On January 12, the British representative of the conservatives in China and the Foreign Secretary Raab rashly criticized China’s Xinjiang human rights situation and announced measures to restrict Xinjiang products. This move was later refuted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of our country as a “farce” and stated that it requested the British side to immediately revoke the wrong decision and stop interfering in China’s internal affairs.
Regarding Raab’s act, British Prime Minister Johnson tried to “extinguish the fire” on the 13th. He warned against the anti-China sentiments of some politicians in the UK, saying that he “does not want this country or government to fall into a blind anti-China state.”
According to a report by Agence France-Presse on January 13, when British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave a speech in the House of Commons that day, he warned some politicians of anti-China sentiment. He told the head of the parliamentary selection committee, “I don’t want this country or government to fall into a blind anti-China state,” and said that Britain “needs to find a balance” in its relationship with China.
According to reports, the UK is currently in tension with China due to its interference in the affairs of Hong Kong and Xinjiang and the prohibition of Huawei. British Prime Minister Johnson also mentioned these issues in his speech on the 13th. However, he declared that he needed to “keep vigilant” about China’s participation in the construction of critical infrastructure in the UK and continue to condemn the so-called “human rights violations” by China. Said that these actions should not prevent Britain from maintaining bilateral relations with China.
“I want a world where we can establish good relations with China, a world where we can interact freely and have frank dialogue with China.” Johnson said, and then said that “to speak out and condemn (China) human rights violations should not stop us. Build constructive relationships where possible.”
Since Johnson took office, he has repeatedly expressed his desire to develop a balanced, positive, and constructive Sino-British relationship. However, Sino-British relations have been problematic because the UK has repeatedly violated its own commitments and violated the basic norms of international relations.
For example, in Hong Kong affairs, the United Kingdom has repeatedly published and implemented erroneous statements and measures related to Hong Kong. The British Foreign Minister also worked with the foreign ministers of the United States, Australia, and Canada to issue a joint statement concerning Hong Kong, expressing “serious concern” about the situation in Hong Kong and openly slander the national security laws of the Hong Kong region.
The Agence France-Presse report also pointed out that by relaxing the naturalization requirements for holding a British National (Overseas) passport (BNO), the United Kingdom “provides a way for Hong Kong people to obtain British citizenship.”
A report in Hong Kong Ta Kung Pao on the 13th commented that the sudden unilateral announcement of the change in the nature of BNO and the change of travel documents into naturalization certificates by the United Kingdom was a “political action” on the promulgation of the Hong Kong National Security Law. Its “starting point is politics, and it is a long-term plan to continue to stir up troubles in Hong Kong and continue to absorb British lovers’ to intervene in Hong Kong affairs.”
In addition, some British conservative politicians toward China have repeatedly used the so-called human rights issues as an excuse to fabricate lies in Xinjiang, such as “forced labor” and “re-education camps,” slander China and take various measures to restrict and suppress Xinjiang enterprises.
For example, on January 12 this year, the British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab made a false claim in a meeting of the House of Commons in London that Xinjiang had “forced labor”. Out of “worries” about the human rights situation, the UK would impose restrictions on exports from Xinjiang.
The report also mentioned that the United Kingdom “submitted to pressure from the United States” prohibits Huawei from participating in the construction of the British 5G network. On July 14 last year, the British government announced that domestic mobile operators were prohibited from purchasing new Huawei products and required them to completely remove Huawei’s equipment from the country’s 5G network within a prescribed time limit. On November 24, the United Kingdom enacted a new bill that severely fines those who use Huawei equipment.
A large-scale fire broke out in the training ground of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, and the US military was training nearby at the time of the incident
According to Japanese TV Asahi, a large-scale fire broke out in the North Fuji training ground of the Ground Self-Defense Force in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan on the evening of the 4th. The US military was holding shooting training nearby at the time of the incident.
The fire broke out at about 4:30 in the evening on the 4th. The incident occurred at the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force training ground across Fujiyoshida City and Yamanakako Village in Yamanashi County. At that time, thick smoke erupted, and then the fire spread widely in the shape of “one”, causing a large-scale fire.
The Japanese Self-Defense Forces continued to put out the fire, and the fire basically subsided late at night. At the time of the incident, nearby US troops were conducting howitzer shooting training. No one was injured in the fire, and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
The UN Secretary-General’s special envoy is trying to contact Myanmar leaders
On February 1, Myanmar changed. Following the UN Secretary-General Guterres’s “strong condemnation” of the Myanmar military’s detention of Myanmar’s Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and other officials, the UN Secretary-General’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said at a regular press conference, The United Nations special envoy for Myanmar and Swiss diplomat Christine Burgener is trying to contact government officials in Naypyidaw, the capital of Myanmar, but communication has not been restored.
