Author Archives: Phineas

China urges the U.S. to tread carefully on ‘core interests’

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi speaks at a press conference at the National People's Congress on March 6, 2012, in Beijing, China.

Beijing– Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Tuesday called on the United States to tread carefully on issues related to China’s core interests in order to build trust and avoid conflicts.

“In particular, the U.S. side needs to honor its commitments and carefully and properly handle Taiwan- and Tibet-related issues that concern China’s core interests,” Yang said at a news conference held on the sidelines of the Chinese legislature’s annual meeting.

He also said that China and the United States were in “close communication” on the issues of Syria and Iran.

Yang said China opposed the development and possession of nuclear weapons by any country in the Middle East, including Iran. “At the same time,” he added, “countries have the right to peaceful use of nuclear energy.”

“The Iran nuclear issue should be resolved through dialogue, not confrontation, through cooperation, not sanctions,” Yang said. “We oppose unilateral sanctions and believe the majority in the world agrees with that.”

President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday they stood together in their efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, but Netanyahu warned that time for diplomacy was running short.

Yang reiterated China’s diplomatic stance on Syria, which has been the subject of international criticism. The minister said China’s stance has been “gaining understanding and support in the international community.”

China this week made new diplomatic efforts to help mediate in the Syria conflict, where President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has been pursuing a nationwide campaign to crush the nearly year-old protests against his rule.


World Powers Agree to Resume Nuclear Talks With Iran

Yuri Kadobnov/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Iran's top national security official, Saeed Jalili, has agreed to reopen talks on Tehran's disputed nuclear program.

BERLIN — For the first time in more than a year the global powers dealing with Iran’s disputed nuclear program said Tuesday that they would resume face-to-face negotiations.

“I have offered to resume talks with Iran on the nuclear issue,” said Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s foreign affairs chief, who represents the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany in dealings with Iran. “We hope that Iran will now enter into a sustained process of constructive dialogue which will deliver real progress.”

The resumption of negotiations could relieve rising pressure from Israel to use military force against Iran. But the decision is not without risks. Direct talks could allow Iranian negotiators to exploit various nations’ differences. Failure could offer a rationale for military strikes.

Ms. Ashton’s positive response to an Iranian offer made last month to resume the talks comes at a delicate moment in the years-long effort to rein in Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Her response came one day after President Obama urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to give diplomacy and economic sanctions a chance to work before taking military action.

The Israelis are increasingly skeptical that international pressure will lead Iran to abandon its uranium enrichment activities, which Israel and the West suspect are a cover for Iran to achieve the ability to make nuclear weapons. Iran has said the activities are purely peaceful.

U.S. and North Korean officials meet to seal food aid deal

The meeting is taking place against a backdrop of joint military exercises involving U.S. and South Korean forces.

U.S. and North Korean officials are meeting Wednesday in Beijing to settle the details of a plan to allow the resumption of food aid to the North.

The talks take place against a backdrop of bellicose images and rhetoric from Pyongyang. North Korean television this week aired footage of a military unit carrying out live fire-drills in-sight of a South Korean Island.

Robert King, the U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights issues, is holding talks with representatives from Pyongyang on Wednesday to “finalize all of the technical arrangements so that the nutritional assistance can begin to move,” according to the U.S. State Department.

North Korea last week announced an agreement to freeze its nuclear and missile tests, along with uranium enrichment programs, and allow the return of U.N. nuclear inspectors. The United States said it would provide 240,000 metric tons of nutritional assistance to the impoverished country.

The United States had suspended shipments of food aid to North Korea in 2009 amid tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear program and concerns that the supplies were not reaching those most in need.

The deal last week to resume the deliveries came after the the two countries revived negotiations that had stalled after the death in December of the longtime North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

No TOGA in Graduation Day!

Wearing a toga is a usual scene during graduation. But in some cases casual attire is observed. If I am asked of my opinion, I would rather say that I have a positive prescription on this matter due to the fact that it is a remarkable moment of my life.

It is exciting because it marks my accomplishment in a certain phase of my struggle and move on to another stage of my vision to face further challenges of education. This awesome period really deserves an elegant attire, not fashionable but meaningful.

To wear a toga implicates the real meaning of my sacrifices yet memorable and challenging events of my endeavor. To think of it, I will bear more courage and fortitude.

My opinion is, TOGA is the best attire for a graduate.