09/05/2023, 10.43
ASIA TODAY
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US sources: Kim Jong Un to meet Vladimir Putin by the end of the month

Today's headlines: Aung San Suu Kyi has been refused outside doctor; Two giant pandas from Edinburgh Zoo will return to China by the end of the year; The president of Taiwan on official visit to eSwatini; Israel blocks the export of goods from Gaza; The border markets between Tajikistan and Afghanistan reopen; The Ukrainian Orthodox Churches adopt the Gregorian calendar instead of the Julian calendar.

RUSSIA – NORTH KOREA

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin later this month. This was revealed by some American officials, according to which the two heads of state will discuss the possibility of Pyongyang supplying arms to Moscow to fight the war in Ukraine. For Kim Jong Un it would be a rare visit abroad: the last one was held in 2019 also in Russia, in Vladivostok.

MYANMAR

 Reuters sources report that the junta has rejected the request for an external doctor to visit Aung San Suu Kyi, 78, a former leader of Myanmar currently in prison. After the coup d'état by the military junta she was jailed and sentenced to 27 years in prison for fictitious crimes. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who according to the source was unable to eat well and felt dizzy, was seen by a prison doctor.

INDONESIA

In recent days, the former governor of Jakarta, Anies Baswedan, appointed the head of Indonesia's largest Islamic party as his deputy in the race for the 2024 presidential election, a move that commentators say aims to increase his popularity. Polls say the election will be a close contest between Central Java governor Ganjar Pranowo and defense minister Prabowo Subianto, both of whom have received the support of the current president, Joko Widodo.

CHINA

Edinburgh Zoo's giant pandas are due to return to China in December: Tian Tian and Yang Guang have to go back under the terms of their 10-year loan, extended by two years due to the covid-19 pandemic. According to officials at the facility, which pays China £750,000 a year for pandas, the animals have had an "incredible impact" on visitors.

TAIWAN

The president of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, left today for an official visit to eSwatini (called Swaziland until 2018), one of the island's few allies and the last in Africa. Taiwan, which China claims as its territory, now has formal ties with only 13 countries, almost all of which are small and underdeveloped. Taiwan has provided big aid to the absolute monarchy surrounded by South Africa, including antiviral drugs in 2021 to help King Mswati III recover from covid-19.

ISRAEL - PALESTINE

Israeli forces have ordered the suspension of all commercial goods leaving the Gaza Strip. The Israeli army, which controls the border crossings between Israel and the Strip, "detected several kilograms of high-quality explosives hidden inside a load of clothes transported by three trucks" at the Kerem Shalom crossing point ( the only one used to export goods), the Defense Ministry said in a statement yesterday.

UKRAINE

From 1 September, the beginning of the new liturgical year according to the Byzantine rite, the Ukrainian autocephalous Orthodox Church Pzu and the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church Ugkz (not the pro-Moscow one Upz), have officially adopted the Gregorian calendar instead of the Julian one, which coincides with that of the Latin Church, except for the date of Easter.

TAJIKISTAN - AFGHANISTAN

In the Khukumat (province) of Gorno-Badakshan in Tajikistan, the border markets with Afghanistan in the cities of Khorug, Darvazsk, Bandzhsk and Ishkashimsk were reopened in early September, a first sign of possible détente between Dushanbe and Kabul, including the Hostility had remained at an all-time high since the return of the Taliban two years ago.

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