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China lays claim to Galwan Valley, blames India for border clash |NationalTribune.com

China says the Galwan Valley where Chinese and Indian troops were engaged in a deadly clash falls entirely within its territory, as Beijing blamed New Delhi for the June 15 military clash at the border that left 20 Indian soldiers dead. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in a statement on Friday that the Galwan…

China lays claim to Galwan Valley, blames India for border clash |NationalTribune.com

China says the Galwan Valley where Chinese and Indian troops were engaged in a deadly clash falls entirely within its territory, as Beijing blamed New Delhi for the June 15 military clash at the border that left 20 Indian soldiers dead.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in a statement on Friday that the Galwan Valley, which is part of the disputed Ladakh region, is located on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the de facto border between the two Asian rivals.
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Modi denies Chinese incursion into India before deadly clash

India says 20 soldiers killed in border clash with China

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Zhao accused India of violating the agreement the two countries had reached on June 6 regarding the LAC, calling it a “deliberate provocation” on New Delhi’s part.
He said that “the rights and wrongs … are very clear and the responsibility rests entirely with the Indian side”.
In a series of tweets, Zhao said that Indians had since April unilaterally built roads, bridges and other facilities in the region.
The statement contradicts Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar who had earlier said that the fighting erupted after “the Chinese side sought to erect a structure in Galwan valley on our side of the LAC”.

PM has surrendered Indian territory to Chinese aggression. If the land was Chinese:1. Why were our soldiers killed?2. Where were they killed? pic.twitter.com/vZFVqtu3fD
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) June 20, 2020

Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in an eyeball-to-eyeball standoff at several points on their 3,500km (2,200-mile) border, most of which remains undemarcated, since early May.
On June 15, 20 Indian soldiers were killed in physical fights with Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley close to the disputed Aksai Chin plateau claimed by India.
Soldiers brawled with clubs, rocks and their fists in the thin air at 4,270 metres (14,000 feet) above sea level, but no shots were fired, Indian officials have said. The soldiers carry firearms but are not allowed to use them under a previous agreement in the border dispute.

India-china tensions: Calls for boycott of Chinese products

It was the deadliest clash between the nuclear-armed neighbours in decades, although China has not said whether it suffered any casualties.
According to Zhao, the fight was instigated by Indian front-line soldiers, who “violently attacked” Chinese troops who were in the area for negotiation.
“The adventurous acts of the Indian army have seriously undermined the stability of the border areas, threatened the lives of Chinese personnel, violated the agreements reached between the two countries on the border issue and breached the basic norms governing international relations,” China’s embassy in India said in a statement on Saturday.
Also on Friday, Zhao said China was not holding any Indian soldiers in the Himalayan border standoff between the two countries, but has not directly addressed media reports that China released 10 of them late on Thursday.
“My information is that at present there are no Indian personnel detained on the Chinese side,” Zhao said, according to an English version of his daily briefing posted on the ministry’s website.
Indian officials have denied that any soldiers were in Chinese custody.

A satellite image shows Galwan Valley in the disputed Ladakh region [Planet Labs Inc/Reuters]

Commenting on China’s claim to the Galwan Valley, India’s foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said on Saturday “attempts by the Chinese side to now advance exaggerated and untenable” claims over the LAC are “not acceptable”.
“They are not in accordance with China’s own position in the past,” he said in a statement, adding that Indian troops did not cross the LAC and had been patrolling the area “for a long time”. 
Srivastava accused China of hindering India’s “normal, traditional patrolling pattern” in the area, which resulted in a “face-off”.
Army officers and diplomats have held a series of meetings to try to end the impasse, with no breakthrough.
In a conversation with his Indian counterpart earlier this week, Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on India to carry out a thorough investigation into the incident and to “severely punish” those who should be held accountable. Yi also called for a cessation of all provocative actions.
For its part, India initially said the incident was triggered after Chinese soldiers crossed the boundary at three different points, erecting tents and guard posts and ignoring several warnings to leave – thus resulting in shouting matches, stone throwing and fist fights.
However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appeared to downplay the incident, denying there had been any incursion into Indian territory.
“Nobody has intruded into our border, neither is anybody there now, nor have our posts been captured,” Modi said in a televised speech on Friday, after he spent the day meeting representatives of parties from across the political spectrum in a bid to build consensus to tackle the rising tensions with China. 
Nirupama Menon Rao, India’s former foreign secretary, wrote in a post on Twitter that Modi’s statement was moulded by “asymmetry of power with China”.

Analyzing PM’s statement of yesterday: Government has taken realistic view of constraints emanating from asymmetry of power with China. It is also reading the Chinese reaction to J&K reorganization more seriously than before and trying to calm situation along LAC/staunch Galwan
— Nirupama Menon Rao, निरुपमा राउ, بینظیر (@NMenonRao) June 20, 2020

But the main opposition Congress party’s P Chidambaram has raised questions about the tensions, pointing out that if there was no border intrusion, then the 20 Indian soldiers should not have died.
Indian opposition legislators have also raised the issue of whether intelligence failures had allowed China to build up forces in the area.
“Does the government not receive, on a regular basis, satellite pictures of the borders of our country? Did our external intelligence agencies not report any unusual activity along the LAC?” Sonia Gandhi, the Congress party president, asked on Friday. 
Facing heat from the opposition, the Indian government on Saturday said “attempts are being made to give a mischievous interpretation” to Friday’s comments by Modi.
“As regards transgression of LAC (Line of Actual Control), it was clearly stated that the violence in Galwan on 15 June arose because Chinese side was seeking to erect structures just across the LAC and refused to desist from such actions,” the government said in a statement.
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China still spying on U.S. coronavirus vaccine efforts, Wray tells Congress

Chinese hackers are still trying to snoop on American coronavirus vaccine efforts, FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress on Thursday, saying they can actually track the attempts. Mr. Wray said they’ll see a public announcement from a company on its vaccine progress, then within days they’ll see cyber penetration efforts against that company “that ties…

China still spying on U.S. coronavirus vaccine efforts, Wray tells Congress

Chinese hackers are still trying to snoop on American coronavirus vaccine efforts, FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress on Thursday, saying they can actually track the attempts.

Mr. Wray said they’ll see a public announcement from a company on its vaccine progress, then within days they’ll see cyber penetration efforts against that company “that ties back to Chinese actors.”

“They’re trying to essentially jump to the front of the line by stealing information from others,” Mr. Wray said.

He declared China the largest counterterrorism focus of the FBI, and pointed to thousands of open investigations into Chinese attempts to penetrate American institutions.

Mr. Wray first warned in early summer that China was attempting to compromise U.S. coronavirus efforts.

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China attempted to cover up scope of COVID-19, could have largely prevented outbreak: GOP report

China could have prevented two-thirds of its coronavirus cases before the end of February had it followed international health guidelines at the beginning of the outbreak in Wuhan, a new congressional report concluded. The report, released Monday and authored by Republican members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, echoes earlier findings that China made efforts…

China attempted to cover up scope of COVID-19, could have largely prevented outbreak: GOP report

China could have prevented two-thirds of its coronavirus cases before the end of February had it followed international health guidelines at the beginning of the outbreak in Wuhan, a new congressional report concluded.

The report, released Monday and authored by Republican members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, echoes earlier findings that China made efforts to cover up the severity of the initial spread of the virus and that the government harassed and detained journalists, scientists and health care professionals who were voicing concerns about its handling of the outbreak.

“It is beyond doubt that the [Chinese Communist Party] actively engaged in a cover-up designed to obfuscate data, hide relevant public health information, and suppress doctors and journalists who attempted to warn the world,” the report said. “Research shows the CCP could have reduced the number of cases in China by up to 95 percent had it fulfilled its obligations under international law and responded to the outbreak in a manner consistent with best practices.”

The report also said that the Chinese government was “legally obliged” on Dec. 27 to inform the World Health Organization that the outbreak in Wuhan may constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared the coronavirus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on Jan. 30.

The report’s conclusions take aim at the WHO, from which President Trump announced a U.S. withdrawal in May, and said that the United Nations-backed organization was “heavily influenced by the Chinese Communist Party” in its messaging of the outbreak.

“The WHO has been complicit in the spread and normalization of CCP propaganda and disinformation,” the report stated, citing outside experts. “By repeating as truth statements that were misleading, if not lies, the WHO negatively impacted the global response.”

Rep. Michael McCaul, Texas Republican and ranking member of the Democrat-led committee, said in a statement Monday that “it is crystal-clear that had the CCP been transparent, and had the head of the WHO cared more about global health than appeasing the CCP, lives could have been spared and widespread economic devastation could have been mitigated.”

