Having repeatedly threatened the annihilation of its neightbor to the south, and most recently warning of a “super-mighty preemptive strike” against the US, one day after it emerged that Pyongyang appeared to have resumed activity at its Punggye-ri Nuclear test site, North Korea asked China not to step up anti-North sanctions, warning of “catastrophic consequences” in their bilateral relations.
Pyongyang issued the warning through commentary written by a person named Jong Phil on its official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), which was released Saturday.
As South Korea’s Yonhap news agency writes, it’s rare for Pyongyang’s media to level criticism at Beijing, though the KCNA didn’t directly mention China in the commentary titled “Are you good at dancing to the tune of others” and dated Friday. The commentary instead called the nation at issue “a country around the DPRK,” using North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“Not a single word about the U.S. act of pushing the situation on the Korean peninsula to the brink of a war after introducing hugest-ever strategic assets into the waters off the Korean peninsula is made but such rhetoric as ‘necessary step’ and ‘reaction at decisive level’ is openly heard from a country around the DPRK to intimidate it over its measures for self-defense,” the commentary’s introduction in English read.
The prime minister added the Iranian deal should be reviewed or revoked.
“There’s no question that the deal with Iran, which paves the way to eventual Iranian acquisition of the critical elements of nuclear bombs and nuclear arsenal, something we don’t accept and never signed on the deal and we won’t let happen,” Netanyahu said Friday.
“My position vis-a-vis the deal with Iran… repeal or replace,” Netanyahu said, adding that Washington should not let Tehran “have the best of all world.”
The relations between Israel and Iran have been strained since the Iranian Revolution in the late 1970s. The ties are overshadowed by a number of issues, including Tehran’s nuclear and missile programs accompanied by controversial anti-Israeli statements of high-ranking Iranian officials, such as former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Whether China is right about North Korea conducting a nuclear test on April 25 remains to be seen, but for now Kim Jong-Un is content with merely escalating the verbal warfare and overnight North Korean state media warned the United States of a “super-mighty preemptive strike” following the latest round of comments by Rex Tillerson who said the United States was looking at ways to bring pressure to bear on North Korea over its nuclear programme.
The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party, did not mince its words: “In the case of our super-mighty preemptive strike being launched, it will completely and immediately wipe out not only U.S. imperialists’ invasion forces in South Korea and its surrounding areas but the U.S. mainland and reduce them to ashes” it said according to Reuters.
The threat will hardly come as a surprise: the reclusive communist nation regularly threatens to destroy Japan, South Korea and the United States “and has shown no let-up in its belligerence after a failed missile test on Sunday, a day after putting on a huge display of missiles at a parade in Pyongyang.”
The comments come in response to Tillerson statement in Washington on Wednesday when he told reporters that “we’re reviewing all the status of North Korea, both in terms of state sponsorship of terrorism as well as the other ways in which we can bring pressure on the regime in Pyongyang to re-engage with us, but re-engage with us on a different footing than past talks have been held,”
The International Monetary Fund has delivered another hike to its UK growth forecast, reversing nearly all of the downgrade it pencilled in after last summer’s Brexit vote.
In its latest assessment of prospects for global growth, the Washington-based fund predicted the UK economy will grow this year by 2 per cent, an increase of 0.5 percentage points from the forecast it made in January. The IMF also upgraded its UK growth forecast for next year, from 1.4 per cent to 1.5 per cent.
The world economy will grow faster than previously expected this year thanks to increased trade, investment and manufacturing said the IMF, which also warned the threat of protectionist policies meant “the balance of risks remains tilted to the downside”.
In 2017, global growth was revised from 3.4 per cent to 3.5 per cent, marking the first time in six years the IMF has revised up previous expectations for short-term global growth.
The revision came primarily due to better than expected economic news from Europe, China and Japan and a broad-based recovery in global manufacturing since the middle of 2016.
Before the UK’s EU referendum last year, the IMF forecasted that the UK economy would grow 2.2 per cent in 2017. But it cut the forecast to 1.3 per cent last July, weeks after the Brexit vote, and downgraded its forecast further, to 1.1 per cent, in October.
Step aside China Huishan Dairy Holdings – China’s largest dairy producer which cratered last month after a negative Muddy Waters research report brought attention to a company we knew for one year was collateralizing its cows to fund stock buybacks – and make way for what may be the next Chinese megafraud.
While China Hongqiao Group may be best known for being the world’s largest aluminum producer, it has in recent months featured just as prominently among short-seller reports who have accused the company of being a fraud. As the WSJ’s Scott Patterson writes, questions about China Hongqiao’s finances first emerged in November, when an anonymous short seller wrote on a website called Hongqiao Exposed that the company’s profits are “too good to be true.” China Hongqiao in the March 31 statement called the report “untrue and unfounded.”
