BEIJING: The Chinese mainland will continue to promote the implementation of the 31 preferential policies for Taiwan, An Fengshan, spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said at a press conference today.
The 31 preferential policies, introduced by the Chinese mainland during the Fifth Straits Forum in southeast China’s Xiamen in 2013, cover the fields of legal rights, education, culture, and tourism, and are aimed at improving the lives of all Taiwanese people, Xinhua news agency reported.
Shanghai Credit Information Services and China Credit Information Service have established a platform where financial institutions on the mainland can search for credit information of enterprises and individuals in Taiwan, allowing Taiwanese enterprises and individuals to obtain finance on the mainland, An said.
East China’s Jiangsu Province has been actively supporting applications from Taiwan-funded enterprises for provincial technological projects or to be listed as high-tech enterprises.
So far, nearly 700 Taiwan-funded high-tech enterprises in Jiangsu enjoy a preferential corporate income tax of 15 percent. Two Taiwan-funded enterprises received a total of 9.5 million yuan (1.5 million U.S. dollars) of funding to commercialize research findings, An said.
By April 20, 27 higher learning institutions in central China’s Hubei Province had provided a total of 582 teaching jobs for Taiwanese.
In terms of youth entrepreneurship, the 53 cross-Strait entrepreneurship bases and pilot sites nationwide had served nearly 1,900 Taiwan-funded enterprises and teams, and provided internships and jobs for nearly 9,000 Taiwanese youth as of the end of 2017, according to An.
Recently the Taiwan Affairs Office set up 22 new such entrepreneurship bases and pilot sites in 15 provincial-level regions, including Tianjin and Shanghai. This brought the total number of the bases and sites to 75 nationwide.
Taiwanese people will also be able to take part in professional and technical qualification examinations and work on the mainland.
Some Chinese believe that it is unnecessary to offer preferential policies to Taiwanese people, as mainland China’s enthusiasm would not be entertained.
Justice (R) Nasir-ul-Mulk to be the Caretaker premier!
ISLAMABAD: Justice (R) Nasir-ul-Mulk to be the Caretaker premier, Retired Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk (who had served as the 22nd CJP) will be the caretaker prime minister.
This was announced jointly here today by Leader of the Opposition Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi after a meeting.
It is pertinent to mention here that today’s meeting was the sixth between the leader of the opposition and the prime minister.
Summit: US holds talks with N. Korea!
PANMUNJOM: US holds talks with N. Korea, A U.S. delegation is meeting N. Korean officials in *Panmunjom, at the border between North and South Korea, about a possible rendezvous between the leaders of two countries.
A US delegation was holding talks with North Korean officials today at a border truce village amid preparations for a summit between the two countries’ leaders, the State Department said.
“A US delegation is in ongoing talks with North Korean officials at Panmunjom,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement…We continue to prepare for a meeting between the President and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.”
The State Department provided no details on the latest talks but The Washington Post earlier reported that the US delegation had crossed over to the North Korean side of the border at Panmunjom.
The US delegation was led by Sung Kim, a former US ambassador to South Korea and former nuclear negotiator with the North. It said the Americans met with North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui.
*Panmunjom is located in the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) that divides the Korean peninsula.
Relevant pieces published earlier:
i) US President Donald Trump, a day after his cancellation of a high-stakes summit with North Korea, said Friday that the meeting with Kim Jong Un could still go ahead. “We’re going to see what happens,” Trump told reporters at the White House, after welcoming Pyongyang’s latest statement on the talks as “very good news. “It could even be the 12th,” he said in a reference to the original June 12 date set for the meeting in Singapore. “We’re talking to them now,” Trump said of the North Koreans.
“They very much want to do it. We’d like to do it. We’ll see what happens.” North Korea, responding to Trump’s abrupt cancellation of the meeting over “hostility” from Pyongyang, said Friday that it is willing to talk to the United States “at any time.” Trump welcomed the statement as “warm and productive.” “We will soon see where it will lead, hopefully too long and enduring prosperity and peace. Only time (and talent) will tell!” the US president said in a tweet. In a letter to Kim, Trump said Thursday he would not go ahead with the summit in Singapore, following what the White House called a “trail of broken promises” by the North. (25th of May, 2018)
ii) In a correspondence addressed to North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un President Donald Trump has made it clear that due to North Korean anger and hostility the Singapore summit had been cancelled. Trump and Kim had been due to hold high-stakes talks on June 12 aimed at ridding the reclusive state of nuclear weapons, but the meeting was recently thrown into doubt as both sides raised the prospect of scrapping the discussions and traded threats. Trump’s letter came a day after North Korea attacked US Vice President Mike Pence as “ignorant and stupid.” “Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” Trump wrote in a letter to Kim released by the White House.
“Therefore, please let this letter serve to represent that the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place.” Trump also brandished the threat of America’s nuclear might in his letter, writing: “You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.” The US leader’s letter appeared to leave the door open to a future meeting with Kim, however, stressing that he had been “very much looking forward to being there.” “We greatly appreciate your time, patience, and effort with respect to our recent negotiations and discussions” relative to the summit, he told Kim.