There have been over 31 million reported cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. More than 961,000 people have died from the virus, with 199,525 deaths in the U.S., according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. The global population currently stands at 7.8 billion.

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China slams US ‘bullying’, warns of action over TikTok, WeChat |NationalTribune.com

China has accused the United States of “bullying” and threatened to take “necessary” countermeasures after Washington banned downloads of the Chinese video-sharing app TikTok and effectively blocked the use of the messaging super-app WeChat. “China urges the US to abandon bullying, cease its wrongful actions and earnestly maintain fair and transparent international rules and order,”…

China slams US ‘bullying’, warns of action over TikTok, WeChat |NationalTribune.com

China has accused the United States of “bullying” and threatened to take “necessary” countermeasures after Washington banned downloads of the Chinese video-sharing app TikTok and effectively blocked the use of the messaging super-app WeChat.
“China urges the US to abandon bullying, cease its wrongful actions and earnestly maintain fair and transparent international rules and order,” the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on Saturday.
“If the US insists on going its own way, China will take necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.”
The United States Commerce Department announced the bans on Friday, citing national security grounds although China and the companies have denied US user data is collected for spying
Under Friday’s order, the Tencent-owned WeChat app would lose functionality in the US from Sunday onwards. TikTok users will be banned from installing updates but could keep accessing the service through November 12.
The timeframe gives TikTok’s parent group ByteDance some breathing space to clinch an agreement over the fate of its US operations.
“We disagree with the decision from the Commerce Department, and are disappointed that it stands to block new app downloads from Sunday and ban use of the TikTok app in the US from November 12,” ByteDance said in a statement.
“We will continue to challenge the unjust executive order.”

START HERE | Should TikTok be banned? (10:50)

TikTok says it has 100 million US users and 700 million globally.
‘Very very popular’
Friday’s order follows weeks of deal-making over TikTok, with US President Donald Trump pressuring ByteDance to sell TikTok’s US operations to a domestic company to satisfy Washington’s concerns over TikTok’s data collection and related issues.
California tech giant Oracle recently struck a deal with TikTok along those lines, although details remain foggy.
Trump said on Friday said he was open to a deal, noting that “we have some great options and maybe we can keep a lot of people happy,” suggesting that even Microsoft, which said its TikTok bid had been rejected, might continue to be involved, as well as Oracle and Walmart.
Trump noted that TikTok was “very, very popular,” said “we have to have the total security from China,” and added that “we can do a combination of both”.
The bans are in response to a pair of executive orders issued by Trump on August 6 that gave the Commerce Department 45 days to determine what transactions to block from the apps he deemed pose a national security threat. That deadline expires on Sunday.
The Trump administration has ramped up efforts to purge “untrusted” Chinese apps from US digital networks amid escalating tensions with Beijing on a range of issues from trade and human rights to the battle for tech supremacy.
The American Civil Liberties Union said the Commerce Department’s order “violates the First Amendment rights of people in the United States by restricting their ability to communicate and conduct important transactions on the two social media platforms”.

INSIDE STORY | Why does Trump want to ban Tiktok? (24:11)

The action against WeChat, used by over 1 billion people worldwide, bars the transfer of funds or processing of payments to or from people in the US through it. Users could also start to experience significantly slower service or sporadic outages from Sunday night.
WeChat developer Tencent Holdings’ called the order “unfortunate” but said it “will continue to discuss with the government and other stakeholders in the US ways to achieve a long-term solution”.
WeChat has had an average of 19 million daily active users in the US, analytics firms Apptopia said in early August. It is popular among Chinese students, ex-pats and some Americans who have personal or business relationships in China.
The order does not ban US companies from doing businesses on WeChat outside the US, which will be welcome news to US firms such as Walmart and Starbucks that use WeChat’s embedded ‘mini-app’ programmes to facilitate transactions and engage consumers in China, officials said.
The order will not bar transactions with Tencent’s other businesses, including its online gaming operations, and will not prohibit Apple, Google or others from offering TikTok or WeChat apps anywhere outside the US.
WeChat users have sued to stop the ban, and a federal judge in California on Friday set an emergency hearing for Saturday at 1:30 pm Pacific time.
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