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5 reasons why Trump labelling China and Russia “rivals” is wrong

Donald Trump is set to give a controversial speech in which he will pin the interests of the US against those of fellow superpowers Russia and China. The move will increase global hostilities while not bringing any material benefits to the American people.

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The White House has openly leaked excerpts of substantial speech on national security that Donald Trump is expected to deliver later today. In the excepts that have been released, the US names China and Russia as its principle global rivals.

An excerpt reads,

“They are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence”.

Based on this short excerpt, it would appear that the Trump White House has adopted the neo-con lexicon which implies that countries which don’t conform to how American leaders see their own country (however inaccurate this idealised vision is), are somehow an existential threat to the security of the US.

At the same time, this neo-con language is combined with the kind of apocalyptic theories of Steve Bannon who openly states that China and the US are inevitably headed for either a war or something close to a war.

Learning that the US views China and Russia as major rivals or threats is about as surprising as learning that Siberia is colder than Hawaii.

For years, the aim of US foreign policy, including the many proxy wars on all sides of China’s One Belt–One Road trade and commerce superhighway, have been designed to retard China’s logistical progress while simultaneously attempting to upset China’s political relations with her allies.

Russia, as China’s closest partner and more importantly, as the large geographical space that links the East Asia/Asia Pacific region to Eurasia’s western borderlands/Europe, is a clear target that according to western neo-imperial thinking, must ideally be subdued or mired in petty conflict in order to upset a superpower partnership that plays a substantial element in complete One Belt–One Road.

Implicit in One Belt–One Road, is a Chinese government that is growing ever more assertive in matters of geo-political affairs. In recent months, China produced and helped to implement its first peace proposal involving foreign states when Beijing introduced the three point plan to settle the crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine State (aka the Rohingya crisis) which has spilled over into Bangladesh.

China proposes peace process for Rohingya crisis in Myanmar and Bangladesh

Furthermore, earlier this year, China opened up its first ever overseas military logistics base in Djibouti.

America fears China’s geo-political power more than China’s economic might

The US aggression against China and Russia that the world has known about for years, but which Donald Trump will apparently lay bear in his forthcoming address, is a strategy that is destined to fail for the following reasons.

1. Zero-sum games versus the Win-Win model 

The US continues to exercise a zero-sum mentality in geo-politics which can be summed up by phrases as simple as “you’re either with us or you’re against us” or “it’s us versus them”.

The notion is one which states quite clearly that in order to be considered a partner or ally of the US, one has to adopt US policy positions vis-a-vis relations with other states, never challenge the hegemony of the Dollar as a de-facto trading currency and all the while pursuing domestic policies that are friendly to US corporations and the US military–often at the expense of the needs of a local population.

Apart from the ethical red flags involved in such a policy, there is another game in town in the 21st century that is not only challenging, but in many cases outflanking Washington’s international strongman tactics.

In opposition to the US model, there is the Chinese model wherein Beijing looks to form partnerships based on the unemotional economic needs of a would-be partner, combined with China’s natural self-interest of wanting to expand her own trading networks.

One Belt–One Road is emblematic of a Chinese attitude which seeks to play up the strengths of any given partner, while injecting investment in order to allow these strengths to reach their full potential. China and other partners will then fill the gaps in areas where any given country is either lacking or logistically incapable of producing a given set of raw materials or finished products.

Crucially, unlike the US model, China does not make any demands on the internal governance of partner nations. This has been made abundantly clear in respect of China’s overtures and olive branches to a hostile Indian government. China isn’t particularly concerned about a country’s foreign policy, so long as it doers not involve the threat of war or regional instability.

This is why China’s position with the Indian government of Narendra Modi is one of firmness and fairness. China is leaving the door to cooperation with India open, even during trying times in bilateral relations. China is not asking India to change its ethos, but rather, Beijing would prefer a more constructive attitude on the part of India and is willing to be patient until such a day might arrive.

This win-win model has proved attractive to many traditional US partners, including South Korea, Philippines, Thailand, Turkey and even Saudi Arabia.

According to the Chinese model, one can do business with Beijing while still acting as a US ally or a genuinely neutral state.

This is why for example countries like Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia all call China their number one trading partner, even if this doesn’t translate into a military or policy making alliance. For China, this is not a requirement.

2. The Dollar versus the Yuan

China will soon be the undisputed largest economy in the world, although in many ways, China already is and has been for many years.

