Taiwan moved up six spots on this year’s World Press Freedom Index. Here’s why that’s troubling.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

WorldViews

Taiwan moved up six spots on this year’s World Press Freedom Index. Here’s why that’s troubling.

May 3 at 12:18 PM

Taiwan appeared to make a sudden leap forward in press freedom this year, moving up six places to secure the 45th spot in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index.

However, its climb should concern people about the state of media freedom — especially in Asia, according to Reporters Without Borders, the media watchdog nonprofit that releases the annual ranking.

That’s because Taiwan’s jump “does not reflect real improvements, but rather a global worsening of the situation in the rest of the world,” the group said in a statement. In particular, it masks the decline of media freedoms in other Asian countries, as well as the growing threat of “press freedom predators” in the region, such as China and North Korea.

“In this area, the situation reflects the global situation that prevails in the 2017 RSF World Press Freedom Index: a world in which strongmen are on the rise and attacks on the media have become commonplace, even in democracies,” the group said.

The Paris-based organization (also known internationally by its French name, Reporters sans Frontières, or RSF) pointed to China exerting economic and political pressure to influence Taiwanese media. Taiwan is a self-governing democratic island that China considers part of its territory, and Beijing is extremely sensitive to questions about Taiwan’s status.

It is not unusual for some Taiwanese media outlets to take stances that echo Chinese Communist Party propaganda, Taipei RSF bureau director Cédric Alviani told The Washington Post by phone Wednesday, which the United Nations has declared World Press Freedom Day.

“In Taiwan, the Taiwanese tycoons also have their own businesses in China,” Alviani said. “It’s easy for China to put pressure on the business executives and say, ‘Okay, you have to be nice with the media you own. We want you to cover the story this way or we don’t want you to mention that.’ ”

Alviani also pointed to Apple TV recently allegedly blocking a satirical comedy show that is critical of the Chinese government — ironically titled “China Uncensored” — not only in mainland China but also in Hong Kong and Taiwan, which are not subject to Chinese law. Reporters Without Borders last month condemned the tech company’s move as setting a dangerous precedent for “international corporate submission to the demands of Chinese censorship.”

“This kind of self-censorship is much more serious than the one a single reporter would apply to himself,” Alviani said.

Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr told The Post “there was a couple day period” when the show was not available in Taiwan and Hong Kong but that it has since been made accessible there.

Despite the obstacles, Taiwan continues to hold the highest rank for press freedom among Asian countries, followed by South Korea (at 63rd place) and Mongolia (69th), according to this year’s index. Coverage of political scandals in South Korea — which led to the impeachment and ouster of Park Geun-hye this year — proved that the media there maintained its independence, the group said.

“However, the public debate about relations with North Korea, one of the main national issues, is hampered by a national security law under which any article or broadcast ‘favourable’ to North Korea is punishable by imprisonment,” the group pointed out.

It was Taiwan’s relative freedom that led Reporters Without Borders to decide this year to open its first Asia bureau in Taipei, rather than in Hong Kong or elsewhere in Asia.

Hong Kong dropped four places on the World Press Freedom Index from 2016, coming in at 73rd this year. Media there continue to face challenges when covering stories that are critical of mainland China, and reporters have faced physical intimidation and oppression.

“This is the kind of thing that made us think twice, because if we open an office in Hong Kong, our communications and safety might not be ensured,” Alviani said. “To open an original bureau, you need to find a place that is stable, a place where you could foresee what is happening in coming years.”

Alviani said that RSF journalists have been reporting from Taipei since last month, in a sort of “soft opening” for the new bureau, and that it will be fully operational in the coming months.

Part of the bureau’s focus will be on the countries that hold “many of the worst kinds of records” for media freedom in the Asia-Pacific region, including:

  • The world’s biggest prisons for journalists and bloggers: China (176th) and Vietnam (175th).
  • Most dangerous countries for journalists: Pakistan (139th), the Philippines (127th) and Bangladesh (146th).
  • Second-biggest number of “press freedom predators” at the head of the world’s worst dictatorships: Laos (170th), China (176th) and North Korea (180th).

The group called out Chinese President Xi Jinping as “the planet’s leading censor and press freedom predator” and one of the biggest reasons China ranks 176th among 180 countries on this year’s index. Only Syria, Turkmenistan, Eritrea and North Korea are ranked lower.

On Wednesday, World Press Freedom Day, China further clamped down on the media, issuing regulations that go into effect June 1, according to Reuters.

The rules “apply to all political, economic, military, or diplomatic reports or opinion articles on blogs, websites, forums, search engines, instant messaging apps and all other platforms that select or edit news and information,” Reuters reported. “All such platforms must have editorial staff who are approved by the national or local government Internet and information offices, while their workers must get training and reporting credentials from the central government.”

