Criticized for Torturing Lawyers, China Lashes Out at Canada and Other Countries
THE GLOBE AND MAIL
China has lashed out at Canada and 10 other countries whose embassies questioned its treatment of human rights lawyers, saying a diplomatic letter calling for an investigation into torture allegations violates “the spirit of rule of law.” This diplomatic letter was signed by Canada, Japan, Switzerland, Australia and seven European Union members, but not the United States. It names lawyers and activists whose families and legal counsel have described beatings, sleep deprivation and electrocutions, saying “credible claims of torture have been brought to our attention.”
Exclusive: North Korea Has No Fear of US Sanctions Move, Will Pursue Nuclear Arms Envoy
North Korea has nothing to fear from any US move to broaden sanctions aimed at cutting it off from the global financial system and will pursue “acceleration” of its nuclear and missile programs, a Pyongyang envoy told Reuters on Tuesday. This includes developing a “pre-emptive first strike capability” and an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM), said Choe Myong-nam, deputy ambassador at the DPRK (North Korean) mission to the United Nations in Geneva. “I think this is stemming from the visit by the Secretary of State (Rex Tillerson) to Japan, South Korea and China…We of course are not afraid of any act like that,” Choe told Reuters.
Taiwan to Build Its Own Submarine, President Vows on Visit to 50-Year-Old Vessel
J.R. Wu, REUTERS
Taiwan will build its own submarines, President Tsai Ing-wen pledged on Tuesday, as the self-ruled island looks to fresh arms sales by the United States, accompanied by key submarine technology, to counter a growing military threat from China. China has never renounced the use of force to take back what it deems a wayward province, and Taiwan’s defense ministry says China has more than 1,000 missiles directed at the island. “Strengthening underwater combat capabilities is most needed in Taiwan’s defense,” Tsai said during a tour of a submarine at the southern naval port of Zuoying. “This is a problem everyone recognizes,” she added.
Detained Tibetan Monk Reported in Critical Condition After Torture, Beatings
RADIO FREE ASIA
A Tibetan monk detained last week after launching a solo protest is being held at an army camp in critical condition after suffering beatings and other abuse at the hands of police, Tibetan sources say. Lobsang Dargye, a monk belonging to Ngaba’s Kirti monastery, was taken into custody on March 16 after calling out for Tibetan freedom while walking along a main road of the county seat, and his place of detention at first remained unknown. But through the efforts of many people, his location was finally traced to a newly built army camp, according to RFA’s source. “He has been severely tortured while in detention, and is now in critical condition,” the source said. “[Dargye’s] family, relatives, and classmates at the monastery are concerned that he may die from the beatings he now endures each day, and they are also worried about what the Chinese authorities may be forcing him to confess to,” he added.
Rex Tillerson to Skip NATO Meeting—but Visit Moscow
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will miss a meeting of NATO foreign ministers next month, US officials say. He will instead travel to a G7 meeting in Sicily, Italy, and then to Moscow to meet Russian leaders. Under Secretary of State Tom Shannon will represent the US at the Western military alliance meeting in Brussels. The US State Department said that when it realized Mr. Tillerson would be absent for the April 5-6 meeting, it offered alternative dates to NATO. It’s not unprecedented for a US secretary of state to skip a NATO meeting, but it is rare. The last time was when Colin Powell had to cancel during the 2003 Iraq War.
Crisis-Hit Venezuela Halts Publication of Another Major Indicator
Girish Gupta, REUTERS
Venezuela has stopped publishing money supply data, depriving the public of the best available tool to ascertain soaring inflation in one of the world’s worst-performing economies. The country quit issuing inflation data more than a year ago, but annual consumer price rises are widely seen to be in triple digits, driven by an unraveling socialist system in which many people struggle to obtain meals and medicines. “If they are not publishing, you know it must be skyrocketing,” said Aurelio Concheso, director of the Caracas-based business consultancy Aspen Consulting. The central bank and ministry of communications did not respond to a request for comment.