Australia revokes visa of prominent Chinese businessman

The report comes as Australia and China seek to repair ties that have been strained since 2017. (File/AFP)
Updated 06 February 2019
0

Australia revokes visa of prominent Chinese businessman

  • The government rejected his application for citizenship and revoked his visa while he was overseas
  • Huang has in recent years emerged as one of Australia’s biggest political donors

SYDNEY: Australia has revoked the residence visa of a prominent Chinese businessman and political donor who has in the past been linked to a row about the promotion of Chinese interests, the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Huang Xiangmo is unable to return to his Sydney home after the government rejected his application for citizenship and revoked his visa while he was overseas, the newspaper reported, citing unidentified sources.
The newspaper did not report a reason for the decision but it cited the Ministry for Home Affairs, which oversees visa applications, as saying Huang was “unfit” for residency.
A ministry representative declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Minister for Immigration David Coleman also declined to comment.
The report comes as Australia and China seek to repair ties that have been strained since 2017, when Australia accused China of meddling in its domestic affairs. China denied doing so.
Huang, who founded the Chinese property developer Yuhu, was not available for comment. The newspaper said he went to Thailand last month and it was not clear where he was on Wednesday.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), citing unidentified sources, said Huang would not be allowed to re-enter Australia.
Huang has in recent years emerged as one of Australia’s biggest political donors.
He rose to prominence after an influential opposition lawmaker was in 2017 forced to resign after allegations emerged that he was linked to Chinese-aligned interests.
The opposition member, Sam Dastyari, sought to encourage a senior politician not to meet a Chinese pro-democracy activist opposed to Beijing’s rule in Hong Kong in 2015.
Dastyari was also recorded as warning Huang that his phone may be tapped.
Dastyari also appeared on a video tape, standing next to Huang, appearing to endorse China’s contentious expansion in disputed areas of the South China Sea, against his party’s platform.
Australia, despite moving to repair its relationship with, China, has passed a series of tough new bills that are designed to limit offshore influence, legislation widely seen as aimed at China.
In 2018, Huang paid nearly A$1 billion ($715 million) for two Australian projects owned by Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne, asked about the newspaper report, said she “understood that a high-profile individual” had had their visa canceled.
“I don’t expect it to be the subject of a bilateral discussion,” Payne told the ABC when asked if she feared the issue would have an impact on relations with China.
“We have a good relationship with mutual respect.”


Russia’s Port of Vladivostok prepares to host Kim Jong Un

Updated 19 April 2019
0

Russia’s Port of Vladivostok prepares to host Kim Jong Un

  • Russian media were quick to report preparations were underway for the summit to take place in Vladivostok
  • Proximity is no doubt important for Kim, who is rumored to travel aboard his armored train

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is expected in Russia’s far-eastern port Vladivostok in the coming days, according to reports that have prompted excitement and concern among local residents.
After weeks of speculation, the Kremlin announced that Kim will visit Russia to hold his first talks with President Vladimir Putin in late April. It gave no details on a date or place, citing “security reasons.”
Russian media were quick to report preparations were underway for the summit to take place in Vladivostok, home to Moscow’s Pacific Fleet.
The port lies only about 130 kilometers (80 miles) from Russia’s short border with North Korea. This proximity is no doubt important for Kim, who is rumored to travel aboard his armored train.
The 35-year-old will be following in the footsteps of his father Kim Jong Il, who met the newly elected Putin in Vladivostok in 2002.
The far eastern city rarely sees major international events, and some locals are happy for the city to be in the spotlight.
“Any visit is good, whether it’s an enemy or a friend,” said Danil, a student at Vladivostok’s Far Eastern Federal University, billed by the media as a possible venue for the summit.
He welcomed the talks, saying “you can only make decisions through dialogue and communication.”
Nadezhda, a native of the city, said it will be a global event and “will be a boost for development in our city.”
Authorities this week were busy cleaning garbage near railways leading to the city, Russian media reported.
“The depressing view from the train window does not give a positive impression to guests of Vladivostok arriving by train,” an official from the local branch of Russian Railways told the Interfax news agency.
Nadezhda said she was “absolutely not afraid of (North Korea’s) nuclear program” and would like to see the country.
North Korea said this week it was testing nuclear weapons after a round of talks with the US ended in failure.
But Anna Marinina was less enthusiastic about the summit, and said that if Pyongyang did use its weapons, Vladivostok would be in the firing line.
“The people that panic the most about North Korea are safe on the other side of the ocean,” she said.
“If something were to happen, it would fall on us.”
Putin has long said he was ready to meet with Kim and is preparing to play a bigger role in nuclear negotiations with Moscow’s Cold War-era ally.
The last meeting between Russian and North Korean heads of state was in 2011, when Kim’s father traveled by train to Siberia, where he took a boat ride on Lake Baikal and held tightly guarded talks with then president Dmitry Medvedev.
There is a chance however that fresh talks will not take place at all, as Kim pulled out of 2015 celebrations in Moscow for the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II at the last minute.