Hong Kong hits back at UK call for security law to be scrapped

HONG KONG: Hong Kong authorities on Friday (May 26) condemned a British government call for the removal of a China-imposed national security law that Britain said had been used to persecute, “silence and discredit” pro-democracy opposition figures. Britain’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly wrote in his government’s latest six-monthly report onContinue Reading

Chinese hacking group spying on US critical infrastructure, western intelligence agencies say

Microsoft analysts said they had “moderate confidence” this Chinese group, which it dubbed as “Volt Typhoon”, was developing capabilities that could disrupt critical communications infrastructure between the United States and Asia region during future crises. “It means they are preparing for that possibility,” added said John Hultquist, who heads threatContinue Reading

UN urges Myanmar junta to open up to Cyclone Mocha relief

Myanmar’s junta has given a death toll of 148 people, mostly from the persecuted Rohingya minority in western Rakhine state. “For decades, the authorities in Myanmar have deprived the Rohingya of their rights and freedoms and relentlessly attacked other ethnic groups, eroding their capacity to survive,” Turk said. Rakhine isContinue Reading

New Chinese ambassador to US acknowledges 'serious difficulties' in relations

A fluent English speaker who was previously posted twice to China’s Washington embassy, Xie lodged China’s formal denunciation in February accusing Washington of “obstinately” shooting down what it suspected was a Chinese spy balloon after its flight over the United States spurred a diplomatic crisis.

Beijing has said it was a civilian airship.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said the US welcomed Xie’s arrival.

“We look forward to working with the ambassador designate and his team. We remain committed, as we said on a number of occasions, to maintain channels of communication with the PRC (People’s Republic of China) to responsibly manage competition,” Miller said.

Xie has taken a confrontational tone in past meetings with Biden administration officials, including when hosting Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman in 2021 in Tianjin, where he issued a long list of demands for the US to improve ties while accusing Washington of creating an “imaginary enemy” in China.

Nonetheless, Xie’s arrival at the embassy post, which has been vacant since his predecessor Qin Gang was elevated to foreign minister late last year, could help Beijing parry criticism that it has ignored the Biden administration’s calls for increased engagement.

Qin told Washington’s envoy to Beijing this month that it was essential to stabilize relations, and US President Joe Biden – who expressed a desire to speak with Chinese leader Xi Jinping after the downing of the balloon – said on Sunday that he expected more US-China talks “very shortly”.

Bonnie Glaser, an Asia expert at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, said Xie, as an experienced diplomat well-acquainted with US policymakers, was capable of facilitating better communication “if he chooses to do so”.

“The decision to finally send Xie Feng appears to be part of this effort to prevent a spiralling deterioration of bilateral ties,” Glaser said. 

Continue Reading