VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: 20th June, 2018

Atmar Leaves for Pakistan With High-Ranking Delegation: Tolo News
June 19, 2018

Mohammad Hanif Atmar, the National Security Adviser (NSA) to President Ashraf Ghani, has reportedly left for Islamabad for talks with Pakistani officials. Government sources have said Atmar is being accompanied by a high-ranking delegation of Afghan officials. No details have as yet been released officially but it is believed that security officials are accompanying Atmar. Another source told TOLOnews that Atmar was only in Pakistan for a few hours and that he could ask Pakistan to help convince the Taliban to agree to a ceasefire extension and to come to the peace talks tables. This trip comes less than a month after his last visit to Pakistan where he met with Pakistani officials, including Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa. Atmar's trip also comes on the heels of a successful three-day ceasefire over Eid, which was observed by both government and the Taliban. However, immediately after Eid, the Taliban resumed their fight and clashes broke out in a number of areas across the country on Monday. Click here to read....

50% Of Quetta Shura Supports Peace Talks, Says Raziq: Tolo News
June 19, 2018

Kandahar police chief Gen. Abdul Raziq said on Tuesday “50 percent” of Quetta Shura – the Taliban’s leadership council – supports the peace process. He said key leaders of the group, that he had spoken to, told him as much in recent months. The Kandahar police chief said government officials have also talked with Taliban leaders in recent months and many of them said they are ready to join the peace process within a framework of a political system. “We have met with Taliban and the Quetta Shura members many times either inside or outside the country,” he said. Raziq said government officials have held talks with Taliban leaders where they were told by group members they were tired of war and wanted to end violence through talks. “They (Taliban) are part of Afghanistan and part of this country. They want to come to peace, not to put down their arms as government has asked them in the past 13 years. They want to join the process with honor,” he added. Click here to read....

PM's China Visit: MoU signed to develop eight different projects: Kathmandu Post
June 20, 2018

Nepal and China signed eight different agreements in the presence of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli in Chinese Capital Beijing on Wednesday. Agreements were signed between the government and private companies of both the countries to develop hydropower projects, cement industries and establishing highland food parks amid a function organised in Embassy of Nepal in Beijing. Different Nepali investors and Chinese investors signed the separate memorandum of understandings (MoUs) on the occasion. On the occasion, CEO of Investment Board (IB), Nepal Maha Prasad Adhikari and Vice President of Huaxin Cement of China Xu Gang signed the project investment agreement between the Investment Board of Government of Nepal and Huaxin Cement Narayani Private Ltd. The Chinese firm has pledged 144 US Dollars of FDI to generate 3,000 metric tonnes of cement per day. Click here to read....

Myanmar resets mid-July for holding Panglong peace conference: Xinhua
June 20, 2018

Myanmar has reset the second week of July for holding the third meeting of the 21st Century Panglong Peace Conference and preparations are underway for the session, the official Global New Light of Myanmar reported Wednesday. Secretary of the Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee U Khin Zaw Oo told a preparatory meeting held in Nay Pyi Taw Tuesday that there remains 19 points to be discussed in the upcoming session, covering political, economic, social and land sectors. On Feb. 13, the New Mon State Party and the Lahu Democratic Union signed the Nationwide Cease fire Accord (NCA) with the government, becoming the first two armed groups joining the NCA in time of the incumbent government, led by the National League for Democracy. The join-in signing of them to the government's NCA has brought the total of such signatories to 10 since the first signing with eight armed groups on Oct. 15, 2015. Click here to read....

'India ensured Maldives' defeat in UN vote': Haveeru
June 20, 2018

India did not only vote against the Maldives but also worked to ensure that the island nation lost the recent elections for the UN Security Council's non-permanent seat, Indian media has reported. The Times of India (TOI) cited diplomatic sources that "India didn't just vote for Indonesia but also worked to ensure that its hostile Indian Ocean neighbour fared poorly in the election". Indonesia beat the Maldives and won the Asia Pacific seat on the UN Security Council for a fourth time by a landslide, during the secret ballot voting on June 8. Indonesia received 144 votes out of 190 countries that participated in the vote, while only 46 nations voted in favour of the Maldives. According to TOI, India had signalled the countries to support Indonesia over the Maldives. The newspaper noted that the Maldivian government had earlier claimed to have support from 60 countries in writing and 30 verbally, and thus the final result fell drastically short of the Maldives' own expectations. Click here to read....

Xi: Implement summit consensus: China Daily
June 20, 2018

Beijing hopes that the outcome of the DPRK-US summit will be fully implemented as it is an important step for the political resolution of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday. Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, made the remark when meeting in Beijing with Kim Jong-un, chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea and chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The two leaders agreed to safeguard, consolidate and develop China-DPRK relations and jointly push forward the sound momentum of peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula. Click here to read....

Beijing vows firm answer to new US tariff threat: People’s Daily
June 20, 2018

China will "fight back firmly" with comprehensive "qualitative" and "quantitative" measures if the United States publishes an additional list of tariffs on more Chinese goods, the Ministry of Commerce said on Tuesday. The US practice of "using maximum pressure and blackmail" goes against the consensus reached by the two nations on multiple occasions and has utterly disappointed the international community, the ministry said in a statement. Click here to read....

Chinese hackers targeting satellite and defense firms, researchers find: South China Morning Post
June 20, 2018

Chinese hackers are waging a wide-ranging cyber espionage campaign against satellite operators, telecommunication companies and defense contractors in the U.S. and Southeast Asia, a cybersecurity company said Tuesday. The firm Symantec said it first noticed the campaign in January, although it has been monitoring the hacking group it dubbed "Thrip" since 2013. This year, Symantec detected "powerful malware" in Asia that it believes the hackers deployed to carry out spying operations and potentially destructive attacks. Click here to read....

China has ‘much more to lose’, says White House economic adviser Peter Navarro: South China Morning Post
June 20, 2018

China has more to lose than the United States in the two nations’ burgeoning trade dispute, but Washington remains open to dialogue with its largest trading partner, a senior White House adviser said on Tuesday. Click here to read....

China’s economy heads toward high-quality development: People’s Daily
June 19, 2018

China has made new achievements on its way to high-quality economic development as indicated by economic data released in May. Since the beginning of 2018, the Chinese economy has maintained stable performance with good momentum for growth. Click here to read....

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