Marcos meets Chinese FM as Beijing seeks ‘new era’ in ties with Manila

Marcos meets Chinese  FM as Beijing seeks ‘new era’ in ties with Manila
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., right, greets Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Malacanang Presidential Palace in Manila on Wednesday. (AFP)
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Updated 06 July 2022

Marcos meets Chinese FM as Beijing seeks ‘new era’ in ties with Manila

Marcos meets Chinese  FM as Beijing seeks ‘new era’ in ties with Manila
  • Wang Yi first top foreign official to visit Manila since new president took office

MANILA: New Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Wednesday met China’s foreign minister who arrived in Manila to seek a “new golden era” in bilateral ties at a time when Beijing’s rival, the US, was also trying to boost its influence in the region.

Marcos Jr., the son and namesake of the late Philippine dictator, scored a landslide victory in May’s presidential election and was sworn in on June 30, vowing to open a new chapter in the country’s history and stating that his administration would pursue an independent foreign policy.

Wang Yi is the first top foreign official to make a working trip to Manila since the new president took office.

The meeting was held behind closed doors and Marcos only commented on Twitter that Wang had delivered to him a message of support from Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“We also discussed agriculture, infrastructure, energy, and our commitment to maintaining the strong relationship between our peoples in the coming years,” he said.

Prior to the meeting with Marcos, Wang told his Philippine counterpart, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, that Beijing was ready to work with Manila to “open up a new golden era for the bilateral relationship.”

“With President Marcos being elected, the China-Philippine relationship has turned a new page. We highly appreciate President Marcos’ recent commitment to pursuing a friendly policy toward China,” he said, as quoted by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs.

Despite an ongoing dispute over the South China Sea — a strategic waterway claimed by China almost in its entirety, with overlapping claims by other regional countries, including the Philippines — Marcos’ immediate predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, embraced a Beijing-friendly direction, partly in attempts to distance the Philippines from the US, its key defense ally and former colonial master.

During his presidential campaign, Marcos committed to continuing the warm relations ushered in by Duterte, but not at the expense of sovereignty. He also said he would seek to tighten ties with Washington.

US President Joe Biden was one of the first world leaders to call Marcos and congratulate him on the victory in last month’s poll, even before the results were officially announced.

During the call on May 12, Marcos invited Biden to attend his inauguration to “further fortify the relationship of the two countries.” But when Marcos was sworn in, the highest US dignitary in attendance was Vice President Kamala Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff. At the same time, China sent its Vice President Wang Qishan.

As the Philippine economy is in post-pandemic recovery mode, Marcos has a tricky balancing act in boosting business ties with China while maintaining the US alliance anchored on a decades-old defense treaty that is seen as a bulwark against China’s growing influence in the region.

Victor Andres Manhit, president of Stratbase ADR Institute, a research consultancy firm in Manila, told Arab News there was “nothing wrong” in pursuing a friendly policy toward China, “as long as it serves the Philippine national interest for greater trade and investment that will generate or contribute to an investment and job-generating growth trajectory for the Philippines.”

China’s envoy to Manila, Huang Xillan, said in a statement after Marcos’ meeting with Wang that it was a “new era of China-Philippine friendship.”

“I hope the visit deepens China-Philippines relations and fortifies our practical cooperation in many avenues, such as the Belt and Road Initiative and the Comprehensive Infrastructure Plan,” he said. “I look forward to more in-depth exchanges on bilateral relations, new avenues of cooperation, and more productive results with the visit.”


Japan, Jordan confirm strong cooperation during summit talk

Updated 7 sec ago

Japan, Jordan confirm strong cooperation during summit talk

Japan, Jordan confirm strong cooperation during summit talk
  • King Abdullah II expressed his heartfelt condolences for the passing of former Prime Minister Abe

TOKYO: Japan’s Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio, held a summit meeting on September 28 with King Abdullah II of Jordan, who is currently in Japan after attending the state funeral for former Prime Minister ABE Shinzo.
At the outset of the meeting that lasted 10 minutes according to the foreign ministry in Tokyo, Kishida expressed his appreciation for the king’s attendance at the state funeral and expressed his hope to hold discussions to further develop the diplomatic legacy inherited from the late former Prime Minister Abe.
King Abdullah II expressed his heartfelt condolences for the passing of former Prime Minister Abe, and stated that late former Prime Minister Abe was a great friend of not only Jordan but also the region and shared the hope to develop the bilateral relationship based on his legacy.
Prime Minister Kishida extended his congratulations to Crown Prince Hussein’s engagement and expressed his wish for the long-lasting prosperity of the Jordanian Royal Family and further development of friendly relations with Japan’s Imperial Family.
The two leaders exchanged views on the regional situation including the Middle East Peace. Prime Minister Kishida expressed his concern about the impact of the price hike of food and fuel on Jordan, which is hosting a large number of Palestinian refugees, and stated that Japan would continue its support for Jordan, including its support to UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees).
In response, King Abdullah II expressed his gratitude for Japan’s wide-ranging cooperation for Jordan and UNRWA and stated that he would like to cooperate with Japan in advancing projects involving countries in the region.
The two leaders confirmed that they will continue to work closely together for the long-term stability of the region, according to the ministry.
 


EU executive proposes new ‘biting’ sanctions on Russia for Ukraine escalation

EU executive proposes new ‘biting’ sanctions on Russia for Ukraine escalation
Updated 2 min 10 sec ago

EU executive proposes new ‘biting’ sanctions on Russia for Ukraine escalation

EU executive proposes new ‘biting’ sanctions on Russia for Ukraine escalation
  • Ursula von der Leyen: ‘We do not accept the sham referenda nor any kind of annexation in Ukraine ... we are determined to make the Kremlin pay the price for this further escalation’
  • Von der Leyen: ‘We are proposing a new package of biting sanctions against Russia’
BRUSSELS: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday proposed fresh sanctions against Russia over its war against Ukraine, including further trade restrictions, individual blacklistings and an oil price cap for third countries.
The proposal will now go to the bloc’s 27 member countries, which will need to overcome differences on the new sanctions and reach unanimity to implement them.
That may take time despite the EU being spurred into action by Russia’s partial military mobilization, nuclear threats to the West and moving to annex a swath of Ukraine.
“We do not accept the sham referenda nor any kind of annexation in Ukraine. And we are determined to make the Kremlin pay the price for this further escalation,” von der Leyen told reporters.
“We are proposing a new package of biting sanctions against Russia.”
Earlier on Wednesday, a senior economic adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on the EU to further cut money flows to Russia from fossil fuel sales.
The G7 group of industrialized countries — where EU countries Italy, France and Germany are also members — already agreed to put such an oil price cap in place via insurers.
“If you are doing nothing it means you are just prolonging this war with Ukraine, this is just ridiculous, the whole civilized world has to be united on that,” Oleg Ustenko told reporters.
While the EU already agreed to stop importing Russian oil starting later this year, Ustenko said the “blood money” would keep on flowing to Moscow unless European companies are banned from insuring seaborne shipments.

Austria to launch checks at Slovak border to stop migrants

Austria to launch checks at Slovak border to stop migrants
Updated 55 min 47 sec ago

