China urges US not to instigate trouble in the South China Sea or take sides: Chinese Embassy in the Philippines

China urges the US not to instigate trouble in the South China Sea or take sides on the South China Sea issue, a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines said in a statement released on Wednesday in regards to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s remarks on South China Sea issue during his visit to Manila, claiming that the US and the Philippines have a shared concern about China’s “provocative actions.”

In response to Blinken’s comments, the spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines said in the statement that China is not the one that provoked the recent tense situation in the South China Sea, and thus the responsibility for the recent situation at sea does not lie with China. China was made to take necessary steps to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in face of infringement of our rights and interests and provocation.

We firmly oppose the groundless accusations made by Blinken regarding China’s legitimate and lawful actions in the South China Sea and his thinly veiled threat to invoke the so-called Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) obligations between the Philippines and the US, the spokesperson said.

Liu Jinsong, the Director-General of the Asian Affairs Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, met with Ambassador of the Philippines to China Jaime A. FlorCruz on Tuesday, to exchange views on the fundamental principles and strategic direction of China-Philippines relations.

Liu expressed serious concerns and strong dissatisfaction with the Philippine side’s recent negative statements regarding China, as well as issues related to Taiwan and the South China Sea, and conveyed China's firm stance. The Philippine envoy expressed a willingness to manage differences and promote the stabilization and improvement of bilateral relations, according to a readout on the website of China’s Foreign Ministry.

According to the spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines, freedom of navigation in the South China Sea has never been an issue. Under its pretext of safeguarding freedom of navigation, the US is actually seeking freedom of rampage of its warships in the region. By going out of their way and encroaching on the doorstep of China to bluff and stir up tension, US warships and military aircraft are demonstrating true hegemon. It is the US and not anyone else that’s threatening peace and stability in the South China Sea, the spokesperson added.

The US is not a party to the South China Sea issue and has no right to interfere in the maritime issues between China and the Philippines, the spokesperson stressed, noting that the recent tension in the South China Sea would not have occurred without the US pushing the Philippines.

Indeed, the US admits to banding together a small number of countries to offer verbal support to the Philippines. The US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty is a vestige of the Cold War. The military cooperation between the US and the Philippines should not undermine China’s sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, the spokesperson said.

China urges the US not to instigate trouble in the South China Sea or take sides on the South China Sea issue. China remains committed to all necessary measures in firmly safeguarding our territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, and upholding peace and stability in the South China Sea, the spokesperson added.

During his visit to the Philippines for a trilateral cooperation mechanism of the US, Japan and the Philippines which Chinese experts believe to be a move by Washington to create an AUKUS-style clique in Asia aimed at China in the South China Sea, Blinken said that the US stands by the Philippines and stands by the ironclad defense commitments including the Mutual Defense Treaty, adding that Article IV of the treaty extends to armed attacks on the Filipino armed forces, public vessels, aircrafts, including those of its coast guard anywhere in the South China Sea. What the US is doing is to engage in intensive diplomacy so that a number of other countries have made clear statements in support of the Philippines.

Chinese lawmaker calls for greater efforts in brain-computer interface technology

A Chinese national lawmaker has called for more progress in implantable brain-computer interface (BCI) technology, so as to be able to produce fully domestically made systems and related products and eventually gain dominance in the key emerging industry.

Huang Li, a deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, and chairman of Wuhan Guide Infrared Co - a high-tech firm specializing in infrared thermal imaging technology - said he has submitted a motion that focuses on supporting research and development in the BCI field at the ongoing NPC annual session in Beijing.

"The country should improve laws and regulations, break through institutional barriers, and encourage the development of fully domestically produced, independent, and controllable BCI system platforms and related products to compete for dominance in the industry," Huang told the Global Times in an interview.

BCI technology has broad application prospects in medical and healthcare fields. It can be widely used in detection and diagnosis, screening and monitoring, treatment and rehabilitation for neurological and psychiatric diseases, according to Huang.

