Locals make the most of Tokyo's spring sunshine to enjoy the cherry blossom sweeping across parts of the capital. Fewer people are out in the streets than normal because of the coronavirus.
Locals make the most of Tokyo's spring sunshine to enjoy the cherry blossom sweeping across parts of the capital. Fewer people are out in the streets than normal because of the coronavirus.
Pakistan's government will ask parliament to decide the fate of the French ambassador, apparently appeasing a radical Islamist party which had threatened more protests unless the envoy was expelled.
Did the royals get Sinopharm vaccines from the UAE? Malaysians want to know. This article, Pressure weighs on Malaysia’s royal family over vaccine allegations, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.
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.
Plans for a Super League announced by 12 of European football's most powerful clubs plunged the game into an unprecedented crisis on Monday as the UK government threatened to invoke competition law to block a breakaway.
The US State Department on Monday branded as an "unprovoked escalation" reported Russian plans to block parts of the Black Sea, which could ultimately impact access to Ukrainian ports.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said no nation should dictate global rules or interfere in other countries, as Beijing continued to signal its unhappiness over what it sees as growing international meddling in its affairs. Without naming any country, Xi made his remarks by video link to more than 2,000 officials and business executives attending the annual Boao Forum for Asia in the southern Chinese island province of Hainan. “The destiny and future of the world should be decided by all nations, and rules set up just by one or several countries should not be imposed on others,” Xi said. “The whole world should not be led by unilateralism of individual countries.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. “Equality, mutual respect and trust should be at the forefront when countries are dealing with each other. It is unpopular to arrogantly instruct others and interfere in internal affairs.” China has announced record growth of 18.3 per cent for the first quarter as its economy recovers from the damage caused by the coronavirus, but its relationship with the United States has yet to show a similar rebound. Last Friday, US President Joe Biden issued a joint statement with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga that indicated China was a geopolitical adversary – which Beijing described as a move to “sow division”. Washington has also begun to consolidate its alliances in Europe and Asia, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressing “the need to engage China from a position of strength”. The US, the European Union, Britain and Canada have imposed coordinated sanctions on China over alleged human rights violations in Xinjiang, which Beijing denies. “As we are going through the Covid-19 pandemic, people of all countries have more clearly realised that it is necessary to abandon the cold war mentality and zero-sum game, and oppose any form of new cold war and ideological confrontation,” Xi said. In the audience were prominent business US leaders including Apple’s Tim Cook, Tesla’s Elon Musk, Blackstone’s Stephen Schwarzman and Bridgewater’s Ray Dalio. The annual Boao conference is China’s top government-sponsored business forum, sometimes dubbed the Chinese version of the World Economic Forum in Davos. It was cancelled last year because of the coronavirus outbreak. In an apparent indication of decoupling between the US and China, Biden said on Friday the United States and Japan would jointly invest in areas such as 5G technology, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, genomics and semiconductor supply chains. Washington’s planned investment in domestic chip production, meanwhile, is widely seen as an attempt to attract South Korean and Taiwanese chip makers to the US. China has also been calling for South Korean companies to expand cooperation in technology including semiconductors, in which there is a global shortage. Xi told the forum that China would keep opening up its economy to world business and that there should be integration of supply chains, the digital economy and artificial intelligence. “Any attempts to build walls and decouple are violating economic laws and market rules, which is harming others and detrimental to oneself,” he said. What semiconductors are and why China needs to make them itself Xi promised China would work with other nations to deal with climate change, but did not say whether he would attend a Biden-hosted climate summit on Thursday. The president also defended the Belt and Road Initiative, which has come under scrutiny as it extends Beijing’s geopolitical influence. Xi said the infrastructure investment strategy was open to all nations and was not a “private road for a particular single nation”. Zhu Jiejin, a professor of international relations with Fudan Univiersity in Shanghai, said Xi’s speech at Boao highlighted China’s wish to promote its own agenda. “Boao is an opportunity to highlight China’s role in Asia and China’s voice in a multilateral setting,” Zhu said. “The Asia Pacific region will continue to be an important theatre of competition between China and the US, and the starting point of China’s global governance strategy. “The US has long had a presence in Asia. But China, as a regional country, has a good foundation and should continue to amplify its advantage.” Additional reporting by Catherine Wong and Liu ZhenMore from South China Morning Post:Xinjiang: will the West’s sanctions on China force the issue or unravel?US and China pledge to work together on climate change after John Kerry visitChina accuses US and Japan of sowing division after Biden and Suga vow to counter ‘intimidation’This article Xi Jinping rebukes nations who ‘arrogantly instruct others and interfere’ first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
Toyota, which pioneered hybrid cars, unveiled Monday plans for its first global line-up of battery electric vehicles as other carmakers have pulled ahead in electrification.
