Xinhua News Agency

Founded in 1931, Xinhua News Agency is one of the largest news organizations in the world, with over 10,000 employees across the globe. As the main source of news and information for China, Xinhua plays a key role in shaping the country's media landscape and communicating its perspectives to the world. The agency produces a wide range of content, including text news articles, photos, videos, and social media posts, in both Chinese and English, and its reports are widely used by media organizations around the world. Xinhua also operates several international bureaus, including in key capitals like Washington, D.C., Moscow, and London, to provide in-depth coverage of global events.

A Smarter Way to Seal Containers: How Digitalization is Improving Logistics

Chinese researchers have developed a digitalized container sealing technology and promoted it to an international standard to facilitate global container transportation.

The container standard was officially released by the International Organization for Standardization (IOS) in Geneva, Switzerland, according to researchers from the East China Normal University (ECNU).

This remarkable development signifies a major breakthrough in the establishment of international standards in the fields of logistics and transportation as well as the advancement of digitalization in container logistics.

The ECNU researchers have dedicated eight years to conducting extensive research and development (R&D) of container sealing technology embedded with QR code or Near Field Communication (NFC), along with its industrial application. Their efforts have resulted in significant contributions towards enhancing the intelligence level of international container transportation and reducing logistics costs.

For container transportation, each container comes with a seal that can be used to track the container’s delivery and safety conditions, and serves as its handover certificate. However, traditional mechanical seals are vulnerable to illegal tampering, resulting in smuggling or theft during the logistics process.

The latest development has transformed container seals from mechanical to digital, utilizing the power of BeiDou and low-orbit satellites. This technological advancement has enabled real-time, visualized, traceable, and big data integrated monitoring of container seals.

The container seals equipped with NFC or QR code are a type of electronic lock that facilitates transportation tracking and safety condition monitoring, said Bao Qifan, a professor at the ECNU.

He added that the research project proposal was submitted to the IOS in December 2017 for the first time, and the third proposal passed the assessment in June 2021.

Currently, digitalized container seals are being used in various industries and applications such as inspection and quarantine in China, domestic trade container transportation, the transportation of dangerous goods, energy, food and daily chemical products, as well as the petrochemical industry and logistics.

Since 2019, Sinotrans Container Lines, a marine transportation services provider, has extensively used container seals equipped with NFC or QR codes in its Asian routes.

According to Bao, almost 6 million container seals have been sold to the United States and Canada, among other countries, and the order volume is increasing year by year.

Accountability and Performance: China’s Commitment to Africa in the New Era

(Xinhua) — China put forward the principles of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith, and pursuing the greater good and shared interests in 2013 to guide its cooperation with Africa.

Over the past decade, China’s efforts have greatly improved African people’s life quality and well-being and strengthened African countries’ development capacity. The two sides have also cooperated to build a robust China-Africa community with a shared future in multiple fields.


Being unable to access quality disease-resistant seeds that can withstand harsh climates has hindered African countries from becoming food-secure. Millions of people have been starvation-plagued for years, and malnutrition has been common on the continent.

China has helped African countries boost food security and alleviate poverty by introducing hybrid rice.

Charles Ngendakumana, a farmer in Bubanza province, northwestern Burundi, is a beneficiary of this initiative. Five years ago, with the guidance of Chinese agricultural experts, Ngendakumana started growing hybrid rice known for withstanding climatic stresses, pests and diseases.

After that, his farmland in Ninga, a village in the Commune of Gihanga, increased from half a hectare to five hectares, and the yield per hectare also tripled.

“I want to buy more land, more cows and several new water pumps when the dry season comes,” said Ngendakumana. This was unthinkable before the Chinese experts arrived when it was arduous work to secure enough food.

China has supported addressing food shortages on the African continent through various means, such as dispatching experts and constructing demonstration villages.


China has simplified import procedures to boost trade in African agricultural products. This March, the first batch of fresh Kenyan avocados arrived at a port in Shanghai and quickly made their way to Chinese homes.

Agribusiness Kakuzi Limited is one of the local firms that have secured regulatory approval to export avocados to China after Kenya signed bilateral trade protocols with China in January 2022, which paved the way for the shipments of highly nutritious tropical fruit and aquatic products.

The shipments to China have provided much-needed growth leverage for Kenyan producers seeking to diversify their markets, said Kakuzi’s managing director Christopher Flowers.

Benjamin Tito, head of the Horticultural Crops Directorate in Kenya, announced last October that Kenya had exported 1.7 million kilograms of avocados three months after exports began in August 2022. “China offers a huge opportunity for our farmers,” he said.

African specialties, such as coffee from Ethiopia, cashew nuts from Tanzania and cocoa from Cote d’Ivoire, all added to the number of “Made in Africa” products appearing on store shelves across China.

The flow of African agricultural products into China has helped reduce poverty and contributes to Africa’s sustainable growth.


With many African countries struggling with poor infrastructure in the past, China saw the untapped potential. In recent years, Africa has seen rapid transformation and development, from landmark infrastructure projects like the Africa CDC headquarters and the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway to capacity-building initiatives such as the Luban Workshops.

The water supply project completed in 2022 by a Chinese company in Cabinda Province, Angola, involves 74 centralized water points covering 24,000 households. Water became available 24 hours a day, easing supply shortages in local industries, schools and port transport, benefiting 92 percent of the province’s residents.

According to Mario Augusto Caetano Joao, Angola’s minister of economy and planning, Angola never lacked water, but resources were not effectively used. “Thanks to the technology and experience brought by Chinese companies, the situation is improving,” the minister said.

China and Africa, which together account for about one-third of the world’s population, are working closely to build a high-level community with a shared future crucial to the well-being of all humankind, according to Kenyan international relations expert Cavince Adhere.

The cooperation between China and Africa has been instrumental to green development in African countries. In the desert-capped Kenyan county of Garissa, a China-funded solar power plant, the largest of its kind in East and Central Africa, has helped the region achieve green energy sufficiency since 2019.

According to Ajay Mathur, director general of the International Solar Alliance, many solar panels and cells used in Africa are manufactured in China. Mathur highlighted China’s involvement in realizing Africa’s quest for solar energy development, addressing the close link between Chinese solar energy technology manufacturers and African technology users.

Unveiling the Tragic Reality: 80K Victims of Gun Violence in 2022, A Tragic Blow to US Human Rights


“The year 2022 witnessed a landmark setback for U.S. human rights. In the United States, a country labeling itself a “human rights defender,” “chronic diseases” such as money politics, racial discrimination, gun and police violence, and wealth polarization are rampant. Human rights legislation and justice have seen an extreme retrogression, further undermining the basic rights and freedoms of the American people,” the Report on Human Rights Violations in the United States in 2022 issued by China today.

“The U.S. government has greatly relaxed gun control, resulting in high death toll from gun violence. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Bruen case in 2022 became a landmark regression in the field of gun control in the United States. Nearly half of U.S. states have relaxed gun restrictions. The United States leads the world in gun ownership, gun homicide and mass shootings, with more than 80,000 people killed or injured by gun violence in 2022, the third consecutive year on record that the United States experiences more than 600 mass shootings. Gun violence has become an “American disease,” the report asserted.

Midterm elections have become the most expensive ones in the United States, and American-style democracy has lost its popular support. The cost of elections in the United States has soared again, with cumulative spending of the 2022 midterm elections exceeding more than 16.7 billion U.S. dollars. Political donations from billionaires accounted for 15 percent of the federal total, up from 11 percent in the 2020 election cycle. “Dark money” donations manipulate U.S. elections furtively, and political polarization and social fragmentation make it difficult for the country to reach a democratic consensus. With 69 percent of Americans believing their democracy is at “risk of collapse” and 86 percent of American voters saying it faces “very serious threats,” there is a general public disillusionment of American-style democracy.

Racism is on the rise and ethnic minorities suffer widespread discrimination. Hate crimes based on racial bias in the United States increased dramatically between 2020 and 2022. The racist massacre at a Buffalo supermarket, with 10 African-Americans killed, has shocked the world. A total of 81 percent of Asian Americans say violence against Asian communities is surging. African Americans are 2.78 times more likely to be killed by police than whites. The sufferings caused by genocide and cultural assimilation taken by the U.S. government against Indians and other aborigines in history still persist today.

