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.


Rebel attack in Congo Ebola zone kills 18

Congolese police patrols in Kinshasa, Congo, in this May 17, 2017 file photo. (AP)
Updated 24 September 2018
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Rebel attack in Congo Ebola zone kills 18

  • The attack underscores the challenges the government and health organizations face in tackling Ebola in an area where years of instability has undermined locals’ confidence in the authorities

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo: At least 14 civilians and four soldiers were killed on Saturday in a six-hour attack by rebels on the town of Beni in eastern Congo, the army and local officials said, disrupting efforts to contain an Ebola epidemic in the area.
The latest outbreak of the deadly disease in Democratic Republic of Congo has been focused in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, which have been a tinder box of armed rebellion and ethnic killing since two civil wars in the late 1990s.
Militants believed to belong to the Allied Democratic Forces, a Ugandan Islamist group active in eastern Congo, clashed with Congolese troops in Beni, a town of several hundred thousand people, local civil society leader Kizito Bin Hangi said by telephone.
“Beni is ungovernable this morning. Several protests have been declared in the town where the people express their anger with consternation,” he said.
In addition to the known fatalities, dozens of civilians were wounded as they fled the violence, which broke out in the early hours of Saturday evening and lasted until midnight, Bin Hangi added.
During a news conference in Beni on Sunday, a representative of the Congolese army said four soldiers had also been killed in the attack.
Spokesman Mak Hazukay confirmed the civilian death toll of 14, but said six civilians and four military personnel had been wounded — lower figures than estimated by the civil society leader.
The attack underscores the challenges the government and health organizations face in tackling Ebola in an area where years of instability has undermined locals’ confidence in the authorities.
Community unrest in the wake of the latest violence prompted the Health Ministry to suspend temporarily the field work it has been carrying out in Beni as part of its Ebola response.
“Many inhabitants of the town of Beni took to the streets this Sunday to protest against the growing insecurity in the zone. The field work of the response will resume once calm returns to the town,” the ministry said in its daily Ebola report.
The latest outbreak, which causes haemmorhagic fever, vomiting and diarrhea, is believed to have killed 99 people since July and infected another 48.