Archive for ‘Vietnam’

20/03/2019

China, Vietnam open new cross-border bridge

NANNING, March 19 (Xinhua) — China and Vietnam officially opened a new cross-border bridge on Tuesday linking the city of Dongxing in China and the city of Mong Cai in Vietnam.

The 27.7-meter-wide Beilun II bridge has four main lanes and two auxiliary ones. Its opening means that the busy port of Dongxing will have two bridges, and improved capacity to serve booming border trade between China and Vietnam.

Construction of the bridge started in 2014 and was completed in September 2017, involving an investment of about 220 million yuan (32.7 million U.S. dollars) from China and Vietnam.

It will shorten waiting time for customs clearance, thus boosting border logistics and trade and promoting connectivity under the Belt and Road Initiative, said Huang Xiong, deputy director of Dongxing Customs.

The new bridge will be used for freight vehicles, while the existing Beilun bridge, 3 km away, will be reserved for the passage of personnel only, officials said.

Dongxing, in southwest China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, faces Mong Cai across the Beilun river and has become an important goods channel between China and Southeast Asia.

In 2018, trade between Dongxing and Vietnam reached 24.45 billion yuan. The Dongxing port last year handled over 47,000 vehicles and about 12 million passengers, a record high.

Last year, trade volume between China and Vietnam reached a record high of nearly 150 billion U.S. dollars, and China accounted for the largest number of foreign tourists in Vietnam, roughly 5 million people.

Source: Xinhua

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14/03/2019

Trump says he is in no rush to complete China trade deal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he was in no rush to complete a trade pact with China and insisted that any deal include protection for intellectual property, a major sticking point between the two sides during months of negotiations.

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping had been expected to hold a summit at the president’s Mar-a-Lago property in Florida later this month, but no date has been set for a meeting and no in-person talks between their trade teams have been held in more than two weeks.
Bloomberg reported on Thursday that a meeting between the two was more likely to take place in April at the earliest.
A person familiar with the matter told Reuters that there “were rumblings” in Washington about a possible meeting in late April.
The president, speaking to reporters at the White House, said he thought there was a good chance a deal would be made, in part because China wanted one after suffering from U.S. tariffs on its goods.
But he acknowledged Xi may be wary of coming to a summit without an agreement in hand after seeing Trump end a separate summit in Vietnam with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un without a peace deal.
“I think President Xi saw that I’m somebody that believes in walking when the deal is not done, and you know there’s always a chance it could happen and he probably wouldn’t want that,” Trump said.
China has not made any public comment confirming Xi is considering going to meet Trump in Florida or elsewhere.
The president, who likes to emphasize his own deal-making abilities, said an agreement to end a months-long trade war could be finished ahead of a presidential meeting or completed in-person with his counterpart.
“We could do it either way. We could have the deal completed and come and sign, or we could get the deal almost completed and negotiate some of the final points. I would prefer that,” he said.
Trump decided last month not to increase tariffs on Chinese goods at the beginning of March, giving a nod to the success of negotiations so far.
But hurdles remain, and intellectual property is one of them. Washington accuses Beijing of forcing U.S. companies to share their intellectual property and transfer their technology to local partners in order to do business in China. Beijing denies it engages in such practices.
Asked on Wednesday if intellectual property had to be included in a trade deal, Trump said: “Yes it does.”
He indicated that from his perspective, a meeting with Xi was still likely.
“I think things are going along very well – we’ll just see what the date is,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
“I’m in no rush. I want the deal to be right. … I am not in a rush whatsoever. It’s got to be the right deal. It’s got to be a good deal for us and if it’s not, we’re not going to make that deal.”

‘MAINTAINING CONTACT’

China’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that Xi had previously told Trump that he is willing to “maintain contacts” with the U.S. president.

Trump says he’s ‘in no rush’ to reach a trade deal with China
Over the weekend, Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen, who has been deeply involved in the trade talks with the United States, did not answer questions from reporters on whether Xi would go to Mar-a-Lago.
Two Beijing-based diplomatic sources, familiar with the situation, told Reuters that Xi would not be going to Mar-a-Lago, at least in the near term.
One said there had been no formal approach from the United States to China about such a trip, while the second said the problem was that China had realized a trade agreement was not going to be as easy to reach as they had initially thought.
“This is media hype,” said the first source, of reports Xi and Trump could meet this month in Florida.

