China Plans to Build New City Nearly Three Times the Size of New York
Tom Phillips, THE GUARDIAN
A hitherto anonymous region near China’s smog-choked capital has been overrun by house buyers after Beijing unveiled “historic” plans to build a new city there in a bid to slash pollution and congestion. Plans for the Xiongan New Area, a special economic zone that authorities say will eventually cover an area nearly three times that of New York, were announced by the Communist Party’s top leaders on Saturday with a flurry of government propaganda. In a joint statement two of China’s most powerful political bodies, the Central Committee and State Council, described the new city, which will straddle three counties about 100km southwest of Beijing, as “a strategy crucial for a millennium to come.”
Malaysia Put in Bind in Resolving North Korea Crisis
RADIO FREE ASIA
In settling a diplomatic crisis following the assassination in Malaysia of Kim Jong-nam, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s half-brother, Kuala Lumpur had little choice but to agree to send the victim’s body and three suspects to North Korea in exchange for nine Malaysians who had been blocked from leaving Pyongyang. Malaysia’s government was pushed into a corner where it had to put the welfare of its nine citizens, who were trapped in North Korea for more than three weeks due to an exit ban, above other considerations, some international relations analysts suggested in assessing the Malaysian decision.
Poland Accuses Russians of Deliberately Causing Jet Crash
Polish prosecutors said on Monday that new evidence into the 2010 plane crash plane crash that killed Polish President Lech Kaczynski and other top government officials near Smolensk in western Russia suggested that two Russian air traffic controllers and a third official in the control tower had deliberately contributed to the accident. According to the prosecutors, the evidence was taken from recorded conversations between the plane’s pilots and the Russian controllers. However, the prosecutors said that no further details could be revealed before investigators had questioned the three men implicated in the probe. President Kaczynski and the other officials were headed to Russia’s Katyn forest to commemorate the 22,000 Polish officers executed by Soviet secret police in 1940—a massacre the Kremlin denied until 1990.
Tibetan Families Ordered from their Homes in Chamdo’s Dzogang County
RADIO FREE ASIA
Nearly 200 Tibetan families have been ordered to leave their homes in a county in eastern Tibet to make way for an unspecified government construction project, with the move to new locations to be made at their own expense, according to a local source. The families now live in two towns lying along the banks of the Gyalmo Ngulchu, or Salween River, in the Dzogang (in Chinese, Zuogang) county in the Chamdo (Changdu) prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region, a resident of the area told RFA’s Tibetan Service. No explanation was given for the order to move, RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “But the local Tibetans believe that mining or some similar project is being planned for the area, and that this is why they are being told to leave against their own wishes,” he said.
Trump Administration Quietly Starts Review of China’s Trade Status
Chris Arnold, NPR
Just days before President Trump is set to meet with Chinese Communist Party Leader Xi Jinping, the administration has made a move that has some US-China experts scratching their heads. The Commerce Department has quietly put a notice into the Federal Register stating that the US will review a hot-button issue between the two superpowers. What’s in question is a longstanding designation of China as a “Non-Market Economy,” or a country that operates outside of the norms of developed nations when it comes to trade. The US has more power to take action against China because of this so-called N.M.E. status if it believes that China is, for example, dumping steel into the US at prices that are unnaturally low and that hurt US industry.
Passes Resolution Urging Venezuela to Restore Democratic Order
LATIN AMERICAN HERALD TRIBUNE
The Organization of American States approved on Monday “by a majority” a declaration stating that there is a “serious unconstitutional alteration of the democratic order” in Venezuela and demanding that the Maduro government restore “the full authority” of the National Assembly, where the opposition holds a majority. The text was approved by 17 of the 21 states present in the meeting hall, with abstentions by only four nations: the Dominican Republic, Bahamas, Belize and El Salvador. The text was not submitted to a vote, but rather simply approved by a majority of the states present. Not present in the chamber at the time of the resolution’s presentation and debate were the envoys from Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua, who left the session after denouncing it as “illegal” and an “institutional coup d’état,” given that it was held despite the fact that Bolivia, which holds the rotating OAS presidency, had ended it earlier in the day.