"It is an important means to explore unknown fields of the brain, and is also one of the technological highlands that many countries are competing for," he said, adding that the technology also has broad application prospects in areas such as education, entertainment and the military.

China has begun a push to step up research and development in disruptive and frontier technologies. The Government Work Report, which was delivered to the NPC on Tuesday, said that China will vigorously advance new industrialization, make more breakthroughs in core technologies in key fields, and promote the cultivation of emerging industries and future-oriented industries such as hydrogen power, new materials, biomanufacturing, commercial spaceflight, quantum technology and life sciences.

"Cultivating future industries such as BCI is a way for our country to seize the opportunities of the new round of technological revolution and industrial transformation," Huang said.

China has already made solid progress in the field. In the latest major development, a research team at Tsinghua University recently unveiled cases in which two paralyzed patients regained a degree of movement through wireless, minimally invasive BCIs. One of the patients, who had been paralyzed for 14 years, successfully drank water from a bottle using robotic hands for the first time.

Still, greater efforts are needed to accelerate the research and development of BCI in China, as enterprises and scientific research institutions that have mastered the core technologies in this field are mainly based in the US, Huang said.

Huang also called for a green channel for registration and approval of BCI products and a comprehensive medical-engineering platform for conducting basic research into neurotechnology and clinical applications. Another key area is the need to tackle looming ethical concerns, he said.

GT on the spot: women in Xinjiang start up business for prosperous, happy life

To the south there lies the Kunlun Mountains, while to the north China's largest desert Taklamakan Desert -- this is the Hotan Prefecture where the mountainous area accounts for 33.3 percent while the Gobi desert makes up 63 percent. People have been clinging to small oases within these harsh environments. In the past, due to the harsh natural conditions, local women had limited employment options, with many being confined to farming or household chores. However, the situation has changed.

GT reporters again traveled to the region. In this third installment of a series of articles, GT tells character stories based on local women entrepreneurs in Hotan Prefecture, which effectively refuted vicious smears which attacked the employment and related human rights of local women by some anti-China forces, all of which were made up.

On Tuesday, the Global Times reporters visited the "Women's Entrepreneurship Street" in Pishan Farm, located in Hotan Prefecture. The shop owners there are all local women entrepreneurs. This street is home to 75 women-owned businesses, with clean and tidy shops and eye-catching pink walls. 

There is a wide variety of shops, including tailors, stores, flower shops and snack shops. The Global Times reporter found many similarities among the rural women in the area -- they are exquisite and beauty-loving women, wives, mothers, entrepreneurs and the economic pillars of their families.

According to the local women's federation, in order to provide greater support for women's home-based entrepreneurship in the Pishan Farm and guide women to achieve independent entrepreneurship, an increase in income and create more job opportunities for ethnic minority women in their own communities, the women's federation allocated a special fund of 200,000 yuan ($28,000) in 2019 for home-based entrepreneurship. This fund was used to renovate the entrepreneurship street, which had been previously poorly equipped. Now, there are 75 women-owned shops on this street, providing employment and increased income for over 150 workers.

Buamyna Sadahmat, dressed in a red blouse adorned with layers of lace which she had made herself, is a renowned tailor. 

Her tailor shop is the largest on the street, with a constant stream of workers coming to her for clothes. Not only has she become prosperous, but she has also hired several women to work in her shop, helping them solve their employment problems. 

As the Global Times reporter arrived, Buamyna was busy in her shop. She is responsible for cutting, while her two apprentices are responsible for sewing. 

Buamyna's husband works at a local public health station and their three children are all in school, so devotes most of her energy to the shop. 

Because of her exquisite craftsmanship, her shop is highly favored by women in the surrounding area. Buamyna often studies clothing styles online and replicates them, making detailed improvements based on the needs of the customer. To attract more customers, she also started online sales and frequently livestreams to help customers choose clothes. 

"Even though I have apprentices in the shop now, we are still a bit overwhelmed," said Buamyna.

