U.S. Homeland Security Advisor Frances Townsend, in a press conference yesterday, refused twice to rule out a U.S. invasion of Pakistan, including with U.S. ground troops.
Meanwhile, Frederick Kagan of the right-wing American Enterprise Institute, and Michael O'Hanlon of the more liberal Brookings Institution, issued a threat, in a joint article published in the New York Times on Nov. 18, that the U.S. simply could not stand by as a nuclear-armed Pakistan descended into the abyss. Nor would it be strategically prudent to withdraw U.S. forces from an improving situation in Iraq, to cope with a deteriorating one in Pakistan, they say.
As of now, Pakistan has refused any American financing of the FC. However, as Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has become embattled inside his country, following his declaration of a state of emergency on Nov. 3, the Bush Administration has increased pressure on Islamabad to push this through. The planning at the Special Operations Command in the Pentagon intensified after Adm. Eric T. Olson, a member of the elite Navy Seals special forces, who is the new head of the command, met General Musharraf and senior Pakistani military leaders in August, to discuss how the military could increase cooperation in Pakistan's fight against the extremists.
Indian Space Program Reaches for Geosynchronous Orbit
Nov. 20 (EIRNS)The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) reached a significant milestone last week, when it successfully carried out a test of the indigenously developed cryogenic engine at the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) at Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu. This liquid-hydrogen upper-stage rocket, the achievement of which was central to the U.S. Apollo Moon landing program, is needed by India to reach geosynchronous orbit in space, explained Indian Space Research Organisation chairman G. Madhavan Nair. "With this successful test, India's GSLV program has become absolutely self-reliant," Nair told PTI over the phone from Thiruvanathapuram on Nov. 16.
India began designing the GSLV, a Delta-II class medium-launch vehicle, with an objective of placing 2.5-metric-ton payloads into geosynchronous orbit, 22,000 miles up. The development and launch of the GSLV rocket was a priority item in the Indian national space program, aimed at creating a dense satellite network to meet the country's requirements for telecommunications, Earth sounding, environmental monitoring, and other systems, as well as India's entrance to the international market of space. With this test, the indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage has been fully qualified on the ground. Nair said the flight stage is getting ready for use in the next mission of GSLV (GSLV-D3) next year. "Flight stage is already under preparation at Mahendragiri. Things are progressing well," he said.
India has so far depended on Russia to provide cryogenic engines for its GSLV vehicles. LPSC is the lead center for development of the Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS). The cryogenic engine is required to launch the geosynchronous satellites that are used in communications. This technology has been so far confined to Russia, Europe, and the U.S., which have used it to launch global commercial satellites.
Commission Issues Suicidal China-Bashing Report
Nov. 23 (EIRNS)The congressionally mandated "U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission" issued its 2007 report to the Congress this week, further expanding on the China-bashing tradition which has been its character since its founding in 2000. Even as China has begun to reverse its massive financing of the U.S. debt in response to precisely such threats from the foolish Congress, the 2007 report adds new categories of provocations, as if the Commissioners were intentionally trying to collapse the U.S. economy.
As Lyndon LaRouche warned earlier in the week, speaking about the global systemic crisis and the dollar collapse: "If you want to look for a cause, the Senate should look at the way it showed contempt for China." That didn't cause the crisis, but it precipitated the crisis. The Senate showed imperial contempt for China, LaRouche said, and the Chinese retaliated, as they had warned the Senate, through LaRouche, that they would do. This is what is behind the large-scale Chinese sell-off of dollar holdings now ongoing. This new Review Commission report is more of the same insanity.
On economic matters, the report accuses China of "violating WTO rules or free market principles" by maintaining "extensive government subsidies it provides to favored industries.... Worse still, China formally has adopted a policy of retaining large amounts of the economy ... under direct government ownership and control."
Chinese refusal to let the yuan rise without restraint against the collapsing dollar, is denounced by the commissioners as "an illegal export subsidy," recommending that the Congress enact legislation to that effect, imposing "penalty tariffs."
Acknowledging that "globalization" has left the U.S. defense establishment dependent on foreign-made goods and materials for its weapons and equipment, which is a "substantial security risk," the report calls on Congress to enact laws banning certain parts and components from China from any use by U.S. contractors and subcontractors.
The report even warns China that it must use "market-based incentives" to discourage the purchase of cars and air conditioners, since they cause pollution.
Strategic China-Kazak Nuclear Cooperation
Nov. 19 (EIRNS)Eurasian neighbors China and Kazakstan, planning rapid expansion of nuclear energy generation, have concluded a strategic cooperation deal. State-owned Kazak nuclear enterprise Kazatomprom announced last week that China will get a stake in a 2,000-ton-a-year uranium mine in Kazakstan, in exchange for Kazak equity in China's biggest nuclear power enterprises. At a press conference Nov. 12 in Almaty, Kazatomprom President Moukhtar Dzhakishev announced "exclusive" Kazatomprom agreements with China's biggest nuclear producers, Guangdong Nuclear Power Group Co. and China National Nuclear Corp. These companies will set up joint ventures with Kazatomprom to produce uranium, which will be sold to China as nuclear fuel by 2013.
The Financial Times today reported more details on the agreement. The paper quoted Dzhakishev saying: "We will swap shares in uranium production for shares in Chinese atomic facilities.... This is the first time China has allowed any foreign company to become a shareholder in its atomic power industry enterprises." He said that the Chinese companies would take a 49% interest in the mine, with Kazakstan retaining the 51% majority stake. Xinhua reported last week that Dzhakishev said that the output of the Kazak mine could even exceed 2,000 metric tons because of rising Chinese demand. Kazakstan is planning to increase annual uranium output from 7,200 tons to 18,300 tons by 2010, which will make Kazakstan the world's biggest producer, Dzhakishev had already announced in Tokyo on April 13. It has the second-largest reserves of the metal, after Australia. Kazatomprom is also researching the potential to produce a new nuclear fuel, based on beryllium and uranium, which would have a longer life than standard uranium fuel.
Dzhakishev also said that China will have to process the Kazak uranium in Kazakstan, and to allow Kazatomprom to use its nuclear fuel assembly facilities. Kazatomprom bought a 10% stake in Westinghouse this year, from Toshiba, in a similar deal.
Also last week, Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi visited Astana, capital of Kazakstan, to sign a number of economic cooperation and investment agreements, Xinhua reported. This was the fourth meeting of the China-Kazakstan Cooperation Committee, and the two sides proposed cooperation in machinery manufacture, telecommunications, mining, and rail and other transportation. The two sides also signed an agreement to build and operate the China-Kazakstan natural gas pipeline, between the China National Petroleum Cooperation and the Kazakstan National Petroleum and Natural Gas Co.