Turkey, China have forged strategic partnership: Envoy

By Mehmet Calik

AYDIN, Turkey (AA) – Turkey and China have established a strategic partnership with the help of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s leadership, China's ambassador to Turkey said on Friday.

During his visit to the Aegean Aydin province, Yu Hongyang was welcomed by Governor Yavuz Selim Kosger.

“Relations between Turkey and China date back to old times, even to the Silk Road era," said Yu.

"Especially when I saw the Chinese porcelain at Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, I remembered that history and old times again.”

“Turkey and China have established a strategic partnership with the help of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s leadership. In the last three years our presidents met five times. At these meetings, important roadmaps were drawn for the development of relations of the two countries,” he added.

Governor Kosger thanked the ambassador for his visit, briefed him about the city’s culture and history, and invited Chinese businessmen to Aydin.

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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.

Serbia: 16+1 Summit focuses on linking W. Balkan states

By Talha Ozturk

BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) – The summit of transport ministers of China and 16 countries of Central and Eastern Europe began in Serbia's capital Belgrade on Tuesday.

The summit is part of China's 16+1 multilateral platform initiative facilitating cooperation between China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC).

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, who officially opened the summit, said the reason of the gathering is to find new ways of cooperation.

"Connecting the region today is of crucial importance for progress," he said, and pointed out that when it comes to ex-Yugoslavia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Romania has no highway that can connect them.

Vucic said these countries are the main trading partners and must be connected.

"The essence is to connect, to exchange goods, services and to reduce the operational costs. That's why we invest a lot of money in the development of infrastructure, river ports and roads. We are ready to listen to the advices of our Chinese friends, and to extend full cooperation to the 'One belt, One Road' project," said Vucic.

Zorana Mihajlovic, Serbia's minister of civil engineering, transport and infrastructure, said his country could become the leader in Europe with respect to implementation of infrastructure projects, thanks to the mechanism of cooperation between China and the CEEC.

Pointing out Belgrade-Budapest railway line and the road route to Montenegro, Li Xiaopeng, China's transport minister, said significant progress has been made in cooperation between China and the CEEC.

Li called on the countries to continue to invest in joint efforts to deepen cooperation.

Aleksandar Antic, Serbian minister of mining and energy, said this format is getting stronger every year and bringing more options to the region in cooperation with China to benefit the entire region.

Deputy Mayor of Beijing Wang Hong pointed out that the countries of central and eastern Europe and China have a traditional friendship. He said concrete plans are being made in order to improve the cooperation and the living standard of people.

The 16+1 was established in 2012 as a multilateral platform facilitating cooperation between China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC) — including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia.

Meanwhile, third forum of mayors of major cities of the participating countries is also held in Belgrade.

EU's trade balance records over $15B deficit in Jan-Aug

By Muhammed Ali Gurtas

ANKARA (AA) – Foreign trade balance of the European Union saw a deficit of €13 billion ($15.6 billion) in January-August this year, according to the EU's statistical office on Tuesday.

In the eight-month period, the 28-member bloc's exports of goods rose by 4.2 percent year-on-year to reach nearly €1.286 trillion ($1.544 trillion), while imports from the rest of the world totaled some €1.299 trillion ($1.560 trillion) with an annual hike of 5.3 percent.

Eurostat noted that intra-EU28 trade were €2.32 trillion in the same period, up 5.7 percent on a yearly basis.

This January to August, one euro was exchanged for $1.20 on average, while the average EUR/USD exchange rate was 1.10 over the same period last year.

Official figures showed that more than 20 percent of the EU's eight-month exports went to the U.S., amounting €265 billion ($318 billion) and making the country top export market for the bloc.

Following the U.S., the EU’s other main export destinations were China, Switzerland, Russia, and Turkey in the same period.

With some €252 billion ($302 billion) or 19.4 percent of total imports, China was the top source for the EU, followed by the U.S., Russia, Switzerland, and Norway.

On the country-to-country trade balance side, the bloc saw the largest deficit with China — around €116 billion ($139 billion) –, and the highest surplus with the U.S. some €90 billion ($108 billion) in the first eight months of 2018.

Chinese loans may trap Africa into debt – experts

By Hassan Isilow

JOHANNESBURG (AA) – Some leading African analysts have said China may be trapping African countries into debt by offering them heavy loans they may not be able to repay.

“In the end, China will ask defaulting countries for other forms of re-payment such as harbors and land,” Northwest University Professor Andre Duvenhage told Anadolu Agency in an interview.

He said he believes that in the long run, China might start influencing political and economic decisions of certain African countries.

