United States

FILE PHOTO: Flags of Taiwan and U.S. are placed for a meeting between U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce speaks and with Su Chia-chyuan, President of the Legislative Yuan in Taipei
FILE PHOTO: Flags of Taiwan and U.S. are placed for a meeting between U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce speaks and with Su Chia-chyuan, President of the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, Taiwan March 27, 2018. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

May 27, 2019

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Senior national security officials from the United States and Taiwan have met to deepen cooperation, the government in Taipei said, the first such meeting in four decades that came amid tense relations between the United States and China.

Taiwan’s national security chief David Lee met White House national security adviser John Bolton earlier this month, the island’s foreign affairs ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

The official Central News Agency said the meeting was the first since the island and the United States ended formal diplomatic ties in 1979.

China considers Taiwan a renegade province, to be reclaimed by force if necessary, and the meeting is likely to anger Beijing further with Sino-U.S. relations already tense.

The diplomatic temperature has risen in recent weeks amid an escalating trade war, U.S. sanctions and China’s increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea, where the United States also conducts freedom-of-navigation patrols.

The rare meeting will be viewed by Taiwan as a sign of support from the Trump administration. Tensions have also risen between Taipei and Beijing, which considers the democratically ruled island part of “one China”.

The meeting took place during Lee’s May 13-21 visit to the United States, Taiwan’s brief statement said.

“During the trip, together with U.S. government officials, Secretary-General Lee met with representatives from our diplomatic allies, reiterating support and commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region,” the statement said.

Taiwan’s foreign affairs ministry and America’s de facto embassy in Taiwan declined to comment on Monday.

Beijing regularly calls Taiwan the most sensitive and important issue in ties with the United States, which has no formal ties with Taiwan but is the island’s main source of arms.

The Unites States has in recent months increased the frequency of patrols through the strategic Taiwan Strait despite opposition from China.

China has been ramping up military and diplomatic pressure to assert its sovereignty over the island, conducting drills near Taiwan and snatching its few remaining diplomatic allies.

Earlier in May, the U.S. House of Representatives backed legislation supporting Taiwan as members of the U.S. Congress pushed for a sharper approach to relations with Beijing.

The Pentagon says Washington has sold Taipei more than $15 billion in arms since 2010.

(Reporting By Yimou Lee; Editing by Paul Tait)

Source: OANN

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg criticized the Trump administration for sending 1,500 more troops to the Middle East, telling ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” on Sunday that “escalation is the last thing we need” and we have “learned nothing from the last 15 years of armed conflict” in the region.

The South Bend, Indiana mayor also said President Donald Trump’s strategy regarding Iran seems to be “driven as much by domestic politics as it is by national security imperatives.”

Although Buttigieg acknowledged the sending of the additional troops was also based on intelligence and a request from Central Command for increased force protection, he insisted the United States already has “the means to protect our assets in the Middle East” and “our national security policy has to be to avoid escalation in the Persian Gulf.”

He also conceded “there is clearly a pattern of misbehavior and provocation by the Iranians that goes back in different ways across my entire lifetime,” but he emphasized the administration’s strategy appears to be driven by National Security Adviser John Bolton, “one of the architects of the Iraq War, [who] is continuing to try to prosecute a case to lead to higher tensions, escalation, and perhaps conflict with Iran as though we learned nothing from the last 15 years of armed conflict . . . in the Middle East.”

Source: NewsMax Politics

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg criticized the Trump administration for sending 1,500 more troops to the Middle East, telling ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” on Sunday that “escalation is the last thing we need” and we have “learned nothing from the last 15 years of armed conflict” in the region.

The South Bend, Indiana mayor also said President Donald Trump’s strategy regarding Iran seems to be “driven as much by domestic politics as it is by national security imperatives.”

Although Buttigieg acknowledged the sending of the additional troops was also based on intelligence and a request from Central Command for increased force protection, he insisted the United States already has “the means to protect our assets in the Middle East” and “our national security policy has to be to avoid escalation in the Persian Gulf.”

He also conceded “there is clearly a pattern of misbehavior and provocation by the Iranians that goes back in different ways across my entire lifetime,” but he emphasized the administration’s strategy appears to be driven by National Security Adviser John Bolton, “one of the architects of the Iraq War, [who] is continuing to try to prosecute a case to lead to higher tensions, escalation, and perhaps conflict with Iran as though we learned nothing from the last 15 years of armed conflict . . . in the Middle East.”