Emerson accused China Hongqiao of “abnormally high” profits generated by underreporting production costs and disclosing electricity expenses—one of the biggest costs for aluminum producers—as much as 40% below their true cost. Emerson said it investigated Chinese electricity costs, spoke to former China Hongqiao employees and compared the company’s costs and profits with other comparable companies.
Additionally, China Hongqiao has been more profitable than some Chinese competitors. For instance, China Hongqiao earned an average operating profit margin of 27% in the past five years, compared with minus-1.7% for state-owned Aluminum Corp. of China , known as Chalco, and 5.9% for Alcoa, according to FactSet. “People were always skeptical about how they managed to be more profitable than their peers,” said Sandra Chow, a credit analyst at CreditSights.
Chinese investors are gobbling up Manhattan office towers at sky-high prices, fueling speculation that they eventually will get burned — just like Japanese buyers who snapped up U.S. real estate in the 1980s and later were haunted by those properties.
Chinese conglomerate HNA Group will acquire a prime Park Avenue skyscraper for a whopping $2.21 billion, it was reported in late March, in one of the most expensive deals ever for a New York office building. The news follows HNA’s October announcement of a $6.5 billion purchase of a 25% stake in Hilton Worldwide Holdings from investment firm Blackstone Group. The Chinese group has snared other office buildings in midtown Manhattan as well.
Industry giant China Life Insurance made headlines last year when it invested $2 billion in Starwood Capital Group’s hotels, while also getting stakes in other skyscrapers.
Anbang Insurance Group bought the iconic Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York for some $2 billion back in 2015, and Chinese investors have remained on a shopping spree for U.S. properties ever since.
Chinese companies poured a staggering $33 billion into overseas properties in 2016, up 50% on the year, with $13.4 billion going to the U.S., according to real estate investment firm JLL. Though Beijing has tightened regulations to block capital from leaving the country, Chinese businesses continue to make big investments into office towers and hotels, a JLL officer said.
Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who recently surprised everyone by joining the presidential race, has given an interview in which he called Iran a “powerful country” that the “US administration cannot hurt” and voiced support for the nuclear deal deal struck between Iran and global powers in 2015.
In his interview, Ahmadinejad ruled out that the recent US missile strike on Syria was a message to Iran.
“I do not think it has a message for Iran. Iran is a powerful country and people like Mr. Trump or the United States administration cannot hurt Iran,” he said.
He speculated that the missile strike was instead orchestrated behind closed doors and depended little on the man in the Oval Office. Should Democratic contender Hillary Clinton have won the presidential race, the strike would have happened anyway, he said, but noted that the persona of Donald Trump fits the interests of the shadow government better.
“Those who are the directors must give the role [of president] to a person who can pull it off best. A woman cannot put up a good war face,” he said. “A man can do that better. They need to come up with a figure and say he is very dangerous.”
A NORTH Korean missile “blew up almost immediately” on its test launch on Sunday, the US Pacific Command said, hours before US Vice President Mike Pence was due in the South for talks on the North’s increasingly defiant arms program.
The failed launch from the east coast came a day after North Korea held a military parade in its capital, marking the birth anniversary of the state founder, in which what appeared to be new long-range ballistic missiles were on display.
Pence is due in Seoul at the start of a 10-day trip to Asia in what his aides said was a sign of the US commitment to its ally in the face of rising tension over North Korea.
A US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier strike group is also heading for the region
The North has warned of a nuclear strike against the United States if provoked. It has said it has developed and would launch a missile that can strike the mainland United States but officials and experts believe it is some time away from mastering the necessary technology.
The Atlanta Fed’s tracking estimate for first quarter growth continues to point to a dismal start to the year.
Officials cut the tracker to +0.5% from +0.6% last wee
“The forecast for first-quarter real consumer spending growth fell from 0.6 percent to 0.3 percent after this morning’s retail sales report from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Consumer Price Index release from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,” the release said.
Hedge funds have cut their short position in 10-year Treasury futures by nearly two-thirds from a one-year high set at the start of March, unwinding a popular trade as US sovereign debt has rallied.
Leveraged funds, a proxy for hedge funds, reduced their net short in 10-year Treasury futures by nearly 49,000 contracts in the week to April 4, data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed on Friday. The net short totaled 136,322 contracts, down from 365,650 contracts on March 7.
Traditional asset managers, who have taken the opposite side of the trade, have also reduced their net long to 226,655 contracts, the lowest level since February.
The divide has represented in part a difference of opinion on the likely path of interest rates in the US. It widened markedly after the Federal Reserve signalled last year that it would tighten policy by at least three quarter-point rate rises in 2017.
The central bank’s perceived hawkishness, alongside a sell-off in Treasuries after the US election, sent yields on the 10-year Treasury to a high of 2.62 per cent in December. Yields on the note have since slid, as the so-called Trump trade fades.