Trump’s Taiwan call rocks the world
A PHONE call can shake the world especially if global politics are involved and in this instance its US-President- elect Donald Trump’s chat with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen which has rubbed China the wrong way.
According to CNN, Trump on Friday talked to the Taiwanese leader about close economic, political and security ties between the two nations after the latter had passed on her congratulations to the new American leader who also congratulated her on becoming Taiwan’s president earlier this year.
China’s top diplomat called the controversial phone call “a shenanigan by the Taiwan side.”
“It won’t at all change the ‘one China’ structure that the international community has agreed upon,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said today when he was asked about the call on the sidelines of a foreign policy seminar.
“I don’t think it will change the ‘one China’ policy that US administrations have adhered to over the years. The ‘one China’ policy is the cornerstone of a healthy China-US relationship. I hope this political foundation won’t be disrupted or damaged.”
Trump on Friday night said Taipei initiated the call.
“The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency. Thank you!” tweeted the President-elect.
He soon followed up by tweeting, “Interesting how the US sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call.”
Above: US President-elect Donald Trump and Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen. Photo: CNN
Mass prayer rally in Jakarta
AS many as 200,000 Muslims gathered for Friday prayers and to protest against Jakarta’s Christian and ethnic Chinese governor at a rally.
According to BBC, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, better known as “Ahok”, is accused of insulting Islam during election campaigning and on Wednesday Indonesian prosecutors confirmed his case could go to trial.
A large protest against the governor on November 4 turned violent, leaving one man dead and dozens of police and demonstrators injured.
In a campaign speech in September, Mr Purnama said Islamic groups who were using a Koranic verse to discourage support for him were deceiving voters. The verse is interpreted by some as prohibiting Muslims from living under the leadership of a non-Muslim.
Islamic groups said he had criticized the Koran and lodged complaints with the police.
Mr Purnama later apologized but denied committing blasphemy, which carries a maximum five year jail sentence. He has promised to continue campaigning for the governorship, a role he inherited when his predecessor Joko Widodo became president in 2014.
Inset: Mr Purnama is seeking a second term as governor of Jakarta. Photo: Reuters via BBC
Fidel Castro’s funeral tomorrow
AMAZINGLY the leaders of both US and Russia will be conspicuously absent from the funeral of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro which is taking place tomorrow at Santiago de Cuba.
According to CNN, ,an unlikely mix of world leaders, royalty, Marxist guerrillas and Hollywood actors are expected to attend memorials as will nearly every Latin American head of state but not the American and Russian leaders.
Castro, who died on Friday November 25, 2016 at the age of 90, undermined his achievements, such as improved access to health and education, with political oppression, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said.
Castro’s younger brother, Raul Castro, who has been President for almost a decade, spoke on Tuesday night but has given few clues yet as to the island nation’s future direction.
He has more than a year until he’s set to step down. But so far during his presidency, major shifts for Cuba haven’t been in the offing.
Inset: Fidel Castro exhales cigar smoke during a March 1985 interview at his presidential palace in Havana, Cuba. Photo: CNN
Full-size replica of Titanic being built in China
IN a landlocked county all of 1,200 kilometers from the sea the construction of a full-size replica of the doomed RMS Titanic got underway this week.
According to CNN, the government of Daying county in China’s Sichuan province is partially funding the US$145 million cost of building this replica to boost tourism.
When completed, the replica ship will measure 269 meters long and 28 meters wide and will feature reproductions of the original Titanic’s features, including a ballroom, theater, swimming pool and rooms, according to Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua.
“After the RMS Titanic sank, nobody saw its complete set of blueprints,” Su Shaojun, one of the financiers of the project, told the newspaper.
“Many blueprint fragments found their way into the hands of collectors or remained missing. We spent many years collecting the blueprints from many parts of the world and managed to obtain most of them.”
However the Sichuan Titanic isn’t the only recent attempt to recreate the sunken ocean liner with Australian tycoon Clive Palmer’s plan to launch a working replica of the ship, the Titanic II, this year being pushed back at least two years and Australia media reported that the company building it has stopped work.
Of course it is the 1997 American epic romance-disaster film Titanic starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet which etched this disaster in our minds although it is a fictionalized account of what actually happened
Below: Construction on a full-size replica of the Titanic began in China this week. Photo: CNN
By Thai Residents reporters