Archive for China
China’s top diplomat will soon be in the United States (US) on the first official visit to the country since President Donald Trump took office, amid signs of strain in ties over trade relations and growing tension in east Asia. State Councillor Yang Jiechi will be in Washington for two days beginning Monday. He will exchange views with senior Trump administration officials on bilateral ties and issues of common concern, said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang. Yang, the top diplomat in Chinese political hierarchy who has served as ambassador to Washington, is the first senior official from China to visit the US since Trump took office on January 20. And it comes after Trump agreed to “honour” the ‘One China’ policy, which considers Taiwan part of China, during a telephonic conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping on February 10, retracting from his previous public stance that he would negotiate the policy. The future of US-China ties remain uncertain after Trump accused the world’s second-largest economy of cheating at trade and repeatedly called it a “currency manipulator”. Trump has also slammed China over its assertive moves in the disputed South China Sea (SCS), where Beijing has built islands that can potentially be used for military purposes.
The South American country of Guyana says it is investigating allegations that the Chinese embassy has been using its diplomatic status to bring in tax-free goods from China and distribute them to local merchants. Guyana Revenue Commissioner Godfrey Statia told The Associated Press on Friday that customs officers reported the embassy had been receiving unusually large shipments. Shipments tied to a diplomatic mission are not fully searched. Statia said there’s a big difference in prices in items being sold by Chinese-owned stores compared with the Guyanese ones. The Chinese embassy called the allegations baseless and said it reserves the right to take legal action.
The Chinese Embassy in Japan said it will continue to take strong measures to protect the legitimate rights of Chinese nationals working in Japan under the Japanese government-sponsored Technical Intern Training Program for foreigners. “The Chinese diplomatic and consular missions in Japan attach great importance to protecting Chinese technical trainees in Japan, and have carried out consular protection and assistance work through various channels and means,” the embassy told Xinhua. According to the Japanese Ministry of Justice, there were about 85,000 Chinese trainees in Japan last year under the program. Tokyo introduced the intern program in 1993. It claims the program is designed to bring in interns from developing countries and help them acquire technical skills they can bring back to their homelands to contribute to local economic development. Yet the system has been widely criticized as a platform to attract cheap labor from overseas to compensate for Japan’s manpower shortage without due measures to protect the rights of foreign workers. The Chinese embassy said it will increase contacts with related Japanese ministries to urge the Japanese side to take measures to protect the legal rights of Chinese interns.
The United States will station 10 to 15 marines at the country’s de facto embassy in Taiwan, a former US diplomat said on Friday (Feb 17), in a move set to incur China’s anger. In an interview on Taiwanese radio station Hit FM, William Stanton – the director from 2009 to 2012 of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), which acts as the US embassy on the island in the absence of official ties – confirmed the deployment. Another former AIT director, Stephen Young, had mentioned the plan at a seminar in Washington.
When 77-year-old Wang Qi, a former People’s Liberation Army surveyor who accidentally strayed into India in 1963, landed in Beijing this morning after 54 years, he had two unusual guests waiting for him at the airport. Thelma John David and Siddharth Malik, second secretaries at the Indian embassy in Beijing, are part of a diplomatic mission that had only Thursday formally protested China’s efforts at shielding Pakistan-based terrorist Masood Azhar from UN sanctions. But early on Saturday morning, they greeted Wang and his son Vishnu at the airport before accompanying them, along with officials from China’s foreign ministry, on a joint visit to Wang’s hometown Xianyang in Shaanxi province, 30km upstream from Xi’an. Wang – whose journey starting from his entry and capture in India, through the decades he has raised his family with an Indian wife in a Madhya Pradesh hamlet, gained public prominence following a BBC report – is not an Indian citizen. He still holds a Chinese passport and India had already facilitated access to him and his family, Indian citizens, for the Chinese embassy in New Delhi. Wang and his son are expected to return to India after meeting their extended family. But the visit to the Beijing airport and then Xianyang by two Indian embassy officials was a part of a publicly emphasised humanitarian gesture. That gesture itself belongs to an emerging pattern India is relying on to keep diplomacy alive amid a confluence of heightened tensions with its two largest neighbours, China and Pakistan, and global uncertainty following Donald Trump’s victory as US President.
China officially reopened its embassy in Somalia and accredited a new ambassador to the horn of Africa country recovering from years of conflict. China, like other nations, closed its embassy and relocated its staff after the breakout of civil war in Somalia back in 1991 when the country descended into a chaos and lawlessness that lasted during the next 23 years. Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Ming announced the official reopening of the embassy in a ceremony in the capital Mogadishu. The new ambassador, Wei Hongtian, who speaks fluent Somali, said he was honored to be appointed to represent his country in Somalia where he studied Somali at the national university during the 1980s. China is one of the latest countries to reopen embassy in Somali capital Mogadishu, where several, mostly African and Arab nations, have diplomatic representations. Turkey, Britain, and Norway are among a number of European nations that have sent ambassadors to Mogadishu.
A senior Chinese diplomat has held an “emergency meeting” with South Korea’s ambassador to China and lodged a protest after the captain of a Chinese fishing boat died during a violent clash with the South Korean Coast Guard during a crackdown on illegal fishing. Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Jianchao met with the South Korean ambassador to China, Kwon Young-se, and made “solemn representations” over the incident, which happened 144 kilometers off South Korea’s western coast earlier Friday, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement. Liu told Kwon that South Korea must “conduct an immediate and thorough investigation into the case, punish those responsible and take measures to prevent similar incidents from happening again,” Liu was quoted as saying in the statement. Kwon expressed “profound regrets” and “deep condolences” to the family of the captain, according to the statement. The 45-year-old Chinese skipper, only identified by his surname Song, was shot by a South Korean Coast Guard officer on the ship in waters near Wangdeung Island in Buan County, North Jeolla Province, and transferred to a hospital in the southwestern port city, where he later died, Coast Guard officials said. The scuffle erupted as South Korean Coast Guard officers confronted the Chinese boat over illegal fishing. According to the South Korean Coast Guard, the Chinese fishermen resisted violently with knives and beer bottles during the raid. A South Korean officer fired shots from a K-5 pistol as warnings, but the shots were not specifically aimed at the captain, according to the Coast Guard. In 2011, a South Korean Coast Guard officer was killed by Chinese fishermen during a raid against illegal fishing in South Korean waters.