International relations – Creative Room 4 Talk Sat, 08 Jan 2022 19:23:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 International relations – Creative Room 4 Talk 32 32 BNP strengthens for the movement Sat, 08 Jan 2022 18:00:00 +0000

While the official position of the BNP is that it has yet to decide whether it will run in the 2023 national elections, its goal for this year is to complete the party reorganization process and prepare for the election.

The rationale for the reorganization is that the party wants to be in a stronger position with which it can pressure the government to hold elections under a non-partisan interim government, a demand it has been making since the abolition of the government. system 10 years ago. .

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The other headache of the BNP is that it has failed to free its president Khaleda Zia and send her abroad for better medical treatment. Khaleda has been in the capital’s Evercare hospital since November.

“Our main goal for the new year is to restore democracy. The process of reorganizing the party will continue and at the same time the movement for the restoration of democracy will continue,” said Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, general secretary of BNP, at the Daily Star.

Fakhrul stressed that the country’s main problem was that “democracy was destroyed” and that there was no way out but to restore the electoral system with polls under a non-partisan interim government.

Party insiders said they plan to mobilize public opinion and set the stage for a movement centered on the Election Commission. They said the movement would be launched at the end of this year.

In the meantime, the party is said to have an internal investigation to find possible runners for the next Sangsad.

“We will prepare for both the elections and the movement. We will only participate in the elections if they take place under a non-partisan interim government,” said Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury, member of the party’s standing committee.

Party leaders said if the government did not listen to them, the issue would be settled on the streets.

The BNP boycotted the January 5, 2014 elections, but then participated in the 2018 elections which were marred by ballot box stuffing.

The BNP only won a handful of seats in parliament.

Party leaders said participating in the polls under the current government would be nothing more than legitimizing the elections and the government.

They said a non-partisan interim government could be formed by consensus of political parties.

Prof Mahbubullah, a former pro-BNP professor at Dhaka University, said the party should devise a well-thought-out formula for a non-partisan interim government that would create a pleasant atmosphere for a fair ballot.

“… Elections under an interim government system are comparatively fairer and more well accepted than elections under partisan governments. Thus, the BNP should generate public opinion in favor of the formula it would design, ”he said.

As part of the party’s overhaul process, the BNP has already started to dissolve existing committees in many districts and form new ones. He plans to complete the process by June, party sources said.

The party is looking for new grassroots leaders, they said.

BNP leader Tabith Awal said the main goal for 2022 was to unite the people behind the demand for fair elections under a non-partisan government.

“We have already started our activities to reach out to the people and other political parties as well as other stakeholders,” said Tabith, a former mayoral candidate with Dhaka North City Corporation.

Apart from this, the party is also strengthening its diplomatic wings to gain support from the international community.

Prof Mahbubullah said BNP should have a proper and well-thought out policy for its international relations as Bangladesh is very important geopolitically.

Tabith, who is one of the BNP leaders who looks after its diplomatic wing, said the population of Bangladesh in 2023 would be the fifth largest electoral population in the world.

“So the world community will look at the vote in Bangladesh and the BNP will do whatever it takes to bring Bangladesh back to the path of democracy. We hope that the international community will provide all the help so that we can live up to this, “he added.

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Two-time Olympic medalist Michelle Kwan is a mom for the first time Thu, 06 Jan 2022 22:30:00 +0000

Michelle Kwan presents the Female Athlete of the Paralympic Games at the Olympic Committee Best of US Awards on April 2, 2014 in Washington, DC.

When Michelle Kwan says she is “always full of surprises,” she’s not kidding.

The two-time Olympic medalist (1998, 2002) shared a big revelation on Instagram on Wednesday: she’s a mom.

“I am overjoyed and tears of happiness roll down my face as I share the news of Kalista Belle Kwan’s arrival!” she wrote.

“I had a hard time imagining what she could look like, but it seems like she’s been a part of my life forever. It was a difficult journey to motherhood (not to mention a very long job !!!) and I’m glad I never gave up.

Kwan, 41, also posted a photo of the newborn, as well as a montage showing the stages of her pregnancy.

“I had wanted to share this happy news for many months, but each step seemed to be exciting and intimidating at the same time,” she shared.

The post included thanks to family, friends and healthcare professionals who helped Kwan throughout her pregnancy.

Congratulations pour in from fellow Olympians, famous friends and many fans who have watched Kwan win nine US titles and five world crowns during his illustrious international competitive career, which spanned from 1992 to 2005. .

