One World, One Universe, One Dream – TMT in China

The TMT Collaborative Board of Directors met in Beijing, China this week. The Board meets quarterly and this marks the first time the Board has gathered in China.
Guests included several Chinese officials, including Xu Guanhua, the former Minister of Science and Technology, Cao Guoying, the Vice Director General for the Department of Basic Research and Xu Ruiming, Director General of the Bureau of Frontier Sciences and Education, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

In his remarks to the Board, Minister Xu described the frontier science questions that TMT will explore.

“Nearly one thousand exoplanet systems have been discovered. I hope the question ‘Are we alone in the universe?’ will be answered by TMT,” said Xu. “It is my sincere hope that TMT does this.”

TMT is an international partnership among institutions in the U.S., Canada, China, India and Japan. Marking the international flavor of the project, leadership meetings have rotated among the partner countries. In October 2012 the Board met for the first time in Tokyo, Japan, followed by a January 2013 meeting in New Dehli. India. In an important milestone in July 2013, the Board met in Hawaii and signed the TMT Master Agreement. The Master Agreement establishes a formal agreement amongst the international parties defining the project goals, establishing a governance structure and defining member party rights, obligations and benefits.

“TMT is a unique project. Never before in history has something of this magnitude been developed collaboratively by people from these nations,” said Henry Yang, Chair of the TMT Collaborative Board.

As TMT approaches the beginning of construction in 2014, Board meetings have expanded with many guests from the partners attending and contributing to the development of the international partnership agreements. During the latest meeting in Beijing, over 50 Board members and guests were in attendance, the largest meeting to date.

“We are sitting very close to the 2008 Olympic site, and so I would like to end by saying astronomy is shared by the whole human kind, we truly have only ‘One World, One Universe, One Dream.’ I wish TMT success in the pursuit of our common dreams of unraveling of the mystery of the Universe,” Xu added.

TMT is a collaboration of the California Institute of Technology, University of California, the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy, the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, a consortium of Chinese institutions led by the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and institutions in India supported by the Department of Science and Technology of India. Major funding has been provided by the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation.


Mayor Kenoi in China to Seek Trade, Travel Partnerships with Taiwan

County of Hawai‘i Mayor Billy Kenoi is in Taipei, Republic of China this week with eight other mayors from across the nation in an effort to strengthen and promote business, agricultural, educational and cultural ties with Taiwan.

Kenoi Budget
The government of Taiwan organized the 2013 U.S. Municipal Mayor Delegation to Taiwan from Sept. 1-7, and selected mayors from Hawai‘i, California, Illinois, Tennessee, Texas, Connecticut, Wyoming and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to participate. The Republic of China is hosting the mayors and providing air and hotel accommodations.

The County of Hawai‘i established a sister-city relationship with the County of Haulian in Taiwan in 1971, and former Mayor Shen-Shan Hsieh of the County of Haulian led a delegation to the County of Hawai‘i in 2007. Taiwan was recently added to the U.S. Visa Waiver Program to encourage travel between the two nations, and China Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines began direct flights between Taipei and Honolulu this year.

County of Hawai‘i Managing Director Wally Lau is serving as acting mayor until Mayor Kenoi returns on Friday, Sept. 6.


Lost Chinese Hiker in Volcanoes National Park Found This Morning

Park rangers and a helicopter pilot rescued a 76-year-old man early Friday morning who got lost near Pu‘u Huluhulu in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park the previous day.


Pu’u Huluhulu

Zigui Yuan, 76, of China, spent an uncomfortable and chilly night on an old lava field after getting lost near Pu‘u Huluhulu cinder cone, where there is little or no cell phone reception.

His wife, Paulili Yuan, reported him missing yesterday at 8 p.m. She told rangers that the couple and a female friend had been hiking together Thursday morning, when Mr. Yuan separated from the group at the Pu‘u Huluhulu trailhead, and headed east towards Nāpau Crater. The two women returned to the trailhead junction at the Mauna Ulu parking lot at 11:30 a.m. and waited for the man.

At approximately 7 p.m., Mr. Yuan attempted to contact his wife by phone, but the call failed. The women then drove to Thurston Lava Tube and reported him missing to Park Ranger John Moraes.

Rangers Moraes and John Broward executed a search in the vicinity of Pu‘u Huluhulu in the dark, using powerful handheld spotlights to illuminate the rough lava landscape, while Ranger Andrew Sanford patrolled Chain of Craters Road for the missing man. At 1 a.m., the search was suspended until daybreak.

A ground and air search was launched at daybreak. Helicopter pilot David Okita spotted Yuan approximately 660 feet (200 meters) southwest of Pu‘u Huluhulu. Okita and Park Ranger Jon Maka‘ike landed, and retrieved Yuan. He was cold, dehydrated, and exhausted, but had no major injuries, and declined further medical treatment. Yuan was reunited with his wife at 6:30 a.m. today.

