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08 Dec 18. Japan’s military sees record spending, aims to buy more U.S. arms – Nikkei. Japan’s military looks to raise spending over the next five years in response to security challenges and to narrow Japan’s trade surplus with the United States by buying U.S. equipment, the Nikkei business daily reported on Saturday.
The Ministry of Defence looks to spend at least 27trn yen (188.2bn pounds) between April 2019 and March 2024, with the spending rising an average 1.1 percent per year, exceeding the 0.8 percent average during the five years ending next March, the report said without identifying its sources.
Currently, payments on equipment and personnel expenses account for 80 percent of defence spending, Nikkei said. Under the plan, funds for new equipment purchases will be separated from these expenses, making it easier to buy equipment from the United States, it added.
Japan aims to have cabinet approval for the spending in mid-December, it said. The Ministry of Defence could not be reached immediately for comment.
Purchases of American-made equipment could help Tokyo ease trade friction with Washington as U.S. President Donald Trump pushes Japan to buy more American goods, including military gear, while threatening to impose tariffs on Japanese auto imports to cut a trade deficit with Tokyo.
Japan’s Ministry of Defence in August sought record spending of 5.3trn yen next year to help pay for major upgrades to defences designed to shoot down any North Korean ballistic missile, which that Tokyo sees as a continued threat despite Pyongyang’s promise to abandon nuclear weapons.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been reinforcing Japan’s military to respond to any North Korea missile strike and counter China’s growing air and sea power in the waters around Japan.
Japan remains wary of North Korean promises to abandon its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes. The Ministry of Defence said in a white paper published in August Pyongyang remained Japan’s “most serious and pressing threat”. (Source: Reuters)
07 Dec 18. Huawei caves in to UK security demands. The $2bn commitment by the Chinese telecoms group follows CFO’s arrest in Canada. Huawei has caved in to demands by British security agencies to address serious risks the UK believes exist in the Chinese group’s equipment and software, pledging $2bn to overhaul its systems. Huawei executives and senior officials from GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre this week agreed to a series of technical changes to its practices in the UK, according to people with knowledge of the discussions. The move will cost the Chinese telecom equipment provider about $2bn. Huawei has agreed to write a formal letter to the NCSC outlining the company’s agreement to urgently address the issues, first raised in a critical report in July by an oversight board that monitors the testing of the company’s kit before approving it for use in UK networks. Huawei’s attempts to repair relations with the British government comes as the Chinese telecoms equipment provider faces fresh questions in Europe and the US over connections with the Chinese state, and whether it could pose a national security threat to western powers. Senior UK security officials have repeatedly stressed that their concerns are related to technical deficiencies and not the company’s Chinese origins or any evidence of espionage or malicious activity. But last weekend’s arrest on US sanctions-busting charges of CFO Meng Wanzhou, daughter of Ren Zhengfei, founder and chief executive of the Chinese telecoms group, has added to the international scrutiny of the group’s practices. The arrest has threatened to turn into a major diplomatic incident given the importance of Huawei to China as one of its key technology groups. The US government has in recent months stepped up efforts to persuade western allies to shun the world’s biggest telecoms provider when upgrading services to new, 5G technologies, amid fears over cyber espionage. On Friday, Andrus Ansip, EU Commission vice-president for digital single market, said that the EU has “to be worried” about Huawei and other Chinese companies, raising concerns that Chinese companies “had opened their systems for some kind of secret services”. Huawei said it was “surprised and disappointed” by Mr Ansip’s comments, and it rejected “any allegation that we might pose a security threat”. It said: “Huawei has never been asked by any government to build any backdoors or interrupt and networks and we would never tolerate such behaviour by any of our staff.” Recommended Analysis US-China trade dispute Huawei executive’s arrest threatens US-China trade talks Western security chiefs have also been unusually vocal in recent days to highlight concerns over Chinese technology groups. Alex Younger, head of MI6, the British intelligence service, said the UK faced a tough decision over whether to allow Huawei to supply technology for its 5G network. Huawei has long denied any ties to the Chinese government, which has been at the heart of some of the criticisms in the US and other allied countries concerned about cyber espionage. The company insists it is privately held, but suspicions remain over Mr Ren’s past as an officer in the People’s Liberation Army. The commitment by Huawei represents a major coup for the British government as it would require a significant shift in Huawei’s business practices. Huawei had been slow to react to the concerns raised in the July report that highlighted “shortcomings” in the Chinese telecoms equipment provider’s engineering processes that exposed British telecoms networks to risks. It also identified long-term challenges in mitigation and management of those risks. (Source: FT.com)
06 Dec 18. Embraer-Boeing Aviation Deal Blocked by Brazilian Court. A Brazilian federal court on Thursday granted an injunction blocking the proposed tie-up between U.S. plane-maker Boeing Co and Embraer SA, a deal the Brazilian company says is crucial to its survival. Embraer shares in Sao Paulo closed 2.42 percent lower, although it remained too early to say whether the injunction will actually block or significantly affect the deal. Labor groups in Brazil often bring court challenges against significant business deals and the injunction could be reversed. The decision forbids Embraer’s board of directors from signing the deal to create a joint venture on commercial aviation that Boeing would control. Boeing declined to comment and Embraer did not immediately reply to a request for comment. The legal action was brought by four congressmen with Brazil’s left-wing Workers Party. The companies announced in July that Embraer would sell 80 percent of its commercial aviation business to Boeing in a deal valuing that segment at $4.75bn. Embraer, among the world’s largest makers of mid-sized planes of up to 150 passengers, used to compete in that segment with Canada’s Bombardier Inc.. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Reuters)
04 Dec 18. Key accused in Agusta Westland chopper scam extradited to India. A key accused and alleged middleman in India’s abortive, scandal-tainted helicopter deal with Anglo-Italian firm Agusta Westland was extradited to India from Dubai late on Tuesday, according to local media. The Indian federal Police said earlier in the day that Christian Michel would arrive in New Delhi and be taken into custody by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) before being presented in court on Wednesday. The CBI alleges that Michel paid bribes to senior Indian government officials to secure the chopper deal for Agusta in 2010. He has denied the accusations. His extradition is a victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government in its fight against corruption and apprehending fugitives abroad. Michel is particularly important to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as the accusations against him relate to the period when the opposition and bitter foe Congress was in power.The timing is also right for the BJP as it girds for a no-holds barred fight against Congress in elections just a few months away. A statement from Indian federal police said it learnt of Michel’s alleged involvement in the deal in 2012 but when it acted to investigate his role he fled the country. The CBI has alleged that Michel, who was a consultant to Agusta at the time, entered into as many as 12 contracts through two of his firms to legitimise the bribes paid to officials to secure the 556 m euro (£495.8 m) deal for the 12 AW101 helicopters. India cancelled the deal in 2013. A warrant for his arrest was issued in September 2015 and he was taken into custody in the United Arab Emirates in February 2017 after the CBI issued a red notice to Interpol. The police statement said that Michel would be examined with respect to his involvement in the case and confronted with documents received by the CBI that indicate the bribes he is alleged to have paid. Formal charges will hinge on the outcome of the CBI investigation. (Source: Reuters)
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