Communist Tax Lawyer

A news, research and discussion platform for monitoring the evolution of Communist and ex-Communist countries to market economies

 

North Korea Responds to UN Security Council’s Criticism

April 14th, 2009

In the fallout of North Korea’s long-range rocket launch on April 5th, the United Nations Security Council has unanimously condemned the act and has ordered financial sanctions and an arms embargo on the country.

In turn, North Korea has responded to the outcome with outrage – maintaining still that the launch was an attempt to launch a satellite into orbit. An attempt that state-run media propagates to have been successful despite wide reports outside the country that the rocket crashed into the Pacific Ocean.

“There is no need for the six party talks anymore. We will never again take part in such talks and will not be bound by any agreements reached at the talks,” the North Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement that “resolutely condemns” the UN verdict.

In addition, government officials in Pyongyang have said it will restart operations at the Yongbyon nuclear reactor – the plant which provided the fuel for nuclear tests in 2006.

China Plans ASEAN Investment

April 13th, 2009

China’s Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi recently discussed his country’s plans regarding Southeast Asia after the ASEAN summit in Pattaya, Thailand was cancelled due to anti-government protests.

Following the failed summit, Yang unveiled Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s plan for a US$ 10 billion investment in infrastructure as well as a US$15 billion line of credit to ASEAN members.

“China plans to establish a US$10 billion China-ASEAN investment cooperation fund to promote infrastructure that connects it to ASEAN nations,” said Yang on the flight back to China, according to state media. “It will also offer a credit of US$15 billion to ASEAN countries, including preferential loans of US$ 1.7 billion for cooperation projects.”

While China is not a member of the ASEAN, it recently appointed its first ambassador to the association and remains a very influential player in the region.

Pipeline Explosion Sets Rift between Turkmenistan and Russia

April 13th, 2009

A pipeline blast along Turkmenistan’s border with Uzbekistan last Thursday has halted natural gas exports completely from Central Asia’s top producer.

Turkmen officials blame the sudden decrease in imports from Russia’s state-owned Gazprom for the explosion.

“This accident happened due to a unilateral and egregious violation by Russian company Gazprom Export of agreements and rules of natural gas purchases,” said the Turkmen Foreign Ministry in a prepared statement on Friday.

The Turkmen natural gas pipeline was exporting between 70 and 80 million cubic meters a day before the explosion brought transportation to a stop.

Protests in Georgia

April 10th, 2009

A gathering of approximately 60,000 Georgians took to the streets yesterday, demanding the resignation of President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Many critics believe that Saakashvili hasn’t lived up to the promises he made during his campaign and that he doesn’t deserve to continue his presidency until 2013.

Many protestors spent the night in front of the parliament and central Rustaveli Avenue in the nation’s capital of Tbilisi.

“Saakashvili and his administration have put the country in a very grave situation,” said protestor Temur Nizharadze, according to Reuters. “The whole population is demoralized. The whole nation is worried.”

Facebook and Twitter Play Role in Anti-Communist Riots in Moldova

April 8th, 2009

Using modern social networking tools such as Twitter, Facebook, and text-messaging, an estimated crowd of 15,000 young Moldovans took to the streets yesterday in a protest against the country’s communist leadership.

On Monday, an organized gathering of two youth groups (Hyde Park and ThinkMoldova) for an event billed as “I am not a Communist” dispersed peacefully at the end of the day, but the discussion continued on in cyberspace.

Protests the next day got out of hand as individuals stormed the Parliament and presidential palace breaking windows and burning furniture.

The demonstrations were in response to elections this past Sunday where Moldova’s Communist Party won 50 percent of the vote, allowing them to make amendments to the Constitution as well as elect a new president.

U.S. Plans to Go Ahead with Eastern Europe Missile Shield

April 8th, 2009

In a speech delivered to the Czech public this weekend at a crowded square in downtown Prague, U.S. President Barack Obama spoke of his intent to continue the missile defense system in the Czech Republic and Poland as long as Iran continues to be a threat to international peace and security.

