Xi, Trump hold phone conversation, agree to meet during G20 summit in Japan

Robie de Guzman   •   June 19, 2019   •   2232

Courtesy : Reuters

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)

Fukushima residents after Typhoon Hagibis: ‘We’ve never seen damage like this’

Robie de Guzman   •   October 15, 2019

Rescue works are underway in flooded areas in Kawagoe, Saitama prefecture, Japan, 13 October 2019. According to latest media reports, at least 26 people have died and more than 20 are missing after powerful typhoon Hagibis hit Japan provoking landslides and rivers overflowing across the country. EPA-EFE/JIJI PRESS

Fukushima residents on Tuesday (October 15) took stock of the damage left in the wake of Hagibis as the death toll of the worst typhoon to hit Japan for decades climbed to 66.

The highest death toll was in Fukushima prefecture north of Tokyo, where levees burst in at least 14 places along the Abukuma River, which meanders through a number of cities in the largely agricultural prefecture.

At least 25 people died in Fukushima, including a mother and child who were caught in floodwaters, NHK said. Another child of the woman remains missing.

Part of Masaharu Ishizawa’s family’s back garden had been washed away, breaking water pipes and electricity lines.

The family was using water carried from a local community center to clean up.

Two doors down, an old house had collapsed after the flood washed its foundations away.

About 133,000 households were without water while 22,000 lacked electricity, well down on the hundreds of thousands initially left without power but a cause for concern in northern areas where temperatures are falling.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a parliament committee on Tuesday (October 15) that the government is planning to classify the aftermath of Typhoon Hagibis as a “catastrophic disaster.” (Reuters)

(Production: Kwiyeon Ha, Hideto Sakai, Akiko Okamoto)

Trump authorizes sanctions against Turkey over military offensive in Syria

Robie de Guzman   •   October 15, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday signed an order authorizing sanctions against Turkey and raised tariffs on steel imports from the country in response to its military operations in Syria.

Trump said in a statement released on Monday afternoon that the United States will immediately stop negotiations for a 100-billion-U.S.-dollar trade deal with Turkey and raise tariffs on steel imports from Turkey to 50 percent.

The Trump administration’s new move came days after Turkey launched military operations targeting the Kurdish forces in several parts of northeast Syria and also followed Trump’s order over the weekend to withdraw around 1,000 U.S. troops from northern Syria.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence told reporters on Monday evening that Trump spoke with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier in the day and called for an immediate end to Turkey’s moves against the Kurdish forces in Syria.

Pence also said that he will soon visit the Middle East to meditate the crisis.

Trump previewed the executive order he was to sign in a statement first posted in his Monday afternoon tweet, saying that the order will also enable Washington to impose powerful additional sanctions against those involved in serious human rights abuses, obstructing a ceasefire, preventing displaced persons from returning home among other issues regarding Turkey’s action in Syria.

The blacklisted persons will face a broad range of consequences, including financial sanctions, the blocking of property, and barring entry into the United States, the statement added.

Trump also noted that the U.S. troops leaving Syria will remain in the Middle East region to monitor the situation, while a small number of U.S. forces will remain at the At Tanf Garrison in southern Syria to counter the remnants of the Islamic State (IS).

The tariff hike announced on Monday is expected to put Ankara in a tougher economic situation after a reduction months ago.

The U.S. in May cut its tariffs on imports of Turkish steel from 50 percent to 25 percent, while terminating the preferential trade treatment for Turkey. (Reuters)

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PH offers humanitarian aid as Japan recovers from Typhoon Hagibis

Marje Pelayo   •   October 14, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is ready to provide humanitarian assistance to the government of Japan following the massive destruction brought about by the ‘violent’ Typhoon Hagibis that struck the east Asian country over the weekend.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo cited President Rodrigo Duterte’s expression of sympathy to the Japanese people for the victims of the disaster.

“The Philippine embassy in Tokyo is closely monitoring the situation and is now in coordination with the members of the Filipino community in typhoon-affected areas in Japan,” Panelo said.

“As we offer our prayers, the Office of the President has likewise asked the Department of Foreign Affairs to get in touch with its Japanese counterpart for possible humanitarian assistance we can provide,” he added.

Public broadcaster NHK reported more than 30 people were killed, almost 20 people went missing and over 160 people were injured after ‘Hagibis’ brought record-breaking volume of rainfall and flooded huge swaths of residential districts on Saturday (October 12) and Sunday (October 13) in Tokyo and other areas in central, eastern and northeastern region,

‘Hagibis,’ which means ‘speed’ in Filipino language, inundated cities and towns across Japan including those in Nagano, Niigata, Miyagi, Fukushima, Ibaraki, Kanagawa and Saitama prefectures.

Rescue efforts were ramped up for survivors as many trapped in their homes after major rivers overflowed their banks on the onset of what Japan considered as the ‘heaviest’ typhoon to hit the country in decades.

Many people were forced to abandon submerged homes.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a ministerial meeting on the typhoon held on Sunday (October 13) extended his condolences for all those who lost their lives and offered sympathy to all those impacted by Typhoon Hagibis.

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