Posts Tagged ‘Myanmar’

UK’s Johnson meets Myanmar’s Suu Kyi on Rohingya crisis

February 11, 2018

AFP

© AFP | British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (C) meets with Rohingya refugees at a camp in Bangladesh
NAYPYIDAW (MYANMAR) (AFP) – Britain’s foreign minister Boris Johnson met with Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar’s capital on Sunday to press for action on the Rohingya crisis, as the country faces mounting pressure to punish troops accused of atrocities against the Muslim minority.Johnson spoke with the embattled Myanmar leader, whose reputation among the international community has plunged over her handling of the crisis, in Naypyidaw while on a four-day tour in Asia.

The meeting followed Johnson’s visit to a refugee camp in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district, where nearly 700,000 Rohingya have sought sanctuary in squalid settlements since a Myanmar army crackdown in northern Rakhine last August.

 Image result for Boris Johnson met with Aung San Suu Kyi, photos, february 2018

The UN has accused Myanmar of driving the Muslim minority across the border in an ethnic cleansing campaign. Doctors Without Borders estimates at least 6,700 Rohingya died in the first month of violence.

But Myanmar has staunchly denied the charges and blocked UN investigators from the conflict zone, souring relations with a host of western allies.

Fresh reports of mass graves in Rakhine — and the arrest of two Reuters journalists investigating an alleged massacre — have heaped new pressure on Suu Kyi to condemn the army, who she is in a delicate power-sharing arrangement with.

Image result for Boris Johnson met with Aung San Suu Kyi, photos, february 2018

But the Nobel laureate has refused to change tack and is accused by critics of bunkering down in a siege mentality.

On Sunday Johnson and Suu Kyi “discussed in an open and friendly manner the latest developments in Rakhine State, including planning for the reception of returnees who fled”, Myanmar’s foreign ministry said in a Facebook post alongside photos of the pair meeting.

Ahead of the talks the UK’s foreign office said Johnson would press for an “end to the suffering in Rakhine and the safe and voluntary return of the refugees”.

Johnson is scheduled to visit Rakhine later on Sunday.

Myanmar and Bangladesh have inked a deal to bring refugees back to northern Rakhine, but repatriation has yet to begin.

Many Rohingya do not feel safe returning to a country where they have faced violent persecution and decades of discrimination at the hands of a state that has denied them citizenship.

Others have no home to return to after their villages were torched in the military crackdown.

Johnson is scheduled to fly on to Bangkok Sunday for a two-day visit that will include meetings with junta chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha and the Thai chairman of an advisory board on the Rohingya crisis.

Veteran US diplomat Bill Richardson dramatically stepped down from the board last month, saying he could not in “good conscience” sit on a panel he feared would only “whitewash” the causes of the Rohingya crisis.

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North Korea earned $200 million from banned exports: UN

February 3, 2018

A confidential report has revealed that Pyongyang has flouted United Nations sanctions on exports of a wide range of goods. Experts say North Korea also sent arms to Syria and Myanmar.

North Korean and Workers' Party flags flutter as a soldier walks by (picture-alliance/dpa/AP Photo/W. Maye-E)

North Korea earned nearly $200 million (€160 million) in 2017 by exporting a wide range of banned goods in violation of international sanctions, according to details of a confidential United Nations report seen Friday.

Pyongyang was able to sell coal, steel, iron and petroleum products between January and September to multiple countries, monitors said, despite UN sanctions barring their export.

North Korea has been developing nuclear weapons and sophisticated long-range missiles. Multiple sanctions dating back to 2006 have tried to choke off funding for the nuclear and missile programs.

Read more: UN chief calls for ‘peaceful denuclearization’ of Korean Peninsula

‘Deceptive practices’

The 213-page report — seen by multiple news agencies — said North Korea used false paperwork to hide the origin of the coal it shipped to other countries, including Russia, China, South Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam.

UN monitors also said North Korea had flouted UN financial sanctions through “deceptive practices” and engaged in “widespread conventional arms deals and cyber operations to steal military secrets.”

The report said there was not enough “political will” and coordination to ensure sanctions were fully working.

Read more: Korean War allies consider further sanctions against North Korea

Sales to Syria, Myanmar

Pyongyang also appeared to have cooperated with Syria and Myanmar in ballistic missile development, according to monitors.

