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US Navy says China's military buildup won't stop patrols

US Navy says China's military buildup won't stop patrols

World
U.S. forces are undeterred by China's military buildup on man-made islands in the South China Sea and will continue patrolling the strategic, disputed waters wherever "international law allows us," said a Navy officer aboard a mammoth U.S. aircraft carrier brimming with F-18 fighter jets. Lt. Cmdr. Tim Hawkins told The Associated Press on board the USS Carl Vinson that the Navy has carried out routine patrols at sea and in the air in the region for 70 years to promote security and guarantee the unimpeded flow of trade that's crucial for Asian and U.S. economies. "International law allows us to operate here, allows us to fly here, allows us to train here, allows us to sail here, and that's what we're doing and we're going to continue to do that," Hawkins said Saturday on the flight deck of...
China's new loans in Jan surge to record 2.9 trillion yuan, blow past forecasts

China's new loans in Jan surge to record 2.9 trillion yuan, blow past forecasts

Finance
China's banks extended a record 2.9 trillion yuan ($ 458.3 billion) in new yuan loans in January, blowing past expectations and nearly five times the previous month as policymakers aim to sustain solid economic growth while reining in debt risks.While Chinese banks tend to front-load loans early in the year to get higher-quality customers and win market share, the lofty figure was even higher than the most bullish forecast by economists in a Reuters poll.Net new loans surpassed the previous record of 2.51 trillion yuan in January 2016, which is likely to support growth not only in China but may underpin liquidity globally as major Western central banks begin to withdraw stimulus.Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted new yuan loans of 2 trillion yuan, up sharply from December's 584.4 bil...
Oil tanker burning off China's coast at risk of exploding

Oil tanker burning off China's coast at risk of exploding

World
An oil tanker that caught fire after colliding with a freighter off China's east coast is at risk of exploding and sinking, Chinese state media reported Monday, as authorities from three countries struggled to find its 32 missing crew members and contain oil spewing from the blazing wreck. State broadcaster China Central Television, citing Chinese officials, said none of the 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis who have been missing since the collision late Saturday had been found as of 8 a.m. Monday. Search and cleanup efforts have been hampered by fierce fires and poisonous gases that have engulfed the tanker and surrounding waters, CCTV reported. The Panama-registered tanker Sanchi was sailing from Iran to South Korea when it collided with the Hong Kong-registered freighter CF Crystal in t...
Questions arise on China's plans as N. Korea war talk rises

Questions arise on China's plans as N. Korea war talk rises

World
Securing North Korea's missile launchers and nuclear, chemical and biological weapons sites would likely be a chief priority for China in the event of a major crisis involving its communist neighbor, analysts say, although Beijing so far is keeping mum on any plans. Despite China's official silence, its People's Liberation Army likely has a "vast array" of contingency plans involving military options, said Dean Cheng, an Asia security expert at the Heritage Foundation think tank in Washington. The PLA and paramilitary People's Armed Police could also be deployed to deal with refugees and possible civil unrest, he said. What's less clear is whether and under what conditions China would commit troops as an occupying force should North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's regime fall apart, Cheng sai...
China's Great Wall eyes Fiat Chrysler bid

China's Great Wall eyes Fiat Chrysler bid

Business
Chinese carmaker Great Wall Motor is sizing up Fiat Chrysler, producer of Jeep, the classic American off-roader.A Great Wall official told Reuters it had "an intention to acquire" the Italian-American group - the world's seventh-largest car maker.It is not yet entirely clear whether it is interested in the whole company or just the Jeep brand.Earlier reports said Great Wall had asked to meet Fiat executives to discuss buying the off-road make. Jeep, which celebrated its 75th birthday last year, is considered FCA's most marketable brand. Its reputation goes back to World War Two, when Jeeps were used extensively by the US military.Global ambitionsShares in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles jumped 3.5% in Milan on Monday following the news.Yale Zhang, head of Shanghai-based consultancy Automotive Fo...