Buaminai said her shop can achieve a monthly net profit of around 5,000 yuan. The busiest and most profitable time for her is during the Kurban Festival and Women's Day, when she can earn a net profit of 10,000 yuan in a month. 

Since opening her shop, Buamyna has trained 95 apprentices, many of whom have opened their own shops. However, she confidently says, "I'm not afraid of competition because I have more experience, and I have the most returning customers."

Not far from Buamyna's tailor shop, a silk shop owned by Zuregul Azrant also attracted the attention of the Global Times reporter. Vibrant colors immediately catch people's eye, bringing joy to people. 

This shop, which has been open for 18 years, is one of the two shops operated by Zuregul and her husband. They display various silk fabrics from Urumqi, Kashi Prefecture, and Hotan Prefecture, attracting women who love beauty to come and make purchases. 

Zuregul also has three children, with the oldest being 13 years old. After the whole family finishes breakfast and the children go to school, she and her husband drive to the shop, preparing to open before 11 am.

"Our most popular product is the Atlas silk produced in Hotan. "Customers buy it to make clothes, and our ready-made formal dresses sell well too," Zuregul said, holding a piece of Atlas silk with her henna-dyed red nails. Famous for its rich and bright colors and distinctive changing zigzag patterns, Atlas silk, a national intangible cultural heritage, has been used by Uygurs for clothing and interior design for centuries.

Hotan women attach great importance to formal dresses, wearing them for weddings or parties. Some people only wear a formal dress once and then buy a new style for the next occasion. 

Due to the locals' love for beauty, her business has always done well. This shop earns an annual net income of 50,000 yuan, and the other shop, which mainly sells home textile products, has recently opened and is also doing well.

Due to limited energy, the couple entrusted their farmland to relatives, with each person taking care of one shop. They have managed to make their businesses increasingly prosperous. 

The Global Times learnt from the Pishan Farm that they used the special funds from the women's federation to re-pave the cement road, renovate the interior and exterior walls, create counters for supermarkets and cosmetics stores, install fitting rooms and cutting tables for each tailor shop, and improve relevant facilities. This beautification and lighting of the street not only enhances the happiness and sense of achievement of ethnic minority women in Pishan Farm, but also stimulates the enthusiasm of ethnic minority women for entrepreneurship and employment, expanding the channels for women's employment and increased income.

China-US sister cities: Building ‘bridges of friendship’

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday sent a message to the fifth China-US Sister Cities Conference, saying the close cooperation between sister provinces/states and sister cities has been fruitful over the past four decades.    

The foundation of China-US relations lies in the people and the source of strength lies in the friendship between people, Xi said in his message to the conference held in Suzhou in East China's Jiangsu Province. The "Build Green Cities for the People" conference was co-hosted by the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and the Jiangsu provincial government. 

In the era of globalization, informatization, and urbanization, cities have become centers for cultural exchanges and innovation. International sister city initiatives, aimed at promoting cultural exchanges, are increasingly valued and encouraged by governments around the world. The relationship between nations thrives on the affinity between the people of those nations, which in turn is built on mutual understanding and communication. 

President Xi has repeatedly emphasized the importance of strengthening people-to-people bonds and cultural exchanges between China and the US. 

Xi stressed that the China-US Sister Cities Conference is an important mechanism for sub-national exchanges that has played a positive role in promoting development and cooperation between sister cities. He called on participants of the conference to continue to serve as a bridge for sub-national exchanges, enabling provinces/states and cities to play a greater role in promoting the sound and steady development of bilateral relations and improving the well-being of the peoples of the two countries. 

Today, sister provinces/states and sister cities are important platforms for deepening friendship and achieving win-win cooperation. They are also an important component of bilateral relations. Since the first pair between China and the US was set in 1979, 284 pairs have been formed so far. 

Local exchanges and interactions between sister provinces/states and sister cities have expanded the foundation for cooperation between the two countries and have become important platforms for people-to-people exchanges and long-term partnerships in business and cultural exchanges. Under the framework of China-US sister cities, through exchanges in the field of education, science, language, and art by means of sister city conferences, annual celebrations, administrative exchanges, and establishment of offices, numerous "bridges of friendship" have been built across national boundaries, regions, races and ages.

