China denies Separatist militant contacts in Pakistan

A number of Chinese officials have denied reports that they are in contact with separatist militants in the troubled Pakistani province of Baluchistan to ensure the safety of the tens of billions of planned infrastructure projects planned in the region.

A report from The Financial Times this week said the secret talks between the two sides have lasted five years and Beijing has made direct contact with militants.

However, a top Chinese official who dealt directly with the region said he has not never heard of that gossip. The official himself does not want his name disclosed in the media.

Read also: Pakistan Politicians Denies Chinese Talks With Separatist Baluchistan

Sher Muhammad Bugti, representative of the Baluch Republican separatist group , also denied negotiations with China. Nevertheless, a number of other separatist leaders were hesitant to issue a similar denial.

China is planning to build One Belt One Road a development initiative in Pakistan called the China Economic Corridor of Pakistan. The main purpose of the initiative is to build a network of roads and trains that will connect Xinjiang Province in West China and the Indian Ocean through Pakistan. [ab/lt]

Pakistani politicians denounce China talks with Separatist Baluchistan

There is no talks between China and separatist groups in Baluchistan province, in Pakistan on the protection of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a senator from the province told VOA.

After reported by The Financial Times, several newspapers in Pakistan say that China has secretly held talks with Baluch militants (Baluchistan natives) for more than five years in an effort to protect infrastructure projects worth $ 60 billion.

CPEC is a project which is funded by China. Once completed, the 3,000-km project will connect China with Pakistan via railways, highways and fiber-optic networks. Through CPEC, China will have access to the Arabian Sea.

Pakistan's Baluchistan province is at the heart of CPEC as it extends between China's Xinjiang region and Pakistan's Gawadar port, located in Baluchistan Province. [as/al]

US Imposes New Sanctions Against Russia and Separatist Officials of Ukraine

The US Treasury announced a series of new sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian citizens who were involved in the Crimean annexation by Russia, and prohibited them from doing business with the Americans and froze every asset they owned and were under the jurisdiction of American law.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Friday that "the US Government is committed to maintaining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and targeting those who seek to undermine Minsk's agreement," referring to the agreement that Russia and Ukraine must support a ceasefire, withdraw heavy weapons and support reforms elections.

These new sanctions target some Russian officials, including the deputy energy minister Andrei Cherezov, already sanctioned by the European Union for his role in moving energy turbines to the Crimea.

Eleven others are Ukrainian separatists holding office government in daera h separatists who proclaim themselves as the People's Republic of Donetsk and the Luhansk People's Republic.

In addition to these people, the new sanctions also targeted nine Russian companies involved in the construction of facilities in separatist-controlled areas of the Crimea.

Europe says separatists in Crimea are directly supported by Russian forces. They accused Russia of sending personnel and weapons, funds and supplies to Crimean separatists.

Russia announced in 2014 that it annexed the Crimea and denied allegations that it was arming and supporting separatist militia there. [jm/ps]