China’s South Sea fleet taking part in a drill in the Xisha Islands, or the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea, in May 2016.  Photograph:   AFP/Getty Images

US has condemned landings of nuclear-capable aircraft as destabilising the region

Police are investigating complaints of sexual assault against one of South Korea’s best-known theatre directors Lee Youn-taek by 16 women, all of them junior colleagues, over the past two decades. Photograph: Jean Chung/Bloomberg

Seoul Letter: feminist revolt takes on Confucian patriarchy in IT, arts, politics and film

Last March US president Donald Trump signed trade sanctions against China. US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin confirmed on Sunday that Washington and Beijing had agreed to back off from imposing tariffs on each other.

Deal does not include $200 billion target proposed by US president Donald Trump

Moon Jae-in, South Korea’s president, will meet  US president Donald Trump on Tuesday in Washington for a briefing ahead of a summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the US leader in Singapore on June 12th. Photograph: Kimimasa Mayama/Pool via Bloomberg

Pyongyang may pull out of talks over air force drills

Irish beef in China: “There is certainty in Ireland, and that’s the message we’re bringing,” said the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed. Photograph: EPA

Beef imported to China expected to grow by 76% in coming decade

A man walks past a TV screen showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US president Donald Trump at a railway station in Seoul on Wednesday. Photograph:  Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

Pyongyang threatens to torpedo summit in anger at US-South Korean air force drills

 ABP’s meat processing plant in Cahir.

Company secures €50m deal with Asian firm Wowprime to supply beef to outlets in China

Irish beef is served in Irish Embassy in Beijing: Ireland’s agri-food exports to China have increased fivefold from about €200 million in 2010 to approximately €1 billion in 2017.

Michael Creed talks of adding boned-in and chilled beef to China’s permissible products

The two Irish women, from counties Kildare and Offaly, were on working visas and teaching in Beijing language schools before their detention. Photograph: iStock.

Women, from Kildare and Offaly, held after raid on private language school

Shoppers leave a Gap  store in Beijing. The firm said “We sincerely apologise for this unintentional error”. Photograph:  Gilles Sabri/Bloomberg via Getty Images

China keeping close eye on references to territories from Taiwan to Tibet

 North Korean leader Kim Jong-un discussing a nuclear weapons programme with officials  in a photograph released in  September 2017.  Photograph: KCNA via Reuters

Process demanded by West already ‘well under way’, says monitoring website

At a reception at the Irish embassy in Beijing, Irish beef was served for the first time since a ban was imposed in 2001 on EU beef imports over BSE. The ban was formally lifted in April.

Minister for Agriculture meets Chinese counterpart on first day of trade mission

A burgeoning middle class in China has led to increased demand for beef.

End to beef ban to help accelerate Irish food exports to China, Minister says

Singapore’s prime minister Lee Hsien Loong: has welcomed US president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meeting as “a significant step on the path to peace”. Photograph: Ritchie B Tongo

Security, neutrality and control of public gatherings drove choice for June 12th

Ireland’s Ryan O’Shaughnessy performs ‘Together’ next to two male dancers during the  Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon. Photograph: Pedro Nunes/Reuters

Chinese TV censored Ireland performance which told story of same-sex relationship

It is a regular occurrence for police to raid language schools and detain the foreign teachers. Photograph: iStock

Teaching English in China can be tricky affair due to unregulated agencies

Singapore has been confirmed as the venue for next month’s historic summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. Photograph: Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images

US president promises ‘special moment for world peace’ when leaders meet on June 12th

Kim Dong Chul, a US citizen who has been released after his detention in North Korea, being escorted to his trial in Pyongyang, North Korea in April 2016.  Photograph: Kim Kwang Hyon/AP

US secretary of state returning with ‘three wonderful gentlemen’, says Trump

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sitting with Chinese president Xi Jinping in Dalian in northeastern China’s Liaoning province. Photograph: Ju Peng/Xinhua via AP

Meeting signals China’s desire for influence ahead of planned Kim-Trump summit

Chongqing Communist Party Secretary Sun Zhengcai was sentenced to life in prison for bribery. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Chongqing party boss Sun Zhengcai took millions in bribes, court says

Catherine O’Grady Powers runs Glen Keen Farm and they offer Chinese people the opportunity for an authentic sheep-farming experience with shepherding, sheep-shearing, wool-dyeing and turf-cutting

Tourism Ireland targets 175,000 Chinese visitors by 2025 with 29-strong delegation

Attendees stand for The Internationale during the ceremony to mark German philosopher Karl Marx’s 200th birth anniversary at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Friday. Photograph: Getty Images

President says philosopher’s theory still holds true on 200th anniversary

Liu Xia: “Xiaobo is gone, and there’s nothing in the world for me now. It’s easier to die than live.” Photograph: Petar Kujundzic

Liu Xia despairs as talks to free her from house arrest appear to stall

 Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Fiery Cross Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in this still image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft provided by the US Navy. Photograph: US Navy handout via Reuters.