Life expectancy has plummeted, and deaths from drug abuse continue to climb. According to a report released in August 2022 by the National Center for Health Statistics under the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, average life expectancy in the United States dropped by 2.7 years to 76.1 years from 2019 to 2021, the lowest since 1996. Interest groups and politicians trade power for money, allowing drug and substance abuse to flourish. The number of Americans dying from drug and substance abuse has increased dramatically in recent years, to more than 100,000 per year. Substance abuse has become one of America’s most devastating public health crises.

Women have lost constitutional protections for abortion, and children’s living environment is worrying. The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade has ended women’s right to abortion protected by the U.S. Constitution for nearly 50 years, which lands a huge blow to women’s human rights and gender equality. In 2022, more than 5,800 children under the age of 18 got injured or killed by shooting in the United States, and the number of school shootings amounted to 302, the highest since 1970. The child poverty rate in the United States increased from 12.1 percent in December 2021 to 16.6 percent in May 2022, with 3.3 million more children living in poverty. The United States had seen a nearly 70 percent increase in child labor violations since 2018, and registered a 26 percent increase in minors employed in hazardous occupations in fiscal year 2022.

U.S. abuse of force and unilateral sanctions has created humanitarian disasters. Since the beginning of the 21st century, the United States has carried out military operations in 85 countries in the name of “anti-terrorism,” which directly claimed at least 929,000 civilian lives and displaced 38 million people. The United States has imposed more unilateral sanctions than any other country in the world, and it still has sanctions in place against more than 20 countries, resulting in the inability of those targeted to provide basic food and medicine for their people. Immigration issue has become a tool of partisan fight, and immigration farces have been staged on a large scale, making immigrants face extreme xenophobia and cruel treatment. There were a record high of nearly 2.4 million migrant arrests at the nation’s border in 2022, and the death toll of immigrants at its southern border reached 856, the deadliest in a single year.

The United States, founded on colonialism, racist slavery and inequality in labor, possession and distribution, has further fallen into a quagmire of system failure, governance deficits, racial divide and social unrest in recent years under the interaction of its polarized economic distribution pattern, racial conflict dominated social pattern and capital interest groups controlled political pattern.

American politicians, serving the interests of oligarchs, have gradually lost their subjective will and objective ability to respond to the basic demands of ordinary people and defend the basic rights of ordinary citizens, and failed to solve their own structural problems of human rights. Instead, they wantonly use human rights as a weapon to attack other countries, creating confrontation, division and chaos in the international community, and have thus become a spoiler and obstructor of global human rights development.

Click here to read Part 01 and Part 02 of the report

“Spectacular failure” of U.S.-style democracy implementation in targeted countries, asserts expert

Washington’s attempts to impose a U.S.-style democracy on countries like Iraq and Libya using primarily military means have been a “spectacular” failure. These countries are now left in a state of limbo and destruction, a renowned U.S. expert has said.

“The U.S. has been its own worst enemy over these past 20 years in the way it has gone to kind of hammer democracy into shape in these countries using primarily military means or (means of) coercion. It has not worked well. It’s hurting itself in the long run,” Sourabh Gupta, a senior fellow at the Institute for China-America Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, told Xinhua in an interview on Friday.

“Democracy, whoever’s style, cannot be imposed with a hammer upon any society. Whatever form of political representation arises in the society from the ground level up, one must understand local circumstances and local situations, and on that basis, build a political representative institution,” said Gupta.

“I’m afraid the U.S. doesn’t have the patience… The U.S. is trying to do this top-down without understanding local societies. And it is pretty much understandable that it has failed and failed spectacularly in many countries on which it has tried to,” he said.

“And I would say beyond the patience, it is doing this for national interest purposes than for really deepening democracy per se,” said Gupta.

Gupta criticized Washington’s intention to hold the so-called Summit for Democracy as an attempt to sow division.

“The whole purpose of democracy is inclusiveness. There is nothing inclusive about it here. This is about trying to create coalitions of the willing to participate in a us versus them competition,” he said.

“That is the real problem behind this because what the Summit for Democracy does is that it does not get down to tackling many of the real issues that we face in the global system today, which requires for a more UN-centered and more inclusive approach to solutions. And that is not where the summit is leading, and that is unfortunate,” said Gupta.

The expert said, “little by little, the summit itself is flagging and losing its vitality.”

Gupta said the Summit for Democracy in 2021 did not produce any “key deliverable. “There was nothing really. It turned into a nice grand show without any meaning,” he said.

The summit is meant “more to divide than unite” because Washington has invited countries to attend “purely on the basis of the U.S. national interests,” he said.

“For some of those countries, if it was a pro-America aligned government, it got an invite. If it was a democracy, but did not have a pro-American government, it was disinvited… Frankly, the era of these democracy summits will be known more for the backsliding in terms of democracy than any real material improvement or deliverables coming out of these summits,” he said.

Asia’s GDP expected to grow 4.5 pct in 2023: report


The weighted real GDP growth rate of Asia in 2023 is estimated to be 4.5 percent, an increase from 4.2 percent in 2022, according to a report released by the Boao Forum for Asia Tuesday.

As a major engine of the world economy, Asian economies are accelerating the pace in overall economic recovery in 2023, making it a standout performer in view of the global economic slowdown, said the report titled “Asian Economic Outlook and Integration Progress.”

According to the report, China and India would contribute half of the world’s growth this year, citing data from the International Monetary Fund.

Despite a deteriorating global labor market in 2023, the employment situation in Asia, particularly in East Asia, may turn out better than expected, according to the report.

TikTok users mock lawmakers for ‘overblown’ concerns during CEO’s congressional hearing


U.S. lawmakers early this week enacted a heinous political stunt to portray TikTok, a video-sharing social networking company, as a national security threat.

The nearly six-hour congressional grilling of TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew left one wondering what the point of the hearing was other than to expose the incompetence of some congressional members.

Despite the congressional grilling, TikTok received unwavering support from its myriad U.S. users, who defended TikTok’s innocence, expressed their support and mocked the lawmakers’ hysteria and ignorance at the hearing.


Lasting for nearly six hours, Thursday’s hearing by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce centered on data privacy and child protection, about which Chew presented the committee’s bipartisan members with steps TikTok has been taking to address the associated risks that are of concern.

Throughout the hearing, the lawmakers neither cared about nor believed in the explanation by Chew. Instead, they were blindly focused on hammering home the message that TikTok is a threat to data privacy of 150 million American users and national security.

Lacking evidence, the only excuse by which the lawmakers singled out TikTok as the must-be-banned app is that its parent company, ByteDance, operates in China. Ignoring that ByteDance is a private business, the lawmakers remain fixed on the untenable logic that companies operating in China must heed directives from the Chinese government.

The congressmen couldn’t tolerate any further explanation from Chew beyond “yes” or “no” to their fishy questions. Perhaps they feared that giving Chew one opportunity to get into details would undercut the message they tried to convey to the public, and expose their hypocrisy to those watching from every corner of the world.

One stark example was when the committee’s chair, Republican Congresswoman Cathy Rogers representing the state of Washington, goaded Chew to admit that ByteDance and TikTok used certain tactics to “spy” on Americans.

In his response, Chew challenged Rogers’ characterization of spying, but he was immediately interrupted by Rogers, who almost lost her temper when saying “I want to hear you say with 100 percent certainty” that TikTok will not engage in surveillance activities against Americans.

Denying Chew the chance to make further statements because otherwise she wouldn’t have enough time to make her own, which she was keen to spread, Rogers rushed to conclude that TikTok is a “weapon” against Americans.

Similar interruptions happened numerous times during the subsequent rounds of exchanges between Chew and other committee members. The committee asked questions to which they already had answers not because they are curious about how TikTok would handle the issues of concern. They simply wanted Chew to concur with their judgments — most of which, unfortunately, are subjective and fanciful.

The U.S. government has forced TikTok to split off from ByteDance and be acquired by an American company, otherwise it would face a nationwide ban.

Asked at the hearing whether his company would comply with the divestment requirement, Chew told the lawmakers that ownership was not the issue. “With a lot of respect: American social companies don’t have a great record with privacy and data security. I mean, look at Facebook and Cambridge Analytica,” he said, referring to the revelation in 2018 that Facebook’s user data has long been secretly gathered by a British political consulting firm.

That scandal similarly triggered intense congressional investigation, involving testimony by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg before both the House and the Senate.

While the committee dismissed Chew’s explanation of the universal lack of protection of data privacy across the U.S. tech industry, The Washington Post found Chew’s point not only valid, but also worth those uproarious lawmakers’ introspection.

