Katyusha News Reference – Saturday, March 13, 2021

I. The New Federal State of China News

1. As top U.S. officials prepare to meet their Chinese counterparts for their first face-to-face meeting during the Biden administration, the State Department’s former lead investigator David Asher, who oversaw the Task Force into the COVID-19 virus origin tells Fox News that he not only believes the virus escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, but that it may have been the result of research that the Chinese military, or People’s Liberation Army, was doing on a bioweapon.

2. The UK said Saturday it considers “Beijing to be in a state of ongoing non-compliance with the Sino-British Joint Declaration” over changes to Hong Kong’s electoral system announced this week. “Beijing’s decision to impose radical changes to restrict participation in Hong Kong’s electoral system constitutes a further clear breach of the legally binding Sino-British Joint Declaration,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was quoted as saying in a statement.

3. Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta issue a joint statement on March 13 that  “The Governments of Australia and New Zealand, like G7 counterparts, are deeply concerned that changes to Hong Kong’s electoral system passed by the National People’s Congress on 11 March further undermine rights and freedoms and the high degree of autonomy guaranteed by China to Hong Kong until 2047 under the Sino-British Joint Declaration.” 

4. The texts of the EU’s investment deal with China were published on Friday and the documents show Beijing has used the opportunity to set in stone draconian restrictions on foreign investment in news media and the entertainment industry. Beijing has closed its market to European media, investors, while the EU keeps doors open to Chinese propagandists.

5. During a public hearing of a Congress working group on 5G on Tuesday (9), Brazilian communications minister Fabio Faria said Huawei will not be among the suppliers of the private communications networkto be used by the government

6. The sole U.S. member of the WHO team, EcoHealth Alliance president Dr. Peter Daszak, revealed during a panel discussion Wednesday that they did not request to see the deleted WIV databases because he personally vouched for the lab, saying the data did not contain relevant information on the pandemic’s origins. In a recent live broadcast, Daszak has already abandoned his scientific pretensions and accused Miles Guo’s team and Steve Bannon’s team of pushing conspiracy theories against the Chinese Communist Party.

7.  A military expert said on Friday March 12 that new satellite images appear to show that a helicopter base that could threaten Taiwan is being built in China’s Fujian Province.

8. China’s foreign ministry office in Hong Kong said that it will simplify mainland China visa applications for foreigners in the city who have been inoculated with Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines. The China-made vaccine is becoming the ticket to enter the mainland.

9.  White House officials dodged questions from the press corps about the recent Microsoft Exchange hack. Before his face-to-face upcoming meeting with Chinese officials, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan faced off with the press corps refuses to confirm China was behind Microsoft Exchange Hack

10. Boris Johnson will set up a cyber force in the North of England to combat threats posed by China and Russia.

11. China’s geopolitical ambition in the Arctic is posing a growing threat to Canadian interests, Defense Deputy Minister Jody Thomas told the Ottawa Conference on Security and Defense on Wednesday that as melting ice opens up the Arctic Ocean, Beijing has set eyes on the Northwest Passage for new shipping routes and resource extraction, including fish, fossil fuel, and minerals.

12. For the first time, German Defense Minister Annegret Klopp Kallenbauer revealed that the Bundeswehr’s deployment in the Indo-Pacific region was aimed primarily at containing the Communist Party. “We heard the exasperating and arbitrary tone of the Communist Party of China and even called for ‘preparation to fight’ [Xi]. My view is that we work with the Communist Party wherever we can and fight back where we have to,” she tweeted

13. According to Xinhuanet on Mar 13, the 14th Five-Year Plan announced on the 12th, on the planning and the vision for 2035, the outline clearly proposes to gradually delay the statutory retirement age in accordance with the principles of “small-step adjustment, flexible implementation, classified advancement, overall planning and all-round consideration”.  The rapid aging of the population is the reason for the acceleration of this policy

14. Japanese government sources said Saturday (March 13) that China informed The Japanese side in late February that Beijing was “exercising self-restraint” on Japanese Coast Guard patrol boats and Japanese fishing boats operating near the Senkaku Islands (known as the Diaoyu Islands in China). This is the first Time China has revealed its policy on the use of the Maritime Police Law since it came into force. Analysts believe that China’s disclosure to Japan of its enforcement guidelines for the maritime police law may be intended to avoid an occasional conflict that could worsen the situation.

15. The official website of the Hainan Branch of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on March 10 released a Notice of Administrative Penalties shows that China’s foreign exchange regulator has decided to impose on policy lender, the China Development Bank (CDB) for illicitly providing a cross-border guarantee to a company linked to HNA Group Co. Ltd, with a ¥42661600 fine for failing to properly check the borrowing it was guaranteeing

II World News

1. UN special rapporteur on Myanmar Tom Andrews urged the UNSC to take decisive and unified action against the military regime, after witnessing how the Myanmar military illegally overthrew the civilian government and unleash horrors and lawlessness against the peaceful protesters who are standing up for justice.  

He also rejected claims by Myanmar officials that the authorities has adopted maximum restraint.

2. The amount of fentanyl seized while coming through the southern border during the first 5 months of fiscal year 2021 is already higher than all of fiscal year 2020, according to the latest statistics from Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

3. Mahn Win Khaing Than,the acting leader of Myanmar’s run along  civilian government, appointed by ousted lawmakers in the wake of a Feb. 1 military coup, addressed the public for the first time on Saturday from hiding and vowed to pursue a “revolution” to overturn the junta.

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