AP Journalist

Kim Jong Un believes North Korea’s food crisis could put state security at risk
Asia Pacific Focus

Kim Jong Un believes North Korea’s food crisis could put state security at risk

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un acknowledges that the food crisis is taking a dangerous turn in his nation. The coronavirus pandemic, floods, and progressing US sanctions have also added to the worst situation.

To handle the crisis, Kim had ordered the country’s leaders to resolve the current food crisis that occurred because of strong typhoons that hit the nation in summer, as per a state-media report.

However, Kim decided to replace his key officials as they failed to manage the extended food crisis, mentioning that the leaders had put the security of the state and the wellbeing of citizens in danger.

Related Posts

In 2021, North Korea could confront a major food crisis of up to 1.35 million tons, as indicated by a May report from the Korea Development Institute, a research organization supported by the South Korean government. The report assessed the country’s food needs are about 5.75 million tons every year. 

Despite all the challenges, few experts believe that North Korea is on the verge of confronting a similar famine just like the 1990s. In the ’90s Pyongyang had made several appeals for food aid and the nation grappled with hunger. Two years prior, amid its most noticeably terrible drought in many years, North Korea criticized international sanctions for the food crisis.

Currently, North Korea’s economy has decreased by more than 10%. They are also confronting a more extensive financial crisis because of the pandemic and growing U.S. sanctions. 

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin makes a surprise visit to Afghanistan as troops withdrawal deadline nears
Asia Pacific Focus

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin makes a surprise visit to Afghanistan as troops withdrawal deadline nears

On Sunday, Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul had a surprise visitor – US Defence Secretary Llyod Austin. Austin met Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul during the visit after winding up his visit to India meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

Austin’s unannounced visit is timed as May 1 deadline for bringing back US troops in Afghanistan is nearing. The deadline was set by former US President Donald Trump and the Taliban last year after negotiations. Meanwhile, back in Washington President Joe Biden is experiencing pressure from lawmakers and leaders to bring back the troops. Dick Durbin, a senior Democratic Senate leader said, “We ought to consider a debate under the Constitution for authorization of the use of military force.”

President Biden said last week in an interview to the ABC News that it would be tough to meet deadline of withdrawing troops. He also noted that if extended, deadline wouldn’t be moved to lot longer. 

Related Posts

Austin’s visit is crucial for US-Afghanistan peace talks as Biden reviews the diplomacy and foreign policies of the US. The Afghan presidential palace released a statement about Austin and Ghani’s meeting. The leaders discussed the ongoing peace process and rising violence in the country. Afghanistan government and the Taliban have blamed each other and the IS (Islamic State) group for a massive surge in bombings and assassinations in the country. 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had said in a letter to Ghani last month that if US and NATO troops withdrew from Afghanistan then it is in high probability that Taliban troops would aggressively try to make territorial gains. 

An eight-page peace proposal has been provided by Washington to the Taliban and Afghanistan government that they are reviewing. The proposal calls for an “interim peace government” that would steer Afghanistan towards constitutional elections and reforms. Ghani has shown resistance for an interim government saying election alone is enough to bring in government change.  

China’s development projects in Papua New Guinea makes Australia anxious
Asia Pacific Focus

China’s development projects in Papua New Guinea makes Australia anxious

Papua New Guinea (PNG), left Australia nervous about the communist nation’s increasing presence in Oceania. China recently entered a deal with PNG to develop a fisheries facility on Daru, located north of the Australian border in the Torres Strait. As per the small island, the development project would allow it to commercially fish the Torres Strait. 

Former officials and advisors to the current PNG government, Martyn Awayang Namorong said that the Australian government was overreacting over the issue. Speaking about China’s proposed plan of building a $39 billion city on Daru and a comprehensive multifunctional fishery industrial park, Namorong said, “It’s important to note that PNG is heading to an election next year so we have to ask ourselves are these announcements being made to influence voters? It might not be intended for Australia – and Beijing is just laughing at Australia overreacting. It might be only for the local audience … we have to ask these questions as well as the geopolitical questions.”

Australia was quick to react to the China-backed development projects in the region, as the country’s officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the high commission visited PNG in January. The Australian foreign affairs minister, Marise Payne, told the Senate last December: “Commercial-scale fisheries would not be considered a traditional activity under the Torres Strait Treaty and would not be permitted.”

Payne’s claim was contradicted by Donald Rothwell, a maritime law expert and Phillemon Mosby, mayor of the Torres Strait Island, which shares border with PNG. Rothwell stressed that as per the Torres Strait Treaty PNG had the right to conduct fishing in the protected zone of the Torres Strait. Hence, it could proceed with the  Chinese-funded commercial fishing boats program,

“The Torres Strait Treaty actually doesn’t make provision for amendment,” Rothwell said, “so the options are rewriting the treaty, which I think is very unlikely and would open up a can of worms for Australia.”

Related Posts

Mosby, the Island’s Regional Council mayor, backed Rothwell’s justification and said that PNG had sovereign rights to Australian territory. Mosby emphasized, “There needs to be open and transparent dialogue around the investment process… In the spirit of the treaty, we need to look at how these investments are going to impact on us as traditional inhabitants – socially, economically, politically, culturally, as well as the environmental impact.”

He added, “We do not want viable economic investment at the risk of security of our islands, people, and livelihood”.

China: Tianwen-1 mission successfully enters Mars orbit
Asia Pacific Focus

China: Tianwen-1 mission successfully enters Mars orbit

On Wednesday, China successfully landed its spacecraft, Tianwen-1 mission, in Mars’ orbit. It was the first time the Asian giant was able to enter the Red Planet. It was a huge leap for the Chinese spacecraft program, as it was the first time a Chinese mission had successfully reached Mars. The five-tonne spacecraft, which consisted of an orbiter and rover, was launched from the Chinese Wenchang spaceport in July. Tianwen-1, also known as “Questions to Heaven” covered the distance of about half a billion km to reach the neighboring planet.

China’s Mars mission proved to be successful a day after UAE’s Hope Probe was able to enter the orbit of the Red Planet for the first time. Besides China and UAE, another Mars mission in line is US NASA’s Perseverance, which was launched in July. NASA is expected to put its another rover on Mars next week. All three Mars missions of these three countries were launched during the brief launch window available in July. 

It was China’s second major space mission after December’s lunar project, wherein it was able to successfully retrieve rock and soil samples from Earth’s Moon surface – which otherwise is a very complex project. China’s yet-to-be-named rover on Mars would enable scientists to study the planet’s surface using a mix of its seven remote-sensing instruments. 

The rover is powered with high and medium-resolution cameras, through which it would be able to send clearer pictures of the planet. It also included a ground-penetrating radar which would help in gathering more information about Mars’ geological layers up to the depth of tens meters. The rover which is about 240kg, is packed with fold-out solar panels, a tall mast for the camera, and a navigation device. These additional instruments would help it in assessing the mineralogy of local rocks and explore the existence of water-ice on the planet.

Related Posts

Unlike UAE, which live-telecasted the entire mission’s journey and shared updates on TV and radio, China waited for the orbit insertion to happen first and then announced its success to the world.

Coronavirus: WHO scientists invalidate claims of virus leak from a Chinese lab, call it ‘extremely unlikely’
Asia Pacific Focus

Coronavirus: WHO scientists invalidate claims of virus leak from a Chinese lab, call it ‘extremely unlikely’

On Tuesday, a team of WHO scientists, who visited Wuhan to investigate the origin of the Covid-19, said that the theory, which claimed that the virus was developed or came out of a lab in Wuhan, was ‘extremely unlikely’. Peter Ben Embarek, the head of the WHO investigation mission, held a news conference, as the team concluded its four-week visit to Wuhan, and said that the possibility of the virus being leaked out of a lab of Wuhan was highly bleak. He added that the investigation had unveiled new information but nothing drastically different from what was already known before. He emphasized that the scientists needed to do more digging and research to identify the source of the origin of the virus.

The international experts who investigated the Wuhan Institute of Virology, home to various virus samples, right away dismissed the theory that the virus came from a laboratory in China. The theory was internationally promoted by former US President Donald Trump without any evidence. Embarek, a WHO food safety, and animal disease expert hinted that the investigation might move its focus towards South East Asia to reach the root cause of the coronavirus pandemic.

Wuhan, in China’s central Hubei province, was where the first few cases of coronavirus were reported in 2019. Since the virus outbreak, over 106 million people got infected and about 2.3 million lost their lives all across the world.

WHO experts believed that the virus could have originated first in animals before being transmitted into humans, but they were not clear on how the transfer happened. Embarek said that their findings pointed to a “natural reservoir” in bats as a cause of origin for the virus, but they were not sure if it happened only in Wuhan. He said, “The findings suggest that the laboratory incidents hypothesis is extremely unlikely to explain the introduction of the virus to the human population.”

