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China says hard to proceed on trade with US putting ‘knife to its neck’

Agencies

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Beijing : Asian stocks joined a global stock sell-off on Tuesday as an escalating trade fight between the United States and other major economies steered investors away from riskier assets, with markets in China bearing the brunt of investor worries.
“If this continues, it will destroy in an instant the gains of the last four decades of China-U.S. relations,” Wang told members of the U.S.-China Business Council and National Committee on United States-China Relations.
U.S. representatives there included Blackstone Group LP co-founder and Chief Executive Stephen Schwarzman and Mastercard Inc Chief Executive Ajay Banga, the National Committee on United States-China Relations said on its website. Neither Washington nor Beijing looks to be in the mood to compromise in the increasingly bitter dispute, raising the risk of a lengthy battle that could chill investment and disrupt global trade.
U.S. tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods and retaliatory taxes by Beijing on $60 billion worth of U.S. products including liquefied natural gas (LNG) kicked in on Monday as the trade dispute between the world’s two biggest economies escalated, unnerving global financial markets.China also accused the United States of engaging in “trade bullyism”, and said Washington was intimidating other countries to submit to its will, according to a white paper on the dispute published by China’s State Council, or cabinet, on Monday.
“The sharp criticism (from Beijing on Monday) suggests that China might prefer to wait out the current U.S. administration, rather than embarking on potentially futile negotiations,” Mizuho Bank said in a note to clients. “Given these developments, it is increasingly likely that both sides will not resume negotiations for some time, at least until there is a noticeable shift in the political mood on either side.”
Several rounds of Sino-U.S. talks in recent months have appeared to produce no breakthroughs and fresh negotiations which had been expected in coming weeks have been cancelled after Beijing reportedly decided late last week not to send a delegation to Washington.
One cannot say that all previous trade discussions have been useless, but the United States has abandoned its mutual understanding with China, Wang said. China does not know why the United States has changed its mind after reaching an agreement with China on trade earlier, Wang said, apparently referring to talks in May when it appeared briefly that a framework had been sorted out.
U.S. exporters including LNG suppliers would “certainly” be hurt, but Beijing’s retaliation would provide opportunities to other LNG-exporting countries, Wang said, adding that Australia is an important source of the fuel for China. “China is a big and powerful nation, so whether it is a confrontation with China economically or militarily, it would come at a huge price,” the state-backed Global Times wrote in an editorial on Tuesday. “As such, it is an attractive prospect for other countries including the United States to coexist with China peacefully,” said the newspaper, which is published by the ruling Communist Party’s People’s Daily. (Reporting by Yawen Chen and Se Young Lee Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard, Lusha Zhang and Cheng Fang Writing by Ryan Woo Editing by Eric Meijer and Kim Coghill)


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International

India asks China to be sensitive to its concerns

Sakeena Banday

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New Delhi: Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale held talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and discussed the progress in bilateral ties since the Wuhan summit last year and said both sides were implementing the decisions in a manner in which “we are sensitive to each other’s concerns”.

His meeting with Wang, who is also the State Councillor, a high-level post in the hierarchy of the ruling Communist Party of China, took place as both the countries grappled with a host of issues, including Beijing’s continued attempts block efforts list Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammed chief Masood Azhar as global terrorist by the United Nations.

In his opening remarks, Gokhale said it has been year since Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping met at the Chinese city of Wuhan where the two leaders reached many understandings.

 

He said both sides were making efforts to implement the understandings reached at the Wuhan meeting.

“As your excellency said we will work together with the Chinese side to deepen understanding to strengthen trust to implement the decisions that are taken by leaders and to do it in a manner in which we are sensitive to each other’s concerns,” he said.

He also referred to the “brisk” political exchanges since the Wuhan summit, including Wang’s visit to New Delhi to launch people to people mechanism and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is “looking forward to come to China this year”.

Gokhale, who arrived in Beijing on Sunday is also scheduled to hold detailed talks with Chinese vice foreign minister Kong Xuanyou on Monday.