An investigation into 40 unreported North Korean shipments to the Syrian entity in charge of the country’s chemical weapons program showed “further evidence of arms embargo and other violations, including through the transfer of items with utility in ballistic missile and chemical weapons programs.”

The Syrian government allegedly used chemical weapons against civilians in 2013 and agreed to destroy its stockpile later that year.

The report said Pyongyang also shipped ballistic missiles, air-to-surface missiles and rocket launchers to Myanmar.

Read more: UN slaps new sanctions on North Korea in 15-0 vote

amp/cmk (AP, AFP, Reuters)

http://www.dw.com/en/north-korea-earned-200-million-from-banned-exports-un/a-42437240

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North Korea arming Syria, Myanmar: UN report

February 3, 2018

Al Jazeera

In 2017, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's government conducted several missile tests [File: EPA]
In 2017, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s government conducted several missile tests [File: EPA]

North Korea has been selling weapons to the governments of Syria and Myanmar, and has been exporting banned materials such as coal, iron, and steel, a United Nations report has found.

According to the report released on Friday, Pyongyang has been assisting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government in developing its nuclear weapons programme, and has provided Myanmar’s army with ballistic missiles.

North Korea “continued to export almost all the commodities prohibited in the resolutions, generating nearly $200m in revenue between January and September 2017,” the report read, according to the AFP news agency which has seen a copy.

Coal shipments were delivered to China, Malaysia, South Korea, Russia and Vietnam by ships using “a combination of multiple evasion techniques, routes and deceptive tactics”, the report added.

Last year, the UN Security Council adopted a series of resolutions aimed at restricting exports, with the objective of cutting off revenue to North Korea’s military programme.

The United States has pushed for tough sanctions against North Korea in response to its missile tests, and together with the UNSC vowed to prevent Pyongyang from furthering its nuclear programme.

According to the report and the UN panel of experts, seven ships have been prevented from entering ports worldwide for violating UN sanctions with coal and petroleum transfers.

They said that much more needed to be done to challenge such “these rampant illicit activities”.

North Korea “is already flouting the most recent resolutions by exploiting global oil supply chains, complicit foreign nationals, offshore company registries, and the international banking system”, the panel noted.

Countries accused of crimes against humanity

Syria and Myanmar have previously been accused of carrying out acts that amount to crimes against humanity.

The report comes as the United States is investigating reports of chlorine gas being used against civilians in Syria’s besieged Eastern Ghouta.

The North Korean company cooperating with the two governments – KOMID – is on a UN sanctions blacklist, according to the report.

Vancouver talks: A push to tighten sanctions on North Korea

The panel revealed that more than 40 unreported shipments from North Korea between 2012 and 2017 went to front companies for Syria’s Scientific Studies Research Council, a key institute for Syria’s chemicalprogramme.

The investigations also reveal “substantial new evidence” concerning Pyongyang’s military cooperation with Damascus, including at least three visits by North Korean technicians to Syria in 2016, involving the “transfer of special resistance valves and thermometers known for use in chemical weapons programmes”.

According to a member state that remained unidentified in the report, North Korean “technicians continue to operate at chemical weapons and missile facilities at Barzei, Adra and Hama”.

Syria denied the presence of North Korean technicians in its territory, claiming that the only experts it was hosting from the country were involved in sports.

A member state, which also remained unnamed, notified the panel that Myanmar had received “ballistic missile systems from [North Korea] in addition to a range of conventional weapons, including multiple rocket launches and surface-to air missiles”.

North Korean diplomats in trade particularly continue to provide logistical support for arms sales and help organise exchanges for military technicians.

While sanctions have been significantly widened, this “expansion of the regime is yet to be matched by the requisite political will” to implement the measures, the experts said.

The panel added that this year offered a “critical window of opportunity before a potential miscalculation with disastrous implications for international peace and security.”

SOURCE: AFP NEWS AGENCY

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/02/north-korea-arming-syria-myanmar-report-180203064444145.html

Myanmar denies report of mass graves in Rakhine — Still seeking “whitewash”?

February 3, 2018

AFP

© AFP/File | Myanmar says it launched a proportionate crackdown on Rohingya rebels, but has blocked reporters and UN investigators from independently accessing the conflict zone

YANGON (AFP) –  Myanmar officials have denied a report of five mass graves of Rohingya in a village in crisis-hit Rakhine, a border region gutted by a military crackdown on the Muslim minority.Myanmar troops are accused of waging an ethnic cleansing campaign against the Rohingya, nearly 700,000 of whom have fled to Bangladesh since last August.

Myanmar denies the allegation, saying it launched a proportionate crackdown on Rohingya rebels, but has blocked reporters and UN investigators from independently accessing the conflict zone.

On Saturday government media reported that Rakhine state authorities had refuted a recent Associated Press investigation that said testimony from Rohingya refugees and time-stamped cell phone videos revealed the existence of five previously unreported mass graves in Rakhine’s Gu Dar Pyin village.

After an inspection of the village, a team of officials, police and locals “refuted the AP report,” said the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar.

“The villagers reiterated they had not heard of any massacres near their village,” it added.

However, authorities said there had been deadly clashes between security forces and Rohingya militants in the village on August 28, several days after the sweeping military crackdown was launched.

Nineteen “terrorists” were killed in the violence and buried, according to the report, which did not elaborate on the location or nature of the graves.

Myanmar’s government spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

Myanmar has overwhelmingly denied any wrongdoing in the Rakhine crackdown, despite a flood of testimony from refugees describing security forces murdering civilians, committing mass rape and torching Rohingya villages to the ground.

Last month the army made a rare admission that four members of the security forces helped kill 10 Rohingya militant suspects on September 2 and left their bodies in a hastily dug pit.

Rights groups say that incident is the tip of the iceberg of abuses carried out by a military force with a grim history of atrocities across the country, which it ruled for five decades before ceding some power to a civilian government in 2016.

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Evidence of Rohingya mass graves uncovered in Myanmar — The killing and disposal of the bodies bear “the hallmarks of a genocide”

February 1, 2018

Al Jazeera
February 1, 2018

AP confirmed reports of mass graves through witness testimony and video evidence [Manish Swarup/AP Photo]
AP confirmed reports of mass graves through witness testimony and video evidence [Manish Swarup/AP Photo]

Scores of Rohingya villagers in Myanmar have been massacred and buried in 5 mass graves, according to an exclusive investigation by the Associated Press news agency.

The report by the news agency on Thursday includes witness testimony from two dozen survivors and relatives of victims, as well as time-stamped mobile phone footage of the aftermath of the attack.

Estimates suggest 400 members of the persecuted minority were killed by Burmese troops.

Myanmar army accused of gang-raping Rohingya women

In one massacre, a group of men were picking teams for a local football-like game called ‘chinlone’ in the village of Gu Dar Pyin, when soldiers began firing at them.

A survivor named Noor Kadir later found six of his friends buried in two separate mass graves. He said the bodies of the victims were only recogniseable through the colour of their shorts.

The mass killing is believed to have taken place on August 27 and survivors told the Associated Press that soldiers had tried to cover up evidence of the atrocity.

Video obtained by the agency indicates attempts at using acid to remove the bodies.

The remains contained inside the shallow graves rose to the surface after heavy rainfall and survivors were able to film the evidence.

Phil Robertson of Human Rights said the report “raises the stakes for the international community to demand accountability from Myanmar” and underlined the need for a UN-led arms embargo on the country.

“The AP’s report that (soldiers) brought along to Gu Dyar Pin village containers of acid to disfigure the bodies and make identification more difficult is particularly damning because it shows a degree of pre-planning of these atrocities,” Robertson said.

“It’s time for EU and the US to get serious about identifying and leveling targeted sanctions against the Burmese military commanders and soldiers responsible for these rights crimes.”

UN special envoy on human rights in Myanmar,Yanghee Lee told reporters on Thursday the killing and disposal of the bodies bear “the hallmarks of a genocide”.

When asked about violence against the Rohingya minority at the hands of the Burmese military, Lee responded that “you can see it’s a pattern”.

However, the UN rights envoy said she was unable to make a declaration regarding “genocide” until international tribunals could weigh the evidence.

Myanmar has previously admitted responsibility for one mass grave containing 10 bodies in the village of Inn Din.

The killings happened in September but authorities only acknowledged them after the discovery of the mass grave in December, claiming those who had died were “terrorists”.

Amnesty International described the December discovery as just the “tip of the iceberg”.

Since August 2017, more than 655,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar to neighbouring Bangladesh fleeing what the UN describes as “textbook genocide”.

Myanmar’s military claims that it is fighting what it terms “terrorists” but survivors crossing into Bangladesh bring with them accounts of mass killing, rape, and the burning down of homes.

Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed a deal to send Rohingya refugees back. As part of the repatriation deal, Rohingya will be held in holding centres, which Rohingya activists have called “concentration camps”.

Widely regarded as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world, the mainly Muslim Rohingya people, are denied citizenship by the Burmese government, which claims they are not native to Myanmar.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/02/evidence-rohingya-mass-graves-uncovered-myanmar-180201052413608.html

Petrol bomb thrown at Suu Kyi’s lakeside villa: Myanmar govt — Difficult to recover from talk of genocide, murder, rape

February 1, 2018

 

Police officers patrol in front of the residence of Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon on Feb. 1, 2018, after a petrol bomb was hurled into the compound. (AFP/Ye Aung Thu)
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YANGON: A petrol bomb was thrown at the lakeside Yangon compound of Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Thursday while she was away from her home, a government spokesman said.
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“It was a petrol bomb,” spokesman Zaw Htay confirmed to AFP, without giving further details on a possible motive for a small but rare attack targeting the Myanmar democracy heroine.
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The petrol bomb caused minor damage. But the attack on the villa where Suu Kyi was held for long years of house arrest by the former junta is hugely symbolic.
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Suu Kyi has increasingly attracted the ire of the international community over her perceived failure to speak up on behalf of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim community.
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Nearly 700,000 Rohingya have fled a brutal military crackdown in northern Rakhine state into refugee camps in Bangladesh since August, bringing with them testimony of murder, rape and arson.
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But inside Myanmar Suu Kyi, who swept elections in 2015, is still widely regarded as a heroine by the majority-Buddhist population, who fondly dub her “The Lady.”
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Many inside Myanmar regard the Rohingya as illegal “Bengali” immigrants.
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Suu Kyi was in Naypyidaw at the time of Thursday’s incident and is due to address parliament to mark the second anniversary of her NLD government coming to power.
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Myanmar official in charge of troubled town who may have caused killing during riot stabbed to death

January 31, 2018

Reuters

YANGON (Reuters) – A Myanmar official who was the administrator of a town in troubled Rakhine state when seven people died there in rioting earlier this month has been stabbed and killed, the government said on Wednesday.

Police were treating the death of Bo Bo Min Theik as a case of personal enmity and it was not related to the violence in the region, said Zaw Htay, a government spokesman.

 Image result for Mrauk U, photos
Mrauk U has some of Myanmar’s famous temples

His body was found in his car on the highway from Mrauk U to the provincial capital Sittwe on Tuesday, district officials said.

Bo Bo Min Theik was replaced as the administrator of Mrauk U and posted to the provincial government in Sittwe three days after police shot and killed seven demonstrators from the majority Buddhist community after a local gathering celebrating an ancient Buddhist Arakan kingdom turned violent.

Image result for Mrauk U, photos

The violence underscores the challenges facing Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi in a country where dozens of ethnic groups have been clamoring for autonomy since independence from Britain in 1947.

Tensions in Rakhine, previously called Arakan, have surged since a sweeping Myanmar army operation in August inflamed communal tension and triggered an exodus of over 688,000 minority Rohingya Muslims to Bangladesh, according to the United Nations.

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Aung San Suu Kyi

The military has set up over 30 militias in the areas of Rakhine where many Rohingya lived and has provided arms to three of them, Myanmar’s parliament was told on Tuesday.

Deputy Minister for Home Affairs Major-General Aung Soe told a parliamentary session that the militias were set up in the Maungdaw district of Rakhine. The Myanmar military launched a crackdown after Rohingya militants attacked security posts in Maungdaw on Aug. 25, leading to the exodus.

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Deputy Minister for Home Affairs Major-General Aung Soe

Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Michael Perry

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Body of Mrauk U administrator found in Rakhine

YANGON – Police say they found the body of U Bobo Min Theik, the administrator of Mrauk U, in a car that had crashed in neighbouring Ponnagyun Township on Tuesday evening. They suspect he had been murdered.

