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Posts tagged ‘Poilace Vivid’

Japan sets Emperor Akihito’s abdication date for April 30, 2019

By Daniel Uria

Nov. 30, 2017

Nov. 30 (UPI) — Japan’s Imperial House Council set a date for when Emperor Akihito will step down and open a path for his son to succeed him.

The panel, led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, announced Friday Akihito, 83, will abdicate on April 30, 2019, and his 57-year-old son Crown Prince Naruhito will succeed him on May 1.

The Japanese Cabinet approved a bill granting Akihito to power abdicate in May of this year, after he curtailed public appearances due to his declining health.

The Imperial House Council, which consists of politicians, the judiciary and Imperial family members, initially considered setting the abdication date for December 2018, but delayed it to April to avoid scheduling issues with important year-end and New Year Imperial events.

Akihito’s younger son, Prince Akishino, was replaced on the panel by the emperor’s brother, Prince Hitachi, because he will become first in line to the throne after his father’s abdication.

Japan’s constitution defines the emperor as “the symbol of the state” and the position holds no political power.

Source: United Press International (UPI).

Link: https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2017/11/30/Japan-sets-Emperor-Akihitos-abdication-date-for-April-30-2019/3261512101215/.

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China to deploy ‘Night Tigers’ to Syria in support of Assad’s forces

29 November, 2017

China will deploy troops to Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, as the East Asian country becomes increasingly concerned about the presence of Islamic militants in its far western region of Xinjiang.

The Chinese Ministry of Defense intends to send two units known as the “Tigers of Siberia” and the “Night Tigers” from the Special Operations Forces to aid regime troops against militant factions, New Khaleej reported, citing informed sources.

Some 5,000 ethnic Uighurs from China’s violence-prone region of Xinjiang are fighting in various militant groups in Syria, the Syrian ambassador to China said earlier this year.

Chinese state media has blamed violence in Xinjiang on extremists who were trained in Syria.

Hundreds of people have been killed in Xinjiang in the past few years, most in unrest between Uighurs and ethnic majority Han Chinese. The government blames the unrest on Islamist militants who want a separate state called East Turkestan.

Uighurs themselves complain of discrimination and say their traditional and religious way of life is being eroded by Chinese domestic policy and an influx of settlers from elsewhere in China.

China has said that “East Turkestan terrorist forces” had posed several threats against the government.

Assad has previously praised “crucial cooperation” between Syria and Chinese intelligence against Uighur militants, adding ties with China were “on the rise”.

Chinese military personnel have been on the ground in Syria since at least last year, training Syrian forces to use China-made weapons.

China has also joined Russia in blocking resolutions critical of the regime at the United Nations Security Council, as one of the five vetoing powers on the panel.

Source: The New Arab.

Link: https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2017/11/29/china-to-deploy-night-tigers-to-syria.

1st panda born in France gets name from China, first lady

December 04, 2017

BEAUVAL, France (AP) — France’s first baby panda has a name four months after his birth: Chinese dignitaries and French first lady Brigitte Macron chose Yuan Meng, which fittingly means “the realization of a wish” or “accomplishment of a dream.”

A naming ceremony held Monday at the Beauval Zoo south of Paris was an important diplomatic moment, but the young male panda had other priorities. Yuan Meng growled and jumped when zoo director Rodolphe Delord reached over his glass-walled enclosure to offer a pet.

The first lady, who was standing next to Delord, recoiled slightly, but with a smile. Yuan Meng’s parents are on loan to Beauval from China, and the cub will be sent to a Chinese panda reserve when he is weaned.

Tradition holds that China retains the right to name panda cubs born in captivity. Brigitte Macron — considered the panda’s “godmother” — officially announced the name. Over 100 reporters attended the ceremony.

“Yuan Meng and his parents represent the bond between the countries which have a lot to share,” Macron said, who was making her first official remarks since President Emmanuel Macron took office. The pandas “are the illustration of an always productive dialogue between our two people, who for centuries have looked at each other, listened to each other and understood each other,” the first lady said.

Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Zhang Yesui read a message from China’s first lady, Peng Liyuan. “The birth of the baby panda is a symbol of the bright prospects of the Franco-Chinese relationship. I express the sincere hope that little Yuan Meng grows up in the best conditions, that he brings happiness to the French people, especially to the French children,” the message said.

There are about 1,800 pandas living in the wild in China and about 400 in captivity worldwide. Baptiste Mulot, chief veterinarian at the Beauval Zoo, said Yuan Meng has learned to move on all fours and “he’s starting to behave really like a child, so he tries to escape from where he’s supposed to be.”

The cub was pink and hairless when he was born, weighing just 142 grams (5 ounces.) He spent much of his first month in an incubator. Now, he weighs 8 kilograms (almost 18 pounds) and his fur has the black and white coloring for which patches are known.

Yuan Meng’s mother, 9-year-old Huan Huan, was artificially inseminated with sperm from partner Yuan Zi this spring. Both are at Beauval on a 10-year loan from China, and their offspring officially belong to the Chinese government.

Indifferent to the excitement at the zoo on Monday, they slept during their child’s naming ceremony. Yuan Zi will probably never meet his son, since the zoo tries to respect the habits of animals in the wild.

China for decades gifted friendly nations with its unofficial national mascot in what was known as “panda diplomacy.” More recently the country has loaned pandas to zoos on commercial terms.

With tensions high, Trump, Abe strengthen bond on the links

November 05, 2017

TOKYO (AP) — With a round of golf, a custom cap and a hamburger of American beef, President Donald Trump’s first trip to Asia began with a taste of home. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomed Trump to Japan Sunday with an effusive display of friendship that, in the days ahead, will give way to high-stakes diplomacy. The two leaders, who have struck up an unlikely but easy rapport, shared a casual lunch and played nine holes at the Kasumigaseki Country Club, joined by professional golfer Hideki Matsuyama.

The low-key agenda was a prelude to the formal talks, a press conference and state dinner planned in Tokyo Monday. Abe will be looking for a united front against North Korea and reassurances that the U.S. will stand by its treaty obligations to defend Japan if attacked.

Eager to forge a bond with Tokyo’s crucial ally, Abe was one of the first world leaders to court President-elect Trump. He was the first to call Trump after the election, and rushed to New York days later to meet the president-elect and present him with a pricey, gold Honma golf driver. The two men also met on the sidelines of an international summit in Italy this spring and Trump hosted Abe in Florida. White House officials said Trump has spoken with Abe by phone more than any world leader, aside from British Prime Minister Theresa May.

That bond was clear on Sunday. “The relationship is really extraordinary. We like each other and our countries like each other,” Trump said Sunday night before dinner with Abe, who for this meal did show Trump traditional cuisine with a teppanyaki dinner. “And I don’t think we’ve ever been closer to Japan than we are right now.”

Trump and Abe also exchanged glowing tweets about their golf. Trump dubbed Abe and Matsuyama “wonderful people,” while Abe called it a “round of golf with a marvelous friend.” Abe told reporters after the golf session that the two could talk frankly in a relaxed atmosphere while out on the course. He said they were able to “carry out in depth discussion, at times touching on various difficult issues.” A senior White House official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, said the pair had discussed trade and North Korea — but didn’t keep score.

From the time Marine One landed on the Kasumigaseki Country Club’s driving range, Abe rolled out little touches to make Trump feel welcome. He presented a hat that had a version of Trump’s campaign theme, this time reading “Donald and Shinzo: Make Alliance Even Greater.” The two passed up the region’s famed Kobe beef in favor of the American version, which is favored by Trump, a famed picky eater.

When Trump hosted Abe in Palm Beach earlier this year, they played at one of Trump’s Florida golf courses. For that outing, Trump brought along pro golfer Ernie Els, so this time Abe matched him by bringing along Matsuyama, whom Trump described on the plane ride to Asia as “probably the greatest player in the history of Japan.” Abe was behind the wheel of a golf cart as the two men were spotted moving from hole to hole, Trump in the passenger seat smiling and waving at those they passed.

