Archive for ‘Politics’


The north star | The Economist

ASKED what they think of Lu Hao, their governor, residents of Harbin, capital of the north-eastern province of Heilongjiang, often reply with the word xiaozi. This roughly translates as “young whippersnapper”.

Mr Lu’s youthfulness is indeed striking. Born in 1967, he is the youngest of China’s current provincial governors. He was also the youngest to hold most of his previous positions. Those include factory boss at a large state-owned enterprise, deputy mayor of Beijing and leader of the Communist Youth League, an important training ground for many a national leader.

China’s system of political succession produces occasional surprises, such as the purge three years ago of another provincial leader, Bo Xilai, on the eve of what appeared to be his likely elevation to the pinnacle of power, the Politburo Standing Committee, alongside Xi Jinping, who is now president. But at least since the Communist Party began institutionalising succession arrangements in the 1990s, high-flyers have often been easy to spot. Mr Lu is one of them.

His stint at the youth league was of greatest portent. The organisation is something like an American fraternity club (without the misbehaviour)—its members form close ties which are often maintained in their later careers. Its leaders have a tendency to move into high national office. Hu Yaobang, a party chief in the 1980s, grew to prominence in the league, as did Hu Jintao, Mr Xi’s predecessor. Li Keqiang, the current prime minister, is also an ex-head of the league. Mr Lu’s stint in that role from 2008-13 made him an obvious rising star. His subsequent promotion to a provincial governorship confirmed this impression.

Youth is on his side. The next rung on the ladder to the top may be induction into the 25-member Politburo, possibly as early as 2017. But it will not be until around the time of the party’s 20th congress in 2022—a year after its 100th birthday—that Mr Xi will retire and Mr Lu will have a chance to shine, likely as one of the (now seven) members of the Standing Committee. He will then be 55, a year older than Mr Xi was when he joined the body in 2007. That would give Mr Lu a good few years at the top: Standing Committee members are expected to retire around 70. He would be a member of what party officials already call the “sixth generation” of Communist leaders (the first having been led by Mao Zedong, Mr Xi representing the fifth).

There are several other likely members of the upcoming generation. They include Hu Chunhua, Mr Lu’s predecessor as head of the youth league who is now the party boss of the southern province of Guangdong; and Sun Zhengcai, the party chief of Chongqing, a south-western region. One rising star has already fallen, however. Su Shulin was thought to have bright prospects until he was removed as governor of coastal Fujian province after being snared in a corruption investigation in October.

China’s media often drop hints of who to watch. Mr Lu’s appointment as Heilongjiang’s governor (a few months after he became the youngest full member of the party’s 370-strong Central Committee) was accompanied by a flurry of celebratory articles in the party’s main mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, and other newspapers. They emphasised Mr Lu’s youth, impeccable work ethic and solid record of excellent performance in his previous jobs.

Source: The north star | The Economist


How Modi Dealt With Pointed Questions From the British Press – India Real Time – WSJ

Narendra Modi hasn’t given a news conference in India since becoming prime minister last year.

So when he arrived in the U.K. on Thursday and addressed the media with his counterpart, David Cameron, British reporters seized the opportunity to ask a few pointed questions.

Referring to recent incidents of religious violence, BBC correspondent Justin Rowlatt kicked off by asking Mr. Modi: “India is becoming an increasingly intolerant place. Why?”

Mr. Modi answered, in Hindi: “India is the land of Buddha. India is the land of Gandhi. And so, it is in our culture and blood that we don’t accept anything against the basic values of society.”

He continued: “For us, every incident is serious. We don’t tolerate it under any circumstances. Law takes strict action and will continue to do so. India is a vibrant democracy, and its constitution provides for the safety of people from all strata of society. We are committed to protecting freedom of thought.”

A little later in the news conference, Guardian reporter Nicholas Watt asked Mr. Cameron what he felt about the visit. “How comfortable do you feel welcoming Prime Minister Modi to this country given that for the first two years of your premiership he was not permitted to visit this country because of his record as chief minister of Gujarat?”

The U.K. distanced itself from Gujarat and Mr. Modi after religious riots in the state that killed more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, in 2002, when Mr. Modi was the state’s top official. Mr. Modi has denied wrongdoing and court investigations have said there isn’t enough evidence to prosecute him.

