Katyusha News Reference – Thursday, March 18, 2021

I. The New Federal State of China News

1. The United States and China leveled sharp rebukes of each others’policies in the first high-level, in-person talks of the Biden administration on Thursday, with deeply strained relations of the two global rivals on rare public display during the meeting’s opening session in Alaska.

2. Amid testy public exchanges between the Biden administration and the Chinese Communist Party during the two-day talks in Alaska this week, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Newsmax TV warned the CCP does not have good intentions, Don’t Give in to China’s CCP.

3. The official Chinese Communist media Global Times on Wednesday dismissed the sanctions announced by Secretary of State Antony Blinken against 24 party officials, chiding Blinken’s combination of “strategic aggression” and “pretend nothing happen ” and mocking the very oppression he threatened to punish Hong Kong officials “have already been sanctioned by the Trump administration anyway

4. The Wall Street Journal published a story on Wednesday about the World Health Organization (WHO) “investigation” into the origin of the coronavirus. It shows that the Chinese Communist Party has total control of the WHO’s “investigation” into Wuhan.

5. “Finland´s domestic security agency said Thursday that the cybergroup APT31, which is generally linked to the Chinese government, was likely behind a cyberspying attack on the information systems of the Nordic country´s parliament. The Finnish Security and Intelligence Service, known by the abbreviation Supo, said it had “identified a cyber espionage operation targeted in 2020 against parliament with the aim of intruding into parliament´s IT systems.”

6. UK intelligence agencies are pushing for new curbs on the local authorities’ use of Chinese “smart cities” technology over concerns, Beijing could use it for espionage, surveillance or collection of sensitive data. Key suppliers include Hikvision, Alibaba, and Huawei.

7. Liang Wannian, who headed up the Chinese portion of the joint WHO-China team said the WHO will shelve the theory that the pandemic originated in a Wuhan lab when the United Nations health agency issues a report in the coming weeks.

8. The Chinese government is calling on Washington to drop efforts to expel three state-owned communist  phone companies from the United States. The foreign ministry accused Washington of misusing security complaints to hurt commercial competitors.

9. GOP Sens. Tom Cotton , James Inhofe and Rick Scott  introduced the China Trade Relations Act on Thursday. The bill would revoke China’s permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status with the U.S. Instead, it would push for a return to a pre-2001 system and force Beijing to obtain most favored nation (MFN) status each year, subject to presidential approval.

10. Three companies’ bids to build an undersea cable for Pacific islands, including a Chinese company’s low bid, have been invalidated, the Nikkei has learned. The U.S., Australia and Japan raised security concerns over the project, warning that China could use the infrastructure for spying if the Chinese company were to build it.

11. CCP authorities summoned 11 companies including Alibaba and Tencent for talks regarding the security of voice software on Thursday, as Beijing steps up scrutiny over the internet sector. 

12. The Communist China is expected to hold the first trial on Friday of one of two Canadians arrested in apparent retaliation by Canada for the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.

13. On March 15, Department of Defense officials describes the situation in Indo-Pacific Region, saying that Beijing poses significant challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, including claims that it wants to reunify Taiwan and bring it under its rule, but “Taiwan was never part of China. The U.S. is continuing to focus on China’s military capabilities in addition to increasing cooperation with its allies to achieve a free and open region.

14. Beijing officials ended a three-day “consultation” on election reform in Hong Kong, but refused to accept some fine-tuning suggestions from establishment figures, insisted on cracking down on public opinion and increasing the control of the members  in the legislative council, and set up a selection mechanism for the candidates, which Chinese officials say this will ensure that “patriots rule Hong Kong,” but “it also places higher demands on the ability and standard of the SAR’s governing team.

15. China News Service, March 18 According to the news of the Shaanxi Provincial Health Commission, Xi’an reported a local confirmed case in a closed isolation ward. The confirmed case, Liu, is an examiner in the closed isolation ward of the Eighth Hospital 

16. Laos and a majority Chinese-owned company, Southern Power Grid have signed a 25-year concession agreement that allows the company to build and manage a large part of the country’s power grid, including electricity exports to neighboring country, 

II World News

1. The Senate unanimously confirmed William Burns as the next director of the CIA on Thursday, weeks after the Senate Intelligence Committee advanced his nomination.

2. North Korea cuts diplomatic ties with Malaysia on Friday in protest at a court ruling that handed over one of its citizens accused of money laundering in the US, state media KCNA reported, carrying a statement from the Foreign Ministry.

3. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday called on companies involved in the construction of the Russian-German Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to “immediately abandon work” or potentially face harsh sanctions.  

4. Ukrainian Defense Minister Ehud Taran ended a two-day visit to Japan on March 17. In the face of Russia and the Chinese Communist Party, Ukraine and Japan have begun to work more closely together, particularly in defense security and military science and technology. In addition to mutual support on territorial issues, Japan will take part in important military exercises in Ukraine that are close to actual combat, which will not only help the Japanese military exercise its combat power, but also enable the Japanese army to operate further away from the mainland.

Himalaya Moscow Katyusha(RU)ladin

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