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US presses China to halt militarization of South China Sea

WASHINGTON: Standing side by side, top US officials urged their Chinese counterparts on Friday to halt militarization of the disputed South China Sea, drawing a rebuke from the Chinese for sending US warships close to islands claimed by Beijing. During a round of high-level talks in Washington, the two sides aired in sometimes blunt terms many of their main differences, including a bitter trade dispute, freedom of navigation in Asia-Pacific waters, self-ruled Taiwan, and China’s crackdown on its Muslim minority in…

North Korea says willing to hold talks with US and halt nuclear pursuit while negotiations last: South

SEOUL: North Korea is willing to hold talks with the United States on denuclearization and will suspend nuclear tests while those talks are under way, South Korea said on Tuesday after a delegation returned from the North where it met leader Kim Jong Un. North and South Korea, still technically at war but enjoying a sharp easing in tension since the Winter Olympics in the South last month, will also hold their first summit in more than a decade next month at the border village of Panmunjom, the head of the delegation,…

Macron urges Tehran to ‘pressure’ Syria to halt Ghouta offensive

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron called on his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on Sunday to put the "necessary pressure" on the Syrian government to halt "indiscriminate" attacks on civilians in the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta. During a telephone call between the two leaders, Macron underscored the "particular responsiblity for Iran, because of its ties to the regime, regarding the implementation of the humanitarian truce" sought by the UN, his office said. Their talks came as a monitoring group said…

Chinese banks halt transactions for North Koreans

BEIJING: Branches of China's biggest banks have suspended financial transactions for North Koreans, employees told AFP, suggesting that Beijing has pursued stronger measures against its nuclear-armed ally than previously thought. Staff at branches in Beijing and the border city of Yanji -- a major trade and transportation hub between the two neighbours -- said their banks have banned North Koreans from opening new accounts and some have even started to close existing ones. The restrictions were imposed well before the…

Shahbaz urges world to put pressure on Myanmar to halt genocide of Rohingya Muslims

LAHORE: Condemning the atrocities being committed against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif urged the world community to put pressure on the Myanmar government to halt genocide of Muslims. Talking to media before his departure for London to inquire about the health of Kalsoom Nawaz, he said that Muslim's genocide in Myanmar was the worst example of ethnic cleansing. Expressing concern over the silence of world community about horrific atrocities, the chief minister urged the United…

NA body demands immediate halt of construction of Kishanganga, Ratle Hydroelectric plants

ISLAMABAD: A National Assembly body has demanded of the government to right away ask World Bank to constitute a Court of Arbitration to adjudicate on the issues raised by Pakistan against India's ongoing construction of Kishanganga and Ratle Hydroelectric plants. The meeting of the NA Standing Committee on Water and Power chaired by MNA Muhammad Arshad Khan Leghari was held in Islamabad on Friday. The committee also demanded of the government to ask India for an immediate halt to ongoing construction of Ratle Dam till…