“Accept every second of your incredible new journey, it goes so fast! »Wrote figure skater Tai Babilonia, world pairs champion in 1979 and Olympian in 1980.

“So thrilled for her and for you. What an amazing mom you will be. I can’t wait to meet her !!! ” sprung fashion designer Vera Wang, who designed Kwan’s 1998 and 2002 Olympic costumes.

From the figure skating world, 1992 Olympic champion Kristi Yamaguchi, 2018 two-time Olympic medalist Maia Shibutani and Kwan’s longtime rival, 2006 Olympic silver medalist Sasha Cohen sent their best wishes, all like Paralympic and Olympic champions including Tatyana McFadden and Allyson Felix.

Former Kwan boss Hillary Clinton, whom she campaigned for in the 2016 presidential election, was quick to publish her reaction.

“Happy news. Congratulations!” writes the former secretary of state.

Clinton represents Kwan’s current career, centered in the arena of political and international relations. A graduate of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Kwan was recently appointed by President Biden as US Ambassador to Belize .

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Advocacy for subnational diplomacy Tue, 04 Jan 2022 22:04:06 +0000

Letter from the editor


Welcome to this packed double edition of The Foreign Service Journal to start the new year. In addition to our regular programming, this issue features an exclusive interview with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, as well as a first-person account from Moscow Signal, the predecessor of Havana Syndrome.

The January-February focus on subnational diplomacy, also known as city and state diplomacy, offers a lot of food for thought. It highlights a major policy proposition currently under discussion within the state, among foreign policy professionals and before Congress.

Local officials and entities have, of course, been engaged in international relations for decades, mostly independent of channels of the federal government. Is it time to establish a State Department of Subnational Diplomacy office to take advantage of this work? The City and State Diplomacy Act, if passed, would make the establishment of such an office mandatory.

Following a special note from FSJ Editorial Board To start the discussion, our contributors advocate for subnational diplomacy. FSO Maryum Saifee writes from a national security perspective. Many thanks to her for bringing this topic forward and for connecting me to Luis Renta of the United States Conference of Mayors. His recommendations to local officials as writers were invaluable.

William Peduto, mayor of Pittsburgh until recently, explains how his city has leveraged relationships with cities around the world to move towards a sustainable future. Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie shows how working locally in America strengthens global climate leadership.

Former FSO Emerita Torres, now a member of the Bronx Democratic State Committee, discusses how local-federal partnerships can build popular confidence in U.S. foreign policy priorities.

Nina Hachigian, former ambassador and first deputy mayor of Los Angeles for international affairs, says breaking the silos between foreign and domestic policy will help make international affairs more relevant to middle-class Americans.

Subnational diplomacy is ideally suited to the Biden administration’s emphasis on implementing a “foreign policy for the middle class,” as it can link US relations on a global scale with what matters to them. Americans locally.

Related, and coincidentally, Secretary Blinken delivered a speech to the ISF on October 27, outlining his proposals for state reform. One of his priorities, he said, is to “focus our diplomacy more here at home to ensure that our policies reflect the needs, aspirations, values ​​of the American people.”

We were delighted to have the opportunity to dig deeper, to ask questions of the Secretary regarding the details of his plan and how it will affect members of the Foreign Service. You can see his responses in the written interview, “On Moves to Modernize,” our cover story.

In the midst of it all, we remain perplexed and vexed by the abnormal health incidents, or Havana Syndrome, which have plagued some 200 U.S. officials and their families in several countries. The cause and source still unknown, a strong theory is that of targeted microwaves.

This theory brings to mind memories of the Cold War in Moscow, when the Soviets broadcast microwaves to the US Embassy for decades. Studies have been done, but the health impacts are still unclear. In “Before Havana Syndrome there was a signal from Moscow,” Soviet FSO (retired) Jim Schumaker tells us the story, the known and the known unknown, including how the Moscow signal can or not be linked to Havana. syndrome. It’s a must read.

This touches me, because I worked in the political section of the Moscow embassy in 1987-1988. I sat in a small shared office on a “secure” (fire trap) floor of the old chancellery with a window facing the ring road. It was a window that was supposed, probably, to be perhaps radiated with microwaves by the Soviets.

It was just a curiosity for me. I was only 22, still invincible. But what did we know then? What do we know now? To all of you who served during the Cold War in Moscow or in the region, we would love to hear what you remember.

There’s more to this edition, including AFSA’s long-awaited annual tax guide, Marc Grossman’s appreciation of Colin Powell, and Lindsay Henderson’s work on rediscovering the state’s lost history.

