Posts Tagged ‘US President Donald Trump’

Taiwan Shouldn’t Worry: Open Dialogue with The U.S. Certainly Ahead

April 28, 2017

Taipei Times

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said a direct telephone call with US President Donald Trump could take place again and urged China to step up its global responsibility to keep the peace as a large nation.

“We have the opportunity to communicate more directly with the US government,” Tsai said in an interview with Reuters yesterday. “We don’t exclude the opportunity to call President Trump himself, but it depends on the needs of the situation and the US government’s consideration of regional affairs.”

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Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has makeup applied during an interview with Reuters at the Presidential Office, Apr 28, 2017. Photo: Reuters/Tyrone Siu

The interview was the first since Trump, as US president-elect, took a congratulatory telephone call from Tsai in early December last year. It was the first known contact between leaders of the two sides in nearly four decades and he cast doubt on Washington’s long-standing policy of acknowledging Beijing’s “one China” policy.

However, since then, Trump in February agreed to honor the “one China” policy and then hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) at his Florida resort earlier this month.

Despite this, Tsai said Taiwan’s ties with the US, its biggest political ally and arms supplier, have been improving.

She added that Taiwan might need to buy the most advanced stealth jet the US has.

“We don’t rule out any items that would be meaningful to our defense and our defense strategy, and the F-35 is one such item,” Tsai said, in the first remarks by a top Taiwanese official on the matter.

As part of arms talks, Taiwan will eventually have to submit a weapons purchase list to Washington.

However, Tsai said that senior officials are not yet in place in the Trump administration to handle the issue.

The Chinese Ministry of National Defense yesterday said it was resolutely opposed to any nation selling arms to Taiwan.

Image result for F-35 Lightning II jets, photos

Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun (楊宇軍) made the comment at a monthly news briefing in Beijing when asked about the possible sale of Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II jets from the US to Taiwan.

Speaking from her Presidential Office as she nears her first-year anniversary in office, Tsai urged Xi to act like a leader.

“China now needs to have its own sense of responsibility,” Tsai said.

“I hope Chairman Xi Jinping, as a leader of a large country and who sees himself as a leader, can show a pattern and flexibility, use a different angle to look at cross-strait relations, and allow the future of cross-strait ties to have a different kind of pattern,” she said.

China continues to pressure Taiwan, Tsai said, adding that next month’s meeting of the decisionmaking body of the WHO would be an important benchmark for relations between the two sides.

Taiwan has said it is facing a more complicated task this year in securing an invitation for the meeting after Beijing last year said that acceptance of the “one China” principle was a condition for Taiwan’s attendance.

When she first took office, China slammed Tsai’s inaugural speech as offering an “incomplete answer” to what it called the exam on bilateral relations.

“Why not say we both are facing a new exam. We also look forward to China using a different perspective to face this new exam,” Tsai said.

“China now needs to have its own sense of responsibility,” Tsai said, adding that the world is changing and China must change too.

Recalling her historic call with Trump, Tsai talked about more possibilities.

“My first feeling was that this is a new [Trump] government and perhaps under this new government there will be many different possibilities that appear,” Tsai said.

Tsai tweeted congratulations to Trump minutes after he took office in January, and when asked if she might tweet him again, Tsai said: “Might not be a bad idea. I’ll give some thought to it.”

UNESCO May Be Set To Deny Israeli Sovereignty Over East Jerusalem — Israel May Have “Lost” European Support

April 27, 2017
The Jerusalem Post
APRIL 27, 2017 14:09
The new text, which Israel has yet to see, would replace an initial draft from last month, which contests Israeli sovereignty over all of Jerusalem
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Israel fers the eleven srael fears that eleven European nations together with Arab states have co-authored a number of anti-Israel resolutions that UNESCO’s Executive Board in Paris will vote on at its May 2 meeting, diplomatic sources told The Jerusalem Post.

The new text, which Israel has yet to see, would replace an initial draft from last month, which contests Israeli sovereignty over all of Jerusalem.

