TRENDING#

Photo Gallery



BEIJING, Apr 26: China's commerce ministry said on Thursday that the United States should abandon trade unilateralism and adopt a consultative approach via dialogue.
If the "wrong actions" taken by the US were left unchecked, the authority of the world's multilateral trade system will be harmed, commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng told reporters at a regular briefing in Beijing.
Gao reiterated that China opposes all forms of unilateralism and protectionism. REUTERS


SEOUL, Apr 26: South Korean President Moon Jae-in will greet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Friday as the latter crosses a military demarcation line to enter the South for the first summit between the two sides in more than a decade, South Korea said.
South Korean honour guards will then escort the leaders to a welcome ceremony at a plaza in Panmunjom, the border village where the summit is to be held, the South's presidential chief of staff, Im Jong-seok, told a media briefing.
Official dialogue between Kim and Moon will begin at 10:30 a.m. (0130 GMT) at the Peace House in Panmunjom, an hour after Kim is scheduled the cross the border at 9:30 a.m. (0030 GMT).
"This summit will focus more on denuclearisation and securing of permanent peace than anything else," Im said on Thursday.
"I feel North Korea is sending their key military officials to the summit as they too, believe denuclearisation and peace are important."
Kim will be accompanied by nine officials, among them his sister, Kim Yo Jong, who led the North's delegation to the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February and Kim Yong Nam, the North's nominal head of state.
In addition, there will be Kim Yong Chol, a former intelligence chief and Choe Hwi, the chairman of a sports panel. The North sent athletes to the Winter Olympics, where the neighbours also fielded a joint women's ice hockey team.
Kim Yong Chol was previously chief of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, a North Korean military intelligence agency South Korea has blamed for the deadly 2010 sinking of the Cheonan, a South Korean navy corvette.
Also in the delegation are Ri Su Yong, a member of the North's politburo and Ri Myong Su, the chief of the general staff of the Korean People's Army.
Ministers on the trip include defence minister Pak Yong Sik, and foreign minister Ri Yong Ho, besides an official spearheading peaceful reunification efforts, Ri Son Gwon.
South Korea's delegation is comprised of seven officials, including the ministers for defence, foreign affairs and unification.
After the end of the first session of talks, Kim Jong Un and Moon will have lunch separately before holding a tree-planting ceremony in the afternoon, Im said.
A pine tree will be planted on the demarcation line to symbolise "peace and prosperity", Im said, using soil from Mount Paektu in North Korea and Mount Halla in South Korea.
Kim and Moon will water the tree with water brought from the Taedong River in the North and the Han River in the South, Im said. Afterwards, Moon and Kim will take a walk together in Panmunjom before beginning the next round of talks.
At the end of the talks, Kim and Moon will sign a pact and make an announcement, Im said. Later, they will have dinner on the South's side and watch a video clip themed 'Spring of One', he added. REUTERS 

NEW YORK, Apr 26: China's ZTE Corp held a conference call on Wednesday with major suppliers, during which a company representative suggested the trade dispute with Beijing may have been a factor in last week's U.S. order banning American firms from selling goods to the smartphone maker, according to a person familiar with the call.
The Commerce Department last week banned American firms from doing business with ZTE after the company violated an agreement reached after it was caught selling U.S. goods to Iran despite U.S. sanctions.
The ZTE representative on the call said it would be naive to think the ban was ordered in "a vacuum" and was assumed to be connected to the U.S.-China trade war, the person said.
The U.S. has threatened to impose tariffs on up to $150 billion of Chinese imports, prompting Beijing to warn that it would retaliate if Washington pushes ahead. The U.S. also has taken actions aimed at reducing access to the U.S. by ZTE and Chinese tech company Huawei Technologies Co Ltd amid allegations the companies could be using their technology to spy on Americans.
In response to a Reuters request for comment, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said late Wednesday that the order was "a law enforcement matter unrelated to broader trade policy," according to a statement provided by a spokesman.
The conference call took place between ZTE and more than a dozen members of the Semiconductor Industry Association, the person said.
“It was a factual update on what happened, what they’ve done since the order was put in place, and what they’re doing to remedy the situation,” a Semiconductor Industry Association spokesman said. “There was no discussion of helping ZTE advocate before the U.S. government.”
U.S. companies are estimated to provide 25 percent to 30 percent of the components used in ZTE's equipment, which includes smartphones and gear to build telecommunications networks.
Chipmaker Qualcomm Inc, which is one of ZTE's top suppliers, said on Wednesday the loss of ZTE's business will hurt its third quarter earnings. Canalys, a technology consultancy, estimated that 65 percent of ZTE phones contain Qualcomm chips.
It is not known whether a Qualcomm representative was on the ZTE call and the company declined to comment. A ZTE spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Aside from Qualcomm, ZTE's other major business partners include Alphabet Inc's Google, Texas Instruments Inc and GlobalFoundries.
LETTER TO BUSINESS PARTNERS
ZTE also sent a letter to its business partners on Wednesday, explaining why it believes the seven-year ban was a "drastic action" out of proportion to its misconduct.
According to a copy of the letter obtained by Reuters, ZTE said the order should be "very concerning to all," since it took effect without warning to the industry, without waiting for the results of an independent internal investigation due at the end of the month, and without recognition for all the improvements in its export compliance program.
ZTE invested over $50 million in 2017 in improving its compliance program and planned to increase that spending this year, the letter says.
The Commerce Department ban was ignited when ZTE admitted in March that while it had fired four senior employees, it had not disciplined or reduced bonuses to 35 others when it said it had.
In the letter, ZETA said that once it confirmed the employee bonuses were not reduced and reprimands not completed, it disclosed the information and took "immediate remedial action."
The order "sends the wrong message" to other companies who may be considering settling with the Commerce Department over export control issues, ZTE said.
It said it was committed to complying with the order and U.S. export control regulations "while seeking a resolution to the matter on all available fronts and with the support of many of our business partners." REUTERS

BEIJING, Apr 26: 
China is considering cutting the import duty on passenger cars by about half as part of the country’s plan to further open up the automobile market, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.
China's cabinet is weighing proposals to reduce the levy on imported cars to 10 percent or 15 percent from the current 25 percent, according to Bloomberg.
An announcement on the decision could be made as soon as next month, it added. REUTERS