Archive for August 9th, 2011

August 9, 2011

Senators is calling for an end to tens of millions of annual U.S. development aid to China

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A bipartisan group of senators is calling for an end to tens of millions of annual U.S. development aid to China, saying there are more needy countries than the world’s second-largest economy, which has trillions in foreign reserves.

The eight Democrats and four Republicans made their appeal Thursday to a Senate appropriations committee that must approve foreign aid funding for the fiscal year starting in October.

They urge an end to all development aid for China other than for Tibetans and for promoting human rights.

They say since 2001, the U.S. has provided more than $275 million in direct assistance to China, such as for expanding Internet access and improving public transportation.

The U.S. is scrambling to cut spending to narrow its deficit.


Tester: End U.S. taxpayer-funded aid to China Tester: End U.S. taxpayer-funded aid to China

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Aug 04, 2011 (Congressional Documents and Publications/ContentWorks via COMTEX) —

Senator says China can handle its own problems

(Big Sandy, Mont.) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today told Congressional leaders that it is time to stop sending American taxpayer money to China.

Since 2001, the United States has provided more than $275 million in foreign aid to China

In a bipartisan letter to leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Tester and several of his Senate colleagues said that China does not need assistance in light of its recent economic performance, adding that “the annual assistance we are currently providing to China could be better utilized.”

“China’s now got the resources to take care of its own problems,” said Tester, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “We don’t need to be sending precious resources to China when we’ve got our own health and education needs here. That’s not a smart use of taxpayer dollars and I won’t support it.”

The Obama Administration sought millions for HIV/AIDS prevention and a Chinese government-restricted Peace Corps program in its proposed 2012 budget.

Tester’s letter noted that both the United Kingdom and Australia have announced that they will no longer provide foreign aid to China.

“Our present situation demands that we take an especially hard look at where our foreign aid goes, exactly how it’s used, and who benefits from it,” Tester said, noting that China competes for American jobs and even has its own foreign aid program.

Tester’s letter to the Appropriations Committee appears below and online HERE


Dear Senator Inouye and Senator Cochran:

As you consider Fiscal Year 2012 appropriations bills, we are writing to urge the committee to re-evaluate the level of direct foreign assistance the United States provides to China. Even as China has grown to become the world’s second-largest economy, since 2001 the United States has provided more than $275 million in development assistance to China. In 2009, the most recent year for which data is available, U.S. agencies from across the government provided more than $65 million in grants to China. China also continues to benefit from billions of dollars in development programs and infrastructure loans provided through multilateral institutions like the United Nations, the Asian Development Bank, and the World Bank to which the United States is among the largest financial contributors.

We continue to believe foreign aid is a critical tool to promote both our foreign policy and our values, but given current fiscal realities at home, we need to be smarter and more strategic in allocating our resources. Several of our allies and partners have come to the same conclusion this year, with both the United Kingdom and Australia announcing that they will no longer provide direct foreign assistance to China. In view of China’s economic rise, it is clear that, with the exception of programs targeted specifically to Tibet or promote respect for human rights and democracy in China, the annual assistance we are currently providing to China could be better utilized in countries with greater need and vastly smaller resources.

Indeed, in recent years China has launched its own multi-billion dollar foreign assistance program to rival our own, prompting Secretary Clinton to testify before Congress in March of this year that, “we are in a direct competition for influence with China.” In spite of this, the administration continues to seek millions in aid for U.S. assistance programs in China, including:

* $7 million for HIV/AIDS prevention in China, more than for Thailand, Laos, and Burma combined. These funds are in addition to the $940 million China already has received from the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

* $4.7 million for a Peace Corps volunteer program in China that is restricted by the Chinese government to teaching English to university students. Funding for this program has more than tripled since 2001 and now exceeds programs in countries of demonstrably greater need, such as Cambodia, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone.

* Continued access to Trade & Development Agency grants for projects ranging from improving broadband access in China’s rural areas, to expanding the Guangzhou metro rail systems, to training Chinese government officials in anti-monopoly law. While the Trade & Development Agency plays an important role in linking U.S. business to export opportunities abroad, with bilateral trade in excess of $459 billion last year, this program could be better directed to identifying new markets in emerging economies for U.S. businesses.

With more than $3 trillion in foreign exchange reserves and a double digit economic growth rate, China certainly has the financial resources to forego assistance from multilateral development organizations, which crowds out investment in higher-need countries, and to care for its citizens without relying on U.S. assistance. As the committee reviews current appropriations bills, we would request that in FY2012 you end all U.S. aid to China, other than programs that assist the people of Tibet or promote respect for human rights and democracy in China, and direct our representatives at international organizations to work to end multilateral aid to China, including by directing those representatives to oppose all such aid. Thank you for your consideration of this request.



Jon Tester, et al


Contact: Aaron Murphy (406) 252-0550 or Andrea Helling (202) 228-0371

Copyright (C) 2011 Federal Information & News Dispatch, Inc

August 9, 2011

Laos Airlines To Take Two A320s Once Destined For Libya


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By Leithen Francis, Aug 9, 2011

Lao Airlines has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Airbus to buy two A320s “white tails” originally destined for Libya.

These white tails were built for Libyan national carrier Afriqiyah Airways which suspended operations when NATO forces on March 19 started imposing a no fly-zone over the country.

