VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: 23rd March, 2018
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PAKISTAN
India asked to review short-sighted approach to CPEC: Dawn
March 23, 2018

Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal has asked India to benefit from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, instead of criticising it. Addressing a press conference on Thursday, he advised New Delhi to review its short-sighted approach towards the project. He said the “CPEC is purely an economic development project that would bring prosperity. India should get benefit from the project rather than pursuing unnecessary criticism”. Mr Iqbal said India’s reaction to the CPEC was not positive and sooner or later it would realise that the project would benefit the entire region. “The CPEC would bring prosperity to the region, including China and Pakistan,” he added. Stressing the need for strengthening cooperation in the region, the minister said the resolution of the issues didn’t lie in tensions and disputes among regional countries. He said India held the key to peace in South Asia and that country could not progress without cooperation. Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN
Jamiat ‘Sidelined’ In Noor-Govt Agreement: Tolo News
March 22, 2018

Sources from the leadership team of Jamiat-e-Islami party have said they were not included in the talks where an agreement was reached between government and the former Balkh governor Atta Mohammad Noor. Jamiat have stated they do not accept the agreement. According to sources, Noor and the Presidential Palace only came to an agreement regarding Noor’s successor, the new police chief, and posts at a few ministries and embassies. Jamiat however had a much longer list of demands, a source said. According to sources, among the party’s demands also involved the issue of a share for political parties in parliamentary elections, the holding of a constitutional Loya Jirga and the roll out of the National Identity Cards based on the law approved by the president. Sources said these demands have not yet been met. Click here to read...

BANGLADESH
Bangladesh celebrates developing nation status: BD News 24

The United Nations handed the official letter to Bangladesh, saying the country has fulfilled the eligibility requirements to graduate from Least Developed Country status and can seek official approval for the advance on March 17. This begins the graduation process for Bangladesh, which could receive official Developing Country status by 2024. Click here to read...

MALDIVES
President Yameen lifts state of emergency: Haveeru
March 22, 2018

President Abdulla Yameen Thursday afternoon lifted the state of Emergency, ending an almost 45-day long state of emergency in the Maldives. The announcement was made by the Legal Affairs Minister at the President’s Office Azima Shukoor and Attorney General Mohamed Anil at a press conference held at the President’s Office. The state of emergency would no longer be in effect from 12pm on Thursday, Azima had declared. The state of emergency was first announced late on February 5, for a period of 15-days, following an unprecedented ruling by the Supreme Court on February 1 which ordered the release of nine high-profile political prisoners and including former President Mohamed Nasheed, axed Vice President Ahmed Adheeb, and also reinstated the 12 lawmakers who were unseated last July for floor-crossing. It was extended by 30 days in an extraordinary parliament sitting when the initial 15-day period expired. Click here to read...

MALDIVES
Doubts are growing about Myanmar's political leadership: Myanmar
March 22, 2018

The sudden resignation of Myanmar President Htin Kyaw is a worrying development for the country's future, according to one politics watcher, especially as a crescendo of criticism engulfs de-facto ruler Aung San Suu Kyi. In a statement on Wednesday, Htin Kyaw's office said the 71 year-old was departing immediately "in order to take rest from the current duties and responsibilities." The outgoing leader is a close confidante of Nobel laureate Suu Kyi, whose ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) party took power in a historic 2015 election. Officially barred from the presidency due to a constitutional clause, Suu Kyi still rules the country though trusted proxies. Htin Kyaw's replacement is widely expected to be fellow NLD loyalist Win Myint, who is currently speaker of the lower house. Click here to read...

CHINA
China plans to impose tariffs on US imports to offset its loss: MOFCOM: People's Daily
23 March, 2018

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) announced Friday morning it will impose tariffs on US imports worth $3 billion in a bid to offset its loss incurred by the US' decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. The products include seven categories and cover 128 types of products, according to a statement on the website of the MOFCOM. The ministry plans to impose 15 percent tariff on 120 types of products, like fruits, nuts, wine and seamless tubes, worth $977 million. A 25 percent tariff will be imposed on products that include pork and recycled aluminum products. A MOFCOM spokesperson was quoted as saying in the statement that the US is citing the excuse of national security by imposing 25 percent and 10 percent tariffs on its steel and aluminum product imports. Click here to read...

President talks with Macron on free trade: China Daily
23 March, 2018

President Xi Jinping has called for joint efforts with France to promote free trade and build open global economies. Xi made the remark during a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday. China would like to enhance strategic coordination with France to maintain and improve the current international order and global governance system, stick to multilateralism and promote economic globalization, Xi said. Click here to read...

China reveals US tariff plans: China Daily
23 March, 2018

China unveiled plans Friday to impose tariffs on up to $3 billion worth of products from the United States to make up for losses caused by US tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum products. The list tentatively contains seven categories and 128 products. Click here to read...

Tillerson’s final warning on Belt and Road financing only proves China’s influence on the rise: South China Morning Post
23 March, 2018

One of Rex Tillerson’s final acts, as he emerged from his long Africa tour only to be tweet-sacked from Washington by his boss, was to warn the world, and his African hosts, about the dangers of being seduced by the siren call of Chinese loans supporting big infrastructure Belt and Road projects. Click here to read...

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