Opinion: The future of the China-US-Russia triangle after Pelosi's visit to Taiwan
Since February 24, 2022, the international community's focus was concentrated entirely on the war in Ukraine and the growing Russia – West confrontation. It seemed that nothing could change the situation until the end of hostilities in Ukraine. However, on August 2 and 3, almost everyone’s attention shifted from Ukraine to Taiwan. As the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, stated her intention to visit Taiwan, up to half a million people were watching the trajectory of her plane on air flight tracking sites. The negative reaction of China, including the warning of President Xi during his conversation with President Biden that those who played with fire would be perished by it, created hype around this visit. Many were discussing the possibility of Chinese military jets closing the airspace over Taiwan and preventing Pelosi’s plane from landing in Taiwan, while some enthusiasts were even contemplating the possibility of a US-China direct military clash. As Pelosi landed in Taiwan and met with the Taiwanese President, the global social media was full of amateur assessments about the strategic victory of the US and the confirmation of the US global hegemony. However, as the dust settles down, and information noise and manipulation eventually decreases, a more serious assessment is needed to understand the real consequences of this visit.
patrickn97 Thu, 08/04/2022 - 13:52
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Kazakhstan and China sign commercial agreements worth $565m

Kazakhstan and China sign commercial agreements worth $565m

On Tuesday (28 March) it was announced that Kazakh and Chinese business leaders signed 16 different documents strengthening bilateral relations. The agreements were signed on the sidelines of the "Second friendly dialogue of cross-border cooperation between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of the People's Republic of China". The documents included six interregional agreements, five memoranda of understanding, and five commercial agreements totalling a value of $565m. The agreements cover the sectors of construction, energy, mining, agriculture, food industry, engineering, tourism, investment, and others. The forum was held alongside a visit of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and Communist Party Secretary of XUAR, Ma Xingrui, to Kazakhstan. At the meeting, Chinese and Kazakh officials and entrepreneurs discussed ways to improve the efficiency of checkpoints, logistics centers, and transport infrastructure along the almost 1,800km-long border. Speaking at the event, the Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade and Integration Serik Zhumangarin said Kazakhstan is ready to export some 135 industrial and agricultural products worth over $1 billion to China.
Commentary: Yemen is where the resilience of the Iran-Saudi deal will be tested
Developments in Yemen over the last days do not augur well for the 10 March Iran-Saudi Arabia normalisation deal, writes commonspace.eu in this commentary, writing that "it is in Yemen where the biggest test for the resilience of the Beijing agreement will come, sooner rather than later." On 10 March in Beijing, Iran and Saudi Arabia together with China signed an agreement that amongst other things provides for the restoration of diplomatic relations between Tehran and Riyadh. The agreement has many other provisions, and remains confidential, but it is widely understood that it contains provisions for lessening tensions in the region and taking the heat out of some hotspots where the two regional powers continue to look each other in the eye. Yemen invariably is at the top of the agenda.
patrickn97 Tue, 03/28/2023 - 12:37
Netanyahu delays controversial judicial reform after protests and strikes

The Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu announced on Monday night (27 March) that he would delay a key part of controversial plans to overhaul the justice system, saying that he would pause the legislation to prevent a "rupture among our people".

The announcement came after mass protests across Israel on the night of 26-27 March when Prime Minister Netanyahu fired his defence minister after he spoke out against controversial judicial reform plans. 

patrickn97 Tue, 03/28/2023 - 12:20
Russia threatens Armenia with "extremely negative consequences" after Rome Statute ruling

Russia has threatened Armenia with "extremely negative consequences" if it were to ratify the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court (ICC) after the country's constitutional court on Friday (24 March) found that the Rome Statute does not contravene the Armenian constitution.

patrickn97 Tue, 03/28/2023 - 09:46
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Hungarian Parliament approves Finland NATO membership

Hungarian Parliament approves Finland NATO membership

Over 10 months after Finland applied to join the NATO military alliance, the Hungarian Parliament has ratified Finland's application to the currently 30-member bloc in a vote on Monday (27 March). The vote was passed by 182 votes for and only 6 votes against. In order to become a NATO member, an applicant country must be approved by every member state individually, and following Hungary's approval yesterday only one country remains, Turkey. Turkey's approval of Finland's application to NATO is indeed expected soon as the country after the country's parliamentary committee on foreign affairs approved their application last week. A parliamentary vote on accession is expected before the country's presidential elections on 14 May. Yesterday's vote comes after months of delay in both Budapest and Ankara over Finland and Sweden's NATO membership prospects. While Hungarian officials had spent months insisting that they simply busy with other business, at the end of last month the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán threatened to throw a spanner in the works over Finland and Sweden's history of open criticism of rule-of-law in Hungary.
Kazakh yurt appears in Slovak capital Bratislava to mark Nauryz

A traditional Kazakh yurt has been erected in the Slovak capital of Bratislava to celebrate the springtime festival of Nauryz. The installation was organised by the Embassy of Kazakhstan and supported by city authorities, reports Kazinform.

patrickn97 Mon, 03/27/2023 - 12:12
Russian troops in Belarus decrease to around 4,000, according to Ukraine

The number of Russian troops in Belarus has decreased to around only 4,000 since the start of the year, according to Andriy Demchenko, spokesperson for the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine.

Speaking on Sunday (26 March), Demchenko said that "a little more than 4,000 servicemen of the Russian Armed Forces are on the territory of Belarus, but they are mainly involved either in joint exercises or in training that is ongoing in Belarus."

patrickn97 Mon, 03/27/2023 - 09:56