However, China denies that its loans to the continent have political strings attached.

“China does not interfere in Africa’s internal affairs and does not impose its own will on Africa,” President Xi Jinping told leaders at the two-day Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) last month.

During the meeting, Xi offered Africa $60 billion in new development financing, in addition to another $60 billion Beijing had offered the continent in 2015.

“China is not coming to Africa to develop it. Africa has been weak in thinking that other countries are coming here to benefit them,” University of South Africa’s professor Shadrack Gutto told Anadolu Agency.

He said he believes China has its own strategy when it comes to dealing with Africa, so the continent should be careful when signing deals.

“We have to work on our own interests to see how we benefit,” he said in an interview on Friday.

This week, Sierra Leone cancelled a $400 million Chinese-funded project to build an airport in the West African country.

Local media quoted the country’s aviation minister Kabineh Kallon as saying that the current President Julius Maada Bio did not see the need for a new airport.

The loan agreement with China had been reached by former President Ernest Bai Koroma before losing elections earlier this year.

“I see Sierra Leone setting a precedent for other Africa countries to follow and open their eyes,” professor Duvenhage told Anadolu Agency.

According to media reports, China has become the largest bilateral financier of infrastructure development projects on the continent.

US charges alleged Chinese spy with trade secrets theft

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – The U.S. has taken an alleged Chinese spy into custody on charges of economic espionage, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.

Yanjun Xu, also known as Qu Hui and Zhang Hui, was extradited to the U.S. on Tuesday, the department said further alleging that he is a deputy division director within China's Ministry of State Security working specifically for the ministry's Jiangsu State Security Department, Sixth Bureau.

Xu has been charged with one count each of conspiracy to commit economic espionage, conspiracy to steal trade secrets, attempted economic espionage and attempted theft of trade secrets. All charges are related to the alleged theft of trade secrets from U.S. aviation and aerospace companies, including GE Aviation, a subsidiary of General Electric.

Xu's arrest appears to be the first time a Chinese operative has been brought to the U.S. to face charges. The U.S. has in the past charged Chinese officials with alleged crimes, but not while they have been in U.S. jurisdiction.

“This case is not an isolated incident. It is part of an overall economic policy of developing China at American expense," Assistant Attorney General John Demers said in a statement accompanying the announcement.

"We cannot tolerate a nation’s stealing our firepower and the fruits of our brainpower. We will not tolerate a nation that reaps what it does not sow,” he added.

The U.S. has long complained about Beijing's alleged attempts to steal American intellectual property, and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence last week alleged China's security agencies "have masterminded the wholesale theft of American technology."

"Using that stolen technology, the Chinese Communist Party is turning plowshares into swords on a massive scale," Pence said.

Xu was arrested in Belgium in April before being extradited to face charges in the U.S.

He is slated to face trial in federal court in Cincinnati, Ohio.

China okay with Saudi investment in Belt and Road

By Aamir Latif and Islamuddin Sajid

KARACHI / ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AA) – China on Wednesday said it had no objection to a proposed investment from Saudi Arabia in its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative in Pakistan.

The $64-billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) includes expansion of the Gwadar port in southern Pakistan, power plants, and road and rail networks.

The economic corridor will not only provide China cheaper access to Africa and the Middle East but will also earn Pakistan billions of dollars for providing transit facilities to the world’s second-largest economy.

"We welcome the [Saudi] investment in the CPEC," Yao Jing, the Chinese ambassador to Pakistan, told a news conference in Quetta, the capital of southwestern Balochistan province — a key route of the CPEC.

Not only Saudi Arabia, he said, but Beijing also wanted to link the mega project to the Central Asian states via Afghanistan, Dawn News reported.

Islamabad, last month, had formally invited Riyadh to join CPEC, amid growing concern by the government that the project unfairly benefits China.

However, the government quickly clarified later that the Kingdom would not join the mega project as a strategic partner, and that its proposed investment would fall under a separate bilateral arrangement.

The sharp rebuttal coupled with contradictory statements from government ministers triggered speculations of Beijing's displeasure over Riyadh's proposed inclusion in CPEC.

Though there is no official confirmation of the expected volume of Saudi investment in the project, local media quoting unnamed government officials claims it is valued at $10 billion.

A major chunk of the investment would be for an oil city. The proposed oil city will be some 50 kilometers (30 miles) off Gwadar and will sprawl over 70,000 acres.

Also, Riyadh plans to build an oil refinery in Gwadar.

A Saudi delegation led by the Kingdom’s advisor on energy Ahmad Hamed Al-Ghamdi visited Gwadar last month to discuss the feasibility and other matters relating to Riyadh’s proposed plans.

