Canadian lawmaker resigns following claims he secretly advised Chinese diplomat

Han Dong reportedly met with Chinese diplomat and suggested officials delay freeing two Canadians held by China

A Canadian lawmaker has resigned from the governing Liberal party following allegations that he secretly met with a Chinese diplomat and advised Beijing not to release two Canadian captives.

Han Dong announced in the House of Commons late on Wednesday that he would sit as an independent. Global News reported that he met with Han Tao, China’s consul-general in Toronto in February 2021 and suggested officials in Beijing delay freeing Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, two Canadians being held by China at the time. He is also alleged to have suggested releasing the two men would benefit the rival Conservative party.

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Spanish PM to discuss Ukraine with Xi Jinping on visit to China

Pedro Sánchez says he will tell Chinese leader it must be Ukrainians who ‘lay down conditions’ for any peace agreement

Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, will visit China next week to meet President Xi Jinping, where he is expected to stress that it will be up to Ukraine to decide on the foundations of any peace agreement with Russia.

News of Sánchez’s visit emerged on Wednesday evening, as Xi – who is trying to position himself as a mediator in the war between Russia and Ukraine – wrapped up a symbolic, two-day trip to Moscow.

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British MPs call for ‘as much help as possible’ for Taiwan to defend against China

Delegation of British lawmakers met Taiwan’s president during visit to the island this week amid a deteriorating UK-China relationship

A British parliamentary delegation to Taiwan has called for the UK government to give “as much help as possible” to Taiwan to defend itself against China.

The visit by the British-Taiwanese All-Party Parliamentary Group to Taiwan this week included a meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen, and discussions of British defence exports which supply Taiwan’s submarine program.

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US Navy rejects China claim that warship ‘illegally’ entered part of South China Sea

China’s military said guided-missile destroyer USS Milius intruded into China’s territorial waters near the contested Paracel Islands

The United States has denied Chinese claims that a US destroyer was driven out from waters around the contested Paracel Islands after it “illegally” entered the area in the South China Sea.

In a statement on Thursday, the Chinese military said the guided-missile destroyer USS Milius illegally intruded into China’s territorial waters, without the approval of the government, undermining peace and stability in the busy waterway.

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Chinese startup invents long-distance kissing machine

The device, which transmits users’ kiss data collected through motion sensors hidden in silicon lips, makes sounds and warms up slightly when kissed

A Chinese start-up has invented a long-distance kissing machine that transmits users’ kiss data collected through motion sensors hidden in silicon lips, which simultaneously move when replaying kisses received.

MUA – named after the sound people commonly make when blowing a kiss – also captures and replays sound and warms up slightly during kissing, making the experience more authentic, said Beijing-based Siweifushe.

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Xi’s trip to Moscow didn’t impress the west – but his most important audience is at home

The official narrative in China is that the US responds to problems militarily, while China uses dialogue, and there are signs this narrative is catching on

As Xi Jinping returns to Beijing after his first trip to Russia since the start of the war in Ukraine, the contradictory forces that dominate the Chinese leader’s relationship with Moscow are no closer to being resolved. Xi wants to be a strong ally to Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, and a global peacemaker. Both cannot be true.

The red carpet and more – a brass band, Siberian salmon – was rolled out for Xi’s two-day visit to Moscow. Xi and Putin raised a glass to the “deepening of the Russian-Chinese partnership”. As well as shared political and economic interests, the relationship is also characterised to an unusual degree by the personal bond between Xi and Putin. Xi has described the Russian president as his “best friend” and has said that their characters are alike.

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Despite Xi’s trip to Russia, dialogue between China and Ukraine is still possible

Kyiv remains keen not to anger Beijing given its influence over Moscow, and Zelenskiy is open to a meeting

Hours after Xi Jinping wrapped up a state dinner hosted in a lavish 15th-century palace, where he extolled Beijing’s “positive role” in Vladimir Putin’s invasion, Russia sent a swarm of drones to Ukraine that killed seven people in a town south of Kyiv.

Commenting on the attack, the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, wrote: “Every time someone tries to hear the word ‘peace’ in Moscow, another order is given there for such criminal strikes.”

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Beijing’s population falls for first time since 2003 as China battles low birthrate

Chinese capital saw more deaths than births in 2022 as high cost of living and education as well as legacy of one-child policy take their toll

Beijing’s population has declined for the first time in almost two decades, new population figures have revealed.

In 2022 there were more deaths than births in the Chinese capital, home to more than 21 million people, resulting in a natural population growth of minus 0.05 per 1,000 people. It is the first time the population has gone backwards since 2003.

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A tale of two visits: Kishida and Xi tread starkly different paths on Ukraine

One voiced his anger as he saw first firsthand the destruction caused by Russia’s invasion. The other toasted a close friendship with Moscow

On Tuesday, Japan’s prime minister laid a wreath for the dead outside a church in the blasted Ukrainian town of Bucha, while 800km away in Moscow Xi Jinping was treated to an opulent state dinner by Vladimir Putin, underscoring the division in Asia over Russia’s invasion.

The first Japanese leader to visit a country in conflict since the second world war, Kishida toured Bucha, a town that has become synonymous with Russian brutality, and where the mayor has said more than 400 civilians were killed.

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Taiwan says it has ‘contingency plans’ for any moves by China during president Tsai’s trip abroad

Tsai Ing-wen will visit allies Guatemala and Belize next week, and stopover in the US, after Honduras said it would establish ‘official relations’ with China

Taiwan’s defence ministry has contingency plans for any moves by China during Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s visit to the US and Central America, deputy defence minister Po Horng-huei has said ahead of Tsai’s departure next week.

China, which claims democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory, carried out large-scale, live-fire war games around the island last August after a visit to Taipei by then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

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Putin’s two-day charm offensive with Xi underlines who’s boss

Kremlin toasts the Russian-Chinese partnership, which appears warm but far from equal

Standing alongside Xi Jinping in the 15th-century Chamber of Facets, one of the most historic ceremonial venues at the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin raised his glass of white wine.

He proceeded to make a toast to the “health of our great friend Xi and the deepening of the Russian-Chinese partnership”, before ending his speech with the phrase ganbei, Chinese for “empty glass”.

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Putin welcomes China’s controversial proposals for peace in Ukraine

But US warns against ‘any tactical move by Russia to freeze the war on its own terms’

Vladimir Putin has welcomed China’s proposals for peace in Ukraine at a joint press conference with Xi Jinping in Moscow – a plan the west has warned would allow the Kremlin to “freeze” its territorial gains in the country.

Speaking at the Kremlin during a joint news conference after the second day of talks with China’s president, Xi Jinping, Putin said Beijing’s peace plan “correlates to the point of view of the Russian Federation” and said that Ukraine’s western allies so far have shown no interest in it.

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Xi Jinping invites Vladimir Putin to China at Kremlin meeting – video

Xi Jinping has invited Vladimir Putin to visit China this year in a symbolic show of support after the international criminal court issued an arrest warrant for Russia’s president over accusations of unlawfully deporting Ukrainian children.

Putin and Xi held a second day of talks after Putin said he was open to discussing China’s proposals on putting an end to the fighting in Ukraine and the US called on Xi to press him to 'halt the war crimes'.

Xi’s trip to Moscow has been viewed as a major boost for Putin amid international condemnation over his invasion of Ukraine

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Newly released Chinese Covid data points to infected animals in Wuhan

Previously unseen genomic samples suggest animals at Huanan market were potential source

Newly released data from early in the Covid-19 pandemic has offered a crucial insight into the outbreak’s origins, suggesting that Covid-infected animals were present at a market in Wuhan and could have been a “potential source of human infections”.

A pre-print report on Monday by a team of international researchers fleshed out analysis of previously unseen genomic samples collected by Chinese scientists at the Huanan market in Wuhan in the early days of the pandemic.

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‘He is my best friend’: 10 years of strengthening ties between Putin and Xi

The Russian and Chinese leaders have met more than 40 times in recent years, fortifying personal and formal relations

A visit by China’s president, Xi Jinping, to Moscow this week has shone a light on his strengthening relationship with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

The two leaders have met more than 40 times in recent years, growing increasingly familiar, and now refer to each other as “dear friends”. Xi has been described as a great friend by other world leaders before, including Robert Mugabe and Donald Trump, but does not always reciprocate the compliment like he has with Putin.

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