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 That initial March draft put forward solely by Arab states said: “any action taken by Israel, the Occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction, and administration on the City of Jerusalem, are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever.”

Past resolutions approved by UNESCO have refused to accept Israel’s annexation of east Jerusalem, including the Old City.

This text would mark the first time that the UNESCO Executive Board has been asked to reject Israeli sovereignty over western Jerusalem.

Israel is concerned that the new draft, co-authored by the ten European countries, will include the clause rejecting Israeli sovereignty over western Jerusalem, a move which threatens to delegitimize the government of the Jewish state, according to diplomats.

Israel’s main governing bodies — its parliament, prime minister’s office, foreign ministry and supreme court — are all located in Israel’s capital city of Jerusalem.

Israeli officials could not help noting that the cynicism of passing such a resolution on Israel’s Independence Day.

“UNESCO has returned to the ritual of political anti-Israeli decisions that undermines anything Israel does in Jerusalem,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement it released on Thursday in advance of the vote.

Ten of the 54 UNESCO Executive Board members are EU states. This includes: Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. The United Kingdom, which is in the process of withdrawing from the EU is also on the executive board as is the United States.

The resolution comes as US President Donald Trump is weighing the question of relocating the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to the western part of Jerusalem.

The international community is split over recognition of Israeli sovereignty over West Jerusalem, with many countries acknowledging Israel’s governing bodies there, without formally accepting its status as part of Israel.

Such a text would highlight Jerusalem’s tenuous political status in the eyes of the international community, which already places its embassies in Tel Aviv rather than in Israel’s capital.

The May 2 text is also expected to reaffirm that the Jewish holy sites of the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem are “an integral part of Palestine.” Muslims consider both places to be holy to Islam and refer to them as the Ibrahimi Mosque and the Bilal bin Rabah Mosque.

Absent from the text is the controversial issue of the Temple Mount.

For the last two years, Arab states at UNESCO, backed by the Palestinians have attempted to reclassify the Jewish holy sites of the Western Wall and the Temple Mount solely by their Muslim names of the Buraq Wall and the al-Haram al-Sharif.

Israel was not able to prevent the passage of the resolutions, but its Ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen said that Western governments and Russia pressed the Palestinians to drop the matter.

In the new text on Jerusalem, there is no mention in any language of the two holy sites. Instead the resolution reaffirms “the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its walls for the three monotheistic religions.”

It does however, have a line asking for reaffirmation of past texts referencing the sites only by their Muslims names.

Last year five European countries voted against the resolution ignoring Jerusalem ties to the Temple Mount; Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Estonia and Lithuania. While six European countries abstained.

Berlin and Israel have been at odds over the last few months, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refusing to meet this week German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel during his visit to Israel. Netanyahu was upset that Gabriel and met with the Left-wing group Breaking the Silence.


Paris attack to have ‘big effect’ on presidential poll: Trump

April 21, 2017


© AFP/File | A French soldier patrols on the Champs Elysees in Paris after a shooting on April 20, 2017
WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Donald Trump on Friday said a deadly attack in Paris claimed by the Islamic State group “will have a big effect” on France’s upcoming presidential vote.”Another terrorist attack in Paris. The people of France will not take much more of this. Will have a big effect on presidential election!”

Trump tweeted hours after a gunman shot dead a policeman and wounded two others on the world-famous Champs Elysees boulevard.

The attack rocked France’s presidential race Friday with just days to go before one of the closest races in recent memory.

Bloodshed had long been feared ahead of Sunday’s first round of voting after a string of jihadist atrocities since 2015, and shooting on the world-renowned boulevard forced security to the top of the agenda in the campaign.

Three of the four frontrunners called off campaign events planned for Friday in the wake of the attack.

France is in a state of emergency and at its highest possible level of alert since a string of terror attacks that began in 2015, which have killed over 230 people.