The Chinese government’s censorship and restrictions on media and the Internet, combined with its growing economic and political power, have the potential to affect other countries and private companies, Alviani said.

“China’s philosophy is more like everyone is free to do whatever they want to report — but within a certain limit, and this limit is never very clear,” he said. “In philosophical terms, freedom has to be unconditional. If you’re free within certain limits, you are not free.”

The Washington Post Hosts Reporters Without Borders 2017 World Press Freedom Index

 

Play Video67:57
The Washington Post and Reporters Without Borders held a conversation on freedom of press around the world. The program featured a presentation of the 2017 World Press Freedom Index followed by a conversation with Tom Malinowski, Former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor and journalists from Syria, Turkey and Canada, moderated by The Post’s Dana Priest. (Washington Post Live)

Read more:

World leaders for Silk Road talks

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)

World leaders for Silk Road talks

The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will be held from May 14 to 15 in Beijing and President Xi Jinping will attend the opening ceremony and host the round table summit of the leaders, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said yesterday.

Xi has championed the “One Belt, One Road” initiative to build a new Silk Road linking Asia, Africa and Europe, a landmark program to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure projects.

China has dedicated US$40 billion to a Silk Road Fund and the idea was the driving force behind the establishment of the US$50 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Among those attending will be Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Indonesian President Joko Widodo will also be attending the forum.

British finance minister Philip Hammond will come as Prime Minister Theresa May’s representative, while Germany and France will send high-level representatives.

Wang confirmed Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte as one of the leaders coming, along with the Spanish, Greek, Hungarian, Serb and Polish prime ministers and Swiss and Czech presidents.

“This is an economic cooperation forum, an international cooperation platform that everyone is paying attention to, supports and hopes to participate in,” Wang said.

“One Belt, One Road is to date the most important public good China has given to the world, first proposed by China but for all countries to enjoy,” said.

“The culture and historical genes of One Belt, One Road come from the old Silk Road, so it takes Eurasia as its main region,” he said, adding that representatives of 110 countries would attend the forum.

A section of the New Silk Road is in Pakistan, where some projects run through the disputed Kashmir region.

Wang dismissed concerns, saying the Pakistan project had no direct connection to the dispute and India was welcome to participate in the New Silk Road.

“Indian friends have said to us that One Belt, One Road is a very good suggestion,” he said.

During the forum, China is expected to sign cooperative documents with nearly 20 countries and more than 20 international organizations, Wang told reporters.

China will work with countries along the route on action plans concerning infrastructure, energy and resources, production capacity, trade and investment, which will help to turn the grand blueprint into a clear roadmap, he said.

Another task of the forum will be to push forward delivery of cooperative projects, Wang said.

During the forum, parties will identify major cooperative projects, set up working groups and establish an investment cooperation center.

China will also work with all parties on a set of measures that will include improved financial cooperation, a cooperation platform for science, technology and environmental protection, and enhanced exchanges and training of talent.

Participants will sign financing agreements to support their cooperative projects, Wang said.

China will use the forum to build a more open and efficient international cooperation platform; a closer, stronger partnership network; and to push for a more just, reasonable and balanced international governance system, Wang said.

Trump Defense Chief Says Japan Alliance Covers Disputed Isles

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BLOOMBERG NEWS)

Trump Defense Chief Says Japan Alliance Covers Disputed Isles

February 3, 2017, 7:38 AM EST
  • Japan government says Mattis confirms stance in talks with Abe
  • U.S. opposed to one-sided actions against Japan over islands

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis confirmed in a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that the defense treaty between the longtime allies covers islets disputed with China, a Japanese government statement said.

The fresh guarantee will provide some reassurance for Japan after President Donald Trump withdrew from a regional trade pact and called on allies to spend more on their own defense. The statement was released late Friday after Mattis paid a courtesy call to Abe at his offices in Tokyo on his first foreign tour.

Secretary Mattis said the Senkaku Islands are under Japanese administration and are covered by Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty. The U.S. opposed any one-sided actions aimed at damaging Japanese control of the islands, the statement cited Mattis as saying. The leaders also committed to ensuring the stability of the U.S. military presence in Japan however there was no mention in the statement of the cost of stationing U.S. troops there.Ships and planes from Japan and China frequently tail one another around the uninhabited islands, known as the Senkaku in Japanese and the Diaoyu in Chinese. Any backing down from previous U.S. pledges to defend the isles could ratchet up tensions between Asia’s two largest economies.

The U.S.-Japan Security Treaty of 1960 binds the allies to “act to meet the common danger” if territories under Japanese administration are attacked. The U.S. acknowledges Japan as administering the isles, but does not take a position on their sovereignty.

Mattis also held a meeting with Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and is set to meet Defense Minister Tomomi Inada on Saturday.