Mr. Watt then asked about Europe’s migrant crisis and the U.K.’s referendum on European Union membership before turning back to India.

“Prime Minister Modi, can I ask you: Tomorrow night you will obviously have a rapturous reception at Wembley Stadium. But there are a number of protesters out today who are saying—and I am wondering what you say to them—that given your record as chief minister of the state of Gujarat, you do not deserve the respect that would normally be accorded to the leader of the world’s largest democracy.”

Mr. Cameron answered by citing Mr. Modi’s “record and historic majority” in the Indian parliament after the 2014 election. Mr. Modi then said he was never denied entry to the U.K. The U.S. refused him a visa in 2005 based on his response to the riots but issued him one in 2014, after he became prime minister.

“To keep the record straight, I would like to give some information,” Mr. Modi said. “I came here in 2003 and received a big welcome and respect, and participated in several programs. The U.K. has never stopped me from coming here, has never imposed any restrictions. I couldn’t come here due to a lack of time. That’s a different issue. So this is a wrong perception. Please correct it.”

Mr. Modi then spoke on the British referendum and proceeded to take a question on trade and economic cooperation from an Indian reporter. He never directly addressed the last part of Mr. Watt’s question.

Source: How Modi Dealt With Pointed Questions From the British Press – India Real Time – WSJ


LIVE: PM Modi arrives in UK – The Hindu

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Air India aircraft made touchdown this morning at 10 a.m. in Heathrow for his long-awaited bilateral level visit to the United Kingdom — his first since becoming Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart David Cameron with their delegations during talks at 10, Downing Street in London on Thursday. Photo: PMO

He was met at the airport by Hugo Swire, Minister of State for the Foreign Office, and Priti Patel, Minister for Employment and Diaspora Champion in the David Cameron government. His visit carries expectations for agreements and partnerships worth billions of dollars across defence, security, finance and sectors like education, research and health.

Mr. Modi is accompanied by a high power business delegation that included Cyrus P. Mistry, chairman, Tata Sons, Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman, Bharti Enterprises Limited and N. Chandrasekaran, CEO and managing director of Tata Consultancy Services.

Mr. Modi will be greeted by a Guard of Honour at Westminster,which will be followed by delegation level talks at 10 Downing Street with Mr. Cameron. The two Prime Ministers will address a joint press conference after which Mr. Modi will deliver his speech in parliament. He will also garland the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Parliament Square. The evening will see important agreements between the two country delegations finalised at Guildhall, City of London. Mr. Modi will stay the night at the Prime Minister’s country residence at Chequers.

The pomp and ceremony attached to the visit is expected to include a special tricolour flypast by the Red Arrows Royal Air Force (RAF) Aerobatic Team over the Buckingham Palace before the Prime Minister sits down for lunch with Queen Elizabeth II ahead of his mega diaspora address at the iconic Wembley Stadium in north London.

Source: LIVE: PM Modi arrives in UK – The Hindu


Modi pledges 800 billion rupees in relief and development for Kashmir | Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged 800 billion rupees ($12.10 billion) in funds to bolster development and economic growth in Kashmir, a year after the worst flooding in more than a century destroyed half a million homes there.

Addressing several thousand people in a cricket stadium in the northern state’s capital of Srinagar, Modi said he wanted to go beyond helping flood victims. He promised to create jobs for Kashmiri youth by improving education and promoting industries, including tourism and cashmere wool.

“The biggest task at hand here is to find work for the youth of Kashmir and Ladakh … our youth should get the cheapest and the best education, and of global standards,” he said. Ladakh is another mountainous region in the north.

Saturday’s visit is Modi’s first this year to the disputed territory which has been plagued by militant violence for years. Nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan both claim Kashmir in full but rule it in part.

Violence in India’s only Muslim-majority region has eased significantly from levels in the 1990s, when armed revolt against Indian rule erupted.

Kashmiris have been protesting against a lack of central aid for last year’s floods that the state government estimates caused $16 billion of damage.

Security forces in Kashmir detained nearly 400 separatists on Friday to prevent them from holding an anti-government protest march during Modi’s visit.

Hours before Modi’s rally, in footage screened on national television, police detained an independent parliamentarian, Engineer Rashid, for protesting with black flags.