France says will ‘prove’ Damascus behind Syria ‘chemical attack’

April 19, 2017


© AFP | Syrian children receive treatment in the town of Maaret al-Noman, following a suspected chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhun, a nearby rebel-held town in Syria?s northwestern Idlib province, on April 4, 2017


France will produce proof “in a few days” that the regime of Bashar al-Assad launched a chemical strike on a Syrian village that killed 87 people earlier this month, Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Wednesday.

“We have elements that will allow us to show that the regime knowingly used chemical weapons,” Ayrault said of the suspected chemical attack in Khan Sheikhun on April 4.

“In a few days I will be able to bring you the proof,” he told French television.

In an exclusive interview last week with AFP in Damascus, Assad said the suspected chemical attack was a “fabrication” to justify a US missile strike on Syrian forces.

“Definitely, 100 percent for us, it’s fabrication,” he said.

Western leaders including US President Donald Trump have accused Assad of being behind the attack in the rebel-held town, saying his forces used a chemical weapon during an air strike.

The suspected attack killed at least 87 people, including many children, and images of the dead and of suffering victims provoked global outrage.

The missile strike was the first direct US military action against Assad’s forces since the start of Syria’s civil war six years ago and precipitated a downward spiral in ties between Washington and Moscow.

China eases yuan outflow controls in sign of recovered confidence — Investors want Beijing to stop suffocating offshore investing

April 19, 2017

Central bank has relaxed policy on banks processing cross-border yuan payments

By Xie Yu
South China Morning Post

Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 2:11pm
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 People’s Bank of China

North Korea Not Backing Down — ‘Will test missiles weekly’ — Ready for war at any time

April 17, 2017

BBC News

This April 15, 2017 picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 16, 2017 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) arriving for a military parade in Pyongyang marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung. /
North Korea held a grand military parade on Saturday. AP photo

North Korea will continue to test missiles, a senior official has told the BBC in Pyongyang, despite international condemnation and growing military tensions with the US.

“We’ll be conducting more missile tests on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis,” Vice Foreign Minister Han Song-Ryol told the BBC’s John Sudworth.

He said that an “all-out war” would result if the US took military action.

Earlier, US Vice-President Mike Pence warned North Korea not to test the US.

He said his country’s “era of strategic patience” with North Korea was over.

Mr Pence arrived in Seoul on Sunday hours after North Korea carried out a failed missile launch.

Tensions have been escalating on the peninsula, with heated rhetoric from both North Korea and the US.

How did we get here?

North Korea has accelerated its nuclear and missile tests in recent years, despite international condemnation and UN sanctions.

Its aim is to be able to put a nuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile that can reach targets around the world, including the US.

US President Donald Trump has said that will not happen, and stepped up pressure on the isolated North.

He has sent a navy strike group towards the Korean Peninsula, and the US and South Korea are moving ahead with the early deployment of a controversial missile defence system.

Despite the tension, North Korea may carry out a sixth nuclear test soon, observers say. It test-fired a missile on Sunday that exploded within seconds of launch, following a grand military parade on Saturday.

Will the US attack North Korea?

Speaking alongside South Korea’s acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn on Monday, Mr Pence said North Korea should not test US President Donald Trump.

“Just in the past two weeks, the world witnessed the strength and resolve of our new president in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan,” Mr Pence said.

“North Korea would do well not to test his resolve or the strength of the armed forces of the United States in this region.”

He reiterated US support for South Korea, telling his host: “We are with you 100%.”

Last month, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that pre-emptive military action was “on the table”.

Vice President Mike Pence arrives at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War

Vice President Mike Pence arrives at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War

But the US is also working with China, North Korea’s main ally, to pressure the regime to stop nuclear and missile tests.

The BBC’s Stephen Evans in Seoul says US policy now seems to be to persuade China to contain North Korea while keeping the economic and military pressure on.

What does North Korea say?

Vice Foreign Minister Hang Song-Ryol told the BBC that North Korea believed its nuclear weapons “protect” it from the threat of US military action.

