Rollout of jabs is chronically unequal, with the United States accounting for more than a quarter of the global total and poorer nations lagging far behind
Rollout of jabs is chronically unequal, with the United States accounting for more than a quarter of the global total and poorer nations lagging far behind
China will work with Indonesia to try to close the “vaccination divide” as the Southeast Asian country grapples with delays in shipments of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine. During a phone call on Tuesday with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Chinese President Xi Jinping said China would help Indonesia to build a regional vaccine production centre while also continuing to vaccinate its own citizens. “China and Indonesia both highly prioritise public safety and health, and reject ‘vaccine nationalism’,” a Chinese foreign ministry statement quoted Xi as saying.Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team. Widodo has described vaccine access as a test of international cooperation. Indonesia has the highest number of Covid-19 cases in Southeast Asia and turned to China and the United States after a surge in cases in India resulted in delays in Indian-made AstraZeneca jabs distributed through the WHO-led Covax facility. China has shipped Indonesia enough raw materials to make 47 million doses of the Chinese-developed Sinovac vaccine. Indonesia also expects to receive more than 20.2 million doses from Chinese state firm Sinopharm and US company Moderna in the coming months. Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said over the weekend that 22 million doses had been distributed so far in the country, the most populous in the region. Also on Tuesday, Xi and Widodo called for more progress on infrastructure projects under Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, including on the US$6 billion Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway extension on the Indonesian island of Java. The China-financed railway was expected to be operational by early next year, but has reportedly been delayed by two years, in part because of the pandemic. Indonesian companies building the railway asked for a bigger stake in the project, after costs were set to increase by 20 per cent, Reuters reported. Belt and road projects have come under intense scrutiny, with critics saying the huge sums involved risk snaring developing countries in a “debt trap”, charges that China rejects. China’s leading planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, has also warned of major threats to belt and road projects amid the fallout from Covid-19, rising political risk in member countries and the China-US rivalryMore from South China Morning Post:Coronavirus: India to fast track vaccine approvals; Indonesia satisfied with SinovacIndonesia deploys helicopters in search for survivors after cyclone Seroja wreaks havocCoronavirus: Indonesia approves AstraZeneca vaccine; Mumbai sees record daily casesThis article China to help coronavirus-hit Indonesia close vaccine divide first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
Tesla said sorry and back-pedalled on its “no compromise” attitude towards what it called “unreasonable” customer grievance, as it succumbed to pressure on social media by some of its most important buyers and local authorities in the world’s largest market for electric vehicles. The apology, issued late on Tuesday night, came a day after a protest at the Shanghai Auto Show, where a woman wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “brake malfunction” and a Tesla logo jumped on top of the carmaker’s vehicle. She was eventually dragged away by security guards. “We are deeply sorry for the delay in resolving the owner’s issue,” Tesla said on its official account on the Weibo microblog site. “We always try our best to actively communicate with our [customers], look for solutions and we will fulfil our responsibility.”Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team. The about-turn in Tesla’s public relations management underscores the importance of China’s market to the carmaker’s sales, and its stock price. Tesla delivered a record 184,800 vehicles worldwide in the first quarter, buoyed by rising demand in China, where the carmaker sold 68,982 vehicles, or 37.3 per cent of global deliveries in the same period. “Users’ complaints about the quality of its Chinese-made cars are sounding an alarm at Tesla,” said Eric Han, a senior manager with the business advisory firm Shanghai Suolei. “It is not enough to knock down Tesla’s sales, but it does damage its image.” For now, Tesla remains the runaway winner in delivering premium electric vehicles in China, priced more than 300,000 yuan (US$46,160) in the mainland’s premium EV segment. Gigafactory 3 delivered 35,478 vehicles in March, more than double the 17,259 electric cars delivered by Tesla’s three New York-listed Chinese competitors NIO, Xpeng and Li Auto. Monday’s protest at the premier trade show of the world’s largest vehicle market was not Tesla’s first run-in against Chinese public