A team of Russian doctors successfully completed heart surgery inside a hospital that caught fire on Friday as a fire brigade battled the flames from the outside, regional emergency services said.
A team of Russian doctors successfully completed heart surgery inside a hospital that caught fire on Friday as a fire brigade battled the flames from the outside, regional emergency services said.
Beijing warned that it might take action in response to Tokyo’s decision to dump radioactive water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea, adding to already strained ties between the two East Asian neighbours. China’s foreign ministry on Tuesday blasted the Japanese government for being “extremely irresponsible” in its decision to release 1 million tonnes of waste water into the Pacific Ocean in two years, a decision that has prompted fierce opposition from the local fishing industry as well as neighbouring countries, including South Korea. However, the United States said the approach was acceptable. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told a cabinet meeting on Tuesday that the decision, long delayed by public opposition and safety concerns, was the “most realistic option”. This comes a decade after the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl was triggered by a huge earthquake and tsunami that ripped through northeastern Japan in 2011.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. Suga said the Japanese government would “take every measure to absolutely guarantee the safety of the treated water and address misinformation”. He said his cabinet would meet again within a week to work out the details of the plan. The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc, and government officials say tritium, a radioactive material that poses little risk to human health in low concentrations, cannot be removed from the water. Other more radioactive materials, including strontium and caesium, can be eliminated from the water before its release. In a statement on Tuesday, Beijing said safety concerns remain and that China had not been properly consulted by Tokyo over the decision. “The Japanese side has yet to exhaust all avenues of measures, disregarded domestic and external opposition, has decided to unilaterally release the Fukushima plant’s nuclear waste water without full consultation with its neighbouring countries and the international community,” the foreign ministry statement said. “This action is extremely irresponsible and will pose serious harm to the health and safety of the people in neighbouring countries and the international community.” China called on Tokyo to reverse the decision, adding that it would continue to monitor the development and “reserve the right to respond further”. Shaun Burnie, a senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Japan, said the East China Sea had already been polluted by caesium leaked from Fukushima since 2011, citing a 2018 model study by Nanjing University of Science and Technology in China. He said that although the level of radioactive material from Fukushima in the East China Sea would not be significant in the future compared with that on the coast of Japan, there was no reason to allow it to pollute any marine environment. The variety of radionuclides that would be discharged into the sea might damage the DNA of humans and other organisms, Burnie said. Explainer | How dangerous is Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant 10 years after meltdowns? Greenpeace Japan said the discharge disregarded the human rights and interests of the people in Fukushima, wider Japan and the Asia-Pacific region. “Rather than using the best available technology to minimise radiation hazards by storing and processing the water over the long term, they have opted for the cheapest option - dumping the water into the Pacific Ocean,” said Kazue Suzuki, climate and energy campaigner at Greenpeace Japan, adding that the Cabinet’s decision failed to protect the environment and neglected the large-scale opposition and concerns of the local Fukushima residents, as well as the neighbouring citizens around Japan. Also on Tuesday, South Korea expressed “strong regret” over Japan’s decision. “The government expresses strong regret over the Japanese government’s decision to release contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean,” said Koo Yoon-cheol, head of South Korea’s Office for Government Policy Coordination. Koo presided over an emergency vice-ministerial meeting to discuss Seoul’s actions following Japan’s announcement before addressing a press conference. He said the government would “take every necessary measure” to keep the South Korean people safe from contaminated water from the Fukushima plant. More than a dozen South Korean civic activists staged a protest outside the Japanese Embassy in Seoul on Tuesday condemning Japan’s proposed discharge of radioactive waters into the sea as a “nuclear terrorist act”. Taiwan’s Atomic Energy Council on Tuesday expressed opposition to and regret over Tokyo’s planned action. Tokyo, meanwhile, said it has been in close coordination with, and had the backing of, the International Atomic Energy Agency. The decision also appears to have been backed by its ally the United States. Fukushima, 10 years on: Researcher says the ‘suffering is far from over’ “In this unique and challenging situation, Japan has weighed the options and effects, has been transparent about its decision and appears to have adopted an approach in accordance with globally accepted nuclear safety standards,” said Ned Price, State Department spokesman in a statement on Monday. “We look forward to the GOJ’s [Government of Japan] continued coordination and communication as it monitors the effectiveness of this approach.” Additional reporting by Park Chan-kyong and Amber Wang More from South China Morning Post:Japan announces it will release treated radioactive water from Fukushima nuclear plant into seaChina raises ‘deep concerns’ over Japan’s plan to release Fukushima plant water into oceanFukushima, 10 years on: Hong Kong researcher says the ‘suffering is far from over’ for residents of areas devastated by nuclear disasterChina recommits to nuclear energy, 10 years after Fukushima‘Crazy’ US-China cooperation on nuclear energy key to tackling climate change, forum hears on Fukushima anniversaryThis article China warns of action over Japan’s decision to dump radioactive Fukushima water into the sea first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
There’s nothing quite as magical as these words: ‘1-for-1’. Here’s the good news – buffet lines are back from 12 April, with restrictions in place. For one, food is served by staff, instead of the traditional self-service route. On top of that, diners are required […] The post 1-for-1 Buffet Dining Promotions In Singapore (April 2021) appeared first on SingSaver Blog - We Compare, You Save.