Source: NewsMax Politics

FILE PHOTO: Australian Prime Minister Morrison speaks to the media as he arrives at the Horizon Church in Sutherland
FILE PHOTO:Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media as he arrives at the Horizon Church in Sutherland in Sydney, Australia, May 19, 2019. AAP Image/Joel Carrett/via REUTERS

May 27, 2019

By Colin Packham

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will visit the Solomon Islands next week, two sources familiar with the plans said on Monday, as Western nations seek to rein in China’s influence on the tiny Pacific island.

With the United States and its allies keen to ensure China does not increase its foothold in the Pacific, protecting diplomatic recognition for self-ruled Taiwan has emerged as a flashpoint in regional ties.

“China is the Solomon Islands’ largest trading partner and this is adding a lot of pressure on lawmakers to switch allegiances,” said Jonathan Pryke, Pacific Islands program director at the think-tank, the Lowy Institute.

The Solomon Islands is one of a handful of Pacific countries to recognize Taiwan, a policy now in question after recent elections. China views as Taiwan as a renegade province with no right to state-to-state ties.

On Friday, a senior U.S. official said Washington would help Pacific countries in the face of China’s attempts to influence them.

Those remarks threaten to inflame tension between the U.S. and China already heated by their trade war, U.S. sanctions and China’s increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea.

Morrison’s first overseas trip since winning re-election this month will also be the first time an Australian prime minister has visited the Solomon Islands since 2008.

SOFT POWER

Australia and China have been vying for influence in sparsely populated Pacific island countries that control vast swathes of resource-rich oceans.

Keen to undercut China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Australia has directed ever larger amounts of its foreign aid to the region.

In 2018, Australia said it would spend $139 million to develop undersea internet cable links to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, amid national security concerns about China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.

That year, Australia became the first country to ban the world’s largest maker of telecom network gear from its nascent broadband network, a step the United States followed this year by effectively banning U.S. firms from doing business with Huawei.

In November, Australia offered Pacific countries up to A$3 billion in grants and cheap loans in build infrastructure, as Morrison declared the region was “our patch”.

Australia has won favor through its spending commitments but its support of its dominant coal industry is a sore point for many in the region.

“There is little doubt that many Pacific islands will have been unhappy with the re-election of Morrison,” said Peter Chen, a political science professor at the University of Sydney. “He will need to find common ground to repair that relationship.”

($1=1.4438 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Australian Prime Minister Morrison speaks to the media as he arrives at the Horizon Church in Sutherland
FILE PHOTO:Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media as he arrives at the Horizon Church in Sutherland in Sydney, Australia, May 19, 2019. AAP Image/Joel Carrett/via REUTERS

May 27, 2019

By Colin Packham

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will visit the Solomon Islands next week, two sources familiar with the plans said on Monday, as Western nations seek to rein in China’s influence on the tiny Pacific island.

With the United States and its allies keen to ensure China does not increase its foothold in the Pacific, protecting diplomatic recognition for self-ruled Taiwan has emerged as a flashpoint in regional ties.

“China is the Solomon Islands’ largest trading partner and this is adding a lot of pressure on lawmakers to switch allegiances,” said Jonathan Pryke, Pacific Islands program director at the think-tank, the Lowy Institute.

The Solomon Islands is one of a handful of Pacific countries to recognize Taiwan, a policy now in question after recent elections. China views as Taiwan as a renegade province with no right to state-to-state ties.

On Friday, a senior U.S. official said Washington would help Pacific countries in the face of China’s attempts to influence them.

Those remarks threaten to inflame tension between the U.S. and China already heated by their trade war, U.S. sanctions and China’s increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea.

Morrison’s first overseas trip since winning re-election this month will also be the first time an Australian prime minister has visited the Solomon Islands since 2008.

SOFT POWER

Australia and China have been vying for influence in sparsely populated Pacific island countries that control vast swathes of resource-rich oceans.

Keen to undercut China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Australia has directed ever larger amounts of its foreign aid to the region.

In 2018, Australia said it would spend $139 million to develop undersea internet cable links to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, amid national security concerns about China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.

That year, Australia became the first country to ban the world’s largest maker of telecom network gear from its nascent broadband network, a step the United States followed this year by effectively banning U.S. firms from doing business with Huawei.

In November, Australia offered Pacific countries up to A$3 billion in grants and cheap loans in build infrastructure, as Morrison declared the region was “our patch”.

Australia has won favor through its spending commitments but its support of its dominant coal industry is a sore point for many in the region.

“There is little doubt that many Pacific islands will have been unhappy with the re-election of Morrison,” said Peter Chen, a political science professor at the University of Sydney. “He will need to find common ground to repair that relationship.”

