China and India in a Spat Over, Yes, the Dalai Lama
Emily Tamkin, FOREIGN POLICY
China accused India on Wednesday of threatening bilateral relations between the two countries by permitting the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh. Arunachal Pradesh is one of eight states in India’s north eastern region—this is according to both India and the United Nations. However, according to China, it is a “disputed border area between China and India.” China lays claim to roughly 35,000 square miles of Arunachal Pradesh. China has long blamed the Dalai Lama for fomenting discord to bring about Tibetan independence. Allowing the 81-year-old monk to go to Arunachai would “stir up troubles over the border issue and go against the sound development of bilateral ties,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said.
China Formally Arrests South Korean Pastors for Helping North Koreans Flee Regime
RADIO FREE ASIA
Authorities in the northeastern Chinese province of Liaoning have formally arrested two South Korean Protestant pastors accused of trying to help North Koreans flee across the border into China. The arrests come amid rising tensions between South Korea and China over Seoul’s deployment of a US-made missile defense system that China says will affect the regional balance of power. Neither pastor has been named. One was arrested along with his wife in February as they tried to board a plane for South Korea from Qingdao in the eastern province of Shandong, while the second was detained at a hotel in the northeastern city of Qinhuangdao. While both wives have since been released, the two pastors remain in police detention on charges linked to illegal immigration. Peter Chung, spokesman for the human rights group Justice For North Korea, said their families have hired lawyers to represent the pastors.
How North Korea Makes Its Money: Coal, Forced Labor and Hacking
Jethro Mullen, CNN
China is North Korea’s economic bedrock, accounting for more than 80% of its smaller neighbor’s foreign trade. The US and its allies have tried for years to squeeze the North Korean government’s supply of money and cut it off from the global banking system. All that seems to have done is develop Pyongyang’s ability to dodge sanctions. North Korea has a wealthy elite in the capital, but most of its citizens are impoverished and it has in the past been blighted by famine. It’s also one of the most closed economies in the world, but the regime still finds ways to squeeze money out of the people it rules.
North Korea Fires Ballistic Missile as Trump, Xi Prepare to Meet
Joshua Berlinger, Barbara Starr, and Paula Hancocks, CNN
Ahead of the first meeting between US President Donald Trump and Chinese Communist Party Leader Xi Jinping, North Korea fired a ballistic missile off the coast of the Korean Peninsula, US and South Korean officials said. The missile—which fell into the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, on Wednesday morning—is one of several the country has test-fired in recent months. Even before the missile test, North Korea’s nuclear program was expected to be an important talking point between Xi and Trump. The United States has been pushing China to put pressure on North Korea to stop its nuclear program and missile testing.
Marco Rubio: “Trump Will Treat Cuba Like the Dictatorship It Is”
Nora Gámez Torres, MIAMI HERALD
Two months after the Trump administration announced a total review of US policy toward Cuba, several controversial proposals are being circulated at the White House with no clear front-runner on the issue. But Sen. Marco Rubio says he has spoken with Trump three times about Cuba. “We’ve been walking through all these issues with the President and his team, figuring out the right steps to take and when,” Rubio told El Nuevo Herald. “I am confident that President Trump will treat Cuba like the dictatorship it is and that our policy going forward will reflect the fact that it is not in the national interest of the United States for us to be doing business with the Cuban military,” he added.
Venezuela Government Vows to “Rule Forever” Amidst Violent Street Protests
Carlos Camacho, LATIN AMERICAN TRIBUNE
Venezuela’s ruling PSUV party said Tuesday it would “rule this fatherland forever,” amidst the most violent anti-government street protests seen since 2014. At least eight demonstrators were injured as thousands of Venezuelans converged on the capital of Caracas to demonstrate against the increasingly embattled rule of President Maduro. Opposition lawmakers were teargassed, government-affiliated “colectivo” gangs took potshots at marchers and journalists were attacked at protests meant to denounce maneuvers to place the elected opposition-dominated legislative National Assembly power under the control of the government-packed Supreme Court.