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North Korea’s Kim Jong Un tells China he is committed to denuclearization

in ASIA/DEFENCE by

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un told a visiting Chinese diplomat on Thursday that he is committed to denuclearization, China’s foreign ministry said, as diplomatic efforts to bring lasting peace to the Korean peninsula gather pace. China is North Korea’s most important economic and diplomatic backer, despite its anger at North Korea’ repeated nuclear and missile tests, and its support for strong UN sanctions against the North. China’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, is visiting North Korea following last week’s historic meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and the North’s Kim Jong Un, when both pledged to improve ties.

The North surprised the world several days before the summit by declaring it would dismantle its nuclear test site to “transparently guarantee” its dramatic commitment to stop all nuclear and missile tests. Wang told Kim that North Korea had seized the day and made a decisive decision, bringing positive changes. China supported an end to the state of war on the peninsula, North Korea’s shift to economic development and the resolution of North Korea’s legitimate security concerns during the denuclearization process, he said.

Xi expects meeting with Modi to open new chapter in China-India ties

in ASIA/POLITICS by

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Central China Friday, saying he expected their two-day informal meeting will open a new chapter in bilateral ties.

Welcoming Modi’s visit to Wuhan, capital of Central China’s Hubei province, Xi said in the past three years, he and Modi have established a good working relationship through mutual visits and meetings at multilateral events.The two leaders have reached many important consensuses via these meetings, which have sent the world a positive signal on China-India friendship and reflected the strong will of the two emerging economies to enhance mutually beneficial cooperation and achieve common development, according to Xi. “The great cooperation between our two great countries can influence the world,” Xi said.

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. 

Kim Jong Un meets high-ranking Chinese diplomat in Pyongyang

in FAR EAST/POLITICS by

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has met with a high-ranking Chinese diplomat in Pyongyang, amid a flurry of diplomacy following Kim’s recent surprise visit to Beijing. Kim’s trip, during which he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, was considered an attempt to repair traditionally warm ties with China that have deteriorated over North Korea’s development of ballistic missile and nuclear weapons technology and China’s enforcement of United Nations economic sanctions. Kim said during his meeting with Song on Saturday that he and Xi “reached important consensus” in Beijing, according to China’s official Xinhua News Agency. Song agreed that the two leaders had reached consensus, and said China is willing to work with North Korea to safeguard peace on the Korean Peninsula, Xinhua reported. Song Tao, who heads the ruling Communist Party’s International Department, led an art troupe to Pyongyang to attend an arts festival, according to China’s Foreign Ministry.

China is the biggest trading partner of Iran in Asia

in MIDLE EAST by

Chairman of Iran-China Joint Chamber of Commerce Asadollah Asgaroladi said China is now the biggest trading partner of the Islamic Republic in Asia. Asgaroladi hailed the recent rise in Iranian exports to China. He added that currently, Iran is the top exporter of goods to China among Middle Eastern countries. The official described the past Iranian year (which ended on March 20) as “a good year for the country’s exports”. He also predicted that in the current year, the volume of exports would increase by 5 to 7 percent compared to the last year. China has imported $18.579 billion worth of goods from Iran in 2017, around 25 percent higher than 2016. 

Back in January 2016, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani held talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Tehran and said, “We predict that the value of economic exchanges between Tehran and Beijing would rise to $600 billion within the next 10 years”. 

Japan to pitch new trade dialogue to draw Trump back to TPP

in ECONOMY/FAR EAST by

The Japanese government on Friday greeted with cautious optimism the news that U.S. President Donald Trump is willing to explore re-entering the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, while stressing that Washington should accept the original terms. “If this means that President Trump is correctly evaluating the significance and effects of the TPP, it’s something we want to welcome,” Toshimitsu Motegi, Japan’s minister in charge of the TPP, said after a Cabinet meeting. But he added: “The 11 participating countries share the thinking that it would be extremely difficult to take out part of the TPP and renegotiate or change it.

“The U.S. withdrawal from the TPP shortly after Trump’s inauguration last year made Japan the largest of the 11 Pacific Rim economies left in the deal. Those countries signed a new version last month that had been revised to account for the U.S. absence. Finance Minister Taro Aso suggested that Trump’s shift on the pact should be approached with caution. The shift comes amid a developing trade dispute between the United States and China, which did not take part in the TPP.

China’s President Xi Jinping offers to lower trade barriers

in ASIA/POLITICS by

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.

China and its retaliation against the US

in ASIA/ECONOMY by

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.” 

Trump threatens more China tariffs

in ASIA by

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. 

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

in ASIA/ECONOMY by

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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