Biden says US will defend Taiwan if China attacks

President Joe Biden said the US would defend Taiwan if China attacked, in an apparent departure from a long-held US foreign policy position. But a White House spokesman later told some US media outlets that his remarks did not signify a change in policy. The US has a law which requires it to help Taiwan defend itself. But it has been deliberately vague about what it would actually do if China were to attack Taiwan, in what is known as “strategic ambiguity”. At a CNN town hall event, a participant referred to recent reports that China had tested a hypersonic missile. … Continue reading Biden says US will defend Taiwan if China attacks

Russian fighters escort US bombers over Black Sea

Russian fighter jets escorted two U.S. bombers over the Black Sea on Tuesday, according to a statement from Russia’s defense ministry. In a statement posted to Facebook, the ministry said that it sent two Su-30 fighter jets to detect air targets that were approaching the border over neutral waters of the Black Sea. “Russian fighter crews identified the air targets as two B-1B supersonic strategic bombers accompanied by two KC-135 tanker aircraft of the US Air Force and escorted them over the Black Sea,” the defense ministry said. “After the turn of foreign military aircraft from the State Border of the … Continue reading Russian fighters escort US bombers over Black Sea

France to send ambassador back to Australia amid Aukus row

France will send its ambassador back to Australia to “redefine” relations, after Canberra reneged on a deal to buy French submarines and sparked a row. Last month, Australia formed the Aukus security pact with the US and the UK – aimed at maintaining Western influence in the Asia-Pacific. That saw Australia end a $65bn (£48bn) deal with France to instead access US nuclear-powered submarine technology. Paris called the deal a “stab in the back”. Soon after the shock announcement, France recalled its ambassadors from Canberra and Washington DC in protest. But while it has sought to mend the rift with the … Continue reading France to send ambassador back to Australia amid Aukus row

Australia says more US troops to come, plans missile project

Australia has announced that more US troops will rotate through the island nation and that the allies will cooperate on missile development, the latest joint steps amid shared concerns about China’s increasing assertiveness in the region. Australia earlier announced a three-way alliance with the United States and Britain in which Canberra will acquire nuclear-powered submarines, enraging France whose own key contract for conventional submarines was scrapped. Outlining further measures on a visit to Washington, Defence Minister Peter Dutton said on Thursday that Australia will be “significantly enhancing” cooperation including working together on the development of missiles and explosive ordnance. He … Continue reading Australia says more US troops to come, plans missile project

France warns Mali against Russian Wagner mercenary deal

French Defence Minister Florence Parly has warned Mali against a deal with Russian private security group Wagner amid claims the country’s military government is close to hiring 1,000 mercenaries. Two French sources told the AFP news agency on Tuesday that the Malian government was nearing a deal with the controversial Russian firm, which would underline Moscow’s growing influence in the region. “If the Malian authorities entered into a contract with Wagner, it would be extremely worrying and contradictory, incoherent with everything that we have done for years and we intend to do to support the countries of the Sahel region,” … Continue reading France warns Mali against Russian Wagner mercenary deal

British stamps banned from Chagos Islands in Indian Ocean

Mauritius has moved a symbolic step closer to wresting control of the Chagos Islands, in the Indian Ocean, from the UK. The Universal Postal Union (UPU), a UN agency in charge of the world’s postal policies, voted to block the use of UK stamps from the remote archipelago. All post from the Chagos Islands must now bear stamps from Mauritius. The UK says it will not cede control until the islands are no longer needed for security purposes. The US currently uses the largest of the islands – Diego Garcia – for a military air base on what the UK … Continue reading British stamps banned from Chagos Islands in Indian Ocean

Crime without Borders: Head of Belarus exiles group found dead in Ukraine

The head of a group helping people flee Belarus has been found dead near his home in neighbouring Ukraine. Vitaly Shishov’s body was found hanged in a park in Kyiv, a day after he failed to return from a jog. Police have opened a murder inquiry. Police said they were investigating whether he had been killed and his death made to look like suicide. Mr Shishov led the Belarusian House in Ukraine, helping those who left Belarus after a violent crackdown. Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania in particular have become favoured destinations for those fleeing persecution following a disputed presidential election … Continue reading Crime without Borders: Head of Belarus exiles group found dead in Ukraine

China warns UK as carrier strike group approaches

China has warned the UK’s Carrier Strike Group, led by the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth not to carry out any “improper acts” as it enters the contested South China Sea. ‘The People’s Liberation Army Navy is at a high state of combat readiness’ says the pro-government Global Times, seen as a mouthpiece for the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP). China has been closely monitoring the progress eastward of the Carrier Strike Group, which is currently sailing through the South China Sea en route to Japan, while accusing Britain of “still living in its colonial days”. The Royal Navy has … Continue reading China warns UK as carrier strike group approaches

UK to permanently deploy two warships in Asia Pacific

Britain has announced that it will permanently deploy two warships in Asian waters after its Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier and escort ships sail to Japan in September through seas where China is vying for influence with the United States and Japan. Plans for the high-profile visit by the carrier strike group come as the UK deepens security ties with Tokyo, which has expressed growing alarm in recent months over China’s territorial ambitions in the region, including Taiwan. “Following on from the strike group’s inaugural deployment, the United Kingdom will permanently assign two ships in the region from later this year,” … Continue reading UK to permanently deploy two warships in Asia Pacific

China military ‘drove away’ US warship in South China Sea

China’s military said it “drove away” a United States warship that it said illegally entered Chinese waters near the disputed Paracel Islands on Monday, the anniversary of a landmark international court ruling that Beijing has no claim over the South China Sea. The USS Benfold entered the waters of the Paracels without the approval of the Chinese government, seriously violating China’s sovereignty and undermining the stability of the South China Sea, the People’s Liberation Army’s Southern Theater Command said. “We urge the United States to immediately stop such provocative actions,” the Southern Theater Command said in a statement. In a … Continue reading China military ‘drove away’ US warship in South China Sea

US airstrikes in Iraq and Syria target Iran-backed militia

The US has launched air strikes against an Iran-backed militia in Iraq and Syria, the Pentagon announced. The strikes hit “operational and weapons storage facilities”, in response to drone attacks by the militia on US forces, a statement said. “President Biden has been clear that he will act to protect US personnel,” the Pentagon said. This is the second round of airstrikes Joe Biden has authorised against Iran-backed militias since taking office. US forces based in Iraq have been hit several times in recent months by drone attacks. Iran has denied any involvement. Around 2,500 US troops are based in … Continue reading US airstrikes in Iraq and Syria target Iran-backed militia

China condemns US as warship transits Taiwan Strait again

China has called the United States the region’s “greatest creator of risks” after a US warship again sailed through the Taiwan Strait, the narrow waterway that separates mainland China from the self-ruled island of Taiwan. The US Navy’s 7th fleet said its Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur on Tuesday conducted a “routine” transit through the Taiwan Strait. In a statement, the 7th fleet said the “ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific”. China, which claims sovereignty over Taiwan, said its forces monitored the vessel through the sensitive waterway and … Continue reading China condemns US as warship transits Taiwan Strait again