As the world’s two biggest naval fleets engage in the Indo-Pacific region, China’s People’s Liberation Army can observe and learn from the United States Navy in adapting future tactical combined operations, according to defence analysts. They said the operators of China’s Type 075 amphibious assault vessels could examine the US deployment of an amphibious-ready group (ARG) to the South China Sea which was led by the USS Makin Island landing helicopter dock (LHD) and joined the USS Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group on April 9 for exercises. The USS Makin Island is a 40,000-tonne Wasp-class amphibious assault ship able to carry a detachment of Marine F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters. The LHD and two San Antonio-class landing platform dock (LPD) amphibious transport ships – the USS Somerset and USS San Diego – as well as several helicopter and assault craft units form the Makin Island ARG.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 displacement size and functions of the Wasp-class LHD are similar to the PLA’s Type 075 LHD, while the San Antonio-class transport docks are similar to China’s Type 071 landing platform docks (LPD),” Hong Kong-based military commentator Song Zhongping said. Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie said the PLA would learn from the experiences of its American counterpart in turning its LHD and LPD into mini-aircraft carrier strike groups, an effective cost-saving measure. “The US has studied how to operate their ARG in a more feasible and efficient way,” Li said. “For China, the key mission of their Type 075 and Type 071 will be defending the country’s territorial sovereignty in the East and South China seas, as well as overseas interests, meaning the ARG combination is a better option than aircraft carrier strike groups.” Macau-based military observer Antony Wong Tong said deploying both LHDs and LPDs indicated the US Navy’s capacity for tactical manoeuvres and joint cooperation on the high seas. “The combination of LHD and LPD is an integrated expeditionary strike group, which is worth the PLA learning from if they are going to better deploy their Type 075 and Type 071 amphibious warships,” Wong said. Philippines, US to start two-week joint military drills amid South China Sea tensions Beijing plans to own at least six aircraft carrier strike groups by 2035, but so far it just launched two. The third is expected to be completed later this year. China has launched three Type 075 LHDs, which were designed to each carry up to 30 attack helicopters and armoured vehicles, and eight smaller Type 071 LPDs with the displacement of 25,000 tonnes. The Type 075 is the world’s third largest amphibious assault vessel behind the USS Wasp and America classes. It is bigger than Japan’s Izumo class and France’s Mistral class. However, Song said that in addition to the amphibious ships, the most powerful weapon of the Makin Island ARG were the F-35B squadrons and detachments of multi-role helicopters suited to different types of sea warfare missions. “The most challenging problem of the PLA is a lack of new-generation fixed-wing carrier-based aircraft like the F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter jets,” Song said. “The F-35B helps the USS Marines grab air supremacy in both ARG operations, making its function like that of the mini-carrier strike groups … that means the US Navy owns nearly 20 carrier strike groups around the world.” To solve the current shortcomings, Song suggested the PLA install a catapult on the deck of the Type 075 LHD to upgrade the platform and allow it to operate the country’s carrier-based J-15 fighter jet. The US navy was reported to have tested the idea of smaller carriers, which would reduce the range, speed and capacity of its US$13 billion nuclear-powered supercarriers known as CVNs, but cost half as much or even less, Forbes reported in December. The ARG operation could be seen as testing a mini-carrier option, an exercise China could learn from, Song and Li said. More from South China Morning Post:China’s military tracks US warship traversing Taiwan StraitChinese Type 055 destroyer joins aircraft carrier group for first timeChinese military: fourth aircraft carrier likely to be nuclear powered, sources sayUS navy warns China ‘we’re watching you’ as destroyer shadows Liaoning carrier groupChina-Philippines Whitsun Reef dispute could get worse as US chips inThis article South China Sea: Can PLA learn from US Navy tactics with mini-carrier strike group? first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
Hong Kong pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai has told his staff to "stand tall" in a handwritten letter from prison where he is being held pending trial under a new national security law.
