Xi, Trump hold phone conversation, agree to meet during G20 summit in Japan
by Robie de Guzman | Posted on Wednesday, June 19th, 2019
Chinese President Xi Jinping held a telephone conversation with his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, on Tuesday at the latter’s request.
Trump said he looks forward to meeting Xi again during the upcoming Group of 20 (G20) summit in the Japanese city of Osaka later this month and conducting in-depth discussions on bilateral ties and issues of common concern.
The U.S. side, he added, values its economic and trade cooperation with China, and hopes that the teams on both sides can conduct communication, and find a way to resolve the current dispute as soon as possible.
Trump said he believes the entire world hopes to see the United States and China reach an agreement.
For his part, Xi said some difficulties have recently occurred in China-U.S. relations, which is in the interests of neither side.
Reiterating that both countries gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation, Xi said the two sides should, in accordance with the consensus he has reached with Trump, push forward the China-U.S. relationship featuring coordination, cooperation, and stability on the basis of mutual respect and mutual benefit.
As the world’s two biggest economies, China and the United States should jointly play a leading role in pushing for positive outcomes at the G20 Osaka summit, so as to bring confidence and inject vitality into the global market, added Xi.
The Chinese president said he stands ready to meet Trump in Osaka to exchange views on fundamental issues concerning the development of China-U.S. relations.
On economic and trade issues, Xi stressed, the two sides should solve their problems through dialog on an equal footing, with the key being to accommodate each other’s legitimate concerns, adding that China hopes the U.S. side can treat Chinese firms in a fair manner.
Xi said he agrees to have the two countries’ trade teams maintain contact on how to solve the dispute. (REUTERS)
by Robie de Guzman | Posted on Tuesday, July 16th, 2019
Four minority U.S. congresswomen, known as the “the squad”, accused President Donald Trump of trying to sow division and distract attention from what they characterized as failed policies on immigration, health care and taxation on Monday (July 15).
“This president does not know how to make the argument that Americans do not deserve health care. He does not know how to defend his policies. So, what he does is attack us personally and that is what this is all about,” Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York – Democrat) said.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts – Democrat) urged the public to “not take the bait” following Trump’s Twitter messages on Sunday (July 14) that said the lawmakers should go back to “the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
All four of the first-term House members are U.S. citizens and all but one were born in the United States.
The president’s remarks were widely derided and some, though not many, of his fellow Republicans spoke out against them.
Trump did not identify the lawmakers by name in his Sunday tweets, but he appeared to refer to representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
“This is not the first, nor will it be the last time we hear disgusting, bigoted language from the president,” Rep. Rashida Tlaib (Michigan- Democrat) said.
Omar said Trump’s remarks were rooted in the “agenda of white nationalists.”
Tlaib and Omar repeated their calls for Trump to be impeached. (REUTERS)
by Robie de Guzman | Posted on Monday, July 15th, 2019
Iran is ready to hold talks with the United States if Washington lifts sanctions and returns to the 2015 nuclear deal it quit last year, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech on Sunday (July 14).
“When a big power that is a bully, well then we have to stand up to it. It must stop being a bully. We have always believed in talks. Always, right this hour, right this moment, if they stop the oppression, if they stop the belligerence, if they lift sanctions, return to the table, return to to logic; we are ready,” said Rouhani.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration says it is open to negotiations with Iran on a more far-reaching agreement on nuclear and security issues.
But Iran has made any talks conditional on first being able to export as much oil as it did before the United States withdrew from the nuclear pact with world powers in May 2018.
Confrontations between Washington and Tehran have escalated, culminating in a plan for U.S. air strikes on Iran last month that Trump called off at the last minute. (REUTERS)
by Robie de Guzman | Posted on Friday, July 12th, 2019
Tourism to Cuba will likely drop 8.5% this year in the wake of tighter U.S. restrictions on travel to the Caribbean island, the government said on Thursday (July 11), and the decline in arrivals will further hurt Cuba’s already ailing centrally planned economy.
A boom in tourism over the last few years has helped offset weaker exports and a steep decline in aid from key ally Venezuela that has forced the government to take austerity measures like cutting imports.
The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has decided to squeeze that hard currency revenue stream too as part of its attempt to force the government to reform and stop supporting Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro.
Last month it banned cruise ships and private planes and yachts from traveling to the island and ended a heavily used educational category of travel allowed as an exemption to the overall ban on U.S. tourism.
Cubans at the heart of the tourism industry call the changes “noticeable.”
Luis Manuel Perez, who drives antique cars that serve as taxis, said that several drivers had recently resigned because of poor business.
And Fernando Lopez, a horse-drawn carriage driver, said the decline in tourism since the cruise ship restriction has affected all tourism-related industries.
Tourism minister Manuel Marrero estimated 4.3 million people would visit Cuba this year, down from the goal of more than 5 million, and 4.7 million last year.
Looser restrictions on U.S. travel to Cuba under former President Barack Obama, the re-establishment of diplomatic relations and commercial flights and cruises had caused a spike in U.S. visits to the country.
U.S. travelers excluding Cuban-Americans became the second- biggest group of tourists on the island in recent years after Canadians, with cruise travelers accounting for half of them.
But Trump has rolled back much of Obama’s detente and taken additional measures to punish the economy and government.
Marrero said the country would continue to develop the tourism sector regardless of the U.S. measures. It is planning new dolphinariums and the country’s first amusement park, for example.
Cranes tower around Havana at the construction sites of what are to be the city’s first generation of luxury hotels, in a bid to attract a new type of client.
Cuba, which receives just two-thirds of the visitors that neighboring Dominican Republic does although it is twice as large, has traditionally focused on resort tourism or travelers on a medium budget. (REUTERS)
(Production: Nelson Gonzalez/Mario Fuentes/Heriberto Rodriguez/Anett Rios
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