Saturday, 07 September 2019
German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, in China on Saturday called climate protection a global problem and urged the Asian power to take up more responsibility for challenges facing the international community.
Speaking to Chinese students at Huazhong University in the city of Wuhan, Merkel emphasised that climate change is caused by all, and that is why everyone should take care of it.
“Climate protection is everyone’s responsibility,’’ she added.
Given the size and economic power of China, the international community needs an important contribution from it, Merkel asserted.
She questioned whether China remains a developing country, given the pace of its modernisation, and said it will be expected to take on greater international responsibilities in the coming years.
In the face of globalisation, Merkel stressed that joint rules are indispensable.
Multilateral action, not protectionism, for example in trade, was needed.
“After all, protectionism harms us all,’’ the German chancellor said.
Merkel also emphasised China’s role as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, telling the students that this means China has a responsibility to work towards a peaceful solution of global flashpoints, including the Iran nuclear conflict and China’s own territorial dispute with neighbours over the South China Sea.
The German chancellor also spoke critically of China’s social credit system.
In Europe, this was viewed as a bad idea because people had sovereignty over their private data, she told the students.
The topic would remain a key ethical discussion in coming years, she said.
The social credit system, currently being implemented by China, is a means of systematically evaluating the economic and social creditworthiness – including social and political views – of individuals and businesses.
Johannes Vogel, a parliamentarian from the Free Democrats and deputy head of a parliamentary committee on Germany-China relations, warned that the social credit system could also lead to China gathering information on employees of German companies in the country.
Merkel, who is in China with a large business delegation, also planned to visit a car supply company, which is partly German-owned later Saturday.
On Friday, Merkel held talks in Beijing with Prime Minister Li Keqiang and President Xi Jinping.
Topics included the trade dispute between China and the U.S. and the unrest in Hong Kong.
Li also played down the controversy over China’s social credit system, saying it would be used to uncover criminal behaviour.
The chancellor expressed her hope that the trade dispute can be ended quickly because it was spreading to other parts of the global market.
Merkel also campaigned for the “rights and freedoms” of the Hong Kong people during her visit to China.
Li said that Beijing supports the Hong Kong government in ending the “chaos” within the framework of the law.
Li added that Chinese people had the wisdom to handle the protests on the basis of law.
Li said that Beijing adheres to the principle of “one country, two systems’’ governing Hong Kong, which as a Special Administrative Region, enjoys a high degree of autonomy under a deal signed with former colonial power Britain.
He did not respond directly to a question about possible Chinese military intervention in Hong Kong.
Merkel is on her 12th trip to China, which wraps up Saturday.
She is due to fly back to Berlin late in the day.
Published in World

The Nigerian Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika has said that the Federal Government of Nigeria remains committed to the establishment of a national carrier for the country, alongside provision for maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities for aircraft and the implementation of other components of the aviation roadmap.

The minister stated this at a meeting with members of the Joint Aviation Unions Forum, an umbrella body of all unions in the aviation sector, a statement issued by the Director, Press and Public Affairs, Federal Ministry of Aviation, James Odaudu, in Abuja on Friday reveals.

According to the minister, the establishment of a national carrier would further position Nigeria to compete with other nations in line with the Single African Air Transport Market project and develop as a regional hub for air transportation.

He also disclosed that the establishment of MROs would save the country a lot of foreign exchange that would otherwise be spent by airline operators sending their aircraft abroad for checks.

Promising to work with the unions in implementing the road map, Sirika noted that the roadmap would go a long way to advance the sector and position it to meet emerging challenges.

He said: “I promise that there will be good understanding between us to drive the activities of our industry towards contributing more to national development. I will do everything reasonably possible to make the newly re-established ministry live up to the expectations of all stakeholders in the sector.

“This task, I think, is for you as well; not for me alone. It is for all of us. We will continue to hold stakeholders’ meetings with the unions, staff, the management and players within the industry.

“We will be committed to better welfare while expecting your full cooperation towards the implementation of the aviation roadmap which was developed during our first tenure.”

The minister further revealed that the ministry would continue to lay emphasis on the safety and security of air travellers, adding that the recent acquisition of a calibration aircraft for the country and the closure of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu for rehabilitation were some of the steps being taken to guarantee the safety of the nation’s airspace.

Published in Travel & Tourism
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Saturday he was “not surprised” Iran had turned on advanced centrifuges to increase uranium stockpiles, a further breach of the 2015 nuclear deal which Washington pulled out of last year.
“I’m not surprised that Iran has announced that it’s going to violate the JCPOA,” Esper said in Paris, using the official name of the accord signed in Vienna four years ago.
“They had been violating it, they had violated the nuclear non-proliferation treaty for many years, so it’s no surprise that the Iranians are going to pursue what the Iranians have always intended to pursue,” he added, following talks with his French counterpart Florence Parly.
Esper was in France after visits to London and Stuttgart, Germany, to meet with NATO allies since taking up his post in July.
Parly reiterated France’s calls for Tehran to “respect the Vienna accord”, adding “we will continue with all our diplomatic efforts in this direction. We have to continue.”
France and other EU nations have been trying to ease tensions in the Gulf region since President Donald Trump abandoned the nuclear deal and re-imposed sanctions that have hit the Iranian economy hard.
President Emmanuel Macron has overseen recent talks between French and Iranian officials, and even secured a potential opening with Trump at last month’s G7 summit, when he said he would be willing to meet with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani.
Esper said he had “productive discussions” with Parly, though neither indicated any progress had been made on de-escalating the conflict.
They also agreed to disagree on the US’s new “maritime security mission” in the Gulf, aimed at ensuring open passage for vessels through the Strait of Hormuz after a series of incidents, including ship seizures by Iranian forces.
France has declined to join the US initiative and instead sought out like-minded partners for its own surveillance of the strategic waterway.
“The goal is to rally as many partners and means of surveillance as possible to improve security in the Gulf, and there’s absolutely no competition between these initiatives,” Parly said.
Esper said the US effort “is about deterring bad behaviour.”
“Obviously our preference is that all countries join underneath this broader umbrella,” he said.
China warning
Esper reiterated that China along with Russia were the main threats as the US shapes its defence strategy for the coming years, and warned Europe about its own vulnerabilities to the two countries as well.
“China is seeking to gain influence around the world and throughout Europe, in many ways contrary to the interests of European states,” he said.
Yet the prospect of huge Chinese spending has opened doors to Beijing across the Indo-Pacific region and into Africa, with Italy also recently accepting billions of euros from China for a major port expansion.
“As countries increase their dependence on Chinese investment and trade, they become more susceptible to coercion and retribution when they act outside of Beijing’s wishes,” Esper said.
But he declined to confirm if the US defence shift toward China and Russia would lead to fewer American troops in Africa, where France is leading efforts against Islamic terrorist groups operating across large swaths of sub-Saharan territory.
“I’ve not made any decisions,” Esper said. “I’m looking at every theatre, and every command, to figure out how I can economise our forces, how I can optimise our assets.”
He praised France’s role, saying it was “directly benefiting the security of Europe,” and revealing that “earlier this week our French partners provided a lifesaving medical evacuation for a US soldier in Africa.”
Analysts have speculated the US may shift to a drone-based presence for Africa, and France has often sought American surveillance and drone strikes for operations by its 4,500-strong Barkhane counter-insurgency force.
Published in World
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