As such, the Chinese Yuan will likely become the de-facto international reserve currency and perhaps more importantly, the de-facto international trading currency.

Because of this, the rise of the Yuan is inevitable. However, the Yuan has distinct advantages over the Dollar, even when viewed outside of the prism of inevitability.

Unlike Dollar based institutions, the Yuan is unencumbered in respect of sanctions coming out of the US Treasury Department. Because of this, many countries which have been pounded by increasingly frequent US sanctions are moving to the Yuan. Venezuela is already selling oil futures contracts in Yuan and other countries will soon join.

Secondly, China is willing to make deals in a combination of Yuan and the national currency of a partner–for example the Yuan and Iranian Rial. By contrast the US tends to make all nations convert to the Dollar before completing a transaction, which often puts countries with poor exchange rates via-a-vis the Dollar, in a position which is necessarily disadvantaged.

Thirdly, even among traditional US partners, the absence of Dollar dependency would allow for a more sovereign policy making process because without the hegemony of the Dollar, the US automatically loses the primary tool it uses to leverage the policy making decisions of its often dependant partners.

Because most of contemporary US power as well as the all important ability to project power is based on the global hegemony of the Dollar, if this is chipped away by the Yuan, the United States will lose its most important source of domination over nations, apart from its vast military. This frightens many in Washington who do not envisage a future based on multilateralism, but instead seek to dominate the world in a unilateral fashion for years to come–something which is becoming increasingly untenable.

Finally, because China owns $1.2 trillion of US sovereign debt, if antagonised, China could retaliate by dumping Dollars. Since 2013, China has in fact been reducing its Dollar holdings in order to strengthen the value of the Yuan in preparation for the inevitable day when the Yuan becomes a floating currency. This itself will do tremendous damage to the value and prestige of the Dollar and there is little the US can do to stop this from one day occurring.

America’s cold war on China is no longer just a trade war – it is a war for the Dollar and Federal Reserve

3. Russia’s model of “Win-Win Diplomacy” 

During the Obama years and into Trump’s first year in power, Russia’s diplomatic model has visibly usurped the position of the US which in the 1990s was undisputed as the de-facto kingmaker of geo-politics.

Today, when it comes to brokering peace deals, singing contrasts for weapons and the all important energy trade, countries throughout the world are turning first to Russia.

This is the case among traditional Russian  partners like Syria, Vietnam, Cuba and increasingly Iraq and Egypt once again, but more interestingly, this is also the case among many traditional US allies and partners.

Turkey and Philippines have both made seismic shifts in terms of security cooperation and weapons purchases that involve giving Russia a most favoured position. China too is an important buyer of Russian energy materials, hi-technology and weapons systems.

Added to this, countries as ingrained into the US system as Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Philippines and Israel, also look increasingly to Russia as a commercial partner in these areas and beyond.

In the non-aligned world, Russia has been able to maintain good contacts with India while pursuing historically successful and constantly growing relations with Pakistan.

Because Russia does not see diplomatic and security contacts in a zero-sum fashion any more than China sees commercial contacts in this way, Russia has been able to maintain good relations with both Iran and Saudi Arabia, Palestine and Israel, Pakistan and India, Vietnam and China, South and North Korea, Serbia and Turkey.

In conflicts ranging from the war in Syria, to Israel-Palestine as well as India’s conflicts with both China and Pakistan–Russia is fast becoming a de-facto peace broker.

4. A Sino-Russian partnership that is meaningful 

China and Russia have a long history of healthy relations in spite of being two giant land powers who share one of the world’s longest borders. In hindsight, it is accurate to say that the Sino-Soviet split of the Cold War era was an aberrational period in the long history of relations between the two superpowers.

Today, Russia and China are generally comfortable with their own roles in the world and as Russian industrial production increases in-line with the increased intensity of Chinese diplomatic involvement in international crisis areas, China and Russia are rapidly becoming complimentary both in areas where they share common strengths, as well as in areas where different strengths are pooled as part of the world’s most meaningful bilateral partnership.

In this sense, when it comes to a contest between three superpowers, it will be a matter of two against one for the foreseeable future.

Russia and China actively collude to bring down the only thing America cares about

5. It needn’t be a competition 

The two against one paradigm in terms of a contest between superpowers needn’t exist and certainly would not exist if Russia and China had their say about it.

