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Maritime security, regional connectivity brings together India, US, Japan

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

New York:  India, US and Japan, reflecting the growing convergence of their interests in the Indo-Pacific region, have agreed to work together to strengthen regional connectivity and to maintain maritime security through greater collaboration.

The agreement was reached at the inaugural US-India-Japan Trilateral Ministerial dialogue held here Tuesday on the sidelines of the 70th UN General Assembly session.

US Secretary of State John Kerry hosted the dialogue with Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.

Representing a quarter of the world’s population and economic production power, the three countries highlighted their shared support for peace, democracy, prosperity, and a rules-based international order, according to a joint statement.

The three Ministers highlighted the growing convergence of their respective countries’ interests in the Indo-Pacific region.

“It’s an important moment for us to be able to underscore our interest in the Indo-Pacific region as part of India’s East Asia policy, and also part of Japan’s very active engagement with South and Southeast Asia,” said Kerry.

“For India, the Asia Pacific and the Indian Ocean region is strategic to our security and economic interests,” said Swaraj.

“The sea lanes of communication in the region are the lifeline of India’s trade and commercial externalities,” Swaraj added.

“To realize our mutual objectives, we intend to grow our exchanges into complete trilateral engagement in other areas, including regional connectivity and humanitarian assistance in disaster situation,” she said.

“The Pacific and the Indian Oceans are beginning to link together as oceans of freedom and prosperity, driving the advent of a new era when Indo-Pacific region becomes the epicenter of global prosperity,” said Kishida.

“The trilateral partnership of the US, India, and Japan has an extremely important role to play in pulling this new era forward,” he said.

The joint statement said the three ministers also underscored the importance of international law and peaceful settlement of disputes; freedom of navigation and overflight; and unimpeded lawful commerce, including in the South China Sea, it said.

They reiterated their support for ASEAN centrality in the multilateral political and security architecture in the Asia-Pacific region and emphasized the importance of the East Asia Summit as the premier leader-level forum for addressing key political and security issues of the region.

The three countries agreed to work together to maintain maritime security through greater collaboration, the statement said.

The US and India welcomed Japan’s participation in the 2015 MALABAR exercise.

Recognizing the three countries’ extensive disaster response capabilities and converging interests, the three sides agreed to convene an experts-level group on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to enhance ability to respond jointly to complex disasters.

In an effort to capitalise on collective capacities in promoting regional economic linkages, the three Ministers launched an experts-level group on regional connectivity to identify collaborative efforts that can help strengthen regional connectivity, including between South and Southeast Asia.

The three Ministers expressed interest in exploring trilateral cooperation on women’s skill enhancement and economic empowerment to further social and economic development.

All three Ministers welcomed the inaugural Trilateral Ministerial as a platform for strengthening cooperation and noted their interest in meeting again.

(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)