Security was tight with paramilitary forces and sharpshooters deployed, while schools and colleges were shut. Internet services were suspended hours before Modi arrived.

In his 40-minute speech, Modi highlighted progress, promising improved road and rail networks, as well as branches of India’s prestigious management and technology institutes.

“Kashmir has suffered a lot … the dreams of several generations have been shattered, but I have the confidence that my Kashmir will rise again,” he said.

Comparing the devastation from the floods to that in his home state of Gujarat after an earthquake in 2001, Modi said: “thousands died … homes were destroyed … nobody believed we would be able to rebuild so quickly.”

India accuses Pakistan of backing the separatist militants fighting security forces in Indian Kashmir. Pakistan denies that saying it only offers diplomatic support to Kashmir’s suppressed Muslims.

Source: Modi pledges 800 billion rupees in relief and development for Kashmir | Reuters


Oppose Taiwan independence, China’s Xi says at historic meeting | Reuters

China and Taiwan must not let proponents of Taiwan’s independence split them, China’s President Xi Jinping told Taiwan’s president on Saturday at the first meeting between leaders of the two sides since China’s civil war ended in 1949.

Ma Ying-jeou, president of self-ruled, democratic Taiwan, where anti-Beijing sentiment has been rising ahead of elections, called for mutual respect for each other’s systems and said Taiwan people were concerned about mainland missiles pointing their way.

The talks, at a luxury hotel in the neutral venue of Singapore, lasted less than an hour but were heavy with symbolism.

The two leaders shook hands and smiled in front of a mass of journalists when they met, with Xi wearing a red tie, the color of the Communist Party, and Ma a blue one, the color of his Nationalist Party.

Moving into a meeting room, Xi, speaking first and sitting opposite Ma, said Chinese people on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait had the ability and wisdom to solve their own problems.

“No force can pull us apart because we are brothers who are still connected by our flesh even if our bones are broken, we are a family in which blood is thicker than water,” Xi said.

In response, Ma said he was determined to promote peace across the Taiwan Strait and that relations should be based on sincerity, wisdom and patience.

Ma also asked Xi indirectly to respect Taiwan’s democracy.

“Both sides should respect each other’s values and way of life to ensure mutual benefit and a win-win situation across the straits,” he said.

China’s Nationalists, also known as the Kuomintang (KMT), retreated to Taiwan after losing the civil war to the Communists, who are still in charge in Beijing.

The mainland has never renounced the use of force to bring what it considers a breakaway province under its control.

Speaking to reporters after the talks, Ma said he hoped Xi could pay attention to China’s missile deployment – the island has long fretted about batteries pointed its way – to which Xi replied that was not an issue about Taiwan, he said.

“I at least raised the issue, and told him that the Taiwanese people have questions and concerns about it, and hope he will treat it with importance,” Ma said.

Zhang Zhijun, the head of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said Xi told Ma that the biggest threat to the peaceful development of relations was pro-independence forces. “The compatriots on both sides should unite and firmly oppose it,” Zhang said.

Source: Oppose Taiwan independence, China’s Xi says at historic meeting | Reuters


China-Taiwan Summit a Success for Singapore – China Real Time Report – WSJ

The choice of Singapore as the venue for Saturday’s historic meeting between the Chinese and Taiwanese presidents is a diplomatic coup for the famously neutral city-state.

The meeting is the first between China’s President Xi Jinping and Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou, and the first time leaders from both sides have met since Taiwan and China split in 1949.

The decision to hold the summit in Singapore shows it maintains its reputation as a rare neutral ground in a region where tensions are rising, even after the death in March of the city-state’s widely-respected former leader, Lee Kuan Yew.

Mr. Ma said this week the summit is the product of years of diplomacy between the two sides, and that Singapore was chosen for its impartiality.

Singapore’s selection as host “further highlights Singapore’s role in international politics,” said Huang Jing, professor of U.S.-China relations and director of the Centre on Asia and Globalisation at the National University of Singapore. The meeting “gives Singapore a status that no other country except Singapore can match up to,” he said, adding that the city-state’s relations with both sides will likely improve as a result.

