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Disputed Islands: Russia, Japan fail to agree

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MOSCOW: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday that talks with his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono in Moscow earlier in the day failed to overcome differences over four disputed Pacific islands.
Russia insists that the peace talks should be based on Japan’s full recognition of the aftermath of World War II, including Russian sovereignty over all the Southern Kurils, Lavrov told a press conference following the talks.
“This is our basic position and without a step in this direction it is very difficult to expect any progress in other issues,” he stressed.
Russia and Japan have not signed a post-World War II peace treaty due to their rival claims to four Pacific islands, called the Southern Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan.
The former Soviet Union took the four islands during the final days of World War II.  After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the four islands were incorporated into Russia.
According to a joint declaration signed in 1956, Russia agreed to return two of the islands after a bilateral peace treaty is signed, while Japan refused to sign such an agreement, insisting on the return of all four islands.
Lavrov recalled that the 1956 declaration was signed before Japan struck a military alliance with the United States in 1960 and the American military presence in Japan has changed the situation.
Lavrov said that Russia is concerned about the U.S. military buildup in the region, including the deployment of its global missile defense system using the territory of Japan.
Washington claims that this system is aimed against threats from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, but in fact, it creates risks for the security of Russia and China, Lavrov said.
The top Russian diplomat said that President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had spoken about the necessity to find such a solution to the peace treaty that will be supported and accepted by the peoples of both countries.
It is not an easy task, but we have readiness and patience to reach a common understanding, he said.
There are certain disagreements between Russia and Japan over the peace treaty, a solution to which has to be found in future talks, Kono told a separate news briefing following the meeting.
The failure of the two foreign ministers to reach a consensus casts a shadow on the Putin-Abe talks in Moscow slated for Jan. 22.

 

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Railway track from Kr. to Peshawar under CPEC

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LAHORE: The Pakistan Railways has planned to upgrade railway track from Karachi to Peshawar via Lahore in the next five years under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project for better rail communication facilities.
The PR sources told APP on Wednesday that under this plan, the track from Lahore to Peshawar will be dualized so that trains could be run without any interruption and for a safer journey.
The sources said that average 77.10 percent of the track was overage, while 86 percent of Railways bridges were more than 100 years old but all bridges are safe for train operation due to effective maintenance, rehabilitation, and strengthening of these bridges.
The bridges are inspected annually as per schedule and minor repair is carried out departmentally in routine to ensure safety, however, these bridges will also be upgraded under the CPEC, the sources said.

 

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China to remain top market for Asia-Pacific economies

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China's services imports

LONDON: Despite a recent decline, China will remain the prime destination for Asia-Pacific (APAC) exports for several years to come, the British think tank Oxford Economics said today. 
According to Oxford Economics researchers, APAC economies have been highly integrated with China’s economy since the country’s WTO accession in 2001. Given their geographic proximity, APAC countries even have stronger trade links with China than with the rest of the world.
“While China has become a principal final destination for many APAC exports, what’s more striking is that China is also the largest import source for most APAC countries,” they said in a study.
China plays an increasingly significant trade role for Asian countries such as India or Vietnam, which strive to increase income level and stimulate industrial development.
“Participating in Asia’s supply chain and penetrating the Chinese market are key to helping industrial sectors succeed,” the report added.
Meanwhile, trade dependence on China is also growing outside of Asia, the report showed.
“Resource-rich emerging countries outside of Asia, such as Chile, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and Russia, have high export intensities with China, exporting large amounts of energy and commodities there,” it said.
The researchers added that these countries’ “export intensities with China are even higher” than those of many Asian countries.
Furthermore, countries “such as Russia and Argentina have higher import than export intensities given that they import even larger amounts of manufactured goods from China compared to the energy and commodities they export,” it said.

 

 

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China busts online fraud rings

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China busts online fraud rings

BEIJING: Chinese police have nabbed 36 suspects in a series of fraud cases targeting middle-aged and elderly people on the Internet, said the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) at a Press Conference today. 
The police accused the suspects of luring victims into joining fake poverty-reduction foundations and science projects with forged official documents and stamps. Chen Shiqu, deputy director of the criminal investigation bureau under the MPS, said the fraud rings specifically targeted their victims, most of whom were middle-aged and elderly people, by setting up group chats on popular messaging platforms such as WeChat and posting false information.
Chen also warned the public to watch out for false information posted on the Internet and in mobile applications. The police did not reveal how much money was swindled out of the victims, but a total of 2.73 million yuan (404,000 U.S. dollars) involved in the cases were frozen.

 

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