Understanding The Book Of Revelation: Chapter #1

Revelation Chapter #1

The Book of Revelation is the Book that explains the end! The end? Yes, this Book explains the end of the Earth as we all know it, and it explains the end of the human race here on this planet as we know it. Revelation is a Book of prophesy about how our world will end. This Book, this Letter, was written by the Apostle John who was a Roman prisoner on the Isle of Patmos in the eastern Mediterranean in approximately the year 95 A.D.. This Book is the Revelation of the Son of God the Father Jehovah, our Lord Jesus the Christ. The material came from an Angel of Jesus Christ at the direction of Jesus and Jesus is the main character within its pages.

The style of the writing, the consistency show quite well that this Book was written by one person. John received this Apocalyptic information through direct words, signs and visions. Some folks wish to argue that this is not the writing of John the Apostle because the writing style is different from the other four Books that he wrote in the New Testament. This argument is (in my opinion, silly) the reason I say this is that John was a prisoner on a small island so it is quite logical that he did not have a Scribe to take down his words to write it for him. Like the other New Testament Books Revelation was written in the Greek Language which would not have been John’s first language, and with no Scribe, his Greek was not as fluid as in his other Books. Some people try to discredit this Book out of ignorance or the hate of Christianity or of God in general, there are also those who are simply Demonically evil who do not want us humans to understand God’s warnings to us. Friends, remember that the Demons, including Satan Himself have already been judged and they know that when this system is completed, they will be cast straightway into the fires of Hell and they want every single one of us humans to be there with them, for them to torture for ever and ever. Of all of the Books in the Bible this is the one Book that the Devil and His followers hate the most. Think about this for a moment, Revelation is like the last script of a movie or a play, if you want to find out how the play ends, read ‘The Ending.’ Folks, the ‘Ending’ is laid out for all of us humans in this Book. Friends, for any human who is not a follower of and a person who puts their faith and love in Jesus Christ, our ‘second death’ is shown to us quite plainly in this Book. The end of times here on this planet are going to be horrific for those who are non believers, I pray that you will not be one of them.

This Book is the Revelation that God the Father gave to His Son who was/is ‘The Christ’ for an Angel to give to the servants of Jesus Christ so that His servants would know the things that will come to pass here on the Earth. This Angel of God gave this information to the last surviving Apostle, John, for John to circulate amongst the Church. To John’s credit he did bear witness as he was instructed to do. As instructed John wrote this ‘Letter’ to the seven Churches of Asia-minor (modern-day Turkey). Jesus is spoken of as He which was, He which is, and He which is to come. You see, Jesus is the faithful witness of His Father that no human has ever seen (His Face). Friends, Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice whose blood washed away the sins of the human race making it possible for us to be clean in the presence of God. For a moment please think about verse number seven, “behold Jesus will come in the clouds and every eye shall see Him, they also which pierced Him, all the people’s of the Earth shall wail because of Him.” At the Second Advent of Jesus think how horrible a sight it will be for all the people of the Earth who have turned their back on Him. Think how horrific this event will be to those who spat on, whipped and mocked Him, and how much more so for those who drove the nails into Him. Jesus will be returning with His Holy Angels in the clouds and everyone will see Him, and every knee will bow before Him.

John was in prayer and meditation when he heard a great voice behind him say, v:3 “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” (v:11) “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, what you are seeing write in a book and send it to the Churches which are in Asia. Unto Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and to Laodicea.” Now, if you would, place yourself in John’s spot. When John turned around to see whose voice it was that was speaking to him, he saw seven Golden Candlesticks. In the midst of the seven Golden Candlesticks stood a man who looked a lot like Jesus. The man was clothed down to his feet and wrapped around his waist was a Golden Girdle. His head and His hair were white like wool which was as white as snow. His eyes were like the flame of a fire. His feet were like that of a fine Brass as it glowed in a furnace. His voice was like unto the sound of many waters.

The Lord had in His right hand Seven Stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword. The Lord’s appearance was like unto the shining of the Sun in its strength. When John saw Him he fell at His feet as if he were dead. Now I admit that I also love the Lord with all my heart, mind and Soul but I think that there is a good chance that my heart would have stopped if I had turned and seen this site myself. Now let’s get back to the Scriptures starting with verse #17. At this time the Lord put His right hand upon John and said to him “Fear not, I am the First and the Last, I am He that lives and was dead. Behold I am alive forever more and I have the keys to Hell and to death.” “Write the things which you have seen, the things which are and the things which shall be hereafter.”  (v-20) “The mystery of the seven Stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven Golden Candlesticks. The seven Stars are the seven Angels of the seven Churches: and the seven candlesticks which you saw are the seven Churches.”

