China decries travel, visa restrictions in global fight against novel coronavirus

UNTV News   •   February 4, 2020   •   469

China on Monday (February 3) denounced at a World Health Organization (WHO) meeting measures by “some countries” that have denied entry to people holding passports issued in Hubei province — the center of the new coronavirus outbreak — and to deny visas and cancel flights.

“All these measures are seriously against recommendation by the WHO,” said Li Song, who is China’s ambassador for disarmament at the United Nations in Geneva, during a WHO Executive Board meeting.

China’s regular Executive Board representative was unable to attend after her flight from Beijing was cancelled, Chinese diplomats told reporters on Friday (January 31).

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said earlier on Monday there was no need for measures that “unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade” in trying to halt the spread of a coronavirus that has killed 361 people in China.

China is facing increasing international isolation due to restrictions on flights to and from the country, and bans on travellers from China.

U.S. ambassador Andrew Bremberg said that the outbreak in two dozen countries required focused attention.

“We express our support, prayers, sympathy, and appreciation to the people of China and especially the health responders on the front lines, who are protecting not only their communities, but the world,” Bremberg said.

There have been 17,238 confirmed infections in China including 361 deaths, as well as 151 confirmed cases in 23 countries and 1 death which was reported from the Philippines on Sunday, Tedros said. (Reuters)

(Production: Marina Depetris, Ardee Napolitano)

Trump to give TikTok’s Chinese owner 45 days to reach deal to sell — sources

UNTV News   •   August 3, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump has agreed to give China’s ByteDance 45 days to negotiate a sale of popular short-video app TikTok to Microsoft Corp, two people familiar with the matter said on Sunday (August 2).

U.S. officials have said TikTok under its Chinese parent poses a national risk because of the personal data it handles. Trump said on Friday (July 31) he was planning to ban TikTok in the United States after dismissing the idea of a sale to Microsoft.

But following a discussion between Trump and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, the Redwood, Washington-based company said in a statement on Sunday that it would continue negotiations to acquire TikTok from ByteDance, and that it aimed to reach a deal by Sept. 15.

It was not immediately clear what changed Trump’s mind. Banning TikTok would alienate many of its young users ahead of the U.S. presidential election in November, and would likely trigger a wave of legal challenges. Several prominent Republican lawmakers put out statements in the last two days urging Trump to back a sale of TikTok to Microsoft.

The negotiations between ByteDance and Microsoft will be overseen by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a U.S. government panel that has the right to block any agreement, according to the sources, who requested anonymity ahead of a White House announcement. Microsoft cautioned in its statement that there is no certainty a deal will be reached. (Reuters)

(Production: Bob Mezan)

All people should take precautions against COVID-19: WHO chief

UNTV News   •   July 31, 2020

Every age group should take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and others from being infected with COVID-19, stated the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) during a press conference on Thursday.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also acknowledged that long-term care facilities are being hit hard by the coronavirus in many countries.

“In many countries, more than 40 percent of COVID-19-related deaths have been linked to long-term care facilities and up to 80 percent in some high-income countries,” said Tedros.

He stated that although seniors are vulnerable to COVID-19, young people face the same risk of being infected.

In some countries, the number of cases increased because young people relaxed their vigilance and didn’t follow precautionary measures.

“Young people are not invincible. Young people can be infected. Young people can die. And young people can transmit the virus to others. That’s why young people must take the same precautions to protect themselves and protect others as everyone else,” said Tedros.

As of 18:03 Central European Summer Time on Thursday, there have been 16,812,755 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 662,095 deaths, reported the WHO. (Reuters)

Pompeo says closed Chinese consulate in Houston was ‘den of spies’

UNTV News   •   July 31, 2020

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday (July 30) the “tide is turning” in U.S. dealings with China, saying there is international support for American policies, including the step-up of maritime maneuvers in the South China Sea.

Reflecting rising tensions between Washington and Beijing, Pompeo took a tough line on China in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“We see the Chinese Communist Party for what it is: the center threat of our times,” Pompeo said.

In recent days, Washington and Beijing have each closed one of the other country’s consulates – the United States closing China’s office in Houston and China retaliating by shuttering the U.S. facility in Chengdu – and Pompeo recently announced an end to Hong Kong’s special trading status.

“We closed the consulate in Houston because it was a den of spies,” Pompeo said.

Pompeo was testifying publicly at Foreign Relations Committee hearing for the first time in 15 months, discussing the State Department’s annual budget request.

President Donald Trump’s administration has tried to slash the State Department budget since it took office, which has been rejected by Congress every year. Democratic lawmakers told the hearing that they would not support steep cuts this year either. (Reuters)

(Production: Kia Johnson)

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