U Tin Maung Shwe, secretary of the Rakhine State government, told local media outlet Narinjara that the body was found in a car that had crashed into a hedge on the Sittwe-Ponnagyun highway at about 5pm. The three suspects had been travelling with Bobo Min Theik before stabbing him in the chest three times and fleeing, he said.

In mid-January, at least eight people were killed at Mrauk U after a heavy police crackdown on a protest held there. The incident occurred after thousands of people took to the streets in the ancient town to protest the government’s decision to cancel an event planned to commemorate the 233rd anniversary of the fall of the Rakhine kingdom, which had its capital at Mrauk U.

Tin Maung Shwe refused to speculate whether the killings were related to the Mrauk U incident, and said police were searching for the suspects.

Officers at Mrauk U police station referred Frontier to the Ponagyun Township police, who could not immediately be reached for comment.

https://frontiermyanmar.net/en/body-of-mrauk-u-administrator-found-in-rakhine

India takes fight to China via SEAsia

January 30, 2018

Association of Southeast Asian Nations and India’s newly announced ‘Delhi Declaration’ puts maritime security at the forefront of relations

 MANILA, JANUARY 29, 2018 1:26 PM (UTC+8)
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An Indian army contingent marches holding the national flags of the Asean countries during a dress rehearsal for Indian Republic Day parade in New Delhi on January 23, 2018. Photo: AFP/Money Sharma

An Indian army contingent marches holding the national flags of the Asean countries during a dress rehearsal for Indian Republic Day parade in New Delhi on January 23, 2018. Photo: AFP/Money Sharma

Joint Research Projects Help China Consolidate Power, Peacefully, at Sea

January 28, 2018
By Ralph Jennings
FILE - A Malaysian navy vessel patrols waters near Langkawi Island, May 16, 2015. Malaysia is buying four ships from China to help it patrol its coastline.

FILE – A Malaysian navy vessel patrols waters near Langkawi Island, May 16, 2015. Malaysia is buying four ships from China to help it patrol its coastline.

An increase in Sino-foreign joint maritime research, particularly in the disputed South China Sea, is helping China improve its regional reputation by contributing to the health and utility of international waterways, analysts say.China helped Malaysia with atmospheric studies on the high seas last year, among other marine science projects, the Southeast Asian country’s chief news service Bernama reported in December.

This month and next, China will work with the Philippines on exploring an underwater plateau, and Beijing’s official Xinhua News Agency said a vessel of Chinese scientists had reached port in Myanmar on Jan. 17 for joint oceanographic research.

Analysts say these cases, and others, let China and its partners find valuable marine resources while casting Beijing as a trustworthy steward of shared oceans in Asia.

FILE - Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario points to an ancient map that officials said show that China's territorial claims over the South China Sea did not include the Scarborough Shoal.

FILE – Then Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario points to an ancient map that officials said show that China’s territorial claims over the South China Sea did not include the Scarborough Shoal.

Political will, funding

“This clearly shows there’s a political will of China, which means also it will influence, or it will strengthen its influence, in the region,” said Liu Nengye, senior lecturer at the University of Adelaide in Australia. “China is willing to pay for certain activities like joint marine scientific research. So as long as you pay, you somehow strengthen your influence in the region for sure.”

Beijing claims about 90 percent of the South China Sea, which covers 3.5 million square kilometers from Taiwan to Singapore.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam all contest China’s claims. They resent passage of Beijing’s coast guard vessels and its land-filling of small islets for military installations.

Science and marine protection

Since a world arbitration court ruled against the scope of China’s claim in mid-2016, Beijing has improved economic ties with other claimants to put the legal dispute behind them.

Those ties dovetail with China’s $900 billion Belt-and-Road initiative to build infrastructure in as many as 65 Eurasian countries to smooth trade.

Joint maritime projects are likely to focus on “low-sensitivity” issues popular with the Chinese partner nations, Liu said. All coastal states want to improve marine research on environmental protection, earthquake predictions, contamination from floating plastics and ocean acidification levels, he said.

Pollution persists because the South China Sea supports one-third of the world’s marine shipping traffic. Land reclamation as well as acidification also hurt coral. The harvests of an estimated 333,000 to 1.6 million fishing vessels have depleted stocks.

FILE: Divers swim above a bed of corals off Malaysia's Tioman island in the South China Sea, May 4, 2008.

FILE: Divers swim above a bed of corals off Malaysia’s Tioman island in the South China Sea, May 4, 2008.

As a hint that China sees joint research as diplomacy, a year ago this month Xinhua said China and Vietnam would pursue “research of joint development” as a “transitional solution” to their sovereignty dispute.

In the past, China would do its own research, in some cases drawing protest, such as one from Brunei in 1992.

Two years ago Beijing’s State Oceanic Administration issued a “marine international cooperation framework plan” to run through 2020 covering the South China Sea as well as other Asian waters, state-run Chinese media say. The joint projects fall under this plan, Liu believes.

China is expected to bring better technology to research as scientists onshore develop a seaplane, drones for maritime use and an underwater observation network. A code of conduct being negotiated between China and a 10 member group of Southeast Asian countries would add to Beijing’s image offshore.

A stronger reputation for China would let the militarily and economically powerful country mute any protests as it keeps expanding at sea through land reclamation or military buildup. China cites historical documents as proof of its claims.

The deals as announced often lack specifics, such as who pays and what happens to any findings of value. The South China Sea is rich in fisheries, oil and natural gas.

Research in the Indian Ocean off Myanmar will include “comprehensive ocean observation to promote prevention and reduction of natural disasters,” Xinhua said without giving details.

Leaders attending the Belt and Road Forum wave as they pose for a group photo at the Yanqi Lake venue on the outskirt of Beijing, China, May 15, 2017.

Leaders attending the Belt and Road Forum wave as they pose for a group photo at the Yanqi Lake venue on the outskirt of Beijing, China, May 15, 2017.

Receptive but on guard

China’s partners are eager as long as they get a share of findings without compromising maritime sovereignty claims, analysts say.

The Philippines says it will have access to any discoveries, such as natural gas, on the plateau along its continental shelf.

Sino-Malaysian research last year took place mainly in the “internal waters” of Malaysia, the Bernama report said. The Chinese researchers must follow Malaysian laws and regulations, it said.

The ocean research paired with Chinese investment on land, such as in a $12.8 billion east-west railway line, are making China evermore familiar to Malaysians, said Ibrahim Suffian, program director with the Kuala Lumpur-based polling group Merdeka Center.

Bernama calls China’s maritime research with Malaysia a case of “soft diplomacy.”

“China is pretty much in the public radar now,” Suffian said. “I think for many people, particularly those in commerce and in the public sector, they are pretty much aware about the role of China.”

But China is likely to want something in return, some analysts say. The country often “dominates most projects” and is “not consultative enough with needs of local partners” overseas, said Alan Chong, associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.

Expect Beijing to want favors in return, such as more infrastructure contracts, from Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, he said.

“China will lean on him, depending on how bold they want to be, either softly or not so softly to give them something in return for their financial backing,” Chong said.

https://www.voanews.com/a/joint-research-china-south-china-sea/4227514.html

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

Philippines President Duterte Says The U.N. ‘has no purpose for mankind’ — But many disagree

January 26, 2018
President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday claimed that the United Nations had been useless in preventing wars and genocide. PPD/Karl Norman Alonzo, File

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said that the United Nations had “no purpose” and admitted to have advised Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi to ignore human rights groups critical of her response to the Rohingya crisis in her country.

According to the president, the United Nations has not been able to prevent any war or massacre from happening, his latest tirade against the world body which has criticized his ferocious campaign against illegal drugs.

“The United Nations has no purpose at all actually for mankind as far as I’m concerned,” Duterte said in his extemporaneous speech before Indian businessmen.

“With all its unutility (sic), it has not prevented any war. It has not prevented any massacre,” the chief executive added.

RELATED: Duterte decries UN’s ‘attribution’ of killings to gov’t

According to an analysis of more than 65 years of voting records conducted by Dartmouth College and The Ohio State University, the UN has been effective in its mandate of avoiding wars than many experts thought

The study, released in July last year, said that the UN acted more than just a bystander of world events and provided a forum for diplomacy needed to reduce the chances of war.

Duterte also justified that thousands of deaths related to his campaign against drugs, saying he could not stomach allowing his country to self-destruct.

The president, who is on his last day of visit to India, revealed that he advised Suu Kyi to ignore human rights groups and activists whom he described as just a “noisy bunch.”