Dinner was served at 10pm and smelled like ‘cockroaches,’ bride says. This article, Malaysian bride faces legal threat after complaint about starving wedding guests, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.
A court in China has upheld a suspended death sentence for a man who abducted a person with Down’s syndrome so his body could be sold and substituted for another body due to be cremated to circumvent a government ban on burials. The convicted man, identified by his surname Huang, sold the murdered man’s body to a wealthy family in 2017 in Lufeng, Guangdong province, who did not want to cremate a deceased relative and offered to buy a corpse to use as a substitute, according to the case verdict from Guangdong Higher People’s Court. The deceased man whose family wanted a traditional burial, also surnamed Huang, died from cancer in February, 2017, and told his family before he died that he wished to be buried, according to the verdict.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 victim, a man called Lin Shaoren who was then 36 and had Down’s syndrome, was picking rubbish along the road on March 1, 2017, near his home in Lufeng when Huang abducted him and made him drink a large volume of liquor. He then placed the unconscious Lin into a coffin prepared in advance and sealed it with four steel nails, Huang told the court. The coffin was carried to a crossroad and swapped with the other Huang’s coffin two days later when the family was due to send it to the funeral home. Lin’s body was sent for cremation, while Huang’s body was secretly taken to a secluded area for a traditional burial. The family paid a total of 107,000 yuan (US$16,345), of which 90,000 yuan went to Huang, the convicted murderer, while the rest went to a middleman surnamed Wen. Lin was listed as a missing person by local police for two years before his family discovered he had been murdered in November, 2019, after police used surveillance footage to solve the crime, Sohu News reported. Cemetery in China forced to bury controversial mortgages-for-graves plan after backlash The case, which gained public attention last week after local media picked up the story, reveals the lengths some Chinese families will go to to get around government efforts to promote cremation and eliminate traditional graveyard burials. Local authorities in China have been pushing for cremation to save land for other uses and because it is seen as more environmentally friendly, but traditional grave burial remains popular amid traditional beliefs this is the only way the dead will be at peace. The most recent figures available for deaths from 2019 show only about 52 per cent of those who died, or over 5 million corpses, were cremated that year, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs. Huang was given a suspended death sentence by a court in Shanwei in September 2020. He appealed to the Guangdong Higher People’s Court but this was dismissed in December last year. According to the Guangdong province’s regulation on cremation, funeral homes should appoint specific staff to register corpses and double-check their identities before cremation. However, mix-ups with dead bodies are not uncommon at funeral homes in China. A woman in Henan province was shocked to find out that the body of her father, who died in his 50s, was mistaken and cremated as another man in his 70s in September, the Henan Business Daily reported. Searches on China Judgements Online reveal more than 200 verdicts since 2012 for cases involving “trading corpses” and “stealing corpses”.This article Murderer kidnapped Chinese man to sell his body for cremation so another family could have a traditional burial first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
For a woman surnamed Wu, a mundane trip to a shopping centre resulted in her helping a man who had been tricked into forced labour ten years ago reunite with his long-lost family. Wu, who was from the same village in Guizhou in southern China, found the man, who was homeless at the time, at a local shopping centre in Kaili City, according to the Guizhou Metropolis News. “We were very young and we only heard the adults saying the man lost touch with his family after leaving home to work and they couldn’t find him anywhere,” said Wu. 