Chinese Defence Minister leaves for key Sri Lanka visit

China has also invested heavily in Sri Lanka, funding airports, roads, railways and ports, and including the island nation of 21 million people on its “One Belt, One Road” mission to create a modern-day “Silk Road” across Asia. The ministry, in a short statement, said Deputy Naval Chief Su Zhiqian would accompany Chang. It gave no other details. China’s Defence Ministry said in December that China would hold its first military drills with Nepal in 2017.In 2014, Sri Lanka allowed a Chinese submarine and a warship to dock at its port in the capital Colombo, prompting concern in New Delhi. Chinese Defence Minister Chang Wanquan left on Sunday for official visits to Sri Lanka and Nepal, the Defence Ministry said, trips that could unnerve neighboring India, according to the Reuters news agency.China is vying to increase its influence in Nepal, which serves as a natural buffer between China and India, challenging India’s long-held position as the dominant outside power in the landlocked nation. India, which has a festering border dispute with China, has looked at the latter’s strategic ambitions in South Asia and in the Indian Ocean with some nervousness.China has close defense ties with India’s long-time rival Pakistan, and has been getting closer to Bangladesh and the Maldives too. Chinese warships now increasingly drill in the Indian Ocean too, as Beijing becomes more confident about projecting power far from its shores. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Despite progress Kosovo still a considerable way from UN targets Annan

Though significant achievements were made in Kosovo towards the end of 2002, the province is still a considerable way from reaching the individual benchmarks and targets set by the United Nations, according to a report by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan released today in New York.In the report covering the activities of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) since last October, Mr. Annan highlighted such positive developments as the second municipal elections and the beginning of the handover of the electoral process to local control, as well as the extension of UNMIK’s authority to northern Mitrovica and the appointment of judges and prosecutors from minority communities.At the same time, he pointed out that a year after the formation of the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government, much remains to be done to build effective, representative, transparent and accountable institutes with meaningful participation of minority community representatives in the civil service. Fighting crime and promoting acceptance of the rule of law remain significant challenges, Mr. Annan said, voicing concern at the violence among the Kosovo Albanian community as well as the persistent violence against the Kosovo Serb community. He urged both the majority and minority communities to make renewed efforts to inject momentum into improving inter-ethnic dialogue and promoting the reconciliation process.”Much energy has been spent seeking challenging the authority of my Special Representative and seeking additional powers,” the Secretary-General said, referring to his envoy in Kosovo, Michael Steiner. “It is important that the Kosovo leadership recognize that, in order to gain additional competencies, they first need solid accomplishments for the benefit of all communities in the areas for which they do have responsibility under the Constitutional Framework.”Mr. Annan welcomed the decision of the Return Coalition to go back to the Assembly and the introduction of formal monitoring of proceedings, adding that a functioning, representative Assembly is a prerequisite for progress. read more