Related Posts

The verdict by WHO scientists brought a big relief to the Chinese government, which has been battling with invalidating the Covid origin theory involving Wuhan for the past year, Liang Wannian, the head of the Chinese team of scientists, who accompanied the WHO experts, also emphasized that the scientist could not find any virus sample in the Wuhan institute. Wannian added that the scientists observed that the virus was found in different parts of the city, other than the market, which implied that the virus could have originated elsewhere.

PPP slams Moon administration over its secret plan to aid North Korea in nuclear plant development
Asia Pacific Focus

PPP slams Moon administration over its secret plan to aid North Korea in nuclear plant development

Almost a week after South Korea urged US President Joe Biden to revive nuclear program talks with North Korea, Seoul’s local media disclosed that the ruling Democratic Party of Korea has been working on a plan to unite ties with country’s Northern rival over building a nuclear power plant. It was in late January that government documents, regarding the plan to aid North Korea in its nuclear power plant development, got leaked. 

According to the Seoul Broadcasting System, the groundwork and documentation were laid out during 2018 summits between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which set a tone of reconciliation between the two nations, who otherwise had been at conflicting frontiers.

The revelation shook the political corridors of South Korea, with opposition severely condemning Moon’s move for committing a “shocking act benefiting the enemy.” Ridiculing Moon’s decision in 2017, to remove plans of nuclear power generation in South Korea, including scrapping new construction projects and banning extension running of aging reactors.  Seoul’s conservative opposition People Power Party issued a statement saying, “The Moon administration, while closing nuclear power plants in South Korea, sought to build a plant in North Korea in absolute secrecy.” The party leader’s Kim Chong-in said that the move was “nothing but a shocking act benefiting the enemy and could shake the administration’s fate.”

In response to the allegations, the ruling government slammed the opposition leaders’ accusations as “intolerable.” On February 1, Moon urged the opposition group to “stop inflaming confrontation through holdover-like politics that should be abandoned.” Lee Naik-Yeon, head of the Democratic Party, also touched upon the issue in his speech to the National Assembly the following day. “I was prime minister in 2018 and there was no talk about nuclear power generation at the summit,” Lee said. “The leader of the biggest opposition party crossed the line that must not be crossed, delivering an attack on the president that cannot be overlooked,” he added.

Related Posts

The authenticity of the accusation is yet not clear. But the opposition proposed if the ruling government wanted to help South Korea in building a nuclear power plant, it should push the latter to adopt denuclearization measures such as readopting to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and work on nuclear agreements with other countries concerned.

Republicans vote to keep in Liz Cheney and Marjorie Greene, Democrats likely to oust Greene
Americas

Republicans vote to keep in Liz Cheney and Marjorie Greene, Democrats likely to oust Greene

On Wednesday, the House of Republicans voted to keep both its lawmakers, Liz Cheney and Marjorie Taylor Greene, allowing them to be part of the committees. Liz Cheney, the third-highest ranking Republican, survived a secret-ballot by 145-61 votes. Her leadership position was challenged because last month she joined a team of 10 Republicans supporting the impeachment of the former Republican president, Donald Trump. Cheney’s move enraged hard-right conservatives and ardent Trump supporters. 

The House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy said that he defended Cheney despite her difference of opinion. He said, “People can have differences of opinion. That’s what you can have a discussion about. Liz has a right to vote her conscience.”

Cheney, daughter of former Vice-President Dick Cheney, said that she did not regret her decision. The Wyoming lawmaker told the House Republican during a closed-door meeting, “I won’t apologize for the [impeachment] vote.” 

Besides Cheney, Marjorie Greene was another lawmaker who’s political position was questioned due to her remarks which sparked outrage among public. It included supporting violence against Democratic lawmakers, labelling US school shootings and the 9/11 terror attack as staged events, and suggesting not to include Muslims in government services. Besides last month, Greene also introduced measures to impeach US President Joe Biden, as she accused him of corruption and abuse of power. 

Greene faced ample backlash for her Trump-styled politics, from various lawmakers. Florida’s Senator Marco Rubio of Florida slammed her as “either deranged or a sadist”, whereas Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said she had embraced “loony lies” which was like a “cancer” to the party.

