US forcing Beijing to accelerate South China Sea deployments, People’s Daily says

In this undated file photo released on Aug. 6, 2016, by China's Xinhua News Agency, two Chinese SU-30 fighter jets take off from an unspecified location to fly a patrol over the South China Sea. (AP)
Updated 22 January 2018
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US forcing Beijing to accelerate South China Sea deployments, People’s Daily says

BEIJING: China’s top newspaper, decrying Washington as a trouble-maker, said on Monday US moves in the South China Sea like last week’s freedom of navigation operation will only cause China to strengthen its deployments in the disputed waterway.
China’s foreign ministry said the USS Hopper destroyer came within 12 nautical miles of Huangyan island, which is better known as the Scarborough Shoal and is subject to a rival claim by the Philippines, a historic ally of the United States.
It was the latest US naval operation challenging extensive Chinese claims in the South China Sea and came even as President Donald Trump’s administration seeks Chinese cooperation in dealing with North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs.
The ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily said in a commentary that, with the situation generally improving in the South China Sea, it was clear that the United States was the one militarising the region.
“Against this backdrop of peace and cooperation, a US ship wantonly provoking trouble is singleminded to the point of recklessness,” the paper said.
“If the relevant party once more makes trouble out of nothing and causes tensions, then it will only cause China to reach this conclusion: in order to earnestly protect peace in the South China Sea, China must strengthen and speed up the building of its abilities there,” it said.
The commentary was published under the pen name “Zhong Sheng,” meaning “Voice of China,” which is often used to give the paper’s view on foreign policy issues.
The Scarborough Shoal is located within the Philippines’ 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone but an international tribunal in 2016 ruled that it is a traditional fishing ground that no one country has sole rights to exploit.
The US military says it carries out “freedom of navigation” operations throughout the world, including in areas claimed by allies, and that they are separate from political considerations.
The Pentagon has not commented directly on the latest patrol but said such operations are routine.


Over 400 Afghan women aim to break male stranglehold on Parliament

Updated 18 October 2018
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Over 400 Afghan women aim to break male stranglehold on Parliament

  • Of 2,691 candidates vying for seats in Afghanistan's parliament, more than 400 are women
  • Their aims are to encourage a consensus among female members of Parliament and to end the reliance on factional leaders and strongmen with power and wealth

KABUL: For women in Afghanistan’s Parliament, what a difference a year makes.

Last December, the government proposed 12 candidates for ministerial positions; only one was female, and she failed to win enough votes.

Now hundreds of women aim to be agents of change by standing for Parliament in elections on Saturday.

More than 400 of the 2,691 candidates are women. Their aims are to encourage a consensus among female members of Parliament and to end the reliance on factional leaders and strongmen with power and wealth.

“The young and new candidates are a powerful tool to make Parliament exercise its rights as stipulated in the constitution,” said Zahra Nawabi, 28, a candidate from Kabul who has two master’s degrees.

“Our priority should be women, first and foremost addressing their health. Parliament should not become a source of shame for the nation.”

The practice of wealthy figures and men with power supporting their own choice of female nominees was a greater threat to Afghan democracy than the threatened attacks on the election process by Taliban insurgents, she said.

“The government needs to intervene to stop this, otherwise the next Parliament could be worse than the current one.”

Shinkay Karokhail, who was elected as an MP in 2005, was re-elected in 2010 and is standing again, admitted that female MPs had failed to form a powerful bloc in Parliament. Some of them regarded themselves “as extra-ordinary,” she said, and it was too early to say whether any of the new batch of candidates would be an improvement.