China Lodges Solemn Representations Over Obama-Dalai Lama Meeting (Xinhua)
In the latest diplomatic spat between China and the US, the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai (崔天凯) has summoned the US Ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, to discuss China’s concern over President Obama’s meeting with the Dalai Lama. Obama’s decision to meet with the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people has been decried as a gross interference in China’s internal affairs and the Foreign Ministry claims that the meeting had “seriously damaged Sino-US ties”. President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with the Dalai Lama in Washington on February 18th.
Takahashi Wins Japan’s First Men’s Figure Skating Olympic Medal (Mainichi Daily News)
Japanese figure skater Takahashi Daisuke (高橋大輔) won an Olympic bronze medal in the men’s figure skating competition on February 18th. Takahashi is the first ever male Japanese skater to win a medal in an Olympic figure skating event and is the third Japanese athlete to win an Olympic medal in the 2010 Winter Olympics. Speed skaters Nagashima Keiichiro (長島圭一郎) and Kato Joji (加藤条治) won silver and bronze medals in the 500 metre speed skating event earlier this week.
Japanese Astronaut Soichi Noguchi Shares His View Through Twitter (Times Online)
Noguchi Soichi (野口聡一), a Japanese astronaut currently serving on the International Space Station, has been using Twitter to share his thoughts with readers and post photos that he’s taken of the Earth from orbit. Mr Noguchi’s Twitter and TwitPics accounts have attracted the attention of over 80,000 followers. Readers can click here to view Mr Noguchi’s photos, which include photos of Beijing, the frozen Aral Sea, Mount Fuji, and Haiti’s devastated capital, Port-au-Prince.
Mainland Tourists Spend US$1 Billion in Taiwan (China.Org.CN)
Taiwanese authorities reveal that around 650,000 mainland Chinese tourists visited the island in 2009 and they estimate that they spent more than 1.13 billion US dollars. Mainland China and Taiwan are set to open tourism representative offices later this year.
Taiwanese Movies Earn Praise at Berlin Festival (Taipei Times)
A number of Taiwanese movies have been screened as part of this year’s Berlin Film Festival, including the blockbuster Monga (艋舺) and the features One Day (有一天) and Au Revoir Taipei (一頁台北). Monga (艋舺), a gangster movie directed by Doze Niu (鈕承澤), grossed more than $6.2 million during its first two weeks of release and has had favourable reviews both at home and abroad.
Child Soldiers to Be Honored 60 Years After Korean War (The Chosun Ilbo)
The South Korean Defence Ministry will be marking the sixtieth anniversary of the Korean War by honouring the sacrifices made by child soldiers during the war. The Ministry believes that around there were around 14,400 child soldiers in service and that around 4,700 of them are still alive today. A complete record of their service will be published later this year.
School-Age Population to Fall Below 10 Million (The Korea Times)
There is no sign of an end to South Korea’s population crisis as Korea’s statistics office reveal that Korea’s school-age population is likely to drop below 10 million in 2010. Korea’s birthrate was a mere 1.19 in 2008 and the Korean government has repeatedly made efforts to try and encourage couples to have children in order to alleviate the economic and social pressures of a greying population.
Australia sets Nov deadline for Japan to end whaling in Antarctic waters (Japan Today)
The Australian government have threatened legal action against Japan if Japan refuses to ceases its whaling activities in Antarctic waters by November 2010. Japanese whaling activities claim the lives of around 1,000 whales every year under the guise of scientific research. The whalers have faced enormous pressure by the international community and have recently been the target of activists working for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
Attacks Against Koreans Spark Message to Russia (JoongAng Daily)
The Korean government has voiced its concern over hate crimes committed against Korean nationals in Russia following the death of a Korean student in Irkutsk earlier this week. The deceased, a student named only as “Kang”, and a fellow female student were attacked by a group of local youths in what is believed to have been a racially motivated crime. 18 other Korean students who were participating in the same exchange program as Kang and the female victim will be repatriated next week.
Mongolia Welcomes New Year of Tiger (The UB Post)
Thousands of people across Mongolia celebrated the Lunar New Year on February 14th despite the fact that the country is suffering through one of its most bitter winters in recent history, which has claimed the lives of over 2 million animals. The President of Mongolia, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj (Цахиагийн Элбэгдорж), took the opportunity to visit the country’s oldest resident on New Year’s Day. During his visit, he offered his seasons greetings and presented the 108-year old woman with a key to a new apartment.