|Frontier's "Invest Mongolia Tokyo 2018"||Frontier Securities||Tokyo Japan|
|"Open to Export" ICC WTO International business award||ICC WTO||London|
Preparations are under way for Russia's biggest military exercise since the Cold War, involving about 300,000 service personnel, in eastern Siberia.
China is sending 3,200 troops to take part in "Vostok-2018", with many Chinese armoured vehicles and aircraft. Mongolia is also sending some units.
The last Russian exercise of similar scale was in 1981, during the Cold War but Vostok-2018 involves more troops.
It comes at a time of heightened Nato-Russia tensions.
Relations between Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) - a 29-member defence alliance dominated by the US - have worsened since Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the drills were justified given "aggressive and unfriendly" attitudes towards Russia.
What will happen in the drills?
Tuesday and Wednesday will see planning and preparation while actual operations will start on Thursday and last five days, the head of the Russian general staff, Army General Valery Gerasimov, was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.
The Russian defence ministry says 36,000 tanks, armoured personnel carriers and armoured infantry vehicles will take part in Vostok-2018, from 11 to 17 September, along with more than 1,000 aircraft. Vostok is Russian for east.
The exercise will be spread across five army training grounds, four airbases and areas in the Sea of Japan, Bering Straits and Sea of Okhotsk. Up to 80 naval vessels will take part, from two Russian fleets.
The drills will not be near the disputed Kuril islands north of Japan, Russia says.
The ministry's TV channel Zvezda says three brigades of Russian paratroops will play a key role, during drills at the Tsugol military range, near Russia's borders with China and Mongolia.
A key aim is to practise the rapid deployment of thousands of troops, as well as aircraft and vehicles, from western Russia to eastern regions, across thousands of miles, TV Zvezda reports. That involves in-flight refuelling of fighter jets.
The scale of Vostok-2018 is equivalent to the forces deployed in one of the big World War Two battles.
A smaller-scale Russia-Belarus exercise was held last year.
Why is this happening now?
President Vladimir Putin has made military modernisation - including new nuclear missiles - a priority.
Russia's armed forces are reckoned to have about one million personnel in total.
A Russian senator and reserve colonel, Frants Klintsevich, said "it suited the West that our units and headquarters lacked combat skills and co-ordination, but times have changed; now we have a different attitude to combat readiness".
The Chinese defence ministry spoke of deepening military co-operation and "enhancing both sides' capabilities to jointly respond to various security threats", without specifying those threats.
The ministry confirmed the extent of the Chinese involvement: "3,200 troops, more than 900 pieces of military hardware as well as 30 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters".
Mongolia has not given details of its involvement.
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu says Islamist extremism in Central Asia is a major threat to Russian security.
China has imposed heavy security and censorship in the mainly Muslim Xinjiang region.
Xinjiang has seen intermittent violence - followed by crackdowns - for years. China accuses Islamist militants and separatists of orchestrating the trouble.
Mr Peskov said the involvement of Chinese units in Vostok-2018 showed Russia and Beijing were co-operating in all areas.
In recent years they have deepened military co-operation and during these drills they will have a joint field headquarters.
It contrasts with the Cold War years when the USSR and China were rivals for global communist leadership and clashed on their far eastern border.
Show of strength
The BBC's Sarah Rainsford in Moscow writes:
The scale and scope of Vostok-2018 is unprecedented for modern Russia, but no surprise. The giant drill is clearly meant as a show of strength by Vladimir Putin and his military, a demonstration that - despite Western sanctions, including against the defence sector - the country remains defiant.
It's also a reminder that, while Russia is seen as a hostile and aggressive force in the West, Moscow has long seen Nato encroachment as the threat.
Hasn't Russia just held a military exercise?
Yes, in the Mediterranean - it focused on co-ordination between warships and aircraft.
Tu-160 heavy bombers also flew from Russia and practised launching cruise missiles - firepower that Russia has already used in Syria.
It was small compared with Vostok-2018, involving 26 vessels (including two submarines) and 34 aircraft. It lasted a week and ended on Saturday.
Western analysts saw it as part of Russia's operation in Syria. Russian aircraft have played a key role in support of Syrian government forces.
What has Nato said?
Spokesman Dylan White said Nato was briefed on Vostok-2018 in May and would monitor it.
He said "all nations have the right to exercise their armed forces, but it is essential that this is done in a transparent and predictable manner".
"Vostok demonstrates Russia's focus on exercising large-scale conflict. It fits into a pattern we have seen over some time: a more assertive Russia, significantly increasing its defence budget and its military presence."
