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#China can help G20 enter new phase says Enrico Letta

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Enrico-Letta_h_partbAs China continues with its intensive preparations ahead of the G20 summit in the eastern city of Hangzhou in September, the country not only faces a mission to find a recipe for global economic growth, but also show its leadership in reviving the original decisive role of this multilateral framework, according to former Italian prime minister Enrico Letta (pictured)writes Deputy Chief of China Daily Europe Bureau Fu Jing.

"We need fresh air to restore the original role of the G20, and China's strong and pragmatic presidency this year can help inject this fresh air," he told China Daily in an interview in Shanghai.

Letta says China has been granted an historic responsibility to bring the G20 into what he calls the third phase since the inception of this multilateral platform by the world's leading politicians in 2008, when the financial crisis began to damage the global economy.

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Before taking his current position as dean of the Paris School of International Affairs, part of Sciences Po, the 50-year-old worked as a member of the European Parliament and as a party political leader in Italy. As the nation's prime minister, from 2013 to 2014, he participated in meetings of the G8 (now the G7 after Russia was excluded) in Northern Ireland and the G20 in Russia.

His lengthy political experience has led him to conclude that the G20 is the best global framework for responding to international challenges.

At first, world leaders were united in finding fiscal remedies and fighting trade protectionism when dealing with financial upheaval, which Letta credits for the success of the G20 in the beginning. However, after three or four summits, the G20 entered into a quiet phase, he says.

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"The last two (in Australia and Turkey) in particular were just ceremonial, and China faces a mission to recover the G20."

Letta says hosting the G20 is not just a chance to show China on the world stage, but also a major responsibility. Yet the decision by the international community to give China the rotating presidency was not a given. He says the country faced tough competition from Japan, but as Japan was to host the G7 summits in May, China was chosen.

"There was a big contest between China and Japan, and I think giving China this chance is a sign of goodwill from the international community. It did the right thing in my view."

In spite of the "quiet moments" of previous years, Letta says the G20 is an inclusive global platform that has obvious advantages compared with the United Nations and the G7. The UN General Assembly is a platform to hear the opinions of the world, but it is difficult to reach a consensus among the 200 leaders, he says. "The G7 has never had the capacity to be so effective and so concrete in terms of reaching a consensus and implementation compared with the G20."

China's leadership at this year's G20 summit will be crucial to "working together to be decisive in achieving outcomes", he adds. "It's in the interest of China to show its commitment, and the G20 needs a big push. Combining these two aspects, I hope the G20 in September can be a turning point."

Letta says China is working hard in its preparations to turn the G20 into a stable and effective framework, but he adds that success depends on the three weeks running up to the leaders' summit. Letta says, ultimately, the G20 should be flexible enough respond to what is happening in the world.

First, it should respond to the immigration issue, which the UN and other international groups have been working on, he says, adding that he also pins high hopes on concrete ideas and projects to be raised at the G20. "The statement should not be too general, and G20 success depends on how concrete the solutions and outcomes are. You have to be very, very focused."

For example, he says, leaders at the G20 should discuss about choosing the UN leadership, which will be decided at the end of September at the international organization's general assembly.

Letta says the G20 summit in Hangzhou and the decisions regarding the UN leadership are two of the most important international issues this year.

"China should shoulder the responsibility of recovering the G20 and choosing the leaders of the UN. Instead of leaving this choice to diplomatic negotiations in New York, leaders at the G20 summit should help find the right people to lead the UN."  He also predicts that fighting trade protectionism will once again top the G20 agenda, which is expected to inject confidence into global trade.

He argues that Europe and the US are resorting to protectionism. In the US, he says, both sides involved in the presidential campaign have shown worrying trends, while some countries in Europe are taking serious protectionist measures in places where people are concerned about unemployment.

"Politicians are responding the public fears and are raising protectionism. We need a new phase of confidence on trade."

As for granting China market economy status, Letta says China and Europe should talk with each other to solve the problem.

"I know it's a crucial topic for China, but I think the country needs to understand that in Europe there are many concerns about trade. The political landscape today in Europe is leading to the rise of populists.

"The changing political landscape gives us a lot to worry about because this populist movement is antiglobalization, anti-integration, anti-US, anti-China, which is not good for Europe." He says three things have led to the current situation in Europe, which symbolizes a new kind of nationalism, each country against each country, and Europe against the rest of the world.

