Posts Tagged ‘United States’

China denies breaching sanctions on North Korea

July 20, 2018

Both Beijing and Seoul insist they will uphold sanctions after UN report highlights coal shipments that arrived in port after ban came into force

South China Morning Post

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 July, 2018, 4:42pm
UPDATED : Friday, 20 July, 2018, 5:49pm

China and South Korea vowed to uphold the sanctions regime on North Korea after a UN committee accused the two countries of being reluctant to enforce a ban on coal exports from the North.

Five direct North Korean coal shipments arrived in China last August, according to the UN North Korea Sanctions Committee report.

It also said that two shipments, sent from a Russian port 2,000km (1,200 miles) away from the Korean peninsula, had arrived in South Korea in October.

The Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry said on Friday that China had obeyed the UN Security Council resolution.

It added that coal imports shipped before August 2017 were legitimate.

The five Chinese shipments, which arrived in Bayuquan, Nantong and Guangzhou in August, had been sent from the North Korean ports of Nampo and Taean in June and July.

“The Chinese side has always implemented the Security Council resolutions comprehensively and strictly, and the relevant departments have issued an announcement for this purpose,” a ministry statement said.

“If China is to report relevant import data to the Security Council’s North Korea Sanctions Committee, [China will provide] completely open and transparent [data], and it will comply with the relevant provisions of the Security Council resolution,” it added.

Seoul also promised not to violate the sanctions regime, adding that the government was investigating two shipments, which the UN report said had been sent from Kholmsk on Sakhalin island to the ports of Incheon and Pohang.

The report claimed that the delivery to Pohang alone was valued at US$325,000.

South Korean foreign affairs ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-duk said earlier this week that Seoul was “making diplomatic efforts, by closely cooperating with the international community and the sanctions committee, so that the UN Security Council can implement its sanctions”.

“I’m aware of an ongoing investigation by the authorities,” Noh added.

Beijing has recently promised to restore its economic ties with Pyongyang.

President Xi Jinping told North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that he would support North Korea’s efforts to develop the economy during Kim’s third visit this year to China last month.

UN diplomats said that on Thursday Russia and China delayed a United States push for a UN Security Council committee to ban refined petroleum exports to North Korea.

The United States last week complained to the 15-member Security Council North Korea sanctions committee that, as of May 30, there had been 89 illicit ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum products this year by Pyongyang, which breached the cap of 500,000 barrels a year.

But Russia’s UN mission put a “hold” on the US request on Thursday, telling the committee it was “seeking additional information on every single case of ‘illegal’ transfer of petroleum,” diplomats said.

China backed the Russian request and asked the United States “to provide additional factual information to facilitate all states to study and make a judgment,” diplomats said.

Boo Seong-chan, a research fellow at the Yonsei Institute for North Korean Studies in Seoul, said: “Easing economic sanctions sits at the centre of North Korean economic prosperity, as Kim has vowed to his people that he would move on to an economy-first policy … This means that he must show some fruits for his people in the short-term in order to legitimise his rule.

“After all, authoritarian regimes’ legitimacy to rule comes from their people’s quality of life.”

Park Ihn-hwi, an international studies professor at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, acknowledged that there could be loopholes in the UN sanctions regime that would allow China to boost its trade with the North.

“Some trading may be resumed, especially between China and North Korea, easing the UN sanctions regime … There may also be illegal trading at the border area,” Park added.

North Korea’s gross domestic product. contracted 3.5 per cent in 2017 compared with the previous year, marking the biggest contraction since 1997, South Korea’s central bank estimated on Friday.

Additional reporting by Reuters

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2156159/china-and-south-korea-insist-they-will-enforce-un

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White House struggles to contain political outcry over Trump-Putin summit

July 19, 2018

The White House struggled on Wednesday to contain a political outcry and confusion over U.S. President Donald Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, denying Trump ever meant to say that Moscow was no longer targeting the United States.

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US President Donald Trump at a cabinet meeting in the White House on July 18, 2018

Trump, facing uproar over his failure to confront Putin over Russia’s 2016 U.S. election meddling, adopted his usual defiant posture two days after their Helsinki summit and called his critics deranged.

Asked by a journalist before a morning Cabinet meeting whether Russia was still targeting the United States, Trump looked at the reporter, shook his head and said, “No.”

At a later briefing, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the president was saying “no” to answering questions, not to the question itself.

U.S. intelligence officials have said Russia’s efforts to undermine elections are continuing and now target the Nov. 6 congressional races. Sanders said Trump believes the threat from Russia to undermine those elections still exists.

Asked later in an interview with CBS News whether he held Putin personally responsible for meddling in the 2016 election, Trump said he did.

“Well, I would, because he’s in charge of the country. Just like I consider myself to be responsible for things that happen in this country,” he said.

The U.S. president said that in his talks with Putin, he was “very strong on the fact that we can’t have meddling, we can’t have any of that.” But Trump also appeared to question whether such statements would have an impact on Russia. “We’re also living in a grown-up world,” he said.

Sanders explanation of Trump’s “No” was the second time since Monday’s summit that Trump and the White House have blamed a misstatement or misunderstanding for the furor over Russia.

On Tuesday, Trump said he misspoke at a Helsinki news conference with Putin and that he accepted intelligence agency conclusions about Russian election meddling, although he hedged by deviating from his prepared notes to say “it could be other people also. There’s a lot of people out there.”

Trump stunned the world on Monday by shying away from criticizing the Russian leader for Moscow’s actions to undermine the election, sparking bipartisan fury at home and prompting calls by some U.S. lawmakers for tougher sanctions and other actions to punish Russia.

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Donald Trump listen during a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 18, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Critics have accused Trump of siding with Russia over his own country by failing to criticize Moscow for what U.S. intelligence agencies last year described as Russia’s election interference in an attempt to sow discord, aid Trump’s candidacy and disparage Trump’s Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

Putin has denied the allegations.

‘DOING VERY WELL’

“We’re doing very well, probably as well as anybody has ever done with Russia. And there’s been no president ever as tough as I have been on Russia,” Trump said before the Cabinet meeting, adding that Putin “understands it and he’s not happy about it.”

In a series of early morning Twitter posts, the Republican president said the summit would eventually produce “big results” and accused his critics of “Trump Derangement Syndrome.”

“Some people HATE the fact that I got along well with President Putin of Russia. They would rather go to war than see this. It’s called Trump Derangement Syndrome!” the president wrote.

U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told a congressional committee in February he already had seen evidence Russia was targeting November’s elections when Republican control of the House of Representatives and Senate is at stake.

In rebutting Trump’s dismissive comments about U.S. intelligence on Monday, Coats said, “We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy.”

Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said Trump needed to wake up to Russia’s efforts to interfere in American elections.

“We won’t be able, as a nation, to fight back against foreign interference in our elections if the Commander in Chief doesn’t even acknowledge that it’s a real problem,” Schumer said in a statement.

Republican Senator John McCain accused Trump of “playing right into Putin’s hands” with the president’s comments in a Fox News interview on Tuesday that appeared to question the American commitment to defend all NATO allies.

Asked why Americans should defend NATO member Montenegro from attack, Trump said, “I’ve asked the same question. Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people. … They are very aggressive people, they may get aggressive, and congratulations, you are in World War Three.”

Montenegro joined NATO last year in defiance of Moscow after accusing Russian spies of orchestrating an attempted coup to derail the accession.

In his morning tweets, Trump said he elicited a promise from Putin during their meeting to help negotiations with North Korea, but did not say how. Trump met North Korea’s Kim Jong Un in June and has since received a letter from Kim expressing hope for “practical actions” in the future as the United States seeking Pyongyang’s denuclearization.

Russia’s RIA news agency, citing Moscow’s envoy to Pyongyang, reported that a summit between the leaders of Russia and North Korea is “on the agenda” and that it would be “logical” to raise the idea of lifting sanctions.

Additional reporting by Denis Pinchuk in Moscow, Alison Williams in London, Amanda Becker, Sarah Lynch and Daphne Psaledakis in Washington; Writing by John Whitesides; Editing by Mary Milliken, Will Dunham, Grant McCool

Reuters

EU, Japan to sign massive trade deal as US puts up barriers

July 17, 2018

The European Union’s top officials arrive in Japan Tuesday to sign the single market’s biggest trade deal ever and present a united front as Washington upends the international trade order.

EU Council President Donald Tusk and Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker land in Japan after talks in Beijing, where they urged global trade cooperation and warned against trade wars.

“It is the common duty of Europe and China, but also America and Russia, not to destroy (the global trade order) but to improve it, not to start trade wars which turned into hot conflicts so often in our history,” Tusk said Monday in Beijing.

“There is still time to prevent conflict and chaos.”

The “landmark” EU-Japan deal creates a massive economic zone and stands in stark contrast to President Donald Trump’s “America First” protectionism.

© AFP/File | European Council President Donald Tusk and other top EU officials are to sign a massive trade deal with Japan

The deal, agreed last December, is “the biggest ever negotiated by the European Union,” according to Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas.

“This agreement will create an open trade zone covering nearly a third of the world’s GDP,” he said.

The EU — the world’s biggest single market with 28 countries and 500 million people — is trying to boost alliances in the face of Trump’s protectionist administration.

The EU-Japan deal will send a “strong signal to the world” against US protectionism, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said recently.

Trump’s administration has angered traditional allies like the EU and Japan by imposing trade tariffs, while rattling international markets by threatening a trade war with China.

On Sunday, the US president fuelled rising rancour by labelling the EU, along with Russia and China, “a foe” of the United States, and repeating his assertion that the EU has “really taken advantage of us on trade.”

The EU officials and Japan will also look to present a united front against US tariffs on steel and aluminium, which Tokyo has called “deplorable.”

Under the trade agreement, the EU will open its market to Japan’s auto industry, with Tokyo in return scrapping barriers to EU farming products, especially dairy.

The EU is seeking access to one of the world’s richest markets, while Japan hopes to jump-start an economy that has struggled to find solid growth.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had been scheduled to sign the deal in Brussels last week, but cancelled his trip after devastating floods that killed more than 220 people.

burs-sah/mtp

AFP

EU urges big powers to avert trade ‘conflict and chaos’

July 16, 2018

The European Union called Monday on the United States, China and Russia to work together to cool worsening global trade tensions, warning that they could spiral into violent “conflict and chaos.”

The comments from EU Council President Donald Tusk comes as Washington and Beijing stand on the brink of an all-out trade war many fear could hammer the global economy, while the US has also picked fights with allies in Europe and Canada.

“It is the common duty of Europe and China, but also America and Russia, not to destroy (the global trade order) but to improve it, not to start trade wars which turned into hot conflicts so often in our history,” Tusk said in Beijing.

“There is still time to prevent conflict and chaos.”

© POOL/AFP | European Council President Donald Tusk (R) and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker met China’s Premier Li Keqiang as part of an annual summit

Tusk spoke after meeting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang as part of an annual EU-China summit that opened against the backdrop of the deepening global trade discord.

The EU — the world’s biggest single market with 28 countries and 500 million people — is trying to buttress alliances in the face of the protectionism unleashed by US President Donald Trump’s “America First” administration.

The meeting between Chinese and European officials in Beijing, which also included European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker, comes as Trump prepared to hold talks in Helsinki with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Trump sprinkled further spice on the rising rancour in a interview aired Sunday in which he labelled the EU, Russia and China as “foes” of the United States.

– Tough talk –

Tusk said in Beijing that the world needs trade reform, not confrontation.

“This is why I am calling on our Chinese hosts, but also on presidents Trump and Putin, to jointly start this process from a thorough reform of the WTO (World Trade Organization),” Tusk said.

“Today we are facing a dilemma, whether to play a tough game, such as tariff wars and conflict in places like Ukraine and Syria, or to look for common solutions based on fair rules.”

Tusk did not immediately specify what sorts of reform he was referring to.

French President Emmanuel Macron had called in late May for talks on overhauling the WTO.

At the time, European companies were bracing for punishing US tariffs on steel and aluminium imports that ultimately went into effect on June 1.

Besides the steel and aluminium tariffs on the EU, Russia and major US trading partners, Trump earlier this month implemented tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports, drawing a tit-for-tat response from Beijing.

Washington last week threatened yet more measures on another $200 billion in Chinese goods, prompting Beijing to vow further retaliation.

The back-and-forth has heightened fears that trading powers will hunker down into a destructive all-out trade war that could hit global growth.

China said on Monday that its economic growth rate had slowed slightly to 6.7 percent in the second quarter of this year, from 6.8 percent the previous quarter, and a government spokesman warned a trade conflict threatens all the affected economies.

“The China-US trade friction unilaterally provoked by the United States will have an impact on the Chinese and US economies,” Mao Shengyong, a spokesman for the national statistics bureau.

“Now that the world economy is deeply integrated, industrial Chains have become globalised, and many related countries also will feel an impact.”

AFP

South Korea’s Moon urges North, United States to move forward on ending nuclear program

July 13, 2018

South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday urged North Korea and the United States to move forward on a pact to end Pyongyang’s nuclear program, as a lack of firm steps by the North raised questions about its commitment to its pledge.

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South Korean President Moon Jae-in at a joint press conference with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi (not pictured) after holding summit talks at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, on July 10, 2018.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

“If Chairman Kim (Jong Un) keeps the promise of denuclearization, he will be able to lead his country into prosperity,” Moon said in a speech during a visit to Singapore.

“This path is never easy, but if the agreements at the summit are implemented with sincerity, the goal can be achieved,” he added, referring to Kim’s historic meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in the city state a month ago.

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South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in reviews a Singapore Guard of Honor, July 12, 2018.

“If North Korea gives more substance on the implementation of denuclearization, and if South Korea and the United States quickly take comprehensive corresponding measures, the whole process will accelerate.”

At the summit, the two leaders pledged to work towards complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and ease tension between their countries, still technically at war, since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

Since the June 12 meeting, however, Pyongyang has yet to show any sign of concrete action to dismantle its nuclear program that has brought a series of U.N. and international sanctions against the impoverished state.

But Trump on Thursday hailed “great progress” after disclosing a July 6 note from Kim in which the North’s leader said their efforts could open up a “new future” for the two countries.

Moon said he believed Trump and Kim would eventually make good on the promise made before the international community.

“If the leaders do not honor the promise they themselves made with the international community watching, they will be subject to grave judgment,” he said.

South Korea is willing to build an economic community with its neighbor once the effort to root out Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions is completed, Moon said.

Reporting by Jack Kim; Writing by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

Reuters

See also:

Singapore can help with efforts to denuclearise Korea: South Korean President Moon Jae-in

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/singapore-can-help-with-efforts-to-denuclearise-korea-south-korean-president-moon-jae

U.S.-China trade conflict: Beijing issues censorship instructions — Made in China 2025 not to be discussed

July 12, 2018

The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online. The name of the issuing body has been omitted to protect the source.