“From the point of view of Abe administration, the personal chemistry that exists between the two leaders is seen as an asset,” said Mireya Sollis, chair in Japan Studies for the Brookings Center for East Asia Policy Studies. She said that the Japanese believe it is already “seeing it pay off,” including when Trump agreed to meet with the families of Japanese citizens kidnapped by the North Korean regime, an important issue for Tokyo.

Ever since Saudi Arabia delivered a lavish welcome on Trump’s first international trip, leaders have tried to outdo themselves to impress the president, who has proven susceptible to flattery. Before the game, Trump delivered a speech in which he hailed Japan as a “crucial ally” and warned adversaries not to test America’s resolve.

“Japan is a treasured partner and crucial ally of the United States and today we thank them for welcoming us and for decades of wonderful friendship between our two nations,” Trump told American and Japanese service members at Yokota Air Base on the outskirts of Tokyo.

Though Trump did not mention North Korea by name during the speech, the spectre of its weapons program will loom large throughout Trump’s five-nation Asia trip. The president warned of the consequences of crossing what he called the “most fearsome fighting force in the history of our world.”

“Together with our allies, America’s warriors are prepared to defend our nation using the full range of our unmatched capabilities. No one — no dictator, no regime and no nation — should underestimate, ever, American resolve,” he told the troops.

And while there is worry in the region about Trump’s unpredictable response to the threat posed by Kim Jong Un, Trump made clear he did not intend to tone down his bellicose rhetoric — including dubbing Kim Jong Un as “Little Rocket Man” — even while in an Asian capital within reach of the North Korea dictator’s missiles.

“There’s been 25 years of total weakness, so we are taking a very much different approach,” he said, speaking to reporters on Air Force One. Trump will also meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of an upcoming summit in Vietnam.

The easy rapport with Japan could be strained if Trump takes an aggressive approach on trade or the two men disagree on how best to approach the threat looming in Pyongyang. During his campaign, Trump suggested Japan should acquire its own nuclear weapons to defend itself, hinted the U.S. might not come to the nation’s defense, and accused Japan of “killing us” on trade. He has dropped that antagonist language almost entirely since the election, but tensions remain.

Scott Seaman, a director for Asia of the Eurasia Group, a political risk consultant organization, noted: “everything is fine with Trump until you tell him no. So far, Abe hasn’t told him no.”

Colvin reported from Tokyo. Associated Press writers Ken Moritsugu, James Armstrong and Mari Yamaguchi contributed to this report.

South Korea will not develop nuclear weapons: president

By Jung Ha-Won

Seoul (AFP)

Nov 1, 2017

South Korea will not develop atomic weapons of its own despite the threat from the nuclear-armed North, President Moon Jae-In declared Wednesday.

“A push by North Korea to become a nuclear state cannot be accepted or tolerated,” Moon said in an address to parliament. “We also will not develop or own nuclear” arms.

In recent months Pyongyang has carried out its sixth nuclear test — its most powerful by far — and launched missiles apparently capable of reaching much of the US mainland, raising concerns in Seoul about its security alliance with Washington.

South Korean media and opposition politicians have called for US tactical nuclear weapons, which were withdrawn from the peninsula in the 1990s, to be returned.

Some have suggested that if Washington does not agree — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis expressed doubts about the concept in a visit at the weekend — Seoul should develop a nuclear capability of its own, in order to ensure what they dub a “balance of terror” on the peninsula.

But Moon said in his address that Seoul’s approach would be “based on the joint declaration to denuclearize the Korean peninsula declared by both Koreas” in 1992.

Then the two Koreas agreed not to develop nuclear arsenal on the flashpoint peninsula, and two years later the North forged an aid-for-denuclearisation deal with the US.

The 1994 deal fell apart in 2002 when the North walked out and resumed its atomic weapons program after Washington raised suspicions Pyongyang was secretly pursuing nuclear arms.

Pyongyang carried out its first atomic test in 2006, and has made significant progress in its weapons technology under current leader Kim Jong-Un, who has overseen four atomic blasts and numerous missile tests since inheriting power in 2011.

– ‘Tragic history’ –

The North hails its nuclear arsenal as a “treasured sword” to protect itself from potential invasion by its “imperialist enemy” the US, but has threatened to bracket the US Pacific island of Guam with missiles.