As an extension and supplement to official interactions between the two countries, China-US sister city exchanges have added substantial content to the cultural exchanges between the two countries. For example, since East China's Xiamen and Miami signed an Agreement on Establishing Friendly Exchange Relations, the two sides have conducted extensive exchanges and cooperation in cultural exchange fields such as tourism, education, and scientific research. Serving as a link for cultural exchanges between the two cities, Xiamen University and the University of Miami have engaged in in-depth exchanges in various disciplines in recent years, offering joint courses and holding a series of academic seminars and exchange activities for international students. The Tianjin Conservatory of Music and the Juilliard School in New York have carried out high-level artistic collaborations and strengthened cooperation in arts education, adding new platforms for China-US cultural exchanges.

Sister provinces/states and sister cities interactions between China and the US have long been an essential bridge promoting the development of relationships between the two countries. The core of these exchanges is people-to-people interactions. Actively carrying out sister city initiatives positively shapes the perceptions of officials, enterprises and private individuals involved in these activities. These exchanges help enhance mutual understanding and friendship between the two countries. In a subtle and profound way, they increase a sense of closeness and trust among people, solidifying the social and popular foundation for the stability and development of China-US relations.

To some extent, these sister city exchanges serve as a "barometer" of China-US relations. In recent years, under the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the growth rate and frequency of interactions among China-US sister cities have declined. However, these sister cities still resiliently maintain interactions and cooperation, conducting a series of online cultural exchange activities. For example, Jingdezhen in East China's Jiangxi Province and Door county in Wisconsin held a video conference on tourism development; Lijiang, a city in Southwest China's Yunnan Province, joined hands with Roanoke, Virginia to conduct an online exchange activity themed "University Life During the Pandemic" in which university students from both cities held a cordial conversation and shared their understanding of each other's cultures.

Local exchanges and cooperation are undoubtedly a significant force and social foundation for the development of China-US relations. When China-US relations encounter difficulties, local exchanges facilitated by sister cities become even more precious and of vital importance. 

As Xi stated in his message to the fifth China-US Sister Cities Conference, sister provinces/states and sister cities have engaged in close, productive cooperation over the past four decades, bringing tangible benefits to the two peoples. 

Looking forward, sister provinces/states and sister cities can play a unique role, injecting new energy into the stability and development of China-US relations.

Diplomats attend the 2023 Basketball Game for Foreigners in Beijing

The 2023 Basketball Game for Foreigners commenced recently in Beijing. The game was co-organized by the Foreign Affairs Office of the People's Government of Beijing Municipality and the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports. 

Nearly 30 expatriates from 17 countries such as Japan, United States, Brazil, South Korea, Zambia, and other countries participated in the match.

The Mongolian Embassy in China, five universities including the University of Science and Technology Beijing (USTB), and the Beijing-Japanese Club Basketball Association (Beijing 56°ers) formed eight teams to participate in the competition.

The event has been held for six consecutive years, with a high reputation among embassies and expatriates, and has so far seen more than 60 teams with about 1,400 expatriates in Beijing participate in the tournament, to an audience of 20,000 local and international spectators. 

This is the first time that this year's basketball tournament has been included in a Beijing-level social basketball activity, the Beijing Second Community Cup Basketball League Three-Person Basketball Tournament.

Zolboo Enkbold from the Mongolian Embassy in China expressed his excitement at participating in matches with all the teams, and commended the activity for being carefully organized with a warm atmosphere geared toward the enrichment of the cultural and sports lives of expatriates in Beijing.

Alexandre, a Mozambican student from the USTB, said it was his first time to participate in a three-player basketball tournament in Beijing, for which he was very happy, and he hoped to continue to actively participate in similar activities in the future.