($1=1.4438 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Australian Prime Minister Morrison speaks to the media as he arrives at the Horizon Church in Sutherland
FILE PHOTO:Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media as he arrives at the Horizon Church in Sutherland in Sydney, Australia, May 19, 2019. AAP Image/Joel Carrett/via REUTERS

May 27, 2019

By Colin Packham

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will visit the Solomon Islands next week, two sources familiar with the plans said on Monday, as Western nations seek to rein in China’s influence on the tiny Pacific island.

With the United States and its allies keen to ensure China does not increase its foothold in the Pacific, protecting diplomatic recognition for self-ruled Taiwan has emerged as a flashpoint in regional ties.

“China is the Solomon Islands’ largest trading partner and this is adding a lot of pressure on lawmakers to switch allegiances,” said Jonathan Pryke, Pacific Islands program director at the think-tank, the Lowy Institute.

The Solomon Islands is one of a handful of Pacific countries to recognize Taiwan, a policy now in question after recent elections. China views as Taiwan as a renegade province with no right to state-to-state ties.

On Friday, a senior U.S. official said Washington would help Pacific countries in the face of China’s attempts to influence them.

Those remarks threaten to inflame tension between the U.S. and China already heated by their trade war, U.S. sanctions and China’s increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea.

Morrison’s first overseas trip since winning re-election this month will also be the first time an Australian prime minister has visited the Solomon Islands since 2008.

SOFT POWER

Australia and China have been vying for influence in sparsely populated Pacific island countries that control vast swathes of resource-rich oceans.

Keen to undercut China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Australia has directed ever larger amounts of its foreign aid to the region.

In 2018, Australia said it would spend $139 million to develop undersea internet cable links to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, amid national security concerns about China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.

That year, Australia became the first country to ban the world’s largest maker of telecom network gear from its nascent broadband network, a step the United States followed this year by effectively banning U.S. firms from doing business with Huawei.

In November, Australia offered Pacific countries up to A$3 billion in grants and cheap loans in build infrastructure, as Morrison declared the region was “our patch”.

Australia has won favor through its spending commitments but its support of its dominant coal industry is a sore point for many in the region.

“There is little doubt that many Pacific islands will have been unhappy with the re-election of Morrison,” said Peter Chen, a political science professor at the University of Sydney. “He will need to find common ground to repair that relationship.”

($1=1.4438 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: United Airlines planes, including a Boeing 737 MAX 9 model, are pictured at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston
FILE PHOTO: United Airlines planes, including a Boeing 737 MAX 9 model, are pictured at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas, U.S., March 18, 2019. REUTERS/Loren Elliott/File Photo

May 27, 2019

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) reputation has taken a hit as a result of the Boeing Co 737 MAX grounding, United Airlines President Scott Kirby said on Monday.

“The brand of the FAA has certainly been impacted by this,” he said at the Skift Forum Asia conference in Singapore.

However, he said the regulatory system in the United States and elsewhere was likely to emerge stronger as a result of the 737 MAX grounding experience.

(Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: U.S. dollar and Euro notes are seen in this picture illustration
FILE PHOTO: U.S. dollar and Euro notes are seen in this November 7, 2016 picture illustration. Picture taken November 7. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

May 27, 2019

By Hideyuki Sano

TOKYO (Reuters) – The euro barely budged in early Monday trade after pro-European Union parties held on to two-thirds of seats in the EU parliament elections, limiting gains in nationalist opponents.

The common currency was little changed at $1.1210 in Asian trade and off a two-year low of $1.11055 touched on Thursday, as the markets studied the outcome of the vote.

While center-right and center-left blocs are losing their shared majority, surges in the Greens and liberals meant parties committed to strengthening the union held on to two-thirds of seats, official projections showed.

The results dented the hopes of anti-immigration, anti-Brussels National Rally led by Marine Le Pen, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini and others who have been opposing attempts to forge closer EU integration.

“The focus is on how each government will react and how the Brexit negotiations will play out after this elections. So far we’ve seen limited market reaction as far-right, populist parties didn’t do as well as some had feared,” said Shin Kadota, senior FX and rates strategist at Barclays.

Trading was seen subdued on Monday due to market holidays in London and New York.

The dollar was little changed against other currencies.

The U.S. currency traded at 109.35 yen, not far from a three-month low of 109.02 touched two weeks ago, hit amid worries about escalating tensions between Washington and Beijing over trade and technology.

The dollar has been also capped against the yen as U.S. President Donald Trump is seen putting pressure on Japan to take measures to reduce its trade surplus with the United States.

Trump, who arrived in Tokyo on Saturday, tweeted on Sunday that much of the trade negotiation with Japan will wait until after the country’s election in July.

The British pound was steady at $1.2725, having regained some ground after Prime Minister Theresa May set out a departure date, bouncing back from a 4-1/2-month low of $1.2605 set on Thursday.