Please write to, join us on LinkedIn and sign up for FSJ emails. Best wishes for a healthy and peaceful year ahead.

Shawn Dorman is the editor of The Foreign Service Journal.

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No one is able to teach others a lesson about democracy »Capital News Sun, 02 Jan 2022 18:57:42 +0000

BEIJING, China, January 2 – Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Thursday that Chinese diplomacy has progressed in a complex and fluid international landscape, writing new chapters of big country diplomacy with features distinctive Chinese.

Wang made his remarks during a year-end interview with the Xinhua News Agency and China Media Group. The Chinese Foreign Minister shared his views on the international situation and China’s diplomatic work in 2021.

For the world as for China, the outgoing year 2021 will mark the history of mankind, he noted.

Heads of State diplomacy plays a key role

Reviewing China’s diplomatic work in 2021, Wang pointed out that the diplomacy of heads of state plays a prominent role.

Also read:

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to visit Kenya for key visit next week

He noted that Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke 79 times with foreign leaders and heads of international organizations and attended 40 major foreign affairs events in 2021 via video link.

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Wang also said that China’s diplomatic work in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 shows the country’s sense of responsibility to the international community, adding that China has always been in the “first phalanx” of the country. global pandemic cooperation and had manufactured its COVID-19 vaccines. global public goods.

China was one of the first countries to also commit to supporting a waiver of intellectual property rights to vaccines and manufacturing them in cooperation with developing countries, Wang said.

“China has safeguarded the right direction for the global fight against the pandemic with its firm commitment and practical actions,” he added.

Chinese FM Wang Yi says the country’s development is unstoppable

President Xi announced a series of measures for greater openness as well as the proposal of the Global Development Initiative this year, said the Chinese Foreign Minister while saying that all these measures contribute to the global economic recovery. .

Wang noted that China firmly stands for multilateralism, upholds the common values ​​of all mankind, and is committed to maintaining an international system with the United Nations at its center and a world order based on international law.

China implements human-centered diplomacy, Wang said. According to the foreign minister, China has launched the “spring shoot” program, which has helped and provided vaccination for millions of overseas Chinese compatriots with vaccines in more than 180 countries.

“No one is able to teach others a lesson about democracy”

Stressing that democracy is a common value shared by all mankind, Wang said that no one was able to teach others about democracy.

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He noted that some forces have attempted to impose their own will and their own standards on others and have used excuses such as rule, human rights and democracy to smear other countries.

“We cannot compromise on this. We cannot retreat and we have to face it, ”Wang said.

The Chinese Foreign Minister spoke out against countries trying to ally themselves, form cliques and pursue a cold war mentality and called for the defense of true multilateralism.

There is only one system, namely the UN-centric international system, and one set of rules – the basic standards of international relations based on the UN Charter, Wang said.

In terms of human rights, Wang pointed out that some countries, led by the United States, have used human rights as a tool to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, regardless of their jurisdiction. own human rights issues.

This year at the Human Rights Council and the United Nations General Assembly, anti-China proposals have been foiled four times in a row, creating momentum that has led nearly 100 countries to support China’s legitimate position. China and oppose interference in China’s internal affairs through human rights. , he added.

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi reacts in an interview on the international situation and Chinese diplomacy in 2021, Beijing, China, December 30, 2021. / Chinese Foreign Ministry

China and Russia “stand side by side”

China and Russia are major countries with global influence, Wang said. It is of global importance for the two countries to strengthen strategic coordination and practical cooperation, he added, praising their “irreplaceable roles” in the world.

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The two sides celebrated the 20th anniversary of the signing of the China-Russia Good Neighbor and Friendly Cooperation Treaty this year, and President Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin announced their decision to extend the pact, Wang said. The two leaders will meet again in just over a month when Putin attends the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, he said.

Sino-Russian relations are increasingly mature, stable, resilient and dynamic under the leadership of the two heads of state, the diplomat said.

Wang highlighted the contributions of the two countries to global economic recovery, regional stability and global governance. China and Russia firmly maintain the international system with the United Nations at its center and the international order based on international law, and jointly oppose interference in the internal affairs of other countries, unilateral sanctions and to long-arm jurisdiction, he said. The two countries have become the pillar of maintaining true multilateralism and safeguarding international equity and justice, he added.

If China and Russia “stand side by side” and deepen their coordination, international order will be maintained, global justice will be respected and hegemony will never prevail, he said.

