European and Asian leaders opened summit talks in Hanoi yesterday to rekindle inter-regional ties despite divisions over how to persuade Myanmar's military dictatorship to relax its grip on power. \nThe fight against terrorism, instability in Iraq, tension on the Korean peninsula and weapons non-proliferation were among the issues to be discussed at the biennial Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). Measures to improve disease control and boost trade and investment were also on the two-day agenda in the Vietnamese capital. \nOn the summit margins, China was expected to renew its push to get the EU to lift an arms embargo imposed after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. \nSpeaking on behalf of the EU, Luxemburg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker hinted at the discord over Myanmar's participation that almost scuppered this fifth ASEM summit. \n"Decisions on the enlargement of ASEM have shown that we don't always share the same point of view on all subjects," he said at the opening ceremony. "I hope and I am convinced that ASEM will emerge from this stronger and more mature." \nThe country formerly known as Burma was one of three members of the ASEAN that joined ASEM on Thursday, alongside Cambodia and Laos and the 10 new EU states. But its admission into the grouping was tempered by the EU's announcement that it would slap tougher sanctions on the junta for failing to meet several demands including the release of detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. \nForeign ministers from the 25-member bloc are expected Monday to extend a visa blacklist of junta officials, ban EU companies from financing state-owned firms and oppose lending by international institutions such as the World Bank. \nBritain, the country's former colonial power, repeated its call for the release of Suu Kyi and other members of her National League for Democracy. \n"This would send a strong signal that Myanmar is serious about building a democratic nation," Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott told a summit dinner late Thursday. \nGerman Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said Myanmar now had obligations as a member of ASEM. \n"We should continue the dialogue about human rights in our countries and we should respect worldwide standards. On this issue we expect further progress from Burma as a new ASEM member," he told the meeting yesterday. \nHowever, both sides are keen not to allow Myanmar to completely overshadow ASEM, whose members collectively represent about 3 billion people and over 40 percent of world trade. French President Jacques Chirac has called in Hanoi for Asia and Europe to position themselves as an alternative pole to US domination of world affairs. \nVietnamese President Tran Duc Luong said in opening the summit that the forum must become an "important force in securing peace, security and sustainable development in the world."
‘OBVIOUS DIFFERENCE’: The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been researching bat coronaviruses to trace the SARS pathogen, which is 80 percent similar to SARS-CoV-2 The Chinese virology institute in the city where COVID-19 first emerged has three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site, but none match the new contagion wreaking havoc around the world, its director has said. Scientists think COVID-19 — which first emerged in Wuhan and has killed more than 340,000 people worldwide — originated in bats and could have been transmitted to people via another mammal. However, the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology told state broadcaster China Global Television Network that claims made by US President Donald Trump and others that the novel coronavirus could have escaped from the facility were
SPACE RACE: The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp mission aims to land a robotic rover and put a probe into orbit around the planet China is targeting a July launch for its ambitious Mars mission, which includes landing a remote-controlled robot on the surface of the Red Planet, the company in charge of the project has said. Beijing has invested billions of dollars in its space program in an effort to catch up with its rival, the US, and affirm its status as a major world power. The Mars mission is among a number of new space projects China is pursuing, including putting Chinese astronauts on the moon and having a space station by 2022. Beijing had been planning the Mars mission for some time this year,
India has moved additional troops along its northern border as it prepares for an extended conflict with China, after several rounds of talks failed to ease tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals. China has already placed about 5,000 soldiers and armored vehicles within its side of the disputed border in the Ladakh region, an Indian government official said, asking not to be identified, citing rules. India is adding a similar number of troops as well as artillery guns along the border to fend off the continuing incursions by the Chinese army, the official said. The standoff began on May 5, when troops clashed
China is poised to enshrine individuals’ rights to privacy and personal data for the first time, a symbolic first step as more of the country of 1.4 billion people becomes digitized — and more vulnerable to leaks and hacks. The legislation is part of China’s first civil code, a sweeping package of laws that is being deliberated during the annual meeting of China’s National People’s Congress, which began on Friday after a delay of more than two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent draft, an individual has a right to privacy and to have their personal information protected. Data