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On broken democracy promises in Hong Kong — Harbour Times

by Devon Rowcliffe

Amid democracy protests in Hong Kong, accusations of deception filled the tropical autumn air with as much fervor as the swarms of colourful umbrellas. Some Hong Kong residents insist that the larger powers involved in this affair – namely the Chinese government – have broken earlier promises to fully democratize Hong Kong, and that recent demands from China violate existing commitments.

But are these claims accurate? Has China ever actually offered a complete democracy to Hong Kong? And are China’s new demands truly in violation of its legal commitments or other promises?

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China-North Korea: 'Lips and teeth' set to part? — Asia Times

by Devon Rowcliffe

When twilight ascends upon East Asia this Friday evening, the future direction of North Korea's increasingly tenuous relations with China may become much clearer. 

North Korea has received an exhausting amount of media coverage over the past several weeks: for initially scoffing at a security offer from the United States, threatening to explode a nuclear bomb, testing several short-range missiles, spewing yet more of its tiresome brand of garrulous statements, and ultimately agreeing to take a serious look at the aforementioned US security pact. 

However, one issue of crucial importance that has been largely overlooked is the fluctuating relationship between North Korea and China. The once-cohesive bond between the two states has shown clear signs of unraveling in recent months and could be irreversibly damaged if upcoming talks prove unfruitful.

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