China 'presents an opportunity, not a threat' - Readers' Letters

I refer to your editorial “Cold War looms with China” (Scotsman, 12 November), which portrayed China as an enemy. The assertions are misleading and dangerous.

The China Zun tower is seen on the city skyline as people take pictures at a park during sunset in Beijing

On Hong Kong’s democracy, none of the 28 Hong Kong governors since 1843 were elected during British rule. Only when Hong Kong was returned to China did its residents begin to enjoy democracy. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has maintained prosperity and stability. Its citizens’ rights and freedoms are now fully protected in accordance with the law and the improved electoral system.

Taiwan was returned to China after World War II in accordance with the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation, which the UK signed. The United Nations, including the US and UK, regard Taiwan as part of China, not “an independent state”. Therefore Taiwan’s participation in regional economic cooperation must be based a on one-China principle.

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In the South China Sea, China’s sovereignty and territorial rights and interests are supported by historical and legal bases. China advocates consultations with countries in the region to settle the issue. The freedom of navigation there has never been threatened. If a “threat” is true, the instigator must be a foreign state sending a carrier strike group to the region from far away.

A much greater threat lies in the AUKUS, which involves transfer of weapons-grade uranium to Australia. This in turn constitutes a grave nuclear proliferation risk. The partnership is a typical military bloc reminiscent of the Cold War era.

Should one feel agitated about China’s growth because its political system is different from West? Democracy cannot be one-size-fits-all. The Chinese people enjoy a whole-process democracy and the socialist democratic politics works for China. A survey by the JFK School of Government has shown the Chinese people’s overall satisfaction rate of over 93 per cent. The leadership of Communist Party of China is the choice of history and the people.

Striving for a modern socialist country, China is ready to shoulder its responsibility as a major country. It will deepen international cooperation and bring benefits to more countries and their peoples. China is an opportunity, not a threat.

Ma Qiang, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China, Edinburgh

Cambo verdict

Last week Nicola Sturgeon was outsourcing the decision on Cambo to Boris Johnson and a Rigorous Climate Assessment, a kind of rerun of the "five tests" Gordon Brown defined to inform a decision on joining the euro.

Except that Ms Sturgeon never defined the terms of such a test or what would constitute a pass or fail.

No wonder, since that would lay the ground rules for how long she could sit on the fence, so what seems to have happened is in the shower on Tuesday morning she decided to just announce that she was against it, and lo and behold it turned out that the Labour Party, formerly the champions of workers and industry, in the shape of Monica Lennon MSP, fed the neccessary question at FMQs .

So, no matter the outcome, Sturgeon wants Cambo stopped (Scotsman, 17 November). No matter if we import the gas we need for the Grangemouth petrochemicals industry at higher financial and climate cost, no matter if potential investors in the North Sea are already having second thoughts, no matter thousand of jobs are at risk, and, amazingly, no matter she has obliterated 40 years of "it's Scotland's oil", the foundation of the Scexit case

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven. Aberdeenshire

Scotland’s surplus

To meet its energy requirements, the UK needs the Cambo production much more than Scotland. The hardware will be built abroad with the bulk of profits and taxes flowing to London or offshore despite the UK government’s oil and gas tax regime being the most generous on earth. In 2020 Norway earned £9 billion from the North Sea whereas the UK allocated a notional £400,000 to Scotland under Gers.

Currently Scotland, with eight per centof the population, produces 26 per cent of the UK’s gas consumption and produces a similar surplus of electricity mostly from our renewable industries that pay the highest transmission charges in Europe.

Scotland has 25 per cent of Europe’s entire offshore wind power resources, 25 per cent of Europe’s tidal energy resources and ten per cent of its wave energy potential. Scotland’s world-leading tidal power could produce enough electricity to meet Scotland’s needs but the UK government won’t invest in it and Scotland lacks the borrowing powers to significantly invest in manufacturing projects such as hydrogen fuel cells and electrolysers

Scotland also has 30 per cent of Europe’s carbon storage capacity but our climate change targets have been sabotaged by the UK government’s decision to ignore our better claim for carbon capture investment despite having earned over £350 billion from Scotland’s oil.

However, the Scottish Government is committed to a gradual just transition towards thousands of renewable jobs with a £500,000 investment for the North East. Earlier this week, the Scottish National Investment Bank backed the Iona Wind Partnership to the tune of £13m which follows £6m investment in thermal storage, £6.4m in tidal energy and £2m for an electric vehicle charging network.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh

Reid all about it

Now that our First Minister has stated that the Cambo oil field "should not get the green light" it is clearly time for a lyrics update to The Proclaimers’ Letter from America to encompass the losses within Scottish businesses and to include "Scotland's Oil – No More".

Allan O'Connor, Haddington, East Lothian

Adaptation is key

The storm of 31 January, 1953 carried sizeable stones from the Ayrshire beach near where I then lived at least 50 yards inshore from the normal high waterline, the Stranraer/Larne ferry sank, England suffered much coastline damage, the SE was flooded and more than half The Netherlands was soon under water.

Human lives lost were in the thousands, animals in the tens of thousands. No cry of global warming then, it was simply regarded as a natural disaster to which the response was to clear up and adapt to prepare for any similar future happening.

About 60 per cent of the The Netherlands had lived below sea level for centuries so their answer was simply to strengthen their dyke systems. London, ten per cent of whose population is regularly under sea level, put in place its massive but moveable barrage scheme.

These schemes have of course served their design purpose, became effective from the moment of completion and were only possible because of the wealth of the countries affected and their access to ample cheap and reliable energy.

The floodings so much favoured by the media as a prime example of global warming and the need therefore to cut carbon emissions are no worse than that of The Netherlands mentioned above and could possibly be fixed in the same way.

Even if we could magically put an end to emissions tomorrow the inertia in the system coupled with population growth will mean that global warming will keep on rising.

An immediate end to fossil fuel use as demanded by juvenile protesters (including politicians and newspaper columnists!) is therefore no answer at all. Adaptation should be our first consideration, including assistance to needy countries. Fossil fuels need to be phased out , but slowly, and not by any means completely – we will still need to make things like steel and plastics.

Dr A McCormick, Terregles, Dumfries and Galloway

Do the research

Ever eager to scrape around for items with which to berate the First Minister, Alexander McKay (Letters, 17 November) criticises Nicola Sturgeon for using Bute House for the launch of Val McDermid's book.

If he had bothered to check, he would have found out that Bute House is a National Trust property and can be used for public events.

However, as the First Minister's official residence, the ministerial code forbids its use for anything other than official events unless they are paid for at the Minister's expense.

In this instance, Bute House was used because it is featured in the book and the book's publishers paid for the event. Also, anyone with even a passing interest in politics in Scotland would be aware that the First Minister has been involved in numerous events to celebrate and promote Scottish authors and the Scottish literary scene.

As for Mr McKay fervently hoping for a new generation with different political views, has he considered that the generation he's referring to are likely to approve of Nicola Sturgeon's support for authors and find his carping distasteful?

Gill Turner, Edinburgh

Central message

Interesting comments from John Swinney of the SNP, criticising the UK Government of “centralising political power” (Scotsman, 18 November).

Would this be the same SNP that has done exactly this with local government in Scotland, as well as starving it of funds?

William Ballantine, Bo’ness, West Lothian

Duty calls

In his column, Murdo Fraser lambasts the First Minister for dereliction of duty (Scotsman, 17 November).

However as, according to the opposition, she creates a shambles of anything she undertakes, should he not welcome her absence?

S Beck, Edinburgh

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