“If the US is reckless enough to use military means it would mean from that very day, an all out war,” he said.

The North casts the US as the aggressor.

North Korean missile range

At a news conference at the UN on Monday, North Korea’s permanent representative Ambassador Kim In-ryong, condemned the US missile strikes in Syria, which targeted an air base after a suspected chemical attack by the government.

He said the US was “disturbing global peace and stability and insisting on the gangster-like logic that its invasion of a sovereign state is decisive and just and proportionate and contributes to defending the international order”.

How advanced is North Korea’s nuclear programme?

And what about other world powers?

China has reiterated its call for North Korea to stop all tests, and has also called for a peaceful solution.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters in Beijing on Monday that the Korean peninsula was “highly sensitive, complicated and high risk” and that all sides should “avoid taking provocative actions that pour oil on the fire”.

On Sunday, Lt Gen HR McMaster, the US top security adviser, said his country was working on a “range of options” with China, the first confirmation the two countries were co-operating to find a solution to the North Korean issue.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow would not tolerate “missile adventures by Pyongyang” but a unilateral use of power by the US would be “a very risky course”.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday told a parliamentary session that diplomatic efforts were “important to maintain peace”, but “dialogue for the sake of having dialogue is meaningless”.

He added that Japan needed to apply pressure on Pyongyang to “seriously respond to a dialogue” with the international community.



North Korea showed off what appeared to be a new intercontinental ballistic missile, seen here in an image taken from North Korean TV footage, at a military parade in Pyongyang on Saturday, April 15, 2017. 

Missiles are paraded in Pyongyang on Saturday to celebrate the birthday of North Korean founder Kim Il-sung.  North Korea showed off what appeared to be a new intercontinental ballistic missile, seen here in an image taken from North Korean TV footage, at the military parade in Pyongyang on Saturday, April 15, 2017. PHOTO: YONHAP NEWS/ZUMA PRESS

7 Apr 2017

Five reasons why the US cannot attack North Korea like it did Syria (China’s wish list?) — Could North Korean nuclear weapons reach Australia?

April 15, 2017

Treaties, uncertainties over Pyongyang’s nuclear readiness, and the sheer scale of armaments on both sides maintain a delicate truce on the Korean peninsula

By Catherine Wong
South Clina Morning Post

April 15, 2017, 5:55pm

North Korea showed off what appeared to be a new intercontinental ballistic missile, seen here in an image taken from North Korean TV footage, at a military parade in Pyongyang on Saturday, April 15, 2017. 

 Missiles are paraded in Pyongyang on Saturday to celebrate the birthday of North Korean founder Kim Il-sung.  North Korea showed off what appeared to be a new intercontinental ballistic missile, seen here in an image taken from North Korean TV footage, at the military parade in Pyongyang on Saturday, April 15, 2017. PHOTO: YONHAP NEWS/ZUMA PRESS

Praise for Kim at showpiece North Korea project

April 13, 2017


© AFP | Tens of thousands of soldiers, officials and citizens packed a plaza to await leader Kim Jong-Un’s arrival


With tens of thousands of adoring citizens looking on –along with invited international media — North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un on Thursday opened a prestige housing project as he sought to burnish his country’s image in the midst of mounting tensions over its nuclear ambitions.

The Ryomyong Street development is a collection of residential tower blocks of various shapes ? round, square and octagonal ? with the tallest proclaimed as 70 storeys, or 234 metres, high, and including nearly 5,000 apartments in total.

It stands just down a wide avenue from the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, where the bodies of Kim’s father and grandfather — the North’s founding father Kim Il-Sung — lie in state, and its completion was repeatedly promised in time for Saturday’s 105th anniversary of Kim Il-Sung’s birth.

Tens of thousands of soldiers, officials and citizens packed a plaza from early morning, waiting in the cold Pyongyang spring air for hours before Kim made his entrance, leading a delegation of senior officials and generals onto the dais.