Though Trump said he is not in a hurry, a trade deal this spring would give him a win to cite as an economic accomplishment as he advances his 2020 re-election campaign. The trade war has hurt the global economy and hung over stock markets, which would likely benefit from an end to the tensions.

In addition to smoothing over sticking points on content, the United States is eager to include a strong enforcement mechanism in a deal to ensure that Beijing can be held accountable if it breaks any of its terms.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who has spearheaded the talks from the American side, said on Tuesday that U.S. officials hoped they were in the final weeks of their talks with China but that major issues remained to be resolved.

Source: Reuters

09/03/2019

Vietnam says investigating cause of boat’s sinking in contested waters

HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnam is seeking clarification of how a fishing boat came to sink this week in the contested South China Sea, the Foreign Ministry said on Saturday, days after a local rescue agency said it was rammed by a Chinese vessel.

Vietnam and China have long been embroiled in maritime disputes in the potentially energy-rich stretch of water, called East Sea by Vietnam.

The boat sank on Wednesday near Da Loi island in the Paracel Archipelago, the ministry said in an emailed statement. It said all five fishermen on board were rescued by another Vietnamese fishing boat.

“Vietnamese authorities are continuing to clarify the cause of the incident,” the ministry said, without elaborating.

Source: Reuters

26/02/2019

Trump: US and China ‘very very close’ on deal

US President Donald Trump addresses US governors at the White HouseImage copyrightAFP

President Donald Trump has said that the US and China are “very very close” to signing a trade agreement, potentially ending the long-running feud between the two countries.

Mr Trump told US governors on Monday that both nations “are going to have a signing summit”.

“Hopefully, we can get that completed. But we’re getting very, very close,” he said.

It follows a decision to delay imposing further trade tariffs on Chinese goods.

At the weekend, Mr Trump said both sides had made “substantial progress” in trade talks following a summit in Washington last week.

The rise in import duties on Chinese goods from 10% to 25% was due to come into effect on 1 March.

Instead, Mr Trump said the US is now planning a summit with Chinese Premier Xi Jinping at the US President’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

US shares rose on the decision to delay tariffs, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing 0.23% higher at 26,091.9.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also finished trading in positive territory.

As he prepared to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Vietnam, Mr Trump also tweeted that a China trade deal was in “advanced stages”.

Mr Trump’s decision to delay tariff increases on $200bn (£153bn) worth of Chinese goods was seen as a sign that the two sides were moving ahead in settling their damaging trade war.

Last week, Mr Trump noted progress in the latest round of negotiations in Washington, including an agreement on currency manipulation, though no details were disclosed.

Sources told CNBC on Friday that China had committed to buying up to $1.2 trillion in US goods, but there had been no progress on the intellectual property issues.

Donald Trump and China's Vice Premier Liu He in the Oval OfficeImage copyrightAFP
Image captionPresident Trump met China’s Vice Premier Liu He on Friday

Gregory Daco, chief US economist at Oxford Economics, said: “We had anticipated such a delay and believe a handshake agreement in which China will promise to import more agricultural products, work towards a stable currency and reinforce intellectual property rights protection will be achieved in the coming weeks.

“However, we don’t foresee a significant rollback of existing tariffs, and see underlying tensions regarding China’s strategic ambitions, its industrial policy, technological transfers and ‘verification and enforcement’ mechanisms remaining in place.”

What has happened in the trade war so far?

Mr Trump initiated the trade war over complaints of unfair Chinese trading practices.

That included accusing China of stealing intellectual property from American firms, forcing them to transfer technology to China.

The US has imposed tariffs on $250bn worth of Chinese goods, and China has retaliated by imposing duties on $110bn of US products.

Mr Trump has also threatened further tariffs on an additional $267bn worth of Chinese products – which would see virtually all of Chinese imports into the US become subject to duties.

US and China's tariffs against each other

The trade dispute has unnerved financial markets, risks raising costs for American companies and is adding pressure to a Chinese economy that is already showing signs of strain.

