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Foreign ministers wield new brooms in Cambodia and Thailand

Shortly after being appointed Thailand’s new foreign minister in early September, Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara made a telling remark: “We want the Thai people to feel that the foreign ministry is contributing to their lives.”  Sok Chenda Sophea, Cambodia’s new foreign minister, appointed a few days before Parnpree, told his new ambassadors: “All of you should work…

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Activists call for probe into China’s ‘consular volunteers’ network

The Chinese Communist Party is running a global network of “consular volunteers” through its embassies and consulates who form part of its “United Front” influence and enforcement operations on foreign soil, according to a new report, prompting calls for democratic governments to investigate. While Chinese embassies and consulates have been using such informal networks for…

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China orders financial support for battered property sector

The Chinese government has urged banks and financial institutions to back a sputtering real estate sector where the biggest developers have buckled under the weight of tremendous debt and don’t have the capital to complete pre-sold homes to hundreds of thousands of homebuyers. The move underscores Beijing’s dilemmatic position of having to defuse local government…

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Australia and China: Besties again? It’s complicated

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese wrapped up a three-day trip to China Tuesday, calling for the “full resumption of free and unimpeded trade” in a meeting with counterpart Li Qiang. The previous day, he held wide-ranging talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, covering everything from Tasmanian Devils to New Zealand wine, not to mention improving…

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