This completes the first chapter of this fascinating book of Prophecy. This first chapter simply lays the foundation for the rest of this really interesting story on the events that are here now, and that are coming for everyone who calls Earth their home.  Chapter number two is the messages that God has for those seven Churches in Asia-minor. Yet, don’t be fooled, the messages God has for those Churches, those people, are also directed at all Churches and all people. There are 22 chapters in this last Book of the Bible and each chapter has eternity shaking messages for all of us human beings, I hope that you will join me as we go through these messages from our Creator, to all of us. Thank you for your time, I appreciate you very much.

Donald Trump Stands Up For An Ally And “Leaders” Don’t Like It: To Bad!

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE ASSOCIATED PRESS AND THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

Beijing has lodged a protest with the United States over a call between US President-elect Donald Trump and Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen, the foreign ministry said in a statement Saturday.

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“We have already made solemn representations about it to the relevant US side. It must be pointed out that there is only one China in the world. Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory,” the statement said.

Earlier China’s foreign minister said Saturday he hopes Beijing’s relations with the US would not be “interfered with or damaged” after President-elect Donald Trump broke with decades-long diplomatic tradition and spoke directly with Taiwan’s leader.

It is highly unusual, probably unprecedented, for a US president or president-elect to speak directly with a leader of Taiwan, a self-governing island the US broke diplomatic ties with in 1979.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the call between Taiwan’s president and Trump was “just a small trick by Taiwan” that he believed would not change US policy toward China, according to Hong Kong’s Phoenix TV.

“The one-China policy is the cornerstone of the healthy development of China-US relations and we hope this political foundation will not be interfered with or damaged,” Wang was quoted as saying.

Washington has pursued a so-called “one China” policy since 1979, when it shifted diplomatic recognition of China from the government in Taiwan to the communist government on the mainland. Under that policy, the US recognizes Beijing as representing China but retains unofficial ties with Taiwan.

A statement from Trump’s transition team said he spoke with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who offered her congratulations.

“During the discussion, they noted the close economic, political, and security ties … between Taiwan and the United States. President-elect Trump also congratulated President Tsai on becoming President of Taiwan earlier this year,” the statement said.

Trump tweeted later: “The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency. Thank you!”

About an hour later, Trump groused about the reaction to the call. “Interesting how the US sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call,” he tweeted.

The Taiwanese presidential office issued a statement early Saturday saying Trump and Tsai discussed issues affecting Asia and the future of US relations with Taiwan.

“The (Taiwanese) president is looking forward to strengthening bilateral interactions and contacts as well as setting up closer cooperative relations,” the statement said.

“The president also told US President-elect Trump that she hopes the US will continue to support Taiwan’s efforts in having more opportunities to participate in and contribute to international affairs in the future,” Tsai’s office said.

It said the two also “shared ideas and concepts” on “promoting domestic economic development and strengthening national defense” to improve the lives of ordinary people.

The White House learned of the conversation after it had taken place, said a senior Obama administration official, who requested anonymity because of the sensitive diplomatic relations involved.

China’s embassy in Washington, its foreign ministry in Beijing and Taiwan Affairs Office did not respond to requests for comment.

Friday’s call is the starkest example yet of how Trump has flouted diplomatic conventions since he won the Nov. 8 election. He has apparently undertaken calls with foreign leaders without guidance customarily lent by the State Department, which oversees US diplomacy.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.

As America Bows Out Of World Affairs China Says ‘Thank You’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HUFFINGTON POST/WORLD POST)

THE WEEKEND ROUNDUP 

President-elect Donald Trump’s “America First” policy marks an historic withdrawal from the world the United States has largely made. His administration can’t stop globalization, only diminish America’s role in governing it. For better or worse, that leaves China, the world’s second-largest economy, as the only major power with a global outlook.

In a YouTube video this week Trump rejected the Trans-Pacific Partnership that was the core of President Obama’s pivot to Asia. Economist Ed Dolan shows in charts how rejecting trade will not help, but hurt, America. He argues that the lower-skilled, less-educated and older workers who voted most heavily for Trump would almost certainly be among the losers of Trump’s trade plans. Matt Sheehan,The WorldPost’s former China correspondent, examines how Trump’s war on trade could inadvertently hurt American public higher education, which has come to rely on international students as public funding has dwindled.

Trump also announced an energy policy focusing on boosting fossil fuels, effectively signaling a withdrawal from the globally-agreed Paris accord on climate change. And, throughout the election campaign, he has sown deep doubts about America’s commitment to its worldwide web of security alliances.

An increasingly nationalistic European public, contemptuous of the European Union bureaucrats in Brussels, mired in flat growth and reeling from the crisis of a massive refugee influx, has also turned inward. Polls show that many oppose the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Russia is absorbed in reasserting influence in the neighborhood of its historical sphere of influence.