Iranian Ambassador expresses optimism about Iran-Xinjiang cooperation, saying changes in Xinjiang over the last decade are remarkable

The changes that have taken place in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, especially in the last decade, have been fundamental and astonishing. The construction of infrastructure in areas such as commerce, economy, transportation, agriculture, industry, trade, technology, energy, and culture has been remarkable, said Iranian Ambassador to China Mohsen Bakhtiar.

Bakhtiar noted that he is very optimistic about the bright prospects of economic cooperation between Xinjiang and Iran.

Recently, Bakhtiar, together with diplomats from other countries visited Xinjiang and personally witnessed how people live in Xinjiang, which greatly impressed the Iranian diplomat.

The Iranian Embassy in China released several "Iranian diplomat Xinjiang journals" on China's social media platform Sina Weibo, which recorded the ambassador's visit to Xinjiang and were well received by Chinese netizens.

According to the Iranian diplomat, under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that China proposed, they can leverage historical advantages to expand cooperation between Xinjiang, which plays a crucial role under the BRI, and different Iranian provinces, facilitating the transit and transportation of goods.

Bakhtiar mentioned that for thousands of years, Iran and China, as two great Asian civilizations, have engaged in long-term exchanges and cooperation. This communication has been effective in promoting economic growth, cultural development, and social progress.

During his visit to Xinjiang, Bakhtiar visited Kashi, an ancient city in the region, a mosque, and an apricot orchard, and had face-to-face exchanges with local residents to gain a firsthand understanding of the social development, protection of ethnic and religious culture, and the lives of the people in Xinjiang.

In the Kizil Thousand-Buddha Caves, Bakhtiar also appreciated the cave art that spans thousands of years. In his view, Xinjiang is China's western gateway to Central Asia, Iran, and Europe. The ancient works here prove the close connection between Iranians, other Central Asian peoples, and the people of this region.

"Today, the Silk Road has reemerged in the form of the BRI, in which Xinjiang continues to play a crucial role," he said. "Interestingly, the railways and highways that connect China with Central Asia, West Asia, and Europe all pass through Xinjiang."

The visit left a deep impression on Bakhtiar. "We have gained a better understanding of the beautiful Xinjiang and the achievements China has made in this region. Looking back, the changes in Xinjiang, especially in the last decade, have been fundamental and astonishing. The construction of infrastructure in areas such as commerce, the economy, transportation, agriculture, industry, trade, technology, energy, and culture has been remarkable," Bakhtiar said.

Iran joined the BRI in 2016. "In terms of transportation links between China, West Asia, and Europe, Iran hopes to play a greater role and focus on establishing deeper economic, cultural, and social partnerships with Xinjiang," he said.

According to Bakhtiar, Xinjiang has established a friendly city MOU with Iran's Khorasan Province, which is one of the largest provinces in Iran, located in the northeast of the country.

With China's opening-up, Xinjiang has transformed from a relatively closed inland region to a frontier of openness. "I am very optimistic about the bright prospects of economic cooperation between Xinjiang and Iran," Bakhtiar said.

He also noted that Iran is willing to further expand its cooperation with Xinjiang in areas such as trade, the economy, agriculture, rail, tourism, the establishment of sister cities, and culture. Cooperation and exchanges between Iranian and Xinjiang delegations have also seen an increase in the recent past.

"For example, the Iranian Chamber of Commerce and the Xinjiang Trade Promotion Association have signed a memorandum of cooperation, and activities such as increasing trade and investment opportunities, and deepening economic and trade relations are being carried out. Both sides are also paying attention to areas such as technology, education, and healthcare," said Bakhtiar.

On July 4, 2023, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) officially accepted Iran as a member state during its 23rd Council of Heads of State meeting. With this addition to the organization, the SCO now has a total of nine member countries.

Bakhtiar said that this membership brings new possibilities for the expansion of bilateral relations. He highlighted that the SCO provides valuable opportunities for member states to engage in practical cooperation in various fields, including transportation, counter-terrorism, energy, economic cooperation, and people-to-people exchanges. By actively participating in SCO initiatives and through this regional organization, member states can enhance their regional status, strengthen economic cooperation, and contribute to each other's common development and security.