It has also stoked fears about the impact on the global economy.

Last year, the International Monetary Fund warned the trade war between the US and China risked making the world a “poorer and more dangerous place”.

Source: The BBC

24/02/2019

North Korea’s Kim on his way by train to summit with Trump in Vietnam

SEOUL/HANOI (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made his way across China by train on Sunday, media reported, bound for a high-stakes second nuclear summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in Vietnam’s capital of Hanoi.

Few details of Kim’s trip have been announced but he left Pyongyang by train on Saturday afternoon for the Feb. 27-28 summit accompanied by senior North Korean officials as well as his influential sister, North Korea’s state media reported.

Trump and Kim will meet in Hanoi eight months after their historic summit in Singapore, the first between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader, where they pledged to work towards the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

With little progress since then, the two leaders are expected to focus on what elements of North Korea’s nuclear programme it might begin to give up, in exchange for U.S. concessions.

In rare, revealing coverage of Kim’s travel, while it is still going on, the North’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper featured photographs of him getting a red-carpet send-off in Pyongyang and waving from a train carriage door while holding a cigarette.

 

He was accompanied by top officials also involved in the Singapore summit, including Kim Yong Chol, a former spy chief and Kim’s top envoy in negotiations with the United States, as well as senior party aide Ri Su Yong, Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho and defence chief No Kwang Chol.

The North Korean leader’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, who acted as a close aide in Singapore, is again part of the delegation, the North’s KCNA news agency reported. It made no mention of his wife, Ri Sol Ju.

The extensive coverage in the secretive North’s official media was a contrast to the limited reporting that has traditionally prevailed during his foreign trips.

Other senior officials, such as his de facto chief of staff Kim Chang Son and Kim Hyok Chol, negotiations counterpart to U.S. envoy Stephen Biegun, were already in Hanoi to prepare for the summit.

With scant progress since the June summit, the two leaders are likely to try to build on their personal connection to push things forward in Hanoi, even if only incrementally, analysts said.

Both sides are under pressure to forge more specific agreements than were reached in Singapore, which critics, especially in the United States, said lacked detail.

 

“They will not make an agreement which breaks up the current flow of diplomacy. (President Trump) has mentioned that they’ll meet again; even if there is a low-level agreement, they will seek to keep things moving,” said Shin Beom-chul, a senior fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies.

LEARNING FROM VIETNAM

The Trump administration has pressed the North to give up its nuclear weapons programme, which, combined with its missile capabilities, poses a threat to the United States, before it can expect any concessions.

North Korea wants an easing of punishing U.S.-led sanctions, security guarantees and a formal end of the 1950-1953 Korean War, which ended in a truce, not a treaty.

Few details of summit arrangements have been released.

Some lamp posts on Hanoi’s tree-lined streets are decked with North Korean, U.S. and Vietnamese flags fluttering above a handshake design, and security has been stepped up at locations that could be the summit venue, or where the leaders might stay.

It could take Kim at least 2-1/2 days to travel to Vietnam by train.

Some carriages of a green train were spotted at Beijing’s station on Sunday, but it was not confirmed it was Kim’s.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said Kim’s train had passed through a station in China’s port city of Tianjin, southeast of Beijing, at around 1 p.m. (0500 GMT).

China has given no details of his trip. Its foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Two top North Korean officials who were not in Singapore but will be in Hanoi are Kim Phyong Hae and O Su Yong, vice chairmen of the party’s Central Committee, respectively in charge of personnel management and industrial affairs, KCNA reported.

O is a former minister of electronics and vice minister of metals and machine building. He might try to learn about Vietnam’s development of manufacturing, analysts said.

Kim Jong Un may tour some economic facilities while in Vietnam.

Vietnam, like North Korea, fought a war against the United States and keeps tight control over its people and economy. It has been touted as a model for North Korea’s development.

Vietnamese media reported that a North Korean cargo plane arrived on Sunday carrying personnel who appeared to be Kim’s security guards and state media workers. They were driven under police escort to a downtown hotel.

