Asia (except ME & Indian SC)

Russia becomes second largest oil exporter to China in 2020

BEIJING, January 20. /TASS/: Russia in 2020 ranked second after Saudi Arabia in the list of the largest oil suppliers to China. According to the General Customs Administration of China, in 12 months Beijing purchased more than 83.57 mln tonnes of oil from Moscow.

According to the report, the price of oil purchased from Russia exceeded $27.3 bln. Similar figures for Saudi suppliers amounted to 84.92 mln tonnes and $28.05 bln, respectively.

Cambodian FM To Attend ASEAN FMs’ Retreat Via Video Conference

PHNOM PENH, Jan 20 (NNN-AKP) – Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Prak Sokhonn, will participate in the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat, to be held tomorrow, via videoconference, said a foreign ministry’s press statement today.

The retreat will follow up on the leaders’ guidance from the 37th Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), focusing on key areas like ASEAN Blueprints, ASEAN Community building and ASEAN Community Vision Post-2025, the statement said.

Thai government files royal insult complaint against opposition figure over vaccine criticism

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand’s government on Wednesday filed a criminal complaint of defaming the monarchy against banned opposition politician Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, after he criticised its COVID-19 vaccine strategy.

The move could mark the highest-profile lese majeste case since a wave of anti-government protests emerged last year and extended to criticism of King Maha Vajiralongkorn over accusations of meddling in politics and taking too much power.

Thai royalists launch political party to protect monarchy

BANGKOK (Reuters) - An ultra royalist group in Thailand launched a new political party on Wednesday to defend King Maha Vajiralongkorn, amid unprecedented calls for reform of the monarchy by a youth-led protest movement.

The “Thai Pakdee” (Loyal Thai) party is an offshoot of a royalist group of the same name formed last August to counter street demonstrations with rallies in support of the king.

Veteran politician Warong Dechgitvigrom will lead the new party, which he said will fight political groups whose true intention was to topple the monarchy.

Philippines sees 'close and friendly' ties with Biden administration

MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines will maintain “close and friendly” relations with the United States under President-elect Joe Biden, a top Philippine official said on Wednesday, amid a period of strain in their decades-old alliance.

“We congratulate again the incoming president and we look forward to having close and friendly relations with the Biden administration,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque told CNN Philippines ahead of Biden’s inauguration.

China: Concerns grow over global disparities in vaccination

BEIJING, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- As an increasing number of countries started mass vaccination, gaps in access to COVID-19 vaccines, especially huge disparities between the developed world and developing world, have become glaringly evident.

While the three wealthy economies of the United States, Britain and the European Union "have given citizens about 24 million doses so far -- more than half of the shots administered globally -- vast numbers of countries have yet to begin their campaigns," Bloomberg News reported on Monday.

Japan shares fall on pandemic worries as rest of Asia rises

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mostly higher Wednesday, ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration as U.S. president. Japan’s benchmark lost early gains as worries grew about the surge in coronavirus cases.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 lost early gains to slip 0.4% in morning trading to 28,515.21. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.6% to 6,783.20, while South Korea’s Kospi edged up 0.5% to 3,109.21. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.9% to 29,921.79, while the Shanghai Composite rose nearly 0.4% to 3,579.93.

Businesses reopen as searchers dig in Indonesia quake rubble

MAMUJU, Indonesia (AP) — Grocery stores, gas stations and other shops were reopening Wednesday in a quake-hit Indonesian city where debris still covered streets and searchers continued to dig in the rubble for more victims.

Immediate food and water needs have been met and the local government has started to function again in the hardest-hit city of Mamuju and the neighboring district of Majene on Sulawesi island, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency’s spokesperson Raditya Jati said in a statement.

China: Pak Ambassador meets Mayor of Qingdao, discusses bilateral cooperation in investment, trade, tourism

BEIJING, Jan 19 (APP): Pakistan Ambassador to China, Moin ul Haque on Tuesday met Zhao Haozhi, Deputy Party Secretary and Mayor of Qingdao, China and discussed ways and means to further enhance bilateral cooperation.

During the meeting, both sides held detailed discussions on deepening bilateral cooperation in the fields of investment, trade, tourism and people-to-people exchanges.

Welcoming the Ambassador to Qingdao, the Mayor briefed him about the increasing significance of Qingdao as the regional economic and trade hub.

Workers trapped week in China mine ask for pickles, porridge

BEIJING (AP) — Workers trapped for more than a week in a Chinese gold mine asked for pickles and porridge to be dropped to them while they wait to be rescued, state media reported Tuesday.

The website of the People’s Daily said the request came after a telephone line was dropped to the group of 11 inside the mine’s No. 6 chamber. Another survivor of the mine explosion a week ago is inside an adjoining chamber while the fate of 10 others remains unknown, according to officials in the city of Yantai in the eastern province of Shandong.

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