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 man, who shares the same surname and is named Wu Fangwen, had been tricked into forced labour by an illegal brickmaking factory when he left home a decade ago. He said the organisation took away his mobile phone and ID card, making it impossible to escape. Wu Fangwen was forced to make bricks for a decade and was treated terribly, eventually losing his memory because of ill health. Finally, a moment presented itself, and the man was able to run away in February. With no identification and in ill health, he was left to wander about until aid workers at the regional civil affairs office found him and guided him from Maoming, in Guangdong, to Kaili City, about 850km away. Unfortunately, the ordeal was not finished, as the man still could not get home from Kaili City for ten days until he randomly bumped into Wu, the woman who helped him get home. Wu, for her part, was doubtful that such a once-in-a-billion coincidence could exist, but she decided to take a chance: “I called his name in my home dialect and he immediately cried. I knew then I’d found him,” she said. The woman then began to ask Wu Fangwen where he had been, telling him his family had searched everywhere for the man, who now looked very thin and had a hunched back. “Your mother was always crying when she lost touch and she became ill,” she told him. The woman then contacted Wu Fangwen’s family, who cried upon hearing their long-lost family member had been discovered. “He cried after I told him that I would take him home. I am emotional too. I feel so distressed looking at him,” the woman said. Many on social media expressed their sympathy for the man and applauded the woman for her kindness. Pakistani victim of forced labour in Hong Kong loses Court of Final Appeal bid to create new human trafficking offence “What kind of life he must have been through for the past ten years… It’s very lucky that he met this kind woman,” one user on the Twitter-like platform Weibo said. “This woman was really clever to use the home dialect first to confirm. Her kindness should be rewarded,” another added. Incidents of captured labour in China are rare but not unprecedented. A court in Fangcheng county in Henan, a province in central China, sentenced four men to between seven and nine months in jail for forcing more than 20 mentally challenged people to work at a factory that makes kilns for about a year between 2006 and 2007, according to People’s Court Daily. The workers were trafficked from cities in Henan, beaten, locked in the factory and forced to work long hours before being reported and released in 2007.This article Man forced to work at illegal factory for a decade reunited with family after chance encounter at shopping centre first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
After being knocked down to the lower bracket, TNC proceeded to run through Galaxy Racer, Reckoning Esports, and BOOM Esports to force a rematch with OB.Neon in the best-of-three grand finals.
China’s People Liberation Army flew 25 warplanes into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ) on Monday, its largest incursion yet as tension in the Taiwan Strait continues to escalate. According to Taiwan’s defence ministry, the PLA warplanes – 14 Jian-16 fighter jets, four Jian-10s, four H-6K bombers, two Y-8 anti-submarine warfare planes and one KJ-500 airborne early warning and control aircraft – entered the island’s southwest zone on Monday. “[Taiwan’s] air force sent its air patrol force to shadow them, issued radio warnings and deployed missiles to monitor their movements,” the ministry said in a statement late Monday night. 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. It marked the largest incursion by PLA warplanes since Taiwan’s ministry made public last year the movements of PLA aircraft which flew into the AIDZ or across the maiden line that separates the narrow Taiwan Strait in training missions either off the island or over the disputed South China Sea. The latest flights came a day after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Beijing against invading Taiwan, a self-ruled island of 24 million that the Chinese government regards as a breakaway province that must eventually be reunited with the mainland - by force if necessary. US-China military tensions build over Taiwan This month the aerial incursions have taken place on a daily basis, and the Liberty Times in Taipei estimated that they have occurred on at least 86 days this year; Monday was the 102nd day of 2021 so far. “What we’ve seen, and what is of real concern to us, is increasingly aggressive actions by the government in Beijing directed at Taiwan, raising tensions in the straits,” Blinken said in an interview Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press”. Blinken stressed that Washington has a long-standing commitment under the Taiwan Relations Act to ensure that the island “has the ability to defend itself” and to assure that the US sustains peace and security in the Western Pacific. “We stand behind those commitments,” he added. Blinken’s comments came as tensions escalated between Taiwan and the mainland, which has stepped up its military presence near the island, staging war games in addition to warplane flights into the ADIZ. PLA warplanes made a record 380 incursions into Taiwan airspace in 2020 On March 26, 20 PLA warplanes flew into the zone shortly after Taipei and Washington signed their first agreement under the administration of new president Joe Biden for coastguard cooperation. That followed Beijing’s enactment of a new law permitting its coastguard to fire on foreign ships. Beijing has repeatedly warned the US – which does not have formal ties with Taipei – against having official contacts with or supplying arms to the island. More from South China Morning Post:Taiwan says Chinese warplanes, US aircraft entered its air defence zoneTaiwan reports largest ever incursion by Chinese air forceThis article Taiwan says PLA flies 25 warplanes into its airspace, the largest incursion yet first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