Republicans decided not to punish Greene for her remarks. McCarthy, in his defending comments for California representative, said that though her comments caused “deep wounds to many”, but these were made before she became part of the House committees. “Past comments from and endorsed by Marjorie Taylor Greene on school shootings, political violence, and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories do not represent the values or beliefs of the House Republican Conference,” he said in a statement on Wednesday. “I condemn those comments unequivocally. I condemned them in the past and continue to condemn them today.”

Related Posts

The decision over Greene and Cheney polarised the GOP, subjecting it to an internal political challenge regarding its direction ahead. Wednesday’s voting concluded with the House GOP’s decision to give a chance to two of their most high-profile women. With regard to the party’s decision, McCarthy said, “You know what that’s going to mean? Two years from now, we’re going to win the majority. That’s because this conference is more united. We’ve got the right leadership team behind it.”

Democrats, unlike Republicans, expressed the likelihood of expelling Greene from the education and budget committee in the Thursday vote.  “Anybody who advocates assassinations of members of Congress or anybody, I don’t believe should enjoy the privilege of serving on a committee,” Democratic Representative Jim McGovern said after the House Rules Committee voted to advance the movement.

The US reviews assistance to Myanmar following a military coup
Asia Pacific Focus

The US reviews assistance to Myanmar following a military coup

Myanmar’s democratic political system and asked for the review of US assistance to the country, following the arrest of civilian leaders on Monday. The US State Department spokesperson, Ned Price said that Washington assessed the current events undertaken by Burmese military forces on February 1 including deposing of duly elected country head Aung San Suu Kyi. Though 

Price told reporters that the coup demanded review of $135 million aid designated to the country by the US administration. Biden administration decided that only a small share of that aid could be availed by the government, where as the assistance to the Rohingya ethnic minority would remain unaffected. 

The country has been witnessing its first military coup against a civilian government since 1962. It was direct violation of the constitution which the military promised to honor until Monday. The announcement of the power topple came in the early hours of Monday, as the army’s TV station said that the power now rested in the hands of commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing.

Burma military forces refused to accept the outcome of November elections, won by the National Leader for Democracy NLD’s Suu Kyi. The country’s military general alleged the election win as a massive fraud and announced state of emergency for a year. 

In Capital Hill, minority senate leader Mitchell McConnell praised the Biden administration for taking into consideration the opinion of congressional leaders about the state of events in Myanmar. He said that Myanmar must choose between the two options, i.e. either “it can continue to grow into a modern democratic country connected to the global economy or remain a corrupt impoverished authoritarian backwater in the shadow of people of the Republic…”

US leadership stressed that Myanmar military generals would be held accountable and would face consequences for tossing the country in the forceful state of emergency.  Besdides, the UN special rapporteur for Myanmar Yanghee Lee, said that the most significant aspect of soon-to-be-imposed sanctions would be if they had ‘some bite’ targeting specifically the generals which would make them pay the price for their actions. 

Human rights  group said that the same Myanmar military generals, who seized the power, deposed all the country’s leaders and cracked down on dissent, were also responsible for committing atrocities against Rohingya and other minorities of the country.  

The coup which has sparked global outrage, saw unusual reaction from China and Russia as both the permanent members of the UN Security Council used their veto power to prevent UK from releasing a consensus statement condemning the military takeover. 

Louis Charbonneau, UN director for Human Rights Watch, slammed the security council’s silence. “The abject failure of the security council, thanks to the likes of China and Russia, to hold Myanmar’s military leaders accountable for their crimes helps them feel they can engage in horrific abuses and pay little or no cost,” Charbonneau said.

A spokesperson for the Chinese UN mission said: “It’s also our hope that any move of the council would be conducive to the stability of Myanmar rather than making the situation more complicated.”

Beijing, which has invested billions of dollars in several projects in Myanmar, was more concerned about the stability of events rather than democracy. The state-owned Xinhua news agency called the military take over as: “major cabinet reshuffle”.

Related Posts

The people of the country, scared about the Myanmar militaries ongoing steamrolling took to social media to express their aggression. Many changed their social media picture to red to condemn the military coup and showcase support for Suu Kyi.

US-Russia agree to renew New START, China welcomes the move as an opportunity to narrow the nuclear gap
Geopolitics

US-Russia agree to renew New START, China welcomes the move as an opportunity to narrow the nuclear gap

US President Joe Biden agreed to a five-year extension of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with Russia. The treaty, which prevented the arms race between two major nuclear powers, set a limit of 1,550 deployed strategic, or long-range, nuclear armaments. Shinji Hyodo, director of the Regional Studies Department of The National Institute for Defense Studies said that Biden’s proposed deal was better than what Russia even agreeing to settle for with former President Donald Trump. 