Russia is well aware that the United States has a totally different approach to geo-political engagement than Moscow’s diplomats, but nevertheless, Russia has always been willing to cooperate with the US when and where possible. In every instance, with very few exceptions, the US has decided to reject Russia’s open door in favour of either antagonism or attempted competition.

Likewise, the United States, while a declining industrial power, still has a large skilled workforce that could play a part in One Belt–One Road if the US ceased being a thorn in the side of China’s epoch making initiative.

As the Americas are the only area on the planet where One Belt–One Road is not set to travel in the near future, the US could have proposed a trans-American economic corridor from Cape Horn to the Canadian Arctic. This would require a great deal of Chinese investment, much of which could have gone into revitalising US industry, in addition to Chinese economic might helping to revitalise Washington’s relations with its neighbours in Central and South America.

The vast Pacific coast of the US could have been modernised with new ports and expanded existing ports in cities like Los Angeles, in order to connect a trans-American corridor to a Sino-US maritime belt.

This is what “win-win” cooperation between the US and China might look like in a world where Washington is not obsessed with zero-sum gamesmanship.

Conclusion

Donald Trump, as a businessman for most of his life, would have been in an ideal position to foment a kind of cooperative effort which could help the US transition into an age where China dominates the global economy with diplomatic grace while incurring economic benefits for the American people and their regional neighbours.

Instead, Trump has once again surrendered to a neo-con mentality combined with outdated notions of competition between superpowers.

While two of the three world superpowers cooperate, the US alone sees the world in competitive terms. In this sense, the US has set itself up for a loss when up against rising powers of the east for whom connectivity is the world of the day and competition is the word of the past.

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Skripal and Khashoggi: A Tale of Two Disappearances

Two disappearances, and two different responses.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Two disappearances, and two very different responses from Western governments, which illustrates their rank hypocrisy.

When former Russian spy Sergei Skripal went missing in England earlier this year, there was almost immediate punitive action by the British government and its NATO allies against Moscow. By contrast, Western governments are straining with restraint towards Saudi Arabia over the more shocking and provable case of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The outcry by Western governments and media over the Skripal affair was deafening and resulted in Britain, the US and some 28 other countries expelling dozens of Russian diplomats on the back of unsubstantiated British allegations that the Kremlin tried to assassinate an exiled spy with a deadly nerve agent. The Trump administration has further tightened sanctions citing the Skripal incident.

London’s case against Moscow has been marked by wild speculation and ropey innuendo. No verifiable evidence of what actually happened to Sergei Skripal (67) and his daughter Yulia has been presented by the British authorities. Their claim that President Vladimir Putin sanctioned a hit squad armed with nerve poison relies on sheer conjecture.

All we know for sure is that the Skripals have been disappeared from public contact by the British authorities for more than seven months, since the mysterious incident of alleged poisoning in Salisbury on March 4.

Russian authorities and family relatives have been steadfastly refused any contact by London with the Skripal pair, despite more than 60 official requests from Moscow in accordance with international law and in spite of the fact that Yulia is a citizen of the Russian Federation with consular rights.

It is an outrage that based on such thin ice of “evidence”, the British have built an edifice of censure against Moscow, rallying an international campaign of further sanctions and diplomatic expulsions.

Now contrast that strenuous reaction, indeed hyper over-reaction, with how Britain, the US, France, Canada and other Western governments are ever-so slowly responding to Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi case.

After nearly two weeks since Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, the Saudi regime is this week finally admitting he was killed on their premises – albeit, they claim, in a “botched interrogation”.

Turkish and American intelligence had earlier claimed that Khashoggi was tortured and murdered on the Saudi premises by a 15-member hit squad sent from Riyadh.

Even more grisly, it is claimed that Khashoggi’s body was hacked up with a bone saw by the killers, his remains secreted out of the consulate building in boxes, and flown back to Saudi Arabia on board two private jets connected to the Saudi royal family.

What’s more, the Turks and Americans claim that the whole barbaric plot to murder Khashoggi was on the orders of senior Saudi rulers, implicating Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The latest twist out of Riyadh, is an attempt to scapegoat “rogue killers” and whitewash the House of Saudi from culpability.

The fact that 59-year-old Khashoggi was a legal US resident and a columnist for the Washington Post has no doubt given his case such prominent coverage in Western news media. Thousands of other victims of Saudi vengeance are routinely ignored in the West.

Nevertheless, despite the horrific and damning case against the Saudi monarchy, the response from the Trump administration, Britain and others has been abject.

President Trump has blustered that there “will be severe consequences” for the Saudi regime if it is proven culpable in the murder of Khashoggi. Trump quickly qualified, however, saying that billion-dollar arms deals with the oil-rich kingdom will not be cancelled. Now Trump appears to be joining in a cover-up by spinning the story that the Khashoggi killing was done by “rogue killers”.

Britain, France and Germany this week issued a joint statement calling for “a credible investigation” into the disappearance. But other than “tough-sounding” rhetoric, none of the European states have indicated any specific sanctions, such as weapons contracts being revoked or diplomatic expulsions.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “concerned” by the gruesome claims about Khashoggi’s killing, but he reiterated that Ottawa would not be scrapping a $15 billion sale of combat vehicles to Riyadh.

The Saudi rulers have even threatened retaliatory measures if sanctions are imposed by Western governments.

Saudi denials of official culpability seem to be a brazen flouting of all reason and circumstantial evidence that Khashoggi was indeed murdered in the consulate building on senior Saudi orders.

This week a glitzy international investor conference in Saudi Arabia is being boycotted by top business figures, including the World Bank chief, Jim Yong Kim, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Britain’s venture capitalist Richard Branson. Global firms like Ford and Uber have pulled out, as have various media sponsors, such as CNN, the New York Times and Financial Times. Withdrawal from the event was in response to the Khashoggi affair.

A growing bipartisan chorus of US Senators, including Bob Corker, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham and Chris Murphy, have called for the cancellation of American arms sales to Saudi Arabia, as well as for an overhaul of the strategic partnership between the two countries.

Still, Trump has rebuffed calls for punitive response. He has said that American jobs and profits depend on the Saudi weapons market. Some 20 per cent of all US arms sales are estimated to go to the House of Saud.

The New York Times this week headlined: “In Trump’s Saudi Bargain, the Bottom Line Proudly Stands Out”.

The Trump White House will be represented at the investment conference in Saudi Arabia this week – dubbed “Davos in the Desert” by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. He said he was attending in spite of the grave allegations against the Saudi rulers.

Surely the point here is the unseemly indulgence by Western governments of Saudi Arabia and its so-called “reforming” Crown Prince. It is remarkable how much credulity Washington, London, Paris, Ottawa and others are affording the Saudi despots who, most likely, have been caught redhanded in a barbarous murder.

Yet, when it comes to Russia and outlandish, unproven claims that the Kremlin carried out a bizarre poison-assassination plot, all these same Western governments abandon all reason and decorum to pile sanctions on Russia based on lurid, hollow speculation. The blatant hypocrisy demolishes any pretense of integrity or principle.

Here is another connection between the Skripal and Khashoggi affairs. The Saudis no doubt took note of the way Britain’s rulers have shown absolute disregard and contempt for international law in their de facto abduction of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. If the British can get away with that gross violation, then the Saudis probably thought that nobody would care too much if they disappeared Jamal Khashoggi.

Grotesquely, the way things are shaping up in terms of hypocritical lack of action by the Americans, British and others towards the Saudi despots, the latter might just get away with murder. Not so Russia. The Russians are not allowed to get away with even an absurd fantasy.

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US-China trade war heats up as surplus hits record $34 Billion (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 136.

Alex Christoforou

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According to a report by the AFP, China’s trade surplus with the United States ballooned to a record $34.1 billion in September, despite a raft of US tariffs, official data showed Friday, adding fuel to the fire of a worsening trade war.

Relations between the world’s two largest economies have soured sharply this year, with US President Donald Trump vowing on Thursday to inflict economic pain on China if it does not blink.
The two countries imposed new tariffs on a massive amount of each other’s goods mid-September, with the US targeting $200 billion in Chinese imports and Beijing firing back at $60 billion worth of US goods.

“China-US trade friction has caused trouble and pounded our foreign trade development,” customs spokesman Li Kuiwen told reporters Friday.

But China’s trade surplus with the US grew 10 percent in September from a record $31 billion in August, according to China’s customs administration. It was a 22 percent jump from the same month last year.

China’s exports to the US rose to $46.7 billion while imports slumped to $12.6 billion.

China’s overall trade — what it buys and sells with all countries including the US — logged a $31.7 billion surplus, as exports rose faster than imports.

Exports jumped 14.5 percent for September on-year, beating forecasts from analysts polled by Bloomberg News, while imports rose 14.3 percent on-year.

While the data showed China’s trade remained strong for the month, analysts forecast the trade war will start to hurt in coming months.

China’s export jump for the month suggests exporters were shipping goods early to beat the latest tariffs, said ANZ’s China economist Betty Wang, citing the bounce in electrical machinery exports, much of which faced the looming duties.

“We will watch for downside risks to China’s exports” in the fourth quarter, Wang said.

Analysts say a sharp depreciation of the yuan has also helped China weather the tariffs by making its exports cheaper.

“The big picture is the Chinese exports have so far held up well in the face of escalating trade tensions and cooling global growth, most likely thanks to the competitiveness boost provided by a weaker renminbi (yuan),” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics.

“With global growth likely to cool further in the coming quarters and US tariffs set to become more punishing, the recent resilience of exports is unlikely to be sustained,” he said.

According to Bloomberg US President Donald Trump’s new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement isn’t that different from the North American Free Trade Agreement that it replaced. But hidden in the bowels of the new trade deal is a clause, Article 32.10, that could have a far-reaching impact. The new agreement requires member states to get approval from the other members if they initiate trade negotiations with a so-called non-market economy. In practice, “non-market” almost certainly means China. If, for example, Canada begins trade talks with China, it has to show the full text of the proposed agreement to the U.S. and Mexico — and if either the U.S. or Mexico doesn’t like what it sees, it can unilaterally kick Canada out of the USMCA.

Although it seems unlikely that the clause would be invoked, it will almost certainly exert a chilling effect on Canada and Mexico’s trade relations with China. Forced to choose between a gargantuan economy across the Pacific and another one next door, both of the U.S.’s neighbors are almost certain to pick the latter.

This is just another part of Trump’s general trade waragainst China. It’s a good sign that Trump realizes that unilateral U.S. efforts alone won’t be enough to force China to make concessions on issues like currency valuation, intellectual-property protection and industrial subsidies. China’s export markets are much too diverse:

If Trump cuts the U.S. off from trade with China, the likeliest outcome is that China simply steps up its exports to other markets. That would bind the rest of the world more closely to China and weaken the global influence of the U.S. China’s economy would take a small but temporary hit, while the U.S. would see its position as the economic center of the world slip into memory.

Instead, to take on China, Trump needs a gang. And that gang has to be much bigger than just North America. But most countries in Europe and East Asia probably can’t be bullied into choosing between the U.S. and China. — their ties to the U.S. are not as strong as those of Mexico and Canada. Countries such as South Korea, Germany, India and Japan will need carrots as well as sticks if they’re going to join a U.S.-led united trade front against China.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the escalating trade war between the United States and China, and the record trade surplus that positions China with a bit more leverage than Trump anticipated.

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Via Zerohedge Trump Threatens China With More Tariffs, Does Not Seek Economic “Depression”

US equity futures dipped in the red after President Trump threatened to impose a third round of tariffs on China and warned that Chinese meddling in U.S. politics was a “bigger problem” than Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

During the same interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes”, in which Trump threatened to impose sanctions against Saudi Arabia if the Saudis are found to have killed WaPo reported Khashoggi, and which sent Saudi stock plunging, Trump said he “might,” impose a new round of tariffs on China, adding that while he has “great chemistry” with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and noting that Xi “wants to negotiate”, he doesn’t “know that that’s necessarily going to continue.” Asked if American products have become more expensive due to tariffs on China, Trump said that “so far, that hasn’t turned out to be the case.”

“They can retaliate, but they can’t, they don’t have enough ammunition to retaliate,” Trump says, “We do $100 billion with them. They do $531 billion with us.”

Trump was also asked if he wants to push China’s economy into a depression to which the US president said “no” before comparing the country’s stock-market losses since the tariffs first launched to those in 1929, the start of the Great Depression in the U.S.

“I want them to negotiate a fair deal with us. I want them to open their markets like our markets are open,” Trump said in the interview that aired Sunday. So far, the U.S. has imposed three rounds of tariffs on Chinese imports totaling $250 billion, prompting China to retaliate against U.S. products. The president previously has threatened to hit virtually all Chinese imports with duties.

Asked about his relationship with Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin’s alleged efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, Trump quickly turned back to China. “They meddled,” he said of Russia, “but I think China meddled too.”

“I think China meddled also. And I think, frankly, China … is a bigger problem,” Trump said, as interviewer Lesley Stahl interrupted him for “diverting” from a discussion of Russia.

Shortly before an audacious speech by Mike Pence last weekend, in which the US vice president effectively declared a new cold war on Beijing (see “Russell Napier: Mike Pence Announces Cold War II”), Trump made similar accusations during a speech at the United Nations last month, which his aides substantiated by pointing to long-term Chinese influence campaigns and an advertising section in the Des Moines Register warning farmers about the potential effects of Trump’s tariffs.

Meanwhile, in a rare U.S. television appearance, China’s ambassador to the U.S. said Beijing has no choice but to respond to what he described as a trade war started by the U.S.

“We never wanted a trade war, but if somebody started a trade war against us, we have to respond and defend our own interests,” said China’s Ambassador Cui Tiankai.

Cui also dismissed as “groundless” the abovementioned suggestion by Vice President Mike Pence that China has orchestrated an effort to meddle in U.S. domestic affairs. Pence escalated the rhetoric in a speech Oct. 4, saying Beijing has created a “a whole-of-government approach” to sway American public opinion, including spies, tariffs, coercive measures and a propaganda campaign.

Pence’s comments were some of the most critical about China by a high-ranking U.S. official in recent memory. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo got a lecture when he visited Beijing days later, about U.S. actions that were termed “completely out of line.” The tough words followed months of increases tit-for-tat tariffs imposed by Washington and Beijing that have ballooned to cover hundreds of billions of dollars in bilateral trade.

During a recent interview with National Public Radio, Cui said the U.S. has “not sufficiently” dealt in good faith with the Chinese on trade matters, saying “the U.S. position keeps changing all the time so we don’t know exactly what the U.S. would want as priorities.”

Meanwhile, White House economic director Larry Kudlow said on “Fox News Sunday” that President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will “probably meet” at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires in late November. “There’s plans and discussions and agendas” being discussed, he said. So far, talks with China on trade have been “unsatisfactory,” Kudlow said. “We’ve made our asks” on allegations of intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers, he added. “We have to have reciprocity.”

Addressing the upcoming meeting, Cui said he was present at two previous meetings of Xi and Trump, and that top-level communication “played a key role, an irreplaceable role, in guiding the relationship forward.” Despite current tensions the two have a “good working relationship,” he said.

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Massacre in Crimea kills dozens, many in critical condition

According to preliminary information, the incident was caused by a gas explosion at a college facility in Kerch, Crimea.

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“We are clarifying the information at the moment. Preliminary figures are 50 injured and 10 dead. Eight ambulance crews are working at the site and air medical services are involved,” the press-service for the Crimean Ministry of Health stated.

Medics announced that at least 50 people were injured in the explosion in Kerch and 25 have already been taken to local hospital with moderate wounds, according to Sputnik.

Local news outlets reported that earlier in the day, students at the college heard a blast and windows of the building were shattered.

Putin Orders that Assistance Be Provided to Victims of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The president has instructed the Ministry of Health and the rescue services to take emergency measures to assist victims of this explosion, if necessary, to ensure the urgent transportation of seriously wounded patients to leading medical institutions of Russia, whether in Moscow or other cities,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov said.

The president also expressed his condolences to all those affected by the tragic incident.

Manhunt Underway in Kerch as FSB Specialists Investigate Site of Explosion – National Anti-Terrorist Committee

The site of the blast that rocked a city college in Kerch is being examined by FSB bomb disposal experts and law enforcement agencies are searching for clues that might lead to the arrest of the perpetrators, the National Anti Terrorism Committee said in a statement.

“Acting on orders from the head of the NAC’s local headquarters, FSB, Interior Ministry, Russian Guards and Emergency Ministry units have arrived at the site. The territory around the college has been cordoned off and the people inside the building evacuated… Mine-disposal experts are working at the site and law enforcement specialists are investigating,” the statement said.

Terrorist Act Considered as Possible Cause of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The tragic news that comes from Kerch. Explosion. The president was informed … The data on those killed and the number of injured is constantly updated,” Peskov told reporters.

“[The version of a terrorist attack] is being considered,” he said.

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