Chinese CEOs to Scale Mount Rainier in New ‘Peace Climb’

Jeremy Page and Esther Fung The slopes of Mount Rainier, an active volcano overlooking Seattle, will witness an unusual China-U.S. joint venture this week, just before President Xi Jinping begins a state visit to the U.S. in the West Coast city.

Wang Shi, one of China’s most successful property tycoons, will lead a group of Chinese chief executives on an expedition up the mountain with Jim Whittaker, who became the first American to summit Mount Everest in 1963.

The event on Monday is to mark the 25th anniversary of the 1990 Peace Climb in which Mr. Whittaker climbed Everest again with Soviet and Chinese mountaineers in a bid to promote world peace.

Participants on Monday are hoping to send a similar message of peace at a time of mounting China-U.S. tensions, and to promote awareness of climate change — one area where Beijing and Washington are trying to cooperate.

“Today the same message still bears significance,” said 64-year-old Mr. Wang, Chairman of China Vanke Co., the world’s largest residential property developer by revenue. “Getting to the summit is not the main purpose of the climb.”

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

The event also demonstrates the growing interest in outdoor pursuits, especially among

wealthier Chinese, who are now venturing well beyond traditional tourist destinations.

Mr. Wang is one of China’s highest profile examples.

He has climbed Everest twice, in 2003 and 2010, is a keen rower and conservationist, and an independent director of the World Wildlife Fund.

“In the past two years I have been making trips between China and Seattle and other U.S. cities,” said Mr. Wang. “I’ve also become quite familiar with the mountaineering scene in Seattle.”

Mt. Rainier, whose summit is at 14,410 feet (4392 meters) above sea level, is an active volcano and the most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S., according to the U.S. National Park Service.

Among the Chinese participants on Monday are members of the “Deep Dive” initiative which is run by Mr. Wang and aims to teach Chinese executives about foreign culture and business etiquette.

Mr. Whittaker said he was introduced to Mr. Wang through Washington State Governor Jay Inslee about three months ago.

Mr. Wang and the other Chinese participants were providing most of the funding of around $60,000 for the event, Mr. Whittaker said. Read the rest of this entry »


MAP: New 7.4-magnitude Quake in Nepal

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U.S. Sending Disaster Response Team, $1 Million in Aid to Nepal

Kathmandu Struck By Powerful Earthquake

(WASHINGTON)—The United States is sending a disaster response team and $1 million in aid to Nepal following a devastating earthquake that shook three countries.

The White House and Secretary of State John Kerry are offering condolences along with pledging the support.

The magnitude 7.8 earthquake outside the capital Kathmandu killed more than 1,000 people in Nepal, India and Bangladesh. It also toppled buildings and triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest.

Kerry says in a statement that the United States stands with the people of Nepal and sends heartfelt sympathies.

He says USAID is preparing to deploy the disaster assistance response team and is activating an urban search and rescue team.

National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan says the U.S. stands ready to provide further assistance in the region.

[TIME]


False Sense of Something: Some observations and thoughts on the unfolding wars

“If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.”

– Sun Tzu, the Art of War

Despite the past eleven years in Afghanistan, U.S. ground troops are less prepared than ever for “small wars.”  We have become so dependent on gadgets and contractors that we would not know what to do without them.  Contractors provide much of the security at major bases in Afghanistan, and even on many smaller bases.

We like to use contractors because they are cheaper and politically expedient.  When they are killed by car bombs at the gates, they are not added to the only body count that Americans care about.  Leaders do not have to deal with photographs of grieving families.

When TCN (Third Country National) contractors are maimed, we can send them home to Africa or Nepal, and wash our hands while avoiding burdensome veterans’ issues.  Contractors have no political or moral clout. They are our mercenaries.  Using mercenaries makes business and political sense.

Many of our security contractors are Afghans.  Does this make military sense?

A source mentioned that guard towers (known as “sangers”) were frequently empty at BLS.  BLS refers to the Bastion, Leatherneck, Shorbak complex.

I witnessed a similar incident last year in Zhari.   Zhari was, and remains, one of the most dangerous areas of Afghanistan.

One night in Zhari, the contracted Afghan guards left their post, which was just ten seconds away from the tents where 4-4 Cav Soldiers lived, and a few tents down from my own.  The sanger appeared to be empty.  I looked inside.  They were gone.  For obvious security reasons, I did not publish this…

More via >> Dispatches – Michael Yon: Some observations and thoughts on the unfolding wars