Japan says Taiwan ties under ‘1 country, 2 systems’ policy

Japan says Taiwan ties under ‘1 country, 2 systems’ policy
Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said that ‘Japan’s position is to maintain relations with Taiwan as practical and non-governmental.’ (Kyodo News via AP)
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Updated 11 June 2021

Japan says Taiwan ties under ‘1 country, 2 systems’ policy

Japan says Taiwan ties under ‘1 country, 2 systems’ policy
  • ‘Japan’s position is to maintain relations with Taiwan as practical and non-governmental’

TOKYO: Japan’s relations with Taiwan are non-governmental and practical, based on the “one country, two systems” policy that recognizes China as the sole legitimate government, a top Japanese official said Friday, following Beijing’s protest over a recent reference to the island as a country.
As China flexes its muscle in the Taiwan Strait and the Asia-Pacific region, the issue of Taiwan is a sensitive topic, especially as Japan, the United States and other democracies develop closer ties with the self-ruled island that Beijing regards as a renegade territory to be united by force if necessary.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told a regular news conference Friday that “Japan’s position is to maintain relations with Taiwan as practical and non-governmental,” in line with the 1972 Japan-China Communique, when Tokyo switched the diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China. “That’s our basic policy and there is no change to that.”
Kato’s remark came a day after China protested Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s reference to Taiwan as a country during a parliamentary debate on Wednesday.
Suga, while answering a question about pandemic measures, made a passing reference to Taiwan, New Zealand and Australia as “three countries.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Thursday the comment violated Japan’s “solemn promise to not regard Taiwan as a country.”
“We strongly deplore Japan’s erroneous remarks and have lodged solemn complaints with Japan, demanding that Japan immediately make clear clarifications to eliminate the adverse effects caused by relevant remarks, and to ensure that such situations will not happen again,” Wang said.
On Friday, Japan’s upper house of the parliament adopted a resolution calling on the World Health Organization to include Taiwan in its general meetings, saying its expertise on coronavirus measures is indispensable.
China has so far blocked the move, and has increased Taiwan’s diplomatic isolation, leaving it with just over a dozen formal diplomatic allies. Taiwan still operates a network of trade offices around the world that act as de-facto embassies, including in the United States, Japan and most other major nations.
Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi carefully referred to Taiwan as “a region” in his brief remark emphasizing the importance of including the island for the benefit of international public health.
Japan also has donated 1.24 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Taiwan as it battles its largest outbreak of infections amid a shortage of jabs. Taiwan has blamed China for interfering in a potential deal for another vaccine.


German tourists investigated in Italy for fatal boat crash

German tourists investigated in Italy for fatal boat crash
Updated 43 min 33 sec ago

German tourists investigated in Italy for fatal boat crash

German tourists investigated in Italy for fatal boat crash
  • Investigators were awaiting results of blood analyses to determine if tourists were drinking before crash
  • Woman's body was recovered from the lake Sunday evening by Italian firefighter rescue divers

ROME: Two German tourists from Munich are being investigated in Italy for a boat collision on Lake Garda that killed an Italian man and woman, Italian Carabinieri paramilitary police said.
Italian state RaiNews24 TV said investigators were awaiting results on Monday of blood analyzes to determine if the tourists had been drinking before the crash. The Carabinieri said both Germans are free on their own recognizance while under investigation for alleged manslaughter and failure to provide assistance.
The woman’s body was recovered from the lake Sunday evening by Italian firefighter rescue divers and the man’s body was found in their small boat earlier in the day.
The Carabinieri office conducting the investigation declined to give further details because the probe is still ongoing.
The Corriere della Sera newspaper said the victims’ boat was badly gashed near the bow and that the man, 37, had suffered a grave abdominal wound. One of the 25-year-old woman’s legs was partially torn off, it said. A search had been launched for the woman after women’s clothing was found on the boat near the man’s body.
Police located the tourists after people noticed their docked motorboat was damaged, the Italian daily said.
The Italians reportedly had met with friends on shore Saturday evening, then headed out on the man’s boat and were about mid-lake when the vessel was struck by the motorboat. Corriere della Sera said investigators found pieces of wood from the Italian man’s boat imbedded in the tourists’ boat.
Lake Garda, which has many shoreline resorts in northern Italy, is very popular with European visitors.