Why is Russia-Nato tension high?
It has been increasing since Russia annexed the Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and backed pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.
Nato has reacted with an increased deployment of forces in eastern Europe, sending 4,000 troops to member nations.
Russia says the Nato build-up is unjustified and provocative. It says the Ukrainian revolution of 2013-2014 was a coup masterminded by the West.
Russian diplomats were expelled from Nato countries after the poisoning of Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, with a nerve agent in southern England in March. The UK blamed Russian military intelligence - the GRU - for the attack; Moscow denied involvement...
Russia to launch largest military drill on 11 September; 300,000 troops, including China and Mongolia, to participate www.firstpost.com
Russia on Tuesday will launch the biggest military drills in its history involving 300,000 troops as well as Chinese soldiers, in a move North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) denounced as "exercising large-scale conflict". The week-long deployment alongside Chinese and Mongolian armies dubbed "Vostok-2018" (East-2018) will start in eastern Siberia on 11 September.
It comes at a time of escalating tensions between Moscow and the West over accusations of Russian interference in western affairs and the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Syria. The Russian army has compared the show of force to the USSR's 1981 war games that saw between 100,000 and 150,000 Warsaw Pact soldiers take part in "Zapad-81" (West-81) — the largest military exercises of the Soviet era.
However, defence minister Sergei Shoigu said this time would be even larger, with 300,000 soldiers, 36,000 military vehicles, 1,000 planes and 80 warships taking part in the drills. "Imagine 36,000 military vehicles moving at the same time: tanks, armoured personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles — and all of this, of course, in conditions as close to a combat situation as possible," Shoigu said.
The Russian army will roll out all of its latest additions for the event: Iskander missiles that can carry nuclear warheads, T-80 and T-90 tanks and its recent Su-34 and Su-35 fighter planes. At sea, the Russian fleet will deploy several frigates equipped with Kalibr missiles that have been used in Syria.
Russia's previous military exercise in the region, Vostok-2014, was almost half the size, with 155,000 soldiers participating.
The country's war games in Eastern Europe last year, Zapad-2017, saw 12,700 troops take part according to Moscow. Ukraine and the Baltic states said the true number was far bigger.
'Future World War'
President Vladimir Putin is expected to attend Vostok-2018 after hosting an economic forum in Russia's far eastern city Vladivostok, where his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping is one of the guests.
Russian military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer said the games were a "preparation for a future world war." He said: "The army's general staff believes this will take place after 2020 in the form of either a global war or a series of conflicts with magnitude... The enemy is the United States and its allies."
According to Felgenhauer, China's participation — although modest with only 3,200 men — will be a key factor in the drills. "It's not just about a sign or a message, but about a preparation for a real-life war of great magnitude," he said.
This opinion was shared by NATO, which said that Vostok-2018 "demonstrates Russia's focus on exercising large-scale conflict". Alliance spokesperson Dylan White said, "It fits into a pattern we have seen over some time — a more assertive Russia, significantly increasing its defence budget and its military presence."
Russia has denied the drills are a cause for worry. "Vostok-2018 is far from NATO's area of responsibility and does not affect the security of its member states," the Russian foreign ministry's spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
Growing number of drills
Relations between Russia and the West declined sharply in 2014 with Moscow's annexation of Crimea and the subsequent conflict in eastern Ukraine. Since then, Moscow has increased the number of its large-scale military exercises in the Caucasus, the Baltic and the Arctic. At the same time, the Kremlin has accused NATO of expanding westwards and threatening Russian national security.
This week, Russia held military exercises in the Mediterranean. More than 25 warships and around 30 planes took part in the drills, as Russia increased its military presence in Syria where it intervened to help the Bashar al-Assad regime in 2015. Around 2,200 Ukrainian, American and other NATO soldiers took part in military exercises in western Ukraine in early September.
Last month, the Kremlin's spokesman said Russia's "ability to defend itself in the current international situation which is often aggressive and unfriendly to our country is justified, essential and without alternative"....
Right when the debate about the legislation to ratify the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership is about to start in Australia’s House of Representatives, the mining sector is out and about showing its support to the trade deal.
This week, the Minerals Council of Australia issued a statement supporting the findings in a recent study about the so-called TPP-11. The research was carried out by economists from Brandeis International Business School and Johns Hopkins University and projects $12 billion in net annual benefits to the country’s income by 2030 and increases in exports of $23 billion once it ratifies the Partnership.
Australia is the world’s number two gold producer.