China’s development is an “unstoppable trend”

President Xi and US President Joe Biden had two phone conversations and a virtual meeting in 2021. Reviewing China-US relations during the year, Wang said Washington should take concrete steps to deliver on its commitments. .

The United States has realized that it is impossible to force China to compromise, and the US president and some senior US officials have said the country is not seeking a new cold war or changing China’s political system. , did not support “Taiwan independence”, and has no intention of entering into a conflict or confrontation with China, he said.

But the United States continues to make further provocations on issues concerning China’s sovereignty, security and development interests, and continues to harm bilateral relations, he added.

President Xi stressed mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation as three principles for the development of Sino-US relations, Wang noted, stressing that this is the only way for bilateral relations to return to development. healthy and stable.

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The United States should fully understand that the development and revitalization of China are the legitimate rights and interests of a sovereign country and an “unstoppable trend,” he said, urging Washington to abandon its obsession with suppressing the China.

China will never seek hegemony in the world like Western countries have done, nor does it wish to change, replace or threaten anyone, he said. China and the United States can achieve prosperity together if the United States sees China as a partner rather than an adversary or an enemy, he said.

China respects the social system and the development path of the United States, but it will never allow any attempt to vilify or undermine its own system and its own path, he said.

“China is a staunch member of the developing world”

Emphasizing that “China is a staunch member of the developing world,” Wang said that China’s relations with the developing world have made significant progress during the year, with successful results achieved in various areas of development. cooperation.

This year marks the 65th anniversary of the start of diplomatic relations between China and African countries. Wang said that a new milestone in the history of Sino-African relations has been taken.

“President Xi Jinping first introduced the spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation, presented four proposals for building a China-Africa community of destiny in the new era, and announced nine cooperation programs with China and Africa. ‘Africa,’ says Wang.

No matter how the international situation develops, China will stand steadfastly on the side of the developing world and deepen its mutually beneficial cooperation with other developing countries, he said.

Looking ahead, Chinese Foreign Minister stressed that China’s diplomatic priorities will focus on upholding the principle of mutual assistance to jointly develop an immunity shield, the principle of mutual benefit to jointly develop a engine of development, and the principle of sincerity, real results, friendship and good faith to build a bridge of friendship together.

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China’s vote at the United Nations belongs to the developing world, Wang promised.

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GT exclusive: Chinese diplomat urges new German government not to play ‘Taiwan card’ as Lithuania aims to hold EU hostage Thu, 30 Dec 2021 13:18:00 +0000

Yantian Port Photo: CFP

Chinese diplomat in Germany urged new German government to play an active role in the EU, abide by the one-China principle and not play the “Taiwan card” or send false signals to the forces secessionists of “Taiwan independence”, as Lithuania wants. to hold the EU’s position on the Taiwan question hostage with allegations of “economic coercion”.

Wang Weidong, minister and head of the economic and trade department of the Chinese embassy in Germany, told the Global Times in an exclusive interview that China has strictly followed WTO rules, criticizing the claims of some Western media according to which China has decided to suspend customs clearance of Lithuanian goods and reject import requests as “completely unfounded”.

Wang sternly warned against Lithuania’s “microphone diplomacy” and reckless media hype against Beijing’s so-called “economic coercion” against the EU. The comment comes as the country begins to feel the weight of its error on the Taiwan issue.

“Playing the trick of ‘microphone diplomacy’ is not the right way and will not work. The Lithuanian side must look for internal reasons if cooperation between the two countries runs into difficulties. It must admit the wrongdoing and take action. measures to remedy it, in order to create an environment conducive to bilateral economic and trade cooperation, ”Wang said.

Wang Weidong, Minister and Head of the Economic and Commercial Department of the Chinese Embassy in Germany Photo: Courtesy of Wang Weidong

Wang Weidong, Minister and Head of the Economic and Commercial Department of the Chinese Embassy in Germany Photo: Courtesy of Wang Weidong

The remarks came after the German-Baltic Chamber of Commerce wrote a letter to the Lithuanian government, warning that while the Lithuanian authorities had not provided specific solutions to resolve the disputes and improve relations with China, the affiliated companies to the chamber would close their factories in Lithuania. , and such behavior would potentially impact German companies in several sectors, including lasers and auto parts with factories in Lithuania.

The chamber, which represents many German companies abroad, said German companies pay close attention to developments and disputes between China and Lithuania.

Asked about the reaction of the German business community, Wang said that “if some German companies’ exports to China encountered technological obstacles, they could report such problems to China through existing channels. Two-way communication channels are fully open and fluid.