Mr. Lee, Singapore’s first and longest-serving prime minister, earned the admiration of many national leaders, such as Britain’s Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan in the U.S., during his 31-year tenure in the top job. Many foreign leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, sought meetings with Mr. Lee to discuss international relations, both before and after he stepped down.

His son, Lee Hsien Loong, now heads a government that is keen to maintain Singapore’s regional relations. The younger Mr. Lee, although viewed as a competent and respected leader, has not inherited his father’s reputation for straight-talking, no-nonsense politics, and doesn’t yet have the leadership experience that drew his predecessor favor with other politicians in Asia.

Still, the younger Mr. Lee has worked to maintain diplomatic and economic relations with Singapore’s neighbors, sharing his father’s view that a small, multi-ethnic island surrounded by much larger countries is best served by fostering strong relationships, rather than by taking sides. It’s a position that is rare in a region brimming with diplomatic tension, as shown by current disputes such as the conflicting territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Singapore, which Chinese ethnic majority and large Indian and Malay populations, is frequently chosen as a diplomatic hub, hosting Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings and other summits. It is also the annual venue for the Shangri-La Dialogue, a high-profile international security conference.

The Shangri-La Hotel, close to the city’s central shopping district, was the venue of choice for Saturday’s meeting between Messrs. Xi and Ma. The National University of Singapore’s Mr. Huang said that allowed the Singapore government to maintain its policy on China-Taiwan relations by avoiding hosting the meeting in a government facility.

The city-state maintains a “one-China” policy on cross-strait issues, officially recognizing only Beijing as China’s capital. Lee Kuan Yew broke Singapore’s relations with Taiwan in 1990 to open them with China, although relations with both sides today are close. He also helped ease decades of tension between the two nations. In 1993, shortly after Mr. Lee stepped down from his post as prime minister to take an advisory role, Singapore hosted the first talks between representatives of China and Taiwan since the two sides clashed.

Source: China-Taiwan Summit a Success for Singapore – China Real Time Report – WSJ


Japan, China and South Korea ‘restore’ fraught ties – BBC News

The leaders of Japan, China and South Korea say they have “completely restored” trade and security ties, at their first meeting in three years.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang meet for trilateral meeting in Seoul - 1 November

They said in a statement they had agreed to resume regular trilateral meetings, not held since 2012. They also agreed more economic co-operation.

The talks in the South Korean capital Seoul were an attempt to ease ill-feeling fuelled by territorial disputes and historical disagreements. China and South Korea say Japan has not done enough to atone for its troops’ brutality in World War Two.

The BBC’s Stephen Evans in Seoul says the real significance of the talks is that they happened. They were held regularly until three-and-a-half years ago, when they were called off as bad feeling towards Japan intensified. “We shared the view that trilateral cooperation has been completely restored on the occasion of this summit,” South Korean President Park Geun-hye, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in a joint statement, quoted by AFP.

Ms Park said the three leaders had agreed to work together to conclude the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a 16-nation free trade area favoured by Beijing. She said they maintained their goal of “denuclearising” North Korea, AFP reported.

Our correspondent says that South Korea and Japan are torn between their allegiance to the US and their need to get on economically with Beijing. Mr Li met Ms Park on Saturday and the two agreed to try to increase trade, particularly through more Korean exports of food to China and co-operation on research into robotics. The two leaders were joined by Mr Abe on Sunday.

Source: Japan, China and South Korea ‘restore’ fraught ties – BBC News


British royal welcome for Chinese president highlights China-UK partnership – Xinhua |

Few national leaders has had the honor of meeting so many British royals in one day, but with Chinese President Xi Jinping, all efforts have been made to ensure the distinguished guest receives a full set of British hospitality.

BRITAIN-CHINA-XI JINPING-VISIT-ROYAL WELCOME Addressing the State Banquet for Xi at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday evening, British Queen Elizabeth II said the United Kingdom and China have “truly a global partnership” and the president’s state visit to Britain is a “defining moment” for the future of Sino-UK relations.

Britain and China have achieved success not only in economic cooperation but also in jointly addressing pressing international challenges, and are now ready to take bilateral relations to “ambitious new heights,” the Queen said.

The 89-year-old Queen recalled her visit to China with the Duke of Edinburgh in 1986 as with “great fondness,” and applauded China’s work over the past decades in “lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.”