Source: Reuters

20/02/2019

Wei Fenghe meets Vietnam’s deputy minister of national defense

BEIJING, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) — Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe on Tuesday met with Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of National Defense Nguyen Chi Vinh in Beijing.

“With shared ideals and convictions, the friendship between China and Vietnam is deeply rooted and of special importance,” Wei said. “The two countries are a community of shared future with strategic significance.”

He said the Chinese military is willing to work with the Vietnamese military to implement the important consensus reached at the high level between the two parties and the two countries, strengthen strategic communication and coordination, and deepen exchanges and cooperation in various fields.

The Chinese military also stands ready to properly handle differences, push military-to-military relations to a new level and contribute to safeguarding the fundamental interests of the two countries and regional security and stability, he said.

Vinh said that the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam and the Central Military Commission cherish the traditional friendship between the two countries and are willing and have confidence to push relations between the two countries and two militaries to a higher level and bring more benefits to the two peoples.

Source: Xinhua

16/02/2019

Hong Kong seizes $1m worth of rhino horn at airport

Photo released by Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department of seized rhino hornsImage copyrightAFP/GETTY
Image captionThe haul accounts for 20% of Hong Kong’s rhino horn seizures in five years

Airport authorities in Hong Kong have arrested two men smuggling a record number of suspected rhino horns worth $1m (£780,000) on Thursday.

Some 24 severed rhino horns weighing 40kg (88lb) were found in the bust – Hong Kong’s largest ever seizure.

The alleged smugglers were in transit to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam from Johannesburg in South Africa.

Customs officials said the illegal haul was brazenly transported through the terminal in two cardboard boxes.

The airport incident comes just two weeks after Hong Kong seized a record eight tonnes of pangolin scales and more than 1,000 elephant tusks.

A local environmental group said Thursday’s rhino horns accounted for 20% of the total amount of Hong Kong’s rhino horn seizures since 2013.

Hong Kong is a known transit point for the illegal wildlife trade, and conservation groups have urged the authorities to crack down on smuggling.

Rhino horn is used in China and Vietnam in some traditional medicine, despite containing little more than keratin, the same protein that makes human hair and fingernails.

The demand for rhino horn has fuelled wildlife poaching, particularly in South Africa, which is home to about 80% of the world rhino population.

Conservation groups say the number of rhinos killed has been gradually decreasing since 2014, but more than 1,000 rhinos continue to be killed in South Africa every year.

Source: The BBC

29/01/2019

Chinese, Vietnamese presidents exchange greetings ahead of lunar new year

BEIJING, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) — General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday exchanged greetings with General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee and State President Nguyen Phu Trong on the coming lunar new year.

Xi said the year 2018 marked the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries.

During these 10 years, China and Vietnam adhered to carrying forward the Sino-Vietnamese traditional friendship, strengthening exchanges and boosting mutual trust, Xi said.

The two countries supported each other, extended a helping hand to each other, enhanced political guidance to the bilateral relationship, and jointly promoted the development of their socialist causes, Xi said.

China and Vietnam have deepened pragmatic cooperation in various areas, and realized mutual benefit and win-win, he said.

Xi pointed out that the two sides should make a blueprint for the development of bilateral relations with a broader vision, strengthen high-level exchanges, promote development strategies docking, and deepen exchanges and cooperation in various fields.

Xi also noted that the two countries should work to increase the sense of well-being and happiness of the two peoples through cooperation, so as to cement and pass down the friendship between China and Vietnam.

He said the Spring Festival is a fresh beginning, and he firmly believes that the bilateral relations will achieve new, greater development with joint efforts of both sides.

In his message, Trong said that in 2018, the Vietnam-China comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership achieved fruitful results under the guidance of leaders of both parties and countries, and with the efforts of departments at all levels in the two countries.

He expressed willingness to work together with Xi to strengthen guidance to the departments at all levels, build on what has already been achieved in bilateral cooperation, increase high-level visits and exchanges, and consolidate political mutual trust.

Trong also pledged to promote cooperation in various fields to gain substantial progress, so as to bring the relations between the two parties and the two countries to a higher level.

