Oct 022017
Virus-hit Muguruza retires in China Open first round

BEIJING: World number one Garbine Muguruza retired ill with a virus in the first round of the China Open on Monday and US Open winner Sloane Stephens went out in a shock defeat. Spain’s Muguruza suggested in the build-up that she was not fully fit and she lost the first set 6-1 to unseeded Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic.Muguruza, 23, the reigning Wimbledon champion, called a medical timeout at 2-0 down in the second set and then called it quits after having her pulse taken on the side of the court. Muguruza said afterwards she had been too unwell even to practice for her opener but had been determined to play, having lost in the quarter-finals last week in Wuhan, where she struggled with a leg injury. “Since I’m in Beijing, I didn’t play at all. I don’t know, I got a virus in Wuhan,” she said.“I want to feel like giving the last chance, going on the court, just hit a few balls, see how I’m going to feel, try to turn things around.” Strycova faces Julia Goerges of Germany in the second round.Muguruza headed for the exit soon after Stephens tumbled out in the first round for the second week running, this time at the hands of qualifier Christina McHale. The 15th seed Stephens saw her match delayed by rain falling on Beijing’s outdoor hardcourts.When it finally got started she failed to fire, going out to her fellow American with a whimper, 6-3, 6-0 in just 62 [Read More…]

Aug 092017
Hard-pedaling Soft Power, China Helps Launch $13B Belt and Road Rail Project in Malaysia

KUANTAN, MALAYSIA China and Malaysia broke ground on Wednesday on a $13 billion rail project linking peninsular Malaysia’s east and west, the largest such project in the country and a major part of Beijing’s Belt and Road infrastructure push.The planned 688-km (430-mile) East Coast Rail Link will connect the South China Sea, large parts of which are claimed by China, at the Thai border in the east with the strategic shipping routes of the Straits of Malacca in the west.It is among the most prominent projects in China’s controversial Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to build a modern-day “Silk Road” connecting the world’s second-largest economy by land corridors to Southeast Asia, Pakistan and Central Asia and maritime routes opening up trade with the Middle East and Europe.“The ECRL is indeed yet another ‘game changer’ and a ‘mindset changer’ for Malaysia as it will significantly cut travel time to and from the east coast of the peninsula,” Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said at the ceremony halfway along the route in Kuantan, which faces the South China Sea.For China, the project is another expansion of its soft power in Malaysia, which also lays claim to some disputed South China Sea islands, and is critical for China’s geopolitical and strategic interests.“The China government has attached great importance to the China-Malaysia relations and has always considered Malaysia a dear neighbor and trustworthy partner who is committed to seeking mutually beneficial cooperation and common development in the country,” Chinese State Councillor Wang Yong [Read More…]

Jul 232017

BEIJING: Yang Qianqian holds out her smartphone to scan a barcode on the mobile of a vendor selling fresh fruit and vegetables at a bustling outdoor market in Beijing. The dance student is part of an explosion in the use of mobile payment platforms in China as consumers increasingly take out phones instead of cash to pay for everything from a coffee to a language class or a gas bill. “Even though I have cash on me it’s not convenient to get it when I am carrying a lot of bags,” said Yang, 25, clutching plastic bags filled with pears, potatoes and watermelon. China was the first country in the world to use paper money but centuries later the soaring popularity of mobile payment has some analysts forecasting it could be the first to stop. The gross merchandise value of third party mobile payment rose more than 200 per cent to 38 trillion yuan (about $5.6 trillion) in 2016 from a year earlier, according to China-based iResearch. Samsung to launch web payments service for Android phones in South Korea The growth of the cash-free system has been supported by China’s rapidly expanding e-commerce market as Chinese shoppers increasingly shun bricks and mortar stores. “I think it’s really very possible that China becomes the first or one of the first cashless societies in the next decade,” said Ben Cavender, a director at China Market Research Group. Cavender estimates China’s mobile payment market is already 40-50 times larger than the United States. Alipay, [Read More…]

Jul 172017

PESHAWAR: Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Chief Minister Pervez Khattak has lamented what he called obstruction in the provision of security clearance and NOCs (No Objection Certificate) to Chinese investors by the federal government. He said this while chairing a meeting to review progress on MoUs under the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa-China Investment Plan concluded at the Beijing road show. The chief minister asked authorities to approach the concerned quarters for immediate security clearance to Chinese investors coming to K-P, so that they can convert the MoUs into agreements. He said that he too, would personally talk to the federal government in this regard and hoped for a positive response. China to invest in K-P: Khattak “The development of K-P would directly lead to prosperity of FATA and the entire country,” he added.He underlined the need for ensuring adequate facilities of security, health, hygiene and other civic amenities under safe city and small city policies of the provincial government. He directed to put on ground the proposed 17 industrial zones in the province and plan the inauguration of three mega zones; Rashakai, Hattar and Dera Ismail Khan under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) by next month. Khattak also called for the completion of 225MW thermal power houses in each industrial zone so that electricity produced could be given to the industries in the three zones. “All the three industrial zones would be linked through a railway cargo system.” He said that the federal government’s Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) has approved the circular railway track connecting six districts starting [Read More…]