First, the people fear an influx of immigrants, he says. Second, the consequences of the financial crisis are still unfolding. And third, the weakness of a Western society in which the people are anti-establishment, which is obvious in politics and society.     "My conclusion is that China needs to understand this very complicated situation in Europe. This attitude against free trade in Europe is not against China. The same for the US."

However, Letta argues that it is possible to find a solution on market economy status. "We need to work together. I believe bilateral relations will not be affected. It is in the common interests of China and Europe to find solutions to this topic and strengthen ties."

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Lithuanian cybersecurity agency finds Chinese phones risk personal data leakage

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The National Cyber ​​Security Center under the Ministry of National Defense (NKSC) of Lithuania conducted a security investigation of the Chinese manufacturers Huawei P40 5G, Xiaomi Mi 10T 5G and OnePlus 8T 5G smart 5G devices sold in Lithuania.

“This study was initiated in order to ensure the safe use of 5G mobile devices sold in Lithuania and the software contained in them within our country. Three Chinese manufacturers have been selected who have been offering 5G mobile devices to Lithuanian consumers since last year and who have been identified by the international community as posing certain cyber security risks,” said Margiris Abukevičius, deputy minister of national defence.

The study identified four key cyber security risks. Two relate to gadgets installed on the manufacturer's devices, one to the risk of personal data leakage and one to possible restrictions on freedom of expression. Three risks were identified at Xiaomi's device, one at Huawei, and no cyber security vulnerabilities were identified at OnePlus' mobile device.

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Risks for gadgets manufacturers

Analyzing Huawei's 5G smartphone performance, the researchers found that the device's official app app store, App App, which does not find the user-requested app, automatically redirects it to third-party email. stores where some gadget antivirus programs have been rated as malicious or infected with viruses. Researchers have also attributed cyber security risks to Xiaomi's Mi Browser. It uses not only the standard Google Analytics module in other browsers, but also the Chinese Sensor Data, which collects and periodically sends up to 61 parameter data about the actions performed on the user's phone.

“In our opinion, this is really redundant information about user actions. The fact that this rich statistical information is sent and stored in an encrypted channel on Xiaomi servers in third countries where the General Data Protection Regulation does not apply is also a risk,” said Dr. Tautvydas Bakšys.

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Restrictions on freedom of expression

Analyzing the performance of the Xiaomi device, the researchers found that it had the technical capability to censor the content downloaded to it. Even several manufacturer's gadgets on your phone, including the Mi Browser, periodically receive a manufacturer's blocked keyword list. When it detects that the content you want to send contains words in the list, the device automatically blocks that content.

At the time of the study, the list included 449 keywords or groups of keywords in Chinese characters, such as "Free Tibet", "Voice of America", "Democratic Movement" "Longing Taiwan Independence" and more.

"We found that the content filtering function was disabled on Xiaomi phones sold in Lithuania and did not perform content censorship, but the lists were sent periodically. The device has the technical capability to activate this filtering function remotely at any minute without the user's knowledge and to start analyzing the downloaded content. We do not rule out the possibility that the list of blocked words could be compiled not only in Chinese but also in Latin characters,” added Bakšys.

Risk of personal data leakage

The risk of personal data leakage has been identified on a Xiaomi device when a user chooses to use the Xiaomi Cloud service on the Xiaomi device. To activate this service, an encrypted SMS registration message is sent from the device, which is not saved anywhere later. "Investigators were unable to read the contents of this encrypted message, so we can't tell you what information the device sent. This automated sending of messages and the hiding of their content by the manufacturer poses potential threats to the security of the user's personal data, because without his knowledge, data of unknown content can be collected and transmitted to servers in third countries," added Bakšys.

Lithuania has already incurred China's rancour; in August, Beijing demanded that it recall its ambassador after it established a representative office in Taiwan, which claims that Taiwan (Republic of China) is part of China (People's Republic of China).

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Competition: EU, US and the People's Republic of China participated in the Fifth Global Maritime Regulatory Summit

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On 7 September, senior government officials from the EU, the US and the People's Republic of China participated in the Fifth Global Maritime Regulatory Summit. Participants included representatives of the competition and maritime authorities responsible for regulating international liner shipping in the world's largest liner trade lanes.