Austria to launch checks at Slovak border to stop migrants

Austria to launch checks at Slovak border to stop migrants
  • The measure becomes effective at midnight Wednesday
  • “We have to react before the smugglers react,” said Austrian Interior Minister Gerhard Karner
BERLIN: Austria announced Wednesday that it will start checks at its border crossings with Slovakia, following a similar decision by the Czech Republic, in a move that’s aimed at keeping migrants from entering.
The measure becomes effective at midnight Wednesday, the Austrian government said.
The Austrian interior ministry said the border controls are a response to the Czech Republic’s announcement, a day earlier, of controls on its border with Slovakia starting Thursday, and aim to ensure that human traffickers do not use Austria as an alternative.
“We have to react before the smugglers react,” Austrian Interior Minister Gerhard Karner told public broadcaster ORF.
Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia all belong to the European Union’s visa-free Schengen zone where people can normally cross borders without getting checked. However, temporary border controls have repeatedly been reinstated in the past, whether to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the early days of the pandemic or to stop migrants from entering illegally.
Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer told reporters later on Wednesday that he would meet Hungarian President Viktor Orban and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic next week to discuss the issue of migration.
“The states are not doing this for their own sake, but to fight organized crime and smuggling and to reduce the pressure from the borders,” Nehammer said in Vienna.
Austria introduced controls along its borders with Hungary and Slovenia in 2015, when more than 1 million migrants from war-torn countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan entered the European Union. The Alpine country has repeatedly extended those controls, which remain in place.
Back then, only about 8,500 migrants were detained in the Czech Republic, while this year so far 12,000 migrants have been detained, the Czech interior ministry said, adding that most of them were Syrians. A total of 125 human smugglers have been arrested in the Czech Republic this year, a significant increase compared with the previous years.
Most migrants don’t want to stay in the Czech Republic or Slovakia, but travel through them to reach wealthier places like Germany, Sweden or Austria.
The Austrian border controls will initially be enforced at 11 crossing to Slovakia for 10 days.

Kremlin dismisses ‘stupid’ claims Russia attacked Nord Stream

Kremlin dismisses ‘stupid’ claims Russia attacked Nord Stream
Updated 34 min 20 sec ago

Kremlin dismisses ‘stupid’ claims Russia attacked Nord Stream

Kremlin dismisses ‘stupid’ claims Russia attacked Nord Stream
  • Europe has been investigating what Germany, Denmark and Sweden said were attacks which had caused major leaks into the Baltic Sea

MOSCOW: The Kremlin on Wednesday said claims that Russia was somehow behind a possible attack on the Nord Stream gas pipelines were stupid, adding that Moscow saw a sharp increase the profits of US companies supplying gas to Europe.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a daily conference call with reporters that the incident needed to be investigated and the timings for repair of the damaged pipelines were not clear.
Europe has been investigating what Germany, Denmark and Sweden said were attacks which had caused major leaks into the Baltic Sea from two Russian gas pipelines at the center of an energy standoff.
Asked about claims Russia might somehow be behind the possible attack, Peskov said: “That’s quite predictable and also predictably stupid.”
“This is a big problem for us because, firstly, both lines of Nord Stream 2 are filled with gas — the entire system is ready to pump gas and the gas is very expensive... Now the gas is flying off into the air.”
“Before making any claims, we should wait for investigation into these ruptures, whether there was an explosion or not,” Peskov said. Information on the incident could be expected from Denmark and Sweden, he said.
Nord Stream AG, the operator of the network, said on Tuesday that three of four offshore lines of the Nord Stream gas pipeline system sustained “unprecedented” damage in one day. All Nord Stream’s pipeline had not delivered gas by the time of the incident.
Nord Stream 1 has reported a significant pressure drop caused by the gas leak on both lines of the gas pipeline, while Nord Stream 2 said that a sharp pressure drop in line A was registered on Monday.


North Korea fires ballistic missile off east coast – Seoul

North Korea fires ballistic missile off east coast – Seoul
Updated 28 September 2022

North Korea fires ballistic missile off east coast – Seoul

North Korea fires ballistic missile off east coast – Seoul
  • Japan’s coast guard also reported a suspected ballistic missile test
  • North Korea also fired a ballistic missile toward the sea off its east coast on Sunday

SEOUL: North Korea fired a ballistic missile off its east coast on Wednesday, South Korea’s military said, as South Korea and the United States staged joint naval exercises involving an aircraft carrier.
Japan’s coast guard also reported a suspected ballistic missile test.
The launch came two days after South Korea and US forces launched their military exercise in the waters off South Korea’s east coast involving an aircraft carrier.
US Vice President Kamala Harris is set to arrive in the South Korean capital, Seoul, on Thursday after a visit to Japan.
North Korea also fired a ballistic missile toward the sea off its east coast on Sunday.
North Korea has been subjected to UN sanctions since 2006, which the Security Council has steadily — and unanimously — stepped up over the years to cut off funding for its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
North Korea rejects UN resolutions as an infringement of its sovereign right to self-defense and space exploration, and has criticized military exercises by United States and South Korea as proof of their hostile intentions.