READ: Duterte curses at UN, tells it to shut up

He added that their criticism of his government over his drug war and that of Myanmar over its response to the Rohingya crisis which had led to the mass migration of hundreds of thousands of refugees into neighboring Bangladesh was just part of the West’s continuing imperialism.

“Aung San Suu Kyi was with us. I pity her, because she seems to be caught in the middle being a Nobel prize winner for peace and there is the ruckus where she is heavily criticized,” Duterte said.

“I said, ‘Do not mind the human rights. They are just a noisy bunch actually,'” the chief executive added.

Suu Kyi’s government has been criticized for what the UN calls as “textbook ethnic cleansing” for its soldiers’ brutal attacks on the Rohingya minority which started after Rohingya rebels attacked police outposts.

Duterte said that libertarians had been emphasizing human rights too much which could lead to the loss of a country’s dignity and the derogation of its citizens.

READ: Duterte admits he was wrong about 6-month deadline vs drugs

“If you put human rights ahead in premium of values, then one day, just like the 4 million Filipinos in the Philippines, you would lose the dignity, you erode, derogate the dignity of your fellowmen,” he said.

This is not the first time that Duterte has attacked the UN and human rights groups.

He has in the past threatened to remove the Philippines from the world body and at one point ordered security forces to shoot rights activists if they disrupt their operations.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/01/26/1781662/duterte-thinks-un-has-no-purpose-mankind

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Is UN useless like Duterte says? 2017 US study thinks otherwise

 
In this Monday, March 13, 2017 file photo, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte reacts during a press conference at the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila, Philippines.  AP/Aaron Favila, File

MANILA, Philippines — For President Rodrigo Duterte, the United Nations is useless for mankind. It has failed to prevent, according to the Philippine leader, wars and genocide from transpiring.

However, a landmark study published in 2017 by two American universities said that the UN had been effective in its mandate to prevent wars than many experts thought.

When the UN was established in the ashes of two devastating world wars, it vowed to save “succeeding generations from the scourge of war.”

READ: Duterte curses at UN, tells it to shut up

An analysis of 65 years of voting records conducted by Dartmouth College and The Ohio State University published in 2017 said that the world body had been effective at suppressing conflict throughout its history.

The study added that the UN acted more than just a bystander in world events and provided a forum where diplomacy needed to reduce the chances of war could be conducted.

“Our analysis provides evidence that the U.N. is more than just a witness of changing policy preferences,” Scott Pauls, chairperson of the Department of Mathematics at Dartmouth College, said.

“The world body impacts future decisions, particularly by suppressing conflict,” he said.

READ: Duterte admits he was wrong about 6-month deadline vs drugs

In recent years, some have questioned the effectiveness of the UN in preventing wars and brutal atrocities, point to its ineffectual response in stopping the civil war in Syria and Russia’s actions in the Ukraine.

“On Syria, as on so many other issues, the UN Security Council, the organisation’s executive engine, has been paralysed by profound splits between the permanent members, with Russia and China in one corner and the US, UK and France in the other,” Christopher Meyer, a former British ambassador to the United State and Germany, wrote in The Telegraph newspaper in London back in 2015.

The Philippine leader also seemed to subscribe to this belief.

“The United Nations has no purpose at all actually for mankind as far as I’m concerned,” Duterte said in his extemporaneous speech before Indian businessmen in New Delhi.

“With all its unutility (sic), it has not prevented any war. It has not prevented any massacre,” the chief executive added.

However, the review of 5,143 UN General Assembly voting records from 1946 to 2011 found that the process of nations working together could build trust and facilitate fast and open communication, which could raise the chances of resolving conflicts peacefully.

“The evidence demonstrates that the U.N. is more effective at achieving its mandate of avoiding wars than many experts think,” Skyler Cranmer, a professor of political science at The Ohio State University, said.

The researchers assessed the priorities that shaped state actions and identified historic voting alliances consisting of long-term and short-term groupings that form the basis of coalition building and cooperation.

Pauls said that while the UN did not prevent all armed conflicts, the alliances of nations reduced the probability of armed confrontations among nations.

“It is through this mechanism of intensified diplomatic interaction that the U.N. has historically been able to better achieve its primary goal of maintaining international peace and security,” Pauls said.

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http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/01/26/1781686/un-useless-duterte-says-2017-us-study-thinks-otherwise