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Trump in Japan, begins five-nation Asia tour

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Donald Trump

Tokyo, Nov 5: US President Donald Trump on Sunday said that “no dictator” should underestimate Washington’s resolve, as he arrived in Japan to begin his five-nation tour through Asia, media reports said.

“No one, no dictator, no regime should underestimate American resolve,” The Guardian quoted Trump as saying to cheering servicemen after he landed at the Yokota Air Base near Tokyo earlier on Sunday.

“You are the greatest threat to tyrants and dictators who seek to prey on the innocent,” he said, adding that authoritarian regimes could also take the route “towards prosperity and peace”.

“No nation should ever underestimate American resolve… Every once a while in the past they underestimated us. It was not pleasant for them, was it? We will never yield, never waver and never falter in defence of our people, our freedom and our great American flag.”

Trump’s first-ever visit to Japan comes amid heightened tensions with North Korea over its nuclear programme and missile tests.

Pyongyang launched two ballistic missiles over Japan and has threatened to conduct a hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific Ocean.

In another remark, Trump said US forces “always, always win. This is the heritage of the US armed forces, the greatest force for freedom and justice that the world has ever known”.

The Air Force One landed at the US-controlled base at about 10.37 a.m. (local time) on Sunday where the President and First Lady Melania Trump was received by the US Ambassador to Japan, William Hagerty, and the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Taro Kono, reports CNN.

The President also lauded the assembled troops as “brave warriors” who are “the last bulwark against threats” facing the US and Japan.

“We dominate the sky. We dominate the seas. We dominate the land and space… You put hope in every soul that yearns for peace” Trump said.

Trump along with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will play golf at the Kasumigaseki Country Club in Saitama later in the day with the country’s top golfer, Hideki Matsuyama, state-run public broadcaster NHK reported.

On Monday, Trump will visit Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. He is also scheduled meet with families of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 80s. The meeting may include a former abductee who returned in 2002.

During their talks, the leaders are expected to discuss North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats and might also jointly urge China and other countries to increase pressure on Pyongyang.

On the economic front, they are expected to agree to strengthen cooperation in the energy sector. They will also discuss further cooperation on foreign infrastructure projects.

En route to Japan, the President on Saturday stopped in Hawaii where he visited the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor – the scene of the 1941 Japanese attack that drew the US into World War Two.

He also took part in a briefing at the US Pacific Command.

After Japan, Trump will head to South Korea on November 7 where he will visit Camp Humphreys, a US military complex south of Seoul but would not go to the heavily fortified demilitarized zone (DMZ) on the border between the South and North.

Trump will then visit China on November 8 where he will participate in a series of events with his counterpart Xi Jinping, the BBC reported.

In Vietnam (November 10-11), Trump will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Danang and make a state visit to Hanoi. He expects to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin here.

His final engagement will be a summit of South-East Asian nations in the Philippine capital, Manila (November 12-13).

The last time a US president made such a marathon trip to Asia was when George.H.W. Bush visited the region in late 1991 and early 1992.

IANS

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Nepal, China sign 8 deals worth $2.24bn

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nepal china ties

Beijing, June 20: Nepal and China on Wednesday signed eight agreements worth $2.4 billion on the second day of Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli’s visit.

These agreements were reached between the two governments and private sectors where Chinese investors will put money on developing hydroelectricity, water resources, cement factories and fruit cultivation and farming.

The signing ceremony took place at the Nepal Embassy here.

Additional memorandum of understandings will be signed on Thursday after delegation-level talks between Oli and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang.

Oli, who arrived here on Monday on his five-day-visit, will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday afternoon at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

This is Oli’s first official visit to China after returning to power in February and second foreign trip after India.

IANS

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US withdraws from ‘biased’ UN Human Rights Council

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Donald Trump

Washington, June 20: The United States withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday. 

The US envoy Nikki Haley told the UN, the body is “hypocritical and self-serving” and “makes a mockery of human rights”.

Last year, Haley accused the council of “chronic anti-Israel bias” and said America was reviewing its membership, a BBC report said.

Constituted in 2006, the council invited flak for allowing countries with questionable human rights records to be members.

Following this United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres regretted the Donald Trump’s administration decision.

“The Secretary-General would have much preferred for the United States to remain in the Human Rights Council,” reported Xinhua news agency quoting spokesman Stephane Dujarric as saying in a note to correspondents.

“The UN’s human rights architecture plays a very important role in the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide,” the note said.

The move comes amid sharp criticism over the Trump administration’s policy of separating child migrants from their parents at the US-Mexico border.

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad has called the policy “unconscionable”.

Haley announced the US’s intention to exit the council at a joint news conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

She described the council a “cesspool of political bias”, but stressed: “I want to make it crystal clear that this step is not a retreat from our human rights commitments.”

Last year, she told the council it was “hard to accept” that resolutions had been passed against Israel yet none had been considered for Venezuela, which at the time witnessed the killing of dozens of protesters during political turmoil.

Israel is the only nation that is subject to a permanent standing agenda item, meaning its treatment of the Palestinians is scrutinised at a regular basis.

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UN chief regrets as US exits ‘biased’ Human Rights Council

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Antonio Guterres

United Nations, June 20: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres regretted the withdrawal of the United States from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), said his spokesman on Tuesday.

“The Secretary-General would have much preferred for the United States to remain in the Human Rights Council,” reported Xinhua news agency quoting spokesman Stephane Dujarric as saying in a note to correspondents.

“The UN’s human rights architecture plays a very important role in the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide,” the note read.

Earlier, announcing the country’s withdrawal from the UNHRC, US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley described the body as “hypocritical and self-serving” and one that “makes a mockery of human rights”.

According to a BBC report, Haley last year accused the council of “chronic anti-Israel bias” and said the US was reviewing its membership.

Formed in 2006, the council has been criticised for allowing countries with questionable human rights records to be members.

The move comes amid intense criticism over the Trump administration’s policy of separating child migrants from their parents at the US-Mexico border.

UN human rights chief Zeid bin Ra’ad has called the policy “unconscionable”.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch also condemned separation of families, and called President Trump’s human rights policy “one-dimensional”.

Reacting to the US’ exit from the global rights body, Ra’ad said in Geneva that the US withdrawal is “disappointing, if not really surprising.”

“Given the state of human rights in today’s world, the US should be stepping up, not stepping back,” Zeid said.

Haley announced the US intention to quit the council at a joint news conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

She called the council a “cesspool of political bias”, but stressed: “I want to make it crystal clear that this step is not a retreat from our human rights commitments.”

Last year, she told the Council it was “hard to accept” that resolutions had been passed against Israel yet none had been considered for Venezuela, which at the time saw dozens of protesters killed during political turmoil.

Israel is the only country that is subject to a permanent standing agenda item, meaning its treatment of the Palestinians is regularly scrutinised.

IANS

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