Pu'u Huluhulu vicinity

Pu’u Huluhulu vicinity

Yuan, who speaks very little English, told rangers through his wife that he kept hiking across the sharp, jagged lava until it became dark and he could no longer see the rock pile trail markers. He took shelter against the wind in a small depression in the old lava flows, and waited for daylight.

“Mr. Yuan made the right decision to hunker down for the night,” said Ranger John Broward, Search and Rescue (SAR) coordinator at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. “This area is riddled with unstable ground, hidden earth cracks, deep craters, and sharp and brittle lava. He could have been seriously injured if he continued trying to find his way out in the dark,” he said.

Park rangers remind visitors that the best way to avoid potentially serious incidents is to plan ahead and prepare. A full range of hiking tips and other safety-related information is available on the park’s website at, and by asking park rangers.

This was the park’s 14th SAR incident this year. There were 26 SAR incidents in 2012.


Hawaii Department of Health Sending Avian Influenza Medical Advisory to Local Healthcare Providers

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has sent a medical advisory to local healthcare providers advising that Chinese public health officials have reported cases of a novel avian influenza A (H7N9) virus detected in humans. As of today, 16 cases have been confirmed in people from four different provinces in China. No cases have been reported in Hawaii or the mainland United States at this time.

Bird Flu

The DOH Disease Outbreak Control Division (DOCD), State Laboratories Division, and CDC Honolulu Quarantine Station are working together to follow the situation closely. “While it is not yet known how people have become infected with influenza A (H7N9), the public is always advised to follow proper hygiene including washing hands, covering coughs, and staying home when ill,” said Dr. Sarah Park, State Epidemiologist.“ Additionally, persons who become ill after travel to China are asked to notify their physician or healthcare provider.”

Influenza A H7 viruses are normally found among birds. Occasionally, H7 viruses have been found to infect humans, but no human infections with H7N9 have been reported until these recent reports from China.  At this time, there is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission.

For more information, go to the DOH DOCD web page:

China to Participate in 2014 RIMPAC Excercises

I’ve been very fortunate to be invited to participate in RIMPAC Exercises in the past.  In 2010 the most exciting thing I got to do was fly out to the USS Ronald Reagan Aircraft Carrier and have lunch, tour the ship and meet the Commander.

When they catapulted me off the buggah, the velocity of the thrust off the carrier made me feel like I had left my stomach back on the ship!

This past year I got to do several cool things like take a LCAC Military Sealift Hovercraft out to the USS Essex.

That was a trip as a sailor actually fell overboard while I was on the trip!

My most memorable trip in 2012 was getting flown out to the USNS Mercy by helicopter and “Manning the Rails” of the Mercy as she returned home from the 2012 Pacific Partnership.

That was special because that was the second time I had visited the Mercy… the first time it was already in port.

Well I just learned today… That CHINA is going to be participating in the 2014 RIMPAC Exercises!!!

From the U.S. Pacific Fleet Facebook page

“I am pleased our two Navies conducted a successful counter-piracy exercise in September, and we welcome China’s participation in the Rim of the Pacific exercise in 2014. These kinds of opportunities are invaluable when it comes to building trust between our two Navies.” – Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus in Beijing

*Cough* I’d love to the first US Civilian aboard a Chinese Navy Ship!

Large Chinese Vessel to Participate in Maritime Exercises off Hawaiian Waters

I’ve gotten to participate in a few RIMPAC exercises over the last few years.  Here is another exercise that will be happening off the Hawaiian waters soon that will feature one of China’s biggest maritime patrol ships and the U.S. Coast Guard:

Haixun 31 maritime patrol vessel

The Haixun 31 maritime patrol vessel, one of China’s biggest maritime patrol ships, will set out for its first visit to the United States on Saturday.

Scheduled to depart from Shanghai at 10:30 am, Haixun 31 is expected to arrive in Hawaii on Sept 4. It will be there for five days to work with the US Coast Guard on a series of maritime cooperation exercises, including a field test of joint search-and-rescues…

…Gene Maestas, public-affairs officer of the Hawaii-based 14th Coast Guard District under the US Department of Homeland Security, confirmed the upcoming joint search-and-rescue operation…

…Apart from the regular cooperation on oceanic safety, Haixun 31 will also be open to the US public for a day during its visit…

More here: Patrol Vessel Heads to Hawaii for Joint Exercises

The public is invited aboard the ship for a day. I urge those with an interest to go check it out!

The public will be invited aboard!

Governor Abercrombie Concludes Asia Trip, Returns To Hawai’i

Governor Neil Abercrombie will return to Hawai’i tomorrow after having spent nearly two weeks in Asia, where he participated in numerous meetings to strengthen relationships in Tokyo, Okinawa, and Beijing.

Neil Abercrombie Far East Trip

“It was an extremely productive trip that will benefit Hawai’i as we look to strengthen our economy,” Governor Abercrombie said. “Building upon our relationships with these countries is important not just for our visitor industry but our longstanding cultural connections as well.”