Neither Huawei nor Chinese people need to be intimidated by US lawmakers’ threat of new sanctions

Some members of the US House of Representatives' committee on China and the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday called for a total ban on all technology exports to Huawei and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC). This appeared to frighten Chinese investors, and as a result, shares of SMIC and Chinese artificial intelligence chip developer Cambricon Technologies plummeted on Thursday.

US lawmakers have always been the most radical anti-China force, so how can we be intimidated by a few clamors from them? While there exists the possibility that the US will further increase its ban on China's technology, it is highly unlikely that Washington will be able to destroy Huawei's Kirin 9000S processor. The possibility of the US resorting to increased suppression was surely expected by Huawei and its partners. Huawei has always kept a low profile, and the Chinese government doesn't hype up the company's technological breakthroughs. But how can a technological breakthrough that tech enthusiasts can discover via a teardown of the handset be hidden from the US tech community and intelligence system?

Since Huawei is bringing the Mate 60 Pro smartphone to the market, it should be fully confident about keeping its supply chain intact and maintaining and expanding its production capacity. Wouldn't that be a joke if the US upgraded its chokehold, leading the Mate 60 Pro supply and production chain to collapse easily? In that case, why would Huawei hurry to launch the Mate 60 series? Why wouldn't it solidify its technological breakthroughs and wait to release the smartphones at a better time to show its hands with Washington?

Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei has been through various battles. Some years ago before the rainstorm of sanctions started to pour down on Huawei, he had started to prepare for a rainy day by asking HiSilicon, one of Huawei's subsidiaries, to make great efforts in looking for a back-up plan. Now the US has carried out rounds of sanctions and more severe ones may come, Ren will not pull a stunt and covet a quick cash grab by pushing his company and its partners toward a more dangerous situation.

Now, the US sanctions system has the advantage over the way Huawei and similar companies develop technological breakthroughs. The US side is not very clear if the Kirin 9000S processor is actually Huawei's own product or produced with the help of some other companies. Neither does it know what the technical route exactly is.

Besides, a few things are certain:

First, the technology of designing and producing Kirin 9000S is already mature, and the production capacity of this chip can be formed relying on the existing supply chain at home. Otherwise, Huawei would not launch the Mate 60 series because that would mean trouble.

Second, in the next competition, Huawei and other companies on the supply chain need to integrate and interact with market resources. Market resources can push Huawei to continue to progress; they have been more important than quietly obtaining some foreign technology to develop products and technologies. With the interaction with market resources, the iteration of semiconductor technology can be realized by the continuous advancement of those resources. The Kirin 9000S is now on the threshold of such progress.

Third, Huawei has found a way to break through the US sanctions, which shows a fundamental loophole in Washington's sanction system. Those brainless legislators are only fanatical, imagining out of thin air that they can kill the Kirin 9000S by tightening the sanctions. They don't understand that encrypting the sanctions system is a very complex systematic project and an almost impossible challenge.

Washington would need to completely reshape the sanctions system to do this, requiring companies in the US and allied countries to suffer much larger losses than in the past, which is equal to sanctioning these companies. Besides, the US simply is not sure that reorganizing the sanctions system will produce the results it wants, because that process is bound to be very difficult - a great deal of resentment may occur, but the outcome is still undetermined.

The fact that Huawei has launched the Mate 60 Pro shows that it has the certainty to fight the new rounds of US sanctions. The reason why the company keeps a low profile is the traditional Chinese thinking of doing more and saying less to avoid intensifying a new confrontation and giving the other side an out. And it's not a fear of being crushed in a battle.

Huawei, of course, still has a long way to go and hard battles to fight, but ambitions of seeking a blockade to hold technologies in a "small yard and high fence" and have them all to oneself have never been successful throughout history. From aviation to space to deep-sea technology, which one of them is under a country's monopolization? Semiconductors will be no exception.

