Chinese daily slams approach of US over Khashoggi case

By Fuat Kabakci

BEIJING (AA) – A Chinese daily criticized the U.S for its “double standards” toward the case of a Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who went missing after entering Saudi Consulate in Istanbul earlier this month.

In an editorial with a headline “Khashoggi case tests Washington’s attitude to human rights,” Global Times said U.S. President Donald Trump promised punishment if the Riyadh’s involvement in Khashoggi's death is confirmed but he doesn't support stopping weapon sales to Saudi Arabia.

"The crisis has shown how human rights issues are positioned in the diplomatic arena. Killing a journalist for political reasons touches the bottom line of individual rights and causes wide resonance beyond national borders,” the daily wrote.

"The price it (Saudi Arabia) will pay depends on whether the Trump administration will let it off the hook for the sake of US commercial interests and geopolitical calculations," it is said.

Khashoggi has long been feared killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul after he entered on Oct. 2 and was never seen exiting.

On the same day, 15 Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on two planes and visited the building while Khashoggi was still inside, Turkish police sources said. All of the identified individuals have since left Turkey.

Saudi authorities have yet to give a clear explanation of Khashoggi’s fate, while several countries — particularly Turkey, the U.S. and the U.K. — have expressed their desire that the matter should be elucidated as soon as possible.

The daily compared the approach of the West toward missing Saudi journalist and former Russian agent Sergei Skripal's poisoning in the U.K. in March.

It said the Western countries — led by the Britain — took an immediate action against Russia by expelling Russian diplomats after former Russian agent Sergei Skripal got poisoned in the city of Salisbury in early 2018, but there were very few denunciations from the West against Saudi Arabia upon Khashoggi's disappearance.

"Now Western public opinion is much angrier toward Saudi Arabia. Spontaneous boycotts quickly took place. But in contrast, fewer denunciations come from the Western governments and no country is taking the lead in punishing Saudi Arabia," the newspaper added.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter were admitted to a hospital after being found unconscious on March 4 in the English city of Salisbury. They have both since been discharged.

Police officer Bailey, who was among the first to respond to the incident, also received treatment after being poisoned.

Sergei Skripal was granted refuge in the U.K. following a 2010 spy exchange between the U.S. and Russia. Before the exchange, he had been serving a 13-year prison term for leaking information to British intelligence.

The British government has claimed that in the most debated incident in Salisbury last March, two Russian military intelligence agents who were identified as Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov used a banned nerve agent called novichok targeting former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

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