Besides, Biden presidency proposed five-year extension with no conditions, instead of one year, as offer by Trump administration. It was “better than the best Moscow thought it could hope for,” Hyodo said. He added, “President Trump, from the beginning, was probably aiming to let the New START expire.” Hyodo’s statement was a reflection of  majority opinion, as many experts believed that Trump was not keen on renewing the treaty, hence kept on suggesting tougher conditions in its framework, making it harder for Moscow to give in.

Give its current state of economy, Russia has been trying to avoid an arms race with the US. Besides, Moscow has been aware of its not-so deep pockets as it shells out less than 10% of what the Washington spends on its defense infrastructure and weapons.

The treaty, which was enforced to maintain the balance of nuclear warheads between the two nations, was nearing its expiration due on Feb. 5. Russian premier Vladimir Putin was quick to accept Biden’s much-liberal deal proposal. He immediately forwarded the bill for the extension to parliament, where both houses unanimously voted in favor of it in emergency sessions held on Wednesday.

The deal-extension proposal not only pleased Russia but also China, which has been trying to dodge the Trump administration’s efforts to include and bind Beijing into a framework for nuclear arms control. While appreciating the Biden-Putin deal announcement, China was glad that it managed to steer clear of it. Experts warned that Biden’s New START pact, which left out China, would help later in building a strong nuclear arsenal, enabling it to narrow down its nuclear gap with the US

Related Posts

In a report on China’s increasing military capabilities, in September, the US Department of Defense warned about the Asian nation’s nuclear arms expansion plans. The report said, “Over the next decade, China’s nuclear warhead stockpile — currently estimated to be in the low 200s — is projected to at least double in size as China expands and modernizes its nuclear forces”.

Biden reverses Trump’s expense cut order worth $27.4 Billion
Americas

Biden reverses Trump’s expense cut order worth $27.4 Billion

On Sunday, US President Joe Biden announced rolling back of all the expense cuts proposed by his predecessor Donald Trump. In a letter to Congress, Biden requested for withdrawal of about 73 expenditure cuts introduced by Trump during the last leg of his presidency. 

Trump’s expense cut orders claimed to save about $27.4 Billion. It impacted almost every cabinet-level agency and federal programs. The list included the National Endowments of the Arts and Humanities, the legislative branch of the federal government, the District of Columbia, the Peace Corps, and the US Agency for International Development, among others.

The 1974 Budget and Impoundment Control Act, permitted the US president to reverse the order regarding the reduction of the budget funding, which otherwise was approved by Congress.

Trump brought in the cuts, also known as rescissions, during his December spending bill.

Last late December, while signing the budget cut bill, Trump said, “I will sign the Omnibus and Covid package with a strong message that makes clear to Congress that wasteful items need to be removed. I will send back to Congress a redlined version, item by item, accompanied by the formal rescission request to Congress insisting that those funds be removed from the bill.”

Over the past few weeks, the Biden administration authorized over a dozen executive orders to reverse Trump administration policies ranging from immigration, climate change to budgetary cuts. Biden’s top rollback moves included reversing US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and the World Health Organization, halting border wall construction program, withdrawing the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project, and ending Trump’s travel ban (imposed especially against some predominantly Muslim and African countries).

Besides the expense cuts, the new Democrat administration also announced its plans to introduce a covid relief package worth $1.9 trillion, much bigger than the Republican plan of $600 billion. On Monday, Biden administration invited about 10 Republican senators for discussion over the new proposed package for economic relief. 

Related Posts

The meeting was organized after Republicans wrote a letter to Biden, urging him on Sunday to open his package proposal to the discussion rather than approving it straight away with Democrats’ votes in Congress. The Republican senators wrote, “In the spirit of bipartisanship and unity, we have developed a COVID-19 relief framework that builds on prior COVID assistance laws, all of which passed with bipartisan support. Our proposal reflects many of your stated priorities, and with your support, we believe that this plan could be approved quickly by Congress with bipartisan support”.

1 2 3 12

The World Reviews

The World Reviews provides latest world news and brief stories. To know more news about world follow us.

Privacy Policy | Terms &Conditions | Newsletters

The World Reviews

Copyright © 2021 The World Reviews. All rights reserved.