05/16/2024, 09.55
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Vladimir Putin arrives in China to a warm welcome from Xi Jinping

Today's news: Violent clashes continue in New Caledonia; US imports from Vietnam grow, supported by Chinese exports; Facebook removes and then republishes posts with news of Malaysian PM Anwar Ibrahim's meeting with a Hamas leader; A former Indian army officer the UN official killed in Gaza in an alleged Israeli attack; Thailand exchanges foreign dissidents for Thai political activists abroad. 


Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin, who arrived in China today for a state visit. "China is ready to always be a trusted neighbour, friend and partner of Russia," Xi, who recently returned from a European tour during which he promised not to sell arms to Russia, said in his opening speech. Trade between China and Russia reached a record 0 billion in 2023, more than double the 8 billion reached in 2020, largely driven by Chinese imports of Russian oil and exports of cars, electronics and industrial equipment.


The US, which has increased tariffs against China, has also significantly increased imports from Vietnam, which relies on Chinese inputs for much of its exports. In other words, the export boom from Vietnam has been fuelled by imports from China. The Southeast Asian country last year recorded a surplus with Washington close to 5 billion, 2.5 times higher than in 2018 and now has the fourth highest trade surplus with the United States, after China, Mexico and the European Union.


Protests continue in New Caledonia: so far four people have been killed and armed forces have been deployed in defence of the airports and port. About 200 people have been arrested and 64 gendarmes injured. France, which governs the island, has imposed a state of emergency. The riots broke out over a bill adopted on Tuesday in Paris, which will allow French residents who have lived in New Caledonia for 10 years to vote in provincial elections, reducing the weight of the indigenous Kanak vote, according to locals.


Meta restored the Malaysian media's Facebook posts regarding the 13 May meeting in Qatar between Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, saying they had been removed in error. The Malaysian government, which supports the Palestinian cause, had protested against the removal of the news. Anwar emphasised that despite his good relations with Hamas political leaders, he has no relationship with the military.


The Indian government said it was 'deeply saddened' by the killing of one of its army officers in an alleged Israeli attack in the Gaza Strip. Waibhav Anil Kale, 46, had retired as a colonel in the Indian Army in 2022 and was working as a security coordination officer with the UN Department of Safety and Security in the Rafah area. He was on his way to the hospital when his vehicle was attacked.


According to Human Rights Watch, there has been an increase in repression against foreign activists and dissidents in Thailand over the past 10 years. A recent report by the humanitarian organisation states that the Thai authorities have handed over foreign dissidents in exchange for critics of the Thai government living abroad, mainly with China, Bahrain and other Southeast Asian countries. In most cases, arrests and repatriations took place without due process.


After the march from the border areas to Yerevan, the Armenian opposition movement 'Tavows in the name of the Homeland', led by Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan of the Tavows eparchy, was formed with the support of the leadership of the Apostolic Church to demand an end to negotiations with Azerbaijan and the resignation of PM Pašinyan.


The Kazakh press discusses President Kasym-Žomart Tokaev's resistance to Russian proposals to build a new nuclear power plant in the country, in order to cope with the electricity deficit that is becoming increasingly heavy. According to political scientist Dosym Saltaev, 'Tokaev does not want to be dependent on Moscow, ending up like Lukašenko'.

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