China has issued a stark warning following a stunning landslide victory for pro-democracy candidates in Hong Kong’s first elections since anti-government unrest gripped the city several months ago.
Foreign minister Wang Yi emphasized that the city will always be ruled from Beijing, and said that ongoing violence and “attempts to disrupt Hong Kong” would not be tolerated, as several hundred people took to the streets in solidarity with protesters at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, which has been under siege by police for over a week, according to The Guardian.
Wang told reporters at the G20 meeting in Tokyo, adding “Any attempts to disrupt Hong Kong or undermine its stability and prosperity will not succeed.”
The election results pose a dilemma for Beijing, and Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam. Hand-picked to rule by party leaders, she is widely accepted to have coordinated her hardline response to protesters with China’s top leadership.
Before the vote, Lam often claimed she had the support of a “silent majority”, as she refused to compromise. With that position untenable after pro-government candidates were swept from power across the city, holding on to barely one in 10 seats on district councils, she took a more conciliatory approach.
On Monday, she promised to respect the election results and “listen humbly” to the views of the public. Refusing to compromise would almost certainly inflame residents and protesters further, nearly six months into a deep political crisis. –The Guardian
Following Wang’s comments, ministry spokesman Geng Shuang reiterated a warning to the protesters, saying “The most urgent task for Hong Kong at present is to stop violence, control chaos and restore order,” and that “The Chinese government is unswervingly determined to safeguard national sovereignty, and to oppose any interference in Hong Kong affairs by external forces.”
Since mid-2018, Turkey has faced mounting financial woes, with the lira devaluating after several rounds of interest rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve and amid the heightened geostrategic tensions with its NATO allies.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Turks to convert their foreign currency to Turkish lira, asking them to “leave the dollar”.
“Leave the dollar and the rest. Let’s turn to our money, the Turkish lira. The Turkish lira doesn’t lose value anymore. Let’s show our patriotism like this,” Erdogan said.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan also added that Turkey plans to have its own locally made fighter jet ready in 5-6 years amid an ongoing dispute with the United States over the purchase of F-35 jets.
In 2019 lira has dropped 10 percent, as the Turkish government has delayed key economic reforms amid the rising political tensions within the country.
In 2018 Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that his country would boycott US electronic goods, citing “an economic attack” against Turkey. He continued to say that Turks should instead opt for locally produced gadgets or those manufactured by Turkey’s economic partners, possibly “new” ones, in a bid to strengthen the lira.
Turkish national currency collapsed amid geopolitical tensions and deteriorating relations with the United States.
In mid-September last year, the central bank raised its key rate by 625 basis points to 24 percent per annum, which helped strengthen the Turkish lira.
Dozens of countries have been echoing calls to negotiate a treaty to retain “meaningful human control over the use of force”, including 30 states that want to ban fully autonomous weapons, also known as lethal autonomous weapons systems.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) advocacy director Mary Wareham believes the use of autonomous weaponry has emerged as “one of the most pressing threats to humanity” in the world today, as she berated leading nations for failing to take adequate measures to tackle the problem.
The expert has issued a warning that killer robots would potentially be able to “wipe out swathes of the human population with unaccountable attacks.”
Outlining the risks of AI in the battlefield, the advocacy director of HRW arms division wrote in an open letter published by HRW:
“Major military powers are racing to embrace weapons that select and fire on targets without meaningful human control. This is raising the spectre of immoral, unaccountable, largely uncontrollable weapon systems – killer robots. It is also driving fears of widespread proliferation and arms races leading to global and regional instability.”
The expert emphasised that many countries were beginning to sound the alarm on these weapons systems, as in mid-November the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the annual meeting of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) called for a new international treaty to ban killer robots, stating that “machines that have the power and discretion to kill without human intervention are politically unacceptable and morally despicable”.”
Campaign group Campaign to Stop Killer Robots has called for a global treaty completely banning the use of fully autonomous weapons.
Mary Wareham deplored the fact that no progress had been made towards launching negotiations on a treaty to ban or restrict such fully autonomous weapons at the meeting of the CCW at the UN in Geneva.
Instead, states had agreed to spend the following two years developing a “normative and operational framework” to address concerns raised by such weapons systems.
“This vague objective falls far short of what’s needed. The only appropriate response is to launch negotiations to ban killer robots,” insists the expert.
According to Wareham, the public is increasingly behind such a ban.
Almost three in every four people responding to a new poll in 10 European countries want their governments to work for an international treaty prohibiting lethal autonomous weapons systems, Human Rights Watch said earlier in November.
73 per cent of respondents want European states to take action to support a ban on weapon systems that could select and attack targets without meaningful human control.
For example, in the Netherlands, 80 per cent of respondents were in favour of the Dutch government supporting such a ban. The survey, conducted in October, included respondents in Belgium, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Norway, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland.