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China and Japan: agreement to expand cooperation

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday agreed that the two countries should work together to further improve bilateral ties and expand cooperation. China and Japan are important neighbors and bilateral relationship has gone through some twists and turns in recent years, which affected communication and cooperation of the two sides in various areas, said Wang. year, he said. The Chinese top diplomat, who arrived in Japan Sunday for a three-day visit, expressed the hope that with efforts from both sides, his visit could become an important step for bilateral relationship to return to normal track. Saying that the momentum of improvement in bilateral ties did not come by easily, he emphasized that it should be cherished. He also said that China attaches importance to the positive remarks made by Abe on the Belt and Road Initiative, and Japan will joining the Belt and Road construction. 

China’s President Xi Jinping offers to lower trade barriers

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Chinese President Xi Jinping said Tuesday that in a world aspiring for peace and development, the Cold War and zero-sum mentality look even more out of place. “Putting oneself on a pedestal or trying to immune oneself from adverse developments will get nowhere,” Xi said while delivering a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia annual conference. Xi also stressed the need to promote dialogue and share responsibility, engage in cooperation for win-win results, uphold inclusiveness and seek harmony without uniformity, as well as treat nature with respect and treasure our planet. China will not threaten anyone else, attempt to overturn the existing international system, or seek spheres of influence, no matter how much progress it has made in development, President Xi Jinping said.

Japan: energy plan through 2050

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Japan will accelerate the development of renewable energy and keep its current policy of lowering its dependence on nuclear power as it aims for a low-carbon society, a government panel report on the country’s energy plan through 2050 showed Tuesday. The long-term policy comes as Japan lags behind the global trend to invest in renewables. The most recent targets set out in 2015 seek to have renewable sources account for 22 to 24 percent and nuclear 20 to 22 percent of electric power generation in fiscal 2030. Under the 2015 Paris climate accord, Japan aims for an 80 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 from 2013 levels. The report acknowledged that while there have been global movements to phase out nuclear power following the Fukushima crisis, efforts have also been made to enhance the “safety, economic feasibility and mobility” of nuclear power generation. As for thermal power generation, the report said it will remain a major power source in 2050 but inefficient coal plants should be phased out with more focus on gas plants. 

Japan: the US Ambassador and his wife meet abductees’ family members

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The U.S. Ambassador to Japan on Tuesday met the families of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea agents decades ago to train its spies, just a week before Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to raise the emotional issue at a summit with U.S. President Donald Trump. In an apparent nod to Japan’s concerns, U.S. Ambassador William Hagerty and his wife met abductees’ family members, including Sakie Yokota, whose daughter Megumi was snatched from a beach as a teenager 40 years ago. Hagerty told them their plight had not been forgotten, pledging to convey their stories to Trump ahead of his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. “I know that this issue is high on the list of priorities for both President Trump and Prime Minister Abe,” he told reporters. 

China and its retaliation against the US

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A drawback in purchases – or a fire-sale – of US Treasuries could devastate the global economy if China presses the red button. Tariffs will hurt, certainly. The biggest trade powers engaged in a protectionist tit-for-tat will end badly for the entire global economy. But Cui’s not-so-veiled threat is something bigger. There, in June 1997, then-Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto was giving a rather dry speech about economic cooperation. That was until the question-and-answer period, when he suggested Tokyo might sell Treasuries holdings if Washington didn’t reduce dollar-yen volatility. “Several times in the past we have been tempted to sell large lots of US Treasuries,” he said. The issue flared up anew in August 2011. Beijing was unhappy with then-US President Barack Obama’s perceived closeness to Taiwan. That had policy wags mulling creative ways to get the White House’s attention, including using Beijing’s vast dollar holdings as leverage. “Now is the time,” the state-run People’s Daily argued in an editorial on the topic, “for China to use its financial weapon to teach the US a lesson.” 

Philippines’ president recognizes alliances with US, Japan

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President Duterte recognized yesterday the importance of the Philippines’ military alliances with the United States and Japan through the years since World War II. “The brotherhood between the Philippines and the US has been forged by the second World War when the Filipinos and American soldiers fought side by side under the flag of freedom, and democracy still remains strong,” it’s possible to read in a note sent to the occasion of the commemoration of “the Day of Valor” at Mt. Samat in Bataan and read by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea before hundreds of guests, including war veterans, foreign dignitaries and local officials.

