FirstFT: China denies envoy statements

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Good day. Today we begin in Beijing, where the Chinese government has repudiated comments from his ambassador to Francethat sparked protests in Europe over the weekend.

Lu Shaye angered European capitals on Sunday when he questioned the legal status of former Soviet states and Ukraine’s sovereignty over Crimea. In response, China’s Foreign Ministry yesterday contradicted Lu’s comments, saying that “China respects the sovereign status of the republics after the breakup of the Soviet Union.”

Later Monday, the Chinese embassy in Paris released a statement online saying that Lu’s “comments on the Ukraine issue were not a policy statement but an expression of personal views.”

Analysts suggested that the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s response represented a repudiation of comments by Lu, who has earned a reputation as one of the “wolf warrior” diplomats known for his combative style.

China’s efforts to downplay the ambassador’s claims have not satisfied the Baltic nations of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, who said they would convene senior Chinese diplomats today to protest Lu’s remarks.

This is what I’m checking the most today:

  • GDP of South Korea: Flash figures for the first quarter are ready to be released.

  • Anzac Day: Markets will be closed in Australia and New Zealand as nations honor members of the armed forces.

  • Profits: We’re in the middle of US earnings season. Companies reporting results include Alphabet, General Electric, General Motors, Halliburton, McDonald’s, Microsoft, PepsiCo, Verizon Communications, Visa and more.

Five more main stories

1. The EU and Japan have rejected a US proposal for the G7 countries to ban almost all exports to Russia., according to documents seen by the Financial Times. The disagreement over the measure underscores the lack of additional options available to the G7 leaders as they seek to increase the economic punishment for the regime of Vladimir Putin.

2. Tucker Carlson leaves Fox News, just days after the television network agreed to settle a defamation lawsuit over allegations that it aired false theories about voter fraud in the United States. the departure was sudden and Carlson, who is among the most watched personalities on American television, ended his last broadcast with no indication that it would be his last.

3. Adani Ports announced that it will repurchase up to $650 million in bondssuch as the conglomerate of Indian tycoon Gautam Adani struggle to prove that you have enough cash on hand after a short seller attack. Although the Adani group has strenuously denied Hindenburg’s accusations that he manipulated its share price and engaged in fraudulent accounting, he has vowed to reduce its mounting debt and curb its rapid expansion.

4. Credit Suisse has revealed for the first time the scale at which depositors rushed to withdraw their money of the Swiss bank before it was forced to merge with rival UBS last month. the bank said so suffered outflows of 61.2 billion Swiss francs ($68.6 billion) in the first quarter as clients fled, exposing the scale of the task for UBS after it took over its Swiss rival.

5. Australia has undergone the biggest strategic change in its military posture since World War II. to accommodate China’s military buildup in the region. The country’s defense spending review warned of “strategic competition from great powers” in the Indo-Pacific and that the country’s defense posture was “no longer fit for purpose”. Read more about the planned review.

the great read

SVB mounting

© FT/Bloomberg Montage

The weeks since Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse on March 10 have brought an uneasy realization: The problems that sparked the biggest bank run in history were neither a freak occurrence nor an unforeseen emergency. Before the first official post-mortem on its failure, almost everyone agrees that the crisis had been hiding in plain sight.

We are also reading. . .

chart of the day

India is likely to have China officially surpassed as the world’s most populous country this month, the UN said yesterday. The exact timing of the long-awaited crossing has been the source of much speculation, with officials blaming a lack of precise statistics.

Take a break from the news

Melbourne's Yarra River

Princes Bridge was built in the late 19th century as a gateway to central Melbourne and retains many of its period features © Abigail Varney

Flowing 240 km from clean mountain ranges and farmland before emptying into Port Phillip Bay in the heart of Melbourne, the Yarra River was long neglected before being cleaned up and appreciated again this century. Stroll through the city’s past before venturing out onto a verdant terrain that encompasses everything from Kangaroos and kayak through pastry shops on these two routes.

Additional contributions by Gordon Smith and Tee Zhuo

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