Jun 202017
US Urges China to Change Calculus on N. Korea Ahead of Security Talks

STATE DEPARTMENT � The United States is urging China to play a more prominent role in combating global terrorism and help change the calculus on North Korea, ahead of high-level security talks with Beijing.The first round of the U.S.-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue kicks off in Washington Wednesday.Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis will host a Chinese delegation led by State Councilor Yang Jiechi and General Fang Fenghui, chief of the People’s Liberation Army’s Joint Staff Department.Senior U.S. officials say China has taken a fairly limited profile in counterterrorism efforts. It is not a member of the 68-nation global coalition countering the Islamic State militant groupWe would like to see them step up and take more responsibility, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia Susan Thornton told VOA on Monday.Thornton said China has a lot of interest in Iraq, and the U.S. thinks it should be doing more to contribute to the efforts of the international coalition to defeat IS.Killings concern ChinaEarlier this month, two Chinese citizens were killed by Islamic State militants after being kidnapped in southwestern Pakistan. In November 2015, IS said it killed Chinese national Fan Jinghui. Both cases triggered grave concern from Beijing.We have seen them [Chinese officials] become more interested over time, added Thornton, noting the talks are an early feeler on getting China more involved.On Tuesday, Chinese officials said both countries have been victims of terrorism.Cooperation is in the interests of both sides, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng [Read More…]

Jun 192017
US Urges Bigger Chinese Role to Combat Global Terrorism

WASHINGTON � The United States wants China to become more involved in supporting the global fight against terrorism and efforts to defeat Islamic State, including in Iraq, a senior U.S. official said on Monday ahead of high-level security talks with Beijing.Susan Thornton, the U.S. acting assistant secretary of state for East Asia, said that China has taken only a limited role in counter-terrorism efforts, although it appeared to be becoming more interested.“We would like to see them step up and take more responsibility,” Thornton told reporters as Washington and China’s diplomatic and defense chiefs prepared for a meeting in the U.S. capital on Wednesday.“They have a lot of interests, for example in Iraq, and we think they should be doing to more to contribute to the efforts of the international coalition to defeat ISIS [Islamic State],” she said.Thornton said Beijing, which is not a member of the 68-member coalition, was increasingly affected by terrorism, as was seen by the recent killing of two Chinese nationals in Pakistan.Beijing has sent out “early feelers” about getting more involved, Thornton said.“We’d like to have a good discussion with them about what more we think they can do, certainly in the way of providing resources to governments that are battling against terrorism and trying to help with capacity-building for governments and security forces in various places,” she added.Wednesday’s talks will involve U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis as well as China’s top diplomat, State Councilor Yang Jiechi, and General [Read More…]

May 132017
The Beijing summit

Pakistan has sent a delegation, headed by the prime minister, to take part in the Beijing summit. The two day summit will start today (May 14) and will continue till Monday (May 15). According to some media reports, chief ministers of all the four provinces will attend the meeting. These summits hold immense importance since they are vital to uphold harmony in the region. The country’s PM will get an opportunity to hold meetings with the heads of different states. According to some media reports, a number of agreements and memorandums of understanding relating to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are also expected to be signed by the Pakistani delegation. Hopefully, the outcome of this participation will be quite positive and productive and will augur well for Pakistan and its people in more than one way. All eyes are on Beijing and on the engagements of the high level Pakistan delegation. Aamer A Najmee Lahore Click for detailed story

May 122017
Pakistan supports One Belt One Road initiative: Shahbaz

Says CPEC a gift by China to Pakistan LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif called on Vice Minister Zheng Xiaosong of International Department of Communist Party of China in Beijing… [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]] Click for detailed story

Apr 152017

PYONGYANG: North Korea announced on Saturday that it could beat down enemies with the power of nuclear justice and in a veiled reference warned the United States that it was prepared to respond to an all-out war with an all-out war. The nuclear armed country rolled out its weapons of war through Pyongyang streets as it promised ‘nuclear justice’ in response to any atomic attack as leader Kim Jong-Un mounted a spectacular show of strength. Tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions are stretched to the limit, with US President Donald Trump deploying an aircraft carrier battle group to the region. China calls for North Korea tension to be scaled back After a 21-gun salute, tens of thousands of soldiers, sailors and airmen goose-stepped through Kim Il-Sung Square turning their eyes towards the high balcony from where Kim watched, flanked by officers and officials. Some detachments carried assault rifles or rocket-propelled grenades, others were equipped with night-vision goggles and daubed in face paint. One troupe was made up of sword-wielding women. Tanks came next through the square — named after Kim’s grandfather, the North’s founder — followed by the objects of world concern. A total of 56 missiles of 10 different types were displayed, culminating in enormous rockets on articulated trailers and on 16-wheeler vehicles. The nuclear-armed North is under United Nations sanctions over its weapons programmes, and has ambitions to build a rocket capable of delivering a warhead to the US mainland — something Trump has vowed ‘won’t happen’. Saturday’s event was [Read More…]

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