WASHINGTON (AP) — China bluntly told the United States to stop sending ships and military aircraft close to islands claimed by Beijing in the South China Sea, during talks Friday that set the stage for a meeting between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping later this month.
The U.S. pushed back, insisting it will continue to “fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows.” In late September, U.S. and Chinese vessels nearly collided near a disputed reef.
Despite the frank airing of differences at the meeting in Washington of the two nations’ top diplomats and military chiefs, both sides stressed the need to tamp down tensions, which have flared amid a bitter trade dispute that Trump and Xi are expected to tackle at the Group of 20 summit in Argentina.
“The United States is not pursuing a policy of Cold War containment with China,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters following the U.S.-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue. “Rather we want to ensure that China acts responsibly and fairly in support of security and prosperity of each of our two countries.”
The talks were due to be held in Beijing last month but were postponed after Washington announced new arms sales to Taiwan, and after a Chinese destroyer came close to the USS Decatur in late September in what the U.S. Navy called an “unsafe and unprofessional maneuver.” Beijing has sweeping but disputed sovereignty claims in the area.
“The Chinese side made it clear to the United States that it should stop sending its vessels and military aircraft close to Chinese islands and reefs and stop actions that undermine Chinese authority and security interests,” said Pompeo’s Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi, who also had sharp words over U.S. support for Taiwan.
CAIRO (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis from the Hodeida area have been forced to flee amid a Saudi-led coalition offensive to take the key Red Sea port city from Shiite rebels, the United Nations’ refugee agency said Friday, as fierce battles continue to rage in the area.
Some 445,000 of the Hodeida governorate’s residents have fled since June, a figure that underscores the dire situation in and around the city that serves as the main entry point for food and aid, the UNHCR said. The governorate’s population is around 3 million, according to figures from the Norwegian Refugee Council.
The UNHCR also expressed concern over the safety of those trapped in Hodeida as the intensified military operations “are increasingly confining populations and cutting off exit routes.” Figures on those still in Hodeida are difficult to gauge, the agency added.
Yemeni government forces supported by the coalition’s air and naval forces continue to engage in heavy fighting with the rebels, known as Houthis. The fighting has killed dozens of combatants from both sides, with dozens of military vehicles destroyed or burning along the front lines.
In a Friday statement, Yemen’s internationally recognized government based in the southern city of Aden said its forces are advancing toward the north and west of Hodeida and across all fronts with cover from the coalition.
Also on Friday, the World Health Organization said the violence in Hodeida is in close proximity to the city’s health facilities, impeding their ability to function and restricting the movement of health staff, patients and ambulances.
The Saudi-led coalition’s latest push toward Hodeida comes as Yemen’s civil war is a few months away from entering its fourth year. The coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 with the aim of defeating the Iran-aligned rebels and to restore the government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. But the coalition has recently come under mounting international pressure to end the war that has resulted in what the U.N. says is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Dutch officials said Friday they will prosecute a nursing home doctor for euthanizing an elderly woman with dementia, the first time a doctor has been charged since the Netherlands legalized euthanasia in 2002.
Dutch prosecutors said in a statement the doctor “had not acted carefully” and “overstepped a line” when she performed euthanasia. Officials first began probing the case in September, when they found the doctor had drugged the patient’s coffee and then had family members hold her down while delivering the fatal injection.
The doctor said she was fulfilling the patient’s earlier euthanasia request and that since the patient was not competent, nothing the woman said during her euthanasia procedure was relevant.
But Dutch prosecutors argued that the patient’s written euthanasia request was “unclear and contradictory.”
“In her living will, the woman wrote that she wanted to be euthanized ‘whenever I think the time is right.’ But after being asked several times in the nursing home whether she wanted to die, she said, ‘Not just now, it’s not so bad yet,‘” according to an earlier report by one of the Netherlands’ euthanasia review committees.
“Even if the patient had said at that moment: ‘I don’t want to die,’ the physician would have continued,” the committee wrote, citing the doctor’s own testimony.
Prosecutors said on Friday that the doctor should have verified with the patient whether or not she still wanted to die and that “the fact that she had become demented does not alter this.”
Johan Legemaate, a professor of health law at the University of Amsterdam, said: “The patient’s declaration has to be clear enough to the situation so doctors know when euthanasia can be applied.”
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