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Ben Blanchard
For Ben Blanchard's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics
Feb 27, 2018
With eye on U.S., China to revamp top tier of diplomats, sources say
China is expected to announce a reshuffle of its top diplomats at an annual meeting of parliament in March, aiming to deal with U.S. President Donald Trump's growing suspicion of Beijing, several sources familiar with the plan said.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics
Feb 26, 2018
China pushes back against criticism of plan for Xi to stay in power
China's plan for President Xi Jinping to remain in office indefinitely has sparked social media opposition, drawing comparisons to North Korea's ruling dynasty and charges of creating a dictator by a Hong Kong pro-democracy activist.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC
Sep 4, 2017
China reluctant to press North Korea with further sanctions, seeks more from West
North Korea's latest nuclear test is likely to pile more pressure on China to take tough action against its neighbor, but Beijing already doubts economic sanctions will work and says it is not its sole responsibility to rein in Pyongyang.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics
Sep 2, 2017
Xi takes steps to lifelong sole leadership on a par with Mao
A recent scene at a dusty Inner Mongolia military base provided evidence of Chinese President Xi Jinping's consolidation of political power even as he faces pushback in his ruling Communist Party ahead of a critical gathering next month.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC
Aug 8, 2017
Due to proximity, China will pay biggest price for new North Korea sanctions
China will pay the biggest price from the new United Nations sanctions against North Korea because of its close economic relationship with the country, but will always enforce the resolutions, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics
Apr 30, 2017
Trump warms to Xi, but risks leaving allies out to dry
U.S. President Donald Trump's warm words for Chinese President Xi Jinping as a "good man" will reassure Beijing that he finally understands the importance of good ties but risk leaving America's allies in the region puzzling over where they fit into the new order.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC / ANALYSIS
Apr 4, 2017
When Trump and Xi meet, will it mean conciliation or collision?
When U.S. President Donald Trump meets Chinese President Xi Jinping this week, their summit will be marked not only by deep policy divisions but a clash of personalities between America's brash "tweeter-in-chief" and Beijing's cautious, calculating leader.
WORLD / Politics
Apr 2, 2017
Beijing cozies up to EU in wake of Trump's 'America First' policy
China has launched a charm offensive with the European Union since U.S. President Donald Trump took office in January, shifting its stance on trade negotiations and signaling closer cooperation on a range of other issues, European diplomats say.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics / ANALYSIS
Mar 29, 2017
Trump's policies on trade, climate and the U.N. push China toward EU
China has launched a charm offensive with the European Union since U.S. President Donald Trump took office, shifting its stance on trade negotiations and signaling closer cooperation on a range of other issues, European diplomats say.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics
Jan 29, 2017
As Trump stresses 'America First,' China plays the world leader
China is calmly mapping out global leadership aspirations from trade to climate change, drawing distinctions between President Xi Jinping's steady hand and new U.S. President Donald Trump, whose first days have been marked by media feuds and protests.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC
Jan 2, 2017
China considering strong measures to contain Taiwan: sources
China's military has become alarmed by what it sees as U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's support of Taiwan and is considering strong measures to prevent the island from moving toward independence, sources with ties to senior military officers said.
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics
Dec 12, 2016
Talking to Trump's team: China's high-flying U.S. expert
China's top diplomat, who recently met a senior adviser to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, is a high-flying former Chinese ambassador to Washington with a deep understanding of U.S. politics, a country he has clashed with, too.
ASIA PACIFIC / Crime & Legal
Nov 22, 2016
U.S. says it won't tolerate pressure from China on fugitive families
The United States will not tolerate any pressure from the Chinese government on family members of fugitives to get them to return from America, but can't guarantee it has not happened, a U.S. official said on Tuesday.
ASIA PACIFIC
Oct 11, 2016
China berates visiting New Zealand defense minister over South China Sea stance
China rebuked New Zealand's defense minister at the opening of a high-profile security forum in Beijing on Tuesday, criticizing his stance on tensions in the disputed South China Sea, saying countries "not involved" should not interfere.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics
Oct 2, 2016
Xi said consolidating grip on power in China by curbing rival bloc, giving allies more power
One year before a Communist Party conclave that could decide who will eventually replace him as China's next leader, President Xi Jinping is maneuvering to reduce the power of a rival political bloc while seeking to get members of his own faction onto the country's top ruling body, according to three sources with ties to the leadership.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC
Sep 9, 2016
China responds strongly to North Korean nuclear test but is unlikely to do much
China criticized North Korea's nuclear test on Friday, but Beijing is unlikely to follow up with strong action because its influence is limited and it believes the United States and South Korea share responsibility for growing tensions in the region.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics
Aug 31, 2016
China promises humane, lawful treatment of detained Canadian Christian accused of spying
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang promised on Wednesday that a Canadian man held in China for two years on suspicion of spying would be treated humanely and lawfully, but the man's family expressed frustration and called for his release.
ASIA PACIFIC
Aug 30, 2016
China wants to hold successful G-20 but suspects West may try to derail agenda
China is hoping to cement its standing as a global power when it hosts leaders from the world's biggest economies this weekend, but suspects the West and its allies will try to deny Beijing what it sees as its rightful place on the international stage.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics
Aug 1, 2016
Emboldened Chinese military presses Xi for stern response to South China Sea ruling
China's leadership is resisting pressure from elements within the military for a more forceful response to an international court ruling against Beijing's claims in the South China Sea, sources said, wary of provoking a clash with the United States.
Japan Times
ASIA PACIFIC
Jul 19, 2016
Trove of documents from purged Chinese leader Zhao Ziyang, smuggled to Hong Kong, to be published
A collection of documents from Zhao Ziyang, who was China's reformist Communist Party chief until he was toppled in 1989 for opposing the Tiananmen crackdown, has been smuggled out of the country and will be published in Hong Kong this month, according to a publishing house that is turning them into a book.

Longform

At the Akan International Crane Center, just north of the city of Kushiro proper, visitors can see the majestic red-crowned crane — a symbol of Hokkaido.
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