Lee Choo Phing faces 11 charges of cheating, attempting to obtain bribes, and insulting the modesty of women.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to attend a two-day virtual summit on climate change hosted by his US counterpart Joe Biden next week. Xi’s participation in the Earth Day summit on April 22 and 23 will put the focus on whether the two biggest carbon-emitting nations can open up a narrow path to cooperation amid a deepening rift. A person familiar with the situation told the South China Morning Post that Xi was expected to attend the summit, and ahead of that, US climate envoy John Kerry was expected to travel to Shanghai to meet his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua this week.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. Kerry’s trip, first reported on Sunday by The Washington Post, would be part of the former secretary of state’s tour through India, the United Arab Emirates and Bangladesh but could still be called off, according to the newspaper, citing sources. Xie, reappointed as China’s special climate envoy in February, has been a long-serving climate diplomat and was the country’s chief negotiator on the Paris Agreement signed by nearly 200 nations. China has yet to confirm Kerry’s visit, and foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said earlier this month that Beijing was “looking at” whether Xi would take part in the Earth Day summit after receiving an invitation from Washington. It comes just weeks after a frosty meeting between senior Chinese and American officials in Anchorage, Alaska. The two countries remain at loggerheads over issues ranging from trade and technology to human rights and the South China Sea. Climate change is one area where they have said they could work together, though the US has accused China of not doing enough to cut emissions. After the Anchorage talks, Beijing said the two sides had agreed to set up a working group on climate change, but US officials denied they had made this agreement. While in India last week, Kerry said Beijing and Washington must cooperate on climate but he was “not confident” that he could count on China’s cooperation. China, meanwhile, believes it should balance reducing emissions with economic growth. The US plans to commit to emissions cuts of 50 per cent or more from 2005 levels by 2030, Bloomberg reported. While it is uncertain whether the US can deliver on that target, it may put pressure on China as it seeks to position itself as a leader in reducing greenhouse gases. Lin Limin, a scholar with the University of International Relations in Beijing, said climate could still be an area for the powers to achieve a breakthrough. “The two countries share the same principle [on climate change] in general, but they take different approaches,” Lin said. “China’s development has lagged behind that of the US and Europe for a long time, our GDP per capita is still very low, so it’s not bad that it can set these emissions reduction goals – we’re doing our best.” China, which accounts for around 30 per cent of the world’s CO2 emissions, pledged last year to bring carbon emissions to a peak before 2030 and to become carbon neutral by 2060. While it has pulled back from driving growth at all costs, Beijing stopped short of setting an emissions cap in its latest five-year plan for economic and social development released in March. Kerry to push India on cutting fossil fuel use ahead of global summit Li Shuo, a senior policy adviser at Greenpeace in Beijing, said controlling the coal power sector, a major source of climate-warming greenhouse gases, could be an area where China can show it is taking action. “As a politically viable option and an important step for the environment, China could stop subsidising or building more coal plants to start with, or at least cut the consumption of coal,” Li said. More from South China Morning Post:US envoy John Kerry takes part in climate change summit co-hosted by ChinaClimate change: John Kerry to push India on cutting fossil fuel use ahead of global summitJoe Biden invites China and Russia to first global climate talksAlaska summit: what the US and China agree on, and what still divides themThis article China’s Xi Jinping likely to take part in Joe Biden’s Earth Day climate summit first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
People who were exposed to Covid and received under-the-skin injections of Regeneron's synthetic antibody treatment were 81 percent less likely to develop the disease compared to those on a placebo, the company said Monday.
