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WEEK IN REVIEW: Chinese Premier Li Qiang Embarked on a Three-Nation, Week-Long Tour of Asia-Pacific Countries on Thursday

File image of Chinese Premier Li Qiang. Pedro Pardo / POOL / AFP

Chinese Premier Li Qiang will embark on a three-nation, week-long tour of Asia-Pacific countries on Thursday that will include stops in Malaysia, New Zealand, and Australia. Li’s visit to both NZ and Australia will be the first by a Chinese premier in seven years and the first to Malaysia since 2015. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

A Zambian court handed down lengthy prison terms ranging from seven to 11 years for nearly two dozen Chinese nationals convicted of committing online scams. The scammers used Zambia as a base to target local residents along with victims throughout Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Brazilian Vice President Geraldo Alckmin met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday before wrapping up a week-long visit to China. While the two leaders promised to deepen economic ties, they notably did not announce Brazil’s inclusion in the Belt and Road Initiative — something that had been widely expected during the VP’s visit. (GOV.BR)

Peruvian President Dina Boluarte will travel to China later this month to meet with Xi Jinping in a bid to clear up tensions brought on by the controversial Chancay Port. The first phase of the Chinese-built mega-port is set to open in November and it appears the two countries have resolved a dispute over a Chinese shipping company’s exclusive rights to the port. (REUTERS)

The U.S. poses the largest security challenge in the South China Sea as its military deployment there is turning it into “the whirlpool of an arms race”, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong said in remarks published on Sunday. (REUTERS)

Sweden’s defense chief, Pål Jonson, has expressed alarm over Beijing’s repeated dangerous maneuvers against Philippine vessels in the South China Sea, saying such actions threaten global security, undermine stability and underscore the need to invest “for our security and freedom.” (AP)

At least 30 Chinese maritime militia vessels have been spotted in Rozul or Iroquois Reef on Sunday. The Philippine Coast Guard confirmed the swarming presence of the Chinese in the disputed waters. Rozul Reef is inside the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone. (GMA NEWS)

The government of the Central African Republic suspended the operations of a Chinese gold and diamond mining company for allegedly cooperating with armed rebel groups. A Mining Ministry decree accused Daqing SARL of “intelligence with armed groups, illegal exploitation, illegal introduction of foreign subjects into mining areas, non-payment of taxes and lack of activity reports.”  (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The governments of China and Pakistan reportedly issued a joint statement calling on Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban movement to do more to curb terrorist groups in its territory, to adopt policies friendly to its neighbors, and to establish an inclusive government. This is a rare move for China and follows an attack on Chinese project engineers in Pakistan in March, which Pakistani authorities blamed on an Afghan attacker. (DARYO)

The Defense Ministry of the Netherlands accused Chinese fighter jets of creating a “potentially unsafe situation” when they approached a Dutch frigate in international waters in the East China Sea. The frigate was reportedly doing surveillance as part of enforcing UN sanctions against North Korea. The incident – the latest tense naval standoff in China’s marine neighborhood – happened last week and involved two fighter jets and a helicopter. (MARINE INSIGHT)

The dispute between Peru and Chinese shipping giant COSCO over exclusive access to the new Chancay Port is now over. The government passed a revision to its port law that now allows the company exclusive operating rights to the $1.3 billion mega port that will open in November. (CAIXIN GLOBAL)

Sino-German EV battery maker Gotion unveiled plans to build a $1.3 billion gigafactory in Morocco. The new plant will produce batteries for electric vehicles bound for Europe thanks in part to Morocco’s free trade access to the EU market. Gotion is now the third Chinese firm to announce EV battery deals in Morocco this year. (REUTERS)

The Philippines faces an “existential issue” from Beijing’s threats in the contested South China Sea and will not back down from asserting its claims despite Chinese “bullying,” Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro said. (FINANCIAL TIMES)

Vietnamese President To Lam on Tuesday told Chinese ambassador to Hanoi Xiong Bo it was important that maritime disputes were managed well and each country’s interests were respected, his office said in a statement.  (REUTERS)

The Philippines is looking to create a new base on the site of a former American naval air station at Subic Bay to increase its aerial surveillance and power projection capabilities in the South China Sea. (NAVAL NEWS)

Chinese Premier Li Qiang met with New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon on Thursday during the first stop of a six-day South Pacific tour that also includes a visit to Australia. Li said any differences between the two countries should not become a “chasm” in their relationship. (AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE)

The Argentine Central Bank renewed a roughly $5 billion portion of its $18 billion currency swap line with the People’s Bank of China on Wednesday. The PBOC also agreed to extend the repayment term for debts owed as part of this swap line, granting Buenos Aires a year deferral. (BLOOMBERG)

Dilma Rousseff, head of the Shanghai-based New Development Bank, aka the BRICS Bank, said the bank will issue its first-ever yuan-denominated loans later this year as part of a pilot program. The move comes amid calls for BRICS countries to reduce its reliance on the U.S. dollar for trade and investment. (GLOBAL TIMES)

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