Source: Xinhua

12/12/2018

In Vietnam, anguished mothers search in vain for the children they have lost to China’s booming ‘buy-a-bride’ trade

  • In the borderlands, most people have a story of bride trafficking – from kidnapped cousins and disappeared wives to vanished daughters

Vu Thi Dinh spent weeks scouring the rugged Vietnamese borderland near China after her teenage daughter vanished with her best friend, clutching a photo of the round-faced girls that she now fears have been sold as child brides.

The anguished mother showed everyone she met the snap of the 16-year-old friends Dua and Di in white and red velvet dresses, the words “Falling Into You” printed above their picture.

They went missing in February during an outing in Meo Vac, a poor mountainous border zone that is a stone’s throw from China. Their mothers fear they were sold in China on one of the world’s most well-trodden bride trafficking circuits.

“I wish she would just call home to say she is safe, to say ‘please don’t worry about me, I’m gone but I’m safe,’” said Dinh, bursting into tears.

I wish she would just call home to say she is safe
VU THI DINH

She is among countless mothers whose daughters have disappeared into China where a massive gender imbalance has fuelled an unregulated buy-a-bride trade. Most people in this part of Vietnam have a story about bride traffi

High-school students talk of kidnapped cousins. Husbands recall wives who disappeared in the night. And mothers, like Dinh, fear they may never see their daughters again.

“I warned her not to get on the backs of motorbikes or meet strange men at the market,” she says from her mud-floored home where she expectantly keeps a wardrobe full of her daughter’s clothes.

She has not heard from Dua since she went missing, unable to reach her on the mobile phone she bought just a few weeks before she disappeared.

The victims come from poor communities and are often tricked by boyfriends and sold, kidnapped against their will or moved across the border by choice for marriage or the promise of work.

Like many of the missing, Dua and Di are from the Hmong ethnic minority, one of the country’s poorest and most marginalised groups.

Traffickers target girls at the busy weekend market, where they roam around in packs dressed in their Sunday best, chatting to young men, eyeing the latest Made-in-China smartphones or shopping for lipstick and sparkly hair clips. Or they find them on Facebook, spending months courting their victims before luring them into China.

It is a sinister departure from the traditional Hmong custom of zij poj niam, or marriage by capture, where a boyfriend kidnaps his young bride-to-be from her family home – sometimes with her consent, sometimes not.

Others are enticed by the promise of a future brighter than that which awaits most girls who stay in Ha Giang: drop out of school, marry early and work the fields.

“They go across the border to earn a living but may fall into the trap of the trafficking,” said Le Quynh Lan from the NGO Plan International in Vietnam.

Vietnam registered some 3,000 human trafficking cases between 2012 and 2017. But the actual number is “for sure higher”, said Lan, as the border is largely unregulated.

Ly Thi My never dreamed her daughter would be kidnapped, since the shy Di rarely went to the market or showed much interest in boys.

Just two weeks after that photo shoot with Dua, the giggling girls went for a walk in the rocky fields near their homes. They never came back.

“We think she was tricked and trafficked as a bride, we don’t know where she is now,” said My.

Her worst fear is the teenagers are now child brides or have been forced to work in brothels in China where there are 33 million more men than women because of a long-entrenched preference for male heirs.

The trip across the 1,300-kilometre border is an easy one, said Trieu Phi Cuong, an officer with Meo Vac’s criminal investigations unit.

“This terrain is so rugged, it’s very hard to monitor,” he said at a border crossing marked by waist-high posts near where a Vietnamese man was selling a cage of pigeons to a customer on the China side.

Many victims don’t even know they’ve crossed into China – or that they’ve been trafficked.

Lau Thi My was 35 and fed up with her husband, an abusive drunk, when she grabbed her son and headed to the border.

She went with a neighbour who promised her good work in China, but she fell prey to traffickers.

My was separated from her son and sold three times to different brokers before a Chinese man bought her as a wife for about US$2,800.

“He locked me up several times, I hated him,” said My, who fled after 10 years by scrabbling together enough money for the journey home.

She is now back with her Vietnamese husband – still a drinker – in the same home she escaped a decade ago, a smoke-filled lean-to where her dirt-streaked grandchildren run about. But she is desperate for word from her son.

“I came back totally broken … and my son is still in China, I miss him a lot,” she said.

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