China, meanwhile, has a decades-long strategy of opening out to the world. When the Berggruen Institute’s 21st Century Council met with President Xi Jinping in Beijing in 2013, he declared, “The more developed China becomes, the more open it will be. It is impossible for China to shut the door that has already been opened.” To that end China has put forward the “One Belt, One Road” strategy to revive the old Silk Road trading routes stretching from Beijing to Istanbul. It has established the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to fund development across the region. In the wake of the TPP’s demise, China is pressing forward with its Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership to further lower tariffs among 16 nations in the Asia-Pacific region. And, as Alvin Lin and Barbara Finamore  write, China is now the defacto world leader on fighting climate change as America under Trump retreats from the battle and embraces fossil fuels.

Writing from Beijing, Shi Yinhong recognizes the strategic opportunities the American retreat present to China, which he believes will embolden Xi’s foreign policy. But he also worries about the troubles China will face from a more protectionist America and Europe. Eric Olander and Cobus van Staden see the likely neglect of Africa by the Trump administration further boosting China’s influence on that continent.

Shahed Ghoreishi thinks Iran can learn something from China’s path toward prosperity. “China has been able to move forward from its revolutionary rhetoric to develop a self-image that is relevant to its population,” he writes, “Iran has yet to do so.”

Former United Nations arms inspector Scott Ritter suggests that, as a foreign policy establishment outsider, Trump could well break the logjam on nuclear disarmament, recalling how another outsider, Ronald Reagan and his Soviet counterpart, Mikhail Gorbachev, met in Reykjavik, Iceland and “flirted with the total elimination of nuclear weapons, out of a mutual recognition by both leaders that nuclear war was unwinnable.”

Turning to the American domestic scene, I argue in a short essay that the “Great Reaction” against the political correctness of ethnic and gender politics signified by Trump’s election has been long in the making, noting that as long ago as 1991 the liberal historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. argued, “The ethnic upsurge began as a gesture of protest against the Anglo-centric culture, but today it threatens to become a counter-revolution against the original theory of America as one people, a common culture, a single nation.” If Schlesinger were alive today,” I write, “he would surely be horrified that a charlatan like Donald Trump could rise to power through divisive invective against Muslims, Mexicans and women, threatening to destroy the American republic from the reverse side of political correctness.”

Eliot Nelson warns that the “alt-right” movement that Trump has emboldened is a hate movement pure and simple, replete with Nazi-like “Hail Trump” salutes. And even President Obama, who seems more tame to Trump, has encountered some failures in his role as commander-in-chief. One agenda item Obama was not able to fulfill is closing Guantanamo Bay. Anne Richardson traces the story of one man who was wrongly imprisoned there for years.

Alex Kaufman reports that Tesla is showing what it can do by powering an entire Pacific island with renewable energy. Finally, in our Singularity series this week, we look at how we can save our history one smartphone at a time.

WHO WE ARE
EDITORS: Nathan Gardels, Senior Advisor to the Berggruen Institute on Governance and the long-time editor of NPQ and the Global Viewpoint Network of the Los Angeles Times Syndicate/Tribune Media, is the Editor-in-Chief of The WorldPost. Kathleen Miles is the Executive Editor of the WorldPost. Farah Mohamed is the Managing Editor of The WorldPost. Alex Gardels and Peter Mellgard are the Associate Editors of The WorldPost. Suzanne Gaber is the Editorial Assistant of The WorldPost. Katie Nelson is the News Director at the Huffington Post, overseeing The WorldPost and HuffPost’s editorial coverage. Jesselyn Cook and Nick Robins-Early are World Reporters. Rowaida Abdelaziz is Social Media Editor.

CORRESPONDENTS: Sophia Jones in Istanbul.

EDITORIAL BOARD: Nicolas BerggruenNathan GardelsArianna HuffingtonEric Schmidt (Google Inc.), Pierre Omidyar (First Look MediaJuan Luis Cebrian (El Pais/PRISA), Walter Isaacson (Aspen Institute/TIME-CNN), John Elkann (Corriere della Sera, La Stampa), Wadah Khanfar (Al Jazeera)Dileep Padgaonkar (Times of India) and Yoichi Funabashi (Asahi Shimbun).

VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS: Dawn Nakagawa

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Moises Naim (former editor of Foreign Policy), Nayan Chanda(Yale/Global; Far Eastern Economic Review) and Katherine Keating (One-On-One)Sergio Munoz Bata and Parag Khanna are Contributing Editors-At-Large.

The Asia Society and its ChinaFile, edited by Orville Schell, is our primary partner on Asia coverage. Eric X. Li and the Chunqiu Institute/Fudan University in Shanghai and Guancha.cn also provide first person voices from China. We also draw on the content of China Digital TimesSeung-yoon Lee is The WorldPost link in South Korea.