“At a hearing in which TikTok was often portrayed as a singular, untenable threat to Americans’ online privacy, it would have been easy to forget that the country’s online privacy problems run far deeper than any single app. And the people most responsible for failing to safeguard Americans’ data, arguably, are American lawmakers,” The Post said.

“But the compromises required to pass big legislation can be politically costly, while railing against TikTok costs nothing,” the report said.


TikTok users across the United States didn’t buy their congressional representatives’ browbeating of their beloved app. Following the hearing, one content creator posting on TikTok by the handle of “@notnotnotrekcut_” described the hearing as “awful” and a “hot garbage.”

He said in another video that since he has learned so much from TikTok, ranging from health tips to wealth management skills, he’s not going back to other social media platforms he once used. “I’m on TikTok’s side through and through!”

Beneath the videos posted by Chew, whose account’s user name goes as “@shou.time,” there are countless comments from TikTok users in support of the CEO and the app. One comment read: “Regardless of the outcome, thank you for creating such a platform for the world. The interconnectedness you gave us will not be forgotten.”

Another message under a separate video by Chew said, “I apologize for USA congress. You are amazing.”

On Tuesday, some 30 TikTok users held a rally outside the U.S. Capitol, demanding that the U.S. government continue to allow the use of TikTok by the American public, because their art creations, education, expression of views, and so much more by which they make a living depends on and thrives alongside the platform. They later met lawmakers and held a news conference with Jamaal Bowman, Democratic congressman representing New York.

“Why the hysteria and the panic and the targeting of TikTok?” Bowman asked behind a podium adorned with a “Keep TikTok” sign. “Let’s not marginalize and target TikTok,” he said, before noting that the national security risks TikTok was accused of posing are shared by famous American platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Twitter.

Bowman said instead of a “dishonest conversation” urging a ban on TikTok, what lawmakers really ought to do is having a “comprehensive conversation” about broader legislative efforts to protect online data, so that social media users’ safety and security is guaranteed.

“You can ban TikTok,” he said, but that wouldn’t at all prevent “data brokers” from selling social media user data without the knowledge and consent of the users.

Asked at a regular press briefing Friday to comment on Chew’s testimony, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said: “The U.S. government has provided no evidence or proof that TikTok threatens U.S. national security, yet it has repeatedly suppressed and attacked the company based on the presumption of guilt.”

“The United States should earnestly respect the principles of market economy and fair competition, stop suppressing foreign companies and provide an open, fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for foreign companies operating in the country.”

Experts argued that if the Joe Biden administration moved to ban TikTok nationwide, such an executive order would almost certainly be challenged by those opposing it, citing the measure’s violation of U.S. citizen’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

There was a recent precedent: a TikTok ban issued by then-President Donald Trump in 2020 was met with multiple lawsuits and ultimately blocked by a U.S. federal judge, who ruled that the International Emergency Economic Powers Act that the ban relied on was inapplicable in the case, because the ban will effectively restrict the free flow of information.

“The law says whatever Biden would do can’t impede the flow of information,” William Reinsch of the Center of Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank, was quoted by the Post as saying. Reinsch is also a former U.S. Commerce Department official.

Citing a person with knowledge, the Post reported that Biden administration officials do not think they have the legal authority to ban TikTok without an act of Congress.   

U.S. claim of ISIS strength in Afghanistan rejected by Kabul


The Afghan caretaker government has dismissed Washington’s claim over the alleged stronger presence of Daesh, or Islamic State (IS), in Afghanistan as utterly fabricated.

“The statements of U.S. officials about the number of IS militants in Afghanistan are not true. Daesh militants have already been reduced in ranks and suppressed,” chief spokesman of the Afghan caretaker administration Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted.

U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Michael Kurilla, according to media reports, has said “IS is stronger today in Afghanistan” and warned of a possible IS attack on the interests of U.S. and allied nations within six months.

Brushing aside the baseless allegations by the U.S. general on the IS strength in Afghanistan, Mujahid said on his Twitter account, “The interest of the U.S. officials in this matter and their grandiosity is aiding and abetting the IS insurgents, which should be stopped.”

The Afghan caretaker government, which has downplayed Daesh, or the IS group, as a serious threat, has vowed to crack down on any armed opponents in the war-ravaged country.

The Afghan security forces have killed four armed militants affiliated with the rival IS group in two separate operations on the outskirts of Kabul over the past week.

Why Honduras’ break with Taiwan in favour of China was a wise choice


Honduras signed on Sunday a joint communique on establishing diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Shortly before that, the country announced that it is severing so-called “diplomatic ties” with China’s Taiwan region.

This brings the total number of countries that have forged diplomatic relations with the PRC to 182. The previous country to restore ties with Beijing was Nicaragua in December 2021.

By recognizing the one-China principle, Honduras has followed some other Central American countries in choosing to stand on the right side of history.

“The government of the Republic of Honduras recognizes the existence of only one China in the world, and that the government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legitimate government representing the whole of China. Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory,” Honduran Foreign Minister Enrique Reina said in a press release.

And on multiple occasions, Honduran President Xiomara Castro has voiced her willingness to establish diplomatic ties with the PRC.

Central America means a lot to politicians in Taiwan. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authority has used its so-called “diplomatic ties” with certain regional countries as a bargaining chip to woo the United States for political gains. Such a deceptive gambit once again proved in vain.

In 2007, Costa Rica became the first country in the region to forge diplomatic ties with the PRC this century. In the following years, other regional countries either established or restored diplomatic relations with Beijing, including Panama, Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

In marking the fifth anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between China and Panama in 2022, then Panamanian Foreign Minister Erika Mouynes noted that facts have proven that establishing diplomatic ties between the two countries was the right decision.

Honduras’ choice of establishing diplomatic relations with China serves its people’s interests.

In the new era, China and Latin American and Caribbean countries have continuously deepened mutually beneficial cooperation and brought significant benefits to their people.

Data from China’s General Administration of Customs show that the total trade volume between China and Latin America and the Caribbean reached a record high of 485.79 billion U.S. dollars in 2022.

Since the resumption of diplomatic relations, Nicaragua has joined the Belt and Road Initiative, and both countries initiated negotiations on a comprehensive free trade agreement.

Reports said that the United States has exerted pressure on Honduras to prevent the country from establishing diplomatic ties with China.

However, facts have proven that no force can stop the trend of history. So far, 182 countries have established diplomatic ties with the PRC based on the one-China principle, demonstrating its universal appeal.

With the establishment of diplomatic ties, China and Honduras will undoubtedly usher in a brighter future for bilateral and regional cooperation.

Why AUKUS May Do More Harm Than Good


Sure enough, Washington, London and Canberra have defied international opposition and announced recently the pathway to the AUKUS nuclear submarines pact. They have even coerced the IAEA Secretariat into endorsement on the safeguards issues.

Such a lowlight of March, revealing the self-serving nature of politicians from the new three-way alliance, adds nuclear proliferation risk, undermines the international non-proliferation regime, fuels arms race and destroys peace and stability in Asia-Pacific, thereby setting a damaging precedent.

Ever since the signing of AUKUS more than a year ago, the international community, especially countries from Asia-Pacific, have publicly and repeatedly expressed concerns, doubts and objections over the trilateral security pact. But the three wedded governments have turned a deaf ear to the world, and persisted on their unilateral path.

Days after the first AUKUS announcement in 2021, Indonesia, Malaysia and a few East Asian countries raised alarm bells that AUKUS will trigger a nuclear arms race in the region, showed reports by the Sydney Morning Herald.

A few days before the announcement of the pathway in mid-March this year, many IAEA member states at a board meeting called for advancing open, transparent, inclusive and sustainable intergovernmental discussions at the agency to address the AUKUS issue.

Later, former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating published a statement, in which he called AUKUS “the worst international decision by an Australian Labor government.”

The trilateral pact marked the first time in history that nuclear weapon countries have set out to transfer naval nuclear propulsion reactors and weapons-grade highly-enriched uranium to a non-nuclear nation.

Constituting severe non-proliferation risks, the deal has blatantly trampled upon the purpose and object of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

Worse still, the three governments’ claim that they would abide by nuclear non-proliferation commitments has turned out to be nothing but hogwash, given the current IAEA safeguards system which is not powerful enough to ensure effective supervision and prevent nuclear materials from being used in seeking weapons.

If the three countries are bent on defying international rules, other countries are likely to be prompted to follow suit, which will gravely harm global non-proliferation efforts and jeopardize peace and stability in Asia-Pacific and the world at large.

An article published in The National Interest magazine last year noted that AUKUS has “set a dangerous precedent” since potential nuclear proliferators “may use naval reactor programs as a cover for developing nuclear weapons and, with the deal as a precedent, they may escape intolerable costs for doing so.”

“This will weaken the deterrence of IAEA safeguards and make nuclear proliferation more likely,” it said.

Nuclear submarines cooperation is an international affair bearing heavily on the interests of all IAEA member states, and its safeguards issues should be settled through intergovernmental discussions by all interested IAEA parties.

Washington, London and Canberra have no right to put their own geopolitical ends above international laws and regulations or the interests of other countries, nor should they, or any other parties, put AUKUS in place before broad consensus is reached.

Considering AUKUS’ profound and long-time impact on international non-proliferation drive, global security order as well as regional and world peace and stability, all IAEA member states need to work together to keep intergovernmental discussions in place, find a way to resolve the safeguards issues and firmly defend the international non-proliferation regime so as to safeguard global peace and security.

Earth Hour 2023: A Call to Action for the Health of Our Planet

As lights around the world turned off at 8:30 p.m. local time on Saturday to mark Earth Hour 2023, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) warned that the next seven years will be crucial to stop irreversible nature loss and climate change.

This year’s event is needed more than ever to inspire and mobilize millions of people to take action and shine a spotlight on critical environmental issues, the WWF urged.

“Switching off lights is great for creating awareness and celebrating, but we also want people to reflect and act on nature because the challenges we are facing are so big,” Cristianne Close, WWF’s deputy global conservation director, told Xinhua in a recent video interview from Brazil.

“In 2014, the Galapagos Islands banned plastic bags during Earth Hour. In 2019, Indonesia planted thousands of mangroves,” she said.

Now in its 17th year, Earth Hour is the WWF’s flagship global environmental event and was created in Sydney in 2007.

Over the years, it has grown to become the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment, inspiring individuals, communities, businesses and organizations to take tangible environmental action.

“The climate and the nature crisis are completely linked. We cannot see them as separate. If temperatures are not kept at 1.5 degrees Celsius, we will lose much more nature. Wildlife populations have already plummeted by an average of 69 percent since 1970 and we really need to create awareness of this,” Close said.


Earth Hour has featured many of the world’s most iconic landmarks switching off their lights, from the London Eye in Britain to the Eiffel Tower in France and the 2,000-year-old Colosseum in Italy.

“The two main things we want from governments and businesses is to really implement the transition towards clean energy and phase out fossil fuel. That’s a must for everybody,” Close said.

“Nature is said to be linked to at least 50 percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP). We depend on nature for economic well-being,” she added.

“That’s why we are calling on businesses and governments to really, really create this awareness. Earth Hour is a way of society signalling to leaders ‘we care’ and we need to do something about it before it’s too late,” she said.

This year, apart from the symbolic “lights off” moment, the WWF is calling on individuals, communities, and businesses across the world to “give an hour for Earth” and spend 60 minutes doing something positive for the planet.

Ideas range from cleaning up beaches, planting trees, cooking dinner with sustainable ingredients, or getting friends together for an Earth Hour event, the WWF said.


This year’s Earth Hour comes hot on the heels of the historic Kunming-Montreal Agreement at COP15, which in December committed the world to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030.

Close told Xinhua the next seven years will be crucial for ensuring that the decade ends with more nature and biodiversity than when it began, not less.

She also said it was not too late yet to achieve the target and stay under the 1.5 degrees Celsius climate threshold needed to avoid irreversible damage to the planet.

“These are very big policy requests. Now our focus is on implementing them. Translating these high-level policies into national policies and regulations that can be implemented on the local level and help the livelihoods of the people that depend on it,” Close said.

Close also reinforced China’s crucial role in taking action against climate change and nature loss: “We are pleased and thankful for the role that China played with the COP15 presidency in Montreal. China really kept the momentum going.”

“They were really instrumental in allowing 196 parties to reach a consensus for the mission of halting and reversing nature loss by 2030. China really played a strong role,” she said.

The WWF is an independent conservation organization based in Gland, Switzerland, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries and regions.

Its mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which people live in harmony with nature.

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