But the prospect of a “no deal” Brexit was fast becoming the central battle of the race among contenders to succeed May, with four of eight leadership hopefuls having said Britain must leave the EU on Oct. 31 even if this means a no-deal Brexit.

(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

Source: OANN

U.S. President Trump meets Japan's Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump stand at attention next to Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan May 27, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

May 27, 2019

By Jeff Mason

TOKYO (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump met new Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako on Monday in the ceremonial highlight of a state visit overshadowed by trade tensions between the two allies.

Trump, a fan of pomp and circumstance, was greeted by the new emperor and his Harvard-educated wife at the imperial palace in Tokyo as part of a formal welcoming ceremony broadcast live on national television.

He became the first foreign dignitary to be received by the monarch since he inherited the throne earlier this month after his father, Akihito, stepped down in the first abdication by a Japanese emperor in two centuries.

Trump has made clear he was pleased to have been given the honor of the first reception with the emperor, who is treating him and first lady Melania Trump to a lavish state dinner later on Monday.

“It’s over 200 years since something like this has happened. So it’s a great honor to be representing the United States,” Trump said at a dinner with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the leaders’ wives on Sunday.

In between visits with the monarch, Trump is slated to hold formal talks with Abe, with whom he played golf, attended a sumo tournament and dined on Sunday.

The two leaders put on a show of friendship meant to demonstrate the strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance but have policy disagreements over trade and North Korea.

Trump has threatened to target Japanese automakers with high tariffs as part of an effort to reduce trade surpluses with other countries that he sees as a sign that the United States has been mistreated.

Tokyo and Washington are working on a bilateral trade agreement but Trump has said he does not expect major progress on it until July, when Abe’s ruling bloc faces an election for parliament’s upper house.

Trump has spearheaded an expensive trade dispute with China. That trade war between the world’s two largest economies has hurt markets worldwide and confounded U.S. allies, including Japan and the European Union.

Such allies share U.S. concerns about Chinese practices but object to Trump’s tactics of threatening tariffs on their products rather than seeking cooperation in standing up to Beijing.

In addition to trade, Abe and Trump are expected to discuss North Korea and Iran. Trump said on Sunday he was not worried about a recent missile launch by North Korea.

That put him at odds with his own national security adviser, John Bolton, who said on Saturday Pyongyang’s recent short-range missile tests violated United Nations Security Council resolutions. Japan shares Bolton’s view.

Also on Monday, Trump will meet families of Japanese citizens abducted by Pyongyang decades ago to help train spies.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Writing by Jeff Mason and Linda Sieg; Editing by Paul Tait)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: An oil well pump jack is seen at an oil field supply yard near Denver
FILE PHOTO: An oil well pump jack is seen at an oil field supply yard near Denver, Colorado, U.S., February 2, 2015. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/File Photo

May 27, 2019

By Henning Gloystein

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices rose on Monday as ongoing supply cuts led by producer club OPEC kept markets relatively tight, but Brent remained below $70 per barrel on concerns over an ongoing trade war between the United States and China.

Front-month Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at $69.10 per barrel at 0021 GMT, up 41 cents, or 0.6 percent, from their last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 10 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $58.73 per barrel.

“The relative strength of the very short end of the curve likely reflects the market pricing in a known variable of lower supplies from OPEC+,” said Edward Bell, commodity analyst at Emirates NBD bank.

A group of producers led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), known as OPEC+, has been withholding supply since the start of the year to tighten the market and prop up prices.

But Monday’s gain could not make up for falls last week, when both crude futures contracts registered their biggest price declines this year amid concerns that the Sino-American trade dispute could accelerate a global economic slowdown.

Money managers cut their net long U.S. crude futures and options positions in the week to May 21, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday.

“Some signs of low confidence are creeping into positioning data,” Bell said.

In oil futures markets, the trade war effect is better seen beyond the spot market.

“The impact from a trade war is a more medium- to long-term issue and Dec. spreads weakened sharply over the last week,” he said.

Beyond financial markets, there are also signs on the ground of a slowdown in oil demand growth.

China’s automobile sales, a key driver of global oil demand growth, will reach around 28.1 million units this year, unchanged from levels seen in 2018, when the country’s auto market contracted for the first time in more than two decades, state news agency Xinhua reported on Sunday.

The outlook for flat car sales may be too optimistic still, as monthly sales have so far declined for 10 consecutive months.

A bright spot for carmakers, although not for the oil industry, is that sales of new energy vehicles are likely to grow by about 27 percent to hit 1.6 million units, from 1.26 units in 2018, the report said.

(Reporting by Henning Gloystein; editing by Richard Pullin)

Source: OANN


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