Kim and Donald Trump have also traded personal insults in recent months, sparking concerns of a conflict on the peninsula where the 1950-53 Korean War left millions dead.

Tensions escalated further as Trump warned of “fire and fury” against the North and a “calm before the storm”.

But Moon insisted there could be no US military action without Seoul’s agreement, saying Koreans had to “determine the fate of our nation ourselves”.

“There should be no military action on the peninsula without our prior consent,” he said.

“We will not repeat the tragic history like colonialisation and division during which the fate of our nation was determined regardless of our will,” he added.

Japan colonized the peninsula from 1910 to 1945, and after Tokyo’s surrender ended the Second World War it was divided into separate zones of occupation by Russia and the US.

Even some Trump advisers say US military options are limited when any armed conflict on the peninsula is expected to cause massive casualties.

The South’s capital Seoul is home to 10 million people and only about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the border, within range of Pyongyang’s artillery.

One study by the Nautilus think-tank in California estimated around 65,000 civilians would die in Seoul alone on the first day of a conventional North Korean attack.

Trump is scheduled to visit Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines during his first Asia trip this month, with all eyes on his message to the North and Kim.

How to curb the North’s threats is expected to top the agenda when Trump visits the South — a key Asian ally of Washington’s, which hosts 28,500 US troops — for a summit with Moon on November 7.

Source: Space War.

Link: http://www.spacewar.com/reports/South_Korea_will_not_develop_nuclear_weapons_president_999.html.

Japan PM Abe begins new term with vow to increase North Korea pressure

By Hiroshi HIYAMA

Tokyo (AFP)

Nov 1, 2017

A newly re-elected Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Wednesday pledged increasing pressure on North Korea to force the nuclear-armed country to the negotiating table, days before a visit by US President Donald Trump expected to be dominated by the threat from Pyongyang.

Kicking off a fresh term in office after he was formally re-elected by parliament, Abe hailed his recent thumping election victory as a means to further squeeze a North Korean regime that has alarmed the region with missile launches and a sixth nuclear test in recent months.

“A strong mandate from the people is a source of strong diplomacy,” Abe told a press conference Wednesday, adding that a tough line could persuade Pyongyang to ask for negotiations.

“When President Trump visits Japan, we will spend sufficient time analyzing the latest North Korean issues and discussing ways to deal with them,” Abe said.

Signs of any message by Trump to the North will be closely watched during his Asian tour, which begins at the weekend and will see him visit Tokyo from Sunday through Tuesday. Trump will also visit South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

During his election campaign Abe, a staunch conservative, stressed the need for strong leadership to deal with what he called Japan’s “twin crises”: a shrinking birth rate and the actions of a belligerent and nuclear-armed North Korea, which has sent missiles over northern Japan in recent months.

– Abe’s super majority –

Abe’s conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) swept to a two-thirds “super majority” in the 465-seat lower house on October 22. He was reinstated as premier by a huge majority Wednesday and then reappointed all of his cabinet ministers.

The 63-year-old is now on track to become Japan’s longest-serving premier.

Abe now has the parliamentary numbers to start a process to change Japan’s pacifist constitution — an ambition he has long cherished.

But he told reporters he will move cautiously on the divisive issue, saying that he will first seek an open discussion on the subject.

Abe also said he will improve the nation’s productivity, offer free early childhood education and expand childcare support.

Despite his October poll victory, Abe’s popularity ratings are relatively low and most observers attribute his election success to a weak and fractured opposition.

The main opposition party, the Democratic Party (DP), effectively disbanded after Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike launched a new conservative group and vowed to do away with “old school politics”.

Several DP lawmakers defected to Koike’s new “Party of Hope” and the more left-leaning MPs formed a new party, the Constitutional Democrats.

In the end, Koike’s support imploded, mainly because she failed to stand herself in the election — confusing voters who did not know who would be premier if she won.

The Party of Hope finished with a mere 50 seats while the Constitutional Democrats won 55.

They were both dwarfed by Abe’s conservative coalition, which secured 313 lower house seats, obtaining the “super majority” required to change the constitution.

Source: Space War.

