North Korea No. 2 threat to Beijing after U.S., Chinese military strategists say

Japan Times

Kyodo Jan 31, 2017

North Korea is seen as the No. 2 threat to China after the United States, according to a recent document written by strategists with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and seen by Kyodo News.

It shows that despite the two neighboring countries’ traditionally friendly diplomatic ties, North Korea is seen, from a military perspective, as a threat in view of its nuclear arms and missile programs.

The document, issued in May 2016, is a wartime exercise guideline for designed to prepare in the event of threats from hypothetical enemies.

In their analysis of the situation facing China, the strategists cite “five potential threats,” the foremost of them being the United States and its “rebalance” to Asia. Tiếp tục đọc “North Korea No. 2 threat to Beijing after U.S., Chinese military strategists say”

Trump Tells South Korea That Alliance With U.S. Is ‘Ironclad’

Hwang Kyo-ahn, the acting leader of South Korea, spoke by phone with President Trump from Seoul on Monday. The call followed North Korea’s warning that it could test an intercontinental ballistic missile “anytime.” Credit Yonhap/European Pressphoto Agency

SEOUL, South Korea — President Trump assured South Korea’s acting president on Monday of the United States’ “ironclad” commitment to defend the country, agreeing with Seoul to strengthen joint defense capabilities against North Korea.

Mr. Trump’s assurances came amid anxiety in South Korea over the future of the alliance with the United States. During his campaign, Mr. Trump cast some doubt on the United States’ defense and trade commitments, saying that South Korea was not paying enough to help keep 28,500 American troops in the country.

But speaking by phone to Hwang Kyo-ahn, the acting president of South Korea, Mr. Trump said that the coming visit to South Korea by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis reflected the close friendship of the two countries and the importance of their alliance. Mr. Mattis is scheduled to visit South Korea on Thursday on his first official trip abroad, which also includes a stop in Japan.

“President Trump reiterated our ironclad commitment to defend the R.O.K., including through the provision of extended deterrence, using the full range of military capabilities,” the White House said in a statement after Mr. Trump’s phone conversation with Mr. Hwang, using the initials for South Korea’s official name, the Republic of Korea.

Continue reading on New York Times

Billionaire Is Reported Seized From Hong Kong Hotel and Taken Into China

Xiao Jianhua at a park in Beijing in an undated photograph. He has been missing since Friday. Credit The New York Times

HONG KONG — A Chinese-born billionaire who has forged financial ties with some of the country’s most powerful families was taken by the Chinese police from his apartment at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong late last week and spirited across the border, a person close to the businessman said on Tuesday.

The billionaire, Xiao Jianhua, who has been missing since Friday, is in police custody in China, where he apparently is safe, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of arrest. Mr. Xiao is a Canadian citizen with an Antiguan diplomatic passport, though he was born in China.

His removal from Hong Kong appears to contravene the “one country, two systems” rule that allows the former British colony to run its own affairs and bars the Chinese police from operating here.

Continue reading on New York Times

Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh to Be Relocated to Remote Island

The Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, this month. The United Nations has called the Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic group denied citizenship in Myanmar, the most persecuted minority in the world. Credit Allison Joyce/Getty Images

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Bangladesh’s government is moving forward with a plan to relocate Rohingya refugees staying in camps near the country’s largest tourist resort towns to a remote island that is underwater for much of the year.

A cabinet order on Thursday directed officials to have the refugees transferred to Thengar Char, an island in the Bay of Bengal that is lashed by high tides year round and submerged during the monsoon season. The suggestion that they be moved to the largely uninhabitable marshland several hours by boat from the mainland drew criticism from around the world.

Continue reading on New York Times

Dangerous Fruit: Mystery of Deadly Outbreaks in India Is Solved

A man comforted his sick daughter at a hospital in Muzaffarpur, India, in 2013. Credit Kuni Takahashi for The New York Times

NEW DELHI — Three years ago, Dr. Rajesh Yadav, an investigator with the India Epidemic Intelligence Service, moved to the city of Muzaffarpur, the site of one of the country’s most mysterious outbreaks. And he waited.

Every year in mid-May, as temperatures reached scorching heights, parents took children who had been healthy the night before to the hospital. The children awakened with a high-pitch cry in the early morning, many parents said.

Then the youths began having seizures and slipping into comas. In about 40 percent of cases, they died.

Every year in July, with the arrival of monsoon rains, the outbreak ended as suddenly as it began.

Beginning in 1995, investigations variously ascribed the phenomenon to heat stroke; to infections carried by rats, bats or sand flies; or to pesticides used in the region’s ubiquitous lychee orchards. But there were few signposts for investigators.

Continue reading on New York Times