The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership was signed in March 2018 by Australia and the other 10 countries that decided to move on with a new version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership after the U.S. withdrew from the latter in 2017.
Previous to showing their public support to the research report published this week, the Minerals Council of Australia presented a submission before the Australian Senate to back the accord.
In an interview with MINING.com, the group’s CEO, Tania Constable, explained some of the main points in the document presented to the Upper Chamber and gave details of how she believes the deal will benefit the mining sector Down Under.
How and why would deeper integration through regional agreements generate additional trade and output gains in Australia’s mining sector?
By reducing barriers to trade and investment, such as tariffs on goods, restrictions on services trade, and impediments to cross-border investment, these agreements stimulate economic growth and development. Faster economic growth, particularly in Asia-Pacific economies, translates into additional demand for Australian resources commodities as those economies build new industries and infrastructure that need materials like steel, coal, copper, nickel and LNG.
In addition, the CPTPP (TPP-11) includes specific commitments by several countries to reduce tariffs on Australian resources commodities and improve access for Australian mining services. These measures will make Australian resources and mining services exports more competitive in these TPP-11 countries, enabling Australia to increase its market share in those countries compared to competitor suppliers from non-TPP-11 countries.
As highlighted in MCA’s submission to the Senate, among those beneficial commitments are Peru’s promise to eliminate tariffs on iron ore, copper and nickel; Vietnam’s commitment to eliminate tariffs on butane, propane, LNG and refined petroleum; as well as Mexico, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam and Chile’s promise to improve access for Australian suppliers to their markets.
The TPP-11 also includes commitments by all parties to reform state-owned enterprises and energy markets, which will create opportunities for Australian mining and oil and gas services suppliers.
Tania Constable, CEO of the Minerals Council of Australia.
Is there a subsector within the mining sector that would benefit the most?
The MCA sees opportunities from the TPP-11 for Australia’s traditional large minerals exports, such as iron ore, coal and metals like copper, which will be in demand as developing economies covered by the TPP-11 continue to industrialise.
This industrialisation will mean greater investment by those countries in infrastructure, which will support demand for iron ore and metallurgical coal for steel-making, and in electricity generation, which will support demand for high-quality thermal coal. The MCA also sees significant opportunities from agreements like the TPP-11 for Australia’s world-class mining equipment, technology and services sector.
Looking at the study published this week by Peter Petri and Michael Plummer, it seems that the mining sector would benefit more from a TPP than a TPP-11, particularly when looking at exports. Why do you think this is?
The modelling shows that while there are significant economic gains from the CPTPP (TPP-11), the gains would have been higher still under the original TPP which included the United States. This is because the U.S. is the world’s biggest economy and its involvement in the original TPP would have boosted trade between America and the other 11 Asia-Pacific economies covered by the agreement.
Lower economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region under the TPP-11 compared to the original TPP is the reason export gains for Australian mining are lower under the TPP-11 than under the original TPP. For example, Vietnam’s national income would grow by 8.1 per cent under the TPP whereas under the TPP-11 this falls to 2.1 per cent. Slower growth in an emerging market for Australian resources like Vietnam translates into slower growth in Australian exports to that country.
However, as the modelling also shows, the mooted expansion of the TPP-11 to a TPP-16 including Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand, would see higher economic growth and higher Australian mining exports than under the TPP-11.
Why would the output of the mining sector increase by 1.9 per cent under the TPP and about a 0.7 per cent under the TPP-11?
Output of Australian mining in the modelling is driven primarily by export demand for commodities, which would be lower under the original TPP than under the TPP-11 without the U.S., and by domestic demand from the metals sector, which processes minerals commodities into metals such as iron and steel, aluminium and the like.
The modelling shows that the Australian metals sector also experiences lower growth in exports and output under the TPP-11 than under the original TPP.
Why is the mining sector so supportive of the TPP-11?
The TPP-11 is a high-quality trade agreement which goes beyond the traditional focus of trade deals on goods to also include important provisions on services, investment, trade facilitation and people to people links which will all benefit Australian mining. The agreement’s investment provisions, for example, will improve cross-border investment flows by providing greater regulatory certainty.
The cumulative positive impact of this agreement when combined with other free trade agreements is also significant in terms of the long-term benefits on offer.
This will be positive for the Australian mining industry’s ability to invest in developing and operating mining projects in TPP-11 countries, which include several countries in Latin America and South-East Asia with significant resources deposits. These economies will be looking for investment in coming years to develop their own sectors and by adopting more open arrangements for cross-border investment the TPP-11 will create additional investment opportunities for Australian mining businesses.
Finally, this agreement will help create and build stronger long-term strategic relationships between Australia and the other countries in the agreement, including between the respective mining and METS sectors of both countries....
President Battulga Khaltmaa visited the National Library of Mongolia last Saturday, during which Ichinkhorloo Bayarkhuu, the Director of the Library, notified him of immediate need of repairing the facility. Established in November 1921, the library was originally built to contain 500,000 books. The facility currently stores over 3.6 million books and tomes, including 1.5 million ancient scriptures and rare books. Ms. Ichinkhorloo warned, “The independence of wisdom left behind by our ancestors is close to destruction and decay” as the library’s capacity has been exceeded by more than seven times. Due to high precipitation this year, the building was corroded with more water seepages visible around the building. Although the Government has decided to rebuild the library, the lack of financing delayed the construction; thus, the authorities of the National Library had a blueprint of expansion drawn in 2013 and estimated its cost at MNT 4.7 billion.
According to Ms. Ichinkhorloo, MNT 4.7 billion is fairly small compared to the cost of constructing a new facility; thus expressed an immediate need to expand the current facility in order to safekeep precious and unique books and scriptures. The library authorities are annually conducting maintenances; however, the water seepage is impossible to be stopped, noted Ms. Ichinkhorloo and requested the President to look into the matter. In response, the President remarked, “I am visiting the facilitation because the preservation and protection of valuable and precious books is becoming a growing problem. The library officials are suggesting to expand the library by over MNT 4 billion due to the delay in the new facility. This is out of desperation. The construction of the new library has been obstructed since 2012 and same goes to the expansion. Therefore, I will focus on attracting public attention and raising fund for the library.
For over a year-and-a-half the appointment of Mongolian ambassadors to several foreign nations has been pending. On Thursday, the newly-assigned Ambassador of Mongolia to Sweden O.Enkhtsetseg, the Ambassador of Mongolia to Canada Ya.Ariunbold, and the Ambassador of Mongolia to the United Kingdom N.Tulga received their letters of credence from Mongolian President K.Battulga.
During the meeting with new the ambassadors, President Kh.Battulga underlined that the service of an ambassador is not a post-retirement job for politicians, while expressing his solid stance against this type of appointment of ambassadors.
In addition, President Battulga tasked the ambassadors to take active initiatives toward protecting the rights of Mongolian nationals and Mongolia while ensuring immediate success because the Ministry of Foreign Affairs deems them to be highly-skilled and professional diplomats. In particular, the President mentioned the matters of education, healthcare, high technology, and training of a specialised work force, instructing the Ambassadors to settle these issues, including training specialized work force, finding scholarships for students, and studying the possibility of delivering costly healthcare services to Mongolians for free, within half year.
President Battulga also asked the ambassadors to always keep their embassies open to Mongolian nationals and to work toward broadening bilateral relations by means of forwarding initiatives in multilateral cooperation between countries.
The Central Bank of Mongolia (Mongol Bank) said on Friday that it had purchased 12.2 tonnes of gold from legal entities and individuals in the first eight months of this year, including 2.8 tonnes in August. The bank is aiming to increase gold purchases to 22 tonnes in 2018 and to raise reserve of foreign currency to USD 700 million from gold purchases.
The bank’s gold purchase is high due gold taxes decreased to 2.5 percent under ‘Gold’ programme. However, low royalty taxes on gold are about to expire on 2019. In 2010, the bank’s gold purchase was low to two tonnes in a year due to high taxes.
China’s richest man and the founder of Alibaba retailer will step down in exactly one year on September 10, 2019, with chief executive officer Daniel Zhang taking over as chairman, the company has announced.
“With the approval of our board of directors, one year from today on September 10, 2019 which also falls on Alibaba’s 20th anniversary, Group CEO Daniel Zhang will succeed me as chairman of the board of Alibaba Group,” Ma said in a letter on Monday.
The billionaire will remain as executive chairman of the company for the next 12 months to mentor his successor and ensure a “smooth and successful transition.” Afterwards the 54-year-old entrepreneur plans to stay on the board of directors until the annual shareholders meeting in 2020.
The businessman described the move as a step up to the “next level of corporate governance,” and transition from a company that fully relies on individuals to “one built on systems of organizational excellence and a culture of talent development.”
“Alibaba was never about Jack Ma, but Jack Ma will forever belong to Alibaba,” Ma said in his letter.