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Propaganda notice:

First, regarding the U.S.-China :

  1. Three “Don’t Relays”: Don’t relay comments from Trump, from U.S. government spokespersons, or from U.S. officials. Don’t relay U.S. news reports or commentary on the trade conflict without waiting for response from the Ministry of Commerce.
  2. The China Securities Regulatory Commission will soon organize experts to lead the chorus in stabilizing market expectations. The next step will be for the People’s Bank of China to take to the stage with substantive policy moves to boost high-quality economic development.
  3. [Vice Premier] Liu He has indicated that this stage of the U.S.-China trade conflict requires calm and rationality. Each department should strengthen its contribution to the stabilization of market expectations. We stop negotiation for now, acting tit for tat, roll out corresponding policies, hold public opinion at a good level without escalating it, limit scope, and strike accurately and carefully, splitting apart different domestic groups in US. The trade conflict is really a war against China’s rise, to see who has the greater stamina. This is absolutely no time for irresolution or reticence.
  4. Don’t attack Trump’s vulgarity; don’t make this a war of insults.
  5. Note different implementation stages in the breakdown of the [U.S. tariffs on Chinese exports worth] US$50 billion: levies on the $34 billion from July 6 are highly likely to happen. Levies on the remaining $16 billion will be considered on July 13, and take effect at the beginning of August, if approved.
  6. All media should prepare well for protracted conflict. Don’t follow the American sides’ fluctuating declarations. Play down the correlations between the stock market and trade conflict.

Second, other matters:

  1. Give prominence to reports on economic bright spots and developments, showing our economy’s prospects for continued steady improvement. Emphasize economic reports using important page placement and timing. Interview experts recommended by each department; websites and Weibo and WeChat accounts must emphasize suitable forms of network propaganda.
  2. To re-emphasize: do not make further use of “ 2025,” or there will be consequences. (June 29) [Chinese]

The New York Times’ Raymond Zhong and Li Yuan reported word of trade-related censorship on Tuesday:

As Washington and Beijing spar over trade, news outlets here have been ordered not to mention Made in China 2025, an industrial master plan that aims to turn the country into a high-tech superpower, according to two people at Chinese news organizations who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the censorship authorities’ secretive workings.

[…] Even before the latest orders, however, the media coverage in China of the recent economic tensions with the  has been largely free of nationalistic or inflammatory language. Absent official guidance against covering certain issues, Chinese media organizations often self-censor, wary of drawing the ire of authorities.

[…] China’s leaders might not want the domestic media to whip up excessive public outrage, lest it constrain their ability to negotiate with Washington.

“These days, restrictions on information by the Chinese Communist Party are predominantly strategic and contextual, and not ideological or necessarily about judgments of the intrinsic sensitivity of a story or topic,” said David Bandurski, who is a co-director of the China Media Project, a research program in Hong Kong, and a fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin.

“That means just about any story, fact or image can instantly become sensitive given the right extrinsic factors, like too much online attention and speculation,” Mr. Bandurski said. [Source]

Reuters had previously reported that “state news agency Xinhua, which made more than 140 mentions of Made in China 2025 in Chinese language news items in the first five months of the year, has not done so since June 5, a search of a public database found.” “Three state media journalists told Reuters they had been instructed not to use the term Made in China 2025,” it added, although “two others said they received no such instructions.”

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The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that the Trump administration was planning strict controls on technology investment from and exports to China in order to counter the Made in China 2025 program. These measures were later reportedly softened, according to The Washington Post, “after a bruising internal battle between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and China hard-liners led by Peter Navarro, a senior White House aide.” Commentators quoted by the Post variously described the inconsistency as “confusing,” “sloppy,” and “chaotic.”

Similarly mixed signals have emanated from Beijing. The Wall Street Journal’s Lingling Wei and Yoko Kubota reported this week that Xi Jinping had promised “a bare-knuckle approach that makes a bruising fight more likely”:

After President  raised the ante last week on punitive tariffs against Chinese products, Mr. Xi told a group of 20 mostly American and European multinational chief executives on Thursday that Beijing plans to strike back, according to people briefed on the event.

“In the West you have the notion that if somebody hits you on the left cheek, you turn the other cheek,” the Chinese leader said, according to the people. “In our culture we punch back.”

