China asks United States to close its Consulate in Chengdu

Agencies
July 24, 2020

Chengdu, Jul 24: China on Friday asked the US to close down its Consulate in Chengdu in retaliation to Washington's decision to shut the Chinese Consulate in Houston.

A statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry said China has informed the US Embassy of its decision to withdraw its consent for the establishment and operation of the US Consulate General in Chengdu.

This was in response to "unilateral" decision by the US to shut the Houston Consulate. China's decision is legitimate and necessary response to the unreasonable actions of the US, it said.

The US on Wednesday ordered the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston, a move it said was aimed "to protect American intellectual property and private information."

Reacting strongly to the US move, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin termed it as an "unprecedented escalation and warned retaliatory measures.

China on Thursday said that "malicious slander" is behind an order by the US government to close its consulate in Houston, Texas, and maintained that its officials have never operated outside ordinary diplomatic norms.

Wang said the order to close the consulate violates international law and basic norms governing international relations, and seriously undermines China-US relations.

This is breaking down the bridge of friendship between the Chinese and American people, Wang said.

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News Network
September 16,2020

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Tokyo, Sept 16: Japan's parliament on Wednesday elected Yoshihide Suga prime minister, with the former chief cabinet secretary expected to stick closely to policies championed by Shinzo Abe during his record-breaking tenure.

"According to the results, our house has decided to name Yoshihide Suga prime minister," lower house speaker Tadamori Oshima told parliament after the votes were counted.

Suga, 71, won an easy victory, taking 314 votes of 462 valid ballots cast in the lower house of parliament, where his ruling Liberal Democratic Party holds a commanding majority with its coalition partner.

He bowed deeply as lawmakers applauded following the announcement, but made no immediate comment.

He is expected to announce his cabinet later Wednesday, with local media reporting he will retain a number of ministers from Abe's government.

Suga has said he will prioritise keeping coronavirus infections under control and kickstarting Japan's economy, and has promised to continue Abe's key policy programmes.

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News Network
September 22,2020

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Geneva, Sept 22: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported a record number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus registered across the world over the past week -- almost 2 million infections -- which marks the highest number in a single week so far.

"From 14 through 20 September, there were almost 2 million new cases of COVID-19, which represents a 6 per cent increase compared to the previous week, and the highest number of reported cases in a single week since the beginning of the epidemic. During the same period, there was a 10 per cent decrease in the number of deaths, with 36,764 deaths reported in the past seven days," the WHO said in a situation report late on Monday.

In particular, an increase in the weekly case incidence rate was reported across all regions in the last seven days, except for Africa, with the two Americas remaining the worst-hit areas and accounting for over 38 per cent of all new cases reported over the past week.

Meanwhile, Europe showed the greatest increment in the number of fatalities in the past week, with a 27-per cent increase compared to the previous week.

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Agencies
September 13,2020

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Beijing, Sept 13: As the deadline for ByteDance, TikTok's parent company, to sell its US business inches closer, the Chinese government on Saturday said the Donald Trump administration's deadline is tantamount to "coercive robbery".

The US President has categorically said that he will not extend the September 20 deadline for China-based ByteDance to sell the US business of TikTok or face the complete ban.

"The tricks of economic bullying and political manipulation that the US played on non-American companies are tantamount to coercive robbery," said a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Xinhua news agency reported.

The business sales talk of TikTok in the US has hit roadblock after China's update of the technology export rules. The update covers Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies used by ByteDance.

China last month updated the list of technologies that are subject to export bans. The new list, released jointly by China's Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Science and Technology, added 23 items to export restrictions while technical parameters of 21 items were revised.

The new update in the export rules cover restrictions on technologies such as text analysis, content recommendation and voice-recognition. The technologies on the list cannot be exported without approval from authorities in China.

ByteDance had said that "the company will strictly abide" by the new export rules imposed by China.

Several US companies including Walmart/Microsoft and Oracle are in the fray to buy TikTok's US operations, which is touted in the range of $20 billion-$30 billion.

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