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SEOUL, June 21, 2018  (News Wires) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed measures to bolster “strategic and tactical” cooperation between the two countries in a second meeting on Wednesday, the North’s state media said on Thursday.
The meeting between Kim and Xi came on the North Korean leader’s second and last day of his latest visit to Beijing, where he briefed the Chinese president on his summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore last week.

They exchanged “serious views” on the present and “new” situation, Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

On Tuesday, Kim and Xi were reported by North Korean media to have reached an understanding on the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula after discussing the outcome of the U.S.-North Korea summit.

Kim visited an agricultural institute run by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences before meeting Xi on Wednesday, KCNA said, where he observed vegetables being grown inside.

The North Korean leader also visited a traffic control centre in Beijing before departing for Pyongyang on Wednesday afternoon, KCNA said. The visits to the two locations were also reported by Chinese media.

Kim has pledged to make the economy in North Korea a priority after he announced the achievement of a long-held ambition to develop nuclear weapons. North Korean media has frequently stressed advancements made in its agricultural and industrial sectors in recent months.

The official China Daily newspaper said in an editorial on Thursday ties between the two countries have “radiated new vitality”, and that Kim’s visits to the agricultural and traffic control centres showed the economy was a priority for him.

“Kim’s latest talks with Xi will have reassured him that China stands behind the DPRK as it switches its focus to economic development,” the paper said, using North Korea’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

In Singapore, Kim lauded the “clean, beautiful and advanced” nation and said he had learned much from the prosperous country.

SEOUL, June 20, 2018 (News Wires) - North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping came to an understanding on issues that were discussed at a summit between the two leaders, including denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, the North’s state media said on Wednesday.

Kim and Xi assessed the historic meeting Kim had with US President Donald Trump in Singapore last week and exchanged opinions on ways to resolve the issue of denuclearisation, Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

The North Korean leader also promised during a meeting with Xi in Beijing to cooperate with Chinese officials to secure “true peace” in the process of “opening a new future” on the Korean peninsula, it said.

Kim’s two-day visit to Beijing will end later on Wednesday, according to state media from China and North Korea. It follows his Singapore summit, where Kim and Trump reaffirmed a commitment to work towards complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

Trump surprised officials in South Korea and the United States after that meeting by saying he would end “provocative” joint US-South Korean military exercises.

The United States and South Korea said on Tuesday they had agreed to suspend a joint military exercise scheduled for August, although decisions regarding subsequent drills have not yet been made.

On Wednesday, South Korean foreign minister Kang Kyung-hwa said the decision to suspend the exercise could be reconsidered based on future developments with North Korea.

“I think we’ve made it clear this is a goodwill gesture to strengthen dialogue momentum,” Kang said.

“It’s not irreversible. They could come back if the dialogue loses speed, or if North Korea doesn’t live up to its denuclearisation commitment,” she said.

Kim is on his third visit to China this year. Xi offered high praise to the North Korean leader on Tuesday for the “positive outcome” of last week’s summit with Trump.

KCNA also reported that Xi said relations between China and North Korea had entered a new level of development since Kim’s first visit in March and that the agreements made between the two leaders were being carried out “one-by-one”.

NEW YORK, June 19, 2018 (News Wires) - Global stock markets fell Tuesday after President Donald Trump threatened to put tariffs on another $200 billion in imports from China, and the Chinese government said it would retaliate.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 370 points, or 1.5 per cent. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong lost 2.8 per cent. Major stock indexes in Asia and Europe also took sharp losses.

Trump's new proposal calls for a 10 per cent tariff on $200 billion in goods, and Beijing said it would respond with "comprehensive measures." It doesn't import enough goods from the US to match the scale of Trump's proposal but could adopt other methods.

Last week Trump ordered a 25 per cent tax on $34 billion in Chinese imports and Beijing matched that total. Those tariffs won't take effect until July 6, which leaves more time to negotiate for the world's two largest economies.

The Dow traded as 24,617 as of 10:00 a.m. Eastern time. The S&P 500 index gave up 26 points, or 1 per cent, to 2,746. The Nasdaq composite fell 89 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 7,658.

Industrial and technology companies took some of the worst losses as investors worried that the dispute could grow more intense and drag down global economic growth.

Trump accused Beijing of being unwilling to resolve the dispute over complaints it steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology. China's Commerce Ministry criticized the White House action as blackmail and said Beijing was ready to retaliate.

Aerospace company Boeing dropped 3 per cent to $344.07 and construction and mining equipment maker Caterpillar shed 2.7 per cent to $144.60. Apple fell 1.5 per cent to $185.93 and Facebook gave up 0.9 per cent to $196.55.

Bond prices climbed as investors turned a bit more cautious. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.89 per cent from 2.92 per cent. That sent interest rates lower and banks skidded as well. JPMorgan Chase surrendered 1.2 per cent to $106.84 and Bank of America slid 1.3 per cent to $29.01.

Oil prices turned lower, with US crude down the most. It fell 1.4 per cent to $64.96 a barrel in New York, and Brent crude, the international standard for oil prices, fell 0.5 per cent ot$74.99 a barrel in London. That affected energy companies. Chevron lost 1.2 per cent to $124.44 and Schlumberger dipped 2.3 per cent to $65.52.

Steel companies also took sharp losses. US Steel fell 3.5 per cent to $43.87 and Nucor lost 2.9 per cent to $64.84 while aluminum producer Alcoa declined 3 per cent to $44.40.

Germany's DAX was down 1.4 per cent after a similar loss Monday. The CAC 40 of France fell 1.2 per cent and in London the FTSE 100 lost 0.5 per cent.

The losses were even heavier in Asia, where Tokyo's Nikkei 225 retreated 1.8 per cent and Seoul's Kospi gave up 1.5 per cent. Indexes in Australia and India took smaller losses.

With bond yields falling, some investors bought high-dividend companies like utilities and real estate investment trusts. NextEra Energy rose 0.9 per cent to $161.71 and Welltower gained 0.9 per cent to $57.54.

Smaller US companies with a domestic focus continued to do better than multinationals, and the Russell 2000 index lost 8 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 1,683. The Russell is up almost 10 percent this year while the S&P has risen 3 per cent and the Dow has taken a small loss.

 

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, June 19, 2018 (News Wires) - A Cambodian defense official says China has agreed to provide more than $100 million in military aid to the Southeast Asian nation, a close political ally.

Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Chhum Socheat said on Tuesday that the aid for training, exercise and equipment was agreed upon over the weekend in a meeting between visiting Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe and his Cambodian counterpart Tea Banh. Wei on Monday also met with Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Wei's five-day trip was undertaken to strengthen military ties and attend a China-Cambodia military exhibition. It concludes on Wednesday.

BEIJING, June 19, 2018 (News Wires) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un began a two-day visit to Beijing on Tuesday in what analysts believe is a trip to brief his sole major ally on his unprecedented summit with US President Donald Trump and seek consensus on negotiations with Washington.

The outing comes as China has sought to strengthen its role as a mediator between the US and North Korea, where Beijing claims compelling security and economic interests.

The North's leader, who is believed to have landed in the Chinese capital Tuesday morning, was expected to head to the Great Hall of the People to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, though no official agenda was released.

Dozens of security vans, police cars and armoured vehicles lined streets around Beijing's Diaoyutai State Guesthouse - where Kim had stayed in his previous visit.

A motorcade accompanying a black limousine was seen leaving the compound late Tuesday afternoon as police cleared the way.

The visit comes as the United States, which relies on China to enforce sanctions against Pyongyang, stands on the brink of a potential trade war with Beijing, adding an extra layer of uncertainty and a possible pressure point to be exploited by North Korea's powerful ally.

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported that Kim would be in Beijing through Wednesday.

"We hope this visit will help deepen the China-DPRK relations and strengthen our strategic communication on major issues to promote regional peace and stability," foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular press briefing.

The visit is the North Korean autocrat's third to China since March, when he made his inaugural foreign trip as leader.

Previous trips had been kept secret until Kim returned home. It was not clear why Chinese state media broke with the precedent.

In addition to discussing last week's summit, Kim is expected to ask China for help in easing economic sanctions, in return for his pledge to denuclearise, according to Wang Dong, an international relations expert at Peking University.

"The Chinese and North Korean leaders are carrying out consultations on how to jointly move the Korean nuclear issue forward."

Following the historic US-North Korea summit in Singapore a week ago, China suggested the UN Security Council could consider easing the economic restrictions on its Cold War-era ally.

China may not have been at the table for the historic summit in Singapore but it retains strong influence behind the scenes, Dong said. The visit shows that China is "key" to the talks, Wang said.

"It reflects that China is indispensible to the entire Korean nuclear issue."

BEIJING, June 19, 2018 (News Wires) - China should appropriately cut banks' reserve requirement ratios (RRR) to help ease their burdens, the central bank said in a working paper on Tuesday, fanning expectations of an imminent policy move to support the economy as US trade threats grow.

Fears of a full-blown trade war have added to concerns about the outlook for the world's second-largest economy, following weaker-than-expected growth data for May as a three-year regulatory crackdown starts to weigh on business activity.

The People's Bank of China surprised markets earlier in the day by lending 200 billion yuan ($31 billion) to financial institutions via its medium-term lending facility (MLF), highlighting concerns over liquidity and the potential economic drag on trade.

The injection of funds came just hours after US President Donald Trump escalated the tit-for-tat trade scrap with Beijing by threatening to impose a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods.

China's clampdown on off-balance sheet financing activities have put pressure on banks, and authorities have moved to curb a debt build-up at local governments and companies, the PBOC said in the working paper published on its website.

"China should appropriately reduce its reserve requirements to ease burdens on financial institutions and smooth the interest rate transmission mechanism," it said.

"While financial market risks have been effectively released, banks' capital adequacy and reserves face obvious constraints," it added.

However, as China is still a developing country, it is still necessary to keep the RRR at relatively high levels, it said.

The PBOC in April unexpectedly cut reserve requirement ratios (RRR) for most banks by 100 basis points (bps), in a move that was earlier and more aggressive than expected, highlighting concerns over liquidity conditions and the potential impact of punitive U.S. trade measures.

Many analysts had expected further RRR cuts in coming months as China's economic growth starts to cool under pressure from rising borrowing costs and a regulatory crackdown on riskier lending practices, which have sparked a small but growing number of credit defaults.

Among other recent support measures, authorities have raised lending quotas for state-owned banks, the China Daily reported last week, citing unnamed sources.

Economists at Nomura say there is a good chance of another 100 bps RRR cut this month or next, and also predict the central bank will provide more direct funding to the market via various channels. But they believe the PBOC will "most likely" keep policy rates unchanged.

Last week, the PBOC decided not to follow a rate rise by the US Federal Reserve with even a symbolic increase in short-term rates - a break from its recent practice - signalling that some policy fine-tuning is in the offing, analysts told Reuters.

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