China warns Asian countries to be vigilant on US strategy in region

Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, right, and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi before their meeting in Kuala Lumpur on Oct. 13, 2020. (H2O Image via AFP)
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Updated 13 October 2020

China warns Asian countries to be vigilant on US strategy in region

  • ‘China and ASEAN have full capacity and wisdom, as well as responsibility to maintain peace and tranquility in (the) South China Sea’

KUALA LUMPUR: The Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi urged on Tuesday Asian countries to remain “vigilant” over the risk of US strategy stoking geopolitical competition in the South China Sea and other parts of the region.
Beijing and members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) should work together to remove “external disruption” in the South China Sea, Wang said during a joint news conference with Malaysia’s foreign minister.
“We (China and Malaysia) are both of the view that the South China Sea should not be a ground for major power wrestling teeming with warships,” said Wang, who is on a short Southeast Asian tour.
“China and ASEAN have full capacity and wisdom, as well as responsibility to maintain peace and tranquility in (the) South China Sea.”
Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said disputes over the South China Sea should be resolved peacefully through regional dialogue.
China, which has for years been locked in maritime disputes with other coastal states in the South China Sea, has in recent months held military exercises in disputed parts of the strategic waterway, while Washington has accused China of attempting to build a “maritime empire” in the area.
Wang described Washington’s “Indo-Pacific” strategy, which aims to cast the United States as a trustworthy partner in the region, as a “security risk” for East Asia.
“What it pursues is to trumpet the old-fashioned cold war mentality and start up confrontation among different groups and blocks, and stoke geopolitical competition,” he said.
“I believe all parties sees this clearly and will stay vigilant against it.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has previously said Washington wants a “free and open” Asia not dominated by any one country.
During Tuesday’s joint briefing, Malaysia’s Hishammuddin said China had committed to purchase 1.7 million tons of palm oil until 2023 and had pledged to encourage increased shipments of sustainably produced Malaysian palm oil.


Hong Kong leader: National security law has been ‘effective’

Updated 1 min 41 sec ago

Hong Kong leader: National security law has been ‘effective’

  • Beijing imposed the national security law on Hong Kong in June
  • ‘One of our urgent priorities is to restore Hong Kong’s constitutional order and political system from chaos’

HONG KONG: Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said Wednesday that the city’s new national security law has been “remarkably effective in restoring stability” after months of political unrest, and that bringing normalcy back to the political system is an urgent priority.
Lam made the comments in her annual policy address, more than a month after it was postponed so that she could seek Beijing’s support for various economic measures aimed at reviving the semi-autonomous Chinese territory’s economy.
Beijing imposed the national security law on Hong Kong in June, aiming to crack down on dissent following months of anti-government protests in the city that at times descended into violence. Last year’s protests were triggered by a proposed extradition law that would have allowed suspects in Hong Kong to be sent to the mainland. The proposal was eventually scrapped.
“Advocacies of Hong Kong independence and collusions with external forces have progressively subsided, some of the prominent figures have kept a low profile, radical organizations have ceased operations or dissolved,” Lam said in her address.
“After a year of social unrest with fear for personal safety, Hong Kong people can once again enjoy their basic rights and freedoms, according to the law,” she said.
Lam also criticized foreign governments for interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs, saying it had jeopardized national security.
Beijing has in recent months taken a tougher stance on dissent in Hong Kong, sparking concerns over the possible end of the “one country, two systems” framework under which Hong Kong has been operating since it was handed over to China by Britain in 1997.
Earlier this month, China passed a resolution disqualifying four pro-democracy Hong Kong lawmakers after they were accused of violating their oaths of office. The move prompted all of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy legislators to resign en masse as a show of solidarity.
Lam said that Hong Kong has experienced one of its most severe political challenges over the past year.
“One of our urgent priorities is to restore Hong Kong’s constitutional order and political system from chaos,” she said.
She said the government would introduce a bill by the end of this year to amend local laws related to oath-taking, to “deal with those who have engaged in conduct that breaches the oath of the swearing-in.”