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‘Strong possibility’ North Korea’s Kim Jong Un made surprise Beijing visit

in FAR EAST/POLITICS by

An armoured green with yellow horizontal lines train arrived in Beijing on Monday night. This event, including tightened security outside the train station, and tourists being ushered out of the capital’s Tiananmen Square, which usually signals a high-level meeting in the Great Hall of the People there, fed rumours that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited Beijing. Assuming it actually took place it was Kim’s first visit to a foreign country since succeeding his father, Kim Jong-il, as supreme leader of North Korea in December 2011 and it was a clear message sent to the world that despite rumours to the contrary, Beijing and Pyongyang remain close allies.

Although the details of the visit remain a closely guarded secret, Kim is believed to have met Chinese President Xi Jinping and possibly other top Communist Party leaders, including Premier Li Keqiang while in the city. There has been no official comment from North Korea, while China’s foreign ministry said it had “no information for the moment”, but more would “be published in due course”.

U.S. and China clash at U.N. rights forum on Beijing text

in ASIA/POLITICS by

China and the United States clashed at the United Nations, where the U.S. delegation rejected a resolution brought by Beijing that it said sought to glorify Xi Jinping’s “win-win” agenda and subordinated human rights to development or trade. China led a resolution at the U.N. Human Rights Council that calls for “mutually beneficial cooperation”. Senior Chinese diplomat Jiang Duan urged states to adopt the text, whose co-sponsors included Pakistan and Egypt, by consensus. But U.S. diplomat Jason Mack called for a vote on China’s resolution, which was then easily adopted by the 47-member forum. The U.S. delegation cast the only “no” vote, while 28 states voted in favor, including China, and 17 abstained with one delegation absent. “China is attempting through this resolution to weaken the U.N. human rights system and the norms underpinning it” Mack said.

Beijing police order limit on foreigners in university district pizza bars and cafes

in ASIA by

Police are checking various popular student hangouts in Wudaokou, a university district in the Beijing’s north, to make sure they have no more than 10 foreigners inside at any one time, as the authorities want to guarantee security for the National People’s Congress, China’s biggest annual political gathering. Security is usually tight in the capital during important political events, with petitioners kept at arm’s length and activists kept under close watch.

“Until March 22, every Friday night and Saturday, as requested by local authorities, we can only allow a maximum of 10 foreigners in our store at a time” a notice at one pizzeria said. An employee at the restaurant said the police made the request in person before the weekend, and had returned for regular checks since then.

But an officer at the Zhongguancun police station, which oversees the restaurants in Wudaokou, denied that it had imposed any limits on the number of foreign customers, “We’ve never issued such a notice. We merely told bars and restaurants to control the total number of customers during peak hours, without making any specific requirements. Such reminders are common” the officer said.

 

China’s top envoy Yang Jiechi tells Donald Trump: let’s boost coordination on North Korea

in ASIA/POLITICS by

China’s State Councillor Yang Jiechi called for Beijing and Washington to improve coordination on the North Korea nuclear threat. Yang met US President Donald Trump during the two-day visit and said both nations should maintain close exchanges at all levels. China and the US have been divided on how to deal with North Korea, with China repeatedly warning the US not to attempt a pre-emptive strike on the country and Trump reportedly mulling precisely that.

North Korea’s ambassador to China makes first official appearance in two months

in ASIA/POLITICS by

North Korea’s ambassador to Beijing, Ji Jae-ryong, made his first public appearance in roughly two months, prompting speculation about warming relations between China and North Korea and whether some kind of important development or event is in the works. Ji reportedly shook hands and exchanged greetings with South Korean Ambassador Noh Young-min. Noh told Ji that he hoped the inter-Korean talks that resumed ahead of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics will continue. Ji said in response that he hoped the Pyeongchang Olympics would be a success, according to sources.

Taiwan denies permission for nearly 200 China flights amid routes row

in ASIA/TECHNOLOGY by

Taiwan has refused permission for nearly 200 flights by Chinese airlines over the strait that separates the two rivals due to the carriers’ use of controversial new travel routes introduced by China. China said it had introduced the new flight routes to help ease congestion in its airspace over the strait and that the routes would only be used for civilian flights and China would maintain technical communications with Taiwan. Taiwan’s military has said it will intercept, warn and repel if necessary any planes that cross into Taiwanese airspace and threaten the island’s security. Cross-strait ties have steadily deteriorated since 2016 when President Tsai Ing-wen of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party was elected. Beijing stopped communication between the two sides after she took office.

