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Blinken says U.S. not involved in Israeli attack against Iran

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday that he can’t speak to media reports about the details of an Israeli attack against Iran overnight, stressing that the United States was not involved in any offensive operations by Israel.

“The reports that you’ve seen, I’m not going to speak to that, except to say that the United States has not been involved in any offensive operations,” Blinken told a press conference in Italy as he wrapped up a meeting with foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) countries.

He was responding to a reporter’s question seeking confirmation of media reports saying Washington received advance warning from Israel on Thursday of an imminent strike against Iran in retaliation for Tehran’s assault on Israel last week.

“What we’re focused on, what the G7 is focused on, and again, it’s reflected in our statement and in our conversation, is our work to de-escalate tensions, to de-escalate from any potential conflict,” Blinken said in what were first public remarks on the Israeli attack by a cabinet member of U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration.

What Blinken also refused to address during that round of questions and answers was the White House’s assessment of whether the Israeli strikes were over and if Iran would retaliate.

Earlier on Friday, Iran’s air defense systems shot down several “flying objects” near the central city of Isfahan, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.

The Israeli side has not yet made any announcement regarding the attack.

Source(s): CGTN

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WHA’s Rejection of the Proposal on Taiwan

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Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson’s Remarks on the 77th WHA’s Rejection of the Proposal on Taiwan

On May 27, the General Committee and the Plenary Session of the 77th World Health Assembly (WHA) respectively decided to reject the so-called proposal of “inviting Taiwan to participate in the WHA as an observer” submitted by certain countries. This has been the eighth year in a row that the WHA has rejected the so-called proposal concerning Taiwan. China’s position on Taiwan-related issues at the WHA is widely understood and supported by the international community. Over 100 countries explicitly expressed support for China’s position by writing to the WHO Director-General and through other means. This fully demonstrates that the one-China principle is where global opinion trends and the arc of history bends, and must not be challenged.

The Chinese central government attaches great importance to the health and well-being of our compatriots in Taiwan. Taiwan’s medical and health experts can participate in WHO technical meetings under the prerequisite that the one-China principle is upheld. Over the past year alone, medical and technical experts from China’s Taiwan region took part in WHO technical activities 21 times, which involved 24 participants, and all the applications were approved by the central government. There is an International Health Regulations Contact Point in the Taiwan region for it to promptly access and report to the WHO concerning information related to health emergencies. The Taiwan region has sufficient and unimpeded channels to participate in the technical communication and cooperation in the WHO. There is no such thing as a “gap” in global anti-epidemic efforts. Compared with a handful of countries’ political manipulation that trumpets Taiwan’s participation in the WHA, the central government’s proper arrangement and concrete actions demonstrate real meaning and sincerity for the livelihood and well-being of our compatriots in Taiwan.

Once again we would like to make it clear to the DPP authorities: the abiding commitment of the international community to the one-China principle is unshakable and the trend that China will be reunified is not to be reversed. “Taiwan independence” runs contrary to the interests of our compatriots in Taiwan, and any attempt to seek “Taiwan independence” by relying on external forces leads nowhere. Meanwhile, we urge certain countries to stop distorting and challenging UNGA Resolution 2758, stop fudging and hollowing out the one-China principle, stop politicizing health issues, and stop interfering in China’s internal affairs by exploiting the Taiwan question. Using Taiwan to contain China will only end in failure.

Source(s): Chinese Foreign Ministry

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Iran says approach to sanctions removal talks remains unchanged

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Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said on Monday that his country’s approach towards the indirect talks on lifting sanctions and facilitating the return of all parties to the 2015 nuclear deal remained unchanged.

He made the remarks at a weekly press conference in the Iranian capital Tehran, responding to inquiries about potential changes to Iran’s negotiating team after Ali Bagheri Kani, the country’s chief nuclear negotiator, was appointed as caretaker foreign minister after the death of Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and questions about the prospect of postponing relevant negotiations until after Iran’s presidential election on June 28.

He dismissed Western media reports alleging “secret” indirect talks between the United States and Iranian officials, including Bagheri Kani, in Oman earlier in the month, saying they lack credibility and were inaccurate.

He said that the exchange of indirect messages between Iran and the American side on sanctions removal had been ongoing without interruption. However, such interactions had focused solely on areas concerning the lifting of the embargoes and nuclear issues and had never gone beyond that framework.

Iran signed the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), with world powers in July 2015, agreeing to put some curbs on its nuclear program in return for the removal of the sanctions on the country.

The United States, however, pulled out of the deal in May 2018 and reimposed unilateral sanctions on Tehran, prompting the latter to drop some of its nuclear commitments under the deal.

The talks on the revival of the JCPOA began in April 2021 in Vienna, Austria. Despite several rounds of talks, no significant breakthrough has been achieved since the end of the last round in August 2022.

Amir-Abdollahian lost his life in a helicopter crash in northwestern Iran on May 19. He was accompanying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on a trip to Tabriz, the capital of East Azarbaijan province.

The crash also resulted in the deaths of Raisi and the other members of his accompanying team, who were all on board the same helicopter.

Source(s): CGTN

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China, Japan agree to a new round of high-level economic dialogue

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China and Japan on Sunday agreed to enhance dialogue and communication at various levels and convene a new round of bilateral high-level economic dialogue at an appropriate time as Chinese Premier Li Qiang met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on the sidelines of the ninth Trilateral Summit Meeting among China, Japan and South Korea in Seoul.

Li said the Chinese and Japanese economies are now closely intertwined and there is huge potential for cooperation in scientific and technological innovation, digital economy, green development and exploring the third markets.

China and Japan should help each other succeed, jointly maintain stable and unimpeded industrial and supply chains, and safeguard the global free trade system, Li said.

He added that China is willing to continue to carry out friendly exchanges with Japan in various fields, through various channels and at various levels, further facilitate people-to-people exchanges and actively carry out youth exchanges, so as to consolidate public support for China-Japan friendly cooperation.

On the release of the Fukushima nuclear-contaminated wastewater, Li said it bears on the health of humanity, the global marine environment and international public interests, and China is highly concerned about it. It’s hoped that Japan can further demonstrate sincerity and constructive attitude to address legitimate global concerns and earnestly fulfill its responsibilities and obligations, Li said.

He also talked about the Taiwan question, saying the Taiwan question is at the core of China’s interests and it’s a red line. It is hoped that Japan will honor its promise and create a positive atmosphere for the continuous development of bilateral relations, said Li.

He called on Japan to implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, properly manage differences, continuously deepen cooperation and build a constructive and stable China-Japan relationship.

For his part, Kishida said Japan is willing to promote the sound and long-term development of bilateral relations and Japan adheres to its position on the Taiwan question as stated in the Japan-China Joint Statement signed in 1972.

Japan also stands ready to work with China to implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, maintain high-level exchanges, strengthen cooperation in such fields as green economy, medical care, third-party markets, facilitate personnel exchanges, deepen regional cooperation, and jointly tackle climate change and other global issues, Kishida said.

The two sides also exchanged views on international and regional issues of common concern.

Source(s): CGTN

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