Anti-ship and surface-to-air systems set-up on reclaimed land in South China Sea, reports say

The issue of troops did not come up during last week’s joint declaration by the two countries, which promised to strive for a “complete denuclearisation” of the Korean peninsula. Photograph: Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool via Reuters

America has around 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea at present

US president Donald Trump and China president Xi Jinping, who are on the verge of a tit-for-tat trade war.

High-level delegation to seek to expose China to more foreign competition

Cho Hyun-min, a former Korean Air senior executive and the younger daughter of the airline’s chairman Cho Yang-ho, arriveing at a police station in Seoul, South Korea. Photograph: Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

Case brings fresh attention to abuse of power by mighty 'chaebol' conglomerates

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi will become the first Chinese foreign minister to visit North Korea in more than a decade. File photograph: Madoka IkegamI/AFP/Getty Images

Wang Yi travels to Pyongyang days after landmark summit with South Korea

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in at the military demarcation line that divides their countries ahead of their summit at the truce village of Panmunjom. Photograph: AFP Photo/KCNA Via KNS

Foreign observers will be permitted to view dismantling of nuclear facilities

A man in Seoul, South Korea walks past a newspaper featuring a front page story about the summit between South Korean president Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, on a sidewalk in Seoul on April 28, 2018. Photograph: Greg Barker/AFP/Getty Images.

State media says discussions wrapped up with amicable ‘feelings of blood relatives’

South Korean president Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un embrace at the village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas. Photograph: Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool via Reuters

Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in pledge formal end to Korean War and peace on peninsula

Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in at the military demarcation line that divides their countries ahead of their summit at the village of Panmunjom on Friday. Photograph: Korea Summit Press Pool/AFP/Getty Images

‘Just like a pine tree, I hope our relationship will be forever green,’ says Kim Jong-un

South Korean president Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un embrace at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, on Friday. Photograph:   Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool via Reuters

After previous deals fell through, more work lies ahead to achieve real regional stability

North Korean leader Kim Jong-unshakes hands with South Korean president Moon Jae-in  in the border village of Panmunjom, South Korea. Photograph: EPA

Kim Jung-un and Moon Jae-in sign joint statement and embrace after historic talks

North Korean soldiers stand guard before the military demarcation line on the north side of the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarised zone dividing the two Koreas. Photograph: Korea Summit Press Pool/AFP/Getty

Symbolic walk across demilitarised zone and tree-planting will underpin historical talks

It has been three years since China formally lifted a ban on Irish beef exports to China imposed after the BSE crisis. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Three years since China formally lifted ban on Irish beef exports imposed after BSE crisis

Tourists look towards the Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea as they visit Dora Observatory inside the fortified Demilitarised Zone in Paju, South Korea.

CIA chief Mike Pompeo is leading preparations, CNN reports

Supporters of former president Park Geun-hye react after a court sentenced her to 24 years in prison and a fine of 18 billion won. Photograph:  Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Disgraced ex-president Park Geun-hye’s 24-year sentence no surprise to populace

Trade tensions: A container ship  is seen docked at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, in China. Photograph: Reuters

Beijing defiant after Trump’s latest salvo in trade war

Former South Korean president Park Geun-hye (left) arrives for her trial at the Seoul Central District Court in Seoul in August 2017. File photograph: AP

Case exposed dubious links between government and the ‘chaebol’ conglomerates

‘China will not be afraid or back down if a trade war is unavoidable. The country has never surrendered to external pressure, and it will not surrender this time either,’ according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Door remains open for dialogue but China prepared to dig in

Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu and Chinese defence minister Wei Fenghe review an honour guard prior to their talks in Moscow on Tuesday. Photograph: Vadim Savitsky/Russian Defence Ministry/Reuters

General Wei Fenghe says Chinese and Russian militaries are increasingly close

 Containers  at the Yangshan Deep Water Port, part of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, in Shanghai, China.