A well-placed industry executive says Airbus has one more A320 white tail still available for sale and that all three aircraft have very advanced inflight entertainment (IFE) systems. The fact that the aircraft already have the Afriqiyah Airways’ interior and IFE system means they are a challenge to place with other carriers because the new operator may need to do some retrofitting to ensure commonality with its fleet.

Lao Airlines Deputy Commercial Director Noudeng Chanthaphasouk says the MoU was signed with Airbus on Aug. 2 and that these two CFM-powered A320s are configured with 126 economy-class and 16 business-class seats. “Libya was supposed to buy these two aircraft, but they can’t buy these aircraft now, so Airbus is selling them to us.”

He says Lao Airlines aims to take delivery of the first at the end of October, and the other at the beginning of November. The plan is to launch a three-times-weekly service on Nov. 1 from Laotian capital Vientiane to Singapore, says Chanthaphasouk, adding that he was in Singapore last week meeting with executives of Singapore Changi Airport. Chanthaphasouk declines to say which other international destinations he plans to launch.

The carrier currently operates only turboprops—four ATR 72s and four Xian Aircraft MA60s—but in June 2003, it did start leasing an A320 from Singapore Aircraft Leasing, but it returned that aircraft soon after. Lao Airlines’ decision to lease two A320s could potentially put an end to an earlier deal in which Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (Comac) was expected to deliver two 90-seat ARJ21 regional jets to Lao Airlines. The deal is important to Comac because Lao Airlines is the ARJ21’s first export customer.

When asked if Lao Airlines still plans to take delivery of the two ARJ21s, Chanthaphasouk says it is up to the government to decide. “The Chinese have a government-to-government deal,” he says, referring to the fact that the contract was between the Laos government and China. “Comac hasn’t yet received Chinese type certification from the Civil Aviation Administration of China for the ARJ21. We can’t wait,” he adds.

Comac’s ARJ21 program has experienced numerous delays over the years, but the latest is that it aims to receive ARJ21 type certification in the coming months and achieve entry into service at year-end. The first operator will be China’s Chengdu Airlines, which is part-owned by Comac. There are several other Chinese carriers, such as Shandong Airlines and Shanghai Airlines, that ordered ARJ21s before Lao Airlines. That said, the Chinese carriers appear to be in no hurry to receive the ARJ21.

August 9, 2011

Vietnam, Laos treasure fraternal friendship

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(VOV) – The two countries attach great importance to promoting their special solidarity and raising comprehensive cooperation to a new height.

Lao Party General Secretary and State President Choummaly Sayasone is paying an official friendship visit to Vietnam from August 8-10 at the invitation of Vietnamese Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and State President Truong Tan Sang.

This is the first visit abroad by the Lao State leader after the success of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP)’s 9th National Congress and the 7th Lao National Assembly elections.

Mr Sayasone’s visit follows Mr Trong’s first visit to Laos two months ago in his capacity as General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV).

The Lao leader’s visit takes place after the successful first session of the 13th NA that approved the senior positions in the legislative body for the 2011-2016 term.

The Lao State leader’s visit once again affirms the time-honoured fraternal friendship between Vietnam and Laos.

Vietnam praises Laos’ socio-economic achievements during its renewal process and its higher status in the region and the world.

Laos has fulfilled or surpassed all its socio-economic development targets over the past five years. In the first half of this year, its GDP rose 8.3 percent, inflation was controlled at 6.6 percent, and export-import turnover reached US$2 billion. The Lao Government approved 188 private and foreign investment projects with total capitalization of more than US$1 billion.

More attention has been given to reducing poverty in Laos in recent years. As a result, the poverty rate in the country has dropped to 20 percent. Laos aims to shed its status as an under-developed nation by 2020 with an average GDP growth rate of 7.5-8 percent and per capita income of US$1,800.

Laos continues to pursue its external affairs policy of peace, independence, friendship, cooperation, openness, in diverse, multilateral relations with other countries and territories based on mutual respect and benefit.

Laos, in return, also praised Vietnam’s socio economic achievements and the success of its 11th National Party Congress which devised strategic orientations for future development.

The 11th National Congress of the CPV and the 9th National Congress of LPRP affirm both countries’ guidelines and policies that attach great importance to strengthening the time-honoured friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries, considering these invaluable assets and a key factor in ensuring the successful achievement of all targets for national protection and construction.

Vietnam remains one of the top three foreign investors in Laos with 248 projects worth US$3.1 billion.

Two-way trade between the two countries reached nearly US$500 million and is expected to hit US$2 billion by 2015,

In terms of education and training, more than 4,700 Lao cadres and students are currently studying in Vietnam while 420 Vietnamese cadres and students are studying in Laos.

Vietnam and Laos have exchanged information and worked closely together on international and regional issues at multilateral forums, including ASEAN, ASEAN+3, AIPA and the UN.

There is high hope that Lao Party General Secretary and State President Choummaly Sayasone’s visit will be successful, thus bringing the Lao-Vietnam relationship to a higher level.


Vietnam, Laos promote cooperation in theoretical study

(VOV) – On August 9, Lao Party General Secretary and State President Choummaly Sayasone visited the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics and Public …  MORE
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