Echoing the queen, Xi said China and Britain, with their outstanding civilizations, have been influencing each other for centuries though far away from each other geographically.

Both as founding members of the United Nations (UN) and permanent members of the UN Security Council, the two countries share a “sacred” obligation to promote world peace and development, Xi said.

Throughout Tuesday, the royal family have spent quite some quality time with Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan.

A traditional ceremonial welcome was held by the Queen for the Chinese president at noon Tuesday in central London with the presence of senior royal family members and political leaders.

Earlier, the president and his wife had been greeted by Prince Charles on behalf of the Queen at their hotel and traveled with the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall to Horse Guards Parade for the ceremony.

With 41 rounds of gun salute fired from Green Park and 62 from the Tower of London, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, bathed in rare London sunshine, formally welcomed Xi and Peng at the Royal pavilion on Horse Guards Parade.

Xi, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, inspected the Guard of Honor and later joined the Queen and the Duke for a state carriage procession along The Mall to Buckingham Palace, with Chinese National Anthem being played.

Thousands of people have lined around the Buckingham Palace and surrounding routes since early morning to welcome the president, who is the first Chinese head of state to visit Britain in 10 years, initiating a “golden era” for bilateral ties.

After riding through cheering crowds in the golden and black Diamond Jubilee Coach, Xi enjoyed a private lunch at Buckingham Palace with the Queen. He then viewed an exhibition of China-related items from the Royal Collection in the picture gallery of the palace and exchanged gifts with the Queen.

The enthusiastic welcome from the British side for the Chinese president is a “step forward for bilateral ties” and represents “the West and the East warmly embracing each other for a better future,” said Fu Xiaolan, professor of technology and international development at Oxford University.

Closer cooperation between China and Britain could “raise the living standards of ordinary people” and “send more kids to school,” she said, adding that Britain’s “knowledge and creativity” will also help China in its future development.

In the afternoon, Xi and Peng enjoyed tea time and Welsh music with Charles and his wife Camilla at Clarence House, after a visit to the parliament.

Source: British royal welcome for Chinese president highlights China-UK partnership – Xinhua |


Xi Jinping visit: UK royals and MPs to greet Chinese leader – BBC News

Members of the Royal Family and politicians are due to greet China’s President Xi Jinping as he begins his four-day state visit to the UK.

Supporters of ChinaMr Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, will take part in a procession along The Mall to Buckingham Palace, ahead of a state banquet held by the Queen later.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said Britain was going into closer relations with China with its “eyes wide open”.

He denied allegations the UK was acting like “a panting puppy” towards Beijing.

Ministers expect more than £30bn of trade and investment deals to be struck during the visit, which will also include talks between Mr Xi and Prime Minister David Cameron.

On Tuesday, Mr Xi will: Receive a ceremonial welcome from the Queen and Duke Of Edinburgh Take part in a state carriage procession to Buckingham Palace Address MPs and Lords at the Palace of Westminster Meet Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall as well as the Duke of Cambridge Hold talks with Mr Cameron and Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn Attend a state banquet

Source: Xi Jinping visit: UK royals and MPs to greet Chinese leader – BBC News


Top African leaders to meet PM Modi in his trademark jacket

PM Narendra Modi has not only gained prominence across world for giving a personal touch in his diplomatic efforts but he is also famous for his impeccable dress sense. Prime Minister will take the diplomatic skills to new level when he will host a dinner for top African leaders later this month.

Top African leaders to meet PM Modi in his trademark jacket

According to a report in The Times of India, All of the 42 heads of state and government, who are attending the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit, from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to South African counterpart Jacob Zuma, will attend the dinner wearing Modi’s trademark jacket. They are specially designed by government agencies.

The bundi waistcoat that PM Modi made his own accessory will be at the heart of his latest bit of sartorial diplomacy. The sleeveless jackets will be available in several brilliant colours.

The African leaders will also be wearing unique ‘ikkat kurta’ (no pyjamas) being gifted to them by the government during their visit to India.

A senior African diplomat said to TOI that he was really impressed with the attention PM Modi was giving to the summit despite his hectic campaigning for Bihar elections.

Source: Top African leaders to meet PM Modi in his trademark jacket


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