FBI opens a new investigation into China ‘every 10 hours,’ bureau director says

 FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies during a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing about worldwide threats, on Capitol Hill in Washington. In his testimony, FBI Director Christopher Wray said that no other country represented more of a threat to the US’ economic security and democratic ideals than China, adding that its ability to influence American institutions was “deep and wide and persistent.” Wray’s comments come amid rising tensions between Washington and Beijing across a range of fronts, including alleged human rights abuses in China’s western region of Xinjiang and issues related to Taiwan and Hongkong. US Director for National Intelligence Avril Haines … Continue reading FBI opens a new investigation into China ‘every 10 hours,’ bureau director says

Moscow could defend Russia-backed rebels in Ukraine

A top Russian official has warned that Moscow could intervene to help Russian-speaking residents in eastern Ukraine if Ukraine launches an all-out assault on separatists there. Russian-backed separatist rebels and Ukrainian troops have been clashing in the east of the country. Russia has also been building up troops on the border with Ukraine. The official, Dmitry Kozak, said that Russian forces could intervene to “defend” Russian citizens. “Everything depends on the scale of the conflagration,” he said. He is deputy head of Russia’s presidential administration. He also warned that an escalation could mark the “beginning of the end” for Ukraine … Continue reading Moscow could defend Russia-backed rebels in Ukraine

Philippines deploys air force as tensions over Chinese ships rise

The Philippines’ air force has been conducting daily aerial patrols over Chinese fishing vessels moored near a disputed reef, the country’s defence chief said, as he repeated a call to Beijing for their withdrawal from the area. The diplomatic row was touched off earlier this month when some 220 boats were first spotted at the boomerang-shaped Whitsun Reef, west of Palawan Island. The Philippines ordered China to recall the vessels, describing their presence as an incursion into its sovereign territory. But China, which claims almost the entirety of the South China Sea, said the flotilla is made up of fishing vessels … Continue reading Philippines deploys air force as tensions over Chinese ships rise

Morocco to extradite Australian to Saudi Arabia, wife says

A Moroccan court has decided to extradite Osama al-Hasani, a dual Australian-Saudi citizen, to Saudi Arabia, his wife said, in a case that has concerned rights groups. His wife, Hanae, cried as she told Reuters over the phone on Wednesday: “I did not expect this verdict.” A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced al-Hasani, a businessman who previously worked at a Saudi university, to two years in prison. Al-Hasani was arrested on February 8 when he arrived in the Moroccan city of Tangier, where he was planning to join his wife and four-month-old baby. International lawyers acting on behalf of … Continue reading Morocco to extradite Australian to Saudi Arabia, wife says

German warship to cross South China Sea for first time since 2002

A German frigate will set sail for Asia in August and, on its return journey, become the first German warship to cross the South China Sea since 2002, senior government officials said on Wednesday. The ship will not pass within what officials called the “12-nautical-mile”, officials in the foreign and defence ministries added, in a reference to contested areas of the sea, which China claims almost in its entirety. The United Kingdom is also sending its navy to the region, announcing on Saturday that HMS Queen Elizabeth will set sail on its maiden voyage in May this year and is … Continue reading German warship to cross South China Sea for first time since 2002

China expands first foreign frontline military channel with U.S. ally South Korea

China has expanded upon its first-ever frontline military hotline with a foreign force, South Korea, a U.S. ally wedged between the geopolitical rivalry of Washington and Beijing. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (L) and South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (R) greet prior to their meeting at the foreign ministry in Seoul, South Korea, in 2020. Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson Senior Colonel Tan Kefei announced Tuesday that the People’s Liberation Army and Republic of Korea Armed Forces revised a November 2008 memorandum of understanding that established lines of communication between the navies and air forces of the two nations. “This current … Continue reading China expands first foreign frontline military channel with U.S. ally South Korea

Taiwan hits out at Chinese ‘bullying’ after Guyana U-turn

Taiwan has blamed Chinese “bullying” for Guyana’s decision to revoke a deal for the island to open a representative office in the South American country, saying it had tried without success to get Guyana to change its mind. Taiwan had already begun initial operations at the office, in effect a de facto embassy, last month. It had been welcomed by Washington and condemned by Beijing, which claims Taiwan as its own territory with no right to state-to-state ties, Taiwan’s foreign ministry said because of Chinese pressure Guyana had “unilaterally” decided to back out of the deal, and Taiwan expressed deep regret it was … Continue reading Taiwan hits out at Chinese ‘bullying’ after Guyana U-turn

US sends warship through Taiwan Strait for first time under Biden

The United States Navy sent a guided-missile destroyer through the Taiwan Strait on Thursday, the first time a US warship has gone through the waterway that separates China and Taiwan during the Biden administration. The Japan-based USS John S McCain made the routine transit in accordance with international law, Lt. Joe Keiley, a spokesperson for the US Navy’s 7th Fleet, said in a statement. “The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The United States military will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows,” Keiley said. The issue … Continue reading US sends warship through Taiwan Strait for first time under Biden

Israel-Kosovo diplomatic ties slammed by Serbia, Turkey

Serbia’s foreign minister has expressed dismay over Israel’s decision to recognise Kosovo, a former Serbian province whose statehood Belgrade denies, saying officials were “not happy” with the development. The reaction came a day after Israel and Kosovo established diplomatic ties under a deal brokered by the United States, marking a victory for Pristina’s efforts to gain full global recognition of the independence it declared in 2008 following a war with Serbia in the 1990s. “We have invested serious efforts in our relations with Israel in recent years and we are not happy with this decision,” Serbian foreign minister Nikola Selakovic told … Continue reading Israel-Kosovo diplomatic ties slammed by Serbia, Turkey

Taiwan says Chinese fighters, U.S. aircraft both entered defence zone

In an escalating situation, six Chinese fighter aircraft and a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft entered the southwestern corner of Taiwan’s air defence identification zone on Sunday, the island’s defence ministry said, in an unusual admission of U.S. military activity.© Reuters/Reuters Photographer FILE PHOTO: TAIWAN COAST GUARD PATROL BOATS ALONG THE COAST OF PRATAS ISLANDS. Tensions have spiked over the last week or so after Taiwan reported multiple Chinese fighters and bombers flying into the zone last weekend, in an area close to the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands in the northern part of the South China Sea. The Chinese missions coincided with a U.S. … Continue reading Taiwan says Chinese fighters, U.S. aircraft both entered defence zone

Containing China is ‘mission impossible’, Beijing warns Biden

Any attempt to contain China is “mission impossible”, the country’s defence ministry warned the US on Thursday, as the Biden administration works to shore up its Asian alliances against Beijing. STR China has poured billions into revamping its military, in line with President Xi Jinping’s ambitions to transform its army into a “world-class” fighting force by 2050 Military tensions between the two superpowers worsened under former US President Donald Trump, who adopted an aggressive stance on regional flashpoints such as Taiwan and the South China Sea.  China at the same time poured billions into revamping its military, in line with President … Continue reading Containing China is ‘mission impossible’, Beijing warns Biden

China warns Taiwan independence could lead to war as US dismisses comments

China has in a strong statement warned that attempts by Taiwan to seek independence from Beijing “means war”. The warning comes days after Beijing stepped up military activities and sent warplanes near the island. It also comes amid closer ties between Taiwan and the US, which welcomed a new administration just last week. In a statement on Thursday, the US reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to supporting Taiwan’s defence capability, China sees democratic Taiwan as a breakaway province, but Taiwan sees itself as a sovereign state. “We are seriously telling those Taiwan independence forces: those who play with fire will burn themselves, … Continue reading China warns Taiwan independence could lead to war as US dismisses comments