Six more detained over China blast that killed 78

The explosion was one of the worst industrial accidents in China recently. (AFP/File)
Updated 14 April 2019
0

Six more detained over China blast that killed 78

  • China shut down the plant after the explosion
  • The official statement said they will also take measures against the companies running the plant

BEIJING: Police have detained six more suspects linked to a chemical plant blast in eastern China last month which killed 78 and left hundreds injured, local authorities said.
The explosion in Jiangsu province’s Yancheng city last month was one of the worst industrial accidents in the country in recent years and led to the closure of the plant.
Six employees from the Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical company, whose plant was involved in the blast, have “major responsibilities” in relation to the incident, the Yancheng government said Saturday in a brief statement on its official Twitter-like Weibo account.
It said that “criminal coercive measures” have been taken against them — a vague term which indicates detention, arrest or being put under temporary house arrest until police complete investigations, according to an explanation on the Chinese parliament’s website.
Three others had also earlier been detained in connection with the blast.
The statement added that measures will also be taken against Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical, as well as its controlling shareholder, the Jiangsu Nijiaxiang Group.
The March 21 explosion razed an industrial park and blew out the windows of surrounding homes.
The company, with 195 employees, was established in 2007 and mainly produces raw chemical materials including anisole, a highly flammable compound.
It has a history of violating environmental regulations, according to online records from Yancheng city’s environment and ecology bureau.
In 2015 and 2017, the firm was fined for breaking rules on solid and water waste management.
Deadly industrial accidents are common in China, where safety regulations are often poorly enforced.
In November, a gas leak at a plant in the northern Chinese city of Zhangjiakou — which will host the 2022 Winter Olympics — killed 24 people and injured 21 others.
In 2015, China saw one of its worst industrial accidents when giant chemical blasts in the northern port city of Tianjin killed at least 165 people.


North Korea: US extension of sanctions ‘a hostile act’

Updated 19 min 11 sec ago
0

North Korea: US extension of sanctions ‘a hostile act’

  • The White House extended six executive orders containing sanctions imposed over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs by one year
SEOUL: The recent US extension of sanctions against North Korea was an act of hostility and an outright challenge to a historic summit between the two countries in Singapore last year, a spokesman for Pyongyang’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday.
The White House last week extended six executive orders containing sanctions imposed over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs by one year.
The unidentified North Korean foreign ministry spokesman denounced US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s remarks on Sunday that more than 80 percent of the North Korean economy has been affected by sanctions.
The spokesman also accused Washington of “viciously slandering” Pyongyang in its latest reports on human trafficking and religious freedom around the world.
“This is ... a manifestation of the most extreme hostile acts by the United States,” the spokesman said in a statement carried by the North’s official KCNA news agency.
“All these speak clearly to the fact that the wild dream of the United States to bring us to our knees by means of sanctions and pressure has not changed at all but grows even more undisguised,” he added.
US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held their first, groundbreaking summit in Singapore in June last year, agreeing to foster new relations and work toward the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
But a second summit in Vietnam in February collapsed as both sides failed to bridge differences between US calls for denuclearization and North Korean demands for sanctions relief.
Since then, North Korea has complained of US sanctions and demanded Pompeo be replaced by someone “more mature,” while lauding the rapport Kim built with Trump.
Pompeo, speaking to reporters on Sunday, raised hopes for a revival of nuclear talks after a recent exchange of letters between Trump and Kim.
The North Korean spokesman warned it would be difficult to achieve denuclearization as long as US politics are dominated by policymakers who have an “inveterate antagonism” toward North Korea.
“We would not thirst for a lifting of sanctions,” the spokesman said.
“Our state is not a country that will surrender to the US sanctions, nor are we a country which the US could attack whenever it desires to do so,” he added.