Link: http://www.spacewar.com/reports/Japan_PM_Abe_begins_new_term_with_vow_to_increase_North_Korea_pressure_999.html.

As China aims for ‘world-class army’, Asia starts to worry

By Ludovic EHRET

Beijing (AFP)

Nov 1, 2017

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s pledge to build a “world-class army” by 2050 is making his neighbors nervous, but analysts say Beijing’s military ambitions do not constitute a strategic threat — for now.

With purchases and construction of fighter jets, ships and hi-tech weaponry, China’s military budget has grown steadily for 30 years, but remains three times smaller than that of the United States.

Now, Beijing wants to catch up.

“We should strive to fully transform the people’s armed forces into a world-class military by the mid-21st century,” Xi told 2,300 delegates of the Chinese Communist Party, which he heads and which controls the army.

The comments, made during the party’s twice-a-decade congress, were aimed in part at domestic nationalists, but also intended to show other countries “China’s desire to be strong economically as well as militarily,” said James Char, a military analyst at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University.

During China’s so-called Century of Humiliation, starting around the mid-19th century, the country lost almost every war it fought, and was often forced to give major concessions in subsequent treaties.

“That’s why China, more than any other country, dreams of a strong army. Not to bully other countries, but to defend ourselves,” said Ni Lexiong from Shanghai University of Political Science and Law.

– Worried neighbors –

But Xi’s call to build a military that can “fight and win” has alarmed China’s neighbors, several of whom are embroiled in tense border disputes with the superpower.

This summer India and China engaged in a bitter, weeks-long military confrontation over a disputed area in the Himalayas.

Japan regularly faces off with Chinese maritime patrols close to the Senkaku islands, which are called the Diaoyu in Mandarin and claimed by Beijing.

And Beijing asserts sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea, despite rival claims from countries including Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia.

Beijing has reclaimed islands it controls in the sea in order to cement its claims and installed military aircraft and missile systems on them, causing tensions to spiral in recent years.

“Chinese activities are a security concern for the region encompassing Japan and for the international community,” said a recent Japanese defense report.

“It is incontestable that the country’s rise as a military power is setting off an arms race in Asia,” said Juliette Genevaz, China researcher at the France-based Military School Strategic Research Institute.

“This arms race in Asia has several causes,” she said, noting North Korea’s nuclear weapons program as one of the contributors.

But, “China’s military build-up and reclaiming activities in the South China Sea is a major factor.”

China’s military expenditure in 2016 was an estimated $215 billion, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, putting it in first place in Asia, well ahead of India ($56 billion), Japan ($46 billion) and South Korea ($37 billion).

The country has not participated in any conflict since a month-long border war against Vietnam in 1979 that killed tens of thousands of people and a 1988 skirmish, also with Hanoi, over the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, that left 64 dead.

But it has been busy boosting its military activities abroad.

This year, Beijing opened its first foreign military base, in Djibouti. Since 2008, its navy has participated in anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden.

The country is the largest contributor to United Nations peacekeeping operations among the permanent members of the security council, with some 2,500 soldiers and military experts deployed.

The moves are all part of a larger, decades-long effort to modernize the country’s military, which had become riddled with corruption, incompetence and waste.

– ‘Absolute control’ –

But while Xi flexed his muscles at the head of China’s central military commission during his first term, he is likely to observe more caution in future, having consolidated his power base by bringing down two of the country’s highest-ranking army officers for corruption, said James Char.

He also reaffirmed the party’s “absolute control” over the army during the recently concluded congress.

“Now that it’s done, he does not need to risk an external crisis any more. Therefore, we can reasonably expect Beijing will conduct less coercive diplomacy in the near- to medium-term,” Char said.

“The Chinese military will continue to operate further and further away from China’s shores, and probably also establish more overseas bases,” he added.

But, while it will continue to aggressively defend its own territorial claims, “it will likely act cautiously abroad and will not engage in overseas constabulary missions such as those carried out by the US military in Iraq or Afghanistan for example.”

Source: Space War.

Link: http://www.spacewar.com/reports/As_China_aims_for_world-class_army_Asia_starts_to_worry_999.html.

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