[…] “China is not going to yield to outside pressure and eat the bitter fruit,” a senior official said. “That’s the negotiation principle set by President Xi.” [Source]

Bloomberg News, though, reported that some Chinese academics and officials believe that such an aggressive strategy may be overreaching:

In recent weeks, prominent academics have begun to question if China’s slowing, trade-dependent economy can withstand a sustained attack from Trump, which has already started to weigh on stock prices. The sentiments are being expressed in carefully worded essays circulated on China’s heavily censored internet and — according to interviews in recent days with ministry officials and foreign diplomats who asked not to be identified — repeated in the halls of government offices, too.

[…] The risk is that the two sides, having misjudged each other’s intentions, find themselves in an escalating series of attacks and counterattacks. Xi, like Trump, is a nationalistic leader who has emphasized his strength and decisiveness and can’t afford to look weak in a confrontation with China’s biggest rival.

[…] Xi has a lot at stake personally. He cast aside former leader Deng Xiaoping’s maxim to “hide” China’s strength and “bide” its time, and last year outlined a vision to complete China’s rise as a global power by 2050. That included building a “world-class” military and boosting clout through his Belt-and-Road Initiative to finance infrastructure from Asia to Europe and beyond. Presidential term limits were also removed, allowing him to rule indefinitely.

[…] “Has China completed the task of ‘getting rich’? Has China completed the primary stage of socialism as Deng Xiaoping described? Can you begin to compete directly with the United States and other Western countries?” [Shanghai University of Finance and Economics’ Yu Zhi] wrote. “China should rethink its general strategic direction.” [Source]

真Since directives are sometimes communicated orally to journalists and editors, who then leak them online, the wording published here may not be exact. Some instructions are issued by local authorities or to specific sectors, and may not apply universally across China. The date given may indicate when the directive was leaked, rather than when it was issued. CDT does its utmost to verify dates and wording, but also takes precautions to protect the source. See CDT’s collection of Directives from the Ministry of Truth since 2011.

US not likely to change position in South China Sea issue

July 5, 2018

Washington’s top diplomat to Manila Sung Kim on Wednesday maintained the US position regarding the freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea.

In an interview with reporters, Kim underscored that amid the complications in the contested region, the position of United States on the issue has remained the same.

“We believe that all countries should act according to international law and principles,” Kim said.

“We believe freedom of navigation is an important way to protect our international rights and principles. So our position has not changed and I don’t expect it to change,” he added.

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China has been accused of militarizing the region, alarming claimant countries such as the Philippines and Vietnam. Beijing, however, has dismissed the allegations.

The US has expressed its deep concern over China’s actions, noting the importance of refraining from unilateral aggressive actions that are inconsistent with the international law and principles.

Despite the fact that US is not a claimant of the contested region, it has maintained that it is in its national interest to ensure freedom of navigation, trade and peace and stability in the South China Sea, where a bulk of the world’s trade passes through.

Kim said US aircraft carriers had visited the Philippines and carried out patrols in the contested region.

In June, the USS Ronald Reagan nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and its flotilla of escort ships had just passed from the area near Guam and carried out a routine patrol within the South China Sea en route to Manila.

The USS Carl Vinson and the Reagan’s sister ship, USS Theodore Roosevelt, also sailed through the disputed waters in February and April, respectively.

“I think that sends an important signal that we care about developments in this region, we care about developments in the South China Sea. So that will not change either,” he said.

US-PHL relations

Kim, meanwhile, stressed that the ties between the US and the Philippines remains “deep,” adding that the US has continued to provide assistance to the Philippine government, including in the rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City.

“I think everyone acknowledges the important role that the US played in defeating the terrorists in Marawi. In fact President Duterte himself has acknowledged the special role that the US has played in many different contexts including in Marawi,” Kim said.

Last month, Kim announced that the US would give an additional P296.2 million in financial assistance to the Philippines for supporting humanitarian assistance work in Marawi City.

When it comes to the controversial war against illegal drugs of the Duterte administration, Kim ensured that the US would continue to support the government.

“We understand that the drug issue is a huge challenge for the Philippines and we understand why President Duterte is so focused on dealing with that very big problem, and we will continue to work with the Philippines government,” Kim said.

