From the US to Africa: how China sees the world as Xi’s third term begins

Geopolitical relations China’s president will have to navigate as country reopens after three years of isolation

As Xi Jinping starts his third term as China’s president, high on his agenda will be strengthening the country’s position on the world stage. After three years of isolation as Beijing tried to impose a harsh zero-Covid policy, China is reopening to the outside world.

But much has changed since China closed its borders in 2020. Its economy has been hobbled, its ally Russia has started a war in Europe and relations with the US are at an all-time low. Here are the geopolitical relationships that Xi will have to navigate as he attempts to assert Beijing’s vision.

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After years of isolation, Xi’s China looks to dominate world stage

President expected to visit Iran and to meet Vladimir Putin soon as he aims to build ties abroad

In Xi Jinping’s closing speech at China’s annual parliamentary meeting on Monday, his message was clear: China is back. Speaking to nearly 3,000 delegates in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Xi, newly anointed as president for a precedent-busting third term, said: “After a century of struggle, our national humiliation has been erased … the Chinese nation’s great revival is on an irreversible path.”

The speech comes as Xi is trying to position himself as a global statesman, leading a China that is ready to dominate the world stage. After three years of isolation caused by the zero-Covid policy, Chinese diplomats and Xi himself are jetting across borders to participate in international summits once again.

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Japanese man granted retrial after 45 years on death row

Iwao Hakamada, 87, was convicted of four murders in 1968 but granted ‘temporary release’ in 2014 after new evidence emerged

A court in Japan has granted a retrial to a man – thought to be the world’s longest-serving death row inmate – who was sentenced to hang for the murders of a family of four almost six decades ago.

The Tokyo high court ruled on Monday that Iwao Hakamada, 87, should be tried again for the crimes in a decision campaigners said was a “step towards justice”.

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‘Elated and proud’: India erupts with joy after historic Oscar wins

Oscars for song Naatu Naatu and documentary short film The Elephant Whisperers triggers wave of pride across India

Indians have been celebrating their historic double win at the Oscars as the moment their country found the global recognition it has craved for years.

The rollicking song Naatu Naatu from the film RRR won best original song – it was also performed live at the ceremony in Los Angeles on Sunday night – and the Elephant Whisperers won best documentary short film.

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New Zealand scraps transport emissions reform to fund welfare increase

Clean car upgrade scheme among measures to be cut but PM Chris Hipkins denies government is abandoning climate ambitions

New Zealand’s government is dumping a range of high-profile reforms and emissions reduction measures as part of its promise to refocus on “bread and butter issues”, using the savings to introduce a billion-dollar boost to welfare payments to relieve cost of living pressures.

Chris Hipkins, the prime minister, announced on Monday that the government would roll out increases for retirees, students, unemployed people, and parents, ranging from $19 to $46.20 a week. The government estimates that 1.4 million New Zealanders will benefit.

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Xi Jinping vows to oppose Taiwan ‘pro-independence’ influences as third term begins

Chinese president lays out priorities, including ‘reunification’ with island that Communist party has never ruled, as National People’s Congress ends

Xi Jinping has stressed the need to oppose “pro-independence” influences in Taiwan, as he closed the National People’s Congress (NPC) after a week in which the rubber-stamp parliament handed China’s president an unprecedented third presidential term, and key roles at the top of the government were reshuffled.

Xi closed the session with a speech to the gathered delegates. On Friday he secured his place as China’s most powerful leader in generations in a carefully choreographed ceremony in Beijing.

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China’s ‘rotten girls’ are escaping into erotic fiction about gay men

Danmei is by some measures the most popular genre of fiction for women in China, and its popularity hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Communist party

“The hand around his waist held him tighter, their bodies pressed closer together, and Xie Lian’s struggling hands were firmly folded and crushed against his own chest; unable to move. His lips were still securely sealed, the kiss deepening, and a stream of gentle, chilled air slowly passed through.”

A god kisses a ghost king, and a love story, movie deal and KFC sponsorship are born. The kiss appears in the book Heaven Official’s Blessing, a danmei or “boys love” story. Danmei is romantic fiction about men or male beings – ghosts, foxes, even a mushroom – falling in love, written almost exclusively by and for straight women and is the most popular genre of fiction in China.

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North Korea fires cruise missiles as US-South Korean military drills begin

Test came as Washington and Seoul prepared to kick-off their largest joint military exercises in five years

Nuclear-armed North Korea test-fired two strategic cruise missiles from a submarine on Sunday, state news agency KCNA reported, just as US-South Korea military drills were due to begin.

“Strategic” is typically used to describe weapons that have a nuclear capability.

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Hot clouds spew into sky as volcano erupts in Indonesia – video

Indonesia's Merapi volcano erupted, spewing hot clouds into the sky, on Saturday. The eruption of the volcano, located in Indonesia's Yogyakarta region, generated a lava flow 1.5km long and a cloud of ash up to seven kilometres across.

Residents in the nearby community have been warned to halt any activities in the danger zones, which range between three to seven kilometres' radius from the crater, an official statement said

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