Chinese president Xi to attend Russia regional summit, North Korea’s Kim invited

Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend a regional economic summit in Russia next week hosted by President Vladimir Putin. (AFP)
Updated 07 September 2018
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Chinese president Xi to attend Russia regional summit, North Korea’s Kim invited

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has invited Kim Jong Un to participate in the September 11-13 Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok

BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend a regional summit in Russia next week, officials said Friday, joining the prime ministers of Japan and South Korea at a gathering to which North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was invited.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has invited Kim to participate in the September 11-13 Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok.
Kim has not confirmed his attendance, but his participation would mark another major step in his efforts to bring Pyongyang out of international isolation over its nuclear weapons program.
At a press briefing to announce Xi’s visit, Chinese officials would not comment on whether Xi planned to meet with other leaders during the summit.
“Should we have any proposals from other countries, China will positively consider” them, assistant foreign minister Zhang Hanhui told reporters.
Kim and Xi met three times in China this year as the two countries seek to repair relations frayed by North Korea’s nuclear activities and Beijing’s backing of United Nations sanctions against its Cold War-era ally.
Xi is sending the head of China’s rubber-stamp legislature, Li Zhanshu, to Pyongyang this weekend to attend celebrations marking North Korea’s 70th anniversary, ending speculation that the Chinese president would use the occasion to make his first official trip to the neighboring country.
In the latest chapter in the roller-coaster diplomacy over North Korea, US President Donald Trump signaled on Thursday that negotiations on denuclearization remain alive after weeks of an apparent deadlock.
Xi will be in Vladivostok on Tuesday and Wednesday. It will be the first time that a Chinese leader participates in the annual economic forum hosted by Russia.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean premier Lee Nak-yeon are expected to attend the summit.
Relations between China and Japan soured in 2012 over a territorial dispute, but have begun to warm.
In recent months, the two sides have been negotiating an exchange of top level visits.


US women detained for speaking Spanish sue border agency

In this Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019, photo provided by the ACLU of Montana, Martha Hernandez, left, and Ana Suda pose in front of a convenience store in Havre, Mont., where they say they were detained by a U.S Border Patrol agent for speaking Spanish last year. (AP)
Updated 16 February 2019
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US women detained for speaking Spanish sue border agency

  • The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday filed suit against US Customs and Border Protection on behalf of the women, who live in Havre

LOS ANGELES: Two US women detained by a border patrol agent in the state of Montana after he heard them speaking Spanish in a grocery store have sued the country’s border protection agency.
Video of the incident — which took place last May in the small town of Havre — showed Agent Paul O’Neal tell Ana Suda and Martha Hernandez that he had asked to see their identification as it was unusual to hear Spanish speakers in the state, which borders Canada.
“It has to do with you guys speaking Spanish in the store in a state where it’s predominately English speaking,” he said.
“It’s not illegal, it’s just very unheard of up here,” he told the women.
The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday filed suit against US Customs and Border Protection on behalf of the women, who live in Havre.
Suda and Hernandez say in the lawsuit that O’Neal detained them for 40 minutes.
California native Hernandez and Suda, who was born in Texas, said they were standing in line to buy milk and eggs when the agent — who was standing behind them — commented on Hernandez’s accent, and asked the women where they were born.
“I asked, ‘Are you serious’?” Suda said, according to the lawsuit. “Agent O’Neal responded that he was ‘dead serious’.”
The two women say they were then asked to show identification and questioned outside the store, before eventually being released.
“The incident itself is part of a broader pattern that we’ve seen of abusive tactics by border patrol which has gotten worse since the Trump administration, which has left border patrol officers feeling emboldened to take actions like this,” Cody Wofsy, an attorney with the ACLU, told AFP.
“This has been devastating for (Suda and Hernandez),” he added.
“Havre is a small town, they felt ostracized and humiliated and made to feel unwelcome in their own town and in their own country.”
He noted the United States has no official language, with Spanish by far the most common language spoken after English.
A Customs and Border Protection spokesman declined to comment on the case.
“As a matter of policy, US Customs and Border Protection does not comment on pending litigation,” he told AFP in a statement. “However, lack of comment should not be construed as agreement or stipulation with any of the allegations.”