The US can develop faster, but it is impossible to bind the feet of such a large country as China to stop it from moving forward. Huawei is a secular bird; it has already taken wing under the harsh sanctions of the US, and its wings will surely grow to be more and more powerful.

We the Chinese people should become more confident. Let's support Huawei and all the Chinese high-tech companies that the US has suppressed together. It is delusional for the US to think that it can deprive the Chinese people of the right to realize and enjoy scientific and technological progress.

Yoon faces more obstacles to governance amid polarized partisan conflict in South Korea

Since President Yoon Suk-yeol took office, it seems that the dangerous side of South Korea's politics has become prominent. This is reflected not only in foreign affairs, such as the increasingly hostile and confrontational approach toward China, but also in domestic affairs, where partisan conflict has become intensified and polarized, potentially creating more obstacles for Yoon's governance.

On Monday, South Korean prosecutors requested an arrest warrant for the leader of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK), Lee Jae-myung, on suspicion of various charges, including fraud and bribery. Earlier that day, Lee was hospitalized after 19 days of a hunger strike in protest against government policies.

So far, the DPK leader has been summoned for prosecution questioning five times after last year's presidential election, and he claimed all the allegations were fabricated. Seoul and the ruling conservative party's tough stance toward Lee has become increasingly obvious. In last year's election, Yoon was elected by a narrow margin of 0.73 percentage points over the DPK leader. This means that the popular mandate of Yoon's governance is not quite strong. 

South Korea's politics has become chaotic. What happened to Lee is not an isolated incident, but a reflection of the intensifying partisan conflict in South Korea and people's dissatisfaction with the Yoon administration over many issues. In particular, Seoul has demonstrated utterly unprincipled support for Tokyo regarding Japan's dumping of nuclear-contaminated wastewater into the sea, which has triggered anger among South Koreans.

In fact, politicians who engage in partisan conflict in South Korea fight more for the interests of their respective political parties and the chaebol groups behind them. Moreover, as a result of political polarization, it becomes difficult for parties in the country to find any common ground to cooperate. Under such circumstances, the Yoon administration may remain stuck in troubled waters.

A new poll released by Realmeter on Monday shows that 61.8 percent of respondents - a recent record high - viewed the governance of the Yoon administration as poor, while only 35.5 percent favored it. Meanwhile, the support rate of the PPP dropped 1.5 percentage points to 35.3 percent and the DPK's rose 1.8 percentage points to 46 percent. Clearly, the Yoon administration and the ruling party are facing a slump.

It is easy to find the reasons behind Yoon's poor governance. In addition to a series of scandals involving people close to Yoon, the South Korean president should blame himself for making mistake after mistake in specific policies since he came to power.

Economically, a series of measures taken by Yoon to boost the economy are yet to take great effect, leading South Koreans to feel more hopeless for economic recovery. The situation is even worse in terms of foreign policy. The Yoon administration completely disregarded the well-being and interests of its own people, easing its relations with Japan without any principle and even seeking to pander to Japan, and this has caused a huge backlash at home. The current approval rate of 30-something percent comes most likely from the base voters of Yoon and the PPP, and it is almost impossible to grow as Seoul and the ruling party have lost the trust of the centrists.

South Korea will expect legislative elections in April next year. All the parties and politicians are going to be competing for the approval of the voters, while highlighting the mistakes and shifting the blame on their opponents. In short, the partisan conflict in South Korea, especially the one between the PPP and the DPK, is only going to become more and more intense as the elections approach.

Ouster of McCarthy shows US division, 'demons dancing in riotous revelry'

When US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted on Tuesday from his leadership post, he became the shortest serving speaker since 1875. A handful of far-right Republicans joined Democrats and stripped the California Republican of the speaker's gravel with a 216-to-210 vote, after McCarthy worked with Democrats to pass a short-term funding bill to avert a government shutdown.