UN rights chief ‘deeply disturbed’ by ‘serious violations’ in Ethiopia’s Tigray

UN rights chief ‘deeply disturbed’ by ‘serious violations’ in Ethiopia’s Tigray
Updated 21 June 2021

UN rights chief ‘deeply disturbed’ by ‘serious violations’ in Ethiopia’s Tigray

UN rights chief ‘deeply disturbed’ by ‘serious violations’ in Ethiopia’s Tigray
  • Extrajudicial executions, arbitrary arrests and detentions, sexual violence against children as well as adults, and forced displacement

GENEVA: The UN rights chief voiced alarm Monday at continued reports of “serious violations” in Ethiopia’s violence-wracked Tigray region, by all parties in the conflict, including continued abuses by Eritrean troops.
“I am deeply disturbed by continued reports of serious violations of international humanitarian law and gross human rights violations and abuses against civilians by all parties to the conflict,” Michelle Bachelet told the UN Human Rights Council, pointing to “extrajudicial executions, arbitrary arrests and detentions, sexual violence against children as well as adults, and forced displacement.”


US envoy hopes North Korea responds positively on offered talks

US envoy hopes North Korea responds positively on offered talks
Updated 21 June 2021

US envoy hopes North Korea responds positively on offered talks

US envoy hopes North Korea responds positively on offered talks
  • United States’ diplomacy with North Korea stalled over its nuclear program and US-led sanctions

SEOUL: President Joe Biden’s special envoy for North Korea said Monday he hopes to see a positive reaction from the North soon on US offers for talks after the North Korean leader ordered officials to prepare for both dialogue and confrontation.
Sung Kim, Biden’s special representative for North Korea, is in Seoul to speak with South Korean and Japanese officials about the United States’ stalled diplomacy with the North over its nuclear program and US-led sanctions.
The trilateral talks followed a North Korean political conference last week where leader Kim Jong Un called for stronger efforts to improve his nation’s economy, further battered last year by pandemic border closures and now facing worsening food shortages.
The US envoy Sung Kim said the allies took note of the North Korean leader’s comments and are hoping the North will respond positively to the proposal of a meeting.
“We continue to hope that the DPRK will respond positively to our outreach and our offer to meet anywhere, anytime without preconditions,” Kim said during his meeting with South Korean and Japanese nuclear envoys, Noh Kyu-duk and Takehiro Funakoshi, respectively. He was referring to the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said the officials from the three countries reaffirmed a coordinated approach toward North Korea and shared commitment to work toward a quick resumption of dialogue.
North Korea’s economic setbacks followed the collapse of Kim Jong Un’s ambitious summitry with then-President Donald Trump in 2019, when the Americans rejected the North Koreans’ demands for major sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of their nuclear capabilities.
Kim Jong Un in recent political speeches has threatened to bolster his nuclear deterrent and claimed that the fate of diplomacy and bilateral relations depends on whether Washington abandons what he calls hostile policies.
US officials have suggested Biden would take the middle ground between Trump’s direct dealings with Kim and President Barack Obama’s policy of “strategic patience.” But some experts say the North likely must take concrete steps toward denuclearization before the Biden administration would ease any sanctions.
South Korea, which is eager for inter-Korean engagement, has expressed optimism about a quick resumption of diplomacy.
Seoul’s Unification Ministry said Kim’s comments during a ruling party meeting last week, where he said he expected both dialogue and confrontation with the United States, demonstrated a flexibility toward diplomacy.
But others saw Kim’s comments as merely a reiteration of Pyongyang’s wait-and-see stance of insisting Washington budge and offer concessions first.
While Kim urged officials to boost agricultural production and brace for prolonged COVID-19 restrictions, none of the decisions reported after the party meeting seemed directly related to facilitating talks with the United States.
While displaying an openness to talks, the Biden administration has provided little detail about its policy on North Korea beyond a long-term principle of taking a “calibrated and practical approach” on diplomacy while simultaneously upholding sanctions against the country.
Thae Yong Ho, a former North Korean diplomat who defected and was elected a South Korean lawmaker, posted on Facebook that Kim’s comments at the party meeting seemed tailored to mirror what the Biden administration has said about the North.
“Advocates of engagement see Kim Jong Un’s recent mention of dialogue as a sign North Korea is opening the door for talks, but Pyongyang has not yet expressed a willingness for working-level negotiations on denuclearization,” said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor of international studies at Ewha Womans University in Seoul.
He said the North may return to negotiations only after demonstrating its strength with post-pandemic economic recovery and provocative military tests, which could possibly come later this summer when the United States and South Korea usually hold their combined military exercises. The allies describe the drills as defensive in nature, but the North claims they are invasion rehearsals.


