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ottobre 2017

China supports Spanish unity amid Catalan independence declaration

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China Monday voiced support for the Spanish government’s effort to maintain national unity after the Catalan parliament declared independence Friday. “China’s stance on this issue is consistent and clear. China regards it as a domestic affair of Spain and understands and supports the Spanish government’s effort to maintain national unity, ethnic solidarity and territorial integrity”, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said when asked for comment at a regular news briefing held in Beijing. “China opposes moves to split the country and breach the rule of law and believes Spain is capable of protecting social order and citizens’ rights within the legal and institutional framework”, Hua said. China has developed friendly cooperation with Spain in various areas based on the principles of respect for each other’s sovereign and territorial integrity and non-interference in domestic affairs, the spokesperson said.

 

SMI appealed to the National Security Committee for hearing sessions focused on the naval radars scandal

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The vice-chairman of Socialist Movement for Integration (SMI) Luan Rama appealed to the National Security Committee during the Monday’s meeting to include in its agenda a series of hearing sessions focused on the naval radars scandal. He asked for a hearing session with the law enforcement bodies responsible for the radars’ functioning. However, this request was overruled by the committee’s chairwoman, Ermonela Felaj. The refractory attitude against his proposal to guarantee one more time the civilian control over the Albanian Armed Forces (AAF), which is the responsibility of the parliament, to guarantee the transparency of how the public funds are administered through the contracts and procurement procedures. He stressed that SMI is more than determined to unveil the truth about this scandal that hampers national security.

 

‘A hysteric anti-Pyongyang racket’: North Korea accuses Abe of playing up nuclear threat to win election

in ASIA/FAR EAST/PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

North Korea on Saturday accused Japan’s ruling party of playing up a nuclear threat posed by Pyongyang to achieve a huge win in last weekend’s general election. The North’s Korea-Asia-Pacific Peace Committee also criticised Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for planning to ask US President Donald Trump to ratchet up pressure on Pyongyang when he visits Tokyo early next month. Earlier this week, Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso attributed the ruling party’s electoral victory to North Korea’s rising threat, a view he altered on Friday in the face of criticism from opposition lawmakers. “Abe and his group should know that they are playing a dangerous gamble by putting the prospect of their island country and the destiny of their people at stake”, the North Korean statement said. During the election campaign, Abe focused on Japan’s heightened security concerns given North Korea’s continued testing of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles in defiance of UN resolutions forbidding such activity and crippling economic sanctions. In connection with Trump’s visit to Japan from November 5, it warned that “the whole Japanese islands can bury into the bottom of the sea if they go reckless by acting a stooge in the US racket for escalating confrontation with the (North Korea) and in its war moves while chiming in with old lunatic Trump’s crazy remarks”. But verbal threats from North Korea continue, and Japanese, South Korean and US officials are preparing for a possible provocation during Trump’s five-nation Asia trip, which will also include visits to Seoul and Beijing.

Anticipating war, North Korea conducts evacuation drills

in ASIA/FAR EAST/PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

Following North Korea’s threat to detonate another hydrogen bomb over the Pacific, U.S. officials who have visited Seoul ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump’s planned Asia trip have not hesitated to return the threat at Pyongyang. On Sunday, following America’s threat, North Korea conducted mass evacuation drills in secondary and tertiary cities and towns, particularly along the east coast, across the country. According to Chun In-bum, a former South Korean military officer, “I have never heard of this type of training exercises before in North Korea, but am not surprised. They must realize how serious the situation is”. The drills are being seen as a preparation of war, and come at a time of heightening tensions between the hermit state and the U.S. after a series of nuclear and missile tests, including the test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of striking mainland America. On Saturday, U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis held a meeting with his counterpart, Defence Minister Song Young-moo during a trip to the South Korean capital, Seoul. Mattis warned that the U.S. would never accept a nuclear north and that dictator Kim Jong Un was overmatched by American firepower. The unusual North Korean drills have divided experts too, who are wondering whether the drills are a sign that the regime feels more threatened than before, or wants to create the perception that it is taking care of its citizens. Meanwhile, Christopher Green, a PhD candidate at University of Leiden, Germany, has argued that it was unclear “whether genuine security concerns are driving this, or the wish to portray the image of a government that has concerns over security.”Reports also emerged on Sunday, stating that the Pentagon is preparing to conduct a huge missile defense drill at its base in the Reagan Test Site in the Pacific.

Saudi Arabia and Russia ‘clear fog’ before OPEC meeting

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Saudi Arabia and Russia clearly stating support to extend a global deal to cut oil supply for another nine months. OPEC, plus Russia and nine other producers, have cut oil output by about 1.8 million barrels per day since January. The pact runs to March 2018 and they are considering extending it. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said this week he supported keeping the deal in place for nine months, following on from similar remarks by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Oil prices fell on Friday after Brent rallied to just below $60 a barrel the previous session but support from the comments by the Saudi crown prince for extending OPEC-led output cuts created a floor. Oil hit $59.55 on Thursday, its highest since July 2015 and more than 30 percent above its 2017 lows touched in June. US crude prices have been capped by rising US production. Oil prices have been hovering near their highest levels for this year amid recent signs of a tightening market, talk of an extension of production cuts and tensions in Iraq. Friday’s announcement of a cease-fire between Iraqi forces and the Peshmerga from the country’s autonomous northern Kurdish region eased some concerns.