Retaliation will hit cars, soybeans and orange juice as fears of trade war grow

Catholic clergy arrive in a procession for Mass on Holy Thursday, ahead of Easter celebrations at Beijing’s government-sanctioned South Cathedral  last week. Photograph: Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images

China reiterates adherence to religious freedom despite stalemate on Holy See deal

Wu Ming-yi’s novel The Stolen Bicycle is one of 13 novels long-listed for the Man Booker international prize this year.

Nominee had nationality changed on website under pressure from Beijing

Workers cut pork at Park Packing in Chicago, Illinois: China slapped extra tariffs of up to 25 per cent on US frozen pork. Photograph: Reuters

Beijing raising tariffs on pork, aluminium scrap and some other products by 25%

Gao Chengyong attending his trial in Baiyin, Gansu, in July 2017: he slashed the throats of his female victims and dismembered them. Photograph: Stringer

Gao Chengyong (53) admitted multiple homicides, his youngest victim being eight

Wu Xiaohui, former chairman of China’s giant insurer Anbang, has expressed remorse and sought leniency at the end of his trial for alleged fraud of $10.4 billion (€8.45 billion).

Former chairman Wu Xiaohui accused of defrauding billions

 North Korean leader Kim Jong-un  arriving with his wife Ri Sol-ju  at a train station in Beijing this week. Photograph: North Korean Central News Agency/AFP/Getty Images

Censors quickly move to block online discussion of Ri Sol-ju’s looks and style

 North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his wife are accompanied by his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and his wife at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Photograph: Korea News Service via AP

Kim plays on Xi’s stability fears during his first foreign trip as North Korean leader

 Kim Jong-un (L) shakes hands with Chinese president Xi Jinping, as he paid an unofficial visit to Beijing in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).  Photograph: KCNA/Reuters

North Korean pledges to denuclearise at meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping

A special train at Beijing railway station on Tuesday, rumoured to be carrying North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Photograph: Kyodo News via AP

North Korean leader’s visit comes ahead of series of summits to resolve nuclear crisis

H-6K bombers flying during a military parade in Xilingol League, Inner Mongolia autonomous region of China, on July 30th, 2017.  The H-6K bomber carries the DH-20 land-attack cruise missile, giving it the ability to hit targets as far away as Australia.  Photograph: Cui Nan/VCG via Getty Images

‘Joint combat patrols’ feature advanced aircraft amid unhappiness over US-Taiwan ties

US president Donald Trump holds his signed memorandum on intellectual property tariffs on high-tech goods from China, at the White House

Beijing says it won’t sit idly by as US president Donald Trump introduces tariffs

Closer ties: Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen toasts with American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei chairman Albert Chang and Alex Wong, US deputy assistant secretary at the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.  Photograph: Reuters/Tyrone Siu

Beijing considers self-ruled Taiwan an inviolable part of its territory

Members of China’s  People’s Liberation Army band at the National People’s Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Tuesday. President Xi Jinping has pledged to make the army  a world-class military force by 2049. Photograph:  Giulia Marchi/Bloomberg

Beijing keen to modernise the People's Liberation Army and boost innovation

South Korean president Moon Jae-in (fourth from right) speaks during a meeting to prepare for a planned summit between South and North Korea at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on Wednesday. Photograph: Bee Jae-man/Yonhap via AP

Talks must ‘completely resolve’ denuclearisation of Korean peninsula, says president

Delegates listen to China’s president Xi Jinping  on a large screen during the closing session of the National People’s Congress in Beijing. The talking-shop parliament enshrined Xi as president without term limits. Photograph: Getty images

Xi likely to become even more assertive about what he says China wants

Chinese president Xi Jinping delivers a speech during the closing session of the National People’s Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Tuesday. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images.

President Xi Jinping says China has ‘a strong determination to take our place in the world’

Liu He: has been appointed as vice-premier responsible for the economy at the seventh plenary session of the National People’s Congress in Beijing, China. Photograph: Jason Lee/Reuters

Leader’s close friend Liu He will lead economic policy as vice premier

Re-elected Chinese president Xi Jinping: Fighting corruption  has been a key aspect of his first five years in office, with  dozens of senior cadres arrested. Photograph: Ju Peng/Xinhua via AP

National People's Congress also names head of a new anti-graft agency

“Ten years ago none of this was happening. People weren’t really talking about China with any perspective or knowledge. Now we have a €16 billion trade relationship,” Tánaiste Simon Coveney has said. File photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Minister for Foreign Affairs meets counterpart during St Patrick’s Day trip to Beijing

Chinese president Xi Jinping  and his wife Peng Liyuan: It’s nearly three years since China formally lifted a ban on Irish beef exports to China imposed after the BSE crisis.