The summit covered sectoral developments since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, including the challenges faced by the international container transport sector and broader issues of maritime supply chains. Participants agreed that the pandemic presented operators in shipping companies, ports and logistics services with exceptional challenges, on routes to and from the EU as well in other parts of the world.

They exchanged views on the respective actions undertaken by their jurisdictions, as well as future outlook and perspectives, including possible actions to increase the resilience of the sector. The summit takes place every two years and is a forum to foster cooperation between the three authorities. The next summit will be convened in 2023 in China.

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Reimagining a more resilient UN system with Taiwan in it

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After more than 200 million infections and over 4 million deaths and counting, the COVID-19 pandemic has raged across the globe. This has created a profoundly devastating socio-economic impact on our interconnected world, with virtually no countries spared. The pandemic has disrupted global trade, exacerbated poverty, impeded education, and compromised gender equality, with middle to low income nations bearing the brunt of the burden, writes Jaushieh Joseph Wu, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of China (Taiwan) (pictured, below).

As many countries brace for another spike of the virus, prompted by the highly contagious Delta variant, the world looks up to the United Nations (UN) to ramp up comprehensive efforts to resolve the crisis, ensure better recovery, and rebuild sustainably. This is a daunting task that requires all hands on deck. It is time for the global body to welcome Taiwan, a valuable and worthy partner that stands ready to lend a helping hand.  

Over the past few months, Taiwan, like many other countries, has been dealing with a surge of COVID-19 cases after almost a year of success in containing the virus. Yet, it got a handle on the situation and emerged even more ready to work with allies and partners to tackle the challenges posed by the pandemic. Taiwan’s effective response to the pandemic, its rapid capacity expansion to meet global supply chain demand, and its substantive assistance toward partner countries around the world all speak to the fact that there is no lack of compelling reasons for Taiwan to play a constructive role in the UN system.

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However, under pressure from the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the UN and its specialized agencies continue to reject Taiwan, citing the 1971 UN General Assembly Resolution 2758 (XXVI) as a legal basis for this exclusion. But the language of the resolution is crystal clear: it merely addresses the issue of China’s representation in the UN; there is no mention of Chinese claim of sovereignty over Taiwan, nor does it authorize the PRC to represent Taiwan in the UN system. The fact is, the PRC has never governed Taiwan. This is the reality and status quo across the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. The Taiwanese people can only be represented on the international stage by their popularly elected government. By falsely equating the language of the resolution with Beijing’s “one China Principle,” the PRC is arbitrarily imposing its political views on the UN.

The absurdity doesn’t end there. This exclusion also obstructs the participation of Taiwan’s civil society. Taiwanese passport holders are denied access to UN premises, both for tours and meetings, while Taiwanese journalists cannot obtain accreditation to cover UN events. The only reason for this discriminatory treatment is their nationality. Barring members of Taiwan’s civil society from the UN defeats the ideal of multilateralism, contravenes the UN’s founding principles of promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and hampers the UN’s overall efforts.

For six decades, Taiwan has been providing assistance to partner countries around the world. Since the adoption of the UN 2030 Agenda, it has focused on helping partners achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and, more recently, engage in antipandemic response and postpandemic recovery. Meanwhile, at home, Taiwan has fulfilled its SDGs in gender equality, clean water and sanitation, and good health and well-being, among others. Our innovative, community-based solutions are harnessing public-private partnerships for the benefit of society as a whole.

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The World Happiness Report 2021, released by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, ranked Taiwan the happiest in East Asia, and 24th in the world. The ranking indicates how the people of a country feel about the social support they receive, and reflects in large part a country’s implementation of the SDGs. Taiwan is willing to pass on its experience and work with global partners to build a better and more resilient future for all.

At a time when the world is sounding the clarion call for climate actions and to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, Taiwan is actively charting a roadmap toward the goal, and has drafted dedicated legislation to facilitate this process. Climate change knows no borders, and concerted efforts are a must if we want a sustainable future. Taiwan knows this, and is working on the best ways to turn the challenges of carbon reduction into new opportunities.

In his oath of office in June this year, UN Secretary-General António Guterres stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed our shared vulnerability and interconnectedness. He said that the UN, and the states and people it serves, can only benefit from bringing others to the table.

Denying partners that have the ability to contribute is a moral and material loss to the world as we seek to recover better together. Taiwan is a force for good. Now is the time to bring Taiwan to the table and let Taiwan help.

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