The world’s eight richest people together hold fortunes of more than US$1 trillion and have added US$110 billion combined this year.
Taiwan is making arrangements for former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo to visit the island later this year -a move that is likely to anger Beijing. Pompeo, known for his strong support of the island during his time as the US secretary of state, had expressed his interest in visiting the island soon after he stepped down in January. On Monday deputy foreign minister Tien Chung-kwang said “we’re working hard on this” in response to questions in the legislature.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. When further asked whether Pompeo would be able to visit Taiwan this year, Tien said: “Yes.” Taiwan to stage live-fire drills as fears of possible PLA attack grow The announcement comes at a time of escalating tensions between Taiwan and the mainland, which has stepped up military intimidation against the island by staging war games nearby and sending warplanes into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone. This month the aerial incursions have taken place on a daily basis, with more than 20 planes taking part in some sorties, and the Liberty Times in Taipei estimates they have happened on at least 86 days this year. On Monday, Taiwan’s defence ministry said the mainland had sent a record 25 warplanes into the island’s defence zone. During an interview with Taiwan’s semi-official Central News Agency last month, Pompeo said he was looking forward to visiting the island. “It would be wonderful to get the chance to travel there someday. I would truly enjoy that. It would be a real treat,” he said. In a sign of his staunch support for Taiwan, on Monday Pompeo tweeted a photo of him sitting in front of a chessboard and having a bite of dried pineapple given to him by Taiwan’s de facto envoy to Washington Hsiao Bi-khim. “As a proponent of freedom, enjoying some Taiwanese dried pineapple. Checkmate,” he tweeted. In response, Hsiao tweeted: “Glad that @mikepompeo likes Taiwanese dried pineapples which I have been sharing around town.” Beijing suspended the import of Taiwan’s pineapples at the start of March on the grounds that they had pest problem, but the move was seen by the island as a new move to ramp up pressure on Taipei and to force the island’s president Tsai Ing-wen, from the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party, to accept the “one China principle”. As a proponent of freedom, enjoying some Taiwanese dried pineapple. Checkmate. pic.twitter.com/Y0wD2E3GDt — Mike Pompeo (@mikepompeo) April 11, 2021 Pompeo won support from the Taiwanese public but angered Beijing by supporting the island while in office, and has condemned the mainland for suppressing the island after he stepped down. Chinese state media has responded by describing Pompeo as the worst secretary of state. Pompeo, who saw Beijing as a threat to the US and the world, lifted decades-old US administrative restrictions on official exchanges with Taiwan in January, just days before he left office. Meetings with Taiwanese officials are now encouraged in federal buildings and can also take place at Taiwan’s representative office – activities strictly prohibited in the past. US navy sends China the message: ‘we’re watching you’ “We started staring at them [the rules] and realised it was just crazy. We had this completely separate set of rules that made no sense,” he told Central News Agency. “It made sense for us to have more conversations, not fewer. To have more open conversations, not more clandestine conversations.” Beijing, which claims sovereignty over Taiwan and vows to retake the island by force if necessary, has strongly protested against Washington having official contacts with and supplying defensive arms to the island. It has demanded that the US – which switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing from Taipei in 1979 – abide by the “one-China” policy. But relations between Taiwan and the US under the Trump administration warmed significantly with Washington sending government ministers, including the health secretary Alex Azar, to visit last year.More from South China Morning Post:Taiwan says PLA flies 25 warplanes into its airspace, the largest incursion yetUS-China relations: military tensions continue to rise over TaiwanThis article Taiwan ready to welcome former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
Fresh protests broke out Monday night in Minneapolis despite a curfew implemented after a police officer fatally shot a young Black man when she appeared to confuse her handgun with her taser, fueling tensions in a US city already on edge because of the George Floyd murder trial.