China urges US not to seek ‘political manipulation’ after Taiwan COVID-19 vaccine aid

China urges US not to seek ‘political manipulation’ after Taiwan COVID-19 vaccine aid
Updated 21 June 2021

China urges US not to seek ‘political manipulation’ after Taiwan COVID-19 vaccine aid

China urges US not to seek ‘political manipulation’ after Taiwan COVID-19 vaccine aid
  • The United States delivers 2.5 million COVID-19 shots to Chinese-claimed Taiwan

BEIJING: China’s foreign ministry urged the United States on Monday not to seek “political manipulation” in the name of vaccine assistance after the United States delivered 2.5 million COVID-19 shots to Chinese-claimed Taiwan.
Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian made the comment at a daily news briefing in Beijing.


Free COVID-19 vaccines for all Indian adults as Modi hails yoga ‘shield’

Free COVID-19 vaccines for all Indian adults as Modi hails yoga ‘shield’
Updated 21 June 2021

Free COVID-19 vaccines for all Indian adults as Modi hails yoga ‘shield’

Free COVID-19 vaccines for all Indian adults as Modi hails yoga ‘shield’
  • The country’s vaccination drive has significantly slowed in recent months
  • The government aims to inoculate all of India’s almost 1.1 billion adults by the end of the year

NEW DELHI: India opened up free vaccinations to all adults in an attempt to bolster its inoculation drive on Monday, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicked off a muted International Yoga Day hailing the practice’s “protective” properties against the virus.
The country’s vaccination drive has significantly slowed in recent months due to a shortage of jabs and hesitancy, even as it battled a vicious surge in cases in April and May that overwhelmed the health care system in many places.
Case numbers have since fallen sharply and the authorities have again relaxed many restrictions, sparking fears of another wave.
The government had expanded the vaccine rollout to include all adults aged below 45 on May 1, but states and private hospitals had to procure and buy the shots themselves for the younger age group, leading to confusion and shortages.
But New Delhi later changed tack, announcing it would procure 75 percent of vaccine supplies and distribute them to states so that they can inoculate people for free.
So far it has administered 275 million shots, with barely four percent of people fully vaccinated.
The government aims to inoculate all of India’s almost 1.1 billion adults by the end of the year.
“The vaccination drive is expected to pick up speed now... the daily vaccination has picked up over the last week and is expected to strengthen further,” community health expert Rajib Dasgupta told AFP.
“However, both existing inequities as well as hesitancy merit deeper attention to make this a success.”
The free rollout came as Modi marked the annual Yoga Day event with an early-morning address to the nation as it emerges from the surge, saying that the practice had again proved itself to be a source of “inner strength.”
“When I speak to frontline warriors, they tell me that they have adopted yoga as a protective shield in their fight against coronavirus. Doctors have strengthened themselves with yoga and also used yoga to treat their patients,” Modi said.
Public parks were re-opened in Delhi on Monday just in time, but the number of events for Yoga Day was cut back around the country for the second year running because of the pandemic.
Yoga Day — proposed by Modi and adopted by the United Nations in 2014 — is observed mostly in India, but also worldwide on the Northern Hemisphere’s longest day.
Throughout the pandemic, India’s government has touted yoga and herbal medicines — sales of which have boomed — to protect and give relief to people infected with the virus.
But evidence is scant and the claims have faced pushback from India’s doctors, who wore black armbands last month to protest Baba Ramdev, a guru with ties to the Modi administration who has said yoga can cure COVID-19.

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