opinion. The carmaker was named last December by the online technology media PingWest, which cited unnamed former and current employees in describing its US$2 billion factory a “Giga-sweatshop,” along with claims that Tesla had used substandard components in its locally assembled Model 3 vehicles. Tesla denied the accusations and said it would sue PingWest. Tesla’s executives were hauled before five ministry-level authorities in February, and grilled about the quality of its Shanghai-made Model 3s. The carmaker, which delivered 140,000 Model 3s last year, pledged to “make rectifications,” according to media reports. In the same month, Tesla apologised to China’s State Grid – the state-owned utility – for “misleading consumers” in a war of words over what damaged the inverters on a batch of Model 3 vehicles. Another Chinese Tesla challenger? Geely launches its first electric car Monday’s protest stunt at the Shanghai Auto Show quickly snowballed, as video clips of the yelling woman on the roof of a Model 3 quickly went viral. It did not take long for China’s state media to weigh in on Tesla, after the carmaker maintained on Monday that it would “not compromise” on “unreasonable” customer complaints. “Who gave Tesla the courage to not compromise?” asked a headline on an article published on Tuesday morning by Xinhua News Agency, the Chinese government’s mouthpiece media. Changanjian, the social media account operated by China’s top law enforcement agency, the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, beseeched Tesla to “respect Chinese consumers and comply with local laws and regulations.” “Where is Tesla’s responsibility, if the pioneering carmaker cannot provide safe products and cannot provide solutions to users when issues emerge?” according to the blog. Tesla Shanghai’s vice-president Tao Lin, who heads the carmaker’s communications and government affairs, was absent at an April 21 panel discussion about supply chains at the 2021 Boao Forum for Asia conference in Hainan, in which she was originally scheduled to speak. In its response, Tesla said it “respects and firmly complies with decisions of the relevant government departments, respects consumers, abides by laws and regulations, and actively cooperates with all investigations by government authorities,” according to the carmaker’s statement. “Tesla, as always, is grateful for the trust and tolerance given by our consumers, netizens and media friends, and listens attentively to suggestions as well as criticisms.” Additional reporting from Orange Wang at the 2021 Boao Forum for Asia in HainanMore from South China Morning Post:Tesla protest at Shanghai Auto Show 2021 ends with woman dragged off by security after climbing onto car and shoutingTesla drops lawsuit against former engineer, ending theft allegations that dragged in Chinese competitor XpengChinese Tesla rival NIO targets Europe with its smart EVs as it takes a first step towards going globalTesla, recharge: can China’s EV brands dethrone Elon Musk? Start-ups Li Auto, Nio and Xpeng are going global with cheaper electric cars for allTesla’s Chinese rival Xpeng ups the self-driving game with world’s first mass-produced LiDAR in P5 sedan, defying Elon MuskThis article Tesla says sorry to Chinese buyers in U-turn to its ‘no compromise’ on ‘unreasonable’ customer grievances as pressure mounts on social media and state press first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
Kwa Kim Li, a cousin of PM Lee, faces complaints on her conduct in the preparation of the late Lee Kuan Yew's will.
Some applauded her friend for censoring bum and exposed skin. This article, Beauty influencer sorry for ‘dragging’ Islamic evangelist in sexy photo-op, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.
Blackstone Group is seeking to invest in more properties in Singapore after buying the Sandcrawler for S$176 million from Lucas Real Estate.
The Arab League, United Nations, European Union and the African Union on Tuesday demanded an immediate withdrawal of all foreign forces from Libya.
“The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition” has almost reached its halfway mark, and we’ve seen some of the world’s brightest athletes test the physical and mental skills of the global candidates. Those guest athletes have included ONE Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee, “Super” Sage Northcutt, and ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon “The Truth” Vera. Next, … Continue reading "Former ONE World Champ Ben Askren To Make ‘Apprentice’ Guest Appearance"
President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday invited Russian leader Vladimir Putin to meet in war-torn eastern Ukraine, stressing that millions of lives were at stake from fresh fighting the separatist conflict.
Are you looking to purchase a Build to Order (BTO) flat this May? Here are some of the best locations for you to check out.
Queen Elizabeth II turned 95 on Wednesday, just days after burying her late husband Prince Philip, in what will be her first birthday without him in more than seven decades.
