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Iran Press TV

US pressures Japan, South Korea to speak out against China

Iran Press TV

Saturday, 14 November 2020 11:19 AM

The US administration has pressured Japan and South Korea to speak out against China over its regional policies, despite their close trading relationships with Beijing.

Marc Knapper, a member of the Senior Foreign Service of the US Department of State, said on Friday that Washington understood Tokyo and Seoul had "very complex and nuanced relationships" with China, but stressed the need for Beijing to be taken to task.

"Regardless of the fact that there are very important trading relationships and others ... we all should be able to stand up and speak out when we see bad behavior from China," Knapper told an online event hosted by Brookings Institution think tank in Washington, DC.

Pointing to the issue of democracy and freedom of speech, the senior US diplomat said, "We hope and expect that Korea and Japan and others will stand up and speak out on behalf of these things."

Knapper also stressed the importance of South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Southeast Asian countries working with the US and each other to ensure their citizens' data was protected from China, which has been accused by Washington of intelligence theft.

Tokyo and Seoul are set to join 13 other Asia Pacific economies this weekend in signing a China-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which could become the world's largest free trade agreement.

The RCEP seems to have angered the US, whose relations with China have hit the lowest level in decades under incumbent President Donald Trump.

Washington and Beijing are at loggerheads over a host of issues, including trade, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the origins and handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the disputed South China Sea.

Trump bans US investments in companies linked to Chinese military

Meanwhile, the Trump administration on Thursday unveiled an executive order prohibiting US investments in Chinese companies that Washington claimed are owned or controlled by the Chinese military.

Media reports said the move was designed to deter US investment firms, pension funds and others from buying shares of 31 Chinese companies that had been designated by the US Defense Department and backed by the Chinese military.

"China is increasingly exploiting United States capital to resource and to enable the development and modernization of its military, intelligence, and other security apparatuses," said the order released by the White House.

The order, as Reuters news agency said, would come into force as of January and could impact some of China's biggest companies, including China Telecom Corp Ltd, China Mobile Ltd and surveillance equipment maker Hikvision.

The Chinese embassy in Washington has yet to comment on the ban.

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