China willing to promote cooperation with Germany: Premier Li

in ASIA/PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Tuesday that Beijing is willing to join Berlin in promoting bilateral cooperation to a higher level. Li made the remarks in a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The two heads of government spoke highly of the new progress the two sides have achieved over the past year in bilateral ties and cooperation. He also noted that the annual meeting between the Chinese premier and the German chancellor has also been fruitful, adding that the two countries have maintained fine communication and coordination over regional and international affairs. Li said China would like to maintain high-level exchanges with the German side, and ensure the new round of China-Germany Inter-Governmental Consultation a success so as to promote bilateral cooperation to a deeper, broader and higher level. Beijing welcomes businesses of all nations, including those from Germany, to expand their investment in China, and conduct technology and knowledge cooperation, Li said. For her part, Merkel said both Germany and China are committed to promoting bilateral ties, adding that her country is willing to keep up with the high-level exchanges with the Chinese side, strengthen their communication and coordination, get the preparations for the new round of the inter-governmental consultation started as soon as possible, and deepen trade cooperation for mutual benefits.

Beijing’s opposition to unilateral sanctions as US targets North Korean diplomat in China

in ASIA/PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

Beijing has repeated its opposition to unilateral sanctions on Pyongyang after Washington took rare action against a China-based North Korean diplomat accused of human rights abuses. The US sanctions on Ku Sung-sop, North Korea’s consul general in Shenyang, come as the United States presses China to put more pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear and missile programmes. In an unusual step against a foreign diplomat in China, the US Treasury Department announced on Thursday that it had frozen Ku’s US assets and banned him from conducting any transactions with US citizens. It said Ku had been involved in the forced repatriation of North Korean asylum seekers. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang did not say whether China would comply with the decision, adding that Beijing has maintained normal communication with Pyongyang. “China opposes any nation imposing unilateral sanctions,” Geng said. “China upholds the United Nations Security Council resolutions on North Korea.” Wang Sheng, a professor of Korean affairs at Jilin University, said China was unlikely to expel the North Korean diplomat but might discuss the issue as part of preparations for US President Donald Trump’s trip to China next month. The US Treasury Department said Washington was concerned that the North Korean military, which operates as a secret police force, was punishing all forms of dissent. “Further, the military operates outside North Korea to hunt down asylum seekers, and brutally detains and forcibly returns North Korean citizens,” it said. Tensions have risen on the Korean peninsula with Pyongyang’s repeated missile and nuclear tests.

Washington is expected to call for tougher action against Pyongyang when Trump visits China next month.

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said on Friday that the US was committed to a “diplomatic solution” for North Korea.

China offers support to Spanish government amid Catalonia crisis

in ASIA/PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

China understands and supports the Spanish government’s efforts to protect the country’s unity and territorial integrity, Beijing said on Thursday, amid moves by Catalonia to declare independence.  Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing. China “understands and supports the Spanish government’s efforts to protect national unity … and its territorial integrity”, Hua said. It believes Spain has the ability to guarantee social order and people’s interests in accordance with the law, she said. Beijing says it adheres to a policy of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs, but it generally takes a dim view of independence or secessionist movements around the world. hough it generally remains officially agnostic on such issues abroad, Beijing has expressed more openness towards independence votes when both sides have agreed to them, such as Scotland’s unsuccessful 2014 referendum to leave the United Kingdom, and South Sudan’s 2011 vote in favour of independence from Sudan.

Just Like His Grandfather, Kim Jong-Un Exploits Mistrust Between Us And China

in ASIA/PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

US President Donald Trump has said several times that China could  help stop North Korea’s nuclear advancement if Beijing agreed to use its economic leverage as North Korea’s top trading partner.  Beijing has dismissed the argument, saying it is not Beijing but Washington and Pyongyang that should solve their differences. China has called for the US and South Korea to stop provocative military exercises in exchange for the North freezing its nuclear and missile tests. But the US does not believe such compromises will win corresponding concessions from the Stalinist regime, as the North’s leader Kim Jong-un has a poor record of honouring promises. Meanwhile, the bigger question hanging over this compromised resolution is whether Beijing will honour the sanctions. Suspicion over China’s sincerity in implementation became clear when the Trump administration threatened to punish Chinese entities who violated the UN pact.

 

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