In the note, Duterte recognized the alliance between the Philippines and the US in terms of military and economic support and also noted how Japan has become a friend from being a foe during World War II. “The Japanese against whom our soldiers defended Bataan for many years now remain as one of our closest allies, a major trading partner and the largest provider of Official Development Assistance, which helps us in the fight against poverty and our quest for economic progress,” Duterte said. During the commemoration, Japanese Ambassador Koji Haneda also underscored the importance of the bilateral relations between the two countries as he offered an apology for the atrocities of World War II.

Trump threatens more China tariffs

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China warned it was ready with a “fierce counter strike” of fresh trade measures if the United States follows through on President Donald Trump’s threat to slap tariffs on an additional $ 100 billion of Chinese goods. China’s state media has rallied against the United States warning its trade protectionism actions would end in defeat and that the only option now was to hit the United States hard enough so it will “remember the pain”. 

Trump, in light of what he called China’s “unfair retaliation” against earlier U.S. trade actions, had upped the ante, escalating a tit-for-tat confrontation with potentially damaging consequences for the world’s two biggest economies. 

China’s Commerce Ministry spokesman, Gao Feng, calling the U.S. action “extremely mistaken” and unjustified, said the spat was a struggle between unilateralism and multilateralism and that no negotiations were likely in the current circumstances.China’s media, which is strictly controlled by the government, has come out in defense of the country, painting the country as a victim of an overly aggressive United States bent on taking illegitimate unilateral action. 

Iraq leader in Japan for talks on peace, reconstruction

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Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi arrived on Thursday in Japan to seek international support to restore peace and prosperity in his country, torn by extremism. During the opening ceremony of the expert level of the international conference on Iraqi economic development in Tokyo, both Abe and al-Abadi discussed ways to improve public safety in the Middle Eastern country. Japanese officials said the conference was aimed at helping Iraq reconstruct by establishing a system to eliminate weapons held by many civilians. The goal is to create jobs, provide vocational training and motivate people to return to their ordinary lives. Officials from 30 countries and international organizations  partecipated to the conference.

Pakistan: National Security Committee condemns India

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The 20th Meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) was held in Islamabad on Wednesday with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in the chair. Pakistan’s top civilian and military leaders strongly condemned India’s “recent reign of terror” in occupied Kashmir which has martyred 20 innocent civilians and left hundreds wounded. According to a press release, the committee condemned the current situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir, observing that the inhumane and incessant use of pellet guns against innocent protestors and on funeral processions has blinded scores of Kashmiris and inflicted injuries. “The National Security Committee praised the extraordinary courage and resilience of Kashmiri people in the face of Indian brutalities, gross and systematic violations of all their human rights. The Committee observed that the purely indigenous character of this uprising has once again belied the false propaganda by the Indian government,” said the press release. The NSC reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to political, diplomatic and moral support for the people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir in their just and legitimate struggle for their right to self-determination, also promised to them by the unanimous resolutions of the UN Security Council. The National Security Committee decided to raise the issue of unprecedented Indian brutalities at both bilateral and multilateral fora. The committee reviewed the broader regional situation and expressed satisfaction over the role that Pakistan continues to play for peace and stability. 

India is world’s second largest producer of steel, overtakes Japan

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In a major achievement, India has overtaken Japan to become the world’s second largest producer of crude steel in February, according to the Steel Users Federation of India (Sufi). At present, China is the largest producer of crude steel in the world, accounting for more than 50 per cent of the production. India’s crude steel production was up 4.4 per cent and stood at 93.11 million tonnes (mt) for the period April 2017 to February 2018, compared with April 2016 to February 2017, which has helped India to overtake Japan and becomes the second largest producer of crude steel in the world, the federation said in a statement here.

India overtook the US in 2015 to become the third largest producer of crude steel. Attributed the growth in steel production to the right policies undertaken by the Modi government, Nikunj Turakhia, president, Sufi said, “The government has taken host of steps to curb imports, push local demand with initiatives like ‘Make in India’, implementation of the GST and infrastructure projects, to encourage the domestic market.” According to the World Steel Association, India produced 8.4 mt of crude steel in February 2018, up 3.4 per cent over February 2017.

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