Canada's Trudeau prepares to mount charm offensive in China

The Japan Times

OTTAWA โ€“ Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will tour the Great Wall, shoot hoops with retired basketball star Yao Ming and meet with female entrepreneurs when he travels to China in the coming week to bolster trade and diplomatic ties, his office said Friday. There will also be meetings with President Xi Jinping and senior government officials during the trip from Aug. 30 to Sept. 6, which will include stops in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Trudeau will also travel to Hangzhou for a summit meeting of the Group of 20 economic powers on Sept. 4 and 5. Ordinary Chinese citizens can expect to see the playful leader pose for selfies with locals and reach out to them through social media, as he has done everywhere he has gone since being elected to Canada's highest office late last year. "The prime minister has a WeChat and Weibo account, and we will be using these during the trip," a senior government official said, referring to two popular social-media platforms in China. But the trip, made at the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang, comes as a handful of trade irritants and other stresses weigh on the relationship.

China tornado kills almost 100 people in Jiangsu

Al Jazeera

At least 98 people have been killed and 800 others injured in an unusually violent hail storm and tornado that swept across eastern China's Jiangsu province. Winds of up to 125km an hour struck near Yancheng city, a few hours' drive north of Shanghai, early Thursday. The extreme weather levelled whole villages, flattened power lines and overturned cars in a city of approximately 7 million residents. Nearly half of those injured are in serious condition, the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs has said. China's President Xi Jinping ordered "all-out rescue efforts" in what the country's official press agency has called one of the worst disasters ever to hit Jiangsu, and one of the worst tornados to hit China in half a century.

Clinton blasted China over North Korea, slammed Japan over 'nationalist pressures,' hacked emails show

The Japan Times

Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said in a private speech to bankers three years ago that she would "ring China with missile defense" if Beijing failed to curb North Korea's nuclear ambitions, while also blasting "nationalist forces" in Japan for stoking the Senkaku row, a hacked email has shown. The excerpts from a 2013 speech were part of a trove of documents from the hacked email account of the Clinton campaign chairman released by anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks earlier this month. It was not possible to confirm the authenticity of the leaked email, which contained a number of excerpts from Clinton's private speeches -- including several focusing on China and Japan. The former secretary of state's campaign has neither confirmed nor denied the authenticity of hacked emails. China has ripped into a plan by Washington and Seoul to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system to South Korea to protect against North Korean threats.

China, Russia, Mongolia ink economic corridor plan

The Japan Times

SHANGHAI โ€“ China, Russia and Mongolia signed a development plan on Thursday to build an economic corridor that will boost transport links and economic cooperation among the three neighbors, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. The plan comes after Chinese President Xi Jinping said Chinese companies invested nearly 15 billion in countries participating in Beijing's new Silk Road initiative last year, up one-fifth from 2014. The plan was signed by Xi, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj in the Uzbekistan capital of Tashkent. Xi called on the three countries to build the economic corridor, strengthen cooperation in transportation infrastructure connectivity, port construction, industrial capacity, investment, trade and economy, cultural exchanges and environmental protection in an effort to expedite results, Xinhua said late Thursday. "We three sides should actively engage in the discussion of building cross-border economic cooperation zones, enhance industrial tie-in, boost sub-regional cooperation in our adjacent areas, and promote the common development of our adjacent areas," Xinhua reported Xi saying.

Lady Gaga reportedly banned from China after Dalai Lama meeting

The Japan Times

BEIJING โ€“ U.S. pop star Lady Gaga has been added to a list of "hostile forces" banned by China's ruling Communist Party after the singer met with the Dalai Lama and spoke about love and compassion, a report said Tuesday Britain's Guardian newspaper quoted the Hong Kong prodemocracy Apple Daily as reporting Monday that the Communist Party's propaganda department had issued "an important instruction" banning her entire repertoire from mainland China. Beijing regularly vilifies the Tibetan spiritual leader as a political figure who advocates splitting the Himalayan region of Tibet from the rest of China. The Dalai Lama says he simply wants a higher degree of autonomy under Chinese rule. On Sunday, before speaking at a conference in Indianapolis of American mayors, he met Lady Gaga. The official website of the office of the Dalai Lama reported that Lady Gaga interviewed him in an exchange streamed live over Facebook.