A 90-year-old woman living in a mansion on The Peak was conned out of about HK$250 million (US$32 million) by criminals impersonating mainland officials, making her the biggest known victim of a phone scam in Hong Kong. Police arrested a 19-year-old university student late last month in connection with the crime and officers froze bank accounts containing HK$9 million, but the phone scammers have made off with the rest. Officers from the Central district crime squad began investigating after receiving a report from the victim last month.Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team. According to the force, the woman received a call from a man claiming to be a mainland law enforcement official in July last year. “She was told her identity was used in a serious criminal case in mainland China,” a police source said. “She was then instructed to transfer her money to designated bank accounts to investigate whether the cash was the proceeds of crime. “She was promised that all the money would be given back to her after the investigation.” The source said the student allegedly went to the woman’s home on Plunkett’s Road on The Peak in July and gave her a mobile phone to communicate with the con artist. Police arrest three after victim loses HK$69 million in huge phone scam As instructed, the woman transferred a total of HK$254.9 million through 11 transactions into three accounts between August and January, according to police. The source said one of the fraudsters accompanied the victim to a bank in Central to make one of the transactions. The woman later realised it was a scam and contacted police. Officers from the Kowloon East regional crime unit are handling the case. A 65-year-old woman living in Yuen Long was duped out of HK$68.9 million last October after being accused by phone fraudsters of being involved in money laundering activities on the mainland. Police last week arrested three men in connection with this case. Reports of phone scams rose 18 per cent to 200 in the first quarter of 2021, from 169 over the same period last year. Phone fraudsters pocketed HK$350 million this year. In 2020, police handled 1,193 cases of phone scams in which swindlers netted a total of HK$574 million. Telephone fraud is a trans-jurisdictional crime and swindlers usually make their calls from outside Hong Kong, according to police. More from South China Morning Post:Hong Kong police arrest three after victim loses HK$69 million in huge phone scamOver HK$8 billion from scam victims laundered through Hong Kong bank accounts in 2020: police sourcesHong Kong con artist jailed for 1½ years for duping 80 people out of HK$120,000 in mask scam amid Covid-19 pandemicRamp-and-dump investment scammer wanted by Hong Kong authorities after jumping bail and fleeing cityHong Kong gang cons 67 women out of HK$3 million in fake jobs and investment scamThis article 90-year-old woman living in mansion on The Peak conned out of US$32 million in Hong Kong’s biggest phone scam first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
Former Chinese premier Wen Jiabao has published a personal reminiscence about his late mother, saying she taught him to live an honest, thrifty life. Whereas personal memoirs are commonplace among Western politicians, it is unusual for a retired Chinese leader to publish such a personal account because the state maintains rigid controls over all narratives relating to state affairs. In an article originally published in a newspaper in Macau, Wen presented both his mother and himself as people tested by hardship and uncorrupted by power.Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team. Wen, 78, wrote that his mother, Yang Zhiyun, who passed away in her late 90s at the end of last year, had suffered tumultuous days of war and political purges but maintained high moral standards throughout. He said that even after he was promoted to a central government post in 1985, his mother “never asked for anything from the [Communist Party] organisation” and never used his name to seek favours for the family. Wen, whose parents were both primary schoolteachers in the northern city of Tianjin, wrote: “My mother and father dedicated their lives to the revered course of education and always lived on meagre salaries. They left no property or savings behind.” Wen, who was the head of the government between 2003 and 2013, wrote that his mother had been extremely strict and instilled a strong sense of integrity. “One day I found a one cent coin and put it in my pocket, and it was found by mother,” Wen recalled. “She started to beat me and asked where I got the cent, and she beat me so hard that the broom broke. From that moment on, I knew that I can’t take what isn’t mine, not even a cent. Her teaching during my childhood has benefited me throughout my whole life.” The article was originally published in four parts over the past month in the Macau Herald, a weekly Chinese newspaper in the Chinese special administrative region and former Portuguese colony. The full article was republished by a number of accounts on the social media platform WeChat in mainland China on Saturday night. Users have been banned from sharing the article, with the platform’s owner Tencent citing unspecified violations of the site’s rules, but it can still be read. Chinese state media outlets, including the official Xinhua news agency, People’s Daily and Chinese Central Television, did not republish or report on the article. Macau journalists brace for restrictions on press freedom Wen also mentioned an incident when a man hurled a shoe at him during a speech at Britain’s Cambridge University in 2009. He wrote that his mother, then 88, suffered a cerebral embolism while watching the incident live on television and from that time on had problems with her eyesight, speech and mobility. Wen