Neil Abercrombie Far East Trip

The Governor was also among a delegation of six governors that participated in the National Governors Association (NGA) U.S.-China Governors Forum.  The Forum was co-convened by NGA and the Chinese People’s Associations for Friendship with Foreign Countries.  The Forum was established to strengthen a subnational dialogue between the two countries and focused on economic development and job creation.

Neil Abercrombie Far East Trip

Hawai’i Tourism Authority President and Chief Executive Officer Michael McCartney who traveled with the Governor in Beijing returned from China this afternoon.

Neil Abercrombie Far East Trip

McCartney said, “Governor Abercrombie led a series of successful briefings that were very positive for Hawai’i and U.S. foreign affairs. This trip has helped to further advance our relationships, especially in China, which is an emerging market for our visitor industry.”

Governor Abercrombie Concludes Asia Trip, Returns To Hawai'i

Photos of the Governor’s trip can be accessed here:  Governor Abercrombie will hold a news conference to discuss his Asia trip on Monday, October 24, 2011 at 2:30 p.m. in the Ceremonial Room on the 5th floor of the State Capitol.

5th Annual China – U.S. Tourism Leadership Summit Held on Hawaii Island

The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA), the state’s tourism agency, welcomed tourism officials from across the U.S. and China attending the 5th Annual China-U.S. Tourism Leadership Summit on Hawai‘i Island today.

US-China Tourism Summit

US-China Tourism Summit

Members of the U.S. Travel Association (USTA) and China National Tourism Association (CNTA), including more than 60 regional tourism directors from the U.S. and China, met at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows. The Summit, considered to be one of the top economic accomplishments by the two countries, is designed to build business through creating relationships and knowledge of both the Chinese and U.S. markets.

“The China-U.S. Tourism Leadership Summit is an important event to build on the growing relationship we have with China,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the HTA. “Since the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding in 2007, opening group and leisure travel from China to the U.S., we have seen significant growth in this market, with visitor arrivals projected to reach 91,000 in 2011, up 37 percent over last year. This meeting also offers another opportunity to position Hawai‘i as a global meetings destination as our state prepares to host the 2011 APEC Leaders’ Week, and  builds on the growing interest of our state within the Asia- Pacific region.”

“We are very pleased and proud to host the 5th U.S.-China Travel Summit on the Island of Hawai‘i, and look forward to expanding our ties to tourism directors from both the Chinese and U.S. markets,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “We offer a very special kind of experience for travelers, and are at the forefront of emerging areas of the visitor industry such as educational and agricultural tourism. We want to extend to our guests the warm hospitality and aloha that make our island home so special, and we welcome this opportunity to showcase our Island of Hawai`I for these key international travel industry leaders.”

Attendees were welcomed by Roger Dow, president and CEO of USTA, and Qiwei Shao,chairman of CNTA, to discuss and work toward enhancing tourism-related cooperation between the two countries.

Representing Hawai‘i was McCartney and Lt. Governor Brian Schatz, who both addressed the participants. Other speakers included Dr. Rachel JC Chen, Ph.D, Center for Sustainable Business and Tourism, University of Tennessee; Dr. Dai Bin, Ph.D, chairman, China Tourism Academy; Mike Lieberman, president and CEO, Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau; Gary Sain, president and CEO, Visit Orlando; Leigh Von Der Esch, managing director, Utah Office of Tourism; She Quingwen, director general, Tian Jin Tourism Administration; Chen Jianjun, director general, Guang Xi Tourism Administration; and Hao Kang Li, director general, Si Chuan Tourism Administration.

“This event has served as a bridge between the tour and travel industries in both  countries,” said Bruce Bommarito, senior international consulting partner of the USTA. “It also provides an opportunity to meet and build connections with relevant decision makers from China, a rapidly growing market, in the tourism industry.”

Established in 1998, the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, the state’s tourism agency, is responsible for strategically managing tourism to optimize benefits for Hawai‘i that integrates the interest of visitors, the community and visitor industry. Tourism is our state’s leading economic driver and largest employer and the HTA continually works to ensure its sustainability well into the future.

For more information on the HTA, please visit, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter (@HawaiiHTA).

China to Co-Op on TMT Project?


BEIJING: Astronomers from China and the United States are considering cooperating on the world’s largest telescope, through which scientists will have a deeper insight into the very early stages of the universe…

…”It is a big undertaking and it will define the future of astronomy and astrophysics for about 60 or 70 years, so it will automatically involve a large international community,” said Caltech president Jean-Lou Chameau in an interview with Xinhua on Friday…

but no final decision has been made for China’s participation.

Canada and Japan have signed up to the TMT project, which needs total financing of US$1 billion…

…China has observer status on the TMT project, and will become a partner after signing a memorandum of understanding and agreeing on commitment of funds….

Full Article: China, US Discuss co-op on world’s largest telescope (China Daily)