In his opening remarks, Wang said China and India are two emerging market countries besides neighbours and “each other’s strategic partners.”

“In that sense, it is important for the two countries to work together to increase strategic communication, deepen mutual political trust and strengthen strategic cooperation on international and regional issues.

“Given that it is timely and important for you to have regular consultations with the Chinese side,” he said.

One of the issues that was expected to figure during this round talk was China’s continued attempts block efforts list JeM chief Azhar as global terrorist by the UN.

China blocked Azhar’s designation for the fourth-time recently stalling efforts by the United States, the United Kingdom, France move at the 1267 UN counter terrorism committee following the February Pulwama terrorist attack. It was the first technical hold put up by China post Wuhan summit.

Also, India continues to have strong reservations to join China’s mega Belt and Road Initiative due to its objections over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as it is being laid through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Both the issues have become major irritants in the bilateral ties.

In order to counter China’s technical hold in the 1267 committee, the US, the UK and France have taken the Azhar issue to the UN Security Council, which Beijing firmly opposed, saying that it should be resolved by the UN’s 1267 Sanctions Committee.

China also said the issue moved towards settlement and accused the US of attempting to scuttling its resolution.

Gokhale’s visit also coincides with China holding its biggest international event, the second Belt and Road Forum next week to showcase its BRI projects.

India, like the first BRF held in 2017, is reportedly not attending its second edition being held here from April 25-27.

Foreign Minister Wang said on Friday that differences over the BRI would not come in the way of the development of India-China relations and China is preparing for a Wuhan-style summit meeting this year.

He also said the CPEC is an economic project and has nothing to do with the sovereignty issues.

“One of our differences is how to look at the BRI. The Indian side has their concerns. We understand that and that is why we have stated clearly on many occasions that the BRI including the CPEC is only an economic initiative and it does not target any third country and has nothing to do with the sovereign and territorial disputes left from history between any two countries,” he said.

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Interpol offers Lanka help to probe Easter blasts

Agencies

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Colombo: The Interpol on Monday said it is ready to offer full support to the Sri Lankan authorities in investigating the country’s deadliest terror attack that killed 290 people in a series of eight blasts that tore through churches and luxury hotels in the country.

Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock in a Twitter message said, “Interpol strongly condemns the horrific attacks and has offered its full support to the investigation being carried out by national authorities.” Paris-based Interpol is an organisation which facilitates worldwide police cooperation. Stock said Interpol can deploy an Incident Response Team at the request of a member country to provide on-site support during a crisis situation.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the victims,” he tweeted. Eight coordinated explosions targeted Easter worshippers and high end hotels popular with international guests.

 

The blasts targeted St Anthony’s Church in Colombo, St Sebastian’s Church in the western coastal town of Negombo and another church in the eastern town of Batticaloa as the Easter Sunday mass were in progress. Three explosions were reported from the five-star hotels – the Shangri-La, the Cinnamon Grand and the Kingsbury.

According to the Government Analysts Department, a total of seven suicide bombers carried out the devastating blasts killed 290 people and injured 500 others.There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but police on Monday arrested 24 people and declined to give further details.

The blasts – the deadliest attacks in the country’s history shattered a decade of peace in the island nation since the end of the brutal civil war with the LTTE.

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International

IS says it’s behind attack on security building in Saudi Arabia

Agencies

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Riyadh: The militant Islamic State (IS) group says it was behind an attack the previous day on a Saudi security building in the town of Zulfi in which all four gunmen were killed and three security officers were wounded.

The kingdom’s state-run al-Ekhbariya news channel had reported that police foiled Sunday’s attempted attack. Zulfi is about 250 kilometres north of the capital, Riyadh.

Videos circulating on social media show dead gunmen with machine guns and explosive devices.

 

The IS-linked Aamaq news agency released a video on Monday of the four alleged “martyrdom-seekers” behind the attack. It’s unclear when the footage was filmed.

In the video, one man criticises the Saudi royal family and says the attack is to avenge Muslims imprisoned in the kingdom, Syria and Iraq.

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