said he had spent most of the time since his retirement in 2013 with his mother. “I retired after I worked in the Zhongnanhai compound for 28 years, including 10 years as premier,” Wen wrote, referring to the place where Chinese state leaders live and work. “For people like me [from a humble background], it is by accident that I became a senior official. I obeyed orders with the utmost prudence and caution as I walked on thin ice or stood on the edge of a cliff.” At the end of the article, Wen made a brief political statement about the country. “China, in my vision, should be a country of justice and fairness. There’s eternal respect for human hearts, human morality and humanity, and there’s always an air of youth, freedom and hard work. I cried over it and I fought for it,” Wen wrote. “This is the truth I learned from my life, and this is also the gift given by my mother.” Wen also described how his father had suffered during the Cultural Revolution, writing: “My father was detained at his school and frequently suffered from brutal interrogations, verbal insults and physical beating. Cultural Revolution was wrong: party mouthpiece breaks Chinese media silence “At one time, a Red Guard punched my father’s face and my father’s face was so swollen that he could barely open his eyes to see things. My father couldn’t withstand any more and shouted back while pointing to his own chest, ‘Lad, you can punch me here!’” Wen recalled how his mother had also suffered during the massive social upheaval during that time, sending a share of her meagre salary to the school where his father was being held to pay for his food. “She always worried that the money wouldn’t reach my father and insisted the guards give receipts as evidence,” he wrote.More from South China Morning Post:Ex China premier Wen Jiabao states innocence in letter to Hong Kong columnistWen family hits back at 'lies' on hidden fortunePremier Wen chides ChongqingThis article Former Chinese premier Wen Jiabao pays tribute to late mother who ‘taught me not to take what isn’t mine’ first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had hoped a fight over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed would result in an easy win -- placating the ultra-conservative quarters at home while being hailed as a defender of Islam abroad.
The European Union does not want to see the strategic rivalry between China and the United States develop into a cold war and will seek to cooperate with all parties in the Indo-Pacific region, a senior Brussels official said on Tuesday. On Monday the EU adopted its first joint strategy for the Indo-Pacific, which said that while it was committed to closer cooperation with the US, it also acknowledged the need to engage and work with China on many matters of common interests.Gunnar Wiegand, the managing director for Asia and the Pacific at the European External Action Service, the EU’s diplomatic and defence department, told an online conference that the bloc was adopting a “European approach” to the region and was looking after its own interests.He said Europe had learned many lessons from the Cold War – where many of its members found themselves on different sides of the Iron Curtain – and said: “We certainly have no interest as Europeans to see the world falling back into anything like a cold war [or] a hot war. So we will always promote cooperation over confrontation.” Life after Merkel: Germany’s ties with China head into the unknown He also said many others in the Indo-Pacific region, including the Association of Southeast Asian States, also want to avoid having to take sides.The EU recently introduced sanctions on Chinese officials accused of human rights abuses in Xinjiang – prompting retaliatory measures from Beijing and increasing the uncertainty about whether the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment would be approved by the European Council and Parliament.Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team. But Wiegand said this issue was separate from the EU’s Indo-Pacific policy, adding that the deal was in the interests of European companies with interests in China and would leave them better placed to compete with US and Chinese businesses. “I’m not optimistic. I’m not pessimistic. When the right time comes, everybody will have to take their own decisions and responsibility,” he said. Wiegand identified climate change as the key area where the EU wanted to cooperate with China, citing its role as the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and in tackling plastic waste. He added that Europe hoped for broad-based cooperation with partners in the region on other policy areas, including health and research. EU drops plans to punish China over Hong Kong electoral reform The EU document also implied there would be a greater European naval presence in the region, including the disputed South China Sea, with France, Germany and the Netherlands planning to send or considering sending warships there. Wiegand said the security of maritime supply routes was a vital strategic interest for Europe.More from South China Morning Post:China’s defence minister on Europe mission as US tries to rally NatoWhy US and China’s push to set up rival power blocs are likely to failPhilippine defence officials deny threat to withdraw support from Rodrigo Duterte over South China Sea row with BeijingMerkel backs Xi on need to avoid new cold war, but presses China on human rights, transparencyChina likely to respond in kind to EU sanctions on Xinjiang, observers sayThis article Europe ‘doesn’t want to see a new cold war between China and US’ first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
A Mrs World winner facing criminal charges after an on-stage fracas at a Sri Lankan beauty pageant has relinquished her title, organisers said Wednesday.
Two witnesses giving evidence against an ex-opposition lawmaker on trial for breaking pandemic social-distancing rules lied about what they saw the defendant do outside a bar in Hong Kong last year, a court heard on Monday. The lawyer for former Civic Party member Tanya Chan also further questioned the credibility of the two witnesses, a man and a woman, by saying that far from meeting Chan by chance that night, they had worked with two others to film the defendant and fabricate evidence against her. Chan was charged alongside former party colleague Gordon Lam Sui-wa with taking part in an illegal group gathering at the HANDS bar on Tai Nan Street in Sham Shui Po on April 2.Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team. Bar manager Chan Wai-choi faces one summons of knowingly allowing a group gathering prohibited under coronavirus social-distancing measures and another of failing to comply with regulations in relation to a catering business. Who is Tanya Chan? Hong Kong opposition lawmaker’s curtain call on career shifts spotlight to her past The defendants have denied all charges before Magistrate Andy Cheng Lim-chi at Kowloon City Court. According to the prosecution, the manager had served about 40 guests, including Tanya Chan and Lam, at his bar at around 11pm despite a ban on public gatherings of more than four people. The gathering was said to have continued into the early hours of the next day, when a separate directive calling for the closure of all pubs and bars in the city took effect. The prosecution initially relied on the evidence of four witnesses, but police had failed to contact one of them, while another, surnamed Ng, refused to testify, prompting the magistrate to order Ng’s arrest. The court heard the four were friends who met up for a chat on the night in question. But they later decided to split up into two groups, with one eating at the bar and the other having dessert at a shop on the opposite side of the road. Amy Poon Mey-mey, who went for dessert, testified she noticed a large number of people entering the bar and people smoking outside. She said she was “astonished” by people “acting in complete disregard of the law”. Poon then saw Tanya Chan enter the bar but did not see what she did during her 20-minute stay. Former Hong Kong lawmaker Tanya Chan and two others charged over bar gathering prosecutors say broke social-distancing rules Lui Ho-lam, who was with Poon, said he later saw a drunken Chan walk out while being carried by two men, as she “swayed from side to side”. She later got into a taxi and left. But defence lawyer Franco Kuan Bak-on cast doubt on that claim by referring to the 10 photographs Poon took at the scene, some of which showed Chan leaving the bar alone, and which were later published by various media outlets. Kuan further questioned why Poon and Lui would decide against entering the bar with their friends if they had really had intended to meet up for a chat. The lawyer told Lui: “You and Amy were not there to chat. You were there to stalk the defendants, and you have exaggerated your evidence against them.” Lui denied the allegations. The trial continues on Tuesday.This article Prosecution witnesses lied about former lawmaker’s behaviour on night of alleged social-distancing violation, Hong Kong court hears first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
A police manhunt is under way for a gang of attackers who assaulted two men with bamboo poles on a Hong Kong street in the early hours of Wednesday. A video circulating online shows several assailants beating the two victims with one- to two-metre-long poles as they lay in the road, trying to shield themselves from the blows with their arms. The footage also captured the aftermath of the attack, showing one of the victims lying on the ground with his face covered in blood when police arrived.Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team. Five students among 22 arrested following illegal drugs and liquor seizure Officers were called to Yee Kuk Street in Sham Shui Po after receiving a report of fighting from a passer-by at 1.41am. One of the victims, a 37-year-old man, suffered injuries to his forehead, right forearm and right knee. According to police, the other man, aged 36, was his colleague, and was experiencing pain all over his body after the attack. The pair were taken to Caritas Medical Centre in the same district for treatment. Officers combed the area, but no arrests were made. Police are searching for eight to 10 men in connection with the attack, according to the force. Elderly man dies in hospital after being rescued from burning flat in Sham Shui Po A police source said the two victims had been heading home after a night of heavy drinking at the time of the attack. “We believe they had had a dispute with the others while on the way home, and then they were assaulted,” the source said. The bamboo poles used in the attack were recovered at the scene, and officers have checked surveillance camera footage from the area to gather evidence. Detectives from the Sham Shui Po criminal investigation unit are handling the case. In 2020, police dealt with 3,514 reports of serious assault across the city. There were 3,902 cases the previous year. This article Hong Kong police seek gang of assailants who attacked pair with bamboo poles in Sham Shui Po first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
SpaceX is preparing to carry four astronauts to a crowded International Space Station on Thursday, in the second routine mission since the United States resumed crewed space flight, and the first with a European.