Regardless of China’s solemn protests and negotiations, Lithuania has blatantly supported a “one China, one Taiwan” approach in international society that violates the one-China principle, a fundamental norm of international relations and a universal consensus held by the international community, which has seriously compromised bilateral diplomatic relations.

The Chinese side, out of necessity to safeguard its fundamental interests and the principle of one China, a fundamental norm governing international relations, has lowered diplomatic relations with Lithuania to the rank of charge d’affaires.

Wang said China hopes the new German government will play an active role in the EU in upholding the one-China principle, and will not try to play the “Taiwan card” or send false signals to the secessionist forces of “Taiwan independence”, which would harm the proper development of Sino-German and Sino-European relations.

“The new German government should put more emphasis on the role of the EU and remain determined to strengthen Europe’s strategy of solidarity and sovereignty, unifying the EU’s voice with the international community,” said Wang said, noting that Germany has played a leading role in shaping Sino-European relations. .

Lithuania is already suffering the economic consequences of its mistake, as the media have said that the port of Klaipeda, Lithuania’s largest port, is expected to lose 40% of its freight traffic in 2022, mainly due to the deterioration of diplomatic relations. with China.

Facing challenges for its export sectors, the Lithuanian government has allocated € 6 million to companies affected by tensions with China, according to media reports.

During a press briefing in Beijing on Thursday, Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said Lithuania’s foreign policy is bad and a failure that harms the interests of the Lithuanian people.

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Despite clear division on big issues, Congress broadly agrees on China Tue, 28 Dec 2021 18:41:05 +0000

Despite strong divisions on most major issues, Democrats and Republicans in Congress agree on at least one way to deal with China.

President Joe Biden enacted a bipartisan bill just before Christmas to ban goods from China’s Xinjiang region unless companies can prove they are not made by forced labor. The House and Senate unanimously passed the measure earlier this month, showing that parties are broadly aligned with Chinese policy.

“The United States will not stand by as the Chinese Communist Party commits genocide against the Uyghurs. Our bipartisan Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Law, now law, will help hold China accountable by ensuring that no product made with Uyghur slave labor is sold in US markets, ”Senator Mitt said. Romney, R-Utah, in a tweet.

Romney has taken a strong stance on China, as has the entire Utah delegation in Washington. He called for an economic and diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics due to start in February, largely to protest what he calls genocide against Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minorities. Biden announced earlier this month that the United States would not send government officials to the 2022 Winter Games.

Representative Chris Stewart, R-Utah, called for a full US boycott of the Beijing Olympics, including barring US athletes from participating.

The new law is part of the US crackdown on China’s treatment of the Uyghur population, a Turkish-speaking Muslim group based primarily in Xinjiang province and reportedly subjected to massive persecution by the Chinese Communist Party. It bans imports from Xinjiang and imposes sanctions on foreigners responsible for forced labor in the region.

The bill was a compromise between the House and Senate versions.

The key to the measure is a “rebuttable presumption” which assumes that all goods in Xinjiang, where Beijing has established detention camps for Uyghurs and other Muslim groups, are manufactured with forced labor, according to Reuters. It bans imports unless it can be proven otherwise.

Certain products such as cotton, tomatoes and polysilicon used in the manufacture of solar panels are designated “high priority” for enforcement action.

China denies abuses in Xinjiang, a major cotton producer that also supplies much of the world’s materials for solar panels.

Its embassy in Washington said the act “ignores the truth and maliciously slanders the human rights situation in Xinjiang,” according to Reuters.

“This is a serious violation of international law and standards of international relations, and flagrant interference in China’s internal affairs. China strongly condemns it and strongly rejects it, ”embassy spokesman Liu Pengyu said in an emailed statement.

He said China “would respond more in light of the development of the situation,” but did not specify.

Biden’s signing of the bill underscores “the United States’ commitment to fight forced labor, including in the context of the ongoing genocide in Xinjiang,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

“The State Department is committed to working with Congress and our interagency partners to continue to fight forced labor in Xinjiang and to strengthen international action against this blatant human rights violation,” he said. he said in a statement.

Stewart is working on bipartisan legislation to help protect American technology from falling into China’s hands. He and Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill. This month introduced a bill to assess China-UAE relations in order to protect US technology and national security.

The measure would require the director of national intelligence to submit a report to the House and Senate intelligence committees containing details of Sino-UAE cooperation in defense, security, technology and other matters concerning the interests of the United States. United States national security.