Jared Cohen of Google Ideas provides regular commentary from young thinkers, leaders and activists around the globe. Bruce Mau provides regular columns from MassiveChangeNetwork.com on the “whole mind” way of thinking. Patrick Soon-Shiong is Contributing Editor for Health and Medicine.

ADVISORY COUNCIL: Members of the Berggruen Institute’s 21st Century Council and Council for the Future of Europe serve as the Advisory Council — as well as regular contributors — to the site. These include, Jacques Attali, Shaukat AzizGordon Brown,Fernando Henrique CardosoJuan Luis CebrianJack DorseyMohamed El-Erian,Francis FukuyamaFelipe GonzalezJohn GrayReid HoffmanFred HuMo IbrahimAlexei KudrinPascal LamyKishore MahbubaniAlain MincDambisa MoyoLaura TysonElon MuskPierre OmidyarRaghuram RajanNouriel RoubiniNicolas Sarkozy,Eric SchmidtGerhard SchroederPeter Schwartz, Amartya SenJeff SkollMichael SpenceJoe StiglitzLarry Summers, Wu JianminGeorge YeoFareed ZakariaErnesto ZedilloAhmed Zewail, and Zheng Bijian.

From the Europe group, these include: Marek BelkaTony BlairJacques DelorsNiall FergusonAnthony GiddensOtmar IssingMario MontiRobert MundellPeter Sutherland and Guy Verhofstadt.

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People Of India Wakeup: Pakistan Government Trying To Use Rupee Issue To Bring Down Your Government

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES NEWS)

Pakistan wooing Indians opposed to Modi’s policies: Sartaj Aziz

    • PTI, Islamabad

|Updated: Nov 23, 2016 18:35 IST

A file picture of Pakistan’s foreign affair’s advisor Sartaj Aziz. (Reuters)

Pakistan has set up a high-level committee to formulate “a doable and sustainable” policy to highlight the Kashmir issue globally and is reaching out to Indians who are opposed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “extremist policies”, according to a media report on Wednesday.

The move was announced by advisor on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz in Senate on Tuesday, according to Dawn newspaper.

The committee will consist of senior officials from the ministries of defence, interior and information, Military Operations Directorate, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Intelligence Bureau (IB).

Speaking about the status of the implementation of policy guidelines, Aziz said the committee was headed by foreign secretary Aizaz Chaudhry and could co-opt other members if required.

Read: Pak official says Indian shelling kills 11 including 9 travelling in bus

Aziz said that another committee, chaired by the information secretary, had been formed to prepare fact sheets “to counter India’s propaganda campaign and design a media strategy to continuously highlight the Kashmiri freedom struggle”.

This committee also includes representatives from the ministries of defence, foreign affairs and information technology, as well as members of the Military Operations Directorate, ISI and IB.

Aziz said that the ministry of information technology had been asked to prepare a comprehensive strategy to highlight the Kashmir issue via social media.

He said that “steps were being taken to highlight Indian interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs, as well as its support for subversive activities and human rights violations in held Kashmir”, the report said.

Aziz said that steps were already being taken to reach out to segments of the Indian public that were opposed to Modi’s extremist policies.

“Our missions abroad, including in New Delhi, are making outreach efforts to emphasise the extremist Indian policies,” he remarked.

Talking about measures to counter India’s efforts to isolate Pakistan in the region, Aziz said Pakistan was doing its utmost to engage the international community, including regional partners.

He said Pakistan was supportive of all initiatives for peace and stability in the region, adding that this commitment to regional peace and stability was evident from the decision to participate in the Heart of Asia ministerial conference in Amritsar, despite the postponement of SAARC summit in Islamabad because of India.

Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine, he said, was clearly spelt out and due restraint was being exercised.

“Pakistan continues to exhibit maturity and statesmanship despite provocative statements by Indian leadership and the continued ceasefire violations across the LoC and working boundary having resulted in civilian casualties,” he said.

He said there was a need for a positive response from India to move forward. He said that while Pakistan always conveyed a desire to resolve all outstanding issues through dialogue, India had chosen to attach conditions to the talks.

Asia-Pacific nations pledge to work on sweeping new free trade pact

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)

Asia-Pacific nations pledge to work on sweeping new free trade pact

LEADERS of 21 Asia-Pacific nations ended their annual summit with a call to resist protectionism amid signs of increased free-trade skepticism, highlighted by the victory of Donald Trump in the United States presidential election.

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit closed on Sunday with a joint pledge to work toward a sweeping new free trade agreement that would include all 21 members as a path to “sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth,” despite the political climate.

“We reaffirm our commitment to keep our markets open and to fight against all forms of protectionism,” the APEC leaders said in a joint statement.

APEC noted the “rising skepticism over trade” amid an uneven recovery since the financial crisis and said that “the benefits of trade and open markets need to be communicated to the wider public more effectively, emphasizing how trade promotes innovation, employment and higher living standards.”

