Yuan rises 0.5 percent after US drops currency manipulation charges

UNTV News   •   January 14, 2020   •   787

Chinese 100 yuan or renminbi (RMB) notes and coins in Beijing, China, 5 August 2019. EPA-EFE FILE/ROMAN PILIPEY

Beijing – The renminbi (the official name of the Chinese currency, commonly known as ‘yuan’) rose by 6.8954 units per dollar or 0.45 percent – its highest level since August – hours after the United States government decided to drop China from its currency manipulator list.

The daily trading rate set by the country’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, was 0.0309 yuan higher on Tuesday, compared to the previous day.

The PBOC does not allow the yuan to fluctuate by more than two percent from the reference rate marked each day.

Washington included Beijing in its “currency manipulators” list on Aug. 5 after the yuan dropped below the psychological barrier of 7 units per dollar for the first time in more than a decade.

The significant drop in the yuan was seen as a response to new tariffs on Chinese products announced by Washington four days earlier.

However, the US Department of the Treasury on Monday announced the withdrawal of China from the list as a gesture of goodwill before the signing of the “first phase” of an agreement to resolve the bilateral trade war in the US capital later this week.

“China has made enforceable commitments to refrain from competitive devaluation, while promoting transparency and accountability,” US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement.

However, the US has not completely written off its suspicions over China and moved China to the so-called “Monitoring List,” in which it classifies those trade partners that merit “close attention” because of their monetary policies.

The Chinese state news agency Xinhua acknowledged that the strengthening of the yuan against the dollar came just after the gesture made by the US.

The agency quoted an analyst who attributed the appreciation in the national currency to the improvement in the country’s economic inertia and the counter-cyclical adjustments carried out by the government.

After 22 months of trade war and the ensuing exchange of tariffs, Trump announced mid-December that the first phase of a pact with China had been finalized.

According to the agreement, the US will keep its 25-percent tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, along with reduced charges of 7.5 percent on additional imports worth $120 billion.

Ever since the announcement of a possible agreement in October, negotiations between the Asian and American superpowers have seen several upheavals, including the spread of contradictory information and mutually-lobbed veiled criticism.

Trade tensions between the two world economies – which began in March 2018 – go beyond bilateral relations and have had global consequences.

The International Monetary Fund, in its latest forecasts in October, downgraded global growth projections for the year to 3 percent, 0.2 percent less than that in July, weighed down by doubts about a possible resolution of the trade dispute. EFE-EPA

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UK says China’s security law is “clear violation” of Hong Kong treaty

UNTV News   •   July 2, 2020

The United Kingdom said on Wednesday (July 1) that China’s imposition of a security law on Hong Kong was a “clear and serious” violation of the 1984 Joint Declaration and called on the People’s Republic to honor its international obligations.

“We have very carefully now assessed the contents of this national security legislation since it was published last night,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told Reuters and the BBC.

“It constitutes a clear violation of the autonomy of Hong Kong, and a direct threat to the freedoms of its people, and therefore I’m afraid to say it is a clear and serious violation of the Joint Declaration treaty between the United Kingdom and China.”

Raab said he would set out shortly the action Britain would take with its international partners.

Hong Kong’s autonomy was guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” agreement enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration signed by then Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997 after more than 150 years of British rule – imposed after Britain defeated China in the First Opium War. (Reuters)

(Production: Will Russell, Hanna Rantala, Polly Rider)

Hong Kong marks handover anniversary as national security law takes effect

UNTV News   •   July 1, 2020

Hong Kong on Wednesday (July 1) held a flag-raising ceremony followed by a speech by Chief Executive Carrie Lam to mark the 23rd anniversary of the former British colony’s handover to Chinese rule, hours after new national security legislation took effect in the financial hub.

“The enactment of the national law is regarded as the most significant development in the relationship between the Central Authorities and the HKSAR since Hong Kong’s return to the Motherland”, the city’s embattled leader said the law was the most important development since the city’s return to Beijing in 1997.

Flanked by current and previous government officials, Lam also said the new law would only affect a small group of people in the Asian financial capital.

There was a heavy presence of law enforcement across the city as the ceremony was underway.

The contentious law will punish crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison, heralding a more authoritarian era for China’s freest city.

Authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong have repeatedly said the legislation is aimed at a few “troublemakers” and will not affect rights and freedoms, nor investor interests. (Reuters)

(Production: Aleksander Solum)

Iran’s arrest warrant for Trump is a ‘propaganda stunt’ —U.S. official

UNTV News   •   June 30, 2020

U.S. Iran envoy Brian Hook said on Monday (June 29) that an Iranian arrest warrant for President Donald Trump and 35 others over the killing of top general Qassem Soleimani was a “propaganda stunt”.

Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr announced the warrants, asking Interpol for help, according to the Fars news agency.

Hook speaking in Saudi Arabia alongside Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs Adel al-Jubeir, said: “This is a political nature. This has nothing to do with national security, international peace, or promoting stability. It is a propaganda stunt that no-one takes seriously.”

The United States and Interpol both dismissed the idea of acting on such a warrant.

The United States killed Soleimani, leader of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, with a drone strike in Iraq on Jan. 3. Washington accused Soleimani of masterminding attacks by Iranian-aligned militias on U.S. forces in the region.

Alqasimehr said the warrants had been issued on charges of murder and terrorist action. He said Iran had asked Interpol to issue a “red notice” seeking the arrest of Trump and the other individuals the Islamic Republic accuses of taking part in the killing of Soleimani. (Reuters)

(Production: Mohammed Benmansour, Matthew Stock, Aiden Nulty)

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