“America faces ever-changing threats in an ever-changing international landscape, and none are more serious than those posed by China,” Stewart, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement. “This legislation will provide us with the information we need to most effectively defend American technology against our greatest foreign adversary.”

The United States must monitor relations between China and the United Arab Emirates, in part because China has secretly attempted to use its commercial port in the United Arab Emirates to establish a military base in the Middle East, according to members of the Congress. China halted construction of the military base after the US intervened and notified the UAE, which said it was unaware of China’s military objectives.

The UAE also continues to have strong economic ties with China.

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Fierce Sino-American competition criticized – Xinhua Mon, 27 Dec 2021 02:24:10 +0000

Chinese Ambassador to the United States Qin Gang (right) is seen in a broad interview with U.S. media on December 20, 2021. [Photo/]

Collaboration and consensus are good elements to progress, underlines the envoy

China opposes Sino-U.S. Relations being defined as competitive because such a framework overshadows collaboration, and the competition currently pursued by the United States is unfair and is being used to contain China’s development, said the Chinese ambassador to the American Qin gang.

In a broad interview with US media last week, Qin quoted US President Joe Biden’s remarks at his first virtual summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping last month, in which Biden said he hoped to have good results. relations with China and did not want to “spoil” the relationship.

“But the United States defines US-China relations as competition,” Qin said, according to a transcript of the interview released by the Chinese Embassy in Washington on Friday. “We disagree, because using competition to define relationships would overlook cooperation as the mainstream of our relationship, when cooperation was the mainstream for the past 40 years.”

Continuing to compete with each other increases the risk of confrontation and conflict, Qin said in the interview, conducted by Bloomberg New Economy Forum.

“It’s like a hypertensive patient. If their blood pressure continues to rise, it can cause a heart attack or stroke, which will be life threatening. If a hypertensive patient goes to a doctor, the first thing to do is to do is have that pressure lower. “

In March, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken described the US-China relationship as “competitive when they should be, collaborative when they can be, and confrontational when they need to be.” to be “.

Beijing noted that such characterization is a “thinly veiled attempt” to contain and suppress China.

Qin said, “We agree that there is competition between China and the United States, but the competition is not driven by a zero-sum mentality. ‘You lose, I win, or I win, you lose. ‘ It must be fair and healthy. “

Applicable standards

Being “fair” means that both parties must abide by the norms governing international relations, such as internationally recognized rules, and not unilaterally.

Competition should not be seen or presumed to be a failure, Qin said.

“It’s not a modern boxing match. It should be a running match. Both sides can do their best rather than beating the other side on the ground. And both sides can find opportunities for cooperation, grow stronger while allowing the other side to grow and develop. “

But the current competition is unfair because the United States is using competition to contain China’s development, Qin said, citing examples of how Chinese companies have been restricted, how the concept of national security is exaggerated and abused, and how many Chinese companies are delisted or face the fate of being delisted.

He expressed concern over what he called fierce competition and a “violent attack”.

Asked how China and the United States will handle crises in Taiwan to avoid conflict and confrontation, Qin said it is better to prevent crises than to control them.

“If the two countries don’t want war, but want peace, let’s work together to oppose and contain ‘Taiwan independence’.”

The Taiwanese Progressive Democratic Party denies that there is only one China, he said.

“He is provoking confrontation by seeking US support for their independence program, and the US is using Taiwan to contain China. This is how the tension keeps mounting.

“We will do our best for the prospects of peaceful reunification, because we believe that peaceful reunification serves the best interests of the people on both sides of the Strait. But we will never give up non-peaceful means, simply because we are faced with the threat of “Taiwan independence” forces, which we must deter. “

The United States says it doesn’t want a war with China. China calls for peaceful coexistence. Peace or no war is therefore the greatest consensus between China and the United States, the ambassador noted.

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Thousands of Christmas flights canceled as Omicron spreads Sat, 25 Dec 2021 01:54:31 +0000
Credit…Dave Sanders for The New York Times

Thousands of potential travelers received last-minute cancellations of their Christmas flights on Friday and Saturday due to the recent Omicron case spike, including among airline employees.

The number of cancellations worldwide for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day stood at more than 3,800, the Flight Aware website showed, including more than 1,000 in the United States. While cancellations represent a relatively small percentage of the roughly 80,000 arrivals on any given day, they have been a shocking disruption in a holiday season overshadowed by the highly transmissible Omicron variant, which now accounts for more than 70 percent of new coronavirus cases. in the USA. States.