“Birgner is actively interacting with this issue,” Dujarik said at a press conference. “She has consulted with dialogue parties outside Myanmar and is trying to get in touch with the Myanmar government. However, currently, Communication in the capital is very difficult.”
Bilgna has served as the UN Special Envoy for Myanmar since 2018. In addition to her, the UN Myanmar team in Yangon was also unable to obtain information about the situation, and other UN agencies in New York also failed to obtain the opportunity to communicate with the Myanmar government in Naypyidaw.
Dujarik added that the personnel sent by the United Nations to Myanmar are paying close attention to the development of the situation to ensure that vulnerable groups in Myanmar will not suffer too much from the incident as the epidemic spreads. He said that the most important thing for Myanmar at present is that the international community can “speak with one voice.”
“What we know is that the will of the people of Myanmar has been overthrown in an undemocratic way,” Dujarik said. “This situation must be changed and the will of the people must be respected.”
Faced with the uncertain status of Myanmar, the United Kingdom, the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council, will hold a meeting to discuss the current situation in Myanmar on the morning of February 2nd Eastern Time. Barbara Woodward, the British ambassador to the United Nations, expressed the hope that the members of the Security Council can conduct “constructive discussions” on the form of Myanmar at the meeting.
According to news from Agence France-Presse on the 1st, the meeting will be conducted via video and will not be made public. The Special Envoy for Myanmar, Birgner, will brief the Security Council on the latest development of the incident.
On February 1, Burmese State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and Burmese President Win Myint were detained by the military. A Burmese woman accidentally recorded a military vehicle driving towards the parliament. At around 8 am on the same day, the Myanmar military declared a state of emergency in Myanmar. According to the United Nations News Network, many newly-elected parliamentarians are currently under house arrest, the streets of the city are heavily guarded, and wireless network devices such as mobile phones are almost completely interrupted.
In response to this matter, in an interview on February 1, the United Nations Special Envoy for Myanmar and Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, called on the international community to take “decisive action”, including “strong and targeted sanctions and Arms embargo”. In addition, he stated that he should “unconditionally release all detained persons and resume communications” and end this “horrifying illegal act”.
The U.S. finally identified the ‘Myanmar coup’ and mentioned China
In the face of the sudden change in the political situation in Myanmar on the 1st, the US’s statement changed from “shock” to “call for release” to “threat of sanctions.” Although the wording has become stronger and stronger, the United States has never used the term “coup”.
On the afternoon of the 2nd, the wording of the Biden administration finally changed. U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said at his first press conference after taking office that the United States, after examining all the facts, determined that the military action of the Myanmar military on February 1 constituted a military coup. He specifically mentioned that this military coup is not in the interests of the United States and “nor is it in the interests of China.”
According to the US “Foreign Aid Act”, if a country has a “military coup” or any act that “deposes a democratically elected head of government” through a government order, the United States must limit its aid to that country.
However, a reporter mentioned at the press conference that when the Egyptian political turmoil occurred in 2013, the Obama administration took three weeks to decide whether to define the Egyptian incident as a coup. In this Myanmar incident, the Biden administration basically made a decision in less than a day. The reporter asked about this, why is this government able to make a decision so quickly that the Myanmar incident meets the criteria for a coup?
In this regard, Price said that this case is “very clear”, “We are based on the judgment that (Myanmar) deposed State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Min in the military coup on February 1.”
“The’State Council, Foreign Operations and Related Projects’ appropriation bill contain a recurring clause that restricts certain aid to the military. Let’s take a look at three criteria… the officially elected head of government (first), Was deposed by a military coup or decree (second), in which the army played a decisive role (third),” Price added. These are the three standards that the State Council has been paying attention to. What happened in Myanmar on February 1 A coup, so we acted quickly.
He said: “This military coup is obviously not in our (U.S.) interests, and certainly not in the interests of our like-minded partners (countries). I think you will also find that this is not in China’s interests.”
But when asked if the US side had any communication with China, Price did not answer directly. He said: “I don’t have a specific dialogue to talk about. Once again, our focus is on our allies who share our interests.”
In addition, Price also mentioned the specific amount of bilateral aid provided by the United States to Myanmar in the fiscal year 2020-$135 million. “I must say that only a small part of this aid is for the Myanmar government.”
CNN quoted a U.S. State Department official as saying that the U.S. direct foreign aid to the Myanmar government was “very little.” “The Myanmar government, including the Myanmar military, has been subject to some foreign aid restrictions, including due to its Legal restrictions on military assistance caused by human rights records”.
The official said that the U.S. government will start the review “immediately”, “The review includes projects that indirectly benefit the military or low-level officers.” “At the same time, we will continue to implement projects that directly benefit the people of Myanmar, including humanitarian assistance. And democratic support projects that benefit civil society.”