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Different attitudes of US, UK on Russian involvement in Syria

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

London: Talks held between British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and US Secretary of State John Kerry, displayed different attitudes of UK and the US towards Russia’s involvement in the Syria crisis.

Photo credit: independent.co.uk
Photo credit: independent.co.uk

After the meeting at Hammond’s official residence on Saturday, Kerry said defence secretaries of the US and Russia had held extensive talks via telephone on the fight against the IS, reported Xinhua news agency.

Kerry, who is on his three-day visit to Britain, said, “would we welcome Russian help in going against IS? Obviously. We have talked about it for some period of time.”

“But the other part of the equation is Assad (President of Syria) and how you resolve the fact that he is a magnet for foreign fighters to come to the region,” he added.

The British government had been clear that if it is believed airstrikes in Syria were necessary it would go back to parliament for a vote, Hammond said.

“We keep that situation under continuous review and we will continue to talk to our allies about the military situation in the round,” he said.

Hammond said the situation in Syria becomes more complicated because of the Russian engagement.

“I think we need to discuss this as part of a much bigger problem: the migration pressures, the humanitarian crisis in Syria as well as the need to defeat IS,” he added.

Kerry described Russia’s new focus on fighting IS militants as an opportunity to push toward a political settlement and said the “root cause” of the current migrant crisis in Europe was the violence in Syria.

He said the US is prepared to negotiate, but have not known if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russia were prepared to a negotiation.

The US has called for Assad to go, but on Saturday Kerry reaffirmed the US position that this removal “does not have to be on day one or month one… There is a process by which all the parties have to come together to reach an understanding of how this can best be achieved,” according to BBC.

He said the talks in London laid the groundwork for forthcoming meetings at the UN over Syria. He will leave for Berlin on Sunday.

With inputs from IANS

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China, US Set To Take Action Against Each Other

US business executives are now bracing for further retaliation from China due to Meng's arrest

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USA, China,
President Donald Trump with China's President Xi Jinping during their bilateral meeting, Dec. 1, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. VOA

China and the US are set to take action against each other as tensions escalate over trade, cyber hacking and espionage as senior American law enforcement officials identified Beijing as the most serious threat to Washington’s national security, officials said.

China’s methods of non-traditional espionage, including their use of ordinary Chinese expatriates instead of spies at universities and businesses, and intellectual property theft, were explained by the officials from the FBI and Departments of Justice and Homeland Security who briefed US lawmakers on Wednesday, CNN reported.

“As the US proceeds a whole of society response to this threat, we must address the vulnerabilities within our system while preserving our values and the open, free and fair principles that have made us thrive,” E.W. Priestap, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Assistant Director of Counter-intelligence told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“What hangs in the balance is not just the future of the US, but the future of the world.”

The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) top national security official told lawmakers on Wednesday the administration was reacting to China’s “steadily increasing” economic espionage activity, which costs the US an estimated $225 billion a year.

From 2011 to 2018, more than 90 per cent of the DOJ’s cases alleging economic espionage by a state have involved China, and more than two-thirds of trade secret thefts have a nexus to China, Assistant Attorney General John Demers said.

Donald Trump, democrats, government,, pakistan
U.S. President Donald Trump. VOA

“From underwater drones and autonomous vehicles to critical chemical compounds and inbred corn seeds, China has targeted advanced technology across sectors that align with China’s publicly announced strategic goals,” Demers said. “The play book is simple: rob, replicate and replace.”

Priestap and his colleagues testified hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed in an interview with Fox News that the US believes Beijing was behind the massive cyber-attack on the Marriott hotel chain, CNN reported.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the assault was part of a broader Chinese operation that also targeted health insurers and the security clearance files of millions of Americans.

Also Read- Bug Spotted in Microsoft Office 365, Outlook

Those disclosures came a day after President Donald Trump said that he would be willing to use Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Meng Wanzhou who was arrested in Canada for violating US sanctions on Iran as a bargaining chip in his trade war with Beijing, which for now is in a 90-day pause.

A Canadian judge on Tuesday night granted Meng a $7.5 million bail, while she awaits extradition to the US.

US business executives are now bracing for further retaliation from China due to Meng’s arrest. (IANS)