Speaking to journalists at the conclusion of the summit, Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said the main obstacle to free trade agreements in Asia and around the world was the frustration felt by those left behind by globalization.

“Protectionism in reality is a reflection of tough economic conditions,” said Kuczynski, the meeting’s host.

Referring to Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and Trump’s election win in the US, he said those results highlighted the backlash against globalization in former industrial regions in America and Britain that contrasted with support for trade in more-prosperous urban areas and developing countries.

“This is an important point in recent economic history because of the outcome of various elections in very important countries that have reflected an anti-trade, anti-openness feeling,” he said.

Chinese officials said more countries were looking to join a China-led trading bloc after Donald Trump’s election victory had raised fears the US would scrap free trade deals.

Trump campaigned for president on a promise to pull out of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, and also threatened to impose steep tariffs against China and Mexico.

China is not part of the TPP and has been pushing an alternative vision of free trade in Asia under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which does not currently include countries in the Americas.

Tan Jian, a member of China’s delegation at the summit, said more countries were now seeking to join the 16-member bloc, including Peru and Chile, and that current members wanted to reach a deal as soon as possible to counter rising protectionism.

In a final declaration, APEC leaders said the TPP and RCEP were both valid paths to a broader Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, which had long been a goal of the APEC bloc that accounts for 57 percent of the world economy.

“We encourage that all regional undertakings, including TPP and RCEP, remain open, transparent and inclusive and draw on each other,” they said.

The APEC statement also said the members would adhere to the carbon reduction goals set in Paris last year to address climate change, a problem that they called a threat to food production and food security.

As China Threatens: India And Japan Choose To Grow Closer With Each Other & U.S.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

JAPAN

What to Know About Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Visit to Japan

 Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on Friday, commencing a three-day bilateral meeting in Japan, to discuss developing the two countries’ economic and strategic relationship.

“Japan may be on its way to becoming one of India’s most important strategic partners, some years from now,” Sanjib Baruah, an honorary research professor at India’s Center for Policy Research think-tank and professor at Bard College, tells TIME. “[But] China is the elephant in the room.”

Traditional alliances in the region are shifting, as Russia — one of India’s biggest arms suppliers — seeks stronger relationships with Pakistan and China. As the country looks to phase out its phase out its fleet of Soviet-era aircrafts, India has increasingly looked to Washington, and American defense companies for military equipment.

The meeting with Japan is indicative of a continuing pivot for India as the two countries discuss deals ranging from a highly coveted civil nuclear cooperation pact to a defense trade agreement worth more than a billion dollars.

“There is always some nervousness in Indian policy circles that the U.S. may be insufficiently appreciative of India’s desire for strategic autonomy. But with Japan there is no such baggage,” says Baruah. “In the long run I can see Japan occupying the kind of place that Russia once did in Indian foreign and defense policy.”

Here’s what you need to know about Modi’s visit to Japan.

1. Pomp and circumstance

Modi’s visit was preceded by much fanfare as 32 members of India’s military band will participate in Japan’s Self Defense Forces 2016 Marching Festival for the first time, celebrating the two countries’ efforts to developing closer strategic ties. According to The Hindustan Times, the festival, which was held in Tokyo this year, is a tradition going back more than half a century and draws audiences of more than 50,000 people. Although India’s marching band has been in Tokyo since earlier this week, the actual festival will take place from Nov. 11 to 13, during Modi’s visit. While the march is a largely symbolic overture, it sets the tone for a meeting highly anticipated in bringing the two countries together both economically, as well as strategically.

2. Search and rescue planes

The meeting will also finalize one of the first military sale’s Japan has made since lifting a 50-year-old export ban on arms sales two years ago. According to Reuters, India will buy 12 rescue water-planes from Japan, worth an estimated $1.6 billion. The deal will be included in the memorandum of understanding signed by Prime Minister Abe and Modi during the summit.

3. Civil nuclear cooperation-pact

Modi and Abe will also conclude a much-anticipated civil nuclear-cooperation pact, which would allow Japan to sell nuclear technology to India. According to the Japan Times, the pact will benefit Japanese nuclear-component manufacturers who suffered setbacks after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. The deal may also mark the first time Japan has sold nuclear technology to a country that has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Negotiations began in 2010, before either Prime Minister was elected, and the two leaders reached a memorandum of understanding in December of last year, during Abe’s visit to India. Abe’s Vice-Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama traveled to India last month to put finishing touches on the deal.

4. Focus on Regional Security

Despite the promises of the meeting, some experts see the recent U.S. election as a monkey-wrench in terms of projected gains from the bilateral talks — as much of the long-term success of the meeting will hinge on U.S. influence in the region. There is also uncertainty as to how the new U.S. administration, under President-elect Donald Trump, will respond to its alliances around the world, especially in Asia.