He, however, emphasized the need to respect human rights when dealing with issues on illegal drugs.

“We continue to have strong law enforcement cooperation with PNP (Philippine National Police) and other relevant agencies in the Philippines. So I think our robust law enforcement cooperation will continue, and it is important that both sides agree on the importance of rule of law and respecting human rights as we proceed with efforts to deal with the drug problem,” Kim said. —Anna Felicia Bajo/KBK, GMA News

http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/659179/us-not-likely-to-change-position-in-south-china-sea-issue-envoy/story/

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Chinese military assets in the South China Sea. 

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Vietnamese Anti-China protesters hold placards which read ‘The country will not forget – Johnson South Reef – 14th March, 1988’ during a gathering to mark the 28th anniversary of the Spratly Islands clashes between Vietnam and China at a public park in Hanoi March 14, 2016.

REUTERS/KHAM

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China’s foreign minister Wang Yi to visit Vienna for Iran nuclear deal talks (For China, Iran is The Key To Everything) 

July 4, 2018

China’s foreign minister and state councillor, Wang Yi, will go to Vienna on Friday for talks with Iran, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Wednesday, as the nations left in the Iran nuclear deal work to save the pact without the United States.

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China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi. File photo

The spokesman, Lu Kang, made the comment at a daily news briefing.

Iran said its foreign minister would meet counterparts from U.S. allies Britain, France and Germany, as well as Russia and China, in Vienna to discuss how to maintain the Iran nuclear deal, from which the United States has pulled out.

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Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Writing by Christian Shepherd

Reuters

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Rudy Giuliani: “We see an end to the regime in Iran” — National Council of Resistance of Iran meets in France

June 30, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump will suffocate Iran’s “dictatorial ayatollahs”, his close ally Rudy Giuliani said on Saturday, suggesting his move to re-impose sanctions was aimed squarely at regime change.

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Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York City, delivers his speech as he attends the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), meeting in Villepinte, near Paris, France, June 30, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

The former New York mayor who is now Trump’s personal lawyer was addressing a conference of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an umbrella bloc of groups of exiled Iranians opposed to the Islamic Republic.

“We are now realistically being able to see an end to the regime in Iran,” Giuliani said, pointing to recent protests in the country sparked by a currency collapse after Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York City, delivers his speech as he attends the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), meeting in Villepinte, near Paris, France, June 30, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

“When the greatest economic power stops doing business with you then you collapse … and the sanctions will become greater, greater and greater,” he said.

At the same conference last year, John Bolton, who was appointed Trump’s National Security Advisor in April this year, told NCRI members they would be ruling Iran before 2019.

Bolton, who at the time was with the American Enterprise Institute think tank, told Fox News in January: “Our goal should be regime change in Iran.”

But, freshly appointed to the Trump administration, he told ABC’s “This Week” in May: “That’s not the policy of the administration. The policy of the administration is to make sure that Iran never gets close to deliverable nuclear weapons.”

European countries which signed the 2015 Iran deal along with the United States, Russia and China, are sticking with it, saying the agreement prevents Iran developing weapons-grade nuclear fuel. But Giuliani said Europe should be “ashamed” of itself.

“This president doesn’t intend to turn his back on freedom fighters. The end of appeasement is over,” he told the conference of the NCRI, whose main faction is the People’s Mujahideen Organization of Iran (PMOI) once deemed a terrorist group by Washington and Europe.

Maryam Rajavi, who heads the group, told reporters: “Regime change in Iran is within reach as never before … The wheels of change have started turning.”

In Tehran, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Trump would fail in any attempt to turn the Iranian people against the ruling system.

“They bring to bear economic pressure to separate the nation from the system … but six U.S. presidents before him (Trump) tried this and had to give up,” Khamenei said on his website. [nL8N1TW082]

China rejects U.S. request for talks on airline website dispute — China aims to bully, reclaim and dominate Taiwan

June 28, 2018

Xi Jinping: “We cannot lose one inch of territory passed down by our ancestors.” — Not going to follow international law but the voice of ancestors?

China has rejected U.S. requests for talks over how American airlines and their websites refer to Chinese-claimed Taiwan, according to sources, including a U.S. official, adding to tensions in a bilateral relationship already frayed by a major trade dispute.

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A jet fighter from Taiwan shadows a Chinese bomber. China refuses to admit that Taiwan is free, sovereign and democratic. China wants all the world’s airlines to refer to Taiwan in accordance with China’s wishes.

China has demanded that foreign firms, and airlines in particular, begin referring to Taiwan as Chinese territory on their websites, along with Hong Kong and Macau, a move described by the White House in May as “Orwellian nonsense”.

Numerous non-U.S. carriers, such as Air Canada, Lufthansa and British Airways have already made changes to their websites, according to Reuters checks.

But several U.S. companies, including Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, were among carriers that sought extensions to a May 25 deadline to make the changes. The final deadline is July 25.

In late May, the U.S. State Department presented China’s Foreign Ministry with a diplomatic note requesting consultations on the matter, but the ministry has since refused it, two sources briefed on the situation told Reuters.

“This has definitely become a foreign policy issue,” one of the sources said on condition of anonymity, noting that the U.S. government did not view it as a technical matter for bilateral aviation cooperation.

The spat had become “another grain of sand in the wound” amid escalating trade tensions, a second source said, referring to U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports to punish Beijing for intellectual property abuses.

An official with the State Department confirmed to Reuters that China had rejected its request for talks on June 25, adding that it was “disappointed” and had maintained close communication with the airlines but had not told them how to respond to Beijing’s demands.

“U.S. airlines should not be forced to comply with this order,” the State Department official said. “We have called on China to stop threatening and coercing American companies and citizens.”

Chinese companies are free to operate their websites without political interference in the United States, the official added.

China’s rebuff has left the U.S. government weighing its next move. The White House convened a staff-level meeting on the issue on Wednesday, but it is not clear what it plans to do.

“GOOD PLAN OF ACTION”

Taiwan is China’s most sensitive territorial issue, and Beijing considers the self-ruled, democratic island a wayward province. Hong Kong and Macau are former European colonies that are now part of China but run largely autonomously.

Armed by the United States, Taiwan has always been a major source of tension between Beijing and Washington, but it has been an increasingly contentious issue since Trump took office.

China’s Foreign Ministry did not respond to a faxed request for comment, but in May said: “No matter what the United States says, it cannot change the objective fact that there is only one China in the world and that Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are indivisible parts of Chinese territory.”

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the latest developments, but this month urged companies to show “courage” in the face of China’s “bullying” over the website issue.

The companies have little incentive to defy Chinese regulations, but compliance could put them at odds with U.S. foreign policy.

Delta’s chief executive, Ed Bastian, said at a forum in Washington on Wednesday that the airline was working with the U.S. government but would not say whether it would comply.

“We’re working with the U.S. authorities on the topic and we’ll stay close to our U.S. government,” Bastian said, calling it a “good plan of action”.

The chief executive of United Airlines, Oscar Munoz, told Reuters in Washington on June 7 that the website issue was a “government-to-government diplomatic issue and again we’ll see what comes out of that and we’ll react accordingly”.

Asked if he would defer to the White House, Munoz said that “I fly to both places and I am deferential to our customers, and again this is not something I am going to solve”.

American Airlines said in early June that it had not made changes on its website, and that it was following the direction of the U.S. government.

It is unclear how China might seek to punish airlines that do not comply. But in December it changed rules governing foreign airlines operating in the country, including adding a clause that regulators could change a company’s permit if it did not meet “the demand of public interest”.

Reporting by Matthew Miller and Michael Martina in BEIJING, Brenda Goh in SHANGHAI, Jess Macy Yu in TAIPEI and David Shepardson in WASHINGTON; Editing by Tony Munroe and Philip McClellan

Reuters

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“We cannot lose one inch of territory passed down by our ancestors.”