WASHINGTON: The United States is targeting only about 1 per cent of the 400,000 Chinese students in the United States over China's bid to gather US technology and other information, a top White House official said on Wednesday (Sep 30).
Matt Pottinger, the deputy White House national security adviser who has been a leading figure in the development of President Donald Trump's China policy, said the vast majority of Chinese students were welcome.
"It's a surgical approach," Pottinger said in an online event hosted by the Ronald Reagan Institute, referring to the administration's policy of denying student visas to Chinese nationals it considers a security risk.
"President Trump has taken action to target roughly 1 per cent of that massive number, to target military-affiliated Chinese researchers who are in some cases here under false pretences or even false identities," he said.
READ: Dickson Yeo – China 'not aware' of case, says US should stop using 'espionage issue' to smear it
Other cases involve individuals who have come to the United States to gain access to "technologies that would be useful to Chinese military advancement or to the repression of their own people", he added.
Pottinger said the overwhelming majority of Chinese students were "people that we're glad to have here, and many will stay here and start great businesses".
The US action against Chinese students has come at a time when China-US relations have sunk to the lowest point in decades in the run-up to Trump's Nov 3 re-election bid.
Queen Elizabeth and Duke of Edinburgh receive Covid-19 vaccine
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh have received their Covid-19 vaccinations, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said Saturday.
Dozens killed in suspected jihadist attack in Niger
Dozens of people were killed in an attack in Niger on Saturday, in a suspected jihadist attack.
The attack took place around 12:00 CET in the Tchomo-Bangou village in Tillabéri, a western region bordering Mali.
“The assailants surrounded the village and killed up to 50 people,” a local radio journalist said anonymously. “The wounded have been evacuated to the hospital in Ouallam.”
It came on the day provisional results for the first round of the presidential election, held on December 27, were released.
Mohamed Bazoum, the candidate for the ruling Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS) and a former interior minister, is in the lead with 39.3 per cent of the votes. Bazoum has vowed to strengthen the country’s fight against Islamist groups.
The second round of the election is to be held on February 21.
Niger has been a target for jihadist attacks for years, particularly in the western and southeastern parts of the country.
On December 21, six days before the presidential poll, seven soldiers were killed in Tillabéri. In May 2020, twenty people, including children, were also killed in two of the region’s villages.
Niger votes in presidential and legislative elections
People in Niger began voting in the country’s presidential and parliamentary elections on Sunday.
Mohamed Bazoum, the right-hand man of outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou is the favourite to win.
The sixty-year-old former interior minister is aiming for outright victory in the first round — something that no candidate has done before.
He’s focussing on security and education.
Over 7 million people are eligible to vote. But some voters, like Gambina Moumouni, simply want a president they can trust.
“We pray to Allah to choose us the president who has the most mercy for the people, a president who will not betray the country and who will not betray the trust of the people, that is our wish. It is also our wish that Allah may help to make the poor, the peasants, the (cattle) breeders happy.
Thirty candidates are standing including two former presidents and two former prime ministers, but according to seasoned observers in the region, the poll is arousing little enthusiasm among the population.
Niger is the world’s poorest according to the UN’s Human Development Index and also one of those hardest hit by climate change.
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