US, Australia play good cop, bad cop with China

MANILA – A de facto US-Australia alliance is seeking greater transparency and accountability for China’s role in the global Covid-19 pandemic, with Washington taking a tough tack approach and Canberra adopting a more moderate line.   The Donald Trump administration has threatened to cutoff support to the World Health Organization (WHO) for supposedly kowtowing to China, while US congressmen ready legislation seeking reparations from Beijing for pandemic-related losses. On Thursday, Trump said the Covid-19 was the worst disaster to hit the US since the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941…

Washington and Beijing at risk of armed conflict

The propaganda war between China and the United States over the origin and spread of the coronavirus, with Washington blaming Beijing for the pandemic, is acquiring more and more a geopolitical dimension. May 10, 2020 By Emanuele ScimiaThe propaganda war between China and the United States over the origin and spread of the coronavirus, with Washington blaming Beijing for the pandemic, is acquiring more and more a geopolitical dimension. According to a Chinese intelligence paper,  the pandemic crisis has undermined relations between the two powers to such an extent that…

Trump, Abe must reinvest in China deterrence

Recent weeks have seen China engaging in various illegal maritime incursions and other aggressive behavior toward Vietnam, Japan and other Indo-Pacific states. These unsettling series of actions by Chinese naval, coast guard and maritime militia vessels are a deliberate attempt to test the resolve of the US, Japan and the broader region at a time when governments are distracted by the Covid-19 pandemic.  The Indo-Pacific region mustn’t wait for a convenient time to respond to Beijing’s unlawful assertions of territorial sovereignty. While the challenges posed by Covid-19 have occupied every leader’s waking hours and will require…

‘Salamat Vietnam’: Adrift at sea for 17 days, rescued Filipino says thanks

The man survived by clinging on to a plastic can and eating seaweed, local reports say. On Friday night, an interpreter from the Department of Foreign Affairs of Binh Dinh Province in central Vietnam said he was able to contact with the son of Anding Nadie Repil, who was rescued April 17. “Repil could not hide his joy and burst into tears when talking to his son after more than a month of losing contact,” the interpreter said. The 52-year-old man said that at 7 p.m. on March 19, he…

China’s South China Sea plan unfolds regardless of coronavirus — Quartz

Recent developments in the South China Sea might lead one to assume that Beijing is taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis to further its ambitions in the disputed waterway. But it’s important to note that China has been following a long-term game plan in the sea for decades. While it’s possible that certain moves were made slightly earlier than planned because of the pandemic, they likely would have been made in any case, sooner or later. One of China’s greatest weapons in the sea is simply patience. In the mid-90s,…

Could a 12-year-old Australian-Chinese violinist be the next child prodigy? | Music

The classical music world is no stranger to young talent. The 19th century virtuoso Niccolò Paganini started playing aged seven, while Yehudi Menuhin caused a sensation with his performance, at the same age, of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. Now, however, there’s a new kid on the block, whose backers say transforms from “normal child” to “absolute superstar” the moment the lights dim. Christian Li, a 12-year-old schoolboy violinist from Melbourne, recently became the youngest-ever artist signed by the Decca Classics record label. He will release a new recording later this month,…

Chinese Navy Anti-Piracy Drill Ends with Detour Through South China Sea Islands for U.S. Attention – Homeland Security Today

A Chinese navy fleet conducted an escort mission drill through the disputed Spratly Islands chain in the South China Sea after completing an anti-piracy operation in the Gulf of Aden, off Somalia. Analysts said the mission on Saturday by the 35th escort fleet of the Chinese navy was to boost far-sea training for combat ships and boost protection against piracy for Chinese merchant ships. The official People’s Liberation Army outlet PLA Daily reported that the fleet, including the destroyer Taiyuan and frigate Jingzhou, conducted drills to rescue hijacked ships and…

Iran’s Nuclear Capabilities and Other Weekend Reads

It’s been two years since the United States withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal. Now, Iran is even closer to producing a nuclear weapon. Meanwhile, both sides of the Libyan civil war are relying on disaffected Syrians to boost their war efforts. And the pandemic has opened space for the Taliban to continue to erode the legitimacy of the Afghan government. Here are Foreign Policy’s top weekend reads. An International Atomic Energy Agency inspector visits the Natanz enrichment facility, south of Tehran, on Jan. 20, 2014.Kazem Ghane/AFP via Getty Images…