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U.S. citizens blocked from leaving China return home after three years

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Two American siblings prevented from leaving China since 2018 returned to the United States over the weekend, according to a U.S. official, their release by Beijing coming shortly after the United States ended a legal case against a top Huawei executive.

Cynthia and Victor Liu returned to America after more than three years during which they were not allowed to leave China under an “exit ban” despite not facing criminal allegations. Their father, former bank official and fugitive Liu Changming, is wanted in China to face fraud charges.

The exit of the two Americans followed an agreement that allowed Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou to return to China from Canada after U.S. prosecutors dropped a fraud case against her.

Within hours of the news of the deal, two Canadians who were arrested shortly after Meng was taken into custody were released from Chinese detention and sent back to Canada.

Beijing had denied that those arrests were linked.

The White House on Monday said the Canadians’ release was not a prisoner swap, but that their cases came up in a call between U.S. President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in a Sept. 9 call.

The Justice Department has said its decision on Meng’s case was decided independently.

“We welcome Cynthia and Victor Liu’s return to the United States on Sunday,” said a State Department spokesperson, adding that U.S. consular staff in Shanghai helped facilitate the siblings’ exit.

“We will continue to advocate on behalf of all American citizens in the PRC subject to arbitrary detention and coercive exit bans.”

The White House declined to comment on the Americans who exited China.

Cynthia and Victor Liu’s mother, Sandra Han, continues to be detained on criminal charges in China.

 

(Reporting by Michael Martina; writing by Trevor Hunnicutt; editing by Richard Pullin)

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N.Korea says U.S. overreacting over submarine missile test

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North Korea said on Thursday the United States was overreacting to its recent missile test and questioned the sincerity of Washington’s offers of talks, warning of consequences.

This week’s test of a new ballistic missile from a submarine was part of North Korea’s mid- and long-term plan to bolster self defense and was and not aimed at the United States or any other country, an unnamed spokesperson at Pyongyang’s foreign ministry said, according to the official KCNA news agency.

Washington had taken “overly provocative moves” by calling the test a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and a threat to regional peace and stability, the spokesperson said.

The Security Council met on Wednesday over the launch at the request of the United States and Britain, and the U.S. envoy urged Pyongyang to accept offers of talks, reiterating that Washington has no hostile intent toward it.

The foreign ministry spokesperson said the United States’ “double standards” over missile development cast doubt over its overtures.

“It is a clear double standard that the United States denounces us for developing and testing the same weapons system it already has or was developing, and that only adds suspicions to their sincerity after saying they have no hostility towards us,” the spokesperson said in a statement carried by KCNA.

The United States and the council could face “more grave and serious consequences” if they opted for wrong behaviour, the spokesperson said, warning against “fiddling with a time bomb.”

 

(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; editing by Richard Pullin)

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Britain in talks to sell missiles in arms deal with Ukraine -The Times

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The UK government is in talks with Ukraine to sell it missiles for the first time in an arms deal, the Times reported on Wednesday.

Under the plans, the Ministry of Defence would provide surface-to surface and air-to-surface missiles to Ukraine, the newspaper added.

 

(Reporting by Nishit Jogi in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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Biden says he’s concerned about Chinese hypersonic missiles

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U.S. President Joe Biden said on Wednesday he is concerned about Chinese hypersonic  missiles, days after a media report that Beijing had tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic glide weapon.

Asked by reporters as he was boarding Air Force One for a trip to Pennsylvania whether he was concerned about Chinese hypersonic missiles, Biden said, “Yes.”

The Financial Times said at the weekend that China had tested a weapon in August that flew through space and circled the globe before cruising down toward a target that it missed. China’s foreign ministry denied the report.

 

(Reporting by Nandita Bose; Writing by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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