VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: 8th June, 2018
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PAKISTAN

MoU signed with Russia to carry out feasibility of undersea pipeline project: Dawn
June 08, 2018

Pakistan and Russia have finalised a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for conducting a ‘feasibility study’ of the planned undersea gas pipeline. While speaking at the weekly media briefing, Foreign Office (FO) spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal said: “The ministries of energy of Pakistan and the Russian Federation have finalised a MoU for conducting feasibility study for implementation of undersea gas pipeline project.” The undersea gas pipeline project would eventually involve four countries — Pakistan, Iran, Russia and India. The project has been under discussion since last year.“The purpose of the MoU is to assist in providing support for the realisation of the project. Based on the results of the feasibility study, the two sides will take a decision for its future,” the spokesman said.Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN

US reaches out to Bajwa, offers ceasefire to Afghan Taliban: Dawn
June 08, 2018

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo launched a new peace initiative for Afghanistan on Thursday, reaching out to the man Washington believes can help them achieve this objective, Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. Later, he announced that American and Nato troops in Afghanistan will also observe a temporary ceasefire that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has offered to the Taliban. A statement released by State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the top US diplomat telephoned the army chief and discussed with him the “need for political reconciliation in Afghanistan and the importance of targeting all militant and terrorist groups in South Asia without distinction.”Click here to read...

NEPAL

Shanghai meet to go ahead without Nepal: Kathmandu Post
June 08, 2018

The 18th Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization—arguably one of the biggest diplomatic jamborees in the region—will be going ahead in Qingdao, China on Saturday without Nepal, a dialogue partner of the organisation. Besides Chinese President Xi Jinping, other world leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have confirmed their participation in the summit. Nepal had expected invitation to participate in the summit. “There are different segments in the summit and probably this time there is no suitable forum for Nepal as a dialogue partner,” said officials. In 2015, Nepal was granted the status of a dialogue partner of the organisation that has emerged as an influential Eurasian political, economic and military bloc.Click here to read...

BANGLDAESH

BNP seeks India’s help for free and fair polls in Bangladesh: The Hindu
June 08, 2018

India must be seen as a “champion of democracy and human rights” in the region, said senior leaders of Bangladesh’s main Opposition party on a visit to New Delhi. Accusing the Sheikh Hasina government of attempting to build a “one-party rule” in Bangladesh, the leaders of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), which is led by jailed former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, appealed to the Narendra Modi government to support a free and fair process during elections due in December. “It is important for the Bangladeshi people to see their big neighbour play such a constructive role, and not back any one party in the elections,” BNP standing committee member Amir Khosru Chowdhury told The Hindu.Click here to read...

MYANMAR

Asia's new methamphetamine hotspot fueling regional unrest: CNN
June 08, 2018

There is a serious threat growing under the radar in Myanmar -- a threat to its peace process, to the region and to the global community. Far from Rakhine and the Rohingya exodus in the west of the country that has received much international attention, parts of northern Myanmar host a partnership between powerful ethnic militias and major transnational organized crime. Interests have aligned, and they've come together to produce and traffic synthetic drugs on an unprecedented scale. Dozens of methamphetamine seizures in Thailand, China, Cambodia, Lao, Malaysia and Indonesia have been traced back to Shan State and territory controlled by, or under the influence of, the United Wa State Army or militia groups close to them. In 2015, meth seizures in the region around Myanmar surpassed Central and North America for the first time. Nearly 70,000 kilograms (154,000 pounds) of methamphetamine was seized in 2017, and seizures in Indonesia, Malaysia and Myanmar have surpassed the totals of last year only five months into 2018.Click here to read...

CHINA

ZTE reportedly reach new deal with US: People's Daily
June 08, 2018

It's reported the US government has struck a new deal with Chinese telecom giant ZTE, resolving a controversy that had put the Chinese cellphone maker in peril. The deal requires ZTE to pay an additional 1 billion US dollar penalty and put another 400 million in escrow to cover possible future violations. These penalties come on top of the millions it has already paid to the US under a 2017 settlement.Click here to read...

Xinhua Headlines: China, EU uphold multilateral free trade amid headwinds hand in hand: Xinhuanet
June 07, 2018

Forging ahead or losing ground amid headwinds stemming from escalating U.S. trade protectionism? As two major forces in the world, China and the European Union (EU) should jointly safeguard the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, improve global governance, and advocate an open world economy, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said recently in Brussels. In the face of the United States' imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum, China and the EU share the similar stance of safeguarding the multilateral trading system, which underpins the global economic growth.
Click here to read...

Mainland to speed up policy implementation for Taiwan compatriots: top political advisor: China Daily
June 07, 2018

Wang Yang, top political advisor and senior Party official, has urged the expediting of the implementation of preferential policies for Taiwan compatriots to further communication and cooperation across the Straits. Wang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, made the remarks during his visit to the 10th Straits Forum in Xiamen in East China's Fujian province.Click here to read...

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