China’s top economic planner has warned that the impact of Covid-19 and increased political risks in countries taking part in the Belt and Road Initiative are among the main challenges the multibillion-dollar project faces in the next five years. A report by the National Development and Reform Commission outlining the country’s development over the course of its new five-year plan also identified what Beijing regards as the key problems and tasks the infrastructure project faces. “Belt and road construction is facing an increasingly complex geopolitical environment,” the report said.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 identified changes to global governance and trade systems, the ongoing rivalry between China and the US, and growth in emerging markets as the most important factors affecting the project. While China was the only major economy to grow last year, the report said domestic financial and construction companies taking part in the scheme still faced challenges. “Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the world economy is in recession and under increasing pressure. The foundation of our country’s economic recovery is not yet steady. Some local governments and enterprises have certain difficulties in their economic and financial situation, the resources they can put in to the Belt and Road Initiative will be affected,” the latest document from the NDRC said. “However, the pandemic’s impact on the economy is only short term and is under control overall. This will not change the great development potential,” the document added. “Some BRI countries have long term high geopolitical risks and certain regions have seen an escalation in conflict,” the report said, without specifying which countries. What is China’s Belt and Road Initiative all about? “The pandemic has made these risks greater. International trade conflicts and the pandemic caused countries to compete for strategic materials and the distribution of resources”. The report added that the pandemic has hit trade and investment in some belt and road countries, although the report said this would increase their need to sign up for the project. The initiative, which was first introduced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, has prompted warnings by Western countries that Beijing is trying to use it to expand its geopolitical influence and catch developing countries in a “debt trap” by lending large sums that will draw foreign governments into Beijing’s political orbit. Beijing has repeatedly denied the debt trap accusation and says it only wants to foster trade and connectivity through global infrastructure building. The project has faced multiple hiccups, however, and the pandemic has adversely affected about 40 per cent and seriously affected about a fifth of belt and road projects, according to a survey last year by China’s foreign ministry. The projects affected include the US$6 billion Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway extension on the Indonesian island of Java. The line, built by a consortium of Chinese and Indonesian companies, was originally expected to be operational by early next year, but Reuters reported that it has now been delayed by two years. China has overseen more than US$700 billion in contracts and investment in 139 since 2014, according to a Moody’s report published in November. The National Development and Reform Commission said that to meet these challenges the Belt and Road Initiativeshould prioritise existing schemes and increase its relevance to the “international and regional development agenda”. China looks to recreate ancient Silk Road with network of African ports “[There is a need to] push forward the development strategies and strengthen implementation with countries that are comparatively more willing to cooperate, and implement agreements that have been signed,” the report said. The NDRC also said that efforts to internationalise the yuan should continue at a “steady and careful” pace by “steadily pushing forward dual-currency cooperation” with participating countries. The Belt and Road Initiative is seen by China as a useful platform to push forward its long-term goal of turning renminbi into a reserve currency used for international trade, investments and payments, and the project’s massive loan and investments deals also involve currency swap agreements.This article China’s Belt and Road Initiative faces increased political risk in participating countries, report warns first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he is willing to deploy military ships to the South China Sea to assert the country's claim over oil deposits in a contested part of the waterway.
In 2018, after former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal was found unconscious on a park bench in Salisbury, Britain said it had identified two Russian agents seen wandering through the sleepy English town.
A man who passed himself off as a social escort agent to have sex with potential sugar babies and shoot nude photos of them was jailed three-and-a-half years on Tuesday (20 April).
Stock markets slid Tuesday after Wall Street pulled back from record levels in overnight trade and with Japan fearing a renewed Covid-19 surge.
