US Secretary of State Tillerson in China to pile pressure on North Korea

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, shakes hands with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) before their meeting at the Great Hall of the People on September 30, 2017 in Beijing. (Reuters)
Updated 30 September 2017

US Secretary of State Tillerson in China to pile pressure on North Korea

BEIJING: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Beijing on Saturday to discuss efforts to curb North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and prepare President Donald Trump’s upcoming visit to China.
Tillerson was scheduled to meet with President Xi Jinping after talks with top diplomat Yang Jiechi and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, ahead of Trump’s trip in November.
The visit comes as relations between the two superpowers appear to be improving after months of tensions over how to handle North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s nuclear provocations.
Trump has repeatedly urged Xi to exert more economic pressure on Pyongyang to convince the renegade regime to give up its nuclear ambitions.
China, North Korea’s main trade partner, has responded by backing a slew of new United Nations sanctions.
For its part, Beijing has insisted that the sanctions must be coupled with efforts to organize peace talks, but Trump and Kim have traded increasingly personal insults that have raised fears that the crisis could spark a conflict.
The acting US assistant secretary for East Asia, Susan Thornton, told skeptical US lawmakers ahead of Tillerson’s trip that China appears to be on board with the plan to squeeze Pyongyang.
“We are working closely with China to execute this strategy and are clear-eyed in viewing the progress — growing, if uneven — that China has made on this front,” she said.
“We have recently seen Chinese authorities take additional actions,” she said, referring to new controls on the cross-border trade and finance that is North Korea’s economic lifeline.
On Thursday, China said it was ordering North Korean firms on its territory to close by January.
The announcement came days after China confirmed it will limit exports of refined petroleum products to North Korea from October 1 while banning imports of textiles from its neighbor.
The measures were in accordance with UN sanctions that were approved earlier in September after North Korea detonated its sixth and most powerful nuclear bomb — a test that triggered an earthquake felt across the border in China.
Trump’s November trip will be part of a tour that will also take in regional allies Japan and South Korea.


World’s oldest man dies in Japan at 112

Updated 25 February 2020

World’s oldest man dies in Japan at 112

  • Chitetsu Watanabe, who was born on March 5, 1907 in Niigata, north of Tokyo, died on Sunday at his nursing home
  • The news came less than two weeks after Watanabe was officially recognized by Guinness World Records

TOKYO: A Japanese man recently named the world’s oldest living male has died aged 112, a local official said Tuesday.

Chitetsu Watanabe, who was born on March 5, 1907 in Niigata, north of Tokyo, died on Sunday at his nursing home in the same prefecture, the official said.

The news came less than two weeks after he was officially recognized by Guinness World Records.

Watanabe, who had five children, said the secret to longevity was to “not get angry and keep a smile on your face.”

He admitted a penchant for sweets such as custard pudding and ice cream.

The oldest man in Japan is now Issaku Tomoe, who is 110 years old, according to Jiji Press, although it was not clear if Tomoe holds the title globally.

The oldest living person is also Japanese, Kane Tanaka, a 117-year-old woman.

Japan has one of the world’s highest life expectancies and has been home to several people recognized as among the oldest humans to have ever lived.

They include Jiroemon Kimura, the longest-living man on record, who died soon after his 116th birthday in June 2013.

The oldest verified person — Jeanne Louise Calment of France — died in 1997 at the age of 122, according to Guinness.