The Kingdom also plans to invest in a copper and gold project in Balochistan's Reko Diq area.

Riyadh has already announced to finance three CPEC projects in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhawa province and Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Lijian Zhao, deputy chief of the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad, said: "China would welcome all countries including Turkey, Japan, the U.S., Iran to come and invest in CPEC."

Refuting allegations that the project would increase the debt burden on Pakistan, he said, CPEC would immensely benefit the Pakistani economy.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is expected to undertake his first visit to China this month on invitation of the Chinese government.

During the visit both countries will discuss the future strategy of CPEC and sign several agreements.

"We are still working on the visit and agreements are being worked out," Zhao said.

Taiwan sees dialogue as key to cross-strait relations

By Cansu Dikme

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AA) – Sitting across the water from its giant neighbor the People's Republic of China, Taiwan believes in mutual cooperation and dialogue in cross-strait relations, said a top government official on Monday.

“We hope the differences are resolved only through pragmatic communication and dialogue. We believe mutual beneficial cooperation, communication and dialogue are our world trend,” Chiu Chui-cheng, Taiwan’s deputy minister of the Mainland Affairs Council, told journalists in the capital Taipei.

Hosting a group of journalists from across the world as part of Oct. 10 national day celebrations, Chui-cheng said Taiwan’s cross-strait policy is based on maintaining the status quo of the peaceful environment across the strait.

“Our government reiterates the immovable tradition of establishing a consistent and sustainable cross-strait relationship,” he said.

On the public view of the current status quo, Chui-cheng said over three-fourths of the Taiwanese people — 80 percent — favor it, according to regular polls by his office.

“The people of Taiwan believe in the democratic system,” he said.

He also reiterated Taiwan’s commitment to maintain the status quo.

“Our performance of the cross-strait policy, our goodwill and commitment will not change. We will reverse all the past of confrontation,” he said.

Chui-cheng also urged international support for Taiwan.

“So we are looking your understanding and more support for Taiwan,” he concluded.

-At odds across strait

Since Chinese nationalist leaders fled to Taiwan in 1949 after a civil war with Mao Zedong's Communists, the People's Republic of China has seen the region as a breakaway province that will eventually return.

Tensions between China and Taiwan have been mounting since President Tsai Ing-wen's traditionally pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party won the January 2016 election.

That June, Beijing suspended cross-strait communication mechanisms with Taipei.

The ruling party has been known to object to a 1992 Consensus and the "one China" principle it entails — which Beijing insists on as the basis of cross-Taiwan Strait ties.

Turkey disqualified for 3rd round in women’s volleyball

By Fatih Erel

ISTANBUL (AA) – Turkey on Monday was defeated by USA in the group competition of the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship in Japan, failing to qualify for the third round.

Japan is hosting the world’s best 24 teams in six different cities in the tournament between Sept. 29-Oct. 20.

In the second round, Turkey competed in Group F with USA, Russia, Thailand, Azerbaijan, Italy, China and Bulgaria.

USA beat Turkey 3-0 in Group F match on Monday.

After the match, USA Head Coach Karch Kiraly said "We had three spectacular battles with Turkey during Nations League and each of those three went to five sets, so we expected another very fierce battle today."

"We respect that team a lot and coach Giovanni Guidetti does a great job with them. Our game plan went well today and so we are happy with the result," Kiraly added.

On July 1, USA won the inaugural Volleyball Nations League in 2018 after beating Turkey 3-2 in the final.

Being ruled out from the third round, Turkey will play their last two matches against Azerbaijan and Thailand in Group F.

Interpol announces agency president's resignation

By Sibel Ugurlu

ANKARA (AA) – Interpol President Meng Hongwei, who was first reported missing, then remanded in China over unspecified suspected violations of the law, resigned as president of the international police organization.

In a statement, Interpol said: “Today, Sunday Oct. 7, the Interpol General Secretariat in Lyon, France received the resignation of Mr Meng Hongwei as President of Interpol with immediate effect."

Vice President Kim Jong Yang from South Korea serving on Interpol's executive committee is now the acting president, the global police network announced.

Meng, 64-year-old Chinese national, was elected as the head of Interpol in November 2016, succeeding the French Mireille Ballestrazzi.

Interpol said the new president for the remaining two years would be elected on Nov. 18-21 during the 87th General Assembly Session to be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

On Saturday, Interpol issued a media statement officially requesting clarification from China about the well-being of Meng Hongwei.

Later, the Chinese Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, which combats corruption, said Meng was under investigation on suspicion of violating the law.