China conducted a large-scale aerial bombardment exercise over the weekend as tensions escalated over Taiwan, prompted by a joint statement about the island from the United States and Japan.The People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theatre Command, which oversees the Taiwan Strait, deployed dozens of H-6K strategic bombers in a nine-hour live-fire drill, according to state television. The bombers took off in groups from a military airport in eastern China in combat formations amid low-visibility conditions and headed towards an “unknown shooting range”, the CCTV report said.During their flights the H-6Ks, which have a maximum load capacity of 15 tonnes, also practised electronic countermeasures with air-defence missile units. Once they reached their target airspace, they dropped free-fall aerial bombs from different altitudes, the report said. After returning to base, the planes repeated the exercise during the night, it added.“The long hours, high-intensity, day-night training has quickly increased the [air force’s] assault abilities and improved actual combat capabilities,” CCTV said. The report did not state where the shooting range was, but a Chinese military insider said the H-6Ks were dropping bombs somewhere in remote northwestern Qinghai province instead of their designated battlefield on the southeast coast facing Taiwan.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. Is Biden set to end the guessing game about what US will do if Taiwan is invaded? “It’s a large-scale drill, with many bombs being dropped. There are no big shooting ranges in the eastern and southern theatre commands,” said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.“The PLA doesn’t want to make undue provocations against Taiwan just yet, because peaceful means are still the best way to solve the Taiwan problem,” the source added.The exercise came after the US and Japanese leaders mentioned Taiwan in a joint statement, a first since 1969. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and US President Joe Biden angered Beijing on Friday by saying they “underscore the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and encourage the peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues”.China said such comments were harmful to regional peace and stability and vowed to resolutely defend its national sovereignty, security and development interests. Taiwan ‘in the process’ of seeking long-range cruise missiles from US Beijing regards Taiwan as part of its territory to be brought under mainland Chinese control, by force if necessary. The PLA has ramped up military activity near the self-ruled island as tensions escalate between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan, including sending warplanes into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone on an almost daily basis in recent months. Additional reporting by Minnie ChanMore from South China Morning Post:Beijing’s ‘combat drills’ near Taiwan seen as a message to US militaryBiden emissary tells Tsai Ing-wen the US is ‘a reliable and trusted friend’ of TaiwanTaiwan reports largest ever incursion by Chinese air forceChinese military in South China Sea landing drill as Taiwan tension persistsChinese military micro drone unveiled at Abu Dhabi weapons showThis article China conducts aerial bombing drill after US-Japan statement on Taiwan 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."
Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou’s marathon extradition case may be about to get even longer, after her lawyers asked to adjourn the final phase of the hearing for more than three months, saying they expect new evidence about her alleged bank fraud case from HSBC. They applied to the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver on Monday to delay the last three weeks of the case until August 3, in light of a Hong Kong court settlement in which the bank agreed to provide more material supposedly relevant to the case. The hearings had been slated to start on April 26. Meng’s lawyer Richard Peck told Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes that the “modest” adjournment was necessary as a matter of “fundamental fairness”, and he denied “just trying to string this out”.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. Canadian government lawyers, representing US interests in the case, cried foul. “Two and a half years from the start of these proceedings, countless hours spent fashioning a schedule agreed by both sides, and mere days from reaching the finishing line, the applicant asks this court to take a several month pause,” they said in a written response. “Her request should be denied.” In court, the Canadian Department of Justice’s top lawyer, Robert Frater, said: “There is literally no basis for this request … they are asking once again to have this court turn itself into a trial court.” It was only Meng’s “unlimited resources” that allowed her to file the application, he said. More than 500 Hongkongers apply for special Canada visa in first three weeks Meng’s lawyers claim the material from HSBC may boost their case that US authorities have deceived the Canadian court and Meng’s extradition should therefore be thrown out. The delay was needed “to obtain, review, assess, and, if justified, seek to introduce relevant evidence that is reasonably believed may assist in demonstrating that the requesting state has mislead this court and Canadian authorities”, they wrote in their adjournment application. HSBC has agreed to provide material to Meng as a result of a consent order granted by the High Court of Hong Kong on April 12. “[There] is a reasonable inference that the Hong Kong HSBC disclosure that the applicant will receive may include evidence … establishing that the ROCs [records of the case] are misleading,” the BC court application said. My lady, this process must come to a conclusion. Extradition hearings are supposed to be expeditious. Canadian government lawyer Robert Frater Meng, who is Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, is accused by US authorities of defrauding HSBC by