Holiday Hush as Chinese Tourists Shun South Korean Resort Island Amid THAAD Missile Shield Row
SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST
During the May Day holiday, the Jeju Cruise Terminal in South Korea used to be packed with thousands of passengers from the ports of Shanghai, Tianjin and Qingdao disembarking from large cruise liners and boarding their tourist buses. However, the last time the port saw large numbers of Chinese faces may well have been March 11, when about 3,400 tourists refused to set their foot on the resort island in protest against South Korea’s decision to deploy a US-developed missile defense system. Beijing says the system poses a threat to its own security and its stance has sparked Chinese consumer boycotts of South Korean products and restricted tourism.
China Tightens Rules on Online News, Network Providers
Christian Shepherd, REUTERS
China issued tighter rules for online news portals and network providers, the latest step in Communist Party Leader Xi Jinping’s push to secure the internet and maintain strict party control over content. Xi has made China’s “cyber sovereignty” a top priority in his sweeping campaign to bolster security. He has also reasserted the ruling Communist Party’s role in limiting and guiding online discussion. The new regulations extend restrictions on what news can be produced and distributed by online platforms, requiring all services to be managed by party-sanctioned editorial staff. The rules, which come into effect on June 1, apply to all political, economic, military, or diplomatic reports or opinion articles on blogs, websites, forums, search engines, instant messaging apps and all other platforms that select or edit news and information.
Is China the World’s New Colonial Power?
Brook Larmer, THE NEW YORK TIMES
China’s gravitational pull can be felt today in every nook of the globe. Few countries feel the tug more strongly than Namibia, a wind-swept nation with a population of 2.4 million—barely a tenth the size of Beijing’s—some 8,000 miles away from the Chinese capital. The desert where the Husab mine has materialized in recent years used to be known only for the presence of Welwitschia mirabilis, the short, droopy national plant that grows just two leaves—and can live for more than 1,000 years. Now, in little more than 1,000 days, China’s reach has spread far beyond the uranium mine. Driven by economics (a hunger for resources and new markets) and politics (a longing for strategic allies), Chinese companies and workers have rushed into all parts of the world. In 2000, only five countries counted China as their largest trading partner; today, more than 100 countries do.
Cuba and Venezuela Use Labor Unions to Bolster Regime Support
Angelo Florez de Andrade, PANAM POST
The Cuban regime claims it defends the rights of workers. However, the Central de Trabajadores de Cuba is the only labor union allowed in the country, and it has strong ties to the island’s Communist Party. The Secretary General of that union is also part of the regime’s Council of Ministers. There are rarely differences between the leaders of the party and the union. In 1992, the regime modified the constitution to, theoretically, accept freedom of association. But unions such as the Unitary Council of Cuban Workers and the National Confederation of Independent Workers of Cuba were not recognized by Cuban law. Those who have tried to create independent unions on the island have been persecuted. The dictatorship has sent multiple activists to prison for exercising freedom of association.
ASEAN and North Korea: Strange Bedfellows?
Sahil Mathur, THE DIPLOMAT
Tensions have been thick in the Korean peninsula over the last couple of months, ever since the initiation of the deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile system in South Korea. There have been hostile statements from both North Korea and the United States, even threatening military action. These statements have been further backed by US naval buildup in the region and hurried missile tests from North Korea. While these developments are not particularly odd—tensions between the Koreas have their ebbs and flows and flare up with fair regularity—it is odd that North Korea asked for ASEAN’s support against the United States and South Korea.
Trump’s Pick for Ambassador to China Says He Will Work With Beijing on North Korea
Anne Gearan, WASHINGTON POST
President Trump’s choice to be ambassador to China pledged to leverage a personal relationship with Chinese Communist Party Leader Xi Jinping to persuade China that it is risking its own security if it fails to prevent a nuclear crisis with North Korea. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) is expected to win confirmation and could be on the job in Beijing by the end of the month. Branstad placed the complex and shifting US relationship with China in personal and folksy terms. He said that although he has known Xi for more than 30 years and considers him a friend, he would not hesitate to challenge him on behalf of the United States.
Hawaii Preparation for North Korea Nuke Attack Far from Complete
Malia Zimmerman, FOX NEWS
Kailua, a beach community on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, boasts nearly 55,000 residents and thousands of yearly tourists, including the Obamas. But one thing this paradise doesn’t have is an adequate number of fallout shelters—there are only three with enough room for 235 people—in case North Korea launches an intercontinental ballistic missile or nuclear attack. The state’s emergency fallout shelter plan, not updated since the Cold War, includes a Salvation Army store, categorized as a “safe zone.” That plan is not exactly common knowledge. One of the store managers didn’t even realize the building is on the 1985 fallout shelter list and said the so-called safe area in the basement is packed with donated items.
GM to Take $100M Hit for Losing Venezuelan Plant
Brent Snavely, DETROIT FREE PRESS
General Motors said it will take a $100-million charge against its profits after losing control of its assembly plant in Venezuela. The automaker’s plant was seized last month by government officials and is no longer under the company’s control. While the company has said it plans to fight the seizure, it is unlikely it will regain control of the plant anytime soon. For that reason, the automaker said that it plans to “deconsolidate” operations from its accounting books, essentially wiping out the value of the plant and the company’s assets. “The deconsolidation follows the unexpected seizure of GM’s Venezuelan plant on April 18 by judicial authorities, which forced the company to cease operations and terminate employment relationships due to causes beyond the parties’ will,” GM said in a statement. “All former employees have since been paid separation benefits as legally required.”