It is pertinent to mention here that today North Korea has proclaimed that it had fully demolished its nuclear test site with a series of planned detonations. According to an official declaration: “The Nuclear Weapons Institute of the DPRK held a ceremony for completely dismantling the northern nuclear test ground on May 24… to ensure transparency of the discontinuance of nuclear test… “Dismantling the nuclear test ground was done in such a way as to make all the tunnels of the test ground collapse by the explosion and completely close the tunnel entrances, and at the same time, explode some guard facilities and observation posts on the site”. It has been confirmed that no leakage of radiation had been detected at the site during explosions.
iii) US President Donald Trump asks North Korea to abandon its nuclear program on Tuesday, ahead of an expected summit with the North’s leader Kim Jong Un. Earlier, the US leader – who had spent the day in talks with French President Emmanuel Macron – had described Kim as “very open” and “very honourable” – his most positive comments yet about a man he once publicly belittled. But when pressed about what he hoped to gain from Pyongyang, the 71-year-old Republican president was blunt. “Meetings are being set up, and I want to see denuclearization of North Korea,” Trump told reporters.
Asked to explain what he means by denuclearization, Trump replied: “It means they get rid of their nukes – very simple.” “It would be very easy for me to make a simple deal and claim victory. I don’t want to do that. I want them to get rid of their nukes.” While Trump has repeatedly referred to North Korea’s denuclearization, Pyongyang however consistently defines the term as “denuclearization of the Korean peninsula” – code for the removal of America’s military presence in the South, a condition Washington is unlikely to accept. Amid preparations for a landmark bilateral US-North Korea summit, which could come in June, Trump had kind words for Kim, whom he once called a “madman” and “little rocket man.”
26 Syrians, 9 Russians killed in IS attack
BEIRUT: At least 26 Syrian regime forces and nine Russian fighters were killed in an Islamic State group attack earlier this week in Syria’s eastern desert today.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the jihadists had targeted a group of Syrian and allied Russian troops in Deir Ezzor province on Wednesday.
Russia’s defense ministry said today four Russian servicemen had been killed in an incident in Deir Ezzor but did not give a date. Certain quarters insinuate that there are some 4,000 or 5,000 Russian military servicemen stationed in Syria.
Observatory chief informed: “There were 35 pro-government forces killed, including at least nine Russians. Some of those Russian nationals were government troops, but not all of them.”
Relevant pieces published earlier:
i) Lebanon’s top diplomat warned Saturday that a recent Syrian property law could dispossess hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees from their land back home, leaving them permanently displaced in Lebanon. The law, known as Decree 10, allows Syria’s government to seize private property for zoned developments and compensate proven owners with shares in the new projects. But rights groups and lawyers fear that millions of Syrians who have sought safety abroad do not have the right paperwork or enough time to claim their land. On Saturday, Lebanon’s foreign minister Gebran Bassil said Decree 10 could adversely impact the nearly one million Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
In a letter to his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem, Bassil expressed “Lebanon’s fear that the conditions imposed by this law will hinder the return of a not-insignificant number of displaced to their hometowns.” Once an area is declared a new development zone under Decree 10, owners inevitably lose their property. They can, however, get shares in the new project by proving they owned land there within 30 days of the decision being publicly announced. “The inability for displaced to prove ownership in the provided time-frame could cause them to lose their property… and dispossess them of one of their main incentives to return to Syria,” said Bassil. (27th of May, 2018).
ii) US warns Syria of ‘firm’ action, The US has warned Damascus it will take “firm” action if the regime of Bashar al-Assad violates a ceasefire deal after Syrian aircraft dropped leaflets on a southern province ahead of an expected offensive. Residents of Daraa told Media Friday that several different leaflets were scattered across the province, which has borders with Israel and Jordan and is expected to be among the next targets in the resurgent regime’s reconquest. One of them, seen by a journalist contributing to AFP in the city of Daraa, includes a picture showing lined up bodies, presumably of anti-government fighters. “This is the inevitable fate of anyone who insists on carrying arms,” reads the leaflet. The US State Department issued a statement late Friday saying it was “concerned” by the reports and that the area in question was within the boundaries of a de-escalation zone it had negotiated with Russia and Jordan last year.
“We also caution the Syrian regime against any actions that risk broadening the conflict or jeopardize the ceasefire,” said spokeswoman Heather Nauert, adding that the ceasefire had been re-affirmed by President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at a meeting in Vietnam in November. “As a guarantor of this de-escalation area with Russia and Jordan, the United States will take firm and appropriate measures in response to Assad regime violations,” she added. The Syrian regime and allied forces on Monday retook the Yarmuk area in southern Damascus, giving President Bashar al-Assad full control of the capital and its surroundings for the first time since 2012. (26th of May, 2018).
iii) Syrian army declared Monday it is in complete control of Damascus and its outskirts after a devastating battle that forced Islamic State group jihadists to flee their last pocket of resistance in the capital. It marked a major milestone in the protracted war, which began in 2011 and saw parts of Damascus fall to armed rebels the following year. In recent months, President Bashar al-Assad has used a blend of military pressure and negotiated withdrawals to steadily flush rebels out of territory around Damascus. But as a small IS holdout remained in the capital’s south, troops and allied Palestinian militia launched an offensive last month to recapture the area covering the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk and adjacent districts of Qadam, Tadamun and Hajar al-Aswad.
On Monday, the army declared it had ousted IS from that zone, sealing its control of the capital. “The Syrian army announces today that Damascus, its outskirts, and surrounding towns are completely secure,” it said in a statement carried on official media. “The wheel of our progress on the battlefield will not stop until all Syrian land is purified.” Standing on Route 30, the main street in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk, a Lieutenant Mohsen Ismail, 22, sighed: “This was the last battle in Damascus. I’m extremely happy.” (22nd of May 2018).