lying to the bank about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran, thus putting the bank at risk of breaching US sanctions on the Middle Eastern country. She was arrested at Vancouver’s airport on December 1, 2018 and has been fighting a US request to have her extradited to face trial in New York ever since. In their application, Meng’s lawyers separately argue that a delay is also needed in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, saying “rising and critical health concerns” about the virus in BC made a three week hearing starting next week “unadvisable and potentially dangerous”. BC has recently been averaging about 1,000 new Covid-19 cases per day. Canada had to arrest Meng Wanzhou and it was not arbitrary, but detention is now unlawful, her lawyer says The Canadian government lawyers’ response says there is no evidence that the new material would be either admissible or relevant. The request “is the latest in a series of attempts to turn these proceedings into a trial that should properly take place in the requesting state”, they wrote. Material related to the Hong Kong court’s consent order was provided to Holmes in a sealed envelope. But some terms of the order seemed to prevent it being seen by anyone except the Hong Kong court, Meng and HSBC, Holmes said. The sealed envelope “puts the [BC] court in a very awkward position … one doesn’t go into a sealed envelope to find the authority to open it”, said Holmes. After receiving agreement from both sides, Holmes said the material – which has already been redacted – should be put on the record but subjected to a publication ban. The forthcoming material, which Peck called “likely highly relevant”, would relate to the relationship between Huawei and HSBC and two subsidiaries – Skycom, through which Huawei did business in Iran, and a shell company called Canicula – he said. Meng Wanzhou’s extradition judge should not decide on US jurisdiction, Canadian government lawyer says “This could be of great value to the final decision in this case,” Peck added. The material would be “copious” but it would be reviewed by his team in a “focused and expeditious manner”, Peck promised. “No one here desires to adjourn this case for an adjournment’s sake,” said Peck, calling the requested three-month delay “short in the context of this case” and noting that Meng’s behaviour forming the basis of the charges had occurred in 2013. That was a reference to a meeting between Meng and a HSBC banker in a Hong Kong teahouse, at which she delivered a PowerPoint presentation about Huawei’s Iran business. Peck said his team had already received a first batch of the HSBC documents, with another batch due on Tuesday and more within six weeks. Holmes asked if Peck had considered proceeding with the existing April 26-May 14 court dates, then asking to reopen the hearings if demanded by the new documents. The judge said she had not planned to issue any decisions immediately upon the conclusion of the three weeks in question. But Peck said there was a risk of “throwing away time” on arguments that would need significant amendment later. Government lawyer Frater told Holmes the eleventh-hour delay request was unacceptable. “My lady, this process must come to a conclusion. Extradition hearings are supposed to be expeditious,” he said. He told Holmes that she had no way of knowing what was in the HSBC material, and only the word of Meng’s and Huawei’s lawyers that it would be relevant and delivered soon. Xinjiang: will the West’s sanctions on China force the issue or unravel? “They do not know what is in these documents and they do not know when they are going to get them,” Frater said. As for the Hong Kong settlement, Frater said it was “inexplicable” that HSBC had agreed to provide the material, considering that the bank had “won on every point” in a prior attempt to secure the material through the British courts. But in Hong Kong, HSBC had acquiesced to Huawei “for reasons known only to themselves”. Regarding the risk posed by Covid-19, Frater said his team was willing to take whatever steps the court deemed necessary, such as by conducting them entirely remotely. In reply, Peck denied seeking to protract the case unreasonably. “It’s not a runaway train by any stretch of the imagination,” he said. Holmes adjourned the hearing until Wednesday afternoon, when she will deliver her decision on the application.More from South China Morning Post:HSBC suffered no risk from Meng Wanzhou’s alleged deceptions, court hears, as extradition fight enters crucial stage‘US laws do not apply in China,’ court is told, as new front opens in Meng Wanzhou extradition fightMeng Wanzhou’s lawyers say HSBC ‘fully knew’ that Huawei controlled affiliates that did business in IranExtradition judge is told she, not minister, must decide if US has jurisdiction over Meng Wanzhou’s actions in Hong KongHuawei’s Meng Wanzhou accuses US of giving Canadian court ‘grossly misleading’ evidence summary in extradition caseThis article Meng Wanzhou seeks three-month delay to marathon extradition case, citing new evidence from HSBC first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
George Floyd pleaded for help with his "very last breath" but was not shown any compassion by Derek Chauvin, prosecutor Steve Schleicher said Monday in closing arguments at the closely watched murder trial of the former police officer.
Global efforts to arrest climate change and keep Earth liveable will fail without a jumbo-sized effort from India to halt emissions growth that could wipe out ambitious carbon reduction targets elsewhere.
New Zealand authorities revealed an Auckland airport worker had tested positive for Covid-19 Tuesday, although Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it would not affect a newly opened travel bubble with Australia.
Gojek co-Chief Executive Officer Andre Soelistyo is set to head the Indonesian app giant to be created when the transport and delivery provider merges with e-commerce company PT Tokopedia, according to people familiar with the matter.
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.