“With the election of Trump, the containment strategy towards China embraced by the U.S. and Japan looks uncertain at best,” Jeff Kingston, Director of Asian Studies in Japan’s Temple University tells TIME.

Although, there has been little indication of Trump’s policies, some fear his “America First” policy speech last April, raised serious questions as to America’s future global commitment in Asia.

“The Trump factor reinforces the perception that the U.S. is a declining power in Asia, and leaders will act accordingly,” says Kingston.

Among Japan’s largest concerns is China’s increasing military presence in the South China Sea. As an island nation, with very few natural resources, the disputed waterway is Japan’s cheapest trade corridor. For this reason, China’s militarization of the sea is of great concern to Japan and one of the areas in which it seeks stronger rhetoric from India.

While India issued a joint statement with the U.S. in January, “[calling] on all parties to avoid the threat or use of force and pursue resolution of territorial and maritime disputes through all peaceful means,” the country has not risked adopting stronger rhetoric against China’s actions in the contested waters.

Ahead of Modi’s meeting with Abe, China’s state-run Global Times, warned India of “great losses” should New Delhi decide to call on Beijing to respect the Hague tribunal’s arbitration ruling rebuking China’s behavior in the South China Sea. Since then, the Times of India reported, Beijing’s foreign ministry has called on New Delhi to “respect [the] legitimate concerns” of India’s northern neighbor during the Indian prime minister’s meeting with Abe.

Although India would like to check the growing influence of China in the region, “China has significant capacity to cause trouble for India in its immediate neighborhood,” says research professor Baruah. For now, it isn’t in India’s best interest to antagonize the Asian giant — especially when there is still much trepidation as to Trump’s policies and influence in the region.

“Everyone is on ‘wait and see’ mode to gauge how Trump will act, because on the campaign trail he was a loose cannon,” says Kingston.

King Obama’s Aloofness Drives Philippines President Duterte Into China’s Open Arms

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)

Duterte’s visit to China lauded as win-win, conducive to regional peace

PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to China shows the two countries have resumed friendly relations for win-win, which are also conducive to regional peace and stability, global observers and analysts told Xinhua.

The visit is significant in that it is not only Duterte’s first visit outside the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), but also came ahead of his visit to the Philippines’ traditional allies, the United States and Japan, said Earl Parreno, a political analyst at the Institute of Political and Electoral Reforms in the Philippines.

“This visit could mean more investments coming into the country, more opportunities for businessmen and more employment for Filipinos. It could also mean markets for Philippine products like bananas and pineapples,” said Parreno.

Ngeow Chow Bing, deputy director of the Institute of China Studies at the University of Malaya, also spoke highly of Duterte’s visit to China, saying that the China-Philippine relationship going back on track is conducive to regional peace and stability.

The relationship between China and the Southeast Asian countries is comprehensive and complex, which involves not just military or security issues, but also trade, cultural and tourism opportunities, the Malaysian expert said.

Soukthavy Keola, a former counselor at the Lao Embassy in China, said the result of Duterte’s visit is of strategic importance to the region.

The development of cooperation between the two countries will have a positive influence on cooperation between China and ASEAN countries, said Keola.

Li Mingjiang, an associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, said Duterte’s visit is an obvious adjustment of Philippine foreign policy, especially about its relations with major world countries.

Different from his predecessor Benigno Aquino III, who largely depended on the United States in his foreign policy, Duterte has adopted a policy of diversifying friendly relations with major world countries and his visit to China reflects this policy, said Li.

“It is expected that in the next few years, China-Philippine relations will return to the normal track, and cooperation in many areas will be strengthened,” he said.

Pierre Picquart, an expert in Geopolitics and China at the University of Paris VIII, told Xinhua that Duterte has chosen the path of reason “rather than promoting geopolitical, economic and territorial tensions about the South China Sea, and unlike his predecessor Benigno Aquino.”

“This is a peaceful way, with bilateral negotiations and path of economic growth in partnership with Beijing for win-win partnerships in the region,” Picquart said, hailing that the “former American colony now seems to break his ancestral chains.”

Bambang Purwanto, director of international department at Indonesia’s Antara News Agency, said Duterte has made a good start on relations with China and the two countries should strike for positive results from the current visit to create a good atmosphere.

“I am sure that the visit will ease the tension in the South China Sea, and start the process to make the two people’s know each other, to know that cooperation is the right way to develop bilateral ties,” said Purwanto.

Duterte arrived in Beijing Tuesday night for a four-day state visit to China, the first country he has visited outside ASEAN since taking office in June.

The visit came against a backdrop of deteriorating China-Philippines ties due to the South China Sea arbitration case unilaterally initiated against China by his predecessor Benigno Aquino III.

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