The European Union says it will not pay off Montenegro’s near-US$1 billion debts to China, rejecting the tiny Balkan nation’s repeated pleas for help. A spokesman for the EU told the South China Morning Post that it “does not repay loans of partners which they took from third parties”, although he did express concern “over the socioeconomic and financial effects of some of China’s investments in Montenegro”. He continued that Brussels was willing to work with the country, a candidate for EU membership, to put its debts on a sustainable footing.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. Montenegro’s finance minister Milojko Spajic on Sunday became the latest cabinet member to ask Brussels for help in repaying a dollar-denominated loan signed with the Export-Import Bank of China in 2014 to build the first section of a highway linking the country with neighbouring Serbia. “This is a small but easy win for them. It’s low-hanging fruit,” Spajic told the Financial Times in an interview published on Sunday. The loan was agreed under the previous government, with Spaijic making it clear that the new administration, which took over in December, wanted closer ties with Brussels than Beijing. “For infrastructure we’re currently relying on China … The situation is dramatic from a geopolitical standpoint,” he told the FT. Debt-trap diplomacy? Report finds China can cancel loans if displeased The unfinished highway project has often been cited as an example of the “debt-trap diplomacy” China is accused of deploying as part of its Belt and Road Initiative, an infrastructure drive to connect the global East and West. Beijing has rejected the accusations saying its loans to developing countries have no strings attached. The FT reported that with an estimated cost of US$23.8 million per kilometre, the highway is thought to be among the most expensive strips of road in the world, with the first repayments due in July. It has helped increase the public debt rate in Montenegro – which is seeking to join the EU – from 65.9 per cent to an estimated 80 per cent of gross domestic product once the loan is repaid, according to figures cited by the European Parliament. To absorb the costs, Podgorica has had to raise cash elsewhere, such as a 21 per cent value-added tax on non-tourism activities. In an address to the European Parliament’s committee on foreign affairs in March, Deputy Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic asked members to “help us replace the credit with [a loan from] some European banks”, adding that it would help stymie Chinese influence in the country. Peter Stano, the EU’s spokesman for foreign affairs and security issues, told the Post that the bloc is already the biggest provider of financial help to Montenegro, as well as its biggest investor and trading partner. China pins hopes on Balkans as gateway to Europe but faces growing scepticism “The EU will continue to support Montenegro on its path towards EU membership, and in this context work with the country to find financial solutions for its investment projects and to ensure the sustainability of its public debt,” Stano said. “But while every country is free to establish its investment objectives, the EU has concerns over the socioeconomic and financial effects some of China’s investments in Montenegro can have, which risk macroeconomic imbalances and debt-dependency,” he added. Concerns have been rising in Brussels about China’s growing influence in the Western Balkans, where it has strong ties with regional powerhouse Serbia. It is not clear whether Montenegro will be able to gain support from other sources and major European public funding outfits had previously turned their noses up at the first section of the Bar-Boljare motorway, which will run from the Adriatic Sea to the border with Serbia. A report by the Dutch Clingendael Institute, a think tank, said last year that two feasibility studies had been conducted in 2006 and 2012 respectively, with both the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank expressing “no interest” in the project. Coronavirus runs roughshod over debt-laden belt and road projects “Montenegro sees China as a rising global power that brings new economic and financing opportunities. Local institutions and actors in Montenegro are positively disposed and keen to develop and deepen bilateral relations,” the report read. “Expectations continue to prevail over critical attitudes because of a perceived imperative to address the country’s development needs.”This article EU says it won’t pay off Montenegro’s billion-dollar highway debt to China first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
Iran charged Monday that its arch-enemy Israel was behind an attack on its Natanz uranium enrichment plant and vowed it would take "revenge" and ramp up its nuclear activities.
15 new members include three formerly from the Malaysian Islamic Party. This article, ‘Islamic leaders’ join Anwar Ibrahim’s People’s Justice Party, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.
Japan will release more than a million tonnes of treated water from the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean, the government said Tuesday, triggering a furious reaction from China and fierce opposition from local fishing communities.
West Bromwich Albion improved their slender hopes of avoiding relegation from the Premier League as they survived VAR controversy to beat Southampton 3-0, while Everton's fading top four bid was damaged by a 0-0 draw at Brighton on Monday.