The ouster appears sudden, but is not surprising. It is no secret that some far-right Republicans hold radical ideas and refuse to cooperate with the Democrats in any form. Moreover, McCarthy's post was fragile from the very beginning. Matt Gaetz, who was among the Republicans to force a successful vote to vacate the chair on the House floor, repeatedly voted against McCarthy's bid for speaker in January. McCarthy ultimately secured the gavel after 15 rounds of voting over four days. To win the job, McCarthy had to agree to rules that made it easier to challenge his leadership. 

Democrats also viewed him as untrustworthy. He broke a May agreement on spending with President Joe Biden. Despite the fact that McCarthy worked with the Democrats to pause the US shutdown, he did not win the support of a single Democrat in Tuesday's vote. Democrats still believe that the presence of McCarthy, who in September ordered an impeachment inquiry into Biden, would hinder the political agenda of the Biden administration. They also believe that ousting McCarthy would trigger chaos within the Republicans and stymie the Republicans' moves against the Democrats. All in all, McCarthy had already become a "lame duck" speaker.

Zhang Tengjun, deputy director of the Department for American Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times that the ouster of McCarthy shows that against the backdrop of intensified bipartisan struggles, loyalty to the party triumphs everything, from the two parties' ability to make compromises and reach consensuses in the interests of the American public.

"It does not matter if one is the House speaker or not; what matters is which party he or she belongs to. This shows the extent to which the Democratic Party and the Republican Party divide," Zhang noted, adding that the US politics is now entering an era of "a host of demons dancing in riotous revelry."

McCarthy's ouster has been covered extensively by the US media, adding to the frenzy. But actually, it is the very representation of the US' so-called democratic politics. What normal democratic politics means is that the functioning of politics will not be affected by the removal of any single politician. But obviously, the ousting of McCarthy has plunged the House into chaos. And McCarthy's fate reflects how cooperating with the other party impacts political fortunes.

Wei Zongyou, a professor from the Center for American Studies, Fudan University, told the Global Times that from a deeper perspective, democratic politics is not all about elections, but about mutual compromise and restraint. 

"If the two parties cannot make compromises and exercise restraint, but turn different political opinions into an excuse to crusade against the other side or launch a life-and-death struggle, it may lead to a deadlock or even a civil war, and the only consequence is that the foundation of democratic politics will be destroyed," said Wei.

US democracy is facing a severe test as the 2024 presidential election looms. The Republicans have to tackle the current chaos and address this most recent leadership crisis. Without a powerful House speaker to bridge the divergences among the Republicans, it will affect the overall election strategy of the Republican Party and its advancement of its political agendas. 

The Democrats, sitting in the House chamber to watch the farce from afar, could laugh at the Republicans and accuse them of not being able to govern the country and being the reason behind ongoing political gridlock. But they also need to be aware that if the Republicans refuse to cooperate in any issue, the Biden administration's political agenda may also suffer. A chaotic situation next year does not necessarily bode well for the Democratic Party, and the outcome of the 2024 election remains uncertain and unpredictable.

Anti-COVID-19 nasal spray appears effective against infection: preliminary reports

SA58, a new anti-COVID-19 monoclonal antibody nasal spray, has shown favorable efficacy in preventing COVID-19 infection, said two preliminary reports.

To test the efficacy and safety of the spray, which was developed by China's Sinovac Life Sciences Co, clinical studies were conducted with medical personnel working in designated COVID-19 hospitals and makeshift hospitals in the city of Hohhot in North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, as well as with voluntary workers from 21 construction sites in Beijing.

The effectiveness of SA58 in preventing infection among Hohhot's medical staff was as high as 77.7 percent, and SA58 was able to lower the risk of COVID-19 infection by 61.83 percent among the study participants in Beijing, said the research results published on medRxiv, a preprint server for health sciences.

While the data has shown satisfactory efficacy and safety of SA58 in reducing symptomatic COVID-19 infections in healthy adults with early exposure within 72 hours, it cannot yet represent other kinds of groups including the elderly and people with underlying diseases.

SA58 has advantages over intramuscular injections, as it is less invasive and more acceptable to recipients. It is also convenient for medical personnel and other high-risk groups to use, said the research.