Tánaiste hails strength of China-Ireland business ties during visit to Beijing

There will be four Hainan Airlines flights per week originating in Dublin, with two non-stop to Beijing and two stopping in Edinburgh before continuing to Beijing.

Coveney in Beijing says flight will boost trade and tourism links

 Emerald Green Baby co-founder Brian Goff: The company started off selling products in China directly using the Taobao platform, initially from Dublin, in 2015.

Company will sell mother and baby, health and beauty products on cross-border e-commerce site

Liang Xiangyi, a correspondent for the Shanghai-based Yicai Financial News Network, turns away as fellow journalist Zhang Huijun asks a question about the Belt and Road initiative at the National People’s Congress in Beijing. Screengrab: YouTube

Censors quick to muzzle online delight at journalist’s gesture of disdain

Premier Li Keqiang (right) and China’s president Xi Jinping at the National People’s Congress in Beijing where parliament endorsed Mr Xi’s move to abolish rules limiting the head of state to 10 years in power. Photograph: Nicolas Asfouri/Getty Images

Congress approves restructuring and super ministries under Xi Jinping’s control

Chinese President Xi Jinping: State media is claiming credit for Beijing in helping to bring about the easing of tensions between Washington and Pyongyang. Photograph: Etienne Oliveau/Reuters

Chinese president makes remarks after meeting Seoul's special envoy to North

 A propaganda poster showing China’s President Xi Jinping on a wall in Beijing on Monday. Photograph: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images

China says ending term limits for President Xi Jinping necessary for stability and reform

China’s president, Xi Jinping, is seen on a large screen over delegates as he joins a session of the National People’s Congress in Beijing on Sunday. Photograph: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

National People’s Congress gives 99.8 per cent approval for amendment

Chinese president Xi Jinping has cracked down on civil society in China in recent years. File photograph: Wu Hong/ EPA

Critics fearful of despotism in world’s second largest economy

 The Munhwa Ilbo newspaper featuring US president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in  a courier’s motorcycle in Seoul, South Korea. Photograph: Jean Chung/Bloomberg

South Korea sending envoys to US, China, Japan and Russia to brief them on developments

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi waves to photographers as he arrives at a press conference during the First Session of the 13th National People’s Congress in Beijing on Thursday. Photograph: Getty Images

Foreign minister says country is force for stability and urges swift US-North Korea talks

A photograph  released by  North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency  shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (right) shaking hands with South Korean envoy  Chung Eui-yong ,  during their meeting in Pyongyang.

Peace moves at ‘critical juncture’ after summit agreed

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un shakes hands with South Korean national security director Chung Eui-yong, in Pyongyang, North Korea. Photograph: Korea News Service via AP

US watching closely for signs Pyongyang trying to drive wedge between allies

A Chinese employee sorts hot red steel at a steel plant in Zouping in China’s eastern Shandong province. China’s government is targeting growth of about 6.5 per cent this year but is wary of looming trade conflicts with the US. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Premier Li wary of looming trade war with US as he targets risks to financial system in opening work report

Delegates leave the Great Hall of the People. President Xi Jinping will swear an oath to uphold China’s constitution. But first, he will remake it in his own image, legally formalising his almost limitless mandate. Photograph: Greg Baker/AFP/Getty

National People’s Congress to give indication as to China’s future direction and policy

Souvenir plates featuring portraits of current and late Chinese leaders (from right) Xi Jinping, Deng Xiaoping, Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong are displayed for sale at a shop next to Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, March 1, 2018. Photograph: Jason Lee/Reuters

People's Daily defends decision to remove term limits after criticism

China’s President Xi Jinping inspecting People’s Liberation Army soldiers at a barracks in Hong Kong in June 2017. Photograph: Dale De La Rey/AFP/Getty Images

President Xi Jinping has pledged to make the military world-class by mid-century

Baida Mosque in Urumqi: Uighurs are being monitored by technology, claim watchdog groups. Photograph: Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