China is not likely to shy away from retaliating against Japan over the Taiwan issue but it is expected to take security rather than economic measures, according to analysts. Tensions have escalated after Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga discussed China-related issues with US President Joe Biden on Friday during talks at the White House. The two leaders called for “peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait”, the first reference to Taiwan – which Beijing claims as its territory – in a joint statement in over 50 years. They also said they would counter China’s “intimidation” in the Asia-Pacific region. After accusing Japan and the US of sowing division over the weekend, Beijing on Monday said the two countries were inciting “group confrontation”.Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team. “The US and Japan advertise freedom and openness on the surface, but in fact they gang up to form small groups and incite group confrontation, which is the real threat to regional peace and stability,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said. “China demands that the US and Japan stop interfering in China’s internal affairs,” he said, adding that it would “take all necessary measures to defend its sovereignty, security and development interests”. Li Jiacheng, a research fellow with the Charhar Institute, a foreign policy think tank in Hebei, said any Chinese measures targeting Japan were likely to be in the area of security. “For instance, China could send military aircraft into Japan’s air defence identification zone, or send public service vessels to the Diaoyu Islands … in a bid to exert deterrent pressure on Japan,” Li said. “China may also strengthen its military deployment around Taiwan.” Relations between Beijing and Tokyo were already strained over the disputed Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, which Japan controls and calls the Senkakus. Li also said Tokyo could have taken the position on Taiwan to get a security commitment from the US on the Diaoyus. “China is unlikely to take major economic action against Japan at present as China is pushing for the RCEP to come into force – a regional trade agreement that excludes the US,” Li said. “Japan is a RCEP signatory, plus China still wants to join the CPTTP trade agreement led by Japan.” The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership was signed in November but still needs to be ratified by at least six Association of Southeast Asian Nations and three non-Asean members to take effect. China is Japan’s largest trading partner, accounting for 22 per cent of Japanese exports and 26 per cent of its imports last year, compared to the United States at 18 per cent of exports and 11 per cent of imports, respectively. Trade data from Japan’s finance ministry shows its overall exports jumped 16.1 per cent in March, thanks to a surge in exports to China worth 1.63 trillion yen (US$15 billion), the highest level since trade records began in 1979. Professor Chen Youjun, head of the regional economics department at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, said it was not unusual for Japan and the US to make a joint statement. “The key is whether there will be any substantial follow-up action,” Chen said. Song Luzheng, an international relations researcher at Fudan University in Shanghai, said Japan would only be following the US “on the surface”. “I doubt whether it inwardly wants to confront China with the US, given that China will always be in Asia, but the US presence may not. Japan has neither the guts nor the strength to confront China,” Song said. “But if Japan makes substantive moves, China will definitely take countermeasures and fight back hard.” Li said the strengthening US-Japan alliance signalled the urgency for China to unite with neighbouring countries such as Russia, South Korea and North Korea to put pressure on Japan, while Song held that China still needed to maintain good relations with Japan. Additional reporting by Catherine Wong and Sarah ZhengMore from South China Morning Post:China trade: imports help Japan’s exports post largest monthly gain since late 2017China accuses US and Japan of sowing division after Biden and Suga vow to counter ‘intimidation’Biden, Suga call for ‘peace and stability across Taiwan Strait’This article China may hit back against Japan over Taiwan issue but economic action unlikely, analysts say first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
Moscow's military build-up on the border with Ukraine is even bigger than in 2014 when Russia invaded Crimea, a Pentagon spokesman said Monday, describing the deployment as "very seriously concerning."