Rapid reaction forces latest group to siphon bribes from merchants

in ASIA/FAR EAST/PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

Local North Korean officials were reportedly shocked recently when, according to sources in Hyesan, Ryanggang Province, merchants selling illegal items pushed back against Rapid Reaction Forces that were demanding bribes. “Earlier this month, on the anniversary of the Party’s foundation (October 10), authorities from the Rapid Reaction Forces (RRF) began circling the jangmadang in Hyesan ‘in accordance with the holiday’, demanding bribes from merchants. However, many pushed back or fled the scene, with some responding, “How many times have we already had to pay the authorities this month?” a source in Ryanggang Province informed Daily NK on October 24. Kim Jong Il established the RRF under the Ministry of People’s Security (MPS) and tasked the unit with “stamping out the subversive elements of society”, and those attempting to incite anti-government riots. Bribes demanded by the RRF come in addition to the other fees merchants must already pay to the market’s management unit, the police, and Ministry of State Security (MSS) agents on national holidays. Considering RRF’s origins and official objectives, the prevailing opinion is that they have no business invading the markets and harassing merchants. Residents have pointed out that there are three other government organizations already fulfilling that role. “On top of the already chaotic situation in our country, it seems that every person that gains any power just uses that to exploit the people and take every last dime they have, even from the poor and downtrodden. There is no hope left for the people, and nobody in power to help them”, a separate source in Ryanggang Province said.”The authorities have no reservations about destroying people’s lives. The mere sight of the authorities in the markets is driving people to new levels of fear as more and more money is extracted from the people”.

Kosovo PM Haradinaj cancelled a meeting after Spain’s Ambassador in NATO asked ‘status neutral’ representation

in EUROPE/PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj has refused on Friday attending a meeting and a pre-arranged joint press conference with NATO senior officials, at the KFOR Headquarters in Pristina. Kosovo PM protested conditions set by the Spain’s Ambassador in NATO, who asked Haradinaj not to be presented as Chief of Kosovo Government. The Spanish diplomat also asked the Kosovo Security Force (KSF) officers not to be presented with the official uniforms in the meeting. Spain is one of the five EU member countries which has not recognised Kosovo’s independence.The NATO Deputy Secretary Gottemoeller during all her meetings in Pristina referred to Kosovo officials only on their names, avoiding mentioning their positions implying Kosovo’s statehood, in order not to prejudge Kosovo’s status. NATO has a status-neutral stance towards Kosovo after four out of 29 of its members have not recognised Kosovo’s statehood.

China’s economy to steer clear of rapid slowdown in new era: economist

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The Chinese economy will be able to steer clear of rapid declines of GDP growth during the new development era, a prominent economist has said, but ruling out the possibility of an immediate rebound. “After getting rid of the downward trend, the growth will level out in the future, rather than accelerating quickly”, Liu Yuanchun, vice president of Renmin University of China, said when addressing a forum. The economy showed strong resilience in the first three quarters as reforms created fresh momentum, with GDP expansion holding steady at 6.9 percent year on year. Services and consumption played a greater role in driving growth, and high- end manufacturing and IT sector witnessed booming increases. His remarks came after a report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China said the economy is in “the new era, a pivotal period for transforming the growth model, improving economic structure, and fostering new drivers of growth”. China has been transitioning from a phase of rapid growth to a stage of high-quality development, according to the report. Liu said that risks in the economy would be eased in the new era but attention should remain. “The downward cycle in the financial sector will likely be more complicated than predictions, which will lead to a very different deleveraging process compared with the European and U.S. market”, Liu said. “It is not the time to sound the all clear yet”.

North Korea has huge plans for nuclear test, Trump irked

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A day after U.S. President Donald Trump turned his anger due to failed efforts in subduing North Korea’s nuclear ambitions from China to Russia – Pyongyang announced its own plans.Trump, on Wednesday, said that Russia was having a negative impact on U.S. efforts to rid North Korea of nuclear weapons while China had been helpful. In a televised interview, Trump said it would be easier to resolve the North Korea nuclear issue if the United States had a better relationship with Russia. Meanwhile, North Korea, which has already tested a series of weapons this year, including the successful test of its sixth and most powerful nuclear bomb so far – issued its own warning on Thursday morning. Ri Yong Pil, a senior diplomat in North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, warned that the U.S. should take the hydrogen bomb threat from Kim Jong Un seriously adding that the foreign ministry was aware of plans for a launch and urged Washington to prepare itself. He said, “The foreign minister is very well aware of the intentions of our supreme leader, so I think you should take his words literally.” Last week, amid the heated war of words being exchanged between Trump and Kim Jong Un, CIA chief Mike Pompeo said that North Korea could be only months away from gaining the ability to hit the United States with nuclear weapons. On November 3, Trump is scheduled to depart on a trip during which he will visit Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. Meanwhile, Trump, who has pressed China to help rein in North Korea’s nuclear program so far since January, turned the heat on Russia on Wednesday. He said, “I think we could have a good relationship with Russia. I think that North Korean situation would be easier settled.”As North Korea’s sole major ally, China accounts for more than 90 percent of trade with the isolated country and on Thursday, Trump said in a tweet that he spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping and the conversation included North Korea.Russian President Vladimir Putin warned last week that North Korea must not be “backed into a corner” and urged dialogue to end the nuclear standoff with the U.S.

Spanish PM dissolves Catalan parliament and calls elections

in EUROPE/PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

Simon Hunter has followed for El Paìs, the situation in the Country since the morning of 27 October. In the evening it has appeared a summary in which he has affirmed that: “Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has called elections in the Catalan region for December 21, after having removed the regional premier and his government from their roles. The Catalan parliament has been dissolved. All of these measures have been taken under Article 155 of the Constitution, the invocation of which was approved today by the Spanish Senate.”. The situation in the Country is quite tense, after the declaration of independence of Catalonia. During the morning the Parliament of Catalonia has started the process to approve a law to regulate the transition and the foundation of the Republic. After some hours there has been the reply by the central government, with the activation of article 155.

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