In the announcement, which coincided with his 54th birthday, the Chinese business magnate noted that his 46yo successor Zhang has been with the company for 11 years and has demonstrated “superb talent, business acumen and determined leadership.”
As for China's richest man himself, he still has “lots of dreams to pursue,” which might even see the former teacher to “return to education,” which he called a “blessing .”
“The world is big, and I am still young, so I want to try new things – because what if new dreams can be realized?!”
A study by research firm Wealth-X has found that the number of ultra-rich people rose 13 percent worldwide in 2017, totaling about 256,000 individuals with combined assets of $31.5 trillion.
According to the report, Asia saw the fastest growth, driven by mainland China and Hong Kong. The growth in the number of people worth $30 million or more (the so-called ultra-high-net-worth individuals) surged 19 percent in Asia, twice the growth rate of North America.
“Asia-Pacific is forecast to close the ultra-wealth gap with other regions over the next five years, but is expected to remain behind Europe, the Middle East and Africa in absolute terms,” the report said.
Asia’s financial hub Hong Kong saw its ultra-wealthy population explode by 31 percent in 2017 to more than 10,000, overtaking New York's 9,000 super-rich residents for the first time. Tokyo ranked third with 6,800 multimillionaires. China is home to 26 of the world’s 30 fastest-growing cities for the ultra-rich.
“Hong Kong’s rise in terms of the number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals is mainly because of its trade and investment links to China’s mainland, where new, self-made wealth is growing at the fastest pace,” said the head of Wealth-X Institute Vincent White.
The report found that the world’s ultra-rich held more of their wealth (some 35 percent) in liquid assets such as cash. Private holdings accounted for about 32 percent, while public holdings stood at 26 percent. Alternative investments such as real estate, art and yachts made up 6.6 percent of total assets.
Wealth-X also said that 35,000 women made the ultra-rich list last year, accounting for a record-high share of nearly 14 percent. The report forecasts that in the next four years “Asia is expected to experience the strongest growth” in the world among those worth $30 million or more. By 2022 the region is expected to have 108,000 ultra-high-net-worth individuals, growing by 50 percent. North America will grow by less than a third over that time period, to 132,000.
That growth would help Asia to “close the gap with other regions,” said the report.
Mongolia has launched a National Campaign to protect children from cyber crimes and strengthen parental control over the social media usage of children, Mongolia’s National Police Agency said on Thursday.
“The number of Internet users has been growing day by day. Safety for kids and teens on social media in our country is generally under threat,’’ said Davaasambuu Budzaan, head of the division to protect children from crime at the National Police Agency.
Before 2010, about 20 cyber crimes were registered in Mongolia annually and since then, the number of online crimes in the country has increased significantly, Budzaan said.
“For example, a total of some 300 cyber-related cases, including child sexual abuse through the internet and creation of child pornography, have been registered across Mongolia in the first half of this year,’’ he said.
He urged all parents and relevant officials to reinforce their control over the social media usage of children, including removing strangers from their children’s list of friends on social networking websites.
During the 20-day campaign, relevant officials will give lectures on how to use social media effectively at more than 700 general education schools across the country.
Facebook is the most popular social network among Mongolians.
According to data by the Mongolian government, there are more than 1.5 million Facebook users in the country with a population of some three million.
Almost 97 per cent of the pupils in Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia, and some 93 per cent of rural pupils are active Facebook users.
The world’s fifth largest consumer of natural gas, China, is planning to boost imports from neighboring Russia, according to the Chinese Board of Energy Affairs. Beijing will also buy more gas from Kazakhstan.
At the same time, China is set to promote diversification of natural gas imports, an official source said, as quoted by government-controlled China News Service.
“In 2017, China imported 95.6 billion cubic meters of natural gas via the Central Asian and China–Myanmar gas pipelines from Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Myanmar,” the source told the agency. “In the near future, imports of gas from Russia and Kazakhstan will be increased.”
Power of Siberia: Russia’s mega gas pipeline to China almost complete — RT Business News
One of the world’s longest gas pipelines – the Power of Siberia – which is being created to deliver natural gas from Russia to China, is now 93 percent complete.
In 2014, Russian energy giant Gazprom and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) signed a contract for gas deliveries via Power of Siberia – one of the world’s longest gas pipelines currently under construction. Under the deal, China is set to buy 38 billion cubic meters of Russian gas annually for 30 years. The supplies are scheduled to begin in December.
At the same time, Russian gas producer Novatek, in cooperation with the CNPC, is working on the implementation of Russian-led energy project Yamal LNG. China has purchased the first two batches of liquefied natural gas from Yamal.