United Airlines on Friday canceled 176 flights of the 4,000 domestic and international flights scheduled to dozens of airports, mainly due to the call from sick crew members, said Joshua Freed, spokesperson for the Chicago-based carrier. . At least 44 other flights on Saturday have already been canceled, he added.

A spokesperson for Delta Air Lines said it had canceled 158 of the 3,100 flights scheduled for Friday, Christmas Eve, one of the busiest travel days of the year. The Atlanta-based airline was exhausting “all options and resources,” including rerouting and replacing planes and crews to cover scheduled flights.

The cancellations were caused by “A combination of issues, including weather and Omicron issues, and Delta expects at least 150 additional cancellations over the weekend,” spokeswoman Kate Modolo said.

Alaska Airlines recorded 17 cancellations on Thursday after a growing number of crew members reported exposure to the virus, but the carrier only needed to cancel nine flights on Friday, according to a spokesperson.

Other airlines, including JetBlue and Allegiant, have followed suit, according to Flight Aware, although American Airlines has said it currently has no flight cancellations.

While most travelers have been able to get to where they’re going, hundreds of people who had anticipated the near-normal first holiday season for years when they booked, scrambled to find alternatives.

Rugs, blankets and pillows littered the floors of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Christmas Eve morning. Impromptu lodgings emptied before sunrise as those who had stayed overnight due to delays and flight cancellations tried to re-let their seats.

Joe Lampkin, a traveler from the Minneapolis area, was waiting near gate D4 early Friday, trying to catch a later morning flight to Seattle, where his family is waiting.

“I hope this one won’t be canceled,” Lampkin said.

At the Atlanta Airport, where Delta is headquartered, a line of about 30 people waited for a help desk in Terminal A, where two Delta employees were trying to sort out problems for passengers whose flights had been flown. been canceled or delayed.

Customers took to social media to voice their grievances over the cancellations.

The United States records nearly 187,000 new cases daily, a 55% increase in the past two weeks, according to the New York Times coronavirus tracker.

Similar problems were occurring around the world as airline staff called for reports of illness or exposure to the virus.

“A large number of our frontline team members are required to test and isolate as close contacts given the increasing number of cases in the general community,” said a representative from Australia-based Jetstar Airways. , which had to cancel around 80 flights.

Staff shortages have affected a range of service industries as the virus continues to spread.

England said this week it is reducing the number of days people have to self-isolate after showing symptoms of Covid-19 to seven days instead of 10 days, a change that officials say could help alleviate shortages. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made a similar decision Thursday, although the change only applies to health workers.

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China Lobbying Against MCC | Nepalese time Thu, 23 Dec 2021 07:36:03 +0000

A A US $ 500 million grant to modernize Nepal’s infrastructure at first glance appears to be delayed due to domestic politics. But the real reason seems to be Beijing’s opposition to the project and its pressure on politicians not to implement the project.

Sources say the Chinese government has shown unusual interest in the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) project as Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba prepares to present it for approval in the winter session of parliament, despite opposition coalition partners.

On December 22, Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi hastily visited the Balkot residence of former opposition UML Prime Minister KP Oli. Oli and Deuba support the American project, and some see this meeting on the MCC even triggering a breakdown of the government coalition.

On December 13, Vice Minister Chen Zhou of the Communist Party of China (CPC) International Department held a video conference with newly elected UML General Secretary Shankar Pokharel.

Pokharel reportedly assured Zhou that his party would not allow activities that could harm Sino-Nepalese relations. UML’s Bishnu Rijal confirmed that Zhou’s appeal was for MCC, but added ambiguously, “He must have had questions about development projects being undertaken by China’s neighboring country.

Missing links in the MCC debate in Nepal, Jeevan R Sharma and David Seddon

Zhou had a similar conversation with Madhav Kumar Nepal of the United Socialists who also reportedly reiterated his opposition to anti-Chinese activities in Nepal. Nepal has publicly stated that it will reject MCC if it can affect relations with neighboring countries.

CCP officials also held virtual meetings with Pushpa Kamal Dahal of the Maoist Center, who made no secret of his opposition to the MCC.

A government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “There is no doubt that China does not want the MCC to go ahead, it has already told top political leaders. . ”

Chairman Agni Prasad Sapkota of the Maoist Center, which is close to Beijing, said the MCC would not advance under his leadership. His predecessor Krishna Bahadur Mahara publicly admitted that he had stopped ratifying the MCC because he was anti-Chinese.

