Moscow helping China
President Vladimir Putin said Moscow is helping China to develop an anti-missile early warning system, as he criticized the US for abandoning a key nuclear treaty. “We are now helping our Chinese partners to create a missile-warning system, a missile-attack warning system,” Putin said at the Valdai Club conference of foreign-policy experts in Russia’s Sochi on Thursday. “This is a very serious thing that will dramatically increase China’s defense capability, because only the US and Russia have such a system now.” Putin said US President Donald Trump’s decision earlier this year to quit the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty had weakened international strategic stability. The US has accused Russia of breaching the treaty, a charge Moscow denies, while also saying that new or renewed nuclear accords should include China’s expanding arsenal. China has rejected that suggestion.
Protest death toll hits 44
The death toll from three days of anti-government protests in Iraq climbed to 44, police and medical sources said yesterday. The largest number of casualties occurred in the southern city of Nassiriya, where 18 people were killed, followed by the capital Baghdad where the death toll stood at 16, they said. Tensions have been exacerbated by a near-total Internet blackout as the authorities seek to prevent protesters communicating with each other or posting footage of the chaotic demonstrations. Prime Minister Adel Abdel-Mahdi has imposed curfews in Baghdad and other cities to try to stop the protests gathering steam.
Council to discuss N Korea
The UN Security Council is on Tuesday to hold closed consultations on North Korea’s recent ballistic missile launches, diplomats said on Thursday. Britain, France and Germany called for a council meeting following the recent series of missile launches, which are in contravention of UN sanctions. The council session is to take place after today’s meeting of US and North Korean officials in Stockholm. Some council members wanted the Security Council meeting to take place yesterday — ahead of the US talks, diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because discussions have been private. South African Ambassador Jerry Matjila, this month’s council president, and others told reporters there were scheduling issues. In its latest test, North Korea on Thursday said that it carried out its first underwater-launched ballistic missile test in three years. The firing on Wednesday was an apparent effort to increase pressure on the US ahead of the weekend resumption of their nuclear diplomacy.
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
INTERNET CURBS: People are rushing to erase their digital footprints after police given powers over online activity, although it might take years for the full effect to be felt At midnight on Tuesday, the Great Firewall of China, the vast apparatus that limits the country’s Internet, appeared to descend on Hong Kong. Unveiling expanded police powers as part of contentious new national security legislation, the Hong Kong government enabled police to censor online speech, and force Internet service providers to hand over user information and shut down platforms. Many residents, already anxious since the legislation took effect last week, rushed to erase their digital footprint of any signs of dissent or support for the past year of protests. Hong Kong Legislator Charles Mok (莫乃光), a pro-democracy member of the Legislative
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting