Author: eastturkistan1

Commemorate the 13th Anniversary of the Urumqi Massacre by Erkin Ablimit President of the East Turkistan Government in Exile

"Electricity, Information, and traffic were cut off, with piles of human bodies on the road. All that could be heard was the swish, swish, swish of high-pressure hoses cleaning buildings, streets, and even trees. Every trace of blood and human remains were wiped clean within hours through the night" [by Ruth Ingram, BITTER WINTER, 2009]. "An estimated 1,000 people were killed during the 90 minutes. For the next few days, thousands of armed Han mobs killed thousands of Uyghurs, destroyed their shops, restaurants, and demolished mosques" [ by anonymously named witness].

Commemorate the 13th Anniversary of the Urumqi Massacre-2022

Commemorate the 13th Anniversary of the Urumqi Massacre

 

The Urumqi Massacre is one of the numerous genocidal crimes China’s government has committed since it occupied East Turkestan in 1949. China’s plan is to systematically eliminate Uyghurs and other Turkic people from the East Turkistan land where the people of East Turkistan have lived and flourished from generation to generation.

After Uyghur workers were brutally killed and hundreds injured in a Guangdong toy factory on June 25th, a peaceful protest in Urumqi was held on July 5, 2009 by mostly students from East Turkistan University and the other colleges to push the government to answer to the brutal incident. The Chinese government responded with blood by moving heavily armed forces toward the peaceful protesters and the people around them.

“Electricity, Information, and traffic were cut off, with piles of human bodies on the road. All that could be heard was the swish, swish, swish of high-pressure hoses cleaning buildings, streets, and even trees. Every trace of blood and human remains were wiped clean within hours through the night” [by Ruth Ingram, BITTER WINTER, 2009]. “An estimated 1,000 people were killed during the 90 minutes. For the next few days, thousands of armed Han mobs killed thousands of Uyghurs, destroyed their shops, restaurants, and demolished mosques” [ by anonymously named witness].

Since 2014, China has been openly setting up concentration camps, arbitrarily detaining, brainwashing, organ harvesting, sterilizing, forcibly separating children, gang-raping, and murdering Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other Turkic people.

We, the East Turkistan Government in Exile, strongly demand the UN Security Council, all peace-loving people, and leaders worldwide to wake up. Follow the United States and seven parliaments in recognizing China’s atrocities against Uyghurs in occupied East Turkistan as genocide. We urge you to take decisive action such as deploying the Peacekeeping Force and abolishing trade agreements to end China’s ongoing genocide. We urge all to wake up, reject the evil authoritarian regime, and say “NO” to the tyranny before it’s too late. We urge all to wake up and refuse to sell the dignity, rights, and most importantly, the happiness of generations for China’s trade deals.

Chinese firm bought North Dakota farm near US Air Force drone base: report

A Chinese company’s purchase of farmland in North Dakota just down the road from a US Air Force base that houses sensitive drone technology has lawmakers on Capitol Hill worried about potential espionage by Beijing, according to a report.

Chinese firm bought North Dakota farm near US Air Force drone base: report

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A Chinese company’s purchase of farmland in North Dakota just down the road from a US Air Force base that houses sensitive drone technology has lawmakers on Capitol Hill worried about potential espionage by Beijing, according to a report.

Fufeng Group, a Shandong, China-based company that specializes in flavor enhancers and sugar substitutes, recently purchased 300 acres of farmland near Grand Forks, North Dakota, a rural area that lies about a 90-minute drive from the Canadian border.

Grand Forks is also 40 miles away from Grafton, North Dakota, where a limited liability company believed to be controlled by billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates recently paid $13 million for thousands of acres of potato farmland, causing a stir among locals.

Three North Dakotans sold the land to Fufeng Group for $2.6 million, according to CNBC.

Like the Gates-linked purchase, the sale of local farmland to a Chinese company sparked a visceral reaction, according to one of the sellers, Gary Bridgeford.

That’s because the land is just a 20-minute drive from Grand Forks Air Force Base, which is believed to be the home of some of the country’s most sophisticated military drone technology.

Bridgeford told CNBC that some locals planted signs on his front yard condemning the transaction.

Fufeng Group is a Shandong, China-based company that specializes in flavor enhancers and sugar substitutes.
Fufeng Group is a Shandong, China-based company that specializes in flavor enhancers and sugar substitutes.

“I’ve been threatened,” he said. “I’ve been called every name in the book for selling property.”

Another local business owner, however, said the fears are justified. Craig Spicer, who runs a trucking company adjacent to the new Chinese-owned land, told CNBC: “It makes me feel nervous for my grandkids. It makes me feel nervous for my kids.”

Bridgeford insists that fears the Chinese government would use the area as a staging point for espionage operations are unfounded.

“How would they gain any knowledge of the base?” he asked. “It’s about 12 miles away. It isn’t like its next door.”

Bridgeford added: “People hear the China stuff and there’s concern.”

“But everyone has a phone in their pocket that was probably made in China. Where do you draw the line?”

Grand Forks Air Force Base is said to house some of the nation's most sensitive military drone technology.
Grand Forks Air Force Base is said to house some of the nation’s most sensitive military drone technology.
AP

Fufeng Group said it is planning to use the land to build a $700 million corn milling plant that would create at least 200 jobs as well as residual opportunities for logistics, trucking, and other services.

But US military officials are raising the alarm nonetheless. Senior Air Force officers circulated a memo in April warning that the presence of Fufeng Group in Grand Forks, a town of just 60,000 people, was a national security threat.

“Some of the most sensitive elements of Grand Forks exist with the digital uplinks and downlinks inherent with unmanned air systems and their interaction with space-based assets,” wrote US Air Force Maj. Jeremy Fox.

A Chinese firm with close proximity to such data “would present a costly national security risk causing grave damage to United States’ strategic advantages.”

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) has also expressed opposition to the presence of Fufeng Group, which he views as a front for the Chinese government.

“I think we grossly under appreciate how effective they are at collecting information, collecting data, using it in nefarious ways,” Cramer told CNBC.

Senior US Air Force officers circulated a memo warning of the risks to national security.
Senior US Air Force officers circulated a memo warning of the risks to national security.
AP

“And so I’d just as soon not have the Chinese Communist Party doing business in my back yard.”

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), who chairs the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee, echoed that sentiment.

“The Senate Intelligence Committee has been loudly sounding the alarm about the counterintelligence threat posed by the (People’s Republic of China),” said Warner.

“We should be seriously concerned about Chinese investment in locations close to sensitive sites, such as military bases around the US.”

Liu Pengyu, a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Washington, DC, told The Post: “The Chinese government encourages Chinese enterprises to conduct overseas investment and cooperation on the basis of local laws.”

What do you think? Post a comment.

The spokesperson added: “China always opposes the US generalization of the concept of national security and abuse of state power.”

“We hope that the US will act in accordance with the law and provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for foreign companies, including Chinese companies, to invest and operate in the US,” Liu said.

The Post has reached out to Fufeng Group seeking comment.

Earlier this week, AgDaily reported that lawmakers were pushing a bill through Congress that would bar foreign entities such as China, Iran, Russia, and North Korea from buying up American farmland.

Turkey cuts access to US, German public broadcasters

The two argued that a local licence issued by Turkey's RTUK media regulator would infringe on their independence and allow Ankara to censor their content. Rights advocates said Turkey's decision underscores erosion to freedom of expression in the run up to next year's general election, the toughest of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's two-decade rule.

Turkey cuts access to US, German public broadcasters

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Turkey has cut access to public broadcasters from Germany and the United States, threatening to stoke new diplomatic tensions during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Turkey cut access to the two Western broadcaster hours after a rare meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Joe Biden
© Brendan SMIALOWSKITurkey cut access to the two Western broadcaster hours after a rare meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Joe Biden

An Ankara court banned access to Deutsche Welle and Voice of America on Thursday night, after both failed to apply for local broadcasting licences required by regulations introduced this year.

The two argued that a local licence issued by Turkey’s RTUK media regulator would infringe on their independence and allow Ankara to censor their content.

Rights advocates said Turkey’s decision underscores erosion to freedom of expression in the run up to next year’s general election, the toughest of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s two-decade rule.

It also threatens to spark new tensions in Turkey’s relations with two of its most important Western allies and trading partners.

The broadcasters went dark hours after a NATO summit at which Erdogan won praise from US President Joe Biden for lifting his objections to Sweden and Finland joining the Western defence alliance.

The US State Department criticised the new rules when they first went into force in February, stressing that a “free media is essential to a robust democracy”.

The new media regulation applies to foreign providers of Turkish audio and video content.

On Friday, both news portals were inaccessible in Turkey without the use of VPN technology that hides users’ location.

Both shared intructions on their social media accounts about using VPN to access their content.

Deutsche Welle Director General Peter Limbourg said his agency refused to apply for a Turkish licence because it would harm independent broadcasting.  

“In our extensive correspondence, as well as in personal conversations with the head of the media monitoring agency, we explained why DW cannot apply for such a licence,” Limbourg said in a statement.

“For example, licensed media in Turkey is obliged to delete online content that RTUK considers inappropriate. This is unacceptable for an independent media organisation,” he added.

“DW will take legal action against the now imposed access ban.”

– ‘Criminal cases’ –

Press freedom advocates and the opposition are increasingly concerned about the perceived erosion of media freedoms in Turkey, where most news media are in the hands of government-friendly businessmen or controlled by the state.

Erol Onderoglu of Reporters Without Borders called the access cut a “problematic decision” aimed at helping Erdogan’s ruling party ahead of the election.

Ilhan Tasci, a member of the Turkish media regulator representing the main opposition CHP party, said the decision questions whether Turkey was still an “advanced democracy”.

Turkey, where scores of journalists have been jailed since a failed 2016 coup, is ranked 149th among 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. 

At a press conference Thursday after the NATO summit, Erdogan grew visibly upset at suggestions that he was muzzling the press.

“In my country at the moment, there are no journalists in prison because of their opinions. There are only criminal cases,” Erdogan said.

Erdogan’s ruling AKP party also wants to pass another law that could see people locked up for three years for spreading “disinformation” — a bill protested by journalists’ organisations. 

The government said it will debate the bill in October, giving up a previous attempt to rush it through the parliament. 

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The Uyghurs’ Massacre of July 2009: A Survivor Remembers That Day in Urumqi

Risalat, protected by her British passport, returned to Urumqi the very day innocent Uyghurs were mown down by soldiers in 2009.

The Uyghurs’ Massacre of July 2009: A Survivor Remembers That Day in Urumqi

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Risalat, protected by her British passport, returned to Urumqi the very day innocent Uyghurs were mown down by soldiers in 2009.

 

Risalat accepted to talk to Bitter Winter but still does not feel safe showing her face.
Risalat accepted to talk to Bitter Winter but still does not feel safe showing her face.

by Ruth Ingram

A Woman Remembers

Piles of human bodies waiting to be scooped up from the side of the road is Risalat’s enduring memory of July 5th 2009. But where these corpses had come from, who they were, and why there were so many, bullet-ridden and motionless in pools of blood on the street was a ghoulish mystery that only later she was able to piece together.

In the fading light of that memorable Sunday evening ten years ago, she hardly dared believe her eyes as she peered through a crack in the curtain from her vantage point on the thirteenth floor. As the bulldozers and diggers stood by, about to shovel them up and pile them high into waiting trucks, a single woman stood slowly clutching her baby covered in blood. Risalat still remembers the sound of her pitiful wailing.

Earlier that day, unbeknown to her, parts of Urumqi city had become a battleground. Chinese had been massacred by rampaging Uyghurs armed with knives and bricks, and that no one doubts. But what Risalat was witnessing, it later emerged, could be none other than a summary round up and execution by government forces of hundreds of perceived “troublemakers.” To all appearances this could only be read as chilling payback after the afternoon’s events, to avoid the inconvenience of a mass trial.

What Really Happened

Official figures of 197 dead and 1700 injured following the riots were nothing but airbrushing, according to any Uyghur or Han spoken to on that day or since. Journalists visiting hospitals all over the city, were met with rows of bodies and doctors overwhelmed with the shear numbers of dead and injured.

But Risalat had witnessed something apart from simply the aftermath of the day’s mayhem. She said that what she saw was different. This was quite separate she said, and amounted to several hundred dispatched in cold blood. “Repeated all over the city, who knows how many thousand might have been executed,” she said.

Visitors Not Welcome

Ten years later that ghastly picture has still not left her. Recurring flashbacks still remind her of what she saw. A simple holiday back to see family and friends in Xinjiang, and arriving ironically on that very day, became a nightmare from which she wonders whether she will ever wake up.

Police patrolling the streets in Urumqi
Police patrolling the streets in Urumqi.

Having become a British citizen and received her new passport, she decided to return home for a month to show off the children born to her in exile and to visit her parents. She arrived on a warm blue-skied summer’s day, parked her bags with relatives in downtown Urumqi and prepared for a trail of visitors to welcome her back. And came they did, gifts and food in hand, with embraces, smiles and tales of the years they had been apart. She was feted like a long lost friend. The city was looking particularly beautiful that summer, she remembers. Driving from the airport the flower displays were stunning, and she was looking forward to seeing her family and friends, tasting the unique locally produced home made ice cream, a speciality from her home town, and wandering around the many night markets to reacquaint herself with national delicacies, not easily prepared in her foreign kitchen.

She planned to stay with her sister in a modern high rise apartment right in the heart of a Uyghur neighborhood, not far from the iconic “Rebiya Kadeer” building, named after Beijing’s bête noire, the Uyghur human rights advocate now in exile in America. The area was a bustling mêlé of butchers, bakers and open air bazars, and Risalat was looking forward to wandering around and soaking up an atmosphere that life in the west was beginning to erase from her memory. But barely had friends started to trickle by, than rumors began to circulate of something terribly amiss around the city. Smiles soon turned to fear and the danger of having a “foreigner” in their house, albeit a former Chinese citizen, became apparent, once the scale of the unfolding horror began to emerge. Confirming their worst fears, around 5pm a call came from overseas asking if she was OK. News had already reached the outside world that something was happening. No sooner had the call finished than house phone lines were cut, friends left immediately and she and her three toddlers were put in a side room and ordered not to come out.

An Urumqi swimwear shop posts self defense advice for the shopkeeper. Everyone is forced to remain on high alert.
An Urumqi swimwear shop posts self defense advice for the shopkeeper. Everyone is forced to remain on high alert.

Western forces were later accused of stirring up discontent and anti-government sentiment in Xinjiang and non Chinese passports, even if they belonged to a former citizen, were immediately under suspicion. “When we were children America was always blamed for anything bad that happened in our country,”said Risalat. Police had been told to watch out for foreign infiltrators and journalists. Her arrival on that very day might have been seen as too much of a coincidence and those “harboring” her were in grave danger. Her sister told her to stay away from the window and not on any account to leave the apartment. No one must know she was there.

Painful Memories

Everyone has their own memories of “Qi Wu.” (The acronym for the July 5th riots) It was a defining moment in the history of Urumqi. Because the riots were spread randomly over the city, some people enjoyed their Sunday blissfully unaware of anything untoward. Their day of rest passed without incident. Only the next day did news start to seep through and the extent of the full ghastliness emerge. Others were caught up in the violence, unleashed it seemed because of frustration with government inaction over the assault by Han Chinese factory workers on two of their Uyghur female colleagues. Young people from all over the city converged on the People’s Square, but the peaceful student demonstration to demand action, spilled over when a number of Uyghurs infiltrated the crowd with knives and Molotov cocktails and this seemed to be the fuse which ignited the crowd to violence. The crowd of demonstrators became a mob that ran amok through the city.

Some people spent the afternoon trapped in burning busses, or forced to run for their lives, hiding behind shop fronts whose owners took pity on them. Stories of great bravery emerged as Uyghurs sheltered Han in their homes, and Han gave refuge to Uyghurs in the line of fire. Hundreds of Uyghurs joined the protest shouting, throwing bricks through shop windows, overturning cars and attacking Han Chinese. Mobile phone signals had not yet been turned off and video clips and photos flew around the world, giving those outside a horrifying picture of what was going on.

Later in the evening as they were eating, Risalat heard a loud bang and shooting. Rushing to the window they saw the area swarming with soldiers carrying automatic weapons. From her thirteenth floor vantage point all Risalat remembers is row upon row of her fallen countrymen, victims of random machine fire.

“ I saw hundreds of bodies,“ she said, still barely able to contain her grief ten years on. For three months she couldn’t erase the memory of those corpses. “The images just wouldn’t go away,” she sobbed, reliving the horror ten years later as if it were yesterday. From her small terrified corner of Urumqi she was seeing the dying throes of a day whose tragedy still scars the memories of all those who witnessed the violence.

Post-Traumatic Stress

She says she is forever rehearsing in her mind the events of that day, and trying to make sense of it all. She remembers  thinking back, that she had seen a group of young people that afternoon walking past their apartment block in silence in the direction of the Peoples’ Square. A Uyghur youth was brandishing a Chinese flag, but they had all seemed orderly and peaceful. “Looking back, I realize these young people must have been part of the crowd that gathered that afternoon to protest,” she said. “We thought it a bit strange, but not much else until all the other terrible things started to happen.”

Contrasting images of Xinjiang: children playing on the carousel against a background of the Hotan market “home guards” practicing a drill.
Contrasting images of Xinjiang: children playing on the carousel against a background of the Hotan market “home guards” practicing a drill.

Around 9.30 pm, once the shots appeared to abate, a cousin decided to make a run for it. Ten minutes later she was back, wailing and beating her chest. Parked around the corner were two massive trucks spilling over with dead bodies. “We’re all done for,” she cried. “When will they come for us too?” She asked. More automatic firing ensued. No one could sleep. Around 1.30 am, a haunting “Allahu Akbar!” resonated through loudspeakers on the road below. Mere minutes later they heard more rapid machine gun fire. This had been a trap Risalat later realized, to lure the remaining “troublemakers” onto the streets. This same scenario was repeated half an hour later. More shooting.

Some time later all was quiet. They dared to look through the curtains. Police vehicles and army vehicles were everywhere and all that could be heard was the swish, swish, swish of high pressure hoses cleaning buildings, streets and even trees. “I will remember that sound until my dying day,” she said. “Every trace of blood and human remains were wiped clean. Swish swish swish for hours through the night.”

The next day dawned deathly silent. “People were stunned and everyone was too afraid even to mention that dark night to their neighbors,” she said. Local government officials gave out free bread and vegetables and told people to stay at home and government TV was full of anti-American, “anti-separatist” propaganda and interviews with the “heroes” who had stood up against the splittists.

Only a few days later did anyone dare to ask about the disappeared, many of whom were children or husbands, friends of friends or relatives who had gone missing that night. Most have never come to light even now.

Wang Lequan, The Villain of the Story

Two days later, Wang Lequan, Communist Party Secretary of Xinjiang spoke on TV and castigated Uyghurs. He urged Han Chinese to get even. And they did. Armed with axe handles they too rampaged through Urumqi to mete out their revenge. “But how can a leader do this to his citizens?” asked Risalat. “Yes Some Uyghurs did awful things, but where was the legal process? There should have been lawyers, indictments, court cases and transparency. All we saw was kangaroo justice from our window,” she said.

Risalat’s enduring question ten years on, in the light of more disappearances, mass roundups, internment camps, torture and persecution of her people is “why?” “Why are we going through this again? Why does China want to destroy us?”

Her people are broken, torn apart, oppressed and fearing annihilation. “Is it possible for an entire people group to disappear?” she asked. “This is my deepest fear.”

Kashgar housewives acting as “home guards” parading with clubs, sticks and home made weapons.
Kashgar housewives acting as “home guards” parading with clubs, sticks and home made weapons.

NATO chief says Finland and Sweden being on the cusp of joining alliance shows Putin made a ‘huge mistake’ by invading Ukraine

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in a new interview with CNN said this week marks a "victory" for the alliance with Finland and Sweden on the verge of becoming new members, while accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of underestimating Ukraine and Western unity. 

NATO chief says Finland and Sweden being on the cusp of joining alliance shows Putin made a ‘huge mistake’ by invading Ukraine

insider@insider.com (John Haltiwanger) – Yesterday 4:58 PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends Orthodox Easter mass in Moscow, Russia, on April 24, 2022. Contributor/Getty Images
© Contributor/Getty ImagesRussian President Vladimir Putin attends Orthodox Easter mass in Moscow, Russia, on April 24, 2022. Contributor/Getty Images
    • NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg told CNN that Putin made a “huge mistake” by invading Ukraine.
    • Stoltenberg was pointing to the historic additions of Finland and Sweden to NATO — a consequence of Russia’s invasion.
    • Finland shares an 830-mile border with Russia, making it a particularly significant addition to NATO. 

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in a new interview with CNN said this week marks a “victory” for the alliance with Finland and Sweden on the verge of becoming new members, while accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of underestimating Ukraine and Western unity. 

Putin “wanted less NATO” by invading Ukraine, Stoltenberg told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, but “what he’s getting now is more NATO, and two new NATO members.”

NATO formally invited Sweden and Finland to join the alliance as it held a summit in Madrid this week. The two Nordic countries have been military non-aligned for decades, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine pushed them to pursue NATO membership. Finland shares an 830-mile border with Russia, making it a particularly significant addition to NATO. 

At the NATO conference, the US announced plans to deploy two more ballistic missile defense-capable destroyers to Spain, a permanent US garrison in Poland and two more F-35 stealth fighter squadrons to the UK, among other moves.

Amid these developments, Stoltenberg said Putin made “a big and huge mistake” by ordering Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

  

As Russia gathered tens of thousands of troops on Ukraine’s border in the lead-up to the full-scale invasion in late 2021 and early 2022, the Kremlin made demands for binding security guarantees from the West. Among other things, Moscow called for NATO to permanently bar Ukraine and Georgia from joining the alliance. NATO vehemently rejected this demand, stating that its open-door policy was non-negotiable. 

Indeed, Putin has railed against NATO enlargement for years, and has partly blamed Russia’s unprovoked military offensive in Ukraine on the alliance. But the Russian leader in recent days has sought to downplay the significance of Finland and Sweden joining NATO. 

“If Finland and Sweden wish to, they can join. That’s up to them. They can join whatever they want,” Putin said in a visit to Turkmenistan this week. But the Russian leader also warned the two Scandinavian countries against installing NATO military infrastructure and hosting “military contingents” within their borders. 

Though Stoltenberg sounded bullish about enlarging NATO to include Finland and Sweden, he also underscored that the alliance is still cognizant of the “difficulties” Ukraine continues to face as the war rages on — particularly in the eastern Donbas region. The NATO chief emphasized that the alliance is aware of the need for it to do “even more” to ensure Ukraine “prevails” in the fight against Russia.

South Korea’s Yoon warns at NATO summit of threat to ‘universal values’

President Yoon Suk-yeol became the first South Korean leader to attend a NATO summit, joining national NATO leaders as an observer at a meeting in Spain as Russian forces intensified attacks in Ukraine.

South Korea’s Yoon warns at NATO summit of threat to ‘universal values’

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By Hyonhee Shin – 22h ago
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NATO summit in Madrid
© Reuters/JONATHAN ERNSTNATO summit in Madrid

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s president warned a NATO summit of the threat to universal values at a time of new conflict and competition, a reference to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and China’s engagement with Russia, a South Korean official said.

President Yoon Suk-yeol became the first South Korean leader to attend a NATO summit, joining national NATO leaders as an observer at a meeting in Spain as Russian forces intensified attacks in Ukraine.

“As a new structure of competitions and conflicts is taking shape, there is also a movement that denies the universal values that we have been protecting,” Yoon said in a speech on Wednesday, according to a South Korean official.

Yoon, while he did not identify Russia or China, said the international community was facing complex security threats that a single country could not solve, the official cited Yoon as saying in his speech that was not made public.

“He was referring to the Ukraine war, and as most other participating countries did, he raised concern about Russia’s responsibility for the war and China’s responsibility in the international community,” the official, who declined to be identified, said on Thursday.

South Korea is a staunch U.S. ally and hosts some 28,000 U.S. troops. It has also developed a crucial economic relationship with China, South Korea’s largest trading partner.

Related video: Xi Hong Kong visit ‘victory’ over opposition – analyst (Reuters)
Hong Kong and the so-called foreign forces in Hong Kong that they’ve
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Yoon, like his predecessors, will have to balance those two relationships while at the same time facing a belligerent North Korea developing its arsenal of nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them.

Yoon hopes to build relations with NATO members in the face of an unpredictable international situation and promote international cooperation on North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, South Korean officials said before the summit.

South Korea’s approach to NATO comes as the alliance is looking east towards a region it refers to as the Indo-Pacific, a new focus that Yoon welcomed, the official said.

NATO in its new strategic concept unveiled on Wednesday, for the first time described China as a challenge to NATO’s “interests, security and values”, as an economic and military power that remains “opaque about its strategy, intentions and military build-up”.

Yoon, U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, also attending the NATO summit as an observer, met and agreed that the progress of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes posed serious threats to not only the Korean peninsula but also East Asia and the world.

Chinese state media had warned against South Korea and Japan attending the NATO summit and criticised the alliance’s broadening partnerships in Asia. North Korea said this week that NATO involvement in the Asia-Pacific region would import the conflict raging in Europe.

Australia and New Zealand also attended the summit, making four observers from the region. The South Korean official said the four were “exploring their own Indo-Pacific strategies”.

“At the heart of that, there are concerns and various dilemmas about China,” the official said.

(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Negative Views Of China Remain High In New Pew Survey Of 19 Countries

The survey, conducted between Feb. 13 and June 3, found that a median of 68% of respondents said they have an unfavorable view of China. Americans with a negative view climbed to a record 82% of those surveyed compared with 76% a year ago and 79% in 2020.

Negative Views Of China Remain High In New Pew Survey Of 19 Countries

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Russell Flannery, Forbes Staff – 7h ago
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Negative views of China, the world’s No. 2 economy, remain at or near historic highs in many of 19 countries included a new Pew Research Center survey released today.

The survey, conducted between Feb. 13 and June 3, found that a median of 68% of respondents said they have an unfavorable view of China. Americans with a negative view climbed to a record 82% of those surveyed compared with 76% a year ago and 79% in 2020.

Unfavorable opinions of the country are related to concerns about China’s policies on human rights, the research organization found.

Among the four issues asked about in the survey – China’s policies on human rights, China’s military power, economic competition with China and China’s involvement in domestic politics in each country, more people labeled human rights policies as a very serious problem than other areas, according to Pew. A median of 79% consider these human rights policies a serious problem, and 47% say they are a very serious problem, Pew said.

The emphasis on human rights was notable among Western countries. When asked to choose between promoting human rights in China and strengthening economic ties with China, majorities in the U.S., Canada and nearly all of the European countries surveyed said human rights should be prioritized over economic relations, Pew said.

For its part, China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency said on May 22 that “China has made remarkable achievements in respecting and protecting human rights in various aspects over the past few years,” noting progress in healthcare and poverty relief. “There is no end to human rights protection, as there is always room for improvement.”

In a Forbes interview in May, Beijing’s Ambassador to the United States Qin Gang said Pew’s survey “failed to give people a whole picture of China-U.S. relations, particularly people-to-people relations,” Qin said. “It’s not objective.” (See interview here.)

Despite broadly unfavorable opinions about China, majorities in over half of the countries surveyed still think relations between their country and the China are currently in good shape. A median of 62% surveyed say current relations between their country and China are good, and a median of only 32% say relations are bad.

 

That latter notably included the United States, however; some 70% of Americans say relations with China are bad, Pew said. That was topped by only Australia (83%), Japan (81%) and South Korea (74%).

Many in the 19 countries surveyed think China’s international influence is getting stronger, Pew found. A median of 66% across the 19 countries surveyed say China’s influence in the world has been getting stronger – as opposed to getting weaker or staying about the same – in recent years.

Economic competition with China is seen as less of a serious problem. While a median of 66% say it is at least somewhat serious, while only 30% consider it very serious, Pew said.

U.S.-China business ties are “better than the headlines,” Steve Orlins, president of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, said in a Forbes interview last Friday. (See interview link here.)

Pew surveyed covered 19 countries in North America, Europe, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region. Views of China, its president, its bilateral relations and its policies on human rights are examined in the context of long-term trend data.

For non-U.S. data, the report draws on nationally representative surveys of 20,944 adults from Feb. 14 to June 3, 2022. All surveys were conducted over the phone with adults in Canada, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea. Surveys were conducted face to face in Hungary, Poland and Israel and online in Australia.

In the United States, it surveyed 3,581 U.S. adults from March 21 to 27, 2022. Pew first disclosed the main results of the U.S. survey in May.

See related posts here:

Indonesia’s president to bar Putin from G-20 gathering in Bali, Italian President Draghi says

Italian Premier Mario Draghi says the Indonesian presidency of the Group of 20 nations has ruled out in-person participation by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the November meeting of the group in Bali.

Indonesia’s president to bar Putin from G-20 gathering in Bali, Italian President Draghi says

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© APIndonesia’s president to bar Putin from G-20 gathering in Bali, Italian President Draghi says
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Italian Premier Mario Draghi says the Indonesian presidency of the Group of 20 nations has ruled out in-person participation by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the November meeting of the group in Bali.

 

Related video: Vladimir Putin says that nothing will be ‘as it was’

 


the obvious. Persistently cleaning to the ghosts of the past. In
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The Nov. 15-16 summit risked awkward diplomatic encounters if Putin were to have come. The Kremlin had said earlier that Putin intended to go.

From the archives (April 2022): Russia gets invitation to G-20 gathering in Bali this fall, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine notwithstanding

But Draghi, whose country held the G-20 presidency before handing it off to Indonesia, said Tuesday the G-7 had rallied to support Indonesian President Joko Widodo to organize a successful summit.

Asked about the Kremlin’s announcement that Putin would participate, Draghi said: “President Widodo excludes it. He was categorical: [Putin] is not coming. What might happen — I don’t know what will happen but what might happen is perhaps a remote intervention.”

Turkey lifts its objections to Sweden, Finland joining NATO

Turkey agreed Tuesday to lift its opposition to Sweden and Finland joining NATO, ending an impasse that had clouded a leaders’ summit opening in Madrid amid Europe’s worst security crisis in decades, triggered by the war in Ukraine.

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Turkey lifts its objections to Sweden, Finland joining NATO

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By JILL LAWLESS and JOSEPH WILSON, Associated Press – 13h ago
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MADRID (AP) — Turkey agreed Tuesday to lift its opposition to Sweden and Finland joining NATO, ending an impasse that had clouded a leaders’ summit opening in Madrid amid Europe’s worst security crisis in decades, triggered by the war in Ukraine.

From left to right background: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Finland's President Sauli Niinisto, Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, and Sweden's Foreign Minister Ann Linde sign a memorandum in which Turkey agrees to Finland and Sweden's membership of the defense alliance in Madrid, Spain on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
© Provided by Associated PressFrom left to right background: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto, Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, and Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde sign a memorandum in which Turkey agrees to Finland and Sweden’s membership of the defense alliance in Madrid, Spain on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

After urgent top-level talks with leaders of the three countries, alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that “we now have an agreement that paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join NATO.” He called it “a historic decision.”

Among its many shattering consequences, President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted Sweden and Finland to abandon their long-held nonaligned status and apply to join NATO as protection against an increasingly aggressive and unpredictable Russia — which shares a long border with Finland. Under NATO treaties, an attack on any member would be considered an attack against all and trigger a military response by the entire alliance.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a press conference during a NATO summit in Madrid, Spain on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a NATO summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
© Provided by Associated PressNATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a press conference during a NATO summit in Madrid, Spain on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a NATO summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

NATO operates by consensus, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had threatened to block the Nordic pair, insisting they change their stance on Kurdish rebel groups that Turkey considers terrorists.

U.S. President Joe Biden, center left, speaks with Spain's King Felipe, center, during a group photo alongside other heads of state and dignitaries before a gala dinner at the Royal Palace in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a NATO summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday. (AP Photo/Andrea Comas)
© Provided by Associated PressU.S. President Joe Biden, center left, speaks with Spain’s King Felipe, center, during a group photo alongside other heads of state and dignitaries before a gala dinner at the Royal Palace in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a NATO summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday. (AP Photo/Andrea Comas)

After weeks of diplomacy and hours of talks on Tuesday, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said the three leaders had signed a joint agreement to break the logjam.

Turkey said it had “got what it wanted” including “full cooperation … in the fight against” the rebel groups.

First row, U.S President Joe Biden, left, Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, second right, French President Emmanuel Macron, right, heads of State and Government and Heads of International Organizations, invited to the official NATO Summit, pose for a family picture before a dinner hosted by Spain's King Felipe VI, second left, and Spain's Queen Letizia, third left, at the Royal Palace in Madrid, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a NATO summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday. (Bertrand Guay; Pool via AP)
© Provided by Associated PressFirst row, U.S President Joe Biden, left, Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, second right, French President Emmanuel Macron, right, heads of State and Government and Heads of International Organizations, invited to the official NATO Summit, pose for a family picture before a dinner hosted by Spain’s King Felipe VI, second left, and Spain’s Queen Letizia, third left, at the Royal Palace in Madrid, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a NATO summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday. (Bertrand Guay; Pool via AP)

Stoltenberg said leaders of the 30-nation alliance will issue a formal invitation to the two countries to join on Wednesday. The decision has to be ratified by all individual nations, but he said he was “absolutely confident” Finland and Sweden would become members, something that could happen within months.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, second left, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg before signing a memorandum in which Turkey agrees to Finland and Sweden's membership of the defense alliance in Madrid, Spain on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
© Provided by Associated PressTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, second left, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg before signing a memorandum in which Turkey agrees to Finland and Sweden’s membership of the defense alliance in Madrid, Spain on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said the agreement was “good for Finland and Sweden. And it’s good for NATO.”

She said completing the process of membership should be done “the sooner the better.”

“But there are 30 parliaments that need to approve this and you never know,” Andersson told the Associated Press.

Turkey hailed Tuesday’s agreement as a triumph, saying the Nordic nations had agreed to crack down on groups that Ankara deems national security threats, including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and its Syrian extension. It said they also agreed “not to impose embargo restrictions in the field of defense industry” on Turkey and to take “concrete steps on the extradition of terrorist criminals.”

From left to right background: Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Finland's President Sauli Niinisto, Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, and Sweden's Foreign Minister Ann Linde pose for a picture after signing a memorandum in which Turkey agrees to Finland and Sweden's membership of the defense alliance in Madrid, Spain on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
© Provided by Associated PressFrom left to right background: Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto, Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, and Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde pose for a picture after signing a memorandum in which Turkey agrees to Finland and Sweden’s membership of the defense alliance in Madrid, Spain on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Turkey has demanded that Finland and Sweden extradite wanted individuals and lift arms restrictions imposed after Turkey’s 2019 military incursion into northeast Syria.

Turkey, in turn, agreed “to support at the 2022 Madrid Summit the invitation of Finland and Sweden to become members of NATO.”

Details of exactly what was agreed were unclear. Amineh Kakabaveh, an independent Swedish lawmaker of Kurdish origin whose support the government depends on for a majority in Parliament, said it was “worrisome that Sweden isn’t revealing what promises it has given Erdogan.”

Andersson dismissed suggestions Sweden and Finland had conceded too much.

Asked if the Swedish public will see the agreement as a concession on issues like extraditions of Kurdish militants regarded by Ankara as terrorists, Andersson said “they will see that this is good for the security of Sweden.”

U.S. President Joe Biden congratulated the three nations on taking a “crucial step.”

Amid speculation about a U.S. role in ending the deadlock, a senior administration official said Washington did not offer any concessions to Turkey to coax it to accept a deal. But the official said the U.S. played a crucial role in helping bring the two parties closer together, and Biden spoke with Erdogan Tuesday morning at the behest of Sweden and Finland to help encourage the talks.

The agreement came at the opening of a crucial summit, dominated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, that will set the course of the alliance for the coming years. The summit was kicking off with a leaders’ dinner hosted by Spain’s King Felipe VI at the 18th-century Royal Palace of Madrid.

President Joe Biden and Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez arrive to speak at the Palace of Moncloa in Madrid, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. Biden will also be attending the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in Madrid. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
© Provided by Associated PressPresident Joe Biden and Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez arrive to speak at the Palace of Moncloa in Madrid, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. Biden will also be attending the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in Madrid. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Top of the agenda in meetings Wednesday and Thursday is strengthening defenses against Russia, and supporting Ukraine.

 

Related video: Turkiye blocking entry of Finland, Sweden in NATO

 

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Moscow’s invasion on Feb. 24 shook European security and brought shelling of cities and bloody ground battles back to the continent. NATO, which had begun to turn its focus to terrorism and other non-state threats, has had to confront an adversarial Russia once again.

Biden said NATO was “as united and galvanized as I think we have ever been.”

A Russian missile strike Monday on a shopping mall in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk was a grim reminder of the war’s horrors. Some saw the timing, as Group of Seven leaders met in Germany and just ahead of the NATO gathering, as a message from Moscow.

President Joe Biden and Spain's King Felipe VI meet at the Royal Palace of Madrid in Madrid, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
© Provided by Associated PressPresident Joe Biden and Spain’s King Felipe VI meet at the Royal Palace of Madrid in Madrid, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is due to address NATO leaders by video on Wednesday, called the strike on the mall a “terrorist” act.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, right, talks with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez at the NATO summit venue in Madrid, Spain on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a NATO summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
© Provided by Associated PressNATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, right, talks with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez at the NATO summit venue in Madrid, Spain on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a NATO summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko traveled to Madrid to urge the alliance to provide his country with “whatever it takes” to stop the war.

“Wake up, guys. This is happening now. You are going to be next, this is going to be knocking on your door just in the blink of an eye,” Klitschko told reporters at the summit venue.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, right, and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez give a speech at the NATO summit venue in Madrid, Spain on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a NATO summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
© Provided by Associated PressNATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, right, and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez give a speech at the NATO summit venue in Madrid, Spain on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a NATO summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Stoltenberg said the meeting would chart a blueprint for the alliance “in a more dangerous and unpredictable world” — and that meant “we have to invest more in our defense,” Stoltenberg said. Just nine of NATO’s 30 members meet the organization’s target of spending 2% of gross domestic product on defense. Spain, which is hosting the summit, spends just half that.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, left, and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez visit the NATO summit venue in Madrid, Spain on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a NATO summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
© Provided by Associated PressNATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, left, and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez visit the NATO summit venue in Madrid, Spain on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a NATO summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Stoltenberg said Monday that NATO allies will agree at the summit to increase the strength of the alliance’s rapid reaction force nearly eightfold, from 40,000 to 300,000 troops. The troops will be based in their home nations, but dedicated to specific countries on NATO’s eastern flank, where the alliance plans to build up stocks of equipment and ammunition.

U.S. President Joe Biden walks on the tarmac prior to boarding Air Force One at Munich International Airport in Munich, Germany, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. Biden is departing Germany after having attended the Group of Seven summit and is on his way to Spain to attend a NATO summit. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
© Provided by Associated PressU.S. President Joe Biden walks on the tarmac prior to boarding Air Force One at Munich International Airport in Munich, Germany, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. Biden is departing Germany after having attended the Group of Seven summit and is on his way to Spain to attend a NATO summit. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Beneath the surface, there are tensions within NATO over how the war will end and what, if any, concessions Ukraine should make to end the fighting.

There are also differences on how hard a line to take on China in NATO’s new Strategic Concept — its once-a-decade set of priorities and goals. The last document, published in 2010, didn’t mention China at all.

The new concept is expected to set out NATO’s approach on issues from cybersecurity to climate change — and the growing economic and military reach of China, and the rising importance and power of the Indo-Pacific region. For the first time, the leaders of Japan, Australia, South Korea and New Zealand are attending the summit as guests.

Some European members are wary of the tough U.S. line on Beijing and don’t want China cast as an opponent.

In the Strategic Concept, NATO is set to declare Russia its number one threat.

U.S. First Lady Jill Biden speaks with a young Ukrainian woman during a visit a reception center for Ukrainian refugees in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a NATO summit in Madrid from Tuesday through to Thursday. (Mariscal, Pool photo via AP)
© Provided by Associated PressU.S. First Lady Jill Biden speaks with a young Ukrainian woman during a visit a reception center for Ukrainian refugees in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a NATO summit in Madrid from Tuesday through to Thursday. (Mariscal, Pool photo via AP)

Russia’s state space agency, Roscosmos marked the summit’s opening by releasing satellite images and coordinates of the Madrid conference hall where it is being held, along with those of the White House, the Pentagon and the government headquarters in London, Paris and Berlin.

U.S. first lady Jill Biden, left and Spain's Queen Letizia visit a reception center for Ukrainian refugees in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a NATO summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday. (Oscar del Pozo/Pool Photo via AP)
© Provided by Associated PressU.S. first lady Jill Biden, left and Spain’s Queen Letizia visit a reception center for Ukrainian refugees in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a NATO summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday. (Oscar del Pozo/Pool Photo via AP)

The agency said NATO was set to declare Russia an enemy at the summit, adding that it was publishing precise coordinates “just in case.”

___

The President of France Emmanuel Macron smiles on arrival at the Torreon air base in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday June 28, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a NATO summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday.(Sergio Perez/Pool photo via AP)
© Provided by Associated PressThe President of France Emmanuel Macron smiles on arrival at the Torreon air base in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday June 28, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a NATO summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday.(Sergio Perez/Pool photo via AP)

Associated Press Writers Aritz Parra, Ciaran Giles, Sylvie Corbet and Zeke Miller in Madrid, Karl Ritter in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany and Zeynep Bilginsoy in Istanbul contributed.

___

Follow the AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks down the steps of a plane on arrival at the Torreon air base in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday June 28, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a NATO summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday. (J.J.Guillen, Pool photo via AP)
© Provided by Associated PressBritain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks down the steps of a plane on arrival at the Torreon air base in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday June 28, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a NATO summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday. (J.J.Guillen, Pool photo via AP)
Spain's King Felipe VI listens as President Joe Biden speaks at the Royal Palace of Madrid in Madrid, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
© Provided by Associated PressSpain’s King Felipe VI listens as President Joe Biden speaks at the Royal Palace of Madrid in Madrid, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center, shakes hands with Sweden's Foreign Minister Ann Linde next to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, second left, Finland's President Sauli Niinisto, third right, and Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, right, after signing a memorandum in which Turkey agrees to Finland and Sweden's membership of the defense alliance in Madrid, Spain on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
© Provided by Associated PressTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center, shakes hands with Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde next to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, second left, Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto, third right, and Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, right, after signing a memorandum in which Turkey agrees to Finland and Sweden’s membership of the defense alliance in Madrid, Spain on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Spain's King Felipe VI listens as President Joe Biden speaks at the Royal Palace of Madrid in Madrid, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
© Provided by Associated PressSpain’s King Felipe VI listens as President Joe Biden speaks at the Royal Palace of Madrid in Madrid, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson steps out of a plane on arrival at the Torreon air base in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday June 28, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a NATO summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday. (J.J.Guillen/Pool photo via AP)
© Provided by Associated PressBritain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson steps out of a plane on arrival at the Torreon air base in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday June 28, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a NATO summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday. (J.J.Guillen/Pool photo via AP)

G-7 unveils $600B plan to combat China’s global reach

The world's wealthiest democracies on Sunday announced a $600 billion global infrastructure initiative to counter China’s push to exert political and commercial influence through massive investments across emerging economies.

G-7 unveils $600B plan to combat China’s global reach

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ELMAU, Germany — The world’s wealthiest democracies on Sunday announced a $600 billion global infrastructure initiative to counter China’s push to exert political and commercial influence through massive investments across emerging economies.

President Joe Biden was joined by other G-7 leaders in unveiling the group’s counterstrike at a summit in the German Alps.

Biden declared that “our nation and the world stand at a genuine inflection point in our history,” and added that the choices made in developing countries today would gird them against future shocks from climate change and pandemics and prepare them for the digital age.

The United States will aim to leverage a total of $200 billion for the program over the coming five years through a combination of federal financing and private sector investments. That adds to €300 billion already announced by the EU. Along with contributions from the other members, the overall target is to build a $600 billion scheme.

Biden never used the word “China,” but the rival on the other end of the race for global reach was clear, with the president declaring that when “democracies do all that we can offer,” they would triumph over autocracies.

“We’re offering better options for people around the world,” he said.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the aim was to present a “positive powerful investment impulse to the world to show our partners in the developing world that they have a choice.”

The infrastructure plan was first unveiled a year ago, at last year’s G7 in Britain, but little progress was made and the program has been renamed. In 2021, it was dubbed “Build Back Better World” after Biden’s legislative push, but the implosion of his domestic agenda has led to a new moniker: the “Partnership for Global Infrastructure.” That will also be the umbrella term that captures the EU and U.K.’s own programs.

The plan is meant to compete with China’s “Belt and Road Initiative,” which has tried to strengthen ties with the developing world, especially in Asia and Africa, by offering financing for large-scale projects such as roads, railways and ports. U.S. officials have consistently claimed that the nations that go into business with China end up with punishing debt and are offering the West’s plan as an alternative.

But much of the funding behind the new plan appears aspirational and seems to fall short of its lofty goals. The White House did announce Sunday a few early projects, including U.S. companies taking the lead on a solar power project in Angola, a vaccine manufacturing facility in Senegal, a modular reactor in Romania, and a 1,000-mile submarine telecommunications cable that will connect Singapore to France through Egypt and the Horn of Africa.

The partnership will also provide a structure for the G-7 nations to combine their resources in offering emerging economies cash to turn off their coal plants. The first of these so-called Just Energy Transition Partnerships is being rolled out in South Africa — others are under discussion in India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Senegal. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Sunday that Berlin’s contribution to South Africa would amount to €300 million.

Inflation has delivered a blow to the global infrastructure plan — as well as the bipartisan domestic version Biden signed into law late last year — making the projects more expensive than first planned. Moreover, the newly christened Partnership for Global Infrastructure has also been impacted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Biden’s initial plan had significant climate change goals that, while still present, have taken a backseat to an effort to combat the fuel cost crisis exacerbated by the war. The German G-7 meeting had been intended to reaffirm the leaders’ fight against climate change, but the democracies have been more focused on bringing down the price of oil and gas than immediately reducing their emissions.

Many of the nations are reversing plans to stop burning coal while looking for oil and — to the delight of fossil fuel companies — are looking to spend billions to build terminals for liquified national gas. Both Italy and German have argued within the negotiations leading up to the meeting for the G-7 to back short-term investments in gas.

“Our work on promoting infrastructure globally is also affected by the current geopolitical situation,” said Scholz. “We have therefore discussed how our investment globally in climate-neutral and low carbon energy including gas can help us as a temporary response to Russia’s use of energy as a weapon.”