Human Rights Watch says system monitors personal details of Muslim Uighur suspects

People walk past a poster of Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Monday. Photograph: Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images

Beijing applies positive spin and censors crank up after concerned comments online

Chinese President Xi Jinping: ‘in a strong position and can get what he desires’. Photograph: REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Move to remove limit on presidential terms allows president to stay on indefinitely

Chinese actor Lou Naiming (centre) performs a sketch in the  New Year gala  on Chinese TV. Photograph: Reuters

Actor wore prosthetic chest and was accompanied by a monkey character

Ivanka Trump, daughter of US president  Donald Trump, with South Korean president Moon Jae-in  (back) and first lady Kim Jung-sook (front)  at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Friday. Photograph: EPA/Yonhap

Washington set to impose tough round of sanctions over North's nuclear programme

A screen promotes recruitment for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army: Beijing has territorial disputes of varying degrees with all of its neighbours. Photograph: Andy Wong

Focus of Beijing’s fighter-jet manoeuvres on ‘confronting threat from India’

Local people catch fish in the Yellow River in Sanmenxia, Henan province, China.  Photograph: Jie Zhao/Corbis via Getty Images

River devastated by effects of economic expansion considered cradle of Chinese civilisation

Chinese president Xi Jinping: Efforts to boost Chinese influence have received far less scrutiny than Russia’s meddling in European politics. Photograph: Reuters/Wu Hong/Pool

Signs that EU states are adjusting policies to appease China

North Korean cheerleaders arrive to participate in a welcoming ceremony for North Korea’s Olympic team at the Olympic Village in Gangneung, South Korea on Thursday. Photograph:  Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

Inter-Korean talks the most likely as Kim Jong-un's sister heads to Pyeongchang

In this April 13th, 2017 photo, Kim Yo Jong is pictured during the official opening of the Ryomyong residential area, a collection of more than a dozen apartment buildings, in Pyongyang, North Korea.Photograph: AP/Wong Maye-E

Kim Yo-jong will be first member of North’s ruling dynasty to visit South Korea

Pope Francis has sought to make a deal with China since he became pontiff in March 2013. Photograph: Reuters

Holy See could switch diplomatic recognition from Taiwan if Pope Francis agrees deal

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un followed by president of the presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly Kim Yong-nam after a military parade in Pyongyang in May 2016. Kim Yong-nam will represent the North at the Winter Olympics. Photograph:  Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

Kim Yong-nam will be the North's most senior official ever to visit South Korea

British prime minister Theresa May and her husband Philip visiting Yu Yuan Garden in Shanghai on Friday. Photograph:  Aly Song/Reuters

On Brexit, prime minister says Britain will leave the EU’s customs union

 British prime minister Theresa May drinks next to Xi Jinping, China’s president, during a tea ceremony at the Diaoyutai state guesthouse in Beijing on Thursday. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/EPA

British prime minister seeking support for a favourable trade deal post-Brexit

The Chinese government says the national social credit system is a way of keeping people honest and making people good. Photograph: Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

Multipurpose ‘national social credit’ system uses carrot and stick to control

Retired Hong Kong cardinal Joseph Zen: ‘Am I the major obstacle in the process of reaching a deal between the Vatican and China? If that is a bad deal, I would be more than happy to be the obstacle.’ File photograph: Paul Yeung/Reuters

Former cardinal criticises efforts to normalise relations amid row over bishops

Prime Minister Theresa May is greeted by Chinese actor Jiang She Ying at Wuhan University in Hubei, China: Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Beijing assures British prime minister that Brexit will not affect relations with UK

Rapper PG One (centre). Chinese music fans are bracing for a crackdown on hip-hop after a rapper was dropped from a popular singing programme. Photograph: Getty Images/AFP

Beijing Letter: The often-provocative genre strikes a chord with young people

 British prime minister Theresa May shakes hands with China’s president, Xi Jinping, at G20 Leaders Summit in Hangzhou  in 2015. Photograph: Etienne Oliveau

PM’s efforts to reassure Beijing about UK post-Brexit likely to dominate three-day trip

Yu Wensheng: taken away by police, including a specialist Swat team, near his home while on his way to drop his son off at school. Photograph: Adam Dean/The New York Times

Yu Wensheng called for democratic reforms and criticised crackdown on activists

Ciaran Connell: “Half of our revenue of $10 million  last year was in China”

Firm offers wireless technology to measure distances indoors through obstructions

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