“China has already sent the message that it will not stand idly by if development activities in Nepal undermine its interests here,” former Nepalese Ambassador to Beijing Mahendra Bahadur Pandey said. Nepalese time. “China has been concerned about the MCC from the very beginning and views it with suspicion. ”

MCC: Damned If We Do It, Damn If We Don’t, Nepali Times

China’s objection to MCC is most clearly expressed in the editorials. Wang Yiwei, professor of international relations at Renmin University, in an interview with last October called the MCC an “American ploy”.

Diplomatic affairs expert Geja Sharma Wagle said that besides the Americans, Nepal must also balance the interests of its neighbors, India and China. He said, “It is in the interest of Nepal to implement both the US MCC and Chinese BRI projects according to our national needs.

Many analysts see the MCC as the United States’ response to the Beijing Belt-Road Initiative (BRI) which promotes connectivity and infrastructure to foster Chinese influence and commerce in the region.

In addition to Dahal’s CPN (Maoist Center) and Nepal’s CPN (Unified Socialist), other coalition members Janata Samajwadi Party and Rastriya Janamorcha are also opposed to the US grant. Even the right-wing Hindu party Rastriya Prajatantra recently spoke out against it.

Deuba called an all-party meeting this week to discuss the MCC, but Oli did not show up. Representatives of other parties reiterated their opposition to the pact in its current form. Jhala Nath Khanal of the United Socialists has once again been appointed a member of a committee to further study the MCC deal.

Dahal and Nepal used KP Oli’s support for the MCC against him in a bitter power struggle that not only divided the Communist Party of Nepal, but also the UML. They were so successful in generating public opinion against the MCC, saying it was an American strategy against China, that they are struggling to support it now, especially with an election a year from now. Dahal is also concerned about his general convention of the Maoist Center.

At the height of internal political struggles last year, Chinese Ambassador Hou Yanqi lobbied unsuccessfully for the Nepalese Communists to remain united. Now that KP Oli is in the opposition, he is not so openly pro-MCC, but sees it as a weapon to take revenge on Deuba and Dahal by dividing their coalition – even if it means forging an alliance with the NC.

Nepal signed the MCC deal in Washington in 2017 when Deuba led a similar NC-Maoist coalition. The United States has repeatedly stated that the project is a grant Nepal qualifies for and has no strings attached. MCC Vice President Fatima Sumar and US Deputy Secretary of State Donald Lu recently visited Nepal and reportedly gave Deuba an ultimatum to have parliament ratified by the end of this year.

Experts say MCC is important for expanding Nepal’s power grid in the future with 400 kVA transmission lines which can also enable Nepal to export more excess electricity to India. Nepal will produce 4,500 MW of hydropower over the next three years, and over 12,000 MW by 2030, and much of it is at risk of wasted if it cannot be delivered to load centers.

In monetary terms, Nepal’s power producers could lose at least Rs 142 billion per year. This is why energy experts say Nepal should start working on the transmission lines immediately, even if the MCC does not move forward.

While the bulk of the $ 500 million project is aimed at upgrading transmission lines, it will also improve road connectivity in central Nepal to boost economic growth.

Also read: The cost of not having MCC, Nepali Times

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China to impose reciprocal sanctions on four US citizens Tue, 21 Dec 2021 12:12:00 +0000

Zhao Lijian Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

China has decided to impose sanctions on four US individuals as a reciprocal countermeasure against US sanctions against officials in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (northwest China) on baseless charges of alleged issue rights in the region, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

According to the Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law, China will take reciprocal countermeasures against four American individuals, including Nadine Maenza, president of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), Nury Turkel, vice president USCIRF commissioner Anurima Bhargava and USCIRF commissioner James W. Carr said spokesperson Zhao Lijian during a regular media briefing on Tuesday.

The United States has imposed illegal sanctions on Chinese officials under the pretext of alleged human rights issues related to Chinese Xinjiang. China strongly opposes and strongly condemns this decision which has seriously interfered with China’s internal affairs. It is a serious violation of the principles of international law and of the fundamental norms governing international relations; this may seriously damage bilateral relations, Zhao said.

The countermeasures include that the aforementioned persons will be barred from entering China, including the mainland, Hong Kong and Macau, that their assets in China would be frozen, and that Chinese citizens and institutions would be prohibited from doing business with. them, according to Zhao.

Zhao pointed out that Xinjiang-related matters are purely China’s internal affairs, and the United States does not have the right to arbitrarily interfere in related matters. China has urged the United States to lift the so-called sanctions and stop interfering in Xinjiang-related affairs and other internal Chinese affairs. China will provide further responses as the situation evolves, Zhao said.

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