Switzerland has engaged in China‘s new Silk road project, or Belt and Road Initiative, concluding the talks with memorandum signatures of Swiss President Ueli Maurer and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jingping in Beijing.
The massive Chinese trade initiative involves the construction of ports, roads, railways and other infrastructure to upgrade commerce between China and the world.
“The aim is for both countries to expand cooperation on trade, investment and finance for projects in third countries along the routes” of the Belt and Road Initiative the Swiss government said in a statement.
The US has accused the New Silk Road of luring developing countries into debt by offering cheap financing they cannot afford.
Critics also warn that poorer countries could become politically dependent on China, and that Chinese companies seem to win many of the project contracts.
The biggest infrastructure project in the world. An estimated 60% of humanity, and 35% of the world’s economy will be included.
China must stop arbitrary detentions of religious and ethnics minorities, said Members of European Parliament in a resolution adopted during April Strasbourg Plenary.
Parliament is concerned about the increasingly repressive regime that many religious and ethnic minorities, such as Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Tibetans and Christians, are facing in China. The situation is rapidly deteriorating, placing additional restraints on their fundamental rights. It calls on the Chinese Government to put an end to arbitrary detentions, without any charge, trial or conviction for criminal offence, of members of the Uyghur and Kazakh minority and Tibetans.
“Continuing to negotiate with China over investment and trade issues while ignoring reports of human rights abuses, means the international community is failing to respect its own set of values”, Thomas Mann MEP said. (pictured above).
According to the United Nations estimates, China has put in place an extrajudicial detention programme, currently detaining “from tens of thousands to upwards of a million Uyghurs’” who are forced to undergo political “re-education”. MEPs are also concerned about the information that the Xinjiang camp system has expanded into other parts of China and, in this regard, urge China to close all detention centres and to release the detained persons immediately and unconditionally. The full resolution will be available here (18.04.2019).
The resolution on China was adopted by 505 votes in favour, 18 against, with 47 abstentions.
EU-China Summit took place the 21st time on 9 April in Brussels, providing a forum for engagement at the highest level and for advancing the relationship as regards the bilateral and multilateral agendas.
President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and President of the European Council Donald Tusk represented the European Union at the Summit. The People’s Republic of China was represented by Premier Li Keqiang.
“In today’s world, our partnership is more important than ever before. We share the same belief that working together makes the world a stronger, safer and more prosperous place”, said President Jean-Claude Juncker.
“As good friends, we can also be honest with each other when we need to be or when progress is slower than we would like. This honesty and a strong determination to face our challenges together have allowed us to make real progress, reflected in today’s Joint Statement. But we can do a lot better. We need to find a better balance and level of reciprocity. Europe wants to trade more and invest more in China but we need rules that allow us to do so. We want to work with China, because we believe in the potential of our partnership.”
The European Union and China have agreed a Joint Summit Statement, which is available online, along wth the full remarks of President Juncker at the press conference following the Summit.
Significant progress has been made on a number of key issues, as highlighted:
- Preserving the international rules-based trade system with the World Trade Organisation at its core and strengthening international rules on industrial subsidies;
- Enhancing bilateral trade and investment, including through removing key market access barriers, and moving to conclude negotiations on an Investment Agreement and an agreement on Geographical Indications;
- Tackling global and regional challenges together, including foreign policy priorities, climate change and cyber activity.https://twitter.com/EU_Eurostat/status/1115497594472542209
Italy Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that the Memorandum of understanding his government has scheduled to sign for China‘s Belt and Road Initiative during Chinese President Xi Jinping visit this week is risk free. The initiative is a huge infrastructure plan that aiming at construction of a modern Silk Road to connect China with Europe and Africa.
“The attention to economic and trade terms is totally legitimate,” Conte told the Parliament as he reported to the lawmakers ahead of this week’s EU Summit in Brussels. “And it is justified precisely because of our national interests. We can boost our exports to a market of an enormous size”, Prime Minister explained.
“The content of the memorandum, which was negotiated for months with China involving all the interested administrations, does not feature any risk for our national interest and is fully in line with the EU‘s strategy”, Conte ensured.
A champion pigeon has been auctioned for a record €1.25m ($1.42m/£1.07m).
Auction house Pipa called Armando the “best Belgian long-distance pigeon of all time”. He’s also been dubbed the “Lewis Hamilton of pigeons“.
Before this epic sale, the record was €376,000 (£321,800). However, Pipa representative explains the record was beaten within a day of Armando being put up for bids. The champion bird (5 years), is now enjoying his retirement and has already fathered a number of chicks. Reportedly the happy new owner of the bird is a Chinese pigeon amateur. (Image above: illustration).
Japan Defence Ministry has adopted a policy decision to develop the nation’s first domestically manufactured air-to-ship long-range cruise missile, to be mounted on Air Self-Defence Force fighter jets and capable of attacking a warship from outside of an adversary’s range.
The new missile, which is to be developed in response to the rapid advance in the strike capability of the Chinese Navy, will reinforce Japan‘s deterrence by extending the shooting range to more than 400 km. The ministry aims to put the new missile into practical use within a few years, government sources said.
“The declared motive for the arrest and detention of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, both Canadian nationals, raises concerns about legitimate research and business practices in China. The denial of access to a lawyer under their status of detention is contrary to the right of defence” – says the text of the European External Action Service (EEAS) spokesperson.
“The European Union calls on the Chinese authorities to answer these concerns. The EU supports the efforts of the Canadian Government.
“As raised at the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue in July 2018, the EU has concerns about the implementation of the NGO law and its impact on our people-to-people relations and the operations of international NGOs operating in China.”