“As long as the threat from Iran persists, we will go forward with a missile defense system that is cost-effective and proven,” said President Obama in his speech. “If the Iranian threat is eliminated, we will have a stronger basis for security, and the driving force for missile defense construction in Europe will be removed.”

On his recent European tour, President Obama has stressed the importance of reducing nuclear arsenals with the aim of an eventual nuclear weapons-free world.

“We must stand together for the right of people everywhere to live free of [nuclear] fear in the 21st century,” declared President Obama.

Russian Oil Pipeline Nears Chinese Border

April 7th, 2009

The East Siberia – Pacific Ocean (ESPO) oil pipeline funded by Russia’s state-owned Transneft will reach the Chinese border within the next few weeks, according to a government report read by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

This February, Russian and Chinese governments agreed to the construction of the ESPO oil pipeline as well as a long term deal which will supply China with much needed oil to support its burgeoning economy.

In the report, Putin also announced that the government would be spending 3 trillion rubles (US$90 billion) on anti-crisis measures, 1.4 trillion (US$42 billion) of which will be supported by the federal budget.

“Anti-crisis measures stipulate 1.4 trillion rubles in funds. On the whole, taking into account the effects of tax cuts, Central Bank funds, the National Welfare Fund and other sources to fight the consequences of the crisis and help the economy rebound, a total of 3 trillion rubles has been allocated,” said Prime Minister Putin.

North Korea Completes Launch

April 7th, 2009

North Korea went ahead with the launch of their Taepodong-2 rocket this past Sunday, sparking debate within the United Nations Security Council.

“Rules must be binding, violations must be punished. Words must mean something,” stated U.S. President Barack Obama to an audience in Prague shortly after the launch.

South Korea, Japan, and the U.S., in particular, found the launching of the missile as a provocative act that further illustrated North Korea as real threat to international peace.

“In view of this gravity and urgency, the Security Council should come up with a clear and strong message,” said Japanese Ambassador Yukio Takasu.

The consensus from international experts using tracking instruments is that the “satellite” traveled nearly 2,000 miles before crashing down somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

Despite these reports, state-run media in North Korea has stated that the satellite was successfully launched into the Earth’s orbit and is currently broadcasting patriotic songs.

“It is a striking demonstration that our scientists and technicians developed both the multistage carrier rocket and the satellite 100 percent with their own wisdom and technology and accurately put the satellite into orbit at one go,” North Korea’s Kim Jong Il was quoted as saying.

U.S. Senator Heads to Cuba

April 3rd, 2009

A congressional delegation led by U.S. Senator Barbara Lee (D-CA) will head to Cuba today to discuss the possibility of opening up the island nation to American tourism in the near future.

Over the last few months, America’s new administration under Barack Obama has been working to try and improve relations with Cuba that were worsened by the policies of the Bush Administration.

“America’s harsh approach toward our nearest Caribbean neighbor divides families, closes an important market to struggling U.S. farmers, harasses our allies, and is based on antiquated Cold War-era thinking,” said Lee.

The U.S. economic, financial, commercial, and tourism ban on Cuba was implemented in 1959 after Fidel Castro successfully led a revolution that ousted the Batista-run government and communized U.S. assets in the country.

Obama Accepts Invitation to China

April 2nd, 2009

U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao discussed a long list of issues during an hour-long meeting in London on the eve of the Group of 20 summit.

During the meeting, President Obama accepted “with pleasure” an invitation extended to him by President Hu to visit China sometime later this year.

Furthermore, the leaders also agreed to establish an ongoing “U.S. – China Strategic Dialogue,” aimed at addressing a number of issues including the world economy and security.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will represent the U.S. in the talks while State Councilor Dai Bingguo and Vice Premier Wang Qishan will represent China.

With the first meeting scheduled for this summer in Washington, the talks are planned to be held yearly with the location alternating annually between the capitals.