Addressing the throng, Prime Minister Pak Pong-Ju lauded Kim, the third of his family to rule the country.

?I would like to express the greatest thanks in the name of the people and the army to great leader comrade Kim Jong-Un, who wisely led this construction to victory,? he said.

The project was a demonstration of ?the ‘do or die’ spirit of our people and army who are willing to implement the Party’s orders in all cases,” he said, and “a victory against imperialists’ sanctions.”

The North is under multiple sets of United Nations sanctions over its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and tensions have soared in recent weeks over its capabilities.

There is speculation it might conduct a sixth nuclear test to coincide with the Kim Il-Sung anniversary. US President Donald Trump has dispatched an aircraft carrier group to the Korean peninsula in a show of force.

Such tensions were entirely absent as Kim took a pair of scissors proffered from a tray and cut a wide red ribbon to rhythmic cheers from the crowd. He waved to his admirers before turning and walking back to his Mercedes limousine.

North Korean authorities seek to present their isolated, impoverished country as prosperous and modern, and the project is the third of its kind in as many years in Pyongyang, but by far the largest at nearly 5,000 flats in total.

The showpiece penthouse apartments at the top of the tallest tower offer impressive views over the capital and the surrounding countryside, and are furnished with ice green wallpaper and purple sofas ? but had no hot water.


Large US firms stashed $1.6 trillion in tax havens: Oxfam

April 12, 2017


© AFP/File | The Bahamas is a popular tax havens destination for the US companies

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The 50 largest US companies, including Apple, Microsoft and Wal-Mart, are parking about $1.6 trillion in offshore tax havens to reduce their US tax burden, according to a study published Wednesday.

Poverty-fighting organization Oxfam America said the sum for 2015 was a $200 billion increase over the prior year. The report cites the companies’ own data.

While not illegal, the companies “used a secretive network of 1,751 subsidiaries in tax havens to stash” their earnings outside the United States, Oxfam said in the report released ahead of next week’s meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington.

“Tax avoidance has become standard business practice across the globe. Corporate tax dodgers cheat America out of approximately $135 billion in unpaid tax revenues every year,” Oxfam senior advisor Robbie Silverman said.

Apple is at the top of the ranking with more than $200 billion in offshore funds, followed closely by Pfizer laboratories ($193.6 billion) and Microsoft’s IT group ($124 billion), the report said.

US law allows companies to keep profits from foreign operations offshore indefinitely, to avoid corporate taxes that are among the highest in the industrialized world.

While the corporate tax rate is nominally 35 percent at the federal level, Oxfam said these 50 companies had an effective rate nearly 10 percentage points lower.

During his campaign, US President Donald Trump proposed cutting the rate to 15 percent, and allowing companies to repatriate their cash reserves with a one-time tax of 10 percent.

Oxfam criticized both proposals, saying the tax cut would help profitable companies and wealthy shareholders at the expense of important anti-poverty programs.

And the drastic reduction in corporate income tax will “feed into a destructive race to the bottom that has seen countries across the globe slashing corporate tax rates in recent years,” the report said.

Meanwhile, “repatriation holidays reward companies for keeping money offshore and avoiding their taxes” and “incentivizes companies to move their profits to tax havens in expectation that they will eventually benefit from a one-time tax cut.”

“President Trump promised to fix the rigged political and economic system yet his tax reforms will further enrich powerful corporates at the expense of ordinary people and small businesses,” Silverman said.

“The President and leaders in Congress must rethink their reforms and build a tax system that works for everyone and not just a fortunate few.”

Trump says US ready to solve N. Korea ‘problem’ without China

April 11, 2017


© AFP/File | A North Korean soldier looks at the South side at the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized zone (DMZ) dividing the two Koreas on July 27, 2013

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Donald Trump said Tuesday that the United States is ready to solve the North Korean “problem” without China if necessary.

“North Korea is looking for trouble,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.”